Not giving up on my story Shadowdancer, still working on it. this is from an RP that is in progress, still rough, but maybe of interest; Concerning one of my original characters.

set in forgotten realms, but mostly original characters. and of course thoughts, opinions, criticism, ect welcome


Legend tells of the Vale of Shadows, a lush valley hidden in the mountains that holds a sacred pool with the power to make dreams reality. Many seek this place searching for answers to the deepest questions of their heart and soul. Others for less noble reason. The Pool is considered a myth, a story that has been passed down through the generations.
Few have been successful enough to find it. And those who have no longer live, remember, or
They keep such secrets carefully guarded lest it fall into the wrong hands. Over time the stories, for the most part, have been forgotten.

XXOXX

A cool breeze blew thru the tree's browning leaves. The creek was calming and unusually high, the last rains having filled it. It was still early, nearly dawn in Bitterleaf; a small forest town, if it could be called a town at all. The sun's slivers of orange just peaking above the horizon. A few candles burned in cottages, people rising early to start another day. A day to prepare for the end of autumn and start of winter.

The senile old druidess sat on the wooden bench of her small cottage; her eyes seamed glazed over, milky orbs staring into some distance. Old scars that looked like burns covered her face and around those unfocused eyes. She leaned back to sniff the air, listening as soft boots neared.

Everyone of the town knew, she had claimed to have 'seen it' the famous Pool with her own eyes. Unfortunately, she was considered delirious and demented by everyone tho mostly harmless. But the hardy people did enjoyed the stories she told of times past. Early when she moved to this place a few had tried to find this Diving Pool, and had never been seen again. The mayor had banned any from searching and speaking of this legand.

Not that it stopped foolhardy youth.

A cloaked older elven man walked past her porch, a morning grunt, and the closest to a greeting he was willing to give to the old woman this morning, continuing to the largest building. A stone building that served as a temple, council hall, and school. Outside the oak door was a billboard. He nailed a paper on top of the oldest sheets. Most were small jobs- clearing out pest, searching for lost items, or searching for people to hire for the harvest to come in the next couple weeks. He glanced back to the druidess, a glare that she wouldn't see, then headed further into town to a large shop.

XXOXX

the stone building seams simple to most; yet it was sturdy and well build despite its plain appearence. the grey stones used in it's construction differed from all the wooden buildings save the temple. This two story building was a popular haunt for both the town folk and travelers. Plus it was the only inn and tavern within a hundred miles. A 4 ft wide porch encircled the building with a few small tables out front. Above the red door was a carved wooden sign swaying in the wind.
The Gaping Maw Inn and Tavern, the name a joke started long ago, sat on the eastern side of the town. the owner a short fat man, who almost appears dwarvish in stature and mannerism, was known for his love of food and talk. He and his family had ran the business since the founding of Bitterleaf.

On the first floor was the tavern. The inside walls were local wood, brown and warm, often mismatched due to the wavy grain, but each plank had been planed to a perfect fit. Tapestries dotted the walls in between the evenly spaced windows. The center of the wide room was hanging a large antler chandelier. Thirteen varying sized tables, spaced randomly, rested about the main body of the room, each capable of sitting from two to eight patrons with allowances for size. To the right of the doorway the bar stood, made of a deep red wood. It was long, covering the distance from the wall in which the doorway stood, all the way to the stairway. In its middle, a formed and joined drop hatch bridged a small gap. behind the bar led to the wonderful kitchen that served the local dishes. On the opposite wall of the bar was located a small stage where performers could entertain guest. Stairs led to the top floor, which contained 15 average size rooms, each with a full size bed and small tub.

the fire burned low, the nearly charcoal logs scenting the room and mixing with the smells of breakfast meats cooking. The floor was relatively empty, only a few patron out and about this time of the morning. Most were sound asleep on the floor above. the sun was filtering in as it was rising above the horizon. A thin woman of tanned skin and dark hair wiped the bar down while gathering the empty glasses. Another waitress, tall and thick built older woman, walked around to take breakfast orders. From the kitchen came a load clangging of pots and a voice of someone fussing over the newly created mess.

A strange figure stood in the dim corner of the Gaping Maw Inn and Tavern, he chose this particular corner simply for the fact that the figure could study everyone in the room currently., He learned long ago that for someone of his particular talents, anyone could be a potential assassin or conspirator in some plot.

"Kill them now you fool" echoed a voice only he could hear, "Kill them all, nobody will miss a few pathetic farmers and wenches."

Once again he fought back the voice, fought back it's temptous suggestions, more then once he had given into it and those times he both relished and was abhorred by what he had done. He came to call this voice "The Raven" because of it's unnatural craving for death and carnage, much like the foul carrion bird.

He had not given anyone in this town his name, it provided a minor degree of protection, from his experience names granted some degree of power, he simply signed the inn's ledger as Rodger Smith a traveling minstrel. Nobody could know who he truly was, not only would it put him in grave danger yet again, but it may cause the death of innocent lives. He shuddered at the memory of the first time he gave into "The Raven", how his blade sang with his victim's blood, the blood of his own family and friends, the entire village gone in a matter of minutes. As always as when he though about that occurrence, he fought back, both vomit and tears. His own wife and newborn daughter slaughtered by his hand, the same hand that worked, in the shadows to protect them.

The inn keeper approached him now, he wondered if the man was a spy or just came to make a simple request of him,"Perhaps there is a wench he needs flayed" spoke "The Raven".

He entered a deep bow as the inn keeper stepped in front of him "Thank you kind sir for the hospitality you have shown me, the food and drink is,most enjoyable".

The inn keeper simply grunted and motioned to the, space he had a few of the bar maids clear, minutes ago, apparently this man expected him to perform, which was no problem, he had a natural gift for storytelling and music. He quickly strode over to the space now reserved for him and produced a simple harp, and with a flourish began to play a very familiar and personally painful tune. The same tune that he had used to court his now deceased wife and as a lullaby for his baby girl as well.

"Do not worry my friend" spoke yet another voice, one that he dubbed "The Mourner", "You will see them again, continue to keep hope, there maybe ways to bring them back."

He was sure that his eyes weren't the only ones glistening by the end of the song, he quickly recovered his composure and continued his performance, taking requests that he knew and even danced with a few of the local women.

After awhile he turned to them, to tell him local legends, one peaked his interest in particular, told in hushed tones and kept from lawful ears; this old lady who claimed to have seen this "Divining Pool", a mystical power so great that it could make peoples dreams come true. He managed to gather that much information before the others hushed the speaker. He bowed to his audience and apologized claiming that he needed some fresh air, his thoughts were clearly elsewhere as he made his way to the door. As he opened the door he collided with a female figure. "I'm sorry miss I didn't see you there" he curtly stated adding a deep bow for emphasis, he straightened and waited for her to respond to his apology.

XXOXX

From within the druidess' house came another scream, same ones she heard all night from her unexpected and temporary guest.

She bolted up from the bed to her own screams; her body covered in a slight sheen of sweat and damp tangled hair matted to her head. The also damp blanket was tangled around her form and half on the floor. She tried to catch her breath, her mind still in that past, and fight them off.

The green lizard edged twords the girl, having gotten use to this common occurance. She cautiously nudge skin, hoping to bring the girl back to the present while sending simple telepathic words to wake up.

After a few moments, the fighting stopped, and she sat there out of breath and hoarse. Gazing quickly around the room she realized that it had just been another nightmare. Slowing her breath as much as she could she pulled the blanket to free her feet and place them onto the wooden floor. The young sorceress ran a hand thru her hair, or tried before giving up. One hand went to her chest, a dull throb now coming to her consciousness. The night shirt, hanging very loose showed part of the ugly wound that mocked and reminded her every moment of her life. A scar that ran from her clavicle across her chest to her bandage around her ribs rubbed against the raw fresh wound that left her here in this place. Limbs tingled as the last remnents of the poison or magic or whatever they used worked its way from her system.

On a short dresser was a large ceramic bowl full of water, beside it a small towel. On the back of the dresser a dust old mirror with a few cracks on the edge. Water was splashed on her face, an attempt to wipe away the redness, the sweat, and mostly the thoughts from her. Not that anything could remove the inner pain and turmoil of her soul. A glance up into the mirror was a mistake, and not thinking, punched it. The sturdy mirror cracked, a few pieces shattering. Her hand was cut up and no doubt the woman outside heard, but the girl didn't care at the moment. So she just did as she normally did, put up mental wall, a mask to hide behind and would go about life as she always did.

Turning to face the bed, she went about searching for her stuff, promising excruciating pain and burning down everything owned if even one thing was out of place, had been touched and especially missing. It was bad enough that whoever dwelt here saw her so vulnerable and weak. That these people had to help her, to rescue her, some less willingly.

Quickly dressed, hair in braid, and ready to leave, the sorceress scooped up the violet eyed lizard and placed her on her shoulder before stepping into the living room, dressed, packed and ready to get away from this place as soon as possible. The door to the cottage was open, and the sorceress saw the woman on the porch.

"I liked that mirror," the druidess called with some sarcasm, "now what are we going to do about that?"

The girl mentally cursed, the foolishness; then set her jaw firm and crossed her arms, "I'm not paying for it," her tone holding a bit of sarcasm also. "I didn't ask for your help," expecting the druidess to say that the sorceress owed her.

The druidess half chuckled, knowing more than the sorceress wished for anyone to know. Delirious and night terrors revealed enough, albeit unwillingly. But any pity or sorrow was kept to herself. No drow would accept such emotions, and the drow before her even less so. The old woman understood more than she wished. She stood up and headed inside and stopped at the door, likewise crossing her arms.

The sorceress raised a snowy brow, her fingers flexing and thinking she was going to have to attack the senile woman before her if she wanted to get away.

"I have a better idea," the druidess spoke, "I want to hire you to do some work," she started then quickly added, "not charity," tone harsh to emphasize the self nature of the request. "A few in the inn have already been hired. Maybe a job is something you would be up for? I pay well," a strange grin on her face.

The sorceress stopped her fingers and considered the request.