Tir Na n'Fir

Back to the Beginning...
Thoughts from the point of view of Cora'sol "The Immortal"

cross posted from Cora’s Travel Journal

In more ways than one.

This road has been long. We find ourselves, yet again, at the beginning of this path. Back on a ship and headed to Alexarta. Which means we are once more on the path toward Qualton, and to Tir na’Friar.

All things are circular, and cyclical.
It seems we still have things to do here before we can proceed onward. I feel as if I have been given a second chance to correct the misconceptions I had when I was here previously. A second chance to save the sylvan tree, and to restore balance to this area. I mean to take it this time.

Perhaps by taking my focus off of the minutiae of faith, and focusing once again on the balance of life around me, I have found the quiet voice of guidance again. Even I can still be caught up in the excitement of something new. I was so focused on the smaller things that I lost sight of the larger. My faith has not yet been restored to me, but I feel like I am on the right path after all.

So I have also come back to the beginning. Maybe it will ultimately bring me clarity at last.

.oOo..oOo..oOo..oOo.

The party continued on the road towards DragonSpire, discussing what might happen when we encounter the dragons there.

The whole conversation makes me uneasy, as dragons are volatile at best, and I don’t think they will be willing to simply let us in. The fact that the dragons are responsible for the eradication of the druids as they were doesn’t do much to settle my thoughts.

I made a comment that there was a better than average chance that the dragons might want to kill us … me.. on sight, but it was taken badly, so I refrained from commenting further.

I’ve still been somewhat lost in introspection since the Maker left us. He gave me much to consider, and the continued disconnection from the Sacred has left me feeling somewhat bereft.

After we had crossed through another plain, and come upon the bottom of a black stone ridgeline, Kel Lyn made mention of a very strong residual magic that she sensed. She believes that the ridgeline is where she and some previous party members accidentally caused a tower to explode. She cast a spell to determine where the energy was coming from, and recalled that this plain was cursed by an extremely strong Destroy Plant spell, in an effort of the mage from the then-tower to destroy the druids.

I wonder at the utter destruction of the druids. Why? Was the world so out of balance that it required the death of an entire people to restore it? What happened that caused such hatred towards those druids of long ago?

The more I hear, read, and learn about the death of those that came before me, the more wary I am of making my own powers known. Perhaps it is for the best that I cannot access my connection at the moment?

After another week’s worth of travel, we encountered an ancient forest. Old growth, and an extremely holy place. It took us two days to reach the center of the grove, where there was an enormous tree with crimson colored bark. The other party members called it a “redwood”, and I – with all of my years – have never seen an entity quite like it.

My faith might be broken, but my respect towards nature remains. Entranced by the giant before me, I walked up to the tree and put a hand on it in a greeting. It’s odd to describe the communion that happened between us, the tree and I. I don’t even know if it’s something that those with limited life spans could comprehend.

The oldest living things in the world. Ages unnumbered have nourished us, and we stand in absolute serenity, shedding years and cares like drops of rain. Time, the slow, measured passage of eons, is more like one giant river. Flowing ceaselessly from beginning towards some incomprehensible goal. Centered and balanced, the tree and I exist. His roots reach deep within the earth, his branches reach high into the interminable sky. As above, so below.
In connecting with the smaller things, the cycle of life here, the give-and-take; I also connect with the larger universe.

I do not know how long I sat against that tree. All else faded except that shared moment of calm certainty.

The next morning, there was a second, smaller tree there beside the great heart of the grove. An Ent. The Keeper looked at me, and with tears in my eyes, I spoke with him. I asked for guidance, and I told him of the sylvan tree that I am striving to save, and I asked if he might be able to provide some instruction on what I should do.

He told me that The things which are part of my tradition are those things which I must do. He reminded me of the symmetry inherent in Elven tradition, and reminded me too of the circular nature of the druidic traditions. There should be a way to repair what is broken.

Then he took the book that I was given, The Initiate’s Guide to Sacred Druidry, and he turned it over. Upside down and reversed, he bade me read it again.

Elves have a gift of perfection in speech that – in his measured words- is almost Ent-like. He told me that if carefully managed and studied, that which is done can be undone. He said that he did not know how to heal the sylvan tree, but he said that if the tree had the energy and the desire to live, then it would continue on. I asked him what I can do to help him as thanks for the peace of mind he has given. He replied that I was not yet ready to help him, but that I could return when I am.

Kel Lyn offered to make him some rocks to use in defense and protection of his grove. He agreed, and she began crafting rocks and boulders with her magic. She botched a spell, and the haywire magic went into the giant redwood. I reached out to touch the tree to make sure it was not harmed, and found myself underground in the roots of the tree as it decided at that moment to impart a gift of knowledge to me.

The giant taught me a spell that will allow me to locate water sources, with distance and direction of each source provided.

Once the tree had completed the teaching, I was released from the earth, and the party rested for another day to make certain that I was fit to travel.

I made note of the grove in my journal, and hope to return someday. The giant heart, and his Keeper have much that they could teach me, I wager. The serenity that they were able to help me attain, however, is something I have no way to thank them for. Reminding me of who I am.. of what I am.. and allowing me to refocus has been a priceless gift.

In the road out of the grove, there are fields and fields of odd looking plants with large green leaves and sweet-smelling yellow flowers (strawberry plants) I gently transplanted two into a container to carry with me, in hopes that I may cultivate them for my own gardens later.

After we had been on the road for about a week, we came to a ridge line, and a large black stone wall in the distance. Kel Lyn says that this is where there was a curse on the land that she and some previous party members helped to break, and that there was a mage tower here that they accidentally caused to explode.

Accidents seem to happen quite a lot around her, I’ve noticed. Perhaps the lack of control is due to her age. Tobias confirmed that this was where the tower was, and where he found the elven emperor’s armor that he now wears.

Shalev slaughters one of the oxen, as we needed to replenish our food stores before undertaking the trek across the barren ridgeline. Amit was given the largest portion of the carcass, and we all eat well. The rest of the meat is preserved carefully and added to our travel rations, and after a day of rest and preparing, we head across the ridgeline.

It takes us about 5 days to reach the bottom of the first ridge, and another 10 to reach the top of the next. We reached a plateau here, where there is a sixty foot crater in the center. Kel Lyn says that this is where the tower used to be. She casts a spell, and too late, remembers that there is a magical defense still remaining over this place that triggers a violent electrical storm. We all go to the center of the crater, as it is the lowest point that we can safely go to to avoid the lightning that flashes down around us.

Kel Lyn attempts another spell in Fyrewerian to create shelter for us, and accidentally ends up transporting us across the continent to the shores of Darkmoor, in Penicia.

She is quite upset about being here, and is acting rather irrationally. She’s quite incoherent about anything other than getting away from this place. I gather that this is where she is originally from, and that she left under a certain amount of duress. We travel to the main harbor, trying to convince KelLyn to remain hidden, but she is behaving unreasonably, and will not listen to what we are trying to tell her.

Shalev uses his family name, and his own nobility to gain us passage on a ship in the Grey Harbor, and lodgings in the Golden Swan inn. While we are there at the inn, he acts with accordance to his nobility, and we are given quite a lavish meal. I noticed that the nobles of the town who were here all vied to be seen in view of him, and I wonder if he realizes that it is HE that draws the respect and attention, not his family name. I am introduced as his advisor, and Tobias and the rest of the party are introduced as his bodyguards and maidservants to maintain the impression.

The meal provided to us is full of delicacies and is quite delightfully flavored. I will hand it to him, he knows how to make an impression, my student.

After a night in the inn where we are all able to refresh and rest, we make our way down to the docks to find the captain Mauri Lyn to book us passage back to Ambralia.

It turns out that this is KelLyn’s brother, and there is a moment of instant recognition between them. He tells her – somewhat angrily – that their father is dead, because of the price on her head, but agrees to carry us away from the city with all haste. We board the ship, and as soon as we set sail, we are attacked by two assassins from the Black Hand, who are after KelLyn They are dispatched in rather short (and messy) order, and KelLyn notes with wry amusement that these assassins bear the sigil of her goddess Leilanna.

Perhaps she needs to have a conversation or two with her deity.

Thankfully the rest of the trip goes uneventfully, and we arrive at the port of Ambralia.

So here we are again. Back to the beginning of the road we were travelling.

Things have come full circle in more ways than one. Now that we are back here, I have every intent on visiting Qualton again, to see what information can be gathered in speaking to the vintner and his family. Then there’s Basil and his gardens. We could use a restocking of healing potions, and I need to check on the entlings he has there. The ranger encampment outside of the city also bears visiting, as they have completed the compound bow that they started to build for me.

Then the next step is to take care of the sylvan tree, and the evil that lies below the elven city of Tir na’Friar. If I can safely remove the tree, then I will carry it back to Basil’s gardens, or the family of vintners to care for and restore. Perhaps in restoring the tree, my own connection to the Sacred will also be repaired.

But in the mean time, I have found what peace I can. I will continue on, and I will maintain as I always have, the serenity and ageless wisdom of who I am.

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fuck

fuck fuck fuck
i avoided Panecia for so long but obviously i couldn’t forever.
fuck
the black hand killed my father
ALSO THE ASSASSINS WHO FOLLOWED LEILANNA like seriously
fucking a, dude
fuck this
seriously
ugh now im broke though
but i am gonna get some new books on move/control
hell fuckin yeah\

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Who am I??
Thoughts from the point of view of Cora'sol "The Immortal"

cross posted from Cora’s Travel Journal

I am conflicted.

Adrift and lost and questioning everything I’ve ever known.

Even my god and goddess don’t speak to me. If they are even a god and goddess. Elves don’t have deities, as it were, but we do honor those that came before.

Perhaps that is yet another mistake that I have made. Have I put faith in the wrong things, and elevated where I should have only honored?

My faith is broken, and I don’t know what to believe anymore.

How painfully ironic that they call me the Mistress of Memory, when time itself has caused me to forget the core of what makes me who I am.

Have I also forgotten what it means to truly be an elf?
Is it even possible for me to re-learn?

I am immortal. I am gifted with long-sight, and I am one of the undying.

and yet..

and yet.

.oOo..oOo..oOo..oOo.

We managed to survive the city. As distasteful as I find that place, those people, I know I must go back eventually. There is work there that needs to be done, and the tree remains. This current crisis of faith I am experiencing began there. Something tells me that it will end there, for better or worse, as well.

The rest of the party managed somehow to break into the Inner Circle of the city. Lan came in as her water-faring seal form, chasing some sort of fey creature appearing as a small humanoid. This caused a distraction enough for Shalev, Fife, Ishmael and the rest to enter unmolested.

Ishmael caused further distraction by shouting out to the armed guards that the city’s gardens were on fire.
Appropriately then, most of the citizens left at that point to go protect their property.

They saw Tobias bristled and ready for war, and they heard my scream when I discovered the unknown immortal was still alive.

Shalev, Lan, and Ishmael climbed down the pit to the bottom to see what was revealed, and to act as guard against anything that might come up. I began removing the unknown immortal, as gently as I could, from the entangling roots of the tree.

While I was working at removing him from the wall, the little humanoid fey – Lan called him a leprechaun- stood there looking between the unknown immortal and myself, saying that he was deciding on what shiny thing that he was promised to take. He took the crown from the unknown immortal’s head, and vanished.

As soon as he did, the glow from my own pendant dissipated. With Tobias and Fife’s help, I was able to pull the wounded immortal up out of the pit. Once he was safely on the ground, I began focusing on doing what I could to heal him. My faith doesn’t work here. But I have potions, thanks to Shalev’s forethought and gift for preparedness.

So I used them. It took so many.
So many.
Each scream he uttered was a wound to my heart. I continued talking to him, soothing him, and feeding the healing potions to him until, at last, he was whole. He slept then, deeply unconscious, and my goal became to get him out of the city safely. I noticed that once he was removed from the tree, the energy from the tree began to diminish.

While I was concentrating on this task, the rest of the party was acting as guard, and Shalev discovered that the lady of the city was not registering as being real to him, when he tried to sense her alignment. She continued to stare venomously at me specifically – as she had the moment I walked into the Inner ring of the city – but took no action.

This makes some sense to me, and possibly confirms my fear that these people are under some form of direct influence or corruption. Potentially they have been from the beginning. I think she is the key to that influence.

But they will have to wait.

We managed to make it out of town unmolested and unharmed, and I insisted that we travel a good bit away. I have every intention of returning here to save the tree, if at all possible. These people have said that they wish to be separate. So separate they shall be. May they get exactly what they desire.

As it was the Spring Equinox, I did attempt to do the springtime rituals, as appropriate; but to no avail. I have no contact, no connection, nothing. There’s nothing.

Rituals done, we agreed to travel onward, toward the Library (DragonSpire) as originally planned.
I continued to monitor the progress of the unknown elf, but he remained unconscious and unresponsive. Alive and warm, but unresponsive.

The roads we traveled took us across a giant plain, which according to the description given to me by the vintner from Qualton, is where the humans gather once a year. There were several obvious campsites, and firepits scattered across the plain, but there were no humans, or any other beings here at the time we travelled through. On the other side, was a very old forest, though only a forest. No sentience here that could be sensed. I noticed that there was an odd pattern, where every third tree was completely withered.

As we continued to travel, we crossed under the mountain range, and then up over a massive river. We came to another ancient forest. There was a wooden latticework of vines that formed a gate of sorts, and the words DruidHome formed in the living vines above the entrance.

We entered the gates and came to a ring of standing stones in the center. There was a beam of green energy that shone from the center of the standing stones up to a floating island above the forest.
We stopped here, as it was close to the Solstice, and this seemed like a safe place to be.

Safe place it was, as we made camp, and were able to rest the night without event or encounter. We woke the next morning to the sound of metal being worked. We went over to investigate, and found that the unknown immortal was awake, and working on repairing one of Tobias’ weapons which had been damaged in breaking the gates to the city open. He had no anvil, no hammers, he simply held the mace and worked with his bare hands.

Ishmael was instantly and avidly curious about his ability, and even more so when He asked for Ishmael to sing for the water, as he learned from the old dwarf back in Grolsh.

While he was working with the weapons, Shalev approached him and requested that a weapon be crafted out of the strange bronze metal that he’s been carrying with him.

The elf agreed, and crafted a beautifully formed scimitar out of the material, much to Shalev’s delight. It still needs a hilt before it can be adequately wielded, but the weapon itself is strong and true.

He is a Maker.
One of the first of us.

He said that time itself is what’s blocking my memory. That I have forgotten how to sing and had become “too much a part” of this world. He had no answers for me. I thought perhaps that we were kin.. that he was family. In a way he is. Am I one of them as well? Have I forgotten, and therefore become separate?

But it has awakened that pain of longing inside me that I thought I had gotten over long ago. The desire to know what happened. To know why I can’t remember. To understand what exactly it is that I have forgotten.

It’s not the same.

I asked what happened and why. He said that he was sustaining the tree, not the other way around. and that he did so because he knew that he would long-outlive those that were doing it to him.

I..

What have I done?

In choosing to rescue him, have I condemned the tree?
Have I become so short-sighted?

I looked at him, with tears in my eyes, and said that I felt lost.

He smiled and told me precisely where I was located.

In the middle of the standing stones of DruidHome, on the southern continent.
North of the Great Valley
East of the Ancient crypts of the Imperial Order
West of the Great Desert
South of the tower of the last of the students of the last of the Fyrewerians

Which isn’t at all what I meant.

The information, as valuable as it was, did not help soothe the ache in my heart, or ease my uncertainty. It did nothing to give me hope.

I still have so many questions.

He began to draw on the stones at that point, opening a gate to …elsewhere. Kellyn looked on with keen interest, as the symbols he was etching into the stone were Fyrewerian symbols for “here” and “there”

The gate opened, showing the brilliant shine of the North Star, and a ship sailed through enough for him to board.

It was then that I felt a memory release. A thread loosening in the tight knot of blocked (or forgotten) remembrance in my mind. The two first trees, created as beacons. One of these was taken up and made into the North Star, to act as a constant point for navigation.

The trees now shine in memory of those first two, as a taste of the starlight, and to remember and remind us where they.. and we.. are from.

He then looked at each of the party, and smiled, saying to each of us to continue on. And he left, the shining gate closing behind him.

After he left, I sat down and performed a ritual for summer, not expecting it to work. It didn’t, but I did feel some small spark of rightness there about what was done.

and then I cried. I sat down in the center of that blue stone circle, and I let the tears fall down my face in a way that I haven’t done in millenia.

I cried for what I have forgotten.
I cry for the hint of who I was.
I cried for that lost taste of starlight.
I cry for all that I know I still must do, and the overwhelming feeling of being lost.

For there is still much to do, and I will – as I have apparently always done – remain here.

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Nobility
Shalev's thoughts from the road.

I was having a discussion with Fife on the road, the other day, about nobility, and how I am not acting like other nobles he had heard of. To me, being a noble does not mean others should bow and scrape to me. The desert does not care how highborn you are, when it considers how much water you need to drink, how much food you need to eat, and what will shelter you from the storm. To me, being a noble means fine personal qualities or high moral principles. It means holding yourself to a higher standard, to keeping your word, if at all possible, when you give it. The Princess and my brother have both displayed the former characteristics, and while in the beginning she did not contribute, when we encountered the dark elf paladin, she caught arrows to protect Cora without being asked. My brother, upon being given a gift of great wealth, without any request for repayment, attempted to poison me.
When we trained with the rangers, they presumed, because of my birth, I would take issue with earning my keep, with pulling my weight, and with the indignities of life in the wild. When I met Cora long ago, she broke me, gently, into the realities of living in the deep desert, of not having anything to eat save for what you bring with you, nor to drink save what you find. To be noble is to be better, not better than others, but better than you could be. The wealth I possess is easily sufficient for me retire, to travel and make a living doing nothing other than moving from place to place to place, and not seeing other soul.
I don’t believe a lone creature can make a society, is any better than a scavenger, contributing nothing to the world at large. I plant seeds for trees whose fruit I will never taste, whose shade will never offer me succor, and kill predators who would never dare to hunt me, so that when the time comes, I will be known for what I created, not for what I destroyed or who I slew.
Our group is a pack now. Ishmael and Fife Mac Drosten are makers, crafting, repairing, and building, as we need. Kellyn and Lan use magic, altering reality as they need to, to protect us from the evils out in the world, giving us water to drink, and healing our wounds. Tobias and I are warriors, acting as mace and sword against those who would bear arms against us, and Cora is our wisdom, offering guidance from her long years to direct us from the quick path which may lead to unpleasant places.
Our current quest will lead us to the Library, where I am sure Kellyn will be able to get us past the Dragons, after which we will return to investigate the depths of the pit, before moving the tree, likely to the Elven vineyard, where it might flourish again. After that, we may venture north to locate the cup needed to heal Grantir, after which I intend to clear the Temple of Nutartek, to beg a boon of the god of the dead, and speak to my father again, should he be available. We need to stop the advance of the Dark Elf Army, and may need to unite the Dervish and the armies of the desert to do so, as they have already begun laying waste to several cities and acquired several artifacts in their path. We may not have much time to waste.
My broach has no more power, but I have begun to be able to reach Ma’at, and pray to her daily for guidance and that my sword strikes for justice in her name. There is much yet to be done, and my name now begins to carry weight. I am not longer “Lev” but rather “Shalev Ben Barak Ben Aris, Paladin of Ma’at” and that is a responsibility I bear most seriously. I now bear one blade taken from the dead, one blade intended by one who is now dead, and two blades gifted by those who are alive. I will wield all with honor, and do what I can to uphold justice and enforce the law.

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Wrong
Thoughts from the point of view of Cora'sol "The Immortal"

cross posted from Cora’s Travel Journal

Everything is wrong here.
So very wrong.

I can’t think straight. I can barely breathe. The horror and anger and anguish are like knives in my heart.

These …. people.. I can’t call them elves right now. They’ve renounced all that it means to BE an elf. I PRAY that these people have been under some kind of sway. That they didn’t realize exactly what it is they had done.

But I am not hopeful. I can’t focus on that right now. I can’t allow my horror and anger to overshadow me. I am thankful that Tobias is here by my side. He’s the only thing keeping me grounded at the moment. I wonder if this is how Shalev felt.. upon hearing news of his father’s murder?

I found out why my druidic powers have no hold here. The terrible reason why.

The only thing that remains now is him. THEM. The tree. I must do what I can to save them both.

But I am rambling. Let me try to make sense of my thoughts.

.oOo..oOo.

Still in the city of Tir na’Friar, we had about a month before the Great Court was to happen. The party and I used that time to continue helping Matron with her lands, to practice and hone skills, and to discover what I could about what to expect with the Great Ritual.

She seemed uncomfortable at my asking, and was noticeably tight-lipped about this “ritual” and what it entailed. It made me uneasy, and wary. The more I talked to her, the stronger the sense of “something isn’t right here” showed through.

Determined to see what the ritual was for myself, I commissioned a dress suitable for such an occasion. The seamstress I commissioned made me a beautiful gown out of ocean blue raw silk, with silver trim. She asked what the motif should be, and I requested arboreal, which caused her to pause and look at me in an odd way. She then murmured something about how the Great Court hadn’t been “properly scandalized” in a long time, and then informed me that it would be ready in a week.
Four days later the summons arrived for Matron, and the invite arrived for Tobias and I, stating that the court would convene in three days’ time. The rest of the party was not to attend, as they were not elves.

Matron grew more tense, and more quiet, as the time for the ritual grew closer; and I began to urgently get the sense that I would not like what I was about to witness.

I was right.

We were escorted up to the inner circle of the city, and I knew. I knew as soon as I stepped foot inside that scorched circle of earth. I knew in a heartbeat why my connection to the Sacred was lost here. I knew in an eyeblink what I had begun to suspect, but couldn’t dare believe that any elf would do. But I was so very wrong. The moment I saw it, I began praying. Not knowing if my god and goddess could hear me or not. Not knowing if they cared. But I prayed. I prayed for help. For something.. for anything..

In the center of the blackened ring of earth and ash, grew a young sylvan tree. No more than a sapling, and a yearling at that. Vibrant and healthy and alive.

The royal family began the ritual by stating that this was, and had been, a yearly tradition. Was “who they were” and “who they would be”. They denounced everything about the old ways. Renounced all that they are. Claimed that the right to be free led them to this. That the wish to work with metals of the earth like… like dwarves or gnomes, was more important to them than their connection to the Wellspring. That their safety and ability to blend in and remain “quiet” was more important to them than being a part of nature and balance.

To my growing horror, they loudly proclaimed that, in an act of complete revolt, they entombed their ruler – an immortal, one of my kind, that I have never heard of – in the earth below, so that he could continue to watch the desecration of the tree year after year.

The tree has old roots. Over 500 years. It will not die. Not like this. But it will burn.

Then they burned it.

They burned a living thing. A Sylvan tree. Alive.
Each of the families threw a torch on the growing pyre, and watched without compassion as it burned to the ground. It was all I could do not to start screaming then.

Even Matron, although she glanced at me with sorrow in her eyes, and tossed her torch far to the side, so it would not land among the conflagration. I noticed. I refused. I dropped the torch I was given at my feet, although looking back, a stronger message would have been to put it out entirely.

I spoke in quiet tones to Matron as the citizens of the city began bringing their grievances to the leading family. Like HUMANS. Everything here is so WRONG.

I implored her.. WHY. Why do this? Why participate in something she knew in her heart was wrong. She said that she had become accustomed to the safety of knowing they wouldn’t be attacked, because the energy doesn’t resonate here.

NOT AN EXCUSE. This tree deserves LIFE, NOT DESTRUCTION. Doing nothing is still an action, and it’s still WRONG. She knows it.

I was blazing angry, and verging on actual tears.
Tobias, growing increasingly alarmed, and increasingly horrified by what he saw, put himself at my back, and began trying to calm me down.

I looked at Matron.

HELP ME. Is all I said.

and she agreed. Lord and Lady bless her, she did. She made it appear as if I had put some kind of control over her, and she walked to the center of the fire ring, and then cast a spell of wind. The wind gathered and gathered, much like the winds before a sandstorm from home, but with more deliberate intent. The torches all went out one by one, and the bonfire in the center was twisted up in the vortex and extinguished. The sparks and embers floated off into the air, and over the city, but I paid them no heed.

Once the fire was out, she collapsed as if unconscious, and was immediately protected by two of the other families. I’m glad to know that she is – for the moment at least – unharmed and safe.

I ran over to the center, where the burned root of the sapling was exposed, and I grabbed it hoping to feel some spark of life.

What I felt was hatred. Burning, writhing hatred coming from an eight eyed enemy. “Lloth” I breathed with dread, and Tobias heard me.

My immediate thought was that whatever was down there.. whatever they had buried, was not elf. Was something far.. far worse. and that the tree itself had been corrupted.

The head family demanded why the ritual was interrupted, threatening to see “just how immortal I really was”, causing Tobias to bristle noticeably… and I confronted them. What have you done?! I shouted. Why do you do this!? You’ve denied everything it is to be an elf, in exchange for what?! You’ve corrupted the wellspring, and you desecrate something sacred just because you CAN?! Spring time rituals are supposed to be about renewal. About a restatement of life, and health and vitality.

Instead you made it a celebration of everything opposite. You wonder at the lack of children here. You whisper about the feel of decay. You’re blind and you’ve condemned this entire city by cutting yourselves off from all that you ARE. From all that you COULD BE.

They remained unmoved, and threatened to throw me down there with whatever it was they entombed.

Tobias, at that point, began thinking out loud, because he sensed that the tree itself was still holy, and NOT corrupted. He spoke about Lloth, and the drow, and how there was SOMETHING down there that was unholy, and completely so.

I don’t know what he said, but He somehow managed to get them to open the tomb, revealing the immortal ruler they had imprisoned, and much to everyone else’s surprise, an underground road leading just beneath the city.

How far does Lloth’s influence reach? How much has she corrupted these people.

What I saw.. dear Lord and Lady, how COULD THEY.

An immortal, undoubtedly, and one I should know.. although I don’t know why.
Chained to a wall.
With the roots of the tree itself growing THROUGH his emaciated body.

Dear gods, that means he not only witnessed. HE FELT. HE FELT IT BURN. EVERY TIME.

I can’t.. I can barely..

HOW COULD THEY.

WHO DID THIS?

I all but screamed out in fury. Knowing Tobias would protect me, I climbed down into the tomb to confirm what I knew already, with an unspeakable terror.

He was still alive.

As I grew near to his withered form, it became easier to see for some reason. Then I glanced down to find my necklace.. the pendant that I’ve worn for so long.. was … glowing.

and the crown that he wore on his head was glowing. They matched. The symbols match.

He is ..

there’s something wrong with my memory. There’s a block that I can sense now. Deliberately placed within my mind, that means that I can not remember. I do not know who he is, or who I am in relation. He could be my father. My brother. My son?

As I grew nearer to him, I reached out to touch him gently, and his eyes opened. They stared blindly, and he began screaming. Or.. trying to scream with what remained of his throat.

I did scream then. Long and loud and full of wordless horror, and ran to his side.

So many questions.

So many unanswered questions.

and such… revulsion. That my own kind could do this to someone else.

and potentially MY family. I thought them all dead. Maybe that memory is a fabrication itself.

I can’t know.. I won’t know..

and I can’t think.

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Away for far too long..
Thoughts from the point of view of Cora'sol "The Immortal"

cross posted from Cora’s Travel Journal

One of the downsides to being in seclusion for as long as I have been, is learning to be among society again. Of the 7 immortals, I am unique in that I will voluntarily venture out among civilizations from time to time.

Once our time in the mining city of Grolsh was complete, we continued onwards on the road towards the library, and it was with a happy sigh that I left that enclosing city of stone. After about a week of uneventful travel, we came upon the city of Tir na’ Friar. An elven settlement. City. Beautiful as it is, with its curving wooden structures and shining layan gates, it is still very much a city.

We were stopped on the road before we reached the gates by a patrol of guards with weapons drawn. I lowered my hood, and let myself be seen; motioning for Tobias to follow suit, and reveal the Imperial layan armor that he wears. They asked, somewhat pointedly, why I travelled with such company. I introduced my companions with honor that they deserve;
Ishmael – Renowned Weaponsmith and metallurgist
Tobias – consort and Imperial guard
Lan – Avatar of Leilanna
Kellyn – the Archmage
Fife – Swordmaster
and Shalev – my accepted student, and paladin of Ma’at; and his animal companion Amit

and said that I had agreed to help them with various quests. They were less hostile after that, and offered us escort into the city, which we accepted graciously. I mentioned that it had been quite a long time since I had the opportunity to be in a city of my people, and requested advice on acquiring a place to stay for the length of time needed to rest and resupply.

They gave me a basic introduction to the city layout, and then said that I could request hospitality from the 4th tier of the city.
We entered the city at that point, and explored the craftsman’s circle, where I commissioned a new set of leather armor that would not affect my dexterity and movement when worn. The leather worker there agreed to the commission, and said that it would be ready in two days. After that, we continued on toward the 4th Tier, and once there, I approached a group to inquire about hospitality.

Have I been out of civilization for so long, that my own people no longer recognize me? Apparently so. The elves here are very young. Young enough to have either never heard the stories, or perhaps they simply paid them no heed. One of them called me “grandmother”, although I am not certain if it was meant derisively or not.

I requested direction to a quiet place for my companions and I to stay for a space of time, and one of them lead us to a rather run down looking house on the edge of the tier. Again, I caught a hint of implied insult from the youngsters, but ignored it as the childish thing that it was.

The woman who owned the house is named Ma’tron Pon Mar, and she graciously accepted us into her home. She is stooped with age, although she is only 150 or so, and seems… fragile. I forget that I am unique in my agelessness. (hmph. Grandmother indeed.) Her house and lands were in obvious need of repair, and she just as obviously wasn’t capable of doing it herself.

I spoke with my companions and requested that, as thanks for opening her home to us, that we work together to improve her lot as much as we could. Tobias, Fife, Shalev, and Ishmael immediately set to work on repairing and cleaning her house. Lan, Kellyn, and I worked on the yards and the gardens.

I inquired about her injury, and asked if she would allow Lan to see if there was something that we could do to heal her. She agreed, and Lan was able to cast a spell that helped to straighten her spine and allow her to move freely again. A healing draught took care of any residual injury, and she is once again whole, much to her delight.

As work continued on the house and lands, I spent many moments conversing with Ma’tron over tea about old stories and legends. Tea! At last I have tea. It’s a comfort to me, and something familiar. Shalev and I both were able to take a handful of cuttings from the bushes in her gardens as we worked to bring the gardens back to some semblance of order. It will be a challenge to keep them strong and alive so that we may replant them elsewhere, and another challenge to see if they will flourish in the desert climes that Shalev and I are used to.

Strange though, that here in the gardens, my druidry has no effect. I tried to cast a simple spell to make the gardens healthy, only to have it fail. This is troubling to me, and I need to spend some time in meditation to find out why I was not able to do this, or what might have interfered. I worry that I will not be able to do anything further with this until I can discern why.

During their repairs, Tobias, Ishmael, and Shalev discovered some extensive damage to the outer walls of the house, and they trekked into the craftsman’s area of town to see if they could arrange for a trade of materials to help with the refitting of the house. Elven cities are traditionally trade based, and do not often deal with money as the humans do.
Shalev was able to trade some cooking spices for the lumber required, and it was delivered to the house later that day. Amusingly enough, by the same youngster who (insultingly perhaps?) lead us to stay here in the first place. He looked surprised, and a little abashed. Perhaps he learned a valuable lesson here, although time will tell.

Kellyn requested that I ask about the presence of a library here, and Ma’tron opened her home further to us, showing her personal library, where the records of her travels with her husband were kept. It came to light that Ma’tron and her husband were at one time adventurers of some renown, and that her husband was …. other. Not human, nor elf, and Kellyn suspects possibly even a dragon. To ask or suggest such a thing would be terribly uncouth, however, so the mystery of what her husband is or was will remain. In their travels, they searched for artifacts and items of power, as well as learning to create said things. Ma’tron herself was… IS.. a mage, and a powerful one. This captured Kellyn’s intense interest, as Ma’tron gives off no sense of magics whatsoever, and the two were soon lost in conversations about magic and Fyrewerian. Kellyn agreed to teach Ma’tron what little of Fyrewerian that she could while we were here.

Shalev inquired about trading his compass Leah-noa for a magical blade, and was promptly handed the layan-bladed greatsword that hung proudly on the wall in Ma’tron’s library. He took it with awe, reverence, and a little disbelief, and spent quite some time simply looking at the blade. There are a few other items of interest in her library – namely the mage’s staff, which Kellyn is quite obviously interested in; and a green-dragon scaled shield.

We will be here for a while longer, I think, as there is much to learn from Ma’tron, and I am quite enjoying her company. She mentioned, in our tea time conversations, that there is a Great Court to be held in a month’s time. I would be interested in staying for this, as if I am indeed back in the civilized world, it would probably be expected of me in any case. I’ve been out of the world for far too long. It’s time to make myself known again. I will need to visit the clothier to see about having proper attire made for me to attend a High Court function.

While we are here, we will continue to help improve her home and her land, as much as we are able to do so. It’s the least we can do for her hospitality, and for the knowledge that she has – and will potentially – share with us. Perhaps she can even shed some light on the objectives we currently have? We shall see.

In the mean time, I will continue to look forward to our tea time conversations, and simply being among other elves for a time.

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Winter Observations
Thoughts from the point of view of Cora'sol "The Immortal"

cross posted from Cora’s Travel Journal

I remember now why I moved to the desert.

Peoples here are more diverse, but less accepting. Being who I am and what I am is cause for either derision or awe. I have noticed that there is not much of a middle ground between the two. Even among other elves it is the same. Being one of the Immortals brings wide-eyed wonder and reverence bordering on an uncomfortable level of almost-worship; or suspicious glances and whispered conversations. Most of these I tolerate to some degree, having learned long ago that it’s simply a thing to deal with or ignore.

However, it is something that sharply underscores my lack of familiarity with anything here.
Even the weather is unpredictable and cold.

In an effort to familiarize more with these surroundings, and to learn (or remember) how to properly prepare for travel in winter, the party traveled to the ranger encampment that was about four days out from the main city. They readily agreed to trade skill training for geographical and climate knowledge, and we spent a month’s time with them working and learning along side the rangers.

Shalev worked with a number of them to improve their skills with spears, and would often take Amit out to hunt with them. During one of these hunts, they were attacked by a very large, very old boar who had apparently been troubling the rangers for some time. It was successfully taken down by Amit, and was found to be riddled not only with disease and parasites, but with still living bits and pieces of the tainted orcs.

It’s good that they killed it when they did, the poor beast was probably in agony.

The orc hands were quickly burned and the carcass cleaned and purified at Shalev’s direction. These orcs are becoming quite troublesome, but if we can spread the knowledge on how to permanently destroy them, perhaps we can quell the invasion for a time.

Ishmael made the rangers a store of arrowheads with his smithing abilities, and Lan aided in catching a plethora of fish from the lake nearby – much to her delight, I might add. She truly is a creature of the waters, and seems happiest in that, her natural, form.

I taught them the basic and natural way to orient yourself to the proper direction, no matter where you are. Two of the students picked it up quickly, and show promise of being able to pass the knowledge on to others who might be interested. As for the third student, I very nearly gave up as a lost cause. He just didn’t seem to understand the simplest reasoning. The other two assured me that the teachings were not in vain, and that they could eventually get him to come around. I will trust that they will look after their brother.

As much as I admit to missing the sands of the desert, it is good to see trees again. Being among growing things has given me a chance to explore the nature of the Sacred Druidic tradition in depth. Life in Balance sounds like a simple concept, but is truly something I could easily spend a century contemplating on.

When I wasn’t teaching, or helping them in other ways, the rangers gave me free rein of the forest, and I would often find myself wandering among the trees with a wistfulness that only made the melancholy more pronounced. It is a well protected area already, which is good. Although they are more secular in nature, they still understand the necessity of proper balance. Life and death happen interchangeably within the forest, and they – perhaps unknowingly – work toward protecting that balance.

While we were there among the rangers, Shalev was actively asking questions to his compass, Lea-hona, not just to ascertain the direct nature of it’s ability, but to aid him in his searches for information. In the course of his discussions with me, and the answers that he received from LeaHona, it was brought to light that his brother somehow had a hand in the death of his father.

His reactions have been quite understandable, and he’s become quite focused on gathering more information, as well as resources in order to confront his brother in search of justice. Desert politics, especially those of the noble families, are tricky at best. I recommend caution and gathering irrefutable hard evidence before leveling the accusation formally, though I worry that he is focused on revenge to the point of not caring. He says that his goddess has not talked to him, and I wonder if she too isn’t giving him the space he needs to sort through his feelings about the matter.

He is holding himself on a very tight leash, and has often found himself by my fireside once again, seeking counsel and wisdom much like when he first became my student. I hope I can help calm his ire (justified as it may be) to a point where he can take a look at each facet of this dilemma appropriately. I will offer my help, counsel, and cautions in whatever capacity is required, but ultimately this is something that he must work through and resolve on his own. I think, to some degree, he already realizes this. My hopes for my student are high though, and I have no doubt that he will come through stronger and wiser.

Our month with the rangers ended right as the equinox occurred, and I was able to add a sacred blessing to the area as an additional protection. I don’t know if they recognized what I did, and reacted with some surprise when I inquired about knowledge of any other sacred druids. Their reactions confirmed my suspicion that I am currently the only one, but I will continue to search and study in hopes that I can discover more.

Our party spoke at length about which path to take next, and we decided to continue on towards the library. We took the north-western road out of Quantz, toward the mountain ranges, following the directions that the vintner gave to me earlier.

After about two weeks of traveling, we came to a little mining town called Grolsh. Ishmael spoke with the miners and smiths there, and we agreed to winter here with them while he shares his skill and knowledge of metal working. He seems quite keen on the secrets of how to make a fire hotter, and can often be seen tinkering with different powders and combinations to try to achieve this end.

While he was teaching one evening, a small dwarven man approached him and began to talk to him in a strange guttural language. Thereafter, they could both be seen speaking in the local tavern each evening. I don’t know what they spoke of, but I noted his extreme interest in the conversations, so I would hazard to guess that the old dwarf was sharing the knowledge Ishmael sought.

I am admittedly uncomfortable here in this city of stone and earth. I don’t like it here. I feel closed in and confined. I spend my days here observing the people as a whole and their customs, refining my grasp of the common tongue, observing the weather patterns and effects of the winter, and sitting quietly in meditation.

One day at a time.
and both God and Goddess know that I would give much for a cup of decent tea.

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Of course you realize, this means war.
Shalev's thoughts

Now could I drink hot blood, And do such bitter business as the day Would quake to look on.

In nature, when a predator stalks a meal, just before the strike, when the air is still, everything seems to slow down, and then the battle begins which ends with both sides aware and reacting to each other. There is an ancient proverb I once heard an elf say, “Never wound an animal you can’t kill.”

My brother has wounded me. Using Leahona, I have located the staff Kellyn gave up, and she believes she now knows where it is. Crawlsargot is located to the South and East of the Oasis of the White Palm, approximately 675 days travel by camel. I will leave it where it is, though I may barter the knowledge of its location if I do not find a way to get to myself, though I will be careful who I give that knowledge too. Having assisted Kellyn, confirmed the location of the sword, a horrible thought occurred to me… even having almost been poisoned, it took me time to consider the possibility that my brother murdered my father. Now that I know… I will go on this quest to return this book. and use the time to ask more questions to locate the cup needed to deal with the orcs or heal Grantir. My companions may only have so long before I can no longer wait for justice.

We provisioned for our journey, and Kellyn discovered Lan’s Palantir is in fact intelligent, and lost her hair when it attempted to harm her. We traveled north to meet with some rangers to obtain new skills, and be ready to travel in the winter. Kellyn returned to town, managed to hide from a small group of orcs which came upon her in the night, returned in time to see a procession, and on her way back to us, became a royal advisor to a local nobleman for her clear answers to questions regarding the orcs.

Back at the lake, I taught the rangers to fight with spears in new ways, Cora taught them to be able to navigate by day or night, and Ishmael made them arrowheads, and in exchange we were taught winter survival and Ishmael learned of a new substance to make fire.

Amit easily took down a boar which was troubling the rangers, which had also been attacking the orcs, and I quickly instructed them in the importance of burning the bodies, lest they regenerate The bones were given to the rangers to make a new bow of, when we pass this way again, and we have two summers to collect it before they will give it to a local ranger. With the healing potions we gave them, the skills we taught them, and the manner in which we acted, I believe our reputations will be regarded positively, an important consideration given the circles we may soon travel in.

We paused to winter in a mining town, where Ishmael is teaching blacksmithing, while Lan meditates, Kellyn works to make pure water and purify the lake of the miners, and I asked to meet with a noted smith,. Having lost Crawlsargot, and recalling the undead we fought, I suspect I could use a new sword, one which would be capable of harming the evils we may soon find ourselves dealing with.

The party is as well prepared as I can think to make us, with having extra food on the oxen’s backs, the oxens themselves being edible, the huge amount of magical healing we now all have, not to mention the specific and clear instructions to where we wish to go. We know we will face dragons, but if we must find them, we have time to practice and device tactics to use against them.

Ishmael appears to be have found a faith, based on his discussions with a local figure of some renown, who instructed him in the ways of smithing and singing.

I wonder at Ma’at’s silence, but believe that she is not yet ready to speak to me, and will do as she instructs, once she does contact me. She has kept faith with me, and still protects me, and I will ask for her aid when the time comes.

The Princess Shimbala may be a strong ally in navigating the political waters I find myself in, and I suspect she will see bringing my brother to justice as a worthwhile goal, especially when considering the effect it will have if I inherit. and she gains control of the house and that wealth, in my absence.

I’m sorry, brother. Had you but waited, I would have happily lived my life, giving you the treasures I collected, and not asking for much in return, save an occasional meal and kind word. Now I return, and I carry Hell with me.

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Full Circle..
Thoughts from the point of view of Cora'sol "The Immortal"

cross posted from Cora’s Travel Journal

All things happen at their appointed time.

I have come once again to the forests and mountains, although these are a far cry from the ancient entities of my homeland. These forests are young, and most of the land here is cultivated for the surrounding civilizations.

Gone are the desert silks and swaths of cloth. In their place, I wear well fitted leather armor, and clothing made of cotton and wool. Blacks, blues and greens. I still feel strange showing my face, and have found that keeping my hair braided into a long rope keeps it from getting tangled in my weapons. I still wear it free flowing when we are not on high alert, and when we are in towns. The length of my hair seems to cause some issue, I’ve noticed. Another strange human notion of “status.”

People… humans.. have many strange notions. The one we see much of here is the issue of land ownership. They wall off pieces and parcels and say “This is mine.” then they fight bloody wars over the rights to those little pieces. It’s one of the many things I will never understand about these volatile races.

Several of the guards remarked that there was an on-going war with a race called “orcs”, vicious creatures that are almost unstoppable. Apparently if you cut one apart, each piece would become an entirely new being. This is troubling, and quite unnatural.

Troubling for me, especially, because the legends that I have heard about these creatures rumor that they are descended from my own race. I must look more into this.

Lan held commune with her goddess Leilanna, who apparently is the deity of the more normal orcs, but holds no truck with these abominations. She was able to tell us that they are, in fact, able to be permanently killed using blunt instruments to incapacitate and fire to destroy completely.

We encountered one of these orcs during the midnight watch while we were on the roads. Lan shifted to her orc form, which thoroughly confused the creature long enough for Fin to brain it, and drag it to the fire pit where it burned to ash.

We encountered two more a few nights later, and one of them shot me with an arrow. I had no warning that he was firing, and so the arrow hit me in the neck. Lev acted quickly though, removing it and healing me of any lasting damage.
These two were also dispatched, but not before the one who shot me was able to sound an alert on a war horn. On his body, we discovered a strangely fashioned black bow, which fires completely silently. Fin has this in his possession currently, but it might be interesting to see if we can create another like it. We burned these two, and quickly left to travel on with no further incident thankfully.

If the orcs are a traveling war party that can attack without being heard, then this is worrisome news for the homesteaders and small towns along the roads here.

After a few weeks of traveling along the country roads, we have come to a city called ____________ [Player note here: the names of the cities are in my written notes and not with me. I will update this once I get back home later tonight.] ______________, which is where my Tobias began his adventures years past. It seems he too has come full circle. He seems nostalgic, and a little weary, but had the opportunity to reunite with one of his old companions – an alchemist of legendary skill called Basil.

While we were visiting with Basil, Lev commissioned a portion of the batch of healing droughts that the alchemist was brewing up. Seeing how our party has a propensity to get ourselves into trouble, this was a necessary investment. The potions would take time to make properly, so we rented some very nice rooms at the Red Hand Inn.

Lev is still showing a strange habit of throwing money around. I worry that this lack of concern for the extravagance that he shows will make us a target for cut-purses and thieves, or even more unsavory characters. I think he sees it as building reputation for his family, but I still recommend caution to him. Sometimes he listens. He does well to ensure that the party is always well equipped and supplied, and I can understand his need to cement his family name.

The food here is good. The wine even better. It’s a nice place to stay, for a city. Lots of trade goods pass through this place, so we had the opportunity to upgrade a few items and do some recognizance on the trails ahead.We also had the opportunity to listen to the many bards that came through, and learned of several things happening in this portion of the world.

Including the apparently massive Fashion Show that’s held here once a year. Bards and merchants take bets on which colors will be in vogue for the season.

Maybe we can replenish some of our coin with some well placed bets? Tobias recognized the fabric containers being offloaded from the ships as silk merchants that specialized in a peculiar orange fabric.

Fin and Ishmael seem to get along well, and I see them often talking to one another – probably about the party. Ishmael also made friends with an old blind gnome that frequents the bar, and spent several nights deep in conversation with him about the gnomes, and their skills at smithing. I do not know if it gave him any pertinent information for his quest, but it seemed to make them both happy.

Basil had a massive and meticulously kept garden where I found myself wandering almost daily. Walking among the rich earth, trickling waters, and scents of the growing things was familiar in a distant faded way, like an almost forgotten memory of home. It was a peaceful way to spend some time. Notable and surprising were the three entlings that Basil had growing and very well protected near the back edge of his greenhouse. They are very young yet, and have not achieved intelligence, but it is good to know that the race of ents continues on.

I will have to make a point to return here often to check on their progress.

During my daily meditations among Basil’s gardens, I made the intuitive discovery that a Sacred Druid is devoted to Balance of the World as a whole. As such, I learned a handful of spells and rituals that reflect this. Life and Death. Yin and Yang. I will continue to reflect on this new knowledge, and continue to seek other evidence of the druids who existed before me. I still need to seek out the Koa and the centaur that stays with them to see if they also have knowledge of the sacred druid traditions.

During another of our almost daily visits with Basil, one of the vintners of the city stopped by. This city has a large trade in wines and meads, much to Fin’s delight and mine. It has been many years since I’ve tasted a decent elven brandy.

The vintner recognized me at a glance – which I wasn’t expecting – and immediately adopted an almost subservient nature, which was a little disconcerting. I managed to calm the poor boy down, and we spoke for a time. He was able to provide some extremely helpful information regarding the lost library.

Here they call it DragonSpire, and he gave me the directions on how to find what we were searching for, as well as a caution to be wary on the roads in certain places. He spoke of the NorthWest path through the mountains, a set of ruins, a pair of towers, and several other notable landmarks to guide our way.

After our conversation was over, he asked – almost timidly – if I had any of the “coin of the realm”. On a whim, I gave him the layan bow that I picked up from the dread priest. I have no use for it, as it is much to noisy and unwieldy for me, and it would be better served back among my people anyway.

He took the bow with wide eyed reverence, and then bolted away on his horse shortly after. I imagine his family and the rest of the vintners will soon know that I have broken my self imposed seclusion at last, and venture again out in the world. It will be interesting to see what happens because of it.

So now we have a destination, comprehensive directions on how to get there, and someone who knows the area reasonably well. The road goes ever on and on… and things will always come full circle.

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Shalev's speech to his mother
Or "The Princess may have some explaining to do..."

(For those who wonder what I told Cerma, ruler of Garmeh sha Kavir met Dashtir, just before Kellyn graciously refilled the family cisterns)

Mother, it has been some time since I saw you last, and a great many changes in my life have happened since then, most for the better. Since we last spoke, I have been taken as a student by The Immortal, Mistress of Memory, who graciously trained me in how to truly prosper in the desert, and expanded my knowledge of a great many subjects.

In the course of our travels, we met a party of adventurers, who were wandering through the desert with great trouble, until we began to instruct them in how to survive there. Shortly thereafter, we encountered an enemy army armed with an evil artifact, and in fleeing from them, were magically sent across the desert.

Our method of arrival was said to portend the resolution of several evils of the desert, and in our travels, we ended a curse, restored water to parts of the desert, and began work to restore a mage to life. In the course of doing so, I undertook a quest at the Oasis of White Palm, to rescue their princess, Priestess of the White Palm. There were several conspiracies abound, and one of the culprits of a plot was the second son of the family whose eldest son she was betrothed to, the Sheik of that oasis.

We did rescue her, eventually, and then took her with us, to restore the Great Mage, Martek. Seeing her in such a state, I offered a large emerald and my support to help her restore her fortune and permit her to decide her fate, and how she would return to the Oasis, given the conspiracies centered on whom she would marry. On one occasion, while we were in battle, she got to me before Amit could, when my life was in danger, and claimed a debt because of it. We had spent time talking, the two of us being the only ones in the party she recognized as being noble, and determined at a point she wished to marry me. You know of my desires to travel, and she saw this as a way to marry into wealth and still have control over the household.

I did mention wealth, didn’t I? In my travels, I have acquired a Stargem, several emeralds, considerable amounts of platinum, and have made efforts to aid our family, by speaking with the House of Barak to the North of the Oasis of the White Palm, telling them of certain opportunities in the area, which they pledged to repay by sending information to you here. I also became a paladin of Ma’at, Goddess of Law and Order and Balance, who has healed me and protected me on several occasions, and who has been a steadfast ally to me and mine.

When we had succeeded in our quest, the Great Mage Martek offered us rewards for our service, as was proper. In my case, he offered me a method of healing for a grievous wound I had taken, when we investigating the prison where the Princess was held, in addition to the a method by which we may recreate the golden metals of ancient times, a lead at where I might find more information for another quest I have set myself, and Amit received a great power, having a magical sword broken and its power given to him to use as he saw fit.

My companions also received items of great value, and I mentioned to the princess that she should speak up, while she could, and she did so, asking for two things. The first was a magical stargem which would prevent the use of clerical power within a certain proximity to her, and the second was that Martek magically betroth she and I, as she had failed in all her attempts previous to cause me to take an action against propriety. This, after I offered her support unprompted, and released her without as much as a thank you in return. She was within her power to do so, but considering the value we received in our rewards, the fact that she requested magical binding for us, shows how much she truly wishes for this marriage to place, and how much she longs for a husband who may be long absent from the home.

I may be a second son, but I would argue, I am a loyal and successful one, having achieved a lifelong goal, and then turning it over to my family for their use when it is ready. She lives on the other side of the desert, which would put me in a position or aid our family with information from that locale should any arise, and remove me from any political manipulations for any who would use me against my brother.

The Oasis of the White Palm is a rich location, though it is not without its problems, having a corrupted Temple to a God of the Dead located beneath it, not to mention the illegal slave trade which took place there, and the machinations of the Sheik’s family, who thought more about their own position than the needs of the city itself.

When you negotiate with her, know she wants above all else to control her own fate, and that she would long for my absences which would leave her ruling in my name. I am willing to wander the land, returning regularly if it comes to that, else, I could pledge to stay less than two months a year, barring injury, so she may freely rest assured that she need not fear interruption.

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