Posts Tagged ‘Oskia’

The Heartsong Caper

March 2, 2019

Cara was the only one on the street who had not been affected by the spell. In fact, she had not even noticed the spell when it had been cast and only noticed something was wrong when she almost bumped into a fancy-looking lady. She looked around and everybody else was just standing there and staring into space. After a moment’s hesitation, she stopped in her tracks and tried to mimic all of the people on the street. She quickly surmised that the spell had been based in sound, which was why she had been spared. Cara had been deaf from birth and had not heard the spell and therefore had not been frozen in place.

As soon as she had put those thoughts together, a woman in a dark cloak came around the corner carrying a mandolin decorated with heart flourishes. She was also wearing an embroidered corset with a large, fancy heart on it. The woman was followed by a couple of shifty-looking individuals who were thieves for sure. Cara had seen their type around town before. She waited until they were all looking the other way and then she darted into an alleyway. The way was blocked by a carriage but she managed to hide behind a box. She cursed profusely inside her head.

She watched the ruffians start to cut the money pouches off of the bespelled crowd’s belts. Cara’s blood boiled. The brazen gall of anybody doing such a thing in broad daylight pissed her off. She had long considered herself a guardian of the city even if the city law would probably argue that fact. Though, on a certain level, Cara had to admit that she admired the theatricality of the plan if not the ethics. If only she could contact the law, they would be sorry. There was too many for Cara to handle on her own. She gripped her totem hard, almost enough to draw blood. She pointed it slowly at the thugs and suddenly she could hear what they were saying.

“Hey Angelica,” a rat-faced thief said. “I think I saw something move in that alley over there.”

“Nonsense,” the woman who was apparently Angelica said, “Nobody can resist the sound of Angelica Heartsong!”

“Sure but I still saw something,” the thug said. “What should I do?”

“Fine,” Angelica said with a pout. “If it’s on two legs drag it out here. If it’s on four legs just go ahead and kill it.”

“Right,” the thug said and headed in Cara’s direction.

Cara tensed up. Her first thought had been to turn into a cat but they had orders to kill on sight and Cara did not want to risk it. Instead, she whispered softly to herself and turned invisible, a trick that Laren had taught her when she was little. She gathered her nerves and slipped past the thug as carefully as she could. She walked back out into the midst of everyone and tried to slow her breathing. There were some tense moments as the thug in the alley searched around by poking their spear into every corner they could find.

Cara looked over at Angelica Heartsong and watched her pluck a single string on her mandolin. That string glowed pink for a moment and Cara felt that single note reverberate through her body. Cara had a sinking feeling based on the animals she had observed since she was a toddler. Her stomach tightened as she saw Angelica smile for a moment.

“Somebody is here!” Angelica yelled. “They are invisible. Make them bleed. Make them stop moving.”

The thugs started to grope around blindly, forcing Cara to keep moving around to dodge their grasping fingers and their randomly swinging weapons. It was only a matter of time before somebody got lucky and found her. She could run but she hesitated to try it with Angelica’s apparent blindsight spell and without knowing how fleet-footed the thugs were. Besides, she wanted to protect these people and Angelica was revealing herself to be pretty ruthless. Of course, the numbers did not favor her if she stayed. She ended up standing next to Angelica Heartsong who was red in the face as she screamed at her goons.

This was the point where a sword stretched out and dragged across the strings of Angelica Heartsong’s mandolin. Cara thought that Angelica looked like she might explode at any moment as she whirled to face the newcomer who dared harm her instrument. The man who stood there had long, luxurious hair brown hair and his shirt and armor hung open to expose his chest. Before Angelica could manage to form more than a guttural growl, the newcomer yelled out.

“What ho!” He yelled. “What’s all this then? Villainy!?”

“Who in the Nine Hells are you?” Angelica screamed.

“Garen Firrano, if you please,” the newcomer said after a hearty laugh. “You can share that name in prison or in the afterlife. Your choice.”

Cara reached out and yanked the mandolin from Angelica’s hands and clocked her with it. With the attach, Cara lost her invisibility but she sent a stunned Angelica sprawling to the pavement. Garen had a surprised look on his face for a moment but it was quickly replaced with an easy, charming smile and a piercing gaze that made Cara pause for just a moment. She tossed the shattered mandolin aside.

“She’s still got vocal cords,” she told Garen. “I think she has music magic.”

“A bard, eh?” Garen said. “Shall we deal with these other criminals then?”

“Sure,” Cara said and turned off her hearing spell just in case. “Try to keep up.”

At that point, Cara turned into a bear. She turned and started to charge through the dumbfounded thugs. Garen started swinging and thrusting his sword with style. With the element of surprise, they had the thugs on the ropes. The city law officers arrived at about the same time as the crowd started to unfreeze. They saw a confused crowd, a handsome swordsman, a bloodied bear, and a bunch of unconscious or dead thugs. Angelica Heartsong had apparently slipped away in the fracas. Cara quickly transformed back to her normal filthy druid form and tried to look as unthreatening as possible.

“What happened?” A law woman asked.

“We stopped these thugs and this woman from stealing from these people,” Cara said. “She said her name was Angelica Heartsong.”

“Another group of vile villains taken to task by Garen Firrano!” Garen said with a grin.

“Uh huh,” the officer said. “I’m going to need everybody to come down to our barracks.”

Banished Pt. 2

January 26, 2019

“Our story?” Random asked, pausing to think about it for a moment. “Well, Kris’ story is simple as far as I can tell. Kris isn’t much for talking. Right, Kris?”

“Talking boring,” Kris said and grunted and then started to walk off a few paces. They started to pull pieces off of a dead tree to keep busy.

“Anyway,” Random said. “As far as I can tell, Kris’ tribe got into a big fight with some interlopers. They don’t really like interlopers here.”

“What are interlopers?” Katelyn asked. “Also, where are we? I can’t believe I didn’t ask that yet.”

“The jungles of Oochar,” Random said. “This is all tribal land more or less belonging to the unknown amount of tribes of the land. Interlopers are people from outside who walk in and get violent or act like they own the place. Getting rid of them is one of the few things the tribes always agree on.”

“So they attacked Kris?” Katelyn asked.

“Or the other way around,” Random said. “Either way, Kris got messed up in the fight and it left her a bloody mess. At least, I assume from the, uh, physical scarring. I wasn’t there myself. All alone with no proper healer, Kris was left to fend for themselves. Which is a real credit to Kris as it can be really dangerous around here.”

“How do you lose somebody that big?” Katelyn asked, gesturing toward an oblivious Kris.

“My guess is that it happened when Kris was still young but yeah, there’s a lot there I don’t know and quite a bit that Kris probably doesn’t know.”

“Mysterious,” Katelyn said. “So that just leaves your story.”

“My story?” Random said with a somewhat theatrical flair. “I don’t think you would find it interesting.”

“I might,” Katelyn said. “Just tell me your story already.”

“But it’s so, so boring,” Random said with a sly smirk and a few bats of her eyelashes.

“You’ve successfully whetted my appetite,” Katelyn said, hands on her hips. “Out with it.”

“So, I was on the deck of the pirate ship The Stormeater,” Random started.

“A pirate ship?” Katelyn asked. “You were a pirate?”

“Yes and no,” Random said with an ambiguous hand gesture. “I wasn’t and then I was. Basically, I was kidnapped by pirates in my early teens and my parents took so long paying my ransom. By the time it was paid, I had decided that the pirates treated me better than my family and I decided to reject my birthright and join the pirates.”

“Interesting,” Katelyn said. “It’s a little hard for me to swallow seeing as how I have never had that kind of money to reject but whatever makes you happy.”

“It was kind of a spur of the moment decision that I rarely regret,” Random said. “Unfortunately, we ran afoul of the navy.”

“Aren’t there, like, several navies?” Katelyn asked.

“Yes,” Random said. “I have no idea which one it was. The point is that their boats sank ours and I nearly drowned. I woke up with Kris holding me upside down to get the water out of me and we have been friends ever since.”

“When did that happen then?” Katelyn asked.

“Three months ago,” Random said. “Frankly, I’m getting bored of wandering the jungle.”

“Itching to get back to the pirate life?” Katelyn asked.

“I don’t know,” Random said. “The way it ended last time, I’m hesitant to go back on the water. Besides, it wouldn’t be the same without my friends.”

“The ones that originally kidnapped you,” Katelyn said.

“Yes,” Random said. “but you didn’t know them like I did. They were nice to me.”

“Are you sure they aren’t out there somewhere?” Katelyn asked.

“I have a feeling none of them made it. The boat was absolutely wrecked when I last saw it,” Random said. “But I have been wrong before. Still, even if somebody else survived, I think I’m done with the pirate’s life. I’m ready for new challenges.”

“Hmm,” Katelyn said with a smile slowly creeping onto her face. “Do you think Kris is looking for new challenges?”

“I think so,” Random said and then turned toward Kris. “Hey, Kris! Are you looking for new challenges?”

Kris looked up from a bit of bark they were grinding into the jungle floor with their foot. “Always!” Kris yelled and gave a broken smile and then went back to what they were doing.

“Well, that settles that,” Random said. “What did you have in mind?”

“Revenge,” Katelyn said. “I need to get back to Sigil and take revenge on my ex-partner and investigate whether the third member of our trio was in on it.”

“Alright,” Random said. “that all sounds like fun. Besides, I get to see this Sigil place. How far away is it?”

“Well, that’s the problem,” Katelyn said. “It’s not a matter of distance. Sigil is not on this plane of existence so the only way to get there is through a portal. Maybe a plane shift spell would do it. Maybe some more obscure stuff.”

“That sounds complicated,” Random said. “Can’t we just go back the way you came? Wouldn’t that be easier?”

“I would need a key to do that and I have no idea what it would be,” Katelyn said. “Where’s the nearest magic expert?”

“Uh, well,” Random said. “I know some magic but I’m not an expert. Most of the magic users in these parts are more ‘shamanistic’ and they’re also hard to pin down.”

“So, what you’re telling me is that we have a long walk ahead of us?” Katelyn asked.

“To the border of Oskia,” Random said. “That place has a ton of magic and there’s bound to be somebody who can lead us in the right direction.”

“I suppose there’s no time like the present to get going then,” Katelyn said.

“Well, you still look pretty banged up from your fall,” Random said. “I’m not sure you should walk too far yet.”

“I don’t want to wait another moment,” Katelyn said. “I need to get to this Oskia.”

“I have a thought,” Random said. “How about we strap you to Kris’ back so you can rest a bit while we travel?”

“Um,” Katelyn said. “Is that safe?”

“I already have the harness made,” Random said which was met with a questioning look from Katelyn. “I got bored out here.”

“Strap me in, I guess,” Katelyn said. “Wait. Did you see a sword out here? I’m pretty sure I tumbled through the portal with it.”

Random looked around and then pointed. “There it is! Sticking out of the ground,” she said. “Lucky it didn’t stick into you.”

The sword was indeed sticking straight up out of the ground as if somebody had placed it there. It was fairly fancy as it was the sword that Katelyn performed with and had rarely used to draw blood. She walked over to it and grabbed the handle and slowly pulled it from the earth. The blade seemed to be covered with a dark purple viscous substance.

“Disgusting,” Katelyn said and tried to wipe off the gunk on a nearby tree. “I hope this stuff doesn’t corrode the blade.”

“It looks fine to me so far,” Random said. “Let’s get packed and head out, alright?”

“Sure,” Katelyn said. “We have a long way to go.”


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