A restless sleep eventually yielded to a haunted consciousness. The griefs that chased me in the night, greeted me in the dull gray morning. I mechanically stirred and started my morning studies. I had been caught once without fully preparing my spells. By Master Vontaze, I won’t be caught again.
I lost track of time while I poured the arcane energies into my mind. The sun was up, and the camp stirred when I finally gave up my study. Aimon came into camp, breathless. His eye found me, and as he headed toward me, he anxiously sought Gledrick and Alexey. Once gathered, he told us he had found a feykind in the woods – a brownie, or perhaps a pixie. Gledrick laughed at the idea of a childhood story come to life, but Aimon insisted. We followed him, and sure enough some small creature flew about and babbled quickly about troubles at home. He, or she, or it, begged us to follow and deal with something “most unnatural.”
None of us knew what to expect, but we followed the strange being through the forest. After a short while, I noticed the trees carried more color. The air held more warmth. The earth itself bore more life. I cannot tell what place we entered, but it was no mere wood.
The pixie led us to the calmest place I have ever seen. In the center of the glade was a tight bundle of trees and brush with a door-like opening – his home. He was quite distraught about it, and we soon saw why. A massive swarm of legs and pincers soon poured out the door. There must have been thousands of centipedes, acting as a gigantic, mindful mass. They instantly swarmed over Gledrick and Aimon before we knew what happened. Their howls tore the sweet silence of this beautiful place.
Aimon managed to light a torch, but the affect on the swarm was minuscule. I could barely make out my two friends under the mass of writhing insects and found myself at a loss. How do I attack such a mass? Eventually, I used my arcane link with my ring to cast a ray of frost at the mass. My friends howled even more, but some of the centipedes fell away from the mass. Gledrick yelled something about his nipples chafing on his armor. Dwarves are a strange lot.
Gledrick and Aimon finally broke free and ran from the swarm. They dove through thick brush and scraped off some of the bugs. Alexey, however, became the next victim. He was completely engulfed by legs and pincers and he shrieked with pain. With only one more useful spell readied, I began a familiar chant and sent a greenish orb of acid flying toward Alexey. His shriek sputtered into an awful silence as he fell to the ground…motionless.
It finally happened. I’d actually killed one of my friends. I knew it was only a matter of time.
The bugs continued to writhe over Alexey, feasting on his limp body. I stood stunned at my gaff. Aimon gathered himself and swept a torch over some of the remaining bugs. Gledrick lit his blanket on fire and dragged it over the swarm. My two companions had finished off the swarm, as I stood and watched. How can they trust me any more? I failed them all.
Aimon brushed the remaining centipedes from Alexey, stomping the few with enough life to pose a threat. The rogue had no color in his face, except some scarlet splotches where my acid siphoned his life away. With healing kit in hand, Aimon worked on Alexey and soon his breathing was visible again. Saved. I believed I had been saved as much as Alexey.
The next few minutes were very strange. The pixie buzzed around happily, chattering and bouncing through the air. He gave an intricately carved bow to Aimon. I took a close look, but none of the carvings meant anything to me. Even more strangely, the pixie gave a torn piece of paper to Aimon, and it nearly brought the elf to tears. He told us it was a page from his mother’s journal. It must be 60 years old, a mere childhood to an elf, but I had only half so many years myself.
The pixie also gave me what looks like a wand. Master Vontaze taught me about these, but I had never seen one. There are many markings on it, and I know some of them must tell about the type of wand, and the casting word. Who knows what else I may find when I research it. I’m intrigued and cannot wait to get back to the library. I have much to do.
Aimon had a chance to look at the burrows made my the centipedes and described them as unnatural and driven. Strange words to describe insects in a forest. What could drive them? Why here? It brings to mind the unnatural and timely events in Andor’s cabin. Could there be a link? We have too many disparate clues and no means of tying them together.
As we left for the camp, Aimon and I watched closely to see how the fey world dissolved into the forest known to us mortals. Although I watched closely, I could never find where the one ended and the other began. Aimon says he saw where it happened. I want to research this as well. There are too many subjects that required a focused mind. I shall spend the next years pulling on these threads of knowledge. Thankfully, I will be too busy for more field work.