Chapter VI Of My Current Campaign, Which Began 11-12 Months Ago, As Written/Retold By My Player Who Plays Vilven
The older man said nothing further, just held out his hand, indicating he knew about the book and wanted it back.
Vilven looked down at his outstretched arm, then up at his hard expression, then back at his arm. With a resigned sigh, Vilven held it out in his direction. With a quickness that she didn’t expect, he grabbed it and threw it carelessly onto his desk as he walked past her. He made his way to his chair on the other side of the desk, having to avoid piles of books and papers on the floor. The black cat loyally followed him to curl at his feet.
“I just wanted to read it.” Vilven said, with just a twinge of attitude. She realized she was the culprit, but his disposition was automatically irritating to her.
As he sat back down, already reading a piece of paper on the desk, he waved his hand toward her. “Fine, read it, then get out”,
Mildly offended, but not going to decline his offer, she turned, went to the book, turned it to face her, then opened it with her free hand, the other one still holding the tea he gave her. The book was in an Elvish language, but luckily she was familiar with Elvish enough to follow what it said. And after the first page, she realized regrettably, it wouldn’t be helpful to her even in the slightest. It described some sort of complicated technique to memorize spells better that only Elves would have time to decipher.
With disappointment, she closed the book deliberately, placed the tea onto the cover, and with a final glance at the old man, turned to leave.
“Seems an awful lot of trouble you went through to read a paragraph.”. The man said without looking up when she reached the door.
Vilven stopped to look back over her shoulder, then she slowly turned to face him, “Are you going to tell anyone about me?” she asked.
He looked up at her with a curious expression, then stood. “Do you know where you are, girl?”
Vilven took a step inside, trying to gauge the situation and how much she should disclose to this strange, old man. Looking sharply into his eyes she responded with the truth, “All I know about where I am is that this is King Beaumont’s castle. I was hoping to find out more, but that plan didn’t work out as planned. Obviously.”
With deep wisdom, he took a few steps toward her. “You’re not from here, are you? Not even from this plane. You’re a genasi”
She didn’t respond.
With a nod of concession, he continued to speak “You are correct, you are in King Beaumont’s castle.” He began to walk slowly around the room then, idly brushing dust off various items and objects, glancing every so often at her like a teacher to a student. “It’s in the forest region.” He continued as he crossed his arms behind his back. “The forest region of Varamore, in the Material Plane”.
Vilven stared blankly at him, but her mind was quickly trying to connect this new information with what she had already learned from Wiendle.
“I heard there was an attack here…” Vilven inquired after a pause.
He raised an eyebrow at her in response, “Did you.” he said in a dry, facetious tone. “What is your name?” he added, ending the subject.
Resigned that he wasn’t going to say anything more about it, she introduced herself, “I’m Vilven Ledsong. I am a genasi, a water genasi. I’m from the Water Plane.”
“You can call me Zed.” He said, then made his way back to his desk, and his chair. “I’ll leave it at that.” He spoke, almost to himself, as he sat back down. He picked up and began reading the piece of paper he had been reading before. “You better leave. Before someone else finds you. God knows you probably woke up the entire place” He said without looking up.
Vilven gave a small nod, a slight smile coming to her face “Thank you, Zed.” she said slowly and meaningfully. Then she turned, to walk through the open doorway.
“And Vilven,” Zed called out to her, she looked back. “Shut the door.”
“Varamore…” Vilven murmured to herself when she was back in the lake, laying on the bottom among the sand and rocks, the darkness of the night finally making her eyes fall with drowsiness. She had never heard of Varamore before, and couldn’t remember if she had ever heard of this particular plane of existence before either. But regardless of how much more she wished she knew, she was content that she had come to learn even this much on her first day. She felt that she was quite comfortable in her new life, though she wasn’t sure where it was leading. She was happy to have met Wiendle and Zed. She was content that she was sent here for a reason, she could be content in looking for information and solving the mystery. She could even willingly accept that in some capacity she belonged to Areiden now, and was no longer fully free. But what was difficult, what truly tore her inside, was she still grieved the loss of her home. She had lost her whole existence and was being asked a great deal to accept all these changes. She wasn’t angry in this knowledge, just deeply sad. A foreign world, strangers, unknown abilities…In truth, even she was beginning to be different, act different, and she ached for her old self and her simple life. “Varamore” Vilven said again, with a sob, and began to cry until she fell asleep in her heartache.
Chapter V Of My Campaign, Which Started 11 Months Ago, Written/Retold By My Player Who Plays The Character Vilven
CHAPTER V – CATLIKE
Vilven swam fluidly in the large lake, circling the magnificent castle in the center. Her introduction to Wiendle was still fresh in her mind, and though she was unsure if she was going to end up to be an ally in this situation, she knew she wanted to be. Wiendle appeared to be desperate for another life, consumed by innocence and pushed by longing. But Vilven was wiser than to leave the mysteries in Wiendle’s request to escape the castle, and her royal father, as mystery. She knew that there was much more to the story than she knew or was being told.
As a stranger in a new land, perhaps it was the wrong approach to creep into a household of possibly otherwise peaceful and friendly people, but Vilven figured the opposite could be much worse. And though she had very little experience in doing anything like this, the twinge of curiosity and the knowledge she was sent here for a reason pushed her to explore further. She waited for the sky to turn black before she decided to try to sneak into the castle again. As the sun set slowly, Vilven jerked in surprise as her eyes adjusted to the dark easily. It took her only seconds before she realized it was another gift from Areiden.
She was beginning to get used to the feeling of the magic swelling inside her, even after less than a day she loved the almost instantaneous way it responded to her needs, quicker than a thought, as natural as a heartbeat. But she also knew it would take discipline to master. Controlling the magic would be like controlling a reflex of the body, and there were times when she knew she wouldn’t want to do what her most immediate instincts told her to do. It would be learning to think a whole knew way. There had to be space between thought and magic, between emotion and magic. But for now she was just thankful she had magic that allowed her to see in the darkness at all. She decided she would always try to be thankful for it.
She swam to the bottom of the lake to walk on the sand, now colored an unnatural grey, whether from the dull light of the moon or her dark vision Vilven couldn’t tell. Her mind was set on trying to break into Wiendle’s chambers again, it seemed the easiest way to enter and at least she could try to lie if Wiendle caught her. But looking up, preparing to swim toward Wiendle’s window, she spotted a surface that seemed oddly smooth compared to the rest of the rocks that made up the island of land that held the castle. She cautiously swam closer to see a kind of door. It looked to be steel, round, with a large knob in the center. In Vilven’s mind, the knob looked like a wheel from a ship, though it was made of metal and not wood.
Without thought, Vilven went to the wheel and, with both hands around one of the spokes, began to pull it. It put a strain on her, and though it took her a few minutes, the initial fastening released and the wheel-knob began to turn easily. She silently cursed herself for being so impulsive, but it was drowned out by her excitement.
When the knob had reached it’s final turn, Vilven pulled the hefty door aside on it’s hinges to expose a long round tunnel. The tunnel was already filled with water, but the water from the lake still rushed in slightly, mixing with the considerably warmer water in the tunnel. After a short moment, Vilven swam into the mysterious channel, careful to be silent and to not touch the walls.
When the tunnel stopped suddenly, Vilven would have rammed into the wall had she not been able to stop herself and thrust herself back. She looked forward at the stone wall, inches from her face, looked behind her to see the distant circle shape of the entrance that lead to the lake. Then she looked up to notice that the tunnel extended upward, with a sigh of relief, she began to swim, noticing the ladder welded to the side. She was able to deduct that this, hopefully, was most likely an entrance into the castle. Probably something like an escape route in case of emergencies. After what seemed like far too long, Vilven’s face finally broke the surface of the water. Looking around she noticed about ten feet of space between where the water stopped to the top of the tunnel, where there stood an outline of another round door. This one, however, had no knob-wheel.
Determined, Vilven swam to the ladder on the wall to take hold of the first rung. She pulled herself up to take the next one, her feet following her hands, until she was fully emerged from the water, climbing the wall. She smiled silently to herself thinking that it was somehow ironic she was entering the castle similar to how she had the first time. Using a small magical ability she learned as a child, she connected to the water clinging to her white dress, her indigo hair, her silver skin, to flow off her body until she became fully dry. The one magical thing she could do before she ever met Areiden. It felt good to need something that came purely from herself.
When she reached the door above her, she took pause, as she wasn’t sure how to open it. On closer inspection, there wasn’t even hinges on this one, only a small space for ones hand on the side. She put her hand into the space, and pushed upward with force, as it looked heavy. It popped open easily, and the lid to the tunnel flew forward to ram into a nearby wall, making a loud clang. With shock, her black eyes glancing around frantically, Vilven pushed herself into the castle, and half crawling to the lid, quickly dragged it back to cover the hole of the tunnel. Then she bolted. She flew down the hall, unsheathing her sickle, to look for a place to hide. She put her ear to the nearest door, listening to see if she could hear anything or anyone in the room.
When she heard the sound of snoring she let out an audible breath. Her heart steadied a bit, as she hoped the rest of the castle, like this person, hadn’t been awakened by her. But then, in the corner of her eye, she saw a slight movement, and her heart started pounding again. As quickly as she could, she pushed herself up against the wall next to the door, peering down the hall to where she saw the movement.
Out of the door, in the opposite corner, an older man of about sixty stalked into the hall. His beard was long, as was his hair, which glittered a mix of silver and black in the low light of the candle he held. His robes were unkempt, but were a pleasant gray and blue color. He seemed very preoccupied with something, Vilven thought, as his eyes were furrowed intensely, staring at the floor. He was grumbling to himself something inaudible as he began to walk, nearly stomp, down the hall, toward her direction. She held her breath and dared not move as she watched him come closer and pass, hoping that the low light and his intent on the floor would keep him from seeing her. When he rounded the corner her whole body released.
Vilven shook her head in disbelief from her luck. She realized she was in dangerous territory and should have been much more careful. But the old man hadn’t seen her, and hopefully she could keep it so no one would.
She looked forward to where he had entered into the hall and saw that he had left the door open. It was well lit inside the room, the candlelight dancing into the dark hall. With a quick look back in the direction he left, Vilven remembered why she had gone through all this trouble in the first place: to learn more about the castle, the land and the people inside it. In an instant decision, connecting deeply to her resolve, she rushed quietly to the open door, hoping she could learn something about her purpose here.
When she peered in, she nearly yelled as two big, yellow eyes stared back at her.
The beautiful, black cat meowed at her as he moved toward her. She had heard of cats, had even seen one once living on one of the ships that had crashed in the Water Plane.
Resisting the urge to pet him, Vilven whispered “Not now, Kitty” as she entered the room, past the cat. The room was a mess of papers and books, random items were scattered everywhere, and she had never seen so much ink in her life. Glancing all over not sure where to start, as well as trying to be fast, Vilven grabbed the closest book to her. She held it under her arm, praying it had the answers she needed.
Then a throat cleared behind her.
With an intake of breath, Vilven slowly turned to see the older man from before standing there, his face obviously annoyed, nearly furious. He looked menacing in the candlelight outlining his figure, but he held two cups of tea in his hands, one she knew was for her.
The cat meowed almost proudly up at him.
“Was it the cat?” Vilven asked the man, nearly appalled.
“Yes, it was the cat” He said shoving the tea into her hand.
“But then again, you don’t really know how to sneak around quietly do you?”
Chapter IV Of My Dungeons & Dragons Campaign, Which Began 11 Months Ago, Written/Retold By My Player Who Plays Vilven
With urgency, Vilven began to pull herself up the frayed rope. Hand over hand, her legs scaled the castle wall. Every inch seemed like an eternity, tension making her heart beat rapidly. She knew nothing about who was waiting for her in the window, but she had learned, seemingly in an instant, that sticking to your decision was the best way to survive. So she continued.
When she found herself about a foot away from the elegant windowpane, to Vilven’s surprise, a small, delicate arm came from it, toward her. Vilven’s eyes followed up the arm to see, unexpectedly, a beautiful, young girl of about sixteen. Her hair was a perfect blonde, her eyes a sky blue. Vilven stared in something like confusion, before she came to understand, and grabbed the outstretched arm. Though the girl had to strain, she helped Vilven into the awaiting chambers on the other side of the window, to what seemed like, to Vilven, a sanctuary.
In actuality, it was merely a bedchamber, though it was a rather lavish one. The room was large, decorated with a bright, lavender color. Tapestries and paintings adorned the walls around intricately carved furniture of wood and metal.
“I saw you out there, in the water!” The human girl spoke excitedly to Vilven, as she pulled the rope into the room to lie carelessly on the ground, the other end tied to a leg of her bed.
“My name is Wiendle. What’s yours? Why are you here? What are you?” She asked curiously in a high, bell-like voice without taking a breath. Though the girl was friendly and eager, her high energy came more from an obvious, almost desperate need to relieve her loneliness and boredom than anything else. Vilven reading this figured it was safe to stay for the moment.
“I’m Vilven,” Vilven said, responding in the same universal language, though Vilven had not spoken it in many years, which gave her a slight, exotic accent. She looked around the room to see a beautiful, cushioned chair, “May I sit?” She asked the wide eyed girl.
“Oh, yes! Please, where are my manners? Would you like something to drink? Something to eat?” Wiendle said formally, walking Vilven to the chair. Though Wiendle stood close to a foot shorter than Vilven, she didn’t seem intimidated or worried at all. Vilven couldn’t tell if it was innocence or bravery that enabled this. “Won’t someone see my pitons?” Vilven inquired.
“Oh, don’t worry too much about that. I’ve let Jaren know, and he’ll make sure the other guards don’t see them.” Wiendle said in a matter of fact tone.
“Who is Jaren?” Vilven asked as she sat.
“Jaren…” Wiendle said with a sigh escaping her lips and love glowing in her eyes. “He is my love. We are to be married. Once we leave this place, that is.”
“Where is this place exactly?” Vilven asked quickly
Wiendle looked surprised for a moment. “Why, this is the city of Beaumont. This is King Beaumont’s castle.”
Vilven looked at her with little reaction. Vilven had never heard of this place, in fact she was suddenly struck with the realization that she was in a new world, full of complete unknowns. She became aware of her vulnerability, and decided to keep her guard up.
“Oh. Oh, right.” Vilven feigned knowledge.
“Yes. Also, I forgot to mention, I’m King Beaumont’s daughter. I’m Princess Wiendle . Well, I am for now. I may have to lose that title if I am to not be found when I runaway.”
“You seem awfully preoccupied with leaving here.” Vilven noted, looking around at the lavish surroundings. “But this seems like a beautiful place to live. Are you not happy? Is your father cruel to you?” She asked, thoughts of her own father filling her heart with pain.
“Oh, no no no. He is a wonderful father.” Wiendle said walking toward the window to gaze out at the big lake. “But he forces me to stay here. It is just so boring and I hate being treated like a child. I just want to see the world. I want the freedom to live my own life, I want to marry Jaren.” Leaning forward on the window pane, she continued.” You know, my father has never been the same after the attack here.” She turned back to quickly look at Vilven. “What are you?” Wiendle asked again, but with a sudden edge of distrust.
Vilven felt her magic hovering in the air, even before the thought crossed her mind. Areiden did not tell her how her magic would work, but she started to learn quickly. It was like an instinct that came from something deeper than thought. Her gut reaction and intense feelings would seem to effect the magic. She knew that she would influence Wiendle, but wasn’t sure how long it would last.
“I’m a mermaid” Vilven lied about herself expertly, helped by her magic. “I can help you escape. You and Jaren. I would just need direction where to go” She offered. Vilven thought about asking what the attack was about, but thought better of it, as it seemed to make Wiendle hostile.
“You would really help us?” Wiendle said excitedly, her mistrust completely vanished. “Oh, how I would appreciate it! Jaren will be elated!”
There was an abrupt knock that made Vilven jump. Wiendle walked to the door, to turn the beautiful, glass handle. She opened the door just an inch wide. “It’s Jaren!” Wiendle whispered, whipping her head toward Vilven, then back at Jaren on the other end of the door. Curious, Vilven walked behind Wiendle to see the young guard that was doing rounds outside the castle. He had seen her! But it was because he knew she was there.
Vilven walked back to the chair, feeling it best to stay hidden from view.
Wiendle opened the door a little wider to take a tray from Jaren, then closed it.
“You are going to have to leave soon. Jaren can only keep the guards preoccupied for so long” Wiendle said to Vilven. “But have some food before you leave. You were serious about helping us leave, right?” she asked as she handed Vilven the tray full of different breads, pastries, and spreads.
“Of course” Vilven responded.
“Give us until tomorrow night. We will be ready to leave by then. Eat.” Wiendle commanded.
Vilven began to eat, ravenously.
After about ten minutes, Vilven said her goodbyes to Princess Wiendle, climbed down and removed her pitons, to vanish again into the lake. Now with a mission at hand: To help Wiendle and Jaren escape.
But there was still so many questions. Who was this King Beaumont? What was this attack? Where exactly was she?
Vilven decided her sneaking around may not be over. There was still so much more to learn about this place. But one thing she knew for sure, her magic was real. And it felt good. Really good.
With a smile on her face, reeling from excitement, she swam deep into the lake, to see what else she might discover.
Chapter III Of The Tale Of My Current Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Which Started 11 Months Ago… Written/Retold By My Player Who Plays The Character Of Vilven
*The Art Above Is Commissioned For This Chapter by Living Silver
Vilven woke in a trance, her breath, slow and deep, expanded her lungs in a somehow comforting and natural movement. But as she pushed her eyes open, her surroundings were unfamiliar. She was at the bottom of the water looking up at the surface, as she had done many times in the past, but these waters were different than her home. Everything was different. The color, the energy, the feeling of the water, the fish, the lighting, all different. Yet, calmness surrounded her. A dreamy rebirth that it seemed hardly real. The troubles of her old life floated away, even her memory was slipping. She wasn’t entirely sure what had happened between her and Areiden, but she could feel the strength of it within. It felt right. Even now she could feel the piece of her that was given to Areiden, a strange, powerful merging. Sitting up, pulling her knees to her chest, Vilven looked down at her hands, focusing on her fingertips. Her light, silvery skin was almost glowing, her bare feet almost delicate against the mud. Her eyes adjusted, focusing next to the anklet he had given to her. Magic.
She admitted to herself she wasn’t sure how to embrace this new power. Outside of the small ways she could manipulate water from her water genasi race, magic had been a mystery to her. So having the potential to be powerful, much more powerful, was difficult to understand. Though the thought was intoxicating.
She wasn’t sure what her next step was. Areiden didn’t explain what he wanted from her, or where he sent her. Why did he come to her for this anyway? Why did he choose her? Was it really because he saw something special inside her? Or was it just because she happened to be vulnerable? Was it just because she was directionless? But regardless of anything that had happened, regardless of the questions she had, she would’ve had to leave home anyway. She was banished, she reminded herself. And if this hadn’t happened with Areiden, what would’ve happened to her? She would just have to figure it out now. She made her choice.
Becoming more aware of her surroundings in the beautiful, but murky water, she noticed a pack next to her. Near the pack laid a pair of black, ankle length boots, as well as two blue handled sickles sheathed onto a black belt. Vilven assumed correctly that these were keepsakes from Areiden who wanted her to be prepared. She pulled one of the sickles to examine the blade more closely, it felt good in her hand, and the sharp curve of it seemed more useful than a simple dagger might be. Re-sheathing it, she pulled the belt to her, stood, and attached it around her hips. She put the strap of the pack over head, to cross over her body, letting it hang to her side. As for the boots, she looked at them hesitantly, but awkwardly slipped them on, as she had never really needed shoes before. But they had been magically altered, she could tell, and in the water it felt as if her feet were still bare, as to not limit her ability to swim. She smiled, the gifts fit her quite well.
Speaking the tongue of her home, she called out to one of the fish swimming by, “Excuse me, can you tell me where I might be?” She asked. The small fish, black and gray, swam to her, looking at her curiously. The fish replied simply “Beaumont. Lake.” He than swam away, into the distance of the green-blue water. “Lake?” She said to herself, and looked around once again. Though it didn’t look as vast as the ocean, it looked bigger than an average lake would be. Curious, Vilven swam upward toward the top of the water. When her head broke the surface of the lake, giving her a glimpse of the surroundings, Vilven’s eyes grew wide at the sight before her. After hundreds of feet of water, was a large, stone castle. It was a type of structure that looked as though it wasn’t intended for defense or attack, it was more like a fairy-tale. Though in some ways it gave the appearance of strength and royalty, in other ways it seemed rather pretty and magical. The different towers, all topped with deep red flags, seemed to layer each other, giving it the likeness of an intricate origami piece. The magical quality further exemplified being surrounded by such an enormous lake, for it seemed to float in the middle. Vilven, though she found a rare patch of island to walk upon in the Water Plane, had never seen such structures on land before. She realized then that her adventures in this place, wherever she was, would go beyond the comfort of water. At this she felt overwhelmed, and quickly sank back just below the surface.
“Vilven,” Areiden’s voice came into her mind, that same deep, calm voice. “trust me.”
“What am I supposed to do here, Areiden? Who lives in the castle? ” She spoke, desperate for some direction.
“Trust yourself, Vilven. You will know what to do.”
But there was no reply.
After taking a breath, allowing her courage and strength to grow, she broke the surface again to look up at the impressive castle. What was it Areiden wanted her to do? In an instinct, she turned to look at the other side of the lake. A wall of tall, green trees met her gaze. This was another thing she had never encountered, a forest. Though she had seen lone trees before, and was mesmerized by their beauty, this amount was simply overpowering, and further astonished her. Vilven shook her head in disbelief, and began to turn back to the castle.
Just as she did, she noticed a couple guards, one younger and one slightly older, walking around the castle. As quick as she could, she pushed herself underneath the water, cursing herself for not being more careful. But before she could get underneath, she did notice the younger guard turn his head toward her movement.
She seemed to wait there for a long time, though it had only been a few minutes. The quiet was deafening as she tried, unsuccessfully, to peer through the water to see if they had spotted her. She then decided, cautiously, to take another look. Vilven swam up, just enough to peer over the water. No one was there. It seemed to her that they probably hadn’t seen her. She exhaled in relief, and took a moment to assess the situation. It became obvious to her then that this was not the front of the castle, but one of the sides. She thought about her options. Either head toward the castle, head toward the forest, or explore the water. In a nearly impulsive decision, she decided she was going to see who lived in this castle. Areiden sent her near this castle for a reason, and knowing who lived there would probably give her some clue to what she was supposed to do. She swam to the edge of the water, then sticking to her decision, ran quickly to the wall of the castle. In an almost manic fashion, she looked everywhere for an entrance, going so far as to run her hands over the stone for a secret entryway, but there didn’t seem to be any doors. But she did finally see an open window not too far to the left above her.
Running her hands through her dark blue hair, she tried to think about how to get up there, which was about five times her height. Glancing around for the guards, she put her back against the wall, and started to search through her pack. She realized she neglected to look through it before. In her rummaging she saw some useful things, such as torches and rope, but she smiled as she spotted pitons and a hammer. She got an idea. Admittedly, she wasn’t sure it would work, but she didn’t have any other plan. So she walked to right underneath the window, and as high as she could reach, hammered two pitons, shoulder length apart, into the cracks of the stone. When she felt they were secure she began to pull herself up, and though it was difficult, she was able to get each foot on either piton, and balancing between the two, she leaned against the wall. Pushing her body against the stone, she found two more pitons in her bag to replicate what she had just done. And though it wasn’t as easy this time, she successfully hammered the next two into the wall. However, this time she was unsuccessful pulling herself up, and she fell, back first, down to the hard, grass-covered ground.
The air was taken out of Vilven, and she knew she had a bruise, but she was determined to get inside. Glancing around again, praying she wouldn’t get caught, she jumped up, and quickly ran back to the lower pitons, to pull herself up as she had done before. Attempting the second rung again, she strained her muscles, but she was successful this time, now balancing on the next two pitons. Looking down, she did realize the third rung of pitons would be rather high, and if she fell again, she would probably hurt herself. Taking a breath, she reached in for another piton, and began to hammer. The first seemed secure. Just as she went back to her bag to get the second, a rope flew down in front of her.
In a jolt of surprise and fear, Vilven looked up abruptly, losing her balance. In instinct, she grabbed the rope so she wouldn’t fall.
Dangling there, she heard a voice from the window call down to her. “I’ll help you up. Hurry, before they catch you.”
Vilven realized she had been caught. But by who?
Chapter II Of The Current Campaign That I’m Running, Which Began 11 Months Ago, Written By My Player, And Warlock (Vilven Ledsong)
*The Art Above Is Commissioned For This Chapter by Living Silver
Vilven stared up at the two ominous eyes looming over her. “Vilven,” The deep voice spoke again. Panicked she reached for the only weapon she had, a small dagger. She had encountered a few dangerous creatures of the sea before, but generally the fish communicated and were well aware of when there was a threat. These fish around her, however, didn’t warn her or say anything about this individual. Wielding her dagger, she held it awkwardly in front of her with both hands and pulled herself to her feet as quickly as she could. “I mean to help you, Vilven”.
“What…what do you want from me?” she spoke shakily, her thoughts quickly running through different plans of escape.
The eyes glowed even brighter, and in a flash floated a ball emanating a dim, yellow light, it cascaded over Vilven’s figure leaving a shadow behind on the dark sand beneath her. Some of the fish, spooked by the flash of unnatural light, swam away hastily. It took a moment for Vilven’s eyes to adjust, but after blinking a few times she could now see who it was standing in front of her.
The water churned within him, and also like her father, he was nearly twice her height. Though he adorned no beard, he had a mohawk of watery hair, falling to one side of his head. Though she had never officially spoken with him, she knew him as one of the elder water elemental, his name Areiden. He wore his robes and was one of the ones who decided her fate to be banished that night.
With a disgusted look on her face, Vilven sheathed her dagger. “Don’t worry, I’m leaving here.” She spoke distastefully, as she turned the opposite direction, and began making her way into the impending darkness. “Yes, you will be leaving.” spoke Areiden.
Vilven shook her head at the confidence she heard in his voice. With a bolt of anger that even surprised her, she turned to face him. “Was I really doing anything to offend you so badly?” She said firmly. “I hardly let my presence be known around the elemental, and I assuredly don’t want to be around them, so pompous and arrogant. I can’t believe you are forcing me out of my home.” Close to tears, Vilven turned and began to walk away again.
“Vilven, I know you are in distress. I agreed to have you banished, but not for the same reasons the other elders did.” He spoke in a clear voice, as he took a few steps toward her.
She stopped then, “Then why did you do it?” she said quietly, more broken than before.
“You are meant for greater things, Vilven. And I want to help you. One day you will prove your worth to all who doubt you. Even your father.” He replied.
She turned halfway so she could look up at his face, her big, black eyes exposing her confusion, but also her curiosity. “I’m not sure how you can help me now. If you really wanted to help you should have fought to let me stay here. This is my home, Areiden.” She turned fully to face him now, “I don’t belong anywhere else.”
“You are wrong about that, Vilven.” He interrupted almost in a matter of fact cadence. “You belong elsewhere. And trust me, I can help you better now.”
“How can you possibly help me?” She spoke, her interest and curiosity coming to the forefront of her emotions.
“I want to give you power, Vilven. I want you to allow me inside your being. I want to be a team, for together we can help the world.” Areiden spoke passionately. His eyes glittering with each word.
Vilven staggered back at his response. “I don’t want that.” She said, her fear coming back to her quickly. “Leave me alone” she said, ready to sprint.
“Vilven,” he said, “I’m not speaking romantically, but of something greater than that. If you give a piece of yourself to me, if you give a part of your being to me, I can give you the power. You can do much good in the world. This world is in need of healing, and so are you. I can help.” He repeated. “You will grow, and get stronger, and as you do I’ll be able to channel my power to you. You just need to trust me.” He stretched his arm toward her, offering his large hand.
She stared at it at first. But soon she, cautiously, stepped forward, gazing vulnerably at him. She moved her hand toward his, her arm bent ready to repel. Her fingers just inches away from his before she stopped. She closed her eyes and she suddenly became aware of the stillness around her. Did she even know what she was doing? He was one of the ones that was causing her so much pain, and now she was supposed to trust him? Was this some sort of trick? Something to hurt her, or make her look like a fool?
But opening her eyes she had to admit to herself, there was something in his voice, something in his eyes Vilven couldn’t ignore. She had faith in him.
“Trust me, Vilven.” said Areiden’s voice inside her mind. And in a sudden, impulsive motion she touched a fingertip to his.
She felt it instantly, but slowly, a piece of what could only be described as her soul leaving her, but instead of disappearing, she felt it inside of Areiden. And the space empty from that part that left, was instantly filled with power. She could feel the magic and the strength, and though foreign, it felt like it belonged. She felt it run through her blood, and felt it open her up.
He moved away then, his arm lowering. “Vilven…”
Her eyes moved to look at him dreamily, as if drugged. “You will get used to the power.” He said comfortingly. “Stay connected to this place. It will always be a part of who you are. You will return one day.”
He pulled an anklet from his pocket, and with another flash of his eyes, it magically floated, to clasp around her ankle. As it did, she felt more stable, more in control of this new sensation within her.
“Get your rest. We will begin our journey in the morning.” He took her hands gently to guide her to the sandy floor of the ocean. And as she lay, he looked down upon her.
“Hail, Vilven. It is a special night. You have become a warlock, and I, your patron.”
I’ve Been Running A Dungeons & Dragons Campaign For The Last Year… In October 2018, My Player Decided To Start Writing/Retelling Our Tale From The Beginning… Enjoy*
*The Art Above Is Commissioned For This Chapter by Living Silver
Vilven came from the sea. She came from the gentle, dreamlike movement of the water and the carefree dancing of the fish below. Though a simple and lonely life, the hypnotic sway that consumed her was peaceful, and she never expected or wanted any other kind of existence. For this was the life she knew.
Vilven had always lived in the Water Plane as her father was a water elemental. The way of the water elemental was unique, both primitive and aristocratic at the same time, and her father was no exception. In fact, he was regarded as powerful and influential among his kind, as he was archaic, created from the very essence of the sea. He helped rule the Water Plane with other elder elemental, giving order to the inconsistent, fluctuating tide. But Vilven and her father had a difficult relationship. Most of the time Vilven avoided any kind of interaction with him. There seemed to be no respect and no love between them. There were times when Vilven would not see him or his palace for months. Forgoing it for independence and solitude, finding her own food and place to sleep in the ruins or caves scattered around the ocean floor. She knew that this tension stemmed from the mystery of her past and her race, as she was a water genasi. Only half water elemental.
The race of the water genasi was looked upon poorly by the water elemental. They viewed genasi as a mistake, especially elder elemental who believed in a pure way of living, which meant not fornicating with other races. And though Vilven tried throughout her life to find acceptance from her father and other elemental, she soon learned no deed would grant her acceptance. She also learned, however, that the fish and sea creatures enjoyed her company, and she spent most of her time making friends with them. Though most could not carry a conversation, there was a playfulness and joy to them that filled her heart. And as much rejection she received elsewhere, she held on to the approval of the endless sea of the Water Plane, her home.
But everything would soon change for Vilven. Her father sent word for her one evening to come to his palace for an official meeting with the other highly authoritative elemental of the Water Plane. This had never happened before, and without a choice, she made her way to see why he had requested her presence. As she approached the palace, escorted by two of his elemental guard, she took in the tall, spiral towers of his home, spinning magically like inverted, transfixed, glowing whirlpools. The large, watery gate opened wide as she made her way to the entrance. The guards posted at the doorway gave her disapproving looks as she swam inside the grand meeting hall. She met the gaze of her father then, high upon his throne-like chair, with similar whirlpool turrets, decorated lavishly with seashells and starfish.
When she was in the center of the large room, she stopped swimming to stand on the somehow solid floor, the two guards left her as she took on the vision before her. The whole palace was made from water, as was the elemental in front of her. Staring up at her father, a looming figure in the dying sunlight, she noted his expression was hard. Even though his features seemed loosely defined from the circulating water that made his frame, his almost ghostly appearance was handsome. His head was bald and he had a beard that came down to his chest. He wore long robes, those worn only for a more official matter. Vilven took on a hard look in return. Her tall, slender body normally loose and fluid, tensed. The water pushed the ends of her indigo hair and white fringed dress to caress her silvery-metallic skin as she took a defensive stance. Her large, black, pupil-less eyes narrowed up at him. “Can I help you with something, Father?”
He stood, now almost twice her height and took a few steps toward her, “Vilven…” He turned then, his back to her. “The other elders and I have decided, you are to be banished from the Water Plane.”
Her eyes widened, “What do you mean I’ve been banished? I’ve done nothing.”
He looked over his shoulder at her shocked expression.
“You exist.” He turned to fully face her, then sat king-like in his lavish throne. “It looks poorly upon me to have you here. I’ve kept you safe, but now you are grown and must leave. Now.”
“Do I have no say in this?” Vilven spoke, barley audible in confusion and disbelief. “Where are the other elders? May I speak with them?”
He stood again, and motioned with his arm toward Vilven. “Guards, escort her out. Make sure she leaves the Plane by morning.”
The same two guards marched to her and grabbed her arms on either side.
“Father? Father!” Vilven yelled desperately, as she began to be roughly pulled out of his palace. “Where am I to go?”. Vilven began to cry, her tears mixing with the ocean around her. “This place is all I know.”
The last image she saw before she was pulled out all the way, was her father leaving the room, saying nothing, not even looking back.
When she was outside of the palace gates, she strained her arms free from the grip of the elemental guards. “Let me go!” she declared, “You don’t have to follow me. I’ll leave.” She said to them. One of the guards rammed the end of his trident to her face, taking the air out of her, a small trace of blood forming at her lip. “Don’t tell us what to do, pathetic genasi.”
Defeated, her face grief-stricken, Vilven swam backwards, slowly floating, slowly falling to the depths of the ocean, pitch black in the night. The two guards watched her descending frame, letting her go.
“She can’t get far down there, it’s too dark.”. One said to the other, as they took an official stance, almost as if it was beneath them to chase after her.
Closing her eyes as she lowered, Vilven tried to slow everything down. Would this be the last time that she would feel this ocean? She tried to hold on to the feeling of it around her, running through her hair, her fingers, her cheeks. She felt the fish below rub against her in excitement, but she was numb to the feeling. Her many necklaces of seashells trailed above her, her tears flowed from her eyes to float for a moment, before dissolving. What was she going to do? She knew that there was nothing she could say to the elders to convince them to let her stay. She knew she would either have to hide or find a way to leave. And if she did hide, in one of the caves or in the reefs below, they would definitely find her.
As Vilven finally reached the bottom, she settled into the cold sand. She let the sensation run through her, shivering in the chill of the night. She stayed like this, unmoving, for what seemed like hours before her eyes opened slightly, looking up at the impregnable darkness above. It was intensely quiet and the blackness, claustrophobic. Though the depression clung to her, she found some strength to pull herself up on her elbows. She turned her head slowly to the left, but then quickly gasped and pulled back from the image she saw. Two enormous, glowing, blue eyes were swirling above her. She could not tell what they belonged to in the darkness, but she could tell they were powerful.
“Vilven,” a deep, but almost gentle voice spoke. “I have a plan for you…”