|The Hidden City of E'nat'dae|
Designed by Miatrylle
Lifespan: 25 minutes
Medium Groups: 18-24
Large Groups: 16-22
It was 9:57 am, on the Day of Justice, the first Day of the Month of Summer Flame, Year 538. A tall young man strapped his bedroll loosely to his back and picked up his dagger. Dusting it off, he slipped it into the loose folds of the top of his trousers, just above the braided leather strips that formed his belt. The man's name was Jeren, and he was the youngest of a family of four sons and three daughters. Although only nineteen summers old, he had left the family nearly two years earlier to explore everything the lands of Medievia had to offer.
His three older brothers had joined their father in working their small farm on the outskirts of the City of Medievia, but he was not satisfied with that life. Still though, he had begun to head back towards the farm, not planning to visit, but merely to observe from a distance. He had no intention of returning home until he had accomplished some great deed, perhaps by killing a vicious dragon single-handedly, or by saving a beautiful princess from an evil magician.
Just as he was crossing the last hundred miles before he reached the tiny settlement, a strange little path caught his eye. The slender dirt trail led off into what appeared to be a dense forest. The trees grew so close together that Jeren could not see past the first curve in the road. Intrigued, he started into the woods. As far as he knew, the woods had been considered off-limits to the locals for hundreds of years, as it was rumored that a dark dragon had passed through them once, leaving a multitude of strange creatures of darkness behind, terrorizing the woods.
An hour--and two rather nasty fights with a couple of mutated wolves--later, Jeren was rather frustrated and wary. What had begun as a simple trip to satisfy his curiosity was quickly becoming a dangerous adventure. Still, though, he could see no reason why this trail was here, especially now that he'd met some of the legendary creatures that roamed the woods. Just as he was about to give up, the path broadened suddenly before the thick wood gates of what appeared to be a bustling town. Gasping in amazement, Jeren walked through the open gates and entered the streets of the settlement.
Her Imperial Highness J'Inaere il'Rafie, Empress in Exile of the Realms of E'natwa, looked about her chambers sadly. Although the rooms were sparse and bare, her sadness was not caused by the lack of luxury and finery about her. Instead, she mourned for the loss of her beloved kingdom. Only two months had passed since she had used her store of magic crystals to augment her own power and move the northern city of E'nat'dae from the Realms to this foreign land. It had been all that she could do to save this small part of her kingdom, and in her scrying crystal she had watched the rest of it blown to dust by the magic of the Sorceress Iness. For years, her kingdom and the minions of the Sorceress had warred, each fighting for the land they fought upon: one for life, one for death. In the end, though, the darkness prevailed, and the young Empress was forced to flee with only one city of the three hundred that had formed the Empire.
Here, in this dark woods, they were surrounded by dark beings, strong, but nothing compared to the forces of the Sorceress. So the Empress and her remaining people were safe ... for now. Still, though, they had no idea where they were, as the scouts she had sent out had not yet returned. The townspeople ventured as far as the edge of the woods in order to gather some of the plants that grew there, but no further. She longed for news from the outside, and she longed to know just how her people could survive here. The woods were too thick for farming, and as the arrival of the village had already transplanted many of the forest's trees, she was loathe to ruin even more. The village did have a large amount of Illutian crystals, as they could refine and magically create those whenever necessary, but she had no idea as to what they could do with them. They already had as many as they needed for their spells. Aside from the delicate ladies' fans the village made, the only possible trading goods were the velvet quilts that were also considered one of the village's accomplishments. But, until they received news from the outside, they had no way of knowing whether or not they would be able to trade any of those items elsewhere to create a reliable income for the village.
Suddenly, the doors to her chamber burst open, and her closest friend and cousin entered the room. Her grace, the Duchess d'Aunfae, bowed slightly to the Empress before speaking.
"Ina, a young man has just entered the village ... he appears to be one of the natives of this region!"
The Empress looked stunned. "Are you sure, Fae? If this is true, this may be what we have been waiting for!"
The two women left the private chambers and headed into the main audience hall to meet the man.
Jeren was nervous; the people had pounced upon him and brought him to this large, palacial building and held him in what appeared to be an enormous audience chamber. His curiosity had never led him so far astray before, he thought to himself, just before the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen walked into the room. She was petite and slender, with lightly tanned skin, dusted with golden highlights. She wore a fitted white shift beneath a sheer overdress of some type of blue gossimer. Her eyes were the deepest shade of amber he'd ever seen. The heralds announced her as Imperial Highness J'Inaere il'Rafie, but all he could think was that she was dazzling and amazing.
Ina looked at the young man and nearly smiled at his obvious bewilderment. She curtseyed gracefully to him and watched his jaw drop. Smiling kindly, she extended her hand to him and led him over to one of the cushioned benches.
"Jeren of Medievia, we have much to discuss."
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