Below is a story that I wrote down for one of the characters that I played in EarthDawn. It is a story that is dear to my heart, and I would like to share it with everyone. Enjoy!!
Journal by Natalie, the Wife of Khal
I loved him, at least I thought that I loved him at the time. I did not know how my life would change, and I would never have expected it to be as it is now. My family and I lived, what we understand now, underground in what is called a Kaer, which is a giant cavern beneath the surface. The Kaer was our home for many years, and for my parents, it seemed like a lifetime. It was our home, and we did not know anything else, so we lived as best as we could, and since none of my family members, few as they were, were adepts, we did not get any of the privileges that an Adept would get.
I am writing ahead of myself. I will try to start at the beginning. I remember being a young and happy child with my family, we did not have much but had each other. I learned or just knew, how to paint well at a young age, almost as if it was a part of me, a part of my whole being. My mother was very excited when she would see me paint, and encouraged me to do so more and more. I did not know it at the time, but she hoped that I would turn out to be an Adept so that I can be something more than just an everyday ordinary person.
A few years later, when I was six years of age, the time came for every child in the Kaer to be tested, again I was only six and did not understand, and thought it just a game, but I remember my mother being anxious and beaming with a smile. As we walked to the gathering dome, with all the other inhabitants of the Kaer, I saw them both that day, for we lived in the same area as the Kaer, the Human area. My dark cloud, Hasif, and my blood, Khal, walked beside us with their families, just kids looking to have fun, and not thinking of the future that lies ahead, for none of us knew the terrors to come.
As I watched and wondered about everyone and who or what to add to my painting, I noticed Hasif was more the outgoing, and charming boy, while Khal hung to his parents and was in deep thought and mystery. At the time I just knew them as kids, and did not seek them out as playmates, but played with the few girls that lived near us. There were not that many children in the Kaer, it was for the old and dying, now I know it was a tomb, although we were all different we shared that one tomb, and again I am starting to writing ahead of myself. As we reached the gathering dome, my parents, more my mother, encouraged me to do my best, and I did not know what that meant. We, all the children, stood in a line and one by one we moved past tables, and on the other side of these tables the elders sat, some were the council members, again I did not realize that then, I just knew they were elders because my mother told me they were.
I cannot begin to explain what they had us do, and I still don’t fully understand it, but some questions were asked and little tasks that they asked us to do, like pick something from an assortment of things. I still don’t know how it all worked, but this test was supposed to show them if we were adepts or not.
Needless to say, my mother was disheartened and angry for many days, she would not talk to me, but only look at me and would start to cry. My father would keep me away from her, and kept encouraging me to paint, and say beautiful things to me. He helped ease the pain that I felt from my mother, until one day my mother came out to watch me paint. She stood there, smiling at it, I was painting an image of my father, her and me standing looking up through a hole in the dome and light shining through. I don’t know how I thought of that, and I just knew I should paint it.
I stopped when I realized she was standing behind me. I looked at her, and I had made her cry again, and I almost began to cry, because it did not hit me until then. She wanted me to be an adept, someone special, like the other kids around us, like Hasif, and Khal, and others. She was smiling this time, as she cried. “Mommy,” I said, and she went down on her knees, still crying, and put her arms out, “Mommy is sorry,” she managed to say through the tears. I was seven, and it had been a year, and I longed for her embrace, I did not know how much until then, until I was in her arms, my head on her chest, hearing her heartbeat. Sometimes I wished I could have stopped time and been there forever, forgetting this tomb and the decay that it was causing to the people in it. Her heart beat talked to me, I knew she loved me, loved me even though I was not special, not an adept, and only because I was hers, her blood flowed through me, and a moment long before this, our hearts beat as one. We both cried, my father came out and thought something wrong, but once he saw us, he could not help but cry himself. So he knelt down beside us and wrapped his strong arms around us. My heart leaped even more for joy, and a second before this I thought my life was complete, but with my father’s heartbeat joining ours in my ears, for now, I could hear his as well, not only did I feel all their love pour out, but I felt safe. Safe from the things to come, things that could have taken me away from them forever.
Time passed, and we lived as best as we could, but something was not as it should be. The Adepts and their families would get better things; food, drink, clothes and toys, while the none Adepts lived on hand me downs and food are rationed, it seemed this way more so as I got older. People all around us were getting weaker, sicker, and many died off with no one left behind. Children were fewer as I reached my sixteenth year in the Kaer, the people in this tomb did not conceive many children, I was the only child in my family, as well as Hasif and Khal. The Orks were the most numerous amongst us, and they had most of the children now, the Elf’s the fewest, which brings me to Moo and Li, Khal’s only friends, Moo, an Ork was dumb witted at times but vigorous and loyal. Li, an Elf, was fast and of quick wit. I would see them together on occasion, immersed in something profound, secretive and involved, and their names kept circling the Kaer, of them doing all sorts of things, rumors of them being heroes, that was the word that was going around. They would smile at me as they passed, always somewhere to go and something to do, and I would chuckle at them when they moved by me, thinking it so strange to see a Human, an Ork, and an Elf trotting alongside each other through the Kaer.
My paintings were getting very well known at this time, and everyone enjoyed them I would give them away in exchange for a few things my parents needed. As of the age of seven until now my parents were always smiling when they saw me, they always seen me, not what I could be and should be, but just me, and I loved them for it, but in my heart, I wanted more for them. I wanted more of what the adepts had, and that is when Hasif came around our house more and more. His steady presence and, at the time, his respect for my parents made me like him even more. Although I did not feel a connection to him, I wanted to like him because he was an adept and if he wanted me, I could provide for my parents more than what they had, a little more, but it was more. So slowly we started seeing each other frequently, he would come over and bring my parents and me better things and food. He would take me with him to watch him train, and I met his father, a stern man, but Hanif’s mother had passed a long time ago, and he would not talk about it. I did not ask about her for I knew it made him withdrawn and sad.
Many cycles passed, and I cannot remember much about them, my mood had changed. My mind was cloudy all the time, I had a hard time painting, and when I would paint, something horrible would appear behind the painted lines, I kept seeing screaming faces, and the image of that crystal skull haunted me through those days. Even though I cannot recall or understand what happened then, I
believe I still loved him, and I wanted him to be happy. My parents worried, but I kept putting them at ease with things that I would get for them and assured them that I am alright. Deep down inside of myself, I knew something was wrong, something had changed, something had darkened. I had stopped painting because of that something, but then came the day of the test.
Khal’s story is his to tell, but he and his friends were responsible for this test to come about, they had found something lurking in the darkness of our Kaer. Every person from a long ago was taught or encouraged to do or practice something to do with the arts, which would include weapon making, tailoring, singing, and many others, including painting. I did not know then, and a lot of people did not either at the time, but the reason for the arts is because it would be easier to tell if someone is tainted, or touched by the dark ones.
I was afraid to paint, I had not done it in a long time, I was trying to push the images out of my mind, and painting just brought them to life. I had no choice everyone had to undergo the test, and there was no way to escape, but my mind was clouded, my heart darkened and I did it for it was asked. Hasif did not want to join me, and he said he would see me later.
I went to the common hall with my canvas and my paint, for I had to do it in the view of everyone. I painted, and to me it was beautiful, and nothing was wrong with it, I had concentrated hard on blocking those images from my mind. That is when Khal spoke to me for the first time since we were children, I think my heart stopped, I was shocked, no more than that, I was taken by his speech, not that I recall much of that conversation. I told him and his friends, Li, and Moo, about my painting and some things about it. In in the middle of that conversation, I hinted that I was seeing Hasif. Khal had waited for me to finish but as I know, now he was formalizing his questions. He carefully asked questions and in a roundabout way lead me to speak about Hasif, and then he made me know that he could see the faces behind the painted lines.
I did not know what to say, I did not think I drew them, I tried so hard, but I could not hide them. Khal asked more questions, like when and how did I start seeing and painting those faces. He had a way with words, and I was utterly enchanted by him, so a few more questions lead me to speak about the crystal skull. That is when Khal and his friend’s eyes widened, and Khal realized that Hasif might have answers, new something that I had not. The next question was where they could find him, and I started to take them through the streets so I can help them find him, but Hasif was there hiding, waiting I think. He saw them and asked me to go away from them, and everything happened so fast. Adepts have ways of moving and doing things that ordinary people cannot even begin to understand. A chase ensued between Hasif and them, and Hasif thought he would be able to stop them, I believe killing them, but Li was faster and deadly, despite his young and innocent face. When he thrust his sword deep into Hasif, his eyes widened in shock as if Li did not know that he would kill him outright, his skills were much more advanced than he believed they were at that time.
Khal, was standing next to Li, shocked as well, but knew that deep down his friend did not intend on killing Hasif, but Hasif had challenged Li and attacked first. At the moment that Hasif breathed his last, I cried, it had been a long time, as I stood there watching his body, something had changed in me, my mind was not as cloudy, my thoughts cleared. I did not understand then what happened, but with his death, his hold on me fell away from me. I sensed freedom from him as if I was a slave. Why? I loved him, or maybe I thought I loved him, but I knew I felt sorry about his death, Adepts are only a
few in this community, in this tomb. Khal stood looking at me, deep in thought, and it is his way, always pondering things in his heart. He was always thinking deeply of things, trying to plan. I did not know what to do, and I did not want to go to my parents, I felt ashamed and did not know what to say. Khal invited me to stay at his teacher’s house,
which was his now since his master had left this world. I accepted and lived there for a while, for the hold on me was not done, but I felt safe with Khal, although I knew he was helping me because he felt sorry for me. He had found out that Hasif was using me for his dark rituals, draining my life and sanity for his inner power, and despite that, I forgave Hasif and believed that in some way I still loved him.
Hanif’s father was pushed out of the council because of his son’s involvement in dark rituals, things that are forbidden, and his judgment as a council member was compromised. In his stead, Li’s uncle was elected to the council, an Elf Elder that held the power of the elemental arts. Khal and his friends had found the crystal skull and within it the darkness that Hasif was calling upon. The Kaer had to be opened, again Khal and his friends pushed the issue and asked that they go out and discover what has happened in the world above. Then is when we all met the Obsidian man for the first time. He was a member of the council, but he was only called upon for important decisions. So after a few cycles, it was declared that the Kaer’s defenses be removed and the doors opened, for the first time in hundreds of years, to allow Khal and his friends to find out what is above, as well as a way to destroy the crystal skull.
In those days I would still see that skull in my dreams, it haunted me, it’s mere presence scared me. Then the day came when Khal had to leave, he kissed me on the check and said that he would be back, my mind did not know if I could believe that, but my heart knew that he would be back.
Once they left the Kaer, the impression that the crystal skull made on me weakened and I was freer by every cycle that passed. Now I felt I could go to my parents and talk to them, but we did not speak much, we just held each other and cried, just like the time when I was young. I was relieved to have them at my side again, and happy to see their smiling faces again. I would visit Khal’s parents and make sure they were okay. Khal had left me with a few things at his teacher’s house that I could share with my family and his. I liked his family, they were kind and loving, and they would tell me stories about Khal’s childhood sometimes, and from those stories, I can see that he did not change much, he was playful, but he was deep in thought before he would play, even with a ball. He would look at the ball as if studying it, trying to find out what makes it a ball, and what such manner he should use it.
I began to like him a lot, just from his parents alone, but I knew that he would always look at me as a helpless person, someone he needed to protect and shelter, but never really love me. I hoped like all girls hope that her mate would look at her and see her from the inside and smile with pure joy. One day as I was sitting in the house, looking through some of the books at his teacher’s home, much I could not understand, I felt it. The crystal skull image was no longer there haunting me, it had vanished. A few moments earlier the image of it was weak, but now it had left me, my second freedom. I knew that Khal had done what he set out to do, and he would be coming home to me, I stopped and pondered that thought, I was thinking as if he was coming to me as if we were married. I could not believe I was thinking that way, and he was an adept, he would not want a weak and troubled person like myself. Through those cycles I waited in though, not knowing what to do about those thoughts. I would clean and fix the house as I knew he would like it to be, dusted his books and organized them, I was still thinking it no matter how hard I tried not to.
They came back, and I was happy they did and even more happy that he did. They were heroes in our Kaer and the stories they told us were terrific and hard to believe, but we all knew they were correct. He came to our house, well here I go again thinking about it. Well, he came and sat with me, just sat and looked at me again, looked deeply, and after a long silence, he asked if I was okay. I told him that I knew he would come back, for the crystal skull had left me. He was relieved and happy, and I could not help it but to hug him and thank him, and he hugged me back. It seemed like he needed that hug, it had been a tiring and scary journey to the top. We spent a few days with his parents and mine, happy that we were all together, and his parents were proud of him. His mother kissed all of his faces as if he was a little child, and I understood how she felt because my parents felt the same way about me. In this Kaer with the few children, and most parents only had one child if any, losing that child would be a thing that would break the very soul of a parent. That is when I thought about Hanif’s father, and I cried for him that night, and that is when I noticed that Hanif’s father had not been seen since he stepped down from the council seat.
A few cycles later, Khal and his friends gave their report and recommendation that we all should leave the Kaer and go to the top, they had found a place that we might call home and build up again. Much talk went through the Kaer, and finally, a discussion was made that we should go, since the magical seal was broken and the other races, especially the Orks, were having a hard time in confinement, in this tomb. Preparations began for us to be moved out of the only home we ever knew, but I was glad to leave this place. He asked me, and I did not know what to say. He said he would like to be betrothed to me, and we should get married when we find a home on the surface. Khal had thought about this for a while, he did not have to say it, but I knew that he did because that is the way he does things. I also knew he said these things because he wanted to protect me, and not because he loved me.
In his eyes I could see his thoughts, he felt pity for me, the me that is helpless, the Me that needed him. I told him that he would leave on other adventures and might not come back to me, would he want me to be a wife with no husband? He had thought about that as well and repeated what he had said in a manner that would leave the choice to me, but he made sure that I knew that is what he wanted of our relationship. Again I paused, I did not know what to say. On the one hand, I already had these feelings for him, but could I
actually love him knowing that he would always feel like protecting me, and caring for me, I did not know what I could do for him. Khal was a bright and robust man, and he held powers in his hand that I could not even understand or even dream of understanding, but my heart kept saying yes. My mind tried to cover it up with any excuse, anything that would allow me to say no, even a maybe, but again my heart called to him, it knew something I did not.
I looked at him for a long moment, and I let my heart speak. I said yes, and he smiled and kissed me on the cheek for the second time in our lives. After that, it was a mad and crazy frenzy trying to get everything ready for us to leave our home, no our tomb. Adepts with spells used them to help everyone ease his or her burden, and of course, Khal was one of them. He always wanted to help, and now for the first time, I started watching him as much as he watched me. We would look at each other and smile, no words, just a look that made both of us go forward. We reached the surface at what we found out was daylight, and our eyes hurt from the light. I cannot remember, but it took days for our eyes to adjust. Khal and his friends did not have as much of a problem for they had been here before. It was barren, as barren as the caves we came from, but the sky was open. The bright blue sky screamed at me to paint it, and I had not touched a brush since the last painting on the day Hasif died. The ground was different, it was softer, and there were trees, they did not look alive, but there they stood.
As we walked closer to where our new home would be, the trees increased, and those had some life in them. Khal had told me that this area was tainted by the dark ones and that is why the plant life had a hard time growing. After a few days, the cycle of the shining sun in the sky, We stopped and made camp. Khal, Li, and Moo had to go ahead to the ruins and fight off the dark one that lives and tainted that area so we all can have a new home. This time I was scared as they got ready to leave, and Khal spent the night with me, his family and mine. We ate what little food we had, and no one dared ask what sort of thing that dark thing was, for they would not like the answer and they would be even more worried about Khal leaving. Daybreak came, and the group was ready to head out to the heart of the ruins to destroy what evil lived there. Khal, Li, Moo, Bunny (Moo’s sister), Carlos (Bunny’s mate) and the Obsidian man got ready to leave on this perilous journey. We wished them luck and hoped they would return to us safe and the task complete.
A few days passed, and Li appeared in our encampment, our hearts fell when we first saw him. He did not say much, but only that the task is done and for all of us to pack our things and move into the center of the ruins where the castle tower stood. We all rushed as quickly as we could, it was only a half day’s journey, and we made it before the end of that day. I was worried something had happened to Khal and the others. When we got to the tower, we saw them standing there waiting for us. Khal was there, and my heart was joyous, Bunny had walked away from the group and was silent. Later we found out that Carlos had died, His life taken by the dark one, but his life allowed them to beat the monster, and also save four people that were trapped by the monster. I did not have their story, but Khal had said that they were trapped from a time before the land was taken over by the dark ones. These events had shaken Khal, whatever he saw down below these ruins, and he kept busy avoiding me for a day or so. When he finally talked to me, he told me what happened, and as always Khal had thought about all that he wanted to say and not say. I am sure I do not know the full story, but from what he told me, I was scared. What if he goes to one of those adventures and not come back to me, do I dare marry him and then wait to lose him.
He was confident and resolved to make a home for all our people, and I knew it was for me as well as for his parents and mine.
I learned about the apple trees, I had never had an apple, and when I did, I could not believe it was so delicious. Khal had told me that those apple trees were extraordinary, they were magical trees, and that is why they lived through the taint. Khal started working on restoring and planting more trees, with the help of Li’s uncle of course. Everyone was consumed by work, building, farming, and organizing. I forgot to mention that the only animals that we had were a few dozen cows, which we brought with us from our Kaer. There were no other animals around, and it seemed like everything was driven off. We kept time by the movement of the sun, and we tried to follow the old calendar, and with that knowledge, I can say a few months passed.
Khal was in deep thought and work, and we did not have much time for each other, but when he would look at me he would smile at me like always, and I could not help but smile back. I dare say that I
Loved him, for I loved before and I was hurt. I talked to my mother about it, and she would smile at me and say “it is only fitting that you feel this way child, he wants to marry you.” She would hug me, she was happy, and Khal’s mother would smile at me and hug me as well. She and my mother have been talking, for us, both Khal and I as well as our parents, lived in the same house. Khal wanted it that way, and he said we will be one family soon and wanted our parents to have some company with each other, and that they did. Our mothers and fathers worked together and enjoyed each others company immensely. Khal for some reason knew they would be happy, and that allowed them not to worry about us as much. I started to paint again, and things were crying out to me, as the sky did the day I got to the surface that, first day. I was nervous but not afraid. I painted something I would never have imagined when I was down in the Kaer, for all these new experiences brought something out of me. Khal started spending more time with me as the days past. We would drink tea together and talk. I asked him if he would like to see my painting, I had not shown it to anyone else. He was surprised, and he said he would love to see it. I showed it to him. It was a painting of a bright blue sky with the sun shining down hitting the slightly green land, and in the distance some trees, but in the foreground one single purple flower, with its petals open. He looked at it amazed, I did not know why I knew that this painting was the most beautiful thing I have painted, but it had been a long time, it could not have been that good. He said that it was remarkable. He pointed out to me the details, the perfection in the light and shadows, the flower spoke to him of loneliness, but strength in seeking out the bright sun. He stared at it for hours, at least it seemed like hours. Knowing how he liked to study things, I knew he was looking at every paint stroke.
After looking at the painting he sat in silence thinking, pondering, his face serious. I asked him “what was the matter?” and he looked up at me and said that he would like to ask me some questions about my past. I told him to go and ask me, I did not mind, and I had nothing to hide from him. He asked me strange questions, almost reminded me of questions I was asked when I was six when they tested us to see if we were adepts. Then he asked if he could look at my pattern, I did not quite understand that, but Khal explained that it could tell him things that he could not see as he would typically see things. I agreed and said that I trusted him. He looked and did not mention anything for a long time. That is when I remembered the faces of the elders, and their eyes would change as they looked at me. Khal’s eyes changed as theirs did, they had looked at me the same way then as he was now. When he was done, I knew he was done for his eyes changed back to normal, Khal said that I had something, but he could not pinpoint it.
I was afraid I failed him somehow, like I failed my mother those many years ago, by not being an adept. He knew what I thought, for I had told him that story. He held my face in his hands, and said to me, “do not ever think such thoughts, being with you is more than whether you are an adept or not, to me you mean so much more, I want to be with you in marriage regardless.” I smiled at him, and I knew he was honest with me, he was always honest with me.
He continued, “If there is something more, I believe you would want to know, to experience, and will not be fulfilled if you do not find out. Your painting alone is something that no one around can
capture.” When he said that I knew that I felt it inside of me, something was screaming at me, calling me to something, I felt it when we left home, and I met the blue sky. I told him I would want to know as well because I felt that something as well. He kissed me on my cheek again, the third time. I don’t know why I counted his kisses, but I did. That night he asked me if he could invite uncle over tomorrow to talk to me, Khal called Li’s uncle, uncle as well, although he was an Elf. Uncle had taught Khal a lot of things from his elemental ways, and they both connected on that level, I think Li was a little bit jealous of it. I told him I would be okay with talking to Uncle. The next morning came, and uncle came to visit, he sat with us for some food and tea, and then he looked at my painting. He was as amazed, more than Khal was, at the canvas. Then he asked me a few questions and looked at me as Khal did the day before. He said “thank you, my girl, for everything” He reached out for my hands, and I placed them in his, “goodbye” he finished with a
smile. Khal walked him outside, and they talked about what he found out.
Khal came back in, and I did not have to ask him anything for I knew he would tell me. He said that uncle had seen the same thing he did to me, and said that I should seek it as well. Khal thanked me for allowing him and uncle to look at me, as well as for trusting him, for he knew it is very personal to reveal oneself. I told him again that I trusted him and that I am glad that we confirmed what she was feeling since leaving the Kaer.
A few weeks went by, and Khal came to me and this time formally asked me to marry him with both our parents in the room. I said yes faster than I could think, again my heart was beating louder than my thoughts, but I was happy to say yes, for I loved him. It was hard to think about, let alone even write, but I could not deny it any longer I loved him. Even though he might not ever love me, I still choose to love him, even though he might still think that I just needed protecting and taken care off, I still loved him. I could not help it, my very being cried out that truth, and I did not know what that meant until weeks later.
The day after our marriage announcement, a strange thing came to our small town. A lizard man, it was an unusual sight, none of us had seen a lizard man. He spoke our tongue and was asking for help. He was told that going south might be a place that would be able to help him. His people’s Kaer had been attacked, and he believes there are some survivors, but there was a dark thing there, and he could not fight it alone. He told of his people’s blood spilled all over their Kaer, and dead bodies all over their home. Khal was the first to move forward and offer his help to a stranger, and I knew he would, I was afraid, but I loved him as he was and that was enough. Another expedition was set to go out and help the Lizardman, Naboo. Besides Khal, Li was going of course, as well as Bunny, and with Naboo as the guide to his home. Later we found out that it was under water, in a lake to the northeast, they set off the next morning to free Naboo’s home from the dark one that had invaded it.
They were gone for a few days, and then Khal returned as a bird, Khal, said it was a falcon, which was written in one of the spell books that he had read. He was able to change to one with the help of Naboo’s friend, an Owl. It provided the feather to allow Khal to change shape to the Falcon. By turning to a flying creature it allowed him to reach our home faster to inform us that they had been successful and no one lost their lives, but a lot of Naboo’s people were already dead when they got there. They had destroyed the dark thing that was there, and freed the people that were left, as few as they were. He needed some of the individuals in town to go and meet them north by the river to help move Naboo’s tribe to our city, which we later found out most of his people were still in eggs waiting to come out into the world. It was the strangest thing to know that these people were born out of eggs, but then we did not know what to expect when we left our Kaer.
Naboo’s clan were offered to stay and live among us so we all can help each other survive. They agreed and a while after those many different creatures started to show up in the forests around us, birds, little critters, and some larger animals. Some were good to eat, and some good as pets, it was a time of great learning for the people of this small little town in the midst of ruins.
After Khal had returned home from helping Naboo and his tribe, he asked me to talk to him, only the both of us. He was in a severe mood this day. Something more profound was stirring within him. He told me that he did not want me to think that Khal wanted to marry me because Khal wanted to protect me, but in his last adventure, he had time to think about us. Khal said he wanted me because he felt safe around me. Khal knew he could is open with me, and his heart is for me. When he thought of me, he smiled and longed to come back so he can see my face. I stood there crying as he spoke these words to me, and despite my crying, he did not want to stop. He had to say what he wants to say. He had thought about it and pondered it like he always did. In my crying, I could not remember what else he said, but I remember the last words he told me that night before we parted. He said he loved me, not only in his mind but indeed in his heart. Then he was silent as my tears flowed down my cheeks, then he came closer and held me in his arms. We hugged, and I told him that I had loved him for a long time, and my heart screamed for him even longer. At that moment I heard his heartbeat, just like the day when I heard my parents heartbeat. We held each other for a long time, standing there trying to make the moment last as long as we could. He moved away slowly, and kissed my cheek for the fourth time, and said he would see me in the morning. I learned the most significant lesson that day, unlike when I was with Hasif, I learned that love is patient, love is kind.
In the morning we sat and had breakfast together with our parents, we were both overjoyed, and filled with love. He told all of us that tonight we will be married, and a grand celebration would be held in the middle of the town, in front of the castle. Our parents hugged us and kissed us, and wished us all the happiness and joy. My mother and his mother made me a beautiful white and silver dress, Khal fixed his robe, for he was skilled in tailoring, and his robe was his greatest possession. The celebration was a great one, and even Naboo sang stories on our wedding night. Li was next to Khal,
for they were best friends. The dwarfs had perfected their drink, and all were merry. I do not believe that anyone of us could remember such happiness, we had come far in these short months, but we all had hope for the coming future, we never had that in the Kaer. Lights danced into the night, cast by some of the adepts, and it made everything glow with magic.
The night concluded with dancing and singing, we should have been tired, but none of us wanted to stop. Khal and I left everyone to their merrymaking and went to our house. Anticipation was growing inside both of us. We had never kissed, he only kissed me four times on the cheek. We got home and went to the bedroom, our parents had worked hard to make it look beautiful, new pillows, and bedding, flowers, and they hung my painting. He held my hand and then carried me into the room, his arms strong and comforting. Then he let my feet hit the ground and turned me around. He kissed me on the lips, the first time, the surge of emotions rushed through me, I loved him then even more. Our kiss lingered, and then he pulled away, and he said that he loved me, and his heart beat a powerful song with every word my name. We kissed again, and this time it lasted longer, and then he pulled away again.
He looked at me, deeply looked at me, and said “I want us to be one,” and I told him I longed for him. He said, “not only in body but in mind and soul.” I said I dreamed of it, and that I knew that our hearts at this moment beat as one. Khal told me that he wanted to bond with me, to make a blood bond, he wanted to explain, he was so detailed, like always. I stopped him by kissing him on the lips. Then I pulled back and told him “I am yours, totally yours, my body, my mind and my being. I will walk with you to the end of this earth, and I would live for you, and I would die for you.” He looked at me and smiled as he kissed me. This time I thought that would last for eternity, but slowly he pulled back. He took his robe off and pulled a knife out of its pocket.
He cut himself on the palms of his hand, and then he cut the palms of my hands. I did not know what was happening but my being screamed for him, and I knew the scream would not die out as long as we both lived. I wanted what he wanted, and we both were doing what we wanted together. He removed his shirt and cut his chest, and he pulled the shoulders of my dress down and cut my chest. I cannot even remember if it hurt because our love covered everything, every pain every emotion every memory or dream. We touched our palms together and held each other chest to chest. Then we pulled back our blood now coursing through each other, and he told me to repeat these words after him.
“With my blood, I join thee and bind thee to me and me to thee. With this body, I reach out and call to you, with this mind I speak to you. Forever I hold you in my heart as this pure blood flows through my veins. I share mind, body and being with you not holding anything back, and I swear an oath to thee that no power in this world could destroy. Now with this blood that we share I gave all to you.”
I remember those words as if they are engraved on my heart. After we had said the words we looked at each other, and suddenly I could hear him in my mind, he cried out without moving his lips, that he loved me and for the first time I have seen him cry. I talked to him in my mind that I too loved him, and I cried. Our blood and tears flowed that night as we embraced our mutual loving embrace, as our hearts burst open with love for one another. We stayed in our embrace for days, and we did not leave the room, we could care less for food or drink, we lived on our love. It was the happiest days of my life, and he told me it was his. I lost count of the kisses, for there were many.
After those few days we laid on the bed together, and just held each other. “I guess we should see if our parents are okay,” I said. He laughed, and I laughed with him, a few moments later, through the
laughter, he said: “I guess we should, I think they would be worried by now.”
We bathed, and that took a while, and then we got dressed, which took longer, and then we went outside of our room. That is when we started to feel hungry, and our speech was confined in our minds, we could speak so much faster and much more openly. I guess we should eat, we both thought. We laughed again, and it was fun to talk this way, it took a bit to get used to. Our parents heard us in the kitchen and rushed in, at first they were worried, but then they saw us and knew that we were happy and okay. We had to break our silence now because we had to talk to others, but in the midst of our conversation with them, we were able to still speak to each other in our minds. It was unbelievable, and I loved him even more, that is what we would say to each other, no matter what is going on, I love you echoed between us.
We spend weeks in our state of love, and I cannot even put into words what we shared, it was remarkable. He freed me from the chains that held me down, and I painted more. Painted things that I could never imagine, some of it was his mind overlapping with mine. I think others would have found our bond an invasion of one person over the other, but I tell you now, I never felt that with Khal. He and I were one flesh, one mind, and one soul, and again that is hard to explain. I hope everyone finds what we discovered in each other.
Besides the painting, he started training me on a few things that he knew. At first, he began to show me how to avoid a person that would be attacking me. He started slow with this, and I began to feel comfortable with it as time went on. Then he taught me how to react faster than I would usually respond in a stressful situation. I learned those things as best as I could, and he assured me that I was doing great.
I started to slowly realize how good and amazing he was with his skills and he tried to show me as much as he could, but the magic was beyond me. I could not even begin to understand how he made sense of it. He did not push me, he encouraged me, and with his love of me, not of what I can do, made it that much easier. The one part that made it even easier was the fact that our minds were open to each other, I could see what he was teaching me in my mind. Li was busy with Uncle, Khal had said that he was seeking something from Uncle, and he did not know if he could get it. I thank Li for that, for it gave Khal and me more time together. I also noticed that our parents were infected by our love, I could see it in their eyes as if they had found something about each other that they did not know there all this time. It was a happy time for our family.
A few months past and there was a buzz around our small town, a new election of council members was a short time away now. Since the arrival of the lizardfolk in our city, it was decided that there should be a representative from every race on the council. Then there would be a Dwarf, Elf, Human, Ork, Troll, Windling, and Lizardmen. After I had found out about the election, I asked Khal why The Obsidian Man was not mentioned, I had forgotten about him, like all of our town people. He was not seen in our city any longer, at least I did not see him. Khal told me that after we had started building this town, the obsidian man was alone, the only one of his kind among us, and all he did at this time is sit on the hill north of the town and think of his life stone, which was his connection to his race. Khal at that point started getting busy with the council preparations, since he was one of the heroes of the town, and had a
lot of influence. That is when I learn that our mind speech worked over distances, so we would still be able to share with each other from afar. Our thoughts of love never seized despite our duties and work.
The next day after he told me about where the obsidian man was, I decided to see him. I put on my leather outfit, and I had stopped wearing much of the dresses, the leather felt comfortable while I was training, and went to the hill. Khal was worried, but he said to call him if I needed anything. I told him not to worry, and I will be okay. I got to the hill that Khal pointed out, but I did not see anyone there at first. I was ready to speak to Khal, to ask him if he was sure of the location of the hill when suddenly I heard a deep slow voice saying to me, “what do you seek?”
I took a step back, for the sound was right in front of me, then I saw him, he was inches away from me. I forgot how strange and large he looked, and it frightened me. He could see it in my eyes, “do not worry,” he said. “I will not harm you, what do you seek?”
His words moved slowly through the air between us, and a few moments past before I could even reply. “I seek you, old one.”
A slow smile stretched across his face, and his eyes widened a little in interest.
“I don’t know, to be honest, I was drawn to you, it feels like there is something you have for me.”
He waited, and I noticed his eyes changed like Khal’s and uncle when they were looking at me as if being tested. We were face to face because he was sitting, and I, waiting, staring back at him. I was amazed that a creature like this could exist among us, and we would choose to forget him. A few moments later, very slowly, he stood up, I stood my ground, although my legs were shaking, either in anticipation of the unknown, or fear. Again he began to speak with his slow speech, Ahh, I see what you mean. I waited, thinking he was not done, but he did not say anything.
“What do you see I asked,” trying to match his speech pattern.
I could have sworn his smile widened as he continued, “you’re ready to train for your call?” a long pause, and I waited again. He finally continued. “I can show you the way, but you would have to go on your own after that to reach your path.” Now I was bewildered, I took a deep breath, “what did you see? I asked again and waited.
“I saw you and your path, in time I will explain, but are you ready to train?”
I paused, I did not know what to say, I recalled Khal saying that the creature that I stood before is the oldest being from our Kaer, and he knew things that none could understand.
I then smiled back at him, “yes I am ready.”
Khal did not know what to say when I told him, but he could not deny what he said before, that the Obsidian Man knew things beyond anyone else in this town, and if I had the patience to converse with him, then I should do it. So from that point on, I would go every day and train with the obsidian man, it was a slow process, but he was a patient and kind teacher. At that time I did not know that would lead me, but I felt it was the right path.
Weeks passed, and the election was drawing near, that is when people in the town started to get ill all of a sudden. Li was the one that discovered the illness, and he came to our house. Once Khal found out, they went to the council and informed them. After some investigation, they discovered that our water supply had been poisoned, and since everyone was getting the water from the underground river, that would be the place to start. Khal, Li, and Naboo went to investigate, and Khal had told me that Naboo was angry, very angry, because his people lived closest to the water supply.
They had traced it back to the source, which was the underground lake, that is they found creatures living there, and their bodies spilled the toxin into the water supply. They had to kill them and burn the bodies, and Khal had tried to see if they were just animals, but he said that they just wanted to kill anything they saw. They were below when he called to me to inform uncle that they needed his magical skills so that he can cleanse the waters. They brought one of the creatures to the surface to have our physician find a cure, which he did in a few days. Khal also told me that the beast they brought up had collar markings on it as if it was someone pet. Thankfully no one died in our town, but that was not the end of it.
Li and Khal had found that these creatures were put there by a magician, they had followed mercenaries, Ork mercenaries, and captured most of them and that is when they figured out about the magician. Khal told me that Naboo was red with revenge against the mercenaries, but from what Khal found out they did not have evil intentions, they were just doing a job, and they deserved a chance to plead their case. Naboo did not like it, but he had to abide by the council’s decisions.
Like I stated before the elections were getting closer, a few days were left. Khal had told me that a human council member had to be chosen, but there were only a few adepts left, and he was not going to be running, because he had things to finish, but wanted to find Hanif’s father, Yasif. I was taken aback, by the name, it did not disturb me, because with my marriage to Khal that pain was healed and I forgave Hanif, but I did not think Khal would utter that name. I thought for a moment that maybe Khal had not thought about this thing long enough, and we had not heard of Yasif since his son’s death and his ejection from the council. Khal knew what I was thinking and opened his mind to me and shared what he thought and I then knew that this is Khal, he thought about everything and what is best for our town, for our people. I doubted for a second, but with the way that we share our thoughts, it made it easy to realize what Khal was thinking. He still amazed me on how his mind worked, scary at times, but beautiful. I did not hide these thoughts from him, he smiled at me and said he loved me again.
He called Li to the house, and they both went to Yasif’s house, it took some time to find it and Yasif. He told me it was tense at first, but Yasif realized that Khal and Li were honest and their interests were the same. Khal also said that Yasif, finding out that I had forgiven his son despite what he had done to me, had made his long years of anger and hate fall away. Yasif said that he was ready to be part of this community, and Khal knew that he was a mighty adept and would be an excellent asset to the council. So in the days that followed, Khal started talking to all the humans in our area about him, spreading the good word as they say, and he then asked me to pick up that task, since he had unfinished business. I did what Khal suggested these next few days, but after I was done with my daily meetings with the obsidian man.
Khal asked the council that they should capture this magician and find out his plans. Naboo wanted to go to the mercenary encampment, which was their next stop and find out what would have been their next assignment. They had figured out that the mercenaries would get another job for this magician once they got there. The council agreed with Khal that the magician needs to be captured, he was the most dangerous and closest threat.
Khal, Li, and Naboo went out to find the magician. They went to the outskirts of the ruins, where the mercenaries had told them they departed from the magician and sure enough they found him there. It did not take long for them to capture him, Khal was pleased no one was hurt, but he did say he had to bring the magician back to life, Li had struck him a little too hard. I was surprised that Khal could do that, he said that he picked up some spells from different teachers in our town to aid him on his journeys and they came in handy. Again, I could not begin to understand these spells, but I did ask that wasn’t it better to have left him dead. Khal explained that with the magician dead there would be no answers to the many questions. He always wanted details, and that is why Khal is Khal. The magician was kept sedated, until the council elections, so the new council can decide what to do.
The night that the magician was captured, the elections took place. Yasif was elected by the humans, and there were no surprises from the other races, their elder adepts were elected, well only one surprise that Khal pointed out. The Orks elected one of their kind that no one knew about, except for the Orks. Khal said that Yasif is going to keep an eye on him to make sure there is no trouble. The council had agreed to keep the magician sedated until his full plans were revealed.
There was no time to rest, Khal, Li, and Naboo were off again to the mercenary encampment to find out what the next phase of the magician’s plans might have been. Khal did not have time to give me details on the way south, but he said that they would disguise themselves as the Ork mercenary leaders to get the information. I did not ask for more details, cause I knew it would have to do with magic, which I did not understand fully. The last thing he said to me that night is that he loved me and will see me soon, and then our link was no more. He had warned me that it would not work over long distances, but if some ill came upon him I would feel it, and if he is dead I would feel that as well. I hoped that a day would never come that I would feel those things.
Two nights had passed since Khal left the south, and I was sitting with our parents having dinner, when he called to me, he had gotten closer to the town. He said that his mind and body were tired and to meet him in the council chambers. I love you he said, and I stood up in a heartbeat, I love you. Our parents were looking at me, wondering what had happened. All I said was his name, Khal, and ran out of the door.
He flew, in falcon form with Naboo’s owl trailing behind, through the council chamber window. Once he got close to the chamber floor, he transformed back into himself. I had just finished telling the council that he is coming with the news. He looked drained, tired and weak. He was on one knee, struggling to stand. He said he has not hurt just his powers were drained and he was fatigued. I ran to him and hugged him, and kissed him. He told me he loved me and had to speak to the council. I stood holding him as he was talking.
Khal said that he got the magicians instruction for the mercenaries next mission, he handed the scroll to the council, and then he stated that they had gotten into a fight because of Naboo’s obsession with animals. A fight broke out in the mercenary encampment, which they managed to escape from, Naboo barely survived with his life. He had left them on the road to the city with the flying ships, and he had to get back to them as soon as possible.
Khal had told me about the town with the flying ships, that is where he went with the crystal skull, they had fire mines. He had thrown the crystal skull deep into the fire mines. The fire mines had magical properties and had consumed the crystal skull. He had also told a few members of the council, especially uncle and the elder Dwarf. He had concerns about the people of that town, they kept slaves, and he did not want our city to be involved with them, at least not until we were ready. The council echoed Khal’s concerns about the town with the flying ships.
Khal finished what he had to say with that he was exhausted and would not be able to make the journey in his state. He needed to get to Naboo and Li sooner than later because he believed that they would be in trouble without him. He did not say that out of arrogance, but only with truth and concern. Yasif stepped forward and stated that he could aid him, he would put a spell on him that would fully refresh him in a few hours instead of a full days rest. Khal agreed without hesitation, and in his mind told me not to worry, and again he loved me.
I laid next to Khal in one of the castle chambers, as he slept. It was a deep sleep, and he breathed softly. I was facing him, and I cherished every breath he breathed in and out. The two hours passed to quickly, and he woke refreshed. We went into the council chambers, and he bid them farewell, and that they would return as soon as they can. He kissed me, and I wished that would have lasted longer. He turned and began to cast, and a moment later he changed into falcon form and lunged through the open window. The owl noticed him leave and followed as if it was keeping watch over him. I kept telling him I love him, and he would respond with the same until our link was broken again.
That was the last time I heard Khal in my mind, I felt something, but I did not know what it was, I was afraid to know what it was. Khal my love I will find you. I kept training and thinking of him as the days passed. The training consumed me because Khal consumed me, I had to find him. I need to know what happened, again that feeling. I somehow knew he was still alive, but I also knew he needed me.
I trained in the arts of melee weapons, and I could not believe I would be any good with any weapons. The Obsidian man would also push me to climb cliffs and trees as high as I could and faster. The next thing I learned is the art of speaking different languages, at first, I could not understand how I would be able to do this, but he taught me to let go and just allow the words to come into my mind and just listen. I could not believe the first time it worked, and I understood his language, it was incredible.
One day after I finished training, the Obsidian man sat me down, and he said he wanted to tell me something. He began by saying, “I showed you the path, and now you must walk it alone. It has chosen you, and you must answer the sound that calls to you.” Then he shared with me what he knew of the history of the ones that had gone before me on the path that I am seeking, he told me that they kept the words for themselves and others. They would go through many journeys to deliver valuable information to the people it was destined to hear or read them. I trained what I trained because the journey that my path would take me would require them. I
might have to go through many dangers to get the words to their final destination. He told me about two things that I would need to get me started on my path, and one is the ritual that would allow me to use my path talents magically. He did not have to explain that to me as much as I thought because on our next training session he kept pushing me beyond my current training. He pushed harder than ever before until all of a sudden something inside of me broke to the surface, and allowed me to excel further in my training.
After that was complete, he sat me down again and told me that the second and final thing would be for me to be able to seek the position of people and places and things. He took my weapon from me and said for me to turn around. I did, although I was confused. I heard something from behind me, and then he told me to turn and face him. “Find your weapon,” He had thrown it somewhere, but I could not see it.
“Don’t look for it as a child, sense it.”
I paused and closed my eyes, I thought about my weapon. I did not know what I was doing, but I trusted the Obsidian man as my teacher. I reached into myself, opened my eyes and sought it out. I left the side of the Obsidian man, to find my weapon, and somehow within minutes, without actually looking with my eyes, I found it. I went back to him. “Come back in a few days for your final lesson.
Contemplate what you have learned so far.”
I thought about Khal these next few days, and how I longed for him, my heart ached. Then my mind would go back to thoughts of my training. Our parents did not know what to tell me, and they knew I was thinking about him a lot and would say to me he is okay and will be back soon. Something had changed inside of me, and my being was on a journey toward completion.
I was an adept, I am an adept, and now I am following my path. Khal had told me a while back, as I started training with the Obsidian man, that he found out that not all adepts can see if others are adepts, it is challenging thing to discern. It was only natural if the person being tested was going to be an adept like the person looking at him or her. That is why he said if I was an adept and no one knew it, it is because I was a different kind of adept, different from all the other adepts that were in our town. Only now I understand what he was telling me, just now it made sense since now I am on my path.
Two days later I went back to the Obsidian man for my final training session, and I had cherished the time I spent with him. He knew I was coming and he was standing on the hill waiting for me.
“Greetings young one.”
“Greetings old one,” that is what we said to each when we would meet, it made both of us smile.
“The day has come for you to go onto your path, and I ask again,” he paused as he does with his slow speech, “are you ready?”
“I am ready.”
“Then go and give him this message,” a pause, “my Life Stone calls, he will know what it means.”
I bowed to him, and left him on the hill that early morning and went to my families home to prepare. I had breakfast with our parents, and then went and got my traveling gear ready. During our breakfast, I had informed my parents and Khal’s parents that I was an adept and with Khal’s help and the Obsidian man’s teaching I had fully realize my path. They were shocked but happy and afraid of what that meant. I told them I felt Khal needed me and I could not explain how I felt that but I must seek him, and we will both come back together. I said goodbye to our parents, I told them that I would find him, to find my love, and he will be with us again.
I hope to continue my story when I come back with him, and my mind is filled with emptiness, that he could only fill, and I know I must go on to this path, onto my path.
Written by Eli Arnaout