Welcome to the novelization of my current D&D campaign, told through the perspective of the characters. For me, it lets me do a little creative writing. Links to the previous posts are at the bottom of this one. Enjoy!
That cockatrice bite gave me a limp with my leg that was irritating. A large portion of one thigh had turned to stone, gray, impervious to pain, but heavy and hard to move. It made my hip hurt, and I feared the ailment might spread. The time had come to see if anyone had a cure. The apothecary had proved useless in this, all of their bottle and nothing to cure cockatrice bite. That left me with one choice, one I was loathe to make. The church.
I am not anti-religion. I just see them as an enemy. For the record, they started it. Years of hunting down magic users like myself instilled a strong disdain for priests. They are always friendly and cordial, but would sell out warlocks like me in a heartbeat for crucifixion or worse.
While the others stayed at the Copper Horse, waiting for Theren and Bor to return from court, I decided to visit the temple. The moment I left the inn I spotted that bald headed, blue-robed monk that had been shadowing us since we had arrived in Karn. He seemed harmless enough but I didn’t trust him. Trust is not my strong suit. I coyly watched him as he trailed me through the city. Why was he so interested in our little party?
I was impressed by the temple when I found it. It only slightly modest on the outside, high quality stonework from what I could tell. No doubt the stonemason’s guild had to donate their considerable services to build it. The inside was ornate, with gold-leaf covered statues of angels and an ivory embedded cross. Braziers with incense burned from their hooks, filling the air with a sweet smell. So much for their coppers going to help the poor. The hypocrisy was not lost on me.
The white robed pastor stepped forward. “I am Pastor Galt,” he said with an all-too charming tone to his voice. He had black hair and was easily 20 years my senior. “What brings you here my son?”
“I am in need of healing pastor,” I said, opening my robe and showing him my gray splotch of stoneskin. His brow furrowed when he looked at it.
“What is your name my son?” he said, stooping and looking at it more closely.
“Althalus. I am here from Whiterock. I had a bit of a run-in with a cockatrice.”
“So it would seem,” he said rising. “Very rare, such a wound. Cockatrice are rarely found in these parts.”
“I am not from these parts,” I countered, “Can you cure it?”
He was noncommittal in his shrug. “Perhaps. I most certainly can try.” He paused for a moment, which seemed awkward.
“I appreciate it,” I finally said.
“I understand,” Galt said. “It does require a tithe to church my son.”
“Oh,” of course it did. “Forgive me father, but I am unsure of how much such a cure might cost.”
“It is not a cost, but a payment from the heart. Usually it is what someone can afford,” the pastor said. “But this is complex. I think a donation of fifty gold pieces might help in such a case.”
Lexa Lyoncroft had nothing on the church when it came to robbery! I paid him, counting it out slowly. He ushered me to the altar and I climbed up. Galt traced an outline with his fingernail of the stoneskin and began to chant. His hands felt hot on my thigh. I watched as he massaged the skin. At first I felt nothing – and I wondered if he had failed. Then I felt his hands touching me through the skin. I had feeling again. After ten minutes or so he stopped. “I have done all that I can my son,” he said with a ragged voice.
I looked at my thigh and saw the gray skin. I touched it and felt my finger. Swinging my leg over the altar I tested the leg. I had control again, though the spot was sore and a little unsteady. “What about the gray color?”
Galt shook his head. “There isn’t anything I can do for that. I have restored your ability to walk and feel, but the color will remain I am afraid.” It made me wonder if I had paid more, if that could have been fixed as well.
He walked me to the door and I thanked him. As I opened the large oaken door I saw the monk across the street. “He’s still there…” I muttered.
I turned to Galt and bobbed my head in the direction of the monk. “That man in the blue robe has been following my friends and I since we arrived.”
He snorted a grunt of disdain. “The Blue Robes. They arrived here and set up a friary next door. They are men of God, I will give them that, but little more. They make people nervous, the way they flutter about the fringes of the city. Their agenda is that of the church…and their own I fear.”
“The friary is next door?”
“Yes,” Galt said pointing to the right. “That is their friary. Perhaps Friar Rez can provide you the answers you seek.”
I thanked him and went next door. The friary was not as conspicuous and austere as the church. It was much more simple in its construction, less permanent. The air stung with a sweet smell, and a touch of must and honey. The door was open but I knocked on it the sill. A man wearing a royal blue robe approached me. “Hello. I am Malgorzata Rez, the friar here. How may I assist you?”
“Well, I was just wondering. I mean, one of your men has been following us,” I turned to point to him but he was standing right behind me. How did he move up so quickly and quietly? “I was wondering why?”
Friar Rez began to gesture with his hands, and I half-wondered if he was about to cast some sort of a clerical spell. The stocky monk replied with hand gestures of his own, leaning his quarterstaff against his body as his hands flew about the air. It went on for a good two minutes before the friar turned back to me.
“Brother Dimitrios has had a vision that has profoundly changed him. Apparently you have a part in what he has seen. I believe he wishes to accompany you. He has conveyed that your trek is one that is filled with darkness and death, and feels you may hold sway on the dark days that are to come.”
I wasn’t sure what to say. He seemed harmless enough. I didn’t fear the dark days, I intended to bring them about. The church used such talk to instill fear and obedience. “I guess that’s okay,” I replied. “Does he have some sort of vow of silence or something?”
“No,” Rez replied matter-of-factly. “He has chosen to not speak. He can at any time.” I looked at Dimitrios and he nodded. I turned back to the good friar. He stepped into the friary and came back with a small wooden keg in his hands. “This may help.”
I took it and it was heavy and full. “What is it?”
“Mead of course – the best in the lands. I offer it for the man that would help Dimitrios fulfill his vision.”
I chuckled. “I thought you might offer me a prayer, not something to drink.”
“Well know, we both know that a prayer might be wasted on you, don’t we?” There was something in the way that he said it that told me that he knew I was a warlock.
“Thank you,” I replied and turned to Dimitrios. He had his quarterstaff back in hand and was ready to follow me.
We walked back to the Copper Horse and I saw that Bor and Theren had already arrived. “How did it go with Lord Sklaver?” I asked.
“You’ll love this,” Arius said sarcastically.
“Oh, it went well,” Theren said. “We passed on the message as planned.”
“Great, we can go home then?” I said.
“Not exactly,” Bor replied with a hint of hesitation in his voice.
I looked back at Theren. “What does that mean?”
“Well,” the druid said hedging his voice slightly. “It’s like this. We have sort of been drafted into the royal guard. Temporarily of course, but we need to accompany reinforcements going to the Gash.”
“Drafted? I don’t like the sound of that. How temporary of a time are we talking?”
“Well, if our message was right, we’ll be released once we arrive there. If not, they will likely kill us.”
“Like I said,” Arius quipped, “You’ll love this Althalus.”
“Okay,” I replied, putting down my small keg of mead on the table. “No problem. We go to the Great Gash, then we go home.” I knew it was not going to be easy, but at least we were traveling with soldiers rather than wandering afield alone.
“Who’s your friend?” Theren asked, quick to change the subject.
“This is Dimitrios,” I gestured to the blue robed monk who bowed his head to our small party. “He’s going to be joining us for a while.”
The monk began to gesture with his hands. Theren, much to my surprise, did the same thing. I waited for a moment then asked. “Can you understand him?”
“No, I was just waving my hand around.”
I immediately felt a headache come on. Druids…a combination of hemp, cheap philosophy, regret and dirty fingernails.
I hope you have enjoyed the saga thus far. Here are the previous parts if you have missed any installments. Enjoy!