Campaign Stories: Wiliken 24

The githzerai never did learn from his mistakes.

When he watched The Shining City disintegrate before the might of a devastating arcane weapon that he’d powered, Wiliken had dropped his sword and abandoned the life of a blackguard warrior. This is true.

But then he’d picked up the bow, and in so doing he gave his soul over to war once again.

Wiliken and company had made some powerful enemies in their short time together. They’d traveled deep into enemy territory only to put a target on their backs, because the moment they crash landed the severed bust of an other-worldly leviathan into the tranquil fields of the realm they had all grown to know and love, the sound and fury alerted everyone in the region to their presence. It was only a matter of time.

He’d very nearly learned the value of a calm mind on the battlefield. After nearly getting killed in the pits of Valgaman’s Menagerie of Doom simply because he’d rushed into battle rather than assessing the situation, Wiliken had taken to meditation.

But rather than removing himself from the cosmic drama and acquiring inner peace, the visions pushed the githzerai toward the pursuit of justice at any cost.

When the first enemy to find them turned out to be a troop of ogres covered in tumors and various grotesque animal parts — a feathered wing here, a pig’s snout there, and never in the proper place either — vulgar tongued imps, and a single githzerai as their leader, Wiliken showed no restraint.

“I know you’re there,” the other githzerai had taunted. “I’ve been watching you, dad.”

“Dad?” the bewildered mage Jenkins said.

“The githzerai is my son,” Wiliken said. “He calls himself Iiuza, but he is no son of Iuz.”

Wiliken hoped to hurt his son with these words, but thinking of his wife, the woman Iiuza had hunted down and killed, the githzerai softened. “Why did you do it, boy? Why did you kill her?”

“She was a traitor like you,” Iiuza said. “All traitors die the same traitor’s death.”

Wiliken rushed his son just as he’d rushed to rescue the camel Jean-Baptiste, only to be cut down the bolts of two hidden basilisks in a battle that seemed to take place so long ago.

Wiliken loosed three arrows as he charged at his son.

When a raiding party of githzerai entered this realm to battle Iuz, Wiliken had been the only one to survive. He’d allowed the Iuzians to take him prisoner rather than continue to fight beside his brothers and sisters, placing his life above theirs. He’d valued his moving up in the ranks of the Iuzian army over his relationship with his wife, and now she was gone. Instead of raising his son to serve the good, Wiliken had wallowed in the evils of his past, and so Embrion became a far more villainous “Iiuza” than Wiliken had ever been. In the last few weeks Wiliken had tried to put his selfishness behind him in service of the Barony of Felshore and the allies who’d rescued him from Valgaman’s doom.

But he left those friends behind in pursuit of vengeance.

The githzerai’s arrows missed their mark, but his son’s blades proved more accurate. Iiuza teleported three times, and each time he left his father with a wound more deadly than the last. The first was a slash to the arm that caused Wiliken to drop both his bow and his guard. The second was a stab to the gut, which alone would have killed Wiliken in due time. The third was a slash across Wiliken’s throat.

Wiliken never managed to learn from his mistakes, so he died as he’d lived — alone.

Thus ends Campaign Stories.

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