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Thread: Another Shadowbane Episode

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    Default Another Shadowbane Episode

    A few Generations later....

    Chapter 1 A Child is Born

    Deep in the throes of labor, the woman screamed as the head of her child appeared. One more push and she would be done. She pushed with all the strength she had left and screamed one more time as the child entered the world. The cleric held the baby up, slapped him on the back to get him breathing and the baby cried. The woman passed out, from the pain and the relief that her ordeal was finally over. When she regained consciousness, her chambermaid handed her the child cleaned and wrapped in a blanket.

    “Lady Shadowbane, you have a son.? Said the chambermaid who then went to fetch the lord of the house.

    Outside their bedroom the great knight paced across the doorway. He would stop whenever one of the maids would rush through with hot water, blankets or clean rags and resume when they had passed. He cringed each time he heard his wife scream. He heard her final scream followed by a slap and the baby’s cry. He knew the child would be fine but he was now worried about his wife. Many women lost their lives bringing new life into the world. Lady Alani was a strong woman. Shortly after the baby, started crying all went quiet in the room. Lord Gilliad stopped pacing and stood there staring at the door as if he could see through it if he stared hard enough. He wanted to enter the room but he knew that when the cleric and the midwives had everything prepared they would come fetch him. Lord Gilliad was ruler of his house except during this one event. The door opened and Willa stepped into the hallway.

    “Lord Shadowbane, you have a son. You may enter now.?

    “Thank you Willa.? Said Gilliad Shadowbane. Gilliad entered the room and saw his wife feeding their son on her breast.

    “Beloved, behold your son.? Said Lady Alani. “As is our custom you are to name your first born son.?

    “He shall be named Gilliadson in honor of my grandfather.? Said Lord Gilliad.

    “Bring him to the temple for the blessing of Marr when Lady Alani is able to travel.? Said the cleric who then left the room and returned to Freeport. Gilliad sat on the bed next to his wife, leaned over and kissed her gently. Alani handed the child to Gilliad when he had finished feeding. Gilliad held his son securely and looked upon his face.

    “You will become a great knight and bring honor to the name of Mithaniel Marr.? Gilliad said to his son. Gilliad handed Gilliadson back to Alani. “I love you with all that is in me.?

    “And I love you too.? She replied. “I am glad to have brought this honor and blessing to our house.?

    “Perhaps next time you can have the daughter I know you desire.?

    “I am afraid that will not be possible. After the cleric examined me, she said that I would bear no more children. I am happy to have brought you this one at least this line of Shadowbane shall not end with you.?

    “He is quite a handsome baby. I fear the ladies will be after him when he grows up.?

    “Just like his father. I am so glad that out of all the ladies that tried to get your attention that you chose me. I still have no idea what you saw in me that you did not see in any of the others.?

    “It is quite simple, my love. It was your laugh.?

    “Oh now you tease me!?

    “No, beloved, it was your laugh that attracted me to you. You have the most joyful and harmonious laugh I have ever heard. Not to mention that you are quite pleasing to the eyes.? Alani laughed and Gilliad smiled.

    Chapter 2 Love and Laughter

    Gilliad had been on duty at the city gate when he heard several ladies talking and giggling but a laugh from one of them caught his ear. He had to meet the source of that laugh. He called the ladies over to him.

    “Are you ladies making fun of me while I am on duty?? He asked them sternly.

    “Oh no, Sir Gilliad, we would never do that. We were just out having a good time and Alani told us a joke.? Replied one of the ladies.

    “Well perhaps you would like to share it with me as well. I can always use a good laugh. Perhaps I will share one with you.? Alani stepped forward and repeated her joke. Gilliad busted out laughing.

    “That has to be about the funniest thing I have ever heard. I suppose I should tell you one in return.? Gilliad told the ladies one of his favorite jokes and they all laughed. Alani’s laugh caught Gilliad’s attention. “Alani would you stay with me for a few minutes? I would like to talk with you.? The rest of the ladies departed to wherever they were going and told Alani to join them when she had finished talking with Gilliad.

    “Well Sir Gilliad, What would you like to talk with me about?? Asked Alani.

    “I would just like to get to know you better. You have garnered my interest.?

    “Well Sir Gilliad I will say that I am quite flattered. I know of your reputation as a noble man. I also know that many of the other maidens would love to get the opportunity you have given me. I do not want you to get any idea that I am easy by any means. I too have a reputation to uphold and I will not have it tarnished by anyone.?

    “Alani you may just call me Gilliad. I have no intentions beyond what I had already stated. I will do nothing to tarnish your good name nor will I let anyone else.?

    “Well Gilliad when do you get off duty? I will meet with you then.?

    “I will be relieved in an hour. Where may I find you??

    “We will be in the tavern close to the Hall of Truth.?

    “I will come see you there.? Alani and Gilliad bowed to each other and she went to the tavern where her friends were waiting for her. Gilliad continued his watch until he was relieved.

    Gilliad could hear the sounds of the Bards and the laughter of the ladies in the tavern when he got close. Gilliad walked into the tavern and bought a round of drinks for the ladies. The barmaid served the drinks after Gilliad joined the ladies’ table. The other ladies pushed Alani next to Gilliad.

    “Thank you so much for the drinks.? Said the ladies.

    “I am so glad you came.? Said Alani.

    “I am so glad that you stayed.? Said Gilliad. The two of them talked and shared humorous stories all night. In the morning, they parted ways. Gilliad was not needed in the king’s court that day so he rode to his home. His stable hand greeted Gilliad at the gate and took Gilliad’s horse to the stable. The three maids were at the door and took his weapons and his pack. Gilliad went to his bedroom, removed his armor and went to bed.

    The next morning Gilliad was summoned to the king’s court.

    “Sir Gilliad, you are the captain of my guard and yet you still stand watches at the city gate.?

    “Sire I cannot expect my men to do what I will not. Besides it gives me time to think and to see some of the people that enter and leave our city.?

    “Well I can find no fault in that logic. Word has reached my ears that you were at the tavern last night with my chambermaid and seamstress.?

    “I did not know that she was your chambermaid Sire. She interested me and I wanted to find out more about her.?

    “Relax Sir Gilliad, I am just glad that you finally met someone that has captured your interest. I will tell you no more about her except she is one of the best workers in my palace. Now on to more urgent business… Our friends in the Ocean of Tears are having trouble with the Seafury Cyclops’. They have asked that we send what forces we can spare to aid them. What do you think??

    “I would suggest sending a scout to look into it further. Perhaps a bard?

    “A bard??

    “Yes Sire. There is not a creature in all of Norrath that can run faster than a bard beating his cadence on a drum. And they are good at hiding as well. A bard could gather the information we need to make an informed decision and get it to us fast enough to act on it.?

    “Very Well Sir Gilliad. I shall dispatch one of the League of Antonican Bards immediately.?

    “Very well Sire is there anything else??

    “No Sir Gilliad except that I gave Alani the day off today. Take the day off yourself and go enjoy her company.?

    “As you wish, Sire.? Gilliad departed the throne room and found Alani outside the door.

    “Gilliad! It is good to see you again! The king has given me the day off.?

    “I know, Alani. You know you could have told me that you were his chambermaid. It would not have made a difference to me.?

    “I never got to that part Gilliad, I am sorry. I had no intention to make you think that I was more than what I am.?

    “No matter. Would you like to go riding in the Commonlands with me??

    “I would love to but I have no horse.?

    “Leave that to me.? Gilliad called for his horse and pulled Alani up behind him after he had mounted it. They rode out to the Shadowbane estate where Gilliad had the stable boy take Alani to the stable to pick out a horse. Alani returned on the chestnut mare. The two of them spent the morning riding around the Commonlands. At noon, Gilliad had one of the maids bring a meal out to them under a tree. They talked about many subjects and found they had much in common.

    Chapter 3 Some Family History

    Alani Steelbender was a bard and a seamstress by trade. She worked as the king’s chambermaid because she needed the extra money to care for her parents. She would spend her time off from her duties in the palace making clothing for her parents to sell. Her father was a blacksmith but lost his legs in an accident in the smithy. A gnome who was a regular customer of his developed a chair with wheels on it so he could maneuver around again but he could not continue his trade. Alani’s mother sang in the tavern near the Hall of Truth three nights a week and Alani took up tailoring to help. The combined efforts of the two kept the family’s financial situation under control and kept food on the table. The king came to Alani’s shop one day and asked her to make him a new robe. Alani spent what she had and gathered the finest materials she could find. Several adventurers came in with gems and exchanged them for some of what she had made. She sewed the gems into the Kings robe as well. She knew that if she pleased the king with this robe that she would be paid well. When it was finished, Alani delivered the robe to the king in the Palace. The king was so impressed with the robe that he not only paid her well for it but he offered her a position on his staff as his chambermaid and seamstress. Alani accepted the position and delivered the money to her mother. She knew her father would not take money directly from her since he was a proud man. Alani and several of the King’s maids would go out once a week to one of the city’s taverns for a night out. It was on one of these nights that Alani had met Gilliad.

    Gilliad was impressed with Alani’s devotion to her parents and decided he would find a way to help them become self-sufficient again. Gilliad was also a blacksmith by trade as it had been handed down through his family. Gilliad’s parents had died when their boat to Kaladim sank mysteriously. The Knights of Truth investigated the incident but could not find the cause. Gilliad was the direct descendant of Vladimiri Shadowbane. Vladimiri’s eldest son built the manor. The other Shadowbane children scattered around Norrath as they grew up but the eldest son in the line stayed on the Shadowbane estate and served as captain of the King’s guard. Gilliad was one that would take watches at the city gates at times. It was on one of these nights that he met Alani.

    Chapter 4 Meeting the Parents

    After lunch, Gilliad and Alani rode out into the western Commonlands to the lake there. The two of them went swimming for a while and then returned to the estate for dinner.

    “It is getting late Alani, I shall escort you to your home.? Said Gilliad.

    “Thank you Gilliad, I would like that very much.? The two of them rode back to Freeport and to Alani’s home. “Would you like to meet my parents??

    “I would love to.? The two went inside.

    “Ma, Da, I have brought a guest home with me. Come meet him.?

    “Sir Gilliad Shadowbane!? Said her father when he rolled into the room. “I never in me life expected ye ta be crossin’ me threshold. Welcome ta me home. Have ye a seat.? Gilliad sat in a chair. “Me wife will be with us presently. She be makin’ us dinner in the kitchen. Have ye eaten already??

    “Yes sir we have. Your daughter has been with me all day today. I will say I am quite impressed with her.? Replied Gilliad. “I will not keep you from your dinner. I was just escorting your daughter home.?

    “Aye, me daughter is quite a lass. An’ she sings almost as good as her Ma.?

    “Oh Pa! You make me blush.? Said Alani. Alani’s mother entered the room.

    “Why it’s Sir Gilliad Shadowbane!? Exclaimed Alani’s mother. “We hear stories an’ songs about yer family all the time in the tavern. Mostly from the Tuneweaver clan.?

    “Yes during my family’s adventuring days the Tuneweavers traveled with the Shadowbanes.? Said Gilliad. “But since it seems that the lands of Norrath have been quiet for so long we have not been traveling as much.?

    “Sir Gilliad, would ye like ta join us fer dinner?? Asked Alani’s mother.

    “I am afraid that Alani and I have both eaten already, Mrs. Steelbender. I will however take that as in invitation for another time if it pleases you and one such time as I come announced. I must now take my leave of you so the two of you can have your dinner together. Alani, do not worry about the horse. You can keep her. She will be in the king’s stable for you to ride whenever you like.? Gilliad started to leave but Alani stopped him.

    “I normally do not do this on the first date.? She said wryly. “But you have proven to be a true gentleman indeed. Thank you also for the horse.? Alani hugged Gilliad and kissed him goodnight.

    “Alani, I was glad to have had the chance to spend the day with you. I would very much like to see you again if you like.?

    “I can come see you after I get done with my duties at the palace tomorrow if you like.?

    “I will look forward to it.? Gilliad called for a stable hand to take Alani’s horse to the king’s stable and rode back to his home.

    Chapter 5 The Visit to the Manor

    In the morning, Gilliad ate a quick breakfast and headed to the palace to see if the king had any news from the bard he had dispatched. The bard had not yet returned. Gilliad then went to the Hall of Truth to train some young squires. At noontime, Alani came to the Hall of Truth to join Gilliad for lunch in the mess hall. After lunch, Alani asked Gilliad to join her for dinner at her parent’s house, which he accepted. Gilliad called for a messenger and had Alani dispatch the message to her parents so they would be expecting him.

    “I do not wish your parent’s to be surprised by my sudden appearance tonight.? He said. “Wait here for my return. I have something I need to do.?

    “I will be here.? Said Alani. Gilliad went to the League of Antonican Bards and hired one to run a message to Ak’Anon on Faydwer with instructions that word of this was not to reach the ears of the Steelbenders. He then went to a merchant who he knew had some exotic flowers for sale and bought some of them. Gilliad returned to the Hall of Truth and found Alani right where he left her and gave her the flowers he bought.

    “Gilliad! You are too kind to me. These are beautiful.?

    “Bah! They are just a token Alani. They are not even close to as beautiful as you are.? The two of them spent the rest of the day together and went to her house for dinner.

    “Sir Gilliad! I’m so glad ta have ye in me home again. Dinner’ll be ready shortly.? Said Mr. Steelbender.

    “Thank you for the warm welcome sir.? Said Gilliad. “I brought some ale along for us to drink if you are of a mind to do so.?

    “Why, thank ye. Ye didn’t have ta go through all that trouble.?

    “No trouble at all sir.? Gilliad passed one of the bottles to Mr. Steelbender who had Alani fetch a pair of mugs for them. Alani then went into the kitchen to help her mother with dinner. The two men drank and shared tales of their families’ adventures until dinner was served. After dinner, they continued until it was time for Gilliad to return home. “Sir, I would like to invite you and your family to my house for dinner tomorrow night. I shall have a wagon sent to bring you out there.?

    “Thank ye Sir Gilliad. I believe we’ll be takin’ ye up on yer offer of hospitality.? Alani walked with Gilliad outside and waited with him while his horse was being brought to him.

    “You are such a wonderful man, Gilliad.? Alani kissed him before he mounted his steed.

    “Alani, you are quite a lady yourself.?

    “Thank you.? She said as she blushed. The two of them spent the next day together after their duties were done. That evening before the wagon with her parent’s arrived, a bard and a gnome came to the manor. Gilliad had the bard wait at the house and had the maids serve him whatever he wanted. Gilliad took the gnome to his smithy.

    “I need to you design and have constructed a second smithy here for a smith that has no legs. He gets around in a chair with wheels. Can you do this??

    “Yes Sir Shadowbane I believe I can. Give me a week to design the plans and then I can give you an idea of how long it will take to construct it and how much it should cost.? Said the Gnome.

    “Very well. You may stay in one of the spare bedrooms while you are working on this project. I will have a bunkhouse built for any workers you hire that need living quarters and my staff will be at your disposal. Only tonight I want you to stay out of sight of the guests I have coming.?

    “It shall be done as you have ordered.? The gnome returned to the manor and went to one of the extra bedrooms. Gilliad went back to the house and dismissed the bard with a very generous payment.

    The wagon with the Steelbenders arrived and Gilliad helped Mr. Steelbender back into his chair. The dinner was the best that the Steelbenders had had in quite some time.

    “That was an excellent dinner.? Said Mrs. Steelbender. “I’d love to have some o’ those recipes.?

    “I will let you talk to my cook. I will not order her to give her recipes up though that is entirely up to her.?

    “That is fair enough.? Said Mrs. Steelbender and she went to the kitchen to talk with the cook.

    “Well Mr. Steelbender I am a smith myself. Would you like to come see my smithy?? Asked Gilliad.

    “Certainly, Sir Gilliad, I’d enjoy that.? Replied Alani’s Father. The two men went out to the smithy. “Ye’ve got yerself a fine setup here. If I still had me legs I’d love ta come out an’ work it.?

    “I enjoy working in here some times. It helps me relax when I have had a rough day.?

    “I really miss the days in me smithy.?

    “Well Mr. Steelbender, shall we return to the manor??

    “Aye sir.? The two men went back to the main house where the ladies were talking with one of the maids.

    “Sir Gilliad, ye have quite a happy staff here it seems.? Said Mrs. Steelbender.

    “Yes Madam, they are well cared for and treated fairly here. And most of them have served this family since the manor was built. Vladimiri made a lot of money from his blacksmithing skill and passed it and his knowledge on to his son, Thaddel. Thaddel built this manor and invested most of his inheritance wisely. He lived off of his own blacksmithing business, which was out in the smithy here. He was the first Shadowbane to become Captain of the Guard and to serve as an advisor to the king in Freeport. Thaddel’s son, Nathir was next in line and he grew the family’s wealth even more. Nathir’s son, Gilliadson was probably our family’s greatest hero of all since Vladimiri. He is the one who lead the charge against the last Teir`Dal invasion. He gave up his life to save his men and they were then able to force the Teir`Dal into retreat. He left behind my father, Bralder who continued to serve the king until he and my mother were lost at sea. Now here I am. I continue the blacksmithing knowledge of my forefathers and continue the tradition of serving Freeport and our king. Now you know all of my family history at least the short version. The Tuneweaver clan bards know more of it in detail but they had no reason to travel with us since my Father. My father was not an adventuring type and well neither am I. I do what I must to serve my king and my God.?

    “Well Gilliad that’s still quite a history.? Said Mr. Steelbender. “Ye’ve a very good and proud family.?

    “We have worked hard for all we have and I continue in the traditions that were handed to me.?

    “Da, If you don’t mind and if Gilliad doesn’t I would like to stay here at the manor tonight in one of the spare rooms. I would like to take Gilliad to a special place tomorrow and we need an early start.?

    “I’ve no problem, lass if Gilliad doesn’t.? Replied her father.

    “You may stay in my room Alani I will take a guest room.? Said Gilliad

    “Oh no! I cannot do that! I could never put another out of their own bed.?

    “Dear lady, you deserve the best room in the house. I will have it no other way.?

    “Gilliad you are just too generous.?

    “Alani my family has been blessed greatly by Mithaniel Marr why should I not share that blessing as much as I can.? Alani walked up to Gilliad and kissed him in front of her parents.

    “I am just without words.?

    “That’s a first.? Said her father laughingly. Both of the ladies gave him harsh looks and he said no more. Gilliad called for the cart and helped Alani’s father into it and loaded his chair in the back. Gilliad then called his chambermaid.

    “Prepare my room for this lady and one of the guest rooms for me.?

    “As you wish M’lord. “ Said the chambermaid. And she set about to do as she was commanded. Gilliad and Alani sat in the hearth room in front of the fireplace while the rooms were being prepared.

    “I have really enjoyed being with you Alani.? Said Gilliad. “You are the most fascinating woman I have ever met.?

    “Gilliad I still cannot believe that anyone can be as noble and caring as you. I keep thinking that I am dreaming you up and will wake up soon.?

    “I learned a lot from my father and from the Knights of Truth. I would never do anything to dishonor the names of either.? Gilliad held Alani close as they sat in front of the fire and gently caressed her arm. “One thing he told me was that when someone touches your heart as you have mine, do not let life pass by without telling them. Alani, I am so glad that you came into my life. I love you.?

    “I love you too Gilliad.? Alani tilted her head back and met his lips with hers. The chambermaid came into the room.

    “The rooms are ready M’lord.? Said the maid.

    “Thank you Willa, please take Lady Alani to my room. I will retire shortly.? Said Gilliad.

    “Lady Alani?? Queried Alani. “I have not been given that honor yet.?

    “When you are in this house you are Lady Alani. Your word here is law only to be superceded by my own.? Alani hugged and kissed Gilliad once more and followed the maid to the master bedroom. Gilliad sat down and stared at the fire for a while losing himself in his thoughts of Alani.

    “M’lord… M’lord?? Said Willa when she returned to the room.

    “Oh… Sorry Willa, I was lost in thought. Come sit by me let us talk.? Willa sat next to Gilliad.

    “Yes M’lord??

    “Are the rest of the staff in quarters??

    “Yes M’lord.?

    “Good then now let us talk as equals. I think Alani is the most wonderful woman I have met.?

    “She is quite a lady. Are you going to make her the mistress of the house??

    “I want to share the rest of my life with her Willa. I am going to ask her to become my wife. I just do not know when.?

    “The gnome is to design a new forge for her Father??

    “Yes. He is to start designing tomorrow and stay out of sight of Alani. I want this to be a surprise to both. I will not bring Alani out here once construction has begun. Should not take more than a couple of weeks to build the forge.?

    “You are a wonderful man Sir Gilliad. Your father would be proud of you.?

    “How long have you been in the service of this family Willa??

    “Your grandfather hired me when I was young.?

    “Willa whenever you feel you would like to quit working let me know. I will have a place for you here to retire to or wherever you wish in all of Norrath.?

    “I have always loved working for your family and now you. I look forward to seeing the next generation of Shadowbane.?

    “As long as it is in my power then you shall. I think Alani will make a wonderful mother for the next generation.?

    “I think you are right. She is a remarkable woman and I can sense that she loves you dearly.?

    “I don’t need your druid instincts to tell me that though, I have always relied on your wisdom. Thank you.?

    “Thank you M’lord.? Gilliad stood up and helped Willa to her feet. He made sure none of the other servants were snooping and gave Willa a hug and kissed her forehead.

    “Goodnight Willa.?

    “Goodnight M’lord.? Gilliad stood at the fireplace for a few minutes and closed the screen before he retired to the guest room set up for him.

    Chapter 6 Preparing a Place

    A messenger arrived at the manor and handed a note to Gilliad before Alani awakened. Alani joined Gilliad for breakfast.

    “I hope you slept well Alani.? Said Gilliad.

    “Yes I did. Your bed is quite comfortable.?

    I am afraid that we will not be able to go see what you wish to show me today. I must meet with the king today. I must send you into Freeport ahead of me. I need to meet with my staff before heading into the city.?

    “Very well, I will see you in the palace??

    “Yes after I meet with the king.?

    “Good. Perhaps we can share lunch together.?

    “I will see you at lunch then.? Alani mounted her horse and rode to Freeport after breakfast. Gilliad called his staff together and summoned the Gnome down as well.

    “This gentleman is going to be doing some work on the property. You are all to give him whatever he asks for, within reason.? Gilliad turned toward the gnome. “Let me know how much space you need to build this forge and I will have the building constructed within the week for you to work inside. This project is to be a secret to Alani and her family.?

    “Sir Gilliad here is the measurement for the space I will need to work with. I worked that out last night.? The gnome handed a note to Gilliad.

    “Very well. Willa, would you take one of the servants with you and go hire a crew to build a structure to these dimensions??

    “Yes M’lord.? Gilliad handed the note to Willa who then chose one of the servants. They hitched up the wagon and rode to Freeport. Gilliad called for his horse and departed for the palace leaving the Gnome to his work.

    The bard that the king had dispatched to Sister Island had returned. He could not discover anything beyond that the Cyclops’ were gathering on their island. They killed any that tried to pass by. Gilliad advised that the king send two bards out to monitor things there in Ocean of Tears. One was to keep the other supplied with food and water and deliver any reports while the other monitored events in on the Cyclops Island. The king thought the advice to be wise and did as was suggested. The king would receive weekly reports on the goings on in the Ocean of Tears until such a time, as it seemed that other action needed to be taken. The king dismissed the bard and had another assigned to work with him.

    “Well Sir Gilliad, now that official business is over, you have had quite an effect on Alani. She seems to be quite happy all the time.?

    “Well sire I am sure she already knows this but I am going to ask her to become my wife. What she does not know is that I am also going to help her parents become self-sufficient again. I am having a forge constructed on the estate designed for a smith in a wheeled chair.?

    “Sir Gilliad, your father would be very proud of you. When you decide the time is right, you will have my blessing, though I will hate to lose such a wonderful chambermaid.?

    “I have one that I think would be a great replacement for her if you wish. She was trained by Willa.?

    “Sir Gilliad, Am I not king of this realm??

    “Yes Sire.?

    “Then why do you have better servants than I do??

    “Perhaps I pay them better?? Gilliad and the king laughed.

    “I will have to look into that.? The king smiled again. “Now get out of my throne room and take my chambermaid with you when she is done.?

    “As you wish, Sire.? Gilliad chuckled. Gilliad did not have to wait long for Alani since she was a fast worker. The two of them strolled around the city until noontime and went to the Hall of Truth for lunch. After lunch, Gilliad and Alani rode out to the western Commonlands for a swim. The two of them returned to the manor for dinner. After dinner, Gilliad escorted Alani home. When he returned to the manor Gilliad consulted with the Gnome again before going to bed.

    The shell for the new smithy was complete two days later and the gnome started hiring workers to build the inside. Gilliad and Alani spent their days together after their duties were done. On the nights when Gilliad took a gate watch Alani would be there with him and they would talk. Three weeks later, the new smithy was completed. Gilliad invited the king, the High Paladin, the High Priest, Alani and her parents out for the opening. Before they went to the smithy Gilliad assembled his servants and guests in the fireplace room and had Alani stand beside him in front of them all. Gilliad faced Alani and took her hands in his.

    “Lady Alani, from the moment we met I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you.? Gilliad handed Alani a small intricately designed box. “Before these witnesses, I now openly declare my love for you and present you with this small token of that love. I ask you now. Will you become my wife and walk life’s road with me.? Alani opened the small box and pulled out a finely crafted ring. She could feel the aura of magic in it as she held it in her hand. Alani looked deeply into Gilliad’s eyes with tears streaming down her cheeks.

    “I… I… I knew this day was coming and I knew what my answer was going to be. But you have left me almost without words. I can only say yes… Yes I will become your wife.? Alani’s mother was in tears as her husband held her close.

    “Now for what I called the rest of you out here for. Come with me please.? They all walked outside to the new smithy. “Mr. Steelbender please come, see this.? Alani’s father rolled up to Gilliad. Gilliad pushed the door to the new smithy open. “Mr. Steelbender I know how much you miss your trade and I expect you may be a little rusty at first but this smithy was designed for you to be able to work your trade from your chair. I would like to hire you to come out and work in it. Attached to the back is an apartment for you and Mrs. Steelbender. I have some of my own blacksmithing business, which I will pass on for you to perform along with my family’s formulas. The profits are to be split in any manner that is acceptable to you. For your apartment, you may choose from among any of my servants to help keep your house save Willa. Willa has been with my family since my Grandfather and she will remain with the Shadowbane house until she decides to retire. What say you Mr. Steelbender??

    “Sir Gilliad I don’t know what ta say except yea. I believe a fifty – fifty split would be reasonable. Ye’ve made me dream come true.?

    “Well Mr. Steelbender go roll around in there and make sure everything is workable for you. If anything is not quite right just let me know. I have the designer on retainer to correct anything that you need corrected.?

    “Sir Gilliad you have made me husband a very happy man this day.? Said Alani’s mother.

    “I knew that I could not with a clear conscience take your daughter’s hand without making sure that you two could provide for yourselves without her assistance. I also knew that Mr. Steelbender would not have taken gifts from me to help sustain you. So, this had to be the solution. Also one more piece of news and I do not want you to get your hopes up too high just yet. My Gnome friend who designed and built this smithy informed me that some of his friends are working on making mechanical legs for those who have none. Mr. Steelbender, if you wish, you may help them with their research by testing their attempts and also in some of the forging of the components.?

    “That sounds like it could be quite a profitable venture if they succeed. O’ course I would like ta help.?

    “Very well then. For the forging of any components for their project, there shall be no charge outside of the materials required.

    “So shall it be done.? Gilliad had the servants bring his best ales and wines out for the celebration. Gilliad and Alani spent the rest of the evening making wedding plans and setting the date for two weeks away. The two weeks passed by quickly. The Steelbenders moved into the apartment attached to the new smithy. Alani shared the apartment with her parents until the wedding night. Reports from the bards in Ocean of Tears were starting to paint a grim picture of the situation. The Cyclops’ were building up forces on their Island. The king did not reveal the reports from the bards until after the wedding as he did not want to delay Gilliad’s wedding and he knew that it would take a lot more time before the Cyclops’ were ready to try something.

    Chapter 7 Of Love and War

    The day of the wedding arrived and all of Freeport was assembled outside the Temple of Marr. The High Priest and the king stood waiting for the wedding party. Gilliad and the High Paladin entered the Temple area followed by Gilliad’s servants with Willa leading them and then followed by the Knights of Truth who formed an aisle up the center of the assembly. Gilliad and the High Paladin took their places in front of the High Priest and the king. Some of the bards present pulled out their drums and started beating a slow cadence. The rest of the bards pulled out various musical instruments and started playing a gentle march. Alani’s maid of honor and five ladies all dressed in magnificent sky blue gowns slowly marched into the temple area and took up their positions. The musicians changed to a different march tune with the same cadence and Alani slowly marched into the center aisle that was formed by the knights. Alani was wearing the most stunning white gown with sapphires and topazes sewn into its seams. The train was long and had sapphires and pearls sewn into it. The veil that she wore was adorned with emeralds the color of her eyes. Gilliad had never seen Alani so lovely as she was that day. When she stepped into the aisle the whole crowd gasped all at once. Not even the queen looked as lovely on her wedding day.

    “Gilliad, we really need to talk.? The king whispered to Gilliad jokingly as Alani walked up the aisle.

    “But Sire, she made that dress herself.? Gilliad whispered back to the king. Alani stopped before the stairs that led to her new destiny and her father stood at her side.

    “Friends and citizens, we are gathered together today to join this man and this woman in the bonds of the Holy Union.? Started the High Priest. “Is there anyone who has just cause to why these two cannot be joined?? The High Priest paused for a few seconds and there was complete silence. “Who gives this woman to be joined??

    “I do.? Said Alani’s Father who then walked her up the stairs to Gilliad’s side. He then placed her hand into Gilliad’s and walked back down to his seat next to his wife.

    “Citizens of Freeport!? Called out the king. “By the authority vested in me as your monarch, I hereby bestow my blessing upon this couple. Long may they continue in the love that they share and that they are about to publicly proclaim before us. Sir Gilliad Shadowbane of the house of Shadowbane and Lady Alani Steelbender of the house of Steelbender I hereby grant license that you two may be joined.? Gilliad and Alani bowed before the king who then took his seat behind the High Priest and next to the queen.

    “Sir Gilliad Shadowbane will you take Alani Steelbender to be your wife? Will you love and protect her to the best of your ability? Will you honor her and defend her honor? Will you keep her through wealth and poverty, sickness and health, no matter what life brings your way for as long as you both shall live?? Asked the High Priest.

    “I will.? Replied Gilliad.

    “Lady Alani Steelbender will you take Gilliad Shadowbane to be your husband? Will you love and submit to him. Will you honor him and defend his honor? Will you keep him through wealth and poverty, sickness and health, no matter what life brings your way for as long as you both shall live??

    “I will.? Replied Alani.

    “The tokens please.? Said the High Priest. The maid of honor and the High Paladin handed the High Priest the rings. He held the rings up slightly over his head. “The circle is a symbol of eternity. The bond created by this Holy Union is to be eternal in as much as long as the two of you shall remain alive. The metals of these rings are metals of purity. So should your love toward each other be. I now call upon Mithaniel Marr to bless these tokens and to seal this Union with his blessing.? The High Priests hands glowed brightly and the glow passed into the rings. He handed the rings to Gilliad and Alani. “Gilliad Shadowbane place your token upon Alani’s finger and say your vow.? Gilliad placed his ring on Alani’s finger.

    “With the giving of this ring I take you, Alani Steelbender, as my wife.? Said Gilliad.

    “Alani Steelbender place your token upon Gilliad’s finger and say your vow.? Alani placed her ring on Gilliad’s finger.

    “With the giving of this ring I take you, Gilliad Shadowbane, as my husband.? Said Alani. Gilliad and Alani’s hands glowed brightly as the blessing of the rings was absorbed into their souls. Alani’s mother and many of the other ladies in the crowd were crying.

    “With the exchange of these tokens and the giving of these vows, I hereby proclaim this union to be created, blessed, and sealed by the power of Marr. You are now Man and Wife. You may kiss your bride Sir Gilliad Shadowbane.? Gilliad lifted Alani’s veil over her head, pulled her close to him. Alani brought her lips up to meet Gilliad’s and kissed him passionately and deeply. When they finished kissing Gilliad and Alani turned to face the crowd. “I now present to you Sir Gilliad and Lady Alani Shadowbane. What Marr has joined let no one divide.? The crowd cheered and Gilliad and Alani walked back down to the aisle. As they approached the beginning of the aisle, the knights drew their swords and formed an arch for the couple to walk under. When they got to the end of the Aisle the king stood and called for silence.

    “Nay it is not Sir Gilliad and Lady Alani Shadowbane any longer but it is Lord Gilliad and Lady Alani Shadowbane.? Called out the king. The crowd cheered again. The wedding celebration lasted till the early morning hours. When it broke up Gilliad and Alani climbed into a carriage that the king had provided for them and were driven to the manor. They spent the rest of that night in the master bedroom doing what newlyweds do. When they awoke Gilliad and Alani climbed into the carriage and went to Highkeep fortress for their honeymoon.

    Gilliad and Alani returned to Freeport a week later and Gilliad was immediately summoned to the king’s court.

    “Lord Gilliad, I hope you had a great honeymoon.? Said the king

    “How could it be anything different with Alani?? Replied Gilliad.

    “Well we do have some business to go over. I hate to tear you away from your new bride so soon but we must crusade to the Ocean of Tears. The Cyclops there are amassing for an attack. I did not want to ruin your wedding plans and I knew we had time enough. I will leave my son here and the High Paladin has agreed to leave a few knights under Lucan D’Lere to guard the city while we are gone.?

    “Surely you are not thinking of coming along on this Sire!?

    “I am. I do not have too many more years of glory left in me Gilliad and I want to lead my knights into battle at least one last time. Remember I too am a Knight of Truth. How can I send my knights into battle if I do not go myself??

    “I see I am rubbing off on you Sire.?

    “Perhaps Gilliad, perhaps. You have been not only my best advisor in all these years but also my only friend.?

    “Thank you Sire. When do we leave??

    “Three days from now.?

    “Very good Sire I shall make the arrangements.?

    “Very well. Go spend the next three days making your wife happy.? Gilliad returned to the estate and told Alani the news. Alani took it quite well. The two of them spent their time together in their bedroom, only coming out for meals. On the day of departure, Alani held Gilliad tightly and kissed him like she never had before.

    “Return to me alive, my beloved.? Alani said.

    “I will do my best. I love you.? Alani pulled her silken scarf off and handed it to Gilliad.

    “Take this as a token of my love onto the battlefield.? Gilliad stuffed the scarf inside his breastplate.

    “I will keep it near my heart.? Gilliad spurred his horse and rode to the Hall of Truth where his men were waiting. The High Paladin was giving final instructions to Lucan D’Lere. When all was ready, the knights rode to the city dock where they met the king and the rest of his guards. The Knights boarded the ships and sailed to Sister Island where the Sisters of Erolisi Marr greeted them.

    The knights had two days of rest before the battle horns were sounded. The Cyclops’ were attacking. The battle lasted two months and cost both sides dearly. Gilliad and his men killed more Cyclops’ than any of the others. Slowly the Knights of Freeport beat the Cyclops’ back to their Island. During one of the skirmishes, the king of Freeport got caught alone and surrounded by Cyclops’. Gilliad and his men fought their way to the king but they were too late. The king lay dying on the ground and Gilliad dismounted and ran to his side.

    “My Lord! My Lord!? Gilliad cried as he ran.

    “Gilliad, my friend, I am spent. I can see the doors to the hall of Mithaniel Marr opening to welcome me. Serve my son as faithfully as you have me. I have instructed him to heed your advice for it has always been good. Take my sword to my son and tell my queen that my final thoughts were of her and that I love her.? With those words, the king died in Gilliad’s arms. Gilliad climbed back onto his horse and rallied the king’s guards to him as well as his men. This new assembled force tore into the Cyclops forces and beat them all the way back to their Island. Gilliad and his men put the king’s body on a cart and brought it into a hut to be prepared for its journey back to Freeport. The Knights of Truth returned to Freeport to find that there were no paladins at the city gate but instead were hired mercenaries. The palace had been taken over by the same mercenaries and the body of the king’s son was hung on the wall. The High Paladin and Gilliad entered the palace where some of the mercenaries were trying to beat a door down. Gilliad and the High Paladin slew the mercenaries and called out to whoever was in the room. The queen opened the door she was crying. Gilliad and the High Paladin escorted her out to where the knights were waiting. Gilliad ordered a few of his men to take her to the Temple of Marr. The rest of the knights entered the palace and started fighting with the mercenaries that were stationed in there. Soon more mercenaries came and attacked the knights who had no choice but to retreat back into the northern part of the city where the Temple and the Hall of Truth are. The High Paladin stationed a watch at the street heading into their area. Gilliad went to see the queen to find out what happened to the city and to tell her of the king’s death. The queen told Gilliad about Lucan D’Lere killing the king’s son, Sentry Dillius and hiring Mercenaries to take over the city. The knights that were left behind barricaded themselves in the northern part of the city to protect the temple.

    “My husband and son are dead and our city is taken over by thugs. What shall become of me now?? Asked the queen.

    “Your Highness I can give you two choices right now. You can stay here at the temple or you can come to my estate. I will take my men there as well to guard you. We will not be able to retake the rest of this city. We can hold this area though.?

    “Lord Gilliad, I would feel safer on your estate and I will earn my keep there as any other of your house. That is my final order as a queen for I am no longer a queen.?

    “M’lady you will always be Queen to me.? Gilliad met with the High Paladin and told him all and he agreed. Gilliad was about to depart the city via the sewers when a messenger was brought before him and the High Paladin. They both read the message. It was from Lucan D’Lere. Gilliad and the High Paladin assembled a few knights and went to the street they had sealed off from the mercenaries. There on the other side of the barricade stood Lucan D’Lere and a few of his thugs.

    “I can put an arrow through his heart from here.? Said Gilliad.

    “No Gilliad let us hear what he has to say.? Said the High Paladin.

    “Well Lord Gilliad Shadowbane and Sir Valeron Dushire. It seems we have a stalemate at this point. I will say this. You and your men can keep the northern part of this city. I will keep the rest. I will allow your men safe passage through as long as they don’t attack my men. Also hand over the Queen.? Said Lucan D’Lere.

    “D’Lere it seems you are correct about the stalemate. I will say this; my men will not attack yours as long as they do not bother them. And we will keep to this part of the city. If your men encroach into our territory then they will die.? Said Valeron.

    “The queen stays with us.? Said Gilliad. “And if I find your men near my estate I will kill them myself.?

    “No matter.? Said D’Lere. “She is powerless anyway. Keep her there if you wish. As far as your estate goes; for now I will not bother with it.?

    “D’Lere,? said Valeron, “you are no longer a Knight of Truth. Hand over your testimony.?

    “I think I will keep this piece of paper to remind me of what you stand for.? With that, Lucan and his men returned to the palace. Gilliad and his men sneaked to the palace that night and cut the body of the king’s son from the wall. And took it to the temple to be prepared for burial along with his father. After the funeral, Gilliad and his men took the queen out of the city through the sewers because they did not trust D’Lere’s word concerning her. When they arrived at the estate Gilliad closed the gate and posted guards. Willa assigned a maid to care for the queen’s wishes. Gilliad went to his room with Alani and told her all of what transpired. Alani told Gilliad that she was with child. Despite all the evil that had befallen, Gilliad called the whole house together to celebrate. The queen even joined in.

    “I am glad to share this happiness with you despite all the evil that has befallen me of late.? Said the queen. All the ladies of the house gathered around the Queen and Alani and hugged them both.

    Chapter 8 Kithicor

    During the next several months, the mercenaries adopted the name of Freeport Militia and the palace was now called the Militia House. Several skirmishes occurred in the city as each side tested the other and still decided on a stalemate. The queen stayed hidden at the Shadowbane estate and Lucan D’Lere still believed that she was in the temple of Marr. D’Lere dared not make a move against the Shadowbane estate because he knew all the Knights of Truth and Clerics of Marr would rally to Gilliad and D’Lere’s hold on his part of Freeport was marginal. A messenger passed through the Commonlands and went into Freeport. Gilliad was in the Hall of Truth when he arrived. The messenger was from Highkeep Fortress asking for aid. The Teir`Dal had taken over Rivervale and were preparing to march through Kithicor Forest and through Highpass Hold.

    “How many men is Lucan D’Lere sending to this cause?? Asked Valeron.

    “None Sire.? Replied the messenger.

    “Then I am afraid I cannot afford to send any either. We must protect this part of our city from D’Lere and his band of thugs. I am sorry.? Said Valeron.

    “I understand Sire as will Lord McCabe I am sure.? Replied the messenger and he left the Hall and retuned to Highkeep.

    “Sire, I believe my land to be secure enough for now. I will take some of my men and ride to aid Highkeep.? Said Gilliad

    “Lord Gilliad, your advice has always been wise. If you feel you must do this then go with my blessing and Marr be with you.? Said Valeron. Gilliad left the city via the secret passage in the sewers and returned to his home. Alani was six months into her pregnancy. Gilliad made ready to depart for Highkeep Fortress. Gilliad led his men to Highkeep through the western Commonlands and Kithicor Forest and went in to the council room as they had just ended their meeting.

    “Gilliad Shadowbane of the Knights of Truth. I bring twenty of my men to help with the defense of Highpass Hold.? Said Gilliad. A young Koada`Dal swordmaiden walked up to him.

    “Firiona Vie of Felwithe. It is a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for coming to our aid.?

    “M’lady the pleasure is mine.? Gilliad bowed to Firiona. The forces gathered in Kithicor Forest near the entrance to Highpass Hold and awaited the arrival of Lanys T`Vyl and the Teir`Dal army. They did not have to wait long. The Armies clashed in the forest and the fighting was intense. Gilliad and his men cut through several lines of Teir`Dal. At one point, Gilliad caught a glimpse of Firiona and Lanys locked in combat. Shortly thereafter, there was a bright flash of light and Gilliad heard Firiona call for withdrawal. Gilliad immediately gathered his men and withdrew into Highpass. It was a somber victory for the army defending Highpass. The Teir`Dal now leaderless withdrew back to Neriak. All life in Kithicor forest was extinguished. At night, the remains of those slain in Kithicor that day roamed the forest seeking to kill anything that crossed their path. Gilliad bid farewell to Carson McCabe and Firiona Vie and prepared to return to his home. He and his men traveled through Kithicor the next morning and passed through the western Commonlands. Gilliad went to the Hall of Truth to report to the High Paladin.

    Chapter 9 Arrival

    The time came for Alani to deliver her child and the maids attended her. Willa sent for the midwives and a cleric from the Temple of Marr. Willa, the cleric and the midwives entered the room and closed the door on Gilliad.

    “Sorry, M’lord but this is woman’s business. We will take care of M’lady.? Said Willa as she entered the room. Gilliad could hear Alani’s screams and each time he had to fight back the urge to charge into the room. Gilliad kept pacing the hall in front of his room until Willa came out with the announcement. Gilliad entered the room to see his wife and newborn son.

    “Beloved, behold your son.? Said Lady Alani. “As is our custom you are to name your first born son.?

    “He shall be named Gilliadson in honor of my grandfather.? Said Lord Gilliad. Gilliad sat on the bed next to his wife, leaned over and kissed her gently. Alani handed the child to Gilliad when he had finished feeding. Gilliad held his son securely and looked upon his face.

    “You will become a great knight and bring honor to the name of Mithaniel Marr.? Gilliad said to his son. Gilliad handed Gilliadson back to Alani. “I love you with all that is in me.?

    “And I love you too.? She replied. “I am glad to have brought this honor and blessing to our house.?

    “Perhaps next time you can have the daughter I know you desire.?

    “I am afraid that will not be possible. After the cleric examined me, she said that I would bear no more children. I am happy to have brought you this one, at least this line of Shadowbane shall not end with you.?

    “He is quite a handsome baby. I fear the ladies will be after him when he grows up.?

    “Just like his father. I am so glad that out of all the ladies that tried to get your attention that you chose me. I still have no idea what you saw in me that you did not see in any of the others.?

    “It is quite simple, my love. It was your laugh.?
    Last edited by Whoos; 10-16-2006 at 09:29 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Another Shadowbane Episode

    Well done, Well done.

    Very interesting story.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Another Shadowbane Episode

    I actually have 13 Shadowbane stories so far.. some are really short others around the length of this one... Also have a set of Willanaome Bramblerose stories in the works. (she's a Halfling Druid who was in the employ of the Shadowbanes for a few generations and the first episode is already completed). Other stories include the Epic Honeymoon (posted here) and A Player's Adventure. A player enters the world of Norrath as an unknowing supreme being (well at least with his own characters) But was it all just a dream? I have plans yet for at least 2 more Shadowbane tales and not sure how many episodes it will take me to complete Willa's story... All of my stories can be found here.

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    Default Re: Another Shadowbane Episode

    don't have access to that link.
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    Default Re: Another Shadowbane Episode

    Get an EZboard account and you will... it's free

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