Rage boiled within Ma’non’go at that realization. He’d had a bad feeling ever since he’d seen those human bodies in the Glimmering Hall. The story the duke’s journal told of how the Hall was betrayed reminded him of everything he’d suffered back in Hepmonaland.
He’d lost one family due to that betrayal. Now he was on the verge of losing his second family to it, seemingly powerless to prevent it.
Finding My Voice
Besides giving clues to opening the treasure vault, the
dwarven duke’s journal also told the companions how to find his family’s escape
route. It turned out to be a magical one-way portal that transported its users
to a nondescript building in the Hall’s commercial district. The building was a
short march both from the entrance hall and from some of the merchants’ tunnels
leading further into the underground wilderness. The portal’s users could
either flee to the surface or deeper into the underground.
Using the portal allowed the companions to easily leave the
Glimmering Hall, closing its doors behind them to keep its undead inhabitants
sealed. They planned to travel east to the Road of Tears, a north-south pass
that connected Veluna and the Duchy of Ulek. Once they reached the Road, they’d
travel north to the Velunese town of Vala Real.
“Tell me why, again, you wanted to visit Veluna so badly?”
Revafour asked Luna as the companions walked down a valley trail, a pure
mountain stream flowing merrily alongside them.
“I’ve always wanted to see what I could learn from the
wisdom of Rao,” Luna said. “My heart belongs to Pelor, but he’d want me to learn
what I can from other faiths. Pelor’s light shines equally on all of us, and we
all deserve a chance to be heard. Our church believes it’s a sin to enforce one
set of beliefs too rigidly. We should seek out new experiences when we can.”
Revafour chuckled at the enthusiasm he saw in Luna’s eyes as
she spoke. He was happy to visit Veluna too. Of all the states the Oeridians
and Sueloise founded after the Great Migrations, it was perhaps Veluna that
showed the most justice and respect to the native Flan. Many of the Flan’s
traditional spiritual rites and ceremonies existed comfortably alongside the
Raoans’ religious practices. Revafour was eager to see how it worked in
“We’ll likely get a good price for the gems and jewelry we
found in the Hall, too,” Revafour said. “Airk told me they were probably worth about
two thousand ducats worth each, on average.”
“Ducats?” Luna said. “That’s the Great Kingdom’s old gold
“It’s also Tenh’s,” Revafour said. The Duchy of Tenh was his
homeland, one of the few lands in the Flanaess where the Flan were a majority.
“And Tenh refers to its platinum pieces as magnuses too?”
Luna said, astonished. Before the Great Kingdom of Aerdy was taken over by the
Ivid Overkings, it referred to its platinum and gold coins as magnuses and
ducats. When Tenh was ruled by the Great Kingdom of Aerdy, it had to use its
“Yes, we do,” Revafour said, scowling. “Let me guess-you
thought we were so backward we couldn’t adopt a new currency? Did you think we’d
use platinum eagles and gold buffaloes?”
Luna paled at that, shaking her head vigorously.
“Of course not!” she said. “I’m so sorry, I-“
She fell silent as Revafour grinned teasingly.
“I’m the one who should be sorry,” he said. “I just couldn’t
resist. When we freed ourselves from the Aerdi’s rule, we decided to keep the old
currency. There wasn’t much point in changing it, not when most of us weren’t
all that concerned with wealth. If other countries still wanted coins in
trading with us, we decided to keep what everyone was familiar with.”
Luna scowled back at Revafour, but there were hints of a
smile on her lips as she swatted him playfully on the arm. They both laughed,
reveling in the sunshine, the beauty of the mountain valley, and the birdsong
that started to echo through the morning air.
Soon, the singing started to fill Luna’s body with a numbing
sensation and her mind with a foglike somnolence. She suddenly realized the
singing she heard wasn’t coming from any bird. The trees on the other side of
the stream suddenly rustled as the singing creatures burst out of hiding, murder
in their eyes.
The creatures had the heads, upper torsos and arms of ugly haglike
women and the lower torsos and legs of eagles, as birdlike wings sprouted from
their backs. Those wings carried them over the stream towards the companions, eager
to use the swords and spiked clubs they carried to slaughter their prey. They
looked filthy and repulsive, but they sang with an otherworldly beauty. Their
songs were so enchanting, in fact, that listeners were often completely
mesmerized. The listeners were easy prey for the creatures, who ripped them
apart while they stood enthralled.
The creatures were harpies, and Luna realized just how much
trouble she and her friends were in. A dozen of the foul things streaked at the
companions, all of them singing together. Their combined power was almost
Weimar was the first of the companions to react. He had his
bow in his hands almost immediately, and he quickly shot off two arrows. His
first shot missed its target, and his second merely grazed the leg of the harpy
he shot at. The harpies’ song sapped his will almost immediately, and he soon
dropped his bow, completely entranced.
Seline retrieved the components for a lightning bolt spell
as soon as she recognized the harpies, and she quickly cast the spell as the monsters
approached. The bolt blasted through one harpy and struck a second one dead on,
felling them both on the spot, but the rest of the harpies scattered and
continued singing. Amyalla and Revafour each felled another harpy with their
sling and bow, but the monsters’ singing soon entranced Amyalla.
Shouting in anger, Revafour fired another arrow at one of
the harpies, but she easily dodged it as she swooped down towards him. He leapt
back, startled by the harpy’s sudden descent, dropping his bow as he tried to
draw his sword and counter the harpy’s blow. He was off balance as he struggled
against the harpies’ song, and the harpy easily swooped past him. She tore a
deep gash in his right arm, leading him to cry out in pain.
Luna cursed to herself as she focused to try and cast a
spell. She hadn’t prepared any spells that could silence the harpies. She tried
to summon a magical mace to crush the harpies, but her spell was lost as the harpies’
song overtook her too. She dropped her shield and stood mutely, lost in the
Seline blasted two harpies with a flurry of magical bolts, killing
one, but the second harpy kept coming to slash her arm and shoulder. She was
about to cast another spell, but soon the harpies’ music entranced her too.
Airk crushed the skull of the harpy that swooped down at him
with his morning star. He chased off another harpy that landed to attack
Weimar, but he knew the companions were in serious trouble. He, Revafour and
Ma’non’go were the only ones still able to fight, but half the harpies still lived.
It was all Airk could do to fight the influence of the harpies’ songs, and soon
Revafour succumbed to it. Tricked into dropping his bow by the harpy’s coming
down at him, Revafour couldn’t get back to it in time to avoid being entranced.
Three of the harpies attacked Airk from every direction, and
it was all he could do to fend them off. He blocked one harpy’s attack with his
shield, but another harpy struck him in the head with her club, and a third tore
a long gash down his back with her sword.
Ma’non’go killed the first harpy that attacked him, but the
second one was more skilled. He thrust and parried against her, but he saw that
most of his friends had succumbed to the harpies’ deadly song. The only one who
hadn’t was Airk, and he was struggling against three of the creatures.
Rage boiled within Ma’non’go at that realization. He’d had a
bad feeling ever since he’d seen those human bodies in the Glimmering Hall. The
story the duke’s journal told of how the Hall was betrayed reminded him of everything
he’d suffered back in Hepmonaland.
He’d lost one family due to that betrayal. Now he was on the
verge of losing his second family to it, seemingly powerless to prevent it.
His anger finally exploded, as he screamed out loud.
The harpy he was fighting briefly let up her attack,
startled by his cry. Ma’non’go screamed again as he ran her through with his
trident. Another harpy came flying at him from the right, but he turned and
held out his trident. The harpy screeched in horror, unable to stop herself
before she impaled herself on it.
Planting his foot firmly to tear his weapon free, Ma’non’go
turned to run and help Airk. One of the harpies, distracted by Ma’non’go’s
approach, had her throat gouged open by Airk’s morning star. The last two
harpies tried to fly away, but Ma’non’go ripped through the wings of one of
them, causing her to scream in agony. As the last harpy rose into the air, Ma’non’go
threw his trident at her. The trident hit the harpy in the back and knocked her
back down to the ground. As the harpy thrashed in pain, Ma’non’go pulled his
trident out of her back and thrust it in again deeper, putting her out of her
Instinct drove Airk to kill the last harpy whose wings
Ma’non’go raked. As the adrenaline of battle faded, though, it was replaced by
his utter shock at the realization that Ma’non’go had just spoken out loud.
The rest of the companions were broken out of their trances
by Ma’non’go’s scream. It took some time before the trance’s effects wore off
and they could move again, but they all heard Ma’non’go’s cry and saw him help
Airk finish off the harpies.
Ma’non’go’s gaze shifted to each of his friends in turn. He
was just as shocked as them, scarcely able to believe what just happened.
“I…can…” he said.
Dropping his trident, Ma’non’go sank to his knees and put
his face in his hands. Tears flowed down his cheeks as his friends came to