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We present chapter five, which was all done in one session Wednesday March 25th through Thursday March 26th.

Ragnus - Thorne; All other characters George "Underdog" Cockrell

Session Start: Wed Mar 25 21:05:00 2009

<>Ambiance<> Begin Chapter Five

<>Ambiance<> With the main group all set to set out on the High Priestess' quest in the morning, we return to the Elf Group - featuring Ragnus, Eltiana, Ariana, and Elena.

<>Ambiance<> When last we saw them, this group was on their way through the Sylvanus Forest, on their way around the Weather Mountains to the small forest on the other side where Eltiana lives.

<>Ambiance<> The group had just had lunch, and was on their way to see a friend of Eltiana's who lived in the next city up the road.

<>Ambiance<> Eltiana was in the middle of describing forest gnomes to her nephew, Ragnus, when, suddenly, she had some sort of a fit, screamed that the forest, her home, was burning. She slumped forward on her horse and passed out.

* Eltiana is now known as Elena

<Elena> Has she ever done this sort of thing before?

* Ragnus dismounts his horse and stands aside his aunt.

<Ariana> No, never. At least, not while I lived with her.

<Elena> She's very hot. She definitely has a fever.

<Ariana> I don't know what to do. You've experience with healing, Elena, what do you think.

<Ragnus> How far until the town? Can we risk traveling with her in hopes of supplies there?

<Ariana> It's not that much further. We're more than halfway there.

<Elena> In that case, I think it best if we go on.

<Elena> Ariana, you know the way to the town, correct?

<Ariana> Yes. It's been several years, but I'm sure I can find it.

<Elena> Lady Eltiana took me there on our way to your forest when we came down a couple years ago, so I know the way as well.

<Elena> Ragnus, help me secure Lady Eltiana to the horse, and we shall ride ahead of the group if that's ok Lady Ariana.

<Ragnus> These visions, are they normal? She said she saw her village burning?

<Ariana> No, Ragnus, were you not listening earlier? They are not, as far as either of us know, normal.

* Ragnus assists Elena to lift Eltiana back onto her horse and secure her so as to not fall on the way.

<Ariana> She's never had them before that we know of.

<Elena> Perhaps it was just the fever...

* Elena helps secure Eltiana to the horse.

* Ragnus looks at Elena, hopefully. "Let us hope, perhaps we can find out more when we get her more comfortable."
<Ariana> Yes, Elena, that is a good plan.

<Elena> She's ready to go, lets be off. Ready Ragnus?

* Ragnus mounts his horse and brings it aside Elena and his aunt, and nods to Elena. "Let us go."

* Elena sets Eltiana's horse in motion and rides off after it.

* Ragnus proceeds to follow behind Eltiana and Elena.

<Elena> Follow along behind. I will ride as fast as possible beside her.

<Ragnus> You were hesitant earlier Elena, are you sure she's never had one of these visions before? Is it possible its part of her training as a priestess?

<Elena> I was not hesitant. I'm positive, this is not normal.

* Ragnus bears down on his horse to keep up behind them as they rush through the forest.

<>Ambiance<> There proves to be an easy to follow path, and the group makes good time.

<Elena> I know you have questions, Ragnus, but now is not the time. After we get her attention, then we can talk.

<>Ambiance<> The city, indeed, proves to be only a few of miles up the road, and the party makes it within an hour or so, driving their horses as fast as they can safely go.

<>Ambiance<> At the edge of the city, the party is halted by a party of gnome sentries.

<GnomeSentry> Halt!

<GnomeSentry> Who are you and what is your business here?

<Elena> I'll handle this Ragnus.

<Elena> My name is Elena Tal, Acolyte in training of Ullr.

<Elena> My lady, Eltiana, Priestess of Ullr has taken ill. We are urgently seeking medical aid for her.

<GnomeSentry> Oh dear... Well I suppose as you are sylvan elves… Please, enter our town. I will summon our doctor.

<Elena> Others of our kind… and some high elves as well… are following behind us a ways, including the lady Eltiana’s sister. I implore you, please make sure they are admitted as well.

<GnoneSentry> Of course.

<Elena> Come on Ragnus.

* Elena hurries after one of the gnomes who is directing her where to go.

* Ragnus nods and follows suit.

<>Ambiance<> The gnome eventually shows Elena into a very camouflaged building, which is large enough inside to accommodate elves.

<Gnome> We get elven visitors from time to time, of course, so we keep this place for such occasions, the doctor should be here...

* Ragnus takes Eltiana from the horse and helps carry her inside.

<GnomeDoctor> Where's the patient?

<Gnome> She's here doctor, we're just carrying her inside.

<GnomeDoctor> Oh my word, that's priestess Eltiana isn't it?

<Elena> You know her?

<GnomeDoctor> Yes of course, she's a long time friend of the elder. I remember her... I remember you too, of course... Elena, wasn't it?

* Ragnus lays Eltiana on a nearby cot and turns to the conversation between Elena and the Doctor, "She passed out saying something about a burning village, and has a high fever"

<GnomeDoctor> Let me have a look at her

* GnomeDoctor examines his patient. She definitely has a high fever.

<GnomeDoctor> Was she sick at all before this happened? Was she showing any signs of illness?

<Elena> None, sir.

<GnomeDoctor> Puzzling...

<GnomeDoctor> Her fever is very high. If her fever doesn't come down soon, she could die...
<GnomeDoctor> I don't usually do this for outsiders, but she saved the elders life once a long time ago.

<>Ambiance<> The doctor obviously casts some sort of a spell on her.

* GnomeDoctor waits a few moments, and says "Cure disease didn't seem to have an effect on her unfortunately."

* Ragnus shoots a glance at the doctor. “Any clue what could be causing it?”

<GnomeDoctor> Not really, not yet anyway.

<GnomeDoctor> We need something to take her fever down, but the plant we usually use might be toxic to elves.

<GnomeDoctor> Are either of you familiar with medicine at all?

<Elena> I am sir.

<GnomeDoctor> Good! Excellent even!

<GnomeDoctor> We gnomes use wild chamomile plants to reduce fever. Are you familiar with those? Do those work well for elves.

<Elena> It isn’t poisonous to us, but it isn’t very effective either. Even less so than old fashioned willow bark, though it is better than nothing… Do you know what absinthium is? You wouldn’t happen to have any of that would you?

<GnomeDoctor> I know what it is, yes. We don't keep it on hand, mind you, because we never use it since it’s not very effective for us. It does grow around here in abundance, though.

* GnomeDoctor checks Eltiana's temperature again.

<GnomeDoctor> It's getting worse.

<Ragnus> Then we should get moving, what is this herb you speak of?

<GnomeDoctor> There is some absinthium not far west of here. Since that’s what works best on your kind, and presumably you know what it looks like, please go bring me some of that plant back young lady.

<Elena> Of course.

* Elena hurries away

<GnomeDoctor> And you lad, you know what a willow tree looks like I'd hope?

<Ragnus> Yes, I do.
Good, go get me some bark from one and bring it back here immediately. There are plenty of willow trees here.

* Ragnus nods "With haste, please take care of her until we return."

<Ragnus> And let my mother, Ariana know where we have gone, she will wonder.

* Ragnus with one final look to Eltiana, turns and heads out to find a willow tree.

<>Ambiance<> There is a particularly large willow tree in plain view.

* Ragnus hurries to the nearest willow tree, removes his dagger from his belt and scrapes a healthy amount of bark from the tree, cupping it in his tunic and returns to the dwelling the rest of his party is waiting in.

<GnomeDoctor>Good. Crush it up and put it in this bowl of hot water please.

* Ragnus sets some pieces of bark on a nearby table, and placing a little at a time in the bowl, proceeds to crush it up with the hilt of his dagger.

<Ragnus> Yes, you had mentioned her and your elder were friends.
Hand me that bowl of bark water would you?

* Ragnus hands the doctor the bowl of bark

<Ragnus> Might it have something to do with her vision?

<Ragnus> She seemed quite distraught by it, perhaps enough to cause this reaction?

<GnomeDoctor> Vision? What vision? What are you talking about?

* GnomeDoctor uses a strainer to remove the bark from the water, and then raises Eltiana's throat and pours the infusion down "the hatch."

<Ragnus> We were riding, and she stopped abruptly, saying something about a burning village, moments later, she collapsed in her current state.

* GnomeDoctor I see... well, I expect that’s why Cure Disease did nothing to help.

* Elena ,obviously out of breath, hurries in with the requested plant.

<Elena> How is she, doctor?

<GnomeDoctor> Not good I'm afraid. Please, take that to my assistant. The gnome outside will show you where. He'll know what to do with it.

* Elena looks uncertain. She obviously doesn't want to leave Eltiana again.

<Ragnus> It will be ok Elena.

<Ragnus> I will stay with her.

<>Ambiance<> After a brief pause, however, she does as she's told.

<>Ambiance<> After a few minutes, she returns.

* Elena kneels down beside Eltiana and, takes her hand gingerly in hers.

<Ragnus> Perhaps I should go and see if the others have arrived yet.

* Elena Begins saying a prayer.

* Ragnus begins to rise and watches Elena curiously.

<Elena> Please lord Ullr, look after her. I may not always have agreed with everything she believed in, but she's been a good priestess of yours. She teaches the flock to honor you, and to hunt wisely. I’ve learned a lot from her. She’s been a good mistress and a good leader of your flock. Please don't take her from us now.

* Ragnus slowly walks out of the room, hesitating at the door, to watch Elena for a few moments, before heading out to check on the others.

* Ariana and her group are obviously just arriving in town.

<Ariana> Ragnus, how is my sister?

<Ragnus> She is inside, with Elena. The local doctor is trying a couple remedies to bring her fever down, if we don't, he says she could die.

* Elena hurries inside.

*Ariana hurries inside.

* Ragnus turns and approaches the door archway to watch the goings on inside the dwelling.

<>Ambiance<> You find Ariana freaking out, and Elena, still holding Eltiana's hand with one hand, and moping her brow with a cool, wet cloth with the other.

<Elena> I think her fever has stabilized doctor.

* Ragnus attempts to comfort his mother.

<Ariana> It all seems so strange, Ragnus.

<Ariana> She's always been so indestructible, you know.

<Ragnus> Aye it does.

<Ariana> When we were little, she took care of me...

<Ariana> She was never sick...

<>Ambiance<> After a moment, the doctor's assistant brings in a potion of some sort.

<GnomeDoctor> Ah, good! I think this will help her.

<Ragnus> Aunt Elti is strong mother, her training, her will, she will likely be fine.

<Elena> May I give it to her, Doctor? I do have some medical training...

* Elena looks hopeful.

* GnomeDoctor considers for a moment, then says "Well, I don't see what it would hurt..." and hands the potion to Elena.

* Elena pours the brew down Eltiana's throat.

* Ragnus watches intently.

<Elena> Please get better, lady. Without you taking me on, the high priest would have never given me a chance. All I ever wanted to do with my life was to be a healer, and help others less fortunate than I. It's only because of you that I may get that chance.
Erm, it's getting rather crowded in here... would the two of you (meaining Ragnus and Ariana) mind waiting outside?

* Ariana is now known as Eltiana

<Eltiana> The forest!.... Fire! Fire!!!

<Elena> Doctor!

* Ragnus begins to escort his mother from the room and stops at the screams of his aunt.

* Eltiana shakes violently for a moment, then sits bolt upright in bed.

* Eltiana 's eyes are wide open, like huge saucers.

<Elena> My lady, please! You're ill!

<Ragnus> Where?! what is it you see?

<Eltiana> No, no, our home. It's burning! Goblins... Magic... Fire! Fireeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

<Ragnus> Is it possible doctor, since your cure had no effect these visions could be real?!

* Eltiana collapses back to the bed, huge beads of sweat on her forehead.

* Eltiana loses consciousness again.

* Ragnus rushes to her side, and looks up at his mother.

<GnomeDoctor> I'd say anything is possible at this point.

<Ragnus> You mentioned, never sick?

<Ragnus> Is there anyone here that is familiar with this type of thing?

<Ragnus> Has anyone came from the village or nearby recently?

* GnomeDoctor It’s all speculation at this point, and no, this thing is not normal.

* GnomeDoctor Hmm… She hasn't been acting... strange has she? Hearing voices, howling at the moon, that sort of thing...

<Ragnus> Of course not, nothing out of the ordinary at all.

<Elena> Her fever is definitely going down now doctor...

* GnomeDoctor Well, that's good news at least. Hopefully she hasn't lost her mind... I really don't know what else...

<Elena> She has definitely NOT lost her mind!

<>Ambiance<> Elena is very forceful and defensive on this point.

* GnomeDoctor Well, whatever.

* GnomeDoctor examines Eltiana closely.

<GnomeDoctor> You're definitely right, young lady, her fever has gone down.

<GnomeDoctor> I suspect she will get better if she doesn’t have any more attacks like that one. I'm going to give her a sedative.

* GnomeDoctor places something under her tongue.

<GnomeDoctor> Now, I think you two should leave. She needs quiet. This young lady will stay with her and make sure she's recovering, wont you?

<Ariana> But doctor, she's my sister. I should stay with her.

<GnomeDoctor> Nonsense. Have you any medical training?

<Ariana> No, but...

<GnomeDoctor> No buts, now shoo. We'll let you know when there is any change.

<Ragnus> Come mother, the ride, and the stress of it all must be taking its toll, surely Elena can take care of Aunt Eltiana.

<Ragnus> I am sure she will inform us of any changes in her condition.

<Ariana> Ok, but please, let me know if there is any change.

<GnomeDoctor> Of course, of course.

* Ariana leaves the room.

* Ragnus exits the dwelling and waits for his mother outside.

* Ariana I'm acting like a child. I need to go make sure the others know what's going on and that they are all settled in.

<>Ambiance<> It's obviously getting late.

<Ragnus> It is understandable, but perhaps they should be told. I will see if they have lodgings available for you, or shall we just make camp?

<Ariana> I think... I don't know how I can, but, I think we should all try to get some rest.
You've only known sis for a short time, but you know... the instant she's fit to travel, she's going to want to hurry home just in case this is a vision of some kind...

<Ragnus> You are probably right, maybe it is best to start to make camp. Do we have supplies for food and whatnot?

<Ariana> Of course we do. There is no need to make camp. I'll go talk to the elder and he'll make sure we're taken care of. Besides, he'll want to know how sis is.

<Ariana> Just come with me to explain this to the group for now.

* Ragnus nods in agreement and follows his mother to the gathering of concerned elves, to explain the events that had taken place today.

<Ariana> You know, I never realized how much that girl cared about Tia before. She's never showed it.

<Ragnus> Aye, she did seem quite.. concerned. and loyal.. hmm

<>Ambiance<> You remember how detached she seemed towards Eltiana earlier in the day.

<>Ambiance<> You reach where the group is, and explain to them what is going on.

<>Ambiance<> They seem a little disturbed... unsure... their leader, the one who convinced them to come on this pilgrimage has taken ill and is acting strangely. They are clearly concerned.

<>Ambiance<> As you're finishing the explanations, the elder shows up, obviating you from the necessity of finding him.

<>Ambiance<> When you finish explaining the situation to him, he's clearly concerned, and mentions multiple times how she saved his life once when he was little, and how highly he regards her.

<>Ambiance<> He tells you that you are welcome to stay here until she gets better, and requests that you keep him informed of how she's doing.

<>Ambiance<> Ariana takes the group to get settled, and then requests that you go check on Eltiana, as her place is with the group until she gets better. Of course, if there is any change, or her sister wants to see her, you will come get her, of course.

<>Ambiance<> It is now late evening, and bedtime is approaching shortly.

* Ragnus leaves to check on Eltiana and Elena. stopping at the archway before entering the dwelling.

<>Ambiance<> You find Elena still holding Eltiana's hand. She's apparently fallen asleep at her side.

* Elena stirs at your approach

<Elena> She's better. Her fever is almost gone.

<Elena> She'd probably be awake now if the doctor hadn't given her a sedative. He also had one slipped into your mothers drink at dinner. She’s clearly freaked out by the whole thing and needs her rest.

* Ragnus enters the room and approaches Elena, "And you, how are you holding out?"

<Elena> I'm fine

<>Ambiance<> Ahe doesn't look fine, she looks exhausted.

<Ragnus> Perhaps you should return to the others and get some sleep.

* Ragnus knows she most likely won't but she should.

<Elena> I can not do that. I may not agree with everything she believes in, nor does she believe in everything that I do but… if she hadn’t agreed to take me on… All I’ve ever wanted was to be a priestess and a healer. None of the priestess’ of spring had room for an acolyte, none of the ones of summer would have me as a trainee, probably because they all knew the high priest despised me, and I‘m not fit to be a priestess of Autumn.

<Elena> The high priest might have sent me away from the church entirely if not for her. Yes, I was assigned to her, but really, I think… she could have just as easily said no… she volunteered to take me because no one else would have me. Until she sends me away, my place is by her side.

<Eltiana> (in a weak voice) It’s ironic, you know. You want to be a healer so bad, and now your hope of being one rests on whether or not you are able to make your mistress better.

<Elena> My lady!

* Eltiana pulls Elena's hand in towards her face, and kisses it.

<Eltiana> I should order you away for your own good… but I won’t yet. Thank you child.

<Ragnus> Aunt Elti!

* Eltiana smiles weakly.

<Ragnus> How are you, how do you feel?

<Eltiana> Ragnus, do me a favor...

<Ragnus> Yes?!

<Eltiana> DON'T wake your mother if the sedative has taken effect and she's already asleep.

<Eltiana> Also, thank you for getting the willow bark for me, Ragnus.

<Ragnus> Wait... how did you know?

<Elena> But, how do you know.

<Eltiana> I know everything that happened while I was "asleep" I could hear it all.

<Elena> You heard all those things I said...

<>Ambiance<> Elena looks VERY embarrased. VERY.

<Eltiana> Yes, I did. Don't feel bad about it, in fact... you're caring words gave me hope.

<Ragnus> So you were conscious?

<Eltiana> Yes.

<Ragnus> What of the dream you had? was it.. a dream?

<Eltiana> You can't imagine what it's like... being delirious... seeing things with eyes that are not your own, yet, being able to hear with your own ears. all the while, not being able to move.

<Eltiana> For a while, I thought I would go mad, then, I wondered if I already had.

<Eltiana> I don't know what it was. It could be delirium, or... god, no, please don't let it be real...

<Eltiana> If I had the strength, I would leave tonight and ride straight through to home...

<Ragnus> Relax aunt, we can set out as soon as you are well.

<Elena> Lady, no! you must rest!

<Eltiana> I know... besides, you'd probably get the gnomes to spell me if I tried to leave tonight...

* Elena laughs and cries at the same time and says "You better believe I would!

<Eltiana> Well, then, I suppose there is nothing for it. We'll leave at dawn...

<Elena> At dawn? But surely you need...

<Eltiana> Don't presume to tell me what I need.

* Elena looks a little hurt by that, but tries to hide it.

<Eltiana> I'm sorry, that came harsher than was meant, Elena.

<Elena> It's alright, lady.

<Ragnus> So dawn it is, surely aunt you must need your rest for the journey .

<Eltiana> Ragnus, will you make ready for the three of us to ride out in the morning.

* Ragnus nods.

<Ragnus> I shall, but just the three of us? What of the others?

<Eltiana> Just the 3 of us.

<Eltiana> The others will only slow us down, and I have need of haste.

<Eltiana> Ari will bring the others along at a normal pace.

<Eltiana> She knows the way.

<Ragnus> Understandable. And.. thank you. I will make preparations. Shall I inform the elder of your improved condition?

<Eltiana> Yes, but make sure he doesn't tell Ari.

<Eltiana> You can wake her early in the morning and tell her.

<Eltiana> When you've finished that, please return here. I know you are tired, but Elena must be exhausted.

<Elena> I'm ok, lady.

* Ragnus nods and looks to Elena. before heading out the door.

* Eltiana looks at Elena and says "Two things."

<Eltiana> First, you are not "ok" regardless of how hard you try to convince me otherwise.

<Eltiana> And second...

<Eltiana> You are no longer allowed to call me my lady...

* Elena gets a puzzeled, frightened look on her face.

<Eltiana> You see, my friends, they have to call me Tia.

* Eltiana smiles.

* Ragnus laughs as he exits the door and heads off to find the village elder "That’s Aunt Elti!"

<>Ambiance<> Ragnus met with the elder, informed him of Eltiana's condition, and that she intended to ride out in the moring. It took a GREAT DEAL of convincing to get the elder to agree to this, but he finally conceded.

<>Ambiance<> Ragnus then got the 3 of them packed and horses ready, and finally, returned to take the already sleeping Elena's spot beside Eltiana. The three would be ready to ride at dawn, or whenever Eltiana dragged them out of bed anyhow.

<>Ambiance<> Had it all been a dream, or was it a vision? No one seemed to be sure, but Eltiana was determined to find out as soon as possible.

<>Ambiance<> End Chapter Five

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