( Prime bamboo spirit folk mage [she/her] / Fated / LN )

Howl Mekler’s final story to Thera, the only surviving party member. Extracted from Blue-Green recorder stone (one-sided auditory only).]

“Can ye give me a sip of water? By the Lady this hurts…” [gulp] ‘Thanks, blood. I can’t call you a clueless sod anymore… Ye’ve saved my skin twice, but not much ye can do now. Nah, don’t look at it…it’s burned clear through…Stop with yer blazin’ prayer, already! I told ye, it don’t work down here.” [long silence with only a wet wheeze]

“Now, sit back and relax, I hafta tell ye the dark about Kiso. You’ve got to get this back to her, you got it, blood? Good. Okay, she comes from the prime world Toril. Nah, she’s far from clueless. She’s what they call a ‘bamboo spirit’, whatever the Abyss that means. The dark of that is like this: them spirits are tied to their sacred groves, in some manner, like a prime’s silver cord in the Void, sort of. She derived all of her power, and even her life, from this one grove of bamboo in her home province. Bah, I don’t know…can’t even pronounce it…not important… She was a spellslinger there and was out doin’ whatever spellslingers do on Toril, when she sensed that her grove was threatened…I don’t remember, can ya pipe down for a minute? Fine.

“So, she gets some magic toy and actually extracts the essence of the grove…she called it some screed….ah, the ‘heart of the spirit grove’….that was it. It ended up in a glass egg. She used some other toy to get to Sigil and tried to start a new life. The only problem with the bamboo spirits is they have to have their grove, see, so they can recharge…yeah, like when we sling back a few bubs. Well, Sigil ain’t exactly the ideal locale for a grove of bamboo…with the ashy rain and all …as you might expect, but she had already set roots, so to speak, there, with a chain of successful apothecary and herb shops.

“She stumbled onto some incantations that might help her grow a grove there in Sigil, in Kesto’s shop. So, she goes through whatever process the spellslingers go through and she grew the bloomin’ thing right there in her garden courtyard at her Lady’s Ward manse….I told you, she hit it big in Sigil. She didn’t know how long it would last, but she knew she had bought herself more time…lots o’ time, it turned out. She’s been in the Cage for almost twenty years. Still appears as young as a lark, though…. About ten years ago she started having problems…. She ‘discovered’ a planar effect, an’ even the Guvners can’t explain it…

“I’m gettin’ to it, I’m tellin’ the Abyssal story here…” [coughs wetly]

“Her shops fell on hard times. Zadara, the titan bitch with her unlimited jink and jink-slaves, was undercutting her, or something. When that titan gets wind of a profit, she stops at nothing to eliminate the competition. Kiso started getting tight for jink, so she did everything she could think of…charge for spells, even went on a few adventures, but she couldn’t keep enough jink around to meet all her taxes and various expenses. She was afraid of losing her house, ’cause that would mean losing the grove, unless she could extract the heart again, which she probably couldn’t. The first time had almost killed her, and now she was on the Planes where nothing seems to work like its supposed to…” [violent cough then a long wheezing pause]. “I’m getting to it, hold your yeth hounds, missy…

“So, this…effect…happened. She woke up one day as broke as the last and knowing that she wouldn’t see another jinx for a long time. The Heartless tax-collecting minions of Llysadia had been by the day before and she’d made promises to the effect that she would have their money the next day. They had made promises that they would have her jink or her house. So, she began to weep…yeah…it was sad…even for a hard-ass blood like me….There was a knock at the door and she got up slowly, made her way downstairs (all the servants had left months before). When she opened it, she realised that something was wrong…her street looked completely different…which is understandable, because now her house was in the Hive…and the nastiest part of it…I don’t know blood, but some chant says one second her house was gone and the next it appeared in an empty lot in the Hive!

“Guvners’ve begun to speculate that the ‘effect’ is similar to the way the gate-towns slide… but no-one’s ever seen it happen in the Cage. … The practical conclusion of this effect was an extreme lowering of her tax rate to a near negligible level…I made up the back taxes for her, and she was saved…The Fated and the Merkhants were ecstatic… no…they lost some jink, but this incident lent credence to the power of jink itself. They think that the residence shifted to a poorer neighbourhood, because Kiso wasn’t ‘jinked’ enough to stay in the Lady’s Ward….

[Wheezing pause]

“And the oddest thing about the whole incident? … Kiso walked out to her grove to recover from the ordeal, and who was there, rooted to the centre, but Ash….Ash?… He’s this… Ugghh…

[Long fit of violent coughing that starts wet then becomes painfully hacking] “Blood, I think this is it… Oh, by the Lady, another drink, please?…no no…make it that Hiter rum… I need one last belt before I go… and Thera? When you get back to the Cage…take Kiso this locket…and tell her I’ll miss her…Go now…before they come again…”

[Long pause. Loud gulping then a guttural scream]

[To be read in conjunction with the Cage Rattler entry for Ash.]

See Also:

  • Cage Rattlers: Ash, Llysadia.
  • Uncaged: Faces of Sigil: Kesto Brighteyes (p16), Patch (p78), Verden (p108), Zadara (p1118).

Source: Ragboy

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