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>Phaedra's Story
>Rase's Story

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>Sandcat RPG stuff >Campaign 2003/2004 >Characters >Aidan's Story

Aidan's Story

"But my next tale... That tale is perhaps the most mysterious of all. A tale which raises more questions than it answers. A tale even I still hope to someday know the end of. It's something I want more than anything else."

The voices in the bar silenced as I spoke the first words to the last tale of the evening. A bit of artistic silence allowed me take a great draught of my free beer. I had given them some of my best stories tonight and they had rewarded me well for it. The atmosphere was lively in this small inn and from the looks the waitress had been giving me, I knew that I wasn't going to be sleeping alone tonight.

"The story starts years ago when I was just a young unknown poet in Askane. I used to earn my living by accompanying the ocassional hero peasant and writing their bold tales. At first, I travelled from village to village, following the one young and brawny fighter after the other in their quest for eternal glory and fame. Most of them would actually achieve nothing more than gruesome death at the hands of some orc or troll. Sometimes even before I could finish the first verse of their songs. This is how I grew up."

"Actually, when not adventuring, the life was great. Telling stories in the local villages' bars and writing songs for the many local girls which were all too interested in a bard coming to their town. Over the years I grew to the life and I could not help but learn some things or two. Actually, after a while I started to learn quite a lot from all the hero's trades. At least, from those that were good enough to stay alive long enough to teach me something. The local heroes started to enjoy my companionship more and more. Not only because of my talent with words, but also because my skill with the bow managed to save a lot of those who would otherwise have fallen to the horrors their foes had to offer."

"Before long, every hero in Askane knew who I was, or had even fought beside me. I sung my tales about horrific monsters and heroic deeds from my own experience. I had seen great scaly beasts which could devour a man whole, even some which still haunt my dreams at night. Many heroes sought my company as I lifted their spirits with my songs and stories. I would often travel around just to meet old friends and hear new stories about their adventures. My local fame grew so much, that mayors would ask me to find a suitable band of heroes to help them 'solve' their problems. It was the good life, everybody knew my name and every tavern welcomed me with open arms. Never did I have problem finding a bed and a little love at night again. Many of the stories I have told tonight hail from these days. It was like a warm cosy dream that I never wanted to end."

"On one sunny winter's day an obviously hardened traveler walked into the inn of the coasttown of Stedhill where I was staying at the time. Obviously tired, but instead of sitting down for a meal and some drink, he talked to the barkeeper. I couldn't hear their conversation, but from the gestures I guessed he was looking for me. My curiosity getting the better, I walked up to the bar, greeted the traveller and ordered him a meal and some of the inkeeper's best ales. Grateful for my insistence to order him some food, he started on the food and drink. Only after the first few gulps and bites he started to tell his tale. He claimed to be a messenger from Lord Havelock's court and showed me the curious emblem on his tunic. For some unmistakably ill-conceived reason Lord Havelock's emblem consisted of an ugly little golden dog on a green shield. Nonetheless, Lord Havelock had been lord and master of Askane for 30 years. His rule had brought nothing extraordinary, but he was a sturdy enough lord and had kept the people fed and reasonably safe. I had been to his court once or twice and had met him myself there. A plump man with greying hair and a great grey beard, he obviously was no man for battle, but one of diplomacy and trade."

"The messenger, who had introduced himself as Drerit, snapped back to his duty, when he was a little fed and watered. He told how they had heard reports from peasants near the nortern border of the lord's lands. Reports had come in about sporadic sightings of strange people in forests. At first we dismissed the reports, but they insistently became more frequent over the months. Peasants would go after them and investigate, but never would they find anyone. Until, one day, a mob of scared peasants happened a single one of these men. It was a short and slim fellow. Graceful, but scared, they did not allow him the chance to explain himself. They were mad with fear and lusting for blood, especially when they saw his ears. They were different from any they had ever seen and they knew of just one thing which has such ears. Spurred on by the myths about baby-eating elves, he was beaten to death by ignorant peasants. Before soon, the stories about monstrous elves in the north which could defeat 20 men singelhandedly and had eaten every baby around became the talk on the streets. Now, Lord Havelock is hoping to quell this unrest, and is asking you to gather a party of adventurers who are willing to investigate the situation without unnecesary bloodshed. He is hoping that you may find out what the elves are doing there and that your tales of them might ease the peasants' minds."

"With these words, I travelled to the north. The first leagues together with the messenger, whom I encouraged to tell tales of the courtlife. Intrigued as I was by them, I had to bid him farewell at Groomsdale, where he headed in a different direction. In Groomsdale I met up with Hedwren, a renowned ranger, who might help me traverse the forests in which elves live. Together we travelled further north. During our voyage to the northern forests, we gathered the cunning rogue Taddyn, the Pelorian priest Gaeddry and finally the brutal Bluddyn which I took along for protection."

"When we reached the northern borders, I started talking to the peasants about what they had seen. Unfortunately, they had started to believe their own fables and I could not find one peasant which told a believeable story. The only thing they agreed upon were the location the elves were sighted and we decided to head their ourselves for investigation. So, the next day we headed into the forests. Miles we traveled with the utmost of care not to make noise until we were deep inside the forest. The deeper we went, the uneasier we became, as we started to hear the strangest of noises about us from time. I remember shadows shifting, as if the trees themselves were alive. I remember looking at a tree and wondering whether it's really a tree or simply a hauntingly beautiful creature standing still."

"And this memory, that one, is the last I can remember. I don't know how much time I have forgotten, how much days, or weeks, or even months of my life have passed since then. I only know this: I opened my eyes and glanced up into the sun through a roof of leaves. For just a moment, it was beautiful and tranquil. But only just for a moment, because the smell of dried-up blood reached me nose. Carefully, I looked around and found myself in the middle of the remains of some skirmish. From my vantage point on the ground, I saw orc bodies strewn around the forest floor. Lucky that none of them were alive, I picked myself up from the ground and reached for bow and arrow. Only then did the experience hit me that I hadn't been out cold for just a few hours, but that much must have happened between my last memory and now. The bow I gripped as if it was my own, was different from any bow I knew. It was a longbow richly ornamented with carvings of leaves. And when the sunlight played across it through the top of the trees, it seemd like they were rustling in the wind. It was a bow which appeared as if it had been shaped by a tree, rather than it was cut from it. As I inspected myself I noticed that I wore other clothes than I was used to. My clothes were a palette of blue and green pastels and around my neck dangled a string with attached to it a symbol I had never seen before. It was a grey amulet shaped in the form of a crescent moon. My ever chaotic hair was bound in a green headband."

"As I gathered myself, I inspected my surrounding. The ravage of the battle lay strangely in the tranquil setting of the sunny forest. I inspected the corpses in a hope to find some clue as to what happened. What happened to most of the orc became quickly evident, as I recovered many of my arrows from their corpses. What the cause of the battle was, remained a mistery though as the orcs did not seem much different from the orcs I had encountered before, except perhaps maybe for one. I did not know what his significance was, but I had literally transformed him into a pincushion. When I came closer, I noticed that it was not lying there alone! I quickly turned him over and found there a sight I still see every night in my dreams. There lay the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She had long red hair which shone in the sunlight, her face light and peaceful as if there was not death around her everywhere. She was perfect in every detail, even her pointed ears seemed beautiful to me. When I saw her, I knew, nay, I felt that she was no stranger to me, that I had known her intimately, maybe for years. Lovers, meant to be together, and I... I could not remember her."

"Frantically, I sought for signs of her life, tended to her wounds. Rejoyced when I found out she still had a pulse, however weak, but I could see, even though I am not a healer, that she would not live long. Painstakingly and slowly, she opened in her eyes and I could gaze into her deep green eyes as I perhaps had done a thousand times before. She said something to me, in a tongue melodious and beautiful. A language I had never heard before, but I could understand every word she said. She almost whispered, 'Even the strength of my love for you is not strong enough for me to live... Finish our work... Take this, someday you will understand.' She handed me an ancient scroll and with that, she passed away. I cried for a woman I could not remember and carried her to the most beautiful spot in the forest I could find. In the middle of a clearing, exactly where the sun beams hit through the roof of leaves, I dug a grave and with a last kiss layd her in it. I wanted to pray, and words came to my mouth. It was a song-prayer in elven which I did not know I had learned..."

I began to sing the song I would never forget. It still was as beautiful as the first day I had sung it. Every customer in the inn was filled with rapture with the song, as I was sure they would. With a tear on my cheek, I finished the song and let the last sounds linger into silence before I continued the story.

"When I had covered her grave, I set out, knowing that I had to refind what I had forgotten. For days I wandered through the forest, not knowing where I was. But, thank the gods, after six days I found a road. Wearied, hungry and injured I started my journey along the side of the road, grateful for the knowledge that I would be going somewhere. After some of hours travel, I saw three figures in front of me. From their sturdy stature I deduced that they were human. A welcome sight after these days of loneliness. As it turned out they were two clerics, travelling together with one of the barbaric folk. After introductions and a quip and a jest from my side, they helped me recover from my ordeals and we agreed to travel together for companionship. Since then, together, we had many adventures, but these tales are for another day."


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