Eve of Battle
This book tells the story of a young sailor aboard a ship bound for Faydwer on the eve of the War of Fay, during Norrath’s Age of Turmoil.
The young Teir’Dal who wrote this wanted to preserve a record of the eve of a battle.
It seems the tale is not yet finished in this volume.
I hope to someday find the rest of it.
We have been preparing for this night for as long as I can remember.
When first I sought to join the Teir’Dal forces, I was told there were no openings for someone of my stature. You see, one of my legs is shorter than the other which makes me appear smaller than I am,
I convinced the commander to allow me to join and now here we are: the eve of battle.
I will set this down for future generations, for while the invasion by the Teir’Dal will live on in history forever, the memories of this last night will surely fade.
Whatever happens when the sun rises, I am sure that we will be thinking of the future then and not living in this moment in time, when the possibilities are set before us.
Long has my unit trained in secret. Lest this fall into unfriendly hands, I will not name the place.
The training was long and difficult, for not only did we need to learn the management of our new warships, we also needed to build our strength as the journey from Tunaria to Faydwer is not a short one.
Speed is to be our ally in this, so that the Dwarves, upon whose shores we will first land, will see the strength of our force and be overwhelmed.
The Feir’Dal will be simple to overcome, as they are simpleminded.
Once we have made landfall, there is nothing that will stop us.
The new ships are deadly.
They are low and lean, powered both by air and by the strength of our rowers.
When the winds are favorable, a large sail is hoisted and the Cantor will stand behind it and call up further winds with her songs.
Each ship has its own Cantor, to increase the advantage of the winds.
When the winds are still and the sea like glass, the oars are put into the water.
The galleys of the new ships can hold 50 ogres to the oars, In my ship, we have 30 ogres plus 20 of my unit.
Of course, my unit’s mission is simple and straight-forward; we are not pulling alongside the ogres. We are to conserve our strength to cover the ground swift as wolves, silent as the owl.
The Cantor is checking the winds now. She wears a robe of silver belted with a rope of pearls and rubies.
I do not know who she is. When she was assigned to our ship, I asked her name and in response received a look so sharp that her eyes burned into me like a venomous bite.
The sail, which fluttered in the slightest of breezes, is now filling and pulling at its lines.
We are underway.
The Cantor stops beside me.
“You want to know my name?” she asks softly. She is the only one who may walk when the ship is underway, but she pulls me to my feet nonetheless.
“Come with me,” she says, leading me to the deck at the stern.
The winds swirled around us as we stood side by side, the ship slicing through the black waters.
She leans toward me, and I thought she meant to kiss me.
Her lips barely touching my ear, she whispers, “My name is Death.”
Her breath is warm though the wind is billowing the sail is icy.
Laughing then, the Cantor pushes me away, her dark eyes glinting.
I did not stumble, for my training has made me able to navigate quite easily in the dark even upon the uncertain footing of a ship.
I could feel her eyes taking measure of me as I sit down to continue with my writing.
She is looking at me still, I can feel it.
The ships will reach the transport area very shortly. I hope to continue this once we have crossed to the other side.
We are making excellent time; the Cantors have done a good job.
I see the swirling mist ahead of us. It crosses the ship’s prow and coils along its length.
I turn to look over my shoulder; Death is watching me.
Armies Across the Sea
This is another part of the journal kept by a Teir’Dal, relating experiences during the War of Fay.
Another volume from the diary of one young Teir’Dal soldier, written during the War of Fay. This volume tells of the Teir’Dal ships landing on Faydwer.
The ships passed beneath the teleportation arch.
There is no sound save a soft thrumming that hangs in the air above us. Mist curls up from the surface of the sea, covering each ship in thick draperies.
No matter how often I have made this journey, I am always amazed that no ships have ever collided in the fog.
When my ship clears the mists, I can see the prows of the other vessels breaking through as well.
Behind me, I hear the rich voice of the Cantor rising in song, calling forth the winds again to propel us toward Faydwer.
Was her name really Death, as she had told me? Or was she trying to frighten me, seeing only a youth with one shortened leg?
In many ways, I am surprised that I am on this team, on this mission.
I will not set down our plans in advance, lest something go awry and my thoughts are revealed to the enemy.
When the commander named those who would be in this elite unit, there were sounds of surprise when they chose me.
Yes, I walk with a limp; but I run like the wind and am deadly besides.
The singing stops, and I feel her beside me again.
She crouches down on the narrow plank and touches the shoulder of the Teir’Dal in the seat before me. As she had with me, she pulls him to his feet and walks him to the small deck at the stern of the ship.
I make an effort not to turn my head; what she chooses to do or say to the others aboard the ship is none of my business.
But it is long before he returns to his seat, and he smiles, looking over his shoulder toward her.
Suddenly before us, I see the lead ship raise a smaller yellow flag.
Immediately, the ogres put their oars into the water, joining their brute strength to the winds in our sail. That signals that landfall is near.
Around me, the other members of my team grip their knives. Our task is not to fight upon landing, but we must be prepared.
The Cantors stop their songs and two of the ogres rise to dismantle the mast, which they cast overboard.
Without that weight, the ships skim faster across the sea, pulled along by the strength of our oarsmen.
The ogres are perfect for this task, for it involved only dipping the oar in, pulling, lifting, then dipping the oars in again. This is as much as their simple minds can grasp.
Ahead, there is a dark ling marking Faydwer.
There are lights set at various points along the way, supposedly to allow the fools to guard their shores.
The reality is that they will light our way directly to a good landing. Some of the ships head further north to land closer to Kelethin.
My first destination is Kaladim.
Without their sails, the ships are low to the water.
The slight splash of the oars is masked in the rolling of the waves onto the shore.
We pull our ships up behind us onto the shingle and the ogres knock holes in their sides.
There is only one way home now – through Felwithe. Weapons are drawn. We run up the beach, and they are surprised.
My unit must stick close together; we each have a role in this.
An arrow whistles through the air and spears the Teir’Dal beside me – the one who had dallied with the Cantor aboard ship.
He staggers, then slides toward the ground clutching at my arm and pulling me down with him. Another arrow whistles over my head.
“Her name…”gasps my comrade before drawing his last breath,”…is Death”
“Death? You’re mad!” I hiss, shaking his lifeless hand from my arm.
I crouch, checking my path across the beach to the cover of the trees when suddenly, the Cantor is beside me – and him.
She kisses his forehead and closes his eyes, then grabs my hand.
“Come!” she cries.
We race toward the concealing darkness ahead
This book tells the continued story written by a young Teir’Dal at the beginning of the War of Fay.
There are many stories from the War of Fay.
This one is collected from the journal of a young Teir’Dal soldier.
The Cantor and I run from the ship, our shoulder curled forward and heads down until we pass into the surrounding trees.
My eyes adjust to the darkness and I see the remaining members of my unit.
We started across the Ocean of Tears with twenty. There are seventeen of us now, crouched in the shadows.
“You should not have stopped for him; he was destined to die,” the Cantor whispers in my ear.
It is the first she has spoken to me since telling me her name aboard the ship.
“I did not stop for him, he grabbed my arm,” I whispered back. “You can wait here; once the ogres have slain the dwarves, they will escort you.”
“No,” she says, “I am coming with you.”
I raise a eyebrow at her, but there is no time for further discussion.
I know that we have not planned to bring her along with us. In our training, the Cantor always traveled with the ogre units, primarily to be safe but also because my unit’s mission is different from other missions.
The unit leader will put her into her place; it is not for me to tell her she cannot come along.
Surprisingly, the team leader does not care that the Cantor is accompanying us to our meeting place.
She glances at the Cantor and some secret signal passed between them, for they turn as one and fade into the treeline. I fade behind them.
The ground rises and falls beneath our feet as we march steadily onward.
The sun rises. The ogres have done an excellent job through the early light.
From the place in which we hide, I can still see toward the hates. Bodies are strewn about and already there are beasts gathering to feast.
Our arrival has definitely caught the dwarves unaware.
The Cantor sits beside me briefly but I avoid her gaze. Is it coincidence that someone named “Death” had spent time with my comrade, who died so soon after we came ashore?
As though sensing my thoughts, the Cantor leans towards me. She is not smiling.
“He was not meant to survive. Do you blame me for easing his final hour?”
I do not answer, so she continues, “They call me Death for I have the curse of knowing who will live and who will not. You will not die today.”
When I turn to look at her, she is gone.
The sun is high over head and the ogres have finished with the outer defenses of Kaladim.
The dwarves, so proud of their fortress, have retreated into its bowels.
When the skies darken again, my team and I are to move forward, then divide into smaller groups.
We shall not see each other again until we reach our final destination.
I see the Cantor now.
She sits beside the team leader and they whisper back and forth, occasionally smothering smiles behind their hands.
Are they speaking of me and my twisted gait? I shake myself, for such thoughts are foolishness in battle. I am not a child, whose only care is whether someone likes me.
I do not care how the Cantor spends her time. Her name is Death, She makes me uneasy.
As darkness falls, we hear the ogres working hard below us.
They are piling high vast quantities of trees before the hates of Kaladim and will soon set them ablaze. Our until will leave before they light the fire and will disappear into the night.
The team leader comes to me and whispers, “The Cantor will go with you.”
“She cannot,” I whispered back, angrily adding, “This is not part of the plan.”
The team leader’s eyes narrow, but her voice drips with menace: “This has always been part of the plan; we do not tell everything to those in service beneath us. The Cantor goes with you; you will do as she bids.”
The team disperses and I..nod curtly to the Cantor and we too slip off into the dark.
Crossing the Faydark
This is another part of a journal written by a young Teir’Dal soldier during the War of Fay.
During the War of Fay, many things changed or were forgotten. This book provides one person’s perspective, all the more interesting as this person was part of a secretive Teir’Dal unit during the War of Fay.
Travel by dark, rest during the day. The pattern repeats.
The Cantor and I hear the skirmishes around us but do not become involved; our mission is different.
At least mine is. Or was. The team leader pushed the Cantor to group with me and said it had always been the plan.
If that is so, then no one had bothered to tell me. I resent it.
The Cantor sense my anger. She does not speak with me, communicating only by gestures and glances.
And yet, though we do not speak, we move as one through the Faydark.
Long before we saw Kelethin, we smelled the fires and heard the battle. We woke to find ourselves in a blanket of haze.
She said, “We will need to travel by day past this place; I will change out forms.”
I glance at her. “Change out forms? What, into birds so that we may fly directly to Felwithe?”
With a smile, she replies, “No. I cannot change an actual shape, but I can create an illusion. Look at yourself; I have already done so with you.”
Using the blade of my dagger as a mirror, I realize my skin is now pale cream and my hair is yellow.
I look like a Koada’Dal
The Cantor gestures into the air, drawing the edge of her palm across her face.
Now she too has yellow hair and sickly pale skin. She laughs at my bemusement saying, “Did you really think all I could do is sing?”
Then she grows more serious and adds, “I know you do not want my company on this journey and that you wonder why I am here. Now you know. I am an illusionist, among other things.”
“What other things?” I ask, but she shakes her head.
“We must rest,” she says softly, “for the journey from here to Felwithe will be even more perilous. Should my illusion fail, all who see us will know we are Teir’Dal. My name may be Death, but I do not wish to die. Not until my task is complete.”
What the task is, she does not say.
The Cantor lies down and immediately falls asleep.
My mind is restless; I constantly pull out my dagger and tilt it this way and that to look at myself.
I am Teir’Dal. I have always had skin the color of the night sky and silver hair. Yet I see pale skin and yellow hair, see this fair being mimic me and yet be me. It is fascinating.
I wonder: would it feel so strange is she had created the illusion that both my legs are the same length? Would that be so difficult to believe?
“You are not resting.” She says, her eyes open, the corners of her lips lifting in a faint smile.
“I cannot get used to this,” I stammer, putting away my dagger, ashamed to be caught in this peculiar vanity.
She pats the nest of pine needles beside her. “Come and rest; you will look this way for many days but right now, you must sleep.”
My eyelids are suddenly heavy and I know I am dreaming before I even curl up beside her.
We walk through Greater Faydark and come to the walls of Felwithe.
The guards step aside to let us enter the city. Despite years of training, I feel unprepared. My hand goes cold and damp.
The Cantor kisses my forehead, then slowly releases my hand and slips into a graceful sitting position against the wall.
I see her staring straight ahead and realize she is dead. The warmth of her lips is still on my skin. I cannot move.
“Wake up, wake up,” she is shaking me, a look of concern in her eyes.
“What did you see?” she demands and there is a note in her voice I have never heard before – fear.
“What did you see, you must tell me!” The Cantor shakes my shoulder again, then sits back on her heels, swallowing hard.
“You must know,” she says in a bitter tone, “I am called Death for I can see death; but I cannot see my own.”
I shake my head, saying, “It was but a dream; you make too much of it.”
As we hide the traces of our makeshift camp, I sense a change in the Cantor. She glances at me now and then, her eyes thoughtful and pensive.
I am not sure if that is what she truly feels or if it is the illusion created by her fair skin and golden hair.
This is the fifth book based on the journal of a young Teir’Dal soldier during the War of Fay.
The journals of this young Teir’Dal soldier chronicle the crossing Faydwer on a mission to Felwithe during the War of Fay with the Cantor, an illusionist.
Our journey takes many days for we are careful to travel as far from the actual fighting as possible.
There is the danger of being killed by other Teir’Dal who are taken in by the illusion created by the Cantor that she and I are Koada’Dal.
There is also the danger her illusion will fail and the Koada’Dal and Feir’Dal will recognize us and slay us before our tasks are done.
We entered Felwithe with no problems, just as in my dream.
The Cantor leads me down various by-ways until we reach an inn. We take a room overlooking the street.
I stand beside the shuttered window, peering through the thick wooden slats. The Cantor paces, nervous in a way that I have never seen,
Across the room I see our reflections in the brass mirror and realize our illusions are gone.
“Stop this,” I say angrily, “You are jeopardizing our mission. I know not why you are here, but I know my task and if you are here to help me you will stop filling the air with the dust of your shoes.”
She stops pacing, perching instead on the edge of the bed.
“Let me tell you why I am here,” she says suddenly. “I saw the deaths of all the others on our ship and that is why I chose you; you will outlive us all.”
Holding her hand to stop me from speaking, she continues: “You look out the window to see if any of the signals are in place; you will not find them. They all perished.
“Of twenty who set forth, you alone are left. You ask constantly why I am here. It is for this: to ensure that you live, though you would not have needed my help. I saw your death; you will outlive us all.”
The room fills with silence. I do not know what to say.
After a moment, the Cantor speaks again: “Long ago, I was cursed with the ability to see others’ deaths.”
“At first, I only saw them when I wished it. Since coming on this mission, I cannot stop it. Everyone we pass, I have but to glance at them to know how and when they will die.”
“Yet I look into the mirror willing it – willing it with all my might! – and I know not when death will come for me. Yet you saw it; you know and will not tell me.”
I remain silent.
What I saw that day in Faydark was a dream, nothing more. It troubled me, but it was only a dream.
Still, knowing how the one dream upset me I could understand how seeing such things every day could bring anxiety, even madness.
I sit beside her then and take her hands into mine.
“Tell me,” I say softly, “what is your real name?”
The Cantor hesitated, glancing away then back again shaking her head.
“I am called Death and that is how you will remember me. When you are in your old age and relive the glories of this war, you will remember that Death walked beside you into Felwithe. And you lived.”
She was calmer now and recast the illusions over us both, then sat and held my hand.
“We will wait here, together.”
“Wait for what?” I say, but I know the answer.
Since her illusions have covered me, I find my foresight is strengthened. We are waiting for the Teir’Dal to besiege Felwithe.
Though the others in my unit do not live, we each were trained with one goal in mind.
If it came to this and only one of us lived, the mission would not fail.
As though reading my thoughts, the Cantor says, “No one else has been able to use my gifts as you have. Is this because you have one short leg? Perhaps it makes you more sensitive in some way?”
I shrug, “Perhaps.”
I know that I no longer wish for legs of equal length, for I can run and climb much better than the others.
I know my balance and can keep it no matter what happens.
We sit in silence, our fair-skinned fingers interlaced.
I try to remember the dream – would I recognize again the wall against which the Cantor fell? Could I keep her away from such a place, from her own death?
In the space of a few short weeks, she has gone from nuisance to the most important creature in my world.
The time for my task has not yet come. And so we sit in the growing stillness and wait.
This is the last in a series of journals written by a young Teir’Dal soldier during the War of Fay.
The Teir’Dal are often considered deceitful and conceited. The perspective of this young diarist provides a different insight into the thoughts of at least one of them during the War of Fay.
Days pass and still the illusions hold. I venture into Felwithe alone, using my stealthy skills to pick pockets or obtain goods which the Cantor and I barter for our room and board. When training for war, this is something never mentioned — the ennui of waiting. And then finally: the battle draws nearer. Our time is upon us.
The Cantor and I have lived for many months under the cover of her illusions; to all others, we appear as Koada’Dal. On this day, we will provide entry into Felwithe for the Teir’Dal units. On this day, we will provide entry into Felwithe for the Teir’Dal units. The Cantor and I know our tasks, though it seems she is enjoying her liaisons much more than I am. If I never have to entertain another stinking Koada’Dal guard again it shall be too soon.
The guards greet us warmly, barely glancing at the gate. The Cantor and I approach and I sense rather than see teh change flicker across her pale features. These men will die and she sees it. I have felt her reaction now so often that I know it instinctively. She smiles coyly at the guard she has been seeing and I slip in behind him to slit his throat. The other guard stares at us, shocked and unable to speak. He meets the same fate.
We open the smaller door beside the gate and in slip the Teir’Dal. The Cantor has released us from the illusion so that we look like them — like ourselves. We head deeper into the city, a thin dark stream of elves followed closely by ogres and trolls, slaying all those who oppose us. The Cantor steers me by the quickest route to the home of the king.
This happens so quickly, the guards fall and we surround the king. I search his face for traces of fear and find none. This satisfies me; I do not like to kill cowards. The Cantor looks from the king to me and back again. She whispers to me, “He does not die this day.” Nodding, I bind his hands with the Cantor’s belt. She has given it the illusion of heavy chains and the king sags from the imaginary weight.
On my watches, I look at Tearis’Thex intently, wondering how it must feel to look one’s death in the face. In theory, all soldiers face their deaths daily in war, but I wonder whether a king would feel the same thrill coursing through his veins. I stare at him so long I draw his gaze, but I do not turn away. He may be king, but in him I now sense the heart of a warrior. He deserves to look into my eyes before I perform the task for which I trained.
Dozens of ogres built the stage upon which the execution will take place. Many times I see the Koada’Dal captives below raise their faces toward this room in which we keep Tearis’Thex. I do not know for what they are hoping. Perhaps that he will spring from the window in the shape of a dragon and escape? The Cantor taps my shoulder and nods toward the king. “It is today,” she says simply.
She removed the ruby and pearl rope from the king’s hands and one of the Teir’Dal guards grasps his shoulder to propel him towards the stairs. From the corner of my eye I sense movement and instinctively react. No one will kill Tearis’Thex in the privacy of a narrow room; his death will be seen by all. Then I realize it is the king who holds the knife. He thrusts.
The Cantor reaches for my hand and grips it, pulling me off-balance onto my short leg. I stagger slightly against her and she grins at me, leaning forward to kiss my forehead. With a slightly puzzled look on her face, she slides to the floor still holding my hand. She says, “It is today.” I stare at teh Cantor, realizing her rope of rubies is mixed with a pool of blood. She leans against the wall; it is the wall from my dream.
“Take him down,” I snap at the guard. The king’s knife still protrudes from the Cantor’s robe and I reach for it.
She rests her hand on mine and says indistinctly, “My name… my name…”
“You will not die,” I say, willing for it to be true.
“My name…” she says wistfully, “…I do not remember my name.” She stares blankly ahead, her hand limp and cold.
I kiss her forehead and close her eyes. I say to her, “Your name is Death.”
Source; In Game Book