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The Pen is Mightier than the Sword
Peredhil

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It lay on a stone bier, arrayed in robes, jewels on rings, necklace, crown, and piercing ears. The type and color undetermined due to the lack of any light. The skin of the death mask had dried to a parchment texture and stretched paper-thin and taut over the jaw, the cheeks, the forehead. The sunken eyes were deep in sockets. The withered hands held crossed hiltless dagger and short crooked staff. A beetle wandered out of the headdress and trekked across the face, finally pushing between the lips to explore the hidden cavern of the mouth.

Far to the north, a beacon-light flared in the Dead Plains. Like moths to a torch, the restless dead began drifting toward it. It was quickly extinguished, but inertia kept most moving. Days later, the beacon was lit again. The shambling ones altered their movement to proceed toward this newest summons.

Back in the tomb, the sunken eyelids fluttered and failed to open, sewn shut. A hand twitched on the staff, long dead tendons tightening and loosening. The next time the beacon lit the Dead, the beetle scurried away from its new home and off the face, falling to bounce off the stone table, and then to tumble to the floor. After a minute, it dragged itself away on five legs, not looking back, and so missing the twisting of the head as the sewn eyelids followed its struggled until it was lost into the wall. The head stayed turned at it's unnaturally strained angle, seemingly looking north toward where the beacon flared last.

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Gygax watched sourly as Bark scraped the wyvern hide with his battle-axe. It made sense that the flesh had to be removed from the inside of the hide, but the repetitive sound was beginning to scrape his nerves as well. The New Hat, "Our Distance Weapon", as he thought of Cass, was still powerless after her incredibly deadly striking down of the wyvern with lightning, followed by the surging display of power that had made the magic tent in which they all rested. Too bad she really hadn't controlled either. Rather like a crossbow with a damp string. Worked well unless it didn't."I'm going to go out and explore," he announced quietly.

 

Cass was lost in her magical studies or mediation or whatever a powerless Hat did. Bark continued to work at the hide, occasionally pausing to backhand his hell-hound puppy, Dammit, when the pup's teeth managed to gnaw painfully at his thick hairy skin. Gathering his own pup, Cindy (short for Incendiary,) into her pouch at his waist, he prowled out the hanging folds of the tent fabric's "door".

 

The shimmering light that made the tent's awning was sagging in front of him nearly to the ground. Something big was on it. More boulders from giants trying to bury the tent? He edged over to the left, along the tent wall. A misshapen lumpy elbow was protruding beyond the edge of the fabric. It was covered with large scales on the side, diminishing in size as they approached the point of the elbow. The overlapping curved elbow scales were merely the size of a small buckler, perhaps two feet in diameter.

 

...

The small scales. Edging back ever so very slowly, he retreated back into the tent.

 

"There look to be a dragon sleeping on the tent," he announced. He was proud of how calm he sounded. "A green dragon," he amplified. He thought he sounded calm - it was hard to hear his words over the pounding of the blood in his ears. "I'll explore later."

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