100 - DEPARTING GIDEON

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100 - DEPARTING GIDEON

Post  Admin on Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:35 am

THE PURSUIT

Only twenty minutes into the flight, Ahlissa's crew report that the airship is being followed by two small airships that are trailing their course as they depart the city. They shadow along the coast when the Zephyr Breeze moves out over the water of Kraken Bay.

An assessment of their sails and markings indicate that they are aligned with the House of Mhorvaeus, from Karrnath. “Interesting,” Ahlissa remarks. “I am impressed that they broke their cover and made it so obvious they wanted to follow me.”

She commands her crew to move the Zephyr Breeze further from shore and within ten minutes the visual sighting of Mhorvaeus' airships are lost.

“Those must be recent acquisitions of his,” Ahlissa muses. “Perhaps he was simply testing their speed in comparison to us. It is no secret he has shown an interest in the capabilities of this vessel. I give the man credit, for he has certainly shown his intention to rival us.”

… “I think there is more to this than what meets the eye.”

“What more could there be?” Ahilssa muses. “Our mission is secret – at least its purpose is – I can understand thay might try to follow us on a regular trade mission, which the port log is all they would have insight to.”

“Given what I heard Mhorvaeus speaking, and given the encounter with the Baron, I think there could be a relation between the two.”

“Are you suggesting that Mhorvaeus is planning to avenge the demise of the Baron? That perhaps he thinks we have taken something that the Baron was searching for?”

“What if it was Mhorvaeus that actually hired that expedition. The undead tongue is not spoken commonly, yet both spoke it. DARK KNOWLEDGE. The tone and inflection of the words they spoke were definitely identical. Its not about the language necessairly – they both spoke it the same. It is like you speaking a language non-fluently to two people speaking the same language fluently. Those two were fluent on two separate occasions.”

“Then I will advise extra caution to the crew and we will be watchful. I will also send an urgent communique to the Aerenal Embassy in Gideon and my other people in The Machination. We will uncover any links between Mhorvaeus and other parties if they exist.”

“I stand by my word, Ahlissa, that Mhorvaeus and the Baron are not human. I sensed it with both of them. As I sensed it with Lord Khannay. Luckily my intuition has not been prven wrong so far.”


A VIEW FROM THE DECK

The waters of the bay are blue-green and it is a calm day with only a slight hint of a breeze fanning small waves below. The Zephyr Breeze maintains an altitude of 100' above the surface and accelerates. Aidan finds the freshness of the air and the flight most exhilarating and he is free to go about the deck as he pleases.

Jillian is standing out there, enjoying the sights and sounds from a partially shielded observation post on the port side of the airship. She is accompanied by two of the Valenar soldiers and they are laughing amidst light conversation.

AS HE WAITS

Aidan checks on the dragon shard occasionally and consult with the scribes on any additional learnings they miay uncover. No further progress on translations, etc.

In the presence of the dragonshard itself, Aidan finds he acts under compulsion. In most cases, Aidan asks the others “do you feel what I am feeling now?” and he is met with quizical expressions or polite smiles and shakes of the head. Aidan is feeling a pounding in his ear drums, and occasionally he think s he can hear muffled voices. The tongue is old and is a mixture of the races. He thinks the language matches with the runes he has aleeadfy deciphered but the meaning is confused and jumbled. There are occasions where the compulsion from the dragonshard makes him instruct the scholars to “leave the room, take a break, you've worked hard and deserve it.”

AMIDST GROWING CONCERN

Aidan goes to see Ahlissa and asks Jillian and the head scholar to attend also. He requests it be secure. Ahlissa arranges for a private meeting below the decks. Two crew members guard outside.

“Ahlissa you know me – I think something is happening to me in the presence of the shard.”

“How do you mean?” She asks, concerned.

Turning to the scholar, “How many times have I asked you and your team to leave when I have arrived?”

The scholar says “Why, at least five times.”

Aidan nods “I originally asked you whether you or your fellow scholars felt anything or felt like I did when I entered and you all looked at me like I was crazy. So obviously you were not experiiencing what I was when I entered the room. The last language we deciphered was amongst the language that the dragonshard is communicating to me. It is out of compulsion that I am being directed. It is speaking with me. It wishes to speak with me. So far I have been guarded against it. But now I wish to take the risk of going in unguarded and see what ha[[ens. What it is saying is a jumble, much like the layers we have deciphered. But there are voices within the shard and they are only talking with me. I believe that perhaps it may be because of my previous encounter at the Star Haunt with the guardian of the Le Shay. With your permission I would like to go in there alone and see what happens. I personally do not think the shard will harm us because it needs to get to its destination and we are its means to get there. But if I can perhaps try and learn something of what it is or what it wants then we may be better prepared when we reach the demon wastes.”

The head scholar furrows his brow and looks at Ahlissa. She looks at Jillian and they both look at Aidan. “I think we have all known for a while that when you are in the presence of that dragonshard that you become very obsessed with it. This is understandable because it is very old and contains lost knowledge. Yet we notice that nobody else except for you is influenced in this way. We suspect it has gained some form of domination over you. Jillian has confided in me and describes the effect of the shard as almost being like one of the quori has possessed you, to use her words about her people.”

“Look, I understand that and even I have admitted to Jillian that I have been somewhat distracted by it. But if this can help then we must take the risk. You can always shackle me in chains afterwards if you wish – but what I ask is that youn speak with your elder and get his gudance.”

Ahlissa reflects on that for a moment and then says “The representative would welcome an audience with you. He can see you soon, if you so wish.”

Aidan is surprised and replies “I was not not expecting to see him myself. But look Ahlissa, you know me, yes I have been distracted, obsessed for want of a better term but I believe I have never let that out of sight of the purpose for what we are doing here. But since the shard wants to communicate I think we need to give it a chance. And there is a difference between a spokesman and someone who is possessed.”

“So rather than being possessed, you see yourself as the shard's messenger? If that is the case then certainly we attempt your approach first to see what it is that the shard wishes to share with you.”

Aidan accepts the meeting first and he is escorted to the private quarters of the representative. “Just be yourself and speak when you are spoken to.” Ahlissa advises. “And don't worry – whilst he is unliving, he is not going to bite. He is our living ancestor and has existed for a very long time. In fact, he has been waiting to meet with you.”

SHAE-MORDAI'S REPRESENTATIVE

The corridor that leads to the representatives guest quarters is guarded by four of Ahlissa's people. Visitors are only admitted under invitation or permission under Ahlissa's direct authority.

The first thing that any visitor notices is that the corridor and the quarters are unmistakably colder and this is due to the presence of the Deathless One. This is a part of his nature.

Aidan approaches the door, a plain wooden door. The guards acknowledge him. “The representative wishes to see me.”

The gaurds let you pass and Aidan enters through the door, it closes behind him and the cabin is dimly lit due to heavy curtains over the windows and the shrouded figure of the representatve beckons him to step forward. “Be seated, young one.”


The representative's name is Athovhar.

The representative is shrouded in magnificent blue and silver robes. His true appearance is masked by illusion, so that outwardly he looks to be a venerable elven man although he retains a full stature of perhaps 6'4” when he stands. Grey hair and piercing sapphire blue eyes.

SPELLCRAFT. PERCEPTION.

Aidan is pretty sure there is some kind of illusory effect in place around the deathless one.


“Welcome Aidan of Zanarkand and of the Valenar, I am … most pleased … to make your aquaintance. I have heard much of you.”

… silence from Aidan

“Does my appearance surprise you?”

… “I have not seen one of your kind before. And no, it does not surprise. I have heard of the likes of you and what it means to Ahlissa and her people and I respect that.”

“(laughs) gentle laugh, not mocking. And I have not seen one of your kind before. But equally, I do not find your appearance surprising. You would appear to most to be an ordinary half-elven man. But there is more to you than this. I can sense a difference within you. Your quest interests me. It is more a matter of intrigue than seeking knowledge that brings me to the Zephyr Breeze. I learnt of this from the High Elven Council who were informed by our ambassador in Gideon. I have come to observe your progress. What do you think about that?”

… “I am surprised and pleased. For I believe that what I have learned lends me to think that those who call themselves the Le Shay did procreate among your people in your homeland.”

“An interesting notion,” he muses. “We elves as you know are very old. We began our existence as a slave race to the giants who themselves inherited the world after its destruction by the demons. The demons inherited the world after it was formed by conflict between mighty dragons. But we deathless ones … we have grown curious ourselves about our origins and lost history. That is where you fit in. I have heard of your own struggles in Zanarkand and your personal quest to find where you fit in. I gather you have learnt much recently and have even spent time with your apparent bloodline, among the people of the Valenar. And beyond this you have uncovered a darker side of elven heritage. Is that true?”

“My encounter at the Star Haunt brought me against a very corrupted guardian that let me through for it saw I was of the same bloodline that had created it. I entered a room and there within saw an image of the past, of elves finely clad, strong and powerful, but elves who had sought to meet their enemy in the same vein as the enemy met them, using forces of corruption knowing perhaps that it would indeed over time corrupt them to some extent. I was able to understand their language and saw a mark that was imprtant to me. These eleves did not originate from this world. They arrived and I believe they have left. The time of their presence at Star Haunt was during the Age of Fiends or the immediate time thereafter. The fact that the guardian allowed me to pass through is because it saw me as one of the kind that created it. I read references that before they left they seeded the elves of this world with their own blood. I believe it was very selective. Yes I am still finding and learning m y way about myself. The reason I have come to you is to seek your wisdom and the dragonshard wishes to speak with me and I am considering it to do so, to see what we can learn. On a number of occasions on the ship I have been compelled to send the other scholars away and within the shard itself I hear voices, languages which we have recently deciphered, but it wants to speak with me. My intention at the moment is to allow it to do so and see what happens.”


The representative replies … “You may not know it, but the dragon shard you have been studying has gained control over you. You are doing its bidding, it is taking you to its ultimate destination. You are powerless to stop this and it will not release you from its thrall until you have gone to its place of origin. I can not influence this nor prevent it. The stone will do with you as it will and we will follow you to that end. I have forseen this in ancient prophecy. That is why I, Athovhar, have joined this expedition. It is my wish to see the prophecy unfold. ”

… “I do agree and I am responsible for what is happening. But I do not think it is entirely in control of my actions otherwise I would not be here speaking with you. There is a part of me that fights against it. But on this particular occasion I think we need to understand what it is trying to say. There are peoples' lives at stake and if I can help their preparation further, by doing this, then I should od literally what it wants me to do. Not surrender, but be alone with the shard.”


“Then so it shall be Aidan, spend the time with the shard that you seek. Before you take your leave, I will also say this … the Valenar were the most warlike clan of our people and we learnt long ago that it was not for us to dictate to them what to do. They chose to leave Aerenal in search of their own land. They found it at the price of blood in their war against the ancient Dhakaani Empire and even to this day their pride inhibits their progress. I sense them in you but you are also an oddity, for you lack the warrior spirit of the bloodline. You prefer words over war and in this quest I see that you will be tested. The remnants of the Umbragen may well still be alive in the ruins of Qualtesh. If so, they might sense your blood connection to the Le Shay and recognise your soul's exposure to dark taint. You are seeking knowledge yet I believe the stone is driving you into the Demon Waste for some other purpose. But that is something we will discover the true purpose of in due course. ”

… “Are you saying that perhaps the Umbragen and Le Shay are competing races?”

“No they are of the same kind and represent different aspects of it. The Umbragen were Le Shay but took the new name when they were pulled beneath the ground by cataclysm. The Le Shay you are familiar with represent the re-emergence of Umbragen survivors to the surface world. In good time all of this will become clear as the evidence is revealed. The dragonshard is taking you to a location where that evidence exists and can be retrieved.”

“It seems to me that the deeper we delve, the darker the shard becomes. Why is that? I believe there is a presence within it.”

“The shard has more than a single purpose. I believe it will reveal a past that not all elves will appreciate but equally it must return to place of origin from that past to free something else that lies within. The prophecy is unclear.”

“How will this relate as we draw close to the dragons and their prophecy?”

“I do not know. Each race has prophecies. But the prophecies are so fragmented that no single prophecy remains clear any longer. We shall simply have to wait and see. And I have waited for two thousand years.”

“I tend to see that the shard is many things and many languages. We are only piecing together part of it. But I think at the beginning of it all, all languages, all races came from something. The shard is hinting this to us. I believe I have to do what I must and perhaps only you will know if it has been forseen to happen.”

“Which is exactly why I am here and find this so exciting. In my own long existence I finally have the opportunity to see history come to some form of preordained conclusion. Even if it is only a small part then I will be able to tell others in the future that I, Athovar, was there and that I witnessed the truth unfold.”

Aidan rises and thanks him for the audience.

“Be well, young Aidan of the Valenar. It has been a pleasure and we may speak again.”

Aidan nods respectfully and leaves.

AIDAN'S DECISION

Ahlissa and Jillian are waiting in the main hallway for him to return. “That was an incredible meeting Ahlissa, he told me his name and said he has been waiting two thousand years for this.”

“Yes, our ancestors are very special. What was advice on the shard?”

“The shard is directing me to a place where something awaits to be released. I can only perceive from what he said that it may be related to the Umbragen who were Le Shay who were forced underground. Once they emerged again they became Le Shay again. I get the sense that because of the encounter at the Star Haunt, the shard may be somehow connected. He said it could awaken histiry that is not known about the elves that might upset them. But he didn't say to not do what I have suggested.”

“Very well then … we shall make the preparations for you to enter alone.”




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