As the waters stopped swirling, Fred, Astra, and Velus could see a form rising from the
water. It was pale and ghostly white, except for a streak of blood red. As it rose further
through the mist, they could see that it was a beautiful young woman of no more than
twenty. Her skin was ghostly pale. She was dressed in robes of pure white, stained by a
streak of blood running down from her left breasts.
Once the woman had reached the level of Fred, Astra, and Velus, she looked at them with a heartbreakingly sad look in her eyes. She then began to sing with a beautiful, clear voice. The song moved them to sadness, but it was in a language none of them knew. After the song had ended, she sadly drifted downward and fell into the waters. After she had passed from sight, the waters began to swirl again. For a few moments, the heroes were silent.
"What was that?" said Fred, shaken.
"Perhaps it is a ghost," said Astra. "Do you know anything about ghosts?"
Fred scowled. "We do not learn about the undead in Allaria."
Astra raised her eyebrows. "Not even how to turn them?"
"It smacks of necromancy. A pure spirit and a clean heart should be enough."
"This ghost did not seem evil to me. She seemed like she needed our help. Often, the spirits of those who suffered great injustices remain in the world until it is redressed. Ghosts of young lovers are said to be especially common, although perhaps this is simply because they make the best legends. The ghost was probably trying to tell us how to help her. She might well help us somehow in return."
"How do you know that that was not a siren seeking to lead us to our deaths? What would a young lover be doing in the caves of the Dragon?"
"Did you understand her song?"
"No, I did not. I don't see--"
"Neither did I, and as princess of Aquilaria I know many languages, including several dead ones. This ghost must be very old. The Dragon did not always dwell in these caves. Perhaps these caves were a safe haven for young lovers centuries before the Dragon was born. Or perhaps she fled here in despair and took her own life. Perhaps she lived in the city of which this marketplace was a part, and its inhabitants were later killed by the Dragon or died before he took over this cave."
"Caves like this tend to attract creatures of evil. They are drawn to the Dragon like vultures to a battle. That ghost could be one of those creatures."
"Or she could be an innocent person who needs our help."
Fred sighed. "Very well then, but how can we help her? None of us could understand what she said." Just then,
4/17/2004 7:18:50 PM
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