Heroes of Shaintar

Journal of a Priest 12

Account by Ranger Hazelf

Ren says we should sleep, and I want to. Everything still hurts and I just want to sleep, but I’m afraid if I do He’ll be back. So I’ve decided to grab a small meal and write, in the hope that when I’m done I will have no choice but to sleep. We were at the base of the mountain and we hobbled the horses with the exception of Stranger, Ren’s horse. We found a path and began the long trek up the mountain while being as stealthy as possible, averaging about 5 miles a day. The first night was colder than I expected, even when we all huddled together the cold was not what I was use to. The second night I was better expecting of the cold and I managed to get some needed rest. The third night John seemed to succumb to the cold and plucked one of my feathers rather painfully. In the morning I saw that John had stuck the feather in his hat. I retrieved it and stuck it down my pack telling him he could have it later. In truth I have become so paranoid of losing them I don’t think I would actually give it back. The Forth night passes without incident. We make it five more miles up the mountain making camp at an cliff with decent sized boulders and trees to act as guard rails. It was me and John on watch when I heard something coming from up the path, the direction we were going. I carefully woke up Ren and Tiny and Fenian. Ren pulled us back against the boulders and we hid. Five Ghouls came shuffling down and walked passed seeming to not notice us, then everything got even colder, i shut my eyes and prayed hard that we would make it to morning. Peeking and remaining still as I could I saw this cloaked and hooded figure walking with this knotted and curved scythe as a walking stick. It took its time witch felt like an eternity. Then He was out of view, and this high pitched voice with this chilling sense of terror breaks the silence.
“I See You”
We all move to action Ren slashes with his blades, and I summon my Soldiers. The five Ghouls come marching back up as reinforcements. The ghouls are tough and the Reaper is stronger through the battle He managed to dispel my guardians and take a shot at me, I managed past the pain and continued on, seeing everyone fight hard against the ghouls, I flew up and shoot a bolt at the Reaper but it seems to have no effect. When the last Ghoul fell the Reaper turned invisible. We all looked frantically for where he was but I couldn’t see anything. What I did see was Ren and Tiny get hit multiple times. Then there was an explosion of darkness and I looked and Ren, John, and Tiny were all unconscious in front of me, Lycore and Fenian. We all looked around still frantic and I remembered my orders from Ren. I took the greater healing potion I had and put it in Lycores pocket. All I said was I was sorry then I flew off. I didn’t look back as a black bolt clipped my wing but a gust of wind caught me and I corrected myself and flew faster, running from how I had just abandon my friends. Dammit all, could they really forgive me of this if they lived, and if not could I forgive myself? It wasn’t but ten minutes later I heard it. At first it was distant, sudden rushes of wind as if something was flying. As it got closer it got louder the rushes got stronger and it is big, I dive down into the trees and hear it slamming down unable to make it past the tops but it keeps pace with me. I flew faster than I had ever flew before banking and twisting between trees, and occasionally it would blast these terrible bursts of fire striking the forest and lighting everything ablaze. I managed to get a glimpse and this was a very large, Gargantuan, gargoyle with red hued stone skin and wings near 30 feet in length and a body just as large. I wasn’t going to out fly this thing so I attempted to hide. My first attempt failed as it swung back around and fires another burst at me, I managed to get out of the way and attempted to hide again. This time I took cover behind a stump, small fires, chipped wood, and broken tree limbs all around me as I sat in the dirt motionless. I heard it wings flap as it circled and I heard its frustrated roar as it flew off to the North. I sat for awhile until I realized I was shaking in the cold air with small fires all about. I got myself together and took a moment to remember where we left the horses, it took a minute but I realized that in relation to where I was the horses were north of me. So in the most stealthy way I knew I made my way through the forest to the horses. It took at least a few hours but I found them just as we left them. I tied the rest to Stranger, un hobbled them, and I took some of my potions and my healers kit and put them in the pack on the pony then I wrote a rough note and tucked it into a pocket on Strangers saddle. Thinking back I managed to remember what Ren would say in Malakaren to get Stranger to go to him and I said it, Stranger picked up on this immediately and started trotting off. I prayed that they were all alive, and that the horses would help. I began to make my way through the forest toward Four Corners. Continuing to be unseen from the air and get to the edge of the forest. It took me a good 8 hours of flight until I see the city in the early day light. There are a lot more Rangers about and busy but I fly straight over and to the mansion. I get to the door and I’m stopped by two fellow Rangers, First class. They ask me who I am and I tell them I am a part of the scout group lead by Corporal Ren, before I could say more they almost shove me through the door. The mansion has almost been converted into a command center for this army gathering here. I look to see Mayor Rienhart and Lieutenant Drax walking along upstairs by the balcony and I was glad to see them, so much so I shouted out Drax’s name as soon as I recognized him. They both stopped and looked to me, Rienhart seemed extremely relived to see me but then he noticed that I was by myself. They both asked where Ren and the rest of the team were. I asked to to speak somewhere private. We went up to the mayors office and Faylin was there behind the dest organizing papers and documents, looking up to greet me. I started from the beginning, our trek up the mountain and the encounter with Him. Before I could really finish Rienhart stopped me more confused, him believing that we were only dealing with the Kal and flame, I told him of the links we made to the Betrayal war and how this was darkness and flame allied. He explained that that was what Ren told him and how he prayed it wasn’t truth. I was about to continue and explain my encounter with the Red Gargoyle. All of a sudden everything hurt, my very core, my soul hurt. It was indescribable pain and I vaguely remember Rienhart ordering Faylin to do something. I saw his light and it felt like I was falling into darkness and I heard it again but louder as if he was in the room talking next to my ear.
“I See You”
It felt cold, dark, and like I was constantly falling, falling forever into darkness and I couldn’t correct or stop myself. I don’t know how long I was out but finally I opened my eyes. Everyone was around me, Tiny, Ren, John, Lycore, and Fenian even Faylin was still there using a healing magic. I asked if we were all dead and Ren responded that we weren’t yet, he clasped a hand on my shoulder. I know in my mind he meant it as a means of comfort, but it brought to attention how cold I still felt, how much I really ached and longed for more rest. It hurt so much I just wanted it to stop, I wanted it all to stop, I wanted to feel safe. Ren was frantic asking Faylin if there was anything they could do, and Fenian was just playing his lute in the corner, it was soothing. I got ahold of myself and calmed down to the point were I just laid there, at some point Ren left to talk with Rienhart and Tiny stood there a hand on my shoulder. I never had any siblings, I had a childhood friend who had a younger sister and I remember seeing him care for her, and her for him, even if she was too small. The irony that I an Aevakar am really looking to a Kalinesh woman as a family member I never had, but always wanted in a sense. As minutes ticked by I continued to get better. It was startling to see Ren burst though the door, knives at the ready. Everyone got up and ready while I struggled with even standing. Ren called the play, range in the back everyone else in front. Eventually coming right up to me and asking if I was ready, and telling me to stay in the back. I didn’t feel good at all but good innocent people are at risk and if I didn’t do something I might as well have been labeled a murder myself. I drank a potion of rest and felt somewhat ready to go but there was still an arch in my heart, my very soul had been torn. We made it out of the mansion and people were panicking all around us, we made a wedge shape formation with Ren in front and Tiny and John on either side of him. I took the rear with Lycore and Fenian in front of me. I did catch a glimpse of Tiny pulling Ren’s face down and kissing him. I was very confused but upon thinking about it and them, out of all the people I knew who deserved companionship it would be them two. We marched forward however and came upon a scene of five Hobgoblins and two wear wolves clawing, bitting and breaking limbs of people. Two of these Hobgoblins noticed us and rushed forward one attacking Tiny and inter slashing at Ren and John. In the distance I could see the two wear wolves moving toward us, so I summoned two of my Soldiers, one next to Tiny, the other next to John. With everyone in front and us three in the back using spells and Lycore using his bow, the two hobgoblins fell with ease, just in time as the two wear wolves came panting up and attacked. We held strong, one got next to John and my Solder, the other right in front of Tiny. The former was cut down eventually and at this time the last three hobgoblins took notice and began to move up. The werewolf was giving us all a lot of trouble. The hobgoblins moved up with one in front of Ren, Tiny and my Soldier. Fenian managed to get a good bolt off at the one in front of Tiny destroying it utterly. Tiny had received substantial wounds during this fit and seeing one less enamel in front of her I moved up, placing a hand on her back I healed her, she motioned behind her with a thumbs up. Lycore moved up and shot the Hobgoblin in front of Ren, he took advantage of this and used the best of his ability to strike at the hobgoblin in front of himself, and as he did the werwolf got a good shot in and my Soldier by John was slain. Lycore then from his new position took a shot at the werwolf, it took notice of Lycore. Tiny then moved in and struck down the last hobgoblin with a mighty blow. It took one las bolt from Fenian to bring the werewolf down at last. Ren looked around at the scene, I reckon everybody was as tired as I felt now, he ordered us to move back to the Mansion to get a new direction from Rienhart. Upon reaching the building it was besieged by at least a dozen hobgoblins and there was Drax, Rienhart and Faylin holding their ground. Lycore instinctively shot the closest one to us and killed it instantly. Ren halted us before anyone could protest we heard a rumbling and cavalry road in, the Mayor, Drax, and Faylin moved out of the way just in time at the horse mounted warriors road by like a broom sweeping away dust. I managed to see the leader of the cavelry was Lana, the eldakar Healer from Homestead. We moved into the mansion and we held our ground there and waited, fighting began to slow down all around the city, but about five hours of waiting and five Rangers appeared having a prisoner in tow. The Red fool himself, bloodied and bruised with a set of irons on him, the Mayor took him to a holding cell and locked him in. I was astonished but wary. This just felt like a trap, something was very wrong. Ren asked the men who brought him in if he was searched and the only things they found were about eight portions, well more accurately five poisons and three explosive substances. I decide to avoid the Fool and took to disposing of these vile concoctions carfully, with Rienharts permission I dumped the poisons and took the explosives outside of town a ways and dropped them all. The resulting explosion was tremendous. Returning I went up to a room and sat. It was a mild comfort but my mind wouldn’t stop running, it was hard to relish the rest I had as I sat. Eventually the team gatherd and Tiny (as per usual when something bad just happen) looked pissed and agitated. Ren looked to me and asked if I was alright, at first I lied and said that I was, he saw through the lie immediately. So I asked him if he wanted to get a breath for fresh air, I know I wanted that. We talked and he asked about my well being and I explained what I believe happened, a spell called Rend, where the caster outright attacks the victims soul, the catch is that it is usually done by touch not from a distance, that means that this Reaper, that He is very powerful and has a means to attack us or maybe even just me directly. I told Ren I was scared but that I needed to finish what we started. Being thankful that Stranger made it to him and the team. We reconvened and Ren told all of us to get food and sleep. Yet here I am, still cold, feeling as helpless as a child against the monsters that I know are out there, waiting to strike. We need a bigger army, we need a miracle.

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