Rote-ay-ip Aruthala's Journal in Reverie
I sit, in the reverie of my race, at a table far from the forests of my birth. I've been told that few of my people are able to shape the reverie as I do: to add new embellishments and not just dream events of the past. But as I write now, it seems natural to me that I have always had this power. Here, in the privacy of my resting mind, I will remember and record the great and tragic events of my life before I die.
Table of Contents
Prologue -- What went before.
Chapter 1 -- Silk's Crossing.
Chapter 2 -- Enchanted dwarven village.
Chapter 3 -- Obsidian Forest.
Chapter 4 -- Stoneroot and fungus.
Chapter 5 -- Elvish city of Tal'Oketh.
Chapter 6 -- Get dwarves, travel back.
Chapter 7 -- Pirates + Lord Strith.
Chapter 8 -- A brief respite.
Chapter 9 -- Hobgoblin ambush.
Chapter 10 -- Out to sea; two islands.
Chapter 11 -- Thristle and Ash.
Chapter 12 -- Meeting Romalar.
Chapter 13 -- A tower in Dar's End.
Chapter 14 -- Arm of the titan.
Chapter 15 -- Leaving Silk's Crossing.
Chapter 16 -- Two days in Korth Kalumbel.
Chapter 17 -- Azud's thugs strike.
Chapter 18 -- Victory over Azud.
Chapter 19 -- Interlude.
Chapter 20 -- Ashra's Birthday.
Chapter 21 -- Back to White & Black.
Chapter 22 -- My people are cursed.
Chapter 24 -- TalVarish, part 2.
Chapter 25 -- Into the Palace.
Chapter 26 -- Sleeping under glass.
Chapter 27 -- The stoner ball.
The Forest of Shadows was beautiful then. An unforgiving land, savage and wild. The Umannan lived there, in harmony with nature. A simple girl child was born to the Umannan and grew to womanhood in that land. They said she was beautiful, like all the rare children of her tribe. But she was really quite plain, perhaps even ugly for her kind.
That girl -- Ruth -- was raised by her grandmother. Her mother was a minor witch, and her grandmother -- Rote-ay Ashalla -- was shaman of the tribe. It was thought that the girl would take after them both, but such was not the direction taken in her youth.
The ne-Bashella Jumaji was a brotherhood of elves from many tribes. Their way was to glorify emotion, animal nature, and all of the wild world. With her ne-bashe (brothers in spirit), Ruth could vent her violent tendencies and her rage. Was her rage justified? Perhaps not; Perhaps it was only a reaction to the sneers she felt from the beautiful people of her tribe.
As a ne-bashe of the Jumaji, Ruth was inclined to wander to far places; even to the very ends of the Forest of Shadows. On one such trip she witnessed what was to become a defining event in her life: the death of a mortal man.
He was a soldier. Critically wounded, he had wandered away from his battle and into the forest to die. The young elf found him resting there, the first mortal she had ever seen. There was so much blood, and when the man saw her, his fear was plainly written on his face. The mortal fear of death; Ruth was appalled.
She tried to make him comfortable, but could not save his life. She had not learned the healing arts her grandmother had tried to teach her. She could only look on, as pain and fear filled the last moments of the man's life. His death came swiftly, and when his life was gone, she could only wonder where his life had gone.
With elves, death is simple, if it comes at all. But mortal men hold so many conflicting beliefs and superstitions; Where a mortal life goes after death is not certain. The pursuit of this knowledge would be a driving force in the young elf's later life.
The world has changed, and I see more of it with my wandering every day. With my coming of age, I began to travel beyond the Forest of Shadows into the wider realm of Xylan. I even passed beyond the elven heart-wood to explore the graveyards of men.
The crypts of mortals long deceased were fascinating. There were strange writings, rotting tomes, and inscrutable artifacts. One artifact was a large heart shaped stone. the stone was a translucent red, and deep within it were moving pictures of a fierce jungle and many bones that pressed up toward the viewer. Of its own accord the heart began to pulse, so I dropped it back to the ground and left it to rest in peace.
Magic, long denied the denizens of our world, has returned. My grandmother's magic was finally revealed to be more than just clever applications of herb-craft and anatomy. But other enchantments would soon emerge to devastate the elven heartland. The plants moved, and killed. In some places the dead returned to life, and they also killed.
When the carnage started, I was with my ne-bashe, hunting human invaders in Southern Xylan. A premonition told me my grandmother was in danger, so I left the Jumaji to returned home on my own.
On my way home, I passed Xyl. The people there were panicked by an evil magic. Xyl is not what it used to be, but it was still a formidable city. The people who lived there were soft, unlike the Umannan, but they remembered the skills of war. Despite all their numbers and power, the evil magic was devastating them. My fear for my own tribe grew.
I found my tribe. All the people were dead. Or undead. My grandmother, Ashalla, was there. She was lucky: her death was a clean one; a stab through the heart. Her body, when I found it, was partially eaten by animals, but at least it had not risen in unnatural animation. May we hold her memory in reverie forever.
While I mourned the loss of my tribe, I met other survivors. Like me, they were returning from far places. By great fortune, my ha-bashe -- Gwendomere Nialö -- was among the survivors.
Together, all the survivors communed, and we planned what should be done next. It was decided that we should separate, and look for other elves who had survived. We would also search for the cause of the enchantments, and for a defense against them. With this decision made, Gwen and I set out together.
When we came to Xyl, we found that Xyl was no more. We did not enter the city, but from its outskirts no living elf could be detected. Corpses were visible under trees and lying half under arch-ways, and the living dead shambled through the streets.
It was then that we decided to leave the elven lands. We wandered for many months.