I ‘thought’ myself clever but naming the level posts by the number post it was for leveling. When you play, you start at level one. So going to level two would be the first level I actually gained. Okay, I got my geek out and freaky on that one.
Enjoy or cringe as you read this. No editing… again.
LEVEL 2 – ONE STEP BEGINS THE PATH
Alone I lay on my bed, my fingers running idly over the many scars I have gained since I made my temporary home in Neverwinter. A cool breeze whips through the window, causing my skin to blister with goose bumps but I enjoy it for the moment as I think of many things. The unfinished letter to Lily for one. How is it that someone so deeply rooted in my soul could cause a lack of words from my lips? Perhaps the distance has me torn. Ever since I finally confronted the feelings I have for my little flower, other women have become mere shadows to her light but the more I am without her soft form… So much has tempted me and the carnal desires between a man and a woman, something I have been without since my arrival here, cry out like a siren calling to her prey. The very fabric of control comes shredding apart when I gaze upon one woman. She was not the first to make me question my irrational (to some folk) fear of clerics. So much kindness yet my jaded memories veil it with contempt. If they only knew why… I care not to explain it.
Even now I see this woman. Her face haunts me when I sleep and I feel ashamed deep down inside that is not fair Lily’s face making my body respond to those lucid dreams. I let out a groan as it happens again and roll over to face the wall. Once again I have betrayed Lily’s love for me by entertaining my feelings for another. I only hope and pray this woman never finds out or, in turn, grows to love me in some way as well. I fear I could not stop myself if it did.
“Such a target your unarmored back presents, Lambe en Nekte.”
I turn swiftly, three darts hidden along the bed easily in my hand, and throw them at the voice. A disgusted look crosses my face when I see each and every one of them horribly miss the target. Phalden kept his bemused look in any account and pried the darts from the wood.
“You should stick to women as your target, Kastil. Your aim is more true that way.”
“To what do I owe this pleasurable visit, Phalden?” I sit but lean against the wall. Part of me in unnerved by his visit. He, after all, insisted I come to Neverwinter until things in Waterdeep cooled down. So why did he grace me with his presence now?
“One cannot gain what was lost by sitting idly and doing nothing.” He tapped the parchment with my yet unfinished letter to Lily. I got up quickly, snatching it away and flipping over, keeping my fingers pressed to it. I feel the slight blush of embarrassment and work to quell it.
“State your business. “T’was not of my doing that I should stay here. If I did not think you had eyes on the road, I would be back home with my brother.” And Lily. But nothing was ever that simple with Phalden.
“Then you are in luck. I have come to take you away from this place.”
“What’s the catch?”
Phalden didn’t answer my question but his grin told me all and I rolled my eyes. I avoided it once and no way was he going to let me loose again. As Phalden began moving his fingers in a series of patterns, I followed suit. Simple exercises he had shown me during my recovery, the dexterity improved daily. He nodded and went to leave.
“Hear that you’ve found your sea legs. I advise you to meet me on the docks. The Nia Arwen awaits.”
Not a request but a demand and I took but a moment to gather my things up. Good thing I had not bothered dabbling in any sort of food lately.
Phalden waited until I was begging to see land to tell me of our destination. One I should have guessed knowing where he and his companions hail from. Luskan. I have been there before and personally, the one visit was enough to tell me I need not go back to such an uncivilized lot. Hatred for anything foreign to the city is ingrained in at an early age and by Tymora I swear they would rather run you through than to allow you to stay for any length of time. Luckily, I come under the guise of just another member to the crew of the Nia Arwen. Only when Phalden led me deep into the City of Sails did he tell me of his true intentions.
“Knowledge, Kastil. It is an asset in life. You provided much in Waterdeep without truly tapping your potential. It is time you learn what lies behind the skin.”
The days that followed, Phalden tested my endurance to its peak. My fingers became poked a prodded every time a tool slipped. My muscles protesting as I meddled into shadows and stayed there for long periods of time. The subtle lift of a coin purse and the act of hiding it away before the pinch was none the wiser. Part of me tried to convince me this was my path, something I could not deny. The talent too etched in my being to toss aside. Another part of me wondered how many more steps might lead me down the dark ways of my father. Only one thing drew the line to keep me from losing all faith. Conscience. While sneaking in back alley and pilfering things not of my own was no way to make a life, I knew in my heart there was more to it. Rising above that which you came from was easy provided you didn’t let the vertigo of the flight slammed you back to the ground.
Soon I gained what Phalden wanted. Another step toward my journey to be what I once was in Waterdeep. On my last day in Luskan, Phalden brought me to a house of ill repute, claiming I needed to release all my pent up tension. Saying no, again, was not an option. Perhaps Phalden had a valid point and for once I cared not. If this last jaunt out got me away from this lecherous city, I would dive in headfirst.
I lost myself in silken sheets and warm soft flesh that night, my worries of what would be gone in the moment in time. When morning came, its tender rays spreading across the room, I remembered the name I screamed out in the frenzied play of lust last eve. And it was not Lily.