Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Day of the Night of Rudeth - Journal Entry


Oh Stars give us strength!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Diary Entry After The 13th Letter

Day Before The Night

So, now she believes me. After all that I told her trying to explain myself and to convince her that I was telling the truth, she believes everything after one night with Ben. Well, if I had know that was all it would have taken, I would have made him tell her from the start!

But I guess that I shall have to forgive her for not believing me since I wont forgive her for having her wedding without me, again. My joy at being her sister-in-law is almost outshone by my feeling of a slight amount of anger and other mixed emotions.

Anyway, with other news. Gale and I had another disagreement. About him leaving. Of course he won, again. I really wish that he would leave. Because although Xandra may be wrong about him fancying me, if she guessed that I didn't really hate him, she'd be right. He just gets in my way.

Ben and Xandra should be arriving tonight.


They're here! I'm so happy to see my new sister-in-law that I have almost forgotten about my earlier anger. I take back my earlier judgement about them not being able to stand each other. They make the most charming couple anyone could ever imagine.

We spent the most part of the afternoon catching up on the little details that couldn't be included in our letters. Then went to the best dinner I've had since I left Quest with Silvia, who by-the-way found a magyk book in the Buckner's library that contained a transport spell, and arrived just after dessert.

After Xandra was done telling Silvia all that had occurred in all the letters that she had never sent to her sister, I told them the news...

About Rax...

About the Xar...

About, how Rax is the Xar...

I'm positive that at first they didn't believe a word that I said, but just at the moment when they were about to start questioning my sanity, Teknuron, the current leader of Nebeula, pushed thought the large wooden doors at the end of the dinning hall, and said. " I think that its about time that you all knew that the pumpkins at the edge of the garden are still green, while the tomatoes are red at the other edge."

The entire conversation was turned around, and everyone started to question how a man such as this could have ever possibly be elected to lead Nebeula.

Surprisingly Silvia didn't say a word the entire time Teknuron was speaking.

Just as we started to discuss the probability that Flaggans and the Tze Flies were allying against the Zoollogs of Calista, when suddenly Silvia said " I believe you Astra" I had forgotten about the news against the Xar before she had said that. I opened my mouth to answer her when Teknuron spoke first " Why is that?" he asked. And I still don't believe what really happened really happened, but as far as my mind heard she said, in these exact words, " Because as soon as I began to question her sanity, you came in. After hearing you conversing with everyone, I realized that there was no way in the Galaxy that you were in your right mind, so Astra must be in hers." It was mostly her tone that threw me. I know that she never enjoyed unintelligent conversation, but I couldn't believe that she could say something like that to someone that she had just met, which leads me to believe that there is something I don't know about going on.

But, what she had said swayed the others into believing me as well. And now we have begun preparations in getting the Xar to go to the Last Battleground on Cimmerian. Where we hope to stop him, somehow, forever.

But I have a feeling that we will be winging it most of the time.

If I survive, which I plan on doing, I will recount the events of tomorrow. Hopefully if anyone ever finds this, articles will be available from Xandra's histories, that will prove that I am not completely insane.

Wishing Luck To Ones-Self!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thirteenth Letter - By Opalf

Dear Astra,

One Day 'til the Night of Rudeth

Um, how do I tell you this? Well, you won't be able to be at my wedding, because I already had it.
I am so very sorry, but it was such an unexpected thing and there simply wasn't time to let you know about it. But here is the story and hopefully it will make up for your absence.
Ben and I fought unendingly, never approaching the subject of my recently missed wedding but always finding a bone to pick nonetheless.
It was a dark and cold night, the moon refused to give her light and the flames of the campfire were all that kept the darkness from enveloping us. Ben and I sat opposite each other by the fire, for once in silence, tired of the upkeep of an arugment.
I sat huddled in the thick blanket Ben had given me, staring into the dancing flames, my mind refusing to lift to higher heights than when I should leave the warmth of the fire and go to bed.
I was so caught up in my lack of thoughts, that I barely noticed the presence of Ben, now by my side, his arm around my shoulders, rubbing gently to get the blood flowing in his hand and my arm.
I unconsciously leaned my head against him and we sat thus for a few minutes, each soaking in the comforts of the touch of a human being.
When Ben began to speak, I let myself cuddle closer against him and listen to the richness of his voice. I cannot recall the exact words that were spoken, but he related to me his different endeavors to keep me safe in my travels, his having to leave when I went to stay at the palace, and the sudden and dreadful news of my wedding and subsequent orders from Nebeula to change my mind.
He told me dreadful things about the Xar, things he had been doing when my back was turned and how he had kept me close to him so I would not see what exactly was going on in the Palace. All this time I had been with Ben, I had told myself over and over, that whatever fantastic story he would try to tell me, I would not believe it and that I would stay firm in my belief of the goodness of the Xar.
But as I sat in the warmth of the fire and Ben's arm, I found myself believing every word he spoke. He explained everything so simply and perfectly that I could have no thought of doubting his words. I don't know when, but I eventually fell asleep and he took me to bed, leaving me with the majority of his blankets.
I had dreams that night that any other time I would have scorned and laid at fancies door, but they were so vivid and real that when I awoke, I knew that they were nothing less than the proof of all your fantastic stories. I dreamed of Nokturne and his ordeals, of Rax and his terrible doings, then and now, and of the powers of the Gift. I dreamed of some things I cannot even recall, but I know are there. So, dear friend, through my dreams and Ben's words, I am convinced of your story.
Perhaps if I had heard your urgings directly from you and not through letters, I would have been convinced earlier. But whatever may have happened, I am convinced.
But to continue with my story, the next morning, I awoke to the smell of a wonderful breakfast and Ben was kind enough to bring it into me, it being a frightfully cold morning. He sat with me and we ate in silence, unsure of what to speak of, now that neither of us cared to argue any longer.
When we did begin to talk, you would have been hard pressed to stop us. I told Ben of my dreams and he told me all he could of what he knew of the stories. He told me of you and his teaching you and of Nebeula and all sorts of things. We talked nearly the whole day through and when night came, we went out to the fire and continued to talk, cuddled against each other for warmth and comfort.
When it was late and I was growing tired, I announced that I was going to sleep. Ben helped me up and took me to my tent and then he did the most wonderful thing.
We stood just outside the tent and he held me back, refusing to let me enter. I pushed him and laughed saying he was being silly and that I wanted to go to bed. He pulled me tight against him then and without giving me a moment to draw breath, his lips were against mine, taking all my love while giving all his to me. My arms were around his neck and his around my waist, holding me tight and lifting me so that my feet barely touched the ground.
When we drew apart, he mumbled that I should go to bed and I mumbled back that I wasn't tired anymore. He laughed and swatted me, ushering me into the tent with a smile on his face. He told me to get some sleep and he would be back in the morning but he had some things to see to in the nearest town.
I didn't sleep a wink. Or perhaps I did, for I dreamt whether I was asleep or awake.
I was up early the next morning, and Ben was still gone. My heart was beating hard as I prepared breakfast at the remains of the fire and I could not keep from singing.
When Ben came riding into camp, I dropped the breakfast and rushed to him. He swung down and caught me in his arms, giving me no time for words as he did the most wonderful thing again. When we finished kissing, I remembered that I had dropped the breakfast and he laughed at my downcast face saying that he was in no mood for food and I would not likely be either once he showed me what he had got me.
He then took a large bundle from the saddle and brought out the most beautiful gown I have ever seen. To be sure, it was not as elegant or luxurious as my first wedding gown, but it was white and that was all that mattered to me! For Ben gave it to me and told me to be as quick as possible for we had a meeting with the pastor in an hour and a half.
I could not have gone quicker if Rax himself were after me. We met up again and kissed again and were soon on our way to the nearest Chapel.
On our way, I berated Ben for not proposing but he scolded me, asking me if I had ever recieved a better proposal than the one given me last night. I was content and we hurried on.
The ceremony was beautiful! Our witnesses were two Woc sheperds from the small town and the pastor looked as if he would shudder his last shudder any moment. But my eyes were on Ben and I have never seen or heard anything more beautiful than what transpired in that run down Chapel. He gave me the beautiful sapphire ring he had first put in my dessert and I gave him a plain gold band I bought at the local store. I feel like a queen!
So, there you have it, my dear SISTER-IN-LAW!!! I am married to the most wonderful man in the world and I have never been so happy! And you had better change your opinion about us getting on well together, for we shall be the happiest couple in the world!

In The Greatest Happiness a Woman Can Know,
Mrs. Xandra Steel

Ben does not know you are his sister and I have not told him, though it has been ever so hard to not let him know that apart from being his WIFE, I have the pleasure of now being your sister!
When we see each other, you must tell me how you found out and why you are not supposed to know. We have much to speak of.

Yes, you do talk in your sleep, and frequently at that. I meant to tell you sooner, but I have had so much fun listening to you and was afraid that you would try to stop yourself if you knew. It is amazing that I didn't learn about Nebeula sooner, from your talking. :)
Do not be too hard on Gale, you can be merciless with your teasing. Personally, I like what you have told me of him and think it very sweet that he has stayed with you this long. He must have taken a good fancy to you to endure your teasing and contriving this long.

Be safe my dear sister-in-law! May we meet in safety in the heart of Corinth.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

12th Letter

You cannot even begin to believe how grateful to Benden I am right now! I did not put him up to it. But I guess that since you have been kidnapped by him you can know that He is the one that helped me to learn the magyks. And he is my family.

I wasn't supposed to find out, but we are related by blood, even if he has a different name. I don't even know if he knows yet, so don't tell him. I accidentally found this out while snooping, as usual. I think that is would be best if we kept this information to ourselves. It would be best for him not to know at this time.

So If I'm not to be to hard on Gale, then you aren't to be too hard on my brother. Even if he kidnapped you.

Gale and I are currently on our way to Corinth. I had to tell him about Nebeula, after I tried to leave him in the last city, its complicated, but I caused a large commotion, and left the city. Confident that I had left him there, I stopped to rest, when he came through the trees. I was a bit more then surprised, but that feeling quickly subsided when I saw his face. I had to cover my mouth to keep from laughing, but was laughing so hard internally that I almost burst into tears! He had been in the center of my disturbance, and had barely escaped. When he looked for me he realized what I had done, and came after me a quickly as he could. I suppose that he had hoped to come into my camp acting like nothing had happened, but I caught him at a bad time.

When he asked me why I tried to leave him there, I was prepared. I had a perfect excuse all lined up to tell him. But when I did he didn't believe me. He said that he had heard me talking in my sleep, and I had said a great many things about you and about lots different secrets things. Do I really talk in my sleep? Why did you never tell me? Well, he said that he wanted to come along and help. So I let him, on the condition that he wouldn't tell anyone the things I had spoken of in my dreams.

Now we are on our way to Corinth, and should arrive two or three days before Rudeth. I might possibly make this trip harder then it has to be, because of my constant arguing. I discovered that teasing Gale is the only way to make him seem less then perfect. He has quite a temper once you hit a sore spot.

Please know that I am very sorry that I couldn't be at your wedding, thought it never happened. I'm a so happy to know that you didn't marry the Xar, but I am sorry that you had to find out he is Nova the way that you did. I think that Ben did the right thing, but I know that it is probably really hard for you right now.

On the happy side, even though you didn't get married, you got to wear a beautiful dress with gorgeous hair for a short while. And next time you are about to get married I can be there.

I will see you in a small amount of time.

Be safe on your journeys to meet with us.

With Excitement,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Eleventh Letter - By Opalf

Dear Astra,

Fourteen Days 'til the Night Of Rudeth

I may as well be blunt, I am engaged to be married to the Xar. It cannot be much of a shock to you. But I will tell you how it happened.
The Xar returned late last night, and I was taking an evening stroll in the Gardens. I was a bit startled at his sudden appearance by my side, but the surprise was not unwelcome. I asked after his trip and he after my life at the palace. We both answered in the negative, and he, with his blunt and confident manner, remarked that it would have been much more pleasant had I been with him. I was pleased and flattered at this compliment and returned it, adding that I hoped he did not have to go away again very soon. His face began to look grave and he said that yes, he was due to be at a very important meeting the very next day and would not be back for another three. I was silent for a while, unsure as to how deep my disappointment went in his leaving.
Before I had time to judge the depth of my feelings, we had begun on a different topic and went on for some time in a casual conversation. When we came round to the bench near the Lotus Pool, I was quite certain that I was feeling much happier with the Xar back and was doomed to be depressed the whole while he was to be gone. We sat down and I let my hand rest in his.
We sat in silence for some time and I confess, it was the first time I have felt the silence a bit uncomfortable. Just as I was about to begin on a new topic of conversation, the Xar brought up a new and slightly shocking subject. That of marriage. More specifically, marriage between himself and myself.
We discussed the idea for some time, until we came to the conclusion that it would benefit the both of us and that neither of us had the least objection. He then knelt before me, and with the most exquisite ring in his outstretched hand, formally asked for my hand in marriage. I accepted and before we had the time or opportunity to seal the proposal with a kiss, were interrupted by a flurried looking page, in search of the Xar.
With a parting look and mutual understanding, the Xar allowed himself to be led away and I have not seen him since. He left early this morning and our hopes are that he will be back before the closing of the week.
I have never been romantic, you know, but I have found the whole thing very satisfying and I do believe I am deeply in love and we shall get along very well.
My only regret is that you will not be here for the wedding. We discussed different dates, but have decided on one week from today. Do not be alarmed, I was adament in refusing to break my promise to you and, not knowing how long I was to be with you, the Xar insisted we make the date as soon as possible. We will be married and spend a week together, giving me just enough time to make my way to Corinth and then to you. Even with my new promises, I have not forgotten the ones I made to you.
Yes indeed, I believe I shall be very happy and I only want for you to meet my fiancee and approve my decision.

Friendship Forever and Always,

Don't do anything drastic to poor Gale. I daresay he can't help being so perfect. You must try to forgive him for his faults or rather,his lack of them.

Dear Astra,

Four Days 'til the Night of Rudeth

I write this to you in the greatest frustration a soul has ever known. It is done, I have lost it! That must mean something to you! You, who has known me to never crack under pressure, never flinch with a charade or break a sweat over a disaster or crisis. But this... man, has done what no one has done before. I have lost it! I have lost my cool, I have lost my hot, I have lost any last bit of rational thinking I have been known to possess.
But I daresay you are still in the dark. I shall narrate these past few days of... horror and tragedy.
After my last letter, I spent a few peaceful days, content in the prospect and preparations of my upcoming wedding. The Xar returned and I spent my days in the greatest happiness, always near to my fiancee.
After my first day of beautiful bliss, I crawled into my feather bed and quickly drifted off into a dreamless sleep. It must have been near Mid Night when I was awakened from sleep by the telltale sounds of someone creeping up the tower stairs.
I left the comfort of my bed and threw my robe on in the chill night air, then positioned myself near the door to the stairs and armed myself with an old rusted knife that I had found in the back of the closet.
I confess, I do not know what made me suppose that the person was coming up with less than honest intentions, but the night was black and the wind was moaning in the old Willow outside the window and the atmosphere made everything seem ominous.
With the knife clutched in my hand, I hid myself as much in shadow as possible as the door creaked open. To my complete surprise, I recognized the figure and outline of Benden Steel.
My knife clattered to the floor as Benden turned toward me, seeming not in the least surprised to see me awake and hiding with a knife, ready to stab the first person to come into the room.
After scrutinizing me for a moment in the blackness of the room, he strolled over to the bedside table and struck a match, creating moving shadows along the stone walls.
I stood in my corner a moment longer, in a bit of daze at my unexpected nightly visitor. When I regained my mental stability, I walked to my bed and sat down, curious to know why Benden would have any reason to visit me in such an unorthodox fashion and hour. He sat opposite me on an old rickety chair and we both openly studied each other. After a moment Ben leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes, apparently content to wait for me to take the lead.
I did so. "What in the world are you doing here Ben?" My question was frank and his answer was even more so.
"I'm here to convince you to call off your engagement with the Xar." His eyes were still closed and his whole manner conveyed comfort and affability.
I laughed and leaned back on my arms, copying his attitude, intent on beating him at whatever game he was playing.
"Oh Ben, I thought you were done pretending. You can't actually expect me to put up with it again. You don't know what a pain it
would be having to explain everything to my fiancee." He stayed silent. "Oh come on Ben. It's great to see you but couldn't you have postponed your visit 'til morning? This is hardly the best hour for a friendly chat." I laughed again and Ben's eyes flew open.
I was startled at their color, shining in the candlelight, but more so in their depth and... passion. All pretense of casualty was gone and his face was full of solemnity.
"Xan," He leaned forward and his eyes seemed to penetrate my feelings. "I'm serious. I have been sent to convince you to call off your engagement to the Xar and if that fails, I am to not hesitate to use more compelling means."
I tried to laugh again, but it was caught in my throat, held there by the truth in Ben's eyes.
My thoughts were flying rapidly and I tried to sort them out, searching for a way to shrug off this insane declaration. But in spite of my efforts, I could not think of any reason for Ben to be in my room at that hour and his explanation kept coming to my mind. My engagement had been anounced that afternoon and it seemed plausible that if someone were to try to stop me, they would do it as soon as possible and in a fashion much the same as what Ben was employing.
My thoughts were spinning and as Ben's eyes held mine I seemed to be able to feel his passion, his seriousness and I began to be a bit frightened. What did I really know of this man? Why did I let him stay this long in my bedroom? What interest could he possibly have in annulling my engagement?
I stood up quickly and went to the window to let my thoughts cool and to be away from the searching glance of Ben.
The wind was playing in my hair and my thoughts were settled enough to allow room for questions.
"Why?" My back was still turned to Ben but I could feel him come up behind me.
"The Xar is not what you think. He belongs to Nova. He knows you have the Gift and he has played you to perfection, certain that with you as his wife, you will no longer be a danger to him or his power. Under the laws of the magyks, once wed, he is lawfully enabled to stop your powers, if not use them." He took a breath for another load of rubbish but I lost it before he had the chance to go on.
"Oh My Stars!" I turned away from the window, brushing forcefully against him as I went back to the bed. "What is wrong with you people?! Do you not know when to stop?!" I sat down on the bed and Ben stayed by the window, his arms folded across his chest, watching my antics from a safe distance. I couldn't stand his scrutiny and I got up and stomped around the room as I raved.
"I know! Astra got you to do this, didn't she? You were hired! Astra never liked the idea of my attachment to the Xar and now she has concocted some ridiculous scheme to get me away from him!" I am sorry if I have done you an injustice in this accusation, but I was not thinking clearly. "How stupid do you think I am!?" I ran my hands through my hair, not knowing how to work off my frustration. "I am sick, and tired of this prank! Just leave me be!" I glared hard at Ben, looking for all the world as if we were having a friendly chat over dinner. His calm was getting on my nerves. "Well let me tell you this! Go tell Nebuela or Nova or the Stars Above, that not on my life will I call off my engagement to suit your fancy! I am getting married to the Xar and you can't. stop. me!"
My finger was nearly in his face and I fancy my eyes were nearly shooting flames. Ben didn't smile. He simply sat there, his eyes searching mine, looking for something and not really listening to me.
I grabbed his arm, and ushered him to the door. He gave no resistance and was soon on the top step. As I was closing the door, he put his hand against it and leaned back in the room. "Are you sure you won't change your mind?" Now I detected a hint of a smile. "NO!" I slammed the door in his face and I heard him chuckle as he hurried down the steps.
My heart was beating fast and my pulse was high. I was in such a state of confusion and elation and anger that it was near breakfast time before I finally drifted back into a troubled sleep.
When I finally roused myself, lunch was being served and I was being called to join the Xar in the Garden for a private picnic.
I readied myself and hurried off, almost forgetting the events of the night. I had a wonderful picnic and I found myself laughing inwardly at my behavior during the night.
As the Xar and I walked together after our picnic, he himself brought up the topic of the night. Apparently, the stable boy had seen my light on and had seen the outline of my visitor, and had thought it his duty to bring it to the attention of the Xar.
I do not know what enticed me to act the way I did, but when the Xar asked me who it was, I found myself telling my fiancee, one who I had hoped to never have secrets with, a lie! I told him it had been an old family friend, one of Grandfather Melvin's old friends and when he had heard I was engaged he simply had to see me and congratulate me but he was due to leave early the next morning and he was a very good friend with the family and so he did not find it improper at all to come visit me in the middle of the night.
Astra, you know I am not one to lie! I do occasionally bend the truth, but I have never been one to even attempt an outright lie, but here I was, telling a falsehood to none other than my fiancee! And it came so naturally! I do not know what enticed me to protect Ben with such a statement, but it seemed to come of it's own accord. My fiancee took it all as truth and did not ask any more questions concerning the matter.
At the end of the day, I sat in my room brooding. I could not help but think about what Ben had said as I had been with my fiancee that day. I cannot say that he was inattentive, for I was with him nearly all day and he was very concerned about my comfort and always anxious to please, but he did seem a bit preoccupied and I could not help but wonder if he was tiring of my company. But these were all silly doubts that Ben had placed there and I was determined to think no more on it and get a good night's rest.
As I lay in bed, I was startled at every creak of the tower and groan of the old willow, certain that Ben would make another visit. I lay awake for hours, unconsciously repeating to myself every word of your letters against the Xar and every word spoken by Ben the night before. My mind was tired and I kept feeling like there was something I was missing, as if you and Ben knew something I didn't and if I could figure out what, I would know what to do.
I eventually dozed off and didn't wake until late in the morning, and then it was with a splitting headache. I had the cook bring me breakfast in bed and I nursed my head with water until I heard the steps creaking, announcing the cook.
My head was in an awful state and the appearance of Ben instead of the cook didn't do much to help. I groaned and laid my head back on the pillow and he just chuckled and set my breakfast on the side table and himself on the edge of my bed.
"Xandra," he whispered and poked me, trying to get me to open my eyes.
"What?" I muttered and slapped his hand.
"You haven't possibly changed your mind, have you?" He was still whispering and I was glad he was because my head was pounding up a thunder storm.
"No, I have not changed my mind." I said through slitted teeth. "Just go away." I turned my head away and he eventually left.
I ate my breakfast and was only a bit surprised to find a note on the plate. Here's what it said:

Xandra, please just trust me! Just call off the wedding until after the night of Rudeth! I can't explain a whole lot now, but can't you just wait? I am aware that you think this whole thing is a bunch of bues, but you've just got to trust us. I know this sounds melodramatic, but there are a lot of people depending on you. Pretty please?

I could hear his voice in my head, his sweet pleading voice. You know, Ben can be so... emotional. The way he speaks conveys exactly what he's feeling and his passion. Unlike the Xar, who speaks very rationally, and he is a very calculating man. I like that, it gives you the feeling of safety, like he has everything under control. But, alas I will not see him again.
Well, roughly, this routine went on until the day of the wedding. No more night visits, but every morning Ben would stop in with my food, somehow always convincing the cook that I had insisted he bring it up to me.
Our conversations were nearly always the same, him trying to convince me to believe him and delay or cancel the wedding and me adamently refusing.
I was almost disappointed when he failed to make an appearance on the morning of the wedding, but soon decided I was much relieved, thinking he had given it up and there would be no problems on the day of my wedding. Oh my stars, was I mistaken!
Near noon, I was completely ready. My hair was flowing down my back in the most beautiful waves and curls and it sparkled with the Syne, shining only white. Oh I wish you could have seen my dress! It was the most beautiful thing! It was specially made to bring out my eyes and it was lovely! The material was made of the silk of the bunee's and it flowed elegantly around my body coming up over my shoulders and flowing into a sort of cloak. Oh, I felt like the most beautiful bride!
I was making my way to the old Chapel on Sapphire Street with my ladies-in-waiting and we were passing under the Great Arched Bridge. I had always dreamed of spending a moment by myself under the great arches before my wedding and I had the perfect chance. I ordered the ladies to go ahead and I began to walk around the glorious arches, admiring the exquisite carvings.
As I came around one of the arches, I jumped at the sight of Ben leaning casually against the side. He was in the dirtiest Mountain Ranger clothing and his hands were covered in dried mud.
I stepped back, in surprise and for fear of getting my dress dirty. He glanced briefly at me and then made some remark that I'm sure was meant to be a compliment.
I had a faint feeling of warning, but in my pride, I disregarded it, certain that with the wedding less than an hour away, there was nothing he could do to stop me.
Ben stood up straight and turned his peircing eyes to study me. I did not flinch, but it was not the most comfortable thing.
"I suppose you mean to go through with the wedding?"
"I do." I no longer took his questions as a joke. He was serious and so was I.
"Well then old friend, I guess this means goodbye." He held out his hand to me but I hesitated to take it, as it was dirtier than Old Mauds dish rags. But, for fear of being rude, I gave him my hand. He held it in his, keeping his eyes locked on me. When I thought on it later, I realized that, as his eyes locked with mine, they were sort of saying sorry. I know that sounds strange, but the feeling was so real. I knew he was trying to apoplogize for something. And at that moment, I gave into my intuition and decided that something was wrong.
But it was too late. I tried to pull my hand out of his, but sooner than you can say tse, he pulled me to him, and after wrapping a scarf around my mouth he tried to tie my hands together.
I confess, I was not very good at defending myself, me being so much smaller and never much a fan of athletics. But I did what I could. He held one of my hands in his and he was trying to grab my other one, with the intent of tying them together. We played a game of keep the hand away, but, after swatting me on the behind, he won and I was neatly tied and thrown over his shoulder.
He carried me for some time, which was highly uncomfortable for me, and we eventually came to a path leading into the trails of the Mount Zide. I was gently thrown up onto the lone horse and Ben swung up behind me.
We rode for what seemed hours and finally came to an old camp ground, which had been neatly prepared for us. Ben lifted me down from the horse and I sank gratefully onto the soft ground. By this time, my beautiful wedding dress was muddy and ripped and I nearly cried because of it. But I kept good face and sat on the ground, refusing to look at my captor.
Ben untied me and then built up a fire and set to making dinner. I am certain you can guess the trials of that first day, my obstinancy and his stubborness. We fought a great deal and talked very little. I tried to escape three or four times, but was always dragged back to camp before I had made it more than fifty yards.

That was three days ago.

So now, here I sit, by a coldfire, made by a man I almost hate and writing to you dear friend.


Ben is taking me to Corinth, so I suppose I will let him. He brought me the Opalf and I will keep it with me.

I will try to write you one more before the Night of Corinth. I have nothing better to do.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

10th Letter

You truly are the greatest friend that anyone could ever have! Thank you for your understandings, and forgiveness.

Well, yes, kind of, we were. Not anymore. Now we are in the Desert of Rubies. We have now officially moved past Rust Ridge. We dropped off Silvia in Skye Falls. And followed your advice to have her stay with the Buckners. I think that she will enjoy being there, their library is full of old books she hasn't read.

Gale. Is. Awful. Okay, I'm not even sending a flick. He is the most terrible, perfect person I've ever met. If only you knew. It would take years of spying to find something wrong with him. I mean, he is almost like a knight or prince out of one of Silvia's books. There is absolutely no flaws to find with him. He's nice, kind, friendly, funny, handsome, a people-person, a scholar, a warrior, nothing is wrong with him. And I can't stand it! I'm almost to the point of leaving him here in the Desert of Rubies, except of course, it is a desert. And there is no where to leave him.

Have you heard from your mother if the wind has started to blow in Quest yet? I can hardly believe that it is time for it to start. It is slightly depressing that I haven't felt the winds of Quest since I joined Nebeula. It's been a long time. That was the only thing I had been looking forward to when you left me there.

And now, here I am in a melancholic state, in the middle of a desert, writing you a letter, sitting by a coldfire, built by a man I hate.

Now, since I'm done brooding, we can speak of things to come.

I've decided to give you no more warnings about the Xar. But, just so that you know, I still distrust him, even if it is from a distance. And I NEVER judged him, just distrusted him.
So you can love him if you want to, and if you get hurt from it, know that I will be here, in the desert, writing letters, sitting by a coldfire, made by a man I hate.

Oh my stars! The stars have come out. They are pretty out here. Maybe the real reason this place is called the Desert of Rubies is because the stars glow red. Its a little strange, but pretty. Like your hair in the synelight.

On the night of Rudeth, that is swiftly approaching, bring the Oplaf with you. It will help us with what is going to happen.

I trust that you are still going to meet me at the heart, even with the Xar's insistence.

May the ruby stars of this place connect us.


P.S. What do you think I should do about the man I hate, that built the coldfire I'm now sitting by, while writing this letter about ruby stars?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ninth Letter - By Opalf

My Dearest Friend Astra,

Of course you are forgiven! You must forgive me! It was wrong of me to be so harsh on you for having your secrets. We all must keep some secrets, me included. And no, I will not tell you what I mean by that.
All I ask, is that you do not bring this business of the "Gift" up again. Please. I cannot ask you to drop it - but no more can you ask me to believe it. Please forgive me friend, I have tried, but I cannot believe something so prepostrous and mythical as there being such a thing as a descendant of the "Gift" in this advanced age and that someone being me. Let us not pain each other more and simply put the matter aside.

My dear friend, I have been concerned about your warnings against the Xar. They have caused me many a sleepless night and I have not been able to get over that feeling that you know something I do not. But, as I reflect on these things, I must give allowance for the fact that you have never met the Xar. How can you judge someone from such a distance? I have trusted you before, but in this instance I trust my judgement of a man I have grown to know so well more than yours of a man you have yet to set eyes upon. In this also, let us not approach the subject either.

So, you are in Rust Ridge, are you? And it sounds as though you are having quite an exciting adventure at that. I do not envy you though. We have had our share of adventures together and I am content to laze my time away in luxury and splendor. I do hope Silvia is not too much of a burden on you, she does have a bit of a tendency to lose her nerve in a situation more intense than baking her Milk Pies. But don't forget that her spells can be quite useful and they are what got you out of Quest safely. Do not put her off so very easily. And at the Swandre's no less! Have you forgotten that my good mother and theirs had a bit of an argument over the butter and cream of their good Brown Woc and we had to make a rather hasty retreat? Or perhaps you were not with us that trip. But, no matter. If you are to leave Silvia somewhere, I would suggest the Buckners, as they are also in Skye Falls and have a girl near her age and they got on famously last Winter Fair we were there. But if you are intent on setting her off somewhere, I dare say you'll have to tell her about it sometime and you may as well ask her opinion on her residence. Just be certain you are gentle and she has a good warm cup of Goca while you are talking.
So, you are not fond of this Gale? I am afraid I have little pity on your behalf. He sounds wonderful, rendering you such a service. I should think you would be grateful to him. But I don't pretend to know what you feel towards men that are over six feet and have a shocking amount of visible muscle and Changing eyes. Am I write in my guess? Yes, you were always one to have something against the strong male's who on their part always had a bit of a partiality to yourself, though you were always hard pressed to admit it. There, in some cases I believe I do know you better than you do yourself.
Well, if we are to be confessing faults, I have one, one that has been racking my soul with torment these past eighteen hours. But in my usual form, I will narrate these past six days for you.
Every morning, I made it to the Garden as early as possible, anxious to show that I was eager to fulfill my promise and that I rather enjoyed it. But no matter how early I tried to be, the Xar was always there waiting, sitting on the Marbel bench, looking for all the world as if he were about to set out on his favorite pastime of hunting, rather than go on a walk with me.
We would take our walk, at times deep in conversation, at others deep in our own thoughts. The silence always companionable and the talk always comfortable. There are few subjects we have not broached at some point or other, including those of our personal lives. You may be shocked at this degree of friendship, but from the moment I met the Xar, it has seemed impossible for me to hide what I feel and think from him and I confess, I have had little inclination to do so. And I will go as far to say that I believe he feels the same way towards me. He has told me things that I dare say he has told none else and I have done likewise. But I will not further bore or anger you, be your feelings what they may.
After our walks, I spend the day Recording what little I am asked to and perusing the library or grounds, whatever suits my fancy at the time.
At five sharp, I join the Xar and his guests for dinner, followed by a Lounge in the Throne Room, where I have come across some of the most extraoridinary people and conversations. But again, I will not bore you with these details.
This is the regular routine of my day and it has not varied much in the past six. But what is of importance, is these last eighteen hours.
The Xar and I went on our usual walk yester-morning, only to end with the sad news of his going away for a week. With my usual stanch abilities, I kept a good face, but I could not help but acknowledge as I came back to my rooms, that I felt a keen sense of heartache deep in my chest at this sudden removal of my daily pleasures and company. I sat thinking for some time, and eventually came to the conclusion that I feel a deep sense of connection and affection for the Xar. I feel keenly that I do not like his being away and I think there is a rather large chance of my being deeply in love.
But do not fret my friend, as I came to the conclusion that this diagnosis of my feelings must be correct, I also acknowledged the fact that, in the situation I am in, these feelings are useless and apt to be annoying. Therefore, I have resolved to rid myself of them at the earliest possible moment. But in my duties as a friend, I felt I should tell you how I feel and why your warnings against the Xar have affected me so strongly.
I intend to be fully cured of this fancy by the coming week when he returns. After all, I cannot let something like fanciful love stand in the way of saving the world now, can I?
(In case you did not catch my flik, that was a joke.)
The Night of Rudeth is in one month exactly. I must give my answer to the Xar in two weeks. Do not worry, I will keep my promise to you, old friend, and stay firm in the negative to him.

Yours always,

Be careful of the Flaggans. And do not scorn what help you can get, even if it is from someone you detest so much as Gale. And if you would, give him my deepest thanks for saving your life and keeping you in a vicious temper. You may keep the last bit off if you wish.

I believe when you say "follow your soul", you are referring to that long conversation we had that night in Dernde about whether it is better to follow your head or your heart and I believe we came to the conclusion that it is best to follow your soul, for soul is a balance comprised of the Spirit, Mind, and Body.
If this is so, I will do my best to follow my soul, if it is truly the soul that tells you what is right and what is wrong. But I cannot guarantee that I will always have the wisdom to define between soul and heart.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

8th Letter


I apologize for dumping this all on you. Right now about the only thing I can do is be sorry. Sorry about the lies, sorry about the bad news, sorry about hurting you. Sorry.

But you should know that I am serious. Just bad at telling you the whole anything and everything. So, sorry about that too.

I know that you are angry at me for telling you that you hold the world in your hands. And I know that you don't believe you do, so, sorry? And again, sorry, for offending you. You do not have to believe what I have told you. Just accept it if it is true. And know that I am COMPLETELY in my right mind. We can leave it at that.

Well the night of Rudeth is approaching, and I am forever grateful that you have chosen to be in the Heart of Corinth at that time. I hope you look forward to what will happen. Even if you don't know.

Your life at the palace sounds like a world opposite to mine, which is probably a good thing. Just as the syne rose yester-morning, a man we are traveling with, and whom I very much dislike, and I (I didn't mention him in the last letter because I hadn't met him yet) had to fight off some Flaggans, so I guess you can guess where I am since the only place Flaggans roam is Rust Ridge, but now you know anyway because I just told you,UGH! My 'gift' of stating the obvious is kicking in! Well, lets just say that it was SC-A-RY.

Well not to pop you bubble of happiness or anything, but I am inclined to say that even though you trust the Xar, I do not. I hope that it counts for something too. Because you thought that you knew me and I was nice, right? So just think about what you are getting yourself into before you get in too deep.

Sorry again! I just keep giving you warnings, and dark news. So I guess that what you really want to hear from me is something like 'Don't worry about a thing. Just do what ever you want while you are alive.' or something. And I'm sorry that I cant say that exact thing to you, but, what I can say is that if you follow your soul, then you will be happy and everything will turn out alright, no matter what.

Also, I cant say to follow your heart, or your mind, because if you just followed your heart then you could make a choice that defies your mind. And that would not be good. And visa versa for your mind.

So, then since you are having adventures in the Capitol. I guess that I should tell you something of what I'm doing in Rust Ridge...

When I went through the Discharge, after I sent you the Oplaf, Silvia and I ended up in the Egdir Tsur Mountains, and it was raining. So we found shelter in a cave. The next morning we found the Snag River, and got water and some fish. Your sister is surprisingly good in the wild by-the-way. She caught the fish and built the fire to cook them on! Anyway, so after that we headed towards the Tree of Gifts. It was there that we fist met the Flaggans. They attacked us out of nowhere. So then, just as one was about to strike me down, and Gale (the guy I don't like) came and saved us from them.

After that we said our goodbyes and found a ledge on a cliff that was close enough to the ground to sleep under. When we woke up Silvia was gone. I got worried so I started to look for her. And you'll never guess who I found her talking to... yeah, Gale. I guess that they had met up at a branch off of the river. So things happened and Silvia decided that we could use a man to protect us from all the dangers of the wild. He agreed and no matter how I argued, he tagged along.

So then lots of things went on as usual, with the small attacks, and the hunting for food, and the moving across the Mountains.

When we got to the Ridge, everything went smoothly until the last day when we were attacked by the sc-a-ry Flaggans. These ones were a little different and were HUGE, but we defeated them. The only problem was that Silvia got scared and was really jumpy. so the one time that she thought that she heard something she jumped around, tripped on a rock, and fell a shot ways down the slope. So she was okay, but she broke a finger and got scraped up a little bit.

I think that I will find her a place to stay in Skye Falls. Maybe with the Swandre Family. Do you remember them?

Well that is my amount of adventures.

With More Apologies,

Monday, October 6, 2008

Seventh Letter

Dear Astra,

I hardly know what to write. Your letter has caused me many mixed emotions and I still don't know that I feel up to the task of writing this letter, to one whom I now feel I know so ill.
Though my mind tells me I do not know you, my heart cannot let me be a complete stranger to one who was a short while ago, my dearest friend. Therefore, I still feel the need to confide in you, as I have always done before.
My first time through your letter, I was convinced you had bashed your head in, for your brain must be scrambled to make up a story such as that. But on further perusal, I have come to the conclusion that you are at least half serious. Are you serious?
It is truly hard to believe even a part of the fantastic things you have written me. I do not doubt your abilities or your determination to do what's right, but I confess, I find it rather hard to believe that you are a member of this, group, this, "Nebeula". But my longtime faith in your honesty compells me to acknowledge this fact as an actual truth. But how can you have kept this from me for so long? It has hurt me deeply. But I will not say more on that point.
But beside all your amazing adventures, and secret societies and fantastic prophecies, you expect me to believe that I am a part of this? That I am the one with the "gift"? My dearest friend, I fear your imagination has led you astray.
Your story, I suppose, has a possibility of being the truth. But that it can have any impact or importance on the dangers of our day, is incredible and hard to swallow. That this "Rax" can come back to haunt us, so to speak, is ridiculous. The story has been told and therefore, that is the end of it. It has no bearing on today.
But aside from all these things, I find it harder to believe that you would concoct such a fantastic story, merely for your own amusement and my distress. In this light, I cannot help but believe that what you say is true, or at the least, you believe it is true.
Yes, you belong to a group called "Nebeula". Yes, there is a group called "Nova", whom you oppose. Yes, you have miraculously learned to fight with weapons and magyks. Yes, there was once a terrible battle fought, where one called "Nokturne" defeated one called "Rax". Yes, "Nokturne" had a gift, a gift of changing people. But No, I repeat No, I do not have this same gift, and never will.
What could have enticed you to entertain such a thought? What has brought on this bout of insanity? What has led you to such a fantastic conclusion? I fear for your health of mind if you do not dispell this idea once and for all.
I am still unaware as to the dangers you seem so certain are soon to beset us. But I warrant that danger is most certain to be there and I will do all in my power to assist all I can in overcoming the evil around us. But I will not allow you to put me in a fantasized position of such importance. I am hurt and offended that you would tease me in such a way. Do not play so upon my feelings. I have given my support all I can. There is no need for forcing my hand. I will not stand such patronization.

Please forgive me. I do not mean to injure you with my rantings. I am certain you mean well. But in all seriousness, tell me what I can do to help. I am as dedicated as you in the cause of good.
And do not worry yourself so. I will be there, in the heart of Corinth on the night of Rudeth. It's not as if anyone is to prevent my going. I will be there.

You seem to have taken my recent refusal to Benden as a more serious matter than I meant you to see it. It was all in fun and I know for a certain fact that Ben did not mean a thing by it.
He sent a note yesterday, thanking me for the good fun we had together and his much needed practice in the art of disguise. He made it known to me that the whole affair was merely a challenge from a group of friends and that he knew I would not be one to take such a thing seriously, and therefore I should be safe to practice on. He is off to join a performing group in Corinth and he asks that I come see him, as he owes all his training and talent to my great tutoring. But he still asks that I meet him "at the heart of Corinth on the night of Rudeth".
His letter gave me a great laugh. It was as I suspected all along. I agree with you on the point that we should not do well married to each other, but I declare, I find him a funny fellow and should not begrudge knowing him better someday. He has talent and I shall enjoy watching him on stage.

Putting all war and danger behind me, I shall tell you of my last two days here at the Palace Vast.

My room is all one could ask for, only in want of more to fill the enourmous space. But I know how you detest details of decoration and taste, so I won't bother you on the subject and will recount my latest encounters with the Xar.

On my first night here, I was taken dinner in my private sitting room, along with the regrets of the Xar that he was unable to join me. He was delayed in an unforeseen meeting and would not be back until late that night. But he graciously requested my presence at every evening meal with him for the rest of my stay in the Palace.

I was deeply flattered and gave my heartfelt consent. The following day, the Xar was out, and I was unneeded and left to my own devices. I explored what parts of the Palace I felt comfortable being in, and spent a large part of the day in the Vast Gardens as it was a beautiful day.

That evening, promptly at five, I was called down to dine with the Xar. There were other guests present, for you know the Xar never dines alone, and I was introduced to each one. I don't recall anyone of great importance, excepting Lord Gerome, who, as you may recall, has recently come to the Capitol to occupy tht position of Chief Overseer of Jewells. My introduction to Lord Gerome was very warm and he took to me very well. I suspect he was told somewhat of my part in getting him his new position.

Dinner was delightful, but uneventful. I sat near the Xar and he frequently spoke to me, asking me for details of my stay so far in Buair and my other adventures around the world. I was more than happy to fill him in and he was a splendid listener, frequently asking me to expound on certain points and places.

After dinner, we adjourned to the Great Hall, where cushions and chairs had been positioned around the Xar's throne. I had a few moments to speak to the Ladies there, but was soon called to sit next to the Xar, as he was anxious for my opinion on whether or not Grandfather Melvin would be more likely to plant Zuy seeds in the fields next year, or Kerch. The Lords were against Zuy, saying they tended to bring more Tze flies, but the Xar was for them, saying that with their harvest nearly every day, they brought in the most profit and food for the people, where as Kerch only brought in a harvest every three days and that the people could stand a few more Tze flies for a lot more food. The debate went on, but the Xar eventually won out.

I will not tire you with the remainder of our trivial conversations. The Xar was extremely kind to me the whole night through, and I was grateful for his attentions, where I was in a situation foreign to me and had not made the acquaintance of any others in attendance.

Dinner was much the same last night. I am slowly but surely making the frienship of some of the ladies of the court but the Xar continues to keep me by his side. I have not had any more meetings to Record, but I am enjoying my peace, going often to the Vast Gardens to contemplate.

While I was in the gardens early this morning, I had the pleasure of meeting with the Xar himself. He was alone, which is rare, and he invited me to join him on his stroll. I did so, and he graciously proffered his arm. The morning was soft and everything was in bloom, nothing frightened to show it's face.

We walked for a few minutes, discussing the weather and the flowers, and other trivial things of the same sort. When we came to the Lotus Pool, the Xar took me to a bench and we sat down. We continued to talk, never stopping for uncomfortable pauses, the conversation always flowing gracefully. Our conversation would not much interest you, except near the end. We had been discussing the Night of Rudeth and I again gave my regrets but stayed firm that I could not attend the meeting. He let it pass and told me to continue to think on it. We got up and started to make our way back to the Palace. When we came to the place where we were to part, he bent down and kissed my hand, then stepped away to leave. But he then turned back and came closer to me. The syne was shining softly behind him, and I could just make out the regal features of his face. He took my hand again, and with his eyes now locked with mine, asked if I would join him for a morning stroll every morning, for he would surely suffer if he were to take that lovely walk again without me.

He looked so wonderful and his voice was so soothing and I loved the walk and I couldn't help but say yes. So, now I go walking with the Xar every morning and I dine with him each night. Do you think that is wrong? Your warning is still clear in my mind, but I cannot think that it is warranted. The Xar is a good man, and I trust him. Nothing but an evil act on his part can entice me to think otherwise. Your words will not sway me.

Yours ever,



Forgive me for my anger.

I am always anxious for your safety. Take Care, my Dear Friend.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

6th Letter

I'm so sorry for confusing you so much. I was in such a rush to get out of Quest that I'm not even sure what I said makes sense to even me. But it was all true, Buair IS in danger. I know that you still have no idea of what is happening, so now it is time to reveal the little that I can. It occurred on Pillaff Day at the dinner that is always held at Rayven Manor. But I suppose that I ought to tell you some of the few secrets I have with held from you.
Now, where to start...well, I guess that I should tell you that I belong to Nebeula. We are an organization that opposes The Order of Nova. A secret group bent of domination of everything. For years others belonging to Nebeula have fought Nova in secret. And just so you know NO one can know of this except for you. To continue,when we were in Omega I accidentally discovered what was going on, with my 'Gift' of snooping it wasn't hard, when the other members discovered that I had discovered their secret, they discovered blackmail. The threatened the lives of you and your family, I think that they would have threatened mine except that no one knows where he is. So then they said that I would either have to watch my friends die, or I could join them. Its obvious which I chose, right?
So now that I have told you that I can treat you to more secrets.
All of those times that I disappeared, and you wondered where I was, but I wouldn't tell you is because Nebeula doesn't just fight with tactics against Nova. I had to learn to fight physically with weapons, and magyks, in secret. It was hard, but with the help of someone that you know, (but I cant mention his name because it is forbidden secret stuff, you catch my flik?) I made it through.
Now, telling you of what has really been going on with me, I have realized that you scarcely know me. But, I know you, and know that you will be angry with me for keeping important things in my life from you. So please just finish the letter, and think about things for a few days.
Now that you have a little background information. I will tell you of the dangers we are about to face.
You know some of it. The epistle of Gargan for example. Is not just and epistle, but part of an ancient prophecy, in ancient Elfeven which is so long that I care not to take the time to tell the whole thing to you, but the gist of it goes like this...
In ancient times a war of immense proportions tore through The Relms like a savage beast. More devastating then the War of Frost Witches, it ripped apart the Balance. Good and Bad, Light and Dark, they all combined into one force know as Rax. The most vile creature to ever cross into our everything. No one knew of its origins, where it came from, or what its purpose for being here was. All they knew disappeared when it came. Will all opposing forces intertwined, they were mindless creatures, having no will of there own, they had no will to govern them selves. All except for one man. Know to us as Nokturne, he who possessed the Gift that is only been passed to one in every 125000 years. The Gift is not quite fully know to our people, but we know that it had something to do with being in the middle of everything, and the ability to change others. So he didn't belong to JUST the Light, or JUST the bad. He belonged to both opposing sides, he was all, he was believed to be a opposite of Rax. His gift allowed him to keep his mind, which infuriated Rax, because he wanted control. But Nokturne knew that being heir to this great Gift knew that only one being could be the Balance of things. And that even then the universe had a hard time combining all forces. He knew that if things carried on Rax's way, everything would tear its-self apart. He knew that he had to do something to change it. So he traveled a quickly as time would permit. Changing others, raising an army of his own to rebel against Rax. His army grew into a vast force that no one kingdom had ever possessed.
But, Rax raised his own army of experimental beings, beings that no longer retained their original races qualities. They were void of pain. They were killing machines, without the ability to stop themselves from massacring villages, countries, times.
Well eventually this war was decided in the final battle know as Lexicron. Nokturne, sacrificed his life to seal Rax's power. But Rax was so powerful that over the years he reincarnated into different beings, that in their 27th year, remembered all of his past lives and couldn't repress his power and became some of the most well known villains, rulers, and now past people our histories have ever known.
This is also where Nebeula comes in.
Rax was the original founder of Nova. Nokturne or Nebeula. And you might never guess it, but all of our great wars have been fought by the same people and on the same grounds.
But, this war will be different. This time, Rax's power has significantly increased. This time, Nebeula may not win. This time we need you.
Back to the Gorgan prophecy. It was prophesied, by the last heir of the gift, just before he died that the next person to inherit the Gift would be the one that would decide the outcome of the next war. The next person to inherit the Gift, would either destroy Rax, or hand over The Relms to him.
Then next person to inherit the Gift.

Is you.

I know that you don't believe it. I know that you think I am insane. I know that you hate me for telling you this.
I know many things. but I cannot do anything about them. But I know that however can be there to help you I will.
Things are coming. You will need as much help as you can get. And you absolutely HAVE to be in the heart of Corinth on the Night of Rudeth. It will be a hard choice between the Xar, Benden, and myself. But know that I Will be with you on that night no matter which path you choose.
I hope that you will tolerate seeing me after all that I have told you.
With Knowing,
P.S. After all of this scary stuff I thought that you should know I am glad that you refused Benden. I don't think that you could stand to be married to each other.
P.S.S. Silvia sends her regards. And misses you. And wishes you luck.
P.S.S.S. I know that you probably still have lots of questions. And I didn't answer half of the ones that you had in you last letter, so just try to be patient with me. Even if it is REALLY hard. And even if you cant stand me after this.

Still be safe.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fifth Letter - By Opalf

Dear Astra,

Be discrete, you say. Hah! That's like telling the Syne to be dark. There I was, having Eta with Grandfather, and trying not to let it show in my face that I was reading the most dreadful news! And yet, still I do not know what is wrong! What can you be alluding to? What do you mean by the wrong side? Which side is right and which is wrong? How is Buair in danger? Where does the danger come from? You're scaring me!
Oh my stars! Grandfather is calling.


Oh my stars! I am so very confused! First you, now him. What is this world coming to?! That is EXACTLY what I want to know!
The Xar has sent a letter, notifying me of some troubling news, but not mentioning what, and he has asked that I join him and his council for a meeting this very afternoon. As Record Keeper of course, but he mentions that I am not to hesitate to add my thoughts and ideas.
Oh my stars! I swear, you have made me lose all sense of decorum. How am I ever to encounter the Xar again with your warning against him constantly going through my mind?
Perhaps in this meeting I shall learn something of what is going on.


OH MY STARS! At this very moment I am sitting in the uppermost Tower Bedroom in the Palace Vast, writing you this letter in the hopes that you will keep it for your posterity, so they shall then know that you were best friends with the first girl to DIE OF CONFUSION!
My dear friend, if dear you really are, you are responsible for spinning webs of confusion for my mind to unravel, webs which I now feel completely entangled in.
I went to the meeting, it seems the entire Council made a point to be present. I was seated next to the Xar and Grandfather was in the Audience Chamber. The Xar was gracious and very kind, and the Council accepted my presence as Record Keeper.
The meeting began and the first order of business was to have Lord Greyhound read the shocking epistle from Gargan. Here is roughly what it said:

Gashome highlectioney, frucvisiounee heedIyfganeve shaleemshvunay cestprognuvia.

And then, dear friend, they all began to speak Gargian! I swear I was like to scream! How did the Xar expect me to Record when I don't speak a word of Gargian? But of course, with my Gift to Record, I faithfully wrote down every word spoken, without the least knowledge of what was spoken of.
So I am still completely in the dark and I can't keep my eye out for anything suspicious when I don't know what to be suspicious of.
The Xar was amazed at my abilites and he has asked me to reside in the Palace for the coming months, so as to always be on hand to Record. Grandfather was called away on some urgent business and so I cannot even ask him what the trouble is!
So, here I sit in a great tower, all alone and not knowing WHAT THE FLIPPIN' GALAXY IS GOING ON!
Oh my stars! It seems I shall have to finish this later. I am being called for.


I had vowed to never say it again, but here goes: OH MY STARS!!!!!!!!

I suppose I had failed to mention in my previous letters that I have lately recieved an offer of marriage. Do not overly excite yourself. It was tactfully rejected. I hardly need tell you from whence it came.
Benden Steel seems to have followed me here. I thought Silivia had got him off our trail back in Juno! But apparently he made some discreet inquiries and found me here.
Since I have nothing better to do at the moment, I shall narrate his escapades.
Benden arrived at Grandfathers doorstep the day before I first met the Xar. With his usual theatricals, he was dressed as a classical portrait painter and before ten minutes were gone, he had won himself into Grandfather's heart and home. I knew nothing of this as I was gone shopping for my new gown, but when I returned, I found Benden and Grandfather in the sitting room. Benden was trying his best to make a likeness of Grandfather and Grandfather was trying his best to not show his discontent on his still face.
I did not first recognize Benden, you know how masterful his diguises can be, but when I noticed his pointed left ear, I immediately knew my tracker had found me. I played along for a while and I think Benden was quite confident he had finally fooled me, but I soon found great fault in his painting and ordered him thrown out. When he was convinced I was serious, he threw off his disguise and bowed before me, vowing he would die if I made him leave this gorgeous house where I resided.
When I did throw him out, I watched him out the window and he merely shrugged and waltzed away.
When we returned from the Palace Vast the following day, Benden was there, having installed himself into the kitchen as the new Gourmet Dessert Chef.
When I found a Sapphire ring in my pudding, I knew who was behind it and I ordered the "new chef" into the dining hall.
He was brought out and systematically played his role as forlorn lover and then he knelt before me, pledging his heart and his floury hand and all of his meager possesions as mine, if I would "but make" him "the happiest man in the world by consenting to be" his "wife."
You would have been ashamed of my manners, for I nearly burst out laughing. Fortunately, I kept my cool and ordered him thrown out. He left, pledging his love all the way to the door.
Truly, I do not know why he has kept up this foolishness for so long. It must have been nearly seven months ago that we met him in Fegnard, and he has followed me since.
If you look at it in a practical manner, one can tell that this is merely a charade and a game to him. He enjoys his roles and my scornings. We have never conversed with more than a simple "Good Morning" and I don't doubt he wouldn't remember my name if his roles did not require him to say it so "caressingly" so often. But this is beside the point. His latest charade has left me utterly confused.
He came to the Palace, requesting to speak with me, saying it was of the most urgent nature. When I came down to the Hall, he was not in a costume of any sort, and I barely recognized him as himself. There were no confessions of adorations, indeed, he did not even mention his recent proposal. Instead, he seemed greatly agitated. He was pacing, back and forth across the plush carpets of the Hallway.
When I came down, he bowed slightly and then ran up to me, taking my hands in his. In any other situation I would have scorned him and taken my hands back, but he did not hold my hands in a loving gesture, it was more a gesture of the utmost pleading. Here is what was said:
"Xandra, have you heard?" He was looking earnestly into my eyes. Did you know that he has the most extraordinary green eyes. Anyway, I was near to bursting at this question, for of course, I had not heard anything other than hazy cautions and meetings of Council conducted in a foreign language.
But I was polite. "Heard what?"
Benden had dropped my hands and was pacing again. "No, of course not. Why should you have?" He was really talking to himself. He swung around and faced me. "Xandra, will you do something for me?" He was pleading most sincerely, but I was not ready to commit myself.
"What would you like me to do Ben?"
"Meet me at the heart of Corinth on the night of Rudeth. Please." He was looking very closely at me and I tried hard to conceal my surprise at his request. I thought things over and decided that it would do no harm to promise to meet him as I was already destined to be there.
"If you like. I will." My words brought a visible relief to his eyes and he stopped his pacing and just looked at me, as if to judge my sincerity. He then made a sketchy bow and hurried out the door, but not before looking back at me and saying softly, so I could barely catch it, "Be careful."
His whole demeanor has got me up in the air. His role playing seems to have been dropped completely and I could swear he was in earnest. But I have absolutely no idea why he would wish to meet me the same night and in the same place you requested.
Oh my stars! I am being called for.


I cannot believe it. Dearest friend, what is so important about the night of Rudeth?
The Xar has asked that I be present at a meeting to be held that night. He says it is vital that I be there. I have told him that I have a very important meeting of my own but he will not take no for an answer. He has told me to think on it and he will expect an answer no later than two weeks before the day.

I am thoroughly and completely confused now. I feel like so many important things are happening around me and I don't have a clue to what they could mean.
Enlighten me.

Friendship Forever,

Thursday, October 2, 2008

4th Letter

I am so sorry for rushing the formalities of recognizing all of your grand adventures in The Capitol. But the truth is I only have a few moment to spare. While Silvia's spells give me more time to send you this I must tell you, Buair is in the gravest of dangers. I have overheard terrible things here in this small Quest. Treachery, deceit, and all that we know is about to change. You must find out what is going on in the Palace. I have to leave this place. We are going out through the Discharge behind the picture of zoollog in Willow's old bedchambers. I don't know where I will end up, but you MUST send me any news that you can about everything mysterious you hear. Be discrete. I cannot help you with anything that is about to happen. All I can say is that is that you and I are also in the gravest of dangers. Beware everyone. Only trust old acquaintances. So not over stay you welcome there either.
If you do anything you have to meet me in the heart of Corinth in two months time on the night of Rudeth. Remember what I have written to you and burn this letter. If anyone on the wrong side sees this it will put the lives of more then you can imagine. Different races, time clots, dimensions, everyone will hardly have the light of Stellar with them.
You are my very best friend. You understand me better then any other. And You are the key, and the one that I wish to be the safest.
One more thing I can say is that you must remember the Xar may not be you friend. Especially if he is Nova. You must believe that we can find out what is going on together no matter what.
The Opalf I have sent you is one of the strongest in The Relms of Rothe. I acquired it while in Camellott. Use it to contact me in these dire circumstances. It will send to me you news and help you to find me if the time comes.
I have to go. They are breaking through her spells.
Be CAREFUL. Let Stellar guide your mind, but follow your heart.
With Urgency,
P.S. I am sure that you looked beyond lovely in your dress and hair. I will continue to wonder at the Xar's gifts for you.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Third Letter

Dearest Astra,

I shall now tell you every detail of my grand adventure in the Palace Vast, big or small.
Grandfather and I got up quite early and began our eager preparations to go to the Palace Vast. The Xar said he would send a Car, one of those large transports the Inventore himself made, at seventy-five past two. I confess, I was nearly hyperventilating, I was so nervous! Duke Gandull has loaned us ten of his servants while we are here and one of them is a fabulous hairdresser and she made my hair look like the Milky Way! It came down in beautiful shimmering waves upon my back, taking on the hues of the moonlight when we were outside and the sparkle of the Synelight when we were in. I bought a new dress for the occasion, sapphire blue, shimmering with stardust, it wraps gracefully up around my neck, leaving my shoulders bare, and then swoops down slightly in the back. The skirt flows around my legs, but was specially made so that I never trip on it. I had wanted to have my eyes done, but the servants were much against it, saying my eyes were my natural beauty and that if they did them up, they were likely to blind the Xar. I laughed of course, but they kept on at it, and I finally gave in and settled for my plain blue eyes.
The rest of me was beautiful! I think I felt what it must be like to be you! Grandfather most emphatically approved and when the Car arrived, we were off.
The Car was long and black and it purred like a tiger. When we got in, it took off at a great speed, going much faster than a Heetah.
We came to the Palace Vast and it nearly took my breath away. The hallway we entered was sparkling in purple hues and the walls were draped in the darkest velvet I have ever seen, but still somehow it gave off light.
We didn't see much of the Palace, for the room we were to meet the Xar in was right off the main hall.
The room was exactly square, and it the center of it, sunk slightly into the floor, was the Xar's throne and the Xar himself on it. The throne was of a beautiful light wood, with simple carvings of the universe all around it's edges. The Xar was dressed in his state robes, his trousers dusted with dirt and his top hanging slightly open, showing his muscular, work hardened chest. In his hand he held a small chunk of wood and while he talked with us he sat carving the chunk. He was carving a lady of some sort, for soon you could see the smooth flow of a dress and the elegant lines of a regal neck, with the lady's hair flowing out and around her face and gently down her back.
Yes, I confess, I was paying too much attention to his carving and not enough to the conversation I was supposed to be recording. But his hands were so beautiful, deft and strong, with little scars all about. He rarely looked at his work, his hands seemed to work of themselves.
Here is the jist of what I recorded of the meeting: The Xar got up when we came in and warmly shook Grandfathers hand and bowed slightly to me. We all sat down and I took up my pen and paper, though I was still watching the Xar.
Grandfather opened the meeting, giving a rough view of why he had come to Buair and the situation in Camellott, the feelings of the people and so forth. The Xar nodded thoughtfully throughout and kept eye contact with Grandfather throughout, except giving me an occasional glance and smile.
When Grandfather had finished his narrative, the Xar sat in silence for a moment, his brows pulled together in thought. Here is what he finally said:
"The people of Camellott are the best judges of their situation. From what you have told me, it seems as though it would be best if Lord Gerome were removed from his position as Judge." Grandfather nodded and the Xar went on. "However, you have forgotten one critical thing." Granfather looked confused. "Lord Gerome is a powerful ally to the Kingdome of Gargan and if I were to remove him from his position, we would bring a greater threat on the people than Lord Gerome alone poses at the present." Understanding came to Grandfather's eyes and he bowed his head in thought. The Xar's work on his carving sped up as he thought, oft times his hands moving so quickly I lost clear sight of them. Finally the Xar shook himself out of his reverie and looked at me.
"I believe Xandra has an idea." I was shocked, for indeed, I did have an idea, but I was puzzled as to how he could have guessed.
"Indeed, I do." I gave him a puzzled look and he smiled.
"You were twisting your pen in a slightly different pattern and your mouth lifted slightly on the left side about twenty seconds ago. I simply guessed." He smiled again and I shook my head ruefully. He motioned for me to speak.
"It is not really an idea, more of a thought. The problem is that you must keep the allegiance of Lord Gerome but by robbing him of his position as judge, you are afraid that will spark his wrath and we will lose him as an ally. Is that correct?" He nodded. "Well, if I may be so bold, the answer is simple enough. Lord Kalley recently retired from his position as Chief Overseer Of Jewells and I believe Grandfather mentioned that Lord Gerome is discontent with his position, seeking to higher it. What higher position could he want than Chief Overseer Of Jewells? I am certain he would jump at the chance."
"But surely that would not solve our problems. We are not attempting to give Lord Gerome more power, we are attempting to take the little he has away from him, which he abuses." Grandfather pointed out.
"Just so. But in what ways does Lord Gerome abuse his power? The Xar pointed out that the people are the best judges of their situation. The people believe that Lord Gerome is wrong for the situation which he now occupies. But surely that does not make him wrong for any position. I remember reading about Lord Gerome when I was last in Camellott. He is known as being a rather hasty man, apt to dislike courtly manners and politics, therefore apt to do all he can to get them out of his way. But he is an intelligent man, and knows that if he were to give up the position he has, he is not likely to get another. But you are missing the main point." I said this when Grandfather shook his head in confusion. "Lord Gerome was raised in Gargan. His father occupied the position as Chief Overseer Of Jewells there for a short period and Lady Gerome, has made it a point to let the women at court know that her husband would come to Buair in an instant to fill the same position. She is known to have said so, just last week, after it was made public that Lord Kalley had retired." Grandfather was beginning to smile and the Xar was waching me keenly. "So, you see, all you have to do, is offer Lord Gerome the position he wants and he will be more than happy to give up the position that suits him so ill."
Grandfather was chuckling softly now and the Xar had stopped his work on his carving, nodding slowly and appreciatively.
Grandfather said, "What a fool I was to not fill you in on the details of the situation earlier, Xandra. We would have saved the Xar some wasted time and me an apparently wasted trip."
The Xar said, "Surely not wasted! I would never have had the chance to become acquainted with such a gem as your granddaughter!" He smiled at me and I could feel myself blushing. "I will do exactly as you say, Xandra. I will send out an offer to Lord Gerome immediately and another one to your Grandfather." Grandfather looked up in surprise. "Yes indeed, Melvin, I will send you a formal offer to fill the position of Judge of Camellott, for it sounds as if that would suit the people just right. Good Day to both of you."
And with that he left us, leaving through one of the curtains on the walls. As he passed me he pressed something into my hand and in his other hand I saw his finished carving and I was shocked to realize that it was me! I suppose he is in the habit of carving those who come to see him, though he didn't carve Grandfather.
I did not have time to look at the thing in my hand until we were in the Car heading back. It is the most beautiful thing! It is a doe, small and plain, but there is something about the face, the set of the large eyes and the confidence with which they stare back at me.
I have studied it over and over again and each time I find some beautiful little detail, endearing me more and more to this small carving.
I am honored that the Xar would give me this gift and I will treasure it always. It is a silly hope, but I hope to meet him again.
Now, tell me of your life dear friend. Are you still in Quest with those awful clouds of darkness or have you moved on with our travels without me? Tell me all!

Friendship Forever,