An Espresso Tale
Accipiter G. Goshawk
Note: for those of you who are familiar with D&D, yes I may have included at least one Critical Role reference in this story (and if you don’t know what Critical Role is, go find out 😉 They are beyond amazing!)
So far, Tia had managed to keep her companions at bay. She’d erected a wall of thorns that had cut the small cave in two, protecting her and Hunu.
“You hear the noise of wood snapping, as the barbarian begins smashing his axe into the thorns,” described the DM, rolling a few dice behind her screen.
“Can’t we try a saving throw again?”
The Spinner shot an angry look at the Dungeon Mistress, before turning to stare worriedly at Tia.
“We should be able to shake off whatever this is! If we keep this up, Grija won’t survive!”
The DM shook her head silently and then turned to the table, where she had arranged a few chips of rock to symbolize the character’s positions on the map she’d drawn out of poured sand. She placed a small twig between Grija and her party and then tuned questioningly towards Tia.
“What are you going to do, Grija?”
Tia looked helplessly at the other players, who were all wearing similar expressions of shock and dismay.
“I-I don’t want to hurt anyone,” she said finally. “Can I talk to Hunu? I’d like to ask her what’s going on.”
The DM nodded, and the small plant creature appeared again from behind the screen, trembling in fear.
“Please,” said Grija urgently, “I need to understand quickly, or we’ll both die. Why are my friends behaving like this?”
Dice clattered behind the screen, and Hunu seemed to relax.
“You are all afflicted by the same disease. Maybe you are immune, maybe…Long ago, the spirits of the forest were free and wild. Green things covered the world, and all beings lived within Errare, that which you call Nature. One day, an evil sorcerer, obsessed with the search for mastery over life, cast a spell and severed the connection between mortals and Errare. Since then, a rot has grown within you; you cannot help but consume, destroy and dominate. Your friends were unable to resist the spell’s dark lure…and now you also will be lost to the destruction wrought of the curse.”
An uneasy silence had fallen in the village cave when the DM had begun her speech, and when she finished it, a soft sobbing sound could be heard coming from all around the table. Tia turned around to see stark men and hardy women break down and cry, lost in a pain she could only imagine. Her heart leapt in her throat as she saw her own mother weeping freely in a lament to an older, greener world.
Behind her screen, the Dungeon Mistress looked both stern and noble, her long scar twitching as her jaw clenched involuntarily.
“So, what are you going to do Grija?” came the quiet question.
Tia looked down at her character sheet for a moment.
“Could I use Commune with Nature and connect with Hunu to restore the connection that was lost when the sorcerer cast his spell?” she asked hesitantly.
A new silence spread through the room, one of withheld breaths and wondering gazes.
Behind her screen, the DM grinned.
“You can certainly try!”-