Author Topic: Queen_Akasha's POV Switcher-Spectacular V1.03 (I think)  (Read 2847 times)

Offline AkashaCatBat

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Queen_Akasha's POV Switcher-Spectacular V1.03 (I think)
« on: April 03, 2004, 08:27:12 PM »
CHAPTER 1 Kelsey

Every once in awhile, you begin a day thinking that today will be nothing special. Just run-of-the-mill business activities, filled with such inconsequential things like spices, cloth, ends and odds, with the occasional argument with a trader over the cost of his wares.

Today was one of those days. I thought. But it’s turned out to be a day I think will change the course of my entire life. Instead of getting ready to leave for Trademeet with my new merchandise, I'm about to enter a conduit to save a troupe of actors from a bunch of extra-planar bounty hunters.

Hah, I can see you're confused. Perhaps I am overstepping myself a bit. Let's return to something a bit more mundane. Like spices, and cloths, and other odds and ends...

*********************************************

I am not normally a violent person, but I wanted to punch that smug, chubby merchant right in his smug, chubby jaw. I had to content myself with only imagining it however, seeing as how his right arm was roughly the width of my entire body. *(Note to self: Begin vigorous diet of meats and ale, exercise daily.) *

"Tell me again," I growled "Just exactly HOW much it is?"

He opened his smug, chubby mouth *(Note to Self: Buy thesaurus)* and would have uttered what I'm sure would be some kind of smug, chubby answer when his shop exploded.

As I was flying through the air, my first thought was,

"Gee, I hope I didn't do that."

My second thought was,

"I hope that smug, chubby bastard doesn't land on top of me."

I was lucky on both accounts. I staggered to my feet only to be shoved down again by some Aminish soldier rushing to the fray. *(Not to self: see first note to self)*

As I struggled to my feet AGAIN, I saw a man emerging from the newly created hole in the wall. At least, I think it was a man...that is to say, it had a head, a body, two arms and two legs. There was nothing else vaguely human about it.

"YOU WILL SUFFER! YOU WILL ALL SUFFER!" He bellowed, and began casting Spells of Destruction left and right. Everyone who approached him was blown to bits, in one creative way or another.

Another group of people emerged from the hole in the wall. One was a big, bald man with a rather remarkable purple spot placed conspicuously on his forehead. He was followed closely by one of the most beautiful creatures I have ever seen. So beautiful, in fact, that she warrants her own paragraph.

Her hair was the color of chocolate, and it hung down her back and over her shoulder and in her face in one big, glorious mess. She was fairly tall and wiry looking. Her skin was the color of cream. I wasn't able to see her eyes from that distance, but I was sure they were quite lovely (As it turns out I was right, but we'll get to that later).

A girl with purple hair and a pissy-looking elfish-type woman followed her. They were all bedraggled and quite dirty, and possibly wounded too. The man-thing saw them at once, and he did not seemed pleased.

From their conversation I learned that the group with the pretty woman had been prisoners. The man-thing was loath to let them go, and let them know this unequivocally.

The purple-haired one started bombarding him with magic missiles. I briefly considered joining the fight, but quickly reconsidered when I saw the air shimmering, which meant, more likely than not, those damned Cowled Wizards were arriving on the scene. And where ever they are, it’s not a good place for me to be.

I did what seemed to be the wisest thing to do at the time; namely I made a hasty retreat. I ended up in the government district, somewhat winded. I wasn't in a hurry to get back and see if the Cowles were still around, so I just spent the next several hours wandering around, looking at all the nice houses and gardens and trying not to get arrested for loitering.

Imagine my surprise and pleasure when I saw the man with the purple splotch on his head! Er, not that I was happy to see HIM mind you, but rather that I figured his pretty companion wasn't far behind.

I was right. The whole group was there, minus the purple-haired spellcaster. They also seemed to have picked up a sour, arrogant looking bearded fellow. The elfish-woman still looked pissy. They had cleaned up a bit, and appeared to have been healed of their wounds.

I ran up to them, introduced myself and explained to them that I had seen them in the Promenade. The pretty one's eyes seemed to explode into angry flames (they were green, her eyes like the finest emeralds I had ever seen in all my days as a merchant) and she started berating me for not coming to her aide.

I must have stammered out some sort of acceptable excuse, because before I knew it I was following shortly behind her, an official member of the group!

The pretty one's name was Ryniel. She was a bard, a skald to be more precise. She had to raise a great deal of coin in order to be able to rescue her friend, the purple-haired spellcaster whose name, I learned, was Imoen. We were headed to the Bridge district where she had been told they were in need of a lady such as herself.

The bald man turned out to be a rather...interesting fellow. His name, he explained was Minsc, and he and Boo were eager to begin kicking butts of all evil-doers that got in their way. Who is Boo? Why, his hamster. And not just ANY hamster, a miniature giant space hamster. I thought it would be better all things considered to NOT ask questions.

The bearded one's name is Anomen. He's an arrogant twit, and I keep catching him staring at Ryniel in a way that makes my blood boil.

The pissy looking elf-woman is a half-elf named Jaheria to be precise. She's a Druid and a fighter, and told me she had been traveling with Ryniel for some time.

A little bit later that day, we rescued a bard named Haer'Dalis from a stuffy old wizard. It turns out it was a bit of a wasted effort though, because the fool went out and got himself captured again almost immediately, along with his entire acting troupe to boot! And they weren't just captured by your average, everyday villains, but by a bunch of extra-planar low-lifes travelling through conduits.

Ryniel feels responsible, so we're going after them in the morning, when everyone has rested and Anomen and Jaheria have had a chance to memorize their spells.

I would have never guessed that the day would end up like this. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.
"In this world of miracles, there's nothing wrong we can't make right." - Feeling Electric

Offline AkashaCatBat

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Re: Queen_Akasha's POV Switcher-Spectacular V1.03 (I think)
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2004, 08:27:47 PM »
CHAPTER 2 Ryniel

I am bruised, I am bleeding, I am tired and I am hungry. I swear by all the gods, the next person who comes up to me asking me to save their village or aunt or dog or WHATEVER from Impending Doom, I will take one of Jan's Flasher Wooser Bruiser whatevers and jam it down their throat, or whatever orifice strikes my fancy at the moment.

Or maybe not. Maybe I'll just sit here and eat my bread and drink my wine. And tomorrow morning I will get up, and cheerfully go rescue the bartender’s cousin's mother-in-law's best friend from that horrible old coot down the street.

Yeah, I'll do it all. And I won't complain either. 20,000 gold coins are a lot, and I intend to get that money as quickly as possible, no matter WHAT. Hang on Imoen, I'm coming for you.

"So...I gather that your trip to Amn was not exactly by choice. Have you ever been in these lands before?"

There's Kelsey, the goofy-but-adorable looking sorcerer we picked up in the government district. Hasn't got the greatest timing in all of Amn, but he means well.

"No, and I certainly would rather that the choice had been left up to me" I reply, voice shaking a bit. Dammit Ryniel, get a hold of yourself.

Kelsey looked concerned, then hesitantly continued.

" I can certainly understand that. Being somewhere you never intended to go, even an pleasant place, can be annoying enough. And I take it Irenicus was not exactly running a sweet shop. "

The sheer size of his understatement nearly sent me into fits of giggles, as I pictured Irenicus, lollypop in one hand, a bar of chocolate in the other, with a sort of benign, happy grin on his face.

Sensing, perhaps, that my mood had lightened a bit, Kelsey added,

"For my money, Amn isn’t the friendliest of lands even if you don’t happen to be a spellcaster, but the climate is pleasant enough and the commerce of Athkatla and Trademeet keep bringing me back. Unfortunately, I travel so much that a lot of the places I’ve been seem to blend in my mind, one into the other. I’m really not sure how much use I’ll be to you as a local guide."

Trying to keep a straight face, I answer, "That’s all right. I am never afraid to stop and ask directions. "

He rolled his eyes at me and droned, "Oh, I get it, because the men in the party will be too proud to humble themselves for a map? Cute. "

I chuckled a bit, and dug into my meal with renewed interest. After all, I would need by strength for dealing with the aforementioned old coot.

*********************************************

Okay, time to count the score:

RESCUED: One troup of tiefling actors.
OBTAINED: One playhouse, which will hopefully provide a sorce of income
UNCOVERED: The identity of a madman murderer in the bridge district.
RESTORED: The balance of nature
WOULD-BE LOVERS: two

Yeah, thats right. Over the past few days Anomen and Kelsey have been engaged in a battle for my attention. It hasn't come to blows yet, but I don't know how much longer that will last.

I can't decide whether its amuzing or annoying. One second Anomen will be tugging at my elbow, haltingly revealing a tale of childhood wow, the next Kelsey will be whispering in my ear about the traumas he experienced growing up.

Maybe I should start charging an hourly rate.

In all seriousness, I have grown quite fond of the both of them. Kelsey for his witty charm and boyishly good looks and Anomen with his brooding nature and more rugged features.

Sometimes when they fight I just want to smack them both and force them to get along. I'm starting to get a bad feeling that this quasi-truce isn't going to last.
"In this world of miracles, there's nothing wrong we can't make right." - Feeling Electric

Offline AkashaCatBat

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Re: Queen_Akasha's POV Switcher-Spectacular V1.03 (I think)
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2004, 08:29:59 PM »
CHAPTER 3 Anomen

this tome was found in a dusty, abandoned room in the Order of the Most Radiant Heart

Hmph.

I do not understand why my lady continues to insist upon remaining in the company of such worthless, foppish oafs. In all of our travels together, I can truly say that only a few of the persons we have come across are worthy of our company. But I suppose that is the curse of the strong, to be constantly set-upon by those less capable.

It is all my lady and I can do to keep them in line. And I fear sometimes she is too lenient...or maybe she does not see what I do.

The one I am watching now is that sorry excuse for a man, the sorcerer boy. Kelsey...bah, even his name is feminine! But there is nothing feminine in the way he lusts after my lady. I can tell by the way he looks at her, the way he talks to her, the way he acts...how he's always walking next to her or sitting next to her and I know he wants to be SLEEPING next to her...

Ahem. Well, I won't allow it. I will not allow the Lady Ryniel to be debased in such a manner. I will watch this boy Kelsey closely, and if I see him do anything to besmirch my Lady's honor, I shall challenge him. Yes...I think that would be the knightly thing to do.

I do owe her that much. She has been...most kind and extremely patient with me. Ryniel always finds time to listen to me and to advise me, not like that drunken joke of a father. In many ways, she reminds me of my dear sister, Moira...although...my feelings towards Ryniel are not exactly akin to those of a brother.

Moira...it has been long since I have seen her. Perchance Ryniel and I will have a chance to visit with her when all this madness is over. I do think the two would get along, and it would please me to no end to be among only friendly company for a good tenday.

I do hope everything bodes well for Moira. She has not been answering the letters I have written her. Perhaps she is busy, or perhaps her letters have not had a chance to reach me, as busy as Ryniel and I have been. Yet I worry...I will speak to Ryniel today, I think. Maybe we can call upon my old house the next time we are in Athkalta to do business for Ryniel's playhouse.


further down the page there is what appears to be aborted attempts at some sort of sonnet, although most of the words are scrathed out or badly smudged

Your beauty glows shines like is a beacon
showing this tired weary warrior...

I long to touch carress your silky skin
to show you the love I have within...
"In this world of miracles, there's nothing wrong we can't make right." - Feeling Electric

Offline AkashaCatBat

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Re: Queen_Akasha's POV Switcher-Spectacular V1.03 (I think)
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2004, 08:32:11 PM »
CHAPTER 4 Kelsey

Things are going well. At least I think they are. Sure, I've been traveling with Miss Ryniel Bhaalspawn for about three weeks now, and I'm still alive. That's always a plus. But that's not really what I'm talking about.

I think she likes me. I'm almost certain she does! For quite awhile, I haven't been able to get within two feet of her molesting me somehow, hehe. I've been hugged and kissed on the cheek. We've held hands. I've given her a backrub at her request more than once. She's even smacked me in the rear, little devil (so to speak). She can't keep her hands to herself...not that I'm complaining, mind you.

But in the past few days things have been drastically different. I don't think its because her feelings for me have changed or anything...it's just...well...

She's been spending a lot of time with Anomen ever since the messenger arrived, telling him that his sister had been killed. Gods, I've tried not to be jealous, but it's hard. Anomen has never been my favorite person, but I wouldn't wish what happened to him an anyone. It's so strange to see him like this, silent and zombie-like, as opposed to his usual, strutting, bragging, arrogant self. I'm a little worried, despite myself. Ryniel must be worried too, for she's been watching him like a hawk, all but force-feeding him.

We've been traveling at a break-neck pace back to Athkalta, only stopping when sheer exhaustion sets in. We were finishing up in the Windspear Hills when the messenger reached us, so we had quite some distance to cover. It should only be another day now.

I'm not quite sure what will happen once we reach Athkalta and resolve this matter of Anomen's sister's death. I hope things can go back to the way they were, even if it means I have to put up with Anomen being a jealous twit again.

I miss Ryniel.
"In this world of miracles, there's nothing wrong we can't make right." - Feeling Electric

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Re: Queen_Akasha's POV Switcher-Spectacular V1.03 (I think)
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2004, 08:32:50 PM »
CHAPTER 5 --Ryniel--

Night. A thousand glittering stars, giving the surroundings a soft, otherworldly glow. The moon was mostly hidden, had refused to come out and play tonight. I had retreated here, away from the formal, courtly traditions of the festivities inside. I snorted, the rich and self-righteous may have their good qualities, but they sure throw a dull party.

"My lady…forgive the intrusion…"

Without turning, I answer, a smile spreading across my lips. "Not at all, SIR Anomen."

I heard him chuckle, something he had been doing more and more frequently since his test had been completed. "Ah, I believe that are you the first to address me as such," he grinned coming to stand beside me. "Sir Anomen," he repeated quietly, rolling the words slowly in his mouth, as if trying to get used to the feel of them.

"You’re missing your party," I pointed out. "I’m sure that there are those anxious to congratulate you."

He waved his hand dismissively, and stared at me quite seriously. "They can wait. There…there is something I must speak with you about. It…it is a matter of utmost importance."

Uh-oh. Whenever Ano starts stuttering like that, I know there’s something weighing pretty heavily on his mind. He made several abortive attempts at speaking. To this day I still do not understand what it is about me that makes him so damn nervous.

His hands were drumming on the stone railing. It was making *me* nervous just watching him! I couldn’t stand it anymore, impulsively I grabbed his hands, and held them still. I heard him suck in a huge breath of air, and I sensed that he was quite terrified. I wanted to laugh, but I choked it down somehow. I don’t think his pride would have *ever* recovered if I had started giggling at that point.

"Anomen," I told him. "Whatever it is, just say it. It can’t be that horrible. We’ve fought and slain liches and dragons, next to that having a conversation with me should be a simple enough task."

He gave a rueful smile. "One would think so, no? Ah, you are right, as always my lady. What I would say is simply this: I owe my every happiness to you. Without you, I would be not standing here now, a full knight of The Order,"

I opened my mouth to protest, be he gestured for silence.

"Please, do not say anything, or I will never be able to finish," he said, beginning to talk much faster than before. "Ryniel…I…you have taken a much dearer place in my heart than that of a mere friendship. You have smitten me, both with your beauty and your kindness. I have hidden my feelings for you thus far, but fear I can do so no longer. I…oh, Ryniel," he sighed, and to my surprise, he suddenly leaned forward and kissed me.

A flood of emotions passed through me as his lips brushed against mine. Shock. Confusion. And yes, I admit, a twinge of desire.

There was a sudden and sharp crash to my left, towards the entryway to the main hall. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the fleeing form of Kelsey.

Gods! No, this can’t be happening…

I pulled back, and gasped, "Kelsey!" before I could stop myself. Quickly, I clapped my hands over my mouth and stared at a dumbfounded Anomen. But the damage was done.

"Anomen, I…" I began softly.

"Nay, do not say anything," he said with hurt and bitterness in his voice. "Go to him, if that is what you wish."

I took a couple of steps away from him, towards the door, then turned to look at Anomen one last time. He was staring out into the courtyard below, and his eyes were shining, and I knew that it wasn’t because of the starlight.

"Anomen…" I reached up and touched his cheek gently. "Will you be okay?"

"Just go. Please," he choked out.

I fled.

Through the crowded banquet hall, down the steps, out into the open air once again. Anomen standing just above me, no, don’t think about that, out to the streets, Kelsey, where are you?

I caught up to him several blocks away from the Order of the Most Radiant Heart. "Kelsey!" I screamed at the top of my lungs. He kept going. "Kelsey, would you please stop?" I tried again, to no avail. Finally, in complete and utter desperation I took a flying leap and tackled him. We tumbled to the ground, bruising and scraping against the uneven cobblestones of the street.

Gasping for breath, he disentangled himself from me, and scrambled a couple of yards away. Sitting there, glaring at me, his voice dripping with acid, he spoke "Leave me be."

"No," I replied stubbornly. "Kelsey, give me a chance to explain…"

"Why should I?" He shot back, incredulous at the very suggestion.

"BECAUSE YOU’RE A REASONABLE PERSON!" I screamed at him, my voice cracking. "Or at least I always *thought* you were!"

At that he fell silent, and gazed at me impassively. I sensed that it was now or never, so I quickly began to speak, words pouring out of my mouth in a vast, almost incoherent flood.

"It’s not what you think, really its not. Anomen, he kissed me, I wasn’t expecting it, but he did and then you walked in, and I heard you and…and…dammit Kelsey, I don’t LOVE him I love you and I just wish that this had never happened. As if I don’t have ENOUGH pain, Dyhanier and Khalid are dead because of ME and Imoen is missing and now I’m gonna lose you toooooooooo," my last word turned into a wail as I felt the tears welling up in my eyes, all the pain and loss and feelings of hopelessness I had been keeping at bay all this time finally spilling over. I curled up, right there in the middle of the street, and sobbed, my body shaking, and I honestly didn’t give a damn at that moment whether I lived or died.

Gradually I became aware that there was a gentle hand resting on my back, Kelsey’s, and I allowed him to pull me towards him. He wrapped his arms tightly around me, and I leaned against his chest, my sobs gradually subsiding as he stroked my head and rocked me ever so slightly, like Gorion used to when I was just a child and suffering from dreadful night terrors, unspeakable evils that would begin to appear for real later in my life.

When I had finally fallen into silence, Kelsey spoke softly, his voice barely above a whisper, "Ryniel, I’m so sorry."

"No, I should be the one apologizing," I began, only to be shushed. Kelsey placed one finger on my lips, preventing me from going any further.

"I leaped to conclusions, and I didn’t trust you, and for that I am sorry," he sighed, and idly twirled a strand of my hair around his finger. "The last thing I ever wanted to do was to cause you pain."

For the second time that night, I found myself being kissed. Only this time, it was by the man I truly loved, and always would.
"In this world of miracles, there's nothing wrong we can't make right." - Feeling Electric

Offline AkashaCatBat

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Re: Queen_Akasha's POV Switcher-Spectacular V1.03 (I think)
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2004, 08:33:36 PM »
CHAPTER 6 Kelsey

The first thing I noticed upon waking was a light, subtle pressure on my chest. I opened my eyes, and squinted into the darkness (you know, its at times like these I wish I knew how to cast infravision). As my eyes slowly adjusted to the gloom around me I saw that, much to my dismay, there was a strange drow woman curled up beside me, her head against my chest.

My first instinct was to cast about seven magic missiles then beat a hasty retreat. My second instinct reminded me to ignore my first instinct, as it often gets me in trouble. Then my third instinct piped up and informed me that this strange drow woman was, in fact, Ryniel.

Oh yeah, now I remember.

Hey, can you really blame me? I mean, most people have one face, one set of features their entire lives. I can’t help it if I’m not used to seeing myself or my party members looking like drow. Though only an illusion, it’s still a rather disturbing sight.

Just to be *sure* things are as they should be, I gently poked and prodded the sleeping woman, until she cracked open one eye and stared at me resentfully.

“It’s too early. Maybe later,” she grumbled, before promptly dropping off to sleep again.

Heh, That’s Ryniel all right. The face and body may be that of a drow, but her eyes and her personality haven’t changed a bit. I let her sleep (for now) and my mind starts to wander into that half-conscious stage, somewhere between waking and sleeping.

It was two days ago that Ryniel’s soul was taken from her. Gods, I would gladly give her mine in a second if I thought it would help. I told her that too, but she just smiled and kissed me, telling me that she doesn’t deal in used souls.

“Besides,” she added. “A bard can’t very well go wandering about with the soul of a merchant. I would be run out of every tavern in Faerûn once they heard my grand epic, ‘Ode to an Abacus’”.

Hmph. For a bard she sure doesn’t have a very good sense of humor. What makes matters worse is that crazy gnome overheard and has been reciting me couplets, haikus and limericks about abaci ever since. She should’ve known better than to get him started on something like that…

But I digress (gods, the gnome is beginning to have more of an effect on me than I had thought. Soon I’ll be randomly discussing the merits of turnip juice when drunk on a rainy…gods, NO! Focus Kelsey, FOCUS).

Let’s try that again. But I digress. We’re off after Irenicus again. Which is how we wound up in the Underdark disguised as drow. Apparently, Irenicus and his sister Bohdi are up to some evil plot. There’s a shock. And since they now are in full possession of a Bhaalspawn soul each, they are able to cause some serious havoc.

Here’s a hypothetical question: Why can’t the villain (Irenicus) just stay put in one place and wait quietly until the hero(es) (US) come to kill them? That would certainly make things easier for everyone involved.

But NO, instead its chase this bad guy here, trace that bad guy to his evil lair over there, hunt the fleeing bad guy to some remote village Somewhere Else. A vast majority of our time has been spent running to and from various locations trying to find something hostile to kill. Bah, adventuring is highly overrated

If…WHEN (think positively, K-man) we get Ryniel’s and Imoen’s souls back, I think I am going to retire from the life all together. Start a business or something. Ryniel could have a steady, safe place to call home for the first time in I don’t know how long. The one good thing about all this running around is that we are definitely raking in the coins. Ryniel laughs at me, but I keep a ledger. Old habits die hard! And by the time we’re through with this, even split six ways, we will have more than enough for the business and the home. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

I shook Ryniel, waking her again. She opened her eyes and seems a bit more receptive to being awake then the time before. In hushed tones I described to her my vision for the future. She considered all this for a minute, a thoughtful look on her face.

“But Kelsey, darling,” she said, a touch of sadness in her voice. “I was born immersed in murder, a child of a blood-thirsty and evil god. Even if we defeat Irenicus…”

“When,” I corrected her almost automatically, reminded of my own earlier slip-up.

“Very well, WHEN we defeat Irenicus,” she continued, poking me in the stomach and making a face at me for interrupting her. “Do you think that they’ll ever just let me BE?” her face suddenly turned solemn again, and she sighed softly.

I didn’t have to ask who *they* were. I already knew. And she was right…there would always be those out there who would hunt her because of the blood that flowed through her veins. Some would seek to steal her divinity, like Irenicus. Others might try to kill her outright, seeing her merely as an evil spawn of an evil god. But then again…there would always be those who merely wish to protect her. Like me. And as long as we’re around, no one will be able to harm her every again.

I shared this last thought with her. Her face lit up, and I thought for a moment how absurd it was, seeing a drow’s face with a grin stretched from ear to ear. But then she kissed me, and my thoughts were soon diverted elsewhere…

Afterwards I just lay there, enjoying the feeling of her soft locks of hair tickling against my face, and marveling at just how perfectly she fit in my arms. If I kept my eyes closed, it was almost like we were there in that house already, like all of this had been just some sort of bad dream. This is how it’s supposed to be I thought.

But first, Irenicus must pay. I swear by all the gods that he shall not escape me. I will repay him in kind, and then some, for all he has done to Ryniel.

There is nothing as fearsome as a merchant’s wrath.
"In this world of miracles, there's nothing wrong we can't make right." - Feeling Electric

Offline AkashaCatBat

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Re: Queen_Akasha's POV Switcher-Spectacular V1.03 (I think)
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2004, 08:34:12 PM »
CHAPTER 7 Ryniel

I was shaken abruptly awake. Squinting, and rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I rolled onto my back. Kneeling over me was Kelsey. I nearly screamed.

“Hello Ryniel,” Kelsey said quietly.

“K-Kelsey?” I stammered. “But…but you’re dead.”

Kelsey chuckled. “Do I LOOK dead?” he asked, a touch of menace creeping into his voice.

I felt my throat constricting and it became hard to breathe. Talking was out of the question. I stared with growing horror at the face of my greatest love. This wasn’t right…couldn’t be real…Bohdi…

“Yes, Bohdi,” Kelsey said, reading my thoughts. “My mother, my lover. She took my old life and gave me a new one. A better one. And YOU took that away from me. Struck me down in cold blood. I thought you loved me, Ryniel,” Kelsey said hatefully.

I reached out and grabbed his hand. His flesh was clammy and cold, with no sign or feeling of life. “I did…I do love you,” I sobbed. “But you were…she made you…and I had to. Kelsey, she had taken the most important part of you, it was only your body, a mindless THING…you would’ve killed us all!”

Kelsey grabbed my face roughly, his fingers squeezing so hard I thought that surely my jaw would break. He leaned in closer to me, until our noses were practically touching. I could see the flames of hell in his eyes. “LIAR,” he growled. His breath hit me. It was warm and sulfurous, and had the smell of rotten eggs.

I gagged, and moaned, “NO!”

“MURDERER!!” he roared.

Right before my eyes, Kelsey began to melt away. His right ear fell off, followed by his left. His nose wrinkled and curled, as if under the heat of an intense flame. The flesh on his hand decayed and dripped away, leaving my face in the clutches of a skeletal claw. His eyes dropped out of their sockets with a sickening plop, one of them rolling into my lap. I started screaming, and I couldn’t stop, couldn’t look away from his face, just bones now, but he was laughing, the whole time laughing. Gods where are his lips? No, I can’t take this stop, please, STOP!

“RYNIEL!!”

“No!” I sobbed, finally finding the strength to fight back. In an explosion of energy, I kicked my feet out and felt it connect with something solid. The Kelsey-thing released it’s grasp, and choked. It collapsed nearly on top off me, and I swiped at it blindly, feeling my fingernails sink into its skin, scratching…

Skin? This isn’t right. What…?

“My…my lady, you were dreaming,” my assailant finally found his voice.

“Anomen?” I sat up, and scrambled a few feet away. Sure enough, Anomen was crouched next to my bedroll. He had fresh scratch marks across his face, which were bleeding a bit, but he hardly seemed to notice.

“Ryniel, are you all right? You were moaning and crying in your sleep. What did you dream of?” Anomen asked hesitantly, keeping his distance. I hardly blamed him.

“It was only a dream,” I repeated, closing my eyes and trying to slow down my rapidly beating heart. I opened them again slowly, and tried to get my bearings. There was the fire, only embers now. Minsc was snoring a few yards away…and under the tree…under the tree…

“Kelsey,” I moaned, my eyes coming to rest on his still form. He lay stretched out on the litter, pale, gods, so pale. His eyes were closed, and he looked peaceful, almost as if he were sleeping. Gone was the animated demonic corpse of my dreams…reality was right in front of my eyes. Kelsey, my Kelsey, dead, run through with my own sword…

It was too much to take. I drew my knees up to my chest, hugging them tightly. I lowered my head and began to sob, rocking slowly back and forth. I felt so lost, completely alone. My grief consumed me, and it seemed as if the pain would never end. I was dimly aware that Anomen had come closer, and felt him put his hand hesitantly on my shoulder.

“I killed him,” I moaned.

“Nay, it was not you. Bohdi is responsible for that.”

“He’s dead. I can’t believe…what am I going to do without him?” I asked, a bit selfishly, raising my head to look at Anomen. I could see the pain in his face, and watched the different emotions warring within him. Finally, he spoke.

“Do not worry, my lady. We will bring him back. The ritual the tome spoke of WILL work. I swear to you.”

It’s funny. Even though it was a promise Anomen really had no control over, the fact that he had spoke it with such conviction made me believe him. I flung my arms around him and began crying again, this time out of sheer exhaustion and relief. I felt him wrap his arms around me, and he was warm, breathing and ALIVE. It felt nice, after such an intimate encounter with my dead lover, real or dreamt.

A bit guiltily I thought of Kelsey, and pulled away. Anomen released me, and we stared at each other for a bit. I could still see in his eyes an echo of the love he had declared for me. I nervously twisted my fingers around my hair, and finally worked up the courage to speak,

“I shouldn’t have done that. It was selfish of me, and I’m sorry.”

Anomen looked at me incredulously, and said softly, “My lady, you have constantly been my guide, steering me towards right when I had lost the way. You were kind to me, despite the numerous times I unjustly became angry with you. You were there to comfort me when…Moira died. I could not call myself your friend if I failed to do the same for you.”

I managed a smile. “Thank you, Anomen. I am lucky to have a friend like you.” Thank you for understanding that I love Kelsey, and only him, I added silently.

“You are welcome, Ryniel,” Anomen replied. “You should try to rest. Morning is still a few hours away, and we have a long walk to the temple tomorrow.”

Before I went back to sleep, I went over to Kelsey and knelt beside him. I straightened the blanket that covered him, and smoothed back his hair. I looked at his face, marveling at how perfect it was.

“See you tomorrow,” I whispered, kissing him lightly on the forehead. “I love you.”

And for the first time in days I had hope.
"In this world of miracles, there's nothing wrong we can't make right." - Feeling Electric