Chapter 2

Nalynn returned home after a sojourn into the meeting hall. As she opened the door, she felt an overwhelming sense of emptiness. Their apartment was dark, the curtains drawn. A single rose rested in a vase which once held a powerful healing potion. Resting up against the vase was a note, sealed with wax embossed by Torm's insignia. She read the note.

"My poor husband," she whispered. "Would that I had known our finances were so dire as to force him to journey to other realms in search of fortune. How I wish I'd not tarried so long in the Hall, admiring Solack's portrait; I might have been here to bid him farewell." She forced back the tears, knowing he would want her to be brave and strong in his absence. She rose from her chair and grabbed her broom, sweeping furiously at imaginary dust.

"Perhaps I shall go fetch Caesla. Now would be the perfect time to redecorate." Inspired, she grabbed a sheet of parchment and her favorite quill pen. "And of course I shall be frugal" she mused. Rummaging through her jewelry box, she found many gems she had acquired during her adventures in the realms. "Ah, I think I shall visit the jeweler and sell some of these baubles. That should provide me with more than enough money for this project."

Nalynn was diverted from her visit to Solack & Caesla by a strong urge to go down to the harbor. Forgetting her parchment and pen, she left the Keep and headed toward the docks, knowing the smell of the salt air would ease the emptiness she felt in Torm's absence. The harbor was in her view when the voice came, unbidden, to her.

"Nalynn, fair Nalynn. I know you are out there, pretty lady. And I also know that your husband has deserted you. My minions are everywhere and they keep me apprised of your comings and goings. Torm is a formidable opponent, but not unbeatable. Lloth awaits you and I am obliged do his bidding. The task is simply easier with your husband out of the picture. Keep looking over your shoulder - for all the good it will do you. I, Ebonstarr, will find you soon.

"When I do, your life will be over. I laugh at the posturings of your fellow Seekers, little do they know of my powers and prowess in battle. Let them fight! Let them try to protect you, careless child. Your soul will soon be mine, as surely as is the soul of your late husband and my slave, Braldt2."

Nalynn shivered at the sound of that voice and looked apprehensively around. Where had the voice come from? The sky was darkening with storm clouds, still she headed down to the harbor. She half-heartedly hoped she would come upon Riklaun, but she remembered he was still searching for Ebonstarr with his Bladesingers. "He should be here," she thought, considering Ebonstarr was surely near.

Suddenly a storm broke all around them. The wind howled and marble-sized hail fell from the skies. Dark clouds all bearing the visage of the witch, Ebonstarr, glared down at her. Nalynn cast a teleport spell to take her from the harbor to a safe haven. "Ebonstarr, thou shalt not take me without a fight!" she breathed in the silence of her place of hiding.


*****

A messenger boy walked with urgency to the great hall of the Grey Company. He knocked nervously at the door, delivered his note and ran back up the street.

The message eventually reached the hands of the intended recipient:


Vedui', my friends,
I see that there is once again a great evil moving through the lands and I am again happy to offer my assistance. Lady Nalynn, I am once again at your service, when last we spoke I had offered to help you and Braldt2 in your 'pig hunting' but around that time the 'bill beholder' sought me out and took that incarnation of Elven4ever out of the realms forever. But now that I am back I would help thee if I could. Perhaps Riklaun could use another hunter, or if ye need a friend to travel with in the realms, just ask and I shall be there to help you and Torm in your time of troubles. Now that the goddess has brought me back into the realms I am eager to help bring good back into the realms. Perhaps you could help me by retelling some of what transpired whilst I was gone? I would love to hear your stories over a cup or two of fey wine in front of a warm fire and learn of your new life with Torm.
Till we meet in the woods then, live life and fear not the evil ones for we all will support you.
Aluve,
Your friend and cousin,
Elfin

Nalynn read the message from Elfin4ever with interest. She searched her memory, trying to recall this kind elf who apparently knew something of her past life in the days when she was wedded to this strange man, Braldt2. Alas, the effort was in vain.

"But, perhaps he is a link and can tell me more about this man who is supposed to have been my husband. In all my searches through Neverwinter Nights, I have yet to come upon a restore memory potion. And to regain my memories might bring more harm and sorrow upon my current life and my beloved Torm."

She carefully folded the delicate parchment message and tucked it away in her jewelry box. "I must talk to Riklaun about this fellow. He may be an ally in my fight against this witch, Ebonstarr."

Looking out the window, she saw it was a gloriously beautiful day. Recalling her earlier task, she grabbed her own parchment and pen and set out to pay a visit to Caesla. "Yes, today will be a fine day for redesigning our abode." The thoughts of Ebonstarr were quickly pushed out of her mind as she headed down the hall toward their apartment. "I do hope they're in - I feel an inspiration upon me and must see what Caesla has done."

Continue to Chapter 3