We ran the entire day after the success of the ritual.
Correction. They ran, I flew. I road my high from the ritual which was great but the crash was hard. I damn near flew into a tree, clipped my wing on another, and just ugh. That’s going to bruise. I shake it off and continue my task. As night fell I began looking for a place to sleep where it may not matter if all are asleep.
The Gods were kind. It was a hidden cave that had been a den at some point. It smelled musky and oddly comforting. Everyone it seemed followed after I drove in to make sure it’s a den and not a monster. I made a tiny fire and placed the egg by it then curled around it. It took some effort but I got into revery.
Then something grabbed my wing by the bruise. I was awake, weapon in hand and ready to fight the bastard…. To see Jern before me telling me it’s my watch. I’m still so tired and protest it. He insists I had my 4 hours. I tell him to never touch me. More a growl. He may not have liked it; and I didn’t feel like asking him how would he like it if I pulled him by his beard, or by a sensitive portion of his body. I want my wing tip caps back! I sit up to do watch, but I cannot focus. Ugh, so tired.
I’m getting chased. The thing from the Shadow Plane is after me again. And I ran into an ambush by that asshole guard, Caarok. I’m fighting but I can’t land a hit, my shield shatters and he’s coming in for the kill.
I release fire.
And I’m in a den, surrounded by those who travel with me. I put my scimitar away. Sslith’lac asks me to put out the fire. I swiftly do so.
Don’t ever let me sleep…..
Gronx knows that rule. Learned it after I released a mini fireball in his cell.
Apparently I come with rules….
I need to meditate and arrange the new memories in my mind. They are distracting, but there’s no time yet. I need to ground myself, I haven’t done that since the Shadow Plane, but there’s no time. Why is there never any time? Maybe after the egg hatches.
We continue to run, eat on the run, and rest. It takes a couple of days before I’m feeling like myself almost.
I had been scouting ahead when I saw the group. Two humans and an Orc. I turned swiftly but the younger human already saw me, so I dropped a globe of darkness.
I also gave a call that we used when the guards came around while we were discussing punishable things. Behind me I heard the orc raise a battle cry. Damnit Kabal need to die. Him first.
I land before my people shifting my appearance and do a quick scan to see where to hide the egg and set Daniel up. Everyone moved to take cover. They would have left if Daniel hadn’t decided to start whistling….. Next rule to teach him, whistling before the enemy approaches tells them to hit you first. Yes that may curb the habit a little. I swiftly cast bladethirst on mine and Jern’s weapon. Since the unicorn he seems to understand where he should be in battle. I then quickly raise my shield.
The younger human revealed herself to be a female elf. What the heck?!
Is she spellbound by the human? The elves were systematically attacked years before Strom was destroyed. Before Bryntek was murdered. Or is she conditioned? And, what’s that tiny humanoid?
A halfling!? I thought they were totally wiped out before I was banished.
But that Orc has to go. And Jern has his attention. I move into shadows and sneak up behind him.
The elf claims they’re resistance. Sure…. The cells we had contact with were wiped out one after another, no one left alive. Everyone killed in creative, messy agonizing methods.
They ask if we have the god. There’s no way they’re getting the egg while I draw breath. They are to escort us elsewhere. No. No. No. I will not be a prisoner again. Never again.
I move to strike the orc across the back trying to find a weak point and biting in. The smell of blood is good. The way my blade moves, the flames smoldering, is good. And he whips about to face me. Good. I can’t help but smile.
He strikes back, but it’s nothing but a scratch. It won’t even scar if I don’t use magic to heal it. I insult his prowess.
I’m lining him up for an open palm to the chest, right beside his symbol for Warmonger. What the Hell!? I almost get smited by the god for saying Orcs would follow him, both he and Christoph state he HATES Orcs. But my target that’s looking weary is pulled from me, by the human. I’m about to kick his knee when it catches my eye.
The symbol he wears belongs to Marlai. It’s a little changed…
Enough. That’s his word.
The Resistance is dead. Orcs were used as shock troops to great success. They counter with then discarded or killed.
But Merlai’s priest, paladin? Is here. There’s a pause and I call Jern back which he bites my head for. We’re not taking orders from them. I glance over my shoulder and focus on a band that’s on his tusk. It appears in my hand and Asra tells me the orc is charging. I moved to avoid, spin about and grab him by his armour straps. Just as Psyren taught me, I put him over my hip and on the ground. Then my blade fell into my hand which I snapped at his neck. I give him a choice before pressing my blade into the tattoo.
We debated about his credentials for being a paladin of Warmonger, which, really? Warmonger has a whiney paladin…. Seriously? I finally tell him, if he wants it back, he can fight me for it.
It’s my trophy. And really, it may be useful later.
We wind up arguing for a fair bit, wasting time. And I catch the elfling with her hand trying to get into my pouch. I don’t harm her, just ask her a couple of questions and release her. I don’t know how long Daniel has been off, but I resume our travels.
Oddly, the group sans the elf follow. The orc grumbling about me not being honourable, not being brave, being a thief. And demon.
I had to not laugh at the fool. My honour, it’s a long established fact that it’s twisted, tarnished, broken. Being a thief? Well when necessary, I wear much of what I stole, Psyren too. But I stole not from the Orc, I claimed a prize. Not being brave…. Isn’t facing, dealing with one’s fears and discomforts not the precise definition?
I hate being called a demon. I am not an infernal!
He’s an orc. Naught more til he reveals himself more than a preening nibras.
We catch up to Daniel and the elf. I talk quietly with her, more about her cell than her. She appears young. Not as young as Rajin, but definitely not yet an adult. She was capable against Jern.
We travel for hours, Gronx guarding the egg. I adjust our course to keep going. The mental map is lining up, we’re close to mother’s path from the cave.
As night claims the land, we begin looking for a place to sleep. I see naught, but Jern finds a stony ledge that offers some protection. The orc doesn’t join us, and Daniel and the elf move on to I guess to hang with the orc. He’s a new shiny. Psyren went as well.
I split the watches, Jern for 2 hours, Gronx for 2 hours, then myself for the remainder. I fell into revery and began recalling what Mother saw and did. It’s important that I find markers. And then a hand brushed my face and neck. I grab the wrist, only one person has a wrist that big. I open an eye and look to confirm that it is Gronx. I smile and get up for my watch, which I ask Asra to do. The elfling is patrolling, Daniel is back, and I have a boneclaw talon to study. I set up to do so.
Then a presence sits beside me. I look up and it’s the human. I turn back to the boneclaw studying the signature. It’s extremely powerful.
What are you doing?
Studying the boneclaw talon. I’m learning the signature of who made it, what it’s orders were, if there was a signal that was sent when it was destroyed, and if there’s a tracker. I decide to wake Daniel for a couple of lessons on magic.
He distracts me for a short bit to tell me:
- The high king himself crafted them. Rumour being they were once ogres. They may be exterminated by now as it’s been years since one was spotted.
- They are sent out on regular patrols. Their missions unknown.
- He explains their weaknesses and strengths. As well how to kill them better.
I manage to confirm all save the identity of the caster though I now know his signature. It’s…. Vile.
I start looking for orders; to seek, capture, bring back, no specific target is listed, just types of targets. I look for the signal that gets sent at time of destruction and find it. I also find the inlaid spell for tracking. Great.
I ask Daniel if he took any trophies. He did. 6 of them. Ok, did you put them in a pouch of holding. What’s that? Here, let me guard those for you. It took some coaxing but I now have 7 boneclaw talons. Next on the list of lessons, recharging wands.
I’m teaching it as straight forward and percise as possible as Daniel has an attention span like a flea.
Meanwhile, I’m talking quietly to the human, Osozo, about the resistance cell, who I served under, how I was put out if play. I don’t go into any great details, just enough that he can check my credentials later. I tell him nothing overly personal. I quiz him in kind.
I started with his name. And gave him the one I’m using now. Might as well be polite. I’m studying his holy symbol. It’s different than the one I’m used to so ask him if Merlai is awake, to which he says no. Confused I ask him how he’s able to cast spells as a priest of Merlai. He smiled a tiny bit as he replies that he follows Ylena, handmaiden to Merlai.
Other points of interest:
- He’s an undead hunter, not a priest.
- Ylena is loyal to Merlai and has taken up some of her responsibilities. Sounds like a mother daughter relationship. I like this goddess.
- Lheare Lathe is the leader. Thrice damnit. I know her. She threatened me the first time I met her. My mate was her nephew. A former baroness of Strom…. Apparently she rules like Bryntak did. Damnit, I can’t kill the Orc unless he deserves it. I reveal a bit about myself on this topic. He no doubts thinks I was a child, not a young woman when the kingdom fell. But damnit. If she remembers my scent…. What do I say to the aunt of the man who died because of me? I really don’t want to meet her.
The others, if they wish to go to wherever it is they want to go can, after the egg hatches. I do not control any of them.
- They want to take us to a place where magic doesn’t work. No way. No. No. Definitely not going. I told him cutting me off of magic is like taking a warrior and removing his limbs. I made it clear that both Daniel and I are blood magi, not book magi. There’s just somethings that book magi can do that we can’t.
That and I lost my freedom, my body, my honour, dignity, I’m not about to lose my magic after regaining freedom. But he needs not know what Hell I’ve been through.
- They sought out the group because of the ritual magic. How do they know about that? How close is their cell? Apparently their magi do not know any ritual magic… I argue and say my ritual magic is primitive magic. Wizards sneer at it as they have their own but apparently this cell lost all records. Xystus has all the books on magic. He pointed at the egg, primitive magic brought back a god. Well, a baby god, but I keep that to myself.
As to all the knowledge. I doubt that greatly.
- They want us to join them. I tell him straight up the others have their free will but I joined once. It ended horribly. I don’t want anyone interfering with what I see that needs to be done: the reawakening of the gods. I got sidetracked last time. Not this time. That and I do not want to get close to people. I just got my sister back for a couple of months to have her ripped from me.
- He’s familiar with Pronkar. And was surprised that I knew about Toza, Lorelei, and Kayeshna. But I didn’t give him any hint of the relationships between us aside that Kayeshna stole my sister. Bloody bitch needs to die horribly.
- He tried recruiting me again but I have no interest to interact with large groups of people. The number with me right now hit an all time high and I’m not enjoying it. Especially when there’s the continued referral to me being a demon.
We discussed smiting me. I actually laughed as it won’t work on me. But I invited Ozoso to try it if he didn’t believe me. The man figured out that I’m broken well gee yeah. I pretty much told him I know. I told him flatly that he won’t be able to shame nor degrade me. I have no honour, and I’m not afraid of pain. There are times in which death is a mercy denied.
I think I succeeded in proving to him that I’m not right fit for his cell. I honestly don’t want to be among so many people again.
But he insists that I meet with Lheare. I argued against the chosen location. We argue debated for a great deal of my watch. Eventually I agreed to meet her away from the magic dead zone, after the egg hatches and barring orders from a god.
Then it was time to wake people. Asra brought a couple of rabbits to share. I prepped and cooked them. Daniel’s on a hot rock to give it a sear and leave it mostly raw. Everyone else got fully cooked. Daniel seemed to enjoy it, but the others tried being discrete about the char. Oops. I may have to use Father’s memories….
Shadow and I exchanged names. It’s a peace offerings, I’m not sure if she recognised it. And we’re off. I’m hampered by the fact that I can’t fly. I’m not in the mood to humour folks with my tail, horns, wings, and red flesh. I scout the human method and take point.
Our paths diverge and I see the elf veering Daniel to their path. I ignite a spark and turn it into a butterfly, Daniel’s weakness. He predictably follows it back onto the path I’m taking. Shadow moves to intercept and I keep him going.
I don’t know what went down, but the Ork is taking his armour off and charges at Daniel to bodily take him. Abduction is not going to happen. I move to intercept then the human calls a stop to it all, saying that they are to stick with us. And a lunch is called. I argue that we don’t have time for that, but everyone seems happy about the break.
Except me. I feel… Trapped. There’s something coming and it’s not good nor nice. But we eat lunch. And we talk about not much. I’m silent, watching for trouble approaching. Then Ozoso says friends approach. Who’s?
There’s rustling in the bushes from the north. I’m up with my hand on the tattoo.
Jumpy comes the orc’s comment. You bet your life I am. I am charged with guarding Pyrico’s egg.
An elf woman approaches…. She’s a wizard! And she’s a former apprentice of Toza…. I’m not certain how her reaction will go should she figure out who I am. I am not in the mood for any tests. And I don’t want to talk about what had happened to me. Let her study my scars. Fyraiia. That’s her name.
Then this man, no dwarf. A bald dwarf? Is he sick? Dishonoured? In mourning? He approaches the group and demands: Now which one of you is the demon?
I turn to hide my leg with the tattoo as the orc points at me with a smug smile upon his tusked face. I catch Daniel also pointing at me. I quickly cast spark and turn it into a butterfly to get his attention yet again and distract him. But the orc still points. I just want to scream I’m not a demon, but instead I say it. He counters with I fly. I turn to show my back, do you see any wings? He argued again, so I tell him to try and smite me. Demons are evil. I’m not. At least I’m certain I’m not. I’ll study myself when I can ground.
The dwarf approaches and I’m backing up, he’s getting too close to me then drops to his knee. I look at Jern bordering on panic. Perhaps not the reaction he was expecting as he looked back confused.
This dwarf pledges himself to safeguard me. What in the infernal Hell is going on?
I ask his name and he stated Jorunn. And he’s charged with protecting me. Right his leader needs my ritual knowledge…. I may have value of a different coin.
Doesn’t mean I like it though. I tell him to get back on his feet. And we get into a debate about where to take the egg. I want to get to the cave. Shadow states the forest is slooped slightly like a nest. We should head to the center.
But there’s several problems.
- It’s the island where the elves live on. Elves that are Pyrico’s primary followers and in stasis.
- It’s well within the resonance zone of the gods fighting. This can disrupt his hatching as one of the gods is his sworn enemy. Fyraiia says she can shield the egg.
- His hatching will potentially involve a lot of fire… Which will destroy the elven village and potentially kill the elves. This is glossed over as the group seems to expect Pyrico to resurrect everyone. He’ll be a baby! But I just fall silent. They don’t seem to care about the mass murder. They ignore that comment that I make.
- Toza is in the center. This finally gets a reaction. Fyraiia pales. And the talk turns to how to distract him. I point out he won’t be easily distracted if at all. Especially if he’s charged with a task, like killing the egg. Psyren volunteers to head to his tower. I REALLY do not like this. It screams wrong at me.
It all does, yet they are all for this plan. Should I yield? It’ll be easier. But it feels wrong. All of it.
Pyrico isn’t a good to demand blood sacrifice. An entire village of his followers….. No. No. No! Psyren to die? Again. No. Not right. The inner fires start to still, but I’m silently screaming.
There’s the cave. It’s a system of tunnels. There’s a building or structure or something under the lake. We avoid Toza. He can’t teleport there.
Jern and Gronx have the egg. The egg of my patron. The start of a new world reborn.
Do we want a world reborn where it’s okay to sacrifice an entire village? That life isn’t important?
This is wrong. I must take back the plan that they derailed. I must. Or everything will be corrupted.
The fire moves in my soul. In my heart.