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    The Agony of Defeat

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    The Agony of Defeat

    Post by tuck on 03/10/11, 07:08 pm

    From the journal of Kallista Sinsinger, Adventurer

    I died today...


    -------------

    Kallista sighed and looked down at the sentence she had written in her journal. She couldn't get over it. She'd been through all the training. She'd been killed in the simulations before, but somehow this was different. She had felt the cold metal of the mace impact her skull. Felt her horn crack and shatter as the mace ground fragments of her skull into her brain. Seen her own blood covering the floor in a spreading puddle as her body went limp and everything turned dark.

    Then suddenly she was back in the training chamber, alone and covered in sweat. She had been the first to go down. The weakest link.

    Within a few minutes the rest of teams had arrived, and the goblinoids had been very gracious about their victory, even taking them all out for a beer. But Kallista's thoughts had been elsewhere at the time, and she seemed to barely taste the ale and barely say a word of conversation before excusing herself early and heading back to her bunk.

    Everything was falling apart lately. First the cult of Kossuth reappearing and now this. And things had been going so well...

    She looked down at her journal again and decided to give up for the moment. She needed to distract herself from things. Maybe get some air. Maybe even talk to someone.

    She got up and stretched, absently rubbing her horn once more to make sure it was really still there, and then headed downstairs to the courtyard. It was dark out by now, but there was still the usual assortment of adventurers and staff milling around outside.

    She sat down heavily on a nearby bench and looked around for a friendly face.
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    Re: The Agony of Defeat

    Post by Josh on 03/10/11, 10:37 pm

    Selgrumel loved the city at night. Undertow, especially, became livelier after dark. Workers from the docks were off shift, giving their patronage to any number of bars and brothels. Goblinoid merchants would hawk their wares well into the evening. Groups of children, obviously up to mischief, prowled the streets, though they gave the imposing hobgoblin a wide berth. She smiled, remembering her days as such.

    The Explorer's Union compound loomed ahead, better kept than a lot of the surrounding buildings. For a moment, Selgrumel reflected on the awe she used to feel for this place, the home of adventurers. That seemed so long ago. Now it was business as usual, and tonight that meant seeing her guild manager, Raddok. And perhaps a stop at the guild tavern to see who was about...

    As she called a few hellos and returned some nods of acknowledgment, she spied Kallista sitting by herself with a troubled look on her face. The expression seemed familiar, so, in the spirit of guildly comeraderie, she made her way over. Quietly, she addressed the tiefling.

    "Kallista, everything all right?"
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    Re: The Agony of Defeat

    Post by tuck on 03/10/11, 10:50 pm

    Kallista looked up sharply, startled out of her intense self-pity.

    "Oh!" she said, seeing the Hobgoblin approach, "Selgrunel, was it? Yeah, I'm... fine I just..."

    She sighed and dropped her head.

    "No. It's not ok. Everything is fucked."

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    Re: The Agony of Defeat

    Post by Josh on 04/10/11, 01:27 am

    Selgrumel blanched, taken aback. She took a second to compose herself before responding.

    "Everything? That's, ah, that's pretty broad."

    She slid down onto the bench next to her fellow adventurer.

    "What's the problem?"
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    Re: The Agony of Defeat

    Post by tuck on 04/10/11, 07:37 am

    "I got slaughtered back there." Kallista said absently, almost as if she were talking to herself.

    "Literally! I mean, I thought that I had finally found somewhere I belonged, or at least somewhere I could do some good. But I'm beginning to think I'm fooling myself. Tzesira is twice the striker I'll ever be. I mean, I got bludgeoned to death in the first minute of the fight. If that had been for real..."

    She sighed again and rubbed her horn absently.

    "And on top of that, my very existence is beginning to put my team in danger. The other day we were on a quest and met up with some old demons of mine. We took care of them, but... How long until they find us again? If one of my team got killed because of me..."

    Kallista turned to Selgrumel and blinked, as if suddenly realizing again that she was there.

    "Oh, gods, I'm sorry. You don't need to hear all this. You should be celebrating."


    Last edited by tuck on 04/10/11, 10:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: The Agony of Defeat

    Post by Josh on 04/10/11, 10:45 am

    Selgrumel listened intently as the tiefling woman spoke. Her look of concern became sterner when Kallista mentioned demons from her past; dealing with Melgrunum had taught her to be wary of teammates' pasts.

    Content to let Kallista finish, Selgrumel was surprised at her last statement.

    "Oh, my team and I celebrated plenty enough last night. I think all three 'bears are still sleeping it off. Regardless, I think someone needed to hear all of this, and, like in combat, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time."

    Her posture softened as she turned more towards Kallista.

    "Dhenirigan was telling me you all helped save some folks from a kobold attack on your trip to Thantopolis. And before that, Monti was singing your praises for having helped stop those attacks in Falwood. I'd say you're doing plenty of good."
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    Re: The Agony of Defeat

    Post by tuck on 04/10/11, 11:03 am

    Kallista gave a dry laugh and a half smile.

    "Thanks. You're sweet. I honestly didn't think that Dheni or Monti would have ever mentioned me to anyone."

    She sighed.

    "I don't know. Ever since the cult reappeared I've felt on edge. I thought all of that was behind me and now... I just wonder if the team would be better off without me."
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    Re: The Agony of Defeat

    Post by Josh on 04/10/11, 01:16 pm

    Selgrumel gave a slight smile before frowning in consideration.

    "Have you talked to your team about it? I doubt they'd want to be left a person short, at the very least."

    The hobgoblin paused, obviously thinking over her next question.

    "Also, would you really want to give this up? Its a good fit for some people, a lot of whom don't anywhere else. Believe me, I know how difficult it can be to overcome a person's circumstances. But this, this job, this calling, is the best, and sometimes only, opportunity for some people."

    She gave a sheepish half-smile.

    "Sorry, I have kind of strong opinions sometimes. I can put it at its most basic, though. You said you ran into some old demons. Would you rather face them alone, or with people you trust to have your back?"
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    Re: The Agony of Defeat

    Post by tuck on 04/10/11, 02:41 pm

    Kallista shrugged. She should have been wondering at the ease with which she was opening up to Selgrumel but somehow it seemed natural, like a pent up dam bursting inside her mind.

    "Of course I'd rather have them with me. They' my friends. But it's not fair of me to drag them into unnecessary danger on my account. The cult of Kossuth is bloodthirsty and demented. How can I ask my friends to face that for me when I can't even hold up my end of a training fight?"
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    Re: The Agony of Defeat

    Post by Josh on 04/10/11, 05:43 pm

    "Well, you should let them make that decision. Let them know you're concerned, but don't try to dictate an answer. I'll bet they'd be happy to stand with you."

    Selgrumel hesitated a moment, then put her hand on Kallista's shoulder.

    "As for the training fights, that's what they're there for. Learn, adjust, improve. Its the way of things."

    The young soldier gave an encouraging look.

    "I know it can be disconcerting. Maybe you should try talking to one of the upper levels. A few of them have died for real; they might have more insight. And not just the skill."
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    Re: The Agony of Defeat

    Post by tuck on 04/10/11, 09:29 pm

    Kallista looked over as Selgrumel put her rough hand on her shoulder and made her best attempt at a smile. Kallista still found it fascinating how open people were with their affections here. Sh Gently put her hand on top of Selgrumel's in acknowledgment.

    "Yeah. Maybe. I don't know. I guess at the very least it's probably time I came clean about everything. They deserve that much."

    She sighed.

    "I just..."

    Her eyes grew moist and her lip quivered slightly.

    "...I don't want them to hate me. They're all I have."

    Kallista sniffled and wiped away the tears before they fell.

    "I'm so sorry, Selgrumel. I guess I'm pretty awful company. God, I can't do anything right."
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    Re: The Agony of Defeat

    Post by Josh on 05/10/11, 07:56 pm

    "They're not going to hate you, Kallista. They are, though, probably as worried about you as you are about them. Like you said, just tell them what's going on and I'm sure it'll be all right."

    Selgrumel frowned, knowing someone would need to say what came next, though she knew it wouldn't be easy to hear.

    "And, just as importantly, you're no good to anyone like this. I've seen you fight. You can be lethally effective, but not feeling sorry for yourself. If you don't want anything to happen to your friends, be there to make sure it doesn't."

    Trying to take the sting from the rebuke, Selgrumel stood up and smiled down at the tiefling.

    "Now, I've also seen you drink, and I think you can rarely be called bad company. What do you say we grab a few drinks, see who's about, and the we can see what trouble there is to get into."
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    Re: The Agony of Defeat

    Post by tuck on 05/10/11, 08:46 pm

    Kallista winced slightly, but nodded at Selgrumel. She WAS feeling sorry for herself. And with the cult still out there, right now was probably the worst possible time for it.

    "You're right", She said with a sigh. She managed a weak but sincere smile.

    "And as much as I'd like nothing more than to get roaring drunk and cause some trouble with you, I think maybe I need to have a long talk with my team."

    She squeezed Selgrumel's hand slightly and gave her mischievous grin.

    "But if you're willing, I'll take a rain-check on the drinking and mayhem."
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    Re: The Agony of Defeat

    Post by Josh on 07/10/11, 09:13 pm

    Selgrumel smiled back warmly, hoping the tiefling was honestly feeling better.

    "I'll hold you to that, Kallista."

    The hobgoblin stood, taking a deep breath.

    "Well, now to gird myself for battle. Raddok has his monthly review coming up, and that means he's going to try to rope me into paperwork. Here's hoping there's good luck for both of us."
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    Re: The Agony of Defeat

    Post by tuck on 07/10/11, 09:33 pm

    Kallista stood up and gave Selgrumel a wink.

    "Thank you, Selgrumel. Good luck."

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