From the Chronicles of Anankis Miri
“Remember… you’re mine.”
“Anankis, Get up! We must go!” I open my eyes and the morning’s light hits me: I realize that I’m in my bed, in my beloved Greenest, with all my companions waiting for me.
It was a dream, only a very bad dream.
“We’re all set, come on!” Lei urges me, leaving the small room where I sleep.
I stand up quickly and now I notice the tome laying on my bed: it wasn’t definitively a dream.
I touch lightly the cover and it is hot and burns a little but it’s not a bad sensation. I take the tome, trying to open it but I’m unable to do it. I turn around the book, looking at its leather cover inlaids with metal plates and they seem to be grown in the leather itself, like a foreign body, like a strange illness. Inspecting the tome I feel a small bowl in a metal plate larger and shiner than the others, arranged on the right part of the book. My index finger fits perfectly in the little depression: suddenly a swift sting on my finger and a blood tear slips in the bowl, absorbed by the book itself. I pull back my hand, horrified, and the tome falls on the bed, opened.
I get close, looking at the open pages: the words on the paper disorderly flutter, in the same language of my body burns, but I’m able to read them.
Spells. New spells, unknown to me. I’m pretty sure I can write in it all enchantment I know.
“ANANKIS!” Shill’s voice reawaken me and I close the book all of a sudden. I take my bag, insert the grimoire in it and I’m ready to go.
We leave Greenest, straining the walk, and, after the twilight, we arrive at the cultists’ camp.
Getting closer to the encampment we don’t see telling signs of the presence of a lot of people; even during the walk we didn’t find anyone. From faraway there seem to be only a few tents: the whole zone where the humans were now is totally clear, only one or two campfires lighten the night. Around one of them, four people, dressed in leather, and near them, likewise, four horses.
We note that the cave is still kept under watch despite the entire camp went away.
Elora sends her cat through the four men to hear their discourses: they’re talking about hunting, confirming the fact that they’re not cultists but simple hunters.
After a short discussion Geralt proposes to create a diversion and, then, enters in the cave. Finally Zeed transforms himself in a beautiful deer and tries to distract the hunters to lure them away from the campfire and give us the possibility to capture them.
Simple, clear and easy to do.
As always nothing goes as planned: all of a sudden an arrow hits Zeed and he falls down, hitting the ground, apparently dead; the hunter, the bow tightly hold in his right hand, exults looking at the deer’s corpse.
I’m not sure about what happen: Geralt throw an arrow, hitting the triumphant man who collapses on the earth gripping his own leg; the other hunter hastens to help his friend and we immobilize him and, in a second, Zeed became a giant spider, who climbs a tree and waits for a prey.
Then the situation degenerate: the two remaining men run to help their companions and we have to kill them.
I’m not so sure all this death is necessary.
We killed three men and interrogated the hurt one: “Who are you? What are you doing here?” Geralt spits out this words with arrogance.
“I- I’m Odel! We were paid by those men! They paid us well to hunt for food” The hunter’s voice is a feeble murmur. “WHO? Who are those men?” Asks Geralt.
“Rez… Rezmir.” Geralt’s eyes fill up with rage: he squeezes his lips and, with just a gesture, shows him to proceed.
“I got the food. They took the best preys in the cave, I don’t know for who. The mediocre food remained to the others. I know they brought it to a place they called “the Nursery”.”
“What’s inside?” “Rezmir, but now she isn’t there. After the escape of the half-elf, she gave order to dismantle the camp and run away. In the cave remained the One Who Dress In Purple Red, her companion and the dogs-dragons.”
The man is clearly in a panic and Zeed starts to scary him more in giant spider form.
“DON’T KILL ME!!” Odel screams, starting to breathe anxiously. “I-I DON’T…. I didn’t know where they go, they took everyone with them, included the prisoners.”
Elora asks: “Did they plan other assaults?”
“I don’t know! Please, believe me… I’m only a poor hunter!”
“In what direction did they go? I’m sure you saw it.” I ask to the man, controlling my apprehension for the prisoners’ lives.
“West. Rezmir brought the prisoners to the west.” Zeed continues to scare him, languidly caressing him with the chelicera. “Please, please, release me. I’m a widower and I have four children: Iobar, Matur, Tashark and Beshen… I’m their only family! Please!”
I can understand him: my dear mother died when I was five and I’ve never met my father. I don’t want to be the assassin of a simple man, of a father. I don’t even want to imagine those children’s eyes when they’ll know their father was killed.
The man watches us in despair.
He bows down in front of Shill and begs Tyr for help: the paladin, finally, frees him, with my pleasure, and we silently return to the camp.
“Ok… Now?” I ask looking at the guard corpse in front of the cave: we killed him without any hesitation.
When I became a soulless person without any remorse? Why my hands are so covered in blood? I’ll do anything for Greenest but sometimes it seems that the price to pay is too high.
Zeed makes a little sign with one of his spider’s paw and enters in the cavern; after few minutes he returns and pushes us to go in.
Slowly we advance in the darkness: nothing in front of us, only a thick dark that covers everything around.
It’s not a problem for me and I can clearly see Zeed the spider scampering above our heads on the ceiling.
“FOR TIAMAT!” A guard appears from a dark corner and hits Elora: she screams, more for the surprise than the pain.
In few seconds we defeat him.
“We must wait… Surely the other guards heard this mess. Be careful.” Shill’s voice is less than a whisper; only Zeed moves and proceeds on the exploration of the cavern, blending himself with the darkness.
We wait noiselessly, not even our breathes resound in the rocky obscurity.
I think, again and again, about the encounter in the woods, the grimoire seems to be heavier in my bag, and I’m afraid: what will I do if my patron appears again? Why did he choose me? What is he? A demon?
I remember the tarot card and everything becomes more confuse: must I beware from my own Patron?
What have I to do?
“On the left, proceeding in the next rooms, there is a huge cavern, full of creatures! At first…“ Zeed appears again in his normal form and talks with a lot of worry: “…I thought they were all big bats, but then I saw many others, a strange cross between bats and mosquitoes. I recognized them, they are called stirges and they sting with their pointed snout to drink blood. They are very dangerous and it is very peculiar, for me, that they’re here.”
I start to look around and, after a short research, I find a breach.
“I go in. I’m the smallest here and I can see in the dark.” I say and all my companions agree.
I go in: there’s a passage and after more or less 3 meters it divides itself in two ways. The right way seems to lead to a square room largely empty but for many trunks, bags and sacks scattered on the ground: probably this place is abandoned.
The left way is a bit longer than the other and, after a corner, I see movements: I’m pretty sure they’re the guards’ attempt to hide themselves.
Like a little shadow I return to my group.
The wonderful stories of Anankis Miri and her companions can be also read in the repository of RPG Tales, Scrolls Abound! Enjoy