I woke today feeling a stabbing pain in my chest – mostly because I was being stabbed in the chest. Under the cover of the trees (such as it was) I was finally able to get some decent sleep but now a tiny figure with luminescent wings and ridiculously long ears stood on my chest poking with a wee little trident about the size of a shrimp fork. Shimmering iridescent light emitted from the diminutive being in a manner both pleasing and distracting.
“Why are you jabbing me little one?”
Its miniscule face screwed up in tiny rage “Every day more lies! Your heart lays bare to me and I see your duplicity!”
It made to jab me again so I swatted at it like a mighty bear but it flitted away quick as you like – landing softly a foot away and holding its trident out menacingly, I mean it would have been menacing if I was like a field mouse or something.
“What’s your problem pixie?”
“Whatever, why are you hassling me? I didn’t do anything.”
“Invaded my home you did! This is a place of great power, yes it is. Magic flows here like the waters of a mighty river, and I accept these mysteries as gifts to be cherished! I do not seek to peel the layers away like the skin of an onion!”
“Okay then. I’ll just be on my way then, I won’t bother your onion.”
“Lies! Lies and innuendo! I see your soul and it is black with the darkness of a thousand million mendacities!”
“Boy you’re really hung up on this lying thing. I thought you fey folk were mischievous tricksters, I didn’t know honestly was a big virtue in the faerie realms.”
“Well sure, but our tricks are more along the lines of stealing someone’s baby and then leaving one of our babies in its place so the parents raise it and then flip out because their kid is a recap or a hobgoblin or whatever. Or something like cursing someone’s nose grow real long, you know making them an outcast and a freak – stuff like that. But lying, that makes the Gods cry.”
“So I’ve been told. Hey, I found a scary goat-mask and a whip here, do you know what that’s about?”
With a startled gasp the little fey being’s light was snuffed out instantly and then it quickly became invisible – I could hear its miniature wings as it frantically flew away. I suppose that means nothing good but I had pretty much already assumed that. People don’t put on masks and carry whips to hand out bread and wine to the poor. Well, one guy did back at the capital but he had some mental issues. I should have tried to get the little bugger to lead me north. But then again maybe a flighty trickster spirit is not a good guide anyway.
I tried to be more careful today, stopping often to check my bearings, but I don’t know if it did any good at all. I wonder why I keep drifting to going east instead of north. Maybe there’s some kind of incline to the terrain? Maybe that’s just what people do naturally?
After a few hours of walking I crested a hill and came across a very startling sight – at a small brook a magnificent pegasus stallion stood watchfully while a half dozen equally stunning pegasus mares drank their fill. It was such an unexpectedly glorious spectacle that my breath caught in my chest for a moment. I’ve encountered a handful of the ultra-rich that managed to get themselves pegasus mounts and while they were quite impressive they paled in compassion to these majestic wild specimens. They seemed like freedom given form. As a bit of a hippophile just seeing something like that was quite a treat.
But I thought back to what Brigid had told me, which is the only actual information I have about pegasi – she claimed that although they couldn’t speak they could understand speech well enough and were as smart as people, which isn’t always saying much depending on the person but you’d have to assume a flying horse has a little more sense than some. Figuring this was my chance I approached them as slowly and nonthreateningly as I could – which was quite a bit. I’m very nonthreatening. If I do say so myself.
Even so the stallion let out a snort and all the mares flew behind him as he pawed at the ground – seeing them take flight for even a brief moment made my heart leap into my throat. I talked to the stallion in a clear clam voice explaining that I was lost and needed some help. I could tell right away that it understood everything I was saying. It was a little jarring if I’m being honest. I’ve encountered some very smart horses that almost seemed like they could understand human speech, but actually encountering a beast that could understand every word I said was wild.
He was initially very wary of me, which I suppose I can’t blame him for, probably their only interactions with people are when they’re trying to steal their eggs or capture them. But eventually I was able to convince him to give me a lift – there’s some kind of commentary to be made that a flying horse is more willing to take pity on a lost traveler than most people are. But I’ll leave that for the philosophers. Once he agreed I realized for the first time what was actually about to happen – I was going to fly!
Years ago at a party the Duke had some potions of flying brought in, but in all honestly I was so drunk I barely remember it at all – other than seeing Baron Underhill’s cousin spinning around in mid-air like a top vomiting in all directions. It was like the ribbon of a rhythmic dancer – only vomit. Hopefully this will be a little more remarkable.
I approached the pegasus with more than a little anxiety – I hadn’t ridden bareback in years and I was never all that good at it. Not to mention we were going to be flying! Mounting a horse without stirrups isn’t easy either, but he kind of genuflected to make it easier – which sent another little shiver through my body. It almost didn’t seem real.
Once I was settled, which was quite strange what with the wings and all, I was about to ask if I could grip his mane since there was no bridle nor saddlehorn but the words died in my mouth as he leapt into the sky and with a few flaps of his wing it seemed like we shot into the sky like a catapult stone – at that point it didn’t matter, I was clinging to that mane like a shipwrecked sailor to a barrel of rum. I couldn’t have loosened my grip if I wanted to. I was worried I was going to rip the hair off the back of his neck but there wasn’t anything I could do.
The sensation is not something I can compare to anything else. Being free of the earth and soaring high above? It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve experienced a thing or two. For the first time in a long time I felt nothing other than joy. It’s almost enough to make you feel glad to be alive. Almost. It was frightening and satisfying in equal measure, one of the most intense things I’ve ever felt. I shed a couple tears, not only at the amazing experience itself, but also at the thought of these creatures being made to serve as mounts for people against their will. There can be no greater loss of freedom than that. I’m not sure I can bear to see it after this feeling.
I flew with the herd for only an hour or two, but I covered far more ground than I had walking so far. They banked to the ground and I could tell that my time with them was over. I was hoping they would carry me all the way to Malgareth or to the river but I suppose that was too much to ask. It’s a miracle that I got to have this exhilarating experience at all. I gingerly dismounted, it felt strange to be on the ground again even after that short flight. I thanked the stallion and all his ladies profusely, I may have cried a little again, and they winged off – disappearing into the wild blue in a matter of minutes.
It took me a good long while to regain my composure. And when I did I noticed that the land around me was hardscrabble and scrubby rather than the rich grasslands south of the river. I realized that this meant I was probably near the Scar. Which is to the east! Those Gods damned flying horses took me east! I mean sure, they’re horses so maybe they don’t know where Malgareth is but they have to know where the river is! I was so angry I literally kicked at the ground until my foot was sore.
You can’t trust anyone in this world.
Funds: 9,863 gold
Inventory: Ring of Many Garments, Bag of Tricks (rust), Cap of Disguise, Secure Pocket, Resplendent Diplomat’s Palette, Secure Paypack, Skeleton Key, Brooch of Shielding, Pouch of Magic Stones, Masterful Grey Gloves, Black Marketers’ Bag, Biting Bracelet (Endless Ammunition), Boots of Escape, Bracers of the Glib Entertainer, Ring of Animal Friendship, +1 Falchion, +1 Greatclub, +2 Commanding Light Crossbow, Headband of Alluring Charisma +2, 4 potions of unknown wickedness, Manual of Quickness of Action, Bracer of Fire Resistance (10), Spear of Piercing Thunder
Signet ring, noble’s outfit, candlerod (9), masterwork dagger, succubi carving, Domiel family ring, walking stick, masterwork playing cards, spinel and peridot holy symbol of Kralten, diamonds (14), silver crown, waterskins (10), trail rations (10)
Potion of Invisibility (3), Potion of Spider Climb, Potion of Eagle’s Splendor, Potion of Jump, Potion of Reduce Person
Silver ring, gold bracelet, gold and pearl pendant, gold ring, platinum necklace (2), mithril hair clasps (3), 4 small diamonds
Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane,
Piltis Swine, Rince
Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle
the butler , Alice Kinsey , “ Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire
Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror,
Eedraxis, Skin-Taker tribe,
Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni
Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander,
Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother
Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee, Helgan
van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot
Rumors : Exiled noblewoman (Reoccurring), vigilante “Litheria”(Reoccurring), murderous Halfling (Reoccurring)
Graltontown Buildings – Mill
Behind the curtain – I decided to use the Earn XP downtown action to see if that would get anything going and I got 7 pegasi, so then of course I also got an encounter as well with a sprite. Pegasi can detect good and evil and their stating attitude is based off that – I’ve often debated with myself if Ela if evil or if I could claim she’s neutral. I suppose she’s probably evil but I’ve never really made a decision. Anyway, I had the pegasi start off with a hostile attitude regardless but she made her Diplomacy check by enough to bring them up to indifferent and then she also made the check to request a favor. For the record they were taking her towards a river just not the one she meant – I’ll be adding another map soon.