Arriving in Venova I had been traveling down the east road towards Venova, not a day's journey from the ruined city itself when the beginning of my adventure began. Granted, it wasn't the most glorious or epic of starts, as I doubt many Adventurers start out their careers being kidnapped by Dryads and Mermaids. There had apparently been some previous altercation between the Water Nymphs and the budding faction that called this place home, or were trying to at least, and had gifted all of the waters to said Nymphs. This was...displeasing, to my captors. Ah, but I do a disservice to my fellow captivate. A female Kistune by the name of Alicia Rubycaster. We'd both been taken, her for her involvment of the previous treaty, and me...I'm still not sure why. Perhaps it was just chance that had me snatched up off the roads that day. Nevertheless, we were both bound and held by sword point as we all awaited Alicia'a allies to come and find us, that way new terms could be discussed. Or, our deaths would be sealed. And waited...And waited... Finally, it seemed that the Kistune's finally weighed heavily enough on the people making merry in the Tavern, and they came out to rescue us. It had nothing to do with the Dryad having to tell them their friend had been kidnapped, none at all...In any case, the Dryad and the Mermaid both demanded complete ownership over their domains, specifically for the Mermaids to own all the water instead of the Water Nymphs. Our rescuers had a mixed response, with some, namely a rather calm and witty Draken and my friend and previous traveling partner, Ienova Scott, being willing to do as such, while others...Welll, really I think that the rest wanted to kill the two wrathful Maidens to rescue us. Which would have most likely ended up with Alicia and I's guts' decorating the ground... After much discussion (And more attempts on my part not to get stabbed, which backfired horribly with me winning the...determined affections of the mermaid Mist.), our noble rescuers tricked the two into battle, a man known as...If I'm not mistaken, just Ohe, cutting my ropes. Of course, the Dryad promptly cast Vines on me, binding my hands once more...And the cycle continued. After a brief skirmish, both sides backed off, with myself and Alica safe and sound behind allies, while negotiations were once again reopened. One of Mist's stipulations was that she recieved me as part of the deal, which, while flattering that I had managed to gain her lasting...forcful...love, the idea of being taken down to the depths of the sea was frankly terrifying. Even with reasurances that a potion or spell could gift me with gills, I had little wish to be the (As I later learned) Queen's consort. While the Treaty was being written, with myself not apart of the deal, I snuck away with my friend Ienova, half jokingly asking if she'd consider being tempararily engaged to get me out of this mess. She replied that it would simply draw the Sea Maiden's ire towards her, and we both shivered at that. The Dryad, who was known as Maple, approached us at this point, suspicous that I might be trying to run away. I had been condisering it, I admit... I told her of how I cared not for Maidens in...that way...and she promptly left to tell her ally before I or Ienova could stop her. I remember hearing a loud shriek of,"WHAT, DOES HE PREFER WATER NYMPHS INTEAD?!" And feeling dread fall like a bouldar in my stomach. I quickly rushed over, making sure to reasure her that, while I did indeed find Mermaids to be the most beautiful of water dwellers, I had no interest in Maidens at all. After ensuring that I was at least going to help her become more beautiful as best I could (A task that would not be easy to fulfil, as I told her to her delight) she seemed more at ease with it all. Future promises of a crown sweetened the deal, and by the end, when the Treaty had been signed, I had entered a financial, and possibly a friendship relationship with the Queen of the Mermaids of the area. I was to be the middle man between her and promarily the shopkeeper Alicia until more arrived, trading precious deep sea pearls for gems and coin. All in all, while the inital start was a tad...Unpleasant, and the attempts at murder and kidnapping, both of which happned, at least three times, I feel like I was able to salvage the situation wonderfully. Along with my new trade revenue bringing in coin and opening up friendly trade between the reclusive Mermaids and us surface dwellers, and my information gathering on both the Elven and Human factions...I'm rather positive that I'll be able to make a nice little niche here for myself. ------------- Much Time Later... It...has been a while since I've taken the time to sit down and write out my thoughts. Things that have happened to me. Around me. I suppose, on some level, I am afraid to write them down, lest they become true, even though they aren't...bad things. I hope, at least. Well, I suppose I should begin with the rather...large event that happened in Venora. We had been spending the rather hot day lazing in the tavern, drinking and passing around small talk as the heat rose like a shimmering curtain from the ground. The water nymph, Evangaline, had needed a foci crystal for something, and...As I had recently managed to uncover a great multitude of my mother's things, I offered to lend her a sizeable orb of quartz. That's where things begin to get a tad...complicated. A spirit had begun to mess about in the tavern, lifting weapons into the air, and had even messed about with my mother's enchanting box. Never had I ever felt the need to hurt something so strongly until that moment. The tavern keep, the water nymph that is, suggested that we perform a seyonce, but that she needed all of us to join her for it to work. We were amenable to that, though more out of wanting the spirit gone more than anything. We settled down in the old watch tower, and, as the Elven spirit began to coalesce into a single area, we waited patiently for something to occur. (Rather, some of us did. Others, didn't even believe there was a ghost.) We conversed with the elf, who was later introduced as Eona Ganereth... The next few paragraphs are scratched out, the lines jerky and frantic, as if the writer of this tale, this biography, held no wish for the knowledge he had put down to fall into anyones's head. So there's that...Iovona now knows. She was surprised, but...I think that she doesn't mind it. I'm glad, as...I was...I am, still, afraid that... No, no need writing down my fears. Best to prepare for the worst, and hope for the best as it is. In any case, Eona will be able to find out the information I had wanted, and with that, I'll be able to plan for the future, such as it is. I still need to find...the rest of them, but I am unsure if I'll reveal my secrets. Who knows, really? Ah, another thing before i close this off, I've managed to uncover my mother's old journals, and her...Grimoire. She's coded everything top to bottom, so progress is slow, but I've hope that I'll manage to crack it before long. --------------------- Riding back from the Olde King's Road. I...Damnation, I feel very much like a fool now. Things have progressed much more quickly than I had hoped, and I fear i may have both endangered, and alienated one of the few that I so dearly hope to help. And harmed another! Curse those flowers, if only I had known, I wouldn't have- The sentence ends in an angry looking scribble, illegible, before the writing picks back up a little ways down, as if the writer had taken a small break to collect himself. I suppose I should explain, if just to organize things within my own mind. I had heard tale, through my various connections, of a verdant area being discovered and beginning to open trade near the Olde King's road. Evangaline and i had planned to go together, her to finally get some fresh air, outside of Venora that is, and myself...Well, I suppose one could say I had many reasons, She had gone ahead of me by a few days to secure lodging for both of us, while I ensured that the bandits following her met a bit of vindictive justice. It truly is horrible when ones saddle is suddenly cut, or all the waterskins that one has have holes... I've been told multiple times recently that my speed and stealth are impressive. Anyway, I reached the area, only to find my traveling companion sick. The land was...wrong, to her, and it made her spirit long for her own waters in a horrible way. She quickly left, leaving me to my devices within camp. And right next to Azarea Ganerath, and her charge, Gwen. I...I admit to playing the coward, and shying from them a tad, using my crafts as an excuse to avoid drawing attention or suspicion from either lady. I wasn't ready, and I had yet to get a feel for either. Unfortunately for me, the matters were forced out of my control. I had rented a silver platter, one that was enchanted to collect materials more easily from a magical node, and had made my way down to the river...Where a water spirit, and two underfey were residing... I ended up captured, and was given the option to be free if I had some bread. Note to both myself, and any nosy folk who read this without my permission- DO NOT EAT THE BREAD! I was rendered childlike and...unwise during the time I was under it's influence, believing that I was the prettiest prince ever, and that I could resurrect the dead if I had to. And, while I will indulge in a small piece of vanity and say I am easy on the eyes, I wouldn't go so far as to say I am, or can do, the above mentioned. It got me into further trouble when I believed that I could use my newfound 'prettiness' to cajole the leader of the orc faction there to give back stolen goods. Didn't go so well, but I survived, so that was a plus. Then there was- The rest of the next few paragraphs are written in a strange language, unfamiliar to all, though slightly resembling elven. The rune like shapes seem clumsily scribed, as if the writer is still unused to using this language in it's written form. Yes... After that, and after much stealing of tools, I helped prepare for war. I escorted healers, and tried to make sure that no one went alone, no matter their fierceness, as while I could be of little help, I might be...enough. Lady Beatrice and the Father of the Hunt gathered their forces, and we all fell under two banners, ready to fight and die for the land. Whether to destroy it and reap all they could....Or to nurture it and treat it with respect. I chose the later. Mother had always imparted the importance of Balance. Of Life and Death. And while someday that forest may shrivel and die...It would be by Nature's choice, not some selfish politician! I was sent on an ambush team while the main forces fought, and while we met resistance, we remained triumphant! ...Until Lady Beatrice killed the other three members of my team, and turned me to stone for pouring acid on her. Eh, twas worth it to wear down one of her spell blocks, me thinks. I came to after the spell had ended, and saw that the battle was now being waged between the two Sidhe, while the rest of us watched in awe, or fear, or both. I tried to coax a Red Cap to our side, or at least to be friendly to me, but it died before I could do so...It seemed to be okay with me though surprisingly. Actually...Now that I think about it, all of the Red Caps I encountered never actually hurt or came after me. The first one I met sniffed me and growled, but backed away without any blood being split, which was...strange. Even when myself and a lad named Sage encountered one on another ambush mission, it never took a swing at me from my knowledge. I...will look into that, I think. Anyway, the battle ended, so we thought, and the Father took Beatrice's body to the river to be given a private fey burial. She then stopped pretending to be dead and blew them both up... That left the forest without a leader, without it's magic or resources, and us responsible. We quickly gathered all who could use magic, who was willing, and performed a ritual to pour our own energies into the land itself. I was able to be the voice for this ritual, and I felt...Elation, at watching, and even helping to shape how the massive tree that now towers in that area bloomed. It even birthed a Tree Spirit, one who I have a suspicion absorbed the latent energies of the two Winter Fey that had died on the beach. But who knows. I for one hope that the area knows some peace in the coming days, while I return to Venora. I'll come bearing stories and tales that may be a tad exaggerated, but... Nothing here is. Not within these pages. Not even the parts I regret writing, and scribble out of prying eye's reach. Though, with how they reacted, I am unsure if I feel regret, or hope. In the Event of Death, reverse time. So...I suppose since I have waited so long to write in my journal, being to busy with decoding more of Mother's Grimoire, I shall have to go back a bit. First. Lady Beatrice, one of the two Winter Court members that were at the war that I participated in, the one I splashed acid on...Was the hells damned Queen of the Winter Court! I thought she was just some high ranking noble, not the actual leader of the Winter Fey! If I had known that, I...I would have still attacked her. The more I find out about my Mother and my family on her side, the more I come to respect nature. It is within Nature that the most Lost things dwell after all. In any case, that had it's consequences. I had decided to go exploring the ruins of Central Venora, as we had traveled closer to the human encampments, who of which were...rather surreptitious and wary of us all. I found something...A ring. I knew what it was, thanks to where I found it, but...I did not expect to feel the draw that I did towards it. I put it on almost as soon as I found it, ignoring all the other jewels and adornment that had rested in that forgotten room, then left. The rest of those items...were not mine. It sounds strange, and I can't explain it really, just that I had the urge to take the ring. When I managed to get back to the camps, I stumbled upon a rather tense scene. Three Winter Fey had taken up residence in the area, kidnapping the livestock and families that had settled there and transforming them into jewelry that they wore carelessly. Along with that...They had apparently been sent to do the same to me, and bring me back as a trophy for their particular overseers. As it was, the Fairy Membla had an ancient wanted poster bearing my Father's face on it from when Venora still stood, and with it, she singled me out easily. As I am here and writing this, one can assume that the attempts on my person were not successful this time. I gathered the jewels that I could, barring the...children in pearls...that the Drakken Thuum kept, debating on whether or not to eat them, and sent them off to Gwen. I had hoped that she, or perhaps one of her allies, could restore them back to their original forms. That was not the end of things, though. The following week, after being enchanted as punishment for the death of three Court members via the Tavern Keep Eva, as she was ordered to do so, a...conflict began. Gwen and Azz had managed to make there way to the camps, which brought me joy as I had missed their company. What did not bring me joy was the tension between Gwen and Thuum. Nor did I enjoy when I was sent to retrieve Thuum from his wanderings on behalf of Gwen, as she wished to speak to him, and was then subjected to a rather interesting few moments. Thuum asked about my ring, bringing up ideas of using gemstones to power portals. He asked to see it, and about the lore behind it. I refused. F'orc told me that if I did not show them the ring, I would be killed. Thuum said nothing against this. I ran. I made it back to the tavern unharried, and told of what had happened. Everyone gathered outside to meet the two, the Orc and the Drakken, and a tense stand off was made. Thuum made a swing at me at one point, but was not able to catch me. I doubt that many, if any could catch me when I run. Gwen attempted to knock out the Drakken, which led to her chasing him. Azz was struck down, and in response to one of my allies being killed, I took down F'orc...And then was killed myself. I was told later that Gwen was also killed. They killed the only person capable of bringing back the dead. (There's a rather long string of strange symbols, intermingled with various curse words in other languages. It can be assumed that the words used in this strange language were not pleasant.) Ahem...Anyway, after a hastily put together ritual to appeal to Mother Nature to bring us back, which ended up rewinding time to before we were killed, strangely enough, Gwen was allowed to finally do what she had set out to do all along. Read the letter that literally only she could read. Yes, that is correct, all the death and hassle was over a letter that none could read save her, as it was written in a language that only she could read. (A few more lines of the strange language, in a similar pattern to the ones above, are seen.) The letter was from a woman named Vivona to a stranger, potentially someone in the Ganrith family, detailing her doubts about something of the Sisterhood of the Moon, and the fact that her journal was in the Library. I felt the urge to find it. Not just the urge to know what was happening with the Sisterhood, but...this strange pull to find out something...something lost. Like the ring, it was as if something else was guiding my thoughts towards this goal. I suppose that makes sense. Given who the Coimedai's paid homage to when there were more of us around. How sad, really. On both sides of my family, I am one of the last to be seen of either. Ganrith. Coimedai. Together they make a Neraida, I suppose. I shall just have to live up to my namesake, and try my best. Sparrows are the bird hope, and I intend to make sure that hope does not die. (The next part is on the next page, the writing more shaky.) Wrote the last bit before I left my tent to see what was happening at the tavern. Goblins. Hate them. Goblins should not be able to resurrect themselves. Killed us all, save Eva. She dragged our bodies back to the Northern Gardens before the Goblins came back. The Goblins disdain for nature, and their ability to not stay dead, makes me suspicious. Something bigger is going on down there, and I'm afraid that it's going to blow up in our faces if not treated carefully. I'm going to rest for a bit. We plan to travel to Meadowmere soon. I hope they don't have Goblins there as well. Also, Thuum hates poison. Making a note to get some, just to wave it around. Might be funny. Then again, Eva told me the medicine she gave me might make me think funny thoughts... Demons and Deals. I can't help but wonder if coming to Venora has cursed me. Before I entered this land, I had never even dreamed about performing feats of truly great or dark magic, nor being accosted by Mer queens, Tentacle monsters, hunted and punished by the fey, pulled into wars and finding out lost knowledge of both sides of my family...Did I do something wrong? But...It's not all bad, I must remember. I...I don't regret finding out that lost knowledge. I don't regret learning that I have more family out there, and even meeting them. I'm excited to try and connect to them, if I can. I'm excited to learn more about the Maiden, and my mother's side of the family as well, even. It doesn't change the fact that I had to do something that's left a taint on me. When I went down to Meadowmere with Gwen, Eva, and Thuum, I had expected a rowdy bunch and a, perhaps, slightly dangerous area. I was right, in that regard, but what I didn't expect was to buy a slave in hopes of freeing him, only to find out he's a Demon. And then to later on perform a hastily put together ritual to send him home, banishing him back to ****. If I had known, I would have kept Gwen and Eva from going, and would have not gone myself either. That's a lie. I would have still gone, knowing that I could have helped. It doesn't matter now. What's done is done, I suppose, and my dreams are not my own now as a result. Each night, figures appear in my mind to tempt me with food and deals, trying to coax from my lips my name. More fool them, for the only way that I shall divulge truth without my own consent, is if a Truth Spell is cast without my knowing. I believe I have till the full moon after the next until the dreams abate, so...I suppose I must simply endure. I've begun performing another ritual everyday since I sent the Demon back with help. Offering up my Mana to three gods, in hopes of healing what tears in the veil I might have caused, to ask for forgiveness and to try to reinforce the world around me from dark energies, and to hope that the Maiden helps me find my way. I...I don't know if it helps, or even does anything at all, but it makes me feel better. I want to...to make up for what I've done. Also, Gwen...I have only two things to mention about her for this entry, other than what I've said before. One, is that she seems unphased by slavery, which is greatly unsettling. She has nothing against it, and I must wonder...If she hadn't known me, and she had seen me in chains, would she have cared? The second thing, is that I fear I have caused her to distrust me with my ritual. I don't blame her, at the moment, I feel as dirty as she no doubt thinks of me. The taint from those energies is said to be addicting to some, but all I feel is revulsion. The Pilgrimage Before I found my Mother's books, I had no idea that she had a Goddess. Nor did I know that every child on my Mother's side was female, until I was born, and that I am now an oddity in the fact that I am both the last of her line, and male. Granted, no elves had been introduced to our lineage as far as I know, though I haven't looked for a tapestry or anything like that to discover that side of my family. Rather unkind of me, as I have been so frantic to find things on my Father's side... I fear that I'm losing that side though. The remaining members of those that I'm related to are either scattered, distant, or look upon me with a mix of cool indifference with a touch of disdain for my action prior. I...Cannot dedicate all of my energy on them, even if I want to. At the very least, I owe it to Mother to know as much about her side of the family as I wish to learn about my Father's. In any case, today marks the day that I set off to visit a location mentioned within my Mother's tome. I've hesitated actually trying to find it, as I am partially afraid that I may have mistranslated her secret language a bit, but...Something tells me that I didn't. The book described the location as something that has been lost for millennia, and only those of my family have managed to find it. The directions give me a general location, so I have to find it when I reach the area myself... I think that's the point. If the book told where it was specifically, then it would no longer be a secret, and it's importance would be diminished. I read that when I get there, there will be something waiting for me. What it is is different for each person, and not always something that makes sense, but I don't mind. It is said to be a holy place for the Lost Maiden, and I am perfectly happy to simply care for the place. What was once lost shall simply become a secret. Who knows, maybe I'll even get to commune with the Maiden herself, if I'm lucky. I'm not very lucky... Ah, then after I've finished all of that, I must try to seek out one of the Halls, or Libraries of the God of Knowledge. While the Maiden could assist me, I fear that the Gods are unable to give true aid in researching the troubles that have begun to stretch across the land, and that worries me greatly.