The Verdant Passage

Fever dreams

“Where am I? What’s going on?!? Where is that damned lantern anyways?” the half-giant was covered in sweat, his heart pounding in his chest. The confusion of suddenly awakening from a deep sleep was apparent in his eyes. The room was dimly lit from the fireplace, the embers of the last few coals reflected off of Fezzick’s eyes.

“Safe. Just another dream.” He said to no one in particular. A good thing because he was alone in the room. “Must have been all that broy and talking with that kid that brought that dream about. It’s kind of cold in here tonight” The graying hero stood up, hearing the wind howling and the rain slapping upon the windows, he walked over to the hearth and threw another bundle sticks on the coals. “How things have changed; wood for the fire and rain for Tyrs’ sake. It now!" Shaking his head he walked over to the window and threw open the curtains. that confirmed his senses, the raindrops were coming down sideways and the road outside flowed like a stream.

The only light outside came from the lantern across the street at the guards tower. Even with the overhangs the guards were soaked completely through. Surely they were grumbling about the rain and the cold. After rubbing his hands together, getting the circulation flowing again, Fezzick returned to his bed, pulled his covers tight and drank down the last gulp of intoxicating nectar from the cup on his bedside table. He curled up and closed his eyes…

…”Time to go,” said Thlolck “We should be getting to Jade tower, I found us a guide that will have to suffice to replace Sil”. “To the wastes with him! I hope he drowns in the sea of silt! Abandoning us, I couldn’t expect more from that piece of kank spore!”, exclaimed Fezzick. “Calm down, he isn’t all that bad. I wasn’t there but you must be mistake him for someone else, with that tripping episode.” Explained Ziaidah. Fezzick simply grumbled and walked away, pack on his back, ready to move. The party started to move out, through the doors, into the darkness…

Fezzick awoke to loud banging coming from somewhere in his room. The fire was burning brightly and he could see the shutters slamming against the window, the storm had gotten worse. “This damned broy, why do I drink it? Always gives me such vivid dreams.” He climbed out of bed, walked to the window and threw the latch. The window opened with such great force that it startled the behemoth, he stumbled backward, tripped on the bedpost and fell, full force, face first into the hearth stone. As he slid down the stone, consciousness waning, the fire seemed to move towards him, or was it him towards the fire? Blood trickled into the corner of his mouth, he completed his descent to the floor, barely missing the blaze…the fire dancing less than an arm’s length from his face. In a dazed confusion he stared at the fire…flames dancing, mocking him, licking his beard, throwing themselves at him…at barrels of broy…at drunken soldiers…

“Fire Elementals”, yelled Tzadkiel, “No, Fezzick, you won’t be able to put them out, you have to fight them! Get those barrels in one place…What are you doing? That sand won’t help! Just kill the damned things!”

The demons were leaping from rafter to rafter, others were moving from drunken soldier to drunken soldier, burning all in their path. In retrospect it was obvious this was no ordinary fire. It burned only where it wanted. Fires are carefully kept in their place, in lanterns, hearths, candles and there they stay unless they are mishandled, then they burn whatever they can and cause wanton destruction until their fuel is exhausted, be it building, plants, broy or whatever else happens to be located in their vicinity. These were not that kind of fires, they didn’t want destruction, they wanted to kill and pursued this goal with a malevolent intelligence that betrayed their form. The heroes fought these elementals valiantly, getting singed for their deeds but defeating their demonic foes.

er dream.” He said to no one in particular, a good thing because he was alone in the room. “Must have been all that broy and talking with that kid that brought that dream about. It’s kind of cold in here tonight” The graying hero stood up, hearing the wind howling and the rain slapping upon the windows, he walked over to the hearth and threw another bundle sticks on the coals. “How things have changed; wood for the fire and rain for Tyrs’ sake, it rains now…” shaking his head and throwing open the curtains. He confirmed his senses, the raindrops were coming down sideways and the road outside of his window flowed like a stream.

The only light outside came from the lantern across the street at the guards tower. Even with the overhangs the guards were soaked completely through. Surely they were grumbling about the rain and the cold. After rubbing his hands together, getting the circulation flowing again, Fezzick returned to his bed, pulled his covers tight and

…”Time to go,” said Thlolck “We should be getting to Jade tower, I found us a guide that will have to suffice to replace Sil”. “To the wastes with him! I hope he drowns in the sea of silt! Abandoning us, I couldn’t expect more from that piece of kank spore!”, exclaimed Fezzick. “Calm down, he isn’t all that bad. I wasn’t there but I bet you really do mistake him for someone else, with that tripping episode.” Explained Ziaidah. Fezzick simply grumbled and walked away, pack on his back, ready to move. The party started to move out, through the doors, into the darkness…

Fezzick awoke to loud banging coming from somewhere in his room. The fire was burning brightly and he could see the shutters slamming against the window, the storm had gotten worse. “This damned broy, why do I drink it? Always gives me such vivid dreams.” He got himself out of bed, walked to the window and threw the latch. The window opened with such great force that it startled the behemoth, he stumbled backward, tripped on the bedpost and fell, full force, face first into the hearth stone. As he slid down the stone, consciousness waning, the fire seemed to move towards him, or was it him towards the fire? Blood trickled into the corner of his mouth, he completed his descent to the floor, barely missing blaze…the fire dancing less than an arm’s length from his face. In a dazed confusion he stared at the fire…flames dancing, mocking him, licking his beard, throwing themselves at him…at barrels of broy…at drunken soldiers…

“Fire Elementals”, yelled Tzadkiel, “No, Fezzick, you won’t be able to put them out, you have to fight them! Get those barrels in one place…What are you doing? That sand won’t help! Just kill the damned things!”

The demons were leaping from rafter to rafter, others were moving from drunken soldier to drunken soldier, burning all in their path. In retrospect it was obvious this was no ordinary fire. It burned only where it wanted. Fires are carefully kept in their place, in lanterns, hearths, candles and there they stay unless they are mishandled, then they burn whatever they can and cause wanton destruction until their fuel is gone be it building, plants, broy or whatever else happens to be located in their vicinity. These were not that kind of fires, they didn’t want destruction, they wanted to kill and pursued this goal with a malevolent intelligence that betrayed their form. The heroes fought these elementals valiantly, getting singed for their deeds but defeating their demonic foes.

“What’s this about the Brigadier” asked the Sergeant of Thlolck. “He has been cast out, he betrayed you, and the Regent has relieved him. He was sent off to the wastes three days ago but it seems you never got the word.” “Damn them,” the Sergeant said, exasperated “you would think they would send a raven or something? That explains why had us pull out the 20 year aged broy. Its normally reserved for important dignitaries, but he said “I’ve been promoted to Regent, it is time to celebrate.” I had no reason to doubt him with the color guard he had with him. Though I should have been suspicious, I started to doubt him when there was no seal on the letter, but I wanted to believe him… that 20 year aged is so good, the Regent has been ill, the men need a strong leader…but this seals it, these fires started right near him and he conveniently disappeared right as it happened.”

Fezzik looked bewildered as he stumbled towards Thlolck, “Fezzick, are you okay you look a little…green…”, the giant stumbled and fell forward, the world spinning as he hit the ground he could taste the dust…sand…couldn’t see…I have to hold my breath…darkness..then…

“Zaiadah, stay close, I don’t want to lose you too”, “I’m right here on your coat tails” echoed through his head, he hated when they did that, it was like someone holding a megaphone to your brain, especially when they were being emphatic. “We need to get out of this storm” Zaiadah thought to him. “Where are the…cough..others..cough..” he said as he put his head down, and bulled forward in the direction he thought he last saw them. Then it stopped, the worst sandstorm he has ever seen was gone, just as quickly as it begun. Standing before him was the aftermath of a battle. Four dead thrikreen and with one live insect-man, that looked to be praying, surrounded by hyenas and dog-men. Fezzick was separated from the rest of his Company by the aftermath. The storm had scattered them and placed them right in the middle of this battle.

The hyenas were growling at Fezzick, he took one look them and swung his Mordenkrad around him, flexing his muscles “Stand down or you will reap what you sew!” The hyenas backed off ever so slightly as did the dog-man with the saber, but the large one, the Flind, he did not cower, he barked some orders at the hyenas and the dog-man and they backed up a few feet more not letting their guard down. The Flind in the middle starting barking and the one by Fezzick responded. Then Tzadkiel barked right back at them.

All this barking drowned out the chatter going on in Fezzicks brain, when all of a sudden all hell broke loose. Arkin was surrounded, the next time Fezzick saw him he was standing, covered head to toe in blood. He was about to go help Arkin when he was attacked by the Dog-man and his hyenas. Focusing upon them he saw little else of the battle. Save for when Ziaidah got surrounded, one good hit and she flew to the ground, blood gushing out of her neck, a gaping hole where her head belonged. Still attached by some muscle, her head was at a grotesque angle, it didn’t look like she would make it.

Fezzick dispatched one of the hyenas in time to have the dog-pack descend upon him…the world began to spin, his Mordenkrad smashed into all three of the enemies surrounding him and then darkness…

“Ow, my head hurts…” said Fezzick as he wiped blood from the corner of his mouth. It was quiet, light was streaming in through the open window of his inn room. He found himself lying on the cold floor, next to hearth, with his beard smelling of a sick burnt odor, in a dried pool of blood. He stood up cautiously and looked at himself. “Feet, knees, hips, arms, hands…” he said as he took inventory, looking for the wounds that caused the bleeding. When he reached his head he could feel the newly formed scab and all the dried blood on the side of his face and forehead. “Lying in blood all night will do that to you… My clothes are a mess! What did I do last night?”

There was a slight knock on the door, a knock he recognized, “Fezzick, Breakfast”, he heard in his head…”NOT SO LOUD ZIAIDAH, I AM NOT DEAF!!!”, he yelled, “neither am I.” she replied psionically “and besides, I wasn’t even speaking…”

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