These are the collected, surviving tales collected from Lucian Nailo, ranging from the 11th of Cal, 1328, to the 16th of Davor, 1329.
Journal entries extend from as follow:
1328: Dalan the 5th, Trical the 19th
1329: Dalan the 5th
Peace in the form of nightfall settled warmly over the land of Terrace. Amoungst the huge ancient woodlands where the elven people gathered in meetings with the elders and with families, gentle notes of a flute being played could be heard as I walked in the cooling night air. Just a few minutes before, I kissed my mother's cheek before dashing out the door and down the rope from our home resting high in an ancient tree.
I was attempting to follow my father to an emergency meeting of the elders but as always he had given me the slip. Earlier that evening he had stormed through the door, a very serious expression on his face – so unusual was this expression that both mother and I stopped dead in our post-suppertime chores to stare bewildered at him. Worry and anxiety radiated from his normally handsome face as he walked towards mother, taking her hand in his, saying, “Gather our belongings – only what we can comfortably carry. We move away from Terrace tonight.”
Immediately, Mother began to question why – then father held up his hand, “Please… Dear… A meeting has been called of the elders for midnight.” He glanced about, looking for something, and noticed me standing there, “Son, assist your mother in these tasks and please – be spirited about it. Dawn brings great trouble: our scouts on the edge of the wood have spotted creatures movings steadily from the northern parts of the forests. Hordes of the undead have been counted, along with their masters. They move against us, and our numbers are low thanks to the paladins and this quest of theirs to bring our destruction.”
My mother stopped to hold her husband, and bid him farewell as he gathered his journal and dissappeared out into the night.
Fear had stolen my breath for a moment, but an odd feeling of excitement and adventure began to etch its way into my body. I looked from the door that my father passed through, back to my mother, who gave me a knowing smile and spoke. “Follow him if you want, but be careful – and if you see anything out of the normal for the woods, come home quickly.” I happily obliged this, as I ran towards the door.
“Lucian, wait,” she spoke suddenly. “Let me give you this.”
She reached above her head, into a cubby hole and took from it a jeweled box On the box was a carving of a dragon – silver in color, and its eyes the color of jade. She touched the dragon's eyes and the box opened with a sharp click. Whatever was inside the box glowed with an a fiery light. She reached inside and withdrew a crimson dragon and within its jeweled belly was an inscription of sorts. Mother placed the amulet around my neck.
“This was your grandfather's, and now its yours.” She sighed, “I was hoping to give it to you at a much later date, but these are troubled times, and I unfortunately cannot say for certain that I would be around long enough to give it to you. Now, hide it under your cloak – never let anyone see it. This is a part of who you are – a link to the blood that flows in your veins. It has brought great luck to this family, giving the wearer one special power that will manifest itself later on in your life. Now, go on – I shall finish up here.”
I kissed her cheek and headed out, glancing once more over my shoulder to the woman who had given me life – never knowing that in the last few hours of nightfall, death would take her from me, forever.
…One tragedy in a night that would be riddled with many.
“Damn,” I whispered to myself and kicked away a small rock that was in my path. I had lost the trail of my father, and was more or less wandering aimlessly among the homes of other elves.
Suddenly, and to my great surprise, the woods became alive with urgent voices. Some of these voices were the sounds of elders ordering their wives to gather the children – some were the elven women ushering their children awake. Lights came on as these families rushed out and down to the ground, and deeper into the woods away from their homes.
I stood watching this for quite some time, until my father's voice jarred me out of my thoughts. “Lucian! Behind you..!”
I turned quickly to see the origins of his outburst, and to my absolute horror there was this creature that looked as if it had been buried at least a few years.
I staggered back in surprise and my feet caught on some fallen branch, and I ended up flat on my backside. I raised my hands to ward off my would-be attacker, when an arrow peirced its throat, and it fell backwards. I felt a pair of strong hands under my arms, lifting me roughly upwards.
In spite of myself I let out a fierce yelp and tried to struggle against those hands, when my father's calming voice let me know I was alright. “You're going to be just fine. We must move quickly – where is your mother?” he asked.
My eyes were still on that undead creature that would have taken my life.
Father roughly shook me and asked again, “Where is your mother?”
I looked at him and shakily said, “Back in the tree-house… She told me I could come find you. What's going on? You said we had till dawn.”
Father began running in the direction of our home, with me on his heels. “The forces that brought forth these abominations are much stronger than we anticipated. They have already killed many of the scouts… A few escaped with their lives just to come and tell us, and fall victim to their wounds.”
We were about a hundred feet away from the tree-house, when a scream eminated from the window above – and a horrified chill spread throughout my body as we bolted upwards.
There was some sort of explosion, and finally, silence.
Father burst through the door to find mother lying in a heap on the floor – her lifeless body sort of in a fetal positon on the floor. One of the creatures had made its way into the house and was now lying in its own putrid entrails – a dagger protruding from its gut.
Father walked over to it and ended its undead connection with a twist of its neck.
I knelt at my mother's side, as did father when he finished with the creature. I looked at him and shook my head – nausea sweeping over me as I whispered, “She's – dead.”
We were too late.
Father had gathered her unto himself and rocked her gently in his arms… I stood and backed away. A low pitched sound of pure agony escaped his lips. I had to look away, for her cold, dead eyes had set on mine. Her once beautiful face was now a picture of horror, her lips formed in a grimace of pain. I took my father by the shoulders and knelt with him as he cried.
Outside, pure hell was being unleashed on those who remained – most of whom would die. Terror-filled screams of women and small children… Blood-boiling war cries from both the elders and the elven women as they stepped up to do battle with the terror that was sweeping through our land.
My father's cries subsided and he laid my mother back down and turned to me… I nodded and glanced outside, and he nodded in return as we turned with broken hearts to go and fight the unliving demons that now reeked havoc amongst our homes.
Father fought bravely, wielding such power that it seemed the tide would turn. But that hope was short lived, as more of the undead crawled into view. I fought alongside of him, doing what I could with what little knowledge I had. Dawn quickly approached, and with it, fatigue for those who remained alive.
In almost perfect unison, those who were left alive turned to flee. Some of my father's friends came to our aide and accompanied us to routes of safety. For a little while I kept an eye on him, and saw the weariness and the tel-tale signs of a broken elven spirit in his eyes.
With the battle far behind us and I in my own thoughts, I failed to see the tragedy that would further unfold before me, leaving me orphaned and alone. That night, Father – in his sorrow and dispair – would take his own life.
“Dead.” He was barely able to choke out the words. Lucian shook his head slowly as he looked from one of his father's friends to another.
Elmaroe, the eldest of the two, was also very shaken from the terrible news. “He simply ended his own life with the use of a dagger. Your mother's death was too much for him to bear.” He shook his head shamefaced. “We are so terribly sorry, Lucian.”
Beral spoke next. “We are still trying to gather whats left of our clan. My wife and I had a long discussion after your father's passing. We would be delighted if you were to join our family. I know this is a bit too soon, so we will give you time to grieve and think it over.” He sighed and looked at Lucian with much sorrow. “Rest now, my young elf. You have had a long journey. You have done more for this clan in the way you fought this morning, than any of us could have asked for. The ancient blood runs deep in your veins.” With a wry smile he headed out into the night. “Sleep well, Lucian.”
Lucian settled back onto the bedroll that had been laid for him. Hours of traveling had lead them along the banks of the Galanus River. The elven clan was going to take refuge in the human city of Teras, another day away. Camp had been quickly established by nightfall, and even though the threat of Coruth's minions was deep in everyone's hearts, fatigue and the wounded demanded that they stop for the night.
Beral excused himself and walked out into the makeshift tent that was erected for Lucian's personal use.
After Beral's exit, Elmaroe sat next to Lucian and wrapped his arm around his shoulder.
Lucian leaned heavily into the side of his father's great friend and looked upon his face with such sorrow, that Elmaroe felt his heart tighten.
“It's going to be alright, I swear Lucian… You are going to be alright.”
Lucian buried his head into his hands to shield the anguish and fresh flow of tears that erupted from him. His sobs were mild from terrible exahaution, and soon he was fast asleep. As he rested alongside of Elmaroe, his chest rose and fell with the tell-tale hitches of weeping…
He heard flute music, far away it seemed, but as he rose from an almost dreamless sleep, he realized the music was coming from outside his tent. He opened his eyes, slowly removing the sleep away as he sat up. Upon doing so, he heard a familiar woman's voice say from beside him, “Ah, so your awake.”
He turned his head to see Elmaroe's wife sitting at the edge of his bedroll. He grunted and yawned a reply, stretching his arms above his head.
“Amazing what a good nights sleep can do for one's color. You look much better today,” Aladora said.
“What time is it?” he asked huskily.
“Almost midday… You slept like a rock all night long – and all morning, for that matter, my dear.”
He looked at her “How would you kno- How long have you been here with me?”
“Elmaroe was pacing the floors last night until he decided that we should watch over you, in case you woke up from a nightmare or something like that. You went through quite an ordeal for one so young. We agreed on shifts, but I think he finally dozed off, himself,” She chuckled and shook her lovely raven-colored hair. “To be quite honest with you, I must have caught a couple of winks myself. ” She smiled and then the smile faded to worry. “Oh, goodness! You didn't have any bad dreams, did you?” She looked so genuinely worried that Lucian was forced to smile inspite of himself.
“No, no dreams at all. I must have really been tired.” He looked around himself and stood up.
Glancing down at the woman who had kept vigil over him he asked, “When do we move again?”
“As soon as I tell Elmaroe that you have awakened. I am sure they are ready to go – probably been waiting for you for several hours now,” she said, standing herself.
Lucian nodded, adjusted his clothing, and bent to gather his things and the bedroll that he had slept on. He tried desperately to think of something to say, a conversation starter or something, but it had just occured to Lucian why he was there. He remembered what had transpired the past day, and he was struck dumb. His mind was reeling from emotional strain that had suddenly hit like a dark wave, breaking on the shoreline of his senses.
He placed a hand on his forehead and closed his eyes, trying to calm the dread of facing the day. Slowly he exhaled and spoke softly. “I need to get out of here.”
The move southwest to Teras passed without incident. Scouts were sent out to spot for undead, but turned up with no sign of them. One thing did strike them as odd – in a different area they had come across many dead falcons (sival falcons to be exact). Panic almost ensued within the survivors as the rumors of plauge swept through and it took all of Elmaroe's influence to keep them calm. A couple of marks later a young scout brought back one of these falcons who seem to be unaffected from the disease, but had suffered from an injured wing. Lucian tended to the injury and began to grow quite fond of the little bird. There was something peculiar about her – her eyes were the same color as Lucian's.
Aladora, who never left Lucians side in the journey, not even for a second, also noticed this. “Would you look at that – how strange. I've never seen that before.” She smiled and petted the head of the falcon. “She likes you.” Aladora refitted the brace she had around the falcon's wing. “She is healed but we'll just keep this here for awhile, just in case. It will keep her from using her wing – it may be a little sore. You know, maybe you should name her.” She look at Lucian.
“I think thats a wonderful idea. Hrm… Alora? Yes thats it – Alora.” Lucian smiled fondly down at her.
“Alora,” the falcon repeated in perfect elven.
Lucian and Aladora's eyes grew wide. “Lucian, did you hear that?”
“Lucian,” the bird mimicked, “Lucian fixed my wing. Hurts no more. Alora loves Lucian.”
The falcon cooed and buried her head in Lucian's outstretched palm.
“Alora loves Lucian.”
Both elves stared speechless at each other, as Elmaroe came up behind them. “Looks like Lucian found a familiar.” Startled, they turned towards him. “Take good care of her and treat her right – she'll be of good use to you .”
Lucian and Alora, Elmaroe and Aladora, travelled together into the human city of Teras.
Once in the safety of the city, and under the protection of other mages, the refugees of Terrace were soon greeted by clerics and druidic healers of all races. Finally tended to, the group began to disperse. Some searched for family members who were living there and others began to search for new homes. Lucian aided Aladora and Elmaroe in getting settled, and sought to explore the new city.
He entered taverns, inns, libraries, and shops. He lingered around various groups of people – listening to local gossip, and stories of undead minions and unexplained events. There were great rumors of a place called Mount Lavanore, and other far away lands that Lucian couldn't help but dreaming of.
Lucian finally broke away from the group, and made his way around the city, stopping within a small shop to purchase a patch of leather to wear on his shoulder. Alora decided that she liked to pearch there and her claws were wreaking havoc on poor Lucian's shoulder.
The rest of the day was devoted to more wandering around the city, and finally, as night fell, he returned to the home of his father's friends. He leaned against a tree and stared inside the window, looking inside . He gazed at the couple talking over what seemed to be a late supper.
“They look so content and happy, how can I be a part of that?” Lucian thought miserably. “I've lost my whole world in a matter of days. I can't stay here. These people would be a constant reminder to the way things used to be.” His shoulder's slumped as he realized this.
“Lucian sad. Alora loves Lucian,” the falcon cooed, burying her head inside her feathers almost as if she were embarrased.
“Lucian loves you, too, Alora – I guess its just you and me kiddo.” He turned away from the window and walked back into the city streets. His future stretched out before him like the cobblestone pathway he walked out on.
He prayed that one day Elmaroe would forgive him, and come to understand why it was he left without a good-bye.
With a heavy heart, he dissappeared into the night.
Lucian sits up as the rest of the party sleeps. He had taken midwatch, and for the first hour sat and watched the fire. He didn't bother waking up the next shift, but sat there watching the flames lick the logs and the embers, glowing as chunks of log fall apart. Cleo slept fitfully out across the fire, Seamus near her… The dragon off to his right with N'Kara… The cats slept curled up off to his left, away from the fire. His mind was in turmoil. Before everyone had turned in, Aust tried to talk to Lucian, but Lucian brushed him off.
He looked about his belongings and found a faded scroll and a quill, and began to write his thoughts down…
“I simply dont know what to do! I have grown quite fond of this group, yet I am torn up over Seamus (what is his issue?). I don't know if he has taken on this surrogate father role, trying to protect me and whatever. If thats even the case – he just always seems to get in my way. Can we say aggravated? When he gave me that whole mess about doing what I had planned to do to Beral, and then tonight turning on unarmed orges – I was positively infuriated. He is our leader – I understand this – Jena left him in charge, as well as she should have. But at times, I kinda feel like a fifth wheel on a cart. Useless, I go to do something, and here comes Seamus, “No, no, now. This will lead you down the path of evil. I've been there.. I've seen it,” and so on, and so on.
Xzax doesn't even do that to me. When he comes around, I was totally expecting him to be my shadow – watching my every move. He hasn't done that to me – he has allowed my powers to develop, and has given me the space I needed. Maybe he would have… N'Kara has proven to be quite a distraction, though, thank the gods. Xzax's family has intrigued me, and if I survive this adventure, then I would much like to return to the land of the dragons to partake in fellowship with them.
Cleo – what can I say about her? She is beautiful… My heart leapt the moment I saw her again, and the guilt of not getting to know her was taken away. She is a peculiar creature. She is very smart, skillfull, and quick. She is also a bit strange, and can lash out at people. She's been through a lot, I understand, so I'll give her her distance.
N'Kara is the most gentle creature I have had the pleasure of coming across. I have a feeling, if other druids are like her, I may begin to study with them. She is so at peace with nature, its amazing some of the things she comes up with. I get a kick when she smacks someone with a sneeze spell. Her and Xzax make a great couple… Their offspring should be interesting.
Jena is the key to this group… She is the link that we are missing right now. In all honesty, it seems that we have come to a stand still. Every move we have made so far has been unfruitful – I think this is where we are beginning to strain against one another. I do wish things are well with Jena and Gunju… I just wish they were here.
Jena's lover Gunju, the samurai, he is nothing short of comical. He is a very affective fighter. But when he reacted to Xzax the way he did, I thought I was going to fall apart. It was so comical. His culture is so out in another zone compared to what we were used to. He will be good for Jena, although I think life in that household will be interesting.
Al Mudim… The perpetual thorn in all of our sides. I would be lying to myself if I said that, had I known this would happen, I would have joined. Would I have charged into it headfirst like I did, throwing caution to the wind? I worry about the group… I know we could all die from this, but is that the worst that could happen? What other secrets are buried out there with this thing? What other possibilities are there? If found, do we have the power to destroy it? And can we, now that everyone and their brother is after it? I know I can't answer these things… I know I can't begin to come close to it. I am not sure if anyone can. And this thing is terrifying to me. Beral was a shock… My father… The voice of my mother… It's a wonder I haven't become a babbling idiot.
Who knows what terrors this thing will bring. I hope for the fate of all Gaeleth, that this thing is destroyed. As for the party, I pray that we can accomplish this without killing each other. I love them all to peices. They are my family now. May the gods and goddesses protect us – if they haven't turned their backs already.”
Lucian finishes writing and rolls the scroll up and puts it in his pack. He looks again on the sleeping adventurers and lets out a weary sigh. He cannot help but feel for them as he watches them dream. He looks up at the dawning sky, and as the stars begin to fade into the greyness of the morning, his heart is heavy as he wakes the rest of the party.
The Quest for Al Mudim is beyond my abilities now. Unfortunately, I have not been over-powered by the undead, nor the Inquisition – but by a fellow seeker of the artifact in question. I know very little of the way of life Seamus has chosen, nor do I desire to understand it. I therefore, in my opinon, should not be governed under the “laws” of the “high seas”. My only option was to turn and flee. Maybe this was sheer ignorance – a victim of age and inexperience.
I shall not dwell on these things, for there is little I can do in regards to this situation. I have spoken with Prat and told him only very vauge details of what had transpired with the group. I asked him only to allow family knowledge to my whereabouts. He agreed to this request without further question, and has allowed me to study within his towers and amongst his spellbooks. This takes up most of my time. Mistress Brinn has been very helpfull with my questions, and has also opted not to question me as to why I abandoned the group. For that, I am grateful. I tried my best to do what I felt was necessary, and am satisfied in knowing this.
I will be watching, closely, this band of misfits as they journey on into unknown territory – especially since they are under the guidance of Seamus. I fear for their saftey in regards to his command. The one I truly worry for is N'Kara. She has questioned him before, and I suspect that if she does again, and he reacts the way he does… His deck will be crimson with the blood from his own veins. And his crew will be without a captain. The thought is slightly amusing.
I will intercede if the need arises, oh, yes… And no man nor beast shall stand in my way. Al Mudim is the goal. All things must come second to finding and destroying the artifact. I gave the old man my word.
Time will tell the tale…
Lucian sits back in his chair high up in the tower, as he watches an incoming storm. The lightning dances throughout the night, and thunder rolls in reply. Something deep inside him stirs, and instead of fighting the growing chill that began at his feet, he lets it course up his body in delicious ripples to his spine. Alora squawks a bit on her perch, slightly shaken from the sound of Brigain throwing a tantrum. Lucian chuckles at that thought and murmurs. “Oh my dear Brigain… Throw your fit as you sit all powerful on high. There are forces out here, now, that even you will quiver at the thought of coming face to face with. I would recommend that you keep a watchful eye upon the travelers who seek to destroy that which can bring destruction to even you.”
On the table beside him, a solitary candle Lucian used to write with – flickers and extinguishes. Lucian makes no move to relight it. Instead he sits back and watches the storm wreak havoc on the earth below.