March 15th, 2018

dungeons & discourse // no. 4, poison heart.

This is part of an ongoing series: (no. 1, saltwater // no. 2, avian // no. 3, reunion)

The altercation had turned bloody rather quickly, all said. Those blasted bards immediately shape-shifted into giant scorpions, their venomous tails dripping with a chartreuse poison. The more impertinent female half-elf, Trella, had remained in her human form.

Recognizing that the situation had spiraled out of her meager diplomatic control, Osiria commanded Artemis to retreat and climbed atop the caravan housing Archimedes, who was now trilling in agitation. Adrenaline, coupled with her proximity to the forest’s treeline, caused the green magic to flow through her more freely. Barely needing to command it, a mere mutter sufficed, a mote of brambles sprang from the earth to encircle the caravan, viciously entangling the first scorpion’s many legs.

Osiria reared back and let her arrows fly — they struck true; but the scorpion found its mark as well — in her back. She cried out in white-hot pain as the stinger disengaged from her flesh, leaving an oozing wound in its wake. Poisoned and dazed, she struggled to maintain control of her senses as the battle continued around her.

Luckily, Hephaestus, and his paladin’s flail, struck down one of the scorpions. Both arachnids shifted back into their original form and, less formidable with only two legs, began, instead, begging to leave the battlefield with their lives. Trella was bloodied and slipping in and out of consciousness. Normally, Osiria would have victoriously preened a bit, but her own situation was not particularly enviable.

“We knew he was yours…,” one of them conceded in a whisper. He dejectedly handed Osiria the key to Archimedes’ cage.

Despite an overwhelming urge to vomit as the scorpion poison coursed through her, she used her remaining energy to free a visibly shaken and aggressively molting Archimedes.

“Hush, hush, we are together now,” she reassured the raptor.

“You’re hurt,” he pronounced.

“Astutely observed,” she conceded. Another wave of nausea washed over her and she found herself leaning heavily against the metal cage.

“I feel as though, perhaps, it’s worth reminding you that you have a potion of healing in your left pouch. Unless your intent is just to make me feel guilty?”

Osiria chuckled. But it hurt to chuckle. And she woozily fished around in her pouch until her fingers made contact with a small vial containing an ethereal blue liquid. She tipped it forward in a wry toast to Archimedes before downing the entire draught.

“I will be entirely well by nightfall, my heart, I assure you. Now, let’s get you back to the Tooth.” She winced. “Let’s get us both back.”

In the meantime, Duma had begun to pillage items from the gypsy caravans while simultaneously attempting to convince the nomads to steal their booty from the nobility, rather than wandering adventurers.

Osiria would have laughed at the thieving rogue’s attempts to reform a band of brigands, but she was in no mood to be amused and far more interested in Archimedes’ immediate condition. His head was drooping toward his chest and she scooped the large bird up in her arms like a feathered kitten — although he would have cringed at the analogy.

She felt their beast bond breaking, the crackling of disintegrating magic like static electricity ran through her body. Osiria acknowledged that she lacked the requisite energy to cast the spell again, and instead allowed her heightened senses to dull.

Back on the Kraken’s Tooth, two blood hawks supported one another within the aviary’s roost. Osiria managed an assurance from Rocco, the new beastkeeper, that the pair would be safe and looked after before throwing her exhausted body down in her berth — stray arrows, dried mushrooms, and a handful of recently fermented tea leaves fell softly from her many pouches and splayed out on the ground around her like a halo.