All The Warm Lives, part 2: Home, Sweet Home

Glenn?”

Glenn came awake with a start. His hand was on the hilt of his sword before his eyes were even open; he had left it propped against the side of the sofa next to him before he had laid down. His reflexes were one thing that had not dulled in the time he had been gone, although he had been so deeply asleep that he hadn’t noticed Osanna step back into the room. She was crouching in front of him now, a hand on his shoulder, looking at him sadly. He stared at her for a moment before looking away, feeling a mixture a doubt and resentment as he slowly sat up. A half-eaten apple, obtained from the platter of fruit she had left for him before she had departed earlier and discarded when he fell asleep, sat on the floor between them.

I know you’re tired,” Osanna said as Glenn pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes, “but I think you would feel better if you got cleaned up before sleeping. You are free to rest here as long as you like after that.”

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Osanna. Part 2. (Osanna’s Journal Part 28)

Osanna finishes polishing her shield and places it on the stand that also bears her armor and helmet.  As she admires her reflection in the armor, she is content that the last two hours’ worth of toil was more than sufficient.  “I have to be the standard, after all.”   She pauses to look at the shrine to Sarenrae in her room and asks aloud, “How do I spend a normal day, Mother?  I fear that I’ve forgotten how.”  As she considers the events for the remainder of her day, she pauses to look at the trophies about her room that tell a story of their own.  A rune giant’s tusk, a gigantic white dragon’s fang, a huge stone giant’s war horn, a lock of nymph’s hair, and a repaired statue of an angel.  Lastly, with a smile, she stops to admire an old bell on her desk from what feels like the distant past, but isn’t.  “I should polish this old thing…no.  It would lose some of its character, I think.”  She opens the shutters in her room and is barraged with the late morning sun and a cool, but not uncomfortable breeze.  She closes her eyes, smiles, and takes in a long slow breath.  “You’re right, Mother.  I’ve taken this for granted for far too long.” 

A short while later, Osanna is seated on the front steps of Sarenrae’s temple with her book of illustrations and set of charcoal pencils.  The most recent drawing is of Osanna conversing fondly with a radiantly beautiful well-dressed Qadiran woman of a greater height than herself with the sun shining down upon the Underbridge district.  “It doesn’t do you justice, Mother.”  She smiles, turns to the next page, and begins to draw with what skill she has.  She pauses intermittently to wave at passersby that greet her or to throw a ball back to children playing.  As she draws, she has what she considers to be a rare in gift in the form of peace, quiet, and time for reflection.

I recall now the surge of emotions that I felt when I set that first foot down off of the caravan in Sandpoint.  Relief, excitement, determination, anxiety, hope, and curiosity.  It was my first posting as a woman and a paladin in this faraway, exotic land known as Varisia, and I was as completely different from the people there as could be imagined.  Or so I thought.  It’s true, I looked tremendously different than the mixed folk that I discovered there, and I had accepted that initially they’d be afraid of me.  And they were, at least some of them. 

The Swallowtail Festival was, in hindsight, the best thing that could have happened.  They all had a chance to sit with me, eat with me, dance with me, and see me for who I am past the horns and the violet skin of my birth.  It turned out that we weren’t so different after all.  I feel like I was so young back then, before I met them.  Them

Osanna frowns, erases a few lines, blows the refuse off of the paper, and continues to draw.

If I would have asked Sarenrae as a girl who would save the world from the Rough Beast or some other horrors, divine or otherwise, I would have never, ever guessed that she would have told me what would come to pass without laughing mirthfully.  I can almost hear her voice with a giggle as she was gently pushing me off of the caravan.  “It will be wonderful, child.  You’ll see.  You’re going to meet the most wonderful people here.  But you won’t be traveling with them.  The five you’ll be with are..well…fixer-uppers.  Make sure to get enough sleep and don’t kill the butterflies!  Desna hates that!  Ta!

The journey and its ending is a tale fit for the grandest of bards, for certain.  What I’ve seen, what I’ve done, where I’ve gone…all of it.  The people of Varisia can finally flourish and live in peace, and all of my fixer-uppers, jagged edges and all, were worth fixing.  Though none of us will ever be the same again, we’re all better off than we were.  Bill has his father and his peace and quiet, Xander has his mother sans curse, Samael is soon to embark on a great pilgrimage to the land of my birth with me in tow in order be free of Asmodeus’ shackles.  Naru, my strange friend, is off and about in the wilds caring for orphans and founding a druid’s circle.  At least, that’s what I think she called it.  Even though I’ll never fully understand all of her gifts and mysticism, I still enjoy hearing her stories.  Glenn…he’s human again, true, but he’s far from whole.  The demons and daemons of his past still hound him, and only time will tell if he’ll heal from the ordeal.  I do not know what will happen to us all down the road, or whether or not we’ll stay close, but I plan to check in on them whether they like it or not.  Cluck cluck.

Me, you ask?  I feel as though one chapter in my life’s book has ended and another has begun.  Here I am again feeling relief, excitement, determination, anxiety, hope, and curiosity.  I have work to do.  I look at the Underbridge District and I smile.  The Sczarni cockroaches will soon attempt to scatter to their dark holes when I shed light upon them, only to discover that they’ll have no holes to hide in.  I’ll cleanse this place, build it, mold it, improve upon it, and make it my home.  Make it so that all who live here and come here will have a sense of pride for what they’re a part of.  And perhaps, here and there, I’ll have more frequent moments in time much like this one when I can live, relax, and enjoy those around me and the fruits of my labor.  Perhaps I’ll even find love some day with a man worthy of it.

Osanna finishes her drawing and holds it up to inspect her work.  It is a likeness of her dearest friends and comrades-in- arms walking along the road between Sandpoint and Magnimar together, laughing with each other and not thinking about the next horrors awaiting them.  Except for Samael and Bill.  Those two always look grumpy.  As she closes her book, she’s caught completely off guard by a snowball hitting her in the shoulder followed by the sudden laughter of a small group of boys and girls that frequent the alleys of Underbridge.  With her telltale narrowed eyes and half smirk, she goes to battle again versus worthy adversaries.

Last Letter

I meant to post this before the first part of All The Warm Lives went up.  This was the letter Glenn left for Osanna before he left Magnimar in The End Of The Beginning.

Dear Osanna –

Do you remember when we first met? It seems like so long ago, but really it’s been less than a year. And yet, we’ve gotten to know each other so well in such a short amount of time – like I’ve known you all my life. I’ve never had a friend like you. I can’t imagine not knowing you – not having you in my life. You mean more to me than I could ever properly express through words.

And yet, I’m writing this because I have to leave for a while. I can’t tell you where I’m going, and I don’t know how long I’ll be gone, and I already know you’re going to be angry. Please stop giving me that look. You have no idea how it tears me up to know I could possibly be the cause of any sort of anguish to you. Please believe me when I say that there is something I must do, something very important, and this is the only way.

I know this is a poor way to say goodbye. You deserve so much better. You have a lot of questions and you’ll probably have a lot more when the Hellknights come looking for me. I would much rather tell you this in person, but it would be better, for you and the temple, if you know as little about this situation as possible. Know that I’m alright, and so is Helena, but we can’t stay in Magnimar. I suspect it would be relatively simple for you – or, more accurately, Bill – to find us, but I would ask that you don’t. There is something the two of us must do, and it would be best if no one follow us for the time being.

I made a promise, once, to return to her. I didn’t break that promise, exactly, since I was able to fulfill it tonight, but it took much longer than I had anticipated, and I fear the damage that has been done is irrevocable. So I’m not going to promise to return someday. I couldn’t bear to break a promise to you, should something happen to me. But I will do everything I can to come back and explain everything properly one day.

Perhaps this is for the best, honestly. You know how I feel about you, and I know you can never return those feelings. Recently being near you – especially now that we don’t have goblins and giants and Runelords to worry about, and we can simply enjoy each others’ company – has been some of the happiest moments of my life, but also the hardest. I know we can never be together the way I would want us to, and I would never ask anything more of you. I have accepted that, but it still tears me apart inside.

Please understand.

Glenn

All The Warm Lives, part 1: Reunion

Rated R for language and…other stuff.

Let me first preface this piece by saying that if you are new to the blog and have never read about Glenn and Osanna before, please, please don’t start with this piece.  This is not a good piece to introduce these characters with — they are very out of character here.

That being said, if you are familiar with Osanna & Glenn, welcome to them at their lowest and darkest points.  This was a challenging piece to write for a number of reasons but I think it offered some great development, for both me as a writer and for the characters themselves.

Derrick and I actually roleplayed this scene out before I wrote it, so consider him the co-writer since most of Osanna’s dialog came directly from him.

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Glenn The Frog

I mentioned a few posts back that I was thinking about writing about Glenn’s character concept and creation, so here we go. Are you ready? I think PJ is the only other person who knows most of this stuff. There’s sort of a bit of background to get out of the way so be a bit patient. Hopefully this won’t be too boring to all three of you who read the blog. Continue reading