Somewhere not too far south from the City of Solitude
February 10, 795 TSR
Little miniature icebergs were drifting along the lake's outlet, clogging it up. Another big chill and the lake would probably flood. Right now though, it was serene. That's what Solice was thinking. He was thinking that the lake was serene, but that the butterflies were missing. This lake had always put him in a pensive mood in the summer when the butterflies were there. Big monarch butterflies that made it easy to understand the origins of their title.
Solice stroked his beard and wondered how much time he could afford to spend here. He refused to call it "wasting" time, because he wasn't. He was benefitting from this. It helped keep him relaxed, and he worked much better when he was relaxed. Aerlin, on the other hand, did not seem to be getting quite so much out of it.
"Aerlin?" he called. She was on the other side of the lake, pacing furiously. "Aerlin, stop that; come here. You need to sit down and relax a little." Small chance of that. She did wander over and sit next to him though. He sighed. "Listen..." Solice was going to reassure her, tell her that the wraith-kin were taken care of and that Jaron was doing fine, but he sensed that it would not have an effect on her. Perhaps it was in her nature to be paranoid and concerned. She was young, afterall. Youth are always worried about things until they realize that life never stops handing you pressure; all you can do is throw your all into what you do and savor the moments of void in between tasks. Interesting, how we spend so much time searching for nothingness. Oh well, might as well give her something fresh to worry about; maybe she'd be more productive that way.
"Aerlin, we're gonna have to get a move on soon. There is some heavy stuff going down on the plane, and I, believe it or not, am involved. I have to save the world. Heh. Yeah, me. Weird how fate works, eh? But it seems that the whole balance of powers deal is about to be thrown way out of whack and, as custodian of this plane, it's my job to keep existance from being negated. You see, there's this stone-thing, Fatestop, that can mess with fate itself. Magic is the catharsis of fate, and Fatestop can reverse the flow of mana. Nobody, except this one really nasty guy, is supposed to be able to use it. There's this other guy who's found the thing and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be able to use it. Thing is, he shouldn't even have been able to find it, so I'm thinking the nasty guy is manipulating him some how. I know that this other guy died, so I'm guessing that the nasty guy brought him back to life and has turned him into his, uh, unwitting servent or something. Anyway, I know where this other guy is. I also know where my compadre that's supposed to have dealt with the matter is. I'm going to go find one of them, then find Fatestop. I'd destroy it, if it could be destroyed, but it can't, so after I get it I'm just going to have to make a run for it. Haven't quite figured out that part of the plan yet. Alternatively, I may be able to use these other stones, called the Xidani, to sort of cosmically reset the world. I've got two of them, my partner has a third, but I'd have to get my hands on the other two. Somehow, I suspect the nasty guy has at least one of them and maybe both. Basically, I've just gotta keep nasty guy from meeting up with other guy and thus getting Fatestop and thus gaining the ability to do Quap knows what with this plane of existance.
"I don't know if you follow all that, or if you're going to play a part in this or not, but I can offer you a definite choice with some probable outcomes: You can tag along with me, risk your neck, possibly meet up with your brother, possibly meet up with some people who could possibly become your friends, and probably learn a great deal about the world you live in and the nature of the powers you control. Or, you can not tag along with me, and probably reach those same results.
"If you don't have any particular opinions about me or this place where we are right now, I suggest you flip a coin. As a species, humans tend to mull over decisions too much. It's been scientifically proven that we make our decisions before rationalizing them, so the afterthoughts are basically just for study purposes. But it's still up to you. Come, don't come, come part of the way...regardless, I'm heading south tomorrow morning, via yon dragon." Solice waved to Zcuraks and motioned a few instructions, then got up and wandered off to examine the sycamore and the lake from a different angle. For some reason, he hoped that she would tag along. Interesting little kid. Made him feel younger than the couple hundred million years he had to his name.
[OOC: Elro, if you want, go ahead and pick a path for your "daughter," otherwise, I'll probably just drag her along for the fun. Maybe not. Dunno.]
I'll respond in a day or two. School/work just started yesterday and I'm doing 12 hour days, so I need to fall into a set schedule first. Oy, 7-7 and bedtime at 10...
Aerlin paused and watched Solice staring down the sycamore in an interesting contest of wills. She couldn't really tell which one would win, the sycamore or Solice, but knew that in the end, the loser would still be the better off for it. She had lived with Solice the past few months in the time since the two had positively buried the one man she knew as her father in all but blood, Gandalf Stormcrow.
In all that time, Solice never once had spoken to her of his past, or why he was there. She accepted his presence as a constant now, the only stable thing with any meaning in her life. But she longed for something more. Her twin brother was still out there, making his own living in the world. Oblivious to the events that had taken their father in truth rather than falsehood. She feared still that she might never see him again.
Yet even as she watched Solice strike up a conversation with the sycamore, she was intrigued by the man of mystery who protected her in the sometimes dangerous Mountains of Solitude. With him, conversing with a tree seemed a natural thing, and she knew he must get something out of it. He had been as a father to her, and she now had to get a change of scenery.
All at once her options jelled into a conclusion. To find her brother, to leave behind the memories of her home, to continue haltingly on the path of magic she had somewhat explored already with Solice, these are what gave her purpose now in life. She could no longer mourn a second time for Gandalf, to continue would be simply to mourn needlessly. It was time to move on. Besides, it wasn't every day that she was asked to help save the world, and it seemed to be part of a family legacy from her real father that she wanted to perpetuate.
Solice tilted his head, intently listening to the sycamore, then turned to face Aerlin.
"Is it true?" he asked.
"Yes, I'm going with you," she replied as she approached.
(OOC: Ya, this isn't my normal long thread, but I doubt I'll have time to write more than something this length each day. I'll consider it a throwback to War Mill infancy and short posting. I'll do my best to continue participating, but if I fall behind by a couple days without leaving a message, continue without me until I pick up again. Weekends will be my prime time to write, at least for the next couple of weeks.)