Sleep was peaceful, restful, and full of warmth. A warm glow that started out small behind my eyes grew in intensity, waking me into the presence of Allabrahni – the angel.
“Ah, my girl, Araytor is proud of you.” she said as she reached out a hand lifting me to my feet for a brief embrace.
In that moment, every drop of fear, worry, anxiousness, and even hate fled my soul and I was for the first time in what seemed like ages, at peace.
I smiled nervously as we separated, “You are to be rewarded child, have you thought of something?”
I have given this much thought. To answere the question – something to help me defend the people and reveal the truth.
The answer is myself.
So all I ask is this:
To have the Strength to Defend those who do not
To be quick of body and mind so as to act when action is needed.
To have the endurance to persevere through the thickest of storms
To recognise truth from lies, good from evil, and the wisdom to judge accordingly
and lastly, the patience and pressence to lead those to the truth and to encourage others to do the same.
Allabrahni smiled and touched my forehead, and in a moment I saw them all again – in the light of her pureness, I could see my family, my friends, those I loved and those I did not and all about them was the golden light of Araytor.
When the light faded away and I opened my eyes, the angel was gone, but yet I was pleased, happy, content. I felt more aware, more aware of magic, of things, of the world itself and my knowledge extended to spells that now made sense to me where before, for weeks their secrets eluded me.
I smiled, “Thank you” I whispered to the walls of my gloomy room.
Met the others for breakfast, they all had a visit but only Fel spoke of his. He had used his reward to ask questions. Eventually, after some talking, we left the Lodge and headed through the market where I bought some materials.
And then on to the Sensor where we met with Lady Sipran – Varnia was not with her, and I thought that a bit odd. The queen spoke, she would return in the morning with Varnia and the children. She had to flee to protect her line. And that I understood.
We then headed to the library where we said farewell to Branighan and thanked him for his aid before Felghanis approached the Blakh Librarian and found a book on the Hrimpursar. As we studied it I felt almost sorry for them. They had a society, a culture much like man with traditions like one known as a Wunder Trial where a youngster would leave for years to return and then be allowed in the moot to vote on the leader of the clan. Here I thought they were savages, and the leader was just the strongest or most feared. I was wrong.
We also learned that the elders slept and some returned as Titans while some never awoke. The look on Fel’s face said what we all thought – what if those that ‘died’ arose to defend the tombs of the elders? And one such tomb, that supposedly held the last of the Tears, was located in the Silver Forest at the feet of the Iron Teeth Mountains – one of the questions that Felghanis had answered by the angel…
We had a new lead of sorts, and a destination. First we returned to Vrim and were greeted by Tovrans Guards – actually greeted this time which was a pleasant change. We were granted rooms in the castle as well, Felghanis went to bury Gorron, and the rest of us had a good meal at the Tovran Keep. Before that I had learned from Athur at the Whalers that Lorko had sought us. He had left only a few hours before and once we were all together we decided to give chase.
Strange I thought how I enjoyed stretching my legs across the frozen land.
A few hours later and exhausted as I was, we caught up to them – Lorko, Dalldra and Artan a fellow wizard. We walked a bit further together and decided to camp before heading to the Monastery. I called up a new spell – a secure cottage crafted from the trees and mountain itself where we rested peacefully and could watch the Highgate Monastary for signs of movement and life, or in this case unlife.
We headed to the Monastery, all of us aware of the potential threat a Vampire Queen could be. I was prepared and my spells were set up into triggers so I could call up the Wolves with a mere thought. We were surprised instead to find bear tracks. Large bear tracks and fresh. It had been nesting in the Stable and luckily was not here – lucky for it, for a part of me missed the taste of wild meat.
Inside the monastery was yet another surprise. We encountered four ghosts and I immediately cast a protection from evil spell, enlarging it with mana to encompass us all – lest these things attacked.
But they did not. Lorko spoke to them and they were waiting to bring vengeance upon the Abbot who stole the Bowl. The Bowl of Ath-vornus – who was a spirit himself and somehow this thing could grant life everlasting – for a price. Artan also recalled someone speaking of the cult at the Red Stag- that the cult was up in the high ruins to the north east.
We… Felghanis and I.. swore to the spirits that we will aid them, but we found nothing in the rest of the place save for bones – old and dry and seemed to have been poisoned at the tables where the ate. I shuddered, not wanting to get too close.
Once we left, we had managed to convince the others to come clam hunting with us – Dalldra, swayed by coin, agreed only when I had mentioned the possibility of pearls. She still convinced Lorko to pay a portion of her daily rate.
I smiled at that. The powerful woman been controlled by coin. and yet, we were not so different – I was controlled by my spell book and the materials, some rare and expensive, that my spells required. The cost of the cottage was enough to feed my family for a month or more.
A party of eight. We waited for the bear to return…