The wind continued to howl and, intermittently, there would be a wary eye cast to the opening of the cavern. Although they would not admit it, each of them was looking for the scaled, white death which came on the wind. No one would meet the eyes of the others. There was no flame in their camp. No one but Iyan cared for the light, and this night they preferred the solace of shadows to disguise their gloom. Days it took us to gather up the ravaged pieces of our party, longer still would the gathering of our honor and self respect yet take. Samdar stood with me as we summoned Iyan’s spirit back from the darkness. The half-man looked so weak. We soothed and warmed him. By the power of the Brewmaster, his vitality was returned, blessed be His ever-flowing mug. By that evening, Zai had found her way back to us. We saw to her wounds. It was then that we set out after Garrett. Fearing that some ill fate had befallen him. He was the greatest woodsman we had ever met. If he didn’t know how to track back to us, he surely had been delayed.
Calling on the Brewmaster for guidance, I searched for Garrett’s crossbow; knowing that he would sooner meet death than part with his trusted weapon. It still took us three days to find him. He had gone feral on us. With kind words and Samdar’s threatening battleaxe we managed to bring him back to his usual surly self. There was no judgment on that reunion. We had all failed in our own ways. Returning to the standing stones we tried again. This time, we used enchanted stones to suppress the tolling bell sound. We fetched the keys to the Runeforge, but each of us took turns scanning the skies. Next we entered the accursed place.
Inside the foul, ancient tomb we activated the Runeforge gateway and ventured through the portal into another world. Here, we find yet more effigies to the boundless vanity of these so-called “Runelords;” each of them guarding a passage to even more lost worlds. Soon, we will marshal our forces and venture forward once more. Soon…but not yet.
I fought to find the words. Some story of courage found and honor regained to rally my friends and prepare them for the trials to come. But I found none.
With no clear thought to what he was doing, Beldal began to hum. There were no discernible words, just raw feeling. Love, trust, respect, and honor imparted through tone and pitch. Thinking of home, of great Orzammar, Beldal continued to sing his wordless song. There is no fear, there is no despair, we are the hope that stands between all that is and certain doom. Going to each of his companions, Beldal poured them each a drought of his special hops. Clapping them on the shoulders, he met their eyes in turn with a mirthful grin. Soon, the others had joined him humming along as they might (Iyan was actually quite good, he might make a good bard one day), they gathered their equipment and ventured into the unknown.
Thinking to himself, “Powerful magics will be necessary to defeat Karzoug. We have to find a weapon and we need it soon.” He didn’t share his thoughts with his friends. For now, they were strong and he would cast no shadow on their bond.