Sarscha. Osanna’s Journal Part 26.

Howdy folks.  This one is more dark/graphic than my usual posts.  If you’re sensitive about sexual violence at all, then it may not be for you.  Otherwise, I hope you enjoy it.  Please remember that this is a work of fiction.

-Derrick

 

Osanna slowly opens the large double doors to Sarenrae’s temple just as Magnimar’s bell chimes for the second time that morning while half carrying, half cradling the very inebriated Glenn in her left arm so that she can quietly close the doors behind her.  Glenn drunkenly smiles at her and plays with her long, fiery red hair. 

“Hehe, you shee?  You can be quiet when you want to.”

She smiles at him and sets him down on his feet while keeping an arm around his shoulders to steady him.

“Yes.  And you can walk in a straight line when you’re not well in your cups.  Easy.  One foot in front of the other.”

“Thaz not fair at all.  You have more practice walkin’ straight than me.  Mmm…you schmell like flowers, ale, and…schword oil.”

“Warrior woman.  Remember?”

“I neber forgot.  Yooou had your blue dress tailored.  It’s amazing.”

She smiles at him and her tail swishes back and forth happily.

“Thank you, sir.  Genuine compliments are always well received.  Speaking of things being well received, here is your room.  Come on.  Let’s get you into bed before you fall over.”

“Bed.  Yes.  Ids big enough for two, you know.”

She cocks an eyebrow at him as she helps him out of his boots, and then sets a large bowl, a pitcher of water, and an alchemist’s kindness on his end table.

“Big enough for two Glenn-sized people I’d imagine.  But not, I’m sure, for Glenn and a woman as large as I am.”

Glenn turns as red as a poisoned apple, lies down, and huffs.  She grins like a wolf at him.

“Samael wash lookin’ at you like you were a steak tonight.  I almost punched him.”

“I imagine that he looks at quite a few people like they’re steaks these days.  Pay it no mind.  You won’t remember come morning, anyway.  Good night, Mr. Midori.  And…use the bowl if you need to.  I’m not above making Rhett or Jasmeen clean up a mess, but I’d just as soon you didn’t make the mess in the first place.”

Glenn begins snoring loudly.  Osanna shakes her head, snickers, turns Glenn’s head to the side and places the large, wooden bowl beside his bed.  She kisses his forehead and takes her leave.  Quietly as she can, she walks toe-to-heel to Sarenrae’s altar.

“Good night, Evenlight.  Might I ask one thing of you before I sleep?  Make my life less complicated?”

She walks slowly to her larger bed chamber toward the rear of the large church, opens and shuts the door, locks it, lights a few scented candles and sighs.  She methodically takes the ribbons and flowers out of her hair and sets them aside, hangs Kindness in its scabbard off of her large mirror, hangs her halo beside it, takes her dress and undergarments off, then pauses to look at herself for a moment.  She runs her hands along her well-muscled shoulders and arms, under her ample breasts, down her hourglass figure past her hips and she turns sideways to look from a different angle.

“Large?”

She then flexes her buttocks and legs to see the well-earned striated muscles moving beneath her violet skin.

“Hmm.  Maybe you’re right, Glenn.  Running about in all of that metal has paid off.  Perhaps you weren’t being an ass.  This time.”

She smiles and hums lowly to herself as she fills her large tub with water and places several large rocks from constantly burning fireplace into the bottom of the tub.  She brushes the length of her hair while the water warms.

“Definitely not lavender this time.  Hmm…this one.  Essence of the Green Rose.  That elf woman knows her smells for certain.”

Osanna sprinkes some of the salts into the now hot and steaming water, then slowly lowers her naked form into the water to her jaw line with her long hair draped behind her and out of the tub.

She thinks, “This is the closest thing that I’ll get to making love,” but doesn’t mouth the words.  She simply soaks there in the hot water and shuts her eyes and at some point falls asleep completely relaxed. 

The candles flicker.

The temperature rises slightly in the room.

As if sweating, black viscous liquid slowly begins to trickle out of her skin.   First from her forehead, then from the rest of her body at an ever increasing speed until the tub is filled with it.  Simultaneously, Osanna’s horns shrink to nothingness.  Her hair turns from bright fiery red to the pitch black of midnight.  Her skin from light violet to the beautiful olive-colored skin of her father’s people.  Her yellow eyes, to a calming coffee-colored brown.  She sighs a deep sigh and her breathing slows.

But she doesn’t rouse from her slumber.  Not one bit.

The viscous liquid begins to slowly and silently pour itself out of the side of the tub onto the floor into an ever increasing pool on the floor.  As the last drop slithers its way down the side of tub and into the pool, it begins to rise…straighten…coalesce…and at last takes shape.

Sarscha slowly pads over to the mirror to mockingly mimic Osanna’s previous assessment of herself and then smiles a grin from the stuff of nightmares.  She glances over at the tub and sneers.  She looks much like Osanna does typically, and yet is a horrid mockery of her beauty.  Her horns are much longer.  Her bright red hair is much shorter and her head is completely shaved on one side.  Her violet skin is covered in a great many scars, some from enemies, some self-inflicted.  Her finger and toe nails are quite long, claw-like, in order to rend skin or gouge eyes.  She has small wings protruding from her back, the webbing a conglomeration of leathery violet/black skin and veins.  Her teeth are filed down in order to tear chunks of flesh from her victim’s faces or perhaps their ears.  Lastly, more worrisome, Rovagug’s beast-like spider is tattooed onto her chest, its legs running across her breasts, ribs, and neck.

“You’re nothing like me.  Human.  Weak.  Soft.  You venerate some weak, sniveling whore because you’re too much of a cow-hearted twat to embrace your birthright and tread the world beneath your booted feet, cleaving the weak and hearing their women’s lamentations.  The gore from your hewn enemies sickens you, turns your stomach.  It is their blood that you ought to bathe in, not this frilly elven shite.  You have the body of a goddess and you fuck no one and nothing.  Men and women ought to be play things for as long as you like them, then cleaved and left bloody on the ground….diversions.”

She has a wicked thought and grins.

“Perhaps, that’s your problem.  You need a good fuck and from someone that knows how.  What’s that?  Please?  Now?  Why, I thought you’d never ask!  I’m flattered.”

Sarscha removes Osanna’s bed sheets, slowly lifts Osanna’s arms out of the tub, and binds her hands with the sheets, the sheets being bound to her bed and armor cabinet.

“I should apologize for doing this when you’re half drunk and exhausted….but I won’t.  You’ll thank me later.  Trust me.”

Sarscha slowly lowers herself back into the steaming water, and places her knees between Osanna’s.  She then “lovingly” places a blindfold over Osanna’s eyes and leans so very close so as to whisper into her left ear, their breasts rubbing together as she moves her torso back and forth.  Osanna sighs in her sleep as Sarscha whispers to her.

“This is going to hurt you.  Really, really bad.  In so many ways.”

In one forceful thrust, Sarscha shoves her tail into Osanna as far as she can manage.  Osanna simultaneously wakes and screams out as she had when she was slain by the Warren-turned-Dullahan’s ranseur.  Sarscha quickly covers Osanna’s mouth with one hand, while holding her pelvis down with the other, grinning all the while.

“Shhh shh shhhhh.  We don’t want to wake the others.  Yet.”  Thrust.  “It was so very considerate to make the walls from stone and that you picked the room clear at the back of this shithole.”  Thrust. 

Osanna thrashes and screams, yanking with all of her might against her bonds and trying to gain some kind of leverage against her assailant, her rapist, herself.  The water is getting bloody.

“It’s so much more fulfilling when they put up a fight isn’t it?  Thrust.  Yes…and your would be hero is passed out cold in his own vomit by now.  Glorious.  Thrust.  Timing truly is everything.  Ohhh there there, you’re crying.  Thrust.  It must be everything you’d ever hoped it would be.  It’s true that no one knows you better than you.”  Thrust.

Sarscha begins licking the tears flowing down Osanna’s face with a forked tongue.

“Mmmm your tears are so deliciously sweet.  Such sorrow spliced with pleasure.  Our coat of arms.”  Thrust.

Osanna’s body is suddenly wracked with orgasmic spasms as all of her muscles tighten up simultaneously.  The wooden furniture the sheets are bound to begin to creak and crack.  She hears this as she comes to her senses.

“Mmm….yes.  I can only imagine how many years that was in the making.  Don’t worry.  The hot water will mask the pain a bit and help your muscles loosen up again for when I come back.  Which room was Glenn’s again?  About 15 yards down on the left, isn’t it?  Oh stop fretting.  He won’t last long.  He’s madly in love with us and hasn’t had the…pleasure…that we can offer him.  I’ll be back soon.  Don’t go anywhere.  I know you need more.”

At the mention of Glenn’s name and the vision of his pending ravaging, Osanna gives a mighty heave with her right arm.  The bed’s leg snaps as she connects with Sarscha’s left temple with the force of a giant.  Sarscha’s eyes roll back in her head from the force of the blow and she slumps backwards in the tub.  Osanna quickly removes the blindfold and unties the knots from around her wrists. 

“I’ve had enough of your mouth.”

In a fit of rage, she spins Sarscha around.  Then, grabbing her by the horns, she shoves her half open mouth downward with all of her might smashing teeth from their sockets and cracking facial bones in the process, blood beginning to spout forth.  As she exits the tub, she lays on hands in order to stem the flow of blood from within her and heal her soft tissues.  Then, she throws open her bedroom door and drags the mostly unconscious and bloody Sarscha from the tub, both of them naked as the gods made them,  into the main temple area by her tail.

“You violated the sanctity of my body, my mind, and her temple.  Then you threatened to do the same to my friend.”

Sarscha laughs, blood dripping from her shattered mouth on the floor.

“You wanted it.  You needed it.  And you took off the halo.  You’re welcome!  Don’t tell me you didn’t enjoy it!”

Osanna kicks Sarscha in the face hard enough to knock her onto her back some feet away at the base of Sarenrae’s altar.

“Any last words??”

“You can’t get rid of me altogether.  No matter what you do.  No matter how much you pray or how much gold you spend.  I am you.  You are me.”

Sarscha spits a large wad of blood and saliva onto Sarenrae’s statue.

“I am definitely not you.  You penetrated me and set my insides on fire.  Allow me to repay you in kind.”

Osanna reaches down and grabs Sarscha by her head and digs her thumbs entirely into her eyesockets.  As Sarscha screams in agony, Osanna lifts her up off of the ground by her head and hurls her onto Sarenrae’s outreached scimitar, the blade running directly through her pelvis.

“It hurts?!”

Osanna then grabs a flask of oil meant for one of the church’s many braziers and douses Sarscha’s blind, bloody, and writhing body.  With a quick hand movement, she flicks a fiery coal onto Sarscha.  The demon-turned-conflagration’s screams fill the halls of the church with agony and fury.  The body slowly burns away from the sword, black viscous liquid pooling at the base of the statue.  Before Osanna can react, the large pool lurches forward like a tendril and envelopes her.  Like stabs from 1,000 needles, it burrows its way back into her skin.  After she blacks out from the pain, she becomes whole again, the abyssal otherworldly beauty that her eyes have seen in the mirror for her entire life.  Sometime later, Glenn stumbles from his room seeking the privy and slips in a puddle of water. 

“Huh?  There’s no way that we have a leak in a brand new church.”

Glenn follows the water trail to the main temple grounds to find Osanna in the fetal position, absolutely naked, and quite unconscious.  The air is filled with the smell of burned flesh and sulfur.

“What?  Osanna??  What in Sarenrae’s curvaceous ass happened to you??  What was in that scotch?!  Osanna!  You’re…oh.  OH.  Uhh..wow…uhh…”

Glenn quickly runs to Osanna’s room to retrieve a blanket large enough to cover her and sees the bloody carnage within.

“Oh no.  Oh no what happened?  I’m not drunk enough for this!”

Glenn promptly returns to cover Osanna lovingly in a blanket and begins to shake Osanna by the shoulders.

“Osanna!!  Osanna wake up!!”

“Osanna!  Wake up!”

“Hnng hmm?  What Glenn?  It’s too early for last watch.”

“There’s a RUNE GIANT outside!  Get up!!”

“There’s…what??”

Osanna swiftly sits up throws the blanket off of her fully sweaty, but fully armored form and stands to survey her surroundings to find Xander awake and Glenn looking at her frantically.  The others continue to slumber within Naru’s circle of toadstools.  She pats herself down and finds that she’s neither in pain nor without clothes. Quite the contrary.

“Osanna??   Are you alright?…”

“Hmm?  Yes.  Yes.  Glenn wake the others.  Start with Samael so that he can get his armor on.  Get ready for bear.”

Finding Faith (Xander’s Journal pt 21)

Xander has been a strange character to play.  I originally had a completely different plan for how he would progress, and what I planned to make of the character.  That seems to be the way of games though, at least good ones.  They always make the character grow from the story, not the stats.  In the religion box on my character sheet from level one, I have had Desna written in as his deity.  Not because I ever expected to have any divine casting or such, but just because it seemed like the one that fit.  Just lately, I had to choose a new feat.  I looked through everything, and realized that I had all the combat potential I needed, and most of the feats are either combat or skill bonuses.  I finally figured out that I was going to take Deific Obedience-Desna, and that also prompted him to take the Evangelist prestige class, based on his resolution that he was likely to die, an attempt to make peace with it, and reach for something beyond in the afterlife.  This entry takes place in the 3 weeks between the return from Runeforge, and the start of the journey north to look for the ancient city.  This one is kind of long, there have been a couple games and a lot of life since my last post.

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Twelve hours out of Runeforge.

So.  I suppose I am writing these in order for someone to understand what happens, has happened, will happen.  We seem to be the center of a maelstrom, and I only hope that it doesn’t grow to sweep over all of Varisia.

Runeforge… that happened.  I still don’t know what the ramifications are of that rune on Glenn’s forehead.  And from the guy who shared a room with Zutha for a while, that’s saying something.  But everyone seems to be ok, and we have the weapons that we think will help to destroy Karzoug.   I still don’t know why you even bothered to make one for yourself, it’s not like you need anything else with me here.  At least you were smart enough to keep it to a bow, even if the insult is nearly unbearable to begin with.    Shut up.  I have enough to get straight without your complaining.  After all the times I… SHUT UP!

Anyways, as I was saying, we made it into and out of Runeforge, and think we got what we needed.  We also got several dozen refugees, most of which seem to be the original Azlanti peoples from the time of Aroden’s mortality.  Who knows what kind of backlash that will bring, but we couldn’t just leave them there.  At least they have a community and a life outside of their fishbowl.  Those refugees came out of a ten-thousand year stint as fish in a magelords private tank into a world that they have no experience with, in the dead of winter, homeless and penniless.  Now they have food, a swath of farmland they can work in the coming season, and houses to keep them close together until they can learn the language and the area.  If we die there, at least I can stand in the Boneyard and say that I did something to help people who needed it.

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36 hours out of Runeforge:

I found my way to the temple of Desna that evening, and for the first time in a long while, I prayed.  I am walking into death’s arms by my own reckoning not a month hence, and there were things that I needed to get off my chest.  Oddly, I felt no better.  It lessened the weight on my heart not at all.  I took myself back out to the farmsteads where the refugees are staying.  Magical travel definitely has its perks, the several days saved traveling back and forth can be used for research and helping to get things settled.   After talking to the couple who spoke Thassilonian, I found that they were as well as could be in this short time.  Letting them know that I would be back each day until the supplies were delivered, I headed back home.  Home.  For the longest time I hated it, and now that I have come to love and miss it, I expect to leave it possibly forever.

I stopped, and fell to my knees in the fields, miles from anyone.  I had finally gotten the adventure I had been seeking for my entire life, and now that I know what it is, I found I didn’t want it at all.  Me to stand between Karzoug and the masses?  Osanna, I can understand.  Glenn has jumped in front of most of us so many times that I have reserved a daily allotment of spells for him.  Samael even.  Bill is looking for vengeance for his brother.  Naru is doing what she thinks will protect the lands.  But myself, I am here only because of a string of bad luck and a madman’s curse.

I slumped on the wet ground, loathe to get up again.  After a time, it seemed I could hear faint music.  I looked around, but could see nothing.  The music became more insistent, though it remained faint.  I stood, and started off to look for the source, but it seemed to keep changing, each time I started off in its direction it would quickly shift the point of origin.  I don’t know how long I spun in circles there in that field, but when I realized the music had stopped, I looked around.  There in the snow, I saw something.  I had passed back and forth over that ground repeatedly, my steps clear at times, at others blurred by several passes, yet it seemed a pattern emerged.  I had run in circles, with nothing of a plan in my mind, yet I ended 20 yards from my starting point in a straight line pointing home.   I had to laugh, running about like a headless chicken and I was still pointed right where I had meant to go.   Maybe there is hope for this quest after all.

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48 hours out of Runeforge:

“You sure you want this just like this?  You don’t strike me as the type,” the smith asked, looking at me askew.   I sighed, “Yes, I’m sure.  Please let me know when you can have it done.  I have to get it over to a wizard as soon as possible, so that he might finish the dweomers I need bound to it.”  At the time though, I wasn’t sure at all.  In the middle of the busy market, dust and bustle fighting for dominance in the afternoon breeze, I was second guessing myself.  The peace, the surety, that I had felt the previous night were gone – lost in the fear of embarrassment and ridicule that had haunted me for most of my life.  Walking away, I half-turned around to tell him to forget it, when a flash of brilliant blue caught my eye.  A swallowtail?!  In the middle of winter?  I whirled back around, searching for it again… there!  No, not a real one, but an almost lifelike work of art bound the braids of a woman shopping in the stall across from the armorer.  Royal blue, darkening almost to purple, iridescent wings cradling the side of her head.  It was enough.  Laugh if you will, but I will take that as a sign that I am doing the right thing after all.

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72 hours out of Runeforge:

I spoke with the priest of Desna again.  He assures me that not all dreams are foolishness, and not all dreamers need be asleep.  What kind of riddles are these when I need some answers?

Took the armor to the enchanter, he assured me that it would be ready in a couple of weeks.  The others said they are going to need at least that long.

Back at the farm, the people have received the first wagon, they should be good for the remainder of the week.  Time to get back to the library.

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1 week out of Runeforge:

Travelling back and forth between the library and Sandpoint.  I want to find out anything I can about this Shalast place we need to get to.  Current maps are useless, but I’m hoping that digging through all this I can find some of the older maps and try to see where they match up, even vaguely.

Trying to figure out how to approach Bill about Mother.  Still not sure if he will help or even if he can.

The music came to me again twice this week, both times after I left the refugee village.  I wonder if one of them is doing something to me?

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2 weeks out of Runeforge:

Most of the books and maps are useless.   The closest thing I have so far is that it is near Leng, but I can’t find reference to that kingdom or runelord at all.

Four more times this week.   The last two while I was here at the library, neither of which were within a day of visits to the refugees.

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72 hours until our suicide run:

Bill tried to help Mother.  He needs something to trigger the cure, blood of a mortal who has achieved immortality.  So unless I can get Cayden drunk again, we have to get it from Karzoug himself.  Joy.

The music has come every night for the last 6 days.  Now, it seems less frenzied, and more settled.  It feels like that last time we all got drunk together actually, when I was dancing, but more natural.  Strangely, I can now see exactly how I got from my start point to my end point, and all the steps in between, even though I was not really conscious at the time.  It’s never the same twice, but always feels identical in the moment.

I guess I did the right thing after all.  Osanna always talks about Sarenrae as if she speaks to her directly.  I think maybe I am hearing Desna hum to herself or something.  Which is probably for the best, I would make lousy clergy.  I’ll pick up the armor tomorrow and go back for a last fitting.  Hope I don’t look as foolish as I am afraid I will when it’s on.

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12 hours til we leave:

I stood and looked at myself in the mirror.  I could not help but ask, is this really me?  The smith had done a flawless job, the butterfly stood out in brilliant cerulean blue, stark against the silver of the mithral chest plate.   The heavy armor fit well, hardly weighing more than my old breastplate alone.  The cloak the priest at the temple had suggested when I came in to tell him goodbye and give my thanks for the conversations went well with it, midnight blue and trimmed in silver stars, comets, and moons framing everything well.  In this outfit I could pass for a Desnan Warpriest!  I wondered what the others would think, but managed to dismiss it.  I doubt that anyone will comment too much, except maybe Samael.

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First night on the road:

I was mostly right.  Not a lot of comments from the others, except a half-hearted curse from Thrune.  To Hell with it!   If we go to die, I will damn well die proud!

And here’s the strangest thing.  The closer we get to facing Karzoug himself, the less and less I seem to be worried.  I mean, I’m worried for Mother, and Sandpoint, and to a lesser extent Varisia as a whole, but less and less about myself and the others here.  It’s strange, I have come through battles that should have killed me, plagues and curses that almost did, and possession by the closest thing to a walking deity on this plane, and it took all of that to finally put me at peace.

Even now, I look up at the stars, and I know, not think, not hope, but KNOW, that everything will work out.  Maybe not for me, or those with me, but the larger picture will be clear, and life will continue here.  I mean, these same stars witnessed the dawn, the rise, and the fall of Thassilon.  They were there for everything since then, wars, peace, life, love, death and loss, yet they still shine down on us just as they did before.  They are there, have been there, and will be there long after our fight with Karzoug.  Win or lose, it’s kind of comforting to have that kind of permanence to hold on to.

Last Audience

I am skipping around the timeline again — sorry.  This one takes place right before Monster, while the party was still in Magnimar before they ventured north toward the Kazaron River.

***

Byron Balthazar sat back in the chair of his manor’s study where he had been seated for the better part of the winter’s evening. He removed a small pair of spectacles, rubbing his eyes tiredly, wondering what time it was; he had not even noticed how long it had been dark outside. A plate of food, half-eaten and long forgotten, sat to one side of his desk. The merchants from Korvosa were going to be arriving in town tomorrow, and he still had a good amount of paperwork to attend to before he could conduct his business with them.

Helena used to take care of this for me, he thought tiredly to himself as he set his glasses aside, picking up a goblet of wine and taking a long drink from it. Continue reading

Unerasable Memory

First, if you missed Derrick’s post, don’t forget to scroll down a little ways to read it.  It is a nice, light-hearted interlude to break up some of the darker stuff I’ve been posting.  Note that his takes place during a three-week period of downtime we had while we were in Magnimar, before venturing into northern Varisian when Monster took place. (I know, I really need to post a chronological order of when everything takes place.)

This is a direct follow-up to Monster and gives a little more insight into Glenn’s history and how he came to be the person he is today.  When we made our characters, PJ told us to pick a sin that each of our characters was more closely associated with than the other sins.  Glenn’s is wrath, but I’m sure a few people have wondered why, considering he is probably the gentlest and kindest person in the group.

Now you know.

***

I was twelve years old.

It was winter. It wasn’t even a particularly bad winter – I’ve certainly been through worse since then – but it was the first one I’d spent alone on the streets of Magnimar.

My mother had died the spring before. It had been some kind of illness – I’m not sure what – we didn’t have much food the winter prior, and in retrospect, I realize she had given most of it to me. She had always been a little frail, and I woke up one morning after she’d had a rattling cough and been feverish for a few days, to find her cold. She didn’t wake up, no matter how much I shook her or called for her.

The summer had been easy. There was plenty of food, especially along the docks, and I was able to sleep under trees in the parks, or behind old boxes in abandoned alleys. But I wasn’t prepared when the snow came. Continue reading

Humble Pie. Osanna’s Journal Part 25.

For those of you that are unaware, Osanna has been trying to summon any faithful brethren available from the four corners of Varisia for the last several months of game time.  While she was off cleansing The Runeforge with her compatriots, two clerics answered the call from a faraway city.  As you can imagine, her standards are high….

-Derrick

Ular pours Osanna  a glass of crystal clear water from an ornate decanter and hands it to his mentor after helping her out of her armor and sequestering the haul of wealth and magical goods from the dragon’s hoard and Runeforge for temporary safekeeping.

“It’s good to see you back in one piece, Osanna.  Thank you for having the consideration of returning prior to me finding sleep for the night.  You look terrible.”

She hugs Ular.

“It’s good to be seen.  I probably smell worse than I look.  The cleaning magic they use on me never gets all of the gore and filth off.  Glenn had to pick bits out of my hair.  I’ll never get used to that.  What have I missed?”

“Thankfully not much.  The faithful have been coming and going as they need or want.  I help who I can.  When things are slow here I help the local constabulary when they need the trash taken out.  I need to keep my edge, after all.”

“You do serve as quite the deterrent.    You’re probably directly responsible for the uneventful quiet we’ve had here in Underbridge recently. Thank you.”

“Mm.  Oh.  This will be to your liking.  Two travelers arrived asking after you.  They’re from Kaer Maga.”

“Oh?  They must be quite desperate if they traveled all that way to find me.  Did they tell you what they were about?”

“They’re not desperate.” He produces the letter that she wrote some months ago and hands it to Osanna.  “They’re here at your request.  It seems like your rallying cry has been answered.  Two young ones.  Humans.  One male, one female.   Rhett Willowdane and Jasmeen Fallenore.  Clerics of Sarenrae, so they said.   They requested an audience with a ‘Paladin Commander Redbreeze.’  I can’t say as I know her.  Her head wouldn’t fit through the front double doors.”

A melodious laughter erupts from Osanna’s lips.

“That’s what you can get me for my birthday then, Ular.  A properly fitting helmet.  She pauses for a moment.  What do they know about me?”

“Your station.  Your name.  As you’re rather unique around these parts, I trust that they’ve gathered what you look like and a bit about your reputation.”

“Hmm.  Did they say when they would return?”

“I told the kids that you’d be back when you were back, but that they can check back daily if they’d like.  Why do you ask?”

She smiles. “I need to see what these two are made of.  Do you think that that magic shop down the way is still open at this hour?”

“The one run by that ass wizard?  Sorry.  The one run by that esteemed scriber of scrolls and brewer of potions with the abrasive personality?  Nah, he’s probably closed by now, but my gold says that he’d open the door for you.”

“Good.  Time to size those two up.  Go get your rest my friend.  I’ll be quiet when I return so as to not wake you.”

“Mm.  See you tomorrow.”

The next day, a bit before noon, the two young clerics enter when the sun’s light is shining all throughout the church of Sarenrae in Magnimar.  It is completely devoid of people at the moment save for a meek young girl dressed in plain garb that is a hair above 5’ tall with strawberry blonde hair and a homely face that is diligently mopping the floor that doesn’t seem to notice them enter.  The two newcomers look around the church for a sign of Ular, but to no avail.

“I don’t think that he’s here, Rhett.”

“Well we haven’t knocked on all of the doors, yet.  Maybe he’s sleeping on the job since it’s not busy?”

“That would be a bit rude to knock on every single door in the church, don’t you think?  And it couldn’t possibly be that he’s out and about?  It’s a large city.”

“You’re right, of course.  He’s probably…doing…whatever it is that barbarians do…in a city.”

“Shoanti, Rhett.  They’re called Shoanti.”

“Yes, yes. Forgive me.  You spent more time travelling than I did, remember?

“Jealous?”

“No.  I like sleeping in beds.  Besides, I got to spend more time in the hospital ward than you.  I’d wager that there are few people even here that can repair an artery or reduce a shoulder as well as I can.”

“A shining example to us all, I’m sure.  Wait. Weren’t you the one that gave the herbal remedy for…what is it you men call it?…Lack of stamina?…to a woman with a throat infection?”

“Oh come on, Jasmeen.  I was an acolyte and the storeroom was dark.”

“It’s a shame that I have to deflate your ego at times, isn’t it?”

“Stay on task.  Remember why we’re here.”

“I haven’t forgotten.  Hmm.  Maybe this girl can help us.”

“I’m surprised that she hasn’t already.  Perhaps The Commander doesn’t emphasize manners or hospitality to the acolytes.”

“You may want to be careful about the conclusions you jump to, dear man.  Though…you may not be far off.”

The two clerics approach the young woman with her back turned to him as she mops.

“Excuse me.  Young miss.”

He waits, then his companion speaks.

“Pardon me?  Madam?”

When the girl does not respond, she reaches out shake the girl’s shoulder. The girl is startled, jumps, and knocks the mop bucket over drenching their leggings and footwear in dirty mop water.

“By Her light, you’re clumsy!  Our inn room is clear across Magnimar and we’re going to have to walk all the way back in wet socks now.”

“Calm down, Rhett.  Can’t you see that she looks horrified?”

“Good.  She should be.  What’s your name, girl?”

The girl does not respond, and instead looks meekly at his face as though staring.

“Miss, he asked you your name.  Will you not share it with us?

The girl does not acknowledge Jasmeen until she touches the girl on her shoulder again.

“You needn’t be bashful with us.  You aren’t in any trouble.  My friend here is just road weary.  Right, Rhett?”

Again the girl does not respond.

“Now you’re just being rude.  Won’t you please tell us who you are?  Where is Ular?  Where is Commander Redbreeze?”

The girl stares at Jasmeen’s face intently and squints her eyes.

“Ah.  I think that she’s completely deaf, Jasmeen.  That explains a lot.”

Jasmeen then yells at the girl at the top of her lungs.

“CAN YOU TELL US WHO YOU ARE?? WE’RE LOOKING FOR ULAR GREYSKORNE!”

“By Sarenrae’s fiery hair, woman!  Did you not hear me?  She’s deaf.  You yelling at her isn’t going to make her hear you any better!  Let me fetch some paper and a quill from my pack here…”

At this point the young lady’s facial expression changes from alarmed and intimidated to the deep scowl of anger and disappointment.  And then, much to the surprise of the two young clerics, she speaks in a rather foul tone.

“Don’t bother with the paper.  I find you both wanting.  If I combine the two of you I have one good cleric!”

The young clerics are dumbfounded and mute both from the initial shock of the supposedly deaf girl speaking and of seeing the girl transform into the very muscular and very angry Osanna Redbreeze.

“But..we…”

“We’re terribly sorry, Lady Commander!”

“We had no idea!”

“OF COURSE YOU HAD NO IDEA!  That was the point of this test!   You both failed.  I find you both wanting.”

The two clerics look at each other and then look at the ground in shame.

“Pick.  Your.  Heads.  Up.  You will not find humility or strength of character on the ground.”

They lift their heads as ordered and look their commander in the eye.

“Good.  That’s the beginning.  You cannot execute Her will if you have none of your own. “

“Yes, ma’am.”

“You two have a lot of growing to do, and a lot of poor behaviors that need to be corrected.  And I will correct them.  These people deserve better.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Are you still committed to being here to serve?  To help me clean up this city?  To heal these people?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“We’ll see, because there are evils and horrors here, human and otherwise, and these people will look to you for strength and guidance in my absence. “

“Yes ma’am.  You’re…leaving, Commander?  Did you not only just arrive?”

“You’re astute, Rhett, and that will serve you well.  I will be here in residence for the next three weeks thereabouts until I depart again.  You will go to your inn room, wet feet and all, retrieve your belongings and return here where you will establish residence.  In the morning, you will meet Sarenrae’s faithful and begin getting to truly know them.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“From this point forward, I want you both to remember that everything that you say and do reflects directly upon Sarenrae and upon myself.  I know a great many people in this city.  If you act the fool, I will know of it and you’ll deal with me.  You should know that my sense of humor for such things is absent.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“And before you go…”

Osanna picks the mop up with her tail and throws it to Jasmeen.

“You two finish cleaning this floor up.  All of it.”

The browbeaten clerics look at each other and respond in unison.

”Yes ma’am.”

Session 6.1 Recap: Monster

#sorrynotsorry

This one gets a little graphic in places.

* * *

What is that? Do you see that? Against the wall of the cliff, there in the distance,” Glenn said, pointing ahead of the group through the billowing snow. The party had been traveling along the frozen Kazaron River in the far reaches of northeastern Varisia for a week and a half, protected by the frigid temperatures and billowing winds of the high reaches of the Storval Plateau by both magic and thick layers of leather and furs that they had brought in preparation for their search for Xin Shalast. They knew that the hidden city of the Runelord of Greed was located on Mhar Massif, a plateau located somewhere between the Material Plane and the twisted plane of Leng, and that the entrance to the city could be found somewhere along the river they were currently traveling along.

Looks like a building of some sort – a cabin, perhaps?” Osanna responded, peering forward as a gust of wind sent a rush of snow off the top off cliff they had been following, the powdery white substance swirling around them and sparkling in the late afternoon sun.

What, exactly, are we looking for, again?” Samael asked, sounding booth exasperated and annoyed as he brushed loose snow off his dark armor. “Some kind of dwarven mine?”

A base camp for the mine, to be precise,” Bill responded. “The dwarves may be able to tell us more about how to get to Xin Shalast.” Continue reading