On the Border of Princes and Kings

Payment in blood and tears.

She had watched him pay the price, too. Scruffy, Theodoros’ man and bodyguard, had carried the black hammer Pergale had given him into battle against the undead. She had seen the look in his eyes as the power of Danzig’s hammer had blasted the reanimated fiends to flinders, had seen the way he had become driven and determined with it in hand, the zealotry with which he had joined Humphrey at the front lines against the ungodly manifestation of Death, and how he had gripped it tighter and been unwilling to relinquish it after the vampires had perished. Pergale had paid the price willingly, but Scruffy had unwittingly paid his price to the Winds of Magic as they fed upon his weak will and sanity. “Would I have fared better in his stead? Was I meant to carry this burden levied by Danzig, himself knowing I would not pay the price so dearly, or did he think to bend my mind in the same way? Did you want me to take this, Danzig, perhaps hoping it would curb me from the path you think all with the Gift take? Save the witch so you don’t have to send an angry mob to stone and burn her?”
Scruffy had been her unwitting dupe, too, however, and Pergale knew it. She didn’t trust Danzig’s motivations, and she saw the lies he told himself to keep his purse full and his conscience clear, but had she made just as horrible a compromise to keep from having to wield the power he had granted her compatriots. “Theo’s man is a possessed zealot because of my choice. Was it the right one? Perhaps only time will tell. I will have to watch him now, too. More foes, now, stalking in the shadows and masquerading as friends. I hope his faith means he will use it to do right. I will not follow that path to insanity and Chaos that we saw today, and I will fight it tooth and claw to the last. I hope you see that, too.”
“In the meantime, I must protect these people and help them the best I can. I have sacrificed much, and will sacrifice more, as is the way of those that bear the Gift, but I cannot lose myself in the interim. Gramama taught me better than that, and I will not take the Dark Path in order burn myself to nothing or it will all be for naught,” Pergale thought as she surveyed the ruins of the old library, once the killing had been done, once her compatriots had been dug up out of the fallen stone, and once Scruffy and her had done the terrible deed of restraining the male vampire and beaten iron spikes into its eyes and joints. It had killed so many that she had seen, and so many more in the eons it had lived before that, that Pergale found it hard not to lose herself in the vengeful work. Her burning, hurt, heart wanted to see the thing suffer more at the hands of the witch hunter, as was bound to happen, but she knew that to even want to be present for that meant giving over to the grim temptations of that sour, disgusting, corrupt man. “I’ll not be part of that, no matter how much I want to hear this thing scream even more. That witch hunter has made enough compromises for a lifetime and I cannot be part of what he wants.”
There were other pressing matters to take care of now, though. The buried library was a wealth of knowledge and dark, powerful things. Books, artifacts, and wealth to be taken, much of it to keep out of the wrong hands, and it helped that she had friends in a noble house and a powerful litigant to call on. The city guard would take what they could get out of this and rake a tidy profit into corrupt pockets without even knowing what they were handling, and likely peddle more corrupt magic into the hands of those willing to sacrifice their souls to get an edge. And, after this morning’s terrifying brush with them, Pergale relished the idea of shutting down the guard’s, and by proxy Harlaan Kejaan’s, little power trip. “Let’s see how they like having their porridge pissed in by the little witch girl they felt like persecuting this morning; especially when I rally the same noble house, litigant, and now the witch hunter’s writ from the Prince to officially sanction my actions.”
Pergale watched in subtle glee as Theodoros had rolled over the guard sergeant just the same as earlier in the day, and when Danzig had showed them the writ. Then a little bribe handled and legal roundabout done, and off the guard went. It was just a matter of Hearty Headie’s trade guild porters to just crate everything up and move it next door to House Alsinor’s storage rooms to be sorted. It would cost a pretty penny to do, but it would cost less than to have the things that were found in the wrong hands, and what could be sold would bring a much greater profit. Pergale would gladly spend the rest of her day supervising the safe handling of the vampire’s cache. “Surely there’s more hidden in other places, too. Lossenthel had reported seeing them in an entirely different Noble’s house. There is certainly more to investigate in the meantime, at least. That may bear seeing.”
While watching over the proceedings of the next day and a half, however, Pergale also saw two that had been forgotten by most during the proceedings. The terrified steward the vampires had taken had lost all of his memories while under their control, and now was not much more than confused ex-gardner that wanted to go home; and, in the morning the next day, Rika came to sit at the edge of Pergale’s crater to see the work being done and to think. Pergale offered the poor gardner a night in the Alsinor estate, with Lord Humphrey’s approval, and to find his family in the morning, but the fates would find a new twist for the poor man. He had been in their care so long that he perished in the night, and dried to dust and bone by the time the servants found him in the morning. “Another victim of these terrible things, and another family destroyed, however long ago, by their horrific thirsts. Likely more horrid things to handle now that he’s passed, too. I may still be able to find his family and lay him to rest, perhaps.”
Rika had, also, become one of the vampire’s victims. In the short time she had been their captor they had done horrible things to her, and she had seen a whole new kind of fear and suffering at their hands. ‘Violated’ was the only word that Pergale could think of seeing the once proud highwaywoman so broken. They had defeated her soundly and fed upon her, done untold other things to her, locked her naked in a cage under their floors, and left her in the dark; likely to become their new play thing until they were bored with her. The apparition of Death the was their slave had come then, and had terrified Rike and whispered terrible things to her; drinking her fear and pain like fine wine and raping her soul as the vampires had her body. Rika had lost all faith in that short time, and her pride and belief in the witch hunter had been hollowed out. Pergale had seen that kind of loss in other women before but Rika knew a torment, now, that only few could possibly imagine, and she had been fed to this fate by the one person she trusted; Danzig. Pergale could do little more for her but be her friend and offer her companionship and love in the face of her pain. “Rika will be broken for a long time, if for the rest of her life. All that she knows now is betrayal at every turn, and her strength is gone, but she will re-grow with care and, perhaps one day, she will be return to the woman she was. For now, she sees Danzig’s betrayal and greed, and she understands that things are not as they seemed. She has lost everything, and needs the strength of another for now. She will blossom again, I hope,” Pergale thought as she held the broken woman by the side of the pit and consoled her.
Pergale had much to do this upcoming week, many things to take care of, and so many hurt friends to look after; some her fault and some not, and she wept as she changed Gerolf and Sylri’s bandages. “I’m sorry my friends. You, too, have paid the price for all of this. I can only hope that I can make this up to you.”
The Winds of Magic had taken so many tolls these last days, and it hold only begun to. Pergale could see the webs of fate forming and her predictions come to pass. There was a long, hard road ahead, and her dreams still nagged at her. Something was coming soon and she could sense it.

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Unanswered questions, the swelling of something within!
I can feel it in my bones...

Since the death of one vampire and the capture of another as well as some of the many twisted things she has had to see in her relatively short life for an Elf…Lossenthêl has been plagued with questions. Some of these weren’t new questions but old ones that she had when she was young. Albeit said questions were changed to current knowledge than what she would of asked when she was younger. Many of these were new questions too.

There was a time, long time ago, back in the village of Bullarn where Lossenthêl had been hurt so badly by the human children and less so by the Elven children, that she believed she was cursed and a ‘living punishment of the Gods’ and it was one of the few times she had genuinely cried in her life. That day was so cruel and the children then so crueler. It had taken hours for her own mother to calm her down but it was her father that told young Lossenthêl to trust in her bow and her abilities, to let them see her for that. Afterwards, later that very eve and to this day Lossenthêl doesn’t remember why she was up, but she had happened upon her father and her mother having a discussion about Lossenthêl.

For the young elf didn’t hear the whole story back then, but it brought her mother to tears and her father had what seemed like a harsh acceptance, a tone which tried to remain calm yet cold and distant. “We she is older we will tell her.” He told her mother. Her mother responded with “Would she ever accept it? For such a burden to bear…we would loser her.” “That is for Isha to know and us to accept.” He was trying to stay as calm as he could. “My love we will loose her should that day come. She’d never love or respect us again, just hate us.” That’s when her father embraced her mother. “By Isha’s will she will never stop loving us and in time will learn to forgive us. But for now we must be silent.” Her mother returned the embrace. “I hope to never see such a day this will come to pass. For it would break my heart.”

It was this very conversation Lossenthêl over heard that began her questions to her family which still to this day remain unanswered. It eventually lead her to having more of a hermit personality and a distrust in those around her even among her own family. For her own family were keeping something from her, something important. For these secrets made Lossenthêl distrust her own mother and father and she never did truly respect them for it. She loved them but felt like she couldn’t talk with them on the basis they were always avoiding something and wanted her to avoid that too.

This was also the first time Lossenthêl heard about Isha and until recently didn’t know who she was. For it was the Asrai she met later in her life who informed her of who Isha and Kurnous are. For until that point she had learned of human gods but not their language.

If she couldn’t trust her own family, who could she trust? This began making her hard with all those around her including her family. Through the grapevine she had heard rumors growing up of travelling magicians that would occasionally pass through their village on their way to Nuln or other parts of the Empire. However Lossenthêl never met such a one and was always conveniently away; either on a grand hunt or some other errand always with her father and brother. Her hair wasn’t normal for no Elf she had met ever had the hair she did.

Then her world fell apart one night. Bullarn was raised by an army of Angry Beastmen. Many people were slaughtered including her family. And she never got that conversation with her parents that she wanted so badly to bring up for understanding of why. It made her so angry she couldn’t talk to them and felt so very alone even when they were alive.

The Elves of the Athel Loren were her salvation, her saviors. And she saw in them the home she wanted to be part of, the community that helped each other and protected their homes. And the Forest, the beautiful forest. Somehow she was drawn to that spot as she had run for her life, away from the army of Beastmen she couldn’t kill herself. And since being within the Athel Loren, she felt something inside her stir and change. Her hair changed but it was something more than that, something deeper something more primal more natural?

She also made a vow to protect that forest. Something she didn’t know how to do then. But the signs and the dream she had during the Night of Nightmares, when all who had the magic ability within them had the same exact thing. Pergale called it a Prophecy. Most call it a curse. For just as there is good that comes from having the Gift, so to is it a curse and much bad can come from it. Lossenthêl saw it with her own eyes when they cleaned out the sewers. She could only feel more questions swell within her mind, intellgent but not trained with so many unanswered questions.

Then there was Danzig, a hunter but not one of the Wild Wood she grew up within. No he was a hunter of something different, something darker. When Lossenthêl first laid her eyes on the human man, she saw a Predator for what he was. It was only in his black armor had she felt that she was seeing him for him and not something he was hiding like a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. For he a Witch Hunter, a murderer who killed not for pleasure but for the greater good. Killing Necromancers and Vampires is noble but he had to make hard choices.

Lossenthêl tried talking about herself with Pergale as she was covered with questions but this only left her with more questions that bordered on Riddles. Why should she forget the Elves? Why should she forget her heroes? And why did even Headie treat this as a joke when she returned from her Meditation and her first meeting with Amber? That discussion felt more like a joke and a brush off. And she felt she couldn’t really talk to anyone in that room at that point. And she felt close to Pergale like a sister. But there were just so many questions and Pergale didn’t seem bothered that time fluctuated when she had done Lossenthêl’s reading.

She didn’t feel she could talk to Pergale about it and after how Theo treated the conversation, suggesting she should learn from Amber, it felt like a joke. She felt brushed off and insulted.

Danzig was there though, for he was occupied with the Vampire most of the time. However she got the chance to talk to him. It was a philosophical question, true, but Lossenthêl ended up having part of the conversation that she should of had with her parents a long time ago. She didn’t convey everything and she didn’t tell him everything. But he was just like her father; not telling her everything. He told her much though; about the human wizards who believe they could control the magic only to be engulfed and destroyed by it or his fellow faithful hunters who went insane and destroyed by magic. When she asked him about what the difference was between a spirit and a demon was he told her he would love to know the answer to that but there wasn’t one. For a demon eventually takes control of the magic user they earn the trust of only to destroy everything the magic user holds dear and eventually kills the magic user and takes control of their body.

Danzig may of verbally stated his adamant opinion that Lossenthêl not pursue her innate magical ability. Whether this was due to the new knowledge that he reminded her of her father or for another reason, Lossenthêl wasn’t sure. She argued with Danzig that weird magical stuff was already happening around her where she was concerned. He told her that if she were an Imperial citizen then there were things he could do to help but they weren’t pleasant. “But I’m not an Imperial Citizen, Danzig.” was her response. If was this blocking of the conversation that prevented her from sharing more, and that was depressing.

Amber was noticably absent when she talked to Danzig. And Lossenthêl was now faced with a question. Was Amber a spirit or a demon? Amber could feel fear for she had been scared of the black magic they were heading towards and up and left when that Wraith appeared. Lossenthêl knew that she can’t yet understand Amber. And this yet is something she felt Amber highlighting and putting emphasis on. It was as if Amber knew that Lossenthêl was going to choose a path of magic even before she told Amber about it. But Lossenthêl still tried to ask if Amber was a demon without asking her directly. She did this by bringing up the beast folk and the horrors and she felt Amber respond that she wasn’t anything like that.

Then there was the Vampire, bound and blind but not gagged. She only went there not for the Vampire or for the many prisoners who were loosing hope and faith, but for the Dwarf Grunnil who told Lossenthêl he would help her climb better. Lossenthêl being the impatient youthful elf she was wanted to know what was taking Grunnil and when she could learn to climb from him. The guards originally wouldn’t let her past the gate so she went to go get Humphrey who got her past the gate.

When she saw Danzig down there, he looked so tired. She was a bit upset at this that he would do this to himself and offered her help. After all if the Vampire spilled the beans about the artifact sooner then the sooner she got Grunnil to teach her to climb better. Grunnil was busy, torturing the vampire. Danzig seemed a little happy to see Lossenthêl and curious what brought her here. She answered it was Grunnil as she was hoping he wasn’t busy but she soon saw he was.

She soon was speaking with this vile monstrosity who didn’t seem to give a rat’s ass that his mate had been destroyed. No he seemed more content to try to get into Lossenthêl’s head and in a way he had succeeded just by pissing her off. He started off showing his colors and how scary he could be had his eyes not had a piece of metal molded around his very skull that his skin regrew around. It was nasty but his threats to her to display how scary he was to try to instill fear inside of her. However she informed him that she has seen worse and he won’t be able to top that. He did try though. He even reffered to her as ‘Her Kind’ and spat in her general direction. However it was when he began describing getting into her head and all the nasty things he could do including summoning a Wraith and more of them to boot. Her response to all of this was to tell him he needed to be castrated and did just that with a torture tool. Afterwards she was rather angry and needed to go train.

Before she did so she had inquired about the Prisoner, the former Guard Captain. She inquired about him and whether or not he was truly guilty of the crimes arranged against him. From Danzig’s response, Lossenthêl wasn’t convinced he was even sure of the Guard Captain’s crime. If he was innocent of these crimes then Lossenthêl knew in her heart she wouldn’t forgive Danzig and knew she couldn’t trust him and would see him as an enemy rather than as a friend and a reminder of her father. It sounded as something to investigate but she didn’t have the knowledge for this.

Sometime during the week Humphrey found her at Headie’s and asked if she would like to be sponsored for an Archery Competition. That sounded fun but she had to inquire about why did she needed to be sponsored. She was answered with ‘Because Nobles are greedy’. That’s a truthful fact.

The rest of this week she did seem to wander the city aimlessly with so many questions that she had no answers to right now. She spent time with her horse Amelia and groomed her. She didn’t know if tomorrow would bring answers but she was concerned.

The day Danzig left she was both happy and mad but showed a stoic face. He left without talking to her again but Pergale was more than concerned. She didn’t like the man and Lossenthêl didn’t blame her for that. There might be a day soon when she too had a hatred of him perhaps, or perhaps he would try to kill even her. She didn’t let him get close though, too close that is. It’s easier to protect the heart that way.

She could feel it, she knew this is what she wanted despite not having an Elven teacher.

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A Quiet Week
Finally

Ah, things are finally getting back to normal. Thank you, Shallya, for that. And you, too, Ranald, for leaving me alone for five minutes, though I don’t totally trust that this isn’t the set-up to your next big joke.

What have I gotten done this week?

I’ve been trying to be more transparent about what I do with Maria. I should probably actually explain what I’m thinking sponsoring Lossenthel and Scruffy. I have to remember to do these simple things. I’m married now.

Pergale doesn’t seem to have anybody in mind for marriage yet. I don’t have any married friends yet. It’s weird to be the only married one. I can’t do couple things with other couples if no other couples exist. All the more reason for the dinner party. Broaden my social horizons.

Why did Lossenthel want to get into palace? Eh, whatever.

I wonder how long I should wait before it’s safe to get a locksmith? I should start vetting locksmiths.

Yeah. Yeah! I could get used to this! This is nice.

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The Price of Power

Her skin was still humming with energy and her vision still a bit blurred. It had all happened so quickly and the devastation Pergale had wreaked had terrified even her. It had come so easy and the undead had been everywhere. She could feel the white light of Hysh coursing through every piece of her being and she had wielded it with abandon against her foes; blasting them to dust and scattering the dark magics that held them like the sun burning away a thick fog. It had been hard, incredibly taxing, and even Anise had warned her to stop channeling so much energy; but she had done the right thing and she had protected her friends, hadn’t she?

The trudge through the sewers was wearing on the Rat Catcher already. He always charged off when he made a choice, and never conferred with anyone else when he did. He was doing it now having seen the trappings of their comrades and his friends in the mud. They all could sense something was watching them and following them; and could see things moving and clacking in the shadows. Pergale could feel them moving as the twisted mire of black fog wafted through the sewer. Something unnatural had taken their friends, and now they, whatever they were, were coming for her and her comrades.

Lossenthel, forever her watcher and compatriot, moved quietly through the sewers next to Pergale, while Pergale thumbed at the black warhammer in her belt. A loan from the witch hunter Danzig, and one that no one else would even touch because it, too, swirled with the Winds of Magic. “Why did you give this to us, Danzig? I admire the offer, but my compatriots fear this as much as they fear me, and I’ll not likely wield it if I can avoid it. Hard enough to trust your motives, as is. Hmm, perhaps Theo’s man, if he isn’t afraid?”

When battle had been met, she had not been wrong, and Theo’s man, Scruffy, had gladly taken up championing the hammer. They had been surrounded on all sides by the clattering, animated dead and the hammer had smashed them to pieces in blasts of holy white light. It had begun and, rather than sneaking through the sewers while the vampires slept, The Rat Catcher, Lossenthel, Scruffy, and Pergale were forced to march through tides of the undead to come close to the vampires domain. They had laid trap after trap of the things they had created from the dead they had taken, and now the four compatriots marched through the remains of those created with the vile necromantic blood magic.

When the first wave came Pergale could feel her hatred of Dark magic and Chaos creep up in her veins, and she focused what she had learned to destroy them. The white wind of Hysh flowed through her then, and she poured it forth and gave it form in the real world as beams of white light pulsed from her eyes and burned the undead to nothing. Reanimated bones, fleshing eating ghouls, and the rotting dead all passed this way as the White Wind pooled and rolled through her. Harmonious voices ringing in her ears as white light filled the edges of her vision, her skin prickling with energy, and her very soul pooling up and filling with the White Wind. She could feel the places that she released the light press back against the unsavory dark and could see the traces of left upon the world around them.

She could feel the thing hunting them the whole time they had been in the sewers. It had been hiding at the edges of vision and the rippling and snap of an unnatural cloak flitted into her vision. Death, there was no other name for it, was stalking them from the shadows. It would come soon, when they were tired at their wits end, and it would feed upon them when it came, sucking the life from their exhausted bodies; and it did, not as a sword from a reanimated skeleton or the teeth of some ghoul, but in all its hideous glory.

The had reached the head of the underground mire when it arrived. The Strigany legends had been true; Death indeed had a face when it served the vampires, and as it raised from the waters of a tepid pool Pergale could hear the words of Gramama in her ears telling her of the cloaked Wraith that carried a great scythe, and that was unstoppable by any normal means. She wanted to run and to hide. It had come and would rend her and her friends to ribbons and drink their blood and souls. But before she had time to even consider retreat the idiot Rat Catcher lunged; he would meet Death head on, it appeared, and he would go down fighting in the name of his fallen friends from his old life.

The Rat Catcher met the beast head on, and Scruffy at his coat tails to bring the magical warhammer smite it. Pergale tried to banish it with her magic but it could not be moved by such displays. So, too, neither did the Rat Catcher’s club or Lossenthel’s arrows, passing through its terrible form like mist. Fear began to heighten in Pergale’s mind as she saw this. “Can I buy them time to run? Will the Rat Catcher do so with his life? Nothing we have can move this being! Death truly has come!” Her mind swirled as she watched her compatriots flounder.

Then the hammer landed. A flash of white light blasted the beast and tore it’s ethereal robes. It screamed as it landed blow against the Rat Catcher at the same time, and Pergale could see the fools resolve to die. “It can be hurt! I must try!” She thought, and Anise screamed in her mind that she had used too much already. “I know, but I must or we will all die here and now!”

Pergale pulled the light of Hysh into herself, pulling at it like desperate clawed hands in cloth. The light of her lantern wicking for but a moment and the room grew dim as she focused upon the small lens in her hand and spoke the words of power, the gate of her soul opening to breath forth her Magic. It came suddenly as she opened her eyes; a crescendo of perfect singing voices filled the room as light exploded from her body and lifted her into the air, the fire of her lantern shining like the sun, and a beam of perfect white light shone from her mouth and eyes like the breaking through clouds. The room became unnaturally bright for but a moment as the power of the White Wind of Magic poured, unbridled, through Pergale and into the manifestation of Death. It screamed as the chorus of voices overtook it and the light burned it to nothing, it’s very essence destroyed in the flood of white light.

When it was over, Pergale floated but a moment as the power seeped from her and lowered her to the ground, the lights in the room still unnaturally bright, and the scent of purifying incense raised from her as she breathed slowly and wept briefly with joy and exhaustion. She did not know the cost yet, but she knew there always was one for magic, if not now then soon.

They had continued again a bit after, and had met more of the vampire’s disgusting leavings head on. The foul things had left kill rooms full of the Rat Catcher’s friends, and another of their ghouls feasting upon the remains of yet more. The day had already had to much, but these things seemed to know no end of the wish to create suffering. Pergale would rejoice in their demise, though she feared her and her friends might not make it through much more.

When they finally reached the underground of the mansion they sought, their hosts were not sleeping, but awake and waiting for them, likely deeply pleased to play at the falsehoods of their assumed lives, and to gloat at watching the a four trudge through the blood and suffering the vampires had created in their wake. They had warped Gerolf’s mind, it seemed, and made him their cat’s paw, while Sylri was trussed on their dining table, likely as taunt, as bait, and perhaps their next meal. Ryka was gone, but she was either to dangerous to live or perhaps being kept elsewhere as a threat. And, after having done all this, and even warping the minds of two hapless people to be their stewards, the vampires still wished to play at being civil. “Civil threats from bat like things that fed upon people to stay forever young. This should be interesting.”

The Rat Catcher, ever a man of incredible words and little action, let them know that they could promptly get fucked and lept the entryway to come to grips with Gerolf, hoping to subdue him. The other’s too moved to action, but Pergale stopped to take the scene in and with her Anise, the ever perceptive little snake, had noticed the beams of the underground library they were standing in were weak with age and far too much load. “Very well, then. I’ve had enough of this uphill battle and if we do not bring these things low now, we will have no chance. I’m sorry, my friends. Please forgive my rashness, and may Shallya protect you.”

One last time the light of Hysh shone, and Pergale burned the beam in half as she hoped that the outcome would turn well; and in that moment the combat froze as all present realized what had been done. Stones the size of horses fell in on the room crushing all out of their way except a lucky few, burying one of vampires entirely. Most of her friends were hurt, but none died, and only one vampire remained standing. Scruffy and the Rat Catcher didn’t wait, and dispatched her with the hammer and a stake to the heart before she could get her footing.

The day had been long, and now just after noon, they sat in a pit digging up the remaining vampire to complete Danzig’s request; many bloodied but only a few dead, and even Rika and Mr. Jack had survived with minimal tribulation. “The relic is still missing, and two more vampires dealt with. We all need rest, now, though, and I must meditate. This day has already had to many turns, and my soul is weary,” Pergale thought as she watched the porters move the books from the vampires old library to the Alsinor house. “I have much reading to do…”

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Pergale is the White Light!
Mr Jack and Humphrey need armor!

Disgusting filthy sewers! And worse, Lossenthêl could sense in the search for their friends that they were walking head-first into a trap.

It didn’t take them long to leave the creepy filthy plant waste sewer to something more disgusting, dark and cruel. Victims of Necromancy would great them soon. For looking up through the grates above them Lossenthêl could see movement. The others saw some shadows too but she saw something more, some person mayhap?

Perhaps it was Sylri’s cat-hat or her sword or perhaps the one who wishes to be knight, Gerolf’s spear, but something was driving Humphrey and the rest forward with a vigor. None more so than Scruffy whom Pergale had given him Danzig’s sword. He took it for his only weapons were his fists and one needed something better for what they were going to discover.

First was the room of Skeletons. The creepy cold dark magic satiating and withering the very stone of the sewers walls. There was movement and Lossenthêl was made alert. She had her bow drawn out and at the ready and was the first to fire. She aimed at that Skeleton’s head and her arrow turned it to dust. Scruffy who was scared as he had not seen such before realized these things could be killed and he slashed at these bone-men and each slash brought out bright holy light from the sword that would change him forever this night.

Amongst the fighting, she heard for a moment however so small but for a moment Amber chimed and Lossenthêl pivoted her stance to face behind her. She turned one hundred and eighty degrees to face four more skeletons approaching from behind to try a flank pin maneuver. She fired two arrows, meant to down both skeletons but one missed and the other didn’t do so much damage. Still she was able to warn the party with a “Behind Us”

Pergale shown brightly that night. For her magic was as if she allowed the Heavens to poor through her body and soul as the white winds of Hysch cleansed the sewers of the Vile Necromancy Blackness. Like Scruffy, Pergale shown brightly that night though more so.

For it was Pergale that saved them all from the literal figment of Death! It was going into a Death Dance and slay the brave Scruffy shortly after it nearly slew Humphrey. The amount of brilliance that radiated from Pergale was astounding! And it left her temporarily paralyzed as the rush of magic must have some effect on the body. For Amber had fleed from this vile Wraith thing and through Pergale’s magic, Amber had returned safely. But it must of changed Pergale, as Lossenthêl would see later.

They slew fast zombies and slow zombies. The fast ones worried them, for so hungry were they for her friends and herself that it seemed they would tear Mr Jack’s flesh and rend him asunder. Poor Jack, the poor terrier was spooked most of the night. The monstrosities the vile Vampires created and made the poor people suffer, for these crimes the Vampires would answer this night.

And as Humphrey had opened many a door this night, so to did he open one more. The alluring feminine voice invited the small yet destructive group into a lavish dining area where a beautiful man and woman sat dressed in the best of fashion and rivaled the prince in how much they spent. For no expense was spared! Sylri was tied to the table while Gerolf was enchanted to join the dark ones.

Humphrey didn’t let the Vampires introduce themselves or allow them the typical villian spleel. Instead he charged head first into Gerolf, who waited for him by preparing his spear and bracing for the impact to come. How Humphrey survived this too was a blessing to his poor wife.

The Vampires were fast! They drew their blades quicker then most people could draw their breath. And that’s when Pergale brought the light the final time that night or should we say morning. She brought the roof down and brought the light of the sun to the vile denizens. She aided in killing the female vampire and later helped chain the male.

After it was all said and done she seemed interested in the books with a greedy vegence. Something the magic did had changed her. The sword changed Scruffy who now sang songs of the same god as Danzig. At here Lossenthêl was looking weird speaking to a stone.

Lossenthêl was very happy to see Danzig return but worried on her state of cleanliness. She needed to get back to Amelia but first she needed a bath. Later she hoped to speak with Danzig and was very glad they were released from being under arrest by the City Guard, who couldn’t stomach the sight of what Headie’s team saw underneath the city.

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Age of Scruffmar

In the last three days, I’ve discovered that vampires have killed most of the friends I’ve ever had and are living as my neighbors. And now I’m here, looking at a pile of my friends’ things, including stacks of things from my new friends. These undead monsters seem keen on consuming everything.

Fuck ’em.

Skeleton army? Fuck off. Twice.

Literal personification of death? Fuckin’ bring it. We’re doin’ this.

Forcing me to learn the meaning of the word “exsanguinated?” Yeah. They’ll pay for that.

Mindless monsters eating meat piles I don’t dare inspect closely? I will taste your ends.

“We know you’re coming, so we’re going to pretend to be calm, collected nobility while we consume your friends, mind and body!”

Hahahaha.

I can’t win this.

That doesn’t matter.

It’s suddenly very bright. And loud. And painful.

I see what you did, there, Ranald.

Sorry, budding righteous hero. I’ve lost more to these literal monsters than you have. You can fulfill your weird new purpose some other time.

My very good boy and I need to heal and relax now. I have a wife to reconnect with and a boy to rehire. I have a dinner party to help plan. I have to figure out where my new house guest is going to store all of the loot we’re apparently absorbing. No more adventures for (ow) for a little while. You hear me, Ranald?! I’m on break! Find somebody else for a few weeks! Heh, I know better than to think that’s a prayer that you’ll answer. But I’m gonna try anyway. It’s all the same to you. You’ve shown that more than enough times now.

They lived next door to me.

What is my life?

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Steps towards learning about Magic
Her name is Amber!

What is with people? Asking Lossenthêl to be nice to people only for them not to be nice to her. If they want to talk smack she can match them right back! Headie earned that one real quick with his comments.

Oiy, suggesting that she slept around like some kind of Commodity Bawd or a Three-Copper-Upright. First of all, when Lossenthêl’s brother and father were around, no man not even an elf got that close. Her father was very critical of the boys especially since most of her life, people were scared of her hair when it wasn’t dyed. Those poor boys. One of the few bad things to take away from this was if they were still around Lossenthêl was going to die a virgin. She still is one; standards require him to be an Elf and not afraid of her hair or the fact all Elves are magic.

If that twisted jerk liar Merchant Theo ever tried to get Lossenthêl to sleep with someone including himself then the deal was off. Don’t they understand it? Elves live longer than most of the other races as there are only few things that live longer than them such as trees or the Asrai’s allies, Treemen. The moment she gets engaged to anyone especially a non elf then that’s the moment her dreams disintegrate and she will hate humans forever particularly the merchants. Does Headie not see this? Does Headie not care? Despite Theo’s blabbling and droning and something sounding remotely agreeable, oiy does the jerk shut up? Lossenthêl was very clear with him though, NO SEX! That means no marriage, no sleeping around and Lossenthêl most likely has to keep an eye on him now. Moles might be small but they can do considerable amount of damage to an area or a struggling forest to regrow.

Headie must not care if he’s going to allow Theo to take advantage of her. He probably thinks she’s going to die to like so many of his other employees have.

Well she was informed by Pergale that Amber had followed her. She didn’t know Amber’s name until the bath later that night. Lossenthêl took said bath after hearing Headie yelling something about “You’re paying double rent!” very angrily. Wonder what happened? Most of the people in that room were only being way too critical about Lossenthêl learning magic. How hard is it anyway to find a book? Merchants can do that and Lossenthêl even offered up a chunk of her gold trade bar.

So they are all in agreement that Lossenthêl should learn magic from a Nature spirit, who seems so happy to teach. First step is to figure out how to communicate with the spirit more directly, or rather to have a speaking conversation. Lossenthêl spent time with this spirit the next morning when she was practicing her archery in one of Headie’s werehouses.

It was here that Lossenthêl spoke in common tongue to the spirit and could feel Amber’s emotions. That was how Amber communicated with the young Elven Archer, emotions despite being able to understand everything Lossenthêl spoke of. How can she communicate with this spirit more directly or at least be able to understand this spirit more? She wanted to have full meaning conversations with this spirit.

That peaceful morning she had bonding with Amber was rudely interrupted when one of Theo’s men came looking for her. Apparently Humphrey wanted to go vampire hunting now. She headed over to Humphrey’s house and showed Humphrey and Mariah the chunk of Amber that Amber had given Lossenthêl so that the young elf could know her spirit’s name.

When she found Pergale she had found out that Pergale had been rudely harassed and criticized, being blamed for the vampire’s victims. Also something about a boy being fired? Wow if guards are this cruel and dirty perhaps it is a good thing that Lossenthêl isn’t one of them? Lossenthêl showed Pergale her piece of Amber and was excited to share Amber’s name. Pergale looked at this Amber chunk like she was trying to see something more than the fossilized tree piece in her hand. Lossenthêl had made a mental note to watch over Pergale, she didn’t like the only person of the group who has treated her with acceptance and kindness without some hidden agenda as well as truly accepting of Lossenthêl’s hair to come to any harm.

They had begun their journey, through the sewers….again….disgusting. Along the way Amber was really uncomfortable traveling past the Yzmir house. Dark tidings and Lossenthêl asked Amber to stay close because the young elf felt the need to protect her spirit friend.

When they got into the sewers, their goal was to travel to the Noble’s quarter by travelling under the city. Weirdly, according to Humphrey, there were barriers in places were none should be and were very well built barriers as well. There were also holes and unlocked places in places where they should not be. Also missing were many a rat catcher.

Lossenthêl slowly began to spot things out of place. Like Slyri’s sword, which was a dagger to them. According to Pergale…dark magicks were at work. Humphrey’s dog, Jack, retreived that for them and was uncomfortable, like Amber was. Slowly the group began to find other things too…like Slyri’s cap….Gerolf’s Spear….Remnants of gunfire on the walls belonging to Rika’s guns…

Lossenthêl was worried, a bit scared, and even though they were mean to each other, though it was her mostly being mean to them, she did want her friends back! Alive, unharmed and not-vampirey.

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The Noose Tightens

Court had gone very well and the hunt for vampires had begun. Pergale had spent the day, earlier, with Lossenthel reading her Tarot; the blue winds of Azyr had surrounded them and told much of the conflicted elf’s coming trials, and Pergale did her best to give her guidance. The winds had warped time around them as they had spoke and she had Seen, but it was as the winds had chosen and so it would be.

There had been much talk then of how to handle the vampires and how to flush them, and of the witch hunter’s plan to travel north to leave Heady’s companions to handle the capture of a vampire in order to retrieve the relic he had been chasing. Herr Danzig and Grunnil would play at leaving Matorca for a time, and Rika would stay in their stead to “assist” with capturing a vampire. No small task but chicanery, it seemed, would make things easier and would leave the vampires with their guard down.
Court was an intriguing escapade given all of this, and on Pergale had found very interesting indeed. She and Theodoros accompanied Humphrey and Mariah Alsinor to the going away announcement of Prince Altair, and to hunt for signs of their prey. They were playing a dangerous game this night, as the Court of the Border Princes’ was already a garden of daggers, but to idly look for signs of such a prey that was already hunting them back made it even more so.

Theodoros, ever the hustler, quickly invested himself with many a group and made small talk and connections. “A dangerous man, indeed,” thought Pergale as she watched him “His charm and pen make him much sway here and could mean the fall or rise of anyone he so chose…namely himself.” She could see the lines of money and influence circling about him from others in the room; it would mean much in future to watch this unfold.

Pergale’s interest peaked when a couple, noble’s of House Xallick, arrived. The necrotic scent filled Pergale’s senses when their names were announced, and she twisted to see the black wind swirling about the courtly announcer as the names “Neph Jaharo” and “Nicola Marcheso” were spoken over the crowd. “Surely I’m not the only one to notice this. The wind plays at him and enchants him; and the courtly rule of announcing those tardy in arrival was not acknowledged. Such off hand and disgustingly petty use of such power to keep your record clean. If you aren’t attached to the vampires in some way, then you are playing at things you do not grasp by embracing the Dark Lore. Something wicked is masking you, but what?”

The witch hunter hadn’t made his appearance by then, either, though surely he’d have some kind of grand entrance, as well; and Pergale was not wrong. When dinner was called and the Prince made his announcement to head away, he also announced the need to “clean house” before he went. “A very interesting choice of words,” Pergale thought as they Herr Danzig was ushered into the room. The witch hunter wasn’t just leaving town, he was taking a “witch” with him. The man he had in chains clearly had no attachment to The Gift, as Pergale could See, but was a patsy to some political game most likely. There, too, she was not wrong, as she would later learn from Theodoros’ keen ears and gift for courtly intrigue.

Pergale’s stomach twisted as she watched the proceedings of the witch hunter’s dealings. She wanted to scream and unleash the white fire of Hysh upon Danzig for his deceits, to watch him burn and die for taking an innocent away, and for even the thought that some day she could meet the same fate. She wanted to storm from the room, cursing the nobility for their incredulity, and to confront Danzig for condemning a man that he had likely taken coin to do so.

Pergale’s mind burned with rage, “You play at being a good man, Danzig, but you are just a mercenary and a liar. You take some innocent man away as a ‘witch’ on the same day you ask a wizard for their help. You play to being a man of faith, but your faith is nothing but that to the coin and you know nothing of true magic. When the day comes I will see you die and will spit upon your corpse when that day comes. I curse you and your kind with every breath of my being.”
The noble’s dinner, already something Pergale was displeased at for its opulence, now took on a somber tone as she watched the others in company. She would stay to the task of engaging the members of House Xallick afterwards, but things would take a different turn and she would remain wary of all of the players at this little game.

Neph and Nicola were, it turned out, delightful company and quite engaging, but were nonplused at being late to the party. Someone “more important” had been how they had stated it when pressed. “More important than the Prince? What an interesting turn. Your courts are very interesting, Prince Altair Sulhaleen, that those in attendance think so little of you, and so much of another. There are some very intricate threads being pulled here, and much ignored or overlooked with some of its members,” thought Pergale as she spoke to the nobles of House Xallick.

What drew Pergale’s attention, though, was a wand of sorts that Neph kept in his sleeve, and that both he and Nicola were unmoved by their proximity to such a blatant wielder of magic in their company. The wand was ornate and lovely from the flashes Pergale glimpsed, and magic played lightly about it, but neither Neph nor Nicola showed signs of having the Gift. Perhaps it did mask them from someone that bore the Witchsight. It wouldn’t do to be so obvious a vampire in the courts, or that Dark Magic would surround you. Pergale knew she would be seeing these two again, very soon.

After, when Court was called, Pergale, Humphrey, and Theodoros returned to Headie’s guild hall to reconvene, and to meet with Lossenthel; whom had been on a hunt of her own in the Noble’s Quarter to search out where the vampires might have taken up residence. Theo informed everyone about Herr Danzig’s quary who, it turned out to be, was the captain of the guard and someone assigned by the Prince himself. The political cogs were turning, and now Harland Kejaan was to choose the guard captain in the Prince’s absence. Bad tidings, indeed, and showing the witchhunter’s hand as being in with house Kejaan. “Now I see where you fill your purse from, Danzig. It must be nice to have no conscience other than gold in your coffers when you preach such great things,” she thought as the conversation unfolded.

Lossenthel, too, had been successful on her hunt, and had seen much that spoke of the vampire’s lair there. House Ysmir had been empty for some time, and now had new residents despite it being derelict. The residents, too, seemed to wield odd power to mesmerize the people in the house, and Lossenthel had not been want to investigate their house further at night. All agreed she had made the right choice to not go it alone, and that day time would be right to delve in that horrid place. The Rat Catcher, however, in his way, had stormed out to return home upon hearing that the vampires were in his quarter of the city. The rest agreed to come together in the morning to investigate and hunt more for these things.

The guards to the Noble’s Quarter had been missing as Pergale returned to the Alsinor house, and she could hear a fight broken out towards the Ysmir house. If it was what she had thought, she would not wish to see to it alone, but would certainly let the patrols know; even though when she did it did no good. “The guard of this city are worthless, even in the Noble’s Quarter,” Pergale fumed as she stormed away, “Good for nothing but thuggery and persecuting the less fortunate and the different. Sad that the one person that could have probably done any good is likely swinging from a tree right now, and that the Prince is being pushed out of power here. This city grows more dangerous for me by the day.”

She could not have been more right. The guard were at the Alsinor estate the very next morning, and a page sent to retrieve Pergale before she could rise on her own. “For a place with such lavish bedding, does anyone ever really sleep here. These noble’s seem to lack the ability to understand what sleeping in is,” she thought as the fearful little boy answered. The news was grave, and Pergale knew the signs. She had kept her things packed for just this occasion, and sent them with the boy to get her horse ready to leave. “If it comes to it they will persecute me without trial and burn me. I will not die like this, and they will see my power before I flee this place. I know I am not guilty of any crime, but that doesn’t matter to thug guards such as these, and I have committed no crime but to be born with the Gift. That will be enough. Curse you, Danzig, if this is your doing.”

Pergale dressed and prepared herself. If she died she would die prepared and calmly. She prayed to Shallya for mercy, even the mercy of painless death, and she rubbed the scar at her left temple as she went to meet the guard; lovely scarification art now, but once just a ragged scar from a sharp stone that struck her as children had screamed “WITCH!” at her. Hopefully Humphrey and Mariah had calmed the guards fears some by the time she arrived, and perhaps even Theodoros would have been sent for by now, though who knew what good the law would do in the face of someone being accused of witchcraft.

She sat calmly and listened as the guards interrogated her, piecing together the story of the previous night, and telling them exactly what she had done and to whom she had spoke the previous evening. The missing guards from the gate had been murdered; their flesh rendered from their bodies, and nothing but blood, bone, and their armor left. Magic, clearly, but nothing that Pergale had ever achieved. That didn’t matter, though. Fear was its own weapon against those that bore the Gift, and someone had indicated that she was the one that had done this. Luckily, Pergale’s cool demeanor and concise story had left them nothing to go on and they were left to drop their interrogation after two hours of wasted time.

As she left the sitting room Theodoros had the serendipity to arrive, and to bluster the guard sergeant rather effectively until the man gathered his troops to leave. Lord Humphrey Alsinor had made a showing, too, more than just the crafty Rat Catcher today, and made a showing of delaying the guards until Theo could arrive. Pergale quietly thanked them to herself, though she did not have the time to step in and stop Humphrey from discharging the page that had prepared her horse and been caught in the act. The fearful child had accused her of bewitching him when he was caught readying the horse, and now he and his mother were being ushered out and accompanied by the bewildered city guard. “They will all be angry later. This will get worse before it gets better, and that boy needed a lesson but that is not the lesson he needed. You’re playing a dangerous game Humphrey, and while I am thankful to not being walking away in irons or bleeding on your nice floors right now, that is not how I would have handled it,” She thought as she watched the crying mother and child go, escorted from the Noble’s Quarter, “I will make this up to them.”

At least her horse had been prepared, and after breakfast a ride past the scene where the guards had died showed that there were now guards in front of the Ysmir House. They had found something besides the squatters that Lossenthel had mentioned at the other house and paid for it with their lives. “This is your fault, isn’t it, Humphrey?” She mused “You told the guards to go and investigate on your walk home and now their blood is on your hands, and it was almost my blood, too. You’re covering for yourself by shifting onto the easiest target and the one you thought would be thankful. Careful, you’re cracks are showing.”

At least this got the lions to show themselves. Of course it meant they would be fearful, now, and likely on the run. They were playing their cards by trying to blame the most obvious target, and bearing their teeth to show their strength, but they knew they were being cornered slowly. Now, before the sun set again, it was time to strike before they could rally or run.

The Ysmir waterworks had been dry, per Lossenthel’s report, and the Pump was directly below the Noble’s Quarter. Likely, according to the Rat Catcher, the entries through the sewers to this house would be clear now, and would make sense if the creatures were hunting in the underground and using it to move around the city for their dark rituals. That’s where they would head into the estate, avoiding the city guard that now stood outside it. The guard, likely, wouldn’t think it curious that they guarded an empty house, their weak minds bent by the Black winds. That didn’t mean that they wouldn’t bar the way to emptied house, however, but it didn’t mean they couldn’t be gotten around.

Pergale, The Rat Catcher, Lossenthel, and Theodoros’ man Scruffy descended into the sewers and down three levels until they found an opening where they were greeted by the remnants of many a dead rat catcher; friends of Humphrey’s, and the leavings of many other sewer foke. Food for the beasts that hid among men. Among the refuse and bones of these people, however, Pergale found something that spoke of much more recent terror; Sylri’s cat-eared cap, Gerolf’s well used and beaten halberd, and she saw ricochets of bullets and could smell the burned powder from Rika’s guns. The three had gone ahead of them, and something horrible had happened. Now they had been taken by the hunters, and the vampires might already be aware!

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Humphrey and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

So, I’m the bad guy here.

I mean, it must be my fault, right? I mean, you can’t just expect guards to follow protocol and wait for the next patrol to pass and ask them look into it. No. They better just abandon their posts and not tell anybody where they’re going. That’s definitely what I wanted and the correct response to the information I gave them. Good job, guys. Well, it’s not like they haven’t been punished for their choices.

And then we have Pergale ordering a member of our staff to pack up her things and load them on a horse so has to make herself look guilty. Put me in a position where I have to choose between putting a child out on the street and admitting that my household was harboring a murderous witch who totally killed two members of the city guard, because liscensed mages are just all the time openly killing people for no reason. It’s just what they do. That’s why their liscensed, right? For wanton murder?

She better made it up to that family. She knows to anonymously provide funds or, preferably, set the kid up in a good apprenticeship, preferably after talking to the mother to apologize, spin this as a way for the kid to have a better life, and explain herself so that the mom can explain to him when he gets older. He won’t forgive us, but at least he’ll understand. She knows to do that, right? She’s a smart kid. She won’t try and track the kid down in person. He wouldn’t accept anything she offered directly.

I should probably talk with her about it just in case.

I also need to talk to the mother. Her son was disloyal. We’ll make sure he’s looked after because we’re not monsters, but we can’t have him working here if he’s so willing to discuss the affairs of the household. She’s a career servant. She’ll understand. Especially if we make sure the boy’s in a profitable trade with a respectable trademan.

But nope, I’m the bad guy. “You have to talk to me about these things before you do things, Humphrey! These things matter!” Oh, you mean like impulsively inviting a witch and her poisonous snake to live in our home without discussing it with me? Oh, because that decision doesn’t affect our reputation at all. Or is it only okay with you make decisions to tank your reputation?

You married me, after all.

And that’s why I bite my tongue. That’s why I focus on the future and solutions instead of assigning blame. That path isn’t going to get anyone anywhere. We make our choices, for better or for worse, and then we have to deal with them. Together.

My goodness am I glad that Theo showed up. We really need that buffer between us and the guard right now. We have enough on our plate as is without also trying to match wits with those bullies.

Looks like our dinner party will have to wait until after this dies down slightly, too. Darn it. I was looking forward to that.

And now here we are, Ranald, Shallya, tromping through the sewers on the trail of our friends who have probably already been killed by the beasts that started this whole mess in the first place. I get it. I forgot to say my prayers this morning. This is what happens, eh? Well, lesson learned. Any chance you’d be willing to help us out with the rest of it?


Related (Moderately NSFW)

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Weird Magic...Weird Day...
In 30 minutes Young Noon became Midnoon...

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The day started with a meeting between Danzig, his aquaintances, Jimmy and what was that Noble’s name again, Theo? This meeting also included Pergale, Humphrey and of course, Lossenthêl.

After the meeting it was about early noon. Lossenthêl asked Pergale to do a reading as she was feeling a little lost after the previous mission because of the undead bat vampire thing,

Lossenthêl didn’t understand all the cards but she mentally made notes or tried to. Pergale read and explained:

7 of Pentacles. Money, Injunity, Confused? Lossenthêl couldn’t think of why she would need such things, save for the house and some arrows on occassion, Lossenthêl didn’t use much of this.

9 of Pentacles: Produce Safety, obstacles, things in your way, getting bored. Yes, she was very bored of this city it stunk and their wasn’t much. Sadly killing undead was a welcome relief. Yet people going missing, that just wasn’t right.

4 of cups, Reversed. Sage new relations? Was this about Danzig? Lossenthêl was finding it hard to follow.

Knight of Swords: Tools go fourth, Bravery, Defense, Wrath, Ruin, Anger. Bravery & Conflict. Fire, Crucible. Stronger or Burn. Use Strength. Yes Lossenthêl was angry, it was how she coped. Angry at the Beastfolk, Angry at the humans, Angry at the Nobility, and of course Angry at stupidity. A good chunk of the party earned Lossenthêl’s ire here and there, none more so than the dwarf Belegar who threatened to cut off Lossenthêl’s legs. Her greatest strength is her bow.

3 of Pentacles, Reversed. Past, grow, Pettyness, Not grown much.

The Moons…Something happened, something strange happened. Blood Red Mannislieb eclipsed by Morrislieb. Hidden enemies. Lush Garden Life stamped out. Use strengths you may grow, weapons less dark things come your way. This was intterupted.

Ace of cups, reversed. House of false cards, instability, mutation. Relations to matter. Asking wrong thing. Conflicted

9 of cups, Reversed. Truth, Loyalty, Liberty. Mistakes, Problems, Need friends. Two of these, good profit, Don’t seperate. Double 9’s.

10 of swords. Pain, tears, sadness, desolation. Many hopes in Pain, pick up weapons, overcome your fears.

Final card…

Five of cups, reversed. News, alliances, sanguity, false projects, return ancestors. Magic that comes from home. Blood down the line. True returning.

Keep friends close, keep them well and you’ll find home… Whether by blood or…Don’t focus on Elves.

Focus on bow, stop wandering Nature. Gods close to you. Connected.

And the reading…what seemed like thirty minutes maybe a little longer…ended.

And when they came out it was no longer early noon but close to late noon, early evening. Also she was hungry, like she hadn’t eaten in hours. The reading…she was confused, conflicted. Pergale suggested Meditation. This came after another meeting on what Lossenthêl’s job was, to scout and light spying to find these Vampires.

Lossenthêl didn’t know what she should be looking for specifically but could only presume it to be something dark and strange, weird in a bad way.

She went to the market and picked up a blue cloak to better mask herself in the night sky. She and Amelia left the city soon after, Lossenthêl looking for a place to meditate but not knowing how. She didn’t like the dirtiness of the city. Pergale had suggested Lossenthêl use her bow but the Guard archery stations were so filthy and Lossenthêl ended up traveling close to two hours out of the city maybe longer to find a place.

She practiced there with her arrows in one spot on a marker. But as many arrows as she fired she just couldn’t find a center? The heat and the sweat eventually ate at her and there was a deep oasis nearby. Well deep enough she could bathe in. This wasn’t the spout of water Lossenthêl had scouted out earlier. This was something else. Strangely, Lossenthêl felt safe here. Watched but safe. Her danger sense wasn’t beeping, it just was calm. Lossenthêl stripped of her gear and soon got in the water to clean not just herself but her gear a little too.

That’s when…something happened. She saw something…Something small and humanoid. But it was just for an instant. A small fleeting instant. She also saw colors, colors that weren’t there not a moment before. Her hair was no longer dyed too. It was golden, Gold as the desert sun.

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She reached out with her voice wanting to speak to this creature or this person. She heard chimes, like porcelain chimes. Curiosity? “I’m lost…” Lossenthêl admitted, “I’m not sure what to do. I always thought my path was the bow but the one I looked up to the most, their gone. I’m not sure what to do.”

She felt this creature respond. And then she closed her eyes and saw what this area was. At one point this desert was a beautiful forest as beautiful if not more so than the Athel Loren. But in a moment it was gone and the desert returned. Lossenthêl asked this person this creature if she could return but she felt it respond in sadness. Could she not return to this place? Was this what the cards meant or was it that Athel Loren was going to die? She didn’t want the forest to die! She wanted it to grow and thrive even if it meant fighting and dying for! But even though she didn’t wish to die without experiencing Love and family, a child Elven child, she did love the wilderness.

And yet this mishievious creature who would go on to tie her laces together which caused her to fall down in the dirt, well he or she felt familiar somehow. Did something to her hair. And after meeting this creature her armor felt lighter, feathery and her amulet glowed. She took a time with her amulet, holding it close to her heart and holding it as it was the most precious thing.

But she couldn’t stay in this place. Sadly she had to leave. She had a job to do. She had to leave this place and return to the city, to the mostly abandoned Nobel’s quarter. First she had to find a way in…which was easy because of the ten or so drunks. A simple wonderfully smooth round rock to one of the drunk’s head started a brawl that those poor three guards had to deal with. Thankfully she wasn’t a guard as she didn’t want to deal with something like this.

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But she could just slip in. And she did. She passed through several mansions and their estates. Didn’t really notice in particular as the sensation…the running…she felt lighter than normal. But had to focus. One house had a family…and though she was curious she didn’t stop to ask how they were able to get in.

She did make another note of which houses she visited that were weird. And then enter the property of the house in the middle of the backmost row closest to the wall. Some man was inside it, talking to two people and they just stared at him then continued staring at nothing when he left. Lossenthêl searched this property and found a carriage with horses waiting. This was weird.

Weirder still was that the back door was unlocked and she didn’t need to use Pergale’s magic wand of opening, aka her crowbar. Lossenthêl growing up in the wilderness was never in a position where she needed to use one so she had genuinely thought it was magical somehow. But mostly it was just a little bulky and a little heavy.

However after opening the door so Lossenthêl could see what was in there like some kind of heraldy, she saw none and closed the door.

Lossenthêl soon left, feeling watched again and yet she couldn’t perceive anything of note. She continued moving. She wanted to be away from this area, still scout but she was worried about her friends. She felt that the Prince himself and also her friends in the castle were in danger and she needed to tell them of what she saw. She continued onward.

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