Stories : Aerielle's Story
The stout Innkeeper brings the ale and places it upon the table in front of you. "you're just in time! The tale is about to begin. What tale? Haven't you heard...... why the King's Bard Ribaldi, is about to recount the tale of Aerielle; Prophetess of Aden. Now Shhhhhhhhh.......... "
The Bard Ribaldi takes center stage; motions the innkeeper for mug of ale to loosen his lips. After a long swallow of the golden brew, he stares at the crowd, smiles, and begins to speak. The clamor of ale mugs hitting hard wooden tabletops stop; and the noisey conversations that filled the air cease, in anticipation of Ribaldi's tale.
He begins the tale:
It was a cool summer’s night, with a gentle breeze blowing from the north…. And it was very, very late into the night. It was a perfect night for sleeping, and for dreaming. The heavy shutters behind the cross shaped arrow portals (which served as a window to her room in the Great Hall), were closed and barricaded against unwanted intruders, and hormone crazed drunken suitors alike. These were troubled times, where denizens of hellish underworlds ravaged the countryside; and bands of Ruthless Brigands raided the towns and villages of decent folk throughout the land. They were thought to have been sent by our enemies, who dwell on the continent of Glacia; across the great ocean. Rumors spread throughout Aden that these brigands were released from the prisons in Glacia; given transport to Aden, and were even supplied with weapons and armor by the Glacian nobles. They were supposedly the most notorious criminals in all of Glacia; sent here to wreck havoc upon the populace and keep our armies busy suffering losses by attrition. It appears that these Brigands were good at their job; and they certainly lived up to their reputations as ruthless criminals. But who knows for sure?
Even as the shutters were barred in place, the spacings between the badly weathered boards which were fastened together with steel plates, were large enough to allow plenty of fresh air to pass through. She could feel the soft breeze gently flowing across her slender body, as she lay there resting on her bed. Her eyes focused on the shutters, concentrating on the spacings between the boards; ( the very spacings that allowed such a pleasant breeze to cool her half naked body) knowing full well that they would also allow the "Wandering Eyes" of "liquor brave – hormone crazed" ruffians, to peer inside. She often thought that she could "feel" those "wandering Eyes" leering at her through the spacings in the shutters; eyes that belonged to men with lust in their hearts, and in their minds. Although she "felt" their presence many times, she could never actually catch them in the act. Perhaps she thought, it was just her imagination. Still, she kept the shutters barred… just in case. The very image conjured in her mind of those lustful "Wandering Eyes" peering at her, was enough to make her grab onto the loose linen upon the bed, and lightly cover herself.
As the comforting breeze blew across her face, she drifted off into slumber….and began to dream. It is not known how long she slept that night; but it was long enough for her to recount her life, within the space of that dream. Her dream began just as she took her first breath in this world. Eyes held tightly shut and crying; an omen perhaps of what the world had in store for her as she traveled through life. Her father named her "Aerielle" that day; as he saw her for the first time, she reminded him of soft light and gentle wind….. almost angelic – like the fluttering of angel’s wings. The name had a pleasant sound to it, and her mother was pleased with the name. Thus "Aerielle" was introduced to the world; held high above her father’s head…..held high to show her off to all of the local townsfolk.
Those were happier, tranquil days. It was a time between the brutal savagery of wars. Her father, Cedric Was " First Knight" to the lord of Giran. A position he earned fighting in the Breka Orc Wars of ‘003. He became a well known Paladin, fiercely loyal to lord Oric; saving his life on many occasions throughout that hard fought war with the Orcs. After the war, lord Oric bestowed the title of "First Knight" upon Cedric; with that promotion came a small estate near Giran town, and a parcel of land which produced the sweetest grapes on the continent. Cedric’s position placed him in charge of lord Oric’s personal bodyguard. Cedric was proud and fiercely loyal to lord Oric; he would , and did, protect lord Oric with his life. It is said that under his command, each man in lord Oric’s personal vanguard was equally as loyal. As proud as he was, one would have thought Cedric to be the War General of Oric’s Siege Army. No matter, Cedric was very happy with his own position; for he understood that protecting lord Oric was that which he had trained and fought for, all of his adult life.
So Aerielle was born into a family that was by no means wealthy; however, they were very well off in comparison to the other townsfolk of Giran. Aerielle was not Cedric’s only child; for she had an older brother of 5 years. Her brother, Beowulfe, was already strong for his age. Undoubtedly a trait inherited from his father; and with the aid of his father, he was at that tender age, in training for a warrior’s life. Beowulfe it seemed, was their mother’s favorite. At least it seemed that way to Aerielle; as they grew older. To Aerielle, Lady Phylicia her mother (the title of Lady was granted to her by lord Oric, in keeping with Cedric’s position), always appeared to side with Beowulfe in any sibling quarrels. Perhaps, it was because Aerielle at times, was no "Angel".
A gentle smile appears upon the face of the dreaming Aerielle; as she relives some of the mischievous antics of her youth. Antics which at times were blamed on her older brother; who kept the secret of her involvement buried within his heart. No matter what the punishment, he never told on her. He was her protector; and he was unfailing in that duty. She suspects though, that her mother always "Knew". Her smile widened; she loved her family just as they were. She loved them all.
Her dream moved onto a time when she was in training at the School of Wizardry on Talking Island. Aerielle knew that she could never match the strength of her father and brother; how she envied them. Defending lord and country against vile beasts and brigands; putting them to the sword and spear, gaining renown as the protectors of the people. Before her enrollment into the school of Wizardry, Aerielle had been preparing to join the ranks of those stout lads and lasses attending the fighters’ school; also on Talking Island. It was her desire to become a Paladin, like her father. Aerielle would pray day and night for her strength to gain intensity; so she could master handling of the largest swords, and wear the heaviest armors. She was so young back then, barely 12 years old.
One night, Einhasad appeared to her in a vision. The great one, knowing of her anguish to attain the strength inherited at birth by the males of her family, so that she might seek the way of the Paladin; spoke to her. Aerielle was told that her strength lies within her mind, not within the muscles of her sword arm. Einhasad told her, that the strength she possessed was needed to give power and life to others; as she had a special strength that could turn ordinary warriors into elite warriors. Thus Einhasad ended the frustration Aerielle felt, over her lack of great physical strength. The next day Aerielle applied for entrance into Talking Islands’ School of Wizardry. Her father’s reputation for Honor and Loyalty reached beyond Talking Island; and Aerielle was accepted into the famed School of Wizardry at that tender age of 12; the youngest student ever accepted at the school.
The next four years she studied at the School on Talking Island, away from her family and friends; studying all forms of magic, and easily mastering the lessons of each one. Through her studies and research of magic related to the vitalization, power, defense and restoration that can enhance the bodies of fellow beings; she found the path she must follow. Aerielle knew she must walk the path to become a Prophet. It seemed perfect for her; casting magical buffs enhancing physical strength, endurance, speed and restoring life to those fallen in battle. Plus there was the added bonus that she could still train in al forms of weaponry, and she would be able to wear the heaviest of armors too.
At the age of 16, the young mage Aerielle was a common sight at the fighters’ training grounds. She was strong in physical enhancement and healing magic. She would be seen at all times during the day and part of the night, using her mystical abilities to help the recruits at the fighter’s school. She cast her magic upon eager young fighters who dreamt of becoming Knights and warriors, Archers and assassins. She was a welcome sight to them; as she gave them the strength to deliver powerful sword strikes, extra physical protection guarding them from the enemies’ blows, and healing their wounds saving them from certain death as they fought the lesser vile demons that inhabited the island. They would gather around her at the Obelisk of Victory, asking for buffs and begging her to join their hunting parties, as they planned to foray into dangerous grounds. Groups of fighters would sit at her feet waiting for her to give them the blessings of Einhasad. She would perform her best for them; praising Einhasad and using her knowledge of magic, she would rise in the air….. her feet lifted off of the ground…. And bless each one with Might and Shield. As soon as the buffs wore off, they would be back asking for more. She felt special; she sensed that they really needed her.
At the age of 16, Aerielle found out about the male mystique. Assuredly they wanted her blessings of Might and Shield; but they also wanted something else too. You see, when Aerielle buffed, she was very intense with magic. Gusts of mystical wind would swirl around her; this was the force that lifted her above the ground. It was also the force that lifted her skirt almost to her waist; and those young fighters would sit at her feet waiting for her skirt to rise in the wind. They would watch as Aerielle showered her blessings upon them; and inadvertently show all of them her panties. She relived that moment in her dream; and how furious she was when she found out why she was so popular. In her anger, she hurriedly ran across the field on her way back to the School of Wizardry; a field infested with the lesser demons of Talking Island. She was so angry, the demons had no chance of survival. She used Ice Bolt and Wind Strike at will….. she slew every last one. Aerielle was on her way to confide in the grand Magister at the school, she was intent on telling him about how the students of the fighters’ school treated her. As she drew near the school, she stopped. She stopped cold in her tracks. Once again a smile emerged upon her dreaming face. The young mystic chose not to inform the Grand Magister at all. She realized that she liked the attention; and she found out something about herself that day. It seems that young Aerielle is drawn towards the taboo; it is exciting. She found out that there is a little bit of an exhibitionist within her. She had become excited about exciting them. Aerielle realized that as long as she excited them, she held power over them. She liked that. They came rushing to her; and she felt strong. She sashayed over to the armor shop and purchased a set of robes with the shortest skirt she could find; she would certainly dazzle them from now on.
So the buffing sessions went on without interruption; save for the occasional brave fighter willing to sacrifice life and limb, to reach up under her skirt and pinch her bottom. Their reward for this mischievous act, would be the aggressive end of Aerielle’s wand. The wallop issued to the culprit’s retreating hand was so loud, that everyone gathered around would wince at the mere sound of the impact. Of course this gave the offending culprit "boasting rites", as they proudly displayed their swollen hand as a badge of courage.
‘Twas later that same year, the young mage Aerielle could learn no more at the School of Wizardry. She must seek out other trainers to advance her knowledge of magic. So just shy of 17, Aerielle returned to the mainland; to start her apprenticeship towards Cleric, and eventually don the robes of a true Prophet. There were to come more than just a few trials along that path, they would truly test her resolve to reach that goal.
Once on the mainland, her family greeted her at the harbor in Gludin. Cedric and Phylicia recognized their daughter immediately, although Aerielle was almost five years older now; and had matured greatly in body and mind since their last meeting. The proud parents were greatly pleased with her progress as a mage (they received regular reports from the Grand Magister of the school), and with how beautiful she had become. In their eyes, she was no longer a child. Beowulfe however, not only acknowledged how beautiful she had become; he also recognized that old mischievous look in her eyes – a combination he was certain, would be sure to cause trouble. He greeted his sister with a strong hug, looked into her wide eyes and shook his head….. they both "knew".
Aerielle looked forward to continuing her education, and was eager to gain a more in depth knowledge of the healing and buffing magic arts. She had a letter from the Head Magister of the School of Wizardry, an introduction letter that she was to give to the High Priest in Gludin’s Temple. As Aerielle ascended the stairs leading to the Temple, her heart pounded faster and she began to feel nervous at the prospect of being before the High Priest. When she entered the Temple, a serene calmness came over her; this was a place of peace, of higher education.
There were scholars within the temple who were busy in the instruction of their pupils, ardently preaching to their charges the virtues of reciting each incantation exactly as it was written. More than once in the history of the Temple, did a novice practitioner of magic recite the chant incorrectly; with near disastrous results. Their lively over exuberant Style of teaching was, at first, a bit comical to the young Aerielle; and she almost burst into laughter at the sight of it. While holding back an urge to burst into uncontrollable laughter, she witnessed one of the pupils recite an invocation that went awry. That poor lad was entirely consumed in flames brought forth by the spell he cast. He would have surely perished, had there not been plenty of buckets staged about and brimming with water; at the ready for such emergencies. Luckily both students and Scholars alike were quick to douse the lad before he could be seriously harmed. The instructor’s retort was remarkably even more animated than before; as he admonished his pupil’s failure to correctly recite the incantation. Their method of teaching no longer seemed comical to her; she now realized how important each exaggerated gesture, and each over emphasized word had become in the training regimen. Aerielle placed her left hand over her breast, took a deep breath….. and hoped that Clerics did not play with fire.
Aerielle sought out one of the Clerical scholars in the temple, and inquired about an audience with High Priest Levian. The scholar led Aerielle to a small antechamber near the office of the High priest, where she was told to wait until his return; the scholar then went to see if High Priestess Levian had time available to "see" her. She sat there nervously fidgeting with her skirt, then her tunic, and finally…. her hair. What was taking so long? She wondered. Remembering the letter of introduction, Aerielle reached inside her tunic and retrieved the sealed document. The letter was secured with wax, and the Grand Magister’s seal seared into the center of the red colored circle of wax. Finally the Clerical scholar returned, and motioned Aerielle to follow him; she had been granted an audience with Levian.
High Priestess Levian was a sight to behold as she sat upon the chair of her office (a regal looking chair resembling a throne), she was dressed in beautifully embroidered robes befitting her position. Rays of light filtered through large stained glass panels in the ceiling showered her with a shimmering brilliance. For a brief instant she was frozen in absolute awe. She could not move; her legs would not obey her commands and she could not speak. Suddenly she broke free of the condition which bound her; Aerielle approached the High Priestess and rendered a perfectly executed curtsey, after which she bowed down and kissed the ornate gold ring of office which she wore on her right hand. Levian was impressed with her show of respect; she realized that Aerielle had possessed the proper rearing associated with families of good stature. She asked her the nature of her business in the temple. Aerielle told Levian of her desire to study the ways of the Cleric; and that she wanted above all to serve Einhasad as a Prophetess, administering her blessings to the Armies of Aden.
The High Priestess eyed the young candidate before her; observing her small frame and slender build. she stared into Aerielle’s eyes as if trying to see into her very soul. She seemed to question her resolve; or so it seemed that she may have questioned if she would able to keep up with an army on the move. Would she be able to defend herself in times of discourse, or hold concentration in the mist of battle? Levian spoke. You are too young Aerielle…. the hardships along this path are many and the path is froth with danger…. Perhaps in two years time ……. Her words cut like a dagger to her heart; she was devastated, hurt. But she could not let Levian see the pain her words had caused her) Aerielle's demeanor had changed from one of awe, to one of almost open defiance. I’m certain that Levian had witnessed the change in her facial expression, as her eyes opened wider, and her brow arched in contradiction to her assessment of her; she presented The High Priestess with the Grand Magister’s letter as proof of her abilities despite her tender age.
Levian, recognizing the seal of her old friend, opened the letter. Aerielle could see no change in her attitude as she read the parchment; she remained quite expressionless, as if she were made of stone. Once finished with reading the letter, she clenched it in her hand tightly and waved it before Aerielle’s face; as if pointing her finger at her. Then the High Priestess spoke again. *** It would appear that the Grand Magister of Talking Island is quite impressed with "your abilities". I am not so certain that it was your "aptitude with magic" that beguiled him; many a young Novice have tried to "charm" their way into Cleric’s robes. I will have none of "that" "Young Aerielle"! None of it! *** Aerielle’s expression changed with Levian’s words, clearly taken aback by the High Priestess’s suspicion of misconduct between she and the Grand Magister; her beautiful face must have appeared contorted as if frozen in appalling shock. Aerielle tried to speak. *** High Priestess I assure you….*** ***Silence wench!*** Her eyes ablaze with indignation, as she stared at her through eyes narrowed in deep concentration; as if she were attempting to see into Aerielle’s very soul. ***Never would I have believed that my old friend would succumb to such earthly "delight". It is because of that friendship, I now grant you the opportunity to prove yourself "Young Aerielle". Even as I am reluctant to do so, despite my doubts, my beliefs, I find I must trust in my friends’ assertion of "Your abilities". I pray you prove to be the mystic this parchment says you are; show me that my friend’s faith in you comes from true competence with magic, not with the rapture of your youthful beauty. Go now and seek out the scholars within the temple; they can help you increase your knowledge of the healing arts. I shall be watching, Aerielle…. Come back to me when you are ready for your trial; Cleric’s robes must be earned and verified by test. Prove your worthiness, in all that you do.***
Saddened at what High Priestess Levian thinks of her, Aerielle sought out every Clerical scholar in the temple. Studying and practicing both day and night, with little time for sleep. Soon she acquired all the knowledge they would allow her to have; until she proves herself worthy of donning Cleric’s robes. She was now ready to go out into the field and apply her arts to those who needed her most; those brave souls beating back the forces of the underworld. Thus young Aerielle entered the world beyond the sheltered confines of learning institutions. Her experiences would now come from real life situations; the hardships encountered from here on, would shape the person she would become. There burned a goal within her heart; she must walk the path to become a fine Prophetess; but first she must prove to High Priestess Levian that she is no "Wench". Aerielle was intent on showing her that she didn’t need to beguile the Grand Magister; her magical proficiency would erase all doubt.
The County of Gludin was bustling with people from all walks of life; there were merchants, street vendors, farmers, common folk, city guards and militia; not to mention all of the heroic adventurers trying to push back the hordes of brigands, hellish demons and sporadic camps of foreign mercenary troops. Aerielle wondered just how much stronger or hellish, these demons were in comparison to those which she so readily dispatched on talking Island. She felt as if butterflies were flittering around inside her stomach as she walked to the southern entrance of Gludin. With a critical eye Aerielle studied her wand; it served her well during her days at the School, but she knew that it did not possess the power to help her here on the mainland. Patiently she watched other Mystics, Clerics and Wizards pass by her; paying particular attention to their weapon of choice. Wizards it seemed all had a passion for long staves, while Clerics chose Sword, Mace, or Dual Fist weapons.
Inside the weapons store, she was like a child in a sweet shop; her eyes grew larger at every new weapon she gazed upon. The trader was very patient with her, realizing that she was about to venture out of Gludin for the very first time. He knew the benefits and shortcomings of each weapon; both fighter types and mage types. Aerielle "tried" all sorts of weapons and staves alike for proper fit or "feel"; then she made her choice. More than staves or swords, young Aerielle liked the feel of dual fists. She found a pair that seemed tailor made for her hands. They weren’t the best weapons adena could buy, but they were the best she could afford. In fact, she had to sell her wand and use that adena to help pay for them. Now she was ready to face the world; dressed in Devotion Robes and armed with dual fists, she ventured out the south gate of Gludin town.
Aerielle stood just a few hundred feet from the southern entrance. She watched as fighters and mages battled the invading creatures which were approaching the city. These invaders appeared to be half human like, and half lizard. Huge in size, they dwarfed the tallest human fighter. The lizard men had long dagger like claws and sharp teeth; carrying spear type weapons with which they showed a profound proficiency with. It seemed surreal to her at that point, humans, elves, dwarfs, and Orcs all joined in the battle. She watched as one human fighter fought creature after creature in single combat. Then the lizard men attacked in pairs, and she could tell the fighter was in trouble. The creatures jabbed him between the plates of his armor, he faltered and dropped to one knee; another such spear thrust and he would be done for. A divine light encompassed the wounded fighter, as his wounds began to heal extremely fast. The light appeared in rapid succession two more times, healing him to full health. The lizard men turned ‘round and concentrated their attention onto young Aerielle; it seems that she was the source of the healing lights.
The creatures charged her as fast as they could run; realizing the situation she found herself in, Aerielle cast Ice Bolt upon the lizard warriors. She could see them laboriously try to keep pace as she out ran them. As quickly as she could, she would cast a Wind Strike into them; just as she had done to the lesser demons back on Talking Island. But these creatures were stronger, faster, and quite intent on ending her life. Another Wind Strike, and the first warrior was down. Ice bolt wore off of the second warrior, and he was gaining on her…..fast. Aerielle had run out of room, there was nowhere to run to now; she had run up to a cliff edge with a sheer drop of several hundred yards. She turned around and cast Wind Strike at the charging, blood thirsty creature. He reeled back at the force of the blast, obviously wounded. Smelling blood, her blood…… the creature pressed the attack. It thrust it’s spear at her throat, she pushed it aside with one of the fists, and launched a physical attack of her own against the lizard, with the other. Aerielle ripped a deep gash across the creature’s chest with one fist, and then another, in rapid sequence. Still the beast came upon her; she could feel the heat of it’s breath upon her, and she could smell the stench of it’s filthy body as it pressed against her, trying to bite into her tender throat. The creature sank it’s claws into her shoulders holding her arms down, while it attempted to lunge once again at her throat. She could feel the flesh on her shoulders tear away from the creature’s claws. In desperation, Aerielle plunged her fist weapon into the neck of the beast; driving it deep and severing an artery, another buried deep into the creature’s side. The beast fell upon her, almost pushing Aerielle over the precipice, and pinning her to the ground. (The dream’s vivid reenactment of the battle, which ensued because of her use of Battle Heal magic, caused her great emotional stress; Aerielle tossed almost violently in her bed, nearly awakening her.)
A third Lizard joined in the fray and had poised itself over her; preparing to thrust it’s spear down into her body, as she lay there helplessly pinned under the weight of the dead beast. The creature raised a spear above it’s head about to strike the killing blow; Aerielle watched in horror…. waiting for the spear to pierce her… then the creature arched it’s back and howled in pain. The fighter she saved just moments ago had reached her; thrusting his long sword into the creature’s spine and disabling it. He pulled the beast to the ground, and slashed it’s throat killing it. Blood was everywhere, the beasts’ blood was mingled with her own; and her devotion robes were ruined, soaked in blood and torn apart by the lizard’s claws. Aerielle struggled for air; the heavy carcass laying upon her slender body was slowly crushing her chest, preventing her from breathing. The apprentice Knight took firm hold upon the beasts’ armor; while taking a deep breath he mustered all his strength, and was able to roll the heavy carcass on it’s side freeing the young mystic. He knelt besides her and brushed the blood soaked hair away from her face; kneeling on one knee with sword and shield poised for action, he guarded her while she caught her breath. This apprentice Knight (she thought to herself), has all the fortitude and virtues of a Paladin; and what a fine Paladin he would be. She saw a trace of her father in him. For his actions this day, reminded her of the stories she had heard as a child; tales of how her father, Cedric Tolbert, protected lord Oric in battle.
Steadfast, he stood this guard until she was able to breathe normally. Observing her wounded shoulders, he placed his hands behind her back; and gently lifted her to a sitting position. With a little help, she was able to stand up again. Once on her feet, the young mystic invoked the name of Einhasad; and called forth the healing lights again. The wounds she received from the lizard beast were healed; the torn flesh made whole again. Her robes however were a shambles. Ripped about the shoulders and blood stained; she looked like a waif standing there, blood drying in her hair and splattered upon her face. This would be Paladin bowed before her, thanking her for saving his life. She in turn curtseyed in welcome, and praised him for his courage; acknowledging his devotion to duty. She made inquiry as to the name of this brave lad; ***"Slust" (he replied)…. "Slust is my name."*** *** "Have you a family name?" *** she asked the lad. *** "Just Slust" he replied….."just call me Slust". "What of Your Name m’Lady?" "May I inquire?" *** *** "Indeed you may, brave Knight. My name is Aerielle…… Aerielle Tolbert" ***
Her emotional trauma subdued as she relived the incident’s end; she once again fell tranquil, and a faint smile etched across her lips, as she relives a lasting friendship that was bonded that day…. A friendship that would last for years to come….. a friendship between a Virtuous Paladin, and a Skillful (but Mischievous) Prophetess.
Thefuture Prophetess, and the would-be Paladin joined forces for the remainder of that battle. Together they sought out and eliminated the vile mercenary Lizard men; from the Gates of the town all the way down to the southern tip of Gludin’s coast. His sword would lay the enemy low; striking with a vengeance any who would come within 10 feet of her. She kept his body vitalized and protected with strong magics, laying Might and shield upon him; when the evil ones’ spears managed to penetrate his armor, she would invoke the name of Einhasad and heal him whole again. The would be Paladin was tireless in his pursuit of the invading mercenary forces; stopping only to give Aerielle a little time to rejuvenate much needed manna. Slust constantly took on several of the beasts at a time; expecting the healing lights to restore his life, he moved from one confrontation to another rather quickly. She worried that her apprentice Knight would think her too inexperienced to keep her around for any length of time; as she needed to rest often. The fight was draining her of this mystical energy at an accelerated rate. Aerielle also worried about this brave lad’s health, as she was not yet knowledgeable about life resurrection magic; she feared that should he die in the battle, he would be lost forever.
They pressed onward, bringing the battle to the beasts; scores of beasts. Again and again, the long sword would gleam in the sunlight as it pierced the air; and turn crimson red as it slashed through the beasts flesh. At times the Lizard men would rush the noble apprentice knight. Groups of four would feel confident they could bring him to his knees, only to be repulsed by the lads’ long sword and shield stun. It was at these times adrenaline would surge through Aerielle’s body. In anticipation of the impending battle, her eyes would grow large at the first sight of the Lizard groups; she would tighten her grip around the Fox Fang fist she held in each hand, and prepare to cast healing magic or Wind Strike as needed. Aerielle’s breathing would become deep and measured; her chest would rise and fall in perfect concert with her actions. The instant the beasts would collide into Slust, she was ready to battle heal him, slap them with Ice Bolt and Wind Strike to slow them down; and to deal damage.
Against the lad’s instructions, Aerielle would position herself to his side; and lash out at the beasts with her Fox Fangs as they attacked him. This caused him great concern, as he wanted Aerielle to stay back behind him at some distance; should the beasts turn upon her, he would have time and room to stop them before they reached her. He was an Apprentice knight, a novice, with lowly aggression skills; he was worried that he would not be able to keep them off of Aerielle should they turn onto her. It was his duty to protect the healer; it was his duty to protect Aerielle…. how could he do that, if the red headed Wench just won’t listen! Aerielle trusted him completely; she trusted him with her life.
They ventured beyond Gludin many times together; joining in with other bands of adventurers, bent upon driving the brigands and demons out of Aden. Aerielle found herself in the midst of Dwarves, Light Elves, Orcs, fellow Humans, and Dark Elves: a position she was not comfortable with at first. Dwarves were a boastful lot, always exaggerating their accomplishments at crafting the best gear; or of finding the best treasures. What was truly noticeable though, was their fondness for Dwarven Ale; and lots of it. It was on one such venture that she and Slust were partied with a group of Dwarves; at their insistence one night, the young Aerielle was goaded into taking a cup o’ Ale and chugging the brew, until the cup was empty. The expression on the young mystic’s face brought the Dwarves to tears, as they couldn’t stop laughing at her. She must have been a sight; with eyes squinted shut, her mouth open wide allowing her tongue to extend beyond it’s confines, she bounced around flapping her hands up and down at her sides like a duck out of water, and gasping for air. It tasted horrible to her. She looked around at the laughing comrades until she eyed Slust. He was a loyal friend but he could hardly contain himself; he tried with every ounce of energy to hide his laughter, but the sight of young Aerielle hopping up and down was just too funny. And that look on her face, brought pains to his sides trying to stifle an outburst of laughter. Her eyes ignited in fire, matching the color of her hair; she stood there starring at him as if she were made of stone. The young mystic was angry; they were making sport of her, and she intended to put an end to it right now. The Dwarves kept the ale in hide leather bladders to keep it reasonably cool. Noticing the change in her demeanor, all fell silent. She would show them, after all….. just who did they think they were laughing at in that way. Aerielle grabbed the ale bladder out of the clenches of the nearest Dwarf; raising the bladder above her head, she leaned her head back and poured the golden brew straight down her throat. She guzzled the liquid hardly taking in a breath; some of the foaming brew streaming down past her lips, and nearly soaking her tunic. The bad taste she once knew had now become just a memory. Thus Aerielle had made a communion with Dwarven Ale; a relationship that would last for years to come.
The Light Elves she felt comfortable with as they exhibited a stately manner, and they were recognized as supportive to Humans. Some of the most beautiful and best handling weapons, were known to be Elven. With the beauty of the forest easily identified in all of their designs, the weapons themselves seemed to radiate dexterity and speed. These were the Virtues which the Elven race was famous for possessing. Aerielle just didn’t trust their Dark kin. They were known to dislike Humans in general, and some say that they even now plot to destroy all of Humankind. Still, she had known Dark Elves that were quite kind to her; and they too joined the fight against these invading mercenary armies. The Orcs were huge. They towered above her small frame; and they were powerful as well. It surprised her how a race who communicates with a language made up of words and grunts, could ever be proficient with magic. The Orcs, were very knowledgeable with magic, especially magic that deals great damage. Their magic is strong and covers a wide area. Aerielle was standoffish at first around them, not knowing exactly how to take them. They changed moods ever so quickly; one minute they would be very serious, and the next playful and joking. Over time, Aerielle began to understand that differences between the races wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Where one was week, another was strong. And Aden needed all races to join the fight, or Aden would fall.
Hunting in parties, searching and destroying the bands of mercenary armies and undead legions across Aden, also became a source of income. The slain brigands often carried wages paid in golden Adena; this would be split among all party members. Aerielle saved as much adena as she could, her devotion robes were stitched together where old wounds used to be, and she needed a new weapon.
Finally returning to Gludin after a particularly long excursion into the surrounding countryside; and with the rattle of adena filling her purse, Aerielle was ready to go shopping. The first stop she made was the armor shop; she would get a new set of robes. She was reluctant at first, knowing that she was close to completing her apprentice training and Cleric’s robes would soon follow. But she desperately needed new robes, and she needed them now. While looking through the store’s inventory, she came across a set that just newly arrived from Giran. They were beautiful, sewn in scarlet red and gold; they matched her hair and her disposition. The store’s trader noticing her interest in the robes, sent her into a back room to try them on. The small room was furnished only with a stool, a peg hook on the door, and a large full length polished metal mirror. Aerielle undressed and hung her old robes on the peg hook fastened to the door. She stood there awhile looking at herself in the mirror; she seemed older now, the childish youth she was accustomed to seeing in herself was fading away. She liked what she saw in the reflection; she was looking at the face of confidence, she could see determination in the eyes that starred back at her. She saw a woman in that mirror, the child was gone….. washed away by the experiences she had lived through. A mischievous smile stretched across her lips, as she pressed the new robes against her body; looking at their image in the polished metal. She gingerly put the new robes on,( taking care to smooth out the material here, giving a little pull and tug there, making sure it fell just right upon her body) and viewed herself at every angle in the mirror. A narrow beam of light filtered through the closed shutters of the room, falling gently upon her and revealing what the robes looked like. Scarlet red trimmed in gold; a perfect match for her hair and complexion. These were Magic Robes indeed, the skirt was more of a long loin cloth fore and aft; revealing her hips. She would twirl around in front of the mirror and watch her reflection; noticing how the material would sway in the breeze, every flutter, every ripple, each movement no matter how small. She would turn her backside to the mirror and view the robes from behind, sometimes she would walk swaying her hips from side to side; she loved how the material seemed to flow in the soft breeze made by her movements. These robes appear to have been made with her in mind. She once more looked in the mirror; she loved the woman she saw in the reflection, she was happy with herself and with the person she had become. She arched her eyebrow, and that devilish smile emerged again; she winked at her reflection.
Aerielle paid for the new robes, purchased matching shoes and left the armor store. Feeling good about herself, she sauntered over to the weapons shop. Once inside, she studied every weapon available to her; she needed one which was crafted with more magic power. After a period of deliberation she decided to buy a mage staff. It would take some getting used to; as she was not acquainted with two handed staffs. It felt strange to her at first; the shaft was smooth and balanced, and the top was adorned with an evil looking goat’s head. The longer she held the staff in her hands, the more natural it felt to her. Soon, she and the staff would become as one. Together they made a weapon graced by Einhasad; and cursed by the brigand invaders.
Satisfied with her purchase, Aerielle ventured into the streets of Gludin; she was ready to see Levian again…… she wanted to take the trial of the Cleric. Aerielle felt she was ready, surely the High Priestess had heard how strong her magic was…… surely…… she hoped.
Aerielle couldn’t help but feel a bit apprehensive as she climbed the stairs leading to Gludin Temple. Once inside, she searched the large interior for a scholastic Cleric who might help her seek an audience with the High Priestess. Once again, Aerielle found herself waiting in the antechamber outside of High Priestess Levian’s Chambers. She hated the waiting; it always felt like it took forever to get an audience with the High Priestess. The scholastic Cleric returned to usher Aerielle into Levian’s chamber; after which the Cleric left her alone with Levian, and closed the heavy ornate sculptured doors behind him. The High Priestess stood before her official seat; rays of bright light from the stained glass ceiling panels cascading down upon her form, engulfing her in shimmering colors making her appear as a celestial being. Her robes seemed to shimmer in the brightness, and caused reflections of light to dance upon her face making her the vision of holiness. She truly was the Envoy of Einhasad.
"Come Aerielle, stand before me so that I might see." Aerielle stood before the High Priestess, performed a curtsy in reverence to Levian’s position; and kissed the ring Levian wore identifying her as one of Einhasad’s chosen ones. The High Priestess took Aerielle by the hand and gently pulled her into the beam of light. Together they stood in the radiance of Einhasad; glimmering speckles of light surrounding them, dancing about them, bathing both in a shower of brilliance beyond imagination. "The brash young girl who came before me so many months ago is no more….. a young woman stands before me now. It is in her face that I see your destiny; I see a certain confidence within your eyes, and determination fills your essence within. The youthful exuberance which fills your heart, may lead you onto the path of danger; so be wary Aerielle." The High Priestess’ words seemed to baffle Aerielle somewhat. What exactly did she mean? The High Priestess recognized the question upon Aerielle’s face, and she spoke to her again. "I have heard many good reports about you, Aerielle. I have heard that your magic is strong, our brave warriors and knights tell tales of your abilities to keep them alive and in the fight. I have heard that you are not afraid to join into the fray, in fact, you have been in the midst of it on many occasions. Much to the dismay of our brave knights, who wonder just how they are to protect your lovely arse on such occasions". With those words Aerielle began to blush, or perhaps it was the reflection of her robes upon her face. "So too have I heard some other things, Aerielle. I have heard from good sources that you have been seen cavorting with Dwarves; engaging in the impropriety of drunkenness, and in the indulgence of frivolous dance. Be wary, Aerielle…..everything in moderation…..for there are some who would take advantage of such youthful exuberance. There are those in this world that are without honor, some who know nothing of loyalty; and some who would fake friendship just to gain your trust. Be wary, Aerielle……be wary."
The High Priestess Levian once again held before her, the letter of recommendation young Aerielle brought from the Grand Magister of Talking Island. "You have proven your mystical abilities, Aerielle. Indeed, what the Grand Magister reported concerning your abilities has been appropriate. This letter shall be kept with your records. Now seek out Priest Zigaunt and begin your trial. Aerielle….. I wish you well on your trial; come back to me when all is complete." And so it was that Aerielle had been sent on a mission to find a set of books that heavily criticized her faith. She set about her task immediately; and without hesitation she embarked upon her journey wishing all of her friends a fond farewell.
The dreaming Aerielle lost in slumber, stirred only slightly during the mission’s revival in her mind. As visions of people and events unfolded within the dream; faint smiles and barely noticeable movements of her eyelids like the flutter of butterfly wings, told of important happenings that were being relived once again. The only memory that caused a sudden stir, was an encounter with some underworld denizens known as Ruin Zombies; which the young Aerielle dispatched in good order. With the conclusion of that situation, Aerielle lay still upon her bed; with a gentle breeze blowing over her, navigating it’s way through the open spaces in the shutters which were barred shut. There came a moment within the dream, where Aerielle acquired all of the disrespectful books; her mission near completion save only to hand over Lionel’s covenant ( a promise not to author any further volumes) to Priest Zigaunt. Aerielle breathed a sigh of relief, she looked so innocent lying there; and so complacent in her slumber.
This was a big day for Aerielle; today she meets High Priestess Levian to report that she has finished Priest Zigaunt’s Test. Held close to her breast beneath her tunic, she carried Zigaunt’s Mark of Faith; proof positive that she was ready to become a Cleric in service to Einhasad. Aerielle entered Gludin Temple with zeal, a Cleric escorted her straightway to High Priestess Levian; who had been waiting for her. Levian catching sight of the young mystic motioned to Aerielle to approach her person; once again the High Priestess gently pulled Aerielle into the light. Neither the High Priestess nor the young mystic spoke a single word. They communicated with each other by looking into each other’s eyes; and they understood each other completely. Levian raised an eyebrow and Aerielle presented the High Priestess with the Mark of Faith. At that instant, the light showering them both in glimmering, dancing specs of light, became much more intense; it’s brilliance was beyond belief. This was the aura of Einhasad; their divinity stood amongst them, bathing them in divine light. They could feel Einhasad’s presence; however the aura prevented any clear vision of the divinity. Aerielle could "feel a pressure" upon her lips; she had been kissed by Einhasad. Immediately afterwards the aura was gone; Aerielle and High Priestess Levin once again stood alone within the beam of glittering light. Aerielle stood motionless in a state of total awe. Levian smiled at her, framed Aerielle’s face with her hands and kissed her forehead. Aerielle’s eyes grew larger, while a broad smile stretched across her face; just as the High Priestess held her in a sisterly hug. Their eyes said it all; Levian acknowledged Aerielle as Einhasad’s newest Cleric. She walked proudly through the temple and out into the town square. Aerielle beamed with pride and happiness…….at last! Tomorrow would be filled with training, learning new skills and enhancing older ones; but today….. today was for celebrating!
A smile spread across the face of the dreaming Aerielle; obviously an important step in her journey to becoming a Prophetess, had just been reached.