|Posted by aandrade76 on December 31, 2013 at 1:25 PM|
Am I dreaming?
No. I am on a ship.
But it is not being attacked by a frost dragon. And we are not sinking. And it is not cold,… (so very damn cold!)
It’s ironic that that the warm confines of winter’s Den could remind me of the garbage scow that brought me to Korthos. Or nearly brought me, that is…
It is in my waking moments that I recall the past few years and how I have changed – how frightened but determined I was when I left my home in Zendrik. My life savings for a steerage bunk on a doomed transport. Today, I could purchase a fleet of them! But pride does not become a ranger, if a ranger I truly am.
Would my grandfather be proud of me, I wonder? He taught me to till soil, tend herds and mend fence – skills that have been put to no prosperous use since we parted. Yet, I have held the moral compass he instilled in me in my right hand. Well, other than during my early times that is… I must reconcile my past with my present so that I might have a future.
It’s funny what you remember and what you forget! When I finally told my grandfather of my decision to sail to Stormreach to seek my fortune I remember his words vividly, “Well Vergennes, you have my blessing. And for The Flame’s sake don’t you go traipsing about in a suit of armor! Might as well dress yourself in an oven and ask everyone you meet to prime the fire and strike a match!” I was never sure how my grandfather’s view on armor was formed but it has stuck with me. And, despite my perilous encounters and opportunities to do so since, I have never donned a bit of it. And I never will!
What I’ve forgotten is whether he was sad. I was so determined to argue his objections and rally around my causes that, when he offered none and did not challenge mine, I became deaf, dumb and blind.
I miss him. And pray that he me.
Ah yes, back to reconciliation! After my ignominious arrival on Korthos and the generosity of a curious thief, things went splendidly! I was able to find a teacher to improve my fighting skills and to introduce me to the ways of magic – divine only, mind you – arcane I know nothing of (and am quite satisfied with that state, truth be told). I found adventure and treasures! I began to eat well and improve my position at every turn. I even spent ten gold pieces for a hat! My adventures on Korthos are stories for another time but one encounter there bears mention. During our battle with the giant Wyrm terrorizing Korthos, one of my companions (I am ashamed to admit that I do not now recall her name – too much ale, perhaps) said that she wished she could stay on Korthos forever for Stormreach is cold and cruel. Well, as you know, Stormreach had been my object since setting sail and at that moment was within my reach so I was taken aback by her words. And swiftly dismissed them.
I shouldn’t have.
Ah Stormreach at last! Weeks turning to months and the quests were varied and exciting (and lucrative) here. Eventually, I learned that one could enjoy much greater success (and need less of a healer’s services) if one would join others in adventuring. This is where my story grows darker. I started joining other adventurers for some amazing journeys and challenges and was basking in this new world of collaboration when things changed. It was a subtle change at first, spiked with the occasional sharp barb. Once I was ridiculed for my lack of armor. Another group left me wandering blindly in a dungeon paying no heed to my cries for assistance. Still others wouldn’t even speak to me, robotically (and these are not the Warforged that I speak of) going about their murderous rounds and then leaving without as much as a fare-thee-well.
So, slowly at first, I learned their ways. Groups are to be taken advantage of. Team up only when you need numbers to get you to your objective. Groupings are transient and there is no need to invest emotionally with them. Grouping is a means to an end. Groups are disposable. And I got good. In part to recover from my shaming as the “Armor-free Wonder,” I trained with a monk. What a wonderful accidental decision! Every day I feel (and see!) the benefits of the training he provided. Many are the Paladin who covets my defensive strength with little more than a robe on my back! But the joy and wonder was gone – it seemed almost like I was working in a Cannith Manufactory!
I had what I thought I wanted – skill, money, opportunity. But the world had turned a shade colder and shallower. And then the fates intervened once again.
After a particularly lively attempt to clear some largish spiders out of a resident’s basement (never saw those spikes coming… with a group I had just met, I noticed they had declared an affiliation to one another – a guild, they called it. And they asked me to join them! While obviously flattered, I wasn’t sure the cost – what were the taxes, the expectations? “None and To have fun,” came the reply. Skeptically, I accepted.
My tale grows too long for this morning so I will leave it at this: The night I joined the Wulfepack so many years ago, I was renewed! Although now absent from our daily guild lives, I learned two unforgettable lessons that night from the Pack’s leadership that I hold close to my heart to this day.
From Ironwulfe: "We never leave a guild mate behind, never."
From Piccu: "If it’s not fun, you’re not doing it right!"
The Pack lives on and I’m proud to be a member! Let the stories be told!