2 Days Later
I was in a bar having a drink at a table furthest from the entrance with my back against the wall and my thoughts deep. A glass of whiskey sitting in front of me that I have been sipping on for near an hour now. The door to the bar opens and without thinking I looked up to see Tocharaeh walk through. There aren’t many alive who doesn’t know about the notorious Dark Elf, mostly because he has killed at least 95% of them. I know well most the bars Tocharaeh goes to, but I had no idea this was one of them so I was surprised to see him. He spots me in the corner and menacingly makes his way over.
I immediately vacate my chair. I would rather have my back against the door then his sword in my gut. He sits down. The barmaid makes a fearful haste to take his order. After quickly writing it down, she practically ran from the table, I couldn’t help but chuckle.
“What are you laughing at?” he demanded of me.
Still chuckling, I said, “I just can’t help it, no matter where you go, there’s always someone running from you.”
An evil smile comes across his face and lets out a slight chuckle of his own. The Barmaid returns with his drink, she reaches to place it on the table, the glass shaking almost violently as she places it in front of Tocharaeh then runs back to the bar. I chuckle again as I grab my own glass and sip at the aged whiskey. Tocharaeh looks at me after setting down his glass.
“the assignment I gave you that tough? Rarely do I see you lost within the confines of your own mind.” he asked, grinning wickedly.
“Hells be damned no, he’s been without life for several days now. I was thinking of other things.” I sip at the whiskey.
“Tell me, I enjoy a good story.” He said
One filled with bloodshed, I’m sure. I thought.
“Truly, it is not really worth mentioning.” I muttered, signaling the bar for a refill of my whiskey. The barmaid looked white as a sheet, as though she were nothing more than the Homonculi Tocharaeh keeps, and walked into the backroom. The bartender simply shook his head, grabbed a bottle and came to refill my glass, apologizing all the while for the behavior of his barmaid and walked away.
“Brave fellow, he didn’t give it a second thought about coming over here” I said before taking a sip of my newly filled glass.
“He’s a good man, as far as Humans go. He still lives, which says a lot.” Tocharaeh chortled
“Now, tell me what filled your head with deep thought.”
I was confused now, rarely has he shown interest of such things. I was wary of telling him what had transpired during my fight with my most recent assignment, of the conversation I had with Jason, and the other Elf.
“I had an interesting….. fight with the mark.” I said.
“ooOOoo, I like it already. Tell me more.” He said, a hint of eagerness in his voice.
“I know what you’re hoping for, but I am sorry to say it was not exactly filled with the bloodshed you so relish, Tocharaeh.” I told him. The eagerness gone and the boredom replaced itself on his dark features.
“Well, damn. You ruined my drink now.” He said, annoyed.
“He was a worthy adversary with the blade and nearly killed me, but something happened… Very difficult to explain because I know not exactly what happened. I was blinded, he took my sword from my hand. I brought my arm up and suddenly I was compelled to say something aloud and was immediately sapped of my remaining energy. I passed out from the exhaustion soon after. When I awoke, there was naught but a husk of what was once the Human I was tasked to kill.” I told him, even more confused than before.
“Compelled? You mean you just thought of saying something and it turned into magic? Strange. …” He mused.
“What does this mean? I am more attuned with the blade then anything, what was this that happened?” I asked.
“Your dormant ability has come to the fore, and in a state of desperation you conjured something, using the last bit of energy you had left, possibly even added a bit of your own life-force to complete it.” He stated.
“Why?” I asked.
“You were living with a Human when you first arrived here weren’t you? Did he not try and teach you the ways of magic?”
“He tried, but to no avail. He was a cleric. I have no affinity for clerical castings.”
“Ahh, now we get to it.” He stated eagerly.
"How do you mean? Speak already!” I demanded
“You have an affinity for magic. It seems to have been lying dormant for quite some time. Interesting.” He mused again.
“You mean to say, that I can learn magic? Mage’s are useless in close-quarter combat!” I stated, more annoyed now then confused.
“Bah! Not exactly how I mean. I know the ancient rites of your People, a very rare few have the ability to command magic in close-quarters. Believe it or not, you have the ability to possibly become a Sword-Mage. That term is used more loosely then it deserves. I prefer the term to be used as it would in its proper form. A swordsman, with magic to command at his fingertips. Very rare, I’m surprised your People haven’t told you stories about them.” He said, taking a sip of his drink.
“My People were secluded, remember. Not to mention I was very young so chances are high I may have been too young to understand.” I took a sip of my drink, and summoned the barmaid again for refills.
The barmaid sees me signaling, but tried to ignore me. I excuse myself and walk to the bar and address her.
“Be not afraid, fear is what gives him purpose. Show no fear and he will ignore you as he would a fly.” I whispered, and dropped a gold coin on the table. The maid looks at me, fear still evident. I nod at her and return to the table. The maid comes over and refills our glasses.
“You simply love spoiling my fun don’t you?” Tocharaeh asked, disappointment evident. “I was enjoying the fun with her”.
“Your ‘fun’ was getting in the way of my whiskey.” I stated, grinning.
“Cheers.” he raised his glass and I mine and tapped them together.
We continued speaking of my newfound affinity for magic. He told me I had to train first visually to ensure it is there and not some sort of fluke from the battlerage I had ensued during the fight. If things go well, I may be able to start training in the magical arts before long. There was a Wizard I would be introduced to that could get me started. I can’t say I’m looking forward to it, rather tired of training already having done so in the Drow Form of the Blade, and the Art of an Assassin. Not to mention how long it took me to master both. Magic training could take longer than the other 2 combined. Damnit.
“I can understand what is going through your mind, not exactly easy to come to terms with the Art as it is-or was…- commonly known as back Home. Blessed by Lolth I was to have it myself.” A hint of gratitude played across his face as he spoke the name of his Goddess.
“I care not what the Spider-bitch gave yo-“ I started to say, but was cut off with a dagger stabbed into my hand, clear down to the hilt and out the underside of the table.
“Careful what you say, boy.” He said in a low, hate filled voice. I nodded an apology and pulled the dagger out. It hurt, but I was careful not to show it. Wiping my own blood off the dagger I handed it back to
Tocharaeh and he replaced it within his cloak.
Dead silence filled our table, the wound had stopped bleeding already, Tocharaeh scanning the bar looking at everyone and everything within sight. After a period of time, I broke the silence.
“Tocharaeh…. Do you miss Home?”
Tocharaeh stopped drinking from his glass and stared at me over it, unmoving. No expression, nothing. He slowly placed the glass on the table and readjusted his position in the chair.
“What brings you to ask such a question?” He asked.
“I have just been thinking about it a lot lately. Long have I been away from home and I have been trying to find a way back again but it seems impossible. I guess it’s a case of homesickness.” I said simply.
“You have been over here for… what 120-130 years now?” He asked.
“Aye, about that.” I replied.
“Well, it doesn’t even compare to how long I’ve been here. I have been looking for a way back to Aber-Toril for a very long time but I haven’t had such luck in finding it. Same as you. Eventually when we least expect it another Time-trap will appear out of nowhere and return us.” He stated.
“But, you didn’t fall victim to a time-trap, you told me you charged in hoping to conquer a new Underdark for the Spider-bit- (cough) Spider-Queen.” A bead of sweat rolled down the side of my head.
Tocharaeh narrowed his eyes at me.
“Well, it’s true, I ended up on the other side of Aber-Toril when the Traps first began showing up. I am much, much older than you realize. Remember that. Anyway, a new land showed, the sky was darker than ever, but I didn’t enjoy it for very long as a Trap came out of nowhere and found myself here.” He said, his fingers twitching over the dagger in his hand. When did he grab it?
“But, I have given up the search for Aber-Toril long ago. I will say this though..”
He grabs his glass and holds it in midair for a moment, a sullen look quickly passes over his features and is gone.
“If ever a way was found, I would return in less than a heartbeat.” He gulps the remaining contents and signals for a refill.
“We are not meant for this world. We are alien to it. But, we have managed to adapt and make a place for ourselves. Lolth-blessed be her name- does not hear me from here. I cannot commune with my Mistress, so far from her home of origin. I doubt you have tried, but even you probably cannot commune with Larethian for the same reason. This is a world where we should not even exist. Tales of our gods and goddesses and their falls and triumphs do not-and should not- exist here. The imbalance of nature will surely tear this world apart. Traps and Dimensional Doors that brought us here shouldn’t even exist and for all I know it could very well be caused by those Harpel morons!” Tocharaeh ranted.
“Harpel?” I asked, quizzically.
“Ah, damn. I forgot again. Harpels are a very old family of Wizards and Alchemists on Aber-Toril. Always causing some sort of trouble. From newly created spells or potions. A rather crazy lot, very few in the Underdark knew of them unless you have actually travelled the Surface. But, they were before your time I’ll bore you with that story some other time. Suffice it to say, I will assume it was their fault. For all anyone knows, it probably was.” Tocharaeh let out a mild chuckle and drank from his glass.
I sat back in my chair, musing over what I just heard.
“How do you feel about the possibility of returning home, Yvei?” He asked suddenly.
“ I…” I faltered, How do I feel? Long has it been since I was taken, I do miss it and do wish to return home, but how do I feel about it? The true question is, how would my Clan react after learning how I lived my life over the past century, if they still lived, anyway.
“You’re fearful, aren’t you?” He asked.
I nodded slightly.
“Very, truth be told. I have done much evil over the past century, and by our own standards I haven’t even reached adulthood!” I shouted, slamming my fist on the table and knocking over the bottle of whiskey. The bar had gone silent, many of the patrons stopped to stare at our table. I looked around, glaring at them.
“What in the Nine Hells are you staring at!? Mind your own business or I’ll slit your throats one by one, and I won’t make it a pleasant passing!” I shouted at them.
Tocharaeh smiled broadly as some patrons went back to their own tables and many others left the bar in haste.
“Sorry.” I said.
“I’m not, just made my day hearing that from you.” He said, chuckling.
“Anyway. Chances are your own Family would ostracize you for what you have done. But, what they will never understand is that you HAD to do it to SURVIVE. My own family-if ever I had one- would relish in the stories and cheer my name at a feast. If my Mistress could only see me for what I have done in Her name, she would no doubt welcome me with eight open arms, Larethian in your case, being a spineless twit, would understand your hardships and forgive your transgressions. We aren’t so far apart, you and I. To put it simply, we are the opposites of the same coin.”
“If ever you had one? Your married to Sarias!” I said, grinning.
Tocharaeh froze in place, his glass held mid-air. If his skin was of lighter color, one could surely tell he was pale as a ghost.
“I (cough) Hrmm. I mean’t before hand.” He said, clearly an attempt to backpedal.
“Sure you did. So if-“ I started.
“BACK to the topic at hand.” He said, interrupting me, knowing what was coming.
“Stop worrying. Hindsight will cause you trouble in the future. Yes, your family probably wouldn’t welcome you back if open arms. Big deal. You did what you had to do and shouldn’t regret that you did it because you had to survive. Now, let go of these thoughts.
"Toch, are you feeling ok? Sick? Nauseated? Maybe, even a little feverish?” I asked, hiding the grin that was tugging at my mouth.
“Never felt better since you threatened the entire bar. Why?” He answered, narrowing his eyes.
“Because one could easily be fooled into believing you have a heart!” I fire off, hiding the broad grin behind my whiskey glass.
“And one would be easily fooled in believing you DIDN’T have a Death Wish.” He shot back.
We grinned at each other and tapped our glasses together and gulped the remainder of their contents. As we set our glasses down , refilled them and continued our conversation in a much different direction the door to the bar swung open hard enough to slam into the pillar behind it. The Elf from Jasons office walked in and glanced around. Her gaze fixed on our table and came over and stood in silence. Tocharaeh eyed her from head to toe, and picked up our conversation where it had trailed off. For twenty minutes we spoke and the Elf just stood there, eyes straight forward and unmoving. I finally held my hand up in a quick gesture to pause Tocharaeh.
“Do you really have to stand like that? Sit down already.” I said, annoyed.
“I came to deliver a message to Don Tocharaeh. Don Jason dispatched me before I was to go home for the evening.” She responded.
Tocharaeh narrowed his eyes and inspected her again, but toe to head this time.
“What’s the urgency?” He asked.
“None. Just asked that I find you before I go home.” She responded.
“Save your tongue, I have need to return to the Hall for a moment anyway so I will just see him about it. Keep my underling here company until I get back.” Tocharaeh said, getting up after finishing the contents of his glass.
"Tocharaeh, you never mentioned that Wizards name that I should speak with.” I said as he walked from the table.
“No rush, Yvei. Patience is something you’re going to have to learn, so here’s your first lesson.” He said and left the bar.
I muttered a few curses in elvish and turned back to the table. A few loud THUNKs sounded behind me and turned to find three small daggers embedded into the back of my chair, the third having a small note wrapped around it. I opened and began to read:
“What have I told you about turning your back to the door!?
Years of training your lazy elven arse would have been wasted!
THINK! And don’t forget to learn patience while you’re at it.
Growling, I tore up the note and quickly switched seats, because I was almost positive he was still hiding outside the bar waiting to toy with me some more as a cat would a mouse.
The elf still stood by the table, an obvious attempt to not laugh clearly evident.
“For the love of the Elf Gods, sit down!” I grumbled.
She pulled out the chair I had just vacated and sat down. Her eyes, a deep sapphire blue flecked with silver and a forest green seemed fixated on something only she could see. The silence went on for a few more minutes before I finally broke it.
“Do you wish for a drink?” I asked, knowing it was more of a cliché question in most cases.
“Not from this place, I don’t trust that whch was not made by myself.” She responded, still fixated on the table.
I called the barmaid and ordered another bottle of whiskey and whatever the elf wanted. The elf declined anything. The barmaid goes to the bar to retrieve another bottle and returns. I hand her a gold coin and return to attempting to engage this mysterious elf into conversation.
“How did Don Jason come to find you? Not many are taken in by the Dons so quickly, save for few exceptions.” I stated, filling my glass and taking a drink.
She looked up and stared at me for a brief moment then fixed her gaze back onto the table.
“I was attempting to steal from him one night, a few years ago. It was a task set upon me to prove myself.” She said.
She leans to the side of the table to grab a bag I didn’t know was there. She opens it and pulls out a crystal decanter filled with a clear, blue-tinted liquid I don’t recall seeing before.
“The Guild?” I asked.
“Aye.” She said.
“Prove yourself for what?” I was curious now, the Thieves Guild knows of everyone and wouldn’t make a target of just anyone, especially one of the most notorious Clans in Little Italy- Sicilians.
“One of them wasn’t particularly happy about a kick I landed in a certain bodily region as a way of stopping his advances. So, he began to preach to others how I wasn’t worthy of being in the guild and challenged me to prove my skill.” She said, the tone of her voice getting lower, almost to a whisper.
“By which was to avoid execution.” I stated flatly.
She looked up at me.
“Yes, so it would seem. But, rather than hope I would be killed, I was instead taken in by Don Jason for a work that is less… stressful.” She responded, filling the glass she pulled from the bag.
"What is that?” I asked, curious.
“Elverquisst, the only real memory I was able to take of my Homeworld.” She said, refilling her glass.
“Homeworld? What Homeworld?” I asked, an alarm going off in my head for some reason telling me I won’t like the answer.
“Aber-Toril.” She said, staring directly at me.
Aber-Toril!? I was dumbfounded.
“How…. How did you come to be here?” I asked, trepidation conquered my voice, making it almost difficult to ask anything.
“That, Yvei Rinovdro, is something to be told at another time.” She said, taking a drink.
“Another time?” I asked, agitated.
“Yes, another time. Meaning ‘not right now’. Excuse me.” She said. Replacing her decanter and glass back into her bag. She gets up from the table. I move to follow her when yet another dagger embeds itself into the chair above my shoulder, preventing me from getting up. I look towards the doorway to see Tocharaeh waiting by the pillar.
“Get your lazy arse up. We have a job to do!” He called out, drawing a few stares from the patrons.
Sighing with annoyance, I remove the dagger and get up, just in time to see the elf walking towards the doorway. I throw the dagger and with a loud THWUNK it lands in the wooden frame.
“We will continue this conversation!” I called to her.
“Maybe” She replied, grabbing the dagger and yet again throws it at me.
I catch the dagger mid-blade but she was gone before I could throw it back.