Little Soldier Boy

We ate like kings, Iroh headed up to our room, and we chatted up one of the dwarves in the Pub, who was spouting what seemed to be nonsense. Elves stealing from the banks, the curse of room number 14, things like that.

After a meal, Lynn and I headed off for the Hot Springs. It was time for a soak. We parted ways in front of the change rooms, and I kicked off my clothes to go relax. Strange though, I was feeling rather nauseous. In any case, I found a secluded spot, and settled down.

I didn't have long to relax, however. My tattoos (which had, by this point, spread to such an extent that concealing them was hopeless,) began to glow a faint red. Attention shifted to me, and several laughing, burly, and wholly nude men stopped their conversation.

That was my cue to leave, but I was getting considerably lightheaded. I exited the pool, and my tattoos shook me violently. Like they were trying to peel free of my body. And then, strangely enough, one did. I keeled over from the pain, and the spectators looked on in shock as a small red fox came to life, and manifested itself from the ink on my back.

For a moment, I lay looking at the thing, which greeted me with an obnoxious pattern of speech, the likes of which I had never heard before, and then I promptly blacked out.

When I came to, I was about to be administered CPR by a particularly muscle bound man. I coughed, and he let up. The man's name was Armstrong, and he was captain of the city watch. He saw me begin to bicker with my manifested Tattoo - somehow I knew its name was Garrus - and immediately came to the conclusion that I was a wizard, and this was my familiar. That made far too much sense.

I told the man my name was Rincewind - no sense spreading news of my arrival around - and he greeted me heartily. Before we could make any sort of attempt at extended communication, however, we heard a blood chilling scream from the womens side of the hot spring. It was Lynn's voice. We were careless - we let our guard down. Anyone in the city could have taken us out right here and now, without our armor or gear. Or at least that's what was running through my mind as I ran headfirst into the women's side of the hot spring.


The last thing I remember seeing was Lynn stomping up to me, totally unharmed, and unleashing a hellish beating on me. Correction: I was the only one who had let their guard down. Lynn could probably fight off half the town guard with nothing but a towel.

Armstrong was the one who dragged me out of there, and I thanked him for it before trudging slowly back to the Inn. Garrus trotted along beside me, making comments about how hungry he was. He was apparently speaking directly to my consciousness - I was getting strange looks from passers by who saw me holding a one-sided conversation with a fox.

When I arrived back at the Inn, I found that Lynn had rented her own room. I opened the room that I was sharing with my uncle, and finally found out why he was being so distant. He was holding a locket with a portrait of his son. My cousin. Dead in the northern war. It was his birthday today.

Iroh began to sing slowly, a tune that I had heard before. I pulled out my violin, and joined him in song briefly. When we finished, I stood up and left the room. My uncle deserved some privacy.

Garrus, emitting loud obnoxious music that he seemed oblivious to, urged me to go apologize to Lynn. I asked Ellen which room she had rented. Room 14. That's the one the dwarf had said to be cursed. Probably nonsense, but that didn't sit too well in my gut.

I padded upstairs, and after some hesitation, knocked on Lynn's door. I'm not going to record what happened, because I really don't want to re-live that level of awkwardness, but long story short, I apologized, made an ass of myself, and Garrus is a dick.

I headed back to my room, and found that Iroh was missing. I settled into bed, but before I could even get comfortable, I heard a knocking. Lynn was at the door, pacing excitedly.

Apparently she had examined the key to Nirvana, and it had shown her a vivid vision of the last Samsaran city. She chattered all this to me in an jumbled mess. I couldn't really take it all in, but she said we would have to find maps of Aetheria, and information about the land's history. I promised her that we would find a library first thing in the morning, and headed back to bed. With any luck, Lynn would find some more clues as to who she is.

I awoke to an absence of obnoxiousness, and almost found myself missing it. Garrus had gone for a walk, and I reached out telepathically to speak with him. So it did work! He headed back to the Inn while I meditated and practiced Violin on the roof. Then we headed downstairs for breakfast. Still no sign of my uncle.

A package was thrust into Lynn's arms by Ellen, a mysterious, specifically addressed package with no return address. We would open it when we found a more secluded place.

After breakfast, we headed to the temple of Yolana; basically a giant library. We found a secluded spot to spend some time rooting through maps and scrolls, but first we would open the package.

It was our old friend the Jester's handiwork, and I can say I didn't miss it at all. A handwritten note with flowery writing accompanied the package, signed by the Jester. He said, in his venomous, deplorable, roundabout way, that he wasn't happy we had been tampering with his "toys." In return, he would tamper with one of ours.

Inside the package was Eli's hand. And a note, saying that our friend would be returned to us. Piece by piece. Lynn fell to her knees, and suppressed a scream of rage and anguish. I looked to Garrus, the color drained out of even the little fox's face.

I had let Eli die.

There was no question. He joined us because the fate of the country rested on my shoulders. And my negligence killed him.

Just because I couldn't muster up enough compassion to care about another human being.

—Matau Ing'um

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License