Two and a Half Dragonbon

Kai's Chronicle- Caves

It’s been so long. The hope of returning to the outside world had almost completely escaped my mind. Were it not for my divine responsibility, I believe I would have cast myself into the fire long ago. But now, the fates shift. Dust drifts down from the ceiling as a small tremor grips the room.

The overseers guarding the exit go to investigate, leaving me and the other slaves alone with the poorly armed taskmasters. I glance around the cave. We are all thinking the same thing, it is obvious. The other dragonborn across the river of magma shouts something unintelligible. I blink as I piece together the phrase in the tongue of my people. Now is the time. The goblin watching me has turned to witness the scene unfolding across the way. I steel myself as I slink behind him.

If Bahamut blesses this strike, I will know that my actions are justified. That is what I thought as I gathered my energy to attack the goblin. It is what I thought as I watched him screaming and writhing in the lava below. With each goblin that fell to my hand, I told myself, The great dragon allows his power to be used for this, so it must be right. I wish I could believe it.

When the bloody melee is over, the only ones alive are me and two other slaves- the dragonborn from before and a young human girl, who appears to possess a magical power of some sort. She reluctantly takes the lead with the other dragonborn confidently taking shelter behind her. I follow, keeping watch on both of them. I remain cautious in my hope that this is the moment I have been waiting for. If it is, I pray these people make it out as well.

My new allies are fearful, rightly so. They hurriedly lead through the crumbling tunnels as we clash with goblins along the way. Sometimes they make decisions that don’t make any sense to me. Yet here I stay, following. The gods appear to deem us worthy of survival, albeit just barely.

We reach a wide-open room with a giant bugbear guarding the exit. I prepare myself to fight the thing, but the others begin spouting a false story in an attempt to reason with it. I am left standing by dumbly as they work together to craft a mad tale of challenge and insult from the goblins below, which now somehow seems to be convincing the creature. I tag along uselessly as they lead it on a futile hunt for a dragon, which eventually opens an opportunity to escape.

I stand guard as the human slips through a gap between boulders, the last barrier between us and the surface. The other dragonborn is approaching now, with an angered bugbear close behind. As he passes, he takes me by the arm and pulls me with him. The bugbear lashes out with its flail and snares my leg, threatening to drag me back, but a timely blast of holy fire causes him to lose his grip, and I barely escape along with the others.

Panting, I look up to my friends, utterly humbled. I owe my life to these people. We owe our lives to each other. Although the barren desert stretches before us for miles, for the first time I have no doubt that we will survive. Bahamut has set us upon the path of our destiny, and although it abounds with pain and struggle, nothing can stop the will of the gods.

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A Prayer to Goddess Savhen
Anai's Prayer for Safe Journey

“I pray to the goddess Savhen, she who opened the bloom of life and light to the Ahali, that my path remain steady and true.

May her light guide me on my journey, may my people find shelter below the boughs of the Great Tree, and may Lady Kahna watch over us all.

I plead to Savhen to take my companions souls into her bosom if we perish in this hellish realm of sand and wind.

I beg of thee to send word to the dragon’s god and help him answer his prayers."

“Without the Sun we are nothing.”

A Prayer

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Journal of a Lamb of Savhen :Anai's Journey

AJourney

I write this in hopes that if I perish someone will know the plight of my people, perhaps someone will tell my tale and perhaps another could carry on.

When I left home I knew the world was harsh and broken, the goddess spared my people but few were as fortunate as we were.
Far from the protection of the Lady of Light, I fear I had lost hope.
Not long after I had stepped out into the darkland I found myself beneath the earth once more. In hellish tombs of molten stone and fire, chained by creatures I had only heard frightening stories of, I feared this was the end.

After countless cycles of work, I wished for only death, to return to the embrace of Savhen and be free from such torture. But the Goddess did not send me death, she sent me hope. A tentative hope covered in scales, but hope none-the-less. Two men born of dragons came to my aid, and we fled with death at our heels barely escaping our captives.
I pray these men of dragons are truly messages from Savhen, a gift to aid me on my journey, a shimmer of hope for my people.

-Anai
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Kai's Chronicle- Shelter

How long since we left the mines? Four inversions, at least. Our bodies are starved and parched. The human especially seems to be on her last legs. But the town we had our eyes set on is finally within reach.

As we warily approach, it seems that the place is deserted. We walk by a decrepit graveyard, then past a crude barrier of spiked wooden poles. There are five buildings here, one of them larger than the rest, all wooden and nearly fallen to pieces. In the center of town is a stone fountain filled with still water. The human immediately hobbles over to take a drink. I begin to open my mouth, to warn her that it may be impure, but she is already cupping some in her hands. It may be worth it for her to have that little bit of hydration anyway.

As she scowls at the evidently unpleasant taste, the blue dragonborn heads toward the larger building and walks inside. I follow a few moments later, noticing that rather loud voices can be heard inside. I glance back at the human, who sits warily on the edge of the fountain, before heading inside.

Within, it becomes obvious that this town is not deserted at all, although by the look of the people it may be that way soon. On one side of the room is what appears to be a makeshift gathering hall, with chairs set up around a wooden crate. Upon the crate stands a middle-aged man who appears to be an authority figure of some sort. He is giving an impassioned speech, but the meager congregation seems largely uninterested.

The other half of the interior is occupied by a dusty, dilapidated bar, which regardless has a much larger audience than the speaker. The dragonborn is attempting to purchase a ten-silver mug of ale with a gold piece, which eventually results in the bartender pouring him ten glasses. The human walks in behind me, glancing at me quizzically as she passes by. “What is he doing?” I give her a shrug as I turn to leave. Nothing for me here, might as well entertain myself elsewhere.


This graveyard is fascinating. Something about it instantly caught my eye when we arrived. Not that it’s well-built or visually impressive, quite the opposite. Worn and crumbling tombstones dot the landscape in a crooked pattern. Most are illegible, or simply have no inscription to begin with. An imposing mausoleum stands in the center. Upon inspecting the thing, I realize that the entrance is not bound or locked in any way, and I could rather easily push open the stone door if I so desired. I make a mental note before departing. I would like to see the inside of this place before we leave, if possible.

When I return to the central part of town, I see my comrades standing with an armed citizen by a pile of rubble. He appears to be explaining something to them, and as I approach, rats begin to emerge and swarm around the trash heap. It seems we’ve been commissioned to clean up a mess. Very well, I’m sure Bahamut wouldn’t mind smiting a few rodents. (sigh…)

With some difficulty we fend off the small horde. At the end we are all nearly unscathed, besides the blue dragonborn- Trog, I believe he calls himself- who lies on the ground groaning and clutching at his bleeding toe, a vicious bite wound that occurred while he was being swarmed rather exclusively. This one appears to be quite prone to ill fortune. I wonder if this carries any preternatural significance.

The soldier directs us to the most decrepit house in town, proclaiming that we can use it if we ‘clean it out.’ Upon entry it becomes obvious what he was referring to, as unnervingly large insects scurry about on the floor. After some more pest-expunging, the place is relatively clean, although it still carries the stench of organic matter, and the wood is marred with holes- some of which were caused by rot, and some of which are charred and smoking from a recent magical attack.

Trog leaves to speak with the town merchant while I stay behind with the human, who has taken a seat on a broken table, clenching her stomach. She seems to be falling ill after drinking that fountain water. This is worrisome, but unfortunately I have no idea what could be done to remedy it.

After procuring some bedrolls and safe drinking water from the villagers, we venture out to seek out medical aid. The townsfolk direct us toward a local nurse, the only one, who after looking the girl over tells us to seek out a certain strain of lichen, which grows in dank and wet places. As she tends to the infirm human, I beckon Trog to follow me outside.

As we arrive at the entrance to the mausoleum, I explain to him my idea, and he agrees that this is our best chance at finding the stuff. Cautiously we push the door open and walk inside. The place is harrowingly dark, with the only source of light being the entrance behind us. Shortly we reach a staircase that spirals downward. I look back over my shoulder and my partner gives me a nod. Slowly we descend into the thick darkness…

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Kai's Chronicle- Exodus

Carefully and quietly, Trog and I slink down the spiraling staircase of the town crypt. My eyesight serves me well enough navigating the stairs, but when we reach the bottom, the murk creeps in close enough that I can no longer see the floor beneath me. Even the most acute vision would fail in the complete absence of light.

From the faint differences in shade that I can make out, we seem to be traveling down a hallway now. With my next step forward, I sense that I have entered a space that is wider than before. I glance back briefly and see the vague silhouette of my friend, a short distance behind. I extend an arm forward, getting a brief flash of vertigo as I am unable to see it in front of me. I summon my energy to call for a burst of light. A small, luminous sphere coalesces above my palm, and a chill travels up my body as my surroundings are dimly illuminated.

The room is filled with wooden caskets, strewn about the floor or leaning against the walls. This brief impression is all that I get before the light fades and blackness swallows up the room again. “What does it look like in there?” I hear my comrade ask from behind. I fail to come up with a decent response.

Steeling myself, I shuffle forward, feeling for a casket that I saw nearby. After I find it, I once again summon my strength, this time praying for a light hot enough to start fire. I can sense the power collecting, see the glow, feel the heat- and then, sparks. A weak flame catches on the corner of the casket, spreading across ever so slowly.

I stand, entranced by the flickering glow that illuminates the coffins- although as far as I can tell, they remain unchanged from before. I can hear Trog approaching from behind. He snaps off a spike of wood from the burning casket, wrapping some spare cloth around it to create a makeshift torch. He leads through the maze of coffins toward the hallway on the opposite side, which is still shrouded in blackness…

We explore the crypt. It is more expansive than I would have guessed. The next room contains several preserved bodies set upon elevated stone platforms- an honorific burial, it appears. Beyond that the accommodations become much less extravagant- rotting corpses lay piled in the dirt, with the room’s crumbling stone pillars looming overhead. Given the town’s declining economy, I would guess that these are some of the more recent occupants.

Eventually we find our way to a small back room, with a single gravestone in the center. Water drips down from the walls, and sure enough we find patches of lichen growing on and around the grave. We both lean down to pick some up, but as we do, a loud crash echoes through the place; like stone grinding against stone. My partner and I both jolt upright. The noise was distant, but nevertheless deeply worrisome. After packing up our harvest, we carefully- even more so than before- creep back through the tomb. Nothing has moved, to my eyes, although the noise had seemed farther away than all of this anyway.

After another tense trek past the bodies, we reach the entrance to the mausoleum- and it becomes obvious what we had heard. The heavy stone doors are now shut, and they only open inward- meaning they can only be opened from outside. Trog and I share a nervous glance. Upon approaching the thing, we can hear muffled voices from the other side, although the words are completely lost through the thick stone.

After agreeing that it might be in our best interest to remain silent, Trog suggests that perhaps I could melt through the door with my acid. I give him a nod, then kneel down and begin to call the stuff up from my chest. It flows up my throat and rolls off of my tongue, creating a soft hissing noise as it contacts the stone. This will be slow going, but it will work, eventually…

I finally manage to burn all the way through, and through the small eyehole I can see the town’s magistrate- the man who had been delivering a speech in the town hall- and the nurse conversing with each other. Puzzled, I step back to allow Trog to see. They seem to be arguing about what kind of food supplies they should be prioritizing for the village. Suddenly, the magistrate notices the hole, and steps forward brandishing a crossbow. “What?! How did you… Just- just stay in there, and nobody has to get hurt.”

After a brief verbal exchange, it becomes obvious that the two had intentionally trapped us in here, intending to sell us back to the goblins in exchange for much-needed supplies and food. The human girl’s ailment was nothing more than an upset stomach, and the need for lichen was a lie to lure us down here. A party of slavers was apparently already on their way, having been alerted by smoke signals from town. Trog begins to make an argument for our lives, but nothing seems to convince the magistrate. Meanwhile I start to employ by acid breath yet again, this time aiming to create handholds in the doors to allow us to pull them open from inside.

After completing my work, I stand up and take a few deep breaths. I have never had to channel that power for so long. It has left me drained to the core, although my link with the gods remains strong as ever. I give Trog a nod, gesturing to the rough handholds. His case with the town leaders has long since gone cold. We take position behind each door, and with a final affirmative glance, heave with all our might.

Our desperate strength serves us well, as the doors swing open in a manner of moments, giving us the upper hand. Trog charges forward in an attempt to disarm the magistrate, but the man keeps a firm grip on his crossbow. As they grapple with each other, I summon a blast of light with the same intent, but the magistrate dodges backward. Angered, he fires a bolt at Trog, which lodges solidly into his chest with a thump. He stumbles backwards a distance, but quickly regains his poise, grumbling under his breath. This isn’t the first time this has happened.

In the brief moment of stillness, I call out to the magistrate, urging him to stay his hand and hear our plea. He shakes his head solemnly while loading another bolt into his crossbow. Trog suddenly dashes towards the unarmed nurse, easily grabbing her and threatening her with his cutlass. Flustered, the magistrate hesitantly switches aim between the two of us. I extend an open palm towards him and begin to speak.

“We understand the plight of your village, magistrate, but we will not be slaves again.” His arms cradle his weapon shakily as he replies, “And we will not starve to death in the desert!” I take a few steps towards him. “If you must attack us now, then do it, and we shall strike you down where you stand. But if you allow us to be, we will do everything in our power to help your village and its people.”

The man hesitates for a moment before responding, “What can you do to help us?! What we need is food, and the only way to get it is by trading with the goblins!” I lower my arm. “What you need is to escape this place.” A brief pause. “I am guided by the great dragon Bahamut. He grants me my powers. If you allow him, he will lead your people to safety, away from this desolate place.”

The magistrate seems to consider this for a moment. Turning to Trog, he yells, “If you mean no harm, then let her go!” He does so, and the distressed woman stumbles to the side of her colleague. Looking back to me, the magistrate asks, “Do you really think it would work?” I nod firmly, and he says, “You will need to convince the people.” I reply, “I can.” And after a long silence, he finally, slowly turns back toward the town. “Come with me.”

He guides us into the tavern and has us stand before an audience of townsfolk. He explains the situation to them, passionately as he did before, but also as before the crowd is skeptical. He turns to us and says, “Show them! Show them your powers!” I call out to Bahamut. If this is right, then he will attest that it is. Whatever happens, it is by his design.

A soft glow begins to coalesce in front of me. The audience turns my way. A moment later, a mighty bolt of lightning crashes through the ceiling with an ear-splitting crack, leaving charred splinters of wood raining down in its wake. Everyone becomes frozen in shock, then their eyes turn back to me. In the utter silence after the explosion, a single, unequivocal word escapes my lips: “Exodus.”

I turn to leave as the stunned faces search for an explanation. The magistrate continues his appeal, this time with ears perked all around. I go outside to stand on the small rise of the town’s fountain, and think to myself while staring into the distance… majestically. I’ve just created quite an image for myself in the eyes of these people, and it would be no good to ruin it now, yes?

The question arises, Do I really deserve this position? Of course not. I have just acted as best I could to preserve my own life, and perhaps those of the citizens as well- and evidently my decision has been blessed by Bahamut, so now there is only one path to follow.

I tell the people that Bahamut will guide us to safety. What choice do I have? Although his power swells within me, I have no more knowledge of the great dragon’s intentions than they do. He very well may wish us all to perish in the wastes.

At one time I believed that my actions were directly sanctioned by Bahamut, and I perceive his presence no differently now than I did before. Why is it that I feel so hesitant? I receive no direction, no confirmation, and yet my decisions always seem to turn out for the better. And so I wander into the desert with dozens of innocents behind me. Why do I do this? Why east?

Some will die, that much is obvious. Perhaps many will die. Perhaps I will stand at the end of a long line of famished corpses before finally collapsing into the sand myself, if such is the will of the gods.

None can stop the will of the gods.

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