The Journal of Ielenia Galanodel and Company
Written directly from Lady Ielenia's notes
Chapter 1: The Beginning of the end of Innocence
Chapter 2: New chances and old fears
Chapter 3:A new life, A path accepted
Chapter 4: Long dark nights
Chapter 5: Escape, and love (lust?) at first sight!
I spent the first part of our journey laid up in a wagon recovering more from the wounds, both physical and mental, of that fight. I was left alone except when food was brought, and Alyssa as I learned she was called, checked my healing wounds. I studied this human woman each time she came to look at me. Undeniably beautiful, with cascading midnight black hair and soft brown eyes that seemed to melt your soul. I could see why Master Vistani kept her close, for I had also learned she was a slave like myself, but one of privilege and safety. She was kind and spoke to me about Master Vistani and how if I would keep a open mind, and do what he asked. I would find a pleasant if restricted life among his people. I was pretty sure myself that this Vistani had some influence over this woman to make her speak so, or he would beat her if he caught her saying anything else. Though try as I might at listening her, I could find no trace of fear or anger in her. In fact she almost seemed fond or even in love with this slave master. I was more than a little perturbed by the thought, and watched Vistani as much as possible when he came by my wagon. Handsome and intelligent, he had a way with all those around him. Many he treated as something akin servant than a slave, but when one of the slaves stepped out of line he was quick with punishment. His other companion was also a human, she had flowing dark red hair and wore beautiful silk gowns like Alyssa. She just looked at me with guarded eyes, as if measuring a rival. I decided to stay clear of this one and since she didn't seemed inclined to talk to me, it worked just fine.
We traveled for two weeks, and after the first week I was given a horse to ride. This surprised me since most the slaves where walking and I was allowed to ride. I found out from Alyssa that Master Vistani wished to make sure I was fully healed for my training once we arrived at his keep. I gently probed her about what training was this likely to be, but she just smiled that disarming smile of hers and would laugh and ride up to whisper in the red haired woman's ear. Then they would both share a laugh at my expense I was sure. I decided not to let it affect me though, for I did truly value Alyssa's talks with me. I felt even more out of place here than before, and I was quickly coming to the total realization that I had no idea where my village was, and that I would never see my family again. I felt terrible longings in my heart to see anyone of my old friends again, but I knew most where dead or deep underground by now. I would have settled for the company of anyone of elven blood, even one of the grey elves, but as far as I could tell their was none on this caravan. So my budding friend ship with Alyssa was all I had, though it was many years later before I realized that Master Vistani had purposely isolated me so I would develop a bond with his concubine.
As we cleared a forest path I caught the first glimpse of Vistani's keep, hidden in a shallow valley that effectively kept it's location secret unless you knew which paths to take. It was a large structure made of rock, with walls that towered over me even on the back of a horse. The iron bound gate was open and people moved to and fro seeming at random. A shout went up as the caravan left the forest trails and started towards the gate, and a flag from one of our number was raised and waved. People, mostly humans with a Dwarf or Halfling thrown in where collecting to watch their masters arrival home. I studied them curiously as we rode by, though not cheering they seem content and happy with things, something I was not expecting of slaves, for each had a silver collar around their necks. We rode into the courtyard of the keep, and Vistani ordered the horses taken to a stable against one wall. He then looked at me and spoke to Alyssa, who walked over to me and asked if I would like a bath and some new cloths. I was surprised to find a part of me leaping at the thought. It had been so long since I had worn anything other than the crude leather tunic that had been given to me by the Gnolls. I eagerly agreed and was led to a side entrance and deep into the bowls of the keep, where I found a even greater surprise, that of a hot spring that fed into a sloping pool. With Alyssa's help I stripped and climb into the warm bubbling water, it made all my muscles just melt with relief from the stress of the last year. I sighed happily, and was surprised again when Alyssa began to soap my hair and sing a gentle song of spring and regrowth. Her wondrous voice and the wonderful warm water soothed and comforted my troubled body and soul, and I soon found myself drifting in and out of sleep.
Alyssa woke me sometime later and mentioned we should get ready for dinner and handed me some cloths. I stared at them for awhile for they seemed far to nice for a slave, but she smiled and helped me dress quickly. Feeling the soft wool tunic and pants made me actually start believing I was waking up from the nightmare. After the soft slippers where in place we walked and laughed at jokes told as we made our way towards the Hall for dinner. Little did I know my role would be less in eating and more in serving. Taken into the kitchen I was turned over to a mistress Lissa, who ran the kitchens. She was a stout halfling with grey streaks and a quick ladle, that would catch any loafers. I learned that I was to serve the meal for the lord of the keep, and that I best not spill anything or she would paddle me blue. She reminded me much of the seamstress I had been apprenticed to and I found myself smiling and giggling as I carried a platter out to the hall. Oh did I never realize what a place could look like, the ceiling towered above me and weapons and shields hung along the walls. A large table was set in the middle with dozens of people or varying races sitting around it. I saw Master Vistani at the head of the table with Alyssa and the red haired woman sitting next to him and serving him food. I was more than a little surprised to catch a glimpse of a pointed ear as the red haired woman brushed her hair back. She must be a half elf, I remember thinking. And instantly I felt a longing to talk to her, for at least she would understand a few things. Then I remembered her look at me on the road and I knew she would not be open to conversations. I was startled out of my reverie when a shout went up and Someone was calling out "wench!", he was speaking to me! I was shocked and angry, but made my way over with the platter and set it in down on his table. My blood roared when I felt him slap me on the rear and laugh about having me for desert. I felt a need to hurt him, my rage was building and I wanted to rip his throat out. I became aware of eyes on me though and caught a glimpse of a human with iron grey hair watching me, studying me intently. Then I caught Vistani's and the others two's eyes on me from across the hall. Something seemed to fall into place in my mind and I knew they where watching to see how I responded, that this was some kind of test. taking my anger by the throat and shoving deep into my soul, I turned and walked out of the Hall. My ears burned as I heard rough laughs come from those sitting there.
I managed through the rest of the night, though my ears burned with the rough comments and more than a few lewd offers. Knowing I was being weighed and watched I kept a deaf ear to the comments and kept myself occupied with the task of getting food where it belonged and drinks un-spilled to the correct tables and drinkers. Long into the night they drank and I was worn and hungry myself, but I kept moving one foot in front of another and placing cups. Finally, as I stood swaying in a doorway wondering which way was the hall, which I might add was right through the doorway, mistress Lissa came over and told me to follow the others and eat then sleep. Vaguely I remember being pushed after other weary servants and collapsing in a corner of a room with a small bowl and a glass of water. I ate mechanically and partially in my sleep I think for I never remember finishing the meal nor laying down to sleep. No sooner than I realized I was asleep than I was being shaken awake and I could hear orders for us to go out and clean the hall before the master woke and came down. I wiped sleep from my eyes and walked with the others out of the room only to have mistress Lissa (did she never sleep?) say "Not you" and sent me towards the door to the court yard. I wondered what I had done and what awaited me outside.
As I stepped into the morning sun, I felt a immediate rush of energy. My eyes finally fully opened and I stretched my arms and legs feeling better already. As I enjoyed the morning air and light I became aware of eyes on me, and as I looked up I saw the human with iron grey hair sitting on a stool eyeing me up and down. I frowned then, realized that might be taken bad and carefully removed any expression. The Human stood and walked over and around me his hand felt along my arm and when it touched my thigh I barely contained a growl in my throat.
He chuckled and spoke slowly in common "A little fire left in you yet eh pointy ears? Well I thought at first master Vistani was crazy or feeling urges again. But I see you have the muscle and balance of a fighter. Well lets see if we can teach you how to fight well shall we?" and he walked away to a small circle with wooden weapons on racks.
More perplexed and curious than angry now, I followed the old human watching him closely. Rarely had I seen a elf so old and wrinkled, though I suppose among humans like these it was common to look such. He moved with a confidence and smooth gate of a warrior, and he quickly drew out 2 blades of wood and tossing one to me said to show him what I knew. I realized that this was to be my true training and not a kitchen waif, I felt better knowing this and went about showing the little I had learned. Others might go about the training and skill they developed, but truthfully I spent the first couple months being embarrassed and humiliated time and time again b y the old warrior and his students. He drove me to the brink where my rage would be begging to be released and tear these humans apart, but if I lost my temper he quickly showed me the error of letting it loose, and I ended up cleaning out the stables or working in the kitchen for a couple of days each time. I soon realized that if I kept my rage controlled and practiced hard ignoring the comments anyone made, I got to learn more about what was becoming a obsession to me. well over five years pasted learning and training under the tough yet honorable Grimock. I learned to use my opponents strength against them and how to position myself in the ring for best light. Time flew by and I became apart of his little family of students, I even started enjoying the company of young, handsome man named Flinn who also was bound for arena combat. Our days where Grimocks, but our nights where our own and we spent them exploring each other, learning our enjoyments and dislikes. Of course this didn't go unnoticed by others and more than a few angry glances where thrown our way each day. The one who troubled me the most though was Grimock who knew Flinn was my lover, yet he seemed almost sad over it. It would only be a few months later I learned why such things where doomed to begin with.
Master Vistani and my friend Alyssa and the half elven woman returned from another trip out, they spent only a quarter of year in the keep. The rest master Vistani toured the various larger arena's, then went to the smaller on talent shopping sprees. We all stood near the weapons rack as he rode in with his entourage. He seemed excited and came over to speak with Grimock as soon as his horse was taken away. They spoke long and I heard my name a few times as well as Flinns, I knew instantly he was telling Vistani about our little trysts, and I saw a dark shadow pass over Vistani's face as he walked past Grimock and towards us. Flinns hand slipped out of mine and we waited, I could feel the tension from Flinn and knew he felt mine as well. Vistani ordered Flinn out and then raged at him about touching his property without his permission, about violating a trust and confidence placed in him. Flinn was pale and I noticed Grimock ordering the guards towards them and he was getting out a cruel looking whip. I felt panic well up into me and I started forward knowing what was going to happen, but hands grabbed me and pushed me to my knees. I was shocked that the guards had moved so close and I hadn't realized it. I was forced to kneel there as my lover was whipped for his transgressions and I realized a bitter lesson that I could never forget that I was a slave, and not free. Flinn passed out after quater hour had passed, and Vistani ordered him taken to the cleric for healing, then announced he hoped this lesson had been learned, his eyes focused on me as he said this. I was still kneeling, though the guards had moved back from me. I felt anger and pain flowing through me and wanted to attack with the skill I had been taught, but the tempering that Grimock had taught won out and I hung my head in shame. Flinn was gone the next day, I never did learn what happened to him. I hope he found peace somewhere.
Months after Vistani's arrival home I was given my first suit of armor. It was astonishing and so wondrous I almost cried. Beautiful plate armor crafted of some hard wood with leaf decoration. It fit close to me and seemed to not hinder any movement I wished to do. I could feel a small pulse of magic from it, and marveled at the craftsmanship. I had no idea where such armor could be made. Vistani told me I would be leaving with him the next day to start a tour of arenas, that Grimock was happy with my progress and that it was time for me to start repaying the value he had placed in me. Though still hurt over Flinns loss, I felt a excitement in me about the coming year and finally using what I had been taught, to finally have a chance to strike back without fear of Vistani's wraith. I was fitted with a silver collar like the others had and the next day I was astride a horse leaving the place I had begun to call home.
I might go on and on about my times in the arena's, about victories and defeats, the roar of the crowd and the fate of those that displeased them. But truthfully the pinnacle of that time comes at the end of it. When Vistani finally took me to the Free city of Greyhawk to fight in the serious high profile fights. We had been traveling for close to 4 years by this time and I had all but forgotten the terror of my early days with the Gnolls. I was confidant and enjoyed the roar of the crowd, I knew how to play them and get them to call for me. The name Mynx soon was talked about with pleasure and interest, and when we entered Greyhawk it was with great speculation on the part of nobles and commoners alike. They all wanted to know if I would handle the toughest arena ever. Though openly slavery was frowned upon, Vistani knew which people to talk to and bribe to look the other direction. And to my shame I had again forgotten I was a slave and not a free fighter like many of the others.
Over the year we spent in Greyhawk I basked in the attention and glory I won in the fights. Vistani had offers to buy me, bed me, kill me all in the same week. Alyssa and Tara the half elven woman became all close friends and enjoyed many a night with wine and song as Vistani gloried in his new found fame and wealth. He instructed Tara and Alyssa to teach me more about pleasure, I was confused as I already was quite happy and pleased, that night I learned what he meant as that night the two beautiful women seduced me thoroughly and left me exhausted and aching with satisfaction. Soon they taught me other skills on how to please men, and women and how to gauge their responses. I was eager student and enjoyed the closeness we three women had at that point. I soon learned that I would be facing the arena champion, in a all or nothing fight. Logically it should have been at least another year before I could challenge such a opponent, but Vistani was up to his old tricks and truthfully I was eager for this fight. The day before I carefully dressed in a silk gown and my short hair was styled by Tara. I went to Vistani and seduced him in his bed and showed him my appreciation for the chance to finally take on the top fighter. Vistani enjoyed our night so thoroughly he passed out with a dumb smile on his face and I retired to my own room happy. There the girls and I quickly laughed and joked good naturedly about his passing out. I was beaming with pleasure at taking him past his endurance and we all stayed up late enjoying the tale of my night with my master.
The next part of my tale gets a little messed up, for many years a large portion of these next memories where denied to me. I was taken to the arena to face the ogre named Baug. He had ruled the arena combat for years being almost unbeatable. Our fight was furious and I might add painful. His strength versus my speed, the crowd ate up each blow and splash of blood upon the sand. We where both worn and tired and very hurt, the chances that either of us would live without magical healing was slim at this point, but our pride kept us circling each other. My longsword felt heavy and the tip dragged the sand, my left arm hung limp and blood dribbled down past one eye over my cheek to drip to the ground. Baugs leg was giving him difficulty and his club dragged as much as my sword. His left eye was swollen shut from a lucky cross guard punch I had gotten on him. I saw a opening and knew if I let my rage free I could get the speed and strength to finish this and So I let loose the beast inside of me and roared moving in. Never did I realize he had studied my history and fighting, a Ogre who could read? who would have thought. I came roaring in my sword arched for a deadly up stroke, when the club swung about with tremendous speed and I was hit squarely on the jaw snapping my head back and sending my sword sliding to the sand as I fell back. Now a part of my memories remembers ending up on a hill talking to the all father Corellion with a bunch of strangers by my side.
Memories later restored to me show a different and terrible ending to this part of my tale. I hit the ground and could only see the blue of the sky above me, every part of my body was numb and unresponsive. But my mind new only defeat, by a dumb ogre, in my eagerness to win I had forgotten this Ogre had ruled this arena for over three years. The crowd roared Baugs name as he walked around the arena slowly. I could feel my life force once again slipping away from my body like it had so many years ago in another town and another ogre. I railed at the injustice of it, that I was not even a century in age and hadn't had a chance to live and breath in this world. A strange peace overcame me and I closed my eyes knowing it was the end, but a warmth spread through my body from my hands, I felt the numbness fade and bones knit. I soon opened my eyes again to the sky, seeing it clearly my thoughts clear and pushed myself up to my knees. The officials had called the match already, but I noticed more than a few surprised glances as I kneeled there. A prayer of thanks to Shevarash fell from my lips and hands helped me towards the entrance. I knew my time would come again.
I was led out to a furious Vistani, he railed at me about how I had purposely thrown this match. That I had sold him out to ruin, he said he would teach me a lesson for my presumption. I stood struck dumb by his anger and words, how could he believe I had done this? I fought my best fight and never would have betrayed Vistani. He ordered me taken to the block and sold off, that he was through with me. I reeled in shock and looked at him with my eyes wide with disbelief, only the most common slaves where sold on the block. He surely would gain more from me asking for buyers than the block, but my armor was stripped by his guards and I was led off by them. Alyssa and Tara looked on with sadness and pity in their eyes, but neither would risk his anger to try and talk him out of it. I felt tears gush down my cheeks washing the blood away, as we went deep into the old city and soon came to the worse scum of a market that I had seen since the border towns. The guards spoke to the barker and he looked me over with surprise and no small amount of lust and greed in his dark beady eyes. I was stripped of everything and washed off of blood and grime. I felt a numbness of terror spread through me and just let them do their jobs. Soon I heard my real name being called out by the barker to the crowd, "Come one and all, now we have a rare and special bounty for you. Far from the mountains a young, attractive, and healthy wood elf named Ielenia. She's bore no children and has special skills in pleasuring, and some combat skills from the arena." My humiliation was worse as I was dragged naked onto the block and all those eyes ate up my flesh. I was forced to stand and stare out at the greedy faces of the crowd...
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Or go on to Chapter 4: Long dark nights
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