The hunt was honorable; working as a team the group sang and frolicked there way through the never-ending throng of Juka Lords and their minions.
One Juka called out the name of the priestess, taunting her, urging her forward. In a medley of silver hair, whirling blades, and music, she advanced to meet his challenge. When all was said and done, the Lord insulted her no more.
Later under the canopy of trees, they built a fire and celebrated the hunt, giving thanks to the Goddess in the way they knew best. Quietly they formed a circle, each one leaving behind their weapons and clothing where they had been sitting. Bathed in the light of the moon and fire, one began to play her lute. Another commenced to sing of the hunt. Into the center of the circle each would step and dance her part of the hunt as it was sung. Around the circle the ballad moved, speaking of bravery and the part each had played in the group's success.
The priestess watched each one of her small family with pride. Years ago the Matron had sent her to this land to die. Instead of finding death she had found music and her Goddess. With the fierceness for which her race was known, she had gathered to herself each of these warriors; the fleet-footed elf maidens, deceptively disarming mere maids, the haughty drowessess, and the impassioned humans. Without exclusion she had guided each into the acceptance of self, and the clarity of the dance. She was going to have to tell them the news tonight, but that could wait.
Hearing the ballad moving into her confrontation with the Juka Lord, she stepped into the circle. Her only raiment being the cascading waves of silver tresses that reached to her knees, and a length of silver silk tied around her waist. Beginning slowly, she performed her part in the battle, moving gracefully around the fire's perimeter. Invisible sword's swirled in the patterns of a seasoned bladedancer. Giving herself over, the meadow faded; all she knew was the dance. Those watching were enthralled by the sight, and next saw her step into the middle of the fire continuing to perform. The flames grew higher, lapping along the graceful lines of her body. The priestess danced unharmed and, not alone.
There, weaving her way through the flames as the counterpoint to her worshipper's movements was the goddess Elistraee. Once again each member of the small family was struck by the beauty and dignity of their deity and her high priestess. Those with courage joined the dance first, and the meadow became a temple of worship as each in their own way showed their devotion and adoration.
Her dance finished, Zhi K'lyn stepped away from the group and wrapped herself in a cloak. Relinquishing her family was not something she wanted to do. She had been called, and duty required she respond. She watched them all, once again feeling the pride and love she felt for each, knowing in her heart they would be fine while she was away. One by one the dancers stopped, returning to the circle to rest. When all were finished she once again stepped into the center of the group. This time she began to sing.
It was an epic ballad, telling the tale of two swords, one of darkness, and another of light. Weaving a mystical tale of mages, and battles fought through the ages. The climax of the song spoke of a battle fought between two of the elven race, ending in a standoff as the dark one fled to the underground. When the ballad was done, Zhi K'lyn cleared her throat, pausing and letting the silence fill the void. She then looked about the entire circle and quietly spoke to the group.
"It is time for me to return to the lands of Britannia. The swords have awoken and the legacy of the San'Tarque Mages continues. Dassina was directed to keep an eye on things and has sent me a missive about the events unfolding. The bearer of Nim'Alkar does not know what she holds. Out of respect for her mother, I have chosen to leave my home here and once again walk the lands of my past. I charge each of you with keeping Ilshenar safe for the new ones while I am gone."
The group packed their belonging and started toward the nearest shrine. Walking beside each in turn, Zhi K'lyn communicated her best wishes for them and hugged them goodbye. Arriving at the Shrine of Honor, the Drowess stood before the shimmering blue gate and took a deep breath, holding it as she stepped through to greet Dassina and her past on the other side.