A glimpse at the End?
(Shard, Ilithi: 248 Moliko 364)
Baresh had been worried with the unsavory characters lately coming and going to his establishment apparently with no other purpose that reading and leaving messages in his chalkboard. Also, people, when awakening, had started to have this dark image of a dragon imprinted on their eyes… not a good omen in Elanthia.
"Can I get some ale?" a little giggling voice asked.
Baresh lean over the bar to tell the kid to go and ask Mo about magic up in Riverhaven if he was so bored, but instead he confronted a long unkempt ginger explosion radiating from a gnome sitting very serious on a stool.
"Oh, eh… yes of course." Baresh served a small glass of ale and put it on the bar. The young gnome stood on the stool and put a couple of bronze kronars by the glass. He took the glass, giggle to some secret joke and started drinking.
"I’ve seen you before no?" Baresh asked.
The young gnome took his head out of the glass to giggle at Baresh.
"Yes, I once came asking for a sample of ale to toast to Holsum, that tall Halfling Empath that saved so many during an invasion at Shard. Nice of you to remember." Baresh heard the inevitable giggling of the gnome.
"Boriken Caribe, yes I have retold that story. Glad to see you are not trying to pay with rat pelts anymore. Business is business. Is it just the ale you are here for?"
The gnome looks saddened. He rubs his little chest, and Baresh notices that the skin looks reddish and new… some heavy burning recently healed by an empath. Still Boriken giggle again before continuing.
"A nasty attack took place at Shard. You’ve heard of a Safe Spot? Where Empaths and Clerics tend to the dead and the dying? Well, some strange mages and soldiers appeared there and kill many. A very dangerous position. Those in the safe spot had either to go towards the Adan’f or through them. I knew I could not confront an Adan’f…"
(Boriken gulps at his ale, starts giggling and spits all over the bar) "…and I pretty soon found out neither could I go through those S’kra Kor soldiers."
"Before I could say Eureka, some thing punch a hole from the chest and blew me up. I think at least the guy behind me was able to shoot at the perpetrator right through me…"
Boriken starts a fit of giggling that unnerved Baresh. Maybe stronger ale next time to see if he is tamable.
"The good thing about being as prone to death as a young Barbarian Gnome is that everybody, and their little sisters, can drag you. I got a drag to the safe spot just west of where I fell. Naresha, an Elothean Empath, and Nacon a cleric, start preparing me to be raised. Then I hear someone saying, ‘What is that Portal?’"
Boriken closes his eyes and starts repeating from his memory:
I looked at the portal and saw like a Ceremonial Chamber with Bronze braziers carved in the likeness of serpents lining the walls, their glowing embers providing heat and bathing the chamber in an eerie blood-red glow. Thick clouds of pungent incense drifted lazily about on thermal currents lending the room a nightmarish quality. An open pit, lined with polished onyx stones, lied in the center of the room. I could also count three S’Kra Kor shamans.Boriken opens his eyes and giggles to Baresh.
"What is a S’kra Kor? There were three Shamans of theirs there, and at the attack I saw S’kra Kor soldiers."
Baresh looks the young, still rosy cheeked gnome. He shakes his head at Boriken.
"Perhaps you are too young to know yet. I’ll give you another ale on the house. Try to rest and sleep. And stay away from those things next time."
"The Empath that was healing me, Naresha, suddenly died too… maybe from healing the big hole in my little chest… maybe because something attacked her from the portal. It is always so painful to see those noble Empaths dying. Still as soon as she was raised she continue healing me and I was shortly (Boriken starts giggling again) Could not be other way… shortly raised."
"And who is Krirlin?"
"Krirlin . . . I think I have heard that name… But why you ask?"
"Because before disappearing I clearly heard a voice coming from the Portal; all it said was . . ." Boriken closes his eyes again in concentration and then says:
"Krirlin is in Shard."