Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Second Return of Garroth Dagon

(Click to enlarge)
The dark clouds above Sweetwater seemed to gather with the crowds for his arrival.

It was only the second time in twenty six years that Garroth Dagon would return home from his travels, and his stories were always grand. He had walked the grounds of the temples of Yssam and seen the great nest of Shorax on Cairn. He had passed through the sand storms of Rubaiyat and stood atop the spiral peak of Mount Eyrkla on Niflheim. But something about this day struck silence into the people, forging a bitter sweetness from the day.

All the city held their breath as Garroth's boat approached the Sweetwater dock from the Eidogal sea between southeast Agon and Cairn. According to the infrequent messages that came from Garroth, his final destination before returning would have been the Mouth of the Shadow on Yssam. From there, his vessel would travel south through the Eidothean ocean on its voyage home. The daunting ship would come to port as majestic and victorious as it always had, its white sails effortlessly catching the inward breeze and its crew standing triumphant on its deck.

As the ship came into view, the collective heart of Sweetwater sank as if capsized by a crashing sadness. With sails sloppily painted black, the signal was as clear as any word; the captain was dead. No crew could be seen waving from the deck. No fanfare greeted the ship on the dock or the crew as it entered the city. The majesty of the day turned to grief, the victory to defeat, and the triumph to failure as the vessel put in, and the makeshift coffin of drift wood was carried down the gangway and to the heart of the city.

According to the tale recounted to me by Garroth's grandson Maeron Dagon, they had made it to the Mouth of the Shadow as planned. Unsure of what they were looking for, they entered the cavern and came upon a stepped pyramid. Though most of the crew were afraid of such hidden and undocumented monuments, Garroth, in his infinite wonder, approached and climbed the steps to the top. When Garroth reached the top, he continued further and disappeared behind the pyramid. Once the crew had gathered their wits and courage about them, they followed. Upon reaching the top of the pyramid themselves, they could only see the body of Garroth lying at the foot of a portal behind the pyramid.

To this day, no one can say for certain what happened to Garroth. There were no wounds on his body and his face seemed to be of a man resting peacefully. In the reverberant cavern, no sound or cry was heard, neither a confrontation nor struggle.

Garroth Dagon's second return was that of a body without a soul. I've heard before, though, that souls cannot be lost, only displaced from their return to Auros. The body has long since been devoured by the ocean, a sea captain's final rest, but perhaps some sentience of him remains in this world. I can only imagine the stories he could tell...

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