A Children's Story
"And Lo, gather round all ye present and hearken to my tale! For this is a Story! Part of the Song of Life, and in its telling, it lives and sings once more..."
Invictus walks to the side of the pool.. Invictus dips his hand in and lets the water run through his fingers...
Madame D rests at the side of the pool and conjures up coffee.
Xun Dal J'han listens to a fellow Bard You Say: And as this water flows through my fingers and reenters the pool changed so slightly, so may this story flow through your souls and have some slight effect...
"Once there was a Man named Brandon... A fatesender by focus, he had grown in power and some little fame... But this was the time of Chaos, when the Dreamstrike Masters did war and the City was changed by the forces they wrought.
"Now Brandon did love Alea, a Soulmaster, whose soul sang to him with beauty pure... They were together, in the library, ahhh, it was a grand place then.... They walked hand in hand about, content in one anthers presence.... And then did the Dreamstrike Master war intrude... The war came to the library... They were caught in the middle....
"She leapt in from of a strike meant for him. When he woke, he knew, knew she was no more. And he considered following her, but how would that honor her memory?
"And thus he carried on...but he discovered something else strange as well. He could no longer evoke an art. Something in him, some part of him, had been cut off, sealed up and closed off. The flame still formed in his hands, but no effect resulted from the evocation. Brandon did not know what to do.
"Now many of you might have noticed how few children there are in the dream these days? It was not always so. Once there were many more, but these were the Wars, and the Chaos came too, its tendrils seeking easy prey, and who more easy to take than an innocent child.
"Now our hero, for mussn't all stories have a hero? He had become a wanderer of sorts. He went about entertaining small children with the colors of his arts, for they were impressed by simple things.
And one day he was entertaining a girl named Sari, and he was evoking stagger, and he pretended to evoke it upon himself. And suddenly, he did stagger, and he was amazed! He tried blind on the girl to hide from her, and it worked too!
"At last, he thought, I am once more a man! He finished with the child, and went his way, to face an emphant to test his flame. It failed him, he was stunned. Later after being restored..."
Invictus laughs ruefully.
"He was approached by the parents of Sari. They told her she had been taken by the Chaos, they were distraught, but they were happy,because his performance was the last thing she had talked about, for he had made Sari laugh and laugh. Brandon was devastated.
"He continues to entertain children. And soon enough, a small boy, Krin, was watching him perform. And he scared the child's nanny into the Lake of tears. The boy laughed no end, and Brandon was once more surprised. Surely enough, his arts once more worked while he was in the presence of Krin...
And later, they failed when he tried them on his own. He learned later that Krin was taken by the Chaos too... He feared what this seemed to point to. He thought of stopping, of withdrawing from all...
"But, he was known for his way with children, and he was invited to a birthday party. There were 5 there, Three little girls and two boys, out of 20 children, whom his arts worked for. He cried through the performance... He finished it, and the news reached him the next day...
"Five children, all taken by the Chaos.
Who could resist Despair?
"Who could bear this curse?
"He went to the edge of the dream... He intended to step off into the mists, to end his existence... He began his walk, A step... Another... And then he heard a voice.
"He knew her voice as if it had only been yesterday. He refused to hear it... Another step..
"He turned, and there shimmering slightly, was Alea...just as he remembered her, so beautiful, so full of good.
"'I cannot face it Alea, I cannot have them laugh and love me, only to know the ones who see my arts true will be taken the next day'
"He turned and took another step, so close now to his own destruction.
"'Please don't, he heard another voice say.
"He looked behind him, and there, beside Alea, was the little girl Sari.
"'Please, your arts, your stories, your laughter was what saved us' And Sari pointed around her, and the other children appeared as well.
"'Brandon', said Alea, 'Come back to us, I will never leave you, and we will have these children for as long as we will be together, for I am always with you, as are they.'
"He hesitated, and then slowly, stepped back from the brink. The children ran to them, and he caught them and tears streamed down his face. And their laughter was wonderful to hear."
Invictus finishes his story and pauses a moment quietly.
"And so goes the Song of Life." Invictus bows.