B’rill looked at the message he had received with a sense of dread. He knew the time was coming for him to pass to the next life, but he was not yet ready. He had one remaining chore to complete, the chore that would single his end. After the events over a century earlier in the Willow Wood, he left the civilized lands for the deserts to remain away from those that knew of what he carried.
He had spent over a century acting as a guide for those that managed to wander into the deeper part of the desert. He made sure they made it back to the more or less civilized areas closer to the docks. He accepted some gold, but mostly food and water was his pay. He deeply missed the forest he had lived most of his long life in, but he knew it was better he stayed away from the cities for their safety.
“It’s time Whip, the child will be born soon and I must be their to pass you on to the child.”
“I am not happy about this course you have chosen Master.”
“Happy or not, this has to happen or she will never survive to complete her mission in life.”
“Will I have to be near her?” The whip asked pensively.
“You mean Tamalain?”
“Yes Master, her. Whom else would I dread being near in the mortal realm?” Now it sounded really worried. It knew that she was the one mortal being that could destroy it if she took a mind to do so.
“Indeed, who else.” he answered quietly, “ No, you will be free of her influence. I will arrange for you to be secured and asleep until the girl is ready to journey forth.” B’rill started to leave the canyon he was currently camped in when he sensed a goblin behind him.
“Could be worse I guess. So be it Master. Umm, you may want to do something about the Goblin sneaking up behind you.”
“That,” he asked? “Easily taken care of.” He pulled the whip from the hook on his hip and swung it around his head, causing it the sound with the diving dragons scream, then lashed back over his shoulder, striking and killing the goblin without even turning to look at the now headless creature. “Happy now,” he asked?
“Not really Master, but it will have to do for now I guess.”
As he made his way from the deep desert, he began to see things he had not expected. A large gnomish village had grown on the cliff near the sea. From the cliff extended a long dock out into the air, like a giant ship would sail up to it and you would board the mast to go below. His wondering came to an abrupt end as he heard a deep thrumming in the air. He turned to look at the source and received a greater shock. Coming towards the dock from the south was a massive ship that hung in the sky and moved without sails. It slowed and the noise faded away as it came to a stop at the sky dock. He decided he wanted to know what this was about and approached the village that supported this flyer. It was then he saw the destination list on a board at the village gates. The ship only traveled to the Swamps were the Trolls and Ogres had rebuilt their lands.
He turned and made his way to the lower docks and sea level, only to see another sight that shocked him. A giant turtle was parked at the serpent docks. He steered clear of this as he didn’t want to anger it if it took to not liking the whip. At the end of the dock, he saw a port globe rather than the bell he was familiar with. He touched it and saw a truly impressive list of destinations to go to. Lands he had never heard of, and some only in legend. He did note one set that was missing, no planer access. He thought Coldwind Point and the spot lit on the globe. He touched it and was gone from the desert of Ro, never to return.
His arrival at Coldwind Point was a shock to his aged body. He was so used to the heat of the open desert, the cold of the coastal region along with the steady breeze made him shiver violently. One of the guards and caretakers saw him arrive and the sudden reaction to the cold and quickly approached him. The caretaker held out a heavy cloak to the oldest Elven he had ever seen. “Put this on old master, you will warm up shortly.”
“Thank you son, “said B’rill. He looked around and saw that much had changed since his last visit to this land. The path up the cliff was now paved in cut stone and rails acted to keep the unsteady from falling into the freezing water below. He also saw something disturbing around the city. As he looked around the guard asked, “Where will you be heading, old one?”
B’rill acted as if he had not heard the human guard for a few seconds as his mind tried to make sense of the energy dome over the city of Qeynos. What was worse though was the sight of the flying forms of dragons that were circling over the dome, making periodic attacks on it with magic and breath. “What happened their,” he asked in a hushed voice.” The whip had started to whimper quietly in his mind.
The guard looked at the dome for a second, “Several adventure parties decided they just had to wake the damned sleeper again. He was not happy about it at all. Ever major city is under siege now.” He gently edged the old elven away from the arrival point to allow others in and out of the portal radius. “It is a stalemate now days. Early on they managed to ravage the city pretty badly before the dome went up. It was the arrival of the Arrowmarks that turned the tide in our favor then.” He guided B’rill to a bench to sit and recover from the cold shock to the desert adapted being. “Now old One, where are you heading this fine day.”
B’rill answered in a slow, sad voice, looking at the human with distant eyes. “The Arrowmarks son, I have to see the Arrowmarks before I die, and that will be soon I think.” He slowly climbed back to his feet and started to remove the cloak. “Keep it old one, it will be returned by the next runner from the Archer Wood compound. I can get you a horse if you like. It is a days ride, or a three day walk.”
“You don’t have anybody bound there?”
“Actually we do, but porting into that area is frowned on unless it is an emergency, and it has to be dire even then.” The guard waved to one of his troops to come over. “Give this private your dire reason and he will get you there today.”
B’rill looked at the human, hardly more than a boy in years, and spoke slowly and low. “I carry a thing. A thing that must be passed on to the child being born this very day. It will be her destiny to use it in service to Norrath as a whole.” He reached for and lifted the whip from his side. “This son, do you know what it is?”
“Yes, a whip, but what kind?”
“I don’t know, it has bone and sinew, but from what I don’t know.”
B’rill figured the story was forgotten as several human generations had passed since the events of that terrible time. “Dragon spine, living dragon spine.”
The old guard slowly backed away as the boy looked on, not understanding the danger in front of him. “What is your name old one?” asked the guard commander.
The commander looked at the boy, “Port him now, no questions asked. Return as quickly as you can. This matter is not to be discussed, ever, is that clear boy?”
He looked at his commander, not knowing what was going on, but simply came to attention and saluted. “Come old fellow, lets get you to where you need to be.” He took B’rill’s left arm in his right and made a gesture and they were gone.
Willow sat in her rocking chair, holding her new daughter to her left breast, the baby sucking gently, seeming to sleep even as she fed. Willow had already learned in the last day that this little girl had a set of lungs that would wake the dead. Being the fifth of twelve children, she could appreciate the quiet times like these. Willow was now over a century in age as the humans measured it, but still a young adult as hers did so. As she nursed, she thought back to her time as a Ranger before she had married.
She had trained and worked like her mother had, but didn’t have all the problems and excitement her mother, Tamalain Arrowmark had had. As she understood it, she was more like her Grandmother Willow who died in the first Sky Falls after Luclin had exploded. Willow tended to be laid back, calm and thoughtful about things before she would act, but threaten her family or friends and all bets were off, along with the offenders head.
High Fantasy /