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Book Four Pt 1 - The Eastern Pass

Written by - Euralia Page 5 Book 4

The dragonlady had been searching the open seas for hours now, with no sign of the ship that carried Ariana. As She flew just under the clouds, Her thoughts became frantic, and She sped up her search, knowing that Sycon had to be close, he must be. It wasn't until the new day dawned that She finally caught sight of her quarry, its inhabitants making their way to the shore. She flew above the clouds, using them as a cover, and scanned the tiny boats, but there was no hint of Sycon. As She swept Her silver eyes from boat to tiny boat, she knew something was wrong. Something had happened, and it had not been long since. Seeing Ardwenn cradling an unconscious Ariana, She could only hope that it was not Sycon's doing.

I cannot be seen. Not now. Even through Her determination to search the boat for Sycon, and Her curiousity as to what ravaged this party, she knew she had to wait until all had gone ashore.

A short while later, one of the sailors on the ship glanced up to see the clouds above him descending in the form of a beautiful woman. He looked over his shoulders to see that, by some chance, he was the only one on the deck to witness the silver-haired, silver-eyed lady approach him. She walked up to him as he stood in pure shock and wonder. She placed her hands on his shoulders and pressed her lips against his. The sailor trembled under her touch, and fell into a deep sleep as he heard a voice whisper in his mind This is only a dream.

She placed the sailor gently on the deck and moved on. She found her way below deck, and began Her quest for Sycon, for She knew he was here. She could feel their bond strengthen as She drew nearer. At last, She found him, bundled in a corner, his tear-stained face the only thing uncovered. From the looks of him, and his surroundings, She knew that he had some part in the madness that overcame this ship.

She kneeled beside of him, and placing one hand on his chest, She spoke so only he could hear. Wake up, Sycon.

His eyes slowly opened and fell upon his dragonlady, and in that glance, She felt his anger and his sadness, and his overwhelming confusion.

He stared into Her eyes, and his mind spoke only one word, Why?

She felt his sadness stronger this time, but all She could do was smile, for he was whole: he was still Her Sycon. Why? He asked again, but this time, she had a response ready. She moved Her hand from his chest and wrapped it around his fingers. As he held on to Her, She opened the bond between them. No, it was no longer a bond, not anymore. She opened a dam, and they flooded into each other. They breathed together, two bodies, one mind. As She thought, He knew: there was no distinction. Immediately, he had all of his answers. He knew where He was and why and what had happened before He left Her, and where They had to go next. He now knew Her plan, Her true plan, and as one, They experienced a great happiness, and a great sadness.

Fai, They thought. Yes, she shall be the beginning.

Ready to face Their trial, They unwound their minds, falling back into their separate bodies.

Slowly, together, they rose, tears streaming down their faces, and left to join Ariana.

Written by - Sycon

Sycon awoke to his lady once again. Her silver eyes shifting over him and he only had one question in his mind... Why? It was more of a question that could not be answered with a simple sentence. So many things were intwined in the singe word his mind grasped to. He felt his sadness, more than that, his lonliness. He had felt her bond, it had almost ripped him apart, but still it was the closest thing to heaven he had ever felt. Now he lay barren in cold in the belly of a ship he did not call his own. He had seen the face of his beloved Ariana, the face of his beloved lady and had at one point and time felt the love of both. Either through religion or something close to it. His mind was always tearing between the two, always feeling the urge to follow each to their oblivion if he had must. Now his mind, this confused, was alone. He felt neither nor understood any of it. Why?

Her mind opened, but now it wasn't the intense cold energy he had felt earlier, but it was so full. Everything he had wanted to know about her and about what was to come. Plans upon plans unfolded in his head... more than plans, reasons for plans, and the emotions that had brought them to be. It was almost too much to understand at once, but still it all seemed to sink in. Fai... I understand... but as the thought passed, or even finished the link had broken, but I still don't understand but the link was broken. He could see her smiling face, as tears ran down her cheeks. Was he still crying... he could not tell anymore.

It was cold in the room now. Colder than it was before if that was even possible. He felt colder now in his life than he had ever felt before. He could feel the link between his lady and him lay dormant, perhaps never to connect again. He could not feel anything around him. He tried to stretch out his mind, but to no avail. He could not see anything but the inside of this room, could not sense anything but the waves washing against the side of the boat and the moldy smell of the small compartment. His sword had shattered the moment she had taken her into his arms, the sword was a part of himself, the very image of his soul... she had shattered it. His soul ripped into many pieces only to reform to what he was now. What was he? He knew there was a change, yet... He let out a long hopeless sigh. He had no link to his former self... even she did not know how cold it was to be without the power to feel others around him... it was what had brought him out of the darkness back then... Ariana...

He stood, feeling perhaps in the best health he had ever been, but it went unnoticed as he could not find himself. He strode forward without a word. She walked behind him as they made their way to the deck of the ship. Lowered another small craft into the water, not speaking a word as it brushed the surface of the water. They made their way to shore and brought the boat up as not to wash away. On he walked... not knowing if this was the correct direction. He could no longer stretch out his mind to tell him... tears almsot welled up in his eyes once more. Further he walked until a clearing appeared and there, stood a statue of Ariana. He was not surprised by this, nor did he care. But there stood his previous companions, as he walked slowly forward, head down.

Written by - Archeantus

He fell into darkness, flowing past what he perceived to be her mind into his, only to find himself somewhere else entirely.

He landed with a thud in a place that can only be described as a nightmare. Slowly pushing himself off the ground, he quickly became distressed and immediately sought to leave.

There was a fear in the air as much as there was the feeling that something unseen was breathing there in the darkness. He could barely make out anything, the place was cold and damp, as if it were deep in the earth, but he could tell the place dripped of everything he abhorred. The warlock stood suddenly sensing he had entered the mind of something terrible, a mind of a being very foreign to him and all he knew.

Then there came a swooshing sound, echoing down from somewhere far past him. He then heard a deep rumble. He could sense nothing, and it scared him.

The swooshing sound grew more and more prominent, seemingly growing closer and closer. And suddenly there was a small light which slowly grew up above him. His terrified eyes gazed upward as the shaft of light grew wider, illuminating his shoulders then his upper body. Yet as the light banished the darkness it also revealed what had been breathing near him.

Archeantus turned just in time to see a nightmarishly black form leap at him, reddened eyes blazing!

Then a splash upon his face woke him up violently and he let out a gasp.

He was back, and he could hear a commotion going on, hearing the last of Kildef's words trying to calm someone down. It came to him quickly what might be happening. He feared what Ariana might have done when he'd been forced from her mind.

Feeling arms around him, he voiced his assurance he was well.

Luckily the worries he sensed about him subsided. He was breathing terribly, having just underwent something he'd never experienced before.

Where had he gone? His own mind? Or something else entirely?

Those questions would have to wait, and he tried to get to his feet.

"Friends," he said with a grimace "we need to talk."

Written by - Ardwen

Ardwen felt tense, and he had no idea if his ruse was going to work. He was no master demagogue, and the only speeches he had made that were ever recieved with a cheer had been those on the battlefield. For a minute the elf felt the eyes of the crowd upon him, and the warrior mentally steeled himself for conflict. But then, finally, something went right. Kildef stepped forward, adding his expertise and assurances, seemingly content to continue the ploy of Ariana possibly not being Ariana.

The crowd bent to the barbarian's words, and within moments they had mostly dispersed with only a few of a more zealous nature bothering to stay at the shrine. The human healer and Kildef exchanged a few words, the only part catching Ardwen's attention was when she said that his companions had a noble bearing to them as well. That was technically true, Ardwen reflected, but the woman had probably not meant his ties to the peerage.

More importantly, the women appeared glad to help, though she quickly realized that whatever had laid Arc low was beyond her means. Still, Archeantus was not the only one with wounds in the clearing, and as Ardwen watched another figure was walking slowly across the grass. It was Sycon, and the warlock looked shattered, his eyes locked on the ground in dejection. Ardwen's brow furrowed in concern for an instant, both for his brother in arms, and for the fact that at the present so few of the Hands were in fighting form.

Before Ardwen could think to react, however, Archeantus woke up with a start. Ardwen looked at him to make sure he was coping, he seemed alright, but he looked visibly shaken. Ardwen could not blame him. The elven blade weaver could only imagine what he had experienced inside Ariana's mind. As Arc struggled to rise to a standing position, he gave voice to his first words since waking up. "Friends," he intoned "we need to talk."

Ardwen sighed and rubbed a hand over his face. He did not relish the prospect of learning what madness had gripped Ariana, of revisiting what he took to be his own failing to protect his abbess. Still, he mused sourly, he needed to at least know what was happening. "I think you've got the floor Arc, so long as you think it's safe to talk here." Ardwen muttered.

Written by - Turin Wallace

"I can certainly sympathize with the stress and pressure of leadership-having many look to you to show them the right path-especially in one so young. If you think back Lord Ithramir I'm sure that you can as well."

The young part-elf looked directly at Ithramir as he spoke. If it had been his intention of raising Ithramir's ire, it partially worked. All he could think of was how each of these folks were blindly following a leader who was not there.

It is admirable in animals, not so much when it comes to a nation.

Ithramir let him finish, then he heard a roll of paper land some distance away, but close enough that he could tell it was Vhar showing his opinion as well.

At this time, Ithramir speaks,

"You are right, Dartanian was it? There are many things to be done and since we have an ample supply of friends it should be simple. I shall keep your present suitability for service in mind, and should I deem it so, your company will lead the assault on Minas Uial."

More than a few generals rose to speak, not in defiance of Ithramir, but more so for the sake of the newcomer. In the taking of Minas Aure, the forward companies took staggering casualties. To send these soldiers, as far as they were concerned, was a death sentence. Even the rather rankled Sir Johann rose to speak.

However, before anyone could say a word, Ithramir raised his hands and smiled. Then, sarcastically, he says,

"No, I merely said it was under consideration. Your queen has need of your services, and who am I to deprive her of them?"

Glaring at Dartanian, he growls,

"Whether young or old, wether thrust upon you or not, when your people cry out and ache for leadership, to leave them and abandon your post in wartime, tell me what must be done sir? What would happen if a captain of your men would do so?"

Sir Johann stepped to the fore, then Ithramir turned his ire towards him,

"And you, sir, what have you to say? Before you take the audacity to utter one word, remember that the elves have long been patient, even friends to the Westgalian throne. Just because I have issue with my cousin does not mean I have issue with her people. As you are here as my, and my people's, guests it would do well to think before you act, sir."

He could see Sir Johann's eyes somewhat calm, and Ithramir added,

"You may not like me, hell, none of you may like me and that is just as well. Wars are won and lost in the mind, as well as on the field of battle. Just remember, what is out there is far worse than myself."

A tense moment followed Ithramir's echoing words, a silence broken only by the doors to the Great Hall being opened and a large map being brought in. It was a campaign map, and the time to discuss larger matters was upon them.

Smiling, Ithramir says,

"Now, on to the task at hand, my friends. Let us see how we can secure our flank before we turn our attention to my cousins kingdom and how we dispose of Beridane."

Written by - Tempyst

Dorve stood, hands on her hips and looked around. “Now where on de earth did everyone go? I swear this bunch of folks are the more infuriating I have ever met.” Then she spotted one young woman, dressed in black, her long black hair flowing about her like a storm. She walked up to the girl and smiled. “Hello there missy, you…I saw you with Turin didn’t I? If I recall he said you were a friend of his.” The woman nodded, her yellow eyes filled with a sadness Dorve could see filled her soul. “Well then, I be Dorve Treewalker and you are?” The woman brought a hand up to her mouth and shook her head. Dorve understood immediately. “Ah, ya can’t speak canna? I had an uncle who could not speak. I know a little of the language but only de letters and a few gestures. Ya see, his fingers were short and fat so most of the time he just mumbled, not to mention he was always drunk too.” Dorve chuckled remembering this. “Anyways my young friend, what be your name?” The young woman smiled, be it a sad smile and signed out the letters P U R G I. “Ah, Purgi, well that’s a start.”

Dorve sat down on a crate next to Purgi and patted the seat next to her. Purgi sat down, pulling her skirts up tight to her. “I don’t see Turin around, in fact, I don’t see any of the others around either, did they all go off together?” Purgi shook her head no. “Alrighty then, do you know when Turin will be back?” Again Purgi shook her head no, a tear falling down her face. “Oh dear, I didn’t mean to make you cry hun, did something happened to Turin? Is there anything I can do to help?” Purgi first nodded yes, then shook her head no once more, more tears falling. Dorve took Purgi’s hand in hers. “Is her hurt? Are you sure I canna do anything for him?” Purgie shook her head no adamantly. “Well then, I won’t push it, just know I am here to help if I can.”

Dorve sighed. “Now, since you are here alone, will you be wanting to go to the citadel with us?” Purgi nodded, then started to move her hands quickly, trying to talk to Dorve. Dorve put her hands over Purgi’s. “Wait, wait a moment dearie, I can only read so fast. I get that you want to go to the citadel with us. Is there someone or something there for you?” Purgi nodded yes, the sadness slightly lifted from her face. “Well then, that’s a start, what is there for you hun?” Purgi took a deep breath and signed out the letters T E M P Y S T. “Tempyst huh? I only know of one Tempyst, she is a new elder druid at the grove. Is that who you are looking for?” Purgi nodded yes enthusiastically. “Well then, there is some good news for you then. Today is the harvest festival, I am sure she will be at the grove for the night. If she is not there when we arrive, I am sure the elder druid would know where she has gone.” Dorve then stood up and brushed her skirts, then picked up her staff. “Well Purgi, I need to find the others Godrik has a feast set up for us, to celebrate the harvest, then we can travel via the oak to the citadel. I told him of the need to hurry, but it would be rude to not participate in some of the celebration here. Besides, if I don’t go, they can’t right?” Dorve chuckled. “Anywho sweety, just follow the path that way and you will come to the grove, you can’t miss it.” Then both Purgi and Dorve heard some commotion coming from town. Dorve sighed. “I am sure that will lead me to the others, follow me if you wish, or go to the grove, you will make up your own mind.” Dorve then began walking towards the village and to where some of the villagers were heading.

When she arrived at the clearing Dorve pushed her way through the crowd of villagers to the front, hearing them mumble something about ‘Saint Ariana’. Dorve sighed This will not end well I don’t think, not with the way their queen is right now. Once she made it to the front she could see an obviously wounded Vylia kneeling by Ariana, the one called Acheantus pulling himself up from the ground. She stepped forward a bit and waited with the others to see what Arc had to say.

Written by - Dartanian Merquise

Dartanian watched as his hopeful attempt at diffusing the situation withered and died. He listened silently as the elf called Ithramir berated him for his loyalty once again, obviously he wished to have the final word on Mavigan no matter what. Then he went so far as to suggest that the Blue Knights lead the attack. This caused quite a stir among Ithramir’s Generals, as well as Sir Johann. Dartanian took note of this; could it be that there were some among the elves here who did not fully appreciate Ithramir’s leadership?

Very well, if that was how Ithramir wished to conduct himself, Dartanian would play along. Stepping forward towards the campaign map which had been produced, Dartanian spoke. He spoke calmly, without the slightest hint of malice. “That may indeed be a wise decision, Lord Ithramir. My men have not been engaged in combat since leaving for the Citadel and are quite fresh. As it would appear, fighting these orcs has had quite an effect on elvish morale. I can understand fully if your men are too tired to lead such an attack. Therefore, if you deem it necessary, my men and I would gladly lead the charge in your stead.”

Written by - Turin Wallace

“That may indeed be a wise decision, Lord Ithramir. My men have not been engaged in combat since leaving for the Citadel and are quite fresh. As it would appear, fighting these orcs has had quite an effect on elvish morale. I can understand fully if your men are too tired to lead such an attack. Therefore, if you deem it necessary, my men and I would gladly lead the charge in your stead.”

Ithramir almost had missed the young one's words being spoken, but the sudden stoppage of all talking, or even moving, within the hall spoke volumes.

Ithramir, eyes full of malice, stared directly at Dartanian. Straightening himself, hands instinctively reaching for the sword that hung at his hip, he restrains himself barely enough to reply,

"There is much a leader may take, but to question my troops, you are a fool."

Unsheathing his sword, his intention is quite clear as he continues,

"Make no mistake, Dartanian, I am neither humored nor impressed by your actions. If you wish not to accept our hospitality, then the Port is home to your own contingent, and I urge you to leave. If you wish to insult me, and my people further, then we have only one course of action."

Dartanian had insulted not just Ithramir, but the entire contingent of elves in the room. It was then to be noted that they moved to Ithramir's side of the room, almost in unison. Regardless of what he had said, they could not, nor would not, accept the insinuation that they feared battle. Especially not from someone who they knew nothing about. This was their leader, and they would not let him stand alone.

Written by - Agmund

The priest of the All-Father had remained silent, and somewhat unwilling to speak, let alone interrupt the discussion. Although much of it thus far, was in his mind at least, useless and pointless banter, the feeling of discord in the room was certain. Mavigan’s absence left a sting not in the hearts of those who pledged their service, but rather in the ones of those who had fought for her, even though she herself appeared to be indifferent. Her indifference, however, could only be assumed as an extension of her absence. Since Agmund had himself spent little to no time with her as an adult, he could not truly speak for her frame of mind, let alone defend or accuse her. Indeed, he was far more interested in tidings of Beridanes forces, or of news concerning Graelor, or discussion pertaining to the overall war being waged in Eadarolus, or even strategy for the upcoming battle. Yet these were not the topics at hand.

In fact, things had become so heated and off track that Ithramir had drawn his sword, and the room had divided. He pondered getting involved, since he had nothing to do with the dispute, but finally he interjected. Stepping forth from the shadows he walked before the elven lord and bent his tall frame low. “Lord Ithramir,” he said plainly, “I bring news from the east.” His face turned dour as soon as he spoke. Dour because he was upset with his own words, “news from the east,” he thought, as if he could not think of anything better to say in the present situation.

Written by - Talonmane

"It is good to see you up Arch. No doubt you could use a bear's sleep after the trials of the last week." The Ranger turned to face the Warlock and Weaver and caught the gaze of each of the others. He also smirked several times at Ollawahoo's continuing discomfort. You brought it on yourself, old bird. Half of it's an act anyway...you love our Abbess as you have no human being. What? Well, what can you do? Just give her a few minutes...

He admitted quietly to the others near, "I do wish Turin were here. His disappearance is a thing shadowed, and my mind dwells on it. Before she left last night, Salvorah tried to bend her heart to sensing him and found something which disturbed her. For the first time, I saw a fear in her very spirit, something which broke her demeaner with a startled cry and quick tear. She turned from me, hiding her notions, and bid farewell immediately. Aquanimbulos, the great elemental, told me he 'smelled' the taint of brimstone during the last time anyone saw the Priest of Battle on the deck of the 'Call. I suggested that this was merely that of the imps that were fought, but he only shook his head once, and suggested we gird ourselves for truths we may not see coming.

"I've been entertaining the worst of thoughts: What if we were all rused, and Adramelech's real target was not Ariana, but Turin? Might we need to gather ourselves in this terrible time and penetrate The Red itself? None here could abandon Turin to such a fate. Who here would not break the Burning Gates to recover him?

"But alas, what else could have occurred that evening? Is it as simple as him jumping ship to return to the Port for some unknown task?"

Hands behind his back, periodically glancing toward the Abbess and measuring their surroundings, he inhaled and exhaled deeply through his nose. "I apologize for rambling, Archeantus. Tell us there is some hope for Her?" He tried to show even a spark of eagerness for some optimism concerning Ariana's condition, but they could tell the thoughts of Sir Wallace's disposition still haunted him.

Written by - Archeantus

The warlock seemed to regard Ariana who was still entertained by poor Ollawahoo considering what he'd learned.

He scanned the area noting the minds of those present, even Sycon had come, a fellow warlock.

As a moment of quiet rested upon them once more in the grove, Talonmane voiced his growing worry concerning Turin. Archeantus listened intently and nodded in agreement.

"Perhaps you're right Kil. Turin's loss is as poignant as loosing her, and it may have been the fiend's plan all along."

The warlock shook his head, finding his shoulders lowering in growing exhaustion. He gripped his curved staff firmly and made his way to the statue once more, musing as he went.

His weathered hand glided along the cool stone surface again.

"She's worse than we thought."

The warlock let out a sigh, his head lowered.

"Turin was sought by powers unknown, and so it seems with Ariana..." He began. "Not only now, but it appears long ago as well."

He turned then and faced those he considered the truest of friends.

"From what little I could gather, she came here only to soon reenter the gate to bring those that did not make it..."

His voice shifted and lowered. He had been one of them that had not made it through the gate long ago.

He paused, passing his sightless gaze toward Ardwen for a moment and then continued.

"I do not know what happened when she entered, but I know she was held captive, by something or someone for an undisclosed time in the space between realms. It could have been thousands of years..."

The weight of what had happened to her pressed on his countenance.

"That something entered her mind, over and over and over, and shattered the line between what is real and what is imagined. It will take time to bring her back to her former self. What was true is now false. What was cherished is despised. What was loved, remembered, believed, is forgotten."

He sighed again.

"As it stands, she still considers me an enemy, one with the being who enslaved her mind. But..."

He paused, considering something.

"She guards her innermost thoughts, deep within her. She has fought many times...and she will continue to fight until she trusts who I am now, and who we all are now."

He turned to Talonmane, "Kil, I fear this will only be the beginning. Something is gathering. Great darkness looms, more than we've ever faced. It is expedient we discover the threat that has taken Turin and seeks to take Ariana soon. The more time we loose, the less chance we have."

Written by - Ardwen

As Archeantus recovered from his stupor Kildef spoke. Ardwen had imagined that the worst possible news would come from Archeantus, but apparently Kildef had been running the recent events through his mind as well. Even more apparent was that Kildef had come to some hard conclusions. It galled Ardwen that after all their efforts the demons could have still obtained their true objective. He had told the Priest of Battle that if he died, then Ardwen would die with him.

"Surely," the Elf muttered to himself, "he would not have thrown his life away so easily?"

Ardwen had no further time for contemplation then, as Archeantus was finally ready to give his report. As Ardwen had anticipated, the news was bad on both sides, but the most crushing part was yet to come. "From what little I could gather," the warlock said, "she came here only to soon reenter the gate to bring those that did not make it . . . ." As if to further impound the point, Ardwen felt the warlock's blind eyes on him for the briefest of pauses, but it was enough. Ariana had passed through the gate again to try and rescue those Hands who had not made it through. Ardwen had been one of those Hands. The Elven soldier had been right all along, he was culpable for Ariana's suffering. The information did not improve from there: Ariana's mind was still broken, and now it seemed as if the very battalions of damnation were hunting her down.

The Elven warrior had remained placid while Archeantus spoke, but it was a ploy to hide the anger and shame he felt so keenly. For a fleeting moment the Elf wondered how it had come to this. He had arrived on this world and expected to fight a war, a war against the enemies of the Elves, for the Elves. But things had rapidly spiraled out of his control, and now he was once more facing conflict with demons and Chaos. It was a fight Ardwen had fought before, a fight he had lost last time.

Archeantus finished speaking by warning on the impending struggles to come, and urging them to haste. Ardwen snapped out of his reverie with a slight shake of his head. "If I may?" He said flatly after Archeantus was done. "First of all, that was a job well done Archeantus, and I congratulate you on obtaining some intelligence and not dying in the process. Secondly, this confirms much of what we probably already feared was coming to pass; we have faced this manner of foe before. Last of all, I agree with Archeantus that it is paramount we know our enemies. However, as is rather obvious, not all of us are in top fighting form right now."

Ardwen paused to inhale and passed a gaze at the Hands gathered there. "It is for this reason," he continued, "that I advise going to the Citadel as soon as possible. I don't know what is after Ariana, but I want her guarded, and if I can put her in a place where there are stout walls and an army in between her and whatever, then all the better. Plus, commander Ithramir is an honorable and just man who knows how to keep his forces unified and focused."

The last action Ardwen gave before he finished speaking was a shrug while he said, "That's just my opinion. Although I would like to ask where our means to get off this . . . quaint . . . little rock is?"

Written by - Talonmane

The Ranger nodded. "She must take the Druidic route to get to the Citadel. The several day's journey at sea is too high a risk. Clearly we can't leave Her side. For now we should waste no time in following your recommendation Ardwen. Perhaps there are others amoungst the elves who can aid in Her recovery. We have every reason to go that way." He closed his eyes and shuddered just perceptably. "Bad for a Ranger to say, but I've never been comfortable travelling the Druid's road of trees.

"Munchadin has his own course to follow, though we can imagine that in days to come we'll sail with him again. Maybe I can convince the Admiral to send a ship to the Steppes and get Father up to speed. Outside of Sal, none of us have been here longer, and none know this world better. I surely wish he were amoung us - and against our foes his Axeslaber as well. Though Prahna made it clear these months in the North would be necessary to prepare him for events to come. I suppose all we can do is keep him aprised of what's happening down here so he can make the best decision.

After a pause, he turned and only half-peer back over his shoulder. "I'm going to speak to Munchadin and tell him we won't be going with him. Maybe I can have a talk with this mayor too. Why don't some of you see to finding the Druid so we can get this over with."

Written by - Tempyst

"Finding the Druid? I be right here or are yer eyes closed!" Dorve stomped her staff against the ground. "Hmph, anyways, I have spoken with Godrik and he knows of our needs and of our coming, he has prepared a feast for us, to celebrate this day of harvest, and we will leave this rock, after we eat and rest a little. Now, villagers, get back to your own preparations for your own festival tonight." Dorve looked around, her face scowled. "As for the rest of you, follow me and I will take you to the druid grove, and please act civilized for once in your lives, this is a great favor we are asking, to travel so many non druids through our sacred oaks." Dorve sighed and left the clearing, leading the way to the small sacred grove here on the island.

Once at the sacred grove, everyone could see the lavish feast laid out before them. An old human, beard and hair white with age, his staff containing only a few whithered leaves approached them. "Welcome to the Sacred Grove of Palm Island, I am Godrik and all are welcomed here, especially this day of feasting, the Harvest Festival. I know its early in the morning, but I figured you would would not wish to wait all day for the evening ritual so we prepared a special feast just for you. Nyrondis informed me of your coming so it was no trouble, no trouble at all. So please, eat up, rest for a bit, any of you still wounded will be healed, there is a warmed pool for bathing, if any of you are in need. Then, in a a couple of hours, the way shall be clear for you to travel. Now, lets eat!" Godrik turned around, mumbling under his breath, and lead everyone into the grove.

Written by - Ariana

Before long, the small struggles of the owl she embraced became pointed requests for release. With a sigh, she loosened her hold, and Olly was quick to take to the sky. Her head throbbed, and the bright sunlight seemed to send spears of pain directly into her head. Free of the object of her affection, both hands clasped her head and her eyes clamped shut.

As she struggled to remain upright even as the sensation of the ground swaying beneath her stationary form threatened to drag her down, she became aware of Olly. Though her eyes were closed, she could still feel him, his aura beating against her own much like his wings would brush against her skin. Her brow furrowed at the oddity.

She did not question it, however, so when she felt Olly begin to move off, she clumsily regained her feet and began to stagger blindly after him, trusting that he would not lead her astray.

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