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The Life and Times of Randal Ilphustacia

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:59 am
by ebpohmr
((During the early hours of 11 Kythorn 1377 DR at Gondalim's Inn in the Trade Ward of Waterdeep))

Alone in his tavern room in the earliest hours of the new day, Randal dreams. He dreams of adventure, of fame and glory, of wine, celebration and of women. He dreams of one woman in particular. A beautiful red-haired maiden, attired in blue, whom he is chasing through the streets of Waterdeep, their joint laughter a symphony of happiness and joy. The maiden keeps stopping until he is within moments of reaching her, before she darts off once more, tantalisingly just outside of his reach.

He is so busy chasing the beautiful maiden that he fails to notice the world around them growing darker, growing more fetid and gloomy. He does not even notice when the cobbles of the street beneath his feet are hidden from sight by a thick layer of fog. His attention is solely upon the woman evading his reaching arms.

The slim figure darts around a corner and is lost to sight. Randal puts on a burst of speed as he rounds the corner in pursuit. After a few confused paces, he comes to a complete stop. The maiden is nowhere in sight. He looks around himself, confusion reigning supreme. He knew there were no swamps inside the city. So how had he chased the maiden through the city into this swamp?

As he stands there in his confusion, he begins to shiver, for his shirt and trousers are no competition for the moist chill air of the swamp. He calls out, for surely the maiden cannot be far away and surely someone else has to be around. In response, the myriad noises of the swamp slowly die away, until seconds later, Randal is surrounded by as complete a silence as he has ever experienced.

Despairing of his situation, Randal is relieved when he soon here’s a whisper of a sound behind him. Of course, the maiden had decided to switch from prey to hunter and had sneaked around to get behind him. Of course, she had not figured on his half-elven ears being sensitive enough to hear her coming. Well, he would show her! The whisper of noise repeats itself, closer now. Randal quickly turns on the spot, ready to catch the maiden off guard, maybe he will even catch her for long enough to steal a kiss.

The maiden stands there, glorious in her beauty, with a soft smile meant just for him, he is sure. She holds her arms out towards him, inviting him into her tender embrace. As he takes a step forward, near mesmerised, he does not think to wonder why she is floating. Nor does he wonder why her outline is so fuzzy. Only when he is a couple of yards away from the maiden does he shake his head, his senses finally beating down his amorous desires. There is no maiden, there is only the mist.

The mist hugs the floor of the swamp all around him, with tendrils rising above and sinking below, writhing in some kind of ancient dance to music that Randal cannot hear. Where had stood the maiden, a humanoid pillar of dense mist now faced him. The command to run, to run far from here, jolted through his body. Even as the satisfied laughter of a cruel old man filled the swamp around him, Randal’s body failed him and he stood rooted to the spot, the feeling of impending doom only adding to the terror he is starting to feel.

Suddenly, a mass of writhing, dark green vines whip out from the centre of the misty body. Before he can even react, the tentacle-like vines have wound themselves around his limbs and stomach. He thinks of struggling, but again his body betrays him and does nothing as the vines continue winding around him, like the forest pythons he had seen as a child would wind themselves around prey in order to crush its bones so that it would be easier to swallow.

It is only a matter of moments before the fleeting light of the swamp is cut off entirely as the vines enshroud Randal’s face. He feels itchy all over, as if he had fallen into one of those nettle bushes that dotted the forest surrounding his home village. He can feel something moving across his face, something soft and delicate, almost like the touch of a lover exploring his face. His terror is almost unbearable now and he can hold his screams in no longer. He opens his mouth and screams, a primal cry of fear and anger. His scream is abruptly cut off as the tendril that had been exploring his face inserted itself into his mouth, effectively gagging him. Randal barely had time to feel outrage or indulge his gag reflex before he felt something liquid being thrust down his throat. He had just enough time to wonder just what this oversized plant was doing to him before the burning agony laced his entire being. He suddenly knew. The plant was using an acid of some sort to digest him from the inside out. Even as he began to feel his insides melting, a horrified, gagged moan escaped his throat...

Randal sat bolt upright in bed, panting and swearing in Elven. After several seconds of just sitting, he forces his legs to swing off of the bed and pushes himself upright. He crosses to the window and opens the shutters wide, allowing more of Selûne’s light to enter into his room. As he stands there, looking up at the half-moon high in the sky, Randal realises that he is covered from head to foot by tiny beads of perspiration, moisture which in the night air is cooling rapidly and becoming chill. His hair is matted to his head and feels slightly itchy. With a sigh, knowing he will not sleep again this night, Randal turns from the window towards the small table and the pitcher of water and small towel that sits upon it.