I fear that I may be a walking contradiction. I stated to you last time that my willingness to open up to the Oracle’s Chosen was becoming a greater possibility. However, after today, I feel that I am a fool who may never get past our inner demons.
We had decided to do some reconnaissance throughout the city and started by determining the feud occurring between Taran Neurdagon (well and all the nobles it seems) and the Lady of Coins. Taran lives in a very guarded estate that he decorates in such a way it appears tacky to me. Eck. If he gives me the opportunity and opening to be rid of him, I think the city would be better off without him. We learned that the Lady of Coins is a medusa who has been turning nobles into stone. Other than that, and a willingness to pay us if we kill her, Taran gave us useless information on how to find her. We were mainly there to get information out of him on her whereabouts because she seems to be helping to eliminate the minotaur slave market. I’m sure you are keenly aware of why we would be interested in helping this cause if she is going about it the right way. It is also possible that her willingness to turn nobles into stone is her way of slowly getting rid of the oath of service contracts the minotaurs are forced to sign. But I’m not sure how this will solve anything since I’m sure someone else will take the place of the nobles she’s killed.
Next, as a party we decided to go to the more shady part of town called Stygian Row and I instantly felt better in this area. It is definitely a rundown part of town, but at least the people here are honest about their illegal dealings and don’t try to hide behind their fasque, money, or power. It’s a nice change of pace from all the pomp and circumstance we have had to deal with since coming here. To make a long story shorter, we first went to the Siren’s Roost, a brothel with companionship from fey with divine blood. The head siren there did not have much information for us, but told us the Satyr’s Tail bar may give us better information.
On our way to the bar, we ran into Trellis and Septia, twins who represent the temple of Khar’shan. They had the audacity to ask us for help with their missing wine caravans and would reward us for dealing with the bandits involved. What I wouldn’t do to be rid of them as well. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the gray area for our moral compass is off, but I’m sure you can be understanding of this. This will tie into what I mentioned earlier. I gave them a curt nod to acknowledge I heard them and headed into the bar. While there, Rendu performed with the bar’s satyr and we talked with two people who work with the Lady of Coins, Grecos and Nero. We told them of our plan to disrupt the minotaur slave market and we heard the Lady of Coins wanted to do this as well. They told us they would pass our message along and she would find us if she was interested.
We decided to return to Shadow’s estate for lunch. Briar made an amazing stew that she learned from Herkus. Even with our compliments about it, Briar was very Briar and got flustered. She is such a kind, patient, and talented person. I wish she would believe us when we tell her she is competent in many things. After some time, Torag and Rendu returned from the temple of the five letting us know that Torag’s sister, Kallista, had information regarding the Temple of Khar’shan keeping children in the cellar as sacrifices. These people appear to be keenly interested in sacrificing people to Khar’shan. I won’t let that happen. She has done enough damage and I do not care who gets in my way. I will do anything that will diminish her power and make her suffer as I have.
With this added knowledge, we had to decide the next step. There were many options: search for the Goddess Palladia’s stolen instruments, determine what is going on in the graveyard at night, and twofold parts at the temple of Khar’shan: saving the children and possibly helping them out with their wine issue to get invited into the temple to learn more. We decided to search for the stolen instruments first because Briar convinced us the children would be kept safe until the Burning Sun in about a week’s time.
Once we arrived in the vineyard, we could hear music coming from one area. Due to Torag making too much noise, Briar and I decide to show ourselves to the fey there. Through conversation we distracted the satyr Boreas playing Palladia’s harp while I telepathically let Rendu know about the harp. This is when things became more chaotic. Rendu stepped out for Boreas to see him and essentially told him the harp didn’t belong to him and that he should give it to him. Boreus was crafty with his words and told us if we brought him the heads of the twins we met earlier, he would give us the harp. Boreus was a reminder to me that even as a fey, there are good and bad in all living things. Just as I had the thought that we should just kill him and I could teleport to get the harp after, Leef used a powerful spell that killed Boreas where he stood. I must have let my thoughts slip into my telepathy.
This is where things became complicated. I’m sure most of the fey, and the two water elementals present were just here for the music. Even though I know there is darkness and light in all things, my heart still shows more empathy and compassion towards my fellow fey. I was sure my companions would not hesitate to kill them all, but they surprised me. Of all of them, Rendu surprised me the most and this emotion is one that I don’t feel very often. They waited to see what the fey and water elementals would do. The two water elementals appeared feral after Boreas died with one attacking Briar and the other attacking me and engulfing me in water after I had picked up the harp. I teleported out of it and behind Rendu where he sprouted beautiful wings with orange-tipped white feathers. This is what truly surprised me. I have never seen aasimar wings before. They were glorious and quickly blocked all view of Rendu from in front of me. He then spoke to all the fey and told them we only wanted the harp and they should leave if they valued their lives. Through my shock I found enough power to cast Command on the two elementals and told them to “Flee.” Everyone, but one of the water elementals, left and we quickly disposed of the remaining one.
I gave Rendu the harp and told him I needed to remember to never make him angry. Rendu is an interesting fellow. Maybe it’s because he is less damaged than the rest of us, but he seems to run more on logic than sharp emotion. I appreciate this and it is nice to have someone I feel will give me a more logical answer if I ask for it.
About this time Briar and Leef came to where Rendu and I had been talking. He wasn’t anymore, but I could tell Leef had been crying. Is it so wrong that death does not affect me anymore? Have I grown so accustomed to killing or seeing it done that I should have more empathy in this situation with Leef? I’m not sure how to comfort him. I heard him say under his breath, “I hate bandits” and there’s a part of me that wanted to comfort him by saying that “I understand in some regard. I hate slave owners similarly, and that is why I couldn’t go to the market with you…” But… I couldn’t say it. I could see the pain in Leef’s eyes and I couldn’t comfort him.
This goes back to what I said earlier, Clio. A walking contradiction. Do I really want to comfort these individuals that I deem my friends or is it that I cannot deal with uncomfortable silence, emotions, and the like? I also wanted to say, “I understand your pain, Leef, but this has happened before. You have killed before, and unfortunately, being a part of this group means that if people get in our way, and they won’t move, we will most likely have to kill them.” This situation was very difficult for me and Leef was not in a good place emotionally the rest of the evening because of it. It’s emotionally exhausting for me to see these types of emotions because another part of me screams that I should tell him to get over it, it’s kill or be killed, but my experience and my personality because of that experience is very different from Leef’s. He has been damaged in different ways and he hasn’t allowed it to numb or harden him as my experiences have done to me. It is admirable I suppose. Sigh. My companions are teaching me more every day even at times they make me want to lash out at them with my psychic powers.
Anyways, we decided to return to Shadow’s estate to recover from this ordeal and to drop off Boreas’ body so we could take it to the temple of Khar’shan later. As a group we decided to go to the palace to talk with Dia because of her being a student of Palladia as well as her possibly knowing something about the missing bards. I went along with this idea, but I also knew if I had the chance, I wanted to talk with Dia alone. Something about her had been bothering me since Rendu had joined our party. We no longer saw Dia much when Rendu was around; she appeared very uncomfortable when we were at the necropolis, especially near Estor Arkelander’s tomb; and she is a very confident individual, but when Rendu is around, she acts differently. I have a theory, but I have to ask her.
Briar and Leef decided to stay back to clean up at the bathhouse and would meet up with us later. I’m glad that Briar stayed with Leef. She’s better at comforting people when they are in a bad emotional state and I think of everyone, she’s the closest to Leef. I hope they were able to find some comfort talking to one another.
It took a bit for a handmaiden of the queen to find Dia for us, but while we were waiting, we noticed that the King’s silver dragon, Urianger, was circling overhead. That was definitely not foreboding at all…
Dia showed up and stated that Urianger often did that at night. It was really nice to speak with Dia. She is like Rendu in that her speaking tones are soothing. She didn’t have any information about how to find the other stolen instruments, but she did give us more information about the missing bards. She said that bards have been going missing for a few years now, but in the last 6 months, 13 have disappeared. They perform somewhere and never make it to their next destination. I asked her if she was concerned for her safety and she said that due to the palace, she wasn’t concerned.
I turned towards Actaeon then and asked if there was any information he wanted to ask Tarok while we were here about the dragonlords. Since both of them are dragonlords, maybe he could find out some more information. He didn’t seem interested, but his eyes lit up suddenly and then he was yelling at the dragon overhead that he wanted to talk to him. Not the most tactful, but that’s our Actaeon. The dragon landed and we learned during conversation with him that there are 12 young copper dragons, himself as a silver adult-looking dragon, and another silver dragon named Lachesis. Urianger also told us he was flying along the coast when he ran into the king and the king asked him if he would like to help him rebuild the order of the dragonlords. Urianger just figured he would say hello. Actaeon noted later that his story seemed scripted, this dragon doesn’t act like a normal silver dragon (personality as well as acts younger than he looks), and told us that he had been having dreams that were recovered memories of when the dragon eggs were taken.
It had been a long day and Torag really wanted another pina colossus, so we decided to go to a nearby bar to relax and drink. I told the group I would catch up with them, but that I needed to speak to Dia. Privately and telepathically I asked her why she was hiding who she truly was, not necessarily her personality, but who she is. She tried to wave off my comment, but I wasn’t finished. I knew Dia was an honest and insightful individual and I wanted her honesty. I asked her why she had been around less since Rendu came to be a part of our party and that I think it had to do with who she really is. I asked her if she was the Goddess Palladia and she didn’t deny it. She knew that because of who I am (including my telepathy), she couldn’t hide it from me. I let her know that Rendu is really heartbroken about not being able to find her and that if I still had family around that I would want to spend my time with them. She said it wasn’t that simple. She had failed to stop Estor Arkelander and for that, she didn’t deserve to enjoy happiness with Rendu or his father. The gem dragons of the first dragonlords died to save Ellandyr and in the process, the Five Immortals came into being. They didn’t just take on the names of the dragons. They also magically gained their memories. This is why in the Necropolis it was so difficult for Dia to be near Estor’s tomb. She could feel Palladia’s pain in not stopping him and she couldn’t stop him either. I told her that there is darkness in the world and some people are innately bad and if they decide that they want to do bad things, most of the time we cannot stop them. She shouldn’t torment herself for the decisions made by others. Rendu needs his mother and she deserves some happiness.
Dia said she would think about it and maybe over drinks might be able to talk to him. I told her she could choose my drink(s) if she promised to come. On our way over, I casted Sending to let Briar know we would be going to a tavern for drinks. Dia and I shared a pina colossus, and I’ll be honest, I drank too much and way too quickly. I’m not sure when Briar and Leef showed up, I was already pretty out of it. The rest of the night I can only remember bits and pieces:
Rendu and Leef appearing happy playing for everyone in the tavern… a glass of wine from Briar to Rendu… Red faced Briar… Me telling Dia she was now my friend… Torag yelling “I’m drunk” … somehow making it back to Shadow’s estate… Briar seemingly upset that Dia was now my friend and me stupidly telling her that she was still my best friend… The sound of sad, but beautiful harp music coming from the courtyard…Briar telling me I should talk to Leef… Me trying unsuccessfully to determine when I should do that… Dia disappearing… Briar shoving Leef and I out into the courtyard to dance… Me somehow on the ground… Shadow telling me he wished I wasn’t drunk because he wanted to talk to me… Me trying to eat something to be more coherent…Dia and Shadow talking about Shadow’s estate being given to the General of the city’s army, but there had not been a general for 2 years and it had been 2 years since Shadow came to be a part of the army at Ellandyr…
I know that it is normal to feel regret after having drank too much, but last night was probably a bad idea. I think I understand a little more why Leef seeks it out. It is nice to drown out sorrow and to feel carefree for a time. I miss that… Clio do you miss when we could run, run for miles with just our fey family and friends around us? Do you think we could ever get back to that?
It is morning now and I can’t help but think about Rendu’s sad harp music. I have time and haven’t done it in awhile, but Rendu… your music helped me write this:
The Reluctant Journey
I wish, I wish with all that I am
For something so small but yet so grand
I picture you in my arms right here with me
But still no where do I see
See, thee nowhere though be
Inside my mind there you be
I sit and wonder by and by
Why I have to be here alone to cry
I know its silly, I know its no good
But there it lies something I should
Should be able to see and be
But this wish I no longer see
My body is broken, it doesn’t work
It doesn’t do the normal work
I feel my sorrow, I feel my pain
And yet still to no gain
Time may be wrong, just not this moment
Though waiting is utter torment
I thought, oh I thought I’d be the exception
Oh how wrong was my perception
I’m just like others though now they’ve grown
To leave me to stand on my own