A Tangled Skein

The Autobiography of Garret "Fingers

Chapter Two: In Which Your Humble Narrator Stops a Train and Espies the Remains of a Nation.

Part the first, or a sad meeting

When I last left you, gentle reader, we had just acquired two new companions. Inertia the Changeling and an insensate Dwarf Lordling. We traveled with all speed northwards, keeping an eye on the river and the mist beyond. The Cyran soldiers I was traveling with, Giganty the behemothic sergeant, Q-elf the mage, and Whiskers the dwarf cleric, were keeping an eye out for a break in the mist in order to find their way back to their unit, corp, or whatever you call a piece of an army. Personally, I abhor any fracas that does not involve a direct monetary benefit to myself. I do not see this as being anti-military…merely having a sense of self worth and a sense of proportion to my place in the scheme of things. Certainly, gentle reader, if you wish to risk life and limb merely for love of country, I wholeheartedly support your choice. Let’s just say that I consider myself a sovereign nation unto myself, of which I am king, general, and magister (as well as tax-collector, heh).

We eventually came upon some poor souls who had outrun the mist as it had overtaken Cyre. A half-elf and several of my kinsmen. The half-elf had lost his wife and was inconsolable. At one point, he stood up and said:

“Death be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe, For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow, Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee. From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee, Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow, And soonest our best men with thee doe goe, Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie. Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell, And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well, And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then? One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally, And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.”

He then ran weeping into the mist, leaving our stunned forms behind.

Part the second, or I stop a train.

When I am passionate about a subject, I can be most persuasive. I can convince the hottest fire elemental that a cool drink would hit the spot right now! I can convince the most pious cleric to switch to a diametrically opposed deity. I am very convincing; and I was about to use my powers of persuasion to good effect indeed!

We stumbled upon some lightning rail train tracks and, no sooner than we had arrived, we ascertained a train coming down the tracks towards the mist. I knew immediately that this train was doomed and leapt into action. I turned towards Giganty, who was staring at the train dully.

“To action, sir!” I exclaimed.

“I am tired…no.” he replied.

“Sir, the lives of all aboard that train are in your substantial hands! Be the hero you were born to be!” I admonished.

“What have they ever done for me?” he asked.

“Sir, I curse you for a coward; a dastard of the most craven variety!”

“Oh, very well,” he acquiesced, shamed.

He ran at the train, a good distance away at first. His legs pumped with power, left and right, stomping faster, faster towards the train! Onwards, ever onwards he charged, gaining speed by the second, until he collided with the train. What happens when an irresistible force hits and immovable object? A most cacophonous roar of metal and thunder ensued, shattering the eerie calm of the mist as the train halted.

I climbed aboard the engine and confronted the engineer. I implored him that his life, the lives of his passengers, and his career as a driver of one of the finest modes of transportation ever to be conceived were in mortal jeopardy. So convincing was I that, with nary a glance, he set the train in motion to proceed backwards to Gatherhold, a municipality that I am fortunate enough to call my home.

Upon the way, the unconscious dwarf awakened and we made his acquaintance. Modesty and discretion prevent me from revealing the identity of this fine patrician fellow. However, for brevity’s sake, I shall refer to him as Lord O.

Part the third, or Home again, Home again.

On the rail ride home, we spoke with Inertia and Lord O. We learned that they were scholars on a quest to find some sort of scholarly thing or some such item. I didn’t get the details. Lord O turned out to be a most gracious nobleman, generous with his company as well as his coin.

When we returned to Gatherhold, I discreetly followed Inertia to the messaging office and saw that she sent a message to another nobleman. Very curious indeed!

I asked Lord O about this nobleman and he didn’t know much about him. He paid us handsomely for his rescue, though, which was well appreciated.

Meanwhile, Giganty and Q-elf consulted with their government in exile, as it were. They determined the best course of action was to proceed by specially protected rail into Cyre.

Having no business there myself, I bade them good speed. However, they opened the coffers of Cyre to me for my assistance in determining the fate of their queen. I cannot abide the suffering of nobility, especially that of the fairer sex, so I was, against my better judgment, fain to go.

Part the fourth, or Into the Maelstrom.

The rail was manned by a doughty crew indeed! All were a credit to their profession. As we thundered forth into the mist, I took a guarding post atop the engine itself. Wave after wave of unholy foulness assaulted me as we progressed toward the center of that foul blight. My dagger was black with the unholy ichor that those undead beings call blood.

I was utterly spent by the time we found our way to the capital. Q-elf pointed out the palace at the heart of the city and a newfound vigor came upon me as I inured myself to the profane atmosphere that had taken over the area.

With myself at the vanguard, we plowed through wave after wave of unholy foulness. I must admit with no modesty that I saved my companions lives a hundred times over with no expectation of remuneration or gramercy.

We wept for joy in relief when we finally reached the sanctuary of the palace. Alas, the joy quickly turned to concern when we noted that the queen was not there. We were gratified that she was not dead. However, her whereabouts were completely unknown. Gentle reader, your humble narrator was truly in a tight spot!

Thus ends Chapter Two.

I remain Garret “Fingers” Phineous, your humble narrator.

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Mloy

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