July the twentieth, 1219

What an amazing year it has been! Just twelve months ago I was an ordinary  fellow, and now, through a bizarre set of circumstances, I have learned I am a distant relative of the late King Aleric. Goodness, to think that I may one day — with the blessing of the Kingdom, of course — become King of Kormyre. The thought terrifies me in a way that makes me both hopeful for the kingdom and also pray that I would be enough for the role, should it fall to me. Ever since I was rescued from being kidnapped for my bloodline late last year, I have been living in Aleiander to learn all about the inner workings of the Kingdom, as to not waste the sacrifice Travance has made for me, and all of Kormyre. My tutors have been gracious to spend so much time instructing me on the finer details of… well, practically everything — from Kormyrian history, to court etiquette, to diplomatic relations with our allies and our enemies. And, most recently and topical, strategies of war. Though I admit much of it can become quite dry at times, I am happy to work hard, even if I am not the right choice. Being able to help and ensure the prosperity of the Kingdom from any position, low or high, is mor-

With a loud crack of thunder from outside, the startled young man dropped his quill into his journal. He turned to gaze out the window, adjusting his glasses on the bridge of his nose as he looked up to the sky. No dark clouds, he noted with a quizzical squint, before looking to the horizon. A thin plume of smoke far in the distance caught his attention.

Before he could think much else of it, a strong knock on the chamber door drew him back inside. “Master Crowley,” a female voice called, “your midday lesson will be starting shortly.”

“Thank you, Elaine!” he responded, hastily closing his journal and moving to stand. “And please, such titles are unnecessary, just ‘Elijah’ is fine!”

Sliding a few books into a bag, he turned to regard an orange mess of fur splayed out on his desk, just to the right of where his journal once sat. As if feeling his gaze, the cat stretched its back with an arch and opened one eye to stare back. “I envy you,” Elijah told the cat as he reached,   scratching the cat just below his cheek. “All the time in the world to nap, and I can’t even finish one journal entry.” he remarked with a smile, before heading out. 

———

In a glimmering pool, kissed by the moon, a white faun bathed. Alone, she found solace in the trees, and peace in the songs which birds whistled throughout the night. With a serene joy, each verse was met with one of her own, crafting a sweet song of nature the likes of which few mortals could claim they’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing. The faun swung her long hair over one shoulder, eyes closed in contentment, as she called her melody out to the night.

But she received no answer this time.

Opening her eyes, she tried the call again.

Silence.

A creeping dread began to approach the faun, paralyzing her in fear. Like a trapped deer, she stared straight ahead, unwilling to turn around.

Where did the moonlight go?

After a breath that felt like an eternity, she leapt from the pool, droplets of water scattering like a shattering pane of glass behind her. The dark silence was oppressive, her hooves cracking against the forest floor the only sound as she sprinted as fast as her legs could carry her.

What’s wrong, little doe? Have you never felt the thrill of the hunt?

The whispers coming from within her mind sent shivers through her whole body. Darkness stretched in front of her, behind her; go this way — no, that way — no, wrong way — no, right here.

“You have no power over me,” she whispered, laying her hand upon the large tree by her side. Lifting her other hand to the sky, a dazzling green glow enveloped her as she sang seven notes, keeping the shadows at bay. At the end of her song, she vanished, and the shadows began to subside. A swirling gust of purple flower petals floated up into the sky and scattered to the four winds in her wake

Please, any faerhyen who hear my call, I am Glimmermere of the Forest. The Guardian of Lorelie is in grave danger. Without them, the land and its inhabitants will wither and die. My presence was noticed, and if I do not hide, he will take me as well… Travel to Travance and aid these brave mortals in restoring Glamour to that Glade. Find the Guardian. Do not let this monster take us.

———

Far away, in a palace of white marble, a strong wind forced open the doors to the throne room. Guards leapt to the defensive, prepared to throw themselves in front of whatever evil came to disturb their Queen.

But the Queen was unperturbed, holding a hand up to her detail as she narrowed her eyes. Flowers littered the floor. She rose from her throne and walked delicately down the stairs leading to the door, her white hair billowing gently behind her. She bent to pick up the flower, pausing to contemplate its meaning.

“Very well,” she said, clapping her hands twice to summon an attendant. “You will have your aid.”

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