The dreams are always the same…
The roads are always clean. Too clean. There are no people walking the streets. Sunlight bounces off The Spires like a rainbow. My Mother is cradling me tightly as she walks next to my Father. He is wearing his Knight colors and armaments. I can’t see his face. A plum of red juts out the top of his helm like feathers of a peacock. Mother is sobbing. I can’t understand what she is saying; only that she is in anguish. He turns to say something; I can only make out his bright blue eyes as we lock gazes. The city gates are behind us now, getting smaller as we walk. I hold on tighter, never wanting to lose her, but I know what is coming.
New village, new home, new life. They never talk about The Spires. Never talk about the past. Only the virtues of the future. The virtues and traditions of being an Elf. Many of the Reth’im flock to my parent’s teachings. To remember not the past, but yet know one’s self. My road is traveled like a wheel. Many spokes hold the wheel in place; many paths are taken, but never the same way. Life is not the static roads we see ahead, but the circular means by which every Path leads.
My Wheel turns yet again when I see dust on the horizon. Animals pounding, Orks howling, people screaming and running. Father kills many before they overrun him. Mother screams as I am ripped from her grasp. She is taken a different direction. I bite and claw my best before I am thrown in the cage with the others. Sariella is there as well. She will be my Queen one day. Days blur by in pain. Sari is sold first. Myself second as I pretend to be mute. The tests to prove so were painful, but I don’t make a noise. I use the pain to remember every single detail of my captors.
Time slows down. My Master is of Noble House Narlanth. As the Theran language is a close relative to Sperethiel, I secretly pick it up and begin to understand what Fate has in store for me. While Master Xandarlathalas is a very accomplished Nethermancer, his ego blinds him to my learning. For how could a slave who can’t even speak, read or write secretly learn about Life, Death and the Spirit right under his own nose? Over the next decade, my body and skin are transformed much like a book. Parchment becomes skin. Ink becomes blood. I am a tapestry of symbols.
Because Fate can be fickle, I spy my dear Sariella while in the Eternal Library. I have to fight the urge to immediately call out her Name. She has changed much since our teen years. Surely the Passion Astendar has blessed her. Such beauty was not meant to be enslaved. Not wanting to draw attention to either of us, I secretly slip her a note while Master Xandarlathalas negotiates with one of the librarians. Her radiant smile and obvious happiness is cut short by me as I quickly motion in the Masters direction. She nods after reading my promise. The wetness around her eyes renews my will for us to leave Thera.
The time finally comes.
By my will alone, I use the same magics that my Master shackled me with 10 years earlier. I use my Master’s Pneuma to turn myself into an Owl and off into the night I fly. But Nethermancy is a cruel Mistress. The magic threads that freed me will not allow me to take Sari with me. I fly in circles until the spirit winds pull me away to freedom, just as I had demanded. Screeching into the night, I call out to Astendar, Lochost and even Mynbruje to hear my pleas. My answers are gone like the wind as I plummet towards the earth below.
I wake with a start as the slave caravan stops for the night. My arms are unable to move, as they are shackled to the wall. Whispering makes me notice the other slaves staring wide eyed at me. A soft blue light radiates off of my tattoos that aren’t covered by my clothes any longer. I curse the fates for enslaving me yet again.
“Cele draesis tech!”