Chapter 1 - Vision Quest
In the professional opinion of Torazilyana Hawkalmithera, an elf from the Hawkal mountain tribe, the gods were assholes. For months, they had tormented her with visions of a blue-haired human female warrior whose face was decorated on the left side with a deep, jagged scar that resembled Elven protection runes. The visions made no sense. Humans on Angach had been massacred into extinction. Most suspected goblins or orcs, but it could have been any race with an ax to grind against humans, and every race had an ax to grind.
It wasn’t as if she possessed a seer’s ability, the normal conduit for all things godly, nor could she travel home to ask one. The moment she stepped in Elven territory, she’d be arrested for breaching the United Kings Peace Accord and executed; maybe in that order. At first, she ignored the dreams, but gods don’t take kindly to the silent treatment. They increased the frequency of the visions and went so far as to flash the image in her mind when awake.
“Fine, assholes,” she shouted.
The gods calmed themselves once she had capitulated to their demands. Since humans were extinct on her world, she assumed the warrior lived on Calwyn, the elves ancestorial home world, and was on the run. Blue-haired women were considered Abominations by the Mage Lords who ruled that world and killed them on sight.
It was a logical assumption. Divine protection missions were standard fare, doled out by gods as often as jam-berry pies on second-harvest day. However, a flaw existed in her theory. No one could return to Calwyn while the Mage Lord’s magic barred the gateway separating the two worlds. A workaround, though, might exist.
Several weeks past a young elf hoping to curry favor with the Elven king tried to arrest her. Once she subdued the inexperienced hunter, the young elf revealed that the Council of Races planned a second expedition to Earth, believed the original home world of humans.
“I hoped if I captured you, I could become part of the expedition,” he confessed.
“You came up with that on your own, did you?”
“The gods sent me a vision.”
Torazilyana barked out a harsh laugh.
Technically, the gods hadn’t lied. Had the hunter bested her, he could have named his reward. However, his chances against her in fair combat were slim. Turns out, they had sent him to her as a massager; just further evidence justifying her exalted estimation of the gods. Once she carved her initials in his neck and sent him home, she tried to figure out how to become part of the expedition that didn’t end in her execution.
“I don’t suppose you’d like to send me a vision of how I get to Earth,” she yelled at the heavens. “How am I to be part of an Elven expedition, if I’m executed? Can’t you wave your magic fingers and make everyone forget my crime?” The only visionary answer provided was of that damned blue-haired bitch.
Days later, ready to give up on finding a pathway to Earth that didn’t involve her death, the blue-haired warrior flashed in her head. She screamed in pain, tumbled from her Abalist and lay in the dirt, panting. Once the pain subsided and she regained her breath, she dusted herself off and discovered her coin purse had come open. Lying next to her purse of ill-gotten gains was the Goblin King’s Marker and everything clicked into place.
“You couldn’t have done that weeks ago?” she yelled. She picked up the token and studied the ancient copper marker that depicted a goblin head on one side and a jewel-encrusted crown on the other. Were events leading to the gift somehow put in motion by the gods? The more she thought about it, the more it made a perverse sense. “Gods damn assholes.”