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Veraka's Saga (Spoilers, BG:EE only)



  • MoczoMoczo Member Posts: 236
    It takes some doing to make a poem about two of the more obscure sidequests in the game work, but I think you did it. XD

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    Basically I look at each encounter and I determine whether there's an interesting scene I can depict (with liberal use of creative license) or whether a throwaway line or two will suffice. Some things I gloss over, but the ones where I see creative potential may get more focus than you'd expect. Believe me, I'm not going to wax poetic about every little quest in the game (brief mention for some, others not at all), but expect some interactions from, say, Mad Arcand or Lord Binky the Buffoon. She's a jester, after all. ^_^

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited November 2013
    Minsc said, "By Boo, I believe you are right!
    Let us loiter no longer, there's a lady to save!"
    They traversed across trackless lands till they came
    In sight of a bridge crossing a cruel crevasse
    Into a land crammed with caverns and crags,
    And they saw at some distance the Gnoll Stronghold
    A fortress so ancient it was forgotten, or feared,
    Built by hands unknown and betraying no secrets.
    Minsc was willing to walk on despite his weariness
    But the journey had been injurious, so the jester decided
    To call camp for the night; the companions did not complain.
    As they eased aching feet and unfit armor's friction,
    Imoen said, "Hey Minsc, you haven't made mention
    Of your own story yet, so why don't you yammer?"
    Minsc said, "I see not how yams suit a story,
    But you shall behold some butt-kicking through words!
    I was raised in Rasheman to learn the ways of rage
    To become a brave berserker of the Ice Dragon lodge.
    Some have said I sought too much to champion nature,
    And truly I resemble a ranger more rightly,
    But I learned to be berserk nevertheless! Right, Boo?
    Still, they called into question my curious credo,
    And duly did ask I perform my dajemma
    A ritual passage from boy to bold berserker.
    I was granted a gift, the honor of guarding
    My witch, a wondrous Wychlaran of Rasheman,
    You do know as Dynaheir. We did travel daily,
    To what purpose I know not, but plain pure adventure!
    In an ancient stone shrine most slathered in sigils
    We beheld the bold Boo, born of the stars,
    A miniature giant space hamster stood on the stone,
    And spoke to me of-" Boo squeaked, and Minsc did stop.
    "Are you certain? Yes Boo, but I... yes, I am sorry.
    Boo does not wish to discuss his details too much
    So suffice to say simply, he joined my struggle.
    I've had a few h-head wounds on this hazardous trek
    But none worse than the one when Dynaheir was taken.
    Gnolls came in the night and knocked me unconscious
    And stole away Dynaheir! Ever since I have sought
    To bash in their brains till they behave better.
    Now we are nearly there, let's not tarry longer!"
    Minsc said, but a yawn slipped out, staving off sleep.
    "No Minsc, with no healer to have our health steady,
    We will need all our wits to weather this task,"
    Veraka replied readily. Imoen sighed in relief and
    laid down.
    The companions took their rest,
    For mortal maidens need sleep.
    That night was surely blest,
    No foes disturbed their keep.

  • MoczoMoczo Member Posts: 236
    Fight boldly on, Minsc. FIGHT BOLDLY ON.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    In earliest morning after a cold meager meal,
    They made for the mountains with Minsc at the lead.
    They crossed the creaking bridge over a cruel chasm
    But two ogre-kin trod out to take a bridge toll.
    The ogres were willing to speak of their wants,
    But the party apparently sought no parley
    For they answered with arrows the approach of ogres.
    The first one fell far before he could reach them,
    But the second came swinging his sword with strength
    The blow bounced away from bold Minsc's new armor
    And Minsc made return a most dolorous melee
    Lopping limbs like a lumberjack until he laid low
    The ogres overseeing the old bridge crossing.
    Taking their two-handed swords to hand,
    Minsc and Veraka grinned in great fun at the group
    Before bringing the battle boldly before the gnolls.
    Xzar declared, "I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds!"
    And ran to remain near the rigorous raiders.
    Imoen seemed scared but soldiered on stoically
    Determined to prove she could dare the dire deed.
    They stormed up the slopes with Minsc slashing sure
    Cutting down gnoll defenders and dealing out death
    As Xzar slung spells and Imoen sniped stragglers.
    Tymora smiled upon them: so far they had surprise,
    A few paltry patrols had pestered them to this point.
    They came across allies of the gnolls at a crest,
    Blue-skinned little bullies known abroad as xvarts
    Who swarmed in with shortswords seeking for slaughter;
    The heroes had them handled with a few hard hacks.
    The ranger Minsc rallied them to regroup for respite
    At the foot of a stair that sought the source of their struggle.
    "I will walk up first to weather the worst attacks,
    Step lively to lend aid and lash them, my lady!"
    Minsc said. Veraka nodded, "It needs no amendment."
    So Minsc stepped up the stairs and soon violent struggle
    The first few fell with ease,
    The heroes became heady.
    Minsc was most surely pleased,
    And strutted on most steady.

    Now came they to a strange courtyard covered in chasms,
    Round pits in the pavement for people to be imprisoned
    But new gnolls now neared them, gnashing and nasty,
    Elite looters and villains their lord Yeenoghu would laud.
    The raiders rushed past the front rank of the heroes,
    And sought to slaughter some less armored and stalwart.
    Xzar and Imoen managed to mow down a marauder
    Struck with arrows and spells till he slumped over slackly
    But another beset them after breaching the brave battlers
    And Imoen swung her shortsword while Xzar stabbed his dagger.
    Veraka and Minsc were waylaid with wicked warriors,
    And came carving a path to contribute some cover
    But before they could bring battle, Imoen took a hard blow:
    The gnoll's halberd had hit and her heart's blood flowed.
    Veraka rushed forward with a roar of rage resounding
    And pulped the peccant gnoll into pieces which plastered
    The palisades and parapets of that perilous rampart.
    "I feel so cold," Imoen shivered and shuddered as she bled.
    Veraka called upon the curing she could not explain,
    And touched the torn wound that troubled Imoen's shoulder.
    With wonder, Imoen gasped as she was made whole;
    Giving a guilty glance, Veraka got back to carnage.
    Now the gnolls' tribal chieftain came to clash in contention
    With the best bringers of bloodshed his brutes could offer,
    And Minsc made mighty melee with the murderous gnolls
    Dealing out dread blows and taking dents in return
    The heroes were hard pressed, Xzar slung his last spell
    And stepped forth with his dagger, daring the dire fight
    Bolstered by bleeding off his enemies' essence.
    Imoen stood well back, but her bow drew gnoll blood
    And Veraka fought fiercely at Minsc's side, finding flaws
    In the fighter's defenses, and the gnolls began falling.
    Minsc stepped in to struggle against the gnoll chieftain
    And swung his sword so soundly that Tempus did pause,
    And smile to see the blow struck to save Dynaheir,
    Shattering his sword and the gnoll chief's skeleton.
    Blood-soaked in sanguine success and sore won,
    The heroes heaved hard and held up a moment
    For the warriors all carried wounds that would scar.
    Minsc alone made inspection of each pit meetly,
    Till he discovered with joy that Dynaheir was not dead
    He strode the steep steps down
    Into the foul gnolls' pit.
    A lady came soon around,
    In feature and form most fit.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited November 2016
    The Wychlaran witch made her way from the pit,
    As Minsc helped her navigate the harrowing steps
    And soon all could see the serious sorceress Dynaheir.
    It was clear from her countenance and candor 'twas a lady
    Of no small knowledge, nubile and Nubian.
    Despite her detainment, the gnolls did not defile her
    So she seemed slightly cleaner, not soaked in blood at least.
    She spoke in a rich accent, understated yet strong:
    "I thank thee for my freedom, thou art refreshing
    When so many we meet can be most... lacking."
    Veraka was wiping off the worst gore with a loincloth
    She had snatched from a scoundrel; self-consciously she said,
    "Um, you're welcome. So, you're a Wychlaran witch, right?"
    "I see Minsc has made mention of many of my details,"
    Dynaheir said coolly; Minsc was cowed with a creeping blush.
    "But Dynaheir, I did not tell them what we do here;
    In fairness, even Boo has not ferretted out the facts!"
    Minsc protested. Dynaheir replied, "I am perturbed
    Thou wouldst risk well-kept secrets for want of curiosity!
    However, thou hast my thanks for helping me here,
    I am Dynaheir of Rasheman." Her bearing was regal.
    "Veraka Cursebringer of Candlekeep," she curtseyed,
    And Imoen giggled at the gesture grimed with gore.
    "Cursebringer? A most maleficent moniker for maidens,
    Though I imagine it might menace foes in mercenary work.
    How much did Minsc offer to merit thy might?"
    Dynaheir asked. Imoen boggled in blatant disbelief.
    "He said you'd supply 500 gold pieces to your saviors,"
    Xzar spoke up suddenly, and Minsc spluttered in outrage.
    "These are no base bruisers who battled to save you!
    We came when Minsc called for combatants on his quest
    For no finer reason than to free you and find glory,"
    Veraka ventured; verily, the vixen was vexed.
    "It is true, Dynaheir, you'd do no better with Ice Dragons,
    They be bold as berserkers and belong at our side!"
    Minsc said with worry, wanting both women pleased.
    "I am sorry, it seems I was hasty to judge thee.
    Minsc has mentioned thy merit most highly Veraka,
    I fear thou hast found me ill-tempered from gnolls,
    And parted from my possessions; truly, I am pleased
    To hail hearty heroes and have my freedom,"
    Dynaheir apologized politely to the party.
    "Very well, the more the merrier, right Minsc?"
    Veraka said, though the slights of Dynaheir
    still stung.
    They took up treasured baubles
    The gnolls pillaged and plundered.
    The group balance had wobbled
    From Dynaheir's catty blunder.

    They made way past marauders, more gnoll patrols,
    Dynaheir borrowed a sling and shot stones, since spells
    Would elude her till she wakened with spellbook in hand;
    The only possession not pitched by pernicious gnolls.
    Veraka became curious about the caverns and crags
    That littered the lands which lay near the stronghold
    So she led them around ledges and lingered in valleys
    And they fought the foul xvarts that infested the cliffs.
    Finally they found a treasure in a foul-smelling cavern,
    A tome truly tempting but dangerous to take in
    Without being aware of what words it may hold.
    Veraka said, "I'll identify this item in the morning,
    We can camp in a cave till the sun clears the horizon."
    "It seems it must be so, darkness falls," Dynaheir said.
    The group gathered their gear and got a fire going,
    Soon supper was served, simple stew and some rations
    And wounds were rebound by battle-wise warriors.
    Soon Imoen was settled in, and said with a smile,
    "Hey Dynaheir, why don't you dazzle us with your story?
    I've heard everyone here once except you, let's have it!"
    "I'm afraid I am sworn to secrecy, I'm sorry,
    I cannot recount in full candor my tale.
    Suffice to say simply that the Sword Coast has need
    Of my sect, and some strange sights will soon
    be seen."
    Imoen then huffed and held
    Her lips pursed in a pout.
    Dynaheir smirked but withheld;
    No secrets were given out.

    (Aside: if you haven't encountered the word Nubian before, it has roots in a real-world location and language but I use it here as per definition number 4 in the Collins English Dictionary under adjective: [informal] of or relating to Black culture)

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    Veraka said, "Enough secrets! It seems all I meet
    Are part of some sect or a clandestine cult.
    Normally I'm content to live and let live,
    But such covert companions keep me confused!
    I feel like a blind hamster bumbling with birds of prey."
    "We are no birds surely, but hamsters of high honor!
    We give guidance until you may get cured of blindness
    And fend off foul birds with our ferocious little fangs!"
    Minsc made quick reply, and Veraka smiled at him.
    "Well you know me V'aka, no nuances here,
    If I did have dark secrets you'd delve 'em right out!
    I may as well be your sister, so sincerely you know me,"
    Imoen said seriously, and Veraka clasped her shoulder.
    Xzar sighed, "Oh very well, this warrants one telling,
    But trouble me not trollops, to tell more than this!
    Know now that I represent a merchant consortium,
    Who are not responsible for riling this region
    But wish to investigate what willpower ruins iron
    And avert all false blame to the appropriate agents."
    They all stood in surprise that Xzar spoke so clearly,
    Then Veraka said, "I believe you, you belong at my back."
    They turned then to Dynaheir, who frowned at this test
    of truth.
    The witch then cleared her throat,
    And made ready to speak.
    Xzar got ready to gloat
    If her tale refused to leak.

    Dynaheir spoke, "Thou must understand my mind,
    It is strange to seek answers so far from my home.
    I am used to tasking others rather than taking orders,
    For the Wychlaran witches are word of law in Rasheman.
    I was approached by an othlor, a true one of my order,
    And tasked to tend the troubles to come on this coast.
    A prophecy presides here that could put the world in peril,
    Speaking of the spawn of a slain god, it seems.
    I dare not say more, lest my mouth be made silent;
    It is dangerous to delve deep in this dread subject."
    Minsc said, "Most revered Dynaheir, you do honor us this day
    To speak your secret knowledge to we so undeserving."
    Veraka raised her eyebrow as she read Minsc's expression:
    He seemed a different person in the presence of her, plainly.
    Veraka disliked Dynaheir, yet could not now deny
    She had spoken of her secrets, so she sighed and said,
    "I was leaving my home, the largest library Candlekeep,
    For my foster father Gorion feared we were in danger.
    I have since been pursued by strange assassins at each step
    And sliding into struggles that seem insignificant
    Compared to losing my beloved father. Yet I could not last
    Alone in this land without friends to lend aid,
    So such is the story of a saddened jester."
    Veraka looked around and was reassured readily:
    Imoen had a hug for her before she had finished,
    And Minsc made a vow to avenge Veraka's father.
    Xzar said, "I'll strip the souls of these savages for you,
    So they cannot come back to try killing twice.
    Their bodies could serve as skeletons, if you so wish."
    The others were aghast at this grim offer given,
    Though Veraka considered it carefully a moment.
    Dynaheir said, "It seems we all seek similar ends,
    Or may yet come across what we need with this crew."
    Veraka nodded, "It needs no amendment for now,
    Let us rest and recover for our return to Nashkel."
    They bedded down and began taking watch against
    The night began most calm,
    Till thunder and wind did wrack.
    It seemed they'd have no balm
    To start the journey back.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    They weathered the storm in the cold cliff cavern,
    Taking turns at watch till it came time to travel.
    In the darkest night hours there did approach deviants,
    Xvarts stepped stealthily seeking their vengeance
    Against the heroes who had hewn their comrades.
    It was Minsc's turn at watch, but the man's merit at this
    Was sketchy, his sight and perception sore lacking,
    And he nearly nodded off as the night wore on.
    The xvarts slipped in, not disturbing the sentry,
    Until a troubling troupe hemmed in to take lives.
    At the last moment before they were most all murdered,
    Minsc saw a flash of steel as lightning struck outside
    And roared warning to wake the warriors within.
    It was complete chaos as they clashed in the darkness,
    The humans could hardly see their hateful foes
    So Imoen set about striking up a torch
    While the others were contending with xvarts in the blackness.
    As Imoen at last shed light to lend aid,
    A startled scream struck them all silent a second
    Dynaheir had been flailing with her fists forlornly
    But they saw she was run through by a xvart shortsword
    And fell dead so fast they could scarcely fathom it.
    Minsc cried out despairingly, "Dynaheir, NOOOOOO!
    You will be avenged!" Lightning flashed on his fierce face,
    And all who saw him took two steps back
    For he was ranger no more, but a bloody berserker.
    He was heedless to all, and had no sense to tell
    Friend from foe, so they fell further back in the cave.
    Minsc's sword had shattered slaying the gnoll chief,
    But his fists were sufficient to flatten his foes
    So the pugilist pounded the perpetrators soundly.
    When all had fallen, the fury was still fixed in his eye
    And Minsc turned in murderous wrath to meet
    his friends.
    Veraka came forth then
    And said, "You've slain the xvarts!
    Remember we're you're friends?"
    But rage still held his heart.

    They did not wish to wound the brave warrior Minsc,
    Nor were they well able: Xzar still lacked sleep for spells,
    And Imoen mutely watched Minsc as she held the torch;
    She was not strong of limb and her bow was unstrung.
    It was clear that Veraka must vie with vim and verve
    If she was to save Minsc's life, and themselves,
    So she rushed forward in struggle with the savage brute
    The girl in grim grapple with the great guardian Minsc.
    Her muscle was no match for the might of Minsc plainly,
    But the bard was both strong and slippery to beat
    She trusted to luck and her lissome elusiveness
    As she wriggled and writhed against his wrath.
    Imoen and Xzar stared at the sight standing before them,
    As though two titans clashed in tumultuous struggle
    Backlit by lightning and the lurid torchlight
    As they flailed into walls and fought on the floor,
    Minsc's face twisted terribly and terrified Imoen.
    They rolled from the cave and came clashing on the cliff,
    One misstep in their struggle would send them to death
    But the pugilists were prone, and Veraka was pinned
    Minsc caught her at last and clamped down crushingly.
    Veraka faced fear and fatality in full fairness,
    Glad she gave Imoen and Xzar a gamble at life
    And maybe Minsc too; she smiled a moment
    And Minsc hesitated, his haymaker halted.
    Echoing across the cliffs came a voice,
    Soft in the storm but still surely heard.
    "Calm thyself, Minsc," a serene spirit said,
    And for a second the strugglers saw her in the rain,
    The departed Dynaheir did flicker in the lightning,
    Ghostly and gorgeous, and then she was gone.
    Minsc came to his senses and slackened his grip,
    Minsc curled up on the stone,
    As sobbing wracked his chest.
    Veraka shushed his moans,
    And held him against her breast.

    "But why, warrior women? How could we lose her, Boo?"
    Sure enough, the small rodent had survived their struggle
    And nuzzled Minsc's cheek as the stormy night endured.
    "We came so far, we carved a whole clan of gnolls,
    Stormed a stronghold with only four yet still we saw victory!
    Now I have failed her twice, all is fickle and foulness,
    My dajemma is doomed, I shall never be an Ice Dragon,
    A warrior is nothing without a witch to guard!"
    So moved was Veraka by Minsc's melancholy,
    The heroine had reply, her voice heavy with emotion,
    "Maybe I could be your witch, mighty Minsc."
    The jester's offer was so genuine it jarred him from moping,
    And he asked, "A warrior woman like you is a witch?"
    She smiled, "A jester stores many secrets away,
    And spells are one. Watch." She walked in the cave
    And found a fallen xvart knocked unconscious by Minsc.
    She was not clad in chainmail so was capable of casting,
    And she drained its life, killing it and healing herself.
    Xzar sniffled, "You see? They grow up so fast."
    Minsc said, "Well, I wouldn't have believed that a witch
    Could fight so fiercely, yet I find it fair and true!
    If you will have me I am happy to help you,
    And be your berserker, at your beck and behest."
    "A friend and a guardian is good enough," she grinned,
    Then grew more somber as she stepped in from the storm.
    "I don't know the rituals she would rate in Rasheman,
    But I could help build a cairn, this cliff has plenty of rocks."
    "We might wait till morning for the storm to move past,"
    Imoen murmured, making study of Veraka.
    "Yes, I will watch and be wakeful my witch.
    At first light I will load up large rocks for a cairn,
    I hope our hard works are heard D-Dynaheir,"
    Minsc faltered.
    They waited until dawn
    The storm soon struggled past
    Before the group moved on,
    They built a cairn to last.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    As Minsc moved stones in melancholy manner,
    Imoen said, "Guys, we're gonna go have girl-talk,
    So keep stacking stones and we'll see you soon.
    Don't worry, we won't go far on our walk."
    Veraka said, "We are?" Imoen whisked her away.
    Before they traipsed far Imoen turned to Veraka,
    Her countenance almost cold; Veraka was concerned.
    "Time to spill the beans sister, I want the whole story.
    Did you do something to get Dynaheir killed?"
    Veraka was scandalized, and said with some shock,
    "No, Imoen! Now how could I get a xvart night raid
    To work with me anyway, and why would you think that?"
    Imoen stared at her hard, but her face finally softened.
    "Okay, so maybe Minsc needed more light
    To be a good guard and give us protection.
    If you didn't want Dynaheir dead, then why
    Aren't you talking about taking her body to town?
    We could resurrect her," Imoen replied, eyebrows raised.
    Veraka was struck still by the question for a second,
    But she said, "Imoen, it takes money to muster
    A cleric's cures, let alone casting resurrection!"
    Imoen muttered, "That malarkey might work on Minsc,
    But I keep a count on our coins and rare crystals.
    When we sell off this stuff at the Nashkel store,
    We could raise her a dozen times and drown in drinks,
    And live like royal ladies in Beregost for a month.
    Don't placate me Veraka, we're sworn sisters since seven,
    Tell me the truth if you trust me at all!"
    Veraka saw Imoen was sincerely serious,
    So she struggled to find words to suit the story:
    "I admit I didn't like Dynaheir when we met;
    She meant much to Minsc, but to her he's mere servant.
    She came across cutting and cold when we met,
    It might've been a mistake yet it sticks in my mind.
    It may just be jealousy, this journey unnerves me
    And I'm at my wit's end. I don't want his witch,
    Does that make me a murdering monster, Imoen?"
    "No, V'aka," Imoen sighed and sat on a stone,
    "Maybe Minsc is better off to make his own way.
    I don't like the doctrine of letting her die,
    But we always had different ideas on death.
    I know Gorion pledged himself to peace when he passed,
    Or I bet you'd 've brought 'im back by now." She nodded;
    Imoen's insights always impressed Veraka,
    it seemed.
    Imoen was far more wise
    Than the bard she bravely followed.
    Veraka had no guise
    Her friend did not find hollow.

    "Another thing," Imoen then said thoughtfully,
    "How long have you kept your cleric cures secret?
    I know you offer prayers pell-mell through the pantheon,
    And bards don't have to devote to deities, do they?"
    Veraka said, "Imoen, it scares me just slightly,
    I don't know why I warrant a cure from my will.
    I had a strange dream where I dared the dark wood
    Instead of a straight path that seemed so easy.
    Gorion's ghost gave me a smile, but then
    When I woke I heard words: You will learn.
    I found this fickle cure from inside me upon waking."
    Imoen looked worried. "Well, I was glad to get
    That heal, so perhaps it's a heavenly gift.
    Just keep me posted on weird powers or pranks,
    We're sworn sisters, right?" Veraka then smiled,
    and said, "Just promise not to get pummeled by punks,
    And I'll tell you my troubles and trickery, okay?"
    The two traveled back to face Dynaheir's
    cold cairn.
    The stones were set in place,
    The cave did hold her form.
    The shelter of that base
    Would keep off wind and storm.

  • MoczoMoczo Member Posts: 236
    I... Well. Dynaheir went down kinda fast, huh. Noooot sure how I feel about this. I mean, I get the intent is to make Veraka Minsc's witch (and in a meta sense, who HASN'T sent Big D off to fight ghasts with her bare hands so they could have Minsc without her being boring all over the place?) but that all happened so fast there was not really time to get attached to her.

    Though on the other hand, she is kinda hard to get attached to... Maybe getting it over with quick was for the best.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    ::sigh:: It's difficult to write such an exchange. It might make more sense in the context of:

    1. Veraka is not very wise, so she is often haunted by bad decisions.

    2. While this saga has humor, it also has a sense of absurdism about it. Veraka is followed by this sense of pointlessness, which I tried to express here by showing that, after a long journey and heroic rescue, Dynaheir gets killed by little blue mooks anyway.

    3. While I take creative license sometimes I follow what happened in the game. Dynaheir really did get killed by a night ambush by xvarts before I had time to react. I was considering whether to keep her or get rid of her, and a max damage shortsword attack made up my mind.

    In all fairness I'm not sure how I feel about it either, but I'm going with it for now.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited November 2016
    Once Dynaheir was delivered into death's house,
    Minsc said, "There is some speech we should give Dynaheir,
    But I know not the words that are needed for witches."
    Xzar said, "You know, I was nearly a noble cleric,
    Perhaps I could provide some poignant parable."
    "Don't you dare, I will speak on behalf of the dead,
    Now is not the moment, necromancer," Veraka said.
    "Death is every moment," Xzar muttered most darkly.
    "We carefully commit Dynaheir's body to the cairn;
    Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust;
    In the sure and certain hope of the passage to life eternal,"
    Veraka said solemnly, and it seemed suitable enough.
    Minsc kneeled near the cairn and intoned a foreign tongue
    But his words were brief, and he walked to Veraka.
    "Boo is simply overcome with such sadness, let us strive
    To go wheresoever my new witch would bid,"
    Minsc said with some struggle. Veraka took his hand,
    Their calloused skin came in comforting contact.
    "We will walk back to Nashkel, take time to resupply,
    Then head towards the mine to make good the mayor's promise.
    We might remain a day to rest and recover,
    To start healing the wounds we wear," Veraka said.
    They gave grim nods, then gathered to leave for
    They paused to honor she
    Who fell in fatal fight.
    Veraka vowed to see
    Them leave that land of blight.

    They left the cruel crags and came again to lands
    More green and giving as the hours gave way.
    Imoen stepped to stand near Veraka and soon
    The sworn sisters were speaking in soft undertones.
    "Not to pry, but I was peeking at your pal Minsc,
    And the man is pretty meaty if you catch my meaning,"
    Imoen giggled, and Veraka gave the girl a push
    In mock outrage. "Imoen! You mean you stole a glance,
    And didn't include me? How dare you, little deviant!"
    "Hey, I'm not so little, and HE is quite large!" she laughed,
    And Veraka began pelting her with pokes, prods and tickles
    Till the two took off on a tear through the fields
    For all the world warring like they were kids in Candlekeep.
    "Take this you trollop, for talking of plug-tails!"
    Veraka grinned gaily as she gave gaff to Imoen.
    "I happen to recall you helped drill a hole
    In the wall of the Watcher's barracks with me
    And took more than your share of time to peek!"
    Imoen challenged cheekily, and was chased once more.
    "Them kids could wreck a whole region, Ah reckon,"
    Xzar spoke in a drawl and shook his head slightly.
    Minsc gave a mild grin as he watched the girls gallivant,
    And his heart was less heavy from his harrowing thoughts
    Of the punishment that might pass for failing to protect
    His Wychlaran witch Dynaheir; he watched his new ward.
    When at last they collapsed and lay among flowers,
    Imoen turned to Veraka and asked, "What's the tome?"
    Taken offguard, Veraka said, "Oh, the tome we took
    From the cliff cave. I can't lie, there's powerful magic,
    It seems one who studies it will strengthen charisma
    And be more puissant in their power with people."
    Imoen smiled, "Don't worry, we want you to have it,
    A likeable leader lends us all luck."
    Veraka pulled out the tome and peeked at the pages
    The words took to her in a torrent, more quickly than normal,
    And within one minute Minsc's new witch was transformed.
    Veraka had always been a handsome heartbreaker,
    But she approached angelic allurement after this
    Her magnetism passed the mention of mortals
    And Imoen sat stunned at the sudden switch.
    "I thought it took time to read those tomes!"
    Imoen stammered as she stared at her sworn sister.
    "A week without interruption," Veraka whispered,
    Sensing some power struggling within
    her soul.
    Her beauty and her charm
    Now surpassed mortal measure.
    She guessed there was no harm
    In speeding up the treasure.

    "Gosh, I never knew a girl could be so gorgeous,"
    Imoen said as she stared, her eyes seemed starstruck.
    "Imoen, it's still me, I'm Veraka, are you in there?"
    Veraka said, suddenly uncomfortable with such praise.
    "Oh, of course! Wow, that's cool, I still can't believe it,
    It's like the magic leapt off the page and latched onto you."
    Veraka nodded, knowing this was not normal.
    "Well, I was going to ask about you being a 'witch,'
    Before that book made you even more beautiful.
    Are you just being nice to Boo's brave berserker,
    Or is there something more?" Imoen asked with a smile.
    "Too soon to tell, though the trial on the cliffs
    Made me feel close to Minsc; and all that muscle and musk..."
    Veraka trailed off, and Imoen took to teasing.
    "Well, if you like scary guys who swing giant swords,
    And big weapons too, I guess he and Boo aren't bad."
    Veraka tickled Imoen back to the group
    And said, "Enough, you sassy strumpet! I'll sing a song,"
    And the companions kept on to Nashkel in camaraderie and
    Minsc's spirits then did lift
    To see the bard at play.
    Her jesting was a gift
    To mend his heart that day.

    (Note: "Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust" is an exact quote from the Proposed Book of Common Prayer often used in Christian burials: )

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • MoczoMoczo Member Posts: 236

    3. While I take creative license sometimes I follow what happened in the game. Dynaheir really did get killed by a night ambush by xvarts before I had time to react. I was considering whether to keep her or get rid of her, and a max damage shortsword attack made up my mind.

    Ooooooooh. Okay, that DOES explain a lot. I wasn't aware this was based on an on-going playthrough. In THAT case, kudos on basically turning a mostly random event into an acceptable plot twist. That is a lot harder to pull off. XD

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited December 2016
    Canto III

    The companions camped once before coming to Nashkel,
    And relief ran rampant when they had returned.
    They gladly paid the proprietor of the inn for plain rooms;
    Simple beds were the best his inn could boast,
    Yet it seemed luxurious next to sleeping on stone.
    Veraka used her curious cure to clear up wounds
    Till their bodies were whole, ready for brave battle.
    Veraka and Xzar studied scrolls they had salvaged
    Out of treasure taken by gnolls and tiny xvarts
    So now new knowledge could be put into practice
    When next they needed to knock down foes.
    The group gathered at breakfast and Veraka began:
    "We have weathered the wilds a bit worse for wear,
    And the mines may prove to hold more melancholy
    So let us seek today to restore ourselves
    And find fun at the fair just east from here.
    We will take this day to indulge a dalliance,
    But by breakfast tomorrow, we will be in the mines."
    Xzar said, "This delay does damage my purpose...
    Wait, we're going to the fair?! What fun we will have!"
    He began to act boyish and blathered about bubbles.
    Minsc said, "As you wish my witch, we will wander
    And see some spectacles, as Boo has said."
    Veraka could see Dynaheir still stayed in his thoughts
    So she squeezed his hand and hoped for a good day.
    Imoen said, "Well, a carnival could help ease our cares,
    So sure big sister, let's step out in style!"
    They traveled to the east, to the big tents of Nashkel's
    They planned a day in fun
    At the carnival in the clearing.
    Xzar acted like a son,
    Imoen was quite endearing.

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited November 2016
    They came to the carnival and saw curious sights
    Some performers put on a play most jocular
    Filled with slapstick scenes and sordid satire
    And they were made merry by the madcap troupe.
    They heard a haunting poem of horror and sorrow
    Named "Nosferatu" after vampire's night-kind,
    Then they came to a thaumaturge performing there
    Going by the name of The Great Gazib.
    "Allow me to let you leer at Oopah, in all the world
    The only exploding ogre!" An ornery ogre appeared,
    And sure enough burst into blood and bits of body.
    Imoen stood stunned while the others screamed for more,
    So The Great Gazib gave in and the ghoulish act repeated:
    The Amazing Oopah appeared, then presently exploded
    Into paste and parts, and the party cheered the performance.
    "Great fun! Right Boo?" Minsc grinned and guffawed.
    They laughed and lauded the lurid hoopla
    To so much merit the mage readied an encore
    But Oopah was not amused and began to make melee
    And The Great Gazib gathered up his robes and ran.
    The heroes had been caught off-guard by this hatred
    But soon brought the brute down, bloody and butchered.
    Minsc looked on sadly, "So no more explosions?"
    Veraka said, "Enough sadness, let's seek shopping instead."
    As they came to the tents, a tall glowing figure
    A man dressed as a fool
    Came to Veraka's side.
    "Your tailor is a tool,
    If I wore that, I'd hide."

    The man went on, "We couldn't leave the weapons and armor
    At the inn, and enjoy less injurious pleasures?
    This is a carnival, not an arena my ribald ruffians."
    "Oh, but it could be," Xzar said, crazed and creepy.
    "Och, but aet could be, laddy," Lord Binky belabored,
    Mocking the man in the manner of a dwarf.
    Veraka placed a hand on her hip and pointed,
    Then shouted, "Fools' Duel!" flippantly through the fair.
    Performers and pedestrians both came to perceive
    The showdown she declared taking shape on the grounds.
    "By what right are you called fool?" the man replied readily,
    Though he had not expected to harangue a jester.
    "By my studies sir," she said, taking a silly stance.
    "And where have you studied?" he said sassily.
    "I come from great Candlekeep, Veraka Cursebringer I'm called,
    Where every book was brought to be held in my brain.
    A cranky old coot of a cook taught me singing,
    And my travels, to tell true, have made me insane.
    Now I demand the degree of the dolt I'm stinging!"
    Veraka rallied cheers, and the man made reply.
    "You besmirch me bozo, I'm Lord Binky the Buffoon!
    I braved many a barrel of brandy this moon,
    I once may've been merchant who moved ingot iron
    Which makes me as mad as the most testy wyvern."
    "To the duel, then!" Veraka declared daringly.
    "As the challenged, I choose puns," he chimed cheekily.
    Veraka took a breath, then verily she vied:
    "You're barking up the wrong tree, it's best to be leafing,
    This branch has been closed, I'm berry serious, be fleeing!
    Yew'll really root the day you crossed me, I'm nuts,
    Pack your trunk, you're not poplar, Elm pities you Gus!"
    The growing crowd cheered on the chiding jester's cheek.
    "I shan't shirt my duties, so I'll sock it to you sister,
    You're panting for poor puns but I'll coat you in blisters!
    I'll shoe you the side door, no redress for this slip,
    Your talent is underwear mine is, take tips!"
    The crowd brayed boos, mostly because their buffoon
    Was wearing thin with some and they wanted fresh jokes.
    "The tourists almost rose to violets, my tulips are no intrusion,
    I will make marigold, you'll be a black-eyed susan.
    Your daisies here are done, but don't be a bummer
    Your lilacs levity, say farewell to summer."
    The crowd cheered for Veraka's flowery floral puns,
    Then Lord Binky the Buffoon made his rebuttal:
    "You better soup up your style, you don't impress this old salt.
    Your season turns chili, you'll be desserted for faults.
    If I egg you on now, I'll be on a roll
    It'd be butter if you yeast out the door, don't be droll."
    The crowd kept booing Lord Binky the Buffoon.
    Veraka said, "The day is mine, so make tracks my friend,
    Cart off ore I'll pick on you punk, this part's the end.
    I've rocked you, you're shafted, you don't have the stones,
    My digs have struck gold, I've hammered it home."
    The crowd had many miners, and they made such clamor
    That Lord Binky the Buffoon said, "Truly, I am beaten.
    I cannot compete with Veraka Cursebringer,
    The carnival is yours." He clomped off, downcast and
    Veraka verily won
    Her Fools' Duel at the fair.
    Lord Binky's time was done,
    He walked off in despair.

    (Aside: I live in Kentucky, and locally we refer to some varieties of aster as "farewell to summer," such as the new england aster )

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited November 2016
    Veraka was crowned Queen of Fools for the carnival,
    And took as much pleasure performing as participating,
    Taking part in some improvisation for pure fun.
    They came to shops with curious commodities,
    And gambled some money, losing a little good gold.
    A man tried to pickpocket Veraka at one point,
    Declaring, "It is your honor to be duped by dread Vitiare,
    The cagiest pickpocket who ever came to the Sword Coast!"
    The travelers took exception to his theft and fought,
    And mighty Minsc laid low the bragging man meetly,
    Cleaving him in twain for causing Veraka consternation
    Before Vitiare got away with ill-gotten gold.
    "Are you well, my witch? He did not wound you with poison?"
    Minsc asked with concern, and Veraka smiled kindly.
    "I'm fine, there's one less pickpocket to pilfer our purses,
    Though this fair is proving more thorny than I thought,"
    Veraka said, and it seemed odd in a place of such merriment
    They still were beset and surrounded by death.
    "Come, let's seek a new tent," she said, and stormed away
    As Imoen hurried to help herself to Vitiare's belongings.
    They entered a new tent, and saw two figures at odds:
    Two mages, a man and woman, were casting magic
    And the man seemed about to set loose a spell
    When Imoen bounced in behind them: "Heya, I'm back!"
    The man said, "Hold, I am Zordral, and I have here a witch,
    The worst kind of woman, a wild one who will kill
    The livestock of this land, and lure away the young men!
    My spell is nearly done, stand aside so I may focus!"
    The lady said, "This is ridiculous, you must see he's lying!"
    Veraka said, "A witch, eh? Well I'm a witch too,
    And we all use magic here, you're a mage yourself man!
    How do I know you haven't hexed the livestock here,
    And intend to attempt your terrible charms on me?"
    "You mock the great Zordral? You must suffer now, maggots!"
    The heroes clashed once more at the carnival with casting,
    Xzar slung a spell quickly to interrupt Zordral,
    And they had him soon dead, his head in the dust.
    The lady began, "I thank you, I am Bentha brave heroes,
    If you had not happened to help I would surely be dead.
    Zordral was a rival of mine, and ready to rip
    My lifeforce from me. Please, feel free to take
    Anything from him or his tent, I have enough."
    "Couldn't you spare something?" Xzar asked suggestively.
    "I do have this potion I planned to sell, perhaps
    It will do you more good, I give you this gift."
    Bentha handed Veraka a bold hero's brew,
    Then made her way meetly from the dead mage's tent.
    Imoen and Xzar shrugged and stripped down the shelves
    Set up like a merchant's tent might be, making money.
    Veraka looked lost, and let loose a lament of fear and
    "Such dying here, but why?
    This is a festival day!"
    She looked about to cry
    And quickly turned away.

    Imoen said, "Hey, how 'bout you two take care of this tent?
    Veraka needs some air, we'll be just south of ya, see?"
    They stepped into the sunlight, but Veraka saw death
    And she suppressed a sob as they stepped a little south.
    Veraka said, "Why is it I see so much death?
    Since Gorion said we had to leave, I've seen such slaughter.
    Sometimes it's assassins, but I've slain simple mercenaries,
    Saved some but slew others, I've killed more than I saved.
    It's everywhere, always with me, it wafts in the air,
    And I can't have one day to delve in innocent delights
    And make Minsc forget just one moment about Dynaheir,
    Or me about Gorion!" She gave over to gasping sobs.
    Imoen had no words, but held her in a hug,
    And cried with her because she cared, because Candlekeep
    Felt a world away, and there would be no wise elder
    To come take them home and keep them from killers;
    The sworn sisters felt scared and small for a moment.
    Eventually, Imoen ventured, "Hey Veraka,
    A lot of folks had fun at the Fools' Duel earlier.
    I saw Minsc smile some today, so I reckon
    He'll recover, it just takes time to figure out.
    I think it's weird too how we've witnessed so much;
    Candlekeep seemed so safe, death there was solemn.
    No matter what, we'll watch out for one another,
    Even if the rest of the world is really rank."
    Veraka raised an eyebrow and a rueful smirk,
    And said, "Sworn sisters, even if Sword Coast stinks."
    They placed palms together in the same pact they made
    When they swore to be sisters at the age of seven.
    They straightened up, and went to where their warriors
    Waited to accompany them through the carnival
    Veraka had seen death,
    But Imoen kept her sane.
    They both had been bereft,
    But fought on past the pain.

    (Aside: the scene here where Veraka and Imoen place palms together in their renewed oath of sisterhood is one I would also love to see illustrated. An ambitious artist might even show a "before and after" where they appear on the left as little girls and on the right as adults. I have not the skill to illuminate it so.)

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    When the two returned from Veraka's troubles,
    She said, "Perhaps we should seek out the mines,
    For trouble finds us truly no matter the trip we take."
    Minsc said, "As you wish, but Boo still enjoys the sights."
    Xzar said, "The day is half done, and I don't desire
    To sleep in the murky mines if it may be helped.
    Let's finish with the festival and find an inn room
    As per the plan, oh pulchritudinous one."
    Imoen said, "Well sis, there's still some tents left,
    And I know a Queen of Fools who should confound and befuddle
    The crowds and caravans, Veraka." She grinned.
    Veraka soon smiled and said, "It seems silly
    To fight against the will of my fine friends,
    So we'll canvass the carnival and confuse the locals."
    As they walked, Xzar said, "Wait, we're friends?" with whimsy.
    "Of course, now come on!" They came to more merchants,
    And ran across a halfling hawking a stone heroine,
    Offering to sell a scroll of Stone to Flesh to save
    The captive now comprised of coarse granite on display.
    Veraka said, "We will leave it to luck for this lady,"
    And flipped her copper coin to consider the matter.
    The coin turned to tails and she did not take the offer,
    Saving some money for more merited actions.
    The four had their fill of fun and returned to the inn,
    One last rest before they reached the region's
    iron mines.
    They went early to bed,
    So they rose fresh and fine.
    Minsc scouted some ahead
    As they approached the mine.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    A few hours' trek brought their troupe to the mine,
    And the foreman found them fit for entering within
    The dreaded darkness where many met their doom.
    Xzar struck up a torch to light their travels,
    And Veraka and Minsc moved into the mine's mouth.
    The miners and guards gave them ghoulish stories
    Of demons and dragons and undead in the deep,
    But soon enough they saw for themselves some ways in
    It was kobolds creeping in the darkness to kill,
    One of the weakest foes a warrior would face.
    Minsc laughed, "Mere kobolds cannot stop my might!
    Come, we will clean this mine of cowering kobolds!"
    The heroes hewed their way through hateful kobolds
    Who brought bow and arrow and small blades to bear
    But were quickly quelled by the questing champions;
    Only numbers now favored the nasty invaders.
    As they sliced a bloody swath through stubborn foes,
    They saw that some kobolds carried flasks to coat
    The iron ore in ruinous residue to render it
    Brittle and barely useable, sabotage for sure.
    "Why would kobolds want to wither iron?"
    Veraka asked. Xzar replied, "They are wriggling marionettes,
    Some schemer sends these lackeys to sloppy sabotage.
    We will find the wily ones, they will wail for mercy!"
    "My sword will be mercy to make them more behaved!"
    Minsc cried, and they came to clear out the mine's third
    They cleared the upper halls
    Killing kobolds with ease
    Yet something made them stall
    And filled them with unease.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    They saw many miners murdered on the second mine level,
    But the sight of a solitary corpse seemed a sign
    Of foreboding for the few that foolishly entered
    The third level of those mines, with thick and foul air.
    "I'm scared, mommy!" Xzar said in a small child's voice,
    Hiding behind Veraka as he shivered and held her hand.
    "Take heart, mewling mage, mighty Minsc will protect you!"
    Minsc said to Xzar, then swiftly stepped out and sprung
    A trap down a side passage, piercing him with a spear point
    That found purchase to puncture the side of his leg plate.
    "Ow!" Minsc exclaimed, and came back for clean bandaging.
    "You were saying?" Imoen said as she made a silly face.
    "Imoen, I need you to do some searching and scouting,
    You're trained to find traps, right?" Veraka asked intently.
    "Uh, sure, but it's not my specialty sis,
    Candlekeep wasn't crawling with traps and crypts,
    So I don't have much practice doing dungeon delving."
    "You're all we've got, so give it your best girl,"
    Veraka said, bandaging Minsc's bleeding spear-bite.
    With a shrug, Imoen slunk off searching and scouting,
    But soon came back saying, "I need light to see,
    You all stay close so I can seek traps to disarm."
    The heroes headed on with Imoen at the head,
    Taking care as they crept through the creepy mine
    Some traps had now been laid,
    They ventured on with care.
    They often were waylaid
    By kobolds in that lair.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited November 2016
    Now fought they fell kobolds in far greater number
    With some called commandoes with cruel fire arrows
    Whose accurate archery gave aches all around
    To the tempestuous troubadour's trial-tested team.
    They had harrowing times with no healer to help them,
    And quaffed questionable quantities of curing potions
    To deal with the denizens of that dank den.
    They faced a foul bridge fraught with traps and fiends
    But claimed a clear triumph over cowardly kobolds
    And plunged ahead into the perilous pits.
    Minsc crowed a war cry when came into view
    Three spiders made monstrous in size and mien;
    Their hisses were hellish as they hastened for harm
    But the bows of brave heroes beat back the beasts.
    Imoen did disarm her divvy of dire traps
    While Veraka and Minsc bore the brunt of brutality:
    Xzar selectively saved some spells and slung stones
    In case they came across some worse confrontation.
    It surely seemed an age they soldiered on stalwart
    Against the grim foes gathered here to gouge iron
    And make the mines murderous to most honest miners,
    But at last the way led the lyricist and her allies
    To a strange cavern carved in dome-like curves
    With an inner domed redoubt defended by moat
    And kobold commandoes to kill any that come near
    the door.
    They boldly cleared the way
    And stood before the dome.
    Imoen did potions array,
    Xzar glanced at his spell tome.

    Now rationed and ready for rigorous strife
    They came in the dome-cave to cleave the commander
    Who poisoned the iron and persecuted poor miners
    But eerie quiet quelled the questers a moment
    A short hall had three grottoes for the heroine to heed.
    Looking left led to naught but a lifeless pool
    So they soon stepped back and struck straight ahead
    And curiously came across a cowled elf in confinement
    Who must have known misery at the hands of monsters.
    His robes were rich purples and blues of rare silk,
    Though sullied from time spent stuck in bondage.
    His grave eyes gave a glimmering glimpse of hope
    As Veraka broke his bonds and unbound his mouth,
    He whispered, "I thank you for my freedom, friends,
    For too long I languished in these lugubrious vaults.
    The mine's master Mulahey might still be near,
    Unless you poisoned the profligate in his sleep, perchance."
    "We will take him to task," Veraka told the elf,
    "Tell us quick how you came to be tied and trussed."
    "My mission required me to mend these mines,
    I am a Greycloak of Evereska, given tasks to guard the peace,
    And investigate the vagaries and volatility here.
    Unfortunate was my fate: I found Mulahey a fierce foe
    And alone I was unable to apprehend him,
    So I suffered here until you set me free."
    "Then join us in meting out justice and judgment,
    For Mulahey must answer for mayhem and murder.
    Tell us what you need for the battle to be braved,
    And we will equip you with what we have spare."
    "Truly, I need sleep, my spellbook and some components
    For I am an enchanter, master of mutable minds.
    I will be of little use, but one work I will try:
    My moonblade is kept in Mulahey's chest.
    If you can recover that keepsake I'll clash,
    Even though it mean the deaths of our doughty defenders."
    Veraka said, "Well then, even if we will die,
    I would know your name now, my noble Greycloak.
    Veraka is verily my name, I avow."
    "Know now that my name is Xan, fair lady."
    "Oooh, your name is Xan? Hey dude, I'm Xzar!
    Xan and Xzar rock the X-words like, uh, xylophone."
    "Now that Boo has beheld you, he says you are dandy;
    Minsc has many doubts, but we must make melee!"
    "Heya, so I'm Imoen. We had better hush,
    so 's we can sneak up on ol' snarky in there."
    Veraka said, "Sis, let me try to trick him,
    I'll talk my way close to take Xan's moonblade for
    With doubt still in her mind,
    Imoen sighed and agreed.
    The moonblade they would find
    For Xan in battle's need.

    (Note: I didn't intend this, but the inner dome of Mulahey's redoubt within the Nashkel Mines always reminds me of "Kubla Khan": "A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!")

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited November 2016
    With a sure nod, she stepped in the showy cavern
    Bedecked with bright pillows in bizarre luxury
    Against the gray stone of the grotto's glum walls.
    A half-orc rose up, now rattled and riled,
    Clad in chain mail with a mace and modest shield,
    The man who must be Mulahey made inquiry,
    "How'd you get in here?" He paused, dumbstruck.
    "Wait, Tazok has sent you, hasn't he? How hateful!"
    Veraka said, "Yes, it was Tazok, now talk true!
    Reveal your treachery to trade for your life,
    And we may yet spare you, simpering sap!"
    "The letters will show I am loyal," he wheedled,
    "Just check the chest, it will undo these charges!"
    Veraka walked warily with Mulahey to the chest,
    And she saw he seemed ready to spring on her soon
    So she snapped back the lid and swift as a snake
    Drew forth a dire blade wreathed in dolent blue flame.
    Mulahey sprang forward and snapped shut his chest,
    "Fool! You won't live to laud lies to Tazok!
    Minions, attack!" Now marauders set for melee
    Came forth from foul alcoves to flay the five heroes
    A half-dozen kobolds came clashing with shortswords
    And four skeletons stripped from stalwart miners
    Now animated anew with Mulahey's necromancy.
    Veraka cried, "Xan, carve your captors with this!"
    And threw the brilliant blade to the elf for battle.
    It hitched to his hand with disquieting ease,
    The blue flames burned brighter as he brought it to bear;
    The kobolds quailed in cowardice to see their captive
    Made ready for melee, his mien most cold.
    Minsc made for the marauders to safeguard the mages,
    But he longed to bring a breach in the blood of
    Minsc guarded at the rear,
    And Xan was close behind.
    Mulahey felt icy fear
    Slip now into his mind.

    The half-orc hastily had a spell on his lips
    Wrought of foul magic from some fetid god
    But Imoen's arrow interrupted the incantation
    As Veraka drew steel for the deadly debacle.
    Xzar timed his spellslinging to stop further spells
    The cantankerous cleric might cast to their harm,
    Minsc struck down skeletons and Xan slew kobolds
    Stopping the small army at the svelte entrance.
    Veraka now brought bloody battle to bear,
    The hardy half-orc reeled hard at the blows
    But struck some in turn with his steady mace
    While Imoen and Xzar reached the wretch at range.
    The row raged rampant, ravaging both sides
    Till at last Mulahey made a plea for mercy,
    "Enough, I know now that I am nigh beaten!
    Accept my surrender, oh savage she-devil!"
    "You die this day, defiler!" Veraka retorted,
    And pressed on in perilous pugnacity.
    "You besmirch my beg off? A black heart is before me!"
    Mulahey mewled in fear and made further melee.
    Veraka soon struck off the saboteur's head,
    Crying with weal and wounds, hard-won triumph.
    The brave back-line brawlers were sorely hurt
    So Xzar and Imoen moved in the mean melee
    So to succor their soldiers and stand in the breach.
    Veraka found Xan fallen from the fierce fighting,
    He whispered, "My wounds are too grave, warrior woman,
    I do not doubt I am a dead man." He gasped and winced.
    "Not today," Veraka claimed, clasped his wound calmly,
    And the maiden's hand mended him, bright as the
    The final foul ones fell,
    Success had been hard-won.
    The heroes had done well,
    The mystery just begun.

    (Aside: There are a few scenes I would love to see illustrated from the Saga, and one of them is Veraka knelt down holding a wounded Xan in her lap in the aftermath of Mulahey's battle, healing him with her hand glowing the same color as the moonblade's flames. Alas, I have not the skill for art.)

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited April 2014
    While Imoen picked through kobolds' poor possessions,
    Veraka took the treasure from traitorous Mulahey
    And exchanged exotic spell scrolls with Xan and Xzar
    Fetched from the chest with a few fair items:
    Gold and gear enough to give even the greedy
    A share worthy of smiles, celebration and song.
    From this loot she found letters lashing out at Mulahey
    Telling him to expect tribulations for taking
    The lives of mining men, all made out by Tazok.
    "We should take these to the town mayor to tell our tale
    And claim the reward by right we have wrought,"
    Veraka declared, and her companions concurred.
    "One moment miss, if I may interject,
    Do you wish for me to walk with your warriors' band,
    Or part ways now that prison and peril are behind?"
    Xan asked, almost assured they all wished him away.
    "Of course you can come! You were quite courageous,
    Considering you were a wizard with no spells to wage,"
    Veraka smiled. "Enchanter," he said, slightly stunned.
    "Right, enchanter. You should show me some illusion spells,
    Since Xzar seems unable, an opposed school or something."
    "You cast spells? Well, I mean, I would welcome the study,
    I'm just surprised you know sorcery in such warlike attire,"
    Xan said, now impressed with the warrior woman.
    "Truly, my witch is a woman of wondrous many talents,"
    Minsc smiled. "Your witch?" Xan asked, his eyebrow raised.
    "My ward, my witch, I guard this woman with my life,
    Ever since Dynaheir... died," Minsc said darkly.
    "It's for his dajemma, to be a bold berserker,"
    Veraka cut in quickly, "so I became his witch,
    So his quest can continue to keep on progressing."
    "Ah," Xan said, suddenly sphinxlike,
    And turned to the text of his recovered spellbook.
    Veraka blushed breezily, but did not
    know why.
    They loaded up the loot,
    And went along their way.
    They found a surface route
    Past slimes within the cave.

    After battling bubbling oozes they broke through to find
    An old shaft to the surface streaming twilight below
    The short climb became perilous with risk of collapse
    And they heaved past as hundreds of rocks rained hard,
    Filling the forgotten tunnel and forcing them forward.
    They emerged in a rocky waste wailing with wind,
    And bristling cacti to keep them company.
    It was now night, and nearly pitch black without stars
    And the torches guttered ghastly in the gale outside.
    "We should shelter here, the entrance shields us a little,"
    Veraka hued over the howling blast,
    So they camped at the cold cliff where the mine emerged,
    Huddled near a helpless fire, hard at work to stay lit
    In a land lacking firewood; they burned large dry weeds.
    Minsc remembered his ranger training and readied camp,
    Gathering more fuel and finding windbreaks for sleep,
    While Imoen asked Xzar about spell after spell,
    Her curiosity about casting came in waves.
    Xan sat as far back from the wind as fate allowed,
    Practicing spells long parted from him in prison.
    Veraka came closer in curious observance,
    Seeking some shelter from the stormy gusts.
    "Our illustrious leader," Xan gave a wan smile,
    "Have you come to cast illusions? I know Color Spray,
    Though enchantments are much more to my liking, miss."
    "Leader indeed," Veraka let loose a sigh,
    "I suppose the shoe fits, someone has to do it."
    "Responsibility is a great weight we all wear;
    The more we must shoulder, the more it mires us,"
    Xan sighed in echo to her serious sentiment.
    "And what weighs on you, wandering Greycloak?"
    Veraka asked, sharing a small friendly smile.
    "Five and four score days' torment far from the sunlight
    Has taken its toll and taxes me still.
    I had hoped our emergence would find happier lands,
    What a fool I was to wish for such childish wants.
    It is clear there can be no rescue from cruelty,
    The world is full of woes and all works end in death."
    Veraka gasped silently in the gusting gale,
    Not in shock but surprise to find someone who understood
    The pointless predicament all people are put through,
    And be brave enough to bespeak the bleak thoughts.
    "I understand," she said with such solemn conviction
    That Xan met her eyes, and the mage nodded mutely.
    He spoke to her softly of his brand of spellcasting,
    Leaning close so she could hear incantations over
    the wind.
    They camped through the cold night
    In shelter from the wind.
    Xan set his spells aright,
    While others' wounds would mend.

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited April 2014
    In the morning they made ready to leave in much haste
    To be rid of the raw wind in that roasted wasteland,
    And the breeze did abate as breakfast was brought
    To sustain the stout heroes and strengthen Xan,
    Newly freed from foul torments and feeling the sun.
    They traveled to the west to seek troubled Nashkel
    To meet with the mayor and make good their promise
    They would clear out the kobolds and find the cause
    Plaguing the poor miners and pitting Nashkel's iron.
    Berrun Ghastkill grinned when they got in view,
    And declared the deed done as they drew near:
    "It seems I was right to trust you all, truly,
    For few others could fare so finely or fiercely.
    Word came last night that the way was cleared,
    But none knew if our nonpareils yet lived.
    I give you this gold, and our grateful thanks,
    For finding the fiends who befouled our iron."
    So saying, the mayor presented a sack of coins
    As a fair reward given for hard-wrought triumph.
    They strode up the street fetching smiles and stares
    Intent to trade off troves of treasure and shortbows
    But a figure faced them down full-furbished in black;
    Eyeing each exemplar evilly, every exchange entered
    He parted crowds of folk,
    No need to hide nor flee.
    The stranger softly spoke,
    "I am death come for thee."

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited April 2014
    He continued, "I know not why the likes of NIMBUL
    Must stoop to strife with strumpets and stringy soldiers,
    But a contract to kill I consider binding, carrion."
    "Now I never knew an assassin named NIMROD,
    But I bow to the buffoon who brings throwing axes.
    Seriously, who specializes in a short-range weapon
    That weighs one so wearily they can't wear armor?
    Now I know it to be NIMROD, that knucklehead nutter
    Pretending the profession of pugnacious assassin
    As he stands in the sun, surrounded by Amnish soldiers
    Telling us to our faces he will try to kill us,"
    Veraka shot back venomously, ready to vie with vim.
    As weapons were brought to bear while Nimbul fumed,
    Suddenly the stout soldier Bardolan snapped shackles shut
    On Nimbul, who did not notice Bardolan's approach.
    "Nothing to see here people, just some knavish nutjob,"
    Bardolan said as he brought Nimbul to the brig.
    "This is impossible, I am NIMBUL, you insolent ingr-"
    Bardolan knocked out Nimbul and dragged him nearer jail.
    "That was anticlimactic," Xan said with some whimsy.
    "Well, we have to catch a break sometime," Veraka winked,
    Then made her way to the merchant to make
    some coin.
    Evil might have a name,
    But that name is not Nimbul.
    The heroes enjoyed fame
    With no cause to dissemble.

    After selling some stock from their store of found loot
    They came to the inn and bought a banquet with beer,
    And soon were made merry with mirth not miniscule
    As Veraka cavorted in vigorous diversions.
    Curiosity overcame Imoen, and she called,
    "Hey Xan, give us a gag oh garrulous Greycloak,
    Sing a song, tell a tale, share some stories sir!"
    Xan sighed, "While it wearies me to weave woeful wiles,
    I will tell you some truths in place of a tale,
    If our leading lady would have lamentable legends."
    Veraka smiled, "Verily, I would have verisimilitude
    If not downright fact, if no frippery can be found."
    Letting loose a loud and lamentable sigh,
    Xan cleared his throat and commenced this chronicle:
    "I hail from Evereska, and every elf whose eyes beheld it
    Would tell you that words will not give justice to the wonder
    Of the grounds, hanging gardens and elegant architecture
    My people have proudly produced, and which I protect.
    My heart hangs heavy with ache, doomed heroes,
    To think how I will never touch the trees, taste the fruit,
    Or hear the sweet singing settling soft in the twilight
    Since my mission bids me here, to meet my morose end.
    I am sent to give succor to the Sword Coast from strife,
    Bound by my moonblade to achieve brave, bold deeds
    For it judges my actions, silent jury to just cause,
    And if I am found wanting, it will warrant punishment;
    Yet however hopeless and hapless our endeavors may be,
    Sometimes with you I almost feel we stand some small chance."
    Xan's eyes met Veraka's, then turned to the table suddenly,
    most shy.
    Imoen said, "Not too bad,
    But add trollops next time."
    Veraka's smile had
    A touch of the sublime.

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited November 2016
    Coughing, Xan commented, "So Xzar, if you could,
    Enlighten me of your morbid tale, I'm most curious
    How it happens you have hardened through unhappy times."
    "So we don't focus on your fixated flirting?" Imoen cooed.
    "I have no notion what needless nonsense you speak of,"
    Xan said, as a blush brought color to his bearing.
    Minsc seemed about to say something, but then Xzar gasped,
    And arched at an angle almost agonizing, and appeared
    To be having some bout of bedevilment or breakdown.
    He sucked through his teeth as his insufflation sizzled,
    And cried, "Come, cruel comedians! My clarion call
    Will make your eyes weep with the woeful truth!
    My tale never told till now takes the stage,
    How a mere boy might suffer as an orphan in Moonsea
    And take tragic triumph from his bittersweet trade
    Of innocence for experience, sanity for sorcery,
    For truly he defied Fate, to his fantastic misfortune,
    But won the respect of ones within the shadows.
    He took a tome only to be seen with gods' eyes
    And that brief glimpse gave him great power to gamble
    With the forces of life and finality, a fierce necromancer,
    But the book robbed that boy of his brains, I believe.
    Now I come from malevolent Moonsea to make my magic
    The mightiest ever seen by mortal mage's merit,
    And serve those who seek to destroy some usurper:
    Our common enemy, the killer who cast down Gorion
    must pay."
    At this tale told most bleak,
    The group glanced all around;
    Except for Boo's small squeak
    There was no other sound.

    "You're a queer fellow," Imoen quipped quietly,
    "I like the other legends of your life better."
    "So do I," Xzar said, sipping his stein sullenly.
    "Minsc was going to make known some mindful mention,
    But I have forgotten, and Boo is being coy.
    Let us linger no longer with lager, my ladies,
    And sleep so we might strike a swift kick to evil!"
    "Yes, sleep and silent study are surely needed
    If we want even a waning chance of withstanding our quest,"
    Xan said, and soon the stalwarts strode towards sleep.
    Veraka dreamed darkly of departed Mulahey,
    His ghost gazing grimly at the gorgeous girl
    While a dagger of bone hung between them, the blade
    Ready to sever the soul and send Mulahey to oblivion.
    Though Veraka could be vehement and even vicious
    In pursuing cold justice - judge, jury and executioner -
    The scene sent a chill down her spine as she saw
    The power she wielded over the poor puppet Mulahey.
    Recoiling, she drew back and the razor of bone
    Clattered calm to the cave floor; she could not cleave his soul.
    Surprised and thankful, Mulahey staggered past
    As he left to find whatever fate his afterlife afforded.
    With a cry from the depths, the cruel knife came keening
    To bury itself in the breast of the beset bard
    She woke in a cold sweat,
    Though power in her burned.
    She would not soon forget
    The whisper, "You WILL learn!"

    (Note: When Xzar mentions "innocence for experience" that is intended as a reference to William Blake's poetry collection "Songs of Innocence and of Experience.")

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited December 2016
    Canto IV

    Veraka was chilled upon waking with the whisper,
    One she had heard before in a harrowing dream
    And found that her fickle power to heal foul wounds
    Was now twofold: twice after rest she could muster triage,
    Though she was no more cleric than Minsc was a mage.
    Unsettled, she still was determined to soothe stings,
    And mended Minsc's maladies, making the man whole
    When she awoke the wild warrior. He said, "Ah, my witch
    Is truly full of tricks, no small trove of techniques!
    There is nothing my new lady cannot do or doesn't know,
    And Minsc is well pleased you have picked him for peril!"
    Veraka grasped his arm in a warrior's grip and grinned,
    Then replied, "I may rate reasonably across sundry skills,
    But versatility, I avow, is the virtue of Veraka.
    You, my mighty Minsc, are much better in melee,
    While Xan and Xzar are xenial zendiks of greater magic,
    And my only thief skill that might match Imoen is pickpocket.
    My capricious cures aren't clerical, I can't turn undead,
    So a jester is a jack of all trades, my jaunty ranger.
    In any one way I am well behind a specialist,
    But a fine factotum fills in for every part."
    Minsc said, "My wondrous witch has whelmed me with words,
    But Boo believes you are a beautiful bewitcher.
    Worry not, I am sure he was wielding a compliment."
    Boo squeaked, as if to state his steadfast agreement
    with Minsc.
    The others soon had stirred,
    And gathered at a table.
    The group would soon concur
    On what path seemed most stable.

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited November 2016
    Veraka said, "North from Nashkel is now our path,
    For the letters we looted from Mulahey link him
    To a man named Tranzig who made messages,
    The new link in the chain of nefarious knaves.
    We have little time to track Tranzig until he hears
    Of our heroics here in halting their iron-mongering.
    Once we see what letters that courier wields,
    It may lead us to Tazok, or even the terrible knight
    Who killed my guardian and good father Gorion,
    If any justice be left in the world for joking jesters,
    Though like as not my luck will not lead me there."
    Xan declared, "Though undoubtedly doomed as we are,
    We must heed our hopeless quest to help this region,
    And unravel the riddle these ruffians are part of."
    Xzar said, "So it seems we shall travel to Beregost,
    Town of teeming peasants and tawdry temptresses.
    So be it! Montaron, load the llamas with lambaste,
    And we will be off for a world of wanton banality."
    "Mage man, there is no Montaron here," Minsc said,
    While Veraka and Imoen gave guarded glances.
    "He is dead?" Xzar asked, dire despair in his tone.
    "Even so," Veraka said with sure certainty.
    "Let me see," Xzar said, then shuffled in his sack
    Until he brought forth a bleak skull, bone-white.
    "Alas, poor Montaron! I hardly knew him, harlots:
    A fellow of infinite fault-finding and foulness:
    He hath berated me back a billion times; and now
    How delightful his death does seem, like a dream!
    Here hung those lips that lambasted and belittled me
    I know not how oft. Where be your naysaying now?
    Your curses? Your cries? Your contempt and cruelty,
    That were wont to set a table overturned? No tirade,
    Now, to needle this new state? Quite chap-fallen?"
    Xzar ended, poised poignantly with a skull in his palm.
    "I don't think that skull is-" Imoen started to say,
    But Veraka cut in, "Now come my cagey cohorts,
    Let us be off to Beregost and bring Tranzig a beating!"
    "Now you're speaking swords!" Minsc smiled, and soon
    they left.
    The heroes headed on
    To find the mentioned man.
    They walked the road at dawn
    Veraka paced with Xan.

    (Note: I'm sure you all get the reference to Shakespeare's "Hamlet" from Act 5, Scene 1. Veraka's brief response "Even so" is intended to mirror the gravedigger's opening from the preceding dialogue "E'en that" which seems appropriate, given that the gravediggers are clowns in the script and Veraka is a jester.)

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    Imoen was immersed in glib impishness
    As she teased Minsc and Xzar with talk and tall tales,
    So Veraka spoke again to the solemn sojourner,
    "What do you think, Xan? Does the day seem dreary,
    Or full of foul frights long-forgotten from below?"
    "No indeed, the sun shines and I stand simply amazed
    We live to see another day; this light and larksong
    Almost reminds me of Evereska, young miss.
    I am reminded of our mere mortal insignificance
    In the dazzling daylight and dappled shadows."
    "One might think you may've missed your calling,
    To hear such bittersweet turns of phrase
    Would normally require the wooing and wiles
    Begotten of bards, my bemusing Greycloak,"
    Veraka's eyes twinkled as she talked to Xan.
    "Ah, I apologize for all my aimless banter,
    But if I bemuse you then by all means smile
    For all too soon misfortune shall fell us, I fear.
    I do not doubt doom will drown us in despair,
    So let us linger in what little joy and light is left
    Before life fades and all are naught but ashes."
    Veraka nodded gravely, then giggled and guffawed
    And Xan turned toward her in tenuous good humor.
    "Yes Xan, just so, we all take a jarring journey,
    Death and suffering stalk us in senseless sorrow
    And none know when our number will be drawn.
    We two are alike, twin sides of a tossed coin:
    I have chosen to jest and jeer jauntily
    In the face of bleak banality and bitter bereavement
    As humor helps my heart to keep from breaking,
    While you linger at the lips of lachrymose longing
    And face the full foulness of fear and finality.
    In the end, we will be much the same I warrant:
    Soberly solemn and grinning ghastly in the ground."
    "If anyone buries our bodies," Xan bemoaned brightly,
    "And we aren't left to linger at last for the crows."
    Laughing again, Veraka let loose a lay
    Derived from a dirge but set to a ditty
    And she danced in the dappled sunlight of the day
    As slowly and secretly, a strange thing happened:
    Xan smiled.
    They spoke and wandered on
    toward Beregost's rich inn.
    Before the day was gone,
    they started to be friends.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited August 2014
    They wandered some ways from the well-worn path
    At Imoen's request to ramble off-road,
    And fought fetid gibberlings through field and forest:
    foul furballs with fangs always ready to fight.
    They lingered lost a time in lonesome woods,
    Till the troupe's morale was taxed and tried.
    They suddenly saw a sour old man in a loincloth
    Coughing such that he seemed bound for a coffin's enclosure.
    He wheezed, "Hooligans! Harlot harpies! Get out of my yard!
    Stop your pestilential pestering for a portent or purpose!"
    Veraka said, "Sir, I may be a stray hooligan,
    But no strumpet surely, nor sassy soaring woman;
    Verily I am Veraka, adventurer of vim and verve.
    If you have aught to help us with your hermit's advice,
    I would hear your wise words, and will trouble you not."
    "Parley then, pretty girl, with Portalbendarwinden,
    Hapless hermit and hearer of blowhards in haste.
    My advice, I avow, shall avail you 'gainst avarice,
    or not; almost certainly not, now hearken nigh:
    Never take raisins from rabbits, all right?
    Never spit in someone's face unless his moustache smoulders,
    And wear not wooden knickers without plenty of salve."
    Xzar snorted in disgust in the silence that settled,
    As Veraka shot the hermit a venomous view
    Then viciously voiced vitriol in vehement vagary,
    "I've about had my FILL of riddle flinging, quest fetching,
    Put-down throwing, pun hurling, hostage plucking,
    Iron mongering smart-arsed fools, freaks and felons
    Continually testing my will, wits, wisdom and patience!
    If some straight answer resides in your skewed little head,
    I had better hear it posthaste you henbrained hermit,
    Lest I lodge an object larger than Elminster AND his hat
    Lengthwise into a section of your being so seldom seen
    That even the devil denizens of the Nine Hells would not deign
    To touch it with a twenty-foot rusty halberd!
    Have I MADE myself most perfectly CLEAR?!"
    "The Spawn!" he wheezed, then with what speed he had,
    The hermit Portalbendarwinden headed for
    the hills.
    The group all stood in shock
    At Veraka's tirade.
    Minsc stepped out to take stock
    Of passage through the glade.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited November 2016
    Minsc came back bearing news of the road to Beregost,
    So they set out in silence 'til the city was soon seen.
    They fared well finding Feldepost's Inn and Tranzig,
    Who held a high suite on the second floor.
    They tread lightly to Tranzig's room ready for trouble
    And came through the door to dare his danger.
    "Don't bother me, beat it! I need ta be going,"
    A rat-faced man in a robe rudely spoke in a rush.
    "Perhaps you'd please tell us why you're pining to leave,"
    Veraka said sharply, a steely gleam in her stare.
    "Uh, I gotta give a lecture on Garl Glittergold,
    For some folks at the Friendly Arm Inn," he lied.
    "I don't buy it," Veraka said, bringing out her bow.
    "Would you believe it's about Bahamut?" he asked.
    "I don't think so," Veraka said, drawing a dark arrow.
    "Would you believe I'm debriefing Beshaba priests about beer?"
    "No," Veraka chuckled, now nearly amused.
    "Would you believe a bar mitzvah for Blibdoolpoolp's believers?"
    "Oh come off it Tranzig, tell us true of your tale,
    Or face a fierce end from this feathered shaft."
    Giving a nervous glance, he said, "Fine, I give in.
    I'm a courier, I carry letters for stone-cold killers
    Who would whack you in a second if they were here.
    You can have 'em, now you'll hafta lemme go heroine."
    "I don't think so," Veraka said, then released the stout shaft
    And the questers quickly quashed the former mage
    The courier fell with ease,
    But Veraka felt disquiet.
    The letters she had seized
    Spoke of the bandits' riot.

    (Note: "Would you believe..." is a reference to the television series "Get Smart.")

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
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