Once Upon a Time

Many years ago …

“Take him.”

Lengara raised his wand but the numbers were not in his favor. And several of those facing him were childhood friends. Even if they didn’t feel any obligations to him, he at least still did. He shrugged and with a snap, his wand was stowed and he raised his hands in surrender.

“You won’t need those,” he said as he pointed to their swords, “I’ll go quietly.” Lengara smiled and decided that he’d bide his time. If his parents were sending sentries to escort him, then he must really have hit a nerve.

One of the guards sheathed his weapon and with some weird cantrip a rope appeared and snaked itself around Lengara’s hands and bound them fast. While Lengara felt he could escape them, the bindings were arcane, so again he decided to wait this out. No need to escalate until all the leaves were shown.

He and the guards marched through Evereska until they arrived at the gate grove. From here a citizen of the eladrin kingdom could be ‘ported to just about anywhere in Faerun. So, it was clear they meant to kick him out … again. "Fair enough, Faen. I’ll just be leaving then." He moved to remove the bindings and a sudden sharp pain burst into his skull and with that, he fell unconscious.

… and woke in complete darkness. Lengara tried his hands and found them free. Another pat to his side found his wand and dagger, and the rest of his equipment at his side in his pack. They’d apparently brought that too. Thorough.

After a moment, he noticed that it wasn’t completely dark. There was a faint, green glow on the “ceiling” and much of the walls.

He’d grown up with enough stories to know that he was very likely underground, and as his eyes adjusted, the realization that he’d truly pissed off his parents enough that they’d tried to exile him to the Underdark kicked him in the head. Which was in agony from the blow one of the guards had landed to knock him senseless.

“Benglywhicich varentish!” he cursed. Dragging himself to his feet he raised his hand and there stuttered out a small sparked of arcane fire, enough to light the area a bit more. What he saw didn’t thrill him. Stone, unworked, a cavern with several exits, and not much to recommend any of them. Reaching into his pack he removed a torch and again with a wave of his fingers over it a spark of arcane fire flew forth, enough to light it.

“Oh, dear mother, dear father, when I next get my hands on your necks, you will regret this.” Lengara trusted to his luck, and picking a path, began to move out through the winding caverns. Somewhere out there he knew he was going to find trouble. Or it was going to find him. Best to get on with it.

In the present …

Lengara catalogued the extent of his injuries. All things considered, it might have been worse, though he was hard put to tell if he really thought that, or if he was just trying to comfort himself. As he prepared to lay his weary head on the mattress and hope that their current hiding place was sufficient to keep them all safe long enough to recover, he was startled into instance alertness.

“Will you accept my bargain, now, little elfling?”

“I was wondering when you might show yourself. Or rather, if you would. After all, so much of this world has changed.” Lengara allowed himself to think rather than speak the response. The presence of the Elder One was not physical, after all. It took work not to show his surprise to his roommates, and he lay his head down on the straw bed and tried to relax.

“The more things change, the more my darkness spreads.”

“Truly. Well, you’re reaching a bit far from your usual haunts, eminence. To what do I owe this most surprising of visits.”

“Not as far from my new realms as you may think, feyling. And I come to remind you of your duties.”

“Duties? Oh, perhaps you’ve misremembered, it was to be upon my thousandth summer …”

“And are not a thousand and more summers past?”

Lengara paused, carefully he answered. “A thousand and more summers are indeed past, but they have not been my summers. I have felt but the passing of a handful since we last met. Surely, you cannot claim all that has passed in my absence to be mine if I have not given Father Time his due?”

The voice did not answer for a few moments, but when it returned, it was cold. “Then you will give Father Time his due. However, I feel given your recent showing that you will require additional aid to reach your goal.” A piercing pain burst itself into Lengara’s skull, all fire and ice, and with it, a realization that shadows can kill. Even long dead shadows.

“You may yet reach the point of fulfilling your duties. But if you don’t, you will at least advance my darkness, inch by inch.” Lengara gasped in pain and then was silent. Eerily, none of his roommates appeared to have noticed his sudden discomfort. As he glanced around, the world spun and shadows seems to leap at him from the edge of his vision, spiralling toward him yet never reaching him.

As the voice in his mind faded to nothingness once more, Lengara could hear “Remember your past, little elf lord. And never forget that even you needed my shelter.”

The eladrin warlock sighed and then collapsed into the bed, physically, and psychically spent. As he lay in nearly total exhaustion, he realized that power was growing in him, in his soul. A dark gift had been bestowed upon him, and though he felt that it should not be, he was practical and accepted that today, and tomorrow, he would very well need all the help he could get.

Whether he liked it or not.

Once Upon a Time

The Unnamed Saga jboerj