17 FELMONT OF 1005 AC
THE ISLAND ON THE LAKE OF THE LOST DREAMS, NORTH OF THE DYMRAK FOREST
Tiberius watched the little creature he had just killed with a mixture of horror and compassion at the same time. It was tiny, only a bit more than one foot, the features soft and graceful even in death. The face was pale, the two big blue eyes open and staring. The features closely resembled those of an elf but the small wings, similar to those of a dragonfly, showed it belonged to the fairy folk.
“It must be an Ilya: aquatic sprites that inhabit the island and have stolen the statue to the Vyalias we met this morning” Marjana muttered distraught while moving alongside the paladin. The young girl looked around. The sparse grove that covered the southern part of the island was still wrapped in the dense fog that enveloped the Lake of Lost Dreams. The malignant giggles of the sprites had ceased abruptly after the death of their companion and silence had fallen all around, broken only occasionally by Brannart screams, not far from the others, cutting through the empty air with his claymore, the long sword with two hands typical of Klantyre lands.
“Argh…. shoo..shoo..damn you!” The companions looked at him uncertain about what to do.
“It must be in the grip of some kind of hallucination” stated the pragmatic Stoik. “Whatever his eyes see and his mind believe, if it is provoked by pixie’s magic, then it should be only a matter of moments before he comes to sense and returns among us.”
“I do not think it was a good idea to satisfy the request of the elves” Adrik scratched his thick beard, puzzled. “It was all too obvious that they were out of their minds, in the grip of some sort of spell.” Dan nodded in silence to the words of the dwarf.
“I understand Adrik your atavistic reluctance for us elves but, precisely because they too were obviously under the effects of a spell or curse, we had to discover its origins and end it.” Stoik this time had troubles to hide that he looked with a certain suspicion that joke of nature that the dwarf was, the only one he had heard of that was able to master the magical arts.
“And then, the Viper goblins were clear: the Wolfskulls hide in the Stone Forest, an haunted area located within the Dymrak Forest, and only the Vyalia elves know its exact location” Marjana reminded it to everyone . “Helping them was a duty and a necessity.”
“This story of the golden statue, stolen from the Ilyas to the Vyalias of the Lake, the resulting melancholy that hit the elves, the strange aggressiveness of the sprites. All these things seem to me deeply correlated. Let’s find the statue and bring it back to the elves, before someone else is killed.” With a firm tag Tiberius pulled out the spear skewering from one side the little fairy creature.
“I think I have found it” Vaeris, who had been away a few tens of meters towards the center of the island, called for their attention.
The building was perfectly square and symmetrical from whatever angle you looked. It had four staircases going up to the same number of entrances. On each side, four columns of the same white stone the small temple was built, supporting a low pediment and a tympanum covered with bas-reliefs for the most part eroded by time. Three caryatids, also completely eroded by time and weather, held the roof on three points. In place of the fourth statue, the remains of which lied broken on the ground, there was a seemingly golden, life size statue, representing a very beautiful woman. She was carved from the side and kneeling, arms outstretched and two unfolded eagle’s wings. The long straight hair fell to her shoulders and on the front she wore a precious diadem.
“It’s her, without any doubt. Let’s recover it quickly and leave as soon as possible this island. This place gives me the chills” Brannart hastened to grumble, still shaken by nightmarish visions from the magic of the Ilyas: he was certainly the most troubled by it.
“Let’s stay calm” Tiberius, calm and reassuring, tried to convey calm and security to its companions. “Stoik, what do you know about this place? The Lake of the Lost Dreams I mean.” With quick steps he went near one of the entrances, the hand resting on the metal door.
“Not much, to tell the truth” the Callarii elf shrugged “apart for the fact that on the island should live the Seer, according to the legend. As I said, however, it is more a legend. I doubt that anybody, Ilyas aside, can really live in a place like this. ”
“Seer?” asked Vaeris.
“Yes, a sage, protector of the Traldar tradition. Guardian of the traditions and of an artifact, gift of the Immortal Zirchev to his people, known as the Fire Opal. But actually I am now really starting to think that this is just a legend and a story to tell traladaran children before putting them to bed at night.” Marjana shivered. The air was more and more humid and an intense and unnatural cold was spreading all around the building.
“What happens Tiberius? What’s bothering you?” asked Brannart noticing the cloud over the paladin.
“Undead. I strongly feel their presence. This place oozes evil and entropy from every stone. “
“It should not be so” said, almost in unison, Marjana and Stoik.
“True. Something terrible happened in this place. Let’s go see what.” He pushed aside the steel door and disappeared inside the dark building.