Chapter Three


The Heroes Hunted

After the dust cleared, the Cymrillian constabulary arrived and questioned everyone involved. Tyranus, in particular, was most closely scrutinized. However, as the witness’s statements were collected it was clear that the heroes had done everything they could to help. We were thanked and allowed to leave, though Tyranus was released only with great reluctance.

I had not been concerned, of course. How else could it be, if they were destined to meet the other six signs?

As I walked down the crystal steps in front of the guard station where I had been questioned, I was filled with peace and satisfaction. We had done well, following the path set by Fate. So distracted was I by my self-congratulating thoughts that I did not at first notice the tugging at my leg.

In a small voice, a Gnomekin child said, “Am here to thank you, dark one.”

I looked down in surprise. There, no taller than my knee, was the very child I had seen before the First Sign had fallen. He continued, “For saving this one and family, Mother wishes you to have this.” He held out in his tiny hand an emerald.

I smiled and said, “There is no need to reward me, young one. I only did as my nature required.” He answered, “Please take the healing stone. You saved this one and family. Maybe it will save you one day.”

He reached up and placed the emerald in my hand. It was smaller than one of my fingernails, yet seemed to be heavy for its size. As I looked at it, it shimmered faintly with an inner radiance, and I was shocked to realize I recognized this gem!

This was Noorio’s Healing Gem, which had been found in the wreckage after the First Sign. I remembered this now. This gem had been found amid ashes and unidentified bodies. I remembered this NOW. My vision swirled.

I had changed the future. That which I had read in the history books was now wrong! What new catastrophes might now lay in wait because of my tampering?

When I finally managed to tear my gaze away from the gem, the Gnomekin child was gone. I was left alone on those crystal steps, with the evidence of my actions weighing in the palm of my hand.

I left the city then, without a word to the other heroes. I retreated to the well-tended groves and gardens that pass for forests in the kingdom of Cymril. I needed the tranquility of sky and soil, of leaf and wind, like I had seldom needed it before.

The next day, events were transpiring around the heroes of which I would only learn later. While I meditated in the forests beyond the city walls, the heroes were being targeted by Rajan assassins. They struck at range and then vanished, each time leaving nothing behind but a poisoned dart. The heroes evaded their attackers, though at least one innocent bystander was killed.

That afternoon, one of them came for me. The trees hid me, however, granting me invisibility, and I used my bow to strike down my attacker before he knew I was there. I turned the assassin over to the guards at Cymril’s gates, and that is when I learned of the other attacks.

I sent my avir friend, Fate, into the city. In the feathered tongue I told her to find the heroes and lead them to me. To ensure there would be no confusion I also tied a small note to her leg that said “Allow Fate to guide you.” I then set out to follow my assassin’s trail back to the Rajan camp I knew must be hidden nearby.

– End Session Three –

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