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Post  Admin on Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:49 am

After returning to Gideon from the Demonwaste, the companions leave for the desert fortress of Taer Saeden with the expectation that Jillian's hunters will follow her. They set about their plans to remove the threat permanently with the further goal of perhaps uncovering further information about the influence of The Dreaming Dark within the city.

Aereni Embassy

Ahlissa, Jillian and Aidan go to meet with the elven Ambassador (Daellin Corelaeth) the following day. They retire to his private chambers where the full story of the events that transpired over the past seven months is recounted in detail to him. He remains attentive throughout and holds his comment until all have spoken about the journey.

“You have certainly seen and learnt much of a history that has been lost to us for a very long time. While the dragonshard may not have been the key to knowledge that we had thought it to be, an alternative experience has been gained that sheds new light on the origins of this world. From what you tell me, it would seem fair to say we have allies in the Le Shay and we should feel safe in the knowledge that they are watching over us. If they were not present then it is likely this world would have suffered far greater loss than we have already taken.”

He looks to Aidan and says “and for yourself you have gained an insight into your own heritage, again something that was altogether unexpected. Among all elves and men you stand unique; your ancestry predates our known bloodlines. Those of our homeland, Aerenal, consider the one named Aeren to be the first of our people and it was he who led us from exile under the ruthless captivity of the giants and from that first journey we found peace and enlightenment. That lasted for a hundred years until a misunderstanding occurred with the Dhakaani, leading to many bitter campaigns of war and a deep mistrust among humanoids of elves. In more recent times, Vadallia (the leader of the Valaes Tairn faction) disagreed with Aeren and sought a more warlike stance against the other races of this world. He led his host away from us to this desert region, initially to fight as a mercenary force for Cyre. Hence the two elven nations that now exist in Khorvaire. The differences between both have mended over time, though the Valenar remain the most agressive of the two.”

The Ambassador pauses. “I have further news that might interest you Aidan, concerning your own past. My scholars have been researching our ancient archives and also the Umbragen texts that your expedition has brought back.”

The Umbragen Manuscripts

The manuscripts talk much of what life was like on the home world and of how the Le Shay travelled to establish points of light across the multiverse, remaining ever watchful for the spread of darkness that would extinguish that light.

Two manuscripts appear to details puzzles and games that were popular among the Umbragen.

One manuscript details the arts and culture of the Umbragen people.

One manuscript offers a multitude of cooking recipes.

One manuscript appears to debate the nature of intelligence races and what it means to be in existence as a creature with will, wisdom and intellect. Partly esoteric and partly spiritual, it also attempts to delineate intelligence as being driven along paths that are diametrically opposed to each other, such as law vs chaos, good vs evil with the centre being regarded as neutral between them all.

There are several tomes devoted to the servitude of Izendraazt and these would appear to mark the turning point and the beginnings of the Umbragen as a people, when they resigned themselves to never seeing the surface ever again and losing their identity as Le Shay.

Two manuscripts provide the study and practice of the dark arts and shadow magic.

There is one manuscript that provides information about the locations of the nine platforms that were established by the Le Shay on Khorvaire when they first came to Eberron. There is no single map or depiction of where these locations are, but there is sufficient description and detailed explanation of landmarks, creatures and the environments to make it reasonably easy to identify places on the continent that the platforms can be found in.

Aidan's Parents

The Ambassador's appearance becomes more serious. His servants bring refills for refreshments and then he continues “we learnt that there were some of the Umbragen that did succeed in escaping from the depths of Qualtesh. A very small number, of which we cannot be exact, but certainly less than a hundred. This group migrated from what we know today is the Demon Waste and into what we know as Khorvaire. They faced unfamiliar terrain and other dangers, losing many of their number as they crossed the continent. We believe they reached this region and settled, living a meagre but peaceful co-existence within the Dhaakani Empire. We are now certain that the Star Haunt ruin was the final settlement of the Umbragen who resumed using their original identity as Le Shay. The guardian remains in that ruin, a remnant of their association with dark magic and corruption. You have encountered that guardian and we believe it recognises you because one of your parents, your mother, was directly descended from the Umbragen. Your father was a human most likely from the region that we now identify as Karrnath. We believe the Umbragen and Valenar forged an alliance when they first met each other in a region dominated by humanoid influence and culture. We know that the Valenar also encouraged the Umbragen to travel within the region and the combination of those bloodlines resulting from relationships between them naturally made them strong and very inquisitive adventurers. This why your mother would have travelled to Karrnath and ultimately met your father. As to their demise and your becoming an orphan … we think The Twelve were behind this. As you have recently learnt, this group of arcane magic users are the ones who dictate to the Five Nations of Khorvaire as to which dragonmarks are recognised and which are declared aberrant. And as you know, aberrant dragonmarks are considered dangerous, a serious threat that must be stamped out. We think your mother may have been manifesting such a dragonmark and it could be for that reason that your parents were killed in Karrnath some thirty years ago. ”

SENSE MOTIVE 29. Aidan thinks at first that the Ambassador might believe The Twelve's view should be supported. He senses however that the Ambassador does not support that view.

The Ambassador sees Aidan is thinking sbout something. “I know no other way of saying this but to put it plainly I think your parents were murdered to prevent the existence of another dragonmark becoming known.”

“So my parents were killed by a group of people who like nothing more than to dictate what is the right dragonmark and what isn't.”


Aidan smiles at that because inwardly he knows The Twelve have failed. He knows that the dragonmark he himself has manifested may in fact be exactly what they tried to stamp out. Aidan feels closer to his mother's legacy with this revelation.

“I am sorry to share such information, but I felt it important to give to you directly. I trust we have been able to piece together a little more of your own history. Athovar tells me he bore witness to your journey and saw much of it through your eyes. He has departed already but informed me that he will share with the Undying Court this ancient history. Uncovering the location of Qualtesh has been a tremendous achievement. For one of our venerated to recognise you above others is a rare honour indeed.”

Aidan blushes at this.

After this there is general conversation and the invitation is extended to stay for the day and into the evening.

Aidan asks “What do you know of what is happening in Gideon. I see a repeat of the misdeeds of Zanarkand occurring within this city's council, like xenophobia and the hunt for dragonmarks among them.”

“You are quite astute in your observations Aidan. Things have definitely changed in Gideon. No longer is it considered by our people to be the safe haven that it once was. Minds seem clouded. The council has become more dictatorial in their outlook and more erratic in the decisions they are making. Diplomacy has become a significant challenge. It is difficult to reach individual members of The Thirteen. The new militia force of the streets would appear to be sponsored by Karrnath, with a direct influence from the The Twelve in Korth. In short the developments of Gideon are extremely troubling to the Aereni nation. We are more protective these days of our diplomatic mission.“

Jillian asks the ambassador “And what of the mission from Reidra. The agents of the Dreaming Dark sit directly behind them, pulling their strings and controlling them as though they are puppets. Have you detected the presence of their agents near the council?”

“That's an interesting question. As I said to Aidan, minds have become clouded. We do not know if that has anything to do with the influence of your enemies Jillian. It is possible, but difficult for us to prove.”

“The reason I ask is that my sense of their presence in Gideon grows stronger by the day. I fear that The Inspired are controlling this council.” Jiliian says.

“Then if that is true, how would we stop them?” the Ambassador enquires.

Ahlissa intercedes “Ahhhh, Ambassador. I am so pleased you have asked. It is exactly that which we have been planning for … let us tell you about our little plan.” She then proceeds to outline it to him.

“That is a wise plan. It would not put me in the awkward position of explaining why elves are fighting friends of the council in Gideon's streets.” the Ambassador replies. He offers assistance where that might be required but Ahlissa explains that all contingencies and arrangements have already been covered. “Excellent, that means I have plausible deniability should anyone question the disappearance.”

Aidan receives gifts from the Ambassador, a token gesture of honour for his actions in advancing the knowledge of the elven people.

Major staff – Staff of Enchantment – 50 charges – Sleep, Tasha's Hideous Laughter, Suggestion, Crushing Despair, Mind Fog, Suggestion
Major Ring - Ring of Greater Energy Resistance (30hp)
Major Rod – Rod of Cancellation (Will DC23 or item drained completely of all magic on touch attack)

Pearl of Power - 9th level spell (or combinations of equivalent spell levels)
Lantern of Revealing
Amulet of Mighty Fists +4
Manual of Gainful Exercise +3
Tome of understanding +3
Manual of Bodily Health +3

Following the evening meal the ambassador retires. Servants show the companions to their guest quarters.

The following morning, they leave under diplomatic escort and return to the Zephyr Breeze.

On arrival, Ahlissa goes to the bridge and Aidan and Jillian go to your private prepaartions for the journey. Prior to departure.

The Resupply Mission

Ahlissa puts word out that the Zephyr Breeze is delivering supplies to elven outposts and archeological sites around the south-eastern desert region. She deliberately includes details that will direct anyone who intends to interfere or follow her mission to the destination of Taer Saeden.

Taer Saeden is the ghostly ruined desert citadel that was the location of the Final Battle between Goblins and Elves 10,000 years ago. It was a bitter encounter that killed thousands on both sides. It was the ultimate defeat of the original elven settlers and it was the event that caused the survivors to return to Aerenal in shame. It is the place that Aidan saw when he was searching out the final resting place of the dead king's bones, to ensure his soul was put at ease. It is also the place that Aidan has determined to be the site for an ambush of the Inspired agents that are pursuing Jillian in Khorvaire.

A day is spent on loading supplies and making other appropriate preparations.

Jillian informs Aidan that she has felt the presence of the Inspired agents within Gideon. She is sure they have detected her and are fully aware of her being on board the Zephyr Breeze. She is certain they will follow out side of the city as Aidan intends. She spends much time meditating on “The Path of Light”, preparing herself mentally to defend herself against her sworn enemies of “The Dreaming Dark”.

Ahlissa is informed that the remainder of the day is spent on loading supplies and making other appropriate preparations. Further information is shared that suggests that The Observers are watching the Zephyr Breeze more closely.

Aidan reflects further on his travels. He realises he has gained new knowledge and experiences (Gain 4 character class levels).

Jillian asks “Aidan are you able to have a quick word.”
“Of course,” he invites her in.
“I can sense them. They are watching me.”
“How? Is it through magic.”
“No – it is through vibration, a telepathic sensation that we tune into with our mind.”

Jillian informs Aidan that she has felt the presence of the Inspired agents within Gideon. She is sure they have detected her and are fully aware of her being on board the Zephyr Breeze. She is certain they will follow out side of the city as Aidan intends.

She spends much time meditating on “The Path of Light”, preparing herself mentally to defend herself against her sworn enemies of “The Dreaming Dark”.

“I wanted you to know that our plan is working. They will floow.”
“Ok, I am here if you need anything. Do not be afraid to ask for anything. I do feel like getting quite combative. Perhaps it is because of my hatred for The Twelve.”

“Thank you for understanding.” She then leaves to meditate.

Aidan reads his new books and gains his strength and knowledge. The voyage lasts four days. There are stopoff points along the way in semi-remote parts of the desert. Supplies are delivered to warclan outposts and other large encampments. There are a couple of small archeological sites (small shrine, standing stone circle).

The Ruined Citadel

Taer Saeden has changed much since Aidan last saw it. Of course, that is when it was first uncovered. Since then, much of what was concealed beneath shifting desert sands has been excavated by the use of Drift Magic, of which Aidan knows very little save that it was one of the specialised schools of magic that was offered to students in Zanarkand and that in itself that served as an attraction to the region. Essentially it has been used to shape and shift the sand to reveal the structure of the citadel once again.

It is an imposing stone fortress with wide battlements and soaring towers. An entire war clan of Valenar warriors has also been stationed here to preserve the memory of the dead king and the fallen ancestors.

Commander Skaros Tyraellen welcomes Ahlissa, and he greets Aidan and Jillian sincerely and warmly. “I have heard of you Aidan. Your former martial lore tutor and war clan leader (Lorian Tiraleth) always spe aks highly of you and has told many of his pride in your quick learning in the ways of fighting as a Ranger. His son, Tiralis, also speaks highly of you for saving his life after your encounters with the yuan-ti at the Guard Post of Athosin some many months ago. While you are well known as a scholar to our people Aidan, you are also known widely as a hero, worthy of status as a brother.”

Aidan is surprised and he acknowledge the praise from the commander respectfully.

Ahlissa smiles at this. Jillian looks impressed.

“We bring news,” Ahlissa tells the commander. “and more importantly we bring you much needed supplies.”

Skaros instructs the nearby Vales Tairn to see that the supplies are unloaded from the Zephyr Breeze. They quickly set about the task with a strong sense of duty.

Turning to Ahlissa, Skaros asks “What is the news you bring?”

With a concerned tone she tell him “Gideon grows darker. It is as we feared. Something is devouring the city from within. The people grow fearful and distrustful of others. This is in stark contrast to the openness and laughter they were once willing to share with strangers. The Thirteen have fractured and it is unclear where each member's loyalty has been cast. There are external influences upon them, most likely being from Karrnath and perhaps from Sarlona. It has been forbidden for scholars to continue researching into the history of this region. Where Izendraazt failed to extinguish the light of Gideon, something else may be succeeding.”

Skaros looks worried. “We must ensure that influence does not spread and cause us any unneccesary trouble. I will instruct my war clan to be watchful. While we do not wish to fight the people of that city we will do so if they seek to do harm to any of our people.”

“It should not come to that. The Aereni Ambassador and my people are ever hopeful that the cause can be identified and that the situation can be either reversed or contained if that is not possible.”

“The problem with festering corruption is that is can be very difficult to cut out. Sometimes it is necessary to remove a limb, or two, to get rid of the problem,” Skaros remarks.

Aidan smiles and nods at that. He thoroughly agrees.

The commander leads the companions into a central keep and shows them where accommodation has been prepared on the second level. The rooms are functional and sparsely decorated. Each is private, with ablutions included. They are left for half an hour during which time they freshen up. Afterward servants come and lead them back downstairs where Skaros meets them and says “this place has changed since you were last here,” he laughs. “Yes I know that is an understatement. However I am sure that this little tour of the citadel will prove to be rather interesting.”

He takes them on a walking tour that includes the battlements, the corner towers, and the keep. From the high vantage points, Skaros describes other nearby features that have been found.

A well, surrounded by old crumbled walls.
A buried sail barge, odd for a desert but reminiscent of an airship design
A temple that may have been used for ancestor worship

The companons enjoy the desert breeze.

“It has changed here indeed, very much for the better.” Aidan says.
“Yes ...” Skaros agrees. “This place is very close to our hearts for it is one of the original turning points in elvish history. For the Aereni it marks a period of shame in the defeat that they faced. But for the Valenar it represents our resolve and willingness to take the fight to our enemies. Being given command of this location is a deep source of pride for our people for once again we own this sand and we make a statement to any goblinoid that might still harbour delusions of owning it. We have emerged victorious! This is our land.”
“It is,” Aidan replies. “And it is good to know that the past continues to be a source of ninspration and pride to our people who live here. It represents strength of our people that can never be taken away. Who knows – the Aereni suffered a defeat here but the time they stodd in defenind this place allowed those others to escape and survive.”
“It represents hope for all people that are oppressed.” Jillian remarks.
Aidan nods in understanding.

“There is more that might prove to be interesting to you; a labyrinth of tunnels that have been excavated beneath the ground,” Skaros informs them. The tunnels are entered from a hidden lower level of the central keep and they lead to areas that must once have been used for storage and living quarters in the ancient times. Racks of old weapons and armour remain as they were, evidently preserved for all this time. All of the items discovered are mundane, but of the finest construction. There is also evidence of old funery preparation rooms and catacombs. This is in addition to the original tunnels and the tomb of the dead king that Aidan's original expedition to this location had uncovered.

The location of the dead king's bones is actively guarded.

“When the ancestors were defeated it would seem that the goblins were unable or unwilling to set foot down here,” Skaros tells them. “Our own people had to research the glyphs and runes that we uncovered alongside the inscriptions of our own language so that we could remove the magical wards that would have served to keep all enemies at bay.”

The remainder of the day is spent exploring the tunnels. Aidan is excited for the dungeoneering is something he has missed deeply. Aidan feels that the Valenar are finally beginning to appreciate his viewpoint that history is mporatt, that there is more than negotiating with the point of a sword.

DUNGEONEERING 31. DARK KNOWLEDGE 33. Aidan identifies a set of out of place heiroglypic inscriptions of the eastern side in room 4 (Chamber of Treasures) in which a massive single central pillar stands. The inscriptions are on the pillar and depict snake like people as well as humans who appear to be worshipping the sun. In other scenes that are depicted, the humans are seen interacting in trade like activities with elves.

DECIPHER LANGUAGES / SCRIPT 42. Aidan feels that this language and hiroglyphic sequence is familiar. He recall that a mad skeleton king held a wide area of territory in the Blade Desert, near Zanarkand. He is to decipher a name in the pillar that matches the name of that mad king. The name is Hapt-Sept-Amun. It would appears to depict a series of interactions, or possibly an alliance that may have been forged between the original Aereni elves and that king when he was actually human. It would seem that a common enemy of their time were snake people, which today are recognised as the yuan-ti.

Thinking more about the name of the room, chamber of treasures, Aidan asks why it has this name.

Skaros explains that a large amunt of a red glass like substance was found stored here, in the equivalent of large ingots. He explains that the substance is readily known today as Kheferu, which is the very same substance that proved instrumental in forging weapons that could be used to harm Izendraazt's minions when Mabar fell. He also tells you that much gold and platinum was found here, most of which has been returned to Aerenal and Taer Valestas, the two homelands of the elvish people.

“Has this pillar been fully deciphered?”
Aidan then takes his time to explain what the hieroglyphics mean. Skaros looks impressed and informs some of the accompanying warriors to inform the scholars to conduct more research into the dealings of elves with this “Hapt-Sept-Amun”. He explains that “history is not widely known. We have always fixated only on the goblins and their challenge to our people in this region. We have never seen records of peaceful interactions with other cultures.”

Aidan refers to what he knows of the discoveries in Zanarkand and indicates that obviously the elves knew of him before he became undead and mad. His city was excavated (or disturbed) when I was a scholar in the library at Zanarkand.

Skaros is very intrigued. Aidan thinks he is more open minded than most of the Valenar commanders he has met.

The Inspired

They eat as honoured guests and rest well that night.

The following morning, Jillian knocks on Aidans door and enters when he indicates she may do so. “I fear we are not alone,” she tells him. “I can sense the presence of The Inspired nearby. I am unsure of the form they may have taken. I do not think they have entered these walls. However it is possible they may do so and it would be easy for them to assume the form of any creature they might want to, as could I. Their goal is to kill me, they wish to extinguish my light. To put it simply The Dreaming Dark does not allow Lightspeakers to keep breathing. That is why I am hunted. I represent hope for my people and they cannot allow it.”

“The Inspired will stop at nothing if they think they can reach me. They will currently be planning their best approach to perform the assassination as quickly and as smoothly as possible. I am prepared to face them with my faith in the Path of Light. The teachings of the Jilashtora will guide and protect me. I will not surrender to the darkness of Reidra.”

“We cannot afford letting your enemy into the keep and sowing deception among the war band. Let's tell Ahlissa of what you feel and then perhaps you and I could go for a walk to the temple. IT would just be the two of us, and let us see what happens. I dare say Ahlissa will have us observed and followed discreetly. But in the end if they can change and assume a different form I would rather just have the group that accompanies us face them, arther than having anyone come to our aid as those that do might not actually be who they are.”

“I would surprised if the assassins reveal their true selves. Although if they did, it would awe inspring and they might seek to use that to advantage. Their primary target will be me. I'm hungry – let;s go to breakfast.”

They both do so and enjoy fruit and grain bread. Various refreshments.

Ahlissa joins them “What's on today's schedule? Anything planned.?”

“A possible trap.”

“Really? Does Skaros know about any of this?”

“No. Look. If these assassins that are chasing Jillian can assume any form and if we are going to bring them into a trap, we have to assume that whatever form they take we have to ensure that the people they assume the form of are nowhere near. We have to ensure that none of the Valenar people, scholars or whatever are near the templae wahtsoever. The same is true of your crew. Everyone has an identity that could be compromised. I suggest that Jillian, myself and only perhaps two others accompany us. I think the four of us should stick together and unseemingly present ourselves as a target. Since Jillian has detected the Inspired closeby lets give them the chance to show their form.”

“I will go with you,” Ahlissa remarks. “As will my Head of Guard from the Zephyr Breeze. He is trusted and well known to me. His name is Cavin Shivohtas.”

Aidan recognises his name and knows he is a proficient fighter. “Then we will go together and never separate or lose sight of each other. We will give Skaros a reason for us going to the temple alone that is convincing, so that the Inspired will follow us and make their move.”

“That is not difficult,” Ahlissa says. “Skaros knows me well and will not question why we may wish to view the temple by ourselves. I will explain to him that we do not require a constant escort and that our sightseeing will be more enjoyable if we are left to our own devices. I'll be back soon.“

A few minutes later she returns. “Everything is OK. Skaros is unconcerned and he trusts us. “

Supplies are gathered, horses are provided. The trek itself to the temple is ¼ day and they reach it by noon.

As they travel, Aidan asks Jillian “can the Inspired read your mind, or do they only detect you in a physical or spiritual sense.”

“It depends on the agents' proficiency. Some can probe beyond a simple presence and can attempt to plant thoughts or extract them. I am highly skilled and have strong defences. My mind can not be easily broken down.”

“How about you let those defences down just a little bit and let them know this is just an enjoyable outing? That way it may increase their desire to take that chance.”

“I can do that easily,” she says.

Aidan tells Ahlissa “Let this be seen as just a friendly outing and nothing more.”

“Naturally,” she replies. “Your outings are always friendly.”

Aidan laughs. Nearing mid morning the companions approach the temple.

It is a stone construction, sitting at a maximum height of 20' above the ground. The entrance way is an avenue of large stone blocks, very smooth, each side of which is lined with spinx representations. Rather unusual if this temple was in fact used by the elves.

“This temple is more in line with Hapt-Sept-Amun's culture.” Aidan remarks.
“Maybe he built this place as a symbol of his relationship with the Aereni settlers,” Ahlissa offers.
“Indeed. It could have also been a place for his own people to rest and worship when they came here to trade and visit.”
At the end of the avenue of sphinxes there is a large door opening, at each side of which is a represetnation of a large statue of which one is an elf and the other is human. The human's features look very much like depictions from hieroglyphs that Aidan recognises as being Hapt-Sept-Amun's people.
They go inside … “Maybe this is a temple of the alliance between the two.”
“I think you're right,” Jillian says.
The captain of guard just looks incredulous and says “this is truly amazing.”
Aidan tells them “the alliance was formed before Hapt-Sept-Amun bacame a crazed leader and came about because of a common threat, that of the snake people.”
“I hate snakes,” Cavin says.

Inside there are some rooms off the side of the entrance while the main hallway leads into a large inner chamber. A large altar lies here with the depiction of the sun on the wall behind it. There are also four statues … one of Aeren the original elvish leader to freedom, and three of humnas named Set, Apep and Sobek.

There are many inscriptions and hieroglyphs here which Aidan readily study and translate. After a couple of hours he is fairly certain that this this temple does in fact represent the relationship between the two cultures. Interestingly there is no reference to the common enemy and no depiction of snakes within the temple.

The temple itself still gives off a good vibe. A feeling of enlightenment and all small cuts or skin abrasions have healed completely.

“Do you detect the Inspired?”

“I think they are close by.”

From outside there are loud swishing sounds as the sand appears to have kicked up violently around the complex.

“If they are coming, we should meet them here because this is a healing temple. Whatever happens they will be healed like ourselves. We should take them on in the ente chamber next door.”

“Very well,” Ahlissa replies. Jillian nods in agreement. Cavin follows. “That sand is not subsiding outside. It sounds like a storm so we probably won;t be leaving this structure very quickly until that passes.”

“I feel their presence is now very near. This storm is not of their doing. Stay close do not let each other out of sight … they approach us. They are inside.”

Reaching the antechamber, Aidan activates his Lantern of Revealing

Jillian, Ahlissa and Aidan stand ready and watching for the Inspired to make their presence known.

Then before their eyes appears a tall, slender figure of otherworldly beauty and grace. Her violet eyes sparkle with a fierce inner light. She appears both delicate and imperious and wears an intricate headpiece that holds back a flowing waterfall of long black hair. She wears loose flowing robes that are covered with a twisting pattern of blue and purple colours. She holds a hand crossbow that is made of some crystal substance that she holds aimed at Jillian. “Surrender Kalashtar,” she tells Jillian. “Do not be afraid. The folly of your ancestors is not your fault but you must rejoin us by accepting your fate and come back to the welcoming Dark. Dal Quor is restless. Your spirit is shattered and we can restore it.”

“Never. I follow the Path of the Light. You can never take that from me.” Jillian replies. She transforms her own appearance into a similar slender figure of beauty, only she seems to radiate a silver light and wears only loose flowing trousers and a small halter top with bracers. Her eyes have also changed to a brilliant silver and her hair has become a wild mix of flowing red, gold and silver colour. In the same instant that she transforms, her upturned palms produce two slender glowing silver blades and she adopts a defensive stance, ready for her opponents move.

“The Jilashtora were weak and easily overthrown when we invaded your sanctuary in Adar,” the Inspired responds. “Give up now and your passing will be painless. Do not resist us.”

“Never,” Jillian retorts. “You can never extinguish the flames of vengance that burn brightly within the hearts of Kalashtar!” She shifts her stance and prepares to attack.

“You have much to learn, renegade,” the Inspired responds. “The Circle of Dark has directed this and you will find we are not defeated so easily.” There are soft footfalls and swishing sounds nearby and four more Inspired appear, with the companions finding themselves completely surrounded. There is an aura of malice that emanates from them and Aidan feels slightly fearful.

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