The idea of the warrior’s bond is one that spans time as well as cultures. Every group of people have a word for it. Human’s talk of the platonic bonds that hold people together in the most darkest of times. The Elves talk about the tapestry of fate and the strings that always find a way to twist around one another. Dwarves talk about the long lineages of their people and speak about the heroes of days past and the power passed down from generation to generation. Orcs talk about the bonds of battles and the final moments shared between warriors on the battlefield. Every civilization realizes how powerful the bond between people can be and how the strongest bonds can lead people to do the impossible.
Samantha and Cameron stood back to back surrounded by lizardfolk warriors. Up on the rooftops stood large Wyverns which barred their sharp fangs. The Wyvern rider in black, leather army steried its bow. Cameron raised his large, sword which was drenched in lizardfolk blood. Samantha had her hand raised with pulses of electricity sparkling on her fingertips. The magic shield in front of her was starting to crack.
Both sides stood their waiting for the other to make their move.
Some of the lizard folk grew brave and advanced towards Cameron with their spears at the ready. They hissed in some foreign tongue neither Cameron or Samantha understood.
Cameron glared at them and readjusted his fingers on the hilt of his blade.
“Samantha we need a plan,” Cameron said through clenched teeth.
“I know, I know. I’m thinking,” Samantha said glancing around.
Samantha and Cameron had done an amazing job fighting off waves of lizardfolk, but there were just more and more of them flooding into the city. They couldn’t take on all of them. She was burning through her magic pretty quickly, and Cameron was surviving on adrenaline. Now she had to worry about Wyverns as well. Then there was the Wyvern rider.
Samantha glanced at the rider. They just sat on the back of they Wyvern. Bow pulled back. Arrow ready.
On top of all of this Cameron had just told Samantha that she was the real hero in all of this. The stronger warrior. All of this had made her flustered. She needed to concentrate.
“We need to get out of here, Cameron,” Samantha said. “We can’t take them all.”
“Well we can’t go this way,” Cameron said looking out towards the lizardfolk.
In the distance he could see that he hole in the outer wall had gotten larger and more enemy troops poured into the city. Whatever defenses were there before, were completely destroyed and the warriors had either been killed or had retreated.
Samantha looked in front of her down the street. There more lizardfolk were moving through the city. Some of them noticed the commotion that Samantha and Cameron had caused and started to make their way towards the two.
“Can’t go this way either,” Samantha said. “Lizardfolk approaching.”
“What about your carpet?” Cameron asked. “It got us here, it can get us out.”
The group of lizardfolk approached closer and continued to snarl and hiss.
“We need to clear the air,” Samantha said glancing up at the Wyverns on the rooftops.
“I’ll handle the lizardfolk. You take out the Wyverns,” Cameron said with a sly smile.
“Agreed,” Samantha returned the smile and then took a deep breath.
“Now!” They both shouted in unison.
The next few seconds seemed to slow down for the two of them. Cameron swung out his large sword striking the chest of three lizardfolk. A trail of pure, white light followed the blade singeing the lizards. It cut through their patchwork armor and then cut across their scales. Fountains of blood sprang from their chest as they fell back into other lizardfolk.
Samantha dropped her shield completely and let out two bolt of lightning. Thunder erupted around her as the lightning sprung from her hands striking the large Wyvern and its rider. The sparks of electricity surged up and down the dragon-like beast, the rooftop where it stood, as well as the rider dressed in black armor. There were small burst of fire where the lightning touched flesh or scale. The other lightning bolt struck a neighboring Wyvern tearing holes in its wings and scarring its scaly body.
Then chaos broke out. Lizardfolk from both sides started to swarm Samantha and Cameron. Cameron tried his best to slash through the warriors with his blade, but many managed to deal damage with their weapons. Swords, spears, and pikes all managed to find cracks in the armor and cut into his flesh. Cameron yelled out in pain.
Behind him, Lizardfolk charged Samantha. She was not a sword-wielding warrior like Cameron, but she still had her magic to protect her. Although she preferred to fight at longer distances (or not at all), she managed to keep the lizardfolk at bay with fire. Samantha conjured large balls of fire and then unleashed the flames on the lizardfolk. The smell of charred flesh filled the air as lizardfolk fell to the ground in a blaze. Others took only small bits of damage from the fire, but did not advance any further. The flaming bodies of lizardfolk actually provided Samantha with a temporary wall to hide behind.
Cameron let out another scream louder than the first.
Samantha turned around to see that he had two long, black arrows sticking out of his back. Then a third struck him.
Samantha turned to the rooftop. There the Wyvern rider stood with his bow empty.
“NO!” Samantha screamed. Cameron stumbled back into her and then fell to the ground. He laid on his side.
A few lizardfolk tried to get close to deliver the killing blow and were met with a face full of lightning. Lizard parts and blood were sent flying through the air as lightning pulsed through their bodies.
Samantha ripped the carpet off of her back and tossed it onto the ground.
“Come on, fly!” She screamed at it.
The carpet unfurled and then started to hover there.
Up on the roof, the Wyvern rider readied another black arrow. The arrow whizzed past Samantha narrowly missing both her and Cameron.
Samantha ducked her head and started to drag Cameron onto the carpet.
“Leave….me…” Cameron said through coughs of blood.
“That’s not an option. We’re both getting out of here alive,” Samantha said.
Cameron grabbed Samantha’s arm.
Samantha tried her best to drag Cameron, but he was tall and heavy. His metal armor also weighed a ton.
“You…have…to…go…” Cameron wheezed, his grip weakened.
“No, I’m not leaving you,” Samantha yelled out. Tears streamed down her face.
Smoke had completely encompassed the two of them and had obscured both of them from the lizardfolk. The lizard stood around the outside of the smoke cloud not wanting to get too close. None of them wanted to meet the powerful magic attacks they had seen displayed.
Samantha heard the sharp tapping sounds of arrow tips striking the stonework around them. The Wyvern rider could not see them, but it was getting close with its attacks.
Samantha managed to pull Cameron onto the flying carpet.
She was breathing heavy as her lunges filled with the smoke.
“Ok, let’s get out of here,” Samantha said to the carpet as she stumbled onto it.
The carpet began to rise up and then burst out of the smoke cloud. The lizardfolk jumped back scared by the sudden appearance of the wizard and sword fighter.
Samantha sailed over the head of the dead Wyvern and its rider.
“We need to get you to the infirmary as fast as possible,” Samantha said glancing back to Cameron.
His face had gone pale and his breathing was sharp and shallow. Blood trickled down from his mouth and large bags grew under his eyes.
“Just hold on a bit longer, ok? You have to hold on,” Samantha said.
Samantha let out a quick gasp as a pain shot through her body. She bowed forward as pain flared up in her shoulder.
There in her left shoulder was a black arrow. Down below the Wyvern rider was not giving up. It notched another arrow.
Samantha let out a scream of pain as she grabbed towards the arrow. Her vision was blurry and the nerves in her shoulder were screaming.
A black arrow whizzed past them again leaving a hole in the carpet, but did not strike Samantha or Cameron.
The flying carpet dipped as Samantha leaned forward and Cameron’s body began to slide into her.
“Go up, go up,” She pulled on the front of the carpet.
It continued to fly, but Samantha was having a tough time controlling it.
She coughed and she could taste iron in her mouth. Blood. Her blood. Her vision was blurry and it was hard to tell where she was going.
“We need help,” Samantha said her vision slipping.
The carpet nosedived and slammed into the ground. Both Samantha and Cameron were flown from the carpet. Cameron’s body hit the ground with a small splat and slid a few feet. Samantha hit the ground and managed to roll a bit reducing the damage from the fall. she looked up and saw the familiar sight of bookcases reaching from floor to ceiling.
“The library,” She said.
Samantha sat up and nearly vomited. She could still taste blood in her mouth and she was still seeing double.
“Poison,” She groaned. “The arrows must be tipped in poison.”
She crawled across the ground to Cameron’s body. He laid there not moving. Barely breathing. His veins and arteries were pronounced, but not their usual color. They were black.
“The Wyvern rider. They must have used poison tipped arrows,” Samantha was talking to herself.
She reached back and felt the wooden shaft of the arrow. She took in a deep breath and then ripped the arrow from her shoulder. This sent a whole new wave of pain from her body, but it cleared her head a bit. She could now see straight. The adrenaline was helping.
Samantha managed to stand up over Cameron’s body. She waved her hands and purple energy manifested itself. It swirled into the lumpy, cloud humanoids.
“Nimbus. Cirrus. Go to the back where they keep the magic scrolls. Find one called Greater Restoration. Go now!” She yelled to the two, cloud servants.
They both nodded their cloud heads and whipped away towards the back of the library.
Samantha stumbled and fell down next to Cameron’s body.
“I’m so sorry,” She wept laying her head down on his chestpiece.
Cameron was a bloody mess. His whole body was covered in cuts and slashes. His armor was stained with his own blood as well as the lizardfolk blood. His body was cold. His eyes not moving. The poison was still in his blood infecting everything it touched. Samantha could barely feel Cameron’s pulse as the heart grew weaker and weaker.
Samantha’s head was pounding. Her vision was blurry again. She closed her eyes and continued to cry.
Cameron was her best friend. The athletic type who stood up for her in school while bullies called her names and made fun of her for reading so many books. A lot of the time Samantha would get lost in tangents talking about strange history or weird flowers and its medicinal properties. Samantha would end up trying to apologize, but Cameron would stop her.
“Never apologize for being passionate,” Cameron said. “We need more passionate people like you in the world. Plus you’re going to save the whole world some day. I just know it.”
This memory was burned into Samantha brain as she let out more tears.
“Don’t die on me, Cameron! Don’t you dare die!” She yelled out.
Something poked her and she turned to see both of her cloud servants there holding a scroll bound with red ribbon.
“Thank you. Thank you,” Samantha smiled.
She grabbed the scroll and unrolled it. There were powerful magic symbols written on the page. Magic powerful enough to purify Cameron’s body and stop the poison from killing him. But it was a one-time use spell. She could only save one of them.
Samantha wiped blood from her mouth and began reading. The words were hard to make out, but she did her best.
As Samantha read the words, they began to light up with the same purple magic she had seen before. She read and read even though it seemed to pull the magic out of her. The poison continued to spread and paid ripped through her body, but this did not stop her.
Samantha finished reading the scroll and the purple flames consumed the scroll turning it to ash. The particles rained down and covered Cameron’s body. Each little bit started to bury itself into Cameron and his body began to glow a deep, purple color. The blackness in Cameron’s veins faded as he laid there. His heart still beating. Cameron still breathing. His eyes still closed, but Cameron was alive.
The color faded and Samantha toppled over onto the stone floor of the library. The two cloud servants flickered out and disappeared. Her breath grew shallow and then her vision became black. She no longer felt the pain.
She no longer felt anything.
Blackness consumed everything around her. There was no up or down. No left or right. No agency to her body.
Then she saw a small speck of purple light.
The light grew larger and larger until Samantha found herself in a cloud of purple mist.
She coughed and sat up taking in the scene around her. Samantha’s body no longer hurt.
She glanced around.
His body was nowhere to be found.
“Cameron!?” She yelled out.
“Cameron is not here darling. Don’t worry. He will live,” A new voice emerged from the purple mist.
“Who, who are you?” Samantha took a step back raising her hands preparing to attack.
But no magic was summoned. No lightning. No fire.
“You’re magic won’t work here, I’m afraid,” The voice said again. It seemed to originate from all around her. “But in time, you will learn a new magic.”
“Who are you? What is this place?” Samantha asked.
The purple mist cleared and a woman emerged from it. She towered over Samantha standing about 8 feet tall. She was an elderly woman covered in deep wrinkles. She had long, silver hair and wore elegant, blue and white robes. In the center of her forehead was a glowing, purple eye.
“I am Ioun, dear child. Also known as the Knowing Mistress,” The woman spoke. “Where you are. Well that’s hard to say. Right now you are between your plain and the plains beyond.”
“I…Ioun… you are a… a goddess. The goddess of knowledge,” Samantha said.
“You are correct, child,” Ioun said.
“But…what am I doing here?” Samantha asked.
“I’m afraid you have passed on,” Ioun said.
“P…passsed on. I’m…I’m dead,” Samantha said dropping to her knees.
Ioun knelt down beside her now the same size as Samantha. Ioun placed a hand on Samantha’s back.
“Yes, child. You are dead.”
“But…what about Cameron?” Samantha asked.
“Well your quick thinking and the use of the Greater Restoration spell cured him of his poison. For now he is alive,” Ioun said.
“Well no one lives forever, child,” Ioun said.
She raised her hands and rubbed tears from her eyes.
“Ioun. You are not the ruler of death. So why are you here?” Samantha asked.
Ioun smiled a bit.
“Well usually The Raven Queen comes and escorts people after they have died. She decides their fate. But I could not let talent such as yours go to waste in Pelor’s domain. I feel like you still have much to contribute.”
Ioun helped Samantha to her feet.
“Let me show you my library. Then I will explain everything,” Ioun said.
She waved her hands and the purple mist began forming into rows and rows of books. Taller and wider than any library she had ever seen. They walked forward and the purple mist reformed behind them leaving nothing but the darkness once again.
Header Photo Credit to Giger’s 5e D&D Wikipedia Page about Rune Magic