Chapter 18: Closure

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Session Number: 71
Date: Sunday 31 October 2010
Venue: Fergus'
PCs & Players:

Arrian Rog1/Clr8 (Fergus) (kills: 1 ogre)
Emily Ftr3/Rog6 (Tammi) (kills: none)
Feren Rog9 (Yeran) (kills: 2 ogres)
Rowaine Pal9 (Craig) (kills: 1 ogre cook, 1 ogre)
Troll Wiz9 (Densial) (kills: 7 ogres)

XP Awarded: TBC

It is three hours after midday. The party leave Lamatar's quarters and return to the door Feren locked. Feren steps up and hears slow, heavy, deep breathing.

"Let's check out the other door first," Arrian whispers.

Feren and Arrian listen at the door at the west end of the corridor, hearing rain hitting stone. Simultaneously, Rowaine hears a rattling from the locked door.

"They're coming!" Rowaine hisses.

Bang! The doors shake from a massive blow. Disturbed dust falls from the doorframe.

"Urh hurghverk grundreshgar!" Another loud bang. Vale translates the words spoken in giant: "Who the f*** locked this door? f***ing idiots!" It appears that whatever is bashing at the door does not realise that the doors open towards it.

BANG! The timber of the doors starts to splinter. Troll readies a Fireball.

BOOM! The doors crack. The party can see something moving behind them, but the door has some structural integrity yet.

"Emily," Troll says, "does that room go back at least twenty feet from the door?" BANG!

"What?" Emily replies, her eyes never leaving the tortured timbers of the doorway. "Yeah yeah… Bit busy being scared right now!"

Arrian casts Bull's Strength upon himself as yet another blow makes the doors shudder. He upgrades to Divine Power. More words in giant. Vale translates: "He just said <some name>, come over here and help me!"

"Urn… Doo… Dree…" BOOM!! The door cracks further. It will not last much longer.

"Urn…" Troll goes through his prepared spells.

"Doo…" Everyone tenses up.

"Wa da nerm afrer doo?"

BOOOOM! Each door is smashed vertically in two, leaving a splintered gap in the centre of the doorway. Those in the front ranks see part of the room behind, blocked by two ogres just inside. Their eyes widen as they realise they are not alone.

Troll releases his Fireball. A glowing red bead streaks past the ogres and explodes, filling the room and billowing past the ogres out the ruined door. One of the brutes screams and falls, the other is burned but survives. Arrian steps closer and strikes once, twice with his long sword. The ogre cannot avoid the blows. It glances down the corridor then over its right shoulder and steps away. Arrian sees an opening and strikes again; the ogre is still alive but only just as it shuffles out of view to the left. Feren takes four steps through the doorway, following. He sees it fumbling with a door, looking backwards over its shoulder. He tumbles forwards, ending in a crouch and stabs upwards. His rapier slides cleanly and deeply into ogre flesh, finding vital anatomy within. The ogre collapses where it stands.

Feren looks around. The only other things moving in the room are three inverted headless humans, swinging by their ankles on ropes nailed into the wooden ceiling. Along the curved eastern wall are blackened, tattered tapestries depicting regional maps. The centre area is burned black. Various pieces of demolished chairs litter the floor.

Arrian enters, casts Detect Magic and searches the ogres. Their greatclubs lie still attached to their belts; a long javelin quiver is slung diagonally across their expansive backs. They wear very dirty, smelly clothing. Nothing radiates magic. Arrian paces north, stepping over the ogre's splayed leg, stopping to listen at the open door. Feren listens at a closed door in the south wall. Neither hear anything.

The others enter, wary. Troll crosses the floor and heads towards the hanging bodies. All wear Black Arrow livery, stained in blood. Vale's voice catches in his throat. Jakardros walks up behind Troll, his face a grim mask. He nods towards the centre body and closes his eyes.

"Captain Lamatar Bayden."

He drops to one knee, bowing his head. Troll turns to the other two bodies. Cold dread creeps up his spine as his gaze settles on the body hanging to the right. It is Enok.

Troll Acids the rope and Enok's body flops lifeless to the floor. "Rowaine?" he says in a broken voice. Rowaine enters, sees the body, her eyes narrowing in confusion. Recognition drains the colour from her fair face. She sobs.

"Right," says Troll, turning around.

[Fergus] So we don't need to find Enok any more.

"Right." Troll paces around the room. "Right. Right!"

"Are you OK?" asks Arrian.

"I'm good. I'm just dandy. I'm fine!" Troll says, wandering into the room to the north. The floor is littered with… Troll cares not. He walks over to another door and opens it. Beyond is a large circular room with a stairway winding left up the opposite wall. It climbs the twenty five or so feet to the ceiling. A trapdoor is within reach at the top, above the last few stair treads.

"Rowaine, Troll is losing it!" warns Arrian. Rowaine gets to her feet, death in her eyes. Troll passes her on his way to the south door. He opens it loudly. Inside is a sliver of a room stuffed with a whirlwind of smashed and disturbed items. The room holds no ogres, so Troll ignores it. He walks back towards the north. Arrian stands in the doorway.

"Rowaine, I need some help here," Arrian says calmly. Rowaine does not answer, perhaps she did not hear. Troll points his finger at Arrian, then raises it and shoots the ceiling above him with Acid. Arrian puts his sword away kneels before Troll.

"Please Troll…" he begs.

"Right!" Troll wheels around, stalks away and heads west. "Where the f***ing hell are you all?"

Troll slams open the door at the end of the corridor. It leads outside where rain pours down. Streams of water run down a granite rockface near the open door.

Arrian gets up and approaches Rowaine.

"Troll is about to get himself killed, Rowaine. You need to pull yourself together and pull him together. I think he's going for the top. We need to get up there." Rowaine gazes at Arrian with cold eyes.

Troll casts Greater Floating Disc, jumps on and rises vertically. He cannot see any signs on life. He heads directly to the highest tower. At the top is a four-post structure with a conical roof, from which hangs a massive bell on a short chain. The ringer has been replaced with an inverted Black Arrow whose helmet has been strapped to his bloated head. Two dead ogres lie on the tower's stone floor, next to a closed wooden trapdoor.

"Rowaine," Arrian continues, "we can't save Enok but we can save Troll. I'm very worried. We need to go now!"

"You didn't know him," Rowaine replies.

"I grew up with him."

"You didn't know him!"

"Not the way you did."

Rowaine moves closer to Enok and tries to bring herself to hold her dead friend, but cannot. His corpse is rather ripe.

"I'm going to head up to the tower," Arrian says. "I think that's what my god, and Enok, would want. I'm going to try to look out for Troll, whatever I can do. Rowaine, I need you with me."

Rowaine looks up. "I'm with you," she says in a voice that conveys no emotion.

Arrian nods, sadly. "Let's go, then."

Troll looks out from the tower. He knows that there are buildings within the fort's walls, but the rain hides the majority of them. He separates the ogres from their heads with Acid.

Rowaine stalks her way up the spiralling stairs. The others follow in her wake. She throws open the trapdoor which slams noisly upon the tower floor. Troll is startled but holds back his spell as he recognises Rowaine. He lands his Disc nearby.

"Comin'?" he asks.

"Hang on," Rowaine replies. She closes her eyes and inwardly calls to a plane far away. Harley hears and responds. She immediately senses Rowaine's mood, growling. Rowaine climbs on.

"Mind a passenger?" Troll asks.

"No."

Arrian appears through the trapdoor and sees Troll climb up behind Rowaine.

"What are you doing?"

"Going to kill ogres," Troll says. "Are you in or are you out? Get on the Disc. Otherwise, bugger off."

Rowaine gazes upon Arrian. He climbs aboard the Disc. Feren climbs through the trapdoor and does the same. Troll conjures another Greater Disc. Once everyone is up they realise there is not enough transport for all.

"Go," Jakardros says. "Vale and I will stay here." Harley takes off with Troll's Discs in tow.

"Emily?" Troll says. "Blink. Find them."

Harley tracks the battlements. Shortly after the third building appears out of the rain, Blink starts going mental. "Let's go kill it," Troll says.

Harley lands and everyone dismounts. The large, open structure has a roof supported by four massive timber posts. A long spit stands over a glowing fire pit, flanked by timber racks laden with human bodies. A grossly obese ogre with an overlarge head stands at the far side, turning the spit which bears a slow-cooking human carcass.

Arrian casts a Cure spell, healing some of Rowaine's wounds. Troll levels his Ray of Enfeeblement wand at the ogre but its enervating ray shoots wide. "Blink, find me the next one," he says. Emily paces closer and looses an arrow that glances off the ogre's greasy armour. Rowaine skips right, trying to find a clear line to her foe. Harley follows. Shalélu bends her long bow as she moves. The arrow grazes the ogre's side - first blood. Feren runs under the outdoor kitchen's roof. The ogre grabs a javelin from beside the table and throws it at Feren. The elf tries to duck the missile but the throw is alarmingly fast. The javelin's head buries itself in his forearm before clattering to his feet. The ogre then backs away, towards a very large building.

Arrian runs closer. Troll keeps pace with the ogre, trying his wand again but the ogre's loping gait puts off his aim. Not so Emily: her arrow pierces the ogre's shoulder and part-exits out the other side. It continues to run. Rowaine swings herself onto Harley's back and fixes her thoughts upon the ogre. Harley springs right and Rowaine struggles to ready her lance atop the bounding wolf. Shalélu closes the gap. The ogre bellows as it closes the distance between it and the building. Feren moves closer, deftly stowing his rapier and releasing his short bow. He nocks an arrow and sends it on its way but the missile fails to penetrate armour. Still yelling, the ogre slams itself into the building's double doors at a full run. It turns around and fumbles at its belt, swearing unintelligibly as it realises that it has left its greatclub behind. It reaches behind its immense girth and pulls out a two-foot long rusty knife.

Arrian focuses on the door. Troll jumps onto his Disc and accelerates it forwards, gaining height. He swaps to his Magic Missile wand. Two purple beads of force streak towards the ogre, thudding into its ample belly. Emily's next arrow finds its mark. The ogre appears badly wounded. Harley gallops towards the brute, Rowaine's lance steady in her hands. Oooof! The ogre's ribcage and lungs explode as thousands of pounds of stone wolf hammer the lance relentlessly home. The ogre is dead before it can swear again. Feren runs closer, switching back to his rapier.

Arrian paces forwards, keeping a spell in mind should the doors open. Boom! They do, nearly catching the ogre in the back of the head. Arrian releases his spell: Holy Smite. FLASH! The interior of the building is briefly illuminated with Corellon Larethian's righteous ire. Many deep bellows are heard; five figures within clasp huge hands over huge faces. The front wall shakes as huge bodies bump into it. An ogre near the door stumbles and trips down the two exterior steps, landing at Harley's feet. The canine snarls, awaiting her mistress' command to rip out its throat. Troll moves closer and points his wand at the open doorway. Not two purple beads this time, a single red pebble-sized missile streaks out. It flies through the entrance. KaBOOM! It erupts into hellish conflagration. Every visible ogre wilts and dies in the fiery storm. Emily moves closer, covering the exit should any more ogres present themmselves. Rowaine spurs Harley inside. "There's more in here!" she says, turning Harley to the right and levelling her lance again. The others hear a collision and a deep exclamation of pain. Shalélu moves inside, heading left. She sees Rowaine and Harley in the middle of three ogres. She keeps her bow trained on them, looking for an opening. An ogre's greatclub descends upon the armoured paladin, knocking her sideways. Rowaine manages to stay in the saddle as another ogre bashes her side with its greatclub. The third ogre ducks past its allies. Rowaine sees the move, pulls her lance free and stabs the reckless brute. Harley follows up with a savage bite, ripping the flesh at the ogre's knee. Wounded, the ogre presses on and finishes with a huge blow from its foot-thick greatclub. The tree smashes against Rowaine's shield, crushing her arm against her armour. Feren sheathes his rapier while entering, anticipating a ranged shot. He draws his bow, lines up on the first ogre he sees and lets loose. The arrow is true and fast, burying itself in the ogre's neck. It dies. Two remain.

"Rowaiiiiine!" Arrian yells, nearing the doorway. Troll jumps off his Disc and he and Emily sprint up the stairs inside the building. Emily considers a shot but holds it for fear of hitting Rowaine. She stays in the doorway, hoping the ogres do not have ranged weapons of their own. Rowaine leaves her lance in the ogre and brings her heavy axe to bear. Her first powerful chop fells an ogre. Harley snaps at the remaining ogre, crushing and puncturing its forearm. It looks rather scared. Shalélu enters the building, putting her arrow smoothly back in her quiver and drawing an item she rarely uses: her healing wand. She launches herself at Harley's hindquarters and raps Rowaine on the back of her armour. The wand surges and some of Rowaine's wounds close.

The ogre surveys its six opponents and its eight dead allies. It throws its greatclub to the side and drops to its knees.

"Ungh! No fffffight!" It shields its head with a bloodied arm.

[Yeran] "Awwww, I want to stab it!"

Arrian runs inside. "Aaaaarrrgh!" screams a frustrated Troll, shooting a nearby bed with Acid. The ogre cowers, sobbing. A large pool of liquid grows outwards on the floor beneath it. Rowaine dismounts and approaches the ogre, holding her axe tightly. Arrian touches her arm as she passes and Cures more of her wounds. Troll jumps on his Disc and floats upwards. Emily and Blink jump on his other Disc. Troll looks at the pair. "Find me some more," he growls. The two Discs slip out the door.

Arrian looks at the flame burning in Rowaine's eyes. "I don't know what to do," he says. "How can we leave this behind?"

Rowaine looks at Arrian then returns her stare to the ogre. She walks up, placing her boot ungently on its shoulder and forces it down. The ogre does not resist. It lies on the timber floor, sobbing.

"Where are the rest of you?" Rowaine asks.

"No fight! No fight!" the ogre says in between sobs. "All dead! all dead… (sob) Blag no want to be here! (whimper)"

"Where other ogres?" Arrian asks.

"In the fort! In the fort. Jagraath! Jagraath make us come here."

Arrian tries out the name. "Jagraath… Is he or she ogre?" The captive nods.

"Are there any more, other than in the fort?" Rowaine continues.

The ogre sniffs wetly. "No… All dead! All dead! Garg!"

"Why did you come here?"

"Jagraath told me to!"

"What does Jagraath look like?"

"Big ogre! Big, hairy, nasty! He beats us, he… Nobody cross Jagraath!"

Rowaine describes the large ogre they encountered in the chapel. "Is that Jagraath?"

"Hmmm… Yeah? Big ogre!"

"Dead ogre."

The ogre's eyes immediately widen. If anything, he looks even more scared. "Jagraath… dead?"

"Very much so."

"Don't kill me!"

"This rain," Arrian says. "Why rain?"

"Urmmmm… It wants to, I don't know."

"Who make rain?"

"Aaar! Lamashtu!"

"Who Lamashtu?" Arrian questions.

"Lamashtu! Mother God… dess. Goddess?"

Rowaine then describes the female ogre they bested in Lamatar's quarters.

"Hmmmm? Hmmm? Urmmm… Ogre? Dorella! No she no Lamashtu! Lamashtu god…dess!"

"Who is Dorella?" Rowaine asks.

"Dorella… Ogre. Weird. Messed in head. Spirits live in her."

"Not any more," Rowaine says cooly. "She's dead too."

"Dor..? All dead…. (wail) Kreegs gone!"

"Well, maybe you shouldn't have messed with my friend."

"What do we do with this one, Rowaine?" Arrian asks.

The ogre looks up with certainty in its eyes. "You will kill me. Like all others."

Arrian's eyes return to Rowaine. "I think we've got to kill it." Rowaine's face says otherwise. Arrian starts casting a spell. Searing Light envelops the cowering ogre. Its skin blisters and it cries out but does not die. Arrian starts mouthing the same syllables again.

[Yeran] This is terrible to watch.

Rowaine's gauntleted forearm snaps out, catching Arrian in the face. He reels from the unexpected blow. Rowaine's head snaps around.

"GET BACK!"

"So you want to leave this thing to predate the local area?" Arrian counters.

Rowaine glares. "You do NOT debate with me. GET BACK. NOW!" She pushes Arrian aside. Arrian moves away, watching.

Troll, Emily and Blink have not found a single ogre in the five or six minutes they have been gone. Blink has found the track leading up to the aerie. Troll motions for him to follow it. His Disc trails behind.

Rowaine yells at the ogre, viciously questioning it about its kin and their objectives. In between blubbers she pieces together that the ogres came some three or four weeks ago in a raiding group led by Jagraath Kreeg. The ogre doesn't seem to understand mathematics very well; the best Rowaine can deduce is that there were around thirty or forty in the original group. After a fairly decisive battle against the Black Arrows, they moved in. Jagraath and his closest kin stayed in the keep while the grunts stayed down here. As far as he was aware, the rest of the clan were alright.

Arrian watches Rowaine question while Feren checks the slain ogres. In the mountains above, Troll and Emily discover no signs of life in the aerie, just feathers, nests and shards of broken eggs. There are no bodies.

"Stand up," Rowaine says to the ogre. It looks up at her and gets to its feet.

"Run. Run away. If there are any more of your kind, you tell them never ever come back here again, or we will hunt you down and we. Will. KILL. You. Run now."

The ogre makes for the door. Arrian keeps clear of Rowaine and casts Searing Light. The beam touches the ogre, vaporising flesh. It stumbles and collapses, dead.

"I could not let it go," Arrian explains as Rowaine whirls around at him. "I can't let this thing go and kill more innocents. I will do my best to obey you, but if you go against my conscience I can't."

"Get out of my sight, elf," Rowaine hisses. "Leave."

Arrian returns to the wing beneath the fort, silently avoiding the shocker lizards. He cannot call the portal to Elondel into existence, so kneels and prays.

Troll returns to the building. "I can't find any more to kill."

Jakardros and Vale rejoin the group. Jakardros carries the body of Captain Lamatar. Troll puts Enok's body on one of his Discs. He spends some time trying to locate the missing head, but cannot.

"I want to take Enok out into the forest and try to find Kachik," he explains to Rowaine. "Is that the right thing to do?"

"I guess so. Yes, it seems right."

Troll heads out with Shalélu as dusk approaches. They see no ogres in the woods around the fort. The find a natural clearing and kneel down. Minutes later, Shalélu catches Troll's eye and they both see very brief movement in the nearby brush. A lean wolf pads out to see them. Troll drops the Disc to the ground. The wolf sniffs it, looks at Troll, then walks twice around the Disc. It eyes the pair, then lopes off. Troll cannot tell if it is Kachik. He lets it go and heads back to the fort. On the way, he and Shalélu hear unceasing howling.

In the fort grounds, Jakardros and Vale approach Rowaine. Jakardros looks at Vale and speaks for them both.

"We are the last of the Black Arrows, but the order as we knew it is no more. I am the last remaining officer, so by our law, command of the order passes to me. I have a difficult choice before me. Do I disband the order - can it even be called that, now there are only two of us? Or do I somehow continue? I have not the skills… Lady Rowaine, leader of this cohort who has avenged our comrades, and to whom we owe our lives, I would give you the Black Arrows, such as they are. Will you have us?"

Rowaine pauses, looking at them both. A smile breaks through the grief on her face. She knows it is in the interests of the region to have the fort manned by such as the Black Arrows, for the Kreegs will eventually recover, or be replaced by something else. But she cannot lead them - not now, if ever. And Jakardros is so obviously in a tender place right now. She must tread carefully.

"You sweet man," she begins, smiling. "But an order of Erastil's rangers, led by a paladin of Moradin? The All-Father would never let me live it down. No, that would not do at all. Also, I know in my heart that I cannot be tied to one place at this time. However… I see a way forward. I will consider your offer, brave ranger, but not as your commander. I would be honoured to be … a trusted advisor, with a dear desire to see the Black Arrows again stand in the gap. I will do everything in my power to make sure that the Black Arrows survive and flourish in this place. You do indeed have the skills to lead the Black Arrows out of this tragedy, Captain Jakardros Sovark. If you do not see that, then pluck out your other eye right now, for you are blind. Not to mention you have the finest Lieutenant one could ask for," she says, nodding towards Vale.

Jakardros stands quiet for a moment. "Then the offer is made," he finally says. "But it will not be the Black Arrows standing in the gap. The Black Arrows are dead." He eyes Rowaine's breasplate emblem. "The Silver Arrows will take their place - with my lady's permission?"

"Again, I am honoured. Go, bury your dead, as I will bury mine." She turns and leaves.

"I will give you the support of my towers," Troll adds. "Whatever you need."

The others head to the wing where they find Arrian. Rowaine lingers behind while the others cross the ravine one at a time. Troll opens the portal and they return to Elondel and then to the monastery, bearing Enok's remains.

Arrian stands up. "So… I think neither of our gods would continue to force my presence upon you, if you no longer wish it. It is time for you to decide whether you want me to continue travelling with you, or not. But know that I can never forswear my own conscience and my own sense of following good. I will always do my best to follow your lead, but I cannot forswear my conscience. If we are to keep going on, then more things like this will happen. But it is your choice. I have no doubt that my god would not see me force myself on your party."

Rowaine lets Arrian finish. "Would I know that I could make good decisions right now, I would have you on your way. But I know that I can't, right now. I will not make this decision today."

"Fair enough. Let's talk when you are ready."

Rowaine touches Arrian's face, healing the wound she caused.

Arrian follows Rowaine back to Elondel. Troll instructs the tower to allow Jakardros and Vale the ability to transport between Fort Rannick and Elondel, and to request supplies and equipment.

Troll silently bears his Disc to the monastery's manse. Berathoin is outside. He begins to speak, then the impact of the scene strikes. He wordlessly enters the manse and returns with Sir Veketh. The elders join the party in mourning their loss well into the night. Sir Veketh agrees to help the Silver Arrows with the immense cleanup job ahead of them.

In the wee hours of the morning, Shalélu meekly approaches Troll.

"While my first allegiance is to Turtleback Ferry," she says, "with your leave I would like to tidy my affairs there and continue with you, if that is your wish."

"Absolutely," Troll replies. "I don't have a lot of money, but I have everything else you could ever need. And you will get a lot of good adventuring. We will go good. Kill evil. Because I have some payback to take care of."

"Thank you."

In the morning, Arrian approaches Rowaine.

"I have been seeking guidance from Corellon Larethian about my actions. My god has reminded me I am here to learn, and from now until you dismiss me I will obey. I may protest and try and change your mind, but I will trust your judgement and seek to learn from you. I am sorry for adding to your burdens when you had just found Enok… If you choose to dismiss me I will return to my order, accepting your decision. But I would stay if you'll give me yet another chance… it seems I am a slow learner…"

Rowaine appraises the elf. "Very well, I dismiss you. But I do not want you to go. You are not my vassal, and I am not your liege. We do not work together well that way. I wish you to stay, but I wish you to choose to stay. If you do, then I will be your leader, in the same way that I am the others' leader: because they trust me. I think that is the better relationship for us to have, and I think that is the relationship that your god would wish for you.

"So, Arrian, follower of Corellon Larethian, the question is not 'will I have you?' The question is 'will you stay?' Bear in mind that this colours our next conversation, and that is a conversation that we must still have. But it will be a conversation not between a bound henchman and his Lady, it will be a conversation between peers.

"What say you?"

Arrian takes a moment to reply. "Then I will say that you are a stuffy, hide bound, rule obsessed woman that I have come to deeply respect. With the serious consideration I owe to my God I can see no better place to serve than in this group. Under your leadership, I have confidence that it will strive to serve Good and be more effective in that than I could be separately. The lesson stays the same for me, however. It does seem to be that I need to learn humility, and my god sends me down a relentless path to batter this in to me. Ahhh… sometimes their mercies are not gentle eh?

"So I will stay, not as your vassal but as a member of this band, willing to be led, if at times under protest!"

"I won't always get it right, Arrian," Rowaine continues. "Moradin knows I've made mistakes in the past. Costly mistakes. Such is our lot, we who have chosen to live on this knife's edge. I have lost two dear friends to this life, and it … pains me."

Rowaine pauses before again speaking.

"I value life, Arrian. One of my pledges to Moradin and to the Silver Hand, is to uphold life, preserve it, wherever I can. In this regard the Silver Hand are different to other paladin orders, and different to other sects that revere Moradin. We are for the Good and the Just, but above all, we are for the Good… But it is a difficult line to draw, sometimes.

"This is where I thought we would find some common ground, yet it seems to be the issue over which we are most at odds. I worry about your how easily you embrace death as a simple solution to problems. Death should never be simple! It is complex, it is hard, it is regrettable and it is costly to reverse! Surely you of all people, a life-loving elf with centuries before him, can understand the potential waste that death brings. Surely you of all people, a redeemed elf, can understand the effect that undeserved mercy can have.

"I do not take killing lightly. It pains me, always. If serving the Good and the Just means taking a life, then so be it. If it means letting something go, then so be it. I don't know what that ogre was going to do. But in some ways, that is the point.

"We also won't always agree. But I hope we will agree upon this: life is precious – all of it. I would not extinguish it so readily.

"I will take this to the All-Father and ask for his guidance. I am sure you will do the same."

Not long after, Jakardros appears in Elondel looking for Rowaine. He has been going through Captain Lamatar's quarters, now his, and has discovered an old diary hidden in a partially smashed cabinet. Many of the diary's pages have been torn out, but enough handwriting remains on the margins to tell a rather interesting story.

It appears the Captain once had a secret lover, a noblewoman with a sublime singing voice. Her name is violently scribbled out. They had a child, a scandal that the noblewoman could not live with. She covered it up, which infuriated Lamatar, and eventually forced the wee girl onto him. He writes in the diary of being torn between his duty to the Black Arrows and this little girl, and writes of a journey to a dwarven monastery eighteen years ago being "one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make". The monastery and the girl are not mentioned again.

[Densial] Da da da daaaaaaaaa

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