******************Chapter 2******************

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Chapter 1

[Posted by smileyman on August 18, 1999 at 18:57:20: Part 31]

"Can you help?" I asked him, desparately.

"I don't know what I can do. I feel responsible for all of this." My gesture took in Rondar and Ravenna. "The necromancer said . . ." My voice was full of anguish as I spoke. "He said . . ." I couldn't finish it.

"What did he say," asked the mystic.

"He said . . ." I blurted out the rest as if the speed of my words would make the pain any less. "He said I was responsible for Rondar and Ravenna's condition.

"Is that true?"

For what seemed like an eternity the mystic gazed inward, before turning his glance to me. What I saw in his eyes did not give me hope.

"Necromancer's can detect a certain type of magic," he said, "especially if it is related to the work that they do."

Seeing my puzzled glance he continued "As you probably know, there are three types of magic in the world. There is the magic of the souls and the spirits, called
na'gar; there is the magic of the earth called na'gan; and finally, the na'mier, the magic of the body."

"Yes, yes, I know all this. What does this have to do with Rondar and Ravenna?"

Taking on a lecturing tone, he proceeded "Necromancers deal with the magic of the na'gar, that of the soul. When another person uses a magic connected with that, they can," he paused, searching for the right word, "feel a resonance, which calls to them.

He looked at me before proceeding "When you entered the room, I felt a resonance emanating from you. You have abilities similar to a n'esdet, don't you?"

I gasped in surprise, "How did you know?" I asked.

"Your abilities aren't natural. I could feel the magic coming from you in waves."

[Posted by Ramo on August 19, 1999 at 07:11:07: Part 32]

My head was buzzing; too many things had happened in those last hours. Was it only hours? It felt as long as a full desert crossing since I first arrived.

The mystic kept talking but I only heard a faint annoying insect like sound, I was not sure if he was making any sense. I did not care, it's hard to believe now but I was not in those days much for deep complicated problems, I acted and most of the time this resolved my problems for better or worse.

Doubts and questions were interchoking in my head: Why me? Was this mystic being overfriendly to a simple paying customer? Had this Necromancer lied to me? But mainly WHY ME?

I could not do anything more in this state of mind and the mystic speech was starting to feel like torture, there was only one thing to do. I thanked the mystic, not knowing when I would be back I felt obligated to Rondar to give him as much time as possible in the care of a mystic;so after relieving myself of all but a meagre portion of my money, I left.

It bothered me to leave without providing for Ravenna's care, there was nothing I could do, my money was simply not sufficient. Well I am no Knight of Chebak; I told myself angrily.

Exhausted; I finally acknowledged that sleep was necessary.

[Posted by rushkin on August 19, 1999 at 21:56:02: Part 33]

I only reached the door leading outside before a hand grabbed my arm and spun me around. It was the mystic's assistant, concern filling his eyes as he said something to me. But for some reason, I couldn't make out what he was saying; he seemed to be trying to emphasize his unrecognizable words by waving his free arm in front of my face. With my attention on the mystic, it was little wonder that the N'esdet was able to knock me onto the ground and bind my arms behind me. Without even looking up, I knew what face it wore.

[Posted by Jak on August 26, 1999 at 09:26:31: Part 34]

I was tired, I was thirsty and hungry, I might have lost a friend for good. And now, after almost getting killed three times in the last 4 hours, I was being threatened once more... Well, let me tell you this: I don't know what went through my mind at that time, but I'd had it for that day. While the mystic's assistant continued his "incantations" or whatever, I charged the Nes'det. Of course, you understand that being on the floor with your hands tied behind your back isn't ideal for fighting back at someone. But, I had nothing to loose, and frankly, I didn't really think that one through...

So I rolled sideways on my back, and swept my legs directly towards the Nesdet's knees. As he fell to the floor, I got up and rammed (sp?) the mystic's assistant against the wall. I didn't realize it immediatly, but that blow killed him on the spot. As he slumped to the floor, I turned around and saw the Nes'det already out of the building, running through the streets calling for the City Guard. Cursing loudly, I managed to free myself from the rope that kept my hands tied. That's when I saw the broken body of the mystic's assistant, and I knew that the City Guard would never believe my side of the story... Jadori justice is not really impartial when it comes to dealing with foreigners...

[Posted by Caleyna on August 26, 1999 at 09:50:54: Part 35]

I knew I had to get out of there quick, before I was caught, or I would be swinging from a tree by morning. I couldn't go back to the inn since too many people knew I was staying there, and I didn't have enough money for a new place so I would have to get creative without using my powers to save me this time--idn't want another of those nasty necromancers to be called up.

I ran down the back alley, trying to think and not trip at the same time. I noticed that one of the houses was particulary dark and had an unpeopled look about it. I tried opening the door, but it was securly locked. I had been in similiar situaions too many times to let a little lock stop me, so I took out my knife and quickly gained access to the house. It was obviously an abanded home, and while it was not going to be comfortable sleeping on the floor, it would probably be the safest place for me.

I did a quick check of the house, found it empty, and decided to sleep in the upstairs room that had a window directly above the porch roof--nice for a quick escape if neccessary. It had been such a grueling day, that the moment I layed down I was asleep. I didn't wake up for at least 10 hours.

Part 36, Kelanin

I woke up to the sun beating down on me from above. Even before I opened my eyes, I could feel the heat of the sun on my face. I shielded my eyes and rolled over in the sand. Sand? I opened my eyes and was forced to squint in the sharp brightness. Sand stretched off into the distance as far as I could see! Turning my head I discovered a tiny Oasis behind me. A small pool set into a rocky outcropping surrounded by a grove of palm trees. My mind staggered and went sprawling as I tried to comprehend what I was seeing.

I had dreamt about the desert as I slept. Dreamt about running low across the dunes. How had my dream become reality? I stood up slowly and looked around for my pack. To my amazement it was nearby, it's contents strewn about the hillside leading down to the pool. As I collected up the pack and scattered gear I tried to remember some detail of my dreams. Sand, running.... I could see in my minds eye the twin moons low in the sky... pale crescents. Running. Running from the Stealer. The thought was there in my head. Running from the Stealer, yet I didn't know what it meant.

There was cold fear associated with that statement in my mind. I had run in fear. I had leapt the city's fortified wall and run to the only safe place - the desert. The Stealer would not come for me here, not where I was strong. What? Suddenly I understood! I hadn't run from anything, the Desert Walker had run and somehow as I slept, I had run with it. Somehow, fear and desperation had allowed the thing to control my sleeping body. My dream and it's reality merged into a single action.

I tried to remember how the dream began.... something had come into the house...

Part 37, Mike Cauthon

Slowly my memory of the dream became clearer. Something blurred had approached me. Sometimes it looked like Orwen, only to grow misty seconds later, then reappear as someone else. Then there would be something not human at all standing in front of me. The transformations had seemed endless, but behind it all was a vague birdlike shape – the N'esdet, the Stealer. I did not believe that it was within my powers to see through the disguises of that strange creature, another proof that the Desert Walker had found my restless mind somewhere in the Gatelands of Sleep. The Walker's fear was still present in the back of my head - somehow the N'esdet was able to undo it…

So we had fled together, but now I realised that the time for running was over. If I was to have any chance of rescuing Rondar and Ravenna, I had to perform the task that the necromancer had charged me with. My stomach tightened in fear, but there seemed to be no alternative. I had to deliver the box to the Witch of Weirdwood.

Walking up to the Oasis, I was wondering where I might be. Somewhere in the High Desert obviously. When the pool came into my view, I immediately recognised it – Dji'aharah, the Well of Last Hope. I went to drink my fill, realising that the journey last night had indeed taken its toll on me. Afterwards I sat down under a palm tree to check my gear. Suddenly I realised that I was not alone…

[Posted by Lord Matrim on October 03, 1999 at 12:49:05: Part 38]

I spun around quickly, ready to pounce on whatever has disturbed me. There was nothing there. Strange, I was sure I had heard something move in the sand. Or did i hear the rustling of leaves in the palm trees?

I sat down, trying to get back to sorting through my pack, but my mind wouldn't focus. It was as if I was in a haze, unable to focus on anything for more than a moment. After a few minutes, i felt something brush the back of my neck. This time, I spun quick enough to catch a glimpse of what assailed me. What I saw chilled me to the bone.

The figure was misty, as if it was the shadow of a human. It possesed no features that could be distinguished, except for the red, glowing eyes. It vanished quickly, leaving me standing there gaping. It was an Ona'sera, a desert spirit. It was kin to a desert walker, but weaker. Still, it could kill a person before they had a chance to defend themselves.

I tried to gather myself, but when i spoke my voice quivered. " Wha..What do you want?"

The dry,desert wind stirred and the Ona'sera spoke, it's voice a dry, rasping whisper that could only come from the non-living. "I want your soul"

[Posted by Caleyna on October 06, 1999 at 16:57:50: Part 39]

It seemed I was having the worst sort of luck. Everyone either wanted to kill me or feed on my soul. My two friends were gone. And I had an appointment with the Witch of Weirdwood. It was too much. Much too much.

In a fit of rage, I called upon my magic and sent the Ona'sera back to the Underworld, his black soul sizzling from the burn of the spell I placed on him. I knew that it was dangerous to be using my magic, especially considering what happened last time, but I was in no mood to care. Life just could not get any worse.

I turned back to the oasis, filled my canteen with fresh water, then prepared to strike out on foot across the desert. I knew of a small village a days walk away where I could purchase a Nultine (kin to a camel) other supplies.

With my magic reverberating through my body, I was prepared to meet any challenge I met on my way. My anger was working for me, and NOTHING was going to stand in my way.

[Posted by Cyndane on October 10, 1999 at 19:17:42: Part 40]

As I started across the desert with the sun at my back, I couldnt help but ponder the task that had been set for me. The Necromancer's box burned in my pocket, his evil face burned in my mind, anger burned in my soul. Things didnt make sense. I wondered why he had chosen me as his messenger? and why make the cost so great? I wondered about the box I now carried.. the box which had captured the Desert Walker, as well as Ravenna. Could it be the only key to saving her? I wondered if somehow I could restore her, without letting the Desert Walker loose... I knew my small magics would be no match for an angry Desert Walker... and I knew it would be angry, after being defeated in such a way.

As the sand crunched under my boots, I carefully took off my turban, and used a bit of the end of it to pick the box up out of my pocket. It was much like my other box, however I was in no hurry to try and open this one and release what it contained, well at least part of what it contained. It fit in the palm of my hand, and appeared to be made of wood, but no wood I had ever known.. through the thin veil of my turban, it felt almost like it was alive.(*g*)There were some strange carvings as well, but in the bright sun, and with my weary eyes, it was hard to make out. I figured that what was contained in the box was of more importance, but as I pondered the contents of the box, I began to wonder just how many other souls had been captured within.. maybe the Desert Walker would be the least of my worries if I was so open it, given that I even could.

I began to question my set mission, I had never been one for following the rules. I wanted to save my friends, but I wanted to do it on my own terms. I hadnt lived my life to become a messenger for greater powers! Why should I roll over now?
As the village I sought came into view, I had begun to smile. A plan was forming.

[Posted by Caleyna on November 20, 1999 at 21:46:21 Part 41]

Instead of going to the Witch of Weirdwood, I would travel to Malauza, home of the school of Magic. Though I refused to be trained there, by the silly scholars who cared more for reading than for life, I was sure they could at least tell me a little about the box I was supposed to be delivering.

The School has many Travel Paths throughout the world, the nearest one not two weeks away. With a little bit of magic, I could travel via the Travel Path, arriving in Malauza before the month's end. Though there was no love lost between the scholars and myself, they are charged to always help a person in need--and I was certianly in need.
End of Chapter Two

Chapter 1