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RAESE - Tormented

Whitehall, Harridan Hamlet, Paladines (lost for six years)


Raese read tales from the book his wraith had led him to. Since then he’d glimpsed flashes of one of the immortals. A man from the UpperLands.

I knew him. I remember things...Raese could no more cease thinking of the strange sorcerer’s life then he could his precious wraith.

Raese knew he dreamt tonight. But couldn’t escape, nonetheless.

The dreams are…Inexorable. Bright and beautiful. Filled with tastes, textures, colors…

Raese’s body drug through time, transported to the late 1400s. Standing before the silhouette of a man who called him Merlinus.

In this body, as Merlin, Raese knew this figure as ‘Captain’.

Raese noticed as this man, he dressed differently. Long flowing robes rather than the fitted satin overcoats that Raese of the present was accustomed to.

The Merlinus version of himself acknowledged the Captain’s direction.

Merlinus was to use his staff to hunt a creature in Dread Country, Ardae. The Captain described a Boy King who needed to access something deep in that water. In truth, Raese was confused about what the man in the dream seemed to understand.

Thusly, Raese was soon inspecting the shore of Widow’s Lake deep in Dread Country. Looking to spot the creature that protected it. When that yielded only still, glinting waters he moved on. With lethal precision he researched his quarry.

Enlisting the assistance of their tracker, Christophe Rhyers, yielded nothing. No track to follow.

He dismissed the adversity. Moving on.

Taverns always offer the most information. All the Forever Knights knew that. He’d rely on the tavern wenches. He headed for the Buck’s Bell Inn and Tavern to collect intelligence.

“Tell me of the Lake.” He asked barkeep after barmaid. Slipping them coin.

This man responded much as the last. Shaking his head emphatically. “Ye canna go near. She’s brutal violence.”

Her? So, I look for a revolting water monster who murders any man near the lake.

Raese toned down his dress, scruffing his appearance to find work under the Dread Country King. Building giant granaries and a prized dam over the stream feeding the Lake.

The lake creature is a flesh and blood being…He dwelled on this fact.

It’ll emerge for food, supplies, clothing. Things necessary for even a pseudo-human.

When it does, I’ll know it. He thought. Determine its strengths and weaknesses until I may trap, tame or kill it.

Why not send me after the weapon rather than the monster guarding it? He wondered but dismissed the thought.

The Captain always has a purpose.

The question plagued Raese’s mind even as the sun rose the next morning. Always an early riser. He recognized. Watching the fluorescent colors tinging the long expanse of gardens in the Paladine Country.

It’s like I’m always looking, waiting for something…

My wraith?

Raese couldn’t remember much beyond living here on his estate, going to parties and balls and visiting friends at the gentleman’s club or taverns for bitter ale in the recent years.

For the first time he wondered, why?

What about a childhood? He regretted his pondering. It makes my head ache.

Dismissing the thoughts, he tossed the coverlet back.

Once abed that night, he fell asleep quickly. Finding himself abruptly surrounded by the smell of wet forest. Hearing the creaking of rope ladders, the rhythmic thud of hammers, he recalled time moving forward in a blur of back breaking work climbing those ladders and working hand-crafted saws on rough wooden terraces. Cutting planks into thin slices which were taken to the ground level and stacked. The wood lowered via nets and pulleys. They cut the branches high in the dense canopy to keep from killing the trees entirely. Conserving Feglen Forest.

One day as he came down from one of the higher moorings, he glimpsed a woman near the stream in the distance. Standing in a cream-colored gown.

Dark hair flowed in fat curls over her shoulders and to her waist. Her skin pale porcelain and flawless. Eyes so vibrantly blue, he saw them clearly in the distance.

Watching us work. Why?

Even from this distance, he heard the slightly heightened sound of her heart. He caught her quick breaths moving her torso under the detailed dress.

She’s emotional. Watching us work is upsetting her.

Her gaze was deliberate on them. Returning her look steadily, he attempted to probe into her thoughts.

Is this the creature I’ve been seeking? But he found nothing. I can’t reach her thoughts?

What is she? He was correct in presuming she was something from the lower lands. She emanated a tremendous wave of power.

She watched them all with an unreadable expression.

As her eyes scanned, she memorized each of them before spotting him. Meeting his steady look, a long while.

No surprise. No alarm. Just a cool look. After a bit, she turned her back in a swish of skirts and wove into the trees.

The swing of her hips was mesmerizing.

Raese heard a dish of tea clattering in his chamber and was snatched from the dream. Despite fighting to stay.

It’s peaceful there. But he couldn’t get back. Damn you all.

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