I met noted Planewalker Jh’ala McTorr in a queue outside a Bleaker soup kitchen in the Hive Ward. He told me of his last adventure, for the price of a mug of broth:
“It’d been a hard day’s climb, up those perilous slopes. Torch’s mountains aren’t friendly places to visit on a good day, cutter, and this hadn’t been a good day. I was tired, hungry and paranoid – being the sole survivor of a mezzoloth attack tends to make a blood edgy – and to top it all, I’d lost the key to get home.
“That’s when I heard the chiming sound, as if a hundred tiny bells were being rung, and a hundred little voices were singing along. There was a scent too, sweet enough to mask the stench of sulphur and tar that hung so heavily in the air – the scent of ripe fruit and fine wines. ‘Well’, thought I, half-delirious with hunger, ‘Seems my prayers have been answered. But by what?’
“Clambering over the next jagged crest, I saw the blossom. It was a pure white flower, about the size of your head, the petals edged with crimson specks; in this place of hellish flame and lava, it was a joy to behold. Around the stem were fruits – their scent pervaded the air, beckoning to me, but I’m a cagey basher. I’d walked the Planes before, and I knew something was only that beautiful for a reason. I’d come prepared.
“See, a real blood’s always suspicious – it’s saved me from the dead-book more than once. I unravelled this scroll I always carry, for emergencies like this, and spoke a prayer to reveal poisons. Nothing glowed sickly green, so I knew the thing was safe to eat. In fact, the more I examined the plant, the more I fell in love with it: the white metallic petals which jangled and chimed in the noxious breeze, the alluring perfume the blossom wore, finer than that of many of the ladies of Sigil. Maybe the plant worked some enchantment over my addled brain, but whatever it did, I wasn’t thinking paranoid enough.
“I lent towards the bloom to better sample the scent. As my nose brushed against a petal, there was a sudden squeal of metal, and thorny fingers clamped themselves around my face! They squeezed with the force of a fiend, burrowing into my skin, seeking my brain! As I struggled, they only clenched tighter.
“Summoning all my strength, I grappled with the flower, grasping its thorny stem and trying to prise the bloody claws from my flesh. My hands were ripped to ribbons on the razor spines, but the survival instinct’s strong in my veins. With a mighty heave, I pulled the bloodsucking thing from my face and cast it away.
“To this day, I still don’t know how I found my way back to the Cage. That cursed flower took my eyes along with half my face. The reason my voice sounds so rough? My throat was cut in half.
“Are we done queuing yet? Could you direct me to the door, cutter? There’s a blood.”
Source: Jon Winter-Holt, mimir.net