“I was there,” thought Kendalius.
Chunks of black flesh stuck to the obsidian-edged death-bringer as he tore it from the chest of the ill-fated Illithid Grue. Lifting the axe still dripping with putrid offal, he shouted behind him down the hallway, “And let all who still breathe witness the felling of arrogance itself!” Coughing black blood, the defeated Grue fell to his knees and whispered a final curse as the elf walked away.
He remembered, “I stood in the court of the son of Jarot in Thronehold at the signing of the treaty. I can still smell the perfumed silks of Aurala-queen. I still remember the alabaster columns accented by alloyed gold and titanite in the style of my forefathers.”
As he walked down the corridor to meet the rest of the party, Steve met him at the corner, “Them’s all dead, elf-man. I killed em good.”
He replied only with a cold stare. “Their lives should have been mine.”
The rest of the party quickly caught up to the pair. He addressed the party leader, Lyrandyr, “What now, wife-stealer? Illithids seem to pervade these halls. Do we turn back? This evil may be too great for one with your level of…” scanning the half-elf with his eyes carefully for filth, ”...hygiene.” He reminded his leader, “Illithid blood isn’t cleansed as easily as the air is by your song.”
“I wouldn’t worry too much about that, cousin. It’s not the Illithid blood that burdens me – yours is in my keeping as well. Perhaps you’ll remember that, the next time your shadowy dance carries you away from my song. I wouldn’t want you to lose a step.”
Lyrandyr pauses, glancing meaningfully at the elven blood staining the avenger’s cloak.
“Don’t concern yourself too much – I’m sure my voice will carry even through the most…” – his voice deepens in an open mockery of the avenger’s gutteral tone – “vigorous of your dances.”
Continuing to think to himself, “I know his kind. Brigands and thieves. Kin to few and enemies to many. This one would sooner lift all our effects and dash for an exit, leaving us to perish here among the horrors of the black. Thankfully the exit is sealed.”
Forcing a smile, Kendalius extended his arm, placing his right hand onto Steve’s (remarkably clean) shoulder, “Very well then, friends! Let us dispatch these vermin and find a way into the tomb of Moradin.” He then extended his left arm, placing his left hand onto Denso’s shoulder, “And all the treasures hiding in this place will be ours!” Denso’s enthusiasm showed with his white smile.
Denso’s elation subsided quickly as he noticed Kendalius’s arm, “Friend, what has happened to your arm?”
The tattoo that once covered only his forearm has grown the length of his arm and began to cover his torso and upper back. Responding in a voice unlike his own, “The seedling growing inside me has fed on a lesser life and is growing.” The theme of the tattoo continued to reach across the uninked portions of his body, a thicket of thorny black death. “Do not begrudge me for the gifts of the forest lavished onto me, warrior. You had every opportunity at excellence as I.”
The party continued onwards as Kendalius continued to think to himself, “Should I die in this place, would anyone mourn my passing?”