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THE STORY OF LEYA
(Authors: GM Talairi, GM Andraste, GM Zyllah, with contributions by GM Jharra)

In the age of Elven supremacy, the Arkati walked the Lands, mixing with the races and interacting with the Great Houses of the Elves. Thus it was, the Arkati known as Kai, always a favorite guest due to his personal charm, noticed a young Elven woman while visiting among the Ardenai.

She was both beautiful and bright, the only child of a noble and ancient family. Possessing admirable skill with the bow, she was as adept at the hunt as she was blessed with wit and social graces. She was the pride of her doting parents.

"One other ability was hers, a rare one among the Ardenai Elves, or any of the other great Houses for that matter -- she was gifted with the ability to 'soothsee', a talent regarded as descendant from the Arkati themselves.

When Kai beheld her, his interest in other women was said to evaporate like the mists of daybreak. She was, not surprisingly, as taken with him and their mutual admiration quickly ignited into the fire of love.

He courted her for a season, taking her for his own as soon as Elven traditions granted him leave. In due time, the lady conceived and as the child grew within her, Kai's existence was measured by his lady's smile.

It is said that this consuming passion was its own nemesis, the very thing that caused the eventual tragedy. Other Arkati -- some of a darker nature -- learning of Kai's obsession with the Elf, were resentful, regarding it as an insult to the Arkati code. Love the mortals, yes, they admonished.

But such affairs should be kept as no more than a dalliance. While no suspicions of evil intent were ever proven as fact, Kai's alliance with the Ardenai didn't last the year.

The child came to term, and after 3 days of decimating labor, the mother produced a daughter, beautiful from first breath. However, the struggle to accomplish it had taken too much of the Ardenai's life reserves.

As she gazed lovingly at her newborn daughter, dismay clouded her eyes. Beside her, the despairing Kai - seeing her life flame flicker and fade despite all he tried to help her - heard her whisper, "I fear not death, but the dark that will someday harm our child."

Kai had known that he would one day see his love pass through the Veil between life and death. He was not prepared to see it happen in such a short span of time.

They say that as he saw all his efforts to staunch the steady and relentless ebbing of her vitality come to nothing, he went half-mad with desperation. Midwives present at the bedside later claimed they saw the hazy form of Lorminstra appear during the woman's last moments, perhaps to prevent any interference from her frantic husband.

Another version of this tale paints the insubstantial figure seen in the bedside shadows as Luukos. Whatever the case, all the powers Kai possessed were unable to save his bride. Legend holds that, at her passing, Kai's cry of sorrow robbed the birds of song for weeks thereafter. He departed the Ardenai the same day, leaving the infant in their care. They called her Leya, named for her mother Leirya.

Years passed. Kai wandered, finally giving over his grief to time and gradually, the light of living was rekindled within him. In the meantime, the child grew, blossoming with all the promise her initial beauty had foretold.

It became obvious, early on, that she had great talent in anything to do with physical activities, for the child ran almost before she learned to walk. She was tall and long of limb, with a lithe grace that was often likened to a deer. She was, in short, a natural athlete.

Eventually, Kai returned to the Ardenai, drawn by a Festival of Games held every spring to celebrate the solstice and attended by representatives from the majority of the Great Houses and common folk alike. The games were tests of skill in swords, ranged weapons and mounted jousts.

The competition was brisk, featuring the most accomplished athletes from the seven Houses. Kai, as an honored guest, was seated on the royal dais and accorded the privilege of judging the tourney and awarding victory garlands. Nothing was mentioned of the tragedy by his hosts, nor did Kai broach the subject, for all were delighted that, at long last, the Arkati could rejoin them in joy and merriment.

The Elven youths that competed displayed enviable skill and strength, and the bountiful festivities surrounding the contests reflected the field's splendor. Gradually, the champions garnered their victories and the field was narrowed down.

Kai, conversing and applauding among his friends of the Elven nobility, began to notice a tall young woman who won every match in which she was entered. Her sword arm was strong and her skill with a bow was as impressive as Kai had ever witnessed even among the Arkati them selves.

Finally, the day's awards were all given out, save the final event between the Ardenai woman and an exceptional warrior of Ta'Vaalor. The fight was with rapier, and judging by the crowd's boisterous cheering, the rivalry between the two Houses was fierce.

As the two young Elves circled, thrust and parried, suspense mounted. Many say that no rapier contest since has equaled the skill exhibited in the ring on that glorious spring afternoon.

The Vaalor youth was stronger and taller, but the Ardenai lass was quick and had unparalleled mastery of the rapier. Again and again, her lightening-fast response to his maneuvers seemed to turn the tide of the battle.

Suddenly, as the woman parried a thrust, a hare ran pell-mell through the ring and became entangled with the Ardenai's footing. Only a moment later, it recovered and dashed away, but in the heartbeat or two it took for the woman to recover her balance, her Vaalorian opponent had cut under her blade and beaten her.

With the point of his weapon at her heart, she flashed a dazzling smile to the crowd and shouted, "Bravo to Nelito! A fine contest, my friend!" Her rival raised his weapon in a salute to her and, as the crowds roared their appreciation, the athletes embraced and strode arm-in-arm to the victory dais.

Kai startled as he realized he'd been holding his breath. He exhaled and leaned back in his chair. The vision of the Ardenai woman's brilliant smile had come near to stunning him, for there in her fine features he had rediscovered his beloved Leirya.

As the two contestants approached the dais, Kai stood up and gazed down upon the girl. Then, after raising the garland high, he lowered it upon the Vaalorian youth's brow and praised his victory. While the crowd thundered in delight, he leaned forward and whispered next to the girl's ear, "And to my daughter, I give my eternal patronage and love, if she will but forgive her unworthy father for his absence in her life until now."

Saying that, Kai straightened and gazed into her eyes, until a moment later, her friend swept her away to answer the well-wishers beating impatiently at the arena gate. Kai watched their progress, his face glowing with pride and affection as she cast confused glances back at him over her shoulder until the crowd enveloped her.

Leya had never been told about her parents. When she asked her aunts and grandmere as a child, she was told only that her mother had died expressing her love for the newborn daughter and that her illustrious father had been pulled from her side by matters of state. Leya grew up surrounded by love and affection, missing her parents only because of her desire to share her love with them.

When Kai came to her later, in the privacy of her quarters, she embraced him and it was as if the years that had separated them had never been. Kai's joy was surpassed only by his love for the girl and it is said, behind the Veil, the spirit of Leirya knew and rejoiced.

That night, a feast was held of lavish proportion, and there, Kai announced his reunion with Leya. The assembled multitude delighted in Kai's obvious happiness with his accomplished and beautiful daughter.

Later, as Kai pondered the events of the day in the light of a solitary candle, the words of his beloved came back to him. "I fear not death, but the dark that will someday harm our child." Remembering Leya's sweet smile, full of integrity and warmth, he was filled with fear for her and vowed to him self that he would protect her from any ill fate.

Once the week of festivities ended, Kai told his daughter that it was his wish - if she desired - that she accompany him, and he would school her in the arts of combat and teach her of her Arkati heritage. Although she was young, she knew not fear, and accepted her father's invitation with alacrity.

For from the moment of hearing his first whispered words, a sense of homecoming and content had awoken within her, and her love for her father had blossomed. With tears of joy for her happiness and regret for her absence, her Ardenai family bid the girl farewell.

Leya passed the coming years at her father's side, delighting in their shared company and surpassing her former skill at combat day by day. Kai watched his daughter's skill grow, nurturing and guiding it and reveled in her guileless smile, sweet nature and ready wit.

As they passed through the lands, staying now with the Ta'Nalfein, and the following year with the Ta'Vaalor -- each year or season moving on -- the girl's reputed skill at combat was only over-shadowed by accounts of her beauty. Many were the princes and noble young elves that lost their heart to her. But in Leya's affections, only Kai could claim a place of honor.

Old stories tell that Kai and Leya journeyed to the distant lands of the halfling folk, who, in those long-past days, were never seen wandering far from their shires and homes, as is common today.

The travelers arrived after many weeks in the wilderness, and the wee ones known as 'halfling' took the visitors in and threw a month-long feast in their honor. Kai was a welcome and anticipated guest, for the halflings delighted in his story-spinning. Soon, they grew likewise fond of the daughter, treasuring her open-heartedness.

Although she was considered as 'gaunt' as her father, she was pronounced 'less uncomely' than most other non-halflings the merry folk had encountered -- notwithstanding the fact that the sum total of these non-halflings were decidedly few.

The months spent with the endearing people were pleasant ones. Leya taught the adolescents archery and wrestling, delighting in the gales of giggles that, more likely than not, accompanied any action one of them attempted. They returned the favor by teaching Leya tricks of throwing blades, for their proficiency at this skill surpassed any she had seen.

Finally, Kai decided time had come to bid their hosts farewell. He had kept in touch with the Elven lands via messenger-birds sent to a close confident among the Nalfein, who had forwarded disquieting news. The Nalfein had heard tales of a terrible fortress that emanated darkness and fear, tales that had become too worrisome to ignore.

As a parting gift, the mayor of the halfling shire -- a small, wizened fellow of great age and magic - gave Leya a blade of great beauty, reputably possessing an unknown magic as well. The halfling handed the halfling sword, more a dagger in size, to her and told her 'to keep it close, for some day she would find a need for its friendship'.

In the following years, she came to cherish the blade more as a sentimental reminder of the halflings and time spent in the company of her father than for the beauty of its strange and elaborate carvings.

One other gift did the halflings give to their Arkati friends. Many years before -- countless years, the passing of which had erased the details of its arrival -- a sword was given to the shire's elders to guard. The thing was beautiful beyond compare, yet feared, for it sang a haunting and terrible keen, heard sometimes on moonless nights by those close to death or the dying.

The elders decided to give the thing to Kai in the hopes that it would come to aid if the dark rumors were based on any fact. Much better to give the sword into his keeping, they had decided, than to risk such a weapon falling into hands guided by a malevolent heart.

The weapon, known as 'So'liengin' -- later translated to 'Soulingen' -- was given into Kai's trust with solemn warnings about 'its dark and dangerous talent'.

The two Arkati's return to the Elven empire was slow, hampered and harangued by raiding parties of orcs and trolls. Roads that had been safe for eons had changed in the few months they'd spent with the halflings.

The highways were now plagued with raiders and bandits, and the settlements where Kai and Leya passed the nights were barricaded after dark. The inhabitants huddled behind their doors in fear and dread. Rumors of a growing threat became more and more frequent as they traveled, substantiating the stories Kai had been sent while with the halflings.

At the borders of the first of the Elven Houses, the marauding abruptly stopped. In fact, when Kai brought up the subject during the next Council Court, the news was dismissed as rumor and exaggeration among the peasantry.

The complacent council members assured the worried Kai that any bandits he had personally witnessed were certainly nothing more than an isolated incident. For it was inconceivable that any faction could mount a serious threat to the might and authority of the Seven Houses.

Some of the members of that Council would live to rue their words. The others experienced an abbreviated version of the famed Elven longevity.

Leaving Leya in the comfort of a Faendryl palazzo after the rigor of the long months of travel, Kai journeyed on to a mountainous region east of Faendryl lands. There he sought council with Koar.

It is said that the 'Oldest' visited Kai in the form of a small, winged lizard. Time has obscured what was said, but it is believed that Kai's suspicions were confirmed. Thereafter, Kai pondered the implications of all he had learned for a moon, then began work on a great and complex magic.

When it was finally accomplished, the Arkati rested only long enough to recover from the debilitating fatigue of the 'working' before making his way back to the city of the Faendryl and Leya.

When Leya saw her father's deep exhaustion, she bade him rest and recover in her care. He put aside her concerns and told her that he wanted to depart again immediately, to take her back to the mountains from which he'd just returned. Despite her objections, they departed soon after.

Kai and Leya traveled to the edge of a seemingly impenetrable forest. That it was filled with magic was obvious, for the wood seemed to sing with a vitality that pulled at the edges of consciousness. It was as if the trees were sentient and watched all that neared their boundary.

Leya, with the gift of seeing given her by her mother, felt the forest's prescience and quailed in the face of such power. But Kai reassured her and showed her the almost indiscernible sigils that were the signature of his magical working. As soon as she recognized them, the wood became nothing more or less than a magnificent, old-growth forest.

Before crossing into the shade of the lofty oaks, Kai counseled his daughter, telling her of the growing threat and his need to venture off alone, in an effort to discover the cause and measure of it. There, in the forest, he explained, she would be safe.

Therein she could hunt and practice her combat skills in peace and safety until he was able to return to her. He asked her to vow to him that she would stay within the magical boundary he had created, leaving him free of worry to pursue the dangerous mission he needed to shoulder.

And she, loving him and desiring his happiness, was happy to pledge her promise to dwell within the beautiful trees until he returned to her.

Kai was pleased and much relieved. Seeing a great owl flying overhead, he lifted his hand and power flowed from it, encircling the bird. The owl plummeted to earth, alighting upon the ground with a thunder of hooves.

Seeing the owl transformed into a magnificent, white steed with dark eyes and flowing mane, Leya was delighted. She embraced the beast's powerful, arched neck and called him 'Rigaetha.'

They entered the wood together, the two Arkati and the enchanted stallion, and as they did, it was as if a door had closed behind them. That night, they camped beside a clear pool, and as the girl drank of its water, the magic was sealed.

Seeing Kai's preparations to leave her, Leya was sorrowful. Kai was dismayed at her unhappiness and asked if there was anything he could leave with her as a reminder of his affection.

She answered, saying there was one thing only she desired other than his companionship. She had admired the beautiful weapon given to him by the halflings and longed to wield it.

Remembering the warnings sent along with it, Kai was reluctant. Then, observing the girl's sad expression, he was loath to deny her anything. Telling himself that nothing could harm her within the protection of the wood, he placed the beautiful blade in her hands and asked her to keep it sheathed and to use it sparingly.

Kai regretfully left soon after, comforting his daughter with assurances he would hurry back to her as soon as possible. As the days turned into months and then years, Leya dwelt within the forest, hunting and riding the steed called Rigaetha, safe within the embrace of the ancient oaks.

Time passed slowy. Leya busied her wait for Kai's return by practicing her martial arts or talking with the many animals that lived in the forest and taking long rides and walks in the woods, often accompanied by Rigaetha.

Often she would return to the spot where she had spent her first night in the forest, for it was there that she felt closest to her father.

One day, she returned to the pool near the barrier, looking forward to a moment of quiet contemplation. Lying beside the pool was a young Elven lad, and Leya turned away at first, remembering the brash youths of her past, but the brief glimpse revealed a face so beautiful that she could not help but approach, only to discover that he had been wounded.

Leya knelt beside him and calling on the magick at the heart of the forest, asked for help in aiding the lad, covering his wounds with healing leaves. He quickly mended and was soon well enough to make the short journey deeper into the woods, to Leya's abode where he could continue to recover.

He explained that he had been trying to enter an old mage's tower, having scaled the keep, trying to enter a window. He was discovered, only to be casted at and injured in the lengthy fall. What he did not know was that the wizard took one look at the beauty of the lad and felt great remorse at having harmed him, then transported the curious Elven to the pool knowing that Leya would discover him.

His name was Egan, and he was a member of the House of Ta'Vaalor. As he sat -- his wounds healing, watching Leya over the next few days, his love for her began to grow. Leya would pretend not to notice his gaze on her, but she would slyly sneak a glance every so often herself, her own feelings for Egan becoming undeniable.

As much as he enjoyed spending time with Leya, he grew homesick and wanting to assure his family that he was still well and alive as his return was long overdue. So he made plans to head home, trying to convince Leya to come with him.

Now, Leya knew that Kai had forbidden her from leaving the forest, and so she sadly refused to go. Instead, they arranged to meet in one moon's time at an arranged place. With a bittersweet parting, Egan left to return to his lands, and Leya continued to spend her days as she had before, but spent her nights dreaming about the coming reunions with those she loved.

Meanwhile, Egan arrived back in his lands and found much of his friends and family overjoyed to see him! They had thought him dead, so in their rejoicing they planned a great feast in his honor for his return. In the beginning he was overwhelmed by his double joy -- the joy of Leya's love and the return to his loved ones.

But as the celebration began, he noticed how worn and drawn with worry their faces were. He began to ask them what was the matter, but they shooed away his worries with platitudes, saying only that it was nothing. This went on for several days as the celebration continued. Finally one night, when he could bear it no longer, he confronted his father.

Wearily, the older man sighed and took his son aside, away from where the others could hear. His father was torn, having listened to Egan boost of his love for Leya, so torn yet he could not stop himself from asking Egan to remain here. He could not lie to his son, but the Undead were amassing nearby. Egan's father begged him to stay and fight.

Egan, being like any young man in love, hesitated at first, but then he thought of how he could return to Leya with his glory gained from a good battle. Largely green and untested on the battlefield, Egan agreed to remain, innocently thinking the war will be ended and he will still be able to meet Leya as they arranged. He thought he'd be able to go to war and help conquer the enemy, with more than enough time to make his way back to the forest.

And so, Egan marched off with the troops. The excitement of battle lured him and the wins of the first skirmishes thrill him. The morning of the big battle arose as they reached the front lines and as he paused to think of his beloved Leya in his daily prayers, he realized he was a day late in meeting her. He thought, "I will finish this battle and rush off to her side," and then marched onward.

The day of rendezvous came, and Leya returned to the place of their meeting, waiting anxiously -- nervous and yet excited to be rejoined with Egan. She waited all that day and into the night, and when he did not come, she laid down beside the pool, drifting off to sleep.

The next morning, just as the sun was about to rise, Leya awoke with a start. Tis rumored that Leya had a bit of her mother's gift for foresight, and she panicked, sensing that Egan was in terrible danger!

Leya glanced down into the pool and an image rippled to the surface. She saw Egan, her beloved, surrounded by an army of elves, but they are vastly outnumbered by the horrible Undead surrounding them. She saw them marching over the lands, dark, like a plague rampaging, and that fighting had broken out.

With a roar of anger, Leya rose up, mounted Rigaetha and urged him forward, towards the barrier of the forest. The pain of the crossing through the magical field caused her to bellow in agony, but this did not stop her.

Kai heard this and rushed towards the forest but he knows he will be too late, as she had already broken through the barrier and he is too far away, engaged with the fighting of the Despana.

Leya arrived in her beloved's lands, descending upon the scene like a whirlwind filled with her insane worry for her beloved and her hatred for the evil that threatens him. Without a thought of caution, she unsheathed Soulingen with a blood lust so strong that it awakened the mighty weapon. And the fury consumed her! And with this great force on their side, the elves won the day.

Now Luukos, he arrived on the battlefield as Leya does, but before Kai could reach her. Luukos hid in the shadows, watching and laughing, and then saw to it that Egan was disguised in Leya's eyes to appear as one of the enemy. And as such, in her blindness, Leya slew Egan.

Twas not her fault, but Leya did not know this. She did not know of Luukos' presence. And so she blamed herself, as Egan's soul now resided in Soulingen's blade.

Leya's grief so wracked her with sadness that her cries released the magick at the heart of the steed, Rigaetha, returning him to the snowy owl he once was. Kneeling beside Egan's pale and cold body, drawing him into her arms as she cried, Leya decided that she will bring Egan's body back to the bluff where they were to meet and bury him there.

Kai arrived in time to see the deadly scene and watched helplessly as Leya grieved so deeply. Kai is set to confront her for betraying his wishes, but he can not do so when she is in so much pain. He does not wish her to blame herself more so than she does, so he withdrew and await a more appropriate time.

Legends say that it twas at this bluff, by the pool where they first met, that Leya built Egan's tomb. Kai waited for Leya's sorrow to abate, but he never got the chance. When Leya was done with her labors atop the crown of boulders, in what had once been a magical forest retreat created by her father, Kai, she sealed Egan's tomb and whispered a final goodbye. Standing before the altar, Soulingen in hand, she cast the sword angrily upon it. "May you never tempt others with your seductive bloodlust again!"

Unbeknownst to her, the utterance acted as an incantation and forever bound the discarded weapon askew upon the black marble surface. Gathering up the dagger-sized sword given to her as a gift by the Halflings, she headed for the road that would take her away from this scene of sadness. Wandering the lands for many cycles of the moons, grief was her sole companion.

Making her way to the forests of Ta'Ardenai, where she could be closer to her mother's people, much of her time was spent in solitary travel. Kai kept a distant watch on his troubled daughter, knowing from his own sorrowful experience that she would have to find her own way to come to terms with the death of her beloved.

Her days were often spent in quiet meditation and in keeping her skills as a warrior honed. While the thought of combat stirred her grief, she was too much her father's daughter to simply waste or ignore her inherent talents. Time passed slowly, as it often does when the soul is wounded, and though her physical strength was prime, her heart remained heavy. Leya had lost her sense of self.

Sadness surrounded Leya like a cloak and gave her a measure of distance from those she had known in the past, as she visited those places where she had once been happy. Keeping to the shadows, she slipped among old friends unseen, watching… searching for something to end her grieving.

Some might say it was coincidence, and others believe it was her mother's inherited second sight that brought Leya to be walking the forested route between Ta'Ardenai and Ta'Loenthra one day. There she encountered a young woman in distress. Seeing someone else in pain pulled at Leya's heart and she could not bear to witness the misery, so she offered her aid.

Leya asked for the woman's story and learned that the young woman was a sculptor's wife. In a sudden fit of bravery, the woman had seized a discarded shard of chalcedony and slain her abusive, brutal husband.

Afterward, though she was shaken with fear and guilt over ending the life of someone that she had once loved, she had set out to turn herself in to the Captain of the Guard. Afraid no one would believe her, or worse yet, think it no crime to beat one's wife, the woman had fled town instead.

No stranger to feeling aimless, lost, and guilt-ridden, Leya suggested the woman travel with her for a while before giving herself up to the Elven justice. Better to face a judge strong than defeated. As they wandered, Leya and the woman formed a deep and abiding friendship.

During their time together, the young Arkati taught the elven woman many martial skills, including the art of crafting blades from found materials. Together, the mortal and Leya transformed the chalcedony shard weapon into a crude dagger, promising that it would never be used unjustly.

Confident, no longer the little scared mouse she once had been, the woman returned to town and turned herself in a year and a day after the murder. By now, tales of the sculptor's cruelty had become widespread and many had expressed relief at his passing.

In the face of such evidence from the townsfolk, the Captain of the Guard considered the matter justified and dismissed the outstanding charges against her.

Leya stood at the back of the courtroom, watching her friend's ordeal, then moved to her side to celebrate the good news. For a split moment, that day at the tournament with Nelito came to mind, as did the reunion with her father.

With that reminder of her tournament loss and all that came after, the last wisp of her grief finally disappeared, leaving a sense of inner peace and purpose in its place. Sadness at the thought of the estrangement from her father still remained. Leya knew that she had more work to do before she could resolve that part of her life.

Together the two friends made their way to a local inn, and as they did, they passed a young half-elven girl clothed in tattered rags. She was being harshly berated and flailed by the inn's owner as she tended to the wash out in the alley.

After the man went inside, the two women escorted the girl out of town, careful to put a good deal of distance between themselves and the inn. Making camp in the woods that night, Leya realized that they had acted without really thinking of the consequences, and now had to decide what to do about their new companion.

The young girl was frightened and battered. Leya knew she could not just leave her to look after herself in that condition. Pondering the choices before her, Leya came to the conclusion that the woman had been given into their care for a reason, and that she would do all that she could to help the woman heal.

The two older women served as teachers and mentors to the girl. Learning the ways of combat, how to use a bow and sword, and how to fight hand-to-hand, the young protege gained faith in herself and pride in her newfound strength. Each found solace in the others as they shared their painful pasts and realized their futures held much hope.

As had happened with the sculptor's wife, the bitterness and despair that had surrounded the young chore girl fell away during the passing weeks, and a confident young woman emerged. The three continued to travel together as companions and friends.

Then one night, a frightened woman from one of the giantman clans stumbled into their camp. The woman was half-starved, and her appearance was disheveled from her wandering through the thick woods.

The group took the woman into their care, feeding her and assuring her that she was safe. Just as Leya had done with the others, so she began her work with the newest member of their little tribe. This time though, she had the help of the other two, which made the teachings progress much more quickly. Together they traveled the elven lands, this odd group of women bound together by tragedy.

After a few months, word of the small band and Leya's teachings had trickled out to others in the surrounding area. Women would approach them in every village and burg, each with a story more heart-rending than the next, and each were welcomed warmly. With each instance of healing others, Leya's own heart mended. No act of kindness and mercy was too great or too small a request of the group.

Intensely loyal to Leya and her teachings, the women had taken to calling themselves Amazons. Out of individual women in desperate straits had formed a strong sisterhood, developing their own culture and code for living.

One night, as Leya proudly surveyed the gathering as they laughed around a bonfire, she realized that her work there was indeed finished. She had done all she could for the women, and it was time for them to stand on their own, to carry on without her guidance.

The following morning, Leya gathered together her few belongings and announced her decision to the stunned group. It was time for her to leave them, so that she could finish what remained to be done within her self, and so the women could continue the work they had just begun.

Leya gestured to them all, standing proud and confident in a circle, and proclaimed that each was a leader worthy of respect. As sad as the women were at the parting, they understood why it was necessary. With a final farewell, Leya once again wandered down the path alone, disappearing within a circle of trees.

Years turned into decades, and the Amazons continued on. Often some of the women would split away from the original group to take up residence in another part of the continent, where they would bring their teachings and training to those who came to them. The women usually crafted symbols to indicate their status as Amazons.

Some groups favored ivory daggers or chalcedony shards, some crafted lapis lazuli teardrops, and others carved horses or owls out of snow white alabaster. Each sect or tribe had their own codes, culture, and way of governing, but all of them strove to remain true to what Leya had taught the original Amazons.

The site of the shrine that Leya built in Egan's honor remained a legend until a group of determined Amazons sought its location and rediscovered it, with Leya's blessing, in the year 5097.

Found on a wall inside a room within the Shrine:

“No doubt tales of my life and journey have survived, if you've found this shrine and the gifts the Amazons of the past have carried forward to the future. At the end of my journey as a mere mortal, and once I was well hidden within a circle of modwir pines, I called out to my father. Overjoyed to hear my summons, Kai crossed the distance with all due haste. Before him I stood, no longer the young girl who had left in grief, but a woman shaped by it. At first we said nothing, but then I offered, “Will my father forgive a wayward daughter for her absence in his life until now and accept her eternal love?”

“We both smiled at this replaying of a familiar scene. Embracing, I wept the last remaining tears of my sorrow, now mixed with joy at being reunited with my father. He spent the night in kindly patience, listening as I told him all I had learned, and when I was finally silent, we watched the rose-gold light of dawn pierce the needle-laden boughs. A single beam spilled down to the forest floor as the sun slowly rose, encompassing me fully within its light, and with it came a new clarity. Born of the union between a mortal and an Arkati, I realized the time had come for me to take up more responsibility and affirm my role as Patroness of the Amazons.”

“I leave this place as a gift to those who dedicate themselves to following my ideals.”


The names on the twenty-two daggers found inside a weathered trunk in the Shrine’s vestry:

Romilde, Ualda, Sigismonda, Orlanthe, Jadryga, Lorelle, Herthe, Etheloe, Rhedwyn, Margred, Abertha, Heraltha, Narancia, Tirgelth, Darienna, Fallaen, Hjordis, Cerbylis, Raphfelia, Bevyena, Morgallen, Seredita.



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