“To understand why I did what I… what we all choose to do, you have to understand the whole story, the bigger picture and what we knew was at stake. The story makes the most sense out of order, when it makes sense at all, but you have to keep in mind: we always thought we were the heroes.
The day was ours to prepare how we liked for the coming Ritual that would cleanse the world of Marrow’s corruption. I chose to seek the wisdom of an old hero because the path I walked back then seemed so unclear to me. I told him of my troubled past, my family lost in the liberation day battle, growing up with my adopted sister, the abuses we both suffered at our… father’s hands…. How one day I confronted him and the storm of anger inside of me broke and he was struck down by powers I didn’t yet understand. I told him of my flight from my home, of struggling in vain to control the storm still raging inside of me. I told him of my wanderings in the wilderness and stumbling upon a forgotten shrine to the Deus of Winds and the monks there who sheltered me. They showed me how to channel my anger, how to think about the world, and gave me my purpose: Windseeker they called me. Roshi offered me words of comfort and guidance before he decided to visit a nearby river and spend his last day singing. He was a better man than we suspected.
Meanwhile my companion, Tuiz Burdenbearer, had a mysterious conversation with a shapeshifting thunder dragon in disguise. He told the dragon he left his home seeking vengeance, that he faces danger to protect his friends, and that he would risk everything to win his war against the Necromancer King’s fallen lieutenants. He suddenly woke from this dreamlike conversation when a thunderous crack echoed across the plateau.
Lucky, another companion of mine, awoke in far different circumstances! He once told me his harrowing tale of finding himself captured by savage gnolls, unsure if he was dreaming. He cleverly escaped his bonds and fled the warcamp, but was dragged back by their beast companions. He bravely offered his life to save another prisoners, but the grizzled Gnoll leader, dark of fur and wielding a stolen glaive, mocked his chivalry and executed the other prisoner without remorse.
Earlier that same day…. What’s that, councilor? Yes, I do realize I’m telling the story out of order, but I find it makes the most sense this way…. For the last time, no councilor! That’s not a plea of insanity. As I was saying, earlier that same morning, Telsin, began an intense game — well he described it as ‘tag’ — with a stranger shroud in shadow. The two darted away with quickness that only a lifetime of training could supply. The wild chase ended in part test part combat as Telsin faced an ancient apprentice of Roshi, and heir to his earthsong style, snatched out of time by the Necromancer King’s cruel magic. Their fierce battle creating the earthshattering crack heard by the others. After defeating her, she offered to join him as a student or teach him her secret technique. Telsin chose to take her as an apprentice and the two returned to Roshi’s hut.
Next we tell the tale of Kimya, whose curiosity nearly got the best of her, when she stalked a crystalline butterfly to a cavern linking this world to the place of Earth. Lucky, curious as well, followed and the two solved a strange puzzle of many hued crystals and were rewarded with a large diamond war hammer. Upon leaving the cave with their new treasure, they were ambushed by gnolls. Lucky turned to flee into the cave only to find it’s passage now sealed. Kimya risked her live (and very nearly lost it) escaping to warn the others of Lucky’s capture. Limping back to Roshi’s hut she encountered Tharn — her lifelong friend and companion — who had noticed Lucky’s disappearance and was tracking him to the cave she had only just fled.
Tharn displayed his mastery of nature skills to gather the rest of the party and deftly lead them through a difficult mountain pass to the gnoll camp where out companion faced almost certain death. Tharn chose to attack the gnolls quickly yet without mercy and to a beast ridded the world of those who threatened his friends and companions. A silver-furred gnoll leader who wielded chain whip escaped on batlike wings when the tide of battle turned and the dark-furred gnoll captain was slain in combat. I myself blacked out during the fight and my companions tell me I was lucky to survive. I guess we all were… At the time we were hardly troubled by the red fang sigil on the gnoll’s armor. Overcome with relief to find Lucky still alive I would guess.
Knowing our hardest trial awaited in the predawn hours we began our weary walk back to Roshi’s hut. Do you understand a little now? They were more than friends to me, we were more than family. Our bond, the risks we shared, what we would eventually …sacrifice… All of it has to mean something! It has to!"
Caleb’s testimony is drown out by the angry cracks of a gavel as the Judge silences him and quells the emotions running through the courthouse with a stern look.