"Greetings, thanks and the blessings of Lathander upon you all. May your roads always be safe. I am Xiombarg Tharzek. If any of you are still hurt, I can heal you. If it's not too much trouble, besides the obvious, what just happened?"
Ah. A cleric. That would explain the foreign magic she felt earlier. Yafira smiled politely and said, "I'm fine thanks. I believe Lorat invited all of us to come. Join us, sir, and we'll explain everything there." Turning to the others, she said, "We shouldn't keep him waiting. Though stars above, I must be a mess."
Wide eyed, Reggo slowly turned to Erona and avoided eye contact with Yafira, he took off his cloak and handed it in the wizards direction, but then realized it'd never fit much, he waggled it still, thinking Yafira might take it, "Would it be at all possible for me to sleep in your stables, perhaps? Or floor? I don't take much room by myself," he stuttered, "Guess the ass-- Donkey, takes up more space than I.. Do you have a stables by any chance?" the bard staring as hard as he could only at Erona --
The group follows Lorat to his house, Enrona walking beside Yafira. His house is a large one, obviously of wood elven architecture. The wood seems to have grown in place, rather than being cut. Every surface is smooth and there are no sharp corners. Some wings seem to be newer than others, as if the house had been expanded a number of times over what could be centuries.
Lorat's wife, Malya, is an elf, though noticeably younger than Lorat himself. Not that this is unusual, Lorat is in his eighth century, while his wife has just reached her sixth. She still had the trappings of elven youth, though, so it looked weird to the younger races when they saw them together.
Malya greeted the group warmly, and offered them refreshments in one of the main sitting rooms. The furniture was ornate wooden designs, and were very comfortable. Lorat sat on a chair while Mayla applied soothing salves to the burns, working in a little magic here and there to help with the scarring.
"You have done a lot to help my town," Lorat said. "Bandits, bugbears, demons. Ourselves. I believe you have proven yourselves trustworthy. Even you, sir Cleric, though I know you have only been here a short while.
"When considered, the tales you tell me are strange. Necromancers experimenting with strange magics just a short walk away from a fiend leading a band of monsters. And lately, dissent has been increasing among the young elves of the area. I cannot help but wonder if they are all related. Tell me, do you know of any connection between these...puzzle pieces?"
"That is something that I wonder too, sir. I wish I could give you an solid answer. Though..." Yafira glanced at Liam before continuing. "There is another mystery that I have been investigating. It is just scattered clues held together by conjecture right now. Yet there is a link to the demon. And if I'm right, then something very strange is going on."
Yafira could feel the anticipation in the air. She set down her drink and said, "I trust that you are familiar with the game Chess."
"My thanks Master Lorat for your hospitality. With talk of necromancers and demons, I see why my road has lead me here. My name is Xiombarg Tharzek, a servant of Lathander, I place my services at the disposal of you and these fine people here."
Yafira gestured to Yoru and told Lorat, "What my young friend is referring to is chess pieces -- enchanted chess pieces. The demon wore one around his neck." Yafira quickly flipped to a page in her spellbook. "Between all of us, we have encountered seven such people -- or creatures, rather -- with these chess pieces. I can only guess that there is a full set out in the world somewhere."
Upon hearing the word "Chess", spoken in such an ominous tone, a shadow seemed to fall over Lorat's face. Mayla stopped her work for a moment, her hands frozen. She looked to her husband.
"Seven..." Lorat said, visibly shaken. He stood, moving to a cabinet, and pulling out a small box. He brought it over to the small wooden coffee table in the middle of the room, in front of Yafira, and placed the box, open, on the table. Inside was a small, ivory chess piece, in the shape of a horse.
"Now, you have encountered eight," he said as he sat back down. "And if my six hundred years holding this trinket has taught me anything, it is that there are two other pieces in this room." He looks at each one, expectantly.
Yafira nearly jumped out of her chair when she saw Lorat's piece. "A white knight," she whispered. She caught the elder's expectant gaze. She folded her hands in her lap and looked down at the floor. She said no more. She wouldn't betray confidences.
Liam rolls his eyes, before reaching in to his shirt and pulling out a small, white rook. "So much for keeping secrets. I got a black bishop I took off an old acquaintance of mine. You wanna see that, too?"
Lorat held his hand up, saying no. "And the other white piece?"
"i first recieved this game piece when I was relatively young. It was given to me by an old elf, who was old even then. Soon after, I began to meet others who had pieces, of every race and creed. Humans excluded, of course. They hadn't come to our land yet." He nodded to Liam and Xiombarg.
"It was clear to us that someone, or something, was gathering a team of competent individuals. Those with the skils necessary to...defeat whatever it was we were to defeat. I was a Bladesinger, trained in the art of the sword. Thus, the Knight.
"We randomly began stumbling across others with pieces. Some white, some black. We thought it some great game that someone was playing. But we never found out who was playing it. We never heard from our own King. Never saw our own Queen."
His eyes became unfocused for a moment. "But we did see the Black Queen. A dragon. An Ancient Black Dragon.
"We had taken refuge among a small clan of gold Dragonborn. The black had hidden among them, taking the form of a golden Dragonborn. She had lived there for years, infiltrating, biding her time. We discovered her piece first. Then she attacked. She killed every other member of my crew. Almost every other piece."
His eyes became focused once more, and he smiled. "Our other knight, a dwarf, saved me. Managed to throw me aside as the dragon's acid breath nearly enveloped me. Gave me a chance to strike the final blow. But...he did not make it himself. He was...stubborn. An ass. But, good."
He took a deep breath. "I came home after that. I married, and settled down in Lone River. I never knew what became of the other pieces, or if the game was still going on. I have not thought on these memories in over five centuries. It is strange how quickly they come back to you."
Yafira glanced over at Luce. She's from a gold dragonborn clan, right? Then why does she have black scales? Yafira wondered...
Yafira looked down at the notes in her spellbook -- names of chess pieces, lines labeled "black" and "white", and tally marks next to them. When she thought it safe to speak again, she said, "Based on my experience, sir, I would say the game is still going on. The demon we fought in the cave was a black knight. The other white rook is a gnome sorcereress. Yoru, Luce, and I saw her kill a black pawn -- a human bandit. I thought she did it in cold blood; it was so sudden. I didn't know about the chess pieces then."
A curious thought struck her. "Liam, didn't you say that an old elf gave you your rook? I wonder if it is the same person. Or entity perhaps."
bilance: nope I still pop in from time to time
May 14, 2019 8:55:21 GMT -6
Tglassy: The small town of Ash, a haven for refugees from the fall of a great city of legend, Is now empty of the life that had briefly touched it when those refugees first appeared.
Mar 22, 2019 15:49:58 GMT -6
Tglassy: Wind blows through the abandoned doors, tumbleweeds roll across the deserted roads as vines begin their creep up the walls of what used to be a bustling town square.
Mar 22, 2019 15:48:35 GMT -6
Raveneye: Whoa. Forgot to check in recently.
Jan 29, 2019 9:10:58 GMT -6
beesauce: the ones that paralyze. i had an accident. Sprained neck, pinched nerve. Lost feeling in my legs. Nightmare's IRL
Dec 10, 2018 14:39:07 GMT -6
bilance: Nice to hear from you again bee. what kind of rabbit holes have you been jumping in
Dec 10, 2018 2:04:28 GMT -6
beesauce: dead alive bilance
Dec 10, 2018 0:06:35 GMT -6
bilance: hello anyone still here?
Dec 9, 2018 23:14:28 GMT -6
beesauce: Raveneye. I was banned permanently from Writersbeat.com. Online Literature is not a great site for communication, in the same way Writersbeat was dying and now upgraded, looks great. Now that I'm banned it can go back to being annoying w/same ol'toxins/sry
Nov 21, 2018 13:01:00 GMT -6
beesauce: funny glassy. how my phone actually started ringing. i guess if you answer unknown numbers and call back you can get spammers -- should be illegal phone virus harassment. be careful who you call back, what a weird world
Jul 28, 2018 21:17:31 GMT -6
bilance: activation of activeness in new activity activate!
Jul 23, 2018 8:17:21 GMT -6