Such a fleeting thing.
Even I, who have existed for millennia and will continue to exist long after, can sometimes feel the urgent press of NOW. I wonder how the shorter lived races deal with the constant urgent need that time presents them: a seemingly relentless and continuous flow of time in everyday life. It can be maddening.
Moments, Days, Weeks, Months, Years... all delineations of something that can not be really cataloged properly.
However eternal I may be, I can not argue that time seems against us for this current set of goals we have set out to achieve.
KelLyn made a request of her brother - the captain of the ship we traveled on - if they could make a stop at Blackmoore. It seems a former lover of hers, the late bard Taryn, had left something there in the city that she wished to retrieve. Her brother agreed to make the stop, as he needed to re-provision anyway, and also made mention of the fact that he could get some books for her from the local magic guild.
She was quite enthusiastic about it, although I have noticed that she does not actively study the books that she currently has in her possession. I wonder if it is a proclivity of being a magic user then, to want things simply for the sake of possessing them?
So we made port at Blackmoore, and her brother set off to retrieve the things he had promised. KelLyn and Fife attempt to make it over to the Bard's College to pick up the belongings she wanted to pick up from them. Fife is quick to bribe guards when necessary, and also quick to sell stories of the party's adventures... something that I could see being potentially problematic later. Especially if we ever want to attempt to keep a low profile.
They made it over to the College, but returned empty handed. A pair of bards approached the ship, but they remained on the dock, as we would not and could not grant them permission aboard the vessel. They told us tales of a rebellion in Una Thrakis, and of a giant elf named Mar Llwellyn ("darkness of the sea") who leads them.
Shalev asked of stories from home, and they regaled us with news of the rebellions and uprisings in the deserts, as well as stories of the healing cups that KelLyn is seeking.
They also had some useful information regarding the artifact known as "Melcor's Bow" which the Maker first told us about. It would seem that it is currently in the court of the gnomish king - Damishan - and encased within a solidified volcano. It's something to make note of, in any case, if we ever run across the gnomes that Ishmael and Shalev seem so keen to find.
KelLyn's brother had not returned by nightfall, and though she was concerned, she agreed that we should wait until morning to raise any alarm.
the next morning, however, the party woke to find that the ship had set sail once again.
I do not know what occurred on the ship - ocean travel makes me horribly uncomfortable, so I remained below decks in deep meditations - though Tobias and Shalev tell me that there was some trouble involving KelLyn's brother being horribly wounded, Lan summoning a redcapped fae creature who began slaughtering the crew members, and the fight with it when they found it trying to kill the Captain as well.
Due to an oversight, intentional misunderstanding, or just a desire to have us removed from his ship, KelLyn's brother did NOT drop us off near Ambralia as we asked, and instead we disembarked at a small fishing village named Wimmesey. Half again the distance away from where we wanted to be.
While we were gathering supplies and equipment for land travel once again, and trying to orient ourselves on where we were versus where we need to go; a second ship docked and a small army of people wearing gleaming silver armor appeared. Tobias and KelLyn reacted negatively to the sight of these knights, as apparently they had run-ins with them before that resulted in the death of one of their party members previously.
The party decided to track the band of knights, and deal with them first. Tobias and I scouted ahead several times, but even though they left the little village only about a day before we did, we continued to fall behind for some reason. I let Tobias use my stargem that allows for silent movement, and he used his speed to run ahead to determine how far they actually were.
He returned to the party the next night, completely exhausted, but after he had recovered, he informed us that they were using magic of some kind to speed their travel and that they seemed to be an illusion or unaffected by direct confrontation.
KelLyn made an attempt to cast a similar spell to aid in quick travel, but her magic went haywire again, and she instead managed to create another gigantic fairy ring. Lan attempted then to summon another fairy creature to see if she could convince them to aid us.
Instead she summoned the Old Woman of the Mountain - who instantly took a dislike to "hunter types" and to Fife in particular. I am guessing because he killed the fairy over off of the shores of Penicia all those months ago. She agreed to impede the progress of the band of knights in return for allowing one of her hunters to fire a single arrow at Fife in retribution for her dead kin.
Fife agreed to the bargain, somewhat irritated at the fact that Shalev and I expressed that his life was not for bargain, and the Old Woman disappeared.
Three days later we caught up to the band of knights and mages at their camp. It seems that their tracking spells had gone awry, and that they were having difficulty determining which way they should be going.
Instead of attempting to take them unawares, and using stealth to our advantage, KelLyn decides to walk right up on the road past the camp. She stops to talk to them, giving away ANY chance that we might have had at subterfuge, and a fight breaks out when one of their mages calls her an "apprentice."
Shalev and Lan had remained hidden with the caravan and supplies, and I wish to some degree that I had decided to remain with them. KelLyn excels in starting unnecessary fights, and I wonder if, at some point, she will start a fight that we can't win.
I remained at the edge of the road, still under partial cover of the forest, and used my bow to some effect - although the armor that the knights wore was quite effective, so I wasted more arrows than I used helpfully. Ishmael shone through as an efficient and powerful melee fighter in this though, and it was his hand to hand and proficiency with his mace that gained us the most advantage.
The Captain of the band, and the two mages were dispatched, and the rest of the knights were beginning to engage the fight when the Old Woman showed back up with her hunter. I have never seen an albino elf before, and I don't think it was actually an elf at all, really. Fae are capricious and tricky, but they seem to hold to the letter of the bargain they strike.
One arrow was fired at Fife, which shattered against him without causing too much harm. The Old Woman then completely stopped the fight, and told us we could move on without additional confrontation, with the warning that if she saw "anything else being thrown through the air with intent to harm, that they (we) would never leave her mountainside."
We quickly gathered our things and moved on. KelLyn seems to be in the throes of a deep depression, and refuses to do anything. She requires constant supervision now, and will not even do basic things to care for herself.
After about a day or two of easy travel down the road, we came to a pair of standing stones carved with a druidic warning to "Beware the Old Woman of the Mountain" and an immensely powerful holy field that stretched for hundreds of yards around the area.
I... felt it. I felt that the field was holy. I could touch the stones and feel the power resonating from them.
I could feel it.
My connection to the Sacred has either repaired itself, been returned to me, or whatever caused the block no longer has a hold on me.
Regardless of why, my druidic powers have returned. I was wary at first, hardly daring to believe the sensation wasn't just caused by the overwhelming power of the stones we stood in. I attempted one of my very easy spells, and was thankfully, and joyously successful.
I will continue to meditate and study the book, but now that my connection to the Sacred is whole again, it is my hope to increase knowledge and power. All things in balance.. and knowing HOW to use my gift is just as important as knowing when.
I do hope, against all hope, that the sylvan sapling in Tir na'Friar has gone dormant. I could not bear to think of it suffering through another immolation - especially now that the Maker is not there to help sustain it. The ent that I spoke with in the Druidhome grove said that if the sapling has the will to remain, that it will survive.
There is so much that needs to be done still, and things we MUST do before we can even attempt to remove the tree from the city.
I can only pray for time now. But now, at least, I have some small degree of hope that my prayers might be heard.