December 15th, 2017

dungeons & discourse // no. 1, saltwater.

[I've decided to write a series of short fiction pieces about my D&D 5e character, Osiria Lunamond and her ongoing adventure. She's a wood elf beastmaster-ranger from the island of Evermeet. Her animal companions are two sibling blood hawks: Artemis & Archimedes. She tends to wear a cloak to conceal her oddly toned white & blue hair. She has a talent for pan-flute, naturalist illustrations, tracking, and distrusting pretty much everyone. So, that's what this is.]

Osiria woke, disoriented, from her meditative rest. She quickly scanned the room, her hand automatically grasping for the curved dagger at her waist. Ah yes, the cabin. Nothing more threatening than Roondar’s throaty snores. As she rose, her limbs stiff with cold, discarded snippets of the night prior returned to her, winding their way into the waking ephemera of her mind.

Fire, she recalled mostly fire — it lapped hungrily at the corners of her memory. And yet, she shivered. The hearth had gone out long ago and the entire cabin suffered from a penetrating chill.

“Poor souls, may Ehlenestra bless them,” she murmured, whilst coaxing the soot-covered embers back to life. Had it really only been a few hours since the paladin had discovered the druid’s burned and broken body concealed in this very hearth? The pained cries of his now abandoned owl companion would haunt her sleep for many moons yet, she knew. Its yellow eyes were blinked out into the void, staring, she could hear its low-throated hoots from the tree outside.

The druid [Frogon] whose research had led him to a lost text of the Seven Armies that, in turn, summoned Rozzad himself — well, some form of the long dead commander. Frogon had paid the ultimate price for his curiosity. Osiria acknowledged that party had been luckier, but only slightly. The purifying purge of fire had blotted out the remaining evil and destroyed the remnants of that demonic text. So, at least it wouldn’t happen again. A small comfort.

She assessed her body. There were no obvious injuries, but she was sticky with both sweat and the wight’s decay. It was enough to make any elf cringe. (Wood elves, though creatures of nature, are still quite fastidious about their cleanliness).

The others slept on. The dwarf barbarian, Roondar, had collapsed in a gory heap on the only bed and his snores echoed even into her dreams; the paladin, Heph (short for… something, she didn’t remember) was curled around Rozzad’s armor in a charred circle (sleeping in the decay of her vanquished enemies wasn’t Osiria’s personal style); and Duma, that desert peacock, was sprawled out nearby on a furred rug, shirtless (of course, which increasingly seemed to be his natural state).

She sighed. How she’d ended up in this mess was beyond her. Her penchant for travel had set her on that wayward merchant vessel, headed toward the frigid south, her mediocre talent for pan flute paid her way. Apparently they were quite desperate for both entertainment and anyone willing to make the journey. However, this trip had brought on quite a lot of trouble. Her scowl reformed into a small smile at the recollection of her wayward fishing trip on a dwarven vessel. Who knew dwarves could float? She earned a coral crown, a small pouch of gold, and, she liked to think, a bit of local respect. That monster of a fish had put up a fight and she had honestly enjoyed preening, but only for a moment.

What would Alistair have thought of this place? No, she pushed the thought away.

Osiria cast aside her cloak, letting her mass of snowy hair tumble down her back. A blueish tint threaded itself throughout each strand and it was dredlocked in places, but she no longer tried to rake a comb through it. Instead, she piled it up into a ridiculously large top knot and,  impulsively, added a few of the speckled owl’s discarded feathers to join Artemis and Archimedes own. Her hair, more often than not a treasure trove of naturalist totems.

She walked out into the frigid air and splashed lukewarm water over herself. She heard Artemis’ call from a nearby branch.

“I don’t have any food for you, my dear. We will have to hunt once the sun rises.”

Another soft chwirk.

“You wouldn’t happen to know where your brother is, would you?”

Silence.

“That’s what I thought.”

Thoroughly cleaned, she re-donned her cloak, pulling the hood protectively over her hair and headed back inside. After some rummaging, she found a wheel of hard cheese, rye bread and some dried meats (she immediately tossed some out into the dawn to both birds, knowing the owl’s hunger would overcome his hesitance). She also unearthed a cask of honey wine, something that smelled like… mushroom wine? And several glass-stoppered jars of herbal tea. While the others slept, Osiria relished the silence and filled a cask with the earthier wine, its heady, peaty aroma filling her nose. A little something for later, perhaps.

The tea was brewed, fire re-ignited, bread sliced, and she herself was looking not too worse for wear — despite the previous night’s fiasco — by the time the others joined her.

The dwarf and the paladin, still in his armor, lurched about performing morning ablutions — though not as thoroughly as her, she noted. Duma sprung up to show everyone that he could do bare-chested sit ups, the dwarf almost stepped on him coming out of the sleeping loft.

She inwardly sighed, it was only a few hours time before the boat bearing them to Frost Haven was scheduled to depart and she was anxious to be on the way.

Finally, they departed.

Osiria led the party onward toward the lighthouse they had glimpsed from their cabin’s elevated perch. The forest was dense with strange, white birch trees and plants that couldn’t possibly grow anywhere else, their swollen leaves reaching desperately out of the snow. Wildlife was plentiful, she noticed wolf tracks as well as smaller rabbit and squirrel markings. She recognized some of the strange flora as notes from the druid’s journals and picked a few leaves to examine later.However dense the trees became, with Artemis’ keen sight and her own knowledge, Osiria cut through the forest like a dagger, quick, never faltering, never questioning — allowing her instinct to guide her.

The others tried to keep up, to match her step for step, but they tired after a fashion. To be honest, she wasn’t wholly aware of them — her only awareness was of the biting cold breeze on her face and saltwater stinging her lips. The forest was always a welcome home. and her lungs burned with the renewed vigor.

She let Artemis hunt while she foraged. Together they acquired a pound of edible mushrooms and a squirrel. Duma and the paladin decided to go off on a hunting excursion as well and, while she waited, she crouched ever lower, surveying the landscape. With Roondar’s spy glass, they ascertained a small shack approximately a mile further. How had they not spotted it before? A small dock tapered off into the dark, icy ocean, obscured by flotsam at it’s endpoint.

A boat, a boat, a boat… the ceaseless hope beat in time with her own heart.

  • Oh, lady, I don’t know anything D&D, but this was a fun read & I look forward to reading more of this story.