I fly back to the top of the tower to find the orc heading towards the pyre.
Oh Hells no!
I land quickly and move to block him.
You have your own God! Leave the leavings of mine alone!
He shows no respect. Typical orc. I’m pulling out my scimitar to force issue when empty handed he loses interest. I still want his blood, but pull back my bloodlust. I really do not like him. At the start of our journey here he pushed for me to act in good faith and yet he proves his race trait overrules any pretenses of civility. Now I search through the hot embers for a leaving from my God. Pyrico left nothing. But then, aside from egg shells, I expected nothing.
I turn my attention now to finding my clothing and belongings and set about to getting dressed. I see him departing, he talks to Jern in the distance. Then heads off. Great. The orc is off to try and raid what’s left. Well, to the elven arrows with him.
Phaeron lands beside me and asks about him. I tell him what I think and leave it to him. He flies off. I walk down to arouse the others and break camp. I shift my form to appear more elven, taking on much of my mother’s colouration and braid my hair in accordance to her culture, blending some of what she learned from the culture above us. I’m surprised to find the others awake, and quickly update them on what went down.
The dread of what I need to do creeps upon me…. my mother failed to do what I must succeed at.
I fall into step with Fyraiia and speak quietly about perhaps removing the brands upon myself and my friends. She is angered by the mark, but agrees to keep it quiet. I will be under her studious eye yet again. I know not how I feel about this. I quickly take lead.
We get out on the surface, and it’s lovely though still grey overcast, the sun is still muted. I get my bearings and proceed to head for the village. I allow some of my scars to appear that would be visible with my dress on. I don’t believe anyone notices the souvenirs that are left when one is whipped. Good. I don’t want to talk about it. The elves are polite enough to not mention them. Eventually a patrol finds us, not like we weren’t hiding.
Stand and declare yourself! Is yelled from a point to my left. I turn my head, here it goes. Thank you Mother for teaching me what you knew about these shy elves.
I am Ishnaferya, daughter of Vryntaea and Dizmot of the Rû. We desire to talk to your Council of Elders for the benefit of both our people. We do not mean any harm.
Let them wonder at my name, as I blended it from my mother’s tongue and theirs. They gave her her name in their ancient dialect. Father, well, he’s human. We shan’t hold his name against him.
They talk quickly and quietly amongst themselves then question me about Psyren. I look back to her and smile. Xenophobes they be.
We were slaves together. We escaped together, she is with me, as is the giant and the lizardman.
The one behind you, perhaps not the best response but it got them nervous. I switched to our shared language. Sslith’lac, please come stand beside me.
It was a few moments and he finally arrived. His appearance made them very nervous. Questions that I didn’t feel like answering were being asked. I fought the instinct to withdraw, and instead drew up a name that Mother was fond of. Even though she said no very strongly, the woman was my way in.
I desire to speak to Elder Elsperyn.
They seemed surprised that I knew the name of council member. They again talked quietly before a decision was made. We were to unarm ourselves, entrust our weapons to them. I pointed out that my lizard friend was a victim of a mad wizard and the blades were grafted into his being. They decided that he would be bound. I argued, but it was a they do it or we don’t go.
I explained what was going on, Jern asked when would we get our weapons back, which I translate back. It would be Elsperyn’s decision. I agreed to that and Sslith’lac took the choice regarding being bound away from me. He held up his hands. I didn’t like it. I had to bite my tongue.
We handed off our weapons. When it came to Pyrico’s Talon, I pulled it out of the tattoo, watching them for their reaction. I spun it around my hand and laid the blade across my palm, Treat this with respect. I tell the one I have been talking to. He reaches out to take it with his bare hand. Another moves swiftly and takes his wrist. This new comer clearly recognised the blade and took off his cloak and offered it to me to lay across. He then reverently covered the scimitar. I felt better by this.
We then were escorted in. Signs of overgrowth was everywhere in the village. But it’s still beautiful. These elves live in trees. My mother’s people live in the desert and heat scorched mountains. She thought this village was beautiful too. Pity my companions cannot see it as it was then.
We go through the center of town and I stop. Phaeron and the orc are in a cage. Like Sslith’lac’s bindings it is enchanted. I request for Phaeron’s release, willing to leave the orc there, but both Phaeron and the escort counter with both. I lose the negotiation and I am responsible for the orc. Just banish me now. The brute knows no respect or even how to pretend to have it.
We are taken to the Council Hut. The doors are opened and she stands within. I give a show of respect, silent request to enter and acknowledge that it is her place we enter. I approach her and stop a distance from her as appropriate in my culture. Then the talks begin.
Mother tried to get the elves’ aid before and lost her temper with their stubborn refusal to accept that the outside was targeting them. They were targeted, now awakened…. how much did they know happened? We begin with a bit of word dancing. This isn’t my strongest ability, why doesn’t Phaeron take over? Wait, maybe he doesn’t know the language. The orc begins to get bored, endangering this, and he doesn’t seem to care that I’m doing this not for myself but for the very resistance that he’s apart of. I just give up. I’m defeated when her attention is turned upon him. I don’t bother to hide it, as what is the point?
Knowledge is offered. Elf power will require a formal meeting. I’m surprised. This is acceptable. I inform her that if the Resistance requires more, their leader may send a delegation. Let them figure terms out. Even though I failed the door is opened. But I’m to be punished. I’m to teach the orc this dialect of Elven. It disgusts me. I inform him and he’s smug all over again. I truly despise him.
I ask when shall we depart? We are actually permitted to stay awhile. Sslith’lac’s bonds are removed and we are invited to a party to celebrate the revival of Pyrico and the awakening of the elves. We have three cabins assigned to us, when I inquire about freshening up. I ask her about my mother, if she’s been through since the first time. The easy answer is yes, as to how long ago, that’s more complicated.
We are escorted to the cabins, but first I turn for the shoreline. I’m so filthy I’ll stain the tub if there is one. Several follow me to rinse off in the brackish waters. I swim further out after using sand to scrub off the grime. The water is cool but it feels good. I slowly swim back to shore after a few minutes. The Sea Queen doesn’t want me right now.
I get partially dressed and head back to the cabins. I see the orc departing in bed sheets and request that his bag get returned to him. It probably holds his weapons but I care not. He would still find me a challenge to slay unarmed. I then request clothing for us to better attend the festival.
There’s apologies for there won’t be any clothing for the bigger members of my group nor the dwarves. I can only state that I understand. After all we arrived without advanced warning. I went inside and rewarmed the bath tub of water and added in some of the oils and salts that smelled similar to what Gronx added to the water back on the Fire Plane. It was great soaking in the heated water.
I awoke to Psyren’s fingers playing with my hair. The water was chilled and she was willing to warm me up. I wasn’t feeling it, but I had been ignoring her for a good portion of our journey, so I settled for a massage, and returned the favour. Together we got ready. She helped me with my hair. I shall have to cut some of it when I finally get to grounding. I haven’t been what my tribe needs.. but Psyren reminds me to be happy. The festival is celebrating what we had done. I let her think she cheered me up as she left.
Festival…. a gathering of people. Strangers. Too many people.
The dress I chose was scarlet with gold shimmer in a nice cut that left my back and arms bare. My legs were hidden from view, it was odd. And there were leather sandals nicer than what I took. They fit well enough. Will I be able to keep this as mother had kept the dress that was delivered to her? I do hope so. With gold jewellery it would be very fetching in normal circumstances.
I headed out towards the party. Too many people. Gah! I need my mind set right! I need to forget the past. No. That’s dangerous… I need to reconcile my past and try and put myself back together. But… crowd. And that voice!
I turn towards it and spy Warmonger talking to orc. Hmmmm, this could be interesting. Or not. There’s something about challenging the bitch. I’m guessing that’s me. I move on, unlike some I don’t want to trode where a God and his follower talk unless they are both enemies.
I keep walking.
Okay, now I turn and question the God who is wearing a body that is short and covered in weapons. Doll? I ask.
Toots. His response and I sigh. What, I respond.
He wants to have me do my thing that I did for Firebutt. His name for Pyrico. I see where the orc gets it. He wants me to bring back a Goddess he calls Doll. Wait, didn’t he just call me doll? He’s great with names, it seems. She’s missing, about a month, which coincide to when Jern and I arrived. He sniffs Jern and blames him for her disappearance.I defend Jern as a Goddess, even a minor one, would be aware of the dangers of taking someone who in turn starts to cause ripples.
Finally, something that I’m not to blame for. But that doesn’t help me explain 7 missing years….
I twice had tried to turn away and walk away when he got distracted with his paladin. But Warmonger demanded my attention. And my presence. I finally turned to him and told him defiantly as I do not worship him I do not come when he demands. Now be nice.
I’m rather surprised he didn’t back hand me. But somehow it feels right. Why and how?
He gives me leave to see to my grounding, to relax and to drink. To sort my memories in my head. But damnit I know not this Goddess and he expects me to work with the orc.
Lovely. Everything now goes back to the orc.
I turn. The party has lost all appeal. I seek the tallest tree that will give me a view of where my parents stayed.
Lets remain focused on the good here. Not Pronkar slaughtering elves, stealing my mother. Not Christopher treating mother’s stab wound from the black unicorn’s horn. No, I want to watch the replay of my parents
finally confessing that they love each other. Trust me, it was obvious that they cared deeply for each other long before then, but neither was certain of the other given that they had been enemies at the start.
This is wear Dizmot proposed marrying her. And where mother, in her typical fashion, decided to do something hasty. This time it was soul bonding with Dizmot and giving him her true name. I smile, I like her true name, it’s beautiful. My grandfather gave it to her. He had plans, clearly.
I’m high up, when Jern and orc call to me to come down and drink.
Jern is with him? It may be safe for me.
I fly down then switch back to my half elven form to land. I can hear the primal drum beat. It sings to my blood…. I must remain in control.
The orc is under orders to make me a friend and to share his knowledge of Doll, otherwise known as Oceania and who was gifted a piece of his essence to assend. Interesting. A lover or a friend? She’s bonded to him now in either case. Her task is to heal Warmonger. Wow. She has her work cut out for her. I muse she must be a water Goddess. Nope, a war nature Goddess. Ok, what?
She’s a healer, so she must have been a priestess or a shaman when she was human.
Nature… so perhaps a follower of Merlay or Ylena when she was mortal. Or a hermit…. no. War doesn’t belong to a hermit. Nor to a nature Goddess. Perhaps corrupted by Warmonger given he gave her his essence…?
I’m apparently not supposed to be working on this riddle. Here, drink from this open bottle. Yeah, like I’ll drink from the same bottle that the orc drinks from. Nevermind that he’s an orc, but he’s immune to poison, though it seems Warmonger is allowing him to get drunk. He offers me a sealed bottle, that I open and sip from. He wants me to drink more, and I decline. I do not want to be drunk. He tries challenging me to a drinking contest, to which I decline. I have not consumed alcohol for almost two years and I have zero interest in being in his mercy.
I used to drink before… but it takes affect on me far too quickly now. I place the cork on the bottle and slip it into my pouch. Elven wine will be difficult to get a hold of now…. I plan on taking a few more. Havaan only drank elven wine. If we come across his feralness it may be what saves us.
I’m escorted to the heart of the party by a pyre. I play with it, causing shapes to appear in it and to burn bright and tall as the elves dance around it. I drink a little when Psyren offers me a drink. Phaeron joins us and the orc is encouraging him to drink. Jern also offers me some wine. I sip to be polite then join the elves in dance. They do not seem offended by my joining, but they do not welcome it.
I’m an outsider. Ironically, in more ways than one.
I spun out and hear Warmonger talking about a fight that could have only happened if he had been mortal too. Interesting. Perhaps he and this Oceania had been friends back then.
I move to sit near him. He pushes a bottle of wine towards me. Drink. It’s safe to relax.
Yeah? Because you’re here?
I thank him again for interfering with the unicorn. He shrugs. Or if you were using me as bait, thanks for being quick enough to let me escape. Hehe snorts. I’m studying him, even though I know I won’t remember what I see like last time. I ask him a bit more about Oceania, he reminds me that I’m to relax. Gah, I haven’t been able to relax for years on me own…. literally since Strom fell. Hence grounding and meditating are difficult.
I had heard the orc asking for the location of a priestess of Oceania before I sat down, and Warmonger told him to search for one himself. So now my turn. I inquire as to being pointed in the direction of something holy to Oceania. Perhaps from when she was human. Armour, weapon, that sort of thing. I need a direct link when I’m doing the summoning. He tells me to talk to Lheare.
So, I now cannot skip out on reuniting with this woman it seems. He tells me to drink more, I do so. I can feel it taking effect and it’s making it harder to think straight. He is uncouth. Rude even. But he is approachable and oddly, I’m not threatened by him. Odd.
Perhaps he likes it when I am defiant? I recall using that tone again, but I cannot remember why.
I get up and stumble into Phaeron. I half stiffen and apologise, and half fall into him. I miss his scent. He chuckles and helps me to stand up better, but he’s also been drinking. I can see the orc trying to land himself an elven woman… there’s not enough wine for that.
Phaeron helps me back to my cabin. We talk along the way. We stumble and wind up sitting for a little bit. I remember snagging a jar of sweet nectar.
Then I wake up in a bed with a man in it. There’s a wing over me, and I’m red. I push away, and calm down when I see I’m still half dressed. My head hurts from the too much wine and not enough nectar. He stirs and we drink some of the juice. We talk about the past. We actually make jokes!
But we are both half drunk and half hungover, so we fall back into revery. I wake again, he’s petting my head and playing with my horns. Two can now play this game and without mercy I play in line with his horns’ bases. We talk more. Why are we in my bed?
He still loves me. I still love him. It seems we have a base to work upon, but I warn him it’ll take time til we are back where we were. He’s nonplussed by this. I’m worth the wait, I melt on his chest listening to his heart and his fingers find the spot that makes me super tired I fall asleep. I protest and he tells me it’ll be fine.
I’m on the sand of the arena. I can hear the crowd cheering and shouting. There’s a male planar on me, but I manage to get him on his back. We are more wrestling than fighting now. He throws sand into my eyes. I grab his throat and extend my claws. Without hesitation I try to rip it open…. and my eyes open to Phaeron gasping for air, and his hands upon mine trying to get them off. I get out of bed. I don’t make eye contact and my form shifts, not to my present guise, nor to Ameira, but to the one called Phyluvia. I don’t make eye contact as I apologise. I shouldn’t sleep. He wraps his arms about me. He tries to calm me down. I smell blood, I know this scent and I search him. I tell him to drink a potion. He’s bleeding a fair bit…
It’s still night. I can hear the drums. We talk about what I dreamt. What happened. I show him the scars I got for not waiting for the crowd to decide. It was an early fight. I was tossed in without weapon, armour or even clothing. I hadn’t wanted to fight. It was the start of living angry, and I wanted to live as living meant I could work towards escaping. I tell him about the brand upon my neck, the tattoo upon my leg. He wants to know more, and I supply the basic details. Much of what I say angers him, so I don’t give precise details. He doesn’t need to know. I go to switch topics when there’s a quiet knock upon the door. I switch faces, going to Ameira. Who’s there I challenge. No response. I creep towards the door.
If you’re Gronx, scratch once. There’s one scratch, which allows me to relax, then a second that causes me confusion then caution as my heckles rise. I hear Phaeron shifting about. I creep the door open a crack. The cabin is still.
There’s the scent familiar, the contained heat, red skin, fire dancing. A damn Efreet! I leap back and Phaeron charges as the door opens to reveal his form. Phaeron is frozen in midstep. I lunge for the Efreet, but my scimitar isn’t on me. Bloody Abyssal gnats! The elves still have it. At the same time he adjusts his monocle.
It’s that Efreet!
I stop my movement and glare at him. Unfreeze him, and get in here.
I don’t know what time of night it is. The party is still going on. But I don’t want anyone else to see him. Phaeron closes the door, but his body language clearly states he doesn’t like this Efreet, putting it lightly. He’s not an enemy, yet.
The Efreet responds, I hope to be a friend eventually. I respond not, I just grab a robe and put it on, then hand Phaeron his tunic. Modesty becomes you, the Efreet comments. I spin to level a glare and ask what he means by that. Phaeron sits and tries to pull me down to sit. I refuse and continue to stand. He’s apparently glad to see me adjusting well to my freedom. He hopes that I’m finding happiness now. It’s not malicious, how odd from one of his kind.
I reply with how can I be happy with my family missing; Gods banished or dead or something; and more enemies than years I have lived? He’s taken aback by this, and continues to talk in his calm demeanor. He’s reaffirming he means me no harm.
He came to give an update on the information I asked for. He also inquires as to Phaeron being the lover he’s heard about. I tell him none of his business and put myself between them. He dabbles in information. Lheare isn’t the only one watching us. I ask him what I’m to call him.
He smiles, Fliergen. He then asks what to call me.
Ameira. I’m going by that right now. I’ll let you know when it changes.
He agrees, then goes on to discuss the information.
- Xystus’ advisor is a Devil. Type unknown. I inquire about true name for it,or information that can lead me to it. I figure it’ll be years before I can face it.
- My sister was my sister, until Kayshna took over. She was a passive observer until then. So she heard my plan to bring back Pyrico, and she knows about Fliergen. Kayshna is the general of Xycas, damnit she’s been promoted. She does still work with her sister, this seems to be one of those circumstances.I think Kayshna sprung the trap too soon, or had to due to the Rite I was going to initiate. Lorelei has her soul again. But I know of a ritual to summon her soul. Two in fact. Father called Mother’s soul from the Weave…
- He doesn’t know precisely where my brothers are. He assumes in their capitals. He does know who has them though:
- Narm has Orous
- Narhveer has Baelok
- Toza has Rajiin, my worst fear a reality. The Father has his son! A son he didn’t know he had.
My head swirls but I refuse to sink. I shake off Phaeron’s hand of support. I cannot show my weakness. It’s bad that Baelok is with Narhveer, but… a wizard savant in the hands of that Archmage…
I change focus. When is the bastard going to try again.
The latest we should leave is seven days…. I think I’ll aim for 3 or 4 days. I need to talk to the Elder about the underground city. Is it possible for the dwarves to use it? I need to talk to Jern about this idea. And Phaeron too.
Fliergen gives me heck for not hiding my signature. What was I thinking?
I hid my cohorts from their sights. But the Kabal and the Efreet are not looking for them, they are hunting for me.
I knew the Planars were, but why the Kabal. Aside from the fact I successfully brought back Pyrico. That may be why. I sigh. He makes it plainly clear if I want to remain free, I’m to learn how to hide my signature. Both in ritual and common encounters. I tell him I do not know how. He’s confident that I’ll figure it out. Gee thanks on not giving me pointers.
I admit that I need to raise up a Goddess in addition to Merlay. I would need his help in ensuring that the rituals are right. He agree to review my rituals. I thank him.
He asks if there’s anything else.
Actually, yes. I give him the names of everyone in my tribe that might be alive. I first start with the children, they’ll be about my age. Give or take. Then their parents. Blood brothers and blood sisters to my mother.
He agrees to look into them.
And he leaves. I now drop to my knees, wrapping my arms around myself now starting to process what has been going on. How can I find happiness like the Efreet wants me to when my family is suffering? Guilt. Rage. Sorrow. It mixes together for a mess of emotions and Phaeron is there trying to calm me down, telling me it’s ok,it’s going to be ok. Come back to bed and revery. I need to see this mess through, but he’s insistent.
I am tired still. I crawl back into bed. But I can’t revery. Too many thoughts. Too much emotions. I wait for Phaeron to fall into revery, then carefully slip out. I don’t bother putting my sandals on, I just keep the robe on.
I snuck out, and moved quickly away from all noise and light. I flew once I felt safe, having to take the robe off first. Modesty, my foot. There’s no shame in nudity.
I found a quiet clearing and set to work, drawing sigils for the Gods I needed.
- Pyrico as my patron, as my family’s primary God
- Ylena, Merlay isn’t awake and my sister has a few times spoken of feeling a drawing to the Earth Mother
- Quillar, Orous dedicated himself to the wanderer of air
- Siella, she is the gentle Arcane Goddess Rajiin honoured
- Nameless, both Rajiin and I honour him
- Druumbos, Baelok dedicated himself to lightning for how hard and fast it struck
Of these Gods, I know that I’m gambling on three being inactive.
I offer each a gift then call to them, asking for their ear. I explain myself, my weakness, my guilt, my worry. I do not shy away from the worse of myself, and I openly dedicate myself to bringing back the Gods of my family. And others that need to be brought back. I apologise to Ylena as I hadn’t heard of her, and ask for forgiveness if I am wrong about her being Merlay’s daughter. I ask her to give comfort to my sister stuck in a soul gem no doubt, the perfect Hell for her. To assure her that I’m working towards getting her back into her body.
I talk to each of the Gods, asking them to reassure my brothers. I am back. I may be flawed and broken, but I will not stop til death and banishment take me to free them. Send them my love.
I hear a woman’s voice and turn to find her. A quick glance shows that Ylena’s gift is taken. I talk some, about my weaknesses, about family, she had once been human, and like Oceania ascended. Lheare had eyes on what I need years ago. To get Merlay back I need Oceania. Interesting… Ylena goes as far to suggest that she may be a better fit for me than Merlay, since we’re also not so distant. I’m intrigued and say such, looking forward when I finally create my sacred space dedicated to the Elements and Magic Gods. She actually approaches me and touches my head! A cool calmness comes over me, the chaos in my mind settles. I look to her with gratitude and surprise. It will last a few days, she tells me. I thank her, a few days of mental peace is a blessing.
Next, I talk to Quillar but he’s silent. Then I draw the symbol for air, in case someone in his court is around. Nameless’ voice tells me to summon Warmonger as he’s full of hot air. A distant I heard that is caught by my ears. I talk to Nameless, trying to make sense of what he says regarding Rajiin. His words make me fear for my little brother. I doubt he’s whole or sane given Nameless’ words. I ask for Nameless’ permission to set him as he was before he absorbed the dark goddess that tortured my mother. I think in a way I got it. But the song he sang about stuff and things being done to Rajiin echo in my head as he departs to take care of business elsewhere.
I talk to the Arcane Goddess who’s only response was a light glow upon the symbol I drew. Was it her? Or Nameless being cruel?
Either way, I turn to Pyrico to send my words to Orous and Rajiin. There’s warmth, and I thank him honestly for his help.
Then there’s Druumbos, the dark God of storms. I talk to him, but there’s no response. I signed, then drew Warmonger’s symbol. It actually draws him away from the party and we get to talking frankly. He wants to know why I called him to pass a message to Baelok. I point out that when Baelok is free he’s one Hell of a warrior. There’s some verbal push and pull and finally Warmonger agrees to send a message of his liking to Baelok. There’s a pause, when I ask him about it, he says God Stuff, I wouldn’t understand. I’m curious but I don’t press. After a few moments he states the message is delivered. In his way. I thank him, and he again reminds me to bring back Oceania. I agree to get it done. I still believe it’s going to be the last act I do before the orc does the Kabal’s work and take me out of play.
My task done, I thank the Gods for their attention and wipe away the traces of the communication. I pick up Druumbos’ gift as it wasn’t claimed. Then I head quickly and quietly back, feeling a lot better, even though Nameless tried to undo what Ylena did. The sky tells me I have several hours until dawn. Wow. This has been a rough night.
There are quiet snores in the cabin and I sneak into my room. I clean and warm my feet before slipping in beside Phaeron. He snuggles up and asks if I was gone. I tell him I needed air. He accepts this and bids me to rest well. I find revery very easily, and I recall the last birthday celebration we had as a family together.