A Beautiful Tale of Finding Friendship

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Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:08 pm

A Beautiful Tale of Finding Friendship

Post by utsukushi » Fri Apr 24, 2020 6:20 pm

This is from a little one shot (well, two shot doesn't have the same ring to it) that Slimcreeper ran for us. I want to apologize to the player for Garrel, our Beastmaster. He was awesome and really was a big part of things in the first session, but then RL totally blindsided him and he couldn't make it for the second. The GM actually did keep him in just a little bit, but I'm afraid it really pulled him out of the story and in writing this, I just kind of left him out. Promise it's nothing personal! I'm really sorry you missed it.

Anyway, here it goes! A Beautiful Tale of Finding Friendship!

Once Upon A Time, there was a very lonely dwarf Named Callista. Like many of the lost, she didn't realize how lonely she was, yet her entire life revolved around the search for friends.

When she was a child, she thought perhaps the other children would like her - some, perhaps, she even thought did. But they didn't. Not really. They thought she was creepy, and weird, and they played games without her whenever they could. They didn't tell her so, because she frightened them, but she knew it. She knew it in her bones. And they were insignificant anyway.

And so she kept looking, not even knowing that's what she was doing. She practiced Alchemy, and the science of healing, hoping that by helping others, perhaps someone would like her. But these only set her apart. She began to study the arts of Nethermancy, because everyone thought she was creepy already. Perhaps the other Nethermancers would like her? Perhaps the one who taught her? ...But no. Nethermancers are not friends, and they all thought Callista wasn't good enough. They didn't say so, because they didn't care enough, but she knew it. She felt it in her blood. And they had failed her anyway.

She had hoped, deep in her heart where even she did not look, that perhaps the spirits would be her friends, but spirits to a Nethermancer are only tools, and they hated her for using them. They didn't say so, because the bindings wouldn't let them, but she knew it. Their hatred shivered across her skin. And they were useless anyway.

And so she was lonely, never loved, never loving. She had no one who would miss her if she were gone, no one who would help her if she were hurt, and no one she would give her eyes for. No one. Poor, lonely Callista.

One day, she joined a company! The Verified Firm, a grand merchant enterprise! They had airships, with crews of sailors who worked together all day long and are famed for their camaraderie. And the thought echoed in her head - maybe someone there would like her? Maybe she would finally make a friend? But of course, it was not to be. She was not an Air Sailor. She was a creepy, spooky, icky Nethermancer, and she did not fit in. She could find no one who craved her.

She worked for the company for many days and many jobs, until finally, they sent her to the cavern. A great deep dark and beautiful cavern where no one had walked in so very long. A cold hungry aching cavern. And the darkness, too, was lonely. But now came a ship with six possible friends, and the darkness smiled.

They told her to look for rocks, the shiniest rocks she could find, but the real treasure is always friendship. The Captain and the First Mate struggled against it and then fought for it, but they were not good friends, and they died broken and bleeding. Callista gave their bodies to the darkness, a gift. Perhaps the darkness would like her?

Now there were four, and they went deeper into the dark. They told themselves they craved money, riches, the glorified trappings of success. But in their secret hearts, they each hoped here, in the depths, in the dark, maybe they would finally not feel so alone. Perhaps they could find love.

And the darkness had so much to give. First it gifted them rats in the hold, and they fought them together. Callista killed many rats, pulling them off the Thief, wracking their souls with pain until they twisted and died. But he did not thank her.

And they sailed deeper, still lying to themselves, trying to believe that gold would fill the holes in their lives. But their lies rang hollow in their hearts.

So the darkness gave them another gift, with razor wings and sharp claws and a screech like a rusted blade across slate. One of the creatures flew to Callista and tore its nails across her face. And Callista felt the first touch of friendship, a hand in the night, an offer to help. True friendship, when she needed it the most! With just a little help from the darkness, she threw the creature off and gave it to the Ungrateful Thief. He was once again able to shine and show his grace, but still he did not thank her.

The creatures were chased away, and they turned their ship away from the depths, though they had taken themselves many days from the burning light. But the Ungrateful Thief was glaring at Callista, watching her, and she recognized that look. She remembered it from the children. He thought she was weird, and creepy, and he wanted to play his games without her.

He convinced the Foolish Sailor, and they told her. They said it, right out loud: We do not trust you. The words that had whispered unspoken, behind everyone's eyes through her whole life, and now they were free. It was terrible and painful and glorious, and they echoed in her mind. She let them tie her to the mast. It made them feel safe, to think she could not hurt them. They were wrong, of course, there was still so much she could do, but she could pretend, for a while. Maybe then they would like her?

But she knew they would not. No one ever had. But maybe... in her heart, she reached out to the darkness. If it would be her friend, she could slow the boat. Her will was stronger than the Foolish Sailor. She could keep them here longer, to better explore their friendship.

And the darkness agreed, because the darkness liked her. It understood her. The darkness did not think she was creepy. The darkness did not think she was weird. The darkness thought she was delicious.

After a day they let her go, and she cooked a meal for them. And they thought the meal was delicious, so they left her alone. But she smiled, for she knew she was no longer alone. Not here, in the dark. She had finally found a friend. And when her friend asked her to leave the axe by the Ungrateful Thief's bed, she was glad, because friendship is a two edged sword, and friends help each other and cut each other and bleed together.

And when the water barrel broke and only the Ungrateful Thief was there to blame, she understood, and she cast doubt, but not blame. It would be better the blame come from another. The Ungrateful Thief ran away, and hid, because the Ungrateful Thief was a coward at heart, which is why no one loved him. Only the darkness would even give him a chance, and he would be too afraid to love it back, and would always be alone.

Callista knew this in her heart, though she could not yet say it in her head. She knew this when the Foolish Sailor found him clinging to the back of the ship, and she felt she had to help him. Perhaps if she gave him to the darkness, left him with no choice, he would stay? Perhaps he, too, could find friendship? He was so close! She grabbed the sail and exerted her will and the ship jumped and shook, and the Ungrateful Thief fell. And as he fell, he did not scream thank you. But that was OK. She did not expect him to anymore.

But now the Foolish Sailor looked at her with distrust, for she did not yet truly understand friendship. And Callista let herself be bound again, but inside the ship, where the darkness could hold her. And the Foolish Sailor stopped, and called out to the Ungrateful Thief, and waited.

Of COURSE she did not hear a thank you. She should have known better. The Ungrateful Thief snuck aboard and hid and skulked until he felt himself safe, and even then, seeing Callista bound and helpless, he was too much a coward to come close. He threw his knife from the shadows and struck her in the shoulder, and smiling at the pain, she screamed. And she smiled. And she looked into his eyes and she saw his fear and she pushed. And his fear grew and grew and he ran.

The Foolish Sailor finally came and released Callista, and they followed him up the stairs. Callista was hurt and bleeding, but she bled for friendship. She tried to show them, but they would not listen. The Ungrateful Thief stayed as far from her as he could, and the Foolish Sailor tried to keep them apart, but though they were not friends, they were inseparable.

As the blade sunk into her throat, she fell, and her loneliness finally began to fade. And her friend, her only true friend ever, called back to her. Are you sure? It asked. Do you truly wish to die? Will you leave me here, to be alone again?

And she was not, and did not, and would not. And though she had no strength to move her arms, she reached out, with her heart, and her blood, and her longing and her need, and the darkness lifted her up and held her.

And so, while the poor blind Foolish Sailor and the poor frightened Ungrateful Thief floated back to the burning sun, Callista stayed with the darkness, and together they smiled. Soon there would be more -- sailors and builders, miners and guards, all greedy for treasure, none knowing what they truly needed. And Callista and the darkness would be waiting for them. They could already think of so many games they wanted to play. They could show them the power of friendship.

And she drifts, bleeding and longing, in the darkness that will love her, Happily Ever After.




Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:08 pm

Re: A Beautiful Tale of Finding Friendship

Post by utsukushi » Sat Apr 25, 2020 5:10 am

Also, this came in from the player of our Air Sailor! She doesn't have an account on the forum, but gave me permission to post it on her behalf. (Actually, she claims it's all my fault, and I will cheerfully take the credit. I think it's brilliant.)

Just sit right back
And you'll hear a tale
A tale of a frightful trip
That started with a golden chance
and ends on an accursed ship.

The mate and captain had a fight
That ended with both dead.
The sleep they'd had before that night
Had filled the ship with dread, had filled the ship with dread

The cavern had a orichalcum vein
The crew was pleased to find
If not for the whispers of the darkest soul
that echoed in their mind, that echoed in their mind

First the rats came in swarms,
tails and claws and rage
to Nethermancer
Air Sailor too
Three dwarves, and two were thieves
A horrific foe
Blood and fights and sleepless nights
in this wooden cage.

So this is the tale of our fated few
They're marked for a long long time
They've come away with treasure impure
And silence of their crime.

One dwarf thief, and air sailor too
may have survived the cave
but despite the efforts of the one
all others embraced the grave.

Howls and sails and dark, dark holds
Sabotaged with evil glee
A few pounds of precious ore
for the Verified Company.

So be warned if you should find
an expedition for good wage
be set and say no to the charms
of the wooden cage.

Posts: 962
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: A Beautiful Tale of Finding Friendship

Post by Slimcreeper » Sat Apr 25, 2020 1:59 pm

* an old GM wipes tears of joy from his wrinkled eye

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