The sun rose from the jungle’s steamy canopy, and the first rays fell on this note, written in Ja’Deir’s hand, addressed to CrIsis. The scribe himself read aloud to those that were awake -mainly the flora and fauna.
My bestest friends, CrIsiS!
My heart has been made heavy among you! I do not wish to leave you, or force change, but there is something I must say! We have fallen, O Scions of Light! We have been brought into the depths of despair, and have let the Beast, the Enemy of Isis’ love, into our hearts!
I swelled with joy and excitement when we reached this accursed island. ‘One step closer to victory!’ I thought. We came across the wreck, and my concern was distracted. I did not care for the fallen, only for the Piece of Osiris, and the wealth of the Dragon. My avarice blinded me. We sailed into the bay, and beached in a lifeboat; all the while my eyes never left the forest, imagining its wealth.
The anticipation clouded my judgement, and I barely blinked when the six chosen vessels of the Gods nearly destroyed a franticly fleeing pod of hippos! I was able to avert disaster in the nick of time by calming their fears, and telling them to run around us. The weight on my heart grew, but I did not notice, so great was my drive for bounteous booty. I think now of the future. If we are ready to accuse Hippos – innocent, sub-sentient, simple, albeit aggressive hippos – of being instruments of the Agent and Taut, what shall we think a week from now, or a month? A year? The scenario might play like this;
Overkill heroickly stands behind the helm, leading the flagship of Isis’ Navy into the stormy tides of the unknown. At midday all of CrIsis stands at the ready. Twelve eyes scan vigilantly the calm, tranquil, blue horizon. ‘AAack!’ the cry is heard from midship. ‘Darkfriends aboard! CrIsis to the battle!’ Lightning cracks the skies, hurricane winds blow across the bow, swords ring. ‘A MOSQUITO ATTACKED MY NECK! STAY ALERT, THERE WILL BE MORE! THE DARK’S INSECT MINIONS HAVE ARRIVED! DESTROY THEM ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’
After the ‘animal attack,’ we were set upon by an invisible foe, most likely a construct of the mind of the squirrel race on the island, and it merely irritated me. While saving the lives of the senior members of Crisis, all any of us could think of was, ‘My, how annoying! Why couldn’t this have happened after we got the piece??’ Our annoyance and impatience only grew after being set upon the second time seemingly by the same foe. We, the champions of Patience and Virtue, showed our mortality and embraced the Dark’s victory.
Three days we journeyed in the jungle. Three days, and nothing passed our lips or minds aside from the Ancient Wooly Dragon. We reached his clearing, and launched into the assault. I readied my psionic disabling blow, and the Warlock took matters into his own hands. Dragon restrained, and him flying free, he liberated the foot from the lair, and returned to the boat. Mission accomplished, and all that was left was to disembark! Except none of us at the dragon’s feet knew about it! The Dragon employed his minion, a Hytril named Abu, and prevented our escape.
We negotiated our freedom, saying, ‘We are here to help all good peoples and creatures! We need one simple item that your master has. Forgive us for being so blinded by fear, but we started to attack the dragon out of assumption that he would kill us unless we defended ourselves. Could you please help us with our quest to save all good peoples and creatures, by bringing us this item, or let us get it? If we fail in our quest, given to us by friends of the Dragon God Kym-Nark-Mar, all will die to the gods of death and destruction! The short one has spoken with the Dragon God Kym-Nark-Mar, and we are good friends with him. If you help us, not only will we leave your home in peace, but we will leave a small offering of shinies, and I will heal the dragon, if you want. We would need safe passage off your island, though.’
Even now I shudder to think of the lies I unfolded. We attacked out of avarice, not out of fear. What have I become at the hands of the world? Is the world so depraved that merely traveling through it has tainted me? I feign to think it true, if just to avoid what it would say of the group.
The selfish little Hytril led us to the Dragon’s Lair, confident that we would follow through on our half of the deal. When they saw our duplicity, they did what their natures required – exact vengeance. As if it were the plan all along to goad them into a fight, CrIsis roared gleefully a battlecry. Bloodlust filled me, and in the haze I slew my good friend and companion, Overkill. It stopped me not, and I brought the dragon to its knees psionically. Victory was ours, but the attack didn’t stop.
The Priest saved us all from any problems by invoking sanctuary upon the name of She of Many Names. Immediately my soul lifted, and I wanted to sing. In fact, I started to sing the Lady’s praises in the lyric of Mantra and Mudra. In the middle of a sonorous chorus, a squelching crack sounded through the jungle.
The Dragon, defenseless, immobil, innocent of any crime, earned the vengeful wrath of the Holy Priest. His two mauls beat into its skull again, and again, and again. He swung out of disgusting hatred. Hatred for the Dragon, for the Hytril, for anything not flying the banners of the Pantheon of Ra. I emptied my stomach for the sight of it.
It was then that Jarel Diya, Mind Mage acolyte of Apis, member of CrIsis, awoke from the dream. In horror I listened to the plottings of the Warrior Wizard and the Priest. They planned to raze the island to the ground, to destroy a neutral Hytral, and a mother and child. Thousands of innocent deaths, needlessly doled destruction.
So I ask, CrIsis, What have we come to? What has made us fall so far, avatars of justice?