D&D Campaigns > Game Log

Dark Memories


although this is not an official log it does recount a past event in this colorful campaign.

Dark Memories

as remembered by Quinton Silverthorn -Paladin of Shada...

The winter had been harsh.  My friend Vecklyn had been poisoned. My remnant army near the city of N?arth was quickly loosing faith and morale to the winter and the Deltharite occupancy. My companions and I were strung out and famished. The sinister legions of Delthara had their claws around the throat of my people. We were nearly broken. I felt responsible for leading my friends to this.

The Red Trillium poison that was killing Vecklyn and thousands of others would be lethal unless an antidote was found. Desperation had set into me. I would pray to Shada for some sort of guidance but in the end I would follow my heart. I now understand that was Shada?s way of speaking to me. The antidote for the poison was in the recipe of White Trillium and powdered Ogre?s teeth. White trillium was found in the dismal Blackwood. The Ogre?s teeth were in Ogre?s Hold. As perilous as the Blackwood is, one can travel through it and collect the White Trillium and not disturb too much. However, Ogre?s are not going to offer their teeth so easily. Although I knew what we were in for, nothing could have prepared me for what would happen.

We set on the shore of the Ogre realm with the warning from the fisherman to be there when he came to retrieve us or he would leave us stranded. Time was now a critical factor. With the guidance of Elizabeth Blackwood, who as a young orphaned girl took the name of the Blackwood, we traveled through the Ogre lands keeping low and silent. Although accomplished in his field, my major concern was for my friend Flea for he was still a boy. Although he had seen much in his young life I still felt protective of him. Vecklyn was poisoned and had to have the cure. Alleryan, like me, needed the antidote to save his people. Against better judgment, this endeavor was absolutely necessary.

Ogre by Ogre we collected their teeth while sneaking further into peril. So far, the only Ogres we murdered were soldiers. This was how I justified my actions. Hunger soon became a state of mind and the frigid, howling wind became our lullaby. Time was falling away. We didn?t have nearly enough teeth.

Hopelessness and suffocating frustration began to set in. My heart grew uneasy and sick with failure. Alleryan, my elven brother of Shada, tried to help my spirit but the weight of the situation was breaking my heart and mind. Growing up as a farmer peasant my only concerns were my aged parents and ensuring a good crop. Now the lives of many like me were in my hands. Resentment, in addition to everything else, took hold. I had never asked nor wanted to be the heir apparent to the land of N?arth. At that time I wished I had never picked up the Mighty Sword of Brendan De Le N?arth. I cursed my blood for all of these matters on me. I didn?t want it to be me to bear these burdens.

The sword was the vessel for all of the wisdom of my fathers. They would speak to me through it. Some were benevolent, others mocking, and some silent. The spirits inside the sword would fill my head with guidance and even argue with each other as to the best course of action. It was absolute madness and it started to pull me in.

Then it happened. While traveling, a caravan of unarmed Ogre?s passed our way. ?What a stroke of luck!? we said with relief. Without any hesitation we came down upon them. I slaughtered every living Ogre I could see, as did we all. The screaming, the blood, the anguish was everywhere. I was not myself. Every last one, including the children, was dead. With the hilt of the sword of kings I started to brutally bash the teeth out of the Ogres? mouths. The pressure of past events came out in an eruption of unbridled rage. I started to delight in cracking out the teeth. It offered some release from the great weight on me. I was outside of my mind. With furious anger I screamed while using my sword as a barbaric tool. This elegant weapon, this sword of legendary greatness, the sword that was once wielded by the man for whom the land was named, the sword of my ancestor, was little better than rock for what I was using it for.

The voices of old within the sword were shouting in revelry. After weeks of vicious mocking by my ancestors, I finally received the approval that I was seeking. I was driven further into my actions. Then my medallion of Shada, the symbol of my very soul, began to glow. It was dim at first but it quickly grew brighter. The green light became all I could see. As I struck the last blow into an Ogre the light dimmed. I looked down and saw the mangled face of an Ogre child.

I fell backwards onto the ground, breathless. Warm waves undulated through me and I could feel my heart beating. I began to realize what I had done. I briefly became what I hated so much. I did to the Ogre?s what the black hearted Deltharites had made into ritual. I had preyed upon the weak and the innocent, something I had sworn to protect. My spirit was cracked like the very land of N?arth. I was torn between what I knew was right and what I had to do. Tears streamed down my face in anguish over what I had done. I became painfully aware of the horror that my people had suffered from the Deltharites for I was the cause of such horror to these defenseless creatures. I compromised my beliefs in virtue to fulfill my need to help my countrymen. I was nothing. At that moment I was afraid that I wasn?t going to die for fear of having to live with this for the rest of my life. There would be no release. Even now I can still see the face of the young Ogre. What joys did he know? What fears? I wondered what his laugh sounded like. He loved his parents the same as I loved mine. At that moment I would have gladly given my soul to undo my actions but it would never be that easy. The grief was all consuming. Some may say that the child would have grown to be a malevolent brute and that it was perhaps better that he not become that. I am not a god and should not pass the judgment of one. I realized that I had briefly lost the compassion that made me human. I had become the monster. I now began to understand my power.

I got off of the ground and stood up. My friends were looking at me with pity, I think. I sheathed my sword and, without a word, began to walk to the coast. No one said anything the entire journey back. My heart was sunk. The dark cloud of regret was fogging my mind and I wanted to run from myself. How could I have been so blind? How did I not see that coming? How did I become this monster? My mind was dizzy with sadness and remorse. The tears were freezing to my face. The hunger, thirst, and cold from before could not even be felt. It was as if they never were. Walking back I could see the green moon of my beloved Shada ahead of me. Ironically, I was walking toward her. It was as if she was rising to cast the forgiving light upon me as she knew I wouldn?t give it to myself. I was walking back to her. I was trying to return to the grace that I once had through her. The night was silent and the air was still. In my mind I could hear the pleasant laugh and the dissonant dread screams of the Ogre child.

We reached our campsite where we had stayed when we first arrived on this jagged shore of wooded cliffs. Elizabeth started a fire to keep us warm. I stood at the cliff?s edge watching Shada rise. Alleryan was sitting near the fire warming his slender hands. Vecklyn was pacing about. Flea was throwing rocks into the water below. At length he said, ?Even Ogre?s have parents?? That statement hit me like hammer. I was then frighteningly aware of the gravity of my actions. I did to others what had been done to this poor boy so many years ago when his parents were ripped from him making him an orphan. How many orphans had I created? How many lives did I destroy in the pursuit of a cure. I could not begin to fathom.

?We have to go back for more teeth.? Alleryan stated.

?No! I will not go back! Alleryan, both our people depend on it but I will not go back! Destroying evil by becoming evil is a road I will not travel again no matter the cost! I did it tonight and I am in oblivion!?

Alleryan then replied, ?I?ve traveled here from Myritar to get a cure and I will not go back without it. My people need me to help them and by Shada I will!?

I thought a minute about what he said. I felt sorry for his situation. However, my intention was no less than his. I also wanted to help my people. I knew that what we did was wrong and I couldn?t understand how he couldn?t see it. I broke the silence, ?Didn?t you feel it Alleryan? Didn?t you feel the evil of it? We butchered those innocents for our own gain. How can you call yourself a priest of benevolent Shada and still not feel the wickedness of that? Desperation has gotten your better judgment, just as it did me. Didn?t you see my medallion? It wasn?t shining in honor, it was shining in shame. It was a torch of reason in during our dark act when we had none. No. We will not take that way again. There is no virtue in it. I know that without us you can not do this Alleryan. But if we abandon the qualities that set us on this course to begin with, we?ll have betrayed the people for whom we fight. That is something I won?t do.?

Vecklyn speaks up, ?Alleryan, I feel the need you have. You may not believe it, but I do. No one here wants the cure more than I do. After all, my life depends on it. But Quinton speaks the truth. I can?t, in good conscious, continue on this harvest if he feels it?s wrong. I trust him in this.?

Elizabeth, after putting some more branches on the fire said, ?I go where Quinton goes. He needs me to help him and help him I will. If that means finding another way, then his guide I?ll be. I don?t do this because I have to. I do it because I want to.?

My friends trusted me to lead them and somehow that made things worse. I didn?t believe that I could lead and I was angry at myself for any false hope that I inadvertently gave them. I took the medallion from my neck and wrapped it around my hand letting it dangle a bit. I then pulled out the sword and knelt to one knee holding the sword upright and began to pray. This was the closest thing to comfort I could find, but it seemed to be all too distant.

From the heart of the green moon a blue light emerged. Slowly the light began to take shape and form. It was a man. He was dressed in fine white garments and stood proper. He was wearing a crown and an elegant green robe. He had a grey, finely trimmed beard and broad shoulders. He extended his hand as though to pull me up. I reached out and the sturdy gentle hand lifted me to my feet. A warm smile appeared on his face. He spoke in a deep, echoed voice, ?Do not lose hope child, for it is all we have. You must believe that you are on the right path despite the pitfalls. You briefly lost your way but this will forever be what you measure all of your actions by. No one can say that they haven?t strayed at least once. However, a measure of one?s strength is whether or not they can find their way again. I suspect you will, but it is in your hands.?

I listened in quiet awe at who I knew was Brendan De La N?arth, or at least his spirit. Whispering I said, ?My Lord Brendan, I feel as though I?ve failed. I?m blind to what others see in me. My efforts are scattered and I?ve brought us to the edge of ruin. My hope is almost gone. I don?t know what to do. I want to be what I can to my kinsman but I fear that?I fear that?? I started to lose what little composure I had and I stumbled to speak my mind. I took a deep breathe and continued, ??I fear that I?m unworthy. There are those that would prove to be better for this than I. Ancestry should not make me a guardian of the people. It should be honor and love that does that. Tonight I have lost those.?

With a laugh he said, ?Recognizing that makes you nobler than many of your fathers before you. Don?t you see? It was no accident or mistake that you have the Sword of N?arth or that you?ve taken this charge. Your remorse in your actions lends itself to future mercy and wisdom. You will only be capable of that by offering it love to yourself first. That is where your power is. You have much to offer Quinton. The fate of your people depends on you and those you keep. Put this night behind you but do not forget it. This night will forge you into what you will become.

After speaking, he faded out. My eyes righted themselves and I looked out beyond. Like a beacon in a sea of darkness, Shada was shining over the water and at last I knew who I was and what I had to do. Like a flower after the chilling grip of winter, my hope began to blossom once again.

I looked around and saw everyone staring at me, quite puzzled. I assumed that they saw me talking to what appeared to them to be no one. I turned back and held the sword up in front of me with my arm stretched while admiring Shada. I whispered to myself, ?I will never be on the wrong side again.?

Alleryan came to me and spoke, ?Quinton, I think I just saw your soul. Do what you feel is right and may her light shine down upon you all the while. I trust you.?

We all then sat around the humble fire that Elizabeth afforded us and began to eat our meager meal of dried meat and cheese. At last we were a sort of family again. After some time of hearing the fire pop, Elizabeth said, ?Quinton, I think I know where there is an Ogre burial ground??. The group of us slowly looked at her dubiously. Elizabeth cocked her head to one side and shrugged her shoulders with a sheepish grin. I then thought to myself that I hadn?t turned the ground for some time.

There will be more to come...in good time :wink:

Very well done!   I can't throw enough praise at you for this short story.    Its awesome! 8)


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