Today was a day to remember, though the reasons behind this are plentiful they are not joyous. Already only mere weeks into our campaign a fellow pup has been lost to us, gather closer and share in this woeful account.
The day started well, after the grueling battle with the church beast the day before the team seemed in high spirits, we spilled out into the streets of Elinor and began about preparing for the journey to come, I myself took off to the market with a couple of others though my meal the night prior still played heavily on me. I found no sign of reprieve in the form of an apothecary or healer and with the vegetables on sale here turning my stomach queasy I decided to forego perusing the wares from a book peddler and took a swift exit from the marketplace and awaited the others just inside the village proper
The others soon gathered and we disembarked, luckily the fresh air and moderate exercise seems to have done wonders for my constitution, alleviating me of most of my ills (the accrued wisdom of all ages past reminding me now of why we heat raw meat, this is not knowledge to cast aside again soon!)
We marched for some time with Darling taking the lead, after what seemed like an age we came upon a woman in the road, eager to read our fortunes for crossing her palm with coin. I was enraptured as she began telling me of the epic tale I was to one day impart, seemingly my dream will come to fruition, though this came with what I consider a warning when the crone added this will come to pass after the crossing of a river of blood (i can but only assume poor Swift has been the first to add to this growing fluid mass) I decided to play jovial and asked if this was to be a material river, not the strangest thing to be spun in to a tale by any stretch of the imagination, though from the response I surmise this was as initially suspected a metaphor for the many lives and injuries that I will encounter, like i mentioned, this is to be a woeful and macabre tale today.
We marched further onward and passed a graveyard, I kept up pace with the front of our group now and strummed playfully on my lute softly and slowly adding to the air of unease, all stories have to have a backdrop and ours was to become ever the grander for my performance, or so i thought now i have only to wonder if my whimsical antics are what caused Darling to abscond from the intense struggle to come.
We approached the fort we had been sent to investigate and despite the welcoming message written on the door I could see the suitability for this location in a campfire ghost story. More lighthearted foolery saw the naive visibly shaken (with one of my more mischievous spells) and after this we ventured inside.
I caught sight of a suit of armor adorning the entrance hall just as it lashed out and wrapped it’s hands around the fragile halfling neck of The Swift, I shouted cursing the creature but this did very little to stop the onslaught and before I knew it we were set upon by a great band of these foes.
Things here become very hazy, I charged the armor holding my friend captive and attempted to release his throat with my rapier, though this came to no avail as my swing was met by nothing but air! the poor halfling struggles as he was lifted at least a clear foot from the floor by the metal behemoth and set upon by it’s sword, now with a life of it’s own by their side.
I do not know much of what transpired with the others but soon my comrade was cast to the floor and I instinctively reached for my lute and let out a mighty strike, focusing all of my rage at the creature, how foolish this was as i looked around to the devastation i had caused, in my haste i had forgotten sound does not oft travel in a straight line to the front and i had caused a great calamity within my immediate distance, strewn about the place both allies and enemies pushed back against walls, bodies pushed along the floor, twas not a pretty sight and all at once it became apparent that only myself and the sarcastic were left able to fight…
There we stood, surrounded and outnumbered at least 5 to 1*[artistic licence]* what followed was nothing if not divine providence with the sarcastic beating a tactical retreat the surrounding enemies abated their assault and began to resume their positions at the walls with only a few left centered on me! I saw this as my chance and knowing of the healing prowess of the druidic orders i looked to aid the fallen naive and an utterance instinctively burst forth from my lips “POOPYPLIFF!”, just like that life was breathed into him once more and he had rejoined the fight, though this came at a price and i took a heavy blow to the shoulder from one of the enchanted swords.
From the door some words of healing caught my ear and as i quickly scanned the room i realised that though smallest in stature here stood the two bravest members of our force, with myself a proud third among them!
From here we managed to aid our wounded allies and all but the three of us had now managed a retreat out of the door, where it would seem the malevolent enchantments did not quite span. I must admit my next act was one of strategy and cowardice as i ran for the exit, with an enemy all but blocking my path i dodged blow after blow and burst forth once more into the light of day followed quickly by the hurried figure of the naive throwing ourselves out into the snow.
My last sight of The Swift with the divine spark of life not yet having left him came from the corner of my eye just before it was eclipsed by the blinding white of snow and sky, he had been standing there, heroic in pose and with the determination of 5 men holding off the hordes of enemies rushing upon our position to allow us the option of escape, it is truly with his blessing that we all now live! Though his efforts, foolhardy and brave, came at a price as we heard the dull crack of metal upon bone and turned to see in horror his limp, now inanimate body resting peacefully ever-defiant in the doorway.
I drink this night with The naive, despite my ailing stomach, in memory of such a fallen hero; truly you will be ever in our memories.
This was the first time in my life that I had raised the question, when does the price outweigh the story? Immortal now in story and song the swift has forever been stilled…