Before the banners fly, assassin's ply their trade. Here is a tale of the night when Tanya of Ehlenestra first met a fey member of the Boneshadow.
By: Marc Tizoc Gonzalez (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.)
Reissaaw of the Shining One, Chaplain of the Ro'ae Pudu,
I hope this package finds you in good health. However, I will not mince
words, last night Reynard of Waybury was murdered in his bed, and I believe that your order's quarry was in the Duchy just this past night.
I had not been able to sleep and was just returning to the homestead from a nocturnal walk. The moons were waxing, and Luna was close to fullness, yet the Handmaiden was not quite at the half. With few clouds hanging in the sky, I clearly saw a shadowy figure leap out of Reynard's open window. It moved with a startling liquid grace.
Grasping the cool ivory of the Lady's wand in my left hand, I summoned
forth a prayer for the light of day. Immediately, the scene was
transformed as a white radiance appeared just before the figure. I heard
its strangled scream, and through my splayed fingers, saw the figure as an olve garbed in tight and hooded black silks. He was already moving even as his hands pressed against his pale face, covering his eyes. I saw a curious sword hilt protruding from his dark belt and a black cylindrical case tied to a leather strap slid tight against his body. Already he had retreated half way down the hill away from the homestead and toward the road beyond.
I carried no weapon but my faith in the Lady. Raising my voice, I called out to alert the homestead and began to jog after the olve. The Lady's light cast strong shadows upon the scene, and I could see that the olve would soon be outside of its illumination. Thus I prayed again to her, that the shrubs through which the olve pushed might hold him.
The Lady's will was done, and I slowed my approach to a walk, gazing
intently upon the struggling olve the whole time. Then voices from the
homestead cried out that Reynard had been murdered, and my heart sank and burned at once. The olve was cutting his way through the brush with a magnificent and shining curved sword. It made quick work of the bush. Free at last, he stretched out his fair, slim, and be-ringed fingers and I watched his mouth move, speaking a silvery word, unknowable yet familiar.
Immediately, streaks of incandescent magic hurtled toward me. I could do no more than drop to the earth, yet still their power struck me with that burning that leaves a tingling numbness for hours afterwards. I was hurt, but my rage at Reynard's murderer flared, so half standing onto my knees, I raised my arms and beseeched the Lady for that mighty magic, the heavenly flame. And she granted my request.
Pouring forth from the night sky, the column of fire struck with a boom. The olve screamed as he bounced burning farther down the hill and outside of the light. I waited for the warriors, the sons of Reynard, who came running toward me. Together we followed the burning trail, but when we came to the end of it, all that we found was the cylindrical scroll case, still cool to the touch, yet the straps had burned to ash.
As the warriors fanned out to search for the corpse of their father's
murderer, I examined the case and called upon the Lady of the Woods to
ascertain whether it was safe to open. It was not, so my faith was tested once again, and the Lady's power sundered whatever spells had warded against the case being opened.
Within it were three tightly rolled vellum scrolls. All of them were
written in the flowing Olven script and appeared to be from the same hand. There was a treatise on the Ho-Jebline, a map of the homestead with notes regarding Reynard's description, and on the third scroll was a queer lyric poem.
Ever a diligent student in my days at the Lyceum, I scanned the map and
read the poem even as the last of the flames died. Reynard's sons had
returned and reported finding no body.
I send his case and scrolls to you along with a description of the olve as
I saw him. It was his face that stirred my memories of the tale of your
quarry. Dark tattooed lines followed chin past ears to forehead with
curved tines reaching toward his eyes. It seems that your order's magic is stronger than his.
I am certain that he still lives. His magic is strong and must sustain
him. I wonder if he will return; your tale tells of his unpredictability.
Regardless, I walk with the Lady. By the time that you receive this
message it will be decided either way. My passion is to avenge my friend's death, but I have a mission to complete. I am certain that your fey olven quarry is Reynard's assassin, and I know better than to track him alone, yet Reynard was a good man. Enough, I await not your response but your action.
Tanya of Ehlenestra
3 Wealsun C.Y. 582