A Light in the Dark

Shadow thoughts

I am unaccustomed to this and believe it will lead to the downfall of the cause I have joined, both for safety, and for sense.

I will note that we have successfully joined the group we were detailed to protect, after notable difficulties, and are currently engaged to re-establish both deities, and magic, in our world.

I reiterate; I believe this “log” to be a less than prescient concept, and only leaves evidence for our enemies to use against us.

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The Adventures of Princess Floofy Pants and Sidekick!
A Quest for Licorice

Princess’ Log
Sillydate Nestar 10, 1280

I’ve been alone for so long…. my new sidekick refuses to acknowledge me. It’s SO LONELY!!!! I think it’s been three days or something. I don’t really know. Every second is like an eternity.

But wait!

Someone’s holding me!!!

No. No no no… don’t say aaaaaaaaaanythiiiiiiiing…….

He’s taking me out of the store! YAAAAAAY!!!!!

Quiet… Not too loud. You don’t want to greet him just yet.

……

……………

NOW!

He thinks he’s crazy.

Finally starting to talk to me. YAY!

Princess’ Log
Sillydate Nestar 15, 1280

One of my sidekick’s friends is in trouble! Warn him! We go!

Off into the wilderness! Dangerous trek! Takes us minutes, at least! Getting so tired….

But wait! There they are!

Run to help! I urge him on. GO SIDEKICK!!!

EWWWW!!!!! SPIDER!!!!!!!

Sidekick recoils in abject horror! Urge him on more. I’m the hero of the day.

Princess’ Log
Sillydate Nestar 22, 1280

I hear a noise in a building as we pass by. Sounds like danger. I warn Sidekick. We burst through the door, ready to help!

EXPLOSIONS!

PAIN!

FLASHES OF LIGHT!!!

EVERYTHING TURNS UPSIDE DOWN, INSIDE OUT, AND BACKWARDS FORWARDS!

Someone turned out the lights! Can’t see! But there’s battle! Onward trusty Sidekick!

We get all fight-y! Win, of course! But wait! There’s a scary winged woman! Enemy? No… friend, apparently. Will need to watch this one.

Princess’ Log
Sillydate Frell 17, Year 13 apparently

I’M A TIME TRAVELLER!!!!!

Not sure if we went forward or backwards in time. If backwards, can you imagine strange hairy Sidekick wielding TWO OF ME?

Into some woods! It’s scary! But I’ll make sure to comfort Sidekick!

Princess’ Log
Sillydate Frell 26, Year 13

………….he doesn’t love me anymore. Replaced me with something younger and sexier….

But there’s things to eat around here. Maybe I’ll just eat my sorrows away…..

NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM!!!!!!!

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Soooooooo much drama

So we got the soon to be omelette and run like hell. And running.
…running.
I am picked up I approve, easier.
Running. I have time to think about where I sit in this world. Don’t like it. Must change.
And a cave. My god is like to have a nice bed. Curl up in corner. No one expects me to watch camp. Things have went how I wanted them to.
Jeff you lazy shit come out and watch my body.
Voices as I drift off. Are they back? No this one’s new. Jeff? Oh crap it’s Jeff. Whatever.
Running.
More thinking.
Running.
Jern is useful and perhaps can be used.
The giant is useless to me.
Running
Ameira is a force to be reckoned with. Her allies too. All useless if I can’t use them.
Running.
I’m informed “meat shield” isn’t a good term to use. Oh well.
Noises are heard. Enemies? More people to recruit? Whistle to give away location. SHUT UP JEFF IT’S A GREAT IDEA!
people coming. Whistle. Get hit. Worth it. Elf? Org? I can use the orc. Dwarf puts on a show. Stabbing occur. Org is paled in.
……shit
Elf seems chill. Halfling even More So. Halflings a caster. Useful.
And cue the FUCKING BULLSHIT DRAMA. Seriously shit wouldn’t end. Ok we be walking.
Elf offers to protect and help me. Significantly more useful.
Camp.
Go check on the orc.
Thank whatever god I have to for this fucking ring. This bitch has a fucking stick capable of telling a person’s aura. Fuck this stick but damn it’s useful. The orc seems to like me. This works for me for the time being. Perhaps I won’t be skewered after all.
Seriously though apparebtly they all know I have the furs. Who the fuck told them and when I find them I’m melting some fucking faces!
And cue that damn nudist and the orc getting it on.
Back to the other camp.
Wake up to cooked foods in my face. Jackpot bitches….waaaaaait why’s ameira handing it to me? Apparently she’s being nice. I’m curious and intrigued. Let’s see how far this’ll go.
Cue the god damn walking. The never ending fucking walking oh my good god this is aweful!
And drama.
Bitching.
Everyone is fucking useless.
Gonna burn it all to the fucking ground.
Halfling is totally on board. I like him. He’s fun.
More bitching.
Hairless dwarf What? WHO DIS YOU WRONG MY LITTLE DWARF!?!?!

…… WAIT!!!!!….there was some majestic fucking butterflies made of the fire variety. I require one MILLION of them!
Like yesterday. I need them.

Oh hey orc offers food and wine! Only a sip. I like being aware. But apparently everyone loves me. This is splendid as shit.

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A Plan Derailed
Why in the name of all that's holy do they travel with an Orc?!

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.
Intriguing.

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.

But how?

The fire moves in my soul. In my heart.

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Jern Staalbred: Journal - Pt. 14
In which we don't take kindly to being stalked

We continued to get the fuck out. All day. I may not have the Fastest legs, but I Do have the most stable legs apparently, as I was the only one who did not waver.

Ameira darts off into a hollow, calls us in. She wants to take cover in there. I’m not going to pass up a chance to sleep under the earth when granted one. Especially after 3 days of dancing and running. Everyone else began just falling to the ground and sleeping, so I opted for first watch.

4 hours pass without issue. Go to wake up Ameira, she protests. Strongly. With blades. Finally convince her.

Wake up. Everyone else is asleep, including Ameira. Swore perhaps a bit louder than I needed to, but whatever. It’s morning now anyways.

Ameira wakes up with a bang, resulting in a lot of nearby smoke, as well as that which causes it. Gets put out fortunately, fasts are broken, and off we go again. Me with the egg, and Gronx with me, for sake of expedience.

Days pass without significant varience. Run. Eat. Sleep. Run.

Another day continuing as such. Suddenly, noise. Shouts. A tree being felled. Ameira lands in front of us. There’s a group coming for us. No recognizable insignia or outfits. We prep for combat, and relocate strategically.

Mostly. Would have been if Daniel hadn’t begun whistling and gave our positions away.

Ameira pointed out the targets. One of them is a bloody stinking Orc. She sneaks off out into the trees to flank the Bugger. I step out and try to keep his attention. Some other elf looking lady says to leave him alone cause he’s Pretty. I disagree.

Ameira gets in behind and slashes him in the back. I charge up to do my part.

I try to anyways. The elf steps in between the Orc and I and and deflects my hammer. Alright. She gets the hits instead. We begin trading blows amidst words as their pet human tries to stop the battle. Apparently he’s some kind of Priest, and Ameira vouches for him. I disengage and head over towards Daniel at her request. Despite the combat being waylaid, the Orc tries to attack her from behind like the honourless swineborne he is, and goes flying over her shoulder.

We have a friendly discussion about the legitimacy of a Paladin of Mud, or an Orcish Paladin of fucking Warmonger for that matter, their goal of “escorting us and our egg back to their rebellion,” and our previous experiences with people coming after us in the woods. Daniel gets tired of people speaking to each other; as always; so he and the chatty elf wander off up the trail. The rest of us eventually go on after them.

As evening comes upon us, camps are made up, the Orc off on his own with some kind of alarm stick. Daniel went to rest over there. I began studying the runic rituals I’d need to know going forward. Then the noises began. I suppose Psyren and the Orc were hitting it off. And on. The cat came back.

Traded off watch with Gronx, and got my rest.

Woke up in the morning to the smell of rabbit that had been cooking too long. Tasted fine enough on the inside. Learned the Elf’s named Shadow, and their pocket halfling’s been given the name Biggles. Poor sod

We pack and wander. Ameira sets an illusory burning butterfly into Daniel’s view to keep him going in the right direction. The orc disrobes, and starts charging after him. I saw Ameira move to intercept, but then the Orc stopped short at his humans’ behest.

More bickering over what our goals are. Daniel keeps voicing his desire to leave and go with the other group. We have lunch. More allies arrive?

An elf woman, and one of my kin who seems to have been parted from his hair and beard. I try to dissuade others from asking him about it, as I’ve never met a Dwarf, shorn for any reason other than expulsion from their clan and their hold. Not light things to talk about.

He asks to be pointed towards the Demon the group was told we marched with. Daniel and the Orc both pointed at Ameira, and I’m surprised she didn’t ash them on the spot. The new Kinsman immediately goes down on a knee in front of Ameira and pledges himself to her service. She looks at me as if I’m going to have some answers as to why he’s doing that with her.

Moooooooore discussion about goals and directions, going to the island, shielding the egg, setting the island on fire. Simple enough with one small problem. Specifically, there is a Toza on the island, and that’s a very bad thing. Some kind of dickhead Archmage. Wasn’t really aware another flavour existed, but that’s neither here nor there.

It’s determined that to hatch the god, we need to draw Toza away from the village on the island. It’s suggested to attack his tower, which is much elsewhere, heavily warded, heavily guarded, and likely easily returned to by the evil bastard. Suicide mission.

Further fruitless discussion, and pissing about we’re thinking too hard and should just go and smack things. Guess by whom. Unfortunately, as no one offers any better ideas, the distraction by means of self-sacrifice, with Psyren leading the attack, is our plan A. Guess she’s booking on being resurrected when the god is.

We need to figure out something better.

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DANIEL'S FREAKING JOURNAL
Date: who even really gives a shit

Jeff, you should’ve seen it! But your lazy ass was sleeping like it always is you lazy piece of crap. Anywho I saw the most majestic thing yesterday! Or was it the day before? I don’t even know. Whatever, it was majestic. There I am frolicking along and I come across a mountain! I know exciting right? It gets better! Hard to believe I know! But yeah, this mountain was pregnant! I just happened to come across at the exact time a dwarf was being born! It was truly the most beautiful thing I’ve seen since the burnt orphanage. Not sure if that was a dream or not but it was still pretty great. Anywho, apparently dwarves are born fully grown and fully bearded too with a full set of armour! Such mysterious creatures. But slow as balls my lord. I thought it was cuz he was just born but apparently not. Quite annoyed with their stumpy legs. So slow ugh!
So yeah some other things happened, stuff attacked us, stuff was murdered. I got to cut into one of my new meat shields to save his life so that was pretty exciting!
Ummmmmm what next…….. oh! Butterfly! I saw one last night, so majestic. A sick ass purple colour with some sweet ass blue spots. Oh man jeff, if you weren’t asleep you prolly would’ve tried eating it. Then I prolly would have had to kill you again….
MOTHER FUCKING EXPLOSIONS OH SHIT SON!!!!!! frolick my ass on down to the end of the world right freaking now beyatch.
Oh shit shinies! Oh shit dude with the biggest balls I’ve ever seen. Seriously, dude needs some pants what the hell. Not cool dude I’m like at that height. Hey it’s my dwarf! Oooh shines! Oh shit I’m being attacked! Oh shit they think I’m a traitor! Tensions are high as shit SON!
Cue the anxiety attacks as I’m stripped of my hood. Oh no kill me now. I do not FUCKING APPROVE. and if these people couldn’t kill me by breathing on me I’d melt all their faces god damn.
I have been touched. Cue the 3rd degree. Cue more anxiety.ugh. apparently person thinks they can tell when I’m lying. Like not that I am. But if I was they wouldn’t know. Fancy ass ring protects me from people knowing my aura and from telling if I’m lying or not. Should I lie for shits and giggles? Prolly not.
YAY DARKNESS AS HOOD IS RETURNED!
Ok shinies. Apparently I’m pretty decent at finding out what magical shit does. Been a very exhausting session of learning though. Might take a nap after this.
Wait no nap cult shit occurring. Woooooooooot. Oh god this is exhausting. Kill me now.
OH GOD EXPLOSIONS! I DIDN’T ACTUALLY MEAN KILL ME!
cling to this bitch ass tree like a boss. Ooh an egg. It’s a god? Sooooooo god yolk? Breakfast of champions? Who wants scrambled?….. no….. we need to go to a fancy was resturaunt to cook this shit. It’d be wrong otherwise. Shit we be running oh noes.

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We Rise Up As the Flames
I swore to guard the egg with my life

I arrived back in camp with Sslith’luic still weak from the memory transfer. I need to sort through the memories, get acquainted with them, so see what’s useful. The monk’s meditation will be.

I still have Sslith when I speak to Jern about what’s planned. Then I hear that voice. The little mage is back.

Where is he?

The look on Jern’s face told me he knew that Daniel was in trouble. He pointed. I gently laid Sslith down by the fire, then charged at Daniel. I tackled and pinned him. Then demanded to know where he was, what had he done, why he left the group. I back handed him as his answers made no sense. He asked why. I slapped him.

You left in the middle of the night, the Kabal came and attacked. Then you come back.

Somehow he began to understand that he may have lead them here partially. Or knew they were coming. He quickly began to talk but it still did not make sense. I reached back to strike him again when a large hand grabbed my neck and lifted me off of him. I allowed my claws to come out and dig in the wrist as I was turned to face Gronx’s scowling face. I met it and told him what Daniel had done.

Daniel was slowly getting up and was talking about the beautiful butterfly, but what butterfly? I haven’t seen one.

I was placed upon the ground and Psyren tapped Daniel’s forehead and gave me the ok to talk to him. I asked him the why’s to him leaving and returning. I asked him to reveal who he is, much to his great discomfort. He revealed a brown and black furry arm, but it wasn’t enough. I told him to show me his face. After some glares he whimpered and whined and revealed a lovely feline face. A brown tabby, if he were a house cat. There’s no way he’s working for the Kabal knowingly. He whines about being uncomfortable with this, I felt pity. He spoke of being experimented upon, cut up, used. I feel a little bad about beating him, but it was coming.

I allowed him to hide himself. Whether he knows it or not, I understand. We, the group who have been traveling with him didn’t care he is something unknown. Jern actually asked me if I knew his species. I’ve fought felineoids before, but none of his kind. He’s either a teenager, or something else full grown.

His actions place him into the young catagory. I spoke to him, trying to pin him down as either a book magi like my father or a blood magi like mother and I.

He’s not trained at all. Doesn’t even know some of the fundamental basics. I may have a student… Maybe.

I move with Gronx to talk to him and figure out what is going on. Sslith never liked him, and attacked him before moving on to help Jern. He insists that he’s here to protect me. I’m rather hoping we can take a step back on our relationship, I’m free, we’re free. I need to relax more around people before I consider continue with whatever it was we had. I just really need a friend or three that I can trust.

I am more calm now. But I need to sit down and focus my thoughts to identify the trinkets. Some of the jewelry looks like it’ll be good to enchant…. Need a labouritory or something like that to do it. And someone who knows how.

I figure to see how well Daniel fares in identifying the potions and stuff. He’s got some good raw talent, though a potion stumped us both. I’ll wait and study it later. It was an interesting time, and I’m more relaxed.

I do give items to Daniel though I switch some of the wants with what I have. And I need to show him how to recharge wands as he admits that he has a couple of spells in his blood. Ad we have a couple of wand pairs. I shall show him how to recharge using a wand too!

But I set down rules for Daniel with Jern’s input.

*No more running off without us or letting us know.

*Do not friviously use the wand of bull’s strength, use it on the ‘meat shields’ as he calls them. He gave examples of when it’ll be a good idea to use it and we agreed.

*He’s to be in the back at battles raining down death to our enemies and buffering us, so he gets a necklace if fireball.

*If we are captured, his task is to get away and figure out how to break us free. To aid in this, he gets a wand of knock. I will teach him how to charge from another wand later.

Other rules were discussed, and we may need to add in more later. Magic is about self control with great outbursts of energy. Chaos rains then.

I finish and take a few things I want. I then sit by the pyre to feel the flow if magic and meditate. It’s warm, but not hot. The magic is like a vortex that swirls into and away the pyre at the same time. I know not how long I float, but I know I got up and began to move to the flow. There’s a drumming somewhere, like a heart beat. Eventually fire erupts from my hands and my sandals have been kicked off. I twirl the fire, making it move with the magic flow, a visual guide, then I set to etching in the magic diagram to focus the energy we will be raising, etching in the intent of the ritual, putting in symbols to amplify our energy, other symbols to focus our flow into the natural flow. While much is taken from the ritual that the Efreet drew for me using mine as a base, I adapt it to what I have. The cloak comes off, the gauntlets are too restricting. I take coloured powders that I’ve been grounding from things I’ve found and add it to the ash drawings. I take a claw and slice a vein to control the letting of blood, linking the ritual to me for the anchoring and so I take that backlash first, to prevent my companions from taking damage. It’s also to drive home my intent of bringing back Pyrico.

If Jern is paying attention he should make his way to the circle. My dress is just too much. I’m left in a belt with some jewellery.

That feels better.

I focus on leading the rising energy towards the center, following the natural paths, then out to the outer ring and back again. I move around the circle, into the square out of the square, weaving what is gathering. We started late so I cut my wrists a second time. The bleeding will stop on its own. My scimitar is now in my hands, my red hands with deep black nails, no claws.

I let myself go, falling into the ritual dance, it feels good. Very good.

The sun had risen, peaked, set. The moon had also risen, peaked, and now… As it sets and the sun rises, I feel the call. The urge.

Now!

My blade, how long had it been lit? Moves in to touch the pyre that was freshly restocked with timber and dried grasses. It lights up so fast, so loud, so hot. It drinks the energy up and then pierces the fog mist, clearing a path through the heavens. A deep warning inside of me echoes Christoph’s worried about a beacon.

But the beauty of it….

It screams up. Breaking the cloud cover, then it crashes back. The heat is intense, and I’m tossed backwards from the ritual site. There’s a vacuum of nothing which pulls air and the fire back in almost as roughly as it was pushed out. But the fire is warm, comforting. My wounds are healed. I roll with the force and land gracefully with my wings tight upon my back. My scimitar is gone.

I knew this could have happened, it was a direct link to Pyrico. But where is he? I look about and upon the pyre is a beautiful black egg, shiny like polished obsidian with amber, red and other fire colours playing upon the shell. Is he in it? I shake my awe away and approach respectfully. I gently touch the egg, it’s warm, there’s life. I pet it softly, taking some comfort. This will need guarding.

Sitting beside the god egg is my scimitar. Surprised my hand moves to it, and then I’m no longer at the pyre.

I’m before my patron god. I drop to my knees and bow my head in respect. He speaks and I look up to him.

He is inside the egg.
But I’m not just safe guarding his return…. But also the rebirth of the world, for if the egg is destroyed the world too dies.

I ask him what do I do with the egg. Meaning to help him hatch.

I think he took it literally for he told me to keep the egg warm and safe.

Now go. You must leave.

I snapped back. I’m before the egg and my scimitar.

I hear Jern’s voice, but I don’t hear his words.

We need to go, I tell him, grabbing the scimitar and putting it to my leg. I look at the egg.

Get your gear, we must leave now.

I move, grabbing my clothing and getting dressed, informing them that we must guard the egg. Sslith’lac licks his lips and Daniel makes a comment about an omelette or some such thing…

Jern takes the egg and points out that he’s stronger than I am. I concede to his logic. I can scout and rear guard, while Psyren watches our flanks. Sslith’lac moves to aid Psyren while Gronx takes up the back.

Where to go?

Where?

That dark place. The Triple Threat couldn’t find it. That’s why Pronkar took Mother and Chang there. He drained Mother dangerously low, mocked my guardian there…. It’s a cave. It’ll echo with bad memories for me….

But it’ll be safer than the pyre beacon.

That beacon…. Has my signature all over it. Has all the participants’ essences… But mine foremost. Anyone with any natural talent, trained knowledge, would have sensed it. According to Jern, Kahstol and Warmonger were still at the fighting. We need to get to safety, and I need to hatch this precious egg.

But trouble is coming.

And while the ritual high gives me strength to move, I worry about when the drain will hit. We all raised energy, we are all in danger of dropping after the high wears off.

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Jern Staalbred: Journal - Pt. 13
In which we had a dance party.

Ameira took off with the Vampire. They seemed to know each other, so if he hasn’t turned her yet, I suppose he’s not likely to. Left me with Gronx, Sslith’lac, and Psyren. The big bugger starts staring me up and down, making gestures at me. Specifically regarding my height. I reply regarding His size versus the trees. Slaps his arm, and is unable to elaborate. Sslith’lac explains that he wants to know if I’m guarding Ameira. I express that Yes. That is my duty.

He grabs my arm and squeezes. He finds no give. Steps back and looks over at some rustling in the bushes. Daniel comes trolliping through towards us. I investigate where he’d been, explained what happened, make introductions. As he’d been off playing with a butterfly when we were being ambushed, I denied him the right to any of the loot until everyone who participated in the battle got their share. Sat him down with a stick whose distance he needed to maintain.

Ameira came back, tackled and assaulted Daniel for having bookended the attack with his presence. Explanations given, we learned that we were getting dangerously close to ritual time. Took the book and began re-reviewing what I would need to have covered.

After I felt comfortable with my study, I checked around for a stump or a hollow log I could use to drum on with my hammers. Hard to get everyone dancing together without a beat.

Things started getting going. Runes cast, circles circled. Ameira’s form began to change. Clothes began to shed. Dancing began.

Can’t say I was Really sure of what was going on, but the charging of energy was seriously palpable. Maybe too much so for Daniel, who had to quoff the Potion of Endurance to keep going.

Sun rose. Moon left. Sun peaked. Sun left. Moon rose. Moon peaked. Dawn began to approach.

I really don’t remember much of what was going on all that time. At some point flames started picking up all around us. I didn’t pay them much heed because they weren’t hurting me with my new ring on.

Then shit erupted.

Flash of light.

Sound.

Fire

The ground pulled away from me.

When we met again I tried to plant myself, but was tripped up from behind by a traitorous rock. Tumbled over onto my ass before the shockwave passed.

A moment later, as I righted myself, a second blastwave came in from behind. I was ready for it this time, and managed to hold my ground. And the ground 20 feet in front of me. And all the ground in between.

The flames dissipated, and there was some kind of obsidian egg half as tall as me sitting in the middle of the ritual circle. Assumedly this is the god we were calling down. Ameira walked over,and tried to pick up her scimitar with a hand on the egg, and halted. Eyes rolled back, unmoving. Went to check on her, no response. Called to Psyren to find out if this a normal part of ritual work. Didn’t want to move her if there was some kind of important energy transfer happening. Had to explain this to Daniel when he came over and wanted to remove the scimitar from her touch. He remained curious, and Psyren didn’t seem to care whether or not things were touched.

Ameira woke up suddenly with a shock. Literally, as she was knocked backwards. Managed to catch her and keep her on her feet, but there wasn’t really any time for questioning, as she announced that we need to move NOW. Packed up with the haste and we took the fuck off.

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My Life Writes Tragedies, Not Comedies
Bitch stole my sister.

Dawn was still a couple of hours away. All was well and quiet still. I got up to awaken the next person on watch: Psyren.

I went to my tent and poked in. Psyren was asleep, so I grabbed her ankles and yanked. I got her sword whips around my neck for my mischief. I don’t bother to tell her about how Jern and I had spoken about the gladiators that I know. But I do smile at her when she tells me to never do that stunt again. I tell her that I’m going to do something stupid.

The golem heart. That’s the something stupid. She almost seemed disappointed. I pulled my book that I have been using to write rituals and a non ceremonial quill and plain black ink. I then sat with it on my lap and began to study it in both normal sight and magical.

It’s a few years old, between 3 and 4 years I believe. The entity trapped is a demon. No chance of releasing that foul incarnation. The heart still has a fair amount of energy to it. I can use it to power a ritual. Would have to be for evil or chaotic purposes, as I do not want to contaminate a ritual. The magical signature…. That’s familiar. Similar to Toza’s, but made by different hands. So an apprentice, not Rajin. I know Rajin’s magical signature. Its duty was to guard the path that we found it upon. Once dispatched, there was some magic code to trigger and alert the creator of this thing’s destruction. I figured that would be the case. Damnit. But, the worrying part is that the creator can track the heart. In my bag of holding it should be shielded as it’s a dimensional pocket…. I hope.

While it was something stupid some useful information did come from it.

I cursed and broke my trance, and didn’t say much to Psyren, other than note that dawn had arrivred. Psyren begged to awaken Jern, which I gave her leave. She had told me that two of our number had vanished. I recited who was with us, and realised the two that I didn’t trust were gone. I looked at where they had been asleep and all was gone. To the foul Abyss with them. No doubt on their way to get away from the ritual crazed woman. I’m glad I didn’t show my true self to them.

Jern is awake, and he seems a bit annoyed at Psyren for not informing us sooner about the disappearance. We break our fast and Pheraya is a bit worried, but Jern finds their tracks and they seem to head in the direction that we were traveling in. This is good as I do not want to waste time searching for them.

Jern set the pace with me correcting his direction while serving as flank and rear guard. We stopped for a short lunch then continued into evening til my sister couldn’t see so well. Watches were divised and we slept lightly. Then we traveled hard the next day and by what would normally be dusk we found the sacred zone.

If I had known we were this close I would have done Pheraya’s naming ritual last night. So much to get done! I tell her we are going to do it. She’s oddly hesitant, but she does have a valid point, it’s not right without the family. But ritual magic is only done by adults. I know it may seem odd to Jern, as she is an adult, but she’s not officially an adult. It matters, especially as I have to take my duties as the eldest holder of rituals seriously.

While she skulked off, I set to cleaning and setting up a circle to perform the rite. I was excited. Jern even took his armour off to assist me. I was deeply honoured. I should have paid better attention, but I was busy etching in the symbols and circles necessary to he rite. The passage would happen when the moon reached its zenith, so I had time. I laid out offerings to the Gods. While working Psyren had approached to express her unease of my practicing ritual work. She honestly didn’t understand that the drain is natural, the days to recover as well. I explained that this wasn’t a ritual but a rite of passage. Sadly the traditional hunt and party would have to be postponed. I gave her the task of grabbing my sister and bringing her back for the rite. It is a modification to tradition.

She left in s much better mood, and I charged Jern with guarding the site. I understand some of her concern, since some rituals can end in death… But I wish she would just accept it, like my wings and tiny scales.

I head to the sacred pyre and begin burning away the underbrush. If I’m to do the ritual at 1st light, I need a clean area, and time to feel the ebb and flow of the magic here. I may start the sketching predawn. I’ll see. I’m very careful to leave a 2 foot area around the pyre untouched. I don’t want to risk setting it ablaze before it’s time. I keep working as time ticks by, stopping to eat and check on the moon’s hazy progress. When the zenith approaches I head back to the rite site, and set the outer ring aflame. Ok, so there’s a minor ritual in play, but it’s very minor. That’s when I hear Psyren.

She’s in trouble. I’m confused, the woman fights better than myself. I head out to check what the problem is, not realising that Jern follows.

Pheraya has a knife at Psyren’s throat, and I joke about it, as how could my sister best her? Then a voice that’s not my sister’s speaks, telling Jern to cease putting his armour on. I keep approaching, slowly and study her. There’s a giggle, similar to Nameless’. I call his name and ask him what’s going on.

You have an active imagination.

Threat. This is a serious threat. My hands want the scimitar, but I leave it in my leg. She took my father from my mother! Kya’ishna! She’s like Father and my sister! And a lot more powerful.

You stole Father. Get the hell out of my sister!

My anger is growing. I should have snuck the rite on her. Damnit! She laughs again, and I can’t help but growl. I can’t do anything to save my sister. My magic would kill the body. I can shunt the bitch out of my sister.

I switch languages, and speak to Psyren and reveal that I know what she is. Can you push her put of my sister?

I think she tried before shaking her head.

The bitch asks us what are we talking about and demands that we stop. How fast can I move? There’s movement, and I take off to collide into my sister’s body, hoping to disrupt a teleportation. I’m atop of Psyren, my clawed fingers are entwined in my sister’s hair, but she’s not responsive.

What has happened? When did this happen? When was my sister not?

Anger, my familiar state of being rages in my chest as I try to force myself to think straight. Sorrow, I hate it, but it’s there biting at me. I failed my sister, I didn’t protect her.

Before I could dwell further, Jern yells at me and points out the movement in the bushes. Angrily, I threw the fire from the rite at the movement, casting them all in light. There’s shouts, screams, and curses. Psyren and I are on our feet and weapons are in hand.

Thoughts of rites and rituals are gone. My sister is dead or unconscious, and enemies approach. I stride forward and Jern seems confused. Slavers, I tell him and he growls.

I don’t remember much of the fight, I was angry. The asshole who harmed me was there, shouting orders. I didn’t want him banished. He’ll tell the Efreet. Gronx was there, and he seemed, uncertain. I can’t blame him, I fled and left him behind. But he attacks the asshole. Sslith’luic is also here, and attacked Gronx until the big man changed his target. Was there a spell? I set a slave on fire then smacked another one. I wasn’t worried. Jern was doing good even without his armour.

Then frozen hell happened. Oh my gods! The cold. The pain. I felt my core freeze, I was near death. I know I wailed like a banshee in the rawness of it. I had to cocoon myself in the fire to hide and thaw, and heal. Kill the humans I know that was my voice. Kabal had followed like I thought they would. But to the sacred space! This is bad! Very bad. We cannot retreat or they will desecrate it. Rage gave my fire heat and I directed Jern and Sslith as they worked together. In seconds the fire planars and the slaves were gone. Then the men and Psyren killed the others save one who teleported away. Great!

I’m denied any killing, and both Toza and the bastard know where I am.

Hells bells and banshee wails!

I direct the group, since that seems to be what I’m best at still frozen in the core. They are to strip the enemies, beware of traps, and I’ll go through the pile. I desecrate their corpses. Damn them all to be currency in the Abyss. I set them aflame, but the anger is a living entity. I cannot focus. Pronkar drops a few bodies before dropping by Jern. I head to him and try and keep my anger in check, but I can’t.

I had stripped my sister to go over every item on her with Psyren’s help. We went over every inch of flesh. Not a single mark. And I don’t dare cut her open to search. She’s still alive. Her soul is gone. Not that hell for her again. Oh dear God’s, hear me, spare her that! But I think my silent prayer is for naught, so I focus on what I can do. I know her true name. True names have power. And we are full blood sisters. There has to be a way to fix this. Mom knew a way to bring back Justin, surely there’s a way to steal a stolen soul. If not, I will find it! Even if I have break every barrier the holds me back on my maternal grandfather’s side.

I’m before Pronkar, I’m not sure if I spoke, so I try again. I thank him for his aid, but I need his help in a different way. I can’t fix Pheraya. His sister in law stole her soul and I need her put somewhere safe where she will be fed, cleaned, looked after. He agrees. His expression changed, it softened then hardened. He hates the woman. Something about his nephew that she tried to kill. The nephew my mother saved, guarded and was willing to raise as her own. There’s a little relief but not much. I snarl about a lack of person to question. I growl about the man who escaped and the asshole too. I am out of time. Lets see who gets us first.

I didn’t realise it then, but I reverted to how I was over a year ago, my timeline. Angry, hurt, unable to hurt back. My sister is gone! Stolen! And I couldn’t do anything to save her. I need someone to hurt badly.

I ask the two now free men if either would care to spare. Pronkar instead tells me to follow. I comply. There’s no asking why with that voice of his at that tone We move away from the group, and we spare hard. The pain felt good. We spoke, and I think he still cares about me. I raged. I lashed out in unfocused anger. He doesn’t want me to allow the pain nor the rage to consume me. He doesn’t want me to do his mistakes. I made a joke, well, not really a joke, about it being darn near impossible for me to be turned into a vampire. I get shunted off plane when I die. I thought he would beat me for that. Instead I get smacked for not caring about myself. We spared, and worked away at my anger. It’s not my fault what happened to Pheraya. But it’s my duty to protect her. I’m not yet strong enough to try and steal her soul back by ritual. And I need her safe. From others and anyone who would possess her body. He seems worried about myself. I don’t get why. I only nearly died, again. I’m still alive.

We spare til I’m weary and bruised, calmer and coherent. I remember desecrating the bodies. I’m not ashamed of it. I’m about to leave when Pronkar suddenly grabs and embraces me. Old thoughts and fears flash up and I try to break his hold. I don’t want to be touched. The present pain though subsided is still too fresh and too similar to darker days. I fight my way through the instinctive reaction.I know I growled but I’m not certain if I spoke. Did I tell him to fuck off? Or to choke on some ice? Both are automatic responses. I have to think. Gronx and Psyren saw me through this. And this is Pronkar. He’s not going to harm me. I tried to hug him, but he didn’t care then. Or wasn’t certain that I’m me. I force myself to stop fighting him, and it takes me a long time to relax. Finally, I place my horns on his chest, and close my eyes, I’m sorry. I apologise for what I said after our last meeting. I apologise for my savage being. I’m not yet right in the head. I don’t cry, but I’m defeated for a while. I feel the arms around me protectively. There’s no warmth nor beat. He’s undead.

And I don’t cry. I instead thank him for what he’s doing for my sister when I finally pull free. I ask if I get to know where she is. He says no. I understand. I thank him for helping us and for watching over me. And then I’m allowed to depart. It’s a disappointment that I don’t get to know where she’ll be.

But it seems I caused concerns to another. Sslith is up in a tree, where he could watch Pronkar and me. Strange friend, he points out. Family, I correct. I don’t understand why Sslith decided that he would guard me, and mentor me. I told him with me, there’s a war to fight. He stated that there’s a war everywhere. I tried to push him to go back to his home realm. Surely he wants that. I wanted to get back home in a bad way, and I’m very confident that the slaves for the most part got home at death, just harshly banished. But no, he is adamant about remaining with me, to guard me. His skills clearly mark him as a balus, not just a bali, and I said as much. I had to explain that a balus is a wise warrior guardian, a weapon master. It’s so much more than that, but there’s no direct translation. Much like that word he said to me, which meant that I fought and live with honour. There’s more to it, but it’s lost.

We spoke at length about my plans, how I wanted to break the Kabal’s hold, not to be the next ruler, but to allow people to rule themselves. I don’t see how he thinks I’m worthy for his attention, and I point that out. I have no honour. I lost it in the pits to survive. I left him behind and fled. I didn’t take any other slave with me, and even though Psyren told me to go, I didn’t hesitate. My honour is badly mangled. I’m not a leader, I just have an idea and need help to see it done. But with my enemies knowing I’m here, alive and not alone… I may need to raise a barrier, but the number of people needed to raise it…. And the out pouring of magic… That alone is beyond me and the amount of power will gain most if not all the magic wielders’ attention.

I shake my head to get rid of the unwanted thoughts. The elves may have a method. Or Pyrico if we get him back.

I admit it’s overwhelming. I don’t want to be a leader. There are princesses who have been groomed for the task. Elta is one such. I would be better as Mistress of the Rituals. Especially now that I’m the last free Rûe child. Rituals are our only advantage.

We have no healer. Kayishna stole the little lady who was the closest thing to a healer. Sslith was watching me and finally speaks. He disapproves of the desecration of the enemies. Very strongly. He actually told me to not do it again and I know my mother’s fire flared in my eyes. I asked him what his people do to their enemies. They pray that they lead a better life next time. I know I snorted. He went on to say I need to be better than the Kabal. I angrily shot back that they are killing this world. The Gods are gone, magic that they control is needed to grow food, they enslaved the people and are killing the magic by strangling it. They killed my mate, took my aunts and uncles for their use, destroyed my home, killed everyone I knew, loved, and cared for. They destroyed the elven kingdoms, slaughtered and enslaved the dwarves. I am above their level.

We argued. No. I argued, he explained. He explained that I was better than I am. That I have honour, and that I could make a good leader. This is why he decided to come on the hunt for me. Not to capture me but to help me. If I’m willing to learn, he’s willing to guide. Perhaps as my grandfather did for the shiek?

He gives me an odd look, so I repeat, I’m willing to learn but I will make mistakes. He apologises and his hand moved swiftly to cover my face. I tensed and tried to pull away mindful that I’m balanced on a branch high in a tree. I reminded myself that Sslith wasn’t here to harm me and began to relax as the first of the memories stirred. Memories of pain. Memories of fear. I know this about my past. To face them again, is nothing. My great shame will be harder to handle…. Then I realised I’m not the only one seeing these, but Sslith is somehow taking them! I begin to resist. The pain is too personal, to private, to just share. No one wants to know my pain. The pain of losing a loved one, the pain of betrayal. The resignation that family members may need to be killed. The memory of just wanting to die, to see if I die or wake up elsewhere.

The pain of mother losing father to the worm in lava. Pain of my grandmother…. I try and keep my ancestors’ pain too, keep the secret of what I am safe even if I don’t know.

But new memories are flooding in. Being the last of several score of children alive. The pain of a wizard morphing the body. His memories! I flow through them, losing the battle to keep my secrets as he shares his. So many more years of pain, sorrow and oddly lacking bitterness. He lost his home at the monestary. Has seen far more planes than I and had been sold, gambled away and left for dead by various masters.

I feel pity for him. And respect. He is far older than I am, and we both lost our mates, were mal treated.

There’s a falling sensation, then peace of a sort. I awake on the ground, laying on something hard yet pliable. I’m on the ground. I’m sore but not broken, and a heavy arm cradles me. Sslith is under me, his body softened my landing. I lay there reflecting on what he had done. It was a sacred act in his culture I’m certain.

I lay there til he stirs, and soft words are spoken then I carefully get off of him then help his bulkiness to get up. He accepts me for what I am and doesn’t see it as strange.

I help him back to the others, shifting into human form. I’m very uncomfortable. Vulnerable feeling. He notes it and tells me there’s nothing to be uncomfortable with. I told him my mother would be enraged by what he did if he had done it to her. I’m allowed to feel as I do.

He needs his sleep. So I allow him to have it. I have no time for rest or sorting. I need to identify items, then feel the flow of magic. I won’t make first light with the ritual but I need to do it before more things come to kill or capture us.

How will we travel once we’re out of the forest?

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Jern Staalbred: Journal - Pt. 12
In which we receive a delivery of assholes and asshole accessories

Ameira came up, began asking again about my dancing prowess. Explained that while we don’t really do monk wardances or whatever, we do have our own ceremonies and traditional dances. Asked her about some of the other gladiators that may have escaped. There was a big lizardkin named Sslith’lac with spikes implanted or.. Grown out of his body. Possibly by wizards. Another pile of muscles nearly the size of a giant that fights with a 50lb hammer.

Evening past. Wake up. Clarence and Daniel have dissapeared, apparently after his shift and before Psyren’s. Footprints heading in the direction we’re already going. Suggested that next time someone disappears overnight, we let everyone else know Immediately upon discovering it. Psyren doesn’t seem too married to the idea. I’m not so married to the idea of her having a watch then.

As the day went on, the footprints did not. Leastways I was no longer able to find them in the brush. We opted to continue on in the same direction in hopes of catching up to them. By the time evening came around we had no idea at all where they’d gotten themselves to. Ameira hadn’t spotted any trace of them from the sky, and we were running out of light. Found a spot to bunker down and proceeded to do so.

Morning came too early, and with Psyren pounced atop me. She must be full of lifting gas, cause she had hardly any weight to her.

Still no sign of the missing as the day passed. We arrived at the first ritual site. Assisted with the setup as best I could.

Started to learn Runearian(?) from Ameira. Very ancient language. Her mother’s language.

Began to actually prep the ritual sigils and markings as the evening finishes consuming what remained of the sunset.

Suddenly Psyren spoke up about a problem. Specifically, Fifi was standing behind her with a knife to her throat. Talking in a different voice. Began to put my armour back on, but was stopped.

Ameira and her spoke briefly in a tongue I didn’t recognize, before she charged, and Fifi went unconscious. As I picked up my hammer and shield there was a bunch of rustling from the bushes. Pointed this out, and Ameira lobbed a fireball to be met by screaming and bodies being tossed aside. A group of fighters, robed types, a near-giant guy with swinging balls, and a lizard. Check who Ameira wants alive. Apparently the big guy is Gronx. Keep him alive. Alright. Charge and crush one of the clothies. She didn’t want him dead Either. Just the shouty bastard.

Simple enough.

Scratch that, she Doesn’t want anyone killed.

Battle continues for a bit. Now she wants all the Humans killed, and more assholes keep entering the fray.

And more.

And now there are more casters, and Ameira is starting to panic.

The casters froze most of their own crew to death, leaving themselves as pretty well the only significant targets. Not a good decision on their part.

They quickly perished.

After no significant celebration, Ameira went over and confirmed that Fifi is technically still alive, though comatose.

We strip all the bodies, move them off to the side, desecrate them as is appropriate, and toast the lot.

Couple more bodies appear. Pronkar is here apparently. Greeted the first familiar face I’ve seen since arriving. He and Ameira began to chat. Sounds like he serves her? Kayshna is the one that stole Fifi’s soul. Guess we need to get it back. Shit.

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