Chapter 3; Of Art and Faith…
The next morning the party awoke before dawn and began preparing to leave. Some had business to finish in the city but it was agreed that everyone would meet at the main gate at high noon ready to leave. Goldwin accompanied the Holy Warrior, Sethic, and Darksun into the bazaar square. Sethic had promised to outfit the savage ranger with the finest gear he could find. This, goldwin soon found out, would be a severe test of sethic’s faith. They scoured the bazaar and found only one thing the ranger wanted. It was one large red bead that, in his tribe, would make him rich. Sethic refused to purchase the bead for him but Goldwin helped Darksun to purchase it with his own gold.
Goldwin found amusement in the fact that Sethic could not understand the ranger’s value system. The bead itself cost the ranger ten gold, but considering he still had a full purse to spend, he had little problem giving the merchant the ‘worthless’ metal for the ‘priceless’ bead.
At high noon the three companions met the rest of the company at the main gate and set off for the Taurmon. The day was perfect for travel, no rain and plenty of sun. Goldwin decided that the party needed some marching music so he pulled out his instrument and began inflating the bladder. The first few notes were a bit off but after he had it ready the bagpipe sounded sweet to his half elven ears.
The rest of the party didn’t seem to think so. Shroud, the Blade Dancer, came up behind the bard and slipped his dagger through the bladder and that was the end of the music, for while at least.
The disgruntled bard began the repairs on his stricken friend and long time traveling companion, vowing, the next person trying such a trick would meet with something a bit nastier than a few sour notes. Every one’s a critic, no appreciation for real art.
That night the company made camp in the hillsbordering Edayn Rhide and Ekhari Rhide. The guard was set and everyone settled down for a good nights rest. Goldwin sat up most of the night mending his pipes. That morning he found his opportunity for revenge.
He crept up to a hill over his sleeping companions and quietly prepared to greet the sunrise. When the sun pierced the far horizon goldwin began his song. He struck up the pipes and played until all his companions were awake.
They all gave him threatening glares but then started to laugh until the only sound was that of laughter. Camp was broken and then they started off on the trail once again. Goldwin promised to play only when asked and everyone else promised never to let him have the last watch again.
That day on the trail they saw a sight they could hardly believe. Two large birds were fighting over a vast swamp. Though, the closer the company got to the swamp the less the birds looked like birds. When they recognized the creatures for what they were they could hardly believe their eyes. They were two dueling dragons! They were of two different colors. The first was black as midnight. The other was silver. As the party approached the two grappled and fell into the swamp. Immediately, Robert, the Holy Man, wanted to rush in to aid the silver in its obvious struggle against the evil one. Sethic, though grudgingly, agreed and they prepared to rush, in by themselves if necessary. The rest of the company was sure that the whole company was over matched but Robert’s plea gave them all hope that they could survive, and in they went.
The location of the dragons was not difficult to tell due to the growls and shrieks echoing through the swamp. It took the whole company a few minutes to get to the scene but when they got there the sight was not good. The silver had little or no wings left and was pinned under the black. The silver was obviously going to loose and quickly. Hurriedly Darksun loosed an arrow, it served little more than a distraction to the evil creature. At the same moment, though, Sethic and Gene rushed in to do close battle with the dragon. As soon as they got close a globe of pure blackness appeared. Then a few minutes later Gene game flying out of the blackness and Sethic soon followed, both landed face first in the mud. Then Darksun let fly with a few more arrows, one must have struck home. The beast cried out and then lifted off and headed north. Soon the blackness faded and the silver dragon was lying there, dead. Everyone assumed that Robert would want to bury the good dragon’s body so they set to work on a hole big enough to hold the huge body. Goldwin walked around the body and, when no one was looking began removing parts of the carcass. Soon everyone noticed this and told him to stop. Goldwin, having enough to make him wealthy, complied. Then robert surprised all of them. He told everyone that it was wrong to bury a creature of such goodness in a place such as this and it was even worse that it had died in the first place. He explained that he planned to try and bring the dragon back to the living once more. He also said that such a feat was beyond the power of one at his level but, if Fate smiled on his actions, anything could happen. Everyone was skeptical but they complied with his wishes and prepared for the casting. Goldwin decided it was time to return to the horses outside the swamp with his treasure of dragon parts before the situation got sticky.
Soon after night fall Robert was ready for the casting of the resurrection. He began by calling to his deity and pleading the injustice of such a creatures death. Then half way through his prayer a light surrounded Robert and as he touched the body of the dragon the light drained away from him and into and around the body. Then the light faded. Everyone held their breath, including Robert. Soon the body shivered and the dragon began breathing again. The dragon was alive! Everyone but Robert backed away. The great head turned to Robert and began to speak.
“Where am I? Oh, yes, the shadowed one… killed me.” Then it notice Robert as if for the first time. ” Who are you that you can call me from the dead? A great wizard, or perhaps a high cleric. Either way I am in your debt, name your price but, be careful of what you ask for, you may get more than you hoped for. ”
Robert was too stunned by his achievement to respond at first, but then the situation finally registered and he replied,” I ask nothing more than the simple satisfaction that good has and will prevail in the end.”
The dragon chuckled and replied,” there is little I can do to make such a thing happen, but I will certainly try my best. In proper repayment for your deed I will tell you where to seek treasure. To the north, in the Rhom Gwayth there lies ruins of an ancient city, there lives the one that killed me. Destroy him and his treasure will more than repay my debt to you and your companions. Fare you well in your adventures and may Fate protect and guide you.” With that the dragon bounded into the air on his mighty wings and flew off toward the north.
After the party recovered from the shock of what had just transpired they approached Robert to be sure he was all right. When they drew near Robert suddenly dropped to his knees and then fell, face first, into the mud of the swamp. A few moments later the company was back at the horses and there it was decided to camp for the night. Goldwin took first watch and then retired when he awoke Darksun for the second.
The next morning Robert was awake but he seemed a little different. Sethic had the last watch before dawn and he said that the cleric had bolted upright and then scrambled away from the fire. All the time he was mumbling like a mad man about the monster in the fire calling to him. Sethic had returned Robert to the camp but he refused to go within twenty feet of the camp fire. After everyone had risen a hasty meeting of the company was called and it was found that, in payment for the immense power he had granted Robert, Fate had taken part of his sanity. Though it seemed only to be an aversion to fire, it could get worse. Everyone pledged to keep a close eye on him. That settled, they were off again.