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Library: In Rivers of Blood


Author: Evora
Date:May 2 1997

"And it used to be for a while, that the river flowed right to my
door, making me, just a little too free.  But now that river doesn't
seem to stop here anymore."
I was in pain.  The creature had come out of nowhere, it's dark eyes
glinting with hatred and, something more.  There was what seemed a
living evil within those black glittering eyes, and when it spoke,
that evil came forth.  
Loniad had always protected me from creatures such as these.  A Giant,
he was my closest friend, and my constant companion.  While Loniad
would occupy monstrous creatures in combat, I would hurl my, somewhat
pathetic magic at them.  Occasionally, I would even strike Loniad.
He was very kind, and never complained about my fumbles.  This time

We had been walking towards Raven.  Loniad had told me that Barbarians
were attacking the city and, we thought perhaps there would be some
work for us.  We had just passed the outer parks when a thief came
out of the bushes and attacked us.  Loniad had his weapon out in a
flash and with a few well placed strikes, the thief died.  It was
only when Loniad turned around to make sure I was alright that I
saw the wound, already puffing up and discoloring from the poison.
Loniad began to pale and convulsions, small at first, started to rack
his body.  The very first spell I had learned was The Valkyrie's Sleep,
and it was needed now.  I called forth a denizen from the shadow
realm and bade him take Loniad away to a place where he could rest
and fight the poison from his system.  Loniad had wanted to stay, but
I insisted.  What good would a dead Giant be to me?  With that, he
was gone.
I had never before been alone in this area, and I was somewhat nervous.
Still, a war appeared to be going on in Raven and I might still be
needed.  The main gates seemed heavily sieged and so I skirted them
and went to the west entrance.  That is when the creature appeared.
Thinking back, it must have been undead.  Nothing else could have
lay so still in that black pool of stagnant water, waiting for a
living creature to come along.  Especially a lone Human woman only
partially trained in the arcane arts.  I stood transfixed as it
rose from the dark water and then, while I was caught gazing in its
horrific eyes, its voice uttered words of pure evil.  I was cursed!
I couldn't think.  I knew that it was clawing my body and that I was
bleeding.  I knew that I was going to die if I didn't run, but my 
mind had been enfeebled and so, with barely any life left in me, I
ran.  It wasn't enough that I run past the parks, my horror kept my
feet moving until I was deep into a forest.  My only thought, get back
to the city, where there was safety.  I continued to look behind me
as I ran and so, wasn't aware that I had taken the wrong path and run
to close to the River.  One moment, my feet where carrying me over
solid ground, the next, I was midair and plunging down into icy cold
waters.  I came up once, gasping for air, then sank down again.  Water
filled my lungs and soon, I forgot about my painful wounds.  My mind
came to rest and as my body was dragged down into the cold depths, my
soul slipped free and . . . I died.
In the darkness, a voice came to me.  I was lost, in the dark and the
cold and this voice seemed so warm and kind.  I had never felt so
alone.  "You have a hard time of it, you Humans" the voice said to me.
"What are you?" I asked, though I suspected it must be a Thrikhren.
Oh how I hated that race.  Loniad never once said anything to me about
how long it took me to regain my energies or how often I would fail
the simplest of spells, but I could see it in his eyes.  His admiration
of any Thrikhren that we brought along with us.  Those insect like
mages were twice as capable as I was and I am ashamed to say, I was
jealous.  "I am actually not one specific thing," the voice said, which
puzzled me, even in this state of consciousness.  "I'm dead, aren't
I?" I didn't really want to know because, though I knew there were
powerful magics that could raise a body from death, I had never died
before and I looked at it as failure.  My father would expect just
that from me.  Failure.
"You are not yet beyond the reach of life, my child, but there is
something I would offer you."  the way he said it, I was becoming 
nervous.  I assumed he offered life, and so I replied, "Yes!  Please
save me."  "I offer you more than life, and in some ways, I actually
offer you death" the voice answered.  I was in no condition for word
games and so said "Listen, I will beg for life if that is what you
are waiting for, and I will pay you if that is what you need, but please
don't continue to play games with me."  "It is that very spirit that
has drawn me to you, my dear" the voice whispered, "let me come right
to the point, I am a vampire, and I offer you eternity."  I was all
but dead in a river, cursed, wounded, alone, and the yet the fact that
I was talking to a vampire caused me panic.  "I could never, would
never!"  I stammered.  "You wish to master the arts of magic, do
you not?" the voice asked.  "You hate that you can not survive in
this world without some creature or another protecting you." it said.
"I offer you power" his voice was persuasive, "eternity to study the
ways of magic, strength to fight those who would harm you, and skill
that would make Thrikhren feel insecure."  "Or, you can die and be
brought back by some Priest or Healer, sent back out into a world that
makes jokes about you" it said, "and wait for Loniad to return so
you can venture forth in safety again."  My mind was numb and the
picture it had painted was so vivid, so cruel . . . "I accept".