Eliste found herself in Wendell's office. Isolas was there telling her that he was the Realms latest celebrity. Eliste sat in one of the comfy chairs looking at a large book describing each city. Her journal and pen were neglected for the time on a small table. She smiled at Isolas as he waved goodbye.
Some day I'll see each and very one of these places.
A voice interrupted her daydream, it was a young boyish voice, Pol's.
"Hey, I like your interview thingies."
I can almost hear him grinning.
"Thank you. Perhaps I could intervew you sometime?"
"Me next! Me next!"
"Sure, just let me know when you are ready."
"Ok, I have time if you do."
"Alright, any place in particular you wish to do the interview?"
"How's Wendell's Office?"
How did he know I was in here? Its probably just a coincidence.
"That's fine. Well I'm ready."
At that exact moment a voice spoke in the room.
" 'allo there Eliste."
That's how he's been in here invisible.
Eliste blushed a pretty pink at the thought of not being able to see her subject.
"Hold on I can't see you."
Pol faded into existence and bowed deeply. He snapped his fingers and a Barca-Lounger appeared. He flopped down with a martini.
"How are you this fine day?"
Eliste couldn't help herself and giggled.
"Very good enjoying myself. And you?"
"Enjoying myself as always."
Pol grinned over his martini glass, and then took a sip. He looked up again and patted his vest pocket.
"Now where did I put my cigars?"
I think I'm going to like him, he seems so happy.
Eliste grabbed her journal and pen from the table. She pulled up her knees and used them as a table for her journal.
"Well first I usually start by write a description of the person, if I may?"
Eliste looked at Pol trying to find words to describe him.
Short...boyishly cute...smells like gin, good cigars and leather...it must be Pol!
"So ask me anything, I know all the answers, they just don't always line up with the questions."
How can you not enjoy his company, he is always bubbling, always moving.
"Shall we start at the beginning?"
"The beginning, eh?"
Pol closed his eyes and reached back with his mind to years gone by.
"Well then...lemme see here....the beginning...that was a long long long long long time ago. Back when Madman was mortal...Sirak had not ever walked the Realm, and all races lived in Midgard...before the breaking."
"Yes, when the world was torn asunder, and each race fled Midgard to found their own homelands. I live in Midgard, and that's where my story begins. I was born of a half-elven merchant father, and a human mother."
Inter racial families tend to have problems I've noticed, but Lopre taught me that the beginning of a story doesn't have much to do with the ending, and that each person has a different one.
"Were they nice?"
"Yes, very. Mother, though, did not have the longevity of my father and I...she died when I was 40 years old. Essentially, still a teenager, to human reckoning."
Again I sympathize, cause I also lost my parents.
"It happens...she lived a full, long life, and passed peacefully. Father traveled much of the time, so I was largely on my own."
"What did you do while your father traveled?"
"I took to the streets to find my entertainment, and learned some things I probably shouldn't have. After a few years, the world broke, and father's business died off...too many places where we half-elves weren't welcomed. He succumbed to his debts, and began a life of drinking."
"What was it like when the world broke?"
"Oh, well it was confusion, utter chaos. A mass exodus from Midgard, border disputes, every small-time with a sword became General This...or Supreme Overlord That. I just kept my head down."
"Seems like the smart thing to do. What happened next?"
"Ran the alleys, lifting the occasional purse, small-time breaking and entering, occasional forays into confidence games. Just enough to stay alive, but not enough to worry the authorities, who had much more pressing problems on their hands. Until one day, I picked the wrong purse."
I hope it wasn't someone mean.
"A fellow by the name of Starfire. Evil as they come, but somehow, as good as they come too. He was vicious in a fight, and a very powerful mage. But, when he grabbed my hand, as I was reaching for his purse, he didn't fry me on the spot."
Don't be silly, you know he was going to survive or else he wouldn't be telling you the story.
"Instead, he made me, well, let's say an indentured servant."
Eliste raised her eyebrows questioningly.
"Ok..ok...more bluntly, his slave."
Eliste giggled behind her knees and journal.
"To work off my "debt", I had to sweep, clean, tote, fetch, scrub, run, not terribly enjoyable to someone like me who avoids work whenever possible, anyway."
"How long were you his slave?"
"Hmmm. I would say for almost 10 years."
"That's along time, for just a purse."
"He would make me do ridiculous things....like maintain a constant hum while striking a brass bowl...and rap me soundly if I lost the tone. I thought it was excessive too. But, it was free meals. And he did clear up some of my..."
Pol looked around coughed loudly and leaned closely to Eliste.
"...indiscretions with the law."
Eliste giggled, and Pol leaned back.
"I didn't realize it at the time, but he was teaching me magic. Using the ancient ways. It was subtle. Sublime. Beautiful. A pain in the ass. One day, he simply said, 'You've learned enough to not kill yourself. Get out.' and that was that."
"Were you sad to leave?"
"Somewhat, yeah. I mean, he was a stern master, but kind in his way, as well. He would allow me to sup with him, on occasion, and we would talk of thing. Then he would rap me on the head and command that I clean the dining hall. "
Pol chuckled, remembering his old master.
"So where did you go?"
"I found myself on the road, with a few coins in my pocket, a rapier Starfire had bought for me, and a small compass. I wandered for several years, then, I met this man in blue. He seemed strange...distracted at time, but, he never missed a detail. His name was Sinclair, and he took me into his fold. In truth, I joined because I heard they had a place to sleep and food ready."
He really will do anything to avoid any real work, even I'm not that lazy. Lopre will laugh when he hears that since I'm so behind in my studies.
"And I was a bit short on funds at the time...not to mention, I had run afoul of a couple of unsavory dwarves in Dwarvenhold. He was everything Good. I can't describe him any better than that. Gentle. Patient. Wise. Fierce, when needed, and always appropriately so. While under his tutelage, I grew in power..finally raising to the rank of Arch-Mage. I don't really know how many years...time flew by. We who followed Sinclair... Godzilla, Cyrix, Jaxxon...were few and we adventured all over the realm. Gods, the stories would be endless! Suffice to say, Sinclair left the immortal world to the Beyond after a long while."
Pol grinned mischievously at Eliste.
Eliste bite her lip.
"One short story?"
I love stories.
"Sure...let's see here. "
Pol sat back and swished his martini as he thought.
"Ah yes. Ever heard of a fellow named Lazarus?"
Eliste shook her head.
This is horrible, I hope I don't seem ignorant.
Eliste shook her head again and blushed.
"Ahh...well, Lazarus and I formed a 2-man mercenary company...Damage, Inc. One day, Ozymandius, a powerful warrior, approached us with a problem...he was quested with a most unnerving task."
Eliste's eyes widened.
"He must slay a god."
You could do that?
"Well, we weren't daunted one bit. Probably because we were drunk with power, or over-confident. Or maybe just drunk. The details are sort fuzzy. So, we hiked up the great Mount Olympus to confront Ares, God of War. His hell hounds met us first. My style was never one of direct confrontation, so we sent Ozymandius in first. It was his quest, after all."
Pol grinned at Eliste mischievously.
"Lazarus entered, and cast his protective magic, while I wielded fire like a scalpel."
Eliste's legs fell down and she leaned forward waiting for the next part.
"We crushed the hell hounds, and stood at the steps to the lair of an immortal. The place was misty, and full of strange, otherworldly sounds. Whispers that were never quite clear, yet held immense menace. Ozy went in first..."
Pol leaned forward towards Eliste.
"Did I mention it was his quest?"
Eliste giggled as Pol leaned back.
"Lazarus backed him up, while I scaled up a column to find a way inside. I found an open skylight, and saw them battling Ares...a god! He was enormous! And sheathed in a white glow. I fell down to the ground behind him, while his attention was on Laz and Ozy, and drove my rapier into his back to the hilt!"
Eliste gasped. When she heard the sound she quickly put her hand over her mouth and in her quietest voice whispered.
"Did you kill him?"
"He screamed with rage, and cast his magic upon me, but I was master of magic, and I quickly pulled away the while veil he hid behind. Exposed, he became as a mortal, and Ozymandius slew his with one great stroke. Then we ran like hell. So, anyways, where was I? Oh yes, Sinclair had left."
Eliste nodded slowly.
I suppose if you live long enough your god will leave after a while. I hope that never happens to me.
"Sinclair left, and I was rudderless."
"What did you do?"
"I did what any other self respecting son of a drunk did...I wenched! The prize for helping Ozymandius was quite substantial. So, I indulged myself for a time. Everything was going great...till I met....her. Her name might be familiar to you...Marisa, the Enchanted."
"Well, she was such a young thing at the time. I had heard she was stuck down the sewers...and besieged by all nature of filthy denizens of the dark. So, I rushed to her aid. I stepped into the room, and burned every living thing there to ash...so completely, there was no smoke...except her, of course. I then led her out. I still recall the feel of her hand in mine..."
Pol sighed loudly.
This is going to be sad I know it will. Just when I thought one person would have a happy love story.
"Anyway, she was stunning in a way I cannot describe...but, she showed little interest in me. I am, unabashedly, adorable when I'm at my best...but she saw me disheveled, and stinking of cheap brandy, not the best impression."
Pol sighed loudly.
"So smitten was I...and so crushed by her lack of interest, I returned to my decade-long drinking binge."
Pol sat up remembering something.
"Oh, with one important side-note I can't believe I overlooked! During the time before I met her, I met Tel. Now, that name you should know, yes?"
Eliste nodded happy she finally recognized a name.
"Yes, the Lord of Passion. He, like Sinclair, must have seen something in me I didn't know was there some inner goodness that no amount of debauchery could squelch. I was a constant disappointment to Keller, his Second in Command and Paladin, but, I learned the truths of being good from him. One must fight evil by reforming evil, first and foremost. My time with him was sadly cut short, as I too departed the world for the Beyond. Ever been there?"
The Beyond? I've heard of it, but never been, it sounds so odd.
"It's a strange place...full of talking boxes full of pictures...and people running about in armored dragons rolling on wheels. I stayed there for eternities, it seemed, until I had heard of Tel's return to the Realm."
Why would anyone run inside an armored dragon rolling on wheels. I much rather walk, or ride a horse. And a box that talks with pictures in it? I'd rather enjoy Cordir's bardic circle, this Beyond place is very odd.
"So, I mustered my will, and reformed myself into substance. Once I returned, again I followed Tel, and though our numbers were dwindled, the Passionate were loyal and steadfast. A force for True Good."
"Was that when you met Marisa?"
"No, I had met Marisa before I entered the Beyond...that was the catalyst for it, really. The last straw of a man sick of watching the world change from what he loved over and over."
So horrible to love someone and not have them love you in return. Equally as sad is being that someone, and knowing someone loves you and you cannot reciprocate. I know I once was a someone.
"So you returned."
"Well, then we set about returning to the work of the Passionate...helping the weak and unfortunate...trying our best to reform evil, and strived to make Borea"
"Borea is a place which encompasses all the world, and makes it as it once was...all races in harmony. In retrospect, it was a pipe-dream, but a good one to strive for, eh?"
That sounds wonderful, a place where people wont kill and hurt others just cause we are different.
"I ordained as Tel's Court Mage, and adventured, did his work, broke from..."
"...excessive drinking. I learned the ways of this new world, and made friends, many many friends. I recall Allanon telling me once that I was the first person to enchant a weapon for him when he was a wee lad. Tel left the realm for the Beyond the second time, and once again I was cast adrift."
Again, why can't he find a god who will remain?
"What did you do?"
"I walked into the Guild, and was immediately confronted by Cordir. I was going to follow Fate. It wasn't coercion, mind you...more like a lack of choices. So, I worshiped her on the spot. Fate, every being a close friend and ally to Passion, was an easy choice."
"Are you happy now?"
"Yes, very happy...and you can't argue with a following that lets you skip work because you helped the immortal when she was a new mortal. Meaning, I didn't need to put in the mandatory service time...and avoiding work is good in my book."
"And Marisa? What of her?"
"I see her occasionally...we say hello...I don't feel crushed or badly for the way things worked out...though I do remember the feel of her hand."
Pol sighed, but the smiled at Eliste.
Eliste smiled back.
"Ok, that was long-winded. Big story for such a little guy, huh?"
"Not at all. It was worth it. Thank you so for sharing your story."
"Well, thanks for letting me talk to you."
Eliste curtsied to Pol.
Pol bowed, and waved goodbye.
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