First entry (Beginnings)
Second entry (Sable)
Third entry (Conversion)
Fourth entry (Acceptance)
Fifth entry (Married life)
Sixth entry (Older and Wiser)
Seventh entry (A Muse's Musings)
Eighth entry (From War to War)
Ninth entry (Demon Invasions)
"It isn't easy to make it in this world when your only kittenhood memories are of scampering to stay alive in the Thracian meadows. Fortunately, rabbits and field mice are easy enough to kill bare clawed even for a young catfolk, when she's quick enough and lucky. And every now and then there would be the adventuring fellow who wasn't paying enough attention to his pouch that I could snatch a few grubby coins.
Then came the day I found myself grabbed by the scruff of the neck when I'd tried to snatch a little food from a tall, dark man. I was thinking with such pretty jewelry he surely wouldn't miss a simple fruit, but I didn't count on his keen eyes and quick reflexes. Sniffling, cowering, and sure I was about to be impaled on his keen blade, I begged for mercy. Luckily for me, he decided I'd be more entertaining to keep around as his pet. I can now say this was the luckiest day of my life, but it certainly didn't seem so at the time. Then, I was mostly afraid. Afraid he would snap my neck or plant a dagger between my shoulderblades if I tried to sneak away. Or worse.
The years that followed were pleasant enough. Food was so much more plentiful, even though it wasn't always the best. I would play with the goats, but knowing that sooner or later one of them would be dinner, I couldn't let myself get too attached to the creatures. And evenings around the campfire soon became my favorite time, when all the folk would relax, singing and drinking until the embers in the fire had died down to a dull glow.
But even then I knew I was different. There were the obvious things like their lack of fur, and the less obvious, like the way the women would gather around an expectant mother to help help her through her labor, and without bothering to say as much, would by their eyes let me know I was not to be there.
And none of the menfolk so much as looked at me when they would chase after the girls in camp to find their mates. I grew to know I would never fully belong, no matter how they laughed and clapped as I took my turn singing at the fires. I decided I should set out to discover what lay beyond the vast ocean that had always been the boundry of my world, and hope I could charm my way out of the troubles I always seem to find surrounding me. Must be my strong curious streak.
I found Sable to be ever so much more inviting than home had ever been.
Folks here would happily give me the cloak off their back and I would
often find myself showered with gifts for little more than a smile or
a song. And while most of my guildmates were wonderfully friendly, I
do believe the dour Mourningstar must find my manner annoying, because
he was threatening to sell me off to Clan Shiva!
But here must be where I should be. Everything is working out so wonderfully for me. I've managed to appease the Aether too, since moving to Sable, as well as Prove to myself that I wouldn't die just for going underground. Ever since that happened to me the day I foolishly followed a young fighter below, I'd been apprehensive about any spelunking, but I've overcome that. Now if I could only do something about the SMELL of the sewers!
I fear I made quite an ignorant fool of myself at a sermon not long ago, but the Paladin Serith of Mortis was kind enough to explain to me at great length our place amongst the Aether. And though I believe my place lay ultimately with Lady Chronos, and not his master, I still am very thankful he took the time to take me aside.
I've made many wonderful friends lately, among them such notables as my guildmistress Thalia, who actually seems happy to hear about my latest exploits and Wyden the Paladin of Erosia who actually WILL drop whatever he is doing to come rescue a lost kitten who's trapped by giant hornets. But my closest friend so far has to be Quisallin the gnome, of the ebon cloak set. Surprisingly we both happened to spend years among the Romani, but since he is well over a century my elder, he left long before I was ever born and our times there did not overlap."
After the Aethereal shift, I'd heard there were new temples in the land,
so I of course set out to find them. And find them I did. First the
frigid glacial wonder that is the Ice Queen's temple, and the last one
I finally found was after quite a search, let me tell you! I wonder if
Lord Belphegore really wants many followers... perhaps he uses the quest
to find His temple as a way to thwart those who would not be dedicated
to His purposes? But enough about that.
The one find that has meant the world to me would be that wonderful, fortunate day I stumbled my way into Mother Herastia's loving embrace! To learn that She held dear nearly everything I had always longed for was enough to leave me gaping for what must have been hours as I stood in Her temple.
The road that followed wasn't easy, of course. Considering my life-long ambivalence, to strive to "walk in the light" as they say was daunting! But what can I say? It's like Qui was always saying... "when you find where you belong, you'll KNOW it from the inside." Funny, that. Since his Lady Luck was treading the middle ground, now HE was looking to sidle more to the center of things, and here I was getting ready to dive right into the whole paragon spotlight. An ironic trade-off.
And Mother Herastia's chosen... let me tell you! I am still just getting comfortable just being in the presence of Dhelta (I could never get "used" to her!). She's been absolutely wonderful to me, and was working with me for months before finally came the day of my actual conversion.
If you've ever stood before the a Thracian Judge or Court Magistrate to be have your life judged, you MIGHT understand. I felt like She was looking straight into my very soul to see if there was good enough to be found. It's a damn frightening feeling. And when the last vestiges of anything NOT wholesome are scraped and ripped out, it leaves you feeling like you may never be able to walk again. But isn't anything truly worthwhile worth the cost? I do believe that Dhelta kept pretty good accounts of the whole ceremony.
I haven't mentioned before, and I really don't know why, but I'd been seeing a young mage name of Zortyn. He's since joined up with the new sorcerers, and even proposed marriage! We don't have a date set for a wedding yet, though Wyden seems more anxious that we tie that bond than either of us are!
The next day etched permanently into my skull is the 13th of Torrid, 231. It was late morning, heading into noon, when Quisallin and I fulfilled our special quest and swore our bloodoath to each other. To be bathed in the beam Tempest's lightning cast... to know that even death could never remove us from one another... I pray everyone can one day know that kind of absolute belonging, love, trust, confidence... oh words fail me!
The day has finally arrived! Twilight 17, 232. For this is the day that
I devoted to Mother Herastia! As I awaited a boat to get to Thrace, this
hymn of praise sprung almost of its own volition into my mind:
O power divine! O charity!
Aether's choicest blessings wait on Thee!
In Thee the source of every grace,
In Thee the soothing balm of peace!
What happiness can equal mine?
I've found the object of my quest.
Mother Herastia, Queen Divine
Has let me come into Her rest!
Elidia has become a worshiper of
Herastia, Goddess of Home, Hearth, and Invention
I feel more complete now than I have ever before in my whole life!
Zortyn and I are planning for an early Renasci wedding, so it won't be long now before I am Mrs. Cloudrender! Wyden suggested Dalaena and she agreed to perform a ceremony for us, though I have to admit I'm not sure what if anything to expect. Amongst the Romani a wedding is basically the prelude to a party after the woman moves into the man's tent or cart. Lots of Raki flowing, music playing, dancing and revelry. I wonder what a chapel wedding is like... I suppose I'll find out in a couple more months.
Oh the days they are a turning. It's been months since Zortyn and I were
wed, and it was indeed a beautiful circle that Dalaena led for us in the
Chapel. And I've been growing much closer to Nescet and Wyden and the
others from Agathos that it seems inevitable that I will one day be among
them. Oh, I certainly hope so! Year 233 has been a good year.
I hear that my guildmistress came to the ceremony wearing not a stitch, but no one even noticed, as they were all eying my ensemble. I designed my wedding dress to reflect my Romani heritage, so it wasn't exactly Sable traditional.
Picture if you can this outfit: I had a layered scarf skirt which was quite sheer and would probably be see-through if it weren't so layered. It was made of many differing colored sheer scarves that hung to about halfway between the knee and ankle and billowed out in the slightest breeze. On top of that was my cream shoulderless blouse; a simple offwhite top that left the shoulders bare and clung tightly to the waist. The collar was a plain scoop neck, edged in a narrow band of satin ribbon. More satin ribbon pulled tight at my elbow to form puffy sleeves. Graceful tan leather straps held my sandals on, and they criss-crossed up to tie at the knee. The straps were occassionally threaded through amber and gold beads at cross-over points, and the beats glinted merrily when they caught the light. These sandals and my pineapple pendant charm were gifts from Delta in the past. I met the blouse and skirt at my waist with a cream and silver embroidered belt which fastened with a simple silver clasp in front, and had an embroidered pattern all along it of interlocking silver lyres. Finally, I had a white sheer lace veil attached to a simple satin ribbon circlet that fit snugly on my head. The panels hanged below my shoulders, with one pulled to the front to cover my face.
234. Clan Agathos. What can I say but, gee I hope I'm half the kitten they think I am! And I hadn't even finished my journeymanship in the bard's guild.
Oh, but I was so close I could taste the ink that would surely dry on my exam as I vied for a spot amongst the elders of the guild. You know, the instructors certainly charge a lot for their lessons! And now, at long last, I am completing my initial journeys through the academia of the guild and into my hopefully more mature life as wife to my dearest Zor, devoted follower of Mother Herastia, and now also a proud member of my Clan Agathos. May the Light of Right burn ever brighter through me in all my words, deeds and intents!
These latest years have been ones full of upheaval, that is certain. At
first was horrendous time when the Aether withheld from us their blessings
of the marriage sacrament. For weeks, many would gather in the Cleric's
Hall and beg the Aether for forgiveness of ever having taken the vows so
lightly. Many fingers would point and say this one or that had broken his
vows and brought this on us, but others would faithfully come to the vigil
to prostrate themselves in atonement for all mortals having ever taken the
gifts of the Aether for granted. I know I myself thought my own vows of
oath and marriage were unshakable.
And yet, one year almost to the day after the Aether had finally decided to grant to us anew the wonderous blessings of marital commitment, my own spouse dallied in the darkness with another and, apparantly feeling guilty after, felt he could not even face me but rather wrote a letter to tell me of his indiscretions. My heart nearly fell out of my chest of its own when I read of the affair he had. So much so I apparantly ran off and found my own way to Lord Mortis' solace and Lady Vivoria's recovery, only to have my heart freshly rend itself when I found his letter again.
We tried many months, Zortyn and I, to mend our relationship. He agreed, or at least said that he agreed, that he was remorseful and would do anything to make amends, even including praying at every temple, tithing an orb each to every Diety, and avoiding HER at all costs. And for a time it seemed that all was well. And he was succeeding well in his studies, joining his clan and working to join the justicars as well.
But it all fell apart. Basically, what Zortyn wants is what Zortyn does, and nothing else matters. I learned that he had gone back to spending time with Nystelin, whom he had sworn to both me and Dalaena he would avoid. And there was the incident where he and I were returning to Sable and I was sent to Mortis by Atomie. That in itself was not so incredulous, but the fact that he called on a Gethite for assistance is inexcusable! Not his churchmates, not my churchmates or clanmates, but a lying, manipulating seductress!
And he avoided me for months, refusing even to answer my mail begging to hear word of him. One time, while lamenting to Tirsyn in the Griffon that I never saw nor heard him, I happened to hear Zortyn announce to the realm he was interviewing applicants to assume his responsibilities in running the 4H Mission. He had time to pursue this, but not to tell his wife he was alive? When I went to that site and came in to talk with him after his last interview, he merely dragged out the same old, tired whining of how horrible a man he was and how he always made mistakes and always would. It's become so common from him that some have dubbed this his "gnomewerks' patented sob story."
It should come as no surprise that the day finally came when my request
of court was granted and my separation official. This was only the start
of what I now believe to be the absolute worst year of my life. First the
divorce. Then Alentar... there's quite a story that goes to that, but to
put it short and bluntly, Vindicator's wolves fell on him not once, but
twice, while we were both only just rewaking at Lady Vivoria's temple from
our misadventure into the Ironwood. The carnage is seered into my soul.
Months later they came for Lamorak as well, and Agathos was culled anew. The day I managed to fall dead at my cleric's feet after aaaaaaalmost making it away from a gaint hornet has to rank up there, too (Dhelta told me all about it later, and kept an account of the incident in her journal).
As my 49th year drew to an end, I worked up an old gypsy tale into a full- blown, three-act drama, and we were able to get a good production of the Gypsy Bard. Delryn was quite a smashing lead, and I've heard many great comments. I so want to be known as a serious talent, and not merely one who can write a cute ditty!
The summer of my fiftieth year I joined the STEA. It seems only natural to help newcomers to the city find their way. I hosted a fishing contest shortly after joining, and everything went smashingly.
Ah, the life of a muse is an interesting one, I must admit. Ever since Alentar's fall from grace, I'm pretty much the last bard of Good ethos left in the guild. I certainly hope it won't be too many years before I have other guildmates who walk in the light!
After much inner constarnation and questioning, I have decided to follow my High Priestess's advice and not limit myself to looking only to men for companionship. Imuri, Priestess of Erosia, also helped put my mind at ease over this issue, noting that Erosia has blessed many marriages of those who by species are incapable of reproducing, so that which I thought was a major issue turns out to be irrelevant.
I met a cute kitten Psion named Xuxa and we've been seeing each other for a little while now. She's something of an enigma to me yet, being at times introverted and other times downright sulky, and yet we seem to have strong feelings for each other.
Years come and go, and still this kitten lives alone. Xuxa, too, has
disappeared. Ah, well, I travel often enough anyway.
Did I say years of upheaval before? Years 256 and 257 makes everything that has come before seem downright trivial. I mean, when one travels abroad, one expects HOME to stay, well, familiar when you return at least! Not so this time.
Sable still had smoldering ruins barring passage in many streets when I stepped off the boat that day. I learned that, in my absence, there had been an orcish invasion as if from the days of King Glamis himself, destroying many familiar landmarks. And if that were not bad enough, His Majesty was missing and presumed captured. Oh, and there was the little incident of our clan being at war.
Yes, clanwar. A war brought by the dark ones who, while banded together in what can only be described as a fair-sized war party, mobbed and slew Wyden who was himself taking his ease in the Green Griffon. Many faulted him for drawing us into war without consultation, but I for one will not turn my back on promises I've made, and that includes supporting my clanmates in such endeavors as this.
In the fillowing months, the support we originally had waned fast. Many who first pledged alliance with Agathos withdrew from the conflict after facing heavy casualties at the hands of our antagonists. Even clanmates left, many under strong pressure from loved ones to separate themselves from Wyden. Every one who left the clan in those months cited Wyden's long absence (shortly after the war began, Wyden was called away on religious duties, and we barely heard from him for weeks at a time), and the fact that he declared the war without consulting the clan. But we cannot stand indefinitely waiting to see what might happen.
I remember when I first joined Agathos, Wyden himself told me that I would likely be called upon to make sacrifices. sacrifices in tribute, even in part of my self--sacrifices in my time and very soul with those who would become my clan brothers and sisters. I fear the time came to make just such a painful sacrifice. To turn out a brother who is more a father or close friend. To end the war, that we might all concentrate on the true enemies of the realm, those damned orcish invaders (who were using this time of division as a great diversion for THIER causes!), we of Agathos did petition Vindicator to remove Wyden as clanleader.
Not many months after, those of the dark churches gained dominance throughout the realm, raising worship of Set into dominance. These are dark days indeed for our home. I pray I will live to see a resurgence to the light.
Where to start, where to start... it's been many years since the last time I took
quill to parchment. It seems we all got so busy during the demon invasions.
After Agathos disbanded, I thought things had gotten their worst. And I was so wrong. The Demons came, and seemed to wrest power from the very realm, severing our contact with the Aether themselves for a time. First Mortis's Paladin was captured, then later returned, recounting a horrendous ordeal he suffered. And later, Meeki herself was taken from us and, rumor has it, rendered to a stew for the heretic horde.
All the folk of the city united, more or less, to repel this demon threat. The Calypsans were able lead us in an ancient ritual to erect a barrier that would keep them from opening their foul gates into Sable proper, and this helped for a time.
Then, amidst raging debate on whether it were a good idea or a weste of time and resources, a Shrine devoted to all the Aether was raised out past Kelnore. During the dedication ceremony where each of sixteen carved pillars was dedicated, a massive column errupted from the center of the shrine and shot towards the sky. At the base of that column, a large, ever-lit flame bloomed and continues to burn to this day. May it never extinguish!
But then the sickness came. A foul rotting that seemed to erode you from the inside. Drastic measures were enacted, including a cleric-ordered ban on touching. Scholars throughout the realm worked feverishly as those of us infected prayed for an end to the suffering until, finally, a curative prayer was granted. The poor clerics worked non-stop for weeks to turn the tide and heal us all.
At least, for now, all is quiet on the invasion front. Unfortunately, I know it is not an end to the wars. Until the heretic demons who would depose the Aether have been driven from the realm, it will never be wholly over.
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Copyright © 2004-2000 Elizabeth Skola Davis.
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