Part One - A New Beginning
"Get up," Geric said to Kelli, who hid under the covers of her bed.
"Damn it," Kelli groaned. "I've only been asleep for five minutes and I've been awake for the last three days...without so much as a second's rest. Can we talk about this later when I am fully rested?"
"I'm afraid not," Geric replied.
"Too bad," Kelli said, rolling on her stomach. " I need my sleep."
"You don't sound too...happy," Geric commented. "It's...unlike you."
"Try staying up for three days straight. If I say I need sleep, then I need sleep."
"I've recently received news that Robert is coming back..."
"Why is that so important that you have to wake me up five minutes after I stated to drift off in my sleep?" Kelli asked rubbing her eyes.
"Robert is coming back...alone. It's about...Hargoth. A plague struck, and he got it...and..." Kelli quickly jump from her bed, trying to focus her red eyes on Geric. He wore a black cloak and held his head with his right hand. He combed his black hair with his hand as he tensed his jaw muscles.
"Is he...?" Kelli couldn't finish the question as her mind was filled with sorrow.
Geric nodded. "Yes. The clerics tried raising him...but they couldn't."
Kelli closed her eyes, trying too keep the tears from falling. "A dear friend we have lost...do the others know?"
"You were the last person I told of this news."
"I...I need some time alone. I...I do not expect to see anyone until morning. I...goodnight."
"Rest easy," Geric said, knowing that she would not. "We all have had our tears, already. I see it is your turn." Geric left Kelli alone, closing the door behind him. Kelli collapsed on her bed with her hands over her eyes, like all the others before her. Hargoth Trenth has touched all of their hearts, and Kelli's most of all. They were more then mere friends...they were like brother and sister, at times. Now his death...it brought pain...much pain. Anger swelled in her veins...a powerful anger that did not stop...that would not stop. Fire build in her mind...she wanted...she wanted to kill someone, something that wasn't there. Something that didn't have life, but only death.
Damn it, Hargoth!, she thought. You have a daughter that needs you. Why do you have to leave us, now?
"You will be there, Kelli, when I die," she heard Hargoth's voice. "You will be there because you will outlive me - you know that I will die sooner or later. Be there to guide my daughter through the world...and Robert. You can't allow him to fall into the darker places of his heart."
"Damn it, Hargoth," Kelli whispered. Thoughts passed within her mind as she fell into unconsciousness.
"Master Robert!" Jak hailed to the kara-turan man who drove the wagon. Jak looked at the wet face. Robert Chu suddenly looked up.
"His...his body," Robert said. "I...I could not bring him with me. I..."
"No, sir," Jak said. "We understand. Kelli wishes to speak with you."
"Where is she?"
"By the lake."
Robert climbed down from the carriage. "How did she react?"
"Not well, I'm afraid. We haven't been fairing well...ever since master Hargoth's death...She has taken it the worst so far...well...other then Relsi."
Robert looked at Jak's face and rested his hand on his shoulder. "I will be back soon."
"Goodbye, master Robert."
Robert brushed his raven-black hair and looked at the half-elven woman siting by the edge of the lake surrounded by the ancient forest. Her brown hair blew in the wind as she sang an elven song Robert did not understand. The rhythm was soothing and comforted Robert.
A bow rested at her side and a quiver filled with arrows was strapped on her back.
He advanced towards her and his every step remained silent. Robert was only a yard away when she finished singing and turned her head to look at Robert. Her brown eyes glittered at him.
"It is a song my mother used to sing to me every night," she said. "It always comforted me. I see that it, too, comforted you during this time. Welcome back, Robert."
"Greetings to you, Kellrill Silverylight," Robert said, bowing his head. The half-elf got up and walked over to Robert.
"We have been waiting for you," Kelli said, wrapping her arms around Robert and resting her head on his shoulders. Robert hugged Kelli in turn. "How have you been fairing?"
"Well, but not well enough," Robert replied.
"Join me," Kelli said releasing her arms and walked by the edge of the lake again. Robert followed her. "This was where I first met Hargoth...and I recall that I met Eril here, as well...and you...ha, even Relsi, especially Relsi. This is where Relsi was seen first by anyone. This is where I met most of you young folk."
"Young folk? Did Darahd get to you with that 'children' stuff?"
"Ha! No, no. Not from Darahd...from Hargoth."
"Hargoth? He never said something about young folk."
"Young, reckless folk...all those things. Hargoth would tell Darahd and I all about you, you know. How full of...how did he call it? Ah, yes, potential. He believed that you had a lot of potential."
"Ha. Talking about a street kid who doesn't trust anyone fully. What...what did he say, exactly?"
"I don't think it would be appropriate right now. Besides, I'm trying not to think about Hargoth, which I seem to have failed. Can...you understand the anger I have felt after his death?"
"Then...I am sorry to try to invade privacy -"
"No. It is my fault. I brought it up. I...I just need time to relax...tell me about Neverwinter."
"I...I found a friend...a good friend."
"By that tone, it sound more then just friends. Hmm?"
"We...we did get along...well...I...we grew...attached to each other."
"What is her name?"
"Elisa Aylown...It hurt me when I left Neverwinter. I promised to come back, but the memories of Hargoth...no. I feel I cannot go back no matter how much I love her. A plague struck during an invasion of Neverwinter. A battle raged for days on end...no - weeks. The plague had us, but a number of clerics were required at the walls. Hargoth was among the first to be infected with the plague. He didn't want to be revived, but..."
"Stop. You needn't speak anymore." They looked at each other before they hugged each other one more time...
Anyndir looked at Eril calmly. "The pain will pass. It hurts us all. I know how you feel -"
Eril forced his hand against the table, interrupting Anyndir's speech. "You don't know how damned bad I feel!"
"Not true," Elring said. "We know exactly how you feel."
"You damned elves," Eril said. "You think you know everything just because you live so damned long!"
"Is that how you feel, Eril?" Elring asked, irritated.
"I...!" Eril thought about what he was saying. "I...I'm sorry. I...I didn't mean..."
"Yes. I know," Elring said. "Anger, it is called. Do not let it get to you."
"It is also sorrow. Believe me, I have spent almost a lifetime spending my life thinking about it," Darahd said.
"It's...it's just that I knew Hargoth well...too well that...that..."
"Yes. It is understandable, Eril. I did, as well. When Hargoth and I traveled together, we were close friends - we depended to keep each other alive. I know how you feel, Eril, only too much."
"You seem so calm for one to watch him and know him so well," Eril said to Darahd. "You don't just stay calm in a time like this. It hurts you...it hurts too much...so much." Eril turned to Elring and Anyndir. "And you. How do you elves live with so much pain? Or do you?"
"We just live," Anyndir simply said. "I cannot explain. Even the wisest of men cannot figure it out. We live like you do, or like Darahd."
"I still cannot believe he's actually gone," Jak said. "He...he's got to come back. Right? I mean, he's a fighter! He's got to come back...he's...got...to -"
"Shut up, Jak! He's not coming back, not ever!" Relsi screamed at him as she raised her head. "It's what he was planning, wasn't it? Leaving me alone to fend for myself...thinking only about Robert." She dropped her head again against her wet sleeve.
Darahd took Relsi by the arm, and brought her to the table by the far corner.
"Sometimes it is best to just drop your blade," Elring said.
"What does that mean?" Jak asked.
"Sometimes, you just can't fight. Death is sometimes something you cannot fight. Sometimes, life just fades...and you cannot come back."
"That does not sound reassuring," Eril replied.
"It's not suppose to."
"So life will just go on?"
Anyndir looked at the young man. "Yes. It must."
The door suddenly opened and a black figure walked through and revealed it's face.
Geric look at the people sitting at the table. "We are needed..."
Part 1, A New Beginning
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