(a lock of Devra’s hair, a leaf she stepped on)
She seemed to be Andruil reborn. Who would have imagined such grace would be among the ranks of the Templar? Who would have imagined what I would come to do in order to fall into her good graces? Who could know about the betrayals, the intrigue, and overlying incredulity of events coming to pass as they have?
Upon our exit of the Deep Roads we found ourselves near the town of Redcliff. Here we took a small reprieve on our way back to the Mages’ Collective. We are beset by some assassins. I was asleep at the time, but it seems they were sent to slay us and take the Anvil. I happen across Devra in the woods. We stalk one another, dancing as only shadows can, singing to one another a silence as only ghosts know. She makes a mark on me.
In the Mages’ Collective we find ourselves swindled, the Anvil stolen in our sleep. We confronted the mage, our employer, who we suspected of betrayal. We found that it was the Council of the Mages’ Collective at fault and proceeded to plot for the Anvil’s recovery.
The foolhardy Shemlen chose diplomacy in what would obviously lead to their perilous demise. That primal mage always looks to barter for that which he has nothing but cantrips to exchange. I rode in with an entourage of Templars alongside my dear Devra. We swept asunder the party assailing two of my compatriots at the Council gates and proceeded towards the inner chambers.
Fearsome battle; by sword and spell. In the aftermath, our human apostates were nowhere to be found, having made their escape with the arrival of the Templars. The Templars in turn chose to bide their time and slay us all, retreating to gather their forces for a full on assault on the Collective. It came down to two rogues and fighters, blades and arrows ready against the might of the assembled Council, their fearsome magicks, and powerful mercenaries. By arrow and steel, we struck them and their magical constructs down. But not before one of our own was mortally wounded by a hellish demon of rage that was the summon of one of the Council mages.
By blood and alcohol did I revive him. Borrif. Friend. Dwarf. Nearly dead myself, by some unknown knowledge and energies that I felt course through my veins I imparted life once again to my comrade. He lives.
Discovered Reeds’ journal and the corpses of the members of the Council that had retreated from battle earlier. Witnessed a magnificent and awesome rune, transcribed the rune into Reeds’ journal with masterful illustrative accuracy. Our party, divided. The human apostates unknown, and the lot of us suffering grievous wounds: our way is that to escape and survive. Regret starts to well in my heart at having led Devra, and more specifically her lot, here.
Silent steel into my heart. Devra betrays us, me. We are at our last stand before the impossible might of the Templars dogging us at each turn in our escape from the Collective.
The primal mage has found his way back into our ranks only just as our dwarf rogue turns tail and flees in our most dire hour. Would have expected more of a dwarf; Shemlen and rogue though he may be. The warriors and mages both pit their might against that of the Templar Captain and my bitter love, Devra. The might of the Knight Commander holds us all in thrall; as if empowered by their Maker himself. Devra’s dagger in hand, caught, straight through my hand. I tear it out, wincing not so much for the keen pain of the exiting blade so much as the treason of affection; this is the maelstrom. Such was my vow. I plunge the dagger into my thigh, seeing death, and taking his likeness by faith in the demonic promise of the obsidian statue.
The draw is easy, my vision pulsing and limned in red, honing in on the Commander’s eyes.
For a moment, we see each other. And we both know.
I let fly.
He knows he is to die.
And I do, too.
He falls. I remember thinking as I collapsed after the release of that arrow, the truest that I’ve ever flown:
“I’ve lost an arrow..”
And then so came the darkness.