Alishana's Journey (book)
"Do you want to visit the Void, Alishana?" was the first thing Risden said once we was on the way to Riverhaven. I was a ranger, didn't know much about the gods, though I knew what the bony fylgja was doing to the altars was bad enough.
Having seen what those foul critters did to the altar in the Crossing cleric's guild, and seen them killing clerics at the High Altar in the temple, I knew I had to fight them. Seemed like a visit to the Void might reach them where they lived. Heh, well, I was a ranger, like I said.
So on up to Urrem'tier's shrine I went, like a good little sacrifice. Got on my plain white robe, handed my things to Risden to hold, lit me a altar candle and laid out on the altar.
The Void called to me. I felt the touch of Urrem'tier in my head. The scorpion let me reach for it, and it didn't smite me. But I got lost on the way home, and died. Father Risden didn't laugh at me too much as he was protecting my memories. And after all that, sad to say, I didn't feel more enlightened about what the fylgja was trying to do.
Still, I tried. I fought the fylgja at every turn in my best ranger way. I ran screaming from their visions of dragons and sluaghs. My arrows shot wide of the mark. I was useless to protect the altars.
Then Emuin Laufi came along. You were too young to meet him, eh? Ahh, that cleric. He had the most interesting eyes...
(Transcriber's note: Alishana here was silent for a while, then asked to continue the telling the next day.)
Where was I? Oh, Emuin. He was an odd kind of cleric. Mostly because he didn't believe in the use of resurrection. He thought people who got favors from the gods were cowards. He had a few other quirks too. Mostly he was looking for a way to the other side. Emuin seemed to think that if all the altars fell, a portal would be opened.
Well anyway, a whole bunch of stuff happened at around the same time. Then I ran into a spot of trouble. I was hunting in guardians, you know, them 20-foot-tall piles of rock. Why sane people go in there I don't know. So there I was and one picked me up and tossed me into the wall of the chasm where I made a nice little smear on the wall. Of course it didn't hurt, because I was dead. And then...
Then my soul departed to walk the Starry Road.
What happened next is real fuzzy in my memory. I remember Urrem'tier taking my measure again. I felt the presence of another, a fierce warrior. There seemed to be some kind of argument going on.
Next thing I knew I was gasping for breath in the presence of another god, trying to find my way back to Crossing. I was so weak! Then I suppose Urrem'tier was trying to take me back because once again I died. The gods ever speak to you direct, Calini?
(Transcriber's note: I answered in the negative. Alishana kept talking but seemed to be not aware of my presence.)
I was there... in the No Place? the Void? How can you tell where a place is when you aren't there yourself? The spirit be a strong thing. Wherever it was, if it was actually a there and not some other place, I felt the touch of the gods. The warrior, he was Everild. He was there. He said to me, in this deep wild voice, "Are you sure this is what you want, Alishana?" Of course I knew what he meant. He looked at me real close. He saw everything, of course, he is a god. Heh. He said, "Do you want to go back?" I could kind of see the others behind him, waiting, not really caring. Everild wanted to know.
I finally understood what I'd seen in the Void that time with Risden. And what I was feeling now. See the gods, they give you your chances, sometimes more than one, and it's up to you what you do with them. Everild seemed to take a fancy to me, which is why he was asking. To the rest of them, was no concern if I stayed or went. Stay, beyond the Starry Road, that cold place, to peek in on the people. Or go back, live me life, stop the evil, restore the altars, breathe...
And of course I wanted to go back.
So Everild tossed me back to the world, to the High Altar at the Crossing temple. Cold, tired, hurt, weak, mostly naked, but alive. And it was then that I became a cleric.
(Transcriber's note: Alishana seemed to feel that her telling was done then. I asked her what happened after her second chance.)
Eh, so much. Ravenquest and Kalira and Risden, they took me into their hearts. There was the theft of the chalice from Urrem'tier's shrine, and Wren, and helping Emuin lose his favors, and the Altar Song, and getting the altars back, and so much else. And through it all I felt the wild god watching me, checking to see what I'd done with the life I'd been given back.
But I'm tired of talking. Time to hunt. Thanks for writing all this down for me. I'll tell you the rest another day.
(Transcriber's note: At this point Alishana pulled the hood of her cloak up, brushed some dust off her boots, and strode off in the direction of the woods. I will add that she still owes me a S'kra slam for this favor.--Calini Kra'chien, S'kra Mur, empath, and friend to Alishana d'Nort, Human, former ranger, cleric of Everild.)