Alenna Brienna, looks out over the railing of the ship watching the wave’s crash against the hull. She was short, even for her Halfling standards but she never saw that as a disadvantage. She kept her black hair short, preferring it over the larger more eccentric hairstyles found in The East.
A dwarf had shortened her name to Allie after an argument to annoy her. It was her own fault as she started the argument The shortening was meant as a barb for the Dwarf to save face. She consented to Allie after the Dwarf tried to shorten it further to Al and while she’d never admit it, Allie had grown to like the name.
Allie had been contemplating the waves for a few hours since her departure from Stonereach. As she watches the waves she thinks about how they reference her. They rush up to meet the hull and smack it with all their might, this she thinks represents her recklessness, and the hulk represents her determination. The recklessness meets the sturdy hull yet the recklessness cannot pass. Though with her there is a hole; one she has attempted to seal off many times but the waves pick away at the wood and eventually create an opening. There were many who believe they knew her but that was in essence a lie, she lived a lie every day. If anyone really knew her would they actually accept her? Of course not because just as the waves held creatures beneath its surface, so too did she have a monster living inside of her. It would come alive as the waves washed through the hole of her hull and at these times she was no longer in control.
There had been something wrong with her for a long time. Even before Allie came to Stonereach. You would think that a near nameless island among the Pirate Isle barely settled by the nobles of Impiltur would be a wonderful place to disappear. Unfortunately disappearing was not something she was meant to do. Even in a land where no one knew her she couldn’t escape what was happening to her. Her demon kept rising up to haunt her.
She calls herself Lena, Allie had known about her for some time now, and when she took control terrible things would happen. The last time she took control Allie awoke to find bones within a coffin. Just whose bones they were escaped Allie, though she had a pretty good idea of who they belonged to. Just before she lost herself she remembered speaking with Yashary, a drow whom she was desperately trying to accept. She thought that in accepting her she might actually be able to better herself.
Yashary had asked her once if she hated all Drow. Without hesitation Allie said, “Of course.” Drow had taken away so much from her. From her birth she’d been raised as their slave. Force to serve in any way they deemed necessary. Yashasy asked her, “What of Drizzt Do’Urden?”
Allie knew that the renegade Drow was trying to lead a different life but once again Allie said with no hesitation that should her and Drizzt ever cross paths one of them would not survive the encounter. In all honesty Allie didn’t know what she would do, but she hadn’t appreciated Yashary’s smugness at the time.
Regardless she shut the lid to the coffin guiltily and continued about her way. The next few weeks she found herself seeking answers as to why this was happening. Was it because she stopped doing her rituals? Not since Julianos had she taken another soul. Looking to her dagger, aptly named Leech, she felt it a moot point now. She had so many and they didn’t seem to be helping anymore. As she sought these answers it was in the home of her friend Jack’s within the presence of a young child named Leesil than she realized she did not like what she had become. She was traveling now to see a priest to rid herself of the demon inside, until she did this she would not be able to keep the promise she made so long ago. After another hour of watching the waves Allie turns away and heads below deck to get some much needed rest. Thoughts spinning wildly in her head. For too long she had held on to hatred for a race. Just how could she hold a people guilty for the crimes committed to her? If Morridem can forgive, why couldn’t she?
Ah Morri, she wouldn’t understand. Allie’s departure would come as a shock to her. Sure she’d figure it out. Morridem Goldenmir was as smart as a Hin came. Sure she looked different, what with her pale white skin, colorless eyes, and white hair. Many mistook her for an albino but Morri’s lack of color was a result of her magic. She became a wizard showing great potential at a young age, that is until Drow raided her village and took her. Once they saw her potential they obviously kept a lease on her. Allowed her to learn nothing more than minor cantrips. Enough to be helpful and cause fear among the other slaves. Morridem was given the position of pin keeper. It was her job to keep the other slaves in line. If they stepped out, death was usually the result. So Allie took her in, cared for her, and kept her safe.
The journey over sea took Allie through the Sea of the Fallen Stars, into the River Lis, flowing past Moonsea, and porting in Phlan in the early morning. Walking around town she takes in the ruins of the once prominent city. Some of the places looked as though they were being rebuilt though most of them looked untouched. Allie notices a horse peddler and buys a white, nearly silver, Quarter Pony with black specks in its coat which she quickly named Freckles.
“Nice horse you got there, nice horse indeed for a Hin I should say. So where you off to?”
Allie looks up from stroking Freckle’s mane, “Teshwave.”
“Can see why you landed here then, next closest port is Zhentil’s Keep. You could be trapped at port with them for days.”
Allie nods in agreement, “They all smell like cabbage too.”
The house merchant laughs sounding much like a half-orc she once knew back in Stonereach. Allie smiles to the merchant as she buys a blanket, a saddle, bit, a feedbag, oats, and reigns. She quickly puts them on checking to make sure the saddle is tight. Once satisfied, she mounts Freckles and nods to the merchant before trotting off. Allie traveled all day, following the River Stojanon and stopped at the base of the Dragonspire Mountains. She decided to make camp not wanting to get caught in a raid at night while trying to pass between the mountains and the ogre infested swamplands of Thar. She has obviously lied to the merchant and was not heading to Teshwash, but instead to Silverymoon. She still had a friend there who owed her a favor. He was a specialist in mind magics and if she was to rid herself of her controller she would need his help. The journey would be a long one, so she looked at a map to plan her route to make sure she would have enough water to make it there. The quickest route through was Netheril which meant no water for at least three days, however if she followed the Dragonspire Mountains in a day and a half she hit the River Tesh and she could store extra water there before heading through the Border Forest. She could probably go around Netheril. In fact it was probably in her best interest to go around, but there were worse things in Faerun than The Shade. In any case she’d need four days of water and two for the horse. Nodding satisfied she lies back on the bed rolls and falls to sleep.
She awakens but does not recognize her surroundings. She looks around and she’s several people walking towards her. For some reason she feels a certain amount of fear as she watches these people walk towards her. As they draw closer she can see why, their faces have been mutilated and blood pours freely from their wound. Much too much for a person to be able to live through, it leaves a crimson trail as they slowly advance towards her. Without a second thought Allie runs into a grove of tree, she continues on until she become tangled in thick fleshy vines. At least she thinks they are vines, however when she looks closer they are actually moss-covered arms reaching up from the ground. They grab her legs and arms binding her to the ground and drag her off into a void of darkness.
Suddenly Allie sits straight up from her bed roll breathing heavily. She quickly checks herself to make sure she is unscathed and once settled she looks out over the horizon seeing that it is about an hour from dawn. She decides to pack up, eat, and get an earlier start for the day.
Allie sat on the mount Freckles as they looked out over the expansive desert known as Netheril. It was dawn now which was the perfect time to begin traveling the wastelands. She met up with a caravan at the River Tesh. Upon telling them her dilemma, they offered to let Allie travel with them. The going might be slow, but slow going was a small price to pay as opposed to the dangers of traveling alone in Netheril. Two she would have all the food and water she’d need for her trip without having to take on an extra load, so long as she worked with the caravan to help set up camp every night. Allie looked behind her at the camp as they began packing up to begin the journey for the night when one of the alarm stones she had set up made the focus around her neck vibrate. She swears slightly and pulls out one of her short swords holding it in reverse. She looked out across the desert and saw several Shadovar heading their way. She reins in Freckles and falls back to the caravan master.
“Shadovar about six of them,” she says.
The caravan master nods and signals for his people to stop. He stands there and waits for the Shadovar to approach and Allie lowers her sword. As the Shadovar reach camp they rein their horse and the one in front speaks first. His accent is thick and would be quite elegant if not for the venom in his voice.
“Come with us,” it was not a request.
“Come with you?” the caravan master speaks, “We don’t plan on being slaves to Netheril.”
“Those passing through Netheril must first some through the City of Shade until cleared..”
“But we’re just passing through.”
“I do not make the laws sir. Follow me or face the consequences.”
Allie knew that if they were detained in the City of Shades that none of them would make it out. At least not alive. Allie might be able to escape but it would take precious time, time she didn’t have to waste. A look of surety and determination flashed across her eyes.
“We’re not going anywhere,” Allie speaks up.
“You will follow or be struck down where you stand. Are are you to stand in our way?”
She dismounts Freckle and hands the reins over to the caravan master, “Who I am is of little importance.”
A silver crown with a snow flake in the center of Allie’s head shimmers with power. She readies the magic within the crown which will allow her to walk the shadows with only a thought. Her brown eyes twinkle in the morning dawn.
“I will give you only one warning however, if you want to survive this day, you will leave this caravan alone. I know exactly what it is you plan to do with these people and I will not allow these people to become slaves.”
Allie draws a second short swords flipping the other around in the twinkling of an eye. There aren’t many things that getting the fires in her belly burning but slavery and children in trouble were two of them. In this scenario both lie an end result unless she takes action.
“Your options are simple, turn around and leave. If you do this I promise I will not stop you nor will I come after you. We were never here and this can just be forgotten or you can stay, continue this path and I slaughter the lot of you.”
Allie’s eyes narrow with a smirk painted across her face.
“Personally I hope you choose the latter.”
The Shadovar sneers back at her, “You wish a fight then? Even though you can clearly see we have you out numbered six to one.”
“You right it really isn’t a fair fight is it?” Allie sheathes one of her swords and holds her arm up revealing the other sword, “That should even the odds a bit.”
The Shadovar sneer grows wider, “You really think this a wise course?”
“If I can take on a company of Drow without breaking a sweat, six Shadovar should be no problem.”
The Shadovar begin looking doubtful their horses edging backwards Allie calls on the magic of her sword pointing it to the Shadovar. A magical light forms over the head of one causing them to shriek in surprise and a bit of pain.
“Don’t worry,” Allie says, “I’ll make your deaths fast.”
Shadows rise up quickly from the Shadovar to engulf the magical light but Allie is already in motion. She drives her sword up through the chin of the closest Shadovar. Using the distraction of the still half blinded Shades Allie leaps over to the next, drawing her second sword mid-flight, and landing a blow across the throat of a second. She whirls about catching a Shade’s blade just in time.
They recovered to quickly and the magic in her blade was spent for the day. This would still be difficult but not impossible. Allie calls on the power of shadow stepping away from the Shadovar to appear in its shadow. Before it has time to get its bearing she jams her short sword in a weak spot of the Shadovar’s armor. He clutches his side and falls to a knee giving Allie just the right angle to stab him through the neck.
Unfortunately her luck changes as the jagged edge of her sword catches on the Shadovar’s breast bone. Instead of wasting precious seconds trying to free the blade Allie leaps back. To her effort she manages to catch a cut on the shoulder instead of loosing her head. As she retreats a few steps Allie grabs a handful of darts in her pouch launching them with practiced precision. Each dart hits a mark and she cheers silently. The Shadovar come one still and Allie know that the poison in the darts will only do so much. Allie rolls forward, using the momentum to grab and free her second sword. She hits her feet at a run sliding under one of the Shadovar. Just as quick she shifts her momentum, flipping up to kick backwards, and taking out the Shade’s knee. The crunch of bone can clearly be heard but Allie knows the healing won’t be far off. She finds her feet driving one of her blades into the Shade’s skull.
“And then there were two,” Allie taunts with a smirk.
Probably not the wisest course to taunt a Shadovar but she had to keep them from bolting. If they escaped, they’d come back for reinforcements. The Shadovar give knowing looks breaking formation. One breaks into a run for the nearest horse. Allie swears and runs for him but is driven back by a wide sword arc. Allie rolls off to the side deflecting blow after blow as she watches the Shade mount a horse helplessly. Allie looks up to the Shades anger paining across her eyes. She swings her sword in an arc activating the magic of her other blade. Acid spews forth from the sword splashing in the Shadovar’s eyes. The Shade managed to keep his blade but his hands go to his wounded eyes. Allie doesn’t waste the opportunity sweeping the Shade’s legs out from under him. She dispatching him, putting the tip of her sword through his eye.
The other Shadovar is already in motion and as much as she’d love to use Freckles to ride into battle her poor legs weren’t long enough to catch the large mount. Allie leaps onto the back of a Shadovar’s horse. The moment she connects with it she can tell it is no actual horse but a Phantom Steed composed of shadow. Allie kicks the horse into motion trying desperately to catch the rapidly fleeing Shade. Allie no she won’t be able to catch him. Not at this rate at least. Using the power of her crown to accelerate the mount and herself she closes the gap to a few feet in mere moments. The Shadovar looks back, it’s sneer fading to shock. Allie pulls up beside the Shade and before she can think better of it she leaps from the horse throwing her mass into the shocked Shade. They slam into the ground with Allie on top. She plants her feet and pushes off gracefully flipping off the Shade to land lightly on her feet. The Shadovar rolls over struggling to get his breath but Allie, still infused with the magic of the crown, leaps over driving her blade through the Shadovar. The light in his eye slowly fades out. Allie wipes off her blades her blades off on his breeches spitting on the corpse.
“Just between you and me, I’d have never let you walk away,” Allie states to the lifeless corpse.
Allie and the caravan made it through the desert of Netheril with no more incursions from the Shadovar. Upon Allie’s suggestion the caravan carried on until dusk following the train passed The Lonely Moor. After a tense night and a full day’s journey they came to rest at the base of The Graypeak Mountains at the entrance of Dawn Pass Road.
“Let’s make camp here; we should be safe and I don’t think it’s a good idea for us to travel the pass at night. The Shadovar definitely will not risk the wrath of their Lord to follow us here.”
“You are probably right,” said the caravan master.
Allie helped them set up camp then set of a perimeter with the alarm stones as she had done over the past few days. Once the task was complete Allie trotted back to camp, tied Freckles off near the water trough, and walked to a nearby tree to take a seat. The caravan master brings her a plate and sets down beside her.
“I cannot thank you enough for what you’ve done for us. Most people I know would have left at the first sign of trouble. You are truly an inspiration to us.”
Allie laughs a little before speaking, “Been called a lot of things in the past, but never that.”
The caravan master looks a little surprised, “So others do not appreciate what you do for them?”
“Not usually, of course it’s usually because they don’t agree with my methods. In any case I couldn’t allow everyone here to become enslaved. No one should have to experience such a thing,” Allie looks over the crowd with a pained expression.
“Sounds like you might know a thing or two about the experience.”
Allie’s expression turns icy as her head twists quickly towards the caravan master.
“Whoa there Allie, I mean no disrespect, it’s merely an observation.”
Allie’s face softens, “I know, it’s just painful to remember. I’m not what you may think. I’m no hero. I do the right thing where I can, but like I said my methods aren’t always welcome. I make the hard choices; I do what’s good for the many, not just for the one.”
The caravan master nods, “Sometimes choices aren’t always so black and white. You have to see the bigger picture always to get out of the truly horrid situations sometimes.”
Allie shakes her head, “Have you ever felt that sometimes you’re not in control of yourself?”
The caravan master looks at her confused, “Not sure I get your meaning lass.”
Allie sighs, “Sometimes I feel like I’m not myself, there are other times I fall asleep and wake up the next day with dried blood covering my hands. I know it’s not mine but I never know how it got there. Daily I feel as though I struggle to keep myself, as if I am holding back an evil of unspeakable nature. It comes from inside me and I don’t have the strength to control it or rid myself of it. What’s worse, it scares the hell out of me.”
He shrinks back from her slightly, not much, but enough that Allie noticed, “Why are you telling me this?”
“Because I need to tell someone, I need to stop carrying this weight on my shoulders. I need to do it for myself. It helps to talk about it and two because I need you to understand why I have to leave the caravan. After we reach Delimbiyr River tomorrow I’ll be going my own way. You people have shown a stranger in need kindness and I would not wish to bring harm to any of you.”
“But you …”
Allie raises a hand to stop him, “I would though, I can’t control her, it, whatever it is inside me it hungers for death. I can keep it under control when I am awake for the most part, but when I sleep, I cannot. Trust me it’s safer this way.”
“Where will you go?”
“I don’t know,” Allie says, “But it’s safer for me to not be around people.”
“And that’s why you do not join us at the camp, that’s why you sleep so far away from us?”
Allie simply nods.
“Well obviously you do have good in you or you would not care,” the caravan master rises, “You will be missed, but I understand why you must go,” he walks off and rejoins the camp.
The next night the caravan reaches the city of Llorkh, they begin setting up shop, and Allie bids them farewell and heads off to find an Inn to rest in for the night. The next morning she leaves the city, heading across the bridge following the trail.
After leaving Llorkh Allie could have followed the trail stopping only long enough in the cities of Loudwater, Zelbross, Secomber, and Uluvin to rest and resupply. Only problem was water would soon become scarce to find until she reached the River Dessarin and scarcer still until she reached River Rauvin. Sure she could avoid the lack of water by cutting through The High Forest, but even Allie knew better than to travel there. So instead she followed the Delimbiyr around The High Forest, skating the Never Mountains to the Rauvin. She was now approaching the small town of Hilltop but as she drew closer it became evident that something was wrong. Smoke was rising from the town and not the kind created from a city center campfire these small villages were so fond of having. Allie gives Freckle a quick prod to the ribs and she sprints off towards the city. As Allie arrives she sees that several people are working on putting out a fire that has spread to about three other houses. She reins in Freckles skidding to a halt and dismounts quickly. Freckles looked as though she wished to run but Allie had trained her over the last few weeks and she remained standing there. Allie clicks her tongue three times and Freckles walked off exactly fifty paces opposite of the fire and stood there looking a little relieved. She then rushed off towards the burning blaze removing a thin iron rod with a snow flake adorning the top. She points it at the fire and the flames instantly retreat from the ray cutting a hole in the bulk of it. Unfortunately it collapsed the building but it also creates a fire break to keep it from spreading to the remaining houses. She then hears a commotion to her left and a woman dances outside of a blazing home screaming. Allie instantly runs off to her leaving the towns folk to tend the remaining remnant of the fire.
“You should get back!” She screams to be heard over the roar of the flames.
“My baby, he’s still in there!” she screams back.
The townsfolk next to the house she is standing at are attempting to keep the fire from spreading in the opposite direction. Allie points the rod at that house as well creating another fire break.
“What’s his name!?”
The woman looks confused.
“The name, tell me the child’s name!”
“You get back miss I’ll get him!”
Allie removes her cloak and points the rod at it covering it in a thick layer of frost. She throws it over her head shivering instantly. She uses a method taught to her by Morri a long time ago and twists the rod concentrating the ray to a single point at the doorway. She clears the doorway of flames and jumps into the blaze of the burning home. The frost melts quickly soaking the cloak, which is what she had hoped for. She had maybe ten minutes at best to find the child. She began screaming his name but no answer came. A large beam falls about five feet to her right and she rolls forward to avoid it and is back on her feet again. She screams once more and finds a set of stairs. Quickly she races up them; the flames haven’t reached up here yet but another beam falls and blocks off the stairs.
“Well no going back that way,” she said with a cough.
She begins kicking open doors and screaming Trevor’s name when she hears a whimper in one of the rooms. She rushes for the door and knocks it open. In the corner sits a human child maybe four years old curdled up into a fetal position. By the look on his face Allie can tell he has no idea what is going on but knows something is wrong. She wraps the cloak around him and picks the child up. The floor begins to creak and splinter, Allie looks around but sees no exit. She quick rushes out of the room and to her right see’s a window. She runs with all her speed while the floor boards threaten to give away. Behind her she hears a crash as the fire breaks through. Without hesitation Allie jumps for the window, crashing through it. She twists around and plummets to the ground landing hard on her back and bounces not once but twice. The wind is knocked out of her but she forces herself to look at the child between gasps. She sees that he is fine and then she feels hands grabbing her and dragging her out into the road. As Allie looks up the sky becomes dark and she can no longer see or feel anything. She begins to allow the darkness to slip in and suddenly sits bolt up and takes in a deep breath. Worried faces look upon her and she clings to Trevor. She forces herself up and hands the child over to the mother. With tears in her eyes the woman thanks Allie and hugs her. She can hear the crowd cheer from behind her. She wasn’t sure how long she was in there but looking around it would seem that the building she was in is the only one left a blaze. The Townsfolk quickly gets to work on putting out the flames and Allie slips slowly down to the ground. Freckles had made her way over and nuzzled Allie. She couldn’t help but feeling a certain amount of pride.
Is this the way the way the kitten savers felt? she wondered.
She felt weary and ever muscle in her body ached but she also felt good. She hadn’t felt this good in years. Allie rested herself on her elbows still attempting to catch her breath. Darkness and bright whirling stars come swirling into Allie’s vision and she allows it to claim her this time.
Allie awakens the next morning lying comfortably in a bed. Immediately her eyes dart for her hands but she sees that they are only covered in soot. She hears a clank to her left and in a fraction of a second reaches to a spot behind her neck and grabs the three darts she keeps stored there and turns quickly jumping out of the bed. A woman dressed in a brown tunic holding a load of towel freezes looking at her doe-eyed. Sheepishly Allie replaces the darts and turns to make the bed.
“Sorry about that, habit and all.”
The woman relaxes and places the towels down on one of the chests.
“I understand, we’re used to getting strangers around here, but we’re not used to strangers pitching in and helping out like that. We truly owe you a lot for what you did.”
“I collapsed two of your homes and you’re grateful for it?”
“Many more would have been lost if you hadn’t.”
Allie seems surprised for a moment, “That was my thinking as well.”
“So in all the excitement last night I never caught your name, I’m Geena.”
“Oh yeah that’s pretty,” Geena says as she turns away from Allie.
Quickly Allie reaches around her back and grabs the curved dagger hidden there. She slowly unsheathed it spanning the distance between her and Geena and without warning drives the dagger into Gneea’s back. As the woman falls to the ground, a scream on her lips that will never sound, Allie drives the dagger into the back of her skull. Suddenly her eyes go dull and she stands there as her sneer turns into a horrified expression.
“You know how it works Alenna, a life for a life.”
“No this isn’t right, I saved these people you can’t do this.”
Allie jerks the dagger out of the back of Geena’s head. She lies over the body, tears filling her eyes. Suddenly she rises up, tears still fall from her eyes but her expression has changed. As she speaks the voice does not sound like her own.
“I can do whatever I wish Alenna, and there isn’t a damn thing you can do to stop me.”
“Lena you cannot keep doing this to me. This is not what I wanted. This is not what I want to be.”
“Stow it Alenna, when you first found that ritual what did you think was going to happen. You wanted power, you wanted strength, and now that you have it you want to just throw it all away. Sorry princess, that’s now how it happens. You willingly performed that first ritual on your own. You are the one who let me in.”
“That was a Drow, he deserved to die for what he tried to do to me.”
“You knew the magics were dark, you knew what could happen, yet you allowed it to anyways. And now you’re stuck with me princess.”
“Just leave me alone,” Alenna shout.
“I will not, I know what you are planning to do Alenna, you can’t hide anything from me. In fact I want you to go, go to see this friend of yours and I’ll use the opportunity to rid myself of you. I’m sick and tired of carrying your sorry carcass around princess. YOU’RE WEAK!!!”
“SHUT UP!!!” Alenna screams.
She closes her eyes and focuses with every amount of strength she has left in her. After a few moments Allie feels like herself again. She drags the woman over to the bed. She is able to lift her up and put her on it. She shakes her head sadly as she looks at the woman. These people had taken her into her home and this is how she repays them? It doesn’t matter that she wasn’t in control. In fact, that made it worse. At that time the door opens and a man walks through.
“I heard shouting is everything alright?” as he steps through he see Allie bent over the bloodied woman, “Get the hell away from my wife!”
“Wait, stop, I can explain,” She shouts back tears still filling her eyes.
As the man draws a sword and advances on Allie, she knew that she could not explain this, he would never believe her. For a brief moment Allie wants to stay there and let him run her through. She wanted more than anything for the madness to stop. He could bring her a relief to this nightmare and make the pain go away. Allie bends down and kisses the woman on the forehead and places the scroll upon her body. The man has reached the bed now and he swings his sword aiming for her head. Allie quickly rolls out of the way and is on her feet in an instant. She stands before him tears now gone from her eyes. Only thing that mattered now was getting out of here. He swings again and as Allie rolls she sees a key attached to his belt. She rises up to stand once more and this time as he swings she ducks backwards and the man overcompensated losing his balance momentarily. This was more than enough time for the nimble Halfling as she rises up and catches the man in the gut with her fist. At the same time, she snatches the key off his belt. The man falls to a knee but Allie knew that wouldn’t be enough to keep him down. Quickly she twists around kicking the man in the temple. He crumbles to the ground and lies still for only a moment. Allie pulls out a scroll of Raise Dead. They are expensive, sure, but she couldn’t let these people suffer for her affliction. She reads the scrolls quickly and as the magic is flowing out of the scroll and into Geena, she runs to the door, shut and locks it, leaving the key and the base of the door. She heads immediately for the window and whistles in a high-pitched tone. At a fast pace Freckles comes trotting up to the outside of the home, and Allie jumps onto her back and races off away from Hilltop.
Allie stood before the gates of Silverymoon. Her journey had been fairly uneventful since Hilltop stopping only once to rest. A short stop in Everlund for supplies and she had been on her way again. She knew that the journey had been rough on Freckles but she felt it necessary as she did not know how much longer she could hold back Lena. She felt it time to rest now; her body had been pushed beyond its limits. She had done this purposely so that when she rested Lena would not be able to take control. Of course now that she was actually here Allie did not want to rest, for when she did what if Lena came to the surface instead of her. What if this time she couldn’t push her back? Allie nudged Freckles into motion and she passed through the gates and into the mighty city of Silverymoon. She passed the stable and paid for ten nights for Freckles to remain in their care and even tipped extra to see she was given special treatment. Allie had come to love the horse and she could not bear to see anything happen to her. Allie walked for nearly an hour before stopping before a magical charms and enchantments shop. She takes a deep breath and opens the door and enters inside. A bell hung just over the door rings and Allie jumps slightly at the sound. A figure stands behind the counter with his back to the door. Allie smiles a little as she looks towards him.
“Good thing I wasn’t here to rob you or anything,” she says.
The man freezes and stands bolt upright. He slowly turns around while speaking.
As he turns Allie can see his elven features still untouched by age as he was the day she first met him fifteen years ago. He looked much like a typical moon elf blue skin, dark blue hair which was always pulled back. He possessed soft golden eyes and young features that betrayed his true age.
“You haven’t changed a bit Arderith.”
He smiles, “Wish I could say the same about you, you grew up.”
Allie looks her body over, “I guess you could say I have changed from the sixteen year old girl I once was.”
“So how’s Morridem doing? I remember back in those days you two were inseparable.”
Allie nod, “Not much has changed; in fact, she’d probably be with me right now if I had told her what I was doing. I left her in a place called Stonereach, and my horse is in the stables.”
Arderith frowns upon hearing this, “So I take it this isn’t a social call then?”
Allie shakes her head, “Unfortunately no, I am here because of your magical talents.”
His frown deepens further, “My talents are not for the faint of heart and if they are sought to be …”
“Save the speech Arderith, I’ve heard that one before. I seek treatment for myself. I have an affliction; however the common room probably isn’t the best place to discuss it.”
Arderith nods, “You can rest in the back and we can discuss in tonight.”
“NO!” Allie screams in fearful tones, “I can’t sleep, if I sleep, she takes over.”
Arderith looks surprise for a moment. He crosses the room to Allie and reaches out his hand.
Allie nods and the elf touches her forehead wrinkles marring his ageless face in concentration. A few moments later he jerks his hand back looking at Allie with frightful eyes.
“You felt her didn’t you,” Allie asks.
“You are right; I should get to work immediately.”
Arderith flips the lock to keep any potential customers out. He leads Allie through a door behind the counter and into a circular chamber. Motioning for her to take a seat on a long flat table the elf begins mixing several potions together. As he works he begins to speak with Allie.
“How long has this been happening?”
“I can’t say for sure, I first noticed something wasn’t right about five years ago. I had hoped it was my imagination and tried to ignore it. Over the last six months however it became worse. There is an evil dwelling inside of me, and she calls herself Lena. Sometimes it takes all I’ve got to keep her from taking over. Weather she’s a Demon, Devil, or worse I do not know.”
“She is neither Demon nor Devil Alenna, she is you. Rather she is a split in your mind, a separate being but still you none the less. She is the part of you who wishes to bring pain and punishment to all those around her.”
Allie shakes her head, “But I’m not like that.”
“All of us possess a dark side Alenna, whether we choose to act or not is our choice, but with all that’s happened to you in your life it’s a wonder you managed to hold on to your sanity let alone lead a normal life.”
Allie watches as he mixes the liquids, “What exactly are you making there?”
“A potion, this will send us on a journey into your mind. Together we’ll find the place where the split occurred and attempt to mend it.”
“I don’t want you in my head. It’s private in there and …”
“I’m afraid it’s the only way Alenna. You need a guide, someone to show you what’s occurring along the way. Do you want to fix this or not?”
Allie relaxes, “I’m sorry, it just.”
“It’s a natural reaction Alenna, I promise I won’t look at anything other than the event that caused the shift. Oh and I’ll need a few of your hairs as well.”
Arderith finishes mixing and hands a bottle to Allie and take a bottle for himself. Allie rips out a few hairs and hands them to Arderith and he places them in his potion. The two drink and Arderith motions for Allie to lay back and the elf lies opposite of her on a separate table. After a moment Allie’s eyes become too heavy to keep open and she falls to sleep allowing the sweet darkness to wash over her once more.
Day 36 (The Dream Quest)
Allie awakens in what looks like a stone tunnel. Upon a closer examination she realizes she is not in a tunnel but a hallway. The hallway looks strangely familiar and she wondered where she had seen this rough looking granite hall before. She goes about twenty paces and sees a door on her right. She pushes it open looking around and a look a realization crosses her face. She races out of the door and runs down the hallways, up a flight of stairs, and down around hall until she reaches a door that is black. The door is open and as she looks inside she sees a paladin in golden armor. On the left shoulder a steel wing protrudes outward catching the light and semi-blinding his opponent. His opponent was nasty and decayed as most liches are and he permeated an odor of death. Allie made a move towards the lich when a hand came to rest on her shoulder making her jump.
“Just what do you think you’re trying to do?” ask Arderith.
“I have to stop him, before he takes Morri away!”
“Alenna this is merely a memory, you cannot change the event. They cannot see, hear, or touch us. Besides even if you could change it, nothing would truly change, just your memory of what happen.”
Allie frowns, “But …”
“I know Alenna, it’s a bit disorienting at first, come now let us watch.”
Allie and Arderith watch the Paladin and the Lich fight one another. The Lich casts a spell and four small balls of fire shoot from the Lich’s hand and the paladin falls. To her left she hears Morri scream and a second Alenna, her past self, grabs Morri and begins to usher her out. As the two are running towards the door Allie sees the lich raise a hand and a purple light fly’s from his fingers and striking Morri. Dream Alenna stops and rush to her side. Morri is covered in a purple magical film and she looks up at her. Allie begins to cry and Morridem fades away. Then something strange happened, dream Alenna changed and split in to two Alenna’s. The split was barely noticeable, and Allie herself almost didn’t see it at first until the reverse Alenna shifted forward. Everything else goes black. After a few moments everything changes. The ground below her feet dry’s and looks cracked as though it has never seen a drop of water. The walls are marred with red streaks and in some places fire shoot from the ground endlessly. The wind howls endlessly and dust swirls around like a like layer of fog.
“Well it looks like we found out where the split occurred,” states Arderith.
“So it was the loss of Morridem that created her. But why didn’t she go away when Morri came back?”
“That’s a question I cannot answer, but Alenna this is where it is going to happen, this is where you will take control back.”
“How?” asks Allie.
“You must face her, show her your strengths. Show her that you no longer need her.”
The second Alenna forms fully into one. She looks to the two as they stand there a smirk upon her face.
“Lena I presume?” Arderith asks.
“You shouldn’t be here,” Lena states, “You shouldn’t be here at all. Bad things happen to those who meet me. And Alenna so glad you could join me. I knew you’d be going to this whelp for help. I know how he’d come by it, now I’m going to use this opportunity to rid myself of you.”
“Don’t listen to her Alenna. You’re stronger than she give you credit for.”
Lena makes a noise of pure disgust, “I think it’s time you leave Arderith.
Lena throws a dart at him striking Arderith in the skull. He falls and seconds later his body fades away.
“Just you and me now Princess.”
“What did you do to him!?” Allie shouts angrily.
“It looks as though I killed him doesn’t it? Do you really care? You’re getting what you want.”
“That’s you Lena not me, you’re the user. You’re the one who discards things when you’ve finished playing with them.”
“Very good Princess, you know much more than I originally presumed however after today it’s not going to matter is it?”
“What the hell are you talking about?” asks Allie angrily.
“Only one way out now, for either of us, one must defeat the other. It’s the only way, though I’m not too worried Princess. I’ve seen you in action.”
Allie snarls snatching a dart of her own hitting Lena on the cheek splitting it open. A tiny red trail flows from the spot and Alenna looks on with narrow eyes. Lena draws her swords holding them in reverse and advances. Alenna draws her blades as well, but instead holds them normally. Lena swings first and Alenna is able to get her sword up just in time to block. The blow knocks Alenna back a step but Lena presses on bring the second sword up for a blow with other two swords already lock in place. Alenna is able to bring up her off-hand sword second before Lena connects with a blow to her face. Lena lifts a knee forcefully which Alenna blocks with a well placed knee, and unable to take the close quarters Alenna pushes Lena back with all her might. Lena falls backwards rolling through and is up and running again. Lena jumps aiming her swords for Alenna’s head. Alenna kicks out with all her might. She’s rewarded by catching Lena in the stomach. Lena uses the momentum of the kick and is able to gracefully flip in midair catching Alenna in the chin, both women fall to the ground. Alenna scrambles to get up but Lena was slightly faster and places a kick into Alenna side. Attempting to keep her breath Alenna swings, catching Lena in the jaw with a well-placed fist. Lena spins with the blow and with a sword extended makes a swipe for Alenna. Alenna jumps backwards but the pain in her leg tells her she was not fast enough. She takes a quick glace to see the graze, and then swings with her sword catching Lena’s arm as she comes in for another blow. Both woman roll and are back on their feet once more.
“Much better than I expected Princess, unfortunately I’m just getting warmed up.”
Alenna smirks at her, “And you’re a bigger fool than I thought if you think that’s all I’ve got.”
Lena growls and charged back at Alenna. She feints a swing and catches Alenna in the stomach with her shoulder. This time Alenna loses her wind completely and falls backwards in another roll. In an instant her breath returns and she glances up to see Lena charging one more. Looking back she sees a large rock and runs towards it. Lena draw closer as Alenna reaches the rock though she does not stop, instead she runs up the rock three steps and flips backwards landed on her feet. Springing forward Alenna catch Lena with a kick to the kidney. Lena flies forward into the rock, pain etched on her face. Biting through it Lena swings wildly around with her sword and Alenna must jump back to avoid it. Lena swings another wild hard blow and Alenna parries. She ducks another swing from Lena and then swings upward which is easily blocked. An elbow to the nose sends Alenna flying and Lena leaps bringing her swords downward, Alenna rolls left and skids to her feet and jumps at Lena’s unprotected back. Spinning around Lena raises a sword and block both blows, her sword still held in reverse. She immediately changes the direction of her off-hand weapon and drives it upward connecting just two inches below Alenna’s heart. Alenna falls backwards and hits the ground like a rock. She spits up blood and attempts to take a deep breath but begins choking on it. Lena bends over her with a smug look on her face.
“I told you there was nothing to worry about.”
Alenna watches her with narrow eyes, her breathing slow sporadic and racked with fits of coughing.
“That’s just the way it is Princess, if you were strong enough to do it on your own you’d have never created me in the first place.”
Alenna takes in a deep breath her voice trembles in pain but she remains defiant, “Farruk … you!”
“Now that’s a quality of yours I have liked, defiant to the end.”
A rushing noise sounds and a bright light can be seen behind Lena. As Lena looks back Alenna can see a portal has appeared. Lena’s head turns and she still wears the smug look.
“Sorry Princess looks like my ride is here,” Lena pats Alenna on the cheek, “Don’t worry, I’ll take real good care of Morridem for you, after all she is the reason I was created.”
Lena laughs and starts to rise as she does so something inside of Alenna snaps. She screams and her arm is in motion swinging a sword she thought she had dropped. She drives the sword straight into the back of Lena’s skull and straight through to the other side. Lena looks horrified for only a moment and plummets to the ground and disappears. Alenna rolls forward on to her stomach and lies motionless. She begins to pull herself forward towards the portal. She makes it about ten feet before she crumbles to the dry cracked ground unable to move any further.
Arderith watches as Alenna lies on the table. Her gasping breaths coming and going ruggedly and she had begun turning pale. Suddenly she sits up on the table and gasps and just a quickly falls back and stops breathing. Blood flies from her lips and runs down the side of her face collecting in a shallow pool. Arderith jumps up and grabs a bottle off the counter and with a dropper places a dose of it in Alenna mouth.
Allie looks up to the portal, she knows it is too far away and she will never be able to make it. She looks up once more. She must be delusional the portal couldn’t be closer now could it? She has another fit of coughing and once finished she looks up again. She wasn’t delusional, the portal had move, and it was nearly close enough to touch now. Allie lunges forward with the last bit of her strength and grabs the portal.
Arderith goes to get a third dose of the potion when Alenna gasps once more and starts to breath, this time the breathing is shallow, but steady. He relaxes and sits back down. Allie doesn’t wake, but he’s certain that she’ll be alright for now.
She jerks awake with a scream and jumps straight off the bed. Moments later she hears running footsteps towards her location. She draws her weapons, one held in front of her the other held reverse. The door opens and she tenses gripping her weapons hard. The person who comes through looks strangely familiar though she cannot place it. He relaxes as he sees her awake and let’s of a sigh of relief.
“Didn’t think you were ever going to wake up,” he says.
She grips her swords tighter and takes a defensive position which the elven man notices immediately. His look suddenly turns fearful as he opens his mouth to speak.
She lowers her swords slightly, “Who?”
He lets out a sigh of relief once more, “You gave me quite the scare there Alenna.”
“Arderith?” she looks around and finally lowers her swords, “How the hell did I get here?”
Arderith frowns, “Oh dear.”
“Oh dear what, did you do something to me?” She raises a sword to him once more, “What the hell’s going on?”
“Calm down Alenna, you came to me looking for help. Don’t you remember?”
She tries to think on it, “Last I remember was Morri being killed by that Lich. Then I was up here.”
“I was afraid of that,” Arderith says.
“Afraid of what?”
“Alenna that was twelve years ago. You fought her didn’t you? You killed her? You weren’t supposed to do that.”
“Who, what are you talking about?”
Arderith shakes his head and begins mixing different potions together, “You were supposed to trap her, not kill her. I hope I’m not too late to repair the damage.”
“I’ll explain Alenna, you came looking to me for help. Something happened to you twelve years ago that cause a split in your mind. You were literally two people who shared a body, but more importantly you shared a bond. With that gone, your mind has tossed out anything shared by the two of you over the last twelve years. Perhaps there’s still a chance though, perhaps not everything is lost.”
“Arderith you’re talking craziness,” Alenna says.
“You don’t believe me then, fine, check your pocket. Did you have that much gold when you fought the Lich?”
She check her money pouch to see it overly full with gold and gems.
“For all I know you put that there.”
Arderith’s brow furrows, “Why would I,” he shakes his head, “Fine that’s not enough for you, there is time before I am finished here. You told me Morridem is in a place called Stonereach, also you said you have a horse in the stables. Probably should go fetch him before they try to sell him. I have a place here that you can keep him in the meantime.”
“Alright I’ll go have a look, but when I get back and there is no horse, I want you to tell me what’s really going on.”
Allie walks around the city. She stops a man and asks him where the stables are and he points off in the direction towards the gate. Allie thanks him and head in the direction he indicated. She finally arrives at the stables and strides up to the stable master.
“Excuse me; I was wondering if you remembered me at all.”
The stable master doesn’t raise his head, “Lots ‘o people come through ‘ere an you except me to remember you?”
“It’s important, please.”
He tosses down his speckles and looks up, “Oh Aye, I do remember you; we don’t get many Hin ‘ere. You dropped off a nice, white speckled Quarter Pony bout seven days ago. I remember ‘cause you paid extra to have it treated especially well.”
Allie blinks, “I’m here to pick him up then.”
“Oh you mean her right? Aye ol’ Freckles there’s been especially well behaved. Wish all the horse we get in ‘ere could be like her.”
“Do I owe you anything?”
“Are ye daft woman, you paid fer ten days, oh an’ we don’ give refunds, so if you’re pickin’ her up, You’ll just have ta deal with the loss.
Allie nods, “Bring her to me then.”
The stable master steps inside and moments later he returns with the horse. A smile instantly comes to Allie’s face as the horse trots over to her and immediately nuzzled her. She strokes the horse’s mane absent-mindedly.
“Looks like she missed you,” he says.
“It does at that,” Allie says with a smile on her face.
Allie clicks her tongue once and the two begin moving. She nods appreciation to the stable master and he shakes his head at her.
The stable master looks to one of the stable boys, “Odd woman she is, you’d think she lost her memory or somethin’.”
Back at Arderith’s place Allie puts Freckles into the stable and strokes her mane once more. She stays like that for several moments and Freckles nods her head. Allie stops and hugs her.
“You’re beautiful. How could I have forgotten you?”
Freckles raises her head up and it jerks back a bit. Allie chuckles at this imagining the horse was saying ‘I have no idea!’. She opens the door to Arderith’s shop and steps inside. She walks back to the door and opens it looking to Arderith.
“Alright so you were right,” Allie says.
“Never had any doubts,” Arderith says still mixing.
“So what exactly are you doing?”
“Making a potion, one that will allow us to travel into your mind and hopefully regain your memories. That’s assuming of course your mind hasn’t expelled them.”
“So you’re coming with me?”
“Of course, last time I was expelled from your mind. If I hadn’t been then perhaps things may have gone differently.”
Arderith holds up two vials. He walks over to Allie and plucks a few of her hairs. Allie slugs him in the gut and Arderith falls backwards. He manages to keep the vials from spilling but lands hard with a shocked look on his face.
“What the hell Arderith?”
“I’m so sorry Alenna, in my attempt to help I forgot.”
Allie nods, “Happens to the best of us,” Allie takes one of the potions and reaches out a hand helping him up, “So how’s this going to work?”
“Just drink the potion and lay on one of the tables.”
Allie nods and does as she’s instructed. Laying back she falls almost instantly to sleep. She awakens in what appears to be an overly large labyrinth. Staircases line the area. Some leading to no where while others were attached to the ceiling. She looks around and sees Arderith walking towards her.
“This isn’t going to be easy; you mind guards’ secrets very well.”
“What exactly are we looking for Adrerith?”
“A door most likely a light-colored one. What is the color you dislike the most?”
“Purple,” Allie states.
“Then that’s most likely the door we are looking for, a purple one. With your mind guarded as it is, it will most likely be a color you dislike to throw off intruders.”
The two set about checking purple door. Several hours later they return to the point where they started turning up empty-handed.
“So what’s that mean?”
“I don’t know,” Arderith says.
Looking around Arderith realizes that somethings have changed since when they first arrived. There are more staircases and a whole new color of doors have appears. The new doors are brown as most doors are but they are made of what appears to be metal. Arderith walks to the nearest brown door and opens it looking inside. He is met with only darkness.
“What it is Arderith?”
“Look around Alenna, haven’t you noticed it’s changed?”
Alenna looks around and nods.
“I’m willing to bet it happened when you told me the color you hated. Subtle, but it still occurred none the less. Your mind considers me an intruder. Once it realized I knew the secret it changed. The exact opposite of hate is love, which is most likely what has occurred.”
“Oh well that easy, my favorite color is …”
“STOP!”, Arderith shouts making Allie jump a little, “If you tell me things will change again. No you have to do this alone it would seem,” Arderith pulls out a blindfold and covers his eyes, “Check all the door that are your favorite color then when you have found it you must take it in your hand and break it open.”
“What is it?”
“You’ll know when you see it. I shall return to the waking world, I do not wish to take the chance of changing things again. Good luck Alenna.”
With that said Arderith fades away leaving Alenna alone in the catacombs of her mind. She begins checking every green door she can find. After a few hours she returns with absolutely no success. She lies down in the central chamber staring straight up at the ceiling. As she lays there she notices a speck. She rises up on her elbow and squints. She can just barely make out the color green and she laughs thinking to herself.
‘How the hell am I going to get up there?’
As if hearing her, the door opens up and a rope ladder falls down touching the floor. She stands up and takes the first rung in her hand. She hesitates briefly and begins the long climb. After about an hour her arms begin to ache. It takes her roughly another half an hour to reach the top. She places a hand on the floor and pulls herself up the rest of the way. She pulls up the rope ladder and shut the door behind her. As she does so torchlight fills the room. She looks around to see that the walls and floor are made of solid steel and that as she moves away the greenish steel door fades away. Taking a step closer causes the door to reappear but she steps back allowing it to fade for now. She looks around and in the center of the room resting on nothing but air is a single speck of glowing white light. She steps forward getting close to it to see that beneath the bright light is a crystal. She slowly reaches for it and hesitates as she is about to grasp it.
‘Do I really want to know? What if I don’t like what I see? What if I’ve done horrible things? What if I’m a terrible person?’
Allie stands there in that position for an insurmountable time.
‘Did time move inside your mind? If it did was it faster or slower?’
Finally Allie grasps the crystal and squints, but nothing happens.
‘What the hell?’
Allie then remembered that Arderith told her she had to break it open. How was she supposed to do that? Allie squeezes the crystal in her hand. She notices that it is not as firm as it should have been. In fact it was near fragile. One hand could not break it obviously. She holds the crystal in the flat of her palm and raises her other hand. She swings forward bring her hand down with all her might over the top of the crystal and connects. The room explodes with bright light. The light fills Allie and she drops to her knees screaming. The pain was so unbearable, images flash in her head painfully as the light rushes into her, and then everything becomes dark.
On the table Allie wakes up. She glances over to Arderith who is watching her and rises as she wakes up. He smiles as her but steps back as he recognizes the wicked grin looking back at him.
“I want to thank you Arderith. I really couldn’t have done it without you.”
Arderith already had an iron skillet in his hand. As Allie moves to get up he swings the pan catching Allie in the back of the skull and knocking her out. He then straps her to the table and sits back down.
“You are a resilient one aren’t you Lena.”
“Arderith get these damn things off me!”
“Can’t do that Lena,” he says, “Not sure how you actually survived but until Alenna returns I am not letting you out.”
“You jackass, I already told you Lena’s dead! I killed her! She’s not coming back!”
Arderith does not answer and instead turns around and sets to work on some formula. Allie checks her bonds and sees that they are still looser than they should be, she smirks and slips her right hand out. She removes the bond from her other hand and quietly rises up and frees her legs. She stands up on the table and spots the pan that caused the still throbbing knot on the back of her head. Quickly she grabs the pan and swings it to her left stopping right before striking a shocked and surprised Arderith straight in the face. He falls backwards landing on his behind with a solid thump. He can see Allie standing over him.
“You should have listened to me you twit.”
Allie tosses the pan down with a loud clatter walks over and hugs Arderith. For the first time in a long time her head is quiet. There are no subconscious thought constantly talking to her from shadowy corners. No heaviness pulling her heart down. No itching at the back of her eyelids. Lena is gone at long last.
“About time, you dense oaf.”
Allie jumps up on the table crossing.
“I tried to tell you that Lena is dead.”
Allie’s eyes flicker with a smile, something she hadn’t done for real in a long time. Arderith smiles along with her with a chuckle.
“I’m so sorry Allie, I’ll get you a healing potion for the head.”
Allie waves him off, “It’ll heal.”
“I don’t suppose I could convince you to stay a day or two could I?”
“Sorry Aderith, as much as I’d like to stay and catch up,”
“You have to get to your son,” Arderith interrupts.
Allie answers with a nod.
“Well let me grab you a few things then.”
“Thanks Arderith. We’ll stop in on out way back through.”
“I’d like that Allie.”
Arderith grabs Allie a few helpful potions and gives her a big hug. Reluctantly Allie heads out the door of Arderith’s shop. Outside she clicks at Freckles who trots up to her. She prepares the horse and while in town grabs what supplies she needs for the trip and exits through the gates of Silverymoon.
Allie stands inside a cave entrance looking inside. She had left Freckles back with Arderith. The Underdark is no place for a horse, espcially to a woman looking to sneak into one of the largest cities of The Underdark. She touched the necklace as she stepped into the cave using its magic for darkvision. Which would allow her the ability to travel the Underdark and still see where she was going.
The Understand had many a great beauty for those who knew where to look for it but for every beauty there were five nightmares lying in wait. Allie didn’t waste much time as she traveled halls she had literally spent months learning. Avoiding dangers as she came upon them as skillfully as those she’d never left.
As Allie navigates the Dark Dominion she can’t help but feel an overwhelming desire to just turn and leave. She presses forward still, she had come this far, and she would see it through to the end. Allie takes a turn off the main path and travels maybe three miles before she comes into a clearing lit with phosphorus. Allie comes to a halt and places her thumb and middles finger to her lips making a high-pitched whistle followed by several clicks. Five females emerge from hidden spots among the rocks, a blonde haired Human, a brown-haired human with tan skin, a Half-Orc, a Halfling, and a Tiefling steps out with bows aimed at her.
“Come now Sisters, I announced my presence in the proper fashion.”
“Who are you and how do you know that call?” says one of the blonde-hair human.
Allie reaches for her hood and cowl pulling them off. The women stand there looking on dumbfounded.
“That might be because you taught it to me Arianna.”
“Call myself Allie now, but yes it’s me.”
They lower their weapons, and rush to hugs her. Allie accepts it without hesitation.
“It’s been a long time Sisters, I’m actually surprised to see that you are still here,” Allie says.
The Half-Orc hits the wall and a secret stone door rises. As they step through Allie can see various women drinking and eating at makeshift stone tables.
“We’ve branched out as you can see,” says the Half-Orc.
“I see, Shard. How many are there.”
“The Sisterhood ranks in the numbers of one-hundred and eighty-nine women,” the Halfling answers.
They step inside and Shard slams the wall once more and the stone lowers back into place.
“Impressive from the number of thirty we had when I was here, Olivia.”
“Why did you come back?” asks the Tiefling.
“You know why Ava.”
“Byron,” says the brown-haired human matter-of-fact tones.
“You know anything about him Petra?”
“We’ve been keeping an eye on him since you left.”
Allie nods, “Brought you all some supplies, glad I brought extra, had no clue it would be this big. How are you feeding everyone?”
“Same as always,” Ava says.
Allie laughs, “Still heading to the surface as merchants?”
They all take a seat at the closest table falling into routine as though no time has passed between them.
Arianna nods, “Been doing that for years now when the raids didn’t stop. Don’t worry we had adequate warning to come up with a plan though.”
Olivia runs off grabbing six plates and brings it to the table.
“How’s Morridem doing Alenna?” Olivia ask, “Surprised she’s not here with you.”
“Morri’s not cut out for this type of thing.”
“Still protecting her after all this time Alenna?” Ava asks.
“Of course, always have, always will.”
“Let’s just cut the small talk here Sisters, you’re here to get Byron are you, and you need our help right?” Petra states plainly.
Allie lays her fork down on the table and her head turns slowly to Petra, “All I want is for you to tell me where he is. I’ll do the rest from there.”
“Petra! Show some respect!” Arianna exclaims, “We all trained together, we are the heart of this group.”
Petra points to Allie, “She’s the one who left, not me!”
“Still holding on to that?” Ava asks.
“Of course she abandoned us!”
Allie raises a hand, “You’re right, I did leave. We all should have left. I didn’t want to be in this hell hole for the rest of my life and you shouldn’t want to either. I left and you stayed to continue on what we started. The past cannot be changed, and I’m not going to lie to you and say I’m staying after this is through. I’m not. I still have work to do out there; I now have people out there who depend on me. I shouldn’t have left like I did, I should have come to say goodbye. I didn’t though, I’m sorry but it was fifteen years ago. If I could change it I would, but I can’t so why dwell on it?”
“You left us!” Petra screams in her face.
“What!? You want to hit me? Will that make you …”
Allie’s words are cut off and Petra’s fist meets her jaw. Allie’s eyes narrow dangerously and quickly she spins catching Petra in the face. She jumps down from the stone bench and Petra is charging at her. Allie digs her feet in and places her hands out just as Petra reaches her. Allie’s hand push upwards rolling backwards the momentum launching Petra over her head. Petra falls like a stone behind Allie as she finishes the roll through bringing herself back to her feet. Allie walks over to her slowly and holds out her hand. Petra smiles and accepts it and Allie helps her up.
“You still got it Alenna.”
Allie smiles, “I missed you too.”
The two sit back down at the table as Arianna, Olivia, Ava, and Shard smirk at one another.
“Fifteen years and it’s as though you never left,” Arianna says.
“Apart of me never did.”
“So how many are you going to need Allie?”
“Well first we need to talk about where he is and how difficult it’s going to be to get him.”
They look around at each other with a slight smile and begin discussing their plan.
Day 50 (Stonereach)
Morri stood at the fountain as she has been accustomed to doing when taking new orders for her business from the people of Stonereach. As of late business had been extremely slow and she tapped her fingers on her side as she waited. She saw Solomus coming out of the barracks and he stops in front of her.
“Hey Morri,” he says.
“Greeting Solomus, you have been well I trust?”
Solomus shrugs indifferently, “Jobs a pain among other things but someone has to do it I guess.”
“Is there anything I can help you today or is this just a social visit?”
“Social, though that might change next time I see you.”
“I see, well you know I am always willing to help if I am able. By the way do you know if His lordship will be taking meetings anytime soon?”
Sol shrugs, “Can’t say for sure. Why did you need to talk to him?”
“Yes, I was hoping that The Guild could form an alliance with him. You can probably already guess why we did not form an alliance with the old rulers of Stonereach, though I’m not one for speaking ill of the dead.”
“Well I can put in a word for you.”
“That would be much appreciated Solomus.”
Sol nods, “Well I should get back to work, never end.”
Morri smiles, “You wouldn’t happen to have time for one quick question would you?”
“Shoot,” Solomus says.
“You don’t happen to know anything about Allie do you? Zel’s said she had taken a trip but that was all she knew. Not like Allie to take off and not tell me anything.”
Solomus thinks on it for a minute and Morri looks at him pleadingly, “All she told me is that she was going home.”
Solomus stresses the word home as Allie had when he spoke to her.
“You’re sure she said home?”
Sol nods, “Just like that.”
Morri swear and pulls out a parchment and begins writing rapidly. Pulling out a pouch as she completes writing on it she places the parchment inside and a pink puff of smoke emanates from it.
“What?” Solomus asks.
“She’s gone back; I have to go to her, thank you for telling me Solomus.”
“Gone back where?”
Morri grabs her staff and taps it once on the ground, as she teleports away Solomus hears her say, “Menzoberranzan.”
Allie kneels on a high cliff; behind her are her Sisters, Petra, Ava, Arianna, Shard, and Olivia below them they look down at the dark form of a Drow House.
“So you know how this goes Alenna, we’ve only got one shot,” Arianna says.
They look at a map that was drawn by Olivia.
Arianna continues, “The raid will begin on the other end of town. Once we get the signal we move. The slave chambers are there,” She points at a room on the map, “However at the entrance there are four guards posted. Shard will break the door down and we’ll move in behind her. Once the guards are down we’ll have approximately ten minutes to reach the slave pins before the House Guards are alerted, and trust me we do not want to tangle with House Agrach Dyrr for long. Once we reach the slave pins we’ll have another ten minute to get out. Now the guards are going to post guards at the entrance but we won’t be going back that way, we’ll be hitting this side entrance. From here Olivia will take point and leading the slaves to one of the secret entrances to take us back to the keep. Are we all clear?”
Everyone nods and Arianna rolls up the map and puts it in her pouch. She moves a little away from the group and Allie moves over beside her and begins speaking in a whisper.
“Something I should know?”
Arianna shakes her head and whispers back, “Twenty minutes is all we have Alenna. After that I’ve ordered rest of The Sisters to fall back.”
“If all goes according to plan that will be more than enough time,” Allie whispers back.
Arianna laughs, “You’ve been gone too long nothing ever goes according to plan.”
Allie states in serious tones, “Then we’ll just have to make our own luck.”
The two exchanges quiet laughter and a purple arrow soars overhead, bounces off the wall, and clatters harmlessly on the ground.
“LET’S GO!” Arianna shouts.
Allie lets out a high-pitched whistle and the six of them set into motion with Shard running about five steps ahead. Shard is about five away from the door when she jumps into the air rising towards the door. She throws her shoulder forward and hits the door which gives away beneath her weight knocked off its hinges. She rolls forwards as the others flew into the door behind them. The Drow guards didn’t even have time to draw their weapons as Arianna cuts left, Ava and Petra darted ahead and Allie cut right. Allie counts her step, one, two, three and the four sisters jump in perfect formation and drive their weapons into the guards before them. The guards all drop as Shard rises to her feet and Olivia takes point leading them to the slave chambers. Once inside the chamber the six Sisters hear the House Guards begin to mobilize. They begin picking the lock the cages, and in two minutes everyone is out. Arianna points out Byron to her and Allie looks at him for a few seconds before she crosses over to him. She stands there for a moment behind the boy, who looks no more than fifteen years old.
The boy turns around at the mention of his name and looks at her. Allie hugs him tight and as she pulls away the boy continues to look at her strangely.
“I know you don’t remember me, but I’m your mother.”
“You’re my …”
The small Halfling child stands there shocked.
“I’ll explain everything later, right now we are going to get everyone out but you need to stay with me no matter what. Do you understand?”
The boy stands there with his jaw agape for a moment then nods his head. A whistle from Olivia whistles that it is time to go and the crowd is in motion again. They get out to the corridor and head left back to the hallway. Instead of heading down the hallway back to the entrance Olivia takes the group right. Shard, Arianna, Petra, and Ava stand at the halls edge shooting arrow after arrow as the Drow attempt to come up it. Allie joins in and takes out a guard with a well-placed dart to the skull. Arianna motions with her head and understanding Allie leads Byron out taking the same direction as the others. Once outside Allie heads to the cliff with Byron following her, she’s can see the last of the slaves making it into the tunnels. She pushes the boy ahead of her as Shard, Arianna, Petra, and Ava break through the exit. She can barely make out Ava locking the door with a set of lock picks as Shard held the door closed. The four dart off towards Allie and Byron who have reached the edge of the cliffs. At that moment the guards posted at the entrance notice Allie just as Shard, Arianna, Petra, and Ava make it to her.
“Alenna take Byron and get out of here,” Arianna yells.
Allie shakes her head defiantly, “I can’t leave you, not again, not like this!”
Arianna pushes her away, “That boy just found out he has a mother; don’t make him lose her now!”
Allie grabs Byron by the shoulders, “Now listen to me and listen close. I need you to run up to those tunnels. There you’ll find my friend Olivia. Tell her you’re the last and to seal off the tunnel. We’ll meet her back at the keep.”
Byron shakes his head with tears in his eye, “I won’t leave you.”
“I’ll be alright Byron; I will see you soon I promise!”
Byron seems a little comforted by this and takes off up the cliffs and disappears into the tunnels.
“That was stupid Alenna!” Shard yells.
Allie grips her weapons tightly, “I’m not dying today and neither are you.”
“How can you be so sure?”
They look on as about twenty Drow guard charge them maybe thirty feet away now.
“Because I made a promise,” Allie states as she grips her weapon.
The other four grip their weapons and prepare for the fight when five large balls of fire shoot over their heads striking the five closes Drow whose charred remain plummet to the ground. Everyone, including the Drow, look up to see a figure on the cliffs, Allie squints as the Drow pull their bows off their back, aim and fire. As the arrows reach the figure they bounce off and Allie can get a clear glimpse of who it is.
Morri points a finger at one of the Drow and a ball of acid flies from her fingertip and strikes the Drow in the face. He instantly clinches his eyes screaming in pain.
Allie smirks and tips her head to Morridem, obviously she’d been wrong about Morridem and she wasn’t afraid to admit it.
Morridem bows to her elegantly and holds out both hands, seconds later several arrows made completely of light fly from them each arrow striking a different target. The Drow throw bow their bows and redraw their swords. Allie raises her sword and gives another high-pitched whistle and the Sister’s are in motion. Allie stabs the acid covered Drow in the head as he still holds his eyes trying to wipe them free of the substance. She kicks him off and moves to another target. They dodge, parry, and riposte where ever possible making short work of them with the help of Morri’s spells working in offense and in distraction. As they stand over the fallen they look into the entrance to see the bulk of the House Guards, moving down the hallway towards the entrance. They all stand there for a moment looking horrified.
“I think it’s time to go!” Allie exclaims.
“Hells yes!” Arianna yells.
They make it up to the cliff and Morri follows in tolls as they disappear into the tunnel. Shard has taken point and reaches a point where she stops. She smacks the wall as hard as she can and the stone rises everyone files in. Shard darts inside and smacks the wall once more and the women are in motion as the Drow Guards reach the edge of the cliffs. As they step into the halls everyone cheers as quietly as they for Shard, Arianna, Petra, Ava, Alenna and Morridem. Allie slugs Morri in the arm playfully with a smile on her face.
“I forgot about you learning to teleport,” Allie smirks.
“Yes well I couldn’t let you have all the fun now could I? Besides, they’re just as much my sisters as they are yours.”
Allie looks across the way and spots Byron; Morri follows the look then glances back to Allie.
“That him?” Morri asks.
Allie nods with a smile.
“Then why are you still here Allie, go talk to him.”
Byron turns around and Allie crosses the way to him. He glances at her timidly looking unsure of what to do. Allie pulls him into a tight almost bear-like hug.
“You’re really my mother then?” he asks.
Allie nods, “I am and I have missed you like you could not believe. There hasn’t been a day that’s gone by that I haven’t thought about you.”
Byron looks up shyly, “I’ve dreamed about something like this happening all my life. I’ve had so many questions for you and my father, but now that the times come I can only think of one. Speaking of my father is he here?”
Allie looks to the ground, “They killed your father before you were ever born.”
Byron shakes his head but she can see the disappointment in his eyes.
“You said you had a question for me?”
Byron nods shyly, “Where .. how come … Where have you been my whole life?”
Allie frowns, but the question was expected, “They took you from me when you were but a year old. I fought to keep you, but they thought that my emotional attachment might lead to my defiant nature returning. I tried so hard to come back for you when Morridem and I left this place, but I had no clue where you were. My Sisters have been looking for you and found you, for when I returned for you I am just sorry it took me so long to get here. ”
Byron smiles, “Well you’re here now.”
“Now I’m going to give you a choice Byron, you can stay here with my sister’s, or you can come home, with me.”
“You don’t live here?”
Allie shakes her head, “I took to the surface a long time ago. Now since you were born down here it’s going to take some time for your eyes to adjust to the light out there, but I’ll help you through it, if I can do it so can you. Question is, do you want to come with me?”
Byron throws his arms around Allie neck, “Of course mother.”
Allie hold on to Byron a smiles marks her face and they two stand as such for quite a while afterwards.
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