You have been taken by the Mists

Author Topic: The Passage of Time  (Read 143 times)


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The Passage of Time
« on: January 09, 2021, 03:51:32 PM »
Of course I know that demons exist, filling up their nine Hells and some times spilling out to trouble the mortal realm. It was one of the first stories my mother used to scare me with as a child, more than fifty winters ago. Even here, I've heard they crawl in some far off desert where they jealously guard fallen lumps of sky metal, and that some years back a pack of them attacked Vallaki, burning down the Lady's Rest in the fighting. The girl told us one of the fiends was down below the temple, menacing her brother and so we prepared as best we could for it, it wasn't a surprise. It shouldn't have been. I know all this, and yet to see it with my own two eyes...

Not a day goes by that I don't wonder what it is I'm doing here, did the mists have a reason for snatching me when they did? Idle thoughts, and so far they haven't stopped me from placing one step after the other, but the journey is becoming increasingly bewildering, with no signs of things getting any better. Though I suppose I was walking to my grave, so who am I to complain? Could very well have refused the militia draft on account of old age, and no one would have blamed me. But I couldn't stand the thought of another winter in the house, so empty for so very long. Athaulf, my old folks named me. Father of wolves. Their way of blessing me, I suppose, with their hopes and dreams. It was not to be.

With the old maille poorly fitting and the best sword our smith could hammer out on short notice, I was on my way. Nothing close to the blades of legend, after all the man mostly deals in horse shoes and barrels, but decent enough for my means and ends. It was along the way to the mustering grounds that the mists fell and I lost my way, turned around in a fog which barely let me see a step in front of my own nose. I imagine I must have passed out somehow though I do not remember laying down, for the next thing I knew I was by what I now know is a Vistani camp, nursing a splitting headache. I remember the early days as a jumble of impressions, having to quickly get used to so many new things, and Gods only know where I would have ended up had the first few folk I ran into not been decent and kind. It hurts to think that one of them no longer remembers me, more so than I would have thought. And what has become of me? Some days it is difficult to trace how I've changed, other days it startles me. Earlier today a near-panicked girl caught me on the road, asking for aid for her fallen friends in a nearby cave. Turns out they'd run into hobgoblins, big ones too. One of them spotted me on entry and rushed with a war cry, but just as he was about to come within measure, I saw fear overtake him, and he ran for dear life. Was it the demon's scent he caught still clinging to me from the night before? Wolves have been avoiding me as well.

We met the brother down in the crypts, alive and well. I'd seen him before, one of the folks that serve in the Morninglord's temple in the outskirts. With him in tow we rushed towards where the demon was, and it was like a haze fell over my eyes when I saw those horns, those massive wings...

Some days are slow, uneventful, with little more than the rain for company. I complain about it, but it is for its own sake. How could anything in this land compare to the stillness of the past twenty winters, stuck in the mud and barely looking forward to more than the meal after a day's work? Were-beasts, necromancers and death knights, shades and vampires, mountains shaking, news of dragons somewhere far away - how could any this ever become so normal that it could be boring?

It seems that I'm easy to talk to, and it's not like I have to pretend to be interested in others either, not when everyone has such wild tales to tell. That has helped me get more or less settled in, here in the outskirts of Vallaki, and venturing out towards the mists. Made plenty of acquaintances, more than I can even remember some times. Good people, for the most part, or at least that's how it seems to me. Some of them important, well connected. Some I would even call friends. That empty, numb feeling seems to have loosened its grip on me somewhat, though if that is to be for good or simply the shock of it all still lingering, only time will tell. Time? How much of it do I even have left, in this land where danger lurks behind every corner. In some ways I feel like I'm playing at a young man again, but it is also true that last I remember being in this good a shape was a lifetime ago... It will be what will be, I suppose, and it is for the Lord of the Dead to be sorting the rest afterwards. I can't imagine it will be too long either way, the way my blood boils some times and I just can't help myself being reckless. Foolish even.

I swung for it with my newly made poleax but before the blade could rend its flesh, the fiend snatched it right out of my hands. I could swear that it was laughing at me. I always carry a spare - the first sword I got in these lands, treated with silver, and on any other day I would have drawn that to continue the fight. Instead, what I ended up doing was swinging at the thing with my bare fists, and even this I had to be told after the fact, for I did not understand it as it was happening. Neither that, nor that a second demon had joined its brother, not until both lay dead on the floor in pools of their own cursed blood. And all I felt gazing at that grisly sight was a deep, grim satisfaction, before wrenching my lost weapon free.