Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Friends and Acqaintances

Cor’Nal shifted uneasily while he lay in this dark chamber which, by the stink of it, likely doubled as a goat stable during daylight hours. His companions slept quietly, save for Raell who snored noisily, curled up in a cramped corner as far away from the others as possible (though not near enough in Cor’Nal’s opinion); as though he were conscious of the strange growling noises, and occasional sucking sounds he made when drawing air during sleep. Cor’Nal didn’t mind the smell (not nearly as much as he did Raell’s oral emanations anyway), because it was, after all, only natural for animals to smell as they did, but his recent accommodations on the road had spoiled him, made him more aware of the uncivilized, wilder world around him than he had been while hiding away in the warm beds of Henutsen and Goodale. Despite being away from the true wilderness, lying here under the cover of his own blanket (a blanket he admittedly did not need due to his own magical vestments) in this dirty cell made him feel a bit more connected to his calling, to his home, than he had expected. These things, coupled with the closeness of this tiny space annoyed him. But the truth of his irritation lay in his inability to relax long enough to meditate for the evening, an elf’s version of sleep.

This problem, the druid had reluctantly admitted to himself, was born of the visions, or perhaps more accurately: hallucinations, of the beautiful elf-woman who had tortured him each time without fail, with the same question. The inanity of which had grated on his mind with the passing of each fevered-dream.

“What are you searching for, druid?” She asked him each time.

“Foolishness.” Cor’Nal spoke the word aloud without realizing it. What are any of us searching for? He thought as he glanced around the small space within the grey, nondescript stone walls of Grodek Keep.

Well, aside from a cursed sword, a 10,000 gold piece bounty and enough riches to retire back to North Hembers on. He looked at Gareth; the subject of his most recent thought, as a candle in the corner flickered, casting a disjointed ballet of shadows to dance across his blanketed length. The candle, no doubt pilfered by Ademar from the mage they had just sought counsel from, was a requirement of the former human’s, since they had no fire to light the evening darkness with. Despite the assurance of the keep’s safety, as well as the fact that Gareth and all three of his companions could see as well in the dark as they could in the day, Gareth’s concerns about a possible evening ambush could not be assuaged. Cor’Nal had always sensed, but was now assured that Gareth had an irrational fear of the dark. He thought it comical, though no doubt admitted that due to his dark-sightedness, he could not ever understand the fear himself. Thinking about it for the first time he tried to imagine how he would feel if that ability were to be suddenly ripped away from him, this gift he had grown to take for granted. Would his attitude toward the night be so cavalier, as it is now? Or would he react in a cowardly manner as the former human seemed to? He would have to ask Raell in the morning, having been subjected to the experience himself, if the thought occurred to him to do so.

Raell; Cor’Nal shook his head when he thought of the half-man. His twisted sense of morality, and strange way of achieving his goals toward that end, were often annoying to him; even more so than his abominable snoring. As humorless as the druid was he found it difficult to resist laughter, thinking about Raell’s frantic proclamations while burning down the dead human woman’s house in Henutsen. A cursed woman in a cursed town, no doubt, but Raell’s foolish superstitions nearly had the entire group tossed into the Baron’s dungeons. “It’s evil, it must be purged.” He had repeated over and over while setting the banshee-woman’s window dressings alight. He had thought the half-elf had gone mad as they fled toward the safety of their tavern rooms as the light of the fully aflame estate cast dancing shadows across the town as Ademar’s stolen candle was doing in this room right now.

An odd lot, true enough, Cor’Nal thought as his too-awake eyes now moved to Ademar. If given the chance to choose his friends, he surely wouldn’t have chosen Gareth or Raell, to be sure. Would he have even chosen Ademar? Not likely, he thought reluctantly and with some shame. A druid and a thief do not usually make the best of friends potentially, and there were times when Ademar’s propensities toward certain vices strained their relationship even now, but Cor’Nal felt that if the circumstance warranted, he would lay his life down for the physically and emotionally scarred rogue. He expected the elf would do the same for him as well, though he would never admit it. Ademar has chosen to keep distance; careful not to get too close to anyone for fear that another may turn against him. But over the last two years, his guard had come down, his emotional walls crumbled for the druid, and while their mutual trust was at first due solely because they had both been elves, their bond had now transcended that early convenient partnership to an unspoken level of companionship.

To Cor’Nal, he had become more than a friend, he had become kin.

He expected that his differences from the other two, as well as their unlikely survivability, would never allow him to have a similar relationship, but Cor’Nal accepted that happily. Most people were likely to wander this life never having known even one such friend as close and trusted as he had in Ademar, and he thanked Kutenai for his blessing.

No, he again thought with some reluctance, Raell and Gareth would remain acquaintances; to be respected, but observed closely, to be certain. Their unpredictability thus far dictated as much on it's own.

Eventually, his thoughts returned to the forest-elf-maid of his miniature dreams, or hallucinations, whichever they were. He supposed he would have to deal with her in depth at some point. Was she a message, or messenger, from Kutenai, from Lantana? If so, why? What is it they expect me to glean from this cryptic imagery? He thought. She was beautiful, perhaps the most beautiful elf he had ever seen, further proof of a likely message from the divine. He wondered if her beauty was of some significance, perhaps a temptation of some kind. A test of the flesh? No. It could not be. Cor’Nal had yet to take a woman to his bed, the forest having always been his mistress, and would likely be so until Lantana had sent him a woman worthy enough to procreate with. He had never even been tempted by a woman, and as beautiful as the one in his dreams had been, even she had not yet lit the fire of desire in his loins.

Cor’Nal decided that it was of no use to dwell on it. He assumed that whatever or whomever was sending the hallucinations would send more, and hopefully the answers, or the signs toward these answers, would be included within.

It was that last thought he took with him to his evening meditation. It drifted off and diminished as a morning fog will do at midday. His mind clear, he began to slip into trance, chanting barely audibly, his consciousness giving way to the spirit of the earth as he became one with All, his power having been used, exhausted, throughout the days travails, now slowly returned to him. Cor’Nal would once again become the force he had been before the light fell away from Atalanxia’s sky, giving way to Myrrdin’s Eye and the stars that fortified it. When the others awoke; he would once more be nature’s hammer.

Blighters of this land beware.

7 comments:

  1. Next town we hit, I am getting him a whore.

    No wonder he is so uptight.

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  2. Okay, so I took a LOT of poetic license here with Gene's character, CorNal. I hope there are no serious objections, but if there are I will happily make the necessary changes.

    Oddly, and believe me this is just coincidence, Jim and I both posted stories to the blog tonight. Be sure to check his out as I may have stolen some of his thunder by posting after him. Thanks.

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  3. This be an interesting look at the druid, a part of him not seen before, at least not to me. I admit, I have thought much about Cor'Nal's visions, and pondered frequently about the elven lady who haunts them. I never really thought of what Cor'Nal thought of her as a woman... or any woman for that matter.

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  4. Had to make a small edit. Damned iPhone deleted part of a sentence.

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  5. Excellent! I thoroughly enjoy reading about some of the idiosyncrasies within our group. Raell snoring like a lumberjack, Gareth being afraid of the dark, and Cornal actually contemplating the meaning of his visions rather than brushing them off as he seems to do in game. Great stuff. Happy to see some activity here.

    On a side note, can you set me up for e-mail alerts again? I have not been receiving them since dumping Yahoo.

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