Friday, April 24, 2015

Wolfgang and the Lake of Lost Dreams

Having spent most of his money, Vulpio gave up his room at Gold Hill Inn and took to sleeping rough, hunting his food in the surrounding forest. One day in the gray light of dawn, hews roused by the sounds of whinnying horses and then solemnly musical voices. A group of elves explained that they sought his assistance. Something of theirs had been stolen, and although they knew where it could be found— on an island in the Lake of Lost Dreams— strong magic prevented the fey races from landing on it. Vulpio admired their fine mail shirts and their graceful horses. The elves promised one of each if he were successful. 

Vulpio convinced Mardiuw, one of the deputies of Gold Hill to join him in his quest and then went to Hommelet to seek out the assistance of his friends Wolfgang, Gerrilynn, and Chickie. Together, the party traveled to the Lake of Lost Dreams and met with the elves. The elves explained that they were looking for a bronze-and-silver statue—and maybe something else that they would describe if the party found the statue. The elves provided the party with two boats, and warned them that the island was inhabited by invisible beings that might seek to cause them harm. 

As the elves predicted, with no warning other than the sound of buzzing wings and an obnoxious cackle, the party was set upon by unseen foes. Wolfgang imbued them with a purple glow, making their general forms detectable—they were pixies, little people with wings like butterflies. Gerrilynn called on divine assistance to freeze two of the pixies in the air and drop them into the water while warning the others that they would suffer the same fate if they continued their attack. The other pixies swooped down to save their drowning comrades and flew away to the forest on the south side of the island.

The party turned their boat toward the north end of the island and landed in a thinly-wooded meadowland. Gleaming white marble stood out among the trees. At the white marble building, the party found both the missing statue and a ladder leading down into a dark hole.

The party returned to the shore of the lake with the statue, plus the news about the battle with the pixies and about the darkness beneath the marble ruins.

The elves gratefully welcomed the return of the stolen statue, rewarding the party with the promised treasure.

The elves were impressed that the party had driven off the pixies without killing any of them. They agreed that perhaps they could be rehabilitated and offered an additional reward for any pixies captured alive.

But the leader of this band of elves, Aemornion was most interested in what lay beneath the temple. He told the party of the human sorcerer who had lived on the island centuries ago. “The impatience and ambition that marks your kind once again followed magic into madness.” An elven prince visited the sorcerer, laden with gifts, hoping to persuade him that the arcane arts were best left to those whose lifespans allowed for deep mastery by slow accretion. But it was much too late. The sorcerer had already made another pact with darker powers. In the dungeons beneath his white marble palace, the sorcerer killed the elven prince and stole his crown.

The sorcerer’s demise, less than a year later, was wretched and complete. Most of his palace was destroyed, everything he owned—including everything he’d stolen— was sealed in the dungeons beneath, and the land itself became cursed.

Aemornion and his people hope to leave Alyan before the end of the next century, but not without the crown that had belonged to his brother.