Shadow Hunters

Safety in Storms VI VI VI: by Gaston Redcap

the final entry

Dear reader, I have been trapped all night by this tormented drow, a being that possesses many faces, many minds, and many kills that has fixated on the headless corpse in this broken Inn and wishing to replace the head with…mine.

Well at times like this, I make an exit either stage left, or out the window. There is no stage left, so I crash through already broken glass hastening the drow’s approach. It is raining and cold. I cast a spell to veil my appearance and confuse the drow – the image of the headless half-elf corpse. When Tex sees me from the second floor the red eyes widen, and I feel winds start above the window and swoop down over me, bringing shingles and ripping the wood around the window. The drow turns back into the house to look for me. My veil has worked, and I stand to start my run into the woods!

Sadly my leg won’t respond as it should due to the fall, I summon reserved energy to try to get to the woods nearby. I trip as the ball of acid and lightning barely miss me. A small stump of a tree has ended my life…

It glides in cloak and black skin from the window to the grass below but not yet upon me. The stump however may be what saves my life as it is a marker, to show where the body of the wizard and his son are buried. Now the grave has been torn into by the drow blast and the body is not but bones. What is left of the wizard’s forehead should have no markings, but a red glow emanates-magic, magic active from the grave! It halts Tex, but something seems to try to raise the drow’s dagger for another blast.

My move is to my best weapon, my mind, as I peace together the clues. “With apologies Tex, but my head would not be able to change shape like you mother’s did, nor would my eyes glow with any colors chosen. You felt it in your heart that this person was not just your caretaker briefly, but your whole life…Lal.” The arm of the drow lowers as I continue “She hesitated but finally followed you to Stormpeak, and if there was a real Fie Vemaru, the man you have no reason to get so angry about, she replaced him and argued with Gendarr, perhaps in front of you. You must have seen the same love that she always showed in changeling, drow, or half-elf form. You sided with Gendarr, and she went mad, killing herself. I surmise that Gendarr had pity and returned her to the only place she was free, this old Inn where she shared her happiest moments with you.” Now in an out-of-breath final gasp I tell the drow “you need to re-establish what she had hoped for you, a simple and free life. Let your demons go.”

Dear reader, the words timed perfectly with a lightning flash, not from the drow but from the sky, and for the moment I could see it: a feminine imp of red over the drow’s left shoudler. It was waving a finger at me as if to imply it was not of demon ilk, but of devil’s work. The glow from the wizard was a still powerful familiar. No doubt related to Lal’s madness as well as the drow’s.

I raised my hand, asking for the dagger in the hand of the drow. Her hair was matted down from the rain and shoulders were beginning to slump. The drow began to buckle under the weight of the revelation. It raised the hand and I could not tell if it was going to point at me, or hand me the dagger, but it fell from powerless hands to the graveside. How I went about unsummoning the skeleton’s familiar is not something I wish to write about. These are the hands of a writer, a dancer, a romance artist, and what happened there…well, rest assured the drow was freed.

*Tex, I leave this, my only copy of our story in your hands. You have reclaimed much of your speech in the few short days we have had together, and I am sure you are in a hurry to see your “naive” party again. I swear that if I hear of you doing anything that goes against what Lal fought so hard for, the world will hear about it! Ha ha ha. He-hey!

The Eloquent, Handsome, Dashing, wanted for Ransom,
Gaston Redcap E.F.*
]Tex sis vivivi

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