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A Half-Drow with Golden Eyes

Posted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 2:10 am
by sotana
My breath was visible on the frozen air as I stopped a moment to gather my bearings, shifting back to human form for the first time in days. Somewhere, hidden in these moon-shadowed mountains, was yet another monolith. Seven in total, I had only visited three thus far in my pilgrimage to glean whatever information I could for myself, filtered only by my own biases. I had talked with so many people, seeking to quickly fill the gaps in my grasp of current affairs, gaps created by a single-minded preoccupation with my own interests during the past few years. So many people, so many differing perspectives. It was time to let the monoliths tell their story and so I had begun my journeying anew. I laughed wryly to myself a moment, remembering my thought that with my latest visit to Waterdeep, my wandering days would be behind me for a time.

The distant crack of a branch unable to bear its heavy burden of ice and snow pulled me from my musings. The Northern Mountains were riddled with caves and my time would be best spent searching them to uncover the secret they held. Events had been marching ahead without me I was sure, while I had been running around the realms, sometimes a solitary finch skimming the currents, other times a shark swimming with its own kind but always the image of an obsidian monolith burning bright in my mind. In the flicker of an eyelash, my form blurred and shrank, then a heavily furred arctic cat crouched in the footprints my human form had left in the snow. Small enough to escape the attention of larger predators yet powerful enough to run untiringly for hours, I loped into the mountains to continue my journey.

It was mid-day before I entered a cave that was nothing more than a crack in the ice. Ancient blue ice formed its walls, and stalagmites of ice hung precariously from the ceiling. Quickly assuming my original god-given form, I shivered slightly at the feel of the chilly air against my thin human skin as I stared upward at the towering slab before me. With a deep breath, I reached out a steady hand to touch the cold stone as I had three other times before when facing its sisters. As my fingers brushed the runes which coiled around the monolith, flickering with a mystical purple light in the shadows of the cave, words formed in my mind, whispering of trickery and betrayal. Leaning closer, I swept frost from the monolith’s surface and a deep weariness settled over me, like the immense blanket of winter's chill shrouding me in cold and stillness. I dreamed then. Visions whirled through my mind....images of towering flames, large metallic beasts that promised death, panicked flight.... Fear wove itself through each of my dreams in a bright, constant thread until suddenly a face formed in the chaos. An ebon-skinned half-elf, with gold eyes gleaming in the dark, gazed at me as she cried, 'It must not come to be. The Vile One must be stopped. It must not come to be.' With a shuddering breath, my eyes opened as my numb hand fell to my side...but the dream had not yet ended. A half-drow spirit with golden eyes smiled hesitantly, stepping slightly clear of the stone. Through my astonishment, I was aware of a fervent gratitude to Gurns, the Master Bard for an enlightening conversation we had shared just a few days prior to beginning my pilgrimage. The stories he had regaled me with at that time enabled me to recognize the one who stood before me now, studying me so intently. Noloth’e.

This then was the figure I had glimpsed several times before in my monolith-induced visions and I bowed deeply in respect. The gods had granted me an opportunity to gain some of the answers I was seeking so I quickly sifted through the jumble of questions, considering how best to use what would surely be limited time.

“I have heard of you. You are Noloth'e.”

The spirit nodded as it projected the image 'warmth, hearth, acceptance.'

I should not have been surprised that Noloth’e was unable to speak to me as one mortal speaks to another yet somehow I was. Apparently I have had too few dealings with those who no longer need air to fill their lungs. I detached from reality for a moment, pondering how best to frame my questions such that it could answer them.

Unsure of how much Noloth’e might already know of my quest I began, “I have been searching out the monoliths, seeking truth.” At its nod, I continued, “Everyone has a different story to tell of the upcoming war against the Vile One...You made the monoliths?”

The spirit quickly shook its head and projected the image 'standing, divine guidance directing hands, drawing stones from earth.'

I nodded in understanding. As appropriate, this servant of Selune accorded the creation of the monoliths to its deity, acting merely as the mortal vessel through which Selune might see her work done.

Noloth’e continued with the images 'Cave of ice. Icy marsh surrounded by large silver gorilla. Ruins of an elven city. Within an island Volcano. Within the ocean surrounded by swimming shark men. Dark Swamp. Burning Desert.'

This confirmed my own records as to the locations of the various monoliths. Lilira had introduced me to the one in the desert of Calimshan and I had been able to find two others, thanks to my long travels of the past years. Although I had studied them years ago when I had initially stumbled upon them, I had revisited them during my current pilgrimage with the hope of learning something new now that I possessed a deeper understanding of their purpose. And finally, this monolith in the ‘cave of ice.’

Now to address something I had overheard Lilira relate. “I have heard several versions of your tie to the monoliths as well.”

A curious look came over the spirit’s face at my words so I continued, “The priest of Auzorm'tvorl has said you chase him from the monoliths. That you have put nightmares rather than prophecies in them.”

The spirit smiled sadly and projected the image, 'Butterfly, wrapped in smothering morass.'

I nodded. It was clear that I needed my own chance to interview this priest and learn of his words first-hand. From what I had heard from others of his preachings, I had already drawn a few conclusions of my own and was able to say “Much of what he preaches seems to be clever twistings of the truth.”

After turning these thoughts over in my mind, I began to wonder just how Noloth’e was connected to these monoliths now that its mortal form had completed the work of its Goddess. I looked at Noloth’e curiously. “Is your spirit tied to all of these monoliths?”

Thinking a moment more and concluding that my question was too vague, I added “I have seen your image in some of the visions several of the monoliths show. Can you tell me if they all show you and I have not yet discovered the means to access all of the visions?”

The golden-eyed spirit projected the image 'The sun, partially risen, not giving full illumination'
and then 'Seven stones, four with a pair of golden eyes gazing out. Two with eyes cut out. One with eyes closed.'

In spite of myself, I winced and murmured “That is quite an image.”

Noloth’e nodded in agreement and shivered.

So not all of the monoliths showed the visions they had been created to impart? Seeking further information I asked “Can you tell me then if the visions have altered since the monoliths were first created?”

The spirit nodded and projected the image 'Stone in elven ruins, stone in island volcano, stone underwater with sharks.'

Ah...I had visited the volcano monolith and been frustrated by my inability to access the depth of visions I had experienced at the other three monoliths. Now I knew the limited information I had been able to access was the total to be found there. But who had altered them? And for what purpose?

I asked “Changed by the one who created them?”

The half-drow vigorously shook its head in negation of my statement and projected the image 'A large mountain, warriors battling elementals on its slopes. A massive figure rising from the peak, radiating power and malevolance.'

I nodded. This story I had heard.

“The Vile One?”

The golden-eyed spirit nodded, sobbing quietly to itself then shook its head.

Wondering outloud I mused “The Vile One has power to change the monoliths?”

Noloth’e projected the image 'The sun setting, some illumination but not full.'

At that, the half-drow spirit with the golden eyes began to sink back into the stone, clearly reluctant. The interview was over. I bowed deeply in appreciation for the new understanding I had gained.

As a final message, Noloth’e projected the image 'Three people. One human woman, stars of Selune worn prominently. One human male, spirits linger nearby with another human woman standing protectively nearby. One half-elven male, instruments placed about his person.' The Three. Gurns had shared with me their purpose in the upcoming struggle.

I was alone once again in the cold silence of the cave. With a start I realized that what had begun as a mid-day conversation had concluded far past the setting of the sun. Some answers yet, as always, more questions. Storing away these events for future examination, I became a snowy-white owl and flew out of the cave into the night, continuing my journey. Three more monoliths to find.

Note: Edited to fix priest name cuz I'm a noob!

Posted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 4:35 am
by Sonon
he is not the priest of Ao but of Auzorm'tvorl

Posted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 4:59 am
by sotana
*sigh* have mercy...the only reason I can remember Ao is cuz it's two letters...the longer name defeats me before I even begin it but I'll get them straight eventually I swear! :-(

Posted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 5:09 am
by Sonon
yeah you will took me a while as well

Posted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 5:41 am
by Lilira
ooc: Heck hon,, I don't care,, You did a WONDERFUL job.

You humble me.



Posted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 6:17 am
by Nilan
awesome tale Sotana