Session 5 Interlude
Prior to washing ashore in the cavern with the glowing form in the distance, a significant time passed. File’s time sense is the only way to measure the passage of time in the enormity of the pitch black underground passage that your vessel is swept along. Well over a day passes in the pitch black, only periodically lit by some sort of luminous fungus.
Plenty of time for the adrenaline and panic of the earlier battle and destruction of the cavern to fade into boredom and banter …
It did not take long for us to realize we were in for a longer sail. As the cavern crumbled behind us, sending out great plumes of water into the air, chunks of rock and debris crashing into the dark river, I huddled low on the ancient dragon prow boat, clutching my red cloak tightly around me. I felt the cloying stench of sweat, blood and stale water and a pervasive chill rippled through the marrow. I tried to stifle this chill, calm my shivering, trembling body with reassuring thoughts of being alive, being victorious and stronger still but the shuddering was working its way through my limbs in a most insistent way. As I couldn’t control my body, I was growing gradually pissed off. Fuck, I needed a bath and a stiff drink.
Is this fear?
I pride myself on being prepared, on remaining strong in the face of harshest adversity. The lessons of Jezzabelle ring true in my ears: “When you feel weak, do not let them know you are weak. When you are broken, do not let them see. For they will use you. They will take from you. And you will be alone.”
But I am still alone.
A sharp lance of pain jolted through my arm as a jetty smashed into the side of the boat. My head reeled from the agony and I clenched my teeth hard. The wounds I had taken in the battle were deep. The hellish animation had moved with a preternatural speed and fury. It was some form of returned Chaos Lord, so I am told. I know that Pender would know more of such things; what I knew was the ferocity in its dance, the hatred that burned in its eyes. But I think we fared well. As a group, we connected.
I must rethink the Catalan Opening, I thought with a grin.
Next time: Queen’s Gambit into Alimarif, the learned stranger.
As I reflected on my performance, my techniques, I caught Aaron looking my way. There was a splash of blood on his cheek and his eyes smoldered with something – what? – determination? Fear? He did not look away. There was such intensity in his dark eyes as he stared right into me. I didn’t waver. Or at least I tried not to.
A stubborn man with a pretty face; both characteristics can land you in a shit load of trouble.
I offered my best and most sly grin and moved a loose strand of hair away from my forehead.
“W-we did well out there,” I remarked. I flinched at the pitch of my voice – a little too high, the slight stammer. I saw Gronn look up as he leaning against the gunwale, peering below into the gloomy water. Pender sat huddled not too far off and File was watching all of us very closely, no doubt thinking of some song or poem that might re-tell of our deeds. I cleared my throat, dropping my pitch to the huskier tone taught me by the girls at the Scullion. “We choose our friends but our enemies choose us. I suppose we have made new enemies this day, even if they be shadows and relics from old past. Do you think we are done here, Aaron? Have we silenced the horrors of this place?”
Her voice reaches him over the noise of the roaring waters. Arron’s focus takes in her form.
She carried herself well, there was no question about that….
why is she looking at me… answer her you dolt. Don’t stare, Pendar has told you about that.
“We did well, yes. Better than well, we set the balance.” his voice, the tone was harder than he had meant. But it was hard to control the fervor that was rising in his blood. Oberon had chosen him as his champion, and against ridiculous odd we survived. There was a power growing in him, and though he could not explain what he felt, there was no mistaking the healing touch he now had, or the fact, that as the massive blade he carried fell hard on the Chaos lord it was imbued with an incredible power.
Her voice has the desired effect, and he can feel the color rise to his cheeks, quickly looking around to see who is watching.
“Yes Ana… I mean Anansheal” the words falling out of his mouth.
" The chaos lords have been banished and we have done a good thing here. The villagers will have much to rebuild, but they are safe."
We have just survived an impossibility, and yet here I am trembling because a pretty woman is talking to me…why did she have to be so pretty…
Arron ‘s blue eyes lift from Anansheal’s face the colour still hot on his blood stained cheeks.
Looking at the others no one had noticed their conversation and he could not blame them for that. It had been a hard go. Hopefully, the trip back to camp would be peaceful now…
I have never been on a ship before, it is for the most part enjoyable, the constant movement of pitch and roll that keeps your senses alert and your muscles moving. And the breakneck speed riding the waves made by the falling rock, the speed shames a horse, unless I could some how fly like a hawk I will never know it’s like again, with the thrill of victory and that ride hot in my blood I was exhilarated! What to do now though, time has slowed and there is no telling when this trip will come to an end! I have gone over the battle in my mind many times and it was glorious, the moves Randy losing showed me work just as promised, I must however work on keeping hold of my adversary, if my companions had not laid into the chaos lord as they had when I had him down my losing him may have cost us our lives. Maybe one of them could be convinced to grapple or spar with me to pass the time, in truth only Arron could truly grapple with me, though it might be entertaining to suggest a match with Anansheal.
Looking up it occurs to me that trying this jest may lead to a very real fight with Arron, his stance and demeanor shows more than passing interest in their conversation, and hers seems receptive but unsure!
Now seems like a good time to ask about rations!
“Ho you two what’s so grabs your fancies, and what shall we eat until this blasted ship delivers us where it will?” Pender, File any Idea how far we have come?