Hogar’s Journal (Translated from Giant)
Year 781 of the founding of the City
14th Day of Meloramensis – Part I
We rose early the next morning. Glen was up first and had breakfast waiting for us in the common room.
“Sausages?” I asked as I recognised the smell. “What would your best friend think about you eating one of his cousins for breakfast?”
“What he doesn’t know can’t hurt him,” was the curt reply “and if you want me to continue cooking it you wont be saying any more about it.”
I took a seat at the table and Charrak fussed about me fetching food and ale. Eventually I shooed him away.
“I’m quite capable of fetching myself a slice of bacon Charrak. Why don’t you get yourself some food?” The small brown creature wrung his hands apologetically and bounced up and down in his excitement.
“Oh no sir. Charrak must see that you are all catered for sir. Charrak does so enjoy the shop having so many people in it again. Oh yes!”
As Minron, Krevath and Rodney came in to join us Charrak scuttled off to fetch breakfast for them. For a while we sat and ate our breakfast waiting for Eligos to emerge so that we could head off to the teleportation circle. When she did arrive the reason for her delay was evident.
“Minron!” her voice echoed through the door several seconds before we saw her. Eventually a female kobold burst through the door, naked except for a sheet she had hastily wrapped about herself. “I’ve turned into a kobold!”
Silence dropped over the room like a heavy blanket. It was only broken when Charrak trotted into the room with a pewter cup in hand. When he saw the new Eligos he stopped dead in his tracks and the mug tinkled across the flagstones as he lost his grip on it. His eyes were transfixed and though you wouldn’t think it possible for a creature covered in russet scales to blush, I could swear he did.
“What are you staring at whelp?” She hissed at the poor creature. He fled as though faced with Belor himself.
Minron rose and went over to her. “This is not unexpected,” he said inspecting her arm “the condition progresses. We should head to Silverkin Manor soon.
“I can’t go anywhere!” Eligos almost screamed. “None of my clothers or armour fit! I’m not going anywhere.”
“I can adjust your equipment.” Rodney said. “It will take a little while, best to get started.” He rose and gently ushered her out of the room.
We waited until Eligos emerged once again clad in her purple robes and body armour re-sized to suit her now diminutive frame. If her right hand she clutched a halberd in place of her flail.
“What’s with the weapon change?” I asked her?
“I’d struggle to hit most foes above the ankle with a flail like this.” She replied. “This will give me a bit more reach.”
We tramped to the teleportation circle. Some quick words from the attendant mage. Some more piercing white light and instantaneously we found ourselves standing in the library at Silverkin Manor. Rook fluttered from my shoulder to climb to the loftiest heights of the soaring room. Impressive his awed voice came to me faintly.
Jacob was not in the library. As Minron, Rodney and Eligos set off to the kitchens to look for him I led Glen outside with Sid in tow carrying Vic over his back.
“You need to construct a pyre?” The dwarf asked.
“Yes.” I replied. “It’s Praetorium tradition. It prevents our fallen from becoming the pawns of Orcus.”
“You are part of the Praetorium?” Krevath piped up. He had tagged along with us and his interest had suddenly been piqued.
“Yes.” I answered. “and Minron as well.”
“You do not wear their symbol.”
“We are scouts.” I said. “Sometimes it’s beneficial if people don’t immediately know our allegiance.”
“What was this Vic’s full name?” The dragonborn asked, now visibly excited.
“Vicrael of Endhaven. What’s getting you so excited?”
“How old was he?”
“I don’t know.” I said, starting to get a little annoyed. “A hundred and fifty or something stupid like that.”
Krevath placed a clawed hand on Sid’s bridle and brought the beast to a halt. “May I look upon him?” He asked, indicating the shrouded corpse.
He was in such earnest that I did not refuse him. He drew the pale cloth back and revealed the face of my commander. Vicreal’s skin had pulled taught across the bones of his face and his eyes had sunk back into their sockets. The waxy hue had gone from his complexion. He looked pale, fragile and empty.
“He looks different” Krivath murmured. “but it is him.”
“You knew him?” Glen asked in surprise.
“Yes. My clan came to the defence of Fallcrest when the Bloodspears invaded. I met Vic there and he offered to recruit me into the Praetorium.”
“What?” There was too much information in that one statement for me to take it all in at once. Vic had fought against my grandfather? This dragonborn was an acquaintance of his from 90 years ago? “Did he not recruit you then?” was the question I settled on.
“No, I abandoned him.” He replied sadly. “Before Falcrest fell I managed to escape with some of my clan and never saw him again. I had thought him dead.”
“You abandoned him to die? In your place I would keep such a craven story to myself. You are in the company of Vic’s friends and companions at arms.” I growled at him.
“Before I would have agreed with you. The guilt I felt for my actions weighed on me for the next forty years. Eventually it drove me seek out the challenge of the Platinum Dragon to prove my valour, to myself as much as any other. That bought me half a century of contemplation inside that pillar, until you set me free. I have been foolish, selfish and cowardly for most of my existence. I do not wish to add liar to my list of character flaws.”
“It’s time for us to build him a pyre.” I said and stalked off into the woods.
We headed off into the tangled forests surrounding Silverkin Manor and cut down some trees to build a grand funeral pyre for Vic. After a while we had constructed a lattice of tree trunks sufficient to fuel a hot blaze. The others filed out of the house as the sun began to fall behind the mountains to the west. Vic’s shadow was cast long over the ground, a dark mantle draped over a tired land made orange by the fading sun. Minron lit two torches and passed one to me. As the last of the light faded away we strode forwards together and thrust our torches into the lattice of wood. I stepped back to stand alongside Glen as the flames rose to lick at the oh so still form lay atop them. We had dressed Vic in the finest clothes he had with him a lain trousers and a purple velvet jacket that I had always relished teasing him about. His hands clasped his wand to his chest and all of his belongings were placed alongside him for the trip to the Raven Queen’s realm.
“Are you going to say anything?” Glen asked me as Vic passed from view behind an orange curtain of flame.
“Vic does all the talking.” I replied.