It’s strange to go home and not know what you’ll find. I suspect this might be a common occurrence for humans but it’s unlike a Sidhelien to think in those terms. The Elvenmere has changed little in the decades since I began my travels but this was the first time since I left with Fiara that I had returned. My mother, ever the pillar of grace and courtesy, was delighted to have me home even if it was for a short time. My father was nowhere to be seen, having no doubt heard of my impending arrival from the border scouts. I grow tired of his silent disapproval. Fiara is my daughter…his granddaughter….and Sidhelien. That should be good enough for him.
My teachers welcomed me back as I turned from my role as student to peer. One in particular jokingly brought up the old argument that I would have been better suited to Bear rather than Fox. With a clap on the shoulder and a smile, he praised my accomplishments. I eventually began the solo training of a young aspiring bladesinger name Mabghe. A few of the older teachers remarked at how she might be a younger version of myself. I will give her this: Mabghe is fully of energy and very eager to learn.
With the end of the season, it was time for me to leave. My mother stoically wished me well, though there were hints of tears in her eyes. I never sought out my father. I wanted to leave my home with happy memories rather than set out on the road fresh from another long argument. Next year. Next year we will talk.
Returning to Dumaire was perhaps a mistake. No sooner than I had arrived than I caught up with the rest of the Six, it seemed as though we sent the entire season chasing three possible direction with our little were-rat problem. I was tired and perhaps not in the best of moods. Despite leaving home on a high note, I confess having spend the better part of the return trip brooding. Govannon mentioned something investigating the ruins of Dumaire but being unable to find anything of note. I made a snap decision and told him I’d check the Elvenmere. I don’t know why I wanted to go back so quickly, but I did. I avoided my family and the schools, but still Mabghe found me. I don’t know if it was the desire to find out more about the lands outside the Elvenmere or to learn more about myself, but she made it her personal mission to help me research the history of Dumaire. I left briskly, perhaps a lingering anger at having to return home before I was ready. I give Mabghe credit. Not even my black mood could dampen her sense of excitement and eagerness to help. As I expected, my father never made an appearance while I was home.
When I again returned to Dumaire, I let the old man ruminate over my findings. Majid was able to persuade me to help him research the mysterious book we recovered from the were-rats. We left to travel to a larger human city. I mostly followed his lead in interacting with the humans. Eventually we had a break through and uncovered the mystery of the strange journal. When we returned and shared our findings, we were finally given an assignment. I admit, I yearned for the chance to take my mind off of its idle wanderings.
The place where we were send was the mines underneath the city. This corresponded vaguely of the place I had researched for Govannon where there was a possible place of mabghiel. Caution overtook my excitement as I checked for unseen foes as the rest of the Six scouted out the area ahead of me. What was made as a jest turned out to be closer to the truth than I think any of us realized. Javiero said it but I couldn’t fathom why a series of traps would lay alone with no other guardians. The goblin statue with its sword and crook I think led me to believe those were the foul creatures we would encounter here. But no, a cursed pathway and a diabolical grinding hallway with animated weapons were the only things we found. Scouting ahead, Miri tripped a trap on the floor and fell before any of us could reach her. I lept the pit to see if there was anything else in the way or if there was anything that could help us get her, but no. There was nothing on the other side of the hallway save a dead end and Miri had vanished out of sight. I as I tried to rejoin the rest on the other side of the hallway, I misjudged the distance and fell. For half a heartbeat I panicked. I closed my eyes and with Sidhelien grace I caught my footing on the vertical surface and deftly ran up with wall of the trap. As I caught my breath, the reality of the situation settled in on my companions. Kenrik said a prayer to his human god and we left the hallway now numbering five.
In the center of the ruins was a pillar similar to the tale of the mabghiel but there seemed to be no crystal in this room, only statues of goblins. As Kenrik and I moved towards the right of the room the goblin statues came to life. We dispatched the statue quickly but soon found ourselves faced with the statues of two robed men and one very large humanoid creature. Our endurance was tested, but we prevailed with only minor injuries. Atop the pillar, I found a spiral staircase leading down. Curious, we agreed to have a look. I expected to find the mabghiel crystal when we reached the bottom. What I did not expect was a lifeless Miri hanging for the wall surrounded by chains. As we filtered into the room, her eyes opened and the chains came to life. The strange purple fog only added to palpable feeling of wrongness. Majid continually yelled that we had to save her. Reluctantly, everyone agreed. I tried to keep Miri’s attention on me for fear of the others being hurt as they plied their magic in trying to safely subdue her. My annoyance reached it’s peak as the animated chains hit me hard enough to make me bleed. I wiped the blood from my mouth and desperately tried to not to tap into the rage of the gheallie sidhe. Finally, after nearly exhausting all of our resources, the chains were broken and an unconscious Miri fell to the floor. Govannon joked that this place looked safe enough to camp and I think we were all too weary to argue.