This account, written by the fordrin Pilgrim, Sachii Alys, is a first hand account of the revelations that changed the world. With the revealing that Helcrest was not a goddess but a demon, the magical societies of Alteris were thrown into upheaval, and the effects of this societal civil war are still being felt to this day. Having read this account thoroughly, and having interviewed a number of beings who were present for the events of Spade Island and the Discovery of the Sword of Alkanet, it is the opinion of the writer that this account is genuine and true.
A Revelation, Gathered and Recorded by the hand of Sachii Alys and her companions:
Tai Lung, the Keen Minded
Sachii, the Great Discoverer
Chesh, the Hero’s Witness
Orion, Whose Arrows Thirst
Silas, Twin Blades of Loyalty
Flynn, the Master of Spies
Ryu, Gatherer of Cursed Lore
Roven, Guardian of many Realms
(Titles given by Chesh, the Bard, to those who were first to aid Roven in Alkanet’s name.)
The enticings of a summer festival await,
Drawing people from every corner of Tandavar;
To the island Spade in the north, though it be far,
Rumors of the sword of Alkanet to corroborate;
But there is one who would rather obliviate
Any truth of Alkanet and say it is bizarre;
“These runes just hold dark magic that will mar,
It will be best to not tempt fate.”
But you cannot stop a prophecy once in motion,
The chosen one who came to the north and claimed His sword,
Was fated to seal the evil forever;
The one from the north who waited with such devotion
Now had the means to seal the evil so abhorred;
These are the tales of this endeavor.
(“A Prophecy In Motion”, by Sachii Alys)
“It is the year 814 since His Death, Modern Era, and I, Sachii Alys, record the events of my chosen Pilgrimage to the best of my knowledge for the furthering of the fordrin’s knowledge. I traveled to the far north, to the northernmost island on the Tandavar archipelago; Spade Island, where Alkanet, himself, originated from. This alone would have been reason enough to travel to this small island. But there is also lore of Alkanet’s sword that was left pierced into living rock, waiting for someone to claim it, and rumors as well that it has actually been found. Spade Island’s yearly festival was approaching so I thought this the perfect opportunity for my Pilgrimage. I could see for myself whether these rumors were true while also having the opportunity to experience the new traditions of Spade Island. The island itself is ancient, but the settlements there now are relatively new compared to the rest of Alteris.
“What I witnessed on Spade Island are events that I can only describe as truly remarkable. That I was there to witness a prophecy unfolding, first hand, still has me in awe. The most I expected was to gather local lore and history surrounding Alkanet, but, looking back, the fact that so many came from all the corners of Alteris to a local festival on a tiny island should have been clue enough that something else was at work here. I believe that whatever higher power that prophecies are made from must have called in those that would aid in fulfilling that lost prophecy from so long ago.”
Sachii put down her quill, careful to not smudge the still wet ink on the parchment. Writing on a boat was not easy, and looking over her work, it was admittedly a bit clumsy. But she wanted to make sure to get everything down while the events were still fresh in her mind. She would make a neater copy once she made it back to Udai. If Sachii went up to the deck now a few of the southernmost islands in the Tandavar archipelago may still be visible, but Spade Island was now gone from sight. She had stood on the deck until the waves seemed to swallow the tiny island up.
Sachii adjusted her gloves, laced with the enchantment Alkanet himself had put there. She smiled at the memory. At the time she had not even suspected Alkanet to still be roaming Alteris in the flesh. Much less in the guise of a kind and humble traveling wizard advanced in years. All the tales of Alkanet brought to mind a mighty hero not easily felled. With these gloves on she didn’t have to fear hurting any of her non-elf friends by accident as they were enchanted with non-lethal magic that counteracted her Fire Touch. Sachii frowned remembering when Silas had contracted the Friend Curse by accidented. She recognized right away and was able to keep her distance until she was able to find Alkanet, who was guised as Canter the traveling wizard, and get her gloves enchanted. Sachii tried not to think about what would have happened if it was she who had contracted the Friend Curse, compelled to shake anyone’s hand in a close vicinity.
Shaking away the dark thoughts beginning to edge their way in, Sachii picked up her quill again.
“What I write is not an embellishment to make ordinary events seem extraordinary. I only write the truth so that all may have a chance to remember Alkanet, the one who came from the north, and Roven Hoklan, the one who came to the north.”
A CURIOUS ARCHEOLOGIST
“Someone you may not think will have a hand in bringing about prophecy, (less encounter at all!) played an essential part in the events at Spade Island. An archeologist that goes by the name Evie. An archeologist is not what is curious, but the fact that she does not believe in magic. Never before have I encountered such a person! I mean, it’s all around us! As a fordrin everyday is a reminder that we are tied to it. She told me that there was a perfectly good scientific reason behind the Fire Touch I possess as a fordrin. Regardless of our different beliefs though, I took an instant liking to her. She’s not afraid to speak her truth, and it was obvious that Master Tarionna, the head mage of the Coven of Helcrest on Spade Island, could not deter Evie from her endeavor of discovery.
“Evie enlisted the help of many of us to search out translation stones that were scattered about the island. She had discovered some ancient runes and there were rumors of massive monoliths inscribed in these runes. I thought perhaps they held some history of Spade Island lost long ago. War often does not care about preserving knowledge.”
Sachii, starting to feel a bit hungry, decided on a short break long enough to grab some food from the galley before the cook cleaned up everything until dinner. She often lost herself in her studies but the last time she missed mealtime the cook gave her a very disapproving look as she snatched food from the galley shelves. Evie was not amongst those sitting down for lunch now, nor among the passengers. Instead of taking the first boat leaving Spade Island she had decided to stay behind and study the monoliths a bit more. But Sachii feared that the monoliths were no longer there. Before she left Sachii had gone back to the first monolith they had translated only to find it gone. She was not sure what had happened to it. Perhaps the lifting of the curse destroyed it and the other monolith.
Sachii grabbed a plate of food and headed back towards her room, not wanting to waste any time in getting the thoughts turning about in her head down on paper. She did stop, though, before leaving the galley to wave at Chesh and Tai Lung from across the room. They were in the middle of performing a song she did not recognize. From what she could tell it was a song about blackbirds. Perhaps it was a song from Silg. She would have to record some songs of theirs, especially if they had one written about the events surrounding Alkanet’s sword.
Setting her plate of food down at her desk in her room, she remembered how Evie had remarked how unpleasant Silg was with the mugginess of the swamp, mosquitoes, and bad tempered people right in front of Chesh, a Silgen! Sachii hoped to make it to Silg someday and to study more about where the dark magician first conquered and see if there were any accounts of Alkanet passed down, but also to experience the music and art firsthand that Silg is so famous for. Sachii finished the bread on her plate, then resumed writing.
“If it were not for the combined efforts of Evie and those of us looking for the translation stones and monoliths, I fear the translation stones would have not been found and the monoliths would have remained untranslated.
“I had considered searching for the translation stones on my own. But having read of the barbarian tribes in Tandavar I was a bit nervous about roaming Spade Island on my own. Roven Hoklan, a hastu, had also inquired of Evie of where he might find any translation stones. He carried with him a sword bound in cloth. Later he spoke of binding it after the war and his intention of never removing the sword from its binds. He even had the sword enchanted with non lethal magic by the traveling wizard we did not know was Alkanet. He accepted my invitation to travel together. Silas, a traveler with curious power also joined us in our search. He has a familiar, a dog who he calls Dinner, that appears from time to time. Though it seems his familiar only manifests when it chooses to, and in a form of its choosing.
”It took a considerable time locating the translation stone we were after. So much so that I thought we would never find them. We took the stones back to Evie at her camp to begin translating the runes, but discovered the job mostly done, and all from one translation stone. A fox scarg named Ryu had had better luck locating a translation stone and had been hard at work translating the runes. He was quite a natural at it! With a key in hand we’d be able to translate the ancient writing on the monoliths once we were able to locate them.”
A tournament of champions, all gather round!
No matter your skill level, come join the fray!
Cast your bets, and win a few duggets you may!
Only one will be crowned!
Inside the arena, a friendly battleground,
Wait for the countdown and the battle is underway,
Keep your eyes on the fight, don’t look away!
And let your cheers sound!
Ongoing excitement, fights and bets both being won,
But wait, here another game is being played;
A curse has been laid, seeds of confusion are sewn;
For centuries a web of lies has been spun,
But now it is time to end this masquerade,
While today one champion is crowned, there is a servant of darkness to dethrone.
(“The Tournament of Champions”, by Sachii Alys)
“What does greatness look like? Is it a champion shining silver beneath the sun on the battlefield? Perhaps. But greatness also takes the guise of a humble traveler, not looking to do harm. Instead, seeking to help those in need.
“I think Alkanet knew when Roven first set foot on Spade Island. He knew the one to seal the darkness had finally come.
“Alkanet approached Roven Hoklan, seeing him for the hero he was. But Roven only saw, as we all did, a kind, humble old wizard. He did not expect what was to come next. None of us did.
“Alkanet, under his guise as Canter, wanted Roven to follow him. He had found the sword of legend, the very sword that Alkanet had wielded in the Great War, and wanted to bring Roven before it. I had to see for myself, so I followed. Chesh and Tai Lung, too, followed out of curiosity. Just being able to see Alkanet’s sword first hand would be something remarkable to behold.
“Canter led us down, west of Spade Village, to an open field. In the middle was a fallen, petrified tree. Living rock. And it twisted about a sword with a red, killing spell tied to its hilt. The three of us who had come to witness stopped a few paces from the tree while Canter and Roven approached it. Canter motioned for Roven to take the sword, but warned that the sword killed all who touched it, all but one. It was awaiting the one who was chosen to wield it. Roven looked at the sword for a good while, surely knowing that it could kill him. Then, looking at Canter with determination in his eyes, Roven grasped the sword by its hilt…and pulled the sword from the living stone. The wind stilled, birds fell silent, and Roven stood with the sword outstretched to the sky.”
Sachii paused. Took a breath she realized she had been holding. The light outside the one, tiny window her room had was waning. She lit her lantern. Then took her quill up again.
“Canter was the first to break the silence. He told him the responsibility he now bore was a heavy one. And that as the bearer of this cursed sword that he could not die. He implored Roven to find and translate the monoliths at whatever cost.”
THE SEEDS OF INSANITY
“I want to speak a little about one of Spade Island’s own. The evil that had been infecting Spade Island for centuries took its toll on the locals on this small island, and among those lost was noble man who had dedicated his life to protecting the citizens there.”
This wouldn’t be enough. Sachii needed more insight on the circumstances surrounding Captain Angren. She grabbed her notebook and the lantern sitting on her desk and made her way to the galley. Halfway there, though, she heard music coming from up on deck. That had to be Chesh and Tai Lung. Surely they had what she needed.
Up on the main deck Chesh was leaning on the railing and Tai Lung was sitting on a large coil of rope. There was a small crowd gathered round them; some singing with the bards, some just nodding to the beat of the music. Sachii found an empty spot at the edge of the group and sat down to listen.
It was a song about the hero Alkanet, one she hadn’t heard before. It told of him coming to challenge the Dark Magician and bringing hope once more to the Silgen. At the closing of the song many from the crowd got up to leave, thanking the bards for their music. Sachii found a seat closer to the center. Tai Lung was working at retuning the strings to his instrument and Chesh was strumming a tune that sounded a bit like a sea shanty.
“That song you were playing, it’s Silgen, yes?” Sachii ventured.
Chesh played through a few more measures before answering, “Yes, ‘His Name Is Hope’. It’s quite an old song but one of my favorites about Alkanet.”
“What was it like being able to see a figure from history with your very eyes?”
“He’s not just a historical figure. He’s our Deliverer. Alkanet liberated my people from the grasp of evil. And he has done so again, and will continue to do so,” the bard plucked at the strings, the thought of a melody beginning to form.
Tai Lung picked up the harmony, “It was truly remarkable witnessing the True Magician pull Alakanet’s sword from the living stone firsthand. Not to mention seeing Alkanet, himself, in the flesh.”
“It was something else,” Sachii said, falling silent to listen to the song. It sounded a bit sad. At the last note she spoke up again, “There’s a lot that happened on Spade Island. Can you tell me anything of Captain Angren?”
“The leader of Spade Island’s Warriors’ Guild?” Chesh set his instrument down, “He was quite the formidable and unyielding warrior whose power was further enhanced by enchanted weapons and armor. Spade Island was in good hands. Any reason you’re asking?”
“Yes, actually. He gave his life in the defense of Alkanet. I wanted to include his story in my account of the events surrounding Alkanet’s sword, but I hardly witnessed any of Angren’s deeds. I was hoping maybe you and Tai Lung might have more insight.”
“I think I can help with that.”
“I did not witness the deeds of Captain Angren so here I record the tale as told by a bard who witnessed those events surrounding the leader of the Warriors’ Guild.
A HERO’S UNSUNG TALE, AS TOLD BY CHESH, SILGEN BARD
‘Captain Angren, a formidable and unyielding warrior whose power was further enhanced by enchanted weapons and armor. He was the leader of the Warriors’ Guild of Spade Island and it was their duty to keep the peace. The Summer Festival not only brought celebration to Spade Island but also outsiders, who were welcome as long as they agreed to abide by the established laws. But there are always those who bring trouble and Captain Angren and his warriors were prepared to quell any trouble that might surface.
The warriors kept the peace at the festival effectively at first. They kept their skills sharp by offering to spar with visitors to the island, in the process demonstrating their skills and offering to recruit interested sell-swords to the guild.
There was, however, another power operating in the shadows: the Thieves’ Guild. Orders to steal and spy came from an unknown source. Whoever they were seemed to be covering their tracks with the careful use of persuasion magic, erasing the memory of any sensitive conversations.
It wasn’t long before Orion, the mercenary who Tai Lung and I had hired, came to us troubled. He said that he had a memory of being affected by a persuasion spell, but no memory of why. He said that the person who used this magic on him was the shop keep, Caeda, of Boggs & Wargun Mercantile.
The tournament was in full swing, but afterwards I visited the shop to investigate further. When I entered to buy a sword the shop keep asked if I’d be interested in some work. She said that the strongbox holding the tournament funds was unguarded, and she offered to let me keep ninety percent of its contents, quite the pretty dugget, if it was brought to her. I told her I’d look into it, but never made a move on the goods mentioned. It seemed that she was the center of the Thieves’ Guild, its very leader.
On the way back from witnessing the historic moment when Roven pulled Alkanet’s sword from its resting place, Tai Lung and I came across a human and a grok standing over the bodies of two dead humans, a man and a woman. The apparent bandits did not loot them but did take proof of their kill, mentioning that they bore their victims no ill will, that it was just a job.
Overhearing this, Tai Lung and I managed to pass unmolested, but the question now hung in our minds: who ordered these murders? Further investigation would be needed.
I wondered if perhaps the leader of the thieves was also a leader of assassins. When questioned, Caeda showed surprise and an apparent ignorance of such killing. Sensing no guile in her regarding this, I began questioning elsewhere.
Playing music for weary travelers resting in the tavern, Tai Lung and I kept our ears open for any rumors. Whispers began to arise of bounties being put out for certain individuals, dead or alive, bounties authorized and paid by the captain of the warriors himself, Angren. This didn’t match what we had witnessed on the road though. What could that young couple of travelers possibly have been guilty of to deserve such a terrible fate?
It wasn’t long before the same grok and human came into the tavern where Tai Lung and I were performing. I casually plied the grok for the identity of the one who gave him the contract. Though the grok was tight lipped about who the order had come from, he seemed to have no worries about being apprehended by the guards all around in the tavern.
I decided to take a long shot and asked Inca, a member of the guard, if there were any bounties to be had. I was discreetly escorted to the guard’s post, where Angren presented me with a choice of bounties, dead or alive, one of which bore the likeness of Canter, the harmless but well-known wandering wizard. Trying to keep a smooth face, I agreed and left, but my heart was troubled. At the first opportunity, I discreetly spoke to Canter about what I had been asked to do. It seemed that my worst fears had been realized: the corrupt ordering kills on innocent people went all the way to the top; Angren himself was responsible for sponsoring these brutal and random killings. It had to stop.
A scuffle was heard outside the village to the North, and Silas ran into the sanctuary of the tavern. He said he’d been pursued by bandits and only barely escaped with his life.
Tai Lung and I informed the leader of the Theives’ Guild of Angren’s actions, and cautioned her to lay low. We also approached Tarionna, asking for the aid of her magic in what seemed to be an upcoming struggle to remove the corruption at the top. She was shocked by the news but seemed reluctant to help.
The Thieves’ Guild grew strong in these chaotic times and became a true threat to the Warriors’ Guild who guarded the village. Angren led a search of Boggs and Wargun Mercantile, which rumors suggested was deeply involved in thievery. Though they found nothing, Caeda, the shop keep and leader of the Thieves’ Guild, knew she was no longer safe.
While we translated the monolith in the North, tensions began to escalate between the Thieves’ Guild and the village guards. Tai Lung, Orion, and I returned to the village soon after the translation of the monolith was finished. Upon entering the village, Caeda ran up and hid behind us, asking for protection as the Warriors searched her shop. Thinking quickly, her tan cloak was exchanged with the burgundy cloak off the back of the hapless wandering Canter. Thus disguised, she slipped past the main force of Warriors and made her way out of the village southward. By the time Angren and his warriors discovered who she was, she was too far ahead to be caught. After some deliberation, Angren led his forces after her, in the direction of Tarionna’s coven.
A group of thieves moved South, hoping to evade capture and execution. They had learned that the chaos of bounties had been caused by a curse placed on Angren himself. Tarionna agreed to give them a potion with which to cure Angren of this curse of madness.
However, in a nearby field, they soon came up against the entire Warrior’s Guild, brought out in force against them. A large battle ensued, with many casualties, in the which the Warrior’s Guild prevailed. In the chaos, however, the potion was administered and Angren was cured. The task now lay to him to try to salvage the rule of law on Spade Island.’
And little did Angren know that he would soon lay down his life in defense against the dark magic that had infected Spade Island.”
Only a few had remained until the end of the bard’s tale. The night was silent save for the lapping of the ocean and the creaking of the boat. A chill had crept into the summer air with the late hour. Sachii jotted a few last notes in her notebook, her eyes starting to feel tired from working so long in the dimmer lantern light, though it was something she was used to.
“The first I heard of Angren’s insanity curse was when Inca approached us at the monolith, but I had no idea that actual lives were lost to his corrupt bounties and that even a battle ensued!” Sachii stood and almost extended her hand for a handshake, but realized she had left her gloves in her room. Instead she bowed, “Thank you, truly, this is just what I needed. Goodnight Chesh, Tai Lung.”
The bards waved and nodded their goodnight respectively. Sachii headed back to her room. There was still much to finish before morning.
THE WRITING IN THE STONE
Sachii replenished her lantern and continued writing.
“Knowledge is a powerful thing. Tarionna knew that once the knowledge that the monoliths held was revealed she, herself, would lose the power that she held over this island. Once she learned of Roven’s intent to translate the monoliths, Tarionna adamantly advised against doing so. She said that those runes held dark magic that once translated would be released and wreak havoc on this land.
“Roven, along with Chesh, Tai Lung, Ryu, Silas, and I set off towards the monolith. Orion, a skilled archer from the Tandavar archipelago and Flynn who had come to warn us of the unrest in the town after we left also joined us. Were we about to unleash some dark magic centuries old? Or was there something else at work? Whatever it was it was something Master Tarionna and the villagers of Spade Island didn’t want us to find out.
“Chesh led us to the first monolith. Using the key that Ryu had made, Roven began reading. Slowly at first, but towards the end he was hardly using the key. Here is the translation of the first monolith:
“Hybris is no more, but his tricks are here. There is still a great and final spell. The Land of the Dead. There his power returned, for his Dark Goddess was with him. In that land did I fight Hybris. It wore on me greatly, for the Land of the Dead is no place for the living. With all my magic did I seal Hybris unto death. With great effort I found my way back to the Land of the Living, but the final spell of Hybris was a curse upon me. As long as I live magic would never flow and his Dark Goddess would reign in power of it all. For 200 years did I seek to seal that darkness but I could not. Then, I returned to the ominous prophecy, for she said that one would come to the north to seal the evil. I did destroy the evil but I was not the one to seal it. I have found a way to seal the darkness forever. I have poured the curse into my sword. Whoever holds it shall be the one to help me seal it. The Dark Goddess, Helcrest, has prevailed for too long against the power of the light. It was the Goddess Helcrest who empowered Hybris and sought to enslave all men. When one can draw my sword call on me by name. And I will aid you.
“We speculated that maybe perhaps the mage was right and maybe we should send some away from the monolith just in case there was dark magic at work, especially with the first mention of the Dark Goddess. But the more that was translated, the more that was brought to light. This was not dark magic. Surely these were the words of Alkanet himself. And the Dark Goddess’ name was Helcrest! Her followers were in this very village! It was no wonder Master Tarionna did not want the monoliths to be translated. As we began to lay out a plan to head to the next monolith one of the warriors of Spade Island approached us. He was worried about his captain, Angren, who was not himself and might possibly be cursed with insanity. He had been putting out false bounties and causing trouble in the town.
“We decided to split up. Chesh and Tai Lung would enter the town before us and create a diversion. As we headed towards the back entrance of the town the archeologist Evie approached. Everyone was wary about who we could trust but I felt that she held no ill will. She told us of all that had been happening in town and that Master Tarionna seemed to be gathering people to her aid. Tarionna knew what was going on and was going to do everything in her power to keep what was written on those monoliths from being brought to the light.
“Roven who now held Alkanet’s blade could not die, but what if as a servant of the Dark Goddess, Master Tarionna could take the sword from Roven and twist the curse from the sword to her own ends? We had to translate that last monolith and find a way to seal the evil forever.
“I remember arriving at the heart of Spade Village how eerily quiet it was. The door to the mercantile was ajar, revealing scattered goods. The Handless Heathen was empty except for some smoke wafting from a recently extinguished cooking fire. No music. No laughter. Only the sound of water trickling from the nearby spring.
“Filling up our water skins we headed up the ridge towards the southeastern part of the island where the captain of the guard had tipped us off to the possible location of one of the monoliths. Whether he had done so in lucidity as a friend or under the curse to lure us into a trap we knew not. But it was our only lead and we would have to chance it.
“The sun was hot and the hike a bit rough, but the road overlooked most of the island and we could see the camp of the Coven of Helcrest. Tarionna was gathering people to her cause to put a stop to what was already in motion. I feared that maybe she would see us on the ridge but I think we had enough trees on the road to hide our approach to what we thought was the location to the second monolith.
“The closer we came to the supposed location the closer we came to the vicinity of the coven. When we stumbled upon the monolith at last we were relieved, but wary as the coven was visible through the trees. Immediately both Roven and Ryu began working on translating together. It grew hard to keep up transcribing their words as they began reading the runes without needing the key.
“We heard sounds of someone approaching, fearing it was Tarionna already coming to confront us. But it was only the rest of our companions come to join us. Then Captain Angren revealed himself. He came without his weapons drawn. He had had the curse lifted from him and was himself again. Then a remarkable thing happened. One by one people approached and found a spot to sit and listen as Ryu and Roven translated. None made any moves to attack or hinder them in any way. They were with us. Once the translation was finished and transcribed everyone looked on in awe at the ease that the scarg and hastu had read the ancient writing. I stood up and faced them and began reading the transcription of the first monolith, then following with the transcription of the second monolith. Here is the translation of the second monolith:
“There may yet be a story in your time of a man who came from the north. I am he, Alkanet, and I write these words with mine own hand in the year of Mors Eius, 414. The curse took me 400 years ago that I cannot leave this world. I am a man of Spade Island. Where you stand is a place of ancients. My people were great magicians. Now I am the last for the Dark Goddess called to the Silgen Lands. Hybris felt the call and laid waste to Silg, claimed the kingdom. Next to Mul Debbon he laid waste to the land of the Golden King Leonine. Leonine’s heart was sorely troubled for his people were slaves in their own land. The Golden King Leonine fled and took those still loyal to him, but every battle turned against the Gold King until only he remained. It was at this time the wicked king Hybris sent his armies south to lay waste to the peoples of Filenfoe. The hastu were driven far from the river delta. Among them was a seer. Her name was Amina. She saw the future, saying, “One will come from the north archipelago to destroy the evil. And one will come to the north archipelago to seal it away forever.” Word of the prophecy traveled through the land. Hybris was not pleased by the prophecy and sent his army to destroy all the people who dwelt on the northernmost isle. My home was laid to waste. I alone survived.”
“Once I finished reading, everyone turned to Roven. All was revealed now and we all knew now that Tarionna was a threat. Something had to be done, but what could any of us do? Tarionna had the power of the Dark Goddess at her fingertips. The last words from the first monolith came to mind: When one can draw my sword call on me by name. And I will aid you.
“Roven held up Alkanet’s sword and called Alkanet by his name. And Canter, the traveling wizard, answered, revealing himself to us all that he was Alkanet.
“Alkanet told Roven of a ritual that had to be done to forever seal the evil, and that he would need Roven in order to complete the ritual. It was then that we realized that Tarionna was approaching, with the wrath of the Dark Goddess behind her.”
The following are secondhand accounts regarding the battle that occured after the last monolith was translated and Alkanet revealed himself.
A HARD BARGAIN
A large group entered Durok Hollow, but paid no mind to the coven master sitting there. They were on the tail of two travellers they had attacked. The travellers had come for the magical healing the hollow provided.
Tarionna snapped out of her trance. Canter, the wandering wizard, had just told her through magic that Captain Angren had been cursed, which was why so many bounties had been placed on innocent citizens. They agreed the best plan of action was to tell as many people in hopes that he could be cured.
many of the group were in her guild, and she told them of Captain Angren’s plight. They agreed that something must be done, but were more concerned about the two travellers first, having taken one of their coin purses as a bounty. They determined to purchase a curing potion with the money instead of turning it in.
They continued to banter among themselves. Tarionna could not hear all of their conversation, but enough to understand that they were turning to banditry. They were either exceedingly bold, or strikingly foolish to be discussing such unlawfulness in front of a guild leader. Tarionna smiled, it was not the first time such had happened today, but she would remain quiet. Such lawlessness served her purposes better anyway, as long as it did not turn against her.
The group finally convinced the travellers to join them. Tarionna was fetching something from her bag when one of the travellers approached her. He pointed his sword at the unarmed mage. “We’re mugging you!”
Tarionna stepped back in alarm. She was cornered, but not nearly as helpless as she appeared. She pointed to her assailant and shouted an incantation. Her foe fell lifeless to the ground, and the rest of the group froze in stunned silence.
They backed slowly away, nervously whispering amongst themselves. No one dared attempt violence against the master of the coven now. A few came forward to report on quests she had sent them on, and one purchased a potion from the apothecary with the confiscated money. Soon they were on their way to cure the captain of the guard.
Tarionna heard someone approaching, and quickly. She turned to see the merchant running towards her magical hollow. She looked frantic. “Did you get my letter?”
The only letter she had received recently was signed by the thieves guild leader. Of course, she’d known they were one and the same already. Everyone seemed to trust the coven master, and tended to talk about secret things openly in front of her, including the merchant. “Yes, I did.”
“Why didn’t you come?”
“I’d discovered that Captain Angren was cursed just before I received it.”
“They’re coming after me, they think I stole Angren’s weapon, but I didn’t. I sent someone to steal some other things from there, but not his weapon. I send people to steal things, but I don’t ever do it myself! Is there any place I can hide?”
Tarionna permitted her to enter her tent. What was a little more havoc today? The leader of the thieves guild could indeed be a useful ally, she could have both sides in her grasp. “Don’t let them look in there, tell them you want a warrant.”
Tarionna sat down in her chair. Not one minute later Captain Angren arrived with a posse. The same posse that had committed to banditry not a half hour ago. “We’re looking for the leader of the thieves guild. Are you working with her? Do you know where she is?”
“Well, she did send me this letter.” Tarionna extended it to the captain.
Angren took two steps back. “Oh no, I’m not touching that!”
“It’s not cursed.” Tarionna rolled her eyes and opened the letter. “Here, I’ll read it to you.”
“Hand it to Inca, he can read it. We took away his sword, he was in with the thieves guild.”
Tarionna handed the captive guard the letter.
“One gallon of milk, 2 dozen eggs…” Everyone laughed, but Angren wasn’t having it. “Okay, okay. ‘I have reason to believe that the captain of the guard is corrupt. We should team up together and figure out what to do with him. Meet me at the Handless Heathen at three forty-five to talk. The Thieves Guild Leader.’”
Angren looked to Tarionna. “That was an hour ago, what did you talk about?”
“I didn’t go.”
“That was a good choice. We were just following her, she just came through here, where did she go?”
Tarionna pointed towards the archaeology camp. “She went that way.”
“Hmm, a likely story. Can I look in your tent?”
Tarionna began to get nervous. “You can. There are cursed items in there, but you can.”
Angren looked to his disloyal guard. “That’s okay, we can have Inca look inside, but only if you give the okay.”
“I’d really rather if you had a warrant.” Tarionna knew she had been caught, but she might still be able to get away with it.
“Look, I can get a warrant. We’re going to get in there either way.” One of the posse, Tupac, one of Tarionna’s own guild members, offered a paper and pen to write the warrant. “Do you really want me to write a warrant, or can we just look in there?”
Tarionna stepped out of the way and gestured to the tent. Inca approached and the tent moved of its own accord. Angren laughed in jubilation. “Ha! I knew it! Come out!”
The merchant emerged from the tent. Knowing both leaders could cast the influence spell, Angren had them cast it on each other to tell him the truth. Tarionna withheld a smile, with all her training she had made herself immune to that spell.
He asked them both if they were currently engaged in any illegal activities. They both answered that they were not. He had Tarionna cast it on Inca, who wouldn’t answer the question. “Oh, that’s right, you’re a hastu.”
Angren left with most of the posse and the thieves guild leader, leaving Tarionna with a few who wanted to continue their magical training. Tarionna had gotten away clean, and not much worse for the wear. She’d yet again proven herself untouchable.
TARIONNA IN PURSUIT
Tarionna heard a shout from above. She couldn’t tell exactly what was said, all she could tell was the power of Alkanet was being invoked. That elf that drew the sword must have finished translating the monoliths. She knew he had been lying to her.
She knew her support was waning, and flaky at best. She left her pupils to complete their tasks while she hurried up the hill. Two of her pupils came to assist, but the hill was too much for the pregnant woman.
Captain Angren was waiting at the monolith. “It’s almost over, they are going to undo you!”
They fought, but the captain couldn’t withstand the powerful magic the coven master unleashed upon him. She left him lifeless on the ground and pursued the group he’d been blocking her from.
She could see them now, nearly all of the village, heading towards the pond. There was one straggler behind, Silas, one of the members of her guild. She caught up to him. “What is going on?”
“I’m just following them to see what happens.” She didn’t believe him, but decided to let him live. She had bigger fish to fry, and he might be useful later.
She was on the heels of the fleeing party. Those at the rear turned to fight, but were hit with fire spells from Tarionna’s hands almost as soon as they turned. It seemed as though nothing could stand in her way.
Inca, the guard who had been a traitor to the captain turned and blocked her spells. His shield was enchanted with fire, preventing her from striking him. He dodged ice spells and a curse she shot towards him.
If anyone was going to be able to challenge Tarionna it was Inca. She knew she must face him with her sword and shield. Then everyone would behold the true might of Tarionna the battle mage, servant of Helcrest!
Tarionna dashed down the hill at an angle, heading off the group on their way to the pond. Inca was in hot pursuit. She took up her weapons and struck down the guard. He was no match against her now.
She shot fire spells towards more of the group, but now Orion the archer had his sights set on her. She easily blocked his arrows and hasted away to the front.
Tarionna stopped. She’d missed Orion with her spell, and he had struck her in the back with an arrow. Calling upon Helcrest for healing, she pulled it out and continued on her pursuit.
The arrow had been just the delay they needed. Roven stepped towards her. “It’s over, the sword has been pierced.”
He said it, and Tarionna knew it was true. She could feel the power of Helcrest waning within herself. Helcrest was no longer with her. She had failed the goddess of magic.
The wandering wizard appeared beside her and spoke to the group surrounding them. “It’s over, turn away. In a moment all that will be left of us is memory.”
Alkanet. How could she have been so blind? She knew her only hope now was that someone would keep looking their direction, keeping them tethered to the earth.
“Look here! Look! You must look!” More people turned away. “Please! Look!”
Soon Roven was the only one looking at the frantic mage. There almost seemed pity in his eyes. Alkanet placed his hand on the elf’s shoulder. “Look away brother.”
Roven turned, and Tarionna screamed. “No. No! Look! No! Helcrest!”
All was still. When the group finally turned again all that remained of the two mages were their weapons and crumpled robes. The magic had been broken, their ancient bodies turned to dust.
One will come from the north, evil to vanquish;
And one will come to the north to seal it away forever.
Alkanet came from the north and did vanquish, however,
He waited for the one that would seal the evil, in anguish;
Years, decades, centuries, yet his hope did not extinguish;
Evil can be clever,
And would seek knowledge to sever,
But, finally, Alkanet his sword he could relinquish;
Now the ritual he could complete,
With the hastu, Roven, the one chosen by the sword,
But Helcrest would have her servant stop it all;
Her servant, though, was beat,
And although Alkanet, too, is gone, she can no longer sow discord;
And it is only Alkanet that we will recall.
(“Only Alkanet Will We Recall”, by Sachii, Alys)
FOREVER IN MEMORY
“I’m not sure what I expected when it was safe to turn around. But I did not think that Alkanet would be gone. They both were. The corrupt mages helmet lay askew on the ground. And Allanet’s well worn cloak laid there as if glad to finally be resting. How many centuries had he been wandering this earth waiting for the one who could draw his sword from the living rock?
“A shrine to Alkanet now stands in Spade Village. There must be so much that Alkanet has done to protect the people of Alteris from the dark magic that threatened to consume all that is good in this world. I think there is only a fraction of his deeds recorded, including this one.
“May no one ever forget that after the Great War, Alkanet did not vanish. He remained on Alteris, unable to rest until the one prophesied that would come to the north and claim His sword to seal the evil forever. If you ever encountered a traveling wizard that went by the name Canter, it was none other than Alakanet. The deeds he did was not for his own gain, but only for the good of all Alteris. Now with the evil finally sealed with the help of The One True Magician, Roven Hoklan, Alkanet now rests. But his name lives on forever.”
Sachii stood on the deck of the boat. She had worked well into the night and had finished her record a few hours before dawn. She clutched her bag close to her, the pages that now held her account of Alkanet more precious than any amount of duggets. The other passengers on the boat were starting to come up to the deck, their bags in tow, including some of the seven who had aided Alkanet and Roven.
A fordrin was supposed to return immediately upon the completion of their pilgrimage. The length of a fordrin’s pilgrimage varied but she had only been granted time enough to attend the summer festival on Spade Island. She would write back to her university in Udai and ask for an extension. If she went back now her record would be taken and archived. fordrin rarely shared their knowledge with outsiders. Sachii needed to seek Alteris to gather and record as many accounts of Alkanet as she could. See if anyone else had encountered Canter, the traveling wizard. And she needed to spread word of the last deeds of Alkanet to all of Alteris.