Hybrid Druid Rogue Deva
Dr. Puma now has a theme song thanks to Aaron Frank. I had been looking for one for a while, but none seemed to fit. “The Protomen – Act II: The Hounds” fits perfectly. Now to find one for Icoso. This will have no effect on anything.
The rising smoke, which could be seen from a great distance, had beaconed the distraught elf back to the city on horse. There in the place he had grown up, he found himself no longer in the familiar sounds of hustle and bustle of people trading in the town center, or the usual sounds of priests chanting ancient mantras at midday. All he heard was roaring fires and buildings collapsing. The smell of freshly baked goods, and flowering trees which had lined so many streets was gone. All that was left in the air was acrid smoke and the stench of death. The city was void of the sights of the images carved into the walls of buildings which all had told stories of his people, void of the faces of the people he knew and loved. All he saw was rubble and bodies of elves and slain undead.
He had been in battle many times and knew these sights and sounds, but not here, not home.
A woman’s voice called out to him by name, “Havan.”
The elf rushed to her side, “Kali*! What has happened?”
He cradled the bloodied and burnt deva in his arms.
She smiled and spoke with an unearthly joy, “I happened. I broke into the temple and copied down from the scrolls of the priests information on the barriers that had protected this city, and gave it to the necromancers. I created a diversion at the western gate so the undead could pour in from the south uninhibited. I even risked my life to tell the illithid of the attack so they could take care of anyone fleeing the city. Speaking of which, you shouldn’t stay to look for survivors if you wish to be one.”
Havan was shocked, “I loved you. You said you had changed and wanted to start a new life away from the devas who were hunting you down. I renounced my vows as a paladin to be with you. Why have you done such an evil thing? WHY?”
“Evil? This is not evil,” Kali said gesturing at the ash and rubble, “This is peace, this is order.”
Her tone changed becoming more estatic, “those fools think they are giving me eternal punishment
by killing me over and over again. You ask why I did it? To tare peoples dreams apart, the only way to truly understand them, and create everlasting order. Each life I become better at it, and have a new body ready to do it all again.”
Kali’s words tore deep into Havan, “I won’t let you! I’ll find a way to stop you!”
“Catch me if you can,” Kali said. With lightning fast reflexes she grabbed the crossbow at her side and fired a bolt into her head.
Havan wished to scream to the heavens, but remembered the illithid might be near. Somehow he managed to get back on his horse and leave the city.
*After the Hindu goddess of destruction and rebirth.
“We don’t know why he isn’t reborn as a Rakshasa. His very nature leads him inevitably down a path of chaos and destruction like bees to honey,” the elf said.
“Nectar,” said the wizard, whose eyes were enormous through their thick spectacles.
“Bees forage for and are attracted to nectar, with which they make honey. They don’t use honey they find lying around.” the wizard continued, “but don’t worry. Plenty of people make that mistake.”
“I know I’ve seen bees eat honey,” the elf said trying to sound certain.
“In their hives yes, but not honey that’s just lying around.”
“No, I mean that I saw bees eating honey that was left outside,” the elf said defiantly.
“Are you sure they weren’t wasps or something similar?” said the wizard quizzically.
“Will you two please stop arguing. Yes, he is mistaken about the foraging patterns of insects, but you’re also mistaken in that the phrase ‘leads them to blank like bees to honey’ is just an expression.” the deva said trying to remain reserved and patient, but listening to them talk all day was wearing him down, “Can we get back to the real issue?”
“Well it seems like a wild goose chase. This deva we are searching for could be anywhere is the world, and that’s only if he has been reborn. We have no clue what he looks like and apparently we don’t even know if he will be a he or a she. And the feature that could be used to identify them with, the dragon mark, you say they have somehow managed to conceal. And to top it all off he won’t even know who he is.” the wizard whined.
“Yes, however our search is greatly narrowed,” the elf said reassuringly, “we only have to examine devas, and only the undocumented ones. Devas are not particularly numerous and we know that he is likely to become a druid, a cleric, a rogue, or an artificer as he has never been recorded as anything else.”
The elf continued, “and we have a simple spell to verify that they are in fact a reincarnation of Zanorin. It was made specifically for this purpose. We will only need to get close.”
“And this is why we are trudging through the wilderness? Because we think we might run into a druid version of Zanorin?” the wizard scoffed, “because of some rumor of an eccentric deva living in the woods. Looking for a druid in the woods will be like looking for a camouflaged needle in a hay stack.”
“Do you got something boy?” the elf asked his wolf companion sniffing the ground.
“You were saying?” the deva asked rhetorically.
Dimurti sat in a tree meditating, unaware of the three approaching strangers now just a mile away. He knew nothing about his past lives, besides a faint glimmer here and there. Hours had passed since he first started meditating, but time seemed to pass so quickly in the forest. Here there were no rules, no society. No cities with their cursed cacophony of commerce. No suffocating street grid. Nor the houses crammed together with people living in them. Oh people. The people were the worst part. They were ugly glutinous creatures, always going on about how they were nature’s crowning achievement. The work of the Gods. They would ask, “how glorious is man?” and mean it rhetorically, not because they didn’t think that man was glorious, but because they thought no words could ever meaningfully convey how great they were. People think that the world revolves around them. That the very stars in the sky spoke specifically about them, and their petty social lives.
Dimurti took a deep breath. It was no use becoming worked up. He would kill them all in time. Besides he had company, three bipeds and a quadriped, judging by the sound of their steps they were trying to sneak up on him. Memory of a thousand life times can be so useful, at the same time nerve racking, as Dimurti knew he may not experience such acoustic acuity again for sometime. They were getting close and he had to move fast. The quadruped was likely being used to track him. Maybe if he crossed the near by river they would lose the scent trail, he thought jumping down from the last branch.
A puma hit the ground running. He could hear the people following him starting to run, thankfully slowed down by the brush. Everything began to slow down, it seemed to take ages to get to the river. The water was fast and treacherous. Dimurti began swimming with all his might toward the other side. An arrow zipped past his ear. Suddenly he felt second arrow bury itself in his leg. The puma lost the battle with the current and was swept underneath the water. He saw a fire ball strike the water above him.
Trapped in an eddy, Dimurti was spun around and around like a rag doll. He would drown soon. Then suddenly Dimurti stopped struggling against the water. There was nothing he could, his fate was in the hands of the river. A great peace settled on him, and the river spat him out above the surface. He breathed the air in heavily as he started swimming again. More arrows started going passed him, but the river was taking him too fast for anyone to get a clear shot. Dimurti’s greater fear were the jagged rocks he kept narrowly avoiding. Although he did not know it, he had gained the favor of the river, and it guided him to calm area of water on its other side, partially obscured by overhanging tree branches. Dimurti limped out of the water and reverted to his deva form. He carefully removed the arrow and spoke a healing word and his wound was healed. He hurried into the forest and was gone.
“That was him alright,” the deva said looking at the ashened remains of the spell he had cast to verify Dimurti’s true identity, “We at least know he has been reborn. That he is a druid, and that he is close.”
“Also my wolf now knows his scent,” said the elf, “before I had him searching for devas in general.”
The wizard pulled out a map, “there is a bridge just. . .”
He couldn’t give a relative position, because he wasn’t sure where they were.
“About three and a quarter miles south of here, I think,” the elf said having glanced at the map earlier.
“He could be anywhere by then.” the wizard said groaning, “My feet are sore, why did I take up this assignment?”
“So the wizards council would overlook that affair you had with one of your students,” the deva said finally fed up with his nonsense.
The wizard’s face reddened. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said weakly.
“There is no use denying it. They told me everything about you, so I would know who I was working with,” the deva said.
“You did what?” the elf asked.
“She was 31 years old, its not a big deal.” the wizard said brushing it off.
“And you’re a hundred and twelve,” the elf retorted.
“I don’t look a day over fifty,” the wizard said.
“Just keep telling yourself that,” the elf taunted.
“I do to. You’re just saying that because. . .”
The deva rolled his eyes. This would be a long journey.
“That one with the lobed leaves should work,” Dimurti said in his sleep, “I’ve seen it growing on a tropical island like this one, but that was years ago. Natives loved it. . . Yeah, allies, what good are they? Nice bear, does he bi-”
Dimurti awoke from his dream on a distant tropical island to find himself surrounded by sand. He had traveled far since he was attacked by the deva, the wizard, the elf, and the wolf. Could he stop worrying for a moment? The sand storm had died down, so Dimurti and the group he joined could continue on. The band was slowly starting to grow on Dimurti. Calzara was dead, which was exactly how Dimurti thought people ought to behave, and Grayvus wasn’t exactly alive either. The rest of them must have qualities Dimurti liked even if he couldn’t put his finger on it. He only wished that they hadn’t started referring to themselves as, “Dr. Puma and his Merry Band” when he was trying to evade the authorities, but he couldn’t say anything without raising questions. Authorities? These are three people and their dog Dimurti thought laughing.
“What’s funny?” Grayvus asked.
“Um, just a dream I had. A robot pirate shaman summoned my spirit from beyond the known edges of the multiverse for botanical advice so he could drug people,” Dimurti said, now laughing at his dream for real.
“What peculiar things dreams are,” Grayvus said pondering.
“I wonder what people taste like,” Dimurti said.
“I beg your pardon?” said Grayvus.
“You just asked what people tasted like.”
“No. I think I would remember that.”
“Yes you did, just after describing your dream.”
“Now you’re just making stuff up,” said Dimurti without a clue what Grayvus was going on about.
The battle with the lizards I don’t feel like describing right now.
The Deva, the Elf, the Wizard, and the Wolf were slowly making their way through the desert. They had only just gotten to the dessert after some serious detective work, looking at records of different air vessels, when they were attacked by an undead creature of unknown origin.
“What was that giant thing?” the elf said.
“I don’t know, but I think it’s dead now,” the wizard said, “or more dead or whatever.”
“We’re finally working as a team, it gives me hope that justice will be served,” said the Deva.
“And my Uncle’s dying wish can be fufilled,” said the elf.
“And we can all go home, get tenure and never speak to one another again,” the Wizard said.
Tacitly they agreed with him, although not the part about tenure. Hours passed, but the sand seemed to have no end. Finally they could see a town off in the distance and they decided to stop and set up camp for the night. Many miles away, a withered hand burst out from the desert sand.