Friday, November 2, 2007


"I'm sorry, but it all comes down to a matter of necessities and priorities, and right now I am afraid that it is necessary that I leave you," said Arrenus calmly.

I had known that this was coming for some time, of course, and so I wasn't as surprised as I could have been. Having known the Tyrennhian man for a long time I realized that the truth of my acceptance would not shock him, and so as I stared up into his calm hazel eyes I recognized that he had come to this conclusion long before this unhappy event. As with any group of adventurers, the time had come for us to part ways. In ordinary circumstances I might not be quite so upset, however dangling from a ledge with a sixty meter drop beneath me was not something that would put me in a good frame of mind for this sort of encounter.

Arrenus had stated his position without rancor, prejudice, or emotion, and the coldness of his decision shook me. He had made his statement and now he would leave. Typical. I took the opportunity, while attempting to pull myself to safety, to roundly curse the man and swear a dozen oaths in half a dozen different languages. Unfazed, Arrenus quirked his eyebrow in the maddening way he has, shrugged his shoulders, turned and left me. I knew then that I was going to have to kill him. A lot.

The fingers of my left hand found a slightly better purchase on the rock, but the dirt and stone under my right hand was slowly giving way, and if I could not pull myself up I would likely soon join Adron at the bottom of this crevasse. I fought and struggled to bring myself up to the level of the ledge, but this was a battle that I knew I was unlikely to win. Slowly, muscles straining, I searched, desperate for one more good hand hold. All I needed was that one last chance. One more go at spitting in fate's eye.

I continued to swear vengeance and hatred of Arrenus, and implored every god and goddess I had ever heard tell of to aid me in this time of need. It is amazing how all the prayers of a misspent youth come back to one when they are dangling over a pit and death is a near certainty. There was no way I was going to allow that arrogant Tyrennhian to win, not at this stage of the game.

How had it all come to this? Where had I gone wrong? What had I done to deserve this? How many had died because of me? Adron was the latest, but what of Ghor'namale or Tack or Zuunta? Could their deaths have been my fault? Was I to blame for all of this? The key lay in the past and I would need to examine it before I went further. Any weakness could be a death sentence, and I needed to make sure that I survived just long enough to watch the traitor breathe his last.

My name is Arissa Uleira, and I was going to make sure that the very last thing that Arrenus saw before slipping into the icy embrace of death was me.

Impelled by hatred and a burning need for revenge upon he who had done me so much wrong, I levered myself up. Taxed beyond the point that most mortal men and women can bear I slowly ascended back to the level of ledge. There was no sign of Arrenus anywhere, but had there been I was too exhausted by the strain of this latest ordeal to do much. I gasped for air, lungs straining to bring more life into my body, to keep me awake and alive for a few moments more. I rose up, staggered a few paces away from the edge, sank to my knees and began to pass out.

My last thought before losing consciousness was that this was an utterly unfair situation for even me to contend with, and the last thing I saw before going completely under was the grinning face of a halfling with a wickedly curved and rather vicious looking knife. As if things couldn't get any worse...

No comments: