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Prophecy of the Talisman - Chapter One (Page Three)

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Night turned to early morning before Jeran was able to free his mother from the webbing that bound her. Picking her up gently, he moved her back into her bed and prepared something for her to drink.

"What happened mama?" Jeran asked ask he sat beside her, and helped her sip the hot tea.

"Oh baby's dead!" Caelesta started but broke down into tears as she tried to recount the experience.

"It's all right. You're safe now. Please tell me what happened," Jeran said softly, as he caressed her head.

"We...We were in bed discussing the fight, when we heard a loud noise downstairs. At first, we thought maybe you were still angry, and your father said to ignore it, to give you a chance to calm down, but then it grew louder. He got out of bed to see what it was, but just then the door blew open and a woman was standing there." Her hands trembling, Caelesta took a moment to sip more tea.

"She had long black hair and was very slender. The one thing I did notice about her was that her eyes were completely black. It was almost like she had no eyes, except they were shiny. Anyway, your father asked what she was doing in our house, and that's when she started looking around the room and those black eyes stopped at the crib. It was then that both of us knew that she was up to no good. Your father went to grab her, but..." Caelesta stopped.

"Did she have a sword?" Jeran asked hoping to help his mother continue the story.

"No. She struck at your father with her left arm, and after your poor father fell to the ground, in place where her arm should have been was a long black blade, but not of metal. At first I didn't know if I could trust what my eyes where showing, but I started to scream as she moved towards the crib. She ignored me and I tried to move but I was so scared, and didn't know what to do. When she picked up Khoddar, I pleaded with her to leave him alone, and that's when she...she" Caelesta could continue no longer and burst into tears.

"It's all my fault. I shouldn't have fought with papa. I...I should have heard those noises," Jeran said, hoping for forgiveness but his mother was too distraught to be able to comfort him. He knew he had to get some fresh air or he might pass out. Tucking the sheets close to her, Jeran was about to leave, when she reached out for his hand.

"Jeran wait, there is something I must tell you. Even though I didn't approve, your father was very proud of the way you stood up to him."

"Wait?!" Jeran could not believe what he heard. "Are you telling me that to make me feel better?"

"No. He loved you son, and he wanted you to grow up to be strong willed, as his father had taught him. That's why he was so hard on you. He too fought with his father the day he became a man, and when we were lying in bed, he told me that he was proud of the way you had grown up, and was going to give you your birthright in the morning," Caelesta explained, struggling to put a smile on her face as she stroked Jeran's hand.

"My birthright?"

"Open the chest, in the closet. It's all for you."

Jeran was reeling from the news that his father had cared more deeply than he had ever shown and his death was now even more painful, for he could never tell him that he loved him too.

Walking slowly to the closet, he opened the door and resting on the ground was a large chest. It was plain by all standards. The kind usually used to carry clothes in. Kneeling down, he pried open the cover and that's when the morning light gleamed off the purest white steel that Jeran had ever laid his eyes on. It was the blade of a beautiful long sword, and along its edge were engravings. The hilt was made of fine leather and without even touching it; Jeran could sense that this weapon would make a novice swordsman an expert, and an expert swordsman extremely powerful.

He looked back at his mother, afraid to touch it without permission, and with a gentle nod from her, Jeran reached down a gently raised it from the chest. It was perfectly balanced and while very light, Jeran could feel its strength. He had practiced many years with his father on using a sword, though never with one so fine, and that's when it hit him.

"Mama, I am going to avenge the deaths of papa and Khoddar! I am going to slay that beast, and I am not going to rest until I do," he said holding the sword high, watching the sun streaming through the window radiate the room.

"No, don't do it, I don't want to lose you. You're all I have left."

"I have to. Papa would have done the same if I had been killed."

Caelesta wanted to argue with Jeran, but she knew that it would be useless. "Then at least seek someone to help you," she implored.

"Who would help me in such a dangerous mission?"

"Continue looking in the chest, son."

Jeran carefully put down the blade and looked at the rest of the chests' contents. There was the swords' scabbard, which was surprisingly plain compared to its charge, a large helm and a small pouch. Placing the helm on his head, Jeran then turned his attention to the pouch and loosened its strings. Inside were some silver pieces and a few gold coins. Jeran felt a sudden sadness at the sight of the coin. While it was not a lot, his family had always struggled and giving him this coin would have been a major sacrifice for them.

"I cannot take this mama. You will need it for yourself," he said placing the pouch in her hands.

"Don't worry, I will be able to take care of myself."

Before Caelesta could say another word, there was the sound of footsteps coming up the staircase. Jeran lunged for his sword and stood between the bed and the door, ready for anything.

"What goes on here?" asked the bewildered, robed figure at the door as he looked at the carnage in the room. It was Vaerial, the town's healer. His thick, flowing white hair gave away his age, and while his slender body gave the impression of someone frail, Jeran knew otherwise.

"Vaerial, you are too late. There was a terrible tragedy last night, and now my brother and father are dead," Jeran explained.

"Oh my.... I was coming here to check up on your mother when I saw the front door laying in ruin. Are you okay Caelesta?" Vaerial asked as he went to her side.

"Just my heart is weak," she replied.

"Who did this?"

"I am not sure, but it seemed to be a woman with powers of a spider. I know it sounds outlandish, but it's true," Caelesta said.

"There, there, I believe you. Now Sleep...", and almost instantly, Caelesta fell into a deep slumber.

"Is she all right?" Jeran asked.

"Yes, she must rest for now. Jeran, we must make arrangements to bury the dead and warn the authorities. I want you, to go speak to the captain of the guard, and then see Ammilan at the cemetery. I will watch over your mother. Do you understand?"

"Yes Vaerial." Jeran sheathed his sword and left his home, just as an armored clad figure approached him. It was a guard.

"Raise the alarm and bring the captain here. Vaerial wishes to speak to him," Jeran ordered.

"What happened here?" the guard inquired.

"There is no time for that. Go now." Jeran replied in such a tone that the guard gave him a last look before leaving. Jeran was weary from the nights' events and did not want to share his grief. It was now getting closer to midday and the warm sun, made him feel a little better.

Crossing the town square, Jeran continued down the many streets until he was almost out of town. The cemetery was situated on its outskirts and was taken care of by Ammilan Draketan. Jeran entered through the cemetery's cast iron gate, and called out for Ammilan.

Hearing no response, he started to wander the grounds in search of him, when he saw a figure up ahead. Calling out his name again as he closed the distance between them, he could now tell this was not Ammilan. It was a woman, maybe a few years older than himself. She had thick red hair and green eyes. Dressed in leather armor, and carrying a sword, she looked at Jeran intently.

"He doesn't seem to be here. I too, am in search of him," she replied.

"You've suffered a loss in your family?" Jeran asked sympathetically.

"No...but a terrible tragedy struck my closest friend."

"May I ask what happened? I too suffered a terrible loss." Jeran then explained briefly of the creature that killed his father and brother. The woman stared at him incredulously. She then told him her story.

"My friend was giving birth early this morning. She had been in labor for five hours, I was at her side comforting her, when suddenly we felt the earth rumble, and before we had a chance to react, the entire wall of the room came crashing down. From the debris rose this huge creature made of stone. He stood maybe nine feet tall and held a two-bladed sword*. All of us stood in shock, but this creature didn't hesitate for a second. It knocked me aside and...killed my friend by thrusting his enormous hand through her stomach. I didn't think of it until you told me your tale, but I now believe the creature wanted to kill the unborn child," the woman explained.

"I am sorry to hear about your loss." Jeran empathized and after a couple of awkward seconds, introduced himself.

"Well met Jeran, I am Lysana Jor'daelf. I had chased the beast here, after it rolled out of the building, but unfortunately lost it and was in search of Ammilan to see if he had spotted it, when we met."

"Then maybe we can aid each other. I too wish the destruction of the creature that killed my kin. If we work together we may have a better chance of success," Jeran offered.

"Our paths may not travel in the same direction, but until then, I welcome your company," Lysana said with a gentle smile.

"Well then, it's settled, but first I must find Ammilan to make burial arrangements."

"You called," spoke a voice from behind them. Spinning around they saw Ammilan walking towards them. He was a well-dressed man, though his skin was pale and his eyes sunken. Jeran then explained what had happened last night. It was difficult having to relive that night repeatedly each time he told the story, and he hoped he wouldn't have to do it again.

"I'm sorry to hear that. Thoros was a good man, but don't worry yourself now, I will send my men to bring them here and let you know when we will hold the ceremony," Ammilan explained. Lysana then asked him if he had seen anything out of the ordinary, fearing to have to explain the creature she was chasing, but Ammilan replied he hadn't.


*Note: A two-bladed sword is a double sided weapon. One each end is a blade and the owner would hold it in the middle. This allows it to be used similar to a staff but with swords on both ends. There is a picture on page 103 of the Player's handbook.

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