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The Island of Thain :: Forums :: In Character Discussion
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Love, Death, and the cost of Vengeance

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Thranduil Greenleaf
11:39:47 pm GMT 08/26/12
Thranduil Greenleaf Registered Member #1145 Joined: 8:28:45 pm GMT 08/30/07
Posts: 808
It had been many years since Letheria disappeared. Styvn knew soon afterward that she had passed from this life. The connection that he and Leth had shared was severed. He could feel it in the depths of his soul. The time spent since her disappearance had been divided between his duties as Tel' Varataurie, his commitment as the Feywood ambassador to Greenvale, and the endless searching for clues about what had happened to the love of his life. It was the latter that consumed his thoughts from day to day, and turned the once gregarious and sociable elf into a brooding, quiet recluse.

He had learned much over the years since her disappearance. Krin and Jalla had been a great help with the information their wolf pack had gathered. But it was the encounter Styvn had with the strange elven woman several years later that had given him the most important information. She had in her possession a collection of books and notes, including a diary, that were all written by Leth. Styvn knew her handwriting well. The elven woman would not say how she came to have them, but she gave them to Styvn. He spent many long hours studying them, and in conjunction with the things he had learned from all the other sources, he began to unravel the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Letheria.

That she had been murdered by a Dragonkin was certain. Krin's pack members had been able to confirm that from interaction with the Northland wolves who witnessed it, though they had no idea which specific one had done the deed. More importantly, they had also confirmed the fact that it was Mesher, the malevolent Alpha wolf who's spirit had been bound to Leth's, who had betrayed her and orchestrated her death. After piecing together all the information he'd gathered, Styvn knew that Mesher believed Letheria's death was the only way he could once again be free of her. Once Styvn had put together all the pieces of the puzzle, he began his search for Mesher.

After years of searching and tracking, Styvn finally located him in the Northlands.... a huge white wolf who had claimed the area around Tree-water Lake. From the cover of the natural surroundings, and occasional help from the shadow plane, Styvn was able to get close to the wolf without being detected. The wolf's fur was marked with blue runes just as Leth's diary had described, and he was wearing an amulet around his neck that was decorated with one of Leth's wing feathers. There was no longer any doubt..... Styvn knew he had found Mesher.

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Thranduil Greenleaf
1:17:23 am GMT 08/28/12
Thranduil Greenleaf Registered Member #1145 Joined: 8:28:45 pm GMT 08/30/07
Posts: 808
After returning home and contemplating his next course of action, Styvn reflected on what he'd discovered about Mesher, his environment, and what preparations he'd need to make to be successful at killing the creature that betrayed his love to her death.

The first thing that caught Styvn's attention was the sheer size of him. He was much larger and more powerful than any Alpha male Styvn had ever seen. The second thing was the confidence with which Mesher moved about his territory. He exhibited none of the caution that all other wolves showed while patrolling their area. Mesher was absolutely sure he was the top of the food chain in his environment. That was unusual for a wolf. No... not just unusual.... that was unnatural for a wolf. They were, by nature, cautious creatures. Mesher was different.

Then there was the environment. The terrain was frozen. The temperature around Mesher's territory was well below freezing. Mesher was unfazed by the extreme conditions. He didn't seem to even notice it. For the scout, It made moving about undetected difficult at best, as the frozen snow covering the ground was prone to crunching when stepped upon. Styvn had been forced to take extra precautions about stepping lightly to avoid detection. That was always a concern when scouting an enemy, but the Northlands made it particularly challenging. His camoflage techniques were more than adequate to remain unseen, but remaining unheard was another matter. Styvn spent several weeks scouting the area so as to be familiar with it and to know what his options would be at any given place or moment, and also to know what Mesher's patterns were for patrolling his own territory.

The huge wolf would be hard to bring down with conventional arrows, at least before he could close the distance and bring his fangs to bear on Styvn. It would be neccessary to make up a supply of heavier, more effective arrows with larger broadheads to slow the big wolf down and make him easier to finish off with blades should he actually reach the scout. Styvn had no desire to spend a lot of time up close in melee with so large and accomplished a predator. He would have to pay close attention to how the fight was going in case the need arose to slip through the shadow plane to escape, if it didn't go well. Better to live and fight another day than to die in a failed attempt for no other reason than the sake of honor. In this particular instance, honor was less important to Styvn than ending the life of his love's betrayer.

He thought briefly about taking an ally with him, but the thought was short lived. This was extremely personal, and Styvn wanted the wolf to know that. This was about avenging Letheria, not about a simple wolf hunt. He wished the rapier he'd forged for Leth had been recovered. He would liked to have used it to finish the job, and make certain Mesher knew that it was personal and not just another hunter looking for a trophy. He would have to hope he'd have time before the light left the wolf's eyes, to make certain of it.

Enough time for thinking. It was time to make preparations. There were other things besides arrows that needed to be seen to.

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Thranduil Greenleaf
7:19:56 pm GMT 08/31/12
Thranduil Greenleaf Registered Member #1145 Joined: 8:28:45 pm GMT 08/30/07
Posts: 808
Styvn spent hours stalking Mesher before he decided he had just the right position. He was about a hundred yards from the wolf, and facing his left side straight on. The wolf was completely unaware of the ranger's presence. Styvn watched him for a short while. There was something about Mesher that he couldn't quite put his finger on. Something very strange, different, and unnatural compared to other wolves. No matter.... all the years of searching for clues and hunting the one responsible for Letheria's death had come down to this moment. It was time to end it.

From his concealment, Styvn quietly drank several potions he had collected just for this fight. He wanted it to be over quickly. He stood up and put 6 of the heavy arrows into Mesher before the wolf even knew he was under attack. The sixth was leaving his bow before the first had arrived at it's target. The effect was not what the ranger had expected. Mesher didn't seem to be bothered physically by them, but he was obviously not happy about being shot. As Mesher turned and rushed toward Styvn at a dead run, Styvn continued to pump the large arrows into the wolf's body. They weren't even slowing him down. The wolf howled with a volume and ferocity the ranger had never heard from any wolf before. The sound was terrifying to even the stoutest of heart. This was not going the way Styvn had envisioned. He was sure the new, massive tipped heavy arrows would cause such damage to Mesher that the wolf would at least slow to a crawl if not drop dead before he could reach him. He was closing the distance quickly, and Styvn knew he'd have only a split second now to sling his bow and unsheath his blades. Whether he wanted it or not, melee was inevitable.

As he reached Styvn, Mesher tried to knock the ranger down with the sheer mass of his body and the inertia of his velocity. Styvn deftly sidestepped the charge, but Mesher recovered amazingly quickly and swung around to bring his fangs to bear on the ranger. The first bite to land tore into Styvn's forearm and caused heavy damage to the rangers left arm. Styvn continued to land hit after hit with his blades, but the wolf seemed to be unaffected by the cuts and punctures that Styvn was inflicting upon him. They seemed to close up almost as quickly as they opened. All the while, Mesher's bites were penetrating the enchanted leather jerkin he was wearing and taking a heavy toll on Styvn. The ranger was losing blood and ground too fast to recover. This was not going well at all. There was something sinister and unnatural at work here, and Styvn hadn't the time to figure out what it was. He wanted to use the shadow plane to disappear and escape, but there wasn't time for that either. Mesher's attacks were coming faster, and were starting to have a devastating effect on Styvn. There was a frost cloud surrounding the wolf that was freezing the ranger to the bone, and his strength and reflexes were fading fast. The wolf was powerful beyond conception.

As his vision began to blur, and his thoughts were becoming disjointed by the loss of blood and tissue Mesher was tearing from him, the wolf bit down on Styvn's leg and the ranger felt the life force being torn from his soul. His last conscious thought was that the unnatural feel he had gotten from Mesher was well founded, and this was no ordinary or natural animal. It was possesed of some foul and negative power that was more than the ranger had forseen, or bargained for. All of his preparations were for naught, and he would not be avenging his lost love. He knew he was about to die here in this frozen land. As Mesher made that last bite he had a sudden look of enlightenment on his face. He seemed to know at that moment who Styvn was. Everything faded to black, and the High Ranger of Feywood knew no more.

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6:51:30 pm GMT 12/22/12
Lightfoot Registered Member #157 Joined: 5:18:57 pm GMT 06/25/04
Posts: 15510
Deep in reverie Willow shuddered as his breath misted as if blown into the coldest winter's frost. Greenpaw and the few apprentices from Feywood that sought Willow's teaching in the Ungue Orn (for only a few would seek to study within reach of the Gnoll and even alongside one), muttered together uneasily. For the elf's skin had become chill and slick with an unnatural coldness in the last hours, as snow now started to dust the Grove of the Ungue Orn.

Willow's sojourns in lengthy reverie had occurred for many a season, since the great exertions during and after the Arcane Winter that had plagued the land and ripped apart the natural cycles of the Dance of the Clouds. Although his constant connection to the Source and latterly amidst the Parliament of Trees had gifted him the strength to aid commuting the most egregious assaults on the Isle's forests, his need for rest and recovery after using these great powers became ever more important. Whether lying in composed reverie as weeks turned to months under the watchful gaze of his oldest living companion Bear, or standing in his beloved groves with his rootlets deeply drinking of the purest water of Thain, his spirits required renewing and strengthening for the tasks the Source required of him. This time spent apart from the world, in reverie or standing amidst the forest with his Treant-form's roots in the moist soil of the Ungue Orn, was necessary in order to extend his life as much as to ration his strength of spirit. As even the traces of Fey blood and magic within him were not enough alone to extend his life to the lengths that his duty required. A duty that required that he /must/ live longer than an elf's natural lot in order to fulfil his Oath to the Source, and the yolk of Seneschal of the Forests taken up from the Valhalriss who had walked before him.

Scholars could tell you that a Druid's connection to his Grove accentuate both his powers and its strength, but few knew of the fabled elven gem of power called the Heart of the Forest, and it's scion that existed upon the finger of Willow Erilodel. The Cycle of Nature glowed green as the snow fell upon the reclining body of the elf as his mind roamed free of constraint within reverie. This gem was empowered so that it could in turn attenuate through the localized area to communicate to Willow taint or trouble in the natural order, yet within Willow's own Grove it's strength was channel through his own and might reach more than it normally did.

In his minds eye Willow saw a battle of titanic struggle, his fellow companion in the Conclave of the Tel'Varataurie Styvn, facing an eldritch wolf larger and more powerful than a normal creature had right to be. Unable to remove himself from this vision to bring corporeal aid, Willow's mind remained focused and linked to that of the elven ranger as he faced the might and chill of Mesher's attacks. The connection between the elves had grown like the tendrils of a plant through many years of working together, sharing gifts of mind and craft as they worked together to aid Nature and Feywood. Such magic, when focused through the might of the Grove of the Ungue Orn could not be denied and Willow was as a leaf in the wind unable to pull away from his mind-link to Styvn as his final seconds approached.

As the ranger finally faded to unconsciousness (perhaps as close to death as he might reach), Willow's own eyes finally opened in the Grove of the Ungue Orn. Blinking away snowflakes, he managed to gasp through chattering lips "Styvn!", causing the Flock that had gathered preening in the trees about him to burst upwards spiraling northwards screeching in search of the wolf and the body of Styvn, Ranger of Feywood. And as his students warmed his body, Willow in turn instructed them to carry word south to the Stronghold of Feywood that they might seek northwards and follow Willow's Flock to find the lost and wounded elf. It would take some time to learn the fate of Styvn, but Willow had faith that the folk of Feywood would find him and return him to their Stronghold home dead or alive.
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Thranduil Greenleaf
7:35:40 pm GMT 12/24/12
Thranduil Greenleaf Registered Member #1145 Joined: 8:28:45 pm GMT 08/30/07
Posts: 808
The blackness that had engulfed Styvn's consciousness like a smothering blanket was interrupted by sound. Voices. He could hear voices. Faint, and distant at first, but slowly becoming discernible. They were speaking softly. They were speaking Elven. The voices were familiar. He'd heard those voices before. He knew these elves. They were Druids of Feywood. El'derod and Samiira.

The wolf!! Where was the wolf?! The memory of the battle came flooding back into his mind like a whirlwind, spinning him around until he was dizzy with the pace of it. He'd grossly underestimated the power of Mesher, and he'd fallen so quickly he hadn't had time to escape into the Shadows. That last vicious bite to Styvn's leg had opened up more than a huge gaping wound, it had also opened up a connection between their two life forces. Letheria!! It wasn't just Mesher, it was both of them! Letheria's spirit was mingled with Mesher's in the body of that wolf!

As that realization hit Styvn like a hammer blow from a Northlands giant, he cried out her name and tried to sit up. He felt the gentle touch of Samiira's hand on his chest and heard her soft voice. “Easy, my brother. Lie still. You're not strong enough yet to move. You're safe and in good hands. Rest... be at peace”.

Samiira's voice was melodic. The words were soothing and comforting. It put the ranger at ease, and he slipped back into blackness.

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Thranduil Greenleaf
12:13:10 am GMT 12/30/12
Thranduil Greenleaf Registered Member #1145 Joined: 8:28:45 pm GMT 08/30/07
Posts: 808
Styvn slowly became aware again. The blackness was giving way to sounds.... and sight. Samiira was still with him, and as his eyes started to open she spoke to him in her familiar melodic voice.

“Welcome back, Styvn.”

His vision began to clear, and he lifted his head so his eyes could focus on his surroundings. As he did so, Samiira gently placed another pillow under his head to prop it up. He was in a large, well furnished bed chamber. He recognized it as one of the visitors rooms in the Feywood Council chambers. The finely carved hardwood furniture, and the expertly cut and polished stonework were unmistakable. As his mind turned to other matters, she could see the questions he was pondering written in his facial expressions.

“Willow sent messengers to the Stronghold alerting us to your situation. You and he obviously have some deep connection that warned him of your dire need. We sent out a patrol, which found you and brought you back here. You've been unconscious for a long while. Your wounds were grievous, but we've had success in healing them.... mostly.”

Mostly? The word echoed in his mind for a moment. What did she mean by that? He looked down at his own body and could see bandages still in place on his left forearm, and his left thigh. She continued speaking to him.

“Your arm and leg suffered severe tissue loss. We believe it may heal itself with the proper treatment and conditioning. It will take a long time, however, and there's no guarantee you will recover complete use of them. Only time will tell.... and your willingness to work at it.”

He sighed and turned his head to look at her, and other than the utterance of Letheria's name, he spoke for the first time since before his journey to the Northlands.

“Well in that case, how about something to eat and drink? I'm famished and thirsty.”

Samiira laughed softly and it sounded like music.

“Good!!”, she said with a smile. “I'll see to it immediately.”

And with that she left the room.

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Thranduil Greenleaf
10:44:43 pm GMT 01/01/13
Thranduil Greenleaf Registered Member #1145 Joined: 8:28:45 pm GMT 08/30/07
Posts: 808
As the days passed, and Styvn became strong enough to move, he began to venture outside. Being cooped up inside was worse for him than being weakened from his injuries.

Wandering through the woods surrounding the Stronghold, he had time to think. His thoughts were mostly concentrated on Leth, and what, if anything, could be done about her spirit being bound inside the body of the white wolf. This kind of phenomenon was something he had no knowledge of, and he knew he'd have to consult with those who did. The first person who came to mind was his good friend Willow. He figured if anyone would understand how something like this could happen, it would be the ancient druid.

Styvn started preparing for a journey to the Ungue Orn to seek out his old companion. Before his near death in the Northlands it would've been no more than a casual stroll with the occasional pause to dispatch a few Gnolls here and there. But in his current condition he'd have to take extra caution not to be seen and then overwhelmed by the Gnolls. He was much to weak to fight off more than one or two. He'd have to rely more on stealth and let the hated creatures move about freely unless he could catch one of them alone now and again. Unfortunately, they typically traveled in packs.

It occurred to him that many of the places on the island that he once could travel to with impunity, he would now have to seek companions to assure his survival. That realization annoyed him greatly. He had become a solitary individual, and except for his cat, he didn't particularly care for the company of others. At least most others. There were a few he considered friends, but they were few and far between, and Styvn hadn't seen or heard from any of them in many years. As for his brethren, he had been the lone Tel' Varataurie for so long, he'd become accustomed to having the Tel' V Canopy all to himself. Willow was the only other member still around, and he resided in the Ungue Orn.

The ranger packed up his gear and headed north into the wilds.

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Thranduil Greenleaf
3:54:14 am GMT 01/05/13
Thranduil Greenleaf Registered Member #1145 Joined: 8:28:45 pm GMT 08/30/07
Posts: 808
The journey to the Ungue Orn was a welcome change from all the time Styvn had spent bedridden from his injuries. He encountered a few gnolls, but on those occasions had the benefit of help from either a few of his brethren, or the forest creatures he had cared for and protected on his daily patrols. It felt good to be back in the wilds, traveling the forests he loved.

The home of his old friend was tucked away in a small clearing in an out of the way corner of the deep forest. As soon as he arrived, the ranger knocked on the door hoping to rouse Willow from whatever he was doing. There were many questions he had for the ancient druid, and it would likely be several days before they finished conversing about it. That was fine. Styvn always enjoyed the time he spent in Willows company. It was always a learning experience, no matter the topic. He was sure this time would be no different in that respect.

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2:06:15 am GMT 01/07/13
Lightfoot Registered Member #157 Joined: 5:18:57 pm GMT 06/25/04
Posts: 15510
Turning at the sound of the knock Willow smiled, his arm resting on the heavily muscled shoulder of a vast and grizzled dire bear known only as Bear, Guardian spirit of the Ungue Orn and the druid's oldest companion. The twittering of the Flock that rested on the branches of the nearby copse of trees spoke of the elven figure without the doorway, and through commune with their many eyes Willow knew that it was Styvn his friend of old.

Crouching to wash his herb stained hands in a bubbling spring, Willow spoke softly in sylvan allowing the locks and seals upon the door to unlatch and the door to creak open gently in the wind. Calling out in elven Willow spoke, "enter my friend, I am glad to see that after the terrible visions of weeks hence that you are well enough to walk in the forests once more".

Stepping out before the Alter of the Elements, a stone edifice that resided within the centre of the Druid's Grove and was a place of worship to the four elemental Gods of Thain, Willow bowed his head with his auburn hair shimmering in the dappled sun of the glade as Styvn entered his abode.

"I had thought that yon wolf of ice and snow, a most despicably empowered spirit I'd wager, might have severed your soul from life. We are not so many within the Conclave of the Tel'Varataurie that I would lose one in such a way". And raising a hand to welcome Styvn to the peaceful centre of the Ungue Orn, as the Hollowed Tree was known in elven, the trailing weave of the Tel'Varataurie cloths once woven by Talla Gweth and tailored to fit his figure by his own crafting sighed gently as he walked them towards a soft moss bower where they might sit and speak. Whilst the hum of insects and the chatter of the birds of the Flock, proved a counterpoint to the frustrated growls of Bear as he sought to claw a bee-hive down from one of the surrounding branches.

A soft growl issued from a furry shadow to their left as the elves settled to the soft ground to speak. "Ah be not afeared, that is Ferath a messenger from the south and the slopes of Hammersong. He has recently eaten and awaits my reply before returning to that distant mount, Willow murmured as he glanced fondly at the sleeping grizzled dire wolf. "He brought missives from the Stewards of Hammersong, it seems something of import occurs in the south that perhaps we of the Tel'Varataurie should know of. Here this is the message he brought".

Dwarven Parchment wrote ...
"Master Willow,

I trust this missive was received from my companion in a satisfactory manner. There are more matters than I would discuss in an open letter, but know that there are situations which are brewing in Hammersong that could result in undesirable circumstances regarding the elves of Poisonwood.

In light of this, I wished to request the material services of your druidic craft as well as your wise council on the matter. I can make the journey North at the upcoming half-moon if you are willing to entertain my notions.

Ferath can bear any replies you may have on the matter.


Orin Stonetooth
Steward of Hammersong

P.S. He should be hungry after his trip, if you happen to have anything for him, I would be much obliged. If he is not hungry than he has likely eaten a few of your deer and I apologize for that. Wolves will be wolves."
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Thranduil Greenleaf
8:42:16 pm GMT 01/13/13
Thranduil Greenleaf Registered Member #1145 Joined: 8:28:45 pm GMT 08/30/07
Posts: 808
The growling of the wolf was not a source of concern for Styvn as his intuition told him the creature meant him no harm. He smiled warmly has he entered into Willow's home and greeted his old friend.

“Vedui', Willow. It has been too long since last we met. The white wolf of the Northlands is the very reason I've come to seek your knowledge. Indeed it did almost sever my spirit from this body. Fortunately, your timely vision was a deciding factor in my survival. For that, I thank you. I am in your debt.”

After the formalities of greeting each other were attended to Styvn read the note Willow handed to him as he had entered, and then nodded toward Ferath as he spoke.

“If you would wish my presence when his master comes to hold council with you, I'd be happy to attend the meeting. Perhaps I can be of some service in the matter.”

He turned back to Willow and his brow furrowed as he spoke of the matter most prevalent on his mind.

“I have questions that need answering about the white wolf, and I am hopeful that you may have the answers. But first, let me tell you what I know.”

“It took me many years to learn what had become Letheria's fate. I now know that she was killed by a dragonkin in the Northlands, and that her wolf companion, Mesher, had orchestrated and witnessed her demise. I then spent a very long time tracking him down. Once I was sure I'd found him, I watched him for a while longer. I had decided to extract vengeance on him by taking his life. I grossly underestimated his power, and as you know, that mistake nearly cost me my life. But the most disturbing thing about it all was the discovery that Letheria's spirit is now trapped in the body of the white wolf with Mesher's. At the end of the battle, there was a strange connection that occurred between us as I lost consciousness. I think that is the only reason the creature didn't finish me off when it had the chance. We recognized each other in that instant.”

He paused for a moment to let Willow absorb the information, and then outlined his questions.

“How is it possible for two spirits to inhabit one body? More importantly, how can I get Leth's spirit out of the white wolf? I'm certain she doesn't wish to be there. I could sense the extreme displeasure she feels at being trapped in that body with Mesher.”

The ranger stopped at that point to allow his old friend to contemplate the questions and formulate his answers.

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