Part 10: Meteor

3 to Verdant Sun, Voelis

I am beginning to think we may not have another peaceful day for a long time. I daresay my life in the Emerald Isles is full of chaos, much more so than the life we shared back in Ylisse. It was simpler back then. The greatest threat to our normal routine was that girl who kept finding knives and chasing me. Or the boy who kept throwing me in the river. Today, lizardmen tried to shoot poison-tipped darts at me. I mean, all of these people meant to kill me, to be sure. But the lizardmen had actual weapons instead of rocks and trickery.

I guess we started everything as if it were a normal day. So that’s good. While we prepared for our day, Briar cast a spell and told us we’d see nothing but sunshine and moonlight. Shadow and Torag, knowing the path we should take, led us deeper into the Obsidian Sierras. The mountains were vast and tall above us, stretching as far as we could see. We had long since left the cover of the trees – something that I noticed did not sit well with Clio.

We spent the day talking again, like how we had done last night. It’s nice to feel like we’re finally getting to know each other. If we’re meant to be heroes of prophecy and save the Emerald Isles, we should learn more about each other. That said, I can still honestly say I don’t know much about them.
For my part, I wish to become good friends with each of them. Actaeon opens up more and more each day, though he’s mostly scheming with Torag. Torag interjects a few quips about the history of the Emerald Isles to me when he disagrees with something that someone else has said. Briar continues teaching me Sylvan, though she seems very distant today. Clio is much friendlier than when we first met and sometimes I catch myself st. Dia explained to me that Shadow is acting very father-like to me in a way. I wouldn’t really know much about that, but it makes me feel awful. It’s going to break his heart when he finds out I made that oath with the Stranger. But seraph skin is… well, you know, Heath. It’s not exactly common.

At night, we made a small camp on some rock crags. The night was lit by Zerender’s twin moons. It seemed almost bright enough to read by the light tonight, and it was beautiful. It’s been a long time since I paid attention to it, but up here in the cool mountains with no campfire – the others suggested we not draw attention to ourselves – the light was a blessing.

Briar and Actaeon took the first watch while the rest of us closed our eyes. But not five minutes had passed before we heard a resounding boom from further into the mountains. A meteor shower was flowing over our heads. One of the meteors broke away from the rest and had impacted the mountain only about one mile from us.

Torag was immediately interested in this. Star metal was something Azorius asked him to acquire. While the others packed up our small camp, I flipped my divining coins. The Morninglord said this was neither weal nor woe, but we prepared ourselves for danger nonetheless. Briar cast a spell, too. She muttered some incantation that made us all move quietly through the mountains.

Near the crater where the meteor fell, Torag, Shadow, and Clio offered to scout ahead. They climbed up an old and worn path to the side of the mountain. They saw the crater with the still-smoking meteor in it, being picked at by an extremely large lizardman. Other lizardmen were around it, watching for intruders like ourselves. The leader was astride an allosaur, commanding the large brute to gather the star metal from the meteor.

I’m obviously going to write about the skirmish that happened on this mountain, but first I need to say something. I honestly thought the others were jesting about the dinosaur thing. But here’s an allosaur! Dinosaurs are real! Giant lizards with… so many teeth.

Clio telepathically told us what was going on, so Briar, Actaeon, and I began sneaking our way up the mountain. I cast a miracle spell behind me to cause a distraction. It worked for the most part until a smaller lizardman saw Briar and blew a poison dart into her flank. Briar cried out and almost slipped down the mountain.

Shadow heard this and immediately reacted. Springing from his hiding place, he drew his blades and dashed towards the attacker. Unfortunately, he missed seeing another lizardman right in front of him and ended up in combat there instead. Torag jumped out of hiding, too, and was almost immediately surrounded. Actaeon, leaving Briar and I behind, charged forward and joined Torag in the fray.

The lizardmen, as I said, surrounded Torag and now Actaeon. The two of them raised their shields and defended themselves well enough. Clio took a poison dart to the arm. The sickness made her feel woozy, as if she couldn’t use her psychic blades as well as she normally would. Instead, she gave a telekinetic shove and knocked the lizardman chief off the allosaur. The dinosaur was confused by the ruckus and started attacking anything around it.

Briar and I exchanged a quick look. We knew we had to get to the crater and help our friends. I meant to use a spell on her to remove the poison, but she had already gone ahead of me. She and I each cast a spell to help our friends. Briar’s called down moonlight to scorch the lizardmen. Mine was a light from the Morninglord. Sunlight and moonlight together.

The lizardmen began to panic. Shadow and I could hear their cries. They had attacked us, likely thinking they could easily pick us off, but now they regretted the action. Still, they intended to kill. I called out to them in their language: “Drop your weapons and this will be over!” I meant it, too. I didn’t want to kill any of them. But they did not stop.

Shadow broke away from the group and Clio joined him. The two fought off more of the smaller lizardmen. Briar and I stayed close together, throwing fireballs anywhere we could. Torag and Shadow were still in the center of the chaos but the fight was going their way. The only problem was the allosaur. But in a moment, the dinosaur backed off. It had bit at Actaeon many times, but suddenly it took a few steps back and shook its head.
The chief of the lizardmen ran to the dinosaur and jumped onto its back. But as it did, the allosaur bucked him off before backing away further. Torag raised his hoof and stamped down onto the chief, killing the creature, before turning his attention and fists toward the other lizardmen soldiers around him.

By this point, the large brute in the crater had been burned heavily by Briar’s moonlight spell. Despite this, it didn’t seem to notice. It’s attention was fixed solely on the meteor. He removed a shiny chunk of ore from the meteor and began to leave. Clio used her powers again and pulled the ore from it. We are fortunate that the large brute was so fixed on his mission. Not only did it not notice us or the moonlight burning it, but it didn’t seem to notice that Clio had stolen the star metal from its arm. It just lumbered away and out of sight.

The last of the lizardmen were defeated without trouble. Clio deflected a poison dart aimed at Shadow and Shadow fired his bow, killing his would-be attacker. Actaeon impaled another. Briar created an immolating fire and consumed one in writhing flames. Torag leapt forward and dashed the last against a rock. There wasn’t anything left for me to do. Our attackers were defeated and we had the star metal!

Clio is an amazing person. Despite the poison still in her veins, she focused her mind through the sickness and turned the tides of this fight in our favor. The reason the allosaur stopped attacking us and bucked off the chief is because Clio spoke to it with her mind. She promised it food and nurturing if it would join our group. The allosaur, while not exactly friendly with us, was no longer hostile. Clio named it Alfred the Armored Allosaur (named for the bone armor it wore while under the command of the lizardman chief). We’ve taken to calling him Triple, or Triple-A.

Dia, who had been watching from afar, joined us on the mountain. She told us that she did not hear anything else around the area and that this place at the crater might be a good place to sleep for the night. We began making camp. Briar and I moved the bodies of the lizardmen away from us. Actaeon recovered a large collection of weapons from them. Shadow and Clio fed Alfred some of the fish we caught today. Torag just watched the landscape.

When we were finally going to sleep, I think I was still in a rush from the fight. I should have been much more tired than I was. I just lay there, staring up at the moonlight. Bright as it was, I still did not like the dark. After all these years, it still bothers me. I found Torag overlooking the cliff side.

I figured now would be a good time to talk to him. He permitted me to light a candle and I immediately felt better. Then, I just blurted it out. I couldn’t help it. I had to ask him why he had such a strange relationship with his father, grandfather, and the others in his family. At first, he just grunted and said he didn’t know them. I shouldn’t have pried as I did, but I shapeshifted into Vaevictus and asked him, “What would you want to say to your father?”

Torag seemed really bothered by this. I thought he might hit me so I became myself again. He confessed that he was abandoned as a child. His mother was killed by a dragon and some monks raised him instead. Vaevictus and the others in his family did not seek him out. They did not see to him or his health. Vaevictus focused on drinking. Azorius kept to his forge. Anora, Torag’s sister, was to be the next ruler of Altea. No one was there for Torag. He asked me, “Why should I be there for them?”

What could I say? At least I understand him better now. He and I are very similar. We’re both orphans. His family abandoned him. My birth mother did the same to me. But he at least still has a living family. I don’t. He may yet be able to make amends. I can’t ask him to do something like that, though. That is hard to do, especially when they’ve made no attempt to do the same.

Torag and I watched the meteor shower for a little while longer. I couldn’t muster the nerve to talk to him any further. He didn’t seem to mind the silence, though. We just sat by the candlelight, watching the camp and the sky.

I want my family back. I miss Mother. I miss you. I’m glad I have friends now, but I miss having someone to love. Someone who cares about me. Someone who picks me up when I’m down. Someone who will hold me when the lights go out. Now, all I have is a candle.

2 to Verdant Sun, Voelis

It’s a new, bright and beautiful day. We’re getting ready to head further into the mountains now. Clio watched the camp after Torag’s watch was over and I finally went to sleep. Today, we will –

Oh, no!

Centaurs are coming!