SC-Heroes' Ascent

Ashes

As the others continued to argue about what the strange Bugbear and Goblin might have been there to do, Leonis began the trek up the stairs, armored feet clanking noisily against stone steps.

What did they take from that shrine?

He was almost certain it had been an orb – glowing with some kind of light. From the way things had been arranged, almost certainly a relic the monastery had been built to protect. But why?

The other goblins had killed themselves rather than answer any questions after their leaders had made their magical escape. No answers to be had there. But perhaps, just perhaps, there might be answers once they reached Dimlain...either asking about the strange teleporting magics the thieves had used, or perhaps seeing if Artair might be recognize it. After all, it had been a shrine to Silionwe.

A long sigh wound its way up the stairwell. “If he’ll talk to us about it, anyhow.” That seemed unlikely, but it was at least worth a try.

As he neared the top of the stairwell, he could smell the smoke, laced with the scents of burnt oils, incense, and the sick-sweet undertone of burnt flesh. The fires that the goblins had set, apparently against the commands of the bugbear and his Master, still smoldered. Finally making his way to the hidden door in the traveler’s shrine, he wondered about the missing monk – the servant of Aerie who had apparently escaped the slaughter. He hoped that whomever the goddess had blessed with the fortune to escape would understand that they’d gotten to the monastery to late to save his fellows, and that they’d done their best to avenge their deaths on those responsible.

He hoped it would be enough.

As the others caught up to him, he stepped back out of the traveler’s shrine and onto the road, then froze. A horse and cart now sat there, where none had been before, and a figure sat in the road, on their knees, in horrified shock at what had happened to the monastery.

Stepping forward, his legs like lead, Leonis tried to clear a throat that had suddenly gone dry, a tongue glued to his mouth.

”...brother monk?”

At his voice, the woman(!?), dressed in traveler’s garb and wearing a symbol of Aerie turned to him, her eyes filled with tears, and Leonis could taste nothing but ash.

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Quoniam23

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