Quiberron chatters to everyone and no one in particular on the way back. “Did everyone see that? That was a cursed pale elf sorceress! I’ve read about them, but never seen one. She is definitely going in my book. I wish I could have gotten a closer look. How do you think the endoskeleton and exoskeleton mesh? Where would the venom glands be located?” He continues in this vein for a while, most ignoring his prattling.
Sabal, however, turns to Roland. "Those creatures,” he says,” like Erandis, are more evil and spiteful than most creatures I'm familiar with from my home...including the pale elf priestesses from earlier this evening. I am impressed that you agreed to this pact for the sake of Lord Fennix, but I do not envy your fate."
Roland gives him a rueful smile. "Then you're in good company. I stopped envying my own fate a while ago. You saw how I almost burned down the mansion. I wish I had never know these flames."
“I’m glad we didn’t antagonize her, then,” Quiberron says, leaving his musings for only a short moment. “She would have made short work of us, I think. Do you think if I went back she would tell me how the transformation process works?”
“These creatures are made using some of the vilest magics of The Scorpion Goddess,” Sabal states. “I would rather not contemplate the torture involved."
Flynn considers them with a shake of his head. "What a strange lot you make. You bargain your bodies and souls for knowledge and power and things you should not have, then you carry on like nothing has changed. What happens when it comes to collect?" Flynn flexes his sword hand. "I don't think it is of a mind to simply let you die to escape your deal. What then?"
Roland speaks up, "Then I will pay it. I am already cursed, so what is one more bane. At least this way I can do some good too. Besides, bargains rarely play out how those who sign them intend, and that sword can cut both ways." He pauses before continuing. "As for continuing on as if nothing had happened, complaining does no good. I did what was necessary, and what will be will be, regardless."
Flynn’s question pulls Quiberron a bit further from his thoughts of the half scorpion woman. “We all must spend our bodies and our lives on something,” the wizard says,“ and I can think of few things more worthy than the pursuit of knowledge. I may draw the line at spending my soul, however.”
Flynn scoffs. "You are so accepting of something you call a curse, Roland. Please. Do you really intend to die? Because if you intend to be a martyr, you can't be a victim. Pick one. Live with your decision. And don't think to lecture me on curses and sacrifices. I've lived a long life and seen my share of both. Like you, life happened in spite of me. But it doesn't mean I just lie down and accept it. Curse, gift, whatever. It will be what you make of it." Flynn looses the borrowed blade at his hip.
"Take this back. I won't play with a child's toy."
Roland takes the sword. "You misunderstand me. I intend to be neither a martyr nor a victim. Nor am I just lying down. But I am also not so arrogant as to deny that powers move in this world that are beyond my control. I did what I must because no one else would have. Unless you are suggesting we should have let the high lord die or gotten slaughtered ourselves provoking her anger.
“If I cannot be rid of this power then I will seek to master it, but whether I can or not I accept it. It is mine to bear. Same with this bargain. If I can I will seek to fulfill my oath without giving the black devil what she wants, but even if I can't I accept that I did the right thing, come what may.
“I will struggle and strive, I am just at peace with the fact that is not always enough. And if it is or isn't, I will have run the race and done my part."
Flynn shakes his head. "Ha! How you talk and how you act aren't the same at all. You speak of mastering your power--of great things moving beyond our control--but you accept the smallest of obstacles as absolute. You think I didn't see you try and leave the manor after YOU set fire to it? You think none of us would have made a bargain? We can't say now, simply because you jumped so quickly at the chance. For one so accepting of your lot, you seem so eager to flee it." Flynn sneers as he crosses his arms. He's stopped the journey in his aggravation, and his voice is rising.
In a dangerous political climate, several expeditions are made to the infamous Wilds in hopes of expanding the country, Urbane, and avoiding an all out civil war. But, when the lord in charge of the excursions is almost assassinated, tensions increase and put new pressures on the brave explorers.