The Princess, the Sorcerer, and the Wizard

Located in the Old Temple District of Rhydin City.

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The Princess, the Sorcerer, and the Wizard

Post by Erwyn » Thu Mar 16, 2006 12:18 pm

Amanda and Mystic had left for their private lessons with their father. It was a break for lunch and in the afternoon she would be once more practicing archery, but not for another hour. After her lunch she pulled out her journal. She never wrote in it with others around. It contained her innermost being.

Erwyn pulled the book from its hiding place and settled at her small desk. She took the quill and dipped it in the ink well. Pausing she pondered her mother. She had heard that her mother did something that has the entire castle worried.


“Philippe has returned. I am very happy about this mainly for my mother. She’s changed and not for the better. I thought his arrival would bring her back, but it is not so. I sense a deep struggle within her. Her moods swing like the pendulum of the clock that sits in the Great Hall.

“Mother never talks of her imprisonment. She tries to pretend all is well when all around her knows better. Her dress has almost one of a whore. Her hair that she usually braided is left undressed. It’s very long, almost to her knees.

I overheard the servants speaking together and they are worried as well. I heard that she rebuked Borin in front of everyone. He is her most loyal steward and did not deserve the tongue lashing. Those who saw and heard this said that her skin took a shade of blue.

“I will go to the arenas tonight and find Xenograg. He will know what to do.”
Actually she was unsure but she knew that her mother trusted Xenograg with her life.

Hearing the return of Mystic and Amanda, Erwyn blows on the ink and closes her book quickly and re-hid it.
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Udele

Post by Erwyn » Thu Mar 16, 2006 12:55 pm

“I am going for a bit of a walk.” Erwyn told Amanda and Christy. “I need some fresh air.”

“Do you want me to go?” Amanda asked more out of politeness. Erwyn shook her head.

“No, I need to be alone to think.”

“Don’ leave th’ castle grounds.” Christy warned her. She gave Erwyn a look that made Erwyn a little uneasy. But Erwyn had her mind made up. During the dinner hour Erwyn stole into her mother’s room when everyone was busy. Philippe and her mother had left the room so this was the best opportunity she would have.

Quickly she found the small box that held the stones. Opening it she took one and closed the box then slipped back into her own room and had dropped the stone into her pocket.

“Yes m’am.” Erwyn said as she arranged her face in what she hoped was a humble submission. She pulled on her cloak and felt for the stone in her pocket. It was still there. “I’ll be back.”

Erwyn left and pretended to head for the courtyard. She slipped into an alcove and dropped the stone. The main street of the city lay in front of her. Erwyn stepped though and picked up the stone, slipping it back into her pocket.

Fear threatened to creep up on her as she walked the wooden sidewalk. She had no idea where she was. She almost ran into someone as she was craning around to see where she was.

“H’ a care lass!” It was an old dwarf much like Borin.

Erwyn started. “I.. I’m sorry.” She touched his sleeve as he started to turn away. He looked a little put out but Erwyn asked. “Where are the dueling arenas m’lord?”

“Ah, y’ follow th’ walk thi’ way” His short but muscular arm pointed. He looked at her and said. “Come, I wi’ show thee.”

Sharing her mother’s gift of discernment she did not sense evil intent so she followed the dwarf. He was asking, “Y’ shouldn’t b’ oot at yer age lass. In th’ eve at tha’”

“Uh..” Erwyn said nothing more. The dwarf opened the door to the Red Dragon Inn. Erwyn heard the clatter of dishes, conversations in the common speech as well as languages she never heard before. Blue smoke hovered over the customers like a thin cloud.

“What’s your name?” she asked the dwarf.

“Udele. Mos’ call m’ Del.”

He lead the way to another door and opened it for her. It was obvious he was not going to join her. She was a little sorry for he made her feel safe. She nodded to him.

“I thank you Master Del.”

“Please, ju’ Del.” He answered with a bearded smile. He turned and disappeared into the smoke. Erwyn timidly went through the door and closed it. She stood on the landing looking for Xenograg.
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Post by Erwyn » Sun Mar 19, 2006 11:40 am

While looking around the arena for Xenograg, Erwyn noticed the various banners, pictures, tables and a cushy couch. The dueling rings were empty save one. That is where Erwyn spotted Xenograg. He was dueling man she’d never seen before.

Erwyn slowly walked down the stairs pushing back the hood of her dark blue cloak. Crossing the room Erwyn stopped next to the ring. She noticed the various wounds both Xenograg and the other had inflicted on each other. She glanced around nervously, rocking back and forth on the balls of her feet.

Xeno parries and ripostes low then cut deep into the man's leg. The stranger’s leg buckled and he fell to the sand covered floor. Xeno held the blade to the man’s throat. The two speak a language Erwyn did not understand. It sounded rather exotic.

As he exited the ring he wiped his blade on the inside bend of his arm. Erwyn took this opportunity to step forward and waited for him to turn his attention from the opponent in the dueling ring. Xeno looked up and spotted Erwyn.

“Your Highness?”

Just as she was dipping a quick curtsy, she noticed Mystic hopping into the arena. Xeno bowed his head in return. Erwyn knelt down to hug Mystic then stood, her hand on Mystic’s shoulder. Xeno grinned at Mystic. “Hello Sunshine!”

Giving a bright smile, Mystic waved to Xeno, then took Erwyn’s hand grinning up at the young princess.

“What brings you here, Highness?” Xeno asked.

Erwyn didn’t still her rocking but spoke very quietly, “It’s my mother. My Lord, she is not well.”

“Indeed.” He paused then continues; “Come, let us sit and talk.”
After a glance to the stranger in the ring, Xenograg pulled out a chair for Erwyn. She helped Mystic up on a chair next to her, then sits herself.

“I thank you.”

“Did you witness my duel, Highness?”

She smiled nervously. “I did. I hope he isn’t hurt badly”

“Rest assured the man will recover. These rings have healing wards
upon them.” Xeno answered. “The man challenged my position and honor. I chose to fight here so that he would live”

Erwyn turned back to look at Xeno, as interesting as the duel was, it was not her foremost concern.

“I can't stay long, those in the castle don't know I'm here. Except Mystic.” Erwyn smiled at the girl as she said this.

“I understand.”

Erwyn’s voice dropped and her blue eyes went wide. “Excellency, she insulted Borin in front of her
servants." Xenograg looked genuinely surprised. She went on; “Borin bore it well, but I knew it bothered him.”

“Yes, it has happened to others as well. Myself included. I have been hesitant to act though."

Erwyn’s voice dropped even further into a whisper. “She took a stranger to her bed a week afore Philippe returned. And m’lord, her skin is not right. It looks.." she pauses to try and describe as best she could. “It looks bluish.”

As she spoke she looked at Mystic who nodded politely that she had seen it as well.

“Has Prince Philippe's return helped any?”

“At first it did, but suddenly she was cold and very unkind. I am frightened.” Erwyn says tears welling in her eyes.

“Highness.... Erwyn. Thank you for coming to me. I see that something must be done.”

She feels Mystic gently squeeze her hand. Erwyn gave her a shaky smile. Then looked at Xenograg looking somewhat hopeful then whispered her reply.

“What?”
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Post by Erwyn » Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:17 pm

“I have tried to speak to your mother. I gave up quickly when I saw
her initial reaction. I have not tried since.” Xeno paused; “I must. I need help. I need help. If Borin, Gwindor, Philippe, or I cannot reach her, that leaves one person.”

Erwyn had hoped that Xenograg would suggest this. It had lingered the back of her mind but she didn’t know if she could convince her mother to contact the wizard. She looked up at him with hope in her face.

“Alatar?” She whispered.

He nodded. “She cannot ignore him.”

Xenograg stood. “Come I will take you home and cover your absence, then I will seek the Istar.”

The young elf stood as well, then impulsively hugs Xenograg. Actually Xenograg was the closest to a father figure she had. He returned the hug.

“I thank you.” Erwyn said with a sigh.

“You have done a brave thing, young princess.”

She gives a shaky smile. “I love my mother; I am sure she hates what she's become. I can feel it.”

“Yes, she is conflicted.”

Erwyn helped Mystic up. “Let’s go home.”

“Want a ride, Sunshine?” Xeno picked the young girl up and set her in the crook of his left arm. Erwyn stuck close to Xenograg as they exited the arenas.

“I will take you back via my Dojo. I can show you where it is.”

“Very well.” Was only thing that Erwyn could think to say. Outside they head for the stables. Erwyn pulled her hood over her head so not to attract attention. Xenograg finds his pony then lifts Erwyn and Mystic upon the beast’s back. Taking the reins, he lead the pony down the narrow streets. They went over a bridge into what Xeno called “Old Temple District.” Erwyn’s head went this way and that trying to see everything. It was her first time in RhyDin town and it was fascinating. She watched with rapt attention as an orc lurched by, his black cloak billowing in the wind. She realized that Xenograg was talking to her. “Rhydin City is almost two cities; one of the day, one of the night.”

Erwyn watched the disappearing orc. “Do you see these.. creatures, often?”

“Oh, yes. This City is filled with a variety beyond belief.”

The movement and the warmth of the pony relaxes Erwyn. For the first time in weeks she feels some hope. They move further into the Old Temple District. The buildings were plainer and the streets were slowly narrowing. She noticed that Xenograg looked this way and that, including the roof tops. He is talking as he does this.

“Fear not. I am well known in this quarter. We will not be... disturbed.”

Erwyn could only nod and pulls her cloak around Mystic and herself; more out of nerves than real cold. She keeps her eyes on Xenograg, recognizing his watchfulness as one she experiences with Gwindor or Borin.

They turn a corner down a major side street, a stone wall and gate is a little further down. He points to building. “Remember this restaurant. It is on the corner of my street.” Erwyn nodded as she studies the lettering and the position of the door. They stop at a large gate and wooden door.

“Here we are.” He rattled the gate. A spy hole opened then quickly closed. “My dojo is the ugliest building on this street...at least on the outside.”

The wooden door opens and a female turk unlocks the gate and the gate swings open. Xenograg lifts Mystic off the pony, Erwyn slid off the saddle. “Welcome to Dojo Darelir, as my students once named it.”

Erwyn didn’t remember much more, as her mind was on her mother. They turned this way and that, the dojo hollow, open to the sky in the center. She holds Mystics hand. The young girl obviously at home, skipped as only a little girl could.

“It’s small, but it suits me.” He says stopping as she examines the flowers in the center of the dojo. Erwyn hurries and catches up.

“I’m sorry.” She gasps.

“No need, though you should get back.”

“I am sure I am missed now. This has taken longer than I thought.”

“I think I have an alibi.” Xenograg says. Erwyn and Mystic hurry behind him as they enter a room with no furniture but racks filled with weapons. Then they move down a narrow hallway that dead ends. Slowly and deliberately touches the bricks. A door opens a crack.

“Show me the sequence.”

Mystic lets go of Erwyn’s hand and repeats the sequence. Xeno grins. “I know you know it, Sunshine.”

He pushes the door open and enters, a steep stairwell on the other side going down that ends in a small, circular room. This was getting pretty confusing. Erwyn looks at Xenograg

“Where are we?” Erwyn asks as the looks around at the painted symbols and the large wall mirror.

“My sanctum, under the dojo.”

Erwyn was fascinated as Xenograg touched the glass with all five fingers of his right hand. The surface begins to change and another room beyond the glass.

“You first, Mystic” The little girl gives what could be considered a silent giggle as she runs through the glass.

“My Lady.” Xeno gave a little bow. Erwyn was a little unsure of this, but squared her shoulders and steps through. It kind of tickled her head and tingled on her shoulders. She turns to see the mirror ripple and Xenograg steps into the round room.

What they stepped into was a room Erwyn had never been in before. It had eight flat sides that formed a circle. Two large windows sit opposite each other; underneath those windows were two tables. Along one wall were shelves stacked from floor to ceiling. Some held books, parchment as well as numerous jars labeled in elvish. One table held a round orb; a red fire deep in it’s center. And finally in one corner was a long green cloak as well as a staff with a green orb on the top.

“We are in Eldicor.” Xenograg says.

“Yes, I feel it.” Erwyn answers. She like her mother had an actual physical tie to the realm. She now looks to the ceiling; it was domed, but held a trap door that was closed.

“You have never been inside your father's tower before?”

“No m’lord. This was my father’s?” She asks as she turned around the room looking at it again. Xenograg nodded.

“The Queen honored me by providing access to it. It is a safe place for my mirror. I do not disturb anything here.”

She trusts you Excellency, with her life. That is why I sought you out.” Erwyn suddenly looks like the queen she would eventually be. I am sure she would have taken me here, when I am ready.”

“I aim to be worthy of that trust. Both of yours.”
Erwyn nodded in response then took an impish grin. “What will my excuse be? After all.. I have been absent long.”

Xenograg smiled. “You asked to see your father's tower, of course.

“Of course!” She replies

“All this is yours. More than your mother's.”

For a moment Erwyn was silent digesting this. Xenograg says, “But that is your choice, in the end.”

“I don’t need to think of this now. I want my mother back.” The elf woman vanished and once more Erwyn is the saddened young daughter of the queen. Xenograg nodded in approval.

“Well said.”
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Post by Xenograg » Mon Mar 27, 2006 9:58 pm

Teleperien is not happy that Erwyn has been gone so long, but cannot argue with Xenograg's cover story. The General is an accomplished liar, and the half-truth makes it easier. Teleperien departs thinking that her daughter never left Eldicor.

Xenograg returns to Nom's tower and prepares himself for the task ahead of him. He sits cross-legged inside the room's magic circle. For a quarter hour, Xenograg simply meditates. Now calm and focused, Xenograg infuses the mantra with psychic energy. He turns his mind inward....

As usual, Xenograg "awakens" to find himself armed, armored, and astride a steppe horse. In the astral planes, the unconscious mind can have great influence. Xenograg's self-identity is rooted in his life as a horseman, and thus his astral image manifests so. This mode of transport is no slower here than if he were flying, and it is familiar and comforting.

The planescape around him is vaguely Eldicor. Xenograg slowly looks around in a complete circle, seeking with his mystic third eye. Finally, a glimmer is detected over the eastern horizon. Xenograg puts his spurs to the horse and is off.
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Post by Xenograg » Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:39 pm

Here in the astral planes, the mind is everything. A traveller moves through thinking so. He must concentrate to stay on course. He can get mentally tired. The path is never straight.

Xenograg uses an open-eyes meditation to stay focused on locating Alatar. The Darelir's mind cannot help but slip occasionally, of course. Thinking about finding Alatar leads to remembering him, which can lead to other memories. These slow Xenograg's speed or divert him from the path. The worst of Xenograg's mental driftings gives him a true scare. His mind wanders from Alatar to Eonwë to the rescue of Gwindor. The memory manifests an unconscious change in Xenograg's self-image -- his left arm is missing above the elbow! Xenograg is shocked out of the memory, overflowing with the anxiety of what-might-have-been that he carries deep inside. He bears many wounds upon his body, but the near-amputation outweighs even the torture of his legs.

Xenograg changes his focus to a calming meditation, eyes closed. His original self-image returns, and he continues on his search for the Istar.
"The stupidest creative act is still a creative act, and that the real gap isn't between the mediocre and great work. The real gap is between getting started and doing nothing. If you've created something, even if it's stupid, you've put yourself in a position to do more." - Clay Shirky
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Post by Alatar the White » Fri Mar 31, 2006 8:15 pm

Lush green hills covered with mallorn lay as a background to the white marble halls where the Maia, Istari and other immortals abide. Alatar sits with his face to the sea, listening to the music that floats in the leaves of the trees.

He loses focus of the sight, sensing the approach of who.. he did not know. Slipping into the astral plane without effort he sees Xenograg. Alatar allows Xenograg to see him.

“Greetings Xenograg!” He calls out heartily. "What draws you here?"
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Post by Xenograg » Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:13 pm

"My Lord Alatar," replies Xenograg, "it is you I seek. There is something wrong with Her Majesty, Queen Teleperien. She is not herself, and has rebuffed all efforts by those who care about her. Princess Erwyn and I pray you will return to Eldicor and help us."

The Wizard does not reply immediately. Instead he looks into Xenograg's eyes--and mind. Xenograg quickly realizes Alatar's intent and submits to the probe. In moments, Alatar is aware of all the Darelir sorcerer knows and suspects.

"Yes, I will come immediately," is Alatar's answer. "Can you bring me back the way you came?"

"Yes, My Lord, I can."

"Let me get a few things, and then we will depart."
"The stupidest creative act is still a creative act, and that the real gap isn't between the mediocre and great work. The real gap is between getting started and doing nothing. If you've created something, even if it's stupid, you've put yourself in a position to do more." - Clay Shirky
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Post by Alatar the White » Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:40 am

Alatar returned himself, still sitting in his chair. He stood and without hurry went to his quarters and retrieved his satchel and staff. Slinging the satchel around his shoulder, he slipped again into the astral plane where Xenograg awaited him.

Without words they traveled together, reentering the tower. Alatar looked around. He started to question Xenograg.

“When did you suspect Teleperien was not herself, as you described it.” Xenograg thought a moment.

“It was her behavior that changed first. Her skin took a bluish hue. She dressed differently, seductive. She flirted without thought and if any questioned her she’d rebuff them with insults.” His voice dropped. “And she brought a strange man to her bed. Not like her Majesty at all. She still carried her heart for Philippe.”

The wizard stopped and listened. “I believe we are being spied on.”

He looked to the door and commanded “Come here Teleperien.”

She staggered in, fighting the silent command. Alatar was alarmed at her appearance, but his face was kept neutral and calm. Xenograg however was visibly shaken by this. Tele had changed indeed. Her once porcelain skin was a dull blue, eyes were pools of black, her long blonde hair was wild and unkempt.

“Let me go.” The voice commanded. The old man answered;

“I do not believe I will. Come along. Xenograg, would you please help Teleperien?”

Watching Xenograg hoist the queen he waited till Xenograg found a balance. Together they set off to her apartments.
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