Journal of the Souls of Legend (completed)


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Nthal

Lizard folk in disguise
A reprieve and scales in the balance. - 3/20/2020

NOW with Bonus Art!



Its nice when you can enjoy a hard-earned victory. I just would appreciate a warm bed and a whisky as a reward. But sometimes, good company will do just fine.



I gently shook Gossamer and he turned to look at me blearily eyed and yawned. He said nothing, and only briefly looked at Beepu with disapproval. He simply took back into the air as if nothing had happened. Smirking I knew I was going to hear his opinion on things later. My smirk turned into a grimace as I shifted, as I once again felt the pain from the quarrel wound. Turning to look at all of us, we all were in not great shape; everyone sported their own blood on their clothes, and even more of the hobgoblins’.

“We’d better make sure that’s all of them,” Daneath started. “I swore that there were more by the gate.”

“There…were,” Beepu said distantly with a vacant look on his own eyes, as he looked through Foggles’ “The gate is open now, and I believe some of the guards have run off.”

“We should chase them down now!” Iesa said alarmed. “We can’t let them get reinforcements.

“Did your night vision get better? You can’t track them in the dark,” Daneath pointed out.

“Drik, Drok,” I turned to the goblins for their guidance. “You said that the main camp was past this point. How far?”

“Days. Not know any other camp near,” Drik said nodding, and Drok agreed.

“Sounds like we have time,” I said. “But Daneath is right, we should check the caves, and free the slaves.”

“Then what?” Iesa asked.

“That will depend on the slaves,” Daneath said grimly. “If they are in good health, they might be able to get back to Secomber on their own. Otherwise we might have to detour.”

“Not tonight,” Beepu said adamantly. “I will need rest as will Myrai to recover our power. But I believe the gate is intact. We will be likely be able to close it behind them and be secure until morning.”

“I doubt there are much in the way of stragglers here,” Daneath said looking at the caves around us. “So, I’m going to look at the gate and close it if I can. Beepu and the goblins can look at the caves for supplies.”

“Why me?” Beepu demanded. “And why with them?”

Daneath rolled his eyes. “Because you might be able to search a Booyagh’s cave for interesting things, the goblin probably know how to find stuff stashed by them, you are too short to deal with the gate, and Iesa and Myr are better able to free the prisoners.”

Beepu was about to protest, when he suddenly turned to look at the cave where the hobgoblin threw a fireball from. He then said “Quite right. Come on you two.”

The goblins looked at each other and shrugged. Then all three headed off to the Booyagh’s cave.

Daneath watched them head along the bridge and let out a deep sigh. “Somehow I thought that might be harder.”

“The goblins are reasonable,” Iesa said looking at Daneath puzzled.

“I was talking about Beepu mostly,” Daneath replied. “Besides letting the goblins free the prisoners might lead to a misunderstanding. Better to let you two talk to them.”

“Makes sense to me,” I said as I looked around. “But how do we get down from here? Didn’t the goblins push the ladder down?”

“Guess we lower Iesa down on a rope,” Daneath replied as he reached around for a coil that was attached to the outside of his pack.

“Wait…me? Why?”

“Because I don’t trust you to lower me down without dropping me.”

“What about Myr?”

“I don’t trust her to lower me down either.” I stifled a chuckle as Isea gave Daneath an exasperated look.

“That isn’t what I…never mind.” Iesa said defeated. “I’ll get it.”

With a little effort Daneath lowered his brother down, and with even greater effort Iesa replaced the ladder. Daneath then descended, and I hopped down the ladder’s rung gingerly, my leg still in pain from the crossbow wound. Daneath then headed to the front gate, while Iesa and I headed to the cages at the end of the canyon.

I was still limping, and Iesa turned and noticed my wincing.

“Myr, that looks pretty bad,” his eyes looking at the blood stains on my leathers. “Shouldn’t you just heal yourself?”

“I can, but I was holding off until we see if someone needs it more.”

“More than you right now?”

I looked at Iesa, “I’ll be fine.” I saw the concern in his eyes, as they lingered over my leg. “It’s a wound; you’ve had worse, as have I.”

“I know. It’s just…you are just willing to take on…on wounds like that and still worry about everyone else. I…like that about you, but I don’t understand it.”

“What helping others, or putting their pain before my own?”

We stopped walking, and he paused before answering, “Both I suppose. I just—”

“Iesa, you have helped us all and—”

“—I’m not sure killing things is the same as ‘helping.’”

“And that orphanage in Yartar? And how many others in Waterdeep?”

He looked at me with surprise, “You knew about that?”

I nodded, “You mentioned doing something similar in Yartar once. But I saw you entering one in Waterdeep before you left for Secomber. The kids certainly knew what you did.”

“It’s not quite the same,”

“No. It’s not.” I limped over to Iesa and took his hands.

“Some of us have pain from the past, and we all…find our own way to cope. I guess you did what you did because of what happened to your mother…and you.” He glanced up to look at me, questioningly.

“So, you know mine. What’s your pain?”

I looked down at my leg, seeing the coagulated blood on my breeches where the quarrel had stuck into my thigh. I could feel the slightest trickle of blood from the wound, within as my walking had torn open the barely closed wound. Biting my lip, I opened the door a crack.

“I’ve…suffered a lot of pain. Pain you don’t want to imagine. Pain reserved for petitioners that have committed crimes against their own soul. And I suffered it to save someone I…I…loved.” I looked at Iesa in the eyes, with tears forming in mine. “I failed. I didn’t save him. I couldn’t. And that was before I had any power at all. So now that I have it…I don’t want to fail again…fail anyone else again.”

“And we matter that much…to you?”

I looked down and closed my eyes and simply nodded.

“And that person…you loved…”

I looked at Iesa again and mustered my strength to speak. “The…fiends inflicted a lot of pain. But no pain hurt more than the pain of—”

“—Losing him?” Iesa finished presumptuously.

“No. No pain hurt more than…learning that he never loved me. That he…let happen what happened. That…he betrayed me.”

Iesa closed his mouth and swallowed, pausing a moment before speaking again. “I…uh…that would…hurt. I’m…sorry. And…are you—”

“Fine,” I lied. “It was…”

“It’s alright…I understand.” He released my hands and moved toward the cages.

“Iesa…its…. you’re a good friend, and compatriot—”

“Myr…I’m more of an elf person, not an angel one.” He smiled and turned.

I bowed my head and smiled in kind. I should have known.

We continued and reached the end of the canyon. There, there were four pens of wood set into a circle. As we approached the first two, I saw that they stood empty, with straw scattered about. There was a scent of rotten meat and stronger scent of a damp animal in the air.

But, I knew that smell. Worgs.

I looked at Iesa and he returned the glance. We continued forward, passing the pair. Ahead the remaining two stood. As we approached, I could see figures moving, just visible between the bars of the pen. Unlike the worg pens, these had both locked gates, and wooden rooves.

I motioned to the left one, and I let Iesa take the lead. As we got closer, I could hear whispers:

“Who’s coming?”

“I can’t see.”

“Where are the hobs?”

“I think I will need a light to pop these open Myr,” Iesa said quietly.

I nodded, and I flexed a moment, setting the light on my palm, illuminating the area with a warm yellow light. I hear sharp intakes of breath.

“They aren’t hobs?”

“Who are they?”

“Who is that with the—”

“—Did you see—”

“—I thought I—”

“—Wings?—”

Iesa stepped forward, “Hey, we’ll get these open in a moment,” pulling out his picks.

A man stepped forward to the gate; He was of good size, lean with unkempt light brown hair, blinking unsteadily into the light.

“Who…where are the hobs?”

Iesa started to work on the lock, “Well, we think we killed most of them, we have others checking the rest of the canyon.”

“Thank the gods,” he said with visible relief. “We need to open the other cage.”

“One at a time…Myr can you move the light a bit over my left shoulder?”

“Sure,” and I stepped forward. Placing my hand where Iesa needed it, I turned my head and smiled at the prisoner, his eyes now opened wide. “Hi there. What’s your name?”

“I…Kellid. Kellid is my name.” he stammered.

“Hi Kellid. We’re going to get you out of there. How many of you are here?”

“Uh…five families, about a score and a half. Our wives and kids are in the other one. Who are you?”

“We’re…uh adventurers I guess, and we were tracking down hobgoblins.”

“Almost done here,” Iesa said. “These locks are in poor condition.”

“You know a Micah?” I asked, seeing if they were from the village that we ‘saved.’

“Yes…yes…he’s alright?”

“He and the villagers were on their way to Secomber.” I said, keeping my voice steady and calm.

“Got it!” Iesa said pulling the lock loose from the chains and pulling the gate open. Inside I could see clearly about a dozen men, all dirty and tired looking. But they seemed to be unhurt physically.

“Kellid come with me,” and Iesa and I walked to the other pen, and Iesa started to work on the lock. Inside I could hear the voices of women talking.

“By Chauntea, Kellid is that you?” a woman said relieved.

“Yes…we seem to have some saviors,” these two.

“Well there are several others,” I said realizing this might be a good time to warn them. “This is Iesa, and I’m Myrai. Daneath is checking the front gate, and Beepu is checking the caves with a pair of gobli—”

“What?! Goblins?” Kellid said in alarm.

“Yes…they were held prisoner by the hobgoblins as well, and they killed a number here.” I said still smiling.

“Oh…well…I guess they can’t be that bad.”



It was dark by the time we had regrouped. The dead hobgoblins were interred into the earth. Families were reunited with husbands, wives, children, and friends. Of course, all had seen the blast of fire, the sounds of my shatter, and even could laugh at the strange shouts of ‘clumsy’ that preceded their rescue.

The goblins were unused to being treated like heroes. Their awkward smiles a strange contrast to the normally wicked ones we saw when attacking their former lashers. Beepu was of course seen as a powerful wizard, but Foggle kept the seven or eight children in awe. Iesa and Daneath armed the men with weapons found on the bodies and elsewhere in the canyon. Iesa had also found some gold which he shared equally with us as well as the villagers.

As for myself, the villagers seemed to hold me in awe as well. But not in the same way they looked at Beepu and his magical prowess. This was more fervor; the same I had seen in Waterdeep. Like I was their prayers personified, and their powers’ will incarnate. I was almost afraid that someone would just bow down and start worshipping me. I had done nothing to deserve such adulation. Yet I heard in their whispers the word ‘angel’ several times.

As the night settled in, Iesa had found a decent amount of passable food, and I used a bit of my power to create some water for all to drink. We setup several fires by the gate, and finally, we all gathered by the gate with Kallid and made our plans.

“So, there haven’t been worgs here for about a week?” Daneath asked Kellid. “You’re certain?”

Kellid nodded while chewing on some bread. “Yes, something about a crusher lasher needing them.”

“You speak goblin?” Beepu asked surprised.

“You sorta have to pick it up. They don’t allow you to speak in common as prisoners.” Kellid explained.

“That might mean we won’t see any riders for a while,” Iesa observed. “Myrai drowned quite a number of them in the village.”

“Thanks for the reminder,” I said bitterly. It was the truth, but I wasn’t especially proud of it.

“So, if that is the case, then the hobgoblins that ran will have to tell the ‘Prophesized One’ on foot,” Daneath continued the thought. “Drik, Drok how far from here is his fort?”

Drik and Drok muttered to each other before both turned and said “Three day walk.” In unison.

“That seemed definitive. Sound like it might be accurate for once,” Beepu muttered.

“When here before, lashers always say three days,” Drik spat.

“You not argue. Why they lie?” Drok said shrugging.

“That will mean that Kallid and the villagers would have at least four days lead, assuming there are more worg riders in reserve.” Daneath said rubbing his chin.

“With the armaments here, we should be able to protect ourselves. You have our thanks.” Kallid said with gratitude.

“It also means, we can all rest here till morning,” Iesa said with relief.

“We have more than enough to set watches at the gate,” Kallid said. “You have earned a night’s rest.”

“Well, Foggle can watch from the sky as well, we all should rest.”

“I think that more than one set of eyes is wiser Beepu,” Daneath smiled gently at the gnome.

“Why does no one believe me when I say that Foggle can watch for us all? Do you not trust me?”

“It’s not that Beepu; it’s everyone trust themselves more,” I said. “That and one shot with a crossbow could…well now, cause Foggle to explode again.”

“I concede that.” Beepu said grimly.

“That, and we’ll need Gossamer to watch the other entrance, just in case,” I said. “I’ll set my camp up there so in case anything happens I can alert you,” I stood and gathered up some wood so I could make a fire for warmth.

“I will be in the old ‘Booyagh’ cave. There are some things there I wish to examine more closely. You know where to find me. I’ll send Foggle to watch from the air.” And Beepu made his way to the ladder leading up the pillar and bridges to the caves.

“Thanks Kallid, but we’ll help with the watches regardless,” Daneath said.

“We will?” Iesa said surprised. “Ok…fine. You first. I’m getting some rest now,” he said with a note of irritation. He then lay back and looked at the fire, with eyes drooping.

“I’ll do that. Come on Kallid, let’s get the men setup into watches. Night.”

“Night.” I replied. I found some rope, to tie the bundle of wood together and made my way towards the ladder, leading to the bridges above. Gossamer, who was lying in a loafball near the fire, stood stretched his limbs and wings, and then flittered after me.

I was moving slowly; still injured and not yet having a moment to heal myself from the flames and the crossbow wound from earlier. But with everyone scattering around and setting up watches, I didn’t want to impose and ask for help.

“Wait up Myr!” I heard behind me, and to my surprise Daneath was trotting up towards me.

“I thought you were organizing the villagers?” I said confused.

“I did! It’s not like telling Iesa to take a bath after all,”

I smiled at Iesa’s expense, “Well, at least we can lead him to water,”

“Yep. Anyway, if anything does come down that tunnel, its probably going to be scary enough that you might need a hand. That and your odds of climbing that ladder with that much wood is pretty slim.”

I looked down at my leg and was forced to admit he was right. It was going to be a problem, until I could get a little rest and use some magic to heal up.

“You’re probably right Daneath,” I said, lowering the firewood to the ground. “Thanks,” I said with a twinge of guilt in my voice. I then grasped the ladders rungs in my hands and started to climb.

“Don’t sound that way,” Daneath said as I made my way up. “Otherwise the guilt on being laid out in the dirt would be unbearable,”

“So, you should carry more of my stuff?”

“Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.”

We made our way up the ladder and across the bridges, with Gossamer fliting around us. We crossed the final bridge and found a small flat area just inside the rock wall, leaving us with plenty of room to setup the fire and our bedrolls. Daneath arranged the wood, and I quickly light it with a white strand and in no time, we have a small blaze of warmth in the cave. Once done, I turned to face Gossamer;

Go ahead and find a spot down the tunnel so you can watch the entrance.

--Oh fun, just how I want to spend my evening. It’s bad enough I was knocked out of the air by that pretentious gnome. Can I at least bring something to sit on?

I have one spare shirt. ONE. No holes please.

--I’ll be careful.


The tressym using its paws and mouth, opened my pack, and pulled out my muslin shirt I used for sleeping. It then using all four legs pulled the cloth underneath itself. Then he beat his wings and took off, with my shirt down the tunnel.

Daneath watched Gossamer fly off and turned to me with a cockeyed expression.

“Finally,we’re alone.” He said with a smirk and a not at all serious tone.

I arched an eyebrow, “What, your codpiece slip? You can fix that all on your own.”

Daneath laughed, “Well considering you have been helping with the rest of the armor every morning since we met,”

“We’ve helped each other,” I corrected. I leaned back against the stone wall and started to unravel the bandage around my leg. Slowly the blood-soaked layers pulled away, exposing the wound created by the quarrel that struck me earlier. I focused with strands and started to clean up the blood stains off my leathers and skin. Once I finished, I started pulling on the straps and buckles on my armor.

“You know, most folk would kill to be as clean as you after a week’s march,” Daneath grinned as he poked at the fire.

I shrugged, “I might be in the middle of the moors and could be surrounded by hobgoblins at any time; I don’t need to smell like them.”

The man nodded and stared into the fire distractedly. “I thought it had to do with habits from a big city.”

“Well, yes Sigil is big. Bigger than Waterdeep easily. But its more we…do things differently. There’s no harbor, the one ‘river’ is called ‘The Ditch’ for a reason. And most of the time you wouldn’t set foot in it. There are bathhouses, and even the good ones can cost jink. But still if you could afford it, you tried to stay clean. Or at least avoid getting dirty.” I had finally removed the chain shirt that I wore, and started to clean the gambeson beneath it.

Daneath gave me a questioning glance and I explained.

“The Lower Wards have portals to lots of nasty places…many spit out smoke with the scent of brimstone, and then it rains and your skin turns yellow. Most wear leathers to keep clean, as water will always soak through cloth.”

“But there are a couple of public bathhouses, and of course if you are lucky the Great Gymnasium. I notice that isn’t a thing in Waterdeep.”

“Not really,” Daneath answered not looking up. “Many houses have cisterns from the rainwater so anyone can pipe into a bath without needing a public well.” Daneath then looked at me. “So, the public paths are they—"

“—Segregated? No,” I smiled shaking my head. “That kind of modesty isn’t really there. But its still rude to stare.”

“And that never bothered you?”

I stopped a moment and thought, “No. Unless you were melting some jinx, you are moving from pool to pool and not a lot of time to…admire I guess.”

Daneath shook his head again, “I rather have the privacy,” and he continue to look at the fire.

I stared at him a moment before asking, “So what’s on your mind? Somehow it isn’t me taking a bath.”


He chuckled for a moment, “I just was hoping we get somewhere. I know that Iesa has a different take on it, but I want to see my mast…father again. I have so many questions. But…”

“But?”

“…will he answer them. He never told me much beyond how to wield a weapon and swing it. That’s all I saw him as; a task master. I don’t know…what to expect.”

I nodded quietly looking at the fire, letting the warmth seep into my bones. After a long pause, Daneath spoke again.

“Thank you,”

“For?”

“Keeping me alive. Helping me do this to find my father. Considering you well…um…got killed. And it was worse when we went to Mordai,” he said shaking his head. “I should have gone to see a priest of Helm instead. But I…panicked.”

“It worked out.” I said trying to mollify him.

“Well I suppose. Should have worked out a little nicer. I guess I should have said sorry as well,”

“Thanks, and its fine now,”

Finally, I felt that I had enough energy, and pulled on the light strands. I felt the pain subside as a delicious warmth spread through my leg as the wound closed up, and the scab dropped off onto the ground leaving behind unblemished skin. Then I focused on the leathers, fixing the tear in them as well.

I felt much better, and I looked at Daneath. Again, his gaze was locked on the fire. Daneath was a cunning warrior, not a basher in a can. But I liked him because of the lack of pretension. He wasn’t wound up into schemes like Iesa would be. He wanted simple answers, and I honestly hoped he got them.

“Well, Goss is going to wake me if needed. I’m going to sleep,” and with an impish grin I leaned over and planted a simple kiss on his cheek, shocking him out of his reverie.

“Huh, what was--?”

“Because you needed it,” and I pulled myself into my bedroll. “And because I wanted to give you a simple thanks.”

“Thanks for what?”

“Thanks for being there for me,” I said sleepily, and I closed my eyes. The last thing I heard was Daneath saying

“Well…at least try to have pleasant dreams…”



Amazingly enough, the night was not interrupted by nightmares, gnolls, or even hobgoblins. I awoke to the dim light of the sun illuminating the canyon. It would take a while for the light to hit the shear stone walls. It was the one time of day my vision wasn’t ignoring darkness; everything was dim near us.

Daneath was dozing in a bedroll near me his armor piled nearby, and to my surprise one of the villagers was keeping watch near me. He turned his head and nodded at me.

“You all needed a good rest,” to which I could only nod in agreement.

I rose and moved over to wake the slumbering Daneath, whose eyes snapped open quickly and he started to look around as if we were in danger. Once he realized that I didn’t have any urgency, he relaxed and got up. We didn’t say anything as we pulled our armor on and checked each other’s straps as we normally did every morning. It just felt different, if for the only reason that I felt that everything was normal as two adventures could feel about each other; mutual respect, and no one was indebted to the other.

I heard a noise from the cave, and Gossamer swooped in with my shirt trailing behind him, caught in his claws.

--Oh yes…lots of fun that was. I am so glad that---

You put holes in my shirt!

--Ah well…maybe. Don’t you have a spell for that?

You did it on purpose!

--Well…yes. I wanted to rest in comfort while doing NOTHING.


I grabbed my shirt from the tressym and stuffed it back in my pack with a glare. And then the four of us made our way down to the gate, where all the villagers were gathered, along with our compatriots.

“—yes, well mastery of magic is something that takes a lot of hard work and study. In fact, you cannot neglect the study part. Otherwise it is not possible to cast a simple spell,” Beepu was saying to a number of the adults. Iesa was busy with a small pan over the fire, and the two goblins exchanged glances at each other that basically indicated that their opinion of the lecture was low, and that the manure content a little high. Then as one of the spotted me, he spoke up.

“Then why Myrai not study?” Drik asked.

“She has real familiar, not toy,” Drok stated assertively.

I saw the entire audience turn their heads to look at me, expecting me to leap into the discussion. However…

“What do you two know about the arcane arts!” Beepu glowered at the too, his face flushing a deep red.

“We know those things,” they said in unison, and with a wicked smile walked over towards Iesa who was serving out cooked meat.

“Look, he can do more than I can because of his study,” I said trying to defuse Beepu.

“Correct. She is not a wizard; in fact, she is a sorcerer—” Beepu started.

“--Doesn’t that make her a sorceress?” a villager asked.

“What? I suppose you are right, but that does not matter. Either one can tap the weave in a very limited way, and no two are the same,” Beepu replied a little flustered.

“So, you can heal too!” said a woman in the throng.

“Well, I cannot do that as I have not learned the arcane formulae that—”

“—Can’t you learn it from her?” Said another man.

“Ah…well…I have attempted to—”

“I thought you said a wizard could do more, but you can’t heal?”

“It is not a focus area of—” Beepu defensively started to say when from behind us a voice rang out.

“ALRIGHT PEOPLE!” Daneath shouted from behind me. “Everyone should pack up what they can; food, weapons and water. We’re going to be leaving soon, and you should bring everything that you need with you. It’s a five or six day walk to Secomber.”

And like that the crowd dispersed, with Daneath following and talking to Kallid. Drik and Drok were making their way back to where they camped, snickering as they went. Iesa just shifted his glance between Beepu and the goblins silently with a half smirk on his face.

“I got to find Mo…think he’s playing hide and seek with the children,” he said, putting the pan on the rock near the fire.

“Does he really?” I asked as Iesa made his way deeper in the canyon.

“Yep. He takes something of theirs and he hides. They then seek for him,” He said shrugging.

“Do they find him?” I asked.

“Haven’t yet. That’s why I need to. Excuse me.”

Beepu stood there glowering with a black one towards the goblins.

“I really detest them,” Beepu growled.

“Because they were right?” I asked, looking at the gnome dubiously.

“Yes…what? Wait. NO! They mock what they do not understand!”

“Could be worse. The Elk tribe understood just fine, and I heard they would bury a wizard up to their neck in the dirt, pour honey on their heads, and let the ants kill them.”

“They also mock what they…what really? Where did you hear that?” Beepu asked surprised.

“A bar I’m pretty sure. But I don’t want to go back to Yartar to ask locals to confirm. So did the Booyagh have anything useful?” I asked changing the subject.

“Oh! Yes! Along with a scroll or two, there was…this!” and he pulled from the leather case at his hip, that normally carried one of his many schematics, a long thin piece of black lacquered wood. On it I could barely see a carved pattern wrapping all the way around the wood.

“It’s a wand, right?” I asked. I had never seen one before, but I had heard of them.

Beepu nodded quickly, “Yes! It can cast a spell that will throw out spider webs to restrain foes. I think this will be very useful!”

“What about the scrolls?” I asked.

“Powerful magic. I need to hang on to them until I can transcribe them. But I think you can use one of them in a pinch.” And pulling from the same leather case he produced a piece of vellum and handed it to me.

I unrolled it, and after a moment I realized that this was a scroll to create a field of darkness. I nodded and folded it to put into my pouch at my waist.

“Yep, that I can use. And I know you know that spell already. Thanks.” I said appreciatively.

“Yes…well having extra in your pouch is always a good thing,” Beepu replied. “Now if I could only eradicate those two—”

“Beepu, best way is to finish off the Prophesized One,” I said spreading my hands. “Don’t have a better option for you three.”

“You could talk to them sweetly I bet.”

“You realize they think I’m ugly. I’m more likely to scare them,” I said

“I do not see the problem with that.” Beepu said with a very passive expression.



We all gathered by the front gate and said our goodbyes just as the sun crested above the canyon walls. The women and children were tearful, giving each and everyone a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Well almost everyone.

Drik and Drok, didn’t really want the kiss or the hugs to start with. They simply offered out a hand to shake on it. Beepu was flustered at first, but he soon gave in, and was passed around like a prize pig.

We shook the men’s hands, except for me as I kissed each on the cheek. This gathered more excitement than I intended, as several tried to sneak in seconds. I think I caught them all. Then we said our final farewells.

“We wish you luck in taking the fight to the hobs! Give them hell,” Kallid said and the rest of the villagers approving.

“And travel safe, all of you,” Daneath said in response. I then raised my left hand to shoulder height, and grasped the symbol of Kelemvor with my right, I bowed my head and closed my eyes and I said the following litany:

No one should be alone, in life or death,

Life is a part of death not an ending but a beginning

Life and Death is without deceit and has meaning,

May you all find your way to your homes,

And gaze upon the fruits of your labors,

May your kin and friends guide each other on the next step of your journey,

Because in Life there is always another waypost,

Not a destination, but a step in a Journey,

The memory of your bravery will live forever in you,

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

May He bless you with life to start anew.


Opening them, I saw the tears in their eyes, and the strength in their hearts. They would not forget, and they would become more than they were before. We all waved our final goodbyes, the villagers heading to the north west toward Secomber, while we followed the goblins south.

It was quiet for a long while; the goblins had certainty for once, and I didn’t need to lift either one onto my shoulders. But, I didn’t have a clue what they were following. The dry grass had no trails; there wasn’t so much as a rock or a tree for guidance on where to go. There were hills behind us, but even they faded into the background, and none appeared in front of us.

It was near peak, and I was about to ask how we knew where we were going, when I finally noticed it. A wind blowing from the south, and on that wind was a hint of fetid moisture. As we continued it got stronger and air had smell of rotten woods, and decaying leaves or plants. Eventually we reached a point in the grasslands, where they descended into a basin. A basin filled with water, mud and an abundance of rotting vegetation: A vast marsh.

We looked at each other and sighed. There was nothing really to say, and we started our descent into the mire. As we started down, Daneath pointed at an object at the edge. Squinting at it, it appeared to be a brown and grey structure on the very edge. Since it was the only landmark we could see, we headed towards it. As we got closer, it appeared to be a large shack on stilts on the edge.

“A cabin? Here?” Daneath asked as we approached the dilapidated building.

“Why not, someone thought it was better there than deeper in,” Iesa pointed out.

“Well they must have hauled the wood here on a wagon. It has been leagues since we saw a tree.” Beepu noticed looking around mournfully.

“This always been here?” I asked the goblins.

“Yes. Means we near marsh trail,” Drik said.

“Don’t swim here. Dangerous,” added Drok.

Beepu and I looked at each other and sent our respective familiars high into the air, and we slowly approached the shack. The ground was fairly firm, with only a slight give, but we were surrounded by water, and waist high reeds. The shack, and part of it extended over the water. Its legs were sunk into the water, making the overhang slightly submerged.

--Wow that’s big.

What?

--So is that one.

Goss—

--Two more! I’m not landing. Nope nope no—

GOSS!

--Oh…sorry. Lizard log things. They are in the water just…floating there like a—

I get it. Thanks. Don’t land.




“Beepu, is Foggle seeing—” I started.

He nodded, “Yes. I am not sure if they are alligators or crocodiles or something else.” Beepu replied moving away from the water

“The large logs…alright, how can you tell the difference?” I asked.

“I actually do not know,” Beepu said after a brief pause.

“Does it matter?” Iesa hissed. “Are they near?”

“They’re all around us,” Beepu answered. “We should be safe on the land.”

“Alright then…what about that though?” Daneath asked, pulling his sword out and holding it in front of him.

You could hear the dripping of water back into the swamp, as a figure emerged next the shack. The water poured in rivulets down a scaly green and brown hide. As it moved out of the water, I realized it wasn’t a ‘Lizard log’ but something else. It stood on two legs and in one of its arms, it held a spear. Its head had an elongated snout and eyes with pupils in the form of slits, and around its neck a necklace of teeth and bone on a leather thong. And it only was maybe fifteen paces away from us.

We froze, looking at it, its head swiveled back and forth looking at all of us. Finally, it bent slightly forward, and spread its arms wide, exposing its barrel chest. It opened its mouth wide, baring its teeth and giving a loud hissing sound, before speaking a single sibilant word.

“SSSSsssoftssskinssss!”



Session notes:

Sorry this one took so much time; some rewrites and COVID-Geddon was a thing. Yeah.

So, playing Myrai I did what any one does, and ahem…appropriated someone else’s art, did a crappy job modifying it and used it on a character sheet.

This bugged me for a lot of reasons, and my wife found out about it,. So she gave me (allowed me) to commission an artist to do a proper job.

I had the pleasure to work with a great artist on Deviant Art, who goes by the name Clayscence, and she recently republished my commission, so I’d thought I would share it with you.

Cleansing of the undead by clayscence on DeviantArt

myrai-enworldshare.jpg


Note: All copyrights on the piece belong to her, not me. I do have a commercial license for the piece.

About the artist:

clayscence - Professional, Digital Artist | DeviantArt

Home | portfolio

Vanette Kosman (@clayscence) | Twitter
 
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Nthal

Lizard folk in disguise
The Other Swamp thing - 03/29/2020

The Society of Sensation is about using your senses to understand the multi-verse. Of course, it is also about memory, so you can take that understanding to another level.

But sometimes it feels like once you have learned the secret or the lesson, the multi-verse decides to beat you over the head with it, again and again.

Which makes you wonder; did you miss something or was it just spite. Or worse yet – both.



My eyes were fixed on the lizardfolk. My heart was pounding, while my eyes darted to the murky muddy waters around us. Daneath stood there, his sword stretched in front of him. Isea had an arrow notched to his bow, but he was turning looking around. Beepu was looking at the lizardfolk, but his eyes were far and away from the scene on the ground. Drik and Drok had scattered to the bushed, each holding a crossbow and both pointing straight at the scaled figure, still dripping from its sudden emergence from the marsh.

“Sssssssssss,” came from between bared teeth of the hulking lizardfolk. Its arms twitched, remaining outstretched. But the spear it carried was still pointing to the air, and not at us. It stood where it emerged, standing in shallow water just below its knees. Its head looked at each of us, unblinking.

We stood there in the mire just…staring at each other. As if the lizardfolk was as uncertain about us as we were about it. The tension in the air was finally broken by Daneath’s practicality.

“Beepu,” he whispered. “Do you see any others?”

The gnome’s brow was knitted together in concentration. “I see alligators, but I do not see any more lizardfolk.”

“Iesa, I don’t understand,” I said. “Why is everyone on edge?”

“There should be more of them. They only hunt human in packs.” He said quickly.

“We not hunt sssoftsskins,” the lizardfolk hissed loudly. “Tale to ssscare sssoftsskin children.”

Gos, is Foggle right? Is he the only one?

--Best that I can see. The waters around are shallow and while there are lizard logs around, the water isn’t deep.

Alligators.

--Whatever


“Then if you aren’t here to hunt us, why are you here?” I yelled back.

“To…asssk…for help,” it responded hesitantly, still unmoving.

“Help?” Daneath yelled back. “Then what’s with the bared teeth and spread arms?”

The lizardfolk cocked its head to it side. “Ssself heard that sssoftsskins trussst othersss with sssmilesss and hugsss. Am missstaken?”

There was a cold silence between us. I looked at Iesa and then at Beepu next to me, and their faces must have held the same amazement as my own.

“heheheheheheh,” Drik and Drok started to roll on the marshy ground in uncontained laughter. Soon it spread to us, and I could do nothing more than giggle at the poor earnest lizardfolk’s expense. It stood there, but it had lowered its arms to a relaxed posture, as its head looked at us in what I was pretty sure was puzzlement. Finally, Daneath, sheathed his sword and we approached the Lizardfolk.

“We do trust people with smiles and hugs,” Daneath said wiping tears from his eyes. “But its not expected from…your kind.”

“So…sssself did joke?” it asked, still puzzled.

“No,” I said thinking quickly. “But it was a funny situation. And that’s good enough.”

The lizardman thought a moment, and then lowered its spear and strode out of the water and onto the marshy earth before speaking again.

“Sssself need help with fearsssome thing. It ssslew many of ssself’s tribe,” the lizardfolk said slowly. His voice was unemotional and even. That his tribe folk’s members were slaughtered was a fact, and not something to be remorseful or concerned about.

“Well, we might be able to help there. Would you be able to help us in return?” Daneath asked, eyeing the lizardfolk.

It thought a moment and then nodded, “Help how?”

“There is a hobgoblin encampment on the other side of this marsh. We need help defeating its warlord.”

The lizardfolk nodded, “Sssself knows place. Old fort of sssstone on island.”

“An island?” Iesa said surprised. “How are we going—”

“—One problem at a time,” I said. “There were goblins that were heading to that encampment. They might have warned the chief we are coming.”

“No. Thing ate them two moons ago,” it said simply.

“Ate?” Drik and Drok spoke looking at each other in discomfort.

“One less problem it would appear,” Beepu nodded approvingly, while the goblins narrowed their eyes at the gnome suspiciously.

“True…” I began to have doubts on the bargain we were making.

“So, what do we call you?” Daneath asked our new companion.

“Folk not given namesss like Sssoftssskins. We take namesss from what we do. You can call ssself, Darassstrix.”

“Darastrix?” Beepu’s ears perked up. “I am not familiar with your language, but is that not the word for ‘dragon’?”

Darastrix nodded “Not…what word? Literal. Tale of name for Folk only.”

“So, where is this thing?” Daneath said with impatience on his voice.

“Deeper in—” and Darastrix stopped talking, his head suddenly jerking to the side, nostrils flaring as he sniffed the air, and his eyes growing wider.

“No…it here,” and he clutched his spear in both of his clawed hands, whirling and facing to the west.

Goss? What do you see?

--I’m not. Crap its big!


We were standing on a path of earth, bordered on one side by the swampwater, where Darastrix emerged from, and our other side was a pond. Ahead of us, we could now hear crashing in the brush and weeds, moving closer, and louder fast. Then it suddenly burst forth from the foliage running straight at all of us.

It was huge, easily towering over Daneath, but it ran hunched. It was Its hide was a mottled gray green, with lank and limp dark hair on its head. The skin of its face and head was lean, highlighting its skull, and deep-set sockets, while a thin pointed nose jutted from its wart covered face. Its whole body looked emaciated, and covered in boils and scars, but it revealed a powerful lean physique with knotted muscles. It wore no clothes, save a leather loincloth. But what concerned me most was its clawed hands…all four of them.

But as fast as it was, Daneath was faster still, interposing himself between the monster and the rest of us. Raising his shield, he stepped forward a couple of steps and then braced for the impact, which the monster obliged. The sound of wet meat and bone colliding with the metal barrier, and the grunt of Daneath trying to stay upright. The four arms clawed at the warrior’s shield., while it bellowed a raspy grating roar.

Daneath slashed and thrust into the midsection of his hulking foe. The creatures blood sprayed the warrior, but as I watched, the wounds started to close before my eyes. Darastrix turned quickly, swinging the haft of his spear, successfully cutting the monster with its broad metal tip. But the wound on its thigh didn’t even bleed, and the wound disappeared as quickly as Daneath’s.

“Crap, it’s a troll!” Iesa shouted, mirroring my own thoughts. He retreated to a safe distance and shot with his bow, lodging an arrow deep into its breast. He then moved even farther back to give himself maneuvering room and drew another arrow.

I followed him as fast as I could and turned and pulling on dark strands, I start to shred at its life force, a skeletal hand gripping it around the neck. The troll was busy pulling Iesa’s arrow out, with a spurt of blood. But the wound didn’t close this time, as my magic held back its healing abilities.

Beepu also ran, but he decided to run around the pond in the opposite direction. He turned, and threw a bolt of fire, striking a glancing blow off the troll, with the resulting smell of burnt hair and flesh. The goblins followed Beepu as well, firing their crossbows wildly, and not even striking the troll at all. But they were faster than Beepu and quickly moved past him.

The troll, with two arms pounded Daneath. The first blow almost knocking him down to his knees, but his second right hand struck nothing but air. Daneath took advantage of the opening, shouting a triumphant battle cry, striking deep into the exposed flank of the troll. He quickly twisted his blade and ripped it back out. More blood and ichor sprayed the warrior, and the troll bellowed in pain. It looked at the warrior with grudging respect and started to run.

But not away; instead it set its sights at the next closest foe that had struck it with fire; the slow moving Beepu. Daneath quickly tried to swing and stop his foe from moving but was staggered by the troll’s strike and his blade whistled in the air, cleanly missing.

The troll quickly covered the distance to Beepu and with two left hand fists, struck the gnome. I could hear the air leave his lungs and heard the crack of bone as a fist punched Beepu in the chest. The other hand from the upper arm, came down on Beepu’s shoulder, knocking the gnome to the ground, his face contorting in pain. He tried to throw more fire at the troll, but his blast flew high into the air, missing.

Drik and Drok, who were not far from the injured gnome, dropped their crossbows and ran towards the troll each trying to cut a different leg. But the swords didn’t even blemish the hide, and seemed to cause no harm. They however, ran past and ran back behind Daneath, turning around and readying their blades for another run.

Iesa then took a shot at the troll with careful aim. The arrow would have found its mark, but the troll casually knocked the arrow away with a large hand, unconcerned. I once again pulled at a strand, but I couldn’t thread it around the troll, despite my best efforts. I watched in dismay as the deep puncture wound that Iesa had created with his shot, was now closing. The troll had a vicious, angry smile on its face as it lifted all four of its hands up, ready to crush the gnome in the mud.

“SSSSSSsssssssssssssss” was the sound that Darastrix made as it charged into the troll. The lizard folk was only slightly taller than Daneath, but it swung its spear with a savagery, unlike its calm demeanor before during our parley. Its face was a frozen mask, as it thrust at the troll, trying to land a blow. Finally he spun and with the butt of its spear, managed to smash it into the left eye socket of the troll, causing it to bellow in pain.

In anger it focused its attention on Darastrix. Both lower arms struck at him, keeping the lizardfolk off balance. Then the upper limbs grabbed the lizardfolk, its claws sinking deep into Darastrix’s scaly hide. Blood flowed from multiple wounds, as the troll held its prey in place. With a growl, the troll opened its maw and bent over to bite the helpless Darastrix, lifting him high into the air. The troll savagely shook his head to and fro, and then hurled the limp figure straight at Daneath. It roared in triumph, flexing its four arms in anticipation of crushing the almost forgotten gnome. It turned to the spot where Beepu lay and then paused.

There in the ground was a gnome shaped divot, but the gnome was no where to be found. The troll was looking around, confused and angry when Daneath collided with it, his shield smashing into the troll’s knee, while he swung overhead, slicing into the troll’s thigh. Drik and Drok then ran through, each cutting deeply into each calf of the troll, and the pair splitting off into different directions after their strike.

Before the troll could react, another arrow struck it below the clavicle, penetrating so deep, that the arrowhead protruded from the back of the troll. For the first time, the troll started to look uncertain, its head pivoting around looking for escape.

I flexed again and gripped the troll’s life once again, stripping it away painfully. The wounds that were trying to close, now suddenly reopened and bled profusely.

But it wasn’t done yet. And it raised its arms and started clawing at Daneath with all four of them. Daneath was able to deflect a pair of the blows, and responded with a thrust, a slice, and a pommel smash to its knee, causing it to howl in pain once again. It now looked desperate to run away from foes that clearly knew how to hurt it. It barely took a step to run back the way it came, when a bolt of fire slammed into its back. The blast was so hard, that a hole opened in front of Daneath, covering him with the grayish pink entrails of the troll. It then collapsed into a heap in front of the warrior with a whimpering sound, unmoving.

A bloodied Beepu, walked up from the reeds where he was hiding, and he started blasting the troll over and over with fire; his face contorted in anger.

“I was not put here for your pounding amusement,” he screamed at it, as he cast two more firebolts at the fallen figure, the reeking smell of burnt troll now was omnipresent around the pond.

I however was running, to Darastrix’s fallen form. I slid onto my knees next to him and touched nervously the scaled skin of the lizardfolk. Darastrix’s skin was thick and cold; I couldn’t tell If he breathed at all. I swallowed my fear for a moment and brushed my hair away and placed my ear to his chest, hoping for a sign. I closed my eyes and listened.

The skin against my ear was smooth and cool, as I moved my head around listening. But as I lay there, I heard nothing. I moved my hand toward Darastrix’s maw. I placed it in front of his nostrils and open jaw, trying to feel…something. Anything.

It was too late. I closed my eyes, cursing myself; angry that I couldn’t have done anything. I was about to move and check on the others when I felt…no heard something.

THUMP.

I waited a moment and moved my hand closer to his nostrils. I realized that I could feel the faintest movement of air. It wasn’t warm or cold, and it could have been mistaken from the breeze on open air. But it was instead the faintest hint of exhalation.

THUMP.

Another beat. Far slower than a human, elf or gnome. I wasted no more time and pulled on a large white strand. I whispered to Kelemvor under my breath, and poured power into the fallen lizardfolk.

THUMP.

The beat was no quicker, and I was wondering if I was just imagining it. I strained to listen, uncertain.

“Not food. Not dead,” he said suddenly, giving me, a start and I fell backwards. I started scooting backwards away from the now conscious Darastrix, who calmly sat up, and turned its head to regard me.

“Did not think Ssssoftssskins ate dead,” he said looking at me with what I thought was curiosity.

“Wha…no. I was seeing…er listening to see if you were alive…. if I could heal you!” I stammered confused by the implications of what he said.

“You…healed ssself. Not eat?”

“Eat? No!” I said horrified, my heart beating faster. In my mind I had a sudden flash of memory. A memory of a large wart covered boar like face laughing and biting down onto smooth skin. Sharpened teeth cutting muscle and touching bone, while a loud scream echoed in the background.

My scream.

I recoiled from Darastrix, my heart pounding. He looked at me with a detached look, analyzing the puzzling behavior of the softskin female in front of him.

“What the? What did you do to her?” Iesa ran up, hand on his rapier, preparing to draw it. Darastrix, didn’t move and looked at the rogue and gave a shrug.

“Do nothing. Ssshe healed. Ssshe…find something fearsssome,” He said looking back at me.

“Myr what did---”

“Nothing…he…did…nothing,” I said raising my hand at Iesa. “It wasn’t him…it was…was a memory.”

Darastrix shrugged and got to his feet. He turned to see the fallen smoking form of the troll in the mud and nodded approvingly before speaking. “Creature is now food. But not good food. Chewy. Hard to digesssst. Wassste.”

Daneath and the others came up to us now. Daneath looked at me with concern, as did Beepu. The goblins looked at me and then each other, shrugging.

“Myr what has—” Beepu started in a lecturing tone.

“Nothing,” I said between clenched teeth. “I…now is not the time to talk about it.”

“I apologize.” Beepu said wincing, holding his chest. “I think the troll broke a rib or four of mine. Can we rest somewhere?”

Darastrix nodded. “Hunting camp near. Hidden from prey. Ssssafe.”

“Good enough for me,” Daneath said sheathing his sword, and offering me a hand to pull me back up on my feet. “Let’s go.”




It wasn’t far, and it was good timing, as the sun was sinking low in the west by the time we got there. By then I was exhausted, both from the walk and the number of strands I had pulled. I had expended all the light strands I could to heal Beepu and Daneath, both of which took had taken a severe pounding from the troll. I was beyond drained and needed to rest.

Darastrix, led us off the mud, and into the water for a bit. Coming to a bank of reeds, he circled it until he came to an unremarkable section of cattails. He then lifted them away from the bank, revealing a concealed path of earth, leading within. With a quick head gesture, he motioned us inside.

Where he led us was essentially an island, surrounded by a tall wall of thick foliage. There was a raised rock, below which was room for a fire. Around the edges, were lean-tos of grass and reeds, enough for perhaps twelve people in all. Darastrix, quickly moved to a scaled hide of a crocodile, and moved it aside to uncover several cords of dry wood. He carefully pulled some wood out and placed it beneath the stone and pulled out some flint and quickly lit a fire.

We all took off our packs, and I was only somewhat paying attention to the discussion around me.

“I did not think lizardfolk knew how to make fire, much less actually use it,” Beepu remarked, watching the lizardfolk work.

“Folk civilized. Just not your civilized,” Darastrix responded. “Some things in fen not safe to eat unless cooked.”

“Oh. That makes sense. That include softskins?” Beepu asked, arching his eyebrow as we watched.

“Ssssoftssskins dangerous to hunt and not worth it,” Darastrix responded, as he built up the fire.

“Dangerous?” Iesa asked a bit puzzled.

“Firssst group easssy to hunt. Weak.” Darastrix replied in an even tone. “But other nearby group ressspond by killing folk. Folk wassste energy fighting othersss. That and sssoftssskin not good food. Like…what word? Candy; bad for you.”

“I am not a sweet!” Beepu exclaimed offended.

“Like not isss,” Darastrix responded. “Other game better for Folk. Going to get fisssh. Sssstay,” and the large lizardfolk, left the reeds leaving us to ourselves.

“Well he’s kind of nice, in that detached factual way. Kind of like Beepu with less words,” Iesa said, sitting down in front of the stone being heated by the fire.

“Very funny. Lizardfolk are very different depending on the swamp. There is a tribe near Daggerford that trade for example. But on the far south of the moors closer the Serpent Hills they are far more violent to ‘softskins’” Beepu held his fingers up as he said the word. “Probably because of the naga and yuan-ti there,”

“Can we trust him?” Daneath asked.

“Probably,” Beepu said. “They have a low value in deceit. Waste of time I bet he would say.”

“So how did he break Myrai?” Iesa said looking at me.

I swallowed. “He…didn’t. I just remembered something…best left forgotten,” I sighed and looked at them. All of them looked at me with different expressions; The goblins confused, Iesa concerned, Daneath disapproving, and Beepu unconcerned. “Look I’m…just tired. I need to rest. Wake me for last watch.”

“Sure Myr,” Daneath, “We can talk about plans in the morning.”

I made my way to a lean-to and lay out my bedroll and stripped off the chain shirt I wore. It wasn’t long before sleep took me to the realms of nightmares.




I don’t remember what day it was. The third or fourth? Did it matter? The stifling warmth of the room never changed, the fires from the braziers with that overtone of brimstone in the air, never dimmed. Time was meaningless in this place of pain. I slept when I could, in between moments; some long. Some short. But never enough.

I was awoken by the chains that held me in the air; where once I lay in a hammock of links, the chains moved along my skin and carried me in the room to a iron frame that was set out in the middle. The chains lay me on the framework, and then writhed and wrapped around my limbs holding me face up on the frame.

I didn’t resist. What would be the point? There was no escape from this place. From the deal I signed in my own blood. A bad deal, a broken deal. But a valid one from any Baatezu’s perspective. As I lay there, I turned my head slightly, to the see the familiar corpse on the ground; presevered with magic not to spoil and rot. There for me to see, to remind me why I was here. Why I endured. And how I couldn’t save him from himself, Markell’s lifeless corpse.

I was always tired now. Pain was one thing, but the healing was exhausting. Part of the deal after all; no permanent scars or damage to the body. Tear me up, put me back together, and start the cycle again. Each time was different. Each time bringing me to a new low.

Somewhere out of my vision, I could hear the click of a spoon on a porcelain teacup, followed by the sound of stirring and humming. My jailor favored tea, something acrid based on the smell, and I didn’t know how he took it. I could hear the clinking of chain links and then the delicate sipping sound from the cup, as my jailor waited to greet the next client.

I presently heard boots…no hooves on the stone, striding to the chamber with a slow deliberate gait. My head was positioned away from the doorway that let into my personal oubliette, so I couldn’t see who was approaching.

“Tanr belscan oo? Bi ghootoo tagan yatdan khuleek byani!” an unfamiliar gravelly voice said, full of malice, bile and self-amusement. I didn’t know the words, but I knew the language: Abyssal. A tanar’ri most likely.

My jailor replied, “Tanr belsca. Khogjildini oo.” And I felt the chains tighten around my outstretched limbs as I lay there. I waited in terror, the hooves approached, and finally I could see my soon to be tormentor. My heart skipped a beat as I first smelled and then saw it. It was a fetid rotten smell mixed with a powerful musk. The figure was massive; more than twice my height, if I were only standing. Its body was a bloated humanoid shape, covered with a patchy dingy brown pelt, with a hairless underbelly and chest a dark pink in color. The head was of a giant boar, with large tusks and sharp canine teeth as it grinned at me cruelly. Just over its shoulders were a pair of small feathered wings, in desperate need of preening.

I lay there, my breathing labored and quickening. As the tanar’ri regarded me with a wicked smile, it salivated looking at me, helpless to escape. As I watched, a swirl of light emanated from the fiend, a sickly blend of reds, oranges, purples and blues. I was afraid before, but now terror truly set in. I struggled against the chains that held me, desperate to run from the contract I signed. It smiled and in my head I could hear it say.

“So, what seasoning goes well with leg of aasimar?”

My eyes felt like they were going to pop from my sockets, and I screamed again, like I had the time before this, and the time before that…

I sat up, and I had the sensation of a hand across my face, stifling me. I was about to panic when I saw the stars far away, and could smell the fire burning nearby, brimstone free. I relaxed, letting my arms go limp. Glancing to my left I saw it was Darastrix looking at me, his face expressionless. I blinked and raised my hand and nodded, and he uncovered his hand from my face.

“Dreamsss not agree with you,” the lizardfolk said simply.

I shook my head. “No. They haven’t…” and I struggled to remember a time where I had happy dreams. I quickly gave up and continued, “…in a long time. Sorry.”

“Risk low. Concerned. Dream have to do with self?” Darastrix asked with that same emotionless tone.

“Well…does your kind eat things…still alive?” I asked, looking at Darastrix.

The lizardfolk blinked and shook its head. “Food is dead, not alive. Only…corruption of Sess’inek does this.”

“Sess’inek…a Tanar’ri…a demon lord.” I said quietly.

Darastrix nodded. “One hasss knowledge, if one knowsss itsss name. That one corruptsss the onessss of Ssssemuanya. Not civilized.”

I guffawed. “I guess not. I dreamt a demon did just that though.”

The lizardfolk cocked his head to regard me. “That not pleasssurable. Explainsss noissse.”

I nodded, “It wasn’t,” I said not wanting to explain that it wasn’t a dream, but a memory. I didn’t know if Darastrix could have a nightmare, but I saw no reason to explain it.

“Let me get my armor on, and I’ll, start my watch.”

Darastrix nodded and moved away. I sat there a second, and then I pulled my chain shirt over my head and started to buckle it back on.

--That was…vivid.

You were peeking?

--You were pretty much screaming in my head.

Sorry about that.

--Did that…really?

Yes. I don’t really want to…

--I don’t want to know either.


And I as I sat there in the early morning listening to the reeds move in the breeze, the only thing that I could think about was this:

It was far from the worst thing I couldn’t forget.



Session Notes:

As if the DM didn’t have enough NPCs to manage. However, I never did understand why exactly Beepu moved in the opposite direction of everyone else. It begged for trouble, which he received. The goblins were a divine intervention of sorts from my perspective, but on the other hand, they didn’t exactly stop to defend the gnome either.

And yes, more trauma from the past...there is a lot of that.

But let’s not let a mistake ruin a good story.
 
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Another enjoyable instalment.

Now, I'm not usually one to point out typos on messageboards and the like (honestly, I do enough of that in my day job, and the gods know my typing is very far from flawless), but ...

" Its whole body looked emancipated ..."

After that I didn't expect to find that it was even wearing a loincloth!! :D
 


Nthal

Lizard folk in disguise
Another enjoyable instalment.

Now, I'm not usually one to point out typos on messageboards and the like (honestly, I do enough of that in my day job, and the gods know my typing is very far from flawless), but ...

" Its whole body looked emancipated ..."

After that I didn't expect to find that it was even wearing a loincloth!! :D

<SMACK> I shouldn't be freeing him from his loincloth. Its not that kind of story, terror or otherwise.

I consider myself a passable writer, but its editing that always snarls me. I listened to that passage at least twice and didn't pick that up.

Thanks for sticking with me on...horrible constructions.
 

Nthal

Lizard folk in disguise
I'm liking Darastrix! I'm glad he' still among the living - he brings a unique perspective to the group.

Johnathan

Wow, thanks!

Darastrix wasn't much for dialog (except that comment about smiles and hugs...THAT was pretty much a quote). However, in a completely different campaign that ran a year or so, my son and I played a set of "egg brothers," Lizardfolk from the same clutch. We basically spent a year developing cultural norms, languages and phrases in lizardspeak. I loved the characters, but after a year or so in that mindset...writing as Myrai was a palette cleanser.

So dramatizing Darastrix is about a years worth of learning to be a lizardfolk. I have about 18k words in journal style from that campaign, and my son another 5k. Its interesting...but not so much that I could build a story hour for general consumption.
 


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