I was unconscious at the end of the fight with the Magestirium, but not before knocking out the so called "puppet master" who was leading the other magic doers while he hid behind a wall of fire.
As I wake up, we come to find Ashryn in some sort of pain before she catches fire. She's screaming and holdering head, and the fire doesn't seem to actually be affecting her, other than putting off a lot of heat. She manages to put herself out, and I run over to her to see if she needs help (she WAS just on fire). As I put my hand on her shoulder, I felt an immense heat and actually burn my hand a little. It was like putting your hand on a still hot stove top.
Ashryn cools off, pun not intended but hey, and the Lady of the Glade asks to speak with her. Balasar and I come to find out that Xander is missing as well. We make sure Bek and Ca'le'stos are alright, and then we ask the marshal if he might send out a group to look for Xander. I'd honestly like to go myself, but everyone is beaten up pretty bad after that fight. Balasar and I decide to get some rest before we set out looking for Xander the next morning.
First off though, we had to grab Ashryn, so in the morning, we head up to the Lady's place, where she apparently let Ashryn stay for the night. Ashryn seems perfectly fine now, though you could tell she had something heavy on her mind. I know that look, I'm still probably showing it as well. We ask the marshal if he's happened on any news of Xander, and he tells us that two of the elves he sent out didn't return, and asks us to bring them back if we find them. He also told us that the two scouts that didn't return were sent to the East, so that's where we head off to.
A few miles out of the elf village of Estilliana, we find Xander's trail, but it appears that someone is with him, someone limping and being dragged behind. We end up finding a small camp in the woods, fit for two people. Apparently whoever is with Xander slept in the same camp. I also find a bit of Xander's torn cloak, and Ashryn finds a small amount of blood. This is enough of a clue to make us thing that Xander might be in more trouble than we thought.
Following the trail a while longer, we are attacked by bolts of fire from out of nowhere. I attempt to sneak around and Ashryn calls out for Xander, and we DO hear him call back, saying sorry, but he's then muffled. Then there's this sound of someone running through the woods, someone who isn't worried about not making a sound, whoever has Xander is running off in a dead sprint through the woods, so we give chase.
As we chase the "puppet master" from before, we come to a clearing. We were led right into an ambush. Six men, all standing behind their leader, my father. The puppet master hands off a gem to my father, which he then places into a bracelet. Everyone is at a stand still. None of us thought we'd see my father again, and I doubt he thought he'd see us. I pull my ninja mask over my face, going invisible, and sprint to my father, attempting to make a clean knock out and take the gem, which he tells us is the key to Xander's freedom. I don't hit where it count's though, this isn't an ordinary target, so my father doesn't drop.
I back off, and ready for a fight, but my father holds his men off and my group don't seem like they really want to fight either. I tell my father to let Xander go, but he says nothing is gained without a price. Rather than make a deal with him, I tell him to let me win my friend's freedom back, after all my father's "gift" was taken from us, and dad doesn't like holding onto stolen goods. So ask to fight the man who brought Xander here. My father smiles, and says we'll partake in an ancient elven duel, something called an "Iaijutsu Duel".
He explains, the two of us, the puppet master and myself, will stand within striking distance of each other. There is no count down, or any sort of display or show, we just stand, and strike, but the timing is what counts, there's honor in waiting for your opponent to draw first, but striking before he's able to. The duel is about patience, speed and skill. Father also says that someone needs to officiate, and that official can even be someone from my party, which my father even gives me the choice of picking. I choose Ashryn.
We stand in silence for quite a while, a few minutes actually. The man in front of me quakes in fear, opposite of my still and resolute focus. One of us will die here. HE, will die here. I can hear Ashryn even start to shake to my side. The air is heavy and the mood tense. I don't even notice the breeze anymore.
He draws his dagger first, and in the split second that metal shines past the leather of the dagger's sheath, my blade had already drawn blood. Everyone is still and quiet for a second longer before father mutters a "very well" and tosses me the gem, saying that I have to order Xander to remove the choker he's wearing. My father leaves, and his men follow suit. I wait for thems to be out of sight, then I wait a bit more, before I drop to my knees and remove anything useful from the dead man. I take his gold, and leave a few things out for the others to look through.
When we get back to the elven village, I pull out my sister's diary and begin to pour through it. I come to realize though, that it's not Rosalyn's diary, but our mothers'. In the book, she describes being pregnant with Rosalyn and I, how Rose was dying and I had given up my spark to her. Rosalyn was losing her spark and was ill; apparently mom was also a great magic doer and healer before she died. Rose and I were destined to be great because of mom and dad's abilities. Mother was trying to attempt some ritual, called an awakening, which is supposedly SUPER dangerous, in the way that it almost never works, but she found a place in Arendia where an awakening can be done with a 100% certainty. She never made it there though, and had to attempt the awakening on the road.
An awakening gives any sentient creature a human-like intelligence. Mother awakened me, and told me of how Rosalyn was dying, that to save her, I would need to give her my spark. Giving up someone's spark cannot be done without the other dying, unless the spark is given up willingly. Mother knew she was going to die, se we agreed; I'd give Rose my spark, and our mother would keep me alive with hers. I lost my spark, but Rosalyn got mine and was able to live. That's why father hated me; he was promised two children with great power, and only got one. When Rosalyn died in the Waste, she gave me her spark, giving me a double dose of magic in the process.
Oh, and this place in Arendia that supposedly can make awakenings a sure thing, it's the circle atop the Glass Tower.
The next morning, after we rest from finding Xander, Ashryn makes everyone bags of holding. Xander and I then break into my father's vault via the Ways, and take as much "residium" as we can carry. We then head off to Estis' house to see if he's even still there. He isn't though, when we left his house a few months ago when the magestirium found us there and we fled, they had apparently burned the place down. Estis was nowhere to be found.
So, we decide to head off to Galanadel, to see Ashryn's mom. We come to a ravine blocking the way though, and have to travel all the way to the coast just to cross. We travel on, and come to another ravine, but this one we're able to follow the edge of up to Galanadel, only to find out that it ends right under Ashryn's mom's place. We go to her house though, and the main buildings are still fine. Ashryn talks with her mom for a while, and we find out that Estis is still alive, he stopped by here a month ago. Ashryn askes her mom if she ever ruled over the Magesterium, and her mom tells us that she did, but only long enough to learn how to speak with her long dead husband. Se was even able to spend a full day with him somehow.