Excerpted from D’espondea's Journal:
Today I changed my name, and well, my demeanor. The latter I fear may be more long term than the former. After what I saw this eve, I may well be despondent long past my death. I will someday be a sad ghost.
I was taking my usual midnight trip to the kitchen for the last of the day's milk warmed up, and mayhap a cookie or two when I noticed an odd flickering light coming from my Uncle's room. I heard his voice speaking some language I had not ever heard. Curious I peeked in through the cat door, which have to be left open in our house, else the cats would claw your eyes out whilst you slept. They need free run.
As I have mentioned in my old "Diary" (the ramblings of the "Innocent", sigh) My Brother Reg has always taken after our Uncle Vezkin the Wizard more than anyone else, despite Reg's size, he's always been a gentle and intelligent giant of a lad. Now that he is almost of age, his odd skin, oft compared to that of a dragon seems to have more of a sheen, yet is tougher to pierce than many a metal, as we have found playing mumblety-peg with Reg's hand while he reads some obscure tome.
But alas no more, Dear Journal (oh that was almost a return to the voice of Daisy. sigh) What I saw when I peeked into the cat door was my dear Reg in the middle of a chalked circle, candles at the five points. Reg seemed in a trance of dreaming: his eyes fluttering beneath his closed lids. Vezkin seemed possessed almost moving rapidly in circles around Reg, expertly poking long thin silvery needles into points on Reg's back, shoulders, chest and even two, one in each side, his temples. When I saw this I was aghast and I may have eeked out some girlish cry.
Vezkin opened one eye, and his Manx familiar came over to the cat door and somehow it was closed. Had his cat grown a thumb and hands? I know not, but I was scared and ran to my father's bed, which as you know is not a bed, but the armchair that sits in front of the hearth. He was unwake-able, and I tripped over the 4 bottles of wine that proved how this was so, as I fled to my room.
I hid under the covers, imagining all sorts of horrors. Eventually I came round to thinking that maybe nothing was afoul. Perhaps it was all some ritual that Reg was being initiated into. Maybe Reg was becoming a wizard. I managed the last smile I may ever smile, as I went to sleep.
When I awoke and bathed in the morning, I couldn't shake the feeling that someone had died, or something bad like that had happened. I had however almost convinced myself that what I'd seen the night before was some dream.
It was not.
When I sat down to breakfast, mother told me that Uncle Vezkin had left this morning and may not return for a long time. He was off to make his fortune ("Finally", was her tone regarding her brother-in law, whom she had seen as a moocher at best, a scofflaw and heretic at worst. Mama has always been the only torchbearer of religion in the house)
I asked after Reg, as usually he was up afore me, eating his flapjacks and bacon, his nose deep in some obscure book lent him by the "scofflaw". Mother said he was not feeling himself, and most likely had the flu. She was making him some soup.
I went into the den to practice my steam-accordion, while playing an old reel favoured by our kin at weddings, I heard mama scream, and dishes crash to the floor. I dropped the accordion and a cacophony of bright coloured steam and atonal noise followed me up the stairs to Reg's room.
Reg looked normal. That was not how Reg had ever looked. He had always shown the slim line of Dragon blood that he inherited from his true father, The Baronet of Dallimothin. The Baronet had swept my mother off her scullery maid feet and made her pregnant. My father, a coachman of the Baronet married her under orders from the Baronet's wife, a woman who always knew what was what, Mother says, Papa agrees, in his way, nodding in his drunken stupor.
It's not that father never loved my mother; indeed, he was trying to court her whilst she was in the throes of the affair with the Baronet. Somehow being forced to marry the woman he loved by the wife of the man who had impregnated her, and then moved on to other younger scullery maids broke my father's heart. Hard to figure? I thought not. Thus daddy drinks. A lot.
I was saying; Reg had inherited some tiny drop of Dragon blood that the Baronet apparently had no sign of, physically. Mother always says how these things can skip generations, and sometimes shows up in grand children, or even great great great grandchildren. Whatever the case, Reg had always the skin and brains of a young dragon. He was tough and smart as a whip.
After The Baronet died, we were forced to move (I was just a baby born two years after Reg) and make our own way. Around this time Vezkin, my father's younger brother took a keen interest in Reg. Mother found it unwholesome, but was glad to see Reg enthusiastic about learning and knowledge and had hopes that he would some day be able to provide something more for us all, as Father had fallen to the bottle, and barely works, even now, as an occasional driver of coaches. Mother takes in laundry and I help her with it, is how we eat and live.
Anyhoo, my somberness has obviously not affected my wordiness, and endless blather has it?
Reg all of a sudden seemed a normal 16 year old boy; with skin near as pale as mine, and his eyes now were brown and less that of a cat. He still seemed strong and had the muscles of an older, well, man, really. Also he has lost his interest in reading, and books. His intelligence appears to have dwindled overnight. Also all of his old friends have abandoned him, and he seems alone.
Oh I am Despondent. I am now and evermore D'espondea Averoth. Daisy the simple girl is dead. D'espondea the woman who shall find a way to return her brother to himself, is alive.
(* Player speaking meta-moment here: the game upshot is that what happened to Reg was that his Uncle Vezkin found a spell that sucked the strength, intelligence and dragon essence out of Reg, leaving him incomplete, yet still strong with his warrior's heart.)
Excerpt from 6 months later:
Journal, I have some news. I have been, much to my mother's chagrin, and beneath my father's notice been studying all the tomes I can read, left behind by my wicked uncle. Yes wicked, not just for what he has done to Reg (who has been away at the arena learning battlecraft and nearly dying everyday for 3 months now.) but also once I got into the books, I found it was all the darkest and loveliest of magick.
I think I have found a way to gain some power of my own. If I can perform the rite properly, and If my heart is found worthy, I can (and I can't write the name of the creature I will deal with, as it is forbidden, until such time as I make the bargain) gain power, that of a Warlock, and I can help Reg track down Vezkin and return his heritage to him.
Excerpt the next day.
Woe is me that I have succeeded. I knew not how my changing of my name (My mother may die of heartbreak any second, what a family we are.) would ring so true to my nature as I grew older.
I waited till Papa was drunk sleeping; and mama has always been a heavy sleeper. “Early to bed, early to rise makes a scullery maid good at her job”, she always says with a wink. Sigh. In the guest room (formerly Vezkin's room) I drew a circle with drippings of a candle thrice blessed. I drew the sigils I have been practicing, and I said the enchantments, that I shan't, nor wouldn't want to repeat.... Suddenly I was in a world with a sunny blue sky the likes of which we rarely see in Ptolus. The green grass and blue sky seemed endless. I wandered the way I felt I should go. Eventually a Centaur rode up beside me, and bade me stop. He seemed winded. He asked why I didn't stay where I had entered his realm, and how I expected to return to my own. I had no idea, but being a cheeky monkey, said that I expected him to give me a ride.
I didn't know you could shock such a magical creature, so. But apparently I did. He said "Well then Missy, climb on."
I did, holding onto him like I was on the back of a bicycle, being doubled. As he trotted back the way we came, he told me what I must do. I must go to a cave, just 50 feet in the other direction from and look the Dragon in the eyes, and tell him my heart's desire. Once we arrived back where I started, I did just that. I went to the cave mouth where all I could see were two glowing red eyes, that I supposed belonged to a very big Dragon's head, given the distance between them, and their size. A voice seemed to speak to me in my head, my ear ad everywhere else all at once. I had an image of my steam powered accordion.
"There is no more time for music, young D'espondea Averoth." The voice spoke seeming to know my thoughts and feelings as well. "You will become a Warlock. You will help your brother, but alas you can only help, no matter how much power I were to grant you, Regdar must regain his heritage in ways only he can know. He can become whole again, my dear, but you may never, if you ever were."
"Power comes with a price, and it is not given lightly. You must train as a warlock under my Centaur friend you met earlier. His name is Ziebarth. He is a Warlock of great power. He will train you, and when you are ready to help your brother, I will grant you some power as well. Bear in mind though that as your power grows, so will some of your weaknesses. There must be balance."
Then the eyes disappeared.
I began my training.
In my nightly dreams over the next few weeks I spent what seemed like months under the tutelage of Ziebarth. My agility, dexterity and strength were awesome in my dreams, and probably at levels I could never achieve in real life. But what I learned, really learned from Ziebarth was how to wield my eldritch power, on it’s own, and in combination with incantations that seem to have come to me from thin air. Though I guess in actuality they come from a pair of glowing red eyes in a cave in some realm I can only access through ritual, or sleep.
Ziebarth and I traveled and quested our way across this realm, fighting Goblins, Undead, Gnolls, and a few Ogres, and even a Minotaur. Interestingly, the day after this dream, I noted a tattoo of a Minotaur on my shoulder in the mirror, whilst bathing. And, that same morning, Reg returned home from his soldiering with a Minotaur’s head and horns. He had a crazy plan to make a helmet and maybe a coat, of it all. I took the hide, and head from him, and told him I knew someone who could help. I left the pieces next to my bed and went onto my training.
In the dreamland, Ziebarth and I helped a smith to forge a helmet in a dreamy (by dreamy here I mean he, the smith was tall dark and gorgeous) smith’s forge. When I awoke in the morning, I had a band of iron around my left ankle, and right wrist, each inscribed with my name and Reg’s name in Draconian. Next to the bed was Reg’s great helmet that when he donned after I gave it to him at breakfast, gave him the appearance and some of the strength and size of an actual Minotaur. He has been using the helmet in his adventuring, since to great effect.
Finally a day came when I went to sleep, and the Dreamland wasn’t there. I dreamed of girlish things from my youth, and at the end a wedding, my own. The Groom was the Smith from the dream. Even though he had spoke nary a word to either me or Ziebarth, he had made an impression that stays with me to this day, and often when I close my eyes I see his face, grim and determined, pounding out metal from molten ore with his enormous blacksmith arms. I call him Thor in my heart. The only bit of whimsy I seem to be comfortable with these days, and not anything I would admit except here in my journal.
With no more training, I decided it was time to join Reg. The odd thing is that, as I was thinking this, at the breakfast table, drinking a glass of morning beer, everything around me froze… my mother in mid washing up of the dishes; the water in mid air like some very realistic sculpture. A Satyr walked in the door.
The next thing I recall is escaping from the clutches of a giant swamp monster and fighting alongside Reg and his fellows.