I think a momentary review of personal health hazards is in order.
Adult Gold Dragon: potential health hazard
Ancient, Evil Demon: health hazard
Ancient, Evil Demon possessing Adult Gold Dragon: extreme health hazard
I don't know what stupidity possessed me to stay at that ridiculous fork in the river as long as I did. Any sane person would have seen a gold dragon, in a very unhappy mood, heard the name Rezariel, and run for their lives. It's not cowardice, it's just Common sense. There is a paucity of Common sense in this group, especially since Jacques is no longer among us. Of course, if he felt someone needed saving, a wrong needed righting, one could bid farewell to his Common sense too, but...I shouldn't speak ill of the dead.
Our trip southward from the city was uneventful, until we found the jungle. The desert gave way to grasslands, and all manner of game and edible plantlife became available to us. It would have been almost a happy fortnight, save that our memories were clouded by thoughts of Jacques. It seemed an appropriate occasion, so I uncased my flute, and played a farewell song to our fallen companion. I haven't played in so long, I daresay it surprised even me that I remembered as much as I do of the flute. My voice, however, needs some work.
One thing marred the pleasant monotony, though I took little notice of it at the time: a campfire. At least I think it was a campfire, I was otherwise occupied. There was talk of something being there, even though it wasn't, and some sort of search happened.
As we continued to followed the river south, we eventually worked our way into the lush jungle. It would have been an interesting place for our lady druid, or perhaps even Anwar, but I was not looking forward to even more such wilderness travel. I could use a well-provisioned inn and a soft bed. So, we built ourselves a raft and made our way up the river, at Tendaris' expense.
He was certainly not acting the way I had expected him to. Back in Argusund, when I had first picked up the blade, I felt no great love, or even general well-being, in him. I'd like to think that the idea of actually helping people, as he did in Aljidan, brought back the memories of what he was, but that secret shall remain with him.
It was not long before we found the fork in the river. It was apparently some sort of rangers' station, and it was decided that here we would make camp. I'd like to go on record as stating, in hindsight, that this was a horrible idea. In fact, most everything regarding the next few minutes was a horrible idea. Deciding to actually wait and see if we could stand toe-to-wingtip with a dragon. Provoking it with spells and arrows. Tendaris staying behind.
In fact, really the only good thing to come of it, that I could see, was our new companion, Nryan. Seems a worthy enough fellow, and wonders above, he actually seems to have half a brain.