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At Last, Revenge

McIan

Adventurer
Aylyssa the witch wondered if the old fool of a curator actually delivered her message since it had been days ago that she left it with him. She had waited patiently in the hovel she shared with many others, though not all at the same time, not far from the Inn above the shrine of Spirituality in Ilshenar, adjacent to Lord Oakes' pixie-and-wisp-swarmed shrine. Thus far she had neither seen nor heard from the intended recipient, Deminatza, whom she actually knew by name and by sight. She added the finishing touches on a malodorous concoction in the large cauldron, one made to repel the annoying pixies and wisps that congregated outside, and sometimes inside, her bamboo-constructed hut.

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"This should fix them awhile," she muttered to herself, leaning her head over to inhale the foul, even fetid, aroma of the bubbling liquid. "Gods how I despise them!" Even as she lifted her head, satisfied that the reek was foul enough to repel most anything, she heard a voice outside. She knew at once it was the one she sought and went to the doorway to greet her appropriately. It was the woman in blue, the one she had been told about, dressed, hat and all, standing at the bottom of the tall ladder entrance to the hut. After the usual formalities she beckoned the woman to approach. "Come inside," she kindly invited, and the woman complied.

She detected an uneasiness with the woman, an attractive one, she thought, likely of gypsy descent but she wanted to portray a sense of forbidding power, of humorlessness and pointed, direct, speech, for her purposes so she spoke in a terse monotone, no lilting of words at all. They stood facing each other, a few strides apart. Seeing the confused jumble of books, bones, debris and other assorted magic-related potpourri scattered about, not to mention the wafting reek of the cauldron's contents, the woman said merely, "Gramercy!"

Ignoring that, she began. "My name is not important. I imagine you expect me to give you a false one anyway."

"Thou hath me at a disadvantage, lady," she protested.

"But that you may know me. I am Alysa. Lysa for short."

"Tis an honor, Lysa," she replied with an elegantly humble bow. "I thank thee."

"Do not thank me yet. I have a price for my service. No sorrow tales from me. Suffice, I need aid. There are two enemies of mine. One is the ancient foe, Barracoon the Piper, leader of vermin. He was instrumental in my... husband's death. The other is the Huntsman whose shrine is nearby. His pixies and wisps disturb me greatly. Can you find the necessary forces to defeat them in battle? It will not be easy."

"I may."

"Barracoon for revenge, Lord Oakes for a lesson in manners. I will ask you defeat only one and leave it to your choosing. Bring me proof, some tokens, that I may confirm their defeat."

To make sure she understood correctly, Deminatza repeated her request verbatim.

"Correct," the witch replied. "Be it Barracoon the Piper or the Huntsman nearby. Some will refuse to attack Lord Oakes as they will lose favor with the Light. Lord Oakes is nearby. Barracoon is at another shrine area. I am not sure where Barracoon is exactly. He is near one of the others. He is dangerous. Both are. I believe he is near the Valor moongate."

"What proof dost thou require," Deminatza inquired.

"Barracoon will have a blue Skull of Greed, given to the warrior who harms him the most. Show it to me. Do not try to substitute one already taken. I need a fresh one. I will know the difference. Lord Oakes... "

Deminatza interjected, "Mistress, I assure thee, I shall not deceive thee."

"...will release a Skull of Enlightenment, but beware, he is chaotic good, so attacking him and his hordes will cost in virtue. Let your commander choose. I care not which. What I give in return is an enchanted item, one suitable for containing spells and even draughts. It will stay the lycanthropy fever if properly enchanted further," she continued.

"Forgive me, mistress. It will stay the lycanthropic fever, not cure it?"

"Correct. As long as he wears it, he will not transform no matter what the moon phase or his natural anger. In time it may release its enchantments into his body, and fulfill its purpose. But that is all legend. I cannot prove that part."

"Fulfill it its purpose to keep the fever at bay?"

"No, rid him of it forever. Again, that is a myth, but myths are based upon facts."

"So as long as he wears the item, we will know for certain it will keep him from the transformation." Deminatza reflected on it out loud making sure she understood clearly what the benefits and limitations of the talisman were.

"And, in time, it may effect the cure you seek, but I cannot promise it. Lore says the necklace will discolor and no magick will emanate from it. There is a story surrounding that aspect. A fable."

"Where is this story written?"

The witch gave a brief laugh. "It is a spoken thing, unworthy of recitation."

"It is worthy to me. If thou art willing to recite it I am willing to listen."

Lysa hesitated but proceeded. "'There was a man of the moon, he bayed and bayed in the gloom. One he loved so dear, loved him and resisted her fear. She found a token, a gem of worth, and filled it with her love, her laugh, and mirth. She gave it to him, this greatest gift, and when its magic faded away, the moon was gone; it was forever day.' That is it."

Deminatza mouthed the words of the last line. "The moon was gone, forever day."

"So now you see there seems to be an end to it if the item loses its potency. A gem, a ring... but I have a necklace. Not here with me. Hidden. I was unable to enchant it in time," she stated somberly.

"My condolences mistress," Deminatza offered politely.

"I need no sympathy."

"Nay, not sympathy mistress. I share thy pain."

Lysa nodded. "I hope your friends are powerful. They all will need to be. I have work to do now." With a few more words the conversation ended. The witch gave Deminatza an enchanted bauble to enable her to call upon her to meet again at the hut when the time came, were she absent. Then she warned, "No one save you may enter my hut. If your friends step inside unbidden, I will depart. I care not who enters when I am not here. I am certain others use it as well. Have your friends with you but awaiting outside. You may go with them or stay with me. I will remain until they return, though I may remain out of sight. Go now. I await your return."

Deminatza bowed and departed, her heart rekindled with joy, and hope.
 
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