Well I've finally gotten round to replying to the challenge set down by Adurj last week. I hope you all enjoy it!
I've added these stories to the new Roleplay Stories section of the website, and will continue to keep that section updated as new chapters get written.
Merecraft and Udrath sat in silence, staring at the meal of stuffed peppers and mushrooms that lay on the highly polished surface of the maple table. They were in Joleena's Restaurant in Kelethin, having agreed to catch up following their surprise meeting. It was Merecraft that broke the silence first.
"I know I owe you an explanation and an apology old friend. I just hope that you can accept the only one I have," he said, staring at the dwarf.
Merecraft couldn't quite believe that Udrath had found him again after all these years. The Gods must have an odd sense of humour indeed he thought. The dwarf looked older, old even for one of the Butcherblock folk, and there was a haunted look in his eyes that had never used to be there. The same glint was in his eyes as ever though, and the playful smirk Merecraft remembered so well still danced across his lips.
"An explanation? After nearly five hundred years with no word? I should say so laddie! We thought you'd perished in the Shattering."
Udrath smiled. "Brell, it's good to see you though, even if you have... changed."
Merecraft smiled back and absently rubbed the top of one ear, where once the flesh had been pointed but was now round and smooth.
"It's the least I owe you old timer. Well, especially after that last card game we played," he laughed before his face fell serious.
"I'll explain Uddy, just bear with me. It takes a lot of believing.". He sighed and sipped from a glass of fayberry wine before continuing.
"Well, it may have been five hundred years to you, but to me it almost seems like last week. I'd left the Knights behind, as I'm sure you remember, certain that I could only find and face my enemy without the responsibility of command."
The warden gazed down at the table again, a far off look in is eyes. "After your confrontation our enemy disappeared for a while. But I found him and knew what I had to do. It will take a while, but I'll tell you what happened"...
Merecraft waited. The cold stone room was bare, without adornment except for the single high window shaped like the moon. The bright light of Luclin fell through the window, painting a distorted crescent on the floor. There were no sounds that even his half-elven senses could detect, so he decided to meditate. He sat on the cold floor, crossed his legs and closed his eyes, letting his mind fall empty.
Some time later he became aware that he was not alone. He opened his eyes to see the Erudite standing before him again, pondering the druid.
"What you ask has never been done before," he said to Merecraft, his tone condescending. "Yet I have spoken to the elders and they agree it is possible. It will require a new kind of magic, a Chronomancy, but it can be done."
Merecraft looked up impassively, though he was cheering inside. It was possible!
"There will be a price however," the Erudite continued. "You came here to ask for our help, and we will do so, but this new Chronomancy will require something from you. The magics of the portal will not allow the magical side of your nature to pass through. It will be stripped from you, and the process will not be painless.".
Merecraft frowned briefly. "You mean I will lose my powers? How will I be able to stop him if I lose them?".
The Erudite shook his head slowly, as if bemused by a child's lack of understanding. "No druid, your powers come from Tunare. They will remain with you assuming your goddess is still present where you journey. No, the magical side of your nature that I refer to is the elven side of your heritage. Your elven blood will be boiled from your veins when you cross the threshold. You will become pure human."
Merecraft rocked backwards, stunned. His elvish blood could not pass through the portal! Yet it was a part of him that he had spent years tracing before finally finding his half-brother Kaide. If he lost that then who would he be when he passed through and arrived at his destination?
"I don't know if I can bear to lose that..." he said quietly.
"You have no choice," the Erudite replied. "The ritual has already begun and the price must be paid. You cannot hope to travel half a millennium into the future and remain unchanged. Surely you must have realised that?"
A short time later Merecraft awoke. He felt as though he'd been on the wrong end of an ogre's beating. The last thing he could remember was stepping into the portal, the chanters of the Chronomancers in his ears. Then came the burning light and the pain.
He forced himself to his knees and looked around the room, his eyes straining to see in the darkness as they had never had to before. He lifted his head and looked up at the window.
"Tunare... Mother of All... I did it..."
Above him, where a few moments ago the shining globe of Luclin had hung heavy in the sky there was a new string of shattered rock, glowing like coals forged in a monstrous explosion.
The laugh dies on Udrath's lips as he caught Merecraft's look.
"What? Yer serious laddie? You actually travelled five hundred years forward in time, and in doing so stripped away your elven blood?"
The warden just smiled back at him. "Where do you think the Chronomancers sprang from?"
"Brell's beard lad! But why?"
Merecraft's face grew serious. "You have to ask old friend? There is only one reason I'd try such a thing. Only one person that must be stopped whatever the cost."
Their eyes met and they spoke at the same time.
Merecraft smiled at the loud snoring that came from the sleeping dwarf. They had retired to the warden's camp just outside of Kelethin once they had finished their meal. Their conversation had turned to happier memories and it had almost been like old times once again, though he was no longer part elf, and the dwarf was many, many decades older.
They had not discussed what Carinus was up to. The old dwarf had had enough surprises for one day. Merecraft would tell him in the morning he decided. He would tell Udrath that he had uncovered what the shadowknight's plan had been all along.
Carinus had been so determined to break up the Knights Templar just so he could get hold of an obscure book of prophecy that lay forgotten in the library of the Eastern Commandery in Freeport. That book had contained a single line that predicted a time when the moon itself would be torn asunder and in the ensuing chaos the avatars of the Gods themselves would leave their Planes and return to Norrath to offer succour to their followers.
The druid had followed Carinus' path to a place he dare not follow - the entrance to the Plane of Hate. There he discovered the Teir Dal intended to wait out the centuries for the predicted time to come, learning, feeding, and growing in power.
The shadowknight intended to return to Norrath in the far future, after the Shattering when the avatars of the Gods would leave the safe sanctity of their Planes, and confront the Avatar of Hate himself.
That was why Merecrat had sought out the secretive coven of exiled Erudites and travelled to this time.
To stop his old enemy from becoming a new God.
Generations are Weird
3 hours ago