Tag Archive: Dungeons and Dragons

Tolin’s Journal #3

My Dear Ilanna,

My arms and back ached from the daily torture in that cell. Every evening I had a brief opportunity to see you, so I strained to hold my face up to that tiny window. My long days of monotony brightened when you walked by. Though, I only glimpsed you from a distance, it was cool water to my weary soul.

Only my body lived in that cell. My soul belonged to you then as it still does now. I bid my time until destiny would draw us together. My jailers couldn’t get a word out of me, though they tried. I ate their food, meager as it was, and answered half their questions with quiet nods. If they had only known of our love, they could have made me talk with the slightest of threats against you.

I gathered more information from them than they did me. Their fear and worry showed me they respected my power. They were right to seal me off, for I would have killed all of them to avenge my people. My attempts at casting failed, leading me to believe my cell was warded. Of course at that time I knew very little of magic and even less of wards. It was only recently that I understood what they truly feared of me. They took my ability to quickly learn the dark arts very seriously.

One day, a new visitor came for me, introducing himself as Lyanis. He held himself upright with a staff but didn’t quite carry himself as highly as his fellow elves. With a stirring in his eyes, he offered to apprentice me should I give up my deity. Servants of Nerull can’t be bought so easily, but I was young and thirsted for knowledge. Well, I thirsted to be free of my cell and be with you, Ilanna, so I took this chance. I pretended to fall for his rhetoric that all students of the arcane are of singular breed unbound by clan, creed, or class. He delivered a beautiful speech that would have convinced anyone to follow him, but it was only for you that I went with him that day.

He secured my release and took me to my new chambers, adjoining his own. It was a small room with a cot more comfortable than the stone I had been sleeping on and, to my amazement, a massive bookshelf lined one of the walls. Not having read a word for weeks, I rabidly devoured each tome in that library whenever Lyanis allowed me free time. The books were on many subjects, but mostly centered around the elven life as a wizard.

He mostly kept me busy scrubbing the floors, cleaning the rugs, and other menial tasks. It built up a work ethic that he valued, so I obliged. Of course, I always hoped I might run into you in the halls, but as you know, I hoped in vain. Days of this passed until Lyanis said it was time he showed me true arcane power. I casually told him death was the only power I needed. He laughed and patted me on the head as if it would cure some ignorance I held.

I humored him during his lessons, paying just enough attention to make him think I believed his teachings. As I said before, I wouldn’t be bought so cheaply. He showed me various spells and I learned them just as quickly as he could present them. The difficult part of his lessons were his condescending tones. I never did anything right because of my human birth. My mind was never as adept at magic as an elf’s. In these moments, he became someone entirely different from the elf who rescued me from the cell.

I matched him though with my own, unbreakable will. Each time he tore into me, I would try harder and remind myself of his people’s deceitful nature. Knowing their day of retribution drew near kept me focused. I never once let him break me down. Through his berating, I learned my most valuable lesson–perseverance. I’m not sure if that was what he intended, but I still hold onto that today.

Strangely enough, Lyanis was the only one to treat me with proper dignity and respect outside his lessons. Everyone else regarded me with contempt or fear. On one occasion Lyanis physically defended me from one of the kitchen maids chasing me with a wooden spoon. After that, we formed a nearly amicable bond. I took what wisdom I could gleam from his lessons and even let myself buy into his style of magic. I kept Nerull close to my heart, though, just to keep myself on the right path.

I was happy with my new routine around the castle, but every day that I didn’t see you felt empty. One night after finally gathering the courage to ask about you, I went to see Lyanis. He sat at his desk scribbling onto a torn parchment. Before I could say anything he looked at me and handed me the parchment with instructions to keep it with me. Then he snatched his staff and dragged me out into the hallway toward the staircase leading to the battlements.

The cold mountain air nearly froze me in place, but all feeling left me once I saw down to the base of the mountain. A battle played out down below us. Elven riders clashed against an unknown force. I felt a certain delight at watching the riders get cut down in the same manner they had cut my townfolk down.

Lyanis explained they had been fighting over the past few months and our enemies had just now reached our gates. He said that our only hope was for me to present myself to the attacking force and read off the spell he handed me earlier. Naturally, I was scared, but he assured me it was the only way to save you, Ilanna. Staring in amazement, he reminded me that I could never hide anything from him.

He shoved me back inside toward the main staircase. I was now scared and confused, but walked down those stairs ready to save you. I’m sure you remember what happened next, but you certainly never knew who was responsible. Now you know it was me and it was all for you.

Tolin Naihim – Death’s Neglected Son

Tolin’s Journal #2

My Dear Ilanna,

I’ll never forget that day we first met. I’m sure to you it was an unremarkable day, but it changed my destiny. No, rather, you changed my destiny. To understand why, you must know what I survived beforehand. After the elven massacre of my town, I endured the hardest weeks of my life.

I spent that first night in the library curled around my favorite book, A History of the Valley. It’s familiarity comforted me while death strode outside. Elves weaved in an out of its pages. Critical in the founding of the Valley, they upheld an unspoken alliance to guard it from their mountain castles against invaders. In recent centuries, they had withdrawn from sight, hiding in the mountains. Funny, since they didn’t look highly on dwarven values.

Whether their relationship with us deteriorated by Lord Chaxon’s hand or theirs, I grew to hate them that night. All the good they had ever done for me, unknown or not, flushed out from my mind. The unnatural screaming and groaning outside justified my new-found hate.

I found sleep that night in a pool of my tears. I dreamed of my father and I working out in the fields until a force of elves descended from the mountains. The townsfolk’s screams haunted me once again, crying for me to save them as the elves burned everything. My own father reached out for me, but I was powerless. Two mounted, armored elves stabbed him with their lances, reveling in my screams of fury.

I awoke with a start, cursing the elves. Hurrying outside, the sun lit up an empty town. Nothing burned, yet nothing stirred. I traveled from house to house walking through remnants of interrupted lives. Nothing had been pillaged save the people. Every living animal and person had been emptied out. I cried out for my father, but he never came. I was alone.

The mountains hid their elven castles from me. Without the darkness of night to reveal the lights, I couldn’t make out anything from the grays and whites of the tall slopes. A solemn pang of fear weighted me down. The elves were sure to return.

Taking no time to mourn those I had lost, I set myself to work fortifying the library. My studies of the histories of major battles helped me create a crude series of small battlements and archer platforms. Ransacking a few houses, I had enough food stocks to supply me for weeks, plus the next harvest soon approached. I could easily have made it another year or more.

As the weeks went by, I spent my days perusing towers of books on the arcane magics. They were my only hope of achieving retribution for my father. The elves stripped my life from me, I thought it fair to repay them. The library stored tomes on just about every school of magic. I sought ways of killing my enemies as brutally as they had killed my father. Nothing quite satisfied me.

While patrolling my makeshift castle, I passed the cellar door-the only section that remained unexplored. I always stayed away because of my boyish fears. This time, I conquered the dark with a fistful of candles. Without much searching at all, I found a hidden door that lead into a small room layered with dust. An expended candle burnt down to a nub sat at the edge of a desk littered with parchments.

The walls were deep shelves filled with books bound all in black. The dust was so thick upon them, I couldn’t make out any of their names. I pulled a few over to the desk and began reading. At first, they were written in an unknown script, but the longer I sat there, the more I seemed to understand the words. One name recurred throughout them all–Nerull. I smiled, having found the path to unleash death upon the elves.

I lived in that private library over the next few weeks, filling my head with its tomes of death. I would have wasted away in all of that knowledge, had I not been captured. On that fateful day that you may very well remember, Ilanna, I had come back up to the main hall in the library and heard elven voices outside. Peeking down from my battlements, I saw a handful of elven riders.

Eager to apply my studies, I conjured up a host of undead rats with my limited powers. Short sword in hand, I burst outside and attacked the riders like a fool. My army of rats covered them, chinking their armor with decaying teeth. The elves just laughed at me and brushed my army off them. In moments, my army turned back into dust at my feet.

Rage swelled in my throat. I screamed out another curse and cast more spells from my memory. Dark clouds blotted out the sun as two of the elves fell from their horses. They screamed while ripping off their armor. I laughed at seeing their flesh turn black and fall from their bones. The other riders descended upon me before I could open my mouth again. I crumpled to the ground, unconscious.

I awoke in chains with pain running throughout my body. My cell felt moderately sized, but that could have been my childish perspective. A lone beam of sunlight entered through a tiny window a little bigger than my head. I had to jump up, grab the ledge, and pull myself up to look out.

The Valley spread out as far as I could see to either side. It wasn’t as green as I always imagined. Instead, it looked to be a patchwork of varying shades of brown. Then it hit me. I had made it up to a castle in the mountains! Not even my chains held back my excitement.

Through my window, I could make out the outer parts of the castle that held me prisoner. I’ve never felt such exhilaration as I did there, in a cell, hanging from a ledge, and viewing an elven castle from the inside. But even that wasn’t the best sight I found.

I noticed a walkway a level down from where I was. A group of female elves wearing flowing gowns of yellow and deep blue walked across it. I’m sure you remember that day now, Ilanna, because your violet eyes sparked their own conversations with those around you. My own heart stopped from your sheer beauty. The sun caught your hair perfectly and ignited its golden flair. I almost could have forgiven your House in that moment for what they did to me.

I held on as tightly as I could to that ledge, desiring to watch you forever. Your gaze drifted in my direction and we locked eyes. I’m sure you remember as well as I. Our destinies converged in that moment, giving birth to our eternal love.

Tolin Naihim – Death’s Neglected Son

Tolin’s Journal #1

My friends and I are about to embark on a Dungeons & Dragons adventure. This is my first one, so I am more than excited. After filling out my character’s sheet and learning more about him, I stumbled upon his journal and figured I would share it with the world. It is a story of love and loss, death and new life.

My Dear Ilanna,

Your house has forsaken you, but I never will. My undying passion for you draws us closer with each breath we take. Those who stole you away will answer to me in a glorious day of retribution. And when that day comes, they won’t face a scared little boy, but a fierce and powerful necromancer.

Yes, my love, I have grown in age and power from the last time we were together. I keep this journal to remind myself of you during my journey. Your memory is all I have left and I vow to keep it vibrant with every page I write. When we are reunited, you will see the great lengths I strode to win your freedom.

Enough of my current situation for I never told you my own history. I read all the histories of your house, but failed to pen my own accounts. Of course, I never had a reason until you were stolen; my story isn’t notable in the slightest. Still, you must know who I truly am.

I grew up a farmer with my hands in the dirt. Most people treat the ground beneath them with contempt and regard low-born farmers only slightly higher. My father treated it with proper respect. “We are the unsung heroes of the kingdom, son. Our grain is its lifeblood and the dirt we trod gives us a quiet power,” he would say to keep me from cursing my station every time we worked in the fields.

I couldn’t have asked for a better father. Smart in his own way, he taught me how to make even the most stubborn bit of dirt grow whatever we needed it to. He was also literate enough to show me basic lettering. I quickly fell in love with the written word and spent my nights in the town’s library searching for the oldest of its dusty tomes. To a 9 year-old boy, a three-story inn converted to a library was an infinite hall of wisdom. My first year there, my knowledge increased 100-fold.

When I could tear myself away from the fields or the library, I dreamed of riding off to adventures beyond the mountains surrounding the Valley. Day after day my friends and I watched with awe as iron clad knights rode through our town gathering supplies for the standing armies of Lord Chaxon. If we were lucky, we could surround one and have him regale us with tales of dragons, orcs, and elves. Wide-eyed at how many accomplishments a single knight made, we vowed to join the service of our Lord when we came of age.

Under the eye of my father, I diligently applied myself to our fields and used every bit of knowledge I could scrape out of the library’s books. When I was just 11, I convinced my father to hire out more hands saying that we could run our farm like the lending houses. He always said our crops were better than gold, so I treated them as such. Soon our farm grew to become the largest in the Valley. Even the lending houses became jealous of our success.

We reveled in our success for two more years before the knights rode into town in force. I remember it was late at night and I was balancing our ledgers by candlelight. The hillside burst into flames as an army of torches bobbed our way. My father and I rushed outside along with the rest of the town to greet the news.

I instantly noticed how strangely the knights rode. They lacked the typical heavy gait I had seen all my life. Their armor didn’t fit either. The heavy plates clanged together too loosely. Dark premonitions twisted in my stomach.

Even stranger, I noticed patches of light ignite high up in the mountains. My entire life these mountains were the sentinels that kept me safe from the outside, but now they appears as menacing wolves ready to consume the Valley. Squinting at the lights, I barely made out the shapes of towers and keeps carved out from the mountainside. I looked back to the riders drawing closer to us, putting the pieces together in my mind.

“It’s an Elven ambush!” I screamed out into the night. Excitement hit fever pitch and my shouts drowned in the noise. I turned and ran back to the safest place of my childhood-the library. The moment I reached the door, I heard the first of the screams. For as long as I live, I won’t be able to get those sounds out of my head.

I cowered in the darkest corner I knew of, crying through my fear. I hadn’t even tried to warn my own father; I had just ran away. I sat there listening to the ambush riders working through the town, destroying everything I loved. The knights I had admired all my life failed in their service to our Lord.

I cursed myself for not having seen the signs earlier. Lord Chaxon’s relationship with the gray elves had grown tenuous in recent years. Rumors spread of impending war, but I didn’t know what to make of them. My father didn’t trouble himself over them, so why should I?

In the months leading up to this, we hadn’t seen any knights ride through for resupply. I falsely assumed they were off fighting for our Lord, but hadn’t considered what would happen should they lose.

Fear kept me awake for the rest of the night. In the early morning hours, the sounds of battle all but disappeared. I peeked out a few windows before walking outside into an empty town. Curious it hadn’t been burnt to the ground. Even more curious was the lack of bodies. I had expected to see the streets overflowing, but saw nothing.

I ran back to my home in search of my father, but it too was completely empty. I combed the entire town, but found nothing. Death had swept through, leaving me untouched.

This is all I can bear to write now. Just remembering the loss of my father awakens too much pain within me. Fear not, my love, I did overcome my fear.

Tolin Naihim – Death’s Neglected Son