Dragon’s Lair

The pile of treasure in the cave of the slain dragon Aerunda, The Red Dragon.

Helga can be a fickle God at times, but never more than when I am a fickle Linnfard. I have felt her indifference to my calls before, but never before have I been left cold and alone. I know that the calling of the Paladin is my call. That the right in the world must always battle to free the shackled world of its ignorance, greed and wrongness. The toughest battles are always the ones fought within ourselves. And I know this to be my struggle. It is not that I am vain, or egoistic and have the need for validation but rather that I am proud, proud of my destiny. But when does pride overstep its boundaries? I know that I have been too proud of my association with Abby, Edmund, Jon and Amy. I am proud that I fight on the battlefield with them and that they see me, though young, inexperienced, and at times obnoxious, as an equal. Not as a peer, but rather cut from the same cloth – destined for the same greatness. Is this pride I feel or self-assuredness? I see the way they look at me sometimes, the mixed expression of amazement, awe and disapproving surprise. A look that says both “what is he doing?” and “what is he doing!” I know what I have inside and I feel completely assured that I will fulfill Helga’s plans for me. It is a struggle to be modest for me but I now know that this is a struggle that I must triumph over, as Helga has now shown that the wanderings of a young fickle paladin are most certainly reflected in the heavens, and that to be true to the light requires constant unwavering righteousness. On both deep personal levels and outwardly into the world. I will stay my pride as I would stay my sword.

Though none more important than the one I have learned from Helga, this 16th day of November has been a day of lessons. In many of my classes at The Elium I learned a great many things, but I could always – and did always – ask questions. There is no time for questions here. This is learning how the world works outside of the revered walls of The Elium.

Edmund is a great study in how to motivate people, I have noticed that he has no shame in offering encouragement to people in the form of monetary compensation. He has openly bribed the architect, Toussaint Archambeault, and a number of city guards. I suppose this is really the best way to have people do exactly as they are asked to – though I am uncomfortable with this method. Doing right is compensation in itself and nothing more should be required to bring forth this action. This is not how the whole world sees things though. And so I have noted that bribery, though distasteful, is effective.

Edmund has also displayed a great affinity for books, as he seems to have (or I guess Willard has) a book on every subject. After Edmund had used another fantastic spell to disintegrate the remaining parts of the dragon (after moving the dead and heart into the cellar of Willard’s), he brought down a book to learn more about Abby’s sword. Swords & Sorcery doesn’t mention Abby’s sword specifically (though maybe the next edition will, if word gets out) but does help Edmund to decipher the script on Abby’s sword. It reads:

The Vorpal Blade Went Snicker-Snack! He Left It Dead And With It’s Head, He Went Galumphing Back!

Though pretty much meaningless, not to mention confusing, to me, both Abby and Edmund wear expressions of acceptance. Not that they seem to understand, but rather that the script is appropriate, that it is fitting.

The book on dragons resurfaced as well, and from it we did not learn anything specifically about Aerunda, but much about dragons in general. I never knew that there were two kinds of dragons – metallic and chromatic. I read of a famous red dragon named Asrogax the Terrible, but it doesn’t seem that this could be the same dragon, though both Asrogax and Aerunda do seem to be relics of ancient eras.

With all we’ve learned, the decision has been made to teleport back to where we first encountered Aerunda tomorrow and search for her den. A dragon’s den is often full of jewels, gold and a great many trinkets of very high value. Judging by the gems stuck in Aerunda’s scales, her den is likely full of treasure. Tomorrow seems like it will be exciting.

The Next Day

The pyramids are the same but the feeling is different. Taking a minute to actually appreciate the view from on top of the pyramids without the nagging of a dragon-pest, I found myself contemplative. I could understand why my parents would choose to come here, to start a new life here. Unbeknownst to them, there were perils in these woods beyond imagination, but on the surface of everything this was a tremendous land. Not to be taken off-task, the trio of John, Ed and Abby began to descend the pyramid and track Aerunda’s steps, hoping they will lead to a cave or dwelling of some kind. Abby spots my bastard sword and I retrieve it. I should like to return this sword and acquire one of my own, so I do not feel as terrible about losing it as I have. After some time, we all came to what was frankly a gash in the pyramid’s side. Following in along a pathway bordered by strange fungal growth I am cautious in my steps, as the others are. We came through a drab opening into a cavernous room glittering with jewels and gold. After the requisite searching for evil and magical entrapments, we all began to look for items of interest. I put these things in my bag and brought them back:

    • black velvet mask encrusted with citrines
    • jeweled crown
    • velvet mantle
    • a finely made (if I do say so) bastard sword
    • an accompanying (though not matching) scabbard
    • 10 rubies
    • 10 diamonds
    • mirror

The mirror that I have found is a very curious object. I have noticed that when I look into it the answers to any question in my mind becomes clear. I will need to talk to Mother Jana about this item as soon as I am back at the Elium. I should ask Edmund about it as well, as he does often have good answers. Or he will certainly have a book with good answers.

Everybody collected a number of exciting and interesting items that we brought back to Willard’s. I should very much like to go to the Elium soon as I feel that Mother Jana can help me to understand all that I have been feeling. Though I very much like these new things we have found in the dragon’s den I cannot escape the feeling that they are not mine. Though the dragon was evil and has been slayed, these artifacts all belonged to someone before. I do not know whether they are rightfully ours, or anyone’s for that matter. For the time being, I will consider the items I have collected to be on loan to Linnfard.