Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Searching For Jaryn

Ethan stood at the bow of the Urchin's Pride. Seamist spraying him with every crest of the waves. The Soarwind vessel's progress through the sea was rhythmic, it had a hypnotic pace to it. Ethan reflected on the difference between the Elemental Airship he had been on only weeks before and the Urchin's Pride. Both he knew took skill to pilot, but the Pride also took teamwork.

Glancing up at the rigging Ethan could see several crew trimming the sails to adjust for changes in the wind. This work was necessary to keep the ship working at an optimal level. Every man played a part in keeping the vessel working, unlike the airship's that House Lyrander possessed. Those were reliant on Dragonmarked Heir's dominating the elemental that powered the ship. Ethan had no doubt they were difficult to pilot, but there was no team element in the success.

With a sigh Ethan returned his gave to the waves crashing against the Urchin's Pride. He had been disgruntled of late. The encounter with Tharunn hadn't gone well. After the boy had run off Ethan had looked for him, with no success. Tharunn had disappeared. Eventually, Ethan's companions had said it was time to move out. The thought that the boy was alone in Flamekeep left Ethan feeling hollow.

Arriving in Merylsward several days later the party quickly found accommodations and set about the task of locating Jaryn. Distancing himself from the party Ethan quickly scouted out the less than reputable locations of the town. Knowing that the individuals he was seeking out wouldn't likely be interested in talking to a Kinght of the Flame. Aundair and Thrane had battled heavily during the last war, and the people of the Eldeen Reaches had seen some of that aggression. Though he had missed an encounter with the cultists, Ethan had learned some valuable information about Jaryn and where he may have been headed.

The party had been searching for Jaryn for over 40 days. So far the search hadn't resulted in much new information. The weather was bad, with fresh snow falling daily. Visibility was poor as the wind lashed out and blew the snow around. Ethan walked out front of the party leading the way. A rope lashed the party together so they wouldn't loose each other in the blinding blizzard.

The going was slow as Ethan methodically tested the ground in front of him. For every step he took he pierced the ground before him with a staff, ensuring there were no sink holes. So close to the Demon Wastes the terrain was treacherous with jagged cliffs and steep inclines. The party didn't want to find themselves up to their heads in snow. This had been the routine for weeks now and the party was clearly exhausted with the pace. Only Braddoc's military training had kept them going this long.

As Ethan moved methodically forward, the party trailing him by twenty feet he heard a loud crack. Freezing in place Ethan looked for the source of the noise. The blinding snow provided no clues. Ethan was about to continue forward when the ground fell out from under him.

Arms flailing Ethan fell and was swung by the rope tethering him to Braddoc. The wind was knocked out of him as he slammed into a cliff face. As he hung from the rope Ethan was glad he had taken Nenia's suggestion and used the rope. He felt himself being raised up and that's when the rope snapped, sending him plummeting down the cliff face.

Reaching for his dagger Ethan plunged it into the icy cliff praying Olladra hadn't abandoned him yet. The dagger found it's mark and Ethan's progress downwards came to a jarring halt. Ethan hand no idea how far he had fallen, the blizzard was obscuring all sight beyond 10 feet. Pulling another dagger out Ethan began pulling himself up. Using the daggers as spikes he drove them into the icy cliff face and pulled himself up.

Ethan didn't know how long he had been climbing for. Feeling had abandoned his fingers long ago and his left leg was tingling. It was sheer will power that had kept him going, but Ethan knew that wouldn't last for much longer. He was loosing the battle. Drawing upon the magic in his gloves Ethan felt a surge of strength and continued his ascent with renewed vigor.

Delian stood at the edge of the cliff. It had been almost an hour since Ethan had plunged over the edge. The party had given up searching. They had all agreed it was too dangerous to climb down after Ethan. Truth be told, Ethan was the only party member qualified to even attempt the climb. They had to face the facts, the elements had bested them and they'd lost one of their own. Delian said a silent prayer for his fallen friend and turned to return to the others. That's when he heard it, a scraping sound. Surely the weather was playing tricks on him. Yet, there it was again. Moving carefully forward Delian approached the noise. As he arrived at the ledge he looked down only to see a gloved hand drive a dagger into the ice and pull its owner over the cliff.

Sterling stood waiting for Delian to return so the party could continue. Ethan's death was unfortunate and he would miss Rogue, but the party needed to press on. Looking towards the Paladin Sterling watched as he dragged a body over the cliff face. Running forward Sterling arrived at the scene. Ethan lay at the Paladins feet, his exposed skin blue with cold. Worse Ethan's left leg was mangled and bloody. Looking over the edge Sterling saw a trail of blood running down the cliff.

Calling to Jonathon the Warforged hoped that his friend wasn't past saving.

1 comment:

Jay Vandendool said...

Hair-raising adventures all around! I wish we would have skill-challenged this one!