Letter Number Two

Message in a Bottle

Dearest Rebecca,

I am tempted as I sit down to write to send this missive through a magical pigeon. Yes, you heard me. Apparently we have each been given three copies of the spell in the form of a scroll. I don’t know what to do, but as Thoth gave the scrolls to us for a purpose, and I can’t believe that it is to send three letters to my wife.

My wife…that is such a strange concept. I have long, well long for me anyway, thought of you as a friend, but to think of you as more, as a part of me, my companion through life, is almost more than I can believe.

Enough of that. You know my regard for you, and I must tell you of the things that have happened in the past three days since writing my previous letter.

It was the morning of Thoth 9, and the bandits had left, leaving us with a wild boar. It would seem that Cava’s congress with them bore unexpected fruits, or at least fruit of a different type. They were bandits, but I find myself unable to condemn another man for something that was less than I myself have committed, even if I myself no longer remember it.

We had a quick council and decided that we would likely need to fly to find the location of this fabled lake, the middle of which contained the Isle of Set. Something within me feels a foreboding as we approach the Isle, and I hope that it is simply the general unease which I feel trying to measure up to the other members of the legendary CrIsis.

As Tyvernos refused to fly all of us, complaining of a lack of power, Gavin was sent to scout for us. Cava stepped forward into a leadership role in all of this, and I find that it suits him. While he does not have the skills of speech that others in the group possess, when he does speak, people listen. I find myself willing to defer to his judgment, for even if he seems younger than my biological years, he is much more experienced in the world than my mental years allow.

Gavin quickly scouted the island and told us the location of much of the surrounding flora, and a good portion of the man made structures. We took our bearings from that, and began to head in the direction of our proposed destination.

We rested that night, secure in the knowledge that on the morrow we would see the object of this quest. The night passed without real trouble, and the next morning we again set out. The day was beautiful. Truly comfortable, and the sky was a clear blue. It made me wonder what the weather was like for you. Many things remind me of you these days, and I promise to keep myself safe, should it be Horus’ will, and return to you one day.

The idyl was shattered by the sound of a troupe descending upon our position. We took up defensive positions with Overkill sounding the retreat and climbing a tree. Cava also climbed a tree, but with how he readied his bow I can only assume that it was to get a better angle at our pursuers.

I readied my bow in my main hand, and my axe in my off, and prepared to fight, should other avenues fail us. Gavin grabbed his wife and jumped up into a tree. Tyvernos jumped into a bush shouting something about mushrooms.

Soldiers came into view a short while later, and they called out to us. It transpired that they were lead by a soldier named Raf with whom CrIsis had dealings before I arrived. He’d been contacted by Thoth in a dream, something for him that was out of the ordinary, and told that we were truly sent by the Gods. With how shaken he appeared having only seen a God in a dream, I wonder how meeting one face to face would alter him. I know it changed me.

The other members of CrIsis talk of speaking with Gods face to face, and I can only boggle at it. I am a normal elf of unassuming nature. Who am I to be thrust into the heady air that these people breathe. I know how Raf feels at the moment, either way.

Overwhelmed.

Raf tells the other soldiers to return to Ferra Simsar and joins us, offering to guide us to the lake. We accept his help not without some complaints from Cava. If what they say of what happened in the past are true, then I can’t blame them.

We are walking for a couple of hours when Raf points out a trip-line laid by a spider. Were it to be a regular sized spider, it would have been nothing more than a naturalist curiosity. As it was the size of a rope, it was much more than that. We were wary, but nothing happened to us that confirmed it as anything more than caution.

Upon reaching the lake, Raf prepared to bid us farewell when we requested him to come with us. I’m unsure who first proposed it, but in the end it seemed to gain general acclaim. He was unsure of his place in our quest, and unsure what we were about so Cava asked Karma to show him the finger.

After Flipping Raf off, she pulled the finger of Osiris from her bodice and showed it to him. Raf bowed before it. I wanted to do the same. Who are CrIsis that they treat such a holy relic so casually?

We unanimously ratify Raf joining us after he finally accedes to our request.

After a short argument of how we are to cross occurred, we finally decided on using the Karma Air Ferry service offered by none other than Karma. Tyvernos will be giving her flight on the morrow, and she will ferry us across two at a time.

I had first watch with Raf. I’m not sure what happened. Either Raf is a much better card sharp than I am, or I was so horrible at it last night that I helped him to win. He took the deck in payment as he wanted nothing else. The deck. I feel so horrible about losing something touched by the Gods, but I put it up and he won. I can’t very well tell him I was cheating in his favor, now can I. And if he was cheating? Well, people often react violently when they are called out.

After losing, we notice that there are five humanoid heads moving through the forest. Unaware what it might be, I yell out, “To Arms!” leaping to my feet.

The heads leave, and everyone grumbles. Cava mentions something about me being a ‘New Guy’ to Overkill and they all go back to sleep.

I’d only just gotten to sleep when Cava yelled out, “Karma, It’s for you!”

The heads I saw earlier were attached to Centaur bodies. This would be the first strange visitor over the next couple of hours that would cryptically warn us about going to the island. We realize that the area is dangerous. Telling us it is dangerous does nothing for any of us.

Cava tells us about this point that Necrom, an evil sword wrapped in leather, is talking to him. I’m worried about this, but as everyone else takes it as a matter of course I don’t raise my voice.

The next day, Thoth 11, dawned clear and bright. It was, if anything, even more perfect than the previous day. Tyvernos cast flight upon Karma, and the rest of us watched as Karma, Gavin, and Overkill left in the first flight of the day.

Soon we saw a dragon approaching Karma through the air, as a sea serpent approached us along the water. Cava was hurt by the serpent, and Karma by the dragon. In the end, Tyvernos’ air elemental killed the serpent and the dragon demanded that we get him a blue diamond. I was all for just getting the diamond for the dragon, but other people had other ideas.

In the end we agreed, but there were calls by one or two people to deceive the dragon. I wonder at CrIsis considering deceit of a being who has done nothing but deal with us truthfully…so far. We attacked the dragon when he demanded we surrender. Sometimes it makes sense to concede defeat rather than court death.

I am not a coward. You know this. Sometimes though, an intelligent person has to recognize their limits, and fighting a fully grown Ice Dragon seems to be a bit beyond us at the present time.

After the non-fight with the dragon, we ferried across to the island. No sooner were we there then a crashing sound announced some large beast running through the forest. We ran from it. We’d had enough of dragons, serpents, and anything else big and nasty. Karma, Gavin, and Tyvernos fell as we ran, unnoticed by any but Cava.

He called for us to stop and help the fallen, which we, mostly, did. A big thing with three eyes on stalks charged out of the woods after us. It had been saying “Squirrel Run” as we were running from it, and Cava said ‘Squirrel that way,” pointing off to the right. The thing didn’t buy it, as it called itself squirrel.

Gavin did a backflip to try to regain his feet and landed on his stomach. Apparently he put too much of his psionic energy into the feat. Karma did a backflip at the same time, only she landed on her feet. Never thought I’d see a centaur do a backflip.

Karma planted her lance in the dirt like a pike and the creature impaled itself upon it. In an effort to help, Raf threw Gavin at the beast, where he seemed to be frozen in fear. We were ripping into the nasty beast when it decided to shoot rays of light from its eyes. Karma was turned to stone, but the other two people that it looked at avoided the rays.

As soon as the beast began to really bleed, it ran away from us. Everything deserves the opportunity to learn from its mistakes, even twenty foot tall stone-turning beasts like that one.

Raf returned Karma to her fleshy form and we considered that battle over.

As our healers and mages were wiped out of power completely by the two battles in quick succession, they decided to stay under Karma’s care while the rest of us (Cava, Overkill, Raf, and I) went scouting. We saw another of the eyestalk creatures, but we hid and it passed us by.

Necrom didn’t leave us alone. Raf grabbed the sword and tried to run. Cava tripped him as he ran away. I tried to knock him out, but I failed to strike him just right. Raf did a backflip to his feet and began to run off again. In trying to trip Raf, Overkill fell flat on his back.

None of us was really getting anywhere with this, so Cava threw his axe at the package that Raf was carrying. Raf tried to dodge, but fell on the ground and the package was sent flying.

Seeing an opportunity, I ran to pick up the sword, but missed it as I ran past. Raf got to his feet and planted his pike in the dirt in an effort to defend his position. Overkill tried to get up, but only ended up looking like a fish out of water. Cava spun deftly by the pike and grabbed the sword.

I again tried to stun Raf, but only succeeded in doing more damage to him. I was beginning to feel as though I would kill him before knocking him out.

Raf succeeded in his knockout blow and Cava went down. I tried to take him out as he ran away, but failed completely.

Overkill prayed to Thoth to save us. Up to that point I had no real concept of what Necrom was, and still I think the reality is worse than imagining, but the actions of the other two trying to stop this thing told me all I needed to know. I prayed wordlessly, hoping beyond hope that we would survive the day.

In an instant we found ourselves in a group again, Thoth having saved Raf and taken the sword into his keeping.

I, for one, do not mourn the loss of that sword.

We continued on toward the manor house in the center of the island, the destination that we had been told to seek by the Dragon. We were accosted by the second person to offer warning but no advice. This one a pretty elf named Fala. I avoided her wiles by thinking of you.

We stand now in front of the manor. I know not what will happen as we try to enter, but there is a feeling of evil here, and I don’t know what the future holds for us.

All my love,

Alric

Written by Alric Treadstone on the 11th of Thoth in his 3rd year of his second life, also known as the 68th year of the Wolfen Empire.

Picture by Mac Desktops.

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