A Fallen Light, A New Hope

Tales of the Huntress XVI
Fear and Loss

11th of Ches

I spent a day in bed rereading this thing after I found out the consequences of my deal. I suppose I was trying to piece together who I’ve been these past few months. All I found was a lot of pointless declarations and promises to myself. A bit of whining too but that’s neither here nor there. I’m tired of swearing to reinvent myself and then just being disappointed when I end up being just me. So I guess this will be my final promise. The one I keep.

I’ve cried my only and last tears for Randal and my parents just as they finished crying theirs for the little girl in that locket a long time ago. I don’t think it will stop hurting, but I don’t have to dwell on it. I don’t have the luxury to be honest. So goodbye to my family, and my life as Rowan Tallstag. I can’t be her anymore, but I won’t be the sad and self hating shell Bagoda tried to mold me into either. Rowan Evenwood is as dead as
Rowan Tallstag. If I’m neither I suppose that makes me just Rowan in the end.

I want to cry, to scream, and rage at a lot of things right now, but what good would it do? What good has it done me in the past? There’s too much to do and I can’t waste any energy on screaming or moping. I certainly can’t waste time. I hope for the best outcome, and a happy ending with my friends who if I’m honest are more a family to me than anything else by this point. I’m optimistic but I’m not naive, and I understand things are against us. I’ll fight for the best outcome to my last breath, but accept that it may be a far away dream.

I’m worried for all of us. Mireya is still no closer to Briar and I’m not sure how having Anzo back in her life will affect her. I think if they can come together and be there for each other that they may be alright. Then again Anzo doesn’t always have the best sense. Aaron is not much better. His friend’s transformation far outweighs any relief at finding Kaleb alive I think. I never knew her, but I saw enough in that creature to pity it, and know that Aaron’s pain at seeing someone he loved in that way must be enormous. Perhaps I should try to talk with him? I say the wrong thing more often than not, but I need to do something. Arseni as usual seems to be the only one who has it together. I hope I can help share that burden a bit in the coming days.

Roy always finds new ways to worry me. This time though, I’m absolutely terrified. That wound and whatever is bound to it grows more frightening every new incident. Both Iona and the night carriage owner alluded to something being behind it, and then the witch in the camp made it burn…whatever is behind this it can’t be anything but vile and evil. I’m afraid at any moment he could be ripped away and there’s nothing I can do. I want to blame that stubborn and self sacrificing attitude of his, but I’ve always known the type of person he is, and I don’t think I can fault him for it. Not when it’s also part of what I admire about him. I promised him my support and I won’t break that no matter how scared for him I might be. So for now I’ll keep it together and stay by his side. To the very end if I have to.

All I can do for anyone right now is be there and protect them when they need it. Which may be often with how things are going. Every bit of strength we gain seems to draw stronger and stronger enemies to us. Our luck may run out soon. Still I’ll do what I can. For the sake of this strange family I’ve found my way into.

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Hunting Pt 1
Hello and Goodbye

The floors creaked as the well used shoes made strides across them, one by one they hit the floor walking towards the old wooden arch way leading into the kitchen.

It was a well aged establishment, the building was made from dark wood from an old forest that had partially been burnt down from a time long past, the only thing new was the long counter; made from a fine oak.

The old woman walked, carrying the last of what was left out from the day, there were almost no lights on, only a few dim candles; something caught her attention and she looked down, she placed the bin filled with plates and mugs on the counter and bent down to pick up what it was; a single platinum piece “Oh…my” she said as she scooped it up.

“Grandmother… … …” an eerie voice said as she stood up, the older woman quickly looked around. “Who is there!?” a half frightened voice called out.

“I am home grandmother.” the eerie voice called out again.

The old woman stood up and turned around, a look of shock on her face quickly turned to horror as giant teeth met her eyes as the creature leaned over.

“I am sorry grandmother… but I must give all of my love to only one, and sadly it is not you.” The eerie voice called out, the teeth did not move, it was almost as if the voice came from inside the mouth of the beast.

“What!? Who are you!?!?” The older woman called out.

“Good bye Grandmother, send grandfather my love”

The old woman dropped to the floor, little bits of blood poured under into a dip in the floor and the creature was gone.

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Trappers Tales XXXII
1st 6th day, Ches - Ruminations

6th Ches

I missed my birthday, and after that last fight I’m not sure I’ll make it to my next. Well, maybe. I guess I don’t even know when my birthday is any more.

Still, somehow, we managed to get through, so we can die another day. I honestly thought we were done for. I don’t know how many times I got knocked out, but I’m sure it was a lot. I felt like I basically couldn’t contribute, as I was trying to stay on my feet.

But, what’s done is done. The important thing is what is to come. It appears we’ve got a few things to do. First, we’ve set our eyes on locating “the lurker,” whatever that is. Then we’re to go after The Black’s aide. Hopefully somewhere along the line we’ll find Kara.

No one has seen her for a little, according to Zia. I hope it means she was smart enough to leave, but I don’t know where she’d go, and the rumours of her being entangled in all this don’t fill me with hope. I knew those arena fights were no good, but I didn’t anticipate anything like this.

We’ve been friends since we were little kids. I don’t know what I’d do if she’d turned against us. All I know is no matter how much it would break my heart, I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to hurt her.

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An Alchemist's Tale XXXIII

That last fight… was not something I want think about… we barely made it out of that horrible place… This is starting to be more dangerous and more serious than ever… Honestly I feel powerless to help protect anyone… I am starting to realise that maybe two swords is not the best way to fight my enemies… I am not the best fighter, and i am not really that good at magic… to be honest I can’t really do that much besides make potions.. Mireya and Areseni are the powerful ones.. the spells they can use… I need to protect them more. I guess i should let Roy rush the enemies. he seems to lose control when he fights…

I will see how this adventure goes.. maybe it’s time I take on the sheild… It’s what He would have wanted anyway… anything to make me saffer…

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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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