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Player's Guide Places People History Beliefs

 
 


Realize
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"Hello!" hello hello hello. . . "Echo!" echo echo echo. . . Teehee. I can't help but to laugh. This is too fun. Place is gigantic. I know Primus' place is supposed to be impressive, but jeez. Everything is made of some sort of stone or marble. It's all blues, whites, and greys. But, it feels warm. It's kinda calming, in a weird sorta way. There are charactures everywhere. Must be all the stuff Primus has written. Too bad I can't READ it.

tick tick tick.

It just reverberates in this place. When we're quiet, like now, it's the only thing you can hear. It seems to be irritating Elana. A lot.



Oh, wow. Is it real? It's not moving. I'd swear there's saliva dripping off the fangs. I sure wouldn't want to run into that tiger in a dark alley. It's BIG!

Hey, why is Elana sniffling? It's just a statue. I don't think - oooh. Man, this painting must be thirty feet high. I don't like the looks of that guy. He's dark. And looks really pissed off. Is he supposed to be Naresh? Huh, I had always thought Naresh looked more like, well, a demon. Big claws, big teeth, really built, pointy tail, and glowy red eyes. Not some random guy. But, it's odd. He's kinda, hanging. Ummm. That guy has a really big sword. What's he looking at?

Goddess. This is crazy. It's really lifelike. And intricate. Is this how the battle happened? You can almost step through. It's still wet? Huh. Just, wow. Some parts are, so sad. You can see pain, and fear. But I think I like this. Yeah. There's some hope in here. And triumph. Determination. Spirit. They're gonna save the world. Yeeaahh. I bet Primus painted this. "Doesn't an artist usually sign their work?"

tick tick tick

"Up there. In the corner. There's some sort of rune." Trust Anwar to spot the tiny detail first.

"I recognize that sword. Isn't that the one Serianna had?" I focus on the spot Nyran is pointing to. Yup. So it is.

"What does that mean?" I don't recgonize the man holding it. And, I'm sorry to say, I don't know my history well, so who knows who any of them are.

"That's Aldaric Verdain. The king of Gideon. He's wielding the royal sword. Serianna must be his daughter."

"I knew it!" The words fly out of my mouth before I can stop myself. "Ha! I knew it!" I'm just pointing at Nyran and cackling. So I didn't try very hard. He's looking at me like I'm an idiot or something.

"And how did you know that?" Is he messing with me?

"The way she handled that sword. It wasn't just some weapon to her." I deliberately run my palm over the hilt of my rapier. I've used this blade for a long time. "It's the same with any swordsman." Slightly smug smile.

tick tick tick

"It is amazing, isn't it? I sat before the painting for three days." Huh? Who's the guy? Woah, big guy.

"I am Atoz." Well, that explains everything. He and Nyran are talking. I can't help but drift off. Things have been so crazy lately. There's hardly been time to take a breath. First, I die. That's pretty traumatic. I get brought back and told everything is ok. After the zombies Lanathar showed up, tossed a fireball down into a square of people, tried to disintegrate Nyran only for Threnody show up and hang out long enough to rip out Lanathar's throat and explode some zombies. Everything is fine.

tick tick tick

Then, I snag- I mean, Nyran snags us all in the plane of dreams. I not only remember and relive some ugly, not-so-happy details of my life, but I exposed them to the entire group. I immersed them. Goddess! I don't- no! Can't think about that now.

tick tick tick

After that, fighting the other group. Goblins. Atman golems. A red dragon. That strange guy. Nyran just froze him in place. I wonder what's gonna happen to him? The walk here wasn't short. At least we didn't come across anything else. Sigh. I feel so tired. Like I've been running a mental marathon.

tick tick tick

"What?!?" Huh?

"The Elan tried to take the tower from Primus. Since, I have decided to disassociate myself from them. I am studying Primus' writings. Chronicling really." He smiles. "I haven't got very far yet."



So we're hanging out in the guest room. There's no real furniture. Tables mostly. But not only are the walls carved on, the tables are too. Elana is getting more irritated by the minute from the tapping sound. It's constant and the shape of the place lets you hear it everywhere. The sucky thing is that you can't tell where it's coming from. Hey, wait a sec. It's stopped.

thud thud thud

Hmmm, now what? I could deal with the tapping, but this makes me a little nervous.

thud thud thud

Whenever I hear a sound like that it means something BIG is coming.

thud thud thud

Hiiiiii.

Really big.

"I am Primus." You don't say.

Primus is, well, pretty amazing to say the least. He towers at a minimum of twelve feet high. It's wierd though. He's very impressive, like I said, but he's not intimidating exactly. Though, if he ever wanted to be, I hope I'm not the one who pissed him off. We're acting inn our usual straightfoward/rude fashion, bombarding the guy with questions. To his credit, Primus is answering us. He really doesn't have to.

"I will answer all of your questions. If, each of you, answers one question of me. Question for a question. Service for a service. I will find you at midnight. One, each night for the next five nights. Anwar will be first, tonight. Also, you, will assist me in my work for six days." I think he's talking to Islan. "You are the only one with the necessary skills. Therefore, you will work." Islan? Work? I can feel a smile tugging at my mouth. He should feel pleased, being the only one who can do, ummm, whatever.

It seems like everybody is talking at once. I don't know how Primus will keep up.

". . . crystals?" Oh, yeah. It makes sense to ask about those.

"The one that remains unclaimed lies in Lochlainn, where the comet made contact."

Ok, you've got my attention. "What do you mean, one crystal?"

"The ones that oppose you. They are in possession of two."

"Lanathar. It has to be. Elves always come back."

"That's hardly true. Elves are not immortal, you realize. We just have longer lifespans."

"They always come back. He was killed once and came back. He's back once, he'll be back again. And Dolartu was brought back as well."

"As a woman! And that, is an entirely different scenario. Aram had Lanathar under his control. Dolartu was lucky someone was there who could restore him. Not every person is so lucky. Arilyn's father wasn't so fortunate."

I snap my head around to him, hearing his words. Why do you have to be bringing that up now? To make a stupid point? You haven't even really talked to me since. Not that you ever really do.

"Two you know. One, Iarond, an Elven noble. The other, an Elven wizard, Teravus."

"Teravus!" Now that registers. If even the smallest part of that dream is true. . .I can feel the growl creeping up my throat. One person who touched my life so briefly. And so brutally. So that slimy bugger has his grimy mitts on the crystals? One day, I'm gonna catch up with him. Huh. He probably won't even remember me.

"Until then, you are free to explore the tower." I wonder if we're talked about in here.

"Did you write about us?" I can't help but to ask. He turns to me. It is somewhat unnerving to be considered by a smooth, blank, metal face.

"The first passage of this group is it is now, appears on the ninth level in the. . ." What? What corner? Wait clockwise or counterclockwise? Did you say on the ceiling?

"I'll take you. I can read the words." Good. Someone to explore with.

"I hope you caught all that, Nyran."



". . .joined the Fellowship on the cliff of the river in Curmeah."

"Is that it?"

"Yup." O-kay.

"What does it say next?"

"I don't think you would find it interesting. Something about rainfall and crop harvests somewhere in Sellador."

"Hmmm. . ."

"Let's see over here. . ." And he floats over to another corner of the ceiling. He does that too often. It's not fair. I only really got to do that once. He's still kinda talking outloud. But it's more to himself. He's getting absorbed in it.

Upon closer inspection of the walls, I still can't make any sense of it. It looks like a bunch of random lines and dots. This is supposed to be the most comprehensive history written. But nobody can make sense of the order. Huh. I wonder if that was a private joke of Primus' and his wizard or just what came out.

"So what do you want to do now?" Huh? Oh, Nyran.

"Umm, I'm kinda getting tired. Let's go back."

"If that's what you want."



I can't sleep. There's really no good reason for me to not be able to sleep. Sweet Merlin, I know I should be tired enough. I am way beyond my second wind.

tap tap tap

Of course, I'm not the only one awake in this place. Really, I don't find the noise annoying. It's getting to be that it's just there. Elana can't take it. Snakes don't have ears. Ha ha.

tap tap tap

But I really don't know why I can't sleep. Maybe it's the lighting. Yeah, it's dim. Maybe I need a little more dark. There's just something. I can still see things. Umph. Maybe I just need to close my eyes. Engh. It's also a little uncomfortable on the bedroll. Ungh! I just can't get comfortable!

tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap

Hmmm. Actually the noice can be kinda soothing. Like the ticking of a clock. A loud clock, but only when it's quiet. Yaaawwwnnn. Do constructs sleep? Hmmm. I think I'd write everything down too if I couldn't ever sleep. Yaawwwnnn.

tap tap tap

Yes, tomorrow I think I still want to go exploring. Mmmm. Not tomorrow until I wake up. . .

tap tap tap



"Hi Atoz." He's just sitting on the floor, writing furiously. There are about thirty books scattered around him. I almost feel bad for disturbing him.

"Hello. And how are you?"

"I'm ok. Just thinking about looking around."

"That is fine. You are completely safe here. Remember you are free to go anywhere. Just be careful you don't get lost." He takes out a few sheets of parchment. "After my first few days here, I tried to make maps to follow. But when I when to use them the next day, they didn't make any sense." Uh-huh. "I have since learned my way around relatively well. If you need assistance, or anything, just call for me. I can find you."

"Okay. So, let me get this straight. I can go anywhere in here?"

"Yes, except past the locked door on the tenth level. Not even I have been in there."

"And I'm totally safe?"

"Yes, of course." Swweeeet.

"Cool. I'll see you later then." He has a suprised look on his face.

"You're going to get lost?"

"I think so."



clang clang clang

That's the new noise.

clang clang clang

This is taking some getting used to. What in god's name is Primus having Islan do?

clang clang clang

Judging by the sounds of things, it probably isn't something Islan is enjoying very much.

clang clang clang

Ha ha. He'll look back on this one day and realize that Primus was doing something that was good for him. A little manual labor never hurt a body.

The rooms are all round too. I keep stopping to look at different passages. It still makes no sense. If only I could learn a word. Like, the. That would be helpful. I'm probably missing something. I'm probably walking past the most important information ever. The secret of life or something. Huh. Or I could be missing out on reading about when some random king took a dump.



These rooms are all starting to look alike. I don't know how long I've been wandering. Looking for something I can understand.

clang clang clang

The rooms are different. Sometimes they're different sizes. Sometimes there will be a table.

clang clang clang

But I did say that I wanted to get lost. I've done it. Wait.

It's stopped.

It's totally silent. The only thing I can hear is my breathing.

tap tap tap

Balls.


It been HOURS! I have no idea where I am. I haven't eaten in what has to have been two days. My mouth tastes like dried up old leathers. And I gotta go to the bathroom! I thought I came across Nyran, but he just sat there and wouldn't say anything to me and I don't know if I'm just going nutty, or what. And I don't wanna sleep, because plain stone ground is bloody uncomfortable and I don't want to forget where I am. But I don't know where I am, so I guess it doesn't matter.

tap tap tap

Is it getting warm in here? I'm starting to feel a little woozy. Not good. Not good. If I could only find my way! Oh, be quiet. If you were really worried you could just call out for Atoz.

tap tap tap

No I couldn't.

tap tap tap

Too true. Sometimes I don't even understand myself. I need to get myself out of this. So, on to the next room.



clang clang clang

That noise, has been going on, for an eternity. I think I've been wandering for about two days. I need to get somewhere with food. Genius me wore her armor and carried her weapons around, but she forgot food. Course, I never wanted to get THIS lost.

clang clang clang

Ooh, my stomach isn't feeling too good. It's warm. It's so warm. I need to, I need to sit. I need to sit. No. No. No good. I just feel awful. I think I want to throw up. Except I haven't eaten in, how long now? I need to get air. Need to, breathe. Breathe. Oooh.

Don't feel good. Need to make it, to the wall. I'm so hot. I need to get my temperature down. The walls. . . colors are. Breathe. The colors are getting, deeper. The colors are getting deeper, but, the blacks, are getting darker, and the edges are getting fuzzy, and its starting to mix together and its mixing all together and its swirling all together and it's swirling all together and it's, oh-



tap tap tap

tap tap tap

Ohhhhh. My head. I'm laying down. Why does the ground feel funny? It's, it's all the carvings. Oh, Goddess. I am a moron. Sweet Merlin, how long have I been laying here?

tap tap tap

Am I bleeding? Ouch! Tender spot. Ungh. Just lay on my back for a while. Looking at things hurts.

tap tap tap

Well, you've gotten youself into a right spot, Arilyn. Yeah, I know. You bloody fainted, you realize. The thought hits me like a rock. Shut. Up.

tap tap tap

You can't tell me to shut up. I am you. Grrrrr. The smart part of you. Are you going to let a stupid tower beat you?

tap tap tap

No.

tap tap tap

Well, then prove it. Get up off this floor.



"Nyran?" I've made it through a few rooms. Again, I find myself with Nyran. He's sitting in the middle of a room, with a book open in his lap. Damnit! Not again! Pay attention to me!

"Nyran!" Yes! He's looking up! I am practically dead on my feet. But I found a way out.

"Nyran. Food. Now!" I must look a little more feral than I realized, judging from the look of shock that's on his face. Good thing he has his pack with him. Ahh! Food! I'll just rest here.

"Are you alright?"

"Getting better all the time. I've been wandering."

"But you look terrible. It's only been a few hours." I just stare at him. Is he insane?

"Nyran, I've been lost for the past, I'm guessing, forty hours." He looks at me in disbelief.

"That's impossible. It could only have been two or three at the most."

"Ahh, no. It's been about two days. What the devil have you been doing?"

"I've just been reading the most wonderful book. It's very touching, very sad. But, it-"

"Look, I hate to interrupt, but I'm starving. Can you take me back to the room we're all in?"



Ahh, rest. It may be a bedroll on a stone ground, but right now it feels like heaven.

tap tap tap

Finally got caught up with everyone. Anwar and Elana had a fine time bathing for two days. Nyran was reading. Islan is snoring his head off.

tap tap tap

Seems Primus has Islan smithing. Ha ha. For six hours a day. Anwar told me about how he'd came staggering in the first night. He probably felt worse the next morning. And then he had to do it again. I guess he said something about muscles hurting that he didn't know he had.

tap tap tap

I really don't know why he complains so much about it though. He wouldn't have studies the profession if he didn't have an interest in it. And now he gets a chance to put those skills to use.

tap tap tap

Ha ha. I can't help it. But anyway, a blacksmith who did this for a living could go way longer. Islan is lucky Primus doesn't make him work ten or twelve hours. Six from twenty four leaves eighteen. I guess he's been sleeping a lot.

tap tap tap

Hmmm. I should sleep now too. More to see tomorrow.



clang clang clang

Hard at work, I hear. I must've slept for a long time. But it's time to get prepared. If we're going to explore the great stone yonder again, we'd best do it smart this time.

clang clang clang

Let's see. First thing, take the bloody armor off. I really don't need it here. Ummm, but I got to keep my weapons on. I think I'd feel naked without them.

clang clang clang

Next we need a small bag. Food! Glorious food. Can't leave without it. Who knows how long I'll be gone this time. Waterskin. Need to keep hydrated. And a pen and paper. We have to have one somewhere. I need to make some sort of a map.



clang clang clang

So I haven't been out too long. I've been trying to draw accurately as I go. I may not be the most gifted mapmaker, but I can draw straight lines. Maybe that's my problem. The rooms are all circular.

clang clang clang



tap tap tap

Ok, I'm positive I'm drawing things correctly. I think the rooms are changing on me. You've got to be bloody kidding. No wonder no one can find the patterns in Primus' works. Not only is it topically random, but the rooms move! Bloody terrific.

tap tap tap



"Oh hi Nyran." It looks like he's reading the book again. His pet rock is flying around the ceiling.

"You must save him, fair maiden! He has fallen befowl of a most heinous curse. We must wake him up!" The rock can be annoying at the best of times.

"Whatever. Hey, Nyran. What are you-! What gives?" I tried to put my hand on his shoulder, but he hit me.

"Can't talk. Reading." Well, fine. Be like that.

"O-kay. I'll see you around." You jerk.



Hey, it's all quiet. What's going on now? Primus doesn't usually stop for anything.

thud thud thud

Uh-oh.

thud thud thud

It's getting closer. I think Primus is coming. Oh, yeah he's asking us each questions. Is it midnight already?

thud thud thud

"It is time." Well, alrighty.

"And what do you want to know?" I have been pretty curious. A guy that knows pretty much everything, wants to ask me a question. Is he testing us?

"How do you know you exist?"

"How do I know. . ." Sweet Merlin. Of all the questions to ask. I need to think on this for a sec. I'll sit for a minute. "Can I think about it for a minute?" And he just stands there. You'd swear that he wasn't awake.

How do you know you exist. How do you know you exist. Well, you know things are there. You just don't always think about them. You may not notice a bee until it gets close enough to hear the wings. Or when it stings you. So that means. . .

"I think you know exist when you have an effect on things. For good or for bad. You make things happen. Change what's going on. Yeah, I think that's it." He towers over me for a minute. Ummm, you're kinda making me uncomfortable, Primus. Hey, he's turning. I hope he's satisfied with my answer. "If I think of anything else, I'll let you know!" Jeez, what kind of questions has he been asking everyone? Wait a sec. I can follow him! I can get my bearings! Yay!

Ok, a right. Got it. Now left. Oh! We're back at the middle! There's staircases and openings! So where I was, was back this way. Wait, a minute. This is not right. Let's go back. A right. Now a left. No! Not another bloody round room! These rooms DO move!

tap tap tap

Balls.



clang clang clang

They're at it again. These wanderings take a lot out of you. Arilyn needs to take a rest. Arilyn will now flop onto this table to let her legs dangle for a bit.

clang clang clang

You do realize you're talking about yourself in the third person? Oh great. You're back? Silly, I'm always here. Remember, I am you. Shut up. But I thought you may want to talk. Not really. Well, then I'll talk. Or question, rather. Oh, goody.

clang clang clang

So you think you exist? What are you affecting laying here?

clang clang clang

I need to get my thoughts in order. I think I'm going crazy. Hmph. You probably are. You're talking to myself. I knew there was a reason I told you to shut up.

clang clang clang

Sorry darlin'. I'm not about to do that. Just you and your thoughts alone in a big round room. Well, this is just bloody perfect.

clang clang clang

Teravus. That bastard. Why would he just light my parents' house on fire. What reason could he have for killing them? It makes no sense. It seems so random. I know the idea of elves and humans marrying pisses some people off, but, the area we were in seemed so removed. I really didn't have kids my age ther, so there probably wasn't anyone really around for miles.

clang clang clang

So wouldn't something like that be planned? Why wouldn't they do it sooner? It had been, well, I was eight, so at least nine years that they were together.

clang clang clang

I really don't think Teravus will have any idea why I'm out for his blood. It's been twenty years. A man like that, he probably did it all the time. Correction. DOES that all the time. He's in with Lanathar and the Iarond guy. The guy from the tournament that Islan knows. Didn't we beat him up a couple of times before? But Teravus. . . I'm going to slit his throat.

clang clang clang

Grrrrrr! The thought of him just fries me! It doesn't matter if he knows who I am. I'm gonna KILL him! I don't even really care about Threnody anymore, and I HATE her.

clang clang clang

Why are you so angry? What do you mean? You're going to deliberately set out to kill someone over people you can barely remember?

clang clang clang

Yup. I am remembering more all the time. My parents loved me. That much I remember. Killing this guy may not be what they want. But this is how I am. This is what I want.

clang clang clang

How do you think others see you?

Ha, I'd imagine they'd say something like, I'm a disaster. An annoying chit of a girl who likes to push buttons. Sometimes way too loud, with more guts than brains. But at least, I'm good at what I do and can take a few hits. Well, I suppose that's true.

clang clang clang

So, just who are you, Arilyn?

clang clang clang

Huh, I'm just me. You know that's not what I mean. Yeah. . .I don't know. I'm just Arilyn. A smart-mouth, that's for sure. Driven by curiosity. I guess a part on me never grew up. Not that I want to anyhow. But, yes pigheaded. Tenacious. I just can't let myself give up. Why? I don't know. I think I'm really by myself most of the time. I can do it on my own. Other people can't, or won't do it for me. If I fall, I can take it. Probably because I refuse to give up.

clang clang clang

Optimistic. Things may suck now, but they could be worse. And they will get better. It's not like life has been a bag of lemons. I have purposes. I may not know why I joined this group, but maybe there is a thing such as fate after all. I've been with them for so long. They're my friends now. Better friends than the ones I had in the troupe, that's for sure.

clang clang clang

Loyalty. We've had to protect each other so many times. We know we will be there for each other. Even if we don't like each other so much all the time. But you don't really have to. We've come so close to death and we've died for each other. We're gonna save the world. Hmph. Sounds a little ridiclous. Imagine, little me, carrying a piece of creation. Is a piece of creation. Not that every person isn't a product of creation. Going off to fight evil and all that.

clang clang clang

You actually think you can do it? Make your parents proud?

Ahh, I forgot my delightful sense of humor with its edge of sarcasm. I hope they're proud of me. I wish I hadn't been so awful to them, when I had the chance to be with them. Even if it was only a day. I feel really guilty. They must have thought I was completely bonkers. Just raving. The way I spoke to them. . .like they were nothing. And then those moments when I could just let go. It became so real. I was eight years old.

I hope the memory lives better in their minds.

It kills me that the others got mixed up in it. I still don't know exactly how much they know. I haven't really had the chance to talk to them about it. Of course, I haven't really wanted to talk about it either.

clang clang clang

Is that what you're running from?

clang clang clang

I don't know what you're talking about?

Don't be foolish. You feel it necessary to prove yourself. You also, crave approval.

I think I'm getting just a little too honest with myself.

clang clang clang

You're probably right. Just as long as you realize it. Sleep now. You need it.



clang CRASH clang

Well, now that's different.

crash crash crash

That, sounds like a swordfight. I think it's coming from below. I think I can follow the sound. Gotta find a staircase. Ok, lets go left. And straight. Keep going. Keep going. Wait, no. This way. Alrighty, I think it's getting louder. Uh-oh! This way.

crash crash crash

I gotta be getting close. I don't care if it's a fight. I'm ready to see people. Ok take a left and - oh! Hello. What do we have here?

What happened? Did Primus unfreeze the guy and he went to pick us off one by one?

Hmmm. Hold on. Is that? He's using the spare sword Islan carries. Come to tink of it, they seem to be pulling their punches.

"You're -grunt- pretty good."

"You're not so -ungh- bad yourself."

Yup. This is for fun. Huh. I thought Islan was supposed to be working all these long hours and stuff. The way he wielding that sword, you'd think he'd just lifted his head from a downy pillow.

crash crash crash

I wonder how long he'll last.



Well, I think it's been about half an hour. Both are about evenly matched. I can't help but to, pay close attention. The guy is pretty flashy. He's very agile too. What the hell was that? He just jumped and flipped over Islan's head. Methinks the boy knows more than he lets on. And, yes, he's fun to look at too. And Islan, well, I had kinda thought Islan wore padded jackets. You don't often get the chance to watch each other when you're in the thick of battle. He's very, fluid.



They must have been at it for an hour now. Islan is really starting to tire now. You can see it in the way he's moving. Gonna be soon now.

"Enough. I can take no more of this. It pains me to do so sir, but I must concede. You didn't spend six hours over a forge pounding metal into little disks."

"Of course. Well fought. Maybe we can go another round again sometime."

"Mmmm. Prahaps. Goodbye." We both just watch him go off. Hey, he's looking at me.

"Hello. You've been watching for a while."

I shrug one shoulder as I stand. "You two put on a good show." He's looking me up and down.

"Did you like what you saw?" What a shameless grin. I thought his fighting style reminded me of someone. I feel my lips quirk in an answering smile.

"I was happy to see warm bodies."

"I'm Evendur."

"Arilyn."

"Feel like going a round?" My smile becomes a slight smirk.

"Thought you'd never ask."



He is good. He's very good. I gave him the Garalyon sword. It's weighted for a different style of fighting, but he adapted pretty quickly. The jumping over my head thing was somewhat irritating, but since I saw him pull that trick on Islan earlier, I was more prepared. Though I did shock him when I dove, slid between his legs, and jumped up beside him to tap his shoulder.

"What was that?" He asked me with an amused expresion on his face. I returned the smile with a grin and a one-shouldered shrug.

"You don't do what we do without having to get a little creative."

Thrust thrust. Parry. Dodge. He's starting to smile a little. "Something funny?" He keeps smiling.

"Just thought I would tell you. This arm is starting to get tired." He's smirking now. He's been using his left hand. I have been using my right.

"So you thinkin' about giving up? Calling it quits?" I challenge him.

"Not quite. Just going to switch to my primary hand." With one gtaceful movement, not even breaking combat the sword was in his other hand. Immediately he goes on the attack. I am somewhat impressed, but not too suprised. I've worked to be good at both hands, though I am stronger with my left. I do think he has improved his swordplay greatly with this little maneuver.

I let this go on for about another twenty minutes. "Ahh, Evendur?" Breaking concentration to speak for the first time in that twenty minutes.

"Yes, my dear." I can't help but to roll my eyes at his endearment.

"Did you ever figure that maybe I was not using my primary hand either?" I arc an eyebrow at him as we parry and thrust. He grinned at me shamelessly.

"Of course."

"Good then you won't be too suprised." I exchange hands and press my advantage. He looks caught off guard for a second. Soon the clashes of metal are ringing throughout the tower.



We must have been at it for about three hours now. It feels good to stretch my muscles. I am feeling tired. He looks a little run down as well. Time to up the odds.

"How are you with two weapon combat?" I throw it out between breaths. He raises a brow before replying.

"Two weapons?"

"Yup." So without any more warning I spin. Taking one of the kukri, and throwing it at him. With reflexes I didn't quite realize he posessed, he caught it and twirled it between his fingers.

"You're a tricky girl, Arilyn." A give him a quick wink as I unstrap the kukri's mate and take my new stance.

"Thank you."

clash clash clash



I feel better. Four hours of just losing myself in combat, non-lethal combat at that. Always a reilef. But I'm really starting to get tired. Apparently, Evendur has a lot more, endurance, than I first though.

"I think we're going to have to cut this short."

"Can't take it anymore, hmmm?" I smile tiredly.

"Hey, sometimes it's better to quit and come back again later. Wait, a sec. Did that just come out of my mouth?" I grin. "I never quit."

"Of that I have no doubt. Heaven help those you decide to go after," This kinda strikes a cord. What does he mean by that? "I think you would go to the ends of the earth after someone you deem worthy of your attention. Just depends on the sort of attention you want to bestow." Huh? He smiles in a knowing way. "I think one day you will understand. You ready to go back to your room?"

Hmmm? This man is so confusing. "Yeah, sure."

"You think you can find your way?" I look up at the floors that soar above our heads. Staircases crisscross this way and that. Dozens of doorways lead into the unknown, openings to many, many rooms. I wonder how many people have got lost here?

Turning to Evendur with a sheepish smile, "I think I'd appreciate a little help."



So this morning, Primus had Atoz wake us all up. He said that his work was finished, and that he wanted us all to be there. So now I'm sitting on a balcony with Evendur. We're just letting our feet dangle over the side and talking. Everyone else is doing their own thing. Everyone being the topic Evendur has now decided to grill me on after telling me a couple stories of his own travels.

"So about the redhead. . .?"

"Elana? She's alright. A bit stiff at times. She hasn't been too comfortable since we got here. On edge, really. She's our nature girl. We get along alright. I don't think she gets me most of the time. But," I say with a slight smirk, "she really doesn't have to. When it comes down to it, we just need to work together." He seems more interested in this last statement.

"And just what is the work you people do?" I give him a sidelong glance. I do like him. He kinda reminds me of me. But I still just met him. We've already told too much to too many people.

"I'm sorry, my friend. But our specific task is not something I can talk about." I smile softly in apology. He returns the gesture.

"Don't worry about it. Everyone needs to maintain their secrets. So tell me more about your companions. The blond fellow I sparred with."

"Ahh, Islan. The another example of those you have to work with. We haven't always gotten along. That's no secret. When we first met, well we didn't like each other on sight. He thought I was inferior, because of my half-blood status. I disliked him for breathing. And for saying such rotten things. To be fair, he had drank a fair bit of wine. And I was already in a bit of a temper. We've both mellowed a bit since then.

He used to be this prancing, mincing fop of an elf. I was abrasive and confrontational. Naturally, we got along great." I say it with a wry expression. "But you travel so long together. I think we do ok though. He wasn't happy in the beginning, but I grow on you. Like fungus." I pause to give a one shouldered shrug. "I think he has that same quality. Anyway, we tolerate each other. Though things have been oddly strained with the whole he thinks he's my father thing." Casual as could be. Candid. Butter wouldn't melt in my mouth. He stares at me open-mouthed.

"What?" Ahh, I'm shameless.

"But that's a long story. I've been talking for a while now. Don't you have anything to say?"

"You seem to want to talk. It's good to listen sometimes. I think you need it."

Hmmm. Okay. "Anyway. . ." I tell him more about the others. After a while, Primus came from the room at the bottom.

"I would like you all to see my work." And they just started coming out of the tenth level room. There must have been a hundred of them. All bright and shiny.

"Congratulations, Primus. You've just made yourself immortal." Anwar's words break through the trance. These are, his children. This is what he was having Islan help with. How fun.

They're looking at us all curious. They're examining the walls. Some are more bold than others. They reach out to touch. Normally, that wouldn't be something I was ok with, but they really like little kids. Like everything is new.

Nyran and his pet rock are sitting with a group. They seem to be telling stories. Captivated audience. Anwar has he bow out. She's demonstrating how to use it and talking about hunting in the forests.

Ahh, poor Elana. She looks disturbed. She's glancing wildly about like she doesn't know what to do. A construct, a being that is supposed to be completely impassive, has created more beings like himself. They are all alive.

I turn to look at Evendur. He's watching the new young beings toddle around. Then he catches my eye and smiles.

"You feel like putting on a show?" He shrugs.

"Why not? But I'll need to borrow a weapon." I again hand him the Garanlyon sword and we take a dueling stance. Pretty soon we have a crowd around us. They watch, fascinated by the flashing metal coliding with a jarring rhythm.

Primus let this continue on for about half an hour when he disapperared into a room. Returning, he handed Islan a scroll.

"This will take to you where you need to go now."

"Thank you, Primus, for all your assistance."

Nyran looked at Evendur. "Do you wish to go with us?" I can't help but to agree. It would be great. Someone I could talk with.

"Yeah, you should come with. It would be nice to have someone to hang out with."

He smiles. Right there I know his answer.

"I'm afraid that right now I cannot. But I have no doubt we will meet again sometime."

So now it's time to leave. I wonder what will happen. A gate of chaos? Chaos isn't so bad really. And doesn't there have to be chaos for order. Balance and all that. But a change will be nice. Time to move on. Time to focus. After all, we're gonna save the world, right. And it's a race to the last crystal.

From the journal of Arilyn

Contributor: Jess Landin