Monday, October 28, 2013

The Waters of Freedom


The party marched down the pass, nursing their aching shoulders. A couple hours into their march, Ren and Aziza spotted something glittering in the sunlight. Ren shots for everyone to wait. Suddenly, a creature crawled on top of a nearby rock. It's shinning body swirled with color. It looked like a spider made of glass, throwing prisms of color all around it.
A beam of concentrated sunlight shot out from the spider and struck Ren across the chest. Aziza shot a magic missile and Cyrus shot an arrow at the creature. Rata, Ren, and Yaotl prepared themselves with magic and psionics.
I'm gonna shank you, sucka!

The spider crawled from the rock and attacked Ren, clawing at him with razor sharp legs and biting him with jaws of jagged crystal. Ren fought back, hitting and kicking with all his might. The spider shattered, as Ren collapsed, overcome by the creatures poison.
Cyrus, Aziza, and Yaotl rushed to Ren's side. Yaotl could tell that the poison was fast acting and had already done it's damage. Ren was alive, but badly hurt. Cyrus began healing him. Aziza holds up Re’s head, as he became coherent. Ren was enjoying Azania’s attention and decided to pretend to be more hurt than he really was. Even after he was healed, he asked Aziza to “kiss it better.” Aziza declined and dropped his head in the dirt.
Aziza points out that the spider seemed to have spun a crystallized web, that was nearly invisible from the direction they were walking. Upon inspection, they discovered it was extremely sharp. They decided to break off a portion of it and use it to make weapons. They wrap the pieces in extra cloaks, in order to protect the pieces and themselves.
The group continued their march throw the pass. The march was pleasant, with the mountains blocking the direct heat of the Sun. However, soon the sun was passing over head and intense heat beat down on them. Just before the sun reached its zenith, the group decided to find shelter and wait out the noonday heat.
After resting for an hour, or so, the group began walking again. Forty five minutes later; Aziza, Ren, and Cyrus saw an individual peek out from behind a rock. They quickly informed the group of a possible ambush.
“Hail Traveler!” Yaotl shouted.
There was no response and the group readied themselves for battle. Aziza turned Rata invisible and told him to go investigate. The group hid themselves behind a large boulder, as Rata went to investigate.
Rata took a wide path, circling back toward the man who was hiding and looking for any accomplices. Seeing no one else, Rata approached the man. He could see that the man was wearing no shoes and only had a ripped and dirty tunic. The man was praying to the dragon that the group would not find him.
Ren began to whistle.
The man was startled by Rita’s whistling, being so close, that he panicked and ran. The man was severely dehydrated and Ren quickly caught up to him.
Ren grabbed him by the shoulder, “Calm yourself, we are not here to hurt you.”
“Please,” The man wheezed, “let me go.”
Ren held up his water-skin and the man began to drink quickly. Ren made him slow down. The rest of the group walked up to them, but made sure not to surround the man and make him feel uncomfortable.
“What is your name?” Ren asked softly.
Between gulps of water, he answered, “Alroy. My name is Alroy.”
“Where do you come from?” Yaotl asked, in his characteristic blunt fashion.
“I,” Alroy rasps, “am from Nibenay.”
“He's an escaped slave, he has a tattoo on his wrist.” Aziza whispered to Ren.
Alroy nearly dropped his water, “Please don't take me back.”
“It's okay.” Aziza says comfortingly, while showing Alroy her own slave tattoo.
“Where did you escape from, are there others?” Ren asked.
Alroy nodded, “There were a few of us, we escaped from a Nibnese logging camp.”
“Who owned you?” Ren pressed further.
Alroy was hesitant to answer, but with a reassuring nod from Aziza, he answered, “House Wolvenmore.”
“Never heard of it.” Ren replied and Alroy relaxed.
Ren turned to the group, “I think we should find the other escaped slaves and help them.”
“I don't want to go back to Nibenay.” Alroy begged.
Yaotl scowled, “We will protect you, you need not fear captivity.”
“We'll keep you out of Nibenay, but there is nothing for you that way.” Ren explained, “But if you would rather go, we will give you food and water.”
Alroy thought about their offer for a few minutes, “I will go with you.”
With Alroy in tow, the group pressed on. They marched quietly for five hours under the oppressive sun. The Crescent Forest came into view and they decided to camp for the night. Ren remembered staying in a cave in the area, but could not remember exactly where it was.
Rata explained that his lands were not far from their present location and that they would be safe there. Everyone agreed, knowing a Druid's grove to be extremely safe for invited guests. Rata explained it's location to Cyrus, so Cyrus could open a dimension door for the group. Everyone walked through the doorway.
Like this, but the trees have blue bark.

They emerged into a lush, green, forest. Rata gave them a brief tour, told them which tree they could sleep under, and warned them not to harm the land. Yaotl began gathering dead and diseased plants and burning them, then tilling the earth with the ash. Aziza used her preserving magic to improve the quality of the land, and Cyrus began watering the various plants. Rata was pleased.
Ren kept watch, while the others slept. Two hours into the night, Ren heard a strange sound. A sound he had never heard before. Upon closer inspection, he could see water falling from the sky. He stood, dumbfounded, as the rain pelted his face.
Ren woke up Aziza and they shouted and cheered, which woke everyone else. With the exception of Rata, no one present had ever seen rainfall. The cheered and danced, getting soaked and enjoying the new experience.
After an hour, or so, Cyrus and Yaotl retreated under the tree to dry off and go back to sleep. Aziza and Ren danced for another hour, then sat down near the fire and continued to get rained on. Ren moved next to Aziza and put his arm around her. She fell asleep a short while later.
In the morning, Yaotl decided to spar with Ren, letting Aziza sleep in. While sparing, Aziza awoke and began changing her soaked clothes. Ren gets distracted and stared at her muscular, scarred, and feminine body. Yaotl tries to tackle Ren, but was unable to do so. Seeing Ren distracted, Cyrus ran and crashed into Ren, knocking them both down.
Soon, everyone was packed and ready to go. Cyrus opened a dimension door to get back down the mountain and they were on their way. Marching through the dense Crescent Forest was difficult and slow.
After seven hours of marching, the group stumbled upon another group. Ren and Yaotl spotted them first; four armed men with carrikals, an attractive dark haired woman, and a cilops.
“Hello.” Yaotl called out.
The woman cast a spell, which none of the group could identify, and the men rushed forward, with carrikals raised. Yaotl and Aziza were out front, so they were attacked first. Rata cast oil spray, but was off on his range and missed the attacking men. Yaotl and Aziza dish out more than they take. Yaotl used his spells and Aziza severed one of their hands, causing the attacker to scream in agony and fall to his knees. Cyrus cast a spell that caused water to form inside one of the attackers lungs.
Ren rushed forward and beat the other two attackers unconscious. The woman released the cilops and fled into the forest. The cilops attacked Rata, but the group quickly game to his aid and killed the beast. Ren tried to find the woman's tracks, but could not find a trace of her.
“Please.” The man with the severed had begged, “Please, if you save my life, I will serve you.”
Cyrus sighed and used his magic to prevent the man from bleeding to death.
Ren grabbed him, “Why did you attack us?”
Sobbing, the man replied, “We were sent to capture him.” He indicated Alroy.
“Who sent you?” Ren demanded.
He continued to sob, “I don't know, we were just hired muscle.”
Cyrus and Aziza gathered the fallen weapons. The group discussed what to do with the men, but they quickly decided that they could not murder them.

Yaotl threatened three of the men with his scimitar, “Go on! Get! If I ever see you again, you will taste my blade!”
The three men ran into the forest, not daring to look back.
The sobbing man composed himself and knelt in front of Cyrus, “You saved my life and now you own it. I will serve you un..”
Cyrus scowled, “I don't need a servant.”
After a short pause, the man looked back at the group, “Am I free to go.”
Ren walked over to him and took the man's arm in his hand. He looked at the stump, where his hand used to be.
“Hired muscle is no good with only one hand.” Ren began, “What will you do now? You will be forced to beg.”
The man looked forlorn, but shrugged, “Better to be alive.”
Ren nodded, “If I gave you back your hand. Would you promise to never hunt another slave as long as you live?”
Hope shone in the man's eyes, “Whatever you say, I will do.”
Ren began psionically regenerating the man's hand. The man stared in awe, as the bone, muscles, and tendons regrew. The group healed up and rested, while Ren regenerated the severed limb. When Ren finished, the man looked in awe at his new hand and tasted it several times.
Finally, he knelt at Ren's feet, “You have given me my life back, I owe you a debt. I will not leave your side until it is repaid.”

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