Today’s snippet, titled “Vehemence”, is a piece I wrote about my PC in Mark’s new (Good) Pathfinder Campaign.
Be forewarned, there may be mature themes and naughty language below.
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Rhiallis sat next to Tom Parris’ cold body and tried to count how many this made. Ten, I think. Tom Parris is number ten. No – eleven. I forgot about Red – he was with us so briefly. Oh – twelve! How could I forget about Niro?
“You’re doing it again.”
She glanced up. “What?”
Ezekiel did not even look over his shoulder at her. He was hunkered down beside a boulder, scanning the horizon for danger.
“Being morose. Counting up the losses. Focusing on the past.” He tossed his head and his golden hair glimmered in the moonlight. “You said you weren’t going to keep doing that.”
“No, I’m- I mean, yes – I was. But I’m not. I mean- Oh, to the Hells with it anyway. He isn’t really one of the lost. He’ll answer my call when I try it, slightly before dawn and be marching with us within an hour or two.”
“And besides that,” she continued, smoothing down the cleric’s hair where Sadie’s tears had dampened it. “It isn’t as if we fled in defeat. We put those annises down. And that Banshee retreated into that awful cloud – but we will return for her. We will equip ourselves with enchanted weapons this time – specifically crafted to deal with the incorporeal threat – and we shall eliminate her from this plane of existence.”
“And then the dragon.”
Rhiallis glanced over at Sadie’s sleeping form and then nodded. “And then the dragon. And then, if the Queen has no further orders, we will begin to hunt for those behind the widening rift and we will hire a team of researchers to find a way for us to close the bloody thing and then we shall seal it shut once and for all.”
He cast a grin over his shoulder and she could not help but smile back.
“That’s more like it, Rhiallis,” Zeke said, and turned back to the horizon.
“There’s nothing pulling it,” she hissed.
They were deep into third watch, crouching side-by-side as they peered into the interminable darkness of the ‘Wound. Ezekiel put a hand on her shoulder.
“That doesn’t mean they’re evil, Rhiallis.”
“We’re not prepared for a battle right now and you know it. Tom has hardly been breathing for an hour or two and we exhausted so many of our resources.”
“I know, but-”
She pursed her lips. When did you become such a reasonable, rational fellow?
“We can try to track them later.”
“I suppose,” she said, clenching her fists. “I sort of want that wagon though. Why did I never think of having my little wagon enchanted all those years ago? I could have saved my mules a lot of strain, had I done that.”
He shook his head ruefully and moved quietly toward their camp site.
“And we could march through the night to get to Kenebres sooner, with a wagon like that,” she continued, whispering, “Imagine that. I could sit up all night on the driver’s seat while the rest of you sleep in your shifts, and we could keep rolling and make so much distance in a single day.”
“Yep,” he nodded.
“And…” Rhiallis kept talking, softly to keep their position hidden, until dawn came and with it, the sensation of a well filling up with water once more. She could not help but wonder if she glowed at this time, when the queer powers that they had inherited upon the destruction of the Wardstones were at their fullest. Was her pale hair incandescent? Did her amber eyes gleam with a metallic golden sheen? Was her sun-kissed skin nearly translucent beneath the tender caress of dawn’s newborn rays?
Soon, Sadie and Tom woke. The camp was broken in what seemed like seconds and before the sun had risen more than a few inches upon the horizon, the Valorous Order – such as it was these days – began another day of marching.
By this time tonight, Rhiallis thought, stretching her wings behind her with a grunt. We will be back in Kenebres once more. How much will have changed in the two or three fortnights? Will the Defender’s Heart be letting rooms, or will there be other Inns yet? Will we be able to find enchanted weapons to kill that damned banshee or will we have to try and hire a wizard to – Her mind flickered to a memory of pretty, blonde Aimsley and their adventures in teleportation – teleport us to Phoenixa or some other grand city?
She felt a tingle at the base of her spine and tried to massage it away.
“By Iomedae’s Blade, I cannot wait to close my eyes and rest upon a real mattress again. Straw or feather, I don’t even care. Just a real, actual bed.”
Zeke chuckled. “Me too. And not alone, I tell you that now.”
“A bath. A hot steamy one. With gobs of scented soap. I’ll soak until my fingers and toes are little pink raisins!”
Tom Parris was quiet, but he smiled down at Sadie when she spoke. Rhiallis wondered how he felt, having been returned so unceremoniously to his body, but did not ask. The cleric volunteered little, but that was quite typical for him.
“A drink, too.” Sadie said, walking backwards so that she was facing her friends. “Or three, or a dozen. Strong as they make them.”
“Aye,” Tom Parris, said with a nod.
Zeke and Rhiallis agreed.
“That’s settled then. Whiskey and ale and wine, and a good clean girl for Zeke. We’ve more than earned a night off the trail, don’t you think?”
Sadie hopped in place for a moment, letting the slowest amongst them – a fact Rhiallis still had trouble reconciling with the fact that her legs were longer than anyone else’s – catch up a bit.
“But just one. Then we have to get ourselves re-equipped so we can come back out here and find that bitch and kill her. This time, she’ll stay dead, damn it!”
“We’ll get her, Sadie.” Tom Parris adjusted his shoulders and Rhiallis noticed the slight frown. He must miss the familiar weight of his bow on his back, she thought, and her hand unconsciously dropped to Radiance’s hilt at her hip. I felt much the same, when Graves carried her.
“Yeah.” The halfling’s expression was feral – almost terrifying. “Yeah we will.”
Somehow, rather than bolstered by her little friend’s vehemence, Rhiallis was perturbed. She wondered if the Worldwound was getting to her, if the halfling’s innate goodness was being tweaked or twisted by the permeating evil all around them. Then she shrugged and forced the thought away.
Everyone is a little bit bitter these days. There’s so little joy and so much pain. And she nearly lost Tom Parris – so if she’s a little angrier than normal – well, what is normal anyway? She’s right. We’ll find that banshee and we’ll vanquish her once and for all.
Rhiallis gripped Radiance’s hilt.
One more evil conquered. A few million to go.
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Note: Image is “King Jagiello Statue Central” by (Mulligand) from SXC.hu; edited by me