CW: Language & Feminine Business
After three straight weeks holed up in Eucarion’s place leaving only momentarily for refills of wine and food from the market, he and I decided it was best for us to spend some time at the Rose Shell so we would not forget how to socialize like respectable beings. Midway through our 4th, 5th? bottle of Maiden’s Breath we notice a newcomer, a half-elf with flaming red hair much like Soveliss’ enter. Madam Saru was immediately fussing over her and it appears she is some sort of performer like Elura, by the name of Kethra, but this one seems to be adepts specifically with instruments unlike Elura’s broad stroke talent.
While her performance commanded a standing ovation Eucarion and I were hesitant to readily accept new comers after what seemed like a nice balance of calm had fallen over the port town. Shortly before the ovation died down entirely an odd pair of even more new comers entered the Rose Shell with no hesitancy. I am always immediately suspicious of those with this much confidence. The first of the two was a massive gold dragon born with an odd egg shape floating between his horns. While his scales were similar to Roth’s in color they had entirely different snout shapes and that egg was definitely a different thing. But as Roth is the only dragonborn I’ve ever met till now, I don’t know if Roth is the odd one for NOT having an egg?
Alongside the dragonborn, who introduced himself as V.Gates, was a pleasantly short human that I could almost make eye contact with without tilting my head that introduced herself as Serena. She has the most chilling habit of wishing those she meets a “good death” like your average person would wish someone a good day. I have come to understand after a few days with them that this is particular to their Goddess Persephone.
After Xiao promptly introduced himself in his typical manner Madam Saru instigated conversation of the charter. I think I attempted to explain the Yomi Princes and they drama surrounding them but much of that evening was blurred by alcohol. What I do remember was that my love almost came to fisticuffs with the dragonborn over a question of age and the blatant vandalism of the Charter document by that death happy harpy, Serena. For better or for worse there were three new members for the charter of the carved table.
Important to note: That god damned dragon man not only bedded Saru on his first night in town but also received a token of her favor the next morning after a rather brazen display of his manhood on the breakfast table. Soveliss will be furious.
Also, how many of my compatriot’s privates will I be shown in bravado before the shock wears off?
The next day I woke up early from Eucarion’s place and went home to the manor to saddle up Dusty and hitch False Indigo and Gryphon Bait to Lady Frivolity’s cart. If these new charter members were so riled to go beyond the wall, I wouldn’t have them on foot during these dangerous times. There were rumors that the charter went up against Blood Spatter Snow Bitch and were met with death but I have yet to validate the story with one that was out with that party. Regardless it meant beyond the wall was even more dangerous than it ever had been.
When we met the gate boys they introduced themselves rather formally as “Robert and Timothy” What the hell was that all about? Regardless, I challenged Tim to a rematch at the Harvest Festival despite his insistence that his training with Eucarion and Oranssi would win him the match. I reminded him he conceded after one hit in the last match.
As we passed through the gates to the other side of the wall Eucarion and I turned back to watch in amusement as the newcomers received their keys. It’s always a delight to watch their panic before assuring them it’s for good cause. After that ordeal was dealt with we realized we have no intended heading. Serena admitted ownership of a map of sorts and we agreed on a “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” moment. When piecing our maps together we noticed her map had a significant overlap in between what Elura has and what I have. On her map though, was Makiko’s Trust. A ferry landing and waystation on the edge of the Mara River. In this decision to get to the river Eucarion discovered I cannot swim. He was none too pleased on the verge of upset that I never told him. He insists on teaching me but I will avoid that lesson for as long as I humanly can.
Traveling with these new members to the charter was quite pleasant with the occasional soft singing heard from Kethra. We trekked west along the wall but the calm was disrupted during lunch of our first day of travel by three giant boars. A beast I knew well thankfully. Serena, Kethra and V.Gates proved themselves as worthy additions to the Charter with their quick actions. The boars were obviously tainted by The Bitch and Serena quickly saw to blessing the corpses as they questioned my love and I on the source of the evil. We made it to the river’s edge by nightfall and camped. I saw to a quick and rather immodest bath in the river but hell be damned if they saw my womanly goods I couldn’t care less I just wanted the blood and grit that comes from skinning animals that size off my body.
The next day directly after we started back on our path after lunch we were ambushed by 8 Ghost Tigers. In a pack, they were none other than the Bitch’s. Solitary tigers have left our group alone for months as we have come to an accord with them they leave us be, we leave them be. But when they came at us from the brush from every angle we were in bad shape. Pulling the most energy I could, I let loose an arrow that channeled the skies themselves and it hit the center of the 5 tigers surrounding Eucarion, the animals and I with a bolt of lightning spreading from the tip of the arrow out beyond the first tiger, to the two at its side and again to the two at their sides. Watching a single arrow wreak so much destruction amongst our enemy filled me with a limited fierce pride in my skills. My faith in my ability to be any good to our party was starting to wane. What good was a few arrows against Naligor’s shapeshifting and Adi’s intense magicks? Even Eucarion has his skill of a soldier that I don’t.
Pity party aside, the fight against the tigers was one of the most stressful I’ve been through in some time. Having to split my attentions between making sure the newcomers were not being over taken and keeping my own hide on my body was an effort and a half that earned me a claw to the side. Mid-fight the skies darkened and the sun was blotted out by an instant and heavy rain. Then there she was in all her spectral projected bitchiness. She addressed us with a cockiness I’ve come to expect. Her empty threats of death don’t scare me anymore.
As the battle wore on the rain took its toll on my aim but luckily our new members seem to be able to hold their own. Charka was acting surprisingly compassionate by jumping into the cart to defend Kethra. That unlikely duo downed a tiger after a flawless hip check from Charka slammed the tiger perfectly into Kethra’s crossbow bolt range. Serena was a flurry of movement with her giant halberd cutting the second to last tiger clean in half.
As Charka brought down the last tiger the skies started to lighten and I realized my garb was not just wet with rain but also with blood. I felt sick and instantly tired until V.Gates tapped me on the forehead with a single claw and I felt like I had been plunged under an icy lake. My skin felt like it was equally cold and on fire in the same moment. I gasped deep as I felt my claw torn side knit together with that icy energy. As much as I appreciate the healing, and I will NEVER admit this aloud, I prefer Oranssi’s warmth of Artimestia over this cool darkness of Persephone.
After dealing with the tiger corpses we continued down the river and camped. Over dinner Eucarion and I had to explain the hateful hag that was Blood Spattered Snow Tiger and the havoc that she has caused outside the wall. It pleases me that these newcomers are just as commited to bringing her down as we are now. The next morning after only a short ride we finally saw Makiko’s Trust off in the distance. It looked abandoned and run down. What was even more startling was the massive dead area in the water surrounding the ferry landing that Eucarion and I could sense. No fish, no frogs. Not a single shore bird.
I shot an arrow long and wide to test the waters and as soon as my fingers released the arrow I heard V.Gates warn me of “Large Predators”. In a blink five massive reptilian heads breached the surface. I knew what this was. I’d only seen it in book but it was a fucking hydra. I fucked up. That will teach me to blind fire. With an exasperated sigh Eucarion burst into action used his magicks to ensnare the beast off the coast so it could not advance on us and take down one of its five heads. I feel I may have been the cause of that sigh and I hope he is not still upset with me. I bring my lightning down on the next head completely obliterating it. But if I remember correctly fire was necessary to keep the heads from regrowing. I don’t remember but someone from the group definitely shouted that we needed fire. Eucarion quickly set to making fire arrows for us to share with rags and oil. V.Gates and Serena took turns at the thing between Eucarion and I’s fire arrows while Kethra emboldened us with heroic song and a sharper tongue that even Elura possesses. If I recall she called the monstrosity a “Death Noodle Tat Wasp”
Surprisingly our ragtag team downed a massive hydra with little effort thanks to my Dearest’s quick thinking. As we approached the ferry landing we noticed very quickly this hydra had been in residence for quite some time. The grasses and waters were piled thick with bones of all variety, adventurer and animal alike. Inside the main building of the landing there was ample room with a cot, a rain barrel and even a desk. The desk was covered with the debris unique to abandoned places but under it all we found scroll tubes of shipping manifests, and a ledger of ferry crossing times. Under the desk we found a large lock box. My hands almost worked in a mind of their own fitted with Makiko’s own gloves it would make sense that the lock box found at a place titled “Makiko’s Trust” would open as easy as a 5 copper harlot.
Among the knickknacks and coins, I found a delicate black lacquered fan case. Inside it was a magical fan painted with intricate air elemental. I could feel the magic in it but was too disconcerted with the feeling that this fan was the sister to the one I had given to Eucarion. Lady Shen’s belongings were nothing to be taken lightly as her history is as dark as the lacquered case I was holding. The keys couldn’t have started to glow a moment too soon as that same overwhelming exhaustion I had been fighting this whole trip came over me. The ride back to the manor felt like days but a warm private bath was just the ticket to a good night’s rest.
~ Next entry in shaky unsure handwriting ~
The bath did nothing to ease my exhaustion or my nerves. I’ve counted my days over and over. I’ve missed my lunar. I’ve missed it before. It could be nothing. It could be the stress of adventuring for the first time in 3 weeks. It could be…no, it cannot. It’s physically impossible. I wish it could be. I’ve wished it from the moment he admitted his love to me but, nature would not allow it. It has to be stress.