(sketch by Lisa Klow)
That was all Caylan felt at the age of eleven stricken with an unknown illness. A dreamlike state that weakened her body, mind, and spirit gradually. The local healers were at a loss; her parents, both fiend slayers in their glory days, grew desperate for answers. For three days the little half-orc girl suffered.
Then at the third night, her dream changed. The mists turned into large birds, as dark as onyx. Then they coalesced into a human form…no not human, another half-orc, an adult dressed in splendid robes of a powerful wizard skillfully turning the darkness and mists into phantasms: illusions of shapes, faces, people. The fear and pain disappeared.
The wizard was…herself!
When she regained consciousness, a raven was at her bedside, it’s caws soothing her pain. At the same time, two figures were at her side and her relieved parents near the door of her room. The figure on the right was a high elf woman in dressed splendidly in a crimson robe set with gold lacing and small jewels, a wooden staff in her right hand. She smiled at Caylan then turned to the other figure at the other side of the bed and asked in a soft regal voice if she would be welcome in The Coven given that her latent powers were emerging. “Yes. She would be more than welcome, assuming she follows her own path,” she answered in a sharper older voice, one that both frightened and emboldened Caylan. The mysterious woman was dressed in a more subdued robe, devoid of the elegance of the elf’s robe. Her head was covered by a heavy cowl and her face masked by a scarf. Only the eyes were visible, dull yellow and rather alien but piercing and wise.
“Follow you path, Caylan. We will meet again when you do,” were the last words spoken by the strange woman as she left followed by the beautiful elf, Caylan’s future mentor Melaine.
The other woman remained a mystery.
As for the raven, Caylan immediately called to him; “Onyx. Thank you, my friend.” Onxy replied after a brief caw ; “You’re welcome.” The two remained inseparable as Caylan, weakened in body but stronger in mind and spirit, poured through the books in the libraries of Neverwinter and Candlekeep and listened carefully to her parent’s tales of their adventures.
By the time she reached the age of womanhood at sixteen, she followed her own path to The Coven outside Neverwinter to study the art of illusions under Melaine. Caylan had indeed followed the raven’s call.