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Mortality

Fall into Winter, 25NA

A celebration in Ringing Hammer Hold goes well until the Heralds are called home.  Tragedy has struck: Queen Nancy has died while giving birth to her daughter, burned alive.

Grayson falls into deep mourning over the loss of their beloved queen.  Seven Days of mourning are declared by his Majesty. Lamplighter arrives to share in the grief over the loss of his former love. Lamplighters and Quill vanish shortly after the end of the seven days.

His daughter, now named Nancy Elaine Courdry, is a strange child with a lean almost whithered appearance and patches of dragon scale. Princess Nancy Elaine is named the heir to King Bruce's throne.

King Bruce call his army together to drive Dialb from the Greywinder Wood, returning in mid December victoriously. 

Just before the King's return, Aideen and Ta'Losh discover one the strange Githyanki servants of the Illithid standing over the crib of the infant princess and drive the creature off, though not before he gives his sword to Ta'Losh and leave the severed head of an Illithid… 

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Mother,

I’m sorry for who I’ve been.

You did nothing but love me and worry about me. I couldn’t see that. Some of it wasn’t my fault, but too much was.

The truth is, I was scared. I was scared of what I was. I was scared of the things I could do. While you were obviously frustrated, you never stopped doing what was best for me.

You did your best to help me, but you weren’t equipped for that. It wasn’t fair.

It’s still not fair. Destiny sucks. No one asked me if I wanted to help save the world.

I’m still scared, and I just want to hug my Mommy.

I love you, and I will always love you.

Your son,
Declan

Mortality
 

I had brought a stool from my workshop into my tiny domain – the temple-in-progress to the Raven Queen. I was perched on it, as I had been for much of the last several days, staring into a reservoir of blood.

In my hands, a carving. I wasn’t even looking at it, really, just whittling automatically. I knew what it was to be, another small bird, of the size to nest comfortably in a hand. I had made many of them in recent weeks, a way to relax as the temple came together around me, as I let my instincts guide its creation. Now, it was just to give my hands something productive to do while I let my mind wander.

Six days.

It had been six days since Quill had called us back from Ringing Hammer Hold.

She was gone.

My Mother, my teacher, my greatest ally, gone.

Spent as coin for my sister’s life.

Fate pivoted on her, it was emphasized, as if the Prophecy had failed to make that clear.

Quill had tried, though, had plead with Her to spare Nancy. And now, he sat nearby, not quite hovering, but close enough that if I needed him he would be there. And I had needed him, the last six days. He proved to be a shoulder to cry on, a friend to ask advice of. He had agreed to stay as long as he could, but he had other demands on his time. His eyes had flickered to Lamplighter when he said that he “had to witness something, had to make sure it was recorded.” He had refused to say more on the matter, though.

Six days.

Six days since Lamplighter had flung himself to the street in front of Nancy’s home, his claws digging furrows before he changed into the form of a man. His roars of anguish had called Ta’Losh and I away from her side, shortly after we ourselves discovered what had happened.

We had wept together, the three of us, our grief only matched by Bruce’s.

Six days. It had only been six days.

Six dawns had passed since I first took my baby sister into my arms. She was healthy, but strangely proportioned. The lineage of Typhon was unmistakable, with her fangs, and tail, and red scales. Whatever experiment the ilithid had conducted, this was the result.

Six days.

Tomorrow, the seventh, we would bury her. I had taken charge of the ceremony. Ta’Losh had questioned it, once, if I was sure I wanted to, but after I emphatically stated that it needed to be me, he supported my wishes. I hadn’t tolerated the question from anyone else, and no one had pushed the issue. It was going to be a long day, our allies had arrived with their own dignitaries and priests, and the list of people who would speak had grown each day. It was no less than she deserved though, and at the end of it, I would know that she had been laid to rest with dignity.

With a small sigh, I set down a completed bird, and reached automatically for another raw block. I looked at the knife in my hand, at the mark carved into the handle, and a tear fell onto the steel.

I wiped it on my robes before starting again, staring into blood, rehearsing the speech honoring the blade’s owner.

Mortality
PatW

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