Drauka arose early. Peri was bothered by other spirits in the room, from the night before, and in that morning. Seeing this, Drauka put some cheese out to catch a mouse, and tended to her talons. An unfortunate unwitting rodent made its way into the room, and nibbled on the wrong cheese. Luckily it didn’t have long to contemplate its mistake, as Peri chirped and hopped down from her perch, snatching it up.
Drauka went into the stables’ excercise circle outside the Inn and worked Peri out; throwing round pieces of meat into the air and whistling attack commands. For the first dozen, she attacked visciously, working out her frustrations, but she started to play by the end. Drauka whistled for her to perch when the stable boys’ frustration was impossible to ignore. Peri let loose a pleased cry, and hopped a couple of times before settling down on his shoulder. Drauka’s falconry-trained patience held off the hood, waiting for Peri to settle and bend forward, showing she was ready. Hood on, they made their way back to the room.
He heard his name called from the hallway, and by the sing-song lilt identified it as a ‘basted’ Elven song mage CrIsis member. It was time to meet with Bishop Nodeki. The adventurers met Rose’s advisors, and Drauka’s disgust for Zizean was barely contained. In his current predicament it wasn’t surprising for a hatred cultivated toward Jinn.
Drauka recieved a message from the Jinn he’d covenanted with the Alchemist to travel with. The message was simply: ‘North Bridge; Tonight; Midnight.’
The church bells tolled 11. Waiting a half hour, Drauka opened the door and made his way through the deserted streets. It was a somber walk down to the bridge, quiet streets, mist rising from the river’s mouth. Drauka watched, after touching his ‘See Invisible ring,’ a 12 foot tall Jinn, approaching from the distance. It approached, and tried to circle around behind him, thinking he couldn’t see him. Drauka kept a relaxed battle-ready stance, keeping his shoulders facing the Jinn.
‘Oh, you’re no fun.’ the Jinn chided, after realizing his prank was thwarted.
‘What is it you want of me?’
’It’s a simple request.’
‘Jinn never have simple requests.’
‘Of course,’ a mischevious smile stretched across the Jinn’s lips. ‘Bring me the Finger of Osiris. One simple request. Bring it to me, or I will follow you, and get the rest of the pieces, all before you can reach them.’
Color drained from Drauka’s face. ‘What if I leave CrIsis and go about my own business? As you’re bound to me?’
‘Oh, you are a sneaky one, aren’t you? I would follow you, of course, but I would bring your fellow Danzi before you, wherever you are, and make you watch as I murder them. Men, Women, Children, it doesn’t make a difference. Your days would be plagued by the screams and faces of those that exiled you, wrenched in terror and pain.’
Drauka went silent in thought. The Jinn, impatient for an answer, and just plain bored, glided silently toward a drunkard. Seconds after he sits down, the human keels over, dead. Nearly skipping, the Jinn stalked another human, tracing a long claw down his back. The cloth ripping and bloody cries of the man, grasping at his back, distracted Drauka’s pondering, but caught his attention. He watched, rage etched in his face, as the Jinn slunk to the side of a woman cradling her infant, briskly crossing the bridge.
He snatched up her baby, poised to do unimaginable things, and Drauka yelled into the sky. ’STOP, JINN! PUT – HIM – DOWN! Lend me an hour, Jinn, to ponder my options. I will meet you here in one hour, at 1:30’
Drauka slowly walked back to his room, and wrote a note at the writing desk. He carefully gathered all his weapons and possessions and neatly organized them on the bed. He rolled up the note and carefully slid the CrIsis ring onto it. On top of the desk, he placed the note, next to Lector’s Revenge and Peri’s shoulder perch.
Here is what the note said;
The CrIsis ring around this note is to assure you that I have indeed passed beyond the veil of the living. I am sorry that I ever put myself in this situation, and I am glad I could prevent any of you from harm. It all started when I put Karma and Overkill in danger by insisting we go to an alchemist. The price was much too high, and I should have known better, but in the end, it was me that made the decision.
I got myself into a deal with a Jinn. I will not tell you the name, or the manner of the dealings, as I am positive that avenging my death will not benefit anyone, except for Set and Anubis themselves.
I take my own life, as that is the only way Isis’ quest can be fulfilled, while thwarting the servants of the Dark.
I love you all, and count you among the most honorable warriors I have ever fought along-side. If I were still counted among my clan, I would make you honorary Danzi, and I would petition for each of you to receive a Kratos of power to match your inner strengths.
Though she might not admit it, High-Priestess Tennysun in Sweet Creek desires to be honored by CrIsis almost above all else. Her little temple is in a pivotal place, and would be one of the most influential and demonstrative of CrIsis’ attitudes toward the war, in my reckoning. Though the population is mainly human, it is in the Disputed Territories and there is no King or Council that can claim it. It sits in defiance of all, but in contest to none.
I leave my belongings with you, and I leave Peri in your custody. Please see that she gets to Havea, and please tell Lord Tinor, that old panzy, that I did not fall to a single foe. Not even he can have the honor of felling me; I am the one that won our wager, in the end.
Also, my fellow members of CrIsis, please remember the pact we made, no more than a week past.
As I finish this letter, a thought passes through my mind. I am paying the ultimate price to Horus, that old bag of bones. He can’t let up on his side of the bargain from now till the end of time, as I have given him everything and more. That’ll boil his broth.
Fare thee well, CrIsis. May the wind be at your back, and victory in your grasp.
Drauka left the room again, this time wearing only a loincloth and his two brand-new knives. He marched back down to the bridge with all the pride of a warrior going into battle. ‘Jinn! I have made a decision! Show yourself.’ The Jinn appeared, smirking his glee at the defeated Drauka. Or at least so he thought.
‘And what is that?’
‘My answer is unequivocally NO. I choose the choice you didn’t give me. I am freed from our agreement, and you did not enter into agreement with any of my compatriots through me.’ With that Drauka shoved one knife into his neck, and the other he sliced across his stomach. With his last breath, he gargled, ‘Raq’el, Guiza, my only regret is not saving you.’ His faerie blood ran through the cracks in the stones, and mixed with the rotten sludge running along the sewage trenches. The light faded from his eyes, and a wrathful falcon’s cry screeched into the crisp night air.
Steam rose from the crimson rivers, the last touch of Drauka the Danzi warrior on the world of the living.
‘Oh my, Raquel, are you ok,’ Sharic’s pen tracing the last stroke with a pensive hesitation. Finally, she looks up to see Raq’el’s metallic blue eyes watery with devastation. ‘No…’ gasps from her lips.
‘I’m afraid so. I saw his spirit for only a second, and it disappeared, as if ripped through a seamless tear. The last thing I heard before coming here was the voice, the cackling laugh, of Anubis. I… I…’ Raq’el’s sobs overpower her, and her arms wrap around her stomach.
‘Oh Raq’el. I… I’m sorry! Que deus vós cuide e abençõe!’ Quasi-silent prayers gush from the High-Priestesses lips. Raq’el’s misty visage wavers, and disappears, and the only thing left in the air is a stream of rote prayers flowing from a devout’s soul and a racking sob, fading into eternity.
Picture thanks to Camille Meyers.