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Library: Chronicles of Murdoch pt.1

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Author: murdoch
Date:Mar 30 2017

Chronicles of Murdoch        pt.1 

Dark flying swarm of bats, skeleton of a shield maiden, portal of fire. All
elements in a True Story I'm about to tell you. This story is a dark one. 

It all started on a beautiful day, long ago, when I was still strong and
nimble. I was taking this sweet young dryad woman to a picnic of feast and
romance in the mountains. 

We were climbing up to the mountain to find a spot with a view, when some
rocks came loose and rolled into a small gap in the mountainside. A dark
flying swarm of bats burst out and surrounded us so totally, that we couldn't
see the sun anymore. My young dryad friend freaked out and lost her balance in
a moment of panic. She grabbed me by the sleeve on her way over the ledge and
down we went, tumbling down into the ravine. 

When I woke up I was on my back, aching and hurting, and my leg felt like it
was broken. The insides of my picnic basket scattered all over myself and on
the floor of what seemed to be a small cave. I looked around and spotted my
wineskin spilled on the floor and next to it was my young dryad friend with
her pretty little neck broken, her beautiful face looking back on her pretty
little butt. There I was with a broken leg and my afternoon date dead R.I.P,
in a dark cave on the bottom of unclimbable gorge. 

I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried a bit, about the fate of my date and
wept a little, because of my broken leg. But soon I realized, no one was
coming to help me, none knew exactly where we were going in the mountains. 

As the day went by, I jolted off the initial shock of the fall and mustered
enough energy to gather what was left of my picnic; some berries, half a wheel
of cheese, couple of salami sandwiches and drop of wine in my wineskin. There
was also a small dribble of fresh water running down on one of the cave walls.
At dusk the air was getting chilly, it looked like it was to going be a
freezing night. So I also relieved my dead dryad companion off her jacket;
"Sorry honey, dead dryads don't need overcoats and this is about survival." 

Then I took a look around the cave, to seek better shelter, only to find out
it's not a cave but a primitive shrine or temple, carved straight out of the
stone surrounding me. Then I dragged myself deeper into the shrine and found
crude carvings and reliefs, that looked to be the religious kind. All carved
out of the same stone as the walls and rest of the shrine. And as I was
falling in sleep that night I wondered how the builders of the shrine got
there, as the was no path or stairs or anything leading to the entrance. 

Next morning I gathered my remaining supplies and with great effort, dragged
the poor dead dryad deeper in from the entrance, out from the elements and
then I felt exhausted by the strain of it. Moving around had made my leg feel
really bad, it really HURT now. When I examined my leg, I realized there was
bone sticking out from my calf, it was worse than I had thought. I took my
leather belt and bite down on it as I snapped the bone back in. The pain,
horrible pain, and all went dark, I lost consciousness on my picnic blanket,
under the dead dryads overcoat.  

When I woke up the next time, the sunlight hurts my eyes and I was shivering
from the cold, shivering from the fever. Every part of my body hurt,
especially my broken leg. Despite of the pain I decided to explore rest of the
shrine. At first all I found was more carvings and reliefs and grey stone. And
in the last deep corner, where daylight barely reached, there was an alcove
with an black altar made of some smooth dark stone, maybe obsidian or such.
Next to the altar there was an skeleton of a dwarven shieldmaiden, collapsed
on a wooden chair. When I examined the skeleton I found its possessions rot
and useless, except for an oak shield, a red gem clutched in its right hand
and  a serpentine dagger sticking out of the skeletons ribcage, clearly she
was killed with it. After that discovery, I placed my blanket next to the
altar and used rest of the daylight  to make a crude splint out of rags, belt
pieces and shield splinters for my maimed leg.  Later that evening, after I
ate some of my remaining supplies, I fell asleep next to the alter, clutching
the red gem. Distant whispers and chants filled my dreams that night. 

Days passed and my supplies ran out, the nights grew colder and my fever
climbed higher. I went almost delirious from fever and hunger. The gem
whispered to me every night now, sometimes when I was awake too, when I
touched the altar with the gem in my hand. It eased the pain of my leg that
never stops. I looked like the rot was setting in as the veins in my calf
started to turn black, the wound where bone penetrated my skin was festering
and smelled foul. The pain was horrible but the whispering helped to ignore
it. Couldn't really make out the words, but it helped. 

Then one night I woke up in horrible hunger and cold. The gem was burning
bright red in my hand and whispers in my head formed words. The gems light
shined through my fingers and covered everything in eerie red glow. The altar
next to me absorbed that light and whispers in my head grew to demanding
voices; "Power, flesh!" And then chanting "Power, flesh, sacrifice!" Two
voices rose above the others, resonating from the altar and from the gem in my
hand; "You will starve to death before sunrise, puny mortal! Take the knife,
do what must be done and live!" And a terrible determination took over me and
made me pick up the foul dagger from the floor. I crawled to my dead lovers
corpse and cut off her right leg. Then I used last of the shield splinters to
make a fire to cook on. Tears ran down on my face as I ate. After feeding I
fell to a satiated, satisfied sleep next to the altar, laying on the floor in
fetal position, the gem glowing dim in the night. When the sun rose up that
morning I felt better, fever and pain was gone and my leg kinda seemed better.
For a moment I hoped it was because fever broke during the night but one quick
look at the maimed dryad corpse told me that it wasn't the reason, it was no
hallucination. I felt energized and fed for the first time since, gods know,
how many days. I used rest of the daylight gathering water to my wineskin, as
I was mighty thirsty. 

The following night I woke up again in horrible hunger, gem burning bright red
in my hand and voices chanting "Power, flesh, sacrifice!". As I reached to
touch the altar two voices boomed in the room, almost singing; "Hahaa! You
made it, mortal! Now take the knife and cut off her other leg. Eat and
prosper!" And again I pick up that grim knife, crawl to my dead lover and
release her corpse from one of its lower limbs. This time I ate it raw, since
I had no more wood to build a fire. As I was eating the gem started to pulse
brighter and carvings and reliefs started to glow and move on the walls,
forming ancient, forgotten runes. Again I fell in slumber after my nocturnal,
carnal meal. Next to the altar, laying on the floor like unborn. The gem, now
pulsating, in my hand and newly formed runes on the walls. Next morning I woke
up rejuvenated but thirsty, oh gods old and new, so thirsty. Only place to
gather water from was that pesky trickle flowing down the wall. Luckily I had
my loyal wineskin, that I rigged midair on the wall with that dark dirk,
jamming it in to a crack on the stone. Now passively gathering me water,
slowly but steadily.  

Now that my leg was almost healed, I used most of the daylight to find a way
out from the cave shrine and up the gorge, but now there was snow and freezing
cold winds outside. It would have been hopeless with my leg injury, life
threatening with mountaineering equipment and gear for cold weather and other
supplies, that I didn't have. Dark thoughts and desperation took over my mind
and I headed back in and to the altar room, only to realize that I was pulled
there by the gem. I had been walking around with it all day, doing stuff. Even
at that moment of clarity  I felt hesitant to put it down. Hell, I've been
sleeping with it and the altar, it had to be bad and it had to stop. The dusk
had arrived and the sun was going down. I felt a cold chill in my back and my
leg ache like an old wound. By now it was clear that the gem didn't want me to
leave, it was draining me for power, after it first saved my life. The
whispers in my head demanded me to hold on to the gem, but I placed it on the
altar and wait for showtime, I waited for midnight. 

And there as the night grew dark, I sat down and meditated, pondered my
destiny. I mesmerized my soul as sights and visions, prophecies and horror,
they all came in one... At strike of midnight the full moon appeared from
behind the clouds. Giving its gloomy light to the shrine and the altar within,
through a small but precisely placed window in the crudely shaped arch
ceiling. As soon as a moonbeam hit the altar surface all hell broke loose.
Runes and reliefs started to glow and move from one wall to another, joining
and merging behind the altar. The gem flashed red and silver, faster and
faster, and the cold light of the moonbeam refracted from it to the wall
behind, forming a flickering portal shape in the middle of the glowing runes.
The altar itself seemed to be vibrating steadily.  

Choir of voices now filled the air, humming and chanting; "Sacrifice,
sacrifice!" Two voices, now resonating as one, boomed from the altar and the
gem on top of it; "Muahahahaa! We know what you desire! You desire freedom
from this place, we can grant you that and much more. More power than we have
already given you, mortal. Bring  us a heart, any heart, good or evil or
anything in between. Sacrifice it on this altar with that dagger and dip the
gem in the blood. We will grant you everything, the power, the immortality!
But we demand sacrifice, give us the girls heart!" So I grabbed the serpentine
dagger and my wineskin off the wall. And I was thinking; "Survival, man,
survival!" as I carved out the heart from the poor mutilated dryad's corpse
and placed it on the altar, right next to the gem. Few drops of sticky heart
blood stained the altar and the vibrations intensified, making the blood drops
move on the surface towards the gem. As the blood traveled from the heart to
the gem, the altar started to vibrate even more violently and the gem started
spinning, making the flickering portal light up bright red and gain mass. The
voices boomed; "Impale it! Sacrifice!" As I took a step towards the portal I
pretended to aim at the heart on the altar. Then I swung the blade, hard as I
could, at the gem. But that damn blade wriggled in my hand and I hit the heart
instead. More blood came out and into the heart it went. At the same time the
portal light up and bursted in blue and silvery flames that made shadows dance
all around the shrine and the mountainside. The voices boomed in pure bliss;
"The blood of the innocent! Finally, after so - long - TIME!" 

I hardened my grip on the devious blade and brought my second hand in to the
play, and this time I swung even harder. Second time was a charm and I hit my
mark. The effect of the blow was devastating, the blade shocked my hands numb
and shattered to millions of pieces. The gem cracked with a loud bang and
black ooze started to flow from it. The voices boomed with a vibrant sound,
this time in agony; "Mortaaaaaaaal!" As the portal of fire started to flicker
and spit sparks, I moved like lightning and strided the last few steps,
thinking; "It's the portal or death here! And I'd rather die there, elsewhere,
or not die at all!" And as I took a last quick glance at the room, the altar
broke in half with a high-pitched crack and the whole mountainside shook and
grumbled, the shrine floor fractured and tilted. Luckily I was already
jumping, I'm already in the air. As I was hovering midair between life and
certain death, I noticed that both of the corpses in the shrine were missing
legs and a heart and both were crawling clumsily towards the portal, reaching
at me desperately. But I was gone, I was through the portal with nothing more
than a dead girls coat and my trusty wineskin and some new scars on me. 

I bursted out of the portal on some rock formation in the middle of the
desert, my coat tail was on fire and there was scorpions everywhere around me.
As I tumbled down the rocks, miraculously evading all those stingers, I
wandered of to the desert at night. I tried to read the stars, to navigate way
home and failed miserably. All the stars were wrong and the constellations
twisted. I wandered days on the desert, lost and dehydrated. Only my wineskin
full of water and a touch of lady luck saved me from death that time. A
passing caravan of merchants and wandering bards spotted me by sheer chance. I
was passed out and collapsed on the sand, in a burned out ladies coat, a
wineskin over my starved face and frost bites on my toes and fingers.  

The wise masterbard travelling with the caravan, revived my sorry ass, very
slowly, over the next few weeks. And he told me that they found me "Two days
ride away from the Bazaars of the Great Oasis", that was on the other side of
the world from where I started out. No wonder I couldn't stargaze my way home!
 

I travelled many months with the caravan and accompanied the travelling bards
and the wise masterbard for even longer. Made many friends, lovers and
brothers in arms. Learned many skills, spells and songs. Sadly I had to part
ways with them eventually and ended up here, in Shadowkeep, telling you my
story... But perhaps that is a tale for another time, or at least tale for
another carafe of fine wine. 

The End.


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