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Chapter Thirteen: Hearts and Darkness

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Captain Hesperus

On Vacation
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Otiorin Taletreader

Otiorin felt the hackles on the back of his neck rise and he rose to stand face to face with Powerpaw, his own eyes flickering with an emerald fire.
"Aye, you're proud to be Felane, but what if you became a Dwarf or a Man or a Half-elf? Would that leave you overbrimming with joy? Would you be happy having been changed to a race different to your own, only win your original form back, and then have it snatched away and be given yet another body not your own? Would you be overjoyed? Would you be praising all the Gods who might lend an ear? Would you call that a blessing?", he snarled dead into the hulking Felane's fearsome visage, "I like being the form I was, a Half-Elf, not a full-blood Elf, not a Man, a Half-elf. I did not ask to be shifted in form and manner, and I worked, we all worked, hard to regain our original bodies. Had this not been the case, I might have been happy to be gifted with a form similar to yours, but here, now, I do not feel blessed. I am grateful to you for all the risks you have taken to find us and all the pains that you and the others went to restore our lost prowess, but I did not ask to become a Felane, for all the benefits you listed. I want to be Otiorin Taletreader, a Half-elf and naught more. Is that so unreasonable to you? If you think my feelings are so anathema to you, then throw me from this cliff edge and be done with it."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Powerpaw paused and thought hard about it. Then he asked Otiorin what "anathema" meant. Then he thought some more.

With the sparkling eyes lit of childlike wonder, he gave a half-goofy, half-serious grin and replied, "Me? Be a Dwarfie? Or a hoomin? Or a half-an'-half? Well, yeah!!" He grinned and nodded enthusiastically. "You guyz seem ta have tons a fun bein' what you are! I'd try its! Experiencin' dat means MOOOOOOAR! I think I'd understand ya moar an' we wouldn't argue like dis!" Powerpaw rubbed his paws together, "Now dat I see yer not insultin' my grandma here (Bastet really iz Mamapaw's mom), I kin see you just wanna be you. Okay! I gets dat! But hey! Bria told me a story of when she had ta be a wittle kitty an' she sed she had a ball!"

"You hazn't been a Kitty-face of any kind before, haz you, Oti? You only been one now for less den a minute! Can'tcha at least give my goddess a chance here? I mean, I didn't know dis wuz gonna happen (or I'd'a warned ya), but since it haz, an' since Bastet doesn't do nuffin' wiffout a reason, can't'cha at least give bein' a Kitty-face a shot here? I mean, she did turn ya from little guyz back inta yer big selves, didn't she? Don't ya trust her?"

Then another thought struck Powerpaw. An ugly one. He remembered being an outcast. When no one liked him. When no one seemed to care. For a moment, a look of confusion and loss came over his blood-red eyes. His whiskers and ears drooped and his shoulders sagged.

"Or... or do ya really tink its dat bad bein' sumbuddy like... sumbuddy like... me?"
 

Captain Hesperus

On Vacation
Supporter
Otiorin Taletreader

Otiorin couldn’t deny Powerpaw when he was looking so dejected. He reached out with a single clawed hand and placed it on Powerpaw’s shoulder. Godsdammit, I’m y’all enough to reach Powerpaw’s shoulder without the benefit of a ladder or a scaling rope!
“I could never think of someone like you or Melshaef as bad, Powerpaw. It’s just, all this,”, he gestured to his new body, “is quite a lot to take in. We’ve all had a hell of a day. Kidnapped, bodies swapped, strength stolen, liberating captured animals from goblins, recovering our old bodies, flying on a Dracolich, restoring that same Dracolich to true life, having you find us and now becoming Felane.”
He shrugged, a smile replacing the previous smile.
“I’ll expect you to teach us thoroughly how to be properly Felane.”
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
As he listened, Otiorin was rewarded with the sight of watching Powerpaw's features slowly lift from dread and uncertainty into a big, toothy smile combined with joyous purring!

"Aw, ya bet I will! You won't regret it, Oti-face! We kin see wif only a wittle light an' sense wif our whiskers an' all kindsa good stuff! You'll see!" Powerpaw powerfully-clapped Otiorin on the shoulder, pulled him into a manly hug, and rubbed his cheek against Oti's own in a feline display of affection in a way that said to anything that could smell, "Dis guy is my buddy!" Then he spun on one heel and found Bria (whom he knew had to be watching) and pointing at Otiorin excitedly. Powerpaw "Oh boy'ed" his big Fuzzy Goof self over to Bria. He grabbed her by the paw and escorted her back to Otiorin where the Fighter and Healer they began to chat excitedly together.

"You guyz did all dat since ya left Highwind?"

"We sure did! I was a paladin! Me! I hope I did a good job of it!"

"Aw, you always doez a great job, face! Uh, what's a dracolich?" Powerpaw asked.

"She was," Bria said.

At the same time, SkySting crackled her own reply. "I wasss."

"An' what're ya now?"

The crisp, fierce lightning bolts dancing in SkySting's reptilian eyes said it all, but the dragon replied anyway. "A vessel of vengeance most dire filled with a curiosity no library could satisfy."

Oscar piped up. "I can relate to the latter half of that statement myself."

SkySting flapped her wings once causing loose stones everywhere to flee her and skip away. "'A curse for a curse!' Our deal is done! The entrance to the dungeons of Castle Anguish lie ahead!" She pointed down the tunnel where the ankhegs had come. Then she curled her immense form so that she blocked the tunnel entirely with her majestic scales and body. You were left with the columns to hike up if you wanted a better view of the splendid lichen-lit caverns all above, about, and below you.

"I bestow upon thee a small gift for being such amusing company - I have chosen to reside here a short time longer, for I hath seen enough of thee to know thou art in need of a secure camp and a restful peace. Therefore I shall post myself as guard and listen to thine ramblings and the dream-filled snores thou most certainly create. When thou art restored, I shall make my way onward and outward, putting the dark land of Pohjola behind me. In the meantime, thou mayest doze tonight more soundly than if thou were in the arms of thine own kingdoms, for whilst I stay, none shall bother thee and live..."

"Boy, dat's great!" Powerpaw nodded gratefully. "Where wuz you when we were in Shandra's Evergreen?!"

"Probably being walked on!" SkySting impatiently snapped. "Don't make me zap you like I did your elf!" But then you saw a chuckle escape her lips, for she had snapped at a memory, and upon realizing this, she found comfort in knowing that a memory it was, and not the present. The feeling was liberty incarnate.

* * *​

Oscar filled his lungs, tapped the stone at his feet with one black claw in an attempt to get your attention, then he spoke to you. "Wayward Wanderers! Search inside of your newfound selves." Doing so, all of the spellcasters in the party found that they had only the spells they had within them when they were novices (if any). A rest (and preferably some sleep) was required. With it, each of you could memorize to your new full potentials!

Oscar beamed a furry smile. "I sense an emptiness in each of you that was not present before Bastet helped us. An emptiness of experience!" Oscar smiled and prepared himself to do a lot more talking. "Wayward Wanderers! It is time to train!"

Each of your characters now have the RP Points necessary to become 11th level! Congratulations!
 
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