It was dusky and dank in the old Temple of the Helm. The priests had worked long through the night, employing every spell and cure they had thought of in an effort to revive Nalynn. All efforts had been to no avail as her lifeless corpse lay upon the altar stone. They were about to give up when a young elf entered the Temple. "Get thee gone from this place, young elfling! This is not a proper place for you! Begone!"
The young Elf stood his ground and proffered a small vial. "No sires, wait! I have been instructed to come here. A falcon flew out of the sky and alit on a tree before me as I was headed home. He told me of Lady Nalynn's death and then bid me to take this vial from a sheath affixed to his leg. He urged me to hurry quickly to this place and deliver it to you before it was too late. I was ring-bearer at the dear Lady's wedding to Braldt2 and am honor bound to carry out these instructions." With that, he handed the vial to the puzzled priests.
"Have you anything else to say then, young elfling?"
"Aye, the Falcon told me this vial is from the well of Eternal Light. He said it is used in an ancient ceremony to revive the dead. But he also cautioned that the results can be unpredictable. I pray thee use it now, before her flesh turns cold and gray. You are to place three drops -- no more, no less upon her lips, then cast the vial into the fire."
The priests followed these mysterious instructions, though they were skeptical a mere Elf youth had been entrusted with so important a mission. Three drops of the vial's liquid were placed on Nalynn's lips. The air filled with the sweet aroma of jasmine. They cast the vial into the open flame, but it did not burn or explode. Instead, it began to glow, and a low, eerie hum filled the air -- then, it simply vanished. The priests waited for an eternity it seemed, but saw no results. Discouraged, they left to prepare the funeral pyre.
"Fools that we are for believing the practical jokes of young Elves," the High Priest muttered. "We have done all we can, let us prepare for a regal funeral and rest content in the knowledge that Nalynn and Braldt2 have been reunited in the afterlife."
A reddish glow began to emanate from Nalynn's lifeless corpse, lying upon the altar stone. The humming grew louder and threads of light pierced the glowing mist. Then, a shudder, her fingers twitched, then fists clenched, unclenched. She opened her eyes, but strangely, could not move. Her vision began to focus, and as she licked her dry lips, she tasted a vague hint of honeysuckle and jasmine flowers. She felt a strange energy pulsing through her veins and her heart beat stronger with each passing second. At last, she was able to move and struggled long and hard to sit up. She looked around this strange room, saw numerous spent scrolls and empty containers not to mention an array of peculiar devices.
"What is this place?" she wondered. "It seems vaguely familiar, but somehow, I cannot remember where or why I know it. How did I get here? Where have I been?" A sharp twinge of pain pierced her ribs. She gently lifted her shirt up and saw an angry scar, all that remained of the lethal wound so recently inflicted upon her. She touched it and wondered how it came to be there. Then she saw the ring upon her finger -- a simple gold band with two stones -- one white and brilliant as a diamond, the other blue -- somehow she knew it was a blue Ioun stone.
The old charwoman who served as caretaker of the Temple walked in with a funeral shroud and looked toward the altar. "Aieeeeee!!!!! What deviltry is this?" she cried as she looked upon the strange woman sitting on the altar. She dropped the shroud and fled the hall. The High Priest came running into the Temple and saw the woman. "Here now, who are you and what are you doing here! And what have you done with the body of the lady Nalynn????"
"Nalynn? Who is she, and more importantly, who are you? I do not understand. What am I doing here? And why did that old woman scream when she saw me?" The priest peered more closely and realized that the serum from the vial had done its work, though as the Falcon had forewarned, with unexpected results. "Forgive me dear lady, I did not recognize thee for thou art severely transformed."
"Transformed? Do you know me? Prithee tell me, who am I? I cannot seem to remember anything except awakening in this cold, strange place."
"Ahh, my dear child, 'tis far better if some things remain a untold. Suffice to say you have been on a very long journey. Go forth and explore the world anew -- all will be revealed when the time is right."
The woman stood, her legs wobbly at first. But then she headed for the door wondering what this world was and where she would have to go to seek the knowledge which would answer the thousands of questions swimming through her mind. As she left the Temple, the other priests gazed in wonderment as she passed, bowing their heads. A Falcon, flying high overhead, glided to the ground crying out a greeting as she walked. She stopped, looked up, and extended her arm. The Falcon alighted upon her hand, taking care not to pierce her skin with his sharp talons. They gazed at each other for a moment. She nodded and they began their journey together.
The High Priest watched her make her way down the path that lead to Neverwinter. "Thou art truly blessed that the Infinite Powers saw fit to restore your life and sent you a companion such as that majestic bird, Lady Nalynn. I pray that you never learn the awful truth of your past."
A messenger burst into the Seekers' meeting hall, brushing Tapestries as he ran toward Solack. "Whoa, young Elfling. Slow down and tell me what brings you to this hallowed hall in such an all-fired hurry."
"Art thou Solack, Sire?" the Elf gasped. "Yes, yes, 'tis I. Now, tell me, why are you here?"
"Oh Sire, I bring tragic news. The Lady Nalynn has been murdered by a traitorous elf known as Riklaun. He stabbed her with a Drow Dagger of Infinite Slaying and killed her dead. Zamroth took her to the priests of the Temple of the Helm. They have worked all night trying to revive her. They chased me from the Temple after I delivered a potion to them with instructions for its use."
"Nalynn, dead? What treachery is this? I know of this Riklaun We have heard rumors that he has turned to the ways of evil. Where is her body now? We must hurry to reclaim it before those blasted priests do something terrible. She deserves a proper burial even if she didn't submit her application to us."
"But Sire, that's what I'm trying to tell you!" the Elf blurted out. "It seems that after administering the potion to her, the Lady was revived, though transformed in the process. It is rumored that she knows not who she is or what has happened to her."
"Where is she now?" demanded Solack.
"Sire, I do not know. She was seen heading toward Neverwinter Square with a Falcon riding on her wrist. It is said the Falcon materialized out of thin air and flew directly to her. I did not see her, so I know not what she looks like. But find the Falcon and you are likely to find her. I must take my leave now - there are others to notify." With that, the young Elf hurried out of the hall, pausing only to straighten out the tapestries he had so carelessly jostled when he had run in.
The Seekers once again gathered at the request of Solack. As the last entered, Solack stood before the table and began to speak. "It seems I must once again be the bearer of bad news. It seems a friend, Nalynn by name, has recently been slain by the same creature that took down Braldt2. This creature may also be partly responsible for the death of Drago. All is not lost, however, it seems Nalynn was somehow resurrected, but lost her memory. She has also seemed to be transformed in some way, but before I could question him further, the messenger who brought me this news had to take his leave."
Before anyone could say anything, Solack continued, "I also have other matters that need to be brought to your attention. I have been called away on business elsewhere for the next few days, so will be unable to help in the search. I will still be able to keep in touch with you, but only through a portal I have set up for that purpose. I will be able to receive messages through this portal and send them as well, but I will be unable to do much else. I will be leaving within the next couple of days, so I can still help to organize a search, but I will not be able to take part directly, for I need to get ready for my journey. I am asking for volunteers to lead expeditions to find Nalynn." With that, Solack sat back down. Before he even had time to get comfortable, several Seekers started to stand and state they would be willing to lead these expeditions...
"What have you done?" Thought Thranduil Graywolf as he prepared his pack, "Do you realize yet what will happen to you? It takes much to anger an elf, but once that is accomplished the anger will not subside easily. Look into my eyes and feel the flames of my wrath. Your deeds will not go unpunished, I promise you. Never again will you slaughter an unsuspecting elf. Just like all true drow, the fear in your heart makes you strike down enemies with lies and deceit. Do you have the strength to face an angered Bladesinger sword to sword? I doubt it. I will find you."
He grabbed his sword and placed it upon his hip. He walked out the door to begin his search. He knew that if he should fail, others would take up the search, for Riklaun had angered many. Thranduil walked to Lord Monar's estate to tell him he was leaving. When he got there, Lord Monar had already left to bring Riklaun back himself. Thranduil Graywolf bundled his cloak against himself to protect against the chill winter air. He walked out into the city of Neverwinter.
A stranger wandered into the Village Square - hub point of the Grey Company. On her arm rested a majestic Falcon. As she approached the tavern, she looked in the window and saw an Elfin face staring back at her. "Who is this creature who gazes back at me?" She touched the glass, only then realizing the face she saw was her own. "This cannot be me -- I do not recognize this face. It seems as though once I bore a different form and shape. Oh, if only I could remember."
She read the message left by Thranduil Graywolf "Riklaun....Braldt..." and her ring grew heavy and the gems began to glow. She was on the verge of discovering something - but as quickly as the knowledge was upon her, it vanished - like a dream forgotten upon waking. "How strange and sad.. I must find someone who can tell me the story." They left as quietly as they had come.
Continue to Chapter 4