Erymos: Shadows of Primar (Feb/14 - Dec/14)
"A generation that ignores history has no past and no future."
“I suppose since we’ve been travelling together for months, it’s to be expected that you’d be curious what kind of person you’ve been adventuring with. You have been witness to more of my history than I had intended to share as it is. That is…not for lack of trust in you. I’m sure you can understand: when the memories of your past are this painful, you’re not exactly eager to relive them. Well, we’ve been through too much to hold back now. If you insist upon hearing my story, can you at least get me another ale?
Ah… Where to begin? I suppose ‘the beginning’ would be as good a place as any.
I was born Lútienna Teléslhûn (for an elf that’s not even a particularly fancy name) in the fringes of the Fey Plains of Khyria. Our clan were mostly Sehanine-worshipping wild elves with the odd few indigenes and wood elf tree-huggers. We survived away from the spires of the Eladrin cities and instead lived in harmony with nature. That was how they would put it anyway. It seemed more to me that they were afraid of modern society and especially of magic. Anyway, I was the last to be born of five siblings to the clan chieftain. My father was a strong leader, and took his duty to his clansmen very seriously. I suppose back then I was jealous of the attention he awarded to the rest of my tribe. I just wanted my father to hug me, to comfort me when I was upset… But that’s hardly relevant now.
I spent more of my childhood with my mother. I watched as she healed the sick and injured with the herbal reagents that she concocted on her own. She was a brilliant woman, brave in the face of mortal injury and calm under extreme pressure. She changed into a different person when my father was around, though. She always looked to him deferentially. When I made the mistake of confiding with her that I had been blessed by the arcane, she let my father deal with me. He reminded me that I was to remain in my tribe to defend my fellow clansmen, and that magic defied the natural order that we must follow.
I was deeply unsatisfied by my father and chief’s rejection of magic. I didn’t want the future my father had envisioned for me: a warrior, already promised to wed. The feeling that I didn’t belong continued to grow until the rite of ascension ceremony. This was a tradition many years in practice: when you become an adult at 25 years of age, you decide for yourself where you will go for the rest of your life. For most of my kinsmen, this was a formality and nearly all had decided to stay, and follow the same path that their parents before them had. I wished for my own life.
My family did not seem surprised when I declared that I would leave the tribe. I accepted the condition that I must not return. I gathered only a change of clothing and my bow and set about the direction I had last seen any signs of civilization: to the east. After a long trek, I found the massive walls that held Khyria. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the differences between my reclusive band of wild elves and the towering structures and bustle of the great city. It took quite some time for me to become accustomed to so many people. If you think I’m awkward now, imagine it back then! I had made a bit of coin trading foraged goods, at least enough for a bed, and each day I explored more of the city. I eventually came upon the Arcane Academy, where scores of apprentices, wizards, clerics, warlocks, and sorcerers freely practicing their craft. I saw children half my age wielding magics that I had only recently learned to control. I moved without thinking to the great vestibule and admitted myself into the study of wizardry that day.
Those were times full of wonder. Each day I would learn more than I had ever in my life with the clan. I ravenously consumed all the texts I could, spending thousands of hours in the library. I continued my studies for years, and even found myself making a few friends on the way. There was even an eladrin man who did this thing with lightning… I’ll spare you the details. I’ll just say these were good times for a young wizard. My friend Caudrus and I were offered teaching opportunities at the Academy in our later years. I took up the subject of elemental offensive spells while he focused on displacement and teleportation spells. We learned a lot from each other back then. Not that way, he was a minotaur who had a thing for dwarven women: long story. Anyway.
I had spent years teaching my students basic principles of magic but I became rather bored with the curriculum after awhile. I was always interested in the full spectrum of magic, and the Academy had strict rules about what can and cannot be taught and learned. Subjects such as necromancy, demonology, and other dark topics were strictly forbidden. I understand why that policy was intact. Put that kind of power in the wrong hands, and you have the Cult, the vampires, the slavers of Erymos. My own teachers had told me, mortals were not meant to know certain things. Some ideas are too foul, too obscene that to understand them, one could never be clean again. That concept seemed absurd, how could knowledge poison one’s mind? If anything it would be quite the opposite! And indeed perhaps studying the dark magics would shed new light onto the very act of history that changed the face of the world: the Conflagration. If we do not learn from the past, then how could we know how to prevent it from happening again?
I was young and naive then. Of course I didn’t know of the potential horrors to come. I understand now that I was wrong to pursue knowledge with reckless abandon of principle. I have now seen the error of my judgment. I’m sorry that I’ve gotten off track. I’m okay now.
Later in my career, I went on several expeditions with my friends, searching for ancient tomes. I was most interested in texts that pre-dated the Conflagration. Of course, these artifacts were very valuable but also delicate, so we took great care in transcribing what we had managed to find. We took little from the ruins we uncovered to preserve history as much as possible. “We” meaning my closest allies, Caudrus the minotaur I had mentioned earlier, and Alesander, an eladrin cleric. They were very supportive of my endeavors over the years and followed me into peril many times. Along the way, we assisted with the less fortunate as much as we could, mostly by the insistence of my much better-natured companions. Sounds familiar? In any case, we were as tight as a band of adventurers could be.
During a particularly long journey, we found ourselves in the wood elf land of Allaria, in search of ruins that once was a great city. It had been completely destroyed by the events of the Conflagration but in such a place, magic tends to linger. Our expedition found us in a small town along the western edge of the Great Forests of Allaria. There we rested for the night and sought information from the locals. Once we arrived at the ruins the following morning, we chanced upon a local young man who had previously refused us any assistance. He was a tall and rugged with a wild look about him. He stood before a massive door with intricate runes carved into the surface of the stone. Caudrus and I quickly identified the arcane symbols and disarmed the magic ward that had kept it shut for hundreds of years. The man, along with his wolf companion, joined us in the search of the ruins. He was silent for most of the descent, with his hands always on his weapons. I had encountered my share of mercenaries and barbarians in my time and knew I could handle him if his intentions were violent. Still, he proved useful as we encountered undead in the depths of the tomb and even saved my skin a few times. This outsider fell easily into the rhythm our party had established after years of travel. He was… an impressive man. At the end of our search we uncovered a great library of tomes pre-dating the Conflagration. It was a treasure trove of information and we spent all night transcribing the knowledge contained within. We celebrated our discovery into the following day. Even the outsider joined in our merriment. He finally introduced himself as Sebastian Thorne, a ranger native to the forests of Allaria. Of course he wasn’t native of this land, a human disfigured by many battles, but I appreciate the need to separate one’s past from the present. In any case, he was unquestionably skilled on the battlefield, and over the night of ale and story-telling, seemed a worthy man to join their ranks. Indeed the following day he and his wolf companion decided to accompany us.
It was really after that, when our team felt complete. The four of us traversed Erymos together many times, delving into dungeons and sharing songs and wine in taverns across the land. I doubt I was ever happier than I was to be with my comrades. Sebastian warmed to us quickly over the months and we had become… close. He had shared with me details of his past that I was sure he had never told anyone. I tried to return the gesture as much as I could, but I’ve never been one for self-expression. Still, we spoke often of our dreams, hope, and fears, and we shared our feelings freely. It was… the first time I had felt that way. You know… In love.
At first we tried to keep our relationship a secret, but that didn’t last for long. Smiles came to us too easily to hide our glee. Our companions were very supportive, and approved of our marriage on the condition that we continue to travel as a group. Of course we accepted.
Life was simple for a time. My husband became a craftsman and I continued my teachings during the day and studied by torchlight the collection of forbidden texts I’ve collected. We did not lose our lust for adventure, and went on several more expeditious journeys over the years. Until…
Until we reached a ruin of Primar. I… I made a gruesome mistake. I found a tome… that possessed unthinkable power. There was a… We were overwhelmed…
I’m sorry, I thought I was ready to share this with you all but it’s still too painful. I hope you’ll understand.
For my own reasons I decided to leave the college. I have been on my own until I journeyed with you to the Ruins of Primar. Although it’s been ten years since I last set foot on Khyria, I still dream of it often. I see the verdant plains of the Sea of Grass, the Ebony Tower grazing the clouds, and the lush coniferous forests that I used to call home. But what I remember most fondly of all were simple things: a kiss placed on my brow when I woke in the morning, or the crisp taste of wine shared with comrades after a long day of travelling. Why, I would do anything to have those little happy moments be a part of my life once again. It seems a little silly sometimes, to muse on such selfish fantasy when the whole world’s at stake.
You must be getting weary of hearing me go on. You know just as well as I do how important our mission is, I need not explain. I…appreciate you listening to my story thus far. I’m sure you’ll be there at its’ end, I wouldn’t leave you in suspense. Let us rest tonight. Tomorrow we embark on yet another perilous quest, I’m sure. Where would a band of adventurers be without adventure after all?"