* Faro’oq came face to face with a father he did not remember on his last journey to Glesmyr, and now he is returning there to have some questions answered. This content is for the PC’s Faro’oq the Frozen and Kade Crysilore.*
It was a cloudy afternoon on the high seas. The wind whipping across the vast plain of water made the air a bit more crisp than Kade would have preferred as she sat in the floor of Faro’oq’s small boat clumsily stitching small furs together. She’d never been to Glesmyr, but Silaine had assured her it was colder than anywhere else she’d ever been.
As the boat rocked gently, so did the contents of her stomach. She’d been in boats before, but never on water like this. After the first few days, Kade realized that using healing to ease her stomach was only going to exhaust her since the sloshing of the waves was not ever going to stop.
But she supposed it could be worse. Anything was better than the Great Marsh. As squeamish and chilly as she felt now, at least they hadn’t encountered any serious danger yet.
She turned to Faro’oq, “Are we there yet?”
Faro'oq pulled the line holding the sail setting the sail to full. The boat gave a small creek as it shot forward. Faro'oq tied the rope off and steadied himself against the ruder. "Not much longer" His voice loud to overcome the sound of the wind and surf. "We should be entering Glysmer soon." The warm air of Rica had caused the Zmajite to keep a cloth bag of ice against his head out of desperation for a reprieve, but as they neared the span to Glysmer he abandoned it. "How iz your stomach? Have you found sea legz yet?" He asked jokingly.
Kade shot the Zmajite a quick glare before a smirk, "Of course I have. They're attached to my sea hips just like they were when we started."
She lifted the fur blanket she was working on to see her progress. At this point it was still only good for a wrap and the stitching was awful. She set the piece down and continued working.
"So, I only kinda understand why we are going to Glesmyr. I just didn't want you traveling alone again. What are you hoping for?"
Again? Faro'oq thought to himself before disregarding the notion. His face focused on the horizon as he spoke "I am hoping to find out what iz going on. My father says that he knowz, and you said that what I remember iz different from your memory." He steadied the ruder as the boat went over a rogue wave. "I think it is time I got some answerz. One way or another."
Kade frowned to herself, and paused momentarily in her stitching before looking up at Faro'oq. "What's he like?"
Faro'oq thought for a moment. "He'z not what I remember, and I do not fully trust him. He iz though the only one with answerz." He let out a hard sign as the cool air blew the boat "That iz why I must go."
"Well. I am here to help you with whatever you need, just say the word." The sound of water slapping against the sides of the boat filled a brief silence before she continued. "What about the rest of your family? What were they like?"
Faro'oq watched the horizon as the boat moved along the waves. "What I remember might not be dah truth. You guess iz az good my memoriez iz what I mean." He adjusted the riggings and sat down next to Kade. " I do not remember my mother, and I am unclear on who or what my father iz. I do know dat may birth sister and my father do not get along."
"That's Charra, right?" Kade asked as she continued her stitching. "The one you mentioned when you first came back to town? I hope she isn't really gone... There could be many reasons your letter didn't reach her."
"True but I don't know whether what I remember of her is the truth." Faro'oq stood up and moved towards a hatch on the boat. Opening it up and reach down inside to retrieve a small sack. He opened it a began pulling out a long purple strip of fabric. "Did I mention anything about her when you knew me before?"
It had been a while since Kade had reflected on her memories of Ixifar Faro'oq. "Honestly," Kade replied, "I did not know you that long before you left. I saw you around town a couple times before our initiation, but that was the first time I actually met you. And then after that, everyone was super focused on the Korgons and the dwarves, and then the Paladins occupied the shard and you went away for a while. I don't think you could have been home more than a few days before you left again, and then..." Kade shrugged. "Well, now here we are." She continued her stitching. " And all that to say: no. I never heard you mention her before."
Faro'oq sat silent for a moment as the horizon bobbed up and down. The moment passed and Faro'oq jumped to his feet making motions towards adjusting different riggings on the boat "We move towards dah unknown together then. Maybe what I iz even the truth." He chuckled at his own words. "Prepare yourself we should be approaching the span soon." Faro'oq pulled on a line and the sail shifted lurching the small sea craft to the left.
Kade looked around the boat, wondering what exactly she should do to prepare herself for span jump by boat. She identified the exits: everywhere. Next to her she located some handholds along the side of the boat that she could grab if things became rocky. As the ship lurched port-side she realized the time to grab the handholds was now. "Alright," she said slinging her furs around her shoulders, "here's hoping the frost won't bite."
Faro'oq grabbed ahold of the wheel and a line tied to the nose. The vessel jumped over rogue waves one after another. The two oceans were locked in the eternal conflict raging in a violent war. The cold Glesmyr sea struck with ferocious slashes. The warm Rican waters countered with a fury. Faro'oq guided the ship close to the edge. One could peer over the ships and see the endless black pit the span crossed.
The vessel developed a pattern of up and down. Then after what could be counted as an eternity on a ship the boat peeked over one last wave to be greeted with the freezing cold of Glesmyr.
The span jump was rocky and Kade found herself splashed with water more than once. As the ship finally passed into Glesmyr, the frozen winds coming from the mainland hit her wet clothing and a creative stream of expletives and exclamations poured forth. The cold struck to her bones and she understood why sailors curse so damn much. She turned to Faro'oq with teeth chattering, "***** it's cold. ***** ***** ********. And look at you! Bet you find this weather ********** delightful. I hope your father is forthcoming; every *******moment on this ******* shard is going to be ******** miserable. Holy ****** ******* with a stick of dynamite *****.... ***** and ***** ......." She wrapped her furs around her shoulders, but as they were also wet, it wasn't particularly helpful.
The Zmajite bellowed in laughter and tosses the white fur that he wears to Kade. "Dis will keep you warm for now." Faro'oq embarrassed the cold wind "Now on to Glesmyr!" As he shouted the ship pulled forward onward to the port of Glesmyr.
Kade bundled herself up and began searching frantically for her flask in hopes that its contents really would make her feel warmer. It was empty. She began to gather up her things. "We need to find a place to get warm. To get dry. I need more cider. We need to find a tavern. With a big fire. Lots to drink; I need to stock up." Faro'oq's obvious comfort with the biting cold was putting her in an even fouler mood than the chill itself.
"Very well." Faro'oq turned the sail and in short time the icy shore of Glesmyr came into focus on the horizon. "Derh, We make port and find you some warmth." The small sailing vessel made its way across the ocean like it was skating on ice. The town ahead set as the destination.
"What town is this? Is it Tobolsk? If so, we should stop by the Porterhouse to check on Silaine's father."
Faro'oq and Kade spent brief time in the city of Tobolsk. Whilst acquainting themselves with the proprietor of the Porter House, the stocked their flasks and learned of Tobolsk's newest business venture: self-pulling sleds. After a mutual investment, the Bears found themselves mushing their way across a vast white dessert under the starlight of Gelsmyr's long night. To any providential observer, the sight would have been of a blue Zmajite driving a chinook that carried a massive stock of furs.
Kade peered out of her small mountain of furs at the starts above. "I've never seen this many stars! The sky back home was always dark, and Jastrey has so many trees.... It must have been so much better growing up in a place like this. And I suppose if I'd been raised in it, I would be as comfortable as you with this damned cold."
Faro'oq who had begrudgingly taken on the role of driving the strange sled. He much preferred walking and it was apparent by the sled sliding in every such way that he had no idea how to properly use the machine.
As he struggled to keep the sled straight in the direction of the forest he had seen father before, he looked towards the stars "From vat I remember dat cluster ov starz iz known az thee wildling" his scaley hand pointing out a few stars and while the sled began to drift off to the side his finger began tracing lines between stars. The slight semblance humanoid hunched over a staff with a tree behind it could be made out of the celestial bodies. As soon as Faro'oq finished his drawings he had to quickly jerk the chinook back into alignment with their heading. A grunt followed revealing the Zmajite's frustration with the contraption. "I do not remember much, but from what I do..." He passed for a moment before readjusting both his expression and the sled. "Let us say that it was not all sunshine and rainbows."
A tree line slowly began to rise in the distance as Kade responded.
"Clearly," Kade chuckled, "I haven't seen the sun since we got here. I'm going to be pasty again when we get home."
"Dah nights are long. Dah sun will rize in dah spring." Faro'oq looked at the approaching tree line. "We will be approaching soon. Ready your selv." He jerked the sled back on course but overshot the heading and swerved.
Kade gripped the rim of the sled tightly and leaned, "I suppose our time on the sea has adequately prepared me for your terrible driving."
As the sled passed into the forest, the wind died down and the herk-jerking of the sled lessened slightly. As the chinook maneuvered through the evergreens, Kade noticed something else moving in the quiet wood, and a howl confirmed what she saw: a white wolf keeping pace with them to her right. She tightened the straps on her legs and drew her small blades wishing she had brought her bow. Another series of howls answered off to their left, but the source or sources were not close enough to see.
Faro'oq gripped the controls tighter and the space narrowed. "I told you I did not know how to drive dis thing." He exclaimed with slight frustration.
Taking note of the pack running with them Faro'oq dipped his head in an attempt to have the sled move faster. "Keep low" he whispered to Kade "Looks like they found us."
Kade did her best to lay flat against their luggage and remain aware of the beasts' locations. The unseen wolves emerged slowly from the darkness merging closer alongside the speeding chinook. The distance between the two parties slowly narrowed as Faro'oq urged their transport onward until the wolves were about six feet away from them on either side.
Over the sound of the thrashing snow, Kade could begin to distinguish a low guttural sound from the leading wolf to her right. Upon listening closer *commune nature*, the wolf was urging them to stop the sled.
Kade whispered back over her shoulder, "They want us to stop."
Faro'oq began speaking in a guttural and grunting tongue *Speak Drakeric. "Ga'l krul takmahka doh fava suh'ter." (I am here to see my father) Faro'oq bared his teeth and stared ahead showing not fear *Immune Fear (party). "Tovah'k toh'ven rakshash dov' mallah." (Lead me to him or leave)
The wolves made no response to the strange language the Zmajite had spoken. "What did you say to them? I don't think they understood."
Faro'oq gave a grunt and repeated in common "Take me to my father."
Kade conveyed the message to the wolves (Commune Nature), "This is Faro'oq... Take us to his father." She lifted her weapon as the wolf returned a glare. He loosed a howl echoed by his mates'.
The wolves continued to lead the sled onward. Shortly, Kade and Faro'oq found themselves flanked as more wolves appeared from the trees as an escort. The ground rose and fell and grew rocky as they continued. Suddenly, the trees ended before a gaping cavern. Well, one would assume it was a cavern, but roots covered every surface within the mouth of the cave and stretched outward, welcoming the frozen explorer inside in spite of all wariness such a sight would inspire. Atop the cavern, the forest continued on. Before the entrance was an imposing, pale elf astride a wolf far larger than those that had accompanied them. Lycanthrope, Kade thought to herself.
The Zmajite dug his toes into the soil as he stepped off the sled. He straightened by his back rolling his shoulders back and a popping sound echoed from his spine. " I hav fulfilled my end ov our bargain. I hav returned to talk." He stared at the elf. His mace resting in its holster and his shield on his back.
The elf made no effort to conceal his disapproving look. "You have, but not alone as I asked." He dismounted and strode toward the travelers.
Kade watched him cautiously, weapons still drawn, still strapped into their sled.
"Did you expect me to come talk without my Fangz to guard my tongue? I thought you had taught me better than to be naive?" Faro'oq raised his had to Kade for her to stay her blade.
Kade hesitated momentarily before remembering her decision to trust. She sheathed her weapons.
The elf continued to look down on her with open distaste for several moments before his visage shifted to resignation. He slid deftly from his mount and addressed Faro'oq. "You must be hungry. Come. Eat. And warm yourself by the fire before your 'fangs' suffers more from exposure." To Kade, "Thank you for protecting my son. You must possess great skill to guard him whilst strapped and bundled in such a manner." He turned an glided into the cave.
Inside, the walls were covered with roots and ice. After several twists and turns, the arrived in a large cavern. In the center was a small fire surrounded by piles of fur. Along the walls, the roots had taken the shape of shelves and chests and wardrobes which were filled with many different oddities and treasures. The wolves had followed them inside, and one went further into the cavern and disappeared into a crevice between the roots. The rest laid down around the perimeter of the room.
Faro'oq made his way into the cave signaling for Kade to follow close. Upon reaching the furs he sat all the while never taking his eyes off his father. No disdain nor admiration could be found in his eyes simply an icy emptiness and the reflection of those who peered in.
"Your sister haz rizen from her slumber how doez dat bode vor you?"
A small muscle at the corner of Alion's mouth twitched at the mention of Germana Gran, "It certainly changes things." His eyes darted to the Kade who was still standing and taking stock of his home. "But we can discuss this later." A slender toothy man emerged from the walls where the wolf had disappeared; he carried with him plates of meat and small, strange fruits. "In the meantime, you must be hungry after your journey." He gestured that Kade should sit. "Eat. Both of you."
Kade was wary, but also hungry. If this man wanted to kill her, there were easier ways than poison. She down and began to tuck in. Alion addressed her directly. "After you eat and rest, I expect you to return to town. It is family business that I asked my son here to discuss. You are not family; I'm sure you understand."
Faro'oq stared at the fire before him holding the food in his claws. "She may leave if she vants, but she iz my family." Faro'oq looked to his father "mind you I am here out ov courtesy. Do not make me regret coming to you first." Turning to Kade "it iz up to you sister."
"I'm not going back to town!" Kade said, "I'll likely die in the attempt, and I'm not leaving you here alone." She turned to the dour elf, "I don't want to intrude on your family affairs, but I will not leave my brother stranded here with you. Is there somewhere safe that I can be where I will not intrude?"
Alion's nostrils flared at her impotence; frost began to form at his feet. "Indeed there is! Shall I encase you in ice for a season?! If you consent, you may remain in this very room!"
Faro'oq stood walking over to his father eyes fixed on the elf. His concentration and stare unbroken as frost expelled from his breath. "Calm your temper or ve shall leave. If you insist on bickering o'ver semanticz, my obligation iz complete and I shall find answer elsewhere. You have my attention. Hold it." Without turning to Kade. "Sister sit, but please refrain from interrupting it iz bad for my fatherz health." his hand gestures to the fire.
There was no visible change in the elf's temper, though he did lower his voice. "Faro'oq, son, I have not seen you for over a decade. I had hoped that your stay here would be extended if not permanent."
Kade noticed that the father still stood just a hair taller than his son. And different in appearance though they were, there was something similar about the eyes.
He continued, "I would show you your inheritance and speak of our past, but it is no outsider's business, and I don't want anyone snooping about my domain, startling the animals."
Faro'oq's stance did not change. Staring into the eyes of the elf. Moments passed in silence to the point that the air gained an awkward thickness. After releasing a large exhale of frost turns and walks towards the cave entrance. "Kade tend dah fire please. My father wishez to show me hiz domain." Turn on his heel near the entrance and addressing the elf. "You are lucky my curiosity outweighs my patientz. Prove to me my trust iz not wasted and I may grant your request."
Turning his gaze to Kade "If I do not return with the night fly home and be my voice." He nodes to his sister before turning to wait on the elf.
The elf stood for a moment thinking. Staying alone in the woods, Kade didn't imagine he was used to being challenged.
Alion visibly relaxed. He walked over to where Kade sat by the fire and looked down his long slim nose. "Stay right where you are. Do not poke around my home. If I return to find anything disturbed, my son will not stop my wrath." He turned and followed Faro'oq to the entrance of the cave and then led him a short distance into the woods so that they could not be over heard.
Faro'oq briskly walked until he was sure that the two were out of earshot to stop walking and then waited for the elf to speak first.
Alion stopped and waited for the questions that he was sure his son must have. But they did not come.
"Faro'oq. Believe it or not, I am glad that you have found friends, friends that speak of you as family. When I saw you strong and surrounded by comrades, I was so relieved. I feared what had become of you. Where did she take you? How did she hide you?"
"My apologiez it seemz I do not know much. Until recently I hav been in a state of slumber. O'ver time my thoughtz hav returned to me. So who iz she?" He thought to himself that she was referring to who he assumed was his sister. The cool air felt pleasant as he found Jastrey too hot sometimes.
"Yes, yes, of course: Chara, your sister. She stole you away and hid you. I have never determined how. It is likely her death that has caused you to resurface. Or something else may have cut you off from her magic, but that is no matter." Alion smiled, "My favored offspring has been found and returned to me." He clasped his hands before him like a fig leaf. "I want you to give me the chance to be a father to you again."
Faro'oq was startled by his father's excitement. "Then tell me ov our family. Ov you and ov dis place. Convince me why I should stay ov your desires."
Two high-backed chairs, simple in design, formed from the snow behind each of them. Alaion sat, and gestured that Faro'oq should follow suit. He looked to the trees and the falls snow. "This wood," he began, "is my domain: our domain if you choose to share it with me. I am one of the Circle, and I am very old. I do not think that I am likely to pass away so soon, but it may come to pass; however, it has been a long time to be alone. The flora and fauna here are company, but not the civilized company that a man needs. My servants can speak and reason, but they are beneath me." The elf paused. "I want someone here with which to share my thoughts and plans, someone with whom I can build and preserve a legacy." His fists curled on the arms of his chair, "This is the territory that was metted out to me from the beginning by that gnome. Whether it was suited to my talents or not does not matter to me; I was sentenced to this loneliness. When Chara's magic ended, I rejoiced, thinking that if I found you, we could lead the War of the Decade Solstice and pick a civilized realm to rule together, but that's simply not how events unfolded." He shook his head with regret. "But you are here now! We have found one another. I hope you will stay with me."
Faro'oq sat confused by the wealth of information his father had laid before him. He gazed out at the wood watching snow flittering down like fairies dancing in the night sky. Thinking long on his father's offer. It was a long while before Faro'oq spoke again. " You know, I haz alwayz found civilization overrated. They plague themselvez with mindless squabble an pleasantriez. I much prefore a pack or brood, but..." Faro'oq paused and with his breath, a table created of ice rose from the ground. Rising from the table surface was an outline of every shard Faro'oq had explored. Most lay barren but a few were very detailed in particularly Jastrey. " Father this land iz the key to everything." His long scaly finger pointed to Jastrey. "I will return for now on three conditionz." Faro'oq's eyes locked with the elf. "First I will come and go you must be okay with dis. While der iz much to be learned or relearned from you, der iz still much to learn out der." His hand gesturing to the map. " Second, you vill be forward with me from dis point and on. Vat you want and what you vould have of me. Nothing iz secret between us. Iv you with hold from me then I cannot trust you. If I cannot trust my own father then who can I trust." His eyes dropping into a more soft stare. " An last we will find my sister dead or alive and I vill have answerz for what happened seven years ago. I vill hear what you know and I will find what she knowz." Faro'oq finishes his sentence and then sits up in the chair. His hand extended.
Alaion perused the maps before him as his son spoke. Faro'oq had not forgotten everything it seemed; the detail was exquisite. As Faro'oq agreed to return, his attention snapped to his son and he was unable to mask his initial shock. The elf listened intently as Faro'oq continued. He looked at Faro'oq's extended hand and thought for a moment before shaking it firmly, "As long as peace remains between us, all that I have is yours." He sat back in his chair.
"As far as Chara is concerned. I am limited in how I may assist. I conducted a thorough search for her when you two vanished all those years ago: interrogated the friends of your 'father', consulted the other witches, sent my servants to every Shard. She is a powerful concealer: skills that she did not learn from me. If she had left a trail, it has been long cold. I will help you as you request, but I cannot offer assurance that she will be found."
Alaion leaned back and pressed his fingers together beneath his chin. "As for your first and second requests, we will need much time to discuss these things. It would please me to have you winter here and begin your journey home at Murischtamost. I want to know more about this Jastrey, indeed, about all the lands to which you travel. Here, little news has reached me since the Shattering though there is a quality to the air that tells me the world altered a little over two years ago." He paused, thinking how most delicately to continue. "You are welcome here, but I cannot have an outsider snooping through my realm nor do I have the patience to keep your friend ever in my sight. I propose two options: 1) She returns to the city after she has rested. This option is a dangerous one that I do not imagine you prefer. 2) ... I have developed a skill in cryogenic stasis; sometimes in order to help a creature I must wait for the appropriate season or herb, so I know that there is no danger to it. The pain would be brief at the forefront, longer upon completion, but there would be no permanent effects..."
Faro'oq held a dedicated stare for his father. "We vill deal with Chara in time den. Together." It was obvious that Faro'oq was heavily thinking over his options in regards to Kade. As a snowflake from one of the above trees feel softly on his nose he watch as it melted away into many small drops. The dew drops sparkled like the stars in the sky. As this image crossed Faro'oqs eyes so did a solution. "It seemz that I might have a few tricks still." He smirks before explaining. "You are not deh only Witch I promised to visit your sister Visoka iz owed tea. If you can procure safe passage for myself and Kade I believe her hospitality could be advantages to our dilemma."
Kade agreed to the arrangement reluctantly after reassuring herself that the elf intended no harm against his son (insight).
They rested before making the swift journey from Kelvin Wood to the tower of the archon giantess. Vioska was delighted to have guests for tea and accepted her new lodger with joy. It was set that he should return for her at the turn of the season.
Faro'oq made the return journey the same evening. Upon his return, he found that a space in the cave had been prepared for him.
"Welcome home, son," Alion greeted him. "We have made a place for you, and Helph," he motioned to the wolf in the corner, "is at your disposal throughout your stay. Tonight you rest. Tomorrow, I would like to conduct a thorough assessment of your abilities."
Faro'oq began settling into the space cooling it with ice (Conjure/ Call Ice). He nodes at his father hospitality before retiring for the night. In the morning he does as Alion requests.
It was a long, demanding week for Faro'oq consisting of combat with the many lycanthropes in small groups and large. Alaion also demanded that Faro'oq display the range of his magical and intellectual prowess through a series of puzzles and riddles.
They reclined around the fire at the end of the week. Alaion praised his son, "Your fighting skills are excellent, though of course there is always room for improvement. Your mind is keen enough: I was worried that your time hidden away might turn you into a barbarian." He laughed. "However, your magical abilities are greatly regressed. I imagine you are out of practice. But that is no matter! We have mestruns to work on these things. Tomorrow, we will take a day of rest. After that, we will spend time surveying the land. You must be acquainted with the order of things and the endemic life here, if it is to be your domain."
Faro'oq spent many long days and longer night honing his body and mind. Days consisting of training and nights of discussion or mental games with his father. Every seventh day Faro'oq would send messages to Kade by animal to check in on her. Eventually the day came late in the season of spring when the last of the snow had fallen on other shards. On this day Faro'oq and Kade would embark back to jastrey as his agreement with his father.
Alaion watched as Faro'oq loaded the sled that would carry him away again. He thought how he should bring up a tender subject, but instead praised his son. "Faro'oq, you're no druid, sure, but you've learned to understand the animals basic needs. Between this and you're skill as a defender, we will do great things here." The elf walked over and laid a hand on his son's shoulder, "I am glad to know that you will be returning next winter, and you are free to return sooner if you so desire." He gently turned Faro'oq to face him. "What I have to say next will be difficult for you to hear: it has come to my attention that the Great Ageless Ones Ivelis and Syflare are no more. Their fued has destroyed them." Before Faro'oq could fully process what he was hearing, his father gripped him strongly by the shoulders. "Listen to me Faro'oq. I bid you leave in peace, and as you go think long and hard about what it is that you want from this world. Whatever you want, together we have the power and will to achieve." He shifted into a snowy owl before Faro'oq's eyes. "I must discuss these events with the others. Go safely, son."
For the first time since his reawakening Faro'oq thought his father might be a kind man. As faro'oq to collect his sister he wept for every zmajite.
Kade was sad to part from her new friends, but glad to see Faro'oq safe and continue their journey home. After many a teary hug, Kade latched herself to the sled once again and waved at the tower til long after it was out of sight. Upon reaching Tobolsk, they we're pleasantly surprised to find Faro'oq's vessel where it was left, though there was a hefty docking fee to pay.
The seas were unusually calm and the winds weak and intermittent. Using their combined animal sympathies they managed to enlist the help of the sealife to bring them expeditiously to their home shore once again.