It was as I was told. Skara Brae in flames. I didn't want to believe it. If the Royal Guard couldn't protect Skara Brae, what hope do we have?
Fortunately, the invader dragons had left Skara Brae for the time being. Perhaps this means that the Royal Guard was victorious, and that the fire is just a consequence of the intense battling of that evening?
Trinsic is another matter. It is still being invaded, for there just aren't enough warriors to defend every city in Britannia! And with Blight's powerful magicks able to provide a constant stream of mayhem, I worry that Trinsic may remain infested as it did years ago, in the time of my grandfather, when Juo'nar was terrorizing Britannia.
Still, there's no reason to sit back and allow it to happen unchallenged, so the Coven of Schadenfreude once again tackled the dragonspawn. Ragno, Crondor and I did our best against the waves of wyrms, and we actually found a strategy that worked. We were greatly assisted by Razor of CLB, who had a mighty bow as Crondor did.
While we refused to give up ground to the wyrms, the damage to the buildings of Trinsic showed that their presence was still a problem.
Still, the damage seems more controlled than that in Skara Brae, so there might still be hope. One of the realm's powerful bards was on-hand (no, it wasn't me), and was able to cause some violent bickering amongst the invaders.
Spirits remained light, even through death -- some warriors took it in stride when they lost all their belongings to a dragon's horde, and just picked right back up to fight on, refusing offers to help retrieve their lost weaponry.
Eventually, the warriors grew tired, and the guild had to rest if they were to be effective. A short respite atop the bank in Trinsic led to a conversation to a newcomer, who had just come from Nu'jelm.
I had heard on the streets that Nu'jelm, too, had been hit the night before, not by wyrms, but by the undead! He went on to tell about a paragon harrower laying waste to everything and everyone. Now, I am not experienced enough to have ever witnessed a harrower, being a young adventurer. And my few experiences with paragons bring back painful memories.
However, I'm a bard, and danger alone cannot keep me from a good tale. And a second-hand one is never as good as first-hand, so I had to go. My one rune to Nu'jelm is atop the bank, which sounded like a safe place to be...
...and how I survived the 15 or so Elder Liches atop the bank is beyond me. I was in and out so fast, I didn't get time to take a picture. I went looking in Skara Brae for someone who might have an alternate way to that town, for there are no moongates to that island, and a boat seemed a painfully slow way to go.
Eventually I was provided a gate to the center of town, with the warning that I should hide as soon as I appeared. While I'm not versed in the art of hiding in plain sight, I do know a bit of magic that can do the same thing, if only for a short time. And that, I must say, is a good thing.
It was bedlam. Elder liches were running rampant, running through the town square as if it were a market day and they just had to get some melons, with no regard for other "shoppers" -- the people of Britannia.
My invisibility magic, as I said, is only temporary, so to stay alive, I had to cast it with perfect timing. And I must admit, this was one of them, for the paragon harrower appeared.
While it didn't look very imposing, I must tell you, the way it violates its victims turns your stomach. It is not enough for the harrower to kill you where you stand, but it uses your body in a necromantic spell that causes it to explode, and sometimes brings forth an undead warrior to fight against your friends! Note how poor Tindr Thornleif is dishonored in this way.
I thought that, perhaps, the best way to survive this madness was to wait until the harrower wandered off, chasing others. The flaw in this plan, of course, was that left me alone with no heroes about, so the elder liches had nothing to do but wait for my invisibility to wear off...
...which it did, but my steed, faithful Glue XVIII, carried me from harm's way, to a nearby boat. That wasn't true safety, however, as elder liches existed on the waters, so I borrowed the boat and sailed to the north end of Nu'jelm, hopefully to safety.
Or to the very location that the harrower was waiting. Oops. I tried to take it in stride by taunting the harrower from death. Watching your body explode is a bit unnerving, however.
I harried the harrower for a while, helpless to stop the carnage. The only color in my black-and-white world was from the unholy spell that burst the bodies of fallen heroes. But throughout it all, free will and honor kept the people of Britannia going, over and over.
I awoke this morning, still dead, in the now-empty streets of Nu'jelm. Whether the harrower was defeated, or whether it ran out of victims, I do not know. I can only hope it was the former.
-- Crwth of Pacific