“Things have become unclear. I’ve only been traveling with Canialia for some short time now and yet I feel somewhat attached to her in more ways than one. Why is this? I do not understand. Beyond the point of our hidden enemy’s attack upon us, we must press on to discover the reason for the raid upon the Sun Elven city and, possibly, discover the truth of why the emblem of Shin’ Alor was on the goblin’s person and why they used Acidite-tipped arrows in the siege.”
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From the journal of Archerion Fellonar
Canialia awoke to find Archerion nowhere to be found. She sat in front of where the fire was the night before. It had been nearly a week since Archerion’s change in attitude, and, as much as she tried to convince herself, she could not conjure the strength to leave him on his own. Although she refuses to admit it to herself, she cares for him in many ways, but also feels responsible for his change in attitude.
She though back to the many nights before his sudden change. She could lay her head on his shoulder while they sat at the campfire in total silence. She loved him. She did not want to admit it to herself, but she loved him. She also hates what he has become but cannot just pick up and leave.
Archerion came out of the forest nearly half an hour after she awoke. Canialia stood up as she saw him, not realizing how long it had been. She started to say something, but lost her words as he came back with a strange person behind him. He was no one she recognized. He had the eyes of a dragon, yet he looked as though he was a Serpent-Demon. He had a hood draped over him so it was difficult for her to identify him. It was his dragon eyes that shined through the hood, that let her know the fear she had known earlier in life.
“Who are you, stranger?” she asked hesitantly.
“I am called Mist by some.” He replied pulling down his hood. “I suppose you could call me that.” His hair, long and black, was noticeable from his pale complexion.
“Very well, Mist. Why, exactly, are you here?” she was somewhat hesitant in speaking. Mist’s dragonish eyes struck fear into her from an attack of black dragons on her home while she was still young. Both her parents died in the attack.
“He is here because I have brought him here.” Archerion cut in. “Now, if we are done chatting, shall we continue?” He started walking ahead of the group, but Mist stayed behind with Canialia instead of walking up front with him.
“Worry not,” he whispered to her with ease. When Canialia gave him a puzzled look, he could not help but let out a quiet chuckle. “Archerion’s change is not your fault.”
“You carry no weapon,” the elf noted, trying to avoid any questions he was thinking of asking.
“I need no weapons,” he replied with a slight smile. “Glandra, the goddess of earth, is my strength and weapon, and I know your tricks well, milady. My questions will not be so easily avoided.”
Canialia blushed in embarrassment trying not to look at Mist, which made him smile all the more.
“You fancy him, don’t you?” his tone went from a somewhat playful and teasing manner to that of a serious one, but she refused to answer and remained silent. “You need not answer.” He continued. “I can see it in your eyes…that is answer enough.”
Canialia sighed and looked back at her cadre then to Archerion, then back down at the ground. She would not admit his statement as correct. She hated humans for who they were and refused to let Mist’s statement be true.
Archanine brushed up against her leg as they kept walking, making her stumble towards Archerion. She looked down at the panther as if the expect an answer for why he did that, but he did nothing but purr, nudging her forward again – this time closer to Archerion. She was beginning to understand. Her thoughts turned to the pendant Archerion picked up but never showed her. Could that pendant be the cause of his strange behavior? She thought. If I could get it from him, would he be back to normal?
“Archerion?” she asked without thinking.
“What now, girl? You’re becoming a nuisance” He stopped and turned his head back slightly towards her, looking at her from the corner of his eye. “Well?”
In her eyes, his words were heartbreaking, but she mustered the strength to ask him. “W-what was on that pendant? You…you never showed me it.”
He just turned back forward and continued walking.
Canialia stood in place, as did the cadre and Mist. “Archerion Fellonar! I demand an answer from you!” she yelled to him with utmost anger, but he kept walking. She slid her bow off of her arm and shot an arrow at him, intentionally missing. “Answer me, damn you!”
As he saw the arrow whiz past, he stopped and walked back at her, grabbing her by the throat once more, but this time not as hard as he had before. “Control your actions with me, girl, or meet your end.” His words were harsh and put Canialia’s cadre on alert.
Through what she was able to say, she ordered them to stand down, and they did. “Kill me if you will, but I know the real Archerion Fellonar is in there still.” Her words caused his grip to loosen, but still stay rested at her throat.
“The same Archerion I met outside Senscitar forest,” she continued. “The one who offered me comfort after my home was burnt to the ground and after two of my most trusted archers were killed.”
Mist stood off to the side as he watched and smiled.
Archerion’s eyes fell, momentarily, into a less serious look, but his grasp tightened again on her throat and his eyes expression more serious again. “I’ll not fall for your tricks, girl! You die here and now!”
Her cadre stood there helplessly at Archerion’s actions, but Canialia merely smiled at his words. “Then kill me if you will,” she said moving forward against grasp. “But I know...in my heart that…the real Archerion Fellonar would…never be…able to harm me…and I believe in my heart…that the real Archerion Fellonar…is, indeed, the one…in which…I love.” Those final words are what caused his grasp on her to cease. She continued to move forward and brushed her lips across his gently and with tears in her eyes. Archerion’s eyes and expression turn back to normal. The pendant in which he carried had shattered.
The charm from the pendant…had been broken.
The glass orb shattered in Askar Sarpantra’s hand and splintering shards across the wide throne room, barely missing the many guards there. The corpse of the Serpent King’s apprentice had been cleaned up days before, and yet Askar cared not for his death.
Alakanna had been locked in her quarters by herself, refusing to see the outside world. She had done nothing but watch Archerion and Canialia suffer from her father’s charm and wished she could do something, but feared to do anything. She had been crying for her father’s apprentice’s death. She had been very good friends with him and was greatly saddened by his murder. Not even Dakolenar would disturb her during that week.
When she saw her father’s charm broken by Canialia, she was somewhat rejoiced, but was also saddened even more, in a way. She had not known what it was like to feel love in her life. She didn’t know what it felt to be loved or to love. Watching Canialia kiss Archerion in that brief moment made her wish even more she was with them, and also wishing she could also find love like that some day.
She wanted to leave. She truly did. But she cannot do anything but watch her father reek havoc upon the two. But the coming of the druid Mist brought promises of survival to the group and, possibly, even the downfall of her father…
When you've betrayed all those about you, who will be there to have your back and not your head?