In To The Dark
Conspiracies Unveiled | Unnatural Selection | Civilization Lost | Heated Relations | Snakes in the Nest | Hail Maj. M! | Night on the Other Side | Winter’s Bite | Neutral Grounds | Life or Death | Enemy Hands
Please bear with me as this will be edited from third to first person as I go.
I was able to sit down to dinner with Ianvar and Ianavarra this evening. They had another job in the capitol right after Papaw’s funeral so I didn’t get to see them that night. Though Ianvar had stuck around for a little while at first, I bet Unca Face kicked his ass and sent him back to work. We had a strawberry and almond salad, braised silver fin with leeks and saffron rice. I never made it to dessert.
We had been discussing my recent misadventure with Beldin. Ianvarra did not take my description of the Imperial Ambassador very well…I will never forget what he looked like though.
He was the most handsome elf I have ever seen, aside from daddy. Though his hair has long since started turning silver, he did not seem that old. His eyes matched his hair. It had seemed odd to me at first, I then realized that he had to have once had some color to his hair. It didn’t dawn on me until I was looking at mama’s eyes that his were much like hers. Steely grey that changed to Glistening silver, depending on mood. He also had a scar that ran from the corner of his eye to the opening of his ear.
Ianvarra looked ready to kill when I told her this. I suppose that it didn’t help that I had told her that he almost cropped me. I guess it is good that I didn’t let it slip to her that Beldin is carrying that creep’s Crop.
After I saw the look on Ianvarra’s face, I hoofed it from the house to the Academy. I was due to go out with the Girls tonight and I was NOT going to miss it. If I’d stuck around, she’d probably have forbade me from leaving. Pfft like I’d have listened to her. Papaw was the only one that cared enough to spend any time with me. I would have never disobeyed him!
Anyway, when I got to the Academy, I met a ghost named Deston. He escourted me to the cafeteria to meet up with Mary and Cyn. Accroding to him the ghost of the Ambassador was lurking in the halls and had already attacked one unsuspecting student. He also pointed out a picture that I had never seen in all my visits here: my grandmother. Whom he said that I “favored”. I don’t see it.
new entry I stared sleeping at the School. It is so much easier than getting up early every morning and, quite frankly, much more comfortable of late. The magics that permeate the house have begun to make my skin crawl. I even blew up at Ianvar when he did one of his old tricks that used to make me smile. In fact, just stepping through the city gates make me feel unclean. But that is something that I will make myself tolerate tonight. It will be the first time in months that Sam has been able to come out with us. There is nothing in the Planes that would keep me from seeing her!
I practically bowled over Sam on my way out the door. She wanted to know what was wrong but I didn’t want to speak of it right then and let her know that.
At first I thought this guy hitting on Mary tonight was just a self-righteous pig. But then I heard one of his group say something in a supposedly dead language, and a different dialect than I was used to hearing and using. Fran egged Mary on in her anger, telling her that she should have turned him into a toad by now. We all had a good laugh at that.
I waited until I was good and “drunk” before I approached the persistant peacock’s table and let him have it. Now I only has assumed that I had heard that language earlier, but one of his lackeys made hte mistake of sissing at him “She dares?” As if I knew who this self-righteous prig was. I almost laughed before leaning in closer to him and telling him what he needed to do in order to win her, and to warn him that his friends should be more careful in thier choice of words. You never know who might understand.
Now I didn’t expect this to be the beginning of my nightmares. I remeber the thing vividly. But not the hitting of my head on the edge of the table as I collapsed to the floor in front of the disguised “Lord”. I also remember instinctively reaching for Beldin…only to find his end of the connection locked down so tight Papaw would have been hardpressed to breach the wall. I vaugle remember my arms feeling as if they were on fire and a scream that may have come from me, but it is so hared to tell where anything comes from when you are pulled into the mists of dream.
?? I floated in a great river. I was surrounded by others all happy and warm in the knowledge that I was safe and well cared for. Those who kept me rarely asked her to do anything that the One would be displeased with. Absently I reached for the stars above me and began to sink. A hand reached for me, the face obscured by the churning water above me. I seized the life line offered and was hauled to shore.
A vaguely familiar face greeted me. “Ahh, for shame child of my child. You should have been taught better. Ahkahna has been remiss in her duties as a mother. Be sure that you tell her that for me.” His hand fastened around my neck with such force that I actually blinked. When my eyes reopened, a grossly taller Beldin stood there. Strong hand wrapped around my neck, holding me suspended above the ground.
The twisted grin that crossed his features as I began to gasp like a fish was nothing like the Dwarf I knew.??
I felt his hand on my brow as I woke. Fighting not to flinch in terror, my first though flitted from my mind to his…”He’s going to kill me.” The hurt that caused him made me nearly hitch in my breathing. The warm comfort of his hand fell from me, dejected.
I am going to leave the recounts of these twisted memories in an external view. It is easier to write about that way. Not to mention, that because they are twisted memories it is as if it were a story to me anyway.
??Watching Beldin pass the guards without a hitch, Sareth confidently started crossing the grass at the Lord’s Keep.
“Halt!” she heard an athoritative voice yell.
Naturally she froze in her progress along the wall. The guard walked over to her. “Curfew is in effect, what are you doing out.” He stated as he leered at her.
He was uncomfortably close. Sareth felt her jaw captured in a vice-like grip. “A gorgeous thing like you should be at home taking care of the family.” His breath was putrid. A mix of rotted teeth and stale cheap booze. He crushed her lips with a bruising kiss.
The next thing she knew the offensive guard was flying across the lawn. Sareth felt where his hands had been. It stung a bit and was terribly tender.
Corax came up to her sincere concern in his tone. “Are you alright?”
Sareth smiled at his boyish face. “Nothing a few days of rest won’t cure.”
“Good, now come along we cannot waste any time.”
The small group stepped into the temple, out of the statue of Boccob. The priests were confused and began an argument. They were blindsided when the Ambassador broke down the main door with his puppet mages in tow.
One by one the priests went down. Eventually only Beldin, Corax and Sareth remained standing before the angered man. One blow sent Corax sliding down the far wall of the temple. His minions advanced to hold the remaining two back.
Sareth managed to tumble and dodge her way around the last mage. She came out of her tucked roll dagger thrusting upward at the same time she felt a sense of utter fascination and loss. She blacked out.??
I woke to the school bells. The sense of wrongness I have been feeling has chased me all day.
??She finished scouring the current floor area she was working on and stepped to her left. It didn’t even cross Sareth’s mind that she hadn’t checked this particular area yet, but nothing untoward happened. There was some rustling from behind her. Mesinplas and his damnable mages robe were loud enough to raise the dead.
Being ever cautious though she turned to make sure it was indeed her compatriots following around the corner. She caught sight of Beldin’s arm as she reflexively reached for something to hold on to. Capturing the edge of the pit, she was relieved to see Beldin standing over her. That is until she noted the look of pleased evil that crossed his features. She registered the sharp, grinding pain in her fingers as she began to fall. Suddenly there was a strong grip on her throat and the floor was missing from under her feet. She grabbed at the arm there, gasping in pain as she attempted to move her broken hand. Her gaze continued up to the owner of the arm. Beldin was standing there smiling that evil smile still. Mesinplas stood a step behind him to the left, his collar shining brightly as if freshly oiled.
A sense of wrongness settled over Sareth as she woke. Beldin was there softly caressing her cheek. His quiet “Are you alright?” Not sitting well with her. It wasn’t like him to be so concerned over her. She looked to Sam and her parents. Not much showed on their faces, their collars all shown brightly.
Her hands shot up to her neck. Well oiled leather met her touch. A sigh of relief escaped her lips. He hadn’t left her to wither and die without him. The brightness of her smile withered away once she saw the twisted smile. “Oh no, leaving you to die with out giving you a proper send off would never do Sareth.”
The crop came down in a sensual caress. Pain surged through her. She hadn’t realized until that moment that the bones in her hand felt fragmented to the point of almost being powder. Her tongue was swollen and bleeding, teeth broken away floating in the pooling blood. Her knees scraped and raw, the right having sharp pains. The pain suddenly increased but she did not faint. She became vaguely aware that she was kneeling on her bed now facing Beldin, spitting blood onto the bedclothes.
An almost imperceptible nod of his head was her only warning. The collar suddenly tightened placing extra pressure on her pulse. Her vision became pockmarked with rainbow haloed black spots. Beldin’s amused evil laugher chasing her away.??
I was so embarassed when I came fully awake. There I was with my hads around Sam’s throat. I drpopped them to my sides so quickly it actually hurt. But it was the confused and hurt look on her face that really got me to crying after she left. She was like my sister; how could I do something like that?
I went to meet with Mesiplas and Beldin this evening. We discussed going further down into the caves now that the cleaning crew had cleared out the stairwell. I ran into Corax too. He was in a disguse that was laughable at best. I really have to admit that it wouldn’t be the same if he wasn’t there hitting on me. I kind of enjoy rebuffing him.
M is coming over with Beldin. Apparetnly I am not the only one that has been having restless sleep, he is going to keep an eye on us throughout the night. Never hurts to see if an outside set of eyes will be able to discern something.
??She was at the ‘Ale again. This time she had managed to get herself the wall seat between Fran and Dreazil. As she sat there she heard a whisper in her ear. “Shhh. This will be OUR secret.”
“Look at them. They conspire against the One you know, against your handler as well, they should be taken care of.” She silently took in her friends actions. The roaring that accompanied the voice drowned out the words, but with she could read from them confirmed the voice’s words. By the end of its velvet caress the women were laughing.
Knowing that she could not get to Cyn and Mary across the table, she took Fran and Dreazil. They weren’t expecting it and by the time Mary and Cyn realized something was wrong they were lying in a pool of mingled blood. The sudden urge to dance in the congealing mess was too much too resist.
No one else in the room seemed to notice. That is until those annoying wyrms looked over from the bar. A wicked grin crossed Sareth’s features, the magic they cast at her slid away harmlessly. Each went down in their efforts to protect the presumptuous beast in the back of the group. As she laid open the creature’s chest she spat at him. “That is what you get for the fleeting thought of attempting to usurp power from the One, Bahamut.”
Corax sauntered over to her. She pressed her blood coated body against his and gave him a toe curling kiss as she decapitated him. Unfortunately, the damned corpse did not know when to shut up. “What was that for love?” She dropped the head and gleefully moved on to the rest of the room.
It took little time for her to finish off the rest of the patrons. All of whom never saw it coming. Then she went strait to decorating.
First she slid several of the tables together, the blood making the job all too easy. The platinum skin of the great beast-dragon became the table cloth; it’s head the center piece. She used the still bleeding hearts of her victims to prop the beasts mouth open, evening out the horns. Those became grotesque candelabra. The heads of his cronies decorated the lowest of the razor sharp horns. Her friends the next set higher, and the still sputtering head of Vecna’s high priest became the center piece. There was still one empty space though.
Uncanny timing, Mesinplas just entered the building oblivious to the carnage. He never knew what hit him. Adding his head and heart to the configuration made it perfect. The fact that his head was next to Cynthia’s was an added plus.
The table decorations out of the way she set to making the meal. She had more than enough here for all the courses she planned. It was justice to see his enemies become his next meal. Everything was set to keep warm by the time Beldin entered.
She bowed as he entered, abasing herself to him as he deserved. “Those who would conspire against you have been taken care of m’lord.”
“Eh…It wasn’t only me they were seeing to destroy.” He himself bows in the direction of the door.??
I couldn’t stand to lay in bed after that. I snuck my way into the bathing room and scrubbed myself practically raw. That still didn’t get rid of the sensation of being covered in blood. We head to the caves tomorrow.
??The darkness pervaded the room. It didn’t bother Sareth as she checked her surrounding area for any tricks and traps that might be lurking. Once finished with area to the right of the entry, she stepped to the left.
She heard the whispering of cloth behind her. Mesinplas’ robes would be the death of them all. Sareth turned to quietly admonish the duo behind her to be quiet. She caught sight of Beldin’s arm as she reflexively reached for something to hold on to. Capturing the edge of the pit, she was relieved to see Beldin standing over her. That is until she noted the look of pleased evil that crossed his features. She registered the sharp, grinding pain in her fingers as she began to fall.
She tasted blood as she slowly stood on the pit floor. Gingerly she felt her teeth with her torn tongue as she walked to where she knew the stairs would be. Her upper front teeth felt jagged, one of them split and half missing completely. This was nothing compared to the biting shock she felt as she found nothing but a solid wall.
Something whispered by her ear, hitting the blank wall and clattering to the floor. Sareth kneeled to feel for the dagger in the dark. Keeping her kneeled position long enough to turn around, she took in what she could see of her attackers.
Two pairs of disembodied eyes met her. The first set glowed a menacing red and the second shown a hard glittering silver. The only other, barely visible, items were the collars around their necks.
A deep sense of wrongness settled over Sareth. These attackers were persons known to her. But she found herself doing exactly what any sane person would, protecting their own life. Every missile was dodged and returned almost as fast as they came. She was beginning to tire.
Beldin’s presence was suddenly with her. There was a light scraping of stone on stone and she sensed him behind her. “Help me!” She hissed at him spitting blood as she did so.
The only response she received was a sharp snap as her knee buckled under her. The effort to catch herself was hindered by the pain of using her broken hand for support.
Her downward fall was broken by a hand on each of her shoulders suddenly jerking her upright. The brief glance at the hands let her know that her mother and father had arrived to help. When she attempted to stand, their grips became vise like and she was forced back to her knees. Causing a yelp of pain to issue from her abused body.
Beldin was in front of her when she looked up, behind him were Maryssia and Cynthia. Their eyes were no longer glowing. The collars were well treated and fairly ornate.
She looked back to Beldin. He looked angry with her. “You have led us a merry chase, my fox, but it is time for you to return with us.” He pulled out the crop and caressed her face gently.
Her body burned. The wounds she received throbbed with a thousand times more pain. Her last realization as blissful oblivion claimed her was that she still had a dagger in her uninjured right hand.??
Awareness struck her, she was curled in a ball on the far side of her bed. “Broken” hand cradled in her right, whimpering in pain. She looked up to see Beldin stunned, the dagger that she had taken to sleeping with protruding from his left forearm. Mesinplas was at his side aiding him. She had to blink hard twice. For an instant she could have sworn that the mage was collared.
“What bothers you so, young one?” Came the soft, rich voice of Shalindra. The Spirit Bow bit into her back, helping to clear the last bits of dream fog from her head. She had left it unstrung next to her bed where she now sat trying to press herself through the wall.
“Seek it out in my mind yourself, it has already fragmented and dissipated from my conscious mind.” She whispered to the bow.
“Why?” Mesinplas’ voice into intruded her private conversation.
Sareth blinked at him momentarily. “Why what?”
He chucked a thumb at Beldin’s now healed forearm. The dagger that was usually sheathed under her pillow now lay naked on the nightstand. “Why did you just wake and stab one of you friends?”
She looked from Beldin to Mesinplas and back again. “I have no clue as to the reference. I woke here on the floor
((Need y’all to help me here. Want to keep the conversation accurate, and roughly most of the details. Please collaborate with me and mail back.))(insert time between here and the Imperium)
Sareth had begun to relax a little, very little since making it through the first city. But her uneasyness still made here slightly queasy, it wasn’t like anything that she had been told by her parents or the “family friend” had been terribly helpful. So her Grandfather had enslaved her mother, he was a praetor. She had been on the recieveing end of that. The family friend was not exactly forthcoming with deatils either. She could only guess the nature of his warning as the cart approached the gates of the Capitol.
The walls were imposing; giving the feeling that they were there to keep things in as much as out. The gates gave the same impression. They were not even half as high as the wall and the porticullis was only open so far as to let a horse with a tall rider through without hitting their head. The entire area was crawiling with guards and several praetors.
As usual, they were led to a holding area to wait. It seemed to be a common practice here. The laws were so stringent and could change on a whim. That last fact was a sour thought. It samcked of corruption in the government that needed to be weeded out.
She shook her head as she got down from the drivers box. The good priest of Annoia had already begun to tend to the horses, brushing them down with great care and giving them some feed. She began to check the wheels and axels to see if they would need any repair. The cart shook as the others got out to stretch and check their personal items. It was a habit they had formed during the trip, so far it had served them well.
Once Sareth reached the back corner of the cart, she straitened to stretch. She saw Judith turn toward her with a look of concern on her features. Before Sareth could ask what was wrong, the world went dark and there was a strong grip on her shoulders pushing her to her knees.
If it weren’t for the hood they had thrown over her head she would have started to struggle. As it was she never got to see who it was that now had her hands bound behind her back and had to herd her in some unknown direction.
She bumped into the horse before she realized it was in front of her. The guards, having not touched her since blinding and binding her, got her seated and made sure her hands were still bound behind her back while securing them to the saddle. She was barely able to catch the commotion back near the wagon before the noise of hooves and startled pedestrians covered up the goings on behind her.
It was mot too long before she was uncerimoniously shoved into a room. The door instantly shut and locked behind her. She picked herself off the chilled stones, crossing her arms across her nakedness. She was seriously irritate bout the fact that they had, none to gently, stripped her down to her skivvies. Luckily they had not been far from the room at the time and they had removed the blindfold and rope as well.
She checked the door to see if she could work the lock and found that the lock was only located to the outside.