The Dirt Roads of Phandalin

One. Last. Gasp

Six feet in the cart and two in the grave

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When Sildar’s family fled Thundertree, he was raised on the road, his family raising him on the tenets of hard work and justice. Despite the meagre means, they gave abundantly when they had little, and stood with those who were oppressed as they moved from town to town.

This sense of equality and justice grew deep roots in Sildar finding its expression on the docks of Neverwinter, along the dirt roads up and down the sword coast. His unequivocal pursuit of justice found him in the ranks of the Lord’s Alliance. While on a mission to find out what happened to his fellow Alliance memeber Iarno, he fell into step with a rag tag bunch who shared his goals of justice, if not in means, at least in the ends.

He never forgot Thundertree, his parents and the lessons they taught him. Fight for justice, push back against the darkness, whether it’s the smallest shadow or the deepest night. Sildar couldn’t have known the cost he would pay, when the shadow’s themselves would change the heart of Iarno, his once loyal friend. It would be Sildar himself, on a lonely walk beyond the town limits of Phandalin where he would balance the scales of justice.

A short time later, the shadows would appear to turn to the darkest night. During his watch, Sildar seen figures shambling towards him in the darkness. No matter, he must of thought. Had they not just dispatched hobgoblins and a bugbear just that morning?

Sildar, whose arrows have saved his new found friends numerous times over the last few days, called for their aid, as he unsheathed his sword and strode to push back the darkness.

They stirred, but they did come.

Ghouls. They came in numbers. Sildar struck one before they closed in. They were on up too quickly. Biting, slashing him with their claws. Sildar stood as long as he could against the darkness. He called again for the aid of his friends.

They stood now, and attacked from the safety of the cart.

But
They
Did
Not
Come.

Milo watched as they tore into his flesh with a madness only known to those who once walked the world life, and now do so only in death. Milo launched an attack, so did Varitoss and Kildrack. Twice they launched arrow, spell, and javelin.

Twice more they did not come.

They watched finally, as he who stood as long as he could, finally breathed his last.

And then they came.

Magic cracked, arrows screamed and javelins flew through the air that just moments ago Sildar breathed.

The ghouls crumbled under the weight of their fury.

But they came too late. He who was destined for something greater, was gone.

Who knows what kept them in the cart that night. Standing eye to eye with ghouls after dusk is not for the faint of heart. Even those who strive to be hero’s sometimes falter. That night, it was Sildar who stood. It was Sildar who traded blows with the damned, and it was Sildar who paid the price, a hero’s price.

When the last ghoul went howling into the darkness, Kildrack did his best to breathe on the last embers of life still flickering in the shredded body of Sildar. Bandages covered his body like a burial shroud as they lifted him into the cart and stood watch.

LIfe and Death are different here in realms. It’s not life is less precious here nor that death does not come for us all. It’s just different. Why is it that some are spared the cost of death’s tally, while others pay it far too soon. Those who appear to come back, never speak of it, as if they carry the knowledge of what happened but lack the words to describe it. We may never know.

What Milo did notice was the sound of sputtering lungs, and the heaving of a thought still chest. Sometimes, when you push back against the darkness hard enough, you get one last gasp.

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