And I Dub Thee Unforgiven
Seline chanted quickly as the large man charged
towards her, tossing a piece of butter on the ground between them. The butter
expanded into a large puddle of grease into which the man stepped, slipping and
falling flat on his face. As the man tried to get to his feet, Seline walked up
to him. She spread her hands out in front of his face, her thumbs touching, as
she chanted another spell. Her hands burst into flame, igniting the man’s face
and causing him to scream in pain before he fell dead.
Taking a deep breath, Seline looked around at
her companions. They were all battered and exhausted from a long night of
battle, but they’d survived. That was a relief to Seline, but she was still
worried about Airk.
Trendin heard the faint sounds of battle from his
cell, and wondered if it meant his family’s salvation or doom. He recalled
Kalrek saying how he and his family were acting as bait for another of Kalrek’s
old “friends”, and wondered if the sounds of battle were related to it.
The sounds of battle eventually fell away, and everything
was silent for several long minutes. Finally, Trendin heard his cell being
flung open. Rising in surprise, Trendin was surprised to see a large Flan human
coming towards him. The Flan man carried a ring of keys in one hand, and in the
other he carried a large, bloodstained sword. Trendin was struck by the
weariness on the man’s face, and the many cuts and wounds on his body. The
man’s armor was marked with blood as well, and Trendin suspected that much of
that blood was the man’s own.
Trendin and the man locked stares for a long
moment, before Trendin spoke.
“You’re a deliverer for my family and I, are
you not?” Trendin said. “If you are, you have my thanks.”
“And glad to receive it,” the man said, setting
down his sword and kneeling to unlock Trendin’s shackles. “My name is Revafour,
of the Company of the Silver Wolf.”
“Company of the Silver Wolf?” Trendin asked in
surprise as he followed Revafour out of the cell. “Were you hired by my father to
rescue us? Or did Kalrek cross you as well?”
Revafour didn’t answer, and the disturbed look
that crossed his face caught Trendin completely by surprise.
“It’s a simple question,” Trendin said. “Which
of them is it?”
Revafour still didn’t answer, and even the
sight of his mother and sisters coming down the hall accompanied by Weimar and
Luna did little to reduce the concern Trendin began to feel.
Once the companions freed Trendin and his
family, they assembled the rest of Kalrek’s servants, the various accountants
and researchers who managed the plunder Kalrek’s raiders brought in and
researched where the Crown of Arumdina might be. The servants knew better than
to try and confront the companions, and they quickly helped the companions free
the slaves and other prisoners Kalrek kept trapped. They also revealed the
large collection of potions and spell scrolls Kalrek kept. The potion
collection included a number of healing potions which brought welcome relief to
the companions and many of the prisoners.
Finally, the companions gathered everyone in
the wide chamber that once served as a residential area. Besides the companions
themselves, Laessar’s family, the other prisoners the companions freed, and all
of Kalrek’s servants were there. The companions and Laessar’s family were at
the center of the assembly. Airk and Trendin stood at the head of their
respective groups, staring intently at one another.
“You’ve done us all a great service,” Trendin
said, smiling gratefully at Airk. “We can’t thank you enough for-“
“You thank me too much,” Airk said, shaking his
head as a solemn look crossed his face. “I’m only making amends for all my
“…What do you mean?” Trendin asked in surprise.
“I caused the deaths of all my fellow gnomes
during the Hateful Wars,” Airk said. “I failed to anticipate Kalrek’s treason.
And the blood of one of the noblest gnomes I’ve ever known is on my hands,
blood that came from my trying to force the location of Kalrek’s lair from his
lips. My rage got the better of me, and I caused Laessar Bradon’s death.”
Trendin turned ashen pale, as his mother and
sisters staggered behind him. They stood still for several seconds as the awful
truth dawned on them.
Finally, Trendin came forward and punched Airk
viciously in the face, knocking him flat on his back. As Airk began to rise to
his feet, Trendin punched him again, knocking Airk back down.
Trendin reached out as Airk began to rise
again, putting his hands around the older gnome’s throat. He was about to
strangle Airk when he looked into the older gnome’s eyes. The look in Airk’s
eyes reminded Trendin of one he’d seen in his father more than once, when
Laessar would sit alone in his study for hours at a time, refusing to speak to
anyone who tried to disturb him. Trendin also noticed that Airk made no effort
to defend himself, even with Trendin’s hands around his throat.
Releasing Airk’s throat, Trendin turned his
gaze up towards Luna.
“You, do you have the power to revive Laessar?”
“No, I don’t,” Luna said, shaking her head.
“There may be another means-if Copper Crossing had a priest powerful enough to
“It doesn’t,” Trendin said, shaking his head,
before he looked back down at Airk.
“Pray, for your sake, that she finds a way,” he
The next four days were busy ones for the
companions and the prisoners they’d freed. Luna treated the injuries her
friends and many of the prisoners suffered. Kalrek’s servants gave up all the
information they’d been able to gather about the Crown of Arumdina’s
whereabouts. The prisoners told the companions where they had been taken from,
so that they could be returned home. The companions slew those of Kalrek’s
minions who returned to the complex. The companions, the prisoners and the
servants stripped the complex of all its food and riches for the return to
Things became even busier for the companions
when they and everyone else with them returned to Copper Crossing. Kalrek’s servants
were turned over to Copper Crossing’s city watch, while the companions found
temporary lodgings for Kalrek’s prisoners and began sorting through the truly
staggering amount of monetary treasure Kalrek had gathered, as well as his
collection of potions and spell scrolls.
Among Kalrek’s spell scrolls, Luna found one of
clerical magic that contained a spell to resurrect the dead. Such magic was
always a tentative thing, but Luna knew she had to try. After the companions
and Trendin’s family had dealt with Kalrek’s prisoners and servants, they
gathered in the library of the Bradon manor, with Laessar’s body kept
reverently in state before them. Luna looked from Laessar’s body to the living
people around her, before she took a deep breath and began to read the scroll
containing the resurrection spell.
Luna felt the divine power filling her mind as
it attempted to make her its vessel. She focused her mind on the power, making
sure to keep a tight grip on it. That focus was important when reading a spell
from a scroll. If the caster was not innately powerful enough to cast the spell
on their own, it might fail or even turn back on them.
Give me your strength,
Pelor, Luna prayed
fervently as she continued to chant. Help
me help Laessar, help heal the pain his family has suffered…
Pelor answered Luna’s prayer as the spell fully
embraced her. She realized that it would not turn on her, and would go where
she directed it.
Laessar’s body began to glow as the
resurrection spell began its work. His eyes began to flicker, opening and
closing even as the wound in his neck began to close.
Finally, with the last syllable, Luna released
the spell’s power, channeling all of it into Laessar. The glow surrounding
Laessar’s body vanished in a flash before he began raising himself up on his
Then, with a sudden gasp, he collapsed once
more, the life gone out of him entirely.
Trendin gasped in horror as his mother and sisters
cried out in despair. Airk stared at Laessar’s body while the rest of Luna’s
companions glanced at one another, realizing what had happened. Luna felt weak
in the knees as she realized her failure, and she would have collapsed if
Ma’non’go hadn’t caught her.
“What happened?” Trendin said, turning on Luna
with an angry glare. “Damn you woman, why didn’t it work?”
Tears streaked down Luna’s face as Ma’non’go
looked with concern at her, and with anger at Trendin.
“I asked you a question!” Trendin repeated, his
voice rising to an angry shout. He started to advance on Luna, but Airk stepped
between them. Trendin’s eyes blazed with anger as he threw a punch at Airk, but
Airk easily caught it.
“Resurrection magic is an uncertain thing,”
Airk said, as Trendin stared back at him. “The shock of being revived can be
dangerous for its recipient. They don’t always survive that.”
“You…all of you…Trendin muttered. “Laessar’s
blood is on all your hands!”
“Not on theirs,” Airk said, shaking his head.
“On mine. My friends have only come this far with me because they are my
friends. They don’t deserve your curses and hate-focus them on someone who actually
“So you have my hate and my curses,” Trendin
said. “What does that mean?”
“Whatever you want it to,” Airk said. “If you
want me to face trial in Copper Crossing, I will. If you want me to go into the
depths of the oerth alone and never return, I will. If you want to kill me in
return, then you can take the morning star that ended Kalrek’s life and use it
to complete the circle. My companions won’t take any vengeance on you, since
whatever happens, gnomish justice will be served.”
Trendin stared at Airk, who awaited his
judgement. He looked back at his mother and sisters, and thought of all of
Kalrek’s other victims. He then looked past Airk to the latter’s human and
halfling companions, who’d faced fire and steel to rescue him and his loved
Then he looked back at Airk. Again, Trendin saw
the haunted look in Airk’s eyes that reminded him so much of the look he’d seen
in Laessar’s eyes during Laessar’s bouts of melancholy.