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Book Three Pt 1 - The Reckoning

Written by - Tempyst Page 15 Book 3

Trinni gave Isuiln a wary look, then smiled and took his hand. "Okay, as long as you don't try any of that funny stuff again!" Trinni danced lightly on her feet and on Isuiln's feet. Though she was an excellent marksmen, she was not that good a dancer. She watched others on the floor and tried to mimic what she saw, then she just gave up. Trinni pouted, then got a mischievous grin on her face. She grabbed his hand and drug him to the band. "Hey you music people. Play something fun!" The band wrapped up their song, then entered into another rendition of "Round The Town". Trinni beamed, she knew this song and it was just what was needed.

Trinni spun about the floor, stomping and yelling, he hair flying out behind her. This time, she and Isuiln, were the last one s on the floor. The crowd applauded the two then went off to catch their breath. Trinni sat down on a chair and leaned back. "Now that was fun!" She looked over to Isuiln, watching him catch his breath. He is kinda cute and he can fight! I wonder...naw, Trinni, we got stuff to kill, no time to think of stuff like that. Trinni then stretched and yawned. "I don't know about you Isuiln, but I am pooped. It is time to get some sleep so I can be all ready to march out again. I wonder what we will come up against next? More demons? Well, whatever it is, we better be rested and ready right?" Trinni stood, looked around, then leaned over and gave Isuiln a quick kiss before running out the door like a rabbit.

Written by - Pharsalus

The scene seemed to slow as the old Priest realized his position. One of these unknown bandits lay at his feet behind, his abdomen blown open and lying in red, warm heaps around the body; the dead's comrade lay petrified and frozen against the back-most wall of the small hallway of his home, and three more bandits (that he could see) had charged into the room from the front entrance and now lunged at him with weapons drawn. He had no time to think, to pity, to analyze. The girl locked in the room behind him was now, as far as Pharsalus knew, the last of her lineage, and now was the time to allow the past 200 years of his self-inflicted training and rigor to defend her.

His time was now.

All at once, the world became a blurr. The priest bolted forward to meet his first opponent. The man was about average for a human, wielding a short sword, rampant anger in every bend of his frame. The man was unskilled as bandits go, and Pharsalus had no time dispatching him. With only paces between them, the old stoneman threw forward his staff parallel to the floor and lunged. The man halted and shifted his weight to his back-most leg, sword and hand up to guard against the flying shaft of metal. Pharsalus was airborne.

CLANG!

Metal flashed as staff met sword. The man had shut his eyes - he was terribly unskilled.

CRUNCH

Small droplets of blood flew in a cone from the man's head as a stone fist implanted itself where his nose split his eyes. As he fell, Pharsalus clasped his collar and planted - violently - his feet into the man's chest.

CRUNCH

The dwarf felt his weight shatter the soft tissue and bone on which he now hunched. He flashed a look forward, eyes a brilliant bluish-white. He burst forward to the next assailant, low to the ground, arms loose for balance and reflex against any surprises thrown (literally) his way.

THWIP! THWIP!

Arrows riddled the doorway, striking down two of the now four men rushing weapons drawn across his small living room. Pharsalus squelched his puzzlement at this new entrant to the fray and pushed forward. He lunged, curling his legs beneath him and rearing back a fist as he flew. The man charging against him thrust out a short sword forward. The stone man could hear the hum of angry metal pass between the top of his thigh and the crux of his elbow.

CRUNCH!

His fist met another face, sending more blood in small spatters in a half circle behind the battered man. Battered, but not fallen. Steel flashed quickly as the man threw out a dagger from the sash around his waste. Pharsalus had no time to dodge.

CLANG!

He winced as steel dug - shallowly, but painfully - into the stone form of the back of his fist. For a moment, the man of flesh and man of stone stood and stared at the odd juxtaposition of metal and rock. Pharsalus could sense confusion as the man - and his compatriots - began to notice for the first time that their 4' tall opponent was not of flesh and blood as they were accustomed. Indeed, Pharsalus was a man of stone, born of the flesh of a forgotten world by the hands of a forgotten Creator. Forgotten to all but himself. He was alone in form and function in this world - no one here was accustomed to fighting a man made of rock. And this was an advantage the priest had every intent on using.

His eyes flashed as he dropped and spun, sweeping his leg at the ankles of the confused bandit. There was a crack, and the man cried out pitifully as he fell to the ground. Stone against flesh...Pharsalus was beginning to enjoy himself.

TWIP! THWIP! THWIP!

Another volley of arrows invaded the poorly lit space. One of the rogues turned at the sound of the first arrow upon the wooden doorframe. He fell only a moment later crying, bleeding, dead - an arrow protruded from his left eye. His comrade suffered a similar fate, falling instead to an arrow to his chest. He squirmed miserably upon a cold, uncaring floor.

Pharsalus stood silent a moment, bent, arms and legs at the ready for whatever else may decide to enter his bloodied abode. The arrows had stopped. Only the dim flutter of the fire in his hearth and the occasional gurgle from the wounded that lay in crumpled piles around him were audible to him.

Click....creeeeaaaak

He turned and met the gaze of the girl in the room, her face half concealed in the shadow of the door, half by the matted red hair that hung from her delicate crown. She looked terrified, the poor thing. Spots of red dappled her flushed face. Pharsalus knew well they were not freckles.

Movement caught his vision beyond the girl and the door form which she was now slowly emerging. Pharsalus once again allowed the grim determination of battle adjust his stance and hewn stone face. The last bandit had stepped forward from his wall and was now stepping slowly towards the blood smeared priest. Pharsalus knew how he must have looked - he was going to have to change his title from "priest" to something far less....clean. He flinched. The man burst toward him, a wild frenzy in his eyes, screaming as loud as he could. The stoneman dropped his weight and braced himself for the coming assault. He wanted the man alive. He wanted information. Information that this crazed man's comrades were no longer in a position to give.

A flash of light and spark, and a crack of thunder shattered the thick and silent air of the small assembly room. The rogue flew backwards and slammed against the very wall from which he'd just recently - foolishly - emerged. He groaned as he crumpled to the ground. He was alive, but very battered. Too battered, Pharsalus was afraid. He hadn't meant to use so much force in the spell - he was excited. He had lost himself for a moment long enough to potentially bury the reason behind this entire fiasco.

He still stood, hand out in front of him, palm forward and smoking and illuminated by a hammer and anvil encircled upon the flat of it, fingers bent ever so slightly. After a moment, when he saw the man not moving at the end of the hall, he laxed and rested his hands on what was left of the lip of his trousers. He noticed now for the first time since the fight started that his shirt had been all but cut away. No wonder the girl looked so confused - to see a man of stone with burning white eyes, stone body half exposed to innocent eyes, blood smeared all over him. She had long retreated back into his prayer room and latched the door behind. Her thoughts came out in pulses through the wood and stone that contained her. She was terrified.

Pharsalus stopped where he stood. There was movement outside, and a new presence wandering among the foliage surrounding his estate. Though he could not see the individual - he/she/it was unusually well guarded against his casual probing - and though he did not sense any want of harm or wrongdoing, he was nonetheless cautious. He eyed the door to his prayer room again. The latch, he could tell, was still secure. The girl lay curled in a ball on the floor within. She wasn't going anywhere for now.

The room darkened behind him, and the presence he sensed he knew now had entered his domain with motives unknown. He was pleased to see his small sash of "goodies" (as an old human friend had once called them) had survived the fight, though frustrated a bit that he'd not realized it sooner. He drew his hands into fists at the belt of his pants, right hand closest to the sash at his waste, ready to draw a tool of incapacitation - or, if needed, death - if need demanded.

A woman stood in the door, bow in-hand, cautious. There was something...familiar..in how she carried herself. In her eyes, her scent, her mind...everything about her brought pangs of past association to the little stone man.

"I suppose those are your arrows sticking out of these would-be assassins," he finally said coldly. "What say you, Lady Ranger? Be you friend or foe?"

Written by - Vylia

"I suppose those are your arrows sticking out of these would-be assassins," the stone man finally said coldly. "What say you, Lady Ranger? Be you friend or foe?"

"I am a friend, though not a ranger. My love of Nature does not go beyond love of her creations, I claim no mystical powers. I never thought I would hear words of such cold tone from one of your kind though, however I also did not expect to see a dwarf of stone upon this world at all to be honest. Is the child ok? I heard a scream and from your appearance I would guess it was not you." The woman waits for a moment, and then realizes she forgot something, "Where are my manners? I step into your home, and I did not even introduce myself," she puts the bow down leaned against the wall next to the door before extending her hand at the dwarf, "I am Vylia Des'Koryn, Scout of the Wild, formerly of the Hands of Providence. From your form I'm guessing you are from the same world as I, perhaps you have heard of us?"

Written by - Tempyst

Ithramir listend to Avendor as he made his way into the citadel. Then, when all was said, he listened for her. There, clear as a bell, her soft sweet thoughts were calling to him. As he reached the door of her room, he gave a short prayer that nothing else would occur that night and he could have some peace with his lady love.

Written by - Tempyst

Amara woke up to the loud snoring. She opened her eyes and saw Dominik still sitting in the chair beside her. She sat up quietly and looked around and could see msot everyone else still sleeping as well. Only a single healer was stirring, and he was attending a soldier on the other side of the infirmiry. Amara took a deep breath, then gathered her things. Thank you Dominik, for helping me, but I cannot risk endangering anyone else. My troubles are just that, mine. I hope we meet again my friend. She stood, leaned over and kissed Dominik softly upon his head, then quietly walked out of the infirmary.

Amara had only taken a few steps after closing the door, when she felt the hand come up over her mouth and an arm wrap around her from behind. "Did you really think I would let you sneak away from me poppit?" Amara's blood went cold. She had indeed hoped she would be able to escape once again. Raevyn sensed her fear and gave her cheek a nuzzle. "Now, my little one, no need to be scared, it has been a long, long chase, you were bound to slip up." Raevyn looked around and pulled her back into an alley where he had stowed his horse.

Amara opened wide and then bit into Rayven's hand. But as soon as she had done so, and tasted the bittersweet toxin on his skin, she knew it was indeed over. As she slumped into Raevyn's arms, he picked her up and slung her over the saddle of his horse, then proceeded to securely tie both her wrists and ankles. When done, he slapped her ass and smiled. "Well, let's get going before all the guards wake up poppit." Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a what looked to be a robin's egg. Looking around once again, to make sure no one could see them, he tossed it upon the ground. It emitted a small, deep thrum, then within the blnk of an eye, a horse-sized portal opened up in front of him, showing another quiet alley. Taking the horse's reins, Raevyn stepped through. Once through, the portal closed, leaving behind the remains of a blue shell upon the cobblestone.

Raevyn looked around and smiled as the portal behind them closed. Finally, I can turn this girl in, get my reward and get on with my life. Jalayn will be quite pleased this day. With a perk in his step, he led the horse and Amara down the street tothe merchant lord's home, eager to be rid of his cargo.

Written by - Tempyst

Everyone within the sacred grove was being wonderful to Kaya. She was able to bath the night before when she first arrived, but when she woke up, she asked if another bath was possible. As she sat in the tub, eating some fruit, she chuckled to herself. "It almost feels like I am back being a princess again." She said to herself. But you are a princess, mistress, thus their treatment is appropriate. Kaya looked over to her new companion, A'lanthear, where the sword was leaning up against a tree. "That may be true my new friend, but I have work to do that certainly most princesses would never consider part of their duty to the people." Tis true mistress, but you are not an ordinary princess. And you need only think to me, i can hear your thoughts.

Very well, but I sort of like speaking out loud. It lets me know I am free to do as I like once more. Eventually, Kaya pulled herself from the warm water, dressed in the new, clean clothing the druids had procured for her. She inhaled their fresh, clean scent and smiled. "IT IS GREAT TO BE FREE!" She exclaimed loudly, startling the birds that were in the nearby trees. She laughed, picked up her sword, then made her way into the main area of the grove. She found Dalomir there, waiting for her.

He smiled and bowed. "Good morning Kaya'Talas. I take it you are refreshed?"

"Aye, I feel elven again. Give me a few more days to rebuild my strength and I will be better than new. Thanks to Nyrondis, Avendor and the rest of you." She bowed deeply to Dalomir. "I take it, my training is to begin?"

"You are correct. Later this afternoon, I expect Tempyst and Lucant to arrive, then you can converse with them about their knowledge of the demon they fought any others they have encountered. I know you were possessed, but perhaps they have an insight that you do not have. I have also been told there is a wizard here, by the name of Renalis Dalamar, who has fought demons before. Perhaps he has information that could be useful for you. I will send an emissary out to find him and ask if he could come by later today."

"Thank you my friend, that sounds good. Then after I get as much knowledge as I can, I will make a report for the Commander. There is also someone else I should like to speak to more, that person being a sea captain by the name of Leov Klein. He was asking me about what I knew of Beridane and the demons, but I forgot to ask him what he knew. But, until then, I think I need to become better acquainted with my new partner. I am used to dual weilding. Now, we shall have to see if you are sword enough for me A'lanthear." Kaya pulled the blade and swung it around a few times. I think you will find me to be more than adequate mistress. Shall we? Kaya turned back to Dalomir. "Where is your practice yard? I need to work up a sweat so that I have a good excuse to bathe again." Dalomir smiled with her and lead her to the yard. Once there, she stripped down as much as she dared to, then began to work out, stretching and using her muscles once again.

Written by - Tempyst

Lucant woke up early, dressed, ate some food, then sat on the balcony watched the sun rise, lost in his thoughts. He looked over at where Tempyst was sleeping and felt his heart and soul tug, but not in a good way. Why Nyrondis, do I still feel empty? I feel a connection with her, a tie, I love her, but, yet, I feel a saddness, I feel, lost. What do I do? Who am I?

You are my avatar, my mortal body upon the earth. Through you I can manifest and do great things. Together, we are a force to deal with. Lucant felt his god's voice whisper inside his soul.

I know, I accepted you, of my own free will. My tie with you, I do not doubt, though I still do not understand it. I was born a simple man and now, it is no longer simple. Lucant stood up, then walked over and sat on the bed next to Tempyst. She has so much faith, faith I do not comprehend or understand. I want to believe blindly, but that is not who I am. I need to see, I need to feel, I need to know for myself, experience it for myself...

I can give you advice, I am here for you to lean on Lucant, but I do not force my will upon any. You accepted me, on your terms. Now, you have to decide, what your terms are. I am patient beyond belief, so have no fear about me leaving you now. I can wait as long as you need.

Lucant sighed. I know...I know. I am going to give this a little more thought, but I believe I know what I must do. But, for now, I want to spend a little more time with her. Nyrondis did not answer, which Lucant was glad for. Lucant leaned over and gave Tempyst a kiss, then watched her smile and brighten up the room as she awoke. As she dressed, they made small talk, ate some fruit, then talked over plans for the day. It was decided that they should go to the Sacred Grove to give their report, then work on some lesson and go from there.

As they entered the grove, Dalomir approached them and greeted them warmly. They sat down with the elder druid and talked of what had happened during the battle with the demon. Then the druid asked a hard question, what had attacked Lucant after he had left the sacred Grove after the healing ceremony. Tempyst looked at him, her eyes questioning him also. Lucant shook his head. "I'm sorry, I do not remember. After the healing ceremony..." He hung his head in shame at remembering what he had done. "...I felt used, I felt betrayed by A'lanthear and Nyrondis. The only thing I wanted to do, was to go where I knew who I was and where I stood. I, I went to see my best friend, someone who had known me since I was a child, and who never judged me or betrayed me. I, I found myself on her family's doorstep, ready to knock upon the door, then...then everything goes dark. The next thing I truly remember is waking up with Tempyst looking down upon me." What he said was true, he did not even recall any dreams during his injured state. All there was in his mind was darkness.

Tempyst took Lucant's hand into hers, trying to comfort him, not knowing what to say. She felt the link with him, but through it, she felt his fear, his worry, concern, his uncertainty. There was something else there, and it worried her. She knew he was contemplating something, but he would not show it to her. Tempyst tried to put it out of her mind, convincing herself it was due to him being new to all that he had agreed to.

Dalomir took all of the information in, then had a scribe take the notes and sent them off to Ithramir. "Oh," He spoke to Lucant, "I was told to let you know, that you are allowed access tothe citadel's armory, to find yourself some armor and a weapon of your choosing. I think now would be a good time for you to go, that way, tempsyt here can do some meditations. Then, when you return, she can begin to instruct you on your new life." Dalomir stood and clapped; a younger druid stepped to his side. He motioned for Lucant to stand. "Follow this young one here, he will lead you to the armory. Please return here when you are done." He bowed to Lucant then headed to the oak in the middle of the grove.

Tempyst turned and hugged Lucant tightly. SHe felt a chill run through her, but did her best to ignore it. She felt something was wrong, but could not put her finger on what it was. "Hurry back my love, we have much to do together." Lucant hugged her back, kissed her softly, then followed the young druid out of the grove. Tempyst watched him leave, and felt a saddness grip her heart. Taking a deep breath, she turned and went to Dalomir to begin her meditations.

Written by - Teran

After Teran's bath the rest of the night was uneventful. He allowed Mavigan to sleep in as late as she wished the next morning. He even slept in a little himself not waking until sunrise.

Meanwhile Sabbatine herded the two women that were with her towards the destination Teran had given her, humming and singing to herself the whole way. The two parties would meet up again a couple hours before sunset. Teran grew somewhat more withdrawn, forboding even... trapped deep in thought. He ignored most attempts at questioning him the three might have as he lead them seemingly nowhere.

They were growing closer he could sense. He would have already been there had he not brought companions but Assassin was no fool, he suspected that what waited for them might be beyond his ability to defeat alone. He hoped Wilhelm was bringing more than a few friends to help out... just in case.

"Sabbatine." he said suddenly breaking his silence "Lead us to the artifact."

Sabbatine had been day dreaming and nearly jumped out of her skin when Teran spoke to her. She sputtered for a moment and then stopped and seemed to sniff the air (without actually inhaling anything). She licked her lips... she could feel the artifact and she began leading them in a slightly different direction than Teran had. It seemed the artifact had moved a little since the last time she had sensed it.

She grumbled as she pressed forward.

Written by - Renalis

As the hush over the room reached its climax, it was broken by a man pushing his way through the crowd, “Sir Ithramir! Sir Ithramir! Are you here, I need to speak to you!”

Ithramir stood, looking slightly annoyed at the intrusion, “I’m Ithramir. Now what is the meaning…” The sailor explained the situation and then both took off toward the stockades.

"Hmmm..." Renalis thought to himself, "trouble afoot... I hope they have it under control."

“Please, everyone.” Lithwyn spoke with a calm command. “Everyone! Everything is fine, I would be saddened if you all did not continue this wonderful celebration this evening. We have much to be happy about. We all have been under much stress these last weeks and now, now we must enjoy the time we have with those we love. Keep dancing, keep eating, and have fun. I don’t want to see any food or drink left over from tonight!” The crowd cheered and the band began to play a lively jig.

Crystal hugged Renalis again, she looked up at him with a slight smile, "you hungry too?" Renalis chuckled and the two walked off toward one of the tables of food, grabbed some snacks and began to wonder the outside edge of the hall. It was then that Renalis caught sight of him... the warlock - Sycon. He saw Sycon began to leave the hall and didn't want to miss this opportunity. Quickly handing his plate over to Crystal, and kissing her on the cheek, "A moment Melamin, I must speak with him...” He turns and sprints toward the exit, catching up with him part way down the hall.

"Sycon!" Renalis shouts and he stops walking, turning to see who called his name, "Yes?" Renalis ran up to him, "I had to speak with you... you're leaving aren't you?" Sycon's response was a slight nod. "Then I'll be brief. I first must apologize for earlier today, a lesser man might have died having that much drawn from him, but you know it was necessary." Renalis extended his arm, Sycon looked down and took his hand, shaking it firmly, "Sycon, you can forever call me friend, without you, this might not have been possible..." As a small light flashes between their hands, "A gift my friend, in return for you help... I wish you the best in your journey." Sycon looked down at his hand, but Renalis served to only mystify it further, "You'll know..."

As Renalis returned to the hall, he saw his love leaning against a wall, nibbling on a sandwich and sipping at some wine. Renalis returned to her side and planted another kiss on her cheek. "Sorry to keep you waiting Melamin, but I had to thank..." She cut him off, "It's alright, it's been slow in here anyway, the songstress appears to have been scared off by him," Crystal pointed at the darkly dressed man, "Bounty hunter near as I can tell. Wonder who she pissed off..." She said almost to herself. Renalis chuckled, "Probably some rich snob "insulted" by her..." Renalis sighed, "I almost hope she gets away... would hate for the band to lose their lead."

After finishing their snacks, the two once again returned to the dance floor, the lively music continued and they shared dance after dance. Renalis made mental notes of the thinning numbers... the evening was drawing into late night, but Renalis didn't care. Living with an Elf taught him to go on just as little sleep, and with Crystal to go through all hours of the night. Recognizing the beginning of what appeared to be the last dance - another rendition of Round the Town. Renalis looked down at his love, and she up at him, "Melamin," Renalis lovingly, "Would you join me for a stroll?" giggling a little, "of course my love” and the two walked out of the hall and headed outside.

The two wandered around outside for a good while, taking in the beautiful night air, and the magnificent full moon. They both gazed up and could feel, however distant, the ever-loving presence of Elune. They stared up for a time, enraptured by the view, and then Renalis looked down at Crystal, “I love you.” Crystal looked up and stared deeply into his eyes, “Don’t ever leave me again…” Renalis sighed, “You know that’s a promise I cannot make… there are things bigger than you and I…” Crystal placed a finger upon his lips, “then next time, we go together.” Renalis knew better than to argue when her mind was set, “Together.” The two kissed deeply and then walked together arm in arm back to the citadel.

Returning to the great hall, it was nearly empty now, only servants bustling about cleaning the place. Asking for a bottle of wine, Renalis and Crystal took a seat at one of the tables, and began to drink and chat. “Remember when that felhound’s blood sprayed all over you, it was in your hair… ah, the look on your face was priceless.” Renalis chuckled. “Well, remember the look on your face as that Doom Guard was frozen mere inches from your face?” Crystal laughed deeply as Renalis’s face reddened. “And remember when we pied Kel?” Crystal couldn’t finish she was laughing already. Renalis chuckled, “Yea, I actually thought the whole forest was going to come after us on that one… never piss off a druid.” Renalis sighed, “I hope they are alright…”

Crystal took Renalis’s hand and stood up, “I’m sure they’re fine, they can handle themselves better than anyone we know, and besides, they are Dalamar as well.” Renalis got up, “Now common,” Crystal continued, “We should be off to bed…we need some rest before tomorrow.” The two left the hall, leaving a few empty bottles at the table. As a courting couple might, the two were playfully proceeding down the hall, making an attempt at being quiet, but not really trying, their hearts were elsewhere. Stopping at the door Renalis recognized as their quarters, Renalis deeply kissed his love, and as she pulled away from his lips, drew closer to his ear and whispered. Renalis pulled back slightly, and almost laughed, “I thought you wanted rest?” Crystal giggled, and pushed open the door, leading the way in. Renalis took a quick look around, then followed in, shutting the door against prying eyes.

****

*BANG BANG BANG*

Renalis rolled over on the bed, not quite fully aware of the situation. The sun was rising, its light begining to enter the room. Crystal moaned slightly and rolled over, her head on Renalis chest, and arm over him, she quietly said to him, "Just ignore them, they'll go away eventually."

*BANG BANG BANG*

Renalis rolled Crystal over with a kiss on her cheek, and in response to the bright light in the room, she promptly covered her head in a pillow. Renalis slid out of the bed and put his pants on, really being his armor, but still in the glamoured form of the clothes he wore last night.

Opening the door enough to see who was outside, he could see a servant girl waiting, who blushed at the sight of the partially dressed man. "I'm sorry to wake you, but... your presence has been... has been... requested..." Renalis could see the young woman staring at his chest, and only after looking down himself remembered the protruding saphire lodged there. "Requested where?" Renalis prompted the woman, drawing her attention to his face. "In the Sacred Grove, the new Demon hunter Kaya'Talas is to be instructed in all you know..." Renalis interjected with his own slightly irritated comment, "She is, is she? Hmmm... then I better obey..." The woman stammered slightly, "I d-didn't m-mean it like that sir, of course..." Renalis cut her off again, "I am only joking my dear lady, I will be more than happy to tell them all I know, let them know I'll be down sometime after noon." With a nod the woman quickly turned around and headed down the hall.

Returning to the bed, Renalis crawled back in. Crystal rolled over again and kissed him deeply once more, "Getting up?" she asked timidly, hoping to stay in bed as long as possible. "Not just yet," Renalis said snuggling closer to his love, "I'm going to enjoy this a little." The two lay in bed, awake and fully rested for a few hours, but eventually duty got the best of them. After a warm bath each, and a more than hearty breakfast. Renalis and Crystal got dressed, having their armors take on the appearance of very casual clothes; Renalis's still in an Azure theme, and likewise, Crystal's with a Violet theme.

Finally making his way down to the Grove Crystal followed, but sat down next to a tree as Renalis went on. He looked around and then stretched a bit, "Ok, so I'm supposed to impart my great knowledge and wisdom upon someone?"

Written by - Lucant Dolvan

The bright morning sun shone overhead as Lucant followed the young druid to Lothiel Gadith's armory. His guide seemed almost nervous in Lucant's presence, and along the way, people would stop and point then whisper among themselves, or loudly proclaim his as hero of the elven people. Lucant felt himself tense up at every occurance.

"They respect you papa! They're grateful for what you've done for them. It's not a bad thing." Tirigil whispered to him. "I'm still not comfortable with it, though. I doubt I ever will be." he responded to his daughter. "Pay them no mind then papa!" she chuckled inside his head then continued "But more importantly, you have to find it!" "Find what? he questioned. "You'll know when you see it papa!" she laughed again, then left her father to ponder her riddle.

"Here we are, my lord," the druid said. Lucant frowned at 'my lord', but thanked the young elf anyways. The druid followed behind him as Lucant walked past the well-armed guards into the armory's well-stocked halls. He looked around for a bit, marveling at the countless masterpieces of metallurgy; he suddenly realized how inadequate his own skills at the anvil were. As he continued his browsing, Lucant noticed a long red case resting on a shelf. "I wonder what's in there..." he wondered aloud. One of the guards responded "A sword that Commander Ithramir found not long ago. I'll go get the key if you'd like to see it." Without waiting for Lucant's response, the elf went to go retrieve the key he spoke of.

As he waited, Lucant turned to the opposite wall to look at several suits of armor. He walked up to a standing suit of plate armor and examined it. Who ever had forged obviously had a great deal of skill. He noticed a solid, thick metal shield at the base of the armor suit. Turning to the young druid, he said "If it's no trouble, I'd like to have this." The druid quickly responded "Yes, my lord, I'll arrange to have it taken to your quarters." At that same time, the guard came back with the key in hand. "He you go sir." He unlocked the long crimson case then picked it up and opened it so Lucant could see the magnificent blade it held. Picking up the the sword, it felt oddly familiar to Lucant, as if it was an extension of himself. "I'd... I'd really like to have this," Lucant uttered to himself. "It's yours then," the guard said casually. He closed the case and handed it Lucant along with the key. "May it serve you well young master."

As Lucant departed, he turned and thanked everyone. Then headed outside with the druid once more.

Written by - Tempyst

"Ok, so I'm supposed to impart my great knowledge and wisdom upon someone?"

A young druid came over to the mage. "You are Renalis Dalamar yes? Good. Please wait here, I will go get the new demon hunter." The young man ran off. It did not take him long to return with a sweat covered elf right behind him; one he recognized as the young elven woman who had been demon possessed just the day before.

She walked up to Renalis, smiled and held out a hand. "I am Kaya'Talas. I hear you know something about demons."

Written by - Tempyst

The child poked the large, sleeping man. "Excuse me sir...sir?"

Dom snorted and sat up suddenly. "I ain't drunk Mir!" He looked around, then saw the child beside him. "oh, uhm, ya, that's me. Whatya want?"

"An elf dressed in black asked me to give something to you. There is a spotted horse out there, that he said belongs to you. And he left you this note." The kid looked nervous and as soon Dom took the note from him, he took off out the door.

Dom unfolded the note and read: Good try old man, but she is mine now. Enjoy the stuff she left behind, she won't be needing it anymore.

Written by - Lucant Dolvan

The morning sun crept across the floor of the White Raven inn until it came to rest directly in Leov's eyes. He grunted and fidgeted until he finally woke up. Dragging his head off the table and sitting up-right, he took a quick survey of his surroundings. "Huh.... where in the world....' A voice answered him from behind: "The White Raven Inn, child." Leov startled and turned around quickly to see Aelyndria sitting in a plush burgundy chair near a large bay window. "You know what we where doing here, by chance," he asked through a yawn. "You didn't want to face Mir," Gilbert said as he walked down the stairs. "Oh yeah..." Leov said, acting as if he remembered, "Well... what are we gonna do?"

Aelyndria stood up gracefully and spoke: "That is a matter for you to discuss amongst yourselves. All of you." Leov frowned: "I suppose you're right... we do have a lot to go over..." Without another word, Leov got out of his chair and walked outside into the fresh morning air. Gilbert and Aelyndria followed dutifully behind him.

****

"That son of a bitch! I'm gonna tear him to pieces," Dom yelled as he punched the door with all his strength, waking everyone in the room. "What's going on Dom," Mir asked sleepily. "He took her! The son of a bitch took her," he yelled again. "Took who? What are you talking about," she asked again as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes. "Amara! Amara's gone." Mir looked at the cot where Amara had been the night before. Only her personal items were there now in a small bag. "What happened," she asked herself "What are you gonna do? You can't go after her. You know that. There's no way to. And...we have bigger things to take care of than going after some girl you met last night."

Dom gave a deep, heavy sigh. "I know... I know... That doesn't make it any easier, though."

Written by - Vylia

When the two parties finally met up again it took all of her will not to attack Teran when he first came in sight. The only thing that truly stopped her was the fact that Mavigan was standing in front of him. Keeryn pushed past Sabbatine as she ran full tilt at Mavigan. A slew of questions followed, "Are you alright? Did he hurt you? What did he do when he took you away? He didn't try anything funny did he?" She stopped for a moment to glare coldly at the assassin for a moment, when he didn't answer she turned back to her friend, deciding just to ignore him for now. She knew she would get her chance to knock some sense into him later.

Written by - Wilhelm

Wilhelm and his squad of Queen's Elite Guard followed behind Keeryn, Jasmine and Sabbatine and made camp when they did, staying back just at the extreme edge of Wilhelm's tracking sense. Wilhelm decided that the extra factor of the deceptive heartfires and magical travel warranted magical backup. He took out the arrow that Resini had given him and twisted the arrowhead clockwise, meaning assistance requested but not an emergency. He then broke the arrow and a flash of light appeared and vanished. He proceeded to break each half again and to stick the four pieces into the ground to form a square three yards on a side. He touched each one in order, moving clockwise around the square, and saying a word at each which caused the piece to glow. He then settled down to rest and assigned watches, knowing that Resini would need some time to respond.

Just past midnight the four pieces began to hum and glowing lines appeared to link the sides of the square then grew into walls of light. With a whoosh of displaced air four figures appeared behind the walls of light inside the square. The light faded and Wilhelm saw Resini with three other mages. Wilhelm greeted them and Resini made introductions, saying,

"I have come as promised. Here are Aldeth and Danil and Hilda, three of my senior mages. I have sent a message to Ithramir about your summons, informing him that we four were answering it. Now what is the situation here?"

Wilhelm greeted the others and introduced his squad in return, pointing out Fiernum, Ethan, Gareth, Maeve, and Sandra. He then explained about the faked heartfires and Teran and Mavigan somehow vanishing, presumably for training because Keeryn did not seem alarmed nor had she summoned Wilhelm. The training aspect was confirmed by the All Father. Wilhelm was still puzzled about how Teran had carried out the deception.

"I believe I can help you there, Lord Wilhelm" replied Resini. "Form a link with me and focus your tracking sense on Mavigan's and Keeryn's heartfires." Resini and Wilhelm joined hands and linked. While Wilhelm focused his senses on the heartfires in the distance, Resini pulled a mirror out of his pouch and spoke words over it. The mirror surface glowed and then an image formed showing the campfire with Keeryn, Jasmine and Sabbatine.

"Now focus very closely on Mavigan's heartfire." said Resini. The image zoomed in towards Sabbatine and then toward's and into her belt pouch and a pair of round stones showed in the mirror, one of them pulsing with Mavigan's aura. The image remained as Resini broke the link and put down the mirror. "A nice trick, that, I will have to remember that one." said Resini. "I have set the mirror to announce the detection of a second source of Mavigan's aura in the vicinity of that stone. It will warn us when Mavigan returns to this group."

The squad, now ten in number, settled down to rest and wait. Two hours before dawn the mirror hummed. Resini looked into the mirror, causing the field of view to expand, and then silenced it with a word and the mirror went dark. He told the rest that Mavigan and Teran had returned. The group ate a very early breakfast and packed up their gear, prepared to move out when Mavigan's group broke camp.

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