Of late, I have been thinking of Gith. I am in a kobold-infested cavern, hiding from a dragon with the remnants of this doomed expedition, members of our party teetering on death’s door, and I am… afraid. I wonder if She was, in her moment of glory, when she smashed the shackles that held our people and led us out of the darkness. I wonder if her silver sword gave her courage, or if it was the rest of us that took solace from its majesty, while Gith herself plunged into war with our captors.
As I write this, I am sitting next to Kristian, a human, who is the bearer of a sword containing a shard from one of the sacred silver swords. Githyanki swords, made by and for them from the shattered lattice of the heavens that now comprise the Sea of Falling Stars. How little he knows of the history he holds, and lays claim to. I am uncertain as to why I did not take it from him. I am equally uncertain as to whether or not I even could manage to best him in combat; he has proven himself a capable warrior, which is a stark contrast to his naivete and timid nature outside of battle.
As I looked upon the sword, in his hands as he looked at me, not with suspicion but only confusion… I thought of my brother. And I could not raise my blade to him. I could not see another of my companions die for the sake of these swords, sacred though they are… and I know a dark fate awaits me now, for I have lost what it means to be Githyanki. Kristian’s continued life is proof of that.
The sword is what he was searching for, all this time. He says it was the blade of his master, an Eladrin. I wonder if his master knew what he had, and knew the risks associated with it. The men who stole it from Kristian did, or at least one of them did. He warned them, apparently, that “The Githyanki” would come for it. Unfortunately for him, knowing what is coming is not the same as being prepared. He is dead now, as are all of his companions, lying in the desert for the vultures to pick at. Those who steal the blades of the Githyanki will die in obscurity.
I feel as though I have been repeating myself in the pages of this journal, as of late, but the theme continues; I have not known such uncertainty before in my life. My life… which has been saved yet again by Vyuna, the Genasi. And again, and again. She risks life and limb to protect me, and Kristian, and Myron, and Silas. It as though she does not value her own life, but would gladly trade it for one of ours. I don’t… I don’t know, anymore. I want to tell her… about my brother, about what I have done and make her see why what she does, and how she lives, completely destroys the world that I have known. I cannot shake the feeling that I have made mistakes. Actions that I was so certain of before… I am not so certain of now.
I… I am so sorry, brother. We were wrong.
We will be moving again, soon. Siga and Borin are the only two remaining dwarves. Rainy and Dainan both died in battle, giving their lives so that the rest of us might continue on. They died good deaths, finding their courage in the end. Rainy in particular… I am proud of him, and for him.
The dragon that we had heard of did indeed find us, and harried our passage into the caves. It was a wild, breathless ride that we only barely survived… and we owe the success of it to Rainy. He threw himself at the dragon when it came down to us, landing atop the wagon carrying Silas, knocking us all to the ground. It seized Siga in its claws, taunting us. Myron stood and spoke to it, distracting it momentarily, as it probably has never seen one of the ‘lesser races’ speaking so confidently to it before… and that was all the time Rainy needed.
He died well, blade buried deep in the dragon’s flesh. We heard it scream as it fell back, and rolled down the hill, as we fled into the caverns carrying our wounded. The caverns that we found were full of Kobolds, servants of the dragon, who began to muster against us while trying to send members to flee, to guide the dragon back to us from a larger passage. The battle was fast and brutal, many of us nearly dying. Myron would have, if not for Dainan. He launched himself atop a kobold, impaling himself on its spear as it loomed over Myron, bearing it to the ground beneath his weight. His sacrifice bought us the time for Vyuna to save Myron’s life and stop him from bleeding out, and together with Borin, we managed to slay the kobold menacing him.
Kristian chased their leader down, some sort of shaman, taking bolts of magic to the face all the way. I caught back up to them just as Kris cornered the little bastard, and we managed to render him unconscious before he escaped. The entire time, he had been shrieking at me, “Demon monkey!” … what an idiot. Has this fool never seen a demon? Or a monkey, even? Githyanki don’t resemble demon monkeys, that’s just stupid. I mean… what would a demon monkey even be? I know Githyanki don’t look like humans, but… that’s just… ridiculous. I’m not a demon monkey. Stupid kobold.
We tried to question the beast, but it kept trying to get the others to kill me. He did tell us, vaguely, where his master’s lair was, and once we had gotten as much from him as we could, Vyuna snapped his neck. I repeat. VYUNA, snapped his neck like one would break a twig, for kindling to be used in a campfire. I was taken aback, but intrigued. I had not expected this gentle, foolhardy girl to realize what needed to be done, much less to handle it herself. I confess… I was impressed.
We also found a door that led to the Mines of Some-Dwarvish-Word, where Siga and Borin informed us they had no means of opening. Siga wants vengeance against the dragon for the deaths of Rainy and Dainan. I respect that. It is good that they found their taste for battle, at long last. Perhaps if they had found it sooner, some of their kin would live yet, but there is no purpose in saying that to them now. They have lost enough. Were it just me, I would lead them to the dragon and allow them to die in the manner they desired; hurting a being far more powerful than themselves, and making it pay for what it has done to them. They couldn’t bring it down, of course, but they could make a stand. Sometimes that is enough.
I will not lead them there now, though. Not with Silas still unconscious, and Myron nearly dying to the kobolds. I would not risk the sword Kristian bears falling into the hands of the kobolds, nor would I allow it to be added to the hoard of a dragon, to sit uselessly until it is lost to dust, and buried amongst other, lesser treasures. And I would not allow Vyuna to die for the sake of these dwarves’ need for vengeance.
It is nearly time. I should wake the others. Today we may die in these caverns, but if that is to be the case, we will pave our way to the afterlife beneath the broken bodies of kobolds. I’ll such them a real Demon Monkey. Idiots.