It was supposed to be a grand reunion, a short quest, and a triumphant return home. I was going to be something different. But life never does what you expect it to, and mine less than most.
I never meant to enter that temple to a god of pain, and I never meant for it to be destroyed. I just wanted to tell Laori that I wouldn't face her living saint, that she was right, that I was trying so hard to accept her for who she really is and what that might mean for the world.
She destroyed our home. She went to the altars of her faith to petition to become something unfathomable. And we destroyed all that she felt she could become.
Why was she so upset that I wasn't entirely forthcoming about one simple quest?
I'm getting ahead of myself.
My name is Nymian Harthing. A year ago, my friends and I deposed an evil queen. Her name was Ileosa, and she was possessed by the spirit of my girlfriend's saint, a very evil warlord named Kazavon. Most of that particular adventure, I was as I had been born--human, female, and agile.
I've changed. Death does that to a person.
After being decapitated by an assassin who was sent to stop us--thanks, Ileosa--my friends decided to raise me from the dead. Unfortunately, we were fairly broke, and we could only scrape together the funds for a reincarnate spell.
Now I'm half-orc, I'm male, and I'm dangerously stupid some days.
Master Hammer--that's Morgrym, cleric of Angradd to most--had invited us to a small feast to celebrate our deposition of the queen. At All the World's Meat, which was this interesting little delicatessen which was taken over by some former Korvosan guards who had decided to use it to cover up the fact that they were killing people for pay. Everyone was there. Jade, my best friend in the whole world, who is also a half-orc (by birth) and who has studied unarmed martial training in the monasteries of her order since her foundling. Brick--er, that's really Lord Tolmak Thorson--our master of battle. And of course, Mr. Splashy...I mean, Lorjack. Our pirate-king sorceror.
I had gone home between shifts to let Laori know I was going. I mentioned to her that she was not invited, my guilt rising. "Oh! Your dwarf is snubbing me!" she cried out, delighted. "So kind of him! Do tell him hello and curse him for me."
Laori's that kind of girl.
She's terribly special, in fact. A priestess of Zon-Kuthon, cheerful and delightfully optimistic, with a penchant for making evil acts actually seem adorable. My gorgeous elfmaid with her dark hair and her big blue eyes, and her perpertual smile. This is the only woman I will ever love. The de-facto mother to our orphans. And she doesn't mind that I'm younger than when I started my adventures and now I have tusks.
Yeah, my life's complex and I'm in love and I have responsbilities to a gaggle of children, a city, and myself.
So the feast progressed. Morgrym rallied us with a great speech about how we had set right the wrongs Ileosa had wrought upon great Korvosa. Then he said something I was already half-expecting. We'd need to right our own wrongs; wrongs we unintentionally performed or allowed to happen.
She was so happy we let the bone-dragon go. Not that she had known we'd failed at trying to kill it. We couldn't fly, and we were running seriously low on big magic. And me? Without some way to fly up to it, I couldn't attempt to stab its unprotected fleshy bits. Or whatever. I seem to recall it was bones and chains at the time, but hey--skeletons have weak spots. We so failed.
Master Hammer mentioned that the dragon we released was Kazavon. He's apparently not as cuddly and cute as Laori, but she is really happy he's back. His big thing was to skin alive any diplomat that offered peace and/or surrender, then to animate their corpses and have them return to their kingdoms to tell them that Kazavon was now king.