Starfall

Blood and Honor

(Written upon tough tree bark strips with an acid based pen of his own device. Therion begins to write in acid supplied by his own saliva).

Blood and Honor. The stuff that binds my heritage and dragon scales alike. Yet, look where it has guided me now… a land of banishment, savages, and dark magik. None of it familiar, and this one has been around. This must be the cursed land of Starfall.

Damn the Empire and the scum who have come to influence it beyond repair. Fate is a cruel jape. Years I have spent under the tutelage of the great druids, learning the power of nature and the call of the beast. All of them have seen past the emperor’s corruption and joined, if not formed, the Moonlight Resistance. And now for what, a master is dead at the hands of one of the empire’s platinum fists, Volya Sæfinnur, and my existence upended into an unknown land. At least I can still recall the memory of sweet revenge taken for Bhelma, and so flawlessly executed until the very last moment. To be thwarted by a gnomish blood pact. To be robbed of killing the platinum dragon, and instead honor bound to save him from the wilds is twice the cruel jape.

How this Volya managed to become blood brothers with the same friend I hold so dear is still a mystery to me. To lead him out of the eastern wilds into the arms of waiting imperial guards in Tenspoor is even more a mystery. We are equal traitors if one were looking to feast upon the lies of Astryl, an especially evil man suffering from some kind of napoleon complex. He has taken advantage of his lofty position in the empire army to accuse us of high treason. Uninterested in heareing a rebuttal, he waves off any explanation from Volya to great delight. I wonder what his blood tastes like… foul no doubt.

Being prisoners on the way to the Shining Seat is no joy ride. Mistreatment and a half-starved state are enough to ruin even the best views offered from the King’s Road into this capitol city. A raucous crowd jeers us as we twist and turn toward the halls of judgment. Upon arrival we are caged and brought up through the bottom floor to settle beneath a chamber of citizens, both high and low brow, and a half seated section of senators led by a Judicar.

The Trial is well fit for a mummers show. There will be no true opportunity for defending ourselves with a crowd already set against us. This Astryl character seems hell bent on our elimination and gives a sniveling account of our treason. Listening to him tell it, Volya and the “beast” have been in league the entire time with intentions of eliminating the Platinum Dragon squad and returning to the Empire with none being the wiser. Never mind all he has to offer is hearsay and the chirps from a half-crazed half-fightened soldier named Fellos Zai, who somehow made it out of the wilds alive. He must have slipped out before my revenge had started. He says he “witnessed” Volya’s conspiracy and betrayal during and after the attack on Stroth, all the while being stared down by Astryl’s piercing glare..

Nevertheless, the Judicar sees little reason to see through Astryl’s obvious deceit. I must remain quiet most of the time, mostly because I am guilty than much more than they even know to charge me with. All they have on me is smuggling along the western seaboard and known conspirator to the resistance. On the other hand, Volya must answer to murder and high treason and betrayer. He speaks a vastly different account in the wilds which sends ripples through the crowd, a gnome named Chancellor Minus is particularly interested. Another finds a way to fuel disbelief in Volya’s story by “recognizing” my actions as if he’d seen them before, the turn cloak Lance Montigoo. No one even seems to know/care that this man of high imperial office has more previous ties to Moonlight Resistance leaders than I have ever had.

Despite this, after many verbal volleys, Volya’s defense seems to be making headway with the crowd. However, the Judicar is still incredulous to this supposed “blood oath” that would turn the intentions of two warriors at the moment of a death blow so forcefully. Nodding, we speak the gnomish oath that immediately lights up our arms in matching tattoos. Chancellor Minus is dumbfounded at this display, recognizing this ancient family ritual of bonding between a gnome and his truest friends. Where we had received this honor becomes pinnacle, and it is without forethought that we speak the name Farvyyn Answyyl, at which point verbal chaos erupts. Our close friend, Farvyyn, has been tried and convicted of gruesome treason not two fortnights ago and become equally infamous. Shock grips us both as this seals our fate.

Awaiting our sentence in the dungeons comes and goes. We are visited by a gloating Astryl, who informs us we are not to be executed, but rather banished. Oddly enough, he seems just as pleased with this outcome as he denies us of knowing our destination. We are also visited by Chancellor Minus, who being moved by Volya’s defense and account of his actions, asks us to do him a favor that may in turn help us as well. He requests we return a locket to a good friend of his Marcus Crown, also banished, should we cross paths.

At this, we are led away by several guards (who hold our chest of items) and mage into a shoddy looking cave inside the dungeon premises. Soon enough, the walls turn into solid slabs of ornate stones as it leads to a very well-kept portal. You can see through to the other side what seems like a sea of desert and rock. However, as soon as the mage begins his ritual, things begin to go terribly wrong. Control of the portal is lost as everything and everyone is pulled through with great gusts of swirling wind. Even as I turn morph into a rage drake, my claws are not enough to hold me to the ground, as I am the last one pulled through.

After being sucked through the portal, we are thrown into an arid landscape laden with pitfalls and cliffs of higher position. The very ground itself seems to acknowledge our arrival with a brief magical pulse. One of the guards begins to go mad with fear at arriving at such a place. He is so distraught that he misses a step and falls of a Cliffside into the darkness below. We see our shattered chest of weapons and begin to make our way towards it when we notice we are not alone… Lizard men, their reptilian pet, and their leader riding a drake, are closing on the newcomers from the cliff tops. Their drake sees myself in my wild drake form and lets out a territorial howl of aggression. The leader sets upon the two remaining guards, who are still trying grasp that this is not a bad dream, slaying one immediately with a hurled spear.

The other 3 lizard men engage myself and Volya . One is dispatched by powerful thrusts of Volya’s greatspear as I tear at it with my claws and drake teeth. Volya’s battle prowess has indeed become more formidable since the meager fight he gave me a few weeks ago. I shall have to get used to the odd, yet effective displays of power he lays onto his foes.

A fierce battle ensues with the remaining creatures. I take turns morphing into multiple vicious creatures as I smite them down. There also seems to be some form of long ranged help coming from atop the cliff as well. Every so often the drake spitting globs of acid is slammed by blasts, no doubt causing its globs to cascade wide almost every time. In turn, they all fall, and it is particularly fun to watch the last lizard man make a feeble attempt to cheat death and make a run for it. I believe the smaller drake may have been the only surviving attacker to slink away.
It is time to meet this friend or foe that has been camped out on the plateau above us…

I am Therion Khal.

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