Today started out normally enough – or, at least, as normal as life gets for me these days.
I’d been gradually tracking north for a while, following everything from rumours to goblin tracks to weird images and impulses from my meditations. Wandering, basically. Living up to the name – hah. Having the opportunity to put a serious dent in the goblin population was a bonus. It seems that I’ve become something of a problem for them. I don’t know if goblins have wanted posters, or maybe it’s just word of mouth, but these days, they attack me on sight.
My luck ran out when I found a mob of them terrorising a small village. It’s never enough for them to just steal – they have to burn, and go after the weakest. There was too much smoke to pick them off with arrows, so I had to go in on foot. That’s when I realised there were at least a dozen of them, riding their mangy dogs. Even with Maro’s help I was quickly surrounded. There was nothing for it but to keep fighting.
I’d just seen an opportunity to disengage when a wave of fear hit me out of nowhere, leaving me shaken. It must have been magic of some kind, because the goblins all turned and ran. So did Maro, unfortunately – stupid wolf. I was left with my sword in my hands and goblin carcasses at my feet – and then I heard a familiar voice call my name.
It was Nura, the wizard with whom I’d travelled long ago, when I’d first started adventuring. She sounded entirely unsurprised to see me (but then, I think it would take a lot for her to sound anything but poised, and a little bored). They were all there – Chrysta, Vall, even Faye (who seems to have become a terrifyingly good fighter). There were new people, too. One of them (Zakaroth was his name, a half-elf I think) rode straight past me after the goblins. There was also a gnomish cleric, and an elven bard who apparently followed Faye. I’d only just introduced myself when the bard rummaged in his bag and brought out a letter addressed to me.
The seal was unmistakable. I’d seen it everywhere when I was younger. The Council. Wasn’t it enough that they’d banished me? What could they possibly want with me now?
I read the letter with growing disbelief and anger. It was a mistake? They hadn’t meant to actually exile me? Oh, and by the way, they’d hoped I’d come back one day?
I’m not sure what would have happened if Vall (of all people) hadn’t stepped in. He knew exactly what I’d just read, because he’d also been contacted by the Council. And he understood how furious I was. the next thing I knew, we’d somehow moved instantly in space (he called it teleporting), to a place called the DIvine City. And that’s where I met the Gods.
Except they weren’t the Gods as I knew them. We went to the temple of Calistria, Vall prayed (which was strange enough), and then someone appeared. It wasn’t the Goddess as I’d seen her depicted, though there was definitely a resemblance. And when she spoke, there were three distinct voices. She/They told me that because of the ‘betrayal’, the Gods had banded together to fight a terrible evil, and one – Nethys, God of magic – had actually been killed. The others were weakened, and some had, for want of a better word, merged. (That included my Goddess, Desna. She was now Shelyn-Desna, but they seemed to be somehow more at ease with each other than the being who had been Calistria.)
They apologised. Gods, apologising to us. Apparently the directive to banish us had been misunderstood by the elves. We were supposed to be given a choice – we could remain at home among our own people, or we could choose to help the Gods restore the world. (At least, that’s what I thought they were saying. It was all starting to overwhelm me.) I think that if I’d suddenly found myself before the Council at that point, I would have simply attacked them. How many of us had our hearts broken by this ‘miscommunication’? How many were still out there, not knowing the truth?
Shelyn-Desna took pity on me, I think. She granted me the power to use these magical transports, the portal stones, and let me go. In an instant, we were back in the village, with the adventurers. Strangely, it was Faye who realised I wasn’t exactly in the mood for a reunion. She suggested that drinking heavily might be the right thing to do. I couldn’t agree more.
So here I am, my world turned upside-down again, back with the people who I travelled with at the start of my journey. There are new faces here, too. I don’t know where things are going from here. I think I can safely say, though, that nothing’s going to be the same again.