The dream is similar to the one before; the chained deities crying out in pain and fear. Around them now grows a great tree, its branches thick and green, block out the sun. Its roots grow deep into the dry earth to gain purchase. It creates a shelter around the prison, its branches pushing through mortar and stone, vines sneak between bars and chains.
A cry is heard, a voice among the screams, “Father!”
As you watch, the light changes, no longer bright with the sun, but dancing, ever changing, as the living flame. A frightened yell, a blast of fire, and the branches are set alight. The vines and roots retreat, weaving together to form a shield and massive club. The battle between Great Tree and Living Flame lasts only a short time before the tree vanishes in a burst of falling leaves and radiant light.
Despair rises above the pain, cries of anguish rise above the fear.
After the jailer leaves, you see a hopeful sight. Soft features peer through the bars and gentle hands rise, reaching through the gap to catch a falling leaf.. She presses it to her cheek as her eyes rise to meet yours. She mouths a word you don’t yet understand, Roivas, and the dream fades with her sorrow filled eyes begging for your help.
July 26 (1 month ago)
Lilith awakes from the dream in a cold sweat, gasping for breath. After a moment, when she regains composure, she storms out of her tent into the twilight haze of the coming morn, quickly downing a bit of her wine while no one is paying attention. It’d take a lot to actually affect her draconic body, but the small, sweet drink eases the vision, letting her relax. “Roivas…” She mutters under her breath, shaking her head lightly, with not the faintest idea what it could be, besides maybe that goddess’s name.
July 27 (1 month ago)
Rolling to one side, Arlan looks at Salesta. As he looks, the beautiful Half-Elf wakes and smiles at him. “Breakfast?” she asks him. She doesn’t have the visions we have, does she? “Sure,” he responds, as he slowly climbs out of their shared cot. He quickly slips on his pants and stumbles out of the tent and over to the “Lever” to grab some food. As he grabs food from the back of the cart he notices one of the wine casks has been moved out from under the pile of food. Ah, she had the vision too. Turning to the rest of the camp, he see Lilith enjoying a glass. “So you got it too?” Arlan asked, “Got any idea on the meaning though?” As Arlan finished preparing breakfast, he beckoned Salesta out of the tent so they could eat together with Lilith and discuss the vision.
Once the others had woken and discussed the vision as well, the group packed up camp and set out for the day. Continuing down the Road of Kings to Draj, Arlan walked behind the cart, allowing Salesta his spot on the back of the cart and chatting with her as they moved along. However shortly after starting their trip, Lilth called from the front of their small caravan about spotting someone coming. It was another caravan, a trader one. After hailing each other, the two groups came to a stop on the road and decided to trade food stuffs and information. Through all the chatter, a young man came to Arlan asking, “I couldn’t help but hear you said your name was Arlan Vordon?”
“Yes, from House Vordon of Tyr”
“I have a message for you. Sent by your mother a couple weeks ago in Tyr. She said to deliver it to you on the Road of Kings.”
Giving the boy his thanks, Arlan scratched his head and separated himself from the rest of the group to read the letter.
We hope this finds you safe, as you are our son, and we wish you well. However, some rather disappointed news has laid itself upon our doorstep and possibly taints our name. A young woman, Ariel Toombs, has come to us claiming she was seduced by the Heir of our name some weeks ago, and now finds herself to be…compromised. She claims to carry the next Heir to the family fortune. As much as I would like to dismiss this, considering her relatively low standings….I know that your escapades could put most of the whores in this town to shame.
Please either respond or return home so that we may discuss this. If you are the father we cannot have our name tainted by low end bastards, you will need to resolve this issue, either thru marriage, or perhaps a buy off. We will see. In any event we are very disappointed.
Arlan sat staring at the letter for a moment, thinking to himself all the while. Ariel Toombs? Why do you sound so familiar and why can’t I remember being with you. As he sat there, he overhead Roderick chatting with the traders from the other caravan. “Wait isn’t Roderick’s last name Toombs?” he muttered to himself. As he stood up, the troubled young man cut the bottom of the letter off, separating the section saying “Your Mother, Lady Runewood” and lit it on fire with a snap of his fingers using his psionics. He may have problems on hand, but his identity further leaked would not help. He pocketed the letter and noticing Roderick walking back to their wagon he came along side his human friend.
“Hey Roderick,” Arlan asked, “I’ve forgotten it for the moment, but whats your family name.”
“Toombs,” Roderick answered.
“You have a wife and kids right?” the Half-Elf asked quickly.
“Yeah, three daughters and a son.”
“What are their names?”
“Well my oldest daughter is named Anastacia. I’m surprised you don’t know her already, she’s married into your family. The next oldest is Ariel, she’s a scupture in Tyr…”
At that Arlan’s looked distant for a moment. It’s his daughter. “Excuse me for the moment Roderick, I need to talk to Salesta for a moment,” Arlan said interrupting Roderick as he walked off. Roderick eye’s Arlan with a mix of confusion and suspicion for a moment, shrugs and goes off to Lilith to tell her of some good news. But if she’s in Tyr, she couldn’t have my baby. I haven’t visited the city in years now. “Hey Salesta,” Arlan said as slyly as he could manage at that moment, “I’ve seen you preform a sending ritual to contact your father the other day. Perhaps you could do that for me so I may respond to a letter from my mother?”
“I could do that,” she responded.
Salesta held her hands to Arlan’s temples and focused her magic into him, saying a few chants from her ritual book and suddenly Arlan felt as if he was next to his mother able to talk to her. “Mother,” he said as if talking directly to her, “I cannot recall this girl, ask her where and when this took place so that I may confirm it was me. Your son, Arlan”
He sat waiting for a moment as the others chatted and her response finally came. “She mentioned having traveled to Urik recently for studies, during a festival for their King. Unsure if she meant that was when she met you.” As the link broke, Arlan’s heart sank for a moment. Well, it could be true then. How shall I proceed. Has she sent a letter to her father about this already? Questions flooded Arlan’s head for the moment. He grabbed for his flask of whiskey and thanked Salesta for letting him talk with his mother. Wandering off the the moment he drank from the flask. “Well,” he muttered, “This isn’t going to help with me clearing my head, but I need a break for the moment.” With that he downed, the flask and returned the the cart to refill it.
July 27 (1 month ago)
Edited July 27 (1 month ago)
As Roderick is walking his way to see Lilith he see’s a beautiful dark haired woman walking near the stopped caravan.
Recognizing his eldest child he stops and call out to her,
“Ana! Ana, it’s me. I never thought I’d see you here. Why haven’t we heard from you since the wedding? Has Lance not been treating you well?” Roderick trots up to meet is daughter, a look of elation and concern on his face
“I didn’t want to see you after my wedding father, this marriage is embarrassing. I would have wanted to be married to someone with a future, Lance is nothing but a mid-level third rate grunt cousin in House Vordon. I have to go with him on caravan runs because we can’t afford a home of our own, my dowry wasn’t enough.” she says curtly to her father
Roderick sensing alot of harsh words are about to be said in front of her travel mates pulls her aside so she doesn’t dishonor her husband.
“Ana please, you know I did what I could. Lance is a very good man, and he loves you very much. I looked into other houses, but none would accept what we offered.”
“Your lying dad, House Runewood had a suitor that was willing to accept your offer. But you’d rather sacrifice my happiness for Ariel’s and Falon’s, their dowry’s are much more than mine was. You always did that to me, you always picked them before me. I never wanted to see you again after that embarrassment of a wedding.” she says, her eye’s burning with anger
Roderick’s head falls, his shoulders slump as he breaths out a long deep sigh
“Anastacia Shea Toombs….” he says with a deep pain in his voice “I have done nothing but give you the best life I could possibly give you. It wasn’t the money, it never was. I could have let you go to that man from House Runewood, I could have. But I’d be giving up my favorite child to a man who constantly be disloyal to you and hurt you in ways I don’t ever want to think about.” he says shaking his head
“Lance didn’t want your dowry, he married you out of love. I insisted so you both could have some kind of nest egg to start with, he refused most of it saying he would provide the rest.”
Taken aback by this revelation, Ana pauses then says in a soft voice
“I’m the favorite? but what about….” Roderick cuts her off
“Your sisters and brother, I wasn’t around them as much as I was with you. You take more after me than the others, sure Colton went to the arena and Ariel and Falon both try to help people. But you Ana, you were the one I’ve always loved. You were my first born, you were always waiting for me whenever I came home. You and I would play for hours, we’d dance and we’d sing. We were inseparable. All that went away though, when you were 6 you made it to the arena where I was fighting. The things you saw made you not want to come near me for a year. You did everything to distance yourself from me after that. But I never stopped loving you, I’ve done alot of horrible things to make sure you grew up with a good life. I still do. And I’ll never apologise for it, and I won’t let your anger with me ever stop me from loving you more than everything.” he says trying not to cry
Ana’s eyes full of tears, she throws her arms around her fathers neck, she begins to cry
“……I’m sorry daddy…… I didn’t know……” Roderick wraps his arms tightly around his little girl, tears rolling down his cheeks
“I know baby girl, it’s ok….. Shhhhhhh…. It’s ok…..”
July 27 (4 weeks ago)
Edited July 27 (4 weeks ago)
While everyone else traded goods and information, Argo stood nearby, watching and listening. These people had nothing he wanted to buy, nor did he have anything to contribute to the conversations happening in front of him, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t interested in the things happening around him. Distracted by they heartwarming sight of Roderick hugging a woman that he could only guess was Roderick’s daughter, it almost came as a surprise to him when a man noticed Argo and set off towards him. The message scroll in his hand marked him as a Courier, yet he was muscular and tall. The harsh desert had obviously toughened him, like it did everything else.
“Argo Mere,” the courier said bluntly as he held the scroll towards Argo. “I have a letter for you.”
Argo was surprised. Unlike the rest of the group, he hadn’t introduced himself at all.
“How did you know who I am?” Argo asked.
“Well, your race isn’t exactly common.”
“Good point,” Argo shrugged. Eladrin were very rare, he’d never interacted with another of his race. “But-”
“- I’ve been told to tell you to read that first,” the courier motioned to the scroll as he spoke, “then answer the ‘resulting torrent’ of questions.”
Argo paused, his mouth hanging open. “Hang on. How did-”
“-just read the letter!”
Argo looked at the scroll in his hands, then unraveled it rapidly. The scroll was small, but the message upon it was smaller still:
Argo of the house of Errol,
I once traveled with your guardian, and was greatly saddened to hear of his passing. Know that you still have friends here. I send you this as a warning. Teiralei, the noble that killed your guardian, has set a bounty on you, 3000 Nibenay for your death. Be warned, the posts have been sent to every city. Be wary.
3000 for my death?! Every city?! Argo mouthed to himself slowly. He looked at the courier. The horror must have shown on his face, because the courier’s expression softened considerably, and he put a comforting hand on Argo’s shoulder.
“I know the guy who gave me this letter.” The courier said quietly. “He knew Hardy well, and apparently he visited you a few times when you were a kid. When he heard that Hardy had been killed by some noble and that his son had a price on his head, he was naturally curious. He did some digging around. One of the people that he spoke to said that Teiralei might have let it go. If you hadn’t held him hostage and slit his throat with an arrow.”
Argo’s mouth had dropped wide open in a mixture of horror and surprise. “I – sli – wha?” Argo spluttered.
“When you pushed him away from you, the arrow that you were holding cut deep into his throat. You’re lucky it didn’t kill him.”
“- I know it was an accident.” The courier said, interrupting him again. “It was obvious to everyone who saw it! But Teiralei and his family didn’t care. Hence, the bounty.”
At this point, Argo was incapable of words. He had no idea what to say. Or think.
“I’ve got one piece of advice for you kid.” The courier said. “Hide the ears. As I said before, you’re not from a common race. If anyone notices you’re Eladrin, they’ll probably recognize you. Now, I should get going.”
As the man walked off, Argo stared down at the scroll. Parts of the message rang in his head over and over, drowning out all other thought.
…3000 Nibenay…every city…be wary…3000 Nibenay…every city…
Argo walked back to the lever, noticing Arlan filling his flask with wine. Argo almost smirked in spite of himself. If there was ever a time to drown his sorrows in wine, it was now. He could always warn the group of the bounty on his head when he sobered up.
July 29 (3 weeks ago)
Roderick sits in camp, pondering over the seeds Salesta risked her life over. He picks one out of the bag, the wonder of life in suck a small thing. He smiles to himself as he picks up the seed bag and walks a ways from camp.
Finding a stick, he begins to dig a shallow hole in the seemingly lifeless soil. As he puts a few of the seeds in the ground he thinks back to when he was a child, remembering having to do this for hours so his father could get drunk stumble home and beat him. He chuckles about how things can come back from your past to do some good.
“We’ll heal this land together” he says softly to himself “I will make this a better world”
He hears a small crack of a twig behind him, he quickly turns as his weapon is in his hands before the stick hits the ground. Salesta is standing there quietly observing him.
“I was wondering where you were going, I hope you don’t mind.” she says kindly
“Not at all, I owe you a debt” he responds putting away his chain “Thank you very much, you don’t know how much I wanted these” he holds up the bag of seeds
“I’m sorry about your father, I didn’t mean to look. But you left that memory open, I don’t mean to offend” she says embarrassed “You should work on hiding your thoughts, psions are everywhere in this world”
“The ones I care about I keep close, the others I wish someone would just take away” he nervously picks up his stick “I have lived too long with my demons” he says as he plants a few more seeds, stops and turns around to look at Salesta with a questioning look “Can you do anything to help me stop dreaming of the horrible things I’ve done?”
Taken aback by this question she pauses and thinks about it “I don’t think it’s possible for me to do such a thing, my father might though.”
Roderick nods and ponders about it, shakes his head and begins to pour a little water on his freshly planted seeds. Salesta turns to walk back to camp. Still thinking to himself about cutting off that part of his past. “Goodnight,” she calls back over her shoulder “don’t let your past haunt you, look toward your future”
July 29 (3 weeks ago)
Edited July 29 (3 weeks ago)
Shortly after retrieving the Psionic Crystals…
Sitting on the back of the cart, Arlan waited for the captive Thri-Kreen to wake from his injuries. It was only a couple hours ago they had ran into the raiders at the crystals. The Half-Elf had knocked the Thri-Kreen unconscious with some of his Psionics and tied him up in the cart. Arlan couldn’t explain it, but he felt the need to help the bug. As he stared the captive woke with a grunt and began to struggle against his bonds.
“Calm yourself,” Arlan clicked in the best Thri-Kreen he could muster.
“What happened? Where am I?” the bug warrior asked.
“We defeated your group of raiders,” Arlan said, “Hold on as I get you on your feet and following us."
As he freed the Thri-Kreens legs and moved him so that he was walking behind the cart with a rope tied to its back, connecting his forearms to the cart, Arlan continued to chat. “I am Arlan of House Vordon and these are my companions. Who are you?”
“I am known as Tarituk”
“Well, Tarituk, your injuries are just fine and you’ll live.”
“Why you capture me?”
“I figured you were that shaman’s slave. Why would we kill you if he forced you to fight for him.”
“I am free, and he freed me.”
“Then why did you follow him?”
“When he freed me, he said I could leave, but I owed him a debt for freeing me. So I followed him and raided for him to repay it.”
“Sounds like you were just as much his slave as you were before, but what should we do with you then? We could bring you with us, but you’d be a drain on our resources, you better work if you want to stay alive.”
“I die not your slave.”
At that Arlan called to Argo to stop the cart. He strode over to the Tri-Kreen and drew his dagger. Grabbing Tarituk’s hands, he cut the rope holding him to the cart and pulled it into the cart. “Go then, and give up your raiding. You are free of bond and debt.” As he spoke he grabbed Tarituk’s gear and tossed it to him. Tarituk Eyed the Half-Elf for a moment and looked at the wastes around them. Finally he spoke, “You let me live…be free?”
“Yes, I am from Tyr, we don’t believe in slavery. If you would like, you may come with us as a member of our party. I could teach you common and a trade or profession so you could depart on your own with no need to raid anymore.”
The Thri-Kreen looks at Arlan, studying him closely, and bows his head. “You will be Clutch Leader. I will follow you.”
“Good, you may leave our company whenever you wish. Now since your name is going to be difficult for the other to pronounce, as they don’t know your language, perhaps we could call you Tuk.”
Tuk clicked in approval, and strode to follow the cart and chatting with Arlan and Salesta.