Rhonda Floam’s Diaries: Resting

Dollano 23, SP~4,909

Rhonda Floam


The first thing I must capture here is that Donnessling is not dead. I do not understand how that could be given how deep his wound was. It seems that it had something to do with the Stone (or “Eye”) that he carries, and with Sheshoffiss’ skill with his own Stone. These ancient artifacts are more powerful than I had imagined.

We found out from Sheshoffiss who had quickly come over to sit by Donnessling’s unmoving body. I could see that he was holding the white Eye in one hand and with his other he cupped a bit of water from the lake. Then we could hear him mutter some more of those strange words as he slowly poured water onto Donnessling’s chest where the gray shaft had speared him. We could see a soft white light coming out of both of Sheshoffiss’ hands and the light seemed to infuse the water as it dripped onto Donnessling. After a few moments we could see the glimmer of a weak green light coming out of the wound. I’m not entirely sure my eyes actually saw this, but the green light seemed to draw a gray shadow out of the wound and push it toward the white light coming from Sheshoffiss who then seemed to absorb it. Or he might have been casting it off. I could not tell, but expelling this gray substance from Donnessling seemed to allow life back into his body.

After what seemed like hours, Donnessling opened his eyes. The first thing he did was look up at Sheshoffiss and give a slight nod of his head. I saw Sheshoffiss give a sigh of relief, and he then told the rest of us that Donnessling would live. These nossring folk are a very stoic kind, but at this announcement I could feel the emotions of relief, and I think I may have seen some tears of relief run down Allsassring’s cheeks.

Allsassring broke the silence by telling Sheshoffis and Donnessling that they must both rest. He then gave the same command to the rest of us.

“Sleep. I will keep watch, but we should be safe here in this ancient place.”

At that each of the nossring found a place to settle on the hard stone floor and slept. I remained awake with Allsassring for long enough to take down these words. I would not allow any amount of fatigue to stop me from capturing these extraordinary events while they were still fresh in my mind.

I have now discharged that obligation and will also find sleep with the last image I saw before I set aside my pen being Allsassring’s back, stern and sturdy as he kept watch on the door.

Rhonda Floam’s Diaries: Hazzen’s Cave

Dollano 22, SP~4,909

Rhonda Floam

Hazzen’s Cave

My previous entry was written very late last night, or, perhaps more accurately, early this morning. We’d spent the night running and had finally found our way here to this sanctuary. I had a chance then to write, but was too exhausted to tell the whole story. I’ve now had a few hours of sleep, so I can tell the rest of the tale.

Breaking through the doors was not difficult. They were held on their hinges by little more than rust and the brittleness of old age.

We had left behind the folk from Tellin Town, and Allsassring led the rest of us (the nossring and me) through the building. He seemed to know the passageways. I’m guessing he had a talk with Donnessling or Sheshoffiss, or both, who had in turn gotten information from some ally or informant in Berimandry.

At one time, very long ago, the building must have been home to someone very wealthy. Now, though, it had fallen into disrepair with many parts beyond recognition.

Donnessling and Sheshoffiss took up the rear to defend against the constant attacks from the tall malevolence that had followed us into this place. We could see flashes of green light or white light accompanied by loud cracks as the Energy behind the lights snapped into existence. These lights were quickly followed by a grayness that dimmed the other lights and the lights of our torches.

Allsassring led us on, through hallway after hallway sometimes following stairs down, but more often following stairs up.

Suddenly, Allsassring shouted out to Donnessling that we had reached “the door,” and Donnessling soon appeared at our sides. We could hear the battle between Sheshoffiss and the gray creature behind us. Donnessling motioned to a number of the fighters and they scurried back to aid Sheshoffiss.

Donnessling was exhausted, his clothing torn in several places with gashes along his chest and side. They seemed freshly gouged from his form, but I could see that, even as I watched, they were healing themselves with a soft green light along their lengths.

The green light stopped and Donnessling winced, and drew from his pocket the purple stone that he had taken from Begkragk. I could see Allsassring looking at him with great concern, and seeming prepared to hold him up should it be necessary.

Donnessling drew a breath, closed his eyes, and raised the Eye of Zanyr in front of him. He recited the words of an ancient tongue and as he did the purple stone grew in brightness. Just as the light was reaching out to the surface of the wall at the end of the corridor, we heard a hard thud and felt the jolt of something powerful. I looked back and could see three of my nossring friends lying on the floor in pools of their own blood. Four others had surrounded Sheshoffiss who was casting forward a white light with both of his hands. The white cloud was violently mixing with a grayness that seeped into it, distorting its shape and diluting its brilliance. With a cry of outrage Sheshoffiss suddenly forced the cloud of white light to envelope its gray foe to swallow it whole, and, with an explosion that shook the walls and floors of the building around us, it hurled the tall gray creature back down the corridor.

The nossring around Sheshoffiss started to move toward the creature, but Sheshoffiss held them back. “It is only stunned for a moment or perhaps two. We must run.” He then collapsed into the arms of two of his protectors who ran back to the rest of us, with the other two backing toward us, vigilantly watching for whatever might happen at the other end of the corridor.

At that moment, we heard a different cracking sound, but this one was more mechanical. I turned to see that a door had opened in the wall revealing a passageway cut through rough stone.

Donnessling croaked to us, “Go! Safety lies down this way.” He looked at Allsassring, and without hesitation he commanded us to follow him into the darkness.

Once everyone was through, Donnessling once again raised the purple stone in his hands and softly sang another ancient chant. As the door was closing a bolt of sharp gray, like a dark silver lance, flew through the door and buried itself deep in Donnessling’s chest. He slumped and the nossring warriors near him caught him as he fell to the ground.

We ran down the stone tunnel and could hear the shrieks of the gray creature behind us and its attempts to break the door we had just come through.

A short run led us into the expanse of a domed cavern with a small lake that brought a freshness to its space.

“Hazzen’s Cave,” Allsassring told us, “We are safe in this place,” and we laid Donnessling’s body at the water’s side.

Rhonda Floam’s Diaries: The Red Nossring

Dollano 21, SP~4,909

Rhonda Floam

The Red Nossring

Donnessling and Sheshoffiss arrived not long after dawn. They were tired and rushed. They told us to gather up our belongings and follow them. Most of us were awake; or, well, most of them were awake. I’d finally managed to fall asleep about an hour before they arrived, so I was a bit slower than others.

There was no time for breakfast. Allalling passed around some kind of tough biscuit. It tasted like stale dirt. I was about to say so when I saw the Nossring around me eating away and loving it. Clearly, an acquired taste.

We moved through the town, but hid ourselves as best we could, pulling our hoods over our heads as per instructions from Donnessling. I was used to walking without rest, so that wasn’t so bad. The really hard part was when we passed a bakery and a couple of carts with spicy meats and fish. My stomach complained when we didn’t stop. I promised myself that I’d go back and eat my fill (and then some) when this was all over.

We walked through the length of Berrimandry and found ourselves standing at the doors of an old three-story building that abutted a stone outcropping of the mountains that surrounded the northern half of the city. The building was boarded up and barely standing. It looked like no one had been in this place in decades, and the wooden double doors of its entrance were covered in old posters and nasty cobwebs.

The Red Nossring

Sheshoffiss reached for the two doors, but before he could there was a deep clap like thunder coming from above us. It was a dreadful sound and we all reflexively ducked as if some great bird was about to dive into us.

We looked up and there stood a tall creature, slim and black, in dark leggings and jerkin that fit close to its body. On closer inspection I could see there was a dark red-gray hue to its skin. Its eyes had been closed, but when they opened they were like a blaze of fire. I couldn’t look, I’m embarrassed to say, and I had to look away. When I saw the Nossrings around me I could see a profound hatred in their eyes and, I think, a small amount of dread.

“A Red Nossring!” gasped Sheshoffiss. “But this cannot be. They were destroyed centuries ago!”

“We thought that as well, my friend,” replied Donnessling, “but we have suspected for some time now that we were wrong.” Then he turned his gaze to the creature above us, who was carefully inspecting our number. It raised its arms in some kind of threatening motion, and I saw that in addition to the two arms I expected to see at its side, it also had several more arm-like appendages rising up from behind it. Each arm ended in a bony black hand, and each hand held a vile looking weapon of strange design. The weapons looked very old, and very deadly.

I could see that Donnessling was about to call up to it, but before he could it spoke. It had a rasping, dark voice. It seemed unused to forming speech, or at least the kind of speech that folk like us could understand.

“Give me the Eyes that you carry!” It was directed at Donnessling and Sheshoffiss, and it was not a request. “If you do, I will promise to make your deaths quick and painless.”

Donnessling didn’t move a muscle. I couldn’t say the same for myself, but what this hideous thing just said got me pretty damn angry. I don’t like being told what to do. Or how to die.

Then Donnessling spoke. His words were even and displayed no hint of fear or hesitancy.

“Be away with you, old crow!” That got its attention, but not in a good way.

“You should fear me, you fool!” it threw back, and then it was Sheshoffiss’ turn.

“The Eye of Dey calls you to be silent,” and he thrust his hand toward the dark creature while muttering some other words, in some language I did not understand, but words that had a lot of their own power. A white, swirling cloud of light snapped into existence in front of Sheshoffiss who flung it toward our enemy. , reaching it before it could raise its hands in defense. The white cloud reached the creature before it could raise its hands in defense. The white cloud enveloped the dark creature suddenly stiffened, its movement frozen in place.

I looked over at Sheshoffiss. He was concentrating fiercely, exerting all his might on the cloud wrapped around the thing above us. Finally, Sheshoffiss’ hand dropped and his face eased. The white cloud continued to swirl about the tall, thin creature and hold it in place.

As Sheshoffiss began to smile, we heard a soft crackling sound coming from above us. We could see dark cracks in the smooth outline of the cloud, and, slowly, the brilliant white dimmed and became a dirty gray.

There was a splitting sound as the remains of the cloud broke away. Instantly, Donnessling waved his arms wide and a thick, purple blanket of light appeared inches above us. At the same time the gray shards of Sheshoffiss’ cloud flew at us like a hard rain of icy knives. Most of the tiny blades broke against the purple covering or were stopped by it, lodging themselves in its thick skin. But some of them sliced through the barrier and struck against several of our number. Two nossring and three of the town folk fell to the ground, with grave gashes that were gushing enormous amounts of blood.

Sheshoffiss himself was struck in several places, but what hurt him more was the taunt thrown at him by the dark creature above, “You must conjure more than that, my dearest Sheshoffiss, if you wish to contend with those greater than yourself!”

Donnessling yelled to us, “Through the door,” and we broke open the door and ran into the dark innards of the ancient building.

Rhonda Floam’s Diaries: Back to Berimandry

Dollano 20, SP~4,909

Rhonda Floam

Back to Berimandry

My hands are shaking and I can barely write, and only have a few minutes.

Today was unbelievable, literally, and I will try to capture at least some of it here before we move on.

Allalling woke us before dawn. It was pitch dark and I thought it was still the middle of the night. It was close. Just an hour or a bit more before light.

Donnessling and Sheshoffiss gathered us all together, all the nossring and the former inhabitants of Tellin Town. They had something of great import to convey.

Donnessling started by announcing, “It is coming.” Of course everyone looked around because none of us knew what he was talking about. Donnessling looked like he hadn’t slept. I couldn’t tell about Sheshoffiss. Just can’t read the zweyjen, yet.

Then he continued, “Sorry, there is something that holds another Eye, perhaps more than one Eye. Yesterday it heard the Eye of Dey.”

Sheshoffiss added, “The White Stone calls to the others when it is invoked, as it was yesterday against the Begkragk Dwarves.” His head dipped slightly as he continued, “I was not able to stop it from …”, but he was quickly interrupted.

“Whatever it is that holds this Eye, or Eyes, is coming for the others,” Donnessling resumed, and then said, “There is a place in Berimandry that may provide us some safety, but we must move now. There is no time to waste. We believe this other creature holds the Eye of Mark, which is the Eye that is aligned with Shadow Energy, and so it can move quickly.”

A few of the Tellin Town folks came with us. The rest made their way to a small village in the foothills not far south of where we started in the morning.

And, so we went. We’ve been moving across the plain all day, with barely a stop. We ate as we marched.

We made it to Berimandry. Well, almost. We’re in a barn just outside of the city, and we’re all exhausted. Donnessling and Sheshoffiss have gone into the city to find someone who can get us to this sanctuary. Both of them have been tight-lipped about the place, so I don’t know anything about it, other than it’s a place that some sorcerers in Berimandry keep hidden away from the wider world, and it’s got a lot of power. So, they don’t let just anyone go there, but Donnessling was sure they would understand our circumstances, especially since between him and Sheshoffiss, they’re carrying three of these Eye things.

The good news is that the farmer had a couple of blink bats, and kindly offered me use of one of them, so I sent a quick note to Bobby to let him know I’m safe. That’s not quite true, but with any luck it will be in the next few hours. I hope he’s okay, and he replies soon.

Note to Self: What a story this is going to be if I live to file it.

Rhonda Floam’s Diaries: Tellin Town

Dollano 19, SP~4,909

Rhonda Floam

Tellin Town

We started the day at sunrise, as usual. We headed down the mountain to the coastline so we could walk on land that was flatter. That worked pretty well except when we had to walk on loose sand. That slowed us down, but there was usually some bit of solid ground we could find.

Our destination was a small coastal town called Tellin Town. After seeing it, I’d say that it barely qualifies as a village. Couldn’t have been more than a few hundred folk there, though I was impressed by the variety. There were quite a few zweyjen (no surprise there), and then a smattering of heola, ishiri, plenty of dwarves (but not from Begkragk’s Kingdom), and some crawn. I think I even spotted a martle ambling away down the beach.

I couldn’t see why Donnessling wanted to get to this place, but I found out shortly after arriving. He approached one of the zweyjen fishermen on the beach who recognized Donnessling right away.  They exchanged a hug and some back slaps. Donnessling knows a lot of folk!

Donnessling pointed over to the rest of us and, after taking a long look, the zweyjen motioned for us to follow him (her? Hard to tell with zweyjen). We were led into a wooden building on top of one of the rocky cliffs above the beach, where we got a large meal. Lots of fish, mushrooms (a strange kind I’d never seen before), and several kinds of seaweed. Delicious! We all had seconds, and some had thirds.

“This is Sheshoffiss,” Donnessling told us once our bellies were full. He was pointing at the zweyjen. “He will help us cross the waters back to Shawmancer Island.”

That’s when Donnessling abruptly stopped and turned his head to listen, as did his nossring comrades. I heard it a moment later. There was a clang of weapons and then sounds of shouting, and battle.

We all rushed out of the building and down on the beach we could see Begkragk dwarves. A lot of them. They were attacking the fishermen, who had taken out nets and wooden poles to defend themselves. It was not a fair fight, but I don’t think the dwarves cared about that.

When they saw us on the cliff, they gave a shout and a number of them headed up toward us. There were too many of them.

I looked over at Donnessling and Sheshoffiss expecting them to be shouting out orders or running, or both. But, they weren’t. They were both as calm as if someone just told them about plans for a picnic.

The two of them held each other’s hands and closed their eyes. It was the strangest thing. I couldn’t take my eyes off them. There was a purple light coming from Donnessling. I of course recognized it right away. He was using the Eye of Zanyr. But, Sheshoffiss was shining, but with a white light, and the two lights seemed to blend and swirl around each other. Things went so quiet. I could hear the crashing of the waves on the shore, water against packed sand, as if my ear was held right against the sand where it met the water. And I could feel a throbbing, like the pulse of a heart.

Suddenly, the purple light coming from Donnessling, streaked out from his body like hundreds of shafts of light, each shaft propelled by a white light behind it. There was a blast across the beach and over the water and the lands around us. Every dwarf was blasted from their feet and tossed into the air. Sheshoffiss’ folk and ours were untouched, but the dwarves lay scattered across the beach. At first I thought they were all dead, but then I could see chests heaving. They had been knocked out by the blast that Donnessling hurled at them, and hurled it he did. I looked over and could see him standing next to Sheshoffiss with his hands on his knees, panting like he’d just run fifty miles.

“We must go,” Sheshoffiss said to Donnessling who nodded in agreement, and responded, “All of us.” Sheshoffiss nodded back.

The details don’t matter at this point. The fisher folk pulled long boats out of hidden caves. They were already loaded with supplies. We all boarded the boats and pulled out into the waters that would take us to Shawmancer Island.

Just before we boarded I heard Sheshoffiss say something more to Donnessling, “Three Eyes have not been in the presence of each other for many long years, and not with Dey.”

I think I saw something completely amazing — three Eyes from the Crown of Drawnwyn in the same place at the same time, with two of them being used, and one of those two was, if I heard Sheshoffiss right, the Eye of Dey, which I’m guessing is a white stone.

Note To Self: Don’t mention this to anyone back in Naldrin City, at least, not until I’ve had a chance to learn more about this Crown of Drawnwyn thing — provided I actually get back to Naldrin City alive.

The sun was setting when we landed at a safe place on Shawmancer Island. Allalling told me we were not far from Berimandry City.

I’m very glad to be safe again. And, tomorrow it’s back to Berimandry — again.

Rhonda Floam’s Diaries: Battle!

Dollano 18, SP~4,909

Rhonda Floam


It’s been two days since I last wrote and there’s a lot to tell, including our battle with Begkragk and his folk. I need to start from the beginning, though.

We started off yesterday waking up in the Last Palace of the Kingdom of the Elling. An amazing place. Unfortunately, though, we didn’t have time to explore. We were traveling fast and kept to an outer hallway that took us past the main parts of the underground city. This saved us a lot of time, but lost the opportunity to savor this place. Even though we moved through quickly, its beauty was on full display. A number of times we passed a large opening where I was able to get a glimpse of interior halls. They were filled with murals, carvings, statues, and tall ceilings. Opulence beyond belief. Wanted badly to stop, even just for a few minutes, but Allalling would have none of it.

I could have gotten quite a few good stories for the News out of this place. Just the kind of thing they like.

Note To Self: Go back and get the big story; the history, architecture, and the folk, of course. I should be able to get a good long series out of it. Maybe take Allalling for commentary. On second thought, maybe not.

By mid-day we were out of the Elling Kingdom, and into fresh air. A welcome relief. We found ourselves in a narrow ravine. It was dimly lit, almost like night. The sides were very steep and let in very little sun, and what light it did get was mostly blocked by the thick brush and short trees along its sides. Donnessling liked that. He was pleased that we were well-hidden.

We walked through this gully for an hour or two. Not easy walking but at least we had a fresh breeze.

I don’t know how Donnessling could find anything in the dark bramble, but he did. Before we lost the light entirely, he found what he’d been looking for — a small break in the ravine wall. When we cleared away the overgrowth we found a tunnel entrance going down into the mountain — again into the mountain!

“Here it is,” Donnessling said to us, “an old entrance into the Begkragk Kingdom.” He was quite pleased with himself, as he should have been.

The tunnel was old and it looked like no one had used it in a long time. It was not an impressive thing to see. It looked more like a passageway that might be used by workers or maintenance crews. I’ll have to ask about that later.

Once again, Donnessling proved himself to be a great navigator. There were many twists and turns and new corridors were forever opening up around us, but Donnessling never hesitated. He knew where he wanted to go.

After a few hours he led us up a narrow stairwell that showed light at its end.

“This is it. I believe we will find Begkragk ahead.” Donnessling was eager, but still calm. He nodded to Allalling to get things sorted which he did. His last bit of sorting was to pull me aside and tell me not to follow them into the room under any circumstances, unless he called me. I mumbled something that sounded sort of like a ‘yes’. He bristled, but didn’t have time to argue.

We soon found ourselves near the ceiling of a large empty hall. We had emerged between the tops of massive pillars that ran across the length and width of the hall. We were at least thirty feet above the floor, standing in a small, virtually invisible, walking lane that led behind all of the columns — for the maintenance servers. Allalling turned to me to let me know this is where I was to stay.

Suddenly, we could all hear a loud chanting down below us. It was Begkragk. No mistaking his voice for anything other than two drunk oogerts stumbling through a gravel pit. He was standing at the far end of the hall facing some kind of large statue — looked like an old warrior — and he was reciting something; perhaps an old incantation, and he was holding up a purple gem — the Eye of Zanyr!

He had a couple dozen dwarves standing behind him, listening intently as Begkragk droned on.

Donnessling led his nossring kin along the narrow path until they reached the far end. I swear these nossring just don’t make any sound when they don’t want to. He separated them into three groups and, at his signal, they all leaped down onto the floor and attacked Begkragk and his fighters.

The fighting was ferocious. The nossring had the advantage at first because of the surprise. We were deep inside Begkragk’s kingdom and they were not expecting an attack here.

A number of dwarves fell within the first few seconds, but they soon rallied and moved to protect their king, who had been attacked by Donnessling first thing. Donnessling was able to wound Begkragk, deeply along the length of his left arm, but he was quick to draw his blade with his right. The two were well-matched, and when the other dwarves stormed to Begkragk’s aid, Donnessling was forced to back away.

He had sustained several deep wounds himself. I was amazed, though, to see his wounds heal quickly as he fought on. There was a subtle green glow beneath his thick leather tunic as the wounds healed. The Eye of Darmyn. These “Eyes” were pretty spectacular things.

Needless to say, I had by this point decided that Allalling’s advice was astute and I had decided to follow it. That proved to be irrelevant, though, when a large alarm sounded a few minutes after the battle began. More dwarf soldiers would be here, and soon!

Begkragk shouted to urge on his warriors, knowing that victory was near at hand. However, his shout was premature, fatally so. More quickly than I had ever seen him (or anyone) move, Donnessling leaped between the dwarves in front of Begkragk and drove his sword into the dwarf king’s chest. Before Begkragk could choke out his final curse Donnessling had thrust his hand through the opening his sword had cleaved in Begkragk’s armor and pulled out the purple gem.

Begkragk fell to the ground awash in his own blood and that of several of his kin. The other dwarves were shocked to see their leader dead on the floor at their feet. This gave the nossring their chance to flee, which they did immediately. Allalling, had the presence of mind to look up to find my eyes and give me a  nod. I took that as a signal to withdraw back down the small passageway we had come from.

In less than a minute the nossring joined me. There were fewer of them now than there had been before they left me. There was no time for grieving, though. Several others were wounded, some very deeply. Allalling led the way as we raced down the corridor. As he did, Donnessling was using his green stone to help heal his comrades.

I am too exhausted to tell the story of the chase in detail now. Suffice it to say that Begkragk’s kin wanted revenge and in the worst way. They chased us through their kingdom for the entirety of that night and well into the next day. We finally found an unguarded exit, the one from which we entered, and scurried back into the ravine. This time, though, Donnessling led us up the sides of the ravine and into the mountains higher places.

We managed, for the most part, to avoid the dwarves who sought our lives. The one or two small encounters were quickly dealt with and no dwarves were left to send a signal they had found us.

Now it is night again, and we are all exhausted. Donnessling has found an old cave in the cold heights of the mountains, and he has kept us alive, he and Allalling, with their fierce determination and no small assistance from a powerful green gem.

I can write no more tonight. For now, though, we are safe, and tomorrow we will, hopefully, find our way home carrying two “Eyes”.