S8E4-ErysRowan

Erys Moongem

The sound of buzzing and her senses reached outward, and it seemed just a few seconds later, Rowan was dying. Ambushed. Out of control. The Greenhammer boy dragged her free of the the developing melee – for a few moments – long enough for Erys to heal her. She was beginning to get the hang of Rowan's lifeforce and the peculiar way it shifted with each of her forms, but she had no clear understanding of the mechanisms behind it. Rowan was a mystery, after a mystery, after a mystery… and something very seriously wanted her… dead. They had that answer, at least. A few pointless blocks – how had these things gotten so fast? – and Rowan's injuries weren't much improved. But thei fiends' commander fled, and the battle was over. Erys wasted no time, taking Rowan's hand in her own and pouring every ounce of Sune's light within her directly into the poor girl. "Come on… come on… no poison, no disease, no lasting effects… that thing was a monster in the truest…sense. I hope you're okay. I really, really hope you're okay." She hadn't been fast enough. Ivaric was the one who'd really seen to Rowan's safety. "Camp, Ivaric. Now." She knew she sounded too harsh, but she wasn't going to hear a word of argument so it was unimportant. She frowned down at Rowan. "You're going to be alright. I'm going to make sure you're alright." Rowan was safely resting. Erys sat near to her, far enough away to not invade her personal space, but near enough to defend her the second something leapt from the woods. She tried to control her breathing, tried to stay calm, tried to keep the image of Rowan's body suspended in air and going limp out of her head. That buzzing noise.

Rowan

Rowan lay on the ground, her body aching. The whole fight had been a blur, it had happened so fast. She had been so happy to be home she didn't even notice what was going on until they were upon her. She had felt the anger and dark flames well up inside her, but it hadn't been enough. She touched her side where the insect had stabbed her. A moment of intense pain before darkness overcame her. Even her strong wolf form, the snarling creature that she had used to protect all of her companions as they escaped, that always made her feel strong, she had been ripped out of that body with such overwhelming force. She was filled with such terror. What was happening and how could they possibly stop it? She sat up, groaning heavily. Everything hurt, but she couldn't just lie there anymore and let the fear overtake her. She looked over at Erys, sitting by her side, a look on her face that Rowan could not decipher. She had awakened to the elf's panicked voice returning life to her body. "Erys, can you help me stand, I need to move."

Erys Moongem

Erys moved her arms under the tiefling's shoulders and helped her first to a sitting position, and then, slowly, to a standing one. "You're okay. You're safe. At least for now. The others are setting up camp. I've done all I can to heal your injuries, but you're going to need to sleep before you'll be fully recovered. I'm sorry I didn't detect them sooner, Rowan."

Rowan

Rowan shakes her head, which makes her slightly dizzy and her vision blur. "No, it's not your fault. You saved me. It's me who keeps bringing these things upon us. I just, I never thought that they would be here." Rowan looks around. In the confusion, she hadn't noticed where they had moved to, but she notices a tree with winding roots, a stump with small purple wildflowers growing around it, a small outcropping of rocks and she suddenly realizes exactly where they are. Of course, of all places they would end up here. "I want to show you something, can you walk with me? It's not far."

Erys Moongem

Erys gave Rowan a look of incredulity and sympathy, refusing to accept as Rowan's the responsibility for these assaults. This… celestial, or whatever, that was targeting her, they were responsible. Erys held out her hand. "Alright, if you'd like… but take my hand, okay? Just in case you should fall. Consider it a kindness to me, so I don't worry."

Rowan

"Alright, for your sake." Rowan says, smiling. In truth, she is glad of the company and for her companions through all of this. It's something she never expected for herself, but she can't imagine going back to being alone. An ironic thought considering where they were heading. They make their way slowly through the forest, very unlike the last walk she took with Erys. Even knowing every patch of uneven ground here, she still needs to concentrate to prevent herself from staggering. "You know, I know every part of this forest. There is nothing here I have not explored a thousand times over, but by some divine intervention or maybe simply coincidence, we are very close to the part I would most call home."

Erys Moongem

Erys laughs, quietly for once, simply appreciating the simple fact that, yes, divine intervention, influence, grand machinations… were clearly at the root of all of this. "Well, I could give a sermon on the importance of love and beauty, but your "home" seems to be a living sermon, so I'll spare you the dribble. This time." She focused on staying close, and every now and then, reaching out again with her senses – fiends? Demons? Celestials? …Nothing. They'd not yet hit twice, but it was bound to happen eventually.

Rowan

"I didn't always love it here, I cried for days when I was first brought out here. I thought it was cold and dirty and scary and that I would never survive. I didn't know why my mother had taken me from our home and brought me to such an awful place. It took me a while to see it for the wonderful life giving place that it is." Rowan looks around, filled with old memories of the first time she climbed a tree, her first hunt, her first time eating the berries that made her sick. "My mother was the one who told me that I should fear people, that I needed to fend for myself and avoid others at all costs. I can't be certain, but I think these creatures and whatever is sending them is what she feared would find me." Rowan stumbled a little, stopping and leaning into Erys' shoulder before regaining her footing. "She was wrong though. If I had been alone when these things had found me, I would already be dead."

Erys Moongem

Erys listened intently. There was new information here. It broke her heart. But it only steadied her, only filled her with that righteous anger she was gradually growing more accustomed to. "Yeah, probably." She swallowed, hard. There was a lot to say, and who knew what was going to happen in another few days when they finally reached Shad Dunbar. But, all the same… "So long as I have a damned thing to say about it, unless you want to be, Rowan, you're never going to be alone again." She gritted her teeth in frustration at the thought of a mother abandoning a child to fend for herself in the woods, to fear companionship, to not seek help… but she expressed none of that. "Come what may."

Rowan

Rowan could see the veiled anger on Erys' face. She was getting better at reading people now, and knew that she had said something to upset her. "I know. And I don't blame my mother. I may have a little the first time we were attacked by that fiend. I wish she had prepared me better, but she was just trying to protect me." Rowan stopped, they were here. A thin tree, unlike the others stood in a clearing. It had grey bark and pale leaves, but clusters of bright red flowers, its coloring similar to her own dark skin and fiery hair. "This is what I wanted to show you. This is a rowan tree. It's the only one in the entire forest. When my mother first brought me to the forest this is where we came. It was under the shade of this tree that she told me with tears in her eyes that I would have to stay here. That I couldn't use my old name and would be called Rowan. Every fortnight she would come back and meet me here with supplies. I would tell her about the things that I did and she would help me learn new skills so I could take care of myself. She was an artist herself and didn't know much about hunting and building, but we learned together. For years she would come without fail, until one day she didn't."

Erys Moongem

Erys examined the tree. She smiled. Pointing at the base of the tree. "In nature, right? Naturally. In nature. We start with a linear course. Our parents set us going one way, and they want us to do the best we can, sure, but by their definitions." She moved her free hand up the length of the tree's trunk, gesturing ultimately to the leaves and the blossoms of flowers. "Someday, for everyone, you realize your definitions are different. You split along any of a number of possibilities, you explode outward in skills and talents you never thought possible, taking— haha, literally, in your case, right? — forms… and accomplishing things even your parents never dreamed for you." 'Again, Lady Kiirnodel?' "She truly did everything she could for you. So it wasn't that she just… stopped coming. How long ago was this, Rowan? When was the last time you saw her?"

Rowan

Rowan thought back, the passage of time for her was measured in the changing of seasons, not the calendar. It had been so long. "Years. Too many to count. I have been in the forest without her as long as I was with her. Perhaps seven years, maybe longer? I do wish she could have seen what I've become and what I'm able to do, even if I don't feel particularly strong today."

Erys Moongem

Erys wilted. Even if she'd only been captured, surely her mother was dead by now. No solace to be found there. No way of comforting her friend. Nothing but a drve to train harder, to keep improving. To protect her better. "Rowan, I…" She had no idea, pausing for several beats. "I really appreciate you showing me this. This is beautiful. And it's a wonderful name, from a wonderful source."

Rowan

Rowan looked up at the tree and its vibrant flowers, blinking back tears. "It is. I don't remember my old name, but it doesn't matter. This is the name she gave me when she did what she felt was best for me, I wouldn't want another. Thank you for coming here with me. I don't know the next time I will be back here, or if I will ever come back. It is obvious we cannot hide from these demons anymore and when we have fulfilled our obligation to Baraas I think we will need to be more proactive in finding out what is causing this to happen. I am frightened and I cannot guarantee we will be successful, especially after today, but whatever is happening is escalating and I don't think we can ignore it any longer." Rowan felt strange being so forceful, especially since she knew that she would once again be putting her friends in danger, but she was filled with determination. She wasn't going to just let things happen to her anymore, even if it cost her her life.

S8E4-ErysRowan

Phandelver + Storm King and beyond CapitalistPig peramene