A Fallen Light, A New Hope

A Blacksmith's Workings XXVI
Promises

“We will make it through this”

Those were the last words I spoke to you. I failed to protect you. Seeing you in this form now it hurts more then anything. I want to tell you so many things, but the words don’t come out. Seeing you again without your memories is torture beyond belief. You are before me once more, but I can’t reach you. I failed. So no matter the cost I’ll protect you once more. I’ll deliver you to your next destination.

This river that lays before us, I will guide you through. I will earn you passage past the Sphynx and the Dragon. No gate will stand in my way. I will solve the riddles and I will offer everything that I have to get you through. I will deal with anything that stands in my way, whether it be a demon child an its minions or the monsters that lurk in this land. I will find the way and take you there. I will confront the deal makers and find the exit to this land.

I will overcome anymore obstacles that stand in my way. I will give everything to keep you safe once more. And then I will do the hardest thing of all. More difficult then dealing with Bagoda more painful then the Lich, more destructive then The Black. I will say, “Goodbye”

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An Alchemist's Tales XXXIX

I don’t have much to say… we are headed for another lab, and to find out if I made a horrible mistake, or if we really will be reunited with Rowan… I pray for the second option. To be honest I never know what to expect, especially after what I found out about her relations with my family… I probably shouldn’t have gone back there.. or even had the idea to… but I can’t help but feel like it was our only option.. she vanished. with no leads… they discovered nothing on their scouting mission either.

I fear the worst is yet to come.. who knows what we will find in this lab, if it truly is untouched I can only guess what will be inside… it might be worse than any drow we have faced before… as hard as that is to believe…

On a different note, I feel much stronger now. at least compared to dieing… The potion seems to have worked, but i can’t help but feel like something is missing… like i haven;t tapped into everything i am capable of. I guess i just need to give it time, this is all new to me I can’t expect to understand it all immediately.

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A Blacksmith's Workings XXV
Royalty

I figured out I was royalty, or as close as I can get. My father is a duke or something like that. He took control of Castow and is apparently looking for mother to try to bring her back. The look on my face when I found out was probably quite funny. A woman named Marsha found us and was looking for my mother. Her and her apprentice Kathyrn work for my “father.” Kathryn seems rather harsh at times, I don’t think she is always like that. It must be because she has been in high society all her life. I dread the day if I ever have to appear as one of them.

I worry about Mireya and her child. They are now involved in the mess of this family. That child is considered royalty and potentially a threat to others. It makes finding him all that more important.

We went looking for you. I tried. I really did. I didn’t want to give up, but I was putting the others in risk. I just know you are out there somewhere. I need to see you again, to know the truth. My only hope at this point is mother. I know the two of you have not seen eye to eye, but at this point I don’t have anyone to turn to for help.

Which means we need to delve into another alchemist lab. They hold the key to returning the deal makers. With them back we can keep The Black in check. Then we can find mother, and then you.

-Roy

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Trappers Tales XXXVIII
3rd 1st day, Ches - Back Again

3rd 1st day, Ches

Well, we’re on our way back to the forest, it seems. Well, the lab north of the forest, anyway. I’d rather go around the forest than through, given what we ran into last time. At least we won’t be alone, this time, though.

While we were in Baecrest we heard rumours of someone looking for Estelle. We assumed it was someone working for the Black, so went to find out more about it, but instead discovered it was someone from the King’s court. She brought information that the King was wanting Roy’s mother back at court, because he wants his ex-wife back there.
This came as a bit of a fireball trap, really, especially for Roy, given he just discovered he’s royalty. I wonder if we’ll be able to use this to our advantage later. Probably not, especially if we don’t manage to recover Ms Marsk.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that. While we were doing our daring jail break, we left her at the Shrine of Obit Hai, which we thought wouldn’t be a problem. However, by the time we got back there we discovered that it had been taken over by men belonging to the Black. This has left us in a bit of a bind, as we have no idea where she even is.

So, we’re back to taking down the Black, which leaves us with going through one of the labs belonging to the Alchemist. Again. Which brings me back to the start, where we’ve at least got help for this. The person looking for Ms Marsk didn’t come alone, she brought a student of hers, who happens to be Kalebs sister. I didn’t even know he had one.
She’s a bit uppity, but getting covered in goop and gore will probably bring her down fairly soon. I hope so, anyway.

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Trappers Tales XXXVII
2nd 4th day, Ches - Disappearing Act

2nd 4th day, Ches

Rowan is gone. Another one left behind.
Well, maybe. We don’t know what happened to her.

Everything was actually going well, for once. We’d managed to free Estelle, Ander and Kaleb. Roy was hurt, but everyone was on their feet, and the enemy were falling. Mireya was holding her own, Estelle is apparently really scary, I was untouched, and Rowan was safely off in a building, and then… I don’t know if they had a bomb, or if it was some kind of spell caster letting fly or… All I know is the building half disappeared. Not disappeared, exploded outwards. Is it possible to store arcane energy so that it can be used later, maybe? I don’t know.

When we were able to get over there, there was almost no trace. Digging through the rubble, Roy found a bowstring, and that’s about it. Given what we’ve seen of magic, it’s possible she’s been taken away to who knows where.

Rowan, if you’re out there, we’ll find you.
If you’re not, well, Mireya can bring people back from the dead. Maybe we can do the same for you.

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An Alchemist's Tale XXXVIII

She can’t be… She can’t be… How could this have happened… We planned. We made sure she was out of the way with her condition from the fight in the sewers… I saw the 2 arrows shoot before the explosion happened. I don’t understand What could have caused it.

I feel so helpless in this situation, and guilty that she of all people, was the one to die… She was kind, innocent… She just wanted an adventure, and we warned her not to come. We told her it was dangerous… Does this really have to be the end? Is she really gone? Did she get transported to another plane like we did? did she die and her body didn’t survive the blast? did we just miss the body in the rubble? I wish we had any form of answer…

Is there nothing I can do? Can I not help Roy survive this in anyway? I can’t bring her back… Mireya can’t either without a body. I am starting to realise how the magic of us mortals is limited…

Honestly maybe it’s time i take things into my own hands… Take the bad cards we have been dealt and flip them into benefiting us for a change…

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A Blacksmith's Workings XXIV
Rowan

“Ding.” “Ding.” “Ding.” The sounds of a hammer can be heard piercing the dark. The bright orange glow of the heated metal enters into view. Sparks erupt from the metal as a hammer strikes it illuminating the man. His face obscured by the shadows. The man appears focused on the metal before him. He examines the now dull piece before sticking it in the forge. The flames flicker around the sword as the man watches.

The man is now seen in a town square next to a gallows. There are three men around him, all wearing leathers dyed black. The man stands before them with his sword in hand. With a ferocity in his eyes he swings felling the guard standing in front of him. He lifts his sword and swings it towards the second.

“Ding.” “Ding.” “Ding.” The man is once again hammering the metal. His focus is still on the metal, but he is working slower now. His body is moving autonomously guided by countless hours of practice. He pauses, examines the metal before returning it to the forge to heat it to the bright orange glow returning the room to silence.

An arrow flies through the air hitting the man. He falters, grimacing from the pain. Glancing in the direction past gallows he sees a flash of light and hears a low rumble. Using the distraction to their advantage, the guards go on the attack. Blows are traded and when it seems the man will be bested by the guards, a crack of lightning hits taking out the two. The man pauses before heading in the direction of his friends.

“Ding.” “Ding.” “Ding.” The man has returned to hammering the metal into shape. The metal has grown in length and is thinned down to a fraction of its original thickness. The man is now shaking as his hammer strikes the metal. The sparks fly and land around him. He takes a brush and steadies his hand. He brushes the metal removing any fire scale. He then returns it the forge to bring it to temperature leaving him to his thoughts.

The remains of a building lay before the man. Panicking he searches the rubble for his goal. He tries and tries to find that which he seeks. Eventually the man falls to his knees defeated. A voice is heard and a hand is placed on his shoulder. The man rises and flees leaving the wreckage behind.

“Ding.” “Ding.” “Ding.” The man has begun hammering the the sides spreading the metal. The man is breathing heavily. The previous events beginning to take its toll. He examines the metal now wider then before. He clamps it down and bends it slightly, adjusting its alignment while it’s still hot. After he finishes he returns it to the fire one last time.

The image of a woman flashes before his eyes. The woman is smiling her face accented by freckles, to the man nothing is more beautiful in this world. She is walking next to a stream and her smile becomes a laugh. She then speaks to the man, the words spoken sincerely and with enthusiastically. Both of them are content in the moment, wishing it could last just a little longer.

“Ding.” “Ding.” “Ding.” The man has returned to his work. The area is brighter now, daylight is breaking the horizon. The man is now fully illuminated. A scar can be seen running down his left cheek. The hammering slowly stops. The metal has been hammered flat with no real shape or purpose. The man’s face comes into full focus revealing eyes that are bloodshot with new tears forming. The man sets the metal down and walks to go outside. Before leaving he grabs a small leather bound book. It’s open to page with one word written.

“Rowan”

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The Healer's Diary XXVIII
Mireya's Thoughts Vol. 28

24th of Ches

I am a violent coalescence of emotions these days, a fragile wooden boat set sail on a savage sea of alternating joyful serenity and uncontrollable chaos. My mind is all but unsure on how to cope with all of the ups and downs of these days gone past, so wildly have I swung lately between crushing heartbreak and perfect joy.

A beloved friend is dead, and then they are—by some marvel of a power that I cannot fathom as my own—once again amongst the living.

A brother and a sister are faced with certain death, and then delivered into salvation at the very last moment—but at what cost, and to the benefit of whom?

A father, an aunt, an assemblage of confidantes all courageous and dear, snatched from the claws of their doom, only to be faced with the inexplicable and mystifying loss of one of their very saviors in the effort.

A mother, a woman of whom my memories have been altered, known to be alive this whole time by one so close to myself, revealed stolen away by my one and only true enemy.

Being my one and only true enemy.

How can one cope with such rapidly interchanging bouts jubilation and torment so synchronously? Emotions, both good and bad, feel as if they have chucked me overboard and are ever driving me beneath the surface, drowning me in what I fear is an ocean of numbness.

I urge to take a gasp, to end my fight to breathe, to let the waters fill my lungs and deliver me into the comforting arms of relief and nothingness. But it is there in which the danger lies, more than anything else.

Perhaps more than any one terrible catastrophe, I find myself panic-stricken at the thought of losing the heart that makes me me. If I am to lose my empathy, my feeling, my love, the receptivity of my soul to this wonderful, terrible, ever-spinning world around me, am I truly myself anymore? If I cannot bring myself to fight, what more will occur around me—and will my troubles disappear, or only be passed on to the ones I claim to have loved most?

What happens to my friends, to my family, to my mother, to Anzo, to Briar—to Rowan, who may still be out there somewhere, waiting for someone to care enough to risk their lives fighting to bring her back?

I have been blessed with this wondrous power that should not possibly be wielded by such a mortal being as myself. It seems a violation of the laws of the earth that I possess it, and yet just as grievous a violation if I am not to utilize it to bring peace to those around me; even if my curse is that in doing so I never know peace myself.

Perhaps I must learn to come to terms with that my life is meant to be a restless one, blessed not by what I can do for myself, but by the blessings I have the capacity to bring to others.

Perhaps, maybe, as impossible as it seems in times like these to keep my head above water, it may

be my destiny

to swim.

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Tales of the Huntress: The Final Page
The End.

In the rubble of a once strong building, there sits a single small book bound in leather under a plank of wood. The leather is scratched and the corners of a few pages singed. ‘Rowan Tallstag’ it reads on the first page, and contains her journal entries throughout her adventures on the pages after. Flipping through the half filled book the last entry reads as follows

I have been thinking a lot while on the road. So much has happened, and we are merely preparing for danger yet again. But through the worry and the grief I was struck by a strange feeling. I can’t explain but for some odd reason I am hit with the realization of how lucky I am as a person in this cruel world. I thought of all the people we’ve come across in our adventures, both living and dead. I thought of their own stories, how tragic so many of them were, but mostly I thought of the ones who were alone. I think that’s what made me feel lucky.

I have suffered, and felt some of the greatest pains in my life during this time. Both physical and within. But still, I am lucky. Because many people suffer, and are hurt repeatedly, especially in these times, but not all of them can go through so much and come out of it with what I do. A family.

I will never stop mourning the one I lost. I realize that now. Telling Roy about them helped me see just how foolish trying to forget them was. Randal, my sweet beloved baby brother, I will never forget you even if you have forgotten me. Not you, or our parents. I am sorry I tried. I don’t want to. I want to remember being yelled at for rubbing dirt on your scabbed knee when we were children, and helping father get the rodents from the traps because you were too upset by the dead animals to do it. The hunting trips where father taught me how to shoot a bow…half the reason I’m alive really. Mother putting us on our lap and reading us those old fairytales, that turned out to come quite in handy. There’s a thousand more I could name. I want to remember them all, and I want to remember my family. I may never stop missing them, but I can say I at least found happiness in a new family as well.

My new family is strange and gets me into all sorts of trouble, but I love them and I’m so happy to have met each of them.

I have an older sister who is actually younger than me. She cares so much for everyone around her, but is still willing to put you in your place. She’s done it to me quite a few times. She’s the most gentle and kind woman I’ve ever met, and yet the most fearsome spell thrower on the battlefield when it comes time to protect us. I will always be grateful for what she’s done for me. Despite all that life has thrown at her, she keeps go by for the people she cares about and there are not words that can properly say how much I admire her for it.

I have two younger brothers. They’re both amazingly smart in different ways. One thinks of himself as some simple coward, despite being one of the bravest of us and the only one with any sense half of the time. I gave him a constant fuss and laughed when he gave it back. He always made me smile. He frustrates me to no end that he can’t see how special he is.

The other one is more frustrating, but only because he cares too much. He’s about as bad at me with big decisions, but he does it for the people he loves. He’s also one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. He’s been a guardian protecting us day after day, and a loyal companion listening and encouraging us. He’s one of the best friends I’ve ever had and I want nothing more than to see him happy and smiling again.

Then there’s one more. I met an amazing man who I love, and who made me feel loved. He’s not always the best with words, but he makes me feel safe and the happiest I’ve ever been just by being there. He’s a stubborn and troubled man, and it worries me to no end, but somehow it endears him even more. I don’t know how much time I’ll have with him, but I’m already so grateful for what time I’ve already been given and for how strong he’s kept me so far.

They say everyone is the hero of their own story. There are so many stories out there, many of them ending sadly, angry, or bitter. Despite everything I have gone through, and all that has happened,
I don’t think that of mine. I don’t know when my story will end, perhaps any day now, but one thing is clear; it will not end as a tragedy.

My story is a coming of age, an adventure between amazing friends, a horror tale nearly a few times, a magical tale of wonder, and for a part of it, a love story. I have laughed, cried, charged into battle, and picked myself up to rebuild who I am over and over. And I’m thankful for all of it. That’s what I will focus on.

I have so much hope for the future, and for my family both old and new. I can say honestly I truly believe in a good future where all the tragedies can end and we can have our happy endings. Even if my story ends someday for the sake of that future, I’m happy to have had the tale that I did.

The tale of a huntress.

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A Blacksmith's Workings XXIII
Hope

Magic Again. I have seen the destruction it causes. The problems its caused for Mireya, Rowan, Arseni, and Aaron. But something is different now. After talking with mother about the Lich, she told me about the rune magic she uses as an inquisitor. With it I can fight back against Bagoda and people like Azir. Aaron took a potion to increase his strength. It appears the potion didn’t kill him, but the effects aren’t fully known.

We made our way south where we found the convoy and ambushed them. Arseni died during the fight, but then Mireya did something I would never expect. She saved him. She brought him back from the dead. Something that should be impossible. There are no words I can use to describe the beauty in the magic she wielded during the ceremony. But for once it has made me believe that magic may have use in this world.

When we returned our home had been ransacked. The signs of a struggle were evident and Egland was killed. We found my mother a short distance away. She had been injured by the attackers. Egland had betrayed us and brought The Black to our home. Mireya’s family and most likely the others have been taken to Baemore and will be tried as traitors. They will be hung. Our goal is clear. We have to stop the hanging at all cost.

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