I awoke to find myself being bodily carried along the road by Terato. My first thought was to wonder why they were bothing dragging me along with them anyway, I mean I get hurt in fights, distracting them from their enemies, I get afflicted by nightmares sent to us by creatures of evil, I slow them on the road, eat their food, get in the way, and generally impeed their work. I'm a coward, and I know it, it's all I can do to avoid being paralysed by fear. I decided they'd be better off without them, so when Terato put me down, I left.
It wasn't much of a plan, five seconds later I was struggling against Vincent as he held me back, but my heart just wasn't in it. It was then that they told me they needed me, and I knew this time it wasn't to make me feel better. You see, Ayeena has virtue, Vincent - conviction, Terato - cunning, Argent - wits, and Marigold has courage, but for all their heroism, they still lack... something. Vincent and Ayeena convinced me, that the something is, well, me. Their strengths make them individual, unique in their own right. In their whole lives they've never needed anyone, or worked as a team, until we left for Highglum monastery. Their abilities or conviction or wits, while powerful in their own right, grow to be an unstoppable force when used together. They need me to keep them together, to provide direction and leadership. I suppose it's a bit like one of the boats in the stories. The rudder is a tiny insignificant looking part, but it can direct the power of the rest of the boat, and without it, nothing would be possible.
It'll still take me a while to get used to this, but now at least I know why they've not abandonned me, and now I have a reason to be here. Feeling a little better about myself, I put on a smile and blabbered some rather embarassing things, and we were on our way. I must keep strong for the others, and put on a brave face. Hopefully with the efreet gone, my dreams will become less tormented.
We travelled for most of the day, and in the evening came to the river. It flowed fast and wide, a deep opaque blue. We followed the path a little and came to a place where there was a path on both sides of the river, there should have been a bridge, but there wasn't. We quickly figured out where the bridge should have been, and then I noticed a message carved into a nearby tree. "Bane's problem, Selune's solution." Terato and Vincent started looking for a way to ford the river, it was fast and deep, so we'd probably need to string a rope across it in order to float the cart over without losing it. I started to strip off my armour while Terato tested the waters to see if there was anything interesting living in there.
Coming face to face with a creature that size is pretty terrifying, I'll tell you. Fortunately when I was little, daddy taught me to speak like a dragon as well as elf. Time to put my new leadership to the test I thought. We were in no position to fight it, so I figured the best thing to do was talk it into calming down, and then politely ask it if it'd mind giving us a lift over the river. I don't know, maybe my dragonspeak is a bit rusty, because the poor thing didn't seem to get the message, and when it got a little too threatening Argent stepped in and fired off a few warning shots. The dragon tensed to charge us, and I'm ashamed to say I got a teensy bit haughty. I told it off in my stern voice, the one I save for when someone's been very irresponsible, and the poor thing got so frightened that it turned tail and ran. I'm pretty sure the warlock firing bolts of silver fire at it contributed more than the small pointy girl looking stern, but it felt good to help out.
With the creature gone, we still had the Bane's dilemma to solve. It seemed we tried everything, so I'm not sure how Argent figured it out. I'm glad we have Argent along for these things, because otherwise we'd never figure anything out! Turns out that the bridge is only a bridge in the moonlight. When night came, the sight was beautiful, almost angelic. I tried to sketch it, but it didn't turn out too great.
The nigmares last night were... less bad. Maybe the fatigue of the last few days wiped me out, but with the Efreet gone I think they're easing off. Morning came and we set off bright and early to see what new adventures awaited. Terato and marigold set out to scout, and within a few hours, they'd made a new friend! The first thing that came to mind when I met Dorian was that he was awfully lanky, but he was friendly enough, and soon enough he was leading us off to Scardale keep, his home.
Lemme just throw some facts down, this place is amazing!
Scardale keep is a village which has been built in the husk of an old castle from before the cataclysm. There are maybe a hundred people here, I guess? It's hard to tell, everything is in the castle. About twenty people are on guard at any time, which seems an awful lot, but they're very concerned about monsters in the area. There is some sort of magical ward over the keep that makes the air sweet cool and comfortable, but Argent and Vincent seem to be uncomfortable here. They seem to have a problem with the local food, apparently everything in the area is poisonous, but they have a purification ritaul that makes "nearly anything" edible. Their workmanship is amazing, and probably on average as good as the best that we've seen in Hollow. Due to their ritual they have plenty of food, and are happy to trade with us for residium, which Argent and Vincent say they can make. Everyone is friendly here, and they seem geniunely happy to meet new people from nearby villages.
Well, that's all I've found out so far, I write this sitting on a window sill in the corner of the keep, on the fifth floor. The fifth floor! In about half an hour the dinner bell will go, and we'll meet with the elder Sandros and his head mage to discuss residium, food, trade and other matters. It's all so exciting!