Is It Tuesday Yet?

Part 11 - Hydrus Maximus

Upon my return, I contemplated to myself in my room. The curse was unbearable now. It's teeth gnawed at my mind and I grasped at straws trying to piece together the life I lived now. I was only here with them because of it. Regardless, I didn't remember, that black fog of memory locked away in the curse's jaws. How I came to be with a group of adventurers… Vile could be one word of my quiet pondering. And what leader was I to become? As it stood, I hadn't appeared any closer than my current circumstance foretold. I only remember—

"There it is!"

My heart jumped as I heard the cries outside. It was time. We'd found it.


Hydrus Maximus lumbered slowly down the canyon as the weapon was brought out. The loud machinery whined, hissed, and ticked. But, it's harsh noise is what first attracted the beast. It stopped, and all fifteen of it's heads turned to face us.

We were at the top of a sheer cliff, but I had never seen anything so enormous before. Even the dragons, at a distance, felt minute at it's presence. It's smokey scales glinted briefly before it roared out and began to saunter toward us. Trees and other foliage, although sparse, were crushed beneath it's body.

Garrett muttered, "This'd better work," as he hefted a well crafted crossbow, courtesy of the Professor no doubt.

The Professor aimed the cannon, and an explosion of steam and hot air blurred the area for but a moment. The creature was lifted up off it's feet and sent end over end with it's heads rolling.

"Aha!" shouted the Professor.

I was surprised. The weapon was actually effective!

However, just as we were about to celebrate… Hydrus Maximus rose up in the distance and roared, it's heads chattering as it charged.

My blood froze, and I backed away. The wound.. The blood seeping from it's body. The cannon was supposed to kill it. How was it still alive? Magic wasn't going to hurt it… I had to buy us some time. I reached out and conjured from behind a grove, some illusory giants. A local tribe, "hiding" until now, enraged themselves and harried the beast. They distracted it for perhaps half a minute.

The Professor was madly dashing about the cannon, preparing it for another shot. "Give me more time!"

Dratharz reached out and caused a large trench to suddenly appear in front of it. The hydra tripped and smashed into the ground. It roared again painfully, but it's legs didn't break.

It neared us, but I couldn't stay nearby anymore… It was getting closer! I created my phantom and willed it to attack the beast where the gaping wound was. Then I started giving myself some distance.

Garrett was shooting the heads. A few, pierced in the eyes, fell to his crossbow. Arrows came from nowhere, that must've been Airelinna. Murph was, well, shooting near it.

Pits under the hydra's legs formed and it sank into the ground, remaining fairly contained for the moment. And where the old heads were, they were shriveling away and forming new heads, just as the book had described for these beasts. I felt my phantom dissipate. I tried to form another, but the magic backfired and shocked me.

"I'm ready now!" bellowed the Professor as he got into the firing seat.

But, the challenge needed no second cannon round. The hydra's heads gasped and it screeched as the last of it's life from it's body was sundered. The arrows and bolts had finished it off. The heads fell to the ground around it, their tongues lolled about in, if not true death, the definitive appearance of it.

I slowly came back to the edge of the cliff where everyone was. The silence filled the entire canyon for a moment, until the Professor urged me to go and "check it out." I first had a summoned warrior try to touch it, whereupon it vanished when it did. So, I flew down and investigated. I entered the wound and the dark interior purged the light I tried to make for myself. I felt around, the slimy texture of it's innards seeping trickles of blood. But, there was no movement, no heartbeat, no breathing. I felt the large feathers of arrows and bolts all centered and buried deep around one particular organ. In my mind, I thanked Melora for our safety and success in bringing down the beast. I hoped that it would serve to rescue us from the curse.

"Is it dead?" from inside the creature, it masked the one who asked them.

I exited the wound and yelled to my companions, "It's dead."


The next few days were spent dissecting the creature and getting anything that could be utilized in an elixir for our predicament. I just tore the tip of one tooth and made a simple band around my wrist with it.

The Professor made payment to Garrett for his assistance and we departed again for the Dragon's Peak Pass. The awful smell of chemicals seeped into what quarters were left. Stacked barrels of anti-magic organs, guts, and scales covered every inch of the house. I made an illusion constant around myself to avoid the smell, but it didn't help my stomach much so I took to the roof and attached myself to the house. It was going significantly slower than before, perhaps from the extra weight.

As I relaxed, I took out the eyeglass from the "toys" the Professor kept around. I peeked up at the Dragon's Peak again as we were about to pass. This time, a white head emerged and looked down at us. The majestic glittering of scales betrayed the infortuitous danger that it could provide. However, it merely revealed a paw and waved at us. It's mouth ginning. I couldn't help myself, I grinned back. I don't know why I did, but I did. As I continued to peer through the eyeglass, I saw something else near the dragon itself. Or, wait… Where did it go? I thought I saw something. The dragon continued to watch over us as we passed until the peak was out of sight.

And now, we have returned to Illandia. . .

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Part 10 - Losing Heart

There were a few labored breaths that reached my ears, some quiet whispers underneath my own fatigue. I could hardly feel my own body, my senses were muffled, or even muted in places. I tried to open my eyes, but the light burned. I felt my center of gravity shift and I looked out again. After a moment of blurry blinking, I saw Airelinna's solemn, well composed face, her golden hair a bit scattered, but her eyes were stern.

I tried to speak, my voice coming only with effort, "W-what happened? Did we kill the demon?" I figured, since everyone else still stood before me, that we were successful in bringing it down.

Airelinna hesitated before making a concise statement, "You died."

My eyes went wide, my face contorted with churning feelings of disbelief and despair, "I died!?" My mind flashed with images of my brother, the demon, and his…

Murph interrupted this caravan of thought with, "Ellie," she did seem to like that human-like nickname, "We did everything we could, but it wasn't enough. We… we were unfortunately unable to save your legs."

I could feel my toes, so I knew she was just kidding. But, as I painfully looked, they were not present! I had lost… I… My legs!? I couldn't keep it in anymore, my eyes filled with tears and all sense of bravery or stern determination even a desire for intelligent understanding of the moment escaped my body in this instant. I was a cripple! I was less than alive! I wailed for what little strength I could muster to do so, but it merely birthed new pains as I felt my phantom limbs struggle against their bonds. I had failed my family, my brother, my queen.

What decisiveness that fate had given me this day, to not only live, but to live a life not worth living. I would be held to a commonality of disdain that was eyed from all intelligent species, not merely my own.

Murph tried to comfort me, "Ellie, are you okay?"

"No! No, I am not okay!" I curtly snapped through my tears. "I don't know why I thought I could be like my brother. Please, just leave me alone for a while."

I fell asleep from the exhaustion I felt. I was wide awake in my mind, but my body's aches overwhelmed my need to rummage through confusion, terror, and pains. When I opened my eyes again, it was dark. What happened now? Why… Wait a second. I wiggled my nose and felt a cloth's ridged fibers nestled over me.

"Murph. Get this off of me…" I murmured from whatever corner I happened to lay in. 

Murph struggled to keep from giggling. And, as the cloth was removed, I took notice that a pair of legs was passing by in my field of view. I blinked a couple times, but took the occasion to mean that I must be hallucinating or something, as nobody else seemed to see it. Was I going mad as well? No. I couldn't be. Could I?

Murph was forced to dispel the illusion she placed over my legs. Her "fun" had ended too soon for her liking it seemed. I gave her the most disapproving glare I could. Even I with my illusions would not go so far as to harm another's image of themselves.

The Professor leaned down and picked up my frail body and forcibly fitted me into a wind-up chair. I had no choice. My body could not move much of it's own accord and my mind was in a daze. He said something about moving this small sti-.

"Aiiie!" I was thrust forward in this "wheelchair." Unable to stop, I went headlong into the wall where I numbly felt new bruises on my knees. My wings were terribly sore by the end of my embarrassing wind-up tour, the accompanying backrest saw to that. I just begged that someone take me to my room. This "toy-like" feeling was growing stronger and I hated it. I knew that it was purposeful and it was wrong of them to do so. I bit, well, numbly pressed down on my tongue. I wouldn't be so ungrateful towards the Professor. He did save my life. Airelinna told me as we ascended the stairs that he used a potion of resurrection.

However, Murph made quite sure not to leave my side for any reason whatsoever. I just wanted some peace and quiet, but I didn't have the strength to speak anymore. I fell asleep in the wheelchair, and let the darkness take me, completely ignoring her jabbering.


When I awoke, I felt much better. I still ached everywhere and I didn't feel well enough to fly, but I was able to get free from the chair which I was strapped to. I managed to descend the stairs, and get some food before making my way back to my room. It was then that I was alerted to the large gaping holes in my wings from the Professor.

I looked and was again beset with pure grief; inundated with a wild emotional stain that cascaded over me and I straightway left in tears. I couldn't bear it. It was the worst feeling I had ever felt. Why did this have to happen to me? I don't want to live with this. . .

On my way back, a human male, the Xithonian hunter, Garrett, noticed me. I had no mind nor care for his presence, only the call for a bit of solace sounded amidst my sobbing frame.

I was about to return, when Murph paraded into the room and held Veilseeker aloft. It was much smaller in her grip.

"Hey, Ellie, Look what I found!"

I cleared my eyes of tears to see that she danced with Veilseeker above her head.

"Please, Murph, don't do this," I begged her, "That's very important to me."

I didn't even try to take it back. How could I in this state I was in? I wouldn't give her any additional satisfaction from being, however slight, the taller of us both. Instead, I just watched her while I moved towards my bed. She teased me some more and popped it onto the table where I couldn't reach without some good proper climbing. Then to my extreme emotional dismay, she picked me up and cradled me like some newborn. It hurt for one, and two, I was distraught! I struggled in futility to escape.

She babbled on end for what seemed an eternity until she suddenly stopped as Airelinna burst into the room and set things right. She tore me away from Murph's cradling, returned Veilseeker to me and I was gently placed into my leafy bed by the kind elf. That's when all sound ceased. She lifted the leprechaun up with a wave of her hand and spun around her three times, much to the visual protest of Murph. But, all faded away as I gave myself up to sleep's embrace.


I awoke again, but made no effort to leave my bed. I felt awful; less so physically, but definitely emotionally perturbed. I saw that my wings were healing, some magical effect from the potion I was given, but the feelings I had were a pulsing soreness in my head. My whole life felt off kilter, not unlike when I was first banished. There was some food at the foot of my nest and I nibbled on that while I thought quietly to myself.


When I was fully rested, I braved the world again and went to have a chat with the Professor about what he had done for me. We had found a beautifully secluded portion of some forested mountains where we were to hunt the Hydrus Maximus. A wall was erected around the house and Garrett was busy chatting with one of the others about things that needed doing.

I took the time to search for some special poisonous plants that were common in forested areas. I found them and gathered as much of the precious toxins as I could. . .

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Part 9 - Magical Storms & Voids

And we arrived in Zithon, the lands across the great divide. . .

The surprisingly pleasant landscape was far different than I first surmised from the information we'd been given. There was plenty of plants and shrubs living here, less wildlife to be apparent. It was indeed a harsher environment with less water to sustain everything, but nonetheless it was thriving!

The city… well, town really, was a bright white beacon against the view beyond. The white buildings and sandy colorations were not large nor overly ornate. And it was guarded by soldiers bearing gold and tan emblems on their gambisons. After strict cultural warnings from the professor, Alexa was left outside the gate, and guarded by Dratharz. I was interested in what the city looked like, so I tagged along. Maybe I'd get the chance to do a little talking; who knows?

After some cultural exchange and bylaws to observe, we were directed to The Hunter's Moon, situated near the palace. I thought it strange that a merchant hub would have a palace, seeing as how the throne of a leader should be left in "one" palace. However, it meant that high-class people would be coming and going nearby. I didn't know if I'd have much time to have much conversation, but seeing as how I was a foreigner, likely not much.

The Hunter's Moon, signified by a sign bearing a crescent peaked with a drawn bow, lay before us. Indeed, it was a higher-class institution. As we entered, eyes were immediately drawn to us, whispers were given in corners. The professor picked a table at random and began to speak with one of the patrons and once given a ludicrous amount of coin identified himself as Johnathan. He said our quarry for the Maximus species of Hydra was here, that it was real, and that in order to find one, we'd ought to go south and find a friend of his named Garrin.

We inquired as to the nature of this establishment and why hunting was so revered in Zithon. For a bit more coin, it was revealed that it was not only to keep local pests down as a public service, but it also held a deep cultural connection with the people of Zithon. He gave us a few nasties that we'd best leave alone, such as: Blood Beasts, large gorilla-like canines; Amarat, large wolves; and Humbaba, miniature demons with lion paws. He pressed the importance of staying clear of these and "other" unsavory creatures.

So, with this new information in hand, we set off only to again hear the Professor cry out yet again that he had forgotten something. Whereupon the guards gave a familiar look of inner giggling.


On the morrow, as we set off toward the next destination. I took the time to do a little practicing with Veilseeker in front of everyone in the kitchen. The day began quite calm until the Professor and Airelinna stood up and went to the window.

The house lurched as it came to a stop.

Ahead, a purple haze formed into a large cloud that quickly made it's way towards us.

"Murph," called P. Fraus, "Do you want more money?"

The declination to her greed was overcome by the dire sensation I felt from this approaching "storm." As I had created a boar to go and experience this weather, it vanished and my link was broken.

We hunkered down and Dratharz created an enormous earthen wall to hopefully block it. The storm penetrated it, so P. Fraus put down a small box and opened it. To my dismay, I felt my connection to the surrounding mana disappear and my eyes went wide. I was then injured from the magical lightning that exuded from this magic storm.

Below, demons, hundreds of them, were scattered all over and attacking the legs to the house. We opened a window and started to dispatch them, but one managed to leap inside. It's hide of red and black, horns, with yellow eyes of madness started swinging it's claws. I hid behind the Professor, who just ran out for another purpose. Now exposed, and with magic being no option in this void nor in the storm, and the eyes of the demon locked onto me, I delved deep into my hatred for the demon. My brother's face came into view in that moment as I flew forward, swinging Veilseeker with all my strength.

I cut at it's neck, but to my dismay, I saw no wound in the demon's form as it's sharp, deadly appendages came towards me. . . 

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Through the lands of Dragons and Magic

As we passed though the pass of Dragons we headed toward the city of Meldon. Since the Professor hasn't been here before, he decided that I, his most trusted associate, guard his home while they looked for information regarding the Hydrous-Maximus. It was pretty uneventful while they were there, and they didnt say much about it. But we started to head south to the city Methel.  On our way, a storm gathered out of nothingness, as I have never seen anything like this or have had to deal with this before, decided to encase us in earth. That, however seemed to have no effect, as the storm passed though the wall, and through all of the professors magical defenses. After that shocking, quite literally, display of this strange magic storm, we heard some thing wrecking against the house. The Professor and the elf, decided to shoot the devilish creatures, which seemed to go quite well for a short while, until one of them was able to leap though the window. Chaos ensued, and since he was standing in the middle of the Professors magic dampening box, all that was left for me to do was attack his mind. The small ones weren't able to hold long against it, but fought bravely, and were almost clawed them both in two, but not before the larger small one closed the anti-magic box. The professor ran, to get his spear, which was unfortunately in a far room of the house.  Then, the Professor came back with his spear and jabbed it through its heart, killing it instantly.  The Professor ran into another part of the house again, and retrieved a potion and rushed to the small sprite and poured it down her throat. A small time passed, and she stirred back to life.  Then, both the elf and the Professor after strictly telling me to not cast spells, cast their spells all over the place on the two small ones, which sometimes seemed to work better than it should have, and if I recalled correctly, nothing bad happened, so like I would have totally been fine, and would have probably killed all the demons surrounding the house if they let me cast the spells I wanted to, but no they decided that it would be a great idea to open the windows to the impervious house, leaving it prone to an attack, then went against their own words and cast spells… yeah that's fine, that's totally fine.  Anyways, I think I'm done with this entry for now, um, I'm not sure when I will be able to write again, maybe soon, maybe not so soon. We shall see. 

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The Hunt Begins (sort of)
(Well really we are going to the place that the hunt will begin at)

It is finally time the cannon is done (Hopefully) and we are on our way.

We packed up the new cannon and some of my Mechanical Golems (to load the thing) and set out for Dragons Crest pass to find us a Hydra. We took a short stop in the Tired city to send some letters and pick up fresh supplies for the crossing. Most of the trip was un-eventfull we saw some dragons and giants (had to kill several of them) and some men riding strange beasts (I'll have to check on that at some point) but overall a peaceful journey. Soon we will be in Xithon and the hunt will truly begin.

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Part 8 - The Dragon's Peak Pass

We made our way to Tier City, the professor needed to pick up some supplies and to send some post with a courier service. As we approached, my eyes were dazzled with ancient dwarven architecture that rose up and up upon many different levels. The city looked old, carved intricately and as tightly packed as possible. The streets were compact and the buildings sat next to each other with seemingly no extra space.

Leaving Alexa, (the house dearies), outside the main gate, we entered the city, keeping close to the Professor. I smelled baking bread, flowers, and … sniff something I'd never smelled in a city before. It wasn't a bad smell, so it couldn't have been refuse. Doubtless that the city had such in it at times I could assume.

Before I could investigate the smell, I caught up with the group and we found ourselves at a courier service building. Bags of letters, supplies, and crates loaded onto wagons were nearby the establishment. A team of oxen moaned their displeasure as they were led away by the driver. The Professor and others entered, while I waited outside, examining the unique style of craftsmanship that went into the city. The people that passed by seemed entranced by their business and only a few gave chance to wave at me as I waited amongst the bags, couriers, and crates.

The others returned shortly, until the Professor grimaced and said aloud, "Agh. I forgot that too!"

I merely raised my left eyebrow. Whatever he had forgotten, he'd been complaining about his "forgetfulness" all morning. I would ask him before we entered the pass, just in case it'd be something I could assist with.


While on our way back, I caught that smell again. I investigated, blending into my surroundings; being that of a market, with stalls and vendors hawking their wares while yelling out for buyers. It wasn't particularly busy, but the streets were bustling enough. I followed the scent to… Mushrooms? They were odd. I didn't know where they'd come from. I shimmied up the side of one man who was picking at them, touched one, and duplicated a mushroom with a wave of my hand. I wasn't stealing, but my casual attempts at being unseen were likely to cause suspicion regardless.

So, I carried this duplicate around. Sniffing it, trying to remember or glean some information regarding it's origin and type. I couldn't get anything from it. But, I decided to do a little experiment upon our return to Alexa outside the gates.

We started to leave and made our way past the guards posted at the gate only to hear the professor exclaim that he forgot something again, whereupon we straitway turned about and entered the city again. The guards chuckling with some sidelong looks that seemed to say, "Now how many times have I seen that?" The Professor purchased some supplies to restock the house's larder.


Back in the house, I started with Airelinna, who sniffed at the air, but gave no other reaction. Murph was completely unaware of my presence or that of the fungus. To be perfectly honest, it wasn't particularly pungent, so it was understandable that she was unfazed. But, Dratharz surprised me. He turned himself about and spotted me without so much as a harried search.

His eyes flared, "Where did you get that? Did you steal it?"

His reaction astonished me, I was so taken aback that I cocked my head and thought of how to actually respond to such an accusation. But, just as I was about to make a statement, he bent his staff down in a menacing manner and lit my duplicated fungus on fire!

"Gah!" I yelped, releasing the mushroom which vanished into a puff of still trailing smoke as the fire dissipated. "Come now, I didn't steal anything! I merely duplicated it with magic." I eyed him with a stern scowl, still put off that he did such a childish thing. However…

"Why did you do it?" I pressed. "Moreover, why did you need to burn it?"

Dratharz hesitated, "It's a mushroom. Whatever."

"Nobody else responded so… acutely."

Dratharz then continued to defend his actions while simultaneously convincing me that it was merely a mushroom and that it didn't matter. I believe him. It was just a mushroom. But, something still tickled the back of my mind that the reaction was still something beyond normal.


I sought out the Professor as we approached the mountains, and found him in his workshop working calmly, "Professor, you've been exclaiming all day now that you've forgotten something. What did you forget?"

P. Fraus, sighs and looks down at me, "I wish I remembered to bring one of my Destruction Spheres."

I look back on the spinning doom spheres that he had stationed atop every tower on his fortress' walls. I cast a spell that made the large "machine-thing" appear in his workshop as a mere illusion. "What if it was here?"

He shook his head, "Not everybody nor everything knows it to be dangerous. We'll just have to make do without it."

My shoulders drooped, and that feeling of uselessness returned.


I sat in the kitchen, holding a wooden spoon semi-defiantly as Murph and Airelinna performed their separate skills together. Airelinna sang light, airy tunes, while Murph squatted, leaped and bounced in dance. I couldn't hold it in, and laughed at how ridiculous and wonderful it was at the same time.

That was when we had our first scare. When a enormous roar sounded just behind the house. We didn't find the creature, but ahead, we saw a green dragon flying.


That night, as I took my turn for watch, I watched and listened for anything that might attack us. But, much to my embarrassment, I ended up being frightened by Alexa's inner workings. The rumbling sounds of metal banging below giving me the pale death. I realized, after alerting the Professor, that it was just that.


The next morning, we stopped. Large boulders were in the path.

"Illedrena," P. Fraus called, "Come look at this."

I acknowledged, "What's wrong?"

"Could you go and touch those? I mean not you, but, you as in not you?"

I was confused.

"Have an illusion touch it."

"Ohhh, yes. I… By the light of Melora!"

The air filled with growls and thuds, trees being brushed aside and cracks of stone and bark. A mountain giant clan was attacking us! Their massive bodies wielding trees and other large makeshift weapons. One, that I could see anyway, had a massive boulder that it hefted on it's shoulder, another in it's hand.

"Alexa, take us up," called out the Professor to his home's system as he reached out the window to shoot at one of the giants.

The giants attacked the house, their blows resonating against the metallic legs below.

I created my phantom instantly. My mind's image being crafted from a splice in the air. The wraith, opaque black with gleaming purple eyes covered by a deep cowl, hovering above the ground with tattered black cloak. The tendrils of it's arm's ended with sharp and menacing claws in place of fingers. I sent it out to deal with them. My mind also focusing on an illusion for the next moment.

My phantom went up to the face of the giants in front of the house. It lunged forward, digging those menacing claws straight into it's face, red blood spurted from the wound. Then it ripped outward, completely sundering the giant's gray matter from it's skull, the white bone cloven from the magical creation. The flesh giving way before my magical destroyer.

A flock of "me" I sent to distract one of the giants. But the battle ended as soon as it had started.

The ground below had erupted into a disjointed wall of crackling energy. Burnt flesh reached my nose as the giants squealed in pain and ran for their lives, leaderless. I felt the rage inside me simmer. My phantom chased down one the giants, only to be outrun. I had it return, where it "bumped" against some force and was unable to return to me. It "bumped" again before it was left behind from the speed of the house. I let it vanish.


We continued on the path a little ways, but stopped to examine the damage. The Professor was near to shedding tears as he looked at the legs and puckered his lips in sad contemplation about how much it hurt to see his creation harmed. I felt for him, a little. So, I attempted to repair them with magic. Some pieces were missing so I couldn't replace those, but every face of metal plate was fixed. It seemed to shine and blaze with a newly cast sheen!

I floated away soon after, leaving the Professor to examine the aftermath of my work.


We passed Dragon's peak… And the green dragon that lived there. There was no doubt in my mind that the dragon saw us as much as I saw it. It merely tossed it's head back and forth, watching the pass.

And we arrived in Zithon, the lands across the great divide. . .

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Part 7 - The Weapon

An Ellyl, lost in the world of giants.

Far be it from me to not see a catastrophe in this desolate landscape the Professor constructed. I looked out beyond the cliff, where the waterfall flowed. My eyes strained from the sun's intensity. The forest lay below, the beautiful sight only four hundred, perhaps five hundred yards away. I longed to be amongst anything green, alive, and growing. The Professor's herb pots were… How should I say?

Lacking.

He thought it a whole garden. However, I shook my head, shaking the mild frustration loose from my mind. I planned on beautifying this place. Indeed, I knew nothing about plant magic, but I lived inside a tree for close to thirty-four of my thirty-six winters. Certainly I could get at least some grass to grow before I went mad from the dull stone gray that threatened to overwhelm me.

I dared not leave the compound for fear of the "monsters" that Airelinna had expounded upon before. The Professor was sure that his defenses would keep most, if not all, nearby creatures at bay. The strange spheres atop their towers whirred on occasion, their oscillating oculus orbit betraying an ominous doom.

I let out a sigh and bent the water around me as I flew down into the depth of the river. The sphere of fluid listening to my occasional whispered thoughts. "Who is Illedrena Avalor?" I would say. "Why is she here?" "What is she meant to do?" All my internalizing accomplished was a sense of hopelessness, loneliness, and fear. My tears added themselves to the river's floor, soon to be washed away with the current when I left.


The week passed much the same, until a large stone "block" or wall, was erected by Dratharz. A huge contraption, walking on legs with a platform carrying an enormous metal hollowed tube. Upon my inquiry, it was relayed as a "Steam Cannon," which would be our weapon to kill the Hydra without needlessly endangering ourselves.

Holes were set into the stone wall beyond, so I determined to at least do something fanciful this week and made illusory targets over these divots. I created red dots, a bit easier to see from such a great distance.

BOOOM!

The noise was horrendous! My ears ached, and the dastard contraption had steam billowing from it. The earth had shook tremendously from the explosion of energy. The projectile had hit one of my red dots, which shattered and then fireworks expanded around it to signify the scoring.

The stone was cracked, deep and concaved a great deal. It was near ready to fall apart at the edge, which is where it was struck.


With the test successful, and with most everything else in order. We set off to kill the beast. . .

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The Queen's Judgement

Illedrena threw herself onto her bed, tears still flowing from yesterday’s woes. Her husband-to-be, Fedwain, clutching the arms and snogging the other woman. She didn’t even bother to learn the name of the one he betrayed her to. She didn’t recognize her, but what she discovered was ill enough in her mind. She vividly remembered the rage she felt as she saw them. She had summoned a phantom. A black, smoky version of herself and flung all her energy at Fedwain’s pitiful life. The phantom clawed and pummeled Fedwain, crushing his supposed might into a weak and cowering individual, blood spilling from his mouth as she pulled back and released her spell. She left him in that state, with his life and his lover. The other woman’s eyes in shock, aghast at what just transpired.


Illedrena’s eyes slowly, fitfully gave way to restless sleep. Her mind plagued with that image. She woke several times with cold shivers climbing up her spine, a nameless fear becoming an entity in her emotional turmoil.



Now, here she stood, in the Capitol. The Queen’s audience room before her. The two guards standing at attention with their leafy armor of velvet red and gold wielding long jade spears and hardened shields. To her right was Fedwain Elmeri. He was dressed in traditional Betrayer’s robes. He was despised by the people for the breaking of his vow that he made to his family and the Avalor family he promised himself to. Illedrena was not bound, but she was hoping to avoid that fate.


The guards held their spears across the ornate doorway for a moment as the Ellyl that led them saluted. His fist tapping the center of his chest before he stood firmly. The guards removed their spears and opened the doors revealing the chamber ahead. The intricate twisting of the Twilight Oak in this chamber was so grand and complex that Illedrena was dizzied by it’s form. The gems and golden craftsmanship embedded in the ceiling was too numerous to ascertain in this moment. It caused the various lights to shimmer and dazzle in the entire chamber. She gazed forward and saw Her Majesty, Queen Ambrosia the XXXXV on her throne. Crystals jutting into the air from the throne with shimmering topaz and gold. Silver and diamond shards dug roots into the Twilight Oak. There sat the Queen, bearing porcelain skin and piercing bright blue eyes. Shimmering crystals adorned her brown hair that was straight, with the bangs curled. The majestic blue and red robe contrasted by her silvery-white wings. She was surrounded by various members of court whom she saw peering at Fedwain and herself, murmuring.
The queen held up her hand and their guard stopped, stepping back and off to the side. Illedrena fell to her knees, bowing before her majesty.


“Step forward, Fedwain Elmeri,” called the Queen. Her careful voice was gentle, but firm. Her many years of leading the Ellyllon behind it. Fedwain did as he was told, stepping forward slightly, his footsteps sending fits of anger through Illedrena.


“Fedwain Elmeri of the Ellylon. You have been charged with oathbreaking, vile deceits, and nigh alduterousness. The highest crime being that you were forsworn to a union by your acceptance of your parent’s and your forsworn’s parents’ proposal. These charges being found evident by testimony of yourself and others.” The queen paused before approaching, her eyes blazing. She held her hand outstretched and continued, “You are guilty of these crimes and in accordance with the ancient traditions, with considerations by myself, you are to be branded an exile for a period of five years.” The queen’s hand glowed and yellow light started to stream from it toward Fedwain. “To this crime you are stripped of rank,” the light touched him and markings started to crawl onto his face. “To this you are rejected of the people.” Fedwain grunted, unable to scream as the magic silenced him while it burned his flesh. “You are to remain as Fedwain, alone, and scattered to the winds for five years.” Fedwain’s teeth gritted the lips drawn back painfully. The magic finished and the Queen released her hold over him, to which, he fell and sobbed nigh uncontrollably.


“Remove him,” the queen waved her hand at him in disgust.


Illedrena kept herself on her knees and caught in her vision Fedwain dragged away from the guards in the room. Yet, no guards remained in her immediate vicinity.


“Please stand, Illedrena Avalor of Natiira,” came the slightly shivering voice of the Queen.
She stood and bowed her head to her majesty who came and lifted her head, cupping her cheeks with her hands. “Daughter, your crime is severe indeed. Please, for my sake, could you recount the details to me personally?” She turned and sat upon her throne, visibly leaning on it for support.


Illedrena cleared her throat, before standing straight and then speaking with a slight fluster, “I was engaged to Fedwain in my youth, and understanding the old traditions of our people, I investigated the proposal. I found it acceptable and bound myself to the vow. When meeting with him in the weeks preparatory to our being wed, I discovered him to be quite amiable. I thought of him as a good person. One day, he told me he was scheduled to leave for an errand. I found it odd that he had no destination as he had given me one previous in each occasion. Upon inquiring, he brushed me aside and said not to worry. I went about my day at his family’s estate. His mother and I were talking about yesteryear’s hummingbird races. And whilst we spoke, we heard a loud noise upstairs. We both investigated.” Illedrena’s eyes welled up. “The window open and a few furnishings toppled. I saw him there, bending down with an unbound lover in his arms, kissing her. His mother had screamed at the sight. But, my silence brooded within me. I saw him look at his mother, shocked, then at me in horror. I only remember the anger I felt. The connection that we had started to forge—.”


Illedrena stopped, wiped at her eyes and sniffled a bit before the Queen nodded attentively, “As a daughter of the Avalor family, we are blessed with much magical ability. In my anger, I attacked him with a spell. I managed to reign myself in, realizing what I had just descended to.” She bowed again as she finished her statement.


The Queen sighed. It was a long and drawn out one. Tired, and filled with the wisdom of one who seemed to understand more than their age showed. She spoke low and cautiously. “The Elmeri family was… Petrified by your reaction to the circumstance Illedrena. Most especially to the mother, Latora.” She shook her head and rubbed her temples. “You understand that I need to punish you as well for this? More severely than Fedwain. Assault is an awful thing.” 
Illedrena nodded her acknowledgement with tears.


The Queen thought for a few moments more. Her gaze wandering across the room before her eyes locked onto Illedrena again. “You do indeed have much ability and talents for one so young, barely maturing. You and your family have already experienced a great loss. The sacrifice of your brother is still felt across all Ellylon today. However, your deed is one that needs quite a bit of penance.”


The Queen stood and snapped her fingers, the room’s small muttering shattered and becoming silent. “Bring me Veilseeker.” A servant moves away and leaves through a side door.


“Now,” her voice collected, stern, but loving, “Daughter, you made a mistake. As all mortals are apt to do from time to time. I hold in my heart some empathy toward this. So, I am giving you an opportunity. An occasion that some would find mildly undeserved. Please remember this as such.” There was another sigh, “You also will be given the marks of those sent away,” Illedrena’s eyes widened at this, to which the Queen quickly inserted, “But, your sentence is not eternal. It’s a time appointed for you to learn who you are. To discover what it means to hold the power you wield. I see an Ellyl that has so much potential to be a leader and a force for much good in the world. But, you aren’t going to learn this among others like you. I sense your trepidation, and your confusion, but understand that my reasons are greater than you can imagine as of right now.”


The side door opened again and the servant returned with an object covered by a simple cloth. The Queen walked over and pulled away the cloth, a bright jade blade gleamed in the sparkling colors from above and lay beside an articulate sheath.


“This is Veilseeker,” the queen lifted it from the hands of the servant, “An enchanted blade that hides one from seeking eyes. I believe this will be of use to you in the future.” She placed it in Illedrena’s hands then grasped her shoulders.


“Take this counsel, carry no money or precious things with you, and if nothing happens within ten years… make your return. The marks I place on you will only last for this long. But, any other time or activities spent beyond the norm will only add in your favor.”


Illedrena spoke up to this, “Your majesty, if I may?” The Queen nodded again, curious. Illedrena choked a few words, before finally speaking, “How will I know that I am learning what it is you want me to know?”


The Queen smiled, “Your actions and effects on the world around you have a larger effect than you realize. Surely you know this from your studies of magic?” She put a glowing hand on Illedrena’s cheek, “So to, does a leader find ways to have this larger effect. And when you learn these things, the mark you bear will recede and eventually disappear.” A warm feeling filled Illedrena and she closed her eyes. The magic flowing from the Queen tingled as she spoke, “Illedrena Avalor, you are hereby stripped of title, branded for exile, and to remain penniless for a period of ten years. Take up this boon I have granted and learn from your ancestor spirits, guided by Veilseeker.”


Illedrena opened her eyes to see a bright flash of light appear from Queen Ambrosia. She didn’t feel any pain or was shocked in any way. She didn’t smell her flesh burning or anything she thought she’d have to experience that Fedwain did.


The Queen nodded with a stern, empathetic look, before stepping away and speaking once more, “Go, Damosel Avalor. Learn of who you really are.”


Illedrena felt her will shudder slightly, but she bowed and left the room unaccompanied.

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Part 6 - The Prisoner

It was quite unfortunate; the prisoner was still asleep, in chains, on the chair, in my room. The general consensus felt like it'd be a mental search for the information, nothing to really keep me awake at this late hour. I was very tired and attempted to sleep in my leaf-hammock, which I hung between the two bedposts, while Dratharz conducted his silent investigation.

It was quiet for a long time, the only sounds being a sniffle, yawn or a few whispers of questions and I eventually fell asleep. My mind drifting off toward a dre— SLAP! the whipping sound of a cheek rippled across my room and I leapt out of my hammock. My eyes wide and bloodshot. I dove under the human bed and hid from sight, attempting to see what was happening.

It looked like the mental probing was over and the physical questioning was about to begin. Our prisoner was stirring from his induced slumber. I snuck out of the room with a small whisper to the Professor, "Don't hurt him." I didn't want to have some horrid experience be on my conscience concerning torture. I understood we needed answers to questions, that Professor Fraus needed answers, but torture was not worth that. Not to me anyway, I questioned the others' moral sympathies. I didn't remember what they were previous and why I would join what might possibly become miscreants or degrading individuals. However, the thought was inconsistent with the treatment I had received even when my actions themselves were erroneous. I shook it off and found the pillow downstairs that I had originally been provided. My mind having a difficult time slowing down. But, eventually, the night wore on and sleep did come.


That morning, I woke to everyone having baggy-eyed zombie walks, except interestingly enough the Professor. I was well-rested though, and had already had my morning duel. I checked in on our prisoner, just to… find out what happened. He didn't look injured or beaten thankfully. I was glad. It scared me, those thoughts, those dreams. The only way to stave off the darkness…

"Alright, now we're going to put him back," said P. Fraus. He stood in the doorway as I was looking over the prisoner. He had some cheese and a bit of bread that he began wrapping in some cloth.

"Thank you," I said.

"It wasn't my intention of harming him, not unless he posed a greater danger to us anyways. But, we did find out that he is part of the group that was looking for me. He said, 'We wanted to kidnap him to have a nice chat.'" He paused momentarily as he thought about the words, "I doubt the chat would've been of any nicety if they could capture me." 

"What else did you find out?"

Dratharz came into the room, his voice filling my mind, "A few other things, but most importantly, the fact that they found the Professor's home. They know we're here. I cleared his mind of the details of the capture and subsequent questioning, but we're going to send him off with the last words we gave him."

The Professor nodded, "He'd better stop looking for the Professor."

Dratharz gave me a few other tidbits that were discovered. The man had said he worked inside the citadel, which didn't bear good tidings. If a secret organization was operating here in Heartfell trying to find the Professor, it wasn't safe. I decided I should try to verify some parts of his story.

"I can trace him, see if he really does operate inside the citadel."


Airelinna turned the prisoner visible, turned him over and set him down onto the cobblestones where the Professor had stabbed him. The bag of food was placed on his chest as I started back earlier than the rest.

I could feel him move. My mind reminiscing to the feeling I had during training where my spell pointed a cold needle in my head. It swung around and around with my head. Always giving the direction of my target. I decided to meditate and sense where he was. Fighting the impulse to do something actionable as I needed to focus on the spell.

Our "friend" was probably indeed correct about him being a part of the citadel. He spent his time mostly in one location, moving away for a short time and then returning. I couldn't perceive what he was doing, but if he made any report about his experience, he wasn't dead. It could be a while before that happened. I reported my findings to the Professor close to midnight. He was studiously examining some papers and a brew he had going through his alchemical equipment.


I hid from the Professor again, our daily game becoming a vicious competition at this point. I hid amongst the various clockwork toys and trinkets. I was quite sure that I had succeeded in passing his gaze, when at the last moment, his eye flashed and he stared directly at me.

I couldn't believe it.


We made our departure from Heartfell, most business and research having been completed. Airelinna told me we were heading towards Riverfell again, but eventually our course was corrected and we made our way Northward, towards the Professor's keep.

I thought we were going to take down a ferocious hydra in the desert, but perhaps throwing any followers off our trail would be just as well. . .

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Mind Games

The man we abducted had strange dreams. I saw men of shadow and darkness, a fiend that tormented him while he slept. When we woke him up, he gave me quite the resistance when i tried to go deeper in his mind. We learned that his leaders name is Fenro, an elven man, who we will need to investigate further at a later date. We also learned that the "groceries" are magical weapons created by the blacksmith, I'm not sure which, but I mean, how many blacksmiths could be in this massive city? We also learned that the well is a name for a local tavern, which is where the weapons are being brought to. After the Professor was done questioning him, we debated whether or not is was good to keep him alive. We decided it was worth it to send a message, and let him live. I altered his memory so that he couldn't remember our faces, or where exactly he was as to ensure that the professors identity remain safe. Then we dumped him in the same alley we took him.  After that, I borrowed a cloak from the professor and fed on some good stuff as it sustains me. Then the Professor purchased some metal and other things for a project and we went on our way to Riverfell to throw off the people who might be following us, and then backtracked to the Professors keep. During that week I had fed again, and made another potion of sleep! We also got paid, which was nice since I only had a few silver left. I really should negotiate a better pay, since my skills are quite valuable in keeping the Professor safe. The Professor had finished his project, which is a massive cannon that shoots things very far away. I had made him a practice target range so he could see if his work needed any more fine tuning. When that was finished, we went back to Heartfell to retrieve the items the Professor had made for us. Then we ventured forth to Dragons Peak, to cross the mountain pass and find the hydra and hopefully harvest the correct parts for the memory potion. 

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