The Origin of Hope

The Clumsy Elf

The first night with the westerners

As the screams woke me at night, I immediately regretted not having slept in my armor. Even though it kept me well rested, it slowed me considerably in those crucial moments. Finally, when I attached my trusted sword to my hip and took my holy shield into my hand, I ran out, and noticed that my companions were already standing at the edge of the shore and looking out into the darkness. Despite my improved night vision, I couldn’t tell what was happening on the Blinkdog except that shapes were moving and seemingly fighting.

Did the Westerns go mad? Or was this an attack? Did the Orcs somehow reach us? No… whatever it was, it seemed to originate from the ship itself. And I couldn’t stand by while lives were in danger!

My fellow elf and the curious gnome were up on the mechanical tentacle in a blink of an eye, and by the time I reached them at the shore, they were already half-way towards the ship. Well, how hard could it be to climb this thing?

The inspiring cleric Cho has shone divine light on my shield and made it glow brightly. At least I could see now where I was stepping… though it didn’t help my slipping when I tried running up the tentacle. Really, who crafted this mechanism? It’s entirely not viable for traversal! I pulled myself vigorously out of the dark waters, with a determination to reach the Blinkdog as fast as possible, but alas, the Light was not smiling on my feet! Fall after fall, I tasted the cold water, gurgling and nearly drowning, while Cho came to try and help me. But as fate would have it, I nearly drowned him as well!

In the process of trying to stay afloat, I noticed that the translator Remus was on the Blinkdog, casting awe-inspiring bolts of purple magic that evaporated the attacking—…hands? — As my struggles led me closer to the ship still, I could see that those were severed, undead hands, which were jumping at the people on the ship! I was equally mesmerized by the acrobatics and slicing of those hands by the gnome Charlene, as well as the incredible feats of grace by my elvish kin, Rukan! Having grown in a home with humans, I rarely had a chance to see what elves were really capable of… well, other elves, except for me, of course.

Luckily, Rukan had thrown rope to save Cho and I, and as I climbed up to the ship, I noticed with sadness the bodies of the sailors who were torn apart by those undead fingers, although I was glad to see some survivors and that my companions were still alive. In fact, they have cleared out the entire ship with hardly a scratch. Except for Remus, he came up closer from the bow of the ship, and I could see his bloodied robes. Calling to the blessings of the Light, I applied Lay on Hands to stabilize his condition, even though I couldn’t fully close his wounds yet.

However, this was only the beginning! I stared in stupefied horror as shambling figures appeared on the beach, heading towards the tents where the wounded lay! I looked at the tentacle, then the water, then the beach, and realized that with my luck, I was either going to drown on my way back, or get there too late. As a result, I decided to just jump into a small boat attached to the big ship, cutting off the ropes that held it against the hull, and praying that it will stay afloat. This time, my prayers were answered, and I could row my way back to the shore. I tried offering my companions to join me in the boat, by they all decided to either take the path of the tentacle or to swim, or both… after a few slips… which were probably caused by me splashing all that water on the surface…

Nonetheless, the gnome was the fastest on her feet, dashing towards the shore and drawing the attention of those seaweed-covered undead. It tore me apart to have to watch her from a distance, as she was hit by those handless horrors! Her magic was impressive, it reminded me of druidic incantations… but it was a miracle that she was still standing after those attacks!

And my brave, loyal soldiers of the 7th Legion! They fought to their last breath, trying to protect those wounded men, women and children, and it was more painful to watch them fall than it was to receive any kind of wound myself. Cho had also made it to the front line, protecting Charlene, holding off the unholy onslaught of the undead, but they have overwhelmed him!

Finally, I was at the shore, as were Rukan and Remus. One of the shambling figures used his arm as a spear, but by the power of the Light, I knocked it away with my shield. It was now or never, Cho was unconscious and bleeding out, and I only had a tiny bit of divine power still in me. With a defiant yell, I ignored the undead completely and ran towards the cleric and the gnome. An attack from behind me found its way past a weak point in my armor, making sharp pain shoot at my side and blood spill forth. The wound was deep, and I had to fall to one knee as I reached Cho, before placing a bloody hand on his stomach to whisper my Lay on Hands incantation and partially close the horrific injury. There was no more that I could do.

Having gotten up to his feet, the cleric seemed to have gathered the might of the heavens and smote the three undead minions with divine fire! All I could do was simply try to hold back the undead to the right of me to keep him away from anyone else, while my companions have expertly dispatched of the attackers. Rukan was so graceful and effective that nothing could stand in his way, and Charlene did not back away even though she looked on the verge of falling over! She summoned a dragon! Well, a toy one. And very loud. It was fascinating! That is a courageous one. And as for Remus, I’ve never seen a mage come up close to an enemy when he didn’t have to… and let me tell you, you don’t see a point-blank-spell every day.

It was only after all of the undead were defeated, that we heard Reverend Matthews coming out from one of the buildings. Apparently he helped save some of the refugees, and I am grateful at least for that. It saddened me greatly to see how many of our people had died this night. Almost all of the people whom my father had tried to save… and… all of my fellow legionnaires. I was the last of the 7th legion now…

And then there was the matter of the seaweed. It had made me uncomfortable from the start, and now that I’ve seen all that gross green stuff on the undead and on their limbs, I felt even more uneasy. The gnome seemed interested in that flora, but I had a nagging feeling that we should stay as far away as possible from it. Thankfully Cho helped me convince Charlene and Remus to put an effort into clearing out the seaweed from their wounds… which strangely seemed to not want to get detached from their hosts. Whatever magic this was, I did not like it.

For the rest of the night, we helped with putting the dead to rest, and then all went to the Blinkdog to catch another wink of sleep.



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