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Highrider's Account of FoC 2

(librarian's note: This was provided by Sir Tetch in a missive to wide distribution in 1002. It was transcribed from an older tome known as the View from Valehaven, April 994)

From the Journal of Highrider:

Ten and Ninth day of Mars, in the Third Year of my Release... At last, the sojourn that Hell had brought me ended; the gods have found me. And their retribution came not with the wailing of the Fates, but with the greetings of a friend.

At long last, Lady Dee and I stood before priests and peers, to be joined in wedlock. Our Love had sustained me through the burden of death, and was at last to be given expression in life. I had almost forgotten the cries of vengeance from the priests of my homeland as they died beneath my sword; I dreamed I had, at last, evaded the curse their gods had placed upon me. 'Though Tetch had spoken softly to me of a fear for the safety of Lady Dee, it was easily set aside. I was free; my Love, greater than the hate of the
gods, had delivered me at last.

The feast nigh glowed with the goodwill of the people of the Realms as Fletch took his place beside me at the head of the gathering. Music filled the air, and Sir Shane led Lady Dee to my side. Queen Meg smiled, and began the vows. But, as Dee swore her betrothal vows to me, I heard Fletch gasp, and say "In mortals' lands? That's not right..."

And Oberon, King of the Fairies, appeared within our midst. He approached in splendour, lights glistening about his regal form, a band of the fair folk sweeping like leaves, in his wake. He and I had known each other in the past, and I respect him. he carries the vows and pledges of his people, and rules them justly, with a power beyond our mortal comprehension. For centuries, he has lived beyond the confines of time, learning the intimate ways of life, and death, and his wisdom is that of the ageless.

Oberon approaches us, and I knelt before him, paying him the homage he is due - what mortal has the right to stand in the presence of such a king? - and he spoke of wishing to engage in human custom, to kiss the bride... And then, Dee screamed, and they were gone.

I remained kneeling as the people of the Realms surged around me, attempting to stop Oberon's escape. They possess the hearts of heroes, these people. But I -

In my mind, I stood in the council chamber, the dead priests laying about me, and the wailing of the gods in my ears. "Justice!" they cried. "Revenge..." All my life passed before me. The exile of my daughter. The murder of my first wife, and then the priests who led me to her death. The exile from Corsica, and the horror of the two men the gods made of me. At last, my attmept to warn the Thane of Barbaddoss, and the time I spent in Hell when his men slew me. Randall the Light's torturous quest to restore me to life, and the price he paid for his friendship to me.

And now Oberon, whom I had served and helped restore his very mind... Oberon had struck down the last hope of salvation that remained to me. The gods had discovered me. Vengeance. My curse had found me at last.

But I was not the man I was, all those years ago. And I realized that Oberon might not have meant to harm me after all. My associations with Eth had proven to me that the Fey often see beyond mortal boundaries, to act in ways we cannot fathom, but which ultimately serve the cause of Justice. I would have to wait for Oberon to contact me, to tell me why he had taken the very source of life away from me.

But the confusion of the room immediately brought me back to the tumult of the feast. Sir Shane could not be seen. People milled about me in confusion, women wailed for their loss, and for their safety. Meg was shouting at the guards, berating them for their failure to prevent Oberon's entry and escape. Stygma, who had guarded the dowry during the feast, was at my side, guarding me from any assault which might follow. My son, Conf, sat catlike at the Hight Table, knowing there could be no immediate response, and wasted nothing on grief or anger. Then from behind me came the butcher's sound of people being scalped.

I pushed my way through the throng. Not all of Oberon's retinue had escaped. Raven had led the warriors of Folkestone and Chimeron to Dee's defense, and had slain two of the Fey, whom they now were hacking to peices in rage and frustration. I grabbed him by the arm and ordered him to stop, calling for a healer. Raven was new to the Realms, and Chimeron's warriors - despite their ties to the Fey - were understandably enraged. But Oberon would not forgive such an offense as this. They imperiled Dee's life with every chop of the blade.

Danial Roseblade stepped forward, and lay his knight's gauntlets upon them with obvious distate. He, no doubt, wished them dead as well. But Raven made room for him, pushing the men of Chimeron back, and let him heal the wounds of Oberon's followers. Sutra demanded that they be interrogated, but I had to dismiss her council; though her blood is kin to theirs, she was not of Oberon's Folk. I ordered the Fey to be released, and entrusted them with a message of good will from me to their King. Slowly, I stalked through the crowd to the High Table, and sat beside my son. Now the wait would begin.

From out of the crowd, Meg swept up to the High Table. I rose as she said, "So, my Lord... When will the quest for Lady Dee begin?" I held her gaze for a moment, but I had to tell her the truth.

"There will be no quest." I said quietly. "I am not going."

All the blood drained from Meg's face. I tried to explain, but the Queen was obviously beyond understanding. She listened to my words out of mere courtesy, before she stormed into the center of the crowd. "Well," she cried, "Lord Highrider isn't going to quest for his love." She spat venomously. "Apparently he's friends with Oberon or something. Is anyone else here BRAVE enough to try?" A huge cry of assent rose from the gathering, as shame washed over me. Yet I realized now that the course of events was worse than I would have dreamed.

If my Love was to be returned safely, then there must be no insult performed in her name against him; a general quest to release her would result in the death or scalping of dozens of Oberon's folk, and he would demand retribution. If I was to defend my Lady, I would have to side with the King of the Faeries, although it might mean the deaths of my closest friends. For every member of the Fey who was slain, I would have to strike down a member of the Realms to maintain the balance... And since all nobles are responsible for the actions of their followers, the Law of Faerie demands that for any faerie who would be scalped, the leader of the Mortals responsible would have to die. My curse had made me the executioner of my own friends.

Fletch understood this. He approached me as I sat, and discussed my situation with me briefly. But the Order of Valhaven was already going after Dee, and Fletch's obligation demanded that he accompany them. So, he returned his tabard to my son, and was released as my true supporter. I warned those who would listen; Sloan Twelve-Fingers, Blak, and Kaitlynn. Any who slay the dwellers of Faerie will be punished by the hand of Highrider. The Law must be upheld, if Dee is to be saved.

As I rode home, the weight of my burden lay heavily upon me. the words of the blessing of the acting Rah-ni of Monks' Keep kept sounding in my ears; "In my lands, a husband must hunt his bride. If he finds her, then it was to be..."

And, on the wind, I heard the laughter of the gods.

- written by Lance Huntter
Created by Cain (Jay Bonci) at 05-01-07 01:28 PM
Last Modified by Cain (Jay Bonci) at 05-01-07 01:28 PM