Of Faith and Loose Ends
All about Sadosed were fallen warriors
bodies as far as the eye could see. The ground was soaked in
crimson, and it seemed to rise up to the horizon, touching the setting sun and turning it dark with the color of
blood. He glanced down at one of the bodies at his feet. Its blank gaze seemed to stare right into MacDougails
The celt was pale as he stared down at the crest that the other
wore. A gray shield, with the tree of life in its
center, flanked by two crescent moons. The rune of defense rose high above them both and in the center of the
tree, a skull and axe silhouetted. It was the symbol of Tir Thalor. Sadoseds eyes drifted to another, and he too
bore the same mark. As did another and another.
A lump formed inside his throat when Sadosed realized that
all of the fallen warriors were of Tir Thalor.
What has happened here? He thought to himself.
Looking about, he did not see any bodies but those of his
brothers and sisters. No other crests but those of Tir
Thalor littered the ground. MacDougail then looked at one of the slain warriors to see what manner of man or
beast may have slew them.
"Uuuhh, Sadosed is that you?" a strained voice
came from his left. Sadosed immediately stood up, craning his
neck to see where the sound was coming from. Only the frozen grimaces of the dead greeted him.
"Whos there?" He responded, drawing out
Thulėmegil and making his way towards the voice. For a moment he
stopped and looked at his sword, regarding it. Something was not right but he could not put his finger on it.
"Help me," the voice brought him out of his thoughts.
He realized he was standing on a small hill of bodies, his
feet and legs stained a deep crimson. The voice
seemed to be coming from the top of the hill. From this angle, Sadosed saw the standard of Tir Thalor gently
swaying in the wind. As he ascended the hill of bodies, he slipped more than once, his tabard and hands were now
covered in the lifeblood of his fallen comrades. The hill seemed to grow larger the higher he ascended.
More than once he saw a face he recognized in the pile of
dead, someone he met on the field of battle. It felt
to him like he had climbed for hours before reaching the summit. As Sadosed approached his destination he heard
the sound of battle. Climbing even faster, he reached the top. From where he stood, MacDougail saw Granarinth
Alandore, his sword in one hand and the battle standard of Tir Thalor in the other. He was engaged in combat
with another figure, but from his vantage point Sadosed could not make out who or what he was fighting.
Without thinking Sadosed charged forward to give aid to his commander and screamed, "Tir Thalor!!!"
Upon hearing this, Granarinth turned briefly to see who was
coming to his aid. The half-elf grinned with relief
when he saw his friend charging madly. Just then, Sadosed was overcome by a strange sensation. His pace
slowed, but not by his own accord. It was like he was moving through water. Sadoseds thoughts were sharp and
alert, but his body was dull and sluggish. To his shock everything, else about him was still normal. The one
engaged with Granarinth raised his sword high and came down upon the half-elven commander. It seemed that
Granarinth made no attempt to parry or to dodge the blow as the blade came across, slicing the standard of Tir
Thalor and biting deeply into his right shoulder.
Sadosed screamed out but no sound left his lips. He tried
to move faster but it seemed that the distance
between him and the melee grew before his very eyes. MacDougail gazed in horror as he saw his friends blood
flow freely from the shoulder wound. Frustrated, he could only watch his commander, the one Sadosed was sworn
to protect, fall to his knees awaiting the blow that would end his life. Sadosed tried to close his eyes, but he
found his gaze drawn to the conflict and unable to look away.
Then he saw Granarinth, who now, knelt directly before him,
clutching the broken standard in one hand and his
battle sword was held limply in the other. Blood was sprayed across his face from the open wound in his shoulder.
His face showed much pain and despair. Sadosed wondered how his friend ended up kneeling in front of him.
Before he could bend over to assist him, MacDougail noticed that his blade was covered in blood. As he wondered
how, Granarinth looked up at him and Sadosed saw nothing but hate where once respect and admiration used to
show. It unsettled him to the point that he took a step back.
"Betrayer!" the half elf hissed between clenched teeth.
Sadosed just stared back in disbelief.
"You failed me!" Granarinth said as his eyes
burned into Sadoseds very being. Granarinth waved the torn
standard towards the bodies that surrounded them. "You failed your brothers, and you failed yourself. You bring
dishonor on the name of Tir Thalor!" Finally, he spat.
An overwhelming sense of fear came over MacDougail, so much
that he could not even speak. He stumbled
backwards from the words hitting him. He looked down at his sword covered in the blood of his friend and
watched in horror as it writhed and twisted, taking on the appearance of a serpent. Sadosed let go of the blade
but the serpent wrapped about his arm. The beast bit deeply into his sword hand. Surprisingly he felt no pain,
only the pressure of the weight upon his arm.
As Granarinth still knelt before him, head downward,
something shifted behind the half elf, causing Sadosed
to look in that direction. The bodies seemed to be melting, together, as if they were created from ice. Forgetting
the serpent on his arm, Sadosed stared intently at the swirling chaos. Almost like a whirlpool it enveloped more of
the bodies. It grew as if to drag them both down to some watery demise. In the midst of the chaos, a clawed,
demonic hand came forth and snatched the kneeling Granarinth, pulling him quietly into the chaos.
Sadosed attempted to lunge forward to his friends
aid, but his arm seemed to be held fast. Looking at his
hand, he saw the serpent was no longer there. In its place, a great wolf, darker than night and as large as a horse,
held Sadoseds hand in its mouth. He pulled and pulled to free himself but the creature gave no ground.
"No!!!" the warrior of Tir Thalor howled.
"Not again!!!" He frantically flailed his arm in a vain attempt to get to
his friend. Alas, all Sadosed could do was watch his friend slowly sink into the chaotic abyss that lay before
"Now the blame is yours, Sadosed Padreag
MacDougail." A claming voice pieced the chaos. Standing to
Sadoseds left, opposite to the wolf, was Stalzer. Dressed in all white, the cleric of She of Storms and Running
Waters, regarded the whirlpool of chaos before them. "You were not at Demonsgate, even though your duty is to
protect Granarinth. I shielded you from the blame. But, now, you are the one who shall carry it." During this whole
conversation, the red haired holy man did not even turn to regard Sadosed. "You know what you must do." Stalzer
stated after a moment.
The wolf growled, as if only to let Sadosed know that they
were still joined. With a background of swirling
chaos, the wolf and MacDougail locked gazes. He sensed the chaotic nature of the wolf, but also found a familiar
place in the recesses of that chaos. In a moment of pure clarity, he knew what must be done. With his free hand,
he drew his dirk and in one quick motioned sliced off the hand that the wolf held. Somehow Sadosed was not
shocked on how easily the blade cut through flesh and bone. Now free of the wolfs grasp MacDougail jumped
headfirst into the abyss to save his friend.
A sudden burst of laughter awoke Sadosed with a start. For
a moment he still believed himself on that
battlefield diving into the abyss. The warrior of Tir Thalor hastily looked about, and soon the realization of
where he was sank in. He was in the main hall of Corellon Moon Manor, home of the Baron GhostDancer of the Red
Hand and his newlywed Shadesong. It was, in fact, their wedding reception. Laughter and mirth filled the air and
the clinking of cups rang in time with the tunes that the bards sung. One could feel the love and happiness in the
great hall. Sadosed shook his head to drive out the visions of death he just witnessed just moments before.
"Drank too much of that Heros Mead, eh?" a voice said loudly enough top draw him out of his nap.
Sadosed looked up to see his Clan brother and friend Indigo
smiling back. The swamp elf had an ornate bottle
in one hand that resembled a monkey of some sorts. He followed the gaze of the swamp elf to the bottle that
rested next to the chair. MacDougail smiled back at his friend as he retrieved the half-full bottle from the floor
next to him. "No friend, I still have some. When I reach the point when this bottle is empty and I have no more to
drink, then I will have drank too much." As to drive his point home, Sadosed took a long swig from the bottle. The
liquid warmed the Celts throat, and the clove numbed his mouth. He wished that these nightmares would end soon.
Indigo, quite pleased at his friends appreciation of the mead that Indigo himself had brewed, smiled before
making his way to where the fairies fluttered about and caused mischief.
As Sadosed scanned about the great hall, his eyes fell upon the
dancing from of Kittarina. Her half-elven form
moved as graceful as a bird in flight. For a moment, it seemed that the brightness of the room increased the more
Kitta danced. Her paced quickened in time with the drumming, and Sadosed knew that all of the smaller
conversations in the hall went dim as all attention fell upon the gypsy dancer. Faster and faster she moved her
motions almost a blur. The sound of clapping hands and mugs being slammed against wood added to the drumming
beat. The sound rose to the point where the stones themselves vibrated to the beat, then the dance ended and the
noised ceased. Kittarina stood silently for a moment, her head down, which signaled the conclusion of the dance.
Even in the torchlight one could see the perspiration on her brow, and her heavy breathing. Then, like thunder, the
assembled group broke out into cheers. From the crowd, a figure approached her, and as if no words were
needed between them Kittarina looked up and kissed him. Granarinth and Kittarina held their embrace, which, for
the onlookers, seemed only but a moment. But, for anyone who has ever known the love of another, an embrace like
this would seem to last an eternity. As the onlookers went back to their conversations and merriment, the voices of
Hoot Dreamsinger and King Starshadow Moonbeam could be heard preparing to sing. Sadosed took this
opportunity to approach his friend and commander. Kittarina saw the approach, and sensed something was
bothering him. Feeling it better to leave the two alone she went in search of something to drink, kissing her
beloved on the cheek as she went.
"Granarinth milord," MacDougail began, "I
wish to take my leave. I shall spend the remainder of the evening
outside of the Manor. I will prepare the horses and equipment for our departure on the morrow."
"It is quite early," the other replied. "The festivities have just begun."
"Yes, but I am feeling a bit under the weather, and do not want to spoil the good cheer of my friends."
The half-elf looked in the eyes of the other. Sadosed had
served him for many years and Granarinth knew
when something was troubling his aide. He also knew that when Sadosed wishes to talk about things that bothered
him, he will, and by the look in his eyes, Sadosed did not want to speak of it. Granarinth rested his hand to the
shoulder of the other, and simply stated, "You may take your leave."
"Thank you, my friend" was the only response
Sadosed gave. He then turned about and made his way through
the hall and left. For the first time since he lost his sword, Thulėmegil, Sadosed Padreag MacDougail began to
* * * * *
In the forest surrounding Starhaven, a well-worn path glimmered
in the moonlight. A cool wind blew across the
path, dancing through the trees and under the brush. At an unremarkable stretch of the trail, the wind
unexpectedly died down. To most, this place would mean nothing for it looked the same as any other spot. To
Sadosed Padreag MacDougail, however, this was the place that his spirit was broken. Though in body he was
leagues away, his mind had been trapped in this place for what seemed to him like an eternity. This was the place
where his blade Thulėmegil was shattered by an assassins enchanted blade. It was on this very spot now that a
figure emerged from the woods. Dressed in a cloak of leaves, one might think this figure grew upward from the
very earth itself. This assumption was not far from the truth, for anyone looking at this figures movements would
at once notice that this was a creature of the forest. As the figure drew back his cowl, elven features were
evident. He quickly scanned the ground, as if searching for something. He brought his hands up from his cloak and
a low mummer could be heard.
The dust and leaves upon the ground shifted as if riding along the wind.
The wind began stronger, blowing in a circular pattern. Within a
few moments, a cyclone barely the height of a
man was formed. Clouded in dust and debris it danced along the path, seemingly at the commands of the elf. As it
swirled about, something glittered within the small tempest. It was as if tiny gems were scattered within the
swirling form. The elfs hands moved like a blur and his voice cresendoed as he chanted "Nuvalye Ener Sadosed!"
Suddenly, the chanting halted. In a flash the figure withdrew a small crystal container from under his cloak, and
opened it. With a final motion of his free hand, the glittering objects in the cyclone flew out from the dirt, and,
like insects to a flame, entered the crystalline container. The Cyclone died down as the gems entered the
In a few short moments, all that remained of the tiny twister was
a small pile of dirt and debris. The now-full
container was quickly replaced into the folds of the cloak. He glanced briefly at the moon and smiled. The moon
Fear not Sadosed Padreag MacDougail... you shall be whole again, were the Elfs final thoughts as he
disappeared into the shroud of night.
copyright 1998 Joseph Barone All Rights Reserved.