What is destiny?
Is it the pre-ordained order in which events occur, regardless of name-giver actions?
Is it a foretold future that still requires name-givers to bring it to pass?
Or is the concept of destiny merely a feeble attempt by sentient beings to make sense of the randomness of the worlds around them?
The Aspect of Destiny shows a young woman calling herself Destiny and asking for help.
Who is she? Is Destiny a Passion? Is she the mother of the Passions? (I hope not; the pop-culture references would be unbearable) What help does she need? What consequences would helping Destiny have?
Clearly more study is necessary.
It appears that I have bonded with the Aspect of Destiny at an opportune moment – a superstitious man might be tempted to read something into this.
After returning from my adventures in the Wastes I traveled to the Windhowler moot to re-unite with my Stormwarrior brothers and catch up with them. We all had great tales to tell.
Mitch brought us news that was both amazing and devastating to his order:
The good news was that followers of Garlen previously unknown to Mitch have been surviving in a part of the horror-infested city of Arrakal in fallen Ustrecht.
The bad news was that mad Raggok threatened to kill every follower of Garlen in Barsaive unless the group in Arrakal left.
We decided to make for that city at dawn to evacuate Mitch’s brothers and sister in faith.
This would also give us the opportunity to liberate the mighty shield Bloodwall which is important to the trolls of the Twilight Peaks and which Olaf has need for.
I was surprised that I could not rouse my friends from sleep the next morning, despite vigorous attempts.
When they did eventually wake, several hours late, they all claimed to have been visited by their Passion in their dreams, asking to meet west of the central spire of Ustrecht.
The consensus seems to be that the Aspect of Destiny is to blame for these dreams.
I have several issues with this theory.
When we all were in the presence of the Aspect shortly after we met, while we had vivid or disturbing dreams, none of us had trouble waking in the morning.
If the Aspect is causing the dreams, surely I would have been affected by now as I have been keeping it near for some weeks.
The argument that I may be escaping the worst effects by virtue of having woven threads to the artifact does not explain why other members of the Windhowler moot, whose guests we were, experienced no trouble.
My hypothesis for why I alone of the Stormwarriors did not receive a dream message is this:
I am the only Stormwarrior not to have devoted myself to the anthropomorphic personification of idealised value concepts or emotional states.
We finally got under way after giving up on waking Olaf and just carrying him and his gear on board.
Settling down in the mountains a few hours climb away, we got a good view of the city.
Its layout is split in five with four quadrants arranged around a central section.
An are between two of the quadrants, the southern and western to be precise, appeared to have been cleared, suggesting a kill zone.
We surmised that we would find the followers of Garlen on one or the other side of that zone.
As the southern quadrant was nearest to us we decided to approach through it, though it lies opposite to the area we had visited in the past.
We entered the city and made our way through the rubble without difficulty until we crossed the defensive field and met with the Garlenites, who welcomed us into their midst.
We learned that the five parts of Arrakal were each dedicated to a different Passion: Tystonius at the centre, Uppandal in the north, Rashomon in the east, Garlen in the west and the Forgotten One in the south. At this stage only the followers of Garlen and the mad creature that once was Rashomon had holdings in the city.
The forces of Garlen are lead be a grizzled troll veteran (whose name currently escapes me) who was understandably outraged at the suggestion that he had to abandon the post he had held for many years, though they had recently been hard-pressed by new undead hordes, animated from those fallen at Carrington.
After some discussion he agreed to consider evacuation provided we could guarantee the integrity of the treasure he is sworn to guard: an ancient and priceless tome of legends and heroic stories from before the scourge.
This tome is in a state of very poor repair and moving it without serious care would surely destroy it.
Maybe my power over the forces of entropy will be of use though the book is at the upper size limit of what I can affect.
Animating the pedestal it rests on and having it move carefully is also a possibility.
Olaf will be able to craft a container to protect the work from inclement environmental conditions during transit.
We decided to postpone such deliberations for another day as we got a few hours rest and spent the remainder of the night standing watch alongside the followers of Garlen.
Thorvald met the leader of Raggok’s mob for parlay and learned that there was no cause or reason for the relentless attacks on Garlen’s people other than that they were there.
Clearly this is mindless hatred at its most base.
The following morning it was time to assault the horror sitting in the central spire like a spider in its web and wrest Bloodwall from it.
As soon as we entered the central area once devoted to Tystonius an alarm sounded and we could detect crystal spiders, such as the ones we had fought before, skittering towards us.
The Stormwarriors have increased their understanding of their disciplines significantly since then and the spiders did not pose a grave challenge this time around.
We postulated that like a spider, our target may be able to sense motion along the crystal that covered most surfaces in this part of the city took steps to touch it as little as possible.
Thorvald bounded ahead in mighty leaps and the others used various means to gain the power of flight.
We made it to the central spire without much incident by found groups of crystal spiders waiting for us.
This time, with the ground erupting as we set foot on it and the horror, still unseen, assaulting us with spells of grasping and suffocation, the fight was tougher.
Olaf and myself managed to blunt the horror’s assault somewhat as Mitch and Reish made short work of the spiders. Thorvald raced ahead to clear the way for us and force the horror to divide its attention.
We finally cornered the beast in the room that held Bloodwall and saw that it was drawing power from it, the shield almost beating like a heart.
Reish exploded into a furious frenzy of attacks and, targeting the crystal strands stretching from Bloodwall to the walls of the tower room, slew the horror in mere seconds.
It was a sight to behold.
With some difficulty we escaped the tower as it collapsed and returned to Garlen’s temple.
As it turns out, our destruction of the horror at the city’s centre clears the way for Raggok’s followers to assault the western quarter on two new fronts, making the position of Garlen’s people untenable.
We have to hold out for two days and nights to make our meeting with the passions, evacuate Garlen’s people and make the Tome of Legends safe to move.
Destiny or coincidence?In the coming days we will scarcely have time to sleep let alone engage in philosophical thought experiments…