Summary: Gertrude and Daniel Willowby visit the Inn at Evermore and make a discovery.
Gertrude Willowby led her son, Daniel Willowby down the overgrown trail toward the Inn at Evermore. Her breath came in ragged gasps. She coughed and wheezed, but continued on hoping the rumors were true.
Two weeks ago, they had come from the Dale. Traveling through the East Pass as the last of the snows melted. Walking passed the monuments erected memorializing the fight that had taken place there between the Guildsmen of Evermore and the invading Asgarn army that had ravaged the Dale not so long ago.
They had stopped first at Willowby Farms to see how the community continued to prosper, but she did not dally long. Time was of the essence, so they hurried to the Inn, reaching the crossroads just before evening.
“We’re almost there.” Gertrude wheezed, her lungs aching. Every step was agony.
“Will we see Guildsmen?” the boy asked, worriedly.
Gertrude tried to ease his mind. “Guildhall closed the Inn more than a year ago. There is no one here. It’s just a boarded up building and overgrown grounds.”
Daniel breathed a sigh of relief. Her son was a headstrong lad, and he had clashed with the Guildsmen of Evermore as they mediated the dispute between Willowby Farms and the Kravynn living in the Wyld Wood. Everything worked out, but Daniel still harbored concerns. All that was in the past now. The Inn was closed. Most of the Guildsmen were gone.
Daniel gasped suddenly, and his hand drifted to his sword. Something had caught his attention. His eyes opened wide. Gertrude followed along the path of her son’s gaze, and then jerked him to a halt. Ahead, the Field of Solnus sparkled, shimmering goldenrod in the sunlight.
“The rumors are true.” She said.
Daniel looked confused, as he often did, so she explained. “The holy placeshave not sparkled this brightly since the Age of Life.”
“We should go back.”
“No, Daniel,” she whispered, awe weighing down her voice. “We must go forward. The world is growing again. Just like the ancient statue in our orchard.”
“The marble apple tree? The one that began bearing marble fruit again?”
“That is the one.” She said, remembering the beautiful tree, and how their hearts had swelled with hope at the sight.
Daniel pulled his sword from its scabbard. “If we must go on, stay close, Mother.”
Gertrude moved to her son and laid a hand on his arm. “We go together, my son.”
They walked side by side up the sandy trail. The Inn came into view. Planks of wood had been nailed over the doors and windows. A faded sign announced. “Until further notice: the Inn at Evermore is closed by Order of the Council of Lore. No market shall be held. No person shall approach.”
Around the Inn, nature had begun to reclaim the land. The building itself was covered with vines. A giant bear moved in the trees behind the Inn pulling berries from overburdened bushes. A black raven as large as a person perched on the roof. It cawed once and took flight.
“This place looks totally different,” Daniel said.
Gertrude barely had breath to speak. “Nature always re-claims the land.”
A wolf howled in the distance. Daniel tightened his grip on the hilt of his sword. “Why are we here?”
“I’m sick, son. There is consumption in my chest,” Gertrude replied. “I am going to die.”
“Mother?” he asked. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure,” she spoke, sadly. “I didn’t tell your father because I didn’t want him to worry. If the rumors are true… if magic in the world is growing strong again, then it would be strongest here in Evermore. The Pool of Lumina gives blessings of health when it is flush with magic.”
“You should have told us?”
The old woman coughed. “I’m hoping the Goddess of Light and Life will heal the rot in my lungs. If not, I will tell your father tonight. You know it will break his heart. He’s had to bare so much these past years.”
Daniel had heard the same legends and he spoke gravely. “What if you drink the tear of Noctis?”
Gertrude’s forehead creased with thought.. In the pool floated the blessing of Lumina, but also the sorrow of Noctis. Those who drank the tear always died. Well, she was going to die anyway, a slow, painful choking death, so the tear would be an easier way to go… a mercy in a way.
“If I drink the tear,” Gertrude said. “I will count it as a kindness. Noctis, the God of Dark and Death, will give me an easy passing from this world.”
“I don’t want you to die.”
The woman laughed lightly. “Neither do I, but if the worst happens, carry me home to your father. I want to be buried in the family plot.”
Gertrude left him standing there holding his sword, eyes glassy with grief and fear. She strode confidently up to the Pool of Lumina and gazed down into the sparkling water. She’d been here before, but never had the water shined with power like it did now. Fearful, but knowing the sickness in her chest would kill her slowly. She reached down, cupped water into her hands, and brought the liquid to her lips.
She swallowed. Peacefulness filled her mind. Her breathing became easier. She felt stronger. Younger. More alive than she had felt in years.
“Mother?” Daniel asked.
“I am well,” she said, breathing in deeply with no feeling of constriction. She exhaled, with no cough. “I am cured.”
Gertrude dropped to her knees. “Thank you Goddess for your gift of life.”
A moment later, she heard a low growling sound from the wood. Daniel gave a shout of warning. Heart hammering in her chest, she peered into the lush undergrowth…
History: When the Inn at Evermore opened in 997 A.Order, the Guildsmen only had access to a few damage causing spells, the main ones being holy blasts, balls of fire, and lightning bolts. As Guildsmen explored the lands around Evermore, they discovered additional types of energy and new ways to manipulate them. The re-discovery of energy forms has been an on-going process (plot) since the opening of the Inn (start of play).
Occult: On 17 Sepis 1016 A.Order, a stellar convergence occurred and flooded the realm with mana energy. Shortly after, two new energies appeared, and Guildsmen soon discovered that these energies had been sealed away by the founders of Guildhall at the start of the Age of Order. As the bindings crumbled, other energies like toxic, psi, and radiation also broke free. These energies had been seen used my some monsters, but were never free-flowing in the realm.
Physics: Following the elemental convergence and the discovery that the bindings placed by Guildhall was weakening, Guildsmen discovered that there was not enough magic in the world to re-bind the energies. So in Mais 1017, to prevent a cataclysmic explosion as the final bonds broke, the Guildsmen of Evermore performed a ceremony to release energy slowly. Ever since then, more energy has been flowing into the world.
RUMORS: In Janis 1017 when Kendrick Kane went to recover the old Guildhall books and records that related to order and chaos energies, he found that they were missing… stolen. An investigation confirmed the last time these records were known to be there was in 999 A.Order. Further, investigations revealed that a number of prominent Guildsmen disappeared around the same time as the records vanished. Among them was Alec Brinken, the head of the Guildhall Historical Society when the Inn at Evermore was opened in 997 A.Order. He was devoted to researching energy types and new lore. His work in early Evermoore led to the release of Mortis and Thanos, and the discovery of many feats, castings, and other skills.
CRIME: In the summer of 1019 A.Order, Kendrick Kane, Chairman of the Guildhall Historical Society burned all of his notes, papers, and research into the history of Evermore and resigned his position. The destruction of his life’s work sent shock waves through academic circles as people, horrified by the loss of knowledge, demanded for his arrest. Kendrick disappeared for more than a year. He was later discovered to be running a Trading Post in the small town of Solace.