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This One Time at Band Camp: Tales by Abigail LeFay

Discussion in 'UO Atlantic' started by Abigail LeFay, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. When I was 9 years old, I was living in Lord British's Castle.

    It sounds amazing, doesn't it??

    Well, it really wasn't so great for a young girl who was the daughter of a Ranger. There were classes, and training, and etiquette lessons. I was to touch nothing!

    As my sister Morgana explained here before, our father was killed when we were young. Our father was a local nobleman, and an indirect descendant to the Royal Line. But more than that, his father was a well respected noble, and in turn, so was our father. Greyson LeFay was one of the only lesser nobles that actually had the ear of the King.

    He was intrusted with the Skara Forest, and in turn, the road between Britain and Skara, which was an important highway for shipping, and often raided by criminals.

    The King would consult our father on matters of security, and often our father's plans were used. Especially in the northern part of the forest, where the Crossroads are. Many a thief were thwarted thanks to my father.

    Lord British had such respect for the things that our father and our grandfather had done for the kingdom, that upon my father's death, knowing that Morgana was too young to take care of me, and that our mother had passed away years before, he took me into his castle, and raised me as his own.
     
  2. You would never know that Lord British had never had a child of his own. At least I could not tell. I missed my father and my sister terribly, but he was simply wonderful.

    In front of members of the Court, I was expected to conduct myself as a young lady...but when my nannies were not looking, he would make me laugh with a wry look, or silly gesture that only we understood! In private, he was the kindest man besides my own father I had ever known. I could see the similarity between the two men, even at that young age.

    On this one evening in particular, Lord Cromwell, as well as Lord Blackthorn, had come to the castle for a gala. My teachers had urged the King to keep me in my room, and away from the guests, but Lord British was having none of that. I will never forget it. My dress, a long white gown adorned with purple flowers and fine beads from some exotic land, was just a little too long. The Royal tailor had expected me to grow before the gala, as I was growing like a nighshade weed at the time. He miscalculated. And as I began to descend the staircase into the ballroom, I tripped and began to fall. Like lightning, Lord British caught me, and swept me up into his arms in an embrace. He rarely showed me much affection in public, but this time he had saved us both from some embarrassment. I expected him to be furious. But quite the opposite, he seemed quite jovial!

    He announced to the crowd of somewhat shocked nobility "Lords and Ladies, I could not resist the beauty and grace of my new ward. I am afraid we will have to begin the dancing early!"

    And with that, he waltzed me around the ballroom...with no music...laughing with me the entire time!

    I am ashamed to confess, in moments like these, I felt as though he was my father.
     
  3. The lessons were not as enjoyable. I was told that I was crass, unmannered, and sloppy. Daily. 3 times a day in fact.

    My least favorite teacher was Olga. She was stern. She was harsh. And she missed nothing.

    Olga was my posture coach and my finishing instructor. Which meant she was there to tell that I was a horse mannered clumsy girl that slouched! Everywhere I went in the castle, she was there.

    "Napkin on the lap Mi'Lady!!"

    "A lady stands up straight!"

    "We do not slurp our tea!"

    "Our hands are folded on our knee when we sit!"

    Can you imagine? I was nine! I wanted to go and throw hay at the stable boys, or go and join the boys that hung around the smithy for a game of bag ball!

    But I learned to adjust.

    My favorite teacher was Gabriel, my music instructor. Every Thursday, I went to the Conservatory. Ordinarily, no one is allowed to study under the masters at the Conservatory unless they were students, who lived there...but an exception was made for me.

    Gabriel, or Monsieur Piete, was the head master at the Conservatory then. And he was an amazing musician. As a favor to the King, he offered to teach me for 2 hours every Thursday. I learned theory, music history, appreciation, and of course, to play.

    Monsieur Piete taught me the harp first, then the lute. He was an absolute joy...and I loved those afternoons. It was then that I knew that someday, I would become a musician!

    I had dreams of playing in front of huge crowds, and becoming famous!!
     
  4. A recital:

    I was the music room in the castle late one night. I was working on an extremely challenging piece on the antique standing harp (which cannot be correctly tuned by anyone but me by the way) that graces that chamber when Lord British walked in. As the door opened, I heard Olga giving him an ear full for allowing me to stay up beyond my bed time.

    He simply said to me "Please, do not let me disturb you...I would like to hear".

    I smiled at him, and started from the begining.

    The look on his face took me back in time to a day that I was hunting in the forest with my father and Morgana. It was the first time I had slain a hart, and the look on the face of my father was an indescribable look of pride.

    Lord British had that same look that night.

    As I finished the piece, he applauded, and came over to me and gave me a hug.

    "I can see that your lessons are paying off little one! That was amazing!" he said to me.

    "Oh, I fumbled through it" I responded, embarrassed.

    "Nonsense! I am so very proud of you Abigail. And your father would be so proud as well" he replied.

    There was something about he look on his face while I was playing, and then the mention of my father, that sent me into tears.

    I know Lord British didn't understand, and I hope that wherever he is today, that he knows I didn't cry that night only because I was missing my father...but also because I was so moved by this man's incredible act of kindness in taking me in.

    He kissed me on the forehead, and told me that I should get my sleep...and that he loved me.

    This was the first time that he told me that. And I hugged him, and told him that I loved him too.

    Now, I want everyone to understand...this was not a romantic love, not at all. But more like the love between a father and daughter.

    And I had grown to love this man as a father. I felt guilty then, because my own father had not been dead that long...but it meant so much to me what he was doing, and how hard he was trying...that I could not help it.
     
  5. The days went by, and I was learning so much.

    Even Olga was no longer a fearsome beast to me. She would still correct me, and as she would walk away, Lord British and I would have a giggle at her expense.

    I missed Morgana. I didn't get to see her often, and I was growing concerned about her. She had taken to vigilantism, and was fighting thieves and murderers.

    I told Lord British about this, and at first he seemed alarmed, but then he told me "Your sister has too much of your father in her. I have known her since she was a baby. And at an age even younger than you, she was already defiant and seeking adventure. She drove your mother and father crazy! But she is a good person, and her intentions are pure. I will make sure that she is okay."

    "But she will not let you..." I managed before he cut me off.

    "It's okay. I know someone that can help to keep an eye on her that she knows."

    And so Lord British contacted Sir Robin...the young ward that had saved my sister many years before.
     
  6. The kingdom was suffering. Lawlessness had broken out all over...and Lord British was often occupied with Royal matters.

    I continued my studies, but I saw him less and less. When I did see him, he seemed so stressed...and worn. Like a man carrying an incredible burden. But he was always warm and as cheerful as he could be with me.

    But I heard things. I did not mean to eavesdrop (well, maybe once or twice), but I heard him discussing things with the Council of Mages...and with Lord Blackthorn.

    The Kingdom was in trouble.

    I wanted to help. I wasn't sure how...but I wanted to do something.

    I came to him late one night, and asked him if I could help.

    He told me "You are helping young one. You are learning to be the Queen of this land. And one day, when I am no longer able to rule, or dead...it will fall upon you to lead our people. Right now, I want you to receive an education. I want you to learn to be a proper lady, so that you may command the respect of the Royals and the nobles. Soon, I will begin training you in matters of state. But you should not concern yourself little one. All is well..."


    But his words did not convince me.

    The next time I saw Morgana, I told her this. By then, she was a member of the Regulators, a guild that, at the time, was commited to helping Lord British enforce our laws.

    She told me later that this had a profound impact upon her.

    And she dedicated herself to preserving the laws of our land, and the Virtues themselves.
     
  7. I did not put much stock into Lord British's words about me becoming Queen. This is not something I thought even possible...besides, I knew that Lord British would rule until the day he died. And by then, I would surely be too old to take the throne.

    My thoughts were elsewhere, it really did not sink in.

    I continued my training, as usual. And then one day, I was called into a meeting with Lord British, Lord Blackthron, Lord Cromwell, and Magnus the Archmage.

    This was the first of many meetings that I would attend.

    At first, the others were apprehensive about my presence there...but Lord British explained to them that I was being groomed as his successor, and that I was his ward.

    They soon accepted me. And believe it or not, my opinions were actually considered.

    Around that time, I started to meet more of the Royal Council. They all seemed like strong, incredible people to me. And I admired them greatly.

    But one day, something changed...
     
  8. I woke up early, and went to the archery range to practice my shooting.

    Despite all my finishing, I never wanted to let go of my father's legacy. This was something that both Morgana and I swore to one another. To this very day, I remain an archer, and she a tamer of creatures.

    I was on the range that morning when Percy, the royal page, came in and told me that my presence was requested in the library.

    I entered the library, and Lord British was sitting in a chair facing the window.

    "Hello Abigail." He said to me, not even looking at me.

    "Good morning my lord" I responded...knowing that something was wrong.

    "Young one, I feel that you are not receiving the education you deserve here" he said.

    I felt something, I cannot describe it really, like a sinking feeling.

    "My lord?" I spoke.

    "I want you to attend the Conservatory...not just on Thursdays...but full time" he said, without looking at me.

    "But, my lord..." I said.

    "No, child, this is for the best" he responded, and he briefly gazed at me, and I could see the tears in his eyes.

    I just stood there, staring at him, as he turned his gaze from me.

    My heart was broken. It was like the day my father died.

    "Yes lord" I responded. And I left his presence.

    As I exited the library, Olga was there. And she looked at me, and for the very first time...I saw something in her I had never seen.

    "Come on dear girl...I will help you gather your things" she said, her voice cracking.

    "Olga? What have I done?" I said.

    "Oh, no dear gods no child...its not like that" she said, and she put her arms around me...and to my amaedment, she began to sob...and so did I.
     
  9. I left the castle that day...and some royal pages helped me with my things.

    As the carriage pulled away from the castle, I looked back, and I saw Lord British looking down at me from the window. I could not make out his face.

    It was raining.

    A part of me wanted to just jump out of the carriage, and to go and find my sister. I could have become like her, a heroine to our land.

    But something held me there. I think it was my sense of duty. Somehow, all of the training had changed me.

    When I was younger, I would have taken off like a bolt of lightning! I would have welcomed the freedom, but now, my duty was to my King. If he wanted me to become more educated in music, then that was my place.

    Or at least that is what I told myself.

    I know now that Lord British sent me away, not because he did not love me, not because he did not want me to rule this land, and not because he did not believe in me...but because he loved me like his own child, and he could not stand to see me go through what he was going through. He felt that he was somehow sparing me the responsibility of rule.

    And at that time, I was secretly happy to be relieved of it.

    I was young. I was inexperienced. I was a virgin!! :eek:

    And so I went to the Conservatory.

    And this one time, at band camp...
     
  10. The Conservatory:

    Life in the castle was, well, palatial. The bedrooms were large, warm, well appointed, and comfortable. Of course, in the castle, I had my own suite, with my own attendants. I had grown accustom to a rather lavish lifestyle. I think I had not really considered it until I moved into the dormitory at the Conservatory. This was quite the change indeed. My room was small, cramped, cold, dusty, and not well appointed. And I shared it with another student. Ashley Corrington, of Magincia.

    Ashley was a year or two older than me, and she had been sent to the Conservatory by her father, who had re-married. From the tale as it was presented to me, Ashley's mother had run off with other man when she was very young, and her father really didn't want her around. She had gotten into trouble at her regular school, and so her father had made arrangements to send her to the Conservatory. She was an excellent flautist, a natural prodigy. And she would become one of my nearest and dearest friends I have had.

    But when we first met, we did not get along quite so well. She was crass, unrefined, and a bit of a trouble maker. She would sneak tobacco and wine into our room. She would sneak out at all hours, and sneak back in just before morning classes. But she never missed a note!

    I secretly wanted to be just like her!
     
  11. Our room at the dormitory was on a hall with 3 other rooms that housed 2 other girls each. Across the dormitory was the boys hall. Some of the students at the Conservatory where much younger than I was, and others were older. I got to know everyone there by the end, and they became like a family to me.

    There was little Mary Walsh, she was only 4 years old, and already she could play as well as any 3rd or the 4th year student. She was the youngest of us at the time.

    There was Kristen Donovan, the daughter of Lord Calvin Donovan of Britain. Some of the older of you here may remember him. He was the logistics officer of Lord Cromwell's exploration party that discovered the Lost Lands. He never came back from that expedition. Kristen was 6 years old at the time I came to the Conservatory, and she was Mary's roommate. She was a percussionist. The only of the girls that was a percussionist. She was so cute. She had the longest golden curls and was always in cheerful mood.

    There was also Kimi Ling. She was an exotic young teen aged girl from Serpent's Hold...and she was a descendant of the ancient people of Tokuno. She did not really know much about her ancestry, as she was adopted at a very young age. She was beautiful and exotic, with long jet black hair and eyes the color of jade. She was lute player. She was quiet at first, and always very polite. But underneath, she was almost as wild as my roommate Ashley I would later learn!

    There was Shara O'Rourke who was about my age, or maybe a little older. She was always the one everyone would turn to for answers because she was a genius! She had mastered 3 instruments by age 10 and was working on her forth. She had been at the Conservatory for years, and was well liked by the instructors. This would come in handy when one of us need to get out of trouble.

    Shara's roommate, who only went by the name of El, was the daughter of a gypsy merchant. She was a talented harpist and a talented flautist. But her true talent was her voice. She was older than the rest of us, and she didn't have much to do with us younger girls at first. She was dark, and mysterious. Rumor was that she was a witch...but the truth is she just let people think that so that they would think twice about messing with her!

    And lastly, there was Mira Featherstone. She was the daughter of Lady Tris Featherstone, the famed Ranger of the Yew woods. Tris Featherstone was feared by many unsavory types that would poach those woods, even though her title was not official, she was still a servant of the crown. Mira was a firebrand. She had long brown hair, and an unbreakable will. In many ways, she reminded me a lot of Morgana, my sister. They were about the same age, and both had long dark hair...but mainly, it was the defiant attitude. The kind of attitude that did not speak of trouble per se, but more of determination.

    These girls and young ladies would become like sisters to me...through thick and thin.


    And then there were the boys.
     
  12. There were only 3 boys at the Conservatory when I arrived. 2 had graduated, and had moved on, and 1 had done something he shouldn't have done and was expelled. So we were down to only 3.

    First, there was Attis Bowstrom. He was a young man, about 15 years old. He was a percussionist, and was a very good one. He was a good lad, and generally stayed out of trouble, despite the urgings of his roommate, Nick.

    Nicholas Arrington - better known as "the Prince". Now this is a long story, so I will not completely tell it here, but Nick sort of got his moniker because of me. He was a slick young man, about 16 years old. He was a violinist and lute player. Before coming to the Conservatory, he was a street person. He would hustle the citizens of Britain out of their money, and lived hand to mouth. He was arrested at the age of 12, and since he was an orphan, he was sent to the Home for Wayward Boys in Minoc. This was like a school/prison, where the boys would study for part of the week, and work in the mines for the rest of it. Nick tried to escape a few times before the headmaster there threatened to send him to a real prison. Before this could be accomplished, Monsieur Piete of the Conservatory got wind of Nick's musical talents. An arrangement was made, and Nick was sent to the Conservatory to study there.

    And finally there was Tomas Blackwell. When Tomas was 10, his mother and father sent him to Britain to be educated. The Blackwell family was well known around Minoc and Cove. Jessup Blackwell, Tomas' father, had discovered a vein of gold on his property, and had grown instantly wealthy. The Blackwells did all they could to climb the social ladder...but they were new money, and were not well received by the nobles. They vowed that Tomas would carry on the family name and bring honor and nobility to their family. (So far, he has not done so :) )
     
  13. My first day at the Conservatory was not a good one. I knew some of the instructors, especially Monsieur Piete...but I really didn't know the other students.

    I was dripping wet, and the pages dropped me off, with all of my belongings, and then they just took off. The dorm matron, Beatrice, met me at the front door. She was nice, but she took one look at my baggage and just shook her head.

    "Dear girl, you'll not be having room for all of that" she said.

    "All of what? My clothes?" I asked.

    "These are all clothes?"

    "Yes Milady" I replied.

    She just sort of rolled her eyes and said "Dear, let me show you your room."

    What came next was a bit of a shock. We went up the stairs, and into a part of the Conservatory I had never seen before. We went down a narrow hallway, just past one of the studios, and we stopped at a wooden door. Beatrice knocked, but no one answered. She turned the knob and opened the door.

    I quickly discovered why she had such a reaction to my luggage. The room was scarcely the size of my dressing chamber at the castle. There were two small, rather plain beds, and two small, rather plain dressers. One had some various trinkets on it, the other was empty. And near the back of the room was a small, rather plain, armoire. Just one.

    "I see" I said.

    "I will talk to Gus and see if we can find somewhere to store some of your things dear" she replied.

    "Who is Gus, Milady?" I asked.

    "He is the handyman dear. Now you need to sort your belongings, and decide what you will use and what you will store" she said.

    I went back downstairs, and dragged all of the bags back up to the room. Beatrice was right, these bags wouldn't have even fit in the room...in fact, they completely blocked the hallway.

    I wanted to just cry...but I knew it wouldn't help. So started opening the cases.

    "What is all this then?" I heard from an unknown female voice.

    "I am sorry" I said, "These are my things...I promise, I will not be long."

    "I can see that love...I mean what is it all? Did you bring a provisioner with you?"

    I looked up, and I saw a young lady, a little holder than me, with long stringy brown hair, and a bit of a hard look about her.

    I put down my clothes I was holding, and reached out my hand to her "Hello Milady, I am..."

    "Yeah, I know who your are. You're that little girl the King sends over on Thursdays. I hear you are gonna be rooming with me. What happened, King Money Bags throw you out or something?" she replied.

    I was somewhat shocked.

    "Umm...uh...no, I mean, well...I guess, but it..." is all I could manage.

    "Now don't get all weepy on me" she said."Let's get this stuff out of the hallway here".

    And with that, she helped me to unpack my clothes. Only about 1/20th of them fit in the dresser and the armoire. Ashley suggested that we take some up to the attic. I told her what Beatrice had said, that she was asking Gus.

    "Pffft! Don't mind Bea, we can throw stuff up there all we want...come on!" she responded.

    And so we placed the rest of my belongings in the attic. I was unsure about it, because the roof was leaky...but there really was no other choice.

    "Hey...you want some wine?!" she asked me.

    I was somewhat shocked.
     
  14. I declined the wine, but Ashley started drinking it. Then, she actually pulled out a pouch from under her bed and said...

    "Smoke?"

    Again, I was shocked. I had never had wine, and certainly never smoked. I declined again. Ashley began rolling a cigarette, and suddenly there was a knock on the door.

    "Dammit!" she said as she throw the pouch back under the bed. "Who is it?"

    "Nick! Open up!" a voice at the door loudly whispered.

    "Oh...whew! Hey, Abi...right? Open that door!" she said as she reached for her pouch.

    A young man was at the door, he slipped into the room as I opened it. He was about 15 or 16, tall for his age, with a small scar under his right eye. He had shaggy brown hair and bright blue eyes.

    "Well, well...this must be the Princess!" he said, looking me up and down.

    "Go easy on her Nick, she's okay. Whatcha want anyway...you are gonna get us in trouble bein' over here at this time o' night" Ashely responded as she lit up her cigarette.

    "You need to ask?" he said with a sly smile.

    "I don't have enough! No way!" Ashley responded.

    "Oh come on, just a little!" he replied.

    "Fine, here" she said, as she reached into the armoire. From the back, she produced a half full bottle of red wine. "Take that and get goin'!"

    "That's it?!" he said.

    "Yep..." she replied.

    "Okay...better than nothing" he said...as he turned to leave. "Thanks hot stuff! You too Prin-Cess!" he added.

    "Beat it Nick!" Ashley said as she tossed a pillow at the closing door.

    I was simply amazed. "Are we allowed to do these things in our rooms?"

    Ashley laughed and opened the window to let some of the smoke out. "You are a princess, aren't you?"
     
  15. That night, I had a dream. I was back at the castle, and Lord British was reading a map. He called me over, and asked me what I thought a shape on the map was. I couldn't begin to figure it out. Suddenly, he snatched the map off of the table...and told me to go and pack my bags.

    I awoke crying.

    I realized where I was...and so I crept out into the hallway and just sat there quietly sobbing. It was still dark, so no one bothered me. I needed to get it all out of my system.

    I was sitting there in a very dark corner, just reflecting on things, when I heard voices. I made myself as small as I could, and listened.

    It was Beatrice, and a man whose voice I did not recognize.

    "We cannot send her away" Beatrice spoke. "She has no where else to go!"

    "The girl is trouble. Her father sent her here because he couldn't deal with her" the man said.

    "No, he sent her here because he could not be bothered with her" Beatrice responded. "I just hope she isn't a bad influence on that new girl. The King is very fond of that one..."

    That was the last I heard, as their voices trailed off as they descended the stairs.

    Who were they talking about? I sat there a while longer. Just thinking. I had lost my father. I had lost my home, for the second time. But I was starting to feel that perhaps Lord British didn't discard me. I gathered myself up, and went back to my bed. Ashley was still sound asleep.

    I laid there, thinking, and eventually I drifted back off to sleep.
     
  16. It wasn't long before I discovered that most of the other students at the Conservatory had some sort of problems in their past. I was starting not to feel as rejected, and I was actually enjoying the daily music classes. Certainly, I missed Lord British, and even Olga, but there at the Conservatory I had a little more freedom. I didn't use that freedom as much as some of the others, but I was certainly less confined than I had been at the castle.

    One side effect of being out of the castle was that I got to see my sister more often. She was a member of a vigilante guild, and they had been fighting the same criminals that Lord British was so distressed by. Morgana was happy to get to see me, but she was angry at Lord British for sending me away.

    "So, he just dropped you off here...like a stray he no longer wanted to take care of, is that it?" she said when I explained to her what happened.

    "Of course not! He is a kind and honorable man, he would never do something like that" I said in his defense.

    "But he has done it!" she proclaimed.

    Morgana never really understood. Things tend to be very black and white with her...she has a very passionate nature, which is not a bad thing...unless she gets the wrong idea in her head!

    I was adjusting to my new life, but every day, I hoped that he would at least come to visit me.

    He never did.
     
  17. Life at the Conservatory was not all bad. In fact, we had some really good times there.

    I remember this one night, right after I first arrived, Nick was caught sneaking in after curfew by Beatrice. He was in the middle of trying to lie his way out of it when I came upon the scene. I heard Beatrice letting him have it, so I ducked behind a bench, listening.

    "This is the third time this month Nicholas! I have told you and told you! When the Headmaster hears of this, he will surely expel you boy!" she said to him.

    "But it wasn't my fault this time...honest!" he explained. "I was...uh...helping Abigail! She was called by the King himself!"

    Now, this was a blatant lie. I had not left all day. But I could tell he was desperate...so I helped him out.

    I crept around to the far door and then made my entrance.

    "Nick!!" I exclaimed, pretending to be out of breath. "Why didn't you slow down and wait for me?? I told you that Beatrice wouldn't mind once she found out it was...oh...Beatrice!" I pretended to just see her there as I rounded the corner.

    She shot me a very suspicious look and said "Now where are you coming from missy...at this hour!"

    "I am sorry Beatrice. I got a message from the King. He needed to see me right away. I asked Nick here to escort me" I replied.

    "Is that so?" she said with her hands on her hips.

    "Yes ma'am. I am ever so sorry I did not explain, but the royal page made it sound urgent...so I was in haste."

    I could tell she was not buying it.

    "And what need of a young musician did the King have at this hour?" she questioned.

    "Why, he needed my advice. He is having a party, and he wanted my advice on the acoustics for the stage the minstrels will play upon." It was the best I could come up with.

    "I certainly doubt that!" she said, angrily.

    About that time Shara came in. "Abigail. Here is the tuning fork you needed for that acoustic test" she said, handing me a tuning fork.

    I was caught a little off guard..."Uh, thank you Shara."

    Beatrice just gave us all a look, turned, and left the room.

    We shared a laugh, and Nick thanked us.

    "You really saved me bum that time Prinnn-Cesss" he teased.

    "Well, that is what years of royal training will do for you!" I said.

    Shara cleared her throat..."Errghmm! I think I had a little to do with that."

    We all laughed again.
     
  18. Ashley came into our room, furious. She threw her pack down, and let out a shrill complaint "I will kill that little ****er!"

    Ashley was very temperamental sometimes...but I had not seen her like this.

    "What is it? Who do you want to kill?" I asked.

    "That Tomas Blackwell! The little ****!" she replied, removing her blouse.

    "What happened?" I asked.

    "I was down stairs in the dinning hall, and the little arse sneaks up behind me, and snips me bra strap with a knife, then runs like hell! I know that Nick put him up to it!" she explained.

    Pranks like this were common.

    "So...how are we going to get them back?" I asked.

    "Oh I have an idea or two" she responded.

    Later, Nick had slipped out to do gods knows what...so we broke into his room. Ashley knew where Nick normally stashed his wine...and she took a small bit of nightshade, and crushed it up in his wine.

    "What will that do? It won't kill him will it?" I asked.

    "No, but he may wish it had!" she laughed.

    The next morning, Nick missed morning classes. He told Beatrice he was sick...but Ashley and I knew better. That afternoon, we saw him in the dinning hall. And asked him how he was feeling...and he just said he didn't remember drinking that much.

    We knew better!
     
  19. And as time went on, I began to discover that I was really not that different than Ashley, or Nick, or Tomas, or any of the other students. I had at first thought myself somehow above them. Somehow...put out...or cast off, by Lord British, but as the days went by I discovered that I was where I truly belonged.

    Even Morgana sensed it. She was finally letting go of the anger she had once held towards the King. Around this time, she had started her own guild, and met a man that had great influence on her...Lord Byron.

    My first time meeting Lord Byron was brief, but even then, I could tell that there was something about this man...something...remarkable.

    Lord Byron was somewhat of a mystery to me. He was a nobleman, but all his life, as far as anyone knew, he never met with, nor consorted with the King. It was almost as if he were somehow...above...the monarchy. I cannot explain it, he was so virtuous and so noble that you just understood that you were in the presence of someone great. In the presence of someone that was royal...yet, I had never met him during my stay at the castle.

    Morgana told me that Lord Byron was born of a different line, that ran basically parallel to the line of our king. She told me that Lord Byron was a nobleman in an opposing family to Lord British, but that he and Lord British were similar in their beliefs.

    I was impressed with him...yet I was not so impressed with a few of the rogues she was consorting with at the time.

    This Dalamar especially concerned me. There was something 'unholy' about that boy. I could not put my finger on it at the time...but I knew that he was not to be trusted.

    CouDrac was a rogue of the highest order...a cunning naive, and a scoundrel.

    And this Cle'ahn, or Cle'an, or whatever...I know it was not pronounced Clean, but everyone called him that...he seemed like the most trouble of all...because immediately I knew he was interested in my sister in more than a friendly way. Yet, he seemed pure enough of heart.

    How I envied them at the time. I was trapped in the Conservatory, and Morgana would tell me these amazing tales of defeating evil, and helping the poor, and restoring justice...and it was all I could do to hold myself back from giving up on what Lord British had wished for me.

    But I knew that my duty was to Lord British, and to Britannia.

    For that was the way our father had raised us.
     
  20. I had been in the Conservatory for quite some time, and by then, many things had changed...and some had not!

    Nick was still in trouble daily. Shara was still the teacher's pet, and Beatrice was still on our cases day and night.

    And then a day came when word reached us that Lady Tris Featherstone had been killed.

    In those times, resurrection was not 100%, and unfortunately, she passed into the afterlife. Her daughter, Mira, was inconsolable...and rightly so. Lady Featherstone had been ambushed by a group of marauders known as the Army of Darkness. This was a group I would come to know well.

    Mira left the conservatory that day, and somehow, all of us felt that times had changed.

    It wasn't necessarily Mira's departure...or even Lady Featherstone's death...but it was a sense that darkness had crept into our little sheltered world.

    I missed Mira, she was like a big sister to me, and I knew that she was leading her self down the wrong path. But I hugged her goodbye that day, because I understood why one such as her, or my sister, could not let things like this go.

    And she never did let it go.

    To this very day, if you are in the woods around Yew, the best advice I can give you, is mind your step...because even though the Lady Tris Featherstone has fallen, her daughter is there to make sure that her mother's memory lives on.
     
  21. We had lost Mira. And I was to be damned if I would lose another.

    Little Mary had contracted a fever. Not like the fevers we all commonly get, that can be treated by the mages or alchemists, but something rare.

    She suffered, and groaned for 3 days before it finally happened...


    This was the first time in my life that I even sensed that the Light was working through me. Mary was on her death bed, and was passing into the next world, when suddenly, I was seized. An urge came over me in my sleep to see Mary. She had been take to the infirmary of course, but she lay there wrapped in a blanket, dying.

    I approached her, and I placed my hand upon her forehead...and I began to recite the holy words...Obsu Vulni! And somehow, her fever bagan to break.

    At this time, I had not been trained in the ways of the light...so I find it remarkable that these words ushered forth from my lips.

    It did not matter to me, for Mary was safe and healing...but I always knew that this was a Call for me.
     
  22. The Prince:


    One day, I was sitting in my room, and Nick burst in "Abigail, ya gotta help me! Ashley's been arrested!!"

    I was in shock. "Why?" was all I got out.

    "She was stealing some wine from the inn! Now come on, we don't have much time!!" he replied as he bolted off.

    I followed.

    Sure enough, as Nick said, we discoved that Ashely was in custody. We made our way down near the cage the guards had stored her in. She was to be tried, then moved to a prison in Yew.

    I knew I had to act.

    I would have to prove her innocent before a trial, or I would have to break her out of the cage she was being held in !!!
     
  23. Ahuaeyjnkxs

    Ahuaeyjnkxs stranger diamond

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    :heart:

    Thanks for your honesty !

    This has much relevance to my now virtuous quest, much more than you probably can imagine.

    Your magnifiscience is magnitudinal !

    Namase !
     
  24. I told Nick to go and get Kristen. Kristen was Lord Calvin Donovan's daughter, and if we couldn't bust her out, perhaps we could talk her out.

    But that was a last resort, I had another plan.

    Nick arrived with Kristen, and we sent her to ask the guards to help her find her parents. She was so adorable, and the guards could not resist. Before long, she had them almost completely out of site of the cage. Nick and I sneaked over, and at the last minute, I gave Kristen the sign. She began to cry uncontrollably. The guards were so distracted, that Nick was able to pick the lock.

    Just as we were closing the door to the holding cage, one of the guards took notice.

    "Hey there!! You stop right there" he shouted...drew his sword.

    We ran...darting in and out of the crowd. The guard chasing us began yelling, and soon other guards took notice. Suddenly we ducked in into an L shaped road between two buildings, and found ourselves cut off.

    "Alright you three. Now hands up!" one of the guards said.

    We just knew we were done for, when we heard a voice from behind the main group of the guards.

    "Is there a problem here Lieutenant Rask?!"

    It was Lord Blackthorn himself!!

    "N...No my lord. We was just apprehending these suspects and..."

    "Nonsense!!" Lord Blackthorn said, giving me a wink. "Don't you recognize the King's ward and the King's adopted son?!"

    "A-Adopted..." was all he managed.

    "Now what crime did these young nobles commit, Lieutenant?" he asked...dismounting from his horse.

    "One of 'em st-stole some wine my lord...and the other two was 'elpin' 'er to espcape" he responded nervously.

    I had met Lord Blackthorn many times. He was a very powerful and foreboding man. And standing next to those guards, he looked as big as an Ettin that day.

    "Now, Lieutenant...I think we can arrange payment for whatever goods these young people decided that they needed. Don't you?" he asked, looking down on the Lieutenant.

    "Y-Yes sir! Of course sir!" he responded.

    "Why don't you personally handle this for me Lieutenant? Go and pay for whatever they needed. I will make sure they get back to the castle safely." he said.

    "You...you want me to pay for it my lord?" the guard asked sheepishly.

    "You have your orders Lieutenant. Now make haste!"

    "Y-Yes lord!!" he said, half bowing and half tripping over the man behind him.

    And like that, the guards were gone.

    "Now..." he said turning to face us. "What have you been up to little miss LeFay?" he said grimly.

    I was genuinely afraid. "We, uh, um, just that, Ashley here...and uh..." was about all I got out.

    He began to laugh loudly and embraced me in his arms. "How have you been young one?! I have missed your presence at the castle since British allowed you to go to the Conservatory!"

    Allowed me to go to the Conservatory? I thought.

    "What would British say if he knew you were mixed up in something like this? And your father?" he said has he gave me a very disappointed look.

    "I am not sure my lord" I answered nervously.

    "Now you run along. And stay out of trouble. I may not be around the next time that you get yourself into a situation like this" he said.

    "Thank you my lord!" I responded, as he climbed back up on to his horse. He shouted a command to his two Chaos guards that rode with him, and they were off.

    "Oh my gods!!!" Ashley exclamied. "That was Lord Blackthorn!!"

    "And he knew our little Prin-cess alright!" Nick added.

    "Well, it would seem you are now the Prince!" I teased.

    "Hmmm...Prince Nicholas" Ashley mused, with a wry look on her face...and without missing a single beat, we gave him a curtsy.

    Then the three of us burst into laughter.
     
  25. My sister Morgana had earned enough money working under the famous tailor, Bill Blas, to buy her own house. It wasn't much really, just a little cottage on the beach near Trinsic, but it was cute...and it was hers. Several of her guild's members had purchased homes there, and they had built the area up into a nice little community.

    When we would have breaks, I would often go and stay with Morgana at the beach. We had lots of fun there.

    One time in particular, I asked Ashley if she wanted to go with me. At first, she was apprehensive, because she didn't really know Morgana's friends very well, but it didn't take much to convince her when she found out that Evets lived there.

    All of the girls at the Conservatory and a crush on Evets. I was no exception. I know Morgana mentioned this, but I have to say...Evets was very dreamy. He was so muscular, and tan, and had that long blond hair. Plus, there was something about his demeanor.

    Well, Ashley was very excited to spend the week at the beach house. Morgana had cleared her schedule, and we had the whole week.

    We spent time cooking in the outdoors, and sailing on Morgana's boat, and at night, Evets, Ashely, and I would play our instruments out on the beach.

    On the second night there, Morgana, Ashley, and I had all had too much ale. So Clean helped us back into Morgana's house. Or so I thought. The next morning, I awoke to find Morgana sleeping there...but no Ashely. Immediately, I sprang out of bed to see where she was. I didn't have to search long.

    She had spent the night at Evets' house.

    Trust me, I was envious! And I didn't hear about anything else for entire next semester.
     
  26. I was making more frequent visits to see Morgana. I was beginning to become concerned about her.

    I went to her house one day, and she was not there. So I asked Clean where she was, and he told me that she was supposedly in Britain visiting me. Now, in the early days at the Conservatory, it is true that I had allowed Morgana to crash in mine and Ashley's room a few times. But she had not been and stayed at the dormitory in a very long time. Something was wrong...and I had a pretty good idea what it was.

    Morgana had taken to seeing this woman...MoonlightMyst. From the very first time I encountered her, I didn't trust her. She was a cold blooded killer. You could see it in her eyes. It was like looking into a deep, cold well. Now, Ashley had a wild side, so did some of the other girls, and so did Morgana...but not like this woman. She was truly lawless. She was not crass, she was very alluring...but it was something that I could immediately see through.

    I stayed at Morgana's one night...when she was supposed to be staying with me. I woke up early, and made my way into the forest and hid there. I watched her come home, and then head out again. I followed her.

    That day, she met up with this MoonlightMyst, and they spent all day together...talking, dining, shopping, and...well...some activities that shall remain private.

    I went ahead of Morgana, and met her on the path that led to the beach houses. I could tell that she knew that I knew.

    That was the end of that...or so I thought.
     
  27. Morgana came to me a the Conservatory one day, and told me that a group...the Followers of Armageddon...were trying to steal a scroll that would allow them to destroy Sosaria. She wanted me to help her stop them.

    By this time, I was almost done with my classes at the Conservatory, and I was old enough to pretty much come and go as I pleased. I had been using my skills as a musician to learn the technique of provoking creatures into attacking other creatures...or even people. My archery was still up to par, so I was somewhat handy in a fight. I agreed to go and help her...but I really wanted to consult the King first. So I made my way to Castle British. I informed the gate guards that I was there to see Lord British. Of course, they told me that he was not available. I ask them to send word that Abigail LeFay was there to see him. He admitted me.

    Upon seeing him, it looked as though he had aged 20 years. It wasn't so much the wrinkles or the greying hair...but the wear of stress.

    "Abigail! How good it is to see you!" he said as he embraced me. "You look wonderful!" he said as he stepped back to view me.

    "Thank you my lord. I come on a matter of urgency" I said to him.

    "Abigail...I am truly sorry that I have not had an opportunity to visit you...but things have not been going well here" he explained.

    "I understand that the kingdom must always come first my lord." I was lying...it broke my heart that he never came to see me.

    "What is this matter you wish to discuss young one?" he asked.

    I told him what Morgana had told me, about the Followers of Armageddon.

    "I am already aware of this Abigail. I have sent word to the four corners of the Kingdom. This so called Zog Cabal has to be stopped. The Royal Guard is stretched so thinly these days, with Lord Blackthorn recruiting so many of them away to join his Chaos Guard."

    "Does he not understand that this affects him as well my lord?" I asked.

    "He has not been...himself...lately. I am not sure what to make of it" he replied.

    "My sister's guild, the Protectors of Virtue, have committed to guarding the trunks my lord" I said.

    "I am hearing some disturbing things about your sister lately. She is consorting with some rather dangerous people Abigail" he said with concern.

    I assumed he was talking about MoonlightMyst.

    "This Dalamar is not who your sister believes him to be" he explained. "He is not to be trusted...I fear he will betray her."

    "I do not trust this man either my lord" I said...and I really didn't.

    "Abigail, I want you to watch out for your sister" he told me. "There is more to her than you know. I cannot explain it now, but I want you to go to her, and aid her in this mission."

    "Yes my lord" I said. And with that I left Lord British...and it was the last time I would ever see him.
     
  28. The days we spent fighting the Followers of Armageddon were the first real battles I had been exposed to. It was not at all like the books I had read. It is fast, and there is fear, exhaustion, and fatigue. They came at us day and night, wave after wave. Some of our numbers were killed, and others merely wounded.

    But at the end of the crisis, we emerged victorious. There was something about this glory, the glory of battle that changed me. I knew that I would no longer be content in being a musician. I wanted to serve the King. I wanted to protect the Virtues, the way my sister and her guild had done.

    And as Morgana mentioned, our victory angered one of the gods. I was not present for what took place, but it is said that many of our guild were expelled from Sosaria...and my sister was among them.

    I tried to get word to Lord British, but I could not get in to see him...apparently some higher business was at hand.

    Was this why he wanted me to watch out for Morgana? Had he somehow known that this would happen?

    Members of the guild appealed to the gods on her behalf...and eventually, she was allowed to return to Sosaria. But she refused to do so. I knew I had to do something, so I sent a messenger to the castle telling the King what had happened.

    A short time later, Morgana did return...and she told me that she had seen Lord British in the realm outside of Sosaria. It would seem that he did in fact get my message, for I had my sister back.
     
  29. The time had come for me to leave the Conservatory. I had learned all that the instructors could teach me, and I had grown into a young woman. Ashley and I both completed our last lessons in the early spring, and I decided to join Morgana's guild...or what was left of it...full time.

    Shara was still there, as was Mary. Of course Mira had gone a couple of years earlier, and Shara had decided to stay on as an instructor.

    Nick actually graduated. The day that Lord Blackthorn saved our necks had a profound affect on him. "The Prince" had turned over a new leaf...and had become an apprentice to the Captain of the Guard in Britain.

    Tomas Blackwell still had another year in the Conservatory, but from what I understand, he never finished. I am not sure if it was because of the events that took place after I left, or if he just didn't have it in him to finish when most of us had gone. I did see him a few years later, and he had become a common criminal. This wasn't really that surprising.

    Kimi Ling went back to Serpent's Hold, to be with her family.

    Kristen had left the Conservatory once her father had gone missing in the Lord Cromwell expedition that discovered the Lost Lands. I am not sure what happened to her after that.

    And then there was Ashley and Attis. These two fell in love during our last year, and were married shortly after graduation. Attis joined a group of traveling minstrels, and Ashley tagged along with them. Unfortunately, this was not a marriage that would last. Attis took to drinking heavily, and Ashley took to every man she saw. I still see Ashley from time to time. She is divorced now, and has a small music shop in near Umbra in Malas. She seems to have gotten her life together, and has become an accomplished musician and maker of instruments. She and I have good visits discussing the "old days".

    I miss the Conservatory Brats. I still go back to the Conservatory and see the instructors, even though most of the ones that taught me have moved on. Monsieur Piete is still there...and so is Gus. Many of Britannia's Lords and Ladies donate to museums and to libraries...but I find that the gold I do not tithe is most needed at the Conservatory. Today, the roof is in need of repair, and many of the instruments need replacing. If I still had the ear of the King, I would see what I could do about setting up an official donation program, like the libraries have.
     
  30. I had become a full Protector in the PoV, and was often fighting killers and thieves. I was learning a great deal from Sir Robin...but it was when I met the Lady Jade that I truly feel I mastered Archery. Jade was an archer like none I had ever seen. Her style was different, her stance as well...and she was amazingly fast. Soon, I had surpassed Robin, and had become the second best archer in the guild. I doubt I will ever be as good as Jade, but I do my best.

    We had been fighting the Army of Darkness a lot back then, and you could almost feel that something was coming...and it was. Soon, everything we had ever known would change forever.

    Now, I know that both Clean and Morgana have provided detailed accounts of the events of that night, so I will not go too deeply into it...but I will say this:

    The events of that night, when our world was torn apart by the gods, would have ramifications for all of us for the rest or our lives.

    As the people poured into the new facet, and the world we had known was thrown into despair and chaos, our lives where torn apart as well...and it would take years before the wounds that were opened that night would begin to heal.

    For my part, I was ready to move into Trammel. I had seen enough killing and death and pain to last me a lifetime...but Morgana could not leave. She had attachments to that world, as we all did, but hers were stronger than ours. It hurt me, and shocked me that she chose to remain behind...with that woman. I knew that she had made a mistake as soon as I saw that gate close...but it was too late. We could not return to Felucca without a moonstone, and at that time, those were not easy to come by.

    When we did return, my fears were confirmed, MoonlightMyst had betrayed my sister, not once...but twice. The havoc she wreaked upon Morgana was more than she could take. And so she took her own life.

    I knew what became of suicide victims.

    My sister had passed into the Abyss...and there was nothing I could do about it.
     
  31. Watching the others fall into despair at the loss of Morgana was hard. Clean was devastated. Many of the guild members had sort of disappeared when Morgana was banished, but knowing that she was dead was more than most of them could take.

    My sister has always been a natural leader. There is something about her that makes people want to follow her...to be around her. I have the same gift I have been told, but not like Morgana. She is, and always was, the heart and soul of the PoV, and without her...there really didn't seem to be much point.

    Clean had fallen into darkness. He spent all of his time drunk, and killing innocent people. We tried to intervene, but he was so distraught that he was having none of it. I started to worry that he was going to do the same thing my sister had done, so I started following him unseen.

    And this led me to the moment in my life that I regret the most.

    Clean had gone to visit Morgana's grave, and I just knew that he planned to take his own life, so I was following him. He didn't see me there that night, but I witnessed his moment of redemption...when he forgave MoonlightMyst.

    I was not as strong as he was.

    As he left MoonlightMyst there, crying...I felt nothing but a pure burning hatred I had never experienced before in my life. Suddenly, I was in motion...I never even stopped to think about what I was doing, and as soon as I realized what was happening, it was over. I had placed an arrow through the back of her skull, and she lay heaving on the top of my sister's grave.

    I dragged her by the feet into the woods, and left her body there.

    I had committed murder. Cold blooded murder.
     
  32. Clean had sobered up, and was working on some plan to free my sister from the Abyss, and the other guild members were exploring the new facet, Ilshenar.

    I was overcome with guilt and shame over what I had done. This was not how my father had raised me. This was not how Lord British had raised me either. I had strayed from the path of Virtue. But it was not only this event, this vile act. I had been slowly losing my way for years. Drinking, smoking, lying, stealing, and now...murder. It all came down on me at once. And I realized that I was lost.

    I needed to find my own redemption...as Clean had done.
     
  33. I committed myself to upholding the Virtues. I studied with the Paladins in Luna, I preyed and I tithed, and gave up all of the worldly things I had embraced.

    It was around this time that Clean had made a discovery...a place called Doom. He believed that this place was somehow a gateway to the Abyss, and therefore a gateway to Morgana. We began exploring this place, and found it full of creatures that had once dwelt in the very house of evil itself. These dark beings were not easy foes, and the battles we fought there were tough. I reveled in the glory of the battle, but I was becoming concerned about my guildmates. They had discovered powerful artifacts and weapons in Doom. But they were not aware that these came at a price. One by one, I started noticing their greed and their lust for power consuming them. Each time we entered Doom, I could feel it tempting me, and I could see it consuming the others.

    I could not watch the others fall into darkness, so I told Clean that I was leaving...and that they should all do the same. Clean, by that time, had become a practitioner of the black arts...and I felt that he was giving himself over to evil completely. We had to stop going to Doom.

    But in the end, some of us left, and others remained behind...and it is good that they did, because it turned out that Clean was right. Doom was the path to finding my sister, but more than that...it was the path to the only real salvation and redemption there is.
     
  34. Clean had slain himself in a black magick ritual put together by Sheol, the guild's Arch Mage. And when he rose from the grave, he was wraith...a soulless monster fueled only by evil.

    Or at least that is what I thought at the time.

    I know that Clean and Morgana have also told this story here, so I will not go back through the entire thing, but I will say this...the day that Clean carried my sister across the lake of the dead and back into the land of the living, I finally understood what true Sacrifice, true Compassion, true Honor, true Humility, true Honesty, true Spirituality, and true Valor really were.

    It was not about following some ethical code of conduct. It was not about looking down on those that did not following your path. It was not about good and evil, or about gods and Kings.

    It is about character, and love, and commitment, and loyalty. It is about knowing how to truly understand all points of view, and about understanding that there never is one "right" path.

    My sister was returned to us, and eventually, she would take her rightful place as the head of our guild again.

    But the thing that I value the most, is that I found my redemption...and I discovered the true meaning of the Virtues.

    From time to time, I think back on how I felt as a little girl, all those years ago, living in Lord British's Castle. I think back on the lessons that I learned there...and I consider those lessons against what I learned after my time there. Lord British, like Lord Byron, had a certain idea of what the Virtues should mean. I still respect that, and cannot say that some part of does not agree with them both. But what I really learned is that true Virtue comes from inside of us, and it is defined not by our beliefs, but by our actions.

    The guild has dubbed me "The Holy Avenger", and I suppose in some ways, I deserve that moniker. My attitude through the years was very judgemental and very pius at times. But I think I am a wiser person now, and I think I owe a great deal of that to the example set by the one they call Soulless.

    It's funny how these things come full circle.
     
  35. I hope that you have enjoyed my tale.

    I look forward to seeing you all in Sosaria...and please, do not let the "Holy Avenger" title frighten you away. Just because I am the former heir to the throne, and I carry such an ominous title...don't be fooled. I am very friendly and easy to talk to.

    Given the events of the present time, I feel there may be more to this tale to come. Some of that depends upon you, the people of Sosaria. If we band together, as a people, we can accomplish anything...and that includes defeating this false King that has usurped the throne.