The Reign Of Winter
Hermann's Tales 20
As we entered the room, a large Barbarian appeared from behind some crates and challenged us. First he spoke in a foreign tongue, then he spoke Draconic! In all my years, I had not expected anyone else to speak that language, least of all a smelly barbarian. Hearing the odd wordings and lisping speech made me instantly warm to the figure, and in the following conversation I found out that he had been a warrior king some centuries ago. He had attempted to betray Baba Yaga, and was punished by being cursed to guard the entrance to the hut.
Due to the fact we came from within the hut, we managed to persuade him that we were in effect working for Baba Yaga, so should be allowed to pass unchallenged. He agreed on the condition that we recovered a book for him from a nearby dungeon, one that would allow him to escape his curse. Being against enforced servitude like this, I agreed instantly, and the rest of the party agreed with me. So mollified, he would allow us to pass. After a night’s rest and meditation we gathered what resources we needed and left the hut.
No sooner had we walked out the door than we heard a large shout, and were immediately beset by giants. They were a hard battle, and would have overwhelmed us if it were not for the hut suddenly animating and attacking them.
With the hut’s aid we successfully drove the Giants off and immediately set off in pursuit, but after an hour of trailing them we were accosted by a squad of Centaurs. From what I could remember my parents telling me when I was young, Centaurs were rumoured to be a strange yet friendly race of nomads. These were not at all like the Centaurs my parents had told me of, as they appeared armed and hostile. They spoke to us several times in a foreign language, possible several different ones, so we tried speaking to them in all the languages we knew as well, but to no avail.
In an effort to show we were peaceful, I put down my spear, followed by my companions doing likewise, and approached them open-handed. They watched me suspiciously as I then proceeded to try to mime the fact we were just passing through, but they reacted violently, one bashing into me and knocking me down. I tried gesticulating more frantically, but to no avail.
Andrei also tried to mime our peaceful intentions but this seemed to anger them even further, with them launching an all-out attack on us.
Even with us starting unarmed and unready, we soon turned the tables on them. Due to my Haste spell we were all over them, and the last one broke and ran. Fearful that he would be able to raise the alarm to his evil clan we pursued him, intent on silencing him forever. We had just caught up with him and started attacking him when he surrendered. I came to the instant decision that we just couldn’t take him prisoner. If we had, there would have been little to stop him escaping at his leisure, and as we did not speak a common language we couldn’t even interrogate him. With him surrendering, I cut him down.
As we walked back to meet up with the rest of our party, I had the time to ponder over what I had done. Had I changed so much in these last few weeks? When we had assaulted the Pale Tower I had agonised over even attacking those poor souls that had joined the witches’ guards, as they probably had no better choices in life. I had always been brought up to believe that taking a life is wrong, except in order to defend your own life. Had these weeks of continuously fighting for our lives changed me so much that I was not only eager to chase down a fleeing foe, but not even hesitate to kill an unarmed and surrendering foe? No matter the situation, this was not something that I thought myself ever capable of doing.
I think it may have something to do with my turning into a Dragon. If I were not honour bound to serve Sarenrae, I would go find a cave somewhere far away from any people, so that I would be better able to control my newfound urges to kill. As it is, however, I do not have that option, so I must just do my best to resist the urges, and hopefully regain my moral centre.