As of Late

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The sun pushed its fiery fingers through the canopy of clouds that marched along the spring sky.
Like a lover’s warm touch, it cascaded over the mountains leaving a silver hue on the granite that hid the ore within.
Finally it came to rest as it splashed against the sand leaving an ocean of tiny reflections.
Rose walked with a spring in her step as a soft tune escaped her lips.
She reached the two-story house, bounded up the steps and knocked softly on the wooden door.
After no reply she knocked harder and listened with intent.
She heard a faint rustle inside and stepped back and waited.
Thundarr opened the door and squinted at the bright sunlight.
“Thundarr, why are you still at rest?” Rose questioned.
“Tis noonday and there is news in the air,” she added with glee.
“I’ll be out in a bit, Rose, just give me an hour or so,” Thundarr said as he shut the door.
“Wait, Thundarr, Master Janalon and…” she stopped as she heard Thundarr’s footsteps retreat into the house.
“My word!” She said with frustration.
“Champion Thundarr!” she yelled at the door as she pounded it with her fist.
“Rose, what are you about dear?” Thundarr opened the door once more dressed in a blue robe a shade lighter than the one worn by Janalon.
“Tis Janalon and Sasha, they…” she started.
“In trouble? Heaven’s! To arms!” Thundarr bounded up the hill towards the Smithy with sword raised.
“Nay, Nay, they…!” Rose called after him in vain.
The young sorceresses threw her hands up then followed in Thundarr’s wake.

The old healer watched the apparitions as they approached the shrine on Ice Isle.
Both of the ghosts stopped before him and kneeled as the snow fondled the mountains.
“You have strayed from the path of good, but I will resurrect both of you if you promise to mend your ways,” the old man addressed them.
Both of the ghosts nodded.
The healer laid his hands on their death cowls and drew from his own life force to add to their own.
The healer felt their heartbeat rekindle and the breath in their lungs rattle.
He opened his eyes and smiled at a beautiful woman with jet black hair falling down her back as she stood removing her death robe to stand nude in the snow.
He then turned and smiled at the muscular male fighter whose hair was as black as the woman’s that stood beside him.
He then frowned as his jugular vein was ripped from his throat.

“Are to wed?” Thundarr looked about the Smithy with wonder before looking back at Rose.
“Yes, Champion Thundarr, Janalon and Sasha are to wed,” she repeated, closing the door behind her.
The smell of baked bread flowed through the air like the soft music being played on the harp by Starr as Thundarr took in the crowd of Glory Row members in celebration.
Ralph played checkers with Gilgamesh, sighing because of the length of time it was taking the Court Wizard to make his move.
The forge area was crowded, not by fighters in search of Nadia’s work, but by the story telling antics of Vader as Wildfyre and Sancho stifled laughter with countless other members sitting on the railings.
Thundarr made his way toward the corner where Sasha was slicing hot banana bread for an impatient Mathurin.
Rose curtsied as Acolon came into view with a mug of ale in his hands.
“Can you believe it M'lord, Janalon and Sasha, is it not grand?” Rose insisted.
“Grand indeed my good lady Rose, tis most grand,” the seasoned fighter raised his mug.
With a slow long draw that seemed to take forever, Acolon emptied the mug leaving frosty foam on his upper lip, which he quickly wiped away with the back of his bronzed hand.
“Will you toast with me?” Acolon bowed to the young sorceress.
“Oh, I am not quite sure M'lord, I’m not much of a drinker of ale.”
She followed Acolon over to the table where the kegs of ale were kept.
He filled a mug to the rim with its frosty head rising high, tumbling around the sides as he handed it to her.
Rose put the mug to her lips and emptied it before Acolon could even taste his.
“Goodness gracious me, I think I’ll have another,” she said as she refilled her glass while a shocked Acolon looked on.
S’lamnour and Sassy, Lord and Lady in Command of Glory Row, looked on from against the far wall.
“It’s nice to see everyone having a good time, is it not?” Sassy took a sip of wine.
“It is very nice, but when this little party is over, we must speak with Janalon about the happenings on Ice Isle,” he reminded her.
“Look at that, what a sight that is.”
S’lamnour followed Sassy’s gaze across the room and spied Sir Draegon and Randa sitting quietly in the far corner.
“Oh, I just have to go pick a wit fight with him,” Sassy started walking across the room.
S’lamnour shook his head in disbelief as he watched her go, he then turned and walked over to where Sasha’s was serving a second loaf of banana bread to Mathurin.
Draegon, dressed in light blue pants spied the Lady in Command as she neared.
“Hail my Lady in Command,” he rose and bowed as Randa did the same.
“Sir Draegon, Randa,” Sassy nodded and smiled.
“Do you fancy my attire?” Draegon spread his cape and spun around.
“Very nice Draegon, what are you about?” Sassy said with pursed lips.
“Courting the lady Randa,” he bowed.
“Well that should keep you out of trouble for a bit,” Sassy answered.
The music paused and Starr got up from the harp as Sancho took her place with a flute.
Ralph, giving up on Gilgamesh ever moving again, took up a set of bongo drums beside him.
“Everyone lend ear and cheer, the Guildmaster and Mistress are to wed,” Sancho yelled above the din, spinning off into a upbeat tune that started everyone stomping their feet to the beat.
Draegon led Randa out into the middle of the room and started the dance as Acolon and Rose joined in.
“You better join in, it won’t be long before you will be called The Cornered instead of The Wanderer,” Bastille yelled over at Janalon.
“Indeed, shall we?”
“We shall,” Starr spun out in frenzy, daring Janalon to keep up.
Bastille took Raven by the arm and joined in as Gourry and Nadia started the circle of dancers in a clockwise motion around the main room of the Smithy.
Mathurin and Sasha joined in as the non-dancers stomped and clapped from the walls. “If this is the party for pre matrimony, the reception should be unbelievable,” Starr stated as Janalon spun with her.
“Here comes the queue,” Janalon let go of her hands as she spun out of sight with Rose turning around to take her place.
“M'Lord, tis my delight,” Rose smiled and stepped with him.
“Indeed, my pleasure.”
“Your Guildmistress should be switching around to you soon, “ she nodded over at Sasha and Gourry.
“Then let us take pleasure in the moment at hand,” Janalon suggested.
Starr was now with Bastille as she danced eying him with coy.
“Dancing with Janalon, aye young Starr,” Bastille raised his brows and stepped with her.
“Every chance I get,” she smiled as the queue came and she slid down in front of Gilgamesh.
“Young Rose, I do hope your stay will be a long one,” Bastille addressed his new partner. “As I milord…” Rose stopped as the music faltered then quit as commotion sprung from the far right side of the room.
All eyes turned and saw Sassy’s cape flying behind her as she stormed out the door with Draegon in her wake.
“Indeed,” someone spoke from the circle.
“Shall we continue,” someone else asked.
“We shall,” Sancho declared as he started the music again.
Out into the night Sir Draegon followed Sassy until she stopped at the corner of the Smithy under a torch, red cape to him.
“Sassy, what is wrong, it was only a dance,” Draegon stopped behind her.
Draegon was answered with silence and a cool breeze over the sands of the desert.
“Leave me Sir Draegon, I beg you,” Sassy said softly without turning.
“Sassy, I am very fond of you, you are like a mother to me, like the mother I never had, I cannot leave you until I know that you are no longer troubled,” Sir Draegon said from behind her.
Sassy begin shaking, which prompted Draegon to put his hand on her shoulder.
She jerked away and Sir Draegon followed suit by side stepping around to face her.
He fell back at the horror written across her face as she met his eyes in the torchlight.
“Sir Draegon, Champion of Glory Row, help me!” She fell to her knees in the sand with her hands held out in front of her, palms up.
“Holy Ode to Glory Row!” Sir Draegon tore his cape off and knelt down with her.
“It’s useless Sir Draegon,” She advised as he went about his task.
“It will stop in a moment, it’s the second time today this has happened,” She added.
Sir Draegon looked on in disbelief as a dark red flow of blood spilled from the palms of Sassy’s flawless hands, soaking the sands of the Glory Row Compound.

The woman pulled the straps tight about her bosom and adjusted the plates to protect her arms as the sun fell through the window.
She stepped through the chain straps, bringing them up tight around her smooth thighs and pulled the leather harness to latch onto the chain bodice.
She laced a mesh sheath around her flat stomach as the fighter came from behind the counter with two swords, handing one to her, point first.
“What is this?” she hissed.
“It’s what you will fight with, my dear.”
“This is a beginner’s tool, what is it?” she flung her black hair back to inspect it.
“It’s called a Katana, it’s fast and deadly,” the man said as he put his in its sheath.
The man then look down and saw the dead merchant in the floor, blood pouring from the gaping hole in his throat.
“We have to wait until the waves have settled down,” he addressed the woman.
“Waves?” she met his gaze.
“The waves our presence has caused in this dimension,” he took her by the arm wiping the merchants blood off her hand with a rag.
“How long will I be chained to her?” she gritted her teeth.
“By midday on the morrow you should be able to deal out as much death as pleases you,” he kissed her.
“Without this channeling that you speak of,” she broke the kiss.
“Yes, and then there will be no warnings as we make our move,” he led her outside.
“Where are we going now?” she asked as the sun dove behind the trees.
“South, out of Yew,” he smiled.
The late evening found them out of protection and making camp along the roadway.
The night passed without incident as the sun rose without any bloodshed.
They made their way westward towards the looming mountains as the afternoon gave way.
“Oh I do hope we run into trouble along our way,” the woman said with a wicked laugh.
“If not, we will make our own,” he said as they walked up on a peasant picking apples with her young child.
“Is it ok now?” she asked.
“Yes, you won’t be felt,” he smiled.
“Oh what a rush I feel in my blood!” she said drawing her blade, starting toward the woman and child.

The blade seemed to catch the rays of the moonlight that spilled through the window as Janalon inspected it.
He handed it to Gourry and took the other one from S’lamnour and begin the inspection anew.
“Tis very old, and magical, where did you happen upon them?” Janalon asked.
“Ice Island, from the shades of Glory Row,” S’lamnour offered.
“Well not exactly,” Sassy spoke up.
“Not exactly?” Janalon handed the sword back to S’lamnour.
“Tis a long story,” Sassy sighed.
“I’ll get Nadia,”Gourry walked towards the forge area with the sword.
“You were saying?” Janalon looked up at Sassy.
“We went to Ice Island in hopes of gaining knowledge on the path to the Lord and Lady in Command positions,” Sassy explained.
“Did you find it?” the mage asked.
“Find the knowledge?” Janalon waited.
“I believe we did Janalon, we did not try and summon the ancestors, we merely waited and she came to us,” S’lamnour offerd.
“She?” Sasha had walked in.
“Yes, she was not like the others, she looked tangible, not like a shade at all, matter of fact she…,” Slamnour was cut off.
“Over four hundred years, around four hundred and fifty, give or take a year of course,” Nadia said as she came in and handed the sword back to Janalon.
“But they look brand new, like they were forged yesterday,” Gourry wondered out loud. “Magical,” Sasha reminded.
“There is no doubt that these were the original swords of the Lord and Lady in Command, Lord Thorin and Lady Krystal,” Janalon handed the sword back to S’lamnour.
“The Lord and Lady that led the guild astray and caused the entire circle to fall?” Sassy asked with disbelief.
“The same,” Janalon nodded.
“Why would we be given such cursed weapons?” S’lamnour asked.
“I am sure they are not cursed, more so blessed I fancy,” the mage smiled.
“She did perform a strange ritual,” S’lamnour offerd,“ she seemed to summon all the shades around her, into her very soul, she then charged them like lightning bolts down the swords into our souls as she handed us the weapons,” he finished.
“Channeling and Necromancy,” Sasha answered.
Done so to preserve The Creed, she actually put the very essence that our Circle is composed of, into those two swords,” Janalon declared.
Sassy and S’lamnour drew the two weapons and looked at them with awe.
“My greatest treasure,” Sassy and S’lamnour spoke in unison.
“It is a rather divine gift, however it was a dangerous act to perform,” Janalon frowned.
“How so?” Nadia asked.
“Well in order to channel the essence from the shades through oneself and then into another would require summoning the shades across the astral plane. There is a small window of time that the shades are actually prone to escape into our world,” Janalon explained.
“Which would make resurrection possible,” Gourry finished.
Sassy and S’lamnour put the blades away with pride.
“Who was this woman in the midst of these shades?” Janalon asked.
“She was not from the same era they were from Janalon, she was yet to come,” Sassy finally said.
“Oh was she?” Janalon focused his attention fully on Sassy.
“She was your daughter, Sasha’s and yours,” S’lamnour said.
“Indeed, is there anything else I should know?” Janalon asked with brows raised.
Sassy started to tell everyone about the blood, but decided against it for it had not happened in over twenty-four hours.
Instead she drew forth her blade and admired it.
The door rushed opened and spilled forth the young Randa.
“Has anyone seen Fallstaff or Spawn?” she asked out loud.
Sassy waved her away and continued her admiration of the blade.
The Honor Guard had been sitting quietly in the foyer of the forge area, he quickly got to his feet and approached the young girl and took her by the hand, leading her out the door into the warm sun.
“I will help you find them young Randa, it will be my pleasure,” Sancho bowed as the wind caught his sash.
“Oh, bless you as Janalon would say, I am in fear for them?” Randa buckled her sword belt.
“Why?” Sancho asked.
“That’s why,” she pointed in the window at the others.

The two young fighters stood back to back engaging the onslaught as a team.
A giant spider reached out with one of its appendages and shirked as one of the young fighters severed it.
Even being detached from the body, the tentacle convulsed on the dungeon floor as Spawn kicked it away.
The spider retreated into the shadows with a trail of green blood in its wake.
“There’s little gold to be had here,” Fallstaff declared as he kicked one of the dead scorpions away.
“We need to go further down, where we were yesterday,” Spawn decided.
“It can get rather nasty down there, perhaps we should return to the Compound,” Fallstaff suggested.
“What for ever for?” Spawn hopped down off an embankment and started towards the dark cave that led to the second level of Shame.
“Yea, you’re right, if we are to gain any experience, we’re gonna have to do it on our own,” Fallstaff followed after his friend.

The second level of shame crawled with earth elementals that proved to be a great challenge, much fame could be acquired for both Spawn and Fallstaff.
The day wore on and evening fell as they enjoyed their swordplay against the mud beasts.
“We are way too good for this level Spawn,” Fallstaff said as he wiped earth from his sword.
“That you are,” a woman’s voice floated from the shadows.
Spawn and Fallstaff jumped to their feet at battle ready as two shadows detached themselves from the cavern walls.
In the next instance, they were face to face with a beautiful female warrior with jet-black hair.
Beside her was a male warrior thumping the hilt of a sheathed katana with his thumb.
“Who are you?” Spawn asked from behind his shield.
“Yes, we have never seen you before,” Fallstaff stated.
“We are the new Lord and Lady in Command, we have come to train you,” the woman gave the man a sly wink.

“Vade Won, we are in need of your skills of the seasons.”
The Silver Archer turned and gazed out the window. “I no longer use the skills of the seasons,” he said simply.
“Vade Won, I fear our time is in dire need of attention,” Randa approached him.
“Fallstaff and Spawn are missing and Randa fears their well fare,” Sancho spoke up.
“And what am I to do?” Vade turned with brows raised.
“Mother in the heavens!” Randa threw her hands up and stormed out the door, pushing MdnitRdr standing in the doorway.
“Whoa Nellie!” MdnitRdr held his hands up.
Sancho started after her then turned in mid stride.
“We are in need of your skills of the seasons and your lore, Vade Won.”
The Silver Archer turned and gazed out the window. “I no longer use the skills of the seasons,” he said simply.
Sancho left with that comment and hushed the wind with the closing of the door.
“Perhaps today is a good day to refresh your memory,” MdnitRdr stated as he reached into a bookshelf and brought out an old tome.
“Perhaps tomorrow will be too late,” MdnitRdr tossed the book over into Vade Won’s lap and walked quietly out the door.
Vade Won opened the book and remembered the day the old tracker in Skare Brae had given it to him before he died.
He then turned and gazed out the window, “I no longer use the skills of the seasons,” he said in a whisper.

“Where are we to start?” MdnitRdr stated has he filled a flask with milk and packed it away on his horse Midnight.
“We have no idea,” Sancho and Randa shook their heads.
“How about with this?” Vade Won had entered and held aloft a tiny piece of red cloth.

The cool wind tried in vain to cool the sands of the desert after the fire of the sun winked out over the western horizon.
Both moons fondled and drenched the surface of the ocean of sand as a yellowish hue spilled forth from a curtained window.
The quite sound of the quill wooed the pages of the tome as the candle painted the inside of the Glory Row Smithy.
She watched from the corner of the room as he turned yet another page and started anew.
“Lord S’lamnour has led yet another successful hunt to the Ophidian temple,” she whispered.
The soft brushing of the quill never slowed nor paused as the wind gave forth a feeble answer.
Minutes passed and then finally he looked up from his labor.
“And our time grows near,” Sasha smiled and melted into the air from the recall spell.
Alone now, Janalon rose and stepped over to blow the candle out when the wind rushed in and did it for him.
A sense of cheerfulness came with the gust as the candle flamed back up ten times its normal height.
The wind settled along with the candle until the room was as it was before.
A presence drifted into the room as Janalon turned to face a white gate that had appeared shimmering in the night.
The air protested with a sigh as the form became opaque and then gained substance.
There before Janalon was a woman, that he knew all too well.
Her hair flowed behind her, as she walked with grace until she was no less than a step away from him.
The female chain armor clung to her form like a sensual kiss as she pulled back her transparent shawl to expose a small pouch that hung by her hip.
She gently stroked the pouch in a circular motion and began a lustful hum.
A small trail of smoke drifted up from the pouch giving off a cinnamon scent mixed with dew.
The trail of smoke caressed her thighs and waist, stopping it seemed around her shoulders to lick softly around her neck.
The woman then took a deep breath, inhaling the smoke through her nostrils as her chest expanded from the air filling her lungs.
“Darf ich Sie einladen zu Tasse Tee?” She smiled.
“Indeed!” Janalon replied.
The woman waved her hands in the air and a lovely table set with tea for two appeared.
She motioned and they both sat and sipped in silence.
“Lare Ja, where have you been?” Janalon spoke at last.
“Tomorrow and the day after,” she spoke in his language.
“Oh yes, the magic sapphire,” he nodded.
After a moment she spoke, “Janalon, I trust you still have the magic sapphire I gave you.”
The mage nodded.
“Have you used it?” Lare asked.
“Couple of times, I took Sasha and Acolon back to the very beginning of Glory Row, one or two places in the near past, then up to the future,” Janalon finished then sipped at his tea.
“We never manifested, we stayed in shadow form,” he added.
“Eindrucksvoll, still, you must be wary of its use,” she smiled.
Janalon remembered when his mentor, Lare Ja, first gave him the magic sapphire years ago when he had gained the ability to cast the gate spell.
Lare Ja taught the apprentice a spell she had created herself.
Time Gate.
The sapphire was the key to the spell, it worked like the Gate Travel spell, only it used double the pearl and if you added the necromancer reagent, fertile dirt, you could actually manifest.
Manifesting was very dangerous, for it closed the gate behind you.
The danger was in the fact that if you manifested into a time where the forces of nature prohibited the re-opening of the gate, you could find yourself stuck in that dimension.
The danger was not only in manifestation; it was also in the spell’s very use.
Use of the spell was addictive and sooner or later would bring the user harm.
“Dallying in the affairs of time is very dangerous, it could undo the present as it is known,” Lare Ja spoke.
“And what is known, being good or bad, can have a positive or negative influence on what is to be,” Janalon finished for her.
“It’s not ours to know,” Lare Ja spoke and finished her tea.
“But you use it rather often, Lare Ja, are you its master, have you mastered the Time Gate?” Janalon questioned.
Lare Ja, again rubbed the pouch at her side and inhaled the smoke that gave forth.
“Lare Ja, can I ask something of you?”
Lare Ja tossed her hair then set her chin in her palm. “How do you say? Indeed?”
“How far have you been up, do you know of a NinaLee?” Janalon asked.
The woman only nodded.
“I need some information,” Janalon started.
Lare Ja stood with elegant speed, “Janalon you seem to ask of me what I cannot give!”
Janalon scrambled, “She’s the daughter of Sasha and I, not born yet, but she appeared before our Lord and Lady in Command and gave them the ancient swords with the essence of the past members of Glory Row!”
Lare Ja only stared at him.
“She used necromancy to charge the swords and I am afraid she has unleashed an ancient evil that was the very essence that fell the circle so many years ago!”
“The swords belonged to Lord Thorin and Lady Krystal, the first Lord and Lady in Command, the ones that exploited their postions and brought about ruin.”
“I need to know if this is so, does the long dead Lord and Lady in Command walk among us and if so, what do they want?” Janalon finished.
Minutes flew by with no sound being offered.
“Janalon, I came to warn you, be wary of what is going on around you, find Sancho and Randa, they need you,” Lare Ja rose.
“Now?” Janalon said, irritated with the change of subject.
“Now is a very good time,” she answered. “Also, say hi to Sasha for me and I will do my best to make it to the wedding,” she added.
“I will gather Jareth and Sasha now, we will go find them, bless you for the warning.”
“Oh, so how is the pony I gave you?” Lare Ja waved her hand and the table vanished.
“Bliss is not a pony any longer Lare Ja,” Janalon smiled.
Lare Ja' waved both her hands then stuck her hand in her shawl as if to stroke something that was in its pocket.
“Auf wiedersehen Janalon,” Lare Ja said as another white gate appeared.
“Good-bye Lare Ja.”
But she was already gone.

Shame’s winds blew throughout the dungeon with a cold touch.
It blew also a vain attempt to dry the blood that was spilled around the dungeon floor after the battle.
Sancho looked over at Randa and tried to grab a hold of her dying hand.
“Seems we have gotten our party into quite a mess,” Randa said as her strength ebbed.
“Truly,” a wicked woman’s voice echoed from down the corridor as they both lost conscious.

The wind blew its gentle breath across her brow as she judged the distance to the Glory Row Smithy.
Her torso glistened in sweat, soaking her leather halter as she bore her burden of iron ore onward.
As the sun hung over the western mountains she set down her burden and wiped the sweat from her brow.
With a force that knocked her senseless she was thrown against the rocky cliff and jerked back to her feet by her leather bustier.
“What are you doing out here little wench?”
As she tried to speak she was thrown back up against the rocks, knocking the breath from her lungs.
As she tried to gain her feet, she was kicked squarely in the face.
Blood poured from a gash in her forehead and nausea swept through her senses.
Angel, looked up at her assailant and was surprised to see that it was a woman.
The beauty of the woman was striking, Angel felt envious to the graceful movements of her attacker.
“Truly, we have no time to spend on the likes of this, kill her and be done with it,” a man’s voice spoke behind the woman.
“Truly, yes kill her,” two young voices rose behind the man.
Angel strained to see, but could not due to the blood in her eyes.
“Listen to me,” the woman had pulled Angel to her feet.
“Tell me of Sassy and S’lamnour,” the woman demanded.
“Lord and Lady in Command,”Angel tried to open her eyes.
“Who’s is Guildmaster of Glory Row?”
It dawned on Angel that she was being interrogated, so she refused to speak.
“Speak to me or I will put a fear in you that you have never thought possible.” The woman’s eyes flashed with green fire.
“I’m not afraid,” Angel whispered.
“You will be,” the woman spoke softly and the green fire erupted from her eyes and engulfed Angel in a fiery glow.
A dread came over Angel, a dread like none she had ever felt in her life.
She was no longer by the mountains near the Glory Row Smithy, instead she was in a void, with darkness and dread all around.
Her conscious was flooded in guilt, as her mistakes and sins where flashed before her eyes.
They were intensified one hundred fold and threw back in her face to reside in her heart.
“Who is the Guildmaster of Glory Row!!!??”
Angel opened her eyes and found herself still engulfed in the green glow, the guilt and horror of her mistakes in life still pounded with every beat of her heart.
“Don’t, I could not help it,” Angel sobbed as every small lie and wrong doing she ever did in her life was surfaced from her concious and buried in her heart.
She reached out and pulled at the woman’s dress sliding down crying, begging.
“Janalon,” she said between sobs.
“Janalon the Wanderer.”
“Where is he!?”
“Nu’jelm, he is in Nu’jelm planning the wedding between him and Sasha.
“The Guildmistress?”
Angel nodded.
The glow around Angel vanished and she dropped to the ground, horrified at what she had done.
The spell was released.
“This wedding between the Guildmaster and Mistress, where is the reception going to be?”
“Leave me alone, kill me if you wish, I will not…,” the fire erupted again and Angel was cast back into the void.
She was faced now with her betrayal of her loved ones.
She saw a knife enter Janalon’s back, she saw blood on her hands.
Sasha lay dead with an arrow to the heart as a bow appeared in Angel’s hands.
Sassy and S’lamnour spoke to her from graves, accusing.
The guilt flooded her heart and she screamed.
“The Glory Row Tower, on Ice Island, near the Glory Row Ancient Runes!!!”
Angel opened her eyes and saw the green glow as it seemed to be sucked back into the eyes of the woman.
Then the woman said the most curious thing, as simple as it sounded, Angel found it fascinating.
“Forget,” the woman spoke softly as the wind tossed her red cape in the air.

“Angel what happened to you?” Jareth helped her up.
“I don’t remember,” Angel got to her feet and accepted the bandages from Jareth.
“I must have fallen.”
“Hail, what are you two doing?” Angel and Jareth turned to see Kimblex and Lori gallop up on their horses.
“Angel took a fall,” Jareth declared.
Lori spoke from atop her mount, “Come down to the Smithy, the party of Sancho and Randa have returned.
“Did they find Fallstaff and Spawn?” Angel asked.
“Nay, they were ambushed, they took a horrible beating,” Kimblex motioned and took off towards the Smithy on his horse.
“Beating, that party, Vade Won, Mdnitrdr? What manner of force could they have faced,” Jareth asked.
“They don’t remember,” Lori said in a perplexed voice.

The sun beat down upon its ancient stones adding a silver sparkle to its great pillars.
Many lives had waltzed through its halls in the travels of life and many more would come.
Most would fancy it to be odd to speak of the tower as a living entity and many would be called fool.
For more wisdom dwelled in its mortar than in most mage’s personal spell books.
The brick that made up the tower was mixed with straw and carried on the back of the mule many years ago.
However, it was much more than could be fancied.
For in its mixture lay the ancient runes of the first circle of Glory Row, stained with the blood of the innocent.
The tower was a living and breathing being.
And today it would bare witness to the joining of Janalon and Sasha in wedlock.
A happy day it was to be, if not for the dark cloud that loomed on the horizon.
As promises were made and cheers went up, the walls began to spill forth a frothy blood. Sassy was the first one to see it, but see it too late.

Thorin stood before the Guildmaster and his mistress with the lovely Krystal at his side.
Shock went up through the crowd of members as Janalon brought the knife away from the wedding cake dripping with blood.
Behind the two murderers were the children of the circle itself, Spawn and Fallstaff.
Both had looks of murder about them, both had stains on their hands.
Lord S’lamnour stepped in front of Janalon and drew forth a blade that made the candles go dim.
Sassy sidestepped and brought up her gauntlet in a defensive posture as Krystal advanced on both Sasha and Janalon.
Behind her were Fallstaff and Spawn, fanning out to flank her.
Sassy drew her glimmering blade and took her stance beside the Lord in Command, blocking the four murderers from any advancement.
The Glory Row members looked on in fear as the swords of the Lord and Lady disappeared from the hands of Sassy and S’lamnour, appearing in the hands of their rightful owners.
Lord Throin and Lady Krystal.

Traci Fishbone dismounted and brushed at her horse’s back, clearing the brambles from the animal’s tail.
She thought about the happenings at the wedding of Janalon and Sasha and how those happenings had brought her here.
The ride from Britain had been long and tiresome and she was in dire need of a place to wash the dust from her face.
The small river she had came upon would suit just fine, she thought as she reached in her backpack to pull forth fruit for her mount.
She tied her horse to a branch and removed her leather as her thoughts turned back to the meeting she had attended in Britain, last fortnight.
Janalon had some sort of clue it seemed, something that may unravel the chaos that seemed to have a grip on the circle as of late.
To her understanding, Ninalee, whom was not even born to Sasha and Janalon yet, had unknowingly or uncaringly, raised from the dead, the ancient Lord and Lady in Command.
Lord Thorin and Lady Krystal was the very two that led the guild astray so long ago and now it seemed they were back to do it all over again.
“Well not if I can help it,” Traci breathed out loud as she unlaced her boots.
Janalon had some idea, something that involved a lady mage named Lara Ja.
He had sent Traci to Yew to find her, and find her she would.
She loved being appointed to do something that seemed of great importance and had swore a silent oath to succeed.
Janalon would be pleased, she thought as her shawl fell around her ankles to leave her nude beside the river.
Traci dove in and swam out to the middle of channel; here she battled softly with fantasies and the current.
Feeling refreshed, she swam softly on her back towards the shore.
A sharp pain ignited her senses as she was yanked by her hair and dragged up on the shore by an unseen force.
Kicking and flailing wildly she was unable to face her attacker; finally she was lifted and thrown further up the bank to lie nude and helpless beneath a Yew Tree.
Traci saw the five murderers advancing on her, she quickly got to her feet and pulled her backpack around her shoulders; jumping on her mount in a spilt second.
She whirled her horse around and bolted through the middle of them, catching one in the chin with her foot; dropping him on the side of the river.
Traci then turned her horse towards the deep woods at a lightning speed, laughing as she felt the wind at her face.
She quickly put a mile or more between her and the rogues, tearing through the underbrush with a smile pasted across her face.
Her smile faded as the tree branch caught her across the breast spilling her onto the forest floor unconscious.

Wo haben Sie Schmerzen?
Traci opened her eyes and tried to focus in on the figure leaning over her.
“I asked you where does it hurt Kind?
Finally Traci’s eyes cleared and she found herself in a strange room filled with the faint glow of candles and the smell of the eccentric fragrance.
A woman of striking beauty was leaning over the bed.
“Where am I?” Traci tried to sit up in the soft bed she was in, but found the pain in her back too great.
“Deep Forest Healing,” the woman answered.
“And who may you be?” Traci asked.
“ I may be many people, who would you have me be, besides the one that plucked you from the jaws of death?” the woman rose and walked to the corner of the room and poured some water in a glass.
Traci could not help but noticed the attire the woman wore.
A transparent shawl draped her shoulders, spilling around her breasts to rest softly on her thighs.
On her left thigh, tied around her waist with cotton string was a black bag that seemed to cling to her short leather skirt.
The woman then reached down and caressed the leather bag as a lustful chant escaped her lips.
From the bag came a white smoke; rising softly.
The white smoke licked around the woman’s hips and crawled up her naked torso, brushing against her breasts.
Traci knew the woman now, this was the legendary Lare Ja teacher of Janalon the Wanderer.
Traci watched a smile break upon the woman’s face as the smoke lifted from her breasts and disappeared through her nostrils.
Her chest heaved, as her lungs filled with the smoke, which Traci could now tell was actually a moist vapor.
When she exhaled the room filled with the fragrance of honeysuckles.
“Janalon is looking for you Lare Ja, he sent me here to find you,” Traci was up now despite the pain.
“Ahh, then we will make haste to Britain, however, I insist on the scenic route, if I may,” Lare Ja said softly.
“I am sure Janalon would not mind,” Traci smiled.
“Ja lieben Janalon,” Lare Ja sighed.
“What?” Traci wondered out loud.
“Never mind kind, besides, your freund needs our hilfe,” Lare Ja spoke softly.
Traci just stared at Lare Ja, not understanding.
“I said Jareth is in need of our hand,” Lare Ja waved her hands in the air as a white gate appeared.

The sun was low in the western horizon; painting the trees a lustful golden hue.
Two riders approached from the east leading their mounts southwest into a canopy of trees that grew along the side of the mountain.
Tying their mounts to an overhead branch, the two men threw their backpacks over their shoulders and disappeared into a hidden cave.

Jareth followed Kimblex through the twisting tunnel of the cave, it seemed to angle down until the floor became damp and moist.
Pausing for a moment, Kimblex then waded into an underground pool.
“How deep does this get?” Jareth asked as he felt the water cover his knees.
The water boiled in front of him as Kimblex disappeared beneath the surface.
“Oh this is great!” Jareth exclaimed then followed suit and disappeared after him.
Both surfaced on the other side of a granite wall; climbing down into an open alcove as the smell of ash met them.
Spinning on his heels, Kimblex was able to throw his shield up and deflect the fire.
Jareth shielded his eyes with his cape and cast off silk to heal the wounds as the second famestrike engulfed Kimblex and sent him rolling to the floor.
Before the Liche could get another spell off, Kimblex rolled up into a kneeling position and fired a volley of arrows toward the undead mage.
The Liche clawed at its ruined throat as black blood gushed from the wounds the arrows had tore.
Jareth ripped his knife from his boot and hurled it through the air; embedding it to the hilt in the Liche’s chest.
Both men got to their feet as the Liche fell to the ground without a sound.
As Kimblex was gathering his arrows the smell of ash erupted again.
He spun around to see Jareth backing up as seven liches lumbered into the room, cutting them off from the alcove and the exit.
Simultaneously, the Liches pointed and uttered the meteor storm spell as the air crackled with magic. Jareth and Kimblex stood helpless awaiting certain death.
“Janalon is going to be very disappointed that we failed our task,” Jareth whispered. “Indeed,” Kimblex did his best impression.
Jareth quickly thought about his success in finding the hidden ancient mage shop in the mountains of Destard.
He had been proud that he had gotten the reagents that Janalon had needed from the herbalist.
He patted the pouch that held them and said his prayer as the flames engulfed the two Glory Row members.
Death would be swift, at least.

Kimblex and Jareth had asked Barbara to wait outside, just down the road a bit, until their return.
Now she found herself running into the dark cavern they had told her not to venture into.
“I was told to stay outside, Sir Jareth ordered me!”, she called out in vain.
“Consider yourself reordered, show us where they went!” Traci pulled her fellow Glory Row member onward.
“Pab auf!” Traci heard from the shadows.
“I’m sorry, I fail to understand,” Traci offered.
Traci felt the air being knocked from her lungs as she hit the floor of the cave.
The entire cave groaned with protest at the sound of the high level spells.
“I think she said, watch out,” Barbara whispered.
The entire corridor was lit with hell fire as Barbara felt her hair being singed from the heat.
“We are too late!” Traci screamed as she saw the figures of Jareth and Kimblex withering away in the intense heat.
Both looked toward Lare Ja pleading; shocked at what they saw.
Lare’s hand had dropped to her side, caressing the small bag that hung gracefully around her hips.
A white vapor rose from the bag and made its way up Lare Ja’s torso.
The smell of burning flesh filled the air as the party saw the figures of Jareth and Kimblex withering in the center of the open chamber that the corridor spilled into.
Barbara, turning back towards Lare Ja, was astounded at the look in the eyes of the strange woman.
Lare Ja’s lips parted as she inhaled the white vapor flowing from the bag.
He eyes flashed a white spark as she blew the vapor out her snow-white nostrils.
“Natur, f Negate,” she commanded.
The earth shook with a hateful roar as the flames turned from red to a shade of blue.
The figures of Kimblex and Jareth jerked upright and began to cover their eyes to ward off the heat.
“Walk to me kindred,” Lare Ja called out to them.
Kimblex and Jareth were horrified at the sight of their burned flesh, but as they turned to walk towards Lare Ja, their flesh began to heal and become whole.
Through the blue flames they walked past three Liches, whom seemed indifferent to their passage.
They neither turned nor acknowledged the two victims as they waltzed past them.
Jareth stepped through the flames into the corridor as Kimblex followed after.
“Perhaps we shall take our leave?” Lare Ja spoke and everyone agreed.

As the moon danced with the stars and the sounds of the night poured in, Barbara lay in her fur with confused thoughts about her.
Her mind’s eye dwelled on the happenings of the day, the day that had sunk below the horizon hours ago.
Lare Ja had came and rescued Jareth and Kimblex from certain death.
The famed Lare Ja, teacher of Janalon the Wanderer, used a most strange magic it seemed.
The very fabric of reality seemed to bend at her wish.
Who was she? How did she know so much about the Glory Row Members?
Was she a member herself, maybe a past member?
She wore no cape.
Legend she was, legend spoken about only by Janalon.
No one ever seemed to have met her, no one, until now.
Now here she was, the mentor of Janalon himself.
She could not help but wonder how deep the relationship of this strange woman and her Guildmaster ran.
She bit her lip as she banished the blasphemous thoughts.
Janalon belonged to Sasha, if he were to be had that is.
Barbara wondered what Sasha would think of Lare Ja.
Her thoughts then turned back towards a conversation that she had overheard between Jareth and Traci earlier.
The two of them had ideas that somewhat mirrored one another.
Who was Lare Ja?
What strange language did she speak at times?
What part did she play in the Thorin and Krystal issue that haunted the Guild at this time?
She spent no effort to cover her female anatomy; she was indifferent to her see through shawl.
“She is a goddess,” Traci had said. “A woman conceived by nature itself.”
Jareth knew more it seemed; for he was the Glory Row Scribe and versed he was with the ancient lore of Glory Row.
“She is a time traveler, she bends time and walks amongst all ages of mankind, she knows tomorrow as if it were yesterday.
Barbara rolled over on her side and spied Jareth sitting at the fire with Traci; both engaged in soft conversation.
Jareth had acquired the reagents from the wizard deep in the mountains on the West side of the continent as Janalon had instructed.
The trip in the cave was only supposed to be a short hunt for Kimblex and Jareth.
If Lare Ja had not came along and saved them from certain death, the reagents that Jareth had collected would have been lost.
How did she know to come, was Jareth right, was she a time traveler?
With dexterity she slipped out of her sleeping bag of fur and rose to walk among the shadows.
“What are you about?” a voice drifted from the darkness.
Barbara tried in vain to see the face from whence the voice came.
Kimblex stepped out of the shadows; pinning her to the ground in a heartbeat.
“Tis only I,” Barbara managed.
“Bah, tis bad ideas to let your guard slip at ease, by whom were you taught?” Kimblex rose and reached down to aid her.
The stars flashed before Kimblex’s eyes as his feet flew skyward and his head came down hard on the bare earth.
“Lord Gourry taught me to kill as Janalon taught me to let live,” Barbara had pulled her dagger and pressed it close to his throat.
“Balance, thank goodness for balance,” Kimblex rolled upright relieving her of her dagger as he pressed the young woman against the trunk of a Yew Tree.
“Be careful of what you catch for you may not be able to be rid of your prize, Janalon told me that once, I suggest you take heed in it,” Barbara said between clenched teeth.
“Would you guys stop the cat and mouse thing, look yonder,” Jareth warned as he walked up with Traci.
“Very good, Kimblex smiled and shook Barbara’s hand as they turned to see what Jareth and Traci had spied.
The moon washed its white glow across the meadow below the cliff from which the four Glory Row Members perched.
In the center of the meadow stood Lare Ja; chanting as the white vapor rose around her.
She had shed her leather; leaving only her shawl to cover her moon washed body.
“Wow, would you look at that, she is beautiful,” Jareth whispered.
“Goodness gracious, gods in heaven!” Kimblex agreed as he caught an elbow from Barbara.
“What’s all that smoke stuff,” Jareth asked.
“Tis a vapor you fool, not smoke!” Traci pinched him on the arm.
A bright blue ball of light rushed passed them causing all four to gasp as the meadow seemed to come to life with blue balls of light.
Thousands of bluish balls streaked across the sky; coming to a stop to hover around the half nude Sorceress.
“Wisps, that’s it! Wisps!” Jareth spoke too loud.
Lare Ja spun around as a bluish fire sparked from her eyes.
Jareth fell, taken aback as Lare Ja’s eyes seemed to look right into his very soul.
“Ich will nicht gestort werden!” she demanded.
The Wisps echoed in the ancient tongue and put emphasis on every strange word.
“Wir will nicht gestort werden!” The voices of the Wisps demanded of them.
“What did they say?” Kimblex asked sheepishly.
“They wish not to be disturbed,” Jareth whispered as he turned back towards camp.
The others followed and fell in behind him, no one dared looking back.

Free falling, it tumbled with no meaningful direction.
The wind gently blew its breath across it as others begin to fall along with it.
Not alone now, it fell in company as the air began humming with a steady drone.

“We best get in, tis rain tumbling from the sky,” Rose said as she turned toward the Glory Row Tower.
She walked away then stopped mid stride. “I do say we best get in Milord.”
The figure neither turned nor acknowledged, it only stood impassively staring out across the plains.
Rose followed Sir Draegon’s gaze; searching the distant horizon.
Finally she spied the small party of Glory Row Members walking toward them, being led it seemed by hundreds of blue fireflies.
Slowly Draegon turned and addressed Rose. “Go Rose and make haste, go tell Master Janalon to summon The Elders.”

The candles burned with passion as the hushed voices filled the room and chairs were slid in place.
“Explanations are in dire need,” Sasha spoke from the corner as the Elders turned their heads.
“I am a sure that we will be enlightened,” Janalon answered.
“Now may be a very good time to start,” Gourry suggested.
“Indeed, Lare Ja is a most skilled Sorceress, her advice and help should not be shunned and neither should the company she keeps,” Janalon gestured toward the window where hundreds of Wisps could be seen outside.
“I fail to see how Lare Ja can possibly help us with an issue she is alien to, such as Lord Thorin and Lady Krystal,” Sasha objected.
“Perhaps she is not as alien as you perceive her to be, my dear,” Janalon nodded.
“Mayhap there is more to be said, some truth that you care not to reveal at this time,” Sasha shot back.
“Indeed, isn’t there always?” Janalon held her gaze.
No one spoke for a moment; the only sounds were the whispering of the Wisps chattering in their language outside the Tower.
“If Lare Ja holds a key, any key at all, I suggest we listen,” Mdnitrdr broke the silence. “Motion her in,” Gilgamesh and Zedd spoke in unison.
Rose left the corner of the room and opened the double doors that led out into the corridor.
She bowed and then curtsied before stepping aside.
Lare Ja’s face showed no emotion as she stepped into the room.
Her hand was gently caressing the bag tied around her waist.
Tendrils of smoke crawled up her naked torso, spilling around her silk bustier.
Her hair cascaded over her bodice and here the smoke seemed to hover.
With a lustful sigh she inhaled the vapor as her breast filled with the strange vapor.
Lord Gourry’s hand went to his chin as he watched the sorceress exhale.
Fine trails of smoke left her parted red lips; filling the air with the smell of cinnamon.
“It’s grand to be amongst friends,” her gaze fell over the Elders; coming to rest on Sasha.
“Is it not, Sasha of Britain?” Lare Ja finished as she inhaled more of the vapor.
“Please be seated Lare Ja,” Oliver motioned toward a chair that sat off from the table.
“Why thank you Oliver, your hospitality becomes you,” Lare Ja’s hand went to the slit in her shawl lifting it over her shoulders spilling her hair down her back as she took her seat.
“Lare Ja is here to cast a spell for us and perhaps tell us a story afterwards,” Janalon spoke at last.
“What has any of this to do with the Circle,” Sasha wondered out loud.
Janalon stood and walked over to Lare Ja; handing her the bag of reagents that Jareth had collected.
Lare Ja stood and reached into her pocket; bringing out a small blue sapphire stone.
With it in hand she blew the reagents into the air as she chanted some strange arcane words.
”Offen Spiegel,” she spoke softly as the voices of the Wisps echoed outside.
The air began to shimmer as a full size mirror appeared in the air.
The mirror’s image turned from black to a bright blue, then faded back to black.
With a bright flash it seemed to explode in light as a woman appeared in it’s midst.
The woman was dressed in a leather skirt with chain that wrapped under her buttocks.
Her legs were bare from sun kissed thigh to ankle.
Her ankles gave way to fine leather boots with tender red laces.
Her tanned torso was fine honed and without flaw.
A leather bodice caressed her bosom while her hair, a honey blonde, wooed therein.
A Glory Row Cape flared from her back as the elders met her gaze.
The woman was a warrior with exceptional beauty.
“Greetings Glory Row Members!” the woman spoke as sunshine seem to pour from her smile.
“I come to you with hope, your dilemma is quite simple, even though it seems most complex.
My name is Nina Lee, daughter of Janalon the Wanderer.
Sasha is a name known to you, but not known to me.
I will simply call her mother.
My visit this eve will be short and my message simple.
As simple as it may be, you lack The Creed as of now to know its simple answer.
Forgotten is the lore, replaced by self worth and greed.
Forgotten is the love for your fellow man.
Uncertainty boils from this very room, flowing from my own mother towards the beloved Lare Ja, simply because she does not understand her or pretends not to know her heart.
This is only a small example of the disease that eats away at the health of Glory Row.
It is my decision as Guildmistress of the future to rid our Guild of such sickness once and for all.
This is why I brought Thorin and Krystal to you.
Already you have shown lack of Creed by allowing the loss of Fallstaff and Spawn.
This lack of compassion for our children will be the death of The Circle, as you know it.
Thorin and Krystal was a test for you.
A test you failed miserably.
Thorin and Krystal must reach a level of peace and it must be reached from within you.
The thorn in our side was left by them in our ancient circle.
That thorn now festers and must be healed.
Only by Honor and Compassion will the wound heal and close!
Listen to Lare Ja’s story this eve, listen to her and the Wisps and take heed in their tale.
Make sure all members are present during its telling.
All members. past and present,” Nina Lee faded and the mirror vanished.
Not a sound was made for over a minute, even the Wisps outside were quite.
“Seems to be a most manipulative lass, does she not,” Vade Won spoke at last.
“I wonder who she got that from,” Oliver pointed.
“Indeed,” Janalon said with a smile.

The council hall was filled with Glory Row Members; watching the famed Lare Ja as she waltzed to the front of the room.
As she turned to face the crowd her eyes seemed to focus on something distant.
She then hummed and raised her hands in the air as a white gate appeared before her.
From out of the gate walked Lord Thorin and Lady Krystal, followed closely by Fallstaff and Spawn.
The gate folded and disappeared, leaving the four murderers in the presence of the Glory Row Members.
Gourry sprung to his feet drawing his sword as Zedd and Mdnitrdr followed suit.
”Niemand will raise weapons!” Lare Ja demanded.
Thorin and Krystal spun at the sound of the voice as a hush swept over the hall.
Lare Ja, not an arms links away, stood her ground as they faced her.
With an ear piercing wail, both Thorin and Krystal screamed in surprise; falling to their knees in front of Lare Ja.
Fallstaff and Spawn fell back into the crowd of Glory Row Members as Thorin and Krystal began to rock back and forth on their knees, crying uncontrollably at the feet of the beautiful Sorceress.
"Vielen Dank, thank you all for coming and please welcome the Wisps, whom are friends of Glory Row," Lare Ja bowed.
The room flashed with a blue fire as hundreds of Wisps entered the room from the open windows.
"And listen and live our story, for it is yours," Lare Ja finished .
The members of Glory Row, both past and present, watched with awe as the Wisps started circling the room with breath taking speed.
Faster and faster they spun; with Lare Ja in the center, they began to form into one body.
With a magnificent blue explosion the form elongated and became still; resting behind Lare Ja.
What were hundreds of Wisps seconds ago; looked now to be a huge gate that seemed to be made of water, hovering behind Lare Ja.
"It's a time gate!" someone yelled from the back of the room.
Slowly Lare Ja began to remove her shawl, slipping it over her head as her hair splashed across her nude breasts.
She then reached down and removed her boots and the rest of her clothing until she stood completely naked save for the bag tied around her waist.
Her hand fell to the bag as the white vapor crawled up her bare torso.
She then turned and faced the gate and stepped through it.
The gate flashed with a white fire; blinding everyone in the room for a heartbeat.
When it subsided, the gate was now a window into what seemed to be another world or perhaps the same world but another time.
The window was crystal clear and the image of Lare Ja was vivid.
No longer was she nude, instead she was dressed in a blue flowing gown and a red cape fell down her back.
She then turned and sat on a silver throne that stood behind her.
She seemed indifferent to her audience on the other side of the window.
The Glory Row Members became engrossed with the scene, as all matter around them seemed to cease to exist.
No longer did they feel they were in the Glory Row Tower.
Instead they had become part of the scene before them.
And this is the story they were told.

“Guildmistress, the Lord and Lady approach from the south,” the small child bowed.
Lare Ja rose from the silver throne and walked to the nearby window.
Across the snow covered mountains of Ice Island she gazed at the party of warriors and mages making their way toward the Guild Tower.
“Thank you Gina, shall we make ready to greet them?” she smiled.
“Can I stand beside you on the balcony, like I did last time Guildmistress?” the young girl's eyes lit up.
“Of course you can, lets go join the others downstairs in the main hall.”

The main hall was the biggest room in the tower; a balcony ran on three sides of the room with marble stairs leading down on the south side.
Lare Ja and Gina stopped in the center of the balcony and waited, right above the huge GR emblem that hung at its center.
The door flew open and let a breath of icy wind inside, blowing the flames of the fireplace into a dance as they licked at the hog that turned slowly on an iron pipe.
“Hail all Glory Row!” a man’s voice rose above the din of the wind.
“Hail, Lord and Lady!” the room full of members called out as Lord Thorin and Lady Krystal came through the door, followed by the hunting party.
Lare Ja looked out over the heads of the members below.
The huge room was packed with Glory Row Members welcoming the hunting party back from its hunt.
Men, women and children milled about, cheering the heroes as drinks were raised.
Lord Thorin held aloft golden jewels and diamonds as two huge chests were rolled inside on carts.
“Our Loot!” Lady Krystal yelled above the clamor.
All smiled, even young Gina showed her charming grin.
Lord Thorin met the eyes of his comrades, drinking in the glory of the day.
His smile lessened as his eyes met Lare Ja’s.
The Guildmistress was not smiling at all; instead she was staring at the hilt of his sword.
Lord Thorin wondered if his Guildmistress knew even as he realized she did indeed.
His eyes dropped to the floor for only a moment before they returned to meet her gaze.
But Lare Ja, Guildmistress of Glory Row, was gone.
Only young Gina remained, waving with glee at him.
He waved back noticing for the first time that his gloved hand was stained with blood from the hilt of his sword.

It wound its way through the dark tunnels that dug into the soul of the mountain.
It flew a wingless flight through the corridors and blessed the cold rock as it passed.
Finally it reached its destination, gently kissing and fondling her with a hopeful sigh.

Lare Ja felt the wind as it brushed her hair and cooled her face.
The cave was dark at first glance but then the air seemed to burst with a bluish hue as the orb throbbed with understanding.
Lare Ja let her eyes fall over the Wisp as it spoke to her.
It did not speak her language only one that she was familiar with.
It spoke through hushed tones and vibrations that seemed to speak louder to her mind than to her ears.
Lare Ja recounted the last few weeks, she spoke in a quite whisper, sometimes using the strange language of the Wisps to form her sentences.
The language of the Wisps had been hard to understand at first, but now after years of converse, Lare Ja could speak it fluently.
The Wisp sighed as Lare Ja spoke of the direction that Glory Row seemed to be going.
Gone were the love and respect for life, replaced with greed and lust for fame.
The hunting parties that were led by Lord Thorin and Krystal were blood baths that took the lives of many, sometimes the innocent.
They chastised and flirted with provocation and already three guilds to the north were beginning to distrust the Guild once known for their Honor and Compassion.
Lord Thorin had led the last party through the depths of the dungeon of Hate, eventually coming to trespass on the banks of the Sea of Lea.
Ice Island, so it was called had been the home of Glory Row for over five generations.
The Island yielded gold and jewels from the dungeon of Hate which was located in the middle of the isle and was haunted by shades of lives long passed.
The bottom of the dungeon gave forth a corridor that lead northward under the Sea of Lea, before spilling its breath upon the banks of the mainland.
Twice Lord Thorin had led the Guild of Honor and Compassion upon these banks to hunt and kill the boars and great harts that lived upon the land, using the under sea corridor.
The Guildmaster of Lea had sent word asking Lare Ja to refrain from hunting on that particular part of land.
Lare Ja had demanded that Lord Thorin pay tribute to Lea and apologize for his encroachment.
And set forth he did; only to return with loads of gold, jewels and weapons.
Nothing had been said of the Guild of Lea, not a word had been mentioned.
Lare Ja knew error when she saw it just like she knew the sight of human blood as she witnessed it.
The Wisp would tell her the truth.

The Wisp spoke to Lare Ja in ways only she could understand.
It told of the raids on the Guild of Lea.
It displayed its story in the midst of its glowing form, like a picture upon a wall that moved like the pages of one’s mind.
Lare Ja looked on in dismay as the Wisp told of Lord Thorin and Lady Krystal leading the raids on the neutral guild.
The devastation and carnage left no doubt that the Guild of Lea was no more.
The burned houses blew ashes upon the faces of the dead.
“Heavens, what have we done?” Lare Ja whisperd with sadness.
The Wisp let the image fade and then spoke to Lare Ja in its language.
It told her she must take leave of this time and make haste to a time that Honor and Compassion could be built anew.
“A time, what do you speak of?” Lare Ja demanded in shock.
The Wisp spoke of the loss of this world, the death of fellow man and the fall of all hope.
It spoke of the evil wizard that was sweeping the land, clouding the skies with his hatred of all that is good.
The evil wizard, so foul it was said that he killed his own father to gain possession of a special gem.
The Gem of Immortality.
The wizard was unstoppable.
“Lare Ja,” the Wisp spoke in her tongue.
Lare Ja fell back a step, then dropped to her knees crying.
“Go Lare Ja, take the gifts of the Wisps, take them far and yonder.
This evil wizard will indeed rule this world.
The only hope for Honor and Compassion is to escape, use our gifts to travel yonder.
Take your word, take ours and spread to the world that is our own, but in a future time.
A time after the rule of the evil wizard and his followers.”
A bag appeared before Lare Ja’s feet, she picked it up and gazed inside.
A handful of simple sapphires glowed within.
“You know the spell,” The Wisp sighed.
“What of the effects, the effects you warned me of?” Lare Ja asked.
The Wisp had warned Lare Ja that casting a time gate and actually manifesting would have severe side effects on the caster.
The spell could be cast with no harm as long as the caster did not manifest in the time the gate led to.
One could walk the world freely in shadow form, but could not converse nor be seen by the population of that time.
The caster could then manifest upon returning to the time they were originally from.
Using double the pearl when casting the gate would cause the caster to manifest in the time the gate led to.
Cast this way, the time traveler could converse and live in that time.
With one side effect, that is.
Rapid aging would take effect and would leave the caster old and worn.
Death of old age would occur in about a year.
“What good could I do if I’m old and frail?” Lare Ja wondered outloud.
“Take another one of our gifts,” the Wisp glowed with blue fire.
A bag with a silk string appeared before Lare Ja’s feet.
The Wisp told Lare Ja to tie the string around her waist so the bag would rest softly on her hip.
Lare Ja threw down the bag of sapphires; spilling them around the other bag and the string.
“You can’t ask me to leave my guild!” she screamed and backed away.
The Wisp glowed with white fire as an image appeared in the midst of its glowing orb.
The scene was the ruins of the Guild of Lea; smoke bellowing towards the sky.
Lare Ja spied horses on the horizon mounted by skeletons and the undead.
At the head of the gathering army was Mondain, the evil wizard himself.
With a great shriek the army charged down through the ruined compound of the Guild of Lea, headed toward the sea.
“They are coming through! Lare Ja knew that if Lord Thorin and Lady Krystal had not laid waste to the Guild of Lea, there would have been a good chance that Glory Row and Lea could have fought off the wicked army together.
Now Mondain’s army was speeding into the corridor that ran under the Sea of Lea.
In moments they would be upon Ice Isle and then Glory Row.
“I have to go help Thorin and Krystal!”
Lare Ja turned and ran towards the exit that spilled out into the snow.
She ran until her breath ran out and forced her to the snow to lay cold and still.

“Lare Ja,” the Wisp spoke softly as it glowed with a warm blue light.
Lare Ja opened her eyes and gazed into the blue orb as she slowly got to her feet; shaking the snow from her hair.
“Do not forsake thy efforts by planting your seeds in non-fertile soil.
It’s too late for Glory Row, as you know it, too late for much of what you have come to love,” the Wisp glowed with warmth.
“I must go to the aid of my friends and loved ones,” Lare Ja said softly yet defiantly.
The Wisp glowed with a white fire that blinded Lare Ja for a heartbeat.
The brightness then faded as an image formed in the midst of the Wisp.
Lare Ja stared in horror as she witnessed the army of Mondain sweeping through the Glory Row Compound without challenge.
A burning sensation of loss rushed through her being as she saw the women and children struck down by evil sword and magic.
The warriors of Glory Row were nowhere to be seen, only the innocent were present to feel the wrath of the evil wizard.
“Tis already come to pass, the battle is over and lost, even before it began,” the image faded from view.
“Where is Lord Thorin and Lady Krystal, where are the mighty warriors of our circle?” Lare Ja demanded of the Wisp.
“The Lord and Lady have ventured to the dungeon of hate; taking all arms with them to practice sword play and bathe in gold.
Glory Row fell without a sword being raised in defense." the Wisp spoke in its own tongue causing Lare Ja to hope she misunderstood.
Like a tumbling mountain of snow, the realization hit Lare Ja and made her stumble to one knee.
She knew the images shown by the Wisp were true, she also knew that they had already come to pass.
Glory Row had fallen.
“I must go back and see with my own eyes,” Lare Ja rose to her feet.
“Your heart will only be broken,” the Wisp turned and floated back into the cave.

Lare Ja walked this time.
A walk with a steady pace brought her to the ruined tower in less than an hour.
The fires still burned and the smell of death was in the air as Lare Ja opened the tower door.
Inside the tower was a horrible sight; faces of loved ones frozen in their death screams gazed at Lare Ja everywhere she looked.
Blood, frozen on the floor, made footing difficult as she made her way up the center staircase.
Children, burned beyond recognition lay scattered about the threshold of the stairs.
Young men and women along with the elderly made up the sea of faces on the floor; staring with eyes of death.
Lare Ja’s sobs came in loud heaves; choking her of air and leaving her wringing her hands in dismay.
“Nein!” she screamed in the language of the Wisp as she fell to the stairs in nausea.

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