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Author Topic: No More Cookies  (Read 748 times)

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Offline Paul

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No More Cookies
« on: March 22, 2015, 04:45:47 AM »
Tunare's Realm:

The Koada`Dal staggers through the portal and nearly falls to the ground.  What was once a luxurious emerald green gown with sparkling gems sewn into it, is now a tattered rag that barely covers enough for decency.  All of the larger Emeralds are missing as well as most of the smaller ones.  The smell of stale booze and vomit assail her nostrils causing her to retch.  The Air Elemental that follows her glides to her side to steady her.  She pulls out a flask and drains the last mouthful of the burning liquid within.  She holds the bottle up and gazes at the emptiness within. Much like the emptiness she feels within herself.

"Pfah!"

She throws the bottle and barely misses a Rolling Plains Steed.  The equine releases a snort and trots away.

She begins her staggering trek toward the largest tree in the realm.  Several hours and several times falling later she arrives at the base of the Great Tree.  Tears stream down her cheeks as she falls to her knees.

"WHY MOTHER? WHY ALL OF THEM?"

Sobs wrack her body as she buries her face into the ground.

"Could not one of them be spared?"

For an hour she does not move.  No answer comes.  No sound is heard other than the leaves of the Great Tree rustling in the gentle breeze.

"Mistress, you still have the babies."  The Elemental whispers.

"Linella has them.  Come, there are no answers here."  She looks up at the Great Tree once more as she staggers to her feet.  The sparkle of her ring catches her eye and she gazes at it for a few moments.

"Serene...  hmmpf. My ass."

After several attempts she gets a gate portal open and staggers through with the assistance of her Companion.


Freeport:

“Cookies are gone.  No more cookies.” 

The guards at the gate laugh as she enters the city.

She makes her way slowly through the city passing by the Hall of Truth and coming to stand before the gates of the Marr Temple.  She looks at the gates for a long time tears welling up in her eyes and falling down her cheeks again.

“DAMN YOU JAHAEL!  DAMN YOU AND YOUR HONOR!”  She lowers her head and turns away.

“I should have died at your side as I was meant to.”  The words come out as not much more than a whisper.  “No more cookies.”

She begins walking once more and eventually finds herself outside the Militia House.  The guards step before her to bar her was but with a wave of her Hand, her Companion clears the way leaving the guards unconscious.  She ascends the stairs leading to the office of Lucan D'Lere where several more guards try to stop her only to find themselves rendered useless by her Elemental.  Standing before the former Paladin, she trembles with rage and hatred.

“Well now.  Look at the Great Lady Shadowbane.”  Lucan rises from his desk and approaches her.  “You need a bath.  Hell if you go clean up I can get you into something a little better than those vomit stained rags.  Hell I could put you to work as one of my girls on the street then.  But I doubt that you would make much money for me.  I should just kill you and be done with you but that, I can see would be a mercy.  So to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?  Come to grovel before me?”

“You win, D'Lere.  The Commonlands are yours.”  She hangs her head in defeat as she turns and makes her way out of the building.

“Yes.  I knew that I would in the end.”  His laughter follows her out into the street and fades away as she makes her way back to the city gate.

“Cookies are gone forever.”  The words escape her lips but continue to echo in her mind.


Cabilis:

She winds her way through the canals until she finds a quiet place that.  Her mind races.

Yes this is further away from the Crumbs.  He will follow my scent but will not think to look here.  Not amongst the Lizardly People.

A giggle escapes and she quickly covers her mouth and looks around.

Good none close enough to hear.  This good for tonight.  Move again tomorrow farther from the Crumbs.  Must keep him away from the Crumbs.  Gone are the Cookies.

Tears stream out of her eyes as she quietly cries herself to sleep.  The Elemental stands a silent vigil over his Mistress.


The Overthere:

After many attempts she finally summons some bread and water and gets her invisibility spell cast upon herself and she heads out into the Warsliks Wood.

Cookies gone.

Several days are spent passing through the woods and avoiding the Goblins, Giants and Brigands.  Finally she reaches the Overthere and seeks shelter.  She finds the passage that leads toward the Skyfire mountains deserted.

Rest here.  Move again tomorrow.  Must sleep.  Must keep the Crumbs safe.

She eats the last stale piece of the bread she had summoned days ago and finishes off the water.  Many more attempts are made and she finally summons more.

She gazes at her ring, tears streaming down her face.

No more Serene.  No Serene without Cookies.  Damn you Jahael.

Sleep comes fleetingly through the night until near dawn when she finally passes out from exhaustion.


The Spires:

She heads off toward the Frontier Mountains after getting herself invisible.  It is taking more and more tries to succeed with each passing day.  Once in the mountains she makes the torturous journey toward the Dreadlands.

We will be there soon.  Far away from the Crumbs.  If he finds me it not matter.  The Crumbs be safe.  I can join Cookies at last.

Tears come again as she passes though the tunnel to the Dreadlands.  She must stop as a wave of sorrow overcomes her.  she falls to the ground weeping.

No more Cookies.

When her grief has passed she rises again and continues her journey into the Dreadlands.

She makes her way through the cold frozen realm of Gorenaire and finds the tunnel leading through to the valley beyond.  She see her goal in the distance as she emerges from the tunnel.

The Great Spires loom in the distance beckoning to her.  She heeds the call and makes her way there.

"Are you going to Luclin?"  The Nexus Scion asks as she approaches the Spires.

"To Luclin I must go.  No more Cookies.  Must keep the Crumbs safe."

The Scion raises an eyebrow but says not a word more as she hands her the Transportation Gem.

She clenches the Gem tightly and awaits the Portals activation.

Within a few minutes the Portal opens and She is gone.


Luclin:

The Portal lands her in the middle of the Nexus.  She checks the lone bag that she carries and finds the last small emerald from her tattered gown along with the the stale remnants of her last summoned loaf of bread.  She looks toward the portal that leads to New Tanaan.

Too close to the Crumbs.  Too close to she who keeps them safe.  No more Cookies.

She looks toward the path that leads to the Bazaar and then back to the emerald in her bag.

Food.  Clothes.  Cookies are gone forever.  Blanket.

She walks down that passageway.  People pass her by staring and holding their noses against the smell.  Inside the Bazaar she finds a vendor to take her emerald in exchange for some coin.  Clothing first.  She finds a simple dress for more than a reasonable price but still cheap enough to leave her a few coins.  She makes her way to the public bath which is fortunately empty and strips out of the ragged gown after many attempts of making herself invisible.  She sobs as she tosses the gown into a trash can.  It was her favorite and the last remnant of the life she now barely remembers.  She scrubs herself clean and drip dries herself.  Her once luxurious crimson hair falls in tangles around her shoulders and down to her waist.

She slips into the simple dress and makes her way back to merchants.  She finds a blanket and some foods which she purchases with the remainder of her coin.

She leaves the Bazaar and heads into the city of Shadowhaven.  With no coin left to get a room at the Inn she makes her way to the Paludal Caverns.


Home:

The owlbear charges her but her Companion glides between them and quickly slays the creature.  She steps past the carcass and finds a camp beyond occupied by various races of people.  A female Puma Clan Vah steps forward.

"You must pay to move through this area."

"No coin do I have.  No more Cookies."

"We are not interested in cookies but that ring on your finger will do nicely."

She looks down at her ring for a moment.

"No Serene without Cookies."

"Give the ring up and you may pass."

"No.  I must continue."  She takes a step and the Vah reaches out to grab her.  The Elemental breaks the Vah's arm in one smooth motion.

The Vah shrieks in pain as she falls back.  The other brigands rush out of their makeshift shelters and charge toward her and her Companion once they see their comrade writhing in pain on the ground with her arm bent in an unnatural position.  The Elemental keeps the brigands away from his Mistress as he takes them out one by one.  When the fight is over several are dead and the rest are on the ground unconscious or in pain from their injuries.

She passes through the camp as if nothing had happened oblivious to the moans around her.  She comes to a lake and follows the shore for some distance.  She comes up to another encampment and receives a similar welcome as she did at the first one.  The Elemental protects her again sending the brigands running through fewer in number than they started with.

She finds some coin on the bodies of the slain as well as some rings and small gems.  After the Elemental dumps the bodies out into the middle of the lake, she rummages through the huts.  In one she finds an old silver hand mirror and a hairbrush.

Home.  Cookies are gone forever and now the Crumbs will be safe.

She absently brushes her hair as she hums a tune that comes to her.




Offline Paul

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Re: No More Cookies
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2015, 02:47:10 AM »
Jewel of the Caverns:

Weeks pass groups of brigands try to oust her and her Elemental but to no avail.  The Elemental is too powerful for them and stands ever vigilant to protect his Mistress. A group of adventurers arrive at the camp and begin to attack her and the Elemental thinking her to be a lone brigand.  The Elemental overpowers the group and sends them all running save for one who throws down his weapons and surrenders.

"M'Lady, I am sorry that we attacked you.  Spare me and I will serve you in whatever manner suits you."

"Let him live Fluffy."

The Elemental glides back to her side.

The man scrambles to his feet.

"No need of servants have I.  Stay if you wish or go.  Matters to me it does not.  Mine that one is."  She points to the middle hut. 

"Thank you M'Lady.  My name is Armand.  How should I address you?"

The words of a distant memory echoes in her mind.

Damman, How did I receive my name?

It was tradition among the Highborn Elddar`Dal of which we are direct descendants that the first female child born to a family be named by the Damman's best friend.  The Great Lady Sineliniel was mine.  When you were born she called you a jewel, a jewel of light.  Hence your name.

Jewel... Jewel... Jewel...


"Jewel I am."


Recall:

She stares back through the portal at her Husband's grim face.

"Live Leofa. Take care of the Children." His voice comes through.

Suddenly she feels the binding magic cast upon her as the portal closes. Moments later she falls to the ground clutching at her heart. Her Bonding Ring crumbles to dust.

"Nae Mia Silind!" She rises to her feet and turns to the Halfling Druidess holding the two babies.

"Get them to the Tower. Keep them safe."

"M'Lady are you not coming?"

"I go to die with my Husband. You keep the Babies safe. They are our future. "

"No M'Lady please!"

"Obey my final order. Begone now!"

The Druidess opens a portal and reluctantly steps through with the children.

The Lady rushes to take the portal to New Tanaan and then to the portal there to Freeport. She runs as fast as she can to reach the Fortress Gill-Alani only to find nothing but a smoldering crater. The Lady Falls to the ground weeping.
"I
"Mia Silind! Mia Dajati, Mia Khess, Mia Corale, Mia Samiss!"

My Cookies!

The Lady awakens to find herself in the Hut in the Paludal Caverns.

No more Cookies.

Tears stream down her cheeks and she lays her head back down.


Invocation:

Weeks go by, more brigands come trying to reclaim the camp and are sent away before the might of the Elemental.

Jewel slips further into madness with fewer moments of lucid thought.  It is during one of those moments that an ancient invocation comes to mind. 

She breathes a sigh and speaks the ancient words before her madness overtakes her once again.

No more Cookies.

Offline Paul

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Re: No More Cookies
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2015, 11:36:45 PM »

No More Cookies - The Tower


Linella:


The, Halfling Druidess gently rocks the cradle holding the sleeping infant while she watches the baby girl play with her toys on the rug.  The poor child has spent most of the last few days crying for her Mama.


Please return to us soon Lady Shadowbane.


Other refugees from Gill-Alani have found their way here over the last few days and have done their best to comfort each other.


Ardunnae:


She looks up at Lin Lin and then back down at the small collection of toys on the rug. Beside the ring of silk and hair that is her favorite toy lies the flower that her Mama gave to her. Once the flower was vibrant and beautiful but now it is wilted. Lin Lin tried to take it away several times but she would have none of it.


"Mama." She begins crying again and Lin Lin comes to comfort her once more. She does not know where her Mama went or why.


Linella:


Ardunnae weeps onto her shoulder as she holds the baby close.


How am I ever going to make this poor child understand that her Mama is not coming back?


Tears fall down the Halfling's face as she holds Ardunnae a little tighter.


A little over a week goes by. The survivors of the battle at Gill-Alani have found their way to the Tower of Erollisi bringing with them grim reports of the destruction of the Fortress and the place that she had called Home all her life. Word filters in of one other Shadowbane survivor. Traelen reportedly seeks his Mother. But without laying eyes on the young man, she dares not hope.


If you are truly alive young Master, I wish you good fortune in finding M'Lady.


She decides to pen a message to the Bard who helped with Ardunnae's adoption and have copies sent to the two places that she knows him to most likely be.


Do come quickly Master Windchaser.


The Druidess returns to Elidyr to change his diaper.


Linella:


She bounces Elidyr in her arms as she looks out the window of her suite overlooking the Plane of Tranquility. Mirah sits on the rug behind her keeping Ardunnae occupied


Blessed Karana please send me some proof that others could have survived. Please bring M'Lady back. Her Son needs her, Her Granddaughter needs her.


Linella:


Linella breathes a sigh of relief and lays the missive on the table next to her chair.


"Some help for us is coming my little Darlings. Master Windchaser answers the call. Perhaps his presence will bring you some comfort Nae." The Druidess whispers. "At least for a little while. If only the reports of Master Trae's survival are true."


Linella sips her tea and watches over the two cradles.


Shalkai:


The bard's feet fly over green spring grass, leaving little more sign of his passage than the breeze rippling across the meadow. Shalkai approaches the Tower of Erollisi swiftly despite the trepidation he feels. Two days have passed since he received word of Eolande's death. Two whole days and more, yet barely enough to prepare himself for this visit. His expression is somber, for he knows the news will be grim no matter what he learns this day.


Shalkai's hand brushes his belt pouch, recalling to his mind the wilted orchid now resting inside. The flower had been kept safely in his desk in Kelethin until this morning. The quickest road to Linella had been a return to Kelethin, then the portal stones. He'd thought to check the enchanted flower while in the lofty elven city, for it would tell him in but an instant if there was any hope.


There wasn't. No hope, and likely nothing at all he could do for anyone, except give the survivors whatever support and comfort lay within his power. The elf dreads meeting Linella, though his feet speed on as stern thoughts task him to remember that sharing pain is one good way to endure it. He can do that much, at least.


The bard slows to a walk and stops humming Selo's tune as he enters the gateway leading to the tower. He has caught his breath by the time he approaches the door guards.


"Greetings - I am Master Singer Shalkai Windchaser, here at the invitation of Lady Linella. May I be escorted to her, or have word sent of my arrival, please?"
 
"Of course." nods the senior of the two guards, then she beckons to a nearby page and whispers into his ear. The boy hastens inside, then reappears a few minutes later.


The young human page bows, then gestures to Shalkai. "If you'll follow me please, sir, I'll take you to Lady Linella now." The elf gives him a distracted nod of thanks, then follows his young guide inside and up to the suite where Linella resides for the moment.


Once he's ushered in, Shalkai bows deeply from across the room to the Halfling druid and her guests. Recognition startles his gaze away from her sad brown eyes as he glances again at the somberly-clad couple standing with her - Kiabella, and her fiancee Traelen Shadowbane. One at least of the family lives, Shalkai thinks to himself - but then steels his soul against hope of any other good news. There is no joy at all on Traelen's drawn face; all that can be seen there is pain beneath the scars of freshly-healed wounds.


Linella:


Linella rises from her chair as do the young couple.


"Welcome Master Shalkai! I am so glad to see you. Master Trae has just arrived a few minutes ago and was about to relate his account for me. But since you are here now as well then I will tell mine first so to keep things in order. Please come have a seat. The babies are asleep in the other room. Master Jason arrived yesterday and is watching over them."


Linella retakes her seat and motions to the one empty seat. Tea is brought in and served. The Druidess takes a sip and sets her cup on the table beside her chair. While gladdened some by the return of Traelen and the arrival of the Bard, there is still much sadness in her eyes and her voice as she begins her tale.


"We had been receiving reports that the Neriak King had been assembling a huge army and we knew that it would come through us. We decided to stop it at any cost. We had been expecting the attack for some time and had made preparations for it. The House Wizards and Mirie created a bomb. They would prime it and Mirie would keep it contained until it was time to set it off. The bomb would then suck in all magical energies in the Fortress in a matter of moments and then release it all in the form of a blast large enough to obliterate the entire Fortress along with everything inside it. We had an evacuation plan in place to minimize the casualties on our side which included sending the Family members to different locations. As with any such event, we knew that there was the possibility of Family members not surviving. Lord Jahael and Mistress Mirie were to be the last to leave. I do not believe that they did."


Linella pauses for a few moments to fight back her tears


"We were making preparations for Trae and Kia's wedding when the alarm sounded. The Wizards and Druids began evacuating the mothers and their children while the Knights assembled to hold the Teir`Dal forces. The bomb was brought out and primed. The plan was to draw the enemy into the Fortress and then port out. The bomb would go off once Mirie's portal closed and cut off her connection to it. I was ported to the Greater Faydark with the babies and the bag containing the Family's most treasured enchanted items. Lord Jahael pushed Lady Kiir`Sinthe through as she was standing at the portal waving to us. The portal closed and she fell to the ground holding her chest. Jahael had broken their binding. When she regained her feet, she ordered me to bring the children here. She was determined to defy her Husband and die with him. That is the last I have heard of her. I have sent out scouts but the reports are rather sketchy. Some had reported Master Trae as among the living. I knew when the bomb went off from seeing Ardunnae's Orchid wilt before my eyes. It is one that was linked to Mistress Eo. I knew that Lady Kiir`Sinthe did not have enough time to make it to the Fortress. My heart rejoices to see you alive Master Trae. You are likely to be Lord of the Family now,  such as it is."


The Druidess' eyes water and tears stream down her cheeks.


Shalkai:


Shalkai stoically controls his dismay as the details of the disaster begin to come forth. When Linella begins to silently weep, he reaches out and takes her hand. What can he say to all that?


His gaze turns to Traelen. "Though our hearts all weep, there is still a Lord Shadowbane, and still a family. Your betrothed sits beside you, a brother and a niece sleep in the next room. I saw other faces I recognized from the estate as I was escorted here, and there are surely more who escaped elsewhere. Loyal folk still look to their Lord. Traelen, can you tell us of what you have seen, and what you wish to do?"


Traelen:


Welcome indeed Master Windchaser." The young Paladin says. "I wish that it was under much more pleasant circumstances that we were gathering."


Traelen retakes his seat after the Ladies have reseated and listens to Linella's account before beginning his.


"The battle was going against us much sooner than we had expected. Father ordered the withdrawal to the courtyard portal area." Traelen lowers his head. "Many of our brave Knights did not make it. Our final defense line held for as long as they could. Teir`Dal were starting to break through. The Matriarch and my Grandparents gave their lives to hold off the onslaught a little longer."


Traelen fights back tears and Kiabella places a comforting arm around him as she sheds some tears of her own.


"Father had a portal opened to the Commonlands Druid Ring and ordered Kia and me through it. We were to be the ones to witness the end of our Home and to see if any of the enemy escaped.. Kia made it through before the Druid was struck down by an arrow. Mirie immediately opened another portal for me to the Greater Faydark. I knew Kia would return there before coming here to the Tower."


The young Knight looks over at the Enchantress.


"Lady Marial informed me that my Mother went back to the Commonlands to join Father.


I knew that she would be too late and thought that she would return to us in Felwithe. So I stayed with Kia until it was clear that Damman was not coming. I took off to search for her leaving Kia there in case any others came seeking us. So far my searching has turned up nothing beyond the last sighting of her in Freeport several days after the attack. Reports of her appearance there tell of a Lady matching her description in rags breaking into the Militia House and then leaving the City. I am of a mind to go pay D'Lere a visit. I had to come here to let Linella know that I was still alive. I do not know if anyone else survived. I cannot feel either of my Sisters."


The young Knight looks sadly out of the window.


"I have been following her trail or as much of it as I have been able to ascertain. It seemed to be quite erratic. I always have been just a few days behind her until she left Freeport. The trail ended there. She left the Commonlands to New Tanaan where she purchased a bit of spirits. She then was seen taking the portal to the Great Divide. I had a pretty good hunch on where she was heading and it turned out to be correct.


I found quite a few bodies of Giants, scraps of emerald silk and loose Emeralds at what appeared to be the scene of a nasty fight in Karl Drakkel. There was also an empty bottle at the scene. Definitely not difficult to tell what happened there.


I continued on to the Realm of Tunare. The Fauns at the portal confirmed her passing through there a few days prior. They said that she appeared to be quite a disheveled mess and very drunk. I went in but she was already gone. She must have gated out.


I returned to the Greater Faydark and found a few more of her emeralds near the portal to New Tanaan. I checked a few sources in the area and discovered that she had gone to the Freeport Portal. After her activities in Freeport, she vanished. I found another scrap from her gown and another emerald outside the sewers but no further trace. I can only pray to Marr for guidance at this point."


Shalkai:


Shalkai sits quietly for a minute while he digests the news. At least half the Shadowbanes are gone forever it seems, even if there were a few who miraculously escaped the disaster but hadn't surfaced yet. Kiir'Sinthe ought to still be alive, though. She survived the onslaught, at least, and by her son's account was apparently in Freeport perhaps as late as a week ago.


"Your mother will be hard to find, especially if she is consumed with grief. I know what it is like in that state - there are no real plans; the next destination is chosen on an urge or a whim. We should probably start by sending letters to those closest to her, people she might seek out, even childhood friends. I won't be much help with that, I'm afraid, since I've only known Kiir'Sinthe for a bit over a year."


"I will send word to my friends in the cities of Antonica, and see if any of them have seen or heard of a recent visit by a woman matching her description. It's a remote chance, but at least something that I can do quickly and easily."  At least red-haired Koada'Dal ladies are rare on this continent, thinks Shalkai. People will remember seeing her pass by even if they've never heard of the Shadowbanes. After that thought, the bard shakes his head, at a loss.


"Tracking her down would be nigh-impossible at this point. It would be hard to even find a place to start."  Shrugging, he continues, "I'm not saying that searches should be abandoned, Traelen - just that it is far more likely that Kiir'Sinthe will eventually come looking for her family - especially her infant son. He and Linella should stay here if at all possible, for this is where your mother ordered them to go, and where she would seek them out."


Ardunnae:


She wakes up crying.


Mamma, where is Mamma?


Jason gently picks her up and gently bounces her.


"It's ok Little Princess, you are safe from whatever haunts your dreams. Come let us go see Lin Lin. She has company but they would all be pleased to see you."


Jason rises from his chair as Ardunnae's crying begins to subside and brings her to the Sitting Room.


"Pardon the interruption but the Little Princess would like to see you."


The young man passes his charge to Linella. Ardunae looks at the visitors for a few moments.


Unca Trae, Auntie Kia, Mamma's friend Shal!"


Ardunnae reaches her arms out to Shalkai and squirms a little so Linella sets her on her feet on the floor. She takes the few unsteady steps to Shalkai. Jason slips out of the room and returns quickly with the wilted Orchid.


"She will not be parted from this for long." Jason says as he presents it to Ardunnae who takes it and holds it to her chest as she leans against Shalkai's leg.  Jason returns to his other charge in the other room.




Shalkai:


The bard's heart goes out to the sad, quiet little girl standing there so silently. Orphaned twice now, even before seeing her second birthday. His arms reach out and gently pull her onto his lap, then wrap around her to give what security they can.


He reaches out one finger, and ever so gently brushes it over one of the wilted petals, then over the back of Ardunnae's pale clutching hand.  This he has no words for at all. The others can see he is overcome with grief, closed eyes glistening with tears as he struggles to control his emotions.


Eventually Shalkai masters himself and looks up at the others. He's still not ready to talk, but he can at least pay them some attention. His thoughts are distracted by sadness, and the grim symbols of the wilted flowers in Ardunnae's hand and within his own pouch. If only he knew more magic...but he doesn't, and this was a very special magic, to boot.


A sudden thought or intuition strikes - special magic, but not totally unique. Nothing will bring back Eolande, but these flowers? They are magic, and magic can be shaped and changed.


'Sometimes', the elf cautions himself, 'sometimes'. He sets the thin gleam of his idea aside for the moment, then takes a deep steadying breath and tries to give his full attention to Traelen, Kiabella, and Linella.




Linella:


Linella looks sadly at Ardunnae.


"So newly added to the family and now her fate unknown. Surely she would not be cast out but who is to be given the task to raise her? I know that you and Kia would gladly take on this task as would Lady Kiir if she were here. The answer it seems is within this satchel. All of your final letters and wills are held within including Eo's.  She had just given me her latest revision a few days ago. I really do not wish to open it if there is a chance of her being alive and would only do so if ordered by the Lord Shadowbane.  Unfortunately there is currently no Lord Shadowbane.  I believe we should hear Kiabella's report since she was the only one to witness the events from outside Gill-Alani. Perhaps her words will shed some more light upon this situation."


Linella nods toward the Enchantress.






Offline Paul

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Re: No More Cookies
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2015, 11:38:52 PM »

Shalkai:i


Death, funerals, heirs, guardians, wills...Shalkai takes a slow, deep breath to steady himself.  None of those are words he wants to hear; none are things he can bear to think about.


Those aren't things he gets to choose, though. No one knows how they can bear the grief and sorrow that death bring, yet they all somehow manage it in the end. ((or escape))


Shalkai closes his eyes for a moment and puts aside that dark, selfish thought. Down that path....no, he'd be better off dead. His thoughts turn instead to the hours he'd spent yesterday, praying and reading, finding what solace he could so that this overwhelming day could be endured.


The elf's eyes open again, looking towards Kiabella as she struggles to find words to relate what she'd survived.


'Endure. Grieve. Share. What else can I do?' thinks the bard to himself.


((Hold an orphan on my lap))


'O Blessed Twins, help me!' pleas Shalkai in silent prayer, as a tear trickles down his cheek. That strikes right to his heart...right at his old Sigil of the Hearth, and just as deeply at the possible new ones that have been floating around in the back of his head. Another tear trickles; it doesn't really matter what his Sigil is. He has to be true to himself, and thus true to his Calling, whatever it might be. Especially here, today.


Holding an orphan on his lap. Giving her a hug.






Ardunnae:


She reaches her arms as far around the Elf as she can as she lays her head against his chest. She always felt love from her Mamma when she spoke of Shal... Heart...


He find Mamma.


Ardunnae finds comfort in that thought.


"Wuv oo." The words come out as a whisper.






((This was such a touching moment that it deserved a spot of its own.

Offline thelufias

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Re: No More Cookies
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2015, 08:33:47 AM »
Very good reading Paul...Enjoyed it very much....
We Shall Stand

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Re: No More Cookies
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2015, 09:22:21 PM »
Traelen:

 The Lady produces a parchment and unrolls it. For several seconds she sits staring at the page with her hands shaking.

"I wrote down my report and it was apparently a wise choice for I cannot read through it again. I lost two sisters that day just as you did and my heart breaks. Please Leofa, would you read it?"

Traelen wraps his arm around the Enchantress comfortingly.

"Of course mia Khess. I understand completely. My heart breaks as well but the tale must be told." Traelen takes the parchment from his beloved and begins to read the words written thereon...

"After the deaths of Lady Verlaine, Sir Darthan and Lady Alrienne, Lord Jahael had a nearby druid open a portal to the rings in the Commonlands and ordered Trae and me through it so we could bear witness to the end. The druid fell after I got through and the portal closed."

"I stood on the hill watching and praying to the Mother as I saw and heard explosions at the fortress for several minutes as the last of the Teir`Dal Army charged through the gates. Then there was a blinding flash and moments later I was thrown to the ground by the concussive blast as the explosion shook the ground."

"I thought that mia Khess did not make it out and my heart broke. I got to my feet and ran through the dust and smoke toward the site as fast as I could hoping to find someone still alive even one of the enemy whom I could compel to tell me whether any others escaped."

"When the smoke and dust cleared, I saw a smoldering crater where the fortress once stood. I arrived at the scene to find nothing except Eo's Twilight Orchid laying in the bottom of the crater. It was dead."

With a trembling hand the Enchantress produces the wilted flower as Traelen continues to read.

"As I picked it up I noticed the glint from my Betrothal Ring and I knew then that my Leofa had survived."

"At that point I gated to Felwithe to inform my Parents and the King hoping also that mia Khess would be there as well."

The room remains silent for a few moments. Even Ardunnae sits silently on Shalkai's embrace as if she felt the mood of the adults in the room and would not be the one to break the silence. At last Kialbella composes herself and wipes her tears away with her kerchief before speaking.

"Had I known that mia Samiss Damman was returning to the Commonlands, I would have awaited her arrival and perhaps been able to be of help to her."

"It sounds like she has lost Balance. Balance is everything to us who are direct descendants of the Highborn Elddar`Dal. Without it we lose our minds and our power. Fluffy is likely all that is keeping her safe at this point. Oh Great Mother of All help us!”

Kiabella closes her eyes in silent prayer for a few moments.

Traelen then speaks up.

"Well the first order of business then would be to pay D'Lere a visit after all. Then a visit to the Temple of Marr while I am in Freeport. I feel I should go there to pray for guidance and inspiration. Perhaps some time at the reflecting pool will bring it. What say you Master Shalkai? Would you be interested in accompanying me there? M'Lady should remain here to help with the children for now."

The young Knight looks over at the Bard holding his niece.


Linella:

The Druidess clears her throat and speaks up before Shalkai has a chance to answer.

'I am afraid that I must ask that you delay your visit to Freeport for just a little while as the first order of business must be to have a new Lord Shadowbane inaugurated. Our people need their leader. There is precedent for such in the family history. When Lord Gilliadson was killed, young Sir Bralder stepped up and was given the Lordship even though he was not yet bonded nor had he even found his Chosen until he returned for the Funeral and to comfort his grieving Mother. So now must you take on the mantle of your Father. Then you may make your visit to Freeport."

Linella's expression turns serious and clearly indicates that she will brook no argument.

"As Steward of the Family it is my Duty to oversee the continuation of its Traditions and to ensure its continuity. In these matters only do I ever outrank even the Lord Shadowbane."


Traelen:

Traelen's expression takes on a bit of a shocked look as Linella has never spoken to him in like manner before.

The young Paladin nods in respect to the Druidess.

"Very well then, Mistress Linella. Make the arrangements and let us get this done. I would rather that my Father were passing the Lordship on to me perhaps in a couple of years or so but as it is so shall it must be." Traelen rises from his seat and extends his hand to the Enchantress who takes it and rises herself.

"Well Master Shalkai it seems you will get to witness yet another Family Tradition if you wish to stick around for it. We will move on my other plan as soon as this is over if you wish to join me. Unless you have any other ideas that will help."

Traelen returns his gaze to the Bard as Kiabella places her hand on his arm.


Shalkai:

 Shalkai looks back at Traelen, silent for a moment. The bard's first instinct is to find a polite way to refuse, but nothing comes immediately to mind.

Looking into the young paladin's sad but stern eyes, Shalkai feels a bit of shame rise within him. Trae is just doing his duty, no matter how painful it must be. Can he do any less?

The answer to that one is easy enough - no. The bard reluctantly accepts his own duties, as a friend and fellow Sigil. Traelen is almost alone in the world now, in the space of a single day. Both sisters dead, both parents gone and at least one of them surely deceased. Three Sigils banished to the Hall of Remembrance. The least Shalkai can do is offer what little support he can.

The bard purses his mouth, gathering his resolve, then nods slowly to Traelen.

"I'll stay, Sir Traelen, then accompany you to Freeport when we're done here. There's nothing much else I can think of that would be helpful. A quick stop by the Sanctum or New Tanaan will be enough to put the word out, and I can do that tomorrow easily enough."


Traelen:

The young Knight nods.

"Very well then.  Mistress Linella call the assembly and let us get this duty done with so we can get to the task of finding mia Damman."  Traelen's grim expression punctuates his words and desire for this day to not be taking place.  Looking at the two Orchids the Paladin is struck with a thought.

"Is not one of these Orchids bound to my niece?  Why is hers also wilted even though she lives still?  Also send for my Great-Uncle Elwinde.  He is the one that enchanted them and he would likely have the answer.  I think this can be significant.  Or I could just be grasping at straws." 

With that thought hanging in the air, Traelen departs the room with Kiabella on his arm to prepare for the ceremony to come.


Linella:

The Druidess curtsies to Traelen before he turns to depart.

"As you wish Master Traelen.  I will have the people assembled in an hour and a dispatch sent to summon Master Elwinde immediately.  It may be a day or two before he can get here.  That should give you enough time to do whatever else you need to do."

Linella turns to Shalkai and Ardunnae.

"Come Nae, we must depart."  The Druidess hold her arms out for the baby girl who obediently reaches for her and settles quickly into the Halfling's embrace.

"I will show you to your suite here Master Shalkai so you may freshen up.  I know the news of all of this has been weighing heavy upon you.  Upon us all."

Linella leads the bard out into the hall and to an unoccupied suite.

"The Keeper of the Tower has given us this wing for our use while we are here.  We will be assembling in their Meeting Hall.  If you will excuse me now I have some duties that I must attend to as well as a meeting with The Keeper.  Something about my Great-Grandmother's Legacy."

The Halfling curtsies gracefully to Shalkai and departs down the hallway with Ardunnae in her arms.  The Little girl looks back at the bard, her eyes sad but somehow seem hopeful.


Shalkai:

'So young...and trusting that the grownups will fix things.' Shalkai thinks to himself as he gives the little girl a small parting smile, then swallows the lump in his throat and goes into his room. 'I wish we really could.'

The bard settles into a chair and stares despondently out the window, heart full of sorrow and loss.  His mind flashes from one dark thought to the next, as he imagines the gaping holes in everyone's life after the destruction of the Shadowbane estate and harrowing of their family. He turns his thoughts to prayer - but not very successfully. Eventually the environment of the Tower,  the very air he is breathing, give him a bit of surcease.

Sighing, Shalkai pulls his travel lute out of his pack and begins playing in another attempt to distract himself. The music and words that come forth are slow, plaintive laments - something he's become all too skilled at playing in the last year or two.


Linella:

The Halfling Lady stops at a suite belonging to one of the surviving officers of the Shadowbane Knights and knocks o the door.  The door is opened soon and the blonde haired man bows respectfully to the Druidess.

"Greetings Mistress Linella.  What may I do for your?"  The man asks.

"Greetings Major Lawson.  I need you to call the assembly.  We are Passing The Blade to Master Traelen."

"Very well M'Lady I shall see to it.  Is there anything else you require?"

"Have a Page sent to Masters Shalkai, Traelen, Jason and myself when the Assembly is ready.  I will be in conference with The Keeper.  Master Shalkai is in the Green Suite, Master Jason is in mine tending to Master Elidyr.

"As you wish, M'Lady.  This has been a horrible blow to us all but the continuity will be good for the Men.  To see that there is hope."

"Indeed Major Lawson.  Now I must continue on my way.  The Keeper awaits me."

"Very well M'Lady.  Be well."  The Human bows respectfully once more.

"And you."  Linella curtsies as gracefully as she can with Ardunnae in her arms.  Linella moves on down the Hall as the door closes.


Linella:

The assembled refugees and surviving Knights of Gill-Alani file into the Meeting Hall of the Tower.  The mural of Erollisi on the vaulted ceiling silently stares down at the filling Hall as if in welcome of the followers of her Brother and the other deities of Light.  Ardunnae sits quietly between the Koada`Dal Enchantress and the Fier`Dal Bard.  Still within her grasp is the wilted orchid that once adorned her hair. 

The Silver-haired Halfling Druidess steps up on the dais of the Tower meeting room before the assembly.  In her hands rests the blade that is the Family's namesake.  The great sword Shadowbane.  The heirloom that has been passed down since the beginning of the Family.  With a somber voice the Druidess addresses the assembly.

"As it has been since the founding so it now continues.  Being the Steward of the Family and the Keeper of the Shadowbane it falls to me to pass the blade and the mantle of Lordship on to a new generation.  Normally this is done under much more jubilant circumstances but not this time.  This time it is done on the heels of the passing of our previous Lord, Sir Jahael Shadowbane.  This time it comes after the grievous loss of many of our brave comrades.  I know many of you are grieving for your husbands and wives, sons and daughters who gave their lives in defense of the Commonlands.  Know that we are here with you and for you and will do all we can to make sure that you are cared for.  I know that what we can do will not bring those loved ones back but whatever can be done to keep you safe and provided for will be done.  Let us have a few silent moments to honor the fallen."

Linella closes her eyes and lowers her head respectfully for a few seconds before continuing.

"Now we pass the Lordship on to the new heir.  Master Traelen please come kneel before me."

The young Knight releases the Enchantress' hand and approaches the dais.  Traelen kneels and lowers his head in respect to Linella.

"Young Master Traelen, it grieves me to bestow the Lordship upon you in such circumstances as I know that it grieves you to accept it such.  How I wish it to be otherwise.  I know that your Father would be proud to see this nonetheless knowing that the future of the Family is being passed on to your capable hands."

Like a knighting ceremony, Linella touches each of Traelen's shoulders with the end of the Shadowbane and then the top of his head as she recites the words of the Passing.

"You kneel before me for the first and only time of your life as Master Traelen Shadowbane.  Now rise Lord Traelen Shadowbane and receive your heritage."

Linella looks out over the assembly.

"As you all have served the Father, so now serve the Son.

Praise be to Marr!"

"So shall it be!

Praise be to Marr!"  The voices of those assembled ring out in the vast Hall.


Traelen:

Traelen stands and receives Shadowbane from the Druidess.  Traelen turns and addresses the assembly holding it high over his head.  The young Paladin brings the blade down and into a salute to the assembly.  The Knights in the assembly return the salute with their own blades and the rest give a fist over heart salute.

“Praise be to Marr!”  Traelen says with much conviction in his voice

“Praise be to Marr!”  The assembly replies.  Traelen lowers his blade and looks intently over the assembly as they drop their salutes.

“We lost a good number of friends, comrades and loved ones in what can best be termed as a bitter victory.  We all knew that our people would die that day but we took the risk in order to stop a great evil.  We were successful.  I know this is not much for those of us who lost loved ones but let us remember them with honor for they gave themselves willingly to this cause.  For those of you who were not aware of what was going on I will explain now. 

Our sources in Neriak informed us of King Naythox Thex's plan to conquer our fortress and use it as a base of operations for further expansion.  After discovering the size of the army that he was assembling we concluded that there was no way we could hold the fortress against them.  We determined to destroy the Fortress with his army within the walls.  My Sister Carnimirie and the House Wizards built a bomb that would do such.  The bomb was magically bound to my Sister and would go off once that bond was broken destroying the Fortress and everything inside it.  Many of our Knights volunteered to stand the final defense before the detonation and knew that they would likely not make it out.  Evacuation plans were made and prepared for the continuation of everyone's family line.  We succeeded in that objective as well.  I see representatives from each family present and I thank you for the sacrifices you have all made.  Once the attack began, we immediately ordered the evacuation of everyone not essential to the defense of our Home.  Our Knights held the gate until all of you were out.  We then had them withdraw to lure the Army inside and it worked.  The bomb was readied and the battle grew fierce.  My Father ordered M'Lady and me out to witness the destruction and to see if any of the enemy survived.  We would have enlisted the aide of the Hall of Truth for a final mop up if needed.  Once the entire army was inside the bomb went off and there was nothing left of our Home or anything that was on the land.  It will be a long time before King Thex tries anything like that again.

Will we rebuild on the location?  Likely but it will be some time.  Right now we have survivors to look for.  Those who may have made it out but were injured and unable to make the journey here.  I know that my Mother is out there somewhere and I intend to find her first before I do anything else.

For now we will be part of the Tower of Erollisi and we will have a new mission. Our world is always under threat of destruction or subjugation by some evil force or another.  While the Tower boasts one of the greatest Libraries of Norrath it also is home to many who will answer the call to face down these threats when they appear.  We will join in that mission.  Those of you who wish to stay will become part of Norrath's Defenders here at the Tower.  Those of you who wish to depart, and there is no shame in such a decision, will be provided with the best housing available wherever you wish to settle.  You will receive a monthly stipend from the Family Coffers until you are able to provide for yourselves as comfortably as you were within the walls of Gill-Alani.

Now for the surviving Shadowbane Knights who wish to remain.  Your Armors will be replaced with the Tower's color of Silver and you will be known as The Tower Knights henceforth.  You will work and train beside the current Defenders.  I will continue to wear the colors of my Family in honor of the ones who gave their lives and you will still answer to me as you did my Father.

Those of you who are with me I will call another assembly when I return. We have much work to do.  Those of you who are departing you go with my thanks and my deepest condolences for what you have lost.  May you always know Valor and Truth.

You are all hereby dismissed.

Praise be to Marr!"

"Praise be to Marr!"  The assembly echoes in response.

Traelen steps off the dais and the assembly comes forward to welcome the new Lord Shadowbane.


Shalkai:

Shalkai stands in a quiet spot a bit off to the side, watching over Eolande's daughter so that Kiabella can go stand beside Traelen. The bard holds Ardunnae in his arms for a bit, then lets her down to walk so she can look at and touch some of the tapestries hanging on the nearby wall. He notices the little girl pausing frequently and looking around, sad eyes searching anxiously until they light upon Linella, Master Jason, or someone else well-known to her. Only after thus reassuring herself does her attention turn back to the beautiful hangings, nor does she ever stray farther away than five or six paces from the bard.

When not looking at the half-elven toddler, he mostly watches Sir..no, now Lord Traelen. This role has come to him a few years too early, and will never be a happy memory for the young paladin, Shalkai guesses. Yet it may be that, in the fullness of time, it becomes a source of pride and strength. The young lord already has a measure of both, and they seem to comfort and reassure those sworn to the Shadowbane family, as they come forward singly or in small groups to speak a few quiet words to their new lord.


Traelen:

 The Assembly departs the Meeting Hall leaving the new Lord alone with his Love and friends. Traelen turns to Shalkai.

"I believe a quick trip to the Temple of Marr is in order. The Reflecting Pool beckons. It is quiet and I usually find inspiration there to solve most problems I have come across. It is as if that is the place that Lord Marr chooses to speak to me most often. Would you like to come along Master Shalkai? And maybe I can squeeze come information out of D'Lere afterward."

A Teir`Dal Lady glides into the Hall and approaches the group.

"You sent for me Lord Traelen?" She asks as she curtsies respectfully.

"I did Lady P`Nala.  I need you to continue the search for my Mother. See if your particular skills will bring any more information to light.

"I will leave at once." The Lady reaches out and places her hand on the Paladin's cheek. "So much like your Great-Grandfather. You will do well Lord Traelen. Just always keep your faith."

"Thank you Lady P`Nala. I shall do my best."

The Teir`Dal Enchantress curtsies once more and departs the Hall. n Traelen turns to Kiabella and takes her hands in his.

"I will return as soon as I can, Leofa. I just need some quiet time with the Twins."

"I will finish having our rooms prepared mia Khess. And help Master Jason with the babies."

"Very good. Master Shalkai?" Traelen looks questioningly at the Fier`Dal Bard.


Shalkai:

The bard nods, "I'd be glad to come." Turning to Kiabella, he bows and kisses her hand. "Be safe, milady. We shall be cautious ourselves, and back soon enough."

Shalkai steps outside, allowing Lord Traelen a final embrace with his betrothed, before the two seek out a portal. While he waits, he thinks of the Freeport Temple, and the serene pool within its foundations.

The bard makes a mental note to himself - a good place to take Kiir'Sinthe, should they be lucky enough to find her.

In truth, the elf's feelings when going to the pool are now bittersweet, though he let none of that show. Long ago, in his youth, Shalkai's reactions were much like Traelen now felt. Eight or ten years ago, they had blossomed to something far greater. Now? Now, it was not an easy place for him to be, though he still went from time to time.

It was still one of the best places Shalkai knew anywhere for quiet reflection. Nothing had changed that, or likely ever would.


Traelen:

The young Knight and the Enchantress share an embrace for a few moments.

"I will return as quickly as possible mia Khess.  We may not be bound yet but you are The Lady Shadowbane now.  Our people will look to you as much as they will me.  Mistress Linella will advise you well.  Trust her judgement.  Vi khess dos."

"Vi khess dos.  Return to me swiftly and be safe."

The couple break their embrace and Traelen heads out of the Hall.

"To Freeport!"  The Paladin says as he approaches the Bard.

The two make their way out of the Tower.


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Re: No More Cookies
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2015, 08:33:55 AM »
It's like reading a novel....excellent Paul
We Shall Stand

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Re: No More Cookies
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2015, 10:13:36 AM »
The Search


No More Cookies - The Search

Traelen:
The two arrive at the Temple of Marr and quietly make their way down to the Reflecting Pool.  A few others are quietly sharing in the serene surroundings.  A head of red hair catches the young Knight's gaze for a moment until he sees that she is not a Koada`Dal.
Traelen kneels at the edge of the pool and begins his quiet meditation.


Shalkai:

"I'll be nearby; come find me whenever you're done." the bard whispers, before the two visitors part and settle to think.

The Fier'Dal composes himself in a cross-legged position and spends a few minutes just doing some calming exercises. After clearing his mind, he returns his attention to the present, letting his mind wander in the shadowed peace around the pool.

This day had been difficult, yet he'd coped well enough, Shalkai decides with a tiny bit of contentment. A positive sign, and one he's grateful for. This horrible news is still far too fresh, and the bard truly fears he's close to another breakdown.

Consideration turns to that for a minute, and his health. Physically he's hale enough; still a bit thin, perhaps, but his body has almost fully recovered in the year or more since his return. Mentally and emotionally? Shalkai sobers as he assesses himself. Not as much improvement there as he'd like. It seems as though he'd make a little progress, then something terrible would happen and crush him all over again. Loss, pain, guilt, death.....the blows just kept coming, like waves rolling in with the tide.

Would they never cease?

Something beyond his control, the bard reminds himself doggedly. All he could do was husband what strength he had, and use caution where he could. The thought of how far he is from truly healing, or even finding his Sigil, is disheartening. Against that he sets the realization that, at least to some degree, a bit of balance has returned to his life. Perhaps more than he knows - one thing he's noticed of late is that others see more strength and healing in him than Shalkai can detect. Not surprising, he muses. Pessimism is the twin-sister of Doubt.

Well, he'll be spending more time in the Sanctum now. That will give him more chances to talk with others, people whose judgement he trusts more than his own, these days.

His thoughts turn elsewhere, seeking. What else should he reflect on? Seeking a Sigil? He shies away from that. Partly because his grief is still too raw, his mind unsettled; and partly from unease at the words and meanings that have already crossed his mind. Not today.

Something else, then....all right. His thoughts veer on a tangent, seeking. Why is he here today? To accompany Traelen. Because his mother is missing; half his family dead. Orchid is gone.

Thought focuses on Eolande - Orchid. He recalls her sweet, dimpled face the last time they'd met. Other memories begin to surface. Grieve, then? Yes, this would be a fitting place - a Temple she knew well, even if not her own.

Shalkai's mind wanders...what about her does he miss the most? His thoughts stop short, and he wonders at his sudden dismay, the feeling of wrongness. It takes a minute, but he finally realizes the source of his unease, the trap leading to darkness and pain narrowly avoided.

Sinking even further into calm, he reflects again. What about Eolande did he enjoy the most? A tiny change of verb, a huge difference to his state of mind. The elf closes his eyes in a brief, silent prayer of thanks to the Blessed Twins. Little things like this should - no, would! as he banishes doubt - eventually add up to true healing.

Eyes glance to Traelen, still deep in thought, then Shalkai lets his mind drift into the past.


Akierra:

The red haired songstress lifts her gaze from the tranquil waters of the reflection pool for a brief moment as she hears faint footsteps echoing off the walls surrounding her. A content smile rests on her face as she glances over the others present. They had no doubt come to enjoy the quiet stillness of the sacred area beneath the Temple of Marr, perhaps for their own guidance or perhaps they too were seeking solace from whatever pains they may have endured.

She glances from one silent attendee to another gathered around the waters edge until her eyes fall to rest on her own reflection once again.

It has been far to long since she felt at peace with herself, but now at last, she finally feels it again. She whispers a final prayer of thanks to the Marr Twins and rises from the pools edge.

She steps light with careful practice as not to interrupt anyone nearby, as she glances over those she passes with curiously. Everyone had their own story to share and she wonders just what those stories might be.

There was a young human female with a young babe in her arms... Was she asking for a blessing on the child or perhaps protection, or wealth or success...

Next she passes a young dark haired Ayr'dal man, that seems to be deep in meditation. His muscular physique leads her to think he could possibly be a paladin, though without his armor, it's hard to say... She wonders if he is looking for peace after a lengthy adventure or perhaps he is here offering a few words for comrades lost in recent battle...

She walks a few more steps around the reflecting pool and her attention quickly turns to a Feir'Dal man sitting cross legged next to the waters edge. Though she could not see his face, there was something familiar about his brown hair and the way he held himself. Once again she wonders to herself, what it might be that brings him here...  And as she takes another step closer, she realizes just who it is sitting there. She does not need to wonder what brings him to the sacred pools, she has heard bits and pieces here and there and had filled in the rest on her own.

Despite her urge to keep walking, Akierra stops short just slightly behind him, to his side. She draws in a deep breath...

Her last run in with Shalkai had left her feeling uneasy. The entire situation was awkward and though she is sure he meant no harm by it, she could almost feel him sneering behind her back as she quickly removed herself from the conversation. Still, here he was seeking out his own peace of mind, just as she had, only hours before.

They hadn't always seen eye to eye when it came to things, especially when it came to the child she had turned her back on so long ago... Though he never outright said it, she always felt a slight bit of tension there, between the two of them... But that was a long time ago and she is no longer that person anymore. She of course is still

the Unsparing Companion, follower of the Sister Twin, though not as devote as some, she certainly has new clarity and confidence in the teachings... She is just no longer the careless, scared child she once was... There would be no more rash decisions and no more running.

She'd decided she'd face things as they come from here on out...

And now that an opportunity presented itself, she couldn't just walk on by... And though she didn't want to interrupt his meditations, she couldn't help but think after all her confessions and reflections, that the Twin Sister herself maybe testing her.

She wasn't stupid, everyone knew what was going on... The whispers in the Sanctum, though quiet had spread like wildfire through the dry trees of the burning woods and though she was the farthest thing from a friend to him, maybe. just maybe she could be one now, if he'd allow it.

She slowly releases her breath as she rests a hand on her fellow bards shoulder with a tender smile.

"Shalkai..."

The words come out as a soft whisper and she continues.

"What brings you to the reflecting pool today?"


Shalkai:

Coming out of his reverie at the touch, the elf looks up.

"Akierra?" Shalkai blinks in complete surprise, then a pleased smile wipes that look off his face. "Oh, well, you know.....Thinking, mourning...remembering." A tiny, relaxed shrug of one shoulder tells her that he's thinking about the kinds of things one would suspect, and that she is not interrupting him in the slightest.

Recalling where they are, the bard stands and whispers, "Why don't we step outside? I'd like to talk if you have a minute, but let's not disturb anyone."

Shalkai searches deep, but can't recall ever running into Akierra here in the Marr Temple before. Of course, he's not a very frequent visitor himself, even lately, so it's not surprising that the two bards haven't run into each other. It's certainly a wonderful place for a chance meeting, the bard decides. He pauses not far outside the pool chamber and steps to the side of the hallway. Their voices won't carry and disturb anyone there as long as they speak softly.

"An unlooked-for surprise, running into you here - but a pleasant one. Were you coming to visit or leaving when you spotted me?"


Akierra:

Her smile grows as he begins to speak and she is filled with relief that she hasn't interrupted him, with a quick nod she follows the Feir'dal a short distance away.

"Going, actually. I have been here for quite awhile already. I had a meeting with Father Plur and well, end up down here."

She casts a glance back towards the room where the reflecting pool sits, then turns back to Shalkai.

"Quite the place, it's my first visit in a very long time, but it certainly won't be my last."

She giggles softly and continues.

"Gods, if I had of known how freeing the whole thing would feel, I'd have been coming here long ago..."

She pauses and offers the bard a simple shrug.

"Better late than never though, right?"

She smiles as she brushes a stray strand of hair from her face, however her smile quickly fades as she recalls his purpose for being here...

Thinking, mourning... remembering....

Shalkai left the Sanctum before she had and there was some things the songstress had been around to witness. The pains of one losing a child... And since she'd been back she had heard much more... such as the pains of loosing a wife... though it wasn't to death but another Wayfarer among them.

Inwardly she sighs... That would be a hard pill to swallow.

Concern paints her face and she reaches out for his hand and gives it a tender squeeze. The sincerity in her voice as she speaks is backed by the sorrow written in her eyes.

"I know things must be pretty complicated right now, but if you need anything I'll do what I can to help. I may not be known as the most reliable, but that is something I am aiming to change."


Shalkai:

 "Thank you, Companion. I know things have been rough for you as well, so I really appreciate your offer." he says, meanwhile considering her words. The first half were vintage Akierra. Those last...was she growing further into her Sigil? Perhaps so, despite all she'd gone through, or more likely because of it. That old parable runs through his mind: 'What doesn't kill you...'

"Actually, if you don't mind, could you wait with me a bit? There's another Sigil still inside. Traelen, Sigil of the Arm. I don't know if you've met? Most of his family was killed in a war out in the Commonlands not long ago. Several of them were Sigils as well."

A pensive look comes to Shalkai's face before he speaks again. "That's who I was mourning for. I'd grown very close to them over the last year or so. Now poor Traelen is trying to pick up whatever pieces are left. I'm giving him a little company and support."


Akierra:

Akierra purses her lips in thought, the name had not been one she had heard before, but there had been many new Sigils since she had left and returned so it's not surprising that she doesn't know of him. A growing concern fills the songstress as he mentions the fellows Sigil's family being killed and that some of them were Sigil's too.

"Sigil's.... killed... Who...?"

She shakes her head in disbelief.  How and what for? And why had she not heard of this? The questions come, but she quickly pushes them aside to deal with the matter at hand.

"Of course, I'll wait with you."

She offers him a comforting smile and gives his hand another gentle squeeze, then lets it go. There is a long awkward moment of silence between the two as Akierra is unsure of what to say, even if she was to say something, Shalkai no doubt has a lot on his plate and his mind.


Shalkai:

The elf stands silent for a few moments, aware of her touch and thankful for Companion's presence. Those things make it easier for him to find his voice.

"You likely never had the chance to meet them. All this happened several weeks ago, so not long after you found your way back to the Sanctum. Traelen has - had - two sisters; they were triplets.  Eolande, Sigil of the Orchid, and Carnimirie, Inferno's Solace. They're both gone. His mother and father as well. Jahael, his sire, wasn't a Sigil but Kiir'Sinthe was...and there's a faint hope she still lives. There are reports she was seen in several places, as recently as a week ago. Whether they are true...." the bard shrugs somberly. "He's been searching, and will continue to do so."

Shalkai goes quiet again, then words trickle out once more. "I grieve for him. His eighteenth birthday was just last summer. I was there for the party. Now, probably half the people that were there are dead."


Akierra:

Akierra blinks in startled surprise. Eo and Kiir? The bard frowns as a puzzled look crosses her face.

She had spoken with both of them since her return and Kiirsinthe had been one of the first to welcome her back to the Sanctum. Now they were dead? It would explain why Eolande had vanished suddenly but Kiir? It couldn't be... Sure she hadn't heard word from her in... Oh gods... weeks now... And suddenly all her mindless dribble had reason.

Without realizing it the bard speaks, her voice remains calm in light of the news though isn't much louder than a whisper.

"So she wasn't just off her rocker..."

Akierra sighs deeply.

"Kiir... She was spouting some nonsense about cookies awhile back. I haven't heard from her in some time though."

She tries to recall what was said and bits and pieces come back to her.

"Something about crumbs and not letting him get them...."

She offers her fellow bard an unknowing shrug.

"I honestly thought she was just crazy...."

A tinge of guilt bites at her, perhaps she should have pressed Kiir for answers instead of brushing her ramblings under the rug, but it's to late to change the past now, all she can really do is offer her services in an effort to help find where Kiir may have gotten too... And even with that she has no idea where to begin.

"She never said where she was going... just that she needed to get away, to keep them safe..."

Crumbs... She was hiding crumbs... How did that even make sense... Nope, still crazy, though maybe she had a right to be so... Especially if she was there to bare witness to all that had happened. Everyone grieved in their own way after all...

"I dunno if that bit of information helps, but I'll be happy to lend a hand in the search if you would like a set of extra eyes. My tracking skills aren't to shabby either."

She falls silent and gives Shalkai a moment to take in the information as little as it was, hopefully it is of some help.


Shalkai:

 Surprise appears again on the elf's face, and then he grows very intent. So Akierra had actually run into Kiir'Sinthe? Recently? A tingle runs up his spine. Partly of hope - this isn't just second-hand information; Akierra actually saw, and spoke to, Serene. Another part is fear, though - 'just off her rocker...'. There is no relief to be found in how that sounds. Crazed? Drunk? Not good, regardless.

"Trae needs to hear this."

Shalkai glances to the entrance of the Pool chamber. "Maybe I should go get him." The bard chews his lip indecisively for a bit, then touches Akierra's arm. "Please wait here; I'll be right back." With that, he walks back into the Reflection room and makes his way almost soundlessly over to the young paladin, still kneeling on the floor.


Crouching down, Shalkai whispers into his ear, "Trae  - we must speak, as soon as you are ready.", then awaits a response.


Traelen:

The Bards words pull the Knight o0ut of his meditation. Traelen looks up at the Fier`Dal.

"We? The young Ayer`Dal looks around and notices that the only one not at the pool now is the Red haired Lady he had momentarily hoped was his Mother. Traelen quickly rises to his feet and follows Shalkai to where the Lady awaits.

"Sir Traelen Shadowbane at your service M'Lady." The young Knight bows respectfully.


Shalkai:

Shalkai makes the introductions.

"Akierra, allow me to introduce you to Traelen Shadowbane."

"Traelen, this is Akierra, Sigil of the Unsparing Companion. Akierra has seen Kiir'Sinthe - recently, since the battle occurred."


Traelen:

 Traelen forces a slight smile. It is clear that he currently does not have much to smile about.

"It is a pleasure to meet you as well M'Lady and I too wish it were under better circumstances."

The young Knight listens intently to the Bard's tale and nods in agreement at various points.

"Then it is as my Beloved has said. My Mother has lost Balance. Her companion is likely all that is keeping her safe right now then. Without Balance she is powerless as well as insane. She must be found so we can figure out how to cure her. I must return to the Tower of Errollisi. If you would like to come along we have room. We can fill you in on how all of this came to be as it now is. I will forego my visit with D'Lere for now. My Great Uncle should hear your tale as should my Betrothed. They may have some insight."

Traelen's steel-grey eyes lock onto Akierra's as he awaits her answer.


Akierra:



Akierra nods though her expression is less eager then before. It's not that she doesn't want to help, she just doesn't want to end the day with travel and recounting her recollection of recent events with an already grieving family. Part of her wishes to get a room at the Jade Tigers and start fresh in the morning, however the family would probably be relieved to hear what she had to say if it meant one less name off the roster of those lost. Inwardly she sighs and nods once more.

"If it's not to far, I will gladly accompany you."

With maybe a quick stop at Tassel's... She couldn't speak for the others present, but she knew she'd definitely want a drink by the time this day came to an end... Or maybe two...


Shalkai:

"Traelen, since we're not going to visit Lucan, I think I'll head out so I can talk to a few acquaintances. Even if they haven't seen your mother yet, they can be on the lookout from here on, and get word to me if she's spotted. That'll take me the rest of the day, probably. How about I come see you again at the Tower in the morning?"

Shalkai figures he might as well do the one useful thing he'd thought of so far. Since Phil is one of those he needs to speak with, the bard might as well finish his rounds and sleep at the Shady Dragon. He'd have to go there anyway to get his stuff.


Traelen:

"The Tower is in Quellious' Realm I have a portal device that will take us there. My Great Uncle will likely not be there till the morrow at the earliest."

This could be the break I have been looking for. Lord Mithaniel I thank you for tugging my heart in this direction this day.

"I can offer you room, food and drink and a tale to add to your repertoire."

The Knight turns to Shalkai.

"That sounds good, Master Hearth. I will see you then. Uncle Elwinde and Kia may be able to further assess Mother's condition from Lady Akierra's tale. Thank you Shalkai. You have been the closest friend to our Family of all the Sigils. I know you have been dealing with much pain and sorrow. I pray that you find your Healing quickly for it pains me to see a dear friend hurting and not being able to help."

Traelen watches Shalkai walk up the ramp from the pool and then turns back to Akierra.


Akierra:

Akierra can't help but grin at the paladin's offer. Food, lodgings and a tale, what more could a bard ask for.

"Well who could say no to that?"

She giggles softly and bids a quick farewell to Shalkai. When the paladin turns his attention back to her, she nods to let him know she is ready.

"Lead on Sir Traelen."


Traelen:

Traelen smiles a little brighter.

"Very well M'Lady."

The young Knight leads the way out to the courtyard where he produces the portal device. A portal opens before them and Traelen ushers the Lady Bard through. The pair find themselves standing in the courtyard of a tall gleaming white marble tower. Four smaller square towers surround and are connected to the large central round one by covered walkways and open bridges. Balconies and windows dot its surface up to the top where a glowing ball of energy rests atop the spire of the central peak.

Surrounding the courtyard are magnificent gardens filled with all manner of flowers and rare plants. Some of the Tower residents can be seen wandering among them.

Traelen leads the way to the East Tower and enters through the massive doorway.

"This is the wing in which we are staying. I have not yet numbered the refugees from my Home yet. I will need to do that at the Assembly. We lost quite a few fellow Knights and other defenders in the battle. Fortunately all the Mothers and Children were evacuated. The Keeper has graciously welcomed us and given my surviving defenders a place among her own here. Come I will introduce you to my Betrothed and Mistress Linella,the Family Steward. She will get you situated. Dinner will be after the Assembly."

Traelen leads the way to a portal pad where he steps on to a symbol and disappears.


Akierra:

Akierra takes a moment to take in the splendor of the surrounding gardens and the magnificent towers. She occasionally nods as Traelen speaks as she follows his lead through the large doors. He explains what she should expect and at the mention of an assembly, she stops short.

"Assembly?"

He doesn't seem to hear her words and quickly vanishes through a portal pad. Not wanting to get lost in a strange place, she steps on pad behind him to places unknown.


Traelen:

Traelen suppresses a laugh.

"Oh no it is not something for you to attend unless you wish to. I am merely assembling the refugees from the battle to see who is still with me and to set up search groups for other survivors who may be injured and unable to make it here on their own. Our people were ported all over Norrath and the other realms with instructions to gather here at the Tower. It was done that way so wizards and Druids would not be opening portals on top of each other. After our Assembly we will send for you for Dinner. You are free to wander around if you wish. There is a grand Library here. It is almost as large as the Library of Myrst. We are having Dinner at The Keeper's table. Please come I will make no demands upon you beyond what your own word has bound you to."

Traelen holds his hand out to the Lady.

"I know that my Beloved would be pleased to meet you and Mistress Linella will certainly make you feel at home."


Akierra:

 Akierra lets out a sigh of relief, though she frowns saddened at the thought of such loss.

"Of course."

She nods to the paladin as she places her hand in his. She came to share what news she had and she would stick to that.

"Alright, show me to her then. I am sure there will be plenty of time to explore later."


Traelen:

Traelen leads the way down the passage way passed several doors and comes to one where a Page stands dutifully outside.

"Is Mistress Linella within?" He asks.

"She is within Lord Shadowbane."

"Very good please announce me and Lady Akierra and then go inform Lady Shadowbane of my whereabouts."

"Yes Sir." The Page bows and enters the room. Moments Later he opens the door for the two.

Traelen leads the Lady Bard inside to the Sitting room where the Halfling Lady awaits them. Jason enters moments later holding Elidyr and leading Ardunnae who unsteadily waddles beside him. The baby girl takes a few more steps and reaches up to her Uncle. Traelen picks her up and makes the introductions.

Mistress Linella, the Steward of House Shadowbane, this is Lady Akierra, a Bard of the Sigils. She has spoken to Mother since the battle and has some news for us but I think it best to wait on that part until Uncle Elwinde arrives. Lady Akierra this is Ardunnae, my Niece, Elidyr my brother in the arms of Jason who is Ardunnae's sitter and now it seems has taken on Elidyr as well.

"Whatever needs to be done Lord Shadowbane." Jason nods respectfully.


Akierra:

Akierra offers a smile to each gathered in the room. Despite difficult times a friendly face sometimes helps to ease the pain.

"It's nice to meet all of you, although I am saddened it is under such circumstances."

She shifts slightly uneasy in the presence of the children but forces another smile as she continues.

"It's wonderful to see everyone helping out in such dire times. If you wish for me to wait to speak what I know that is fine. Best repeated as little as possible to avoid any shifting."

She grins slightly at her remark knowing all to well how easily tales can change.


Linella:

The Druidess rises from her chair and curtsies politely to the Lady Bard with the practiced grace of a courtier.

"Indeed Lady Akierra. Come I will show you to a room where you may freshen up and rest a bit before Dinner. I will come fetch you myself at the proper time."

As she is leading the Bard out the door opens and a young Koada`Dal Lady glides into the room.


Kiabella:

 The Lady curtsies politely to Linella and the Lady Bard.

"I was informed that my Beloved had returned with a Lady in hand. Perhaps with some news for us about our missing Lady Shadowbane?"


Linella:

The Halfling returns the curtsy.

"Indeed M'Lady. We shall hear her tale on the morrow when Master Elwinde arrives. May I present to you Lady Akierra. She is a Bard of the Sigils like Lord Shalkai. I was just taking Lady Akierra to a room to freshen up before Dinner."

Linella turns to Akierra.

"This is Lady Kiabella Truthseeker. She is betrothed to Lord Traelen."

Turning back to Kiabella, Linella continues speaking.

"Lord Traelen is within and awaiting your company."


Kiabella:

The Lady nods respectfully.

"It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance Lady Akierra. Master Elwinde is indeed to arrive in the morning. I had just received his missive. Yes I think it best that this tale be told only once so waiting until then is most wise. I look forward to seeing you at Dinner M'Lady. "

The Lady smiles warmly as she curtsies once more and heads into the sitting room to join the others.


Akierra:

Unsure of weather to extend a hand or kneel before Lady Kiabella, the songstress lowers her head in a quick greeting.

Akierra stands patiently by while the two lady talk, tossing in an occasional nod when something is said in her direction. Soon she is left standing with the steward of the house as Kiabella joins the other in another room.

"Busy place..."

She frowns almost instantly and wishes she could take back her words. Of course it was busy, it was housing several family that may have just lost everything.

"I mean..."

She blushes a soft pink and shrugs weakly to the Halfling.

Changing the subject as not to embarrass herself any further she quickly adds.

"So, where would that room happen to be?"


Linella:

Linella watches the Enchantress depart and then turns back to the Bard.

"Yes it has been quite busy here. Not to worry though M'Lady. Come, I will get you situated. One of the Maids will be at your service if there is anything you need."

Linella steps out into the hall and heads a few doors down before finding a young Fier`Dal Maid.

"Rana. Come with us. I am assigning you to Lady Akierra here."

"Yes Mistress Linella. It is a pleasure to serve you Lady Akierra." Rana curtsies respectfully and falls in behind the two Ladies.

A few more doors are passed and Linella opens one and gestures into the room.

"I hope this will suit you well enough. Beyond this foyer is the sitting room and then the bedchamber and bathroom. The maids brought as much of the linens and curtains as they could carry despite my instruction to leave it all."

Rana blushes a bright red.

"I was a little disappointed at first but I would have been so much more so if I had lost a single maid because of such stupidity. And yes Rana I will be talking to you all about it at our next assembly."

"Yes Mistress."

"They did an excellent job of making these rooms look like Home. Either Lord Traelen or I will regale you with the tale of how we got into our current situation at Dinner since The Keeper also wishes to hear the tale. I must now go attend the Assembly with the rest. Make yourself at home."

The Halfling Lady smiles as she curtsies to Akierra before departing leaving Rana in the foyer.

Offline Paul

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Re: No More Cookies
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2016, 10:33:20 AM »
Akierra:   

Akierra waits till Linella is out of the room before giving Rana an awkward smile.

"Not sure what they expect me to get you to do... I am quite capable of handling things my own self."

She offers the maid a shrug and looks around the suite. It is much larger than anything she would need to find comfortable. She'd have been happy with just a bed to rest in.

"Sure is fancy... They didn't need to put me up here... Far as you waiting on me, I hope you don't find my dismissing you as an insult. To have someone wait on me would go against everything that I stand for. I am going to take a nap until they call for me. Perhaps you could take that time and do something for yourself and if that requires an order, then I order you to do so."

She smiles to the maid and hopes her dismissal doesn't offend her.


Linella:
   
Rana giggles softly.

"M'Lady I am merely here in case you need something while you await dinner. Tea perhaps or if you would like something to wear for Dinner or whatever. I am familiar with the layout of the Tower and can quickly get these things for you. It is what they pay me for and I have no complaints about that. I you wish to merely take a nap that is well also. I shall have a seat out here in the foyer and work on my knitting while you do so."

The maid smiles.


Akierra:   

Akierra declines the offer of tea or a change of clothes. The days events wear on her and she just wants to close her eyes for a bit before dinner.

"Perfect, I'll lay down then, when they come for me, just let me know."

Without waiting for a response, the songstress leaves the maid in search of her bed in the other room. She lays down, closes her eyes and within minutes drifts off to sleep.



Linella:
   
The Lady Halfling leads Akierra down the hallway to the Portal Pad and steps on one of the runes. After the Songstress appears, Linella leads her to a set of large double doors. The Druidess pushes the doors open to reveal a large room full of tables. All manner of people are seated while others quickly move about setting covered platters on the tables. Linella leads the way to a table where the Family is seated with a young Ayer`Dal Lady. The occupants of the table rise to greet the Songstress as she approaches.

"Lady Akierra, may I present to you The Lady Tessah Windere, The Keeper of the Tower of Erollisi Marr. M'Lady this is Lady Akierra of the Sigils."

Tessah:

"Welcome to the Tower Lady Akierra. Please do join us." The Keeper's brown eyes sparkle as she nods respectfully and gestures toward the two empty chairs beside Traelen. "We shall begin momentarily."

The Keeper rises and calls the room to order as soon as the last platter is set down and the servers are seated.

"Brothers and Sisters before we begin, I have an important announcement." All eyes are upon the Ayer`Dal Lady as she scans the room for a few moments. "It is with much sorrow and after much prayer and meditation that I must step down as your Keeper." The silence of the room is broken by many voices murmuring along with a few outbursts of "No!"

"Silence please! Let me finish." The room goes silent once more. "I do not know how my predecessor, The Venerable Lady Willanaome, was able to balance her duties here and with the Circle of Nine. I cannot continue to do so. One office has to be surrendered. I have found my replacement here in Lady Willanaome's Great-Granddaughter. Mistress Linella. She has agreed to take my place here since House Shadowbane has come to join us. My final duties as Keeper will be completed by Sunset this day and the Morrow will bring you a new Keeper. Defenders of Norrath, you now have a new commander, Lord Traelen Shadowbane. Please do make House Shadowbane welcome."

Lady Tessah then bows her head as everyone rises for the meal prayer. After the short prayer everyone sits and begins eating. Traelen and Linella relate the events of the attack and subsequent destruction of Gill-Alani. The Paladin goes on to detail the sending out of search parties to find his Mother and any others who are missing. The rest of the meal is spent in idle chit chat and talk of other events around Norrath.


Akierra:   

The gathering at the tables is larger then she expected, but Akierra nods and smiles greetings around the table. She respectfully takes her place among the seats and remains quiet during Tessah's announcement.

She doesn't know much about the Tower or its inhabitants, but there is a clear stirring of disappointment when Tessah's speaks her peace. The songstress isn't sure how to feel with the given situation, though she understands all to well not being able to handle certain responsibilities expected of ones self and dares not judge.

She offers Tessah a reassuring smile before lowering her head for the prayer.

She enjoys her meal for the most part in silence as she listens to others retell the events of the attack. She can't help but feel sorry for the people gathered and all that they have lost, she lowers her head again, this time she says a silent prayer for those gathered.

The sadness and heartfelt condolences are quickly put behind her as the tables become alive with idle chatter to which she is quickly swept into.

When the meal is concluded and the tables are beginning to be cleared, she glances to Traelan, then Linella with hopes of some direction of what is next to come.


Traelen:
   
After the meal is over Linella and Tessah depart. The young Paladin and the Enchantress lead the Songstress to the bar where they have a few drinks together.

"I promised you a tale, the one you heard this evening is not yet finished. I am hoping that my Great Uncle will have some light for us once he hears your account. He was at the battle as well but was evacuated early. He has been in Felwithe with my Maternal Grandparents. He will be here in the morning. Hopefully Shalkai will return early as well. I must also prepare for a visit to the Temple of Life. They need to know what happened and perhaps they will assist in the search. So many duties now..." Traelen's voice trails off as he lowers his eyes in thought When he returns his gaze to Akierra he rises from his seat. "M'Lady I must leave you in the capable hands of Rana here. So much to do. She can help you find anything here in the Tower that you may need. Thank you once again for coming." The Paladin bows respectfully while his Lady curtsies gracefully. "Sleep well when you do." With that the couple departs hand in hand.

Rana looks to the Songstress,

"Is there anything here that you would like to see M'Lady? The Grand Library perhaps or the Hall of Music?"

The Maid smiles brightly.


Akierra:   

Akierra ponders the options presented to her and smiles thoughtfully.

"The hall of music sounds nice. I have far to many books on the go, the library would only hinder my completion of them and of course what kind of songstress would I be to turn down anything involving music."

She giggles playfully at the thought.

"If you want to give me directions, I am sure I can find my way there. I don't want to be a bother to anyone and I am sure there is important stuff to be done."


Traelen:
   
The maid smiles brightly.

"The Hall of Music is my favorite place in the whole Tower complex. Come I will show you the way and I will see if any of my favorite bards are playing. There is always an impromptu session happening."

Rana leads the way to the portal pad and steps on a different rune. Music is heard as soon as they leave the pad. They follow the sound to a large performance hall where several musicians appear to be playing. A small audience is gathered on the front two center rows. Other chambers can be seen on the other side of the Hall.

"Those are practice rooms on the other side of the Hall.". Rana looks toward the stage as a male Fier`Dal begins singing. "That is Faviel. He is the best singer in the Tower. I could listen to him for hours. The music library is backstage. Do enjoy yourself. I will be out here when you are ready to return to your suite."

Rana moves off to join the audience.


Akierra:   

Akierra nods to Rana as she makes her way towards the front of the gathered crowd. The music library interests her, though she is eager to take in some of the performance before she browsing through the libraries collection. She takes a free seat in the second row and settles in.

When she has had her fill of the performance, she quietly slips out from her seat and finds her way to the library where she spends a great deal of time flipping through the collected works of many cultures. Satisfied with herself for picking up a few new songs to try she smiles inwardly to herself as she tidies up her area.

The crowd gathered around the stage has dwindled somewhat, making Rana easier to find and the bard approaches her with a smile.

"I think I'd like to return to my room now. I am getting pretty tired and if there is time in the morning I may do some more looking around."


Linella:
   
The Druidess greets the Lady Bard and invites her to take a seat. Soon the Maid in her foyer enters and announces Elwinde, the Enchanter and Uncle to Kiir`Sinthe. The platinum-haired Koada`Dal Enchanter enters the room and bows respectfully to those present.

"Welcome Master Van`Darda! It is good to see back at the Tower. You have no doubt received the reports of the aftermath thus far?"

"I have Keeper. So my Niece appears to still be at large. What of your Sisters Trae? Any word?"


Traelen:

"No, Uncle, none at all and nor can I feel either of them. I do not know if it truly indicates that they are gone or not. Eo's Orchids are all wilted." The young knight indicates the Orchid in Ardunnae's hand and the other sitting on the coffee table.


Elwinde VanDarda:
   
Elwinde looks at the two dead flowers for a few seconds before speaking.

"There are three of them. One is bound to Nae and the other two to Eo. Where is the third one?" The Enchanter looks around the room questioningly.


Shalkai:
   
The door opens, and a guard escorts Shalkai into the room. The bard is armored and dressed for travel, and had a slight sheen on his brow.

He nods a greeting to each person present as he walks forward, saying "Good morning, everyone. Sorry if I'm late - I didn't think to arrange for a teleport, so instead I got some exercise jogging through the Planes."


Traelen:
   
The Paladin looks up as the Bard enters.

"Ah you are just in time Maestro Windchaser." Traelen motions toward the Silver hared Koada`Dal. "I believe you may have at one time met my Great Uncle Elwinde. He was just asking about Eo's Orchids of which you possess one. He wishes to examine all three if you still have yours with you." Traelen motions toward an empty seat. "Please do join us."


Shalkai:
   
The elf grimaces slightly as he glances down at the two wilted flowers on the table, then he steps forward. Before taking a seat, he opens his pouch and takes out his own flower, unfolding the silk cloth it was wrapped in. Shalkai hands the wilted orchid to the enchanter with a respectful bow.

"Here you are, Master Elwinde. The spells seem to have prevented any further decay, but mine seems to be no different from the other two."

Elwinde gently takes the proffered flower, then the bard silently takes a seat at the table.


Elwinde VanDarda:
   
Elwinde accepts the flower from Shalkai and picks up the one on the coffee table. The Enchanter gains the attention of the baby girl and points to her flower.

"Nae, may I see your flower?"


Ardunnae:
   
The child is playing with her toys while the grownups are talking. Unka Winde enters and she watches him take a seat.

Unka Winde help find Mama?

The girl returns to playing with her toys letting the elder ones continue their conversation.

The enchanter calls to her and points to her Mama's wilted flower.

Unka Winde wants me to show him Mama's flower. Maybe help him find her?

The girl stands up and then bends down to pick her flower up and walks unsteadily to her Unka Winde holding the withered blossom in front of her. Ardunnae stands in front of the Enchanter as he examines the three Orchids.


Elwinde VanDarda:
   
After looking the flowers over and magically probing them he hands Ardunnae's back to her and thanks her. The girl returns to her rug to play.

"The bonds on the Orchids have been broken. I can restore the enchantment to Nae's but without a newly plucked hair sample from Eo I cannot restore hers. So these blossoms are not a clear sign of her demise nor is your lack of feeling her Trae. The same goes for Mirie. The bomb that you set off has disrupted your connection to your siblings as well as the bonds of these flowers. If your Sisters are sill alive, your connection to them will return in time. Granted that the fact that no word has been heard from either of them or your Father does not bode well. You have search parties out. That is good. Let us concentrate on the one that is most likely still alive. My Niece. It is my understanding that we actually have someone here who has spoken with her. I take it that would be you? Lady uhh..."

The Enchanter locks eyes with the Songstress.


Akierra:   

Akierra nods when the enchanter turns his attention to her.

"I have... though I wouldn't quite say I have spoken with... her."

The songstress shrugs a little and sighs.

"I haven't been back all that long and I certainly don't know Kiir as well as most... But I am certain something is not right."

She thinks back to her last run in with Kiirsinthe and shakes her head.

"It was a recent visit to New Tanaan.... And I had only by chance run into her. She was... unkempt and disheveled... Rambling like a madman out in Marus Seru."

Akierra frowns and lets out a soft sigh before continuing.

"She kept going on about cookies being gone and needing to hide crumbs..."

Her eyes leave the enchanters and glance in turn to everyone gathered, then back to Elwinde's.

"After that she ran off... I was still shaking my head and wondering what it was all about. If I had of known what was going on I could have followed her... But as I was trying to wrap my head around the whole situation, she vanished."

She sighs once more and offers the enchanter and unknowing shrug.


Shalkai:
   
A bit of dismay creeps over Shalkai's face - Akierra's description of Kiir'Sinthe's state during their brief, chance meeting is not at all encouraging. And all the other places Traelen had heard she'd been seen...not good. Lady Kiir was running, and running hard, to escape. Where would she stop?

The dismay grows within him - or even worse, where would she be forcefully stopped? Koada'Dal made choice targets when they wandered into the wrong place.

"Akierra - can you remember at all if Lady Shadowbane had her elemental with her? It doesn't sound like she was thinking clearly enough to protect herself, if she found herself in danger. Hopefully she still has her protector and companion with her? Traelen...those other reports. I think you mentioned her elemental was also noted in one, right?"

Shalkai looks back and forth between them, his expression a mixture of worry and hope.


Traelen:
   
The Paladin's eyes turn toward Shalkai as he rubs his chin in thought.

"Indeed. The report from Freeport mentioned Fluffy trashing the Guards outside the Militia House. If he is still with her then she will be well protected. Very few creatures can stand up to him. What are your thoughts Uncle?"


Elwinde VanDarda:
   
The Enchanter spends a few moments in thought before responding.

"It indeed sounds as if she is fleeing or leading away an imaginary enemy. She will likely go as far away from here as she feels is necessary. Cookies and crumbs sounds like her maddened mind's reference to you, your Sisters and the infants. The babies are the only ones that she knows are still alive. She must be running to keep her imagined threat from finding out where they are."

Elwinde looks at Ardunnae.

"I have some ideas that I need to explore and something to research. I will get back to you as soon as I have some answers. If you find her, send for me. I will be in my lab. Bring Nae there after your meeting here and I will restore her orchid."

Elwinde rises from his chair and picks up the orchids.

"Also bring all of the emeralds from Kiir's gown that you have found. .

Elwinde exits the room.


Shalkai:
   
'Well. There goes a man with a plan.' thinks Shalkai to himself, adding a little mental chuckle as Elwinde strides away. 'Wish I had half as many bright ideas in MY head!'

At least it sounded like Eolande's orchids could be restored, and by something with a bit more chance of success than a music box powered by a wishful bard.

He turns his slightly amused gaze to Traelen. "Sounds like we're supposed to have a meeting, then do the rest of what we need to do. I'm still sorta vague on that last bit, though." Shalkai's lips quirk into a smile, then relax.

"About all that came to me last night was to search some of the places she'd be likely to visit, and look for any sign or word of her. Let me see one of those emeralds from her dress, too, please. That way I'll recognize another if her dress is still shedding jewels, and I or someone else finds one." The bard shrugs and looks up at the tall paladin. "What possibilities have crossed your mind, Lord Shadowbane?"


Traelen:
   
The young Knight looks over at the Bard after watching his Great-Uncle depart.

"It looks like Mother will not be coming here of her own. She will likely head someplace where she would be least expected."

A knock is heard on the door and a Male Iksar is ushered into the room.

"I wasss inssstructed to deliver thisss misssive to Lord Ssshadowbane." The visitor states.

Traelen rises to his feet and takes the message. Carefully opening the scroll his eyes dart over the parchment taking in its contents. The Paladin looks over at the servant who brought the messenger in.

"Whatever the going rate is for messengers from Cabilis, double it for this one." Turning his gaze to the messenger Traelen continues. "Thank you. Go with her and she will be sure you are well recompensed."

After the Iksar is escorted out Traelen retakes his seat and looks over at Shalkai and Akierra.

This is news. It seems a rogue Air Elemental was seen in Cabilis wandering around a few weeks ago. Several days after the attack. It warrants investigating if you two would like to check it out. That is if M'Lady here is interested in helping us further. Let us first join my Uncle in his Lab. He may have something to help the search.

Traelen rises from his char followed by Kiabella and Linella.


Shalkai:
   
"I'll be happy to go take a look, Traelen. Cabilis and its entrances will be as good a place as any to start running around."

Shalkai also rises, and follows the young lord out of the room, since he has no clue himself about where Elwinde's lair - lab? - might be.


Traelen:
   
Traelen leads the way after Kiabella picks up Ardunnae. After passing through several portals, arrives at Elwinde's Laboratory.

"Here we are Uncle." Traelen calls out once they enter the room.

Traelen approaches the Enchanter and places a pouch on the table.

"These are the emeralds we have found thus far." The Knight pulls one of the larger ones out of the pouch and hands it to Shalkai.

"Here you go Maestro. They are all enchanted in like manner. They are still holding Mother's arcane energy. Apparently with her mind gone she was not able to tap into these either before they fell off."


Shalkai:
   
Memories of old lore are recalled, as Shalkai extends his thought and senses to discover whatever enchantment lies within the green gem. Bards are not trained to create or depend on such magical powers, yet they are well-versed in how to identify arcane items like this.

This enchantment has several facets, he can tell - part defensive, part power. A low humming in his throat resonates quietly in the room, and causes a response in the bound magical energies as well. The patterns revealed to his senses give him a good idea of the function and scope of the spell-bindings. Even some of the spell-runes involved, and their ordering, become obvious to the lore-trained bard. Shalkai nods to himself, fixing the revealed rune-lore in his memory.

The elf goes silent for a moment, then looks up and hands the stone back to Traelen. "Thanks. I'll be able to identify any other jewels from your mother's gown with little difficulty. Knowing this won't let me track her down through these gems - that's a much more complex problem, one that can take weeks or months to have a good chance of solving - but if we run across any other gems, I'll know if they belonged to your mother without having to run back here."

He gives a respectful nod to Lord Traelen, then stands quietly to see if Elwinde or anyone else can shed further light on where might be a good place to resume searching for Kiir'Sinthe.


Elwinde VanDarda:
   
The Master Enchanter smiles as the company enters with Ardunnae and the bag of emeralds. Elwinde watches as Shalkai uses his own magic on the gem to discover its secrets.

"Very good Maestro. I actually had an idea along those lines." He takes another emerald from the bag and channels Arcane energy into it. In a few moments the gem begins to glow slightly. As he move the emerald closer to the bag it glows brighter. "That will work nicely. It may even identify any scraps of her gown as well. I suspect some of the power from the gems has been absorbed into the material over the course of the years. I will add the further enchantment to the rest of these gems and they can be sent out to the search parties. Now let us fix Little Nae's orchid."

The Enchanter takes a hair from Ardunnae and wraps it around the stem of one of the orchids. A few moments of channeling into the flower and it is restored to its former beauty.

Elwinde smiles as he presents the flower to the baby girl.


Ardunnae:
   
Ardunnae frowns as the flower is presented to her.

"Mama." She says as she shakes her head.

Mama's flower.


Elwinde VanDarda:
   
A puzzled look spreads over the Enchanter's face for a moment before memory hits home.

"Ah yes! You wore one of Mama's flowers. She wore yours." Elwinde thinks for a few moments before continuing. "Lady Kia will wear this now." Elwinde hands the flower to the Enchantress and then turns back to the other two flowers.

"I cannot do anything with these two as yet. Maestro would you mind if I held on to yours for a now? Perhaps something will come to me. In the meantime I will set to enchanting the rest of these emeralds."


Shalkai:
   
The elf glances down at Ardunnae, then back to the enchanter. "Actually, Master Elwinde, I'd like to still keep the orchid given to me if that won't hamper your research. There's a way I might be able to restore it. Regardless of whether I, or you, can ever manage that, this orchid is still special to me, and always shall be."
 
After another glance at Ardunnae's face, full of sadness and unable to understand, he continues. "Perhaps the restored flower should be given instead to Ardunnae, since it was the token of her love that restored it."


Elwinde VanDarda:
   
"Very well." The Enchanter returns Shalkai's wilted Orchid to him and then tries once more to offer the restored flower to Ardunnae who scrunches up her face and adamantly refuses to accept it.

"Very well Nae. I will keep working on yours and see if I can fix it."

Elwinde hands the enchanted emerald to Shalkai.

"You may find this to be quite helpful to your own search efforts."


Offline Paul

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Re: No More Cookies
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2016, 10:36:47 AM »
That was all we co-wrote on the story.  I have a few other parts that I had written up awaiting input from the other players that never materialized.  The rest of the story is in the Matriarch's Journal.  I have one part that I will post that is missing one player's part.  We went on the assumption that he supplied what was needed.

Offline Paul

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Re: No More Cookies
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2016, 10:39:52 AM »
((The following jumps ahead to the event following Kiir`Sinthe's recovery.))

Elwinde:

The Enchanter returns to the Keeper's Sitting Room with the Priestess of Tunare after examining Kiir`Sinthe.
"It appears that Lady Kiabella's assessment is correct.  My Niece is out of Balance.  Her ramblings though give the clue to her cure.  The Highborn of the Elddar`Dal used to brew and cook some of the most miraculous foods and beverages.  I had thought that their recipes were lost along with Takish`Hiz.  I always thought that there was something special about Kiir's cookies but never took the time to analyze one.  Could she in fact have been using an ancient Elddar`Dal recipe?"

Elwinde looks over at Linella.

"Did you manage to save her cookbook?"

Linella:

The Halfling's eyes light up momentarily.

"She put it in the bag with the rest of the magical items that were to be saved."

The Druidess goes to a closet and brings a magical bag back.  Within moments a large tome rests in her hands.  A large rune is embossed on the front cover and overlaid with gold.  The rest of the deep red leather cover is plain and unadorned.  The Lady hands the book to the Enchanter.


Elwinde:

Elwinde holds the book with reverence and looks at it in awe.  Arcane energy emanates from the tome with the feel of old and powerful magic.

"I had no idea that this book existed.  This is the book that belonged to the Master Chef of Takish`Hiz.  It holds all of her most secret recipes.  The foods she made are the stuff of legend.  It is magically locked.  Only Kiir can open it."


Silyene:

Looking back up from the book the Priestess speaks.

"There is more.  The Lady has managed to invoke the Withering.  It is an ancient invocation that has not been heard of since the Elddar`Dal arrived on the continent of Fayedwer.  She is dying and quickly.  Her Balance must be restored and she must find a reason to live in order to repeal it.  I know not how she came by such knowledge but it had to have been invoked done during a period of lucidity.  That is the only way that she could have done it.  My estimate is that she has no more than two weeks left before her body returns to the land."

Traelen:

"But without the recipe, how can we save her?  She has no magic to open the book for us.  Can some of her previously baked cookies work?"  The young Paladin looks questioningly at the Tunarean Priestess.


Silyene:

"Their magic fades with time but if you have some on hand they may restore her sanity momentarily.  Perhaps enough for her to undo the invocation or provide some guidance in getting the tome unlocked."


Eolande:

Eolande looks to Shalkai.

"This is one time that I would not mind if you had saved some of the cookies I had given you rather than following your Doctor's orders, Leofa."


Shalkai:

((At this point we assumed that he had squirreled away at least one cookie.  Which he confirmed when I chatted with him in game.  Never got an actual write up from him on this part.))


Elwinde:

The Enchanter gives the cookie to his niece who looks at it for a few moments before eating it.  Several long minutes pass before the change occurs.  Lucidity returns to the withering Lady.

"Do you feel better mia adrina?"  Elwinde inquires.


Kiir`Sinthe:

The Lady nods slowly.

"I do but for how long?"

Tears stream down Kiir`Sinthe's cheeks.


Elwinde:

"I am not sure.  A few minutes, an hour.  I know not how long Master Windchaser has had that cookie.  Will you revoke the Withering?"  Elwinde's pale blue eyes look into Kiir`Sinthe's. 


Kiir`Sinthe:

"No.  It is better for me to Wither than to live unbalanced.  Better for all."


Elwinde:

"I see.". The Enchanter says after a few moments.  "Very well.  The Lady Kiabella needs to speak with you while you are still lucid.  I shall send her in."


Kiir`Sinthe:

The Lady nods.

"Please do."

Kiir`Sinthe watches her uncle exit the room and smiles as the Enchantress enters moments later with a large tome in her hands.

The emerald eyes of the elder Koada`Dal meet the younger ones azure eyes.  Kiir`Sinthe's gaze travels to the tome in Kiabella's hands.

"My recipe book.  Now it is yours.  If you can unlock it.  I have no power to show you the weave and to pass ownership.  Lady Sineliniel's Damman can.  Lady Marial may know where she is, if the Lady Elanil still lives."


Kiabella:

Kiabella's heart aches at seeing the withering Koada`Dal lady and clutches the recipe book to her heart.

"Mia Samiss Damman, I am not worthy of such an honor.  Are you certain?"

The Enchantress' eyes fill with tears that slide down her cheks leaving moist spots her violet silk gown.

"Mia Samiss Damman, must you leave us?"


Kiir`Sinthe:
"Mia Donne has all he needs in you.  Mia Daja and Nidri`Daja will be well in your care.  Mia Silind is gone as are mia Dammiati.  Mia mind will not return without balance.  I have no reason to continue in this world."


Kiabella:

Kiabell looks frantic as she
"Is there not some way to help restore balance in you?"


Kiir`Sinthe:

"The cookies.  But the cookies are no more."  Madness once again overtakes the elder Lady as the young Enchantress takes her into her embrace and weeps.

Kiabella:
The Enchantress holds the Grand Arch-Hage in her embrace for several minutes until her tears have stopped.  Resolve takes over as the young Lady's heart nearly breaks.
"I will find a way mia Samiss Damman.  I will find a way."  Kiabella softly whispers the oath into Kiir`Sinthe's ear.  "By the grace of the Blessed Mother I will find a way."


Kiir`Sinthe:

"Forsaken me the Mother has.  No more are the cookies."  Kiir`Sinthe weeps into Kiabella's shoulder.


Kiabella:

After the tears have passed, the Enchantress breaks from the embrace and wipes her tears before she backs out of the room closing the door.

The Enchantress seeks out Traelen's comfort and embrace.  In between the breaths and and tears she tries to speak.  Traelen continues to embrace her, caressing her long silky red hair dampened from Kiirsinte's tears.  Kiabella lifts her head and Trealan takes his finger and gently brushes aside the few strands of hair that had made there way to her face.

Kiabella steps back and still sniffling tells Traelen "We have to restore her Balance, WE HAVE TO!"
Keep giving her the cookies that remain, I will go to Felwith.  The Lady Marial may be able to help. She has to!


Offline Paul

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Re: No More Cookies
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2016, 10:41:15 AM »
And that pretty much ends all I have on this story.

Offline thelufias

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Re: No More Cookies
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2016, 11:47:12 AM »
And all was very cool.....Good writing my friend....I enjoy reading your stuff...thanks....
We Shall Stand

 

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