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Journal of the Souls of Legend (completed)

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Lizard folk in disguise
@HalfOrc HalfBiscuit - Well sometimes it takes a while for the message conduit to reach its destination. Whether you blame planar time dilation, or just a heavy dose of cold medicine is up to you.

The running - 10/17/2019

The multiverse is full of races and cultures. But even Tieflings would admit that the one that has the biggest impact, is the one you see the least of.

The Elves are ever present, even when they aren’t. The elven perspective is the longest view practical. Elven motifs of leaves and flowers are easily seen in art. Their words and phrases are part of the turns of phrase or lyrics of song.

But as much as we see their impact, we really know nothing about them.

And I suspect, that is just the way they like it.

My lungs burned from the exertion of the run. We ran in the dusk towards the west, towards promised safety. There was no pretense of stealth, just an attempt at speed and distance from our foes. Foes that would be swifter, and hungry for a good fight.

I had heard tales from planewalkers to Acheron; a place of constant battles, where the orc and goblin powers waged eternal war. Even there both kinds had allies, but the best known were goblins and their wolfriders. And ‘wolf’ was really a euphemism for a for more savage beast; worgs. Creatures that were arguably more cunning than their riders, and far more dangerous.

And so, I ran with all I had. I remembered how it felt being in the jaws of a hyena; somehow worg had to be worse. I didn’t want to die in the jaws of another beast.

We were being led by Ravalan who was still in pain as the lumbering giant kin lead us westward. Daneath followed close behind was carrying Beepu at this point so we could cover more ground. Iesa and I ran close behind. Mo had retreated into Iesa pack, while both Gossamer and Foggle flew ahead of is looking for trouble.

So, when the attack finally came, we weren’t quite prepared. The worgs were faster than us, and they had managed to flank us, charging straight into us from our left. One of the worgs crashed straight into Daneath, its jaws locked on one of the warrior’s greaves, throwing him to the ground, while its goblin rider swung wildly at the armored man.

Beepu was flung earthward as well with a dull thump. But he was quick on his feet and cast a quick bolt of fire at the goblin rider, knocking him clear from his saddle. But his smile at that victory was short lived, as another worg came snarling for the gnome. The beasts lunge was clumsy as was his rider, but Beepu was scrambling for safety.

Iesa was more fortunate, as he turned and shot an approaching worg in the chest. It snarled in pain and turned away from him, while its rider leapt from the saddle to swing a sword at Iesa, cutting him across the right arm.

I turned to look at the last worg rider, when I realized that its sights were set for Ravalan, and not me. I watched in horror as the worg leapt forward and clenched its jaws on Ravalans right arm and flung him to the ground on his back. Beepu’s worg dove into the fray and clamped down its jaws on Ravalan’s left arm, and together the pair started to drag the Firbolg off. I quickly plucked at some dark strands and tried to tighten the ghostly hands of death around the worg and its rider, hoping to stop them. But my grip was tenuous at best and did little damage that I could feel.

Daneath smashed the pommel of his sword into the worg fastened to his leg, forcing it to release its grip, and gave chase to the worgs that gripped Ravalan, barely keeping up. Iesa next shot knocked the goblin rider attacking Daneath to the ground, and then he too moved to follow the worgs dragging off Ravalan.
Beepu threw another fiery blast at the nearby worg, scorching its fur and skin on its flank. The malevolent beast howled, and it dove for Beepu. Its jaws found purchase on Beepu’s left arm with a sickening crunch, and Beepu screamed in pain, falling prone.

I didn’t think anymore, as I watched the other worg nearby lunge at Beepu falling form. I just ran straight at the scrum and plucked on the strand. The sound of a bell tolled through the air and dark mist swirled around the two worgs. As I reached the fallen gnome, I was gritting my teeth, ready to feel teeth sink into me again. So, I was unprepared for what happened next.

I first felt the pain in my back, and as I looked down, I saw the blade of a sword protruding from my abdomen. I blinked uncomprehendingly; A blade was sticking out from…me? I could feel the warm blood run down my legs.

My blood.

Everything seemed slow, as I turned and screamed some curse on the goblin. Pulling on the light strands I sent a blast of energy straight into the chest of it, knocking its now lifeless corpse to the ground. I felt the blade slide out of me as it fell, scraping every nerve raw as it withdrew. I kept turning and closed with the worgs standing over the fallen gnome. The worgs both lost focus on Beepu and now were fully focused on me.

I heard more bow shots from Iesa and sword play from Daneath in the distance. But it seemed just that; distant. I stood over Beepu fallen form, swinging my shield back and forth, batting away the jaws of the two worgs as I denied them their prey. I felt anger well within me as I pulled again on the darker strands, and once again the peel of the bell sounded, and the mist swirled.

Again, the worgs circled and assaulted me. My anger was boiling; I couldn’t feel the pain anymore as I swung my shield around me, keeping teeth from finding their mark. I yelled and pulled again at dark strands, and I watched with satisfaction that the eyes of the two worgs glazed over and fell over dead. I then knelt down and poured a small bit of energy into Beepu; I couldn’t heal him right now, but I could keep him from the fugue at least.

I looked then at the brothers. Daneath somehow had kept pace with the worgs and his swings found their mark, with blood spraying the forest floor. Iesa moved quickly and used his bow to finish off the worgs as Daneath savagely wounded them. They were still working the last one when I ran up to them and found Ravalan.

He had lost a lot of blood, from the wounds where the worgs had gripped him. I poured what little power left I had; it was enough to prevent him from visiting the fugue, but not much more than that. Iesa shot again with his bow, and the final worg fell to the ground, and we were again surrounded in silence of the forest.

“Is he? —” Iesa started moving over to Ravalan.

“He’ll live,” I said between clenched teeth as I leaned against a tree.

“Where’s Beepu?” Daneath asked next turning and looking around.

“He’ll live too…he’s on the ground that away,” I said hoarsely. Daneath didn’t even give me a second glance and ran to where I had indicated to find the fallen gnome.

Iesa turned to say something to me when he saw the blood still, pouring from my wound.
“Myr! Oh crap,” and he dropped his pack to the ground and looked for some cloth. “Can’t you fix that?”

I shook my head, “Not…right now. I need rest. How bad is it?”

Iesa knelt down and slowly lifted the chain shirt I wore up and grimaced. “Its not good, a lot of blood. I don’t think the sword hit anything important.” Iesa wrapped some cloth around my midsection.

“Well…If we can rest a bit, I can probably find enough energy to get Ravalan and Beepu moving again,” I said still gritting my teeth in pain.

“What about yourself?”

“It’ll have to wait until we are farther from here.”

“Wait for what?” Daneath asked as he strode carrying Beepu’s unconscious form.

“Myr took a sword in the gut it seems.” Iesa said.

“Well…we need a breather anyway I suppose,” Daneath said. Hopefully when Ravalan comes to we can continue on. Hope where he was headed is close though.”

I didn’t say anything and leaned my head back against the tree in pain. I felt short of breath and a little cold. I knew that I had lost a fair amount of blood and was just on the edge of staying conscious. I closed my eyes and just focused on the pain; unwilling to let my mind drift. It was then that I was interrupted.

Hey, I’m not sure if this is a good time.

--What is it?

There are about six figures approaching you.

--From where?

Well…you are already surrounded, they aren’t goblins though, and they are all armed with bows pointed
towards you.

I straighten up off the tree and looked around. I could see the figures approach as clear as day; they weren’t trying to hide, but they were very quiet. But they might as well been invisible to the brothers eyes.

“So,” I said elevating my voice so I was sure the approaching figures could hear us. “To what do we owe this fine visit?”

The brothers looked at me in surprise and whirled, straining their eyes in the direction I was looking, and the figures stopped suddenly, each of them looking at their peers silently.

“Oh, come on,” I said still gritting my teeth. “Either talk or shoot, lets do without the suspense.”

One of the figures lowered his bow and moved forwards us. I could see the brothers strain to look at the figure in what must have been darkness to them. But what they strained to see, I saw with clarity of peak.
The elf had long coppery hair and green eyes. He moved with surety and an elegant grace that only the elves can do. I turned myself to look at him as he approached and could see that he was assessing us, his eyes flitting from the brothers and I, and barely regarding the fallen Ravalan or Beepu. As if he was judging us. Finally, he spoke in a stilted common.

“What…is your…intent, with Ravalan?” he asked.

“Well, after we heal him, he was going to lead us to an elven watch post.” I said, not making any movements.

“And why would he do this?” he asked intently.

“Probably because it beats being a goblin prisoner,” I said drily. “How long have you been watching us?”

“Since you left the cave.”

“Don’t suppose you could have helped out a bit?”

“We wanted to have…clarity of your intent.”

“Clarity? Really? Two people nearly died, while you looked for ‘clarity.’ Do you have it now?”

The elf stiffened for a second at my rebuke but then calmly replied “We do. We will let you rest and take you to Whitepetal. There we will talk more. But for now, recover your strength, as it is some distance away. And he withdrew back towards his companion. With a quick hand signal the others spread around us and watched the darkness for more intrusions.

“Are these the elves that—” Iesa started with a whisper.

“They have to be,” Daneath whispered back. “But right now, we need to get Ravalan—”

“Its not like the rest of us didn’t spill blood here—” Iesa snapped back.

“I’m bleeding too you know—” came Daneath retort.

Elaght!” I said harshly in a guttural language I rarely used. But the brother’s heads snapped to look at me.

“We’re all hurt here,” I said still breathing raggedly. “But we need to patch up and move.” I stumbled over to the fallen form of Ravalan and reached within to find some remaining energy within me. I found a pair of light strands again, and I pulled on one of them and let the energy flow into the resting Firbolg’s form as I touched him on the chest. I once again felt the rush of energy flare around my spine, as I poured it into the Firbolg. His eyes slowly opened, and he looked at me with surprise as I focused on closing his wounds. Once finished, I didn’t even rise, but crawled to where Daneath had placed Beepu and started to do the same for him.

“Did I imagine those—” I heard Ravalan whisper.

“No, you didn’t,” said Daneath. “She’s not from around here.”

I laid my hand on Beepu’s head and stroked his hair as I pulled on the final Strand within me and let the energy flow into him. Again, the familiar rush along the spine and the energy began to close the wounds on Beepu.

“Owww. What…what happened?” Beepu grunted, his right hand covering his temple as he propped himself on his left.

“The hounds found a fox,” Iesa said grinning.

“That is not funny! I think I understand how Myr feels about hyenas though.”

“Well, I didn’t let them play with their food,” I said as I sat down awkwardly and slumped against a tree. “I’m very…very…”

“Myr! Stay focused!” and Iesa was next to me slapping my cheeks. I wasn’t quite sure why. I just wanted to fall into darkness for a little bit. Why was he hitting me? Is he shouting? At me?


Gossamer’s mental poke got my attention. I shook the fog from my head and blinked.

“I’m here. Help me up.” And I gasped Iesa’ arm as he pulled me to my feet.

“I again thank you for saving me,” Ravalan started slowly. “But why did you seek me out?”
Daneath turned to look at the Firbolg, “To find our father who was travelling with Pachuk—”

“Pa-CHOOK,” Beepu interrupted.

“Pachook. And the last we knew is that they may have come to see Melandrach.” Daneath finished.

Ravalan nodded, “That may be, but I have not seen Pachook in some time. So, I…oh. You need to talk to Melandrach…and you wanted to use me to reach him.”

“I think ‘ask for your help’ is a better phrase than ‘use,’” I said still wincing in pain in between breaths.
“I…will speak to Melandrach about this. But I cannot promise anything more. It seems such a small thing, compared to saving my life.” The Firbolg said, his eyes knotted together in puzzlement.

“So…why did they dig a tunnel to get to you?” Iesa asked. “I mean, that’s a bit of work just to get to you.”
Ravalan frowned a moment and the said “I am not sure. There was a woman who asked some questions, but she left a bit ago and had not returned. But most of the questions were on landmarks. Like they were looking for something.”

We said nothing further, when the leader of the elven band approached and spoke with that strange stern tone, “If you are ready to travel, we should do so.”

“What’s the problem?” Iesa asked, picking up on the tone.

“More will be discussed at Whitepetal, but the goblins are on the move. Lingering here is not safe.”

“Myr?” Daneath turned to look at me with concern.

I nodded, “I don’t want to wait longer here. Let’s bolt.”


The journey wasn’t long, or so I was told. To me it was an agonizing grind. Every breath was pain. Every step was pain. Even thinking about it was painful. Being able to see clearly as we approached anti-peak made it easier, and the elves knew their lands well. But the path chosen was about speed and not about comfort.

I plodded on, occasionally steadied by Iesa, while Ravalan carried Beepu. This allowed Daneath, who had only managed a couple of scrapes in the earlier battles, to be our defender if the need arose. I by comparison felt to be a burden. I didn’t want help…but I needed it. And so, I swam in these thoughts of inadequacy for many miles until we reached “Whitepetal.”

When we arrived, I didn’t realize it. It wasn’t until a platform descended from above, did I realize that we had been walking underneath the outpost for some time. But that was nothing compared to when the platform I rode, met with the branches above.

It was close to Anti-peak now, and below on the forest floor, it was dark enough that the brothers needed some assistance maneuvering on the trail. But once the platform carried us all above the branches, it was apparent that the lights that lit the catwalks, bridges and structures built around the trunks of the tree, were all hidden from below. Here among the branches, were planking that led into a maze of trails above the forest floor. The elven woodwork was functional and blended seamlessly with the trees that supported it.
I had never seen the like. Elves and their culture were not frequent travelers to the City of Doors. Whatever the reason, the City rarely showed any outward signs of their art or aesthetic. The closest I had ever been was the one time I visited Arborea. There in the Gilded Hall of the Sensates, there was a terrace that looked over the vast forest of that plane. In the distance was visible the realm of the Seldarine; the elven powers. You could see trees that towered over already towering trees. You couldn’t see any detail, but there was the beautiful synthesis of crystal, trees and light. But we were warned not to try to go there, because the Elven powers did not take well to outsiders coming to gawk like a clueless prime.

But now I was up close to the foundation of that realm; the patience and skill to blend craft with graft. The work was impressive. No, it was beautiful, in its simplicity and grace. It didn’t need the adornment of leaf motifs carved into the wood; the natural whorls were all that was needed. To add more would diminish it.
In this new world I was gently escorted to a room, suspended between three branches of a tree. The room had several lounges that circled around a low central table. A young elven girl entered the room, carrying with her some fruits, cups and several bottles of fine colored glass on the table. She bowed and quickly exited. As I sat down on the lounge, I winced in pain, I realized that a pair of guards stood outside the room, and that somewhere along paths, Ravalan was separated from us.

Daneath noticed the guards as well as he leaned against the wall, rather than sit; “So, we are prisoners?”

“Of course not!” Beepu said archly.

“Beepu’s right. If we were, they would have disarmed us,” Iesa commented, and flopped upon a lounge.

“What’s in the bottles Beepu?” I asked.

The gnome frowned and moved the tray to him and unstopped the tops of the bottles and
inhaled deeply
“Water, wine, and some type of liquor. Probably a brandy,” he said.

“Bring me the brandy,” I said and held out my hand, to which Beepu swiftly delivered the bottle to.
I removed the stopper and set it down, and took a pull straight from the bottle. The fiery liquid was wonderful, burning and warming my throat, with the taste of honey and florals on the tongue. But after swallowing the it, I then pulled up my chain, and as I lay back, poured some of the brandy on my open wound.

I winced in pain, and with great difficultly gave the bottle back to Beepu, while I writhed in pain.

“Myr, I thought you could—”

“I need rest, and I don’t want rot to set in that I can’t fix. I can hold out for a while.” I said in between heavy breathes. Then I focused on using my magic to clear my self up and look presentable. Had cleaned up the mess on the lounge and most of the blood off of my armor, when a pair of elves entered the room.

A male and female entered the room and looked us over with an indifferent look. Then the female spoke.

“You are welcome here in Whitepetal. We understand why you are here.” She intoned softly and assuredly. She at each of us, lingering a moment or two before moving to the next. She then spoke again

“You require an…audience with our liege,” and she left it hang on the hair as she looked us each over again.

“We require your assistance…in exchange.”

Session notes:

This is not the best set of notes I have from the game. Annoyingly enough the names of elves are missing, as I had a habit of using nicknames.

We did take a bit of damage, and the was the first time that Myrai took any major damage by standing in the middle of melee. But as it seems worgs can’t roll at all to hit.
But goblins seem to roll 20’s. go figure.


Lizard folk in disguise
Fifteen Birds… 10/24/2019

Families can create such strong bonds, that their impression can be felt just by watching them interact. The subtle motions, touches, smiles, phrases all are the mark of kinship.

So, watching the elves, you realize they are all kin to each other, that they all recognize one another as family. One bound together through not decades, but centuries.

It’s so strong, that makes us without families that ache with a longing unmatched by our own loneliness. And more than just a tad envious.

“I am Alanathia Goldenmoor,” the elven woman introduced herself. She was short for an elf, perhaps shorter than I by half a head. Her hair were braided cornrows of copper, and her eyes a brilliant blue. She was dressed in a finely crafted leather tunic, stained maroon with leaf patterns through out. A long sword was at her hip, and her legs were bare until they reached soft boots rising to mid-calf. She was striking, and I was certain that Iesa would make a move to try to know her more, later this evening if he could help it.

“This is my kin, Galenas,” and she nodded her head to a male elf, who in many ways was a mirror image of herself. The same style of hair, the same eyes. Even the tunic, the lack of leggings and tall soft boots. But where she was lithe and almost delicate, he had the lean hard muscles of a skirmisher; someone who would hit fast and hard.

She walked forward and looked at each of our band, one by one. “You are the brothers, Iesa and Daneath, the gnome Beepu, son of beloved Pachook, and the ha-celas Myrai.”

The last part caught my ear. It was a phrase I had heard from some half-elves in Sigil. The word was elven and meant roughly ‘kin of angels,’ the elven word for Aasimar. I had been here for now sixty days, and it was the first time that I could remember being recognized for what I am, and not a strange looking human. She then continued, interrupting my thoughts.

“You seem to be severely wounded; do you require aid…Myrai?”

I stumbled a bit in my reply, “I will be able to manage for now…but I could use some help later this evening.”
Alanathia nodded, and then sat down on open lounge while Galenas stood by the door and continued.

“Ravalan has told us what had happened, and your timely aid. We are grateful for what you have done for our friend. He has also told us that you seek to speak to Melandrach himself—"

“Yes! Yes!” Beepu interrupted. “My father was a friend of Melandrach, and we would simply—”

Alanathia raise her hand and looked at Beepu and he fell silent. “We understand who you claim to be. And so, we recognize your claim while we inquire on its truth. But to see our liege will take more; being a son of a friend is not enough.”

“What? You don’t believe us?” Iesa said angrily.

“Many humans have lied before, as they took things that did not belong to them from this forest,” Galenas intoned. “It is because you aided Ravalan, that you are here. But that does not alone prove the worthiness of the son, compared to the father.”

“So, we should be thanking you…for our lives then,” Daneath spoke flintily, his eyes narrowed.
Alanathia smiled, “No. You had not despoiled the forest; you would have been given thanks for killing the goblins and sent on your way. We do not cull life without need. But to have the honor to talk to our liege, you must demonstrate your quality.”

“And you have something specific in mind,” I said from my lounge, listening to the dance of words. It was clear they saw something in us; opportunity perhaps. But it was more than that. The way their gazes watched each of us; measuring our reactions and listening with great care. It was a test of sorts.

“Perceptive. The goblins you have encountered are a recent incursion. They are led by a hobgoblin warlord who’s title we have heard only in whispers. What concerns us is that they are searching for old ruins harking back to ancient Ilefarn.”

“What are they looking for?” Daneath asked.

“It is not clear. The one scout we questioned said that this self-titled ‘Prophesized One’ is looking for a holy site. They have taken control of several locations on the forest edge. But most concerning to us, is that an ancient temple ruin has been seized by them. We had long ago ceded care of this ruin to the Highborn. But the Highborn have all but disappeared.”

“What’s a ‘Highborn’? Is that a…group of elves?” Iesa asked.

“No; the Highborn, like the elves, came from the Feywild long ago. To most, they look like stags with an elven torso, their heads crested with horns.” They are friends to us, but they prefer the deep wilds, and even the trappings of elven towns they find discomforting.”

“So, what do you want us to do about these hobgoblins?” I asked.

“We do not know what the danger they represent is. We want you to find out and address if possible and inform if not.” the elf replied.

“More delays! How are we going to catch up to my father with delays such as this!”

“Easy Beepu—” Daneath started.

“Do not ‘Easy Beepu’ me Daneath. I did not just get chewed up by worgs, just to go goblin hunting!” Beepu spat.

“Beepu really you—” Iesa started.

“Do not start on this as well! You alone cost us time with that Roggins character!”

“Somehow, I bet your father aided these elves before, “ I remarked quietly, as I looked at Beepu with an open expression.

He met my eyes with a dark gaze, and then after a moment it softened. “No. You are right. My father would have helped without arguing as much. Forgive me for my outburst.”

“I am certain that your…exhaustion from your efforts this evening is the cause. Perhaps some rest is in order. We can discuss the details at first light,” Alanathia commented with a small smile. “Places for you to rest have been prepared.” She then clapped her hands once, and Galenas motioned us outside. Along the walkway strung above the forest floor, several elves had gathered. A male elf motioned to the brothers and guided them towards larger group of structures to what I thought was the eastern side of the outpost. A slightly younger one with smiles, took Beepu to a smaller cluster to the west. Finally, a young female elf motioned me to follow her northwards.

She led me along the walkways, and I noticed that the farther we travelled that the higher the elevation rose. Eventually, we came to a smaller hut like structure, that was nestled at the top of a large oak. Unlike the others lower down, the walkway around this one was open to the sky; and the moon and stars above were visible.

The elf stood at the side of the structure, and her left hand motioned me to enter. Inside, the room was already lit with candles and the scent of spice was in the air; mints, pine and clove I could quickly pick out. Gossamer, who had been silently lurking behind, ran forward, and then flitted to and landed on a shelf within and watched us lazily.

“Alanthia has instructed us, to be of assistance if you require anything.”

“Thank you, and I do need some help. But what is your name?”

The elf blinked in surprise, “I…you may address me as Morlea. What did you require?”

“I need some help removing my armor. I don’t want to reinjure myself in the process.”

“You…you are injured? I should fetch the healer—” and she started to leave.

“No please,” and I gently grasped her hand. “I can…heal myself. But I need to see how badly I am hurt first.”
She looked at me uncertainly, and then she relaxed and looked me over nervously. “How did you…”
I smiled as I unbuckled my rapier belt and hung it on a chair back that sat next to a table. “There are three buckles underneath the right arm that holds the chain shirt to me. Once undone, you can help me lift the shirt over my head.”

She nodded, and I raised my right arm upwards, as I held my left arm close to the wound on my torso and I felt her hands work the buckles deftly. After releasing them, I bend forward, and she helped peel off the chain shirt, which we laid on the nearby table.

As she did, I watched her trace the rent in the shirt where the chain links had been split apart by the sword thrust, and I watched her turn to look at my thin padded gambeson underneath. It was only now that she could see how much blood had been spilled. The gambeson was once, a dark blue color. Now the blood soaked into the cloth, darkened it to nearly black in a wide swath around the rips in the quilting.

She moved forward and undid the front lacings of the gambeson, and she gently held it as I peeled the cloth away from my skin. The blood had mostly dried, and but it had bonded my skin and cloth together and I grimaced as it peeled away, leaving only my muslin halter covering me. I held the wound on my left side and turned my back to Gossamer.

I closed my eyes and pulled on a single strand that connected me to Gossamer, and in a moment, I was looking from Gossamer’s eyes at the injury from his perch on the shelf.
From that view, it appeared that I was very fortunate. A bit closer to the spine, and I knew that there would be some major vitals that could have been struck. But it still looked terrible based on the amount of blood that stained my skin below my halter, and probably soaked my leathers and small clothes.

I switched my senses back, and was looking at the elven woman, who was looking me over with concern. I could tell that her lack of recoil from the blood, that violence wasn’t a stranger here. But I did notice her hands were shivering a bit and her breathing was a bit quicker. Her eyes looked me over uncertainly, as I stood there in my leather breeches, and the thin muslin top, both covered in dried blood.

“Is something the matter, Morlea?”

“I…I am sorry. But I have never seen a ha-celas. I did…I did not know what to expect,”

“Beyond the hair and eyes?”

Ha-celas are said to be each unique. Some are said to have…”

“Feathers,” I chuckled, “Some have been known to have them. Usually on the forearm, or on the shoulder blades. Sorry, I don’t have any. Well not real ones.”

“Real ones?”

“Well, now that I have seen how bad the goblin stuck me and I have had enough rest…” and I grasped my medallion with my right hand and reached within for a bright strand of light. Pulling on it and pulling warmth from it as I touched my abdomen with my left, I pushed the warmth into myself. I could feel the energy spread through me, and I felt the layers of tissue mend, and then finally the wound close. All the while I could feel some of the light and warmth spread along my spine.

Morlea eyes were like saucers as she watched the display. I stretched my arms upwards and twisted at the waist. The pain had receded, and the stiffness was now temporary.

“Thank you for your help again; I didn’t want to tear it open before I looked at it and closed the wound.”

“Of…of course. Is there anything else you require?”

“Some brandy would be nice, as I have a lot to clean up before I retire.”

“Certainly; you should find a robe in the chest there,” and she left, closing the light wooden door behind her.
By the time she returned with a decanter, I had removed my other weapons, armor and small clothes and laid them on the table. I sat in the chair, wrapped in the fine silken robe and was busy alternating between cleaning the stains of dirt, blood and grim from my things, and the slower work of mending. The gambeson was quick to fix and clean, as was the leather. But the chain rings in my armor took more time.

The chain shirt had a simple pattern to it, but I had to place each link in place by hand as I mended it with some light and dark strands to rebind the metal. Otherwise I risked fixing the rings but leaving gaps behind. I was focused on the work, when Morlea returned with the brandy. She entered and placed the tray onto a smaller table near the lounge. She then turned to look at the results of my cleaning and repair efforts.

“You have some skill with the Weave. The blood and damage are nearly gone.”

“Some. Enough to almost ignore what a bath feels like.” And I turned and with a quick motion, pulled the strand into reality in the shape of a feminine ghostly hand. It pulled the glass stopper and seeing the multiple glasses, poured some of the liquor into a pair. I then picked up the pair and offered her one of them, again, surprising her.

“Please, a small drink with me under the stars. It’s a poor thank you for the bloody mess I asked you to help me with.” Morlea took the glass, and I stepped outside into the cool breeze.

The moon Selune was overhead almost full, and stars twinkled in the clear sky above. Morlea followed and we both took sips of the strong drink. Here the wind moved through the branches and leaves in the tree, bringing fresh smells of wood and greenery, while the taste of tannin, vanilla and cherries danced on my tongue as I swallowed the brandy from my glass.

Morlea sipped and looked at me indecisively; on the cusp of a statement or question. Finally, after taking some more liquid courage she finally asked her question.

“I am sorry to be so brazen…but what makes ha-celas different?”

“Different? From…what? Humans?”

She nodded and looked at me, into my eyes. Or perhaps at herself in my eyes. I thought a moment.
“We are far from common, so no two of us are alike. We…supposedly live longer. We can see in the dark like elves. We can manifest some sorts of magic involving light and other things. And most…pay attention to what we say and do. And…many have a connection to…the one that started their line.” And I took a sip from my glass.

“But, the…celas…the angels are creatures of belief; they are a part of the ordering of the multiverse. But we…we have free will. We can choose our actions and our destiny. To do good or ill, to do great things or terrible. In that way we are just like humans. But everyone notices when we do something or even just say something. We attract all sorts of attention, wanted or not.

“So, let me ask you…what makes elves different from half-elves?” and I watched as Morlea looked at me quizzically. “Where I come from, half-elves are very common but true elves are rare.”

Morlea considered for a moment, “It is interesting to think of it that way. That if half-elves are what you know, then elves are the ones that are different. There are few half-elves in this forest as contact between human and elf is normally…discouraged. But I would say that we are more patient. Less concerned about the flow of time passing us by. We prefer a lifelong friend, compared to twelve human lifetimes worth of friends in a row. And we trance, as half-elves still sleep and visit the realms of dreams.”

I smile wistfully at that, “Well I admit that I would give a lot never to sleep again…or at least dream.”

Morlea looked at me perplexed, “You do not wish to dream?”

I stared into my glass a moment before replying, “I don’t remember most of my dreams. I only remember the nightmares. And I have far too many of them.”

It was quiet for a several moments as we sipped our drinks; feeling the wind and the soft sounds of the forest. Finally, I had drained the last of my glass, and turned to Morlea.

“Thank you again. I unfortunately do need to sleep and rest. Perhaps we can talk again in the morning before my friends and I leave.”

Morlea nodded, “May you…rest well this eve. Peace.” And she returned the empty glass to my hand, smiled and turned to walk down the walkway, deeper into Whitepetal.

I was intrigued by the elves. Before today, I am not sure I really had more than a handful of words with one before. But the even calm, almost serene nature of Morlea was interesting to me. I knew that she was young, yet she could have easily been a hundred years my senior. I chuckled at the thought of living so long; as a Sensate, could I ever get bored? The time to truly experience everything in depth and not rush to the next thing. I hoped that we would have more time with them after solving the problems that the goblins were causing.

I walked back into the hut structure that I was staying and looked around. I realized that the elves had no reason for true beds but must have reclined down on the lounges instead to ‘trance.’ I curled up on one and pulled my cloak over me and waited for the alcohol to wash me away into slumber. Hopefully a slumber without dreams.

I didn’t remember any dreams.

But instead I woke into a nightmare.

I awoke coughing, and my eyes watering. My room was filled with the smell of pitch and smoke, and I could hear screams of fear outside. I rolled off the lounge and onto my knees and crawled to the door where my shield lay, as I fastened my cloak around me.

Goss! What’s going on.

--I was about to wake you. The screams started, then the smoke.

I’m going to leave here, fly up and tell me what you can see.

Putting my back against the wood, I pulled my rapier belt around me and wrapped it around the robe I was wearing. I pulled my shield onto my arms, and with a quick deep breath, I threw open the door, and stepped outside, feeling ill-dressed for the occasion.

The outside was a stark contrast to what I last remembered. Many of the tree tops were aflame, as were the ropes along the walkways. I expected to see panicking elves running around, trying to douse the fires. What I saw instead was worse.

Just a stone throw from me I saw a pair of elves with blades drawn and trading blows with large armored humanoids. They swung with precision that only came with practice, as I watched one of them cut down an elf, and his partner smash his shield into a second one. The elf swung his blade, cutting deeply into the side of one, only to be laid low by a sword thrust, by his remaining partner.

I pulled at the light strand and threw a bolt of purple energy at the standing one knocking it down, and I ran over to the fallen elves. The first one I reached was beyond any hope of me saving, but the other was still breathing in shallow ragged breaths. I pulled a bit of the strand into him, so he would survive. I then looked at the one I had killed. His features were more bestial, and his body was bigger and stronger than a human. It had the narrow eyes and heavy brow, similar to the goblins we had fought before. I was certain, it was a hobgoblin.

It’s a hobgoblin attack! Can you see our friends?

--No, the smoke is worse up here. I can see more movement in the center of Whitepetal, and more movement beyond to the south, but not particulars.

I stood and made my way to the center of the outpost, and I saw more fighting. Elves fought against more of the hobgoblins on the bridges and walkways. I could hear the twangs of bows in the distance, and even saw a hobgoblin fall to the earth, tripping over some rope banisters with a lengthy scream.

Pulling on the dark strands, I threw dark miasmas around another pair of marauders, but not before they killed the elves they had been facing. Before I could do anything, I saw a bolt of fire streak out from a building, bringing another one down in a pile of screams and flame.

Its partner charged towards where the bolt came from, but I threw another purple bolt, striking it in the back as it ran towards the open doorway, where Beepu stood. I moved again towards the fallen elves, only to find that their lives had already left their bodies.

In the distance I could heard Daneath’s shouts, and the sound of a shield striking a blow and the scream of a hobgoblin, descending and cutting off into sudden silence. The smoke and haze from the flames made it hard to see where he and others were fighting. I covered my mouth and nose, as tears streamed down from my eyes from the stinging smoke.

Beepu circled on his platform and threw more bolts of fire at targets away from him. Daneath was still lost to me in the smoke and haze. Finally, I saw Iesa trading blows with a female hobgoblin with his rapier in one hand, and his dagger in the other. The female had the lithe figure of an elf woman over one shoulder. But this didn’t hinder the hobgoblin in the slightest as I watched the hobgoblin deflected some of Iesa’s strikes and dodged the others barehanded.

Then I watched her spin and level a kick to Iesa’s head, almost knocking him over. The female then turned and dove off the ledge into the dark smoke that now covered the forest floor. All still with an unconscious figure draped over her shoulder.

I watched Iesa look around himself frantically. Finally, he found a rope that he fastened onto a spar of wood, and he too slid below.

Goss! Follow Iesa!

--Gotcha…he’s the one with little brown—



I made my way towards Beepu and finally shouted at him, “Did you see any others?”
The gnome shook his head, “No! Most of the elves are south of here, the few warriors died as the others retreated. However, I have not seen any more hobgoblins around either.”

“Iesa just jumped down chasing a hobgoblin,” I said.

“What? Alone? The fool will get himself killed,” Beepu said with a look of incredulity.

“Over here! Help!” I heard Daneath call out and turning to follow his voice I found him. He was trying to clear a doorway to a central structure in the middle of a trunk of a tree. A makeshift barrier was seemly placed there, to keep the occupants trapped inside, with fire spreading fast. I ran over and concentrated for a moment, imagining a light strand being spread out over the flames.

A quick shower of water appeared and extinguished the fires. Daneath then wrested open the door as Beepu moved debris and several elves emerged from the from where they were barricaded into. Each with the harrowed look of escaping a fiery death.

As we looked around, the sounds of fighting had died, but not the roaring of flames or screaming. We made our way through the smoke and haze and started to save who we could.

It was grisly business. For everyone I could find clinging to life, there were two others who had passed into the fugue. I wandered the night in the trees, putting out large blazes, and saving what fallen I could. Daneath and Beepu did in different ways; from freeing trapped elves, to Beepu using Foggle to reunite families. But I was searching for not just anyone. I was searching for one person.

It was late when I finally found Morlea. Most of the fires had been put out, and most of my strength already spent. I found her in a small hut that jutted out from one side of a trunk of a tree. Inside it was full of choking smoke, which was slowly clearing. I breathed a sigh of relief, as she appeared to be curled up unconscious on the floor. But then I saw that her chest lay still, and I reached out with my hand to find the warmth had already left her now cool skin.

I sat down on the floor next to her and pulled her lifeless body on my lap and I cradled her in my arms. I looked at her soot stained face and my tears poured from my cheeks, which streaked down her face washing away ash. I stroked her hair and closed her eyes one final time. Her face was at peace, as if dreaming. Dreaming of the next life or what ever lay beyond the fugue for the elven kind. A dream she never would have had before this night.

I sobbed there quietly in the darkness. Life could be harsh, and death was a final respite. A relief from the toils of pain and suffering. But for those who died before the fullness of time; by violence or accident we could take solace that they knew peace. We the faithful should help the living carry on and learn from those that passed beyond.

Words I believed in. But in this moment the words felt hollow. I had barely known this woman. I shared a moment and a drink with her in peace and friendship. I wanted to learn more from her and share with her things I knew and had learned. But the opportunity was gone, and now she would carry on that peace alone into the fugue.

And I would carry her memory of that moment alone.


We were only here, because we sought two fathers. Not even my own father, who the multiverse had not so subtly told me to leave well enough alone. And yet, I wondered if this was all for the mazes. It seemed unfair…no wrong that looking for two men should have such a high body count of innocents. It was like the multiverse had a vindictive streak against the four of us.

The dead are supposed to teach us about living. What was the lesson here?

I had no answers to my questions as I sat there alone on the floor with my grief in the night. All I could do was cry, hoping my tears would wash away the pain. But as I sat there, I slowly felt something else. An ember, now sparking and sputtering to life within me.

A flame of hate.

Session notes: I did not like the last encounter. Not because it wasn’t well run, or fun or challenging. But because of the stakes of innocents were added in. It made the game feel bit grittier. But there was an emotional component to it that was unpleasant, because it wasn’t meant to be.

So, I admired it. I didn’t like feeling it.


Lizard folk in disguise
The Quarry - 10/29/2019

Goblin, Hobgoblin, Bugbear. All describe cruel creatures who believe in their own sets of rules and expected all others to follow them. Order matters; their rules matter.

Pike that. There are some fundamental laws, not rules that I follow set down by my power. You don’t live past your time, you honor the dead, and help those to cross over when they need.

Nowhere does that include, sacking, pillaging, murdering. But that’s what happens anyway.

My tears had dried some time ago, and Morlea’s ashen face was streaked with their trails. I awkwardly stood, cradling her lifeless body in my arms. I walked back out in the mornings darkness and looked around on the walkways. It wasn’t hard to find what I was looking for; elves carrying their dead kin.

They were solemnly moving them towards the western edge of Whitepetal. As I moved and followed them, they quietly and gracefully, laid their dead, around a tree near one of the platforms. As I approached, a pair of elves saw me, and hurried over to take Morlea from me. Their faces each wore sorrowful looks as they relieved me of my burden, with a phrase which I took as thanks; ‘Diola lle Ha-Celas.’

I nodded silently and stared too long at the pile of corpses there. Twenty? Thirty? Too many. Some drenched in blood, others burned, and others like Morlea, seemly untouched, but cold and dead all the same. I turned away and started to head back to where I was resting before this waking nightmare started.

I needed my things. I needed my Apocrypha. I needed to prepare. As I threaded my way across the walkways, I heard the sounds of boots behind me, rushing to get next to me.

“Myr? Are you alright?” Daneath said.

I stopped and turned to look at the warrior. He was dressed only in hose, and a light tunic, with his shield and sword in hand. He looked tired, and covered in blood, that was clearly not his own.

“No.” I said simply. And before Daneath could speak again I asked him, “Have you seen Iesa or Beepu?”

“Beepu is with Galenas right now and send me to find you. I don’t know where Iesa is.”

“Get your things, find your brother, and meet me where you left Beepu.” I said in a level tone.

Daneath looked at me a moment and was about to say something but checked himself and nodded. He turned and I could barely hear him say, “Yeah. Right. Sure.”

I continued toward the room in the trees where I was going to be staying. Along the way I concentrated on the strand that I used with Gossamer. It was there but very faint.

Once I reached the room, I focused on that strand and then suddenly pulled on it. In a moment, Gossamer appeared, looking around confused.

What the? Oh! Hi.

--Did you find him?

I did, but it took a while. He took a beating and was barely conscious. He had just awoken and was about to walk back when…Well, I’m sure he will just follow Mo.

I entered the hut, with Gossamer in tow, and I slammed the door shut. Dropping my rapier and belt back on the chair and dropping my shield on the floor, I stripped off the robe, and pulled off my boots. I quickly focused on myself with a white strand and stripped away the blood and soot. Once done, I started to dress and armor myself.

So…what now?

--Talk to Galenas. Get the others. Then find the bastards that did this.

And then what?

--Send them in for judgement.

Oh. I…see.

Gossamer was quiet after that. He sat on the nearby shelf and looked at me with his yellow eyes, unblinking at me. Finally, I fastened the last strap, and grabbed my shield, and sword belt and threw open the door. I headed back towards the center of Whitepetal, looking for the others.

It wasn’t hard to find, as I could hear the gnome practically shouting, when I entered the hut where we first met Alanthia and Galenas. Inside a fully armored Daneath was wrapping a linen cloth around Iesa’s head, who had his things in a bundle in front of him. Meanwhile, Beepu was standing on a chair and was gesticulating widely at a expressionless Galenas.

“So, we must move at once!” Beepu shouted.

“We have lost many of our warriors last night, and our numbers have been lessened by raids on our patrols. I cannot afford to, as much as I wish I could.” Galenas said with an angered edge on his voice.

“You have a responsibility to—”

“My responsibility is the safety of Whitepetal! If we leave with any significant force, it could be overrun by other goblins.”

“A good offense wins battles!”

“And we are not positioned to be a good offense. We are barely a middling defense.”

“Wait,” Iesa piped up and stood, moving towards Galenas, “You mean you would leave your own in the hands of—”

“Not by choice!” Galenas retorted. “But I cannot risk saving her and leave Whitepetal undefended.

“Wait…who are we…Alanathia?” I interjected.

Iesa nodded. “That female hobgoblin ran off with Alanathia over her shoulder. I tried to stop her, but…she packs a mean punch.”

Galenas sighed before speaking, “I…thank you for trying. In fact, all of you for helping. Things would be worse if you had not been here.”

I thought a moment and then realized something. “You don’t have the numbers to defend Whitepetal at all do you?”

Galenas looked at me and sighed, “Barely. We need more warriors here. We can hold here if I recall all patrols. But that means we can’t track where the hobgoblins are.”

“And you can’t retreat from here because?” I pressed.

He sighed again, “This place guards the primary path to our…what you would call a capitol. There isn’t another defensible location closer. Leaving here, leaves us exposed.”

“Send for more men…er elves,”

“We already have! I had a small group leave and take Ravalan with them last night with that message. Ravalan was going to convince Melandrach on the need for more here. But it will take days for that meeting and for reinforcements to arrive. And until they do, we cannot do anything.”

“Where did they take Alanathia?” I continued pressing.

“This female hobgoblin that Iesa fought is known to us, and we believe she has made herself home in a quarry, north of here.”

“Quarry? Did elves mine?” Daneath asked surprised.

“No. It too dates back to Illefarn, and it was run by dwarves at the time. It has been abandoned for the most part by civilized beings.”

“Can you give us directions?” I asked.

“Wait a second Myrai…we haven’t decided any—” Daneath started.

“Did you want to see your father?” I asked bluntly.

“Well…yes,” Daneath replied slowly.

“Iesa? You?”

Daneath’s brother nodded in agreement, “Yeah.”

I looked at Beepu, “Do I need to ask?”

“Of course not. But—”

“Then, why are you arguing? Get your things together.” I said and turned to Galenas. “Where is the quarry?”

“I will have a map drawn up for you. And…you have my thanks.”

I nodded and turned on my heel and headed back outside. I heard Daneath follow me.

“Myr…stop a moment.”

I stopped, turned to look at him and waited.

“Look, shouldn’t we talk about this?”

I cocked my head and I know I knitted my eyebrows together.

“Talk about what?”

“I mean taking on what, an army of hobgoblins isn’t what I planned to—”

“Planned? What of any of this was planned? Saving Ravalan? Or perhaps the musties in Flint Rock? The Waterbaroness and her party? My…death? Was THAT planned?”

“Myr…that’s not what—”

“And it doesn’t matter now. Blood has been spilled. And even more is going to be spilled.”

“But is—”

“And it sure in Baator isn’t going to be mine. So, get your gelbas together, and find me down below when you are ready.”

Daneath stared at me a moment, stunned. Finally, he looked down at the walkway we both stood on and nodded.

“Right. I guess I’ll get the others. Wait, where are you going?” he asked realizing I was heading somewhere.

“Down, to pay final respects.”


The grove wasn’t far from the outpost. It was a wild tangle of old growth oak and pine. Around the forest floor, it was choked in brush and ground cover. Yet, the elves carefully had groomed or perhaps encouraged it to create the myriad of paths that existed within the growth. The paths wandered without pattern, vines and shoots creating smaller canopies beneath the great tree in the center. I wasn’t familiar with what kind of tree it was, its upper branches created a broad canopy above the grove, but it was covered in flowers that hung from tendrils from the canopy above. White flowers, that gave the nearby outpost its name: ‘Whitepetal.’

But today the efforts weren’t spent within, but without. They had quickly interred their dead, and upon each placed a new seedling. As I searched for where they would place Morlea, I noticed something. There was little ritual about the bodies. They were gentle and graceful, on how they handled the corpses certainly. But no prayers, no offerings to their souls.

I remembered that would be something done in private; with kin and friends. I doubted that in this community of elves that I would be considered a friend, for a single night of small talk. Yet, I was determined to pay my respects in the way my Lord would want me to.

They had not yet interred her when I found where she was to be planted with a sapling. A druid was near, and I watched her use the same spell that I used on Roggins; if a little more on point on what it was meant for. She had finished burying a fallen elf when she noticed my presence. She then spoke to me, haltingly in the common tongue.

“Child, why have you come…here?”

“I am but a servant of the Lord of the Dead,” and I gestured to my holy symbol I wore. “And this elf…Morlea aided me. I wish to…pay my respects and pray her soul to the proper afterlife.”

The druid considered and nodded but stood and watched me with an expression on her face that I could not read.

I knelt on the ground, and pulled a strip of cloth from my pouch, along with two greenies. I looked at Morlea, who lay in the earth, wearing only a muslin underdress and an expression of peace on her face. Her hair was loose around her shoulders, and her arms crossed in front of her.

I took a greenie, and kissed it, placing the coin on her right eye, and I repeated it with the second coin her left. Then I bound the cloth, so the coins would stay in place. As I did so, I chanted a prayer to Kelemvor, to help her soul find its way beyond:

No one should be alone, in life or death,

Death is a part of life, not an ending but a beginning

Death is without deceit and has meaning,

May your soul find its way to Arvandor,

And gaze from the Overlook, in the Cresent Grove,

May your kin guide you on the next step of your journey,

Because Death is never an end, but a waypost,

Not a destination, but a Journey,

The memory of your deeds will live forever in us,

So be the will of my Lord, and my desire in faith

May Death grant you peace.

When I had finished, I watched the earth churn, and I saw Morlea for the last time, sinking beneath the loam to sleep forever. The druid stepped forward, and planted a sapling in the loose earth, before regarding me again.

“You spoke of ‘Overlook’ and the ‘Cresent Grove.’ Who taught you of these places?” She asked with a guarded curiosity.

“They are places sacred to the Seldarine, and I know them because I saw them from a distance in the Gilded Hall in Aborea.”


I nodded. “We were told not to cross into Arvandor; it is a place for elven spirits, not mortals. But you still could see the wonder in the distance,” I said remembering a time five years ago. “I’m going to pray a bit and wait for my friends. Thank you.”

The druid nodded and moved on to others waiting their turn for burial, leaving me to my thoughts. My bowed and eyes closed I cast my thoughts to wherever my Lord could hear me.

--Long ago, I thought avoiding untimely deaths meant healing and helping those to survive. Am I meant to avoid more, by slaying those who make war on these elves?

--Is this my purpose?

--Is this why my heart burns?

--Is this the right path?

--I don’t ask for much my Lord, but a sign would be…helpful.

You know Myr, I’m not sure this revenge thing is you.

--What th—

I don’t think you are the bloodthirsty type.

--Goss; first what do you know of me? And second…shut up.

I was still kneeling in the dirt, centered and prepared, when the trio finally found me. I could hear them move towards me slowly, and perhaps a bit awkwardly, as if none of them could decide who should interrupt my thoughts. Finally:

“Myrai, we should go,” Beepu said in a matter of fact tone.

“We have a map?” I asked, as I got to my feet.

“That we do,” Iesa said waving a bit of parchment in front of him.

“Lead on,”

Surprisingly, the quarry was much closer than I thought it would be. It wasn’t even peak when we reached it. It was basically a mine shaft that was surrounded by hills on three sides, and the remains of an ancient road leading east. We approached quietly, Beepu sent his owl skyward to look around.

“The quarries entrance is on the northside going into the rock. There are remains of carts and rails leading down. There are some tents on the floor of the valley in front of the quarry entrance. And…there are guards on the hillside above the quarry, armed with crossbows. Six hobgoblins are there, some on the ridge above the entrance, the rest on the floor of the valley.”

“But nothing else? No prisoners?” Iesa asked.

“No. They probably are in the quarry itself.” Beepu said as Foggle landed on his arm.

This made me wonder a lot of things. Six of them outside, and probably more within. How did they manage to get so close to Whitepetal? And how many other places like this are they camped at? How many were there total? Was it so many that the elves never thought they could attack? Or were they over-confident in their defenses that they could repel them, no matter the numbers?

“Still is a lot of them,” Daneath commented. “We can’t afford them to run and warn the others.”

“Well, how many guards are on the ridge?” Iesa asked.

“Two? No three!” Beepu said after a moment. “What are you thinking?”

“Well, if we can eliminate them, it would let the rest of you get closer. I could then from above keep them pinned down with a bow.”

“How do you propose getting to them? There is not so much as a tree or shrub on the ridge.”

“Make me invisible.” Iesa said with a smile.

The gnome thought a moment. “Yes. If you stay quiet. But can you take on three of them?”

“I want to find out.”
We snuck up to some scraggly hedges that were on the floor of the south eastern side. All we needed to do is rush into the valley and take on the ones on the ground. Foggle was in the air already circling above, while Gossamer stayed close to me, keeping eyes out behind us while we focused ahead.

“Anything?” Daneath asked aloud.

“Well, he is alive as the spell is still working. I can see the three—Ooo!”

“What?” I asked.

“I just watched one slump over quietly, and Iesa reappear,” Beepu his brows furrowed. “Quite a large amount of blood on the rock. I wonder if his…nope. Another one is dead too. Not a sound.”

“This sounds promising,” Daneath said looking at me.

“Amazing, a plan that works,” I said. “Can he do three?”

“Ouch! Yes. Yes he can. He’s pulling out his bow, so I think he is about ready.”

“Great! My turn!” Daneath pulled out a javelin from a sheath on his back. He’s always carried them around, but I seldom seen him use them. And without even pausing, he bolted noisily into the valley.

He was not quiet in the least, but he wasn’t trying to be. As Beepu and I trailed him, we saw the three hobgoblins turn to face us. I couldn’t see their eyes or teeth yet, so I could only imagine the snarls and the jeers on their faces. But as we planned, Daneath launched his javelin into the air, and it struck the closest one. It lodged deep in the hobgoblin’s chest, with a large gout of blood spraying everywhere. Beepu then threw a bolt of fire at another one, and I heard it scream in pain as the fire burned through the studded leather smock it wore. From behind, Iesa’s bow launched an arrow into the backside of the third one, causing it to turn around, looking for the guards that once had his back.

I smiled, as my heart raced. I ran in and I watched the three gather up and start to charge Daneath, hoping to bowl him over with their bulk. But as they approached, I focused a moment on a light and dark strand, pulling them taut, and then snapping them apart.

The three hobgoblins stumbled in their tracks, as bones cracked and snapped. All three fell to the ground, twitching and convulsing. I felt euphoria at killing three of these beasts, my heart quickened its pace as I looked for more of them to kill. As it was, I was disappointed that no others emerged from their tents to assault us, and Daneath voiced his disapproval.

“Hey! I didn’t get a chance to swing at them!” Daneath complained

“You lodged a spear in it,” I said holding my hand open and spread apart in confusion.



“Not the point; I wanted to hit them.”

“Same here. And it saves me from healing you.” I said.

“It is not nice that this all worked out so well.” Beepu said cheerily.

“Let’s get below. I’m sure there is more,” Daneath said with a wolfish grin.

We descended into the mine entrance and was greeted by the smell and light of torches. I was for one relieved; torches meant that the brothers could see, and that I didn’t need to create a light, giving us away in the darkness. The main pathway had a track for mining carts, that entered a large gallery with tunnels boring deeper into the rock. While most of the tunnels were dark, there were torches in sconces to our right, flanking a large wooden door. Continuing along the wall more torches descended deeper into the mine.

Iesa took the lead, and moved to the large door, and we followed quietly. Beepu sent Foggle to fly down and within the darkened passages, while Gossamer stayed in the shadows a little behind us. Iesa moved silently to the door and pressed his ear against it. With a free hand he lifted a single finger, and then a second. He then prepared his rapier and motioned Daneath to the door.

Daneath grasped the rope handle that passed for a door pull and threw open the door wide and charged inside. He didn’t get farther than two feet, when from the darkness a large morningstar smashed into his chest causing Daneath to wheeze. Blocking his way was a bugbear licking his lips in anticipation of an easy kill. Before Daneath could retreat, another one emerged from deeper within and swung a crushing blow, on Daneath’s shield.

Iesa was about to leap into the doorway, when something caught his eye, and he turned looking behind us in time to say;

“Beepu! Look out!”

From behind a large fast lizard on all fours was charging at the gnome. The warning was enough for Beepu to sidestep causing the creature to run past him

Guard Drake!


Iesa stepped forward and stabbed at it with his rapier, causing blood to spurt everwhere. Looking at my options I decided to throw a bolt of energy at the lizard, hoping to bring it down. Beepu, turned his attention to the bugbears beating on Daneath. From his pouch he pulled out a feather and waved it about saying;

“Your family tree does not even fork!”

From inside the room I could hear something horrible. It first was a deep gravelly sounding guffaw, and then it was just grim deep laughter as one of the bugbears collapsed on the ground, clutching his sides. His companion looked astounded at his partner, allowing Daneath an opening, plunging his sword into the bugbear’s belly.

“I’m not sure that was funny,” Iesa commented as he thrust at the drake again, narrowly missing

“Of course, it is! That is a top joke anywhere!” Beepu replied with confidence and throwing a bolt of fire into the side of the drake.

“Only if you are at a gnomish dinner party,” I commented throwing another purple bolt at the drake, causing it to collapse dead on the mine floor.

“What does that mean?” Beepu asked with a note of anger on his voice, as he waggled the feather in my direction.

“It means, you aren’t funny,” Daneath said, as he traded blows with his bugbear, each drawing blood. But shortly after he did so, Iesa lunged and stabbed the bugbear in the chest, causing it to stumble backwards in pain, and finally falling backwards onto the ground.

“I am so funny!”

“NOT FUNNY!” shouted the other bugbear as it stood and struck at the nearest foe with a hammer. It hit Daneath hard on the shield arm, almost knocking him down. First, I hit it with purple energy, and then Beepu threw it some fire, causing the Bugbear to stagger backwards, trying to raise its arms in front of its face in defense.

This allowed Daneath to swing again, cutting into the side of the bugbear deeply, blood running freely down its side. It turned to prevent Daneath from striking again, only to be flanked by Iesa slashing across its midsection, spilling blood everywhere. Then a bolt of flame hit the humanoid square in the face, causing it to fall flat on its back, dead.

“Yes. I. AM!” Beepu said.

We turned to look behind us and listened to see if anything else would emerge from the darkness. As my heart beat slowed, and the blood stopped rushing through my ears I thought I heard something. As I focused and looked at Iesa I could tell he heard it too. I concentrated on the sound, closing my eyes, and straining to hear.

It was crying. Somewhere deeper in the mine, a woman’s voice was sobbing. We looked at each other and pulled in tightly into a huddle so we could talk.

“Crying? That must be a prisoner,” Iesa said.

“Well, I’m about to start. I need a breather before we take on more.”

“We should not delay!” Beepu retorted archly.

“I want to finish this,” I said licking my lips in anticipation. “But I want to win. We wait for Daneath.”

Iesa considered and nodded. Daneath and he, pulled the bugbear corpses deeper into the room they had emerged from, while I dragged the lizard behind me into the room. Beepu sent the owl to perch on a beam to watch for patrols.

So, do I come in with you?

--No, find a spot to hide and watch. And warn a bit faster.

That wasn’t my fault.

--And keep an ear out on that crying.

Can do. Sorry.

The room that the bugbears ‘lived’ in was not fit for civilized folk. I’m not sure that even hobgoblins put up with the filth. But the stench of spoiled food, and rotten carcasses permeated the air. Iesa poked around their sleeping things and their bodies and managed to find some small number of coins. But otherwise there was nothing of value to us here.

As we rested and waited, I reflected. I was excited fighting; seeing these monsters fall put a smile on my face. To exact a toll in blood for what they did to Whitepetal. They were little more than beasts as far as I could see. That anyone else that wasn’t a gnome laughing at Beepu’s jokes was just a sign of a defect in the bonebox. It was a mercy for them that we were in a rush and needed to kill them quickly. Somehow it should linger; let them think about the errors of their ways. Still these weren’t the leader; that female hobgoblin was. I bet she was smarter. And I bet we would kill her all the same.

I didn’t know how long I let my mind wander when Gossamer intruded:

That crying? It stopped.


Lizard folk in disguise
The Crying Game. - 11/3/2019

In times of crisis, we turn to our comforts for relief. Friends. Family. Faith. Drink even.

But sometimes, that isn’t enough. You have to have the strength and will to look at yourself, to gaze within to find the answers to the toughest questions, to reflect and realize what changes you should make, to submit and allow yourself to make the greatest sacrifices.

But knowing it isn’t enough. You still need the guts to do it. And I think that is where most of us fail.

“Iesa!” I leaned over towards the man, “The crying stopped.”

He cocked his head to listen, and then frowned. “Yeah, we better move. I can’t imagine that’s a good sign.”

“I’m as ready as I can be,” Daneath said readying his shield and sword.

“Let’s do the same thing as before,” Iesa said.

“What? Listen at the door and smash it on the way in?”

“No! Turn me invisible. Let you guys draw the attention.”

I shrug and replied, “Why not?”

“What if I need to hide!” Beepu said with a note of concern.

“Turn into a rock. You’re good at that!” Iesa pointed out.

Beepu was about to object, when he realized the truth. “True, it has worked quite a bit.”

“Fine,” I said. “Make him disappear, and Daneath and I will appear to be in front. You watch our rears as a stone.”

Iesa smiled, looking forward to hiding without trying, and in a moment and a quick word from Beepu, he vanished.

“You know,” Daneath commented. “We don’t have to make him reappear.”

“I’m right here bro.”

“Can you do that Beepu? I won’t tell him.”

“Damn it, I know you can hear me!” Iesa sputtered.

“True,” I commented. “But all he’s going to do when he finds out is sing the “Frog and Firkin” in your ear. Forever.”

“Might be worth it…” Daneath said mischievously.

“Can you focus for a moment!” the bodiless Iesa spat.

“Well I do not know what Iesa would say, but we should finish our work here.” Beepu deadpanned. “Let us go.”

“Why you…oh funny. Ha. Ha.” Iesa muttered.

I moved to the door and cast a thought out;

Anything going on out there?

--I haven’t seen anything other than that modron.

Its not really a modron.

--Fine. Not a modron. Still nothing.

“Let’s go, its clear.” And I moved to the door, following Daneath. The warrior opened the door and after looking around, headed towards his right, following the line of torches that continued into the depths. I could hear for a brief moment, Iesa scrambling ahead, but soon he was moving silently ahead. Beepu trailed behind me, and both of our familiars stayed close.

As we moved down the shaft, I reached into my pouch and pulled out a bit of wire, and coiled it around my index finger. I twisted it round and round and plucked at a white strand and then whispered under my breath, as I pointed down where I thought Iesa went.

“Iesa? Can you hear me? If so, whisper back.”

“What the? Yes…this a new trick?”

I smiled to myself. “Something I learned yes. I’ll keep reaching out to you as we go. No one but me can hear you whisper back.”

“That’s a help. Will do. The shaft winds a bit, but I see it opening up into another large area.”

I nodded, “Iesa says that it opens up into a large cavern ahead, so be ready.”

“What? How did—” Daneath whispered at me.

“Ah! I see what you did there.” Beepu pointed at the wire I was working with my fingers. “A good spell. We will talk later.”

“Iesa?” I whispered.

“Not good. I found a bunch of cages with prisoners. And I found Alanathia. Might need help.”

“Sodding Baator,” I said. “Looks like we are expected.”

“I’ll follow your lead then Myr,” Daneath said.

“I am going to watch our rears then. Listen for loud yelling.” Said Beepu.

Gos, stay low and out of sight, keep an eye out.

--For…what exactly?

Stuff that can’t be seen.

--Like the guy with the monkey?

Yes...no…yes, like him, but not him. Other things. Don’t get caught in a fight and let me focus.

--Ok…can do.

I nodded, and I took the lead and moved forward. I kept my back pressed against the wall as I came closer to where the tunnel spilled into the room and peeked inside. The shaft opened up into a large carved gallery. Here the marks of chisels and picks were left like scars on the rock walls. Piles of rubble and tailing were scattered across the ground. Each near a rail, as if the next mine cart would arrive, ready to move them up to the surface. Near the rails, were simple wooden cages. Within each I could see figures lying down motionless, unable or unwilling to move. No sounds came from the occupants within, and I worried that there were none living. Between the cages, here and there on the floor were shallow puddles of still water, from a rain long ago that seeped below the earth. But these puddles scattered the flickering light of torches coming from a far corner of the room.

There in that corner, stood the female hobgoblin. Her face was scarred, ritually on both cheeks, and her iron eyes stared towards me coolly, betraying neither anger nor fear. She was dressed in a light leather top and leggings, barely enough to keep brambles at bay. She wore no shoes, but ribbons of leather carefully wrapped to cover and protect her insoles, and in one hand, she held a simple dagger.

And that dagger was ever so close the neck of Alanathia. The elf’s leathers were dirty, and her arms were pulled behind her back, likely tied. She was on her bare knees on the rock floor, which showed signs of bleeding from cuts. Her hair was a disheveled mess, and her right eye socket was swollen shut from a blow. Her expression was stoic as she too looked down the tunnel towards us.

“So, the elves sent…you. How fortunate,” The hobgoblin’s voice rang out in precise clipped tones. All business, intelligent, and confident. This worried me; she easily handled Iesa carrying the elf on her back easily. She knew that we were here and outnumbered her. Was this bravado, or was it calculated? I decided to play for time and let Iesa move closer.

“Fortunate? That is an interesting way to describe this…arrangement. What do you want?”

“Iesa, I hope you are ready,” I whispered into the weave, hoping he was nearing the hobgoblin.

“Just about. Prepped my blade with a surprise. Keep talking to her a bit longer,” came the reply.

The hobgoblin’s sneering voice replied, “For our Prophesized One, there is nothing he wants or needs from the elves. They will be swept away, as we reclaim what is ours. But you? You and your companions are known to us.”

“I guess we should feel honored. What do you want then from…us?”

Iesa?” I muttered in the weave again.


“Right now, this is about what you want. You want this elf…leader,” the contempt was clear as she talked. “So, what I want is simple. One of you, for her.”

“What, a trade?” I said, playing up the incredulity. This didn’t make sense. Bargaining from weakness, as if she was in control? She either was a gambler or…she really was in control.”

Iesa?” I whispered urgently.

Ready, charge in when I strike.”

“Of course. I am done with this one, but you value her. I value one of you. Choose, NOW!” and she raised her voice to a near shout, as if she was trying to order me like a soldier under her command.

“Alright, alright then! You win. I choose...” and I closed my eyes and hoped


I heard the blade whistling in the air, and then the sound of it sinking deep into flesh and muscle. I could then see Iesa standing behind the hobgoblin, his dagger firmly lodged in her back with a wolfish smile that spoke volumes. The hobgoblin’s legs buckled, and she sank down, with an expression on her face that made my blood run cold. An arrogant smile followed by a mocking laugh.

“Myr watch out!” and suddenly Daneath shoved me into the room, while a shower of stone chips exploded behind me. I turned my head to look, and saw a large axe sunk deep into the stone, and now watched it wrenched free by its wielder, a large hulking bugbear. It great size was as surprising as its silence, even as it smiled to make another swing. From behind Daneath and the bugbear I could hear fire bolts striking rock, the sounds of hissing and snarling, and gnomish cursing.

I felt slow as I stumbled a bit forward to catch my balance. And as I looked at the bugbear, I watched as from a near by wall, a figure appeared and ran towards the warrior.

To my shock it was Alanathia who barreled straight for the large man and with her bare hands and feet struck Daneath over and over. She was a whirlwind of limbs, each finding gaps in Daneath defense and armor. Finally, on her last punch I could hear the sound of bones snapping, as she broke several ribs.

It didn’t make sense. Why was she attacking us? And then as I watched, Analthia’s face and clothing melted away, running off like sheets of water revealing the true opponent.

The hobgoblin woman.

The hunters were now the hunted.

Everything was slow as I ran into the room, with a guess and a fear. As I turned to look where Iesa stood, I could see him with horror on this face, as he withdrew his green, glowing dagger from the fallen figure, now on her knees. Her face and clothing were melting away too, and the hobgoblin’s form was replaced by the pain stricken elven leader, Alanathia. She then fell forward flat on the ground in a motionless heap.

“Go help D!” I shouted as I ran, but Iesa was already moving as we passed each other. I didn’t have much time; I had two things I could do, but I guessed I needed to save some power for the fight. I could only use the barest amount to save her. Putting too much into her, could mean death for everyone else. I remembered my mentor saying that triage in a battle was different than at the peace of a healer’s hut. That the decisions made had different weight. I heard it and processed it. But only now did I understand it.

I slid down on my knees next to Alanathia, and could see that she still breathed, if but barely. Iesa’s blade had sunk true and deep into her back. That alone should have been enough to kill most people, but I could see the greenish color of a tacky substance around the entrance to the wound; a type of poison.

I was taken aback; I didn’t know that Iesa even had poison, and I had no idea kind type it was. But as I knelt and laid a hand upon her, I reached into that small part of myself where I had some personal power that had nothing to do with the strands I usually pulled on. I felt the rush of energy down my back, the flexing of ephemeral wings, and I purged away the poison from her body and blood.

I heard more fighting from the tunnel; sword striking metal, and the sound of solid strikes against wet meat. Farther still, the blasts of magic and more swearing. But it was distant from my thoughts as I focused. The elf was barely breathing, and the blood still poured from her wound. I then pulled on a single light strand, hoping that this would be enough. I felt the energy pour from me, and into Alanathia’s wounds, and I watched as the bleeding slowed and stopped. Her breathing was shallow, but soft and regular. I was certain that she would live.

--Please don’t take her yet my lord. Not for this. Not for our mistake. My mistake!

I then turned my head to look at the melee just in time to see Daneath’s armored body, fall to the ground motionless, felled by the axe of the bugbear. The creature ripped it out of Daneath, and turned to face Iesa, who was fully engaged with the hobgoblin. His rapier had landed at least one good hit, based on the blood flowing from her side. But he was no longer making successful strikes and was focused instead on dodging and knocking away the hands and feet of the woman assailing him. As I watched, I saw him start to back around the gallery trying to position himself so only one attacker would be able to attack him. This might have worked with Daneath next to him, but now it was only a matter of time before one of them flanked him.

I had little left in me. But I was not going to the fugue again. Not after what we just did. I was going to atone with my actions now, and not beg for forgiveness later. I pulled on a pair of light strands within me and used them like a bowstring to launch power from myself.

I moved, closer to Daneath, and away from the injured Alanathia. I didn’t want her to be caught up defenseless if something were to go…more awry. I launched the energy into Daneath as I moved, who lay some distance from me. The energy would lose a lot of its effectiveness, but it would still close wounds, and hopefully wake him. But what I didn’t want, is to be obviously helping the warrior. Then I concentrated and a miasa of darkness surrounded both of Iesa’s attackers, and a toll of a bell rang in the mine.

Now I could hear the bugbear as it roared in pain and I watched it turn its head to focus on me. How it knew, it didn’t matter. I got what I wanted; its attention.

It snarled, and charged at me, grasping the axe with both hands ready to cut me down where I stood. I could feel the rock vibrate as twenty stones of muscle came bearing down on me. It raised its axe high overhead and it whistled as it cut through the air, down at me. I raised my shield up above my head trying to protect myself. The axe then came crashing down, and shattered my shield into pieces, and causing me to stagger backwards. My arm felt first sharp pain, and then a strong throbbing ache as I pulled it tight alongside me.

The bugbear snarled and raised its axe again, and I readied myself for the blow, when I saw the outline of orange light surround the bugbear. I then smelled burnt hair, as a bolt of fire streaked from the tunnel, and into its back. It whirled and howled and ran straight at Beepu, angry at the distraction. Beepu then swiftly darted around the corner, with the bugbear in close pursuit.

Iesa was holding his own, but the hobgoblin kept swinging, and could land a single blow, for every three she threw. But that was more than Iesa who’s blows weren’t nearly as effective as his opponent. Had it continued for longer, Iesa likely would have made a mistake, and pay the price.

So, it was then, that Daneath charged in; he was loud, and he crashed into the hobgoblin, who was surprised to see her fallen opponent now fully committed to killing her. She turned her head and started to position herself to handle this new assault. And that was all it took.

She took her eyes from the tired looking Iesa, who quickly spun and thrust into her backside, sinking deep into her vitals. I watched her stiffen and cough up a large amount of blood, before collapsing onto the ground.

Iesa wasted no time and stabbed at the fallen hobgoblin; to make sure that she would not rise and torment him again. Daneath, meantime turned and charged at the bugbear, who was standing in confusion at the tunnel, looking for Beepu. What he found instead was a sword, that nearly cleaved the humanoid into two across the midsection. It fell lifeless, onto the ground.

As we all panted in exhaustion, from a boulder near a wall, emerged Beepu. He too was bloodied, with what looked to be animal bites on his arm and matching tears in his shirt. He nodded in some satisfaction and finally spoke.

“The rear…is secure,” He said heavily between breaths. “How was the negotiation? I only heard—”

“That damned…hobgoblin…witch,” Iesa spat. “That is the second time she—”

“Wait,” I interrupted angrily. “Second time? What are you talking about?”

“She changed her appearance to look like…her,” Iesa gestured to the resting form of Alanathia.

Daneath moved over to Iesa and balled up his fist in his mail glove. He then swung and punched the rock next to Iesa’s head. “Why didn’t you tell us that! You killed her! What the hell are we—”

“He didn’t kill her,” I said angrily. “He just got damn close. I’m lucky that Kelemvor didn’t take her.”

“What do you mean, ‘I’m lucky?’ This isn’t your fault Myrai,” Beepu said confused.

“I knew something was wrong,” I said guiltily. “I didn’t…trust myself to say anything. I was fortunate to save her and Daneath.”

“Well we all made errors. That seems to be normal. Let us learn from it and move on. I would like to leave this place.”

I nodded, “True enough. I’m going to heal Alanathia, but I will be spent. We should get out and rest somewhere safer.”

“Ok, lets take a look at those cages, after I search our friend here,” Iesa said.

I nodded and moved back towards the fallen elf. I sat down next to the woman, and gently rolled her over onto her side, with her head in my lap. I then focused the very last of what I had, focusing on closing the dagger wound in her back. I watched the wound close and heard her breathing grow stronger. Once I was certain it was fully closed, I turned her gently, so she laid on her back. I peeled off my cloak and covered her with it and waited.

I was a fool. I was bobbed and peeled like a common cony. I knew it was a trap. I knew it wasn’t a bluff or a gamble. I didn’t need to know the details, but I should have warned them. I was willing to gamble with my own life if I needed. But I gambled with this elf’s life, and nearly lost.

I was a fool. I should have asked Iesa more about last night. That tidbit would have made a difference. This woman, Daneath, none of them would have come that close to the fugue.

I was a fool. What saved us? Not planning. Not skill. It was luck. None of us should have survived if it wasn’t for that. None of us should be…alive.

Well, I certainly shouldn’t be. Nor this woman. Nor Iesa or Daneath. Outside of myself, everyone was alive…because I was. Maybe it wasn’t luck. Maybe I just needed to trust more…

In my friends.

In my instincts.

In my faith.

Perhaps there was a purpose to it, that I didn’t see. Couldn’t see. Couldn’t know. Is that why I was forced back from the fugue? I have a purpose?

I reached down and touched where the Apocrypha was hanging in a case on my side. I needed to know more. I felt it was the key to the riddle. It wasn’t luck that I found it. It was design. That what is happening around me isn’t an accident. It had a reason.

I would just prefer for a small light in the darkness. To lead, to guide, or if nothing else, keep me company.

Session notes:

It’s true; Iesa failed to mention what had happened with the Iron Shadow the first time. We were a little miffed by that omission. Beepu did a lot of dancing in the back with more guard drakes, and once again was an effective rock.

Also, yes it was a Dagger of Venom. And as an opening nova it was quite impressive.

Too bad about the wrong target.


Lizard folk in disguise
It was a nasty trick...and the dm probably lifted it from The Dark Knight.

But Iesa lost the chance to being as smart as Batman. The rest of us had no chance.

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