You insult my honor with such a question, Ma’non’go’s message read. I am a slave to no man-I protect Luna and Seline because I owe their father a debt for saving my life. And as for why I do not speak with my voice, the reasons are my own and I will not speak of them.
Back And Forth
Luna and her companions
were treated to a delicious meal by their hosts. Most of the companions had
gone out to meet with the villagers of, but Luna had remained at the longhouse
at Meloanne’s request. Now, sitting with Meloanne in a quiet corner, sharing a
flagon of the delicious cider the Flan had served their guests, Luna could only
wonder what Meloanne wanted to ask her.
“Tell me, young lady,”
Melonanne said to Luna, “how did you and your sister learn our language?”
“We used to live
further east,” Luna explained, “and I often worked as an ambassador from the
settled church of Pelor to the independent Flan of those lands. Many of them
tended to live in pueblos and hogans, instead of the longhouses and wigwams
your community uses. How long have your people lived here?” she asked, before
taking another sip of the delicious cider the Flan had served their guests.
“We’ve been here some two centuries,”
Melonanne replied. “We had to leave our previous home after some…difficulties we experienced with other peoples,”
she said, her eyes flashing.
Luna could imagine what
Meloanne was referring to. She was quite familiar with the abuses and betrayals
many Flan had suffered at the hands of the Oeridians and Sueloise who had
settled into the Flanaess. Such betrayals and abuses were all too common even
today, as Luna had seen.
“Fortunately, we’ve enjoyed relative peace
since we came to these lands. The dwarves have respected the treaties we’ve
signed with them, and we’ve dealt well enough with those merchants from
Greyhawk who have earned our trust,” Meloanne finished, calming somewhat.
“Many of the Flan in
the east tend to live further away from other humans,” Luna noted. “That’s
likely because of the greater disruptions the Aerdi caused to the Flan when
they founded the Great Kingdom. Things were never the same for the Flan in that
part of the world after their country of Ahlissa was destroyed by the Aerdi.”
“A pity, to be sure,”
Melonanne sighed. “And yet, how did you come to know of such things? Very few
would take an interest in these matters.”
“I’ve long believed
that, in order to understand the present, we must also understand the past,”
Luna explained. “How past events and decisions lead to the circumstances we see
today, and what we may learn from it. Pelor’s light has shone on it all, and
that’s one reason I joined his clergy. What other mysteries are out there? What
other light can I bring to the world?”
“Suffice to say that’s
not the typical answer I would have received from most adventurers,” Melonanne
“They say you’re an
Olman,” Dennine said to Ma’non’go and Seline as they sat conversing with
several curious villagers in the village’s main commons.
“Why are you here, so
far from home? Are you a slave?” one of the other Flan asked.
“Why don’t you talk?” a
third Flan asked. “You’re not allowed to?”
Seline nearly choked on
her cider at that, but Ma’non’go’s reaction was all the more striking. He stood
up in a fury, casting an enraged glare at the man who’d asked that question,
clenching his fists in anger. The Flan villagers started in surprise, as Seline
place a hand on his arm in an attempt to calm him down. Ma’non’go signed
something to Seline in his hand cant, before he sat down and opened up his
backpack. Pulling out a lump of charcoal and a piece of parchment, he wrote
something down on it before displaying it for their Flan hosts to see.
You insult my honor with such a question, Ma’non’go’s message read. I am a slave to no man-I protect Luna and Seline because I owe their
father a debt for saving my life. And as for why I do not speak with my voice,
the reasons are my own and I will not speak of them.
The Flan villagers all
looked at one another, somewhat shaken and not quite knowing what to make of
Ma’non’go’s angry reaction. Ma’non’go took a deep breath and sat down, taking a
drink of cider to calm himself, although everyone around him could feel his
“So where are you from,
then?” Dennine asked. “Are you Greyhawkers?”
“No, we’re not,” Seline
answered after a moment. “We’re adventurers who’d come to Greyhawk.”
“Yes, but where before
that?” Dennine asked again. “Are you from Nyrond? Sunndi? Somewhere else?”
Instead of answering
the question, Seline began humming a tune, seeming as if she was thinking about
how to reply. Several of the other Flan smiled at Seline’s singing, which was
decidedly pleasant. Everyone felt the tension in the air relax, as a smile
crossed Ma’non’go’s three sons.
“That’s a pretty song,”
a younger Flan boy replied. “Where did you learn it?”
“An elder from another Flan
nation taught it to me,” Seline explained, before she began singing the lyrics.
Her audience was more than a little surprised at the fact that the song was in
the Flan language, although they had never heard it before.
“An elder taught you
that? From what nation?” Dennine asked curiously.
“The Rebballah people
of the Menowood,” Seline grinned. “They were all really friendly, and I learned
a lot of interesting stories from them, too!” she finished brightly.
“Oh, really?” the
younger Flan boy who’d asked her where she’d learned the song spoke up. “Like
what? Can you tell us one?”
“Sure,” Seline grinned,
reverting to the Flan language as she told them the story of the grand chief’s
three sons and their quest for the eagle’s blessing. The younger children in
the group gathered around, eager to listen to her tale, and it didn’t take long
for the adults to join in as well.
It had been a long,
punishing day for Revafour and his friends, following the trail of the caravan
that had kidnapped the children. The sun beat down on them, causing Airk and
Revafour no small amount of discomfort in their heavy armor. The companions
could feel a sense of foreboding all around them, of hopelessness and worry
that they might not make it in time. All they could do was press on, hoping
that they would not be too late. Eventually, however, as the sun grew low in
the west they were forced to stop for the night.
“There’s a dwarven
village we might be able to find rest at,” Amyalla noted, pointing it out on
the map of the Cairn Hills she had purchased from the Greyhawk Cartographers’
Guild before they’d left the city. “Maybe we could-“
“No!” Airk insisted
coldly, his eyes flashing. “We’re not staying there!”
“It’s not that far,”
“No,” Airk repeated, in
a voice that brooked no argument. “We camp, or we press on. What’s it going to
It didn’t take long for
the veteran adventurers to find a suitable place to set up camp, or to get a
fire going. In the shelter of a small wooded clearing, Airk and Amyalla sat
next to one another at the fire, preparing a meal while Revafour went to stare
out at the sunset, sitting on a large, flat rock that made a natural chair.
“You really had that
many problems with the dwarves?” Amyalla asked her gnome friend softly, her
words lacking their usual wry tone. “Was it really that bad?”
“I lost a lot of loved
ones in the Hateful Wars,” Airk replied coldly, staring intensely into the
flames. “Flinthold shed so much of its blood, and lost so many of its youth,
that it’s never truly recovered. It’d have been one thing if our losses came
just from the orcs and goblins, but to be betrayed by our supposed allies was
another thing altogether. I imagine Revafour’s known some of the same problems,
considering what the Flan have endured since the Oeridians and the Suel came to
these lands,” he muttered.
“It wouldn’t surprise
me,” Amyalla sighed, before she noticed that the stew they had been preparing
was ready. Spooning it into three bowls, she handed one bowl to Airk before
they walked over to Revafour. To their surprise, they saw that the larger man
was painting on a piece of parchment. The image he was drawing reflected the
sunset they saw before them, which shone beautifully over the Cairn Hills and
brightened the mood they felt. Revafour looked up at his smaller companions as
they approached, gratefully accepting the bowl of stew Amyalla offered him. The
three companions ate in silence for several minutes, before Amyalla picked up
the painted picture Revafour was working on.
“This is beautiful,”
the halfling breathed, surprised at the skill Revafour had put into the
drawing. “How long have you done this?”
“Long enough,” Revafour
half-smiled his appreciation. “My father taught me how to do it. He insisted
that it was important to learn to respect and appreciate the Oerth, and he said
that art was one of the best ways to do it. I also learned how to do scrimshaw
and wood sculpture from Quendamak-it was really popular with the southern
traders who would sometimes come to Blackmoor.”
“You capture the
sunlight well,” Airk remarked. “It’s…yes…” the gnome sighed, seeming to forget
his anger as he basked in the setting sun.
“Are you alright?”
Revafour asked in surprise.
replied with a smile. “The sunset just gives me memories of home. I spent a lot
of evenings aboveground in my youth, enjoying scenes like these. My brothers
would always mock me for being too elven for my own good.”
“And why would that be
a bad thing?” Revafour asked with a thin smile.
“It wouldn’t,” Airk
replied with a smirk. “Besides, we never got to enjoy the breezes underground.”
They sat in silence for
a few moments, before Airk spoke again.
“I have to admit that
there’s another reason I wanted us to camp out,” the gnome admitted. “If we
were staying at the dwarven village, we’d have never been able to enjoy this
sunset, or the stars of the night.”
“Always a beautiful
sight,” Revafour agreed.
“To be sure, although
there is one greater pleasure,” Amyalla replied.
“And what’s that?” Airk
asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Being able to share
the sight with two handsome men,” the halfling tittered.
Airk and Revafour only
smiled at that.