The Shackled City
Jarvyk Entry 27
22 Wealsun, 592 CY
The orange energy field weighs heavy on my mind, contradicting what little still feels right in this razed mental fort. Evenings drag on into the dark of night, but rest eludes me. In the days, a great shadow stands formless, elusive, blotting out the entirety of the sun. Nothing at all seems as it should. I search for Jarl and dark dimensional chasms begin to spread across my psyche. When eyes do close, and the portals recede, a wretched torment fills my lungs choking life from breath before falling to remorse in a twisted twilight of envious hatred. These rampant raging emotions continue to swirl through bone and flesh and soul, clutching clawing dragging bits and pieces of me towards the bloody fields of the All-Father. Remnants of will are purged from desire, left behind to rot in the absence of self. Attrition enumerates these final moments of existence, places them in an unfamiliar order and then ceases all being. There is nothing. No peace nor war, hatred nor love, an absolute absence of everything.
… … it persists … … without reference, passing thoughts are given leave to draw typhoons up from vapor, swirling viciously through emptiness in a blistering, pounding, endless fury … A glimpse of infinity demolishes hope. Only thoughts of eternity leaping from the corners of this absence, a contrast of black on black, catalyze change. Piercing sensations drive a zombified march towards the unseen visage of the Creator, crossing lines between existences that mortals simply fail to grasp. Painfully I toil in this time between spaces, no self nor sense of purpose, searching without desire for a god I don’t worship. My mournful lusting for former concerns of hardship or tragedy is lost to any emotion. Faint impressions of history ripple through visceral observations. My hands upon steel, face soaked in blood, ravenous hearts beating synchronously.
Emanating from nowhere a voice breaks through, rattles me to attention, and questions, “Are you not here without purpose or intention? Do you not seek the essence of path?” I wait, nothing changes. Those senses, steel, blood, heart, they encompass the three known elements of my existence and with them I search for an answer. All else remains lost to the fires transformation. Timidly, and then with undue conviction a response utters forth from within, “I .. am here…. I am here with all that exists; Steel, Blood, and Heart! Purpose, intention, and path are beholden to these.” The sensation of these elements grows stronger, more intense more pervasive.
“Let it not be said that Dwarves of His are without a single merit, nor that any of their merits be peaceful. You have been pulled through the fires of judgment, burned clean of your former self, and given new life. His is a powerful hold; stronger than utter absence in cases, and here it appears to seep through. Along paths now laid down for naught but you there will be a guide, ready before even he is met, ready for what warship lay ahead. Be remiss now, quickly, for the age and solitude fading forever from view is but an empty reflection from His silver beard.”
Startled, and in a cold sweat, I awoke. Something important had changed. I was different in some measurable way that demanded of me anew. Without changing, no death and rebirth, I found new direction. The All-father answered my prayers, judged me by the essence of my convictions, and connected me with my lord, Clangeddin Silverbeard.
This was not to be the last of my revelations, profound though it was. No, it could not even be counted as the most startling. For this title must be given to the entrance of my strange, imposing, new friend, Fer Lomarcan. Sent to me by the Silverbeard himself, this beast carried with it knowledge of both combat and survival, fit ready and willing to carry me through assuredly troubled times ahead. His was the entrance I’ll never forget.
Having just approached the brink of death, been drug back across everything in existence and laid helpless upon the alter of realization; Fer simply popped into being. My awareness couldn’t handle the concept of ‘giant hound faced bear suddenly and imposingly on top of you’. If he had attacked there would be no hope, only the quickly fading memory of a Dwarf who got eaten by a bear. Instead, much to my fortune, he spoke, “I am Fer Lomarcan. I have come in answer to your call.” It took me a while I think, to respond. Perhaps I drooled upon myself or made noises fit for a barroom. I couldn’t tell you.
By the time memories started merging again with the present Fer and I had spoken, bonded, worked, and played. His mind and mine merged, sending new and varied sensations through me. It was a connection more agreeable to me than the fulfillment of my duties to Ashton. This bear, bearhound in point of fact, cares only for the path upon which we are set and the relevance it has towards our ends. His devotion is unending and I feel, quite quickly, that with him there is real meaning.
This was the revelation of my life, more intense than a quest to restore the family name or meeting the ancestor responsible for god and country; although this latter was rather spectacular itself. The question now becomes, where do we find the battlefield upon which to enact this righteous path?
23 Wealsun, 592 CY
A return to Cauldron, stomping grounds for weaker versions of ourselves, laid low in front of us. The place had seen better days. Dark powers certainly afoot, soon Fer soon, the smell of battle rises. But first, as in all good games of tactic and chance, there is espionage. The silvered tongues, Bransen and Karamus, went out into the belly of the beast to glean a, brief, history of recent events. Instead, history found them.
We got setup to run interference for the Fharlanghn Striders, break one of them out of captivity. The Last Laugh, still bastards in anyone’s book, had their guy. Magic made clear the obvious questions, and even revealed the state of the interrogation in progress. The promised payment was information, but it could have been free with all the deserving targets between us and our mark. We headed out immediately. Between Bransen and Greyjek most of the work fell to waiting. Still there was some bloodshed, just not by me. With a quick bit o’ magic we landed ourselves right at the head of the pin, staring down the blade at our mark and his mistress.
Suffice it to say that not all rogues are as tight lipped as they’d like to let on. We found the next big thing on the underground circuit and set to planning our involvement. But first there would be business, political business. One member of the Last Laugh, one beloved comrade, now where do we find trouble? Turns out, at House Rhiavadi, that’s where. Trouble comes in spades, it would seem, in that house. With a clandestine meeting just on the horizon, and us caught exceptionally unprepared, we spent the better part of the day seeking suitable cause for our innate desire to simply storm into the place and lay havoc upon the inhabitants. We settled on observation, when no legal avenues could be properly applied.
There will be blood come from this meeting, of that we can all be sure, but there won’t be any violations on our part. No legal mishaps will derail the justice inevitably reserved for those who put action behind desires to wipe us, any of us, from the Oerth. It’s a privilege given down directly from Clangeddin. Every creature has the right to fight for its life, despite the odds or consequences. Ours was merely a defense of opportunity, confirmed by the information Greyjek so cleverly lifted from the meeting house. To kill us, kill us all. Yes, the meeting, among other things, concerned the desire, the job, of eliminating the Silver Phoenix. I was flattered and enraged in the same breath. Now to the planning, to the watching, to the waiting; we were going to need ample supplies of each in equal measure in order to fuel the potency of prowess necessary for successful battle with foes such as these.