A page from Surina’s Journal

“I made friends with a demon.
I probably shouldn’t have.  Add it to a long list of terrible decisions I’ve made over the last several years, but it happened.
I can just see the Platinum Dragon shaking their head at me.  They’re probably muttering about how far I’ve fallen.  How I had so much potential.
How many am I supposed to save if I cannot save them all?  Tell me that, Bahamut.  There will always be another threat.  Another evil.
You have set me on a never ending path of destruction.  But for every wrong I right, there is still more.
And I am so tired.
That is how Anzio found me.  Tired.  Alone.  He couldn’t tell, but I was broken.  Sitting against a fence post in the rain, struggling with that question of “Why?”
He is such a tiny thing.  So curious about the world around him.  Inquisitive about life.  Professional about death.
It just is for him.  It is something to be faced when it is time.  That intrigued me.  For as much death as I have brought, have seen, and watched others face with fear and desperation, this Halfling had a respect for death that I found…comforting.
The Little Halfling, upon looking me over knew it wasn’t my time.  He rattled on about providing rites if needed, but only when the time came.  Happily he stood there in the rain, talking about life, about death, about the weather.  All while I listened.  It was calming in a sense.  At least my frustration with the Platinum Dragon had Faded some.
It was months later during our travels when I realized I had made a friend in Anzio.  That loneliness that I had carried had lessened.  It was a good feeling.
Our travels took us to small villages where he helped ease the transition in to death and I tended to those who needed to live.  Setting bones.  Binding wounds.  Building barns.  Helping in the fields.
There was a balance here.  A different way of righting wrongs and doing good.
And then we came to Waterdeep.  A city so clean.  So safe.  So…unsettling.
Just a few days.  See the sights.  Visit a temple or two.  See what a real city is like and those in it.
Anzio makes friends so easily.  It was no surprise to find ourselves in the middle of a group in the Yawning Portal.  They say strange things happen here and they were not wrong.
More than a flying mug or two, we found a mystery.  Probably found a mob or gang as well.  A whispering bottle.  Ghost stories.  Performing mice.
And a demon named Helmagog.
Enslaved and searching for what our motley group of strangers were investigating.  Everything in my teachings screamed “Kill it.”
But Anzio had shown me on countless occasions that not all things are black and white.  This creature, while demon, was enslaved and didn’t want to be there.
Forced servitude.  This was a gray area I could work with.  The creature hadn’t done anything to us or the patrons, that at least was worthy of a chance.  Perhaps he could help us.
Everything went wrong after that.  Not with the Demon.  But everything else.
I can still hear Anzio screaming at me that there was something wrong with me.  That this wasn’t how you treat friends.
I watched through a fog as these hands threw the others out of the way.  They punched, they shoved, they knocked out a dwarf, and when I could finally see clearly again, the Gnome who had attacked us and had waved his hand at me had disappeared.
Helmagog was saddened he wasn’t freed from the gnome.  Anzio was angry at me.  He had tried to knock some sense into me when my mind was not my own and when that didn’t work, he ran for help.
He was right to be angry.  I would try harder.
But I’m not going to get that chance.
Even though the gnome disappeared, our night wasn’t over.  The old halfling, the one everyone seemed to know in this town, his name is Milo, even though everyone just refers to him as Grandpa had introduced us early in the evening to an old college of his, Marcel.  He had shown us the mysterious jar that would whisper to us when opened.  As we returned downstairs, one of the men that had been with Marcel was near death.  Beaten.  Bloody.  He came to Milo to tell us that Marcel had been taken.
A new chase began.  A rescue mission.  Get to the Carriage that held him.  Help him if possible.
The thugs were nothing.  The hooded figure that appeared after I blew up the back wheels of the wagon (thank you Breath of the Bronze) was more problematic.
He conjured webbing around Anzio and myself.  I tried not to let it stop me.  I was just feet away from pushing Anzio away from the thug, but there was poison, a tar-like glue substance, then fire.  My scales don’t protect me from flames like other Dragonborn and as I fell, I saw Anzio collapse as well.  His eyes, his ever inquisitive eyes, frozen in surprise and devoid of life.
I remember thinking it was lucky we could face death together, even if he was still angry with me…
But I made friends with a demon.
My eyes opened again as the creature mopped blood away from my wounds and set down an empty potion bottle.
Helmagog saved my life.  Even if I could not free his.  What a strange turn of events this is.
But Anzio, my little Anzio…he is dead and I have failed him.  It’s as if I am back by that fence post by the road in the pouring rain again.  I am lost.  I am broken.
And I am alone in this group of strangers who became our friends this evening.
This cannot be how this ends.  If I have to travel to the beyond and wrest him from the Raven Queen or Kelemvor myself, as Bahamut as my witness, my strength, my fury, I will bring him back.”

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