Ataraxia

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Have you been to the pearled shores of Ataraxia?
Heard the sea eagle’s call, and the troll’s roar?
There the sands run ripe with scorpions,
And the night winds whip the ocean to a
White fury, until you wish you were anywhere,
Any other place but the white sands of Ataraxia.
(from the Diary of Isobel)

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The Orchard had been too obvious in the long run. The elf and her stumpy cleric partner had the gall to search for her there. Perhaps it was the body count she left in Phiarlan? An unwise elf here in the tavern, a human–just like her–in the alley. They all added up to the living, added up to a score they called getting even.

Routed, Isobel fled the soggy bottoms of the Orchard, trusting to the winds of night to guide her memories–those awful lost stones rattling around in her head–to somewhere no living soul visited.

And that’s when it hit her: Ataraxia’s Haven.

Who would go there? Nothing but troll-kin, scorpions, and those dark runty dwarves who thought they ran the place. She could sink herself into those sandy warrens, exterminate a dark dwarf or two, and there she would have it, an empire by the sea.

She arrived by ship in time for the solstice rains. Dark skies, rumbling clouds, jagged bolts of lightning. Even the trolls were submissive in this weather, but she lived for it. It made her undead blood move in such a way as to come close to the pulse of a living soul.

They met her with rude tempers, those trolls. First they sent their devil dogs, but it didn’t take much to dispatch them. A wall of flame or two, and the last canine corpse cooked as well as any picnic steer on any random ranch.

Coming from the rugged hills, the sea trolls roared in their anger, brandishing their claws, daring the lightning to strike them blind. But Isobel didn’t run. She called on the power of darkness to call forth a skeleton minion, sending it forward, her left hand burning with the power of necromancy’s flame.

The skeleton was braced well, its frame cast in magic armor, wielding a large blunt sword that acted more like a brain-busting mace than cleaver. It did its work well as a distraction, until her necromantic flames could render the trolls to dust.

Night seemed eternal in Ataraxia.

Resting on a broken island off shore, listening to the rain pelt the ocean like a bard drumming a tightly skinned drum, she felt the intruders before she saw them.

Cloak blowing in the wild ocean wind, the moon showed her where the hunters had stopped for the night. High up on a jagged cliff wall, one slender shadow stood scanning the oceans next to an short shadow.

It was them.

The two she first back in the graveyard when the Mabar moon pulled her from the limed earth of the Necropolis.

It was then that Isobel knew for certain: She would have have to kill both the elf and the clumsy dwarf before she rested in the earth every again.

And Isobel could kill so well, just her and her skeleton friend.

Author’s Note———
This time around the image artist is known: Jenya – Dark Brotherhood Necromancer by Pijuan. 

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