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Drielle's Tale (working title)


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As I stumbled through the darkness all I could hear were the words in that deep sinister tone "Hand over your ward". That phrase just wouldn't stop echoing through my mind. What did that huge armored figure want with me? What would I do without Gorion? Why was I important to anyone? Dawn was breaking and the morning coming was the most unwelcome I can ever remember. In the light of day I must face my reality.



"Heya, its me Imoen."


Gods I almost jumped out of my skin. But even that familiar irritation was welcome right now. The completely irritating bane of my childhood. My playmate and tormentor of sanity Imoen of the garish clothes and funky hair. I am so glad to see her.


"How did you get here, Immy?" I asked her in what I hoped was an even tone.


"I read the note and figured you would come this way. Where is Gorion?" She asked.


"I am not sure we were attacked last night by a huge man in dark spikey armor, with at least two ogres and there was at least one more that I didn't get a good look at." "We must backtrack and find Gorion." "Immy, he was looking for me." "He wanted to kill me!" "Are you sure you want to come with me?"


I was really hoping she would say yes, but after years of being the only children at Candlekeep and being in the habit of protecting her I had to give her an out. Although not much younger than I she always seemed such a child. Whether it was my elven blood or just her way I had no way of comparing. She was the only other child I had ever gotten to know.

Although there were times I could have cheerfully choked her she was my best friend.


"Now where else would I go? I ask you? Through thick and thin, Imoen and Drielle the terrible twosome."


"But Immy this is real danger not just a prank." "There were two lowlifes that tried to kill me before we left Candlekeep." "Someone wants me dead, I have no idea why or who." "I don't want you to get hurt."


"I am coming with you Drielle and that is final. Unless you push me away I will stay with you no matter what. You are the only family I have ever had. Don't say anything else." That mulish expression was familiar.


I quit trying to change her mind. I didn't want to anyway.


"We should head back that way. That is the way I came."


I didn't get in much of a rush I was almost sure what I would find when I got there. But much too soon for my liking I recognized the rock patterns of the night before.


"We're almost there kiddo."


For once Immy didn't even gripe about being called kiddo. Bad sign. Was nothing normal anymore?


"NO!! Gorion!"


I saw a familiar robe on the ground and too many bloodstains to have a lot of hope. I ran to the robed figure lying on the ground. Gorion the only parent I ever had was dead. Scenes from my childhood flashed through my mind. Skinned knees, childish triumphs, hot cocoa to soothe my nightmares all those and more. Tears washed my dirty face. Immy joined me in my sorrow.

I am ashamed to say in that moment the logical, focused Drielle was at a total loss.


I just knelt by Gorion in a numb disbelief.






"Well met fellow travellers. It looks as if you might use some assistance."


I heard a really great male voice say. It must be my elven blood but I really like people with musical rich speaking voices and this one was killer. Even in my grief I noticed it. Magic voice or not he was a stranger so I came to my feet drawing my steel.


"Who are you? What are you doing here? What do you want?" I heard Imoen pulling her bowstring.


"Easy lassies, my name is Kalon. I camped a little way over that direction and last night I heard shouting and saw flashes of light. I decided to check it out in the light of day. "

That voice was connected to the most striking eyes I have ever seen. They were amber and almost seemed to be lit from within. For some reason I trusted those eyes. I don't know why, I generally have a suspicious nature. I've always been seen as beautiful by most so sometimes the attention given to me was not of a welcome nature. I tend to be standoffish and many think me cold. I've even been called haughty.


"Did you see anyone else?" I asked suspiciously.


" No, I'm sorry I haven't seen anyone but you, this day"


Those eyes seemed to be looking into me like a mirror. What was he looking for? Being caught offguard didn't help my manners.


"Were you sent by the dark giant? Who do you work for?" I snapped the questions as well as any duke I'd ever seen at Candlekeep.


"I know no dark giant. I am on a quest looking for my brother. The only lead I have is that he is somewhere on the Sword Coast." I noticed he wore two swords and looked at ease doing it. He also had some really fine chain that looked soft as silk. I'd bet my last gold piece it is enchanted.


Truth, I could sense it. I am no magic user but I have the knack of knowing truth and some small things about people sometimes. It gives me quite an edge sometimes. I am rarely mistaken, I trust that inner knowing.


I motioned Imoen to put down her bow. I noted she was reluctant. Interesting.


Even more amazing she hadn't said a word.


"We must take care of my father, he must be laid to rest. I am no cleric but there should be words said over him."


"I would assist you, I will dig while you put him to rights"


"Thank you, we would appreciate that. My name is Drielle and this is my friend Imoen. We came from Candlekeep. I am sorry if I was short with you. It has been a difficult day already."


"I am honored to make your acquaintance Drielle and Imoen of Candlekeep. Might I ask what happened here?"


For the first time I really looked at him. Gods, he was the most attractive male I have ever seen. Tall, really tall, 6' 6" at least silvery hair with a few strands of dark mixed in, just enough to make the silver that much more striking. Some sort of golden cast to his skin. I wanted to touch it to see it's texture. I realized I needed to say something.


"My father and I left Candlekeep yesterday. When darkness fell we were attacked by a large figure with a deep voice and dark armor, two ogres and at least one more figure that was smaller but I couldn't see. The dark figure told Gorion to hand me over. Gorion told me to run. I should have stayed and helped but instinctively I obeyed. I will not run again! "


"Please will you dig?"


He walked over to a pretty spot under a nearby tree and with a large branch began to make a trench.


I went through Gorions things taking gold and a few scrolls and an interesting bag he was carrying. I would go through it better when I had a private moment. I also looted the ogres I didn't have a whole lot of coin so anything that could be sold was useful.


Imoen appeared frozen just staring at nothing.


"Immy, look at me. We have to get it together. I don't know what is coming but we have to get to the Friendly Arm Inn. Gorion told me to go there and meet some friends of his maybe they can help us."


Her eyes started to clear, almost like she had been thralled.


"Drie, what is happening. You know we can't get back to Candlekeep without a high priced book. What are we going to do?"


"Didn't you hear me we are going to the Friendly Arm Inn. Haven't you went there with Winthrop? Gorion said he had friends there we should go to."


"Who is that?" pointing at Kalon digging a trench.


"His name is Kalon. Weren't you paying attention?"


"I guess Gorion's body like that just overwhelmed me. I don't remember anything after I put down my bow and really looked at it"


"Well get your act together. We can't be spacing out. I have no idea what dangers may be coming at us we have to stay alert."


Kalon was walking back to us. I saw the trench was down to the rock which wasn't far below the surface here.


"We will lay him in the trench and cover him with these stones. I can't dig any deeper with the tools I have at hand"


"I am sorry I should have helped you"


"It was nothing lass. Now with your permission I should take him over there."


I nodded, I couldn't seem to voice anything. Putting my father in a hole was just too final for me to find words to say.


Kalon picked up Gorion's body as if it weighed nothing and gently placed him in the trench he had dug.


I walked over mulling what to say. Although I was always a bookworm and have read a great many of the tomes in Candlekeep. Gorion wasn't a particularly devout man. So I quoted a passage from a book from a dead faith that once worshipped a god called Amunator. It was about the dying of the light and seemed to fit the occasion since it also said the light would come back to vanquish the darkness.


We three stacked the stones and made a cairn over my father.


My childhood was over.

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As we trekked north toward Friendly Arm. We killed some really awful gibberlings there was some kind of sickness in them. We were attacked by a bear that we were lucky to keep off balance and kill without taking any wounds. We saw a messenger that said things about an iron shortage Amn and bandits. He was going so fast I didn't make a lot of sense of what he was saying.


Kalon came with us. I walked over to make conversation. Although I really had no idea of what to say. This man who had seen me at perhaps my weakest moment. In reality what did I know of him besides he had helped us. Trusting my instincts and liking his eyes suddenly seemed a bit silly.


Thankfully he started the conversation.


"I know your pain, I too lost my parents not that long ago. "


I studied him gravely. He was to me gorgeous. Manly without being coarse. He moved gracefully and carried himself well. Obviously at ease with himself.


"Tell me of your parents and your childhood"


"I was raised by foster parents from the age of five. My father was a weaponsmaster of a small keep, and my mother was a retired thief. She fell in love with my father and gave up liberating purses and coin from the rich of the city. She used to tell me great stories before bedtime. My father taught me to use my swords. He was once a renowned swordmaster but took the position at the keep because he was tired of the adventurers life. My childhood was happy."


"What of your 'real' parents?"


"Of my father I know nothing. My mother was a beautiful frail woman who wasted away and died when I was five. She was staying with my foster parents so when she passed really nothing changed for me. I did love her even though I found her remote and hard to fathom sometimes."


"Tell me of Drielle of Candlekeep."


I gathered that was enough of his past for now. He had something that troubled him. I resolved to find out more another time if he stayed with us.


Strangely I laughed it sounded rough but suddenly things weren't quite as black as a moment before.


"Just Drielle, or Drie if you prefer. Dreille of Candlekeep sounds kinda stuffy and presumptious. I can't go back to Candlekeep unless I have a book of great worth and significance to pay for entrance. That is the rule of the fortress."


"I see, I had heard that about Candlekeep but since you were a resident I would have thought it wouldn't apply."


"Gorion brought me to Candlekeep as an infant. It was only by his grace that I was accepted there without him I can't go back. He was known as a great sage, so he was allowed and even welcomed there."


"What was it like to grow up in a fortress of knowledge?"


"For me it was easy. I loved the books. I can't remember when I couldn't read. The books were my friends they took me to other worlds and places. Told me stories of people and things both mundane and beyond belief. Taught me about the world outside. I had Imoen to play with and even though you might find her a trial she is loyal, sweet and sometimes too naive. I have always felt a need to protect her 'innocence' for lack of a better word. I will confess a dark secret to you. I had a lot of friends. Candlekeep is full of cats and I love them in fact they are something I will sorely miss. I used to sneak off with a book or two and read to the cats in the hayloft."


Kalon looked at me oddly and began to laugh.


"If you promise not to tell I will admit I too have a great fondness for cats. Milking the cow was one of my chores and I was forever getting in trouble with my mother for squirting milk to the cats."


"What is so funny? Are you making fun of my hair again Drie?"


"No Immy we were talking about cats"


Imoen snorts inelegantly "I should have known. You like cats more than people. I swear. As long as you aren't making fun of me I will go back to scouting"


"Just don't go too far and be careful."


" I never missed having a mommy I always had Drie" Immy threw back over her shoulder as she went back to scouting ahead.


" So why are you coming with us Kalon? I am glad you did but you never said where you were going, only that you were searching for your brother."


"All I know is my brother is somewhere on the Sword Coast. I don't even know what he looks like. I do know that I will recognize him when I see him. My mother left a journal that spoke of him. I have a little of an extra sense that says he is here somewhere. Travelling with you serves me as well as any other direction. It is safer to travel with a group. I feel drawn to you. Must be our shared love of cats. (Gods that man has a gorgeous smile) So if I may I would like to travel with you until our paths diverge for some reason. I am well versed with my swords and if you like I will teach you swordsmanship as well to earn my place."


"You may travel with me if you desire. I would tell you though someone powerful seems to want me dead. I could be a dangerous companion to have. As for swordsmanship I will be glad to spar with you. It was one of my passions at Candlekeep. I sparred with the guards and many of the men at arms of visiting dignitaries. I enjoy it. I have some small skill with the blade. I should also tell you I know somewhat of the sneaksman's trade. It sometimes comes in handy."


"Well beautiful Drie you take me by suprise little bookworm who loves cats. We should make a camp soon and see if indeed you are proficient with that.. no those swords. I just now noticed you have two swords that is a rare feat. Forgive me for judging you by your appearance but one with your looks would seem to have no use for swords. You could wound with a look from those gorgeous grey eyes of yours. I somehow thought you were a spellcaster since you were such a bookworm."


"I have one or two talents but I am not a spellcaster. I don't have the right temprament to memorize just to forget and have to memorize again. That study was never one I enjoyed. Immy is coming back and it looks as if she has found a couple unwary hares. Rabbit stew would make a nice dinner let us make camp for the night. When the stew is on then I will spar with you for a bit."


We quickly built a fire and put on the rabbits and some vegetables to simmer.


"Would you spar with me Kalon? Till dinner is done."


Kalon came to his feet and came toward me drawing his swords. Gods that man moves like a cat. Poetry in movement like a dancer yes but more like one of those monks from Kara-Tur. I remembered them from Candlekeep. Men who carried no weapons because they needed none. I watched them in the training yard a couple times while they were there. They did what I called a dance of death is was lethal and awesome to watch. Kalon moved like that.


Getting my head out of the clouds I drew my swords. I knew I had a small talent with my swords. Living with either scholars or soldiers for company most of my life. The guardsmen of Candlekeep had enjoyed giving me lessons as a child. I have many great memories of those big bluff men. As I got older it became less of a game because they wanted to improve my natural talent. When other guards came with high ranking visitors I sometimes trained with them. In the past few years I have won a lot more sparring matches than I lost. I am elven so I am small and quick I rely much on speed instead of raw power. As I mentioned before I have a small talent for reading people. Sometimes that comes in handy if you can sense their moves. It doesn't always work but you take any edge you can get when you are fighting someone 2 or 3 times your weight. I had never had cause to use my skills for deadly purpose until I had met those oafs at Candlekeep trying to kill me. They were unskilled, perhaps the one who wanted me dead wasn't so bad after all if that was his choice of assasin.


Wow that makes me feel better.



With a small bow I indicated my readiness to Kalon. He is not flashy he doesn't brandish his swords. He bows back and waits for me to attack. I use a pretty standard attack move he counters with ease.

Those swords are an extension of his arms. He has much more reach than I. His great height gives him advantage. He is also very quick for a big man. Then we truly began to spar. I immediately saw I could learn a lot from this man. He was better than I. I switched from style to style but nothing worked. After half an hour I crossed my swords and bowed my head. He hadn't landed a killing stroke but if we were fighting for real I would be bleeding like a pig.


"You spar well Drie. You have been well taught I see. May I give you some suggestions?"


I nodded


He took my off hand and changed my grip slightly. I could feel the better balance. He also moved the off elbow to a different angle that would change the sweep of the defensive move.



"You fight well Kalon, your father must have been a great swordsman. I am impressed. I guess I thought I was better. I asked you to spar with me as a joke. Now I ask you to please teach me what you can."


"I will be happy to Drie. Each evening circumstances permitting I will spar with you"


He hadn't moved his hand from my elbow. His touch makes me feel something strange. So I nonchalantly moved over to the fire, where Immy had been watching us and stirring the stew. Kalon turned and went to gather more wood for the night.


"He is good Drie. I haven't seen anyone take you on that easily in a long time. He could hire out as a mercenary easily. Why is he staying with us?"


"He says he is looking for his brother, who is somewhere on the Sword Coast and travelling with us suits him. He will stay until our paths diverge."

"I sense he has told us truth in what he has told us. But I also sense there is more he hasn't told. I don't mistrust him, he would be a good person to have if danger threatened. Something about him makes me like him, something else makes me a little wary. I don't think he is a danger to us or working for the dark giant. He does have secrets and his own agenda. So I will let him stay as long as it suits both he and us."


"Wow, Drie that is the most I have ever heard you talk about anyone in a long time. OH Gods! You like him don't you?


"Hush now Immy, I mean right now. I don't know. He makes me feel a little strange. We don't know enough about him. But I don't want him to hear you. SHUT UP!!"


"Yeesh, okay your secret is safe. you should know that. It is too funny though. Miss High and Mighty"


I glared at her (If looks could kill) she just giggled. Gods sometimes I would just like to choke her.


Kalon came back with enough firewood to last us the night.


"Draw straws for watches" he asked holding up three straws of different length. "Shortest goes first" I reached over and pulled one.


Short straw thats okay I wanted that anyway.


Immy got the long one.


We ate the stew and readied ourselves for sleep or in my case to watch.


I walked over to my things and picked up the interesting bag from Gorion's body, and went to the very edge of the firelight to keep watch, while the other two bedded down. Immy was soon asleep she always had that gift to sleep whenever she wanted to. I sometimes can't.



I studied the night sky and the area around us and then opened the bag. I had never seen Gorion with it before. It seemed to have an enchantment on it. I have a knack for sensing magic items. I can even sense good magic from bad. This seemed to have no bad vibes so I reached in the bag. It held a lot more than I would have thought for its weight. Oh yeah, I read about these it is a bag of holding. Gorion must have had it from his adventuring days. There were some obviously sentimental pieces a locket with a picture of a woman, it was old the lady has a little resemblance to Gorion his mother perhaps. A scroll signed "E". Some journals I couldn't read because Gorion wrote them in a code I can't break, (I tried several times growing up). a couple magic spell scrolls. Lightning and Chromatic Orb handy if some one could cast them. The last item was a wrapped bundle bulky with a note addressed to me in Gorion's hand.


"For Dreille, on her 21st birthday. " Gods I forgot my birthday is next week. A week ago I had been so looking forward to the party that was a poorly kept secret. I had forgotten about it till just now.

"May these defend you and keep you safe" Love Gorion. I just sat there stroking the package and looking into the shadows. I slowly untied the bindings of the package, realizing this was the last thing I would ever have from Gorion. Gods I miss him. I shouldn't have ran.


I opened the wrapping and saw a beautiful chain shirt and two matched swords obviously crafted for a small hand, both the chain and the swords were obviously elven. I was proud of my elven heritage but growing up in Candlekeep with a human population I sometimes felt more human. Of course I had read everything I could find about elves or written by elves. Rarely did we have any elves visit Candlekeep and the few who did were just searching for some obscure knowledge and not interested in me. Gorion couldn't have given me anything more special. Tears began tracking down my face as I stroked the items.


"What troubles you Drielle?"


Kalon and his silent feet again. Damn he must think I do nothing but cry. Which is not true.


"I found my birthday present in Gorion's things. I realized it was the last thing I would ever have from him. It just makes it seem so final."


"Well I don't know your beliefs or Gorion's but every culture that I know of believes in an afterlife. He was obviously a good man. So I believe he went to a better place."


"I guess that is true and should make me feel better. Selfishly I would much rather have him here"


Kalon pulled me into his arms and just held me. It felt safe and I did feel comforted. I also felt something strange not bad but strange. I pulled away. He let me go easily. I felt the loss.


"You must think me weak and always tearful"


"No I think you just lost your home, your father, and almost everything familiar to you. Your life has been threatened by someone and you don't know why. I actually think you are taking it rather well"


" I must find out what is going on but I really have no clue where to start. I honestly don't know why someone would want me dead"


"We will find out Drielle. When is your birthday?" Obviously trying to ease my mind such a nice man.


"A week from yesterday, I will be 21."


"You are just a bit younger than I then, I turned 21 about 10 months ago."


"I wondered how old you are with your hair it is hard to tell. You are not human. You look elven but I can't really place what kind"


"Most take me for a mixed blood elf." "You are a lovely elf with your silvery grey eyes and night dark hair and pearl kissed skin"


" You are a silver tongued devil. Tell me something about Kalon." I let him change the subject.


"My name is Just'aan Arkalon. My mother said that the family name came before the given one in her culture. I've told you about my parents. My father was a weaponmaster and weaponmaker of no small skill he studied with the elves for a while the skill of weaponmaking. He crafted both my swords and armor. His partner was an old mage who made extra coin enchanting weapons and armor to one degree or another. Sulan doubled as my tutor and taught me the skills of books. Theirs was a partnership that was longstanding from their adventuring days. Sulan was some years older than my father.

He was a very learned man. I didn't have a lot of friends as a child the human children tended to not like me because I was different. That is the reason I loved the cats. You are blessed to have a friend like Imoen. I can see she loves you. "


"Well I see her as a sister at least when I don't want to choke her."


"I envy that. Friends of my own age are unknown to me. I left home just after my birthday because my parents and Sulan were killed when the iron mines that were the keeps source of income collapsed. They had went to look at the tunnels to see if Sulan could shore them with magic. My mother escaped but was gravely injured. She said the mines had been sabotaged before she breathed her last. The miners all fled in fear so the mine will not reopen. I am not even sure that it would be worth all the excavation to get back in there anyway. I don't really understand why anyone would have sabotaged the mine because it was only a matter of time before the vein of ore ran out. The special thing about our iron was the fact it was high grade for weapons and took enchantment very well. It was a very small mine and production was not very large. I wonder if the iron shortage here has any bearing on what happened at home?"


" I guess that could make sense. I must admit I am not familiar with the iron shortage. That messenger on the road was saying something about it but I didn't catch all he said" I stifled a yawn.


"Sleep now Drie I will watch and keep you safe."


I was tired. I picked up the mail and swords and put the other things back in the bag and went to my bedroll only to be plagued by nightmares. I've had them all my life but these were worse than usual"



I woke up to Immy standing over me with a cup of coffee.


"I bet you can use this I heard you having bad dreams last night"


"Thanks Immy, I did have some really awful dreams"


I sipped the strong brew gratefully. I had grown addicted to the stuff in the barracks at Candlekeep, the guards liked strong brew.


We broke camp after eating the leftover stew from the night before.



Kalon took up scouting taking Immy's place. It seemed he didn't want to be near me today. Odd. I couldn't think of anything I'd done to offend him.


Breaking my train of thought Kalon motioned us to come up carefully. There were two men standing watching our approach. Immediately I felt some mistrust. Their names were Xzar and Montaron. They were going to a place called Nashkel. They wanted to join with us but I felt I had to decline. Xzar was a mage he could have been useful but I just didn't trust them. So we passed and went on our way.



We were attacked by wolves. Immy got a nasty bite but lucky we had a healing potion so she was fine. More of those disgusting gibberlings and some blue things that screamed horribly Xvarts (I read about them). They had some trinkets I added to my collection.


By a road sign we met a mysterious mage in red. He gave us the directions on the sign not much help. But he really looked familiar to me. We weren't far from the Inn now. I wondered about this Jaheira and Khalid we were supposed to meet.


Damn the bears are touchy this time of year. We ran into a pair that just attacked. Immy is good with that bow of hers. I should look into getting her a better one.


It was late afternoon when we got to the Inn. There was a mage on the stairs. He asked who I was although I was evasive he started a spell but thanks to Kalon and myself never finished it. He had a bounty notice for me. Why?:) Who am I that someone would pay that well to kill. Obviously the dark giant is sending better assasins, so much for feeling better about that. Still the question remains. Perhaps these people we are to meet can shed some light on the matter.


Immy took a book from him. She always had a yen to study magery so I let her keep it. The Inn was bigger than Winthrop's and a short man called Bentley said we should behave ourselves.


I wondered if he was talking about the dead mage bleeding all over the steps. I saw a couple people in the corner that looked like the people I was looking for. But I wanted a bath before making a first impression so I bartered with Bentley for a lot of the trinkets and stuff I couldn't see a use for, and rented a room with a bath and ordered a meal to be brought. After we had bathed and eaten we talked to a couple of people. One who wanted a belt from an Ogre and another who had a spider problem in Beregost we went downstairs.


I studied the pair over a drink. Obviously she was the one to talk to. She appeared elven that was a good thing at least for me I hadn't met many elves and I would like to get to know one. He was a fighter type who struck me as somewhat mousey. They were older than I by quite a few years. I wondered if that would be an issue. She carried herself like one used to being in charge. Well enough observation I left Kalon and Immy chatting over their drinks and wandered over.


"Hello, are you Jaheira and Khalid? My father said I should look you up here."


"I see Gorion is not with you, That must mean something catastrophic happened to him on the way here."


"We were ambushed and Gorion was slain"


She seemed taken aback for a moment but quickly recovered.


"Gorion was a powerful individual, what happened?"


I repeated my tale telling her all that I knew. I told her about the assassins both in Candlekeep and on the stairs of the inn and showed her the bounty notice. To give her credit her face never flickered once giving anything away. She wasn't giving off a lot of vibes I could read either. Khalid however was radiating some alarm at my tale.


"Do you have any idea why someone would want me dead?"


"No. Perhaps we should join together. The Baron of Nashkel has asked us to help with some problems in the iron mines there. Maybe in travelling that far we may get some clues as to who wishes you dead."


I knew she was covering something and not being completely truthful. But Gorion was always mysterious about my past and my real parents. It was the only thing that could make me a target for anyone. My life in Candlekeep was pretty mundane and I had never done anything particularly noteworthy. I began to speculate but didn't have anything to go on. I was elven that was obvious. Gorion always told me I was a foundling he took in. He knew nothing of my parentage. I thought Jaheira's answer was way too short for a question of that magnitude. But on the other hand Gorion said they could be trusted he wouldn't have said that lightly. He was not a particularly trusting soul. On the other hand due to recent events what better place to hide someone than Candlekeep the library fortress.


Well one should begin as they mean to advance. I read that in a book somewhere. So with that thought.


"I would have you join with me and we will make our way to Nashkel. One of my party could have interest in the mine problem there."


Ah-ha now she looked a little rattled.


"Your party? I thought you were alone."


"No I have two that travel with me."


I motioned to Kalon and Immy to come over. As they made their way I saw Jaheira studying them closely. I was sure not much got past her.


Immy came rushing over. Bless her.


"You must be Gorion's friends. I will call you Auntie Jay and Uncle Khalid. Heya I'm Imoen"



Jaheira was stunned by my pink haired friend wearing a particulary purple outfit today.


Kalon and I shared a glance of amusement.


"This is Kalon, he is a swordsman of no little talent and he has joined us. He seeks his brother"


Jaheira studied Kalon from head to toe and back again. She came to a conclusion in her mind.


"I am glad to make your acquaintance, This is my husband Khalid"


So they were married. I had a small twinge of sympathy for the stuttering fighter.


"So child we should rest and get an early start tomorrow"


Gods I could see this was going to be a power struggle. I would find out if she could tell me anything and perhaps along the way find others that would suit my needs better than a bossy druid. But for now I had to make a stand.


"We will go to Nashkel, but if you travel with us you must realize this is my party."


Wow a glimmer of respect and some amusement but it would do for now.


"We will meet you in the morning then"


"Rest well."


"I am going to see if I can find some hair dye."


Immy walked away and left me with Kalon.



Kalon was staring in his cup as if it were an oracle.


"So why have you been so quiet today, Kalon? If I offended you in some way it wasn't intentional."


"Nay, Drie you did nothing. For all these months since the death of my parents I have wandered. At first with little purpose just trying to distance myself from the sorrow of losing Sulan, and my parents.


Then I took some work as a caravan guard with some merchant traders travelling in the right direction. Fighting bandits and the like kept me from thinking too much. I have stayed alone for the most part since I left home.

Your Gorion's death has made me revisit some of my own pain and loss. I've realized while the pain is still there it has become a bit more manageable. I can remember good things about them without being overwhelmed with what was self-pity.

When you said to me you were selfish in wanting Gorion here with you I realized that I was guilty of the same thing. If there is an afterlife surely they are there together and happy.

That doesn't lessen the fact that I miss them and am sorely pained by their loss. It just means that I have started to release the self-pity I was feeling.

Poor Kalon thought his pain was so unique but it isn't. It is not dissimilar from yours.

That much self analysis makes one quiet. "


"I heard your night terrors last night. Do you have bad dreams often or was it just caused by recent events?" Kalon asked.


"I've always had strange dreams. Gorion used to sit with me and make me hot cocoa and tell me tales till I went back to sleep. Last night they were worse than usual and there was no one to tell me tales."


"I too have bad dreams, ever since I can remember. My mother used to make me warm milk and tell me stories of her life in the city. She was not well read but she had many funny stories to tell about the city and it's people. My dreams have been much darker of late. Perhaps we can assist each other with them."


" I would like that. Immy never has bad dreams. It is nice to have someone that understands what terror sleeping can be. I have trouble finding sleep sometimes because I don't want to dream."


"Well speaking of sleep if we want to leave early tomorrow we should retire to our room and get some. That Jaheira looks formidible. You will need to be on your toes."


I made a face at Aklon and swallowed the last of my drink. He offered his hand and we went upstairs to sleep.





I had a feeling that the rest of my life was about to begin tomorrow.



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The next morning over coffee I decided to explore most of the countryside around this area and south to Beregost, to see if I might find some sign of the dark giant. I was a feeble plan but better than no plan at all. I didn't have a lot of hopes it would work, but it would give me time to get to know Jaheira and Khalid. So now with a plan and justification for said plan I was ready to start whatever was to come.


As the rest came down I noticed Immy had found a particularly awful almost obscene shade of pink to apply to her hair. No one will ever forget our party if they see us. That hair is unforgettable. But after years of arguing about the color pink I just shook my head and looked up at the gods.

I looked at my own hair to make sure she hadn't decided to share her bounty with me. I am relieved to say it was still black as night not a pink strand to be seen.

Perhaps she should offer some to Jaheira. After one look at Imoen she almost went into shock. Khalid stared. Kalon to his credit managed to look unruffled. Perhaps where he comes from pink hair is not so odd.


On the way out of the Inn a woman named Joia said a hobgoblin had stolen her ring. I told her I would keep an eye out for it.


We started out scouting around the Inn and sure enough found several bands of hobgoblins. We dispatched them without a lot of problems. Found Joia's ring on one of them. On our way south we gave it back to her and continued on.


I also found a cool ring in a tree. I haven't decided what is is yet but it's enchanted. I've always had a knack for finding things. Comes in handy.


We have seen some wagons that were obviously hit by bandits. I guess the rumors were true at Friendly Arm. Bandits are really bad, and travel isn't safe especially for merchants.


We found a few Xvarts and more gibberlings. (I don't care for gibberlings). We found a brooch at one of the robbery sites.


But late in the day we found an ogre. It was quite a struggle to kill him Khalid took a pretty good hit but must be the one with the belt fetish he had two belts. They are enchanted. I learned long ago at Candlekeep to be careful with magic items, not all are what they seem.


I had a run in with some gauntlets of fumbling. Learned that lesson well. So until we can figure what they are in the bag they go.


If Jaheira calls me omnipresent authority figure once more I will scream. Maybe we should make camp. I will insist Khalid skip watch so his wound will have a chance to heal. I decide to take first watch it is my favorite. I don't like to wake up to take one of the middle watches and I don't like waking up any earlier than I have to. So first watch is my favorite.


I called a halt. Jaheira seems to like to cook. She volunteered to do the meal. One reason to like her. I can't cook my cooking skills are rudimentary at best. She seems to be at ease around the cooking pot and appears to know a lot about it. The meal is good. Really good in fact. One extra point for Jaheira. For Gorion I am trying my best with her but honestly we are not a good match. I've noticed she has to work to get along with me also. I've tried asking her some questions but her answers are pretty short. Even when the questions are general the answers are short. Immy has a better way with her than I do at least I see her smile at Immy. Smiles mixed with exasperation but smiles. Immy is good at getting anyone exasperated.


Kalon and I do our nightly sparring practice. Immy even comes around for a few pointers. I am learning a lot about finesse with my swords from Kalon. He is amazing with those swords. I still have much to learn to be half as good as he is. He says I am much better than I think. But we always judge ourselves by our teachers. I have far to go to match steel with him. I saw some pretty good swordsmen at Candlekeep but he could have beaten any of them. I know he told me about his father being a weaponsmaster but I am really beginning to think there is something more to Kalon. I feel a connection to him I really don't want to look into very deeply. On one hand he seems very open, but on the other I sense something he is keeping to himself. I don't feel threatened by that but I do feel some caution is in order.


As for the connection I feel I am not sure how to do anything about it. I am not well versed in flirtation and love. I've read a lot of books. I've had a couple nasty encounters with men who thought I was just a maid or a lightskirt. Those were pretty icky. I had a flirtation with a young guard a couple years back but nothing came of it but a clumsy kiss that landed on my chin. He was too shy to ever try again and he left or was transferred shortly after.


A young mage came to Candlekeep to find some special spell. He was handsome and came from a noble family in Cormyr I thought he was interested in me. He stole a kiss in the library and I thought he really liked me but a few days later I saw him doing more than kissing the new laundress. He said she was different than me. I don't know what he meant. But as with most who came to Candlekeep he left soon after. Maybe I am cold none of those experiences really touched me deeply.


I like Kalon. In fact we in a short time I think have become friends. I don't want to lose that or alienate him he really is an asset to the group. So I guess I will play it by ear. That is a hard thing for me I really prefer to plan most everything. I am way to logical for a woman. I've been told that more than once. Well it is time for the next watch.


It is time to sleep. Let there be no dreaming for me tonight.




The next few days pass much as the one before. Every one of us has taken a hit or two, but nothing either a potion or Jaheira's healing couldn't fix. We've met more gibberlings (I still hate them) Xvarts some hobgoblins. (a lot of hobgoblins) ugly things they are. All they can say is "forward march" and "spare no one". A few ogres and half ogre's but it seems our group is learning to fight together pretty well. Each of us has strengths and weaknesses we are learning to maximize the former and minimize the latter.

I've collected quite a horde of trinkets to sell when we get to Beregost, as well as a tidy sum of gold.

We've run into some messengers and others who complain about the bandits and the iron crisis and a looming battle between Baldur's Gate and Amn. I really can't see how it ties together yet, if it indeed is related at all.

I have seen a lot of weapons and tools that have broken and been left. That is a bad sign.

Note Jaheira has a way with bears they don't attack when she is near. Maybe a slight point in her favor.

Khalid is a stuttering fool, a good fighter and good hearted. On on occasion he will say Gorion would be proud of my actions yet on another say he really isn't into one of our skirmishes. I don't know what to make of him.

Jaheira is the dominant partner in that relationship that is for sure.

We had a pretty nasty run in with a good sized group of bandits. I was told by Khalid there is a bounty on their scalps I got them but find that disturbing. We were pretty tired and sore after that encounter.

By the way I've managed to figure out my magic items. A belt of piercing that should go back to the Friendly Arm. A belt of Gender. ( I could see Jaheira being a man. ) Surely it is worth something. The ring I found is a mage ring. I think I will keep it. We could really use a good mage in this group. A mage with an identify spell would be nice. Fireball and Lightning could be good too.


That Xzar was just to creepy though.


I still haven't developed much of a rapport with Jaheira. We are a little more at ease but we don't speak a lot. I know she wants to go to Nashkel and since we are starting to be a lot better as a group I think it is time to head that way. I told her so earlier she seemed pleased. She watches me all the time especially when she thinks I won't notice.

I don't know what she is looking for.


I am glad Immy is here

I know her almost as well as I know myself.

She is the only piece of home I have left.

I worry about her, though.

I try to keep her ranged with her bow so maybe I can keep her safe.

I will do my best.

We are so different but yet we share a lot of history.

I should have sent her back to Candlekeep that morning.

I should have made her go.

I feel selfish that I didn't.

I am also glad she is here.

It seems to me I was never as much of a child as she still is.

I would hate to lose that.

I would hate to see her lose that innocence she has.

Will this adventure take that away?

I hope not.


Kalon is great for the group. I am not sure we would have come this far with as little damage if it weren't for him. I rely on him a lot.

I don't even want to tell myself it is any more than that.


We aren't far from Beregost now but it is getting late. Immy found some eggs somewhere and Jaheira says she has a good receipe for them. I'm starving, I call a halt for camp near a nice stream.


I made good use of the stream to wash my hair and the rest of me too. It is nice to have fresh clothes and feel clean. I am looking forward to an inn where I can have a decadently long soak in some really hot water. Maybe I can even wear something a little nice. As I am combing my hair dry in the last of the evening sun Kalon walks up.


"Drielle, would you like me to comb your hair for you?"


What a time to lose the power of speech. Almost like a silence spell hit me. So I nod and hand him my comb.


" Your hair is beautiful I've never seen it loose before. You always have it braided. I never realized it was so long. It is the black of deep night even in the sunlight and soft as down."


"That's why I keep it braided it tends to tangle badly if I don't" Gods what an innane thing to say. I feel tension in Kalon and I wonder what is it's cause?



"Thank you, Kalon it can be such a chore to comb my hair dry."



"Drie, I-I uh"


Well nice to know someone else sometimes has trouble with speech.


"Drie, I don't know how to say this. I don't know what to say."



I turn and look at Kalon I see the struggle on his face.


"Just say it Kalon we have shared much in this short time. You should know that I won't judge you harshly or belittle anything you tell me."


Kalon swallowed hard and looked into my face with those fantastic eyes of his that seemed at this moment to be lit from within.


"Drie, I am confused." His silence goes for a long while.


"What confuses you Kalon? You usually are quite sure of yourself. You aren't wanting to leave the group are you??"


"No, no that isn't what I am trying to say." Then he did the most shocking thing he leaned forward and kissed me.


I did the only thing I could and kissed him back. Finally I could touch that slightly golden skin of his. It was wonderful I never realized kissing was this good. Of course I had read about it, but this had to be the world's best ever kiss. His mouth was warm and he tasted better than wild honey, kissing him could be addicting it only took once to know that. I wasn't cold in his embrace it was setting me on fire from within.

After a time he ended the kiss and pulled me into his arms.


"Drie, I am attracted to you. No, it is more than that. I watch you move, I hear you speak, I see you smile, all of these things just makes me want to see more of the person. NO, the woman that you are.


I've never felt this way before and I am all at once exhilarated and scared to death. It started the first time I saw you. I wanted to dry your tears and protect you. Then I saw your strength and your courage and your love for Immy and that just made my feelings deeper,

Now it is more than that. I desire more than friendship with you.

I have very little experience with your fair sex.

I don't know the right things to say.

You are beautiful, brave, funny, and so clever I am sure that you could find a noble rich man that would give you the world.

I am just a good swordsman with no family or lands.

I know I am not a good choice for one such as you." He spoke really fast as if afraid of losing the power of speech.


"Kalon, I am an orphan I don't even have a family name. Just Drielle that is all I am. Drielle that someone powerful wants dead very badly. I think you are selling yourself short. I don't want a noble rich man. I don't keep house, I have abyssmal cooking skills, I am not perfect. Nor do I want to be seen that way. " I told him seriously.


"What are you saying, dare I hope you have some small attraction to me."


"I've been drawn to you from the start. It was a new experience for me I've never been truly attracted to a man till I saw you."


"You mean you've never..... you've never been with a man."


"Well, no I haven't" I said with a bit of chagrin.


"Oh, no I haven't either!"


"Well Kalon, I am glad you've never been with a man, that eases my mind." I couldn't keep back a smile as hard as I was trying to deadpan.


Kalon frowned at me. "No, I've never been with a woman." He lapsed into silence just holding me and stroking my hair.


After a time he looked down in my face "What shall we do?" He looked so distressed.


I was at a loss. Damn I forget how to talk at the damnedest times. "I don't know, you are the man you are supposed to take the initiative in these situations I think." I said after quite a long moment.


I had no idea either.


"Wait! I do have an idea. Why don't you kiss me again."

That seemed to be a good idea we got lost in for a very long time.


Heya Drie, What ya doin' out here? Jaheira says dinner is ready and if you aren't clean by now you never will be.

What OH! DRIE, KALON oh! Gods I uh, came to tell you dinner is ready."

Immy turned red faced and marched back the way she came.


"It seems we are not the only ones having trouble with the power of speech tonight , I giggled, Do you think there is something in the water?"


"We should go back and have some dinner. We will speak more on this later."

Kalon was being serious. I was beginning to know that look he was in his analysis mode. This time I wasn't bothered by it.


We went back to camp. Immy was overly chatty (which is saying something for her)

Jaheira was definitely aware something was going on.

Khalid well he was just Khalid.

I do admit whatever Jaheira did with those eggs was divine.

If she ever decides to give up adventuring she can definitely make it opening a resturant.

But I had something else on my mind and it involved talking to Jaheira.

So after dinner I made a special effort while Kalon and Khalid were getting camp ready for us to sleep to find a moment alone with the druidess.


"Jaheira, I need a favor." She was suprised by that. I made a point not to ask her for much of anything.


"What is it, Child, I will help if I can" I let the Child thing slide.


"I know you make a contraceptive tea each morning. I would know the ingredients and how to prepare it and how it works?"


"Well of all things THAT is not what I expected to hear you ask me for. So I take it you have decided to sleep with the aasimar?" She was smiling a bit.


I know I turned pale.


"He is planetouched." I was trying to recall exactly what I knew about aasimar. Descended from devas, or angels. It perfectly explained his eyes hair and looks.


Did it matter? Why didn't he tell me?


I didn't realize I was speaking out loud.


Jaheira saw my pale face. Her smile disappeared. "I thought you knew. You seem sometimes to have absorbed most of the knowledge in Candlekeep.

You have extraordinary recall for tiny details. You amaze me sometimes."


"Well I spent almost 21 years in a library with nothing else to do. I loved the books." I said absently, Still trying to get a handle on this information and decide if it had any relevance.


"Whatever you decide Drielle, know I will brew you the tea in the mornings.

I will also give you the receipe and a description of the plants that you need to make it.

They are common thoughout Faerun.

I will write it all down when I get a chance and give it to you."


"Thank you, now if you will excuse me, I think I need a little time." I reached out and touched Jaheira's hand in farewell and thanks.


I looked to find Kalon still absorbed in stacking wood for the fire and slipped into the darkness outside the firelight.

Having infravision darkness was not as much of a hindrance for me as it is to humans.

I went out of camp a little way and found a secluded but hidden spot under a tree with branches that reached the ground.


Did it matter? The fact he was aasimar, no , that didn't matter. I was never a racist. I am not sure I would ever be attracted to a half-orc but it wouldn't stop me from being friends. I was raised with humans so they were normal to me even though I was elven.


Why didn't he tell me?

Well that did matter. but the only one to answer my questions was Kalon.

I suppose another question would be which of his parents did he inherit it from?

I guess it could be possible he didn't know himself.

Faerun is not exactly full of the planetouched, especially the celestial variety.

He was orphaned very young.

Well now I had thought it out and my shock had subsided a bit I decided it was time to go back to camp and find Kalon.


He found me first.


"Do you know this is the happiest time I can remember in my life?" I couldn't help but smile at him.


But before we went on I had to know some things.


"Kalon why did you not tell me you were aasimar??" Kalon looked confused.


"Aasimar, what does that mean?" he asked


"Planetouched, in your case from an angelic being such as a deva or a solar." I explained.


"I didn't know.

All I know was my mother was beautiful and looked like an angel. A frail broken angel. My birth was a heroic feat for her.

She went through a terrible ordeal to save me from something terrible.

She was bedridden from the time I was born.

For whatever reason her wounds could never be healed several priests and clerics came to try.

My father found her very shortly before my birth in a field far from the keep.

Whatever happened to her she had worn all the flesh from the bottoms of her feet. My father said he could see bone.

I remember as a very young child I would see her on a good day writing in a book.

I remember once in a while she told me of a beautiful faraway golden land. Her homeland I guess. She never said where it was or even what it was called.

I thought when I was older perhaps she was an avriel. Sulan said he once visited with the avriel and my mother wasn't of that race.

After I was about three and a half she just got weaker and weaker. She slept more and more and then one day she just didn't wake up.

So I truly didn't know my real mother. To me she was a sleeping angel trapped in that bed in the backroom.


I do know she once had wings but hers were cruelly clipped off at the base.

I never knew more than that until my parents died.

The book my mother had written in was left to me. I read it.

She was stolen from her land when she was little more than a child.

Whatever the powers of her race she hadn't learned to harness them yet.

She was stolen by a powerful man and cruelly maimed and chained he took pleasure in degrading her.

Whatever he did to her robbed her of almost any powers she had.

She bore a child ,my brother, that was taken away from her mere hours after his birth.

Her degradation continued but somehow when she was heavy with me she escaped.


The book doesn't name my father or my brother or her land.

It only says she came from a beautiful land where all people are good.

She didn't know what name they gave my brother.

I don't know what race my father is. He must be powerful to have taken her away from a race with the powers she described and render her almost completely powerless.

She said I would sense my brother if he were close.

She said she could sense him somewhere in this direction.

Something told me that he was here on the Sword Coast. I still feel that.

I want to find him and see if he knows anything about our father.

I have sworn vengence on my father, whoever he is.

If my brother is like our father I don't know what I will do.

I am sometimes afraid of my own heritage.


What if I am like my father?


I have such dark dreams sometimes all murder and blood. I enjoy combat it makes my blood sing."


I interrupted him at this point to reassure him. "Many celestials are warriors for good. Perhaps that is what makes your blood sing."

I wondered to myself why mine sang. I had developed a taste for combat.

I found that quite unsettling if I thought about it very much.


Kalon continued,

"I have some small powers probably a legacy from my mother. I have a touch of healing, and I feel some other powers but I don't know how to use them or what they are.

I have some sort of innate cloak that keeps others from sensing me as anything abnormal. It was the only thing my mother taught me.

It is like a reflex. Somehow it keeps others with talent from sensing my blood or scrying it. My mother said many would have a bad reaction to my blood.

Most people looking at me see an elf, a tall elf.


Jaheira must have some experience with others of my race.

It was she that told you wasn't it?

I've seen her studying me too often like a puzzle she can't quite figure out."


"Yes it was Jaheira. In her defence she thought I knew given my education. Or she thought you'd told me" I answered.

Thinking at a later time I had some questions for Jaheira she was going to answer.


"Well Drie where does that leave us? An hour ago we were trying to fall in love. Have you changed your mind?" Kalon looked so insecure.


"No, I haven't changed my mind you are still the same Kalon you were an hour ago.

If I had a story like that I am not sure I would say much about it either. It is definitely not a good bedtime story."


I finished that by initiating a kiss that was perhaps better than the last. But before it went too far I had to go stand watch.


I had a plan for doing more than kissing and it involved a nice bed and privacy.

And since I wasn't sure that I was going to live a long time given the circumstances I didn't want to wait very long.

I have no great feelings about chastity. I am chaste but that is more circumstance than anything else.

I have no wish to be of easy virtue but sex with someone you care about is a natural thing.

I also needed Jaheira's tea.

A child couldn't be in my equation until I had found out who my own parents were.

Or if that wasn't why the dark giant was after me I needed to figure out the reason.

I wasn't ready for a child I just don't feel I should be a parent for some time to come.


I was starting yet another chapter soon I was going to become a woman.


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