Hello Hello Hello! Well, it's certainly been a while, hasn't it? (Since the summer of 2019 in fact) Still, I'm coming back to Fictionpress, and I'll explain exactly why I'm back in the post-story notes. For these notes, I'd like to talk about how exactly this story came to be! Like most of the world, I've been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and I've been pretty isolated here in the U.S. Despite being an introvert... even I need social interaction, so I began looking for online RPG groups (D&D and Pathfinder mostly)

After two games I joined were either canceled or put on hiatus, the third game was the charm! It's an amazing group, great people, and an amazing story with the "Out of the Abyss" D&D module. Still, for anyone who has done group RPGs before, you certainly know that some things don't happen the way you plan them. After all, it is the story of the group and not an individual.

Sometimes the party isn't strong enough to do a certain sidequest, sometimes plans change as new information comes to light, and sometimes your character gets outvoted by the others. It's not a bad thing, but it does mean some stories fall down by the wayside. This is a chance for those stories to shine, and I'm really excited to tell them,

Additionally, a big thanks to my "Out of the Abyss" D&D group, and the characters of Lura and Wind belong to the players Tif and Anne respectively.

I hope you enjoy the story!

...

The footsteps of her traveling companions echoed behind her on the dirt path. One belonged to a dark elf priestess, walking along the path with light footsteps. Her elvish moon blade hung on her hip, the pale blade shining in the filtered sun of the forested path. She wore the robes of a drow priestess, illustrated with the markings of the drow goddess Eilistraee. She was named Lurakyre 'Lura' Naïlo, and unlike the other drow in the underground, she wanted a peaceful life on the surface. During their journey to the Underdark, she had cajoled, betrayed, negotiated, and fought against her fellow drow.

The second traveler had the heavy footfalls of a dwarven paladin... although his status as a paladin was questionable these days. Darrak Holyshield walked with his head down, his armor weighing heavy on him. He'd seen a lot during their travels to the Underdark. His dwarven brethren slaughtered by the various enemies of the underground, his former allies hating him for working with a drow priestess, and his faith in his god shaken when he was tortured by demonic madness.

They were both a little broken, and without homes of their own, so Wind had invited them to come to see her home. "We're just a few miles away!" She chirped, pointing through the forest towards the coastline. You could almost see the spires of the city peeking out from between the trees, and Wind quickened her pace.

Zipp!

An arrow landed right in front of her paws, causing her to skid to a stop before ten bandits charged out and quickly surrounded the trio. Two gnolls, three goblins, and five humans, all of them brandishing weapons and snarling as a human dressed finer than the others walked forward. "Well, three travelers on this road. Guess you didn't know about the toll here, you gotta pay!"

"Hold on boss, I thought we was gonna kill em?" A goblin interrupted, looking very confused. "Then we would take the shinies off their bodies!"

"How about no one dies?" Wind interrupted, keeping her hands away from her bow as the bandits turned to look at her. "We don't pay the toll, and we leave."

"You don't pay us? Stupid cat, now give us your gold!" The bandit leader growled, pointing his sword at her while he extended a grimy hand.

Wind's ears flattened as she took in the insult. Calling a Tabaxi warrior a cat was like calling a butterfly a bug! Her hand reached towards her bow as Lura stepped forward, her posture showing elegance as she strode towards the bandits.

"We don't have any gold to give you, and it would be in your best interests to leave now. Before someone gets hurt."

Darrak watched the bandits openly laugh at the woman's suggestion. For some reason, his two friends seemed to want to talk to every bandit group that attacked them, rather than just draw weapons and smash some heads. So instead he kept his eyes on Wind's paw, watching for their agreed-upon signal. When negotiations failed, the claws came out.

"Give us your go- Arggh!" The bandit's sentence ended in a pained scream as Wind unsheathed her claws and slashed them across the bandit's face, causing him to stumble back. "Ah, damn! Kill them all!"

Lura drew her weapon and watched four of the bandits charge toward her, screaming warcries and brandishing their weapons. The drow priestess closed her eyes and shifted her feet in the dirt before she launched herself forward and began dancing circles around the bandits. Her sword was an extension of herself as she moved around the thugs, parrying and dodging the clumsy swings before she swung her sword four times.

She spun her blade around and saluted the air, before all four bandits fell dead at her feet, their blood adding color to her otherwise pale sword.

Darrak reached behind him and drew a hammer that was about the size of his body, hefting the impressive weapon with one hand while the other held up a dwarven shield. The two gnolls charged towards him, yipping and roaring, as Darrak readied himself. Why do all the biggest enemies want to attack me? He lifted his shield and parried a mace blow, gritting his teeth at the force of gnoll muscles, before he swung his hammer.

The crack of bones filled the air as the hammer blow slammed into the Gnoll's side, and the creature fell dead at his feet. The second gnoll howled a warcry and charged forward, slashing out with his axe savagely. The clang of steel on steel echoed through the forest as Darrak stumbled backward, one axe blow knocking his hammer out of his hand. The dwarf valiantly struggled against the axe as it came down on his shield, again and again, sinking to his knees.

"Go on! Fight back!" The Gnoll shouted, bringing his weapon down again and again. Weren't dwarves supposed to be brave fighters, so far all this one did was cower behind his shield!

"I can't" Darrak growled, his hand reaching out towards his hammer as he smiled at the creature. "I am concentrating." Holy magic sparked around his hand as the hammer began to twitch before it rose off of the ground like a living thing and flew back towards him. Bones shattered once again as the hammer slammed into the gnoll's back, sending the creature to the ground. A second hammer blow made certain the gnoll wouldn't rise again.

Wind drew her bow, the ebony weapon contrasted by the red sinew like string. She drew the bowstring back, and a red arrow made completely of energy began to form out of thin air. She watched the three remaining bandits rush towards her, and released the arrow. It soared past the trio, looking as if it would shatter on the nearest tree.

And then Wind let out a sharp and low whistle.

The arrow wheeled around and split into three arrows, piercing each bandit with a crackle of energy. Wind lowered the bow right as they collapsed, knowing they were dead from her shot. Turning back to her companions, Wind smiled, seeing that they weren't harmed at all. They'd battled the drow of the prison, the demons of the Underdark, and the madness of their own minds. A few grimy highwaymen weren't going to stop them, not now.

"Looks like they robbed some others," Darrak muttered, tossing them each a coin pouch fished from the pockets of the bandits. "But they won't be doing it anymore." Then he began the gristly work of moving the bodies of the bandits off the road, while Lura pocketed her pouch. Her eyes turned towards the road ahead, listening for anything else that could be dangerous, before nodding.

"The path ahead is clear, lets get to Neverwinter before something else happens."

...

Feather in the Wind moved towards the city of Neverwinter, the familiar spray of the coastline coating her fur as she skipped into the city. Merchant boats bobbed in the water, men and women unloaded cargo, and the smell of the chopped wood that would someday be used by her father filled the air. It was good to be back home, and hopefully, the next time she left these walls, it would be by choice.

Wind smiled as the guards let herself and her friends pass. I wonder if they remember me? She thought, knowing that it had been quite a while since she had been kidnapped by the drow.

She certainly wasn't the young Tabaxi cub who roamed the streets searching for adventure anymore, now she had seen real adventure. Her footsteps carried her past the bustling Neverwinter marketplace, down a few side streets, and towards the small corner building that housed her father's workshop. It was a modest workshop, but for her, it was more than that. Her father had built the shop from scratch when the old all-dwarf brothel that had once stood on the spot closed down. Turns out, no one but dwarves liked bearded women, and Neverwinter's Dwarven population was too small to sustain it.

Her father had done most of the construction and had turned the once dilapidated brothel into the best woodworking shop in all of Neverwinter! What will my father say when he sees me again? Wind thought, wondering exactly what their reunion would look like.

Wind rounded the corner and stared at the shop, her ears pricking a bit at the silence coming from the shop. Normally her father would be working away at this hour. As she reached for the door handle, her eyes were drawn to a sign on the door, looking at the crudely written decree on it.

The shop has been closed due to suspected supernatural activity, and the owner has been jailed.

...

Stay tuned for part 2 of this story, where I write one of the strangest fight scenes I've ever done on this site! (Yes it beats the furball and kitten vs butterfly fight scene!)

Now for the post-story notes: It has been a few months since I've been on Fictionpress. Mostly to some of the stress with building my own business, a few bad habits taking over my life, and a lack of creative writing inspiration. And when the Pandemic and some job instability rolled around, well it just got worse. But I've managed to kick those bad habits and restabilize my job... so things are going well.

I'll be back on Fictionpress full time now, so PM's will be responded to, reviews will be given, and stories will once again be posted! I've got some great things planned for the future, that I hope everyone enjoys.

As always please leave a review, feel free to check out my other works, and have a great day!