Isanien, pt. 4

We found one of those cursed students again. Always meddling… always trickery. I believe he set the fire. Set it and left a ring to lure us in. We took the bait and followed. The mountains could have been the death of us. I’ve never seen so much ice and snow. And the wind… the wind can chill to the very marrow of our bones. If not for the cave, the sweet embrace of rock for shelter, we would have surely perished. I thank Lolth for her mercy. I know she shows little to the weak, no matter how faithful.

The cave also held our path to the far desert. I am sure it is not the same as the one that holds Dust. That was where we found him. Or he found us. He was waiting for us, with a ridiculous smile. He demanded our rings, but cowered in front of the dark one and the woman. He attacked, and sealed his fate. He fell quickly enough, but then she started acting strangely. She was afflicted. She cried in earnest to each of us in turn, pleading for the rings. She was weak. The dark one held her at bay, though it drained him. I struck her down with the hilt of my sword just as he collapsed in exhaustion.

That was when I felt its true power fill me. It brushed me aside, but did not obliterate me. I claimed the rings from the dark one and turned towards the male, my hand outstretched, my command clear. And still he hesitated. Hesitated. And I found I could simply take what I asked of him. Take what was mine. And I had it all.

And then my world was fire. My very soul threatened to unravel. I saw them all. The male… the dark one… the one that would still defy me. I saw this entire pitiful island for what it was… and then I saw nothing. I could not bear it, the nothing.

A sharp crack with the flat of her blade to my head sent me reeling. I nearly struck her down right there. She had the impudence to attack me! How many had I killed for a lesser offense? She thought me mad. That was when I felt the staff. The rings were gone and the staff was unfamiliar, yet I could sense its latent power as I held it in my hand. This is what the dark one had sought. But I think it is not enough.

The male holds it now. She has tried to command it from him, and yet he holds true. We wait here at the inn for the dark one to awaken, for the others to return. I have little interest in the staff itself, for it will only draw trouble to us, but after what we have gone through to acquire it… what I have gone through… I will not part with it for any small price. If it comes to it, blood will flow.


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