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Dragon's Egg - Act III

Discussion in 'Dragon's Egg RPG' started by Steerpike, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. senseiseth

    senseiseth Troubadour

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    With the fight finished, I watch with care the trading of words between the Gnoll leaders and members of the party. I have my own views, but prudence forces me to hold my tongue. That and the last time I conversed with a gnoll, things didn't end well. Though I keep my hand close to the hilt of my sword, just in case things become 'heated'.

    I spy Liadan and Keit finishing their task of handling the fallen foes and returning to our group. I carefully depart from the discourse and meet up with them. "How are you two holding up," I asked when they
     
  2. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Liadan

    I try to push back my worries and doubts as I return to the village. I have more important things to do than worry about myself. Gisla needs tending -- I think I still have some goodberries left, though I'm not sure how many. And we need to discuss our next move as a group.

    What is this 'we'? whispers a voice in my mind. You are here for Cadell alone, remember? You have no obligation to the company he keeps.

    But I do, I tell myself. As long as he is with the company, I don't dare forsake him... at least not without telling him first of my reasons to. If Oercus demands it of me, I must appease Him. But leaving would break Cadell's heart, and I cannot bear to hurt him when he is still grieved by so much. Not after I gave up so much just to be with him.

    I'm so distracted, I don't notice Hall until I've almost walked into him. I sidestep quickly, murmuring an apology.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2014
  3. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    Aliron remains hiding and watching.

    Bressel moves along the cliff edge following the path he he took to find Aliron.
    He will go into the woods enough to conceal his movement.
    Then will find a place to make a temporary camp.
    His goal is to find some place to sheild him from the wind.
    When he finds such a place he will dig a fire pit, to lesson the likelihood of someone seeing his fire.
     
  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Arendal

    In addition to the children that have emerged from the woods to be viewed by the gnolls, adults begin to come out as well, once the gnolls move away, and hurry forward to catch up with children or other villagers. There is a great deal of talk amongst them, all about the events of the past day or so - murder, fish demons, gnolls. Arendal has had more excitement since the party arrived than in the past year.

    Cadell and Ghendra make their farewells, and then Ghendra leads his gnolls away, north and west of Arendal and back toward where the bulk of his force waits. Many glances are cast at the back of the gnolls by the villagers. Most are harsh, some are fearful. A few look curiously at Cadell in the wake of his interaction with Ghendra.

    People take a bit of a path around where Nissa stands with the children, many gazing at the valkyrie in wonder. When Nissa compliments Fiona's bravery the girl stands a bit taller, a proud smile forming on her features. "I wish you didn't have to go, Nissa," she says. Both Rionach and Liam nod in agreement, clearly disappointed that the little valkyrie's time is at an end.

    Aliron continues his watch over the village, seeing the villagers return and the gnolls leave. Ghendra and his warriors look well and truly gone, and all is quiet from the sea. There is no further sign of the fish demons, or of any other threat from that quarter. As villagers move past, none notice Aliron where he is hiding.

    Baldhart and Aga make their way to the Maiden's Spear, and then into Gisla's room. The woman is still unconscious, but color has returned to her cheeks and she looks a damn sight better than she did when Baldhart lifted her from the snow and brought her inside. Still, Aga rushes forward and kneels by the bed, her hand going to Gisla's. She peels back the bed clothes to see the damage. The unconscious woman still has dirt and dried blood on her skin, and the wounds inflicted by the fish demons are an angry red. Aga's eyes well with tears, but they don't fall.

    "You're sure she's OK now, Baldhart?" Aga touches a hand to Gisla's forehead. "No fever. That's a good sign."

    Outside, under the tree, the wolf Batos issues a low growl and twitches. One eye flicks open, and then the other, and the dog rises onto shaky feet, casting its head back and forth to seek out Keitsumah, or perhaps wary of more enemies.

    Bressel

    Bressel leaves the village, moving along the cliffs until he reaches the cover of trees. The morning is quiet except for the sound of the ocean and the voices of birds in the trees. It is early yet, and cold, though the sun is beginning to warm the land. Bressel finds a suitable place for a fire and protection from the wind.
     
  5. Keitsumah

    Keitsumah Inkling

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    Something stirs in the back of my mind and i feel a prickle rise on my skin. His emotions are chaotic, but despite that a smile lights my face.

    "Batos!" the wolf barks when he spies me, and rushes forward into my arms. His fur is damp and he is a patchwork of earth and dead leaves, but at least he's alive. I don't know what i would have done if he'd died. Batos whines and buries his face in my shoulder, relaxing once he senses that there is no immediate threat to us. But the battle has left us all weary, and with new scars. We need time to rest. Both mentally and physically.

    At that, i look up to see Hall and Liadan a little further off. Liadan seems adgitated, though with her back to me i cannot say for sure. "We are fine. But i think it would be best if we all had a good night's -or is it day's?- rest." I stand up as i speak, directing Batos toward the forest. I want nothing more than the silence of the trees -the comfort only the wild can give me. Being with the group for so long had gotten me used to being around others again, but i still needed some alone time once in a while.

    Keeping one hand on my companion's back, we head for the shadowy boughs of the forest.
     
  6. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    Nissa

    I kneel on the ground as the girl speaks. I'm molting. I will disappear with the feathers. "I wish for this as well, Fiona. But I'm glad I was able to speak to you. Rionach, Liam... you as well. Now... don't keep your parents waiting... children." I manage a smile, then let myself fade rather than wait a few more seconds.

    Oddly, what I fear most is disappearing mid-sentence. That would be awkward.



    Baldhart


    Hi, Baldy! I'm back!

    I missed you... only in a way, I preferred having you out there. It was fun when you and I kicked and punched a demon to death.

    I'm not sure I even hit him right.

    No matter. He's dead, isn't he? Anyway, now that you're here, what do you make of Gisla?

    Hmm... she was in the snow when you found her, wasn't she?


    Yeah. I slip off my ring and tell Aga, "I'm no healer, but she needs to be cleaned. I want you to handle that part." I show her the ring. "If she asks, just tell her it's mine." I slip it onto whichever finger it will fit. My people trained to handle extreme temperatures. I can stay like this for a little while. Gisla needs this ring to survive. If Aga doesn't ask, I won't speak of the magic. She has enough on her mind. "I want at least a part of me with her while I get help. Keitsumah also follows Brynhild. I'm sure she will help Gisla."

    I call out, "Keitsumah!" Does Liadan know the spell Keit mentioned. "Liadan?"

    The other ring would probably help her more... but at what cost? No, I will not fool with that one.
     
  7. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Liadan

    Baldhart calls to me, and I look over, then move in her direction. "What do you need?"

    Maybe I should speak with Baldhart about my concerns... she seems to have had no trouble choosing between her goddess and other parts of her life.
     
  8. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    "Liadan… Gisla's not in very good shape. Her wounds are…"

    Red? All wounds are red.

    "…I think you need to see for yourself."

    If Liadan will follow, I'll lead her to Gisla as I speak rather than just stand here.

    "I think her wounds need to be cleaned. Keit mentioned a spell of hers that does that sort of thing. I don't suppose you know it. Well, magic or none, can you help anyway? I'm afraid I'll undo what Nissa did to save her if I clean the wounds, and if Aga's tending to her and something goes wrong, the poor girl will blame herself."
     
  9. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Liadan

    I follow Baldhart, listening to her explanation as we walk. "Is a First Aid spell what you're thinking of? I have just enough left in me for that, and no more."

    When we reach Gisla, I look her wounds over, then carefully lay my hands on Gisla and cast the spell.

    ((Not sure if I need to roll for this or not. First Aid is in Liadan's spell list, so it shouldn't need a WIS check, but I've looked over the Magic thread twice now and I don't see another die to use with it, like the d8 for Cure Light Wounds. Help?))
     
  10. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    ((I believe you're doing it right by not rolling.))


    "Oh—yes! That's the one."

    What luck… I think Keit said she was drained of magic from her last spell. I didn't realize Liadan knew it, too. I suppose most healers know it, but what would I know of that?

    I tell Aga, "This should do the trick."

    And Gisla should be warm enough by now. Just the same, I'll wait and make sure the spell works before I take my ring back. Would a sudden change in body temperature break the spell? I won't be the one to discover that.

    "Aga, I would like to use the kitchen to prepare bread and tea to go with the berries I told you about. Unless you think Gisla would prefer something else, that is. The tea is for warmth and the bread is… well it's filling. She needs her strength."

    So do I. I'll rest before I pick more berries. Maybe Burnbright can help.
     
  11. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Liadan

    "May I join you?" I ask, looking up at Baldhart. Some time alone in the kitchen would be opportune, if she'll accept. I hope she won't say I should rather be with Cadell. I do think I should include him in this conversation, but... not yet. He has enough to deal with as it is. Then again, he might join us of his own will anyway, after seeing to it that Llucheden is tended to.
     
  12. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    "Sure." I get the tea and bread out and explain, "I'm just making one of Mother's recipes. Honestly, I never cared for goodberries. The taste, I mean. I like what they do. I think they taste good when I'm wounded. A gut wound is the best spice?"

    I begin to heat the water. The fire feels good. Oh, why did I remove the ring?

    Because Gisla could die and you just use it to skinny-dip in ice water.

    Good point. Still… I hope Gisla doesn't mistake it as a gift.

    I remain close to the hearth, curious as to what Liadan wishes to say. A nun and a priestess talking. I hope Aga won't think we sound like mother hens.
     
  13. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Liadan

    I smile at Baldhart's words. "Maybe that's the point of the taste, to make sure people only eat them at need."

    I'm quiet for a while, then say, "It must be nice having an agent of your goddess with you at all times, to keep you on Her path."

    I suppose I am meant to be that agent with regards to other elves, being a cleric... but what good is that here, with so few of my kind, and even fewer who would serve Oercus? Keit follows Brynhild, Cadell has no affiliation with any deity, and I cannot be sure of Ankari or Aliron. I wish Oercus would speak to me through someone like Nissa; then I might have a better understanding of what to do for Him.
     
  14. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    "Nissa…?"

    Aw, I have to be in your head for this, don't I?

    Take the compliments. I'm not holding back.

    "She's the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me."

    You can't even hold back a little?

    "I mean, she's this winged… sort of immortal, but she's human, too. Well, half… but you know. She just acts like a normal person. And yes, if there was ever a chance I'd falter from Brynhild's path, Nissa smashed that chance through a brick wall. I mean a proverbial brick wall. Made of proverbial bricks."

    Baldy? What the f—?

    "Sorry. I'm new to the nun thing. What I mean is… Nissa's a valkyrie, but she hasn't lost her humanity or her sense of joy. I watched her talking to children after the gnolls finally took the hint and buggered off. She was so joyful, and the kids loved her. And I know Nissa and I will serve Brynhild together when I die, but I don't even dwell on that anymore. I just take joy in serving Her like Nissa does, and that's it.

    "But I just figured that out, to be honest. When I abandoned my sword and saw Nissa fly into battle unarmed… that was when I finally knew how to serve my goddess. I fought alongside that gnoll who I wanted to kill so badly—still do, really—but I had fun! I knew that the innocents mattered and I can kill the gnoll later or never kill him and I was fine. I was fighting a just battle and saving the innocents that I could save, and all of the children made it. And I think you saved Gisla, too!

    "I serve Brynhild with joy! If I can't, then what the hell am I doing with my life, right?"

    Aga's right… you don't talk like a nun.

    Hey! No peeking at my memory!

    I'm in your head. What am I supposed to look at?
     
  15. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Liadan

    I nod slowly, mulling over her words. Serving with joy... that is a vital part. Maybe that's what I'm missing... But how can I be joyous when I'm so torn? Things were so easy in Aelwyd Eirian, with my people and my beloved alike beside me. Baldhart has Nissa and Gisla beside her even here, away from her home... Who do I have?

    "You mentioned earlier having to choose between your goddess and your family, that aiding Ghendra was shameful to them. How did you make that decision so quickly? What will you say to your family when you return?" I don't want to say 'if', even knowing that there is a chance Baldhart will die at some point on this quest.
     
  16. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    "Brynhild comes first. I want the wings so I need to make sacrifices. But… I wasn't thinking about the wings tonight. Just the children. I had to ask myself why I was fighting.

    "It's not about me or what I want when I think of it that way. Yeah, I want the gnolls dead. That Ghendra sucks in battle made it easier to fight alongside of him, me with no weapon saving his ass while he's wildly flailing his sword not hitting what he's aiming at, that assho…

    "But the battle matters most if I'm serving my goddess right. And it makes sense if the battle is to save innocents. We saved the children tonight. All of them. Even when I heard Ghendra give Nissa crap for having the audacity to tell it like it is to him, I didn't get baited. I followed Nissa's lead, said nothing, and let him walk knowing the children were best off rid of those mutts. I thought letting them live would bother me. It doesn't.

    "Much."
     
  17. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Liadan

    I nod again. When my head is down, I spot a silver coin someone left on the counter. I leave it be, though I wonder who left it.

    "I imagine serving a goddess of battle is easy in these turbulent times," I say. "Betula is our lord of battle. Oercus is more focused on protecting forests, mainly those that elves dwell in. Which makes it a little difficult for me in this place." I attempt to laugh, but it wavers in my throat.

    I look up at Baldhart again. "The truth is... I fear I've lost my way. Despite my prayers, Oercus is silent on the matter of what I should do now that I am exiled, and Cadell is bound in this quest to protect Burnbright. You know I came through the elf-gate for Cadell alone. But I fear that, given Oercus' hatred of any race that is not elven, He may instruct me to depart from the company, and from Cadell. I would not ask Cadell to break his word for my sake, nor would he ask me to defy Oercus for his. What then are we to do?"
     
  18. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    The word 'hatred' compels me to sit down. And isn't that when the kettle comes to a boil, so now I look ridiculous standing up again to prepare the tea. And--a cloth. Burning myself would make me look more the fool.

    Nissa... is that true?

    I wasn't kidding when I said Oercus is a racist.

    If I ever had to speak of Brynhild in these terms...

    "Hatred...

    "Liadan, my parents follow Freya, and Mother followed Ullr before she married Dad. I chose Brynhild because... well... Her path made the most sense for me. Like Brynhild, I chose the sword over the life of a wife and mother. She was the first valkyrie, and... that's all I really knew of Her. Goddess of Battle. I imagined She would smile upon me most when I'm covered in the blood of my enemies. Any enemies would do. I would need to kill a lot to please Her. So I thought.

    "Nissa's first kill happened in front of us. In life, she struck the very orc that crushed her skull, leaving her brain damaged. Nissa's life ended in battle, but her body was in bed when her soul left it. While Nissa is incredibly brave and capable of delivering death to those who deserve it... the Nissa I saw talking to children minutes ago. That's the person Brynhild chose.

    "Nissa's beautiful and full of love, and from what she tells me, that's what Brynhild is like. And the service of a valkyrie is to comfort those who fall in battle and advocate for them as they go to their chosen god... or the god who chooses them, in some cases. Even my requirement to kill up close is to force me into battle, so when I earn the wings, I can know first-hand what the fallen have been through."

    I point to my muscular arm.

    Show off.

    Nissa.

    "This will not help me earn my wings." I place my hand over my heart. "This will."

    I pour Gisla's tea.

    "You came here out of love for Cadell. You fear you must leave him over hate. So you're not choosing between Cadell and your god, you're choosing between love and hate. The choice is obvious."

    Unless her god really is a hateful racist.

    Is he really?

    How would I know? Just because I have wings, doesn't mean I get invited to all the god parties.

    "I grew up with a very limited understanding of Brynhild. Even Freya... we know killing an expecting mother violates Her ways, so we just assumed killing children to be the same kind of offense. Our ways were influenced by what we knew and assumed about a Goddess.

    "Did Oercus Himself tell you He's a racist? You said you never met an agent of his like an elfish Nissa, so how would you be instructed to leave Cadell because he is in the company of... well, me, for one? It sounds like you fear your god will require that.

    "Tell me about Him."

    I begin warming the bread while the tea cools a bit. If I leave the cup on the hearth, it shouldn't cool too much. The bread's color will be my timer.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
  19. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Liadan

    I sit down next to Baldhart, listening quietly as she explains about Nissa and Brynhild. When she asks about Oercus, I sigh. I wish I had some tea, to occupy my hands and mouth while I think of how to word my response.

    "It is true that Oercus hates the other races," I say. "His followers are strongly encouraged to avenge any wrongs done by them against our own people. My former queen and her people are no exception. Even those who do not follow Oercus tend to mistrust other races at best, and despise them at worst. For hundreds of years, I was no better. Any mortal who dared harm our woods, I would capture and keep for a sacrifice to my god. He demands the lives of the guilty, so long as they are not elves themselves. When I could not find a transgressor, I would pay my tithe in emeralds, which are also acceptable to Him.

    "When humans arrived in our wood and made the settlement of Dunhold, I saw at first a prime opportunity to sacrifice those who would harm us and our wood. But they did not do so, at least not voluntarily. Any harm that came to our people from them was because our people had struck first. Self-defense is no cause for true guilt. And so I left them be.

    "Things changed further when the Lady and her orcs attacked, and for the first time my people were urged into alliance with the humans. It was Cadell who began it, and urged others to follow in his footsteps. The truce took hold, though not everyone was enthused about it. I was indifferent at first, until I saw their lack of healers. Only two with the relevant magic, and one herbalist in the whole castle. So I offered my services as they were needed, and for their part the humans accepted me gladly, despite knowing whom I served.

    "It was in that time I grew to a better understanding and appreciation of mortals, though I continued to serve Oercus. I did wonder if things would truly go back to the way they were after the Lady was defeated, and to some extent it did. I think that Oercus tolerated such dealings for our people's sake, and was quite content to hate them again when the truce was no longer needed. As many of the elves did as well. Myself, I was not indifferent as before, though I made little effort to go among the humans or interact with them, save when Cadell would visit.

    "And now..." I clench my hands in my lap and sigh. "It was love and hatred both that drove me here, in a manner. My love for Cadell, and my former queen's hatred of his worldview. Also Fachtna, who sought to cull the supposed trouble at its source, and would have killed Cadell to do so. Had he succeeded and not died himself, I think he would have gone on to harm the humans as well."

    Cadell

    I bring Llucheden into the stables of the Spear, making sure the stablehands will care for her, then wander inside to the common-room. It is empty, but voices drift out from the kitchen. Liadan speaks of life before our exile. I cannot help but to listen. My name crops up more than once. Finally I move to the door, and step inside when Liadan pauses, just after telling of the reasons for our exile.

    Liadan looks up, a blush coming to her cheeks. "Cadell... how long were you listening?"

    "A while," I say, smiling to reassure her. "It seems you have a lot on your mind."

    She nods, her head lowering. "I had meant to tell you, discuss this with you... I just wasn't yet sure of how."

    I tilt her chin up with my stump. "No matter. We can discuss it now. For my part, I had a thought... perhaps a way of compromising."

    "Compromising?" she repeats, unsure.

    I nod. "In a land where we are the minority, it makes little sense to serve a god who would pit you against the rest of the population, save only a handful. Not to say that you should cease to be a cleric entirely," I say, holding up stump and hand as she gasps in horror. "I simply think that Oercus is not the best deity for you anymore. Our world has changed, and so have you."

    She looks away, her brow creasing in thought. I can see the dread in her eyes, as well as understanding. Finally she asks, "But which god?"

    "Fraxinus?" I suggest. "He tolerates other races much more. You already favor archery, and the only thing you would need to sacrifice is deer."

    She laughs tremulously, wiping her eyes. "I never expected an agnostic would be interested in giving spiritual advice."

    I smile and shrug. "Not aligning myself with any one god allows me to see them all objectively. It's always worked for me."
     
  20. Legendary Sidekick

    Legendary Sidekick The HAM'ster Moderator

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    "I have to agree with Cadell.

    "You don't speak of Oercus with any joy. You speak as if He is a tyrant. I don't know if that's the case, but you definitely follow a different path than that of your god."

    I place the tea, bread and berries onto the tray.

    "Well, it was a pleasure doing nun stuff that doesn't involve punching demons, but it looks like you have your answer now. I better go check on Gisla."

    I head up to Gisla's room where Aga awaits. If Liadan's spell worked, I'll need to take my ring back. Unless pressed, it was just a reminder that I was with her even when not in her room. Hopefully, she'll still be sleeping when I remove the ring. I don't want the drop in temperature to frighten her.
     
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