Dawn of the Duskwalkers II: The Fire Within

The Fire Kindled

The Fire Within: Episode 05

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The intrepid adventurers slowly awake once again, only to find themselves still trapped in a cage in the middle of the Giant’s camp. Two days have passed since the party attempted to rescue Xavdak from the clutches of the Master, only to find themselves face to face with their foes, and forced into their present predicament. The party has attempted escape each of the two past days, only to be met with the cold eyes of their two Giant guards and a biting sense of failure. The tortured Xavdak has been resting and gathering his strength, and trying to forget the horrors which were inflicted upon him at the hands of the Master.

This day though the wizard comes up with a new tactic, and causes an earthquake to burst forth, which brings something to the parties attention. The cage which they are trapped in surrounds a small, yet ornate stone foundation, within which is concealed a hollow W’leak surmises. Reg and W’leak hatch a plan to open the hollow, in order to find an escape route and return to their own time. As W’leak is distracting the guards Reg breaks open the stone foundation with a mighty swing of his War Axe. Inside however, is something which none of them expected to find.

Instead of a path for escape Reg finds a leather blanket, which is covering a very cold, yet breathing, body of a small humanoid figure. Pulling it back, the party sees a small girl, covered in leathers and sand goggles who they recognize as the little girl who was in Deeplight speaking with the monks of Moriaris. She awakens, puts her finger over her lips and whispers, “I’m here to help you.”

She is about to continue on, but sees that Reg has taken her blanket from her, and grows increasingly agitated. The girl requests, with no small amount of anger, that it be returned to her. Xavdak tells Reg to return it, though he does not indicate why. Once it is returned she tells the party that she will release them after dark. She wraps her self in the blanket and disappears along with it, at which point Xavdak tells the party that he felt immense amounts of magic coming from it and thus told Reg to return it as he wanted to know what it was.

The party passes the rest of the day in a wary unease, not sure whether the girl can be trusted or whether or not she will truly return for them as she had claimed. Therefore they attempt to pick the lock of their cage, only for Xavdak to discover that it contains a silent, magical alarm which would surely alert their captors to any escape attempt. They attempt to befriend one of their guards via magic, which only leads to a furious giant who wishes to crush Xavdak once the spell wears off. Finally, however ,night falls and the Giant camp begins to settle in for the evening. It is at this point however that W’leak spots a figure moving through the camp, faster than he has ever seen anyone move. Tents throughout the camp begin to burst into flames, and in the blink of an eye the two Giant guards who were watching the party are dead. Outside the now open door to the cage stands the little girl, wrapped in her blanket, who tells them that it is time to leave.

She navigates the party through the Giant camp, clearly quite familiar with it, and they emerge outside of facing the vast expanse of desert which separates them from civilization. Ahead of them however stand two dark figures, each hold a dagger which gleams in the moonlight. Teavin and Tayor, servants of the Hodgkins family, step forward and begin to argue with the girl with malice clear in their words and actions. The party tenses for a fight. The little girls however, simply flicks the blanket at the two men who stand in her path, and before the very eyes of those assembled they begin to boil from the inside out, screaming and writhing in agony before they collapse to the ground, dead.

They continue on, and speak with the little girl, attempting to figure out where she is taking them, and also anything that they can about the mysterious blanket which she carries. She tells them that they are going to Deeplight, where they will help her with a job, though she does not say what this job will be. Xavdak is able to learn that the blanket itself is the source of the magic which is being done, though the girl does not know how it is done or even what magic is. 300 yards from the city a young man in a turban stands, clearly waiting for the party. He explodes with movement upon seeing Xavdak and pins him to the ground with a knee on his throat. The man threatens Xavdak and inquires as to how he is able to do the feats which he has done. He also accuses the party of being Jak sympathizers, a charge which the party adamantly denies. W’leak menacingly places his blade at the throat of the man from behind, as he and Reg leap into action to protect their friend. A tense situation is only calmed by the girl telling the man “we need them for the job,.” The man doubts that the party is up to the task, but removes his knee from Xavdak’s neck as Reg and W’leak back up and sheathe their weapons as well.

The man introduces himself as Degen and motions for the little girl to tell the party about the job which she had rescued them for. She appeals to each of the party members in turn, imploring them to help her save a friend, and asking each what they would do to save those that they loved. Degen interrupts her and they converse in a dialect which W’leak and Xavdak recognize as ancient Elvish, as she tells Degen that Xavdak and W’leak speak “the mother tongue.” She continues on and tells the tale of her murdered brother, who she claims was murdered by an important person in Deeplight, who the party would finally bring to justice. Xavdak, W’leak, Reg, and Esmé all agree to undertake the task, and they set off with Degen and the little girl into Deeplight.

They wind their way through the streets and quickly come to realize that they are approaching the estate of the Hodgkins family, those who had first approached them in regards to a job which they came to find out was a ruse. Degen and the party stop before entering as he opens a sewer grate which he beckons the party to follow him into, as the little girl remains outside, seemingly to keep watch. They move through the sewers and soon find themselves underneath the Hodgkin estate with two guards standing and watching their approach. Seeing this W’leak motions for them to stop and blinks out of existence, before materializing in the shadows behind the guards and slitting their throats silently. He motions the group forward and notices that Degen seems quite impressed by the martial display. The party continues up the stairs and finds four guards who stand at the top. Reg continues on alone, tricking the guards into thinking that he is one of their number, and sending them down the stairs to be dispatched with.

Degen begins to use a series of hand gestures to communicate with the party, which outlines the plan and the surrounding palace, signals which W’leak immediately recognizes as a language known only to monks trained by Moriaris. He thus pulls his monk’s robes from his pack and shows Degen the symbol of Moriaris, which causes Degen to immediately attempt to cover it up as to not be seen by Xavdak, Reg, and Esmé. W’leak however tells him that there is no reason to hide it from them, and Degen, once they have gone up the stairs shows W’leak alone a tattoo on his arm of the same symbol.

They move through the house, quickly and quietly, as Degen has pointed out all the potential pitfalls and traps which are placed in it. W’leak pulls the other aside and tells them of his discovery, and they approach an ornate door which Degen claims houses the bedchamber of Deerus Hodgkin, the leader of the Hodgkin family and the man who murdered the brother of the little girl who has freed them. He tells them that their task is simple, kill him and thus bring justice upon his house for the crimes which they have committed.

W’leak however will not accept the job unless he knows the name of the little girl who has freed them, a fact which he makes clear to Degen before they enter the room. Degen tells them that the name of the little girl is Glynni, which satisfies W’leak. W’leak and Xavdak move to the bed, as W’leak awakens *Deerus * by holding a sword to his throat. He interrogates the leader, wishing to know for certain that the justice they are meeting out is right, but Deerus will not give a clear and truthful answer, a fact which frustrates W’leak. Degen says that W’leak is bringing shame upon his people by not simply doing the job, but W’leak says that honor is nothing if one does not live by a code, something which W’leak knows all too well. Finally, with Reg whispering that two guards were approaching, W’leak removes his blade from Deerus’ neck and pronounces a sentence upon him, death. Xavdak moves his hand over Deerus and begins to steal the very life from his body, as W’leak forces himself to watch. A sickening darkness spreads over Deerus, and the life drains from him,into Xavdak, who begins to heal the wounds which he had suffered during his torture. The body of Deerus Hodgkin lies before Xavdak and W’leak, devoid of life.

Their task complete the party begin to make their exit, only to be met by Glynni fleeing from the direction of the throne room, being chased by six guards. Xavdak wheels around and conjures a wall of fire between her and the guards, and the manor begins to be engulfed in flames, as the party, Degen, and Glynni escape through the front door. AS the manor begins to collapse under the weight of its burnign facade, Degen adn Glynni lead the party back to the Torch in the center of Deeplight. Glynni pulls out a large mirror and the Night’s Jewel and then thinks better of it, and says that being on the run is not the right time for this. After questions she relates that she knows more about W’leak than he believed, and that the party is not from this time. She tells them to not attempt to interfere in what is to come.

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Upon reaching the Torch they find a group of 200 children who are tied up and facing the wooden platform at its center, upon which stands Degen, Glynni, and four other men. Glynni calls out that it is time for the Elemental Reexamination that it is time to bring magic into the world. She pulls out her blanket and lays it down on the platform, as Degen also unravels his turban and places it on top of the blanket. She reveals that her name is Glynni Duskwalker and that it is on her behalf and on the behalf of the brothers of Moriaris that the old order must be torn down.* “The time of Deeplight is over. A new empire rises. The elves will rule and good will come to this world.”* thus she cries as magic begins to come forth from the tow garments upon the platform, a magic which is very familiar to W’leak.

Before their eyes they see the magic come over the children, and just like Deerus Hodgkin, steal the very life from their bones. This atrocity causes Reg to charge the platform, intent on destroying the accursed item which had done this evil deed. He finds himself suddenly running in the air, as Xavdak has grabbed him and held him fast, even as Xavdak places the Night’s Jewel upon the mirror and is sucked into the opening vortex. Reg, overcome with anger and grief, calls out to W’leak and accuses him of having no honor and a worthless code if he is willing to allow the death of children, a cry which rouses W’leak to action. Knocking an arrow, which he has lit on fire, he fires towards the platform, desiring to destroy the source of the magic which brought such death and grief. As they are being sucked into the vortex, Reg, W’leak, and Esmé see the arrow strike its target, but the magical items remain before their eyes, as if taunting them with the horror of what they had just witnessed.

They emerge in the banquet hall of the Draken Keep as it appeared after the fight with the elementals which occurred before their journey to Deeplight. Everything is as it once was, save only for the fact that there now exist two Night’s Jewels in this world. Overcome with rage and grief, W’leak stands up and stares at Xavdak, screaming one simple question, “Did you know?” Calmly, yet also fumbling over his words, Xavdak says that he did know, that in fact he knew what was going to happen in the Torch even before they entered Deeplight. Noting how angry and betrayed the party feels by this revelation, he brings them to a place which has never been seen by a non-Duskwalker, the royal crypt. There, after walking past generations of royal Duskwalker tombs, including one which he points out will someday be his own, he stops before a tomb with a mural painted behind it of the scene which they had just experienced. They stand in front of the tomb of Glynni Duskwalker, the first of the royal line, she who brought magic into the world. Xavdak tells the party that he had been raised with the knowledge that his family had brought magic into the world, something which he believes was truly right to do. He asks them to imagine what the world would be like if magic and the Duskwalker’s had never come into being, of what it would mean for not only the world, but for him in particular. Reg however cuts him off and states that if this is what brought magic into the world, than the world was better off without it. He storms out of the crypt, leaving Xavdak, Esmé, and W’leak to ponder what they had witnessed.

Esmé left the king’s presence soon after Reg, also in anger and incredulous over what had just happened. Finally only W’leak stood before the king. The two stood in silence, neither sure what the other would say, until W’leak broke it simply by saying, “Remember what Aiden said. You are not your father’s son. But if this is who the Duskwalker’s are, then perhaps Lathandar should have brought judgment on your family long ago.”

W’leak leaves the king alone in the crypt, thinking on those words which Aiden exclaimed with his last moments on this plane. Each member of the party however would have to come to terms with what they had just witnessed in his or her own way. At least for now, Xavdak, Reg, W’leak, and Esmé had never felt more alone.

Comments

So intense.

The Fire Kindled
 

I still can’t.

The Fire Kindled
Rowleyfan3620

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