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A Rogue's Tale


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I've been working on this for a while over at fanfiction and just thought I'd post it here since the Bishop romanc pack helped me start it. Anyway enjoy.




This is a Bishop/KC fanfic. The KC is called Selene she is a chaotic neutral human rogue/bard of fey heritage who is incredibly cynical and jaded. A line break means a change in scene or perspective. I also feel that I should mention that some of the convos are based on ones from the Bishop romance pack by Domi of G3.


I also suggest that you listen to Careless Whisper by Seether and/or Savior by Rise Against before, during, or after reading. I just feel it really fits the story and relationship between Bishop and Selene.




Chapter 1


"Go. You put West Harbor in danger by staying here." Was the last thing I remember my foster father Daegun saying to me. Now I stood in Neverwinter in front of the house of Aldanon the sage. The one both Sand and Duncan said would be able to tell me more about this mysterious shard. I took in a deep breath. I then caught my reflection in the window. My raven colored hair disheveled, wisps of it had escaped from my ponytail. My pale complexion was a bit flushed from all the work I had been doing clearing out the docks. My blue eyes were as always looking critical, untrusting, jaded. I sighed and then knocked on the door.


"Yes who is it?"


"My name is Selene. I am with the city watch and I have some questions for you."


"Of course come in, come in. I would never stand in front of the city watch intentionally. Not unless there wasn't anywhere else to stand but that would only happen during a flood of some sort."


"Right" I said rather sarcastically as we followed him though the strange house.


When he stopped he turned around and said "What is it you wished to ask me?"


I held out the silver shards and said "I was told you might know something about this."


"My word indeed I do." He then pulled a similar shard from his pocket and said "I have been trying to study it for some time now but haven't been able to make much progress."


"Well maybe you'll be able to make more progress if you use mine too. As long as I get it back that is."


"But of course and it just so happens I just got the quicksilver I need for the experiment. I'll be right back."


Sometime later Aldanon returned to say "Well dear me with three of these shards I learned quite a bit. It seems these are pieces of a silver sword of Gith."


I raised a brow and asked "Do you have any idea how it got here or how it was broken?" I'd read of Gith and her followers and thought these swords were incredibly rare for one and nigh indestructible for two.


"I have no idea." Said Aldanon.


I sighed asking "Do you know anyone who would?"


"Perhaps Ammon Jerro."


"And where would I find him?"


"What?" asked Aldanon "Oh no he's dead, been dead for years."


"Great how am I supposed to figure more out about this sword then?"


"You could go and visit Jerro's haven."


"Do you know where it is?"


"Heavens no why would I? His family might though. You could go and check the archives but petitioning to get in could take weeks months even"


"Great" I said wondering if the man actually had anything helpful to say.


"Here take my shard I don't need it any more."


"Thank you"


"You're very welcome and when you get to the archives be sure to ask for Archives Administrator Cotenick. He's been known to let me in quietly every now and then." I thanked him again and left his home.




"Thank the gods you're here." A man in a robe and veil said running up to us.


"Why what's happened?" I asked


"Demons have broke in they killed all my fellow caretakers you have to help." Said the man desperatly


"Of course we'll help." I said"But first we're here to locate information about an Ammon Jerro do you know anything about that?"


"In the vault most likely but you'll need open it."


"How do we do that?"


"By answering the four riddles that prove you worthy of accessing the vault. You'll need this though."


He took off his veil and handed it to me. "Wear this and you'll be able to see the pens."


"Pens?" I asked. There was then a loud crash near by and the caretaker ran for the door.


I sighed and put the veil on. We then walked into the main room the vault was locked up tight and was locked in a manner of which I'd never seen before.


"There's no way of picking this lock" said Neeshka "we'll have to find a key of some sort."


"Sounds like fun." I said kind of sarcastically.


Casavir frowned at me and said "No need to be cynical about it."


I gave sarcastic smirk and slightly leaning on my sword I said "But I'm a cynical person. Are you asking me to be someone I am not?"


He raised an eyebrow at me and Grobnar said "She has a point."


Still smirking I turned about and went to go look for these pens. Across the hall was a small room in it a pedestal with a book and pen on it.


I made my way to it and was ambushed by bladelings and githyanki. I jumped back dodging their blade and bringing my own up to block their following attack. After we had disposed of them I walked up to the book and pen and watched it scrawl a question. In reference to the tome "Death of a Sailorman." Who is the captain of the Crimson Hawk?


"Lariat Quist." I replied


"Well done. That's what I was about to say." Said Grobnar


"How did you know that?" asked Neeshka


"Bardic knowledge." I said with wink. She frowned at me and I laughed saying "I read the book before. It's not like I had anything else to do in West Harbor. Now come on one down three to go."




"Interesting there is another Jerro." Said a githyanki as we entered the vault. "We should find her as Zeeaire will be wanting her." with that he turned and left.


One of his companions turned and seeing us said "The Kalach-Cha kill her!"


After we disposed of them I walked over to the book the gith had been examining and it said that this remaining Jerro was one Shandra Jerro.


"Shandra?" said Neeshka "The Highcliff girl with the flammable barn?"


"We must get to her at once the githyanki are probably after her as we speak." added Elanee.


I nodded and we all headed off to Highcliff




"What are you doing here?" Shandra asked


I gave a smirk thinking it a bit obvious after fighting off all those githyanki. Though I replied "I'm trying to rescue you."


She took a step back as the room filled with more githyanki and she said running into the next room "Why don't you just leave me alone?"


I swore and turned whistling a battle tune as I attacked the nearest githyanki. When the last of them had fallen we turned following her into the bedroom.


"Why are you following me? What do you want with me?" She asked


"No time for questions just come on!" I said grabbing her arm.


She started to resist until she saw the flames and then I was able to get her out of the house.


Breathing heavily she asked "What is going on what are those things what do they want with me? What do you want with me?"


Taking out the gith that had started the fire with my bow I then replied "I'll tell you later. Right now we have to get you somewhere safe."


"Fine!" she said throwing her arms up in defeat "Let's go."




"And who's this lovely young lady?" Duncan asked as we entered the flagon.


"This is Shandra" I replied


"Nice to meet you lass I'm Duncan and this is my establishment the Sunken Flagon." Duncan said to her with a particular gleam in his eyes that made me roll mine.


She nodded and said" Nice to meet you as well. Now if someone wouldn't mind telling me what's going on."


I sighed and said "We just as the githyanki found out that you are the last of Ammon Jerro's descendants and we need to know if you know where his haven is as it may have very important information in it."


"Ammon Jerro he was my grandfather or my great grandfather. I'm not really sure to be honest. My mother told me he was a humble if eccentric wizard."


"I see and what do you know about the haven?" I pressed


"Not much only what my mother told me that it was a labyrinth of demons and death traps and that only a Jerro was able to enter by shedding blood." She took a step back saying "Wait. Is that why you saved me so you could bleed me?"


Before I could respond Casavir said "That's not our intention please calm down."


"Ok sorry. Just a lot to take all at once I guess." she said calming down a bit.


"A little Paladin charm sure calmed her quick." Said Neeshka


I smirked in agreement with her and said "Anyway we can pick up on this tomorrow. Let's all get some rest."




I woke to Duncan yelling that the flagon was under attack. I jumped up and grabbed my rapier and dagger. There was no need to get dressed I had slept in my armor as always. The door then burst open and a couple of githyanki came in. After I cut them down I made my way down the hallway till I came to the tavern area were the main battle was taking place.


Once the battle was over and we were nursing injuries Duncan said "That lass Shandra has been taken! We must do something and where in the hells did those githyanki come from?"


An attractive man who'd been helping fight the githyanki then said "Does that really matter? What does matter is you'll have to act fast if you want to get her back." Crouching over one of the bodies he continued "Look here this one has a sprig of Duskwood in there boot that is sure to be where they're returning."


"Duskwood?" said Duncan "That's your territory Bishop."


"Yes, but I'm not going back there for some farm girl and certainly not with any kin of yours Duncan."


I frowned wondering what his problem was. There was something about him something so familiar, something that drew me to him though I was unsure of what it was and I didn't like it.


I came to when I heard Bishop say "Fine I'll do it. It'll be worth it to be rid of you Duncan."


Duncan nodded and I raised an eyebrow curious. But Duncan looked away avoiding my gaze. I shrugged looking away as well.


"All right well pack your bags and let's get moving we're bound for the Luskan border."




"What is it?" Bishop asked as we were following the trail of the githyanki. He looked right at me and said "Well? You've been staring at me since we left."


It was true and I looked away. I thought I had been being inconspicuous. So either he was really good or I wasn't being as sneaky as I thought I was. Or both that too was a possibility.


"Is there something you want to tell me?" he asked a little annoyed


I smiled sweetly at him and said "No, Nothing. Nothing at all." I then pulled my flute from my belt and began to play a song I hadn't heard in quite a while.




He stared after her both a little annoyed and a little stunned. He was rather unsure what to think of her. She certainly wasn't anything like Duncan and that look she had been giving him just barely detectable he was unsure what to make of it. He had had women look at him before he was an attractive man and knew it though the look she had been giving him wasn't anything like the looks he had received from interested women. No this look was more one of curiosity than of lust. As if he were a puzzle she was trying to figure out and he had to admit he was curious about her too. Something about her... he didn't know. He then shook his head and continued on the sooner he was done with this the sooner he could get away.




"Hold up something isn't right here." Bishop said as we came upon a small village.


I nodded in agreement adding "You're right not only are all the people gone but there are no livestock anywhere." I drew my own bow as I spoke.


Bishop smirked and said "Good eyes. I'd noticed the villagers but you're right about the livestock. Something is defiantly wrong here."


Looking around tensely I said "This has been easy. Way too easy. I hardly ever paid attention to Daegun when he was trying to teach me how to track and even I've been able to pick up their trail."


"I've noticed that too." Said Elanee


Bishop nodded saying "Keep your weapons handy I smell an ambush."


Moments later an arrow came flying at me I held up my arm deflecting it with my bracer then let an arrow of my own fly catching the githyanki between the eyes.




"Nice little ambush they planned here," Bishop commented "Decent effort, sloppy execution, It might even have worked if I hadn't been here."


I raised an eyebrow at him thinking "Really?"


He then continued "They left a large force in this village, which means it'll be easier on us when we catch up to the others as long as we catch up to them before they go to ground."


"If their forces are divided then good," I replied "But that means the remainder will travel faster, and the trail will be harder to follow."


Bishop smirked and said "Well now, aren't you a bright ray of hope?"


I smirked back as Casavir said "She was merely pointing out the realities of the situation Bish-"


"I suggest you rein in that attitude of yours paladin," Bishop snarled "What? You don't think our leader can speak for herself?"


"It was not my intention to speak for her." Casavir said stiffly


"Yeah? Then don't, and maybe next time you'll sound convincing."


I raised an eyebrow and thought "Well this shall be interesting."


They glared at each other for awhile and then Bishop looked away towards me and said "What I was going to say, Is that she's right. What's more, our friends won't be leaving an obvious trail this time, since they don't have the men to bait any more ambushes."


A woman then ran up to us saying "Excuse me are you hunting a woman Shandra Jerro?"


"Yes, we are. Did you happen to see her?" I asked.


"Yes. Those creatures took her north they barely have an hour on you if… pardon my manners I am Alaine and thank you for helping us and for trying to rescue Shandra."


"Don't worry about it." I said


"You have our word Alaine that we will see to it that she comes to no harm." Said Casavir


"We promise no such thing. She may be dead for all we know. Now run back to your scared kinsfolk."


I nodded and said "Agreed we should get moving."


"Listen to her girl. Next time fight or you'll die." Bishop said.


"Not as long as I'm here ranger." Said Casavir.


"You can't be everywhere paladin and besides sometimes protecting the weak just keeps them weak." Replied Bishop.


"He has a point." I said


Casavir looked at me appalled and I said "What? He does. Look at logically. If you keep defending someone day after day your not really do them or you any favors. It will become tedious after awhile and I really think you just may come to resent them. Although maybe not for people do make livings as body guards. Anyway I digress what I mean to say is if you teach them how to defend themselves instead then you are both able to move on with your lives. So I repeat he has a point."


Casavir just shook his head and looked away.


I shrugged and said "Some people just simply won't listen to reason."


"You're something else you know that?" said Bishop


I smiled and said "I'll take that as a compliment."


"Take it how you will." He replied




We had stopped for the night in a small clearing. Bishop assured me that we would arrive tomorrow so I had decided to rest underneath a nearby tree. I pulled out my flute and began to play it softly so as not to disturb anyone.


A few moments after I had begun playing I heard "What is that song you play?"


I jumped a bit and saw Bishop standing nearby I hadn't even seen him.


"This one?" I questioned "It's just a fey lullaby my mother use to play for me as a child. I'm rather fond of it. Perhaps… perhaps because it's all I have left to remember her by. All I have of my heritage." I added as an after thought.


"Really? Well at least you have something." He said in that almost sarcastic voice of his.


I smiled and said "True. I take it that means you're an orphan as well?"


"I am." He replied "Don't let me stop you I was just curious."


I nodded respecting his privacy and began to play again. Bishop stayed nearby listening to my song, watching me until it was over and then disappeared again.




Bishop walked away after the song was over wondering yet again what it was about her that drew him in. For the past couple of days they had been on the trail of this girl Duncan was so eager to get back and he couldn't help but notice he always seemed to end up near her whether he wanted to or not. He would find himself almost right next to her when walking or when they set up camp. Like tonight he had planed to check the perimeter of the camp and then go straight to sleep. But upon hearing that hauntingly beautiful song she always played he was drawn to her unable to stay away. He shook himself glaring at her over his shoulder. He didn't like not being in control of his actions. She noticed his gaze and gave him a smile or more of a smirk really and then began to play a new song. Continuing to glare he then turned about to make the perimeter check he had intended to.




"I don't care what your reasons are just return the girl now." I said angrily to the Zeeaire the gith leader.


"Trust me once she's after you you're doomed." Said Shandra


The gith leader laughed saying "Know that you are in no position to demand anything from me, you will answer for your crimes...along with this frail thing that carries the last of the Jerro blood."


"Crimes?" I said "You were the ones to attack me first!"


"That does not matter." She replied "You are in possession of the silver shards that is enough to warrant your execution. Now give them to me and I shall give you and your companions a quick painless death."


I smirked and said "Funny I was just about to offer you the same."


Zeeaire then rose her hand and I felt an intense pain in my chest as I was lifted off the ground and the shards flew from my pack towards her. I growled as they did so furious she was able to get them from me so easily.


I saw both Casavir and Bishop move toward me as Zeeaire said "Odd. I have all the shards you carry but you still seem to have one. You have a piece of the sword inside you and I shall remove from you by force!"


Casavir ran to support me as I fell. I pushed him away snarling


"I'm fine."


I then straightened up whistled a battled tune and struck out at the nearest githyanki. Soon enough we had Zeeaire cornered she was alone gripping her side as the blood pooled out on to the floor. Her minions all dead on the ground yet she still seemed to possess that same sense of arrogance she had before. This both annoyed me and made me respect her a little at the same time.


"You think this is over? You are wrong Kalach-cha. And I hope the pain you have brought here is revisited upon you a thousandfold. Evil wakes Kalach-cha, and in killing me you now stand alone against what comes. An ancient enemy, one that has existed for millennia comes for you. You have already felt the effects of his presence and he will only grow stronger with time."


"Tell me. Who is this enemy?" I asked "And be quick about your life's running out."


I saw both Elanee and Casavir look disapproving at this and Bishop smirk approvingly.


"This enemy, this King of Shadows..." she wheezed out "If he succeeds in his plans your civilization will become dust, and all life will be consumed by darkness." She then began to laugh maliciously and I drew my rapier slashing her throat and cutting off her laugher as she fell, clutching it, to the ground.


Looking disapproving Casavir said "I'm not sure that was really necessary. She was evil but…" he trailed off.


I looked at him with an incredibly cold gleam in my eye and said "She was going to die anyway would you rather me leave her here to bleed out on the cold stone floor? A much worse fate if you ask me. Though I will admit that I did not do it for purely altruistic reasons. She is the one responsible for sending the gith to my village and subsequently killing my best friend, at least four other villagers, not to mention injuries to numerous others, setting it aflame and a few other reasons I don't believe we really have the time to get into."


I swear Bishop was grinning so widely his face was at risk of cracking and Casavir then said "Of course I was only saying…"


"I knew what you were saying and we don't have time for it." I replied coldly "Save your sentiments for those who deserve them."


I then turned and went over to Shandra's cage opening it I said "You ok?"


She smiled and said "Yes and thank you I have no idea how I can pay you back but I will."


"Oh you'll have plenty of time to repay us back on the way back to Neverwinter." Bishop said smiling suggestively


"What? I-" she said taking a step backwards.


I gave him a bit of glare and said "I'll pass thank you and you better as well if you want to keep your tongue."


He smirked and said "Oh jealous are we? Don't worry I haven't forgotten your lovely face oh fair leader or the debt you owe me for giving away my knife. What's better than a woman with a piece of cold iron for a heart or is it an addition to?"


"Instead I would think I've been told on numerous occasions that I'm heartless." I quipped back.


Bishop grinned wickedly and said "You get prettier with every word."


I crossed my arms ready to retort when Casavir said "I won't have you speaking to her or anyone else like that Bishop."


"Oh really." Said Bishop "What a surprise and what would you say if I just decided to leave you here with your righteousness to keep you company?"


"Enough." I said "We're leaving now and Casavir?"


"Yes my lady?" he replied


"I know you mean well but I can take care of myself." I then quickly turned about heading for the exit.




"Good to see you've returned and in one piece no less." Said Duncan as we entered the flagon.


I nodded and said "Yes good indeed. I was wondering if I could talk to you about something."


"Of course what is it?" Duncan asked


"This wound on my chest. Do you know anything about it?" I asked nonchalantly


"That well I don't know why you're asking but from what I know you suffered that wound when you were just a babe during the battle of West Harbor must have been a stray arrow or debris."


I frowned and said "It wasn't any stray arrow or debris. It's one of these." I said holding up a silver shard.


"Is that so?" he said nervously "I-we had no idea."


"Ah notice the stumble in his words. He's hiding something from you." Bishop said smirking.


Duncan glared at him and said "Silence Bishop!"


Duncan then looked back at me and said "Look I'm not suppose to talk about it and my brother will be furious for me telling you but if you have one of those shards in you I suppose you have a right to know the truth." He sighed heavily and continued "During the battle of West Harbor while everyone was fleeing for there lives your mother Esmerelle and Daegun's wife Shayla did not as the whole place was going to the hells they fought to reach your crib and by the time Daegun realized they were missing it was too late. He could only watch from a distance as the village was consumed in battle."


I stood a bit stunned for a moment and then said "So Daegun lied when he told me my mother died in child birth?"


"Yes but I'm sure he had the best intentions. He probably thought it would be just too much to bear knowing she died protecting you. You were all that was left after the battle of West Harbor." His eyes seemed to glass over as he continued remembering "Your mother was still clutching you tightly when we got there. There was so… so much blood. She tried to shield you but the shard must of cut though her and into you. We thought you wouldn't survive at first with that deep wound in your chest but you did it sealed itself within days."


"I…I thank you." I said softly


"You're welcome it's been with me a long time and it's good to finally speak of it." He said with a sigh of relief.


"Come now we succeeded in our mission did we not I think that calls for a celebration." Bishop said breaking the awkward silence.


I raised an eyebrow at him curious as to what he meant he then continued saying "I've also come to the conclusion that I think it'll be best if I stay on with you."


My eyebrow raising even higher I asked "Oh really and why would you want to do that?" I said my eyes gleaming mischievously and with a slight smirk on my lips I added "Not that your not welcome but I thought you were wanting to leave as soon as possible."


Giving me a bit of a glare but also the slightest hint of that wicked grin of his he said "True but traveling with you is the most fun I've had in years and why would I want to give something like that up?"


"No, no Bishop you've done what I asked you can go now." Duncan said firmly


"Oh come now Duncan" Bishop said his grin widening "I still owe you don't I? And what better way to make it up to you then to help out your kin here?"


"We don't need any of your help Bishop." Said Casavir coldly almost glaring at him but just almost I don't think he would ever actually glare at anyone.


"I don't think it's really your decision is it, Paladin." Bishop said spitting the last word venomously.


The tension was almost palpable. I stepped in between them and said first to Casavir "I won't be turning away any willing ally. He's welcome to stay as long as he wants. Understood?"


"But my lady he's…" Casavir began.


"Am I understood?" I said firmly interrupting him.


"Yes." He said relenting.


I heard Bishop snicker and I turned to him and said "And Bishop?"


"Yea." He said still smirking.


"You're going to have to at least try and get along with the others. Alright?"


He snorted derisively and my eyes narrowed. He rolled his own and said "Fine. I'll try."


"I hate to ask but what happens to me? I can't go back to my farm ashes and all." Shandra asked a little awkwardly.


"Well you're more than welcome to stay here." Said Duncan quickly.


I raised an eyebrow at him and said "That you are. Besides we still need you to find Ammon Jerro's haven."


"Oh thanks for your compassion." Shandra said sarcastically.


Bishop gave her a bit of a glare while I shrugged saying "I said I was heartless what do you expect?"


She crossed her arms and looked away clearly upset.


I sighed putting my face in my hand for a moment and then said "Look I'm sorry for what's happen to you but it's not my fault. I was just trying to help both you and me. But if there is something I can do to help I will."


She gave a look that was somewhere between confusion and gratitude and said "Thanks I think."


I nodded and said "I'll also do my best to help you with some combat training. We can't be rescuing you all the time."


"Well alright." She said hesitantly "I'll take whatever help you can give."


"Good now how about we start with the celebration. I could use a glass of wine." I said stretching to try and relieve the tension.


"Sounds good." Said Bishop "Grobnar you worthless half man strike up a tune before I strike you."


I raised an eyebrow at him and smirking broadly he said "Don't worry I have other plans for your lips my lovely little bard."


I almost blushed and said "Is that so? Well I'm not just a bard you know?"


"Oh?" he said leaning in "What would you of rather me say my lovely little roguish bard? That doesn't really sound right now does it?"


Grinning back almost enraptured by his amber eyes I said "I suppose not. Now what were these plans of yours?"


Just then I heard "There you are."


We both snapped back to normal moving away from each other as the man who entered the tavern said "I've been looking for you."


I raised an eyebrow as I said "And who would you be?"


"I am Sir Nevalle and I am here because Luskan has accused you of murder of an entire village no less." He replied


"What?" I said "That's ridiculous! What reason would I have for murdering an entire village?"


"I have no idea." Nevalle said "But there is no way I'm turning over a loyal member of the watch to Luskan treaty or no treaty. There is a loophole if you pledge yourself to one of the Knights of Neverwinter you will be tried here and not in Luskan."


I smirked and said "Ah, there's always a loophole isn't there? Where is this knight I need to pledge myself to?"


"Go to the watch in the market district. Sir Grayson will meet you there." Nevalle stated.


"Very well." I said "I shall leave to go there as soon as possible."


"See that you do." Nevalle said he then left closing the door sharply behind him.


I then made for the door myself as the others seem to burst into argument over what to do. I didn't see what they were complaining about. I pledge myself to this knight do a little fast talking and get myself out of it. If not I suppose I could always make a break for it.

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Chapter 2


The place went silent as the door shut a second time and everyone looked about. "She's gone." Bishop said "Probably left to go see this Sir Grayson."


Neeshka smirked and said "Watching her were you?"


Bishop didn't take the jibe replying "She is the leader of this little band is she not? I figured someone ought to since the rest of you weren't."


"Sure." Neeshka replied sarcastically snickering as she did so.


Bishop ignored her rolling his eyes.


"Why didn't she wait for the rest of us to go with her?" asked Shandra.


"She doesn't like asking for help." Said Neeshka "Prefers to do things herself when she can."


"That's true." Said Khelgar "It was rather hard for me to convince her to let me go with her when we met saying she didn't need any help."


"Maybe she just didn't want your help dwarf. I've not seen her try to turn anyone else away." Said Qara


Khelgar scowled at her and Duncan said "Enough of this someone should go after her. I don't think she should be out there by herself."


Casavir and Shandra made for the door and Duncan glaring at Bishop who was already half there said "Oh no you don't. I saw the way you were looking at her. Stay away from my niece Bishop."


Looking over his shoulder he said "Oh I will. Once she asks me to."


Duncan glared saying "That's not what I meant and you know it."


"Oh but it is what I meant and how do you know I'm going out after her anyway? Perhaps I just fancy a walk. She doesn't much interest me anyway." Bishop said nonchalantly.


"Right." Said Duncan Sarcastically "Just keep away from her." he added glaring.


"Even if I did I don't have any control over what she does." Bishop said smirking as he left.


As he left his smirk turned into a scowl he couldn't believe he had almost fell "into those deep blue pools that were her eyes." He thought. Shaking the thought away his scowl intensifying he thought that maybe he should leave, disappear for a while, he was getting too close. But he knew he couldn't. He always seemed to find himself next to her when he wasn't paying attention to where he was going. He had noticed the same thing about her and he wasn't sure how to feel about it.




As I walked away from the tavern I shook myself. I couldn't believe what had almost happened in there I had almost kissed him and not just a light peck either. I was sure if I had it would have turned into an all out mauling. I shook my self again trying to forget. I couldn't though. I knew what was happening I was falling for him just like I had almost fallen into those beautiful amber eyes of his. I closed my eyes trying to pretend it wasn't happening, trying to think of some way out of it because I knew all love ended in disaster. Daegun had taught me that. I then looked up as I saw someone approaching me. It was Sand the elf that I'd met the first day I arrived in Neverwinter. It was he who had suggested I go and see Aldanon about the shards. I wondered why he was here.


He smiled and said "Well this is convenient."


I raised an eyebrow at him wondering what he meant.


"I've been sent by Sir Nevalle to help you." Sand said answering my questioning look.


"I see and how exactly are you to help me?" I asked skeptically.


"I am to be your counsel for the trial." He replied.


"Is that so? Well thank you so much." I said rather sarcastically.


He raised an eyebrow at me and I sighed saying "My apologies. I've just been though a lot today and it has put me in a rather cynical and jaded mood, more so than usual anyway."


He nodded saying "It's no trouble. I'm sure such a thing would do that to anyone."


I gave a faint smile and said "Thank you for your understanding."


"Of course." He said smoothly. "We should get going if you are to meet Sir Grayson."


I nodded but before we could move forward I heard someone shout my name "Selene!" I turned to see Shandra and Casavir coming towards me. I glared wondering why they had followed me.


Shandra ran up saying "Duncan didn't want you out here on your own."


I sighed and said "Of course he didn't. Well come on let's go." I almost rolled my eyes. I had wanted to be alone with my thoughts but that wasn't likely to happen now.




Looking up Bishop noticed himself in front of the Watch building in the market district. "Of course of all the places." He thought angrily. He was about to turn and leave when from in the building he heard "I will take you to the Solace Glade there you will spend your vigil."


He looked in though the window and saw Selene standing with Shandra, Sand, Casavir and some other man he didn't recognize. Probably the Sir Grayson she had been sent to meet. Bishop glared at Casavir he really hated that paladin and particularly hated how close he was standing to her.


Selene then pushing a lock of hair out her face impatiently said "Fine let's get going."


Bishop smirked then turning about walked off into the shadows.




"Right I'll see you in the morning." I said to Sir Grayson.


"Indeed. I take my leave of you and your thoughts."


As soon as he left I sat down looking into the fire I pulled out my flute and began to play a lilting tune.


"Well someone's in a good mood."


I turned around to see Bishop smirking and standing there so casually and I almost smiled saying "And why wouldn't I be? I've finally got some time to myself."


"Oh I see" he said in an off hand manner "and here I had come to see if you had wanted to spend the night alone like a good little squire."


I couldn't contain a smirk as I said "Oh really? Well maybe, maybe not it depends on what the alternative is."


"And am I a suitable alternative?" he said in his usual cocky voice but I could almost see the hesitation in his eyes.


This only broadened my smirk and I said "I'd say so."


"Well then" he said moving closer "Why are we still talking?"


"I don't know." I replied "Why are you still talking?"


He then grabbed me and began kissing me fiercely.




Bishop ran his hands up and down her sides surprised how much he wanted this by how much she wanted this. She had already unfastened his cloak and was working on unlacing his leathers. He moved his lips from hers to her jaw down to her neck releasing her hair from its braid as he did so inhaling its scent of lilacs. He unfastened her cloak and lowered her to the ground as it fell. He continued to move down kissing her collar bone unlacing her leathers as he did so. She let out a soft moan and he pressed his lips back to hers growling as he did so. Bishop then pulled away looking behind him as he heard the snap of a twig. Selene looked where he was having heard it too she reached for her blade.




"Well, well, well look who this little bird has brought along I can already hear all that extra gold clinking in my pockets." Said a man with a tattooed face and two others following behind him.


"The problem with bounties is you have to kill to collect them fool." Said Bishop acidly.


"That wouldn't be the problem Bishop that would be the pleasant part." The man said.


I raised an eyebrow at Bishop wondering how they knew each other but now wasn't the time for introductions. I grabbed my dagger as well and whistling a battle tune struck out at the nearest of them. I slashed the face of the nearest one as he charged at me I dodged him and stabbed him though the back. As he fell I saw Bishop fighting the tattooed man. I then spun around sensing someone behind me.


The man grabbed my lose hair and then pulling me into a bear hug he cried "I got her boss!"


Bishop's eyes flicked toward me for about a quarter of a second but in that time the lead assassin kneed him in the stomach knocking the wind from him the assassin then raised his sword to strike him down when Bishop threw his dagger to his left.


The man sneered saying "You missed."


"No he didn't." I said putting my blade to his throat.


The man's eyes widened and he looked to his right to see Bishop's dagger sticking out of his accomplice's eye. I then slid my blade across his throat and let him fall to the ground.


Bishop and I both looked to the horizon and he said "Damn and here comes the dawn. We should have killed them quicker. Well girl next time your alone whistle one of those pretty tunes for me. We have unfinished business."


I smirked and said "That we do. Come now help me search the bodies for clues."


He nodded and as we did so I asked


"Who were those people and how did they know you?"


Bishop tensed and after a moment said


"I use to live in Luskan and let's just say I did not leave on the best terms." He nodded toward the body of the tattooed man and continued "I use to work with him back then. Apparently there is still a bounty on my head and he was looking to collect on the both of us."


"I see." I said slowly. I then gave a bit of a grin and said "Well don't worry I won't let them take you away."


He snorted and holding up a ring to me saying "Take a look at this it looks important to me."


I took it saying "What is that around the middle of it teeth daggers? It's hard to tell with all the blood."


He shrugged saying "I don't know but I'd hold on to it if I were you."


I pocketed it and then said "Bishop thank you for coming here tonight."


Cupping my chin he said "You can thank me later ladyship and very thoroughly underneath the sheets."


Grinning I then picked up his cloak and handing it to him said "Maybe I will at that. Now get out of here before we're caught you big tease."


He then flourished a mock bow saying "As my lady commands. Good luck explaining how you won against those odds." And with that he disappeared into the shadows.


I shook my head grinning and picked up my own cloak threw it over my shoulders and began to play the same tune I had begun at the start of the evening.


Moments passed before Sir Grayson arrived and said "What happened here?"


"Luskan assassins." I said simply "They are no longer a problem."


"I see." He said sighing "No doubt they heard of our making you a squire and saw this as their last chance to judge you as they see fit. We must make haste to Lord Nasher at once. He must be informed of your change in status."




"There you are welcome back. I heard what happened in the glade and was worried about you." Said Duncan as I walked into the Flagon.


My eyes flicked to Bishop for a moment before I then gave a smile and said just the tiniest bit sarcastically. "Thank you for your concern uncle Duncan. It is much appreciated."


He chuckled and said "You're quite welcome."


Casavir then stepped up saying "I too am glad you are alright."


My face softened a bit and I said "Thank you Casavir truly but it is unneeded I was not alone."


He glared in Bishop's direction and said "I know. I should have expected him not to respect the sanctity of the vigil."


I frowned and said "I'm rather glad he was there. I don't think I would of lived if not."


"Oh really? Is that the only reason you're glad I showed up?" Bishop said as he sidled up next to me.


I glared at him and he just smirked. Casavir ignored him and said "I know but I'm sorry your safety was left up to that wretch."


Bishop then scowled and said "Don't treat her like she's one of your damsels in distress paladin I bet she could kick your ass."


I couldn't help but flash him a smile as Casavir said "I was not questioning her competence."


"I know you weren't Casavir and thank you for your concern." I said smiling softly.


"Of course my lady." He then bowed and threw Bishop another glare before he turned and left.


I grinned chuckling as he left and said "I guess he can manage an actual glare well done." I then turned to see Bishop scowling at me and I said "What?"


"What are you being so friendly with him for all of the sudden?" Bishop asked clearly annoyed.


Smirking I said "Jealous?"


He gave a derisive laugh and said "Right you wish."


This only made me smirk wider and I said "As sweet as that is don't worry about it. It's just I've treated him kind of rudely in the past and feel bad about it."


"Why? He deserves it."


"I feel bad because while I've been nothing but sarcastic and sometimes down right cruel to him he's still being kind to me."


"Yes and that's why I don't trust him and you shouldn't either. I'd like to know what his angle is."


I smirked almost laughing and said "As naïve as it sounds to say I don't think he has one. I think that's just the way he is."


Bishop rolled his eyes and said "You're right that is naïve." He then turned and walked over to the bar.




"Hmm interesting." Said Sand as he bent over the body of one the villagers of Ember.


I leaned in as well saying "What is it?"


"This one here was killed by a rare type of poison. Look at the discoloration of the flesh here and the smell is quite distinctive."


I noticed the discoloration and nodded though was unable to smell anything beyond the villager decomposing. I trusted his judgment however for he seemed to have a very keen sense of smell.


Leaning back up I said "Good work." Then looking around the village I continued "I think we should split up and search the rest of the village for clues."


Sand nodded and said "Sounds like a sound plan."


"Right." I said "How about you and Elanee take the north side of the village, Bishop and I will take the east side, and Casavir and Shandra take the west. We'll meet back at the well later and discuss if what we find if anything."


Sand and Elanee nodded and headed north. Casavir and Shandra after a moment's hesitation went west.


"Let's go." I said turning about and heading east.


As we walked Bishop deftly wrapped his arm about my waist smirking he said "You choose me do you? Now why would you do that?"


"I don't know." I replied smirking as well. "Maybe this is why." I said pulling him behind a near by building and kissed him.


Grinning he kissed back pushing me up against the building. After a while I pulled back saying "We should probably at least pretend to look for some clues."


"We could do that." He said looking right at me. He then played with a strand of my hair that had come loose from my ponytail and continued. "Or we could run away from all this find some hidden trail and camp for a year or two."


I looked at him startled and slowly replied "Was that a joke or serious offer?"


Smirking he looked away still watching from the corner of his eye he said "I don't know. If it was an offer what would you say?"


Smiling I leant forward and whispered "I'd say yes."


His smirk widening he looked back at me with a wicked gleam in his eyes and said "Now, now that wouldn't make the paladin happy to hear that now would it?"


I rolled my eyes and said "Really? Who cares what he thinks? His faith can keep him warm or cold judging by his actions."


Bishop's grip on me tightened as he said "Ooh I love that in a woman. Mean and sharp tongued. It's a wonder you haven't cut me with it yet." I chuckled and he continued "Ah well poor paladin you win some you lose some. Come I suppose we should return before they start to think I've done something terrible to their wonderful leader." He bent down and picked up a slightly charred book and handing it to me he said "There's your evidence."


I flipped through it and said "Hey this is actually a good piece of evidence look at this." I showed him where the shipments from Luskan seemed to drop off just a few weeks prior to the attack. "Sand will be able to make use of this." I said closing the book. We walked back to the others who were waiting at the well and I handed Sand the book.


He looked genuinely surprised as he looked through it and said "This will make an excellent piece of evidence toward proving your innocence."


I almost smirked at the surprised look on his face I guess he thought we weren't even going to look while away from the others. Rather shrewd of him for he wasn't all together wrong finding the book had been a last minute bit of serendipity.


Sand and Elanee then looked to the well "Did you hear that?" Sand asked looking at me.


I shook my head and he said a bit snidely "No of course you didn't. We should check it out though."


I frowned at him and said "No need to be rude about it. What is it?"


I saw both Sand and Elanee about to answer when Bishop said "It sounds like someone's down there." He then looked to the two elves and said "Yea that's right I heard it too not all humans have such dull senses."


It was almost too much for me to hold back a smirk as Shandra said "Sounds like we might have a survivor."


"Or one of the assassins is still here." I said "Regardless we should probably check it out."




As I was lowered down into the well I wondered still why I was the one who was going in. I hadn't even heard anything after all. The others had said it was because I was the lightest and most nimble. I had rolled my eyes thinking that Elanee was just as light if not lighter and pretty nimble as well. I suspected it was more because they saw me as their leader. The bucket then hit the ground and I looked about hand on my blade when I saw Marcus the little boy we had met last time we were in Ember.


I walked over to him and said "Are you alright?"


He looked up and said "I knew you'd come."


I smiled at him and said "Well you were right. Who did all this?"


"Some giant man. He was big like an ogre but bald." He replied


I found it odd how unaffected he seemed by all this. A normal person would probably be in a pure state of terror yet he stood there rather calmly.


"You alright down there?" I heard Shandra shout.


I turned and shouted back "I'm fine. I found someone down here. It's a child. I'm bringing him up."




"For the love of Chauntea are you alright?" Shandra asked Marcus as we were helped out of the well.


"He seems perfectly fine." I said as she fussed over him.


Sand smirked and said "Well, well, well it seems we do have a survivor after all. He'll be a great asset to us."


Shandra glared at him and said "Don't talk about him like that." Turning to Marcus she said "You poor thing. You're not hurt are you?"


Marcus shook his head saying "No I'm fine."


He then walked up to Bishop and said "Here's your knife back. Thanks it really helped me a lot."


Bishop took it and said "About time I got it back."


I then said to Marcus "Do you want us to take you to Port Llast?"


He shook his head saying "I can make it on my own thanks."


I nodded and said "Well how about the rest of you follow me back into the well. There seems to be a series of caverns down there that the assassins could have used to escape."


Casavir and Shandra who were both wearing full plate mail looked leerily at the well and I said "We should probably lower you two first since you're the heaviest."




I sighed as I looked around the village thinking "Such death and destruction. It sure seems to follow me everywhere doesn't." I looked down the well. It was too dark to see but my companions were down there. "If they knew what was good for them they'd all run away, far away, from me and never come back." I thought staring into the darkness. I then jumped into the well and was surprised when someone caught me. I looked up and saw Bishop was holding me.


Obviously noticing my surprise he said rather sarcastically "What would you rather catch a bruise from some plate mail?"


I rolled my eyes and replied equally sarcastically "Oh yes I'm just dying to! No it's just I wasn't expecting anyone at all to catch me."


"I see." He said setting me down he walked off not looking back.


I stared after him for a moment and then wrinkled my nose. I was still unsure what to think about him. Harmless flirting was one thing but I could sense something deeper and I didn't like it one bit.




"What you do here?" said the goblin.


"I'm here looking to see if anyone came this way recently." I replied.


"Only one person and we kill him. I even have his ring see." The goblin replied holding up his hand.


Noticing the ring Sand said "Ah, I know this ring it is carried by members of an elite group of assassins in Luskan. It could prove a valuable piece of evidence."


I nodded and said "Can I have the ring?"


"Why you want it he friend of yours?" said the goblin.


"More likely an enemy." I said.


He looked at me suspiciously and then said "I give to you on one condition."


"And that would be?"


"There be big spiders in the caves nearby they be killing and eating my tribe. Kill them and the ring is yours."


I nodded and said "Very well I suppose we could do that."


As we walked away Bishop came up and asked "Why don't we just kill them and take the ring."


I shook my head and said "While that may be easier now there is the possibility that it could cause problems later. It's always better to make a friend than an enemy when able. It's much more beneficial."


He shook his head and said "You always give the strangest reasons for doing the right thing."


I shrugged and said "Right and wrong are just perceptions and can be different for everyone. Or not depending on your perception." I added the last part with a sly grin.




As we pushed the huge rock aside we stepped out into a forest. I looked about and wrinkled my nose something felt wrong, unnatural, I didn't like it.


"Something is wrong here." Said Sand.


"No kidding." I said unconsciously moving toward Bishop defensively.


"There's something in the air that is acting as damper to arcane magic. Even my own significant talents may be affected." Sand continued.


I smirked and shook my head amused at his arrogance as Elanee said "The forest it's sick we must find the source of its illness and heal it."


I nodded and said "We'll try to do that. But in the mean time we should look for more clues."


We followed the path downward and into a clearing where a dryad appeared glaring at me she said "Lorne! There you are! Where have you been? Why have you not completed our bargain?"


"Yes Lorne why haven't you?" Sand added.


Casavir then said in a bit of an undertone "Lorne? You know very well that she's not. Lying never solved anything."


Completely ignoring him Sand went on to say "Excuse me but I believe Lorne is the one the lady wishes to hear from."


The dryad looked at me and I said "Well could you remind me what I was supposed to do for you. I forgot the details."


Her glare intensified as she said "You were supposed to get the glow stone from the goblins for me it's poisoning the forest!"


"I see" I said "and what was I to get for doing this?"


"I already gave it to you. How could you forget?"


She then stopped and looking at me as if for the first time said "You're not Lorne are you but the one he wanted to make himself look like. Trying to clear your name are we?"


I nodded and said "That I am now what did you give him?"


"Alteration powder." She said simply "I shall give you a sample if you do what Lorne was supposed to."


"This could be of great use to us in the coming trial. I say we do it." Said Sand.


I nodded and said "Agreed." I then turned about heading back to the tunnel.


Bishop then slid up next to me saying "Didn't you say it's better to make a friend than an enemy where possible?"


I nodded and said "Indeed I did."


"And you know taking this glowstone of the goblins will certainly make you an enemy of theirs."


"Only if they see me." I replied.


"True." He said.


We then reached the tunnel and I turned about facing my companions and said "The rest of you wait here. I can do this on my own."


I then slipped in behind the rock silently moved down the tunnel. Once I came to the location where we had dispatched the spiders I heard a chittering noise to my right. I turned to see the biggest spider I had ever seen. I reached for my weapons waiting for an attack that never came. It just stood there.


"Seems like it knows we're more trouble then dinner's worth"


I spun about hand still on my blade to see Bishop standing there. I relaxed and then asked in a whisper "What are you doing here? I asked you to stay outside with the others."


Taking a step forward he smirked and replied "You know I'm not much for doing what I'm told."


I gave a bit of a smile back, hand loosing off my blade "That I do. Anyway I'm glad you're here I don't know what to make of this spider." I said as I backed away from it.


"Looks like an outcast if you ask me and a hungry one at that. Though don't worry not for us. I say we just back away and leave it to its scavenging."


I nodded and followed. When we were away from it I said "Well thank you for the help but you should get back to the others I need to go and get that glowstone."


He frowned and said "I don't think so. I'll be going with you."


"Why?" I asked "I can manage on my own."


"Why not?" He replied


I opened my mouth to reply and then closed it because I couldn't think of anything. After all he was able to be silent despite that smart mouth of his and it would be good to have someone watching my back. I then nodded and began moving towards the goblins. He followed so quietly I almost forgot he was there. When we got to the glowstone cave I picked up a nearby rock and threw it into the tunnel on the opposite side of the cave. As I expected all of the goblins except one ran over there and even that one stared off in the direction of its companions and I was able to sneak up behind it and grab the stone without it even noticing.




When we arrived back at the dryad's grove I handed her the stone saying "There you have what you want now please hand over the alteration powder."


"Yes, yes here you are now leave me be." She said handing over a small brown bag.


Sand took it and examining it said "Yes this will be of great help. We should be going back to Neverwinter I think. This evidence shall be sufficient. No doubt Nevalle will be awaiting our return like a fretful hen."


I shrugged and said "If you say so." and turned about to leave the grove.




As we walked back into Port Llast I rolled my head from shoulder to shoulder a bit stiff. Then noticing the tavern I turned and walked toward it.


Shandra said "Don't you think we should be getting back to Neverwinter?"


I looked over my shoulder and said "I think we have time for a drink."


Casavir then added "I think she's right my lady. There is still much to be done."


I turned around hand on the door and said "Well you go back then I'm going to have a drink and relax a bit before this trial." I then opened the door and walked in.


I looked around a bit and then walked up to the bar. Bishop slipped up beside me saying nothing just looking around. I was about to order a drink when I heard someone say "Bishop?"


We both looked around and saw a half-elf woman dressed in dusty leathers and a bow across her back and she was glaring rather harshly at Bishop as she said "I was wondering when you'd drag your sorry carcass back in here."


"Well if it isn't Malin still playing girl of the wood I see." Bishop replied.


I took a bit of defensive step toward him and said "If you have a problem with Bishop I suggest you forget it while I'm here."


She raised an eyebrow at me and then looking back to Bishop said "Who's your new mistress Bishop? Another girl who thinks she can save you." She looked right at me and said "Trust me don't bother he's hopeless."


I glared at her and Bishop waved his hand saying "I wouldn't talk about being hopeless if I were you. I'm not the one who couldn't find their way north if they wanted to or have you improved since we last met? Anyway introductions Selene this is Malin a ridiculous excuse for a ranger that I use to travel with."


I nodded at her and she said "What are you doing here Bishop?"


"I could ask you the same." He replied.


"I'm here to rest up. A boar gored me while I was in the Duskwood." She said.


"So you haven't improved." Bishop said bluntly.


She glared at him and then said "I don't know why I even bothered coming over here."


"Yea me neither." Bishop replied.


I glared at her while she walked away I didn't know why but I didn't like her. I also wasn't much in the mood for a drink anymore.


"Let's leave." I said moving toward the door.


"Are you Jealous?" he asked smirking widely.


I gave a contemptuous laugh and said "Sure that's it. I just don't like her is all."


This only widened his smirk and furious I stormed out of the tavern.

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Chapter 3


I walked in to the courtroom and looking about I saw great number of people my companions among them. Shandra, Casavir, and Sand up front with me while the others sat in the audience. Everyone clustered up front waving except for Bishop of course. I saw him towards the back almost hidden. I grinned and shook my head. I then thought to myself that it was a rather large crowd for a case of a relatively unknown person but then again the whole slaughter of a whole village thing is probably what drew most people's attention.


I then looked up to hear "We are gathered here to determine the truth of the crime committed in the small village of Ember...it's people slaughtered to the last man, woman and child. Under Tyr's guidance shall the truth of this matter be revealed and justice delivered. Is the accuser present?"


"I speak for those the accused slaughtered at Ember, and am here to see that justice is carried out." Torio said passionately.


"Aren't we all?" I asked in a bit of an ironic undertone.


The judge nodded and turned to Sand, "And is the accused here? And her defender?"


"We are present and eager to bring the truth of this matter into Tyr's sight, Reverend Judge."


The evidence was then shown and my crimes listed. While this was done Sand told me how this was all going to work. After the evidence was shown the trial moved on rather quickly both Sand and Torio calling their witnesses, Torio's witnesses were a bit of a joke both Sand and I were easily able to discredit them and when she tried to do the same to our own witnesses she ended up looking the fool particularly when Marcus took the stand.


To test Marcus' sight she asked "What am I holding in my right hand?"


"Your hand holds a ring." He replied "A ring of Garius, master of the fifth tower. You hold it tightly as if afraid it would fly from you. You fear him for you've seen what he does to those who fail him and even more so the ring reminds you…"


"Enough of this it is a ring nothing more. It is probably a parlor trick. I'm sure Lord Nasher has reached a decision by now." Torio interrupted.


I smirked widely at this as did Sand and he said "I should certainly hope so."


Lord Nasher then announced "Nevalle, I want the ambassador, her retinue and any remaining members of the Arcane Brotherhood of Luskan outside the city gates by nightfall."


"I should have known better then to think Luskan would get a fair trial in Neverwinter!" Torio announced, "I claim the right to trial by combat!"


"Damn," hissed Sand, "I was hoping she didn't know about that."


I sighed and said "Yet another hoop I must jump through it seems."


"Ambassador I've rendered my verdict…" said Lord Nasher


"Lord Nasher cannot deny me this right, isn't that right Reverand Judge?"


"That is correct," replied the old man nodding gravely.


"Very well," Nasher replied clearly annoyed.


"And who will champion you Torio?" asked Nevalle "This is no battle of words. Though I have to admit I'd like to see you try to match that tongue of yours against the blade of a true solider of Neverwinter."


"It is true." She replied "I am no warrior will no one step forth to champion the people of Ember."


It was quiet for a moment then someone said "I will!"


A large, bear of a man pushed his way to the front of the crowd, "I have heard these lies and wish to call vengeance for the people of Ember!"


"Very well" said Nevalle "Squire Selene either prepare for battle or choose a champion. Either way this will be decided tomorrow with blood."




I sat in the temple of Tyr pondering what was to happen tomorrow. Khelgar had already came and told me that he was adamant about taking my place tomorrow. I had told him no but was grateful for his concern. It still surprised me how much they all believed in and supported me. I was still pondering upon this when I heard someone come in.


I looked up to see Sand standing there. I smiled at him and he said "I thought I'd come to offer you some help if you wish to take it."


"I'll take any help you can give." I replied.


Sand nodded and handed me a small satchel saying "I took the liberty to whip up a few concoctions to help you out tomorrow and no need for thanks it would just be embarrassing."


I opened it to see a variety of potions in it. I smiled at him and said "Well thank you anyway. I'm sure these will be very useful."


He nodded and left. I shook my head as he left I was almost sure that he was going to be…


Just then someone else walked in and I looked up to see Bishop standing there. He smirked saying "You think I was the elf coming back to give you more potions?"


I almost blushed and said "What no I…" trailing off I looked away. He walked closer and feeling the heat rise in my cheeks I said trying to change the topic. "What do you think of my chances tomorrow?"


"Chances? Not much. I do have some advice for you though."


"And that would be?"


"Use your bow and spells against him. He seems to love that Falchion of his too much to fight smart. Keep out of reach I wouldn't want him to cut up that pretty body of yours." I grinned blushing slightly as he continued "Though if you find that too difficult for you to do I could perhaps step in for you maybe."


I looked up at him smirking and said "Well aren't you sweet."


It was his turn to blush and he said angrily "I said maybe."


I laughed and said "I know, I know." I then pulled him in for a kiss still chuckling.




Casavir came to the temple of Tyr to visit Selene and wish her good luck tomorrow. One of the priests of Tyr directed him to her room. He nodded thanking the priest. He then opened the door to see her kissing that scoundrel. He was surprised and though he didn't want to admit it a little hurt. He turned and left leaving them be. Wondering what she could see in such a man.




I took in a deep breath as stood before the stadium.


"My look at all those people what I wouldn't give for audience like that. On a less bloody occasion perhaps." Said Grobnar.


I smiled and shook my head almost laughing Grobnar certainly was a constant source of amusement.


"Are you sure you don't want someone to step in for you?" asked Shandra "Not that I don't have faith in you but…"


"Shandra!" Grobnar shouted "You changed your mind I'm glad. What with all that terrible crying last night and that phrase you kept saying. What was it? I don't see how she can possibly…"


"Grobnar!" Shandra scolded.


"Sorry, sorry tactless I know."


I raised an eyebrow at her and said "Were you seriously worried about me?"


"Yea but I wasn't crying. I haven't cried since I was a girl and even then only when peeling onions."


I laughed and said "I think we have more in common than I thought and thank you for worrying about me."


She gave me an odd look and said "You're welcome and be careful."


"Of course." I said.




"Go on finish it if you have the nerve." Lorne said on the ground holding his chest.


I scowled at him and said "I'm not going to kill you. You're pretty much dead already." I then turned around and began to walk away when an arrow flew by me and struck something behind me. I spun around bringing up my blades to see Lorne fall to the ground again an arrow in his throat. I looked to where it came from only to see Bishop disappearing into the shadows.


I smiled and heard the cheer of the crowd. I then turned and flourished a bow.




Back at the Flagon everyone was celebrating heartily drinking, singing, dancing. I smiled laughing at it all especially Shandra trying to teach Casavir to dance.


Bishop then came up to me saying "Come here." He then kissed me his relief evident in his kiss. I kissed him back softly.


He then pulled away and I merely said "Your lips are trembling."


He looked away saying "You're mistaken."


I frowned at him and said "I don't think so. You… you care about me don't you?"


"Don't go there Selene." He said coldly.


"Why not?" I asked "It's obvious you have feelings for me as… as I do for you."


"Stop." He said looking away "I just thought you deserved something a little nicer than the applause of an asinine crowd who would of cheered just as loudly if Lorne had left you dead and bleeding on the arena ground. That's all." He emphasized the last part rather firmly.


I leant back slightly hurt. Trying to hide it I smiled weakly and said "Well thank you it is indeed nice." I then kissed his cheek and turned around saying "I think I'm going to go to bed." When I got to the door I said "And Bishop?"


"Yes." He said


"I do care about you." I then left heading for my room. When I got there I shut the door and sighed. I went to the window suddenly melancholy when it began to rain. I almost laughed at the irony of it. I stared out the window for a good long time before I heard a knock at the door. I looked over my shoulder wondering who it was when I heard Casavir's voice.


"My lady are you alright?"


I groaned. I didn't want to deal with him right now and his awkward affections. I turned back to the window and pushing it open nimbly climbed out.




Casavir cautiously opened the door and seeing the open window he sighed walking to it he looked out wondering where she had gone. He then shut the window and left going back to the party.




I ran for awhile just wanting to get away from everyone and everything for awhile. Not looking where I was going I soon ran into someone. I looked up about to apologize when I noticed it was Bishop. I gaped at him for a moment.


He smirked and said "Speechless? That's not like you."


I about swallowed my tongue and then said "What are you doing here?"


"I thought I'd go out for a walk obviously you had the same idea." He then looked me up and down and said "Tsk, tsk you shouldn't be out here without a cloak. We wouldn't want our fearless leader to have survived everything up till now to be taken down by a simple cold." He then removed his own deep red cloak and placed it over my shoulders saying "How about we get you back to your room?"


I mouthed wordlessly at him again and he smirked putting his arm around me he began to lead me back. After awhile I looked up at him and said "I just can't figure you out."


"Yea, well you're not exactly an open book." He replied.


He then opened a window and I realized we were back at the Flagon. He lifted me up and placed me inside.


I turned to thank him but he was gone. I sighed utterly confused when I heard a knock at the door. I turned to see Shandra come in and she said "You're back I see. Good. Casavir was rather worried about you."


I noticed a bit of a bite to her voice and raising an eyebrow asked "Was he now?"


She nodded coldly and I slowly asked "You jealous of his concern?"


She flushed a bit and said "Well I…"


"I have no interest in Casavir. You have nothing to worry about." I stated plainly.


Her defensive stature seemed to lessen and she said "Really?"


"Yes really."


"You like Bishop don't you?" she asked slowly.


I walked over to the fire staring into it and said "I don't see how it's any of your business but yes I do."


"Why? He seems so beastly."


I smiled and said "I see him as a kindred spirit."


"You can't mean that. You may be a little cynical but you're not malicious like he is."


I gave a small chuckle and said "He's also older than I am. Give me a few years and I just may become as malicious as he is."


"I don't believe that. You're a good person at heart I know it."


I gave a bit of an ironic smile and said "Thank you Shandra truly and you know Bishop's not all bad he's got some sweetness to him underneath all that sarcasm of his." I drew his cloak about me tightly as I said so.


Shandra frowned and said "If you say so. Well I'm going back to the party holler if you need anything."


I nodded and after she left I took off my wet clothes and hung them to dry near the fire. Though it was slightly damp I kept Bishop's cloak wrapped around me as I sat in my small clothes next to the fire. Staring into it almost mesmerized a poem floated to the surface of my mind.


So as you shiver in the cold and the dark,


Look into the fire and seen in its spark —


My eye


Watching over you.

As you walk in the wind's whistling claws,


Listen past the howling wolf's jaws.


My song


Comes to you.

And when you're lost in trackless snow,


Look up high where the eagles go.


My star


Shines for you.

In deep, dark mine or on crumbling peak,


Hear the words of love I speak.


My thoughts


Are with you

You are not forsaken


You are not forgotten.


The North cannot swallow you.


The snow cannot bury you.


I will come for you.


Faerûn will grow warmer,


And the gods will smile


But, oh, my love, guard yourself well —


All this may not happen for a long, long while.


I then turned as the window blew open the rain pouring inside. I got up to close it when Bishop stepped in totally soaked. I stood a bit shocked as he turned and shut the window.


I then ran over to him saying "Bishop you're soaking wet! What were you doing out there?"


"Trying to cool off, trying to think of other things besides you." He said in an angry defeated tone.


I looked at him surprised and then said "Come over by the fire let me help you out of your wet clothes."


He looked up at me genuinely surprised not hint of a smirk on his face. For a moment he just stared at me and then he nodded and walked over to the fire. I began to help him out of his wet armor and clothes.


He smiled and said softly "You're still wearing my cloak."


I smiled back and said "That I am. It's very warm. Thank you."


We just stared at each other for a moment and then I said "Why are you here Bishop?"


"I heard you singing." He said grinning ironically "I was out there trying to avoid you and I end up here next to you. It seems to happen a lot. Your voice always draws me in."


I blushed and said "I was saying that out loud I thought I was just thinking it."


He laughed saying "That you were. Irony's a funny thing isn't?"


"Indeed." I then took his hand saying "Come and sit by the fire with me."


He then pulled me toward him murmuring "I have a better idea." And he kissed me running his fingers through my hair.


I held back at first scared but then gave in kissing him back with rising ardor and soon enough we had found our way to the bed. He unclipped his cloak throwing it to the ground and then quickly removed my small clothes and I his. We then fell back on to the bed murmuring nonsense to each other.




He kissed her fiercely fervently stroking her hair, her face, her thighs anything he could get a hold of. He then moved downward kissing her jaw, neck, collar bone and smirked as she let a moan.


"Bishop." She whispered looking up at him longingly with her pure blue eyes.


"Selene" he whispered back and he felt her give a small shiver. He grinned wickedly and said "I'm going to make you a very happy woman."


"Please do." She purred back




Bishop buried his face in hair inhaling the familiar scent of lilacs as he ran a hand down her side.


She rolled over snuggling closer and said "Bishop?"


"Yes?" he said softly.


"I just wanted to thank you for helping me out at the stadium today and for bringing me back here later."


"You're welcome." He said simply.


Raising an eyebrow at him she said "That's it? Just a you're welcome. No cutting remarks?"


"Do you want one? I'm sure I could come up with one if you do."


"No it's fine just surprising." She said.


"I'm full of surprises." Bishop said nuzzling her hair again.


"That you are." She replied.


He then got up saying "I suppose I should get back to my room."


She nodded sighing "I suppose."


"Don't worry." He smirked "I'll be back tomorrow but now I have other things to attend to."


Then after quickly dressing he slipped out of the room.




After he left I rolled over smiling to see a lilac on my pillow and thought to myself "Full of surprises indeed." Holding it to me I drifted off to sleep.




Bishop quietly moved down the hall toward his room when he met Casavir standing next to the door.


"What were you doing in there?" Casavir asked in that icy calm voice of his.


Smirking Bishop said "Exactly what you wish you were paladin."


"You…" Casavir started


"Were reciting poetry to her? Of course." Finished Bishop


Casavir flushed just a little and Bishop's smirk widened considerably as he said "Oh is that not what you were thinking of? And I'm the one who's morally corrupt. Tsk, tsk paladin tsk tsk." Bishop then slipped into his room before Casavir could ask any further questions.




When I woke up the next morning I looked about and gave a sigh and not a happy one. I should be happy yet my cynicism prevented it. "No good can come of this." I thought to myself. "Love only leads to tragedy." I then looked down at the lilac Bishop had left me and felt a smile grace my lips. "Perhaps not." I thought "Perhaps I could be happy. It would be a nice novel experience. Even if something is to happen, which it probably will, I should enjoy it while it lasts." I then got up and dressed whistling as I did so.




When I walked into the tavern area I was still whistling and I walked over to the bar for breakfast. I had quite gotten use to Duncan's idea of breakfast it was a lot more than some flat bread, a handful of granola and a glass of water which is what Daegun and I seemed to have for every meal except for those random occasions he would go out bring back a rabbit, a deer or something. I then sat down at a table and began to eat and soon realized how hungry I was which wasn't surprising given what had happen yesterday. "Battle to the death in the morning battle of wills in the evening." I thought to myself. I sighed as I finished my meal. Looking up I noticed everyone seemed to be staring at me. Well almost everyone Casavir seemed to be determinedly avoiding looking at me. Everyone looked away immediately as soon as I took notice however. I frowned and glanced at Bishop out of the corner of my eye who was nonchalantly looking in another direction.


Just as I was about to ask what was going on Wolfe ran into the tavern and said "Selene! Aldanon needs to see you."


"Really?" I asked looking away from the others "When did he say this?"


"A couple days ago while you were preparing for the trial by combat Dori tried to get in and see you but one of those snooty priests threw her out."


"I see." I said "I had better go see Aldanon then."




"You it's you. Master Aldanon said you'd be coming. We discovered something about the shard." Said Aldanon's assistant.


"Yes. Where is he by the way?" I asked.


"Gone taken hostage by someone." He said


I sighed and muttered "Well that's helpful." I then asked "What was it you discovered?"


"That one of the shards is being kept by a group of noble men." He then proceeded to list of their names.


"Aren't those the men that have been turning up dead?" I asked.


"That they are." He said.


I then turned and said "Let's go and tell Nevalle and Nasher about this."




"So what does this have to do with us?" I asked as the new Luskan ambassador told us that Crossroad Keep had been overrun.


"What it has to do with you is that Black Garius has made this place his home and you are hunting him are you not?"


"Point." I said. "Well it looks like we're out to Crossroad Keep."




"There. You're doing well. Much better" I said to Shandra as we sparred. I took a step back and pushed a lock of hair out of my face saying "But here let me see your sword I'll show you a trick to deflecting on coming attacks with a weapon like that." I reached out for her sword when Bishop grabbed my hand stopping me.


I raised an eyebrow at him and he said "Do you know what that sword is made of?"


"Iron I presume." I replied.


"Cold iron to be exact." He said.


I jerked my hand away involuntarily.


Shandra raised an eyebrow and asked "And that's a problem why?"


"Let's just say our friend Neeshka is not the only one with an unusual heritage." I replied.


"What are you some sort of secret tiefling?" She snickered.


I smiled and said "Not quite one of my ancestors was one of the fey rather than a denizen of the hells." I turned to Bishop and said "I'm rather surprised you remembered."


"It's difficult for me to forget anything about you." He said.


I smiled at him and kissed him over the last few days since Lord Nasher had sent us out to inspect Crossroad Keep I had definitely began to notice a change in Bishop. A subtle one but it was there.


Turning about I then said "Well let's get going. Black Garius isn't going to kill himself."




When we arrived at the keep I began to look about for our contact when I heard Shandra say "Look at that poor man those Luskans they just left him for the vultures."


I turned to see her standing near a charred man's corpse. Bishop then Replied "If so they won't get much off of him. Looks like a fireball burnt his worthless body to ash."


Shandra glared at him and said "Show some respect for the dead Bishop."


He glared right back and said "Little girl people die all the time something you've barely avoided up till now. If I were you I'd be thankful and save the prayers for yourself."


I nodded and said "True it's just another dead we've seen plenty and will see plenty more no need to get all weepy."


Shandra rolled her eyes and said "You two deserve each other."


I smiled at that and threw Bishop a smirk which he returned. I then spotted a group of mages nearby and thinking they must be our contact I ran up to them.


One of them nodded and said "I am Valle of the Many Starred Cloaks pleasure to meet you."


I nodded and said "And I am Selene squire of Neverwinter."


"Now that the introductions are over let's get down to business." Valle said.


He then proceeded to tell us the situation in the keep. How many were inside, what we were up against, etcetera. By the time he had finished the guards were getting ready for a shift change.

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Chapter 4


"Damn it Sevann I want those doors open! What is taking so long?" Valle snapped.


"It seems we're being countered." Sevann replied.


"Damn." Valle swore again he then turned to me and said "Sorry about this."


I shrugged and said "Don't worry about it battles are usually unpredictable"


He nodded in agreement and said "Luckily I know of another way in. There is an old escape tunnel somewhere nearby. It leads right into the keep. You can take that."


"All right." I said "Why don't we all take it?"


"It would be too many people. Besides we should stay here and keep the mages distracted. Now go."




I pushed a bookcase out of the way as we exited the tunnel into what appeared to be the keeps library. I looked around and saw Aldanon standing next to another bookcase and I walked over to him seeing me he smiled and said "Ah if it isn't the nice young lady with silver shards. What can I do for you?"


"I'm here to rescue you." I replied.


"Rescue?" he said a little confused "Oh that's right I was kidnapped wasn't I?"


I sighed and said "That you were. Now there's a secret tunnel right behind that bookcase over there you can leave though it and get back home."


He waved a hand and said "Perhaps later this book is really quite fascinating my host gave it to me all about some entity known as the King of Shadows. I was told that I needed to use it and the rest of the books to figure out how to summon this king of shadows or I'd lose my head."


I raised an eyebrow and said "Lose your head?"


"Yes." Aldanon said "but he said it with a smile so I'm sure he was joking."


"Just who told you this?" I asked.


"I believe he called himself Black Gairus."


"I see and did you tell him how to do the summoning?"


"Yes of course I always love to help but I told him that actually performing such a ritual would be incredibly dangerous and he said he wasn't going to perform it."


I rolled my eyes and said "Of course not. How about you get out of here and tell Nevalle about this."


"But…" he said




Aldanon then said "Oh very well." and headed for the tunnel.


"Well that was easy. Too easy." Bishop said.


I gave a slight smile and said "Just wait I'm sure the roof will collapse or something the gods seem to enjoy challenging me."


Bishop smirked and said "Don't worry I'm sure the dwarf will be able to dig us out. It's what they do after all and it would make him useful for once."


"Hey!" shouted Khelgar.


I just shook my head smiling when Casavir said almost under his breath "It would be no more than a scoundrel like you deserves."


Glaring at him Bishop than said "Your paladin aura wouldn't protect you. You'd die just the same as me."


Casavir than replied "It doesn't matter if I die the same as you as long as I live differently."


Bishop than replied "Yea I hope I'll be the one to carve that on your tombstone." He than turned and walked off saying he was going to scout ahead.


I turned scowling at Casavir and said "You know I'm really getting tried of you and you." I said turning to Shandra. "Always harping on about how he's such a bad person. Leave him alone he's not as bad as you think he is."


"You're only saying that because you're sleeping with him. Besides I don't see you reprimanding him to be nicer." Replied Shandra.


My eyes narrowed and I said "Of course you don't because I'm not going to do it in front of you and who I sleep with is my business." I then turned on my heel and walked away.




Bishop stood there for a moment a bit stunned at how she had defended him. Then hearing her coming this way he turned and quickly moved up the corridor away from the others. Hearing Sand say something rather acidly as he did so.




Casavir and Shandra stood there a bit awkwardly for a moment until Sand said "What did you expect? You are both constantly on him about being a 'scoundrel'. She had to snap sometime. She's rather fond of him in case you didn't notice."


Casavir shifted from foot to foot and Shandra crossed her arms and said "And you don't think he is?"


"I think there may indeed be more to him then the two of you think. Regardless of what you or I think of him though you should abstain for 'harping on him' as she put it in front of her or you may find yourselves assigned to some unpleasant tasks."




I jumped as I rounded the corner and almost ran into Bishop. I opened my mouth to apologize but he put a finger to his lips and nodded toward a crack in the door. I looked through it to see a squad of Luskan soldiers and a couple of mages from the Arcane brotherhood. I nodded and then kicked the door open throwing down a confusion spell. While they were dazed Karnwyr pounced taking one of them down while Bishop and I did the same with our bows. By the time the spell wore off the soldiers were all dead and we had the mages cornered. The Mages of Neverwinter then burst in through the front door and our own through the door we came through.


"Huh? You leave any for us?" asked Valle


Bishop fired his bow taking out one of the mages while Karnwyr took out the other one and then said


"Why bother? It's not like you would of been any help."


"Don't mind him." Said Shandra "He's always like that."


"Very well." said Valle "We need to get moving if we are to..." He trailed off as there was a surge of entropic energy.


"What... What was that?" Valle asked


"Black Gairus." I said "He's preparing some sort of ritual to revive the King of Shadows."


"Black Gairus!" Valle exclaimed "Our chances against him are slim and I'm being optimistic."


I frowned at him and said "If you don't want to help then be on your way. We'll take care of it ourselves."


Bishop smirked and said "That's what I was just about to say."


I smirked back and said "Well you should be a little quicker next time."


Valle frowned and said "I never said anything about not helping now let's get moving."




As Garius fell he swore cursing his fellows' incompetence as well as our interruption of the ritual. Valle then stepped forward and said surveying the are "Sevann let's get this place cleaned up get all the bodies out of here and get rid of any traps like that enchantment on the door upstairs. Let's try and not leave any surprises for the keeps next resident."


Sevann nodded and began ordering the other mages about clearing up the area. I stretched and then lent over picking up yet another silver shard. I dropped in my pocket with the others and smiled thinking Neeshka would like to be here about now. She had been excited at the prospect of going though a warehouse looking for loot imagine her excitement at the idea of going though a whole castle. I shook my head and left the room leaving it to Valle and his mages to do the clean up.




"Excuse me Master Aldanon but I fail to see what this has to do with our prisoner." Said Captain Berlaina.


Aldanon sighed and said "Very well let us set aside the broader metaphor of the stone and instead focus on the fact that it has been cleft in two. At first glance they appear to be two stones yet were once one stone yet not do you get my meaning?"


Berlaina looked at him confused as I walked in saying "Ah lieutenant there you are I was wanting to speak with you it seems that Aldanon was not the only prisoner Gairus held captive there was another. Aldanon seems to think that…"


Aldanon broke in saying "Look it's really not that difficult of a metaphor if you just…"


Brelaina then interrupted him saying "Forgive me Aldanon but is this prisoner a threat or not?"


"Oh I don't know that. I was just saying that she is an enemy of the Githyanki and therefore by default could be considered an ally. She also seemed to be quite courteous so I don't think she'll be any trouble. Well goodbye I must be getting back to my home. I hope she doesn't try to stab you. She didn't seem the type but you know how assassins are." he trailed off as he exited the watch headquarters.


I walked over to this prisoner as he left and said "So you wanted to see me?"


"This is so Kalach-cha." The prisoner nodded she was a strange looking woman she resembled the githyanki but there were enough subtle differences in her countenance to make me think she was not one of them.


"What did you want with me?" I asked crossing my arms across my chest.


"I wished to talk to help. This King of Shadows if he is not stopped he will destroy this beautiful plane and all within it." She answered.


I sighed and said "Tell me something I don't know."


Nodding she said "Very well. I know of a way to stop him. Release me and let my path become yours and I shall tell you."


I raised an eyebrow at her and said "Is that so? Very well come with me but you try anything and I won't hesitate to strike you down."


She bowed and said "As you will Kalach-cha. I am called Zhejeve"


Nevalle then walked in saying "Ah there you are. Lord Nasher has given me orders to escort you back to Crossroad Keep." Looking to Zhejeve he added "Perhaps your new companion will learn what we are to be fighting for."




I looked about the grounds of my "new" keep and sighed yet more responsibility and expectations thrust upon me. It was now my job to get this place up and running again. Not an easy task considering the shape it was in. Everything seemed about ready to fall apart if anything and if that was enough Zhejeve had told me the secret to destroying the King of Shadows was performing some sort of ancient Ilefarn ritual as well as forging the silver sword back together. Luckily she knew where we needed to go to perform said ritual but still it just seemed to be one thing after another and was really starting to wish I had taken Bishop up on his offer and just run away from it all. I looked up and closed my eyes and let out another sigh. I then jumped away as I felt something brush against my exposed throat. Opening my eyes I noticed Bishop standing in front of me with a rather broad smirk on his face.


"You shouldn't leave yourself open like that. What if I had been an enemy?" he said his eyes gleaming mischievously.


Smiling I said "You're right lucky me it's just you."


He glared at this and I laughed saying "You know I meant it in a good way."


"Right." He said sarcastically though I could see a smirk pulling at his lips. He then looked out over the keep and said "Huh some fortress looks like it's about to fall apart if you ask me. You must feel so privileged to have been given it as a reward."


I smiled and said "Oh I do indeed. Who wouldn't want a decrepit old castle?"


He snorted and said "Not I for one. I say you raze it to the ground."


I looked out over the grounds and said "Hmm sounds like it could be fun but no I suppose I should do my duty and work on repairing it."


He rolled his eyes and said "Really? I didn't think you were that kind of person Selene."


"What kind of person?" I asked.


"The kind that followed rules and regulations. Is that really how you want to spend the rest of your days? With a painted shield a squire at your side and some strict code of honor to keep your back as stiff as a board."


Smiling impishly I said "That depends. Will you be said squire? I think you'd look good in some shining armor." I snickered heartily at his glare and then added "Oh relax I'm only teasing and I'm only going along with this because well why not? It's not like I can get away from it." Putting a hand to my chest I continued "This situation is as much apart of me as anything else."


He relaxed a little and said "You do realize how much money it's going to take to rebuild this place don't you? Thousands if not hundreds of thousands."


I nodded and said "True but Nasher is going to help out with that a little and it's not like we haven't found plenty of gold in our travels already."


"You'd best not be dipping into my share to rebuild this place."


"Oh? And why not what have you got to spend it on?" I asked raising an eyebrow.


"Things." He stated plainly.


I rolled my eyes and said "Well that's descriptive. Fine don't tell me. Come I believe we have some ancient Illefarn ruin to journey to."




"We are here." Said Zhjaeve as we crossed a bridge "Can you feel it? The power in the earth at our feet, the stone of the buildings, this is place we need to be."


I nodded as she talked I could tell there was something not quite normal about the place but I couldn't place my finger on it. I then turned as I heard the sounds of battle. Nearby there were goblins and ogres fighting orcs.


Both Shandra and Casavir moved forward to attack but I held them back saying "It's none of our concern if they're fighting each other we have these statues to find."


"Looks like the gith already found one." Said Bishop.


I turned to see Zhjaeve standing in front of a large statue. I walked over to her and she said "This is one of the statues of purification. Come forth Kalach-Cha."


I shrugged and stepped forward in front of the statue. Zhjaeve then began murmuring in a language I didn't recognize. I wondered briefly if it was her native tongue or the language of the Illefarn. I then began glow faintly and a voice in my head said


"In ancient times guardian was created to protect Illefarn. If the time has come to dismantle our great instrument you will be agent of its destruction." The glow brightened briefly and then died away.


"What just happened?" I asked as I watched the glow fade away.


"You have been given one of the blessings of purification." Responded Zhjaeve "It will help in the coming battle against the King of Shadows. The first part of the ritual is done."


"Well that was easy enough. One down four to go."


"I don't believe the others will be quite so easy. As I understand the others are protected by trials so that only the worthy are able to access them." Zhjave said calmly.


"Of course they are." I said almost laughing cynically.




As we walked into the Temple of Seasons I smiled it seemed like such a beautiful tranquil place. This looked like it would be fun.


"What are you grinning at?" asked Bishop.


"Oh nothing really I just like the feel of this place if you know what I mean. It seems so peaceful. Nature has always been a fascination of mine even if I didn't choose to dedicate my life to it."


"I know what you mean my lady it's serene." Said Casavir.


Ignoring Casavir Bishop said "I don't know what you mean it's just an old tomb. Nothing special."


Still smiling I took his hand into my own and said "Maybe your right maybe I'm just glad to be here with you."


He looked away and said sarcastically "Doesn't take much to make you happy." Though he didn't release my hand. I believe I even felt his fingers tighten around mine.


My smile widened and I said "Nope."


I then saw him begin to blush as he pulled me towards the next room away from the others.




As Bishop led Selene out of the room Shandra gave a smile of her own and said "Maybe she's right about him not being all bad."


Casavir managed to look stony yet coldly furious at the same time as he said "How could you say that? He's nothing but a scoundrel."


"I think he's gotten better as has she. She so much happier lately. You can't tell me you haven't noticed."


Casavir refused to look at her saying nothing.


"Funny I didn't know jealousy was a paladinic trait." Sand said.


"I am not jealous." Casavir said.


"Oh, of course not my mistake." Sand said every word practically dripping with sarcasm. He and Shandra then left following the rogue and the ranger.


When Casavir looked up Zhjaeve was the only one left in the room. She stepped forward and said "I sense much turmoil in you paladin Casavir. It would be wise of you to address it and resolve it before it destroys you."


She then turned and left leaving him there alone with his thoughts and the statue of Bluecloak the Bard.




As we walked into the large room it seemed to be enchanted for it snow seemed to be continually falling from the ceiling. I smiled yet again. I had always loved the snow. It was so beautiful and one of the reasons why winter was one of my favorite seasons. I don't know how long Bishop and I just stood there watching the snow fall. But regardless far too soon I heard the others walk in.


Sand saying "An interesting enchantment."


Looking over my shoulder I noticed that Casavir was not with them. I rose an eyebrow wondering.


Zhjaeve noticing my look said "He is contemplating."


I nodded saying "I see."


I then walked up to the pedestal in the middle of the room and opened the book upon it. It described one of four heroes of Illefarn and their part in a great battle to save the nation. How they were honored and buried here as well as the challenges one must undertake to reach the statue of purification. The final words on the page were


"Turn the page to begin the challenge."


As I did so the snow turned from a gentle fall to a violent storm, with a wicked wind and bone chilling cold. I stepped back gripping my blades tightly and soon out of the storm stepped an enormous winter wolf. I drew my blades and stood to face it doing my best to ignore the cold. It lunged at me and I tried to dodge though my movements were slowed by cold and the beast nicked my side not enough to get though my armor and draw blood but enough to leave a bruise and I stifled a cry. I then spun around holding my blade up to block its next attack. I caught its teeth on my rapier and in quick succession drove my dagger in under its jaw. It slumped to the ground and I backed away slowly breathing heavily, my breath coming out in slow clouds. I then spun about and brought my sword up to block another one coming at me. I wasn't quick enough however and the beast knocked me to the ground my sword skidding across the floor. It stood over me growling and doing the only thing I could think of I began to sing trying to charm it to sleep or at least to stand still. It worked the wolf's eyes glassed over and it backed up sitting down. I reached for my dagger slowly but before I reached it there was a yelp and I looked back to see an arrow sticking out of its eye.


Bishop walked over handing me my blade and said "I think you dropped something."


"That I did." I replied reaching out to take it "Thank you."


He nodded his eyes never leaving my own as the storm died down.


I came to upon hearing Sand drawl "Do you two need a moment?"


I backed away saying "No, no we're fine."


Bishop nodded and headed for the newly open door.


I almost sighed after him but was able to keep it in check. I looked down at my sword and just stared at it for a moment lost in my own thoughts. Why did emotions have to be so complicated? I was lost in a sea of doubt. I cared for him there was no doubt about that though I was unsure as to where this was leading or at least that's what I told myself deep down I think I knew and was just unwilling to admit it. I sighed and listed off all my symptoms to myself. I couldn't pay attention to anything to save my life lately, my thoughts were in a tangle, I had trouble sleeping when he wasn't there with me and though it sounded cliché to say so and I hated clichés with a fiery passion my heart, my soul, my whatever you wanted to call it was in a maelstrom. I looked away and sighed yet again. I was in love with him there was no denying it anymore.


Shandra looked at me concernedly and said "You alright?"


I gave an ironic grin and said "Fine just fine."




Bishop shook himself as entered the hallway trying to return his heart rate to normal. He had been terrified when that wolf had knocked her over. So much so that he was just starting to realize how much he really did care for her and it scared him. He had never had anyone to care for or anyone care about him. He had always thought of such things as just more ways to tie you down. Yet he somehow felt this and freer then he ever had before. The whole situation made him anxious and uncomfortable yet he didn't dislike the feeling. He liked having her around and if he was a little less cynical he would notice how much she enjoyed having him around too.




"Thank the gods that is over." Shandra said as we entered the room with both the statue of purification and the dead heroes of Illefarn.


I waved my hand saying "It wasn't that bad. The rooms of winter and autumn were quite beautiful if you ask me."


Shandra rolled her eyes saying "Perhaps but the whole fighting the various creatures was not what I'd call fun."


I shrugged saying "I wouldn't expect it to be. It is a trial after all."


She sighed putting her face in her hand obviously giving up.


I stepped forward examining the room. I turned as I heard a sigh and saw Casavir looking about forlornly. I raised an eyebrow at him asking


"Something wrong?"


"It's just do all noble deeds end up as such?" he asked and I could tell he wasn't really talking about the heroes of Illefarn. "These people were noble heroes of there countries and look at them now buried in some forgotten tomb, where no one comes to pay tribute."


I shrugged saying "It happens and not just to these people here. Noble deeds are preformed every day and most of them go unrecognized. Though I doubt that matters to most from what I know those who perform such acts of valor usually ask for nothing in return and this temple can't be completely forgotten if we're here."


He gave a small smile and said "Of course you have a point my lady. If I am to die I would like to be buried along side these heroes of old there is much I would ask them."


Bishop scowled and said "Do you always take girls to old tombs and ask to be buried in them is that how you get your jollies, paladin?"


I couldn't help but give a faint smile at his jealousy as I said "Calm down Bishop. I'm sure Casavir didn't mean it as a romantic interlude. No need to be so jealous."


Still scowling he said "Well watch yourself Selene or soon enough you'll find yourself pressed up against a coffin with your skirts up."


Casavir looked ready to retort when I stepped in between them saying "Whoa calm down you two." I nodded to Shandra and she took Casavir by the arm leading him away.


I then took Bishop by the arm and lead him to the other side of the room whispering to him "Calm down. As much as I have to admit I love it when you get jealous over me there's no need for you to get so worked up."


He looked at me a vein still throbbing in his neck and he said sarcastically "Yea and why not?"


I reached up and stroked his face lightly and whispered "Because if I'm going to be pressed up against anything I would hope it was by you."


He seemed to relax quite a bit and a 'well that can be arranged' kind of look came into his eye. He pulled me forward kissing me and we spent the next few moments totally absorbed in each other. When we broke apart I saw Sand and Zhjaeve examining the statue of purification and Shandra must of lead Casavir away for they weren't in the room any more. I walked forward toward the statue and I stopped as I heard the voice in my head again. It repeated the same message as last time and my body seemed to glow as it did last time.


When it ended the glow brightened and Zhjaeve turned saying "The next part of the ritual is done."


I looked at her and asked "Maybe a little warning next time Zhjaeve?"


"It was not I who did it." She stated.


"Then who?" I asked


"The statue it recognized you as a recipient of the first blessing and gave it to you of its own accord. That is why the others are protected by trials." She replied.


"I see." I said "Well that's interesting."


I then looked about and seeing that Casavir and Shandra were still gone I decided it was time to do so grave robbing. I walked over to the coffins of the Illefarn heroes and picked open the locks of the chests at their feet. I looked over my shoulder and said


"Don't tell them about this I could do without a lecture on morality." Both Sand and Bishop nodded Bishop with an exceptionally big smirk on his face.


Zhjaeve gave a small bow saying "As you wish Kalach-Cha."


As I rifled though there belongings I came across a really nice old harp. It was silver with a large sapphire embedded in it. I ran my fingers across it and winced it really needed to be tuned.


"Found a new toy I see." Said Bishop


Smiling I said "Indeed I did. Once I get it tuned I'll play you a song on it."


Grinning he said just a little sarcastically "Lovely."


I frowned saying "You know you love my singing."


Looking away he said "Perhaps."


Before I could say anything else Sand cut in saying "If you two are quite done I think we should be getting out of here."


We both looked to him, Bishop out of the corner of his eye, and I said "You're right let's get going. Who knows what Shandra and Casavir are up to?"


Bishop snickered and Sand smirked as we made our way out of the temple.

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Chapter 5


I smiled as we made our way out of the temple and toward the location of the next statue. I felt rather giddy and couldn't help smiling. I knew I must look ridiculous but I couldn't help it and didn't much care either.


I took up Bishop's hand smiling at him and he flushed a bit. Which made me giggle and he said "What?"


"Nothing." I said "I'm just happy."


"Is that so?" he said raising an eyebrow. "And what has caused this bout of levity?"


I kissed him and then said "If I told you that would take all the fun out of it."


I then ran away towards the Gem Mines laughing.




As I entered the mines I smiled at all the books neatly organized in shelves around the entrance. I took a step forward to better examine them and


the sprit of an Elven man appeared saying "The dust stirs beneath your feet. What brings one of flesh and blood to this kingdom of sprits?"


"I am here seeking the statues of purification." I replied a bit startled by his appearance.


"The guardian has returned then?" the elf said.


"That he has" I replied "and I seek to put an end to him do you know where the statue is or not?"


"That I do. It is in the room behind me concealed within a stone tree. To open you will need three dwarves and three elves of Illefarn."


"And how am I to find them? Illefarn is dead and gone."


"True Illefarn is gone but sprits of Illefarn still dwell within this building those that were close to the man who became the guardian."


"I see and all we have to do is gather these spirits?"


"It will not be that easy. They have not taken to being trapped here well. You will have to subdue them and then convince them to help you. As well as disable the ghost lights." The spirit said.


I sighed and said "Of course. You mentioned ghost lights what are they and how do I disable them?"


"The touch of the living is enough to disable them as to what they are. They are lights to keep the spirits from escaping into the world. To you they will seem as pale purple lights but to the unliving they are a seething light with all the intensity of the sun and thus are unable to approach them. You must disable them if you wish for the spirits to make their way to the tree."


"Very well." I said "Let's go."




"Why bother combining them six into one all women are like that to begin with?" Bishop said scowling after the spirit.


I raised an eyebrow at him and said "What we're all crazy?"


"No just confusing." He stated.


"I see." I replied "Well I think the same can be said for men. They can be just as baffling."


"Yea well I don't pay attention to men."


Smirking I said "And I'm glad that you don't." I then turned to the others and said "How many spirits is that? All of them?"


Shandra shook her head and said "No that's only five we still have one to go."


"Well let's get going." I said.


We then searched until we came upon a small room that seemed to serve as a secondary barracks. Where the last of the spirits was after subduing him like the rest I walked up to him and he said "You must pardon me friend it was not my custom to greet visitors with swarms of undead. I am called Annaeus"


"You're Annaeus huh? I've heard the other spirits mention you." I said.


"Is that so? They must still bear me ill will even after all this time. Though I can't say I'm surprised. How often in life did I come face to face with 'evil' just to discover it someone trying to do what they thought was right. Yes it all began with me a silly fat dwarf. I created the guardian and later tried to destroy him."


"How very true. You must regret the consequences of your actions."


"Regret?" Annaeus said "Not at all. I saved thousands of people from the wrath of Netheril, preserved an enclave of culture and tolerance against a canvas of war and hate with the guardian. No I do not regret my actions the guardian saved my people."


"And doomed thousands more." I said crossing my arms.


"One cannot predict every consequence of their actions whether they be for good or for ill. Walk down one road instead of another you could doom a man to death but you are a fool if you blame this on yourself."


"Point." I said


He then continued "The guardian was conceived for a noble purpose and there was no evil foresaw in his birth. My conscience is clear."


"I see." I said "Tell me of your attempt to destroy the guardian."


"To destroy the guardian I created a ritual to weaken him the very ritual you seek to complete. The Ritual of Purification."


"And it failed?"


"Not at all. Our forces were splintered. Many of the wizards those who knew him in life tried to reason with him. Their hearts did not understand that he was no longer their friend even if their minds did. The guardian slew us all and drained our lives and with us went the might of Illefarn."


"Hmm." I said "Well it is good to know that the ritual works at the very least that is good news. Will you follow me to the Communion Tree?"


"Of course lead the way my good lady." Annaeus said.




There was a bright flash and the spirits of the dwarves and elves disappeared along with the Communion tree. All that was left was when I opened my eyes was another Statue of Purification. I stepped forward and was granted another power.


"Well that's three down. I suppose we should go and look for the other two." I said turning about to the others.


As we left I stopped and asked the spirit at the entrance if there was anything at all I could do to give him and the others rest. His response was that only the fall of the Guardian would bring them rest as they were all so closely tied to him.


"Tell of the guardian when he was a man." I said softly.


"He was a great hero who saved Illefarn on countless occasions and when she was threatened once again he stepped forward to defend her by way of the guardian. He's was congratulated and called a hero once more by all save one person."


"They Elven woman who loved him." I said softly determinately not looking at Bishop.


"Yes. She begged him not to do this saying she would never see him again. That she would lose him forever. He did not listen however saying it was his duty to protect Illefarn in whatever way he could."


"Huh duty." Bishop sneered "It's just something nobles use to wring more blood and loyalty out of fools and peasants." Bishop said scathingly.


"I disagree." Said Casavir "There is nobility in such actions even though some maybe unable to see it."


"There is." I said slowly "Though I doubt most people do such things for purely altruistic reasons. This particular circumstance was just a bad idea from the start for with out a conscious state of mind he has nothing to guide him but the instructions he has been given and eventually he will and did twist them into something they were not meant to be."


"How do you know this?" Shandra asked giving me that same puzzled look she always did when I said such things.


"It's simple really." I shrugged "It's happened time and time again in tales of old. History repeats itself if not learned from and it's just simple logic really."


"Of course it is." Shandra said rolling her eyes.


"It is." Sand and Zhjaeve said together.


The spirit then looked at me and said "Please take these books. They are the history of Illefarn. My life's work and almost completed at the time of my death. Take them so hopefully your people will learn from them and our mistakes won't be repeated."


I looked to him and said "I will do my best to make sure history does not repeat itself."


"Rest will be bitter sweet for me." He said almost forlornly looking around at his books "The collective knowledge I have kept here for so long will become dust. All that remains of Illefarn."


I nodded, running my fingertips along the spines of the books and said "I will make sure you are not forgotten."




We stood examining the door in Riverguard Keep which behind stood the next Statue of Purification.


"I think the goblin shaman had the right of it." Sand said finally.


I rose an eyebrow at him and said "You think so?" for I had been wondering if he had while I had been studying the door as well and was unsure what to think of it even with what I knew of arcane lore and Illefarn itself.


Sand nodded and said "Yes the enchantment on the door is to strong for me to dispel even with my considerable talents. The only way we are going to get in is with some sort of key or by the way the goblins had planned on getting in and good luck finding someone willing to do that."


I frowned and then after a moment said "I'll do it." I then stepped forward took hold of the handle. An enormous electrical shock ran though me and my first instinct was to let go but I held on until a particularly large jolt forced me to. I didn't even feel Bishop catch me.


As I blinked and tried to come to my senses I vaguely heard Shandra say "She's mad. I was just guessing before but now I know."


"Perhaps." Said Sand examining the door again. "It worked though."


Ignoring him Bishop gave Shandra a harsh glare and said "The fool girl's trying to take all the punishment wench. I'd send someone else, but that's just how Selene is, so shut your mouth before I do it for you."


Shandra raised an eyebrow at her and said "Jumping to her defense now are you? How sweet." She smirked.


Bishop's glare intensified and he said "As if she needs it. But your constant whining is grating on my nerves. To listen to you she can't set her toe right, let alone her foot."


Shandra then glared right back at him and said "I'll speak up whenever I want to."


Smirking Bishop then said "Yeah funny how fools always do that."


Furious Shandra then snapped "You're just in love with Selene… or lust after her. Or whatever it is mangy beasts like you do."


I then shook my head and before Bishop could respond I said rather annoyed "I thought I asked you not to talk him like that Shandra or was I talking to myself?"


Shandra jumped, a bit, not realizing I was conscious and blushed looking away.


Bishop then set me up on my feet and asked "You alright?"


I smiled at him rather amused by the question and said "I'll be fine. Don't worry."


He looked at me almost concernedly and then stepping away from me nodded.


I then stepped forward and pushed the door open still a bit disoriented. I walked up to the statue and after hearing the same message I had heard three times I was granted the forth blessing.


Zhjaeve then looked to the west and said "The final statue lies beyond the portal."


"What portal?" I asked


"The song portal at the center of Arvahn the Illefarn used them to traverse great distances. It shall take us to the final statue."


"Alright lead the way." I said.




After we stepped though the portal the next thing I remember was being in West Harbor and Shandra asking "Where are we?"


I looked about and said "It seems to be West Harbor or what's left of it anyway."


Zhjaeve then said "These are not the ruins we seek. Is this your birth village?"


I smirked at her stating the obvious and replied "That it is. I wonder why we're here."


"You lived here?" asked Shandra "I didn't know you were from a mere village must have been a tough childhood."


I gave a shrug and said "It wasn't that bad. Could have been worse could have been better. I do wonder about Daegun and Bevil though."


"Friends of yours?" asked Casavir "We could look for them if you like."


I smirked and said "You could say that and no Daegun will be long gone. He seems to have a sixth sense about such things. I'm sure he was gone before this even happened. He is the one who raised me after all taught me everything I need to know about life and such and Bevil is…" I paused wondering how to best phrase it and then said "a childhood companion is probably the best way to put it. He and Amie were always there with me following me around. They were about the only ones who took notice of me. No one else really did. Amie used to call me the ghost of West Harbor." I gave a bit of an ironic grin and continued "It seems more apropos now that the place is destroyed and deserted." I then shook my head and said "Forgive me I'm rambling. I suppose we should get moving."


"Where to?" asked Shandra.


"To the Illefarn ruins on the outskirts of the village I presume that is where we were supposed to go and just some how ended up here."


"Know that only something of great power could have turned us away from our true destination." Zhjaeve said in that ever calm voice of hers.


Shandra looked about uneasily and said "Something more powerful than teleporting around? Great."


I grinned at her sarcasm as Zhjaeve continued "Know that we must be on our guard for… Wait do you hear that? It is like the sound of a child wailing."


I shook my head saying "I don't hear anything."


"I don't either." Said Shanda.


"Nor do I." said Sand "Must be something else you're hearing or whatever it is you gith do."


"It is like a vibration in the air coming from somewhere nearby." Zhjaeve said her eyes seeming to glass over for a moment. Her eyes then cleared and she said "We should move on you lead for you are likely to best know this place."


I nodded and began to walk forward Bishop walked next to me and after looking around he said "You know they say home looks a lot smaller after coming home from a big journey. Well it just looks burned to me."


I gave a sigh and said "That it does, both burnt and smaller."


"Maybe you've grown." He said.


I looked about and said "Maybe I have maybe I haven't. Who's to say? I've been though a lot lately but I'm unsure if that's made me any wiser. Hells I'm unsure if I'm even doing the right things. For it seems for every decision I make I go around the corner to see yet more death and destruction. Particularly… Particularly of those close to me." A small tear escaped and ran down my cheek. I quickly looked away hoping he hadn't seen.




Bishop looked at her rather astounded. He had never seen her shed some much as a single tear over anything they had seen. She had always been nonchalant to the point that it offended some of the others, chastising her for being so cold. He felt something tug at him and he said "I'm sorry. I'm saying all the wrong things when I was actually trying to soften the blow."


She looked up at him just the slightest bit surprised and smiling took up his hand said "Thank you. It means a lot to me. Really."


He looked away but did not remove his hand saying "Don't thank me for messing up."


"Come." She said "Let us go."




Bishop watched Selene as they made their way to the Illefarn ruins on the outskirts of West Harbor. He was even more unsure of what to think of her now. Just when he thought he had figured something out about her he found it to be false or at least not completely true. He had thought her to be a cold and cynical person like himself with a little something else he still didn't quite understand. Figuring out what that was, was one of the reasons he stuck around, or so he told himself, now he finds out she's not as aloof as she puts off and was curious and a little confused yet again. Noticing his look she turned and smiled at him fondly. He looked away there was such trust even love in the way she looked at him and he was unsure if he deserved it. He quickly moved past her and the others needing to be away from them.




As I watched him go I sighed. I could almost feel him pulling away slightly but it was still there and this saddened me more then I would like to admit but there was nothing that could be done about it. At least nothing I could think of being more affectionate might drive him away even faster, while doing nothing would solve nothing, I suppose I could talk to him about but I wasn't sure if that was a solution either. He wasn't much for talking about his emotions. Nor was I if truth be told. I didn't like talking about things I didn't fully understand it made me feel foolish and my emotions were definitely something I didn't understand. I got out the harp I had found back in the Temple of Seasons and began tuning it so as to have something to do with my hands. I always had to have something to do with my hands when stressed. I think I would go mad if I didn't. It calmed me, helped me relax and gave me something else to think about.


Casavir then came up to me obviously noticing my distress and asked "Are you alright my lady?"


I gave him a bit of an ironic smile and said "I'll be alright. Don't worry about me just a bit of your everyday stress. It'll pass."


He looked at me concernedly, disbelievingly but then nodded and walked off. I then went back to tuning my harp and soon enough we arrived at the same set of ruins Bevil and I had visited what seemed like such a long time ago. As I looked around it surprised me how there wasn't a single lizardman to be found where as last time the place was simply crawling with them. I then turned as I heard Zhjaeve say


"The door it is not sealed."


I looked and noticed she was right and said "Looks like someone beat us to it. We should see if the statue is still there."


I then noticed Bishop seemed to be lost in thought and I asked "What are you thinking about?"


"Just this King of Shadows, how one day he's the hero of a whole nation the next he's the blight of the entire world. It figures really." He replied.


I gave a bit of an ironic grin and said "That it does."


Looking away his eyes seeming to glass over he said "We're rotten to the core. Some are just better at hiding it then others or else they die too soon for it to come to the surface."


I frowned at him a bit concerned and said "You may have a slight point there. Everyone does have some evil in them. A dark side if you will. But I think everyone also has some good in them too. You may just have to look a bit harder for it in some."


He snorted contemptuously and said "You do that. Me I like to stay as far away form other people as I can."


I gave a small sigh and said "I know as do I. But you must realize as I have that certain other people actually make life worth living."


He looked at me out of the corner of his eye and then looking away said "I don't have to do anything. I'm fine just on my own. I don't need anybody." He then turned and walked into the ruin.


I looked away feeling an emptiness threatening to engulf me. I then shook it away and went in after him.




As we entered we saw a shadow reaver destroy the last Statue of Purification. It turned and said "You are too late the statue's power has been spent another has taken it though they have not completed the rest of the ritual as you have and once I slay you and destroy the other statues there will be no one to stop us."


"Oh yeah?" I said "Well bring it on. I'm not going to go down with out a fight."


The Reaver then attacked summoning shadows and shadow priests to its aid, which were easy enough to dispatch. Once we had the Reaver cornered he said "You can not kill me I shall reform within the Mere and be back."


I rose an eyebrow at him and said "So I'll get to kill you again? Sounds like fun." I then promptly severed his head. I then sheathed my sword and said "Sounds like we need to find this other."


"How are we to do that? It could be anyone!" Shandra exclaimed


"Serendipity my friend serendipity. More likely than not this person will show up sooner or later looking for us. For now I say we return to the keep." I replied


She looked at me disbelievingly and Zhjaeve then said "Know that the Kalch-Cha is right. For now we should concentrate on reforging the sword of Gith. We should return to Crossroad keep and seek the aid of the scholar who was imprisoned with me Aldanon. He may be able to help us with this."


I nodded and headed for the portal.




I sat in camp idly playing my new harp when I suddenly heard an outburst of shouting. I slumped down when I recognized the voices.




"What do you want paladin?" Bishop spat disdainfully as he heard him come into the clearing. At first Casavir didn't respond and Bishop smirked broadly and turned around saying "Ah you wish to talk about our lady captain don't you?"


"It has nothing to do with her." Casavir replied.


"Sure it doesn't. You keep telling yourself that." Bishop said smirking still.


Scowling Casavir said "I'm watching you Bishop. I don't trust you and she shouldn't either."


"Oh really? What a surprise. That's the same thing I told her about you."


"What do you mean?"


"You're too good paladin and neither of us trust that. You have to be working some kind of angle. Jealous that she won't let you into her bed? Trying to be extra good so she'll open those luscious white thighs for you?"


"Don't not speak of her that way!" Casavir said vehemently


Bishop grinned wickedly at him and said "Oh now don't go defending her honor. She can do that herself and unlike you I know she can, so I don't have to be getting tough and clench jawed. I know what she likes. She likes someone who's not afraid to make the hard decisions, who's not afraid to do what need to be done. Because men like me are a sight more honest then anyone with a temples cloak on there shoulders. Now get out of here and let her make her own decisions. I do."


Bishop then turned back around and resumed what he was doing as he heard Casavir leave the clearing.




I slumped down even further as I saw Casavir come back to the campsite my face burning and soon enough Bishop came back as well and after looking around he headed straight for me. I tried to slump down even more but he still saw me and grabbing me by the arm began pulling me away from the others. When we were significantly far away I looked up at him and asked




He then handed me a small pouch not saying anything. I looked at him curiously and then opened it. Inside were a bunch of blackberries. I smiled warmly after all they were my favorite. I leant up and kissed his cheek and said


"Thank you."


"You're welcome." He replied. He then looked away and said "I suppose you heard that little talk I had with the paladin."


I nodded popping one of the blackberries in my mouth and said "Yea as did everyone else for probably seven leagues."


"Good." He said "It probably livened up there miserable lives. I told him… I told him he had no business lusting after you. Made a perfect fool out myself too."


I smiled at him and almost giggled saying "A perfectly sweet fool." As I reached up and stroked his face.


He gave a bit of a hard laugh and said "A fool none the less." He paused for a moment and then said "The paladin is no doubt the sort your distinguished father would want for you."


"I kind of doubt that honestly for Casavir has whole mess of his own problems that are obvious to those who look for them. But regardless I think it's my decision who I spend my time with and it will definitely not be Casavir. For one I don't find him at all attractive and for two he's got about as much personality as a tree stump or perhaps a boulder would be more appose." I said getting a bit lost in thought.


Bishop grinned widely and pulled me in for a kiss. When he pulled away he stroked my cheek and said


"Enjoy the blackberries."

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Chapter 6


"Ah there you are." Kana said as they walked in "I was hoping you would return soon. I have a report for the captain." Looking around she then asked "Where is she by the way?"


Shandra looked around too and said "She was right behind us when we arrived."


Sand rolled his eyes and said "Mystra. They're gone again." He glanced at Casavir and said "I think you're little talk made things worse rather then better and not just for you. How are we to get anything done with them constantly sneaking off?"


Casavir turned and stormed off Shandra not far behind.


Sand rolled his eyes and said "I suppose your message will have to wait Kana. Meanwhile I'll be in the library trying to make sense of Aldanon."


"As will I." Zhjaeve said nodding.


"That's what the message is about Master Aldanon wishes to speak with her."


"Hum. I will see what he wants and relay the message then." Sand said.




I grinned widely as I led Bishop away from the others as we walked through the gates. He looked at me with a raised eyebrow and then grinned as well. Once we were alone he pushed me up against the stone wall and kissed me ferociously which I returned with rising ardor. After a moment he pulled away and I began unlacing his jerkin. When he brought a hand up stopping me and asked


"What's got into you lately?"


"What do you mean?" I replied evasively.


"You know what I mean. Why have you been so eager as of late? Not that I'm complaining but…"


I couldn't help but grin. Blushing I looked away and finished "You're suspicious." I bit my lip and then murmured "You'll think it's stupid."


He ran his fingers through my hair and said smirking "Probably but you should tell me anyway."


I grinned and just looked down at our interlocked hands for a moment and then said slowly


"Jealousy get's me… excited."


I could feel myself blushing all the way up to me ears and knew without even looking at him that he was smirking widely.


He then turned my face to him and he was indeed smirking more widely and smugly then I had ever seen before. He then stroked my cheek and said


"Well that's good for I happen to be a very, very jealous man."


I smiled at him and replied "And I a jealous woman."


"Well lucky it happens to get me excited too."


I giggled and he leaned to kiss me again when we both heard someone cough. I sighed closing my eyes in annoyance and then looked to see Aldanon's assistant, Harcourt, standing at the end of the alleyway. Bishop glared harshly at him and said


"Can't you see we're a little busy here?"


Harcourt blushed and looking away said "Yes but Master Aldanon sent me to find you. He says he has urgent news concerning the whereabouts of Ammon Jerro."


"And this can't wait why?" I asked a little exasperated.


"He did not say he only said to come find you."


"Well you've found us now go away." Bishop said still glaring at him.


I sighed noticing the look the assistant had. He wasn't going to leave us be. I groaned and not the kind I had been anticipating. I leant my head against Bishop's shoulder for a moment and then said


"Fine we're on our way."


"We are?" Bishop asked.


"Yes." I then leant up and kissed him murmuring "I'll make it up to you later, promise."


"Fine." He growled giving Harcourt an absolute death stare.




"Ah hello there." Aldanon said giving that absent minded smile of his. "It's so nice of you to visit I am glad to be able to explore here. The last time I was here I didn't get to explore the Keep or the library that much at all such a shame. Was there something you wanted?"


I almost felt my jaw drop and glared back at his assistant. Who paled and said


"Master Aldanon it is you who wished to speak to the captain remember? You sent me to find her."


Sand then walked into and said


"I told him not bother you. That it could wait. It's not like the haven is going anywhere."


"You found the location of the haven?" I asked.


"Harcourt did." Sand replied nodding to the assistant.


"I see and where is it?"


"Deep in the mountains surrounded by an aura of infernal magics of course." Sand said sardonically.


I chuckled for I had always enjoyed Sand's sense of humor and replied


"Of course. What's an evil secret lair without a few demons?"


"Not very evil." He chuckled.


I then noticed Bishop's glare and stopped laughing said


"You go round up the others tell them what's going on and we'll get moving."


I then took Bishop by the arm and led him away as he was still glaring at Sand. I smiled at him and said "You're so cute when you get jealous."


Still glaring back at Sand he muttered "Is there any man here who is not after you?"


I smiled at him said "I don't know, maybe Grobnar?"


I chuckled at the look on his face and continued "But I do know that only one holds my interest and that is you my dear. Come let me prove it and how much I appreciate your concern while we have the time."




Bishop sat with his back against the headboard looking into the fire lost in thought. He was defiantly getting close a lot closer than he had ever been to any other woman.


"Anyone in general really." He thought as an after thought.


He looked down at Selene who was asleep in his lap. He stroked her hair and she smiled in her sleep snuggling closer to him. He wondered what was happening, where this was going, what he was going to do. He sighed everything was so complicated now. He wanted to trust her, to stay with her but something in him was still resistant and wanted to leave. An image then flashed in his mind, the image of her when she had shed that single tear and how it had wrenched his heart to see her hurt. He looked away into the fire again and wondered if this was what love was. There was then a loud knock at the door and he looked down to her again she didn't stir. The knock then came again louder this time along with someone shouting


"Captain? Captain Selene?"


Bishop ignored them watching her sleep. The door then opened and in walked one the Greycloaks. He stopped dead saying


"I'm sorry it's just no one answered and I thought."


"Thought you would check just to be sure." Bishop said smirking not looking up playing with her hair softly.


The Greycloak nodded and then said "The wizard Sand wished me to tell you and the Captain that he and the others are ready to go."


Bishop nodded saying "Go tell him we'll be there soon."


The Greycloak bowed saying "Of course sir."


Bishop let out a sigh as the Greycloak left. He supposed he'd have to wake her. She looked so peaceful though.




Sand waited impatiently in the entrance hall for Bishop and Selene to arrive. He knew what to expect when Selene had sent him to gather the others he just didn't think it would take so long. That's why he had sent one of the Greycloaks to fetch them. After all he was not going to get drawn into to a verbal sparing match with Bishop. He could easily outsmart the ranger though Selene always came to his defense and she was a much more difficult opponent. She had even been able to out wit him on occasion, which he found frustrating and time consuming. He sighed rolling his eyes and then noticed the Greycloak he had sent to get them returning.


"Well?" asked Sand with a raised eyebrow.


"He said they'll be here soon." The Greycloak said.


"He did?" Sand asked


"Yes sir."


"What did the Captain say?"


"Nothing sir she was still asleep."


"And he didn't berate you at all for interrupting them?"


"No sir." The Greycloak said "He was rather understanding."


"Bishop understanding?" Shandra exclaimed.


"That is an anomaly indeed." Sand agreed.


"He wasn't at all sarcastic or crude?" Shandra asked.


The Greycloak shook his head saying "No he didn't say much at all he…" the Greycloak shifted uncomfortably and continued "well he just watched the Captain sleeping."


"Leering at her I suppose." Shandra said rolling her eyes.


"No." the Greycloak said softly "It was a lot more tender then that." the Greycloak than uncomfortably asked "Is that all?"


"Yes, yes that's all. You may go." Sand said waving him away. Thinking "Hmm I suppose he really is kinder then he let's on. And I can't wait to goad him about it." He thought subsequently a broad smirk crossing his face.




"Selene." Bishop said softly "Selene wake up." he shook her a little and she rolled over murmuring


"Just a little longer. I promise to practice my herbalism later."


Bishop grinned thinking "She must think she's back at West Harbour." He then ran his hand through her hair and whispered into her ear "Are you sure? I was going to show you the best place to find blackberries and lilacs today."


She then blinked looking up at him blearily and once she noticed who it was she smiled and then pushed him lightly saying "No fair."


He kissed and replied "Who said I was fair?"


She laughed and wrapped her arms about his neck saying "Point my dear, point."


He then stroked her cheek saying "Sand says he and the others are ready to go to the Haven."


She turned her head to the side sighing and said "Very well let's get going."




I stretched as I walked into the entrance hall saying "Everyone ready to go?"


"You were the one we were waiting on you and your boy toy." Sand replied scathingly.


I rolled my eyes saying "Well sorry. I was just trying to be considerate by asking."


"Yes well try to be a little quicker next time. I'm sure there will be plenty of time for Bishop to stare at you lovingly on another date."


I raised an eyebrow at him wondering what he was talking about where as Bishop just glared at him and Shandra stared at him in disbelief while to my own disbelief I swear I saw a smirk tugging at Casavir's lips.


Smirking widely Sand said "Anyway we should be on our way if we are to make it to the haven anytime soon."




"The way is only open to those of Jerro blood." The guardian said solemnly.


"Well I'm a Jerro so open up." Shandra said defiantly.


The guardian shook his head saying "It's not as simple as that you must first go through the trials regardless to prove you are worthy."


I rolled my eyes and said "Of course we do. What are these trials of yours?"


Not responding to my sarcasm the guardian said "They are the trials of Determination, Righteousness and Sight."


"And what do we have to do in said trials?" I asked putting my chin upon my fist.


"The Trial of Sight is a test of your ability to defend yourself against unseen foes. Light the braziers to illuminate the threat and destroy it. The Trial of Righteousness is the test of being able to do what must be done to achieve the greater good even if it appears distasteful. Seek out the barbarian shaman mediating on the cliff over looking this area. He seeks a vision from his god. When he receives this vision he will unite many tribes under one banner and they will sweep over the land like a plague destroying many lives. Destroying him now will prevent this."


I looked at the guardian skeptically at this statement wondering if I should believe it's words. For how was I to know it spoke the truth what if this golems master just wanted the shaman out of the way and there was no threat. I wrinkled my nose at it and then smirked for the task did seem distasteful just as it said, and that was amusing, so perhaps it was telling the truth or perhaps not. I would go and seek out this shaman regardless and figure out what to do from there.


"The final trial is the Trial of Determination. It is a test to disregard pain, loss, and suffering in order to reach your goal whatever it may be. Go and collect burning water from the place where the water flows into the sky."


I nodded and said "Very well we shall return once we've accomplished these tasks"


As we walked back to where the braziers were I asked Shandra "Do you know anything about these trials?"


She shook her head saying "All I remember is my mother's stories about how it was inescapable labyrinth full of demons and monsters and that to get in you needed a pint of fresh blood and not just any blood it has to be Jerro blood. Though I think she was exaggerating"


I rose an eyebrow at her and said "Well let's hope so. You're no good to us dead or close to it anyway."


She then gave me a rather offended look and I heard Bishop laugh somewhere behind me I smirked chuckling as well and patting her on the arm I said


"I'm just teasing you. Well I did mean it but I was just trying to ruffle your feathers so to speak. You're so funny when get angry. To put it a nicer way I hope so because it would be unfortunate to see you hurt for I enjoy your companionship."


She looked me strangely and then nodded looking a bit confused.


I then fell back and Bishop came up next to me saying "You enjoy it don't you?"


"What?" I asked


"Confusing people." He said with a broad smirk on his face.


I gave a bit of a sly smile and said "Sometimes. Though there are times when it is hard for me to properly articulate my thoughts and there is just no stopping it. Ironic no? That a bard would have this difficulty."


"You seem to be able to find irony everywhere." He said with a wave of his hand "and as you told me once before you're not just a bard so I wouldn't worry about it."




"Huh." I said as I looked out over the field as the last of the shadows fell.


"What?" Shandra asked.


I gave a slight shrug and said "I don't know it just seemed like an interesting test. Like there's a deeper meaning to. It's intriguing and insightful. Makes you think you know? But maybe that's just me I do tend to think too much."


Casavir looked about and said "I do see what you mean lady. I believe the message is evil can strike at you from anywhere at any moment even if you can't see it so you must always be on your guard."


I nodded saying "True though I would have said misfortune rather than evil. It is important to keep constant guard there are so few people who you don't need it for." I then rubbed my am with my hand awkwardly and continued "Let's get moving."




Bishop watched her as she walked off towards geysers and wondered if he was one of those few people for she was one of his. He had realized this when they had been back at the Keep and it actually kind of scarred him how much it mattered to him that she felt the same way. The whole thing made him feel vulnerable and he didn't like it theses feelings constantly warring with in himself. She then looked over her shoulder at him and smiled a smile that always made the decision for him.




"What is that smell?" Shandra asked as we arrived at the geysers.


"Sulfur." Bishop and I said simultaneously and then grinned at each other.


"Which means what exactly?" Shandra asked


"Which means you should watch your step. These geysers tend to spit acid." Bishop replied.


I shook my head and said "Don't be ridiculous I'm the most nimble. How about the rest of you stay here and I'll go and collect some of the water."


Bishop glared and said "If you want to send someone to die why don't you send the paladin or Shandra?"


"Hey!" Shandra exclaimed while Casavir looked his normal stoic self and did not respond to his jibe.


I smiled at him and then said "What you don't think I'll be able to do it?"


He glared at me and said "Don't change the subject you know what I mean."


I smiled and walking over stroked his cheek and said "You're so sweet."


Looking away still glaring he said "Fine! But I'm not treating any burns if you get hurt."


I gave a small laugh and said "Don't worry that's what we have Zhjaeve for." I then quickly kissed his cheek and darted off.


I was able to dodge each of the small geysers and reach the large one. Once there I did a superfluous spin and caught some of the water in the vial the golem had given me."


"Quit showing off." Bishop said scowling at me.


I just smiled and threw him a wink as Shandra shook her head and said


"You just love living everyday day like it's your last don't you? That acid could have badly burnt you, you know?"


"Could have is the key phrase there." I said smirking, shaking the vial a bit and Bishop threw me another glare and I put my hands up saying "Alright, alright I'm coming back."


I then navigated my way back to the others and said to Bishop giving another spin "See I'm fine."


"Good to know." He said acidly. He then turned and stormed off.


I just shook my head smiling and went after him.




Shandra smiled after them and said "They may be a strange couple but they're also kind of cute too."


"I will agree with you that they are strange." Said Sand "A couple of cynical jaded souls coming together is rather interesting to say the least. I am also pleased that neither of them are the sappy sort. I don't think I could stand being around all that mush. I'd sooner have Neverwinter take my head."


Shandra laughed saying "I don't think we have to worry about that."




As I rounded the corner leading up to the path where we would find the shaman I was ambushed by Bishop. He grabbed a hold of me a bit roughly at first but then his touch softened and he sighed saying


"Why do you continue to vex me?"


I smiled at him and said with a giggle "Because it's so much fun."


I leant up to kiss him and he pulled away. I looked at him puzzled and then saw he was serious. I reached up and gently stroked his cheek saying


"I'm sorry. I was just playing around. I didn't mean to…"


The rest of my sentence was cut off as he kissed me so passionately that I thought I would melt. I clung to him trying what seemed like in vain to match his passion. When he broke away I said rather breathlessly


"And I'm the one who's vexing?"


He stared at me for almost a minute and then replied


"That you are."


He then turned and continued walking up the path to where the shaman was.


Lost in our own little world I didn't even notice the others had rounded the corner until Shandra touched my shoulder lightly asking


"You alright?"


I nodded and turned walking up the path to the cliff my head still spinning and almost ran into the shaman we had been sent to find.


"Greetings young one." The old man said "How can I help you?"


"I was told that you are threat to the surrounding areas. Is this true?" I asked.


"In a way." He replied "I will be a savior to my own people but bring disaster to all others. What do you plan to do about it young one?"


I frowned at him and wrinkled my nose I disliked him calling me young one it seemed pretentious. He was also just so blasé about the whole situation and something was definitely wrong with that. I then took a step forward hand on my blades and said


"Well if that's so I'm going to stop you but how do I know you're telling the truth."


"You don't." he said "You'll just have to trust your instincts. Am I lying to you?"


I looked him for a good long moment and then said


"I don't know but better safe then sorry. I'd rather have one death on my hands than hundreds possibly thousands."


The old man than smiled and said


"Good. You've chosen to do that which is necessary despite your discomfort."


He then pulled a spear out from no where it seemed and attacked. I dodged bringing my rapier and dagger out and parried his next blow and pushed him back where an arrow caught him in the shoulder and he stumbled back only to be hit by another and then a series of magic missiles and he fell to the ground. I walked up to him blade ready when his body disappeared. I jumped back and into Bishop. I looked up at him and he smirked saying


"Jumpy are we?"


I frowned and replied "You didn't find that the slightest bit odd?"


He shrugged saying "Magic is the elf's job not mine."


"True." I said "But I do have some knowledge of magic and I didn't see that coming."


I looked over at Sand and he said


"I'm thinking that the shaman was projection of some sort."


"Projection?" I exclaimed "That spear of his felt real enough to me."


Sand frowned at me and said "Just because it's a projection doesn't mean that it can't affect the world around it."


I opened my mouth to argue when I remembered Tarmas telling me the exact same thing when I was a child and promptly shut it. Shandra however asked


"What in the hells is that supposed to mean?"


"That magic can affect the world in many different ways. Even if it seems illogical, improbable magic can make it so." I said staring at the spot where the shaman had disappeared.


Sand looked at me impressed and said "Well put I must say. Though a bit more poetic than I would have put it."


I gave a shrug not responding still staring at that spot for it puzzled me all of the tests did. I then gave yet another shrug deciding I was thinking too much, as usual, and said


"Well let's get back to the guardian and tell it we've finished it's tests"




"I have completed the trials you set before me." I said to the guardian. "I lit the braziers and destroyed the shadows as well as the shaman threatening the land." I said a bit sarcastically "And collected the burning water." I then set the vial upon the stone pedestal.


"Now will you let us in?"


"Not yet the one of Jerro blood must shed some of it upon the stone. A drop will do." The guardian said solemnly.


"Great. I think my grandfather must have loved his privacy just a little too much." Shandra said.


She then took off one of her gauntlets and Bishop handed her his dagger smirking and she rolled her eyes taking it she cut her finger holding it over the pedestal. She then said


"There it's done now what?"


There was then a flash of light and she disappeared.


"We must find her!" exclaimed Casavir.


"I know!" Bishop exclaimed equally as vehement "That was my best dagger."


I grinned and gave him a little push and he just grinned back while Casavir looked disapproving, Sand just rolled his eyes and Zhjaeve made no response at all silent and stoic as ever.


When we walked in we encountered a devil the same devil that had been guarding the way to Zeeaire, Mephasm. He nodded to me and said


"Greetings, my friend. "I would say I'm surprised to see you but the long ages spent in Baator have made it so that nothing surprises me anymore."


I tilted my head to the side a bit and asked


"What are you doing here?"


"I am bound once again against my will. This time the cage stronger and more secure."


"How the hell did you get caught again?" I asked.


He smiled cryptically and said "Interesting choice of words. To answer your question the warlock who was at the githyanki complex has made this place his lair and he has many ways of reclaiming that which is lost. I was not the only powerful devil he had in his command. I along with several other Baatezu and Tanar'ri are thralls of his that fuel this place and his powers to aid him in his endeavors."


"And where is the warlock?"


"At the center of the complex." Mephasm answered "Though you will not just be able to walk in. You will have to get the assistance of my fellow captives at least three of them to open the way to the laboratory. This will be no easy task as they will most likely try to thwart or manipulate you."


"Well that's not really all that surprising." I said with a bit of a shrug "As long as no one does anything stupid we'll be fine."


Sand gave a snort and said "I suppose that means you'll have to keep your ranger in check Selene but who is going to do that for the paladin. Shandra's no where to be found."


I smiled at him sweetly and said "Why you are of course."


"Me?" Sand exclaimed.


"Yes you." I said putting my hands on my hips.


"And why is that?" he asked cocking his head to the side.


"You really expect Zhjaeve to do it?" I asked raising an eyebrow.


Sand glared at me for a moment and then smirking a bit he said "No I suppose not."


I nodded and made my way for the door wondering where Shandra was.




Shandra looked around nervously at the room she had arrived in and a female devil smiled evilly at her saying


"Well, well just when I was geting tried of Jerro blood a new vein appears."


"Wh-what?" Shandra stammered "Where am I? How did I get here?"


"My dear this entire place is directly controlled by the Jerro bloodline I imagine you got just as you entered."


Still confused and more then a little frightened Shandra asked "Where are my friends?"


"Around here somewhere." The female devil said rather blasé about it. "Not having as easy a time as you I would think. Let's not talk about them though let's talk about other things we have so much to discuss after all."




"I don't like this place at all." Bishop murmured under his breath "Makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up."


I smiled at this holding back a chuckle. Noticing this Bishop asked




I shook my head saying "Nothing. It's just Bevil once said the same about my foster father Daegun. Maybe we'll find around the next corner."


Bishop rolled his eyes and said "Oh I'm sure and be sure to introduce myself properly and tell him what a wonderful girl he raised."


I snickered and whispered "Come on let's get going."


At the end of the hall we opened the door into the room of another demon. He sniffed the air as we entered and said "It steps forward to let me see it clearly."


I rose an eyebrow at said "I'm fine here thanks."


He grinned evilly and said "It has the pip-squeak voice of a female and also that of the lesser mortal races is it female?"


"Perhaps." I replied "What's it matter?"


The demon laughed and said "It must be very stupid not to know if it's female or not. But I will give it the benefit of the doubt as mortals say. I am Baalbisan and what does it want?"


I stared at him incredulously thinking if anyone was stupid it was him. I shook my head and said "I am Selene and I'm here to ask for your assistance in opening the laboratory."


The demons eyes narrowed and he said "Why does it ask this was it sent by the female devil Hezebel to weaken me?"


"No. I don't even know who Hezebel is." I replied.


"She is the female in the next room always tormenting me by sending her erinyes to taunt me with their shrill voices and sickly sweet stench."


"I see."


"It would have to weaken her before I could comply to this request."


"Is that so? Well I'll go do that."


We then left the room through the other door.


"Your not really going to do as he says are you?" Casavir asked concernedly.


"Of course not I need to keep my options open. After I talk to this Hezebel I'll decide who we'll help. Though I doubt she could be worse than him."


Bishop grinned at this Sand and Zhjaeve nodded approvingly while Casavir looked disapproving.


I frowned myself and then asked "Casavir why do you stay with us if you always disapprove of my decisions?"


"Because he's still hoping to bed you." Bishop said sliding an arm around me in an almost protective fashion.


I smiled at him and slid my own arm around him. Casavir glared at Bishop and then said "It's because despite some of your choices. I believe in you my lady you have a good heart."


"That and you want to bed her." Bishop said in the same bored sarcastic voice though I felt his grip on me tighten.


I gave him a warm smile and kissed his cheek saying "Come on you guys we better go and see this Hezebel."




"So you want me to anger Baalbisan enough to shout out his mother's name?" I asked Hezebel a bit perplexed. "Why?"


"For power of course." Hezebel replied "Do this and I shall help you."


I looked at her for a second deciding whether I could trust her or not. She was a devil and devils always kept there word. Yet they also prided themselves on being able to keep there word and betray you at the same time. I then decided that I couldn't trust her as far as I could throw her but I'd rather help her then that idiotic balor. I nodded and said


"A favor for a favor then."




"It returns without doing as I bid it? Begone before it angers me." Baalbisan said clearly annoyed


"And what if I don't want to leave?" I asked smirking widely "I could stay here and keep you company."


"Grr… your company is unwanted mortal." He growled back.


Feigning offence I said "Aw what can of male would turn down female company?"


"So it is female!" Baalbisan exclaimed "You are treacherous and deceitful like all your kind!"


I wagged my finger at him and said "Now, now no need to be hurtful I never told you that I wasn't you just assumed I wasn't."


"Which I can't see how." Bishop said leering at me.


I grinned at him and the balor said "Enough by Bethshiva I've had enough of you mortals away with you."


I smiled widely and a bit wickedly I might add and then said entirely sarcastically "But of course forgive me oh mighty Baalbisan."


He glared at me and I flourished a bow as I made it out of the room both Bishop and Sand chuckling.




"This is wonderful. Thank you mortal. Though I do wonder why it's so short. Perhaps that is Baalbisan great secret that is mother is a lower fiend."


"Perhaps." I said simply "The portal?"


"Yes, yes of course." she said raising her hand to power the portal. There was a surge of power in the air and the portal glowed. "There you are mortal it is done."


I nodded and made my way for the exit.




"Ah what is this come forward, little tool, let Koraboros look upon you." The Pit Fiend grinned evilly and said "A gift after all this time? I am touched. Tell me little one how did you get here?"


"I'm not sure." Shandra said nervously "A demoness told me I could travel anywhere in this place and suddenly I was here."


"Blood powers this place girl. Now here you are of your own free will, and the balance shifts."


"Balance? What Balance?"


"This place is powered by the presence of the Baatezu and tanar'ri held here. It's what allows you to travel as you will and grants power to the one who commands us."


"And who is that?" Shandra asked almost demandingly.


"A powerful wizard. One whom you and your friends have been chasing for sometime, one who is forever linked to shadow. He is king of this place and his name is already known to you and your friends I think."


"The King of Shadows here?" Shandra gave a bit of gulp and then said "Well he'd better get ready for a beating for those I travel with aren't what I'd call the nicest people around. Your King of Shadows will be in for a surprise I think."


Koraboros smiled evilly and said "My dear, as long as we remain in our summoning circle the lord of this place will arise from every defeat anew, more powerful than before. And that does not bode well for your friends."




As we walked into the next room I heard a snarl and a familiar voice say "You! Zaxis can't guess how you got here but Zaxis will feast on your flesh once the master has crushed you."


I rolled my eyes and said "Nice to see you too, Zaxis."


"Were Zaxis not trapped here Zaxis would be feasting on your flesh in the bowels of the Abyss."


"I'm sure you would" I said placating the Hezrou demon "but since you are trapped. How about you help me get into the laboratory?"


"What why in the steaming hells would Zaxis ever help you?" the demon exclaimed.


"Well if you help me. I'll put in a good word for you to your master right before I kill him that is." I said smirking.


The demon laughed and said "The master will crush beneath his heel. But Zaxis doesn't want to wait for the master." The demon then raised an arm and more Hezrou demons swarmed out of the portal.


After we disposed of them I gave I bit of a sigh and said


"I'll take that as a no. Very well let us move on there are more demons and devils to bargain with in this place and we only need two more."


As we walked on down the hall to the next room I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Sand seemed to be limping a bit after that last battle with the Hezrou demons knowing him he would either stubbornly retain that he was fine or complain unceasingly until we got a break. Though I was unsure which it would be this time one could never tell with him or at least I couldn't. I then looked about inspecting the others who over the others who also looked a bit worse for wear and I decided we should find somewhere to rest. We didn't want to finally find who ever was in charge of these baatezu and tanar'ri just to not be able to do anything about when we got there. I looked around and saw a concealed door nearby so I walked over and picked the lock on it and slid the door open. I walked in the others following and after I shut the door candles sprung to life and I said looking around the room


"This'll do. I thought everyone looked like they could use a break after that last battle luckily this room is so accommodating."


I turned around and relocked the door and then turned back to give the room a good look this time. It was a large room that was for certain it also seemed to be a mixture between a bedroom and a study. In it was the largest four poster bed I had ever seen along with a desk, numerous bookshelves, and two or three tables cluttered with alchemy apparatuses, scraps of paper, quills, and regents for who knows what kind of experiments. Karnwyr yipped and ran jumping up on the bed he curled up at the foot of it tucking his nose underneath his tail. I laughed softly. I guess that settled who would be sleeping in the bed. Bishop smirked and walked over to the bed sat down and after scratching the wolf behind his ears then began taking off his boots. I walked over and sat down beside him still examining the room. Bishop leant over and whispered into my ear


"Want to examine the ceiling?"


I grinned widely and could not suppress a giggle and replied softly "I'd love to but what of our companions?"


He reached over and pulled a nearby cord which hid us from view. I laughed again and said


"So much for rest!"


I then pulled him close helping him out of his armor and clothings. He winced as I brushed against his shoulder and I asked


"Are you hurt?"


He shook his head not answering. I frowned at him and said


"What's wrong?"


"Nothing." He replied turning away from me scratching Karnwyr's ears again.


Seeing the huge bruise across his back and judging from his tone it was not. I leant forward gently ran my fingers down his back singing softly the bruise disappearing as I did so. He winced and looked back at me. I looked away and said


"You don't have to tell me if you don't want to. Just know I'm here for you if you do and I always will be."




Bishop sat there stunned unsure of what to say or to do. Why did she have to be so damned understanding all the time sometimes he wished she would yell at him, hit him, do something a normal woman would do. At least then he would know how to react. She always kept him on his toes with her unpredictability though that was probably what made him stick around he tended to leave rather quickly when it came to normal women. He then reached out and taking her hand he stared at it and said


"As hard as it is to believe I know this and it will just take time for me to get use to. I've never put my trust in someone who didn't betray me later."


"I would never betray you Bishop." She said softly "I… I care about you way too much to betray you."


He gave an almost ironic smile thinking "So she's too scared to say it too." He then leant forward and kissed her saying


"Again as strange as it sounds I believe you and I care about you too."


He then wrapped his arms around her and just held her until they both fell asleep.




I woke up to Karnwyr growling. I sat up to see Casavir standing at the end of the bed and couldn't help but smirk at Karnwyr's growling. It seemed he didn't like him anymore than Bishop did. I reached forward and patted him saying


"Shhh that's a good boy."


Casavir looked warily at the wolf and said


"It is your watch milady."


I nodded and said "Ok thank you. You go and get some rest."


He nodded and walked off to his bedroll. I sat up stretching and grabbed my rapier setting it with in reach so as to be prepared. I then leant forward and patted Karnwyr and smiled. The wolf thumped his tail and licked my hand.


"Yes good boy." I said softly.


I looked back at Bishop and bit my lip I was scared. Scared out of my mind as to where this was going. I sighed at this thought knowing this had to of been the thousandth time it had gone through my mind but I couldn't help it especially now after the talk we had just had after we had reached the point of no return. I then sighed and sat up straight off the edge of the bed my sword on my lap and finished my watch.




As we walked down the hall to find the next fiend I looked about curiously and seeing an open door nearby I looked at it suspiciously and moved closer noticing a trap I leant down and began to disable it.




I frowned and waved a hand saying


"Don't bother me now. I'm busy."


"No one is trying to bother you Kalach – Cha." Zhjaeve said quietly.


"One of you said my name didn't you?" I asked looking over my shoulder.


They all shook there heads and smirking Sand said


"Hearing voices are we? I knew there had to be something wrong with you."


I glared at him and said "I swear I heard…"


"Selene can you hear me it's Shandra."


"Shandra?" I asked confused.


The others looked at me even more strangely and I thought "Where are you?"


"Somewhere here in the haven I've been jumping around and haven't gotten a hold of it yet." I heard her voice say again "But that's not the point. The demons and devils caged here have told me that their master is invincible."


I frowned at this and thought "Everyone has a weakness. It's just a matter of finding it."


"Well that's what they say…" she trailed off. I then heard her say "What?" as if distracted and felt the connection sever. I shook my head trying to clear it and felt a familiar hand on my shoulder. I looked to see Bishop looking at me a bit concernedly and I smiled saying


"Well that was interesting. Shandra seems to of gained the ability to speak telepathically."


"Where is she?" asked Casavir "Is she alright?"


"She seemed to be and I don't know where she is nor did she. Hopefully we'll find her later. For now let's investigate this room."


I then walked into the nearby room keeping an eye out for more traps. We were soon ambushed by mephitis. After disposing of them and the traps we came upon another one well it was actually it was more of an imp really but he seemed not to be able to see us. His gaze was fixated on the bookshelf before him on one particular book in fact. I took a step forward and grabbed the book in question.




"A visitor is it that is a rare thing in this place. Tell me mortal what have you come here for?"


"I have come to learn more of both Ammon Jerro and the silver sword of Gith but on a more immediate note I've come to acquire your help in getting into the laboratory." I answered thinking "A pit fiend huh? Out of all these demons and devils he has to be the one I'm most interested in meeting. 'The seers of plots within plots' as they were called. Too bad we didn't have time to chat."


"I see." Said the pit fiend "I am Koraboros and may just be able to help you, after you do me a favor."


"And that would be?" I asked figuring I already knew what it was.


"An imp who serves as my eyes and ears of this place has gone missing and I wish you to find him." Koraboros replied.


"Ah I already did that he was in a nearby room trapped by reading the wrong phrase out of a book."


"Interesting." Said the pit fiend "Might I see this book?"


I looked at him warily and then thought "Might as well for I doubt the master of this place would leave something that could free his servants just lying around no matter how difficult it is to get in here."


"Fascinating. You would do well to hold on to that. I believe you will find one of the phrases useful." He said smiling wickedly as he handed it back.


I frowned and said "I don't suppose you're going to tell me which of these phrases now will you?"


The devil still grinning wickedly said "No I'm not. I'm afraid the Master would not be pleased if I instructed you in the use of such a valuable tool."


I rolled my eyes and said "Of course not. The portal if you will."


"Very well – you have no idea just how much you helped me. I shall open the portal as agreed."


I nodded and headed out the door to the next demon. As we entered the hall we were ambushed by succubi and after defeating them I was rather annoyed because I figured that if the mistress of the succubi was hostile before we even met it was going to be difficult to convince her to help me.


A succubus in a long red gown, bright red lips, flowing red hair greeted me smiling and said


"Well done! You have earned you audience."


I raised an eyebrow at her and asked


"You're not the slightest bit upset at me for killing your followers?"


"Not at all they are here for my amusement and nothing else. Though I do long for more masculine company."


I saw Sand smirk and as if ready to present himself and I couldn't help but grin myself rather amused. The succubus looked about our company at the males of our group and her gaze lingered on Bishop a little longer than I would have liked. I took a step towards him watching her.


She grinned widely at this and said "This one is yours is he? I very much approve. A dark soul torn with so much hardship, loss, and betrayal, a soul like a dagger barely kept in it's sheath. What back does that dagger seek I wonder?"


My eyes narrowed glaring at her as she seemed to look through me at him. I suddenly didn't care if we got her help. In fact I'd rather kill her for her pretentious attitude and the way she was looking at him.


Bishop glared at her as well and said "Taunt and tempt all you want demon witch your little act bores me."


She pouted and said "Aw well you know if this form doesn't please you I could always change into the form of your lady here. Maybe that would stir that heart of yours"


"Pfft hardly. Who needs you when I've got the real thing right here."


I smiled for about half a second until she said "Such restrained anger I hope it translates well for the both of you this evening. Now please I am Blooden tell me what you have come to see me for."


"I wanted to ask for your help in opening a portal to the laboratory." I replied.


She frowned and then said "How boring I was hoping it would be something a little more exciting. Perhaps a little blood letting will brighten my sprits. Servants!"


A group of three succubi then swarmed out of the portal and attacked us.




I swung my blade down the last of the succubi falling with the blow. I then rolled my head on my shoulders and looking at Blooden asked


"So are you going to help us or not?"


Completely ignoring me she said "Oh that was so much fun just like back when Koraboros used to send his hell hounds over. I wonder why he stopped doing that? I'd ask myself if I wasn't stuck in this circle and he kills all my messengers."


"So if I convince him to continue this you will help me?"


"That I will mortal." She said smiling.




"You wish me to send my pets to attack Blooden? What makes you think I would do this with Zaxis right around the other corner?"


"Why not what's the risk?" I asked. I was getting bored of these fiends and their errands.


"Pride is the risk mortal. Insulting one another by parading our minions through each others territories is all we have small victories but victories none the less. Though I will give Blooden the battle she desires. A refusal could be interpreted as a sign of weakness or fear."


He then raised his hand and summoned forth his minions.




Blooden smiled at the gory mess on the ground and said


"Oh that was just like old times thank you mortal!"


She then raised her hand and activated her own portal and I stepped through to the laboratory. I looked about and carefully took a step forward. A loud gonging noise sounded and I closed my eyes swearing inwardly.


"Way to go Selene. Looks like you just triggered a trap." Bishop said


I glared at him and he just smirked.


The warlock who had been interfering with just about everything then walked in and said


"Intruders… unbidden and unwelcome. Are you prepared to pay the price?"


I rolled my eyes and said "Why am I not surprised to find you here?"


His eyes narrowed and he said "You! How you got here is a mystery, but it is a mistake that will soon be rectified." He then grinned evilly and said "Why what is this? You have brought gifts. I shall take the shards from your hands and your corpse."


I then jumped dodging a spell he shot at me and subsequently brought my blades up to block the attack of a summoned demon. It roared and swiped again with it's other claw and I jumped out of it's way and stabbed it in the throat. As it disappeared another charged me only to be shot down by a series of arrows. I smiled over at Bishop and he nodded saying


"Watch yourself Selene. I'd get rather cold at night if you weren't there."


He smirked and I grinned back at him only to see a lighting spell coming his way. I quickly moved pushing him out of the way. I slumped down a bit as the spell hit me and Bishop spun about firing his arrows at the warlock Karnwyr charging forward after him. Distracted Sand was able to set off a series of his own spells disabling the warlock's protection spells. Bishop's next arrow caught the warlock in the shoulder knocking him to the ground.


"Fools!" the warlock said "You really think you can defeat me here! This place, this haven is the source of my power, my weapon all trapped here fuel my power!"


I stepped back as I felt the area around him surge with power, wind whipping out of nowhere. As the wind got even more fierce I swear I heard Shandra whisper


"Goodbye my friend."


A look of pain crossed the warlocks face and the wind died down him disappearing in a flash.


"After him you never let a wounded mage escape!" Bishop shouted running through the portal.




I watched Shandra fall as we walked through the portal with a look of shock on my face. I had always known this could happen at anytime but it was still rather disquieting. I looked up to hear Bishop say


"Well there goes the one woman willing to sleep with you Paladin."


Unable to help myself I let out a laugh I then turned and hit him on the shoulder saying


"This is no time for jokes!"


He shrugged and said "You thought it was funny."


"Not the point. We can't just let him get away."


"True." Said Bishop "I say we kill do to him what he did to her."


I looked at Ammon Jerro angrily who was staring at Shandra's body.


"Are you sad Ammon?" I asked scathingly "Now that there are no more Jerros for you to kill."


"There is one more the one that stands before you… but stay your weapons, your spells lest this tragedy give birth to another. Kill me now and this place will collapse upon us all. I have done a great wrong but perhaps it is not too late to rectify it. There is not much power left in my haven but there is enough left to get us all out of here."

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Chapter 7


I sat there staring into the fire as everyone around me bickered about what to do about Ammon. I knew what we were to do but I thought I'd let them talk it out amongst themselves so as to get it out of their systems. I looked up upon hearing


"Selene will know what to do?"


I looked to all of them and then to Ammon and then back to the fire and said


"He will stay with us. We need him to defeat the King of Shadows but…" I said looking directly at him "The time will come when you will have to pay for all that you have done. As I'm sure you know." I looked away again saying softly "Dabbling in the dark arts is a dangerous business and one that's not usually worth it in the long run."




Bishop stared at her and wondered if there was something she was not telling him for she spoke as if from personal experience. He stepped forward to talk to her about it when Sir Nevalle walked in and said


"Captain Selene I need to have a word with you."




I sighed wondering what it could be and stood up. I walked over to him and asked


"What is it?"


He raised an eyebrow at my tone but ignored it saying


"Lord Nasher wishes to speak to you and to you alone."


"Really? What about?" I asked cocking my head to the side a bit.


"That is his business. You are to do as you're told. If not this keep will have a new captain by night fall." He replied harshly.


I raised an eyebrow at him and said


"You want to give this place to someone else? That's fine by me. I've been wanting to leave since I got here."


I looked over my shoulder and said "Anyone want to come with me?"


They all just stared at me dumbstruck until Casavir walked over next to me and said


"I shall follow you my lady."


"The hell you will paladin." Bishop said walking up and standing between the two of us.


I smiled and wrapped my arms about his waist whispering "We could go find that hidden trail of yours."


He smirked and whispered back


"It's rather cruel to tease ladyship."


"Since when do you care? And who said I'm teasing?"


A fire seemed to light in his amber eyes and I suspect he was having a hard time not just dragging me out of there right now. I reached up and stroked his cheek murmuring


"If only, if only…"


I then turned back to Nevalle and said "Though I suspect the good knight here wasn't being serious. Let us be off then Nevalle. Places to be, things to do, and people to kill. Is that about right?"


Nevalle only nodded disconcerted by my statements.




Bishop watched after her for a moment then turned around and remembered everyone was here so he turned back around and left the tavern ignoring the rumblings of his companions. It was raining and rather hard too; strange that he would forget such a thing. He looked up and scowled at the on coming rain he then quickly looked back down feeling as if someone was watching him, his eyes locked with Selene's who was indeed watching him from afar. She and Nevalle were at the gates getting ready to leave. She gave him a small smile and then looked away. Was she blushing? After all those nights spent together and all the innuendos she blushes when he catches her watching him? He just couldn't figure her out. He shook his head water droplets flying off his hair and face. He then turned and made his way to the shop figuring he could probably buy some ale off the kolbold.




I sighed as Nevalle and I entered Castle Never looking around at the assembled nobles there. I wondered what they were here for. What I was here for.


"There is a growing darkness in our lands." Nevalle said slowly "The King of Shadows grows in power as does his army and Crossroad Keep may be the only thing that stops him and his forces from reaching Neverwinter. Because of this and all you've done for Neverwinter Lord Nasher wishes to honor you by naming you a knight of Neverwinter."


"Thank you Sir Nevalle."


"Do not thank me you have more than earned it. It is your name that is being spoken as if the very name itself will keep them safe. It is you who has raised Crossroad Keep to the force that it is. Even Sand has been known to say a kind word or two about you." Nevalle said with a smirk.


I grinned back and he said


"Come follow me." gesturing me to follow.


I followed him down a hallway and into a small room. He walked over to a chest and opened it pulling out a cloak and a rather large sword. He handed them to me saying


"These are symbols of your knighthood. The cloak is imbued with many enchantments that will help you in following days."


"And the blade?" I asked holding up the sword.


"It is merely one of ceremony, one that has been used in all knightings."


"I see." I said thinking "Well that's rather boring."


"Let us be off then." Nevalle said "Many nobles from all over Neverwinter have come to witness this event."


I nodded ready for the ceremony to be over.


As we walked into the antechamber I felt a chill go down my spine something was about to go wrong and I looked about searching for it as Nevalle blathered on about what a fine example of knighthood I was. I then heard the click of a crossbow and swiveling around I saw the gate to the Great Hall close followed by a wailing noise.


I threw aside the ceremonial sword I had been given as a swarm of undead entered the room and drew my rapier.




I swung my sword downward beheading the last of the undead. I looked around and sighed. The undead had killed all but Nevalle myself and single guard who was trembling and covered in blood.


"Poor guy." I thought "He's never seen this level of combat before or at least not this level of destruction."


I put a hand on his shoulder and he jumped. Once he saw me he straightened up and said




I gave him a faint smile and said


"It's alright you did a good job."


It felt cheesy but I knew that such things were often said for a reason and actually appreciated most of the time and indeed I saw him brighten up a bit and he smiled back saluting me he said


"Thank you Captain."


"Come we must evacuate to a safe room." Nevalle said.


I nodded and we made are way to a nearby guard room.


"And here I had heard you were rather cold-hearted." Nevalle said smirking again.


I smirked back and said "That's heartless sir."


"Well forgive me my lady." he replied grinning and giving a small bow.


I laughed softly and doing my best imitation of a curtsy I said "You are forgiven and yes I have been called such numerous times but everyone needs a little kindness now and then."


"Very true captain, very true." He then opened the door to the safe room and we went in. Securing the door behind him he then turned and said


"We need to see to the safety of Lord Nasher. The castles ancient defense mechanism has been activated that was the wailing sound you heard. It was devised to seal the castle in case it was ever under attack. Something we thought would never happen. Unfortunately it has cut us off from Lord Nasher. You must get to him or all is lost."


My first thought was "Why me?" but I then sighed inwardly and thought "Because it always has to be me. Everyone else was always too busy, too incompetent, or too scared. I looked at Nevalle and wondered which one he was. I then replied


"Very well how I am to do this if the castle is sealed? You know of a secret passage I presume?"


He nodded and said "That I do go out search around the tapestries in the hall. One of them should hold an entrance to Neverneath the chambers below Castle Never. It has been sealed for ages yet it is said to open when the castle is in danger, a path for the defenders of Neverwinter. Make your way to Lord Nashers side I shall be there as soon as I can."


I nodded and slipped out the door and into the shadows. I slipped past the undead swarming the halls and found my way to passage Nevalle had described. Once inside I heard the stone slide back into place. I kept a sharp eye out for anyone or anything that could be hiding in the shadows, just because this place was secret didn't mean others couldn't find their way in. I was here after all. I made my way cautiously forward until I came to room with a large statue in it and three doors all which appeared to be locked magically and nigh unpickable. I frowned wondering how I was to proceed forward when I heard a male voice say


"Be aware that you approach the sepulcher of Lord Halueth Never."


My eyes flicked about the room looking for the source and landed upon the statue.


"Yes." It said "It was I who spoke and you should be aware. There are many dangers in this place. It was designed to purge those unworthy to approach our lord."


"Is that so?" I asked "Who are you and how am I to prove my worth?"


"My duty in life, and my pact in death, is the defense of this castle I built with my two hands. Continue onward if you are a friend of Neverwinter you have nothing to fear. If not your presence will be cleansed." He replied.


I frowned thinking that was not much of an answer but knowing these ancient statue guardian types I wasn't going to get a better one they seemed to enjoy being difficult and why not vexing random adventurers is probably the only amusement they got out of life. I then turned as the door to my right creaked open. After fighting my way through a couple of mephits I found myself in a similar room with another statue after watching it for a moment it's eyes looked to me and said


"Mine are the hands that built Neverwinter, but not with out my loyal fingers. How many fingers have I?"


I cocked my head to the side and thought "Is this really to be a series of riddles about Neverwinterean history?" I shrugged and subsequently thought "Good a way as any to protect something for only those that knew its history would know how to get through. Which would most likely or at least hopefully be one of Neverwinter's own ranks but it could also be one that knew about this before hand (which seems unlikely as Nevalle didn't even know about it. At least he didn't tell me.) or one who was lore savvy in general." I then placed my chin in my hand and answered the statues question.




"Correct." The statue replied "These hands led the Nine fingers to victory over Illusk."


After fighting my way through more mephits and answering more questions I found myself in the tomb of Lord Never. I found it curiously ironic a sun elf would be entombed underground and I smirked. I then noticed on the ground that was something engraved


"The Nine will protect my resting place from any who approach, but one of the Nine is missing. Take his place to join my side."


I cocked my head to the side a bit and said to myself in a bit of an undertone


"Maybe it's just me what with growing up with Daeghun and all his cryptic messages but these clues and riddles seem ridiculously easy."


I then shook my head and stepped forward around the circle of blades and into the empty space taking the Rod of Never from the lord's side. I then stepped back slowly and moved to the chests that lined the walls. As I crouched before one of them picking the lock rather mechanically my mind began to wander.


"I miss Bishop."


Was the first thing that spring to mind and flush spread across my cheeks and I got angry at myself wondering why of now of all times was I acting like some blushing milk maid when I already had him.


"Can one really lay claim to one so elusive as he though?" I thought secondarily.


The lockpick then snapped and I was brought out of my reverie. I sighed figuring maybe I was thinking too much. I did have a propensity to do that after all. One of my, what seems at times numerous, faults. I then decided to focus and with the rest of my pick opened the chest. When it popped open I looked in and saw a variety of magical items which must be worth a small fortune but for the first time this didn't bring a smile to my face. I turned about and leant upon the chest resting my chin upon my fist thinking, my eyes staring unseeingly at the statues and circle of blades. It was really starting to irritate me though I had no time to dwell on it now. I grumbled under my breath and stuffed the items in the chest into my bag of holding I suppose I would talk to Bishop when I returned but for now I needed to go and help Lord Nasher.




As I exited Neverneath I heard the sounds of battle coming through what seemed a solid wall. I flitted my fingers about it looking for something that would open the passage. Once I found it the wall slid open silently, which honestly puzzled me for it had obviously not seen a lot of use, I then saw in front of me Lord Nasher's throne and I kicked it as hard as I could. Not very stealthy as was my normal approach but I was irked and didn't much care. As I entered the room the Shadow Reaver turned toward me and roared. I brought my blade level to it and it got ready to charge when Lord Nasher beheaded it from behind. The Shadow Reaver fell and almost melted into the ground as they all did returning to reform within the mere.


I then looked up to Lord Nasher and pushing a lock of hair from my eyes I said


"You all right?"


"Indeed." He replied "Though I should see to the men stationed on the walls and in the keep." He added as a bit of an after thought.


His shoulders seemed to slump a bit and he continued "This King of Shadows is powerful more so than I thought."


His eyes then flicked to Rod of Never in my hand as Nevalle ran in through the just opened gates and trying to compose himself he said


"Is that the Rod of Never you carry? Please let me see it."


I nodded and handed it over.


"It seems something good has come out of this after all." Lord Nasher said "With this I will be able to unlock some of the secrets of Castle Never. I think this enemy is afraid to face Neverwinter and all her knights in open combat which now includes you Selene of West Harbor. Kneel and be knighted."


"But milord there are certain protocols one must go through…" Nevalle stated


Lord Nasher scowled at him and said "Nevalle I knighted you at Redfallow's Watch in the mud with orcs surrounding us. I think ceremony can wait."


I smirked and Nevalle closed his mouth and looked the other way. I kneeled before Lord Nasher as he knighted me and when I arose he said


"Knight Captain Selene I will be needing all my knights in this coming battle. You especially for if there is to be any light against this shadow I believe it will be you and the fortress I have granted you. For this reason among many others I offer you the honor of joining the Neverwinter Nine the guardians and protectors of the land and more importantly its people."


I froze unsure of how best to phrase my response for I had not been keen on being a knight in the first place for it seemed to tie me even more to a particular place I had no intention of staying for the rest of my days or anywhere. Shaundakul called me.


I then took a bow before him and said "I am sorry my lord but I must decline. I believe I will have my hands full with the keep but I am honored by your request."


"Very well." He replied "Perhaps I can get you to reconsider after this battle is over. But on to the matter at hand there is much to be discussed."

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