A Fallen Light, A New Hope

A Blacksmith's Working's XIX
Pain

Something’s not right.

I fell four times that day, or was it five. I was so close to the brink of death, yet I kept pushing. The undead knight weilded power beyond my belief. There was so little I could do to stop it. I had to stand firm and withstand the full force of its might. I fell to this creature, but I persisted and rose to fight the monster again. It took everything I had to beat this monster and our goal wasn’t even completed. So I pushed on.

Something’s not right.

We encountered familiar faces, a group who had previously beat us in the arena now stood before us, walling me from our goal. The previous encounter could mean nothing to me at this point, I had to break through them. They fought hard and I was no match for their strength. But with the help of Mireya and the others I rose to fight them again and again. It took everything I had to do my part and it left my body broken.

Something’s not right.

Rowan had tried to warn me that my single-minded goal of protecting everyone above myself was dangerous. I didn’t listen to her. I took risks to protect everyone, risks that caused me great harm. She won’t be happy when she realizes what happened, I don’t think I can hide the outcome from her. I don’t think I could hide this from anyone.

Something’s not right.

I made my choice, now I must live with this fate.

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A Nightmare
In the White Lady's Tower

The icy prickles of the breeze are the first thing the girl notices around her. She looks around, brows lifted in confusion and mouth open but not making a sound. The trees form a maze around her and her vision is clouded with the thick fog rolling in from between them. Goosebumps raise on freckled skin and she brings up her hands to rub down them to create friction. The simple pale gown that hangs off her shoulders doing little to protect her from the humid and cold surroundings.

Bare feet start to walk through dead leaves and broken twigs. She makes her way through the forest with slow steps. Every noise has her turning quickly and gasping. She still keeps going deeper and deeper as the tree line grows thicker and paths become blocked by thick brambles.

What feels like hours in, she stops and a voice calls out.

‘What are you doing?’

It’s full of laughter and belongs to a young man. She turns in the direction and walks towards it.

‘Troublesome girl, really.’ The same voice with the same amused joy in it. She craves to hear more and starts to run towards it.

’C’mon lets go home’

So familiar…

’Aren’t you supposed to be the older one? You sure don’t act like it.’

There’s a split path up ahead a vague figure down the left. She squints her eyes catching sight of longer hair. Auburn just like hers.

‘Sister?’

She stops right at the start of the path. Panting and kneeling over. She tries to say something to the figure but her voice is still gone. The girl looks up just as he turns around and amber meets green a smile on the young man’s face. Her brother’s face.

Rowan tries to call out again, silence. He laughs shaking his head and turning to walk away. The trees end not far down the path and she sees the dark just beyond them. Waiting for her to come home.

She smiles and takes a step towards it.

’Don’t be so quick to throw your life away,’ Another girls voice. Relieved and exasperated all at only. She feels a warm embrace around her.

‘I know I’ve made mistakes,’ a young male full of regret, she wants to comfort them immediately. Because it’s alright, they survived together and they’ll keep doing it.

‘I don’t think we’ll make it out of this one,‘. Yes they will, she’ll make sure of it. She’ll drag him off the battlefield herself if she has to. This voice female, with a male voice repeating the same line after it.

“I can get angry over you …but -” Her heart skips a beat. She knows how the line ends. She remembers how safe she’d felt at that moment.

The voice come from the other path one by one and by the time the last one speaks she can’t resist turning her head to look down it. Four figures all standing in a clearing at the edge. Moving among bright lights and weapons being slung around them. A fight?

They need her help. She can protect them, she…

Glances back to her brother who keeps walking down the opposite path expecting her to follow. Her fists clench and she glares at the ground. She inhales and turns around on the path sprinting towards the other now. When she looks down back at her hands she sees a bow in one, and arrow in the other. The gown is gone and dark leather are in it’s place. Ahead she begins to hear the sounds of the battle. Crackling of lightening and fire, the clang of steel. She steps out into it and knocks back the arrow letting it loose into the fray.

She doesn’t see the brambles growing on the other path to the farm and blocking it off for good.

Rowan’s eyes shoot open and she rushes to lift herself up from the bedroll. Slender hands hold her up when she almost falls back from the dizzy spell lifting up so quickly causes. She gasps for air feeling the air robbed from her lungs somehow. There’s shouting in a language she doesn’t understand, but recognizes. The same voice switches to common.

“It’s alright, you are safe…”

She doesn’t care about that. She snaps her gaze to the elf assisting her and manages to get out. “My friends…where are they?”

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The Healer's Diary XXV
Mireya's Thoughts Vol. 25

6th of Ches

It’s been a nice four days at rest here in the forest. Being here with my brother and sister and surrounded by the bustle of this freedom fighter movement is more rejuvenating than I would have thought. In truth, though, I feel a sense of safety and serenity in the knowledge that, for once, we are not alone in our fight. Even with the near-death experience that we had at the guard tower, having been sent with the backup of an informant that we know we can trust is a sigh of relief and a move in the right direction. If only we can learn how to strategize, work together more effectively in the heat of combat, having the backup of a team working with us to reach the same goal may just keep us alive and help us ultimately succeed.

I do wish Marcella were a bit more amenable to me after all this time has passed, but I suppose I can’t blame her for how she feels. Despite her animosity, I can only hope that she has still heard some of the things I tried to tell her and will think on them and someday realize that I at least haven’t tried to ruin her life.

At least I know that her heart is in the right place — if there’s anyone I can trust to take care of Sebastian, I know that it is Marcella. And that is what I need more than anything: someone who has his best interests at heart and can be always by his side through these dangerous times.

I wish it were me, but when I think of Briar, I know where my priorities have to lie. As difficult as it is to believe, my own son is far more vulnerable and in far more danger than Sebastian is at the moment. If I were to just stay here in the woods for the rest of my life, I know that I could never forgive myself.

… I just wish it weren’t so hard to leave.

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Trappers Tales XXXI
Unknown Date - Resistance Is Fertile

Unknown Date

Well, we’ve lost track of time again. I don’t know if it was because of that damned book, or just general magic messing around. Apparently it’s been 14 months, give or take, this time, and a lot has happened while we’ve been gone.

Not just Bagoda disappearing like we thought, but instead Duke Arik and The White Lady have gone. The Black has stepped up to fill the void, and claimed the Baemore region in the Duke’s absence. I guess as it wasn’t legal he used people from the arena to supress the region, and a lot of the people who would have been opposed to him have either been disappeared or disappeared by choice, before that could happen.
We did discover that at least some of those who went by choice have been hiding out in a place we know all about hiding out, though.

In our forest hideaway we found Estelle Lynn, Ander Stormwind, Larris Tresden and Kosef and Roza Marsk. Fortunately, being outside the city, Zia seems to be doing okay. I guess she didn’t manage to move out like she’d before this all happened.
We haven’t had word of what has happened to Tavion, but Kara seems to have gotten muddled up in all this, and I’m worried Kaleb has as well. It seems they’re on the “side” of The Black, but potentially not of their own free will. We’ll have to find them and see if we can help them out.

Our first port of call is the guard tower south of Baemore. Apparently we’ll find something useful there, and if nothing else hopefully we can loot some supplies. I don’t know well set up the “resistance” is, but I feel like we’re probably a little under prepared, regardless.

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The Healer's Diary XXIV
Mireya's Thoughts Vol. 24

Unknown Date

Once again, another chunk of my life missing. Another year of life with my family worried, scared, suffering — while we did what? Traipsed around in a storybook with people of fiction. And to what end was it all? I can hardly remember the reason we got into it in the first place. Certainly it could not have been good enough to justify what we are coming back to now. Just remembering the state in which I found my father, all alone in Baemore and fighting just to stay right in the midst of the evil that’s taken hold among the guards there, is enough to bring me to tears.

At least Marcella and Sebastian are safe. Unrecognizably grown now, but safe. Who had known that that forest hideaway would be so vital to the survival of so many more than us? I just hope that Mrs. Marsk and Aunt Estelle can keep it protected, since it seems like there are those still undeterred from trying to get at them. Those traps could have been deadly coming in; had they been tripped by one of the children, they certainly would have been.

Kosef told me that Anzo finally received my letter, but headed back to live with his uncle again after I vanished. I’m not sure what to do — I know that I want to go to him, but if things like this just keep on happening, is it really fair to keep doing this to him? What if by now he’s gotten over it and moved on, only to have me flounce back in and dig up old memories? A year is a long time. With all that I’ve gotten involved with, it might be more of a cruelty than anything to string him along yet again.

And Briar… I come with no news. I had hoped that by the time I saw him again, this would all be done and over with. Yet if that vision was reality, things may be even worse than I had already imagined. Facing him with only that as news seems impossibly cruel.

At least I have time to decide what to do. I cannot do anything until this situation with Baemore is done and over with, that’s for certain. While tiring, it at least grants some bit of breathing room — in its own, peculiar way.

To think of saving the city as “breathing room”… I truly must have gone insane.

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An Alchemist's Tale XXXII

I have learned so much today that part of me wishes I never knew… I can’t explain how I feel… I am angry, I am happy. I feel like everything that has happened is a result of us wanting to adventure… but yet I do not regret the adventures we have done. I regret a few decisions… but I guess nothing can be done about that now. I just know that we need to fix what is happening here… The black must be stopped. and once we stop him any deal i owe him will be gone. Than I can start thinking of my future. where that will be i am not sure yet… Maybe this is all a sign that grandmother was right… I really didn’t realise how much of a hassle this life really is. as much joy as it has brought me, a lot of heart aches have come from it… people have gone missing, and others have hated us, and even tried to get us killed…

Once Kaleb and Kara are back, once the black is defeated… and once i help keep my promise to mireya… maybe it will be time to return home and take what i have learned into my studies as an alchemist… I… I don’t want to stop traveling… but these grand adventures are maybe not as great as they seem.

Either way I have things i need to do before i can decide on quitting any of my adventures. But I have realised I have missed my alchemy studies these past few months… I haven;t been able to make many… any potions as of late… I haven’t the means to even get teh ingredients anymore. I feel like i have sacrificed a portion of who I am as of late… and it’s allowed me to realise what my true passion really is…

Maybe once this is all done I will go study with the elves for a while… learn some new alchemy i can bring back to baemore. and study their language while I am at it. I am sure they would agree if i can help them reclaim their home…

So many thoughts and decisions… I honestly don’t know what i am to do… All i am sure of is we must find Kara, and release her from the black’s control.. and i must return Kaleb to Ander… I refuse to be the reason he loses anything else in his life.

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A Blacksmith's Workings XVIII
Time

1 year, we have been gone for 1 year. The drow have drove the elves out, The Black now controls Baemore, and Bagoda may have returned. What else have I missed. Kosef and Anzo seem to be okay for now, but Sollen Dahl is missing. I figured she would be safe at Baemore, but I guess a lot can happen in a year. I need to find out where The Black is holding her. Since Helm was at the Black’s fort, maybe she is too. Hopefully Kara isn’t there. She is being controlled by The Black and I don’t know if I can stop her without hurting her.

Hopefully Rowan is doing okay. She’s back with the elves at the White Lady’s. I hope she will wake up soon. Though it may have not been the worst that she was not with us when we arrived back at Baemore. To my surprise, mother is still in Baemore, hiding at our home with some others trying to resist The Black’s control. When we get back with the information we are going to have to figure out who we can trust in the town. It seems the Black is trying to give us a bad name in the region. One thing is for certain, Aaron can’t make good on his deal if The Black is dead.

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A Blackmith's Workings XVII
Trapped

This world is starting to annoy me. Someone or something seems to be controlling this world and they appear to enjoy messing with people inside. It seemed to enjoy sending us in circles through the town. We eventually found a man with a funny name who had captured Aurora. The rules of the fairy tales are weird in themselves. We seemed to be able to get just about anything out of him for just his name. A strange man in a strange world. We brought her to her Prince Phillip. That allowed us to move the story further along into Lake Town. Lake Town was a mix of various fairy tales. This made it problematic to predict what would happen.
Arseni decided to make things difficult for us by insulting the Mayor. While he was indisposed, we decided to try to figure out the town. With the help of a few locals we went to the lake nearby to discover what happened to Anna’s sister. We were discovered by the mayor and her goons. Arseni was brought to us and with some quick thinking he found his courage and freed us from the mayor. Lets hope he can take some of that courage with him. We headed to the castle where we met with the White Witch. She did not seem to be all that we were led to believe.

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An Alchemist's Tale XXXI

I sit here and lie in wait for arseni to return from speaking to this evil queen… truth be told I am sick of this place. I can’t stand a world in where all of the happy endings have been taken away… and need to be made right. I can’t but help everyone we pass by. I want nothing more than to aid everyone I can but we have a task at hand.

This world is not my own, and once i leave i can’t help but think that everything will just return to the way it was before and start anew… There is but one task remaining after we are done here, and that is to leave this place. and if I have anything to say about it, never return.

Whenever I have a child… a daughter… if visions and dreams hold truth… I will second guess my choices on stories… but until than i hope I have no need for any more fantasies anytime soon.

… Now that i mention visions i can’t help but think about the one task I sent out to do… Phineas… I pray you are found soon. weather red briar or the black find you i will be in debt… but maybe your son will find peace finally, and it can restore a bit of faith in our group… even if it is just from one family… and Devon, not that yo will be reading this, I want you to know that despite what this vision has told me I enjoyed our night together, despite how it ended… I hope we can share another one, with less being lost next time…

Once we are done with this elf business I want to re-enter my home… we need to fix this, how I still don’t know… but we will fix this… i miss my home..

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Trappers Tales XXX
Unknown Date - Exit Stage Right

Unknown date

Well, we aren’t able to take anything from here, but I hope that just means we can’t carry out things physically.
I was told I’d find courage here, and it didn’t come quite how I’d anticipated, but I guess I did find it. After accidentally insulting a woman I really shouldn’t have (For some reason my mouth has just been running away with me in here) I was arrested. My friends had hoped to find a way to break me out, but apparently Cruella de Vil had an inkling of what they were up to, and was able to meet them before they were ready.
It was at the lake we’d been trying to get into, to see about retrieving this sword, and they took me with them as a bargaining chip. Fortunately for me, this resulted in a lack of attention on me as I was right by the sword, and was able to grab it and turn the tables.
Getting the jump on her it allowed us a good crack at victory, and with her out of the way we could move on. We were under the impression that if we could deal with the ruler of this place most of the ills would be reversed, so much to my disappointment we didn’t stop in at Kissing Town.

That found us heading down the path of finding the Queen, which was relatively straight forward from that point. Apparently my newfound sword is somewhat of a key around here. The biggest worry was waiting in her office.
I probably shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t stop myself from snooping when I saw her diary sitting there. It seems she isn’t from this world either, but instead our own, and she’d basically been trapped here by a rival.
We offered to help her find her way out, to bring her with us, but she seems reluctant and reticent. I’m not sure if this is just because she knows where she sits here, if she’s worried about returning to the real world, if the diary was intended to deceive us or if there’s something more going on, but she is guiding us to the way out. Maybe she’ll make up her mind there.

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