(The following was written by Silveressa and Mystic Moon in google docs then posted here after editing)
Mystic shakily moved over to the proffered seat and sat for a minute in silence, his face pale and his hands trembling.
"There's… there's something wrong with me, I think. The…" and he drifted off into silence.
Silveressa looked over at him in concern, reaching out a hand to rest it reassuringly on shoulder, “Is this about that load of bollocks the alchemist told us about demon possession and months to live?
He shuddered at the mention of the Alchemist and rubbed his hands on his arms, feeling the freshly healed skin and fighting the memory of the fire.
"No, not that… it's something else."
She nodded in understanding, “I’m no stranger to trauma myself, so feel free to tell me anything, I’m here to listen and help if possible.”
He sipped at the tea a bit, still a little lost in thought. His eye twitched and his fingers jerked, almost spilling the tea.
"Things are so much clearer when we're fighting things, you know?"
She nodded in agreement, “That’s how it was for me too back when I was in the army, much easier to keep focused when you’re in the thick of it and fighting to survive, not so much when you’re sitting around waiting for the next battle.”
"I've always been such a cerebral person. I never gave much thought to physical stuff. So, it's been weird for me here… I enjoy running and fighting and all that and I can't really focus so much on the cerebral things." He chuckled a bit. "I feel like the stereotypical fighter, you know. Just point me at something to bash!"
She grinned and gave his muscled arm a squeeze, “Don’t sell yourself short, you’ve got the brains and the brawn now, it’s an enviable combo most would love to have I’m sure.”
"And lately…" Another pause. "Lately, there's been dreams… and… thoughts…" He drifted into silence again.
“Bad dreams? Of that troll pit and other horrors we’ve seen?” She reached down next to the fire and retrieved a small block of wood, pulling out a small knife and turning it over in her hands. “Sometimes it helps to keep your body busy while the mind ponders, I have a spare knife and some wood if you want to have a go at carving something for Wilem?”
"It gets to where the only thing I can think of is going after that wyrm. Getting a good whack! in and taking his head for a trophy."
She nodded thoughtfully, “That’s understandable, you have the body now to take the fight to your foes, and a world where slamming your fist into some deserving jerks snot box will be heralded with praise rather than a law suit.” She giggled a bit at the thought of lawyers in such a land. “It’s natural to want to test your physical limits against challenges to see what you’re capable of.”
He nodded, but frowned. "True, but it's more than that. I need
to go after something, anything. Better if it's a beast, like that Dracolisk, but soon… I dunno."
“Need?” She tilted her head in concern, “As in like an addiction need?”
His eyes opened wide. "Maybe. It's been so crazy up in my head, and I've been fighting so hard… I never thought. But, yeah, that sounds right."
Silveressa was silent a long moment, absent mindedly carving thin strips of wood from the block into the fire. “Do you remember when you first had the need? Any defining moment or event when it first was noticeable?”
His brow furrowed in concentration as he thought. "Nothing comes to mind, really. It's just been growing. I thought, well, at least I'm not hallucinating, and just kind of kept it to myself."
“Hmm, was this before or after that evil alchemist doused you with fire?”
"Oh, definitely before. In fact… I remember wishing I'd stumble across one of those needlemen in the swamp so I could take a good whack at it. Watch its head go rolling…" His eyes got a glazed look to them.
Silveressa resisted the each to gently slap the man to break him from his reverie, not wishing to provoke an ingrained response that would send her flying into the bushes. Instead she snapped her fingers in front of his face, hoping to refocus him on the present. “Taking heads? That’s the legendary name of that pole arm of yours, I wonder if perhaps it’s truly cursed more than just in legend?”
"I see them in my sleep, in my dreams. Sometimes when we're just walking along. So many heads. And these arms," he said holding them before him in their muscular glory, "doing the head taking."
“So if I was to say, mention that while we’ve been talking Valadarr has stolen the pole arm and tossed it in a near by pool of quicksand your initial feeling about that would be what ?” She kept her voice light and casual as she asked it, glancing over at Mystics bed roll near the edge of camp.
Mystic's eyes flew wide and he tossed the tea aside as he leaped up. His short sword leaped into his hand and he ran for his bedroll. "I'll kill him!"
She quickly raised a hand to stay Lucky from lunging, placing the half carved block of wood at her feet and returning the knife to it’s sheathe on her belt, waiting calmly for Mystic to return once he saw his polearm was indeed safe.
He froze, dropped his sword, then fell to his knees. "I thought… I would never…" His head fell in shame.
“Tell me know of a volcano we can drop that thing into Lucky.” She said quietly to the Dire Wolf, standing up and walking over to put an arm gently around Mystic’s shoulder. “The first step to solving a problem is recognizing there is one, in this case I think you will agree, your connection to this pole arm is a problem?”
"Or maybe I just need to kill more things?" He said, hope filling his eyes.
“The axe is cursed my friend, likely in the end once it has taken total control of you the last victim will be yourself after it has driven you to take the lives of all you call friend.” She shook her head. “If I had known the curse when I studied it back then I would have warned you against using it.”
"Can we try it, though? Just a little longer, a few more fights. See if I can master it. Maybe the urge won't be so strong once I've been able to… you know… take a few. Just a few."
“If you’re wrong by that point you may no longer be able to stop yourself, and the next heads you take could be the ones in this camp.” She gestured to their slumbering comrades with one arm. “With curses sometimes the one cursed is the only one that can free themselves, in this case you would need to be the one to toss the pole arm into the quagmire.”
"Let me think about it? Not long, I just need to think."
She nodded and raised her chin slightly, pulling back her cloak to let the moonlight highlight her pale neck. “I trust our friendship is stronger than any curse, and that urge you’re feeling right now, you know it’s not of your own choosing, free yourself from it and I will do my best to replace your lost weapon with something better as soon as the chance presents itself.”
He looked at her neck and his face went white once again. Then he set his mouth into a firm line and stood up. "I'll think about it."
She nodded and closed her eyes briefly, “You’re stronger than some enchanted piece of metal, in your mind as well as your body, once you break that curse you’ll see just how amazing you really are.”
He nodded, his face a mask, and walked away. He grabbed up Headtaker and headed away from the camp. "I'll be back in a few hours."
She nodded giving him an accepting smile, “If you desire, Lucky and me will go with you, wherever your path leads.”
"No, I need to do this alone."
“Stay safe, if you’re not back by dawn Lucky and me will come find you to make sure you didn’t get lost.” She returned to the fireside, sitting down next to lucky and pulling the snake carcass from the fire, giving her mate a sly smile. “Not the most delectable midnight snack, but it beats left over take out.”[/list]