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Cleric Journal: Day Forty-One

DearFatherMulcahy

 

Waking the morning after the dragon attack did not come easy. We had lost everything and were barely alive. But I get ahead of myself. When we last left I had just gone into the water under the cauldron while Sister Liz had gone into the same water, which I’m sure you know by now, she can hold her breath for a very long time. Long enough, I assure you, to outlast the rain of dragon acid.

As for my plight, the water turned out to be about eleven feet deep or so (we measured it later) so it didn’t take long for me to hit the bottom. I guess I’m just lucky because the air pocket under my shelter is the only thing that kept me alive.

Oh, I was sorely wounded and nearly unconscious from lack of oxygen by the time Liz managed to leverage the cook pot up, releasing the increasingly foul air and nearly drowning me in the process. As it was, she dragged me to the surface where I gladly sucked in the fetid and rotten air of the swamp. And let me tell you, I’d never breathed anything sweeter.

The swamp around us was a ruin. Trees broken, vegetation shredded and the creatures of the swamp floating on the surface, poisoned and burned by the fallout from the dragon’s acid breath. Liz had burned herself twice resurfacing for breath before she would risk pulling me out from under the cauldron. I asked her how she knew I was alive under there and she shrugged.

“You would die above the water,” she said, as if I was a child. “No use worrying about what I could not control. Are you not happy to be alive now?”

She’s a sharp one, our Sister Liz. And she’s right, of course. Nothing much survived the aftermath of that battle.

We were pretty beat up, I can tell you, acid burns are not to be trifled with, and Liz had breathed in the acidic fumes of the dragon waste thrice. She had begun to cough up blood by the time we made it to shore, and I wasn’t feeling much better.

For the rest of that night we huddled under a rocky overhang I discovered. The ground was wet, but the water had diluted the draconic acid.

By the time the sun rose, we had a clear idea of the damage done. For a hundred yards in any direction we had a clear view of the blue sky. I have no idea who or what could’ve battled with the great beast, but their combined devastation was horrifying in scope.

It became clear to me almost immediately that we needed shelter and healing. Only we had no raft, no supplies and no healer. Okay, I was supposed to be a healer, but I didn’t know how. I was confident I had the somatic gestures down for a true healing spell, but I had no verbal commands to go with them. The all powerful Semaunya (may she never have her scales burned with dragon acid) had given me night after night of visions to learn the correct spell, but I was too much an idiot to bring together the final pieces. It was quite disheartening.

At that moment, as Sister Liz coughed up her life’s blood and grew ever weaker I thought back to Brother Durham and how he constantly berated me for being a dullard. He was not a nice man, that one. I think if I survive this adventure and make my way back to the monastery, I’m going to punch him in the dick. Just saying.

I prayed then, over my young friend, expecting her next bubbling breath to be her last. She had saved me, given me companionship and taught me much of the swamp, and now she faced imminent death here under this great rocky outcropping, hip deep in fouled water. It was too much. I wept tears of grief and frustration. But underlying it all grew a wrathful rage.

I stepped out from under my shelter and shook my fist at the bright blue of the morning shouting my pain into the world. The day had dawned bright and clear, as if the physical world cared not for our injuries and our plight.

Let it be known , however, that at no times did I curse my deities. I was not that blasphemous, nor angry enough to forsake my true path. Just to be clear, while I hadn’t crossed into that blasted spiritual place, I could see it from where I stood — metaphorically speaking.

“If this is the end of us, so be it,” I whispered to the wind as I stepped back to my fallen friend. Her breathing had become raspy and shallow as she neared the end. I fell to my knees by her side and cradled her scaled head against my burned chest.

“My dearest, beautiful Kithri, please. I beg you. Spare this dying child.”

My only answer with the sharp echoing of my breath against the stones over us.

“Inform your mistress that I will trade my life for this child’s. Can you not hear my plea? Will you leave us to die in this forsaken corner of the world?”

And she heard me. I trust that as I trust your piety and grace. A sharp crack echoed across the swamp as the stone above us split. For the briefest of moment, I thought we were to be crushed to death… a swift end to a sad and useless life. Instead the stones fell to either side allowing the sun to shine down upon Liz’s face. It was an omen, a sign from the fair goddess herself. This I knew for true. In my hands Liz gasped out another rattling breath.

How many more did she have? She stood on the very door of death. Kithri had heard my plea and shined a light on us, showing me that there was hope in the darkness. I would redouble my efforts and save this child from crossing through the grey door.

I began reciting every holy word I knew while making the gestures for the healing spell. I spoke in my natural tongue, and repeated everything in Liz’s. It wasn’t until I stopped to dash the tears from my face that I notice that Liz was mumbling words.

I bent closer to catch her weakened breath, fearing she whispered dragon once more.

Only, she had not. What she spoke, the intonation and the cadence mirrored the gestures I had been performing, waving my soft, pink hands above my dying friend. But those words rose in me a hope beyond reckoning. I repeated them thrice, trying to get them just right before adding back in the somatic gestures.

And it happened. There was a spark. Something tugged at my spirit just above my navel, but below my heart. In the very middle of my person there was a fire growing, a flame unlike anything I had ever experienced. For a split second it was that first time with each of my teachers, that greatest moment of worshipful exaltation all tempered with the sure knowledge that someone I cared for would die with her very next breath if I did not succeed.

And that did the trick, praise all those who worship life, who battle death, who see the light and shun the dark. A power flowed through me, not of my making. I became the vessel of the divine in a way that overpowered my meager prayers for guidance, mending or protection. Here was a power unlike anything I had ever imagined, and for which I knew, without shame, I was barely worthy to experience.

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What I'm Reading

 

D&D 5E Player’s Handbook

 

Recent Comments

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The wild ox; strength and power.

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Othala

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Sowilo

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Personally earned or lucky wealth and prosperity.

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Note: This is not the real book cover.