The Twelfth Day of Flamerule
The Year of Raining Tears, DR 1415
As fire burns on the horizon, and flames of blue and green dance high in the sky, the question is inescapable; were the last few weeks real? Are they a taste of things to come, or were they little more than a nightmare without substance?
Does the nightmare continue?
Looking up, it’s hard to imagine that this is less of a nightmare than before. The shattered husk of Selune, Lady Silverhair, spreads out in all directions, an ever-expanding cloud of ash and red embers that covers the sky. Fever and madness burn at the survivors, who look on helplessly as the world unravels around them.
We set up camp just out side Imnescar. We were all deep in slumber when we were awoken by screams. They seemed very near out camp, but when we awoke and started to investigate they faded and disappeared. We spent sometime looking for what could have been the cause but came up empty handed. However there were several things that caused concern within me. As I was looking at our surroundings I saw that the trade way was empty of tracks. It had sprinkled some the night before and there was no evidence of winds coming through the area. What caught me off guard the most was the lack of OUR tracks we had made the night before. As I continued to make my way about the area I had noticed also the eerie silence that was about us. I would have expected there to be birds and other creatures making some sort of noises this time of year.
Coming up with nothing to support our rude awakening we decided to pack up camp and continue our way south to Mosstone. Our hike went smoothly up into The Small Teeth and there was still no sign of what had happened earlier. The trail was clear and the air seemed heavy. Further into The Small Teeth I started to notice a strange feeling within me. Much like what I had experienced earlier but this time it was accompanied with voices. The voiced were much like the ones Burt had been experiencing and now I can understand why he has been acting the way he has. I stopped in my tracks pondering if our trek was really something I was ready to accept with the new developments.
As I pondered Calli had asked if we were all experiencing the same thing. With the voiced and the strange pulling of my being shared among us all I was rather unnerved. Why would Calli be feeling and hearing what only Burt and I had been going through? The pulling has been getting worse but seemed to lack direction as before. I wanted to turn back to spare Calli the unpleasantness growing inside us all but I needed to reach Mosstone. With my destination in reach I decided to push through and hope the feelings and voices would fade.
The further we trekked the worse things got. I had stopped several times contemplating my decision to carry on but kept feeling the need to keep going. As the path started leveling off I could hardly wait to see The Wealdath before me. As we continued on something strange happened. It was as though I had blanked out of existence. When I had reached a point where the view of the forest would lie ahead of us life seemed to blink out and I came to with my face in the dirt that was once below my feet. After coming to I found a rock to sit on to collect myself. There was no reasoning for what had just happened and I just couldn’t come to grips with it. Hoping to calm my nerves I rose to my feet and walked forward to gaze upon the salvation that waited me.
As I gazed upon the valley below the shock of what awaited us was too much to handle. I fell to my knees at the sight of the once great forest. The land was baron, sun burned and gone. It seemed as though the forest had never been there and the land was blank and scorched. I searched the landmarks I had become to know and love to make sure we hadn’t take a wrong turn. Sure enough this dead, dark fogged valley was once a place I had called home. The sky was dark and swirling with black clouds and Mosstone was nowhere in sight.
As I sit upon my knees I lost control of my emotions and began to weep. The flood of emotions and devastation took over my soul. The safety and salvation that held me together over the last year and a half had instantly be eradicated. Where was the forest I loved? Where was the town I had started to build my life in? What could have happened to Kara? Question upon question piled up in my mind and my inner strength vanished. My pain and sorrow lifted me to my feet and took my back down the path away from then valley of death and carried my back to the direction we had come from.
Burt and Calli ran to catch up to me when my sadness turned to rage. Before it took a physical manifestation it had stuck me that the dark swirling clouds and fog from the valley had quickly advanced upon us. It began to surround us when we realized the clouds and fog were not what we believed it to be. Hundred upon thousands of crows swarmed about us in swirling mobs within each other. As they continued to surround us it felt as though we were within a cyclone of feathered chaos. We all took guard from the mass of birds and watched as several smaller groups had come together and formed larger swirling masses about us.
As I kept guard I was struck from behind. When I turned to see what had taken attack on me I found Burt in a sort of trance. His eyes had glazed over and was no longer the one I had grown to know. Out of instinct with axe in hand I pushed him away from me. With the blade of Garaz flat to his chest I slammed into him and gained space between my unexpected enemy. Much to my surprise he turned in his trance and attacked our animal companion. Luckily his attack didn’t land to the force it could have but the wolf didn’t accept what had happened either way and she nipped back in a manner for warning and rebuttal. Shortly after Burt came to and returned to his guarded stance as though nothing had happened. I maintained my distance not knowing what could happen next.
Before we knew how to handle the swarming birds out situation took a turn to the worse. As we remained on guard Burt collapsed and the shadow jumped out from his temporary residence within our companion. A fierce battle took place and we all fought strong and hard. Landing blow after blow we fought within the cyclone of crows against the shadow. Being beaten within inches of my life Burt was able to refresh me to continue the fight. Without him who know how I would have ended. After what seemed like hours of endless battle the shadow fell and vanished. Readying for an onslaught of thousands of claws and beaks, I collapsed.
Slowly I started to come back into existence. I groggily came to find myself laying on a stone surface that was nowhere near the path we had fallen upon. Screams and moans greeted out ears and confusion took over our minds. My body ached and burned from the battle before and focus fought to come back to my eyes. To my horror I found us all upon the roof of The Friendly Arm. I sat firm upon the floor and tried to make sense of what had just happened, but found it hard to concentrate with the sounds of pain and torture about me. Trying to find and keep my bearings I gazed upon the sky above The Friendly Arm to find a sky I had never known.
With Winter Flame still high among the stars, there was something out of place. It felt like hours had passed before I realized what I was looking at. Where the moon once held strong there was a plume of rock and rubble. The one thing we could rely on for the change of tides and our eyes in the night had been obliterated by an unknown force. The shock slowly settled in to my being as I came to grips with loss of the peace in the night sky. The moon soothed my sadness and nerves in the loss of my parents now lays with the souls of them in its own death.
Coming back to reality with the screams and moans as the an anchor in the ocean of confusion that consumed me, I tried taking in what was happening on the planet beneath my feet. I made my way down the stairs after regaining some balance and strength to find Calli and Ayidh tending to the unconscious wounded people of the friendly arm. I did all I could to help the situation. Burt and I closed up the keeps gate and started bringing in the people that were out in the court yard. After setting up a central place of work we began doing what we could to soothe and comfort our patients. With little to use in the realm of healing we ended up striking out into the night around the forest for any herbs that may assist us.
Doing all the odds and ends around the keep we held The Friendly Arm as stable as we could. Cleaning, cooking and tending to the people I worked tirelessly along side my companions as people slowly came to through out the night and following days… What more could we do to help when we didn’t know what we were working against. With such confusion that had taken place we did all we could and just hoped for the best.
With what little down time we came upon my cohorts and I tried to piece together what had happened over the week. Having found the dagger that Ayidh had destroyed still wrapped in its leathers and finding ourselves back at The Friendly Arm I was met with another level of confusion… Had we really abandoned out posts on the caravan after Ayidh’s flight into the forest? Had we really spend those endless days in travel? What had really happened to the valley that once stood proud and strong with the ancient forests of the elves? Was there still chance to reunite with the one who shared my soul?
Or was it all just a dream?