It was shocking waking up this morning. I woke up early so that I could get a head start home. My side was hurting a bit from wearing my Brigandine to bed. I quietly got up and quickly got ready so I wouldn't wake up anyone else. I was several footsteps out the door before I realized I was walking in snow. And that I wasn't in Sivrya. In fact, I had no idea where I was.
The snow was gently falling as I was suddenly led back inside by a little man, that I faintly remembered had given me a cookie last night. It was then that the previous few days came back into my mind, and the weight and depression returned.
My last letter to my sister, Kayla, was one of joy and happiness. While it wasn’t entirely truthful, it was close enough. However, since that time everything had been going downhill. Almost as if the gods had it out for us.
We started several days ago, looking for one of Pyry's friends. We rented horses that were fast (but not as fast as Rissa’s) and tracked a caravan that this friend was supposedly guarding. It was there that we were ambushed by Liecheus. It was a very textbook ambush and I should have realized it sooner. We were quickly surrounded by bowmen and asked to surrender.
Given our chances of survival, I was all for surrendering. It wouldn’t have broken our pact with Death, it would just take us a bit longer to accomplish his task. A bit longer was better than not getting home, I thought. The group disagreed and counter attacked the ambush. By some sheer dumb luck, a band of ‘shadows’ saved us.
One of the band, a girl by the name of Asacia, who I sensed was stronger than anyone I had ever encountered, agreed to assist us. She signed to us that she was one of the heroes of old, now a demi god that helped protect Helt. That was what she claimed, anyway. We were teleported by magic to a carriage that Pyry’s friend was being held captive in. We rescued her successfully and then a monk tasked us with going to a city, called Arinyelle, and ‘purging’ it of an obelisk that was tainting the people inside.
I don’t feel like we were given much of a choice to do it or not, but the group decided to go and so I went with them. While we do have our differences in priorities sometimes, I did agree that I would help, and protect them. I also know I could not do this trial alone.
We took the cart that now had no owner and headed towards this cursed city. On the way we encountered several giant monsters, the like of which I have never seen and after fighting one, wish never to see again. It was bigger than a house with tentacles as legs and four heads as one head, that spinned on itself. One of these creatures spotted us and moved to engage us.
When it was close it’s head spun and I was overcome by intense fear. While I have felt fear in many a battles, I could not for the life of me move away from this monster. It’s head rotated again and I felt my body go weak. Fearing the worst, we moved together so that we could use a magic teleportation ring to escape it’s magic and were lucky enough to do so. After the fight, and when my senses had returned, I realized that this ‘hero’ had done nothing to help us. She had sat in the cart and watched us almost die.
Not wanting to cause a scene in front of the group, I ordered Tamyr and a Tiefling girl that Kai had brought, to help me find potions to cure our weakness that the monster had cast upon us all. We exited the rooftop garden that we had teleported into and started walking the streets. I hid my tail and ears with my cloak, by recommendation of Kai and Pyry. I also left Mouse, so I wouldn’t have a large sword to attract attention, or another item that could get lost
As we walked through the crowd, I got an eerie feeling from the humans that inhabited the city. They felt off. It was only after a few minutes that I realized I was walking along the same street again, and that my two companions were nowhere to be seen. I continued in vain to search for a potion shop, but I couldn’t seem to find my way anywhere. I would walk down a street and turn left only to find myself on the same street. I tried backtracking back to the rooftop garden where the group should be, but couldn’t find my way either.
It seemed like hours or days that I wandered through the city, now getting strange looks from the humans around me, like they knew I was different. (It kinda felt like Greyton all over again.) The sky changed from day to night and then to day again. These kept repeating over and over again. Night and day, day and night. The humans of the city seemed to flash and bend with the flashing of the sky. Being present and then gone from one second to the next.
I ducked down a side alley and sat down on the cold stone to try and recollect myself. I felt lost. Not only in the city, but inside my mind as well. I could almost feel something, someone talking to me. I couldn’t make out the words, but I felt scared, like I was a kit again. I wished for Kayla to come and hold me, and to make everything better, but she never came.
It was after several minutes, or maybe hours, of this that I suddenly felt a dark wave of energy erupt in the city and then vanish. Whatever the energy was, with it gone, the city felt whole again. The sky was light once more and the humans, again out on the street, felt more normal. I assumed my companions were behind it. Quickly, I stood and used my senses that Harvad had taught me to try and find the source. It now took only a few minutes to find them with the city not fighting against me, but as I rejoined my companions, they were anxious to leave quickly. After drinking a poition to cure my weakness, and getting Mouse back, Asura conjured up a teleportation circle, which I believe was her first time, and we all stepped in.
I found myself at the Sleeping Dragon Inn, but the others were somewhat scattered throughout the city and other areas, probably due to Asura’s inexperience with teleportation. I rested for a few minutes, trying to get the experience of Arinyelle out of my head, and then went about Sanctuary, helping those in need. In our absence, Sanctuary had been attacked by the giant tentacle creatures that had attacked us on the way to Arinyelle. The people of Sanctuary, Mercenaries, Helpers, Guilds, and common civilians had banded together and had fended them off, but parts of the city had been hit hard.
So I helped those I could, until Kael found me and gathered us all together. He told us that Liecheus was in the process of activating the Seal in the Feral Forest. We discussed what action we should take. From stopping him, to maybe setting up an ambush of some sort, getting revenge in a way. We decided as a group that racing to the seal in the Altarin temple would probably be our best choice. With that unsealed, we could wait for Liecheus to forcibly unseal the seal in the forest and then beat him to the book. That is, if we knew were the book was. I tried questioning Kael about the location but he would not answer me.
In order to enter we needed a ‘key’ of some sort. We had something that was similar to what we were told was the key, but we were unsure of its authenticity. So Asche and I were tasked with finding a collector of sorts to appraise it for us. It was a short search to find his house, but we were not given entrance. Asche and I then went to the Patron’s tower to try and pull some strings for us to see the collector. I waited outside.
While I have, as part of the group, been noticed by a few power figures here in Sanctuary, I have tried to keep myself out of the spotlight. It would make it very hard to continue this trial if I had to do extra favors for people who did not care for my well being. I consider the Patron to be one of the biggest power figures here and have kept out of his sight well, or so I hope. Asche on the other hand Seems to be in love with the mysterious Patron. Which in this case was to our benefit. She was able to obtain papers for us to visit this collector and basically get him to do anything we wanted.
We returned to the house and were given entrance, only to discover that he was still not home. We were directed to the front room and told to make ourselves comfortable. It was during this wait that we both heard, over our earpieces, that Asura was dying. I told Asche to go, she being kin to Asura, and that I would meet with the collector. I personally wanted to return with her. While very different from my sister, Asura reminded me of her. After we rescued Asura from captivity several weeks ago, and seeing the horrors that she had faced, I decided that I would protect her like my sister. I had tried my best to do so through the dangers that we had faced since, but here I was now, sitting in a waiting room while her life ticked away.
It was after several minutes that I heard a cry over my ear piece. Asura was dead.
Enraged I picked up the closest thing, luckily it was a book, and threw it across the room. My tail fluffed up and my blood boiled. I could feel my left ear twitching. Why did she have to die? After all she had been through? Why? I was later told that the ‘hero’ was there as well.
I slowly took out my earpiece and put my head in my hands.
Then, remembering my task, I shook myself out of my stupor, quickly brushed my tail, and then picked up the book that I had thrown.
Mourning wouldn’t get me home faster.
I only had to wait a few more minutes when a short man entered. I introduced myself and that we had backing of the Patron to use his services to examine a key. He seemed very excited and started examining it right away, in which he told us that it was the correct key and that we would also need a second. By luck, he happened to have one. Using the connection to the Patron, I was able to convince him to let us use his. Starting to magically unlock these keys, he sent me off to find mages to speed up the process.
I put my earpiece back in and called for Pyry and Kai. I knew that they had magics that could probably assist us in the unlock. I was able to contact Pyry, but not Kai. It hit me then, what was Kai thinking? Asura was his sister. He had always seemed unhinged in a way. I asked Pyry where Kai was? She quietly told me over the ear piece, (Pyry and Asche were both kin to her too, Feth, What were they thinking? I must sound so heartless.) that he had said “Liecheus”, and that was it. I thought what would Kai probably do? Revenge was my first thought, it’s what I would do. “Kai!” I yelled into my earpiece, “Don’t be stupid! Whatever you are doing, come back!” I also included some words that my sister and the Elders would not be pleased to hear me say. However, I got no answer from Kai.
Asche eventually arrived, followed by Pyry several minutes later, with Asacia escorting her. Tamyr also stumbled in and occupied a corner with his books and scrolls. Both Asche and Pyry looked shaken, but were both eager to help in any way they could. So the collector asked Pyry and her little Gataki named Tracks, to assist in unlocking the keys. Asche and I waited outside in the cool night air.
An hour or so later, Asacia dragged Asche and I inside and signed to us all that she could find and retrieve Kai for us. She looked troubled for a second and then spoke telepathically to us that she was not allowed to interfere, and that is why she could not help us physically earlier. She still wasn’t allowed to, but could assist a bit, in little ways. She told us that she could teleport Kai to our location. Everyone agreed and then in almost an instant, Kai was suddenly in the room, looking bruised, bloody and exhausted. He looked at us and said weakly “Liecheus is dead” and then collapsed on the floor.
I helped get him onto a couch as the others started to heal him. As I moved him, I noticed arrow holes in his tunic and dirt, ash, blood and leaves tattered his clothes. He looked like he had ran to the Obsidian throne and back.
We settled in again while Kai healed and began to regain conscious, and as the keys were still being unlocked by the collector.
After another few hours the collector came out of his back room with a giant grin. He had finished unlocking the keys. I stood up and thanked him, taking both the keys in my hands, when a knife slit his throat before my eyes.
I was overwhelmed.
My mind took me back to a grove with hooded figures. My neck hurt. Marissa was there. She was in danger. My tunic was soaked. I needed to bring the chocolate back to Kayla. It was blood. The package was on the ground. It was mine.
I awoke on the floor trembling. My tail was wrapped around my body, almost trying to keep me warm and I could feel my ears flat against my head. Tears were streaming down my face. Asacia was sitting on the floor next to me, holding my hand. I unconsciously pulled her close and hugged her. She gently put an arm around me and quietly whispered, something, I can’t remember what, but it was soothing and comforting. Light seemed to flood into my mind, and my trembling body stopped.
Regaining some function, I noticed the room was in an uproar. The collector had blood down his fine shirt, and was yelling for us to get out. Kai was yelling something incomprehensible as Pyry and Asche held him down. Tamyr was slowly picking up his books and notes to leave.
Asacia helped me up and we all filed outside.
The others were arguing fiercely about something, but I was too numb to listen. My mind, while now somewhat clearer thanks to Asacia, was still playing those memories over and over again. Is Marissa alright? We started down the dark street, lanterns illuminating our way before us. I was then walking on my own power, having let go of Asacia. She stayed close, following me like a shadow.
“I need a drink.” I suddenly said out loud. More to myself, than to the group. They didn’t reply back but all followed me into the only open pub on the street.
It was empty, except for the bartender, who got up from a chair as we entered. Piles of glass were swept into the now dark corners of the pub and only a few lights were lit.
I walked up and all but collapsed on the stool. I was not trembling anymore, but my body seemed very weak.
“Give the strongest stuff you have that will still allow me to fight after.” I wearily asked the barkeep.
“A soldier?” he replied back, raising one of his eyebrows.
“This one is on the house then.” he said with a sad smile, pulling out a clean mug and a bottle of something carmel colored. He poured the mug and then gently slid it towards me with a nod. “Stay as long as you need.”
I nodded back as he turned and walked back out from behind the bar, pulling a broom from nowhere.
I calmly drank the mug clean. It had a refreshing taste to it, similar to something that I had tried once, back home, but a lot stronger. Kayla did not approve of my drinking, but it chases the demons away when it needs to.
I turned around on the stool and heard Asacia addressing everyone telepathically. But with my scattered thoughts, and then the strong alcohol starting to affect me, I cannot remember what it is she said. I remember just being angry, and sad. I think I yelled at her.
The next thing I remember is coming to this cabin via a glass door. I quickly found a warm spot in front of the fire and fell asleep.
Everyone is still asleep, except for the little man who keeps giving me cookies. I felt like I should write my thoughts down as I feel myself drifting again, but I don't know what to feel. I don't know how I feel.
I think I need to sleep a bit more.