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Varlen talks to his mother
A sparrow lighted upon a oak and looked down towards the ground. Had it greater intelligence it might have noticed the unusualness of the creature beneath it. However, it was simply a sparrow and the creature below posed no threat to the bird, so she opened her beak to sing. Below, the figure turned it's face toward the sound and smiled, it's large teeth making the smile almost menacing.
The half-orc closed his eyes and turned his face back towards the sun. He reached for a mug next to his side and drank deeply of its contents. The smell of herbs and raspberry leaves wafted past the sparrow and mingled with the scent of the nearby sea. The half-orc sighed and continued talking to himself.
"... and so I have found myself here with these companions I guess I can now call friends. We have truly only known each other for a short time, but I feel that those who risk their lives for you and whom you would risk your own for should be nothing less than a friend.
We had traveled into what was called Gorgoldand's Gauntlet, an apparent training ground set by someone in the past. I am not exactly sure of it's untimate purpose, but it did prove to be a proving ground for myself and those I took with me.
After my battle with what I can only assume was an ogre of some kind we moved along until I met with a creature that was an abomination at best. With the merest touch of it's antennae my armor was turned to worthless flakes of rust. It is only since then that I realized it had felt wrong anyway. I am free and light now that I am no longer burdened by its weight. I understand what you had been telling me about the need to be free of worked metals.
I have made the transition. In the years of you training me, there was only so much I could do without fully experiencing the truth on my own. All you said was true. There is a oneness which envelops me now and I can hear her breathe. Her voice reminds me of you and I am happy to have you with me again.
We moved further on into the grounds and passed through many rooms. Each apparently was guarded by something other than a creature, for we encountered few, if any. The first was a room with square flagstones as the floor. Certain stones glowed, and other shocked. By her truth, I was surprised when I was given a shock through my staff. I must admit, I know little of magic, but I thought that wood would protect me.
There was a stair with a message with yet another message hidden in between. I felt you with me when looking at the words. You always loved games of words and I always struggled to prove I could even do them. It was you who guided me to finding the key. And yet again, there was another room with another hidden message. I feel that the man called Gorgoldand was one whom you would have liked. His tests are ones which make you realize that sometimes it takes more than a good staff to solve a problem. Yes, I know that I should have learned that years ago, but I think we both had problems remembering it all the time.
Finally we came upon an empty room. It was sparsely filled with a few columns, a mirror and a couple of skeletal statues without eye sockets. The strange thing about the room was the mirror reflected an identical room, but this one was filled with treasure. Burne, one of my companions, looked at the mirror for less than a moment and said something which sounded like "transportus", but I cannot be sure. The mirror turned dark and like the pillbug we all scurried into it's darkness.
The room we entered was as we saw in the mirror, scattered with coins. But soon, however, the coins began to spin around the room, as if there were a whirlwind of great force. Not a hair on my head moved as the coins rolled and flew around.
You would have been as surprised as I when the coins began to come together and take the shape of a small dragon. It did not actually become a dragon, but the shape was the same. A great battle started right away and it seemed that we were doing little to damage the beast. Tatiana inspired us with her songs and we fought bravely, though we failed at doing any harm. Wisely, someone led a retreat back trough the mirror and we found ourselves in the statue room. There we slept and rested and prepared to attack the coin dragon the next day, which happened to be today.
I felt her presence more strongly this morning. I called for her strength and I felt her power within me. She taught me how to make my staff strong and it's aim true and how to cure a damaged person. We charged back through the mirror and gave the beast a beating which impressed even all of us. Each time we hit the creature coins flew around, but were always absorbed back into it's body. Unnatural! I am not sure who struck the final blow, but the battle was glorious and I felt more alive than I ever have before. Her strength and yours were with me and I had no fear of failure.
We left the gauntlet loaded with coins and weapons and set to climb the rope which led us back up the cliff to where we would make camp. At the top though, we found the rest of our friends tied and a group of four waiting to take what we had rightfully acquired ourselves. A half-orc led the charge towards us. He was no better than Gralleg, as you have said, on the day of your first meeting. His eyes blazed and he had no look of reason about him. We fought and I found myself wanting to destroy him for what he was, for what he and I were. There was too much in him reminding me of Gralleg. Though he nearly finished me, I stood my ground and let him fall towards it.
The others in the group were taking care of the other vermin. A female, human by the looks of the remains, lay trampled and broken by a horse and another human lay near the cliff's edge. Our spellslinger fared poorly and was being hung over the cliff by the beard of a dwarf. I tried to pull him up and throw the dwarf over, but somehow I managed only the first part. Then it was I who was clinging to the rocks. And you always told my climbing trees would do me no good. Hah. Eventually, the dwarf succumbed and was captured leaving us to tend to our wounds.
As for now, we are still on that cliff and I sit here beneath this tree resting my aching body. I pray that tomorrow She will grant me peace and the ability to remove the aches and pains.
There is a bird above me, a sparrow. It's song is beautiful and helps me relax here. I cannot help but think of our wood and the birds which would sing there. I know that for now the wood is silent, the birds too scared to sing. The verdant beast will be destroyed and our home reclaimed, this I swear to you.
I miss you mother. Know peace and be blessed. Your memory lives in my mind and now your true song is in my heart."
The half-orc settled back against the tree, his tea finished. He glanced one last time at the sparrow and closed his eyes, knowing he was watched over. And he slept.