D&D recap while it’s fresh in my mind! I will tell the first half of the story today and finish it tomorrow.
Gwen wakes the party in the morning. The oasis feels alive around them, insects buzzing and a few birds chirping, like the darkness of the marsh has once again been pushed back. Gwil materializes with more nuts and berries, placing them in the middle of the camp before hiding behind Gwen.
“Are you ready to go to Alyn?” Gwen asks after the party has eaten.
They nod, standing and hoisting their packs. As they leave the oasis, Gwen and Gwil stay close, hiding in the middle of the group. After about an hour of travel, the party reaches a small entrance to a cave. Inside, the cave opens up to a large, smooth cavern about 15ft tall. At the far end, there is a large figure obscuring what looks like a campfire.
“Alyn?” Gwen calls out.
The figure moves, shoulders straightening a bit before replying. “Hello, Gwen, Gwil. Any particular reason you’ve brought company?”
Gwen flutters uncomfortably, crossing her arms. “Um, they’re warriors looking for you. Illara sent them.”
Alyn’s frame stiffens at the mention of Illara. He’s quiet for a moment. “I knew she’d find someone stupid enough eventually. Let’s get this over with.”
He stands up. In the dim light, they can tell he’s wearing a big cloak. Even with the bulk of the cloak, Alyn is a formidable presence. When he’s standing straight, he is probably between 6’6” and 6’8”, built like a barbarian. In his right hand is a bastard sword made of a dull metal they don’t recognize. He turns to face the group of adventurers, throwing back the hood of his cloak.
The first thing they notice is that his skin has a blue hue. It’s mottled with scars, his clothes in tatters save for the heavy cloak. His eyes are a cloudy white with a strange blue glow. Across his throat is a deep, jagged scar. He stands there for a moment, looking at each of our adventurers in turn. His eyes linger for a moment on Elzeni, narrowing slightly.
Alyn clears his throat. “Well. Probably not what you expected to find.”
The party is silent for a moment, exchanging nervous glances before Elzeni speaks. “What happened to you?”
“Do you wish to hear my tale?”
They nod, relaxing as he sags his sword hand, letting it hang next to him.
“Have you ever heard of demons called succubi? I had the good fortune of becoming one’s mark. I don’t know how much Illara has told you. The nightmares started shortly after we moved to this damn town, nightmares that felt real. In them, I’d see her, the succubus that marked me. She’d offer herself to me, offer to make all my dreams come true. I resisted her as best I could, but demons are relentless. After months of torturing my sleep, she finally got tired of me. She crossed into our world, cornering me here in the marsh. She made me one last offer, and when I refused she put a spell on me. I couldn’t control my own body. I was her slave.
Once she’d had her fun, she told me to burn my house down and return to her. I couldn’t stop myself. I tried to tell Illara to run, that I loved her, that I was sorry I never took her advice and went to that wizard in Tereod. Instead, I set our home on fire and walked away. When I returned to the demon, she said she was done with me, laughing as she drew a clawed finger across my throat.”
He’s silent for a moment, running his fingers over the scar on his throat.
“I don’t know if any of you have ever died, gone to purgatory to wait for your god. This time, I woke in the Abyss. My soul had been tainted by the demon, sending me straight to that hell. It was in the Abyss that I learned about my demon. It took me years to find a way back. Revenge kept me going.
When I finally crawled back into my body, I found Gwen and Gwil. They’d used their magic to preserve my body the best they could, waiting for someone to come and return my body to Illara. Think I scared them half to death when I woke up. As soon as my eyes opened, I could feel here, that bitch who killed me. I came back for revenge, but it is a difficult task.”
He pauses, clenching his left hand into a fist. “This body is strong, but it has its limits. I cannot hope to defeat a demon on my own.”
He looks at each adventurer in turn. “You were good enough to help my wife and strong enough to survive the marsh, so I ask you: will you help me kill a demon?”
The adventurers are quiet for a moment, letting his tale soak in. Storm whispers to them, telling them the tales he’s heard of people who died a death so unjust that they came back for revenge.
“They’re called Revenants,” he whispers, looking at the figure before them.
Elzeni nods, turning back to Alyn. “We will help you, but we were also hired by your wife. What should we tell Illara?”
He stiffens again at the mention of her name, sliding the greatsword into a sheath on his back. He sighs, pulling off an amulet and handing it to Elzeni.
“Tell her I’m dead. Go. Finish your business in Vrazen Glade. I’ll meet you on the road to Tereod tomorrow night. Gwen, Gwil, will you show them the way to town?”
Gwen nods. “Gwil, will you take them to town? I want to talk with Alyn.”
Gwil nods, beckoning the party out of the cave into the gloom of the marsh.
I’ll finish the story tomorrow…