Legacy of the Forlorn

Travels to the East (Part III)

When we returned I did not find Coreena waiting in our quarters. Considering the reception we received when we arrived in Minkia, I became worried that she might have run afoul of some of the locals or partaking more of the local vices. Thankfully it didn’t take much inquiring before someone informed me to her whereabouts (Elves do stand out here). She had found her way to an out of the way inn. What she was doing there I had no idea and I was contemplating what I would see when I entered her room. I was not prepared for what I found. When I opened the door, I found her in bed with a young human man. They both must have been asleep as they sprang up at my entry. In an instant Coreena had her bow in hand and her companion had a long dagger. I stood there for a minute in shock.

Coreena has been growing older. Quicker then I’m comfortable with considering her human heritage. I have noticed her staring at attractive men more and more. This was coming, but I just wasn’t prepared for it. She calmed her companion, who still seemed uneasy, and got dressed. I escorted her back to our inn in silence.

I’m not really sure how to feel. Coreena has always been wild and rebellious and this might not have been her first encounter. She is so different from me. I need to learn to trust her. She is strong and she knows what she is doing (most of the time). I guess deep down I was hoping she would eventually mature and calm a little. She reminds more and more of my sister. At least Vanya settled down with another Elf. Of course who am I to talk, her father was a human after all. I think I had better just let this go. It’s her life and I need to learn to deal with that.

I began to ask around about the young man that I found Coreena with last night and have learned some troubling news. Apparently this youth belongs to what the locals have described as some sort of criminal element. An underclass of thugs and murderers. Worst, some say that a particular kind of assassin clan often draws their numbers from this element. I refuse to let my daughter get involved with some criminal or assassin in training. I confronted Coreena and forbid her from seeing the boy again. She did not take this well.

Arguing with someone who can’t talk can be difficult. Add in Coreena’s rebellious nature and we probably had one of the worst and most awkward fights ever. I thought this might be a fling or Coreena just enjoying some male companionship for an evening. Coreena however has become quite infatuated with the boy and refuses to leave him. How can someone gain such strong emotions for someone else in such a short amount of time? This must be her human side. I finally gave up and told her I was leaving for Dtang Ma tomorrow to return her fathers body and if she wanted to stay that’s fine. I didn’t want to leave her here there in danger but I was getting fed up with her attitude. I reminded her of what a burden she had been and maybe this was better and left. I went out into the night to find Drekath and Slythas to inform them of my plans when Coreena caught up to me to stopped me on the road. She was not finished apparently and began to remind how hard of a life she had growing a half human in elven lands. I was rebooting her claim when she stopped me mid sentence and looked around with concern. I was furious for the interruption until I noticed it too. Everyone around us had disappeared. We were making a scene yes, but it was too quite. That’s when they struck us.

I have no doubt these were the assassins I was warned about. I learned later that they called themselves Ninja’s, and were renowned for their skill. They came upon us quickly. I tried to utter a spell, but one quickly wrapped a cloth over my mouth and bound my hands. I thought all hope was lost when figure appeared out of the darkness and struck down one of the ninjas. It moved quickly to free Coreena and then threw itself at one of the other attackers. It used a weapon that looked like sickle attached to a ball and chain. After she was freed, Coreena quickly dispatched two others with her bow. She then moved to free me while the others were occupied with our rescuer. After I was unbound, I uttered a prayer that forced our attackers to stand frozen in their place as we finished them off.

After the fight, the figure who saved us stepped forward and I was able to see it was wearing the same garb as the other ninjas. It took off its hood and I looked into the face of Coreena’s lover. The two quickly embraced and he whispered a few calming words into her ears. He then turned and approached me and dropped to one knee. He confessed to me that the attack was his fault, and that he had disgraced his clan by involving himself with Coreena. He looked up into my eyes and promised me he would do everything he could to protect her and myself. I saw the love in his eyes and I realized I had horribly misjudged him.

I was too moved to say anything. After a moment, I put my hand on his shoulder and he told him to rise. I noticed then how young he was, only an adolescent. He turned and embraced Coreena again. I see now why she was so attracted to him and him to her. They are kindred spirits. Both young outcasts in their own lands, struggling to find their own path. I quietly turned and left them alone and returned to the Inn.

I turned to Erastil’s prayers for comfort that night. I have been so quick to judge that I forgot that there is more to everyone then what we see at first glance. I need to learn to trust Coreena more then I have. She has grown strong without me and will continue to do so on her own.

I have grown weary of this place and I pray I will return home soon.

The next morning we left for Dtang Ma. Coreena joined us and explained that Kyro (her lover) left the city earlier hoping the draw off the wrath of his clan. I could tell Coreena wanted to be with him. She was never one to run from a fight. However I think Kyro persuaded her to stay with us for her own safety (something I would have not been capable of).

We were actually given a small escort of some of the lords Samurai including Okari. He (as well as his men) did not seemed pleased with the mission, and I felt uncomfortable with them as well. Still we could not deny the lords service so we pressed on.

There was no incident the first couple of days, but on the third night we were attacked. At first I thought it was more ninja, but then I saw the goblinoid faces of our attackers. I learned that the nation of Kaoling is actually ruled by Hobgoblins and that they are constantly sending forces to harass and attack their neighbors. Their numbers were great and they were very skilled. The air was filled with arrows from their archers and I saw a few explosive bombs hurled at us. Several of Okari’s men were killed within minutes and he had his hands full with I assume was the leader of this assault. I sang to Erastil to send us aid and was rewarded as a number of celestial warriors appeared. They attacked the goblin archers and gave us chance to route their forces. I thought we would soon be victorious when one of their bombs exploded next to me and filled the air with a strange gas. I remember things getting blurry and then falling to the ground being enveloped by blackness.

When I awoke it was daylight. I had a pounding headache and I moaned as I pulled myself up. Coreena was next to me still unconscious, though Sylthas and Drekath had roused themselves. Sitting before us surrounded by a sea of bodies was Okari. He informed us that the gas put us to sleep and were out the rest of the night. I slowly realized that only Okari was left to defend us towards the end of the fight. I saw that he was wounded and very tired. Had he stayed awake the whole night watching over us? I asked him why he did not run as soon as the fight was over? Why did he risk staying to protect foreigners? He struggled to his feet and responded that “it was his duty”. He sheathed his blade then continued on.

It seems that I have misjudged the Samurai as well.

We arrived at Dtang Ma in early morning. It is a simple place with people trying to go about their lives. I found out that Dtang Ma is ruled by powerful Sorcerers and that those that use magic are held in awe and fear. I kept this in mind during my inquires. Once we arrived, Okari turned to return home without a word.

It still took a couple of days before I was pointed to the town that Rokouro came from. It was a tiny town farming town to the west below a small mountain rage. After talking with some of the townsfolk I was immediately directed to a small shack where Rokouro’s mother lived (his only surviving family). I knocked on the door and a very elderly woman answered. At first she was frightened by us and nearly slammed the door in our face. Once I was able to tell her why we came and showed her Rokouro’s body she invited us in. I expected her to be saddened by her son’s death, but she told me that seeing his body actually fills her with a sense of comfort. After he left, she thought him dead long ago. She now see’s what became of him and is at peace.

She told us the tale of why he left on his quest. He was taken on as a bodyguard for one of the local Sorcerer lords many years ago. During a journey to a neighboring kingdom, one of the lords family was lured into the woods by a strange creature. Rokouro tired to save them but failed and the creature fled. For his failure, Rokouro put himself at the mercy of the Sorcerer lord. The lord imposed upon him the quest to eternally hunt the creature until it was destroyed.

I asked whom this lord was so that I could speak with him of Rokouro success, but she told the lord passed away many years ago and that only a few remember Rokouro. It was my turn to tell her the tale of how Rokouro and I meet and how years later we helped him destroy the creature he sought. When I told her that Coreena was Rokouro’s daughter, she immediately rushed to Coreena and put her hands on Coreena’s face as if trying to feel Rokouro though her. Coreena look a little annoyed, but I feel that she was happy to meet her grandmother.

That evening we buried Rokouro in a small field next to his home. His funeral was attended by his mother, ourselves and a few others that remember him. I said some prayers and my final goodbyes to him. I feel at peace now that I have returned him to his home to rest peacefully now. Coreena stayed a little longer at his grave. She is still having a harder time letting go then I am.

The next morning we said our goodbyes to Rokouro’s mother (who’s name was Nameko). I left her a large sum of gold so she could live the rest of her days pleasantly. Coreena inquired about her fathers bow as she felt a strange aura about it. Nameko told us that the bow was a family heirloom but does not remember anything magical about it. Coreena offered to return it, but Nameko said that it was where it belonged.

Our journey is almost at an end. I just wished to visit the Elven nation of Jinin and then we could return home.

Thankfully we did not run into any horrible encounters on our way. Jinn is a lush area of Tian Xia and reminded me somewhat of our woodland home. The Jinin Elves probably chose this place for that reason. We weren’t in the area long when we were approached by boarder guards. I saw that the Elves here were wearing the same armor the Samurai wore in Minkia . I found out that the Elves adopted the traditions of Minkia to help them transition into their new home.

I informed the guards of who I was and soon they took us into the interior of Jinin to meet with one of the leaders of the nation. As I journeyed through their kingdom I was relived to see that they had done well after the Earthfall. Their kingdom was small, but orderly and prosperous. I met with one of their ambassadors and they were overjoyed to hear that one of the Elves from the West had come to visit them. I learned that they originally came for the Mierania Forest but had to leave after the Earthfall and ended up here after many years of journeying. I told them of our home and the troubles we encountered after our return from Sovyrin. I told him that I hoped to find and reestablish communication with our scattered brethren. The ambassador told me that they too had hoped to reach out to the other Elves, but are having difficulties. He told me that the younger Elves are finding themselves more and more pulled away from the old beliefs and connections and adopted those of Minkia. I responded that I had seen as much in other Elven communities and that I felt it was a good thing. As our people have traveled they have adapted and learned many new things. If we were to come together again each could bring with them these new experiences and strengthen the Elven people as a whole.

It was nice to have a pleasant visit with someone for a change, though I could tell Coreena was worried about Kyro. I told the ambassador we could only stay for the evening as we have a long journey back. The ambassador told us to wait till morning as he would talk with the local lords about our discussion.

The next morning the ambassador approached us with a gift. He said the the lords felt the same as I and as a gift offered have the courts high wizard teleport us back to Kalsgard. Further he gave us a rare item that will allow one us to be teleported back to the court whenever we pleased. This was a rare and powerful item and they must truly trust us to give us such a gift . I know Coreena will want to return more then I to see Kyro, so I will give it to her. I feel she is ready for such responsibility.

Just like that we were soon whisked away back to Kalsgard and I’m glad that I will return home soon.

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