Blades at Dawn

Adventure Journal of Luc Urban, entry 13

fool

We were attacked as Kalleron made the rune to send us back to K’Rul’s time. Someone who was after Kaela came into the hold with us and summoned the same elemental creatures from Coral Beach. We fended them off as Kalleron finished the rune, and then with a swipe he broke the circle and everything went dark.

When we could see again we were in a field of ash, surrounded by giant long-tailed lizard creatures. Kalleron took out a pot K’Rul gave us and we spread some kind of musk over ourselves. The lizards breathed in deep and then we could understand them. One of them, a lesser captain, called us Sky Lord and told us to follow her as she led us to something called a helipod. We were ambushed on the way by short-tailed lizards and a giant dragon-like creature, and lost all but the lesser captain. The creatures that exist in that time are not things to take lightly.

We finally reached the helipod, and I never want to ride anything like that again. I understand how Katryol must have felt on the ship. But there were no soothing feel of waves beneath our feet as the helipod took off up into the air, above the clouds, humming with energy and making a constant, dull hmmm sound. I kept my eyes closed for most of the ride and tried to meditate the way Stormlit taught me.

I finally opened my eyes when we were told we were near our destination. A giant mountain floated in the sky before us, surrounded by ships that dwarfed ours. I’ve never seen anything like it. We docked inside and I gladly left the helipod, only to be confronted by even bigger sentries than the lesser captain. They had strange saw-toothed halberds, and as they led us towards the Hive Mother I saw some with strange ceramic packs on their backs. The lesser captain told us that the short-tails followed a different path, while they went with technology. What kind of technology gives them flying ships not powered by magic, though?

Our meeting with their queen was not what I expected. She wasn’t what I expected. Just being in her presence did strange things to us. Katryol acted like a dog in heat, and I’m not sure I faired much better. Most of our encounter with her is a haze as I spent most of the time trying to keep myself from acting like Katryol. I remember the food she gave us was refreshing and sweet, and eventually she sent her warriors out and told the Sky Lord to approach. Kalleron and Katryol kept bickering about who exactly was the Sky Lord, so I volunteered myself.

The moment I stepped up on her dais something hit me and forced itself into my memories, laid all my thoughts and feelings bare and left me collapsed on my knees. She went through my head and there was nothing I could do to stop her. When she finished she told us all to approach, and said she knew we weren’t the Sky Lord. Kaela did her best to bluff her, and Katryol did his best to bed her, and somehow she agreed to help us. She sent us away with her daughter, and we boarded another helipod that dwarfed the one from before.

Outside everyone prepared for war. The queen planned an all-out strike, a suicide mission, to take on the short-tails. We had one flying mountain and hundreds of ships. They had thirty mountains and thousands of ships. But she told us we were the key to their ultimate victory, and after the battle joined we flew off towards something called the Rend, which is apparently what the Abyss is called there.

Entering the Rend was a disaster. It looked like a huge rip in the sky, and the moment we went through it all the lizard-people passed out and the helipod began to fall. I tried to stabilize it at the helm while Kalleron and Katryol pushed buttons and pulled levers. But the ground came up too quickly, and the last thing I remember was the rending of metal as we smashed into earth.

When we came to none of the lizard-people were around, as though they’d never even been there. We left the ship and found ourselves in a large field of red lotus, which Kalleron says are good for poisons. There was no light for me to see by, but in the distance they told me they could see the Clock of Midnight. I started to pull Kalleron that way, but he forced me to calm down and led us through the paths between the high stalks of the flowers.

Unfortunately, we were ambushed again, this time by a giant machine and weird scarecrows that exploded in a cloud of poison. There were also other creatures that could immobilize us, and we barely made it through the fields. I half-exhausted myself trying to fight the large machine, and we still had a ways to go to reach the Clock. Strangely, just before we left, one of the scarecrows called my name and told me to turn back. It wasn’t even worth our time. Do our enemies really think we’d fall for something like that?

Once out of the fields we ran into yet another fight, and I almost didn’t make it. Undead creatures closed in on us, and while the larger one hurt more, the small ones had a gaze that could instantly fell an enemy. One tried it on me but I resisted, although it greatly hurt. I couldn’t resist the other one, though, and fell. I don’t know how I managed to bring myself back, but I tricked our enemies (and Stormlit) into thinking I was down for good. Stormlit got surrounded by two of the small things and they kept dazing her, and Kalleron nearly lost to the gaze of another if not for Stormlit intervening at the last moment. We managed to take down one of the small creatures before the large one came at me and touched my chest with its hand. I don’t even remember going down, but some time later—I don’t know how long—I woke up gasping. I struggled to my feet to help finish the battle, and somehow we killed all five undead creatures, but I was spent long before that happened.

With nowhere to rest and our goal in sight, we continued on towards a shanty town just before the Clock. Katryol snuck in to check things out while we all stayed back. Even then my head was light, and it was all I could do to stay awake. I asked Stormlit about the Muegges, about what was written there about my parents in a vain attempt to focus my mind. She told me what was written of my Lady Mother, Aunt Shira and Uncle Sucaeva, about how great they are and how worthy of respect they are. And yet when I asked about Mother she simply said she was a good rogue. It shouldn’t bother me, especially not now when so much more is going on, but it kept nagging me as we waited and I tried to recover what little strength I had. I don’t know what happened between them, but it seems Tex hates my mother, from his dismissal of any traits I inherited from her, to outright leaving her out of stories about the Shadow Hunters.

…I hope she’s alright. Please let her be alright. If I’ve doomed Lencia with my foolishness, then at least let my mother survive and I don’t care what Katryol has to say. Yes, I agreed to sacrifice the lives of strangers to get here but this is an entire city and my family and I can’t do anything from here and I walked right into that trap! I’m so stupid!

* a mess of angry scribbles *

This isn’t working. I thought that if I went through everything that’s happened, if I sorted out my thoughts, it could help like Stormlit’s meditations do. But I can’t think of anything other than that I’ve ruined everything! I wanted to confront the Eladrin, I really did. I thought… I don’t know what I thought, but if I could convince them they were wrong, if I could tell them I understand their devotion to Nightchill but that it’s the wrong side all the same… I don’t know anymore. But I wanted to be seen. I didn’t think they’d attack me, but I didn’t think things through, either.

And I never thought Nightchill would be with them. I couldn’t do anything when I saw her face. I just stood there like a fool and let her dissolve Stormlit’s spell and control me. It was worse than when the Hive Mother burrowed through my mind. Nightchill took my memories and she laughed. And now she’s off to Lencia to raze the city and kill a blue dragon(?!) and we’re exhausted in hostile territory and I nearly got us all killed by her angels because I can’t get over my need for revenge.

Comments

Epic writing. I laughed at your take on Kat and was deeply sympathetic with your torment in regards to human sacrifice. I look forward to seeing what Sunday brings us!

 

A 750 lb reptile is a horrible thing to confuse a teenage boy with. He is gonna marry a dragonborn someday. This wonderful writing by Lindsey just makes me want to give Luc unlimited power to see what he would do (note to DM, give Luc unlimited power).

 

with or without unlimited responsibility?

M.

shimakaze

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