Chapter 7 - Stand On Your Own

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Stand On Your Own
Moonless Age chapter
Postcard Chapter 7 - Stand On Your Own.png
Main characters
Related locations
Related factions

Hoping for answers regarding Faen's departure, Chapter 7 chronicles Ariel's efforts to confront Faen's former classmates.

Summary

Ariel's Depression

Still devastated by the loss of Faen, Ariel continues to spiral into an even greater depression. Her knowledge of the drow language increasing her understanding of the situation, Vaelia watches with worry as Ariel begins to lose not just interest in her well-being, but weight as well. Not helping matters is the strict training regimen Ariel is subjected to under the Fallen Legion. Efforts by Vaelia to help are stifled by Jiv'kyn, Myo'na, and Ant'alya, who barely tolerate Vaelia's presence in Ariel's midst, much less any physical contact. Vaelia's frustration grows as she considers the Fallen Legion to be protecting her with the callous nature of a jailor, while she is forced to watch her charge slowly wither and die.

Ariel herself notes the change among the three legionnaires during training. While friendly otherwise, in the presence of their commander, they become cold and distant. Idly, Ariel supposes this was how she herself reacted while in the presence of Quain'tana, which brought out a much more formal demeanor than that she had shared with Faen. Seeking to make Ariel happy once more, Vaelia encourages Ariel to travel to the surface and find Faen. As Ariel protests that she has never been to the surface nor even knew what had truly happened during Faen's incident, she thinks on Chrys'tel's involvement. Latching onto the idea that she knew the truth and had perhaps even framed Faen for her own crimes, Ariel becomes determined to confront the Sharen girl.[1]

Ariel forcefully subdues Chrys'tel.[2]

Confronting Chrys'tel

The next day, Ariel travels to Orthorbbae as the students leave for their most recent breaks from classes, accompanied by Vaelia, Myo'na, and Jiv'kyn. Jiv'kyn is able to locate Faen's former classmates at Raveran street, and signals his companions several rooftops away. Aware that her quarry would reach Klar'bol by the time she made it down to the lower levels and insisting it was a matter she must do herself, Ariel decides to take a shorter route. Using her shapeshifting, she forms a pair of wings that would allow her to glide to the streets below quickly. Though hesitating as she remembers her near fatal falls, Ariel focuses her resolve and, with the aid of her air sorcery, takes "flight".[3] Though her initial landing is less than graceful, she quickly adapts and arrives in an alley near her targets in short order. Taking out a mirror, Ariel then prepares for the next step in her plan.

Having taken an appearance very similar to Faen, Ariel allows herself to be seen from within a nearby alley[4], luring Chrys'tel into following. Stopping a short distance away, Chrys'tel immediately asks her why she returned, only for "Faen" to bluntly demand to know who killed their teacher. Frustrated and not yet realizing the deception, Chrys'tel approachs Ariel and grabs her by the shoulders. Angrily, she berates "Faen" her for her actions that resulted in the injuries, and for coming back while well aware Chrys'tel would have no choice but to bring her before the Sharen for punishment.

Having heard enough, Ariel abruptly draws a hidden knife and impales Chrys'tel by the forearm. To Ariel's shock, Chrys'tel repels a following barrage of mana and begins removing the knife without uttering a single sound. Now realizing that her attacker was not Faen, Chrys'tel attempts to defend herself with her own blood-fueled high sorcery, burning through Ariel's dress and threatening to cause injury to the flesh below. In response, Ariel savagely twists the blade to further aggravate the injury, causing Chrys'tel to momentarily collapse from the pain. Though Chryst'tel stubbornly tries to rise to her feet once more, she is finally subdued by a brutal kick to her face.

Chirinide intervenes in the confrontation between Ariel and Chrys'tel's companions.[5]

Chirinide Intervenes

Following their companion at last, Chrys'tel's friends arrive and Ariel resumes her true form. Their reactions vary between condescending and enraged, but all with hostile intent. As Ariel refuses to surrender herself or her quarry without answers, a further confrontation seems imminent and Ariel readies another blast of mana. However, before further fighting occurs, Chirinide arrives on the scene in the company of two adult templars. She orders the pair two capture all of the tainted presence, as well as Kyo'nne, whom she refers to as a "corrupted one". As the girls flee, Ariel stands confused by the sudden aid, marveling at her first sight of a drowussu.

Introducing herself as one of Holy Mother Shimi'lande's daughters, Chiri informs Ariel of her orders to protect her as a "daughter of the Holy Eye". Utterly baffled as Chiri insists on her importance to a coming war, Ariel can only muster a sheepish look as as Chiri berates the young heir for leaving her guardians behind. As Ariel's protectors arrive on the scene, Jiv'kyn is wary of the timing of the Kyorl'solenurn arrival, to which Chirinide irritably comments she had not forseen clearly.

Faen is left momentarily catatonic after undergoing an uncontrolled empathic breakdown.[6]

Sternly, Ariel agrees with Jiv'kyn and demands Chiri explain herself. As Chirinide explains that the Nidraa'chal are slowly winning the war they began, a rousing Chrys'tel rebukes her, insisting the Nidraa'chal were defeated long ago save only a few scattered survivors. Calmly, Chiri draws attention to Chrys'tel's tainting, lecturing Ariel on both the nature of the taint and its rapid spread throughout the underworld. As Chrys'tel's protests fall on deaf ears, Ariel recalls Syphile as Chiri suggests she kill any with the red eyes of the tainted in order to "free" them of their corruption.[7]

Answers at Last

Now having secured her captive, Ariel demands Chrys'tel tell her the whole story behind Faen's killing of her teacher. Chrys'tel grimly obliges, revealing that Faen had been doing poorly for some time, sleeping poorly and behaving extremely erratically. Hoping that lessons in nether summoning would allow her to master her fear of demons, Chrys'tel had talked with one of their teachers and arranged for her to undergo a tainting ceremony. Though initially willing, as the moment came for her to undergo the ritual, Faen had an especially severe breakdown that would not stop. Nihi'liir, a fellow classmate and Chrys'tel's cousin, was tolerant of neither Faen's outburst nor her sudden change of heart, and began roughly handling Faen in an attempt to force her to calm down. As Sate'ja attempted to intervene, Faen's breakdown escalated into an uncontrolled empathic outburst. When those present regained their senses, Nihi'liir's arm had been maimed and Sate'ja's mind irrevocably destroyed.

Witnessing the results of her actions, Faen had immediately fled. Bitterly, Chrys'tel recalls she had tried to stop Faen, but there had been little point; Nihi'liir's status as one of Sarv'swati's lineage all but ensured that Faen would be hunted down and executed. Frustrated that her efforts to harden Faen and allow her to overcome her anxieties had been for nothing, and blaming Ariel for making Faen "soft", Chrys'tel angrily demands that Ariel either treat her injuries or kill her her. Though Ariel recalls Chrys'tels earlier desire to leave her for dead following her fall from the male towers and suggests she might simply watch Chrys'tel bleed to death, she inwardly struggles with the idea of committing yet another murder. Ordering her protectors to bind Chrys'tel and treat her wounds, she announces her intention to bring Chrys'tel to the Sarghress Fortress, leaving it to Quain'tana to decide the young Sharen's fate.

Demanding Kel'noz's Assistance

A day later, Ariel returns to the Darya tower, having arranged for a meeting with Kel'noz and Master Tralyn. Though Kel'noz greets her warmly, proud of her for achieving Quain'tana's recognition as heir, Ariel quickly turns her attention to Tralyn, asking the wizened teacher where he had sent Faen.[8] He reveals that he had provided Faen with enough ada to pay a merchant to take her to a town in the border of the western wastelands. Kel'noz quickly rebuffs Ariel's declaration to travel to the surface in search of Faen, insisting that it is far too dangerous for a child of her age. Angrily, Ariel retorts that Kel'noz had insisted she mature and accept numerous responsibilities, standing her ground. Though impressed with her newfound maturity, Kel'noz remains unyielding, citing it as far too dangerous a risk for her own personal desires.

Angered, Ariel recalls her promise to Faen, demanding to know why she should serve the clan when she is not allowed to save the life of her only friend and blaming Kel'noz for dragging her into such matters of the clan. As Kel'noz remains silent before the outburst, Tralyn lightly chides Kel'noz for his stern demeanor, suggesting he focus her efforts in helping Ariel come back from her quest alive, rather than foolishly attempt to stop her. After a moment's consideration, Kel'noz wearily relents. Aware of Quill'yate's imminent return, and consdering the possibility of sending Ariel to the overworld under the protection of her soldiers, Kel'noz states his intention to arrange a meeting with Quain'tana, instructing Ariel to prepare good arguments to plead her case. Grateful, Ariel insists she will stand her ground and convince Quain'tana to allow her expedition.[9]

Characters

Main Characters

Portrait Ariel Val'Sarghress arc1.png
Ariel is a young girl that is coping with the sudden departure of her best friend, Faen Val'Sullisin'rune.
Portrait Vaelia Arc I.png
Vaelia is an Emberi soldier of theVal'Sarghress clan and an important friend of Ariel.



Ariel's Guardians

Portrait Ant'alya Sarghress.png
Ant'alya is one of the Fallen Legionnaires assigned to protect and train Ariel.
Portrait Jiv'kyn Sarghress.png
Jiv'kyn is one of the Fallen Legionnaires assigned to protect and train Ariel.
Portrait Mablevi Sarghress Arc I.png
Mablevi is the Commander of the Fallen Legion and oversees Ariel's training.
Portrait Myo'na Sarghress.png
Myo'na is one of the Fallen Legionnaires assigned to protect and train Ariel.



Faen's Classmates

Portrait Chrys'tel Vel'Sharen arc1.png
Chrys'tel was one of Faen's former classmates and her roommate at Orthorbbae.
Portrait Kiel'ndia Vel'Vloz'ress arc1.png
Kiel'ndia was one of Faen's former classmates and a close friend of Naal'suul.
Portrait Kyo'nne Val'Illhar'dro arc1.png
Kyo'nne was one of Faen's former classmates.
Portrait Naal'suul Val'Beldrobbaen Arc I.png
Naal'suul was one of Faen's former classmates and a close friend of Kiel'ndia.
Portrait Nihi'liir Vel'Sharen arc1.png
Nihi'liir was one of Faen's former classmates and triggered Faen's disastrous empathic outburst with her harsh treatment.
Portrait Shinae Vel'Sharen arc1.png
Was one of Faen's former classmates, and Chrys'tel's protector twin.



Orthorbbae Faculty

Portrait Kel'noz Val'Sarghress.png
Ariel's older brother meets with her following her capture of Chrys'tel.
Portrait Sate'ja Vel'Sharen.png
Sate'ja was the teacher Faen effectively killed by destroying her mind, as the former tried to intervene during Faen's breakdown.
Portrait Tralyn the Clanless.png
Tralyn is one of Ariel's favoured teachers, and he convinces Kel'noz to aid Ariel in her quest to retrieve Faen from the surface.


Other Characters

Portrait Chirinide Val'Kyorl'solenurn Arc I.png
Chirinide is young warden that appears to aid Ariel as she confronts Faen's former classmates.
Portrait Faen'arae Val'Sullisin'rune arc1.png
Faen is recalled by Chrys'tel as the latter recounts the incident at the Orthorbbae.
Portrait Syphile Val'Sarghress.png
Ariel recalls her older sister as Chiri informs her of the nature of those bearing red eyes.


Sources:

  1. chapter 7 page 5
  2. chapter 7 page 16
  3. chapter 7 page 8
  4. chapter 7 page 12
  5. chapter 7 page 20
  6. chapter 7 page 27
  7. chapter 7 page 25
  8. chapter 7 page 16
  9. chapter 7 page 34