The Journal of Ielenia Galanodel and Company
Written directly from Lady Ielenia's notes
BOOK I I
Chapter 1: Adventurers Assemble
Chapter 2: Night of the Mad Gods
Chapter 3:Northreach AGAIN!
Chapter 4: Gods bearing gifts, never trust them
As we traveled along the road, I continued to listen to the idle conversation of my friends, though it seemed subdued and forced. Only Zamir spoke loudly as he demanded more details from Lucian and Jareth. After a bit I began to notice a change in me, a inner light had seem to grow during my quiet musing. Then most shocking of all, it even made me sit up straight in the seat. I knew deep inside of me that the gods had restored my lost innocence, and granted to me a blessing of power unlike anything I had ever felt. Then came the annoying weight at my ear, normally a elfs ears are so sensitive that any change in them would be noticed immediately, but I had a feeling that this had been there for awhile. Upon my ear rested that most dreadful earring. How it got there I don't know but was beginning to believe it had of mind of it's own. I plucked it off and held it up staring at it intently, unaware that Zamir had ridden up to ask me a question. He blinked at me and opened his mouth then shut it, reaching over he took the earring with narrowed eyes and pulled to the side of the road. Getting off his horse he proceeded to bury the earring, strangely when he filled in the hole we noticed that the infernal earring was on his ear now!
Before we could say a word, Zamir began to change. Large white wings erupted from his back and fanned out, his face seemed to take on a softer more appealing look. We all had stopped when he started digging, now we stood still in perfect silence, only the creaking of the wagon wheels betrayed any sound. Zamir looked at us and without having to say a word his hands went to his ears and he started shouting in that strange language of his, I assume he was cursing something. He reached up for the earring but it was gone, no one knew where it had gone. We all looked at each other and it was no where to be seen. We hoped that it's mischief was done with for enough had happened to our little group. A gloom settled upon us as we rode on, poor Zamir trying to figure out what to do with his wings, they threw his balance off horribly though he stayed seated. I was thankful that nothing outward had happened to me, how little did I know at the time.
We road much more quickly this time and reached Northreach much quicker. As we rode towards the gate it was decided we would just do the same disguise as we had done little to warrant attraction. At least in everyone else's mind, me on the other hand I knew what people where like here. It was bad enough we ran off with a slave, though paid for, paid for in false gold. This was a most serious offense in this town and if Melody's owner found out we where back. Well she might come after us to reclaim her slave. I doubt she'd mind the rest of the group as a bonus either. Zamir wore a long cloak and folded his wings beneath it, and they suggested I cover my head. Now I'm not one for hoods, I enjoy the feel of the wind in my hair and it's gentle caress over my ears. But they where quite insistent that I do this. Why I couldn't get out of them but they kept staring, even poor Jareth's eyes had a lusting quality reflected in them and I became concerned at what had happened to me. There was no time to check as I drew that wonderful cloak of Erics over my head and tucked my golden hair back into it. We had reached the gate and where brushing forward in line, just as many other nobles would. The guards let us through with little concern. though the way their eyes kept crawling over me it reminded me a lot of certain customers who came to the brothel. One man just shuddered and fell over, how strange! My keen hearing picked up some very crude comments about what they'd like to do to me, it made me smile having heard many such comments over my time in this town. Strangely it felt almost like returning home except the heavy weight of the slave collar was missing, and for a second I was missing even that familiar weight. Eric with a twitch of his hand sent Lucian after the guards, I never saw what happened but knowing Lucian it involved pain and the ground for the poor guards.
To my dismay we went directly to the same Inn we stayed at before, how foolish could we be? But it was not my place to question their desires, you see back then and newly freed I was still use to obeying rather than giving the orders, how things have changed! We got set up and put our things in our room then they decided to head for the arena...could any place be worse for me in the entire place to be seen at? even disguised in finery there was a strong possibility someone would recognize me, after all how many elven women where in this town? not many!. With the cloak covering me as much as possible and the hood over my face I could pass for a noble looking to remain unrecognized so I could either spend time with a favorite gladiator, and that happened more than you might think. Or a noble looking to buy one and trying to keep it quiet. So much depended on the guards being uncaring about who was who, having never been to the outside of the arena I feared they would be as alert as the ones guarding the pens. I need not have feared for the guards where uncaring and oblivious as the others had guessed. And with a few bribed we where led down to the pins to view the fighters. Oh how this brought back memories, nobles and owners conversing about your very fate as the studied you through bars, except this time I was the one on the other side doing the looking. The sweet rush of power ran through me, for I was free and these others where not. But something in me told me this feeling was dark and I should not let such temptations linger in my mind. So with discipline learned fighting I pushed back those thoughts and studied for this other elf we where searching for....soon she was found, locked in a cage with a ogre! memories of many awful things came rushing to me and I stumbled hoping the poor girl wouldn't need to much healing, but to my surprise she ordered the ogre around like a tamed dog and he seemed to obey without question.\
Securing Lia and Harry's release went smoother than I thought, and we bought them as a pair since the ogre refused to leave "his elf". So we made our escape from the place as undetected as we went in. Could this really be that easy? of course not. Arriving at the Inn we saw Lucian falling over slowly and little crossbow bolts stuck in the door around him. Instantly I knew the filthy shadowkin where aware of who and where we were. I scanned the street and saw dark shapes slipping off, and the group put up a short lived chase. Really did they think they could catch shadowkin in a city of their home? stupid humans. I knew they wanted something else or they would have attacked and it was soon found out as a note was found and all the mounts where missing. Most shrugged this off but lovely Eric insisted we go after his horse, who was special. Now his horse clearly had elven steed in him, as a elf I could easily see that but why was he so attached to it?
We secured the rest of our gear and immediately set out towards the gate, with Harry the ogre pulling the wagon. My how people jump out of the way when we rushed down the street! Lucian was still out cold from the shadowkin poison, but stirred as he was bumped around in the wagon, my wouldn't he be pissed knowing a Ogre got him out of town! The guards only gaped as we rushed to the gate and out, be scattering in the line as Harry rushed out towards the woods at a dead run. It was funny seeing horses rear and drop nobles into the dirt and peasants scrambling out of the way and the excitement rushed through me, I was filled with joy at the freedom I was feeling knowing that all my life as a slave I had missed the sweet joy of doing what I wanted whenever I chose. We soon arrived at the woods and checking back no pursuit was seen, this damped my joy as Northreach was not so easily avoided. What did that note say, but never having learned that art I couldn't say and just listened attentively as the others argued. It seems the shadowkin wanted to meet us in the woods and exchange things, what they wanted the others wouldn't tell me but a seeking feeling was developing in my stomach. The animals would be butchered if we didn't go. Honestly I thought "so let them!", after all we could afford new ones and walking into a obvious trap was suicidal on our parts. But again no one paid me much mind, I was beginning to feel like a toy for Sir Eric, something to warm his bed at night then ignore. But another part of me resisted this, knowing he was trying to save the life of a trusted mount.
They discussed options and decided to follow the directions but slowly and cautiously. I guess these people had never dealt with shadowkin, as they would know our every move before we did it. I decided I couldn't leave them and something was tugging at my belly about these people, guilt at the thought of letting them go die alone maybe? I don't know but we spent a hour developing our plan then set out through the woods. Never did I imagine the woods seeming so menacing, every shadow seemed to watch us. I kept my treasured sword close and moved with the others, truthfully I had enjoyed those silks, but it felt good to be in armor again. Lia took the lead seeming as she knew where to look for ambushes and traps. I suspected she dabbled in the shadowy arts, since she moved to well and to balanced. Always ready to dart at a moments notice. I don't think she had relaxed once since we so daringly sprung her from her prison.
The attack came just at night fall, we where close to the location of the meet. Out of the darkening woods arched bolts, luckily though a few of my friends got hit none succumbed to the poison, not even Lucian. The ornery dwarf probably did it purely out of will power and the desire to get revenge. We rushed forward to get into a clearing and have room to fight, oh I should had seen that one coming as it was a tactic favored by my own people. Once in the clearing the shadowkin made their presence known. We were sorely outnumbered and Lucian ran forward with a Dwarven bellow and tried to hit one. I still feel sad knowing I should have stopped him as chanting came out of the trees and poor Lucian stiffened like a board, he stopped moving far from us across the clearing. I rushed desperately to save Lucian as a shadowkin closed in swinging my new sword towards his head. He ducked and to my dismay I found myself surrounded as shadowkin appeared out of nowhere around me! Their eyes gleamed with malice and and fought desperately to ward off their swords, glad again and again for Vistani's gift of the armor as it's enchantment turned quite a few attacks.
Zamir and the others where engaging the other shadowkin. Zamir let loose a powerful ball of fire into the woods...though I winced at the trees destruction, and was sad for I knew it would do little...and so it did. The plants died in the fire but shadowkin are most resistant to magic of almost all types and came out unscathed by the fire. Eric was engaging to quick shadowkin women and seemed to be fighting hampered as he was using the flat of his blade! Can you believe he wouldn't even kill shadowkin? what kind of code did this man live by. Swords swung in all directions and I used every trick I knew to avoid their deadly arcs. I had fought desperate battles before but never with creatures who delighted in every look of terror and pain I displayed, unfortunately I could not save Lucian. He had to watch a Shadowkin plunge a knife into his eye, I pray he was unaware of what happened. Eric managed to down one and one collapsed in exhaustion while fighting me, I guess he didn't know a few tricks I learned in the arena after all. The tide was slowly turning though, we where loosing ground, badly after the shadowkin brought down Harry, but the powerful ogre earned my respect having severely wounded three shadowkin.
Then Eric did something so foolish, but it did save us, but with a terrible price. The poor man used the magic stored in his sword and wished all his allies to be brought to him! This changed the tide but unleashed a evil upon the world, Jareths wife returned. Now fully transformed into a evil succubus! How Eric could consider her a ally I still to this day do not understand. But the others he brought took the tide away from me and I knew what I had to do. I charged the Succubus and brought my sword in hard against her belly, I was so stunned as it slid harmlessly over her belly that I missed her hand as it clocked my upside the head. I almost went down as she taunted me about what she was going to do to the others, Something burst inside me. I was NOT going to let these people down and I rose to my feet, a fire licking inside me that begged to be unleashed. At first I thought it was my rage, but this was differant, more powerful and pure. With a cry of rage I brought my sword crashing towards her head, a wreath of holy flame erupted around it and it sunk deep into her shoulder, as she barely moved to the side. But another force welled up out of me and with a cry to shevarash the Succubus went flying back into darkness. Just then Eric grabbed me and a deep weakness over took me and I sank into his arms. Little did I know it was one of his little tricks that caused it, he didn't want me to hurt the Succubus....how disappointing, luckily the fight was over.
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2001-2002. Sean Nichols. All Rights Reserved. None of these materials may be reproduced in any fashion without express written consent.