The beautiful green sea foam pounds the shore line … Dark angry sky's tell of a storm that is fast approaching … In the distance a small village perched atop a step cliff … A beautiful elven maiden hair and regiments blowing, stands before me motioning me to come to her … It is Deanna … my Deanna … She beckons me to come closer … Her full lips speak my name … Her eyes gaze into mine with both passion and love … I try to step forward towards her, but am unable to move … “Hoth … My love .. Please come to me” … Again I try but am held fast by a power unseen, unable to move, unable to go to my love and embrace her. Her expression begins to turn to one of sorrow … She no longer gazes at me, but through me … I call out “Deanna my love it is I” But she heeds me not and appears not to hear me … Her eyes stare at the ground and she begins to hug herself and tears start to roll down her face … She sits on the barren ground and weeps openly.. Her now wet lips mouth my name and I hear her speak through her weeping to the on coming storm “Do not forget me my love, my life, do not forget me” … “Hoth”

The vision … the dream … begins to fade from my mind, but its effects on my body are palpable. The tremors run thought my flesh and my eyes open to the predawn morning with my body convulsing in my bedchamber.

Eventually I gain enough control of my mind to repeat the spell of calming taught me by Araimina. Eventually I am able to regain some control of my muscles and cause the seizure to subside. I sit up in my bed dripping with sweat. The sickly sweet smell of blood is also in the air ... My blood …. I stare out of the stone cut window at the dawn now growing and think upon my dream.

It has been many moons since I had this dream. And I had thought that at last I had been able to put her memory to rest … But I am unable to forget Her … To quell my inner daemons …

I should have been there with her!

I should never have left her!

Helena deserves her mother in her life and I have failed her!

Failed them both!

I should… I could … I would … The daemons of my own creation hold court and I am reduced to a child with no feeling of worth or esteem to speak of.

Eventually I begin to hear activity outside in the keeps common area. And my self-loathing thoughts begin to fade as I realize what this morning holds. No time for this pity Hoth you must be up and about your business. You must help your cousins and the House for today is the day of reckoning. The house will set sail for our ancestral homeland. Our work and studies in this shard complete.

I apply the slave to my wounds and cleanse myself as best as I can. I put on my best robes given me by Creator and try to prepare myself for what may be my last sight of Alu-dar’Gallion my beloved home in this shard. The sun is almost ready to break over the horizon and I see the activates in the keep are in full swing. Minos are packing all of the equipment and valuables of the house. Their elven masters give directions and tell them to hurry, as we will set sail as soon as the ships that Lord Vorgen has sent to us arrive.

I remember the speech from our Nobel regent Ssinjin announcing the news of our departure to the gathered crowd.

“My family,nobility, blood, and bloodless of House Lok-ri I bring you greetings from our Lord and King Vorgen.”

“As you know he has left our beautiful citadel with his most trusted advisors to return to our ancestral homelands and consult with the oracles.” “His words now reach back across the barriers of the shards and speak his wisdom and commands to us.” “ I read his words to you now.”

“My Family and subjects of the House and subjects of the deathless empire.” “Having consulted with the oracles and having achieved all that we could wish for in this shard at this time I command you to leave this place and return to your rest.” “We have all struggled mightily in spirit and in mind and in flesh to gain that which we have gathered to us.” “It is now time for us to consolidate these things and to prepare ourselves for greater challenges that lay ahead.” “Continue to follow your regent lord Ssinjin for he speaks with my voice and my authority.” “I have prepared the ships that will bring you to our homelands.” “They will arrive soon.” “Prepare all for departure and prepare for a reunion and feasting as we have not had for a hundred years when you arrive home once again.” “Safe journey.”

“So let it be written, so let it be dine.”

“Lord Vorgen, Dar Thaelostor, Ruler of the Deathless Empire”

“As the Sea!”

“My family, I share this news with you out of duty, but now I say that I am indeed grateful to be able to declare these things.” “We sail in 2 days time.” “Prepare all that you would not lose and hold dear for the journey … Home!”

The shouts of joy rang out from the crowed. “Hail Vorgen!” “Hail Ssinjin!” “ Hail our leadership!” “We go to our rest!” “As the Sea!”

And then the harried activities began as all prepared themselves for the journey to come.

But even as the joy was full on us and the realization of our quests end was in sight. The gods of deaths shard placed one more challenge to its elven lords.

“/shout Banecircle: The banecircle will become active in 50 hours 59 minutes.”

Our enemies had yet again laid siege to our beloved citadel.

As I begin my day’s tasks to prepare for departure that sickly voice shouts out over the walls of Alu-dar’Gallinon.

“/shout Banecircle: The banecircle will be active in 4 hours 59 minutes.”

As the storm crow announces his next meal is insight so the bane circle shouts out the impending attack.

I head to the Mino stables to seek my slave so that I might be able to pack my things and have them moved more efficiency. As I enter I see BloodBath sitting in the corner as he often does sharpening his crescent axe. His ears perk up and a sniff sound escapes his nose as he lifts up his head to gaze at me. “Master Hoth me see you finally get off lazy butt and come to see me.” The other slaves in the stables start to snort and gaze at me nervously. From the back of the stables I hear the deep snort and booming voice of the leader of the Minos Baphomet. “BloodBath be quiet or me kill you!” “You be nicey to master Hoth or me chop chop and you be dinner for brothers!” “Yes Boss” brays BB and he stands up with head bowed. “What you need master?” “I need a less slothful Mino BB but you will have to do!” “Go pack my things in my trunk and carry them to the sea side store room that our regent Ssinjin has prepared.” “Yes master Hoth.” “Me be good and do quick.” With this he trundles off to my chambers to accomplish the task set to him.

I walk out of the stabile and feel the need to visit our tree of life one last time. Again I see that all appear to be finished with their packing and storage of their prized belongs and now many are in deep conversations. The subject of course the many deeds they have accomplished and the many things they have helped to create. Most sound to be sad to go but are happy at the thought of finally going home and leaving this shard and its constant strife and challenges.

I see my beautiful tree of life. It pulses with energy as I approach and I take solace in its mighty presence. I sit under its protective branches and consider our journey about to take place.

I have only been amongst my elven family for a short while and now I would journey to our home. A home I have never known.

Helena grows stronger each day and is more independent then ever. She makes me proud and reminds me of her mother both in the beauty of her mind and her soul.

But I cannot but think of all that I have not done. How can I bring my inner daemons to this land of milk and honey? How can I suffer and not cause suffering in my brother and sister elves. Is it right of me to pollute their peace with my imperfections and doubts? And finally like a dagger the thought above all others, she is here my love Deanna in this shard. I cannot but feel that if I where to leave this shard now I would lose her spirit which seems to reside in this space, at this time, that we had shared together.

As these thoughts whirl in my head I begin to feel uneasy. Is leaving the answer? Do I not have my own journey to consider? …

Then another feeling of unease begins to take hold. As I sit by the tree I feel a strange rumbling. The birds that occupied the tree of life sudden take flight. A scream in the distance. A shimmering near invisible form of a man seems to pass by me on its way to the Militia barracks. Again another scream and then I hear steel on steel. A shout from a militiamen “To arms to arm!” “The enemy is here amongst us!” Suddenly several human shapes appear near the tree as if from thin air. They attack those standing there and I see my brothers unprepared for battle fall to the ground dead. I stand up with a pray and spell on my lips to try to assist when it happens. Two steely smooth daggers pierce my back and I fell the pressure, as they are jammed into my flesh. Searing pain follows and my vision blurs. The spell of healing will not come from my throat as my life energy drains from me. I start to see the beginnings of a swirling tunnel of death and behind me hear my attacker's garbled curse in common speech “Die Lok-ri scum” when death fully embraces me………

To be continued (??)
Updated Feb 2006
Copy write Scott Lindquist