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A Tale of Moss
Character Race: "well traveled Flerian"
Character Profession: apprentice of fire and shadow
Character Religion Affiliation: follower of the consort of Set
Lady Desertshadow was not one to be trifled with.
She was ancient, predating the creation of the small, fortress town on the
outskirts of the vast wastes of the continent of Aradath. Her midnight scales and
vast wings blotted out the desert sun any time she chose to come forth from her
cavernous lair. The dragoness was the entire reason any were able to live next to
the rich mine and plentiful underground springs so close to Arachnian
With the abundance of
work and lack of skilled
enough to journey to the far northern wastes, I guess it was only
a burrow of my folk would pop up in the desert town. The burrow had
even before the fortress walls were built and, for the abundance of
risk involved, will probably always be there.
I grew up hearing the others of my burrow constantly
wondering about the strange treasures that must abound in the vast lair
Desertshadow. The tales of the mounds of gold and jewels were legendary
my people, the Flerians of the wasteland fortress. All of us wanted a
piece of that treasure for our own, but none dared bring the wrath of
ancient black dragon. The entire burrow was not worth the risk of what
we would find. Therefore, it was not treasure alone that drew me to her
that fateful night.
In the side of the sheer mountain that served as the
wall of our fortress stood the entrance to Lady Desertshadow’s domain.
front was very unusual for a dragon, but then again, most consider the
black eccentric, the great Desertshadow more so than most. For you see,
front of the caves was set a shop, well known and well used in the
shop belonged to one Shadsalidar De`tagaroth.
She was the best weponsmith and armorer in our small
and, some would say, all of Aradath. Strangely enough, she also had the
distinction of being one of the most renowned bardesses in the entire
perhaps the entire continent. Many a bard, hearing of her strange
the wastes to try and study with her. Those that made it, she tended to
Despite her prowess as a bard, most of her income
magical weapons and armor. The displays of the De`tagaroth armory were
of the hotly debated topics amongst my people. Though her items, too,
limits. It was widely known that Shadsalidar, because of some debt, or
some sort of bond, worked directly for Lady Desertshadow. It was not
weapons or armor of the elf’s magical forge that drew me.
Instead, I was drawn by a haunting melody that I
coming from further up the mountains from the vast cavern entrance. I
silently along a small ridge and found a small crack in the mountain.
with me for the earth there was somewhat loose and it took me little
dig and squirm through the rest of the way. Flerians are not known for
forethought, and I was no exception then. I found myself falling
space. Just when I thought I was lost, I hit something and started
an accompanied tinkling sound that soon became a resounding thunder off
natural, underground walls.
I looked about me and noted that the tails of Lady
Desertshadow’s horde were vastly underestimated. I had been sliding
large pile of coins. Pile doesn’t do it justice, it was more like a
coins. That was only the start of it. As my eyes slipped into my
saw that this cave was but one of many and that this particular cave
one type of coin. There were several caverns divided up by the type of
treasures they held. It took all the willpower I could muster to not
of the treasure, having to remind myself of the tales of dragons
revenge for a single silver piece, being able to smell its scent over
Despite the commotion I had caused, the singing had
stopped. Closer to the source of the music, I could tell that it was
voice I was hearing, but two. The first voice had been a deep contralto
felt as much as heard. The second I was now hearing was a light and
soprano. When I was found out, it was to my surprise that the voices
to none other than the Desertshadow herself, and her servant, the forge
mistress and bard, Shadsalidar.
I was told to come out. I started to shake
Shadsalidar searched. Of course, they found no treasure on me. They
asked why I
had come, and dared answer nothing but the truth. Lady Desertshadow was
flattered that I liked her singing, that instead of destroying me, they
to “test” me. They informed me that they would destroy my entire burrow
did not retrieve a ring that had fallen into the forge fires.
But this was no ordinary forge. With strange magic
compelling voice, the bardess’s forge fires were drawn from the fiery
Taganoth, the demon realm that connects to all other realms.
Protected by the dual magicks of Lady Desertshadow’s
bardess, Shadsalidar, I grabbed the ring. While in the forge, I had the
that the fire was trying to destroy me, like it had a will of its own.
turned out that the ring belonged to Shadsalidar and they never had
small enough to grab it. They also decided that I might have my uses.
me live, but I had to work at the forge and shop, as their servant.
After that first trip, I began to change. My eyes
changed from the deep black of my birth to a fiery red. My shadow did
not seem to be cast from me, but instead from some sort of imp,
complete with tail, horns, and wings. Yet, it moved how I did, and was
the right size for myself. Then, I grew horns to match the shadow.
The waters Shadsalidar cooled her workings in were
The cooling pool was a well of shadows. And, though
never allowed near the well of shadows, I eventually fell in instead.
On a usual business day, I had been left to tend the
storefront while the dragon and elf were off doing whatever it was they
young Sanae brat of a noble came in, pestering about a set of armor her
It was obvious that I was alone and I don’t think
could resist. My genuine smile of contentment I think drew the brat’s
drove her to action.
I found myself flying through the air directly
shadow well, and then through.
Color disappeared, didn’t exist. Shadowy things
tore at my body. I felt myself ceasing to exist, becoming one with the
Stubbornness grew and the inner fires of my soul,
was left of me, fought back. I don’t think that I would have been able
manage that much of a fight if I had not oft been heated by the flames
demons. My very being rebelled in a blaze of deep red flame. The
back, howling at the intrusion of light into their world of neither
Long after my body ceased to matter, my stubborn,
soul fought on, driving me past the point of death and toward the realm
oblivion. Only a tiny spark of me remained when, suddenly, the shadows
I can only describe what I felt at that point. A
and curiosity from something near.
My fiery little soul immediately replied to some
music and I started to regain something of the very little girl I had
I, whole once more, began to dance across the dark
of the strange world. My people, never ones to sit still for any
to dance and I swirled to steps all my own, sometimes swaying,
running in great leaps.
There was no pattern to my dance but the sheer joy
music that I could barely hear and the whole fact that I was somehow,
alive. I felt
more alive then I had since I left the burrow. I felt at home. I danced
laughing, trying to catch up to the amusement that I felt just beyond
Mirth appeared. To this day the I can not describe
saw. She appeared as me, but not. Something so beautiful and terrifying
dark that I should have been frozen, should have been terrified.
Instead, I found wonder, a deep sense of belonging
contentment. I remember a look of both hilarity and curiosity passing
other’s face, then a genuine smile.
I had found her music and it swelled about me. I
how I wish, I could remember the tune. Then wonder of wonders, she
me, the greatest of shadows leading, and me following. Round and round
swirled in a dance that had me so close to her. I could feel her
me, and it felt like something I knew all too well. A self accepting
All too soon, it was over.
I will never forget the voice that spoke to me. The
of the music smiled sadly and simply said, “they come for you, it is
I didn’t want to hear as I was spun the into a
series of faster and faster spirals.
A gigantic, clawed hand gently grasped me, dragging
to the world of colors. As I neared the light, all of the colors I
frightened me. I wanted to struggle, thought of jumping from the gentle
into the darkness.
Shadows that once tried to destroy me drew about,
for me to join them, but the same musical voice caressed my ear, “Thank
I relaxed in the taloned grip, savoring the dance to
very end, lingering and swaying to the music.
Back in the world of color, in a shop amidst a
fortress, there I laid, a small, still figure. I was covered in dark,
liquid. The same substance slowly dripped from gigantic, dragon claws.
strange waters pooled and coalesced around my very deathlike figure.
In the corner, a Sanae grown pale, cowered, saying
had been too long for “the slave” to come back.
As if to put a lie to the voice, I gasped. I was
by Lady De`tagaroth that suddenly the pool of viscous liquid seemingly
disappeared into me. And that when it did, my colors became a negative
themselves. My hair, which had been a bright orange, turned to a dark
My eyes, a blazing
red since my forays into the forge, had changed to a crystal blue. No
longer did I cast a strange shadow. I instead had no shadow at all.
the Desertshadow about it, she simply said of course, and
was a very silly little girl for asking.
A young girl was back in the light, and small tears
the corner of her eyes. Whether from happiness, or sadness, I could not
The dance had come to its end.
For many years I, who never seemed to age now, and
always be to my burrow mates, “the strange little girl with the flaming
hair”, was sent again and again into the fire to strike deals with what
there for my two mistresses. Over the years, I changed quite a bit,
appearance and attitude. Strangely, or not so strange if you understand
Flerians, I was still visiting the burrow. They took my appearance in
telling me it served me right for messing with dragons.
One time, I came in from being at the burrow and my
glowing purple. Shadsaildar thought that it was another change and that
was becoming a purple flame, so I had to explain to her about the moss
grew in our caves. She plucked off some of the moss, which matched my
nicely, and showed it to Desertshadow.
Desertshadow loved it so much that she contracted
burrow to make her cave glow. But first, she enacted the oath of the
permanently from the entire burrow where upon she was delighted to find
that she was the monster’s name that we invoked for it.
The whole burrow started to work for her, gathering
information, acting as messengers, and starting up an add-on to her
trade with our glowing moss. I had mutated quite a bit by then.
danced in my eyes. I had an unnatural affinity with fire and became
of a pyro, burning myself and randomly lighting things aflame.
My visits to the burrow became less and less as I
more and more fascination with fire and with shadows.
I liked to set things on fire just to watch the
the fire play together. I liked to creep around in the shadows just to
the shadows. I had become something of a problem, but was also a good
running errands, having my curiosity sated every new trip by all the
the places I visited.
Soon, however, I was kindly asked by our “Grand High
Mucky-Muck Sultan the Third of the Fourth” to take a permanent position
residence with the “most terrible grandiose merchant bardess servitor”
“most frightening gorgeous, she who blots out worlds, benevolent
other words, I was kicked out of the burrow and permanently found a
To top it off, small
horns sprouted beneath my
seemed to change form every once in a while. I found it scary,
it amusing, and Lady Desertshadow found it cute.
Clerics of different faiths soon started asking
very little girl with no shadow and demonic horns. Problems had
change, and they soon compounded.
To my discontent, I found that those who are
faith could affect me much in the same way as shadows and minor demons.
less, they could tell me what to do and I felt this strange compulsion
it, especially when the commands came from Settites and Taathians.
There was one cleric in particular… but I don’t want
Also, prayers and magic occasionally seemed to go
haywire around me, and
though healing prayers did heal me, they hurt like, well, they hurt and
leave it at that.
Desertshadow shipped me off on an important trade
Saldea, partly because she didn’t trust anyone else with the shipment,
because she wanted to get me away from the crazy clerics, and partly
had begun to set things randomly on fire just by gesturing.
I made the shipment, heavily cloaked, and sent the
goods back on one of our other ships ran by my great, great grand
had given me a missive that I was to stay on Saldea for a week or two
vacation. I went out on a pleasure cruise and was frightened by a
Taathian who somehow knew all about me. He claimed to be someone that I
runs ins before with, whom I also thought dead, though he looked
nothing like I
remembered him to. I wanted nothing to do with him ever again, so I
hearing maniacal laughter echoing in my ears.
I washed up on an island not to far from main Saldea
I started a signal fire. Being the pyro that I am, I was mesmerized by
flame and the way the shadows played with it. Well, I ended up burning
entire island down while I jumped into the water and stared at the
was brought to shore by some trade partners that had to tear me kicking
screaming from the island. I was sent back home on the next ship.
I spent a lot of time apologizing to my two
my shock, both Desertshadow and Shadsalidar dismissed me as being
It was soon after that disaster struck. My lady had
word. The dragon council was called, the war was on. Quick measures
and large caravans under heavy guard quickly and quietly emptied the
businesses. My burrow disappeared before even the first caravan
arrived, but I
was with the dragon and the bard now and did not want to leave them.
The forge and the well were the last to be closed,
cause both my mistresses great effort to seal off and destroy. What
left on their techniques were blasted away in a rush of dragonfire.
Desertshadow’s hoard had already secretly been transported.
They both kept repeating that they knew this day
and heard them have long arguments into the night.
It was when I saw them both resplendent in battle
gear I had
never seen before that I knew this was the last I would see of them.
were planning to do, left me shaken and awestruck. I had never seen
or commitment in their eyes. I only asked them why once and Shadsalidar
replied, “why, to save you and all of your kind, silly little girl.”
We were the last three left in the now deserted
that, no doubt, was soon to become a new webhold.
They were ready. It was time for me to leave. As a
portal opened before me, I witnessed something I never thought I’d ever
single tear fell from Desertshadow’s eye. The very strange dragon was
as sad as
only a very strange dragon can be about loosing a very strange and
treasure, “a very silly little girl”.
For years, I waited for a word from them, wandering
place to place, hiding what was underneath my hood and cloak. Every
had terrible dreams that I could scarcely remember filled with twisted
and madness. Demons, unleashed by some strange power, laughed in my
I borrowed what I needed along the way, never
staying in one
place very long. Spur was in the back of my mind as a place to go, but
too lost to care, neither Flerian, nor shadow, nor demon.
As I searched for my way, I heard bits and pieces
war, and then one day, how it was finally won.
So it was that I
traveled to the blasted wastes.
carnage, I somehow knew that it was their graveyard, had know for some
that they, along with so many dragons and too little allies, had died,
I had never felt so sad, so powerless, and so alone.
picked myself up and wandered, time and time again thinking about Spur,
city of orphans. So it was that I finally made the journey.
Never again, would those two voices be heard.
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