The Road To Penitence

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This account of her quest was written by Angeline, of the Chosen of Fate.

There was a long and arduous road ahead of me, “The Road to Penitence”, Our Lady called it. It would be difficult, I knew. Maybe even deadly. As I have learned from recent events, despite my growing skills and abilities, I am very far from invulnerable. I am even quite weak in many ways, something my pride had prevented me from admitting to myself for a long time. Knowing this now, and having the evidence of such knowledge fresh in my mind, I set foot upon my Path with trepidation, even some fear. I knew I could die. I also knew that in my pride and anger, I had disappointed My Lady. I had attempted not only to change the pattern of my own Thread in the Tapestry, but also to switch MY thread with that of someone else, cutting theirs short. How misguided! It is for Fate alone to decide when a Thread is to be cut.

On the Road to Penitence, I would wash the blood from my hands in the sacred waters of N’Kai, Tier Sh’halen, and Lake Stillwater, which is calm and tranquil, as I strive to be, which along with the river that feeds it brings life to the halflings of Emdeeville, the elves of Cilladelia, and the citizens of Safehaven, and which is such an integral part of the Mystic Woods, home of the Great Oaks, which silently witness the passage of millennia in stoic silence, and majestic beauty. On that Road, I would also cleanse my body and soul by fasting for 3 times 3 outworld hours, presenting myself with the opportunity for much meditation and reflection. Lastly, I would present the tale of my trials to My Lady and my fellow Chosen, in the hopes that they may learn from my mistakes, and avoid falling, as I had fallen. In this way, I would prove to My Goddess and to myself, that my indiscretion had been a temporary misjudgment, and not a permanent character flaw. I would learn much about myself, and understand more about my own integral place in the Tapestry. What is Death, compared to such enlightenment?

My first task was to make the long trek from my home in Aran, to the Caverns of N’kai. To assist me in gaining entrance through the secret passage from the Citadel, Furnock, Mage of Balance, accompanied me. Through the use of his arcane magic, he helped me when my steps faltered with exhaustion, helped me pass unseen to the eyes of those who would cause me harm, and with skills I would rather not mention, opened the locked door in the Citadel, which led to the Passage into N’kai. From here I would continue alone. The hallway was covered with many murals, depicting strange and disturbing scenes. I mustered my courage, and forged onward. The passage opened onto a huge cavern, filled with strange beings, flying through the air, and stuck to the walls, ceiling and floor of the dark and dreary place. I sensed there were beings that I could not even see. I closed my eyes; my wings unfurled, and leapt into the emptiness. Soon, I found, on the floor of the cavern, the beginning of a swirling flow of water, with a strong current, filled with eels, and other unsavory creatures. This is where the first washing of my stained hands would take place. I held my breath, and plunged in. Swiftly the current carried me away, down, down, into ever darker and colder depths. Suddenly a terrifying creature burst out of the darkness, angry at my intrusion. A Cthonian Aegis it was, determined to punish me for my insolence. Wounded, wet and exhausted, I quaffed a clear red potion, and made good my escape.

After many weeks of meditation and rest, I was finally in condition to attempt the next journey in my quest for redemption, the waters of Tier Sh’halen. In my still young life, I had never ventured there, and in my uncertainty, again Furnock came to my aid, along with my sister in Fate, Serenity. Serenity was aware of how dangerous the place could be, and of how long my body took to heal, with no sustenance for it to rebuild torn flesh and broken bone. She also knew that with her shaman skills, she could speed this process, and thus maybe help me complete my task before I was an old, gray and molting bird. We two Chosen met with Furnace in the realm’s main Adventurers Guild. He muttered strange words, and a shining portal appeared, through which the three of us stepped. Strangely though, I found myself alone, and not in Tier Sh’halen. Serenity communicated to me that she too was in a different place then that which she had expected to be. We both drank the potions that would return us to where we started, and met with Furnock again. Again he uttered the arcane phrases; again we stepped through the portal. And again, we ended up in the wrong place. Furnock decided that trying to transport three of us was beyond his skill, and a different plan was hit upon. Furnock used a spell to make us unseen to the creatures of the Vortex, and I braved the dangers of that swirling anomaly alone. Furnock then opened yet another portal, and he and Serenity stepped through, and arrived in Safehaven, where I had exited the Vortex. After purchasing some pills to help conquer my exhaustion, the three of us set forth on foot, walking the beaches and flying over the ocean, the a weathered dock, in an out of the way place. With Furnock as our guide, we trekked through a desolate landscape, with shattered souls and desperate creatures the only living things we found. Finally, we happened upon a tombstone, that told a heartbreaking story of lives hard lived and finally lost. As I considered the writing on the stone, suddenly, Furnock disappeared!

I realized then that he had fallen down a hole under the tombstone. Worried for the mage, who had helped me so much, I plunged after him, and Serenity followed me. What a fall! Like my fall from the ideals of the Chosen, it was long, dark, and I found myself nearly dead when it ended. All I could do was fall into a nearly comatose meditation, to allow my body to begin the slow process of healing. Only about a quarter of the way through what promised to be a protracted convalescence, I suddenly felt better! Serenity had come to my rescue, and applied her shaman skills to speed my recovery. After she healed herself with a much speedier period of mediation, we ventured onward. After much slogging through dank, gloomy passages, we came upon a well. It did not look pleasant, but Furnock informed us that this was where the running waters of Tier Sh’halen lay, and this was where I must go. Fear gripped me as I gazed into the murky depths, but there was no help for it. I had to go. I had to cleanse my soul of the rage and pride that had almost been my downfall. And so, steeling myself for the unknown, I led the way down into the well, followed by my stalwart companions.

The water was icy and the current was swift, and immediately it separated me from my friends. I could breathe the water, thanks to yet more help from the repertoire of Furnock, and so did not drown, but just as I was about to breathe a sigh of relief, a creature the likes of which I had never set eyes upon roared in rage, and attacked! Immediately I was seriously wounded, and as I tried to get away, or fight with all my skill, speed and shaman knowledge, anything to survive, I was swept to and fro by the raging current, and bludgeoned and bloodied by the raging fiend, and I knew that this would be the death that I had feared at the outset of my quest. Finally, I was able to wrest another life-saving potion from my pockets, and thrust it between my lips, only a moment before the mortal blow was dealt to me. In excruciating pain, the life all but gone from my body, I found myself in the Adventurer’s Guild. From the deepest reaches of my soul, I thanked the Triat for my deliverance.

Without being able to assuage my ever-increasing hunger, it could have taken me years to recover from my harrowing experience. But again, Serenity, Our Lady’s much loved Handmaiden, came to my rescue, giving of herself to help me. Sooner than I could have imagined, I was ready to set out on the final leg of my journey, the trip to Lake Stillwater, where I would bathe in the peace and nurturing tranquility of the life-giving pool, and remove the last of the traces of blood from my hands.

Here ends all but the most basic details of my quest for redemption…I traveled to Lake Stillwater without event, and bathed and rested, meditating and reflected on all that had happened; the horrible incident with Daisy of the WarDancers, the angry words traded as a result of that incident, and the long, arduous journey to once again prove my deep desire to serve as one of the Chosen of Fate. I had learned of the preciousness of life, because not once but several times I came within inches of losing my own. I learned of my own frailties, and I learned of the deep satisfaction that comes from the service and nurturing of others, from my dependence on said others for my very survival. I had grown as a person, and as a Chosen. I will carry these lessons with me all my days, along with my gratitude to my Lady Cordir, for her understanding, and her life-changing lesson.

Angeline, Humble Servant of Fate