The monastery made Nixie uncomfortable. She didn’t like how uniform everyone was. It was like no one had a free spirit. No one smiled or laughed. It bothered her. She didn’t like the colored bands on the peoples arms; she felt like they couldn’t leave soon enough. Two important men came to greet them but they instantly gave Acolyte the cold shoulder. He did them no wrong. Why did they treat him so? She didn’t like them. Their names were Brother Liam and Master Ivan or Master Liam and Brother Ivan. She was unsure but she didn’t talk to either of them. Thankfully the dwarf and the young boy, Nikoli, made a full recovery and soon they were off on another errand. They set off to find missing pages from an old book rumored to be in a cave across the forest. Nixie wasn’t sure what it was for. Acolyte seemed determined and despite her own personal feelings toward BL and MI or BI and ML she decided she would help him. He had healed her arm in the forest after all. She felt like she owed it to him to help.
They left in the morning, the two suns shining brightly in the sky, making them all feel fatigued. They took to traveling in the forest so to escape some of the harsher rays of light. Some flowers were found and someone made a drink for everyone to help fight the heat exhaustion. Apparently it was called “SunBerry BullShit Tea”. It tasted alright. Nixie curiously looked to Acolyte as he was handed the drink. Obviously he was different than anything she had ever seen and she was unsure of how he would be able to consume liquid. Without hesitation he threw back the beverage and splashed it upon himself. She stifled a laugh and turned away so not to offend him.
Soon they arrived at a large clearing; lake spread out in front of them. The surface of the water looked clear and undisturbed. Sparkling leaves glittered all around them and roses grew all along the edge of the clearing each ones petals perfect and crisp. A unicorn emerged from a path hidden from them moments before. He approached fearlessly and Nixie sensed some of the group tense beside her. She quickly stepped forward before Mustafa did something stupid and spoke to the beautiful animal. Such a sight was very rare and she was a little afraid the unicorn may not talk to her.
“Hello, we are strangers here and we mean no harm.”
“Do you come with the men who harm our trees?”
“The trees? No, we have not touched any of the trees. We seek safe passage through the forest to get to a cave on the side of the mountain.”
They learned the unicorn’s name was Eliwyn an he was the Glean Lord of this forest. As Nixie spoke to him she was surprised to see Nikoli step up beside her in awe. He had a depiction of a unicorn on him that she had never noticed before. Was this the symbol of his god?
“If I lead you to this cave would you rid this land of those vile men hurting the trees?” The unicorn asked stamping his foot angrily.
“We will!” Nixie said eagerly. She quickly realized she probably should have conversed with the rest of the group before making a promise to this divine beast but she pushed the thought away. With safe passage to the cave she was sure they would agree to take care of a band of criminals.
They went about their way traveling down the path Eliwyn appeared from. Other unicorns came to see the group as they traveled. A small foul ran up to Nikoli and bumped him with its nose before running off again. Nikoli looked so excited Nixie was sure he would explode. Nixie watched the unicorns, happy that she got to see them with her own eyes. She tried not to stare as she was almost transfixed by the soft look of their fur and the beautiful shiny hair of their manes and tail. She approached Eliwyn and asked shyly.
“May I have a clipping of some of your tail?”
“Some of my tail? Whatever for?” He seemed taken aback by such an odd request.
“I just think its so beautiful I want to braid it into a band to wear..” She replied feeling a bit silly.
“You take care of these bandits and I will oblige to your request.”
She beamed excitedly.
The band found the camp easily and the fighting began quickly after. The Halfling orc cast a spell over the 12 men and a little more than half dropped to the ground asleep. At the same time Aries threw a spell to the fire and a blue flame erupted from the pit and the image of a unicorn appeared above it all. The conscious men stared in awe at the sight. Mustafa ran in and bludgeoned one of the men killing him immediately. The rest quickly jumped into action. Nixie looked about from Aries hands aglow with fire to the dwarf with his deadly weapons of fury. Trying to find someway to be of help she ran over to the men sleeping and started to bind their arms and legs incase they started to wake during battle. The battle ended very quickly and soon there were only four men left alive. Shortly after three. The men were interrogated and apparently their leader and a few additional henchmen dwell inside the cave with the mysterious book pages.
We enter the cave as shouts echoed from inside. We funneled in from the neck of the cave into a large chamber where a huge orc stood looking pissed. Nixie tried her best to be helpful. She shot fire toward the orc but whether from fear or self doubt she missed every time. One thing lead to another and soon Mustafa and Acolyte stood grappling the massive orc. Her fire was failing but she had another trick she could try. She had never changed into an animal for combat before, her uncle would never allow sparing lessons, but she transformed into a bear. Her skin grew brown fur and soon she was more than twice her old size. She slashed at the orc with her now massive paws but the unfamiliar body caused her to miss as the two men beside her pushed him back. She was unsure who threw the final blow but soon it was all over.
The halfling orc, Hugh Halfner, had the pages safely tucked away and everyone soon piled out of the cave. People were starting to relax after battle and all the pent up stress Nixie felt inside her soon started to dissipate. Spotting Nikoli, Nixie ran up behind him and stole his hat playfully. She bounced around him in circles and he frantically tried to chase her and jump up to snatch the hat back. After she had had her fun, she dropped his hat and prepared to change back into a gnome.
“Before you change back do you mind helping me with something?” He asked, fixing his hat and returning to his habit of shining the pin on the front of his robes.
She nodded her bear head and gave a soft grunt agreeing to help him.
“I would like to bring the bodies out of the cave and collectively bury all the bodies.”
Nixie obliged and after it was done she returned to her normal form.
Returning to the forest they easily found their way back to where the unicorns roam. Eliwyn came to greet them and Nixie excited bounced forward to tell him the good news. He seemed very pleased and turned so she could get a clipping from his tail. She carefully cut a few strand of hair and braided them together into a band and tied it around her left wrist.
“Thank you so much!” She said beaming.
He then showed the party to a hidden chest that lay in the forest. He explained that it had been abandoned and they had no use of coin.
The travel back to the monastery was uneventful. As every fell into their various duties or interests Nixie wandered around and tried to find something to entertain herself with. She strayed away from the workers, they still made her nervous, and watched from afar at Aries who had taking up some fighting/ yoga? techniques. She wandered around outside and found a fountain in one of the gardens. Running over excitedly she leaned over the edge disappointed not to find anything there. Exploring more she eventually discovered a nearby stream and started attempting to catch fish. Spotting Acolyte nearby, she shouted to him excitedly the fish still held tightly in her hands. She asked him for assistance with the fish and he threw her up on his shoulders and ran her up to the fountain to throw the fish in. She giggled happily at the two fish she managed to catch and throw in the fountain. Acolyte seemed confused but didn’t ask questions. She was happy he went along with it. Soon the sun was falling behind the trees and she retreated inside even though the darkness didn’t impair her vision. She was getting sleepy from the long day. Not really wanting to go back to the cots she wandered the corridors and found her way upstairs onto a balcony. She stared up at the stars until she grew tired and fell asleep out in the cool air.
Screams awoke her not long after closing her eyes. She shot up and blinked rapidly as a dark figure disappeared from the monastery into the trees. What just happened? She spotted the dwarf jump out the window in pursuit. She doubted she could make a landing like that out the window and took off full speed down the stairs. Jumping out the doorway, she transformed into a dire wolf and quickly passed the dwarf and found herself catching up to Acolyte, whom she didn’t realize was outside. She eventually overtook Acolyte, and they ran and ran into the night just barley out of sight of the figure. She soon started gaining on the figure and realized too late her mistake. Whether she was gaining from her own speed or whether it was from him slowing down but it didn’t matter. She didn’t see the large pit until it was too late. She plummeted down the hole and hit the ground hard. The figure peered down at her then turned tail and ran. Acolyte soon appeared after and shouted down asking if she was well. She barked at him that she was okay and quickly he was gone also. She changed into a spider and crawled out of the hole before feeling the magic fade and her body changed back into a gnome. The dwarf and Hugh had just arrived and she ran in step with them into the forest. She hated how slow she was and longed to transform again but her magic spent she could not. They quickly came upon Acolyte on the ground. He had a huge injury on one arm. It was almost as though there was something else under the metal… Something organic. Mustafa came back after had running ahead.. The figure had escaped.. Before Nixie could ask about Acolyte’s arm everyone had started to gather up and head back to the monastery. No one said much.. She had gathered that Liam had been stabbed and killed. Acolyte had stolen his black dagger.
What was happening here? This was such a random bunch of events. Were they really this unlucky or was it the people they kept encountering the ones with the bad luck. People around them kept dyeing and everything seemed like one disaster after another. What this figure also a demi god? What was angering the demi gods so? So many questions… So very tired… She longed for a good nights sleep. Again she hoped she wouldn’t have nightmares returning to the monastery.