Part 15: Relight

1 to Verdant Sun, Voelis

This has been one very horrible day, and it doesn’t seem to be ending. Torag is fine now. He’s sitting up again and talking with his father and Azorius. I can’t hear what they’re saying, but I can guess it’s something private and I shouldn’t be eavesdropping. We gave the Forgekeeper the contract. She used her heat and melted it into fiery bits, though she reiterated her Oath of Service with Shadow.

Shadow and Clio both said to Cindra that she had been imprisoned for far too long. Clio even apologized to her for their harsh treatment. They must have both heard me scoff. Shadow said something harsh No, that’s not true. He was just trying to be careful. Clio said nothing to me.

Azorius began talking to the Forgekeeper about his plans to assist us in creating things to help us fight against the titans. The two exchanged many words on the subject. The rest of us opted to stay out of the conversation. Cindra really dislikes Azorius. Centuries of being left alone in the forge would do that to a person, I suspect.

While they were discussing things, Actaeon went back to the furnace room. Briar, I think, was curious about what he was doing and excused herself. They came back about half an our later, making a terrible commotion. Actaeon was rambling, and Briar was as pale as a ghost. He kept saying something about holes, but he was covered in dark black blood. Briar casually mentioned that she had watched Actaeon slaughtering the behir’s body, trying to harvest organs, glands, teeth, and other horrid things. Beyond the furnace room, they found that large hole that leads to the Underdark. I – or anyone, for that matter – could tell that Briar was very disturbed, but not from the Underdark, I think.

We need rest. It’s awful, Heath, I feel absolutely terrible. Torag died because of me. Shadow… well, I don’t know what he’s thinking. Actaeon is manic, I think. Clio hates me. Briar pities me. I’m useless. I’m-

Day of Verdant Sun, Voelis

My love, I think I dozed off while writing that last entry. It’s exhausting to be in here, so far away from the Morninglord’s watchful face. I just want to see the sun again. It’s quiet here now. I don’t think Cindra sleeps. She keeps watching us all, with a sort of longing in her eyes. Not because she’s trapped anymore. She can leave now. It’s more of… I don’t know how to describe it. I don’t think she’s spoken to anyone in such a long time.

It’s hard to sleep on the floor. I lost my blanket in the elevator. Torag lent me his sleeping bag for the night. I don’t have the heart to tell him that it stinks terribly. I think I’ll try washing it for him first chance I get. But while I was trying to get comfortable, I overheard Briar and Dia talking.

She’s worried about all of us. She told Dia about our conversation and my mistake of trying to free Cindra before the rest of us was ready. Briar’s particularly worried about Actaeon. He seemed nonchalant about Torag dying, almost as if it either didn’t matter to him or he was so upset he became manic. He brutalized the behir’s body. Dia just suggested that our group gets together to talk about these things. If we are to work together, we need to be honest with each other to understand our inner motives. Briar agreed with her, and I think I agree, too.

I’m going to try to sleep again now. Good night, Heath. Oh, Morninglord, get me out of this place!

Day of Verdant Sun, Voelis

Remember when we were kids and you told me you liked to write? Well, that love of writing is making me write a lot now, too. You told me you wanted me to move on if you were ever to pass away, and it’s hard for me to do that. I guess writing these letters to you is helpful. It’s like we’re still able to talk regularly.

Clio was watching over us while we slept. Dia and Azorius had never gone to sleep either. Vaevictus, on the other hand, was so soundly asleep that I don’t think a lion could wake him right now. At the first chance I had, I snuck away from the group to find Azorius. The dwarf god had been in the forge’s furnace chamber most of the evening, trying to put together pipes, find tools, and tidy the place up before Cindra would light the forge.

I made sure we were alone and I produced the seraph skins that the Stranger had given me. Azorius said he could make some special robes for me, something I imagine would be similar to what the high priest wore back in Ylisee. But unlike that high priest, I would wear them with pride and honor. Azorius promised he could make something out of it, but it required some exotic metals to weave into the fabrics. Gold or platinum would suffice. Now I have to figure out how to convince Shadow to give me some of the money we recovered from the behir without him getting suspicious. He’ll be so cross when he learns how I got these seraph skins.

As I left the furnace room, I saw Torag and Clio coming in. I ducked past them as quick as I could, trying to not make eye contact. I killed Torag and Clio hates me now. I did not want to speak to them, so I just avoided them. But I stayed at the entrance to the furnace and listened for a moment. Torag was asking about relighting the forge and Clio wanted to make something with the quartz opal forget-me-not flowers she and Briar found in the troglodyte tunnels. She’d look so pretty with those flowers

As I found the rest of the group, I saw Actaeon fiddling with ropes. He seemed intent on making a pulley system to bring Triple down into the caves with us, but Dia was trying to tell him that the dinosaur would be fine up above. Briar was still sleeping. Shadow approached me, though, and wanted to speak privately.

Long story short, we made amends. I apologized for being to hasty about trying to free the Forgekeeper. I tried to explain that we were all so secretive around ourselves, but demanded intimate details from the lives of others, and that’s not what heroes should do. He apologized for not trusting me. He just wanted to keep all of us safe. We were both in the right, and we were both in the wrong.

We then… confessed our guilt to one another about Torag’s death. I told him I was trying to be a hero. But he told me he did the same. We could have helped our friend, but we were selfish instead. Now, we’ve promised one another to look out for our friends and act like heroes. We embraced and I feel a lot better now. We don’t want to keep secrets from each other anymore.

I feel horrible about the seraph skins. I’m a liar, just like the high priest always said I was. Shadow’s going to hate me.

Briar’s awake now. Cindra is going to try to relight the forge soon. I’ll write more later.

Day of Verdant Sun, Voelis

Everything stinks again, Heath. Again! Those brutish troglodytes came up at us and-

Getting ahead of myself again.

The Forgekeeper has now lit up the forge again. It took a while. She disappeared in the pool of lava for a long time. After a while, she came out and said things were lit. Azorius called from the furnace room to confirm this. He was about to ask us what he was going to start making first when Briar, Shadow, and I heard the elevator’s familiar clicking sound. We positioned ourselves for another fight. As we did, Cindra told us that one other creature knew the password to the elevator: an intelligent troglodyte.

I tried to reason with him. We all did. The troglodyte king (at least, I think he was a king) would not listen. He commanded his people to kill everything in their path. But a quick few jabs, stabs, and flames later, we had defeated the most of them.

Before we could celebrate, Azorius called out that more troglodytes were coming after him. Briar and Clio rushed off to assist. Shadow and Actaeon were both injured in the fights against the brutes, but they stood their ground and intended to capture the king. Torag left us to help Briar and Clio. I intended to stay with Shadow and Actaeon, but I heard Dia shout from the next room. “There’s more, and they’re coming, and there’s more, and they’re coming…”

I gave a quick blessing to Actaeon to help him feel better after the fights, and sped away. I saw Dia giggling to herself as she cast some strange spell that pelted one of the troglodytes down to the ground. I wanted to say something to her, like “Cool wand!” or “That was nuts!”, but all that came out was, “Ughh ahhh coool ooooohh”

Here’s what happened. Briar set up a nice trap that killed some of the monsters before she, Clio, and Azorius were on the defensive. Azorius cast a spell on Briar’s staff, imbuing it with flames. The three of them defeated their enemies without too much trouble. Torag tried to meet up with them but was pinned by more brutes. I summoned the Morninglord’s radiance and cast them aside before summoning a trio of fireballs, keeping an advancing troglodyte off Briar. Clio finished off the rest.

We gathered back at the elevator. Actaeon and Shadow were very hurt, but there enemies lay dead at their feet. The king gnashed against Actaeon but Shadow put an arrow through its neck. He wouldn’t listen to reason. He insisted on fighting to the end.

And so passes the troglodyte king. Cindra said he was very intelligent, enough to reason and speak. Not enough reason to surrender. I hate killing things, people, whatever. But I think the world is better without this king and his cronies.

With the last of them dead, I think we all need to rest again. That said, I’m actually not that sleepy!