Kith'takharos

Jenna Kidnapped

Barrakas 4, 998 YK

This was an e-mail exchange between the GM and the player controlling Jenna that occurred between game sessions 25 and 26.

You cannot see. Whether this is because your eyes are closed, or you are surrounded by darkness, you cannot tell.

An indeterminate amount of time passes, minutes at least, perhaps hours. Eventually, you can feel your limbs and the faint throbbing of your head. Your arms are held fast alongside your body, your legs straight and immobile. You cannot open your mouth, and must breathe through your nose.

The binding must be magical given its perfection. You have no means to cast a spell, and surely this is no accident.

Impressions from the outside world encroach upon your awareness. A gentle, moist breeze caresses your bare arms and face. The smell of fetid water indicates you are still in the swamp. Then, a brief rush of vertigo as your body sways from side to side. You are not on solid ground!

Your mother speaks from somewhere nearby. “Hold. It hasn’t started yet.” The Jenna pendulum loses amplitude and comes to a stop.

Soon you hear voices shouting in a language you don’t understand. But you do recognize it as Draconic. You finally learn that your eyes are closed, as brightness flares up beyond your eyelids and flickers like fire. Now more voices join the cacophony, calling out in Common.

“To the wall! To the wall! The lizards are attacking!”

Soon the clash of metal on metal rings out and you hear the unmistakable clangor of battle.

The Common degenerates toward frantic and incoherent utterances, and you realize from battle experience that the defenders are on the verge of panic. Panic leads to rout, and rout inevitably leads to a massacre, as fleeing men are cut down from behind. Many lizardfolk nurture a burning hatred of the invaders from the Five Nations, and would seize any opportunity to slay them.

A new voice cuts through the chaos and carves out a brief lull with its ferocity. “Dagger take you all! Are you cowards, or men? Stand at your posts, or I’ll kill you myself before the lizards get a chance!”

You recognize the speaker as Xanthus Bome, leader of the Order of the Jade Leaf militia. Hope swells in your breast, since you know that his men would rather face a lizardfolk spear than the shame of his disappointment.

Xanthus again roars above the din. “Claw, you command the south wall! The east is mine!” That probably means the brunt of the attack was from the east, in the direction of Tarass Shar Orn.

The momentary optimism evaporates with your mother’s words. “I can get us through the wall, don’t worry. That ridiculous ‘Lady’ knows nothing of this place, and I will leave no evidence.” She laughs, almost as you remember from childhood, but with an additional edge that transforms it from a source of comfort to one of dread.

Once more you are swinging. You hear footsteps immediately behind your head and at your feet. You must be on some sort of litter. A sudden chill suffuses you, and the hairs on your arm stand up. The air seems thicker, almost like you are moving through a fog. In a few seconds the strange sensations end. You no longer hear the battle sounds.

“Put her down, then leave us,” your mother says. You are lowered to a hard surface. The air smells damp and musty. A tortured creaking suggests the opening of a long unused door. The footsteps fade, and your are alone with your undead mother.

You sense her crouching beside your head. No breath brushes your cheeks. This jarring reminder still startles you, although you know that she is dead and has no more need for air.

“Daughter, your friends will come for you. Perhaps they will find this place, perhaps not. It does not matter. I can find them. We will both discover how much they care for you. Whether they value your life more than a few ancient baubles.” Her voice grows fainter as she rises to stand. You strain your hearing to catch the next words. “Your death will not be an end. It will be a beginning.”

Your bindings have not loosened, but you can now open your mouth. You gulp in the stale air.

You gasp a reply. “Why are you doing this? You are not an evil person! Free me and I will have you brought back so we can be together again. I lost you at such a young age… I’m sure Jada and Milo would love to spend time with you also…”

A wisp of air rustles your hair. Your eyes open. In the dim ambient light, you see your mother’s palm move across your face. Her features briefly contort with pain, though the moment passes so fast that it might be a trick of the shadows. Were she alive, you are sure that your mother would sigh. But those emotional cues vanished in death, and you grasp for meaning in her stony demeanor.

“Daughter… Those times have passed. We must accept this. That time was brief, and I loved life. But this time will be much longer, and I am learning to love it as well. With you at my side, our service will be glorious. And perhaps we can aspire to even more…”

She backs up and steps through the door. One hand grips the thick iron ring that will draw it shut. The other twitches in an indecipherable gesture, as if she wanted to reach for you then jerked the hand back. “The Harlass Orn built this place well, and for a purpose. In a while your bonds will dissipate. But your spells will not function here. I urge you to rest. The wait may be long.”

The door protests as it yields to her pull. A thunderous click echoes through the room and rattles your teeth. Seconds accumulate into minutes, and you have yet to discern movement beyond the door. Does she wait for some final plea or confession? Or does your mother have misgivings herself? Regardless, if she spoke true, all you have left is faith that the Band will not abandon you.

You strain to hear movement or voices from the other side of the door. Frustrated and nearly frantic, you stridently call out, “Mother, you are not evil!” The walls resonate with the words. You are unsure for how long.

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