Dungeons in Dragons
Adrieth ramble post hag encounter
Stupid self indulgent post-hag drabble. Adrieth Eben
Adrieth watched carefully out of the corner of her eye as Derrin left the room, concern hiding in the lines on his face. The armour fell heavily around her as she undid the straps with little care, jaw tightening and teeth creaking as she ground them, muttering.
“You’ve really fucked it up this time. First the werewolf and the vampire and now there’s a fucking hag. A vile fucking hag that knows your face, the face of your friends, Derrin..”
An involuntary flush rises up in her cheeks as she recalls the strange way he watched her on the way to Eve’s house, his warm forehead under her palm.
“FUCK, Stop that.” Her fist leaves a noticeable dent in the table, singed at the edges of the imprint. “He thinks you want to sacrifice a child just to kill that thing, there’s nothing there. You don’t need the distraction. Focus.”
The eyes looking back at her in the mirror are accusatory, is that what she wanted? No. Innocents dying were the whole reason she started picked up the shield in the first place. A violent flash of memory causes Adrieth to shudder. The taste of bile accompanied by the stench of decay, leaves splattered with gore, a monochrome hall, familiar faces screaming, a voice. Cold, ruthless, telling her to stay.
The wood splinters this time, and it feels as if the bone of her jaw does as well. Tearing the holy symbol from around her neck Adrieth throws it on the table, turning away.
A million voices are in her mind, deafening. Anger was never an easy thing for her. In the forest, the cold smothering canopy helped, as did Vamaer. He always knew how to calm her down. Druid-craft a flower for her hair, hold her hands until they stopped shaking. Even when they burnt him.
They’re shaking still as she stares down at them, remembering the purplish bruises spreading along Eve’s body. “So much for fucking belonging to something.” She scowls and sits on the edge of the bed, recalling Nissa’s words as she scrambled to turn Tani away. “Family matter.”
She always imagined a family she chose would be better than the one she was born into. The longer they were together, the more Adrieth realized her anger at Pyra was meant for herself. They were too similar to get along. Nissa and Korvar don’t offer her the same insight.
Unheeded, Derrin’s smiling face in the temple comes back to her. Paladins are shining examples of the Gods, he’s said. The gods are certainly arrogant, conceited.
“I expected better of you.” She says it to herself, and doesn’t know if she’s echoing Tani, Pyramath, or her father. Her hands still feel filthy, the fingers that held the hag’s coin invisibly tarnished. She shakes her head and turns her focus to Eve, then to Molly. This is about them. It’s always been about them.
Vengeance is her purpose, but it’s not enough. Even at the temple they taught that. A paladin needs more than an enemy, they need a cause. Adrieth tries to think of Theo and Sambra, Kwenthrith’s landscape rejuvenating even as they lay the corpse in the ground. The redemption can only come after the fire, but she would remain there, if that’s what it took.
They had to be the cause, or her anger was no more righteous than that of the fae.
Sighing and falling back onto the bed, she makes a note to apologise to Pyra in the morning. As difficult as that will be. ‘Deal with the devil’ was possibly the worst thing she could have said, even if it was close to her original thought. She already owed her life to a God; (and now a gnome). Adrieth wasn’t sure how much more debt she could carry around. Especially when that armour was so damn heavy.
“We are not as we appear.” Neither her, nor the tiefling. She had to remember that.
“I am not my gods.”