The PurgingI woke up in a small, circular room, lying on a stone slab, with a white sheet lying over my chest and legs and a terrible headache. The room was lined with shelves and tables with paper, potion vials, and many different types of ingredients. A young faerie was watching me, or looked like he was supposed to be. He was actually dozing, and started when I began to move. He quickly darted out of the chamber, and while I was left there, I tried to take stock of my surroundings. Before long, two older-looking fae came in, and checked on my status. They never spoke, but clearly were healers of some type. Eventually, they left, and seemed to indicate that I should remain lying down. As soon as they were out of the room, however, I pushed myself up, and bit by bit managed to stand again. I took some blank papers in case I needed them, and headed out to explore the building.
I found that I was clearly in another palace, or piece of the palace, and there was evidence of a party of some kind going on. As I explored, I put the hood of my cloak up, to cover my ears. I was met by a creature that we would now all recognize as Masks, which seemed quite friendly and playful, and helped me get around, as my headache was still pounding. It even did something to make my head feel better, though I could never tell exactly what. I lowered my hood to show that my ears were round, not pointed, and was rewarded with a surprised pose from the creature. I hid them again, and found my way to the main hall, where an enormous masquerade ball was going on.
The ball was full and busy, again, more than I can possibly describe. There was a goblin cannon, surrounded by goblins, and possibly firing goblins out of it. I believe I saw an elf whose face looked exactly like Tara Harkon's. I was overwhelmed, but remembered from stories of a trip to the Library of Fae that moments before the Purging began, a Duke commanded two lesser peons, "You! You! Fight to the death," and I kept my eye out for this exchange. Before long, I saw it, and prepared to run. Before I could, however, a haughty-looking elf caught my eye, held up a half-full glass chalice, dumped the contents out on the ground, and said, "Servant. My cup is empty." I took the cup and hurried off towards the kitchens.
The kitchen was ordinary enough, if huge, but I noticed a cloaked figure standing by doors on one wall, which seemed to lead to the outside world. I found a table to put the cup down on, and found a place to hide. When I looked again, the cloaked figure was gone. I went to the doors myself, and cracked them to look outside.
On the horizon, a terrible army stretched as far as I could see in the night, carrying torches, wielding swords, and composed of a host of furious faeries. As they started to charge, I went out through the door, and ran to the side, as fast as I could.
I escaped the army, which was so focused on the masquerade ball. I heard the screams in the night and saw the palace begin to burn. Horsemen seemed to emerge out of the night, and I hid by roads, rivers, and ditches wherever I could. I ran for a long time.
Eventually, I ran into another terrified fae, who introduced himself as Lumineaux. He said that his sister, D'Amandes, was helping someone, and seemed lost and scared, though still obsessed with his appearance. We ran together, and eventually felt like we had gone far enough, and had not heard any pursuers in a long enough time, that we decided to go to sleep. The entire time that we were together, I had been careful to never say the word "Insectafae," to avoid letting the word be heard too early in the timeline. When I woke up, Lumineaux was gone.
In the daylight, I walked for a long time, and found the plains I had run over give way to light forest. I passed a grave, marked "Sarah," and around that time, decided that there was nothing else useful for me to do, and that it was time to get home.
I had been able to contact Rel periodically, but did not have a mental connection to him at that moment. I decided to try a Sťance once more. To set up a ritual, I took five more berries out of pockets in the magical robe Nimbus had given me, and put them on the ground in a circle around me. I cast the Sťance, trying to reach Rel, and felt like he could hear me, but no response seemed to be coming. Finally, I put my hand on the ground and forced as much magic as I could into the ritual circle, hoping to empower the Sťance so he could answer me. Instead, almost immediately, the berries sprouted and began to grow, twining together into an enormous, viney stalk. I grabbed on, and was hauled into the air.
One the growing stopped, I found myself looking out over the canopy of a huge forest. The sun was beginning to set, by now. I reached out, feeling the magic in the air, and pulled in what I could find. The magics of the Twilight Champion filled me, causing my hands to glow with alternatively light and dark energy, and I felt new spells become accessible to me. Moments later, I saw a faerie spirit, Rel Zhirah's ghost, appear and land on the branch I was standing on.
Rel had a dagger stuck in his chest. He always said, "If you think you're time traveling, stab yourself!" and had used similar logic to answer my Sťance which was itself back in time, from his perspective. We discussed what I had seen so far and what to do next. We created and discarded plans, and then were interrupted by somebody climbing the vine beneath me.
The climber turned out to be Tara herself, who claimed to have wandered into Faerie while thinking of me. We were shocked to see her, and warned her that she was at the end of the First Age, in the Purging. She told me that she had found Lumineaux, and talked to him about the Insectafae, before wandering off and finding me.
Soon, our fears proved true, as goblins and archers from Oberon's new Unseelie Court began to spread through the forest, and noticed us. In desperation, as the goblins swarmed towards us, I pulled the dagger out of Rel's chest, broke it so that it would not be a weapon that would interrupt my spell, and cast Raise Dead on Rel's ghost. I then grabbed Tara and jumped at the spot where his ghost had been, hoping to "follow" it back to our time.
My plan failed, and Tara and I crashed to the ground. We both survived, but the Unseelie were coming, while chanting, "Dark sport, is the court, of the Unseelie!" We ran, fighting briefly when we had to, but could tell they were soon going to overwhelm us. Suddenly, a fireball hit the goblins behind us, and we saw that we were facing a gate, back to Rel's Grove. Rel was there, with Stumpy, working powerful magic. I pushed Tara towards the gate and she ran threw, landing safely on the other side.
When I attempted to follow, however, a wall of purple magic sprang up and blocked me. I called on the powers of the Twilight Champion, as the Keeper of the Night Sky, but was unable to overcome it. Rel attempted to defeat it as well, and we both recognized that purple was the color of the Fifth, traitor Counselor. We called out in defiance of him, and for the first time, I began to hear his name through Rel's shouts. I recognized that it began with an 'R.' Even in the midst of all the danger, I was elated to know that my Sťance may have succeeded, in all my aims. As the Unseelie closed in, I heard Rel call out "BEAST! Accept this sacrifice of magic!" and then an explosion hit, making everything go dark.
When I woke up, I was in darkness, on something smooth and cold.
Continued in Stained Glass.
Created by Rosetta (Eric Willisson) at 11-05-12 09:59 PM
Last Modified by Rosetta (Eric Willisson) at 11-06-12 00:33 AM