500 YEARS AFTER REAPPEARANCE
Parts 5 - 19
Rogue's Curse Part 5 (EQ2 # 9)
Rayek and Ekuar are now shown about 400 years later in what would be the mid-1800's. They rescue Sherla, a fortune teller, from thieves. Winnowill turns two of them into monsters. Sherla invites them to the carnival. At the circus show, two of the performers, Faldar and Moni, turn out to be the two thieves Winnowill transformed.
Rogue's Curse Part 6 (EQ2 # 10)
Faldar takes a volunteer from the audience and humiliates him. No one else seems the least bit shaken by their appearances. Rayek believes Winnowill is responsible. Sherla seemed more startled by their appearance than the others. Rayek and Ekuar accompany the carnival as they leave on a train. At dinner, Faldar seems to sense Rayek's hidden secret. Winnowill's control becomes stronger. Ekuar tells the story of the elves' war with Grohmul Djun. Rayek and Sherla seem to be attracted to each other. Gui's twin sister Bel is found dead in her cabin.
Rogue's Curse Part 7 (EQ2 # 12)
Faldar accuses Rayek of murdering Bel. Sherla comes to his defense, but the others agree with Faldar. Rayek jumps from the train, but not wanting to leave Ekuar and Sherla behind, he gets back on. He fights Moni and is knocked off the train. The next day he comes upon the carnival and finds Sherla. She says Faldar plans to entrance the crowd while Moni robs them. The other performers will be locked up after they finish their acts. The others now believe Rayek is innocent. Rayek tells Sherla of Winnowill and her influence on him. They both leave to stop Faldar. In the main tent, the final act has just ended.
Rogue's Curse Part 8 (EQ2 # 13)
Rayek and Sherla visit the other circus performers in their cell. He tells them Ekuar can help them escape. The two go to stop Faldar's and Moni's plan to steal from the entranced spectators. Sherla asks Rayek to allow her to be the vessel for Winnowill's spirit. He won't allow it. Rayek attacks Faldar during the show. Moni attacks him and he loses his grip on Winnowill. Her spirit escapes, but Sherla uses her skill to pull Winnowill into her own body. Rayek kills Moni, breaking the spell on the crowd. Ekuar helps stop Faldar. Rayek checks on Sherla but Winnowill devoured her soul and now owns her body. Rayek is forced to kill Sherla to prevent Winnowill from becoming too powerful.
Rogue's Curse Part 9 (EQ2 # 15)
Rayek awakens with Ekuar near a fire. He can't remember the past few days. Ekuar says he was Winnowill. Rayek tells the last thing he remembers: They entered a town seeking lodging. The constable asked them their business and if they were part of the Order of the Black Snake. They moved in a few seasons ago waiting for the arrival of a tall, dark-haired woman. The constable's daughter was taken by them. The Order came down the road after Rayek. They knew the 'Redeemer' was trapped within him. They grabbed him and knocked him to the ground. Ekuar picks up the story from there. He escaped as they took the unconscious Rayek. He followed them to a castle at the top of the cliff at the sea's edge. Inside, their lord, a human woman, had Rayek put in a room. After hearing this, Rayek finds that he didn't have a very tight hold on Winnowill. She must have left signs, messages for humans to pick up on. Ekuar saw the constable's daughter and her friend at the Ceremony of Welcome. They drank the Black Snake's Venom. The daughter's friend was unsure at first, but not after drinking the liquid. Since Ekuar did not see what went on in the room, Winnowill finishes the story. Winnowill took control of his body. The lord entered the room. Winnowill/Rayek kissed her as a reward. When she emerged, Ekuar saw that Winnowill had transformed Rayek's body into hers.
Rogue's Curse Part 10 (EQ2 # 16)
Rayek and Ekuar are by the fire. Winnowill used Rayek's body. Ekuar watched from above. She was surrounded by the Order. Ekuar made a hole in the wall and ran. He slept in the forest and spent the day looking for the constable. He brought him news of his daughter Reessha. They talk in a tavern, the Kettle. Ressha and her friend were seduced by the Order. Ekuar had a plan. They talked into the night. Three of the Order enter. They recognize Ekuar. He tried to keep them from the Redeemer. The constable fights them and Ekuar runs. He takes one of their horses. Two of them chase him. Ekuar climbs a tree and his horse keeps going. When the other two approach, he weighs down a branch, knocking them to the ground. He makes the rock hold them. Winnowill now speaks. She was transforming more of the Order. Those who doubt become monsters. One says their numbers have decreased by a fourth and many have fled. Winnowill is angry and says to never cross her again. Ressha and her friend come forward. Winnowill transforms her friend. Ressha is next but Ekuar enters. Winnowill commands three brothers to take him away.
Rogue's Curse Part 11 (EQ2 # 17)
Ekuar continues the story. He let himself get captured by the Black Snakes rather than let Winnowill have her way with the constable's daughter. He is put in the dungeon with humans she transformed. Winnowill continues the story. She spent the following day supping on energy from the Order. But she was careless. The one who questioned her does so again. Their numbers are dwindling. She kills him. Ekuar speaks. He befriended his cell-mates. He escaped with stone laced in his wooden help-leg. Winnowill's followers chased him. Winnowill speaks. She was about to consume Ressha when Ekuar blocks her with stone in the floor. He faced her with soldiers from the town. She hit him with a mindblast, but he hit her with stones. Ekuar was stunned. She was about to take his soul when he wrapped her in stone. The embrace forced her into unconsciousness. She became Rayek again. The Order were hauled away by the constable and his deputies. He and his daughter were thankful to Ekuar and gave him a mount.
Rogue's Curse Part 12 (EQ2 # 20)
Ekuar and Rayek sit at a fire. Rayek goes off to rest. Animals run, because of Winnowill's presence. He goes inward and finds her. He talks about Sherla and how love goes bad for him. Cutter won Leetah. With Kahvi he was restless and impatient. To Winnowill, he was a stepping stone to the Palace. She says she loves him but he doesn't trust her. She used him when they met in Blue Mountain. 10,000 years didn't soften her heart when they came to the new land. She betrayed him when the Djun took the shards. After he absorbed her spirit she still wreaks havoc. He had to take Sherla's life. She stole his body to lord over the Order of Black Snakes. But it was his fault too, he wanted the Palace too. He loves her but doesn't know her. He has little room for arrogance. He asks what she now desires. His physical body is restless. She entertains herself by making his life interesting and miserable. He says he'll change her and she'll return his feelings. He read the Scroll of Colors and saw that she'll love him. She blasts him and says she despises him. His body lashes out with dark energy. The future he saw was only one of those possible. He saw what he wanted to. She'll never love him and will turn him into a drooling idiot. Sherla didn't have to die. Winnowill could've returned to him any time, leaving her whole. He screams, "Stop this!" and wakes up. He finds an animal twisted by Winnowill. Ekuar finds him.
Rogue's Curse Part 13 (EQ2 # 22)
Flam comes out of a hole and asks what they did to Bupa. He sent her to collect water but she never returned. Now she's unresponsive. Inside his mind, Rayek finds Winnowill with a racoon and Bupa. She was in a tunnel under Rayek when he had his outburst. She's an innocent participant and her soul is here now. She did the same to Savah once. Only Winnowill can free them. She learned from Bupa that the Palace is not whole. Flam and his sister pilfered a shard during its reconstruction. Winnowill wants it. Rayek will release her to use its power, or she'll consume Bupu's soul. Flam admits it and starts crying. He leads them up the mountains to where it's hidden. It is guarded by the remnants of Picknose's warriors, mountain trolls. Flam and Bupa argue through Rayek, until he and Winnowill end it. They walk through a blizzard when three humans attack. They're all knocked out. The wake up, tied to a wall. A man named Valbor sits on a throne. Trolls attacked them long ago. He orders a woman and guards to kill Flam. Flam begs for his life. Rayek offers his life. The woman approaches and Rayek tries to hold something back, but the woman and the guards collapse. Valbor yells, "Melaan, beloved! What did you do to her!"
Rogue's Curse Part 14 (EQ2 # 24)
The men get up, but Valbor's woman, Melaan, is still unconscious. Winnowill makes Rayek tell Valbor he'll restore her after he helps find the crystal. Valbor sets out with Rayek, Ekuar, Flam, Bupa, and Melaan. At night they camp. Winnowill is reaching out more and more. Inside Rayek's mind Melaan attacks Winnowill but is knocked back. The next day, when climbing a road through the mountains, a motorized vehicle comes around the bend. Rayek is hit. Quintoc, with his wife Jone and daughter Ariana, stop. Jone goes to Rayek and Winnowill steals her soul. Ariana attacks him. Quintoc is given the same ultimatum. Soon they reach Harper Town. Ekuar is pleased to see the travelling circus is here. They enter a pub. Outside, Flam offers people rides. Inside, a drunk wonders about Rayek's heritage, because of the ears. Rayek says his heritage isn't the one in question. The man attacks, but Valbor knocks him to the floor.
Rogue's Curse Part 15 (EQ2 # 25)
The brawl continues. Ekuar arrives with Kristoff the Archer, from the circus, who saves Rayek. The whole group boards the wagon. Ekuar explained to Kristoff about Winnowill. Rayek tells the story while Quintoc talks to Ekuar. Centuries ago, when the citadel fell, scrolls and fragments were found. Many advances were made after they were deciphered. With what he learned, Quintoc created this vehicle. Valbor wants to talk to Melaan through Rayek. It's too crowded. Melaan, Jone, and Bupa talk about their mates. Winnowill says they're naive. They tell her what love means to them. Winnowill says she and Rayek's love is on a much highter level after denying she loves him. She threatens to destroy them. The journey is over. Ekuar stays with the women. Rayek, Valbor, Quintoc, Ariana, Kristoff, and Flam go through a tunnel and come to a locked door, which Quintoc picks. They enter and are attacked by Picknose's warriors.
Rogue's Curse Part 16 (EQ2 # 26)
Rayek, Flam, and the humans battle mountain trolls. Ekuar sends that the women have been out of their bodies too long. Rayek must abandon his friends and go down a hallway to retrieve the shard. He returns to the battle. The shard enhances his power. They all run out and he collapses rubble over the entrance. Rayek goes over to the three women. In his mind Winnowill opens a portal. She means to enter the shard through him. She blasts him and starts heading through the portal. Rayek concentrates on the women and returns them to their bodies. Something blocks Winnowill from passing through the portal. Rayek is glad to see the women alive and thanks them all. Kristoff wishes him a resolution with Winnowill. They say goodbye and drive off. Rayek says he didn't stop Winnowill, the shard did. The Wolfriders' love brought the Palace back together. Only a true loving heart can channel the power of the Palace. Perhaps someday she will earn that right.
Rogue's Curse Part 17 (EQ # 28)
Several moons have passed. Rayek and Ember take shelter from the rain in a cave. The shard allows Winnowill to send directly to Ekuar. She tells a tale of loss. She was of the firstborn, the second generation, led by Voll. It was her joy to be healer. She was Voll's lover and confidante. He dreamed of a safe haven. Blue Mountain was shaped. Voll was too fair a leader. She came to rule him. Her advice became his decisions. The Chosen Eight were her eyes, ears, and hands. Humans feared and respected them. Voll's memories of the Palace began to emerge. She sent the Preservers away so he wouldn't think of the outside world. Her powers grew stale. She created accidents so she could use them. It shook their faith. Voll felt they had no future here. He came to her asking about children. She didn't want any but could help others with her powers. She did this but reversed it when they slept. More numbers would mean moving outside. With Tyldak she found she could shape flesh. It led her to leave, seeking preservers to help find the Palace. She needs it to make herself whole. She found a troll to be her new plaything. She made love with it in the depths of the mountain. Two-Edge was born. She killed his father in front of him, driving him mad. Her descent was complete. Ekuar never knew. It is now time for Ekuar's tale of loss.
Rogue's Curse Part 18 (EQ # 29)
Long ago Ekuar lived with elves in the high mountains. Osek was the eldest of his friends. Mekda was the youngest. She followed them everywhere. They were rock-shapers. They set out and found the Palace. Entering, they were captured by trolls. Guttlekraw put them to work. Soon they rebelled. For each troll harmed, a joint was removed from their fingers. When the ice wall encroached a young Greymung suggested they move south. Some trolls were left in the north. Mekda would also stay. They could no longer protect her. When Ekuar and Osek faltered, a rope would be tightened around an arm. Soon, there was nothing left. They kept shaping in their new home. Eventually Guttlekraw wants to head north. Ekuar and Osek hear Greymung and his allies plan. They're caught. For spying, Osek loses an eye, Ekuar a leg. Osek shrinks the tunnel to the north in case of reinforcements. Ekuar was in shock. Soon Greymung's trolls revolted. Osek said he'd return for him and ran for the Tunnel of Golden light. Two trolls saw him but Ekuar blocked their path. Ekuar was starved as a punishment for Osek's escape. When Rayek found him his mind started to clear. They escaped to the north as Guttlekraw retook Greymung's trolls. They met the Go-Backs, children of the elves from whom he'd come. Osek's bones were found near the Tunnel of Golden Light. Mekda was a slave her entire life. He saw her in her last moments after they won the Palace. They're free now. It's Rayek's turn.
Rogue's Curse Part 19 (EQ # 30)
Rayek was the bravest warrior in the Sun Village. When he'd join with Leetah it was like little else he'd ever experienced. He wanted Recognition so badly he frightened her. She became a teacher in the ways of lovemaking, helping Recognition along, but never with him. When the Wolfriders came and Cutter Recognized her, Rayek challenged him. Cutter won and Rayek left the village forever. He found Ekuar in the troll caves and they escaped to the north, meeting the Go-Backs. Kahvi almost filled the void. Cutter made his way there. The Go-Backs had a lively way to prepare for war. There he shared love with Leetah. They found the Palace, his second love. The Wolfriders returned to the forest. Kahvi had his cub but said it didn't survive. He took Two-Edge to Blue Mountain, thinking the power of the Gliders would help the Palace fly. He met Winnowill and thought he found true love. He dreamed of stopping the High Ones' accident, but her plan meant the extinction of the Wolfriders. It took the love of Leetah's family to beat her. The Gliders' spirits energized the Palace, making it fly. His ambitions became tainted and took the Palace forward through time to save the High Ones, taking Cutter's family. Winnowill was there, twisting him. Venka, the daughter he thought dead, subdued her. The High Ones came and went. He and Cutter fought. Winnowill flew off with the Palace. He and Venka tried to stop it, but it shattered on a mountain. The human Djun acquired the shards. Winnowill was disguised at his side. The Wolfriders invaded and Winnowill ensnared Rayek. The power of Timmain restored the Palace. Winnowill let the Djun kill her, but Rayek pulled her spirit into him. He went off with Ekuar and has fought her spirit for years. That Winnowill won't return his affections is his greatest loss. She allows him to sleep in peace for the first time.