CHAPTER FIFTY THREE
That Gâyatrî (as described before with its three feet) rests on that fourth foot, the Bright One, high above the sky. And that again rests on the True (satyam), and the True is the eye, for the eye is (known to be) true. And therefore even now, if two persons come disputing, the one saying, I saw, the other, I heard, then we should trust the one who says, I saw. And the True again rests on Force (balam), and force is life (prâna), and that (the True) rests on life. Therefore they say, Force is stronger than the True.
( The Upanishads. )
Flamerule 1, 1277, Year of the Beholder, the Great Forest of Tethyr
Fascinated by the ghoulish vividness of the image, Joneleth continued to stare at his own reflection, taking in every gory detail of the lich’s appearance with the stunned passivity of a bird staring down a snake’s throat. Finally, a wave of anger, hot as lava, swept through his mind, incinerating the invisible bonds that ensnared his limbs in a viscid net of paralysis. With a sudden sense of relief, the mage tossed away the silver-framed mirror, smashing it over the little pavilion’s floor.
As he watched in fear and astonishment, the sunny day outside darkened, and the weave of green-and-gold sunrays, shining through the loose framework of wooden planks, leaves, and flowers faded, as if tarnished by the touch of his decaying hand. The little gazebo became a dark cage woven of grey shadows.
Joneleth wanted to scream, but his crumbling vocal cords produced a sound midway between a rasp and a hiss. Under the soiled fabric of his robes stained with dried cadaver fluids, his chest tightened, ready to explode. His fury blazed bright and driven by an irresistible compulsion, the mage turned on his heels and rushed out of the dark cell, trying to suppress the swelling tide of panic, as his anger overpowered and consumed his anguish, leaving him shaking from the onslaught.
The sun-lit garden outside vanished, replaced by a nightmarish maze of grey stone and rusted iron. A number of torches in corroded sconces smoldered along the walls at uneven intervals. The stone-paved floor was littered with debris, and strange, occult symbols had been daubed haphazardly along the walls, drawn with, (mercifully), unidentifiable pigments.
“Ellesime?” He rasped into the ice-cold air that reeked of decay and of some other, more acrid and revolting stench. No one answered him, but somewhere ahead and to the right, he heard the sound of running footsteps, light and woman-like in nature.
“Come back to me, A'maelamin,” he softly pleaded of the shadows. “Please, don't leave me. You cannot turn your back on me just like that – I can't bear to be parted from you. And you, my Queen… how can you survive this separation? No one should come between us, not even Time or Nature herself. Even if the Gods try to steal you from me, A'maelamin, I will walk into the Arvandor and challenge the entire Seldarine. You know it is not a small matter when I say so, and nobody, not even you my love, understands the true extent of my powers! I can become immortal – just like you – if that’s what it takes to get you back.”
There was no reply, but now the mage could discern panic in the uneven pattern of the fugitive’s footsteps and the echoes of terrified gasps escaping from her lips.
“How can you be so cruel, my love?” He pleaded, limping along the corridor in his new, unsteady gait, while listening to the sounds of his quarry’s hectic flight. “Why did you leave me, A'maelamin? Was it the human? Forget about Errilam. I know you wanted to spare him, but he is dead, and we are still among the living. We killed him together, my Queen, and you are as guilty as I am. There is nothing to be done about it.”
He was gaining on her, the footsteps ahead slowing, then stopping altogether, likely signifying that the escapee had run into a dead end.
“Ellesime?” The dark shadow huddled in the corner seemed feminine in shape although he could not have explained how it was that he knew it.
“Beloved…?” he extended a hand covered in stiff leather, hoping against hope that she will not shy away from his hungry touch.
The woman rose and stepped forward, eagerly melting into his embrace, and twining her soft, pale hands around his neck. But the sound of her silvery laughter filled his heart with disquiet, and he pulled his prize closer, drawing her from the concealing shadows and turning her to face the dim, orange light that emanated from the nearest torch.
The slanted eyes that met his fervent stare were blue, not green, and framed by dark, thick lashes; the silken mane that fell down the willowy spine to the perfectly shaped rump – sable black, not the color of sunset. The tight body-suit of dark leather, studded with metal barbs, completed the look, leaving little doubt about the identity of his captive.
“Blast it, Bodhi!” He spat, tearing her clinging fingers from his shoulders. “Why are you here? You should not be a part of this dream – there is no place for you in these memories!”
“But it was you who summoned me here, brother dear,” his sister murmured petulantly. “I cannot enter your reverie unless you invite me yourself.”
“I did not invite you!”
“You did not? Maybe so. And yet here I am. Should I leave you then, to your pointless wanderings in the dark? You are lost, Joneleth, and without my help you will never get out of this maze.”
“I shall find my own path. Never before have I stooped so low as to accept your tainted offerings, Brazen One. Nor do I need you now.”
The mage turned away, ready to leave his sister sulking in the corner and to start searching for the way out. Yet the contrast between Bodhi’s eager embrace, and Ellesime’s panicky flight was too heartbreaking.
“Wait,” he stepped back, grabbing Bodhi’s chin with his gloved hand, and peering deep into her eyes, as if trying to pry the answer out of her very soul.” Why aren’t you running away from me in fear and disgust? Can’t you see my face?”
“What is there to be afraid of, brother mine?” Bodhi replied softly. “As always, you are the most striking male in Suldanessellar.”
“Don’t try to cajole me with flattery, Foolish One! Can’t you see the worms writhing through my flesh?”
“You look the same to me, Tall One. Whatever wicked enchantment the Queen has placed on your eyes – it does not work on me. I am the Little Sister of the Bright Moon, and I shall remain at your side, to bask in your future glory, and to partake of the fruits of your labors.”
“My glory... Ah, for Seldarine’s sake, leave me be, Bodhi! I might look like a walking corpse, full of wriggling grave-worms, but at least I am not one of those deluded puppets, upon whose strings you pull so skillfully. I know the exact worth of your supposed ‘devotion’, and of your poisoned flattery! You love no one but yourself, little viper, and all your tributes are inspired by jealousy and your thirst for revenge.”
“I am sorry you feel this way,” Bodhi shook her head sadly. A single tear rolled down her smooth, alabaster cheek. “To my eyes, at least, you are as beautiful as ever. I see that there is nothing I can do to convince you of my sincerity, Bright One. She has stolen your heart – only to break it, and to destroy your confidence with her arrogant ways. Wake up, my brother, wake up! Ellesime has no respect for your arcane genius, nor does she care for your future. She won’t take you for a husband to share the mantle of royalty with her, nor will she bear you a child, as a babe would interfere with her true passion – the rulership of this accursed city. What will happen to you when you grow too old to hold her interest? Will she wait for you to depart for the Brighter Plane before she takes her new lover? Or will the immortal Queen invite her new Chosen One to her chambers, when the sheets in your shared bed begin to grow cold?”
“Hold your dirty, lying tongue, sister!” His slap was so unexpected and so fierce that it sent her reeling across the dusty stonework.
“Why are you hurting me?” Bodhi wailed, clutching at her pale cheek where it now bore the flaming print of her brother’s hand, while hurriedly scrambling back to her feet. “Joneleth, I am your only ally and friend! You have humiliated me time and again, yet I keep forgiving you and offering you my assistance. She has fled form you, yet here I am – humbly offering help and conciliation.”
“I… I am sorry, little one,” Without warning, his anger subsided, leaving behind the creeping sensations of shame and disgust. “I am not myself. I… need to break out of this nightmare.”
“Then why are you fighting me instead of using me?” She asked emphatically. “I might not be the best of siblings, but I am the only one you have! Yave does not count – she cannot even look after herself, let alone her big brother. If there is anything you can learn from me, it is how to put your interests first and foremost. You need to become skilled at being selfish, brother, before your passion for Ellesime destroys you altogether.”
“I am… I am lost, sister mine. I need to wake up.”
“Then do so! All it takes is to open your eyes and wish yourself awake.”
As she spoke, her voice rose in pitch, becoming the buzzing of thousand blood-flies that threw his mind into a wild, chaotic reel. Bodhi waved her hand, and the torches on the walls around them flared into a wall of bright fire. It almost felt a blessing, when the blazing heat wave swallowed him whole, turning his undead body into a flailing, screaming torch.
Flamerule 1, 1277, Year of the Beholder, the Great Forest of Tethyr
Adalon sighed and put aside a heavy, leather-bound tome filled with gloriously colored drawings of rare plants, birds, and magical beasts. Regrettably, she could not possibly take all her possessions with her: it was not so much a consideration of weight as that of volume. A wise dragon – and through all her long cohabitation with the elves Adalon had striven to maintain the reputation of her kin – must favor her aerodynamics over her greed, even when her instincts scream against leaving behind a single scrap that could be added to her hoard.
Adalon’s planned journey to the North in search of her family and relations might take days, if not months, and flying across half of Toril with a massive bundle of goods strapped to her back was foolish, if not outright dangerous. Besides, after satisfying her curiosity about her kin, the young silver dragon fully intended to honor her vow to Queen Ellesime, and return to Tethyr to re-settle in the natural system of caves, beneath the old temple of Angharradh, which she had once called her home. Having finally reached the impressive age of hundred and ten, Adalon was no longer the terrified wyrmling, who had been harried in turn by drow and stray mind flayers, and whom the Green Spears so many decades back had saved from certain death and brought to Suldanessellar. In truth, with the dragon’s recent coming of age, reclaiming her old lair had become a matter of personal pride.
Adalon was certain that her possessions would be safe enough with the elves. Still, there were a few trinkets dear to her heart, that she was loath to leave behind. Alas, the mound of these precious keepsakes threatened to rise up to the ceiling of her personal treehouse. For the last few days, poor Adalon had agonized over every single item in that pile. Yesterday, exhausted by her preparations, she had gone to bed early and had slept soundly through the night waking up at dawn. However, since her abode lay in the remotest outskirts of Suldanessellar, the dragoness had missed the commotion caused by Errilam’s death, and had been blissfully unaware of the full scale of the disaster that had made the tree-city’s taverns and common houses buzz with wild rumors and speculations.
As Adalon, in her customary elven shape, was giving her many treasures yet another scrutinizing look, the door to her chambers opened a crack, letting in the slim figure of a woman. The intruder had not bothered to knock or otherwise make her presence known, but instead crept closer to the pensive dragoness, moving as smoothly and soundlessly as a greased cat.
“Greetings, O Fazed One,” a voice laden with sweetness sung out behind Adalon’s back, making the dragoness flinch, and snap out of her trance, even as the trickster chuckled at the produced effect. “May the Seldarine bless you in your labors.”
“Is this some new form of ailment you’ve contracted whilst chasing diseased orc-whelps across the Starspires, little sister?” Adalon’s retort was delivered in a perfectly polite, even cultured tone, but the dragon’s metallic eyes sent forth bolts of lightening. “I hope it is not overly contagious, for I would hate being repeatedly thrown out of people’s houses… for breaking in uninvited!”
“Ah, it is nice to know that some things never change. You are as feisty as ever, Kotyaerea.” Bodhi replied with a wicked grin. “And besides, I have at least a century on you, dragon-whelp.”
Yet, despite all her flair, deep inside the rogue elf’s eyes a hidden tension lurked, as silent and predatory as a pike at the bottom of a pond. Adalon knew the huntress was not easily intimidated, but today Bodhi seemed to radiate nervous anxiety.
“I am not here to exchange niceties with the kindred of spotted toads and freckled geckos,” the elf-maid scowled at the dragon, “so, excuse my bad manners, lizard-kin. Joneleth is in serious trouble.”
“Am I to take for granted that you are the cause of his misfortune, Brazen One? What happened to your brother?”
“My brother is in grave danger, lizard-kin! And it appears that you are the only one in this whole city who does not know. Yesterday, King Errilam was slain by the owl-bear during the hunt, and Jon was spotted in the vicinity. Now some fools claim it was not an accident, and the human was undermined by magical means. The Queen is holding an emergency Council.”
“You… you are not lying to me? If you are here to play one of your nasty tricks…”
“Why would I bother to deceive you, Adalon, when all it takes to uncover my supposed ‘trickery’ is to make inquiries at the Royal Palace? Go there and find out for yourself!”
“That I shall do, O Brazen One. Have no doubt that I would not.”
“Good! You will find quite a crowd there – my mother and sister among others, making a show of themselves. Imagine Yave with her cow-like belly pleading her ‘poor brother’s’ innocence!” Bodhi scowled and spat at her feet. “The human boy, curse his loutish stubbornness,” the huntress hissed angrily, “broke into the Queen’s chambers during this important meeting, and declared Jon a murderer! He wants him chained and gagged, and sent to Ithmong for trial, no less! If the Queen refuses, he threatens war with the Kingdom of Tethyr. Because he demanded justice in front of so many witnesses, Ellesime had no choice but to promise thorough investigation into the accident. Now, it would have been easy enough to dismiss the vermin-boy’s claims as insanity, caused by grief, but for the fact that that two-faced Duke Goldfeather has taken his side!”
“You must be jesting with me…” Adalon exhaled noisily. In her unadorned green tunic and sandals, with pale strands of hair hovering around her bony face like the fuzz of a dandelion, the dragoness appeared a rather plain elf. Triggered by her distress, small streams of white smoke began to curl from her ears and nostrils. It was an amusing sight, but Bodhi was too tense to make a jibe.
“I knew that the Lord Constable never liked the Archmage,” the dragon continued broodingly, “but what you are telling me is simply insane… What is the Queen going to do now? Send Master Joneleth to the human city in chains? I will never believe that he… that Master Joneleth… but what does he have to say for himself?!”
“He was foolish enough to run away!” Bodhi snapped angrily. “Of all the foolish things that he should not have done, my brother seems to have accomplished them all: he appeared at the spot of the hunt concealed by magical means, but after the accident exposed himself to many witnesses. By the gods, by doing that Jon saved my life, but now his enemies are trying to destroy him using his careless bravery!”
“Master Joneleth saved your life? Indeed, how... reckless of him,” Adalon grunted.
“Oh yes, he did that, by prying me out of the very claws of the beast.” The huntress ignored the taunt. “But after he did that, he refused to discuss his presence with anybody – even me! Finally, he vanished without a trace, and he stays hidden at the moment when we need him to step forward and clear his name. If I know him well, he will end up wrongfully convicted, simply because he deems it not important enough to be present at his own trial!”
“Wait a minute,” Adalon paced along the carpet of homespun brown wool that covered the floor of the chamber. “It is all so sudden and confusing. A...trial? Who would have thought yesterday that the Archmage…You are not deceiving me, wicked one?! I shall rip you apart if I find out that…”
“Oh, give it a rest, sister of newts!” Bodhi cried out in frustration. “Would I tell you such easily refutable lies? If you want to help my brother, you must fly out now, and bring him back to the city before it is too late!”
“Ah, so that was your plan,” Adalon’s face cleared up. “To send me out on a wild goose chase, and in the meantime, to loot my…”
“You are the dumbest of lizards that ever happened to break an egg-shell on this measly ball of dirt called Toril!” Bodhi roared. In contrast with Adalon, the huntress’ fury made her look even prettier. The elf-maid’s bright eyes sparkled like a pair of blue diamonds; a handful of strands of the sable-black hair escaped her coiffure and swayed around her white face like a tangle of angry snakes. “Here, take this!” she threw a small, brightly sparkling trinket on the table before Adalon. “This is Ellesime’s own signet ring. Do you think me capable of pinching it from the Queen’s finger? She managed to pass it to me with a simple message: look for Jon in the heart of Wealdath and bring him back before the end of the day. And I am now giving it to you as you are the only one capable of accomplishing such a feat.”
“Then why did not you show it to me right away?” The dragoness asked, picking up the ring and giving it a close look.
“I know my brother’s stubbornness, that’s why,” Bodhi scowled. “He and the Queen had an argument the night before last, and parted on bad terms. Jon might refuse to come out of his hiding hole if he finds out that she ordered him to return.”
“The ring is genuine,” Adalon confirmed with a nod, and pocketed the trinket. “One would have thought that Joneleth would feel mellowed by the fact that the Queen sent someone to look for him.”
“Oh, drop it, you self-righteous turtle-kin! What would you – a virgin, if I am not mistaken – know of men and their pride? Trust me, if Jon finds out the Queen sent for him using her ring of state – he will go out of his way to stay put, wherever he is! Your only chance of convincing him to come back is to pretend you have acted of your own accord. And would you not have wished to help him anyway, regardless of the Queen’s orders?”
“That is correct, Brazen One. But I don’t like your allegations about…”
“Stop being overly sensitive when my brother’s future is at stake! He would have gone out of his way to save your wretched life, Adalon, as I once have done. Remember who pulled you out of that hiding-hole in the Underdark? You owe me a blood-debt, lizard-kin, and I now insist that you pay it back!”
“Very well, Ascarerea,” Adalon’s scowl became dark as a storm cloud. “I shall do as you bid, and if I happen to find Master Joneleth before he returns home on his own, I won’t tell him who sent for him and how it was all arranged. Know however, that your devious plan to put a wedge between him and the Queen is doomed from the start as, no doubt, Ellesime will eventually tell him all herself. Go now, and wait for the news in some other place – there is no way I am leaving you in my den unattended.”
“Ah, who needs your stupid old junk, cousin of frogs,” Bodhi spat on her way out. “Bring me my brother back before nightfall, and consider your debt paid.”
Flamerule 1, 1277, Year of the Beholder, the Great Forest of Tethyr
Joneleth woke up thrashing wildly and screaming at the top of his voice and found himself thanking the Seldarine that he had thought to bind himself to the willow treelet before he rested. The rushing of water under the cliff, coupled with the wet, chill breath of the river wind quickly brought him back to reality. He was not chasing Ellesime through the twisted maze of an infernal dungeon, but was instead lying face up on a tiny rocky island in the middle of the Suldanesse, gulping in lungfuls of moist morning air. The sensation of a blazing inferno consuming the flesh of his face had been branded deep into his memory – the elf could almost taste the stench of burning meat, and hear the crackling of his roasted skin and flaming hair. But there was no pain, merely the memory of it, and a quick tactile inspection proved his cheeks and brow to be as smooth and unblemished as ever. Nevertheless, he felt shaken to the core – the unwanted dream had uncovered his worst fears and obsessions. There was no more safe haven in pretend oblivion.
The morning sky above his head was veiled by a thin mist, and although several fading stars were still visible amid the rents in the curtain of clouds, Joneleth could already see the faintest of pinks creeping across the sky from the east. His head hurt, making him feel as if on the previous night he had overindulged in sweet midsummer mead; except there were no pleasant memories of such inebriation. The mage hissed in frustration, and tried to concentrate on the handful of spells he had prepared before his ill-fated attempt to rest. Alas, the nightmare had left him weak, and as mentally exhausted as on the night before. That discovery was so startling that Jon sat bolt upright, rubbing his temples in a vain attempt to rid himself of the excruciating headache.
The situation was not desperate, but vastly unpleasant. What annoyed the mage most, was not being stranded on a rock in the middle of a river – he still had a few tricks up his sleeve prepared just for such an occasion – but the very fact of being forced to tackle his reserves in a non-combat situation. The last time Joneleth had been forced to use a ring to teleport himself back to Evereska was during his second year in the Academy of Magic, and that had happened only because he had been deliberately testing his limits. To be deprived of the most natural of his gifts – the reverie – felt not merely unnatural, it was… frightening. Jon deemed himself an experienced dream walker. Regardless of the circumstances, he should not have lost control of his dreams so completely. But at the present moment the very thought of repeating the attempt at reverie made him shiver – a sensation he had not felt for decades.
The elf sprang to his feet, crossing the islet in just a few energetic paces, and trying to shake off the sensation of hollowness that was rising in his chest. The rock was slippery and cold, thin, white mists curled under his feet, while the twisted trunks of the two dwarf willows, miraculously surviving on this barren stone, were black and sleek with humors. After a few minutes of jittery pacing, Joneleth realized that his feet were wet and cold, and his clothes soggy. To his further annoyance, he caught himself craving a cup of hot tea and a warm blanket. The islet was a cold and inhospitable place, and Jon hated the idea of being stuck here any longer; yet the alternative was to return to Suldanesselar empty-handed, and face Ellesime without any proof of his innocence. The thought was like a dull needle thrust into his heart, and twisting it produced a strange, painful pleasure.
“Has she kept faith in me?” he asked himself repeatedly. The answer, which only a few weeks ago would have been a resounding affirmative, was now uncertain. Winning the Queen’s heart had been something of a miracle, but since then, his love for her had grown into an obsession vastly more consuming than the mere satisfaction of bodily lust. Ellesime’s love gave him a new sense of accomplishment: a divine scale to measure himself against. She had raised his appreciation of himself to a new level, bringing him one step closer to the Gods. Now he was too attached to this exalted state to exist without it. His vanity would not survive a rejection by her; such a catastrophe would not only take away his happiness, but destroy his confidence, disrupting his studies of the Arcane, and bringing ruin to his entire universe. And by the Seldarine and the Elven Spirit of Arvandor – that was not an acceptable outcome!
Jon could only hope that their spiritual link was as indispensable to Ellesime as it was to him. But was that entirely true? And if not, were the chains of physical pleasure enough to hold the immortal Queen’s affection indefinitely? He knew that throughout her two and a half thousand years upon Toril, Ellesime had taken a few mortal consorts. There had been at least two chosen ones before him… and she would no doubt take new ones after his eventual departure to Arvandor. Would the Queen’s sense of propriety prevent her from replacing him in her bed even before that distant event, should she ever grow weary of him and his affections? Perhaps it will, but the affair with Errilam had cast doubt on her devotion. Ellesime had been ready to send him away – supposedly for the benefit of the entire city. The thought that their love would have been so easily sacrificed for some vague ideal was unbearable. Did she value him that little? In his heart, Joneleth knew that whatever Bodhi had said in that strange dream, her words had been merely his own fears, sublimated into his sister’s seductive words.
“Perhaps this time you are right, sister ‘dear’”, he concluded the conversation with an invisible interlocutor. “I should use your many gifts, instead of spurning them. Ellesime must be shown my true merit. Not that of a weak mortal consort, easily replaceable by another lucky adventurer, but that of an equal. Perhaps, a new deity, who would be ready to extend his benevolent protection over his beloved and her city? And if my only way of holding on to her love lies through claiming the mantle of godhood – so be it! Seldarine are my witness, I have been patient and accommodating for a very long time. Enough of this. If loyalty and tenderness cannot win that woman’s faith – she must be shown a power that she can rely upon and respect.”
He spent the next few hours in similar conversations with himself, sometimes taking Ellesime’s side, but more often dissecting his own actions with his usual sarcastic flair and ironic cynicism. But whenever he applied his mind to the mystery of his nightmare, or tried to convince himself that it was now safe to attempt another reverie, the memory of Ellesime’s horrified rejection, and her flight from him through the endless corridors of the maze, would put him back into a dark and rebellious mood.
At long last, using the last remnants of his flickering powers, and the kindling he had collected from the ugly black willows, Joneleth called forth a small fire and crouched over it, reveling in the meager heat coming from the pale flames. Ironically, bodily discomfort served as another argument in favor of turning the tables on the Gods and claiming his due. “What use is the near unlimited power of wizardry,” the mage complained bitterly, “if my access to the Weave can be so easily disrupted by a mere nightmare and a lingering headache?”
Later, Joneleth would remember the time spent on that nameless river rock – baptizing it, in his mind at least – the stone of despair. Truly, during those chilly morning hours, his outlook on life had undergone a fundamental change. In many ways, he had become a new person, with a darker, much more hardened view of women, power, and the true meaning of love.
His melancholy did not subside with the breaking of the day, and he turned his back on the glorious sight of sunrise over the sparkling river, nurturing his dark and dangerous mood for hours to pass. Eventually, he fell into a grey, mindless slumber, devoid of dreams and memories – an exact counterpart of his sister’s comatose state after undergoing her geas. (Kiaransalee would have giggled and pointed out that the wheel had made a full turn, and returned to its starting position. Alas, Joneleth’s self-confidence was such that he never suspected the possibility of Bodhi’s revenge being subtler than his original punishment.)
Two hours later, he was awakened by the heavy beating of great wings, and the sound of a deep, booming voice. When he opened his eyes, a colossal horse-like face, covered with fish-like silvery scales, loomed over him, smiling in a habitually sheepish and slightly melancholic way.
“One would have thought you would pick a more comfortable lair for your meditations, Great One,” Adalon sighed, extending her sinuous neck and placing her horned head by the smoldering remains of his fire. With her wings folded behind her back, the dragon resembled a giant moth hanging from a dry stick: her hind paws had found a precarious perch somewhere at the base of the pillar of rock, while her front ones clutched at the islet’s rim, leaving deep serrated gouges. “I am glad to have found you before you completely ruined your back. Is it not time for you to return to Suldanessellar?”
“Adalon, what, by all that is holy, are you doing here? Did she…? Who sent you after me?” Joneleth’s voice sounded fraught enough for the dragon to raise her eyes and study his face before answering him.
“Aren’t you glad to see me, Oh Mighty One?” she continued after a while. “You don’t look awfully comfortable here, if you forgive my impudence.”
“I am perfectly comfortable, thank you very much!” Joneleth snapped back at her. “But you did not answer my question. Who send you after me and why?”
“Your sister broke into my home early this fine morning,” Adalon replied with a deeper, more sorrowful sigh. The embers of Jon’s fire caught in the wind of her breath – it was icy cold but dry enough to fan the flames – and the fire suddenly sprang back to life, greedily consuming the remains of charred wood and bracken. “I shooed the wretched creature out, but could not resist her plea for me to find you and bring you back to the city, before they send somebody less friendly. You have caused quite a commotion in the Palace, Great One. I would guess that the Queen wants to ask you a few questions about the cause of her guest’s death.”
“A commotion? Questions? And that was all?” the slim, perfectly white eyebrow jerked up in a grimace of venomous sarcasm, bright eyes shading to dark grey from fury. “So it comes to that. Very well, Horned One, I shall go with you. But first I need you to help me finish a very important task.”
Kotyaerea (elv.) – Hostile One
Ascarerea (elv.)– Impetous One
Haunted Reverie (Pr 5; Necromancy) - a clerical spell available to the priests of Kiaransalee
More information about Kiaransalee and her church can be found at this link - scroll down to see the description of the Haunted Reverie