Chapter 4. Prologue - One Month Later...   Posted by Guildmaster.Group: 0
 GM, 140 posts
Sun 14 Mar 2010
at 14:09
Prologue - 4. One Month Later...

10th Harvester
Voraelin Estate, 10 Miles from Aberhaven City

The afternoon sun hung high in the cloudy blue sky while a gentle breeze bringing the scent of rain swayed the tall green grass that surrounded the Voraelin vineyard. Workers with large wicker baskets either strapped to their backs or held under their arms worked tirelessly, harvesting the ripe purple grapes that hung from bountiful vines.

On the porch of the Voraelin Mansion sat young Maedlin, her head tiled upwards as if looking up into the sky or perhaps day dreaming about her future. She wondered if the wine this year would be as good as the last, and she also thought about little Yorun who has grown so quickly over the summer.

A stray lock of tousled maple hair tickled her cheek. She brought a hand up to brush it aside and in the process, felt the rough scars that marred her eyes. She let her fingers linger slightly longer than they needed, feeling the healed skin and the ridges that traced deeply from the side of her right temple, across her eyes and up to her forehead and down her cheek on the left.

How terrible I must look... Maedlin thought forlornly. As beautiful as the day might be, Maedlin could no longer see it and everyday, she wished that it was not so. Her brother, oh sweet Auran, told her it was not so bad, but Maedlin knew he was lying - he always lied to her to make her feel better.

The sadness lingered in her heart long enough for her to think about the bitterness of the very night in which she lost her sight. Those infernal creatures that ripped and tore at her flesh, and..."Oh...." She mumbled. The memories were too painful.

And it was exactly at this point in which she would hear the words of her father, "You are lucky to be alive, always be thankful for what you have. Never lament what you do not have."

Yes, she was alive and it was thanks to those strangers and the man who protected her. Enigma, they said his name was.

* * * * * *

10th Harvester
Inside the Voraelin Mansion, 10 Miles from Aberhaven City

"Hmmm, yes, the wound has healed nicely. You are practically as good as new," The aged physician known as Hort smiles. The wrinkles around his eyes crinkling upwards and his lips cracked open in a smile revealing a couple of missing teeth from his upper gum. He tidies up his tools and as he replaces them in his portable wooden medical box he adds, "Keep the bandage on for another week and keep these herbal salves with you, just in case. I should think the chances of infection are relatively slim now, but it is always good to be careful."

Nodding silently, the one known to all as Varakzy replaced his simple shirt of blue, covering the sizable wound that would leave a permanent scar on the skin that covered where his left kidney would be. He sat there, on the edge of his bed and looked out of the closed glass window as the physician excused himself from the room, leaving Varakzy to his thoughts.

For most of the past month, he had lain there on this very bed, feverish and plagued with nightmares of the masquerade and their escape after. At first, Hort didn't place much hope on him, saying that while the blade had made a clean slice through and Hort could easily sew up the wound. But Varakzy after all he had been through, didn't look like he had the strength to fight the infection that would be his death. He only became cognitive of his surroundings not four days ago and at first, he still couldn't muster enough strength to walk or move around much without some aid.

And by this morning, Varakzy felt much better.

Naturally, Varakzy didn't remember all that had happened and there were still gaps in his memory. Their escape from the mansion hadn't been exactly easy, after the young guard, Auran, convinced them to follow, the Aberhaven mansion was immediately besieged by - not annoying infernal imps - but rather groups of men and women dressed in blood red armours and robes, wearing hideous face masks and wielding terrible looking weapons and spells.

The orderliness within the Mansion which the Aberhaven guards worked so hard to maintain was immediately shattered.

Following the lead of Auran, with Lord Enigma cradling his sister, Maedlin, and another fellow, who had dressed like an old man, made their way to the Mansion cellar where it opened to the sewers. As the captain of the Aberhaven guard had predicted, the sewers were far from secure and it was there that the group, unwittingly engaged themselves in a battle involving said red-clothed attackers. Varasky, who was more of an intellectual rather than a fighter, didn't quite fend himself well enough from these attackers and received a blow from a silver sword that impaled him on the left.

The pain was immediate and blinding. And what happened after, Varakzy couldn't be sure.

* * * * * *

10th Harvester
Mera's House at the Voraelin Estate, 10 Miles from Aberhaven City

The smell of freshly baked bread coupled with the smokey scents of grilled fish drizzled with a special home-made sauce, which Enigma had teased endlessly, it was a new drug which Mera was feeding them, was enough to make the boys cease their quarrels and sit by the table quietly.

Immediately, the only sounds were of cutlery on plates, the chomping of food and polite praises. Mera hummed as she scrubbed and cleaned the pots and pans she just used, thinking about how much her life had changed in the past month.

For better or for worse, Mera couldn't tell but she felt a certain blissfulness which she hadn't felt in a long time - ever since Henri died to be exact. When she thought of her late husband, Mera's heart used to ache so terribly she had to cry herself to sleep. He had left so suddenly, killed by bandits was what Lord Voraelin told her. "Henri died bravely, doing what he was meant to do. And I thank and owe him for my son's and my life.", Lord Voraelin told her,"He told me to tell you he will miss you and he wanted you to have this."

Every time Mera remembered those words, she would weep inconsolably and finger the handkerchief she had tied to his belt before he left. Now, the handkerchief, bloody and stained was back in her possession and Mera kept it safe in her jewelery box - nicely folded where she could look at it all the time.

It has been two years and her boys, Oren and Lo, now older, seemed to be coping well together without their father while she, could not. But in this month, she found herself lamenting less and less and even her boys commented that she smiled more now.

As she continued to ponder on her current circumstance, her mind drifted back to the time when she first met the strangers. They had arrived with Auran and Maedlin, and all of them look battered and beaten. Poor Maedlin, and the other fellow they called Varakzy was bleeding profusely and were immediately taken to Hort, while the others were tended to by the priests.

A few days later, Lord Voraelin came to her personally and requested that one of the strangers be allowed to stay with her, and of course she agreed. He had introduced himself as Enigma and he was an enigma indeed. Mera found a strange intensity about him and steered clear of him other than to help tend to his wounds, wash his clothes and prepare his meals. At first the man resisted her help, insisting that he could attend to himself. However after much persuasion from her that she was only trying to fulfill Lord Voraelin's request, that he relented.

Perhaps what made Mera take notice of him at first was that her boys seemed to take a liking to him and while she didn't quite like them bothering their guest, Enigma didn't seem to mind. On some level, Enigma reminded her of her husband, but on the other hand, the mystery around him intrigued her so much that Mera once caught herself staring at her own reflection while washing in the river - she was no longer young, but she still had the trappings of a beautiful woman she thought.

Mera didn't want to admit it, but perhaps she was falling in love once again. She didn't know if that was a good thing and most troubling of all was if she was betraying Henri to feel the way she did. But she had been miserable for so long, surely she deserved some happiness, didn't she?

* * * * * *

10th Harvester
Hastor Voraelin's Study, Voraelin Mansion, 10 Miles from Aberhaven City

Fingering the blood red gem, more prodigiously known as The Shard of Iris, that fit nicely in the palm of his hand, Hastor Voraelin pondered over the artifact. How is it that something so small could be worth the lives of so many men? he lamented.

It is uncertain how many of these gems were there in the world, but the rumours of a single gem's power was real enough. Hastor had seen it at work once before when he was a young guardian and vowed never to let anyone see it again. The locations of all known gems were cataloged in a Codex and kept in the vaults of Aberhaven together with three of the very same gems.

For centuries now, the guild which he now lead, had been guardians to said gems - all in the interest of keeping this entire world safe from itself. Closing his eyes, Hastor sighed. He was tired, so tired of this age old battle. He thought of all the sacrifices they made, he made, and most recently, his daughter made.

She was blind... and all for this quest and the troubles started by one meddlesome thief.

"The Fox" was what they called him, and it was no secret that he was a public menace to the authorities of Aberhaven. But who would have thought that he would be so bold as to steal the Codex from the heavily guarded vaults. Had it not been for the fact that it was the artifact that was stolen, Hastor would have jumped on the chance of recruiting such a fine rogue into his fold.

But since fate wouldn’t allow it, Hastor now had to focus on finding this scoundrel. While Hastor knew that it wasn’t directly his fault Maedlin was blind, but at least now, he could blame it on someone.

Adjusting his seat, his arms came to rest on the study table. Unwittingly, he brushed against a stack of papers and sent them fluttering to the ground. With a grunt, he placed the gem on the table and leant forward to retrieve the loose pieces of parchment. As he was tidying up the mess, his eyes spotted the letter which started the ball rolling.

It was a letter from Duke Aberhaven.

The Duke had written saying, while The Fox may have stolen the Codex, he did not steal the gems. While that in itself was a puzzle, there was no time to dally. It was imperative that the theft of the Codex be kept secret especially from those who coveted it. And by the natural order of things, the Codex had to be located and returned at any cost.

But the next logical move was to first remove the gems from the vault and transfer to The Abbey of Red Haven – which Hastor and his guild has been tasked to do. Hastor’s plan was simple - send his son and daughter to retrieve the gems and deliver it to The Abbey, while he worked on locating the Codex.

However, reports from the scouts in the city claimed that rumours of a Shard being housed in Aberhaven were flying. Hence, with the aid of the Duke, a charity Masquerade plus an auction was organized as a cover up for the actual date of transfer. The gems would be placed together with other artifacts and jewels in an effort to disguise it’s importance, but for this plan to work fully, he would need individuals to be able to tell the real from the fake when the time came.

And these individuals, known as The Seers, were exactly the ones whom he had written to for help.

Clearly, his plan was sabotaged on that night by forces unknown as well as something quite unexpected – which was the attack from the infernal abyss.  Apparently, a witch by the name of Lucinda Blancoeur had summoned them. The chaos caused undeniably complicated matters and the Shards from the Aberhaven Vaults were lost – all except this one - saved by the Seer known as Emeric.

Perhaps contacting The Seers was the pivotal step towards doom. Hastor knew of it’s dangers and yet, decided to gamble on it. Perhaps it wasn’t The Fox that should be blamed for his daughter’s misery… it was he, Lord Hastor Voraelin – Master Guardian of Iris, who should take responsibility.

His heart went out to Maedlin and as a father, Hastor lamented the fact that he couldn't protect her... Her mother would disapprove, he thought half jokingly. "Oh, Gwenneth, how our children have grown," he said out loud, chuckling lightly to himself. Soon, Yoran would be old enough to join his brother, Auran.

But for now, out of all whom he had written to, Auran only brought back three. And to complicate matters, there more mysterious to solve. But for now, all he can do is hope that The Seers could be trusted, and would eventually aid him in the dreadful tasks ahead…

* * * * * *

10th Harvester
House of Redic, Voraelin Estate, 10 Miles from Aberhaven City

The feeling of the gem had been something quite unlike anything Emeric ever experienced. The smooth surface area and how it sparkled was – mesmerizing. Even now, he couldn’t quite comprehend why he had been so entranced by it and continued to be even more so now…

Sitting up, the water in the bath sloshed around him as he reached over to pick up the tiny bottle of wine and took a sip. The liquid produced an acrid taste in his mouth and burned his throat when he swallowed. Then the sweet lingering after taste of grapes, which he enjoyed, surfaced.

Voraelin’s Wine, he had gotten quite a fair share of it since arriving here at the Estate a month ago. After what they had been through, this haven seemed too good to be true. The Masquerade was a nightmare, and the dull bruising on his body upon arrival was proof of that harrowing experience. He and the others barely got away alive and all that trouble for a stupid gem.

On that fateful night, Emeric had kept the package hidden under his shirt and when the red clothed group attacked, the guard who previously “betrayed” him on the upper floors, who was revealed to be Hastor’s son,  Auran, signaled for him to follow. Sensing that it was his best chance at survival, Emeric followed suit without giving it a second thought.

In the sewers, there were points where the water level reached up to their necks and they had to swim. When the group decided to take a short rest, Emeric found a corner and retrieved the now tattered and waterlogged package from his shirt and peeled away the layers – revealing what was hidden beneath.

The gem wasn’t big, neither was it overly glamourous looking. It was just small enough to be held snuggly in his palm and the blood red colour made the gem look relatively dull. However, there was a distinctive weight to it, very smooth to touch and oddly enough, holding it was comforting, like warming his hands on a cold night near a homely fire. He couldn’t quite explain it – but holding it felt right.

As he continued to stare at the tiny jewel and the longer he held it, Emeric felt as though the gem was responding to him. The tiniest of glow started to emanated from within, and whatever light that was trapped within was giving this gem it’s sparkle – it was mesmerizing to behold.

Who knew how much time had passed because Emeric had apparently drifted off to sleep and was jolted awake by Auran’s cry of surprise. They were under attack!

Given Emeric’s experience and training, his reaction towards danger was commendable, but what he could not explain was the sudden fear that gripped him. As he fought, he instinctively felt the need to protect the gem now tucked away in his chest pocket at all cost. His senses were heightened and the rush of adrenaline which, coursed through him filled him with an indomitable strength he couldn’t quite explain. Every move and parry was precise and Emeric fought better than ever.

Soon, their attackers were beaten back and killed, but they had no time to celebrate for Varakzy had taken a fatal blow.

By the time they arrived at the Estate, the gem in his pocket had been long forgotten until a meeting with Enigma and Hastor. Hastor had explained to them, as best as he could, their current situation and the reasons for their arrival. And it was then, that the gem was mentioned and retrieved.

When Emeric handed the gem over to Hastor, he felt a strange sadness. And when he saw how relieved and thankful Hastor was, Emeric was overcome by the bitterness of having lost something...

Why was he feeling this way? The gem didn't belong to him. After all, this mess is all because of that stupid gem. So isn’t it better to be rid of it?

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:56, Thu 01 Apr 2010.

 GM, 144 posts
Mon 15 Mar 2010
at 09:22
Re: Prologue - One Month Later...

10th Harvester
Room above Piquet Books, Aberhaven City

The weather had been nothing to sing about for the past few days and for Sister Agatha it was bothersome. The rain and cold was making her bones ache. Such was the nature of old age where every step was to be taken as if it were ones last, and as sprightly as she was, Sister Agatha knew her limits. She didn’t venture too far from the common market area and given her current situation and responsibility - she spent most of her time in her room nowadays.

Since the frightful events of the charity Masquerade, the city of Aberhaven was in chaos. The Duke and his family were no where to be found, so they were presumed dead. The Mage Lord of the White Rose was last seen entering the hellish portal summoned by the fugitive witch Lucinda Blancoeur and her uncle and master, the wizard Caalum Oldwizard has since been left to rot in the city dungeon as a conspirator.

The city was in a mess and it was certainly a dangerous time to be in it, but for Agatha, city politics were not quite up her list of considerations and right now she had her own concerns.

In a way, Agatha was sorry that she couldn’t quite make it on time to the Masquerade after such an enticing invitation. However, after seeing that most of the people who were there were either dead or maimed, Agatha, a woman of the cloth, understood her absence as a sign from the Gods. They were the ones who protected her from such horrors because she was meant for a bigger purpose – and perhaps that purpose had something to do with the girl she came to know as Lily.

On the day of Agatha's arrival, after getting directions from the jeweler to his brother's house, she had been praying for the sickly daughter of the pious book keep, Piquet. The girl, afflicted with the painful illness of consumption, lay dying and Sister Agatha felt it was her duty to pray for the poor girl's soul. Not three hours later, the girl abandoned the mortal coil and Piquet who had been grateful for the Sister's presence, offer Agatha the tiny room above his shop to stay as long as she was in Aberhaven.

At first, it seemed like Agatha's stay would be short for she had missed the purpose in Aberhaven after all. However, after the dreadful night at the Aberhaven Mansion, Agatha felt a calling. With help from Piquet, she found her way to the healing tent set up at the Aberhaven encampment and the sight was overwhelming.

Men, women and children lay dying, bleeding, burnt and crying out in pain. Agatha was no healer and all she could do at that moment, was kneel down and pray. And so, for the next few days, her duty at the encampment was - pray. The weary soldiers welcomed her presence and the dying, even more so. They clawed at her with broken fingers and bloody hands, pawing at her clothes as she ambled pass their cots, whispering words of comfort.

One day, a lone soldier staggered into the tent, bleeding and limping. It was amazing that he still found the strength to carry an unconscious girl in his arms. She... I... I..found..," he stammered as his comrades rushed forward to help him. He collapsed and before the wounds he sustained overhwelmed him, he whispered, "Her name is Lily..." and died.

The healers immediately started to tend to Lily. Still dressed in her Masquerade outfit, albeit torn and tattered, she clutched a worn package which the healers had to pry from her hands. While the girl didn't bear too many substantial wounds, she was burning with a fever.

For the next few days, the healers couldn't quite bring her temperature down and she still remained unconscious. Then, one of the men in the room saw her face and commented that he recognised her from the whore house. Seeing that she didn't look like she was going to recover, she was deemed to be taking up space in an increasingly crowded tent, the decision was made to leave her to die. After all, she was only a whore, they reasoned.

But a young healer by the name of Anthony didn't understand or agree with this reason, yet he could not disobey his superiors. So, he did what he thought was best and turned to Sister Agatha.

"Sister,"He said, "This girl named Lily needs a prayer for her soul.

"But child, she is not dead. Why do I pray for her to die?" Agatha asked.

"They are going to cast her out with the dead soon. She may only be a whore, but even they are worthy of a blessing, isn't not so Sister?" Anthony explained.

"Yes, I will ask for a blessing,"" Agatha said, "But I will pray for her to live."

It is unclear what possessed Agatha, but it was on that day that Agatha, with the help of Anthony, took Lily and her scant belongings back to her room above Piquet's shop. Piquet seemed a little wary of letting a whore live in his premises, What would the neighbours think?" he asked. But Agatha's reassurance seemed to quell his fears.

It has been nearly a month since Lily came to live with Sister Agatha. While her fever broke soon after she moved in, Lily still did not rouse. She lay there motionless, trapped in her own dreams, with only Agatha's prayers to guide her back to life.

* * * * * *

10th Harvester
The Silver Highway, Enroute to Aberhaven City, 50 Miles away

"Curse the blasted rain, if this keeps up, we'll be swimming in mud", The fierce looking Sir Junic muttered, turning to Tyr he asked, "Is it going to be raining all the time in Aberhaven?"

Tyr looked over at the Leonyr Knight and shrugged, "I do not know sir." Sneaking a peek from their makeshift tent, Tyr looked up in the sky as large pellets of rain drenched his fur, "Doesn't look like it is going to stop soon though."

And a dissatisfied grunt from Junic was his only response.

Wiping the water from his face, Tyr stepped over to the side, making some room for the Leonyr knights who had gathered round a portable wooden table, discussing some matters of importance over a hot mug of Akrosh, a strong tasting brew that was also a typical Leonyr nourishment.

The envoy still had about three more days of riding before they would reach Aberhaven City, but given the rain, Tyr placed the estimate about four, if they rode hard and minimized rest.

It's been nearly a month since the disappearance of his Sir Knight and still no clue as to where he might be surfaced.

After the dreadful evening at the Duke's Mansion, Tyr together with the Aberhaven City Guard had to fend of more than just the pesky imps from the Abyss. Soon after, red clothed men and women appeared out of no where and suddenly, some of the men and women whom they had been protecting as civilians tore off their outer wear revealing the same red clothes and brandishing weapons. It was pure confusion and chaos.

For Tyr his utmost priority was finding Sir Rhollin Grail. After Rhollin disappeared through the portal with the sorceress, Tyr was besieged at the battle at the Duke's mansion and was later vital in helping the City Guard clear out the last of the menace. While his efforts had been appreciated, the City Guard was also suspicious of his role.

Tyr had tried to convince them that Sir Rhollin was innocent and while he wasn't brave enough to venture with the notion that the sorceress had bewitched him, the Aberhaven people had already made up their mind that this incident's culprit was Lucinda Blancoeur and her accomplices, her uncle Caalum, and Sir Rhollin Grail - although they pretty much described Rhollin as an unidentified man with a Lion's Mask.

Seeing that he would gain no aid here in finding his missing Knight, Tyr wasted no time in returning to Savaan.

At Fangspire Keep, the Leonyr were angered by the fact that Aberhaven would even think of a knight of the Grail as a criminal. However, they too knew the delicacy of this issue and thus, it was decided that an envoy would be sent to Aberhaven.

A letter was penned and sent to off to Aberhaven by Lord Rholand Grail, Knight and Master of House Grail as well as Rhollin's father, and the letter also explained the purpose of the Grail envoy. The envoy consisted of:

Sir Robin Grail - Rholand's brother & Rhollin's uncle,
Sir Junic - Swordmaster of House Grail,
Sir Berent, Knight of the Grail
Sir Agravan of Lowsmeet
Tyr of the Grail, Squire to Rhollin Grail
Page Lowen

The letter clearly stated that Rhollin's name be cleared as well as a request for Aberhaven's assistance to locate the Grail knight. In return, an envoy would be sent to help locate and apprehend the fugitive witch.

Looking out at the falling rain, Tyr could not help but wonder what his Sir Knight was up to. Was he well? What about the sorceress? While the rest of Aberhaven seemed convinced that the sorceress was evil, Tyr wasn't all too sure about that. After all, Rhollin Grail did choose to protect her and if Tyr knew his knight well - Rhollin Grail was doing the right thing.

* * * * * *

10th Harvester
Hall of Scales, Aberhaven City

Touching his furrowed brow lightly, Magistrate Ternst Fallow felt a headache coming on. It had been a stressful month so far and as he would say to his wife, "I'm getting too old for this..."

Since the terrible events at the Masquerade, law was taking a downturn and every day, petty crimes were committed and now, he too had to deal with more serious crimes such as murder, lawlessness and civil unrest. Ternst was sure his table would soon be filled with parchments of complaints and letters of appeal.

But with The Council now in place, there was hope for Aberhaven yet.

The siege on the Duke's mansion lasted a grand total of two days, of which many casualties, mostly civilian had amounted to a staggering scale. The Palatial District surrounding the Duke's mansion lay in ruins and many of the more well to do nobles packed up and left for safer havens.

In the following week, disease started spreading. And to make matters worse, city nobles of lesser houses, with their own bothersome small-scaled mercenary armies began to divide the city according to their will. Street fights and assassinations grew common and the River District was becoming a menace - disease ridden and festering with the have-nots.

With the Duke and his family missing, the City Guard alone could not handle the problem maintaining order, treating the wounded and burying the dead. Even though a temporary encampment had been established outside of the city to tend to the wounded, re-establishing order within the city was of the utmost priority.

According to Aberhaven Law, if no direct line of descent was available, a temporary council was to be established till a suitable replacement be found. Since the Duke's cousin, Count Richard Talmort was the next closest in line of succession, it was Richard who must take up the Aberhaven seat. However, before Richard can do that, he has to settle all matters at Talmort County as well as name a successor. Naturally, such matters would take months to resolve.

Thus the temporary council, under the leadership of Stewart Holsen Bismont - the Count's personal adviser - comprised of Archbishop Olmen, Lady Araval from the Order of the White Rose, Lady Ravena of House Tallon, Lord Hirsh of House Calton and Lord Belmont of House Fern.

Today, the Council was called away for yet another meeting, and so, he had to deal with following up on the case of trying and convicting the fugitive witch's accomplice, Caalum Oldwizard.

"Well, looks like magic and wizards are all the people can talk about these days," Ternst sighed, and he was back to work.

* * * * * *

10th Harvester
Somewhere in the Pinebark Forest

Rhollin Grail watched Lucinda Blancoeur disappear behind the thick foliage of the trees beyond the clear water stream. It has been a month since their escape from Aberhaven City and during their travels, they had battled blood thirsty bandits and the occasional wolf pack.

These forests, which Lucinda claimed to be the Pinebark Forest, were treacherous by their own right. But now, were even more so after the pair witnessed a few Aberhaven patrols scouting the areas - no doubt looking for them.

After their escape from the Masquerade, Rhollin and Lucinda had planned on returning to the city the following day. However, when the duo reached the hill overlooking the Aherhaven encampment, things didn't look particularly bright. The city was burning and Lucinda had just cast a spell of scrying to contact her uncle, Caalum.

Casting an astral projection spell, Caalum appeared before the pair and his expression was both a mix of worry and relief.

"Oh! Lucie!" Caalum cried as he opened his arms, welcoming Lucinda into a warm embrace, "I was so worried."

Turning to look at Rhollin, Caalum said, "You must be the man who protected Lucie, but I never expected a Leonyr. I thank you good sir, I am even more certain now that Lucie will be in good hands."

"Now, we don't have much time. The demons that sprung from Petie's portal is no doubt Valerian's doing. It is not safe for you to return to Aberhaven for I'm sure Valerian is looking for you, dear girl.

Also, to complicate matters, a new enemy wearing red clothes have arrive. No one quite knows who they are but the City Guards and us, wizards have been fighting them back.

I must go now, stay safe till I return."

For the following few days, Rhollin & Lucinda travelled through the forest aimlessly, staying further away from the forest trails as more patrols starting frequenting those paths. Then one night, Caalum's astral projection paid them a visit. He looked worn and tired, no longer the energitic wizard whom Lucinda recognized.

"Lucie, Sir Rhollin, I trust you are well. I'm sure you must have seen more patrols being sent out. They are hunting you Lucie, and you too Sir Rhollin. I have appealed to the courts for a pardon and hearing but with the Mage Lord of the White Rose missing, the wizards are losing their voice.

Posters of you are all over town, my girl. So please, Sir Knight, take my niece away. Find a place to hide and promise me you will protect her till all this is over.

I... I fear the worse, Lucie. You must take good care and stay alive."

And from that night onwards, Lucie never heard from her uncle again. They stayed in abandoned shacks or under the open canopy, and besides having to fend of predators, they now had to hide from guards and bandits.

With a month now passed and no news from her uncle, Lucie was getting worried. After much debate and persuassion, Lucida bade for Rhollin to return to Aberhaven. He was to find Caalum, for Lucie feared the worst had happened to him.

To stay in touch, Lucie had given him a tiny metal bird with a chest cavity where a single note could be placed inside. The door, which held the cavity close, was enchanted to only open for him and Lucie. So, messages could be sent between them if needed.

Lucie would disappear into the forest, her whereabouts unknown to him. It was for her own safety, they decided, should Rhollin get caught. But when he could return to her one day, he only needed to follow the bird.

So, armed with Lucie's last gift, Rhollin bade his beloved enchantress farewell. He had made a promise to Caalum to take care of her, but now, he had to break that promise to fulfil Lucinda's wish.

And with that wish as a blessing, Rhollin Grail turned his back to the forest and marched forth, never looking back.

Here ends the Prologue, our adventure continues in Chapter 1...

This message was last edited by the GM at 06:25, Wed 17 Mar 2010.