A scribe without an arm.

March 25th, 2014 by Jenroku · 1 Comment · Character development, Events, Guild storylines

The city air left a bitter, coppery taste akin to blood in the scribe’s mouth. As the sun beat down, he and the prophet Zun’dra made their way to the Valley of Spirits to meet with the rest of the group. The High Priestess had contacted them via totem, sounding more agitated and out of sorts than usual. Jen’roku could not help but wonder as to who would summon the Ai’loa, and for what purpose? Certainly his previous experience with this strange band of Trolls had left him to always err on the side of caution, but as so many of his new family delighted in pointing out, Jen’s heart was as soft and easy to melt as butter. His apprehension and defenses were flimsy at best. If the call for help was genuine then Jen’roku, the Antu’kan and servant of Dambala, would answer.

As the two Trolls approached they found Dzivah, Ohiska, and Drek’tal in the midst of heated discussion. Upon seeing their leader and the scribe approach, Dzivah could not help but customarily lash them with her fiery tongue.
‘Ah, there ya two be. Dzivah be wonderin’ if ya ever gonna grace us wit’ ya presence.’ Jen’roku grimaced but Zun’dra merely spoke as though her barbs were insignificant.
‘For what purpose do ya summon us all here, daughter? Surely it be of more importance than ta display your infamous temperament?’ Drek’tal, the massive ice Troll, couldn’t help but guffaw at the expense of his mate. The High Priestess had every intention of continuing her verbal barrage when a voice, gravely and distorted like someone speaking through a mouthful of sand, spoke from behind them.

‘Ai… Loa. I.. be seekin’ ya.’

The group turned to face the newcomer, a painfully thin Troll woman, who beckoned them away from the main concourse to a space behind an improvised hovel. Suddenly on edge, the scribe could not help but notice that the space caught between two imposing structures was drenched in shadow the way a page would be if an ink pot was spilled, dark rivers of ink seeping and sinking into parchment the way blood mixes with dirt. Jenroku stopped momentarily to observe the group following the new Troll and couldn’t help but wonder if they shared his dread. ‘How can dey be so sure, always so ready ta act?’ the scribe wondered to himself, blotting his sweaty palms on his robe. ‘It seems as if da Priestess and her followers be afraid of nothin’. I envy dere fortitude.’ Shaking his head to regain his composure, he sped up to rejoin the group and to hear what the obviously sickly Troll had to ask of them.

Standing in a crescent, the girl introduced herself as Birwiti amidst a coughing fit that seemed to last a horrible amount of time. Dzivah, never being one to be made to wait, took a bold step forward and started making demands.
‘Tell us, Birwiti, what do you want of the Ai’Loa? What can we, and perhaps Dambala, be helpin’ you wit’?’ The pale Troll looked to the High Priestess with an aghast stare before mumbling a few of the last words she would ever utter.
‘Da Shadowpine.. send meh. Dey be needin’ da Ai’Loa. Dey…’ Suddenly, as if her throat became blocked at that moment, Birwiti began choking and spluttering. The scribe dashed forward to offer his assistance, but upon reaching the obviously unwell Troll, he froze in horror. Looking to Birwiti’s jaw he noticed that the skin was the texture of old and yellowed leather, beginning to crack and split from the corners of her mouth and tracing nightmarish, zigzag patterns across her jawline.
‘Birwiti, are ya okay? What can I do ta help ya?’ Jenroku begged her in a hurried, panicked voice. Cursing how shrill and weak he sounded, the scribe placed a hand on the suffering Troll’s shoulder, and in doing so the female immediately stopped gagging. ‘What is it ya need us ta do, Birwiti?’ He tried to fill his voice with compassion and bravery, knowing the eyes of his comrades were on his back. Birwiti turned her head to stare at Jen’roku with her jaundiced, empty eyes and in that moment the scribe realized that he had made a horrible mistake. This creature, assumed merely unwell, was not even alive; a lifeless, reanimated husk. Birwiti grinned, her disgusting, yellowing teeth showing through the holes that had been torn in her dead skin, black tar oozing from what were once raw, bleeding gums. She leaned in closer to Jen’roku to answer the scribe’s question; an outsider would think them two lovers, tenderly embracing. He could smell her rotting, fetid flesh, his eyes watering at the stench that was so much more apparent when in close proximity. Clutching at him desperately, longingly, Biriwit uttered a single word, with which all semblance of normality was stripped away,
‘Die…’ And at the mention of the word, the undead husk sank her awful, wretched teeth into the scribe’s shoulder and drank freely of his warm, vital blood.  Jen’roku had but a second to realize what had happened to him before he felt an incredible surge of pain spread down his arm, like nothing he’d felt before. It was an all-consuming, enveloping pain, like being bathed by the sun itself. The Antu’kan cried out a single word, ‘Dambala’, and crumpled to the ground, letting darkness consume him.

Zun’dra knelt by across from Ohiska, he fallen scribe sprawled on the dirt between them. They murmured their options between each other, both knowing the consequences if they failed to act. After a few moments, Zun’dra spoke aloud.

“Cut off the arm. It be the only way to save him. Be merciful and swift.”

As Drek’tal’s blade came down on the arm of the unconscious mon, you could almost hear the Antu’kan’s wailing spirit crying out…

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