As the beleaguered Order approached the Temple in the early morning’s light, Kohra slipped quietly away, into the shadows. She wasn’t sure if anyone noticed her stealthy departure and she really didn’t care. She was in pain, physically and soulfully.
As she approached Wren’s house, keeping to the shadows, Wren’s door opened wide, the warm glow of a fire beckoning from the threshold. _ “I’ll never get used to her knowing when I’m around.”_ Kohra thought to herself as she slipped quietly past Wren and into the welcoming comfort of her friend’s home.
Wren sat Kohra down and began peeling the ruined and bloody bandages from her friend.
“Tell me what happened on Chopper’s Island” Wren stated matter-of-factly. Her hand glowed a burnt umber, causing Kohra to gasp painfully.
“How did you know about that?” Kohra asked through clenched teeth.
Wren merely arched an eyebrow at her.
“Very well.” Kohra said, and began to relate the first adventure of the Order of the Red Band.
“After completing the unfortunate affair with Amele, we decided to investigate the odd sightings on the island. Ascending the heights was easy enough, though I would have been quicker were it not for the lummoxes trying to ascend after me. I’m sure they would have been able to climb faster if they had kept their minds out of their trousers though.”
Wren smiled wryly at this.
“Once the climb was over, Yorastor showed us several points of interest that led Dorin to surmise that this may have been the hideout of the Sandpoint Devil. As we moved toward a decrepit hut, I was overcome by a sense of dread.”
Wren glanced up at her friend with concern, her hands leaving fresh skin as they passed over Kohra’s wounds.
“I pulled the warpriest, Blackheart…”
“What an odd name…quite cumbersome…I think I’ll just call him Bart…much easier. What do you think?” Kohra trailed off.
This brought a satisfying laugh from Wren.
“I pulled him aside and told him the barest amount regarding my affliction, that positive energy could harm me. I told him this reluctantly and in confidence, a confidence he soon betrayed. As we approached a hole in the interior of the hovel, the floor gave way, sending Dorin and I plummeting thirty feet to the ground. When I awoke, I was bound, hand and foot, the Order glaring at me filled with fear and mistrust, Wren. Bart had wasted no time informing them of my condition. They were all postured most threateningly, except for the dwarf. Pel looked as if he had swallowed a handful of rotworms, all puffy, and was feeling most distressed about it. He was rather comical actually.”
Wren chuckled slightly at this vision, the glow from her hands shifting to a dark, almost bruise colored, purple. The spells she was weaving caused Kohra great pain, but her wounds slowly knitted together.
“I was most distressed by Yorastor. Wren, you assured me I would be able to trust him.”
“And you can.” She replied serenely. “But he won’t be able to fully trust you until you let him in.”
“I don’t know, perhaps I can. Perhaps I’ll visit his store this evening.”
Kohra’s demeanor shifted from reflection to anger in flash.
“They believed I was undead, Wren! I, a Bellator of the Occasionum Iudex! Undead?!?! Those who slip through the Weave?!? Disgusting!” spat Kohra.
“So many have before, Kohra, why does it surprise you that these men do?”
“I expected more from them.”
“Because of your Vision!”
Wren peered quizzically at Kohra and assumed her ‘big sister’ posture. Kohra grimaced, knowing there was lecture coming.
“The vision doesn’t give them a preternatural sense about the world, Kohra. You of all people should know this. A vision didn’t let your Iudex stop your family’s murder and won’t give your companions the ability to see what you refuse to show them.” Wrens voice was soft, as always, but the underlying steel in her tone left no question about her disappointment.
Kohra hung her head, shamed. “Of course. You’re right. But it is not yet the time to reveal everything.” she sighed.
Wren swept her blonde hair out of her face with frustration. She had made progress, both with her friend’s wounds and getting her friend to open up to the Order. But she could tell when her Kohra would budge no further. Wren would have to trust that Kohra would at least confide in Yorastor.
Kohra didn’t remember falling asleep, but when she awoke in her friend’s home she felt more refreshed than she had in some time. A slight twinge of pain brought her eyes to her left arm. There she found an intricate silvery infernal tattoo. “What in the world is this, Wren?” She thought to herself. As she rose to dress herself, Kohra found a small note from Wren beside three potions. Not only did the note explain the tattoo and the potions, it also informed her that the Blacksmith wished to reward each member of the Order for finding his son’s body. _ “I hear Das is quite the metal worker. Perhaps something good can come of last night’s debacle.”_ With that, Kohra dressed and left her friend’s house. The Order of the Red Band had taken precedence in her thoughts. The Occasionum Iudex would survive without her for a time. After all, what was she to them except another Judge, another Bellator Iudex?
The blades laid out before her were exquisite, each one more fine than the previous, “You’ve done some amazing work here.” Kohra told Das.
Das Korvut beamed at this compliment from such a lovely young lady. Since the return of his son’s remains he had been so much more lucid. His mind was clear and a burden had been lifted from his soul. “Anyone one of ‘em is yers, miss.” he replied in his thick brogue. “It’s the least I kin do fer you and yours after bringin me Simon back ta mey. Now I kin bury him right proper.”
Kohra peered up at the barrel chested man, “You know this isn’t necessary? We did not do this for profit.”
“Aye.” He replied.
Kohra looked down at the blades once again. While none of them were overly ornate, they were weapons of war not ceremony, the plainest of them seemed to call to her. The blade had an almost smoky coloring, caused, Das told her, by an anomaly in the steel during its forging. The pommel held a single small ‘bur’ that would point out from her hand when held, and the grip was wrapped in exquisite yet subdued silver and grey silken threads. As she lifted the blade from the counter it felt as though it sang.
“This one Master Das. I’ll take this one.”
The blacksmith looked surprised at her choice. “Are ya sure miss? Tha’s an ugly blade, a fine blade, but ugly none the less.”
Kohra smiled wickedly at Das, “I’m positive good sir.” She glanced again at the new weapon she held, “Smoke.” she whispered.