Drauka The Discoverer

Against the deadline

I sit here at the writing desk in my lavish accommodations provided me by the King, going over my notes I had written in my journal and reminiscing of the past four months; so different from my time cooped up in Sweet Creek. There, it was more like a prison than a refuge. I couldn’t venture too far outside the city walls lest I run into scouting parties from my village, and the town was so small I could walk from one end to the other in a matter of an hour on market day. The people were friendly, of course, and I did get to be around Sharic. I am just too much like my companion, Peri. Since the passing of anything that made my life matter, I can’t be locked in a cage. Oh that I could fly! The world would be my home; forest trees my roof; flowered plains my bed; and of course, kings’ tables my kitchen.

Ah, the feasting I have done these past months! It started with that first night, in King Avramson’s hall. Of course that was a mere appetizer for the Festival of Thoth.



~Of Feasting~


The Festival of Thoth was a week after the battle with the Bennubriate. I had spent the week walking the town, getting to know the lay of the streets, houses, and armaments. I woke up every day at daybreak to run the perimeter of the town, and race Peri. The poor falcon was outpaced regularly… till he would cheat and dive at me, forcing me to side-step or even roll out of the way. After a circuit I walked the streets, waiting for the world to wake up. There’s nothing in this world that compares to a fresh breakfast after a morning jog. I enjoyed sampling the different sights, smells and flavors that littered the streets when the market opens up.

One taste in particular caught my attention. They call it a Peach. Northern Peaches to be exact. I was wary when I bought my first one, as it felt like a sleeping groundhog pup. My entourage (see ‘Of Fame’ below) wouldn’t let me back down, coaxing me to eat it. I held it up to my mouth, its sweet scent making my mouth water in anticipation. I bit into the furry skin, and was surprised that it was not tough like flesh. Succulent fibers released even more aromas into the air, and I took the Peach from my mouth as I chewed the part taken from it. The sweet, smooth tang of the juice played along my tongue, and the meat, of it firm yet tender, fighting my teeth’s onslaught. I took out my knife, and took off the skin for my next bite. Juices sluiced down the blade and over my fingers as I brought it to my lips. The seed was larger than most seeds in the fruits from home, and there was only one. I have had one every day since.

The day of the Festival came finally; the 21st of Thoth. The day started with trumpeteers announcing the rising of the sun; the posts throughout the town flew banners displaying Thoth’s Eye, his symbol. The town was alive with spectacles on every corner. Jugglers, bards, dancers, festive food peddlers and the like assaulted the senses of passersby, of which there were many more on the streets due to the holiday. There were events all around town, but principally in the colosseum. It amazed me that a place of festival and show would also be a place the soldiers trained for war. ‘They must not participate in real battle, just for show,’ I thought to myself as I wove my way through the throng toward the King’s Box.

It was about noon when we were invited to enter the colosseum. At that point the royal master chef brought out the first course. Cold mead and garlick flatbread. He brought out iced peach cider for the children, so I grabbed a few of those for myself. The bread was fantastic, though I felt my stomach throw a backflip with the smell of rotten fruit. Alchohol has always repulsed me.

Course after course we were waited on. So much came in front of my face that I could scarcely taste everything before it was whisked away for some new succulence. It seemed that every nation taking residence in the kingdom was represented with their most famous recipes. I heard squeals of joy and exclamations of ‘Oh, they definitely did these ricecakes justice!!’ and so on coming from the different ambassadorial groups seated around the Box.

We sat back and relaxed as the day wore down like a birthday candle – bright with joy and savoring every last inch. By the time the moon rose, most of the children about the fairground were dropping into happiness-comas,

Ah, and as I write this, a bard is singing of the night’s events.

I tried to write every word from every verse, but there were some doggedly fast parts I couldn’t keep up with; Danzi is a very drawn out version of Faerie. So here’s his story, basically.

‘ ‘ Greminor Lector, the alchemist, and some heavily robed assistants, with help from Gavin, Tyvernos, Morgan, and Ferrel, brought out a statue some 40’ tall. The statue was then left in the center of the coliseum, as nightfall had arrived… but Greminor, in a voice that was said to be both powerful and right next to each attendee, said clearly, ‘Behold!’

The statue of Thoth then came alive! Golden daylight spread about it, and lightning erupted from its eyes, hands, and feet. A calming music came out of its mouth, and it is said that all that attended were healed of cuts, bruises, and even broken bones. Then it inspired all to rise, as it lifted up off the floor of the coliseum!! It summoned a great sword, that of Eledor! In a voice that shook the stadium it bellowed, ‘Believe in the Light, and you shall be rewarded.’ All who saw it will verify that I have spoken truthfully, with no embellishments!’ ‘

Well that was the most basic description of the events, but I remember it with caged birds and phoenixi and baal-rogs. Well maybe not, but when something is done so well that people remember it being grander than it was, it was grander than their minds can form words to describe it; and the statue was definitely grand.

I finally got a hold of Greminor, (see ‘Of Greminor’ below) though he spoke to me only in passing. I set up a day almost at the end of our stay in Avramstown to meet with him. I realized, reading the Books of CrIsis, that I needed certain items that hadn’t been awarded me by my debtor. (replaced in all published versions to ‘God’ or ‘Horus’)

Well, as I had been trying to meet with Greminor all week, and not scheduling myself in case he had a short window of availability, I started to think of what I wanted to do with three and a half more months in the city. Being able to run the city’s walls and watch the comings and goings of the guards made me miss being on the field of war, so I decided to see what I could do to for the Royal Armed Forces of Havea.



~Of Fighting~


The day after the festival, as I was probably the only one within travel distance that didn’t have a hangover, I had a little bit of fun. It started with some good-natured ribbing toward our gracious host, Anderson. I arrived in his chambers at the beginning of the second watch, and greeted him warmly. Possibly a little too loudly; though anything not whispered the day after a party is usually thought of as too loud. I asked if I would be able to train, and compete with, the best of his best fighters.

‘Of course, of course. But not today, definitely not today; much to early today; and too bright. Tomorrow; you can go to the colosseum tomorrow and search out Lord Tinor. He’ll get you set up. Chamber boy, fetch me a seal!’ ‘As you wish,’ the child at the door ran through the door, and returned a short time later with a sheaf of paper, quill, ink, seal wax and a candle. I watched interested as the king penned a quick note of recommendation, sealed it with melted wax, and pressed a wooden stamp into the deep red puddle. ‘Lord Tinor will be very easy to spot, he’ll be the biggest, most intimidating soldier on the field.’

Biggest, meanest and ugliest! I got to the colosseum the following day, and saw him easily from across the field; a beast of a wolf, and I groaned audibly when I caught sight of him. I don’t hate wolfen, unlike most Danzi, but generations of warring ancestors and a prejudiced culture are a hard thing to shake. The best that I can say is that I hate the stereotype of the Wolfen; dumb, vicious, ruthless, and Danzi-killers. Any wolfen that reinforces that stereotype and embodies it, I loathe. I have met one or two that I don’t mind.

Lord Tinor howled over the field ‘Oooooh, NEW BLOOD!’ The training soldiers about the field turned to look. Just like the rest of the town, the armed forces are a mixture of just about every ‘handsome’ race on palladium, though a vast majority of them canines. I reached him, and handed him the seal I procured the day before. ‘Oh. CrIsis member. Well you can have fun playing war, the field is yours.’ With notable disdain he smiled, stretching the scar lining his face from his temple to his Adam’s apple.

‘I wish to prove myself.’

‘You think you’re strong, do you?’

‘I may not be tougher than the toughest, but I am quicker than the quickest.’

‘TINY!’ Tinor called to his ranks, as a sizeable group had gathered around the pair. A gnome bounced through the group’s legs.

‘Yes, Lord Tinor??’ exuberantly asked as he looked expectantly up at the wolf.

‘This one seems to think he’s fast. Gather round everyone, we have a challenge for fastest!!’ and a fighting circle was formed around us. Tinor added to me as he handed over a practice sword,

‘You do mean fighting speed, right?’

‘Any sort of speed, and I am your man.’ I answered, though I had running speed in mind. How fast could this little butterball be, after all? I thought to myself.

‘Best of three points wins! Here’s your referee!’ the gravelly growl came from Tinor.
A dwarven warrior came up to us, and got us ready. ‘What are you, some sort of troll?’

‘No, I am a Danzi.’ With a deafening silence filled with a dying wind of two or three whispers I was crushed. Were these warriors so familiar with the Danzi that they knew the answer before I answered? No. It had to be the opposite. My people were so far gone that no one even recognized the name. The dwarf’s answer confirmed my fears.

‘You can’t be. They’re all dead!’ he gasped.

‘Far from dead, our cunning has kept us safe from the world’s wars.’ I replied.

Interest in the confrontation quickly wavering, the dwarf spat out, ‘We’ll talk about this later, let’s get the battle going before we have a riot.’ He scurried off to the edge and called us to our marks.

‘Go!’

Not waiting for his echo to get back to me, I flashed the blade to the diminutive shoulder of my opponent. He looked up at me, almost imperceptibly startled for a moment, with a playful bloodlust dripping from his eyes, and a grin flashed as the shocked cheers from the crowd finally let loose.

‘Point, Drauka!’

Emboldened by the cheers, I set myself for the next swing. ‘Go!’ My swing was an empty disappointment when I let it soar. Before it got even close to the gnome I knew it wouldn’t fly true. Luckily I had enough time to dodge his thrust.

‘Miss! It’s still one strike to none.’

I shook my foot, as dodging his strike I pulled a nerve in my thigh, and planted it for the next round. I white-knuckled the sword’s hilt, and set my jaw. ‘GO!’ I threw an under-swing at him, and I thought I had him, but he jumped over my sword, and landed a blow on my shoulder as he soared over my head; quite the little frog, that one.

‘HIT! One to one!’

I whipped my self around, and got into a battle-stance better suited for killing shorter opponents. Well I didn’t want to kill him, but a strike is a strike. ‘GO!’ I threw my force into a slash to his kidney, but his strike came from nowhere and hit my behind.

‘HIT AGAIN! TINY WINS!’ the dwarf roared over the cheering soldiers. Being able to best one of CrIsis was no small feat, and the gnome would no doubt have fame attached to his speed among his comrades, though I think he already did.

‘This one’s good, Lord Tinor!’ The gnome said through the congratulatory back slaps and compliments.

‘So he is,’ Tinor said contemplatively as he stroked his chin furs.

‘Lord Tinor,’ I said, offering proper respect to his office.

‘Tinor, please, it makes the little ones feel better to say the title, but there’s no need for a warrior such as you to use it,’ a chuckle rising from his chest.

‘Yes, L… Tinor. I have been cooped up for so long, I need something to do, and I have missed the Hunting Parties of my Shabet. I am at your service.’

From that day on, I went on missions with the soldiers. There were several that I grew fond of, but none as much as the General. Few have I run into truly understand my unique lust for conflict, much less share it, and Tinor does; truly. It isn’t the shedding of blood that slagues my lust during a battle, it’s knowing that I have removed an arrow pointed at the head of peace and serenity. One set of claws, one sword, one mage; One less on the field, and one less that can hurt those I care for. I have always felt this way, but ever since… my exile.. it has been nearly insatiable. There have been days it has almost blinded me.

Throughout my service to the King, I got to fight alongside Tinor. There have been many times that his feats awed me. He told me he felt the same, but there was an occasion that he cleaved a beast in two. One blow! Of course he was amazed to see how I interact with Peri and how I would be seemingly in two places at once, of course I will never tell him my secrets.

I had scoffed that every member of CrIsis will end up living in an elder’s leito, or nursebed, in Avramstown. With chagrin I catch myself planning futures here, starting an elite group of scouts, acting as a much needed liaison between Wolfen and Danzi. Of course, I would have to be accepted back into the family. I don’t see that happening, unfortunately, as I am now thick with deities. There’s no harm in dreaming, though. From the army’s side, though, it wouldn’t be that big a transition. They all respected me as one of their scouts, and they loved to try to race me on their steeds. You’d think they would give up after the first five losses.

Word spread through the town, as it’s impossible to keep secrets secret where drunk soldiers are involved, so any story of normal grandeur grows one hundred fold and spread freely.



~Of Fame (or Infamy)~


From the moment I appeared in the King’s chamber I was something of a novelty. I enjoyed it, as I had never truly thought of Danzi as rare, and I am proud to represent the race. I didn’t get nearly as much awe and praise as the rest of CrIsis, but that is understandable. It was more a childish curiosity that followed me around, and not just from the young. When I look into peoples’ eyes I see the fear and repulsion, as the Danzi face is more feral than human, but they still gather round and follow me. These few months in the manor, I still get stares from the staff. Last week, there was a poor little willow of a man, nearly decrepit with age, carrying a mountainous stack of papers and scrolls that caught a glimpse of me; in his state of rush and stress he squeaked with surprise, and a storm of papers filled the air.

‘Oh! Oh no no no no no. I must be off. It’s all out of order. No! He’ll be furious.’ Having caught his breath, he started to pick up his papers all around the floor. ‘You need to stop sneaking up on people with a face like that! You can kill people of fright, you know! ……….. Oh, my apologies! You’re a member of CrIsis; your forgiveness, sir?’ he rambled on without a pause in picking up the papers.

‘Of course, my name is Drauka, and I have only been a member for a few months.’ I offered as I helped him pick up his cargo.

Walking around town, I attracted a group of children. Like bees around a flower, there was no where I went that they did not follow, as long as I was within city limits. The first week it was the worst. There were at least twenty children, following from a short distance, whispering in a language I didn’t recognize or understand; Eastern wasn’t spoken anywhere around my Shabet or Sweet Creek. They would run up, jabber for a second, look at me expectantly, and when I didn’t respond, they would scurry back to the safety of the huddle. One of the children, an elf, figured out that I speak Elven, and there was no end to the questions; but at least they weren’t as afraid of me.

From that point on, they would ask me all sorts of questions, from ‘Why is your hair pink??’ to ‘What’re those tattoos for?’ to ‘Do something with your falcon!!’ When I would try some new fruit, they would all add their input, only some of which I truly understood. They all wanted to race me, to prove they were fast, and that they were going to grow up to be great warriors and heroes for Havea. I love children; they are the embodiment of a generation’s hope, and for anyone that pays attention, they inspire that hope and lust for life.

As the months wore on, the group of children shrunk to a handful, as the novelty wore off, but adults started to follow, mainly due to the soldiers’ drunken boasting. I was surprised to find that a group of women, and not just the service women, were very intrigued by my loincloth, or rather very irritated by it. I understand the primal desire that most can’t resist; it mixes with despair when I think of my Raq’el. But I have never felt that way toward any one before or after her.

It was interesting to see the stark difference between my popularity and Gavin’s fame, though. Instead of curiosity, it was awe, almost to desperation. He’s the only one out of the group that I have had any contact with outside the monthly feasts with the King. We met up in the month of Kym-nak-mar to visit the Pyramid of Osiris.



~Of Gods~


Gavin and I wove our way through the streets to the Temple. When we got there, the guards bowed to Gavin, barely making notice of me. It was nice getting away from the thronging worshipers. As we stepped through the temple doors, a priestess came up to us, and greeted Gavin warmly. She asked who I was, and if I wanted to worship at the Pyramid.

‘Drauka, and yes, of course I would.’ She ushered us through another set of doors leading on to a long set of stairs.

‘You must say 100 of the names of Isis in unison as you ascend the stairs. You must do it perfectly, or the wrath of the Gods will befall you, principally her highness, Isis. The first and foremost is…’ the Priestess rattled off the One Hundred names for us to recite. I am surprised I didn’t die a gruesome death for not remembering them. The gods are, after all, very self-interested.

We reached the top, and were faced with a small temple. As we walked through the doors and down the main hall, I noticed there were several statues on pedestals lining it. I recognized Horus and Thoth, so I assumed that they were of all the ‘Gods.’ Most of them seemed fairly worn, though well kept, except one. Looking at the nameplate I read ‘Bast’ I asked the Priestess leading us, but she shushed me before the question had left my lips.

We reached a bathing pool, and Gavin removed the robe he was wearing; white with his name embroidered on the back, and the symbol for CrIsis on the breast. Following suit, I remove my loincloth, and set it on the side of the pool. Entering the pool, I notice that the water had magical properties. It was cool, but not chilly; any aches and pains from battle wounds subsided, and for a moment I couldn’t feel the scar on my chest. It was as if I were weightless, without feeling or worry.

A new priestess had walked up with fresh white robes for us to wear. Why we need to wear robes is beyond me. If these gods truly were our forbearers, no matter of fabrication would be as pure and clean as our perfect flesh. When Danzi meet with their ancestors, there is no worrying about clothing, restrictions, walls, or deceit; naked, both figuratively and literally. Surely these beings that think themselves so important and powerful would feel the same?

Having slipped into the restrictive white robes, I looked toward Gavin. He and the priestess were walking down a hallway apart from which we came. I notice a portal, and I can feel the magic of it; very strong. We reached the threshold, and Gavin just walked through without hesitation. I entered behind him.

We found ourselves on a dune in the middle of a desert. The sand beneath my bare feet was warm, but not hot. Looking around, I appreciated the clear blue sky, it was a beautiful sight; the deep blue directly above, and light blue at the horizon. Directly in front of us was a great pyramid, and at its peak a shaft of blue light barely visible against the blue sky backdrop. It appeared more than ten miles away when we started walking, but we reached it after a very short walk.

We climbed the passageway, and came upon a room with a tongue at the center, suspended in the same blue light that appeared to be rising from the peak. In the room with us were huge lion-faced beings in white robes. They usher us through a huge set of golden doors. As we passed into the room, I feel a deep sense of peace. I notice the absence of sound, though it isn’t a restrictive absence, it’s freeing. For the second time that day, I felt weightless.

The Ramen walked me over to an open area on the floor, and motioned for me to sit down. He sat down in an awkward position, the ‘Lotus’ position, and I clumsily mimicked him. He spoke, and I nearly jumped from my skin; it made the silence seem even more omnipresent. He said ‘We shall meditate, let me show you how.’ He extended his hand toward my forehead, not breaking eye contact with me. His palm rested on my head, and I felt myself surge upward, though when I looked down, I saw myself, still in the lotus position, with the feline hand on my face. I tried to move forward, to get a better look, and I was yanked back into my body.

I blinked my eyes open, and the Ramen said ‘Now that you know what needs to be done, you can start learning for yourself. Concentrate and clear mind; you can do it.’ He started to give me instruction, and I tried to follow. After a very long time of trying, I found I was able to reliably get into the meditative state, but whenever I tried to move, I was still unable to. I noticed Gavin was meditating the entire time, with no problems. ‘Don’t worry, you aren’t expected to run the first time you walk.’

‘Thanks, I guess.’ I proceeded to ask the Ramen why a creature as fierce-looking as he was stuck as a caretaker to a tongue. I explained that I love being able to fight for my cause. He replied that he too loves to fight, but service in the temple is required of every Ramen. After a year of clerigical service another of his brethren would replace him, and he would be able to return to the battle field.

He left Gavin and I to ourselves, having served his purpose as teacher. No sooner had the door shut than a god appeared in the room beside us. No announcement… again. Gavin immediately disrobed, and fell prone. I left my robe on, and did the same. After a second facing the floor, I looked back up to him.

‘Arise.’ Horus said. Lifting my head, I notice several very gruesome wounds. Looking at him closer, I can see he’s been on the battlefield. Gavin offered ‘Is there anything I can do for you?’ Horus shook his head and said, ‘No, I just need to meditate for the month. I will not respond if I am prayed to. I decided to seek Drauka out before I retreated, though, as he was never given a proper sending away. Gavin, please wait outside.’

Gavin closed the golden doors behind him, and it was just me and Him.

‘Drauka, I am proud to have you as a servant, and that you were chosen for CrIsis. Revenge tastes sweet, but has a bitter aftertaste. But as such, give full force, and no forgiveness. I have had the pride of serving by Ra’s side in this war, and he has taught me there is a time for forgiveness, and there is a time for none. Is there anything that you wish to ask of me?

‘It is good to see that you have a warrior’s spirit. I would like to know how you have kept up your side of our bargain.’ I asked

‘Don’t speak of our dealings to anyone save the members of CrIsis alone. It is secret. Your writings will be edited by the gods before they are sent to Rod Rambler, so don’t censure those.’

‘Your village is safe and well, though I haven’t gotten an update since I returned from war, so if you would excuse me.’ His face twisted in concentration. Moments later he said, ‘It appears that they are, as we speak, having a joined Clan Mote. The E’dehko clan shamans felt that they needed to join their Mote with your shabet in light of the events recently plaguing their clan and the region.’

‘It makes me happy to know that you have kept your end, though having a joined Clan Mote… I never thought something like that would happen in my lifetime. It seems this war is reaching even the godless.’

‘Anything else you wish to ask?’

‘Yes, what does the second sun mean? I was told that it was you that made it rise,’ Irritation flashing only momentarily across his face.

‘Yes, the Second Sun is something I have capability to do to inspire others. I did it for Raf’s coronation, and for you joining CrIsis, among other reasons. Be strong, and remember that all gods need Prayer, belief and wish to have their churches grow. Be well.’ Horus disappeared with those last words. He always seems to generate more questions than he answers. I do not ask the questions I fear he will not answer fully. We left the temple, rejuvenated, though confused. On my way out, I decided to donate one thousand five hundred to the church.

The rest of my stay in Avramstown passed much like the first – War in the Woods, followed by Peaches with the People. All up until the last three days of my stay. Finally, I could visit Greminor.



~Of Greminor~


The day after we fought Tyvernos, I wanted to go back to Greminor’s. That morning I asked around for directions to get to Greminor’s. As I was with everyone, I wasn’t positive I could get there by myself. Though, I might have been better off just going off instinct.

In Havea, the prevalent language is Eastern. I still speak practically no Eastern, though I have picked up a few words and phrases. It took me an hour to find someone who understood Elven enough to point me in the right direction. I left the manor and made my way through the packed streets. News had gotten out that CrIsis was in town, and everyone was putting out their best for us.

I made it to the Alchemist’s shop, and to my dismay it had a sign in the window that said Closed in Elven among several other languages. I turned back and decided to go running to let off steam. After a lap, I wandered the streets the rest of the day. I returned every morning before my lap the rest of that first week, but the same story. Finally I spoke with Greminor at the Festival, and we set up an appointment.

By the 27th of Od, I had done about as much as I wanted, and the only thing left was to meet with Greminor. He had intrigued me ever since I convinced him to help us. The link between people connected through the Soultouch tattoo is a unique one. I got to the shop, and I was happy to see the closed sign gone from the window.

As I walked up to the door, a worn-out Gavin and Morgan stumbled out of it. ‘Oh, hi Drauka, good to see you. We’ll see you after we pass out!’ They stumbled down the path back to the manor. I walked through the door to the shop, and I hear someone clap twice. The lights inside the store light instantly.

Sitting around a table were the phoenixi and baal-rog assistants and Greminor. On the table was a strange game by the name of Mace 100. There were little figurines strewn about a painted wooden board. It looked like a miniature war room I had seen while working with Lord Tinor. Upon seeing me, Greminor said, ‘ah, Drauka. Tim, you did remember he was coming? Get the door.’ the baal-rog grumbled as he locked the door and put up the ‘closed’ sign. ‘Have you ever played?’ He asked, motioning toward the table. I answered that I hadn’t ever seen it. ‘Terrible! Well, you must learn!’ Pleasure before business, I guess.

I learned the game, kind of; I lost rather quickly. It’s not my fault there were odd limitations added to certain units that shouldn’t have been, and others didn’t have enough limitation! After I was properly defeated, Greminor asked the phoenixi to put the game away. He jumped up and surried behind his desk. I noticed a sign behind the counter that said ‘To Greminor, the Greatest Alchemist in the World, from CrIsis.’ With a decent painting of them next to it. Near that is an odd-looking crown of banana leaves.

‘So, you said you had a proposition for me?’

‘Yes. I did. I noticed you eyeing my tattoos earlier. It was different from the normal eyeing. You want to study my them. I am here to let you, in exchange for something of equal value.’ I had thought he would be like the Shazni-Kratos, hungry for knowledge. I did not realize he would be exactly like them, jealously hoarding his knowledge and abilities. I enjoy his company, and he is a very interesting person to be around. But everyone has their flaws… well I guess it’s not so much a flaw to protect that what you feel makes you of value to yourself and others.

No sooner had I said those words as the alchemist lept across the counter. ‘Oh, amazing. Look at this here, and that there. And they do nothing when I touch them.’ I flinched back when he touched my Kratos. He waved at the bookshelf, and one of the volumes floated off. It opened itself on the table, and a quill flew over and started to write the words that were said between us.

‘Daft alchemist. You never think, do you?’ the phoenixi scolded as she crossed the room, ‘Can we get you some food, water?’

‘I will have some juice. Do you have any peach?’ Remembering the fantastic iced cider from the Festival.

‘Sure, dear.’ and it went off to get some.

Greminor continued asking questions, and I continued answering. Eventually I had told him everything I knew about the Kratos, and how they are made, which is to say nothing. Shazni-Kratos jealously guard their tattoos, and methods. When Greminor asked his final questions, he appeared downcast. After all that, I guess I didn’t really teach him anything. If he were a bard, it would have been a different story, but as he deals in magic and not happenings, it was relatively useless. He told me the monetary value of the information, and I understood just how much.

I bartered with him, some gold that I was lent by the group for a ring of See Invisible, and five potions of superior healing. He asked Tim to go and get the items from the back. ‘you’d think you’d let a baal-rog crush or break something, not play fetch.’ the grumblings died off as he disappeared into the back.

‘Is that it? Nothing else? My my my….’ Greminor asked incredulously.

‘Um… no?’ Not wanting to disappoint him, I started to search for something else that I could buy.

‘What about a weapon?’ His eyes lit up.

‘Sure.’ Come to think about it, I had never really owned a weapon of high quality before.

Excited, Greminor made some strange gestures, and we found ourselves on a desert isle. What is it with these people and teleportating? Do they really hate their homeland THAT much? He ran into the little shack a short way away, and came back out with a ramshackle wooden table. He whipped out a white tablecloth, spread it over the table, and put four swords that looked like something out of children’s stories.

‘How do these differ from mine?’ I asked, partially for him, partially for me.

‘Oh, well these are of better quality. They’re good, if I do say so myself, and I did, didn’t I?’ He picked up the first sword in the row, a polished falchion. Greminor swung it with ease and ability; obviously he knows his way around swords. My father always told me that I should only trust a baker that eats his own bread. This baker is one to trust. ‘This beauty…. Oh! Silly me…’ The sword catches fire. He swung it once more and sheathed it. ‘Care to try? This one is called ‘The Flamer’.’ Well I know why it hasn’t sold yet. He sheathed it, and the flame went out. I took it, and whacked the tree he indicated. He put out the tree after I had tested the balance. I laughed as I sheathed it. ‘I guess you have found your sword, then?’

‘I would like to see the rest of them, I am quite enjoying this.’

‘Oh, of course.’ Greminor put the falchion back, and picks up the next, a bastard sword. He held it up, pointed it at a tree, and let loose a clap of lightning that blows away a branch on a nearby tree. ‘It does that three times per day, and also can generate a Blinding Flash three times per day.’ Nameless, and without too much flare, at least not for me. I took it, tested it, and handed it back.

I looked at the next swor….. I mean handle. Yes, a handle without a blade. It strikes a memory. Sitting in my bed, listening to the bass rumble of my father’s voice reenacting legends. Painting scenes of great destruction and glory. One in particular, of King Rodamant, a Wolfen hero. One of his ‘famous’ swords was an invisible cutlass. It was with him with the first incursions a couple hundred years ago. I asked, ‘Is it… ‘ Greminore nodded after a furtive glance around, for prying eyes and ears. As if there were someone there to hear. He handed it to me and I tested it out. I thought I had found my sword. Here, finally, a piece of history. Past glory toward future victory. It was like meeting a fairytale hero in the flesh… well it wasn’t just ‘like’. I swung it, and lovingly put it into its scabbard. I handed it back to him.

Greminor put back on the table, and looked at the final sword with apprehension, almost guarded. He pulled it from its scabbard. It almost looked like my flamberge. Almost. Except it glowed bright white. I picked it up, and everything else melted away. I could feel the power seeping from it. Not scary power. Holy power. I swung it once. Just once and I was sold. There was no island, there was no sand, trees, ocean, hut or table. Sold….. oh crap. How much.

‘How much…..’ almost not wanting to make the moment feel cheap, I couldn’t finish the thought.

‘As you’re in CrIsis, you get the discount. I will require your soul.’ I blanched, but then I realized he was joking… kind of. ‘You must call this weapon the Lector’s Revenge! If you leave CrIsis whilst alive, as I have offered this discount, you must return this to me immediately. If you leave CrIsis through death, since I have offered such an amazing discount, the sword must be returned. You must make CrIsis, since this is at such a discounted rate, SWEAR!! Swear upon their gods.’ I agreed.

We returned back to the shop.

I am done relating my ‘vacation’. It is finished. I pen these last lines and colapse into sleep, for tomorrow we go to Sinza.

>>As written by Drauka, in the language of Danzi, translated by Thoth. The second log of Drauka, Mercenary Danzi Warrior, Written on Od 27 in Drauka’s 105th year.<<

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