Chapter Nine

It all began when the silence of the jungle was broken by an unfamiliar sound.

“Damn the heavens!” Leomourn exclaimed. After seeking council with the Order of the Storm, they had left The Roost, with an westward heading. They were to aid a Misting who was due back to town days before. The heroes learned that the Misting was charged with retrieving an item called the Torch of Soulfire.

“I am tired of being thrown into the business of others! I just want to relax at home in my own time!? Leomourn had been complaining the whole route.

“Hold your tongue.” Darella whispered harshly. She pointed forward towards an over-thrown carriage.

The rogue approached the wagon and peered in carefully. From their vantage point the other heroes saw a dark movement in the trees that surrounded the road. Before any of her companions could cry out a warning a huge panther larger than a bear came from the forest and atop Darella.

The others rushed the scene and after a vicious and brutal battle they dispatched the creature. It fell to the ground with a loud thud. Darella kicked the carcass, the last remains of the only thing that had ever bested the rogue at her own game of sneaking.

“Can you track it?” Delgen said to Leomourn.

“I guess but, why?” Leomourn looked down at the dwarf.

“A cat that big and you don’t have the slightest suspicion? That was not natural…and plus there is the sigil of the Order upon this wagon.” Delgen said pointing at the fallen vessel. The heroes climbed aboard the Hammerhead and silently followed Leomourn and his half-brother as they tracked the creature. Leomourn said his brother had wanted to stretch plus he said his brother would probably be better at tracking than he was.

The heroes tracked giant creature back to it’s home, which to their surprise was an actual home. It was a quaint cottage of clay and straw in the middle of a forest, at the edge of a swampy part of the land. Darella took that lead, but relinquished all her tact and guile. The dwarf and two others watched their comrade walk straight the two steps and to the door with out even the slightest attempt to muffle her footfall.

“She isn’t.” Delgen whispered, right as Darella kicked the door of the cottage in.

Ravani was simple, he didn’t ask for much. He lived minimalistically; in fact almost all of his possessions including his home, were hand-made. Ravani was a builder, a maker; he loved the thrill that came with being in full control of something, be it a stew, potion or a clay cottage. He took pride in being a master of matter, having control of the outcome of a creation. Ravani was not more than just a rakshasa, he desired nothing more than to prove his worth in the world, prove that not all of his kind were evil and wanted to destroy. He lived alone save his companion Bahgee, a panther he had reared since she was a small kitten. They had shared so much time together and soon he knew that the day would come when they could both leave the exile of this swamp and walk alongside each other in public without others being afraid of them or cruel to them. He was progessive, he even had made friends with other races, where others like him would have just murdered them. Ravani was happy, he had made a new friend recently and was almost ready with dinner when his door exploded into splinters and a dark figure stepped into his humble cottage, Ravani had even lit candles.

Delgen, Amarella, Leomourn and Fenris watched the thief kick the door in and disappear inside. Moments later the wind bore the shrill cry of a maiden in shock or pain. The din of the forest was muted in this moment and the vile thoughts of what could have happened to their rogue within that haunted cottage bled into their minds. Leomourn looked at his brother and they were both upon the small clay house in seconds Leomourn ran through to the door and peered in, afraid of the thing that had bested Darella.

Fenris was upon the cottage instantly and tore his talons into the cottage which fell apart like clothe under the were-giant’s strength. The top of the cottage came off as if a storm had come and ripped away the straw thatched roof in a violent attack. The were-giant hung his head into the cottage in hopes of mauling some foe.

Delgen ran to the cottage screaming something about diplomacy or at least subtlety. He was the last one to enter the cottage and was quiet confused when he did so. For the scene was an odd one.

Darella was standing in the center of the one-roomed cottage with one hand on her head. Leomourn was off to one side, Fenris was peering in with one ear cocked. There was a writhing form in the far corner of the room, weeping. His arms grasping his knees pulling them closer and closer to his chest as he lay there confused and afraid.

“We heard you scream…so we…” Leomourn said, at a loss of words.

“I didn’t scream. He did.” Darella said, pointing at the crying rakshasa.

Chapter Nine

The Flame of Time gabrielegandrake