Eralfast "The Crossroads"
Scribe notes of Lurna of Tithus
The journal of Lurna of Tithus, sworn scribe of the Merchant Prince Neos of Zinalbe & Jerlon. The text appears verbatum without edits or corrections.
41 09 6 JAE
This is the sworne testiment of Lurna of Tithus – daughter of Luria of Tithus, and scribe to the merchant man Neos. All this after is by witness of mine own eyes or as relayed to me by those who are mentioned within. After my rescue the merchant human man offered me employ to scribe a log of events. For this he did offer food, drink and silver. My Elf friend lady Myrthur did bid I accept this offer over privation and likely death. Having been taken by cruel humans and so saved by many, this small service equals the balance of any debt; so I say, so it is truth.
On the first daye of travel I met them about the same tyme they met themselves. From what I saw with mine own eyes and what was recalled this is the story of a long day in the ruins of evil human Jerlon.
Rats. After the storms and the falling of the walls rats came up from the ruined docks and shipyard. My mother was already dead from drowning in the sea. Her body returned to me on the fourth day by sea elves. I knew her only from her hair which tainted green as wont for her woodland kynde. The rats had eaten her face and hands and other places I will not mention. I was half starved and deep afeered but also angry. Anger burns in my heart – it feeds me – it keeps my light from going out.
I asked of the water Elves to take me home. To the great wood of Tithus. We were off the river run from late summer trade in the lands of my human fathers. My own father I never knew. My tribe hated me for this and my human taint. I hated them back in equal measure. But my skills with the human tongue and words were of value to them – so they set me upon the trading rafts of River Jerlon to the stink of the terrible human city. I shed no tears for its downfall.
The sea elves hated me for my human taint as well. I should like to see one drown on land some day. But they did take my mothers remains to be purged before the dead god of her kynde. I have no god. I do not even have a kynde. I wonder if the wood has fallen. So I left north into the city on the fifth day after the downfall. I would seek for myself the old wood. I know sylvan beings who care not my blood. We share common language and they have taught me much in my small ten years upon this world of life. I would go back to them and not the wood tribe.
In the city ruins I crept mostly by night. I had good water from the river (though it tasted stranger than before) but no foodstuffs. None were to be found. I ate of dead birds I found – many which made me terrible sickly. So I went hungry. I was bit by rats in my sleep near the street called Qween. I tried to kill one but they escaped. I think they thought me dead before they took any bites. I counted over 300 dead men, women and children before I stopped taking the toll. Many smashed by falling rocks or burned in trapped fyres. The smell was worse for it as rot and black had set upon many faces. Wild dogs eat their noses and privates while even feral cats showed fear and wonder. Others were dead afresh in recent foulness. Evil men (living and dead) lurched in the streets, stealing and killing and raping and eating. I tried my best to hide.
On the sixth day in late morning I reached the destroyed Merchant Gates and ran to be free north of the horrible city. I heard a sharp burst of sound. It echoed in the desperate streets. I was curious of its maker so I approached from whence it came. It was there I was attacked by three evil human men. One did abuse me in a fate beyond my years – I cried out. I cried in pain, not in hope of deliverance. I know the city Jerlon is beyond hope … so I did not hope. Yet ‘hope’ arrived.
As the evil raper savaged me and his two companions waited their turn there came loud voices of protest. A tall human man, a priest, with a voice louder than I have ever heard even from the travelling bards of Shrindell, came upon us. So did a human pink hair ladie. They did kill the companions in quick sword and axe play. And the priest did remove my attacker. He slashed him down. He also removed his manhood – I bear witness to this! I wish the priest had removed it while the man was still alive! I wish I had removed it! But I was glad for their kindness. Yet still suspicious until i saw my new master and the elf lady Mythur.
They travelled also with a Ranger man human called Conner. He had the dirt of the road and the smell of the wood. He was quiet but steady with sword and bow. With them was a boy about 5 years above me. Round faced but intelligent, playing squire and stable lad both it seemed. The master Neos – from across the sea and sun-browned different from the other humans, approached with a stupid mule donkey. Yet he was stern kindly. He asked if I did read and write.
I sayed YES in both cursy human and beautiful Elvish. I can do both. My mother let me play with the sprites and pyxies – they have taught many things. I prefer the civilised words and form of Findar, but the Neos master said ‘write in human font’ so I did and I have. He said food, drink and safety, and silver … should I keep a journal. So I did and I have.
Hobbits and Dog Meat Stew
They gave me clothing to cover myself and bid I come with them. The loud priest was called Kurfus; the master Neos a merchant noble and young sage; the pink lady Fryda with an axe bigger than me; the Ranger Conner man; and my friend and new teacher Myrthur of the High Elvish blood – quick with bow, dirk, dagger and sword (and quick to coax death from unwanted eyes.) The boy was called “Tor” and he treated me with curiousity and kindness.
They allowed (Myrthur laughed) me to take my own price from my attackers. And while they were dyed already I did find a dropped blade and removed some of their eyes from their faces. I would have liked to have done that while they still lived, but it still made me feel power.
Soon a little man came apeskying to this odd group of saviors. A hobbit man shorter than even I, the shortest of the party. Tip of Wax (or something, I do not remember his name) He was skippy like a mouse and not starved. Yet he begged for foods. They ran him off cursing. He said something of ‘Burning Fur’ that I did not understand. The Elf lady teacher killer understood but did not explain until later.
We were set upon by wild dogs. The warrior priest and the fighters took down those curs. Even Tor earned himself praise protecting master Neos who was savaged in the dogs dirty maws. Myrthur bid me to hide under the mule donkey but it was too restless and stupid … so I watched from not far away. Tor was struck down by being brave (or stupid) .. but they brought him along on the stupid mule donkey. Neos said ‘he yet lives’ but I thought he was dead. They later let me pluck out the dog eyes for practice. I liked that.
More wretched humans came begging. They told me they saved an olde man and woman somewhere before, but they could not save them all. I saw saddness in the faces. I knew the saddness. My poor mother – as of them – we had all lost family. Even master Neos was agreived and said his mother too had dyed when the walls fell. Old, young, ugly, beautiful … I saw strong men weeping. A city of sorrows. Some whispered the dead walked at night (but they walked by day as well – I saw them – we all saw them) Some burned alive trapped in ruins of wood houses upon the dull charted avenues and lanes of evil human Jerlon. Horrible screams both night and day, but by the sixth day … the dying had gone to silence … I hoped they suffered.
The preist did bid them to gather the dogs meat for a stew for the starving. I have never eaten dog meat. I still have never eaten dog meat, but my hunger was great. They gave me bread and cheese and watered wine. The priest said ‘Follow me’ and we did. He led us to his restuary in the place called Temple Gardens in the middle of the city. To a shrine of some Titan goddess that humans follow. Near there some walking dead men staggered unto us. The priest did bid them to leave and showed them a symbil round his nexk. The Titan goddess was good as the priest had sayed – and the dead men left to find other meat than ours (and I don’t think they wanted the dogs.) A stew was made.
A stupid human woman came upon us to invite them to some party festival. “Carnival” – I did not trust the word. “Carne” being the root of ‘meat’ so said my teachers of human words. But we learned this was true – for some other human priest cleric had called upon to place some on spits or polls of wood to burn for some god called Zoos. Preist Kurfus said Zoos was not a burning god but to have naught fear for his Titan goddess was mother to Zoos – so Zoos would have to be good and obey. I cursed Zoos for his stupid wars even though I did not understand. And even if his mother hates him, at least she is still alive. Damn the gods! Damn them all!
The stupid girl did speak of this while my friend teacher Myrthur did come upon her like shadow from behind, cutting her down in one thrust. Her white tunic stained in dark red. One less human – one less idjut Zoos girl. I was glad for her to die. Myrthur later told me the truth of shadow and how to know whence and where to strike. I listen when she talks. I listen to all of them, but her the most. The priest said the woman was not dead (but she looked as dead as the boy, Tor) they argued some over should they end her life. Some said yes. Some said no. I said YES .. but only Myrthur heard my words (and she agreed). They layed both by the shrine of the Titan ladymother of Zoos.
Another peskery hobbit woman this tyme came unto the area. She too sayed of gold for burning witches for the Zoos man. They tried to sell her the girls body or something (I did not understand it)? My new master spoke magic to her and gave her enchantment. The little hobbitlady was then kind and friendly win before was spite. I wanted to poke her eyes out. I even had a sharp burnt stick that Myrthur gave me. The hobbitlady left happy and charmed and harmed not. (For the pink ladie had not let her axe taste them yet … the tall tall axe loves the taste of halflings – good, I say!)
The Crazy Lady
It was then a crazy lady came into the garden near the Titan shrine. She was mad and mute of words, making only loud grunts and screams and laughter. I will admit I was afraid of her. I was more afraid of Daphne than the zombee men. For later we learned her name was “Daphne” from a sandy beach south and west of the ship yards where my mother died. Near where Neos’ mother had died .. and countless other mothers (and fathers and sons and daughters) had died. Damn the gods!
The good preist said Daphne was oft out of wits … either spellbound or mind broken … he wondered aloud if should she suffer to live. The pink lady said otherwise. My master studied her. Myrthur told me to stay back and I did, gladly. Conner, quiet with bow ready, did not say anything.
The crazy lady was dressed a mess in bloody tunic of white. She cared not of flesh shown and wore nothing under the slip. She was darker than Neos with tangled hair and wild eyes. She hit her own face and head and bit at her fingers. She let her eyes wander skyward and touched trees with a hard slap. She walked among us .. but I circled around and stayed far from her touch. She never spoke an intelligent word. Saying only ‘mmmm mmmm mmmm’ or ‘natch nack canack’ or the like. It was no language ever spoken by any tribe – I was sure of it. I’m good with languages!
As crazy ladie walked forth the shrine she erased the wounds of the party nearest. The pink hair lady, Fyrda of the axe, fell upon her knees and Daphne touched her head and blessed her and laughted. Others near were healed of all want. But I stayed away. I stood by Myrthur and the stupid mule donkey. Daphne walked to the shrine and fell over dead herself. But she too lived (if she is even ‘living’ to begin with?) … the boy Tor and the stupid Zoos girl both awoke living and well!
They argued much what to do. Daphne seemed to like us .. yet I stayed away. She liked the pink ladie best, I thinks.
Others came to smell of the dog stew. In hunger, pride takes no order but last. They would eat. The warrior priest said “eat” and they did. They said the crazy ladie was Daphne from the beach. From the ‘OroKulres’ (?) … I later learned ‘oracle’ from Desmerelda. It is a word I had never learned in human nor Elvish. So they decided to take her back to her place on the beach. To find the crazy ladie her mother called Gertrude. Not her real mother – but her human mortal care mother – gods know who mother of Daphne is! Maybe the Zoos mother had pity on another daughter? The priest decided not to kill the crazy Daphne and the pink hair probably would have defended her. I was glad my new saviors did not kill each other over a crazy ladie.
As Tor was well he took the mule donkey to follow. I stayed near him. He didn’t talk much but he was nice to me. They gave him a small sword at some point. I wanted one too. Myrthur later gave me a dirk and a dagger, sharper than my wood spike (but I kept the spike all the same – should more eyes need poking.) !!
I never told no one but I tell it now in these here words. But once in the walk to the beach the crazy Daphne came running near the mule and I was healed of all harms. Even the harms of the raping man were healed and I was restored fully as before. It was a well gift and I felt better for it – but I shall not let that happy witchery cause me to forget for ever what the feral desyres of human man can bring. I will never forget their pokes … and they will learn to never forget myne. Nor will it be forgiven … but for the Oracle to restore me by accident (it seemed) I shall not complain and count it goode.
Earthquakes and blood buzzers
They led her madly dance running towards the south. Daphne slapping trees and herself. She often ran away. My teacher Myrthur and Connor were the only fast enough to catch her and set her on the right path. Sometime her nose did bleed red. I saw birds crawl up at her feet – where they had once layne dead or dyeing. I once saw a kit kat crawl up mewling yet alive (probably left to starve again in this motherless world). Bugs of all size set to slithering and flying.
The Ground shook hard and many in the distance screamed for hopeless mercy. The ‘after shooks’ they called them. It was the only time I saw Daphne act as if afeared; she otherwise seemed to know not fear or danger. Or the gods kicking at the fallin to jest and mock them I cannot says. And then a queer buzzing. I thought the Oracle had arisen a colony of bees it was so loud. Only me and Myrthur heard it at first .. but soon the others saught the noise makers.
And the seeking was rewarded. From above, buzzing loudly and angry, came 3 then 3 more ‘Stur-Gees’ with short spears upon their faces. They bit and bled some (but not me) … the preist and the fighters took them time. Connor and Myrthur quick and accurate of bow and arrows. Daphne did heal them without notice after the short battle. She did heal one of the stabbing buzzers too, who then stabbed my lady Elf friend. I did not like the looks of the giant bug gnats so i didn’t poke any eyes from them. We also saw 6 zombee dead men come upon the Oracle as she raced away (this time in the right direction) … they done busted into bright flames and crashed to the ground aburning away to ash and black smears.
The Beach or Oraclerest
Dead people (human, elf, some dwarf even .. mixed with the snake people lizard kind and short fat hobbits) floated in the tide or were beached broken on the sandy shore. People humans – were agathering them up for a great fire so they could not too be zombee men. We saw an ugly dog shrine with a ‘X’ Shape … many calm big dogs sat fat and comfortable at the base. I did not understand it, nor did I ask.
We saw red cloak humans with a symbil of a god Thor of hammers. They burned the dead in a magic fire of shimmering orange. Their leader, called “Harash” was the oldest human I have ever seen. Long white beard and hair and blinded (however he still had his eyes .. they were just covered in dirty glass.) He said “False words will shake the earth” and “For gods only ask we burn the dead, not the living.” (and much other I did not understand. I think he sometimes forget and spoke in his mountain tongue … so few understood, if any.) He was very old – probably lame and stupid.
Wew then went to the camp of colours. Men and women (stupid humans all) there had made their shrines of cloth and blankets – not stone like the Titans. I saw a black human pull a string through his nose and out his mouth. I saw a man lying on a bed made of sharp nails – the pointy ends carassing his back. He smiled at me. Myrthur said to ignore the human fakirs and told me only weak gods would let a proud city fall. I said I was glad the city fell – but will admit now that my mother (and Neos’s mother and even the kit kats’ mother) may still all be among us if stronger gods had loved the city.
We returned the crazy lady to the fat mother called Gertrude. She had a big tent that was round and the humans went inside. I cannot keep my masters’ notes on what they spoke of because I went with Myrthur to avoid soo much human god dealings. I later only learned they met another preist there called ILL-X (Illyx?) … who prayed to some god called “Op Allo” … and our priest said “Op Allo” was a son to Zoos, Daugher of the Titan goddess ‘MyTis’ … I wondered if Op Allo had lost his mother but I didn’t ask. I hated him and his priest, but the crazy Oracle Daphne was content to stay with them. They said she even blessed Kurfus and Neos, but the Ranger man had refused her touch.
I’m good at noticing things. My sight much better than my pixye friends of Tithus and way much better than humans … and sometimes … better even than full blood Elves. I saw Elves on a small island near another island with a standing light tower for ships (they said.) Myrthur did talk to some more water Elves to take us across on a small skiffboat. There we saw many of our kind but they were very sad. They said ‘god is dead’ and looked like they meant it. I was hoping they meant Zoos but it was the young Elf god Corillian. I did not care. Corillian did nothing to help me. Perhaps Tithus is destroyed as well and all is lost? Should I just throw myself in the sea? Yet … I know now … the water Elves would sell me to the wicked Drew Ed man of Vale Elvish.
Even Myrthur tried to sell me to him! I was mad about that. Myrthur said soft words “You are little and young. Better among your own kind. Our path is too dangerous.” I says: “My own kynde lives in Tithus Forest to the North! I want not a vale or jungle or water Elves or even if they do have faeries in their too bright green woods .. I won’t go!” In the end Myrthur took me back to the others.
The Fire Dogs
It was nearing dusk but the late summer air was warm and the sun had not yet set, so the colourful camp was aglow in many brights and sheens. Some noises were heard from the north between what was known a dirty dwarf camp and a large round mud-domed hut covered with thousands of cheerful carrion birds. I felt a strange evil coming from the hut, even from so far away. A compelling evil that I did not fear. I have not spoken of it; I write it now. A great she-kat awaits within. She called me like Desmerelda can do .. speaking into my head and not my ears. “Come Lurna, daughter of Luria. I will tell you your future. I will tell you your past that is equally dark. I will tell you of your fathers’ house. I will tell you of vengence and power.” But this was not the noise everyone else heard. I did not go to the blue kat voice in my head, but I am curious to know such secrets I will not lie.
Atop the beach hill where the sand turned to tufts of rough ocean grass a battle could be heard. Not a battle of men and steel, but of half-men dwarves and the roars and growls of some beasts. We approached (Myrthur told me to stay behind with the mule donkey and the boy Tor) the donkey caught a scent coming from above and bolted. Both Tor and I chased after the stupid panic driven mule. They told me later of killing the devil dogs. I did once take the rise of the hill and watch the battle, but only for a moment. Tor kept begging me to help him. He was kind to me, so I bid his favor and we recovered the stupid mule.
What i saw were two large hounds that spit fire from fang bedecked maws. One dwarf was burning and screaming, his chest of mail ripped apart revealing his insides coming out. I thought to laugh at that sight, but dared not attract the attention of the monsters. Even the wood tribes of Tithus know dwarvish steel is strong and well wrought … it was a feircesome thing to know the bite of the devil dog could split dwarf steel … yet the stupid dwarfs would all have died had not my master and his friends aided them.
They struck them down. Myrthur was wounded badly and ran down the hill to join us. I thought to offer her my weak skilled aide but she ran straight past and kept on going all the way back to the camp. But with the dwarf warriors (five or six of them … a few died, I don’t remember, nor much care) … they all defeated the dogs and sent their spirits back to hell. Master Neos found a golden collar with a red gem upon it. I saw him showing it to the priest Illyx and another human with funny eyes and a tight hat after the battle. The pink lady claimed the pelt of one dire hound while the dwarfs took the other. Myrthur (who scutted back in shadow) took another gold collar (but this one had no red gem, only a tin-metal casing.)
Daphne healed them all – save the dwarfs who would not enter the colourful camp.
We then left the beach near nightfall. We came to the edge of the city called “Adventurer’s Quarter” – though it appeared my like an Adventurer’s Eighth to my understanding of size and maps. Master Neos bought Tor some light armor and other tools – sword, helm, I don’t recall all. Apesky hobbitman tried to steal from the good warrior priest, but he caught him. Ranger Connor took the little man from his roof perch after Myrthur shot him with an arrow. The little man begged mercy … he said ‘yield or yeild’ like it was a magic word. The little man’s magic did work in the end, and they punished his fingers before they let him flee. I will never fall victim to such a spell of begs for mercy – yeilding is an after thought for the weak. Before the sun rose the next morning all my new friends agreed with me on that account.
We arrived at a place the humans call “The Whole” (from the Findar ‘Tel Hau Aol’ meaing: entirety or eternity or both.) The inn was busy and clean. Food and drink to be had. I was happy to eat at a table again but I had little coin. Master Neos treated the party and Tor and I with good dinner and drink. Bald humans of a strange tribe served us. They had a blue taint to their skin and dressed in white. Even the women were completely bald! But they were not unlovely or unkind – they spoke common with a foreign tongue that slanted the words, but they served us well.
After dinner Master Neos was greeted by his friend Desmerelda. I am in Desmerelda’s care as I write this journal … in a library room with good lantern light on the third level of her tavern inn. I was happy to see another Elf. She was ageless as our sorcerers can become – not counting the circles, or moons, or birthdays, but noting time as mountains rise from the sea, or great rivers bring them back down again. She spoke to me inside my head and not to my ears. She bid me to stay with her and not attend the fire festival. I had already seen people burn to death in the wake of the great storm … otherwise I think the fascination of that spectacle may have tempted me too much. But burning people only scream and scream .. shrieking shriller and higher until it becomes rather a moaning mix of horror and helplessness – and then they just smell really bad.
So I stayed behind. The Elf witch gave me a sugary juice I didn’t like, but I drank it to be polite. She also gave me some small dark-hard cubes called “cocao-ethquet” from Kizin (and I like those very much!)
Before the party left to follow the good priest back to the temple of Zoos they made words with a sellsword human. Myrthur made them angry so one pulled his blade. He was stopped by the blue bald servants and Desmerelda demanded peace in her house. My Elf lady teacher friend Myrthur then told me to watch the sellsword and report all his movings. I did. I had to sneak out after he left to follow Neos and the rest. I chased ahead in the night shadows and found them keeping pace with the pink haired Fyrda who wore heavy armor and moved slower than the rest. I warned Myrthur the sellsword was following them – also lurking in the darkness.
Many others in the sickly smell of the evil Jerlon had joined this ‘parade of fools’ to take spellcasters to the temple. To burn them alive as their priest “Tal or Jal” – some also called him ‘the Pretender’. It seemed such a festive sport of it all I almost went along to watch anyway. Myrthur told me to go to Desmerelda where I was safe. Neos agreed, but he seemed oddly changed to my view … he didn’t seem too interested in whether I stayed or went. I did not ask him of this. As I went back to the Inn (having to climb a broken manse to avoid the gate guards) I saw more hobbitmen and hobbitladies upon other rooftops in the crumbling city.
The rest of this narative is shorter as I wasn’t there to see these events and only tell them as they were told to me
The hobbit cut-purse they spared found his guild friends and they returned for more than gold. The hobbit ‘Fur Burner Guild’ layed a trap for Neos and the others. They set burning barrels across a street and tossed a net to seal them in. They fired bolts down upon them as some crept from shadows for stealth attacks. The hobbits had the upper hand at the surprise of the set up, but in the end the party killed them all. It was here the pink hair ladie Fyrda was called “Hobbit Bane” for her axe did split many of them into bloody peices. I would have liked to have seen it. I hate hobbits. They should die by fire. Boil them until they pop.
A human of the guild .. a woman named Celia Raye (who knew Myrthur somehow) was also killed, but they said they had to decide what to do with her before the deed was done. I am not sure what happened. The sellsword and his archer mate also arrived near the end of the fight hoping to leap upon the party after they took some wounding … but the sellsword and his friend were taken down. Myrthur told me the sellsword (his name was never told) begged for mercy and cried ‘yeild’ but even the pink hair Hobbit Bane having just spared Celia – who was murdered anyway – had had enough of turncoat liars begging mercy … they would never show it, they did not deserve it. The pink hair, the preist and the Ranger man cut them all down. Mrythur killed Celia … even master Neos, they said over drinks laters, got any many good strokes with his staff and dagger. Tor was once again mortally wounded but saved by magic herbs of Blue Flagons. It was then I started to call Tor ‘Toro’ – which the faeries tell is the old human for ‘BULL’.
The Parade of Fools
I was told they freed two wood Elves from a wagon. I was told a young human family, all to be burned as something called ‘harry tics’ … even a child as young as 3 years … were also saved by Toro and the priest (and the others.) The priest also stopped a murder by pretending to be drunk and settling a near sword fight with some swaggering youthbound human fool.
The Temple Fires
Tor told me a crowd of near one thousand came to watch Tal the Pretender burn the witches. Knights on horseback guarded the Zoos temple. But the warrior priest went into a rage and his face got red and hot and his voice boomed at the crowd to rebel. “The gods only burn the dead and not the living! False words will shake the earth!” and “Mytis Titan ladiemother of Zoos showed him the truth in face of lies!” and other things like that. The pink ladie Hobbit Bane joined in this chorus, as did a few red cloak and hammermen who worshipped Thor god from the north. But the crowd was too afeared to join.
All were captured by the temple knights, struck down and tied to polls … added to the coven of witches and wizards to be burned alive for the pleasure of the evil Zoos god. Myrthur danced in the shadow and escaped, snaking back into the temple from behind. She got within 20 steps of the false preist Tal – studying his shape, his weakness, his vanity, his folly, all to hope to strike him dead with a single arrow. Myrthur later told me her shot was dead-on true but either the Titan goddess, Zoos or a ‘Drew Ed’ had stopped the flight of her arrow. “Was some sort of device sorcery that saved him from my death shot. Another god wanted his life more than I did, so while my aim was flawless and death certain, the arrow was denied to find flesh.” (Damn the selfish jealous gods! damn them all!) Yet Myrthur did escape back into the shadows once the guard saw and chased her. She was the first to return to the inn; Connor was the second.
The Ranger Man Connor also escaped and started to light fires in nearaby standing huts and wooden stables and stores. The distraction may have worked but a great rain started to fall and thunder burst in the sky. The other four … Neos, Pink Ladie & Preist Kurfus .. and poor hapless Tor were set on fire. The Evil Tal the Pretender ranted and raved at the unsettled crowd. He called for justice and spat all sorts of vile talk of gods and punishment. His black executioners lit the pyres (five in all with over 30 people so chained) … the oil caught quick an started the wood and thrush beneath them. Many screamed in pain as the flames licked higher. Master Neos walked with a limp all the rest of the night after he was spared (but it might have been drink as well as singed toes and feet that stumbled his passing?)
Both Tor and the Pink Ladie told me the priest (and his friend, yet another preist, lady Electra of ‘Hair Ah’) did not scream .. not but praises to their fickle gods! They said they would rather burn than bow before the false Tal. Tal promised they would burn .. and so they did, for a long moment. “It was dreadful,” Tor told me. “I thought I was a goner for sure. To die like that. In such pain. With a mocking crowd screaming kill, kill, kill … terrible.”
Tal then yelled … something to the effect of: “If my words are false, may the gods strike me dead where I stand!” …. (This I learned from the Drew Ed himself who also came to the inn with Neos and Tor and the others.) …. A clap of thunder came before the lightning bolt. The lightning struck the great statue of Zoos near where Tal stood. The statue fell quickly on shaking earth and smashed Tal like a large rock dropped on a toad or nest of baby birds. Squish … not even time for a scream … blood spattered everyone with 50 steps.
The crowd thought it was an act of the gods! They ran to free those aburning; many just ran and hid; some jumped into the sea in their terror and shame. The warrior priest, Hobbit Bane and Electra led the defeat of the last of the loyal traitor guards. Many fled the temple when Tal was crushed – hunted down and killed. Some thought burning THEM alive would be justice but the priest forbade it. All others bowed to Electra as new mistress and high preistess of the temple. She invited Kurfus to stand as her equal to help them restore order and dignity in the name of the ‘O Lim Peon’ deities. (I say damn them all. Damn the gods!)
An Uneaten Feast
But it wasn’t any stupid god that crushed Tal .. it was the Drew Ed Elf from the Vale across the sea, across the jungles green, who called the bolt. He said his name was “Say Lar” (or something like that .. he had southern accent I could barely understand in Elvish or Common.) He joked that he had actually missed … “the bolt was aimed at Tal himself, not that statue. It was just luck the statue crushed him.” (I suspect he spoke true of the missing .. but I don’t think luck made the giant column fall where it belonged.)
Later in the even – we eat again as a group. Wounds were tended. Burned feet and ankles given salves and balms. My master ordered a wonderful feast at neight 3 bells after midmass … only to decide he wanted a bottle of strong fire whiskey instead … he left on unsteady feet with a strange (dare I say ‘humble’?) look to his normally proud face. I shared his meal with Tor, Myrthur and the others. Before Desmerelda caught me writing this near dawn the next day, I hadn’t slept a wink. She bid I take rest. So I will end this testiment of a long day in evil human Jerlon. Before I fell asleep by the hearth fire in the main room I saw Saylar of the Vale walk towards a window, he give me a quick wink, and turning quickly transformed into a small red owl as found in the middle isles … in a fast swish he flew out the window, but by then I was so tired I may have been dreaming.