Kite was beat, yet his spirits were high. He had actually managed the more difficult portion of his quest: finding the Elder Isentraum and convincing him to heal heal his fiancee, Pecora Winthrop. In exchange, all the Elder desired was for Kite to fetch a certain herb from a druid who lived outside a village named Greenmont, which he had found rather easily. Now he was headed down a footpath outside the village, towards the area where the druid, named Hartley, made his home. After a brief walk, Kite came upon the druid, sitting beneath the boughs of an ancient pine.
“You are Hartley the druid?”
“Yes, my son.”
“My name is Kite, I am upon an errand from a man named Isentraum…” Kite paused as a look of recognition came across the druid’s visage.
“Ah, no man there, but an Elder, and a good one, at that!” He helped himself to his feet with a driftwood staff and brushed the sweet-smelling pine needles from his tunic. “Come, tell me why you searched out this Elder, and what I may do to help you, young lord…”
Despite Hartley’s invitation to spend the evening, Kite insisted that he depart as soon as possible, but he promised to return and visit Hartley after he had seen to Pecora. The druid had gathered the Elmin quickly, and had spoken with Kite at length about his quest, his fiancee, and the rest of the duchy. But Kite eventually insisted upon being off, and started his journey back to the mountain where Isentraum could be found.
The elder sat gazing into the fire for some moments. “Kite, the disease which grips your fiancee is strong. I have felt it.” After a moment, he went on. “I shall need your aid if I am to heal her.”
“You have it… what do you require of me?”
Isentraum smiled inwardly. Such youthful courage gave him heart. “I am old, and my inner strength wanes. I shall begin the spell, and you will merely have to concentrate your will, and believe with all your heart that your woman is well. It is not difficult, although it will weaken you temporarily. Do you wish to go on?”
Kite could feel his skin taughten in anxiety. He was sitting in the center of a vast design that Isentraum had drawn into the dirt with a cane. The old man whirled his hands in odd gestures as he drew, speaking in a tongue that fascinated Kite. The old man motioned to the youth, and Kite closed his eyes and began to concentrate. He closed out the chanting of the Elder, and tried to visualize Pecora, standing in the Boar Hall, laughing with him. He saw them riding through the fields outside Dargon, and walking by the riverbank hand in hand. He could sense the power around him, and somehow he reached a rapport with it. It was a force for good, yet it could not be used lightly. Only with great effort was he able to shape the force to his will. He was beside and within Pecora, feeling her hurt and her fear, and he took it inside himself. He retreated back to reality, and the force drew the pestilence from him, and away.
Kite opened his eyes. Isentraum was before him, leaning heavily on his staff, wide-eyed. After a moment, he slowly shuffled to Kite, and plumped down with him, a smile etched on his severe features.
“Well done, my pelan, well done. How do you feel?”
“As if I had been dragged behind a horse for a league. But we did it?”
“Yes, pelan, we did.” They sat in silence and caught their breath. Kite sensed that Isentraum was going to say something to him, so he waited.
“Kite, you may not understand it yet, but what just happened was primarily of your doing. I did not intend for you to work such magic, but you did. I have rarely seen such talent!” Kite was too busy catching his breath to really contemplate the man’s words as he continued. “I am old, Kite, old even for an Elder. My power wanes, yet the world needs such a power in it. Would you come back to become my pupil, and become as I have been?”
Kite looked at the elder and laughed. He was a young noble, and the court held some promise of advancement for him. Yet it also held danger and difficulties which he could foresee. To leave all that, with Pecora, and take up the occupation of a living legend was tempting, and the awareness of the many people he could help still burned bright from his recent encounter with that unnameable force. He looked to the ground, then at Isentraum and said, “Yes… I will do it.”