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The Tale of Thunder - Chapter Two (Beyond Kara-Tur - Part Eight: The Puzzles of the Weave)

Thunder Kayowen(Ryan Goodrich)
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The tenday seemed to pass by slowly. Everyday Killian would meet with Elric for a few hours and in that time, Killian was making slow progress. Keeping hold of the Weave proved to be very difficult and kept slipping from his grip. He'd stretch his mind and grab a handful of the Weave, then touch the symbols with his mind before realizing the Weave had drained through his fingers entirely.

Elric explained to him that at first holding onto the Weave was like trying to hold water with a cupped hand. Eventually the water drains through your hands completely if you aren't fast enough. Killian was shocked when Elric also said it took most wizards and sorcerers months to learn to maintain the Weave properly.

Day after day though, they went through the same thing. Killian was starting to lose confidence, but Elric seemed to be a fountain of it, always reassuring him he'd eventually get a strong enough grip with the Weave to perform the "final test." Killian didn't understand what he meant, but Elric just told him: "Soon. You shall see soon enough."

When Killian was not practicing with Elric, he spent his time in Elric's private library. Elric had set out a dozen or so books for him to read and had forbade him to read any others nor take any books out of the room. Elric had apparently known what books Killian had wanted to read, for all the books at Killian's reading table were books of the Prophecies of the Aeir Ne'hem. They were all thankfully in Common, for Killian wasn't very fluent in Chondathan, the language spoke most widely in the Dalelands and Sembia. There was another book Elric gave him to read the day after he first started reading and was, strangely enough, a geography book about the lands surrounding the Inner Sea as well as the lands within it.

As Killian read the Prophecies, he was baffled at what most of it meant. The whole thing seemed to be written in stanzas. Sometimes the lines rhymed, sometimes they didn't. In some spots he read, he was able to interpret them, while in others, the writing made no sense.

The first book he began he hoped to be the beginning of the Prophecies. Strangely enough, it seemed to skip around in the places he understood. Forty pages into the book he found where it said he was marked:

Once by the elves the symbols begin it all,

Twice by the elves the symbol marks him,

He is the Forger of Souls.

Let the banner be shown,

Its origins long unknown.

And let the Aeir Ne'hem ride forth.

Killian also found the spot where the Prophecies told of the "human who is not human," a phrase he remembered being told by the Twin Standing Stones. The two stanzas which followed, Killian presumed to be the location of this being, yet it made no sense to him. Many an hour passed as he studied the two stanzas as well as the geography book he'd been given.

The two stanzas said:

The human that is not human,

The Elder, the Great One,

Dwells, yet waits,

Where none go but many are,

Where ships rule and laws have no place.

Deep in a mountain,

Far in a maze,

The Isle of the Dragon, yet it is not called so,

Prepare yourself,

Spur your mount onward.

Killian could tell Elric knew more of the Prophecies than he let on. After all, Elric had given him a book just about the Inner Sea and not the Sword Coast or the Trackless Sea or any other seas or waters. Killian had reached the certain decision that the "Isle of the Dragon" was in the Inner Sea which wasn't very much of an accomplishment. It couldn't be the Dragon Isle, the main island of the Pirate Isles, for the Prophecies had said it was not called that. The last two lines of the second stanza didn't helm much either. They must not have been meant to mean anything they made so little sense.

"'Prepare yourself,'" Killian said aloud. "'And spur your mount.' I've not read anything so pointless yet."

"Not pointless," Elric corrected, stepping up behind him making Killian jump. "Just effective. The Prophecies were not given to us by the gods for you to solve them just like that. The gods work in mysterious ways. They make you think. Not all of the Prophecy is easy to solve. There are many thousands of pages of the Prophecy I am unable to interpret. But you are looking too hard. What you fail to grasp is right in front of you."

Killian cocked an eyebrow at Elric, then looked back down ad the geography book. The map of the Inner Sea depicted the Pirate Isles. Several hundred miles to the west according to the map was the isle of Prespur.

"Come," Elric said. "It is time for us to try again."

Killian sighed an nodded before standing. It would be another several hours before they'd quit and he would be able to return back to reading his books.

As soon as they were both seated at Elric's reading table, Elric told Killian to visualize the canal. The canal readily appeared, as did the barricade and the water. Killian had brought the image up so often it was easy to visualize. The barricade lifted slightly, and the water began to rush out from under it.

Reaching out with his mind, he touched the water. Energy seemed to rise up in him upon contact with the shimmering water. He then took some of the water and quickly touched the symbols on his hands. As if in answer to his will, the symbols began to glow green, yet not as bright as Elric wanted it.

"Try again," Elric said, sitting back in his seat.

As Killian reached towards the water again with his mind, he paused. What is it Elric only wanted him to grab a handful of the water rather than keep his hands in it? As if acting on though, his mind plunged into the water and remained in contact with it. The energy that surged in him made him gasp aloud, his eyes bulging.

He could suddenly see every detail on the symbols, hear the near silent voices of people floors below or above. He could smell the smoke of fires down in the kitchens, even the aroma of bread being baked.

The symbols suddenly flashed a blinding light which lit up the entire room. Killian cried out in pain from the light and rubbed his eyes. When he lowered his hands again, he couldn't seem anything because of the afterimage left across hie eyesight. When his vision cleared, he looked down at his hands. They remained unlit.

Killian suddenly realized he'd lost his hold on the Weave. The image of the canal had dissipated. He looked to Elric to apologize. Elric was still blinking and rubbing his eyes. He finally stopped and stood so fast his chair toppled over.

"What did you do?!" Elric shouted. "Never remain in full contact with the Weave! You could have burnt yourself up and destroyed the entire city in the process if you'd had the barricade lifted any higher! Never do that again! To draw directly from the Weave is foolish! Even Elminster himself cannot do so!"

Wondering who Elminster was, Killian protested. "But I wasn't getting anywhere just taking a handful at a time!"

"Patience!" Elric said. "I have lived for over seven centuries! You think it is easy to live that long? All elves learn patience after the first few centuries of life. You are elven boy, with several centuries of life before you. It would not do to waste it all rushing blindly into the unknown in impatience. Now then, let's try this again, this time with just a handful of the Weave as always."

Killian knew that wouldn't do. Lifting the barricade once more, this time he just barely touched the surface of the Weave with a fingertip. The energy once more surged in him, less intensely as before. He then touched the symbols with the Weave. The symbols flashed brightly again, but thankfully not as blinding as before. Killian blinked, but kept contact with the Weave and the symbols. The symbols still glowed brightly.

Killian glanced over at Elric to see his reaction. Elric was giving him an expressionless look. Killian dropped his gaze nervously. After a moment, he snuck a peek at Elric. He was looking up at the ceiling for some odd reason. Killian carefully looked up an gaped. Writings in a strange yet beautiful language shone against the ceiling, written in the shapes of the two symbols on his hands.

"What is that?" Killian demanded.

"Elven writings in the Old Tongue, projected from the symbols on your hands when lit up," Elric answered, still looking at the ceiling.

"What does it mean?" Killian asked.

"That is for you to find out, Aeir Ne'hem. It is time for you to seek out your destiny, Killian," Elric then stood and left the room.

Killian looked about in a confused manner. Elric's departure had been sudden and unexpected. Was this the final test? How did those writings appear of the ceiling when the symbols glowed?

Killian sighed and collapsed the image of the canal. At least he could keep the image up when he wasn't thinking about it. He then stood and moved back over to his reading table. He halted halfway into his seat. His eyes had fallen on the Isle of Prespur in the geography book and it had suddenly struck him.

"Prepare yourself," Killian laughed. "Spur your mount onward!"

The first three letters in the word "prepare" and the word "spur" spelled Prespur! Killian was to find the "human that is not human" there! Killian laughed in joy and hurried out of the library.

When he entered the halls, he looked about and spotted a servant.

"Do you know where Thunder is?" Killian stopped the servant.

"My Lord Paladin Thunder?" the servant frowned. "Why, he left the temple nought but four days past."

"He left?" Killian nearly shouted. "Why?"

"I know not, sir," the servant took a wary step away from him.

"Did Ethan leave with him? The halfling?"

"I know not, sir, for I did not see him leave with Lord Paladin Thunder."

Killian thanked the servant and hurried down the halls. He had been wondering why he had not seen Thunder or Ethan for the past few days. Killian spent another two hours searching for Ethan, yet none of the servants had seen him since Thunder had left.

It was then that Killian knew he was alone and had to head to Prespur on his own.


Killian waved once at the small cargo ship as it quickly retreated to the seas. It had taken some convincing as well as some coins to get the captain to agree to drop him off at Prespur. The captain had seemed very tense as they drew in to the shores and was glad to be rid of Killian.

Killian loosened his swords in their scabbard. The Prespur Mountain towered above the surrounding forests, dark clouds overhead blotting out the sun. The forest was eerie and silent.

From what Killian had read before he'd left Selgaunt, Prespur was an island of danger. Barbaric tribes of orcs and humans wandered the isle as well as fearsome beasts. The isle was entirely made up of forests with the exception of a single mountain; Prespur Mountain. Killian knew that mountain was the one he was looking for.

Gathering his courage, he headed into the forest. It seemed to get moderately darker the further he went in, yet not dark enough that he couldn't see. Unseen creatures darted here and there in the underbrush, occasionally rustling a bush or plant.

The trip to the mountain was uneventful as well as lengthy. At first, Killian jumped at every sound, afraid of a confrontation with an orc or some other beast. Near the end of his travels, he paid attention to the noises, but wasn't all that startled from them.

Killian looked up the mountainside with a sagging confidence. He hoped there would be a cave entrance near the ground. He then began his long walk around the base of the mountain, keeping a sharp eye out for any caves along the mountainside. Several hours passed before he stopped. He felt a kind of itch in his shoulders suddenly and looked back at the area he had passed.

The spot he'd passed looked quite normal. He quickly brought up the image of the canal and raised the barricade. Upon contact with the Weave, he could suddenly see a slight crevice in the rock face. He stepped up to the crevice and looked it over. It was a doorway; at least the crevice was in the shape of one.

Killian pushed at it for a while, but to no avail. It was either stuck shut or he needed to find a lever to open it. He looked about, wondering where the switch would have been put. A few minutes passed before it finally struck Killian. Killian cleared his mind and focused on the doorway. As if in answer to his will, the door glowed a dull blue.

The canal and barricade rising quickly popped up in answer to his thoughts and he touched the Weave, directing it at the door. A soft grinding sound was the only sign that the door was moving. Slowly it slid until it was entirely open, a tunnel extending into the darkness. Killian pulled out one of his swords and ventured into the darkness. It was when the door slid back into place behind him that Killian realized he'd forgotten to bring a torch with him before he left Selgaunt.

And so he traveled in complete darkness, half crawling, half stumbling as he felt his way along the tunnels. It felt like hours when he finally spotted torchlight in the distance. As he got closer, he found out he was approaching a cavern. Torches lined the wall, and the ground suddenly became flat.

Columns lined the walls and an elaborate carpet ran between them. The ceiling to this chamber was easily thirty feet high, maybe more. At the end of the chamber was a large archway, intricate patterns and colorful designs all along it.

Still keeping contact with the Weave, he could suddenly hear massive footsteps from far away. Suddenly, a creature of great magnitude appeared around the archway in the adjourning room, its footsteps still sounding to Killian like they were coming from half a mile away.

The creature was enormous. The archway was easily twenty feet in height and its long back still brushed against it. Its large ridged head was connected to a long serpentine neck. Scales of gold glinted across it and the beast's eyes flashed yellow. It had hulking legs with large jutting claws. Its long tail snaked out behind the creature as it dragged along. Teeth the size of short swords showed from its upper jaw and its nostrils flared as it finally cleared the archway. Wings Killian had not seen suddenly unfolded and flapped several times before stopping. It was a dragon.

Killian was petrified. He had heard few tales of dragons, but knew he could recognize one on sight. That, most certainly was a dragon.

The dragon did not halt once it was past the archway. Instead, it kept up a steady pace, slowly moving towards Killian. Killian suddenly noticed the dragon was... changing. It was getting smaller, its head was reshaping, and even its claws were disappearing into its toes. The dragon kept changing until it finally turned into a human women, yet did not falter as it moved towards him.

The human was easily the most beautiful human woman Killian had ever seen before. Her sparkling golden hair, tied back in a ponytail, cascaded down the back of her head to the small of her back. Her elegant and smooth face was beautiful, yet Killian could not guess he age. She looked to be both sixteen and twenty. She was wearing a light brown sleeveless vest which was tied in a crisscross fashion across the top half of the vest, exposing a generous amount of bosom, while the other half of the vest was buttoned. He pants were extremely baggy and tucked into calf-high boots. Along her belt was two daggers, while slung across her back was two longswords. Her skin had a golden tint to it as she got closer.

She halted several paces away from Killian before speaking in a musical voice. "Welcome Aeir Ne'hem. I have been waiting for you."


The Tale of Thunder: Chapter 2 - Beyond Kara-Tur - Part 8 The Puzzles of the Weave © Thunder Kayowen(Ryan Goodrich)

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