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Subject: IC Beyond the Shadow of a Dream Feb 2018 rss

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Eric Dodd
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It is as easy as Thrunor hopes to lock up the house and leave. Randal and his men are loitering just at the gate, and rush up when the front door opens. You are able to tell him that you have achieved all he asked for, and he seems genuinely relieved to see Lysarrus. Kan is still very befuddled, and with some of his men installed Randal lets him back into his home. All the guards have fallen into a more natural slumber and give you no trouble.

With your monetary reward from Randal in your purses you head with Randal and Lysarrus back to Clouds. Lady Valeria is soon in attendance and holds her curiosity until the youthful storyteller is ready to talk. Finally, after food and drink he stands in the centre of you all and begins his tale.

'First, I must apologise to all of you to a lesser or great degree. I have lied or hidden the truth from each of you, as a natural storyteller must. To my newest friends: dwarf, elf and human who have come together to save me from capture I hope that the adventure and tale I will tell will make up for now learning the truth. To Lady Valeria, who took in a wretched girl lost in the streets, I hope my tale will put your mind at rest. As for Master Randal... I cannot know how you will feel when I have finished my story.'

'I come from a great forest a long way to the West. I can remember a childhood of communing with all the forest creatures, and some elven peoples. But I was always curious, and could ever feel the tug of all the minds beyond the forest. One reckless day I went far enough from the forest to encounter a caravan of humans, gathered at a campfire and telling each other stories. I longed to be part of this world, and persuaded them to take me with them. Not all I have met on the long journey to Torkon were as friendly, and by the time I came to town I was down on my luck. I have powers over dreams, but not all men are affected the same, and some respond with terror or hatred.

'Lady Valeria took in a girl called Lena and called her Fern...'


...A gasp then from Randal and Valeria...

'... and it seemed I had come to all I dreamed of. A place to stay where I had love and companionship. Rich minds full of adventure and dreams, and a chance to tell my own tales to an eager audience. Those with ugly minds had secrets of gold and treasure that I could liberate with my skills, passing the gold to those who needed it. This man Kyan had the worst mind, a greedy mind with no love, only a desire for power and knowledge of terrible things. He could sense my power but not control it, and so imprisoned me until I would work for him. But his every fear was amplified against him, and I hardly had to use my abilities to bring him down.

'So that is my tale. I am Lysaarus, and Fern, and Lena and a creature that Kyan called a Mind Vampire.'


As he names his names, Lysarrus changes face and shape from man to girl and finally to a small, thin, grey elven creature some four feet in height.

'This is who I am. The rest you have all made me.'


The room is silent, and all eyes are on the creature who is Lysarrus.
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Andrea Guzzetti
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Thrunor: Skill (11) 11, Stamina (20) 20, Luck (8) 8; Gold more than enough for now, Provisions 4



Thrunor remains silent during the walk back to The Clouds, reflecting on the events of the past several days and wondering how much he can trust himself and his mental faculties, let alone those around him. He has to agree, however, that in his world few things can bond people as strongly as fighting sorcerers and demons together and that he has grown quite attached to what not long ago were simply fellow patrons at The Seal.

The Dwarf gratefully accepts the refreshments provided by Lady Valeria, but as soon as Lysarrus begins to speak he stiffens and listens to the entire tale with a stony, indecipherable face. At last, he comes closer to the strange creature and breaks the silence: "I am sorry if the world outside your forest did not live up to your expectations. But there is much more to see and to feel, and many more stories to learn and to tell."

"Perhaps you should go back and collect your thoughts for a while, then... well, why not try something different, like... I don't know... the life of the adventurer? Your talents would be surely appreciated, and it would be much easier to find an audience for your stories."
Thrunor then stars moving towards the exit.

When he reaches the door, he turns his head and adds: "Look, why don't you meet us at The Seal when you are done here, so that we can put Morgan at ease and discuss the matter further? Although you should put up a more familiar attire if you are coming."

Thrunor then addresses the rest of the company. "And now, with your permission, I need a drink - a strong one. More than one, actually." And with that, Thrunor leaves.

* * *


A few days later, a gentle late morning sun finds Thrunor seated on the steps that lead inside Mata Rosa's wagon, waiting for the old gypsy woman to return from another of her gathering expeditions. The nice weather causes the Dwarf's mind to wander and to go back to the evening following the rescue of "Lysarrus."

It had truly been a night to remember. So many people had gathered to watch the storyteller perform one last time that they had occupied not only the whole common room of the tavern, but the surrounding streets as well, so that the performance had to be held on the roof of the building. Morgan had exhausted pretty much all his supply of beverages, and the presence of Randal and his men had prevented any serious trouble.

After a long series of tales and songs, Lysarrus had announced that urgent matters required his presence elsewhere, then had intoned a ballad so enthralling and soothing that at the end it had taken everyone five good minutes to realize that the youth was nowhere to be found.

As for Thrunor and his newfound companions, the immediate future, at least, appears quite bright. The adventurers have received at least two very attractive work offers and are to meet later that day to decide what to do. Apparently they have got a reputation for being reliable, discrete, and efficient, and the Dwarf strongly suspects that Randal and Lady Valeria have put some good words in their favor.

The approaching of a familiar figure reminds Thrunor that another matter requires his attention, however. He stands up and moves aside to let Mata Rosa enter the wagon. The old lady simply smiles at him, seemingly not surprised at all to see him again, then opens the door and motions to him to come inside.

After they have taken their seats, the Dwarf reaches into his pouch and takes out five gold coins. He tosses them on the table and simply says: "I will have that reading now, if you please."

THE END(?)
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Eric Dodd
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Let me pay for your reading... I'm now writing this from the other end of the world and I hope the others will chime in with their own suitable ends.
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SJ McCormick
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I apologize for not replying sooner... Thrunor's epilogue is a hard act to follow! Thanks to Eric for conceiving and masterminding this captivating adventure, and to Andrea and Mike for your brilliant contributions throughout. I am in awe and rather envious of your collective literary talents, which truly brought the story and its characters to life.

The relevation of the storyteller's true nature left Kariss with a restless, unsettled feeling that lingered long after he overcame the shock of Lysarrus's sudden transformation into the creature Kan had termed a "mind vampire." Mata Rosa had hinted that the bard was not what he appeared, and Kariss himself had vaguely sensed that the story-teller was something other than human, so the truth had not come as a complete surprise. What continued to trouble him, as he gradually realized, was the creature's confession of his desire to become human, to dwell in human society and take part in its affairs. With a pang, Kariss recognized that he and Lysarrus shared this much in common: both had believed they could make a life for themselves in the human world, and yet neither could ever be at home there. Lysarrus had found that his power was too dangerous, and too tempting, to leave him long unmolested by the people whose secrets revealed themselves to him in their dreams. For his part, Kariss now understood that in human eyes - even those of the gypsies among who he had spent his youth - he would forever be marked as an outsider by his non-human parentage, despite the fact that he knew nothing about his father and had never spent time in elvish lands. He envied Thrunor who, notwithstanding all the jokes about his short stature, seemed comfortable in the company of humans, perhaps for the simple reason that he was secure in who he was and whence he came.

There came a time, after the companions had earned their well-deserved rewards, gathering once again at the Seal to enjoy the story-teller's farewell performance (well-stocked with frothing mugs of the inn-keeper's best ale, and hailed by all as heroes for their part in the bard's rescue); while stopping for a few days at his mother's shop, where he shared the tale of their recent adventure and pressed upon her a share of his earnings ("For," he told her with a wink, "it is not very often that a hired adventurer is paid three times for one job!"); on a windy afternoon that foretold the change of the season, as they sat before a peat-fire crackling in the hearth, Kariss spoke the words that had been weighing upon his mind. Staring into the fire, the flames reflecting fiercely in his eyes, he asked his mother for something he'd long convinced himself he did not want or need, seeking an answer that, he knew, she had always been reluctant to give:

"Tell me about my father."
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