The Principle Pieces - Part II

World News

   Nystul woke with the dawn. He gathered up his spell book and tied his reagent bag to his belt. He headed quickly down the stairs and into the open courtyard of the castle. In the dim morning light he was off and out of the city limits in a matter of minutes. Reaching a clearing in the woods he pulled forth a Moonstone and watched as it settled into the fertile soil. Then the flash of light, and the Facet Gate opened. Nystul hurried through, leaving the safety of Trammel behind.

Dupre hurried to Nystul's chamber. He knocked heavily upon the door.

"Nystul! he shouted.

When no reply came after several attempts, Dupre turned and headed off, searching the halls for any sign of life.

"Have you seen Nystul this morning? he asked expectantly of the first person he encountered.

"Aye, milord. He left the castle just a few moments ago."

Dupre looked concerned. "Did he say where he was going?"

"Nay, milord. I did not speak to him, I simply saw him leave. I have just come from watch upon the wall. I saw him heading into the woods past the graveyard."

"Thank you", Dupre said and bolted down the stairs into the courtyard where Geoffrey awaited him.

"He is not up there, is he? Geoffrey said not looking very surprised.

Dupre groaned, "Nay."

Geoffrey grabbed his shoulder. "Your dreams could just be dreams Dupre."

"Yes they could, but there was something more to this one. I know he is in danger. Dupre said. "Let us at least try to follow him."

Geoffrey nodded and they head off together in search of their friend.

Nystul stepped through the gate. A stiff wind blew upon the ground. He was still not accustomed to the look and feel of Felucca. The land had been scarred. Nystul felt a small touch of sadness. He began to dig through his pack, pulling forth a rune book.

The Lycaeum was a short trip from where he had a place marked. The knowledge he sought would surely be kept there. The books had not been moved from Felucca. This had been quite a bone of contention among the Council of Mages. Until it was settled, the books remained on Felucca in possession of the militant mages that presently held the city for their faction.

"Kal Ort... Nystul lost his concentration. Some one was here with him. He could sense it.

"Greetings Nystul", a voice said behind him.

Turning around slowly, Nystul saw a strange-looking figure. He was wearing an odd gray deer mask and carrying a staff of peculiar design. He held an aura of darkness around him that gave Nystul a chill. The light was still dim and it took Nystul a moment to make out a face inside the deer mask.

"You!" he said in a tone thick with venom.

"Ahh, you remember", the man replied.

"You ruined one of our last chances for peace with the mages. Nystul growled, clenching his spellbook until the action produced a dull ache in his hand.

"Nay Nystul. It was your deceit and pride that caused that rift. I simply told them the truth. You don't like truth, do you Nystul? the stranger hissed.

"There was good reason for not telling them everything. Nystul sighed, "Anon means well but he and his mages are often ones for discussing everything. Some knowledge should not be discussed so. It is very dangerous."

"Ha! Again, but 'you' are worthy of such knowledge?" the voice asked, half snickering.

"Worthy?! Nystul said. "I cannot say. Fated to bear the knowledge I possess? Without a doubt. That is what I believe. Now please be gone! I have important business to attend to."

The man laughed, "What if I choose not to leave, Nystul? Then what?"

"I do not wish to harm you Revlo", Nystul gritted his teeth, "or whatever you call yourself these days. Prophet? Maybe."

Revlo laughed again, "I am a vessel, Nystul. A vessel for power that even you cannot comprehend."

"Your magic does not scare me! Nystul challenged.

Revlo laughed. Then with a whisper he stood behind Nystul with a hand on his shoulder.

Nystul turned quickly to face him and again Revlo was behind him.

Nystul stood still, "How can this be?"

Revlo spoke again, this time as a chorus of voices, "We have told you, Nystul. We are more than you can imagine. We are the darkness in your dreams and the shadows that make up your darkest fears. We are dread."

A bitter cold crept from where Revlo's hand held Nystul's shoulder. Despite himself, Nystul began to shiver. As each press of a finger sent a chill to the depth of his heart, the mage felt a sinister fear unlike any he had ever known.

"Nystul, now you will know our terror" the voices said.

Nystul dropped to his knees as the cold swept over him and the dim light faded from view.

From the Britannia News Network - The Journal of Ultima Online, February 9th, 2001.