The first part of my experience I feel is vital to the story is the tale of Lanfear’s familiar, an evil priestess of the One and an annoying blue dragon.
All of this took place before we figured out what exactly our goal was. I was leading the group through the border of civilized lands so we could train and become strong enough to defeat the demons and undead. During this time Lanfear had met up with her familiar, a small pseudodragon with the name Cyric. We all knew something was wrong with Cyric because he was more intelligent than others of his kind and he refused to answer several questions regarding his past and person. Despite him being Lanfear’s familiar he didn’t always obey her and sometimes even endangered her for his own benefit. It took a while, but finally even Lanfear couldn’t deny something was out of place with Cyric. She probably planned to act on it, but before she could Cyric surprised us all by saving our lives. While we were passing through a village we learned of the kidnapping of a young woman. I volunteered our group to go and save her and we tracked her assailants to a cave. The young woman had been abducted by a demonic creature and the battle to rescue her was less than successful. The creatures minions were easily defeated, but the beast itself was too strong. In the end Cyric saved us all by healing some of us. We rescued the girl and returned her to the village, but Cyrics intervention had turned him in too stone. As we traveled onwards Lanfear searched for a cure but found none. Then one night we were approached by an evil priestess of the One. She claimed to be on our side as she had no love for demons. She knew of an abandoned castle we could go to too test our mettle, she even sent along a minion of her own to help us, a shadow. Despite the threat of a trap we decided to venture in to the castle. When we walked through the gates we were greeted by a blue dragon. The battle was fierce, but we were victorious. The blue dragon fled and we were free to enter the castle. We defeated the other threats within the ruins, some were more difficult than others, and emerged several hours later tired and wounded. The blue dragon however had taken this time to strengthen himself and attacked anew. This time the battle took a turn for the worst and in the end Lanfear saved our lives by offering the dragon a means to escape his boredom. She offered him a place in our group as a companion. While I was against it, I must admit that otherwise we would have been defeated by the dragon. I tell you this tale because in retrospect these were the first times I was forced to work together with an evil creature. These were the first compromises I was forced to make, and in the end compromises like these led me to my fall. Cyric, the evil priestess, the shadow and the blue dragon, I should have known better.
My next recollection will be that of my first marriage. Although I count my years with Vanessa among some of the happiest of my life I must admit that both their beginning and their end have left me with a very ambiguous feeling.
My companions and I, including the blue dragon, had been traveling together for a while and we had destroyed many monsters. Our success had left us with a considerable amount of gold, gathered from the treasures these beasts horded. Word had also spread across the land about our adventures and we were becoming well known in the area. One evening we arrived at the gates of a small city. We were welcomed inside and invited to dine with the local lord. The man proved to be very courteous and friendly. We entertained him with tales of our exploits and he graced us by presenting some of his best food and wine. During the dinner, and even before that, during our travels, I made it abundantly clear that I wanted nothing to do with our dragon companion. This obviously didn’t please the creature at all and unbeknown to me it started to plot it’s revenge. When the night was getting old we all retired back to the inn where the lord had arranged some rooms for us. The next morning I was woken by my companions who asked me to join them at the breakfast table. The waitress who brought me my meal was Vanessa and only months later did I find out what exactly happened that morning. The dragon had found nothing else to taunt me with than a love potion. He laced my drink with it and so I was brought under the control of its magic. The first woman I would set my eyes upon would steal my heart and fate made Vanessa that woman. I remember little details from the 24 hours that followed. I remember that I showered her with lavish and expensive gifts, that I arranged it so we could spend the entire day together and that at nightfall I confessed my everlasting undying love for her and asked her to marry me. I am proud that despite the magic, my position, might and wealth I still did what was right and did not give in to the darker side of love, lust. I married Vanessa the next morning. The wedding was made possible by the lord of the city who was all too happy to help me arrange my marriage in his domain. I know not what urged me to marry her so soon. Perhaps it was the magic of the potion but I like to think it was the power of true love that fate had allowed to grow. Whatever the case we wed that morning, mere hours before the potion wore off. When the potion finally did ware off I can honestly say my feelings did not change all that much. I was very fond of Vanessa and in a few days that fondness grew in to real love. We remained in the city for only one day after the wedding because I could not delay our mission for me alone. We traveled onwards and with Vanessa at my side I withstood more than I could imagine. I finally enlisted the help of two bodyguards to keep Vanessa safe during our adventures. I met these bodyguards when me and my companions were trapped in a magical maze. For what seemed to be days we had wandered through the structure without finding an exit. The maze was full of traps and dangerous creatures. Two of these creatures were bugbears. When they attacked my patience ran out and I yelled at them to drop their weapons and surrender. To my surprise they complied. When we found a way out of the maze they followed us and a few days later they asked to join us. Again I allowed two evil creatures to travel with us, but I count those two bugbears among my greatest successes. I managed to convert them and finally came to trust them enough to protect my wife. Without them Vanessa would have died long before she did.
My marriage with Vanessa finally ended when she was killed by undead creatures. My companions and I had traveled deep in to undead territory in order to claim some ancient artifacts that could be found in a desolate and ruined city. When we finally came upon the city I decided to leave Vanessa in the care of her bodyguards and the men of my company while me and my companions ventured inside.
I remember kissing her goodbye and her last words to me: “be careful”. Not once did I imagine I would never see her again.
Our mission was successful, but when I returned my men informed me that she had been killed during an attack by undead. Both her bugbear bodyguards had survived but were in critical condition. Jason healed both the bodyguards and I rode out to find a temple capable of reviving Vanessa. I found none. Some had the ability but were unwilling to do so. It took me a while, but finally I found a temple that would resurrect her in a few months.
In those months a lot happened that changed everything however. I fell in love with another woman and reacted in a very dishonorable way. I chose to interpret the law in a very literal way and declared my marriage to Vanessa officially at an end. This because we were both sworn to each other until “death do us part”, which in fact it had. I couldn’t even bring myself to talk to her in person. I sent the two bugbears away with her body. I ordered them to take her to the temple so she could be resurrected and then to guard her with their lives until her death. I bought her a mansion, an estate with several servants and left her a considerable sum of gold. I explained, or at least tried to explain, why I had done these things in a letter. The letter was a lie however. I did not send her away because of the dangers of my life, I sent her away because of Lydia. In a way this was my first fall from grace, my first betrayal. I often wonder what Vanessa did with the rest of her life. She was still young and very beautiful so she probably found another husband. My gold should have provided her with a life of luxury and the bugbears should have kept her safe. I just hope that is how it really happened. I guess she is dead now, or at least an old woman close to dying.