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Caesar IV Heaven » Forums » Story Archives » Quest for the Cloak of Zal - Part 2
Topic Subject:Quest for the Cloak of Zal - Part 2
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posted 05-09-00 16:45 ET (US)         
Chunky - a weather worn traveller, Chunky has seen much of the known world. Either moving by himself, or in a small group, Chunky likes nothing better than to remove himself from civilisation and surround himself with the wonders of nature. A loyal and honourable man.
Jayhawk - Wandering minstrel, troubadour, tall (6'4") slender, dark haired, sea green eyes, that seem to be able to change colour. Plays a 12 stringed lute, with fair competence. Has travelled the realms extensively and has an incredile knowledge of lore and myth. Some of his travels have been with Chunky. There may be more to him than meets the eye. Rides a black stallion by the name of Aran.
Wendolin - Clonmaire County Palladin. Somewhat of a mystic, experienced traveller, adventurous by nature. Friend to kings, noblemen and townsfolk of all races and types, but prefers the company of travellers. Fights for Right. Wears a long black dress made out enchanted material,
which may look like a fine gossamer web, but is in fact as hard as steel. Wears a ruby-red cloak, with deep purple & gold trim. Jet black hair - dark eyes, pale face. Also wears a magical ring on her right hand - amethyst in colour, it seems to glow when danger is near. Rides a gold coloured horse named Whispering. Close friend of Gillandra the High Priestess. Has prowess in sword and mace, and carries a golden shield.
Benson - Benson has traveled extensively never staying in one place to long but often revisiting many of the places he passes through. He prefers to be in nature and tends to befriend animals wherever he goes. He is tend to be a loner and even in when traveling with groups tries to find way to spend time alone. He does not make friends easily but is very loyal if you gain his friendship. Travels with trusted friend - the panther.
Thoren of Torvald - Norseman from the Lodge of Torvald. Son of the Lodges' Leader and heir apparent. Chooses adventure over rule. Younger brother murdered by Zordemon The Black. Is single-mindedly pursuing revenge, but can be diverted or distracted by a just cause or a woman in distress. Gruff and somewhat belligerent exterior hides a thoughtful, sometimes sensitive nature. Skilled in long sword, battle axe, short bow and knife. Unusual ancestry. Some say he is descendant from Roman and Norse stock. Rides Vorth, his Norse-bred stallion.
Marcus Lindicus - shapechanger and sometime cherub. Though only small in stature, has a heart as large as a mountain. Shapechanging ability inherent - natural shape as a cherub, but has been known to turn into an elephant. Unfortunately also eats and drinks copious amounts of food
and wine, and does a fair amount of burping. Happy and jolly by nature, tends towards some practical joking.
Randorian - Youngest apprentice to the great mage Flahdorean, Randorian studies only the magic of illusion. He has a mysterious past...not even he knows who his parents are. However, he is blessed with a magical gift, though he has no power to directly hurt anyone or anything with it.
Eme-Redser - the current alias of Wintersong, the Elven Queen. She is in the guise of a mysterious stranger. She wears trousers, a long shirt, and a long, bulky cloak. All of her clothing is muted green and brown. She carries a large bundle of things, all wrapped in a mysterious fabric that no one has seen before. She rides a beautiful horse, one that is warm cream in color, and whose mane and tail are a rich chocolate color. The horse's name is R'edaine, the meaning of which is undisclosed at present. Eme-Redser is an unknown entity at present, and her guise of The Elven Queen is also unknown at this time. She has the ability to disappear at will, and her other diverse talents will be revealed as the story progresses.
Lysette - Orphaned daughter of a Frankish family burned out of their home and murdered by renegade soldiers. Now 15, almost 16 years of age. Barely escaped enslavement by the soldiers. Attached herself, foolishly and too trustingly, to a cruel traveler she came to know as her "master." Thoren freed her from that attachment. She is bewitched by an obedience/servitude spell the origin of
which she cannot remember. Has survival skills like any road-wise child, but is relatively innocent at heart. Rides Leeta, her chestnut mare, given to her by Thoren.
Gillandra - High Priestess of Coranmaire. Mysterious character - fights for good over evil. Known throughout the realm for magical healing and spiritual abilities. Soothing voice. Wear's a deep purple and white gown, and long silver cloak, showing her coat of arms on the back. Rides a silver-grey mare named Misty. Worships at the temples of Eir. Also has a pack-horse, carrying essential supplies.
Tomas - am still waiting on your background description Titanicus!!!
Incontinentia The Wise - same for you too Incon


Wendolin has been given a Quest from the King of Mordor to retrieve the Cloak of Z'al, which was stolen from his palace in Madrigold, and has somehow fallen into the hands of the evil king, Zordemon the Black, who resides in a palace in Zordark in the Realm of Sataerold (if the quest
fails, the 5Realms will be cloaked in cold and darkness, a world where children may not play, where life will be full of gloom and doom for evermore, where laughter does not exist.


Party to ensure the Staff of Purgatory is still buried deeply below the Glooming Mountains (these two items combined would give Zordemon the Black evil power over all of the 5 Realms). This wuest has been solved.

Party to retrieve the Silver Challice from Zordemon the Black (to be filled with spring water and allow the spirits of the dead Hill people to pass through and be released from their half-state).

Party to remove the "spell of eternal servitude" from Lysette (placed on her by Zordemon the Black)

Wendolin's New Map - FIXED THE LINK

Quest Part 1

[This message has been edited by Wendoolicus (edited 06-26-2000).]

posted 05-09-00 17:05 ET (US)     1 / 150       
Meanwhile, Wendolin's party (Wendolin, Benson, the panther and Lysette) continued on into the cave. It was dark, dank, damp and gloomy in there, and their lamp lights flickered through lack of oxygen.

The first cavern they entered was large, with bat droppings over the earth, and long stalactites hanging from the cave roof, giving an eerie feeling about the place. In one corner were the remains of some poor unfortunate creature, and it was clear nothing lived for too long in this dungeaon-like place.

They could see three separate paths leading from the room, and Wendolin chose the centre path. As they cautiously proceeded they noticed they were descending quite rapidly underneath the mountains. Benson and the panther led the way, followed by Lysette then the paladin.

Before long, Benson stopped abruptly, and said in alarm "Look at the path .... from those tracks down there, there seems to have been other travellers here, and only recently."

Wendolin's group continued their descent, in trepidation....

Over to the east, Thoren's group sat, still considering their next course of action. It appeared Eme-Redser was getting impatient, but she checked herself before speaking. Chunky, Randorian, Gillandra looked at Thoren, expecting some decision. Even Cherub Marcus Lindicius flitted about nervously.

Suddenly Jayhawk stood in the middle of the group and said "There is no time for procrastination. We must decide immediately what we are going to do".

[This message has been edited by Wendoolicus (edited 05-09-2000).]

Civis Romanus
posted 05-09-00 22:18 ET (US)     2 / 150       
Thoren responded immediately. "Easy Jayhawk, it's unlike you to be this impatient. What's the trouble?"

"Nothing to concern you," came Jayhawk's sharp response.

Thoren's face reddened as he struggled to control his temper. "Then, if you do not care to share your thoughts, keep anything about them to yourself and go elsewhere. We will handle this problem in good time."

Eme-Redser injected herself immediately. "The two of you are despicable. I have a good mind to spell you both to the other side of the world. In fact, if I can remember it I will do it right now and save the rest of us from an ugly day!"

Randorian and Chunky were glaring so hard at each other it couldn't be too long before they were at each other's throats at the least provocation.

Only Gillandra maintained her coolness. When she led her pack horse into the cave something tugged at her longest held memories... something about a treacherous cave in the Glooming Mountains. Cave of... Cave of... CONFLICT! That's what it was. As a precaution she sprinkled Dust of Pacification on herself immediately upon entering the cave. Now she knew her precautionary actions were justified.

Calmly, so as not to alarm the others, she rose to her feet, opened her small bag of magic powder and walked around her arguing comrades sprinkling small amounts of powder on their persons. She started with Eme-Redser to prevent her from casting a spell. Next, she quickly sprinkled powder on Thoren because she saw his sword hand beginning to twitch. Then she sprinkled it on the others. Lastly, she threw powder onto Jayhawk (who was distracted by Thoren's sudden calm) because he was too tall for her to reach the top of his head. She finished her task by saying, "There gentlemen and our elven lady, now shall we return to our real problem if you would. This so-called Cave of Conflict will not have power over us any longer."

A round of apologies followed. Thoren finally advanced his idea to Eme-Redser. Could she weave a spell that would put the Lich into a deep sleep and permit the troop to pass unmolested. Eme-Redser considered the idea. Yes, but she would need an energy boost from a fellow traveler. She looked towards Randorian. He turned white, then pink. "Ahh.. ahhh... okay," he stuttered. "Tell me what to do first, alright?"

"First, we exit this cursed cave," said the Elven Queen. "Then..."

The Lich were strangely and suddenly overcome with intense fatigue. As they moved about in their sonambulistic stupor they had no idea that the travelers were passing by them right in front of their closed or glazed-over sightless eyes. When the Lich awoke hours later ignorant of what had passed, all they could do was marvel at how fast the sun seemed to have traveled in so short a time. They hoped it wasn't a bad sign.

For many of them it would be precisely that in a time soon to come.

Eminence Grise
posted 05-10-00 06:55 ET (US)     3 / 150       
Several hours later, Jayhawk pushed his black steed next to Thoren's charger. The Norseman looked up.
"I think so. I'm fairly sure Wendolin is in for a nasty surprise, the currents...they're all twisted, so I can't be sure."
"Is there anything we can do to help?" Thoren asked as his pale complexion grew even paler.
"There's a tower nearby, look"
The minstrel pointed at a broken shape rising from a nearby hilltop.
"It will lead us down into the same caverns Wendolin is in. We need to put the horses nearby, but they should be safe. The lich are afraid to go near the tower."
"The lich...afraid?"
"There's a revenant haunting the place, an old mage with a grudge against the Lich Kings bigger than any of ours..."
Thoren's face grew hard.
"Let's go, "
He waved at his companions as he led his horse towards the ancient tower.

Meanwhile in the caves, Wendoling was looking at the multitude of passages branching off from the bat infested cave they were in. Benson's panther was growling, clearly unhappy in this claustrophic place. Lysette shivered, wrapping her slender arms around her.
"I know we're getting close, " Wendolin said, "but there's traces of other creatures here. It looks like goblins..."
"Goblins!" Benson spat. "I hate those mud-coloured pests."

The derelict tower loomed above the other party, as the unsaddled their horses and stowed the packs inside the dust covered rooms.

"Here" Jayhawk pointed to a large bronze ring in the floor.
Thoren and Chunky wrestled with it for a while and then managed to open the trap door. A staircase led down. Eme-Redser flicked her wrist and a pale mage-globe appeared and floated down the staircase. Thoren followed it, the Elven queen close behind. Randorin called up a similar globe of a more reddish cast and followed with Gillandra and Jayhawk, who was softly humming. Chunky was guarding their backs.

The spiral staricase wound down and down past several laboratory like rooms, that Randorian would have loved to examine. Down the went until the corridor widened and the stepped out on a balcony overhanging the wall of a giant cave. A small waterfall cascaded downwards spraying the stairway down. Ancient carvings could be seen decorating the walls and the columned staircase. Old lamps still stuck in their holders. The minstrel whispered something to the Queen and suddenly the lamps all sprang to light.

Thoren gasped as he viewed the huge room.
"Where now?"
"We need to go down and open the bronze doors at the South end of the hall. They will give us access to the rest fo the cave system. The Chamber of teh Staff should be less than an hour away.

"What's that?" Lysette whispered as she heard a strange chittering noise
"Goblins, " Benson replied as he tightened his bowstring and loosened the cover on his quiver.
Wendolin drew her sword....

Civis Romanus
posted 05-10-00 23:35 ET (US)     4 / 150       
Jayhawk! Glad you're back. You've been missed.


Thoren descended the remaining steps of the spiral staircase, the way ahead illuminated by Eme-Redser's bright orb. The others followed as before. Chunky, at the end of the line, quietly whistled to let Thoren know all were clear of the staircase and safe.

Now on the floor of the cavernous room they noticed every few paces a rune was carved into the stone of the floor. They made no sense to Thoren, who was not schooled in the meaning of runes; but the carvings drew intense interest from Randorian and an occasional stop by Eme-Redser as she examined certain runes in particular.

Chunky was becoming somewhat annoyed as the room was dimly lit to begin with and he could not anticipate the starting and stoping of his friends directly ahead. On two occasions he nearly collided with the tall, slender minstrel and on one of these occasions he looked back at something, then looked forward to see that no one was there. He hurried forward guessing the direction they had gone and once more nearly ran into Jayhawk, not seeing him through the dark gloom in the room. In this way they made their way across the room towards the bronze doors at the room's south end.


Wendolin motioned Lysette to press herself against the wall of the tunnel and be as inconspicuous as possible. The young girl complied immediately. The panther took up a position near the girl. Up ahead in the gloom, Benson and Wendolin could just make out a split in the tunnel one split running off to the right and the other off to the left. It was from the general area of the split to the right that the peculiar goblinish noises were coming.

The two companions, Wanderer and Paladin, edged forward to see what could be seen. No sooner had both reached the narrowing that became the split, when from the right came two grotesque creatures, about five and one-half feet tall. Their obscenely ugly faces sported enlarged yellowish eyes separated by wart encrusted noses. Their ear grating language and hissful voices offended Wendolin's and Benson's ears, setting their already disturbed nerves on an even more precipitous edge.

So absorbed in their discussion were the two goblins that they noticed far to late that they were not alone in the tunnel. The swish of Wendolin's sword was the last sound one of the vile creatures heard. Benson's leap and hunter's knife made short work of the other. Wendolin motioned Lysette to come forward. The panther followed closely.

Wendolin whispered to Benson and Lysette, "Our way is to the left; but we must hurry. The goblins will soon miss their comrades and they will know someone has invaded their keep. We will be hunted. We must continue to move north."

Lysette was curious. "How do you know left is the way north, Wendolin?"

"By these markings on the wall." And indeed, there was a symbol that looked like an upside down cross that faintly appeared on the wall of the tunnel heading left. "This symbol tells me the correct path to our destination. We have been following it ever since we entered this system of caves and tunnnels. But enough now Lysette, we must hurry to remain safe from the goblins." The young girl asked no more questions for a time.

They hurried through the tunnels and caves following the symbol even as another party of goblins discovered their slaughtered comrades. The alarm was given and the goblins quickly assembled for the chase.

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 05-10-2000).]

posted 05-11-00 17:41 ET (US)     5 / 150       
Titanicus - you could come into the story as Randorian if you like. I think RSC has left for a while )

Wendolin, Benson & Lysette ran and stumbled through the narrow caves, following the runes shown on the cave walls all the time. Halfway along the tunnels their lamps blew out, but they continued to stumble on in the dark, banging against walls and ledges, and often tripping on stones as they went. They could hear the group of goblins in hot pursuit, but kept going, preferring a more open space to face their pursuants.

They ran at such speed, that before they knew it, they had fallen into a small cavern, which had a fire lit in the middle of it and five exit tunnels. Wendolin was alarmed by this, as she knew it must be some sort of meeting place. Just as they were about to go through the centre exit tunnel, all of a sudden goblins appeared from every tunnel leading into the small space - there appeared to be hundreds of them!!! Our group of travellers was completely surrounded!

One of the goblins stepped forward, and appeared to have a crown on his head. The goblin-king moved towards Wendolin, leering, dribbling and drooling as he spoke - "Don't bother drawing your sword, me fancy, unless you want to die immediately". "Throw down your weapons" he continued, "and we will hold a trial to decide if you are the guilty party who killed our two comrades up in the southern tunnels, and what to do with you if you are!!!".

Wendolin looked at Benson and Lysette, and realised they had no choice but to do what the goblin-king commanded. They threw down their weapons onto the cave floor, and were immediately pounced upon and jostled by the goblin-king's lieutenants. Before long their hands were securely tied behind their backs, and they were placed under guard in a corner, where they stood forlornly facing their captors.

"When will our trial commence?" Wendolin defiantly asked the goblin guard.

"All in good time, me fancy, all in good time" was his surly reply.

In the mean time, the large group of goblins seemed to ignore them for the most part, only occasionally glancing in our travellers direction with lascivious grins. They seemed to be busying themselves preparing for a feast.

Benson stood uneasily, and thought to himself "I hope WE aren't going to be their fine meal".

Unbeknowns to Wendolin and Benson, Lysette had kept a small dagger in her boot, which the goblins hadn't found. But she stood like a frightened animal, not knowing what to do next.

[This message has been edited by Wendoolicus (edited 05-11-2000).]

posted 05-11-00 19:07 ET (US)     6 / 150       
Eme-Redser suddenly stopped, stooping over to examine yet another rune on the floor. "Soooooo!" she hissed softly. "They seek to hide the truth from us. My friends, we must hurry, else the goblins will win this race."

The rest of the group stood there, looking at her in confusion, except for Jayhawk. He alone of the group knew what she was talking about. He glanced from one to the other, and said, "I think she is right, and we MUST hurry. One of the other group has some sort of advantage, but is afraid at this moment to use it."

Eme-Redser looked back at Jayhawk, and, understanding him, closed her eyes and concentrated very hard on a picture in her mind of the other group. She could see all of the group except for the panther, and she could see the difficulty that they found themselves in. She thought harder, and sensed a peace come over the other group, when they were able to sense her presence in their minds.

Lysette lifted her head a fraction, and smiled faintly to herself. She looked to Wendolin, who slowly winked at her. She knew that she had to wait for just the right moment.

Meanwhile, back in the cave, the larger group was back on the move, but moving swiftly and quietly down a very dark corridor. The small mage ball that had lit their way was now a very faint purple color, and hovered just slightly over Eme-Redser's head. It would start glowing just a bit brighter when they reached a split in the tunnel, glowing more on the side that they should follow.

Faster and faster they moved, and the farther along the tunnel they went, the quieter their footsteps became. Thoren puzzled about this for a minute, then realized that the floor underneath their feet was now softer and spongier. He didn't remember it being that way earlier, and soon remembered that Eme-Redser was a queen in the forest, with all of the flora and fauna of the forests under her command.

They came suddenly to a stop, nearly knocking Eme-Redser over. It was fortunate that they didn't tumble her, as in front of her glowed the purple ball, now flashing with colors. It showed a great chasm just in front of the queen's feet, with no visible bottom to it......

Eme-Redser looked at the ceiling of the cave, and closed her eyes in thought. Out of nowhere came tumbling around them thick, strong vines. Thoren caught one in his hand and tugged on it for a minute. Then he motioned to Jayhawk, who came over and added his weight to the vine. It held their combined weights. "This is safe for all of us," Thoren stated.

One by one, they swung over the chasm to the room beyond, where the purple ball was once again just a faint light............

Civis Romanus
posted 05-11-00 21:21 ET (US)     7 / 150       
The Goblin King strutted before the tied up prisoners. "Were you or were you not in these caves and tunnels when the murder was committed?"

Wendolin answered. "Of course we were, you know that. You captured us here!"

"Precisely!" countered the King. "And were you also armed with vile weapons capable of despatching a kindly goblin."

Benson answered this time. "You know what weapons we had. You took them. 'Kindly' my flaming..."

"SILENCE!" hissed the Goblin. He turned to his collection of goblin warriors. "Then I see no reason why we shouldn't immediately sentence them to the punishment they deserve! Do any of you?

"NO!" came the prompt response.

"So be it," said the King. He turned to the three trussed up prisoners and snicker-hissed. "GUILTY AS CHARGED!" The collected goblins gave up a cheer and began to snicker-hiss as well. Some began to drool.

The Goblin King continued mockingly. "We Goblins of the Glooming Mountains are so very pleased you are here and would like to invite each of you to join us for supper. But of course... you cannot refuse can you?" More goblin laughter filled the cavern. "Ah yes, there is the matter of your punishment... Hmmmmm... I know... Each of you will be assigned to your own course. Let's see... You, woman (pointing to Wendolin) can be the first course. And you, knife-wielder (pointing to Benson) can be the main course. And the woman-child there (pointing to Lysette) she can be the dessert, fresh and sweet." Goblin guffaws echoed throughout the cavern and penetrated deeply into the nearby tunnels.

Goblins grabbed each prisoner in turn and pushed him or her to the floor. Wendolin, Benson and Lysette were left sitting or lying on the stoney floor by the forceful handling of their captors.

A voice in Lysette's head said, "Now, young one... the time is now..." The girl carefully leaned back in her sitting position to force her tied up hands to search her shoe for the small knife hidden there. The goblins paid no attention as they continued their preparations for a banquet. They had no reason to think these three could escape the roast rack they were constructing over the newly lit fire in the pit in the center of the cavern.


Thoren and company passed through room and cavern, tunnel and passage, heading ever farther south. A noise! Faint and barely discernable. Laughter? Strange hissful laughter?

"Goblins..." said Eme-Redser through clenched teeth. "Vile, deformed, evil creatures."

Thoren's hand instinctively found the handle of his sword. The Norseman glanced at Jayhawk. The minstrel's expression remained unchanged. Odd how he seems present, yet remote in these circumstances; never becomming extreme in any way. There is a lesson, here, thought Thoren. One maybe he should learn while there is time to do so.

Eme-Redser knew they were close to the goblin gathering, but she didn't know exactly how many and how close until a few moments later. It was the panther that made the prisoner's plight clear to the Elven Queen...

Eminence Grise
posted 05-12-00 05:24 ET (US)     8 / 150       
Time to make a little mythology, I guess.

A growling hiss made most hands of the party go for their weapons, but it soon turned out to be the great cat that accompanied Benson. The panther was covered in many scratches, and shallow cuts but had, managed to escape from the goblins. When it recognised their familiar smell, the cat meowed piteously.

Gillandra, retrieved a small pot of salve from her pack and carefully dabbed the big cat's wounds.

Jayhawk picked a nodding Marcus out of his pocket and shook him gently.
"Huh? Yaaaaawn. What?" the little creature mumbled his fists rubbing his eyes.
"Could you just flit around the corner and see how many of those pesky goblins there are, and where our friends are kept?" the minstrel asked.
"Sure" the chrub chittered and zipped off.

In the cavern Lysette had managed to cut her bonds and had passed the little knife to Wendolin.

Marcus returned, his little face screwed up in distress,
"There's more than I can count."
Chunky swallowed hard. He hated goblins with a vengeance, but this just seemed too many.
"Now what?" Thoren asked.

Jayhawk unslung his lute and started tuning it.
"Is this the time for music, minstrel?" Thoren asked sharply.
The minstrel smiled,
"Music is known to sooth the fiercest beasts" was the enigmatic reply.

The long slender fingers danced across the string picking out a soft haunting melody.
Randorin yawned and blushed.
"I...I didn't mean to be disrespectful..."
Jayhawk smiled.
The tall minstrel shrugged of his cloak and stepped forward the music slowly growing louder, stronger.

"What's that sound?" Benson whispered.
"I don't know, " Wendolin replied, "it sounds like a lute..."
"Jayhawk!" Lysette cried, which drew some nasty looks from a nearby goblin.
"Shut your yakking mouth, wench!" it shouted.
Then it too looked up, ears cocked.

One by one the goblins turned towards the tall slender man playing the lute as he stepped into plain site. They blinked and yawned, seemed drowsy, completely ignoring their prisoners.

Little Marcus dropped out of the air and handed the three of them some wax.
"Put it in your ears, hurry" he chittered.
"You want us to do what?" Benson asked.
"Say what?"
"Never mind, " Wendolin grabbed some wax and plugged her ears, the others followed suit.
"Follow. Slow!" Marcus made an excited looping.

They slowly rose, liberated their weapons and walked toward the cave Jayhawk had appeared from. The minstrel's eyes were closed in concentration, a smile hovered on his lips as his fingers danced their intricate dance on the strings of the lute. As his friends passed his eyes opened, green flecked gold and he follwed them back to the others. The melody faded, like a dream on waking.

"We got to hurry. It will take the goblins a only few minutes to snap out of this. Wendolin, there should be a passage to that Chamber of the Staff half way between here and the Wizard's Tower.

"What did you do?" Thoren asked the minstrel as the sped through the now decorated stone corridors, following Wendolin and the Elven Queen.
The minstrel smiled,
"It's an old tune, I learned long ago and far away, from a brilliant man named Orpheus."

He was quiet for a moment, then added under his breath.
"Too bad those women tore him apart."

Civis Romanus
posted 05-12-00 16:02 ET (US)     9 / 150       
"Funny," observed Thoren as he kept pace with Jayhawk's long stride. "I've not heard of this man, Orpheus."

"Civis would know who he was."

Thoren frowned. "Once again you say this name 'Civis'. Who is this 'Civis' you speak of, Minstrel?"

Jayhawk paused to listen. No goblins yet. "This way!" he called to the others and pointed to the left at the place where the tunnel divided. They followed him without protest.

Jayhawk resumed his talk with Thoren. "He was at various times a Roman adventurer, warrior and general. We shared many adventures and amusing experiences."

"I know of the Romans, an ancient people. It is said we of Torvold have Roman blood in our veins since we co-habitated with them before the Change. I am told by my father that I have an ancestor who was the great granddaughter of a famous Roman general and a Celtian woman." Thoren paused to catch up with the fast walking minstrel.

Jayhawk quickly glanced in Thoren's direction. The currents may not be so wrong in this one's case, he thought. "The description fits," Jayhawk said. "The consort of Civis Romanus was a woman from the Isle of Celtia."

Suddenly, Thoren's expression changed. "What do you mean by saying 'we shared many adventures and amusing experiences'?"
Oooops, thought Jayhawk. "I..uhhh... It's just an expression, Thoren. I mean... uhh... I feel like I've been part of the stories I hear, just like I feel I'm part of the music I play. It's an artist's way."

"Oh..." replied Thoren with the same quizzical expression on his face he had before.

Whew, thought Jayhawk. For a brief moment I thought I might be losing my touch. It's okay now, I think... The minstrel glanced once more in Thoren's direction, but the Norseman appeared lost in thought and so Jayhawk decided to leave well enough alone.

Lysette had edged her way forward in the group to get closer to Thoren and heard part of the conversation. This is no simple minstrel she concluded. Jayhawk is something very different from a simple minstrel. She saw it in his eyes the first time they met in the Inn. Now she was convinced.

"Turn now!" cried out Jayhawk. They all changed their direction sharply to the right and entered a moderately sized chamber. Against the far wall leaned an upright oaken box about 6 ft long illuminated by two torches that burned brightly, but with a cool blue flame.

Thoren's, Chunky's and Wendolin's swords hissed out of their scabbords immediately... They were not alone.

Titanicus: Here is your chance if you want to join the story line. If not, we will go on and another opportunity will present itself.

To All: I will be out of touch for a few days and won't be able to contribute. I'll be looking forward to how all of you deal with the Staff of Purgatory, the Tower and, most of all, the insidious goblins. Take good care of poor puzzled Thoren.

posted 05-12-00 19:00 ET (US)     10 / 150       
Hey "Thoren"! Thanks for writing in that option for me! Here goes nothing...

Tomás glanced up from his crouch in the corner. At first, he was frightened, he had coughed. He had heard a group heading down the corridor, and yet he couldn't stop himself. In the dark shadows he knew not whether the new-arrivals into the chamber were friend-or-foe. He squinted in the dark, the small group crept in, swords drawn, glancing every which way...heads cocked, listening.

The torch-light flickered off each of their faces, and he knew at once that these people were not the goblins he had first thought they had been. Each person, different in their own way, they all looked faintly familiar to him, in his dilusional state of mind. Maybe it was because the body of the group was, like himself, of the human race. He had not seen a live human for weeks now. He and his loyal pet frog (Eoin) and had been abducted by the Goblins, many weeks (months?) earlier. His frog now gone, he had not been in contact with any form of kindness since he had been abducted. By chance (or was it fate?) he found a way to escape his captors, but was soon lost in the many tunnels. Whenever he heard a noise, he would jump, fearing it be a goblin on the lookout for him. He would hide whenever he heard something near, and wait for it to pass...but now, it seems as though he had been caught. Malnourished and down with a case of the shivers, he was to weak to run for it.

Just then, the large panther that had been sniffing around the cave, began to poke around the boulder he was behind. He closed his eyes, held his breath, and waited... after a moment or so, he realized he wasn't dead or even worse off than he had been a few moments before. He opened his eyes, and nearly fell backwards. There in front of him was a girl, about his age, looking down at him, rubbing the cat behind the ears, looking quizzicly (sp?) at him...

[This message has been edited by Titanicus (edited 05-12-2000).]

posted 05-12-00 19:28 ET (US)     11 / 150       
Way Cool Titanicus - so glad you've joined us!!!

Lysette stood staring at the frightened lad in the corner, and she instinctively knew he posed no threat to the group. She held out her hand, and with her most beautfiul smile beckoned him to come and join the group.

All were shocked by the appearance of the stranger. He was badly wounded, and appeared to be very weak with deep circles beneath his eyes. Without a word, Gillandra stepped forward and tended to his wounds, while Eme-redser handed him a small potion bottle of one of her invigorating health remedies.

After this, Wendolin spoke..."Stranger, who ARE you, and what are you doing hiding in this cave?"

"I'm Tomas of Aran-dor" he stammered in reply, "and I've been here for almost 2 months now. I'm hurt, and lost and tired".

Wendolin spoke again ... "Well Tomas, you may join us, and we will take you to safety if we get out of these mountains. But right now, we have a more pressing problem. I detect that the wooden chest over there is somehow booby-trapped!! Randorian can you help?"

Randorian stepped forward. This was the first time he had been asked to practice real magic other than his illusions. He told everyone to stand back from the chest, then approached it in trepidation. With the greatest concentration he could muster, he began chanting some unknown spell, and then started waving his hands around. Sparks flew everywhere, then Whoooooooooooosh - the trap had been disarmed. He moved away, feeling just a little bit pleased with himself.

Thoren strode over to the chest, and opened the lid - inside lay the Staff of Purgatory. The group realised it was still safely enclosed within its invisible sheath, which itself could only be opened using an unknown spell set there by Flahdorean the Great.

Jayhawk was the first to speak... "Come my friends, we have achieved the first part of our quest. We must not tarry here any longer." The group reassembled and they left the room, with their newly found friend.

Eme-redser lingered at the doorway, and decided that the room should be sealed forever. With that, the elven-queen called upon all the earth gods and other influences she knew, and a huge rumble began. "Run" she cried to the group, and as they sped off down the tunnel, the cave roof began to tumble in behind them, sealing off the "Staff of Purgatory" forever, and also blocking the northern exit of the mountain tunnels to the goblins behind them.

The group was safe for the time being, and they stumbled on, up and up through the tunnels for what seemed like hours, until there before them was daylight. They had made it through the Glooming Mountains!

posted 05-12-00 19:41 ET (US)     12 / 150       
Tomás, now feeling much better, squinted when they reached sunlight.

"It seems that I have been down in those tunnels longer than I really have." He meekly smiled, thanking the group for their help. He then frowned, realizing how little he knew of this group.

"Where are you headed? You seem to be ready for almost anything, have you traveled together for very long? And where from?"

I'm still new to this story, so I'll let the others explain it for me...

posted 05-14-00 00:00 ET (US)     13 / 150       
Oh please don't tell me I killed the story! Maybe we're all just busy w/Mother's Day... *shrugs*
posted 05-14-00 20:25 ET (US)     14 / 150       
Wendolin turned her gaze to the pale weary face of Tomas and gave him a bemused smile. Wendolin, arching her eyebrows said "We pull you out of a goblin dungeon and the first thing you want to do is ply us with questions. We must tend to our wounded and set up a camp before we do anything else. Then I'm sure we will be in a much better mood to answer your questions Tomas."

The other memebers of the party had sat or sprawled upon the grass aound the entrance to the tunnel. Wendolin took stock of her friends and noted the tired faces and the dusty condition of their clothing. She checked the position of the sun and noted it was just passed midday. "We must have spent an entire day and a half down in those dungeons." said Wendolin. "Yes, that is what I make it." answered Jawhawk as he helped Gillandra with the preparation of healing herbs for the various nicks and cuts suffered by the party members and the more serious wounds of Tomas. "Your party was inside the mountain for the full day and a half. Our party rode the better part of a day around the mountain getting to the tower. I would make the tower no more than a half day from here." Said Jawhawk. Thoren spoke then, "The valley goes to the South-West around the mountain, the tower must be that way, as it is the only pass in the immediate area." "There is a stream down in the valley, we can fill our water bottles there as well.", added Thoren as he glanced at his friends again. "We should return with all haste, the horses won't be safe forever in that tower." added Thoren." Wendolin nodded her head, " As soon as Tomas has been put in a better state for traveling we will go find the tower." Gillandra's warm voice broke the small silence that followed, "He will be ready to travel in another hour, but it will take several days for him to recover his strength enough to travel unaided. He is weak from hunger and he must regain his strength." "We will need a stretcher to carry Tomas back to the tower. ", stated Gillandra.

Meanwhile Benson and chunky had returned from scouting out the valley just bellow the tunnel entrance. "Benson and I shall find you some suitable branches to use.", exclaimed Chunky. Meanwhile Lysette had managed to keep Thoren still long enough to bind his cuts and voiced her willingness to help as well. Randorian had been helping out Jayhawk and Gillandra and with the healing potions for Tomas and said, "Will Tomas be well enough to ride with us when we get back to the tower?"
"I hope so, you might want to go tell Benson and Chunky to make poles long enough for a litter, just to be on the safe side.", said Gillandra. "Consider it done", piped up a small childlike voice as Marcus flew out of Jawhawk's cloak and off downt he hill. Wendolin smiled at the site of the Cherub as he flew off down the hill toward Chunky and Benson. Wendolin stated, "He will need to be able to ride soon Gillandra, we can not outrun Zordark's patrols with a horse towing a litter." "We can spare a few days for him to recuperate if that is what is needed for him to regain his health." Gillandra nodded at her friends words. "He will be ready.", she stated while giving Tomas another potion to drink.

An hour later the group set off down the trail towards the valley. Once there they steered South-West through the aspen and birch trees, stopping only to refill water bottles and wash the dust from their faces. They found a path beside the gurgling stream and followed it to the South-West. The adventurers drew within site of the tower as the sun set behing the Western Mountains.

[This message has been edited by lshaul (edited 05-14-2000).]

[This message has been edited by lshaul (edited 05-14-2000).]

[This message has been edited by lshaul (edited 05-14-2000).]

posted 05-14-00 22:24 ET (US)     15 / 150       
"There is the tower!" exclaimed Chunky who had been in the lead besides Wendolin. The tower stood black against the evening sky a mile away to the South. The mood of the party lightened at the site of the end of their journey.

"Wait!", commanded Eme-Redser. "I hear the sound of a battle up ahead!", stated Eme-Redser. Wendolin looked at her alexandrite ring and as she had feared it was glowing, signaling that danger was near at hand. Quickly and quietly the stretcher bearers, who were Randorian, Jayhawk, Gillandra, and Thoren set down Tomas on the side of the path. The party members drew their weapons and prepared for battle. Benson looked at his friend the panther and with a gesture sent the mighty cat ahead to scout out the battle.

The sounds came faintly to them through the trees but there could be no doubt that a fierce battle was underway some yards off in the forest. The shouts of men and goblins and the clash of metal could be heard.

"I'll go ahead and try to see what is happening." exclaimed Benson in a low voice. Eme-Redser and Thoren both moved to accompany Benson through the trees. "You should not go alone." replied Thoren. "He's right Benson, the sounds indicate many goblins and men up ahead.", said Eme-Redser.

"Wait, just you three go ahead. We can not leave Tomas here undefended. And from the sound of things we may not be able to fight our way thruogh this one.", said Wendolin with a hushed voice. All eyes watched as Benson, Thoren, and Eme-Redser disappeared into the trees.

"We should move off the path. Help me move Tomas.", hissed Wendolin. Quickly the party moved off to the left of the path into the trees.

Benson, Thoren and Eme-Redser moved quickly and stealthily through the trees until they reached the edge of a clearing. In the fading light could be seen a dozen Brightsparian knights and calvery fighting a much larger group of a dozen Zordark calvery and forty goblins. The Brightsparians and goblins were fighting on foot while the Zordark calvery were fighting from horseback. The Brightsparians put up a fierce fight but they were loosing to the Zordark patrol and the goblins. The bodies of eight Brightsparians and ten goblins littered the ground of the clearing.

[This message has been edited by lshaul (edited 05-14-2000).]

[This message has been edited by lshaul (edited 05-14-2000).]

[This message has been edited by lshaul (edited 05-15-2000).]

posted 05-14-00 23:26 ET (US)     16 / 150       
Tomás watched as his new friends decided what should be done. Suddenly, a goblin fell back, through the brush, knicking into Wendolin. He turned around, and yelled, something in another launguage. They were quickly charged and, and just as quickly, the group charghed off to join the battle. He was now alone, in the dense foilage. He heard the clang of metal, and outcry of doomed men as they were sliced through by the Goblin's swords...
posted 05-15-00 01:32 ET (US)     17 / 150       
The Brightsparians seized the oppurtunity to rally themselves when part of the goblin force charged away into the trees. With renewed vigor the Brightsparians advanced into the goblin ranks killing several of the goblins outright and injury many more. That part of the goblin lines began to waver and give way as the back ranks rushed off to do battle with the members of Wendolin's party.

The Zordark Cavalry officer who was in charge yelled at the goblins to get back into the fight. The officer had not seen Wendolin's party and was thus very surprised to see ten goblins go rushing off into the trees.

"What are Brightsparian soldiers doing here?", asked Benson as he looked at Eme-Redser. "I don't know, you will have to ask them later." said Eme-Redser as a dozen goblins charged off in the direction of the other party members. "I think the others are going to be busy though." stated Eme-Redser matter-of-factly. With that statement Eme-Redser stepped in front of her two companions and began to cast a spell at the nearest goblins.

A large blue globe of light shot from Eme-Redser's hands into the nearest line of goblins and took down five of the creatures with a sharp thunderous sound. Again Eme-Redser raised her hands and sent a blue ball of energy hurtling toward the nearest goblin ranks. Thunder shook the air as six more goblins were struck with a glowing blue globe of magical energy. Benson and Thoren stood guard to either side of Eme-Redser watching for any goblins that might try and charge at them. "The Zordark calvery might have bows, you'd better send one of those spells at them if you can get a clear shot and don't forget your bow Benson.", yelled Thoren over the din of battle.

Unfortunatley most of the Zordark cavelry were on the other side of the Brightsparians and Eme'Redser did not want to risk hitting them with one of here spells. Eme-Redser fired off another blue globe toward the Zordark officer who appeared to be in charge of the enemy group. Fortunately he was off to the left on the Eastern side of the clearing and not to the West behind the Brightsparians. The blue globe impacted instead on an unfortunate goblin who happened to step into the path of the spell and was sent flying through the air by the force of the impact.

[This message has been edited by lshaul (edited 05-15-2000).]

posted 05-15-00 10:15 ET (US)     18 / 150       
Just for the sake of historical accuracy, the ring Eme-Redser wears is a 2 carat Alexandrite, given to her by the last Elven Queen. The stone has a purple shade to it, but most of the time it has a greenish-purple color. When danger threatens, it glows a brighter purple.Thanks!

Eminence Grise
posted 05-15-00 10:58 ET (US)     19 / 150       
Welcome lshaul, great posts
BTW. I deleted the two 'deleted' posts.

The Zordark commander looked at the direction of Eme-Redser and yelled
"Elves! Get those whiteblooded pixies, you blithering lumoxes."

He slammed his visor down and drew himself upright in the saddle, two of his lieutenants withdrew from the battle with the Brightsparians and positioned themselves to either side. The air above them started to hum as the commander lifted his sword.

The Elven Queen paled
"Scatter!" she shouted.
Her companions reacted immediately and thus managed to evade the blood red stream of energy that flew from the sword and plowed deep in the ground where they had stood.
Eme-Redser cursed in a tone that made Thoren blush and lobbed another blue enegry orb towards the commander.

Wendolin and Chunky were defending themselves from a band of goblins while Randorin was busy casting illusions of hornets and other nasties to distract them.

Gillandra had taken Lysette back to where they'd left Tomàs and retreated towards a large oak.

The Brightsparians had lost another of their number and were slowly being beaten back by the goblins again. More beams of energy crossed the field and kept the Elven Queen and her steed too busy to take back the offensive to the Zordarks.

"What now?" Marcus piped up as he stood on Jayhawk's shoulder, his small hand wrapped in a lock of the minstrel's hair. The two of them were on a slight rise, hidden by the boughs of trees.
"I think we need a distraction, " Jayhawk replied and started to chant an eerie melody, softly as his fingers carressed the strings of his lute. His eyed glowed like molten gold and somewhere in the distance the trees started to ripple.

A passing bird would have seen three lines of disturbance converging on the battles. Trees wobbled as the ground seemed to shift. Suddenly it erupted benath the Zordar commander. A head like a badly carved rock popped up and two arms longer than a man slammed on the ground.
It shook.

Two more appeared between the goblins, who started screaming. A hand grasped one of the creatures by it's ankle and started to use it as a club on the remaining goblins.

The first one had was pulling the commander of his horse as one of Eme-Redser's globes sent the man into oblivion.

Marcus bounced up and down on the minstrel's shoulder.
"Cool! Earth elementals!"
The minstrel smiled.
"Hush, don't needs a few secrets."
Marcus looked at the minstrel and wondered why nobody had commented on the ghostly wings he could clearly see behind the man.
"Oh well, "he thought "humans are silly.
Fun, but silly"

Civis Romanus
posted 05-16-00 16:05 ET (US)     20 / 150       
The appearance of the earth elementals was more than the Zordarks and Goblins could stand. The loss of the Zordark commander sealed the outcome. Nothing more could be seen of the Zordaks or the Goblins, only the fallen from among their numbers.

Wendolin and the warriors among the troop cautiously entered the battle area on the alert for any tarrying Zordaks or Goblins. There were none. The earth elementals had done their work quickly and thoroughly.

Now they began to check the Brightsparians lying on the ground. Too late. These fallen soldiers were passed all help.

Chunky stood up after checking one of the fallen Brightsparians. "We might as well..." But his words were cut off by a cry from a nearby clump of high hedge-like plants.

"You will not befoul our fallen, thieves!" Out of the growth charged three Brightsparians wielding swords, the last to survive the battle. Thoren, Wendolin and Chunky immediately drew swords to protect themselves. Benson unshouldered his bow, but the Brightsparians were on them too quickly.

As brave as the Brightsparians were, they were also exhausted by the battle they had just fought. Thoren and Chunky absorbed the brunt of their attack and struck back hard with their swords, but not to deliver mortal blows. Before long, the Brightsparians were separated from their swords and sitting or lying exhausted on the ground grimly awaiting their fate.

Wendolin spoke to the three. "Why have you attacked us. We are not your enemy."

"So you say, wench!" spit out the more heavily armored of the three. "You were planning to plunder our dead, so it appeared to us."

Wendolin's expression changed to a look of disgust. "You have us wrong, Brightsparian. We are the ones who lifted the Zordak and Goblin attack on you and your comrades and helped you win the day."

The Brightsparian laughed sarcastically. "You hear that Kellen? And you Storis? Win the day? Look about you, wench. Does it seem to you we won the day? I, Clenden of Brightspar, salute us all from this throne of dirt I sit upon. Win the day, indeed. HAH!"

Clenden slowly rose to his feet. Thoren's grip on his sword tightened, as did Chunky's. Clenden raised his right hand, palm out and open. "Rest your sword, man (to Thoren)there is no more fight in my companions or I today. Do what you will."

"What we will do is tend to your wounds and bury your comrades if you request it," said Wendolin.

Clenden frowned and looked at Wendolin more closely than before. "Why would you do this, woman? Have I not spoken abusively enough to you? What is your name?"

"Wendolin the Paladin... This is Thoren of Torvold. Chunky, a swordsman, Benson The Wanderor. We have others in the party; one who will tend to your injuries."

"I know your name, Paladin, and your reputation." Clenden lowered his eyes. "I would be very much in your debt if you would assist us with our dead. We honor our fallen with cremation. Kellen and Storis will guide you. Our wounds will keep until our duty is done."

Civis Romanus
posted 05-16-00 21:44 ET (US)     21 / 150       
Flames licked at the edges of piled branches and logs then climbed into the sky as the bodies of the fallen Brightsparians were claimed by bier fire and sent smokily skywards. Clenden stepped towards Wendolin, staggered slightly, and was caught before he fell by the Paladin. It was only then she noticed the red stain on the side of his leather jerkin.

"Let's get him up to Gillandra!" she cried. Storis and Kellen grabbed Clenden and lifted, then carried him in the direction pointed out by Wendolin. The others followed.

After tending to Clenden, Gillandra walked over to Wendolin and spoke softly to her. "He will heal. It was a cut, deep but clean. Nothing vital damaged, but he lost great amounts of blood. My potions will bring him back, but it will take a day's time."

"Can he be moved?"

"Some. Same as the boy, Tomas. But his men can carry him. They are scratched only. No serious wounds. They were fortunate."

"Have them rig a similar carrying device and follow us. We must reach the tower and our horses."

So it came to pass that the now enlarged party of travelers reached the tower from where Thoren and Jayhawk led their companions into the tunnels within the Glooming Mountains. Goblins and Zordarks were sufficiently cowed by their experience in the recent battle to make no effort that day or next to harrass them. This gave Wendolin's troop time to heal and to see to their horses, who indeed remained safe despite the dangers surrounding them.

Clenden, like Tomas, was able to navigate around the camp on his own once again and engaged Wendolin in conversation repeatedly. "Are you aware of the alliance, then?" he asked. "The alliance between the Goblins of Glooming Mountains, the Lich and Zordemon and his minions?"

"I knew of no such alliance when we departed," replied Wendolin.

"We learned of it only recently. Ours was the second patrol to be assaulted. The first was slaughtered save for one soldier who returned to tell us of the attack and then died of his wounds. Your Norseman over there (he motioned to Thoren)is from the house of Torvold?"


"We believe his homeland is Zordemon's next target. We are seeking an alliance with them. So far they have refused. I cannot believe it to be fear. Your Thoren shows no such tendency. If the rest in his land are like him, then an alliance between our two peoples would be very powerful."

"But doomed to failure."

"Why say you that, Paladin?"

"Zordemon's strength is in his magic. You can defeat his armies repeatedly, but you will not defeat Zordemon himself without magic. The House of Torvold knows its people are without knowledge of magic. That is why they will not ally with Brightspar in a purely military campaign. They know they cannot win your kind of war. But once conjoined with magic, they will rise up against Zordemon as bravely as the bravest Brightsparian and join your effort."

A new voice broke into the conversation. "The Paladin speaks truthfully." It was Thoren, unnoticed in his approach to the two during their exchange. "This is one of the reason's I have joined this quest. I am a prince in the house of Torvold and can speak for my father, the Chief of House of Torvold. We seek an end to Zordemon's evil domination. I am charged to find those skilled in magic who will help us. This quest is serving that purpose. At my request when the time is right, the House of Torvold will rise to strike at Zordemon, but only when the time is right." Wendolin looked at Thoren as if seeing a part of him for the first time.

"You did not tell me this before, Thoren," she said.

"You asked me about the gold ring in my ear once. I said nothing about it because it wasn't time for you to know. The time for you to know is now. The ring is a mark of my rank and responsibility. You now know my full mission and purpose in being here - to avenge my brother and seek allies for Torvold. Clenden, when you see your king, tell him he has friends in Torvold, but the power of magic must be with us before we join to defeat Zordemon."

Clenden stood up. He was slightly taller than Thoren, but more slender in build. "Norseman, you see before you the King of Brightspar, who offers you his hand in friendship." Clenden extended his hand. Surprised, Thoren hesitated momentarily, then grasped the King's hand firmly in his and said to him. "What is said is done."

Lysette observed and heard the exchange as did the others. A prince, she thought, a prince of Torvold. Now there is no chance. What would a prince want with a commoner, an orphaned road girl? A tear rolled down each cheek in succession. No one noticed except Eme-Redser, the Elven Queen.

posted 05-16-00 23:07 ET (US)     22 / 150       
Eme-Redser touched Lysette's arm, and motioned for her to follow. Lysette, tears still streaming down her face, did so, and they came to a small clearing not far from the camp.

"Oh, dry those tears, for the love of R'edaine!" the Elven Queen exclaimed, while pulling a large handkerchief out of one of her pockets.......

Lysette mopped her face, but still the tears came....."You don't understand at all, do you? He will NEVER look at me now....OH.........!" Lysette sank to her knees, sobbing.

"OH!....It isn't as bad as you think. I wasn't supposed to tell you this yet, but if it will stop the tears...I will do anything to stop the tears...." The Elven Queen settled herself up against a fallen tree, and started her story...."Well, about a hundred or so years ago, I met your grandmother. She had been in the forest hunting, and my followers didn't think she belonged there. They brought her to me. She and I talked, and in the course of the conversation, found that we had many things in common. She and I share many interests, hobbies, and friends. We also share a great deal of our magical powers, and combined, are much stronger than apart. And the other thing, too." Eme-Redser stopped to gather her thoughts and take a sip of the wine she had taken out of another pocket.

"The other thing????? What is the other thing?" Tears forgotten, Lysette was now also leaning on the tree, totally engrossed in the story to this point.

"Oh, we also found, after talking for a while about our families, that we share a common ancestor. The King of Dawsonia is that ancestor." Eme-Redser smiled as she recalled the conversation with Red-Emser, Lysette's grandmother.

"The King of Dawsonia? How on earth are you related to him, being that Dawsonia is clear the other side of the world?" Lysette had a very sceptical look on her face......

"Well, it's like this. You know where Lanconia and Arpegia meet? Across the Great Fjord?" Eme-Redser paused for a moment. When Lysette nodded, the Elven Queen continued with the story, "Well, the King of Lanconia is my father, and the King of Arpegia is your grandmother's father......"

"WHAT!?? There is NO way that you are as old as my grandmother!!!" Lysette shook her head, and starting to cry again, and turned away from the Queen.

"Well, my dear, believe it or not, I am about 350 years old, give or take a decade or two. I forget exactly what year I was born... I only remember that my birthday is June 25, exactly 6 months after the new year. Anyway...the fact that I am mostly fairy is the secret to my lasting beauty. The other quarter of the reason is the magic.....and the lovely brown dye that I get from the ferns in the forest....But I digress. Your grandmother is actually about 6 months younger than I am......" Eme-Redser had to stifle a laugh at the expression on the face of the young girl facing her.

" old does that make ME??? You better not tell me that I am much older than 16........!" Lysette had a most interesting look on her face, mostly horror.....

"No, child, you are about that age......give or take a hundred years," she whisphered. You are so beautiful that it really doesn't matter anyway, right?" The Elven Queen looked at the tearstained glory of the girl's face, and had to shove down a jealous thought as she looked at Lysette.

"So, my dear, the whole point of the story is that YOU are as royal, if not MORE royal than Thoren is, and you are more than equal to him....That is the whole point of my being along on this adventure, to make sure that you come to no harm along the way.....So don't fret anymore. Hope is not dead for you." Eme-Redser looked very pleased with herself, but hadn't noticed that Jayhawk was hidden not far from them in a large clump of foliage just behind where they were sitting.

"But, but...then WHY was I a captive to that horrid man?" Lysette demanded.

"All of the royal family must prove themselves worthy of the crown and the rank, by conducting themselves in such a way as to be considered all that must be before they take the throne. As your father is not completely in command of all of his senses, and you are his only child, YOU are the next in line for the throne of Lanconia......And, you have proven yourself more than worthy just in the past few weeks, by your courage and your actions, both for others and for yourself." Eme-Redser explained.

"I am going right back to Thoren and tell him this story! Then he will have to pay more attention to me." Lysette jumped up quickly and started to go back to the camp.

"Wait! You must not tell him this yet.....I have more to tell you, and you must hear all of it before he is told anything...." Eme-Redser jumped up and stopped Lysette.

"Well, Eme-Redser, I am so glad that you finally told her about all of this. I was going to tell her in the morning, when we were all rested more." Jayhawk stepped out of the foliage and came over to them. He then said,

[This message has been edited by MRed94 (edited 05-16-2000).]

Eminence Grise
posted 05-17-00 08:15 ET (US)     23 / 150       
"Damodred, your father, really isn't the most stable king around, Lysette. I've visited his court several times and have come to know your grandmother rather well. I got a message from her a few months ago telling me he'd sold you off to this merchant. She asked if I could keep an eye open for you.

As you know you were found, but there's still the problem with that spell that is cast on you. It must be removed before you come into your inheritance, especially the magic part of it, or else Zordomon will use you and your inborn magic against the Realms.

The biggest problem we have is that that spell grows stronger with the amount of knowledge you have of who you are. It also feeds on and gains strength from your magic. I believe a second spell has been cast upon you, to cloud your mind and keep you from regaining this knowledge, making the spell mostly harmless.

So we will be keeping some more secrets from you.
Please, don't tell anyone what Eme-Redser has told you. It is for all our safety."
He looked towards Gillandra and continued
"Do you think you could give Gillandra a hand, I think she's in need of some herbs and would like some help picking them."

Lysette threw him a bright smile.
"Thank you, Jayhawk" she said and turned to help the priestess.

The tall minstrel looked at the Elven Queen. His face grew still then he said
"We can not let her regain all of her memory before we have removed the spell. She will be too dangerous if she falls under Zordamon's spell.

Tell her no more about her name, her life, her history. If she regains her memory and her power too soon we will have to kill her."

He smiled a bitter smile as he saw the Elven Queen grow pale.
"It will not be my choice to harm the child, but the norns may force my hand."

Civis Romanus
posted 05-17-00 16:09 ET (US)     24 / 150       
Poor Lysette! Her plight gives new meaning to the word "spellbound". Given her situation as it is in the story, she can look forward to being carded every time she orders ale in any roadside inn for the next 100 years. Her aging process seems to be about 10 human years to 1 Lysette year. It's okay. I can work with it.

For fellow writers' general information, here's where I was originally going with the Thoren/Lysette thing. Lysette was to be spelled into the future during a confrontation with Zordemon where she would meet up with a more mature, mage-like Randorian. He would know the secret of time travel and treat her like a long lost sister. Lysette would spend about 6 years (the assumption was a 1:1 aging ratio) with Randorian as an apprentice and would then be returned by Randorian to the approximate time of the conflict with Zordemon. She would be 21 or 22 years old then, capable of magic, and would somehow locate Thoren and reveal her true identity to him. The "teenage crush" emotion fended off by the honorable Norseman would be replaced by a truer emotion in Lysette developing throughout the story in a way more powerful than the original "servitude" spell. This emotion is what drives Lysette to wait the 6 years with Randorian's help and gamble on Thoren's true feelings for her.

So, fellow writers, trust me when I say I had purpose in my Lysette and Thoren character development that tied to secretly planned plot twists I had hoped would add the right touch of suspense and surprise to all. I was also, admittedly, dabbling in the "romance" genre. Now it appears the table has been turned on me... And that's quite okay. I'm not complaining. I just wanted you to know what I was doing in case anyone was wondering.

Anyway, this just gives me a new opportunity to think up some new twists I hadn't contemplated before.

*Civis, the author, leans back in his chair to imagine once more... But not too far 'cause the chair has been known to tip over...with Civis in it*

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 05-17-2000).]

posted 05-17-00 21:03 ET (US)     25 / 150       
Uh, oops....It just so happens that if the Elven Queen is hit with a teardrop from a member of the Arpegian family, she will turn to stone.......And that, my friends, AIN'T a good thing.....I promise to be good and not reveal any more of the history..... We could still go in that direction, Civis.......

Eme-Redser couldn't tell Jayhawk her secret fear of the tears of Lysette, as she was too embarrassed. It is her only weakness.

She went back to the group of travelers, and motioned to Jayhawk that all was well.

She sat down and started rummaging through her ever-present bag, ignoring the rest of the group. She appeared to be lost in thought......

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