It was a sorrowful tale, a tale of love lost because of the evil that lies in the hearts of selfish men. I met Ahdrina in Haven during my training there when I first joined the Twilight Fellowship. She was newly widowed and my heart reached out to her. Her young husband had been slain by the pirate they called Edlynn the Gold. Edlynn and his band of miscreants had raided the outlying settlements of Haven, Ahdrina's farm being one of the many settlements that had been attacked. She tearfully told me of how her husband, Tonnald, fended off the pirates to buy her the time to hide. From her hiding spot, she saw him fall with, mortally wounded by the cutlass of the dastardly Edlynn himself. Tonnald lay on the ground bleeding to death, but rather than offering him mercy, the villain began looting Tonnald of any valuables he had on his person. When he reached for his wedding ring, Tonnald begged the pirate to allow him to keep it for it was a symbol of his love for Ahdrina. Ahdrina faltered when she reached this point in her story. Edlynn laughed scornfully and cut Tonnald's hand off, then after freeing the ring from his finger, he tossed the hand back at the suffering Tonnald and said, "I will keep the ring but you may have your hand back!" My blood was boiling when I heard this tale and ever since that moment, I have yearned to bring the pirate to justice. Alas, I have yet to find him, though my guildmates continue to keep a wary eye out for any rumor of him. It was Baynetta who brought me my first lead, a rumor of a former lover of Edlynn's named Barbara. <center></center> Baynetta heard that Barbara had parted ways with Edlynn, and not on good terms, yet perhaps she knew where he could be found. I sailed to Paws with Baynetta immediately and we began inquiring after this Barbara. Alas, the slippery wench fled Paws when she heard we were looking for her. Baynetta and I split up to continue the hunt, Baynetta taking the north road while I headed south towards Trinsic. I was the fortunate one to come upon the fugitive half a day later, catching her in the wild. "Daft chit!" Barbara cried at me. "You're all alone. I'm going to slice you open!" she promised, hefting her crescent blade. "I'm the face of karma, come to visit retribution on you for the ill deeds you have committed," I spat back at her. <center></center> Hefting my quarterstaff, I dug my heels into my beatle and charged. Now I may not be the most skilled warrior in the Twilight Fellowshiop, but I was more than a match for Barbara. Three swift strikes slipped past her guard and she lay unconscious on the ground. <center></center> I quickly tied her up and brought her back to Paws with the intent of returning her to Haven to suffer their justice. I had to wait a day for Baynetta to return, and she was overjoyed at my success. "Well done!" she praised me. "Elcaria will have to hear of this so she can put it into song!" I must have blushed at the compliment, for Baynetta chuckled. We left at first light, sailing Baynetta's ship, the Duskchaser. With Baynetta piloting, it was left to me to question Barbara. "We are taking you to Haven so that justice may be served," I began. "From what I hear, they are rather harsh with their penalties. Pirates are hung, I believe." Barbara paled. "I am no pirate!" she snarled, though there was a tremor of fear in her voice. "Honesty is a virtue you seem to be lacking. You have foolishly been telling of your exploits while raiding Haven while in the company of Edlynn the Gold. Indeed, you have even boasted of bedding him which simply disgusts me. Your drinking fellows who you shared these stories with, well, they were all too willing to recount what you told them to the magistrates of Haven. It took a bit of gold, mind you, but you really should be more cafeful with how you pick your friends." The tears started falling then, but I was in no mood to offer her any pity. "Did you shed those tears for your victims?" "It weren't me," Barbara wailed. "Y-you saw. I can't fight." "You told your friends you cut the throats of kneeling men, men who were at your mercy," I nearly shouted, growing angrier at the thought of it. "You wanted to feel powerful. The only way you could make yourself feel better about your miserable life was to inflict pain on others, to feel the power of having their lives in your hands! I know your sort. I've seen it often. These shadows lie in the hearts of most mortals. We make ourselves feel better by belittling others, by belittling those who are different from us. In your case, you took it to extremes. You wanted to belong with the pirates, the pirate who used you and cast you aside when it was convenient for him. How do you feel now, facing the gallows with your precious pirate far away? You will suffer and he is free. How does that make you feel?" "I am so sorry," she breathed. "I didn't know what I was doing. I-I just did what Eldynn wanted me to." I shook my head. "That is no excuse. How could you not know taking lives was immoral? Regardless, Eldynn is the heart of your evil. It is him I wish to bring to justice. So can you tell me where he is? If you can, I might be able to put in a good word with the magistrates of Haven. Perhaps they won't execute you. I am your only hope, it seems." "I do not know where he is," she whispered brokenly. "It was as you say. He tired of me and left me in Paws." "Can you tell me anything that might lead me to him?" I asked forcefully. "The Haven raids, we used a cove on the west side of the island," she said. "It was a dangerous place to put in, but that is why Edlynn used it. He knew others wouldn't risk breaking up on the rocks. There was a cleft in the rock which we rowed to and all the booty taken from Haven was buried within the cave. I don't know where he is, but you might find some clue there." It was a slim lead, but it was all I had. I left Barbara in Baynetta's care, asking her to stay any execution until I returned. Even though I had no respect for Barbara, I still believed in compassion and mercy. Perhaps some good could come of her life. I headed for the outpost which guarded the underworld entrances. I thought this cave Barbara spoke of might be a part of the underworld or could just be found in the mountainous region by the outpost. While passing through, I met a warrior named Val Darrant who was there to bolster the defense against the underworld hordes. <center></center> Val proved to be courteous and helpful, as well as brave and self-sacrificing for putting his life on the line to defend Haven the way he was. I shared with him the story of Edlynn the Gold and he wished me luck on my quest before heading back into the field of battle. I headed off, skirting the mountains, seeking cave entrances. I was on my guard, however, for the hordelings didn't discriminate in their victims. A rustling of brush put me on my guard, but Val emerged. "Did you look in this cave?" he inquired, urging me to follow him. <center></center> Val led me to a large cavern which seemed to fit the description Barbara had given me. There was indeed a crevice opening into a cove. <center></center> Val's sharp eyes also detected the place where the treasure was buried. We dug up the treasure and I cast a spell to undo the lock, and another to set off any traps. We opened the lid to the chest and Val was shocked by all the gold. "As the miners would say, you have struck the motherlode!" he exclaimed. I kneeled by the chest, rummaging through it. I found a ship's log which I took and several other rolled scrolls, crushed by the weight of the booty. Perhaps I could ascertain Edlynn's location from these documents. One other item caught my eye. It was a golden ring caked with blood such as the one Ahdrina described. It was Tonnald's wedding ring that, with his dying wish, he had begged for an been refused. Tears sprang into my eye as I held it. I only hoped it would bring Ahdrina some comfort to have it again. "I have found what I sought," I told Val, my voice husky. "The treasure is yours, for aiding me. I trust you will put it to good use, for I am greatly impressed by your self-sacrifice and your courtly manner. May the virtues watch over you, Val Darrant." <center></center> Val was quite appreciative, though he could not know the service he rendered me. He could not know how his selfless assistance would ease the heart of a young woman in Haven. That, however, is the way of good deeds. We never know how even the smallest of good gestures might influence our world.