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Beginning the Adventure

"Ye must promise, me girl.  Get ye to this land I telled ye of and make a new life.  Nae give in to ye kin.  Promise!"  The raspy   words echo through me dreams each night.  Me own mother's words, spoken in her best common.  "I telled ye all I learnt, and try I did to protect ye as long as possible, but the time has come.  The place I send ye to be harsh indeed and ye be havin ta train hard.  But stayin here be even harder."  A tear ran down her cheek as she begged fer me word.  With me own heart breakin, promise her I did, a promise that can nae be broken.  It was shortly after that promise was made that I arrived in Elanthia, in search of some way to make me mother proud... some way to make up for what me kin had done.  

Jadewater mansion was where me feet first touched Elanthian soil.  I say that becasue me heart were so heavy with worry fer me mother that the days it took to travel to this place became but a blurr in me mind. I awoke one mornin from yet another fitful sleep and took in me surroundings.  Jadewater... even the name of it spills regally off me tongue.  It was like wakin into a dream. So much space inside one building seemed impossible.  Grand stairs flowed into magnificent halls which spilled into beautifully decorated and spacious rooms.  The windows were quite a picture of thier own.  Peoples of all kinds rushed back and forth with purpose in each stride, while still more wandered about as aimlessly as meself.  At almost every turn there were tables piled high with treats so amazing, I could nae help but wonder what feast they be preparin for.  

Outside on the grounds the cobbled path sparkled as it led me little feet around to the gardens.  At the gazeebo another table held even more treats... including tarts!  Me heart leapt at the sight.  I had feared that me lips had tasted thier last tart when me home was behind me.  Even more delightful was the tall robed monk who telled me to help meself to the treats!  This was nae a harsh land at all as me mother had telled me.  It be heaven!

Me belly were filled with tarts, jellybeans, ale and more, when the sight of the walls around these wonderfilled grounds made me wonder if this be me last chance for such comforts afore venturing past the massive gate.  "Those walls must be there for a purpose," I telled meself.  Mayhaps to keep the true harshness of this land at a distance.  Havin nae a copper to me name and nae any trainin fer anything ta get some, me sack was also quickly filled with tarts, jellybeans, ale and more.  

I wandered around the grounds as long as I dared, nae in a hurry to rush out and find that harshness me mother speaked of.  In me wanderins I chanced across a cresture unlike any I had met afore.  A cat-like person who walked on two feet and talked in the common tongue.  Not as good as me, mind ye, but common it be.  After a moment or two I realized she be new to Elanthia as well, and just as lost as meself.  She were just discoverin the talents of her tail. After a giggle I stopped and wondered, and looked very carefully to see if this was something that would happen to all peoples entering this land.  I breathed a sigh of relief when nae any sign of a tail did I find on meself.

Tail-less and intact, I did finally venture into the streets.  Shadows loomed large around buildings, shops, and halls.  I had never seen so many buildings so close together.  It was almost comforting.  Hidin be one thing me mother and father aggreed on for me ta learn.  It also be one more thing I nae be good at, except when me mother's skirts be me hidin place.  But, this crowded place offered so many choices!

As I walked I heared folk speak of many strange things.  After a while I understood that some of them had been talkin of the trade they be learnin.  They called it guilds.  There were a guild fer Empaths, one fer Paladins, and another fer Clerics.  I was sure there be more, but I could nae figure those out yet.  This guild thing intrigued me and I wanted to learn more.  I looked up at the sign on the corner and read, Truffenyi Way.  "Hmmm," I thought, "Truffenyi sounds almost like Taffleberry."  I took it as a sign and proceeded up the path to a gate.

The robed monk standing guard outside the gate greeted me with a smile.  It made me feel warm all over.  Feeling at ease with him, I proceeded to ask questions about the guilds.  He knew only of the Cleric's guild.  He telled me that there be one inside who could teach me all I desired to learn, and pointed to the building behind the gate.  Looking up at the building I was suddenly filled with a fit of nerves.  But, me promise to me mother were somethng that must be kept.  Bravely I stepped through the gate and waited.  Nothing happened.  I nae be sure what I expected, but I was relieved when it nae happened.

The sanctuary of the Cleric's guild was a cool and quiet place.  A few monks sat on benches around the room and studied from books, or whispered to one another.  I noticed a large chest sitting against a wall, the words charity chest on a scroll attached to it's side.  Curiosity lead me to take a peek inside.  There were a few items of clothing and several maps, just like the one I had been given at Jadewater Mansion.  Nervously I looked about the place.  A large open arch lead to a room filled with sunshine. Taking a peek through that arch I saw more benches, and two very large vats.  Did the clerics use these for water?  ...or something more hidious?  A shiver ran up my spine as I recalled horrible tales that had been telled to me as a young one ...tales of evil dragon worshipers who boiled bad children and ate them fer supper.

Turning back to the sanctuary, I noticed another door.  Creeping up to it as quietly as possible, I tried to peeked inside. "Ahem," coughed a stern voice from behind me.  "This is the study of the guild leader.  Be gone if ye have no business with him." I almost ran away right then.  But then I remembered, I did have business with the guild leader.  My voice shaking and cracking, I explained to the monk that I wished to learn of the guild. With a knowing smile and a nod he let me pass into the study. Behind a great wooden desk sat a human man.  His eyes were soft and somehow comforting.  Seeing no sign of dragons anywhere I relaxed as Esuin greeted me with a smile and an outstretched hand.

Esuin telled me a great deal that day and answered many questions.  His patience was welcome as I asked some of the questions more than once.  He explained about the gods and telled me how I could learn more.  I was fascinated.  The more he talked, the more I knew that this be the place I was meant to be.  He explained that the life of a Cleric be a difficult one, but well worth it and the rewards great for those who persevered.  This life also fell into line with a promise that needed to be kept. Leading this life would honor me mother and the sacrifices she had made fer her only daughter.


2001 Taffei Snarfn'tart, a.k.a. Pamela Conard