Monday, August 18, 2014

Who am I?

I am conflicted.

Adrift and lost and questioning everything I've ever known.

Even my god and goddess don't speak to me. If they are even a god and goddess. Elves don't have deities, as it were, but we do honor those that came before.

Perhaps that is yet another mistake that I have made. Have I put faith in the wrong things, and elevated where I should have only honored?

My faith is broken, and I don't know what to believe anymore.

How painfully ironic that they call me the Mistress of Memory, when time itself has caused me to forget the core of what makes me who I am.

Have I also forgotten what it means to truly be an elf?
Is it even possible for me to re-learn?

I am immortal. I am gifted with long-sight, and I am one of the undying.

and yet..

and yet.


We managed to survive the city. As distasteful as I find that place, those people, I know I must go back eventually. There is work there that needs to be done, and the tree remains. This current crisis of faith I am experiencing began there. Something tells me that it will end there, for better or worse, as well.

The rest of the party managed somehow to break into the Inner Circle of the city. Lan came in as her water-faring seal form, chasing some sort of fey creature appearing as a small humanoid. This caused a distraction enough for Shalev, Fife, Ishmael and the rest to enter unmolested.

Ishmael caused further distraction by shouting out to the armed guards that the city's gardens were on fire.
Appropriately then, most of the citizens left at that point to go protect their property.

They saw Tobias bristled and ready for war, and they heard my scream when I discovered the unknown immortal was still alive.

Shalev, Lan, and Ishmael climbed down the pit to the bottom to see what was revealed, and to act as guard against anything that might come up. I began removing the unknown immortal, as gently as I could, from the entangling roots of the tree.

While I was working at removing him from the wall, the little humanoid fey - Lan called him a leprechaun-  stood there looking between the unknown immortal and myself, saying that he was deciding on what shiny thing that he was promised to take. He took the crown from the unknown immortal's head, and vanished.

As soon as he did, the glow from my own pendant dissipated. With Tobias and Fife's help, I was able to pull the wounded immortal up out of the pit. Once he was safely on the ground, I began focusing on doing what I could to heal him. My faith doesn't work here. But I have potions, thanks to Shalev's forethought and gift for preparedness.

So I used them. It took so many.
So many.
Each scream he uttered was a wound to my heart. I continued talking to him, soothing him, and feeding the healing potions to him until, at last, he was whole. He slept then, deeply unconscious, and my goal became to get him out of the city safely. I noticed that once he was removed from the tree, the energy from the tree began to diminish.

While I was concentrating on this task, the rest of the party was acting as guard, and Shalev discovered that the lady of the city was not registering as being real to him, when he tried to sense her alignment. She continued to stare venomously at me specifically - as she had the moment I walked into the Inner ring of the city - but took no action.

This makes some sense to me, and possibly confirms my fear that these people are under some form of direct influence or corruption. Potentially they have been from the beginning. I think she is the key to that influence.

But they will have to wait.

We managed to make it out of town unmolested and unharmed, and I insisted that we travel a good bit away. I have every intention of returning here to save the tree, if at all possible. These people have said that they wish to be separate. So separate they shall be. May they get exactly what they desire.

As it was the Spring Equinox, I did attempt to do the springtime rituals, as appropriate; but to no avail. I have no contact, no connection, nothing. There's nothing.

Rituals done, we agreed to travel onward, toward the Library (DragonSpire) as originally planned.
I continued to monitor the progress of the unknown elf, but he remained unconscious and unresponsive. Alive and warm, but unresponsive.

The roads we traveled took us across a giant plain, which according to the description given to me by the vintner from Qualton, is where the humans gather once a year. There were several obvious campsites, and firepits scattered across the plain, but there were no humans, or any other beings here at the time we travelled through. On the other side, was a very old forest, though only a forest. No sentience here that could be sensed. I noticed that there was an odd pattern, where every third tree was completely withered.

As we continued to travel, we crossed under the mountain range, and then up over a massive river. We came to another ancient forest. There was a wooden latticework of vines that formed a gate of sorts, and the words DruidHome formed in the living vines above the entrance.

We entered the gates and came to a ring of standing stones in the center. There was a beam of green energy that shone from the center of the standing stones up to a floating island above the forest.
We stopped here, as it was close to the Solstice, and this seemed like a safe place to be.

Safe place it was, as we made camp, and were able to rest the night without event or encounter. We woke the next morning to the sound of metal being worked. We went over to investigate, and found that the unknown immortal was awake, and working on repairing one of Tobias' weapons which had been damaged in breaking the gates to the city open. He had no anvil, no hammers, he simply held the mace and worked with his bare hands.

Ishmael was instantly and avidly curious about his ability, and even more so when He asked for Ishmael to sing for the water, as he learned from the old dwarf back in Grolsh.

While he was working with the weapons, Shalev approached him and requested that a weapon be crafted out of the strange bronze metal that he's been carrying with him.

The elf agreed, and crafted a beautifully formed scimitar out of the material, much to Shalev's delight. It still needs a hilt before it can be adequately wielded, but the weapon itself is strong and true.

He is a Maker.
One of the first of us.

He said that time itself is what's blocking my memory. That I have forgotten how to *sing* and had become "too much a part" of this world.  He had no answers for me. I thought perhaps that we were kin.. that he was family. In a way he is. Am I one of them as well? Have I forgotten, and therefore become separate?

But it has awakened that pain of longing inside me that I thought I had gotten over long ago. The desire to know what happened. To know why I can't remember. To understand what exactly it is that I have forgotten.

It's not the same.

I asked what happened and why. He said that he was sustaining the tree, not the other way around. and that he did so because he knew that he would long-outlive those that were doing it to him.


What have I done?

In choosing to rescue him, have I condemned the tree?
Have I become so short-sighted?

I looked at him, with tears in my eyes, and said that I felt lost.

He smiled and told me precisely where I was located.

In the middle of the standing stones of DruidHome, on the southern continent.
North of the Great Valley
East of the ancient crypts of the Imperial Order
West of the great desert
South of the tower of the last of the students of the last of the Fyrewerians

Which isn't at all what I meant.

The information, as valuable as it was, did not help soothe the ache in my heart, or ease my uncertainty. It did nothing to give me hope.

I still have so many questions.

He began to draw on the stones at that point, opening a gate to ...elsewhere. Kellyn looked on with keen interest, as the symbols he was etching into the stone were Fyrewerian symbols for "here" and "there"

The gate opened, showing the brilliant shine of the North Star, and a ship sailed through enough for him to board.

It was then that I felt a memory release. A thread loosening in the tight knot of blocked (or forgotten) remembrance in my mind. The two first trees, created as beacons. One of these was taken up and made into the North Star, to act as a constant point for navigation.

The trees now shine in memory of those first two, as a taste of the starlight, and to remember and remind us where they.. and we.. are from.

He then looked at each of the party, and smiled, saying to each of us to continue on. And he left, the shining gate closing behind him.

After he left, I sat down and performed a ritual for summer, not expecting it to work. It didn't, but I did feel some small spark of rightness there about what was done.

and then I cried. I sat down in the center of that blue stone circle, and I let the tears fall down my face in a way that I haven't done in millenia.

I cried for what I have forgotten.
I cry for the hint of who I was.
I cried for that lost taste of starlight.
I cry for all that I know I still must do, and the overwhelming feeling of being lost.

For there is still much to do, and I will - as I have apparently always done - remain here.

Monday, August 11, 2014


Everything is wrong here.
So very wrong.

I can’t think straight. I can barely breathe. The horror and anger and anguish are like knives in my heart.

These …. people.. I can’t call them elves right now. They’ve renounced all that it means to BE an elf. I PRAY that these people have been under some kind of sway. That they didn’t realize exactly what it is they had done.

But I am not hopeful. I can’t focus on that right now. I can’t allow my horror and anger to overshadow me. I am thankful that Tobias is here by my side. He’s the only thing keeping me grounded at the moment. I wonder if this is how Shalev felt.. upon hearing news of his father’s murder?

I found out why my druidic powers have no hold here. The terrible reason why.

The only thing that remains now is him. THEM. The tree. I must do what I can to save them both.

But I am rambling. Let me try to make sense of my thoughts.


Still in the city of Tir na’Friar, we had about a month before the Great Court was to happen. The party and I used that time to continue helping Matron with her lands, to practice and hone skills, and to discover what I could about what to expect with the Great Ritual.

She seemed uncomfortable at my asking, and was noticeably tight-lipped about this “ritual” and what it entailed. It made me uneasy, and wary. The more I talked to her, the stronger the sense of “something isn’t right here” showed through.

Determined to see what the ritual was for myself, I commissioned a dress suitable for such an occasion. The seamstress I commissioned made me a beautiful gown out of ocean blue raw silk, with silver trim. She asked what the motif should be, and I requested arboreal, which caused her to pause and look at me in an odd way. She then murmured something about how the Great Court hadn’t been “properly scandalized” in a long time, and then informed me that it would be ready in a week.
Four days later the summons arrived for Matron, and the invite arrived for Tobias and I, stating that the court would convene in three days’ time. The rest of the party was not to attend, as they were not elves.

Matron grew more tense, and more quiet, as the time for the ritual grew closer; and I began to urgently get the sense that I would not like what I was about to witness.

I was right.

We were escorted up to the inner circle of the city, and I knew. I knew as soon as I stepped foot inside that scorched circle of earth. I knew in a heartbeat why my connection to the Sacred was lost here. I knew in an eyeblink what I had begun to suspect, but couldn’t dare believe that any elf would do. But I was so very wrong. The moment I saw it, I began praying. Not knowing if my god and goddess could hear me or not. Not knowing if they cared. But I prayed. I prayed for help. For something.. for anything..

In the center of the blackened ring of earth and ash, grew a young sylvan tree. No more than a sapling, and a yearling at that. Vibrant and healthy and alive.

The royal family began the ritual by stating that this was, and had been, a yearly tradition. Was “who they were” and “who they would be”. They denounced everything about the old ways. Renounced all that they are. Claimed that the right to be free led them to this. That the wish to work with metals of the earth like… like dwarves or gnomes, was more important to them than their connection to the Wellspring. That their safety and ability to blend in and remain “quiet” was more important to them than being a part of nature and balance.

To my growing horror, they loudly proclaimed that, in an act of complete revolt, they entombed their ruler – an immortal, one of my kind, that I have never heard of – in the earth below, so that he could continue to watch the desecration of the tree year after year.

The tree has old roots. Over 500 years. It will not die. Not like this. But it will burn.

Then they burned it.

They burned a living thing. A Sylvan tree. Alive.
Each of the families threw a torch on the growing pyre, and watched without compassion as it burned to the ground. It was all I could do not to start screaming then.

Even Matron, although she glanced at me with sorrow in her eyes, and tossed her torch far to the side, so it would not land among the conflagration. I noticed. I refused. I dropped the torch I was given at my feet, although looking back, a stronger message would have been to put it out entirely.

I spoke in quiet tones to Matron as the citizens of the city began bringing their grievances to the leading family. Like HUMANS. Everything here is so WRONG.

I implored her.. WHY. Why do this? Why participate in something she knew in her heart was wrong. She said that she had become accustomed to the safety of knowing they wouldn’t be attacked, because the energy doesn’t resonate here.

NOT AN EXCUSE. This tree deserves LIFE, NOT DESTRUCTION. Doing nothing is still an action, and it’s still WRONG. She knows it.

I was blazing angry, and verging on actual tears.
Tobias, growing increasingly alarmed, and increasingly horrified by what he saw, put himself at my back, and began trying to calm me down.

I looked at Matron.

HELP ME. Is all I said.

and she agreed. Lord and Lady bless her, she did. She made it appear as if I had put some kind of control over her, and she walked to the center of the fire ring, and then cast a spell of wind. The wind gathered and gathered, much like the winds before a sandstorm from home, but with more deliberate intent. The torches all went out one by one, and the bonfire in the center was twisted up in the vortex and extinguished. The sparks and embers floated off into the air, and over the city, but I paid them no heed.

Once the fire was out, she collapsed as if unconscious, and was immediately protected by two of the other families. I’m glad to know that she is – for the moment at least – unharmed and safe.
I ran over to the center, where the burned root of the sapling was exposed, and I grabbed it hoping to feel some spark of life.

What I felt was hatred. Burning, writhing hatred coming from an eight eyed enemy. “Lloth” I breathed with dread, and Tobias heard me.

My immediate thought was that whatever was down there.. whatever they had buried, was not elf. Was something far.. far worse. and that the tree itself had been corrupted.

The head family demanded why the ritual was interrupted, threatening to see “just how immortal I really was”, causing Tobias to bristle noticeably… and I confronted them. What have you done?! I shouted. Why do you do this!? You’ve denied everything it is to be an elf, in exchange for what?! You’ve corrupted the wellspring, and you desecrate something sacred just because you CAN?! Spring time rituals are supposed to be about renewal. About a restatement of life, and health and vitality.
Instead you made it a celebration of everything opposite. You wonder at the lack of children here. You whisper about the feel of decay. You’re blind and you’ve condemned this entire city by cutting yourselves off from all that you ARE. From all that you COULD BE.

They remained unmoved, and threatened to throw me down there with whatever it was they entombed.

Tobias, at that point, began thinking out loud, because he sensed that the tree itself was still holy, and NOT corrupted. He spoke about Lloth, and the drow, and how there was SOMETHING down there that was unholy, and completely so.

He somehow managed to get them to open the tomb, revealing the immortal ruler they had imprisoned, and much to everyone else’s surprise, an underground road leading just beneath the city.

How far does Lloth’s influence reach? How much has she corrupted these people.

What I saw.. dear Lord and Lady, how COULD THEY.

An immortal, undoubtedly, and one I should know.. although I don’t know why.
Chained to a wall.
With the roots of the tree itself growing THROUGH his emaciated body.

Dear gods, that means he not only witnessed. HE FELT. HE FELT IT BURN. EVERY TIME.

I can’t.. I can barely..



I all but screamed out wordlessly. Knowing Tobias would protect me, I climbed down into the tomb to confirm what I knew already, with an unspeakable terror.

He was still alive.

As I grew near to his withered form, it became easier to see for some reason. Then I glanced down to find my necklace.. the pendant that I’ve worn for so long.. was … glowing.

and the crown that he wore on his head was glowing. They matched. The symbols match.

He is ..

there’s something wrong with my memory. There’s a block that I can sense now. Deliberately placed within my mind, that means that I can not remember. I do not know who he is, or who I am in relation. He could be my father. My brother. My son?

As I grew nearer to him, I reached out to touch him gently, and his eyes opened. They stared blindly, and he began screaming. Or.. trying to scream with what remained of his throat.

I did scream then. Long and loud and full of wordless horror, and ran to his side.

So many questions.

So many unanswered questions.

and such… revulsion. That my own kind could do this to someone else.

and potentially MY family. I thought them all dead. Maybe that memory is a fabrication itself.

I can’t know.. I won’t know..

and I can’t think.