Flames and Steel: The Chromatic War

The Gruesome Visions of the Meat-Shield Neo

(For the sake of everyone’s sanity: This post is written from T’lemya’s POV.)

Sit up and stretch – ships’ hull is surprisingly comfortable, and rocking has been good for comfort. Good enough that, apparently, there was large fight… while I slept. Oops.

Up to deck of ship… lots of… con… const-structs… Is difficult to say even in own mind. Const-structs. Connnn…… Not-bodies. One of the not-bodies has the gem of an old wizard… likes tea, a lot. Lots of purple stones everywhere, too… bags of them. And… blood… blood pouring out of the body of my poor, headless Squishy (Velius). I sit on the chest of Squishy… others tell me that head is gone because of ambush, and mace attack. Another lost… another not protected…

Group says to repair ships, return to Basque. Do not like returning to Koshka-control, but must deliver for Sparls and Black Dragon Queen. Meat-Shield (Neo) checks on not-body of wizard, but little knowledge is gained.

Basque dock-master wants gold for docking… Meat-Shield tries to pay. No need – have gold from poor, dead Squishy. Probably would have hated to give up gold for group with no personal gain… but not here to argue, either.

Step onto solid ground, expect joy. Instead, ground is very, very cold. People stop moving… all frozen, except for group. Do not like! One figure in back of crowd… not quite still. Drop to ground, hide in shadows, wait. Point figure out to rest of group… group does not understand. Figures. Shadowy-thing (Stryde), however, is bowing. This… can’t be good.

Tall woman, figure in crowd, starts walking towards group. Very scary looking: long black hair, tattered black dress. Small-things in her way, so she flicks her wrist. Small things go flying. Do not like!

Scary woman approaches group. Is Black Dragon Queen. Acknowledges Shadowy-thing, and surprised by no-respect from others. Fluffy (Harry) scratches ear. Perfect.

Now new thing, Clanky-That-Does-Not-Clank (Duke), opens mouth. Stupid things leave. Too bad. Kind of liked that one. Shadowy-thing is nervous, and says Clanky-That-Does-Not-Clank can be entertaining, if Dark-One likes stupid. Dark-One wants entertainment, and Clanky offers… – gag – bedroom time. Gross. Dark-One is scary… probably feels like a cheese-grater. Dark-One thinks is stupid, too. Instead, she summons baby black drake, commands to kill Clanky. Clanky tries to argue, gets nipped at by dragonling. Thought would be smart… fight, survive, victory! But no. Clanky-that-does-not-clank… pretends to faint. “Oooh, the power of the Black Dragon Clan is too strong for me! I have been defeated!” he says, falling over backwards. Stupid. Gives drake advantage, will be eaten!

But Dark-One seems mildly amused, sends drake away. Prods in ribcage with toes – looks like it feels more like a kick. “Get up. It’s time to be quiet now.” Clanky-that-does-not-clank is quiet. Much smarter.

Dark-One turns to Meat-Shield, says she will take not-bodies and purple stones as her toys, and that agreement has been fulfilled; brings back Shiny-thing (Caramel), who looks dazed. Says will have her support, and support of her underlings. Will maneuver forces into place for us. Says, “The sky will show the sign. Look for green light around the edges. This will be your sign to move so that you will have the support of the black dragon flight, and our allies. At that time, it will be time to move in on the enemy territory.” Also says that this time is imminent. Do not like Dark-One, or that she has control over souls… hope will be ok, but must save world from reds first.

Dark-One then makes Meat-Shield a wager… am nervous about this. Meat-Shield looks nervous, too. Dark-One knows that Meat-Shield has fallen from Cayden’s favor; knows that his has, indeed, made Meat-Shield grumpy. Says that if Meat-Shield can “save the person he needs to save” in time, she will restore another fallen meat-shield to the “path of good”… whatever that means. Holds up sparkly magic thing, with image of Crazy-Man… Meat-Shield recognizes, says name is Captain Morgan. Meat-Shield also thinks he knows who must be saved… apparently had visions – crazy religious-types and their spooky religious hocus pocus – with a series of very dead people: priest hung by own robes with symbols carved into flesh, woman with eyelids cut off and 9 children roasting on spit, and lastly Goat, Tall-Cuddly-Half-Orc, with black sword shoved through back. Thinks must save Cuddly-thing. Nervous about wager, but Meat-Shield thinks is worth it for chance to save Crazy-Man as well. Agrees to bet, so long as Crazy-Man will still be saved, even if Cayden forsakes Meat-Shield for making bet. Dark-One shakes Meat-Shield’s hand, leaves marks with claws, and says will hide Meat-Shield’s action from drunken god. Sends group off, saying, “You’ll find the beginning of your trail where your story began.”

Back to small-thing-Sparls’, to inform of success. Still living with Ipflobz. Ipflobz name still stupid, but agree to give us rooms for resting and cleaning. Shiny-thing is blind from time spent in dark, but know also has great sadness for fallen Ninja-Crim. Can barely get to respond. Clanky-that-does-not-clank begins asking Meat-Shield of group’s background; Meat-Shield obliges. Is fitting – both large, noisy, good for hiding behind – should get along well. But Shiny-thing needs care, and words, and knowledge of events… Must take her to room, explain things, accept punishment if necessary.

Shiny-thing is still not well after discussion, but no longer unresponsive. No longer hopeless. Able to travel. Group goes to Trinity, find Tall-Cuddly-Half-Orc-Goat. Cuddly-one is still fine, but group is worried. Meat-Shield tells of vision. Half-Orc doesn’t believe at first, but Dark-One has confirmed, and so Cuddly-thing takes more seriously. Meat-Shield also joins arbiter’s guild… not sure why, guess was bored. Suppose makes some sense, group does lots of work for guild, but tomes are scary things, dangerous if lost. Meat-Shield also wants special shield, but is afraid will need before returning to Trinity. Was going to send to Varalon… Can’t trust officials, will steal or kill Meat-Shield; after all, Meat-Shield still worth gold for assassination… formerly tempting assassination, but Meat-Shield is useful, maybe eventually friend. If nothing else, mild entertainment and decent company. Have shield sent to Frontie’s instead – John will protect for me. Meat-Shield is worried, so I write letter, trap, have attached to package. Half-Orc-Cuddle-Friend is afraid to touch letter… is smart, is learning.

Ride to Kassadin… horses are weird, but much faster. Stop by Frontie’s, see John still alive. Slap for no response – was worried sick. Slap is blocked… reflexes too good. Will have to find new means of getting stupid out of his brain. Apparently letter saying was alive was intercepted. Punishment enough for opening letter – loss of eyebrows and facial skin should be funny. John promises to protect shield for Meat-Shield, and sends underling to watch Half-Orc-Goat. Hopefully Cuddly-one will live, and will not require sacrifice of watcher…

Ride on towards Kassadin… Kaaaassadinnnn… Do not like the way name feels to say. On road, see small thing with strange hat and magnifying glass… is Not-Quite-Dragon-Small-Thing-Sindri! Jump off horse, pick him up. “Where have you been?!” Am happy to see Small-Thing. Small-Thing-Sindri says has been investigating a murder. Ignores questions about where hat came from… am unhappy about this. Hat seems very odd.

But Not-Quite-Dragon-Sindri is focused on murder. Says elf-woman named Niece was murdered in elf-town Caori during red dragon attack. Do not know this woman, but others in group do… Says stuck-up-too-pretty-elves thought died accidentally – thought had been startled by attack, and had fallen into her own plants… scary plants, if they can kill. Small-thing, however, found strange marks on leaves of plant, looked like end of katana had been poked through. Elf-woman also had plant acid on pressure points. Thinks the katana being used is sword of Lamashtu – also what Meat-Shield thinks we seek. Small-thing also mentions elf-woman had symbol of Iomedae on dresser… Do not like, tail flicks. Meat-shield wonders. Do not respond.

Continue on to Kassadin with Small-Thing-Sindri. There, Meat-Shield finds vision is fulfilled: priest, apparently guard of formerly-poisoned-well, has been hung by own robes, runes carved into chest. Villager-humans say body will not burn on the pyre. Meat-Shield presses hammer against runes on chest, and runes disappear. Evil runes repelled by good hammer. .. Can hammers be good? Is very strange concept…

Find out priest was of Iomedae. Body will now burn on pyre, and Meat-Shield says prayer over body. Do not like, lots of frowning, but will hold tongue for now…

Visions are being fulfilled, Meat-Shield rushes to second scene: Not-Quite-Dragon-Sindri remembers meeting woman with nine children on road from Kassadin to Varalon. Group rides through night to get there… exhausting and dangerous, but for Meat-Shield’s nerves, and Sindri’s happiness, we do this. Efforts are futile, though – woman is already dead, and so are young-things. Meat-Shield requests help for grave-digging, but Small-Thing uses spell to immediately move earth for graves. Dead-things are buried, and Small-Thing-Sindri cries.

Half-Orc-Cuddle-Friend the last one in Meat Shield’s vision… Small-One summons a portal for speed – very little time left to protect Tall-Strong-Goat. Hope is still alive, hope John’s agent successful… hope Shiny-thing is safe from Red-Evil-Soon-To-Be-Gutted-Azar, and from own anger at death of Ninja-Crim… Group steps through portal…

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