Carved in Stone
Posted 19 November 2002 - 06:14 PM
"Patience, if necessary I can still make a copy and work with it later, but when You're interrupting me any minute..."
"Sandstone!" Vander Blueaxe forced himself to mutter the ancient dwarven curse. So far his men hadn't detected any Drow patrols in this area but he was responsible for this little duergar-scout-party, and became more nervous each minute.
Obsidian Rustblade on the other hand was a scholar, and simply didn't understand, why it was so dangerous in this area now, the towns matron mother and her eldest daughter were both dead. Some days ago three merchants had by accident found the strange writing on the wall. It was beyond Vander's imagination, why anybody would carve a message into the stone-wall of a completely unlit tunnel. The merchants were sure that it was the work of a group of surface dwellers, but they explained they just weren't able to read this language, even though, they were capable of speaking it well enough.
"Interesting, interesting,..." Obsidian muttered.
"Bloody hellhounds! What?" Vander was ready to shake the scholar to get an answer.
"Huh? Oh You're still here? Well, it's some sort of journal entry, it reads:
Irenicus has to die!
He took all of me I ever wanted, when he stole Requiem's soul. He destroyed my dreams and left her as an empty shell, bare of any emotions. Her temper is gone and she has lost her edge. I see her stumbling through these dark tunnels and halls, but I know the darkness inside her is far deeper.
I have seen her in the battles we fought, and she doesn't feel any necissity to fight anymore, even when her friends are in danger or her own life depends on it, she hesitates before she strikes, as if wondering, what it all might be about, as if it wasn't making sense to her at all. Is this still the same woman, who killed the red dragon Firkraag?
Die Irenicus! I curse You with words of any language I know.
My harlequin, we've been a team! Together we were a legend, and now? Will you become a monster like Irenicus? Will You see me as nothing more than a tool to fullfill a purpose? A tool which can be sacrificed and cast away, when it's no longer of any use? Are You already searching for another one to take my place?
I remember my time before her, trapped by a mage in a place of darkness, and I'm starting to worry about my future. Will You leave me alone, here in the underdark?
Die Irenicus! Die die die!!!
First You feared my influence on You, but then we became friends, do You still care? Do You still listen to my words?
Cursing is not enough to ease my grief. I will pierce Your heart Irenicus!
Now we're tricking the drow, but there is no joy for You in doing so, how would You have laughed about it before Irenicus stole the humor out of Your smile, Your eyes and Your heart. I need the practice to find the weak points of his armor, You need my help more than ever before, close Your eyes and let me guide Your hands when You're challenging him.
We're coming to get You, mage! Beware!
The legend shall be reborn of my despair! Requiem shall live and with her my dreams!
So says Lilacor! Irenicus, beware of my eternal wrath! "
"Who in the name of Abyss is Irenicus, this Lilacor guy, or this Reki-chitchat?"
"You're asking me?" the scholar looked at Vander.
"D@mn and for this we're risking our heads here? Get moving!"
Obsidian sighed and stuffed his copy of the writing into his scrollcase, Vander had just no sense for good stories, but he was sure there would be others more interested. And he would be the one to tell them, of Lilacor and Requiem and their legend of lost love...
Posted 19 November 2002 - 06:24 PM
"What? Whoaa!" the harlequin fell backward from the rock she had been sitting on, in shock. Landing soft enough in a patch of large glowing mushrooms. She didn't make enough noise to wake the other party members from their sleep. A cloud of glowing spores was settling down on her armor and her clothing, enveloping her in a faint green light. Requiem looked around to find out who had disturbed her so rudely, but didn't need long to figure out.
*Requiem we're on guard! You can't sleep now.*
*Lilacor! Stop screaming in my head,...screaming in my head? Since when are You up here?*
*You needed my help, and You still need it. I invited myself after Your second change into the slayer.*
*Out of my head! At once!*
*I don't think this would be a good idea, and hey! I'm just trying to keep You interested in the world, nothing more.*
* Do You want to make me Your marionette like Quallo?*
*Quallo Schmallo! No, Quallo fought me all the time, else I hadn't to babble such nonsense through his mouth, and would have been released years ago. You know how many people talked with him and thought he was just a normal looney? He could simply have said: Hey guys! There is a great Sword over in that wastewater pool, waiting for You to pick it up. But no... What an idiot!*
*Too weak to fight, and by the way You don't want me to go away, You don't want anything no more.*
*Right, just want to sleep, be left alone ...leave me alone.*
*If I do that now, Irenicus will win, fight the tiredness, we have to hunt him!*
*Your soul! He has Your soul!*
*Is it that important?*
*How do You feel without it?*
*I feel... nothing. Should I feel? Yes... I... there is memory of feelings. Are feelings good?*
*Yes, they are necessary, without them You don't work correctly, remember the golems we encountered?*
*Machines only useful to fullfil given duties for their masters. ...Am I already like them?*
*No, a small spark is still left, the fire will burn again, when Your soul is back. You must believe in that, ...please.*
*I will, and I wont sleep, ...will You help me stay awake? Wasn't I on guard or something?*
*Sure,... I know, stand up and walk over to a darker part of the tunnels, we can practice fighting a bit, I'll help You and guide Your hands. Let's see, whether You can still hit a stone wall.*
*Wont that hurt You?*
*...Don't worry, ...I wont break.*
Posted 19 November 2002 - 06:46 PM
Veldrin the Mad better known as Requiem in the surface lands, was somehow getting the idea, that it was not herself, who was spreading chaos, but that chaos was ambushing her, wherever she was going.
When would it have been possible to avoid this situation?
The silver dragon protecting the exit from the underdark had insisted, they should venture this drow city with the unspeakable name, to recue her eggs, going so far as to turn them into drow for the time being. No way of avoiding that.
After fullfilling several stupid quest for a cocky drow female named Phaere and her equal if not more cocky mother, Veldrin's friends had been quite exausted and demanded to rest in an inn, not somewhere out of town. No way again to avoid that.
Unfortunately the inn was more than just a simple place to rest some tired bones. Mostly the arena fights had disturbed her.
Should she have made compliments to the drowfighter for killing four far weaker opponents singlehandedly?
No, she should have never spoken to this smeary arena-keeper! Who hadn't wasted any time to introduce them to each other, after this special carnage of a fight.
First watching Veldrin had thought, that it was after all somehow sportsman-like of the drow, not to force captives of other races into gladiator-style fights, but even though her brain was working a bit slower without her soul, she finally understood, that most of those drow fighters had no free choice as well.
This was more like showing off with the houses champions, the poor fools who had the bad luck to oppose them in fights, were not much more than fodder.
Which easier way for a drow, to get rid of somebody, who was out of their direct reach, than suggesting his or her name as good pit-fighter to the house's matron mother? Murder was disguised in many ways in the city of the drow...
The fighter had accepted her challenge, of course, he had no other choice. This time the system, he so often gained profits from at the cost of his opponents lives, worked against him. He had been already wondering, what to do with her possessions, easy to read that in his face, what a fool.
Her equipment was looking eerie, okay, but he obviously underestimated the protective magic of the twisted jester-chainmail, she was wearing, and seeing it was not of elvish origin he had assumed her to be unable to cast spells in it. A bunch of summoned kobold-archers proved him wrong, soon enough, and she was just warming up.
Lilacor didn't like this sorts of fights that much, but in melee a warrior was far better than a bard after all, so not being specialized in one form of combat had been her advantage, and she had kept a safe distance, using her small arsenal of offensive magic.
The fight was nearly over, she had almost won, raising Lilacor for the last strike...
"I'm surrendering! You've won."
*Hey Requiem! He can't do that! Can he? That's against the rules!*
*Lilacor we're in troubles! I've never killed somebody, who said 'I give up' before, and I'm not going to start with it, now.*
*But if we don't kill him, the others might get the idea that we're weaklings, or no real drow, they're expecting us to kill him, whatever he's saying now, and besides, this could be only a trick of him, there isn't much he has left to loose now.*
*Then let's give him something to win, oh I don't like this, but that's the only reason I could think of a drow female would spare a drow male for.*
*Somehow I'm starting to feel sick, remember I'm still up here in Your mind? Can't we just simply kill him.*
The harlequin cast a smile to the drow fighter:
"Now I have to admit, that You're a far better fighter, than I had thought, male. It would surely be a waste to kill somebody that skilled.."
*Oh great! All I ever asked the gods for was a good fighter of some skill, and what did I get? A bard with a colorful imagination!* Lilacor groaned.
"Hmmm, what I would like to know is, are You as good in ...unarmed fights? ...You know what I'm talking about male, just You and me ..."
*No! Don't think of it!*
"...and some oil."
*Nooo! I'M BLIND! I'M BLIIIND!*
"Let's see, whether we can arrange something, after I'm finished with running Phaere's countless little errands..."
*D@mn I might be a weapon now but I used to be a man! A MAN!*
"I'll see You then male."
Veldrin left the fighting pit after a really relieved drow warrior.
*Hey Lilacor, we did it,... sorry, ...do You feel better now?*
*A bit, ...Requiem... do You know, what would help me?*
*Tell me, ...I think I owe You something.*
*This oil thing, ... could You think it about Phaere?*
Posted 19 November 2002 - 06:56 PM
He couldn't even drown his sorrows in alcohol as this would have blown his cover of a drow-warrior, drow warriors didn't get drunk, a drunken drow was a dead drow.
"I would like to ask You something about Veldrin."
It was Haer'Dalis' long experience as an actor on a stage, which helped him to keep his pokerface, now.
*Don't show him that You didn't notice him sneaking up on You, don't show any surprise. ...Now isn't that the warrior Requiem fought in the arena? Don't forget, it's Veldrin, not Requiem... *
"Then take a seat, but know, that this one wont talk about the quests, the matron mother and her daughter Phaere have given to Veldrin."
"I'm not here to spy today."
*Oh yeah, sure, and the sparrow is a celestial.* the tiefling thought. Aloud he said:
"By the way, why ask me?"
"Because You don't wear mages' robes and I would say from Your stature, that You're not a fighter. So there has to be a different reason Veldrin keeps You around."
"Why would that be of any interest to You?" Haer'Dalis asked carefully.
Veldrin was sitting in her room in the inn, in the middle of a city full of drow and was memorizing spells from her book, which might play a role in rescuing the heads of her and her whole group tomorrow. She just decided to cast a cantrip to clean her mail-shirt, when her concentration was suddenly broken by a loud and vehement knocking on her door. Unnoticed by her, some pages of her spellbook turned by themselves.
Unusual calm and calculated she pondered the meaning of the noise.
*Did they find out, who we really are? Are they here to take us away to their torture-chambers? ...No, the drow wouldn't do it that way, they would wait until we sleep... Who then?*
She opened the door, to find a very angry tiefling/drow standing in front of her. Without a word he stormed into her room. Veldrin shut the door behind him, and watched as he cast suspicious looks around him. He even opened the wardrobe to cast a look inside.
"Would You please explain, just what You're doing there?" she calmly asked.
"I? Explain? Why don't You explain to me first, why a drow warrior comes asking me how You're treating Your males and how high his life-expectance would be after Your first night together?"
"He might have thought, You knew that."
"Stop joking! First You ignore me all the time, and now You're flirting with a drow? During an arena-fight?
"Hey! Watch what You're saying, that was not real flirting!" a third voice came over from where Lilacor was leaning to the wall, and the voice of the twohander sounded as if Haer'Dalis had touched a vulnerable spot."
"Who asked You? Give me an answer Raven, or are You letting Lilacor speak for You from now on?"
"Actually he was speaking for me since Spellhold."
"This is not... What?" Haer'Dalis looked into Requiem's eyes and found that they were examining him, as if he was a strange bug in a jar of glass.
"Lilacor noticed that I was dangerously unstable, and when I changed into the slayer for the second time, he decided to loan me some of his feelings, just enough to give me back some selfcontrol. It seems it's not enough for a romance, and to put it mildly, men must be the lowest priority in my mind at the moment. And if You want to complain about it, do me a favour and wait till I have my soul back."
The tiefling sighed and slowly walked back to the door, but then he suddenly turned around:
"Lilacor, Lilacor, the sparrow would have never thought of flirting with a male drow, if it weren't for You."
"That WAS NOT real flirting!"
The drow warrior didn't know about all this, all he knew was, that Veldrin never summoned him, before she and her whole group vanished one day. Nobody believed, that it was a coincidence, that this was the very same day, when the high matron mother and her daughter Phaere were found slaughtered in the summoning room of the temple of Loth, nor that it was the same day, when a whole bunch of slaves, recently purchased by Veldrin, were sent out of the city-gates with secret orders from their mistress.
No, Veldrin had been a spy, some said, she was working for Jarlaxle, some superstitious folks even thought, that she had been a servant of the 'Silvery Beast' the 'Bane of Drow', herself. But this was nonsense, it was far more likely, that she had been sent by a different city, to weaken Usth'Natha's defenses.
The priestesses were the only ones, who knew exactly, they had used their prayers and magic, to ask Loth herself, or one of her many demonic servants.
Too late of course as the damage had already been done, and surely Loth wasn't pleased.
But this knowledge would never be given to a lowly male like himself. Nevertheless he couldn't help but wonder, and with him many others, what Veldrin's plan might have been. Killing the towns matron mother and her daughter was one thing, easy understandable, but he was wracking his brain, trying to figure out, why in the name of Loth, Veldrin had left a track of giant, glowing, indestructable mushrooms growing, whereever she had set a foot in town...
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