A week ago off the coast of the Northron Kingdoms, pirates took your ship, The Agatha. You now find yourselves chained in the hold of their vessel, The Bloodstained Bitched, presumably waiting to be sold into slavery. You have no idea where you are bound for and have only been given water and moldy bread to eat. The cramped hold offers only four feet of space between decks, and you are shackled to ring bolts in the floor by your wrists and ankles. Perhaps to torment you, the keys to your chains hangs hang just out of reach on a peg beside the stairs leading to the upper deck. The crew, a mixed lot of humans, orcs, hobgoblins and bugbears, obeys the command of Red Olin, a lean vicious red bearded fellow clad in scarlet robes. You do not see much of him.

Suddenly one night, a terrible storm arises. The timbers groan and crack as towering waves buffet the ship. You can hear screams above as the raging sea washes pirates overboard. A thunderous crack resounds as the mainmast splinters. Then a horrible impact shakes you as the ship collides with something. Screams, the sound of splintering timber, salt water filling the hold submerging you. All goes black.

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The Worst Abstraction: What If
I move cautiously, sure this is a horrible trap. My next thought is that I am dead. She’s just staring at me as if we’ve not been apart for years now. As if she didn’t suffer a brutal death in the barrow maze. But they assured me she was dead… that nothing could bring her back. She’s not real. Don’t touch her. Do not touch her. There’s no reason someone like Aimorel would be in the Abyss. But… I want to touch her face.

I remembered that she was lovely in an understated way, but I had forgotten how youthful and fresh-faced she was. Her cheeks look so soft, like pale rose petals or peach skins. I remembered that she smelled good, but I had forgotten that she smelled like the kinds of blooms that draw butterflies and honey bees. I remembered that her hair was long, but I had forgotten how impossibly thick it was. I had brushed it a few times, during her rare, unguarded moments, but I could never braid it the way that suited her. I would have added flowers or a sprig of green at least, but she hated fuss.

She’s looking at me so serenely, but I never knew Aimorel to look that way. Her brow was always knitted, and she was, in general, a withdrawn creature, content within herself and with her foxes and other small friends. I often thought she would have nothing at all to do with me if not for the animals. It was all I could do to coax her in for the night from time to time. I spent most nights with the dew settling on me, as she wanted nothing above her head but the glittering sky.

Before the doorway even fades, the assault begins. Would it have been so terrible or wrong to stay here with her? What if it was her? I would, after all, die before she would. I would have never been without her.

No. None of this is real. There is no reason Aimorel would be in the Abyss... right?

But, what if I was wrong?

Why did she have to be a hero? Why join this group? She didn’t even like people! If she hadn’t joined, she wouldn’t be dead, and I wouldn’t be here, questioning my sanity and whether or not I can live with these questions, this uncertainty, and this awful thing I can’t unknow.

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Reflection
Mirilda stared in the mirror. The image staring back was her, but not her. The dark hair and eyes were hers, but the greenish tint to her skin was replace by a creamy, fair complexion. Her tusks were replaced with smooth even teeth. She was not beautiful by most standards but Mirilda was mesmerized by the reflection. The image in the mirror was fully human, not a sign of orc remained. This is what Mirilda had always thought she wanted.

But, she was not Mirilda, the half-orc anymore. She was Mirilda of the Unchained. The people at First Light still stared at her, but not because of greenish tint or tusks, but because of her reputation. The children of First Light did not sneer at her like the children of her youth, they pretended to be her when they played. They did not see a half-breed, they saw a hero.

Yes, Mirilda had always dreamed of being human. She knew this place was offering her the chance. The reflection was its way of showing her she could have this. In her youth, when she was Mirilda Warbane, the half-orc, she would have eagerly grasped at this chance even at the cost of her soul. But she was Mirilda Warbane of the Unchained now and she would not give that up for anything.
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Overnight Sensations
“Mirilda’s Unchained” left the revelry of victory above in the Triple Realm of Azzagrat for the maze of slums known as Fogtown below. Blaze had a date to keep. A beggar named Grusha had approached him the night before imploring for a hand-out. Clerics of Pelor relish distributing food to the poor, it’s even one of their central tenets; feeding the beggarly. Blaze regaled the pauper with the story of Breadgiving Day, one of Pelor’s major Holy days. He purchased the guttersnipe an entire basket of freshly baked bread and sent him on his way. But before the cadger took his leave, he slipped Blaze a tiny piece of parchment which read, “Meet me at Fogtown docks tomorrow night.” Blaze looked up from the swatch of paper with a queried look, but the vagabond had absconded.

The pervasive eerie, heavy mist obscured their view after only a few feet adding to their nervousness. The wharf, comprised of rickety buildings and warehouses perched on slender dilapidated poles, seemed to sag from the weight of neglect. The urchin suddenly materialized through the fog. Grusha pointed to a ramshackle storehouse, “Someone wants to meet ya, but you must go alone.” Blaze stares at the solitary deteriorating door and then back at the party. “Fine.”

Looming in the darkness waiting for him, lit by candlelight, was a woman; her soft voice said “Come closer.” As Blaze did, he let out a slight gasp, she was of extraordinary beauty. It was then he realized there was no candle; she was radiating an aura of golden light. “Your efforts have not gone unnoticed Blaze Silverwing.” He instantly fell to his knees. It escaped his lips before he knew, so stalwart was his devotion “How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, daughter of the dawn!” She beams, “I have been cast down to the Hells for you Pelorian.“ Her smile disappears as she continues, “Your quest is of urgency. The Staff of Skelos must not be made complete. For Tharizdun is a spawn of Orcus. If he obtains the missing piece, it will be impossible to stand against him. Do you understand Blaze Silverwing?” His head bowed even deeper, he suddenly was flushed with shame. Shame for betting on Mirilda’s fight, shame for purchasing fancy garments, and shame for wasting time on fine food and fragrant baths. Blaze spat forth, “In the name of Pelor, I shall cast out the darkness. I will bleach Tharizdun’s sins from the world!” She continued as if he hadn’t spoken, “From the Sunfather’s Hand to yours Blaze Silverwing,” her fine soft wings spread open as she presented the golden hilt to Blaze. The blade shone and gleamed like fire. “Dawnsinger,” she nearly whispered.
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Last Stand
The sex was good. There was no doubt about that.

Graz’zt had an impressive repertoire of skills, and his lithely muscled body rippled with an unearthly sexual appeal that should have left Boudica in a stupor of passion. He was also hung like a battering ram. Yet through it all, Boudica felt only a sense of unease, edging into regret.

Perhaps it was because she still saw Old Alice whenever she closed her eyes, and no matter how hard she tried to lose herself in passion, the pain of that endless torture still clung to her. Perhaps it was because she could no longer think of her scarred, wracked body as desirable, even though Graz’zt’s pulsing erection attested otherwise. Perhaps it was because after those depths of agony, she finally saw her hedonism for what it truly was: a feeble quest for novelty and excitement. She realized, as she lay there beneath Graz’zt’s writhing, serpentine body, that she no longer desired those things.

Instead, she wanted peace, and fellowship. The latter she already had, and the former she could have once they found the staff and neutralized the threat to the Hrothgar and their home.

She wanted something else. Something higher than the flesh and deeper than anything this world could provide. She remembered her meditations beneath the sunrise, the glimmer of transcendence she had felt.

Odd, she thought, that I am thinking of Pelor while fucking a demon lord. But her life had been full of surprises, and she embraced this one as she had so many others.

When Boudica finally dressed and left Graz’zt’s chambers, she felt as if she was leaving her old self behind.
Session: Game Session 39 - Sunday, Apr 29 2018 from 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM
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Prayer for Boudica
Boudica hung there in chain, her naked body broken. Mirilda removed the chain from her cut, bruised wrists and Boudica collapsed. Mirilda scooped her up in her arms, trying to sooth her as she did. Her strong, invincible Boudica was beat and broken.

Mirilda was not a religious person but silently prayed to Pelor for the first time in her life. She did not know how to pray or what to say but she knew that prayer was needed.

“Pelor, I pray to you, calling on your pure light and goodness to heal Boudica. Please do not let her die.”

Just then, a swirl of blackness surrounded them. Mirilda held Boudica tighter, but careful not to injure her already shattered body. Then the blackness dissipated, and they were in a forest. Mirilda looked down at Boudica to make sure the transition did not injure her further.

Her body was whole again. The gashes were gone. The broken limbs, repaired. She was fully clothed and back to the whole Boudica. But then Mirilda saw her eyes, they were dark and stared blankly at the sky. They were not Boudica’s eyes. They were the eyes of a Boudica that has been more than broken in body, but in spirit too.

That is when Mirilda prayed for the second time in her life.

“Pelor, I pray to you, calling on your pure light and goodness to heal Boudica.”

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