As Wispen entered the study, he promptly administered a bitter salve to Aristos’ gums. The swordsman, after much complaining, promptly fell into a deep slumber, the book still in his lap. With a satisfied nod, Wispin made his way into the adjoining room and arranged a place for him to embrace the trance of the fey.
Eldrin watched brightly hued butterflies float above his head, as he lay on his back, in the sweet-smelling grove. The sun was high in the sky and it’s warmth reached into his very bones. A cool, gentle breeze caressed his face, bringing the spicy-warm scent of simmering soup to his nose. He heard a light laugh, that could only belong to the Elder Seeker’s first-born, Tania. The tiefling smiled, exposing his keen teeth. It was days like this that reminded him of the wonderful life he had, with the Bendari people.
Eldrin blinked as one butterfly in particular, bravely fluttered down, close to his nose. It’s deep, reddish-brown wings seemed to blot out all else, as Eldrin’s attention focused on the funny little creature.
The insect gently settled on his twitching nose, it’s wings glistening in the sunlight. Eldrin couldn’t believe his luck! Surely this was a good omen! His delight was abruptly brought to an end as the butterfly seemed to look directly at him and utter a single word: Bael!
With a start, Eldrin sat up. The insect clung to his nose, like a Bendari Beast-tamer breaking a feral Miaug. The butterfly dug it’s appendages into Eldrin’s nose, bringing tears to his eyes. The tiefling swatted at the pest, no longer amused. Just as he was about to slap the annoyance away, the butterfly somehow avoided his awkward blow and flitted briefly in mid-air.
Then, with a hiss, the insect, once a thing of delicate beauty, began to warp and change. Long, grasping talons reached out, latching onto Eldrin’s tunic. Leathery, glistening wings blocked out the sun. And a face of deep nightmares glared into the horrified youth’s very soul. Red, flaming eyes looked directly into his and he once again heard that name: Bael!
Eldrin awoke, with a start, and sat up, looking about the room. Across from him, Wispin sat, legs folded, eyes closed, and arms at his side. Eldrin had seen his clansmen sit in similar ways, during the night. It was one thing that all elves had in common. The shutter above him softly creaked, as an evening breeze blew into the chamber, allowing a few splatters of cool rain into the room. Eldrin frowned. Walking over to the window he distinctly recalled closing and latching those shutters.
Eldrin moved closer to the window, looking about, then suddenly notices damp spots on the window sill and along the floor rugs. He swiftly ran to alert Aristos, within the study, leaving Wispin alone in the chamber behind him.
Meanwhile, Wispin was awakened suddenly, by a slight cut across his face. Aristos and Elgin then entered the room, and the three began to actively hunt for their invisible assailant! Elgin immediately stammered words of magic and, eyes aglow, peered about the room, his hand positioned at his temple, tail twitching. Wispin formed a shimmering layer of force on himself and immediately, he and Eldrin began trying to coax their mystery guest to reveal itself.
Suddenly, the air ripples and a blade appears, lashing out and wounding the tiefling! Eldrin screamed, both in surprise and pain, as the blow drew blood, his spell, no longer working. His face reflecting his growing determination, he watched, through watering eyes, as the figure smoothly moved into the study.
Aristos, dashing into action, instinctively flung both of his elven blades towards the barely discernible figure. Both blades flew wide, embedding into the far wall. Wispin, reaching into a pouch, took a handful of sand and with a word of power, blew the sand into the air. A cloud of fine, sparkling dust billowed into the room, filling most of it.
After waiting a moment, for the air to clear, a cloaked figure, laying on the floor, in the middle of the study, came into view. Eldrin quickly moved to the figure, reaching out to adjust the cloak and reveal their assailant, as Aristos confidently moved to retrieve his blades from the wall.
As Eldrin and Wispin moved closer, their noses were assailed by the stench of sulfur and they saw that the cloak of the figure was actually it’s draped, leather-like wings.
Eldrin fell back as the creature stirred, revealing it’s infernal features and the tiefling was immediately reminded of his uncertain heritage, seeing the creature’s horns and fiery eyes.
While Eldrin looked about for something to bind their prisoner, Aristos guarded the monster and Wispin hurried down the hall to retrieve their Thaumaturge host. Knocking on Yasiir’s chamber door, Wispin waited for what seemed ages, for the latch to unhinge and the door to slowly swing open. Standing there, in his night robe, the heavyset mage was covered in sweat, his eyes darting about. Wispin briefly explained their predicament and turned to hasten back to the study.
In the study, Aristos shook his head to clear his vision, as the room seemed to suddenly grow fuzzy, his head swimming. The creature on the floor rose up, sweeping the dazed swordsman to the side, dashing towards the window. Eldrin, pointed a finger at the fleeing form, spouting arcane words, and sent a blast of intense cold towards it. The infernal beast dove through the window, sending debris everywhere, narrowly avoiding the sorcerer’s spell. The study door burst open and Wispin entered, seeing Aristos sitting on the carpeted floor, mumbling incoherently and holding his jaw, his blades forgotten.
Their host, Yasiir entered, the guild Arch-Mage Zerwal behind him. After discussing the assassin’s motives and who may have sent the creature, Zerwal, with a sparkle in his eye, told Eldrin that his destiny may be about to catch up with him, which seemed to cause Yasiir no small amount of interest. Then, after examining the still woozy Aristos and ensuring that no unknown damage had occurred, the elderly Arch-Mage slowly left the study, walking stick tapping on the carpeted floor.
Turning to the frazzled group, Yasiir apologized and swore to find out who dared to harm guests under his protection! Until then, they must try to rest and renew their quest in the morning. The three once again attempted to make themselves comfortable for a, hopefully, undisturbed rest.