It is done. The humans have been rescued.
How we got here is twisted. The trade caravan I was with made it to the summer soltice market fare and I fell in with a group of novice adventurers. One of the little folk, a Simbasta, an Argonian and, eventually, a human and an elf. First we chased pickpockets, then we chased book-snatchers, and then we found ourselves under the cairnes investigating foul necromancies. It was a dark place and dark time – Argonian, Elf and Simbasta all fell to dark forces.
Those of us who remained were joined by two more, and shortly after returning the stolen book and uncovering a dark plot to subvert the course of nature through necromancy, got a job escorting a trade caravan in the opposite direction.
As a group we had differences of opinion with the caravan driver and were released from duty, only to be hired immediately by the mayor of the stopover town to rescue dozens of humans from local beastman raiders. This, at least, was something everyone in the group could agree on.
To be clear, I am currently travelling with:
- Fenniros, an agile elven book-caster with a warm spot for fire
- Lotti, a knight of sorts who champions freedom and knowledge
- Mercer, one of the smallfolk who has quick fingers and flexible ethics
*Branzel, a young human male fighting for a buck. Or is that the other way around?
We tracked the captured humans, who’s numbers made the task easy. We fought small numbers of beastmen along the way, and the anscestors watched over us. We learned they were bugbears and had goblin cohorts. We tracked them through one underground labrynth to another – a dwarven city – and met kobolds.
A deal was struck with the kobolds to return a stolen dragon. In return they would allow us passage and render minimal aid in defeating the goblins and bugbears. We have fought much and rescued the humans – once again I thank the anscestors for watching over us and adding their weight to ttip the scales in our favour – and have been hailed as heroes by the mayor and townsfolk.
The celebrations are welcome – it is a nice change to be seen as a hero rather than cowered from. The few other Rakasta I have seen in this part of the world do not seem to create their own personal space as much as I do, so while I quickly tire of the crowd and the noise, it is a change for the better.
There are still unanswered questions and promises to be fulfilled. More to the point, Fenniros feels honourbound to return the dragon to the kobolds. Lotti feels like we’ve done our job and freed the humans and are, in turn, free to go. Mercer has an unexplained hatred for the kobolds and wishes not to help them but would not mind seeing a few of them die before we leave this part of the world.
Myself? I think there is something bigger at play. From what I can tell It is natural for kobolds and goblins to fight over territory. It is natural for bugbears to raid human settlements. What is unnatural is bugbears and goblins working together to capture slaves for the dwarves. There is something bigger at play, though I do not think it is the necromacy of earlier.
The worste I have seen so far, though, was the corrupted Ent. No long a part of nature, it confessed needing not light nor water and hungered for the life-force that animates us all. It was a blight upon the land, poisoning the ground around it. It offered power, but power dark and twisted. It was a bitter moment to realise that the first Ent I would meet – ancient and powerful – was cursed to be outside the natural order. It was cleansed with fire.
We rest a few days, and then we return to the kobolds. There is something else down there, underground, that has caught our attention, and there is a ‘dragon’ to find. Though I wonder if it is a true dragon, and if it is, wether it is under the protection of the kobolds or being held as their slave? I shall bring this idea up with the group, though I do not know if they will take me seriously. They watched as I called on the anscestors to defeat our foes – they saw my tooth and claw be blessed for combat, and they saw the combined speed and srength of generations of warriors, and they saw the red rage, and the blood of my foes.
Though I fight for good, I wonder if my companions now see me as a monster?
This is one of many things I will meditate on.