I've walked these realms as much as any mortal in my days, and some trails simply become so
well known that they are indelibly etched upon ones memory. My walk to Jenna's wayhouse for
instance, I had availed myself of the lady's rooms so many times that I could walk the northern
trail with my eyes closed.
Well, not that I would do such a thing. You don't get to be an old storyteller when you don't look at
where you're going. And I was and did. Which was why when the forest erupted in the sounds of
battle, both swords and sorcery, I knew to duck aside and wait it out. Roars, powerful and fierce
echoed amongst the ancient trunks, mingled with the clash of steel and the roar of powerful
Death screams were everywhere, vicious winds howled throughout the forest and a dizzying mix
of freezing chills and raging infernos seared the air. I saw flaming hooves charging past my
position, and then the unmistakable clank of those metallic minions that the Tvorlites like to use. I
buried myself deeper in my hideout, waiting for the danger to pass. It would probably make a
great story, but I didn't expect Oghma would need me present in person to recount it, and I much
preferred to preserve my life at this point.
After an interminable length of time, several wineskins drained, I emerged from my hideout.
There had been no sound of battle for sometime, and I felt secure in resuming my journey to
Jenna's. I hoped that there would be some explanation from one of the regulars there, who had
the courage to investigate whereas I had the sense to hide.
Now recall my familiarity with the road south; I had trod it many a time and never did it change.
Oh sure, there was that squire fellow hanging around the dryad tree these days. I miss them, they
had always been good for some entertainment. Ah well, those days are gone now. I nodded to
the lad as I passed, and he continued his nervous pacing. Poor man, I hoped his friends would
return to him soon.
It was here that, as I rounded a bend in the path, that I stumbled across the first inkling of what
had happened. Literally I stumbled, and had to pick myself up before I could see the torn remains
of what was probably a half dozen humans. It was hard to tell, I think there was an arm missing
from the rough count of limbs but the number was close enough. The few scraps of heraldry I
could find confirmed my assumption that these were from that new cult, and I turned my back on
them to continue south.
And had to step over still more bodies on the trail. Really, this was a mess. Two nightmares,
mean beasts that would dearly love to dine on a bit of flesh, lay broken on the ground. One of
them even had its back caved in on either side of the ribs, and I shuddered as I relized that the
beasts spine had been bitten in half. A glint off to the side caught my gaze, and the silver scale
told me what had been able to accomplish this feat.
Hesitantly now, for if there was an angry dragon around it was certainly unhealthy, I continued.
There were more bodies tossed about like rag dolls, wiry humans curled backwards around a tree
where they had been blasted. The devastation was incredible, I was surprised that the trees were
still standing after what I was seeing. And then, I saw it.
It was crushed, like a giant clawed foot had come down upon it and squeezed, but the shape of
the silversaan was still recognizable. Glints in the trees around caught my interest, and I nodded
sagely as I spied the shards of bronze and copper, the makeup of the Thanatars, jabbed into the
mighty trunks I gingerly stepped around the crumpled silversaan heap, and continued south
through the carnage. I had to wonder just what the outcome was.
And then, as I walked slowly along the path, my eyes widened as a new trail was there. I'd never
seen it before, but wherever it led the Tvorlites had gone that way. Against my better instincts, I
let my steps turn down this new trail. And stopped, as the ground beneath me squished. It was
sodden, and my eyes widened as I looked at the breadth of the devastation. Bodies were
everywhere, torn, frozen, burned or simply blasted back against the unforgiving trunks of the
ancient oaks. There were more of the silvery silversaan crushed, crumpled and in various states
of destruction. There was enough brass and copper here that I could have equipped a small
mercenary force in arms from it. Broken lances, shattered swords and crumpled shields were
tossed about like the discarded toys of a child.
And glittering, somehow still beautiful despite the blemishes of combat, glittering throughout the
trail were the brilliant scales of a silver dragon.
I can't say how far the trail led, but eventually it opened into a clearing. Tears welled in my eyes at
the sight, for it was as though all the devastation that had guided me here, was duplicated in this
one area of the forest. And then duplicated yet again. Blasted, shattered trees were tossed
about, lying amidst the mangled bodies of the Tvorlites. There was no foliage on trees within a
hundred feet, the leaves had been blasted away by the furious battle that took place here. Where
I could see the ground it was a deep crimson hue, like it had been dyed that color.
I shuddered and turned away, unwilling to investigate the strange sunken area on the far end of
the glade. I had seen enough death, I didn't want to have to gaze upon what surely had to be the
remains of the dragon who had put up such a struggle. I needed a drink, about the size of a
barrel, and then I had to tell some stories. It's what I do.
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