The Razor's Edge

From The Diaries of Brandon Darkfell

If the past 24 hours are any sign, I swear I am more confounded by denizens of this plane than I was when I first came here a century ago.

My companions and I successfully boarded the ship for the five day trip to the human city Veluna, complete with the wrathstone securely aboard for transport. Given his, uh, indiscretions of the recent past, young Daeson decided to adopt a new face and sneak on board. To also help cover for him, I adopted his name in conversation with other passengers. Better some would-be law and order type had to deal with me than with the misguided rogue.

Once on board, I also took to the top of the ship to watch or potential attacks and also to permit my traveling companions the chance to chat with others on the boat.

Although I took the edge off with copious amounts of wine, I was alarmed that the rogue did not present himself to me – in one form or another – in all the time I was away from the crowds atop the ship: alarmed because I could nto be sure he had made it. Also, slightly perturbed, as I thought we had made a good and understanding team the past few days.

It also occurred to me that in chatting with Daeson, I had suggested it might be a good idea for us to have the wrathstone in our hands; as opposed to it being guarded by church guards or ship’s crew. This worried me…

I summoned a minor spirit and sent it to search for the wrathstone and report to me where it was being held. I discovered it was hidden in the captain’s safe with no real live guard on it. Shortly thereafter I encountered William below decks, who told me that Daeson was trying to retrieve the wrathstone from the church emissaries, who, of course, weren’t carrying it! Finally catching up with Daeson, I informed him of their error and he and I went off to liberate the gem for safe keeping.

Up until that point, everything seemed fine. Our somewhat disjointed little group at least seemed to come together when things needed to be done.

We barely managed to secure the gem and to slip out without notice. I asked Daeson to give me the gem and that’s when things got precarious.

If we were going to personally secure the wrathstone, it meant, logically, that one of us would have to bear or it, or otherwise be the person physically closest to it. That would make one or all of us targets for foes who might be seeking it. It was a dangerous position to be in, given we are in unfamiliar territory. Furthermore, should the church emissaries note that the gem was missing, they might not react well to our plan. I could already see Bartholomew handing back the stone, apologizing and (not wrongly) placing the blame for the plan on me or on the rogue.

Here I made a decision. The safety of the wrathstone would be most secure if only one person total knew where it was. No one could be forced or tricked into revealing its location; and only one person would be target for any potential attempt at seizing it. That person should have been me. Oh, it’s not that my companions aren’t capable of defending themselves. Rather it is that I can get out of tight situations easier than can they. It’s more too. It seemed a burden that they should not have to bear. I admit what followed was in part my fault because I have been curious about the wrathstone and – because of their own prejudice – they seem to mistake my magician’s curiosity about the item as something perilous. But the stone, while clearly magic, holds no real allure to me – just a trinket some deity is linked to.

My plan was to try to find a place to hide the gem onboard where no one would find it until we needed to deliver it; or otherwise to secretly keep it on my person at all times.

When my “allies” and I finally got all together again, I told them I had hidden the wrathstone and that they didn’t need to worry about it until we arrived at our destination. I had no idea they would react the way they did!

My would-be friends reacted as if I had committed a crime! All of their unwarranted suspicion and prejudice erupted in a wave of hostility and threats! Did they not see that, once again, I was heroically putting myself in harm’s way to advance our mutual cause and to protect them? Had I not fought alongside them, fell their foes and drawn swords with them against even foes we never should have been able to defeat separately?

I was simultaneously deeply offended and angry. I was fighting the forces of darkness before my companions’ grand sires had been born!

Admittedly I was somewhat stunned and since they had no interest in what I had to say, I simply refused. Bartholomew went off to ponder reporting to the church emissaries what had happened. The others would not stop harassing me. I had not deceived them in any way. I did what I thought best and, well, they had never given me cause to think that any one of them knew any better. Two of them an hour earlier were planning to break into the wrong place to try to acquire the wrathstone an hour ago; and the other one is now taking his marching orders from some book! Ah, if only Xander were still with us so there would at least be one other logical, albeit moody, member of this ramshackle team.

Needless to say I could get away from my assailants easily enough. At that point, I tried to find a way off the ship. I figured if I could make it to land, I would travel discreetly and meet them in Veluna with the wrathstone. That way, whatever happened to the boat, the gem would be safe; and if there were some tracking the stone’s progress – the danger would come to me and me alone. Sadly there was no way off the ship without bringing attention to myself.

At that point, I admit I was rather in my cups and feeling more and more like my old elven friend was the lucky one, being turned to stone. Even Daeson joined in the harangue. Bart went off to confess OUR sins to the emissaries. Daeson went after hi to talk him out of it. Meanwhile the mysterious magic toymaker – whom none of us have known long – became even more forceful in his demands that I prostate myself. Pshaw.

My patience was at an end. I admit I considered tossing the stone overboard. Instead, I slipped away from William and tucked the wrathstone in his gear in his room onboard. It was part prank, of course, but I did think he would eventually appreciate it.

Things kept getting messy, though! Daeson attacked Bartholomew to keep him from revealing our plan. Then, upon his discovery of the wrathstone in his quarters, the toymaker came roaring below decks. He was angry when I thought he would have been thankful! These young races do still confuse me at times. He began to disrobe of sorts and I do think he intended to throw himself onto my sword! I can’t imagine what he hoped to accomplish with that.

Around then, yet more chaos broke out when the church emissaries and ship crew drove everyone onboard below decks into one area with some tale about a missing chalice or goblet or something. I knew nothing of this, nor did it appear that my companions did either. Still, though, they were likely to search everyone and at that moment, William had the stone on his person.

Thinking quickly, Daeson swiped the gem and fled the room with it.

Honestly I don’t know what all else happened next. But I do know this. The wrathstone is now either in the possession of the thief or it is hidden and only the thief knows where. The thief. Had my traveling companions not interfered with my plan, it would be safely secreted away. Or else it would be on my person and I can’t easily have my person physically searched should I choose otherwise. My, it seems my plan would have been best after all.

I doubt the irony will occur to my fellows. Sad, that. I am afraid our little fellowship might be at the breaking point given the luck of trust and confidence. I, for one, would pause for thought before I extended myself — beyond a courtesy – to protect any of them, again.

Meanwhile there are the matters of a missing cup, a missing or hidden gem, a religious sort who is also now supposedly threatened – and four more days to reach our destination. This will be the longest journey I have had in my nearly one and a half centuries!



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