Adventure Date: February 1, 2009
Last Updated: April 10, 2009
Note: The following takes place after the death of Swan Battlestar during the drow ambush on the road to Essembra.
She found herself lying on a bed of leaves staring up towards the canopy of huge ancient trees of a forest. But what a forest! She sensed it teeming, vibrant, and incredibly alive. More alive than the forests of home. She heard the rushing water of a brook, smelled fish on a cook fire. She sat up Her only memory was seeing the deadly bloodstained end of a spiked chain moving at incredible speed towards her head. Her futile attempt to block it. The mocking laughter of a drow warrior. Then a blackness, which lasted for an instant or an eternity. She could not determine which.
An unfamiliar voice spoke "Daughter of Lilia and Armando, finally awake. Good, just in time for lunch. Join me. There by the bank of the brook was a handsome man in the scout militia dress of Deepingdale. Two trout were blackening in a skillet while tea brewed in a pot. It all smelled enticing. She arose and joined him by the fire. He handed her a fish and poured her tea in a clay mug. They ate in silence. She did not find any of this behavior strange. Finally done, she felt invigorated. She stared at the man. She had never seen him before, yet he looked so familiar. He stared back at her, warmth and love emanating from his eyes. "Cygni, Swan girl, you have become a winsome young woman. That makes me proud."
"You know me, but I do not know you. Where am I? Who are you?"
"A better question would be why are you here? The answer to that question will answer all your other questions. You are here because you ignored your parent's teachings. Try to remember. You encountered drow on the road to Essembra."
At the mention of drow, more memories came rushing into her mind.
"Yes, yes, we were returning from Baseris' keep. We were ambushed and..."
"And the drow had a spell caster that you failed to engage, thereby breaking your mother's rule of ..."
She finished for him "Always take out the spell casters first. Yes, I know." She hung her head.
He continued. "The reason being, you saw your friend Ninniach fall and despite that your other friend, the cleric of Kossuth, had matters under control, you could not bear to see him hurt and so leaped to defend and aid the half sun elf. This, naturally led to the breaking of your father's rule of…"
Again she finished for him, "Always take out the enemy first. I feel ashamed."
"No shame, my sweet Swan. It happens. Now a fatal consequence of disregarding those rules is.."
Her eyebrows lifted. "Why its dea.." Sudden realization struck. She gasped out, "Oh, gods I'm dead!! Then this must be ..Arvandor?
"Oh, only a very, very small part of a very, very small part," he responded. Perhaps it was the way he nodded or perhaps it was his intent look but she now knew why he looked familiar. She could not help but blurt out, "You look like my mother. You look a little like me."
"Our eyes, I think, are the same, granddaughter."
"Granpar, granpar!" She threw herself into his arms, Laughing and crying simultaneously. He gently stroked her hair. "Beautiful daughter of my beautiful daughter. Hush now."
She looked up at him, intent on memorizing his face. "I get to stay with you here?
He sighed. "As much as I would welcome that, it is not yet time. You arrived too soon Swan dear. I was sent to sternly admonish you for being careless. Was I stern enough? Your time is not yet. You must finish all the tasks selected for you first. You must take better care. You will be going back. Take our encounter as a gift from the gods. "
"Will I remember this granpar?"
"Of course. What good is a gift if one cannot remember the receiving of it? Tell your parents and your grammar, especially her, that I love them and am waiting for them. But tell them not to hurry. They also still have much to do."
She suddenly felt extremely tired and sleepy. He stroked her forehead.
"Now granddaughter, rest and when you next awaken you will be with others who care" Her last vision before the darkness again overtook her was his face as he bent to kiss her forehead.
She awoke in a soft bed. This time she stared up at anxious faces staring down. Gathered around the bed were strangers in clerical robes and the Seekers. Risca was holding her left hand in his scared roughened ones. His reddened eyes and nose indicated crying. She turned to him. "Hello old friend" she muttered as she squeezed his hand.
"She's back! Guifoon, me gurl's back!" Risca shouted with gay abandonment.
She looked at the faces. "Okul, do not look so worried. I'm back and feeling fine. A little tired perhaps but fine."
Kilzadi spoke up, "Welcome back Swan. We are all poor now, but welcome back."
"Ah, Mighty Mage of Magic, am I not worth every copper piece? Don't worry. We will go find a dragon horde soon." They grinned at each other.
Gideon peered into her face. "Swan for such a minor cleric, you do a lot of major traveling to celestial planes. More than most arch deacons, bishops, prefects and patriarchs do in a lifetime."
"Not by choice friend Gideon. Not by choice. It mucks up having a normal life. Next time a deity calls, I'll let you answer. Alright?" Both chuckled.
"Time people", announced the chief cleric. "All out. She needs to rest". The room began to empty.
All this time, Neon had silently held on to her right hand. Finally alone with her, he spoke his first words. "I'm very glad you are back, Cygni.. I was so afraid; I would lose you as well. The pain.."
"Ah, you care. Excellent. Now don't people who have missed each other, usually greet with a kiss?" He bent to give her a light peck. But she maneuvered to kiss him deeply. He broke off with a look of puzzlement.
"Ah Ninniach, the game continues. Will she, won't she. Won't she, will she?" she grinned at him.
He grinned back. "Oh you will Swan, you will. And when you do it will be glorious. Rest now. You will need your strength…for many things." So saying he moved silently out.
She lay back, content. So many things yet to do. So many things.