Campaign Logs

Twilight Dawn

By Jaap-Peter Hazelhoff

Chapter 72 - Wrapping Up

Berdusk 1371 DR, Eleint, 11th day (Penultimate Thunder: Hoar), afternoon

The group at the table has thinned out somewhat, Marc is still unconscious upstairs, being tended by one of the maids of the Running Stag, Portia is on her way to the Crystal Mansion, Matteo hasn’t returned yet from his meeting with the guard captains and Telsom, followed by Skeen, is making his drunken way over to the Ruby Shawl.

Another round of drinks is brought to the table where the others are still seated, Kevin, in his mind still going over the scroll he just identified and the preparations for the identification of the items tomorrow, Teryn, the silent warrior who almost single-handedly defeated the Darkenbeast in melee, Emlyn the halfling priestess of Ilmater, also still musing on the happenings of today.

Ditalidas is started for a moment when suddenly Puddy is whispering in her ear. Then she chuckles softly. “If you want to read the scrolls that’s alright with me. Though I believe Kevin over there has read them already. Maybe you could ask him what’s in them. But could you maybe assist in identifying the items tomorrow? That would be a great help.”

“Such beyond my talents are.” Answers Puddy to Ditalidas’s earlier question, “Scrolls read I may, but not for this one to sit in one place divining all night one toy. Barely lift, could I most of them. Human magics useless to me are, unless shrink to my size they do.” The little fey sits quiet for a while, with his chin resting on his hands, as he observes the coming and going of the party members.        

Ditalidas, sipping from her tallglass of Berduskan Red eyes the others to see if they have noticed her talking to the invisible faerie on her shoulder, only Kevin seemed to have noticed. Ditalidas tosses Kevin a wink and small blushes appear on her cheek as she feels kind of caught.

Teryn seeks mage Kevin’s attention: “Kevin, as much as I can speak for the accident that brought you and Tarim along with me, I offer my apologies. I am sure the mage who sent me didn’t intend for you to come along but it was fortuitous for me. I haven’t yet thanked you and Tarim for the aid you rendered in helping vanquish that foul creation that would, I had begun to fear, have killed me. I am gratified that you have found new spells that are valuable to you. As my offer to help guard these items has been ignored I plan to return in a few minutes to the House of the High Hand where we started this adventure. Would you like to accompany me and we can return here in the morning?

“Thank you,” Kevin says to the warrior, “but I have a room upstairs. If you are returning here in the morning, though, could I prevail upon you to bring me my staff? I know it’s a rather simple bit of wood, but I carved it myself, and I wouldn’t wish to leave it behind.” Teryn nods “I would consider it the least I could do for you after helping me on the roof. Who should I see to retrieve it?”

Immerine, Jezbodiah, Nik and Tarim are still somewhere outside, and the young lady Jalarghar is wondering when they return, when the door opens. Since she was already wondering, Ditalidas turns towards the door to see who enters.

It is Immerine who steps inside. Her mask is now removed and she heads to the table where Kevin is sitting. “I have asked Tarim to teach me. He would like to get started this evening in a quiet location. I suggested my room. I would like you to come as well, if you are willing.”

“Ah, so that explains the look on my friend’s face.” Kevin nods in the direction of his companion, now speaking with the innkeeper. “My lady, there is only one activity I like more than teaching, and that is actually learning myself. I would be glad to impart some of my knowledge to you. Though I dare say you won’t be needing much more than Tarim’s assistance – he inhales the knowledge I give him so fast I’m surprised he doesn’t create a wind. He can certainly aid a novice mage in her first lessons. I’d still like to come along, though – as I said, I love to teach.”

His eyes twinkle slightly. “And I might use the opportunity to see how deeply he’s learned from me. My own mentor once told me that the only way to be sure that someone has learned something is to watch that person try to explain it to someone else.”

Immerine lets her gaze wander to the few remaining at the table. She smiles at Teryn as she remembers the two headed creature at the top of the ventilation shaft. “You are the second of the heads I saw. I am sorry for not staying to greet you properly. Where are the others? Have they retired for the day already?”

Getting up from his chair Teryn smiles warmly at the Rashemi woman and bows deeply but being a quick study does not reach out for her hand “That is quite my fault, actually, as I did not speak to anyone after climbing down from the roof. I did not know who anyone was and kept quiet out of caution letting the authorities sort things out. Any apologies need to come from me. I am Teryn, a fighter of little note and a follower of Selûne though I was sent to help by way of the temple of Denier. I apologize to you for not being more vocal at the warehouse.” He bows again humbly.

Having seen Telsom leave in his drunken state, Emlyn’s expression has changed from amazement to one of mild distaste to concern. For a moment she pictures in her mind Nik and the troubled paladin on a drunken spree through Berdusk and winces. Finally, she stands up from her lone seat and moves closer to Kevin and Immerine, a mop of unruly brown curls and two deer-brown eyes rising just above the table. “Maybe I shouldn’t have overheard,” she apologizes, “One’s thoughts are free of charge, as they say – but… ehm… if it comes to teaching, I could use a little help as well. I am no wizard, only having recently received the favor of Ilmater. Teachings and rituals I know, yet I know little about, well, channeling divine energy instead of my own. I would like to know more.”

“Lady… Enlyn, is it?” Kevin prompts. He had a hard time matching names to faces sometimes, but he thought that was it. “I’m afraid I can’t do much for you unless you wish to learn wizardry, or other knowledge I possess. I doubt you would find much of the latter interesting, though, not without the former. Lady Immerine might be able to help.”

Emlyn smiles at the mispronunciation of her name and with a wink mutters “Close enough.” Hearing Kevin’s answer, she shrugs. “I am pleased enough to meet you – and wizardry, well, I would like to learn, but I unfortunately miss any other talent than to admire and watch the sparks.”

Immerine smiles at Emlyn, “In order to learn, one must listen. I see nothing wrong with it. I, well, I feel the spark of the Hidden One and I believe it is her will that I learn the secrets of the Weave. If you like you are welcome to join us. I also call upon the divinity of Khelliara and would be willing to trade knowledge with you.”

“I like to at least *think* of myself as a good listener,” Emlyn responds thoughtfully. “And I am quite curious to the nature of your Lady as well – ‘Khelliara’, is it?”

Immerine’s brow furls for a moment and then she speaks up again, “I am not sure how many people I can fit in my room though. Nik won’t be staying too long … just long enough for me to fix him a tonic for later. I think the four of us should be okay though. That is if you will be coming Kevin. If you want to come too, Teryn, we may have to ask Mumadar for a meeting room. Are you a wizard Teryn?”

A thought seems to occur to him. “You *are* looking to learning the ways of the wizard, yes? Or are you looking to Tarim’s assistance on sorcerous matters? If it’s the latter, I’m afraid I can’t help you much.”

Teryn’s attention seems piqued as he stops and raises his eyebrows. “Excuse me, but if no one minds, I would appreciate the opportunity to sit in on this lesson. While I have no known talent for magic, it’s not like I’ve ever tried either. Maybe I have some talent I don’t know about, magic has always fascinated me.”

Entering the room shortly after Immerine, Tarim has a slight smile on his face and seems to be having trouble looking Kevin in the eye. He makes his way ‘round the table and takes up his wine and takes a sip before asking “Saer Mumadar? Some small portion of rabbit or somesuch for my little friend? Thank you.”

Immerine’s face is unreadable but there is a flash in her eye just before she responds to Kevin. “I am sure you have much to teach, Kevin. Tarim, himself, suggested you would be by far the better man. But I believe this opportunity is a good one for someone as shy as he.”

Immerine faces Tarim, “No offense Tarim, but you need to be a little more forceful or people are not going to take you seriously. Or are Old Ones in your society placed differently?” She shakes her head, “Never mind, I should not have asked. Your secrets are your own to keep.”

She turns back to Kevin a smile curling the very edges of her lips, “But the fact remains I asked him to teach me and teach me he will. I do not seek sorcerous amusements. I seek knowledge. I seek the blessings of the Hidden One.” When Teryn answers Immerine seems very amused.

He smiles broadly “But seriously, I’d like to learn the difference between wizard and sorcerer.” Getting a distant look in his eyes, he adds “It could be life-saving information in a battle with one” he winks openly and grins widely.

The witch’s smile is complete by the time he finishes speaking, “Very intelligent. It is always a good thing to know your enemy. A man who seeks knowledge to defeat knowledge – very interesting. Believe it or not the Sisterhood has taught me many things. I do know the difference between sorcery and wizardry. I know in my homeland the rumors you Outlanders have of the very land rising against our enemies is also true. I believe the lessons with Tarim will be instructions on how to tap that with which I am already connected. I was accepted as an Ethran even before the Sisters knew I could cast magic. The auguries said I would be a Hathran and a Hathran I will become. It will be crowded in my room. I will have to ask Mumadar for the use of another.”

Immerine stands up to go ask Mumadar if there is a room they can use to meet.

Teryn blushes at being called intelligent though he listens intently to Immerine. “Thank you” he replies shyly, “it is really more a matter of curiosity. My mother was a priestess of Denier and she instilled in me a thirst for knowledge. I follow Selûne though most of her followers are women or lycanthropes and I am neither. I understand sorcerers also comprise a goodly portion of her followers but I’ve never shown any abilities in that area. It has crossed my mind that it might be because I don’t know how to try. Then again, it may be nothing” he shrugs.

The gaunt bard follows Tarim back to the warmth of the Stag’s common room. He looks somewhat worse than usual, his haggard face has an ashen cast under the tan and his normal slight stoop is more pronounced. But his eyes are clear of the fear that frequently haunts them, instead they are bright with what can only be eagerness. Nik casts a worried look over to where he left his guitar, sighing with obvious relief when he sees it is still there.

He sees the small crowd with Immerine, and ambles over to them. Standing next to Immerine, the tall man gives them a cheerful grin. “If you don’t mind,” he says, looking from face to face. “I’d like to sit in on the lessons. While my own skill at playing the Weave is so small as to be practically nonexistent, I find the working of it truly, utterly fascinating. I’ve studied it all my life. It’s true, you know, one always wants what they can’t have. Maybe, someday, I’ll even learn how to fan the tiny ember of my talent into a candle flame.”

“I promise to be quiet, unobtrusive and even sober.” Nik’s smile broadens into the crooked, manic grin, and he adds wryly, “The whiskey left my stomach rather abruptly, and for a change I’m in no hurry to replace it.”

“And I promise not to take up to much room,” Emlyn says seriously, looking at the bard coming in with a twinkle in her eyes. “We might have to fold Nik a little though.”

Before she turns to Mumadar, Immerine smiles brightly at Nik and steps to the tall man. She leans in and uncharacteristically places a single kiss on his cheek, “You will make it my friend. We will all help you.” Stepping away she smiles again and heads to Mumadar.

Nik stares after Immerine, an almost comic look of surprise erasing years from his craggy face. He reaches a trembling hand up to where her lips touched his cheek, his eyes wide and astonished. A small bemused smile plays across his lips and his eyes fill with wonder and joy, making him look closer to twenty than forty.

The tall bard just stands there a moment, looking utterly amazed, and then his eyes focus on the others. Nik blushes crimson, hand dropping to tug nervously at the gaudy scarf around his neck. He clears his throat and looks away, mumbling “I should fetch Julia before I forget her again.” Nik heads back to his seat to get his precious guitar, fussing with the leather-wrapped instrument as he tried to regain some measure of composure. Once the guitar is slung across his back again, Nik stares at the unopened bottle of whiskey on the table. The bard licks his lips nervously, then snatches up the bottle with one trembling hand. He heads over to the bar, clearly intent on returning the whiskey to Mumadar before his newfound resolve fails him.

At the table, Kevin looks at the warrior Teryn. Kevin scratches his head. “I don’t see how knowing the difference between sorcerer and wizard would help much,” he says thoughtfully. If the idea of teaching someone how to defeat a mage disturbs him, he shows no sign of it.

“I suppose that if you knew your opponent was one or the other, and had some idea of the spells he would possess, it might help. See, a wizard’s power is pure knowledge. I’ve heard it said that wizardry is available to anyone who would take the time to learn it; in reality it’s in equal parts talent. Just like any other profession, you need a certain amount of predisposed talent or you never become anything but mediocre.”

“But I stray from my topic; I was speaking of the source of a wizard’s power. Since it’s through pure study, a wizard has no true limit to how many spells he can have available to him. Of course, just as you, Teryn, are limited to how many weapons you can own and carry, a wizard is limited by the resources he has to gain more spells, and also how many he can fit into a single spellbook.”

“Sorcerers are different. They have an innate connection to the Weave – the world’s field of magic,” Kevin clarifies, just in case Teryn didn’t know that. “They can easily tap into that power and use it without any of the training and preparation that a wizard needs. The drawback is that a sorcerer can only hold in him a certain number of spells – in essence, you might think of him as his own spellbook, though that’s a rather weak analogy. A sorcerer can gain more by building his magical ‘muscles,’ so to speak, and can hold more charges per day than a wizard could. However, he can almost never change his selection itself.”

“That’s why I said that you might gain a small advantage over an enemy mage if you knew ahead of time what sort of mage he was. A sorcerer known to cast fire spells would be likely to use them against you, so you might prepare against that. A wizard, though, is limited to what he prepares ahead of time, and so might not cast the spells you were expecting him to.”

“Thanks, while I have learned a lot about divine casting from my mother when she was alive.” Teryn hesitates and a frown flashes across his face it is apparent her loss is still painful. “So I know something about magic, but I don’t know how similar or how different the process is for a mage or sorcerer. Can spells still be interrupted by injury or distraction, if and how spells backfire, and if one of you has a trick or two for avoiding certain nasty spells, even what type of spells might be cast in battle and how powerful a caster has to be to use them? I’d also like to know how powerful a spellcaster it takes to create that beast we slew today on the roof. I’ve a feeling this group will sooner later face that sicko. All these and more are questions I have.”

After speaking to Teryn for so long, Kevin pauses and reviews what he told him. As he does so, the memory of others talking comes as well, and he frowns. “Well, it seems we will have quite the crowd tonight. I hope we won’t have to stay out here. The evening crowd will likely be coming soon, and I doubt our host would like us to take up so much space here in the taproom.”

“I’m afraid your staff may have to wait.” Teryn comments as he looks about the group as well.

Kevin shakes his head, amused. “It seems you already have a good idea of the answers to those questions. Your mother taught you better than you seem to know.” He pauses. “It’s interesting, how so much of what a parent taught you comes out long after they’re gone. Like a part of them is whispering advice…”

Teryn eyes glaze over as in thought and look uncomfortable as his gaze drifts down at the floor at his feet “Not so long Kevin, not so long at all.” The moment passes and Teryn once again looks like the eager student waiting to soak up knowledge, giving Kevin a smile that does not reach his eyes, a hint of pain remaining there. “I’m sorry, go on.”

Realizing he was vocalizing his thoughts, Kevin shakes his head, embarrassed. “Spells can be interrupted, of course, just as a talented bard might have his own song interrupted. They require a great deal of concentration, and a nearby enemy might easily take advantage of that. At the Lady’s College, where I learned most of my skills, they taught us how to split our attention while casting, keeping an eye out for such attacks. It’s a hard thing to do, and normally only powerful mages can stand up to the mental strain of concentrating on both a spell and all possible dangers.”

“Those less experienced – such as myself – tend to stay some distance from a fight if at all possible.” He smiles. “We like to leave such creatures as some mages fight up to those more equipped for it, supporting with a few spells if we can.”

Kevin rubs his chin. Between a depilatory cantrip he’d learned and his father’s elven blood, Kevin doesn’t need to shave often, but he notes that it was about time to recast that spell again. There was a definite stubble forming. “You mentioned spells backfiring,” he goes on, making a mental note about the spell and then continuing with the conversation-cum-lecture. “It… *is* possible for a spell to become wild, should it be disrupted in the way you were asking before. However, it’s about as likely as you suddenly dropping your sword for no reason. Mages learn quickly to control the energy of a failed spell, using their bodies to send the energy back to the Weave. Unfortunately for the mage, that spell uses the same energy that the mage would have released with the spell, and so that energy cannot be regained. It’s safer than releasing wild magic, though, which can harm the mage or his companions. For a wizard, it is one of the first things learned. For a sorcerer… since they rarely have teachers, I can only assume that a sorcerer who is still alive successfully learned the techniques on his own.”

Kevin scratches at the stubble again. “You mentioned battle-magic, yes? Well, I hate to disappoint you, but there are thousands of spells, and hundreds can be used in battle by a creative caster. There are the common spells, of course – these usually have simple names. There’s the ‘magic missile,’ a very common mage spell that manifests bolts of energy that don’t easily miss. It’s a first-magnitude spell, so any mage can cast it if he so desires, and can channel more such energy as he grows more experienced. There’s also an ‘acid arrow,’ often named after an elusive spellcaster named Melf. There isn’t much known about this man – ah,” Kevin pauses, realizing he was beginning a ramble. “But that’s not important to this topic. The acid arrow is a… useful spell. It keeps burning into the flesh or other material of the target, being more potent and lasting longer with the spellcaster’s own training.” Kevin grimaces in memory. “I had a weak version of this spell cast on me in school. It was training on keeping focused through pain. It wasn’t fun; it’s normally an excellent spell for use against other spellcasters.”

“Anyway,” the wizard says, moving on, “an acid arrow is a second-magnitude spell, which I can cast, and I hope to soon be training my friend Tarim to cast such spells as well. However, that’s the most I can actually cast myself. I can’t cast a fireball-spell, which was what you undoubtedly had in mind. That’s third-magnitude. You’ve no doubt seen such a spell in action, so I needn’t describe it. There are other spells, but those are the three most common battle ones. Now, I’ve used a few spells in unorthodox ways, and I could think of others that I’ve had no need for so far. I’m not very battle-oriented myself, though, so I can’t tell you much more than that.

“You wanted to know about a caster’s ability. You’ve already guessed some, I’m sure. It’s separated into what we mages call orders of magnitude. I’m told clerics use a similar system, but it best describes arcane magics. You see, magical energy seems to be split into some distinct states, some with greater concentrations, and some with lesser. We’ve separated most spells into nine rough but distinct orders of magnitude, with some very minor spells making a tenth. It’s purely an artificial arrangement, understand; simply for convenience when discussing things of this nature. Rather like nations drawing boundaries so that they might argue less about what belonged where.”

“The creator of that darkenbeast you slew had to be at least a mage of the fifth magnitude, three orders above me. He or she may be even higher, but that is the energy level of the spell itself.” Kevin looks grave as he speaks this. “If we are to go up against this person in battle, either we must take him by surprise, or have the value of numbers on our side. This mage is powerful, and is obviously ruthless. The darkenbeast spell is illegal where I come from, and is tainted with dark energies. I can’t imagine the person who would so twist life for his own gain will go down without a fight.”

Kevin looks around at the assembled group. “I suppose that makes what we do here doubly important. I hate to say it, but we may look back on that warehouse as an easy battle. I know I didn’t do much, and so it was easier for me, but surely anyone with access to magics of the fifth magnitude would have other dangers and obstacles to throw at us, perhaps even more potent than that twisted shadow of life. We can use all the knowledge and power we can gain.”

As Puddy remains silent for a while, so does Ditalidas who also observes the activity of the people around her. After a while she breaks the silence. “I’m going home in a while, but first I would like to check up on Marc. If you like, you are welcome to join me.” She rises from her chair, only waiting a short moment for Puddy’s reply.

Seeing that Nik has sobered a bit, and intends to spend the day studying some stuffy old tomes and such, Puddy replies, “My pleasure, that would be. Fear getting into trouble, myself, if spend much time watching humans read and talk, I do.”

Nodding her agreement, Ditalidas rises to bids the group goodnight and go upstairs to check on Marc when Teryn reacts. Turning abruptly to face Ditalidas straight on, the fighter’s hands stop about an inch from his swords’ hilts, fingers curved as if about to grab the weapons as he freezes and stops, his eyes scanning the area around Ditalidas as if looking for something. After a moment he whispers to the nearest party member other than Kevin, without taking his eyes off Ditalidas and the area around her “What’s that? Someone is here unseen!” He flexes his fingers but keeps his hands hovering over the grips of his swords, his body tense and ready to move at the slightest hint of trouble.

At the bar Mumadar receives the bottle from Nik with an encouraging smile to the bard. The innkeeper moves the bottle out of the way without appearing hasty – lest he gives the impression that Nik cannot be trusted and might grab the bottle. As he turns back from the shelf, he answers Immerine. “Ma’am, if the room you used previously is suitable, I can humbly offer you the use of the room for the remainder of the day and tomorrow and as long as you deem it necessary.” Polishing the bar before him once more with the well-used rag, the dark skinned man smiles, revealing a set of pearly white teeth. “It seems a new service can be added to this humble inn. All to the greater enjoyment and satisfaction of my honored customers.”

Immerine smiles gratefully at Mumadar, “Thank-you. This means a great deal to me. I do not wish to put you out.” Immerine inclines her head and returns to where Kevin is enlightening the table about the tedium of magic. She moves toward Tarim an odd half-smile on her lips. “I have a room if you would follow me. We can retire to privacy for my lesson.” Immerine indicates where they are going with a motion of her hand.

The young mage had been listening to Kevin in silence and smiled brightly at Immerine’s return. He stops running the ever-present brush through his hair and put it away as he follows the lovely witch.

Nearly exhausted, Skeen returns to the inn with a mere imitation of her usual casual, slightly arrogant stride. With a quick glance around she moves to gather still more of the food, bundling it up with some water to take to the room she’s been assigned. “Worked up an appetite,” she smirks slightly and says softly to any who are watching or listening. Her eyes gleam gold for a moment with rare humor then she makes her way to her room for much needed rest.

Telsom enters the inn somewhere after Skeen, the warrior’s eyes and demeanor complete devoid of the alcoholic haze he’d been under when he’d left. Moving to the table the paladin gathers his discarded equipment and then goes up to his room, muttering softly as he strains to carry the armload.

The tall bard swallows hard as Mumadar takes the bottle, then turns away quickly, hands clenched into fists as if he himself fears he might snatch the bottle back. The resolve is clear in Nik’s sunken eyes but he can’t stop himself from glancing back once, like a man sneaking a last look at the lover he is leaving behind. Then Nik squares his narrow shoulders and follows Immerine and Tarim.

After hearing news of a private room, Kevin smiles and begins to rise. Instead, he bolts upright as Teryn suddenly issues his challenge. He suppresses a momentary feeling of panic, and Kethron – who had decided to explore the room while the two-leggers talked about less interesting things – appears at Kevin’s side so fast one might have thought magic was involved. The tressym looked around for any enemies, but like his master, found no one. Kevin holds his right arm slightly away from his body, ready to either cast a spell or – more likely, considering his current selection – release his father’s dagger.

For a moment Ditalidas freezes on the spot and looks at Teryn in startled surprise. Then she suddenly begins to grin. A relieved smiles lights up her face. She turns to where she last suspected Puddy. “Puddy, can I introduce you to Teryn? Could you, maybe, be so kind as to lay his suspicions to rest? I would hate it if he would lash out to you and accidentally hit me with that dangerous looking sword of his.” Humor is clearly audible in her voice. “Teryn, meet Puddy.” After that she waits for Puddy to appear or make himself known. She sincerely hopes he will, otherwise she might look kind of foolish…

The little fey stiffens momentarily, then relaxes a bit and – although remaining invisible – says, “Greetings, Teryn. Friend to Nik I am, many miles having him accompanied, and these others, friends to those who are friends to him. Pudruelantreda my name is, but Puddy most call me.”

Letting out a slow long exhale, Teryn relaxes his body, slumping his shoulders then giving his arms and hands a quick shake while Kevin speaks.

“A pixie?” Kevin asks rhetorically. It was a guess, since he’d never met one, but it seemed logical. <I you greet, Wild-One,> Kevin says in Sylvan, the language of forest creatures. Again, it is a guess, but he assumes the invisible creature, pixie or not, would speak this tongue. <Kevin Janis my name is, but then know that already, yes?>

“Kevin Janis, well met then,” says the fey, pleased at being spoken to in the woodland tongue.

“Pixie?” Teryn seems taken aback, puzzled by the notion of a pixie as a member of the group. Furrowing his brow at the unintelligible – to him – sounds Kevin is making, he offers “Puddy? As in pull…” he stops and covers his mouth “never mind, old human expression. Pleased to uh, meet, if not see, you Puddy. I’m sure you have your reasons for remaining invisible. I hope to ‘see’ you soon though” the young human’s eyes continue to scan the area around Ditalidas and he winks in her general direction in the area he guesses the voice originated…

The newly unmasked witch gets tired of standing and pointing at the room. Finally she smiles at Tarim and walks into the chamber. She takes a chair and calls out, “Tarim?”

Kevin bows his head in the direction of the pixie’s voice, and then speaks to the group. “It seems Lady Immerine grows impatient. Shall we all join her?” With that he sets off towards the private room, Teryn following at his back.

As the group enters the private room, all more or less eager to learn about magic, Ditalidas smiles. For one part she would like to join them, but her mind is set on Marc. “Let’s go upstairs Puddy.” She nods at Mumadar when she passes him on her way to the stairs.

Upstairs she enters Marc’s room to check on him and Friend. In the room she’ll greet Friend and will sit with Marc for a while. With a sad expression on her face she strikes a few hairs from his forehead. “Oh Marc… poor lad…” With that she starts to cry, finally releasing all her worry and sorrow for him. Between her sobs she whispers: “Get well. please get well soon…”

Puddy flutters along behind Ditalidas as she climbs the stairs. Once inside Marc’s room, he allows himself to fade back to full visibility. The little fey comforts her as best he can while she cries; after a short time, he takes the little silver flute from his pocket, and begins to play a soft and restful melody.

It is only much later when Ditalidas opens her eyes again. Much to her surprise she had cried herself to sleep over Marc’s prone body while the soothing music of the fey played in the background. Puddy offers the young woman a comforting smile. “Watching over boy, I will do.” He says, “Go, sleep, you need.”

Thanking the little faerie, Ditalidas quietly makes her way home. Much later at night, her sleep is restless though she doesn’t wake. The events of the past days once more playing over in her mind in the distorted way of dreams…

The content of Twilight Dawn are the property and copyright of J P Hazelhoff, and are not to be published or redistributed without permission.

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