Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I should have known that this was to end badly...

I should have known that this was to end badly...


"So, tell me what experience you've had with this sort of...venture, ahm..." I shuffled several scrolls around on my desk, seeking the man's name, and my fingers fell to my heirloom vambrace--the one worn by my father, and my father's father. The bas relief moldings of the Flail, the Edge, and the Shield thereupon were familiar and comforting beneath my fingertips.

"My name is Yythan the Wise and I am surprised that you've not heard of me, Brightblade's Child." The man's skeletal face got somehow harder and I could feel the disapproval wafting off him like greenflies from a rotting corpse. I'd never met a man whose face seemed so perfectly hand-crafted for frowning. "This will not be my first sojourn into the lightless depths you seek to plumb, and if the skeins and signs have been read properly, then it will not be my last."

I nodded, preparing myself for the disappointment I fully expected after I gave breath to my next question. "Excellent. Tell, me, wizard, of your thoughts about the Cult of Ith."

The man's dark orbs flickered, but I could tell that the wyrdweaver knew well his craft. He showed nothing of the fear that I was certain coiled behind his eyes. "I bear the marks of a Thrice-Tried Acolyte of the Ascended Ones True Path. My Brothers and I bear the Bloodstains of Z'aal. I have no fear of the Lurkers in the Void, or their pitiful servants."

I licked my full lips, feeling the sweat bead on the back of my neck. The first hurdle had been cleared...I was amazed. Oh, Sacred One! Was I truly a step away from beginning my Life's Call? I pressed on, throttling my desperation with a garotte of detached calm.

"I see." I scribbled something meaningless on a piece of parchment with a nub of charcoal. "I assume, then, that you possess the boon which normally accompanies your status?"

Yythan's skull like visage was as motionless as the stone idols he worshiped, but he nodded. It was a small, calculated movement.

I took a fragment of my impatience and forged it into some steel, which I then slipped into my words. "...and I would know of them, if you are to partake of the Brightblade coffers."

The wyrdweaver blinked, his frozen face melting. Slowly, he began speaking. I noted, with some curiosity, that it took gold--or at least the mention of it--to truly get the man's blood up. "Four are they who accompany me, and who have bound their fates to mine.  The first will likely be known to you, as he hails from your homeland. Gunther the Gaoler--"

"The Ox?" I interrupted, incredulous? "He severed ties with the Thralldom in order to bind his fate to you?"

Yythan nodded and for the first time since I'd met him, he seemed almost human. "Though I know not his entire tale, Ox is now my Boundling. He came to me to settle a blood-debt--not for himself--but for his own Boundling, a Smael known only as Rooter."

Now I was truly stumped. "A...a...Smael? I thought they were extinct...it is said that they all perished in the Kin Cleansings!"

The wyrdweaver merely nodded, his dark eyes glittering. Perhaps this old crow loved something more than just gold, after all.

"So, Ox and Rooter. Ox, I know. He is as large as he is mighty. I know nothing of this Rooter, but if he is truly a Smael, then you walk with a breathing legend. Yet, you said Four are Pathbound to you."

"Aye." Yythan continued, "A Sceaduman there is also, swarthy of skin and dark of deed. The shadows call to him, and in them he is most accustomed. He is known only as Saal, but it is said that he has walked the amid the Corridors of Ith-y-itil and again seen the light of day." The wyrdweaver licked his thin lips, his tongue like a pale, wan worm, and completed his presentation. "Finally, H'yrga there is, priestess of Rok. She has been my Boundling longer than any other--since her departure from the Echelon, in fact."

I cocked a brow. "A D'weorh, blood-bound to a man, whom she will likely outlive by five times?"

Yythan nodded. "I held no sway nor ruse over her. She came willingly, and for her own purpose."

This, of all, was the hardest for me to believe. Why, in all the known worlds, would such a woman warrior-priestess do such a thing?

 "I know your thoughts, even without my crystals and chants." Yythan said. "And I have and answer, but it is not of me. It is of she."

"And? I would know this, mind-reader..." I replied, with some disdain. I could see my hopes and dreams failing. This man was mad.

The wyrdweaver chuckled. "Yes, it was her purpose, in fact. She said that she would Bind her Fate to mind only because her god, Rok, had told her to do thus."

"And why would a god do this?" I asked, ready to end the interview with this insane spellspeaker.

"According to her, it was, 'So she could ultimately aid the Bairn of Brightblade, free the peoples from the tyranny of the False God Ith, and to kill it forever.'"

I should have known that this was to end badly...

Art Source: "Dungeon Explorers" (c)/by cwalton
Story and Characters: (c)/by Brannon Hollingsworth

#MMWW, #Makes, #Me, #Wanna, #Write, #BrannonHollingsworth, #gaming, #adventure, #group, #party, #dungeon, #explorers


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