He stepped into the cavern, clad in heavy armor that now was too big and too heavy for him. Try as he might he could barely keep himself upright. It had led him this far, through hell and harsh winter, and now into the den of an arrogant white dragon. The urge to continue moving forward subsided and the arm relaxed long enough for him to bend the mechanical elbow and place the arm in a make-shift sling.
Once he loved the freedom to run, but now he was tired, aged, and weathered. Just six months ago his condition was fine, but something had changed and now the frail, greying minotaur had to track down the docent that had, long ago chosen to accompany his old friend. He knew what he was looking for, but had no idea where to find it. For the first time in months the urge to continue forward subsided, the pressing need for food, drink, and rest overwhelmed him and he collapsed.
He awoke to light slap across the face. He lie there, sprawled across the icy ground in a tent, almost surely someone lived here, furs and scrolls filled the inside, a small desk sat in the corner.
“Eat this.” The accented voice of a gruff woman was accompanied by a clawed, red hand that shoved a brown lump into Critter’s mouth.
He chewed through hard, dry, crumbly mass, choking it down.
“I know, just eat it.” She said again reading Critter’s face as he choked down the mass of what he figured had to be oats and maybe sand. “They’re terrible cooks, I don’t think they have taste buds.”
The noise of Kobolds screeching at each other from outside the tent made it apparent who the tiefling was talking about.
“What are you?” She said pointing to the slinged arm.
Critter choked the rest of the mass down. “I’m not really sure how to answer that… You know about Minotaurs right?” He was sarcastic, but friendly.
“Well it was either that, or you’re the most enterprising Warforged I’ve ever met.” She snapped back, helping the 600lb minotaur to his feet with surprisingly little effort and a smile. “So?” she motioned at the arm again.
“To tell you the truth I don’t know much about it, I’ve had it since I was young, woke up in a strange place and there it was.”
“I looks useless, and if your story is true then you’ve been carrying it around for quite some time, so it must not come off?” She said
“Believe me I’ve tried, seems to be as much a part of me as this one.” he shrugged the other shoulder. “Doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.”
The tiefling continued to stare and examine the arm, moving about to examine it at every angle. She was lost in looking it over.
“Sorry.” She stopped realizing she had been so deep in turning the thing over that she had forgotten the beast that carried it. “I’m McCrath.”
They spoke for a good while about themselves, and their setting until voices from outside the tent came calling for McCrath.
As the first voice sounded his arm tensed and began to whirr. Snapping and popping it started glow faintly, becoming hot enough to burn flesh, and it did. The smell of burnt hair filled the tent and sear painfully at Critter’s shoulder. He stepped out grasping his weapon in his good hand.
McCrath, already in conversation turned back toward the tent and re-entered.
The joints of the mechanical arm creaked and the hand popped open.
“Do you have the orb” Critter asked the sorcerer who spoke earlier.
“This?”He said, drawing a mass of vines and broken glass from his pouch as he looked up. “It belonged to a friend, she was very attached to it.”
“May I?” Critter said hoping he wouldn’t have to fight for it.
Seeing the opened mechanical hand beckon impatiently even as the minotaur asked politely Vall hesitantly placed the shattered orb into the palm of the now outstretched hand.
The palm separated at the center ripping the crystal away from the leaves and vines, the violent sound of shards of glass compressing against each other echoed in the mostly empty cavern. A glowing light filled the orb, but not the blue light that might have been familiar to Vall and Kor-Zara, this was an ultra-bright, pure white, it filled the cavern and then was dimmed by the palm collapsing back to its original state, the faint concealed light moved from the palm and came to rest at Critter’s forearm before settling down, dimming entirely.
The heat of the arm dissipated quickly and the arm shot to life, it was again fully under his control, life flowed again back into the minotaur, aches and pains eased and he stood upright. He may not have been as strong as he once was, but it was the best he’d felt since the day he was freed his chains; the first day in his life that he could recall. All of the pain washed away and strength returned gradually, his senses sharpened, he could smell, everything looked sharp, the cold sting lessened, and the sound of wardrums filled his head.