My memory still hasn't returned.. No flashes. No clues.
Memories of Acolytes arm on the bridge and going into the forest.. Then only fragments remain. I haven’t told the others.
Donovan saved Mustafa and I from a cage.. but how had we gotten there? I couldn't tell you. Large chunks of time are gone and I haven’t been able to grasp the pieces.
Nikoli remains ever cheerful despite the bad around us. I wish I were so young and unburdened as he.
Fur pressed back in the wind, I keep my ears perked up listening for that maniac laughter that will bring us closer to our foe.
“Come and fight us you scoundrels!” Donovan yells, from my back.
My large paws thud softly on the ground as we scrounge the area looking for the Oni. I was terrified of what we might find but Donovan made me feel brave. Even the giant oaf Mustafa, gave me some sort of safe feeling. He was a jerk but he was strong and his ambition for coin kept him motivated to help.
Blood. I smell blood! Rounding the corner, dead bodies littered the ground. We found the Oni.. I let out a howl to alert the others.
“Why do you want to go back to the river?”
“I think there might be a cave or passage under the water..” I say a bit unsure of myself. “I think I might be able to transform into a shark.. I mean..I know I can transform into a shark.”
I tried to sound more confident than I was. I needed to contribute. I needed to prove to or group that I wasn't just dead weight.
“Well let’s go! We can do this!” Donovan grinned excitedly, a spark in his eyes.
I grinned in return. Maybe this wouldn't be such a bad idea.
This was a bad idea. After checking the river. It was a bust.
Ilya, one of the new members that has been hanging around, found a clue and we headed off to the tavern to recollect ourselves and come up with a plan. Our other new recruit, spotted a hooded man in a crowd, and I transformed into cat shape and chased after him. Tail twitching in irritation, I managed to keep up to lose him at the last second. Was it magic or skill to disappear in the crowd? I don't know what happened..
Returning to the tavern, I jumped on the counter and tipped over Nikoli’s glass, to feel better. It worked. I head butted his chin good-naturedly and plopped down on the seat beside him in my gnome form.
“Oh! Its you!” Nikoli exclaimed, dabbing at the mess.
I grinned in return.
“There is no way we should fight that.” Ilya said dryly.
“Lets kill it.” Mustafa said excitedly.
“Lets sleep first and then attack it!”
I listened quietly as the group discussed the fate of the giant metal bull in the small cave ahead. Part of me agreed with the tall dark figure but part of me also agreed with Mustafa. We went back to the edge of the cave to make camp. This was probably best.. This way I could change form twice, if push came to shove, in this battle against the bull. After the fight from earlier… My insides still felt cold from fear left over from the ghosts that ambushed us. I felt like their cold grip of horror they grasped me with, striped time from me… I quickly fell asleep.
A shout awoke me, and startled, I quickly sat up to Ilya and Djorn fighting the metal bull. He came for us! Without even hesitating, hair still sticking up in everyway, I poofed into a dire wolf and jumped into battle immediately. Im sure my fur stuck out in odd angles from sleep, but I hardly noticed, as I jumped into the fray.
Donovan ran behind me he looked bloodied but fire shown in his eyes. He shouted about the bull’s mother, but his words were lost, as I stared into battle preparing my next move. I curved my tail protectively around the small frame of Donovan.
I released my grip, my teeth aching as I sprang again upon the bull. As Mustafa recoiled back from a hit, I took the opportunity to grab ahold of the bull’s horn and used my momentum, to flip over him and drag him down with me. Knocked off balance Mustafa jumped down and brought his literal blood red sword down on the bulls head. Suddenly fire exploded and I got knocked to the ground. Some of my fur was burned in patches.. How did I survive? The bull was dead..
I ran over to the small huddle in the grass. Jogran tossed a limp Donovan to the ground and Nikoli was grasping at a gushing wound to his neck. Blood stained his robes.. I lunged.
I spat Jograns leg onto the ground, Mustafa made the final blow, and ran to Donovan. He wasn't moving.. We needed to get him to the city! A make ship “sled” was fashioned and a crude harness was thrown over me to drag Donovan and a stone Magnus (the knight) to help.
“Here is gold! I don't have much but it is all I have! Take it!” I held out the bag of coin in both hands and begged the man for help. He had previously saved Nikoli and Hugh from death and he could save our friends now!
“He is not Halfling… He is not undead.. I do not understand the magic here. I do not know how he was alive.”
“If you do not know then there is hope! You say you do not have the answers for his condition! Then you know not that you cannot save him!”
“Even if I said yes, I do not have the materials! It would make much diamond dust to perform-“
I ignored the rest of his sentence and ran to Djorn.
“You are a thief, are you not? You have read many books as well. You know many things!”
“I wouldn't say thief… but I AM very skilled-“
“What are our options?” I stared up at Djorn with large expectant eyes. He would have an answer.. He would be the answer to save Donovan.
“I –I could get what is required but I have read nothing of this.. He might come back a monster. He is blackened and burned… From what this man is saying he should not have been alive..”
Outside, I ran. I ran until I was breathless and my legs shook.. I spotted a blackened piece of parchment and picked up the scrap piece. Few words could be made out, the rest was smudged, black, or missing all together.
I squinted and tried to wiped some of the dirt away..
“friendship is deeper than knowing someone by name…I’m friends with Nixie..Djorn is trustworthy…”
The rest of the paper disintegrated to the touch. Flowing out into the breeze, little ashen words never to be read or uttered again.. I clutched the small piece I had remaining and tears spilled over. I could barely see as I made my way back to the tavern. Normally in grief I would go to the forest but I was exhausted. I just wanted to sleep.. Once in the tavern, my pain refused me to rest. I tossed and turned to no avail.
Giving up, I wandered the tavern searching. I soon found what I was looking for.. I went back to my room and sat on the floor… and started a letter…