An excerpt from the Missives of Sonja the Habomination just before the War of the Three Kingdoms
Xander visited me a couple nights ago in my dream. Dam sneaky elves can’t even let me get a peaceful night’s sleep with them around some days. He had heard about the Griffin riding incident and was wound up about it. I figured he was going to lecture me about letting Carol go up on one of those things but instead he decides to lecture me about MY not going up on one. What the hell did he expect?! I’ve got no business being on one of those creatures, I haven’t the training for it, and I told him as much. After a pointless argument I told him I would work on my riding skills so I could join Carol in the air if I needed to. He also wanted to know about Carol’s plans on joining the Azure Guard. I tried to skirt the question by giving him MY thoughts on the matter. I told him I thought the idea was stupid and he would be throwing away his future. I told him I believed Carol should not throw away his heritage and his chance of being King. I told him that I believed in the idea of the United Kingdom and what it meant to me. Xander seemed genuinely interested in what I was telling him and when I finished he lowered the boom on my head when he asked, “Sonya, would you be willing to fight for the right of Dwarves and Orcs to join the United Kingdom??? He turned my world upside down with that one question and I couldn’t give him an answer.
When I woke I had come to the conclusion I would have to work on my prejudices if I was going to earn a place in that Kingdom. If I put my mind to it surely I could do that… but the thought turned my stomach and I could feel the anger boiling inside me.
The day the Dryad came to us and we worked out a truce with her, we began our journey to the mountain plateau where we hoped to find a new home for Marrathon’s people. Around midday Tam noticed we were being trailed by three travelers and Carol sent Jazira and Phildrin to investigate. Shortly after that Tam noticed there was a man in a wagon up ahead of us coming out way so Marrathon went out to see what was going on with him.
When Jazira and Phildrin returned they had none other than Artemis “Slim” Stronghammer, Samson Bale, and Simon du Monte in tow. I couldn’t concoct a single reason for them being here though. When asked all Slim would say was that he was here to deliver a message to Marrathon and he would only deliver it in person. So Carol told Jazira to go out and find Marrathon and see what was keeping him. When they returned Marrathon had the man and the wagon with him. It turned out the man had been traveling with his daughter to Aedramir to deliver some goods when a group of trolls had intercepted him and taken his daughter hostage. He said he would have to pay them when he returned. I could tell he wasn’t telling us the whole truth and I decided to take a look at the goods in his wagon. Well, well, WELL! The GOODS turned out to be jewelry of the Highest quality. I had seen this work in Aedramir, his work. This old man was the Master Craftsman that was making the majority of the quality jewelry sold in Aedramir. He was upset because it was supposed to be a secret. Well, that was just fine with me. I was willing to keep his secret as long as he was willing to work with me. First we needed to get his daughter back for him.
We all got together to talk about what to do but Slim interjected with his message. Petra had been sacked and Marrathon’s tribe, as well as Slim’s, Simon’s, and Sampson’s families (and many others) was without a home now. On a positive note Marrathon has become a father, a son and twin Albino daughters! From the look on Marathon’s face I would say that the twins were an unusual occurrence. We took a moment to celebrate with our friend and while we talked I began to think about our purpose here. Marrathon’s tribe was in need of a home and there was an urgency to our task now. We had to find a place for them. This made me wonder if I would ever find a place and I began to think of Carol and the United Kingdom again. If I wanted a place in that Kingdom I would have to earn my place… I would have to change. While I was thinking the conversation had changed to how to rescue the girl. My personal way of dealing with the situation was to kill them all and let the gods sort them out. That way of thinking had cause me and Carol problems in the past, it had in fact almost got Carol executed. So maybe it was time for me to try something new. I knew from experience the Trolls were just brigands, dangerous, but brigands no less. If they were Smart and if I could convince them their hunting grounds were going to become dangerous for them maybe I could get the girl released and I could get them to relocate. So I set about convincing Carol to let me try my plan. I could tell everyone thought this was crazy and Carol set up his plans for when everything went south.
An hour later I was at the Kings Bridge (pictured below before the Trolls repaired it). I walked to the foot of the bridge and called out to the two Trolls we knew were there. “I know there are two of you here and I wish to speak with your leader!” It took another half hour or so for him to show up. He didn’t show up alone either, he brought eight of his biggest men. I spoke with him for a few minutes and explain the situation. I let him know this area would shortly see an influx of people that would not tolerate them; and that they would be actively hunted and killed. I explained they would be better off moving their base somewhere else and I even suggested where they might move. He nodded and acted like he understood but he didn’t seem all that impressed. When it came to the girl he would not just turn her over so I had to negotiate for her release. It cost me but he accepted the deal. However, his offer and guarantee fell flat on my ears. He offered me safe passage there and her release. Note he did NOT offer safe passage away. There was every indication he would attack me as soon as he had turned her over to me. I chose to go along with his offer knowing what was coming. I thought that I might still be able to convince him to let us walk away. When we got to their cave his entire group was there including the Shaman that Jai’mi had warned us about. They brought the woman out and I knew that I was going to have to fight. Still, I tried one more time to convince him to do things my way. I told him about an experience of my own that closely resembled this one. I told him that if he tried to keep the girl and take me that the Azure Guard would wind up descending upon them. But as I finished he smiled and threw the woman at my feet. There would be no deal, he was confident he could take me and the woman. I tried a different path and it failed. I was not about to stand around and let him get the first blow so I stepped over the girl, and with a savage snarl I attacked him.
My first flurry of blows felled the leader and suddenly two large cows appeared on either side of me. Tam was on the job and protecting my flanks, and as much as I hate to admit it, he probably saved my life. He also was responsible for summoning the Dire Apes within the caves to finish off their leader that they managed to drag back inside. Arrows flew true from the forest and Trolls died before they could even take a step. As I had known my people were in place. The battle was short and bloody for the trolls. Their leader and the Shaman were killed and the other trolls did not die in the first moments of the fight either fled or were slain. Abba Yon had recovered the girl and got her to safety. For a change it was Carol that was terrified by my willingness to join battle without someone at my side. Maybe he will learn something from that… likely not, heh.
After we had secured the area we went into the caves to see if there were any more hostages. There were three there, A knight from Last Hold in Valiis, a Gnome from Thomso in West Frizia, and a female Half-Orc. I decided to question each of the prisoners starting with the knight. This was deliberate as I didn’t want to speak to the Half-Orc before I could get control of my personal feelings about what she was. When I got to her I took a moment to calm myself and I asked her how she had gotten here. She told me with defiance in her voice she had been looking for the Blood Moon Clan. I recognized the Clan as one of the groups that had attacked Willow Wood and I asked her if she had been a part of that. Once again, with defiance in her voice she says, “Yes, better that than to be a Lapdog of the Elves.” That was a direct accusation directed at me, it was evident in her eyes and posture. Something broke inside me and I could feel my breath coming tight through my teeth. How DARE she speak to me in such a manner? Before I could think I had my axe at her throat and with my furry in my voice I said “Say that again!” And she did. There was no thought, no debate, she had to die by my axe for such an affront. Just as I was about to strike her down Phildrin stepped between us and stopped me from committing this heinous act. I couldn’t speak, I could barely breath, so I turned from her and left the cave almost running over some of my friends as I left.
Marrathon found me a little while later and gently tried to get me to explain what was wrong but I couldn’t form the words, I couldn’t explain how I had come so close to murdering an unarmed, bound woman. I couldn’t admit to him what I had done. I also couldn’t face that I had just proved I could not be a part of the United Kingdom with this much hatred within me. I could not control it and given time I would do something I could not take back. I was afraid, like I’ve never been afraid before so I just walked away from him to brood on my own.
Later I walked into camp and I declared to the group that I would be taking the watch with Carol tonight. I needed to talk with him. I needed his help. I have never asked for help before.
I made a point to wait till everyone was asleep before I spoke to Carol. “Carol, I need your… Help, with something. It’s not much of a secret that I want you to become King… for you to bring back the United Kingdom. I have my own reasons for this and I admit my reasons are selfish, but it has been pointed out that everyone should have the opportunity to be a part of the Kingdom… no matter what Race they are. I was asked if I would fight for the right for Orcs and Dwarves to have a place in that Kingdom as well and I couldn’t answer… All I could do was think about how FURIOUS the thought made me. I realized I would not deserve a place in that Kingdom if I could not accept that fact, if I could not change. But I don’t know how to do that… I’ve hated them all my life, my hatred has kept me alive at times and forged me into what I am. I don’t know how to stop HATING them Carol, not after what they did to me. I need Help Carol. The thought of not having a place in that Kingdom… Frightens me, and it makes me Hate them more. I don’t know what to do.”
Carol tried to console me by trying to explain how he hated the Dwarves we faced that where tortured those people down in Vergina but he had never come close to killing an unarmed, bound woman before and I told him as much. We talked back and forth for a bit when suddenly Jazira was sitting beside me. I was embarrassed and angry and I tried to leave but then Wilhelmina and then Marrathon were all there… They all tried to console me and expressed they would help but all I could think about was how badly I had failed. Later Marrathon spoke with me again and told me he would help and expressed again that I could always have a home with his people. Maybe they are all right but right now it all feels like a terrible reminder of my mother and father. It reminds me that I’m not all that different from either one of them, and I don’t know how to deal with that.