Episode Fourty-Two: The Chornicles of Klarn: The Emerging Darkness ( 12/20/06)
[Featuring Jack, Lu Fang, Hal, Seren-Arty]
Chronicles of Klarn
(In the words of Jack)
So we were able to use the monks’ gate to get down to the mainland. From there we quickly headed for the expanding darkness.
We stopped for lunch and Hal grumbled something about still being uncomfortable with evil giants travelling with us. Realizing that it would be in all our best interests if we cleared the air in that matter I started an introduction.
"Friend, Ominous, is it not? I think we should get to know each other a little better while we engage in this delightful repast that you have prepared for us. Given that the Lords gave us the quest and asked and/or suggested that we include you in our company it is only right that we start." The gnome looked up from a half eaten chicken wing that he was savoring. I noticed that the giants also cocked their ears in my direction.
"I am known as Jack Draco, servant of the Empire, nuncio of the Warrior. While I am but young in years, I am aged in experience. My accomplishments in this life are as follows. I have entertained Lords and Dragons. My companions and I have defeated Ezoran, foul demonologist set on destroying this world. We have freed the dragon known as CoDragon to reunite her with MonDragon. We have bested the foul, Drendel on mulitple occasions. We have restored the lost soul of an innocent, one of our number, Cicily Green. We have faced defeated dragons of earth and fire and can dragons of storm as friends. We have taken upon ourselves the salvation of a world not our own, not only for our glory, but also for the sake of those unable to defend themselves."
"This is Halfred Hastings, known to friends as Hal, also a servant of the Warrior, whom he calls Heironeous. For him life is a constant battle for justice and glory. His food is honor and his drink is chivalry. He has defended the weak and innocent. He fears no foe but approaches danger with calm and resolve. He is a constant foe of evil seeking glory and virtue. Commit evil in his sight and be marked as foes worthy of a quick death. He wields Worldwalker, now made holy with the blood of celestial freely given. He joins the quest not only to bring glory to the Warrior who sustains him and to himself, but to protect those who cannot protect themselves and to free his love from the encroaching grip if death."
"Simberious, servant to the Warrior is Hal’s senchal. His loyalty and honor are as Hal’s."
"Next is Lu Fang, while he does not admit it, he too is a servant of the Warrior. His soul is his sword. They are not two but merely separate bodies for one spirit. His life is his honor. For him frugality, loyalty, mastery of the martial arts and honor unto death are the goals of life. Like you, Lu Fang is of this world, it is his responsibility to defend the temples of his master, Chaing Lung, and the Lords. To do less would be dishonorable and would be his death.
"Seren-Arty is an enigma. My servant, yet not my servant, my better. He is here because there is no other place for him to be. Destiny carries him through the ages and planes to where he is needed most. Lost to his friends, he has only recently returned to them, us, though at the apparent price of another friend, lost, who’s body he now sustains. I can see that you recognize him as a friend as do most that meet him. He has that way with people. He is trustworthy, even in his hidden motives. Is he not?" Ominous nodded strongly, while the giants seem to at least consider the truth of the statement. "He accompanies us because destiny desires it and we are wise enough to recognize the hand of Fortune."
"Cicily Green and Sapphire are maidens pure with hearts of warriors. Sapphire defends her world and, I think, seeks to protect her hearts desire. Cicily has a grudge to score against both Drendel, her half-brother, and He Who Is Death and should not be named who unfairly took her soul in recent battle. Her soul’s freedom rests on success in our misssion."
Here I paused to let the information sink in.
Ominous spoke first, "Jack Draco, you have a gift for words. I, Ominious Fabler, am but a humble teller of stories who has not the gift you have. I too have had dealings with Drendel. I was his fool and herald, serving as best I could given my situation. Before my service to Drendel I was entrusted to Kolvant Granitebones, a stone giant who died fighting against the Khargakhan tribe. After the death of my master, Granitbones, I wandered until I was employed at the outpost where you first meet me. Once you’d raided the outpost and killed the leadership there, I was again out of work. While you did not think much of me at our first meeting, which is meet, I was impressed with your command of, as you call it, destiny. You all are clearly involved in important events transpiring and I feel the need to be there to witness it, and, Lords willing to put pen to paper and word to song to tell of your great exploits."
The hill giant, exceptionally tall and muscular for a hill giant, spoke next his jutting chin becoming more pronounced as he spoke, "I will talk next as I too have a grudge against Khargakhan. I am Charlgar, the leader of Khargak-dwergun (Rift-Crawlers in common), a tribe of hill giants that has long rankled with Khargakhan, the tribe of giants that had been led by Imperium, prior to that cloud giant’s torturous death at the hands of the human sorcerer, Ezoran. My recent travels brought me to Draconis where I met and befriended Ominious Fabler in the ruins of that outpost. I claim Vercinabex a longtime friend and ally." His left arm reached over to protect his right and adjust the bedsheets and furs that enrapped the terrible burn scars there." I recently had a brush with an ancient male red dragon, Brazzemal the Burning, that took a lot of the fight out of me but it taught me the value of patience and waiting out problems instead of charging headlong into battle. I seek vengence." As he spoke he returned the furs and bedsheets that mask his face to their position of protection.
The frost giant put down the book that he had been leafing through and spoke next, "I am Vercinabex Tor, friend to Charlgar and ally of the Tiamikal Nu-Shada for many years. I search." Abruptly he grabbed another book from his collection and began looking through it as if searching for something, leaving us to wonder if he was done speaking or not.
Apparently the well-groomed fire giant knew better, "I am Kargo Thundersmiter, The Heartkeeper, the leader of the Tiamikal Nul-Shada (Keepers of the Fane) tribe of giants. My original tribe was wiped out by a white dragon in the Cracked Peak Mountains when I was but a youth. It left such a strong impression on my young psyche that, when my travels brought me to seek out the slayers of the cloud giant Imperium, I fell under a spell of retribution fired by loathing of dragons."
The final giant to speak was the fire giant with the acidic burn scars and a metal plate rivited to his lower left leg, he winced for a moment as he shifted his weight to that leg for a second before speaking, "I am Bram Cleftshank. I am Sub-chief of Tiamikal Nul-Shada and Kargo’s second in command. I too am bent on vengeance after a run-in with a black dragon early in my life. I will have my vengance on them and their kind. All dragons will die at my hand." He seemed about to whip himself into a frenzy as he spoke until Kargo put a restraining hand on him. "Dwarves too bear my wrath and it is well that your friend left or he should have found himself sleeping with the rubble ere we finshed this mission."
On that dour note we finished our meal and continued on to the darkness.
Just before we entered the area of shadow Ominous paused in his playing of the lute and spoke again, "I have been thinking, while it is probably best that the dwarf not be with us, it is a shame that we don’t have the strength of your other companions to assist us."
I smiled as Ominuos spoke this as he had given me an opportunity to rally these giants to my cause I had been waiting for. As Fabler quietly played his instrument I began my speech and increased the intensity of my words as I drew the fellows in with my passion:
"What’s he that wishes so?
my new friend Ominous? No, my fair gnomling;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our world loss; if it to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honor.
Gods’ will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Mendel, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my colors wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honor,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my friend, wish not a man from or’ the world.
Gods’ peace! I would not lose so great an honor
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Fabler, to our fellows here
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And gold for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
I call this day the Feast of Mendel.
He that outlives these days, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Mendel
He that shall live these days, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbors,
And say ‘To-morrow is Lord Mendel’s.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say, ‘These wounds I had on Mendel’s day.’
forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did these days. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Kargo the chief, Bram and Vercinabex,
Charlgar and Fabler,
Hastings and Fang-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Mendel’s Feast shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
Be we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
These days shall gentle his condition;
And fellows now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Lord Mendel’s day."
I could see that the giants were swayed by my words, even my other companions seemed emboldened by my speach. We entered the expanding field of darkness with not trepidation but hearts of glory.