Kit's Alone Again

The road before the party gave them two choices, to the left they would soon enter the valley that the Azure Keep overlooked and Javair of the Lost awaited for them to return from their quest for the keys to close the Storm Gates. To the right the road would give access to the northern lands with the forests of Greenmark and the wide-open lands around Widow's Grove. Kit knew her route as she had planed the night she was banished from Azure Keep. She made her good-byes to the group and promised she would rejoin them soon` " After all" she stated boldly, "I am an Oracle" then breaking into a smile. She said she had some important things she needed to do and avoided any talk that she should come with them to the Keep. She then cast a spell and awaited for a horse to arrive as it always did when she had sent forth the summons, after a few minutes what emerged from the evergreens was a large white Stallion. It bounded through the snow and stood before Kit. She turned toward the party with a big girlish grin of glee and vaulted onto its back, then with a wave she turned and bound off north through the falling snow as the party watched in silence till she was out of sight.

Two days later a tired and cold Kit moved silently through the shadows of dusk of Widow's Grove to the washhouse at the center of town. She climbed to the second story vent window when the Ork Sentry on the wall was out of the line of sight. Opening the shutter and slipping in her cold dry body was greeted by the welcome flow of warm moist air. The town well was here inside along with the community wash and bath. Water was always warming over the fire and the humidity was a perfect place to store the bag of mosses and mushrooms she had gotten from the grove under the Sunless Citadel. She started to move across the ceiling beams toward the cache she had left here weeks before when from behind her she her a voice that whispered, "You're late."

Kit jumped to the next beam and turned to block an expected attack only to be confronted with the dark visage of herself. Though a mirror image in clothing and looks to a degree the face was gaunt and the eyes were sunken as if from a long sickness or starvation. This second Kit was also secured to one of the support beams rising to the roof as if to keep her from falling to the floor. She took a labored breath and continued in a whisper, "I have been waiting here for two days, before you start with the questions, I am your other self who went through the painting and I fear if you do not come to me and remerge soon I will fade and you will lose the knowledge I have of my time away from you and possibly much more." Her eyes started to flutter closed and her breathing became more of a gasp. Kit quickly leaped to her side and embraced the now frail form and with its final breath it whispered, " I was so……..".

Kit felt a weakness wash over her and the body she held faded. She grabbed the support that it had been lashed to and held on as memories of the shadow Kit's time from her ran through her mind. Fire Trolls, Fireball traps, Blade Monsters, Flaming Swarms, and all the other things that the party of shadow doubles had went through to get the final Key. And the last thing Kit felt was the final word her shadow had not been able to say " Alone" was the only word Kit said before she began to weep. She had felt loneliness the last two days since she had left the party, the owl she had taken as a familiar that had belonged to Gremag had left her the first day. She hoped this was a harbinger of good but it still left an empty void in her soul. She finally composed herself and gathered the lizard skin bag of goods that was hidden away and went off in search of some much-needed companionship.

Milton Fedge returned to his place long after the sun had set. He had met with Sergeant Rukgar, leader of the patrol left behind to watch for the unaccounted for Marked ones and also help protect the village till the wounded men from the battle were strong enough to help protect the town and hunt for food. He lit the fire and stoked it to a good roar and placed the pot of frozen stew he had brought in to heat up. He then brought out a jug and poured a mug of ale and waited for the room to heat up. Soon the room was warm, the stew was hot and Milton began to shed his layers of clothes till he was down to his britches and shirt.

He then dished out a steaming bowl and refilled his mug, when from behind him a light and melodic voice came from the shadows, " I hope there is enough there for two." With a start he turned and found the Drow female Kit emerging into the firelight. Her dark skin shimmered where it was exposed from the loosened leather vest she wore and her white hair almost glowed as she shook it free from the cloak she shed behind her. " I hope you do not mind that I let myself in but it was cold out and I did not know who else I could trust." Milton relaxed a little after seeing she seemed to have no weapons, " I am sorry I had to wait so long to make my presence known but after what happened the last time we were here I had to make sure you were you." She walked up to him and gently took the mug from his hands and took a long draw, her eyes closed and she made a deep satisfying moan as a smile lightened up her face. "I hope you have not suffered much because of the grief my party brought to your town," She said as she sat at the table and spooned up a mouthful of stew while locking her deep violet eyes with his.

Milton finally cleared his throat and responded, "No, you should not feel responsible for what happened here, we were as much to blame as your party for what happened." He then related to Kit the story he had recited to Zeek some weeks ago while dishing out a second bowl and pouring a second mug of ale. He added, "In fact the Orks that stayed behind under the command of Sargent Rukgar have been of great help with repairs and hunting game to feed the town. Most of them are older and some were wounded and many of the widows in town have taken it upon themselves to care for them, cooking their meals and mending their clothes. And word of your parties reparations has come back so you have nothing to fear officially from these orks."

Kit gave a warm smile and lifted the side of her vest to wipe some stew from her chin causing it to loosen the bindings and expose a little more of her dark skin. "It warms my heart to hear that," she responded. "I am also here to bring some good news, Spring will return to the Azure kingdom. I am sure of this and your town is in the center of the most fertile valley in the kingdom, but that small stream outside of town will become a raging river when 500 years of snow in the mountains melt and flood this valley. You will need supplies to weather this and then you will need seed to then sow in order to feed the throng of people that will pour into the land that will be freed from the long rule of winter. I want to see that happen and there is a bag of 400 gold over in the corner that I wish to give you to make that happen."

Milton almost choked on the last bite of stew with the last words of Kit's statement. She gave a laugh and continued, " I have only known you for a short time Milton, but I find you to be a noble and caring man and I trust you with this money to do what is best for this town. All I ask is that you think about changing Its name to say, New Grove to signify the new beginning that is at hand." Milton pondered all this while the constant distraction of a exotic beauty sat just a few feet from him. He nodded in affirmation not knowing if it was because it all made sense or just to please this creature that seemed to weave a spell with words and movement. Kit gave a smile of satisfaction and arose, moving to his side and placing a gentile hand to his cheek whispered, " Lastly, if it would not be too much to ask may I stay here tonight and draw warmth form your hospitality, I have been cold for too long and have an hunger that no amount of stew of ale can fill." No answer came from Milton. No answer was needed.

The sun was just rising over the mountains as the lone form of horse and rider galloped west from the town of New Grove. Kit still felt alone but the night she had spent with Milton had eased the emptiness. He was a gentle and giving lover, the total opposite of Grazum. He would make some girl a good husband someday and a fine leader for the town of New Grove if not more. Kit could never see herself settling down to be the good little housekeeper, at least not in the next 300 years or so. Now she had other things to think about, deciphering her father's book, searching out this assassin Fedden, and studying the Holy book of Kuda-Gar. There was too much to do for her to even think about feeling alone.

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