Commander Redbeard wrote:Reno looked at the door, then turned.
"I'll be right back"
Bjarn might want to talk to this Dark Forester; Reno thought. He may have the information we need.
Reno entered and looked down at the pitiful form that had once been a human. The man a shrunken and pale, and where he wasn't white he was blue and gray from frostbite. Reno, as a healer, knew the Dark Forester was minutes from death. Leaning close, Reno said, "Sir?"
The man stirred.
"How did you become like this?"
"Urmf..." Blood curled down the man's cheek.
Suddenly, he died.
Reno left, his brow furrowed. He had been too late. He would have to get information elsewhere. The Temple Of Lost Stars was precisely that, lost. It had been hidden for thousands of years. It wasn't about to reveal it's secrets now.
The day after Reno had unsuccessfully tried to interrogate the Dark Forester, Bjarn called a council of all the residents of Drullen Bell Keep to be held in the Drullen Bell Council Dome, which had been the site of the historic trial of Radjar Kath.
Indeed, many of the persons who had been at that trial were also present tonight, but many others were new. Radjar Kath, Rosa, and the rest of the refugee Dark Foresters were in their designated section of the rounded stone seats. The Council Dome seating area was divided into four sections; Forestmen, Wolfpack, Dark Forest and all other factions, but with so few of Wolfpack members and excess of Dark Foresters the guidelines were ignored and everyone sat where they wished.
When at last all were settled, Bjarn rose and gave everyone the traditional Sign Of The Elk. Everyone, even non-Forestmen, returned the greeted and then waited for Bjarn to speak.
"Fellow Forestmen and women, honored Wolfpack and Dark Forest guests, and all other persons equally honored, I have an announcement of large importance to make. I was visited by a wizard last night, a wizard by the name of Daner Pluto."
A few who recognized the name, Voolmark one of them, sat up urgently and murmured. Others simply waited for Bjarn to continue.
"He granted me a great gift, a gift I will show to you all."
Bjarn, who had been sitting in a mobile chair apparently still invalid suddenly stood and threw off the white sheet. He was once again garbed in flowing green, unadorned save for the original Elk Crest.
Gasps issued ouch from everyone save a select few, the few who were already aware of Bjarn's healing.
"Behold!" bellow Bjarn, "I am afflicted no more! Daner has honored me greatly, for only the most powerful wielders of magic can repair something as complex as the human body. I am truly blessed."
The populace of the Dome, particularly the Forestmen upon seeing their leader well and strong, began to cheer, but with a wave of Bjarn's hand they quieted down.
"Thank you for your support." Bjarn said warmly, "But we have other pressing matters. Daner has laid it upon me and several of my companions to fulfill a quest that should have been completed months ago, a quest that could have prevented the BloodVaine War."
The audience was now hushed, listening intently.
"This snowstorm is no normal storm, as some of you more magically-endowed persons already know. This storm has been created by evil, and powered by evil. Two great forces of evil, in fact, the life-forces of BloodVaine, and his predecessor Lord Inion. If there spirits are not stopped, this storm will consume all of Dametreos and turn it into a frozen wasteland by June. Daner Pluto informed me of a way to defeat this evil, and I feel it is my duty to do as this wizard bids and accompany Reno, Aros, and Luxus Regga to fulfill their destiny and reunite the Twin Pendants of King Kris in the Temple of Lost Stars!"
All at once half the assembly stood, offering their services in the quest. Again, Bjarn raised his hand and they quieted.
"I thank you, all of you, but I cannot have everyone come along. You must stay and rebuild, rebuild the Forestdweller Kingdoms to their former glory. It aches me to leave you like this, if only for a while, but I must. I only seek a few persons to accompany me, persons with unique skills. I don't want an army, for that would only slow the quest down. Please, consider carefully before rising. This mission will be dangerous."
Bjarn remained standing, eying the crowd. Not two seconds passed by when Sir Dractor, sans his armor and instead clad in a snug tan tunic, stood and said, "Milord Bjarn, for months I have known you, and we have become fast friends. Though I am not a native of Dametreos, I have grown to love this land. I feel it is my duty to accompany you on your quest."
Dractor paused for a moment, then said, his face twisting into a grin, "Plus, and no offence meant to the Forestfolk for they have treated me wonderfully, I have gotten quite bored here at Drullen Bell Keep. I want to move on!"
Bjarn smiled, then said, "You are welcome, my friend. Your warrior skills will aid us wonderfully."
After a moment, the wizard Voolmark stood and harrumphed.
"Lord Bjarn, I offer my services to you as well. I might just come in handy with my magic skills, though this megablocks weather seems to have zapped my touch with the Mana."
"Thank you, Voolmark, my former teacher. Your wisdom will be equally be helpful."
Bjarn saw Fraun Jerlock, sitting next to Voolmark, glance slowly from Frayla and back to Voolmark, seemingly torn. Before he could do anything, however, if he was going to do anything at all, someone else spoke.
"Lord Bjarn, sir!"
Bjarn turned and nodded at Captain Anardan, who had risen and saluted.
"I'm am always proud to protect my leader!" continued Anardan, "I also am an expect tracker and have some experience traveling in winter conditions. Permission to join the quest?"
"Granted." replied Bjarn, "Your services will be much appreciated, Captain Anardan."
Bjarn turned and counted out loud, "That makes...five, six, seven, eight...eight persons, for Shainya is going as well. Very good, our fellowship has been formed. Thank you, again."
Bjarn gave the Sign of the Elk and departed, as did everyone else.