Visions Reveal Marstan’s Past, and His Dilemna
(Crossing, Zoluren: 389 Nissa 359)
I was enjoying a cup of silver wine in Taelbert’s Inn, at the bar last eve, after a long discourse over the gwethdesuans I had partaken of for my own personal amusement (Or bemusement, as the conversation went.)
However, as I began to lose interest in the topics of conversation, and instead urged people to join me in my wine (None did, unfortunately), I noticed the room seemed to take on a bit of a somber air. I really couldn’t place my finger on it until, the air grew icy cold as a frigid breeze filtered in. A mist carrying the scent of damp earth rolled in at my feet. It then coalesced into the vaguely recognizable form of a Shade. It hovered just beyond reach. My wits just slightly fuzzed from the half glass of wine, I raised an eyebrow in its direction, giving it a guttural, "Eh?"
The shade reached out with misty tendrils, as if trying to draw strength from the life within the room. It motioned as if for silence. It spread itself thinner, flickering. Light played across its smoky countenance, and a series of blurred images began to form, shifting rapidly from one to the other. The first vision that came was of a young Elothean couple, standing before an altar. Dressed in festive clothes and beaming with happiness, they exchanged a tender kiss. The next vision was of a haggard black-haired Elothean man staggering through a blinding snowstorm, carrying a bundled-up figure. Within sight of an old monastery, he collapsed from exhaustion, doing his best to shield his precious burden from the storm. A solemn line of hooded monks trudged forth to collect the travelers.
Then, came the next vision. Dim firelight flickered through a spartan room. A frail Elothean woman lay motionless upon a small cot, her golden hair fanned across the pillow. The black-haired man knelt beside the bed,praying fervently as he clasped her hand – tears streaming down his face. The woman struggled for breath, and I could almost hear her rasping gasps. With an imperceptible sigh, her life left her, her hand slipping from his grasp. A monk at the foot of the bed bowed his head solemnly.
After that, I saw a dusty room of a forgotten fortress where stood the black-haired man. He was pouring over the brittle pages of ancient tomes, with yellowed scrolls laying spread out around him. He stood and paced about the room, talking low to himself and worrying at his wedding ring. The preceding vision was of the black-haired man standing before a carefully tended grave. He looked gaunt, unkempt. Raising his arms, he mouthed words of an ancient tongue. His body was buffeted by a rising wind, and the hairs on my arms stood on end. As he worked the ritual, a luminous shape with long golden hair materialized above the grave. It hovered there, reaching for him. He grew increasingly frustrated and desperate as the form did not solidify. The faint sound of an ethereal sobbing reached my ears. Then a band of hunters in dusty field garb entered the glen. Upon seeing the golden-haired spirit, they drew their weapons and advanced. Knocking the man to the ground as they passed, they attacked the spirit, who writhed in unseen agony from their blows. Eventually they succeeded, and the spirit dissipated like smoke before a breeze. The man stared vacantly at his wife’s desecrated grave. He threw his head back and let out a primal scream of utter despair that shook my soul.
At this point the shade began to flicker sharply, weakening. Gathering itself up as best it was able, it displayed one final series of images. The gaunt black-haired man lay broken and beaten in the confines of a dank cell. A dark hooded figure stood over him, the exposed skin of its arms showing rotting flesh. The figure gestured angrily, then kicked the man hard in the ribs before storming from the cell. The man curled up into a ball, and weakly pulled out a faded gold band. He clutched it tightly to his chest.
As the shade finally begins to lose its strength, and started to dissipate, it showed one final, desperate scene. A lank figure was sprawled in a large chair, its features concealed by shadows. Before it stood a thin Elothean woman with long golden hair. She was shivering violently, and gazed around with wide eyes filled with bewildered terror. The shadowy figure indicated the woman with a long bony hand, and I heard the echoing peals of sardonic laughter.
The final tendrils of mist dissolved, and the air warmed once more as the shade departed – its message delivered.
As I was able to figure out and later told to be correct, this is the story of Marstan the Necromancer. For those of you who don’t know, he is a Necromancer who’s life is repeated above. The gist of it being that he lost his wife and became a necromancer to learn how to bring her back. He led a raid on Lord Sorrow’s Keep a few days hence, where he succeeded in destroying Sorrow’s enchantments that had kept him from aging thus far. As Sorrow then began to age, withering and decaying at a rapid pace (He is about 800 years old.), Sorrow sent his three servants, Prayk, Darkensi and Sadiaer to bring Marstan back to him to reverse the process. Marstan was captured, and so that is what the final to visions refer to. It should be noted that the shadowy figure is more likely to be Sidhlot than Sorrow, since Sidhlot is the one who apparently has resurrected Marstan’s wife (Ilyeanna) and is holding her prisoner to make Marstan reverse the process on Sorrow. I think the important message in this vision is that Marstan is going through terrible grief at the moment, and it would be prudent to offer him our aid.
[Ed Addendum: Shades were spotted again today, with the same visions. Could it mean that Marstan still fights Sorrow and Sidhlot’s "offer"? How many days of torment will he endure — will Ilyeanna endure? Alas.]