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Two days ago, Whilat thought. We’ve only been gone for two days. The rain started shortly after they left Decania. There was no place to get out of the rain. Even at night, the rain would soak through their already wet tents and cause misery for the weary travelers. They picked up the wizard as they left town. He didn’t say much. He simply gave 75 gold each to Jekkar, Whilat, and Gruff.
“I see that you’ve recruited a hand,” the wizard said. “Good choice.” Gruff looked at the wizard suspiciously. The wizard was dressed in a simple black robe, with a hood covering his face. Once again, his face was not be seen.
“Since we will be traveling together, what shall we call you? I’m...” Jekkar began.
“Jekkar.” The wizard finished. “You are Jekkar Milean. Your friend is Whilat Silverblade. The dwarf is Gruff Stronghammer. I am Eruvial. Eruvial Idalfrous. I am a wizard on my way to Trinsic for a meeting of wizards. There are some who oppose this meeting, and you are being paid to help me get to Trinsic alive.” This statement startled every one around. There was no backing out now. They had been paid an advance fee, and now they must go through with the job.
“Well,” Whilat said. “We should really be going now. I would like to get as far away from here as possible before sundown.” With that, they all boarded the cart and headed off towards Sol.
Two days ago, Whilat thought. We’ve only been gone for two days. Whilat tapped Jekkar on the shoulder.
“How far away are we from Sol? This rain… I hate this rain. It’s cold, wet, and miserable.”
“I know Whilat. I know.” Jekkar solemnly replied. “I don’t know how far we are from Sol. I’ve never been there.”
“Two more days.” Came a voice from behind. “Stay on this road for two more days, and we shall be in Sol.” This was the first time the wizard had said anything since they left Decania.
“Thank you Eruvial.” Jekkar said, looking at the wizard. “If you don’t mind me asking, why can we not see your face in your hood?”
“No one can see my face because of a spell I have used. I wish no one to know my true identity. Eruvial Idalfrous is my real name, but no one can match that name to a face.” Silence followed. “We will need to set a watch tonight. I sense the enemy following.”
“How far is dey?” Gruff asked, gripping his war axe all the tighter.
“I am unsure. They will not likely see us tonight. But they may be faster than I can anticipate. There are not many. They are probably scouts. If they attack, we must slay them all, or the remaining ones shall report to the rest.”
“What, are we facing? Is it humans?” Jekkar turned to face Eruvial.
“Goblins. We shall face goblins.”
“Goblins are far from smart enough to be behind all this.” Whilat said in disbelief.
“You are right my friend, goblins are too stupid. I do not know who is behind all of this. All I know is that goblins are involved. Jekkar, you shall take first watch.”
Upon nightfall, the rain finally let up. The forest was dead silent. There was no sign of life, except for the breathing of his sleeping companions. Jekkar decided to do some minor work on his weapons. Minutes passed, or maybe hours, Jekkar was unsure. Suddenly, he heard some noise in the distance. It started as first as the sounds of rustling leaves, but then tiny voices could then be discerned. Jekkar understood nothing of this strange tongue, but immediately knew that it was from the scouting goblins. He silently awoke the rest of the travelers. They readied themselves in a circle, facing outwards. They listened and waited as the rustling and voices came forever closer, forever louder. Then just before they were to see their foes, everything stopped. The rustling came to an abrupt end, and the voices became echoes in their minds.
“They stopped,” Jekkar whispered to his friends. “Let us slowly find the first, then we shall slay the rest.” As a whole, they began moving to where they last heard the noise.
“Impossible. They can’t just stop like that.” Eruvial was peering about, his crystalloid staff in hand. “Let’s shed some light on the situation. Cover an eye!” That being said, he cast a ball of light to where they were heading. Nothing. There was no sign of any goblins. It was almost as if they had simply imagined all the sounds they heard.
“Nothing…” Whilat whispered aloud. “There’s nothing here. It’s almost as if I imagined the sounds myself.”
“Again, that’s also impossible. We all heard the noises. There is magic at work here. I sense it faintly. As if from a long distance. We shall sleep easily now tonight.” Eruvial let his crystal fade and returned to his small, one-person tent. “Rest well, we shall not be disturbed again this night.”
In wonder, Jekkar returned to sitting where he had been earlier. “No need,” Eruvial called out. “There is no longer anything to worry about tonight. Rest. You shall need it.”
“How is it that you know so much of whoever is after you? If you know as much as you do, then why do you need us?” Jekkar looked at the wizard questioningly.
“The man who is after us is named (Insert Name). We were friends before he started practicing the dark and evil arts of magic. He asked me to join him in his quest to conquer light. I knew then that he had been sucked into the oblivion of the underworld. Hoping he would see the errors he made, and re-enter the embracing light of the creator, I left him. He still practices the dark arts. My only choice now is to kill him. But the problem with that is that he is far too powerful for me to defeat him. I must consult (Eleven Name). He is the only one who would know what to do. I just hope that (Elven Name) hasn’t reached him before us…” Eruvial had now finished putting all his equipment on his horse.
“Why did you not tell us this last night? We shall not change our minds, nor would we have done so. So why lie?” Eruvial was about to get onto his horse. Whilat’s sudden, and unexpected question stopped Eruvial short. He then replaced his feet, and mounted his horse.
“I did not deceive you with such knowledge. There are many who would attempt to stop me from undertaking this journey. I had to ensure that it was indeed (Insert Name).” The other then contemplated this newfound knowledge, and continued their tasks of saddling their horses.
The day had begun much different from the others so far on this journey. The sun was clearly visible upon the horizon, with no sign of clouds. The heat had already to dry of the exposed gear belonging to the travelers. Their spirits had already begun to rise, and they felt they could make it to the BlackWater River crossing before sunset.
“Eruvial, why was the BlackWater River so named?” Jekkar had always wondered. He has been to the edge of the river, but never across it. The water never looked black, not even the riverbed was black. Nothing about the BlackWater River was black.
“I cannot attest to the truth of this story, but it is what has been recorded about the naming. Millennia ago, before the great banning, the war between good and evil raged at its peak. The beginning of this river was a key position to be won in order to win the war. The ensuing battle there was fierce and long. The men stationed further down the river than we are, said the river ran black with demon’s blood for days. Good won the battle, and the position proved to in fact be important, and the demons were banned and forced into the abyss and the entrance sealed. From the on, this river has been named BlackWater to remember it’s importance.”
|Chapter One - A Journey Begins|