Hammer 12, Year of Three Sailing Ships, 1492 DR
Redknife Savra Belabranta wanted no part of the icy Hammer air that grew ever colder as the sun began to set. The chill breeze whipped at her as she circled above her travel companions atop Winddancer. They were a day away from Red Larch, a prospect that should have pleased the adventuring noble, yet the gnawing hunger of Blackrazor had taken its toll upon her over the last few days.
Savra noticed her features were a little gaunt in the frosty reflection of her breast plate this morning as she adorned her plate mail. The blade’s never ending soul-thirst manifested within her as a lasting and pained hunger unlike anything she had ever known. Savra knew that Blackrazor was beginning to trouble her in other ways as well. Last night she had snapped at Quetson the Clanless after one of his usual crude jibes. She had taken to the air early this morning in order to avoid her old friend, not wanting to explain herself.
Circling again, Savra saw the dull orange flicker of her companions camp flame. She knew Discord would be beginning the ritual to summon the magical shelter, and there would be the usual discourse over warm food that Savra had come to value with her adventuring friends. The thought of food made caused her to succumb to the dark longing of the blade again.
“Lady Bellabronta,” The black sword spoke into her thoughts. The blade’s voice was imperious, succinct, and dripping with contempt. It unnerved Savra how much it reminded her of her father. “Three days have almost come to a close, and you have offered me nothing. You must let me feed. I do not wish to force my will upon you, I fear it may end poorly for your friends below.”
The threat was not lost on Savra. Although she had yet to do battle with the blade’s tireless will, she was not yet sure how best to counter it. She knew the blade cared nothing for notions of loyalty and friendship, and should her will falter while in camp, she had no doubt the blade would try to force her to slay one of her companions. These last few days had been taxing for Savra, and she had grown weary from the ever present hunger, and exhausted from the constant battle testing of her will by Blackrazor.
Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, Savra caught sight of another dull orange flicker. She steered Winddancer northward a little seeking to gain a better vantage. The sputtering and smokey campfire was disguised within the cleft of some low rocky hill, and would be impossible to spot if she were not airborne. Even with the light of day dimming, Savra could see see hulking shapes in uncured furs gathered around the sputtering cook-fire. Refuse and scattered bones littered the camp site, and the smell rotting meat and buzzing of flies could be detected even at her present height.
“Orcs, Lady Bellabronta,” Blackrazor purred. “Clearly they are a scouting party. No doubt out looking for caravans for the murdering band to attack along the road. They will position themselves here, and wait for some vulnerable traveler, then gather the rest of their filthy ilk to take the caravan unawares. We must stop them before innocents are harmed.”
“Do not think me a fool, Blackrazor,” Savra snapped internally. “I know exactly what your interest in those creatures is. You care not for innocents, only for your damnable thirst. Those orcs could well be making their way back to the mountains claimed by the Iceshield tribe. They have done nothing to warrant suspicion that they are going to attack a caravan.”
“Let me be clear, Lady Bellabronta,” Blackrazor projected coolly. “I will drink tonight. Either you determine the souls I consume, which can be a those of known marauders, rampagers, and murderers, or I will. That impertinent dwarf, Quetson tries my patience.”
The sword was quiet within Savra’s mind for a time, letting the threat linger.
Savra pulled on Winddancers’ reigns, hovering between the two fires in the heavy winter dusk light. Reaching back over her shoulder, she pulled the Blackrazor from its sheath. She could feel the blade throb in her hands with anticipation. The glistening starry blade, shown against the sky like a jagged rent in the gray clouds.
Sighing heavily, Savra took the hilt in both hands, letting the reigns drop. She squeezed the hippogriff with her knees, giving the hippogriff a command to dive on the oarfish camp below.
Winddancer emitted a shrill, raptor-like screech before falling out of the sky, claws bared. As the wind rushed past her, and her her whipped beneath her hood, all Savra could hear was the triumphant laughter of Blackrazor at the prospect of the bloodshed to come.