Ishiro walks into the guild hall. Slowly he turns his head and gazes at those gathered here. After the briefest of pauses he continues forward to the mantle over the fireplace.
He reaches into the folds of his tunic and removes a small piece of cloth, the Truthseeker seal sewn into it. Ishiro places the cloth on the mantle, kneels before the fire and closes his eyes.
With eyes still shut he speaks…
I was in Kaladim when it came.
I had just been to the bank there and was headed to speak with friends in the Stormguard halls when a traveller stopped me and asked where Kilam Oresinger was. I knew that the bard always kept his post by Pub Kel and so I led this traveller there. He handed Kilam a sack from Freeport and I was about to head on my way when Kilam reached out and grabbed my arm.
He said he had a letter for me.
Ishiro’s head raises with the memory.
I took the letter and opened it, not knowing who would write to me, let alone know where to find me.
The letter was from a Kristophe Hurfoot, a name I didn’t know. The letter…
Ishiro’s hand again disappears into the folds of his tunic, then emerge again with a tattered folded piece of paper. He carefully unfolds it and reads…
‘I have sent a dozen copies of this letter to find you Ishiro. You once saved my brother’s life in the caves of Runny Eye Citadel, and I fear that I must now ask you to do it again. Kreegur has become obsessed with doing that which Rivervale’s own guards have not, to drive out the goblins of Runny Eye. He has gathered together a band of like-mindeds and they are planning to assault the citidel in a fortnight. I have faith in my brother’s passion and abilities, but this is just too much for he and his cohorts to handle. I beg of you, return to Rivervale and talk some sense into my brother.’
Ishiro carefully folds the paper and returns it to the folds of his tunic.
The mail had been slow. It had already been a fortnight. I dashed to the one place I though I might find some help in my travels. The snails pace that the boats take would not be enough, I raced to the druid circle in the Butcherblock mountains and pleaded for their help. There I did find a druid who agreed to take me to Misty Thicket with the powers that he had, formed from an affinity with nature.
The moment we appeared in Misty Thicket I thanked him and begged his forgiveness as I ran off, not realizing he had chosen to follow. And as we made our way to the caves of Runny Eye, our numbers grew. By the time we reached the entrance we had a small army behind us.
We stormed the caverns, and down through its depths. We slew every goblin that dared to challenge us. We burst through the ranks of their guards and their magic casters were no match for our numbers. But as we progressed the resistance grew weaker, not stronger as would be expected. We began to find slain goblins that were not of our hands, and before long we began to find fallen halflings in their number.
At last we reached what seemed to be the end of a trail of blood, and I felt my heart sink as I pushed open the doors to the goblin king’s lair.
In the glow of the firelight, tears can be seen rolling down Ishiro’s face.
With almost all the rage gone out of us now, we calmly, almost peacefully entered the chamber. The sounds of battle in the further reaches of the citadel still echoing, but in the king’s lair, there was a silence. On the floor were littered the bodies of many of the king’s elite guard, and with them slaughtered halflings. A few still breathing goblins stared in horror as we filled the room with our numbers. But we hardly noticed, as we saw this heroic, yet almost horrific spectacle laid out before us.
Kreegur’s body was burned, I scarcely recognized him, save for the armor I knew and his Truthseeker seal. His hair was all gone, the skin mostly black, and some of his armor had buckled from the heat of some sort of magical fire.
But Kreegur’s right hand was still tightly clutching the hilt of his long sword, its blade plunged straight through the heart of the goblin king.
Ishiro bows his head, and though the tears still roll, he smiles.
We buried him in Rivervale, next to his father. We buried him in Rivervale, with his sword still clutched in his hand. We buried him in Rivervale, he gave his life for his land. We buried him in Rivervale, but may we find a piece of his soul in each one of us.
We buried him in Rivervale.
Ishiro rises from the floor, and instructs the barkeep to get everyone a glass.
To Kreegur. Here is hoping he found the truth that he sought. And to us that we find the truth that we seek.
-2 Jun 2003