|Favorite Wonder:||Catacomb Libralus|
Thessa was only forty summers old when she first laid eyes on Devon. She was sitting on the branches of one of the ancient trees when he came walking along the pathway below, alone. She had heard of him, his mother was said to have been so beautiful that an angel fell in love with her. It was their union that produced Devon, who was talented and graceful even by elven standards.
As Thessa leaned further out on the branch to get a closer look, he turned his gaze upwards and looked straight into her eyes. She was so shocked she lost her grip on the branch, and tumbled down into the undergrowth below. She lay there stunned, but she was unsure if this was because of the fall or her embarrassment. A tender hand gripped hers, and she was pulled gently to her feet.
"Be careful M'lady, those branches can be treacherous for the unwary. Especially those who keep their attention... elsewhere." He smiled, and that smile would later be counted among her most treasured memories.
Thessa grew to become one of the most powerful mages in the small elven tribe. In her early years she outdid her fellow students in most disciplines, and sometimes she even surpassed her teachers. Once she managed to make an oak grow to its full size overnight from an acorn she had found on the ground, but the exhaustion of that effort left her unconscious for several days.
Only one incident served to disturb the teachers' high opinion of her. She was once discovered reading a grimoire of necromancy, a book stolen from the Calabim in earlier times that most of the senior mages had believed to be long since destroyed, or at least locked up safely. The book was immediately confiscated, and it certainly seemed the young girl had not had time to be lured by the forbidden spells. The incident was soon forgotten, as Thessa proved such a brilliant and diligent student.
When her formal education came to an end, she was offered the position of Archmage, and her strong sense of duty compelled her to accept, even though her most urgent desire was another entirely.
At the next Spring Feast, she and Devon danced all night. Thessa's long black hair flew around her head in time with the elven songs and flute music. The village danced and played beneath the trees and starlight. It was the most brilliant night of her life.
Trouble had arrived to the tranquil forest of the elves. Scouts came from the borderlands with horrible tales--not of an intruding enemy army, but of something more sinister. A strange corruption had started to appear. It made grass wither and die, and turned the more sturdy plants into twisted, pus-filled growths which further spread the corruption along with their seeds. Something had to be done before the animals would start dying, and naturally the help of the Archmage was sought.
Thessa gladly accepted, by then she was so accustomed with her own tremendous power that any task she received seemed easy. Yet the corruption proved too strong for her. Even her most powerful spells of cleansing could only provide momentary relief for a small area, and that at the cost of several days of fatigue. So the corruption was left to roam freely, and it slowly crept towards the center of the forest, and the villages of the elves. Devon wished to marry her. He had made that plain to her at the Spring Feast, and she could sense his impatience growing as the days grew by. Finally she gave in, even though she had become preoccupied with thinking of ways to stop the slow degeneration of the woods. Their families started preparations for the grand party, the divine union of the Archmage and the Aasimar.
Meanwhile, Thessa continued to fight her losing battle against the mysterious force at work in the forest. She traveled towards the source of the taint, but could not locate a specific place of origin. It seemed to have appeared in many places simultaneously, and she suspected that some malevolent mage may have cast a powerful spell of entropy on her homeland. On her way back home, she found a clearing where two deer lay dead, their corpses a sickening hue of dark purple. She sat down on the ashen ground in despair, but then she had a sudden, horrible, realization. She grieved for the life that had been lost here, and for the life that would be lost in the near future.
The wedding party was truly magnificent. There was a banquet of exotic fruit and excellent wine, there were a large number of skilled musicians, there was singing and dancing. Thessa seemed oddly preoccupied during the event, but most of the guests assumed, as did her fiancee, that it was merely stress from working too hard. As night fell, the guests started to leave the clearing, leaving the newlyweds alone at the place of the ceremony to consummate their marriage, in accordance with elvish custom.
So they both stood there, Devon's eyes so bright with joy and expectation that Thessa could hardly bear to look at him. Yet she forced herself to smile, and gently drew him closer. Devon was too gripped by the moment to notice the lack of light in her eyes, and the tears that had started to appear there. He tried to kiss her, but she pushed him away, looked into his eyes one last time, and gently whispered:
"I am sorry"
Before Devon could reply, she drew the ceremonial dagger she had tucked in her dress, and stabbed him in the heart, muttering incomprehensible words of a kind that had not been heard in that forest for hundreds of years. Her spell let her drain the lifeforce out of Devon's body and add it to her own magical power. Filled with such vast energies, she invoked the spell of cleansing. A shockwave emanated from the clearing, flowing through air, earth and trees, and as it swept by, the forest was healed.
Morning came. The sun shone brightly on a bright and green forest, teeming with life. All except a body in a clearing, and a weeping woman sitting beside it, her head in her hands.