Of course I think its a good day. What a silly question. I say its good because the breeze is from the west. The silt is settled and there's little odor from the cess-pits. This is about as "good" as Cromlin gets my friend. Can I call you friend? Oh, I'm sorry. Call me Vanderkin. NOW you know me and I'll call you friend.
I've sat enough for today. Walk with me. Quickly though. My story is one that needs telling. As with most of my tales casual eavesdropping by those around us would be unfortunate for them.
Today's has such weight that I feel I'll need to give it to you in pieces. Come to me twice more and my trilogy will be complete.
I speak to you of the "deaths" of three powerful personalities. One power-hungry woman from Raam, a soldier from Balic and a sage from Draj who fell to violence in the year of Friend's Agitation or Free Year 10 by the new calendar.
First up is the beautiful and bewitching Belle.
Let me tell you of this lady. She is one of many faces. Sometimes there is serene beauty and just as often there is a face that can turn blood cold in the veins of those that cross her. She wields significant power but has unfortunately herself become surrounded by those that doubt her ability and intentions. At the time these events unfold her power over those she rules has almost slipped away from her.
On this rare day Belle was drawn out of the city on a tactical matter. Her might was required to lead a group of soldiers in battle. Not a comfortable place for a woman of her fine tastes but she had certain duties to uphold. From a perch not far from the battle ground she waited for events to unfold as she predicted. There was a surprise in store for her, and one she won't forget.
Amid the dwarven rabble that assailed her force was a powerful witch from the city of Tyr. Along with her was a collection of "heroes" she duped into fighting at her side. Among these there was a young boy who had with him a most astonishing artifact. With this object hidden magically Belle was over-confident in the coming conflict.
A spell battle ensued and as Belle began to assail the witch-woman with mental attacks the child lunged himself at the Raamin "queen". Her rage was complete. As she struggled to free herself of the half-breed he pierced her deeply with the artifact. It was a shard of very old steel. Perhaps half the length of a long sword. The pain of that wound drove her to near panic. As the steel plunged into Belle a black ichor erupted like a geyser. It took on a vaguely humanoid shape. A twisted but familiar shape. This child's artifact was bound by the magic of one from Belle's dark past.
This cannot be! Mental and magical defenses all but fled from her control.
Notice I said "all but fled". me pause this tale and take you back some time ago. You see there were powers waiting to be tripped that the Raamin had all but forgotten. Approximately one king's age ago during a time of particular trouble for Raam Belle had turned inward to look for wisdom. Magic and Psionic powers were strained beyond measure for some clue to survive the difficulties. During one of these times Belle saw, in a vision, a need to protect herself from an old teacher she once learned a few trifles of magic with. The dream-visions she had suggested the teacher would one day exact vengeance on her for an almost forgotten treachery. So she set about to protect herself.
She gathered 500 slaves who were doomed to die one way or another and used some formidable power to construct a contingency. It seemed impossible but her visions convinced her. The tutor, called Raja, would come back from a thousand years of death and inflict great harm upon her.
So she laid a plan to carry her away from harm should the near impossible happen. The nature of the harm would indicate the nature of the contingency. Belle had an infinite imagination and virtually all possible injuries inflicted by Raja would result in a particular chain of spells and psionics. Harm by fire would cause a fireball of momentous proportions to consume her and then wisk her away before further injury. Harm by mental powers would cause a psionic backlash of mental and physical pain that would move her away from harm and replace her with a prepared corpse. Death by physical means would result in equally gruesome remains replacing her physical body at the perfect moment. All this was a long time ago. It came flooding back to her in an instant.
Suffice it to say that Belle planned for Raja's return and as the tutor began to exact his vengeance upon her she was saved from a fate worse than death. Perhaps it was the artifact -his artifact- making contact with her heart, or Raja calling her traitor or possibly hearing the tutor's voice after all these ages that triggered the magics. The exact details are not known to this chronicler but the result is assuredly correct.
Belle was moved from danger into a safe-hold. Hundred's of miles from her troubled home she could rest and regain her strength.
You look pale my young friend. The white robes of your office look like painted brilliance next to your skin. You know the 'Queen' I speak of and I tell you the truth. She lives.
I understand that she now cares little for the city she once called home. Obviously her whereabouts are important to my brothers. If we can learn more of her we can better predict her actions. Thank you for listening. Think hard on this one.
I will have words to share again when the Sands of Athas read four and I will tell you of the Drajan. Until then step carefully my 'brother'.