No Rest For The Wicked

Escape
Valyn - Log 19

Heaving breathing and shuffling feet were the only sounds echoing throughout the caverns as Valyn struggled to stay on his feet, always moving forward and away from the tieflings and their murderous intent.

Yes the voice in his head repeated as he walked. Save yourself, Valyn. “Shut up!” he replied vocally and his yelling drifted down the passageway and then only the sound of his breathing remained. The voice had become increasingly vocal, feeding on Valyn’s fear as time went on.

Keep running, Valyn. Leave him to die. Just like you left Scarlett. Pain stung his eyes like a white-hot needle and tears began to form and roll down his cheeks at the sound of her name. “I didn’t leave her… she was already gone. And so is he.”

He had held Scarlett’s lifeless body for a brief second before escaping through the doors and away from the crossbow bolts of the guards. And your parents. You left them for dead too. You coward. You need me, to fuel your hatred and empower you, to make you stronger. Yes. You know I’m right. Doubt began to creep in as the voice destroyed the truth he had once known.

“No, they’re dead. They’re all dead. I know they are.” He paused to rest and catch his breath, leaning against the craggy wall. Everything remained quiet until a voice broke the silence. A woman’s voice. It was inaudible but the desperation in her voice hinted at danger.

Valyn stood up and rushed towards the voice, moving down the corridor with haste. The voice became louder with every corner he turned. Fear was quickly replaced with anxiety as he moved towards the woman’s voice. After the 3rd turn, there she was in all her beauty. The scent of vanilla and jasmine tickled his emotions, her elegant auburn hair falling freely over her shoulders and her jade eyes seem to explode with color as he met them with his own.

“Scarlett…” he managed to say before falling to his knees. Her lips formed a smile, that shy smile she had just for him. She moved deftly to Valyn and reached out to embrace him. As their bodies were about to collide, she seemed to fade away and pass right through him and then she was gone.

The voice in his head began to cackle maniacally. “Why?” Valyn said, feeling exasperated as the tears continued their free-fall now.

You weak, pathetic fool. You don’t need her. You only need me.

The orb in Valyn’s hand began to glow brighter.

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A Worthy Adversary
Do You Cry When You Hear Puff the Magic Dragon?

Falkrunn

Back in the Well of Demons, we had to split up to Place the Items. They have to be put on Altars in four Different Rooms at the Same Time. (No Problem, right? ’Cause we Work so Well Together.) After some practice (“ON Three or AFTER Three??”), we Managed to Coordinate and Plunked the Artifacts down on the Altars. The Room Shook and Rumbled and I caught a Glimpse of Something Huge Rolling past the door. Then the Idols on the Altar started Screeching and Raising an Unholy Ruckus so I , eh, hastily decided to Rejoin my Companions.

As I stepped into the Hallway, I saw the Huge Orb Thing Rolling Away from me and Disappearing around the Corner. As I hurried after it, I noticed the Rolling Stone had Worn a Groove into the floor. Obviously, It was Coming Back. I rounded the corner and stepped out of the Hallway into a smaller corridor off the Beaten Path. Two Doorways Flanked me. To my left, I saw the Friar poking at a chained skeleton which in turn, grabbed at his ankles. On my right, the New Guy Popped up muttering something about a Water Vortex before abruptly Disappearing back into the room again. Whatever.
Skeletons seemed Much More Fun so I went to help Casual Fred. One of the Epidermally Challenged rose to meet me and I Cheerfully knocked its head off with my Maul.

Now I’ve always been a little intrigued by Skeletons. They lack Intelligence and even Sight, but yet they seem to always be able to focus in on their nearest enemy. There’s not much Finesse when fighting a Skeleton; it’s more about Hacking through whatever Sinew or Ligaments they have left to Dismember them, and scattering body parts. It Never pays to Underestimate them though. The Magic that Binds the Bones Doesn’t need the Complete Body to be Effective. Hadrick the Mouth Breather came to a Tragic End when in the Midst of a Great Battle, a Skeleton Hand climbed up his beard and clamped his jaw shut, Suffocating him. So I expected Skeletons to, well, CHEAT, and not follow the Rules of Nature but I was Astonished when the Skull I just knocked off flew back to Perch on the Bony Neck like a Bird returning to its Nest.

“Don’t bother,” the gravelly voice of the Casual Cleric said. “You can’t hurt them and they can’t really hurt you. Just get out of their range.”

Stupid Skeletons! Cheating AGAIN! But it wasn’t a total Waste of Time; that was the most I had heard out of the Friar in the months I had known him. I think he was starting to Open Up. Bypassing the skeletons without fighting them seemed a Little Boring and I was Contemplating Giving them a Little Beat Down, just for Practice, when the New Red Shirted Guy collapsed in the doorway.

“Dragon!” he gasped. “There’s a frigging dragon out there!”

A Dragon! My Heart Sang with Excitement! I had Never Seen, let alone, Faced a Dragon before. That Stone Dragon Statue didn’t really count. This was Glorious! A Worthy Foe! I shoved the Red Shirt Guy out of the way and ran back to the Main Hallway. (You know, if he was afraid of getting attacked, he really should wear a color other than red. It does kind of Shout to all Enemies ‘Here I am in the Red Shirt! Come Get Me!’ Although Bloodstains are harder to see…)

In the Hallway, a Long, Sinuous Dragon the color of Green Poison with the body the size of a Horse (a REAL horse, not a Dungeon Horse) flew by to harass the Paladin and Elf. I attacked It with a Dizzying Blow that got its Attention. It turned on a knife’s edge, its Gleaming Scales Undulating and Wing Tips Caressing the walls as It flew towards me. I had Never seen anything so Graceful and Beautiful. The Beat of its Wings was like Music.

Falkrunn and the green dragon

It Swiped at me, first with one front claw, then the other, which I easily dodged, and then It Leveled a Glare at me that I was too Excited to acknowledge. Behind me, the Paladin and Elf hurried into the side passage.

“Hey, Arneth!” I yelled joyfully. “Look! A Dragon!”

“Leave it alone, Falkrunn,” the Tin Maiden called. “We can get around it.”

“But It’s a Dragon!” Running from a Dragon? What kind of Logic was that? Why would you want to ‘get around it’?

The Dragon had turned and was flying back towards me. I launched myself at it, tangling Its wings and knocking It prone on the ground. I could see the Intelligence in Its eyes as It assessed me. With a Hiss and a Flick of Its tail, I was knocked off my feet. It struggled to take to the air again, but a blow from my Maul Landed It. As we Skirmished in the Corridor, the Large Orb Rounded the Corner and Rolled Over us. I Remember the Surprise (and Annoyance) Reflected in the Dragon’s Face as the Big Ball Squished It Flat. Of course, it Rolled Over me next and amazingly didn’t hurt as much as you would have thought.

With a Snort and an Elegant Shake of Its Head, the Dragon Recovered, this time Scoring as It attacked me with Its claws. I struggled to my feet and the Green Serpent Bit me before Taking Wing. I struck It as It Flew By, marveling how Effortlessly It maneuvered in such a Relatively Small Space. Its strategy wasn’t to Hover, but Quickly Fly By, Raking Its Adversary with Its claws. I Dodged the Talons, but got knocked over by the Tail. On Its next pass, It tried to Bite me but I jumped to the side and leaped over the tail. The Dragon tilted Its head and stared at me before sweeping forward, feinting to the right, then striking with Its claws to the left. I struck a blow back but the Tail knocked me over again and I laid there, stunned and out of breath. I Swear I heard the Dragon Snicker as it flew away from me… and the Orb that rounded the corner. This Time, the Big Ball of Rock Hurt a Bit More when it rolled over me, but of course I was also a Bit More Battered. I laid like Roadkill in the Orb’s Rut, Darkness Blurring the Edges of my Vision. Suddenly, the Platinum Paladin appeared by my side and Laid Hands on me, Infusing me with New Strength. She and Red Shirt joined me in attacking the Dragon until we heard the Friar call out.

“The Door is open!”

The Door to the Inner Secret Sanctum Room Place had finally opened and as we were digesting this, the Dragon launched Itself over our heads and flew toward the Open Door. I drew my crossbow and hit It twice when I had to step out of the Hallway to let the Orb go by. The Dragon flew back towards us and with a Burst of Green Vapor bathed us in poison. I easily shook it off, but was surprised It hadn’t tried that trick with me before. Frowning, I watched it fly by again. It seemed to be laboring. I opened my mouth to speak when the Red Shirt struck the Fatal Blow.

The Dragon floundered, Its delicate wings scraping the walls before It careened to the ground and slid the length of the hallway. My companions promptly forgot our Fallen Foe and rushed to meet the others at the Door. I couldn’t leave yet. I was drawn to the Dragon. Its breath rattled and shuttered in Its Broken Body. I looked at the Torn Wings and Numerous Gashes in the Green Scales, Blood dribbling from the slightly open mouth.

I felt Its eye on me. There was nothing I could read in the gaze, no anger or resentment; It was just Looking at me. I tentatively placed a hand on its shoulder, but It didn’t react except to continue to stare.

“Worthy Adversary,” I said Gravely. “I will Remember You, Drakk Grom.”

The yellow eye seemed to cloud over and I watched the Dragon Depart from this Life. It was the First Time I had watched an Adversary Die. Not that I ever had time to before…

And I actually didn’t have time then either. There was still a Battle to be fought in the Inner Secret Sanctum Room Place and I think it says a lot at how far I’ve come as a Fighter that I didn’t let my Distress over the Dragon Impair my Performance. We fought a Skeleton Minotaur, numerous little Demon Boogers and some Evil Gnoll Priest Guy and Vanquished them all. We even saved Splug.

Splug was actually the one who put it all in Perspective for me. Once we had returned to the Bar, he and I had sat in a corner long after all of the others had drifted away (Splug was a Very Willing Listener as long as you kept his Tankard Full).

“Stupid Dwarf!” he scoffed. “Maybe it good dragon, maybe bad, but you no kill it, it kill you. And eat you too. You think it cry over you die?” He took a pull on his tankard but I could hear him mumble, “Look like dwarf, smell like dwarf but sound like elf.”

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Reaching for the Sun
You Can't Make an Omelet Without Breaking Some Eggs

Falkrunn

“You are leaving then.”

Falkrunn dropped her knapsack and spun around, her hand clasping her belted dagger. The dwarf relaxed as she recognized the speaker and bent to pick up her pack.

“Moradin’s Fist, Oskar! You could get killed sneaking up on me like that.” Falkrunn impatiently pushed the loose hair that always hung in her face behind her ear. “Although with stealth like that, you’re wasted in the mines.”

“It’s Patience. Which is a necessity in the mines.” Oskar planted his feet and crossed his arms across his stocky chest. Although his height and breadth was considerable, his scant beard marked him as a dwarven youth who had not yet reached his majority. “And your lack of perception can get you killed in the profession you’ve chosen.”

Falkrunn made a rude noise. “Don’t be such an Old Mother!” She pulled a cloak from her footlocker and stuffed it in the pack. Trying to ignore her visitor, she took a few items from around her small dorm room and packed them as well. Through it all, Oskar somberly watched her. Falkrunn grew increasingly agitated. She always lost at this game: ‘Who would break the Silence first?’ Oskar was like the Rock he loved, silent, patient… Falkrunn was neither of those. She could wrestle Oskar into unconsciousness, but she could never win the Silence Game.

“WHAT?” she snapped finally. She jammed her fists onto her hips and glared at him. “What do you WANT?”

“Don’t go,” he said softly, serene as a mountain. “I don’t want you to go.”

Falkrunn scowled at him. “Don’t say another word! I swear if you go down that road I will bloody your nose!” Turning away, she slammed a water skin on top of the cot. “The last thing I need is declarations of love from you! You know I didn’t mean for you to take it that way.”

“I feel so used,” he said drily.

A short, bitter laugh escaped her. “Next time I’ll leave money on the dresser.” She gave him a shove that knocked him into the doorframe. “Quit it with the Mournful Glances! You’re a Dwarf, damn it! Not some Flighty Elf!”

Oskar rubbed his shoulder and lifted an eyebrow. “You didn’t like my poem comparing your eyes to the Flames of the Mountain?”

Falkrunn stared at him, horrified, until she realized he was joking and reluctantly cracked a smile. “I know what you want,” she said finally. “I know what my mother wants. But it’s not what I want.” She looked away. “I’m sorry, but I can’t stay here. Maybe it would be different if Eldeth would have agreed to Apprentice me to another Guild, but she’ll never do that because of my father.”

“If you go, she could strip you of your name.”

Falkrunn shrugged. That thought had weighed heavy on her. “If I stay here I will be Falkrunn the Fishwife or something equally unworthy of my Ancestor. Maybe it would be better to lose it.” She lifted her chin. “There is a chance of dishonor, but I believe that it is for a Greater Good. I seek Honor and hope to prove myself Worthy of the Iridescent Guard.”

“Unless you die before you achieve that, alone and nameless.” Oskar smiled sourly.

With a grimace, she waved that off. “You think I am rash and impulsive, but I have thought this through.” She paused and looked uncomfortable. “And I’ve heard my Name on the Wind.”

“The wind?” Oskar looked puzzled. “There’s no wind in Tordek’s Anvil—”

Angrily, Falkrunn shoved him. “Don’t be daft! It was more of a metaphor! I know there’s no wind in the tunnels!” She crossed her arms and looked defiantly at him. “I hear it in my dreams. And when I stand at the Gates and look upon the world, something calls me. You don’t have to believe me.”

“I believe you.” He sighed. “We both know your Destiny is not here.”

She gave a small nod and they stood in awkward silence until unpredictably, Oskar spoke first. “Elder Adrik gave me something to give to you.”

Falkrunn was surprised. Elder Adrik the Mining Master? She hadn’t spoken to him since she had been the only dwarf youngster to Fail his Mining Course. She had been so hamhanded at coaxing gems from their beds that she swore she had made him cry. Most of her apprenticeship under him had been spent doing menial work, like polishing lesser gems. He never even allowed her in the Lower Mines. She didn’t mind too much though; her lighter duties allowed for more time for her to train unofficially with the swordmaster.

Oskar reached out into the hallway and brought back a sheathed sword. “He didn’t want you to leave with just a dagger.”

“He knows I’m leaving?” Bemused, Falkrunn took the sword. “He’s not going to stop me?”

Oskar shook his head. “And he will try and intervene on your behalf with Elder Eldeth. He doesn’t believe she’s being rational in regards to you. Even if he can’t sway her from trying to take your Name, he thinks enough of the Elders will agree with him to stop her.” He took her hand. “Whatever happens, Falkrunn,” he said intently. “I will always remember your name.”

Falkrunn was touched. And deeply uncomfortable. “Uh, thanks.” She quickly pulled her hand from his to pick up her knapsack. “And I’ll always remember your yours, Oxcart.”

She flashed him a small smile while she shouldered her pack and headed out through the door. “Don’t bother leaving the lights on.”

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New Allies
Prothero - Log 2

Prothero
It felt good to lead again. I had been alone for too long, chasing down my sworn enemy, Garrosh, through the lands. When there was word he was at the Seven Pillared Hall, I feared my search would come to a dead end. Thankfully, a Drow by the name of Elaron was most helpful.

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Red Shirts and Second Chances
Choose Life!

Falkrunn

Well, Jobin is dead.

I didn’t know him well. I had Nixie write his name down so I could Remember it and Immortalize him in a Small Way. That is, after all, the Only True Way we Live Forever… when people Remember our Names long after we’re Gone. Not that I should be put in charge of his tombstone, or anything. It would likely be inscribed ‘Here Lies JoMama.’ (I always liked that one.) But Jobin Died. And he Stayed Dead. Even though we tried to Resurrect him, he didn’t Come Back. Why wouldn’t anyone come back? The Voice in my Head Whispered that he had More than an Empty Room waiting for him, but that’s just Stupid! I’m Not Afraid of Death, but let’s face it… Life is Better. DUH!!

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The First Death
Prothero - Log 1

Prothero
He was 21 the first time he died. The ringing of steel on scale mail, screams of men and boys, arrows whistling in the air resonate throughout his memories as he replayed the battle over and over again in his mind while he slept, looking for advice from all the dead eyes he sees in his dreams on what he could have done better on the battlefield. No matter what he can correct though, they never come back and perhaps that is for the best.

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A Tale of Two Prisons
Cheating at Cards, Solilquizing Spirits and Reluctant Damsels

Falkrunn

We left the Boar in the Kennel Room where we had Whipped all those Hyenas (“Hey! Don’t go chewing on those carcasses! Aren’t Boars Vegetarians?”) and went into the Next Room. We bypassed a Couple of Closed Doors because we heard Voices in the Far Chamber but when we Entered it was Empty. Or at least, we Thought It Was.

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Ranger Log #150- Executed

Tyranny

#150- Executed

Tyranny opened his eyes to a bright and beautiful forest, the sun beamed through the gaps in the trees and illuminated the overgrown shrubbery.
The wildlife chirped and scurried about. Tyranny heard more animals around than any other forest he had traveled in his years. There seemed to be a very light rain, almost like a mist that seemed to warm as well as hydrate the area.

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Ranger Log #35 - Tale of the Drow

Tyranny

Photobucket

Llathriel’s story burned in Tyranny’s memory: Described as purportedly dwelling deep beneath the surface world, in strange subterranean realms. They are said to be evil, “as dark as faeries are bright”, poor fighters but strong magic-users.

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Wet Cats and Broken Arrows
Shot Through the Heart and You're to Blame

Falkrunn

Whiny Elf was really starting to get on my Nerves! He Used To Be… Zen Elf… but now that Pain-in-the-Butt Eldarin Elf is gone, it is like he’s Auditioning for the Vacancy. I remember seeing him being Bullied by the Half Orc Sheriff and, I admit, I was Impressed how Cool he was Under Pressure. Now he seems Strung Out like he’s Jonesing for Pine Needles. Maybe he’s been Out of his Gourd for Too Long.

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