Today Calwyn, rat-fearing magic-user and master strategist, is my guest-blogger extraordinaire. Calwyn is the only living character of our original D&D party (not counting the first group of dunces who got themselves killed all together in our second session), and as such holds all the memories of past adventures and accumulated clues about the Eye of Varrien.
Fitting, then, that it was Calwyn who found the Eye briefly in his possession down in that dusty, murky tomb the other night. As half his companions lay dead around him, it was Calwyn who grasped the Eye and became privy to its secrets.
And so Calwyn continues the tale begun in the last post (In the depths of the barrow is a wurm and an eye), filling in the parts when Zillah was dead and telling in his own words of how the Eye of Varrien wrought his own demise…
I pulled it from the guts of the wurm, the creature sliced open in the forlorn hope of saving those of our comrades swallowed in battle. A battle ended on one last desperate stroke of my dagger as the sorely wounded beast fled for its tunnel.
The Eye is scarlet, smooth, small enough to fit in the palm of my hand. I can imagine it – feel it – closeted in the left socket of the goddess of destruction – yes, I know it to be the left. To hold it is to know it, and other things besides: to see with dwarven sight, to have clarity of eye and mind … It is but a glimpse of the power the Eyes are reputed to have, the power that self-serving forces hope to control. Always it’s the power they see, not the danger; they never cease to underestimate themselves.
I am, perhaps, cursed to have been drawn in to this time of prophecy. Humanoids rally under the Varrien banner in the Khor Sahar ranges. Powerful forces seek to open the Eyes.
Around me, allies fall. So many, even I, with my head for enchantments and secrets, struggle to remember their names. I who have had few friends am now increasingly reluctant to make any, for fear of their loss.
Glynd was not my friend, but she was an ally. A priest of honour and good heart. We have been sharing information, she and I, on the rise of Varrien.
With our party halved by battle with the wurm, the Eye in my belt pouch, we left the bodies of Ammonite, Zillah and Gleb in the crypt and fled. Schill mourned his cousin, but as it happened, my glib promise to seek out a means of resurrection was nearer at hand than I could have hoped. In the woods, we found Glynd, following with a mercenary band my vague clues as to the resting place of the Eye. She dismissed her unreliable men and we joined forces.
In the crypt, we fulfilled a quickly struck bargain: I gave up the Eye and she used her power to resurrect two of our dead. How fickle is the road of friendship as poor Gleb, caught up in our quest by unfortunate circumstance, known to us for a bare score of days, was overlooked for those we’ve known longer.
The Eye was not easy to give up. It wanted to stay. But I was glad to be quit of it, knowing my ego is too fragile to withstand its allure, my power far too feeble to protect it from those who seek it.
Sad, then, to have it taken by said forces, their magic far greater than any I have seen. Greater even than Glynd’s …
As you’ve heard, we were trapped with our backs to the river, the enemy drawn to an enchantment secreted on Glynd’s wonderfully warm cloak.
And there I died, in a moment of brilliant, blinding magic.
In truth, it felt no different to those times when I’ve been knocked out. One moment, awake; the next, unknowing. And then coming to, friends about me, Glynd’s words in my ears a fading whisper, and on my own lips, a promise to continue this accursed quest.
The divine forces behind Glynd didn’t give me much time to rest before returning me, albeit weaker than I was – my mind, my soul chipped away, knowledge impaired, my command of the arcane forces diminished. But blessed, too, by the might of Glynd’s god, Elloran. A little piece of me gone, but a little piece of Glynd’s grace now woven into my fibre.
Were I to give devotion to gods, they would be Elloran, keeper of knowledge, and my festival deity, Faldhu, whose thieving ways pave the path of acquisition of said knowledge in these broken times, when those of my ilk must slink in shadows for fear of summary execution. Not that I don’t believe in gods and their power; it’s simply that I find them capricious, too needy.
And so the quest continues: having lost the left Eye, we must now seek the right. Two questions are foremost in my mind: even if we do find it before our rivals, what will we do with it? And, as I look around my worthy band of companions, who will be the next to die for that blood-red gem?
Who indeed? Hopefully not Zillah, who’s ready to find her animal companion!