By Scott Kujawa
Date: 21st day of the 3rd tenday of Mirtul in the year 1375 - The Year of Risen Elfkin
Time: Morning to Evening
Location:South of the Moonsea on the way to Shadowdale.
Weather: Temperate and clear.
Luie woke before dawn and he moved silently to a cache of gear to retrieve his belongings. In the cover of darkness he packed his fine clothing inside the leather backpack. His formal military dress he decided to call them. As Lathander’s rays began to crest the deck he cinched up the backpack and placed it across his shoulders. Moonbeam fit snuggle on his left hip while the nunchaku rested in a holder on the backpack. He patted a pocket once to make sure that the bullet pouch still rested within and he thought, “One may never know when trouble could hit.”
With a discarded scrap of cloth, Luie pulled his hair into the traditional topknot and he said to no one in particular, “Needle and thread.” An image of a scarf entered his head and it would be double sided. The two colors of the scarf would be a dark green on one side and a dark brown on the reverse. It wouldn’t be a mere decoration and it could be used to mask ones face and hide ones identity or help one blend into the background. He thought that Caerlin would be able to use it and that he could have the scarf done before they made port.
He made his way to the tailoring items that he borrowed earlier and set to work while he leaned against his backpack and took his time to construct it.
The members of the Red Shields that pray, study, or cook did so after they woke and Addoc’s meal was fried and burned pork. Aris scribed the burning hands spell into his spellbook from the scroll and he watched the spell burn off of the scroll and transfer into his spellbook and once he was finished he went off to bathe. After her morning prayers, Caerlin spent the morning carefully repacking her saddlebags and her backpack. She put her list of needed things in one of her beltpouches, to be easily reached if she thought of other things to add.
Ragnar used the early parts of the day to set his gear in order, putting everything except his cutlass, flute, and armor (which he is wearing) into his saddlebags. He took special care to keep the clothes he’d found on the pirate ship as wrinkle-free as possible.
Auy slipped onto deck and she looked around. She sniffed the air a few times before she blinked and moved around the deck, following a scent. She rubbed the back of her head and she grumbled something to her self about name calling. Finally she came around the corner and gasped.
"Um, Caerlin, where did you find...?" the priestess trailed off as she slowly stepped forward and looked at the feline in awe. She smiled. "I've never seen one of these before. How did it find us?"
Caer looked at Auy from where she is sitting and talking to Kython and the scout smiled. "Auy this is Kython," she looked at the tressym that started to increase it’s purring as the priestess got closer, "And Kython this is Auy, whom I spoke of last night." Caer looked back at the priestess, "Aris sent Kython to me to 'watch' last night and he hasn't returned for him. As far as I know, Aris has kept Kython cooped up in his backpack since he joined up with us."
The scout shrugged and the tressym butted its head against her hand in agreement, "I checked him over, and he didn't seem to have any lasting damage from that. I thought he was just a pet, but Addoc says that Kython is Aris' familiar." She stroked Kython’s head and back while she smiled at him as his back arched in happiness, "So I have been chatting to him, and he must like me since he has stayed nearby but it sounds like he likes you better since he hasn’t purred that loudly for me.”
Chewing a mouth full of something, Luie walked among them. He stopped and he gave the two ladies and the winged cat a slacked-jawed stare. He pointed at Kython and then looked at Caerlin before he repeated the same gesture but while he looked at Auy. With his eyes wide, he asked, “You mean that the cat is real? This whole entire time...” He swallowed his food, “...the cat is real. I thought that it was the ginger cookies.”
Caer smiled at Luie. "Aye, he is real." She then introduced them to each other. "Kython is a tressym, a very intelligent winged cat." She gave Kython another stroke that he enjoyed by arching his back, "Go ahead and see my two friends Kython, they are good people."
The cat hovered before Luie for a moment and then licked the hin with his rough sand-papery tongue as the hin bowed and said, “Nice to meet you.” Kython then flew up to Auy and wrapped around her shoulders and purred into her ear.
Aris approached. "I see that all of you have met Kython. Kython, hop on my shoulder. Auy, may I speak with you privately? It won't take long, and when we are done I'll tell you about Kython.”
Auy stopped petting Kython since he moved from her shoulders and he now fluttered near Aris and she nodded at the wizard as she grabbed his hand and stood before they moved off.
Caerlin stood and looked at Luie. "Well friend, shall we go find something to do until we make landfall?"
“We could always tie knots in Ragnars’ unused clothes or grab a light snack.” He patted his tummy, “It’s close enough to the midday meal.”
Caer smiled at Luie. "A meal sounds like just the trick. Then mayhap we can see if you have better luck teaching me how to mend than my father did?"
“My new found knack in sewing is very meager. Give me about a month.” The hin sniffed the air, “Fish again for midday?”
Caer laughed. "Alright, we can try the sewing later. Let's go find some food." She put her hand on Luie's shoulder as they walked off.
Just after midday the barges docked in a small out of the way wooden wharf and a handful of buildings could be seen to the south of the wharf that are used as housing for the few humans that have settled in this small hamlet.
Luie was one of the first off the barge, not only to ‘secure’ the wharf but to flex his small toes in the dirt while murmuring out loudly, “OH yes! Goddess yes! Sweet blessed Chauntea and Tymora, YESSS!” He lowered himself down to pick up some dirt and he rubbed the handfuls of dirt into his hair before he waited for his companions to disembark.
Caer began to laugh at Luie's antics. She walked over to him and clapped him on the shoulder. "Aye friend, it is good to be back on firm land." She gave him a wink and walked over to ready her horse.
The Gondsman frowned. "Watch yerself, lad. The rains come back, and you'll find ye've mud in yer eye."
Ragnar took longer to disembark, chuckling at Luie’s obvious pleasure to reach shore until he glanced over at the horses and scowled at them with displeasure before he walked over to saddle his own mount, all the while muttering about “a raw backside.”
"Ye've been on the trail all these days, lad," Addoc rumbled as he tightened the saddle on his own large horse. "Mayhap ye can take some of that extra pay you'll have stashed away and buy yerself a nice wagon... with great, soft cushions for yer tender backside."
After they reached land and Aris left the barges, he said, "It’s good that we are on solid ground again. Boredom was setting in and I could use some action.”
Addoc lent his muscle to unloading the barges. When the task was through, he said a short, but boisterous, blessing over the barges before the caravan left. "May the Wonderbringer look over these fine craft, and see that their joints always be tight, and their seals always hold, and that any pirates that approach have rusty nails and frayed ropes."
Caerlin and Meisker took to their horses and they scouted around the caravan in a circle that let them meet up at times and pass words back and forth. Luie spent most of the day in a wagon, scanning the skies for potential trouble. Addoc spent most of the day with the caravan master and the two of them seemed to be having a deep discussion. Every so often she’d gesture and moved her hands, like she was explaining something as he listened and his quiet rumbling could be heard as he answered her.
Shortly after the caravan stopped for the eve, Caerlin rode into camp and straight towards Jelitha to make her report. The human woman listened to the second scout and she laughed at one point.
Addoc cooked an evening meal of spiced mushrooms in sauce and rabbit on a stick.
Caerlin helped Addoc clear the remains of the meal. "Ready for some more studying?" she asked with a smile.
"Aye," the giant rumbled haltingly in Illuskan. "I believe so."
"Not bad, you're getting there," Caer replied in Illuskan as she winked.
Like before, the scout and priest spent some time together as Caerlin taught. Before sunset Luie practiced his forms and he held off his meditation until Auy arrived. Once she arrived he gave her some brief instructions and then they began. Later, using the embers of a campfire, he used some needle and thread to mend some clothing that belonged to members of the Company.
Towards midnight the sound of a single elven wailing, that sounded female, could be heard to the southeast, sending chills up and down everyone’s spines and it caused the hin to deeply prick his thumb with the needle. Ragnar listened with rapt attention, trying to make out any words in the wailing but it was just a droning of pain and anguish. Caerlin listened intently to the sound and then she started to rummage through her pack.
Auy poked at the hin. "Let’s go take a peek at what has an elf wailing like that." She tugged on his shirt sleeve a couple of times to make sure that he knew she was there.
Luie winced as the needle pierced his thumb again. “Good time for a break.” He stood and he noticed that he mended a sock to his sleeve. “Good time for a break,” he whispered to himself since Auy was well ahead of him.
"May Mystra watch over her. The elves produce fine mages,” Aris said.
Addoc sat straight up on his bedroll and reached down to pull on his boots. "A soul out there in torment, or I'm a Dalesman's daughter. Who's with me t'see what we can do?"
Caer gave Aris a hard stare as she stood up, holding what looks like a torch that has a gold tip. "Auy! Wait for the rest of us." She striked the sunrod, picked up her bow and arrows, and looked at the others. "Ready?" she asked before she said a quick prayer to Mielikki.
Ragnar stared daggers at Aris, and told him, “Aye, and as they’re by and large of a good nature we’d best make sure that whatever is causing her such pain is interrupted quickly. Now get off your pampered noble’s ass and join the rest of us ‘ere Caerlin decides she really don’t like you.”
“Calm down, I didn't say that I wasn't coming. Now be vigilent, it may be a trap and maybe Kython can scout for us because he can see in the dark...”
The Gondsman offered a big hand to the mage to help him up as he twirled his hammer effortlessly in the other. "C'mon, lad. As me ol' da says - the gods sometime watch over folks directly, an' other times they count on folks t'watch after each other. Most times it's best t'think that th' second case is true."
Aris grabbed his long sword, took Addoc’s hand, and got to his feet. "It's risky, but it would be better if we could cast wards upon us but they may wear off before we even get there."
Auy bounced off in the direction of the wailing. After Luie shrugged he skipped off after the priestess, using Selunes’ light as a guide and his voice floated back as he said, “Less talking and more walking. Ow, stupid stone.” Ragnar caught up with them a few moments later while he finished loading his crossbow and Caerlin caught up as she muttered about hins and priestesses that run off ahead of others, and about the bad habits that are rubbing off onto others.
Aris yelled as him and Addoc started to meet up with the others, "Wait, it may be a trap."
"Well with you shouting about like that, you're right, anything out there could set some trap for us, since now they know we are on the way," Caerlin told Aris in a quiet level voice. "It's one thing to have a light, but it’s altogether different to be yelling about like you are." She shook her head, "You definitely were raised in a city."
Aris calmly said, "Any fool can spot a campfire from that position if it is a trap." He lowered his voice even more. "Now I say we let Kython scout because he can fly and it would take a master ranger to spot him in the forest. Plus he can see in the dark."
Caer raised an eyebrow. "Any fool, eh? So now you want to send Kython in, after you made sure that anyone or anything out there knows we are coming? Do you not think that they will be alert and watching everywhere?" She looked around the plains. "With Selune out, and no cover, it won't take a master ranger to spot anything tonight. I say no to sending him, but it's up to you." She shook her head and continued on, muttering under her breath in snorts.
“You underestimate him greatly, he hides better than a master ranger and he’s disappointed. He may be my familiar and me his owner but he has a mind of his own. I'd never force him to do anything against his will. Now let’s go, before we're too late,” Aris said to her back since she continued on before he could answer.
Auy stopped and looked at everyone that has now caught up to her and the others. “Oh, all of you are coming? I’m sorry, I thought that all of you weren't interested or that you thought it was normal." She smiled. "It doesn't sound to far off either and I'm surprised that the watchers haven't seen whatever is making the female elf wail."
"Aye, it would be better that we stay together, and you're right about the watch, that makes me think we should be even more careful," Caerlin said in her even tone of voice.
Finally, now that everyone is together, they set off again and after about forty feet they started to see a ruined elven manor and the wailing comes from a part of the upper floor and near the back of the manor. The manor itself looks to have started to fall into decay in the last few decades and the Red Shield’s are facing the front entrance. They saw that there were no lights burning within and the two wings, which spread out to about thirty to forty feet on each side, are dark. A dark mist creeps across the wooden building and some of the ground outside of it. As they stand there, they feel more of the fear and chills that went up their spines earlier and now it’s stronger and more invasive.
Auy shivered and rubbed her arms from the chill. "Eww, this place just doesn't feel right. No wonder that elf is wailing."
"Or it could be wailing because it died in the house. Maybe we should come back in the morning and burn it down and that would solve everything." Luie was unable to keep his teeth from chattering, and he said in a low voice, “I believe she is in distress.” He managed to keep a straight face, “Go rescue her Ragnar.” He began to warm his limbs by stretching.
Caer involuntarily shivered and looked at the building with a frown. "I don't believe that this is an ordinary ruin." She adjusted the daggers on her hip and watched.
Ragnar swallowed and eased his cutlass from its scabbard. “Aye, we’d probably do well to stick together – and have the clergy among us ready to do what it is they do to keep the not quite dead at bay. There’s something very spooky about that building if’n you ask me.”
"Even if we don't," Addoc rumbled, stepping to the front of the group, his knuckles white on his hammer. "Spirits or no, there's naught in that house that rests easy tonight, and lone souls have a good chance of joining them, I expect."
"So much for purifying the place with flame,” Luis said as all of them felt more of the fear start to creep down their backs and into their bodies. “Do we knock then?"
"Who wants to carry the light? I won't be able to carry it and shoot at the same time," Caer asked uneasily before she whispered to herself for a bit.
Aris stood near his companions. “I could cast a spell that supplies light on one of our items or a stone and that would save a torch for later use. I have such spells memorized...”
Caer turned and raised an eyebrow at Aris. "If you did that, then there would be two light sources that would need to be carried." Her voice sounded fairly even, but fury could still be seen in her eyes. "Since this is already lit, and will last for about six hours, I really see no reason for another light source as long as we stay together."
“I will take the torch,” Luie said and then stuck his hand out for it, “You know how much I like fire.” He wiggled his eyebrows at Caerlin.
As the group continued to stand there, the fear grew stronger and the mist continued to creep around the base of the manor.
Ragnar looked at Luie. ”Just try not to burn anything down while we’re in it, Luie.”
“I can’t promise that Ragnar. Besides I’m not even sure if the manor is flammable. How can we even be sure if the manor is even there?”
Caer smiled slightly and she handed the sunrod to Luie. "The good thing about these it that they don’t have an open flame and there is no chance of blowing ourselves up with a gas pocket or lighting things on fire, sorry Luie." The fury in her eyes diminished a bit as she spoke.
“So are we going to stand and wait around much longer, or do we push Luie in once he’s got his hands on Caerlin’s rod and then we follow him?” the bard asked.
Luie twirled the sunrod. “No one ever likes my idea about fire,” he said as he stepped involuntary backward. “Is it me or did it get scarier? You can almost cut it with a dagger.”
Auy chuckled from where she stood. "You'll have to go into details with me something about your ideas about fire. We can compare notes and I have some interesting thoughts about open flames. In fact, I have some plans for using a sort of fire in a bit." The priestess fidgeted and rubbed something that is in her pocket as she frowned. "The sooner we get somewhere where I can do what I need to do, the happier I'll be. Though Caerlin’s sunrod removes all of the fun of an open fire!"
“I like fire,” Aris said and he felt his familiar grew fearful as the talk of fire continued because of its fur and feathers and because of what it’s owner just said.
The Gondsman made a rumbling noise down deep in his chest. "I'm all for a good jest, but ye'll have to forgive me if I find the talk about fire and flame less than rib-ticklin'..."
Caer shivered again. "Aye, it seems that the fear keeps growing thicker." She took a deep breath and looked at the others, "Shall we?"
"Aye," the giant nodded, tapping the head of his hammer in one hand as he began to slowly walk toward the manor's front entrance. "Luie and I in front, the rest of ye behind. Spirits fly tonight, so be ready, Auy."
”Sounds good to me,” Ragnar commented. “As long as anything scary comes up we won’t have to see it if we just stay behind Addoc. Now, more walking, and less talking, one could almost think I’m not the only bard around here the way we’ve been going on.”
"Just don't forget that my singing style is better than yours, Ragnar." Luie stood to Addoc's right and the halfling followed the human towards the spooky manor.
Caer let everyone go before her and she fell in at the rear and as she walked she continuously watched behind them as well as in front of them. "Watch out for traps once we get closer and inside."
Addoc, since he is in the lead and Luie’s light helped him see in the dark, noticed that the wooden door was closed, partly rotten, and covered with carvings of vines and other creeping plants and a plain wooden handle could be seen. All of them as they moved forward felt like they were swimming through the fear, terror, anguish, and pain that rolled out of the manor, much like the mist that also rolled out of the decaying elven building.
"Watch yer step, all of ye," the giant rumbled quietly, pressing the handle and holding tight to it in case the whole door came off the hinges as he slowly opened it to make sure that it did stay where it was supposed to. "Just as easy t'break yer neck fallin' through a hole in the old floor as it is t'do sliding into a trap,” Addoc commented as most of them Silver Wyrms looked into a square foyer that has two doors off of it that are in the back wall that faces the members of the merc company. Some thick grasses and roots have started to grow out of the wooden floor and the walls are covered with mold and rot and if there are hangings behind them, it would take a bit of poking to find them. Some rotting cloth covered furniture could be seen to the right and left of the front door.
Caer shivered again and whispered quietly in Elven. She then looked around, "I am beginning to wonder if this is such a good idea..." She knocked an arrow, ready to shoot quickly.
“Well, as long as we all know that if anything goes wrong it wasn't my idea, I’m all for continuing anyway,” a paler than usual Ragnar whispered back in Elven.
Aris stood there and asked in Elven, "Why are we speaking in Elven anyway?"
Caer said to Aris, "I was talking more to myself than anything, and the language of The People is the most comfortable to me. I forgot about your habit of listening in on others conversations." Caer looked at Ragnar. "We will blame you anyway," she said with a slight smile before she switched to Common. "Addoc, are there any footprints that you can see anywhere? Or is it all overgrown?"
Aris continued to stand where he stood. "Mmm aye, if you say so."
"Naught's passed this way in many a moon, as I can see, lass. Nothing heavy enough t'leave a mark, anyway."
Caerlin nodded and she waited to see what the others would do. "I'm not sure if that is a good or a bad thing, to tell the truth.”
Watching where he stepped, Luie entered the building. He came to rest in the center of the room and he turned to face the others. "Well?" he mouthed as all of them, now that the door was opened, could feel more of the fear, anger, hate, and anguish invade their souls as it rolled through the manor from one of the upper rooms.
The Gondsman took a deep breath and pulled himself up to his full height. "Straight on then," he rumbled, moving past Luie to open the door on the right. "We look for the wailin' straight off 'fore we do any explorin'."
Addoc saw that this room was a trophy room that was filled with stuffed heads and bodies but all of them were of orcs, goblins, gnolls, and other humanoids and beasties. Weapons, that were probably used to slay the humanoids and creatures, hung around the room or were propped up against racks and the stuffed bodies or heads. Another door, but this one is open, could be seen to the right and Addoc thought that it led into the hallway that connected to the right wing and a round staircase, in the back left corner, led upwards.
Auy slipped in behind Addoc and she shuddered and gasped as she looked around at what filled the room. "Well, these elves liked to keep trophies,” she whispered. "This place was spooky enough without walking in and seeing a scary ugly creature grinning down at you, even if it is stuffed..."
The Gondsman harrumphed. "I've not even cracked a smile in this house, much less grinned."
"Bah, you're neither scary, nor ugly," Caer chided Addoc, as she slipped in after Auy and she left Aris standing in the entrance. She looked around at all of the trophies that are in the room. "Aye, this is not the most settling of things to find." She looked up the stairs as far as she was able and she could barely see through the darkness to make out the hint of wooden walls and ceiling. "I'm not sure how much exploring I want to do in here anyway, especially at night." The scout finished with a slight shiver.
“Right, has anyone got any idea from where in the house the wailing has been coming from?” Ragnar said as he examined one of the weapon-racks and he saw that most of the weapons seem to be short and longbows with a few short and long spears.
“My best guess would be somewhere above us,” Luie said as he gave a gentle prod to one of the orc trophies. “Seeing a sentient being stuffed makes me wonder...”
"Aye," the giant moved slowly through the room towards the staircase, casting wary glances to each side. He prodded the first step with his foot, testing its strength and it felt a bit loose but he thought that it might hold his weight, maybe. "Seein' this, it'll surprise me if there ain't more'n one angry soul in this manor."
"Hey big guy, let me go up first. I know how to bounce if the board breaks and then I recommend the next light weight, which should be Auy,” the halfling remarked.
Addoc nodded and stepped aside for the others to pass. "Afraid I'll come tumblin' back down on top of ye, lad?"
“Not really Addoc, but there is a good chance that you would either fall forward or right down to the basement.”
The small hin started to move towards the stairs and he ascended the steps at a slow speed. As he climbed he felt then creak and groan under him but so far they held but he thought that they might hold long enough for everyone to get to the second floor. Auy smirked at the hin’s comment and she bounced up the stairs right behind him. Once at the top of the stairs, the priestess stayed close to Luie and she looked around because she didn’t like the invasive feeling that was even stronger on the second floor.
Luie, since he is holding the light, looked down a small hallway that has two opened doors off of it, one to the left and one to the right. He saw a third door that was closed at the end of the hall and the pervasive wailing and fear was even stronger up here and it seemed to be coming from behind the door at the end of the hall.
The halfling kept his face forward and he waved the sunrod twice. After he paused for a moment he waved twice again and then backed down a step or two, so the next person coming up could see where they treaded. Once the next person arrived Luie pointed at the closed door and held up a lone finger to his lips to make a brief 'hush' gesture.
Aris stepped away from the first room and as he joined the others he was prepared to cast a spell at the first sign of danger. Seeing that the others were climbing the stairs and he was almost the last one to do so, he climbed next.
"I guess you’re the next one up Caer," Ragnar said to the archer. "And then it'd be scrawny old me."
Caer nodded and then she carefully and quietly moved to the top of the stairs. She held her bow at the ready and watched the doors while she waited for the Gondsman to climb up. He tested them under the weight of his ascent and they creaked and groaned even more because of his weight and a few of them split or broke but he did manage to make it to the top even though, a few times, he had to pull one of his feet out of the broken stair.
All of them saw the same things that Luie and Auy saw when they climbed up and the fear, anger, and anguish was even stronger and it pushed against their bodies in waves.
In a low voice, Luie asked, "Auy can you feel the sadness and the sorrow?"
Auy shivering lightly and said, "Aye, it’s getting stronger the farther into the house we go and the closer we get to that door at the end of the hall. I’m worried about what could be making such an aura like this and either way I'll be quite happy when we get back to camp and I can get the chill out of my spine.”
"This place does give you a feeling of sorrow I have to admit," Aris remarked.
Caerlin cautiously moved towards the open door on the right and she carefully looked in and after a candlemark, she quietly and silently crossed to the door that is on the left side of the hall. She looked in and inspected the room before she carefully walked back to the others.
"The door on the right leads into a room that has three windows, a walk-in wardrobe, a couple of couches, and two chests. There are also some thin bones, probably from two elves, scattered about the floor. The room on the left is a little smaller and has a small couch, two windows, one chest, and an armoire,” she reported to them in a low whisper while the effects from whatever is behind the closed door continued to send chills and fear through them.
Luie nodded at the scout and then moved closer to Addoc. He tugged on his pants legs, “Well Addoc, I’m ready when you are and I’ll be right next to you.”
”Since the wailing seems to be coming from an elf, perhaps we should check those bones?” Ragnar suggested in a whisper that’s just loud enough to be heard by all. He drew a ragged breath, grimaced, and looking generally uneasy with the situation.
"Let’s see, shake the limb of the tree that holds the hornets nest or hit the hornets nest directly?" Luie scratched his chin. "Ragnar is right. We should let the clerics put the bones to rest before we deal with the wailing spirit."
Auy nodded and she crossed the hall and entered the room on the right and moved closer to the bones. The priestess of cats whispered a prayer to Sharess about sending the spirits that were once housed in these bones to their realms of their deities or the planes they need to go to now that they have died and left the Prime. Once she was done with her slightly awkward blessing, because the whole building and the noise of the increased wailing from Auy’s blessing kept her on edge, she joined the others and she nodded.
"There, I have, hopefully said enough to put the spirits to rest, though I doubt it'll be as easy to tend to whatever is causing that wailing. Unless some barmy user of the Art had an idea to leave some magic that made that noise."
“You know, when you’re talking about the users of the Art you don’t need to add barmy and the word wizard or sorcerer is enough Auy,” Ragnar told her.
"Oh really, pretty boy?” Aris said with a slight smile.
Auy giggled and that was the first happy sound out of her since they entered the ruin. "Aris, you find him pretty too? I had no idea that I'd have competition from you for his attention.” She stopped and thought for a moment. “Oh well, competition does make things more interesting."
“Aye, and my thanks for noticing. I do my best to look good, but this trip has been somewhat short of proper non-rippling mirrors to look in,” the bard answered with an equally sweet smile.
Aris stood and looked at the bard and cleric. “Nay, he's all your's. I was just making fun of him and he is the ladiesman of the group after all.”
"It sounds more like jealousy than anything else," Caerlin quietly said.
"It could be, it could be..." Aris whispered as he trailed off.
Caerlin gave Ragnar a small smile, nodded at Auy, and quietly moved towards the end of the hall. As she walked closer and closer towards the door, it felt like she was walking through a cloud of fear and she struggled against it. When she reached the door, she checked it over for traps and she didn’t see any. Caerlin listened at it to see if she could hear anything other than the wailing but there was nothing more then that and she struggled to not flee from amount of fear, anguish, and hate that pushed against her body and into her soul while the others, that were a few feet back, just felt the energy continue to roll over their bodies.
“I love it when plans change,” a small grin played across Luie’s face. “Auy, remember your meditation exercises? Breathe in and then out. Deep and slow. Calm yourself,” he patted her thigh, “Once you have done that, join us. We have work to do.” Luie goes down the hall to join Caerlin and he to felt the increased pressure of whatever is behind the door. “Are you keeping all the fun to yourself?” he whispered to the young scout.
The priestess stopped for a moment and she nodded at the hin. She thought back to the exercises they had done together and she did her best to mimic them and she took the deep breaths that he suggested to see if it calmed her. Once she felt it move through her body she smiled.
Caer tried to smile through her fear. "Nay, I plan on letting you and Addoc go in first but I was just trying to make sure that nothing unexpected happened to the two of you," she whispered to Luie.
Caerlin took a couple of steps back towards the stairs, and held her bow at the ready for when the door is finally opened and she saw Ragnar raise his crossbow to aim at the entrance of the doorway.
Luie and Addoc reached through the fear and they grabbed the bronze handle. The two looked at each other before they looked back at the wooden door and pulled it open. As they did the fear and other emotions exploded out from the room that they looked into and it rode over all of the living mortals that were standing on this floor and the wailing increased in volume as well.
The inside of this small chamber looked like it was ransacked or a storm moved through it because all of the furniture was tossed around, splintered, or partly ruined. Even the walls, floor, and ceiling had parts of them ripped away. Standing in the middle of the room is a small moon elven adolescent and it is from her that the wailing is coming from. Her clothing billowed around her with a force that came from her and her ragged hair does the same as she hovered a bit off the floor. A dark energy surrounded her and when she heard the door open, she turned and looked at the party that stood in the doorway or in the hallway. All of the Wyrms could see that her mouth is open in a snarl of hatred and the rest of her face is scrunched up in anger and hate, giving her a bestial appearance. With a swipe of her clawed hands, she started to rush towards the living mortals and her fear and wailing flowed before her.
Caer involuntarily took a step back. "Mielikki protect us!" she whispered under her breath. She then said loudly in Elven, "We didn't come to harm you, we came because we thought you were being attacked!" She half-lowered her bow to show that she meant what she is saying.
The female elf stopped flowing forward as she heard Caerlin’s words and she started to whisper to herself. “Human? Speaks Elven. These humans weren’t my killers, must not kill them. Kill them! Yes! No, must not kill the humans.” As she talked to herself her face went from what it probably looked like as a carefree elven adolescent and then back to the bestial look and these faces flowed back and forth as the creature that was once an elf debated with herself. However, the wailing never let up and it filled the room and flowed over everyone that is standing nearby.
The fear in Luie stole his voice so he couldn’t berate the child for the thing that was once a child. He was almost certain. The terror roiling up within him didn’t stop his action and he knew that he had to buy the clerics more time. He stepped in front of the burley cleric and the rest of his companions and he held his body at a defensive angle.
Ragnar gasped as the wave of emotions washed over him and the other members of the group. He lowered his crossbow to wipe away the pearls of cold sweat that formed on his forehead and threatened to trickle down to blur his vision. Upon seeing the spirit start to rush towards them and then stop, he let out a half-strangled, “bugger!” and he hastily brought his crossbow to bear on it, his finger twitching to press the trigger.
Auy shuddered from the waves and sounds that hit the priestess and she really disliked this room as she watched the elf. Auy struggled to speak and she finally said, "Aye, we’ve came because we heard your wailing. How are you called and what keeps you here even though some humans killed you? Is it vengeance?"
While Auy talked, Aris cast a spell that seemed to create a barrier of force in front of him and then the force disappeared. Addoc, for now, kept his hand near his symbol of Gond and held off doing anything rash since the young elf had stopped about thirty feet away.
The female elf turned her attention towards Auy and the press of fear, anger, hurt, anguish, and pain rolled over the priestess and Auy watched the elf’s face flow from one face to the next. A quick flash of darkness flashed in the elf’s eyes as Aris finished his spell but the elf only snapped her rotting teeth towards the mage while she kept her gaze on Auy and after a few moments the light faded back into her insane eyes.
“Feryra? Aye, Feryra!” the elf wailed, sending more fear through the room and down the hallway. “Humans killed! Die! Humans need to die! No! Wrong to kill humans! Feryra bad!”
"Feryra is your name?" Caer continued to speak in Elven as she took a step forward through the wild range of emotions. She lowered her bow so that it is only her left hand to her side. "A beautiful name." The scout smiled at the snarling elf. "You are correct in that we are not the humans that did this and it hurts me that someone would do such as this to a family of the People. Our intentions were only to help when we arrived here, not to cause more pain and anguish." Caer watched the elf closely, ready to defend should things go poorly and for now the young elf stood there watching.
“You not the humans that killed Feryra and Feryra’s family, aye. No kill you then. No one can help. They all dead! Die! No die!”
Aris stood behind everyone and asked, “Who did this to you?”
“Humans!,” was the short hissing answer from the insane female elven child.
”Feryra, do you when that happened?” Ragnar asked in a soothing voice, slowly lowering his crossbow.
The wailing elf scrunched up her face and showed her rotting teeth and anger again before she hissed and floated a bit more off the floor. “Shortly after the People started to Retreat from Cormanthyr, about a decade ago.”
The priestess listened and thought about what the elven child has been saying and Auy pondered over what she has learned about ghosts and what kept them bound to the Prime instead of passing to the realms of the deities and if there is any way to help them to pass onto those realms. "Why do you still linger here? You should be with your deity and not here stuck like this!" the priestess added with a sigh.
“I would if the humans were to die but now I reside here as a creature of hate, fear, and anguish,” the child screeched.
"Where can we find these murderers?," Aris asked in a tone that was filled with fear and strain.
“Seek the wings and an answer could be found,” the child glared before she hissed and sent more of the fear flowing through the room, over the Companions, down the hallway, and through the ruined elven building.
Ragnar cursed under his breath and he used his sleeve to mop more pearls of cold sweat from his brow before he asked, “They had wings somewhere on their clothing? Like a badge, or on their helmets?”
“A... a badge or emblem perhaps? Something like an image that is on a tabard?” Aris said in a low voice.
Caer took a step back from the force of emotions, gave a quick glare over her shoulder at Aris, and then turned back to the young elf. "Did you happen to hear any names used by the ones who did this?" The scout shivered a bit, "We can, at least, if you will allow it, put to rest those that are in the other room. You could show us a proper place for this." She tried to smile through her fear and the elf screamed, sending more of the emotions through the manor.
After the elf got control of herself, she hissed, “Burn the bones and nay not an emblem or image or on their clothing. Seek the wings and you will find the answers.”
"Do you mean the wings of the manor, then?" the bard and scout asked together before they looked at each other in surprise.
“Aye,” the elven child hissed. “The wings!”
“Well then, fair spirit. May we take our leave of you to search those wings?” Ragnar asked the elf-child, bowing to her with wobbly knees.
“Don’t need my permission,” she said before she screeched again.
Caerlin bowed to the elf child. "Farewell. We will do what we can for you."
Having felt enough of the overwhelming emotions from the creature, Addoc and Caerlin turned and headed towards one of the wings. Ragnar gave the elf a quick wave before he followed the two toward the westernmost wing and Luie, Aris, and Auy fell in behind. As they walked, Aris whispered, “Sarking word games!” Luie fell behind and before anyone could ask him where he was going, he was out of sight.
The western wing wasn’t as ivy covered as the other wing but if it once had windows and doors they have since rotted away, leaving holes in the building and flowing out of the openings was pale green faerie fire. Using the faerie fire as illumination, the Wyrms saw that there was another room off of the room that they were looking into and the room they were gazing into was filled with many crates, barrels, and sacks. Three workbenches could be seen along the left wall.
"Ech, I want to get out of here. This aura of hers is really unnerving because of the constant assault of so many negative emotions but I can see why we need to stay. Her word game, as the noble put it, is a bit vague at best. Though the other mercenaries might know the answer and we might find something of theirs or something in this place to help us,” Auy answered from where she stood with the others.
“At least the emotions abate somewhat with distance,” Ragnar answered her. “I suppose we could send someone to fetch some more of the Shields but we can’t be sure there’s nothing lurking in the wings, so I say we stick together. And I also think we should look through the wings first. If we figure out how who killed her and her kin then we can let Luie gather up the bones and build a bonfire of them. And if we can’t figure out who did the killings, then we can go fetch some of the other mercenaries whilst Luie builds his bonfire.”
"We came this far and so we might as well take peek into that other room and see what within it and who knows if the Shields will bother with tending to a strange elven child?" the priestess said.
Caerlin nodded. "Aye, that sounds fine with me."
The scout looked around and walked over and began to look over the crates. Caerlin noticed that each of them have a marked burned into the panels of the wood and the mark itself is scythe and under the blade is a word in Common which is Olthia village.
Caerlin turned to the others. "Does the name “Olthia village” mean anything to anyone?" She looked the crate over and then opened the top so she can look inside it. Caer reached into the crate and pulled out a few small sacks and she looked inside them. After that she removed two robes and held them up to see if they have any markings on them but she couldn’t see any. Caerlin carefully folded the robes and put them back in the crate, but she kept a hold of the small bags. She looked around, moved to the next crate, and opened it.
The back room contained more workbenches, different vials and beakers of powders, liquids, crystals, and other materials that could be used in magical experiments. Covered in dust are three tomes that are scattered around the room on the benches and on the back wall is a large image of a skull inside of a shield.
Aris's eyes lit up from where he stood in the middle of the line the Wyrms are using for protection. "Ah, what do we have here?"
"That, my dear lordling," Ragnar replied in the driest possible voice that he could manage, "would be what we in the Docks would refer to as “a tluining mess.” And judging by its possibly magical nature I'd be careful about what I touched on that workbench." He peered more closely at the image on the wall since all of them knew that it was a symbol of Myrkul.
"My thanks for stating the obvious,” the wizard remarked as he stood where he stood.
“Ask, and ye shall receive what thou deserves, as the Loviatarian priestess told the bare-buttocked noble,” Ragnar answered. “And if you want obvious,” the bard continued, “this is clearly a depiction of the symbol of Myrkul, which, to continue in the obvious line of reasoning, is quite an interesting find inside an elven manor. What I’m looking for, though is if there are any, are extra markings to tell what branch of the church whoever made or ordered the image made belonged to. Luie, can I borrow that lightstick of Caerlin’s for a bit?”
After Ragnar waited a moment for the light, he looked back and saw that Luie was no longer with the group. The priestess wandered and looked around the room for any other items of interest. She hoped that the attackers left something behind that might give them a better chance of finding them than what the dead elf told them. She figured that there might be more information found in the tomes, barrels, and crates.
The hin entered the rooms as stealthy as he left them and it brought more light to the rooms then just what the faerie fire was giving. Caerlin looked up as Luie returned and she gave him a small, sad smile.
"Welcome back my friend. I seem to have found a few more bones to be placed upon the pyre." She looked at the symbol, "And we seem to have found what may have been a shrine to Myrkul in this elven manor."
Luie briefly nodded at Caerlin. “Myrkul. That would explain things. My scouting trip was fruitful. Freyaeeris’s living dead state is a forced one and she is not here by sheer willpower. The necromancer or I guess clerics of Myrkul experimented on her parents while she sat in a cage.” He glanced around the room as he talked. “It’s not a matter of vengeance and I believe killing her creator will break the link and that would send her on the way to the Realms beyond.” He wiped his brow with a sock. “Err, Ragnar I’m almost finished mending your sock.”
"How horrible! Poor Freyaeeris and her parents, I wonder if her parent’s moved on or if the followers kept them in some form," the priestess commented with a frown. "And you had us worried Luie, sneaking off like that without a word! What were you thinking?" the priestess lightly scolded, having been quite worried about where the hin was once she noticed that he was gone. "I don't suppose you found anything that would give us an idea which way they went from here?"
“That’d explain the symbol then,” Ragnar said, having gotten a better look at it in the extra light that Luie brought with him. “I recognise a few minor deviations about it that’s consistent with a symbol I heard described once. If I remember correctly, it was used by a minor cult of the church that was or is more interested in experimenting with the undead than with putting the dead to rest.
“And oh,” the bard added with a shrug after a moment of silence. “No need to hurry with the sock, I prefer hosiery this time of year anyway. More flattering to my legs you know.”
As the Companions of the Silver Wyrm stood in the left wing of the ruined elven manor and looked through the crates, boxes, barrels while they discussed what they have found, a tall male sun elf stepped out from the partial darkness and into the light of the faerie fire and the sunrod that Luie is holding. The Companions had seen this elf as they were leaving the Red’s Shields settlement and, as usual, they figured that he was sent to this Unit since it is the ever changing unit of this mercenary company.
Luie had neither time for a retort about Ragnar’s legs nor time to answer any of Auy’s questions. Holding the sunrod up directly into the newcomers' midsection, Luie said, "Where in the bloody blue blazes did you come from? Is there a hole in yonder wall? And what is the deal with gold elves trying to scare me?" The small hin made a show of patting his pants, "No mess. Good."
"Even mages do manage some stealth when they are of the elven sort, master hin," the sun elf murmured in a deeply melodious voice as he stepped from the darkness. The inside of his cloak flashed a bright sky-blue as the shadows seemed to recede from his form, showing him to be a tall Tel'Quessir with long, sunny blonde hair, wearing the simple clothes of a traveler, if a well-off one - tunic, breeches, and boots. In his right hand he carried a simple staff of slender elven make, capped with an amber tear-drop the same hue as his flashing eyes. With painstakingly crafted, gracefully masculine features, and a twisted smirk upon his mouth, he seemed to epitomize all of the stories of handsome elven princes.
"And I must say that I am deeply thankful that you are still clean. There is already more than enough foul odors in this place," the “young” elf's eyes seemed to grow darker, and his mouth became a hard straight line; his eyes gazed briefly upwards and to the right towards the terrible elven undead, infinite sadness upon his visage. But a moment later, that smooth, secret smile was back upon his face, and he looked out upon the gathered group. "But enough of that. Raafaernir Durothiir, at your service," he gave a deep bow. "It seems that I am the newest member of the Companions of the Silver Wyrm."
"Oh, so you’re the lucky one who gets to join this rotating band." the priestess smiled at the mage. "Another user of the Art... This should be interesting to see." She moved away, letting her tight leather garment cling to her before she stopped for a moment and pondered. "I don't suppose that you are a noble elf? I hope not because we already have one noble and two of them in the Company would just spend time butting heads against each other on whom had the bigger house!"
Raaf turned towards the priestess as she spoke, his amber eyes felling upon her with some obvious admiration for her slender, leather-clad feminine form. His grin was still strong upon his handsome features. "I’m sorry to disappoint you, my lady, but I cannot deny my blood with any ease of mind. But I did not enter into the band to wave about the size of my signet ring - but rather to explore and learn. I hope you - and the rest of your splendid companions - will approve of this?"
"Oh? You did not?" Auy replied with a smile as she looked the gold elf over before she playfully winked. "Perhaps you have a small ring? Oh well! It’s a pleasure to meet you at any rate!"
"We may discuss the size of my ring all you wish, when the time is more opportune, if it please you m'lady," the gold elf murmured in a beautiful baritone, a smooth smile on his face.
“Speaking of house sizes, have we finished exploring the other wing?” Luie asked.
Caer looked over towards Luie. "Nay, we haven't looked over there yet. Should we do that tonight, or wait and come back in the morn?" She glanced around at the others for their answers.
“I vote for now, she has waited a long time for help. It’s a miracle that no roving band of adventurers have come along and slain her.” Luie held the light high so he can view the ceiling and they saw that it is carved with images of vines snaking across it.
The priestess nodded while she yawned a bit. "Not really and most wouldn't brave that aura that she puts out, but whatever we do let’s do it fast. I'm starting to fall asleep because it’s been a busy day and from the looks of things this eve is well underway. Our leader won't be happy if we are unfit for travel in the morning.”
“Our pretty priestess is right, I think. Let’s get one candle each for light, and then quickly see if we can find anything at the other end of the house,” Ragnar suggested before he picked up a candle from the crate. “All Ar’Tel’Quessir act like they are noble, that’s what makes them so hard to live with according to my mum, and she should know. She is married to one and everything,” Ragnar said in the general direction of the priestess before he turned to give the elf a smile. “Of course, she also said that their offspring was ten journeys worse, regardless of the race they sired them with. I’m Ragnar Braelithar, the pretty face of this outfit.”
"Your mum seems to have particularly good taste," the Ar-Tel'Quess replied with a trace of a catlike smirk upon his face, gazing over at the well-dressed half-elf bard from the corner of his eyes. "It’s a face that I do not mind looking upon, sir Braelithar. I only hope that you feel the same."
"Well, I do regret losing all of my hand-mirrors shortly before joining the band. But it was them or my left hand," the bard replied.
"You caught us in a bit of a predicament because it seems that we have a murder to solve. Welcome, brother of the Art." With a smile on his face, Aris offered Raafaernir his hand for a handshake. "I’m Aris Wands, an abjurer."
"Ah. Aye, I’ve heard of the Wands, I believe." He smiled, but didn't take the hand. "It’s always refreshing to meet a fellow mage." The sun elf tucked a stray strand of hair behind a sleekly curved ear, the threads shining like gold in the dim light of the manor.
The small human scout looked up from the second crate with a small shudder. "This one is filled with instruments that one would use to dissect things with." She closed the crate, looked at the newcomer, and addressed him, "Well met Raafaernir, I’m Caerlin. Welcome to our ever changing group." She sighed and whispered in perfect Elven. "Mayhap eventually we will find some sort of stability." She looked up at the symbol and pondered it for a while as she thought about what has been said and then turned to the others. "My guess is that if we find the village that is named on the crates, we may be able to go from there to find those responsible for what happened here. I'm not to sure that we will be able to follow any leads we find now, since we are supposed to be guarding the caravan, but mayhap someone in Shadowdale can give us more information." She shrugged before she moved to the next crate and opened it.
"Ah, speaking of splendid," the gold elf murmured, offering a particularly deep and gracious bow to the archer, along with somewhat more of a shining smile. Upon straightening and gathering his blue cloak further around his tall form, he slipped into a fluid, courtly Elven in return. "I hope that my presence will aid in the search for stability." Then, in Common once more, "Agreed. Shadowdale first but... certainly we should attempt to solve this terrible crime, as well." He sniffed a bit, leaned over and peered into a crate as well, pushing debris about with the end of his hard wood staff.
Caer returned the smile with a small one of her own, and a slight nod of her head. She looked through the crate and straightened up. "This one is filled with candles, resins, and other things. They may be of use to the rest of you." She left the top off the crate so that those who want to, may look inside. "Mayhap we should of asked if we could use anything we found, while we were upstairs? I really wouldn't want to make her mad, by taking things without permission." A small frown crossed her face, "But I'm not sure that I would want to go back up there to ask."
“Should we split into groups, Ragnar? And did anyone bring flint and steel? All I have with me is needle and thread plus Moonbeam.” He gave a pat to the hand axe. “I’m sure that Freyaeeris would not mind, especially if it aids us in the investigation. She is more concerned with vengeance and the small hope of going home to her parents than guarding material possessions.” Luie made a small gesture. “If you wish I could go back and ask her?”
“I carry some with flint and steel with me most of the time, let me check my pockets. Ah yes, here it is,” Ragnar answered Luie. “And while I don’t wish to see any more indignities heaped upon the poor child, I’d still suggest we make haste in examining the east wing, and thus skip that bit of bureaucracy.”
Raaf sniffed a little more while he prodded into the already-open crate, peering into it, but not getting too close; he was wary of what might suddenly jump out if he wasn't paying attention. "Certainly." He nodded in agreement with the archer's assessment at the usefulness of the materials. But, then at her second comment, he paused; thought. "Most of the Tel'Quess wouldn't mind the use of such provincial things, but... The poor lass is something beyond one of our kind, precisely." Sadness touched his features, his brow knitting together.
"I would accompany you in this, if it is the decision of our party as a whole. If we decide to split into groups, I would suggest trying to split our capabilities as evenly as possible. Just a suggestion, of course..." the elf offered as he replied to Luie.
Caerlin listened to the others. "The sunrod should last for a few more hours," she stated as she looked around the room again. "I think it would be better if we all stayed together, and go ahead and checked out the other wing. The more clues that we gather right now would help us decide what we want to do as we head to Shadowdale. We can talk to the others in the caravan to see if they know anything about this manor, and once we arrive in Shadowdale, we can ask around there for information." She stepped to the doorway, looked out into the other room and past it to the hall, trying to imagine what the manor looked like before this tragedy befell. Sadness crosses her face.
Luie, since he has taken this personally, turned and stepped out of the wing and headed towards the eastern wing. The half-elf bard slung his crossbow over one shoulder, lit his candle, and with the light-source in his left hand, his cutlass in the right, he followed in Luie’s diminutive footsteps. The priestess shrugged and stretched like a cat before she followed Luie.
After it was decided that they would stick together, Raaf dug into his pack and brought out one of his candles and lit it with his own flint and steel; he had left Culcandil well-prepared. Once the candle's warm luminescence surrounded him in a soft halo, setting off his golden coloration all the more, he set off after the half-elven bard, with staff ready in his opposite hand. While he wasn't actively engaging in anyone, his normally bright, cheerful features were cast into a somewhat grimmer visage, his eyes a deep, introspective amber.
"Well, it’s not like I haven't been up this late on other evenings. I'll just have some explaining to do to someone in the morning." Auy shrugged, whistling a little tune to herself. "Though I'm a bit surprised that the rest of you are used to being up this late without some sleep, rest, or Reverie."
"One of the gifts of the People, lady priestess, is that we do not need as much rest as some others,” the gold elf spoke back, glancing over his shoulder, his face handsomely silhouetted by the candle's flame in his hand. An impish smile crossed his features. "Surely that would be a trait you would find commendable in potential partners."
"Aye, I know of this gift and it’s very nice to have in a potential partner," the priestess replied as she looked up and down the body of the elf. She then met his gaze with her playful one. "Though, just saying that you don't need as much rest as others, doesn't mean that you can stay awake as long as those that aren’t elves."
This wing looked mostly like the other wing except there seemed to be hasty built wooden cells that probably held the elves or the bodies of the elves that were experimented on. Two vaguely humanoid beings that are animated elven bones, teeth, matted hair, dust, dirt, and other items slowly rise from the floor from before the cells.
Caer raised her bow as tears started to stream down her face. "I'm sorry for what has happened to you, and forgive me for what I do now," she whispered quietly in Elven as she released an arrow. She watched her arrow enter the one of the left and it didn’t seem to phase the undead.
"Blasted necromancer, or whatever," the priestess cursed before she reached down her chest to grab her holy symbol and pull it out. She held it in the direction of the undead and prayed, "Sharess, help me put these poor bones to rest for once." The cat-deity answered her priestess because the symbol glowed with orange and bright tan energy. A second later, it shot from the symbol and flowed over the two undead, making them scream as it battled the Negative Energy and burned some of their bodies.
"By Sehanine!" Raaf gasped in a strangled voice, in Elven. His eyes widened into shocked amber orbs as he beheld the undead elves shambling towards him. He stopped in his tracks, leaned his weight on one staff. "Poor souls," he murmured, and with little more than a thought, he felt a wetness in his eyes. He blinked a few times, clearing his vision, reminding himself of his courtly training, and raised a hand to go through the gestures of a spell as he mouthed the words in a distinctly Elven fashion.
As he finished the last components of his spell, the sun elf held out his staff, and from the amber mounted on its end, a thin ray of bright silver-white Positive Energy stabbed out at the closest shambling corpse. "May the Lunar Lady guide your soul to Arvandor."
The energy flowed over parts of the undead and it seemed to burn and clash with the Negative Energy that was used to animate these. At the same time, the undead moaned in pain and looked at them with intelligent eyes.
Luie moved alongside Aris, allowing the others a chance to enter the room. “Addoc and Auy, you are needed up front to put these poor beings to rest.” He took a defensive stance in front of the mage.
“If their souls still have any awareness of what’s happening to their bodies then I’m sure they’d be grateful Caerlin,” Ragnar quietly murmured to the archer. He threw the lighted candle at one of the two walking corpses and it watched the candle land near it, placing himself slightly to the front and side of her, cutlass at the ready.
“I hope not. What if they just wanted to communicate?” Luie briefly cringed as he waited for their approach.
Ragnar kept himself between the two "corpses" and Caerlin and he made sure to not to stand in the way of her aim. "I’ve a feeling that cutting the throat or gutting these things isn't going to be very efficient. Does anyone have something a little more blunt to toss me?" he called out.
"Auy's faith is keeping them at bay and we acted before we thought.” Luie placed the sunrod on the floor and then he pushed it towards Ragnar. "Here use that while I try something." He shifted his stance to a relaxed form before he moved towards the undead forms of the elves. He kept his hands at his side. "I apologize for the attack. We misunderstood your intentions. We are here to help you. Freyaeeris, your daughter, sent us find out who did this to you."
The two undead seemed to understand what Luie said and the group saw the undead hesitate for a moment but then they continued to advance. They couldn’t speak because they are made up of different materials and they had no mouths or way to speak.
"Perhaps we should back up. If they follow, let’s lead them to the room where Freyaeeris is. I’m not saying that it would help, but they stopped when you mentioned her name and who knows what might happen when they see her." Auy watched the undead and she looked around the room.
Caer lowered her bow with a sharp intake of breath. "Oh!" The tears flowed faster as she looked around. "Does anyone have chalk or paper and ink on them? Mayhap they would be able to write, since it seems they can't speak. I don't have mine with me, but there is some chalk in one of the crates in the other room."
Ragnar bent down and picked up the sunrod, holding it aloft to light up as much as possible of the room while maintaining a wary eye on the undead. “Afraid not, but you’d think one of the wizards would have some.”
As the Wyrms debated about writing supplies, the two undead pushed through the two spells that have harmed them. Since Luie and Ragnar stepped in front of, or close to, Caerlin and the other members of the Company, the undead focused on the bard and monk. A clawed hand hit each of them for a minor wound and as the claw pierced Luie’s and Ragnar’s flesh, they felt a burning sensation. Luie’s and Ragnar’s bodies shook it off.
Raaf gritted his teeth and tried his best to pull back and out of the closeness of combat. He moved slowly and carefully and he readied his staff for an assault. He muttered in sharp Elven under his breath, "And they say that the Tel'Quess debate too much." It was obvious to him by the undeads’ nature that they weren't the type to discuss things - especially given as they had probably been animated by the Myrkulites for the express purpose of offense or experimentation.
“Ah aye, shoot first and then ask questions.” Luie eased up to the sun elf. “Speaking of shooting, Caerlin aim for the eyes!”
Caerlin nodded at Luie as she took a few steps back from the undead. "Aye, I’ll try that." She raised her bow, aimed, and let a second arrow fly. "Guide my aim, to end their suffering," she whispered quietly in Elven. After she saw that her shot did hit the undead but not harm it, she unsheathed a dagger.
The sun elf positioned himself to attempt to flank the undying creature attacking the bard. He swung with his every-trusty staff and his lips were set in a tight, straight line. His eyes showed the strain of concentration. There was still a light shine of tears in his own amber eyes, but more so than that, there was a focus on redemption for the wretched existence of his fellow elves. However, Raaf’s weapon hit the undead but it didn’t do more then that.
"I guess that my thought on retreating and leading these undead into the young elf we met earlier was vetoed?" the priestess asked while she backed up. A moment later she held her symbol out for the second time and Sharess’s divine energy flowed outwards to harm the small undead.
"Aye," Luie replied while he pulled Moonbeam from his belt and quickly moved to side of the injured undead and his weapon knocked some more of the dirt, bones, and other debris off of the undead.
“I don’t think that these two feel like being led,” Ragnar answered as he tried to hit the nearest undead with the sunrod. Aris moved his hands in a motion of spell casting and a moment later a spell flew from his hands and shattered one of the undead into many different pieces. The remaining undead, that is barely moving, tried to latch on to Ragnar but Ragnar’s attack with the sunrod, even if it didn’t harm the undead, blocked the claws from hitting his body.
Holding her bow in her left hand, Caerlin moved forward and she brought her dagger in an arc that kept it away from Ragnar because she hoped to miss him with her strike. "May you find peace in Arvandor," she quietly told the undead in Elven before she slashed into the parts that made up the undead. Her blow managed to crumble the barely moving undead before Raaf could swing his staff.
When the undead crumbled, Caer's shoulders slumped as her tears continued to fall down her cheeks. She looked over at Luie, "Sorry my friend, for acting before I thought." She cleaned her dagger and put it away before she slung her bow back over her shoulder. She looked around the room and then moved towards the nearest cell. Her posture showed that what she has seen and experienced in this manor is weighing heavily on her. Her expression is unreadable, other than the sorrow in her eyes and her emotions felt more pain and sorrow because she saw that the cell was used to hold the elves that were experimented on. The insides were not clean and the wooden bars were hastily made to hold the once living.
”Sometimes... things are unavoidable.” Luie knelt over to collect some of the dried bones to add to the future funeral pyre. He moved up to Ragnar, “This place is taking its toll on all of us. Let’s finish searching and then burn the bones that we have. And remind me to take care of the make-shift shrine too.” He swished Moonbeam to add emphasis to his words.
The tall sun elf rose from the crouched position that his attempted staff-strike had landed him in. His keen ears picked up the sorrow of Caer's words, and he silently followed her. From behind, he laid a warm hand on her shoulder, gives it a soft squeeze. "Perhaps you think with your heart rather than with your head. Even the Ar-Tel'Quess can appreciate doing so. My fallen... cousins were not content in their existence, and the history of this place makes it highly unlikely that they were in a form where they could communicate. And, if they had, they would have asked for release."
Raaf offered a small, sad smile. "Maybe it is best if we leave this place, now. I doubt that there is little we can do as of yet to relieve the sorrow of this place, without further faculties and knowledge."
Caerlin looked up at the elf, her face still a mask. "Aye, the sooner we finish this, the better." She gave him a small smile as she raised one of her eyebrows. "Fallen cousins... They are not that to only you, Raafaernir, but Ragnar and I as well." With that, she turned and returned to where Luie and the others are.
“Quite so. The angry undead said that their souls would find rest once their bones have been burnt, didn’t she? Let’s hope that she is correct,” Ragnar said as Caerlin walked over to the others. “So don’t blame yourself for anything that you’ve done in here, Caerlin.”
The priestess stood after she knelt before each of the remains and whispered a prayer over each of them while the others talked and collected what they collected. She looked at the group. "I think that we’ve all had enough of this place for tonight,” she said before she started out of the room and made her way out of the wing since she’s had more than her fair share of the fear magic that is pressing down on them and seeing what was done to the elves.
“Aye, I’ve had quite enough of incorporeal and walking dead for one night. Besides, this bruise really smarts," Ragnar said.
After the bodies or the parts of the bodies were burned, the group returned to the camp. The only other sounds that that night, once they bedded down, was the howl of many wolves since Selune was starting to grow full. The flapping of large feathery wings was heard later as a large owl hunted for a meal before Lathander spread his light across this part of Faerun.
The content of Champions of the Silver Wyrm is the property and copyright of Scott Kujawa and is not to be published or redistributed without permission.
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