The Dragon Between

Clarity - Brightening the Internal Light

Cuinas’ Journal

Now that I have a soft bed and good food for a few days, I’m able to regain my equilibrium. My general mood has improved greatly, and despite the dangers that await us in the Shadow Marches, I find myself feeling more of my usual optimism.

The irony of the Sier situation does not escape me. My fury at her lackadaisy manner in accepting her destiny as scion is entirely unexpected, but genuine. Even now, my ire is lifted when I consider it. It reminds me a certain Brelish heir and his complete lack of competence. One would think that someone who is to inherit an entire country’s problems would better equip himself to deal with them.

Father’s mission is an interesting one. He knows that success will give me leverage somewhere. I cannot see it yet, but it will become clear in time. And overland journey will be nice at least until we gain Droaam, it has been ages since I’ve been on a proper ride.

In some perverse way, I’m looking forward to navigating the monster nation. Drooam will be a fascinating education in yet another alternative society. The Darguun empire proved a rewarding study for sure. I can’t help but notice the huge lack of the Houses’ representation in both lands. Sure there are token enclaves, but they cater mostly to travelers. I wonder how the hags would respond to more directed attention. I know that it would be dangerous, but the reward might be great for a house such as our small one.

That is, if we ever stop being the errand boys for Brelish royalty. I am not the only one who notices that other courts and countries, especially those with antagonism toward Breland, have less a call for our services. The enclaves are small. That would change, if I had my way. This adventuring “vacation” may just prove to be my key to ripping Medani from the clutches of the humans.

The Light save me, did I just sneer at “humans”? My current company is making me a bit more brutish every day. How amusing.

With Open Eyes

Seated at a table in the House Ghallanda inn’s dining room, Viktor drums his fingers over the top of his wolf-helm before him, then looks up at the rest of the assembled party—Sier, one hand lightly resting on the hilt of her scion’s blade, watching him expectantly; Lorak, leaning forward in his chair, idly fingering a dagger, calm and patient; Xentril, guzzling another mug of beer in between mouthfuls of roast; and Cuinas, arms folded and slouched in her chair, bored-looking already.

“Lorak is not the only one who has been to the Shadow Marches,” He begins. “A little over a year after the Mourning, I was there with a handful of others—two from Aerenal, and a human. At least, I think he was. One of the Aereni might not have been… nevermind, it is not important.”

Viktor purses his lips, knocking his knuckles thoughtfully against his helm, then continues.

“We found ourselves in a village, some collection of huts and barns. I forget the name. The people there were fearful, clannish, but we found that some of their small number had been disappearing, others acting strangely. I and the others… looked into it. Asked questions, pried into places others would not.”

Cuinas makes an impatient hurry-up gesture with one hand, and Viktor tilts his head toward her, brows furrowed.

“The Shadow Marches are more than just swamps and fields. There are forests, hills… caves… and things deeper. We found our way deep into one, a path straight into Khyber, a place where the blood of the world flows.”

“What?” Xentril asks through another mouthful. “Like lava? Black pitch?”

“No.” Viktor shakes his head, and taps the large red teardrop-vial affixed within the dragon’s-head brooch on his cloak. “I mean, ‘the blood of the world.’ I took some back with me, and it has never clotted, spoiled, or dried. Truly a sign of the Blood Divine…”

Lorak leans further over his side of the table, digging the point of his dagger into the wood. “But that’s not all you found, is it, Ser Viktor?” He asks. “What did you find?”

Viktor nods grimly at the Tharashk, and he grips the top of his helm under his fingers.


“So?” Cuinas interrupts, waving her hands dismissively. “It’s not like we haven’t faced those before, like when we were in that tunnel leading to the Lhazaar Islands—”

“This was worse,” Viktor says, cutting her protests off. “Those beasts we fought… yes, I have seen them before. But there were other things. Worse things. Crawling slime that eats flesh like acid. Nameless… creatures… with limbs like tendrils and faces out of nightmare. And at the end, though we shattered the source of the corruption—a dark, glimmering crystal, a manifestation of the realm these beasts were spawned from—I and the others suffered a few wounds with scars that refuse to heal cleanly. Not many, not crippling, but present. And one more thing…”

He pauses, signalling to a passing waiter, who quickly brings a mug for him, the top foaming over with a dark Karrnathi porter ale.

Sier props her sword across her knees, running her hands over the scabbard as Viktor takes a long drink. “Well, go on… what?”

“We found something else. A coat of armor, but one unlike any I’ve seen. Hide like raw muscle and sinew, that fit perfectly to the Aerenal woman who took it. And when she wore it… eyes, dozens of eyes, opened all over it. Front, back, arms, shoulders. All of them, watching, watching everything endlessly. She tried to remove it but to do so was painful, injurious. We parted company later, and I have not seen her or the others since.”

He takes another long swallow, shaking his head thoughtfully.

“I visited Morgrave on my trip back across Khorvaire, and it took a lot of work, and research,” Viktor whispers. “But I found a name. The name of an… entity… from that far realm… one of those rumoured to have been imprisoned deep within Khyber, long ago, in an ancient age.”

“Who? Or what?” Xentril asks, before cracking the bone between her teeth and sucking out the marrow.

“Belashyrra, the Lord of Eyes,” Viktor answers. His words are barely audible, but even this quiet mention still seems to do… something… to the world for a moment. Like an eyeblink.

“When we go back to the Marches,” he continues, “his… its… presence, may notice mine again. Or any other who intrudes in places it considers interesting. And we may become those intruders.”

Cuinas rolls her eyes. “So why didn’t you tell us this before?”

Viktor slides his helm closer to the edge of the table, keeping it close as he lifts the mug for another drink. “You did not ask, and some things are better unspoken, unless they must be said. But I had to tell you now, since we are headed that way. To warn you, to be ready, just in case, if…”

“If what?” Sier watches him keenly, but looks up, glancing here and there suspiciously, already seeming to know.

“…if its gaze should turn upon us.”

A Difficult Conversation

Walking swiftly through the halls of the enclave in Wroat, Cuinas was fleetingly conscious of how different and small the Medani complex felt now. She felt uncomfortable in her home for the first time in her life. Even in the days when she was for all intents and purposes confined to it, she had never felt uneasy. The conversation she was about to have didn’t help matters.

When she sent the letter to Teriant indicating it was absolutely necessary for her to see her father when she traveled through Wroat on the way to Sharn, she anticipated that both he and her father would be irritated. They were both very busy, and she could practically hear Teriant mutter as her read her request, “This had better be damn important.”

She knocked on the door to her father’s rooms, hesitant to see him for the first time in her life. He opened the door, his slim and tall-for-a-half-elf frame seeming to tower over her. He raised his eyebrow at her, “Since when do you knock, daughter?” and motioned her inside.

So used to handling everyone with guarded and diplomatic politesse, she had long ago abandoned all of those mincing ways in her dealings with her father because Fiach demanded her to do so.

“I’ll get right to the point. I have to confess I have acted in a dishonorable fashion.”

“I know.”

Cuinas’ eyes widened, “How?”

“Ah, well, Kevaver came to me in distress a few weeks ago. He felt your light…”

“Go out.” Cuinas interrupted.

“No, actually, he said it dimmed. It was enough to bring him hightailing from Zilargo. How the hell he found me…” Fiach shook his head, “Anyway, he was concerned and furious, demanding to know what we had sent you into. When I told him we hadn’t sent you anywhere, and the last I heard you were playing adventuror up in the prinicpalities, he calmed immediately. Strangest reaction, I would say. He said that your commitment to the path of light would be tested and that it was fitting. He then told me I shouldn’t be too cross when you came to confess any wrongdoing, begged my forgiveness for interrupting my mission, which, I might add, was jeopardized by your mentor’s interference, and then promptly left.”

“I’m sorry my actions caused him to interrupt you, father.”

“It all worked out in the end. Now. I am prepared to be an understanding father, provided you tell me everything. I need to know how it could affect us.”

Cuinas brought him up to date on all that occurred since the last time they saw each other, this time telling it baldly, without any embellishment that could paint her in a more favorable light. By the end of the telling, Fiach looked grave.

“It isn’t the most ideal situation, is it? But it isn’t the end of the world. In the future, you will do better.”

“Yes, father.”

“Now, I understand you have a train to catch and I have an airship waiting. You never met me today, I wasn’t here. I love you, you crazy child.”

“Yes, father. Love and light be with you. Good Watching.”

“Good watching Cuinas, have fun in the towers.”

A Question of Honor

Somewhere above the water, enroute to Regalport…

As soon as the airship was aloft, Xentril dragged Cuinas belowdeck.

“Hey!” Cuinas objected as her shins banged on the ladder.

“Now we talk. What in the name of Khyber’s rotting maw do you think you are doing?”

“Right now I’m being dragged around by my huge friend. You hurt my leg!”

Xentril rolled her eyes at that. “I meant on the island. This is important! You acted without honor or reason!”

Cuinas glared pointedly at the dragonborn.

“My honor is not under question. Just because mine has been lost doesn’t mean acting honorably is without value. Tossing yours away for no reason is stupid.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about. It’s been insanely stressful! Those pirates, who knows what they could have done….” Cuinas’ argument lost it’s fervor toward the end of her defense.

“You’re scared. That is understandable. You cannot let fear control your actions.”

“Says you. You’re not afraid of anything!”

“You know better than that. Stop acting like a spoiled brat.”

Cuinas looked hurt, then sighed. “Its very different here. When we were traveling through the smaller towns, the bad guys had no guile, they were easy to spot and easier to defeat. After the underdark, I felt so off balance. It was like the inner light had been snuffed out. I know I have to do better. If anything, to keep Viktor from deciding I’d be better as dinner than ally.”

Xentril huffed at that, muttering something about unnatural vampiric tendencies and fiery retribution.

Cuinas continued, “At least my mistakes happened far from civilization. They will be hidden from my father.”

“I wouldn’t bet on it. Fathers have a way of finding out the things you do not wish them to know, especially since you’re going to tell him. It is the only way. You must accept the dishonorable behavior and then make amends for it. Acting with honor from here on is the only way to clear your path and relight your inner light.” Xentril had never before been so adamant. “And don’t make that face. If he hears of your actions from another, it heaps more dishonor on you.”

“Okay, okay, I’ll tell him, but only in person. It’s too shameful for a letter.”

“At least now you agree it’s shameful.”

Cuinas, uncomfortable with her chastisement, changed the subject. “Now we have the question of the statues. I don’t know if I feel comfortable taking money from them unless they offer. I don’t know if we’ll even be able to bring them back. IF we find the right ritual, and IF Sier can cast it successfully, who knows how long they’ve been petrified. I know the dwarf, if revived, would feel the need to give us recompense, but every time Sier starts talking about blood oaths and lives owed to us, it make me uncomfortable.”

“Well, we have the ones we picked. We can do what we want with them.”

“True, but I don’t want to anger our companions by not requesting anything at all.”

“Maybe we just ask for what they can give without making them go without. The ones I picked don’t have useful weapons or anything, but maybe they have some of those rituals you use.”

“It’s really a moot point until we can revive them. We’ll have to play it by ear. I certainly hope none of them are hostile. I can’t imagine they would be. We are rescuing them, after all. It’s too bad we couldn’t carry everyone. Perhaps Balestrider could send someone back for the rest.”

Letters to Home

Honored Father, Beloved Mother, Dearest Sister,

My travels take me back and forth across Khorvaire faster and further in a month than some travel in a lifetime. Last I was in the Lhazaar isles, and now, Sharn, in Breland. I still keep my homeland in my heart, though, for this place, while interesting, is too noisy. Too bustling. Too hot and humid.

Still, the City of Towers is a wonder to behold, with its great spires and flying estates. People of all races mingle here—human, halfling, gnome, elf, and others too: were-blooded shifters, hobgoblins, foreign men who call themselves the Kal-ash-tar. I have even seen some of the War-Forged, now seeking their own fortunes as free ‘people’.

Yet, I would gladly trade this adventure for some time home in Karrnath, a good flagon of wheat ale or glass of the southern red wine, and the smell of pine trees in autumn. I have my duties and my reasons for my travels, but it does not mean that my home, my family, does not call to me now and then.

For now, I still am with the Khoravar, Cuinas d’Medani—useful in her own way, though blustering—and the others. The Dragon-Born calls herself ‘Xentril’ and seems to have a complicated past with her own family; perhaps she seeks to redeem herself in some way. The Dhakaani, Sier, has asked me to accompany her on a task for her tribe, something that may prove invaluable to her, and in return, something less tangible for me, but promising still. One of the half-orcs, Lorak, has seen fit to join us for now; if nothing else, the Tharashk are a very useful House to have as an ally.

There is not much more I can say now, though when I can, perhaps I will tell the tale of my experiences in Lhazaar… and an encounter with a serpent-haired creature called a ‘medusa’. For now, the less said about that, the better—it was not something I would care to deal with again.

I trust the Orien messenger was able to deliver my last letter, along with the bank note from Kundarak’s holdings; the wealth I have gained in my travels should be more than enough to ensure your comfort and well-being. I know it is not a substitute for my presence, but I hope it is enough until I return. For now, if you send a message, it will be paid for, and can be delivered to the Dragon Towers inn, courtesy of House Ghallanda.

The Blood is the Life, and it sustains and binds us together. May the Divinity Within keep you and bless you. My prayers and thoughts to you all, father, mother, sister. Be well, and I hope to read your words soon.

~ Viktor

Everybody Must Get (Un)Stoned . . .

With a wet tearing sound, Viktor’s blade cleaves through the Medusa’s throat, spraying hot blood in a wide arc, some of it spattering across his face and shield. The creature’s head tumbles to the cavern floor, its locks of attendant venomous serpents writhing and spitting venom while the body staggers, then collapses.

He snarls defiantly, feeling that cold stiff feeling still creeping through his limbs as the head rolls to a stop, gazing emptily at him. Locked in a stare, fangs bared, his body grows rigid, breath locking in his lungs, heart suddenly stopping, and a sound like grinding millstones behind his eyes as his vision dims.


The world suddenly floods with light, the cavern replaced by a barn, torchlit and filled with statues—men and women from the medusa’s lair. Viktor lunges forward, his defiant snarl mingled with a wince as pain lances through his flesh, his body suddenly hot all over and feeling like lead on the verge of going molten, before he halts, taking in more of the surroundings: candles, small braziers of incense, a strange-smelling paste of herbs dotted on his brow. Sier and the others watch, standing in a circle around him.

“How long…? Where are we…?” he begins, looking warily at the interior of the barn, its hayloft and stables empty but for statues and bales of fodder.

“A few days,” Sier explains. “We’re in Regalport.”

The hobgoblin woman grins, showing her mouthful of sharp, slightly-yellowed teeth.

“And bringing you back wasn’t cheap. Nor will it be for the rest of… these.”

Viktor nods once, pausing to wipe his blade before sheathing it, though the medusa’s blood seems to have disappeared.

“I will give you what aid I can. Let me rest… a moment, first.”

A nearby hay bale makes for a serviceable seat as he unstraps his helm, shucking his gauntlets and laying his shield aside. He grips the clasp of his cloak, tracing fingertips over the worked silver draconic head and garnet blood-drop, bowing his head to pray.

“The Blood is the Life. May it sustain me and protect me…” Viktor whispers. He pauses, meditating on the last sensations he felt before apparently being turned to stone. Coldness, dimming sight, and the last sound of his heartbeat and blood rushing in his ears. The unnatural and heretical power of the creature that would seek to stop those things from happening.

Raising his head again, he takes in the sight of the other petrified men and women, whose own hearts have been stilled by the medusa. They wait to be saved, their life freed again.

“…and may it ever flow, undammed,” he finishes the brief prayer, rising to assist Sier in the ritual.

On the Beach . . .

With a loud roar and a flash of heat, the beach shatters, spraying clots of wet sand, shards of stone, and boiling saline mist. Ducking behind his shield, Viktor grinds his teeth, spitting Karrnathi oaths to himself as he takes shelter.

He risks a glance over the lip of the shield as he scuttles crabwise, backing away from the shore and to the safety of the treeline. The landing party are well away from shore in their longboats, while the captain continues to wave his red flag to signal his ship. Sier has already made the treeline, while Xentril jogs after. The flailing Medani woman is slung over her shoulder, still cursing and gesticulating and threatening and hurling imprecations after the retreating boats.

The altercation took place swiftly enough, despite his quick reaction, that he still was not sure of the cause. First, Xentril and Cuinas’ return, their negotiations, the sailors’ preparations to depart… then the sudden weight in the air that foretold the Medani calling upon her talents, and the effect upon the shore party. Bloody noses, screams of pain, the sharp sense of panic in the air almost as strong as the salt of the ocean and the tang of blood. And for what?

Viktor continues to move away from the shore, eyes slitted against the bright sunlight beneath the jaw of his wolf-headed helm. His gaze flickers to his companions, then to the shore again.

Has the Khoravar bitch lost her mind? She may have her power, but what about the judgement to use it… or not to use it? If she had half the mental prowess she boasted, then why not speak more surely of their impending betrayal by the sailors? Viktor and the rest could be just as much a risk as the possible “pirates” to them… who is to say who is right and wrong? Even Xentril, bloodthirsty and suicidal as she is, must have felt something lacking in honor, only flailing wildly at empty air despite the easy targets before her.

‘Though your opponent may have no honor, do not throw yours away with their own.’ The epigram from his Academy lessons rises in his memory. Along with it, the missive of the sudden cowardly attack on Tanar Rath, and his late return. The smell of weeks-old scorched rubble. Rows of new graves. The bandages on his father’s face and leg. The burns to his sister, and to his mother as well, all the worse for shielding his younger sibling.

Steel and leather creak as his gauntlet’s grip tightens on the shield, and for a moment the urge to sieze Cuinas by her pretty hair, bare the line of her pulse, and show her the meaning of the word ‘vampire’… the urge is sudden, feral, and his vision edges with carmine.

But these are not honorable thoughts, and he banishes them with a little effort. If the Blood wills it, she shall live and die in time—without his interference.

Monster some might think me. He pauses at the treeline, giving the retreating longboats one last cautious look, then back to the rest of his fellows—half-orc, hobgoblin, dragonborn… and half-elf. But true monstrosity is sometimes harder to see.

He slips into the shadows under the trees, and begins to follow the path there.

Over the River and Through the Woods
to Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfathers' Treasureroom we go

The fighters lay in a clearing under the shadow of the large pyramid to the east. If there were songbirds they had quieted from the ringing steel and shrieks of rage, which came from creatures on both sides of the battle. Sier leaned against a tree playing an old melody on her altered lyre, something remmebered long ago so her thoughts could drift freely.
“I think I’ll make a song about the headaches I’m saved by Cuinas staying out of the heat of battle.” Sier thought. “Well, mostly.”
They fought well together, her seeming to lead from her snipers nest, if only by moving and healing the others before their gods take them. Their zeal seems as much a prayer for death as trust that someone won’t let them die. Although, Cuinas has slowed in her desire for the front line since their travels through the Underdark. She is perhaps more frail than she might have imagined.
In spite of that their progress since leaving Khyber has been a great testament to their skill. There is little good that comes from bringing strangers together to learn to fight in the heat of battle. Perhaps it is their prior familiarity with each other, or an understanding of weaknesses, that has forgerd such a strong war party.
“There is no war,” she corrected herself, “only politics and these pathetic battles we wage to make us still feel useful.”
Without a war the only fighting Sier was good for anymore was the fight to bring the Dhakaani to the throne. Once that was complete she would be trapped in Cuinas’ world of petty politicking and cowardly dogs killing their betters in their sleep. Her father may wish for such a world, but she would see to it that was not her fate. Cuinas may be near useless in these monstrous woods, but she seemed much better suited for that than Sier would be in her world.
“How in Kybher will I create an heir in a world where the two headed monstrosities make the blood sucker an appealing choice?” She grumbled. There would be an answer if she had to return to Karnath for a decade to find it. Nothing would keep her from this freedom. There was no honor in dying by poison in her bed at night, and surely that was the fate of any ruler in the days without war.
“Though I am not alone.” she thought, reflecting on Xentril’s behavior. “I have never sung so many death songs in my life. I’ll be hoarse rasping hymns before the treasure is yet ours.” Xentril had more songs in her name than any other party member by far and her thirst for any battle seems insatiable. It only seems appropriate to write a battle song dedicated to her insane, blood thirsty fighting style.
“Is crazed and suicidal really a style?” she reflected. “There is more yet to be seen from that one, though an unstable descendant of a dragon calls for a watchful eye. Which gives me an idea for a song…..” she thought while grabbing her songbook.

A Serendipitous Encounter

Xentril stumbled along the road half a day’s march outside some unnamed town on the coast between Darguun (Blasted Goblins) and Valenar. (Twice-Blasted desert Elves.) She didn’t even remember where she was any more. She was still drunk from the night (morning?) before, and was halfway into her cups again today. The sun was a fearsome ball in the sky already (or still?) and hurt her eyes, so she kept them down, watching the stones and dust under her feet. And then she heard the screams. A piercing, frightened, desperate kind of sound. The sound that they describe in the stories, before some buffoon of an adventurer gets killed trying to rescue a maid.

Or at least that was the kind of story they would tell about her. If they even bothered to tell it at all.

Eh. Why not? It’s always a good day to die. Isn’t it?

Xentril dropped her flask and lurched into a jog, fumbling for her axe and her scourge, then began to run more smoothly with the familiar, worn grip of the weapons in her toughened hands. As she ran, she saw through drink-blurred eyes the men that were closing in, surrounding an outraged and impeccably-dressed noblewoman on the side of the road. She was screaming at them. Xentril thought she heard something about curdling their brains in their skulls until it leaked out their ears.

What th—-?

And then her axe was halfway through the shoulder of the first man, her flail slicing off the ear of the man next to him and catching in his cheek. She jerked it out and felt the hot blood spray across her face as he howled, white bone showing through his torn flesh.

- * – * – * – * -

When the battlefog cleared her booze-soaked brain, she glanced around and all the men were on the ground. One was still groaning, but the other four were… savaged. The man who lived was nearest to the girl and had no obvious wounds, but blood trickled from his nose, eyes, and ears.


“What are you, an idiot?!? I had them!” The over-dressed nitwit shrieked at her. Xentril was taken aback and looked the girl up and down with disgust. “Had them? You richling twit. You were a swift pommel to the skull from becoming the next set of holes those bandits were going to stick their Kyber-rotted cocks in. If you were lucky, they’d have killed you first, but they probably wanted to sell you in Darguun afterward.”

The girl gasped in shock and then the tears that were so close to the surface began to pour down her face, as her whole body began to shake and the shock of how close she had come to a fate worse than death started to dawn on her.

When will I ever learn to hold my cursed tongue? Ugh.

“Oh, Dragon Above” she muttered, as she surged forward and caught the girl before she fell over in the bloody mud. Except she was covered in blood and mud (when did I fall down?) and the gore left hideous smears all over the girl’s remarkably clean gown. Who wears a gown on the road anyway? Asking for trouble, that’s what she was… Xentril grumbled to herself and carried the girl to a large rock, set her down and then stumbled off after the frightened mare she must have been riding. When she brought the horse back, the girl had composed herself and was angrily scrubbing at the stains.

“What are you, some kind of crazed killer?” Xentril took a step back, and the girl must have seen something in her face, because her anger melted away. “I’m sorry. My manners. I forgot myself. I am most grateful for your assistance. My name is Cuinas.”

A rare flash of insight and a brief hesitation in the way she said her name, gave Xentril the impression that she was unused to identifying herself as such.

A false name? Or just incomplete?

“I am Xentril…” And I am also used to giving another name… but it is not mine any more.

Xentril crouched down next to Cuinas, which put her about eye-level with the girl, despite her being perched on the rock.

“I did not see, but you must have done something remarkable to fight off that one. But I do not think you could have beaten them all,” Xentril murmured.

Cuinas avoided looking at the man, now a corpse. It’s face was covered in bloody, clotted rivulets that had gathered in pools on the ground. “Yes. Well. I said I would curdle their brains, didn’t I?” She still looked bothered, but had a self-satisfied sound back in her voice.

“Mmm. That you did. Well. I am traveling this road for a ways.” She coughed awkwardly. “And despite… what happened here… Well. You may be safer on your own. I am dangerous and unpleasant company…” The dragonborn looked away, feeling oddly familial and protective of this girl.

Cuinas laughed, a sound like the soft tinkling of bells, declaring that she was pleasant enough company for both of them, and wouldn’t mind a dangerous companion for a while.

Descent into Khyber

Descent into Khyber

The dark passage ways and caverns felt close, too close. Not enough space to move, let alone to fight in the style she had become accustomed. Her bulky strength was a disadvantage in this place. No child of Siberys would ever feel comfortable here.

Xentril ducked as she almost knocked her head on yet another low hanging rock from the ceiling.

Stalactites, Lorak had called them. A silly word for a pain in my head.

She still had a tender lump among her tendrils from one she had blundered into after the fight with the misshapen goblinoids. She’d almost taken off Viktor’s head in that one, but luckily he was good at getting out of her way. Most of the time.

And the rest of the time, that’s what his armor is for, yes?

She chuckled to herself at that one, and caught a sharp look from Cuinas, as the slight seer glanced anxiously around. Xentril tried to smile reassuringly, but wasn’t sure if her message came across. The half-elf quickly looked away and tried to strain her eyes to pierce further into the darkness.

She is not meant for this place either, a far stretch way from the palace she was raised in. None of us are meant for this though. Another few days in here and the laborers may break under the strain… What was Balestrider thinking when he hired that lot? I will be glad for them when it comes to digging holes, but for now they are a troublesome (and dangerous) inconvenience.

Xentril did not fear for her own life, but for that of her companions. And she also had little desire to die in this light-cursed place. She could feel the taint of Kyber in her scales, even just crawling through the surface of his realm.

I do not know if my soul would find its way home from this place. Although it would be a great honor to venture deeper and slay some number of denizens of this place. But I do not want to die here.


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