[Scene: The next morning after a night’s rest, Rand at his Barduk family home everyone else at various places. Rand finds the others and asks everyone to gather in their private room at the Inn so all can converse together. ]
RAND: I’m still worried about Quinnla and Tahgen, I know where I left them, but I don’t know what’s become of them since the Heart was restored. This is the one urgent thing I’d like to do – go find them.
SENTINEL: That sounds wise but also like something that should be done during the day.
SENTINEL (Looking at other party members who are not Rand): How many arrows of light out of the heart were not focused on our group? I believe I remember two pieces not entering any of our party…
BECK: There were three beams of light that spread off to who and where we don’t know.
AVEN: I am curious about the 3 streams of light as well, whom do they belong? Whether it is friend or foe, we need to know specifically since the changes that have become us are quite life altering. I am also curious about about Rand’s vampire experience and desires based on what he can remember. Also, along those lines should we be concerned with Thelon? I believe that we should consider our next step with same concerns as before the health of the mote was restored. Especially in regards of he who shall not be named. Until such time as we know something from the north he is still anywhere and everywhere. Then there is the white male dragon that was the mate to the female that we slew. Not knowing the relationship of dragons other than from current experience we don’t know if he will be hunting us or could care less.
[When Aven says the changes are quite life altering Sentinel looks at everyone with surprise.]
SENTINEL (to everyone): After the light struck you did you feel more powerful as well? I feel so much quicker on my feet, I wonder how fast I can move now.
[Sentinel dashes 400 feet in mere seconds. It’s like a stereotypical scene of graceful speed, dust and gravel.]
FRAAS (to Rand): Do you remember why you were so opposed to us messing with the heart?
SENTINEL: Really what do you remember from your time undead in general? When we were in the heart’s void the orcish priest said that you were on their side and didn’t actually cast a dominate spell onto you, do you know who and what you were serving at that point?
BECK: I think there was a lot about that little island we were ported to that was special. The stars there were different from here, I was looking at it closely last night. The magic on those totems was really powerful, but the totems themselves were rather primitive. The Orcs there seemed surprised at Aven’s gun, even though Orcs around here are known to use them. Why would this evil Blood God be neighbors with this burning all powerful heart? The water and ground seemed new, like it was freshly made, volcanic. It really seems to me like we went back in time. But if you figure that it was Sieffre’s wife those Orcs had there, we really did go back in time and the time over there is moving really slow. What else did all of you notice? Any one make anything else of it?
BECK (to Rand): If we wanted to check on Quinnla and Tahgen we could use that scying pool down in the tunnels in the Chamber of the Protectors under the town.
RAND: Fraas to answer your question I have to back up a bit. As I spent more and more time as my new self, thinking about why I came back to life,, I guess I mean “un-life,” I became more and more convinced that the power emanating from the Heart was what had brought me back, and being brought back by it, I wanted to protect it. Really, I came to see it as the source of me, and the way I saw myself as I was then – was powerful. I, in no way, was going to risk that changing. When you approached the Heart in spite of my insistence not to, I was furious. I have to tell you something else now first, before I go on. I was thinking last night, that I knew you guys would have a lot of questions. And you might have a little trouble trusting me… You might not, I know, but,, if you did I would understand. It’s my pledge to you All to tell you the whole truth of the experience, even if it’s difficult to say now.
RAND (to Fraas): So, to continue, Fraas I wasn’t planning on ‘telling’ you again. I was going to stop you, even if that meant kill you right then and there. Up to that point I was happy to be a part of the group again, and i KNEW it was right for me to lead you all (Rand looks down remorsefully). And it was perfectly right for me exact justice upon you for not adhering to my authority.
RAND (looking at Sentinel): After we were teleported to the Blood God’s realm – I realize you all might remember it differently but that’s what that place was for me – I still expected your, and planned on, cooperating with the rest of you. I don’t really know how that shaman Orc knew I was ‘with them’ but it was true. After I relished ripping that Orc’s head off and was intoxicated with the thrill of my own power I suddenly knew I had to bring you all to the Blood God. It was as though he called to me, it felt like holy inspiration. I WAS going to bring you all, I knew I would have to force you to go and I was willing to use any means to do it. I was planning on beating all of you within an inch of your lives and subserviently taking you to be used however the Blood God saw fit.. there was not the faintest thought within me as to reason ‘why?’. Well, all of you except Bork (Rand looks apologetically at Bork), with all those bombs you kept hitting me with, I didn’t want to bring you anywhere, I was going to pulverize you. Thankfully, all of you are so quick, powerful and deadly, I didn’t have a chance. In that state I actually underestimated all of you.
RAND (to everyone): After I was defeated and turned to mist, I knew I could find recovery at that tower. I knew I’d eventually come back and we’d battle again. After some time floating towards the tower I spotted a few things. I saw the lone surviving Orc running down the land bridge away from its fight with all of you, I then noticed a band of Orcs traveling far far down the land bridge with what looked like a prisoner being carried to the Blood God. And just before my memory of that mist flight ended I saw something much more epic. At the dark tower I saw what looked like a winged angel and a wingless pearlescent white dragon breathing lightning, both graceful and beautiful swoop in and battling a creature at the top of the tower. It was an enormous, amorphous flying mass of blackness, with tentacle-like limbs battling back the attackers. Their attack while elegant and powerful was not going well, they were being beaten back slowly, then my memory stopped. The next I knew I was with you all in this room last night, you brought me back. I thought death was supposed to be peaceful…
[Rand pauses in thought, then continues]
RAND: When I first ‘woke up’ more or less, in Quinnla’s temple I was completely bewildered. There was no icy cave, no white dragon looming over me, but there was a little halfling with a pulse. I wanted to devour her. I rack my mind now trying to remember if I even hesitated to consider if I should or not, but that’s just me being biased now. I didn’t hesitate at all. It was only after, that I was horrified and devastated at what I had done to our friend Quinnla. But you know the rest of the story from the time when we spoke in my lair,, I mean, (Rand winces) what was and should hopefully be again Thellan’s Cairn.
For the most part I spent my time plotting what to do on behalf of the mote and how much my leadership would improve things, how to destroy the green wyrm, if he should return, and how to grow my influence, and who my allies should be. I obviously considered making the Belheim priests my allies, and almost convinced myself that the Green Wyrm could be a friend… but I guess some small part of the old me remained. I have to tell you my mind worked so much clearer then. It’s like I was on a high, I felt lifted, and well,,, better. I’m finding it difficult now to even keep a train of thought. I can hardly believe this is how I lived my life before, and I didn’t even mind, I didn’t even notice (said with a slight hint of disgust).
Anyway, I left Quinnla in the tunnels, and asked Tahgen to prowl the woods near the Griffon Lodge, but they were to expect me back before dawn. I commanded Quinnla to wait, but I held no sway over Tahgen, for Quinnla sired him. That’s probably why he attacked the priest against my orders. Even before I departed the Lodge, he had fled into the woods, in wolf form. I think he preferred it to being a limbless old man.
There is one more thing, in keeping with the full truth to you all, something happened last night (said with a thoughtful serious scowl). I don’t know what this means but all of us better know about it. I woke from a disturbed sleep after hearing a voice in a dream. My room was still and quiet and dark. As I sat up in bed trying to calm my nerves, a hint of movement by my window alerted my now laboriously dim senses. When I focused in on it, I saw a crow just as it flew away. The voice from my dream was ‘my voice’ but it wasn’t. It was my voice, but very sinister. It’s like it was the voice of the Blackguard I had become speaking to me in my mind. He said “I’ll be back for my hammer.”
AVEN: So is it possible that some schism happened with your consciousness and your “sinister” side created some type of physical manifestation? Maybe something to do with that other plane of time that we stumbled on to? What about Thellan?
RAND: That’s my take on it too, I think the Blood God could have made this possible in some way. Also, I was there as evil when we were dealing with the Heart. I think the evil me is very likely to have been imbued with the mythic power too. Thellan was left in his cairn, as Beck suggested, I think we should scry him too. What do you think of the crow? Fraas, Aven, Gfed, do you think it could have been a messenger or a familiar?
AVEN: An Omen to foreshadow a threat, and one that we shall not take lightly. With this information did we have an idea what direction we were considering to be our next course. I almost feel like we are all in consensus to check on Quinnla and Tahgen.
SHAH: Yes, I want to see if Quinnla and Tahgen are alive and if they bear evidence of having been hit by mystical rays.
FRAAS (aside to Rand): It’d be great to know if you can still pop off orcs heads with his bare hands. Evil you or not, I would really have liked to have seen that.
FRAAS (aloud, but directed to Aven): The idea that the dark-evil Rand is still in existence, and potentially bolstered/ascended, I’m a little more than nervous. We should soak the hammer in garlic.
FRAAS (to everyone): Dark/evil Rand or no, our most immediate concern is Thellan and Quinnla, Taghen & any others they managed to turn before we returned. Even a few unruly vampires can easily grow their numbers exponentially if left unchecked. If we’re lucky, albeit sad, they will have just turned into lifeless corpses like Rand had. If Tahgen is indeed really dead, what of the green wyrm’s deal with Griffton?
I think your idea to scry them in the pool [looking at Beck] is the quickest option, that is if the scrying pool has renewed its facilities since our last attempt. Also, we should try to scry Rand to see if we can detect a schism that way? If we find Quinnla and Taghen’s bodies and Rand’s alter-evil is still around, should we expect alter-evil Quinnla/Taghen as well?
But first we should touch base with Sieffre. He is apparently arrived in port and has come far at our request. We’ll want to assess whether the pirates he faced are a potential problem. Plus, I imagine he’ll most want to make strategies for the rescue of Elin, which for certain merits some discussion.
This leads to issues of the world of the black tower… Were the dragon and angel (presumably Mrs. Rand aka Ghaele of the North) keepers of black tower? Are they potential allies? Is this the dragon from our mote? Without the green wyrm around has this white dragon taken over the deal with the angel? Has the angel been serving the blood god all along (I remember something about this angel bringing children to Belheim through a portal. Was she rescuing them?)? What on earth was the black amorphous cloud they were fighting? Is this Orburos, the same diety of the Erinyes we battled? Who in the hell is the Blood God and what do they want, besides blood, obviously?
I think it’s time we make way to Belheim. If that truly is the portal to the black tower, it may be our only avenue of approach with the heart repaired. On a related note, when should we start experimenting with the spyglass again?
RAND (to Fraas): Well, frankly I feel like a shell of what I was when I was a vampire, now I might be able to rip the head off a mouse, or at least a very strong rat (smiles).
RAND (to group): About those questions regarding the Angel and Dragon, to be clear, they were not the keepers of the the Black Tower, they were attacking it. As for allies, I’ve assumed the same thing, the Angel could be my mother, but with her known behaviors from the circumstances of my siring and the allowances of people to Belheim as slaves, it’s hard to tell what end is motivating her means. Who knows if she could be an ally or not… She certainly hasn’t been much of a mother.
The dragon was definitely not a “White Dragon” – the vile savage kind that loves the cold. While this dragon was of a white kind of color it was unlike any I’ve ever heard tale of, much less have seen. I had a good up close look of a White Dragon, you remember, and this was different. It was beautiful, and I’m certain, was of good spirit. So, in my mind this eliminates the possibility of this exotic pearlescent dragon taking over the Green Wyrm’s and Ghaele’s agreement.
Regarding the Blood God and the black evil cloud, I don’t think either are Orburos. While Orburos was the god of that Erinyes it is also the primary of the two dragonic gods from Belheim. I assume it would function in the form of a Red Dragon, like the temples of Belheim suggest.
So, it’s agreed, lets head to the scying pool and see if it works to see Tahgen, Quinnla and evil Rand, in that order. I agree with you Fraas, unruly vampires on the loose would need to be nipped quickly. After the scrying and before any necessary action related to what we find, lets go make our introduction to Sieffre. The reason I think we should meet Sieffre after the scrying is because the conversation might be sensitive and take some time, while what we find from the scry might necessitate quick action.
Regarding traveling to Belheim, the Green Wyrm’s ominous commitment on Griffton and experimenting with the spyglass, lets deal with with above priorities first.
[The group, alert and battle ready, leave the inn, venturing to the pit in the center of town. They descend and make way to the Chamber of the Protectors and the scrying pool to scry for Tahgen, Quinnla and the vampiric Rand.]