Originally posted on Crossroads of Dereth Tales Forum, March/April 2000.
Part 3 of the “creation” story for my Asheron’s Call character, Rhyssa Fireheart.
Mountains again. And ruins surrounding this lifestone. She touched the stone to set her soul to this place, and realized that she was probably even farther south again, further away from her beloved patron. She still could not hear his voice, nor feel his presence, and she hoped that he was all right. Protecting the Prophet of the Light was a hard job, and his duty to the Circle would always come first; she had finally accepted this, although it had caused a bit of strife in their relationship at first.
Legolas met her at the ruined city, and told her to follow, he had a place for her to stay and fight creatures. Following him, they began to run north, but only for a short distance. Legolas obviously knew the area well, for he avoided monsters with ease. Climbing a short slope, she saw a tower and low building, and between the two, another lifestone. She reset her soul to this one, and then Legolas showed her where to hunt and introduced her to a few of the other people there. This would be her new home again for a while, until it again became necessary to leave and go elsewhere.
And so, she began to hunt, and waited to hear from her patron again. And then one morning, his kind voice filled her mind, asking where she had been! She explained, and apologized, but he laughed off her fears of not being wanted again. He told her to stay where she was, and he would join her soon, to take her oath again so they could be joined as patron and vassal once more. So the young woman waited, and hunted with her new friends, and worked hard to grow as strong as possible before he arrived.
The Darkone continued to grow in power, and it seemed as if events were conspiring to keep them apart. Her Lord was prevented from joining her at the mountaintop, although he tried several times to come to her.
One day, Grimwell, one of her very first friends in this land, contacted her, inquiring about her well being. After hearing about the trials she had gone through, he invited her to his home in the far north, saying she was welcome to stay with him for a while. After careful consideration (he was a friend after all), and the fact that the mountain where she currently was could get very crowded at times, the mage decided to leave and go to stay with Grimwell.
After portaling to the Heartland, she was met by none other than her dear friend Alfonso. He had grown even more in power since she had last seen him, and he was there to portal her to yet another new place. She was becoming very well traveled since her return to Dereth. Another lifestone, and then she met the residents of this town, many of whom she already knew. It was almost like being back in Stonehold again.
She fought in the dungeon underneath the castle, and continued to gain more skills and power to herself, in anticipation of the day when she would finally meet back up with her lord. She tried many new things in this place, and even took part in a raid on the town of Arwic, a town known for the evil persons who reside there. That wasn’t a success for her (she tended to see too much of the lifestone), but she was exhilarated by the experience.
While working on her spellbook one day, she was greeted by another mage named Atani. His name seemed familiar for some reason, but she couldn’t remember why. It perplexed her, and while talking to Steele that evening, he told her that Atani’s monarch, Great One II, had attacked another Dragon unprovoked. She mentioned this to Atani, but he seemed unconcerned about that.
The next day, her lord asked for directions to where she was, and with the willing assistance of Alfonso, he was portaled into the castle, to where she stood nervously awaiting his arrival. After his arrival, she could only stare, having waited so long to see him again. He smiled gently at her, and said the Circle had been worried about her absence.
Altariel, one of the resident monarchs in the area, came down to greet Steele, and while they exchanged pleasantries, Atani came into the room. Unfortunately, he took it amiss when Steele pointed out that The Great One II was evil, a man who took pleasure in killing those weaker than himself. Harsh words were exchanged, and despite requests from her and Altariel, Steele and Atani began to fight, axeman versus mage.
Running away, Atani fled into the prison below the castle, and continued the fight there. Rhyssa heard magic words spoken, and saw her lord’s life force being drained from him. In desperation, she spoke the words to the healing spells she knew, and tried her best to heal him before he was killed by Atani’s magics. Her magics helped to keep Steele alive long enough to defeat Atani.
While her lord was recovering from the battle, Rhyssa asked Altariel to witness her oath of fealty to Steele again, so that she would once more be safe in the Circle of the Dragon.
Atani, however, did not take his defeat well, and returning to the prison, he began to attack Steele once again. When this did not work, he then tried to turn his killing magics upon her, with no greater success. Once again he fell to Steele’s axe. The young mage lead her patron through the dungeon to the portal out, and they returned to the castle itself.
Many residents were gathered outside, trying to find out what had disturbed the peace of the town. She quickly explained, and asked Talionis to speak to his patron Alfonso, telling him what had happened. Despite being told that she was welcome to remain, Rhyssa decided to leave the castle in the company of her lord. They set out that very evening heading to a safe location he knew of.
Unfortunately, the way was hard for her, and she died under the feet of a shreth. Sobbing, she cried out in anger when she saw Atani waiting at the lifestone, almost as if he knew she would be there. Weak and surprised, she quickly fell to his warmagics. He claimed to be serving justice upon her.
She informed her lord of what had happened, and told him to get to safety himself; she would try to make her way to his side on her own. Quickly contacting Setanta of the Holy Avengers, another friend who resided in the castle, she explained what had happened and asked for any help he could give to her. He said he would be glad to give her any assistance, and met her near the lifestone.
With the aid of his magics, they set out to take a different path to safety.
-To be continued-