Tomika, the 21st of Aperire 976 (2nd day in Eternos)
Dawn found me as I was doing my daily morning workout. With Tath not in the room with us, there was plenty space to move around quietly without waking Amayah. After washing up I headed downstairs to the common room of the Laughing Swan to meet up with everyone for breakfast. As the others showed up, I found myself staring at Theradon as came down the stairs. Attempting to hide my blushing face, I looked away before he could catch me staring….I hope. Together the group discussed the plans for the day. Amayah, Theradon and Felix decided that they would head directly to the Temple of Heironeous, while I would head to the Dragon Warrior Temple to check on Tath, agreeing to meet up with them afterwards at the Temple of Heironeous. Mazrith was more silent than usual and didn’t have much to say either way, so we left him to his own devices.
Even though I could sense Tath through our shared bond and could tell that he was happy, I still wanted to see him. Last night was the first night that we had been parted since I bonded with his egg 6 years ago. I was happy to see that even though he was having fun with his new dragon friends, he was happy to see me also. I asked him about how his day went and filled him in on the information that we had found the previous day. Giving him a kiss on the snout (much to his embarrassment) I told him I would come see him again tomorrow, and left to meet up with the others at the Temple of Heironeous. As I was walking out, I was stopped by the Captain of the Dragon Warriors that I had met yesterday. Blocking my path he asked me, “And just where do you think you’re going?” Slightly put off by his stiff demeanor I told him politely that I was on my way to meet up with my fellow companions at the Temple of Heironeous. “You’re not going anywhere, until you prove yourself to me.” Completely putting me on the defensive I hotly retorted back, “And why should I have to prove myself to you?” “I want to see what kind of warriors Prox is turning out these days.” he said. Prove myself to him? Really? Well if he wanted to test my mettle, that was fine with me. I’ve put up with bullies for far too long and I was not going to put up with his rudeness. I felt my eyes narrow as I glared at him and told him in firm voice, “Fine.” Pulling out his great sword, he lead me over to the sparring ring. I sized him up while we walked in silence over to the ring. This was not going to be an easy fight, nor a friendly one.
Once over to the ring I did some slight stretches to get my muscles warmed up, and mentally called out to Tath to let him know what was going on and to ask him to lend me his strength. I sent up a quick prayer to Kord, and started to step into the ring just as Tathandral came running over to watch, knocking over two warriors in his excitement and haste. “He lacks discipline,” said the Captain, apparently feeling some need to voice his disapproval. He was seriously starting to make me upset and I had the feeling he was trying to get me get me off balance before the fight. “I am a calm mountain lake,” I told myself. Repeating a mantra my friend once taught me I took a breath and continued, “This man is but a cloud casting a shadow upon my surface. I will be here far longer than he will be.” Feel myself calmed I answered, “At least he has character.” “Character,” he said, “Is nothing.” Standing my ground I replied back, “Character is everything.” And with that I stepped into the ring.
“It is tradition for us to introduces ourselves to each other,” he told me. “I am Captain Shean Wyatt.” I gave him a curt nod and told him, “I am Alusair.” “What?” he asked, “Just Alusair? No surname?” I just looked at him in stony silence, not bothering to reply. “I have a surname,” I said to myself, “But there is no way that I’m giving it to a pompous ass like you!” We both squared off, saluted, and launched our attacks at each other.
I attacked him in earnest, not to much to prove to him that I was worthy, but I just wanted the fight to be over with. It was stupid. I shouldn’t need to prove myself to him. My first swing missed. “You’ll have to do better than that!” he called out. He easily parried my next swing and moving swiftly he delivered a crushing blow to me that I was too slow to deflect. The bone-jarring impact startled me. This guy really wasn’t messing around. And he was good. Very good. “Give up!” he called out to me. Shifting my weight to a better fighting stance, I answered back, “Make me!” I attacked again, but it was to no avail. It seemed that his defense was almost perfect from years of fighting. The man knew his stuff, I’d give him that. I felt like my legs were weighted down and my sword was too slow. I attacked him again, this time more clumsy than the last. Sense my growing frustration, he called out, “How can you fight me when you’re fighting yourself?” He attacked me rapidly, it was almost impossible to deflect any of his shots, his great sword was a blur in his hands. He landed another strike on me, this one more crushing than the last. It felt like he was trying to kill me! Trying not to let my growing alarm reach my face, I searched his only to find it completely masked and impassive. With a painful grimace I brought my sword back up to defend against his ceaseless attacks. “Why do you continue?” he asked. “‘Cause I’m too stubborn to give up…and too stupid not to!” I thought to myself. I could feel Tathandral’s encouraging but concerned presence behind me. I thought about Amayah’s willingness to learn when we sparred and her chiming laughter when we talked into the night, giggling like carefree girls. Who would be there to correct her stance and grip on her weapon or throw pillows at her head while we made faces at each other? I thought about Felix’s steadfast and growing friendship with Tath and myself. I thought about Theradon’s brief kiss from last night and my growing feelings for him. I wanted the courage to express feelings for him and to kiss him in earnest. I thought about Mazrith and our talk on the docks and how I hoped he was on the slow road of healing through his pain and darkness. I thought of all my friends and told Shean, “Because there are people worth fighting for. People worth protecting,” I said. With the remainder of my fleeting strength, I launched myself at him and put everything into my attack, finally scoring a hit against him. However this only proved to be a small and short lived victory for me. With a quick series of blows, he drove me down to my knees, and held his sword to my neck. “Yield,” he demanded. Defiant to the end, I refused. My body was battered and bruised. I could feel at least one or two cracked ribs and knew that I bled freely from multiple cuts. Battered, bruised, but not broken. “It is honorable to offer to someone to yield. It is not honorable to accept,” I told him. With the pommel of his great sword he shoved me over. The back of my head hit a rock, and as darkness closed in I knew I had lost.
In the darkness a flame appeared in front of me. This time it was a flame that seemed to be composed of ice. “Do you wish to continue?” asked a female voice. I answered her in the same manner that I had answered the first time. “At what cost?” “What cost do you wish?” she asked. “Does it jeopardize my friends or our quest?” There was a moment of brief silence before the voice answered. “The cost will come later and is irrelevant to your friends, quest and to you.” As much as I would have loved to haunt Shean for the rest of his days, I knew that Tath wouldn’t survive long without me. Already I could hear him calling distantly to me “Alusair….get up….wake up….” I told the voice that I would accept her offer and wished to continue. I felt energy pour into my body and knew, just as before, that I was completely healed.
“You’ll never be strong enough to protect anybody.” I heard Shean say. As my eyes flicked open I looked to see him turn his back to me and walk away. Standing up, I looked down at my armor and saw that this time instead of red, I wore a gleaming white armor etched with dragon symbols and designs all over it. Dragon wings sprouted from the back of my armor, and my sword had lengthened from a long sword into a great sword. Laughing, I called out to him, “But I’m just getting started.” Shean whirled around…and froze. Awestruck he just stared at me. For a few moments we stood like that. I would keep fighting him, but he was going to have to make the first move. He started to walk over to me, then to my complete and utter shock, he knelt down in front of me, placing his greatsword on the ground. Looking up into my stunned face he told me. “I yield.” “Alusair,” I heard Tath say, “What did you do?” I had no idea. An excited Tathandral continued to shout jubilantly into my mind, “Alusair you won! You did it!” The training grounds were completely silent. I looked around and saw that everyone had stopped what they were doing, and were also kneeling down on the ground before me.
Trying to snap out of my shock, I crouched down so that my eyes were level with Shean’s, and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Farstrider.” I told him. Confused he asked me, “What?” “My last name,” I told him, “Is Farstrider.” With a grin I told him “I would be honored if you would show me how you were able to beat me so quickly, my brother warrior.” After how he had just treated me this was obviously not something he expected. With a hesitant smile he told me, “I would be honored to teach you what I know.” Hearing some people move up behind me, I heard Amayah shout, “Alusair are you ok?” Startled by the presence of my friends, I turned to greet them as the white armor disappeared. “What are guys doing here?” I asked them. I was supposed to have met them at…..oh….right. “You were supposed to meet us at the Temple of Heironeous, but when you never showed up we worried and thought to find you here.” “Sorry,” I told her, “I got hung up by a little friendly, duel.” “It didn’t look so friendly to me,” said Theradon. I looked up at him and he told me, “We’re also here to see if we can meet up with someone from the Wyatt family.” He quickly explained that at the Temple of Heironeous they had found that Azreal the Fair was once known as Azreal Wyatt and that his descendants still lived here in Eternos. Turning I saw Shean had heard our conversation and had come over to join us. “What do you want with the Wyatt family?” asked Shean, suspiciously. We explained our quest to him and he told us what he knew about Azreal: that he had died a hero, and had spent a great deal of time on the continent of Angora. The others went to go find Mazrith and I stayed to speak with Shean some more. He told me that his family still had the sword of Azreal in their possession and if I cared to see it, I could meet him at the temple in the morning and he would take me to the family home to see it. Agreeing to meet up with him, I left to catch up to the others at the Laughing Swan.
Music and the sounds of laughter and talk met me at the door of our Inn as I walked inside. My gaze swept around the room. I saw some of the others sitting at a table, but Theradon was not with them. Looking around a bit more, I saw he was sitting at the bar drinking heavily with two dwarves. Did I miss something? I sat down at the table where Amayah was at. She told me that there was a great festival coming up. The Festival of Lights was in a few days in a town called Feinster. Feinster was at least 2 months away by walking and at least 1 month away by horse. Since both Amayah and I had expressed interest in going, Theradon and her had tried to talk to some of the local wizards to see how much it would cost us to go. 5000 gold??? That was almost all the gold we had left. Every year I looked forward to the Festival and knew that Feinster was supposed to put on the best celebration in the world. I found my gaze drawn towards Theradon again. He had never been so deeply into a cup of drink before. Maybe he was upset about not going? Amayah had said that the wizards were very rude to both of them. An idea occurred to me. Before I could lose my nerve I told her “I’ll be back in a little while,” and raced upstairs to our room. Scrubbing the dirt and sweat from my skin, and meticulously cleaning the caked dirt from under my fingernails, I cleaned all the grit and dirt away from my fight with Shean. I brushed my hair, curling it slightly. I dabbed myself with a small amount of perfume, and proceeded to fish out my scarce amount of cosmetic pots I had carefully hidden in my packs. I added a small amount of color to my eye lids, pinched my cheeks to make them more rosy in color and painted my lips with a tiny pot of rouge. I slid on my blue dress to complete my transformation. It was show time.
Trying not to draw the attention of my friends, I slipped downstairs and headed to the door. “Who is that??” I heard a drunken Theradon call out loudly, just as I reached the door. My hand froze in place. Oh Gods, please no. “Please don’t recognize me,” I prayed fervently. “That, my lad,” said one of the dwarves, “Is a beautiful woman!” I heard Theradon chuckle in agreement, “Well whoever she is, I like it!” As the dwarves started to laugh with him, I made my escape out of the common room and headed for the wizard’s tower. Once there I tugged my dress down as low as I dared and tried to put on what I had hoped to be a slightly vapid look as I knocked on the door. One of the wizards answered and before he could say anything I gushed to him “Oh! Are you a great wizard??” Startled he looked at me. I could see his chest puff up in self importance as he replied “Why yes, yes I am. How may I assist you.” “Oh thank the stars that I found you!” I cried. “I can see now that surely you are indeed a great wizard! I have just heard that there is a Festival taking place in Feinster and I would be ever so grateful if you could help me get there!” As I said this last part I squeezed my arms in front of me, hoping to emphasize the already embarrassing amount of cleavage that I was displaying. “Um, well yes….I…I could certainly help you.” he choked out. “How many of you would there be?” I told him that there were 5 of us and a dragon. I saw him start to calculate in his head. I grabbed a hold of his arm, pressing it to my bosom, I told him with a wink, “And if you were to stay and join us for the festivities there would be 6.” Feeling that I had the upper hand. I dazzled him a brilliant smile. This was going to be easy! If I could secure us passage maybe Theradon would see that I was good at something besides just fighting….something I wasn’t even very good at yet. I imagined how he would be grateful as I returned triumphantly to the tavern announcing my great deed. How he would sweep me up in his arms as he realized I was the beautiful woman that he had seen earlier. Twirling me around he would tell me how I was as clever as I was beautiful and kiss me….”4,000 gold.” said the wizard, interrupting my thoughts. “What??” I asked him confused, still slightly caught up in my day dream. “I said the passage would cost you 4,000 gold,” repeated the wizard. Dismayed I tried to look at him with big doe eyes, “But sir, I had hoped…” He cut off my reply,”Do you by any chance happen to have some friends that stopped by here earlier?” He then proceeded to give me a fairly accurate description of Theradon. “I have many friends that could fit that description,” I tried to bluff. “Well,” he told me, “I’m afraid 4,000 gold is sadly as low as I am willing to go for a group of that size.” With my day dream smashed to pieces, I told him in a crestfallen voice, “Oh. I see. Thank you anyways.” and headed back to the Laughing Swan.
Hearing that there was still music playing, I walked through the doorway. Depending on how drunk Theradon was maybe he would want to dance! My heart skipped a few beats and this time I entered the room, bolstered by the confidence of his words calling me beautiful earlier….only to find him passed out and snoring on the floor. Well at least my secret meeting and failure with the wizards was still stafe. I smiled slightly to myself at the sight of the nobly dressed man, snoring drunkenly on the floor like a commoner. Deciding not to let the night be a total loss, I went and enjoyed the music and still did a little bit of dancing.
I should get some rest. Tomorrow morning I will meet up with Shean in hopes of seeing the sword of Azreal and maybe we can get settled on where to go next. And with luck I will get the chorus out of my head from the song the bard was playing earlier, called Taykell’s Adventure, “Oh, Fathers hope for daughters, someone light and frilly. They leave the house, to find a spouse, a blessing in it really. The land your father farmed on, was split among his sons. If this goes on much longer, soon there will be none…”
Aviva, the 22nd of Aperire 976 (Third day in Eternos)
I woke with the dawn as usual on our third day in Eternos. At breakfast there was little conversation about what to do for the day. Theradon announced that he was going to go to the Arena to try and win some money through betting, and that Felix would be accompanying him. Amayah said that she would not mind going with me to see the sword of Azreal, and after a bit of talking Mazrith decided to accompany us.
As we walked to the Dragon Warrior Temple to meet up with Shean, I filled Mazrith in on what had happened the previous day. He looked stunned when he heard about the armor and started to question me about the color, and when it had started appearing. I told him all that had happened yesterday and about the time that it had also happened while we were fighting the Kraken during our trip on the ship. When I explained to him that the armor was red the first time and white a second time, he said that it was the armor of a Dragoon and that he didn’t know if any had still existed. The fact that mine had been two different colors was very rare. I showed him the ring and after some examination, he declared that he was going to head to the library to look up some more information on the armor instead of going with us to the Dragon Warrior Temple.
Once Amayah and I met up with Shean at the temple he took us to his family home in Eternos where the sword was kept. Amayah tried to sense if there was still any magical power, but alas any of the magic that the sword once held was broken just as the sword itself was in many pieces. Shean’s family proved to be a fount of information, telling us that the sword had been with Azreal the Fair during his entire career, and also that there is a keep that Azreal spent much time at a keep while he was in Angora and that the keep is still standing. Wanting to share the rest of this information with the rest of the group, Amayah and I thanked the Wyatt family for their time and walked back with Shean to the temple.
On the way back I finally asked Shean the question that had been on my mind since yesterday. Why had everyone started kneeling to me after our fight? He explained that the armor that I was wearing was that of a Dragoon, and that she must be blessed to have that armor for only warriors that are blessed are granted it and since mine has appeared with two different colors I must truly be blessed.
Well that’s all that’s happened so far today. I figured it would be best to get this all written down before the rest of the group meets back up with us here at the Laughing Swan. Hopefully Mazrith will be able to fill me in more on the armor! And with luck the group will be able to decide where we should go next!