The Happy Muggers

A Lost Friend

In which Leeloo is disappointed in herself

I tried to save him, Mother, but I failed.

I know all too well your feelings on the matter, but the drow, despite all that, and despite the ample evidence of the general depravity of his people, and despite even the specific social and tactical depravities he himself regularly demonstrates, is my friend. As I said before, he has been at my side when others could not, and he and I have seen things that these missives can only faintly shadow.

And his disappearance may be the last we share. We had been following a suspected cultist, and to that end had descended beneath La Mancha by way of a disused warehouse, and found ourselves now under the Lake of Man itself, in a wet little cave whose walls echoed the roar of a massive waterfall. It was in trying to pass the waterfall that we fell afoul of the Kua-toa, who attacked our little boat and took ..d into the depths, although I suspect he went, at first, willingly into their arms, the better to find the softest underbelly to slice his dagger into.

But once they had him, they would not release him again so easily. His efforts felled a good many of them, but his escape always found more to pull him further down. I turned my attention more and more toward him, my oldest friend, and pulled all the arcane energies I could to sweep him back to safety, but the devil-fish always swam around my efforts, netted him again, and pulled him back, down, into the whirlpool.

I remember the despair that washed over me when we lost Tarque, the sudden awareness that, though this band of friends I had found were the ablest I’d ever known, and the strongest I’d ever seen, that they, too, could be taken by surprise and beaten, soundly, by creatures whose lives consisted not of adventure and derringer do, but by an endless progression of mindless danger and death. I have not forgotten that lesson—the hot tears I shed that day still burn on my cheeks—but I aim not to remember it so viscerally as I do right now.

I just hope that when we find D’cafnaet’d, he is in much better shape than was Tarque, rest his soul.



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