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Caesar IV Heaven » Forums » Story Archives » New Story: 'Quest for the cloak of Z'al'
Topic Subject:New Story: 'Quest for the cloak of Z'al'
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posted 03-11-00 21:09 ET (US)         
Active Characters

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.
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.

Main Quest -

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.

Sub-Quests -
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 5Realms)

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)

The drizzle continued to fall; the night was sterotypically windswept as a rather large man in a black robe walked humming to himself. It had been a long time since he had conversed with his friends, and he was looking forward to seeing the motley crew again. On a hillside an inn shone like a beacon, and the man headed towards it. using his gnarled staff to keep his footing, Chunky made his way up the twisting path, wondering why all the settings for stories had to be depressing. With a sigh of relief, Chunky knocked open the door to the inn with his staff and stumbled in. The inn-keeper looked up.

"Bloody hell, you're dripping blooming water all over the floor!"

Dulce et Decorum est pro Patria Mori
Wendolin's New Map

Wendolin's Map

[This message has been edited by Chunky (edited 04-12-2000).]

Civis Romanus
posted 04-06-00 22:26 ET (US)     101 / 145       
To All: I haven't deserted you. Had to wrap up a story in Pharaoh Heaven, "The Search For The Scarab Ring". Many long posts. Will join you once more tomorrow, but please don't wait. Carry on! I'll be there as soon as I can. -Civis Romanus

[This message has been edited by Civis Romanus (edited 04-06-2000).]

Eminence Grise
posted 04-07-00 05:57 ET (US)     102 / 145       
Jayhawk was wandering along the strrets of Featherdell. The whitewashed and beam houses leaned over the narrow streets, their bright red and yellow tiles. His lute was slung over his shoulder and he was being followed by a horde of small children begging him for a song. As he reached the bridge he relented and sat down in the wall.

He unwrapped his lute and played them a small tale about a young man that killed a giant and stole his golden harp. Then he wrapped his lute again, made an elaborate bow to the horde of giggling urchins and walked on.

Jayhawk crossed the bridge and knocked on a brightly coloured door. An old man with white hair and a shortly cropped beard opened the door.
"Oisin" the minstrel smiled as his friend gave him a bear hug
"Time's been kind on you my friend, you don't seem to have aged at all"

Oisin led his friend to the small court behind his house. Grabbed a pair of pewter mugs and a bottle of wine on the way there and sat down. He poured them a generous measure of wine.
"So how's my apprentice doing?" he asked.

The two men sat back and relaxed, thouroughly enjoying their reaquaintance.

posted 04-07-00 18:29 ET (US)     103 / 145       
Hmmmm. How to insinuate myself into this most wonderful story?

Sitting in the shadows cast by the mantle of the fireplace was a woman, dressed in trousers and a long shirt, which was covered with a rather bulky cloak. Her clothing was all in the colors of the forest, the muted greens and browns that usually show in the deepest and darkest places.......

The only other color that showed in her apparel was a large, triangular stone in a ring she wore on her right middle finger. In the flickering light from the fireplace, the stone glowed an alternating turquoise green and a rich, violet hue. The stone appeared to be changing colors every few seconds........

Several small bundles lay at her feet, strange looking bundles, wrapped in a material that none of the travelers had ever seen before. The material was an off-white color, and looked rather stiff in texture.

She was sitting alone, not seeming to be paying attention to anything other than the plate of fish and potatoes that was in front of her. She was gazing up at the ceiling, with an expression on her face that indicated deep thought.

In reality, she had heard the greeting from Aunt Merrychatter to the travelers that had recently come into the inn.

She knew some of the names, having remembered stories she had heard from her grandmother. She wanted to go to the table where they sat, but was hesitating to do so.

Looking down once more at her plate, she idly dropped her hand down into a pocket of her cloak, and drew forth a very small bag. Immediately a scent arose from the bag, and with the passage of a maid carrying a tray with tankards of ale on it, the scent traveled across the room.

The woman smiled slightly to herself, noting the turning of heads as the maid walked past some of the tables..........

[This message has been edited by MRed94 (edited 04-07-2000).]

Civis Romanus
posted 04-07-00 21:12 ET (US)     104 / 145       
Thoren, Benson and Lysette had split from Jayhawk when he left their company to see his friend Oisin. The two men needed repairs to their weaponry as the conflict near the Shimmering Lake and the Enchanted Forest had taken their toll. Benson, especially, needed to replenish his stock of arrows and sought out the local fletcher to see to his particular needs.

Lysette continued on with Thoren, stopping inexorably to pick flowers here and there to make a small fragrent bouquet. A few of the freshly picked flowers she handed to Thoren pleading with him to place them just so in her lengthening hair. As he did what was requested, the young woman, now 16 years old and looking less childlike than before, continued to stare at him smiling all the while.

"Vorth's stable, girl! If you would stop turning your head to look at what I'm doing, it could be done by now!" exclaimed the exasperated Norseman. Lysette quickly turned her head, suppressing a giggle. She found Thoren's tirades to be more amusing than threatening. Thoren knew this about her but didn't let on that he knew. At last he finished.

Lysette studied herself in a nearby reflecting piece of glassy finished metal. She was pleased. She lightly ran to Thoren and without further adieu placed a warm kiss on his right cheek...then watched for the man's reaction. Thoren turned beet red as usual, then quickly looked around to see who was watching. "Girl, you are simply incorigible," he said once he assured himself he was unobserved. Lysette laughed her musical laugh and took her position once more by his side. The blacksmith was nearby, just around a bend in the town walk.

Sometime later...

Weapons and armor repaired or replenished, Benson, Thoren and Lysette returned to the Inn of the Addled Aunt. Jayhawk remained at large. Now they sat at a table in the public area, Thoren and Benson with a tankard of ale, Lysette with a more mild beverage that was sweet and lacking in distillation.

The serving girl brought a tankard of ale to a customer at the table next to them. That odd yet enticing scent was there again. From where or whom does it come? The serving girl? Benson and Thoren both looked around the room to find its source. They spied the newcomer with the cloth bound bundles at her feet sitting at a table a short distance away. The two men looked at each other as if to silently ask, "Do you know her? She wasn't here before, was she?" They instinctively knew that the answer to both questions was no.

Lysette eyed the strange woman suspiciously. She noticed Thoren's interest. Something began to work its way slowly and deliberately up her spine and to her mind where it took root, ready to explode on command. Lysette experienced the awakening of a new emotion in that moment. Later she learned it was called 'jealousy'.

posted 04-08-00 12:54 ET (US)     105 / 145       

Eme-Redser smiled to herself, noting the interest from the other table out of the corner of her eye.....

"I wonder if I should........NO! Let them think about it for a while yet." With that thought, she finished the last of the ale in the tankard, and gathering up all of the bundles except for the very small one on the table, she threw a handful of coins on the table.

She gathered the folds of her cloak tightly around her, tied the dark green belt on it, and turned toward the door.

She started striding purposefully toward the door, getting about halfway across the room. Suddenly another one of the very small sacks slid out from under the folds of her cloak.

Seeing the sack fall, and wanting to make the acquaintance of the mysterious woman, Thoren rose from the table.

The woman didn't seem to notice that the sack had fallen, and was continuing to the door.........

When the door to the inn opened, Thoren looked toward the door, and took his eyes off of the woman for just a second. When he looked back at where she was, he noticed a very strange thing.....She had disappeared, and in the place she was standing was a very tiny pile of leaves and sticks! He looked all over the room, and was unable to find her. He knew that she had not gone out of the door, but where she HAD gone, he wasn't quite sure.....

Suddenly, through the door, accompanied by a gust of rather cool air, came.................


[This message has been edited by MRed94 (edited 04-08-2000).]

[This message has been edited by MRed94 (edited 04-08-2000).]

posted 04-08-00 17:04 ET (US)     106 / 145       
M-Red - how wonderful to see you in the story . Gosh you were quick

Suddenly, through the door, accompanied by a gust of rather cool air, came Chunky - somewhat paler in complexion than usual.

He walked over to Thoren, Benson & Lysette and sat at their table. Benson inquired "So how was it at the Temple of Eir?".

"A strange experience indeed" replied Chunky, and picked up the nearest tankard and drank it in one fell swoop. The others looked at him expectantly, and he continued...

"Wendolin, Gillandra, Randorian and I headed for the temple when we left you this morning. Though it is only half a league from here, the countryside surrounding the Temple is totally different. We had to cut our way through massive brier rose bushes, until we came to the courtyard just outside the temple. When we got there, all these mendicants (dressed in blood-red hooded vestments) came towards us and dropped to the ground in greeting to Gillandra. I had no idea she was someone important." he said, before having another gulp of ale.

"Anyway", he went on, "we went into the temple, which was very dark, and only lit by a few candles. Gillandra led the way, and took us into a small room off to the left of the main altar. When we got in there, she ordered me to lie on the table. This I did, though I am not used to taking orders from a woman, but somehow I knew I'd better do it."

"Then some more mendicants (dressed like the others) entered the room, and began chanting. Gillandra had unwrapped the bandage on the wound to my arm, which I must admit had gone a strange greeny-grey colour, and seemed to be bubbling (though it might have been the light playing tricks on my eyes). While all this chanting was going on, another mendicant entered, but this one was dressed in deep purple, and looked somehow more important than the others. You know, I never saw the faces of any of them!!!" he said, as he had yet another tankard of ale.

"So this new mendicant comes over to me, and places some herbs and salves on my wound, and she also starts chanting. I noticed Gillandra, Randorian and Wendolin had also joined in all this chanting. There seemed to be a really bright white light behind them all, like they were angels or something. Then the strangest thing started to happen. A murky black mist seemed to be coming right out of my arm, and I felt all hot and cold at the same time...then the pain in my arm became uynbearable - like it was coming to the top of my skin... and ...and... and at that point, I'm afraid, I must have passed out!!" He looked at the others bewildered.

"The next thing I knew, I was standing outside in the Temple Court with Wendolin. She told me to come back here quickly, and that she and the others will be with us shortly." He gulped another glass of ale, and then sat in a bemused silence.

The others sat and stared at Chunky, and saw that his arm had completely healed - not even a scar where the deep gash from the Shimmering Lake Deep-creature's bight had been.

So while they waited for the others to return, they told him about the mysterious stranger who had come into the inn, and the small parcels she had dropped on the table and on the floor. They also told him that Jayhawk was still visiting his mentor, Oisin, and they hoped he'd be back again soon too. Somehow, they all felt a lot better when they were all together.

[This message has been edited by Wendoolicus (edited 04-08-2000).]

posted 04-08-00 17:14 ET (US)     107 / 145       
I was going to add some background for my character, but I think I will blend it into the story.....


posted 04-08-00 17:22 ET (US)     108 / 145       
M Red - send an email to Chunky - he will put your character info in the opening post Are you sure your not Wintersong, the Queen of the Elves? She's due to join us shortly ;(see post 74)
Civis Romanus
posted 04-08-00 19:11 ET (US)     109 / 145       
MRed: Glad to see you've come over to join us in this adventure. Looking forward to your next post and the development of your new character.

Even with the disappearance of the stranger normalcy did not return to Lysette and her perspective on things. Thoren quietly drank ale and listened to the exchange between Wendolin and Chunky. Regardless, a little corner of Thoren's mind continued to wonder who the strange lady with the bundles could have been. He never noticed the change that came over Lysette when the stranger was present.

Lysette felt ill at ease, strangely uncomfortable and restless. Such a wonderful day had suddenly become painful and she couldn't quite understand why. The rush of emotions all day, excitement, joy, pleasant views, pleasant scents and the personal company of Thoren all churned about in her mind in a whirpool of confusion.

She finally felt it necessary to excuse herself, return to her room and think her thoughts in temporary solitude. At last she cried out to the empty room, "Is there no one I can talk to who can tell me why I am feeling this way?!" If there was, she certainly didn't know who.

posted 04-08-00 21:11 ET (US)     110 / 145       
No one noticed the beautiful cream colored horse thundering across the field outside of town. If they had, perhaps they would have heard joyous laughter coming from the woman atop the horse.

She and the horse....R'edaine, had been part of one another's lives for so long, neither of them knew when they had met.

The horse continued to gallop across the field, and the woman continued to laugh. She was always happy when something went in the right directions.

She was thinking about the inn, and wondering if she should go back to the inn, and meet up with the travelers. But, she thought, she and R'edaine were having such a marvelous ride, she would continue out in the air for a bit longer.

As they traveled across the field, she didn't notice the trail of scent they were leaving behind them.........

Eminence Grise
posted 04-10-00 06:36 ET (US)     111 / 145       
As the herb witch continued her way North along the Merrybrook, Jayhawk bid a fond farewell to his one-time teacher. He'd known Oisin for more than twenty years and had grown more than a little fond of the cheerful old man. As a cloud passed in front of the sun he wondered when or even if he'd see him again.
Then the minstrel shook his head, smiled as the sun reappeared and hiked back to the Aunt.

Back in the tavern he ordered a pitcher of bloodred wine, a cup, and a bowl of black and green olives and joined his friends at the table.
"Jayhawk!" Lysette exclaimed.
"Where have you been?"
The girl slid closer to him and locked eyes with him. He could almost feel her breath. He looked at Thoren, who seemed lost in thought, raised an eyebrow and leaned back on his chair, recreating some more distance.
"I visited a friend of mine, Oisin, a Master harper who's been living here for years now.
He told me some interesting tales."
"What kind of tales, Jayhawk?" Chunky asked.

Lysette's eyes flashed and she pouted. The minstrel seemed unaware of her attention, even more than Thoren. She'd have to find a different way to get the Norseman's attention back.
But how?

"Let's wait for Wendolin and the others to return" the minstrel answered his friend. His words seemed to have scented the future as scarcely a breath later Wendolin and Randorian walked in.

" there's a thought" Lysetee whispered under her breath and batted her eyelashes at the young apprentice mage.

"What news, minstrel?" Wendolin asked as she pulled up a chair. Randorion sat down on the bench, then flinched as he caught Lysette's look.

"Oisin told me the road North through the Enchanted forest is fraught with danger. Mainly wild animals, but there's some talk of unquiet spirits, which sounds like the Lich kings influence.
We'd best be careful and ride in the morning. This might be the last bed between here and our friends fortress."

Civis Romanus
posted 04-10-00 16:38 ET (US)     112 / 145       
Early the next morning they began their exodus from the village of Featherdell. The road north, they knew, would take them back towards the Merrybrook River and from there north along the eastern edge of the Enchanted Forest.

A bridge had been built to forge the river north of Featherdell as there were no other suitable crossings safe enough against the strong current of the deep, constantly flowing river. Wendolin led them across the bridge. Horses' hooves clomped, clomped on the wooden planks of the bridges' pathway.

From under the bridge, well ahead of them, they heard a deep throated growl and then they saw the huge balding top of the head of what became a grotesque, mole-marred face with a red elongated bulbous nose that grew reed-like coarse hairs in various directions. The giant troll's shoulders became visible as he brought his right arm up and over the superstructure of the bridge. He then laid his arm across the pathway to thoroughly block the party's passage.

"Who is this who trods my bridge so loudly and without respect. Have you paid your toll? Or do you seek to steal your passage on this day, Gang of Thieves?"

"What is your toll?" responded Wendolin.

"A coin of gold and a tasty morsel," said the Troll.

"A coin we have and food we have... smoked meat, fresh bread and aged cheeses. What is your pleasure Master of the Bridge?"

"I will see your coin of gold, but I will not have your meat, your bread or your cheese. The tasty morsel I seek is in your midst on that chestnut horse... the girl-child, Thieves... I choose the girl-child as my tasty morsel and my toll."

The air reverberated with the sound of swords being drawn. Thoren and Chunky immediately moved forward in front of Lysette. Benson uncovered his longbow and moved up behind the girl. Wendolin, shocked, began to work her mind and options rapidly. Thoren looked over his shoulder and saw the terror in Lysette's eyes and the trembling of her hands. Not so long as he lived, he thought, would she come to such harm.

Jayhawk looked on passively, but his mind was at work as well. Can Lysette sing, he asked himself. If so, there was a way to pass this bridge without toll and battle, for battle, this time, was not the answer. They must conserve themselves for the forest and the road beyond. He leaned over to whisper words to Wendolin...

posted 04-10-00 18:54 ET (US)     113 / 145       
Unseen to their left, Eme-Redser sat atop her horse, waiting to see what was going to happen, and ready to go to the aid of the travelers.

She could see them talking to the troll, and she saw the swords come out of the scabbards.......But still she waited, to see if the travelers could take care of the problem themselves.

She whisphered to R'edaine to be still, and together they watched the scene unfold on the bridge.

"Hope that girl can sing, as I can't carry a bloody tune in a trough......" Eme-Redser thought to herself.....

Civis Romanus
posted 04-10-00 22:03 ET (US)     114 / 145       
Jayhawk motioned to Lysette to come forward. "You must be brave Lysette. Here's what I want you to sing. Do you remember this song...?" And Jayhawk quietly sang the song to Lysette. After a few lines her face brightened and she indicated she remembered it. "Be brave now," Jayhawk said.

Jayhawk glanced over his shoulder at Thoren and the deep frown on his face. The angel raised his hands to silently reassure the Norseman. Thoren never relaxed his grip on his sword, but he had come to better understand Jayhawk and his ways and trusted him more than when they first met.

A rumbling sound came from the gigantic troll. "I'm waiting Thieves for your toll."

Wendolin spurred her horse forward slightly. "A proposal, Troll. If we can bring a tear to your eye, you will let us all pass, the girl too, without toll. If not, we pay your toll." Thoren tensed even more at this.

The troll laughed. "A tear to my eye!? Odds bodkins, not likely. An easy toll to collect is this. Try your best, then deliver the coin and the girl-child for you will surely lose or die. Begin at once, I have little patience."

"As you wish." Wendolin motioned to Lysette to advance her horse and to Jayhawk to play. A figure in the distance remained unnoticed even as introductory notes on his lute were plucked by Jayhawk. The song began. Lysette's young voice took on a sweet yet melancholy note, but she sang beautifully, clearly and meaningfully. Randorian continued to concentrate fiercely to maintain this vision before the troll.

Author's Note: The words fit (a little loosely) with the melody of Edelweiss

May your day be pleasant and bright,
Warmth surround and carress you.
May your night be safe and right,
No one around who can harm you.

Try your best your Mother did say
To be the person you should be;
And when you're grown,
Live not alone.
But find another to join thee.

Search the land and never rest
Till your search does find her.
A wonderful troll
who means much to you,
And will end your ceaseless wander.

Then your day will be pleasant and bright,
Warmth will surround and carress you.
She'll make your night safe and right,
And ensure no one will harm you.

The troll stared blankly at Lysette for many moments after the song ended. Then, without warning, his eyes began to glisten and two immense tears formed, one below each eye, then fell to the wood pathway of the bridge. He sniffed, looked at her one more time, then slowly lifted his arm clearing the pathway. His head began to sink below the bridge until the bald pate of his head was no longer visible.

The travellers advanced and once more protectively surrounded Lysette. Then they continued their journey across the bridge. They heard splashing behind them and turned to see the troll wading the river beyond the bridge. The giant creature was heading east in the direction of the river's source in the mountains well beyond Featherdell. Ugly, unfortunate creature that he was, regardless they wished him well in his search.

The figure to the west spurred her horse to stay ahead of the travellers. For them all, the Enchanted Forest lay straight ahead...

posted 04-11-00 00:29 ET (US)     115 / 145       
Eme-Redser drew up before the entrance to the Enchanted Forreste, and with a few quick words, and a wave of her right hand, she dismounted and hid her horse.

She knew the travelers were close behind her, and she knew that it was just about time for her to make her presence known to them.

"Just a small test, to see if they are indeed worthy....." she murmered to herself, and faded out of sight amongst the trees.....

[This message has been edited by MRed94 (edited 04-11-2000).]

Eminence Grise
posted 04-11-00 10:55 ET (US)     116 / 145       
The road approached the verdant riot of the Northern part of the Enchanted Forest. Two huge statues stood on either side of the road, a carved arch between them, now covered with vines, ferns and flowers. The figures, both male were well weathered, dressed in finery hands folded on their massive chests. What looked like a crown was pressed on their brows.
"What are they?" Lysette wondered out loud.
"Kings of long gone by..." Jayhawk answered.
"They guarded this part of the Realms for as long as I can remember"
"You can remember?" Wendolin asked.
Jayhawk threw her a strange look and smiled.
"People remember...Oisin told me they've been here as long as he's alive"

The minstrel reined in his horse. He sniffed the air.
"What is it?" Chunky asked.
"There's a herbal fragrance on the wind. Something familiar, but something I haven't smelled in a long while."
"A bad thing, " Thoren asked, his hand moving to his sword hilt.
"I don't think so...I think I would have remembered if it was..."

Civis Romanus
posted 04-12-00 15:11 ET (US)     117 / 145       
Wendolin spurred her horse forward as the others crowded in around her. She pulled out her map and gave it a thorough lookover. Then she folded it up once more and buried it somewhere in her cloak.

Wendolin spoke to the others. "We follow the road between and past the statues, staying to the northeast edge of the Enchanted Forest. We really don't enter the forest, but we will be close to its trees, maybe passing through a stand now and then. Beyond the forest is the Maze Hills. This marks the beginning of the rise that will eventually become the Glooming Mountains. Once we are in the Maze Hills we will be very close to Lich Territory."

She paused, then continued. "Now, we don't have a mission there, at least I don't remember that we do, because the Chalice of the Hill People is in Zordemon's possession not among the Lich. However, when we are in the Glooming Mountains we must ensure that the Staff of Purgatory is still deeply buried there before we go on. We don't want it to ever become one of Zordemon's possessions."

Benson asked the first question. "Where in the Glooming Mountains is the Staff, Wendolin? Do you know its location?"

Wendolin looked around to make sure no stranger of any kind was in earshot, then she answered...

The stranger no one saw continued to watch the travellers from her vantage point under the protective cover of the leading edge of the Enchanted Forest.

Civis Romanus
posted 04-13-00 21:20 ET (US)     118 / 145       
We kind of slowed down here haven't we. Is there some significance to the statues? Or shall we advance towards the forest? Next post should set the scene, please.

posted 04-14-00 10:25 ET (US)     119 / 145       
As the group passed the statues, no one noticed that the eyes of the statues followed them.....

Eme-Redser continued to watch, as the group got closer and closer to the site of the test.....

posted 04-14-00 11:08 ET (US)     120 / 145       
At a small clearing just past the statues, Wendolin called the group to a halt. She explained:

"We have just passed the guardians - and the message they have given us was very clear to me. Their eyes said to me - BEWARE. From now on my friends, we are in truly hostile territory."

Just at that moment while the group was gathered, Em-Redser decided to make her presence known. She boldly rode into the midst of the group, and announced "I am here, Wendolin, and at your service". Thoren immediately reached for his sword, and Benson and his panther were on full alert.

Wendolin looked at her friend from the distant past, and was relieved that she had finally shown herself. There were many unanswered questions from the past, but now was not the time to go into them. Of course Wendolin and Jayhawk had been aware of her presence since they left Featherdell, but allowed the Elven Queen to show herself in her own good time.

Wendolin replied:

"Wintersong, it has been many years since we last met. We are indeed grateful for your presence."

"Ah, but the honour is all mine Wendolin" replied Wintersong. "I told you I would never forget my indebtedness to you. And so I ask if I can join your group in your quest. So tell me, what is your strategy for approaching this dangerous land before us?".

Wendolin turned to the rest of the group and explained "Wintersong is indeed the Queen of ther Elves. She has deigned to join us, but has been travelling for the past several months in the guise of Em-Redser, the Mistress of Seasons, for reasons best known to herself."

With that explanation, the group relaxed a little and were intrigued by the new member of their party.

Considering the danger surrounding them, Wendolin continued .... "I propose, my friends, that we divert off the main north road. To pass so closely by the Lich Territory is far too dangerous. However our alternative route takes us through the Maze Hills, and indeed, they may well be as threatening. It has been said that many-a-traveller has been lost in those mazes, as all hills and valleys look the same, and it has been told that many have not come out of the mazes themselves."

"I ask you all now" she continued "and give you the option of returning to safety .... will you travel north with me through the Maze Hills, or will you return to the land southwards, where life is certainly not as threatening as it is now? How say you?"

The group sat in silence for a short while, weighing up the dangers that lay before them, and the purpose of their quest.

At last Thoren stepped forward and replied...

[This message has been edited by Wendoolicus (edited 04-14-2000).]

Eminence Grise
posted 04-14-00 11:52 ET (US)     121 / 145       
Actually those stautes were just backdrop...nothing exciting. I was pacing it to give MRed time for her test...
We'll just proceed to the hills then won't we?

The horses followed the road that snaked between the trees. The party kept to side of it, reducing the chance of being spotted by a stray rook.

Marcus Lindicus was lazily flying circles round the horses. One of them whacked the little cherub with it's tail and send him plumeting into a bramble bush.
Chittering he flew back and kicked the horses rump, the flew to Lysette and begged a thimble of brandy. The girl giggled and complied.

Wendolin and Chunky rode up front and were exchanging notes on the places they had seen.

Thoren followed, oiling his sword as he rode next to Benson.

Jayhawk was strumming his lute and singing silly little ditties and nursery rhymes.

As they rounded the next corner, Lysette remembered her earlier promise to herself and fell back until she was next to Randorian.
"Hello" she said softly.
"You've been ever so quiet. What have you been doing?"
Randorian flushed and stuttered

Must have been the wrong incarnation....

[This message has been edited by Jayhawk (edited 04-15-2000).]

Civis Romanus
posted 04-14-00 15:48 ET (US)     122 / 145       
Hey Jayhawk: Civis? Who's this Civis person?! Are you trying to annoy Thoren, again?


Thoren continued to oil his blade totally oblivious to the exchange going on between Randorian and Lysette. The young girl continued her conversation with the shy, reluctant apprentice mage all the while making quick glances over towards where Thoren rode on his horse, Vorth, oiling his sword.

"How old are you really, Randorian?" she asked boldly.

"Uh... well, I'm uh, uh... nineteen... almost,"

Lysette opened her eyes as large as she could. "Oh really... that old?! How does it feel to be so, so... mature?" (Cows would have been envious of the look in her eyes she engineered for Randorian)

Another fit of stuttering overtook the apprentice. "Well, well I, well... (gulp!) I don't feel any different, uh, really. It's just the same now as yesterday." Randorian finally got his answer out. "Thoren has a lot more experience than I do. I think of him as mature for sure."

Lysette continued to shine her beaming smile on the uncomfortable youth while thinking to herself: you can say that again, Randorian. She glanced over at the Norseman. No effect. Ooooo, that man's soooo frustrating.

She turned her attention back to Randorian once more. Her voice turned musical as she began her next tactical conversation. "Randorian, I think we should..."

Whiiiiiish... THUMP!

They all turned to locate the source of the noise. It was Gillandra who found it first... a long feathered arrow sticking out of one of the bundles on her pack horse. Then out of the Enchanted Forest boiled a large party of riders with murderous looks in their eyes.

"Lich!" yelled Wendolin. "To the hills... NOW!"

Spurs dug into horse's sides as they galloped as fast as they could towards the Maze Hills, Lich riders in pursuit.

posted 04-14-00 18:47 ET (US)     123 / 145       
Eme-Redser (Wintersong) called out to Wendolin, "GO! I will keep them busy for a few minutes so you have a chance to get to the testing place...."

She spurred R'edaine around to face the oncoming riders, and with her mind, created an illusion of a huge ring of fire before them.......

The riders stopped, baffled. They were also afraid to go ahead any farther, not trusting what they saw in front of them.......

The group headed for the distant hills, but getting only a few steps away, turned as a unit and came back to where Eme-Redser was sitting on her horse....

Wendolin was the first to speak, and said......

Civis Romanus
posted 04-15-00 15:09 ET (US)     124 / 145       
"Eme-Redser," began Wendolin. "We..." Then the Paladin looked around to see if 'we' was appropriate. The expression on each comrade's face was the same. She resumed, "We do not pursue this quest individually. We flee together or we stand together. If you make a stand at this place, then we all make the same stand, Lich or no Lich. We will not leave without you."

Eme-Redser's tense shoulders began to visibly relax. Her head lowered slightly. The flames holding back the party of Lich riders began to diminish and fade. The arrow stuck in the bundle on Gillandra's pack horse disappeared. The bundle looked like it had never been holed by the arrow. When the flames fully faded, there wasn't a Lich rider in sight.

The Elven Queen slowly turned her horse about to face Wendolin and her friends. "I am sorry, my friend, but I had to test each of you, and especially you, Wendolin. It is the Elven way. You have not disappointed me. I believed all along you would pass this test, and you most certainly have. I shall be proud to travel with you on this quest. Will you still have me?"

This time Wendolin knew she did not have to survey the others. "Of course, Elven Queen; we shall be most honored to have you. One question?"

"Yes, Paladin?"

"Are we to refer to you as 'Eme-Redser' or shall we use your given name of 'Wintersong'. We would like to know by what name to address you among us.j

The Elven Queen responded...

Pharaolympics 2000 Competitor
posted 04-16-00 12:51 ET (US)     125 / 145       
hehehehe! Now this is hilarious !
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