Curse of the Crimson Throne

Journal of Perdita Bernardi- the end of year
A recap of our year abroad

(Written in the script of Halfling, but switching between sylan, draconic, giant, and Halfling language)

My time here at the keep has not been too bad. Yes it is big and I am constantly busy but I am doing what I was trained to do. I know the former queen has been trained since birth to know how to speak half-truths and deceive those around her for her own gain, but I truly believe that she means it when she says my cooking rivals her former chefs from the castle. Kess may have her lady ships favor for her performances but have her favor for my cooking. Yes it is a little petty but when you’re someone who was quite literally tossed into the garbage, hearing a high ranking noble compliment your work, it means a lot.

It is good to have my suggestions taken into account around the keep. We acquired a small flock of goats. Their milk is good for our cooking, and for cheeses. Also their milk can make nice soaps and lotions for her lady ship. We managed to get a couple cows which we used for their milk. One of their calves is a fine steer. We are currently fattening him up for the fall. He will feed us well until the New Year, as will the few pigs we have acquired. The pigs are being pickled and smoked. The leased lands have provided us with grains, fruit and vegetables. The keep should not want for food this fall and winter.

Her ladyship has not required many servants but to run a small town with in the keep, we do need some. The maid staff has been small due to the number unseen servants the keep has acquired. Her ladyship is fine with me leaving out food and drink for them, and they repay us in kind. They do their job better than many humanoids I known, so I am not complaining.

When asked, it is no secret, that I do not trust the former queen. She is a royal with a lot of not good things happening around her. Did she cause them? Maybe, maybe not. Do I trust her? Only to a point. You see do I trust her to keep mutual interests beneficial to us, oh yes. Do I trust her that should our mutual interests not benefit her that she will stab us in our backs? You better believe it. Like it or not she is my employer. She has seen to it that I have a roof over my head that is warm, and dry; something that has not always happened in my past. I am paid well, very well for my position to be honest. For the first time in a long time I have wool blankets on my bed which is thickly stuffed with warm straw and hay, and not thin, lumpy and stuff with rags. If that goose doesn’t quit pecking me when I go out to the stable to get the milk, I may end up with a good feather pillow. My clothing is no longer stained, heavily patched and thread bare. Much of my clothing is new, or at least semi new, and mostly free of stains. I am a cook after all and mess does come as part of the job.

The sale of our goods and wages has allowed us many additions to our armaments. The time out here, while refreshing has given us time to grow in certain ways, but we must go back to the city with her ladyship. What that will hold, who knows.

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Time in the Keep- part 2
What happened to my kitchen?!?

When the party trotted up the road to the keep, Perdi couldn’t help smiling to herself. They were home, well their home for the next year anyway. The journey had been a good one. The two families were very happy to have their daughters’ home to them. Trade discussions went well. Getting the 30 % discount on goods from them would certainly help. Also they seemed interested in leasing the land around the keep, which is always good for us. We came home with a couple chickens, and a nice butchered sow. The sow had a litter of piglets in the summer but nearly died giving birth. If she couldn’t deliver live piglets she was worthless to the farmer. At least this way we get a healthy fat pig, and they made money instead of losing it on the pig.

As we entered the gate we were met by Aerich. For some reason he seemed very happy to see me, which was odd because usually he generally has an air of disapproval with me. I can’t help the fact that I have had to steal to survive but when it is that or die….. You do what you have to. It took Ithamore and Boshi both to carry that 300 pound dead pig to the kitchen and hang it up. The farmer was kind enough to put all the entrails, and blood into wine skins and ouches. It made things a little easier.

I think my scream of “My KITCHEN!!!!” Could be heard all through the keep. From what Aerich told me the ‘queen’ had decided to make my porridge for everyone for breakfast that morning. There was flour everywhere. Honey was spilled on the table. There was a puddle of clabbered milk on the floor. My pots and jars of ingredients were strewn all about the room. I wasn’t sure if even wanted to look in the actually cupboard. The kicker was went I went to fish my ladle out of the mostly full porridge pot. I couldn’t pull it out! The porridge had congealed so much it had turned to almost stone. I had to ask Ithamore to pull it out for me. Even he had a bit of trouble. There were many joke of pulling to ‘sword’ from the stone. Once it was out I inspected the porridge. Somehow she had a mix of eggs, Oats, scorched milk of some sort. Then there was black pepper, and a lot of salt. It looked like she added flour to thicken it, then it appeared to have burned on the fire. I couldn’t believe that anyone had actually eaten it. It was then that Aerich said I was never to leave him again, and would I PLEASE make dinner for everyone. What do you know? Who knew that the way to a man’s heart was through is stomach. I was always told it was a little lower.

Thankfully Thorn was over his fever and had brought in a large brace of rabbits. It took a little while but I had a hearty rabbit stew made in no time. I cooked up chunks of lard and the smoked bacon we brought in a big pot to make them release their grease. I browned the rabbit in the bacon and lard drippings. I saved the flavored far for the gravy. I then tossed in the shallots, and garlic, followed by red wine. I may have had a few sips of the wine. Just to make sure it was a good wine for cooking. Then a bunch of stock. Once it was boiling I added some currant jelly, crushed peppercorns, and other herbs. Then I added back the bacon and the rabbit. While all that was cooking in the pot, I made up a gravy using the drippings, flour, herbs and some of the stews juices. Given the looks on my companions faces when I set the pot in the table you would think I had just given them the crown jewels on a platter. It must have been good because they ate the pot clean. Her ladyship asked if there was enough rabbit for me to make another pot for them to sup upon while we were gone exploring. I informed her ladyship I would make some in the morning before we left.

It was late when we finally headed to our beds. We all had bellies full of warm hearty food, and storm outside lulled me to sleep. I slept well that night, and nearly over slept. I planned to make a large batch of fritters for breakfast since my porridge pot was full of ‘mortar’. Some of the others had said they would come help clean up the kitchen after the disaster the day before, which is why I wasn’t completely surprised at how clean the kitchen was when I got there. In the night someone had cleaned the kitchen spotless. When I say spotless, I mean spotless. There was not a speck of dirty, or flour anywhere. Heck even the porridge pot was looking like new, and not a speck of the old porridge was left. I was impressed. Not having to clean up the previous days mess made the cooking of the fritters and the extra pot of stew much easier.

The rabbit stew was easy to make. The stew could easily sit next to the fire and stay warm after it was made. It was enough to keep her ladyship and her servants well fed for a couple days. I started work on the fritters. I had enough pig blood for 5 batches. I mixed the blood the egg yolks with flour and then ladled them into a pan I had melted lard in and began to fry them up. As I cooked them I had one of the servants take them into the dining room. I sent warm bread, and cheese as well. Add a good ale with this, everyone was well fed. Everyone was finishing their breakfast when I finally came out of the kitchen, but no one seemed to mind. We talked as we ate. I got several “thank you” for the good dinner, and wonderful breakfast. I in turn naturally thanked who ever had cleaned the kitchen for me. Soon as I said it the room got very quiet, which made we think I said something wrong.

Turns out that there are quite a few fae that are in the area, and it seems I have some living in my kitchen. We must not say that they are there. They are simply, “unseen servants”. If I continue to leave out some sort of food, and may be some wine, I will continue to have my unseen servants. They would do no harm to us as long as there is a benefit for them, and we do not speak about them. I had no problem with them to be honest. I pay them with food and lodging. They clean up the kitchen when I am asleep. Sounds reasonable to me. Frankly it is a better deal than what I was getting from my PAYING lackeys. I’m not going to complain.

We returned the dirty dishes to the kitchen, and I instructed her ladyship and her servants how to care for the stew I had left cooking. They just had to stir it occasionally, and keep it next to the hearth to keep it warm. Anytime someone was hungry, they had stew to eat. Putting away my cooking knives, I went and suited up with my other job’s set of blades.

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Time in the Keep- part 1
A warm breakfast

Even with all the banging around they had been doing to the keep, Perdi still awoke early to tend to her duties. On the road she was making what little food and trail rations into something palatable. Given what she had to work with, it wasn’t easy. This morning she finally had access to the items on the wagons. It really wasn’t feasible to use them on the road now the stores were unpacked and able to be used. Putting on her apron Perdi got out the new pots her ladyship had purchased for her. She may not like the ‘queen’ much but she is willing to invest in things that benefit her. They brought bags of good quality oats instead of the barley. The dried fruits were figs and apricots, not simply apples and pears. The honey was fine clover honey, not the common honey found near Korvosa. They had real cream from cows, and not goat milk cream. The smell coming off the porridge pot was heaven. “It won’t be ready for another hour, but I can get coffee or ale and heat the wine if you like. Perdi said over her shoulder as she went to the kitchen’s shelves.

“I was actually hoping I could help.” A kind voice came from the doorway.
Perdi spun around her kitchen knife in her hand, but she quickly put it on the cutting board next to her. “Forgive me your ladyship. I did not expect you to be awake this early or in the kitchen. “

“It is forgiven. Please continue about your duties. I had hoped there was something I could do to help. I always wish to learn things.”

“There is not much to do at this point, but the porridge pot needs to be continually stirred. If you don’t mind that, it is something you could do.” Perdi racked her brain for something that her ladyship could do. If a former queen asks to do something, and they are your employer, you WILL find something for them to do. “I must finish unpacking the supplies and preparing for the journey to the farms.”

“Just show me what to do and I’ll do it.” Her ladyship took the porridge ladle, and did the figure 8 stirring Perdi showed her.
Neither said much for a while until Perdi sighed as she was putting jars in the cupboard.
“Is there something wrong?” Her lady ship asked.

“Hmm? Oh no, I had simply forgotten that Kess had already opened a jar of honey. She had used it when we were in the forest for; I think it was the pixies.”

“The honey was most appreciated.” Her ladyship replied.

“So Kess told me. I was asleep when they appeared. Hearing one of their songs would be wonderful. They are said to be beautiful.” Perdi put the roasted coffee beans into the burr mill and grinded them.

“They are, and more so when you can understand what they are singing.” Her ladyship watched Perdi intently as she prepared the beans for making coffee.

“I have never heard any actual fae singing but I have heard elves sing it in Sylven. “ Perdi emptied the roughly ground beans into the coffee pot, added water from the well bucket, and hung it over the fire.

“Oh, you know the language! Good for you. “Her ladyship smiled, and began speaking to Perdi in Sylven. To which, Perdi responded in kind. As much as Perdi liked to cook without someone underfoot, her ladyship was not bad company with her questions about cooking, and such. Honestly, she paid more attention than some of the kitchen help Perdi had before.

When Perdi heard people stirring in the keep, she came over to the porridge to make sure it was ready. It was. “Thank you for minding this your ladyship. I had feared with all I must do before we leave it would have scorched on the fire without someone stirring it.”

“You are very welcome.” She looked at Perdi strangely. “Was there something else?”

“Just a question as the lady of keep.”

“What is the question?”

“We came with provisions that would get us settled but much of our meat is dried. While that is good food, I had hoped we could pick up fresh meat at some point. Thorn normally would bring in deer or rabbits but with him out sick I fear we will not have any fresh meat until he is well again, or we return for additional provisions from Korvosa.”

Business face in place her ladyship nodded, “What do you need?”

“When we are at the farms may I purchase a pig, or goat for fresh meat, a cow for milk, and possibly a few hens? Of all the things, the animal for meat is the most urgent.”

“How much would it cost to get the pig or goat?”

“In Korvosa I was able to get a good fat pig for 10 gold pieces. One 300 pound pig would feed us well for a while, especially if Thorn can help with wild game. A goat would be 6 gold pieces, but there is only 50 pounds of good flesh on them. Having flock of goats around the keep would be good eventually for their milk, meat, hair and hides. Also they would be happy simply eating the grass around the perimeter of the keep. “

“If possible, return with a good size pig, but if not pick up a couple goats. If Thorn is not well soon the goats can be eaten if necessary, otherwise they can be the start of a flock. You will be reimbursed for your funds.”

“Very well your lady.” Perdi curtsied. “For now, I fear if we do not get this porridge and coffee to the others it shall not be pretty. “

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A fate worse...

With the Bugbear defeated, Aerich returned to the bedroom.

The facility was quiet again, save for the quiet discussions amongst the other party members. The Hobgoblins were gone, and that was one less thing to do.

A small blessing of Ragathiel, from a Lord who rarely granted His followers such blessings.

Lieutenant Vos, formerly of The Order of the Nail, looked back at him. Aerich eyeballed the restraints, and the silk rope. Boshi’s bindings were still secure.

Grabbing a chair, Aerich straddled the chair and sat heavily. The old wooden chair creaked under the weight of his armor and weapons. His gear remained with the cart and the Lady; he didn’t need a brazier or incense clearing the keep of Hobgoblins and their cohorts. Wiping at his face once with his leather gauntlets, he sighed deeply and freed them from his fingers. Slapping them together, he dropped the gloves at his feet.

“You won’t kill me,” Vos said.

Aerich looked back at him with an eyebrow raised. “I won’t?”

“If you were going to kill me, you would’ve done so,” Vos said, a small smile crossing his face. “So, you aren’t with the Nail. You must be another band of mercenaries looking to make a quick copper or two.”

Aerich studied him a moment. “You have it all worked out.”

“So, how much do you want?”

“How much do you have?”

Perdi walked by, not even bothering to look at either Aerich or Vos. “So, tell him.”

“Tell me what,” Vos asked.

“Vos,” Aerich said, “We are actually here on orders from The Nail. So, imagine our surprise to find you and your hobgoblin allies here. The Hobgoblins are gone. That leaves you and this Allysa. Who is she?”

“She is my love, the rising moon and setting sun,” Vos said. His words rolled out in a freshet, too quickly.

“Uh huh,” Aerich said.

“Don’t hurt her,” Vos said. “I’ll do anything.”

“Where is she?”

“What if I don’t tell you,” Vos said. His voice was filled with false bravado.

“If you don’t,” Aerich said, “then I’ll let you live.” He let the words hang there. The implication was clear. Aerich and his friends were there on orders from The Nail, and if word got back to the Knight Commander of Vos’ betrayal, then a quick death would be preferable. “There is plenty of room in the stockades of Korvosa.”

A cold sweat broke out on Vos’ face. He was beginning to understand.

“What do you want to know?”

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Confrontation at the wagon

Fethi Ken-Shakkas walked out of the man-hole with murder in her heart. Little puny Shaktas bok!* yipping at the heels of its betters because it is too weak to stand up on its own. She glanced at her second-in-command and current lover and could see the anger in his eyes as well. Fethi closed her hands and squeezed her fists in frustration. It had been time for them to leave. Her crew had killed the bandits like Elessia had paid them to do and that had been fun but then sending some of her boys down into that crypt or deathtrap had turned Fethi’s stomach. Their screams had been quit irritating. What could cause a hardened warrior like that to mew for his mothers teat? She really did not want to find out, but Vos was going to hold them to that damn agreement she had made with Elessia so she was very glad when she discovered the intruders.

She got some good gold out of them for walking away from a contract she would have paid them to get her out of but it still rankled, especially having to listen to that enemy spew verbal filth on her people. Vos was no more and so that freed them to go back to doing what they were best at, robbing and murdering travelers. Fethi smiled a bit in anticipation.

Then Asseri spoke from Fethi’s shoulder destroying her momentary good mood.
" Oh leader mine." the goblin snake sorcerer hissed. Its voice carefully subservient to her in front of the Boys. “Did not one of the scouts yesterday report that a group of travelers had attacked them on the road just inside the forest and that they had been driving a wagon? This has to be the same group of people but I see no wagon about. I wonder what they did with it.”

Fethi stopped and looked about carefully as the snake’s words took shape. Yes that scout had said the travelers were riding in a wagon and his description of the armor of one of them did match what one of the meat sacks was wearing today. She smiled a truly evil smile as she adjusted her course to head more south over the foot bridge and down in to those woods where that old trail was. She whistled up her two best scouts and sent them ahead to see if they could pick up the trail from the wagon. Then she and remaining thirty Boys moved out.

They had told her to leave and not come back and Fethi was doing exactly that, but maybe there was a bit more that could be squeezed out of this situation before she went home. Maybe some nice horse meat and some gear! Her Boys could always use more gear. Fethi was not sure what-all people put into a wagon but anything was better than nothing.

The scouts waived from the edge of the wood that they had picked up a trail and Fethi and the rest of her band picked up the pace into a lope that they could maintain for hours if they had too. She did not see the lone man slip over the wall and race into the woods to her left.

Fethi looked on to the scene with a gleam in her eye. There were three wagons, nine horses, six cow things and some humans! What a haul! There would be good eating and sport for weeks to come; it definitely made up for the trouble they had trying to find the damn things.

Who knew woods could be so dangerous. She had lost six good Boys just walking around trying to find the right path. It had seemed so clear at first but then the scouts found another trail cutting the first one and that led the scouts into some soft dirt that just seemed to swallow them whole. Then when they went back to the original trail there was another one going off in another direction and no one could tell which had come first so we had split up and four more died running into some kind of giant toad if you could believe the survivors. A giant toad that was purple and had yellow spots on its skin and wings! Fethi figured they just ate some bad mushrooms, but who knew in this crazy place.

Everything was okay now. They found the stupid wagons and they could grab everything and get the hell out of here and gone. Fethi gave the signal and the twenty-four hobgoblins rose as one and stepped into the glade cutting off all escape, their howls of glee filling the wood around them. An arrow struck Fethi as she stepped into the small clearing around the wagons, fired from out in the woods. It shattered upon impact and splintes hit her and several of her boys around her, stinging like hell!

So our unseen antagonist finally makes an appearance. She grins past the pain knowing that he can not do much to her now that she know he is there. Then she turns her attention back to the party around the wagons; but it is not as it should be. Okay those three thralls are cowering, along with those three females that look very similar, that is as it should be; but the other two woman are not behaving as expected.

One woman, the taller one, with black, short hair, and grey eyes; has a sword out and is decked out in expensive looking plate armor. Her relaxed stance shouts warrior but suddenly surrounded by twenty-four of her best, Fethi expected a look of nervousness on the warriors features, not the almost bored look of disdain that was there.

The other one is also different. Long golden hair and light green eyes, She is wearing some light yellow clothing that just seems to sway and dance around her with every movement. Currently she is squatting next to a very smoky fire that she had been feeding with green pine needles. The air seems to shimmer and distort around the female as she studies the situation for a moment and then she turns her jewel colored eyes at Fethi and frowns.
“Let us be or I will have to kill you, that will get blood all over the place and draw flies.” The female shivers and her eyes seem to darken a bit.

Asseri shifts its coils around Fethi in warning but Fethi with her blood up, growls and charges the puny female confident that she can dodge or block any attack made by the female warrior. As Fethi starts her charge several things happen at once. The small female casts a spell she has in reserve. Vines, grasses, and even the very trees above suddenly animate and start entangling everyone in the glade, including the female warrior, but not Fethi or the small human female.

Fethi rushes forward and snaps a kick at the smaller female’s head to try and break the female’s concentration or maybe even her neck. Her kick connected but did not appear to have much effect on the female. She glanced over her shoulder and saw most of the Boys trapped by the plants. Not good. Two others were free but having to move slowly through the moving plants, trying to engage the female warrior.

TO BE CONTINUED>

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A brief moment in the wagon.

I watched the Queen climb back into the wagon after talking to the young, angelic, priest. She quickly sat down and then glanced at me with with her saphire eyes and I knew what she was thinking.

“He is quite passionate when he talks about his God is he not my Lady?” I did not smile but she looked at me as if I had, and she smiled enough for the both of us.

Oh yes he is” she breathed all caught up in the moment. “He is just so.. there, Sabina. So sure of himself. So cool on the outside but he is just so full of fire on the inside. “ I caught her scent of sunlight and wildflowers and saw her shiver just a bit and fought back a sigh. My most beloved mercurial Lady. Passions drive her and I love her for it but this was going to be a very trying year.

I sat down next to her and carefully picked up her soft hand in my roughed, callused one. “My Lady you will be Queen one day again and you must always be thinking ahead. You can never do anything that could get bandied about that could besmirch your character.”

I watched her eyes harden and deepen in hue as her anger took over and I waited calmly to see if she would fry me to ash or not. I would die for my Lady and have. Sometimes at her own hand. Did I mention mercurial. Then just like that she smiled and the sun came back out and she laughed her beautiful laugh. “ Oh Sabina I love you so much. Do not ever change. I promise I will be good and keep my hands to myself.”

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An aborted conversation

“And when the ruthless and evil plotted to keep thee prisoner, or kill thee, or drive thee forth, they plotted well; but Ragathiel plotted, too. And Ragathiel is the best of plotters.”
- The Book of Spoils, 19:5

“Tell me Father Whitecloak,” Ileosa said. “What do you think of this journey so far?”

“Eye opening, m’Lady,” Aerich said, adjusting himself in the saddle. “It has been some time since I’ve ridden in a saddle, and my body is letting me know it.”

“Oh?”

“I have spent much of my days in Korvosa. I’m a priest, first and foremost, so I spend my time tending my flock,” Aerich said, explaining diplomatically. The former Queen was attractive, charming, and genteel, but there were rumors.

“Who do you worship?”

“Ragathiel, m’Lady. The Lord of Heavens army, deliverer of the betrayed, the voice of righteous vengeance,” Aerich replied.

The lady became quiet, looking at Aerich carefully. She retreated into the caravan quickly.

It was hard to hear the whistles over the movement of the horses and the wagons, but
Aerich caught a glimpse of Aiori peering from under one of the other carts. She appeared to be having some sort of seizure. She was arching her right eyebrow and winding her head back over her left shoulder.

Aerich’s eyebrows furrowed.

She wound her head back again over her left shoulder and looked at him more insistently.
Getting the message, Aerich wheeled his horse about and slowed it down, letting the Cart catch up to him.

“What did she say,” the she asked. Her voice was low, either seductive or secretive, he couldn’t be sure.

“What?”

“What. Did. She. Say,” Aiori repeated, her anger rising.

“She tried to strike up another conversation,” Aerich said. He followed her gaze. “I answered her question and she went back into her cart.”

“That’s it,” Aiori replied. She wasn’t convinced.

“That is it.”

“What did she ask you?”

“You’re in my head, you know that answer.”

“Humor me,” Aiori said. Her words dripped with menace.

“Whom I serve,” Aerich said.

“She reacted rather poorly at that.”

“Yes,” Aerich said, following Aiori’s gaze back to the Lady’s cart, “she did.”

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Thrill of the Hunt Part 12
Hello and Good Bye

Grabbing his gear, paused at the door to his home as he heads out, Steven standing there, “Thorn?”

“What is it Steven?” Somewhat annoyed being delayed, or being discovered on his now non-to-hasty exit.

“I… I’m sorry,” he begins to cry.

“Sorry for what?” Thorn says as he grabs his water skin, “Look, whatever it is… You are forgiven.”

“It was… It was… Me.”

Thorn stands there looking at Steven, his brain working overtime, “What was you?”

“Thousand Arrows is dead because of me,” Steven admits, openly wailing covering his face with his hands.

Thorn looks, stunned, shocked at Steven. “How…”

Steven, still crying, "Mr. Black… I told him, told him everything.

Angry, feeling betrayed, but there was a small amount of suspicion a few days ago, but he didn’t act upon it. “Who is this… Mr. Black?”

Steven looks at Thorn, “A thief.”

Disappointed, angry, betrayed he puts it together now. “I… I’ve got to go. It’s best if you’d not be here or come around anymore Steven,” pushing past the youth heading off.

Steven cries out as he watches Thorn leave, choking back tears yelling, “Thorn! I’m sorry!”


Not telling his companions as he left the city after the ceremonies ended for Thousand Arrows and his encounter with Steven. Too much anger still filling his head as he watched politics take over such an emotional event, and being betrayed he needed time.

Thorn stood outside the city gates looking into the distance to the nearby forest as he headed towards it, looking over his shoulder at the city shaking his head.

Wandering down the familiar road he hops off the path and into the woods. He went to the usual spot where he always did lately to meet his now fallen friend Thousand Arrows. Stepping into the clearing he looked around breathing in closing his eyes as he summoned a ferocious yell, screaming at the sky above him.

Still unsatisfied, he sits on a downed tree where he has sat before trying to meditate listening to the sounds around him, but the horrors of the tomb and the dissected Thousand Arrows fill his mind.

Trying as much as he can he forces himself to free his mind.

Minutes pass as he communes with nature, being outside of that corrupted city. A snap of a twig breaks his concentration as he quickly grabs his bow by his side opening his eyes seeing a rather large wolf enter the area, alone, nonthreatening.

“Hello…” Thorn greets the wolf.

The wolf keeps its distance from Thorn looking at the hunter curiously.

Thorn looks back at the wolf and hops off his perch, seeing that the wolf is actually limping as it moves, seeing a bloodied back leg.

The wolf growls at Thorn as he makes movement, struggling to get away, whimpering.

Thorn holds out his hands and shakes his head, “Woah. Woah… Be calm. I mean you no harm.” Placing one foot in front of the other slowly, “You’re hurt.”

The wolf growls baring its teeth at Thorn.

“I want to help. Just be calm.”

“Grrrr…”

“Now, now… Just listen to me. I am a friend.” Thorn approaches slowly kneeling in front of the wolf.

The wolf snaps at Thorn.

“Hey! Hey… Shhhh… Let me see,” Thorn reaches out putting his hand on the wolf’s head, “See? I mean no harm.” Thorn using his best comforting tone of voice successfully handling the wild animal for a moment.

The wolf submits allowing Thorn to inspect the paw.

“Oh… You have stepped into a trap. Cut your leg up pretty badly. I’ve got just the thing,” petting the wolf slightly reaching into his pouch on his belt, pulling out some medicinal herbs and a cloth bandage, “This may sting.”

The wolf yelps as Thorn applies the medicine and bandages the leg.

“Almost…” Thorn says as he ties off the bandage, “…done.” He looks back at the wolf as he pets his head. “Not so bad, huh?”

The wolf starts to edge his nose into Thorn’s hand wanting to be petted more.

“Oh… You are very friendly now… " Thorn smiles, forgetting just for a moment the whole scenario of everything he was involved in living for just this moment.

The wolf nuzzles Thorn and together they sit there for a few hours as Thorn talks to the wolf about his anger, and feelings as he looks into the wolf’s eyes he feels, senses a very familiar presence there.

“Arrow?”

The wolf barks at Thorn and turns onto his side rolling over.

“No… Can it be?”

Standing up Thorn goes to his gear, “I’ve got to go back to the city.”

The wolf growls when he mentions the city and barks at Thorn.

“I’ve got to… I have friends and responsibilities there, to the good people, the people that need help.”

The wolf howls.

“Hush.”

The wolf walks forward blocking Thorn.

“Hey now.”

The wolf circles Thorn, nuzzling his hand.

“I wish I could stay here.” Thorn begins to walk off and stops seeing the wolf follow “You are a stubborn one.”

The wolf barks.

“Fine, come with me. I can watch that wound of yours. You’ll need a name,” shrugging, “I’m simple… I’m Thorn named after a strange exotic bow found with me. I’ll call you…” Thorn bends down, “Narmo, elvish for wolf.”

Narmo howls and falls in line with Thorn.

Starting his trek back home Thorn looks back, feeling something, someone there watching as he spots a blurred man, that fades off into the forest. “Good bye, Thousand Arrows, friend.”


Steven who has been living in torment the past few hours grabbed his few things and left the orphanage that afternoon, scared as Mr. Black confronted him in an alleyway. “Where you going Steven? Hmmm?”

“I… No where.” Steven responds nervously.

Quickly picking up on the lie, Mr. Black shakes his head, “You’re lying.” He slaps the boy.

Rubbing his cheek crying now, “I’m not going to help you anymore. You…”

Mr. Black grabs Steven by the jaw, “You told him, didn’t you?” Tossing him to the ground. “You little shit. I rescued you. I saved you from torment.” Kicking the kid, “This is how you treat your savior!”

Steven crying, holds his chest where he was kicked, gasping, “I did…”

“That was more than anything that should have been told him,” bending down brandishing a knife, “You betrayed me, and for that…” Mr. Black thrusts the knife into Steven’s gut, “You must pay.”

Steven laying there gasps for air, feeling like he is drowning as his lungs fill with his blood, “T…Tho…rn…”

Mr. Black, wrapping up the knife stands ove the dying boy, “…will be framed for your murder. As I plant this in his home. Good bye kid.” He says as he walks away.

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Thrill of the Hunt Part 11
A Farewell to a Friend

Thorn, standing off to the side watching the ceremony for Thousand Arrows he was called up to Thousand Bones side, along the way he was bumped into by a mysterious stranger, who smiled at him, “Beg your pardon, hunter.” The man said.

Thorn waving the man off continued to the front of the ceremony.

The man watched Thorn, enjoying the obvious pain he was in as he listened to the words of the eulogy.

Thorn stood there addressing the members, people, tribespeople that gathered, “While I only knew Thousand Arrows for a short time, I was glad to call him a friend. Many mornings we met, and often spared off to see who can get their daily hunting done for the day the quickest, or a game of camouflage and tracking to hone our skills.”

The stranger smiled, “One friend down…”

The eulogy went on, and Thorn finished, but was called over to Thousand Bones.

Thousand Bones stood and presented him with a necklace of bones, a symbol of their tribe as he placed the necklace around Thorn’s neck, Thousand Bones spoke to him, “You were spoke of to me, and the tribes about a half-elf hunter. A hunter that believes in the ways of the land and the circle of life. You are an honorary member of the gathered tribes, Thorn. We thank you, and thank you for the friendship you had with Thousand Arrows. May you stay true to yourself, and may your arrows strike their target for any who stand in your way.”

Thorn, bowing his head in respect, “Thank you, Thousand Bones. He was a good man and will be missed.”

The man watched, and turned to leave the services as he limped off into the city. He’s got to do more to tarnish Thorns reputation.

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Thrill of the Hunt Part 10
Anger

Finding himself unfulfilled after the necromancer’s fall and the anger still inside him he wanders the city at night, and often into the seedy parts of the city picking fights.

He still wanted revenge, vengeance for the death of his friend, Thousand Arrows. While it was a new, budding friendship there was a bond there, a hunter’s bond. They shared like minded views on many things.

He couldn’t get the feeling out of his system he needed help, and needed someone to talk to. He remembered the prayer to Ragathiel with Aerich before the fight, a fight he almost joined Thousand Arrows in the afterlife, if there is something beyond this world.

He sat there on a rooftop, watching the moon cross the sky, some drunkard on the near by rooftop shouting curses at him, belching made him eventually leave and join the shadows of the streets below.

He wants to leave this city. He just may take up that offer to travel with the Queen and her entourage, but first he needs to see Aerich, maybe he can help quell these feelings inside.

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