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Nardanien en'Rinar

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Nardanien en'Rinar

Post  Penelope on Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:37 pm

The Midwinter dawn broke in gold and coral hues over the horizon, its light streaming across the tiny farming community and illuminating the face of the priestess kneeling before the altar of Lathander. The altar was composed of a three-foot-tall cylindrical stone pedestal which was topped by a thick brass disc measuring two feet in diameter. From the disc rose an arch, also of the highly polished brass, depicting a rising sun. In the center of the disc, beneath the arch, three brass prongs held a small bowl made of sparkling rose quartz. The brass arch framed the true dawn, and after the sun's first rays touched the water contained within the vessel, Ashara lifted it to her lips to drink.

A few feet behind her, the warrior moved in his own morning ritual, working the stiffness out of each joint before launching his body into a series of masterful spins and strikes. The activity did not disturb the priestess' silent devotions in the slightest. By now the sounds were as familiar and comforting as her own heartbeat, and she was glad Elric had chosen to join her at the open air shrine instead of using the training room at the Champions' house.

The thick, red cloak she had worn while walking out to the altar now pooled around her knees as the Control Temperature spell began to edge out the winter chill. Ashara didn't HAVE to raise the temperature to a balmy ninety-five degrees, but she was in good spirits this morning and perhaps some of the pixie's playful mischief-making had rubbed off on her. When she heard Elric panting, then begin to peel off some of the layers of winter clothing, the priestess could barely stifle a chuckle.

After some time, she reached the end of her prayers and as she stood, an old children's hymn that her mentor had taught her sprung into remembrance. Ashara smiled and sang it softly aloud as she turned to watch the rest of Elric's routine.

"Thus begins this brand new day, its birth is now complete,
Now I shall use this blessed gift, my soul's darkness to defeat.
Lathander guides his faithful, where e'er our paths lead on
And may he safely lead us to see another dawn."

As she finished the final note, an intense rosy radiance surrounded the priestess, and her mind was filled with power. She cried out at shock of it, and was driven back onto her knees. It was Josiah's kind voice that echoed in her head at that moment.

"Rise with Lathander's blessing, my child! Your petition has been granted."

The radiance faded and Ashara lifted startled, hazel eyes toward her betrothed. "He's granted it!" She exclaimed, barely loud enough for Elric to hear. "Lathander has given me the ability to Imbue you with Memory Read!"

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Dec 04, 2009 9:56 pm

As dawn approached Elric was already sweating. It obviously hadn't occurred to him that he might be overdressed for training in the snow. Still, as the snow around the shrine turned to water and the damp earth quickly dried, Elric found himself getting more than a little uncomfortable in his heavy clothes. It was an interesting spell to say the least. There was a virtual barrier where hot ended and cold began. He simply did whatever he usually did when unexpected things intruded into his training space. He used it!

The change between the weather inside Asharas spell and the frozen Pre-dawn village outside was extreme to say the least. It was easily something that he could sense without seeing. So that's exactly what he did. Eyes covered, he spun and struck. Every punch, kick or strike he performed was expertly measured. Whether it was his fist of his foot it always landed exactly two to three inches into the cold.

He tried to focus on his training, but it didn't come easily this Midwinter morning. Too many things on his mind. Midwinter. The halfway point through the cold months. Closer to Spring than it was to Fall. The symbolism didn't escape him as he remembered the third of six priests fall to Kaber's Axe yesterday. Half done. That much closer to better days.

'Well...' he had to admit to himself, 'At least with the Shadow Priests.' The thought that finding the rod and slaying another dragon, a dragon powerful enough to decimate both Cyric's towers AND Eddick's druid friends, caused a sickening feeling in the pit of his stomach.

Best to take things one at a time. He tried to focus. Whether it was their task or the heat, it simply wasn't happening. Ashara couldn't honestly find this comfortable could she? Finally he decided, he had to do something. The heavy wool cloak was the first to go. But that didn't make much difference. 'What if...' he thought to himself as he tried to improvise a solution into his workout. 'What if... my coat was on fire!' Not hard to imagine after just that very thing happened in Calimport.

With a quick spin to the left of where he was, he had the buttons of the coat undone. A flip backwards had the coat off to wrists and he immediately shot both hands out in front of him. tossing the coat on the ground before him. If it had actually been on fire, he would have just successfully thown the flaming garment at the one who lit him up. At least that's how he pictured it in his mind.

Losing the coat helped, but the exertion he used to do it, made up for the garment. Also it dislodged the blindfold. So in his opinion 'fail.' He'd file that move away in his memory and perfect it later. As he went to adjust the blindfold again, he noticed Ashara watching him, and trying not to laugh with that mischevious glint in her eyes. He groaned inwardly as he realized that the heat was done on purpose. Ahhh well. He was nearly finished, so he could endure this a little longer!

Blinded as he was he never saw the glow that overtook the priestess. But he did hear her cry out! In mid spin, he adjusted his landing to facing the shrine and her. The blindfold was in his hand before he landed. Before he could ask what was wrong he heard her say "Lathander has given me the ability to Imbue you with Memory Read!"

Elric was stunned silent. It had been over two months since they had spoken of that. She said she would petition for it, and he believed she was. He had made the offer even before he had finally asked her to marry him. He didn't know much about magic, but he knew they were asking for a favor, asking to bend the rules. Still after two months he had assumed that Lathander simply wouldn't allow it. Perhaps when they had completed the mission and Dawnspeaker went away... but now?

With poorly concealed excitement he asked "Really? Are you sure?"


Last edited by Elric on Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:43 am; edited 2 times in total
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Sun Dec 06, 2009 2:48 pm

Between hearing Josiah's voice, the powerful spell that had just been pushed into her mind, and the realization of what that meant, Ashara was still somewhat in shock. "Yes, I'm quite sure." She nodded, and a nervous smile flitted across her face as she rose to her feet. The excitement in Elric's eyes told her that there would be no chance of him concentrating on his training any longer. Not this morning anyway.

Her eyebrows were drawn together in thought as she moved to the warrior's side. Plucking at the sweat-saturated shirt that clung to him, the priestess smiled apologetically, before lowering the temperature to a more comfortable level.

"This is not something that needs to be done today, Aratoamin. If you feel you're not ready, then we can wait as long as you need. The spell will stay with me, but..." Her voice trailed off, and Ashara let out a long breath. "But, if we don't have to wait, I would rather not. I want to share everything with you, and if this could help us to know each other better, and to see the faces of our parents, then I don't want to wait another day!"

She anxiously bit her lip before continuing. "You need to know however, that I still have the nightmares... I still startle awake nearly every night. Yes, I want to learn of my parents, but at what cost? If it will cause you pain, I would rather that I never know them. I understand that you've read the journal, but reading it is different than seeing it happen. I trust you, Elric, I do." She took his hand and squeezed it reassuringly. "I just want you to know what you're walking into. That's all."

Ashara raised up on her toes a few inches, so her eyes were almost level with his, and she searched his face. "Are you sure this is what you want?"


Last edited by Ashara on Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:07 am; edited 1 time in total

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Dec 06, 2009 3:45 pm

"I just want you to know what you're walking into. That's all."

He couldn't resist a smile at those words. So familiar, but this time spoken to him, instead of the other way around. "Tell me A'maelamin," <my beloved> he teased. "Do you think I'm being impulsive now?"

Even as he joked with her, he could feel a spot of fear growing. He didn't really know what to expect. He had seen Ashara cast this spell before. On priests of Cyric no less, and the ramifications had been minimal. Still, he trusted her wisdom. She had invaded memories before, and knew what he was likely to see. She knew and was concerned.

He knew about the nightmares. On the road as they were, he couldn't not. He tried to dismiss the fears, but though he may occassionally do foolish things, he wasn't a fool. Anything that upset her so badly, was something he took seriously. He would undoubtably see things he would never be able to 'unsee'. There were things that the priestess was afraid to speak of, and he was afraid to ask. Now they would break those barriers. He hoped that both of them working together they could beat the nightmares.

With her face so close he could resist! Hoping to break the tension that was building, he gave her a quick kiss right on the tip of her nose. "We don't have to wait, Ashara. It feels like we've waited forever as it is! Midwinter festival seems like a perfect day."

With a big smile, he asked "Your the expert on this. How should we go about it, and what should we expect?"


Last edited by Elric on Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:47 am; edited 2 times in total
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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:37 am

Ashara laughed and sank her heels back down to the ground, as she rubbed the tip of her nose. "Okay, okay, but if there ends up being two of us waking up screaming every night, I'm going to let YOU explain that to the others!" Her smiled faded as the words escaped her lips. She shook the thought from her head and went to pick up Elric's coat and their cloaks.

"You're the expert on this. How should we go about it, and what should we expect!"

"Well first of all, you're going to want to change!" Ashara tried to hide her grin. "Looks like you've had a good work out today, and I don't think you're going to want to sit in those wet clothes for the duration of this spell." She took a few steps backwards toward the house and requested that he walk with her. The snow around them melted in a soggy path as they walked back home together, discussing the spell along the way.

"I've cast the spell often enough, yes, but I've never had it cast ON me, so I don't know what that experience will be like. The person seems to be aware that I'm rooting around in their head, but they never seemed to be in any discomfort. We will be able to see about fifteen hours of the other's memories, in a like number of minutes. I know that doesn't seem like a long time, but depending on the memories, it can feel VERY long... The memories are only visual, though sometimes you can make out what someone is saying by reading their lips."

The priestess was silent for a few moments as they approached the door. "This will be more powerful than the other spells I've Imbued you with before, and I don't know if you will be able to control it. It's very disconcerting at first. If you stay calm and focus, I'm sure you'll get the hang of it quickly!"

Ashara smiled brightly at him, unable to disguise the mounting excitement her eyes. "Would the meeting room work for you? The chairs are comfortable enough, and we'll be out of every one's way. I think I would like to ward-lock the room so there are no interruptions. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we don't need any distractions!"


Last edited by Ashara on Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:07 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post  Colin Marcus on Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:50 am

"Meeting room sounds perfect!" Elric beamed back. "And definitly ward the door!" It was still early, but the house seemed fairly vacant. Still, no reason to take chances. She was right, this was a 'once in a lifetime' spell. Their friends may be starting the festivities a little early today, or halfway across the realms. With friends like theirs, one could never be too sure. As an added thought he suggested with a wink, "You should probably get the window too. Some of them can fly!"

"When do you want to do this?" He asked. Normally after dawn rituals, he was ready for some breakfast with the others. If they were awake yet. Today however excitement had stolen his appetite. He plucked a bit at his still damp clothes. "I could be ready in about ten minutes or so."
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Post  Penelope on Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:37 am

"When do you want to do this? I could be ready in about ten minutes or so."

Ashara's smile had widened into a grin that threatened to take in her entire face. "Excellent!" She tossed the cloaks and coat on a chair in the sitting room and dropped the Control Temperature spell. In spite of the freezing temperatures outside, the Champions' house was quite comfortable with the heat from the fireplace.

She started toward the stairs, but turned suddenly on her heel. "Actually, take fifteen! This ward will take a bit to set up, then I'll need to grab some components." With a little giggle, she ran up the first few steps before stopping and turning again. "Oh! You'll need a password!" The priestess thought a moment and her eyes darted around the room looking for evidence of a pixie. Seeing none, but wanting to take no chances, she skipped back down to the half elf and leaned in to whisper in his ear. "The password will be, 'nardanien en'rinar'." With a wink, Ashara bounded up the stairs, taking two at a time.

The meeting room was rather sparse. It had been over a year and a half since the house had been commissioned, but since then, they had been nearly constantly on the road. A large mahongany table dominated most of the room. It was surrounded by eight chairs, one of which was much larger than the others, and more sturdily built. On the far end of the room, four overstuffed chairs stood in front of a fireplace that had never been lit. Glancing around the bare walls, Ashara momentarily wondered if she should put up some of her sketches just to make the place look lived in. A plan for another time. For now, she decided to get down to business and prepare for what was to come!

After ten minutes, the ward was complete, and Ashara quickly flitted across the hall to her bedroom to retrieve components for the spells she would be casting. When she returned, she shut the door behind her and sat down in one of the over-stuffed chairs. Sitting there waiting for the man that would soon be occupying the chair directly across from her, it started to sink in exactly what would be taking place here. They may see their parents' faces for the first time. They would be opening their minds completely to each other. Withholding nothing. She ran her fingers through her hair and took a few deep breaths to calm herself. This was worth the risk... He was worth the risk.


Last edited by Ashara on Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:08 am; edited 2 times in total

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Post  Colin Marcus on Tue Dec 08, 2009 3:07 pm

As Ashara prepared her wards, Elric raced up the stairs to change. The extra five minutes would help he admitted to himself. That gave him a little time to wash up too. Ashara's prank had left him quite a mess. About fourteen minutes later, an excited and fresh feeling half-elf whispered "Nardanien en'Rinar." He chuckled at the appropriateness of the password. 'Entwining of Memories' is about as good a description as anything else he could think of!

Again he marveled at how fast she was picking up the language. Much faster than he had learned, and much faster than Gwilly had learned. Though to be honest, it was difficult to get pixies to focus on one task to long. Gwilly learned it on a lark, Ashara really wanted to know it and practiced it often. That's an interesting thought, Elric realized. After this spell, she will probably be as fluent in Elvish as he is. Too bad, he thought. He was really enjoying the teaching lessons. With that thought he walked into the meeting room of the Champions of the Red Dawn.

Seeing the Priestess at the 'comfy' chairs, he started that way. It took considerable effort to just walk, when he really wanted to run or leap across the room. Still he managed. Hopping into the chair, he returned her ready smile.

"Is everything set? Are we ready?" he asked trying to temper his eagerness. This was a serious occasion, he tried to remind himself. The glint in his eyes and his grin showed that he failed.


Last edited by Elric on Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Penelope on Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:28 am

The priestess chuckled at his barely-contained enthusiasm. She assumed he was counting on seeing an image of his mother, and she desperately hoped there was a memory of her that she'd be able to see and draw for him. She didn't want him to be disappointed.

Ashara pulled a small end table close to the right side of her chair and took a fresh piece of parchment from the scroll case she brought from her room. She placed the weights on the corners and set a few pieces of charcoal on the table next to the parchment. Once the spell was over, she would have to begin drawing immediately so she wouldn't forget the image.

"Is everything set? Are we ready?"

"Nearly so, Melamin," she smiled as she rose from the seat. Sitting on the arm of his chair, she pulled the holy symbol from around her neck. "First I need to Imbue you with the spell. This takes a few minutes, as I'm sure you remember. Take the time to relax a bit if you can," she grinned, "it's easier to control the Memory Read if you aren't in an anxious state." Ashara took a deep breath and began the casting as she laid her hand on the side of his head, her thumb gently holding the holy symbol in place on his forehead.

***

Ten minutes later she removed the rose colored disc from his head and took a moment to steady herself from the exertion. The ward, the Imbue and Memory Read were all very intensive spells, and she knew that after all the casting was over, she would probably need to rest. Once she had collected herself, the priestess pulled two strips of cloth from her pouch. The white silk was interwoven with delicate gold threads. She handed one of the strips to Elric, and sat back down heavily in her own chair.

"The cloth is the spell component you'll need. Now we're ready!" Ashara smiled a nervous smile, and attempted to slow her racing heart. "When you're ready, begin your casting and I will do the same."


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Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:51 am

He had the spell.

Though Ashara had granted him some minor spells before, he never got used to the feeling. It was strange. Almost as if there was more in you than just you. It didn't make any sense to him. Though the holy symbol was placed on his head, and during the casting itself, there was a warm tingling feeling around the head... That wasn't where the spell was.

He had heard Therogeon mention memorizing spells and he had always assumed that it was similiar to any other kind of knowledge. He remembered too well the headaches he would get as Vailis Hawksong used to lecture him. These spells were more like a warm cloak that surrounded him, filled him. He didn't understand it. Not for the first time he wondered if Ashara felt like this all the time.

It was peculiar to know something, yet not know it. With her help he could cast spells. For a fighter, this was nothing short of amazing. Oddly enough, knowing he COULD cast a spell did not impart the knowledge of HOW to cast spells. They were just there when he needed them. A most peculiar sensation really. And this spell was more powerful than any he'd had before.

He knew that once he cast this spell, his life could change. He would be sharing more of himself than he had ever dreamed he would. In his mind he still likened this to a poor form of Communion. Something that even Elves rarely do lightly. Most elves never try to form a bond that strong with another. Living amongst them it had never occured to him that any would be willing to share this with him. Even if it were possible, it would never have happend.

What would they be like after this? He knew she was concerned about his reaction to her actions while cursed. If he was completly honest with himself, so was he. He didn't believe that there was anything that she would show him that would change his feelings. He was sure by now she believed it too. Still... this would be a test. Possibly the greatest test. To see not only the triumphs of their life, but all the failures and shame that a person had as well?

He prayed that they passed. The fact that this 'test' was only allowed by the will of Lathander himself, helped assuage his fears. If their god felt this was a worthy endeaveur, than that gave him hope. Also the fact that it would only be visual was good too. He thought of all the battles he's fought and the pain he'd been through. He knew she already took some of that pain on herself when she healed him, and that was more than enough.

And there was still the issue of his mother. After all these years of looking, he was about to see her for the first time. Or more accurately he supposed, Remember seeing her for the first time. No. Remember the first time he'd seen her! This was already getting confusing! What would he see? He was abandoned so quickly. Would he find a clue as to why? Had he perhaps seen her since? There were Elf women with green eyes in Everska. Though he had searched for years, none had ever laid claim to him. It was always possible that he may recognize her. Little more than a score of years had passed since this hidden memory, not long at all for an elf. What she looked like then, would be what she looked like now.

If it worked at all. He tried to resign himself to the fact that little baby Elric may in fact have never seen the woman. Anything was possible. He'd know soon enough.

He leaned over and kissed her. "For luck." He smiled at her. Before returning to his seat he whispered in her ear, "Diola lle. Amin mema lle a'sinta moni sina naa a'amin." <Thank you. I want you to know what this means to me.>


Last edited by Elric on Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Penelope on Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:51 am

The priestess blushed and smiled as he took his seat. "Ai'nat ten'lle, Elric. Ar'diola lle ten'caelien ikotane sai dur e'amin!"

She wondered if he would be thanking her a few minutes from now... Ashara knew some of the things he would be seeing, and though she didn't want to keep secrets from him, she struggled with wanting to protect him from them. He knew what was coming, and still he leaped at the chance to read her memories. Elric wanted to help her find her parents as much as she wanted to help him find his mother.

She'd always wondered about them, but with no information besides the medallion that Josiah found with her, there were no leads to follow. She treasured the gem-studded emblem, not for it's monetary value, but for the link to her beginnings. A link to the unknown truth of who she was. The Rosemorns were as loving a family as she could ever have wished for, and she knew that she had been blessed in that way, where Elric had not. He had been so young when his father passed away, and though her family had taken him in, he felt he never belonged.

Even if she couldn't learn anything of her parents, she craved this opportunity. To know each other so completely, and be accepted for everything they are and have been... She had to believe that would be the case. Ashara wouldn't allow herself to think otherwise. Whatever happened after this spell ended, for good or ill, things would change between them. She prayed she was ready for it.

Scooting to the edge of her seat, she placed her hands in his and smiled at him with what she hoped was confidence. "I'm ready," she said with only the most minute tremor in her voice, and Elric began the incantation. The priestess took a deep breath to calm her nerves, and joined him.


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Ashara in Elric's memories

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:57 am

As they finished speaking the incantation, they felt a sudden release of power. For Ashara this was a familiar feeling of her god working through her. She had cast this spell many times in the past. She readied herself to see what Elric had once seen. But something was different.

Suddenly she felt pain. Pain the likes she hadn't felt before, yet at the same time was 'familiar' somehow. She tried to scream out, but didn't seem to have a voice. Lights and sounds were everywhere, but she couldn't seem to focus. Her hands felt wet. One hand seemed to be clutching her side and the other helped her maintain balance. Through tear filled eyes she saw blood. Lots of Blood.

Something was wrong. Ashara could feel her feet shuffling down a street, but had no control over it. Her breath came in rasps as she staggered down a street. She didn't know where she was going, but she felt a desperation to be there. And Fear. Fear she knew more about, and this was desperation borne of fear. There was also something else nagging in her mind. Disappointment? Inadequacy? The feeling that she should have accomplished more than she had.

What was happening? Where was she? Suddenly a coughing fit that left the taste of blood in her mouth, staggered her against a brick wall. It took all her strength not to just slide to the ground and rest. But there was stubbornness there too. Her vision had nearly cleared. The edges of her vision was tainted in black like one who was almost awake, but this place looked almost familiar...

With legs that felt like rubber Ashara felt herself push from the wall. She still had no control of where she was going, but felt the urgent need to be there. Finally she saw something that she recognized. The sign to the inn they had stayed at in Waterdeep so long ago. What was she doing here? As she stumbled through the door something seemed to catch in the doorframe. Pain shot through her body and this time she did hear a scream, though it was not her voice! She felt her feet slip on something and felt herself fall. Her vision nearly red with pain she thought she saw something protruding from her body. A few somethings actually. Arrows? The pain slowed her, but it did not stop her.

She could feel whatever desperation had kept her going this far was nearly spent. A strong desire to simply rest was coming over her. If she could just get up those stairs. There seemed to be some commotion going on in the inn, but she simply didn't care. She just wanted to rest. Before she passed out the last thing she noticed was that the blood soaked hands were not her own. They were Elric's.
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Elric in Ashara's Memories

Post  Penelope on Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:09 pm

Elric's head swam momentarily from the power that had left him so quickly. The warmth that the magic had provided was gone, and he began to feel very, very cold. He saw nothing. There was only darkness. For a moment he feared that the spell didn't work, that something had gone wrong. Then the darkness was closing in on him, clawing at his mind, crushing his body. He felt himself curled in a fetal position. There was no pain, only hopelessness. The inevitability of defeat.

He was suddenly aware that he was not alone in the blackness. He tried to turn but found he was unable to control his body, and his body didn't want to move. "Ashara..." The sound startled Elric. Ashara told him that the memories he would see were only visual. She had cast this spell often enough to know what she was talking about. If he wasn't in her mind, where WAS he?!

Out of nowhere he felt terrible pain. Didn't feel it he realized, but remembered it. It felt familiar somehow, but he was separated from the pain, and his body was not reacting to it.

He felt his head slowly turn toward the speaker. The old man standing before him radiated a golden light, burning eyes that felt as if they hadn't seen the sun in ages. Squinting, he could just make out the man's features, and Elric realized he knew him. "Josiah," another voice rasped, "how are you here?" It took him a moment to realize that it was his mouth forming the words, but the voice was not his own. Ashara's voice. The pain he had previously remembered, was overtaken by a feeling of profound shame. He couldn't understand why he felt that way, but the power of it was crippling.

"I am here, my dear, because your friends have worked tirelessly to cure you, and Lathander has not been blind to their indirect prayers." The old priest moved forward, leaning over him. He kissed his forehead, and Elric felt a warmth surge through his body and spirit, banishing the crushing darkness.

This WAS Ashara's memory. He couldn't deny it any longer. He was not only seeing what she saw, but hearing what she heard and feeling what she... He suddenly knew why that pain had felt so familiar. She must be reading his memory from Waterdeep, when he had been so badly wounded. Was Ashara feeling what he had felt? Before he could develop the thought further, he was swept along with the memory.

Josiah helped him to his feet then rested a hand on his shoulder. "Do you remember the things you have done?" "Yes," Ashara's voice responded, "I remember the lives I took with my own hands, though I couldn't control my actions." Again, a wave of shame swept over Elric, and he felt a sharp pain on the side of his head, as his hand had reached up to tug a braid. "Ashara, your atonement has been paid in full via the prayers of the faithful, and the love and diligence of your good friends. You have been forgiven wholly and completely." The old priest pried Elric's hand from the braid and kept it firmly in his own. Not his hand, he realized. His own hands were far different from the small, delicate one Josiah held as he continued to speak. He felt joy then, and a sense of freedom from the darkness. Hope that she must have believed impossible living in that state for so long.

"Lathander has given you two charges. The first is to release Dagadar from its five millennia curse. Secondly, you are to put an end to the Darkness threatening to blot out the Southwest of Faerun. Though it cannot be seen by the naked eye, its power - if not stopped - will grow to touch every living being in the region. Dark shifts of power are happening everywhere now, both in lands men can see, and in Realms they cannot. The next years will see evil return, with plots grander in scale than ever before. The good and faithful will be needed to combat it, starting with you and your companions."

"I understand, Josiah, and I swear to dedicate myself to these missions! It is by Lathander's grace that I have the opportunity to right some of the wrongs that have been done by my hands..." Elric recognized the determination he both felt and heard in the voice. Josiah gently released his hand and took a few steps back. "This will be our last meeting before your time in the Halls of Morning, which I pray will be a long time coming. My time to part from the world has come, though this has nothing to do with your atonement, as Lathander does not trade blood for life, as you well know"

"What? Wh...what do you mean? You can't, I still need you!" He felt as if he had been punched in the gut, and his body wanted to double over with the force of it, but again...it refused to move for him. Elric realized that tears were streaming down his face. Josiah continued to take slow steps backwards. "You have learned all I can teach you, Ashara. You must have confidence in your own abilities now. Thanks be to Lathander for giving me this one last opportunity to see you before departing; such is the grace of the god we follow! Please do not shed tears on my account. I have led a full life and look forward to going to my reward. The Dawn is coming, my sweet girl. Rise, and be renewed with the coming of the Morning Sun. For right; for ruin; for the Red Dawn."

Elric's eyes flew open and his body pulled him upright from the bed he had been lying on. The darkness was gone, and he saw he was alone in a room. Out of the window in front of him he could see a blazing red sun breaking over the horizon. His feet propelled him forward to stand at the window. As his lips began to pray, he saw a bright glow pulse from the jeweled medallion he was wearing. The warm feeling that he got when Ashara Imbued him with spells, came over him again. The power filled him, and Elric felt comforted and relieved as if he had been missing that familiar warmth desperately.

As he stood at the window, he felt a pain in his shoulder as he remembered the arrow that had been protruding from it bumped into the door frame when he entered the inn. He remembered screaming from the shock of it. Then he heard a gasp from behind him. His body turned him around quickly to see Therogeon standing there with wide eyes and mouth agape. Elric felt the corners of his mouth pull up in a huge smile and his legs propelled him toward the mage, arms wrapping around him tightly. He felt Therogeon rigid with what he guessed was fear, but the emotions he felt were joy and friendship.

"Lathander has freed me from the Curse, Therogeon! Thank you so much for everything you did to help bring me back! I've missed you all so much!" The mage took him by the shoulders and pushed him to arm's length. Elric was alarmed at how easily that was accomplished. "So you're back in your right mind then? How wonderful for you..." Therogeon's eyes mirrored the disappointment and the touch of anger in his voice. "There goes my test subject." He felt his arms drop to his sides and a feeling of hurt squeezed violently at his heart.

There was some commotion going on outside, and Therogeon left him to go check out the door. "Stay here." He ordered him sharply. After a few brief moments, Therogeon poked his head back inside the room. "Come with me, Elric has been hurt." Elric heard an urgency to his tone, and a wave of fear that was not his own, rolled over him. His body leaped after the mage and followed him to the next room. Gwilly was in the room, and her eyes gleamed with joy when she saw Elric enter, but his body paid the reaction no heed, because lying on the floor in a pool of blood was...himself.

Elric had known that he had been badly injured in that assassination attempt, but he didn't realize how much blood he had lost. Or how close to death he had truly come... His feet never stopped moving towards his bleeding body. The fear and concern he had just experienced were forcibly pushed aside and replaced by steely resolve. As he knelt over his body, he saw the three arrows sticking out of him, and an alarmingly deep gash on his left side. The Elric on the floor was unconscious. His skin an unhealthy, pasty color. He felt the power well up slightly within him then and his lips and fingers moved to cast what must be a healing spell. His hand went to the wound on Elric's side, and some of the power drained out of him through his fingers. It had to have been a minor spell, since it did little more than stop the bleeding. His fingers worked feverishly, but carefully as they pulled the arrows one by one from his body. While one hand was removing the final arrow, his lips and off-hand were already moving to cast another spell. This time he felt the power surge inside of his body, and flood down his arms to his fingers. One of his hands placed itself on the wounded Elric's side, and the other went to his head, turning it so he could look directly at himself. He felt his teeth clench tightly as if in preparation, just as the magic was released. Pain burst from his side. His chest. His shoulder. His back. Then just as quickly as it came, it receded, leaving only a faint ache and a bit of exhaustion. It did not approach the intensity of the pain he had felt on that day, but knowing that she would willingly subject herself to that with no hesitation at all, amazed him.

He felt the relief even before he noticed that his face had taken on a more natural hue. His head turned his eyes toward the floor, and he could see that he was kneeling in a pool of blood that was being soaked up by the pink vestments. Suddenly he felt nauseous, and it felt as if the crushing darkness he had experienced earlier, was threatening to overtake him again. A sound caused his head to jerk his vision back to himself. Elric was stirring and he realized that his heart was doing the same. His blood-smeared hand went to the side of Elric's blood-smeared face.

"You're safe now, Elric..."

He recognized that particular tone in the voice that was coming from his mouth. He hadn't noticed it until they were well within Dagadar, but he knew now that when Ashara spoke with that certain softness, that those words were meant for him alone.


Last edited by Ashara on Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:09 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Dec 11, 2009 8:36 am

The world was dark in Elric's mind. There was no emotion, no thought, but what they felt from Ashara's memories. But Ashara and Elric were still there. Had the memories shifted? Were they simply remembering Unconsciousness? Even for Ashara that was a first. Though so far, she admitted nothing about this spell was routine.

Suddenly there was bright light. The pain that had filled them had been reduced to a dull throb and she felt a warmth. The room flickered between light and dark as the wounded Elric tried to regain conciousness. "You're safe now, Elric..." a familiar voice spoke. As his eyes opened and adjusted to the morning light, the first thing she saw was herself standing over him. Ashara could feel the Confusion and... fear?

Elric remembered waking up and seeing her the first time it had happend. He wasn't sure if he was dreaming, he hadn't been sure of anything at that point. Ashara couldn't have been there. She was still in the Sleep Coma! But she was, and he was helpless before her.

The image of herself swirled in front of the priestess. Before her eyes she saw herself change. Subtle changes maybe, but drastic to her. Hair undone, all indications of Lathander missing. The morning light faded into darkness. She could smell the sea air and realized they were on a ship. Excitement, concern, fear, lots of fear, and overriding it all, determination. So many conflicting emotions it was hard to focus on what was happening. Not even counting the emotions she was able to seperate as her own.

As the image of Ashara's relief filled face shifted to the colder hate filled face, Elric was lost. That wasn't the way it had happened was it? He remembered waking up and seeing her there, and then... 'Of course' Elric realized in amazement. The first thing he had thought when he saw her that day, was think about the 'last' time he had seen her awake! A memory of a memory?!? Or did the spell actually jump to the original memory? His mind reeled from the possibilities.

She heard a voice, a voice that she barely recognized as her own. "So you've come to kill me then?" At those words a new stab of disappoinment and saddness filled him. Reading these emotions, she knew that Elric would never have done that. The very accusation had upset him more than he had ever told anyone.

She saw Ashara lift her hands in surrender and approach them. Realizing what she was seeing, she knew Therogeon and Cadderly were beside her... him, but the eyes she couldn't control, never wavered from the woman walking toward them. "I know the things I've done are terrible, but I couldn't stop! Can you help me? Please, I just want to be myself again..." She knew the lies when she heard them, and the suspicion wasn't hers alone.

Elric knew what was coming next, and tried to speed it up. He didn't really want to see himself fighting Ashara. No results. He realized then that this wasn't his spell. He may have some control over Ashara's memories, but not his own! The confusion was overwhelming. She was in the drivers seat for this show.

Ashara could feel the anticipation in the air as she watched herself approach the group. She could hear Therogeon doing something off to the side, but apparently Elric had never looked to see it. She saw the other Ashara dodge a little as Therogeon's darts, that's what it was she remembered, flew wide. In less than a heartbeat the calm pleading mask that she had been wearing fell, and a look of utter madness replaced it. Even as the lost priestess was slashing at the mage's face with her nails, Elric was moving.

He was fast, but not fast enough. She felt Elric's shame and disappointment as he pulled her away from the mage and saw the bloody gashes across his face. Apparently he didn't have much time for those emotions as she felt his attention snap to the battle at hand.

She could feel his frusteration as he tried to restrain the wild woman. She knew he was doing everything he could to stop her without hurting her. Ashara could tell from the anxiety that he felt that he may have to increase force soon. Fortunately that was never necessary.

It didn't take long before she was held tight. Suddenly the resistance completly stopped. She felt her head turn to see Therogeon lowering his hand from casting, while Cadderly attended his wounds with some healing. As she released the rigid form of the held priestess she heard Elric's voice filled with concern, inquiring after the others. When he was convinced everyone was fine, he turned back toward the form of their quarry. Ashara was shocked at the hate filled scowl frozen on a face she couldn't recognize as her own.

Morning light melted the look of hatred into one of relief. "You're safe now, Elric..." Confusion had returned. She saw the view dart around the room. Fear was there. A feeling of helplessness. "Ashara?" a tenative voice asked? She saw Therogeon nodding in the background. "What? How?"
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Post  Penelope on Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:04 am

"Ashara? What? How?"

He remembered saying the words at the same time as he was hearing them from the Elric lying on the floor. As he looked into his eyes through Ashara's, he had the dizzying feeling that Ashara was looking into her own eyes through his. The sudden feeling of vertigo forced him to try to concentrate on this memory and not the one that Ashara was currently viewing.

Elric's eyes darted around the room and looked past him for a moment, but apparently Ashara's gaze had never left the half elf. Relief became sadness as he watched his eyes fill with fear, then strangely, an image of Therogeon's disappointed face appeared before him. It was the reaction that the mage had had when she came out of the coma. Ashara must have been afraid that he would have the same reaction as Therogeon did.

"Lathander cured me, Elric," he felt and heard his lips say, "He honored all the prayers and work done on my behalf! I was given the power to heal you just now..." He felt the anxiety as she spoke, but the anxiety melted away as he watched the fear in his eyes change to joy. The prostrate Elric struggled to sit up after his near death experience. He saw his hand...Ashara's hand...reach out to help him sit upright, and after doing so, Elric pulled himself in for a hug.

He remembered being overjoyed that his best friend was back, but at the time he had no idea what Ashara's reaction to that simple gesture had been. He felt the strong arms crushing around him. Not to hurt, but to hold fast. After a moment of surprise, he began to feel warmth, belonging...love. Not the type of love one friend feels for another, but the kind of love that turns a person's world upside down and changes how they view life itself. He also felt longing. As if she hadn't realized how much she'd missed him until that moment.

He felt a slight ripple of disappointment as the Elric in the memory pushed him to arms length and patted his shoulder. "Welcome back, we missed you!"

He had always wondered why Lathander had let Ashara fall victim to the curse, and why he would let her live in that state for so long. It occurred to him then that perhaps the Morninglord was looking out for him as well, when he freed Ashara on that day. If she hadn't come out of the coma when she did, he could easily have died from his wounds.

The emotions of belonging, happiness and love swirled around him as the images began to dim, then fade out completely...

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Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Dec 13, 2009 12:34 am

Ashara was drowning in emotions. Happiness, and Joy banished the fear and concern. Also... Satisfaction? Was that the right word? A feeling that might be associated with a job well done? A quest completed? It was difficult to focus. Trying to sort through emotions and sensations that had never been a part of the spell before.

What was different this time? Was this the way the spell was supposed to work? Why hadn't it happened this way with the Cyricists? Had Cyric blocked part of spell, like when the Speak with Dead before? Had Lathander protected her from unneccesary pain and trauma against the earlier evil targes?

As she felt Elric release the priestess in front of her, her vision clouded up. She saw a hand brush some of the moisture from her eyes. Even from this view she wasn't sure if it was a result of the injuries or of joy.

She saw her eyes drawn to the familiar sight of her holy symbol. The jewels seemed to dance with the light in the room. Suddenly she felt the spell slip. She lost control and the room spun out of sight.

As things slowed down her eyes focused again on the jeweled amulet. The jewels no longer seemed to dance, and if anything the whole medallion seemed to have lost its luster. However it wasn't around an Ashara's neck this time. It was lying with a familiar journal on a nightstand in Therogeon's old house. Apparently this was either before the new house was built or at least before they moved in, but when? She remembered when this had to be. She distinctly remembered the disdain she'd felt for both her faith and her past when she left impresk that winter.

As she suspected, she felt curiosity as Elric went to investigate the odd items in his room. The curiosity got even deeper when he noticed the medallion for what it was. As he was the only one around he wasn't saying much, but she could imagine what he was thinking. Prior to this, she was rarely, if ever seen without the symbol of her faith. Why wouldn't she have taken it with her to Carradoon? Her eyes were drawn to a note on the journal. She recognized Aretis' handwriting.



Champions,

I've gone after Ashara. I found this journal in her room, and I've marked certain sections you'll want to read. Please don't attempt to follow as this is something I must do alone. She's more dangerous than we could have known, and I will travel faster by myself. I will try to find a way to save her, but ultimately she must be stopped.

Aretis


Curiosity turned to confusion. He still didn't say anything as he sat down and started reading the passages marked. Confusion turned to fear, fear to horror. She could feel a sense of betrayal. She remembered all the times Aretis had tried to question her worthiness to the group after she lost her spells, and she remembered how Elric was always there to defend her. She knew he enjoyed her companionship in the group as much if not more than just her ability to heal. She also knew that he had never doubted the story she had woven about a "Testing." He had never mentioned these feelings before, but she knew now as he read her admission, that he felt like a fool. The lie had hurt, and it hurt deep.

Before it could overwhelm him though, his eyes turned back to Aretis' note. Betrayal, fear, horror, were also replaced. She felt an anger she had never felt from the half-elf before. Anger and a protectiveness.

She saw him slam shut the journal, pocket the medallion and bolt from his room. "Therogeon!!" she heard him yell, "Gwilly!?" She saw Gwilly show her self in the doorway, and as the room started to spin again, she faintly heard him demand, "Find EVERYONE! Get them here FAST!"
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Post  Penelope on Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:52 pm

A vision of the note Aretis had left for them flashed before his eyes. Elric had never seen eye to eye with the ranger, what with his 'judge, jury and executioner' mentality, but the thought of him killing a dear friend...killing Ashara...when she wasn't responsible for her actions at the time, enraged him still.

The image faded again into darkness, though this time it was a more natural darkness. Elric began to hear the sounds of crickets and even an owl hooting from not too far a distance. He was looking at stars glimmering through a canopy of leaves. He noted with some curiosity, that they weren't the stars as he was used to seeing them. They were dimmer in a way, as if he was looking at them through an unwashed window. He felt cold... Perhaps not cold so much as the absence of a warmth once remembered.

His vision drifted down from the trees to the crackling campfire he sat in front of. Elric had no idea when or where he was in this memory, but when his eyes shifted to sleeping form of a man with tousled black curls, that narrowed it down on the timeline a bit. He wondered then if his thoughts of Aretis had brought him to this memory. Was he learning to control it as Ashara said he might?

The ranger slept deeply, his face turned away from the priestess. Elric felt an emotion that he hadn't expected. Lust. It was a palpable sensation, and the ferocity of it was overwhelming. A trembling hand slowly reached toward Aretis and gently twisted one of the ranger's curls around a finger.

Ashara certainly had never mentioned these feelings for Aretis, and Elric found himself trying to 'speed up' the memory so he wouldn't have to see it all or feel it all. Tried and failed. The moment sparked an awareness in the half elf, that he had his own memories that Ashara might wish to speed up. He prayed that she would be able to control the memories she was seeing. The thought of her having to live through the encounter with Syrlynna horrified him...

He had no choice but to watch as he leaned over to bring his nose closer to the ranger's hair. It smelled of earth, sweat and leather. A sharp pain stabbed him at his temple. Like a sudden headache. As his view pulled back, he felt his left hand on the hilt of his dagger. The image shimmered slightly, then pulling the dagger from its sheath, the hand drove the blade into the base of Aretis' skull. Mortified, Elric tried to scream out as he saw what was occurring, but his mouth would not obey him. He watched helplessly as the blood started pooling. No one moved. There was no sound, no smell. Nothing. The image shimmered again and he realized that the hand had never taken the dagger from its sheath. The desire Ashara had felt, was not for Artetis himself, but for his blood. He felt her frustration then. She wanted desperately to kill him, that much was obvious. He could surmise that she felt doing so here would reveal the truth of what she had become to the others, and in so doing would probably mean capture at best.

The hand in the ranger's hair came back to its owner, and Elric's view began scanning around the camp. Next to Aretis lay Kaber, who was snoring loudly and familiarly. His eyes settled on the minotaur, and he could almost feel Ashara calculating how she could possibly take down such a beast. He pulled a pouch from his belt and opened it to peek inside. Elric recognized some of the herbs. Black Hellebore, Hemlock, Nightshade... A cocktail of some of the most deadly herbs that grew in this region. They were fresh too. She must have been collecting them along their way. THAT was a frightening thought! While they were on the road, Ashara had cooked for the group nearly every night! Had she tried to poison them? Elric couldn't remember anyone getting sick from the food... Perhaps she hadn't done it for that very reason. It could be too easily traced back to her. Looking inside the bag, his view shook slightly from side to side. Frustration mounted. Not enough for a minotaur? It would surely be dangerous to test that theory!

The view shifted over to the older man lying directly across from him. Elric was glad he wasn't able to read her thoughts with this spell, when he felt a trickle of dark glee push its way through the frustration. Suddenly his eyes darted around the camp before settling back to the druid. Of course, she wouldn't know where Gwilly was! Anger and more frustration washed over him. Therogeon was next. He lay curled up on his pallet with his blanket pulled up over his nose. He felt his lips curl up into a wicked grin and his left hand brushed the pouch of deadly herbs that hung again at his side. The pain stabbed at his brain again.

Next to Therogeon lay Dkarthius. It seemed like a lifetime since he had layed eyes on the demon, Reave...whatever he was... Clad in plate armor and full helm even while sleeping, his four arms twitched occasionally while he dreamed. The feeling he got from Ashara was one of confusion mostly. She probably wouldn't have the first idea about how to kill such a creature herself without drawing too much attention. Who knows where he even kept his heart or whether he was susceptible to poison!

The Elric in the memory lay only a few feet away from where Ashara sat. He felt something like anticipation just before his gaze fell upon himself. Suddenly the pain exploded from behind his eyes. Hands clutched at his head, pressing it, trying to contain the agony. It seemed that she had been familiar in some way with this pain. She knew it was coming somehow. His vision moved down to her lap and he watched the shadows caused by the flames dance across the skirt of her vestments for a moment before the pain finally receded. When it did, the darkness seemed to deepen around him. He felt more powerful in a way. It felt as if part of him...a despised part of him was weakening, and he reveled in it. He felt very pleased with himself as his eyes returned to the campfire.

Elric was confused. What was that pain? It wasn't a physical injury, but seemed more of a mental attack. He thought back to the journal entries he had just remembered reading in the memories Ashara was looking at. "There is a seed of the true Ashara…the weak Ashara still within me..." Was that remnant of herself trying to protect her friends? If so it felt as if she may have won this battle, but it was quite obvious that she was losing the war. He concentrated a moment, trying to focus on that part of her that still lay curled in the crushing darkness. Slowly he began to get the tiniest sensation of relief.

Relief and exhaustion...

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Post  Colin Marcus on Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:13 pm

The vision stopped spinning, but nothing new came into view. She was in complete darkness. She could tell the spell was still active because she could still feel him. This time there was a nervous apprehension. Excitement and mild fear mixed in one. Where was he now?

She couldn't see anything, but she could hear, and for that matter smell too. Wherever she was, it smelled like early autumn in a forest. Birds in the distance were chirping. It was chilly out, but not quite cold.

She heard a melodious voice shout out "Three!" and immediately felt Elric move! As his body leaned back she felt something pass incredibly close to her face. "Six!" the voice shouted again. She felt her body spin as something else swooshed past. "Nine, Seven, Four!" There was feeling of Vertigo as she felt him leap and spin, each time coming sooo close to being hit by...something. She could now feel the blindfold wrapped around his face. She wished she could rip it off, but regrettably had no say in the matter.

"Hmmm... " She heard the voice mumble approvingly. "Concentrate! Keep your center. Good..." Everything had calmed around her. "Seven! Nine! Three! Two! Nine!" The voice, it must be Eldorath, shouted off in rapid succession. "Two!" He shouted. Ashara felt herself spin away from the target, suddenly a sharp crack and a wave of pain exploded behind her eyes. She felt confusion as her legs went weak and she hit the ground hard. Her hands reached around to the back of his head and she instinctively knew that a massive lump was already starting to form.

Footsteps approached and she could actually hear his clothing rustle as the elf crouched down beside her. "Are you going to lie there all day? What did you do wrong?"

"I listened to you!" she heard the half-elf say with a deep bitterness. She could barely recognize the young voice. Without eyes she couldn't be sure, but guessing she would say he must be between Thirteen to Fifteen years old. She could feel anger and resentment coming in waves. "That wasn't TWO!"

"Ohhh... So it was MY fault was it?" She heard the elf say with amusement in his voice. Ashara didn't find the situation particularly funny. None of the stories Elric had told about Eldorath ever described such a sadistic streak.

"You were the one who wasn't concentrating. I'm not always going to be around to tell you where your enemies are. YOU need to know where they are." More pain, and annoyance as she felt a hand inspect the back of his head. The priestess wasn't sure if she actually heard the elf rise to his feet or if she merely 'felt' him do so.

"You have the instincts. You heard that attack didn't you?" She felt another wave of pain as she felt her head nod begrudgingly. She could feel the bitterness at his master slowly being internalized into disappointment in himself. "Trust your own instincts Elric! Don't wait for ME to tell you what to do..." She could almost hear his smirk. "Time's going to come when you have to decide if your going to do what others tell you, or what YOU tell you."

"It wasn't fair..." the half-elf complained.

"Battle isn't fair! Get used to it! Now get up and try again." She felt another wave of disappointment at the prospect of going through the exercise again. Still it didn't take him much time to slowly rise to his feet. Her head was aching something fierce and her feet were unsteady under her as she heard numbers being called out again.

"Six, Find your center! Ten! Focus!" The old elf instructed. By now she could almost hear the attacks coming in. Something on swinging ropes. Something heavy. They were all around her, but once in a while something sounded.. different. "Mistakes hurt! If you don't want to get hurt, what do you do? Seven, nine, four!"

She felt the boy spin and duck under the first two attacks, Sidestep the third, and swing a foot out that caught an uncalled fourth. "If you don't want to get hurt..." he replied to his master, "Don't get hit!"

"Exactly!" she heard the fighting master say. The pride in his voice was unmistakable. She felt the memory shift again.
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Post  Penelope on Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:55 pm

As Elric stared into the now swirling flames, from the deep recesses of his mind he heard the voice of his old mentor, and he smiled inwardly. Ashara had mentioned once that she would like to meet Eldorath someday. Once this spell was complete, it occurred to him that she would know the elf nearly as well as he did! Elric occasionally wondered where in the wide world his mentor might be. He wondered if he'd ever see him again. He hoped so. Maybe the ancient elf had heard of some of the Champions' exploits and was proud of his student...

The fire filled his vision and he felt his surroundings shift as a new memory began. The campfire he had been gazing into became the flame of a candle. He sat at an old desk in what seemed to be a rather small room. In his view, he could see shelves of glass bottles containing what appeared to be herbs and various other components that he didn't recognize. He heard Ashara sigh and his eyes moved down to the text on the desk in front of him. From the diagrams drawn within, it appeared to be a manual on the treatment of various wounds and diseases. Her fingers flipped through the pages of the valuable book delicately, but he felt her restlessness. It seemed like she knew the book verbatim, and she would rather be doing anything other than sitting in this dark room.

He felt her startle as a door in the adjoining room burst open. "Ashara, I'm going to need you in here!" Josiah's voice again. Though spoken in his usual soft tone, it had a touch of urgency that quickened her response. He jumped from his seat and rushed into the next room. The old priest was trying to help a barely conscious woman onto the treatment table. "Grab her legs if you would, and help me get her up here." He grabbed the woman around her knees and with Josiah's help, lifted her onto the table. Elric didn't recognize her at all. He knew most of the people in Impresk by now, and he was quite sure he'd never seen her. The confusion he felt from Ashara told him that she didn't know her either. It was hard to tell her age due to the bruises and blood that marred her face. Lesions dotted the exposed skin, and her right foot was twisted at a sickening angle. The dress she wore was filthy with so much mud and blood that it was almost impossible to tell what color it should have been. The skirt of the garment was ripped up to the thigh and revealed that the bruising was not confined to her face. "Thank you," the old priest huffed, out of breath, "now stoke the fire, and grab me some extra blankets. She's freezing!" Concern mixed with a touch of fear throbbed in his mind.

"Where did you find her?" He heard Ashara question as he moved about attending to the tasks she was given. "She was at the shrine," Josiah answered. He tended to the woman, cleaning dried blood from her face to get a better look at her injuries. "Her horse was nearby, so I brought it over and tied it up outside. That poor beast looks like it needs a meal. So does our patient! First things first though..."

He pulled the blankets from a chest in the corner of the room and brought them over, throwing them over the woman, and tucking them closely around her body to keep her warm. Josiah was examining the sores on her arm when she seemed to snap to her senses and rolled her head to one side look at him. She screamed then and tried to push herself as far as she could from the man. She would have fallen from the table had Ashara not grabbed her in time. "It's okay, we're here to help you..." The old priest took a few steps back and lifted his hands before him in a placating gesture, hoping to ease the woman's fears. "Don't TOUCH me," she screeched at him frantically. Elric felt anxiety mount before he heard Ashara speak. "You're hurt. Please, let us help!" He moved over and slowly took the woman's mottled hand. "My name is Ashara and this is Dawnlord Josiah Thornbrand. You were found at the altar of Lathander here in Impresk. May we ask what your name is?" The battered woman's eyes turned to regard the young priestess for many moments before she spoke. "Sulime," she said faintly, before motioning to Josiah, "and I don't want HIM anywhere near me!"

Elric could get a better look at the woman now from where Ashara was standing. Her light brown hair was cut short, and it was thick and disheveled from her travels. She had deep set brown eyes, that seemed to be even more sunken in from illness. The woman was much older than himself, though perhaps not quite as old as Josiah. She may have been pretty at one time, but even through the bruising he could see that a few old scars marked her face and it appeared that her nose had been broken at least once before. This woman had lived a hard life, wherever she was from. He felt that Ashara must also have been examining her, for he began to feel sadness and pity. Those emotions quickly gave way to hope and he felt the corners of his mouth lift into a smile.

"May I treat her Josiah? I can set the ankle and heal some of her minor injuries!" The old priest had backed off to a distance that would not upset the mildly hysterical woman on the table. "Yes, yes, that would be fine. I can see to her horse and I'll go let your parents know that you will be late returning home this evening. Come here for a moment, my dear."

He left the woman's side and moved to Josiah, who leaned in to whisper in his ear. Elric caught the familiar scent of dried rose petals wafting off of the priest's white robes. It reminded him of Ashara. That particular component was used in so many of her spells that he had begun to associate the scent with her instead of the flower itself.

"Sulime is a very sick woman," he began in a low voice, "and she will need me to Cure her of her disease. I'm also afraid that her sickness has caused her mind to deteriorate. Just be careful, my child. She has been wounded more than just physically. I'll be back in awhile, and I'll be sure to bring her something to eat as well. Do tell her that for me." With that, Josiah patted him on the hand and went out the door.

Her eyes watched him leave, and Elric could feel how much she loved and respected her mentor. They had talked once about her wish that she could have been with him when he passed or that she could at least have been there to say goodbye in person. His thoughts about Josiah caused the memory to disappear and Elric felt as if he was being jerked forward violently.

He was back in the small room with the desk that she had been sitting at in the previous memory. Ashara was standing now, reading a note that had been pinned to the new, white vestments that were draped over the desk's chair. Elric could feel the tears sliding down her cheeks as she recognized Josiah's handwriting.

My dear girl,

I had hoped to tell you this in person, but the Morninglord has shown me that my time in this place draws to a close. Since your friends informed me of the Curse that has laid hold of your mind, it has been my only prayer that you are released from this evil and restored to us. Lathander is faithful and I know that one day you will be whole again.
In anticipation of that day, I had these robes made for you. When I am gone, you have earned the right and responsibility to wear the white as caretaker of the shrine. Whether you wish to choose this path or seek to spread the hope of our god in far-flung regions, is for you to decide. Either way, I am so proud of you Ashara. You have been more than a student to me; you have been my daughter in the faith.
Remember, do not fear the Darkness you face, for you cannot lose yourself in it. The light within is greater than the darkness without, and Good will always prevail.
The Dawn is coming soon...

Josiah


As Ashara mourned for her beloved teacher, the memory faded away and Elric found himself back in the middle of the memory he had just left.

He felt excitement and anticipation as he went around the room gathering the materials he assumed would be used to create a cast for the woman's ankle. When he approached the table again, he went to work carefully setting the ankle, and he saw that Sulime was watching every move he made. "You look far too young to be a priestess," she said with a hint of suspicion in her voice. "Does that old man keep you here for his own pleasure?" Confusion melted into horror. "Of course not!," he heard Ashara blurt out loudly, before he felt herself try to remain calm, "and I'll be nineteen years next week, so no. Not too young. I've been training for almost four years now!" The woman's eyes widened and she nodded as if she was impressed, but Elric knew she was simply mocking the priestess. From the way he felt his lips press together tightly, Ashara had caught that too.

When the broken ankle was in proper alignment, he saw his vision shift to the tray of tools next to him. His eyes returned to the patient, and he saw that she was sitting up, her face no more than a couple of inches from his own. He felt shock and some fear before he realized that the woman had her hands on the jeweled medallion that hung around Ashara's neck. "This is quite the pretty thing, isn't it? Rich girl then, eh? You must be quite well off to own such trinkets." This close to her, Elric could smell the sickly, sweet scent of disease and decay. "No, I'm not wealthy," he heard Ashara say, while trying to remain calm. He could feel that she wanted to jerk the medallion out of the woman's grasp, but apparently decided otherwise. "It was given to me by my parents when I was born."

"Ah, it's all the same," Sulime cackled, "rich family, rich daughter." He felt his hand go to the disc of rose quartz around Ashara's neck. Removing it, he pressed it against the woman's chest. "No, my adoptive parents are farmers. I never knew my real parents who gave me that necklace." Elric felt the now familiar sensation of power welling within him and then release through his hand into Sulime's body. It did heal some of the bruising and cuts on her lips, but he could tell that it would take a few more castings before that ankle would be completely healed. The woman didn't even seem to notice that anything had happened, so focused as she was on Ashara's face. She let go of the medallion, and lay back down on the table with a sigh. "I am an orphan too. I know what it is to have that part of your life missing."

Elric felt his fingers running through the woman's mud and blood spattered hair. It was like that simple shared experience had forged something of a bond in Ashara's mind. He felt determination and something like affection as he looked at Sulime. "Let's get you cleaned up a bit, then when Josiah gets back you can eat something. There's an extra bed in the back room that you can stay in while you heal. It may take a few days."

Panic lit the woman's dull eyes. "NO! I will not stay here with that man! I'm fine, I'll just sleep at the inn." Confusion returned. "If you knew Josiah, you would know there is nothing to be afraid of," he heard the priestess say comfortingly, "You'll be safe here, you have my word." Sulime scoffed at him. "You ARE young! Let me teach you a lesson that will serve you well throughout your life... Never trust ANY man. Ever." She turned her eyes toward the ceiling. "I'll stay at the inn."

He felt Ashara's frustration and concern for the woman in her charge. "Why don't you stay at my parent's home then? We have an extra bedroom that is near to my own." Now Elric himself was concerned. The priestess was being incredibly naive to trust this slightly off-balanced woman that she just met, but there was nothing he could do but watch...


Last edited by Ashara on Fri Dec 18, 2009 6:13 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:08 pm

The memories were moving faster now. Thoughts, feelings, sights. This had to be what it was like when someone doesn't resist she realized. A rare thing indeed to not try and withold at least a little. To open your entire life to another person. There were times when she felt she could control it, and other times where she was brought unbidden to powerful emotions.

Frustration. She was sitting in small yet well lit room. Ashara didn't recognize this place at all. But she recognized the jeweled holy symbol in Elric hands that he couldn't seem to take his eyes off of. She could tell he was tired, more than just a physical weariness, but mental and spiritual one as well. Just tired and frustrated. Slowly her gaze left the symbol and rested on a sleeping Ashara lying on a small cot. She was still dressed as she was when they had found her on the boat, though she must have been deep in the fish sleep by now.

Ashara wasn't sure how long he had sat there, but she felt a soreness in her legs and back as he stood up and walked toward the bedside. She sat by the bed for a few moments and watched herself. While asleep she was amazed at how 'at peace' she looked. She knew it wasn't real though and she could tell Elric realized it too. If she had woken up right then and there, she would have tried to kill him and anyone else in her way. But lying there like that, it was hard to believe.

"We'll get you back." She heard the half-elf whisper. The frustration was nearly unbearable. "Therogeon and Eddick will find a way. If they don't then Cadderly will." She saw him slip the holy symbol over her sleeping head and lay it gently on her chest. "This is who you are, You'll find your way back to us..."

Again the vision changed....

Anger. Similar to when reading the journal and Aretis' message drew her attention. As she regained control she tried to focus tighter to the beginning of this particular memory. She seemed to be inspecting the wagon for a trip. Feelings of fear were heavy this time. Nervousness, like he was doing something that he didn't want others to know about. She didn't have a clue what this secret was, but it seemed out of character for the half-elf, as much as the the rage that drew her here. What was it that was going to make him so angry?

As she finished hitching the horses to the wagon she saw her gaze go to the wagons contents. With sudden understanding, she saw herself lying in the back of the wagon. She was surrounded by blankets in what appeared to be an attempt at making her comfortable.

When her gaze fell on the sleeping priestess, she could feel fear turning to frustration. Suddenly she heard footsteps behind her. Turning suddenly in fear, she saw it was Eddick and Therogeon. Relief settled in. "Are we ready then?" She heard Elric ask.

"Just about." Therogeon stated. "I just need to make sure I have everything."

"I don't think we have anything else to do in town. As soon as we find the others we can leave." Eddick added.

"Good!" She heard Elric say, "The longer we're here the more likely someone will find out about her." He turned and started walking toward the wagon again.

"Actually, About that..." She heard Eddick say. "We told her mentor, Josiah."

Shock, betrayal, and anger mixed together as the fighter stopped dead in his tracks. Turning to face the druid and the mage, anger won out. "You... did WHAT?"

Therogeon stepped forward to placate him. "He knows her better than anyone Elric. He had a right to know what had happened! He understands it wasn't..." Ashara was stunned as she felt the mages face crush against her fist. Therogeon didn't even see it coming. Even Eddick seemed surprised, though he seemed to recover fast enough.

She looked at the mage on the ground in front of her and felt a need to hit him again. When she looked at the druid she felt anger, but a mild anger, as if he didn't expect any better of him. When she looked at Therogeon she felt betrayal, which only seemed to amplify the anger. Makes sense she thought. Eddick was new to the Champions, and whether he knew it or not, at this time he had never even met her uncursed.

She actually felt her fists clenching to strike again when she saw the blood coming from the mages nose and lip. Looking at her fist she saw the mages blood on Elric's hands and she felt ill. The half-elves emotions became a whirlwind. Anger, betrayal, confusion, nauseous, protectiveness, frustration. Finally with a distinct feeling that he was about to do something he would regret, she felt him take a couple steps back. Without another word he turned and headed into the house.

Ashara felt ashamed that she had brought the group to blows. Nobody had ever told her about that incident. She had heard that Elric was just as dedicated to protecting her reputation as he was her well being, but she never knew it had come to this. The scene shifted again.

Lust. Ashara braced herself for what she assumed this memory was going to be. She was surprised to see not a beautiful elf woman, but a dryad! She remembered now that Elric and Aretis both had been under the Dryad's spell in the tomb of Esa El’Hadar. Her eyes only seemed to be for the dryad. Suddenly she heard the minotaur's voice bellowing "ENOUGH OF THIS!" and heard the dryad scream.

Surprise, determination, hatred for any who would harm his dryad. She saw Elric turn toward the minotaur. Aretis was already charging their friend with weapons drawn. She felt in Elric a desire to hurt Kaber. Kill him if he could. As she lived through the fight, she felt Elric do everything he could to bring down his former friend. The emotions were similar to what she herself had felt, but weaker... much weaker. Still she sensed that Elric had been carrying that around with him for a while, and at least thought he understood what the curse was like. He'd have a much better idea after today...

As Kaber seemed to ignore Elric's pitiful strikes and put his massive arms around the tree the dryad screamed even louder. With a resounding crack the scream went silent. As soon as Kaber pulled the tree from the ground, the dryad fell down dead, and the spell was broken. Hatred and bloodlust were replaced with shame.

The forest spun away in a shower of lights as the vision shifted again...


Last edited by Elric on Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Elric

Post  Penelope on Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:21 am

The memory suddenly jolted forward, and Elric found himself in the room he stayed in the two times that the Rosemorns had invited him into their home. It was just as he remembered it last, and immaculate as always. Mrs. Rosemorn wouldn't have it any other way. The heavy curtains were drawn aside, and from the dimming light, he guessed it must be late evening again. In the flower box hanging outside of the window, Elric could just see the tiny heads of white, gold and purple crocuses peeking through the soil. It was so like his own memory of the room, that for a moment he believed he would see himself lying in bed. Instead, his eyes settled on Sulime.

The woman was sitting up in the bed, looking out the window with sadness in her eyes. Elric found himself walking towards her with a tray of food in his hands. Roast chicken with carrots and turnips, a glass of milk, and what smelled like Arryn Rosemorn's freshly baked rolls. He still dreamed of those rolls on occasion...with a bit of freshly churned butter and a drizzle of honey... A feeling of concern washed over him and broke him out of his mental salivation.

He sat on the edge of the bed next to Sulime and set the tray down on the lamp stand. From this vantage, Elric could see that the lesions that covered her skin were gone and the bruises had turned to a faint greenish yellow color. Her hair was clean and neatly brushed back into a short ponytail, but though her eyes had lost the dark circles that ringed them, they were still dull and lifeless. Josiah must have Cured her and it seemed that a few days had passed since he helped lift her onto the treatment table.

He felt his hand gently take hers, and he heard Ashara softly question the woman. "Are you thinking about going home to Carradoon?"

Sulime pulled her despondent gaze from the window and turned to the priestess. "I will not go back to him. I cannot."

"You don't have to," Ashara's voice was laden with anxiety. It was obvious that she didn't like that look in the woman's eyes, and it concerned her deeply. "You can stay here until we can set you up somewhere more permanent. Sulime, you can make a life here in Impresk!"

She looked past Ashara for a moment, and Elric saw his vision turn to see what she was looking at. One of the priestess' sketches hung on the wall. It was a portrait of a Sulime, with her short, wavy hair and freckles dotting her nose. The eyes of the woman in the sketch sparkled and a huge smile stretched across her face. Ashara had left out the scars he noticed, and the twisted nose from the multiple breaks. From the look on the actual woman's face, Elric doubted she even had the ability to smile like that anymore. Looking at it though, the sketch did look slightly familiar. Perhaps she still lived in Impresk. They hardly spent enough time there to be well acquainted with everyone, and it was likely he had seen her in the Mangy Manticore once or twice. His view turned back to the woman in the bed.

"No Ashara. I have done things in my life that no atonement could cover. I don't belong here, nor do I deserve a second chance." He felt alarmed at the hopelessness in her voice, and concern mounted.

"That's just not true! No matter what a person has done in their life, it's never too late to start anew! Tomorrow, the sun will rise, the way will be clearer and you will feel your spirits lifted! You'll see. You're loved here, Sulime, we'll take care of you." Ashara's voiced paused for a moment as he squeezed her hand. "Is there anything else I can get you?"

The broken woman's eyes welled with tears as she regarded him. "No, thank you, but I'd like to be left alone for the evening if you don't mind. You're right. Tomorrow morning things will be better for all of us."

Elric watched as Ashara leaned in and kissed her cheek. "Tomorrow morning then! Sleep well!" He rose to his feet and skipped down the stairs. Concern was gone, replaced by fondness and lightness of heart.

The vision jolted ahead again, and he felt Ashara's overwhelming fear. It was early morning, right after dawn, and he was running at a dead sprint toward the barn. Over the crunching sound of her boots on the partially frozen ground, he could hear the horses kicking up an awful clamor in the direction he was sprinting. He reached the barn, and saw that the beam that held the door shut had been lifted off its hooks. Panic and fear rippled through his mind, as she pulled open the doors. The four horses screamed so loudly that he wanted to cover his ears, but Ashara paid them no attention. From a large beam spanning the loft, Sulime hung by a rope around her neck, her bare feet jerking violently. Horror washed over him briefly, then all emotion was gone, as if a wall had closed him off from it. Her body simply reacted. She grabbed a scythe from the barn wall and flew up the ladder into the loft. The rope hung just within reach of the tool, and she swung it as hard as she could. Though she connected, the rope was thick, and the blade wasn't as sharp as it should have been. Ashara's frustrated scream mingled with the horses' and she swung again, this time severing the cord.

Sulime's lifeless body fell in a heap to the ground. She rushed to her, but in spite of all her efforts, she was unable to revive the woman she had so desperately sought to help. As Ashara hugged Sulime's head against her chest, the wall lifted, and the sorrow that poured out threatened to drown him.

Yet again the memory jerked forward to another morning. This one was a few hours past dawn. Ashara and Josiah were joined by a couple of the priests of Chanteau, as they took ferry across the river to the graveyard with a pine casket in tow. He felt a sadness that could be expected, but also a feeling that she should have known better. Should have seen it coming. Elric realized that at least at the time, she blamed herself for Sulime's death. The tiny funerary procession moved slowly down the path through the gravestones. Out of the corner of his eye, to the East, he saw some movement. His view turned in that direction, and from a distance he could see... Himself!

This memory was from the day he had returned to Impresk and was searching amongst the stones for his father's grave! It seemed so long ago now... A flicker of recognition, lit in her mind. As he watched himself intently, he saw the other Elric's head bow as he moved away to continue his search. Josiah patted Ashara's shoulder urging her forward, and she walked on behind the casket. He felt the urge to go running after that strangely familiar figure, but responsibility drowned out that desire for now.

The funeral service itself whirled by him. Both in Ashara's own memory, and in his reading of it. Emotions swirled. Sadness. Disbelief. Guilt. Hope. Restlessness. When it was over, she excused herself and headed straight for where she knew he would be found. He walked up behind the half elf that knelt at the grave of Arturo the shepherd. He felt Ashara's anxiety, before she spoke. "Elric..."

As the kneeling Elric turned towards him, he felt the priestess flush slightly as they both took a moment to appraise each other. “Yes, my name is Elric.” he said with some suspicion. “I’m sorry if I disturbed the funeral, it wasn’t intended."

Her heart within him leaped for joy at the return of her friend, and he felt unable to contain the smile that spread across her face. "You didn't disturb anything. You don't remember me do you?"

The half elf looked surprised that this woman would know him, and he seemed to be searching his mind for answers. "I'm sorry. I just got into town today."

Elric felt her hand pull the medallion from beneath her vestments and hold it out for the half elf to see. His eyes widened when he saw it. “Ashara? Ashara Rosemorn?”

“You do remember!” Relief, happiness and excitement filled him, just as the memory slipped from his grasp, swirling away around familiar emerald eyes.

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Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Dec 20, 2009 9:42 pm

Lights and sounds danced around her. Ashara smiled as she realized that while actual control was still beyond her, the feeling of vertigo was less than it had been the first few times. She felt weightless, spinning, like a small child trying to get dizzy. It was almost fun.

Some of it anyways. She was also getting better at separating which memories were hers and which were Elric's. Apparently, Elric had found his way to her memory of Sulime. She still felt guilty about that. She realized how young and naive she was then. If the girl in the memory knew what she knew now, the priestess was certain she could have helped the poor woman. At least seen through her mask and help her heal the pain. What truly amazed her was that the girl and her weren't separated by much time. It seemed so long ago, and yet sometimes felt like yesterday.

"No Ashara. I have done things in my life that no atonement could cover. I don't belong here, nor do I deserve a second chance." Sulime's voice passed through time. Those words startled Ashara. They were practically the same words she, herself told the High Radiance in Waterdeep!

She listened in amazement as her younger more naive self responded with same kind of wisdom she had sought and received from a head of her order! The wisdom was the same regardless of who spoke it. She herself had worked through the darkness to the next dawn while Sulime had chosen not to. She wished again that the poor woman had accepted her friendship. She died feeling alone and friendless. Ashara understood Sulime now so much more than she had at the time, and again thanked Lathander for her friends. She shuddered when she thought how things would have been different, and where she would have been now, without Elric and the others support.

The spinning seemed to slow down into a sense of wonder and the color of green. more shades of green than she had known existed. Tall Trees shaded them from the sun with bright blue foliage. As her gaze spun around she could see in the distance mountains. Massive things that seemed to be everywhere. There was no road, merely a wide grassy path, that seemed like it should be more well worn, but wasn't. She could hear birds chirping and squirrels chattering. Everything seemed so peaceful. She could hear music. The most unearthly music she had ever heard. It seemed to float on the wind and come from everywhere and nowhere all at once. Peaceful, and never distracting she was sure she would never forget that sound. Ashara wasn't sure where this place was, but it was beautiful beyond compare. Her amazement mirrored Elric's own.

In her gazing she noticed a short distance up the path a cloaked figure speaking with a few elves in chain mail. Apparently Elric wasn't very observant of them as he stared at the most unusual plants she had ever seen. The were both startled as they felt a hand on his shoulder. "Come along, Elric." She heard a now familiar voice say. The boy turned to look at Eldorath, and Ashara finally got a look at the person who had helped make Elric who he was.

Excitement came from the boy, but for Ashara there was only shock. She stared into the eyes of an elf. The eyes were a bright blue flecked with gold in color and had a light in them that exuded youth and vitality. But that's where youth ended in this description. At first she thought he was very tall, but then she began to realize how young Elric was in this memory. He couldn't be more than Eight. Nine tops. The elf was a Moon elf like Tenithalosa. Pearly skin with a hint of blue around the angular features. Much like Elric himself, but much more pronounced. His face and hands had deep ridges in them. Around his eyes was a spider-web of lines too. Hair, long in style and silver in color had lost most of its luster and was streaked with grey. Wrinkles and signs of age that she had never seen in an elf before. Never even heard of such a thing. She hadn't known many elves in her time, but with her time in cities like Waterdeep and Calimport, she knew some. Some who claimed to be over Five hundred years old, yet looked as young as Elric and Therogeon. Eldorath must have been truly ancient.

Appearances didn't seem to have any effect on the old elf's vitality. He moved with the same grace and strength that Elric did. As they passed a guard tower that really seemed to be guarding... nothing, Eldorath proclaimed "Welcome to Evereska."

As they passed the guards, She could hear one speaking to another. "Windwalker ar' N'tel'Quessir." <Windwalker and a non-people> The other nodded and wrote something down. Ashara frowned at that, but Elric seemed to still be trying to figure it out. Confusion as she heard him sounding out the syllables. With a little amusement she realized that at this point, she knew the Elvish language better then he did.

As he worked out the words, his confusion only got deeper. When he thought he figured it out he turned to Eldorath for confirmation. "That's right," the elf confirmed. She could feel confusion slip to disappointment. Apparently a disapointment that showed on his face. Eldorath raised an eyebrow and said. "Remember what I told you Peredhel. You're going to hear things you won't like. Honestly that is the least of them. They call everyone who isn't an elf that. Here you are Either Tel'Quessir or N'Tel'Quessir. One of The People or not one of The People."

Very shortly past the guards, the path took an unusual turn. As they rounded the bend mere yards from the guard tower, the Trees seemed to part and the city came into view. Any ill feelings were washed away in that first sight of Evereska.

Ashara had seen cities of all shapes and sizes, but she had never seen anything like this! Houses and buildings of great sweeping sizes and shapes. Wood seemed to be common, but there was also stone mansions similar to guard tower, with twisting spires reaching above the trees, magnificent towers seeming to be made from glass or crystal itself. Even among the more modest buildings there was something, different here. She wasn't sure what it was, and Elric seemed oblivious to it at the time. His gaze kept moving from structure to structure as if each one was more amazing than the one before! She didn't think he was wrong!

As Eldorath led him down a winding path toward the center of town, Ashara studied everything that Elric looked at. Between the trees and lack of recognizable roads, Ashara sometimes forgot they were actually in walled city. Half the time she felt as if she was simply walking through an average though beautiful forest. The passed the clearest river she had ever seen and saw small elf children playing joyfully. Then they would pass through a rainbow caused by the sun shining off a tower of crystal and she remembered where she was. Suddenly it struck her. These buildings were not constructed.

After some time she was sure she was right. The wooden homes were not built from wood, as their own was. There were no boards, no nails. She doubted there were any traditional tools used at all. No trees had been ravaged and cut to create their homes. As Eldorath went to talk to some people, Elric sat down and just took the marvels in. Ashara was able to inspect a little closer. There was no break in the walls of these buildings. There wasn't even a seam where they met the ground. Wood, Stone, Crystal. They weren't created, they were grown! Shaped with magic and risen from the ground itself.

Smaller homes seemed scattered about mixed amongst the trees and vegetation, nearly blending in some cases. The elves it seemed did not try conquer nature as others did. Even in the smaller places such as Impresk there was a distinct line drawn between civilization and nature. Here it was blended in ways she never dreamed. No part of the city was seperated or moved from the ground that it came from. Civilization and nature in perfect harmony.
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Elric

Post  Penelope on Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:14 pm

Though the memory swirled away from him, the bright green eyes stayed fixed in the center of his vision. A familiar face began appearing around the eyes, but it wasn't half elf or even human...it was an elf. Elric immediately recognized the aged face of his old mentor. Eldorath's face, but his own eyes. "N'tel'Quessir." The word echoed through his mind. Not of the People...not an elf. To most elves, his partial elven heritage only caused him to be seen as something to be pitied at best, abused at worst. Would Ashara have to suffer that abuse now as well? No, she'd be able to control the memories, he was sure. Though this spell seemed to be working much differently than how she had described it to him...

Eldorath vanished then, and his own face rematerialized around the eyes. Elric could hear a violin playing lively music in the background, and he could tell he was sitting at a table. Likely in a tavern somewhere, but where exactly? And when? He heard the voices of their friends around them, but her eyes held firmly on Elric's face next to him. He saw some movement at the edge of his vision as the half elf lifted his hand and placed something in the priestess's palm.

"I had this made for you, Ashara," he grinned. Elric felt her heart stop within her chest, and looking down in her hand he saw an ivory colored ring with the Champions' symbol carved into it. He felt the heat rising in her face, and it was pretty easy for him to visualize the priestess' bright scarlet blush. Surprise, hope, and love formed an emotional whirlwind, assulting his mind.

"Th-thank you...I..." she stuttered, trying to collect herself.

"It's dragon bone," Elric smiled proudly. "I have one for each of us!" The warrior turned and began handing the rings out around the table.

He felt the hope fade to disappointment. Elric sat back in his chair after handing out the gifts, and smiled at the priestess as he took a sip from his mug of ale. Apparently the expression on Ashara's face told him something was wrong, and he set his mug back down on the table. "You okay?"

"Yes...I just...," he could feel the mounting frustration and fear as she struggled with whether to say what she really wanted to say. "That was very thoughtful of you..." Fear had won out.

The half elf smiled again and turned back to his ale. Elric felt a sharp pain jerk his head to the side, as her hand grabbed a braid and tugged it violently.

He wished she would have told him how she felt about him right there in Soubar, instead of waiting until months later on the threshold of Dagadar. Would he have reacted the same way? When she had told him, Ashara had given him days to process the information before he talked with her about it. If she had actually confronted him about it then, he would have been completely floored. Though he hadn't put a word to his feelings for her at the time, he knew the truth of them now. So much wasted time...


The memory faded to black, but still the green eyes still remained. Suddenly Elric felt himself falling. He tried twisting around to prepare himself for the landing, but he realized he wasn't in a body. He watched as he fell past trees, mountains and a crystal tower that he recognized. Before he had a chance to process that, he slammed into the ground. The eyes were still there. His eyes, but they seemed different this time. Younger perhaps and filled with mischief... A young half elf, no more than seven, was driving his knee into Ashara's chest, pinning her to the ground while holding what felt like a stick against her throat. The air around him was freezing cold, and she seemed to be wearing many layers of clothing.

"Yield, evil doer!" The boy demanded of him, with a victorious smile on his face. Elric barely recognized this younger version of himself. Even through all the winter clothes he looked scrawny, and his shaggy, sandy brown hair hung long over his ears. He could see a gap in the smile where two bottom teeth should have been. Lost not from an accident he realized, but to make room for the adult teeth cutting through.

Elric felt her gloved hand grasping on the ground, then shove a fistful of snow in the boy's face. "Never!" The high-pitched voice of a very youthful Ashara screamed out, and his body twisted free of the attacker's knee. He felt her reach for another stick he saw on the ground as the boy was rubbing the snow out of his eyes. He wasn't as fast as the half elf though, and he felt himself being flipped over then pinned again, this time by the shoulders.

"I said yield," the younger Elric said sternly with snow still stuck to his eyelashes, "you're s'posed to give up now so I can turn you in to the guards! You never play it right, Ashara!"

The boy got to his feet and stomped away toward the barn and Elric stood and brushed herself off. He felt a tongue stick out of his mouth at the back of the young Elric. "Maybe I wanna turn to play the knight this time!" Her voice squeaked out and she ran after him into the barn. It was much warmer in there out of the wind and the snow. Two horses and a cow watched the pair with barely a passing interest. Ashara pulled shut the heavy wooden door behind her and stood in front of the boy, and Elric felt her put her hands on her hips. From this perspective, it looked like he was slightly taller than the boy, even though he knew Ashara was three months his junior.

"You can't be the knight," the boy fumed, as he sat down on an overturned bucket.

"Why CAN'T I be the knight!? That's not fair, Elric," he heard Ashara pout and he felt his arms cross tightly in front of him.

"CAUSE you're a GIRL, and girls can't be knights!" The boy stated it matter-of-factly as if the point couldn't be questioned, "Everyone knows THAT!"

"Nuh uh! Bradwen sings a song about a knight-lady who kills DRAGONS way up in the north!" He could feel her annoyance now, and he wondered if the girl was going to launch herself at him. These things happened so long ago, it seemed like a different life, and he barely remembered any of the things that happened before he had left Impresk.

"He's prolly just makin' it up," the boy scoffed with a teasing sneer, "but when I grow up I'm gonna be a REAL knight and fight REAL dragons, then they'll write songs about me! If you want though, you can be my squire and carry my stuff."

"I don't wanna carry your stuff!" He felt Ashara's nose wrinkle up at the thought. "How 'bout we BOTH be knights and we can both fight the dragons!"

"Fine...," he watched as the younger version of himself rolled his eyes, "but first YOU have to play the dragon!" A wicked grin burst across the boy's face and he picked up his stick before leaping towards him. Elric jumped. His view turned quickly to the exit and he bolted, pushed open the barn door, and ran out into the snow laughing and screaming at a pitch that would have made his ears bleed had he been using his own ears.

As the memory began fading back into darkness, he heard the muted voice of the boy yelling after him, "ASHARAAA! DRAGONS DON'T SCREAM!!"


Last edited by Ashara on Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:28 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Ashara

Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:37 pm

Ashara smiled at the memory Elric had found. They had come so far from that day. They had fought dragons, songs of them were song as far as Calimport, and... she never had to carry his stuff! Watching them play she realized this was probably his last winter in Impresk. Soon he would get it in his head to leave his home and her for parts unknown.

As the vision shifted, she saw Eldorath fighting two elves with unmatched efficiency. They were both gold elves and they seemed to be dressed quite nicely, but then so did most of the elves in this place. As Eldorath walked back, Elric saw the one with the knife, glare at him with hatred that the young Elric had never seen before. She felt a cold chill in the pit of her stomach that quickly turned her blood to ice. A beautiful elf female came from a shop in a rush and tried to help. Her hair was long and raven black, eyes that resembled sapphires. She appeared young, about nineteen to twenty for a human, but Ashara was quickly realizing that meant nothing amongst the elves. The male slapped her hand away with disdain and brushed the dirt from himself as he stood.

"Mani Marte atar?" <What happend father?> Ashara heard her ask. Ashara saw the elf maid look right at her and ask with a touch of curiosity in her voice "Ya naa tanya?" <Who is that?>

"Ta unner, Syrlynna. N'ner'Quessir! Peryatini!" <It's nothing, Syrlynna. Not a person! Half-human!> His voice shaking in rage. "Quel ten'wainole... N'uma ner!" <Good for a quiver... No more!>

Syrlynna! Ashara stared at her and felt a combination of hatred and jealousy. Elric had told her often enough that he had no feelings for the elf and she believed him. Still it was easier before she had actually seen her! She had wondered often how she could ever compare to an elven female, and now she felt very insecure indeed... She forced herself to remember the quiet moments alone with Elric. The way he looked at her, and confidence slowly seeped back into her.

Atar? <Father?> Suddenly she realized who the other elf must be! Airoth Ealoeth! The one who put the bounty on her betrothed head. She watched him with a new measure of respect and a special kind of hatred.

As Eldorath started to lead the young half elf away. The last thing she heard was Syrlynna say in awe. "Aiya... ten'anwa? Amin caela N'elee O' n'ala..." <Ohhh...Really? I have never seen one before...>

She could tell Elric didn't understand all the words, but the spite behind them hurt. Eldorath seemed confident that they wouldn't be an issue, but for the first time since coming into this city, Elric was feeling afraid... and very small. Even with Eldorath walking beside him, she knew he felt very, very alone.

The images seemed to speed up though she never left the city and the emotions were consistent. She saw him try to play with other children only to have their parents call them away. Whispers of "Lle Holma ve'eden." <He smells like a human> caught his ears. As the years past in flashes those were not all he heard directed at him. Usually in elven, though sometimes when they really wanted to make sure he understood, they spoke in common.

"Peryatini" <half man, (2nd class men at that)>

"Ulundo'Eden" <Deformed human>

"Unner" <Nothing, Worthless>

"Half-breed"

"Mongrel"

"Freak"

Not all the elves were that vindictive. Many simply ignored him. Some actually felt sorry for him. The only thing worse than the insults was the pity. When someone would approach him as a friend till they got a good look and then "Amin hiraetha..." <I'm sorry...> with such honest sadness in their voice. Worse yet were his would be defenders. More than any phrase he loathed was "Ta n'ho umien!" <Its not his doing!> Many of these words it took Ashara a little effort to decode. She realized that whether he intended to or not, there were many words he never taught her.

Through the years as she watched him grow, the feelings of sadness and loneliness only grew. She felt every pain as other children and youths would jostle him or trip him. She nearly cried when the group of elven youths chased him into the alley with sticks and rocks, and she literally felt him dying. It was similar to the Waterdeep memory, but the fear was so much greater. In Waterdeep, Elric was more confident. He was disappointed that he lost the battle, and was afraid that he had failed... It was nothing compared to the stark terror of a small child being pelted with rocks and left for dead. She had heard the story before, but Elric had always played it off like it was no big deal.

She saw Vailis Hawksong, a priest of Corellon. Elric had always described him as old, but unlike Eldorath she saw no difference than most of the other elves in the city. Still it tore at her heart that while she had grown up with loving family and friends around her, his only companions were two old elves.

One who seemed to beat him a lot!

The memories skipped about like a pebble bouncing in a bucket, but she caught more than a couple 'training' sessions. From what she saw and more importantly felt, "If you don't want to get hurt, don't get hit," really was the central core to his philosophy. There were times when Elric hated that elf, more than anyone else he knew... but there were times he loved him as a father too.

Ashara was of a torn mind about her own feelings. As she felt the child getting smacked around with quarterstaves, buckets, and anything else the elf could find, she wanted to hate him. To willing put a child... put anyone through what she considered torture was unconscionable! Her primary instinct was that this person she had heard so much about was a horrid, horrid person.

But she found herself admitting, he never hurt Elric beyond repair. He tended the boy's wounds and bound his injuries when needed. Also, she thought of the man he had become and the way he moved in combat. From bandits to demigods, he had put Eldorath's teachings to work. The lessons he learned here had kept him alive so far. As much as she wanted to hate the ancient elf, she also found herself loving him a bit too.
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Elric

Post  Penelope on Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:28 pm

The darkness deepened until it became a palpable thing, angry and malevolent. Elric could feel himself huddled in the black. There was no room to move. Barely any room to breathe. He was cold and tired. An exhaustion the likes of which he had never known, as if he had been trying to claw his way out of the mire for months without rest. Somehow he knew something terrible was about to happen, and he also knew that this time he wouldn't be able to stop it. He was just so tired... Hateful words from his past echoed in his ears. Deformed Man, Half-breed, Mongrel, Freak... The despair was overwhelming and Elric felt his own mind being pulled down with it. Frantically he tried fighting back before he could be swallowed by the yawning abyss. He tried to force the memory to skip ahead or behind, but to no avail. He had to try to break the spell, to break contact with Ashara's mind before he was lost in it! The Imbue had given him the knowledge of how to end the spell, but he found that he had no control at all; not to direct it or even to break it. He tried screaming out, but he was unable to make a sound. Slowly the shadow enveloped him and the memory shifted. Not to a different memory, but to a different view of it.

Elric was standing in front of a mirror, watching Ashara undo her braids. He could feel excitement and anticipation in her mind, and could see it on the face in the mirror. This was not the face he knew now though. Her lips were twisted into a malicious, calculating smile, and there was no kindness left in her eyes. He wondered why hadn't he seen those things at the time... How could he have been so blind?

Like the stars in one of the previous memories, this memory seemed dimmer in a way, as if some of the color had been leeched out of her world. Though he wasn't within the darkness anymore, he could see that it still throbbed at the edges of his vision. It wasn't something she feared now, but something to embrace.

The woman in the mirror finished brushing out her hair, and she pulled a new grey cloak over her robes. He could feel that she wanted to be rid of the dull, pink vestments, but that would only raise suspicion. She was desperate for something and the desire was very strong, though he wasn't sure what that desire was The woman's reflection smiled at him wickedly as he turned to walk out the door. He saw the sign for The Land Turtle as she exited the inn. This was a memory from Port Kir then! Elric remembered well the journal entries detailing some of her activities in the city, and he was afraid that this was one of those memories that Ashara was not thrilled about him watching. More than just watching he realized...

It was very late in the evening, and apparently the rest of the Champions had retired for the evening. Only a few people were on the roads. The air had that biting chill of a late autumn evening. As Elric made his way down to the dock, the pungent smell of fish oil assaulted his senses. He was searching for something, and though he didn't know where he was going or what he was looking for, he sought it desperately. His eyes turned toward a tavern on the docks, and he saw a weather beaten sign that read 'The Chipped Flagon'. It must be near to closing time, and the remaining patrons were slowly filing out. Feeling the excitement build, his eyes kept a close watch on them as he walked to the building and leaned against the wall facing the sea. The way she wrapped her arms about herself, it seemed like she was trying to appear as vulnerable as possible. There he waited, with dark patience and blood pounding in his ears, for someone to fall into her web. Her feelings of anticipation mingled with his feelings of trepidation.

One of the last men leaving the tavern stopped and turned to regard the huddled and shivering young woman. Elric could tell that he was probably twice Ashara's age. He was a laborer, that was apparent enough from his well worn clothes and rugged appearance. Likely a sailor or a dock hand. As the man slowly approached him, he could feel a sense of urgency crash into him like a tidal wave. It wasn't simply a desire for his death, like he had experienced in that previous memory, this time it was a desperate need, and she couldn't wait any longer to have that need filled. He felt a very weak prick of pain at his temple, and then felt his lips curl up into a feral smile. The true part of herself that remained was too weak to stop the murderous woman this time. When the man got close, Elric was surprised to find that his cheeks were wet! Tears?

"Are you okay? Do you need help?" The man's voice was kindly and obviously concerned for the young woman.

He heard her sniffle a bit, then his vision rose to meet the man's eyes. "M-my father t-told me to meet him here. But that was th-three hours ago, and I'm sc-scared something may have h-happened to him... It's s-so c-c-cold!" She kept her voice low, and Elric realized that she was doing it to lure the man in closer to be able to hear her. He wanted to warn the man of the danger... It was so easy to forget that this had all already happened, and there was nothing now he could do.

"It's not good for you to be out here alone in this area, or in this weather!" The doomed man took off his coat and put it around Elric's shoulders. "C'mon let's get you someplace warm and you can tell me where we might find your father."

"Th-thank you sir!" Elric wrapped his arms around the man in hollow thanks, before blinking up at him. "Do you know my father?" The innocence in her voice belied the monster that lurked just below the surface. He felt his left hand clench tightly around the dagger hilt seconds before he slammed the blade into the side of the man's neck. "Because I personally have never met the man."

The rage and ferocity of the attack astounded Elric, and he was reminded of when they captured her on the ship. He had been surprised at her strength as she resisted him, and he was barely able to restrain her without having to resort to more drastic measures. He was experiencing what could only be described as euphoria as he felt the hot wetness of the blood running over his hand and down his arm, and he knew Ashara was reveling in the metallic tang that filled her nostrils. The man stood there with his arm still wrapped around her, a startled look painted on his face. It must have been difficult for him to do anything with an inch and a half width of steel driven almost completely through his neck. He watched as Ashara turned the man around and pressed him onto the wall of the tavern to keep him on his feet.

His view was fixed on the man's eyes, until he heard footsteps approaching. A glance to the side revealed a guard walking towards them down the street making his rounds. Moving quickly, he felt Ashara stand up on her toes and press her lips roughly against her victim's. He could taste the man's blood in his mouth, and Elric thought he could be sick, but Ashara was basking in the sheer pleasure of it. He felt her shudder, and when the fallen priestess opened her mouth slightly to take more of the blood in, he knew she was insane. Completely and unequivocally insane, and he was horrified by what he felt. He knew in his mind that it wasn't really her, that this wasn't the woman he had pledged to marry. In that moment though, he had to thank Lathander that she couldn't see the reaction that must have been on his face back in the room in Impresk.

He heard the guard chuckle as he walked past the apparently amorous couple, and after a few agonizingly long moments for Elric, he felt her reluctantly pull off of the man. He could tell he was close to death, and he felt disappointment from Ashara. She grinned at him before twisting the dagger violently, and Elric felt and heard the blade nick bone. His gaze never shifted from the man's eyes as she watched the life drain from them with dark glee. Tremendous satisfaction and relief filled him. He felt like a starving man that had just eaten his first meal in days.

The grin remained as he pulled the blade from the dead man's neck. "Thank you for making my first kiss so...memorable," he heard Ashara purr into his ear, before letting the body slump to the ground.

Elric was emotionally numb from what he had just experienced, and as hard as tried, he could not remove himself from it. He watched as she peeled off the blood-stained cloak and the coat that the man had given her to keep her warm, and she covered him with them. Even tucking him in a bit to look like he was sleeping. After wiping her bloody mouth on the discarded cloak, he threw the dagger into sea and started making his way back to the inn where the Champions lay sleeping.

He remembered her journal stating that she slept peacefully on that night, and feeling what she was feeling now, he didn't doubt it. She was supremely pleased with herself and almost intoxicated with the feeling of power. 'It wasn't her,' Elric had to keep telling himself, "it wasn't her..."

He was very relieved when he saw the memory shimmer and vanish, though the pungent smell of the blood was still heavy in his mind.

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