Originally posted on Circle of the Eternal Dragon’s Guild Forum, July 2000
I wrote this story while I was on vacation in California for my brother-in-law’s wedding. I managed to catch an upper respiratory infection while out there, so instead of partying and having fun, I felt like I was trying to hack up a lung. Joyous.
I also wrote it in response to another story that one of my guildmates wrote. He was someone that also enjoyed RPing, and so our characters interacted together a lot. He wrote several other stories (very good ones at that), but they are his writings, and as I haven’t had any contact with him in close to two years now, I have no way of asking for his permission to post them.
Rhyssa paused wearily, resting a moment before continuing her journey back to town. She had left over a week ago, to take some time off to be alone. She had been tired, both physically and mentally, before leaving. It had felt good to simply travel across the land, not worrying about anything in particular. Despite the break, she still felt unsettled, the peace she had been hoping to find had eluded her. To make matters even more enjoyable, while staying beside the ocean for a few days, she had managed to catch a cold. Luckily, none of her friends had been around to comment on her voice sounding like the croak of a frog.
Looking ahead, Rhyssa could see the twin plateaus where the town was built. The sounds made by night creatures were a sharp counterpoint to the quiet noise of the waves breaking on the shore off to her right. Both moons were full tonight, and soft moonlight washed over her as she climbed carefully up the hill. Pausing, she looked at the swirling energies that marked the portal to Baishi. She could hear voices over near the lifestone, and the moonlight glinted off the sharp blue facets. Even at this time of night, residents still gathered to talk.
Several people looked twice at her, not recognizing the mage without her faran robe on. She had left it hanging in the back room of the healer’s house, near the table where she had been researching new spells. The studies had proved to be frustrating, one of the reasons she had felt it necessary to take a break, and leave her spellbooks behind. She knew the spells, but her powers simply were not up to the task of casting them yet.
Skirting the large group at the top of the hill, she trudged towards the main part of town. Passing the domed meeting hall, she paused to see who was in town. None of the dragons seemed to be around. She caught herself unconsciously twisting a ring around and around on her thumb, thinking about the man who had gifted her with it. Glancing down, she noticed the ring seemed to glow with an inner fire, and she smiled to herself, remembering the inscription he had put on it. It had been slipped into a pack for her to find, and the surprise of the gift had cheered her up considerably.
Smiling, she continued on towards the healer to gather her things. Hopefully, no one had taken them; she had left in a bit of a hurry, needing to get away. The front room was empty, and she stepped through to the back. Her robe still hung on it’s hook, but she couldn’t see her spellbooks at first.
Dropping her packs at her feet, she grabbed the faran robe and pulled it on. This close to the sea, the nights were cool, and she had felt wrong somehow, not wearing the robe that marked her as a mage. An unexpected weight bumped against her ribs and she felt in an inner pocket to find a packet of red tapers and hyssop placed there. The thoughtfulness of her unknown benefactor touched her.
She glanced over at the worktable again, this time seeing her spellbooks and notes neatly stacked to the side. She sat down and began to look them over, reading the occasional comment made in the margins. The handwriting – strong, masculine – looked familiar, but she couldn’t place it at first. Looking down at the ring which she was once more twisting about, she realized where she had seen that writing before.
Rhyssa smiled again, and knew then who her unknown benefactor was. She gathered up the books and notes, and placing them in her pack, headed towards her rooms. In the morning, she planned on finding him, to say thank you. It felt good to be back home again.