The Mirror of Dreams

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The elven woman was weary as she approached the small opening to the cave she had spent so many decades searching for. She breathed in heavily from recent battles and leaned against the entrance for a moment, catching her breath. In her hand she held a rapier, still bloody from a battle that had ended only moments before. She had come with a group of five adventurers, searching for the infamous mirror, that damned mirror that had taken all their lives but hers. She let a single sob of fear course through her body, then straightened up and crouched as she walked through the entrance and into the darkness of the cave.

The Mirror of Dreams was not as massive or as intricate as she had dreamed over the years. The mirror before her as she approached was oval in shape. At approximately six feet high and four feet across it was a large sheet of relective glass, though the glass itself seemed to shift and swirl and it had no frame, being part of the rock itself. She dropped the rapier, entranced, and walked closer. As she brushed up against the surface several pairs of hands came through the mirror and grabbed hold of her. The hands were a mottled red and black with scaled and burned skin and sharp claws. They were the hands of old demons. She writhed in their grasp and screamed, but none were left alive to hear her screams and she became the most recent victim of The Mirror of Dreams.

Androma was poking around an alley behind an inn. The halfling was just rumaging around the trash set out from the night before, hoping to find something of interest or value. It was a higher end inn and since its patrons loved to drink in most cases they also loved to lose their things, which always ended up in the refuse pile for Androma to take for her own.

"What's this thing here," the halfling mumbled to herself as she pulled on the edge of a parchment. It slid out of the pile easily as if coming to her hands willingly and she started looking at it. No quicker had she laid eyes on the parchment than the cook was standing across the alley yelling at her and waving a large ladle.

"You git outta here you little thief!" the very large woman yelled, brandishing her ladle like a weapon. Androma had no doubt it could be used as such though so she grabbed her bags and ran like the wind, the parchment held tight in her hands still.

Once she was far enough that the cook wouldn't follow she set her things down and sat down herself. She straightened out the creases in the parchment and began looking it over. In the middle of the page was a depiction of something that looked a lot like a mirror, but a strange mirror. Around the depiction were scrawlings in a language she didn't know and at the top must have been the name of the item, but it also was in the strange language and she didn't know how to decipher it. She was pretty sure she knew someone who did though, a friend who knew many languages and wouldn't betray her no matter what this parchment represented.

((ooc: obviously need someone to play her historian friend.. he can be any race and any age you want.. and then after that also need adventurers to go look for the mirror with her.. you can play multiple characters if you want too..))
The Sea-Elf known as the Keeper sat at the massive desk, reading a scroll intently. The language, familiar to him, was unknown to the current generation. He'd lived longer than many multitudes of generations, and had seen Men and Elves be born and pass into the void. Sickness had taken his only companion, the dragon named Kal, many years ago, so he had dedicated his life to knowledge accumulation and dispersion. This library was the culmination of the massive work that had taken him literally centuries to collect.

He stood after a long arduous period, and stretched. Had anyone seen him in that moment, they would have seen what appeared to be a tall, slight elf man with a slight blue tint to his skin and a long scar on his right cheek that went from the top of his ear to the cleft of his chin. His hair was white, and his eyes, a gold tint that seemed to be too deep to look into. Looking at him, one got the impression of eternal age and eternal youth combined.

Many battles he'd fought, but none prepared him for the sudden sound of the library doors bursting open, and the messenger's footsteps and loud horn. This was a human, else he would have never blown a silver horn in an Elven Library. The blast had the keeper in a defensive posture almost instantaneously, his sword drawn. He saw it was a messenger and stood down.

"Damn your horn, Ranl. Give me the message and leave, please." He took the message and the messenger left, cursing under his breath. The Keeper opened the letter, and read it. The contents talked of an old nemesis, a mirror that held an evil he'd imprisoned there.

"Well, my old enemy... We shall soon meet again..., where, I know not, but by the stars I miss Kal...."

He sat at his desk, steepled his fingers, and dropped his chin, and proceeded to make himself think deeply on the subject of the Mirror of Dreams.
Androma clutched the worn parchment in her small hands as if it held the meaning of life, or possibly of death, on its surface, though its true meaning she had no inkling towards as of yet. She made her way out of the dirty alley and began threading through the crowded streets of Dra'amin. It was always crowded on the main streets in the port city, streets she usually avoided with her reputation. She didn't have that luxury now though since she knew that she needed to get this parchment and its message to her historian friend Othedale. He was a strange elf that she had known for several decades now. They'd first met when she'd tried, unsuccessfully, to pick his pocket once. Out of his own kindness, or other motives she couldn't guess at, he had spared her from shame and humiliation and had befriended her rather than turn her over to the authorities. To this day she didn't know why he had been so merciful, but she had always been honest and kind in return for his friendship. He had taught her to read, a skill she had lacked then, which had helped her greatly in her own life as well. She was still a thief, but an educated one now and so knew better where she could stalk and where she should stray away from.

She continued to thread her way through the busy streets, getting slowly closer to the massive library that was Othedale's home and refuge. After a little over an hour of walking and keeping her hands to herself for once she finally arrived at the large building that housed the greatest library in the world, at least in her opinion. She jumped to the side as a human man came stumbling out of the large double doors, a flustered look on his face. He mumbled to himself about crazy old elves and Androma smiled to herself, fondly thinking of Othedale and his sometimes strange habits. She walked in once the man was gone from sight and went to the study where she knew Othedale would be sitting. She found him sitting at his desk, his hands in front of his face and his face reflecting deep thought.

"Hello there my friend," she said softly so as not to startle him out of his thoughts. She didn't expect an answer right away for it sometimes took several attempts on her part to get his attention, especially when he was in such deep thought as now. She waited patiently until he noticed her, still clutching the parchment in her hands.
Othedale looked up after a bit and noticed his young friend, Androma standing patiently before his desk. "I sent a human messenger away two hours ago. I assume he left as you entered? Typical of the breed. What can I do for you, Milady?"

Without a word she handed him the parchement, and he took and read it. Written in Tseruan Dwarvish, the document described Dwarvish Mages being swallowed up by a demon in a portal in the mountains of Prethn.

He read it three times and then looked up, "Where in the name of all the stars did you find this, Milady?" She told him and he lapsed into silence again.

After a moment he told her of the contents and of the letter he'd received, and that something evil was loosed and it was time to fight.
The two hour wait until Othedale noticed her wasn't too onerous for Androma. She was used to being patient even in the most boring of circumstances with the career she had chosen for herself. She barely even fidgeted while she waited either since when one is waiting on a window ledge until it is clear to slip inside a room one musn't fidgit and she was one of the best. When he finally noticed her and spoke she handed him the parchment without a word and waited in continued silence while he read the undecipherable words. She only spoke once he asked her a question directly after mumbling to himself over the parchment as well.

"I was filtering through the refuse pile behind the Golden Dragon Inn, ya know that really nice inn on the other side of town. Rich people always throw out nice stuff an' I figure if I don't find it and give it some use then it'll be wasted altogether," she replied honestly. She knew he would see through any lie or ruse she could muster, and with their friendship the way it was she didn't have any inclination for want to be dishonest with him.

"It was stuck under some other things and when I looked and saw the strange words I knew you would want to see if. Don't know for sure if there was anything else with it cause the cook came outside and started yelling at me too," she added after a moment. The idea of fighting some demonic evil sounded exciting and dangerous at the same time.

"I'll help with whatever you need me to, my friend. You've gievn me so much over the years we've known each other that it's the least I can do," she finished after mulling over his own story and what had been in the letter he'd received just before she'd come in on him herself.
Othedale stood, and with a slight grin and grimace, said, "An old friend, known as Maskannai-the-Seer, has written me, and we are to meet her in two days at the river Trank. She wants our help. Long ago, I fought this evil, and even now I see it is still rampant and still is powerful. We are to bring weapons such as we need. Be you prepared in two hours to travel." With that, Othedale stalked to his living quarters.
Androma stood there in his study for several moments after he had left, her mouth hanging in surprise. She'd never expected to hear such a wild tale coming out of Othedale's mouth. After several more minutes of stunned silence she turned and left his home, closing the double doors behind her. She went quickly to her cache which was located in an old abandoned building. She'd found a small closet with a trapdoor in it and had chosen the space within to keep her belongings and there they were safe.

"I suppose I shouldn't need to being anything for Othedale since he has everything he will need himself," she mused aloud herself as she sifted through the various armor and swords she had stashed. She suited herself in chainlink armor and attached a weapon at each hip. On one side was a short sword made from red steel and on the other side a dagger black as night. She also strung a small crossbow on her back and attached a case with bolts to her hip as well. Once she was armored and had her weapons in their appropriate places, a process that had taken her only a little over an hour, she left her hiding place and headed back to Othedale's house. She arrives there with thirty minutes to spare and contented to looking at the books on his shelves while she waited for him to return.
Othedale stepped out of his quarters, wearing his travelling cloak, over a dark green tunic and grey pants. He also wore Elven chain mail, and carried a long Rider's Sword, he knew that Androma had never seen. It had a hand-and-a-half hilt made of enchanted black-dragon claw, an engraved dragon-steel cross-guard, a dragon-steel pommel with a green gemstone, and a green-tinted blade, approximately as long as one and a half of his arms, slighly wider at the tang than the rest of the blade, gradually decreasing the tip. As one looked at it, they could see the strange shifting of colors, going between nearly every shade of green. Engraved on the tang of the blade was the Elven symbol for "Soul-Cleaver". It was a truly magnificent piece. It was housed in a sheath of enchanted black stone-wood, made to match the black dragon-clay of the hilt. The dagger he also bore, he knew had been seen by Androma. It was black, through and through and was eternally sharp, as was the sword.

On his back he bore a pack, containing his longbow, arrows, food for both for the next few days, and a strange silver cylinder that Androma had seen, but said nothing of. He looked at Androma quizzically and said, "I wonder you did not pack the longbow instead of the crossbow. Your accuracy with that is uncanny. The crossbow, less so. But, unless you wish to return to collect that, we shall go. I have sent a message to the King and Mayor of the city, saying I shall be travelling and am sealing my library, so that unless I die, only I can enter it. If I do die, It will open only for the king himself. Once we leave, that spell will begin. What say you? Return for the Longbow? Or be on our way?"
"If by longbow you mean the shortbow I have as well, perhaps it would be better option than the crossbow. Yes, let us go and swap out my weapon and then we can begin our journey," Androma replied without hesitation. Othedale was the only soul alive besides herself who knew where she stashed her things, and she trusted him with her secret since he'd never given her over yet, nor ever would likely. They left his home and life's work behind once he had notified the proper persons of his leaving and travelled to her home as quickly as Androma could go, her smaller barely three and a half foot stature making travel in busy roads difficult sometimes.

Once they arrived at her home she went quickly inside, slid the crossbow off her back and gathered her shortbow, swapping out the bag of bolts for a quiver of arrows. She was glad he had reminded her about this bow since the quiver had been enchanted long ago and she never had yet run out of arrows, a feat she was always amazed by and enjoyed thoroughly.

"Let's get this show on the road then," she added once she had closed her home again under lock and key and rejoined Othedale in the alley below her door. The fact that he was twice her height made it hard to look up at him sometimes, but she knew that he wouldn't be bothered if she didn't look at his face every time she spoke due to the great difference in their heights. She followed him back to the busy streets and kept on his heels until they had reached the city gates that lead out to the open roads beyond.
Othedale led her to the outskirts of the town. He withdrew the strange carved cylinder. "This was given to me during my days of grief after my Dragon, Kal passed on. Contained here are several Faerie Mounts. They only are to be used by me and my friends. I shall give you one. When I do, it shall be yours, and shall require a container. If you have one, get it out now." He pressed the button once and out came a strange looking haze. The Haze moved to stand in front of him, and coalesced into a magnificent white steed. In Spell-speak, Othedale informed the steed of its new owner. The horse turned and looked at the small female and in mind speak, said I greet you, my mistress. I hope I can serve you well. The horse nuzzled Androma's cheek.

Othedale spoke again. "Your box is needed. The horse must go to it. Then you should close it, then reopen. The steed will come to you the way it came to me. Do not lose the box."
"What a fabulous mount! Thank you Othedale," Androma replied as she watched the horse become solid, then approach her and nuzzle her cheek with its cold nose. She'd never seen mounts like these before and was grateful to Othedale for gifting one of them to her. When he mentioned that she needed a metal container to store her mount in she pulled her bag from her shoulder and began rummaging through its contents.

She knew she had something that would work as a storage place for the enchanted horse cause she'd picked up a small metal box with a hinged lid right as they were leaving the city. Being a curious little halfling she'd picked the box up, thinking to herself that it might have some use to her eventually, and now she's found that use. She opened the box and the figure of the horse became a mist that seeped quickly into the container and she closed the lid with a snap. She waited a moment, then opened the small box and the mist flowed back out and coalesced into the figure of the horse again. Androma smiled and petted the horses's muzzle with a smile, then mounted and waited while Othedale figured out what direction the needed to travel, and followed him once he had a course laid out.
The pair travelled without much in the way of delay, the only delay being a short and violent thunderstorm that came in a rush. The pair took refuge beneath a rocky outcropping, that just extended far enough to protect them, while the mounts rested in their respective cases. Othedale stared into the rain, a pensive look on his face. When asked what he was thinking, he sighed, "Androma, I shall tell you a story. I have lived for many, many centuries, and have seen generations come and go. When I turned twelve, I was bonded with a Dragon, who was known as Kal. I tell you that we fought many wars, many battles. One was with the Demon Morg'nr. He is a many limbed creature, and has black and red blotched skin. I imprisoned him into a limbo state, but not before he bit Kal, and poisoned him. That poisoning caused the eventual death of my only true mind-bond companion. It nearly drove me insane. Some say It DID drive me insane. I put my energy into the library. It was shortly after Kal died, I received the mounts in a gift from the Fey. That was a gift that warmed my heart, and opened me up to friendship. Many years later you attempted to pick my pocket. Now, I fear death may call on me, leaving you alone, milady. That is what is on my mind." His head dropped and he sighed.
Androma enjoyed riding the spectral mount that Othedale had given her, its gait smooth and easy for her small stature to manage with ease. The travelled for a while without incident until storm clouds appeared on the horizon. They swept in faster than she would have thought and she and Othedale put their mounts away and took cover under a small rocky outcropping that was just large enough for the two of them so crouch under, made more easy because she was so much smaller than Othedale. She pulled her cloak around her against the beating winds and huddled close to Othedale for warmth.

"What are you thinking my friend?" she asked over the winds when she looked up at his face and saw that he was deep in thought again. She was surprised that he answered quickly for once, however his answer and his story was not quite as she expected. He told of his former life, a life she'd known nothing of before now, and it entranced her to hear of his tales of battles long ago fought and a dragon who'd been his companion.

"I do not think that the higher powers would take you from me before our work together is done my friend," she replied after he had finished with his tale. Her brow creased slightly, showing her own worry for the dangerous battle ahead, but she knew that she had the spirit to take any challenge that life threw her way. She'd learned to adapt and take challenges by the horns many years before, and she was willing to meet current challenges as well. The storm finally abated, leaving the earth smelling fresh and clean. The took out their mounts again and saddled up, heading for a destination only Othedale knew the exact location of.
Othedale led the way down a slightly sloped path, that threaded through the forest of the Ganrel Dwarves, the only friendly dwarves known to the elves and Halflings. They slipped out of the forest the second day, and found themselves beside the river Trank. They met a tall Elf woman with green eyes that saw them and ran for Othedale and hugged him. She introduced herself to Androma as Maskannai, the sister of Othedale.
Maskannai had been witing forthe arrival of Othedale and his companion, the halfling Androma, for several days. She had heard rumors going around of an expidition going after the fabled Mirror of Dreams, and when the members of that party had never returned she had grown worried and had done some research of her own. What she had found was unsettling to say the least. She knew that Othedale had been involved with the original sealing of the mirror and the demonica dragon that was inside from tales he had told her. She'd never thought that those tales would come alive again with new adventurers trying to find it once more. Once she had learned what little there was to glean about the disappearance of the groupf that had gone in search of the mirror she sent a missive with all speed to Othedale. He had sent a message back for her to meet himself and a companion in three days time at a specified location only she and he knew of. The location was a two day travel for her on horseback and she had waited as patiently as she could for the third day until Othedale arrived, his halfling companion riding abreast with him. Once the two were dismounted she ran to her old friend and embraced him.

"It is good to see you brother," she said after she'd hugged him tightly. She turned to Androma and smiled, kneeling down so she could shake the little halflings hand. "I am Maskannai, sister to Othedale," she said formally and took Androma's hand with a smile.

"It is good to meet you Maskannai," Androma replied, her own face smiling as well. She wondered at their claim to be brother and sister though. It was obvious that they were both elves, their pointed ears and slanted eyes clear indicators. They appeared to be different races of elf though since Othedale had a blue tint to his skin and Maskannai had the classic look of a forest elf. She decided not to bring it up unless either of them addressed it first.

"So where do we go from here brother?" Maskannai asked, standing and turning to face Othedale.
Othedale said nothing at first, his gaze fixed on Androma. "Little one, the year I bonded with Kal, was the same year that I was adopted by the Father and Mother of Maskannai. We are actually the same age, or very close to it. I am sea-elf, of the Konai Clan. She is Forest-Elf, of the Donnodel Clan. She is every bit my sister, despite blood and appearance difference. You should know this before we continue. I saw the question in your face." To Maskannai, he said, "The Reanear Mountains in the Trank Wilderness. We are three days journey by Fae Mount. Have you still the Fae mount that The Fae Lord Ganr gave you? If so, we shall require it's use to carry you. Also, we must hurry. There be many that would like nothing better than to catch us with out our guard and speed fully in use." What he meant he did not say, but he knew Maskannai well enough to mentally press the issue, even if Androma would not. He embraced his sister again, and went to the river, knelt, and washed his face very slowly. If one looked closely they could see a slight wilting of his shoulders he'd never had before, but it would take an elven eye to see that. He washed, and stayed in that position for a while.
"You're just lucky that age has been kinder to you because of your dragon," Maskannai replied once he finished his story about his adoption into her family. She had been coming into her adulthood when her parents had taken him in, having a rider in the family being something they were proud to have. He had been a good addition as well and she and he had adventured together many times over the centuries, though his quest when he had sealed the demon dragon in the mirror she had not been a part of.

"Family is important no matter how the ties are made," Androma replied with a smile. She was happy to be a part of this expidition and would give everything she could to seeing it to successful completion.

"I don't go anywhere without Na'assil brother," Maskannai added when he asked if she still had her own fae mount and held up the cylinder that she kept her own mount in. The cylinder was ornately decorated with scrollwork patterns and had a spring mechanism at one end that opened and closed. She flipped it open then and her own horse materialized and stood whinnying softly at her. She patted his head and arranged her things on his saddle and then mounted. Androma mounted again as well and they followed Othedale at an easy canter down a path only he knew intimately once he was ready as well.
Othedale led the group to the road through the forest. For several hours they cantered, eventually leading them to the edge of the forest, where the city of Trankner, or Trank City as some called it, lay. On the outside edge, lay the Trank itself. They entered the city. Once inside, Othedale asked Maskannai to acquire rooms for them. He explained, "I have a friend I wish to accompany us. I will return soon." He stalked off in the direction of the city center, leaving Maskannai and Androma to find rooms.
"Very well brother," Maskannai replied simply and nodded to him as he turned to find whomever he was referring to. "Come with me and we will find a decent inn," she added to Androma after Othedale had disappeared in the crowd. Both she and Androma had their mounts safely packed away for use whenever they needed them next. Maskannai led the way through the crowded streets of Trankner, heading towards a specific inn that she had stayed at in the past.

"Othedale is a good friend," Androma said as they walked, trying to think of something to spark some kind of conversation since she and Maskannai didn't really know anything about each other yet. She smiled at the female elf as she followed her down the road.

"He has been a good brother and a good part of my family for many centuries. He is a strong fighter and one who can be depended on until his dying breath leaves his body," Maskannai replied as she stopped finally in front of a place that looked rather run down from the outside. The inn was call The Dragons Teeth, and even though it looked rough on the outside it was a safe place for travellers on the inside. The owner of the inn was someone Maskannai had dealt with in the past and knew they would be able to trust. She walked up the front steps and inside, Androma still at her side. The inside of the place was neat and orderly and behind the bar was a human man, tall and muscular with a long beard and graying hair. His name to patrons was James, however to his friends he was also known as The Hand, the leader of a secret organization only those who were his friends knew anything about.

"I'd like four rooms please," Maskannai said to him with a smile as she approached the bar. She knew that he would give her the best he had, and kick anyone out of his best if they were occupied for a friend such as her. She handed him a single gold coin, then motioned Androma to join her at a table off to the side of the room. They both sat and were brought meals of think venison stew and a fine ale.
A small framed female sat at the bar of Willie's Tavern, a pint mug swinging in her hand and a happy tint to her cheeks. She certainly didn't LOOK old enough to be in such a situation. She stood perhaps 5'3 or 5'4" at the very most with a petite and athletic build. Her eyes were an amber color with slits for her pupils. Long black hair framed her face and strange tattoos ran across her upper torso and arms. The tattoos represented the clan she originated from. Her most telling features, though, were her cat ears and long black tail that was swaying contently behind her. A few male eyes following the hypnotizing sway. Downing the drink in her hand, she slammed the glass back down on the counter and purred softly.

"Give me another Willie!" she said enthusiastically with a soft hiccup. Willie, busy cleaning the counter glanced at her with a raised eyebrow, "You sure about that? I think you're--"

"Another! come on you know I can pay and--"

"Money isn't the issue...I know how you get Isis..."

"awww...pleaaaase Will!" she pouted a moment and Willie sighed as he poured her one more, "You're cut off after this." He said sliding it carefully to her. Isis only smiled contently and held the cup with both hands as she hopped from the stool and sipped it contently. Her ears twitching her eyes scanned the scenery as they fell upon a group of individuals playing a card game in the corner. One thing she was never short of was gambling. The smile curled further on her lips giving her an almost chesire-like grin as she weaved her way effortlessly toward the table and slipped into the game. Well...this certainly would be interesting.

....5 minutes later....

"...Really?!" the man slammed his cards down onto the table as Isis gathered the money. Her drink was well since gone and her pockets filling quickly with the men's money. It didn't help she was quite good at cheating. The men stood angrily pointing an accusing finger at her. Isis played innocent as she stood, "What are you going to do...hit a girl?" she sneered at the large man whom was easily twice her size. Willie glanced up from the counter and sighed, "Here we go again..." he muttered preparing to break up any fight that might soon break out. Isis certainly was a handful some days...