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Unfathomable! Interlude: Lathë

 One last flashback before the campaign wraps up: A father and daughter share a moment of joy and reverence before an approaching storm, but there are more than clouds on the horizon.


Narrator: Years ago.

Narrator: The shaman listened to the world around him, the dry, grassy steppe. Goats bleated their contentment. A kestrel cried on the rising wind. His daughter laughed and gamboled with a kid. Then she paused and fell silent. 

Narrator: The shaman followed her sparkling eyes. A wall of storm clouds, black against a purple sky. There was no rumble of thunder, no lashing rain. The storm brewed in a strange silence.

Doloth [low and reverent]: Look, Lathë. The sky holds its breath before the dance.

Lathë: What dance?

Doloth: A dance of wild elements! Air, water, and energy coming together in different steps, different forms. Wind. Clouds. Rain. [bellowing] Lightning! Thunder!

Lathë [laughing]: Daddy! You’ll scare the goats! We should round them up, before it rains.

Doloth: In a moment. Come, sit with an old man.

Narrator: Together, they watched the storm approach. The first fat raindrops struck the dry earth, hissing and sending up peevish little puffs of dust. Lathë giggled and lay her head against her father’s arm. She breathed in the smell of his old clothes, the musky goats, the sagebrush and bitterroot. And, just at edges, the scent of a cook fire. Onions, barley, sheep fat. Her mother and brothers were making dinner.

Narrator: The shaman chuckled, a warm rumble through his chest. She was right, of course—they needed to gather the herd. But for now, this shared moment of quiet wonder was a gift he did not wish to squander. This world held so much beauty, so much power.

Narrator: Three days ago.

Narrator: Lathë sits on damask couch. Her cloak, kirtle, and veil are white linen, spotless and pressed with origami exactitude. Her feet are clad in red silk slippers embellished with tiny white pearls. Her skin, where it shows, is gray-blue, dessicated and pricked by thorns. 

Narrator: She toys with a small pink gemstone. The pleasures of the flesh, so distracting for a girl living on the steppes, are past her now. She does not eat or drink or sleep. She does not breathe, and so rarely thinks to inhale the fine incense her servants burn for her. But the contemplation of this stone absorbs her. Held in its structure is a thaumaturgical lattice of such complexity, such dynamism, such exquisite symmetry. The longer she focuses on its reflections and rotations the more she sees, and the more she sees the more she knows there is yet to unfold.

Narrator: She does not notice the man arrive. 

Seberotzi the Mad: Come, little shepherd. Enough fighting shit-caked barbarians! We have new orders. 

Narrator: He is tall, broad, and would be handsome if not for the scars. His mustache is full and glossy and hangs past his chin. He is very proud of that mustache.

Lathë [distracted]: Orders? We’ve barely settled in as it is, Seberotzi. Weren’t we told that this place was a strategic priority?

Seberotzi the Mad: Pah! Border wars—common as fleas. Now we are called for real work. A matter of “security and state secrecy” issued from the Emperor’s own lips!

Narrator: Lathë reluctantly sets the gemstone aside.

Lathë [sighs]: Fine. Where are we off to?

Seberotzi the Mad: Fort Enterprise! We have heroes to kill!


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