The party prepares for a long night’s rest on top of the huge bed that serves as Blagothkus’s ‘guest bedroom’. Royce lays down, closes his eyes, and offers a prayer to Tempus. He allows his mind to reflect on the day – ‘flying on pegasi, a Cloud Giant and his humongous castle and a battle with huge monsters – haven’t seen that in awhile’. The remorhaz battle was dangerous and it reminded Royce how out of shape he feels. ‘The rush of adrenaline and fear, thinking on your feet and keeping focused on spells in the heat of battle – man I am out of shape but happy we did our job, praise Tempus!’.
His mind shifts to reflect on this new cleric of Kelemvor accompanying the Drow’s Bane, the hill dwarf Mordrock. ‘I like the guy so far, seems to have an interesting history. Boy does Lady Silverhand like him, haha. I wonder if Kelemvor and Tempus are good buddies?’ he smiles. ‘I loved when Mordrock casted that banishment spell just at the right time. He definitely feels to me like he can stand on his own which is great… I get this odd feeling, Skyreach and Blagothkus is all he knows. The description Blagothkus told us about the human settlement, Ice Reach, didn’t appear to resonate any familiarity with Mordrock.’
Royce’s mind settles on Nong for a moment. ‘Nong is back which is good, but so is his uncomfortable stares and such. Every time I sense something, I turn and there he is, staring at me or sitting right beside me. As if that isn’t enough oddity, now my sword is complaining about being too close to the wand. We have to do something about this soon. That evil artifact has a mind of its own and will not just behave. Tempus what is this trial you have given me?’
Naismith turns over and tries to calm his mind from a day full of adventure. ‘I did not expect such a day. Today put my Skullport shenanigans to shame. Even though we managed to take those humongous things down, our synergy was off; it wasn’t the same without Kendall and Illian. Nong was fearless in battle of course, even more so than before. If there was an ounce of fear in him like I felt, he never showed it. Kendall and Illian would have been proud to be at his side today’.
Naismith thinks for a moment, ‘Unfortunately, we must take the good with the bad in this life. Nong outside of battle is back to his peculiarities again with Royce. I feel we’ve only just begun to tread down this road’.
Mordrock lay on his back staring at the ceiling 100 feet above. He exhales and watches his breadth condense into a misty cloud that slowly dissipates. ‘Skyreach is just as awesome as I remember it, except for the 3 huge burrow holes and dead remorhazes in the courtyard. Blagothkus looks a bit older and a tad less agile, but aren’t we all? His story about freeing his wife’s spirit is bittersweet; may Kelemvor show her the way to eternal rest. One day you free your wife’s spirit, say goodbye and the next day random pegasi show up and never leave your side…pretty awesome’. Mordrock shifts over to his side, before closing his eyes he scans the top of the bed, taking in the guys who call themselves the Drow’s Bane. ‘These three seem cool although I think the cleric and monk are embarrassed to talk to me about their past relationship that might have gone sour. I get it, we have only known each other for 2 days. The way I see the monk stare at the cleric tells me the attraction is not over. The last thing we need on this trip is for romantic drama to get in the way’.
Nong settles into a deep meditative state; he returns his breadth to its familiar steady rhythm of inhales and exhales. He allows his mind to awaken and focus deeply inward. ‘I acknowledge the the feeling of satisfaction for my battle discipline today. I acknowledge a moment of regret that Kendall and Illian were not on the battlefield with us. I allow myself to feel content for the camaraderie with Royce and Naismith again.’ Nong’s breadth pauses as his mind moves deeper into reflection. He allows his mind to uncover something that has returned, something that is open again. Nong’s mind sees an eye staring back at him from the far corner of his mind…somewhere on the distant horizon. He moves toward the eye, reaches out and touches it. The contact generates an emotion – a feeling of being in the heat of battle…adrenaline…strength…control…focus. There is also a subtler feeling underneath that Nong uncovers.
He allows his mind to experience this deeper feeling; it is one of chaos, submission to a greater power and of dominance over all. This feeling is so intense and intoxicating; it seems to nourish itself on the feelings of battle. Nong’s breadth is unsteady now as he moves his mind away from the eye. He tries to regain the steady breathing rhythm but it is difficult. He awakens and his eyes lock on Royce’s; immediately Royce looks away. Nong turns over and begins to calm his mind again; hopefully this time he can just fall asleep.