The Journey Begins: The Circle must be Observed!
I did not know what to expect when I arrived in this small backwater town… Or at least it was supposed to be a backwater town.
The captain fit well into what my idea of a shady port captain might be as he leered over the two young women who have been placed in my care. He was old and had not aged well, broken teeth, bad breath, and skin covered in scars from pox wounds all in all a rather pathetic creature. Perhaps the captain’s unfortunate visage was punishment from the goddess for either his age or poor choices as a youth. Regardless I was glad to be rid of his wretched company.
Sister Serena seems to enjoy the idea of these explorations and just as the sun follows the moon I follow her. She and I are two halves of the same coin we walk together along the path of life and death, but perhaps we shall never truly meet or not as I would prefer. In truth I have come to accept this, but who knows things could change life is fickle.
As we disembark from our ship and begin wandering around I find that the stories I have been told about this seem to be drastically incorrect. Everyone is well dressed and seems more opulent then I would expect in what I was told was a backwater and horrid little town. Eventually we are met by a child no bigger than my shin whom decided to be our guide. I do not handle interactions well so I suggest to Serena that we check in with the local temple but say little else.
As we wind through the streets of the city I am amazed to see that I am not being treated as an oddity. Sure I get the occasional stare but instead of curiosity it is more a stare you would give a stranger, it is odd to me and a little unnerving.
We break paths with lady Kethra and proceed with our small runtish guide to the temple. He seems like a nice child perhaps he will live a long and healthy life.
We arrive at a huge temple the architecture is odd and slightly foreign to me, and as we are being led inside I stop for a minute. To the left and right of the entrance are incredibly large and beautiful black jade Fu-Dogs or temple guardians. I reach out slowly and place my hand on the head of the Fu-Dog to my right. I close my eyes and reach out with my mind and for a minute I imagine I can see everything this creature has seen before me. I get visions of the life teeming around the city, the festivals and lively events, and many other such visions. The jade is warm beneath my hand I pull my hand away and remind myself that this is not a living creature simply a sculpture wormed by the sun, a mockery or perhaps an abomination. Too bad really…
Inside Serena deals with an elf who believes himself to be to important life is temporary even for elves if they are not careful. Either way we are led to a shrine to our goddess, I light the lone green candle. I find it intriguing how so many can forget about my ladies lesser known aspect, perhaps it is the short life span of humans that makes forgetting easier. I may not be longed live but my ancestors are and they remember, thus I remember.
Once we have completed our business with the temple, Sister Serena and I step outside onto the street. The runt who led us here is outside playing with his friends and offers to guide us to the inn where Kethra ran off too. He really is a good child, he shall have a good life and as Serena says likely a good death it is all any of us can ask for really.
Again I am amused by the door, this might seem unremarkable to others but given my size I am always impressed when I see a facility has accounted for non-average people such as me. It feels good not having to duck as I walk into the establishment. As we arrive I scan the room as I always do, I must be ever vigilant to protect Sister Serena and myself.
As I scan the room I notice four people of consequence:
1. (Shei) A beautiful women with intelligent eyes, I can tell clearly she runs the facility. You can usually tell based on the body language and passion in someone’s eyes. When two strangers walk into your bar and one of them is as large as me you take stock and size them up to make sure they will not damage your property.
2. (Madame Saru) Another beautiful woman I start to wonder if that is common at this place… In fact as I look around it seems that it is. She looks strong and healthy; she would provide strong healthy children to replenish the circle of life. Her hair and her skin look to be in top health and to make things even better there is sharpness in her eyes. She looks like she knows more then she lets on and has a wealth of information that could be gleaned perhaps over drinks? I should get to know her better.
3. (Odiri) Not what she appears to be at all. To most I believe they would simply see a drunkard someone whom could be easily had or duped but they would be wrong. Even with her level of intoxication you can see the fine movements in her muscles underneath her blue and yellow Ki-Pow as if even in drunkenness she is making calculated decisions. She is dangerous and should not under any measure be underestimated. That makes her likely more deadly than her compatriot.
4. (Eucarion) This one looks like he could provide a challenge and perhaps even a little sport, it is rare that I meet someone who can raise my hackles. While his female companion is covertly dangerous, this one is overtly dangerous…. Time stops…. I see some similarities in this pair. They remind me of me and Serena… is this how others view me and her? Am I just the lug behind her? I will have to ponder this more. The elf is covered in clothing odd given the environment and he is wearing a high collar, did I just see a small streak of a scar near his collar? He must be a soldier of sometime it is hard to tell but he should be watched.
After surveying the room I realize I have fallen behind Sister Serena and she beckons me over to a table where lady Kethra is sitting… Which happens to be right next to the odd pair, not ideal but I suppose it will make watching them easier.
Kethra and Serena chat, what about I do not really know I am to distracted to pick up much of the conversation. I often find I just trust sister Serena to watch my back as I ponder my mission, life, and try to watch our surroundings. In a way it is another reflection of our odd bond a symbiotic relationship between our aspects.
I wonder where Roth might be in this city, I have been tasked with many missions; protect sister Serena, protect myself, protect Kethra, find the ancient relic taken from my people, find Roth… It can feel overwhelming sometimes.
At some point in time tea is ordered from Madame Saru, I do not remember asking for but I must have implied needing a larger cup I am handed what amounts to be a small cauldron of tea. With little thought and through the protests of Madame Saru I reach out with one of my hands and grab the scalding hot cauldron of tea, I blow lightly on the tea once and begin to slowly sip my tea. Saru seems impressed and curious about me, she smiles to long, and blushes, I can tell she is interested in me. I flirt back as a union of the two of us would further life and fall within an aspect of my goddess.
Life, death, and rebirth these are the three tenets of my goddess now, there is a fourth but some have forgotten. For you see Persephone also has dominion over nature and it is that aspect to which I follow nature and also to an extent life. For me procreation is natural and falls within the tenets of my faith. In service to Persephone I will not let myself be held back by social or cultural norms. If she wishes to mate with me then it will be a glorious thing.
It seems I have something to do with my evening once the party has wound down.
I must have been drowning in my thoughts and only providing shallow conversation with these two new additions to our group. It seems Odiri and Eucarion are an item, and that they will be our guides for our first jaunt beyond the wall tomorrow. It also seems I have been voluntold by sister Serena that we are now part of a charter, I was going to sign my name but it seems to have appeared as if by some mischievous magic. I smile at sister Serena, and I enjoy that fact that she always keeps me on my toes and keeps me sharp. Seems she has won this round. As is prudent I as for a manifest of what resources our new friends have at their disposal.
As I peruse the list I notice three things of interest.
1. A scepter infused with the very essence of my deity. I am struck with awe as I look over the marvelous pieces of equipment I feel a sense of oneness with the scepter and am saddened as I place it back within the case.
2. A short sword as well… it seems this is where my peoples artifact has been the entire time! I think about removing this and claiming that it has been stolen but then I am told it will be returned once the Yomi Princes have been defeated. Not wanting to start a fight in this lovely inn and also agreeing that its strength can be well used I place it back where it was.
3. An odd scabbard and as I read its magical properties a plan begins to form, I must remember to take this with me tomorrow along with the short sword I believe it could come in handy.
The party winds down and our new compatriots leave to get some rest it is hard to gauge their thoughts of the three of us. At times Eucarion and Odiri seem pleased to have us about and at others they seem furious or even dumbfounded, either way this should be interesting.
I am handed a key to my room by lady Kethra, but I realize I will not need it this evening I have other sleeping arrangements already made. Thinking about this evening my lips curl into a devilish smile, it is time for prayers with Madame Saru…
Madame Saru leads me to her bedchamber, we both disrobe…. (Fade to black)
I awake feeling cleansed and refreshed, I hear a knock on the door and without putting on a shred of clothing I stand up to answer the person at the door. She blushes as she enters the bedroom and I can see she is less comfortable with my naked form then I am. She provides me with the option for a bath, either here in Madame Saru’s room or at a local bath house. I choose here in the room, and she runs off to procure a tub of my size. I am utterly shocked and overcome with humor as a tub large enough for me is dragged into the room I assist the groaning servants not wanting them to hurt themselves on my account. While the water is not as hot as I would prefer it feels wonderful against my scales.
After a bath I equipment self and head down for breakfast, I see Madame Saru downstairs and a coy smile flashes on her lips for a moment as well as a hint of blush in her cheeks as she sees me standing at the top of the stairs. I walk down and begin to partake of breakfast. The food is good and very filling. I pack any extra in my bag and we discuss which items we shall take from the chest. At first I request the scabbard, the short sword, and the fine piece of leather armor. Having no modesty I disrobe in front of everyone and place the new armor on my body it feels amazing and supple against my scales. After some brief discussion lady Kethra requests I hand her the armor, not wanting to be rude I quickly agree and again disrobe in front of everyone. It is at this time I notice Eucarion trying to take a glimpse at my sexual organs. I take my penis in my hands and place it on the table it lands with a rather large audible thud, and ask if he would like to take a closer look. He blushes and says “no”, I think to myself that he is odd and strangely insecure I shrug thinking little of it and put my original leather armor back on. I place the relic to my people inside of the new scabbard and I already feel like my plan is starting to come together. I feel unstoppable.
We finalize our plans and as I turn to leave Madame Saru calls out my name, I turn and walk over to her. Curiously she ties a small white handkerchief around my rather large wrists… oddly enough it fits around my wrist. I am not sure what to think of this custom, I am also not sure what to do, what does this mean? I give her a warm embrace and promise to return. She kisses my hand gently and behind me I hear from Eucarion and Odiri “did she just give him her favor?!” it seems she does not do this for everyone.
As we leave Eucarion and Odiri are both on horseback, Kethra and Sister Serena are in the back of a rather large wagon, and I am driving the wagon. Bored by the travel and wrapped within my own thoughts the time passes nearly instantly. One moment we are heading out of the city, the next we are met by two guards at a rather impressive wall. Sister Serena comments about the hydration level of one of the guards, I take a closer look and she is indeed correct I can feel his life energy slowly draining from his body he should indeed hydrate better or he could drop. Some more time passes and we are at the edge of what appears to be a sea of bamboo……………………………..
WHAT was that? Have I been hit with an arrow or some kind of electric bolt? I look around looking for some sort of enemy but there is none. I look up and the odd gem that floats between my horns now has some odd key symbol etched into it. Eucarion and Odiri do not seem worried and in fact seem a little amused to see the three of us visibly shaken by the event. Odiri and Eucarion snicker a bit and simply state “this happens to everyone, don’t worry about it.” I shrug, if it is my day to die and meet my goddess then so be it, I would not want to keep her waiting longer than is required.
The day goes by more or less uneventful that is until lunch time. As we are sitting end eating a small meal of rations our guides shout out about massive boars. I stand up and turn to see three rather large and odd looking boars. They seem like giants among their species this could be due to good health or even a blessing from my goddess, but something seems wrong with them. Upon closer inspection it is their eyes that have me suspicious, their eyes are glowing red and are bloodshot as if they are enraged.
The boars slam into Eucarion and Odiri, as they and their animal companions take the brunt of the boars rage. Eucarion is nearly sent tumbling backwards from the sheer force of the boars charge. I call upon the roots and vines of the forest to entangle our foes and the rest of my party makes quick work of the boar’s before I can engage them properly. Thinking to myself how wonderful some bacon would be I begin to retrieve the corpses of the boar’s. Sister Serena bless their passing in the name of our goddess, the eyes of the boar turn from red to white and we both know our goddess is pleased. The rangers clean our kill and I begin to cook massive chunks of bacon for our party. I also patch up Odiri with a healing spell to mend some of her wounds. After we eat our bacon and collect our things we set out again, and arrive at a beach at sunset. We set a watch and those of us not on watch sleep. I awake unmolested and find the evening went by uneventfully. So ends our first day in the wilds.
We eat breakfast and discuss our travel for the day; apparently we will be heading along the shore keeping the bamboo forest on one of our sides. For the most part we chat and casually pass the time, I dip in and out of the conversation as I am again drowning in my own thoughts.
Sometime passes and suddenly I am shaken from my thoughts by a scream “TIGERS!!!” Suddenly I look about she is indeed correct. I look around and see several spectral tigers have suddenly closed around us. Our horses are under attack, Kethra and Serena are under attack, as well as our guides. I do not have the time to think through all of my options and I just react. I hop down from the driver’s seat on the wagon and as I land on the ground the tigers begin their assault and I start to form a plan. Time slows around me for an instant, the sword, the scabbard, my friends, the tigers they are all variables in this mathematical equation and it is up to me to find a solution. Suddenly I am struck with a plan and it is just then that I land on the ground with an audible thud. I scream and roar at the top of my lungs urging the tigers to see me as the alpha. I am trying to call upon their primal instincts of wanting to assert dominance to get them to attack me and leave my friends be. Sadly the keeper of these tigers a woman floating in the air who seems to be part tiger is able to reign in her control over the beasts and subvert my efforts. Where did she come from? Damn her! I am able to get the attention of at least two of the creatures, and I trust Sister Serena to hold out long enough for me to deal with these two threats. With a roar that would make my ancestors proud I reach deep within myself and let out a torrent of mighty dragon fire and spray it over my foes, they seem less then pleased… good. The tigers close and try to rake my body with their might claws. I make no effort to block the blow and simply trust in my plan. Sparks fly as their claws scratch harmlessly across my scales. Good I think to myself, it seems this scabbard works as advertised. I laugh to myself and then begin to cut down the two tigers that have placed themselves at my mercy. They are fools though, for attacking Sister Serena, and Lady Kethra they will be punished and will have no mercy from me. The battle rage briefly and with little effort the marauding beasts are cut down. As is custom Serena says a prayer to our goddess over the body of each fallen foe. I turn to our friends and ask who requires mending I had no doubt in my mind that Serena and Kethra would be safe, Serena is a dangerous enemy and Kethra is just as crafty they are both perfectly unscathed as am I. Our guides however, are not so lucky. Odiri and Eucarion agree that Odiri should receive the benefit of my goddess. I take one single claw tipped finger and lightly tap it on Odiri’s head. As the magic flows through me from my goddess and into her I see Odiri visibly shudder as if ice cold water had been poured over her. I make a note of Odiri’s reaction but think little of it.
Wait…. My claw… I suddenly remember the other night in the bar. My lips curl into another devious smile, that poor table. I had completely forgotten that I had been absentmindedly tapping a hole in the table with a single claw while the others had been speaking. I had been buried in deep thought and not realized what I was doing. Thought I suppose it is a good thing I had not been doing the same thing to poor Odiri’s delicate countenance.
After the battle we continue on, but I ask to rest in the back of the wagon. Kethra takes up the reigns while I doze in the wagon. Breathing fire while impressive can be draining, and who knows I might be called upon to use that trick once again this day.
Fortunately the day goes by uneventfully and we stop for the night. The night passes with no issues.
As is custom we have a light breakfast and continue on with our journey. Early in the day we happen across some ancient looking docks. The docks appear to have been crafted by the dwarves they do not look like they have seen use in sometime but for the most part are in decent shape. I look out over the buildings and the water. Out in the water I see a large unmoving part of the river.
I wanted to let my traveling companions know about this spot in the water. I wanted to warn them of the threat that could be under the waters. I wanted to point out all the bones of fallen creatures near the bank of the shore. I wanted to, but I did not have the time to do so. As I was about to say something I see a single arrow fly from Odiri’s bow and land into the center of the stagnant pool of water. Suddenly a massive Hydra comes roaring out of the water. The heads of the Hydra are thrashing about like snakes and sending a rain of water and drool everywhere. A Single thought goes through my mind; Oh good it is Hydra time.
As I charge down the to the shore line to put myself between the Hydra and my friends Eucarion casts a spell rooting the Hydra in place. I am facing the Hydra knowing I am completely unable to be harmed due to the scabbard at my belts. The Hydra’s attacks do absolutely nothing to me and are unable to damage my gleaming golden scales. As I hack into the Hydra with all my might and pour dragon fire over its body Eucarion and Odiri are crafting instruments of flame. Eucarion and Odiri are also aware that fire will blunt the creature's innate ability to regenerate it seems, how useful of them.
The fight rages on and suddenly I notice that at some point Sister Serena has come down to the shore to join me and the Hydra in battle. Watching Serena fight is beautiful she gracefully and easily dodges every attack the Hydra throws at her. During her dance of death she even manages to use my shield to deflect a blow from the Hydra. Her form is perfect, and pleasing to watch.
While the Hydra is big and full of life it is little more than a nuisance, the five of us easily dispatch our foe. I decide to rest in the back of wagon wanting to regain my strength in case my fire might be needed again. Later I am told by my party that a great deal of coin wealth and other oddities had been located in the ruins of the dock.
I am awoken by an odd sensation; I poke my head out the back of the wagon and see that we have somehow been transported back to town. How convenient I think to myself. Sister Serena sees me stir from my slumber, she looks over to me and tells me "Our goddess is pleased with us." this brings joy to my heart and I am pleased to please our goddess.
We arrive back at the inn, and I put back the might relics I have borrowed for our journey. I check with Sister Serena and Lady Kethra to make sure they do not require anything. I then go search for Madame Saru perhaps she can help me work out the knots in my muscles from my hard journey I think to myself with another grin.
Life always finds a way, and it is but nature to seek physical thrill after adventure.
V.Gates Hierophant of Persephone