The chill wind blew over my scales as I watched Audgier Freiheim walk off into the distance. How did this happen? I thought to myself. Where did we go wrong? The wind blew Audgier’s cloak as he walked in silence.
“Take her up, Emile! Let’s get out of here,” Simon shouted. To me, he sounded annoyed or frustrated. His desire to abandon Audgier to his fate was unspoken as the ship began to lift off the ground. “Frostfire! Get to the ropes!”
“Aye, Captain,” I shouted somewhat absently as I moved to my position on deck to control the ropes attached to the sails.
Everyone was understandably upset. Vecna himself made a deal with Audgier for our souls. I say bargain, but in reality I mean Vecna conned Audgier. In a moment of desperation, a moment of weakness, Audgier traded our souls so that a woman he cared for could live the life she deserved. Ironically, that’s what got her killed as she turned back to her human self within a drow encampment.
Audgier was devastated when Vecna gloated about what Audgier had done to us and to Mia. When he realized the extent that he had been duped, he fell into a black depression worse than even when he entered our village for the first time, years ago.
I admit, even I felt hurt and betrayed by Audgier’s actions. I turned to Bahamut for answers. I thought that by showing Audgier that the gods had not forsaken us, that we still had a chance and that through faith, an aspect I ahd thought Audgier shared, he would see that we could continue on. I thought that a trial by combat would show that Audgier’s belief that he was irrevocably damned was wrong and that everything would be okay.
I was wrong. I hadn’t counted on Vecna breaking Audgier’s faith.
There was an argument. Vecna himself got involved when Audgier offered his soul in exchange for ours, but backed out before going through with it. Everyone shouted accusations at Audgier and at me for forcing the issue. The next thing I knew was that Richard had his dagger out at Audgier. Neither of us expected Audgier to swing, but I think Richard was the most shocked. Everyone turned on Audgier, out for blood. I imagined Vecna laughing as we turned on each other.
I yelled at Audgier to drop his weapons, but he refused to listen as the frenzy overtook him. Finally, in a desperate moment as his lifeblood gushed out of his wounds, he jumped over the side to certain death.
I realized in that instant that my friendship with Audgier was more important than what he had done. Yes, he had made a mistake, but he had been doing what he felt was right. I understood that it wasn’t Audgier that needed a trial for Bahamut, but me. As Audgier dove over the edge to certain death, I realized that this was Bahamut’s trial and that Audgier’s life hung on a thread. It was up to me to decide Audgier’s fate and Bahamut was giving me the choice of whether Audgier lived or died.
In that instant, I forgave Audgier for his foolishness. As Audgier vanished over the edge, I ran forward, pulling the sorcerous energies around me and wings of ice and fire exploded out of my back as I leapt over the edge after Audgier. The only thing I heard was the wind whipping past me as I dove toward Audgier. At the last moment, I grabbed him in a bear hug and used my sorcerous wings to force us back up to the ship.
Audgier didn’t struggle. I can only think that he felt he couldn’t even commit suicide properly. Silence reigned as I landed back on the ship. Accusatory stares watched me as I led Audgier downstairs. Would he understand my reasons for saving his life? Would Audgier understand the enormity of what had just happened? Would Audgier think that I had betrayed him or that I was only saving his skin to benefit me? He saw Bahamut’s justice duel as two people trying to kill one another and didn’t understand putting your life in the hands of a god.
Audgier wallowed in self pity as we landed in the nearest field. When we touched down, he walked out the door and began stripping all of his weapons, all of his possessions. He climbed off the ship and began to walk away, weaponless, in a land full of drow and other dangers. I ran over and grabbed on of the fallen hatchets and yelled his name. He turned, and I threw the hatchet at the ground at his feet. He took the hatchet and walked away without a word as I watched my best friend walk into the sunset.