The Undiscovered Country

Season 7 Session 5

The red mist comes down over Tuakiin’s eyes. He lays into Javier with his glass staff, striking him to the ground, and before anyone can stop him he slits Javier’s throat and misty steps out of the nearby window. It is an upper story window, but Tuakiin’s feather fall means he drifts gently to the ground. He just has time before he passes out of sight to see Sal pleading for calm, Illyria surrounding herself with her armour of Agathys – and Mortimer leaping to Javier with a healing spell, saving him from the brink of death.

Sal is the first to react, running through a gap in the guards and smashing out of a window before feather falling to the street below along with Tuakiin. With a cry of “What are you pussies waiting for, get after them!” Illyria follows her, reaching the ground first by dint of falling at full speed, landing with an acrobatic roll and pulling her demonic glaive from thin air as she stands waiting for Tuakiin to descend.

Mortimer’s attempts to explain himself are to little avail as the room empties around him. No Name also goes out of the window, holding Jonathan by the hand, letting Jonathan feather fall with Tuakiin as she turns into a bird. The Vizier teleports himself and the King to safety, and Ella, Jenneth and Javier follow suit. Left in a room full of heavily armed, if somewhat bemused, guards, Mortimer sighs and dimension doors himself and Lubash to the Craven Raven.

On the street outside, Sal reaches the ground and runs off at prodigious speed. Tuakiin cast a haste spell on himself with a view to doing the same, but Illyria reaches him first, holding him at glaive-point. Tuakiin still has his glass staff in hand, and a stand-off ensues, with Tuakiin threatening to murder Illyria if she tries to stop him escaping and Illyria speculating on whether she’d find it easier to convince the King she had nothing to do with the attack on Javier if she had Tuakiin’s head in her hand. Neither is budging, and the stand-off looks set to go on indefinitely until No Name, back in her usual form, talks both of them down. They lower their weapons and agree to go to the pub to talk it out. Tuakiin dashes off towards the Craven Raven, but Illyria catches him up and dimension doors them both directly there. She is quite clear that it is Tuakiin’s round.

Alarm bells are now ringing out. No Name and Jonathan find a convenient alleyway, where No Name transforms herself into a small dog for Jonathan to carry, on the theory that the guards won’t be looking for a lone halfling carrying a dog. This theory appears to hold when Jonathan emerges from the alley, and any look of concern on Jonathan’s face is easily put down to the occasional small bites the dog insists on giving him. They follow the others to rendezvous at the Craven Raven.

Sal quickly makes it to the dovecot (which perhaps we should start calling an owlcot). She is able to persuade the owl-wrangler to spare four owls for a short trip north, carrying the teleportation chest with them.

In the Craven Raven, the party have a quick but expensive drink on Tuakiin’s tab as the sounds of alarm bells get closer. A heated conversation ensues, in which it is decided that their best option is to go north and try to take out Azarr Khul, leader of the enemy force. As guards arrive at the door and speak to the concierge, Tuakiin leads the party upstairs to his room, where he has stored the magical carpet he looted from the hunting lodge several seasons ago. He unrolls it and hangs it up on the north-facing wall, revealing the countryside full of refugees some five miles north of the city. The only problem is, if they go through this, there is nothing to stop the city guards from following them. Illyria solves this problem by going through last and conjuring a wall of fire behind her as she goes, to incinerate the carpet.

They arrive in the midst of the refugees, conspicuous by their unusual clothes and badass attitude. Soon Sal arrives with the owls and their wrangler. Unfortunately, the owl wrangler is reluctant to send his owls anywhere near the enemy, but he is eventually prevailed upon to take the party a few hours’ flight northwards before returning to the city.

[In the city, the maitre d’ weeps as the flaming ruins of what was once the finest drinking establishment in Theria collapse in fire and smoke.]

This gives the party the opportunity to spend some time resting, telling scary stories to scare the Owl wrangler and planning. While the others rest and ponder their options, Sal settles into a trance and has an interesting chat with her patron about his plans. The rest of the group decide some kind of teleport to a place nearer the enemy would seem to be in order, but planning this becomes a fraught process. Mortimer has never been anywhere near the territory they have to reach, and although Illyria is sure she once played in a pub close to where the enemy forces must be, he is unwilling to trust her memory, given her penchant for drink and drugs. However, he does scry Venomfang to find out how she is getting on, and sees a vision of her flying over a farmhouse – and this is enough to give him a target.

The party teleport to the farmhouse a few hours later. It is deserted and looted, having clearly suffered the depradations of the enemy horde. While the others search the premises, Illyria attempts to scry Azarr Khul, but a curious thing happens. The spell seems to work, but shuts off before she can see anything. Is some form of magical protection at work?

Evidently, remote intelligence gathering will not work. Instead, Sal and Illyria head out in the direction of the horde on a reconnaissance mission, while Tuakiin contacts Venomfang (via Mortimer’s spellcasting), letting her know his location.

The scouts manage to locate the enemy horde – it isn’t exactly difficult – but it is large and they are only able to clearly see the squads on one flank. While they are on their way back, Venomfang swoops down to the farmhouse. She converses with Tuakiin, and you don’t need to be fluent in Draconic to tell she is unimpressed. The fact that Tuakiin is skulking out in this farmhouse indicates to her that the deal she made to fight for the city is worthless – and she doesn’t seem inclined towards easily forgiving people who she thinks have messed her around…

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Go West, Life is peaceful there

In restless dreams I walked alone**
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
’Neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp

Mortimer flicked up the hood of his midnight coloured robes. The fire was the only light available, but it was enough. He studied the spellbook of Acererak but the spell that caught his eye was destroyed by the ravages of age. It was one of the few things that moved him to curse. You had to be careful cursing as a necromancer, it can have quite a more practical effect than when a civilian expleats!

Mortimer sat under a canvas alone. They had left the city, left the pub, by an enchanted canvas, he’d have prefered to study the canvas but it had been in Tuwakin’s possession since they got it, now the Goth girl had burnt it, if she wasn’t careful, burn the pub as well… and Mortimer had no confidence she was careful with her spells.

That was the problem here wasn’t it? Spell caster couldn’t be trusted, they all used Tenser’s flawed old notation, the wizards here weren’t as excepting of modern ideas as Master Burns had been, they wouldn’t invent XML for a thousand years….

In that moment Mortimer felt a stabbing pain of guilt he had never experienced before, so much so he slammed the spell books, not bearing to look at them. He should have insisted Burns come with him, and Rufus… there were banishment spells available. He could have made him.

I turned my collar to the cold and damp

Mortimer flicked his heavy hood back over his head as the night turned cold.

He should have stayed in the city…

He was a defender of a capital city, it was what he knew, the central citry had always been under attack, countering siege warfare was what knew. Using the undead against marauding armies was what he did! He should have stayed in the city and trained their wizards to create and endless army from the ranks of the fallen.

But he had left. Why? He’d left because he felt guilty to Tuakin. Except he’s done what he must for the war effort, The man controlling the cities draconic assets was one of their most key military assets! He could let them die…just not at this stage.

He looked up at the canvas that covered him strung between two trees, proper 13th company, basic provisions… once again the Private when he needed to be the Wizard. Those outside were not The Undying, they were perfect strangers… Jack,he was a fast friend, Tuakin – seemed to forgive him his actions in the tower, seemed to forgive him healing his mortal enemy, but who indeed where these other to presume upon his powers? An obscure young elf, a silly girl who thinks necromantic style and magic is a fashion statement? FFS! She would never be fit to truly wear midnight!

He should have stayed in the West.

He shut the spell books, rolled the scrolls he had been copying.

Really he knew very little of the ‘army’ he now fought with. He should be showing the human army how their fallen can be their next reinforcements.

This party wasn’t the13th however… he wasn’t going to be their “get out of death free” card, and he wasn’t going to be a magical taxi service, he was one of the most powerful Wizards in region.

But what did that mean to the east?

He could acquiesce to all the new parties wishes, sure, it was within his powers, but who was this group to expect servicest of him?

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It All Goes Ever So Slightly to Complete Shit

The noonday sun baked the dusty ground, and the air shimmered. The young dragonborn stumbled into the shade in front of the tavern, panting heavily.

At first glance, the town had appeared deserted, but as he got closer he’d noticed its occupants all sitting in the shade, wide-brimmed hats pulled low over their faces.

He drew closer to the woman outside Taverna de Esmerelda, evidently the innkeeper, and tried to remember his cotidiano lessons with—

his mother

—as he knew nobody would speak draconic here.

“¿Desculpe?”

The woman stirred.

“¿Perdón, señora?”

Brilliant brown eyes peered out from under the brim of the hat and stared daggers.


The company shuffled into the great hall. Tuakiin took a quick mental roll call and was relieved to note the absence of a certain Señor Asturro. He shot a quick questioning look at the Vizier, who responded only with a slightly miffed expression.

The council of war began.

The dragonborn tuned out for most of it; the minutiae of defending the city were simply lost on him, but his ears pricked up at the mention of the dragon lord Azarr Khul and the possibility of surgical strikes.

When Señor Asturro walked in the door.

Stay quiet.

“…have created harrowblades…”

Stay quiet.

“…dragon eggs to magical energy…”

Stay quiet.

“…Azarr Khul was my first…”

Stay quiet.

“…You. You look familiar.”

Joder.


The dragonborn spat out his drink, where it began eating into the varnish on the bar. “What is this stuff!?”

“_Whiskey de fuego_. Get your blood pumping. You’ve walked a long way, dragon.“ Esmeralda wiped up the spill with a leather cloth.

He took a much smaller sip this time, and the fiery drink played on his tongue. It evoked the Escaparado desert itself, the sand, the tumbleweed,—

the mesa,

—the countless little towns dotted here and there with their welcoming shade.

“_Pues_, there’s only a few reasons one like you would come down from their perch. So what’s your story? You’re a tribute, no? Or did your madre get hungry and eat your brood?”

Tuakiin was taken aback by the directness of the question, and began assembling his answer, and then it all came rushing back—

the early morning wind whistling in the cavern

the rush of monah’s wings as she dropped the goat from that morning’s hunt at the peak

his siblings, all hurrying to eat

a voice, in an unfamiliar language, not dovahzuul or cotidiano, hard and throaty

his monah’s voice responding in the same language

the carnage, and the roars, and the crackle of great magic in the air

a wet thud

the man, gathering the eggs

and running, just running, just get away, just run, just run

Esmerelda looked on in awe as the dragonborn recanted the story. “And now you’re vowing revenge on the man who killed your mother, ¿no?

“How did you… know?”

“_Mi queridito_, it’s a tale as old as time! You’re a real life Don Montoya, ¿sabes?” Seeing Tuakiin’s confused face, she pulled up a stool and sat opposite.

“Inigo Montoya was a swordsman, the best in all of Escapar. When he was a child, his father Domingo was a blacksmith, known for his fine crafstmanship of swords. One day, a Count came in with a request: forge a sword that could accommodate his six-fingered hand. Señor Montoya accepted, and spent one year crafting this blade. It would become his masterpiece.

But the next year when the Count returned, he demanded a lower price. Domingo refused, of course; not because of money, but because the Count could not appreciate the fine work of the sword. He gave the sword to Inigo, and of course the Count cut him down. Young Inigo challenged him to a duel, but the ten-year-old was no match for the Count. He vowed to become the greatest swordsman in Escapar and take his revenge.”

Tuakiin sat there, rapt. “Did he?”

“Oh, . Ten years later he found the six-fingered man, and challenged him to a duel, saying—


“…You look familiar.”

— “Hello.”

“Have I seen you somewhere?”

— “My name is Tuakiin folas Yuvonviing.”

“Oh! You remind me…”

— “You killed my mother.”

“…of my son, Elakiin”

¿Qué? ¡Eso no es verdad! ¡Eso es imposible!

— “Prepare… to… die…?”

Father? Of my brother? How?

“I’m sorry, what?”

— “You… killed my mother!”

“I…? Oh! Yuvonviing. Yes. I killed your mother. It is a shame that I didn’t have the time to stuff and mount her… but she was too large, and I didn’t have enough time.”

Tuakiin had stopped listening by “stuff and mount”.

By “too large” his glass staff was in hand and he had closed half the distance between them.

By “time” Javier was already on the floor.


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Death Becomes Him

Through secrets of the dirty streets
Searching for a revelation Wingless angels
in the heat Knocking onThe doors of damnation
Come on baby – Kick ’em in!
Feels like flying – When we are falling One more time

Mortimer sat by the fire as the others drank. He liked this pub, finally, they had found a respectable establishment. Oh he was no stranger to dives, he was a Squaddie after all, he’d never once voiced objection to the worst of the gin joints The West had had to offer desperate soldiers. Still, this place had some good Reds, some very good Reds. He was partial to a nice goblet of wine.

Alcohol was important. Hundreds of years of humans, elves, halflings, gnomes, any number of races half jokingly referring to it as ‘water of life’ or ‘spirit’ or elixir, went half way to endowing the drink with sympathetic magical connections. It was no accident all the races treated it equally and revered it so. Nor that it was the base of so many Necromantic spells.

‘Shame this lot didn’t treat it as a magically elixir, more wanted to get pissed all the time.

He sat in front of the fire but no heat came.

He had been growing aware of this for some time. He was cold, he was cold to the touch, not that anyone ever touched him, but he no longer gained any warmth from blankets, nor needed any. He had slept out under stars and not noticed a chill. His agile mind postulated a theory on this, the nature of his shaping of the energies Arcana…

In those of a war magic or possessing a Sorcerous bent, such energies caused great excite in their lives and their spell casting, their magic often loosely focused and dangerous. Necromancy was not like that, it was long term, it was careful, practiced, and deathly calm.

It was not the kind of magic that drove back armies. It was cold.

He looked down at the four spell books laid out before him… Such an exposure to magical knowledge from East and West already giving him ideas! But… he was going to need to allow the chill of the grave to leave him, to let the fire of the arcane thaw him. Carrig had had the fires of hell in her veins, but it wasn’t strictly As’ that Mortimer worshiped, more the Undead Gods directly. He felt the with him all the time, both deceased deities, clashing just below the surface of the mortal world, a half forgotten desire to be remembered.

In the morning he would have to find the Vizier and enquire about the arcane defences of the walls. If the Shining City was anything to go by the wall will have been set with wards, and War Wizards would accompany most regiments into battle…. Hell, the 13th had hardly been a prestigious unit, but even it had had a competent (if cowardly) necromancer assigned to it.

If the forces of the East didn’t include such integrated drilling of soldiers with war wizards, well he feared for the safety of the city!

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Union song
extracts from 'The Rise of the Ogres Union'

We are coming to the end of this historical account, as the second age comes to a close. The union song was spread by word of mouth and has changed in the retelling. This is the closest to the song sung in the city of Theia by Lobash Dragon Slayer (first of his name), taken from original notes now held at a museum attached to ‘’The Band’s” charitable school of music and art.

When others shout too loud for us to speak,
We will whisper through every street,
Our message will like river rush,
So strong that even Giants crush,
For when creatures with one voice speak,
Gods and Monsters they can defeat.
All equal we unite together,
There is no storm we can not weather.
Know your rights
Or smash their face
Know your rights
Or smash their face

This is a significant point in the rise of the union as the Union song spread fast and wide. For some time it destabilized the economy, as non-human minions-of-all-works and mercenaries, that had previously been paid little to nothing, demanded a living wage. Some employers attempted to suppress, what they considered dangerous song, only to fan the flame of rebellion and promote running battles.
Even now some struggle to adjust to this new status quo and some regions still ban it as ‘monstous propganger’.
It is still sung at ‘The Bard’s’ charitable school for music and arts as an example of the power of music, giving them a reputation for radical free thinking that has sometimes gotten into trouble, but has also produced some of the greatest men and women of our era.
This has lead to several dissident groups to take it up as a rally to arms. And cemented it place in history.

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Jack's thoughts

I like dying. I’ve died three times. And I’ve been brought back by a true friend, Mortimer Greysprocket of the 13th Undying Company. I’m very impressed with our band of merry folk. Although I do not know Sal very well, she has the potential to become a very good warlock. While Illyria intrigues me, I feel that she is a good new member of the group. She definitely seems to like riding on owls, and I was particularly impressed when she asked for Clausis’s head. I have known Tuakiin for many months, when our company first met. I now understand why he gave the treasure away to the dragon, and whatever happens next I hope he has some closure. No Name makes me laugh. I would definitely tutor her in true chaos. Every time she brings Jonathan back he’s a halfling, and I hope you don’t mind me saying I think this is very funny. I really hope that Lubash Dragonslayer remembers that it’s difficult at the top. On a last note, I mustn’t forget the happy times I have spent with Brond and Krom. Happy days. I’m off for a cocktail now. Bye bye!

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The Fall

Sal had fallen. Heavily. She could feel the sharp pain of broken bones throughout her body. Despite all that she was calm. As always. Remaining still she replayed the last few minutes in her head to work out what had happened.

She had been running, fast, through the treetops, each step timed to take advantage of the springy branches beneath her. Whilst it was a risky manoeuvre, she had done it many times before as a way to stretch her muscles and senses. Providing she remained calm and alert, she could traverse far before returning to ground level. This time something had gone wrong, but what.

It was a feeling rather than a memory that seemed to answer that thought. No error of hers had caused this accident, but something that she could only describe as a ripple through the energy of everything. As it reached her, it disrupted her flow of energy for the briefest of moments. It was like a dizzying slap to the head, a pause in the beats of her heart. That was all it took to throw her off step, to drop her to the ground with no recourse to slow her fall.

The thud of the impact still rang in her ears. Blinking, she stared up at the trees above. Whatever had happened, everything now seemed normal and undisturbed. Still, there was no point lying about here all day when there were clearly things afoot.

Sal let her focus shift inwards. The calm energy within her felt unchanged by the ripple, it’s silvery tendrils reaching every part of her. Concentrating, an old Elvish chant in mind, she pushed healing energy along the tendrils. As it reached the damaged areas of her frame, she felt the pain easing. In no time at all her injuries were gone, healed entirely.

Stretching a retreating stiffness from her limbs, she sat up and was just about to stand when she found herself transported. She knew this place, though she had visited rarely. The large mirrored cube ahead of her was new though. Curiouser & curiouser.

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Season 7 Session 4

Tuakiin is troubled. He has remained in Theria while the others went to track down Clausis, and in sober hindsight his deal with the Grand Vizier feels more and more ambiguous. He resolves to visit the Vizier first thing in the morning to seek clarification.

The guard at the palace gate (who is evidently played by whichever of Michael Palin, Eric Idle or John Cleese has the most pressing bill to settle with HMRC this year) is evidently inclined to obstructiveness by nature (which may explain his assignment to this post), but as Tuakiin’s name is on the right list he eventually lets him in. The two much less talkative and more heavily armed guards at the inner entrance then take him to see the Vizier, who eventually admits Tuakiin to his chamber rather earlier in the morning than he would normally like to be awake.

Despite his unwelcome wakefulness, the Vizier is happy to clarify that he will give Javier Asturo to Tuakiin as soon as Venomfang engages in battle with the enemy forces. This will specifically entail arranging for Javier to find himself alone in a room with Tuakiin – what happens after that is none of the Vizier’s concern.

At around this time, the rest the party are awaking in the glade they sheltered in following the battle with Clausis. They attend to their various morning rituals – Sal performing her martial arts moves, Illyria sacrificing an unfortunate vole, Mortimer going off some way so that his prayer to The Undead Gods (although in this case a rather one sided banter with Asmodeus) is not overheard – before doing their best to enjoy the unappetising gruel that No Name calls breakfast. After this, it is time to return to the city, and Mortimer is able to teleport them directly into the Craven Raven, although his habit of stacking the landing leads to at least one of the party appearing half in a wall momentarily… purely by accident, of course.

The bar is shut at this time, of course, with only a solitary member of staff pushing a mop around the floor – until Sal kindly relieves him of this duty. A large bag of Illyria’s coins persuades them to open early, and soon a more satisfying second breakfast of cocktails is under way. No Name sends a mouse off to find Jonathan and tell him that they are in the pub.

Mortimer is keen to report to the Vizier on the success of their mission, and goes out of the bar only to bump into Tuakiin coming back from the same man. After some discussion, he prevails upon Tuakiin to get him to the Vizier. On the way he sends a message to Venomfang, politely asking about her progress. The response is not especially illuminating. Tuakiin’s name is still good at the palace, and he is able to take Mortimer to the Vizier. On hearing of Clausis’s death, the Vizier simply crosses an entry off a list, and seems impatient with Mortimer. Eventually Mortimer gets to the real meat of his issue – he wants to know about the city’s magical defences, so that he can help to bolster them. The Vizier is not inclined to reveal the city’s secrets, but does make it clear that there is no structure of magical colleges or any such thing in this kingdom. The Grand Vizier is the Royal Wizard, and all other wizards do as he says. He suggests a council of war tomorrow, where decisions about how best to defend the city can be taken.

Having completed their tour of the cocktail menu, the rest of the party decide to explore the city a little more. Sal is keen to see the giant owls again, and heads for the dovecot, with Illyria and No Name coming along out of interest. No Name sends another mouse-borne message to Jonathan, informing him of the change of plan, and they set out.

Lubash goes the other way. Having established from the maitre d’ that there is a corner of the main square where people regularly speak out on issues of the day, he goes there to spread his socialist message. The young boy selling soapboxes for speakers jacks up his prices from a copper each to a silver each as soon as he sees the magnificently-garbed ogre coming, and Lubash’s generosity in upping this again to a gold piece encourages him to dash off with his new-found riches.

The box is just strong enough to hold Lubash’s immense weight, and he begins his oratory to the passing crowd. Unfortunately his pan-species solidarity does not go down well with many of the locals, what with them being quite racist.

At the dovecot, Sal and No Name are able to converse with an owl, who takes haughty umbrage at No Name’s suggestion that he works for the elves – they have a partnership agreement between equals. Illyria’s musical exploration of the dovecot founders on its incredibly poor acoustics, but Sal persuade the owl to take her on a scouting mission and Illyria decides to come along for the ride.

And what a ride it is, what with Illyria’s backing music and the owl’s willingness to do dramatic high-speed dives. They fly out north, and see no enemy forces, only a long column of thousands of refugees stretching all the way back from the city gates. Sal promises to teach Illyria to fly owls unaccompanied.

No Name, meanwhile, has gone to Jonathan’s lodgings, where she finds him slumped dejected on the floor. He got her first message, but the second one failed to arrive until just now, leading to him going to the pub and being violently thrown out, causing him to question his very manhood. No Name gives him such comfort as she can, given that she’s not generally very good at this sort of thing.

Their business done for the day, the party take lodgings in the finest establishment available, and spend a night in peace before the next day’s council of war. In the morning, they attend again to their usual rituals. Illyria performs her blood sacrifice, indifferent to the guy still in her bed, and Enderis – for it is he – quietly leaves. Sal takes the opportunity for an early-morning owl ride out to the south, just to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises coming from that direction. There isn’t time for her to get very far, but all seems peaceful enough.

At first, the council of war seems to go well. The king is still coughing away, and given his royal presence the room is lined with men-at-arms (and women-at-arms, as this is an equal-opportunity kingdom). A company of Elves arrives on Owl back to render assistance. Illyria illustrates their victory over Clausis by plonking her severed head on the table, and the conversation focuses on how best a small number of powerful adventurers can help in the defence. There is a proposal that they should be a mobile strike force, roving the battlefield to fill holes in the defences, and some discussion of whether they should attempt to identify and target the enemy leadership, but it is yet to come to a definite conclusion when Javier Asturo enters the chamber.

This is when it all goes ever so slightly to complete shit.

Tuakiin Manages to restrain himself at first, even when Javier tells him he reminds him of his son Elakiin, but when he boasts of creating harrowblades through exposing dragon eggs to magical energy, and even of creating a dragonlord called Azarr Kul, Tuakiin blurts out an accusation that Javier killed his mother.

Javier is unrepentant. He remembers the incident, but mainly his regret that he did not have enough time to stuff and mount Tuakiin’s mother.

The red mist comes down over Tuakiin’s eyes. He lays into Javier with his glass staff, striking him to the ground, and before anyone can stop him he slits Javier’s throat and misty steps out of the nearby window. It is an upper story window, but Tuakiin’s feather fall means he drifts gently to the ground. He just has time before he passes out of sight to see Sal pleading for calm, Illyria surrounding herself with her armour of Agathys – and Mortimer leaping to Javier with a healing spell, saving him from the brink of death.

And only this morning they were getting along so well.

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Reaffirmations

“Krif avokei vokul. Nid aaz veistul. Naan fosoth praagek. Vokiirund.”

The dragonborn paced, and muttered to himself. His friends had just left on their suicide mission. And who cares about Clausis? Javier is the greater evil here, and I’m not about to let him slip out of my grasp again.

Corruption. Perversion. Twisting and melding of dovahslen; turning their minds to violence and rage. These “harrowblade” abominations are an affront to nature and dragonkind.

Although. Perhaps that’s what western dragons think of folaskiir. “Wrong-child”. Even the name speaks of disgust.

His hand went unconsciously to his reconstituted green abdomen.

“Krif avokei vokul. Nid aaz veistul. Naan fosoth praagek. Vokiirund.”


After he’d left the restaurant— he’d felt thoroughly out of place among the nobles and the strange drinks, and the staff were giving him funny looks after his companions had disappeared from their alcove— Tuakiin began wandering the city.

They’d teleported straight to the palace at first, and his mind was occupied after the little excursion with Mortimer. So this was the first time he’d really taken in the city.

It hit him like a ton of bricks.

The noise. The smells. The people! Especially now refugees were arriving from the north, ahead of the horde. Even as night drew in, the streets were packed. This is what Javier has wrought. I shouldn’t forget I’m not the only one he’s harmed. His corruptions are weapons too.

A baby screamed, and the bereaved wept, and the innkeeper was turning people away, and the city guard were harrying bystanders, and an old man shivered as the wind picked up, and somebody sobbed a prayer to the One, and Tuakiin could take it no more.

He marched up to a baker’s just as the owner was closing the shutters. “I’ll take your bread.” “Loaf’ll be two coppers, sir.” “No. All of it.”

“Krif avokei vokul. Nid aaz veistul. Naan fosoth praagek. Vokiirund.”


Turning it over in his head, Tuakiin realised just how vague the Vizier had been. “When Venomfang is delivered”. But is that when the deal is struck? Or once she’s actually fighting on the front lines? And “you can have him”? It’s hardly like they’ll let me walk up to his chambers in the palace and murder him. I asked about trials, and all he said was “I don’t care”. Hardly sounds like he’ll keep the guards off my back.

Perhaps I should bring him to trial. At least then I won’t be wanted for murder. But I don’t know the justice system here, and I very much doubt “your new war hero killed my dragon mother two decades ago” is going to go over well.

And trial offers the possibility of mercy. Which I’m not giving him. Ever.

So I’ll do it myself. This is what I swore, isn’t it? I’ll do what it takes, and I’ll take the consequences, and I’ll sleep— or die— soundly, knowing I’ve removed a great evil from the world.

“Krif avokei vokul. Nid aaz veistul. Naan fosoth praagek. Vokiirund.”

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One With The Fey

Sal had been accepted quickly by the small community she had found. They were not disconcerted by her appearance, but instead had excitedly suggested she had been blessed.

The group were fascinated by Elves….had moved into the forests to be nearer to them, to learn from their example and become closer to nature. Their success had been limited, despite being relatively close to an Elven city. They had done some trade with the Elves, but had not managed to endear themselves or convince their neighbours to share more than the most basic knowledge. Sal wasn’t surprised – her own community were highly suspicious of others, especially when they asked lots of questions. She suspected it was a common trait.

She, however, was happy to share details of her culture and some of what she’d learnt growing up – she was sure it was part of her reason for being there. In return, the group accepted her as one of their own, encouraged her study in their library and taught her some interesting ideas about personal discipline and focus.

After one particularly interesting and scholarly session, she went for a walk into the familiar depths of the forest. Reaching a favourite place between the trees, she slid into a relaxing stance and pushed her senses inwards. She could feel the peaceful calm she had been taught to find from an early age, but rather than using it to drift into a restorative trance, she decided to explore an idea that had been developing from her studies. Pushing her senses deeper she reached out to the place of calm and saw there were silvery tendrils sweeping from it. She followed them and found that they spread throughout her body, connecting every part of her to the rest. Then, in a moment, her consciousness shifted and she realised the tendrils spread further than herself, out into the world. Desperate to remain calm, despite this revelation, she let her senses drift gently further and further…..till there….there in the distance, but…close as her soul, she felt them. Ah yes – of course it would lead back to them. They were always with her!

A smile on her otherwise still form, she let her senses slowly wrap back into her mind. That had been enlightening. She had plenty to think about when she went back to her studies. As she came out of her calming trace, she moved into the first forms of her exercises. She had modified those she had been taught by her family to incorporate some of the ideas of her new community, but now they felt more…intense than they had before. Like she could feel those newly discovered tendrils within her and perhaps even…harness them? Yes – this would need more thought, more study, more investigation, but later.

She shifted through her exercises, in no hurry to finish, enjoying the new sensations. As she moved she whispered to herself, “I am one with the Fey, the Fey are with me”.

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