Ilithi Resistance Journal of Xand Duchet (book)
The Ilithi Resistance Journal of Xand Duchet
When I think back upon the past few years, through the pain and sorrow the people of Ilithi have endured, it is with resignation to the wheel of time and a desire to tell the story so it will be recorded for all time that I pen the History to the Ilithi Resistance from my point of view. After the peace treaty was signed in Zoluren, the full force of sadness hit me, and I'm sure many others. I withdrew to Chyolvea Tayeu'a, where I only saw a few familiar faces such as Nuark and the ever vigilant Ilithi citizen Pfanston. They brought me crumbs of information from the outside world. That and their smiling faces sustained me through that time. The thoughts of Outcasts and their supporters had become poison to my mind and heart, and yet I could not bear to leave Ilithi. It was there that I remained throughout the years of the Crystal Snow Hare and the Silver Unicorn. As the wounds of the war began to close upon me, my interest in the outside world began to grow anew. I had heard from high in the mountains that a small resistance had formed around Yoniemo. He had captured the Gorbesh fort and flown the Ferdahl's robe above it in defiance; it did not long stay in his hands however. I later heard a tale that an Outcast trader was struck by this early resistance and his caravan was looted. These early successes kindled hope in my heart. Sadly, I was to hear that Yoniemo was slain in Undershard by Varinocae and captured and imprisoned in the Great Tower.
This shroud of darkness clung about Ilithi during the post-War years. The land north of the City of Shard was scarred by a massive Outcast camp that cut off the entire domain south of Fayrin's Rest in clear violation of the peace treaty. Leaders of of Zaldi Taipa complained that shortages were keenly felt due to the decrease in trade caused by the outpost. It was within this camp that the Outcasts put their 'justice' to the test, beheading all who would not abide being Outcast chattel or any that would assist them in any way.
Throughout this period Commanders Forgenash, Kythryn, Windreaper and Thangor among a host of others struggled to resist the Outcasts any way they could. Many citizens of Ilithi found themselves on a list to be detained, or even beheaded with their bodies dumped at the gondola's North Platform. Some found themselves hunted for their attacks on guards, some for the misfortune of selling a pouch of gems for the wrong person and others for being seen speaking with a hunted person. Surely we all felt forsaken by those beyond our boarders with no one to hear our plea.
In the north, Prince Vorclaf was said to have fallen desperately ill. So ill in fact that Lady Lindryl had to assume the throne as the Royal Steward. Sadly, I never did find out what brought on Vorclaf's unnatural illness though I did hear rumors which pointed to some ill deed done by Velmix.
Alas, I was deeply shaken to hear that Natashya was providing the only care to the Prince, feeling some trepidation about that lady's motivations. It was with some guilt about doubting her that I heard that the Prince weakened but returned undaunted to the throne to the rejoicing of many. I must say that I was greatly relieved that he had recovered, knowing him to always have been a friend to the late Ferdahl.
During the middle of the year of 378, it later became known that the renewed Prince declared that he would no longer tolerate the murderer Raenilar's occupation of Shard and that he would seek justice for Ferdahl Kukalakai's death. Desiring that end, the Zoluren Prince set about subverting the Outcast rule in Ilithi, seeking an agent with strength within Ilithi's borders. They made overtures to meet with Vhess Shh'ior'n. Near the 320th day in the year of Silver Unicorn Captain Owaen met with the hunchback in a covert meeting on the southern boarder of Zoluren. A bargain was struck and a hired sword was granted to the Ilithi resistance for a time.
My strength renewed, I ventured out beyond the fortress walls to rejoin the world, and as the new year came hailing in the Year of the Bronze Wyvern, I returned to the streets of Shard, having to face the ignominy of needing to carry a visa issued by the Outcasts for permission to enter the city I once called home.
I began to watch a great deal of what was occurring in the city. With shock and amazement, I watched people I had once respected and felt kinship with praising and feigning friendship with Raenilar. I confess that at this time I could not believe that the M'Riss ambassador continued to serve as ambassador to the Outcasts, nor could I understand why the M'Riss government would wish to maintain relations with the scourge. Of course, in hindsight, one might now look at the final hours before the Ferdahl was captured and judge her cozy relationship with the Outcast leader as perhaps much more than just a coincidence.
I spent the early part of 379 watching and observing, and even ventured to meet with the Outcast King once. We spoke briefly and I made a request to speak more with their lore keeper, hoping to learn more of their ways. It was during this meeting that he seemed to me to have changed somehow and was devoid of the vengeance he once held. Of all of the things about this man, I noticed that he had a great love for and devotion to his people. That quality alone was the one thing that I admired about him. He spoke that he had had visions from his god, and it was the visions that had driven him to come to Shard. He shared that his god had shown him his beginning and his ending, and that he therefore had no fear of the time that would remain between.
It seemed to me a small group was drawn to the new government, and I'm sure each had his own designs in mind. Sharuul, Tiso, Ileia, Renala and Skilair all had regular interaction with the King. It was a great pain to my heart as I'm sure it would have been to Ferdahl Kukalakai, had she lived, to see a former Commander of the Ilithi militia, who had sworn allegiance to her, now bow beneath the feet of her murderer. War changes many things in people, though for my part I fear that something altogether unnatural has made those choices. I chanced to speak with him once and only once about it, where he claimed, and was confirmed by another, to have been possessed while the city of Shard was attacked by undead. I fear that the person I once knew and admired is long since gone with some dark spirit now wearing his face. Perhaps it is only my naivety. The early part of the year saw the number of Ilithi Commanders dwindle. However, Kythryn and Forgenash through out it all remained the stalwart backbone of a militia that had seen its ups and downs.
The rumors of another war stirred as Raenilar was warned that Zoluren may be planning on attacking. The Outcast secretly extended his patrols into Zoluren. With this possibility upon the horizon I set my feet north to make a meeting in Ulf'Hara Keep. In the year of the Bronze Wyvern 379, 149 AV on a wonderful spring day, I arrived. I was glad to meet Commander Kythryn and was ushered into a meeting. It was there I first learned that the Prince intended to force the Outcasts from Shard, and upon hearing this. the Three agreed to fight for their city. We again set our feet on the road to conflict. The Prince asked that the resistance be ready within Ilithi to fight for our homes come the winter of that year. The Three granted me the honor of a promotion to Commander that day. It was an honor and a burden that I hoped I would carry well.
With little time, we began to prepare. The newest commanders commissioned that day were Aleyden, Nuark, Storrmm, Yamaga and myself. We joined Commanders Kythryn, Forgenash, and Windreaper in readying our forces as best we could. Lieutenants were soon commissioned, observers were put in place and slowly we prepared for war.
All agreed that we must free Yoniemo before any military action was to commence for we feared that the Outcasts would use him as a shield, always threatening to make him pay if any should strike against them.
Kulainik left the safety of the Ulf'Hara Keep and traveled south to meet with commanders and set up the resistance. We were told to look to the coming of Aemmin and Berric, who had been doing their parts in Ilithi to see our side triumphant. However, we were quickly discovered by Koromas and Korishandra via Moon Mage magic. It was then that my freedom to pass the checkpoint ended and my life on the run began.
Shortly after this incident, Commander Kythyrn and Storrmm were attacked in Fayrin's Rest by a Shade Walker named Taber. He was hunting them because they had been seen with people they should have been with. At the time it was not clear if Taber was an Outcast or a hireling, but he had some allegiance to Raenilar. We quickly confirmed that Taber was yet another Outcast.
Moon Mages began to see visions seeming to indicate that darkness again threatened Ilithi and that a dove of some sort might overcome. For some this lead us to believe that Berric, the house father of the House of Steel Doves might be the leader to free Shard from the hands of the Outcasts and to stay a feared rising of the Dark Hand. He was discovered very much alive and safe at Corik's wall. He had been gravely injured in the final battles of the Outcast War but had recovered at the wall, where he had been kept safe by the Emerald Knights. With a general to lead and a hired sword for strength, we moved forward to plan how to free Yoniemo and to prepare the way for Zoluren's strike. During one of our covert meetings at the wall Ambassador Ileia was discovered (or allowed herself to be) hiding and listening. This disturbed us greatly because of her close relationship with the King; we feared that the General's safety might be compromised.
A short time later, General Berric set up a secret command tent for the resistance that was to be guarded by one of Berric's own men. Its location was only known to militia members. Some of the militia were meeting with Berric, Aemmin and Vhess to finalize plans when we heard reports that patrols were nearing and we must disperse. The Shade Walker Taber was again on the hunt for Storrmm and Kythryn, and resistance members set out to deal with him. At the very same time, a meeting of Raenilar, Koromas, Iliea, Sharuul, Tiso, Michie and Renala was going on in the Great Tower. After Taber was dispatched and his body brought into the city by the Outcasts guards, we discovered that the location of the secret command tent had been betrayed and the farmhand who was guarding the location had been slain. Sadly, we had a betrayer in our midst. It was someone who wore the face of a friend and all the while plotted our downfall. I hold out hope that someone will come forward with the information needed to put the traitor on trial for his crimes and see him dealt with.
The Shade Walker continued to pursue those who had attacked him in defense of Storrmm and Kythryn. On the run, I had taken up a position at the door of Chyolvea Tayeu'a, hoping Taber, who had already tracked Commander Kythryn there on a previous occasion, might arrive tired and easily taken by a cloud of fire rain. Sadly all did not go according to my plan. He arrived and slew Kythryn before my eyes from the shadows, but the quick arrival of Commander Aleyden saved me from the Shade Walker's butcher's bill. It was only the arrival of Captain Herrick of the Mountain Elves that scared off the Outcast. Herrick gave us leave to use Chyolvea Tayeu'a for protection until we heard otherwise from Queen Morganae. I had hoped that the Outcast had earned the wrath of the Mountain Elves that day.
Unfortunately, the winter quickly approached, and with a spy in our midst we were greatly hampered. The Moon Mages spoke of visions of possible betrayal within the Outcast ranks, and all the while Therengia continued to be assaulted by Yhaman from the Northern Desert. We surely felt as if there again would be fighting along two fronts, both North and South, sapping the strength needed to confront the Outcasts at home. Prince Vorclaf, we heard, confirmed that Baron Gyfford would not be able to support a push against the Outcasts in Ilithi because he had to concentrate on his desert border.
Events moved quickly beyond our control and often even our comprehension. Kulainik Emaylian, cousin to the late Ferdahl and a great patriot in the Elothean cause, in a move that was in the best interests of his people and with great risk to himself ventured into the Long Dark. His conference was observed by a Moon Mage mirror. Kulainik went before Queen Morganae in an effort to strengthen the forces arrayed against the Outcasts. He bargained for Mountain Elf troops to be committed against Raenilar, but in a surprise move, Queen Morganae requested that if she agreed to support such an action, that Kulainik would give his daughter Aemmin to Prince Fayne Sunderstone in marriage. In a gesture of supreme patriotism to the Elothean people, the shocked Kulainik agreed to her terms to secure the help necessary to free his people from the occupation.
It was then that the most surprising event happened; Queen Morganae of the Mountain Elves arrived in Shard to meet with King Raenilar. During an audience between these mighty leaders also observed via moon magics, many were stunned to hear that Raenilar would lead his people away from Shard and back into the Northern Desert. It seems that not all of his people enjoyed the south, and he had come to realize they were now people of the desert, and that is where they would dwell. He requested Queen Morganaenot to support Zoluren or the resistance with troops and to let his people have safe passage north. The Mountain Queen agreed, provided that all Outcast attacks on her allies cease. She said she would see to it that her allies accepted these terms.
Demonstrating her commitment to the agreement and the power and reach of her influence, Queen Morganae sent for Natashya a few days later. In their discussion, the Queen asked Natashya to use her influence to get Prince Vorclaf to allow the Outcasts to return to the desert without opposition. Natashya, in a masterful play of brinkmanship, insisted on what appeared to be nullification of the proposed nuptial between Aemmin and Prince Fayne, inserting herself in Aemmin's place and sealing the deal with a token from the Queen made from the bones of her enemies. With her odd betrothal secured she sent off on her mission.
Around this time, the militia discovered from our sources that the Shade Walker Taber was not in agreement with his king over the Outcasts' planned evacuation from Shard. We also learned that former commander Sharuul and Tiso had been admitted into Raenilar's tribe. Taber quickly made it known that he intended to stay in Shard regardless of what his king might say, and he continued to hunt resistance leaders and attack Ilithi citizens around the province.
As winter grew near, Prince Vorclaf made a covert journey to the Long Dark to speak with the Queen of the Mountain herself to confirm for himself that an agreement was brokered. Not one to have his hands tied by another, the Prince questioned her motives for interfering and questioned her loyalty to their continued alliance. Prince Vorclaf reserved the right to make his own judgments and his own decisions on what actions or inactions to take regarding the Outcasts. Brooking no opposition, the Queen dismissed the Prince and had him escorted out. This apparently rough treatment was certainly a velvet touch compared to what has befallen others that have pressed the Queen. Making use of his trip south, Prince Vorclaf arrived in Shard to assess Raenilar's intent himself. The meeting, observed through a mirror, was a tense affair with veiled threats and innuendo; however in the end the Prince agreed to allow the Outcasts to withdrawal and to stay his hand in seeking justice upon Raenilar for the death of Ferdahl Kukalakai. Raenilar for his part would withdraw to the desert to start anew and would not support any of his followers who would choose to stay behind. Yoniemo was released and taken north by Prince Vorclaf to Zoluren to recover from his long imprisonment. It was revealed that most of the Outcasts had been moved north by the pirate Kendyll. Its interesting to note that this came to us as a great surprise even though it was general knowledge among the king's inner circle.
As swiftly as Outcasts came to Ilithi so they departed. Raenilar in a short time led his people away, leaving only the malcontent Taber and a small Outcast army to hold the city. Taber's oath to the king had been broken and he tried to hold the city against growing opposition from the resistance, the citizens of Ilithi and freedom fighters from all over the lands. Battles raged for a few days until most of the Outcast troops had been bested and Taber found release to his anger along the starry road. It was with some sadness that I heard that Korishandra found her way to the starry road as well when she attempted to aid the resistance by dragging bodies. Sadly, it appears that information was given only to Iliea, who, it is said, never shared it with any of the Ilithi commanders, and with so many Outcasts still in the field, it was difficult to know friend from foe. The rumor is that Moon Mages had a vision of Raenilar being struck down by his god and then returning, changed with a new goal to build a desert empire for his people.
A ragged peace settled back upon the streets of Shard, no longer abused by the sounds of marching Outcast soldiers or battle. Life in the city returned to normal. The Three returned to Shard to continue their deliberations over who should be picked for the next Ferdahl. The Outcasts left the records destroyed and the treasury looted. The Elothean houses were destroyed and needed rebuilding. Mothers once again let their children free to walk the streets without fear and Kulainik Emaylian tirelessly worked to see the city of Shard begin its rebuilding process and someday return to its former splendor. The citizens of Ilithi brushed off minor invasions of scoundrels whom arrived to make trouble while new sentinels were trained and put on duty.
The city hosted a splendid festival to honor and celebrate the new life we now live, in our free city with a beautiful future upon the horizon. Much rebuilding will need to be done as the scars of war are not easily healed. All minds now turn anxiously to the deliberations of the Three and the future.
By my hand, Xand Duchet Commander with the Ilithi Infantry In the year of the Golden Panther 380 years, 300 days AV.