• She sits in the darkness, cold seeming to permeate the stone cell in which she lay. She shivers, pulling the tattered rags of clothing that in truth served no purpose anymore. The pervasive cold seemed to her to be beyond simple lack of heat she thought that she was cold more so because of the dark promise of her future from the cruel master of this foul place. He promised her that she would die here in this cell from either the cold or hunger, in what way he didn’t seem to care so long as it happened, no one could save her from her fate he said. She was to die here and her body and soul would be left to his perverted will. Her adopted father, the prior of the small abbey that sheltered her, had once pointed the heavily robed and hooded out as a Necromancer and a vile one at that. He had warned her to steer clear of his sight for he had a taste for kidnapping young women that he fancied and no one within the abbey could stop him once he had his sights set on someone. One day in the village market a few miles outside of the safety of the abbey as she was gathering herbs for the acolytes alchemy she bumped into a middle aged man with stark white short cropped hair, as he turned around slowly she noticed that he wore dark satin robes with a large maroon skull stitched between the shoulder blades and a large satin black hood lowered to cover the back of his neck, her heat raced faster with adrenaline. Even before he made it all the way through his turn she realized with horror that it was indeed the Necromancer her father had warned of, and to his word the Necromancer did take those who had the misfortune of falling within his sight. He took her and put her in this small empty stone cell and ripped her clothes off to get a better look of his ‘catch’ and let loose that lewd rasping cackle of his that haunted her dreams for the past two days, then he explained his intent and left her there barring closed the heavy iron door that blocked all light. She wasn’t exactly sure how long she had been in here, but she had always had a good feel for the time of day no matter if she was indoors or out of doors. She was hungry and thirsty, but almost numb and uncaring as to whether or not she would die in here of either. It no longer mattered to her anymore, her dreams of knighthood and true justice clipped by the harsh realities of the world she lived in, so instead of attempting to force the door open by slamming into it as was her habit since her capture she lay back down on the cold stone floor and drifted into a fitful sleep.

    Light drifted into her thoughts, the cruel illusions of dreams she told herself trying to settle herself back into sleep. Halfway between sleep and wakefulness a voice not born from her minds eyes spoke out from the darkness beyond the door of her cell, it’s clear melodic pitch belayed her original notion that it was her captor returned to taunt her. Both beautiful and strong the sound cleared all thoughts of rest from her mind. Sitting back up and shielding her eyes from the light with her hand to notice two men standing in the shadows cast by the single torch the one directly in the doorway held forward the one who spoke up was not the voice she had heard at first, it sounded jittery and rough as if he was scared beyond the limits of his wits. “By the gods, we finally found someone, is it her lord Andarious?” the man behind the one who spoke turned towards the other and said, “I would assume so, we found no traces of anyone aside from the captor to reside here. But in all honesty we cannot know till we ask her.” He turned towards her, light glinting a slight red off his eyes marking him as an elf using their ability known as infravision the ability to see heat signatures in the deepest of darkness. “Lady Aldaran?” He stepped forward into the light revealing a face that she believed most all elves would envy, the fall of straight black hair framed high and well defined cheek bones and smooth firm jaw and chin. Like all elves he bore not even the slightest hint of facial hair other than thin eyebrows, and then she saw her goal, ever since she was a child she had always been able to tell the character of a person through their eyes and in his crystalline eyes she saw something she had never seen within the eyes of anyone she had ever met much less an elf. In his eyes she saw a level of compassion, understanding, intelligence, and strength that left her nearly incapable of breath. Those silver blue eyes looked deeply into hers, judging her as she judged him, and then looked around the room taking in every single detail. “Ma’am? Are you all right?” this from the man beside the young elf, a human boy who wore the garb of a footman of the Order, the young man had short cropped thick auburn hair that made his head seem to small for his large masculine frame, and made his large ears seem even larger. She looked into his eyes and saw only an overwhelming amount of fear and worry, eyes that kept glancing down at her less than covered body. She ignored him and looked back to the elf beside him and this time she noticed that he wore a suit of plate mail with a black and teal Order tabard with a teal cross in the center, at the his neck he wore a lowered chainmail coif hinting that under the heavy armor he wore a suit of fine chainmail. It was a very strange sight seeing an elf wearing the entrapments of a Knight of the Order, much less a Knight of high ranking. Even stranger to her was the tooled leather baldric crossing from his left shoulder to his right hip, which held the scabbard for the graceful yet obviously heavy great sword to his back. Lastly she noticed something more the norm for an elf, he wore a set of supple black leather boots that covered his shins and knees just below the hanging fabric of the tabard.
    Looking back into her eyes the elf spoke, “M’lady are you known as Varrik Aldaran?” “We have come on the behalf of the Order to rescue a young woman by that name who was reported to have been held here. We need to know if you are her, we cannot tarry here much longer, we have already lost several of our team and have found no other obvious signs of life here beyond you.” After taking a few steadying breaths to calm her racing her heart she finally gained the courage to speak up, “Yes.. I am Varrik Aldaran, I give you my apologies for my inability to speak well at this moment…” “I’m sorry but I did not imagine that I would ever escape this foul place.” He smiled sympathetically and nodded his head a bit, “Tis understandable M’lady by no means should you apologies for this travesties affect upon you, now please if you will Squire Erlon please prevent your eyes from roaming where they need not be and hand me the pack of our fallen sister and stand guard outside the doorway so that she may dress alone, I will join you in a moment.” The boy turned bright red in the face and gave a small apologetic smile to no one in particular pulling the small leather pack from his shoulder and holding it out to the elven knight. “As you will sire, I apologize madam it will not happen again, and here you are sire.” The knight took the pack from him and knelt to open the pack while Erlon walked swiftly outside the door drawing a broadsword as he went. She watched the kneeling knight as he shifted through the objects in the pack, pulling out a white robe and hooded cloak and handing it out to her. After taking the offered clothing he looked back into her eyes as he rose and tucked into a bow and started to turn and leave the room, but she had a question to ask before he left the room, “Might I ask your name good knight, I have gleaned the young squires and you have learned mine, it is only fair that you give your own right?” he stopped slowly turning to face her again and smiled apologetically. “I am sorry for my quick introduction, my name is Andarious Deadroth. It is a pleasure to meet you, even if circumstances are grim.” “Now if you would please allow me to stand guard whilst you change, you will need the warmth and magical protection that the robes give before this day is out.”