A series of passages read at the start of session 15… it’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to write prose and it was heaps of fun.
When you return to your room in the inn that evening you notice the warm verdant glow of your staff. Before you know it, you feel at your side, tickling your ribs is a familiar wet nose and your hand instinctively roughs the fur of the capybara’s head next to you. With deep, soulful, half-lid eyes, Imi presses her head against you, the closest thing she can do to an embrace and she stays by your side for the entire evening. If you speak to her, she listens as she always does. Sharing both in your joys and fears. Occasionally she pokes at your pockets, wondering what tricks and treats you have squirreled away that day.
Korran’s troubled and manic voice invades your consciousness as you try to sleep, but you’re nestled awake gently as your spiritual companion and best friend lies against you, comforting and warm. Slowly sleep takes you and you dream of a land of greens and yellows, spring and autumn, of twilight, and twisted beauty.
When you awake, you remember seeing a paddleduck and the silly creature makes you smile. You recall bounding through the most vibrant green and purple grass atop Pupok, the fields spotted with blood red flowers who sang with clear, rich tones. You have the vague memory of drinking tea but don’t remember the context. Imi bops into you playfully and lifts her head regally, ready for the day. You get the impression she isn’t leaving your side anytime soon.
The warm embrace of dwarven ale rocks you like the inconsistent speed of a rollercoaster. The familiar spinning of the room, much like a lullaby from a time you don’t rightly recall.
You dream of a great dwarven hall in the midst of celebration. You smell the mead and hear the music. Torchlight dazzles against your gleaming plate armor and against the columns of precious metal, gemstones and streams of ale from many tapped kegs.
You see many dwarves drinking and cavorting, men and women, and you recognize some. Some you served with, but… they’ve fallen. Didn’t they? But here they are, with others, with kin, singing and sharing tales. In the far back atop large thrones are mighty dwarven kings. You try to catch a better look at these figures, who playfully banter with one another, clanking tankards made of mithril and gold. They look similar, you know their faces but before their names reach your lips, a gentle hand takes yours.
You don’t even catch a glimpse of your partner but you’re quickly put into a spin and led through a dance, which you soon match pace with and your steps are light and skilled, your armor as light as air. The music swells and, in time, stops, and soon enough the next song plays. You see a beautiful, ample, curvy dwarven lady before you. She smiles with a kindness that near breaks your heart, but instead you feel it bolster you. Fill you with courage and strength. She gives you a light kiss on the cheek and you hear a playful shout from the thrones at the back of the room.
You remember then, as the dream fades, the joy in being chosen. And just before you open your eyes, you remember the face of that great dwarven king locking eyes with you in those fleeting moments before consciousness. You remember the playful wink and a raised tankard.
You awake with a clarity that you have not felt in such a long time, but you don’t find it unpleasant. Your cheek maintains familiar warmth, and it nestles in your breast. Deep down you feel a resonance, in the foundation of your own being, and that resonance, in a language long forgotten but now remembered, two words: Life and Mercy.
You take a breath after your weapon drills; sweat peppering your brow and your focus slowly ebbing. You feel the weight of the masterwork blade in your hand. The keen rapier, the blade of a leader. Even though you’ve only had the weapon for a number of days it almost feels like an extension of your own self.
Sheathing the blade, you towel yourself off and notice the gleam of your shortbow- Windzard. The glass cannon. Another weapon you’ve held for a short time but slowly and surely, despite a rough beginning, the weapon is opening itself up to you. Becoming yours. It, like you, yearns to grow stronger.
Once owned by a scared girl, but one brave enough to take that final step into the unknown; this weapon is proof of your history and your culture. One, some say, is dead. That girl’s bravery, that tenacity, is also yours. And somehow, you hear something, soft as a whisper on the breeze… but it is lost to you. Too soft.
You breathe, and your pulse slows and you turn your attention to the bow. You concentrate. And for a moment, a sliver of a moment, you feel a pull… to some dark place. You feel a call, primal, and welcoming. You soon notice you’re grinning to yourself and as that realization hits, you reclaim yourself.
Your eyes are drawn to your pack and gear, and then you feel something in your hand… a single gold coin.
You meditate on your evening. You remember the panicked scream of Weezl, despite the need for silence, for stealth. You remember her tiny, clammy hands shaking as you carried her to safety.
You remember the open hostility and cruelty in the actions of so many of the humans here. The guards, the nobles, the townsfolk.
You remember the resigned suffering of so many people. Trodden down into the dirt and muck as though they seemingly belong there.
They don’t know the freedom of flight. They don’t even recall the strength and pride of standing tall. They falter.
“I swear to protect…”
Like a heartbeat you feel the words enter your mind. A forceful pulse that surprises you.
“… swear to protect…”
You steel yourself, closing your eyes, which slowly feel warm. A simmering heat.
“… are absolute. For they are law… for they are just.”
You breathe, basic meditation exercises. Simple, done a thousand times before. You fortify yourself. And finally there is silence, and stillness.
Your mind is a fortress and only you hold the key.