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 Post subject: Re: Aeili Azenci - Mystran Meditations
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 7:54 am 
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Whispers from the Fugue: Part II

Her eyes were closed, but her mind was very much awake. "Was there even a point in reverie here?" she thought as she tried to concentrate on what was happening to her. For some reason she could not remember any of her spells and her tel'kiira spellbook was missing. She consoled herself to pray to her goddess, hoping for solace and direction.

"Lady of Mysteries. . . I don't know where I am. Please, help your servant. I feel lost. I feel afraid. My heart is disquieted with uncertainty and doubts. The denizens of the fell planes call for me and I will not answer them for you, Mother of All Magic, are the one to whom my heart belongs. If I am dead, departed from the living, come for me. Send your servants to take me to the place you have promised: your own realm where those who serve you will become one with magic forevermore."

"Are you sure, Aeili of Mystra?" came that irksome, cunning voice once more. "Is it not more the case that your goddess has abandoned you? You are cut off from her Weave, unable to tap any of her powers, remember any of your spells and yet you still think she will come to get you?" A deep, throaty laugh accompanied the subtle mocking.

Uncertain green eyes looked up once more. The words were true. They cut deeply. She had no powers here. She was alone here. The emptiness of the place was so thick it could almost be touched with the fingertips.

"Begone from me!" she muttered unenthusiastically. "I have nothing to say to you."

"Oh, now that's ripe coming from a diviner, isn't it?" the mocking voice continued. "Why, you had -so- many things to say to others, and now that they're not here, you have nothing. Well, Aeili, we can offer you -something-. A place. Certainty. We know that if you come with us, you will start your new life in the realms beneath. Why, if you work hard enough you might even be promoted, and find an opportunity to see your friends again. Even Charraj."

That last word pierced her heart sharper than an adamantine dagger."Charraj. By Mystra, Charraj!" was her all encompassing, all consuming thought. She closed her eyes and slumped down.


"Yes, that's right. We know where he is, mourning for his pretty little priestess. He's not taking it so well you know. Why, we might even be able to persuade him to take his own life! Wouldn't that be something! Two Mystrans in one day! And considering just how unstable he is, I'm sure he will be far easier to convince to join us in an honest, second chance!" the baatezu exclaimed with pseudo-sincerity, baring its teeth in that horrid, devilish grin.

Aeili clutched at her neck, the usual resting place for her holy symbol. It was not there. Her heart sank. Her mind wandered aimlessly in the depths of despair. "Charraj. . ." she whimpered, covering her mouth with her hand.

"Join us, Aeili. We will guarantee you will see your beloved Charraj again. Mystra has lied to you. She is not coming for you. You are lost, and we can save both you. . . and him."

The words were delectable. Enticing. Believable. If it were not for the most poignant fact of all: it was still a devil. Aeili's hand drifted to her chest, about the place where her holy symbol usually hung. It clutched at the material nothingness, but the immaterial remembrance she latched hold of with full fervour.

"Away from me, fiend. Mystra is my goddess and my soul rests with her, and her alone. Even if what you say is true, which it isn't, I would rather perish in this gloomy place than do your diabolical bidding."

A vicious hiss emanated immediately from the baatezu's snapping jaws. "Such a waste," it snarled and it was gone as suddenly as it had came. Suddenly a feeling of peace fell over her, like the peace that one feels when sitting at table with family at a feast day. The peace of laying in the arms of her beloved, feeling wanted, appreciated, needed. The peace of a blossoming meadow, filled with the first flowers of spring, watered by the chill mountain streams of melting snow and home to the chirping crickets and singing birds. She lay down and closed her eyes. For the first time in her life, the elf drifted off into the realm of sleep.


~~~~~~~oOo~~~~~~~


"Aeili of Mystra," came a commanding, but pleasant, male voice. She turned and opened her eyes to see who it was this time. A saintly figure, tall, glowing with iridescent light stood by her left side. Just behind the angelic figure stood another: this one was feminine with broad, white-plumed wings and a mellow, placid look on her face. She watched in stunned amazement, paralysed with holy fear. He reached down and touched her shoulder with a reassuring smile.

"Aeili of Mystra, I come to take you to the realm of your goddess, Mystra: to Dweomerheart, just as she promised you. But. . . there has been a complication. . ." he exclaimed simply and matter of factly, turning to look at the other angel present there.

"Arvandor also calls you, daughter of the Seldarine," the feminine figure followed on immediately and fluently as a scripted actress. "Your worship of Sehanine and the Elf-Father Corellon has not been ignored, Aeili, even if your life has lead you to choose another path. The gateway to your people is open, and you need only give the word and it shall be your destiny forever." The angels fell silent, and they both fixed their eyes upon her.

Those soft, gentle eyes drifted from the one to the other before turning aside to stare at the empty gloom of the Fugue Plane. She had chosen once before: her people or her goddess. She had once before tried to mingle the two: her people and her goddess. Now it had returned full circle, like the cycle of the zodiac or the phases of sweet Selune. This time, however, her choice seemed far more permanent. Her eternal fate was now in the balance. The promises of her people stood before her on her right, and to her left everything she had sacrificed to gain: the promise of eternal magic. Her face wrinkled with deep thought and she closed her eyes. Her tongue quivered against her palate as her lips creaked open. A puff of breath sailed gently across her teeth as she opened her eyes. She had made her choice.

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 Post subject: Re: Aeili Azenci - Mystran Meditations
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 2:13 am 
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Whispers from the Fugue: Part III

Aeili stood for an uncomfortable moment in the colourless gloom of the Fugue. Her mind was racing, churning over the options that were set before her. Yet deep inside, in her heart of hearts, she already knew what she wanted. Her choice had already been made. A few slow blinks ensued and her mouth began to open in preparation for her to speak her mind.

"I have chosen," she said, slowing starting to look up. "Please take me home, to. . ."

"Wait!" came the immediate and sudden interruption of the representative of Mystra. The angel held up a hand, palm outwards as his eyebrows lowered in a moment of intense concentration. Aeili looked incredibly confused, her mouth still open in mid-sentence. The female angel representing Arvandor raised an inquisitive eyebrow as she craned her head in the direction of Mystra's angelic messenger to the City of Judgement.

"I have just been informed by Mystra herself of another option which is unfolding as we speak. Aeili, you are being called for back in the Prime. Lady Neela Daren, servant of Mystra is calling for your soul. You have another choice to make, servant of the Lady," he said with all sincerity.

"You may choose to return to the living, if you so will. Doing so means you will not recall anything of this place. You will have no memory of us or of your fate, which still rests in your hands. You will need to decide now, because the magic of the spell bringing you your life again will dissipate in short order. Aeili, servant of Mystra, will you answer the summons of Lady Neela Daren?"

Aeili's mind was now incredibly conflicted. She stood at the cusp of her faith, the promises of her goddess were literally within an arm's reach. She had only to speak the name of Dweomerheart to be whisked away to her goddess' realm for the rest of her days. On the other hand, the Gates of Arvandor stood open for her, ready to receive her amongst her kindred. It was, admittedly, not her preferred option. But having grown up amongst the elves and having been taught the precepts of the Seldarine her whole life, those heart strings were also being tugged strongly.

But now there was this option being presented to her to return to the land of the living. To be reunited with her friends and her loved ones was no meagre opportunity, given her present situation. She sighed. The angel gave her an ultimatum.

"It will be now or never, Aeili of Mystra. You must choose quickly,"
came his pressing, albeit placid, voice.

She was so close to home, yet so far away. The eager anticipation of what was to come was set before her, yet so was a return to what had not yet been and the comfort of the knowledge of what had. Her heart melted inside. She could hear their silent voices calling to her mind. Charraj, Telia, Ameris, Rilae'ar'an, Drathyrra, Lai'tae, Terri, Eldarian, Alesea, Cecilia, Eva, Erza, Merlara, Celestia, Elly, Neela, Mendel, Nai, Delenthiel, Jonas, Sveta, Eleanor, Reine, Herran, Necrid, Sparrow, Ivan, Celduil, the Dariuses, Ithilwen, perhaps even Kael's. There were many more whose voices she knew, but names she did not, echoing through the recesses of her memory.

For all that, it could not be for their sake. It could not be for any of them. Her return could only be precipitated by one voice, the voice that she held in highest regard. A voice she desperately wanted to hear in person, face to face. The voice of her goddess, the voice of Mystery, the voice of Magic. Had her mission failed? Was it incomplete? Did she have more to do to spread her faith and promote genuine and responsible magical practice?

"Please take me home," she blurted out as an aeon of time passed through her mind in those scant few moments, a reverberating echo of her earlier words. "Please take me home. To Baldur's Gate. My final home in Dweomerheart is not yet. It will come of its own; it is not yet. . ."

And with those words her soul was whisked away, once more to emerge in the azure light of Mystra's altar: the very same place she had fallen not so long before, to be met by those waiting for her there.

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 Post subject: Re: Aeili Azenci - Mystran Meditations
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:57 am 
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"It is a rather strange thing to reflect on one's own passing. The gathering of people in the Temple of Mystra was enough to evidence the fact, although my memory only extends to what happened before I was cut down. May Mystra be praised for working her sublime wonders in me and through me. My service in her name is not yet completed and I am grateful for the opportunity.

I have since been informed that Dawnknight Eldarian survived the encounter with the General and that my risk paid off, causing the General to retreat alongside his army. I have yet to see any of the Lathanderites to discuss exactly what happened. I suppose it was a costly reminder that doing good for the many oft carries great risk for the few who dare to stand up in faith.

The city was also delivered from the Talonite horde, although there was much loss of life amongst the palace district and those who defended the city. There is much death still here, with many bodies yet to be disposed of; it is a grim task still set before us.

I haven't really had a good chance to talk to Charraj since I was resurrected. I wonder what is keeping him away?"

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 Post subject: Re: Aeili Azenci - Mystran Meditations
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:51 am 
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"I can't believe Charraj does not want to see me any more, simply because he does not want to feel more grief over all his losses of late. The Weavemasters, Catam and then me. Isn't he supposed to be happy that Lady Neela petitioned our Mother and saw to my return from the grave? I really, really tried to speak sense into him but he's just not there, not there at all. He's just . . !

So much for the fickle froth that is human love. Mother was right. He wrote me a letter in which he said he's doing this because he loves me. What kind of love pushes someone away? He even said he didn't want me to be his priestess any more, he didn't want me to be his anything any more.

It seems I was Charraj's pillar and when it was knocked down he just collapsed like the proverbial bridge. As much as I love him, his faith cannot rest upon me. It must rest upon the Lady of Mysteries. He has to learn this lesson by himself. It cannot be something I can teach or impart.

A tinder may yet remain in my heart for him, but I feel so broken. It is like dropping my crystal ball on the cold temple floor and labouring to pick up all the pieces. There was a reason I guarded you, oh my heart. The wounds given by friends cut deeper than the sharpest sword."

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 Post subject: Re: Aeili Azenci - Mystran Meditations
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2016 2:37 am 
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"It has been more than a tenday now. Charraj really does not want to see me again. I can't say it doesn't hurt, because it does. Even writing this causes significant heartache. You can't give a part of yourself to someone and not be hurt when it is removed from you. But I am resigned to concluding that Mystra's hand is in all this. Mystra could see in his heart what I could not, that there seems to be much selfishness left in there, something that has so often caused conflict between us. Maybe I did make the wrong choice that day I listened to Elly. Everyone else was so surprised, and now I think I know why.

Instead, I will make the most of the renewed life that Mystra has gifted to me. The Magic Show is coming up and this is making me very excited. I am so happy that Telia agreed to do this with me, and the best thing is that all the money we will make from it will go straight to rebuilding the Ilmateri Orphanage. I received a letter from Hoihe and he she said she would try to put on a cantrip show as well. I am just about to write back for the details.

Guide me ever deeper into your Mysteries, Mother of Magic. Let my hands be a source of blessing in these lands, telling of the dutiful bounds of responsibility you have entrusted me to share."

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 Post subject: Re: Aeili Azenci - Mystran Meditations
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"I was most pleased to learn today that we have a new Knight of the Mystic Fire in the city to help the Temple. Going by the name of Gael, he presented me a letter of commendation from the Hall of Wonders in Waterdeep and I was very glad to accept him for temple duties. I shall ask further into his background at a later time since he has only recently accepted Mystran Oaths. He was happy to start with some guard duty at Pathfinder's Hall when the orphans arrive; Telia and Ameris were both happy to hear this new development.

To further my exuberance today I finally caught up with Eva. I was so happy to see her finally after she went away with the others to fight the General. She told me that afterwards, when she had heard of my death, she went off by herself into the forest to mourn. If she had come back sooner she would have realised I had been resurrected by Lady Neela. We discussed many things, not less than her plans to repopulate the Gate's sewers with healthy rats. I persuaded Mimi to help her in this task, although it's going to require a good deal of bribing.

We also spoke about what happened between Charraj and I. There is not much else to write about that than what I already have these last few entries, but having such a gentle ear to listen to me is helping to heal the wounds. I feel good."

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 Post subject: Re: Aeili Azenci - Mystran Meditations
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 4:08 am 
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"Celestia is dead. Even to write those words my pen trembles with trepidation. Why? Why could you not understand, Celestia, that I don't need evidences of your strength and power? Why did you have to persist in your delusions of self-grandeur and not rather entertain thoughs fitting with Mystran humility? Why couldn't you have been . . . better. . . than you were? Was I not gentle enough? Was I not stern enough? Was I not thorough enough? Was I not an example enough?

Every scratch of this quill upon this parchment is a scratch upon my heart. She lays in silent repose with Doron Amar's gentle bosom. I refused to raise her. That thought still scars my mind and heart. How can I even know she has the graces of Mystra any more? Her writ of disfellowship remains upon my table; there is no need to issue it while she remains in her present state. Only the gods know if she will answer the call of the Seldarine; one of the clerics from En Dharasha is to expend the energy and cost that I was unwilling to.

Eschew recklessness and carelessness. Celestia, my sister. Why could you not heed my words?"

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 Post subject: Re: Aeili Azenci - Mystran Meditations
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 7:18 am 
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"Recent times have been of mixed emotions. Celestia was resurrected by the elves of Doron Amar. Surely they must have wondered why I did not attend, or even perform the ceremony myself. I have met her the once since, as well, during a brief trip to Doron Amar. She seems awfully dour and pessimistic now, wishing only to have herself imprisoned in the depths of the earth and forgotten for all time. I am beginning to wonder how much truth there was in Eowiel's words for she was the only one to agree with me not to resurrect her and let her meet her fate in Arvandor.

I also had a chance meeting with Charraj in the farmlands some weeks ago. It was rather awkward indeed. He seemed to want to impress me by demonstrating some new skill he somehow attained: the formulation of an illusory copy of himself without using any verbal or somatic spell components. This makes him a far more dangerous wizard than he ever was before. I don't know what to make of it.

On a brighter note, the Temple of Mystra is now home to one of the city's orphans. I wish we had the means to accept more but even this one we could only take in by a generous donation given to us by Telia Santraeger. Mili is a little gem, though. She is obedient, thoughtful and inquisitive. She has a very bright future ahead of her, I feel, as bright as the sorceress who was kind enough to gift her education.

I feel like I am in a good place. My spell research is drawing to its conclusion and soon I hope to have more time for some expeditions to uncover magical lore secreted away in the ruins of this region. I am happy again."

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 Post subject: Re: Aeili Azenci - Mystran Meditations
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:59 am 
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"I was so happy when we inducted Mili as our newest temple apprentice. The dear girl has suffered much in her short 16 years but thanks to Telia's generous donation, this is the start of a new life for her to explore the length, depth, breadth and height of Mystra's sublime mysteries.

Everything is now packed and ready for our journey to the city of Splendours. Mili was over the moon when she learned of it when I was dictating my reply letter for Alexandra Keenan. The smile on her face could have knocked Selune out of the sky, if it were possible! She has a bright future ahead of her and I felt it was important for her to experience the richness of Mystra's graces by visiting the Hall of Wonder. I hope it is here that Mili will find her spark and choose a direction for her magical studies, be it a specialised spell school or magical profession.

There is much to look forward to when we return from this trip; the Temple is blossoming and growing in the slow and steady manner that it usually does. I cannot wait to begin the renovations."

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 Post subject: Re: Aeili Azenci - Mystran Meditations
Unread postPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 3:15 am 
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Waterdhavian Wanderings: Part I

It was just as I remembered it the first time. The foamy spray of sea salt licked across the bow of the ship as we came closer and closer to the harbour; the hustle and bustle of naval traffic flurried to and fro across the majestic deep port which gives the city its name. Captain Bharvaille screeched and hollered at his crew to keep them in lively shape as the docks approached: sails were being folded, ropes being wound in mountainous piles upon the deck and they chattered about what they were going to drink and how many 'broads' they were going to pick up at the local watering houses.

It had been a little more unpleasant than the last time for the Sea of Swords had truly lived up to its name. I was more than happy when the Bludgeoned Pilchard found peaceable moorings, for the voyage from Baldur's Gate had been fraught with storms, wild winds and a great deal of personal bludgeoning and buffeting as I was hurled about the passenger's quarters. Being hurled about was not the only kind of hurling I did, either, but I spare the need of regaling more evocative images of a humble landlubber's bout of sea sickness!

"Priestess Aeili, look!" chirped that youthful voice at just the right moment to disturb my wide-eyed anticipation of the eternal stability only dry land could bring my weary feet. I lifted my eyes to see what it was that should arrest my attention so. What I initially thought was an enthusiastic teenage hand tugged at my priestly vestments as I trained my vision upon the point of interest. What I did not realise until I saw it was the tone of fear that was now evident in the teen's mannerisms as the tugging transformed into nervous gripping.

"An evil dog head!" she whispered loudly, pointing at a gnoll crew member of a nearby sloop which looked as if it was just about to set off on a voyage of its own.

My heart bled for her, the poor girl! It was bad enough that the caravan she had been travelling in with her prior Mystran mentor had been waylaid by the beasts, let alone the horrors she was forced to witness thereafter. I never pried beyond what Sister Juna informed me of her past, or what happened between the time of her being recovered alive by the Army of the New Dawn and having to flee Scornubel, rather believing that such things would emerge of their own accord as she grew to trust both Lady Neela and myself.

"My dear, you need not worry about such things here," I answered in gentle, soothing tones in an attempt to assuage her increasing anxiety. I had no need to kneel down because the young lady of fifteen winters was quite tall, only about a head below myself, and almost as slim as I was. Her vibrant green eyes and striking brunette locks reminded me of a teenage Telia in many ways: a traumatised childhood that could now emerge into the brightness of the proverbial noonday sun. How fortunate I was, in Mili's case, that she was exposed to Mystra's dogma during her critical formative years. My smile warmed and I placed my hand tenderly upon her shoulder. "You might see them serving as workers here, as on that ship, but remember that Waterdeep has many, many soldiers who will not let harm come to its citizens or visitors, and these dog-heads know it. Stay close to me at all times, unless I give you leave, and that won't be until we reach the temple. Okay?"

"Yes priestess," she replied politely and curtly, nodding in a sincere show of understanding. Mili really was a well developed young woman for her years, no doubt the progressive result of her becoming. Adversity, I have generally observed, is usually met in one of two ways: anxiety leading to timidity and psychological reservation, or courage leading to a determination to survive and thrive. The latter was certainly Mili's case for she came to us with such an eager and inquisitive spirit, seemingly untouched by the troubles her short life had faced thus far, at least until that moment.

It was not much longer until the mooring lines had been cast ashore and we were fixed tight to the pier. The gangplank was thrown down and the crew hummed and buzzed with activity. Captain Bharvaille approached with that seedy grin of his.

"Wer'll done an' set, ma'am," he exclaimed as professionally as an aging, pepper-bearded old sea-dog could. He was an honourable fellow, I do admit, and without his explicit verbal threatenings against his crew so as not to even look at me or Mili 'the wrong way' during the voyage I doubt we had had as pleasant a journey as we did, weather considering. "The lads'll take ye things ashore and call fer porters. 'Tis quite the ways to where ye both goin' in Sea Ward."

"Thank you very much, Captain," I replied with sincere gratitude and as pleasant a smile as I could manage. "I apologise for being such a terribly troublesome passenger. I afraid I was simply not born with the innate hardiness of my pupil, although I suspect the excitement of youth certainly acted as a complimentary boon to her vitality!" Mili had not gotten sick a single time, despite never having been on a boat before, let alone a boat being thrown up and down, hither and thither, sideways, upways, downways and everways! I could still feel her gentle pats on my hunched over form and hear her echoing, 'There there priestess.'

"There there, priestess!" she chimed in right on cue, accompanied by an innocent giggle and an even sweeter smile. I returned her cheeky gaze with one of my own before taking out a pouch of coin and passing it to the captain.

"A little extra as a token of appreciation, Captain. Perhaps you could shout your crew for their exceedingly good behaviour," I commented while darting my eyes in the direction of a few conscientious eavesdroppers. They quickly returned to their tasks, averting my gaze entirely. The captain roared with a hearty chuckle.

"They'n git their wages an' I git mine. It's been a pleasure hav'n ye on board, Priestess."

With a motion of a calloused, burly tanned hand he waved for two nearby crew and commanded them to take my trunk of the ship to two waiting porters. They asked me where we were going and I asked to be taken to a coach house near the docks because I intended to hire a chaise for the trip through town. I had not told this to Mili, of course; I wanted this trip to be full of rich, variegated surprises.

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