The birds began to stir as dawn was breaking over the tree line. I’ve had another restful sleep, thankfully, and was already watching the sunrise from the small table in my room. The breakfast that I have snuck downstairs to retrieve was all but gone, save for half a muffin and a piping hot cup of lemon ginger tea. I remained there until the sun peeked over the trees, enjoying the silence I had before the rustling of the other inn patrons exiting their rooms began. I left my dishes on the table, stuffing the remaining muffin in my mouth and finishing my tea, and left my room. Time for work.
In the year following the last meeting of Osterra's major factions, I have settled in the small village of Trinity, south of the Cedar Hill capital and named after the nearby Trinity Lakes. Thanks to the efforts of Cedar Hill (formerly the faction known as Nova Regnus), this newly found village has become a thriving farming village, supplying food to nearby lands. It is partially the reason why I, an active member of Cedar Hill, have been living rent free in the inn this entire time. The other being my magic abilities, offering free services to all who ask.
I received a letter at the inn late last night. It was from a farmer nearby, one of his cattle tipped over downhill and landed on him around midday, breaking his leg. He’s been bedridden since, but overall in good health. There was something more he wanted to talk about, mentioning that it may not be of importance, but still did not wish to disclose it in the letter. His farm was a fair distance away, no more than an hour by foot, so I decided to walk.
- - - - -
As I arrived at the property I was reminded of a farm that my party visited in March over a year ago. That mission (which I will not discuss here) is what led to Cedar Hill creating a foothold in the area. I hope the family that accommodated our stay there is doing well. I should visit them sometime, maybe bring more candy for the children.
The farmer’s wife, Mabel, met me at the door to the main house, introduced me to their three children, all young boys ranging from ages 3 to 12, and led me upstairs to the bedridden husband. He introduced himself as Robbie, a hardy man in his late 40’s, who’s size suggested that he worked as a herdsman his entire life. In good spirits, he said “well I’d stand to greet you, but…you know”, and with a chuckle gestured in the direction of his legs.
I smiled back. “No worries friend, you’ll have the chance yet.” Sitting on a stool to his right, I removed the blanket covering his legs and studied it. Broken tibia on his right side, but it seemed to be a clean break. Robbie explained that he and his wife were able to set the bone, but the bruising and pain remained. In time, it would have healed fine without me, but the spring is a fairly busy time for the local farms, and he needed to finish his work as soon as possible. “Let’s get you out and about,” I remarked.
Holding my grimoire in my left hand, with my right placed gently on his bruised shin I recited my spell: “By the Will of Altheda, Goddess of Light and Healing, I, the Cleric Grayson, heal your broken leg.”
The dim light faded from my hand. Confident in my success, I turned to face Robbie with a smile. “It is done, it may be stiff for a while, so if you do need to walk around, I would suggest using a cane for a day or two.” Without hesitation or regard to my suggestion, Robbie swung his legs to the side of the bed, gently stood up, and muttered to himself. “Amazing…” he whispered quietly. “Simply amazing,” he said aloud. Mabel disappeared from the room, then arrived moments later with a simple walking cane, which Robbie took and began walking around the bedroom with a giddy step. Smiling like a child, he exclaimed “absolutely amazing! I’m walking around like any other day, like it was never broken! And my knee! My bad knee isn’t acting up anymore, you didn’t have to do all that!”
I chuckled at his reaction, stating “well my spells are usually localized to an entire limb, so that was just a bonus.”
He laughed again.”I won’t complain, my leg hasn’t felt this good in years!"
It was always a delight to see people's reactions to my magic. In the history of Osterra, magic was somewhat of an oddity, a myth that only began to reappear in this world recently. I have yet to see any other beings use magic, outside of my fellow portal travelers and the Necromancer Shagrash the Vile. It made me wonder sometimes if the locals of Osterra even had the ability to access this world’s ley line, or if it was a special privilege to those from other realms. Regardless, it was easy for me to win over the opinions of those who needed my service. The nature of my magic is to mend and defend, I would say, and never to harm.
- - - - -
Robbie proceeded to show me around his farm after having a small lunch, still giddy and grateful for my help. The large field expanded over hills of green and gold, outlined by simple fencing and a small patch of woods to the north and northwest. To the east, just outside of human sight, was the central and largest of the Trinity Lakes, with the village of Trinity just southwest of that. We swapped stories as we walked towards the center of the pasture. His stories were of friends and family, and mine were of friends and past adventures. I told him a bit of my home world, of my life before the portal, and in doing so made me remember the home I once had, and the friends I’ve left behind. Including Clara…
I trailed off, pushing that horrible memory from my mind, and Robbie seemed to notice the new sadness in my face. We walked a few minutes in silence afterwards. He led me to a spot at the foot of a small hill. I helped him sit on the grass, handing him his cane after taking his place. The hill was missing a patch of grass, as if a large animal had recently slid down it. With a sigh, Robbie began his tale.
“So, on to what I didn’t write in the message,” his former cheer now gone from his own voice and face. “This is the spot where my heifer rolled on top of me. Now, normally I would chalk it up to uneven ground or just a slip up on the girl’s part. This isn’t the smoothest hill, and it had rained fairly recently, so it's possible in any normal situation. I don’t know.” He gestured behind him. “But after she fell on me, I could have sworn I saw something, like a cloud of light, leaving behind the hill, just floating away. My wife insists that it was the sun, or a cloud hit by sunlight floating by. But as you can see, the sun looks to be above the farmhouse now. And it definitely ain’t moving like the light I saw.”
“And it was around this time yesterday, correct?” I asked, remembering the details in his letter.
“Yeah” he said, “almost to the hour.”
I grew concerned, remembering my visit to the other farm over a year ago. The first night there we were greeted by many spirits in the form of floating, glowing mists. Though peaceful in nature, they led us to a crypt that was less so. It's too far from that crypt to be related, but too close in geography to be a coincidence. “Sit tight,” I told Robbie. “I’d like to check it out for myself.” I then started up the hill behind him.
“Oh, ok. Well do be careful” he said, looking back at me with concern on his face. “I do have the occasional cow go missing near the woods to the north, so be careful of that. I’ll be sitting here for a bit, so holler if you need me.”
- - - - -
I waited at the top of the hill for almost an hour, scanning the north for any sign of movement. Cattle were spread in small groups around the fenced in property, grazing more in the open fields than in the shade of the trees. Curious. Robbie had left back to the main house, then accompanied by a few of his livestock, his “lady friends” he called them with another chuckle. The breeze was a nice change from the late spring heat, made even more humid thanks to the major lakes nearby.
As I sat and watched over the field, I started reminiscing of my time here in Osterra. I remembered first coming through the portal with the orb in my possession. I remembered meeting my first travel companion Geth Kelemvor, then a friend and trusted ally, now a feared Necromancer with a tower in the Blasted Lands. I thought of meeting Sir Chronos McKragg and the Tharrosian Xoticas for the first time, explaining to Geth and I about the nature of portals and the significance of this world’s magic. I thought of the first Rites of Spring, fighting and losing to my friend Grisson in the tournament and the merriment of this first large-scale gathering of the portal travelers, followed by an attack of Orcs trying to disrupt a ritual led by the Sentinels. I thought of my first lessons with Meryn, who taught me how to access the ley lines and relearn the magical abilities I’ve lost. I thought of my friends in The Cast, fighting side by side with the great warriors Sir Tanos and Dima. I thought of my friend Imra, asking me to officially join the faction now known as Cedar Hill. I thought of the enemies I have faced: undead, plague victims, bandits, orcs, rat folk, Illithids, demons, minotaurs. Damn I hate minotaurs, I thought, even before coming to Osterra.
I try not to think about that day, the day before I came through the portal. The last day in my home world...
After the breeze left and the foliage of the trees were once again still, I spotted it: a shapeless mist of gray-gold reflecting the sunlight from the south. It moved along the tree line as if slowly floating in an invisible river, slightly bobbing to and fro. I began to walk towards it, remembering the other spirits from over a year back. The spirits of soldiers, long dead and disturbed by the Demon Orzalon’s corruption. I pulled my grimoire from its pouch, knowing that I may need to use it sooner or later. I was not yet sure of its intentions, but maybe I could try to converse with it.
The spirit ceased its movement as I approached. I outstretched my right hand, clutching my grimoire in the left, and chanted:
“By the Will of Altheda, Goddess of Light and Healing, I, the Cleric Grayson, use my power to reach into the Void so that you may have a voice. Speak to me!”
As light from my hand flashed and pulsed, the spirit’s form rippled as if a light wind had passed through it. Then it was calm, but stil.
“What is your name?” I asked, hand still outstretched. The spirit shifted slowly, bobbing from side to side. Finally, as if aware of its newfound voice, it replied in a soft, hollow voice.
“I…have forgotten. I have wandered these woods for so long…”
“What do you want?” I asked, voice more direct. This was the first time I’ve used this spell since relearning it here in Osterra, and I wanted to get as much information as possible before it failed.
“I think I’m…stuck,” the spirit replied. "I can go no farther than the boundaries of these woods, and some of these fields…I tried to ask that nice farmer when he was close enough…but his cattle startled me…"
That could explain how Robbie’s accident occurred. Maybe the heifer was more frightened of the spirit than the spirit was of her.
“Where are you from?” I asked.
“Here…I believe…” It paused for a moment, as if searching for the right words. “Can I show you the spot that pulls me?” The spirit sounded stressed, concerned over it’s lack of memories. I was hesitant, at first. In any other case, this would sound like a trap, perhaps the spirit leading me to another barrow of undead warriors. But in this instance, I could not sense any darkness from the spirit. Perhaps the location it is drawn to has something to do with why it remains here, and maybe I could help it pass on.
“Alright,” I replied, securing my grimoire back in its pouch. “Lead on.”
- - - - -
The woods were cool in the late afternoon, not as dense as the forests south of The World’s Spine, but not nearly as large as a woodlot for proper lumber production, allowing for much of the breeze from the surrounding plains to pass through. The spirit kept to a well worn trail, passing around trees and other large obstacles that protruded in the path. Curious behavior for an incorporeal being, which had the ability to just pass through obstacles. The canopy gave way to a decent amount of sunlight, allowing me to see much of the open spaces between the trees, so I could tell that the spirit was not leading me astray.
Again I let my mind wander to my friend Clara, about the last day in my realm. It used to keep me awake at night, often waking in a fright and being unable to fall back asleep. In the daytime, the same questions would haunt me. Had I done everything in my power to save her, or the rest of my adventuring party? Should I have been quicker? More powerful? How was my Mana drained to the point of me not noticing? Did I let my friend die?
I’ve learned to keep myself busy in the days that followed, it helped to keep these thoughts further in the back of my mind. It is probably why I started offering my services for free, as a way to keep me distracted in the daytime and exhausted by the night. A selfless way to be selfish, I joke to myself now. But eventually the nightmares stopped, the persistent thoughts ceased, and I came to remember that I truly enjoy helping others. I also realized that if she were still with me, Clara would be proud of the man I have become.
The path we took led us to a clearing on the northern side of the woods. In it, an abandoned house of stone and thatch sat next to a small brook, gabled roof caved in due to years of neglect. The dark stone walls held up over the years, and even the glass in the windows were unbroken. Other than the roof, the only damage seemed to be from the door, smashed inwards by some unknown force or assailant. The front windows were curtained, and it was too cluttered to see what the inside looked like due to the debris of the roof. With a little work, I thought to myself, it could be a quaint little home.
Standing in the front of the house, I watched as the spirit floated around the right side towards the rear. I followed with my mace drawn, taking a wider path than the spirit had to avoid a possible ambush. I noticed more covered windows on the house, with a chimney in between. Again, in surprisingly good condition. When I came around the back, I noticed that the spirit had stopped in front of a grisly scene.
There were three skeletons, all aged and dirty from the passage of time. One was against a tree on the opposite corner. Yellowed and sun bleached, the skeleton was pinned to a tree with arrows through the ribcage, a few more arrows lining the upper thighs. It was clothed in a battered green tunic with roughspun breeches. A rusted bastard sword laid across the roots underneath, leather wrapped handle accented with tarnished gold. The edges were dulled, but the fuller and the point were in surprisingly good shape.
The other two skeletons told of an even worse fate. The largest of the three was knelt on the ground cradling a smaller skeleton, the size of a young child, in its arms. Both jaws were open, as if screaming. The blackened bones and dead grass around the scene told me that these two were burned alive. Lack of ashes or used kindling told me that this could have been done from an oil fire. Or magic.
The spirit broke the silence. “I remember pieces of this...being pinned to this tree…”
I looked at the skeleton on the tree. A warrior? Someone coming to the defense of the others? “Were these people you knew?” I asked. “Your family, or friends?”
“I think they were...my family.” The misty form of the spirit seemed to shudder. “My family!” the spirit realized. “I came home from the market, and the orcs were here! My husband was on the floor, holding our son. I tried to sneak around the side, to rescue them, but the archers pinned me, made me watch, then-”
The spirit stopped mid sentence. Quietly, it said “there’s a few still here.”
Now in a slight panic, I brought my mace to the ready, grimoire now in hand. No movement from the woods, so I turned my attention to the house. Something stirred inside, movement in the house’s rear windows, which had been uncovered moments ago. The spirit moved quickly towards the tree where its body was. It hovered above the sword.
Alone, and possibly outnumbered, I pointed the palms of my hands down, and to myself I chanted my ward spell.
“By the Will of Altheda, Goddess of Light and Protection, I, the Cleric Grayson, Sanctify this Location, creating a barrier to ward off the dark and corrupted.”
A ring of soft, white light, expanded outward from where I was standing with a soft breeze radiating from my feet. The ring stopped five feet away from me in every direction, half the size of its normal limit. Hopefully these are creatures of darkness, I thought to myself, for the ward won’t work on simple bandits. I put my grimoire back in my belt pouch, and kept my eyes on the outer corners of the house.
Two Goblins rounded the right side of the house. They were stout, scrawny things with wisps of hair and bent ears, moss green skin specked with mud and covered with ragged bovine furs and leather. One goblin held a crude spear, the tip made from a large, sharpened stone. The other held a short dagger, steel lightly rusted as if looted weeks ago. Their eyes stayed on me as they came near.
From the left came a large, gray-skinned Uruk’kia, an Orc seemingly made of solid muscle. His hair was braided into a ponytail, and his face was lined with piercings. He, too, wore shabby leathers and furs, but the arms were bare and covered with scars and tattoos. The Orc had no weapon drawn, but some kind of handle was visible over his right shoulder, held to his torso by a thick leather belt. He made no move for it, but slowly walked towards me.
I stood in a defensive stance, mace now held in both hands. I tried to keep my attention on both groups, but soon I was evenly between them. I kept my mace pointed at the Orc, with my head constantly on a swivel. The Goblin’s spear was pointed towards me, and both were smiling wickedly.
“Are you lost, human?” the large Orc said, arms out and slightly crouched in an intimidating stance. “It’s rare for dinner to come to me,” he continued, the Goblins chuckling behind me, “so what are you doing here?”
“I came here,” I started, mace still trained on him, “to investigate the sightings of a spirit. My investigation led me here. Know anything about it?”
“Yeah,” the Orc growled. “It used to keep me up at night with its damn crying. We’d chase it away for a few days, but the cursed thing keeps coming back.” He noticed the spirit hovering by the tree, about ten feet behind my left shoulder. “Looks like we have to do it again.”
“Were you responsible for the death of these people?” I asked, voiced raised.
He looked back at me, eyes squinting. “Maybe I was, maybe I wasn’t.”
“Are there others of your kind?”
“No,” the Orc replied. “They moved on to help move a caravan a few months past. I was tasked to remain here and wait for their return.”
I hoped that the caravan he mentioned was the one we stopped a few months ago. According to Vidarr, a fellow member of Cedar Hill, there was a caravan of skeletons, tribesmen, and Orcs escorting a few carriages of troops and slaves to an unknown location north of here. That party was led by a powerful Orc Mage, someone who the Guild of the Black Sky seemed to know, which would explain why this Uruk’kia would be content with taking orders. In terms of structure, Uruk’kia were usually the ones in command over the green-skinned Orcs and Goblins, second only to powerful mages or demons.
“I guess I can’t convince you to leave, then?” I asked.
“No,” the Orc said, signaling the Goblins behind me with a nod.
The Goblins rushed forward as I turned to face them. The one with the spear charged ahead on my left as I threw my mace at the other, connecting with its nose. The spear Goblin crashed into an invisible wall, face smashed against the Holy Ward I placed earlier. That spell acts as a Divine shield, keeping any creature corrupted by darkness out. Its spear, however, made it through, and while it was dazed from its impact, I yanked the spear from its grip, turned the blade, and thrusted it into the Goblins chest. As he spat up blood, I removed the stone blade and made a swipe at the other Goblin, still covering his face from the mace’s impact. Its stomach was sliced from hip to hip, and both Goblins fell to the floor.
Spear still in hand, I turned to face the Orc. He roared, eyes going from me to the ground, now noticing the faint ring of light that was barely visible against the remaining sunlight.
“Sorcery!” he roared again. “You will pay for your tricks!”
Not giving him a chance to respond I charged at him, spear aimed for his chest. As I lunged forward, he dodged to the right and grabbed the spear as I had done earlier. Instead of snatching it from me, he used his brute strength to swing both the spear and myself out of the circle. I let go and fell to the floor, rolling a bit until jumping back to my feet. When I did, the Orc swung the flat of the spear slammed into my stomach, and with an upright swing the shaft connected with my lower jaw, sending me recoiling backwards. My back collided with a tree hard, eyes watering from the pain. Gasping for breath, I cast a simple healing spell to fix my jaw.
The pain subsided from my face, but my stomach and back ached. The Orc laughed, tossing the spear well behind him and reached for the weapon secured to his back. He unsheathed a terrible dark sword, long and scarred from years of use. The great sword was single edged, and the unscarred parts of the blade was polished to a mirrored black. Defenseless, I looked from him to the grounds between us. A little ways from my right was my mace, laying behind the two dead Goblins. There was no way I’d be able to make it over there in time. All I had left was my dagger secured to my lower back, a laughable defense to the Orc before me.
I had to try though. I began to push myself to my feet, still aware of the pain, when my hands brushed against something metallic. I quickly looked at it, then up. The spirit was there, hovering over the sword I had just bumped into. Looking at the tree that I collided with, I saw the pinned skeleton of the hero who tried to rescue their family. With newfound determination, I grabbed the sword and stood. It was heavier than my mace, but well balanced and comfortable in my hands. I swung it a few times, and with a flourish I took a defensive stance.
“Good,” the Orc said, almost in a growl. “No better way than to die with a sword in your hand.”
“Then you will die better than you deserve,” I responded coldly.
I stood at the ready as he charged, my reflexes barely able to parry his barbaric swings. I knew he was fast when he caught my spear, but now it seemed like that was only a fraction of his strength. The Orc swung wildly, easily being able to return with a counter after his attack was blocked. Left, right, right again, up, lower left, he came from all directions. It took all I had just to defend myself, arms clenching in recoil while my back and ribs ached from his previous attack. I knew that I couldn’t hold him for much longer, and I knew that this could be the end for me. What could I do?
After blocking another low swing I noticed something on the ground. The edge of my ward! Still active, the magical ring laid just behind me to my right. I knew what I had to do. I continued blocking his attacks, hoping that I could bait him into swinging at my left side. After a few more parries I saw it, the Orc adjusting his feet and readying a swing from his right, my left. I took a small jump backwards, over the edge of my ward, making him believe I was simply trying to dodge his attack. Eyes still focused on me, he took his swing. I blocked, realizing that the Orc still wasn’t close enough, so I took another step back. He moved his foot, planted it right in front of the ward’s edge, and brought his sword down in a forward swing.
The Orc’s hands stopped right in front of his face with a whomp as he collided with my barrier. With a swift, well-aimed thrust I ran the tip of the sword through his heart, only stopping when the guard hit his chest. We locked eyes, me breathing heavily and the Uruk’kia still growling in anger. I adjusted my grip on the sword and began to turn it in his chest. The Orc roared in pain, now breathing heavily as his lung began to fill with blood. I pulled the sword out, and it fell to the ground, my arms too tired to continue holding it. The Orc dropped his sword between us, then dropped to his knees, gasping for breath. He looked up at me, still fuming with anger in his eyes as blood poured from his chest and back, and with a cough of blood and bile the Orc fell to his side. His breathing stopped soon afterwards.
Exhaustion swept over me. I walked towards the center of my ward and took a knee, arms sore and ribs bruised. The sunlight was a still soft amber color, telling me that there was still plenty of daylight remaining. The breeze returned, as if it were holding its breath at the suspense of the moment. The skeletons remained undisturbed, thankfully, as I did not want to desecrate them any more than they have already been. I closed my eyes for a second...
- - - - -
My mind returned to Clara as I remembered the last time I had used a sword. Before I had even chosen the University of Altheda for my magical studies, Clara decided that she would be a famed warrior. As kids we would fight with whatever sticks we had available, and in our teenage years Clara was able to purchase two poorly made iron short swords. She took to the sword like a natural, and our friendly sparring sessions quickly turned into her instructing me on different forms of swordplay. I would sarcastically call her “teacher,” to her fury, and laughed even harder when she began to fuss about it. I never took these matches seriously, but she seemed to be ok with it.
Shortly after I turned 14, my magic manifested at one of these “lessons” with an intense light emanating from my body. Instead of being upset or jealous, like the other children our age had been, Clara was genuinely happy for me. We hung out, sold one of the swords to purchase our favorite meals, and talked about which University I would choose. Before I even had my answer, she had said to me that “whatever University you choose to do, I know you’ll be making the right decision. You’re a natural at helping others, and you have a good heart.” We had fun the entire night, and in the morning she walked with me to the Capital to register as a magic user. It was because of what she had said the previous night that I decided to learn the Healing and Protection Ways of Altheda. She joined the militia to continue her swordsmanship training, becoming a knight soon after, and later became the famed warrior that she always dreamed of…
- - - - -
I opened my eyes, not realizing that I had fallen asleep. I was now laying on my back, still thinking about the dream I just had. A distant memory. Since coming here to Osterra, I had only thought of losing her, losing my way as a Cleric. Remembering Clara, remembering all the good times we had together, made me realize that she will never truly be gone. I will carry her with me, as well as all the new friends that I have made here, as long as I live.
I sat up, noticing that my ward was still active. The sun was just about to set, the woods beginning to darken. The air was thick with moisture, telling me that it might rain soon. Remembering that I still needed to tend to the spirit, I forced my tired body to stand.
The misty form of the spirit was hovering just outside the edge of my ward, now a pale blue from the available light. As I stood to face it, the spirit slowly moved towards me. As it crossed over the ring of soft light, the misty spirit transformed into a woman with dark hair and chiseled features on her face. Her skin was still the same pale-blue transparency that the mist had been, and she was wearing the exact tunic and breeches as the skeleton on the tree. Her eyes were colorless as she stared at me, but the rest of her face was smiling.
“Thank you, Cleric, for avenging my family” said the spirit in her hollow voice. “I had sensed that the others responsible had been vanquished in the past,” she continued, turning her head slowly to the Uruk’kia, “and he was the last one.”
“I’m glad I could help,” I told her.
She looked back at me. “Before I leave to be with my family again, I want to ask. Why?” She placed a hand over her heart. “Why do this for me? For my family?”
I didn’t have to think about my response. “That’s what I do, what I have always tried and wanted to do. Help others who cannot help themselves.”
The spirit smiled. “You have a good heart, and my eternal thanks.”
I smiled, humbled as I remembered the same words spoken by Clara long ago.
She walked (or floated) past me to where her sword was laying. The spirit looked down, then looked at me.
“It would make me rest easy if I knew that you would keep it.”
“The sword?” I asked.
“That,” she said. “And my home,” she continued, now turning to face me again. “Either keep it for yourself, or give it to a loving family. You decide.”
“I...I will, thank you.” I nodded to her, overwhelmed by her gift.
She nodded, and with a smile she vanished, like smoke carried away in the breeze…
- - - - -
Within the next few days I returned to the house with Robbie to bury the family. He told me that he vaguely knew of the property, telling me that his grandfather made many visits here when Robbie was younger. We moved the bones with great care to a clearing out of sight of the house, in a small clearing with small, white flowers. My friends Triss and Meryn from Cedar Hill had discovered a breed of flowers, these flowers, that only grow along ley lines. Along with other ingredients, the magical properties of this flower aided with a remedy to an Illithid’s mind control. Perhaps being on a ley line is how she came back as a spirit, I thought to myself.
After burning the bodies of the Orc and Goblins, taking them even further from the property, Robbie and I returned to the house. It was a cozy design, a large horseshoe shaped main room separated into smaller sections by destroyed furniture and standing screens. The back half of the house was raised a few feet from the front, stairs lining elevated sections A walled off pantry was built in the middle of the back half, separating the kitchen area to the left and a small bedroom to the right. In the front half of the house, the remains of a small dining table was visible to the left of the door, while a child-sized bed was to the right. Curtains and cow leather covered the windows.
We cleared out what we could of the destroyed roof, taking most of the afternoon. In doing so, Robbie discovered a small cache of treasures in a false step located by the bedrooms. It was a small, roughspun burlap bag of coins, precious gems, and various small bones, telling me that this may have been the loot from the creatures that once held up here. Robbie insisted that it was now mine by rights, but I turned it down. I offered it to him, but he came up with another solution.
“How about,” he started, looking around at the poor condition of the house. “How about I buy the materials and labor to get this place to livable standards, then I keep what's left over. Deal?”
I agreed to his terms, of course. A house on a ley line sounds useful for study and magic development. As we walked back to his homestead, I thought again of my friends, both new and old. The locals I have helped, my fellow portal travelers, and those still in my home realm will always have a place in my heart. It has been nearly 4 years since I came to Osterra, and I have made many friends since. In time, I hope to see them all again. But for now, there’s work to be done.
- - - - -
I just wanted to give a special thanks to Skip, Don, Sarah, Skippy, Julie, Betsy, Ryan, Lucas, and all of my friends in LARP Adventures for creating a world full of adventure and magic for all to enjoy. Your creativity inspires others creativity, and I never thought of myself as a writer until you all gave me the tools to create my own stories. You have a lifelong fan, and I hope to continue exploring the worlds you create.