The Great Library of Palanthas

An Aesthetic shows you to a small reading room.

Stories of Ansalon from the view of Kailith.

A little gully dwarf runs by and says 'Wordwrap Off 65 80.'
The gully continues 'Eyes hurt? Turn Color OFF!! (regular story dates)

Astinus says 'Enter the main library here to view only the author list.'
Astinus gently places a massive tome lined with fake jewels on the table in front of you.
You note the spine bears the word 'Kailith' scribed in glowing brown ink.


Author:    Kailith        
Date:      Wed Oct 18 18:58:00 2006
Subject  Rituals best left to darkness

Hiddukel has always been a vague one, ever since our meeting years ago. 
I was young then, and foolish.  It wasn't long before I was snared by the
Prince of Lies with a web of deception.  Now I work day in and out to serve
him, and someday repay my foolish my debts.  The river of souls will be flow
hard and fast, and I will free!  

He sent me to infiltrate the Knight of Takhisis, and do his work from there,
then arbitrarily decreed I leave them.  I've learned not to question his
motives it has a way of deepening one's debt.  Now he sends me back, to
offer my services to those who would kill me on sight.  It seems the closer
I am to freedom, the harder I am pushed, and the harder I must work not to
lose my ground.  Such is the life of one of my order.  

I have no illusions about what would happen if I came to them as myself, so
I will concoct an illusion of another kind.  It was easy to get the soul I
would need to fuel my spell.  Merchants will buy almost anything if they
think it's valuable.  Pity they don't check for curses.  With my components
in place, the moment of truth will soon be at hand.  

Under the red moon's garish light I prepare the remaining components.  When
all three are hidden by the cloud-cover I will do my dark work.  The body of
a knight who was thought lost will lend me his features, and two more souls
will flow to my dark lord.  
 
Hiddukel will never claim my soul.

Author:    Kailith        
Date:      Thu Mar 15 15:00:53 2007
Subject     A letter of introduction

To the Mercenary Clan, 

Introductions are in order, my name is Kailith S'dan.  I am a priest of
Hiddukel, yet you have little to fear from me.  I have no designs for the
Mercenary Clan outside of seeking work.  

Yet do not count me among the loyal Mercenary fold.  Change is brewing, and
I will be carried away from Mercenary with it.  But for now, I would like to
join the clan, after all, a priest of Hiddukel is nothing without money.  

I have been informed that information on my background must be supplied, so
I will endeavor to supply it as concisely as possible.  

My father was Mohaj S'dan, a merchant alchemist out of Flotsam.  My mother's
name was Samiyah S'dan, a homemaker and daughter to a wealthy merchant.  I
fell to the allure of my god, and eventually slew my parents in cold blood. 
From there I was urged to infiltrate the ranks of the clergy of Takhisis.  I
successfully became a squire within the Knights of Takhisis, before Hiddukel
bade me leave.  It seems that Knighthood is rotting from within, no longer a
threat to anyone.  So now I turn to Mercenary work for some personal fund
raising, to further my goals.  
 
The Aspiring Mercenary,
-Kailith S'dan

Author:    Kailith        
Date:      Tue May  1 19:46:29 2007
Subject     Deals With a Greedy God

Service to Hiddukel lasts longer than a lifetime.  It is a burden that
wearies the mind until Hiddukel at last choses to reap your soul and toss
your body to the not-so-tender mercies of Chemosh.  This god, this
abomination, he promises great things, but dispenses favors slower than
broke miser.  Pity he has a license on my soul.  

I tossed a coin in the air with careful precision.  The two heads of the
coin spun end over end in mid-air.  One side bears a kind face, the other a
head with a maniacal grin.  I let myself have the false hope that the kind
face would land face-up.  Hiddukel was always easier to deal with that way,
even if the bargains were no better.  The kind face flopped facedown into a
precisely laid out pool of my own life-blood.  I took a moment to steel
myself, sharpen my wit, and calm myself.  It was time to bargain with the
trickster.  

Moments passed by painfully slowly, like molasses in the dead of winter. 
The platinum and gold face slowly reanimated and came to life.  The eyes of
the coin turned to me, searching for flaws to exploit.  

"Ah Kailith, my ever-favored cleric.  How goes the reformation the
Dragonarmies?"  He spoke with a mocking sneer, one that sent shivers down my
back.  

"All would be well, if not for Takhisis' foolish love of that Knighthood," I
reply, spitting each syllable as if it were a taste of bile.  

Hiddukel smiled to himself as I spoke these words, knowing that even in our
loss he stood to gain, "Then you have failed to hold up your end of the
deal.  Things are not keeping up with the timeline established in our second
compact.  In accordance with the failure clause of paragraph 16, your debt
is to be doubled."  

I slowly let a smile creep to my face, thinking for just a second I had
gained an advantage over the god of deals.  But a nagging doubt nagged at my
mind, causing me to worry and sweat as I began to carefully articulate my
response, "Dark Lord, what you say is true, but you are either forgetting or
ignoring the addendum I had bargained into the deal.  I am not liable should
Takhisis and her followers be unwilling to desert the Knights of Takhisis. 
Her servants have reclaimed Saige and even now they are trying him for his
crimes.  I fulfilled my part of the contract; it seems you've failed to
uphold your I await payment."  

For a second, the coin's faade turned livid.  Within a heartbeat's time it
was calm and unworried.  "I'm sure you think yourself a clever little
fleshling.  Here, take your payment!"  He roared at me.  

I felt the weight of my debt lift my shoulders, the feeling of freedom
blowing on my soul like a cool spring wind.  A moment later that feeling was
cruelly yanked from me as new debt of 100 souls settled upon me.  

I screamed at that hated face, "What trickery is this?"  

Hiddukel lay there smiling a moment, and finally broke into an almost
hysterical giggling laugh.  "My dear boy, have you forgotten our first
compact so soon?  For tricking me, a new debt of 100 corrupted souls is
placed upon you.  They are to be delivered within 100 days time, sealed
within this coin, or YOUR soul is mine.  It seems your time in serving under
me has not been wasted, if you manage to pull this off you may finally be
free of my clutches, but only because I allow it to be so."  

I watched as the puddle of blood drained into the coin, feeling as if a part
of my soul was tugged towards it by the current.  As Hiddukel's face faded
into gold, I fought down the bitter taste of my new debt with the knowledge
I might yet pull this off.  It's time to journey to Palanthas, where to the
wealth of the world tempts and corrupts far faster than I could on my own.  
 
(This story was hard as heck to write, I spent a week or two just trying to
 think up how I would bargain my way out of Hiddukel's service. I've got a
 plan now, but there is still some time until it comes to fruition.)
 
-Kailith

Author:    Kailith        
Date:      Tue May 15 01:25:57 2007
Subject     The Bounty of 100 Souls

Blood..  Blood everywhere!  The blood of the corrupt, I send it like
rivers to Hiddukel, and I care not, for I will be free!  Blessed freedom, I
hear it like a swift spring bring just outside window pane, tempting me to
venture out and taste its sweetness.  But I am inside, held by bonds of
blood that will soon be released!  

My work has been easy thanks to Dante's wolf pack.  The wolves attack
outlying areas, devouring, destroying, and terrorizing the simple folk. 
When the city guard responds, I move in on my mark, usually a corrupt
merchant or politician.  There's so many to choose from it's a wonder the
city has room for anyone else.  By the time anyone finds out about my deeds,
I'm long gone and outside the city offering up my bounty to the Trickster. 

It was easy for the ten marks or so, lots of strange things happen in this
city and the guard takes time to organize.  But now the Solamnics are on to
me.  They hold a unit in reserve even during the wolf attacks.  For a while
I was able to elude them using the sewers and other unpleasant places, but I
guess I must have killed someone important, because they sure are trying
hard now.  Yesterday they almost found my stash of pocketed valuables, but I
noticed the tail and doubled back at the last minute.  

And now here I am, ankle deep in the blood of 3 guardsmen.  They won't
overlook this one, I'm going to have to leave town.  I grab the bloody sack
of goods and make a break for it, knowing more of them will come down upon
me at any minute.  I've a slice down my side that's leaking dangerous amount
of blood and shortening my strides.  It's going to be close.  Opening up a
window, I dive out, falling through clotheslines and into a puddle of
something unpleasant.  Whatever it is, it sends lances of pain up my side
when it hits the wound.  I stagger to my feet and press on, trying to ignore
the shrill whistles I hear from the building behind me.  

I round a corner and spot the wall, thanking whichever god happens to be
watching over me today.  The clomping of booted feet to my left turns my
mutter thanks into a curse as I scrabble up my rope towards a hole in the
dilapidated wall.  Sometimes it's good to question a kender before
disemboweling him.  Without the help of that otherwise useless race, this
whole scheme would've ended ages ago.  As my legs pass into the hole I risk
a glance back and spot a furious Solamnic shouting oaths that would make a
dwarf cry.  I quickly duck my head back and shimmy down the other side as
the arrows slam into the stonework, ready to escape into the wilderness.  

They sent tracking dogs after me for the first few days, but the wolves made
short work of them.  Now they know better than to pursue me in the darkness.
I hastily dig up my belongings and meet up with the pack.  They've been a
great asset, but I don't think they can help me much longer.  With a few
words, I tell them to return to Dante.  I think they understand, since they
go loping off into the darkness.  A change of clothes makes me look like a
rich trader as I begin traveling the road, my quota of souls far from
satisfied.  
 
-Kailith
 
(I'm not completely happy with how this came out. Ah well, 3 more stories to
 go left in this arc.)

Author:    Kailith        
Date:      Wed May 16 21:14:21 2007
Subject     The Bounty of 100 Souls, Pt. II

Damn I'm exhausted.  These past two months have been the most tiring
thing I've ever had to do.  I've faced death countless times and lived to
spite him each time.  I've committed at least one murder a day, sending the
backstabber a river of corrupted souls.  And despite my exhaustion, despite
the atrocities I've done, I'm happy.  All that remains is to speak to
Hiddukel and have him remove the yoke from my neck.  You may call it a
medallion of faith, but I know better.  

I toss Hiddukel's coin in a puddle of blood, not my own this time, but my
latest victim's.  He was a hill dwarf merchant with his fair share of dirty
secrets.  The coin remains oddly lifeless, as if refusing to answer the
summons I've placed with it.  

"GYA HA HA!"  A booming voice cackles from behind me.  

I spin, my deadly spiked mace already out.  Acid sizzles on the rocks next
to me - the sudden swing must have flung a few drops out.  I see nothing as
the laugh winds down to a few wheezing cackles.  

"Down here boy," says the bloated head of my latest corpse.  

I smile at the god's sense of humor, but keep my guard up.  To think you've
ever won in the presence of the dealmaker is a mistake.  I cross my arms,
waiting for his next move.  

"I see you've satisfied the terms of your contracted penalty.  But remember
one thing - no matter what you do with your freedom, it will serve me in the
end," he says with a conceited smile on his face.  A moment later the
medallion falls from my neck, dissolving into the blood.  

I throw back my head and try to let forth the joy I feel inside, but
something is wrong.  My voice won't work.  Looking down, I spy a dwarven
saber protruding neatly through my neck.  As my nerveless legs crumple
beneath me, I see the headless dwarven body holding the blood-slick blade. 
As everything goes black, I hear a last few words: "I never said you'd
live."  

No!  It isn't supposed to end like this!  The creeping blackness fills me
and I wonder what's going on as a startlingly beautiful face fills my mind. 
Her glorious liquid eyes are more gorgeous than all the elves of the world
combined, and her lips, oh her lips!  I've experienced pleasures of the
flesh, but her beauty stirred something more primal than lovemaking within
me.  When she began to speak, her voice was so sensuous it seemed to make
love to my very consciousness.  It was a heaven with no release.  

"Hello Kailith S'dan, former cleric of my dear mischievous friend, Hiddukel.
Your god has cast you to the mercies of Chemosh, but your life is not at its
end just yet.  I've learned you've done much in my name recently."  

Pain lanced through me at her words, the price of a Goddess's displeasure. 

"Your blasphemies were done without my approval, but your actions have shown
me an untapped group of followers - followers who may still be of service to
me."  

If I could smile I would, the blessed pleasure of her company more
intoxicating than the finest wine.  Dimly I realize that she may save my
life.  I remember calling her a bitch in life, but I now know I would gladly
be her bitch.  

"I'll not waste time with you youngling, your plans have fallen to ash, but
with my help you can salvage them.  Would you like that?"  She asks, her
tongue licking over her lips.  

I cannot help myself, I blurt out, "Yes mistress, it would be a pleasure!" 

"I'm sure it would dear boy," Takhisis says with a knowing smile, "I will
grant you the power to do the things I require of you, and restore your
shattered body.  When you awake, gather up my Dragonarmies and secure a base
of operations to build up from.  Take the fight from there to my enemies:
The Solamnics, the Elves, and any others who oppose my dominance must be
taken care of.  And if catch you depleting my strength by attacking MY
Knighthood, you'll be wishing for that hole in your neck."  

My gut lurches as my senses return and I find myself lying in a puddle of my
own blood.  Miraculously, I'm whole again, with a new pendant hanging from
my neck.  Medallions of faith they call them, but in reality these are slave
collars.  Yet things could be worse.  This slavery seems far more pleasant
than the last, and so long as I still draw breath, I may yet be free.  
 
-Kailith
(I felt dirty writing the last half of this.)

Author:    Kailith        
Date:      Thu May 17 03:26:34 2007
Subject     She Made Me a Man

The gathered masses of the Green Dragonarmy Remnants gathered around a
small bonfire, eager to listen to the stories of my travels.  Even Verdan
the Green was there, seemingly sleeping.  The twitch of his ears from time
to time was all that gave away his wakefulness.  The Queen must have tipped
him off that something big was coming.  Verdan's rider, an elderly wizard by
the name of Hyvern leaned on the dragon's flank, watching me cautiously.  So
I launched into my pitch, hoping my time as a priest of Hiddukel would serve
me well.  

"The journey back to camp had been a long one.  Long, arduous, and annoying
yes, worthy of retellingno.  After recent events, I consider that sort of
thing a blessing.  For the past two years I haven't been able to take ten
steps without being part of some grand conspiracy or misadventure.  I'd love
this bout of mediocrity to continue, but I think I know better than to
expect anything of the sort.  A dwarf with a one legged stool has better
luck than I.  Perhaps if the all powerful deities of the world tended to
their own affairs instead of relying the faithful, things would be better. 

Enough pointless introspection out of me, Krynn wasn't built to satisfy the
needs of a mere mortal.  What this is about is a god.  One in particular. 
The temptress and future empress of the world herself: Takhisis.  She came
to me in my hour of darkest need, saw my value - my strengths, and she saved
me so that I might serve her.  She bade me raise you, the remnants of the
Dragonarmies, up to glory and power again.  She sees the time when a horde
of soldiers will wash the battlefields in the blood of her enemies once
again, but she is loath to cast away her pretty little Knighthood.  

So my brothers, we must establish a stronghold.  A symbol to display our
power and draw more to us like flies to honey.  It must be somewhere secure,
deep in Her Majesty's territory, and yet unoccupied by her other forces. 
There are a number of old and abandoned fortresses in the area, overrun by
goblins and worse.  It should be easy to take one and subjugate the native
population.  In no time flat they could have it repaired and in working
order once again.  Still, the Knights of Takhisis cannot be counted as
friends.  I don't know about you, but I wouldn't turn my back on my friends
if I could help it.  Quite the conundrum isn't it?  

The solution revealed itself while I was hunting for food in my travels. 
Land based game could be trapped, snared, and bludgeoned, but the plentiful
birds of the air were immune any such plans.  Our castle must become like a
bird, floating aloft and impossible to attack from the ground.  I know, I
know, castles fly about as well as an ogre hurled boulder.  But Takhisis's
forces pioneered the floating citadel - a castle held aloft by magic and
faith.  It is the perfect fortress.  With the few mages and clerics we have
among us, it would be difficult to hold the castle aloft and control its
direction.  I propose we anchor it in place until our forces grow, so that
all of our magical energies can be directed into holding it aloft, rather
than expending energy in lateral directions."  

Verdan, who had been content up till this point to feign disinterest, perked
up at the mention of a flying citadel, before snorting in derision.  Hyvern
seemed intrigued by the idea, stroking his beard and slowly nodding in
assent.  The old man's eyes betrayed his feelings to me: distrust,
resentment, and fear.  But he knew his men had been taken in by my ideas,
and that nothing was to be gained by continuing to stagnate in this ancient
camp.  Still nimble in wit, Hyvern must have realized this on his own and
carefully considered it before speaking.  

"Kailith, you come to us a trickster who claims to have changed his ways.  I
sense the Queen's blessings around you, but a large part of me still wishes
to doubt you.  Alas, the decision is not up to me.  You've captured the
men's heart with your daring plans and grandiose promises, much as
Takhisis's snared my own ages ago.  You may yet lead us, but first you must
become a leader within the Dragonarmies - A Highlord.  Once I styled myself
as such, but the time was not ready.  Yet I have learned much in my long
vigil here, waiting for the moment to be right for re-emergence.  If you
swear to listen to my advice with an open mind, then I'll pass the armor of
a Highlord on to you.  The future of the Dragonarmies may rest on your
shoulders, are you ready for it Kailith?"  

I was taken aback by the old wizard's words.  His words revealed his
character - that of a calm and calculating mind armored with years of
wisdom.  It was then that I realized all eyes had been on me for moments,
and I quickly rushed to speak again, "I swear on my life and future grave to
take your advice to heart Hyvern, and to lead the Green Dragonarmies as best
as I can.  No longer will be 'remnants', but an army to be reckoned with.  I
am ready.  Our time is at hand."  

A hush settled over the camp then, followed by a flurry of activity as the
draconians and humans of the Green Dragonarmy launched into action, reveling
in the knowledge that for once, they would taste glory.  Hyvern took me
aside, cautioning me and discussing the details of the citadel with me.  The
mechanisms to lift it from the ground would need to be prepared in advance
and airlifted into place.  Verdan snorted at the idea of having to perform
manual labor, and slunk off into the darkness.  I found myself smiling to
myself.  For once, things were going just as planned.  
 
-K

Author:    Kailith        
Date:      Sun Jun  3 00:28:01 2007
Subject     In Sickness and in Health

I sneezed, sending a shower of phlegm over the carefully worded missive
on my desk.  With a grunt of frustration, I attempted to wipe the mucus from
the paper, only to have it smear the ink into an illegible blur.  Times like
this, I wish I followed another more merciful god.  Though Takhisis easily
could've granted me the power to heal this minor mischief of Morgion, I
could not ask her.  She abhors weakness, especially in her own subjects.  To
plead for help with something so trivial would be a sure way to earn her
painful displeasure.  It would be nice to follow a god of good for a change,
to follow a god like Mishakal or Paladine, to follow a god that cared for
his own.  

A slight tingling of the medallion that hangs permanently around my neck was
the only warning that I tread close to heretical ground.  To continue this
line of thinking would only damn me further.  As if such a thing was
possible.  

Sighing with reluctance, I tossed aside the ruined note and laid out a fresh
parchment.  Best this be done with before my body betrays the work again. 
With a cruel smile I took up the quill again, red hanging from the sharpened
bone tip as I scribed the note.  You see, quills and ink had been in short
supply at Darkwatch Keep.  Everything was in short supply.  Luckily, the
smaller goblinoids have a number of perfectly sized bones that can be carved
into the appropriate shape.  And it just so happens the resulting blood
makes a perfect ink.  Takhisis provides in her own ways.  

The letter practically wrote itself.  The jerking angular slant of my
letters softened by the smoothness of processed blood.  Thankfully, I felt
the sneeze and hacking cough of my recent illness approaching, and turned
from my work, lest I have to write it again.  

The draconian messenger at my side no doubt wished I hadn't turned.  The
spattering of greenish yellow dots over his armor and snout made him appear
more goblinoid than draconian.  He clicked his scales in irritation and took
a step forward.  His eyes darted to my weapon, and saw my hand already upon
it.  The draconian stepped back with a nervous gulp.  The cruel spikes of my
mace were lined with acid, a gift from my last master.  A god crueler than
the wicked dwarf-crafted spikes.  The first time one of my own challenged me
I beat him into merciful unconsciousness then woke him with dripping acid in
his veins.  I'm still not sure if the memory of those screams haunts or
pleases me.  I believe it still haunts most those under my command.  

The dried parchment crackled like a dry autumn leaf as I folded and sealed
it.  The seal of my station had been saved through the ages.  It waited for
a moment like this.  To be in the hands of a Highlord passing out decrees. 
I smiled as I turned the polished brass stamp over in my hands, its ancient
surface seeming to vibrate in tune with my own grandiose ambitions.  A
wretched cough jolted me from my thoughts.  I wondered, not for the first
time if this sickness had made me daft enough to hallucinate.  

Damned goblin filth, if the castle were clean I never would've gotten sick
in the first place.  It had taken almost an entire night just to get this
one room clean enough to use.  And now it had made me sick!  Chemosh take
their whole filthy breed!  Perhaps when I'm done abusing their labor I might
send them to him myself.  

The messenger, Iclaw?  Iklat?  Ikran.  That was his name.  He seemed to be
waiting on something.  Oh yes, the message.  I handed it off to him, looking
him over to be sure he had no distinguishing marks.  

"They will not identify me sir, the message will reach Lord Saige exactly as
you asked," he said in his rasping draconic accent.  

I had chosen Ikran for this duty because he is the most determined draconian
I had ever met.  A bit hot headed sure, but once he set his mind to
something he set to it with more determination than a kender confronted with
a lock.  He would get the message to Saige.  I gave him a slight nod and
turned from him, letting him know that he had been dismissed.  

As the door opened I murmured, "Hiddukel watch your back."  I don't know why
I said such a thing.  It was as much a blessing as it was a curse.  

Ikran must have heard.  He spoke confidently, "Hiddukel has never met a
Kapak sir."  The door slammed shut behind him.  

The draconian's boastful confidence tugged at the corners of my mouth, not
hard enough to make me smile, but enough to let me hope.  I had kept the
message simple.  We needed his help if we were going to pull this off.  

"Saige, 

Your presence is requested at the black fort.  We need your expertise on
flight.  I cannot say more in case the enemies of Takhisis intercept this. 
You know who I mean.  

-K"

Author:    Kailith        
Date:      Thu Jun  7 03:19:12 2007
Subject     Till Death Do Us Part

Crack!  Crack!  The staccato collisions of the practice weapons echoed
through the courtyard.  I circled my opponent warily, eyeing him for signs
of weakness.  Krit'naa, a bozak adept to her Dark Majesty was my sparring
partner for the evening.  Unusually powerfully built for one of his species,
Krit'naa chose to forgo the traditional single mace and shield in favor of
one long-handled mace with a punishingly large head.  His wooden substitute
looked laughable, but the shockwaves that shivered down my arms with each
hammer-like blow stripped me of any good humors.  

My own equipment seemed small and woefully inadequate by comparison: A
single standard mace and small hand crossbow armed with a blunted dart.  I
may only have had only one shot, but it was my ace in the hole.  A blur of
vision cut short my quick inventory and forced me to react.  Krit'naa's
vicious backswing had caught me off guard.  The whole fight he had swung his
heavy weapon with sluggish powerful blows.  The last blow had been light, a
preparation for the swing that now disarmed me.  

I tried to rally, to fire the crossbow with my free hand, but he was fast,
too fast for me to dodge or pull the trigger.  My shoulder was replaced with
white-hot splintering agony as Krit'naa landed the hit.  The force of it
dropped me hard to me knees, and left me swaying on the ground.  Pain was
nothing new to me, but I was angry to have fallen for such an obvious ploy. 
I considered myself a master of such base trickery, but the cruelties of
this beast reminded me that there is always much to learn.  

"Double his rations for the next two weeks," I said through pain clenched
teeth.  

The gathering crowd seemed confused by this, many of the goblins had drawn
their crude rusty weapons, hoping for a chance to avenge the highlord.  The
half-splintered wood of my weapon's pommel tore into my hand as I struggled
to stand up.  New agonies sprouted through the injured shoulder like
tangleroot through forest, but I willed myself to ignore it.  A simple
gesture scattered the goblins and dismissed the draconians.  Wounded as I
was, I must have looked a fearsome sight.  The intimidating armor of a
dragon Highlord was streaked by blood along my right flank.  To their eyes,
the Highlord from risen from a blow that would have felled a mortal man,
dripping blood that could have belonged to any other for the pain he showed.


"You really are a fool," Krit'naa said through a toothy smile that seemed
more at ease than it should have been.  

I replied with a combination of venom and good natured teasing, "You're the
fool draconian.  You should've killed me and taken the keep for yourself." 


"I could have, and I would have died on the end of a goblin spear for it,"
he spat the word goblin as if it were the vilest of venoms and continued,
"Besides, breaking something of yours every few days is the best
entertainment I can get around here."  

"So it is, so it is," I said as I threw my good arm over his muscular
shoulder and allowed myself to be helped back to the castle.  I had a
precious few moments to reflect during the excruciating trip to the
infirmary.  Things were going well, at least in part.  The goblins had been
pliable and easier to manage than I had anticipated.  Best of all, coming
outside to spar had helped clear up my recent infirmaries.  The constant
battling served a dual purpose.  It earned the respect of the bulk of my
army while sharpening the reflexes I would need to keep me alive.  Now if
only Saige would show up.  His continued absence was making things more
difficult than necessary.  He has a weeks time to make his intentions known,
then we blunder ahead on our own.  

Author:    Kailith        
Date:      Thu Jun 14 22:00:42 2007
Subject     Women Always Have a Hidden Agenda...

Blasted old fools and their time-fogged memories.  I swear, two
generations pass and anything of use disappears from their collective minds.
The past few days I've questioned them, and the specifics of these dark
crystals have managed to elude them like mad kender in the streets of
Palanthas.  I should have known better than to waste my time on this
fruitless endeavor, but I foolishly hoped against hope that I could come to
the answer before Saige.  

I dismissed the youngest mage in the regiment, a human who looked not nearly
as old as he should have been.  Loknir the elementalist he called himself,
but it was more like Loknir the absentminded.  Perhaps time chose to ravage
his defenseless mind rather than his body.  He murmured and saluted crisply
on his way out.  At least he knew order, unlike SOME who chose to associate
with our cause.  I avoided the Wolfbound out of habit, for they had a
tendency to cause headaches more often than be of service.  Perhaps Arikaih
could spend some time with the old mages.  Dealing with Loknir would either
teach her patience or drive her into madness.  

The sounds of creaking iron hinges and the sudden clack of a latch closing
faded into such a deep silence that I found myself feeling suddenly alone. 
The distant echoes of pounding workmen and clanging swords brought little
comfort to this dark and solitary chamber.  The only thing left to bring me
comfort was my medallion of faith, pulsing slowly with a quiet angry heat
that radiated Takhisis's displeasure.  Healing Saige had been a mistake in
her eyes, she wanted him to suffer.  I was less content to let old dogs lie.
If he was going to be of use to us, he had to be healthy.  

I sighed, bracing myself for the full fury of Her Dark Majesty as I opened
my heart and soul to her power.  Torrents of agony washed my mind clean of
any thoughts I might have had as she made her anger known.  The pain felt
like it went on for years, but as it faded I found myself on my hands and
knees, the candles of my chambers no farther down than when the ordeal
began.  The sultry voice that had seduced kingdoms and broken chaste monks
finally returned to my mind.  

"I trust you won't disobey me again pet?"  She purred to me through the
medallion.  

"I may be yours body and soul, but if I must disagree with you to serve your
interests better, I will gladly suffer your agonies," I replied with as much
bravado as I could muster.  

She cooed back to me, "Take that liberty one time to many and you'll be back
in the ditch where I found you."  

I couldn't see her, but I could FEEL her smiling like a cat who had gotten
the mouse, "I already know your question, and no, I won't be answering it. 
I'd rather see you and the half-blind cripple puzzle it out on your own."  

"I had figured as much.  Do I have your leave then 'majesty'?"  I inquired,
ready to be done with this sour business.  

"No," she dropped the word down like one of Reorx's hammerstrokes, swift and
hard, "Saige has someone in his company, a barely controlled berserker.  He
would serve me better here than with the Knights of Takhisis.  The man is a
risk to his fellow knights, but in the Dragonarmies, he could be an asset. 
After all, we can't be bothered by a few accidental goblin deaths on the
battlefield."  

"So be it my Queen," there was no sarcasm in my tone; she was a sultry and
powerful goddess - one who demanded absolute obediance.  Her dismissal was
beyond verbal understanding, but clear nonetheless.  I broke the connection
of my soul and made ready to do her bidding.  All would fall into place in
due time.  

The Storytellers of Ansalon, The DragonLance MUD

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