But I didn’t do anything. I was on an errand for Brother Joshua, when Elayne the bishop’s daughter asked for help. A curtain in her room had fallen, and she couldn’t get it back on the wall. So I entered her room, and stepped on the chair she offered.
Just as I finished fastening the curtain, the chair gave way. Elayne tried to catch me, but being as big as I am…I tried to avoid her, but she landed on top of me. As she rose, her robe came open, and this was when the bishop came in to investigate the racket.
He turned an ugly shade of purple, and he ordered me to leave. When I finally reached Johua, I gave him his message and told him of what happened on the way here. The next morning, Brother Joshua sent me here to help oversee the harvest. Next thing I know I’m being sent into no-man’s land with the wee thieving folk.
Arthur and Damein:
Well it started with a dream. You see, a human-headed, winged lion appeared to both the paladin and myself. The creature of virtue appealed to us to destroy the Daggerwand, saying that great hardship would befall mankind if this device was not destroyed. To ensure our peace of mind, and to validate our dream, the creature told us to compare our dreams with each other. This seemed very logical, and in the morning we did.
The halfling was playing with the thing when we went to get it. He eyed us ruefully. Seems he also had a dream. He screamed that we only wanted the power of the device, and that he was the only person capable of gaining the full benefit of its power. I held him, and the paladin tied him. The paladin felt ill at ease; this was like stealing. Also, the halfling would never believe we destroyed the darn thing. So, we tossed the halfling in a sack and carried him along.
Following the winged one’s instructions, we wrapped the Daggerwand without actually touching it. We then took it to the elderly lady. She accepted the Daggerwand from us and carefully inspected our packaging job. She then held out at arms length a colored piece of yarn. She called it a thread of magic. She spun this over her head and in front of us. The thread unraveled into a spray of color. We felt instantly a sense of vertigo.
When the colors faded, we were standing at the mouth of a huge cavern. The halfling was also awake, by this time, and yammering incessantly . The paladin explained the situation quite plainly and politely, then released the halfling. We entered, the four of us, into a furnace. A long spiral step led down and also up. We’d be going down.
The heat was oppressive. We could at times see a fiery red glow below us. We didn’t travel at a steady pace. I often had to help the lady, and the paladin took to keeping track of the halfling.
One night, when we were particularly exhausted, the halfling stole the Daggerwand and fled. In the morning, we followed. He’d been acting very strangely and the paladin felt at fault for not stopping this delay. It was late in the day when we heard the commotion. The halfling was in a kobold pit trap, twelve feet deep and with mud-slicked walls. The kobolds were pelting him with stones and curses. The halfling was screaming at someone else entirely. Something about not being permitted to use the wand, because the charges needed by some “master.”
Well, the halfling swept in and ended the kobold threat. There were only twelve.
I cast dispel magic on the halfling. He dropped the wand like a bad habit. We lowered him a rope and pulled him out. We then rigged a seat for the lady, lowered her into the pit. She rewrapped the wand and we hauled her back up. We continued on our way.
To make a long journey into a short story, our scout, the halfling, led us down several wrong trails. One of these contained a room filled with fiery lava holes. In each of those holes were fiery snakes and on the ceiling were firebats. We fled, but not soon enough. This happened to be the temple of a tribe of fire newts, who relentlessly pursued us for the rest of our journey.
So, with a near-continuous running battle against the fire newts, we descended deep into the volcano. The paladin was the first to see the runes described to us. I took the wand and said the words as instructed, and then tossed the wand into the center of the volcano.
Next, a terrible eruption of fire, rock and smoke. To say the least, we were worried. A demonic force appeared in the smoke, cursing and swearing. I don’t remember the exact words, but something about another key to another gate. That we would all die horribly, several times, and something about a priestess ever charming a halfling for a major project, the consequences, etcetera, etcetera. Then the face disappeared , or actually was replaced by spinning colors. The thread we had seen unraveled before, rewound before us. We felt the same vertigo.
Then I was standing outside this village with a horse behind me, saddled and everything. I have no idea where the others are. But my feet hurt, my boots were worn out. I’ve never been to this town before, and I hope the horse I found wasn’t stolen because I like him. I’ve just gotten new boots and clothes and new gear. Everything I had was worn out from heat and dry rot. As usual, I don’t know where I’ve been, how long I was really there or where I’m at. I sincerely hope the three who were with me also are safe.
On 11 Eleasis 1418, The Year of the Lord’s Coronation, four friends stood on the field outside of Midton. Stryker, Kesha, Valance and Red were still shocked by the pitched battle that was required to reclaim Citadel. But the clouds were clearing. There was hope for tomorrow.
Kesha had been quiet all day long. Valance figured it was her concern that he might fail his druid’s challenge. After all, some who fail do not return. Most who fail are forever changed, physically or psychologically.
His wife looked up into the heavens, though, as the clouds parted. She stared and squinted. The clouds cleared over a certain spot, and she frowned. She began to mutter.
“What is wrong?” he finally asked.
“There is a cluster of stars missing,” she told him. “A big black spot between Malar and Mask.”
She said that there was nothing important there. Just a black void where stars had been. “I have been feeling strange ever since the battle with Blacksprite,” she told him. “I can’t feel the ties to the spirit world as easily any longer.”
As time went on, the heroes would confirm that no portals to the lower planes could be opened in Damara. Those demons who were in the region at the time of the battle with Blacksprite were trapped there. Those who were not could not be summoned into the region. While this would not last forever, it most certainly contributed to the initial success of King Arthur’s reign.
Stryker and Red took their leave after a few minutes of silence ensued.
Eventually, Valance had to retire for the evening as well. He needed to prepare for his coming test.
Kesha told him, as he left, “I can’t help but thing the stars are connected. There was something strange about the phrase he said before he died. Something powerful.”
I was born on
And so my life remained unusual well into my teens, except for my dreams in which I would sometimes see a massive creature charging toward me. It was large with gray leathery skin and two long ivory tusks jutting forth from its face, and a long snout dangling almost to the ground, but I would always wake up before it reached me.
On my fifteenth birthday I went to the Cathedral of Ezra in Tepest to start my training to become a priest. The first few weeks were harder then I thought they would be. It wasn’t the classes or strict discipline that made it so difficult for I was very bright and used to taking orders, but I missed my home very much. However, I forced myself to go on, never giving up for I knew this is what God had called me to do.
I could not even imagine what was about to happen. I had been there about a month and I was in one of my classes when I suddenly fell asleep. I saw that creature coming toward me again only this time I couldn’t wake up it just kept coming and coming getting faster and faster, until it ran right into me and vanished. I awoke to see the Priest who was teaching us starring at me with abject horror on his face the rest of the class were screaming and fainting around me. I heard someone yell Monster, and another Demon. And then I noticed these large tusks jutting from my face and a long snout dangling down to the floor. And my hands had turned into things that looked like large mallets. I screamed, and when I looked at the priest he was already starting to pray a prayer. I panicked and turned to flee, but I was too late, the prayer was answered and I found that I could not move at all.
They took me before the Inquisitor that was assigned to the Cathedral. He was a hard, aging man, with ice blue eyes which seemed to peer inside me and could see every wrong I had ever done. I was never so scared before in my life, I started praying for strength but he slapped me across the face and told me that if I started praying to my dark master again he would whip me to within an inch of my life. I couldn’t believe what he had just accused me of, he thought that I was praying to the evil one, how could he when it was obvious that I served the One True God. Then I saw the snout and understood they believed that I had done this through magic and I knew the penalty that came with that crime, Death.
I pleaded with him I told him that this was through no fault of my own, but he wouldn’t listen. For the next week they tortured me and used their spells on me. Through this torture other powers manifested within me, and it was these that sealed my fate. I was sentenced to be burned as a witch the next day, they would not even let me see my parents, my world was crumbling around me and I didn’t know what to do. I spent the whole night praying asking God to deliver me from this fate, asking why he had abandoned me.
Early that morning when the guards came for me I saw my chance, I summoned all of my anger and emotions and focused them into one burst and it happened again. The beast that was inside me came out, augmented by the new powers I was able to brake the chains and sprint past the guards and out of the keep before they knew what had happened.
I fled into the north toward my home. I didn’t stop until I reached the edge of the forest behind my house. There I sat all day longing to run up to the door fling it open and give my parents a great big hug. But I knew that this was impossible, The church would definitely look for me here, and I couldn’t risk hurting them with these powers that I could barely control. I wept bitterly till dark and then when the lights had gone out I crept down to the house. I snuck in through my window, which thankfully was open. I threw some clothes into my pack and a warm blanket, my flute and a charcoal picture of my family. Before I left I snuk into each room and kissed my family Goodbye. I tried to keep the tears; back as I strode into the lonely night but they overwhelmed me to the point that I could go no further. So I collapsed next to a large tree and cried until sleep overcame me, I couldn't even summon the energy to worry weather or not I would wake up.
I did awake and
for the next month I made my way slowly northward into Darkon
I had never been there before, but I knew that it was the largest country on
the continent. Stretching from the mists in the east all the
way to the
It was on just such an occasion that I met my husband Mark Calamore. The retainers of a wealthy merchant were chasing me after trying to steal one of his chickens and they let their wolves after me. Right before I reached the woods they over ran me and would have torn me apart if Mark had not come along. He had been travailing through the woods and heard the wolves and so went to investigate, when he saw what was transpiring he flew to my rescue. He cleared the wolves of me and proceeded to dispatch those that remained. In the heat of the moment my powers manifested and I tore into the wolves that were left. At the sight of me the rest fled, along with the retainers.
As I turned to look knowing that The man who had saved me must have also fled at the sight of me, I stared in wonder as I saw him just standing there looking at me. I let the power go and returned to normal. “You must find me disgusting” I said to him hanging my head in shame. “Actually I find you quite intriguing, Can you do that when ever you want to?” In that moment I knew this man was something special. He invited me to join him in his wanderings, and I gladly accepted it felt so good to no longer be alone.
Over the course of the next year we
witnessed the Grand Conjunction and the reforming of the lands an occurrence
which still baffles me to this day. Soon after that cataclysm we were married.
And finally I felt like I could in some small way lead a normal life. We
decided to live by ourselves, so we settled deep in the woods between Rivals
It was March of 743 when Michael our first boy was born. And my joy increased to no end as the days went on. That joy like most in life was to be short lived.
In January of 744 Mark became very ill, and so I had to go out each day and do the hunting, which I didn’t mind, and was quite good at it to. Before the children had been borne Mark had taught me how to use his broad sword, just in case the need should arise. With that and my unique powers I was quit the match for any dear. Well one cold January morning I was leaving to go out to hunt, and I kissed Mark and the children goodbye, little did I know for the last time.
While I was away a band of brigands found our cabin and decided to use it for there own. Mark had apparently tried to resist but in his weekend condition he was no match for them and they killed him. They immediately sent the children down to Martira bay to be sold into slavery, and then made themselves at home in our house. I returned late that night dragging two dears behind me, when I saw a sight I will never be able to remove from my mind. There was Mark impaled on a stake. I ran to him and when she saw his lifeless eyes staring back at her I let out a wale so terrifying that I couldn’t believe it had come from me. At that the door slammed open and a large form filled the doorway. “Who be out there? Could it be the Wench of the house crying for her cowardly man”. Said the man in a drunken slur. Something snapped within me. “I am death destroyer of life, and I have come for you”. I herd myself say, and suddenly the Beast came unbidden, and I gladly gave into the primal instincts that lay within it. I cannot remember what happened next.
When I regained myself I was bathed in blood. Blood stained the walls and ceiling of our cabin, intestines and body parts lay everywhere, and in my hands lay the head of one of those cursed men. My hands went numb and the head rolled to the ground. In shock at what I had done I stumbled outside and began to dig a grave. I took mark down and cleaned his body, and then kissed his lips one last time and placed him in the ground. And then went back into the house and gathered everything I would need, food clothing, Marks old travailing pack, and his sword. I also took the two winter hats I had made for the children to remember them by. I set the cabin afire and once again turned my back on my past.
I wandered aimlessly all the next day, weighing the sin on my soul and finding it too much to bear. That night I contemplated ridding the world of my evil. While I slept a vision came to me, it was of a port town, and there on the docks I saw my two children being sold into slavery. And then the scene changed to a figure robed all in white beckoning me with open arms, and in those arms I knew was peace, but I kept looking back at my children, and I herd a voice say “Go to them, I will wait for you”. Then I awoke, with renewed purpose and a glimmer of faith returning to my heart.
I followed their trail for the next four years, but I lost it in Invidia. And so for the last year I have been trying to pick it up again. This search led me to the woods of Barovia where I found an old Lady just walking down a path singing a very happy song. I asked her if she needed help and she just looked at me and smiled and patted my face and said “ it is you that needs my help I think” And in that smile I saw Hope in Faith.
You know the rest.