When I joined this quest, I had no idea how involved I actually was. That was, I had a little magic, and while my own kingdom appreciated my existence, my kingdom had its own problems and did not associate as much out among the other populations, I was neither known, or particularly useful, here.
I thought the weekend would transpire as most of these outtings did for me: I would run around on the fringes, see if I could even be of little use, and try not to get myself killed, particularly as none of my allies were around to make certain I got raised.
Well, my expectations were partially correct: I was on the fringes, not running around with the rest of the people on their quests and missions. But I was far from uninvolved.
It was soon after I teleported there that he had pulled me aside. I knew of him, had seen him briefly at the last such outing. He came from outside, and while he was providing some assistance to the Realms, there was some question if he was truly a good ally. But he was Important, and I had no idea why he would pull aside someone like me.
It all happened so fast...I really can't remember exactly how it happened, only that pretty much immediately he had me locked in his private chambers.
At that time, I had no idea what his plans were for me, only that I knew I did not want to stay there to find out. I looked around, taking in what was around me for options on escape. I had heard that there were some secret doors and trapdoors somewhere in this old house, and I needed to find one of them. The room was rather bare: there was a queen-sized bed, with a barely-there headboard, and blue and white theme for the blankets. Beside it was a small wood end table and nearby a wooden dresser which was filled with extra sheets and blankets. The door to the hallway was on the north side of the room, and it was solidly locked, the same as the two windows, one on each of the east and south walls. On the west wall, close to the far corner, was another door. Opening that one, I discovered a large walk in closet (or more accurately a crawl-in closet. The room was narrow, the ceiling slanted, giving the place a cramped, stuffy feel. I searched the floors and walls, hoping for some sort of trap door.
I froze when I heard the door out in the main room open. I peered out of the closet door, and my terror quickly turned to puzzlement. It wasn't the "Prince" returning, but another man, someone I had seen on quests from time to time.
"I'm here to rescue you," he said, grabbing my hand and pulling me after him out the door. As he slipped through the house towards the exit, I learned that he had been the only witness to my abduction, and had an inkling of what the Prince wanted with me. If he was correct, it would be the seeds to disaster for the Realms.
We didn't even get out the main door when the Prince's minions discovered us and threw me back into the Prince's room. As for my would-be rescuer, he was solidly convinced, with threats, injuries, and ultimately the lure of a magic weapon, to leave me where I was and not to reveal to anyone else where I was and for what reason.
And that was how most of my weekend progressed. I kept trying to escape on my own, but never got far before I was recaptured. And nobody knew what was happening...They were all too busy questing and no one thought to question the Prince as to what he was really doing here. For when he was not out there, giving some aid to the questers, he was back in his private chambers, trying to seduce me.
He tried with various means. First there were presents, and offers for more if I should obey him. There were words...some sweet honeyed words, others practical and logical, and others harsh and cruel. And when the weekend was nearly gone, and still I resisted, he even tried force. I fought him off, though I knew if he was truly determined that I would not be able to hold him off long. I burst into tears.
"Fine," he sighed, partially out of breath from exertion. "If that is your decision, I will leave for now. I will be needed for the next quest, and they still have not found the pearl that I need. Take this time to recompose yourself, and to think about your situation. You really have no choice in this matter, but I would rather you submitted willingly."
I had to get out of there; I knew I wasn't going to be able to stop him next time. The door wasn't locked, but locking the door had proved useless as I had shown over the course of the weekend that I could now pop the lock from the inside and leave the room any time I wanted. He couldn't spare one of his minions for the exclusive task of standing guard outside his bedroom door (besides which that would have likely raised too much interest in what it was that he was hiding), but I knew he had minions in other parts of the house though. It didn't matter though; he had devised another manner of preventing my escape. He had taken all of my clothing, leaving me in only an indecently short, silky slip dress. And such a tactic might have stopped other girls, but it just made me more determined to find a way out. I needed to find one of the secret doors.
Quietly and carefully I tiptoed down the hall, avoiding the boards I knew squeaked. I stopped in front of the next bedroom door and lightly knocked. I pressed my ear against the painted wood, but there was no sound coming from behind it. Anxiously, I twisted the door handle, and gently pushed the door open.
There might not have been any people in the room, but it was far from empty. It was the opposite of the Prince's sparse room, as it was overflowing starting with the furniture, all too large and too many for the small room, to things like clothing, which was piled on top of everything. There could have been any number of secret doors here but the room was so crowded and messy, there would be no way to find it.
I was just about to give up and try another room when I noticed that outside the west window was a large tree. That could be the perfect cover so I could climb out the window and not be seen. The windows were old and stiff, but I managed to pop it open enough to slip out. If I could just keep out of site across the yard, I could hide in the giant caves.
I slinked across the yard, down the slight ravine on the side edge of the yard, my pace slow and gingerly, due to my barefeet. It seemed to take forever, but I managed to get there without being seen. With one last look around to make certain I hadn't been discovered, I slipped into the caves.
The final main quest had begun, but it was on the other side of the yard, and wouldn't reach the caves for a little while. The NPCs were milling about, relaxing as they waited for their part. My entrance was mostly unnoticed, save for one of the organizers who had been closest to the barn door.
Glancing at my clothing (or general lack of it), she snorted slightly "Geez, he really went all out didn't he?" Then she held up a large white gem. "And of all people to come get the Pearl, it's you?"
"No," I shook my head. "I don't want that. Even if I did notice it, which I probably wouldn't have, I wouldn't pick it up. My character is just looking for a place to hide until the end."
She shrugged, placing the "pearl" back down where it had been. "You're more then welcome to try, but this place will be filled with PCs soon."
I first tried a hallway in the back, but a quick look showed me a bunch of monster NPCs lying on the floor. I turned to the Marshall next to me. "Are they there?"
"Yup. A bunch of water sprites."
There was no way I could make my way down the hall and survive, even if the Prince hadn't taken away all of my spells for the weekend. And the entrance to the hallway where I was currently standing was too much of a busy throughway. There was no hiding here.
I didn't know what else to do at that point, and was standing and looking a little lost when a sympathetic NPC waved me over. "There's a small tack room over here. We've got it set up as a parlor for us NPCs to relax in. Why don't you hide out in there?"
I flashed him a grateful smile and followed him in. Unfortunately the room wasn't nearly as empty as I wanted. I tucked myself into a corner and tried to be as invisible as I could.
Well, alright, invisible to everyone other than the guy who suggested I could hide here. And maybe his interest in me was motivated by my current (lack of) clothing, but he was still extremely cute, and he was funny and charming, and I was having a lot of fun talking (ok, flirting) with him.
And that's pretty much how I thought the weekend was going to end. Sure there were a couple hours left until the Event ended, but I was safe, right?
I wasn't certain who was more surprised: me or him. For my part, I thought I was safely hidden in the caves and I certainly didn't expect to see him come in through the back entrance. For his part, the Prince clearly did not expect to find that I had escaped his chambers and was now sitting in a dark cave with another guy in nothing but the indecently short, silky slip dress he had left me.
My surprise quickly shifted to a mixture of fear and shame. His appeared to shift to a quiet, cold fury. He didn't address me at first, needing to take care of his business in that section of the cave first, but the glances he shot my way suggested that if I tried anything he would not hesitate to deal with it in a way that would be extremely unpleasant.
And when he had finished talking with the people he needed to talk to, he didn't even say anything to me: just one look and I got up and let him lead me out of the caves. He paused long enough for one of the questers (who only gave me the briefest curious look), handed over the dreaded Pearl, and I knew my fate was completely sealed.
As people chatted during the wrap up of the Event, I was quiet. I knew that I, or at least his character, wouldn't be able to appear in public for a year, when this Event was going to be held again. Well, I could probably go for a couple months, but before too long, the evidence of my situation would be all too visible. And what horror would be born then?