The cold, hungry wind that blew past the silver haired exile, made its way through the city, past the cliffs and into the druid’s grove. It swirled up leaves and caused the deer to sniff the air and grunt before reaching the sacred circle where the planeswalker knelt in meditation. The wind swirled around her and into her mind… whispering to her subconscious.
The name echoes through her subconscious, causing gentle waves in her dreamscape like a crystalline drop into a large clear ocean.
The waves oscillate and lap to the shore, the dreamscape changes…
A cave of crystals, the light refracts making the whole of it glow, the whisper goes deeper… into the realm of memory.
It had only been a week ago… Aysel had been sitting at a table of a darkened room in the Vampire city by the name of Toit, attempting to find information about a deal The Fallen One could have made to inherit the ability to summon from both sides.
Eorindel came in and did some business with the vender and then came and sat across from the planeswalker.
“Aysel?” She looked up from the heavy ancient tome and nodded to him. “I need to speak to you about…” He looked around and noted the vender looking at them curiously. He mouthed two words to her but she didn’t quite make them out.
“I am not making out what you’re trying to say… but… perhaps you would like to meet somewhere else… later this evening?” The elven guardian nodded slightly. “The Druid’s Grove then… you will know when I am there.”<br>He nodded again to the planeswalker and got up, bowing his head, and then left, leaving her to her studies.
The whisper echoed on to that night it swirled out of Toit, through a portal to the surface, in and out of the ant tunnels, past the town, through the forest and back to the grove… a grove of memory where the elven planeswalker stood, waiting for the guardian.
She knelt there, before the ancient stone as she always did… the magic of a thousand druids that had passed before her reverberated there, it helped tune the senses, helped her feel like Celestian was right there with her. The moon passed over the grove and suddenly she was aware of two beings entering the grove. She opened her eyes and stood up quickly, readying a spell in her hands just in case.
A wolf and a panther came into view and the wolf came and hid behind her. She looked to the wolf for a moment and then to the panther, who stood off away from the circle… she seemed… sad.
Aysel looked again to the wolf and recognition came to her face… “Eorindel?”
The wolf looked at her puzzled… he didn’t know.
Aysel moved her glance to the panther again but she had run off. The wolf had a strange look in his eyes… suddenly he was not a wolf any longer…. But Eorindel, but he was not at the same time, a fierce wild look was on his face and he took his weapon from his sheath, attacking the stone of the druids, mumbling something about a curse.
Aysel backed up, feeling that there was nothing she could do except let the rage pass… soon enough it inevitably did, bringing no information forward from Eorindel… he had no idea what had happened, except that he needed to find “her”…
He was about to run off when the planeswalker grabbed his wrist. “Eorindel… wait!” The elf looked at her strangely for a moment. “You needed to speak to me?”
The Guardian turned slowly and nodded, taking a wrapped orb from his pouch. “What do you know of this?”
The planeswalker’s mind reeled. “A black pearl… by Celestian’s Jewels… how did you come in possession of something so damned?”
Eorindel told her of how he found it in the crypts…
Aysel nodded slightly… “Perhaps you should have thrown it into the depths of the crypts… But that matters little now. You have been having nightmares and such since it came into your possession?”
Eorindel nodded slightly. “You have dealt with this before?”
“A long time ago… before I left my home, a powerful mage… a friend of my father’s—my tutor dealt with a rod made of the substance… I may be able to recall how he protected himself from it with some meditation… but it is deep within the recesses of my memory… If you can bring me a gem bag.. I can probably temporarily shield it.”
The earth began to move under their feet. Eorindel eased his riddle of steel from its sheath and Aysel quickly strung her bow and rapidly readied herself for onslaught. Powerful spell weaving manticores called ice upon the two and demons emerged from summoning circles that Aysel attempted to destroy quickly.
In a silent moment Aysel dumped her own pouch of gems into her larger bag, clutching it in her hand as another wave of manticores and demons. Mielikki’s Guardian swung his sword artfully, cutting the monsters deeply and efficiently as the planeswalker called up arrows of flame to delve deep into the lacerations.
The planeswalker moved quickly and muttered enchantments over the bag, protection spells… shields, everything and anything she could think of… It wasn’t a permanent solution by any means… but it would be strong enough for a few days, long enough for her to recall something stronger. She tossed the bag to Eorindel and explained the enchantments to him. He nodded and put the pearl in the pouch and secured it inside his tunic. The timing was just right, suddenly both found themselves in the clutches of great hands. The ground shook and lightning flashed as a new summoning circle appeared in front of them.
The Balor was huge and stared at the two with its great red eyes. They could feel its fiery blood and taint even as it looked upon them from several meters away. It demanded the pearl and Eorindel looked to Aysel with a questioning glance.
It’s not here demon… can’t you feel that?
Master says that is, master said to get pearl
The pearl would call to you if it was here demon! Go back to your master!
The fiend looked to the elven woman obviously confused… he stared at her and thought about what she said… it made sense, if they had the pearl, he would feel called by it to take it. He growled and stepped back to the circle he came from, and the hands released their grips.
“The shields should hold until I can find something stronger or when Pyrus gets back from his trip.” The planeswalker said quietly after she shook the last of the effects of the holding spell.
The guardian nodded slightly. “Thank you Aysel… I shall rest easier. But now I have to find her…”
Aysel nodded to him and watched as he ran off the direction the panther had gone.
She sighed a little and knelt back in front of the stone.
The whisper of the wind became a thunder as it passed back through the halls of memory and rumbled into the conscious. The clear blue eyes of the planeswalker flickered open.
Suddenly the planeswalker felt the spewing hatred and frustration the other elf was feeling at the moment… and she knew what needed to be done with the pearl.
She pulled the wind around her to cloak her movements and speed her step and then she took off from the grove, through the forest, over the clear streams , past the training grounds and into town, she slowed down and headed for the Laughing Rogue.
The atmosphere was calm, and the place itself was quiet enough, the only place in town that was guaranteed unwanted ear free… unless of course you didn’t want the owner to know something. He himself was a connoisseur of information, but no one really knew much about him, nor his identity, but his hearing was a small price to pay for keeping any one else from knowing.
Eorindel was in Dragon’s room speaking with Illiandrian, a wood elf, his agitation was increasing as she mentioned that Karl had given her aid in the past. Eorindel was not speaking clearly… mostly ranting. Aysel was mostly relieved when Maynard came in and helped her calm him.
It was true, Karl Fallen had helped each of them at some point, but now, what he was doing, the evil he was causing, it was no help… it was putting innocents in dangers. It didn’t matter at the moment, what mattered was getting Eori to the desert and getting the excess emotion and frustration burned off. She had Maynard take Eori to the fort while she apologized to Illiandrian for Eorindel’s behavior and explain it a little. She wished the other woman good luck and safety and headed for the place she asked them to wait.
She made her way through town quietly when she felt the other following her… she looked around quickly before leaving town but didn’t see him, she knew it had to be the drow… no one else was that adept at dodging her gaze. It didn’t matter though, if the dark elf really wanted to follow them to the desert… she wasn’t going to stop him.
She found the two waiting for her on the riverbank, Eorindel had the pouch containing the pearl out and was showing Maynard. The planeswalker frowned, its power was literally leaking out of the shielded pouch. It would be fixed soon enough.
They traveled silently for a while, passed the temple of Pelor, Karl’s home and the gnoll mines. The heat rose from the desert and Aysel was glad for her light robes not for the first time.
Aysel looked to the guardian, he was already looking visibly better, and they were still a long ways from their destination. They passed further into the desert and ran into the some of the more “buggy” of the desert residents.
The wind was picking up, a sand storm was brewing. Aysel smiled a little and looked to her companions.
Feel the wind? It brings change, blows away the ashes of what had been, allows for you to adapt, gets rid of the long dead, it helps to heal.
The four continued deeper into the desert, though the drow kept to the shadows. Finally they came to the cliffs where scorpions dwell. They approached the long thin strip of land connecting the two sides of the great canyon and found some very large… and very hungry scorpions with stingers raised and claws open.
The drow slipped from the shadows, rapier’s drawn and soon after Maynard and the Elf followed suit as Aysel launched arrows and flame from farther away. The four fought their way to the nearly hidden stair case that led to the valley below. Carefully they descended, near they bottom they looked out to find Torin the Planar surrounded by the giant arachnids.
Aysel let her spells and arrows rain down from above; as the men ran down to join in the melee. As the last fell they continued on the long path of the valley, admiring the tall cliffs and the clear untainted blue of the sky that rose so high above them. Finally they came to the ruins of some ancient city.
We are almost to our destination… now… in this place surrounded in stone, feel the ancient echo of it all, a place where life had thrived and now has returned to its origin.
She closed her eyes for a moment and then nodded. “Beyond this bend is our destination… shall we?” The four nodded at her and they entered the Nomad’s territory when the sun hit its highest.
Aysel stood in the shade of a wagon and watched Protheus, Eorindel and Maynard as they walked about the Nomads’ little town, examining the architecture and the locals.
“This has been good for him…” She thought out loud.
“Which him?” Torin almost whispered as he too joined her in the shade of the wagon.
Aysel laughed a little… “All of them I suppose… each in a different way.”
She turned then, going inside the wagon for a moment and emerged in her bathing suit.
Eorindel… it is time… come.
He nodded to her and took off the heavier pieces of his armour, the other three stood staring on at the planeswalker. She waded into the oasis and motioned for him to take out the pearl and mirror her movements. He held it out to her and she touched the bag, and then with both their hands on the leather, they knelt in the water.
Close your eyes… and listen and feel the desert around us…
He closed his eyes and both of their breathings slowed…
The wind that blows away the ashes of what had been… and heals.
The rock and ancient earth, where life was, and will be again…
And the water of the oasis… clear and pure, to help what was tainted grow again…
Wrap them around you… around the stone… so they may guard you from it having power over you again…
The planeswalker breathed in and out even slower now, the water of the oasis lapping gently against her and almost glowing as it is intoned.
Now… to shield it from the evil it calls…
Take your guarding of the forests and what you love… and I give you mine…
Take your faith in Mielikki… and I give you mine in Celestian…
Take your love…. And to it.. I give you mine…
He flinched and visibly thought of Avene at that…
Think of the love… the feeling and the purity.. not her… she will wait…
Aysel stopped then and rose above the other elf… weaving some spells around him and the bag.
It is done.
Eorindel stood up, and a visible weight was off his shoulders. He looked to her and tucked the pouch away. “Thank you Aysel”
The planeswalker nodded to him. “Now go find her Eori… and remember… there are things in the mortal heart and soul that no curse can affect.”
He nodded to her and rose from the water. Aysel stood there momentarily and then turned to the other three.
“I would not put such strong faith in your magic Planeswalker…” The Planar said.
Aysel shook her head. “It is not magic that holds that shield… it is Eorindel that holds it… the magic is only a small ornamental ribbon.”
She looked to Maynard and Protheus then… they were staring noticibly and openly now.
“What? Haven’t you ever seen a half naked elf before?” She shook her head and laughed a little. “Silly males…”
She eyed the dark elf slightly then… his look was not as hard, cold or greedy as it usually was. She shook her head again and went back into the wagon, redressing herself and thinking to the trip back to Greenrock. When she emerged, Maynard waited and together with Torin they vanished into the shadowy bend that led back to the valley path.