Chapter X Of My Current Campaign, Which Began A Year Ago, As Written/Retold By My Player Who Plays Vilven
It took about half an hour, but Jaren had been fully bandaged and stabilized, his body covered with a thick, blanket. Grid, Vilven, and Wiendle let him rest while they decided what they were to do. But, in truth, Wiendle was of little help. She had not fully recovered from the emotional trauma of seeing Jaren so hurt, and just wanted to stay near him, offering little opinion to their next steps. She knelt near Jaren, lightly stroking his hair, staring at his face, as Vilven and Grid moved just out of her earshot to discuss what they were to do next.
But Vilven was going through her own kind of emotional strain, though she tried her best to hide it from Grid. She felt powerful, a strange feeling when power had never been a focus to her, yet she was faint with vulnerability and something close to a loss of self. What had happened to her was beyond her understanding and at the same time was all of who she was. She fought the feeling back as she stared up hard at Grid.
“Do you think we can stay here? Is it too dangerous?” Vilven asked, her throat feeling dry.
“We’ll stay here tonight. We’ll reevaluate the severity of his wounds in the morning.” Grid said clearly, glancing down at the young guard. “Dangerous or not, he’s too injured to travel right now.”
“Are we going to still guide them to Warden? Is she up to it, you think?” Vilven said, her voice quiet, watching the worry on Wiendle’s face.
His eyes moved to look at the princess, pausing for a moment. Then he nodded, his blonde mane glittering in the late afternoon sun. “We’ll get them there. She’ll be alright.” he said confidently.
Vilven nodded in return, confirming the plan. Vilven admitted that she was relieved they were still to move forward, she just hoped Grid would be right about Wiendle.
“We should probably start to set up camp then, right?” Vilven asked as she walked away, going toward Wiendle to tell her what they had decided. Grid agreed, then began the unpleasant task of pulling the husk bodies of the small, ugly creatures out of the area.
Meanwhile, Vilven squatted next to Wiendle, staring down at Jaren’s face with her, letting the quiet sit for a while before speaking. “Handsome, isn’t he.” Vilven said, putting a comforting arm around her.
“Yes, he’s…he is beautiful.” Wiendle said struggling with a sob. Vilven squeezed her tighter.
“He will recover. He’s strong.” Vilven said positively.
“I know he is.” Wiendle said with love. “I just feel so, just so…terribly. This happened to him all because of me.”
“We all had our guard down.” Vilven assured her. “We all needed to be more careful. I won’t let this happen again. We best look forward.”
Wiendle turned to look at Vilven with gratitude, then hugged her deeply.
“Oh Vilven, You saved us! What you did…was scary but… I didn’t know you were a magical mermaid!” Wiendle whispered into Vilven’s ear. Vilven pushed her back a little, feeling awkward, even disturbed, discussing what had happened.
“I just wanted to let you know,” Vilven said, trying to change the subject. “Grid and I think we should stay here for the night. It would be best to let Jaren rest.”
Wiendle looked relieved, then frightened, then relieved again. “If you think that is best. I know you will protect us.” Wiendle said with a convicted tone, looking back down at Jaren.
Vilven looked shocked and doubtful at her, then stood. She was worried she had made a promise she couldn’t keep. Yet she was determined to keep it, even if it meant her life. And yet, she still felt Areiden. He was always there. Maybe she could be a protector, after all.
She walked to Grid then, he had moved all the bodies and was now collecting firewood. “What can I do to help with camp?” Vilven asked.
Grid tasked Vilven to set up the tent for Jaren and Wiendle. She made the tent wide, and put out the bedrolls with special care, adding more blankets from her own supplies. She knew it wasn’t exactly fit for a tired princess, or for a wounded guard, but it was the best she could do under the circumstances. They all had to help to move Jaren gently into the tent, and after, she realized that it was a wise decision that they had decided to stay the night. It would have been very difficult to get far with him in that condition. Vilven then began to cut the vegetables for the stew she had come to love, even slicing some pieces of the stale but filling bread Grid had in his pack. Grid pulled a fallen tree into the camp for some sort of seat for them so they didn’t have to eat on the ground. He made the dinner quickly, and it was eaten even more quickly. Wiendle went to sleep right after she finished, though it was barley dusk, she was anxious to get back to her lover. Which left Grid and Vilven to take in the night air together.
Lowering the empty bowl to the ground in front of her, Vilven leaned back on the log, stretching her tired legs. “What were those things anyway? Those things that attacked Jaren?” Vilven asked, finally able to converse about what had happened.
“Goblins.” Grid said dramatically, as he prepared his evening pipe. “The forests are crawling with them.”
“I’ve heard of Goblins, but aren’t they mostly thieves in cities. That’s at least what I heard as a child.” Vilven said, thinking back to her memories of the stories the fish would tell her.
“Well, I’ve never heard that before. Basically they’re scavengers. And would just as soon tear at your flesh than anything else.” Grid elaborated.
“Oh.” Vilven said, questioning the other things she might have heard from sea life that wasn’t accurate. “They didn’t seem all that capable, to be truthful. But it was still scary fighting them.” she continued.
He took a long drag of his pipe, the smoke exhaling from his nose. “They rely on their numbers. Which you didn’t seem to have a problem with.” He said, almost in questioning, his cat eyes glancing at her.
She stared up at him, this Tigron that had become her friend. With a sigh of reception, she began. “You know, you asked me what race I was, earlier, near the lake?”
“Well, I’m a genasi.” She paused to tried to gauge his reaction. “A water genasi.” she paused again, glancing at the fire now “I’m from the Water Plane.”
“I can’t say I’ve heard of a genasi. But the Water Plane makes sense, you’re one hell of a swimmer.” He said in acknowledgement, looking into the fire as well.
“Thank you, you’re one hell of a runner.” She said with a chuckle, then continued. “A genasi is part elemental and part something else. My father is a water elemental.” She paused, a sadness coming to her eyes. “I miss the Water Plane very much.”
He looked at her, noting her somberness. “I’m very sorry to hear that.” he said, throwing another log into the fire. “It must be beautiful there.”
“It really is.” Her tone became serious. “You see, I was banished. From there. The Water Plane. Elemental don’t much like genasi.”
His eyes flared in a flash of anger. “Rules and politics. Neither of which I subscribe to.”
“I guess that’s why you hide out in the forests and sit creepily on the outskirts of castles.” She said jokingly. Then she became serious again. “You still haven’t told me, really, about your dragon. Why she is there.”
He looked at her directly, his voice clear. “We’ll get there, but first you must tell me, does the magic come from being a genasi? Or something else?”
She paused and frowned at the question, the fire reflected in her dark, black pupil-less eyes. She swallowed, then faced him. “The magic, is new to me. It’s not from being a genasi. I received it by making a pact, a pact with a very powerful, elder water elemental, like my father. I’m not sure what he has planned for me. But he sent me here.” She sighed, amazed to say it all out loud. “I think the more I do things he likes, the more magic I will receive. Though he has not given me any true instruction. You’re the first person I’ve told all this.” she said, ending in a smile.
Grid smiled in return. “And I shall tuck it away and keep it to myself. Thank you for your trust.”
She looked up at him with an eyebrow raised. “The only reason I told you was because I wanted to hear about this damn dragon you keep talking about.” It wasn’t the only reason, but she liked to joke with him.
Grid paused and began to clean his pipe into the fire, similar to when they first met. But this time he did it more slowly, almost like he was needing to prepare himself to tell her what had happened. When he finally finished and put the pipe away, he looked at her intensely, his eyes penetrating hers as he began.
“The Kingdom of Beaumont was once a flourishing, thriving realm. I would go there from time to time, for certain supplies that are difficult to come by in my home village. The people there were unusually gleeful, most likely due to actually having a king that cared about them. One day while making my way there, I saw something that no one should ever have to see. A great, green dragon, swooping down upon the kingdom, unleashing her poisonous, gaseous breath. By the time she was done, half the people of Beaumont were slain, and the other half fled their home for good. You asked me why she came, I can only offer you this, beneath the great lake of Beaumont there exists a deep, cavernous lair, which she now, at least part of the time, has made her home. Beyond that, I can offer you no further reasoning for her diabolical and catastrophic deeds.”
Vilven looked at him, her face grief stricken from what he had told her, realization coming to her. She glanced at the tent Wiendle slept in, she had mentioned an attack on Beaumont affecting the king, and now Vilven knew what she was talking about, and realized the small princess was stronger than she appeared.
Vilven had no words for a long while as she turned back to Grid, staring at his golden fur.
Until, finally she broke the silence, “And that’s why you watch her?”
He nodded, his expression strong. “One day I will return there, and destroy her. Someday.”
Vilven looked down at her hands, unsure of where her magic and Areiden would lead her, but she looked nobly at him, making a promise. “Well, I will help you. When that time comes.”
He looked at her warmly, appreciative of her offer. It seemed they had become friends.