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Michael-TLH

The Darakan Chronicles, Part 2

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Jesset gives a tight smile. "My brother is not behind this."

 

After a beat she goes on: "I have seen my brother's image with the Mindless Ones before, but I had no training in magic then. You know as well as I what tricks can be played with images. I have been taught to beware my senses when magic is present. I'm sure you have, too.

 

I knew what I told you: the undead raids originated at the home of the Master Wizard of the Bole. I thought his apprentices were involved. And the brother of my house is one of those apprentices.

 

Of more than that, I could not be sure. And you should not be sure of more than that tonight.

 

But I ...saw.

 

The Arcane Sight revealed the spells on his person - and there were none of Seeming or Falsehood, only wards of power - a Globe of Invulnerability to magics of the first several Circles of Power as well as wards to counter physical attacks. Stoneskin, for one.

 

So now we know my brother is serving the Master.

 

The remaining mystery is why he acted as he did. 'Kittykat' - that was a name he chided me with as a child, but only in private. In fact, I can never remember him flaunting anything. In public carried the nicest, most friendly of meins. When he did plot, he was a quiet plotter.

 

I don't know what could bring such a change over him now...

 

But it is certain that he is changed. The Arcane potential I saw in him - It was beyond anything I have ever studied. Not even Wishing would draw upon his full potential, and I have no idea what that sort of power may do to a soul."

 

Frowning, the skoli looks back into the eyes of the hale-born elf.

 

"No, I did not condemn my brother with what I knew. Yes I held hope that he was not in league with his Teacher. But I was more surprised with his manner than his allegiance."

 

"Do you think I should have told you? And what difference would it have made? I did tell you all that there was corruption deep in the heart of the bole. And if I would rather think the best of those I love...

 

"Well, I neither believe that an evil, nor will I allow it to stop me from rending this army into inanimate shards, banishing the evil forces that created it, and bringing everyone involved to Justice."

 

Her defensiveness spent, the blue Mage sighs.

 

"We'd all best return to rest as best we can!" she calls to her friends all around her. "Their Majiks are far beyond scrying, so we can assume they will be prepared for our every step in this forest."

 

Playing the roles of both captain and sergeant, she then proceeds to check on each individual - bipedal or otherwise - to make sure all wounds are healed and needs are met.

 

Lastly, she beckons Eldon to converse with her and takes him to a place where she need not be far from her stricken Love. She speaks to him to reassure him that his might is far from outclassed among the chosen of Searoad, unless he has magic to cheat her Arcane eyes. But also she seeks to know more of his powers and plans - the better both to support him and to use him, when battle comes again.

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Eldon smiles up at the graceful, cyan-hued warrior, for rarely does a Skoli enter this world, and even rarer does one speak with a humble Hin such as Eldon. His cheeks become red in embrassment as she turns her eyes to his own.

 

"...Ahem... well, M'Lady. Firstly, I thank you for the compliment of my abilities. But am I skilled to the abilities of the Companions, chosen of Searoad? That I don't know. But I am a fully trained War Wizard. Before you ask, it was an exchange of favors. An Elven Prince was attacked, and a patrol of Hin saved him. As reward, I was trained in the ways of Elven Magick."

 

In his defence, he does look her in the eyes, and keeps his fidigiting down to a minimum. But now is not the time for speaking at great lengths over a fine meal and plenty of good drink. Eldon's eyes glance over at the cruelly injured Scout of Searoad.

 

"Unfortunatly..." he says, lowering his voice to speak with just the Skoli. "I know nothing of the apothecary crafts, and that great muckin' huge angry pot roast you call a warrior... The big one with the greatsword, he might not want me helping out at the moment. But know this, M'Lady. Three days ago, the Oracle of Yondalla bade me to come to this location. Would i have known the importance of this battle, I would have asked more of Teacup here. She's a fine pony for easy travel, but she is no Elven Steed."

 

He sighs, feeling he's spoken too much already, he raises his hazel eyes to the Skoli once more. "You've a very unusual group gathered. Only the Gods know why such a gathering has taken place, and I am no cleric to tell you why this has happened. But I will say this. The Oracle has spoken to me and told me to come here. She did not say that you would be here. She did not warn me of the ambush that would strike. But she did say to come here, and come here I have. So as I said earlier, I will travel with your group for as little or as long as needed."

 

Eldon, obviously not used to speaking with great heroes of their times, tries not to fidgit some more. Fuzzbucket, faithful beast pokes her head out of the cavernous chappeau that Eldon considers his hat. She meowls at him, and he runs his tiny had over the enormous beast's head.

 

--LSH

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As Jesset leaves to converse with Eldon, Mykayla turns and goes to investigate the fallen dark elves. Mori'Quessir. I wonder why they would even consent to work with an surface ell? Dismmissing the thought from her mind, as there will be time to mull it over later she studies them, then calling Robert over to her. "Let's check them over carefully, then take the bodies away from camp and bury them." Robert merely nods his head, not asking why his love wishes to bury the strange dusky hued elves. Used to her whims whims he complies and helps her search the bodies then move them away from camp, he knows she will explain herself when the time comes. Mykalyal is gentle with her searching, treating each fallen dark elf with respect and care, soon the search is done and she and Robert begin to take the bodies away from the camp to bury them.

LT

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Mykayla and Robert search the bodies of the Mori'Quessir...

 

Each one is horribly burned by the powers of the young Islander priest. Their magical arms and armor are smoking, pitted ruins by the force of the spell called down among them. Gingerly patting and prodding, the Woodsman and his Lady find nothing of interest until a golden gleam catches the eye of the elven sorceress. A golden circlet is hidden among the burnt hair of one of the drow, a female. Looking at it through magicked eyes, Mykayla can see a strong aura of enchantment upon it. Nothing else of interest is found... which in itself is odd. In human bandits there would always be a stray coin, a lover's knot, a bit of twine or scraps of something... but it is obvious to both that these dark elves were outfitted for one thing: a fight.

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Turning the body of the dark elf over, Mykayla unclasps the circlet to get a better look at the writing upon it. Turning it over and over, she places it upon her brow.

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Mykayla looks at the circlet, turning it over and over admiring how it gleams in the dark. Then in one swift movement she places it on her head, it feels warm and tingling on her skin, closing her eyes she savors the feel of the metal against her skin. Looking back over at her lover she smiles “Well, I think this was about all of value we found, a gold circlet. I think yon priest’s spell destroyed anything that would tell us more about these

Mori'Quessir. I pity their magic’s don’t do well in daylight, be it normal or magical in origin. Well, let’s get them buried and get back to the others. Did you happen to see if they had mounts? If not then they must have come by magical means.”

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The morning sun sits low in the sky as the Companions awaken to the new day. The horrors of the night before seem an Age passed as they clear their camp.

 

Rising with the sun, the Islander priest prays to the Great Mother as he does every morning. Jesset, and Robert stretch and study as they will. The elven sorceress packs away her things and watches as Stern cares for Warrick, still weak but recovering after a full night's sleep. The newest arrival to their group, the hin mage Eldon wakes as well, saying his prayers to Yondalla for full bellies and safe travels in whatever direction the wind takes them.

 

All fed and saddled, the Elven horses stamp their feet and toss their manes, eager to be off.

 

... and they are.

 

Heading along the hardpack path, the Companions trip is easy and slow. The road is level with hardly a twist or turn. Riding straight through, the day takes them to the outskirts of a second elven wood... but whereas the Woodland Realm is elegant and serene, the Woodland Wild is as it's name implies, a place of untamed boughs grasping overhead, raucous cries of birds above and deep throated growls of predatory cats below... a place of life where the Green holds sway above all.

 

Jesset estimates another full day of travel will get her to her home and begins to look for a place to camp.

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"Yes. I look forward to the smell of the tandoori." Looking about her, she nods with familiarity: "I'm sure we'll smell the first of the ovens in five or six more hours' march, but it will be a full day before we reach the Bole proper."

 

Jesset goes about the business of preparing camp...and now certain that Warrick is not contagious, goes to comfort him the moment her tasks are done.

 

"Come, sit by the fire. You'll feel better, love."

 

During dinner she talks with the others to tell them - as much as possible - what to expect when they reach the bole. From smells of the clay ovens ("Tandoori" in the local dialect), to the sights of the tree-homes, and the intricately patterned leathers of the Bole's tanners.

 

"It is a good place," she begins before halting. "<cough>. Well, it will be again - when we're done."

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Eldon slides off his pony after the day's travel. He winces and bends his legs, obviously not used to traveling in such conditions. "Jumping monkeys...." he says as mild oath.

 

He and Fuzzbucket both look tired from the travel, the enormous housecat wandering around the area as she is want to do. Eldon knows enough about horses to take care of his pony, but little more.

 

At the mention of tandoori, his mouth begins to water. "If we had stayed a day, I could make a curry that would curl toes and wake the Gods themselves." he grins.

 

"Ya know... I have a whole bunch of spices and such, how about I fix dinner tonight?" Before asked if he has the Companions' leave to do so, he removes his had and begins setting that which he will need to create a fine meal for the road.

 

Fuzzbucket knows exactly what Eldon is doing, and wanders around his legs, threatening to knock him down from her attentions. "Hey! Cat! Stop it, you!" he turns, scritching the animal happily and it is obvious he loves the beast. "You'll get some of mine, don't worry about it!"

 

Turning and making sure his ingredients are ready, he reaches into his magicked hat once more, pulling out a ceramic bottle with a hinged stopper in it. A quiet work of magick, and the ceramic bears a thin film of ice. He opens the bottle, and takes a heavy pull, sighing happily. "Dwarf Bier... can't go wrong, and doubly wonderful when chilled..."

 

A cold brew in his hand, be begins making a fine meal for the group.

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Mykayla smile at the Hin and is obvious love of all thing food related. Quickly she goes about setting up what she can for the evening before going to join the others at the fire. She listens carefully, but makes no effort to join in the conversation.

LT

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Warrick, relieved that the tender touches of his love can resume, does his best to turn a positive approach. Scooting next to the fire, he tries to draw in its warmth to his bones, but the chill remains. With his wounds closed, and the sickness contained within, he does feel slightly better having resisted the initial shocking phases to his body. Ordinarily this is a point where he would begin believing he could tunr the corner on the illness through proper care and feeding, but the mention of the Wish required to banish the ailment makes him feel sure he must get used to being sick the rest of his days.

 

Perhaps it will not progress. Maybe it'll just be a nuisance for me...

 

He smiles painfully as he listens to the discussion of the forest. "I always did like retreating to the woods. Every once in a while the city would just become too much...too many people...too many eyes... I liked the feeling of escape. But out here, I can't feel like we've escaped anywhere. And the eyes upon me are greater than a thieves' den in Searoad, I fear."

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Hi all. Once I heard from the GM, I had to make this posting. Don't mean to steal the spotlight, but hey, you have to know how good the Hin is...

 

--begin--

 

Oh, the things the tiny Wizard brings forth from his magic hat!

 

Firstly, once the fire is just right, he brings forth a heavy iron pot, long years of use have make the metal inky black, and smooth as silk. He places this aside for now.

 

He also produces a thick board which he sets aside, and atop that board, he begins assembling his ingredients.

 

Two packages come out first, large as his familiar. Two chickens are the contents of the packages. Reaching into his hat once more, he pulls forth a small, utterly sharp knife with which he quarters and parts the chicken with an apothecary's skill. Once sixteen pieces are created, he places the iron pot onto the fire, a dab of butter is first into the pot, beginning to hiss and spit. The nutty smell mingles with the smoke of the fire.

 

Eldon's hand is above the pot, some arcane judgment has chosen now as the time, and the chicken parts enter the pot. In moments, a wonderful smell begins arising from this cauldron of creation.

 

Eldon doesn't waste time, however. Already he's used some magick to clean the board, and begin chopping. Root vegetables, long and orange are cut into whimsical shapes by the tiny, quick hands of the Hin. Large bulbs the size of Stern's fist also enter the pot, once they've been cut to the proper size. A peeled and chopped onion quickly follows suit.

 

Once the items begin mingling, working together like a fine chorus, then the last few items enter the pot. The first is a boda filled with a faintly cloudy substance, squelching the hissing and spitting, then precious herbs are placed within. Mykayla the herbalist would see them as savory additions to the meal, but possibly used in healing the stricken.

 

Once a final stir of the pot happens, he uses a spare stick to spread the fire out a little, lest the bottom of the pot burns too hot. A equally heavy lid comes from the hat, covering the pot tightly and letting no flavor escape. With all that entered the pot, there will be plenty for all this evening, even the animals that follow the Companions.

 

With a swig on his chilled bottle, he thusly pronounces “Give it a candle's time, and we'll have chicken stew.”

 

He looks over at the stricken Man who has come closer to the fire, and smiles to him. “Care for a little?” he asks, offering the bottle and the comfort that resides within.

 

--End--

 

--LSH

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Informed that he is no longer the sole caregiver to the disease stricken rogue, Stern gladly turns his attentions back to his primary duties, defending the group from potential threats and spreading the holy spirit of St. Marcus throughout the land of elvenkind.

 

As they approach the edge of wooded forest, Stern remains mounted a top his massive elven warhorse. The paladin's nerves are shot as he can't help but sense they are being watched, even led to their doom by forces he can not yet fully understand.

 

"Even though its not my home, I have to say, its good to be out of the jungles." Cuchuliann says as they approach the wood.

 

Stern nods and offers a strained smile to Cuchulainn. "Agreed priest, fer if'n I ever set foot in another jungle again tha'll be to soon fer me...

 

With Hammer seemingly back to her old self again, the Aegis of Rockfist looks down at her, "Yer as ready as ever ma sweet girl..."

 

With a low quick bark, Hammer answers her master without hesitation.

 

Stern peers through the eye slots of his horned helm scanning the surrounding areas once more. His mind begins wander.

 

They are watching us... Somehow they know our location, our every move... But how?

 

The mighty Aegis sets up camp with the group, checking on Robert's wounds and Warrick's plague-like condition.

 

Then remounting his enormous elven warhorse, he works his way about the edges of the campsite watching for any signs of movement or threat.

 

Not even the sweet smell of Eldon's cooking can not pull him from his duties. With Hammer at his heel, Stern slowly rides around and around the campsite only stopping momentarily from time to time to search, listen, and watch for any reactions from his four-legged friend.

 

One thing is certain, the big man is on edge.

 

SK

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Movement. It was only slight, but Stern spots something. There it is again. Hammer gives a quick bark and looks to her master for a command.

 

"Steady girl, hold yer position... hold... hold..."

 

Stern slowly removes his helm and looks closer. A female figure appears in the distance.

 

Placing his thick armored glove on the pommel of his short sword, Stern moves his mount closer.

 

As Stern draws closer to her he calls out in common, "Are ye tha keeper o' these woods? I am a Holy Knight of St. Marcus, ye 'ave nothin' ta fear from meeslf or me Companions... We are here ta help!"

 

Giggling, the creature comes out from behind a large tree. Her delicate features are much like a female elf ’s, though her deep-brown flesh is like fine wood, and her hair is like a canopy of leaves, swaying gently in the breeze.

 

She babbles in a foreign tongue for a moment before tilting her head, as if thinking.

 

"Thisee tongue suits better, ye metal man?" Her speech is heavily accented, but the meaning is clear enough. "No keeper of woods, me. Only mine own tree, to which you drawing nearby. Hearing I the step of many horse and smelling the smoke. Bring ye not fire this way, you hearing? For I not like that at all, no." She smiles and her beauty shines forth. "Thinking you a centaur, me, but no... is a Marcus man riding a elfy horse. What that be anyway, a holy knight? These words, I never hearing."

 

Shyly, she trails a hand along the front of the tree and leans back against it, keeping a close eye on the strange creatures in front of her.

 

 

She is no' evil... Easy Stern, no sudden movments...

 

The Aegis Knight nods and slowly dismounts. Keeping Hammer close, he opens his hands palms up and hold his arms out to his side of his body.

 

"Ma name is Stern Kestrelmann, Aegis o' Rockfist. Me Companions n' I are on a mission from tha elven king o' these lands... A great evil force threatens ta decend upon all o' this kingdom."

 

"We mean ye or yer tree no harm. I give ye'ma word...

 

Stern forces a smile and bows slightly.

 

"Maiden o' tha trees, wha' is yer name?"

 

"Aegyrock? Wha' tha' be, Sterny man? All these words I never heared! What a sight in your metal like... well... like nothing I ever seened before!" She laughs and dashes around the tree as Stern draws closer. Coyly peeking out from behind the massive oak, she smiles. "My name be Dreaynnaltontinka, but me heart name be Dree, so call me that if you will it, Sterny man. I not be so old, which is why me name be so short like."

 

She smiles and, still touching her tree with one hand, squats down to look Hammer in the face.

 

"... and that be your wolfkin then, aye? A druid you be, maybe so, Sterny man? Why all caged in metal tho' I wondering. Never seen no druid all wrapped up the like, never me."

 

Stern gives a deep chuckle and turns to regard the strange green elf before him...

 

"Dree, it is then... Good ta meet ye. Ye jus' call me Stern."

 

Aye, n' this is ma war hound, Hammer... Say, hello girl."

 

Hammer gives another quick bark and wags her tail in excitment.

 

"Well, a druid I am no' ma brown friend. Rather, I am a warrior from a far off land, tha land o' men... And this armor is very special indeed, it keeps me alive n' helps me ta protect those in ma care.

 

"Come, will ye follow me ta where ma friends are camping? There is a halfing wizard amongst our numbers who might speak yer language... Come on then..."

 

Leaving me tree, me? No sir, Sterny man." She steps forward a few feet and kneels before Hammer, cautiously holding out her hand to the warrior's faithful hound. With a whuff of pleasure, Hammer bounds up and sniffs, allowing herself to be petted. Her eyes close and tongue lolls as the Dryad scratches behind her ears.

 

"Never knew me a wolfkin didn't like her ears a-scritched." The Dryad giggles and hums for a moment, a sound like wind through the highest branches.

 

"I be staying close to me tree, Rockfist man... but walk the Green in peace, hear me well?" She grins and moves up to Stern's side, patting his elven horse as she does.

 

Shyly darting forward she places a kiss on his cheek before dashing back underneath the boughs of her oak.

 

"Faretheewell, Sterny man." With a final grin, she steps into her tree and disappears.

 

 

Stern backs away not sure what to make of the small brown woman's gesture.

 

Dryad's only exist in fairy tales and story books...

 

Then stepping up and into his saddle, the large paladin remounts his elven draft horse, dons his horned helm, and turns to ride back to camp truly hoping there are more hidden allies like Dree amongst these wooded lands.

 

SK

Edited by Stern Kestrelmann

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