Angvar Thestlecrit

Sam Sedou's page

16 posts. Alias of Uther Eld.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

My skin ached from the burns the barrage of fireballs left. Felu wass in worse shape as I was a little slow with the energy resistance spell, so I broke out the new wand and concentrated a moment before getting to work. Atz and Huge took care of the rest, though Oona seemed to have checked out. Rather than Lugh babysitting this time (I suppose he’s had enough of that for a lifetime) Macer was chosen as the one in the barrel. Salacious was jabbering and capering about, claiming he’s my familiar now. I’m surprised at just how glad I am to see him and hear his lisping know-it-all voice gleefully explaining anything at all to anyone who dares to ask a rhetorical question. Once patched up, we unanimously decided to take a short breather and I realized that I’ve figured out a few of the new spells I’ve been toying with. All too soon, it was time to press on.

Hours later we approached another lighted chamber and Vex, Atz and Kelyn sneaedk up to scout followed by Huge and then the rest of us. For a wonder, Macer was able to keep Oona quiet. Vex and then Kelyn slipped into the chamber, heading right and left, as I noticed Huge tense up and draw his sword… and vanish, only to instantly reappear farther into the chamber and start hacking on some cultists. I must remember to ask him how he did that, but for now he’s out of my range. Seeing the bows (and remembering the fusillade back in the “shack”) I drink a potion to protect myself, and start to move up.

There’s a pit off to the left, and I cast one of my new spells on Salacious and told him to find the leader and be ready, and he vanished and presumably flew off to follow orders. There are more bone devils in the room ahead, and I’m reminded of how they acted as bodyguards for a succubus back at Fort Donner. At the time, I had asked myself why would devils be guarding a demon? Now, as they cautiously (wth?) closed in on Huge and Lugh, I answered that question: because someone higher up had told them to. Just because they didn’t like it didn’t mean that they would disobey. I made Huge into Huger once again as Felu’s shot quite literally took the head off the last cultist I could see, when suddenly all the devils were standing around me. I had seen this behavior at my Uncle’s estate, and knew what was coming next as the fear washed over me. Unable to stop myself, I dropped my Rod of Absorbtion and crouched cowering before them.

When I came back to my senses (surprised I hadn’t been flayed in the interim), Nina was cowering to my left and Felu to my right. I could see Huge running for his life further into the cave, while Kelyn and Atz were nowhere to be seen. The devils had surrounded Lugh, and I could tell that they were not about to leave HIM unflayed. I hit three of them (conveniently lined up) with a small bolt of lightning, and announced loudly in Infernal that they were working for the wrong side, that there would be severe consequences for them in the real world, and that they would do well to contemplate the error of their ways. Of course they laughed, and once again moved to surround me, but they also seemed inclined to listen to what I had to say.

The ensuing negotiation took a couple of minutes, by which time all my companions had returned. In truth, I don’t remember quite what I said. I recall dropping the name of my Uncle’s devil Lieutenant, and that HE was on OUR side (not too much of a stretch, I think. SOMEBODY had to have ok’d Salacious’ reassignment at this moment), and determined that these fellows were just following the orders of someone named “Itchyrot,” another devil but elsewhere “farther up the hall” and attended by a bunch of demons. Not happy-making for a squad of loyal bone-devils, I can assure you. In the end, I convinced them to cease hostilities (though not to switch sides, at least not just on my say-so), and they gave us some valuable intelligence as to how we might close this portal. In the end, I am absolutely exhilarated. I feel like I did the first time that I told Felu that I loved her, all my nerves are on edge and my senses are tuned to a higher reality. THIS must be what Uncle Boris feels when he negotiates with these beings; at last I begin to understand the attraction of the life he has chosen. I need to be wary of this, the sense of power is quite intoxicating…

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It turns out that what is a "reasonable amount of time" to one person or group might not be to another. Treyvor seemed to have a good time at Hobart's party and in no real hurry to leave, but as we climbed into the coach he cautioned us, saying that we wouldn't recognize him when we got to our destination. As he spoke, dark lines appeared on his "flesh" and expanded, racing to cover his exposed "skin" as he mounted the drivers platform. Felu and I watched with mounting horror as we witnessed part of a transformation that may well be awaiting us. As we rode, I began to ponder just what steps I might be able to take to remove this demonic curse from us; and just what caused Treyvor to fail to make clear to us the cost of our dalliance in Magnimar.

When we arrived outside Fort Dolor* we found that our coachman had indeed transformed into a demon. Felu and I saluted him as the others headed into the town, and I renewed my resolve to remove this curse from myself and the woman that I love; for us, it would be a fate far, far worse than mere death.

We proceeded quickly through the town and back up into the foothills to the crone's now-abandoned shack, where we discovered that only a few days had passed here. I have to wonder about the danger of meeting ourselves a little farther down the road, and what that might entail. Since we hadn't met ourselves in Magnimar, did that mean that we would not return, or just that the mission would take us longer than a month, or just that we hadn't happened to have met ourselves?

At any rate, our trek to locate and close this portal took on some surreal aspects as we hiked into the mountains. Monsters that should have been deep underground wandering around in daylight, being pelted with phantom pine-cones, squadrons of demon-riders flying about, demons and devils taunting each other in the night... It was almost like being back in my Uncle's estate in Cheliax, with the threat of demons added to the devils I was more used to. We only had one fight (against the squadron of demon-riders), and in that we were aided by a bearded devil; I was honestly amazed at my teammates restraint in allowing the devil to go its way after the confrontation.

In the end we found the cave where the portal seemed to be, though infested with small formless demonic entities like the one that had possessed Hobart and something that HAS to be an owl-bear, only much larger than any I had heard of before. Also, how DOES one go about closing a portal?

Well, there was a fight at the crone's "shack". Hmph, that "shack" is bigger than some mansions I've been in. Lots of minions as well, but not what I would call properly appointed. Huge fell down at least twice (I really need to look into getting a backup wand of curing; Atz seems to have his hands full with this group).

After much discussion, we decided to return to Magnimar via the ghost-coach and re-equip for the upcoming ordeal. I was able to negotiate favorable terms for most of the treasure that we have accumulated, and discovered in the process that we seem to have come unstuck in time. By my figures, we arrived in Magnimar at the same time we were dealing with the logging camp north of Sandpoint. Strange.

At any rate, we came out with more money that could easily be carried, and even when split amongst the troupe the shares were more cash than I had ever seen in one place. We pretty much went our ways to try and spend it all in a reasonable period of time. After buying supplies, Felu and I had to retire to our room in order to complete my second Magical Tattoo project. Sixteen days of concentration, incantations, needlework, blood and pain; but in the end Felu has a truly lovely and elaborate tattoo around her waist. Is it wrong that I found myself enjoying the blood? Not the hurting of her, but just the sight and smell of the blood under my needles was sort of... arousing.

During that time, I had a recurring dream of my uncle Boris. I was distraught, and for some reason he was comforting me. Yes, the tyrant of my childhood and adolescence, the man who had his summoned devils flog me for my transgressions real or imagined seemed genuinely concerned with my well-being. He inquired after my health, my progress as a sorcerer, how the whole tattoo thing was coming along, was I satisfied with my chosen path... It was extremely odd and unnerving to me, such a shift in how I had viewed him for so many years.

The party at the Deverin estate took my mind off of it fortunately, but I can't shake an ominous sense of looming disaster, or the feeling that I'm being watched. Felu hasn't let on that she feels any such thing, thank goodness. Time to pack up and take the ghost-coach back up north...

Felu and I arrived at the herbalist's shop just after the fight ended. For a wonder, the big guys had actually taken someone prisoner instead of just slaughtering everyone outright; though when I saw the bodies I marveled at their restraint. A succubus and several bone devils? That is simply not right. Just what is going on in this town?

The prisoner turned out to be the captain of the guard, who had been under the succubus' thrall for some time. Remarkable stamina I must say. He had some good intelligence for us, and we determined that the "meeting" Macer had scheduled with the "lieutenant" was to be an ambush. Felu and the sneakier fellows headed out early to set up an ambush for the ambush; while Huge, the captain and I elected to accompany Macer. Huge shapeshifted into a large dog, and I drank a potion of invisibility just before we got to the meeting place.

There was a little banter, and then several humans and dwarves stepped from cover and shot crossbows at Macer. I responded with a new spell that one of the humans shrugged off, then I made Huge huger as he headed into melee. Our teammates came in from both flanks, and the fight was on. My offensive spells didn't seem to do much, so I contented myself with adding size and weight to my companions who could benefit from suc things. Note- Vex, Kelynn, Nina and Felu are RIGHT OUT for that treatment, I have been well informed.

I was too far away to get a good look, but it turned out that the "lieutenant" was really a vampire. Good thing Oona had taken the night off.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The others seem to be preoccupied with another hallway full of kobolds, as Huge heads off across the slimy lair of the sabre-toothed toads. Not willing to let him go wandering off by himself in this awful place, I follow. "You know that we probably shouldn't get too far ahead of the others, right Huge?" "All that matters is saving the children," he replies. Still with the saving a bunch of brats angle? Their parents were happier before they came along, and it's not like they can't make more; children are VASTLY overrated.

Huge plunges down a stairway and through an intersection with me on his heals, but draws up sharply at the entrance to a large and smelly chamber. There seem to be a large number of kobolds bedded down in mouldy straw in there, and not all of them are asleep, as a large number of outraged squeals and squawks attest. Suddenly, we are pelted with a bunch of tiny javelins. I would say that there were enough to blot out the sun, but that is not a good description in this dark and foul cavern.

Ouch, more poison. I am getting positively sluggish from the effects as Huge asks me to back up a bit. I oblige, simultaneously casting an enlarge spell upon him once again. He turns his skin to iron, and steps back to block the exit of the cavern. I cast a wary eye at the intersection behind us; if the rest of the group doesn't get here soon, we will undoubtedly be surrounded and cut off, an end I for one wish to avoid.

I'm down to a single 1st level spell left, along with cantrips. I start casting acid splash at Huge's opponents (more seem to be pushing into our small lighted area faster than Huge can cut them down), but can't seem to connect. Damn this poison! Suddenly Vex dashes past, and Felu steps by me and blazes away at the kobolds engaging Huge. There must be nearly a hundred of them in there, and they just keep coming! Kelyn and Lugh step past, heading to the right and left of Huge. I catch a glimpse of Kelyn's face as he stumbles into the chamber; I don't think he's quite aware of what's going on around him. I can hear Macer hacking away at something to my rear, and a quick glance shows me Nina backing him up, directing him as he swings blindly at even more kobolds.

Felu's pistol barrel is glowing in the darkness, and she stows it and draws her second. She HAS to be getting low on ammunition. I've cast more acid splashes than I can easily count, most of them going wide or high with Huge still blocking out front. Oona slips past, and heads into the maelstrom as well, and the group begins pushing out into the room. Felu and I step back and take over for Nina, who desperately wants to get to Kelyn's side; Felu backs up Macer with gunfire, dispatching the last kobold, and we head down the corridor, hoping to flank the mass in the main chamber.

With Macer blind, we move too slowly, and the others beat us to the chamber exit, still slicing and hacking at the mass of kobolds. I didn't know there were this many kobolds on the planet...

Mentally communicating with demons, werewolves next door, 100 year-old hauntings, possessed benefactor... who would believe that was all taking place in Magnimar?

I has fallen to me to be the spokesperson for the group (troupe? company? what do we call ourselves?) with Lord Deverin, though even I get tired of talking sometimes. On the other hand, most of my friends are, shall we say, less than tactful. At any rate, Hobart asked to hire us to escort him to Sandpoint to visit his niece. He also said that it would be no trouble for him to draft an expense estimate for the repair of the Kaijitsu mansion.

Long story short (too late) we took a couple of days to get ready and made our own caravan to Sandpoint. We arrived there after three days without incident. While Macer was having an emotional reunion with his horse and Felu arranged a room for us, I betook myself to Mayor Deverin to tell her the situation with her uncle. She was very grateful that we were looking after the old man, and seemed to take the particulars of his situation in stride, saying that there was a priest in town that could likely deal with both his disease and possession.

Birgun took it upon himself to locate this priest, a fellow named Zandoo, and apparently the deed was accomplished that night while Hobart slept. I wonder if there is anything interesting to do in this town? We might be here for a few days.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

No wonder the fight was so hard, those guys had some AWESOME gear! I haven't seen anything like the pile of cash we split up since I deserted my uncle's estate in Cheliax.

Felu and I did quite a bit of shopping, and each bought some cool new stuff. Also, since we had a few days to ourselves, and Felu has been bugging me about getting her own tattoo, I got to practice on her. I must say that it looks pretty good, and my study of the technique has paid off, it took and is holding the enchantment she decided on. The ink is a little hard to see against her skin, but as a first ever tattoo on a living being, that might be a good thing.

After getting acquainted with our new gear, we headed to the upper city to carry out a request from the Mayor of Sandpoint, and check on her uncle Hobart Deverin. Quite the estate, and though the man is old and supposedly sick, his mind remains sharp and he was quite spry. He offered accommodations for any who wished (since we were going to be checking on the Kaijitsu estate next door), and I accepted his offer. Felu then kicked me under the table; she had a bad feeling about something (which I would find out later).

We had a lovely visit with the old man, and later on an excellent dinner as well. Huge demonstrated a new ability; he seems to be able to assume the shape of creatures that he has seen. While scouting the estate next door as an owl(rumors of ghosts and packs of wild dogs had us being cautious) he spotted two men that he claimed were werewolves building snares near the front gates.

Still later, Felu and I had a visitation. Felu fell into a sort of trance, and when I touched her to get her attention, I found my consciousness inside her mind. In addition to knowing her feelings for me/our feelings for each other are strong, I also discovered that there was a dark formless creature hiding in the shadows of our room. Communication (of a sort) ensued, and many pieces of the Hobart riddle fell into place.

Hobart is indeed sick, he is possessed by a weak demonic entity that is slowly consuming him. He was also bitten by one of the "wild dogs" next door, and has contracted Lycanthropy. The demon is keeping him from becoming a werewolf, and the Lycanthropy is giving Hobart almost enough vitality to resist the consumption by the demon. To be truly cured, we will have to simultaneously exorcise the demon and cure the disease; neither of which promises to be easy...

...Lugh pulled out a scroll and began reading; it sounded like a Detect Evil spell. As he did, the fellow in the cell hissed and vanished. Lugh immediately dropped the scroll and ran for the door, scrambling to get back to the shrine above. The rest of us turned to follow, just in time to run into a whole pack of enemies around the first corner of the crypt.

There were too many of them, and my friends were moving too quickly; I knew my area control spell wasn't going to be of much use. Instead, I cast Enlarge on Lugh (first to engage the enemies), and then on Macer as he turned the corner. Felu stepped in front of me and began firing into the fray. There seemed to be at least four attackers, but then another appeared next to Felu and nearly disemboweled her. I couldn't get to her! She needs me and I can't get to her! Luckily others closed in and distracted the demon, and the whirl of the melee brought us closer. I Enlarged Oona and Huge, and fed Felu a healing draught.

There wasn't much else that I could do. Atz and I spent the next moments moving about the group with our respective healing magics, ministering to our friends as they fell. Oona dropped an instant before Huge finally slew the Darkling; I think Atz and I both knew what was coming as we simultaneously shouted, "NO!" as the greatsword fell and the darkling detonated. It took no more than a glance to tell us that Oona was gone.

I was dumping potions into Huge as fast as I could claw the flasks from my pouch and then drop the vials. At least twice he fell and then clambered back to his feet as the draughts took effect. Finally I implored him to stay down for a moment, but he told me it was "not in his nature" to do so. I had to roll my eyes at that.

Felu's pistols were hammering away, and she was cursing nearly as loudly after each and every shot. I shouted that we should keep the reluctant seeming human alive, but the heat of battle was on my companions and they cut all the enemies down where they stood. One winged demoness made good her escape after taunting Lugh and Huge; I wish that I had heard what she said more clearly. I fear that we are once again left without solid clues, and must now wait for further provocative action from our enemies. We don't even have a name for them!

After the battle, Huge gathered up Oona's corpse and headed upstairs after Lugh. The rest of us searched the bodies of the slain and tended to our own. When we arrived upstairs in the temple, we found that somehow Oona had returned to life. I looked closely (though surreptitiously) at her teeth, just to make sure that her own "family curse" hadn't chosen to manifest itself now...

Sam cheats. He has the Infernal bloodline, which gives him a bonus on DC with spells from the "charm" subschool, and he has a Mage's Tattoo with the chosen focus of Enchantment, so he casts all enchantments (of which Charm is one) at +2 caster level. Coupled with his stupendous Charisma, the save DC is actually pretty good against low-level stuff (assuming nobody is trying to bust heads before he casts the spell). Now we just need to be high enough level that he can get "Charm Monster."

What are you talking about? Felu doesn't have any secrets.

Yes, yes, there are many guises that evil wears, Epher. Still the question was, whose ire have I raised, and the only answer to that that I am aware of is my Uncle's.

Now, if you believe that I have wronged you in some way, I challenge you to come and face me. But I think we're all aware that having the courage of your convictions (or any other sort of courage for that matter) has never been your strong suit. Skulk about and play your games; your reward will come soon enough. I promise.

First of all Felu, it probably wasn't actually a Demon. It was much more likely a Devil.

Lugh, that would be my Uncle.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Felu and I escorted the mage back to Magnimar, and “introduced” her to the proprietor of the Lost Coast Trading Company, and then stayed long enough to assist in their polite interrogation; she was ultimately turned over to the city guard, and we were paid well for the information she provided about the raids. Riding out once again, we caught our compatriots as they were making camp for the night.

There was another caravan nearby, watched over by some of the same thugs that Birgun had discouraged from guarding our charges earlier. Our old friend Baga was with them, and spoke with us that evening; he also came by for breakfast the next morning. I was a bit surprised at how friendly he seemed; I had always thought him to be rather cool toward us since he and Epher had separated from the group when we were kids. He let us know that part of their “cargo” were five ladies heading to Sandpoint to take up employment at the Pixie’s Kitten; not something of interest to me or Kelyn, but Macer, Birgun and Lugh perked up noticeably at the announcement.

The remainder of the trip to the Half-Way Inn was uneventful; some of us spotted some goblins along the way, but they didn’t attack and we were reluctant to hare off after them. Most of the group went back to assist Baga’s caravan just in case, but Felu and I stayed at the Inn to guard our caravan. Once the others arrived, it turned out that Felu was acquainted with one of the prostitutes, and all of the girls came to sit with Baga and our group. Baga’s compatriots were less than thrilled with that, and two of them approached us in a menacing manner, with one making rude comments regarding all the ladies at our table; before hostilities could commence in earnest, I charmed the loudmouth and politely asked him to reconsider his remarks. I was almost too late; Macer rose to take exception, Kelyn rose to guard Nina; the other thug made a grab for me (he missed) and Felu rose and (oh gods no) pointed her pistol at him; the other thugs rose to come to their companions’ aid… It certainly looked as though the afternoon was going to get very bloody very quickly. Then the charmed loudmouth started stammering apologies, and the wind quickly went out of the other thugs' sails; Kelyn seemed a bit disappointed (Nina stage-whispering, “that’s a much better trick than chilling a wine glass” didn’t help there), but I thought that Oona was going to be the one to sour the truce—she looked ready to kill someone. We told her quietly that if she was truly offended, it would be simple to make an overture to the loudmouth to get him alone, and then just beat the snot out of him.

That night, I awoke to the smell of smoke; the room was filled with it and I could hear the roar of flames downstairs. I couldn’t wake Felu, so I ran and opened the window, dragging her to the fresher air. I then gathered our gear and slung it out. There were figures moving about the yard, one of them being Birgun; I shouted for him to catch Felu as I lowered her out the window. At that moment, a gigantic orc swung a mace at Birgun’s head, and he decided he had better things to do than help me with my girl. I can’t say that I blame him. I held Felu’s wrists, and lowered her as far as I safely could and let her drop, then leapt out myself. Horses were screaming (the stables were in flames as well as the Inn proper), and there were goblins running everywhere and chanting some sort of nonsense. I gathered Felu and our gear (don’t tell her that I had to strain a bit with her weight, she won’t take that well), and headed away from the burning buildings. Placing her with a group of other refugees, I returned to see if Birgun needed help with the orc.

I got within spell range just as the orc went down, narrowly missing Atz as her fell, so I began amusing myself by blasting passing goblins with my acid splash spell. Someone was on the top floor of the Inn rescuing other occupants via a rope; everything was very confused. I saw another orc being engaged by Macer, Atz and Oona, so I greased his mace; that fight should end quickly now…

There is fate, and there is synchronicity. It stretches the bounds of reason to find that after traveling north, south, and east six of us arrived back in Magnimar on the same day on three different ships. Felu and I disembarked late in the day and immediately went to visit my parents, we spent a couple of hours catching up (and catching them up on events in Boris' household in Egorian. My tattoos met with some disapproval from my mother, but by the set of her mouth I could tell that the lash marks upset her more. I don't envy Boris the tongue lashing he will receive from her on their next meeting.

Macer and Vex came by around 7 and we went for a drink. As we were walking through Dockway, Felu made an abrupt course change into an unfamiliar tavern, where we saw Nina and Kelyn at the bar. I chilled Nina's wine glass from across the room, and she turned with a wide-eyed look; when her eyes lit on Felu, the hypersonic squealing caused every male with half a mile to cover his ears. Long story short, we went bar-hopping and collecting the old gang as we went. Eventually we wound up at the Captain's Club, and Macer gathered us into a plan to do a little goblin bounty hunting; Felu and I readily agreed as the trip from Cheliax had nearly bankrupted us.

The next morning we met up and presented ourselves at the Lost Coast trading Company, and I managed to talk the proprietor into hiring us to escort a small caravan of wagons to the inn on the road to Sandpoint. Eight gold per goblin dispatched, and more for information on why the attacks were happening. As the wagons arrived, it seemed that some local thugs had appointed themselves as protection for the train, and as I was marshaling my thoughts on how to discourage them, Huge stepped up and told them to "p!$$ off!" Remarkably (or not) they did, and we rode out.

Less than an hour from the gates we ran smack into an ambush, I found out when I was hit by three arrows in the initial barrage. Luckily the little beasts didn't finish the job, and I was able to drink a healing draught (I think I may have been gypped, the potion didn't seem to have much effect). As the fight developed, it became clear that the leader was a half-elf caster of some sort; I gathered my wits and tried a charm spell, and for a wonder it worked! A quick follow up with a grease spell slowed two more of the goblins, and the fight was over soon thereafter. Felu and I then returned to Magnimar to deliver our captive for interrogation, and we will catch the group up farther along the road...

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I saw the Lady’s Light this morning, and just caught sight of the Irespan on the horizon. After three years, it is good to be coming home. Boris has insisted that I return to Egorian to finish my apprenticeship with him, but as always I have other priorities. The stinging of the tattooists’ needle on my back and right arm has faded, but the pain of the flogging Boris gave me when he found out has not. I believe that it truly saddens him that I continue to defy my heritage, but he has never shown any overt feelings of that sort; he is too bound up in the twisted notions of duty and right that the Chelaxian hierarchy imposes to allow anything that could be interpreted as weakness to cross his features.

As the city of Magnimar creeps over the horizon, I cannot help but think of the last days I spent there. I was fifteen, and my friends and I had our greatest adventure on the night of Oona’s going away party. I remember the scratchiness of my fine new clothes as I stood in her family’s grand ballroom, trying not to look too foolish in front of the assembled aristocracy of Magnimar. Actually, I didn’t care about looking foolish to them; I didn’t want to look foolish to Felu. Today we stand together in the bow of the ship bringing us home, and my arm falls naturally about her waist. As before, the adventure we had endured brought us together in an unexpected way, even as our group of friends was torn apart and scattered to the four winds.

The party was impressive; at least a hundred of the city’s elite had assembled to honor Oona’s family on the occasion, and we were gathered in the grand ballroom of their estate. The atmosphere was simultaneously gay and oppressive as Oona’s father glowered across the room at our little group of friends. I could tell that instead of being happy, Oona was quite literally on the edge of being frightened to death; she was pale and withdrawn, trying to put on a happy face and failing utterly, almost a mirror image of her withdrawn and distracted mother. Oona’s mood was affecting all of us, but Nina and Felu especially. I wondered what the problem was.

After speaking with Oona, Birgun and Lugh waved at the rest of us and headed for the entryway, having had enough of the patron’s glaring attention, I suppose. I managed to lure Felu away from Nina and Oona and onto the dance floor, where she expressed a desire to leave the party. My heart leapt in my chest as I quickly agreed, and hand in hand we waved to the others and made our own exit. We halted briefly by the sweeping staircase just inside the main entrance to the house, and my heart slammed back to the bottom of my chest as Felu mumbled that perhaps we should wait for the others. I blurted, “but I thought we were…” She looked at me in bewilderment for a moment and then said, “Wait, you thought we were…” But then her eyes lit up and she smiled at me in a way I had never seen before, and my heart leapt again as she squeezed my hand. I said, “Don’t worry, they’re right behind us,” (as indeed, they all seemed to be coming out of the ballroom at the far end of the hall) and I tipped the doorman a silver piece as we stepped out into the cool night.

Just down the street I could see Lugh, Kelyn and Birgun walking down the street. Birgun was limping, and they were carrying several bags; we hurried to catch up. As we came to the Usher’s Hall, the rest of the gang caught up and we took stock: Oona was running away from home! She had sent Birgun and Lugh to fetch her belongings and meet her outside the house! She said that she had to get to Lugh’s favorite shrine down Underbridge to wait for the morning tide change so that she could take ship to Absolom. Lugh even volunteered to go with her (I suppose it wasn’t that unusual that he should feel protective, after all Felu and I seemed to have come to an understanding).

We made our way down the incline, and just as we turned under the bridge, we were jumped by two sword-wielding thugs. I stepped in front of Felu, and tried to hold my walking stick in a threatening manner as Macer said, “we don’t want any trouble.” Birgun pre-empted any further conversation as he drew his dagger and slashed at the closest ruffian; the fight was on. It was a blur for me; I hit one with my trifling Ray of Frost while Macer, Birgun and Lugh waded in. Nina tried to slip around one side and got stabbed for her trouble just as a deafening roar buffeted the side of my head; Felu had drawn a weapon I could only describe then as a “boom stick.” The fight ended shortly thereafter with a horribly wounded Birgun sitting astride one of the hoodlums, stabbing the body repeatedly and cursing with tears streaming down his cheeks. I gently pulled him off and told him that his assailant was dead and the fight was over. Somewhere in there, I remember that Oona had shouted, “You fools, my father is a vampire and now he will drink the blood of us all!” As those words finally registered, we headed off to the shrine to try and treat our comrades’ wounds.

The shrine was dark as we entered but the familiar glow from the statue of Serenrae soon flooded the small room; this time it felt different to me, as though I were not entirely welcome there. Everyone who was hurt claimed to be feeling better shortly, and we settled down to wait out the night.

I must have fallen asleep, as Felu and I started awake at the same time, her head coming off my shoulder. Both doors to the shrine where rattling and shaking as though about to be torn off their hinges. We rose to our feet as the front doors were torn open to reveal Oona’s father; I can still see his face twisted in animalistic rage, hear him snarling something in a language I couldn’t understand, and feel paralysis grip my limbs… and just as suddenly he was gone. Oona was still with us, we were all unharmed, it was almost as though the apparition had never been there. The first rays of dawn were slanting under the Irespan as a huge shadow fled into the clock tower where we had fought the goblins years before, and we were safe.

In the following days Oona and Lugh took ship for Absalom, Birgun announced his plans to sail north to discover his homeland, and my Uncle Boris arrived from Cheliax to take me away. I thought that was the last I would see of Felu, but as Boris and I boarded our own ship south, she was there. Not just to see me off at the pier; she had her own bags packed, and announced that she was coming with me-- she thought that she could learn more about her pistols and gunpowder in Cheliax than in Magnimar. I was glad to have a companion along, and she more than anything or anyone else helped me to withstand the “training” of Boris. I know he hates her because her presence kept him from breaking me to his will, but he is prevented (or afraid) of interfering with us too much. For that alone I will love her forever.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I think they know.

I’ve been careful, and I’ve tried so very hard to hide it from them, but I heard my parents whispering the other night, and I’m sure that they’ve sent for uncle Boris. He’s coming here to Magnimar to take me away to Cheliax for more formal training. All because of that stupid ray of frost thing.

I remember the first time I used it. It was years ago, when I was just a kid; seven or eight at the most, and the gang and I had a big day. We had arranged to meet on the edge of the Dockway, and we headed into Underbridge to visit the shadow clock. I think this might have been the first time we visited the Serenrae shrine at Lugh’s urging. Maybe the surge of magical energy from the shrine had something to do with what happened later; considering my family heritage, I think that is the best I can hope for.

We found our way to the clock, most of us. It occurs to me now that this might have been the start of when our little group started growing apart. Before now, Epher and Bagz had more or less been the instigators of our little adventures, but they and their best buds didn’t show up for the clock. In the years since I’ve seen less and less of them, while those of us who were there have become nearly inseparable. Losing them is one among the many reasons that I don’t want to go to Cheliax. I’ve asked Papa why I can’t just go to the college here in Magnimar, but he says that I require a more specialized type of training. I know that it has to do with the family curse, and my parents are afraid of what I might become without uncle Boris’s strict tutelage; I guess I’m afraid of that too.

Anyway, we got to the clock and found that it had been broken into; the door was ajar. We lit a torch and a couple of candles that we had picked up somewhere, and Birgun as always led the way in. Remember, we were just little kids. The clock tower was huge and dark and scary, I remember the smell of something rotten inside as I held Felu’s hand and crept in. The bunch of us had adopted an informal “buddy system” and paired off to explore. The room Felu and I chose was filled with rubble. The only thing of interest that she and I found was a broken parasol. Somebody found a severed goblin leg in a wagon, and Birgun found an enormous severed arm half buried in a pile of debris. We gathered together again, and foolish children that we were, we climbed the rickety stairs winding around the inside of the tower.

Someone thought they saw something moving on the stairs above us, and we all pretty much determined to go all the way to the top. There were gaps, but Macer and Birgun figured out a way to get past them all and we got up even with the bells. The stairs had a landing there, and an opening led outside where they continued to wind around the outside of the tower. As Macer stepped out onto the outer landing, he cried out. From twenty feet away, I could see the splash of blood from his cheek; someone had hit him with a rock! Birgun shouted, “Goblins! Get ‘em!” and stepped out onto the railless landing, swinging his wooden sword.

Something came over me then. I remember that I was almost in a trance as I released Felu’s hand and started walking forward. My mind was filled with strange images, but I knew that I had to get to where I could see the goblins to help my friends. By the time I got to the opening, Lugh and Oona had joined the battle using improvised spears to poke past Birgun and Macer. Macer was bleeding badly from a cut on his forehead, as Birgun swung his sword again and one of the goblins took a header right off the side of the tower. The symbols in my head became sounds coming out of my mouth, and I gestured and pointed. The remaining goblin (who had apparently been beaten badly by Oona) was struck by a pale ray that came from my hand, and it immediately stiffened, then curled up and frosted over, dead. The other kids turned with wide eyes and stared at me but they couldn’t have been half as surprised as I was. Birgun actually said, “Holy cow, Sam just manifested!” I had tears in my eyes as I replied, “Don’t say that! You guys have to promise not to tell!”

The goblins were dead, and we made our way to the very top of the tower where we found a huge treasure. Well, it seemed huge to us as kids; a few coins and a battered box the goblins couldn’t get open. Once we had climbed back down to the ground, we noticed it was getting late. Someone had mentioned that there were some old women coming to the clock to look for something later that night (I assume that’s where the idea to visit the clock had come from), and we thought it would be funny to rig up a trap to swing the arm that Birgun had found at them when they came in the door. Kelyn did a bang-up job with that, and then we had to run home to be there before dark. Shared hardship and peril makes for lasting friendships I guess.