As the party continued into the forest, the feeling increased that something wasn’t right…
They felt their trepidation growing as they ventured further into the trees. The birds had stopped singing, there was no sound other than their footfalls on the damp ground.
Out of nowhere, the hooded stranger appeared in front of them. He stood there, silently, staring at them, watching, waiting…
Kalus Auriath: What do you want, my mysterious friend?
The stranger finally spoke. “I thought you were strong enough to save this land. Apparently, I was wrong.”
“I saw what happened back there, and I’m disappointed. I really thought you were better than that.”
“Did you even check your surroundings? For anything? What about that unfortunate soldier? Can you tell me the first thing about him?”
Brynn StarGazer: He’s dead- That we know for sure!
Veil the Sly: Can’t say that I did, other than he looked like he was sacrificed.
His misfortune wasn’t really my concern at the time.
The stranger looked between the three of them. Although they couldn’t see his face, theyt could feel his disapproval
Brynn StarGazer: We WERE sort of ganged up on…
Stranger: “Excuses? Excuses matter not. What is important, is results.”
Kalus Auriath: I knew he was going to say that…
Stranger: “Excuse me, wizard? Do you deign to know who I am?”
He glared at Kalus, his eyes taking on an unearthly glow.
Kalus Auriath: Excuse you I will.
Stranger: “I have no patience for your games. Give me one good reason why I should even allow you to continue on your quest? How can I know you’re worthy?”
Brynn StarGazer: Wait a minute, weren’t you the one begging us for your help? You asked and we said yes, so there’s your reason.
Veil the Sly: Perhaps make your intentions more clear? If there was something we should have been looking for back there, perhaps it should have be been stated no?
Stranger: “My point, Was not that there was something for you to find. The point, is that you need to be aware of your surroundings. Know what is around you. Not get caught. By. Surprise.” He glares at Brynn.
Brynn StarGazer: scoffs I knew they were there…
Veil the Sly: Was plenty aware of the evil that was afoot, thank you.
Kalus Auriath: whispers i saw dead people…
Stranger: “Perhaps you did… Very well, I will give you another chance. But I know for sure you will never survive in your current state. I probably shouldn’t be doing this, but I’m afraid it’s become necessary.”
The stranger raised his hand, and an incredibly bright light issued forth. The heroes were all stunned, and dropped to their knees, helpless.
They were consumed by blackness.
They awoke, some hours later. Feeling somehow more alive than they’ve ever felt…
- * *
Veil the Sly: stumbles around after standing What… the hell… was that…? walks over and kicks Kalus Hey! Old man!
Kalus Auriath: Old man yourself, whippersnapper! I’m still in my prime, sir!
Rolling over, Kalus spotted a note lying on the ground next to him.
It read: “I have granted you powers, in your fight against evil. You are all now much more powerful than before. Use your powers well. I will be watching.”
Where there should have been a signature, there was only an inscribed skull.
Veil the Sly: I feel… stronger, and more adept. I wonder if that’s what he means…
Kalus Auriath: Right well, I feel… thirsty.
Kalus Auriath: Well, shall we travel on then?
Veil the Sly: We should probably wake Brynn here…
Kalus Auriath: Brynn says: Onward we go!
Veil the Sly: nudges Hey, m’lady, We need to get a move on.
Brynn StarGazer: Onward we go!
Veil the Sly: Well she seems right as rain… Seems we haven’t moved from where we were
They picked up their belongings and continued in the same direction they were headed before.
Veil the Sly: Lets press on
Kalus Auriath: That way! points exactly the wrong way
After trekking for some time, they arrived at a river. The river was about 15 feet across, and the only way across seemed to be a large felled tree.
Veil the Sly: You know wizard, I’m starting to wonder how smart you were in your prime, if this is any indication… Almost leading us astray back there
Kalus Auriath: I AM in my prime, wastrel!
Brynn StarGazer: I feel like a troll is going to pop out from under that tree… Remember guys, keep a look out!
Kalus Auriath: Indeed.
Suddenly the forest grew still around them… Kalus’ Raven began to grow restless
Kalus Auriath: You had to say something.
Veil the Sly: Oh great, I love it it when everything grows eerie and quiet… Lets continue moving.
Brynn StarGazer: if you say so
As they moved towards the tree, an arrow streaked from the the other side of the river, piercing the raven clear through. The bird fell to the ground, dead. Peering across the river, they saw six goblins waiting for them…