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Old 11-09-2000, 07:33 PM   #11
Lily the Ranger
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You folks are supposed to be helping me progress in my quest, not providing me with irrestable temptations . . . freud, you trouble maker you! But no one is twisting my arm, either to read your tales or try to write my own.

A young, priest was hurrying to his appointment with an air of both resignation and resentment when he heard a sobbing sound from the stables by the Inn of Valeia. His investigation led him to discover a young elf girl sobbing in the corner of a stall while trying to muffle the sound into the fur of the innkeeper's hound. Unable to simply walk away and feeling almost the same about his proposed position at the Abbey of Emerald Lake he was compelled to inquire as to the nature of her distress.

"I stold it, like a common thief, I stold it and ran away." This was all he could get out of her for a few minutes. Finally, she slowed the rate of her tears and began to pour out her story while he nodded sympathetically. "I was to marry an elven wine merchant - this was part of my dowery. I won't marry some drunken old man! He beat his last wife to death. Everyone knows it but he's too powerful for anyone to risk accusing him. How could my father allow himself to fall into debt and try to use me and the dowry from my grandparents to pay it off."

Alaric could not resist asking her, "How much are you worth, my lady . . . your name, please?" He thought she might throw the dog or the purse of gold coins into his face but then to his surprise she laughed. "Why 1000 gold was my father's debt and he thought having six daughters it would be a bargain to use the youngest as payment along with the 200 gold I carry. Tisn't often a Lily is worth that much."

He helped her to her feet. The similiar facts of their lives giving him inspiration to make an impulsive decision that had been persistantly whispering in the back of his mind since his father had informed him that priest was his only career choice. "I have 200 gold also; meant to buy my way into the Abbey. It is my family's opinion I would be better off there as the for the sixth son of a small landowner. I don't want to spend my time copying scrolls, praying, changing bedding, and gardening. I'm not going. There has always been a hope that some day I could be an adventurer, perhaps, a Paladin. I can use a sword and shield. I'll show my father that I am more than just the sixth son to be sent to rot in some church."

"Let me come with you. By law, I am my father's property and I have stolen both that and his gold. He could come looking for me, if he pries himself from the gambling tables and his tankard, and force me back home. All my life, I have been largely ignored and enjoyed the freedom to wander the countryside learning about plants and animals. My cousin even gave me lessons with the pole and bow. I could help you and you could have your first noble cause." she dared him hopefully.

"Agreed." He felt a weight leave him and crumbled his letter of introduction, tossing it into the corner where the dog began to joyfully shred it. "It's done now. Let's go to the tavern and see what rumors or companions we can find to start us on our way."

As they were about to enter the tavern, the doors flew open and a small tow-headed pixies came flying out, unaided by the gossamar wings on her back. She rose from the dirt and shook her delicate fist at the tavernkeeper while hurling a stream of words that were anything but delicate in his direction. Disgruntled and outraged, two others followed her exit; fortunately, being allowed to use their own feet as a mode of exit.

"It's okay, Thornna. We don't need his information. He's an ignorant lout, anyway." The sweet-faced, brown-haired girl bent down to sooth her companion and stop the fist that was now waving in the motions of a burn spell. Her other companion, a gnome whose features could all be describe simply as brown, clung to the girl's sleeve nervously while she successfully grabbed the threatening fist. "Please, don't, Thornna. I heard that the townhall has a few jobs or bounties. We'll go there. Dingalthorner, please, let go of me and help me stop her."

"If I could create an illusion, I'd make the innkeeper look like a skunk. Wouldn't that be funny, Ravenna?" He suggested helpfully and hopefully, forgetting his fear of all the people surrounding them in a moment of inspiration.

"Perhaps, someday." She assured him gently, while wrestling with the irrate pixie. "But for now, would you go find Mussy? I believe she is in the armory and if she tries to pinch anything we might never find work."

"All she does is whiffle," Thornna accused with contempt, distracted for the moment, "She was supposed to be contributing to our supplies, not getting us thrown out of every town we enter."

"Patience, she'll improve and one day become a great Bard."

"Right, and I'll be Queen of Ale at that stinking tavern."

Lily and Alaric grinned at each other, knowing they had found some companions. They hailed the trio and they all moved off toward the armory. Explanations and plans were well underway as the group approached Smitty's Armory, when, for the second time that day, doors flew open and this time two animal figures rushed out to meet them. A small, fragile looking ratling female and few hundred plus pounds of Gourk plunged into their midst, followed by Smitty the dwarf calling, "She was trying to steal, Snargol, I know she was. You can't convince me no different. Don't come back until you have your guild money and are willing to prove you have some value as a warrior."

"Mussy," Ravenna's tone was both pleading and disappointed. They all stood back a bit as the Gourk's musky smell began radiate in the heat. "Thank you, friend."

At this moment, a strange desperate-looking man approached them and began to speak of a dream that would steer them down an exciting and dangerous path together.
 
Old 11-09-2000, 09:25 PM   #12
freudianslip
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hehehe, Lily, you see, that's what I'm talking about. A chance to illuminate the faith, the beauty, the unbearable likeness of being. A chance to forget that we are involved in a computer game a chance to recognize the mystery of within these dreams we seek

Ahhh.. I'm not drunk, really I'm not!
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Old 11-10-2000, 02:11 AM   #13
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The sun was just starting to set in the evening sky as a lone human walked along the forest surrounding the village of the dwarves. Alone and on foot, the weary traveller paused for a moment to look at his surroundings. Taking in a deep breath, he walked on with confidence, into adventure, mystery, and hopefully to the fabled blade of the Mavin.


The words of my village elder still rung in my ears from the night the Skeletal Warriors attacked my peaceful village of swordsmiths. The undead attacked without warning, their piercing wails striking fear into the hearts of my townsfolk. My father led the attack with my brothers and I at his side, yet the battle went badly for us. By the time the last skeleton fell to the ground, the earth was painted red with the blood of my kinsman. Among them, my father and 2 older brothers had fallen along with many of my close friends and relatives.

Those few who survived had stayed to help rebuild the town, but the elder had called me for an important mission.

"Scronan, your rapier wit is only exceeded by the sharpness of the sword you carry. The minions of evil are upon this land, and you are the most powerful Warrior in this village. Go you now to the town of Valeia, where the heros of land are now journeying to aid in this battle. Take this small pouch of gold, and make haste."

My heart pounded with a fierce beat as I remembered my oath to out elder to aid in the defeat of the Lord of Evil. As I approached the village of the Dwarves, my feet feet like lead weights from my many days of travel. Here I would stop and rest for the night, as the village of Valeia was still another few days journy on foot.

I spotted a local pub where the tinkle of glasses and the roaring of drunken clansmen could be heard. I knew the dwarves were a tough lot and never to be taken for granted, but being along in their village still left me on edge. But they were also known to be honest and loyal, and luckily for me, on good terms with us humans.

The scents of stale brew and body odour filled my nostrils as I entered the pub and sat at an empty table. A buxom lass brought me a frothing glass of Dwarven ale and winked as I gave her a shiny gold piece. I knew from her glance that a few more pieces of gold would allow me to have much for than a glass of ale. Despite the beauty of this lusty woman, I knew I was here on business, and I'd have plenty of time for wenching later.

My eyes and head suddenly turned to a ruckus in a shadowy part of the pub were I saw a Dwarven woman arm wrestling a male. The male grunted and swore as his arm slowly lowered to the table, then with a wild yell his arm was slammed into the table with such force that their mugs of ale splattered brew on the faces of the cheering crowd.

Few things in my life impressed me, but this dwarven lass was a sight to see. Her long locks of blond hair fell well past her back, gently hanging over her shoulders which bulged with muscles. Despite her looking no more than 5 feet tall, her sturdy frame must have weighed close to my own weight. Even though she looked strong enough to fight better than most men, there was still a feminine side to her, a rough beauty of sorts. Her friends slapped her on the back and one of them whispered in her ear, and her eyes immediately shot in my direction, locking her gaze onto my now smiling face. I raised my mug to her, and nodded at her with a quick wink.

Those eyes, it was if I were staring a wild tiger in the face, they missed nothing, studied me from head to toe. There was more than brute strength to this lass, she had wit and wisdom to match. Without a word she rose from her chair, never once taking those piercing blue eyes from my own. She walked over to my table, ready to pounce without warning, and I suddenly felt like a Ratling caught in a jungle cats den.


Her voice was a litte rough, and despite her facing me off, I could almost catch a glint of humour behind it.

"What have we here? A human male, all alone and by himself. You're a stranger here my friend, and you'd be wise not to be making eyes at us Dwarven women."

"You see," she said, gently stroking one of my arms, "us dwarves are much too strong for you humans. You're strong and handsome for a human, but I'd break you in two before you could ever satisfy me!"

She laughed a hearty laugh as her fellow Dwaves raised their mugs and shouted a cheer in their strange tongue. I saw some laughter behind her eyes now, but she was still serious and unsure of my intentions.

"My name is Scronan, Warrior of the northern lands. I seek the village of Valeia, for I hear the evil of Lord Cet is upon this land. I'm searching for brave wizards and warriors to join me in my crusade to find the Mavin sword."

At the mention of the Lord of Evil, the dwarf lass's eyes bulged and she looked at me with new found interest. Sitting down next to me, she gulped down the last of her ale and held out a thick hand.

"My name is Ishiaus."

We shook hands, and I matched her fierce grip as she managed a firm smile at me.

"It is a pleasure to meet you." I said.

"Well met Scronan. Now, let us talk more about this crusade of yours."

To be continued....
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Old 11-10-2000, 07:24 AM   #14
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Great thread! Keep it going, this stuff is a blast to read! Here's my contribution:


It is hard for me to imagine myself a saviour. Though I have vanquished the undead evil from the tombs of Valeia; though I have slain demons and rescued the soul of the knight D'Soto from eternal damnation; though I have sworn the Sacred Oath and now wear the very ring that entitles me to wield the Blade of Prophecy, I still cannot believe that such is my destiny. Perhaps once I finally feel the weight of the Mavin in my hands my doubts will be quelled. Perhaps not.

When first I came to Valeia, I was but a squire, and had seen little of the outside world beyond my own tiny village. Naturally, I felt most at ease around the Humans of the village, as I had (regretfully, I must concede now) enjoyed minimal exposure to the other Clans of the Gael Serran. Though Valeia was a small village even by my own humble standards, I was surprised at the ethnic diversity of its inhabitants, and quite unnerved by it at once.

I found my first friend in the benevolent (and distractingly beautiful) Human Priestess Loren. She answered many of my questions regarding the various peoples of the Gael Serran and we quickly grew inseperable. Though from different backgrounds, we shared many common beliefs and ideals. I was a student of the Eastern Philosophies, and I soon discovered that her own faith was not far removed from mine. Only now that I am truly a Samurai Warrior have I come to see that without her and the aid of her patron goddess, I never would have achieved this goal. She has told me on more than one occasion that she will trade her vows of celibacy for the armor of a holy Paladin soon, that we may finally be wed without losing the favor of Kerah. She is already quite skilled with a mace, and I look forward to the day when we may fight side by side as husband and wife.

Even with Loren's assistance at the beginning, I knew we would need more adventurers to accompany us on our journey. One night at the tavern (whilst discussing the intricacies of our respective faiths, as we were so prone to do in those days), we were blessed twofold in the form of a Lizzord barbarianess and her unlikely travelling companion. I will recount the tale as best as I can recall:

To remember the look on Loren's face, and indeed the faces of all the tavern's customers, at the sight of the alarmingly huge Lizzord with the Ratling riding atop her shoulders still brings a smile to my lips. I suppose that even I must have stared more than I care to admit. Into the tavern they came, and everyone watched curiously as the Ratling ordered two ales at the bar. He clung to the Lizzord's great scaly head, his furtive eyes searching the room and finally coming to rest on our table. He chittered something into the ear (or what I assumed to be the ear) of his companion and the barbarianess approached hesitantly, sizing us up the whole way.

"Please join us," I offered, taking grim note of the well-used twin axes that dangled from the Lizzord's belt. "Those are fine axes you have there..."

The Ratling tapped his mount on the shoulder and the Lizzord lowered herself carefully into a chair. "She ain't like to understandin' Humantongue, much less speakin' it. I'll tell her ya says so, though, eh?"

I nodded, smiling uncertainly. The Ratling made no attempt to tell the Lizzord anything at all, instead taking a long draft from his tankard and twitching a bit of froth from his whiskers. The Lizzord's tongue dipped into her own ale, her golden eyes watching my every move.

"You're the one what's been pokin' around them crypts at the old cemetery, eh? Collectin' skulls for bounty and whatnot?" the Ratling asked me at length. "I reckon you'll be needin' my help if ya wants to get at all the REAL goodies down there..."

"I hadn't realized that our exploits were so well known about town," I replied. "But yes, we have been sending the dead back to their graves. Loren and I, that is."

The Ratling winked at Loren. "Priestess of Kerah you are, eh? That's a lotta skulls if ya want to get that new wing built on the temple. And there ain't no faith strong enough to keep them chests from blowin' up in your face, eh? Ain't that right, Saethra?"

The Lizzord grunted and said something in her native tongue, which sounded like nothing more than a series of low hisses and throaty clicks to my untrained ear.

"Ayup, she says I'm right, eh." The Ratling gulped the rest of his ale and handed the empty mug down to Saethra. "My name's Grin, pleased to meet ya both I am. And this here's Saethra, from the meanest tribe o' Lizzy barbarians you could ever hope to not meet." The Ratling chuckled. "She can bust three skellies apart with one swipe, eh."

Examining the Lizzord up close, I supposed that was an understatement.

"Aw, she looks like a right nasty one, but trust me she's a kitten deep down. Ain't that right Saethra?"

The barbarianess growled and though I had never before seen a Lizzord scowl, I recognized her expression for what it was.

"I thought she didn't speak..."

"Bah, she understands what she wants to," the Ratling interrupted with another chuckle. "Anyhows, enough o' that. You lookin' for some help or no?"

I was indeed, and told him as much. Though still a little wary of the pair's intentions, I allowed them to join me and soon came to realize what steadfast allies they were. Saethra, with her double axes, was a fearsome sight to behold in the midst of a battle. Grin, on the other hand, was usually nowhere to be seen during said battle. But he was always there, tucked away in the shadows, watching and waiting; and when he struck, he was lightning fast with his rapier and surprisingly deadly. As well as being agile and dextrous to an extreme degree, I quickly found him to be one of the most intelligent beings I had ever encountered (despite his blatant and intentional butchery of the Human Tongue) and he has since become greatly interested in the Eastern Disciplines and entered training as a Ninja. I am beginning to believe that there is no lock in the Gael Serran that can offer him anything more than a mediocre challenge, and no foe that can pick him out of the darkness when he doesn't wish to be seen.

Rounding out our party is the swarthy and enigmatic Human Warlock Albuzar and the somewhat aloof Elven Wizard Elyssia (who have stories of their own that I may or may not recount at some future time). I assure you, it is nothing more than coincidence that the leader of a certain Serpent Cult and band of thieves shares the name of one of my companions. Elyssia herself was furious when she discovered a scrap of paper that was apparently an assassin's note calling for the death of the leader of the Hidden Circle with her own name scribed at the bottom. This discovery caused everyone much distress (especially Grin), as we believed it to be a ploy by the Black Hand to set the rogues of the Hidden Circle upon us. We later discovered, thankfully, that this wasn't the case at all, and that there was indeed another who went by the name of Elyssia. Fate is a curious thing sometimes.

And now, please forgive me, but I must retire. I journey to speak with the Third Watcher tomorrow and I must have my wits about me when the time comes. May your travels be long my friends.
 
Old 11-10-2000, 06:16 PM   #15
Lily the Ranger
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Bravo, Gaijin!!!! Living breathing characters. Amazing how many different personalities are emerging . . . MORE! More! More!
 
Old 11-10-2000, 07:02 PM   #16
Wyvern
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My earnest prayer, dear friends, is that Laird Bradley will hire you all to write his next game story that the rest of us might have a chance to meet and adventure with your wonderful characters!!!

And if time will be but a little kind to me, I may dust off my quill or open my ancient archive and see what tales spin forth.

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Old 11-10-2000, 09:13 PM   #17
freudianslip
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I hope you do, Wyvern! I'm just about 50% done of my character's first encounter, writing it out in my usual, excessive verbiage. I guarantee, you will never look at spiders the same way again! Mwuaha!
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Old 11-11-2000, 12:17 AM   #18
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Hark and listen, dear players, and I will tell you a tale. Though I am not as eloquent as once I was, still it may amuse and help to pass a dark night such as this.

“Oh, this is just the finest mess you’ve gotten us into, Ratter!”

Why do I bother? As if the great and wonderful Rasil Bathbone would ever listen to my advice or me. It all started so simply. It always does with Ratter. A short trip to the Finadain fairs to enter the fencing contest and collect a prize. How often have we done just that? Traveled from fair to fair, engaging whatever wager might bring some profit. I cannot number them anymore.
Finadain, a fair and rich port town, is well known for its hospitality and generous prizes. We could have taken a ship across the Gru’el Furths but Ratter was intent upon arriving upon his ebony steed.
“The first impression is of greatest importance, Eldrad! With just my appearance lesser contestants will shy away and I won’t have to be bothered with such triflings.”
So we took the long route skirting the Gru’eldain Furth to the South and chanced upon the estates of Laird Corwin just as the sun nodded slowly behind the Bersault Forests in the West. Tired from the long days ride and not wishing to camp in the woods when there were lavish comforts to be had, Ratter directed us up the long tree lined avenue towards Sartglen, ancestral home of Clan Corwin for well now five hundred years.
An imposing edifice rose before us in the dwindling light. Crenellations snarling like angry teeth loomed overhead.
The gate was closed and Ratter tossed me a puzzled look that any obstacle could present itself in his chosen path.
“Knock upon the gate, Eld. Let it be know that I, Rasil Bathbone son of Brillig Bathbone 22nd Duke of Ma’rishdoon, have come to pay my respects to the Clan of Corwin.”
“Shall I also let it be known that your father has disowned you for the third time, has posted notices that he will not honor your debts and has turned gray with worry over you?”
“Stay your tongue, Eld! You know the sad particulars of my present situation but we need not broadcast it to the world at large. And especially not when a good meal, better wine and a warm bed can be had but for the exchange of some pleasantries noble to noble. Announce me fairly and we both will dine well tonight!”
Truth be told a good meal did much to persuade me to his design. Duly I knocked upon the door and announced Rasil’s arrival with all the pomp I could muster. Ratter looked decidedly disappointed by my efforts. He thinks that his silver tongue should have by now infected my own but hungry or not, I’ve no stomach for that.
We were cautiously welcomed which was to us as perplexing as had been the sight of the closed gate. What changes were afoot that lands and homes once open and welcoming shuttered themselves behind iron and wood. Laird Corwin greeted us fairly enough when we were ushered into the main hall. Though far from close to the Clan Bathbone he was familiar enough with the countenance to recognize a true son of that line. An invitation to dine and stay the night was shortcoming.
Rasil fairly purred with pleasure having achieved thus much but the number of tall, strong guards to be seen troubled me. It was with much unease that I followed Ratter to the table. Around the table sat the Laird and Lady Corwin, their sons, Lothar and Manfred and their daughter, Tisiphone, their raven haired, green eyed, pristinely beautiful daughter, Tisiphone. While my gut silently tied itself into knots, Ratter’s silver tongued compliments and good looks began charming and beguiling fair Tisiphone.
Some general, lighthearted conversation was exchanged across the fish course but by the time the beef was served the topics had turned to bloody rumors from the West. Tales of secret cults worshipping snakes were mixed with stories of haunted castles, and the dead rising from their graves.
“By Kerah, do you put faith in such reports?” queried Ratter.
A slender and delicate foot searching for Ratter’s calf (no doubt) made brief contact with my own. I downed my goblet of wine in one swallow. Please, please just let me pass out somewhere until all this is past.
Manfred and Lothar reported all that they had heard in recent weeks and not a bit of it was news to cheer any heart. Rasil seemed to nod at just the right moments so all save Tisiphone and myself believed he paid close attention to the news. I felt decidedly ill.
When all the evil news had been exchanged we were at last led to our beds and I was more than ready to close my eyes upon this day. I began to strip off my shirt and pour water into the washbowl when Ratter stayed my hand.
“The night is still young, friend, and I have need of you yet.”
“Oh no! Ratter, no! Please, NO! Not tonight! We’ve just had a good meal and we’ve nice beds and if we leave early in the morning we should be able to make Finadain by eve tomorrow. Please, Ratter!”
Ratter smiled, that wicked, smug smile which was as much to say: “I tolerate your pleas, Eldrad, but I will have my way. You know it and I know it.”
Listening at the door, he waited until all was silent. Peering into the hallway and spying no persons he slipped into the shadows beaconing me to follow. For fifteen years I have been his companion and still to this very day do not understand his natural inner sense of direction. He has instincts that any thief or rogue would give an arm to have and gladly so and I would be as willing to loose the same limb to have him lose this self same talent. Sigh.
Down the corridor we slipped from shadow to shadow until, upon turning the corner, we faced a hallway with four doors. Ratter brushed his beard thoughtful for but a moment and crept to the second door upon the left hand side. A gentle tap no louder than the gnawing of a mouse upon a crumb and the door was opened. Ratter slid into Tisiphone’s room with a whispered warning to me, “Keep watch!”
My heart beat so loud within my chest I swore it would awaken every soul within a mile. I know not how much time passed. Every second seemed unto months as I fretted in that hall. Though warm, my bones felt chilled to their marrow. A gentle laughter escaped from under Tisiphone’s door and I turned towards it in the utterly vain hope that Ratter might even now be preparing to leave when a strong hand clamped upon my shoulder and forcefully turned me around.
Lothar stared down at me with black, suspicious eyes. Manfred, with one hand upon his dagger, stood beside him.
“Evening, young lairds. I’ve lost my way, I have. I was in need to relieve myself and I’ve totally um lost my way.”
My voice rose as my excuses stumbled out. What help that might be other than to silence Ratter and Tisiphone I did not know. More laughter escaped under the door and I was pushed aside. Tisiphone’s door was thrown open to reveal, well let me just say that the scene that came to view is not one in which I would ever want to be a major participant what with two strong and rather angry brothers in the viewing there of. Fists were soon flying while lovely Tisiphone sang protest. The Laird and Lady Corwin were not long to join the gathering and it was more than I could do to keep straight who had the better of whom. Tisiphone at last brought the debacle to a close by placing herself squarely between Ratter and her brothers and announcing that she was in love with Rasil and intended to be married!
Even Ratter looked surprised which somehow warmed my heart.
Lothar was bleeding from the nose and Manfred left eye looked to be swelling smartly. Ratter showed some bruises on his, ahem, exposed ribcage. The Laird and Lady demanded, and rightfully so, to know the meaning of all this.
“I’ll tell you the meaning of this,” declared Ratter and my head began pounding.
“I was not within the presence of your daughter for more than five minutes before I knew that my heart had at last finally found it’s match, my soul it’s echo, my life it’s meaning! Forthwith I came unto fair Tisiphone to confess my admiration, my purpose when in the midst of my sincerest declarations your sons did burst upon this tender scene and seize me by my hair and did accuse me of foul purposes and motivations which might besmirch the honor and reputation of your daughter. What fault can you find in as true a heart as mine for wishing to spend but a few moments alone with the fair maid who has stolen my heart before I set out upon that quest to rid our fair world of the growing danger which only this very night we discussed at such great lengths while at dinner. Knowing that the dangers ahead of me may well mean that I will never be able to return and claim that for which my heart longs. Knowing that evil walks abroad and if not good warriors such as ourselves rise to meet its challenge then all fair maidens face a future as grim as the as the grave itself. That in facing a future ..”
“You mean to end the threat of evil rising against our world, do you?” Laird Corwin interrupted.
“Verily! What noble heart could not rise up against such evil to protect those they love, the life they hold dear?”
”You said you were off to Finadain, to the fair.”
“Well, yes so I said but that was only because I did not know well how things stood here, what ears might already be listening. These are times that call for caution.”
“So where are you bound if not to Finadain?”
“Why to, er, Bersault for all reports say that this growing evil has touched there but no farther East. Bersault is my destination and from there where ever this noble quest doth take me.”
“Good,” exclaimed Laird Corwin, “Lothar and Manfred will accompany you for it is as you say all good warriors must rise against this threat. You will leave in the morning.”
I would have laughed if the thought of our future had not make my knees almost slip from beneath me.

“Oh, this is just the finest mess you’ve gotten us into, Ratter!”

We set off for Bersault the following morning. Ratter, Lothar, Manfred and myself while Tisiphone waved a tearful farewell. Manfred’s eye had swollen shut and I offered to heal it but he would have nothing from me. Lothar glare would have sliced through another but Ratter was oblivious. A new day, a new adventure! Perhaps not the adventure he had planned for himself but that mattered not, not to him.
I sulked on my horse feeling for all the world like the morning after a three day drunk without having had the actual pleasure thereof. I determined that I should write a letter to my family and make what arrangements I could to have it delivered in whatever town we next entered. So absorbed was I in thoughts of impending doom that I did not note at first the number of travelers heading eastward. Some passed calling out warning for us to turn around. Turning my head to hear more of what they said I noted a small horse and rider a fair distance behind us, traveling in the same direction as us. I screwed up my eyes, which are not so good at a distance. Something nagged at me. Something about that rider seemed familiar but I shook it off as imagination and returned to brooding over the perils that lay to the West.
Evening brought us to a Finadain undecorated with bright lanterns and the laughter so dearly associated with festivals. Windows were shuttered and streets fairly empty of peoples.
We found rooms at the Hidden Pond and betook of the stew for our meal. Ratter made several attempts to engage others conversation but the only willing candidate was the serving wench who bent unusually low over Ratter as she served him his stew. Ratter was just about to embrace the lass around the waist when he received a very sharp kick from Lothar and Manfred made a pointed comment about Tisiphone. Ratter smiled weakly and I downed my ale. Rumors of some great fire crept about the room in guarded whispers as though speaking them aloud might cause the walls around us to ignite. Everyone and everything seemed unsettled.
The following day we woke to find the sky dripping and the earth swirled in heavy mists. We called for our horses at the stable and a young, dirty lad hovered nearby watching our every move. Something about that lad bothered me. Was it those piercing green eyes? No, no, nothing more than my own foolishness. I was just upset, nervous, scared. Manfred and Lothar readied their gear and checked their horses. The dirty lad strolled by and stumbled on a rock, bumping into Ratter. Apologizing he began to move off when Ratter caught him by the collar.
“Not half bad, boy, but you’ll have to do better than that. Hand back my money pouch now.”
The lad frowned but handed back the pouch.
“Not going to turn me in, are you?”
“Not this time, boy, but you better not try to hit on me again. Run along now.”
The lad began to go when Ratter called him back.
“Boy, is this yours?” Ratter held up a rusty dagger.
The lad patted his waistcoat, scowled and reached for his dagger. Ratter handed it to him as though it were the most precious item in the world.
“And these?” Ratter dangled some lock picks before those darkening green eyes. The lad grabs his tools and began to back away when Ratter flashed a tattered and empty money pouch.
“This too, eh?” A look of pure consternation washed over the lad’s dirty face. If frustration had one true visage that lad had it.
Ratter took a coin from his own money pouch and placed it in the boy’s before tossing it back to him. “Get a new profession, boy. You’re on the wrong path now.”
Lothar and Manfred found this exchange rather amusing. Truth be told, I sympathized with the youth’s humiliation. It was so easy to feel incompetent around Ratter.
The horses readied, we headed west, leaving Finadain wrapped in fog.
Around noon the sky ceased crying and the sun burnt holes in the thick midst forming an odd patchwork before us. By afternoon much of the mists had disappeared. As we neared Bersault the woods became unnaturally quiet. We weren’t prepared for what we saw when we rounded the corner and caught our first glimpse of the small town.
Ruins! The whole town had been burnt near to the ground. Even stone walls crumbled from the destruction of the fire. We dismounted and walked slowly into the bitter remains of pleasant Bersault. The horses became agitated and whinnied in discomfort.
Suddenly over a half collapsed wall appeared a gray apparition intent on destroying us where we stood.
“NO MORE! NO MORE!! I WILL NOT LET YOU KILL ANYTHING ELSE!”
Before we had scare time to comprehend her cries she raised her arms and a ball of red light came hurling towards us hitting Lothar full in the chest and knocking him off his feet.
“NO MORE!! IT STOPS HERE!! IT MUST STOP HERE!!”
Another ball of red light shot towards us heading directly towards Ratter. Instinctively I stepped in front of him and felt the painful blast tear my breath from my lungs. As I began to sink into darkness I thought I heard another voice shouting “NO!!”.
Was that Ratter? No, no .....
I awoke, much to my surprise, much later. Some rough camp had been made and a weak fire sputtered. Ratter attempted to give me some water which made me choke. Sitting up, I looked around. Not four of us huddled around this dismal campsite but six. On the far side of the smoky flames sat the apparition which had earlier attacked us. An elf! Tears had streaked the ash from her cheeks. She sat rocking back and forth and crying. “Jasper and my little Newt gone. Gone. What is there to do? They’re gone.”
Her sobs tore at my heart far worst than the spell she had cast earlier. I turned to Ratter.
“Her husband and her daughter. They were killed,” he whispered, “She isn’t completely coherent but we think she was gathering mushrooms and other ingredients for potions and powders in the forest when this happened. She’s lost everything. Her name is Ma’eldra but we haven’t been able to get much else from her yet.”
How little a distance we had traveled, really, for there to be so remarkable a difference in my whole world. I turned to see who the sixth companion was that shared our sad campsite.
The lad! The thief! Only .... well now that the dirt had been washed off, the hat removed and the brown curly locks dancing freely about the youthful face, those emerald eyes scowling and those lips pouting a familiar pout. This was no lad, this was Laurel. Laurel who Ratter had wooed and won in the city of Isel where she had been a juggler, a bard, an acrobat working with the Theatre Guild. Laurel who I really thought had won the heart of Rasil Bathbone son of Brillig Bathbone 22nd Duke of Ma’rishdoon.
I turned to look at Ratter. But what was this look? I knew his moods so well but what was this? Could I have been right? Had Laurel really stolen his heart and we had left in haste because he was afraid of his own feelings? Oh a day of confusions was this like none before.
“Tomorrow.” Manfred spoke, “we go to Valeia. If it still stands, we seek what council we can find. From now on we keep guard. Peace has left us, has left our fair home. We will never again be the same. Sleep now. I will take the first watch.”

“Oh, this is just the finest mess you’ve gotten us into, Ratter!”
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Old 11-11-2000, 01:04 AM   #19
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Well, wow, alot of good writing. My story's a bit diffrent. Being anxious to play, I didn't put huge amounts of thought into my charecters, I just sorta said that one look good, and this one sounds fun, and probably have the worst die rolled pcs out of anyone. I took the first role everytime, and have kept my charecters through death, stoning, and poison. But, as to a story behind it, well, if thats what you're looking for... Please pardon any misspellings,
The day started like any other, gray, dreary, and of all things, raining just enough to annoy me. My Name is Aaron, and I wandered into a tiny little town on what must have seemed like the edge of nowhere, alone, hungry, and with what turned out to be very little money in my pocket. In the village center, near the inn, I ran into a distraught man, who apparently was the village elder, raving about a dream, and a sword. Fearing he was insane, and liable to do anything if I refused, I accepted when he charged me with the quest for the sword he was ranting about. Saying it was in a Crypt in the nearby cemetary, I figured that I'd just wander out, fetch the thing, and come back for some undisclosed reward. On my way out of town, I ran into an unlikely charecter, with the voice of a snake, who asked if the village elder was still in town. Figuring that he'd be able to find out anyway, and not wanting any trouble on my journy, I said yes. The stranger promptly entered the village. Moving on towards the cemetary, I ran into some easily disposed underfeed wolf like animals, that attacked me, even though I was armed. Figuring the day couldn't get any worse, I moved on towards the crypt, and ran into some trolls. Hoping they'd have some information on the layout of the area, I tryed to strike up a conversation. Turned out all they wanted to do was eat me. After a slightly harder fight, I dispatched them also, and took there stuff, as my supplys wheren't all that great. Finally finding the cemetary, I ran into some skelitons. Deciding that this was just too much without knowing what the reward would be, (I mean, I had to eat tonight, would it just be enough for a meal, or could I get a room out of this too?) I headed back to town. When I got there, I couldn't find the elder, so I went to the town hall to tAlk to the mayor. Turned out that there was a tangable bounty on the skelitons, along with some other problems that didn't seem to concern me. However, I had to kill 10 of the things to get it! I figured I'd need some help, so I went to the local tavern looking for some other adventurus souls who'd like some gold also. None where to be found. Deciding that this would have to wait for another day, I went to the inn to see about that room. Scattered about in there where various people you could tell where adventures. I thought, great! Just the people to ask yo do this sort of thing. One, was a tall cat like being, that seemed to blend into the shadows of the room. Apon approaching her, I found out that her name was Kzin, and that for an equal share of whatever we found, she'd come along. I thought I was getting the better end of this deal for sure. Two others where together at a table, talking about Kerah, when I approached them, (with Kzin in tow) they appeared to not want anything to do with me. (Vary understanable, I'd been sleeping rough for days or weeks maybe.) But when I explained that I was trying to do a favor for the village elder, and that it involved killing undead, they jumped at the chance to accompany me. Turns out one, named Akala, was an Oomphaz, traveling to the temple in this village, so she could be closer to her god. Apparently represented by the angel Kerah. The other, a gnome named Salgoud, (male)was also on sojurn, but for a very diffrent reason. He was studying plants of all things! Little did I know how very usefull this would be in the coming adventure. Having these two priests along could only be a good thing I though, espacially against undead. At that moment, I heard a shouting match start, a table was turned over, and there was a flash of red light! Figuring the four of us had better try to keep the place from burning down, we rushed over to the commotion. Apparently, a rather burly dwarf, and a lightweight elf, wher having an argument over wich was better, might (as the dwarf smashed the table) or magic (as the elf burnt it to ashes with one spell) Fearing these two notable beings were going to get thrown out, and us with them, we stepped in the middle, trying to break it up. I took a blow to my shield, and Kzin barely dodged another flash of red light, before we could stop them. The dwarf, a fighter named Brunor, said that since I beat him in fair combat, he owed me, and that he'd come along if I could make the elf, a mage named Kimberlie, stay out of his face with her magic. Kimberlie aggred, if I could make Brunor take a Bath at least once a week. Figuring it'd been longer then that since I'd had one, and that the worst that would happen is that the two of us ended up in the river, I aggred. Having managed to stop the fight, the inn keeper was gratefull, and let me stay the night for free. We set off the next morning for the cemetary, and wiped the place clean of skelitons, and thats how this particular adventuring band was formed.
Hope you enjoyed it, it's not as polished as the others, but as I said, I was in a hurry to play. Hope you guys are liking the game as much as I do, keep those great hints, tricks, and spoilers coming, I made it clear to the slot machine in the serpant temple without needing any, and I hade the monkey idol from that room allready. Still trying to be able to enchant stuff.
 
Old 11-11-2000, 02:01 AM   #20
Scronan
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Join Date: January 7, 2001
Location: California, USA
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Chapter 2

The Elven Rogue

Her sapphire blue eyes sparkled in the dim torchlight, poised in a seductive stare. A green veil covered her face, cool as the lush green of the nearby woodlands. Her entire body was covered with a red and silky material, save her well toned and sensual abdomen, which moved in and out to the rhythm of the music.
The drummer beat with a steady tempo, as the dance of the Elven belly dancer enthralled the audience. A few Elven men stared with quiet faces, more in control of their urges than the whistling and howling humans. Several dwarves stood watching the swirling maiden dance, and despite her seeming to frail for a female, they could not keep their eyes off of her enticing body.

A lust eyed and drunken human stumbled onto the stage, his arms reaching out for the dancing maiden.

"I love you! I love you!" he spoke in a desperate voice.

The sensual dancer continued her dance as she turned and winked at the large male, and lowered her stance so that her upper body shook and wiggled when she arched her back. She laughed to herself.

"Sigh...human males. So quick to anger, and so easy to please.."

The caravans body guards quickly removed the man from the stage, cursing at him in their Dwarven tongue. The dancer merely laughed and then signalled to the drummer to increase the tempo. Her dance continued, beautiful, seductive and full of Elven charm.

As the night rolled on and the ales were drank, more and more of the crowd of men had either passed out or left for the night. A dwarven wife of one man came into the pub with a volley of curses, then belted her husband over the head with a large stick. Her two sons proceeded to help drag their drunkard father home to the rest of his waiting and worried family.

The crowd drifted until only 3 men remained, the most patient and rich of the entire bunch.

The three human males cheered as the Elven girl approached the end of the stage and bowed from her waist to them. The musicians rose and bowed as well, their hats catching the gold and silver coins which were tossed onto the stage.

"Sweet maiden, we've waited long enough for you." said one of the men, holding up a small pouch of gold coins. "You must make your choice, for you stand to be very rich. A small bit of comfort will lead to you to great fortune."

"Aye!" howled the other two men, also drawing forth sacks of gold.

The dancer was exhausted, her body drenched with sweat and her thin figure was all but spent. Or so she lead them to believe, for she knew well that she was taken for a prostitute. The thought of a night of passion with any of these men disgusted her, but she knew well her powers over these foolish humans.

She spoke softly, almost like a dove in the humans tongue, whispering like the wind. But within the softness of her voice, the tides of seduction rang in her tone, causing the human males to squirm in their chairs.

"You're so kind to watch my dancing, and you're all so handsome...I just can't make up my mind."

She approached their table as her swaying hips commanded their full attention. Touching ones mans exposed chest, she stroked it lovingly and hissed softly like a snake in his ear. Turning to the others, she blew kisses to one and licked the arm of another.

"Play it all the way..." she thought to herself.

"Well I just don't know my brave suitors. I think a real MAN is the one who can hold the most ale. I propose a test: Whichever of you can out drink the rest, will win my love for this evening."

"So be it!" roared one of the men, leaving the pub for his wagon. He quickly returned carrying a small barrel on his shoulder, and three large mugs.

"This is Boogre Brew, the finest ale to be found in the Gael Serran. I'd drink three barrels alone just to kiss you my lady. Well my friends, are you up to it?"

"Aye, that I am." said the second.

"Me as well." said the third.

The dancer sat down in a nearby chair, her seductive gaze still fixed on the men who argued and cursed to one another as they filled their cups. The mugs lifted and then slammed down on the wooden table many times, but their capacity for the wicked brew was even larger than their egos.

After the barrel was nearly empty, the younger of the three drank his last mug down, but his head swayed and he fell out of his chair, sprawling out on the dirt floor on the pub. He lay unconscious as the other two men sized each other up, realizing the contest was only between each other now.

"Too bad." said the elf. "I thought he was rather handsome. Well, which of you will it be?" she blinked her eyes coyly and the two men, whose lust for the dancer was even greater due to the intoxicating effects of the Boogre Brew.

The contest had fallen to the men trading sips, but neither of them seemed to be the victor. The dancer moved and sat in front of them, her perfume entering their nostrils. It was the closest they had been to her the whole evening, which excited them even more.

With a slight of hand motion, the Elven girl hid a small vial in her left hand, and then gently smiled at the two men.

"Come on boys." she said, caressing their hands. "Keep drinking, the sooner one of you wins, the longer the night will last." Her hand had deposited a small amount of a powered substance into each of their mugs, much to the unknown of the her two victims.

The men both turned to each other and spat on the ground, and with much effort, raised their mugs to the sky and drank the brew with mighty gulps.

Chucking to herself, the dancer counted in her head, waiting for the powerful herb to take effect on the two men.

"11, 12, 13...!"

The eyes of the 2 men glazed and in an almost perfect unison, their heads fell forward and hit the table with a resounding thud. The dancer checked their eyelids, but their was no doubt in her mind. These men would be asleep until noon tomorrow.

With careful haste, she helped herself to their gold pouches, the jewelry on their hands, and everything of value that they carried, even their clothes. Never one to rob a person completely blind, she left them tied to the table in their loincloths, each with an empty mug atop their bellies.

"At least their not completely naked." she said to herself.

Turning to one of the members of the band who had waited in the shadows, she tossed him a bag of gold. He winked at her and motioned a sign with his hand. It meaning was well known among the guild of thieves, one of brotherhood and loyalty to the art of the rogue. Hiding in an empty hut she quickly stuffed her booty into her satchel, and dressed herself in her leather outfit she normally wore. Her pack was filled with robes and dresses for the many roles she played in life, housewife, belly dancer, priest and beggar. Stuffed full with her newly stolen treasure, she bounded off into the forest, moving fast like a midnight raptor.

It was said the following day that the entire village came and laughed at the three men, of which the town mayor said served them right for harassing the gentle dancer.

Morning found the elf sleeping quietly in the bough of a tree, out of site and safe from the larger and more clumsy clans of the humans and dwarves. For elves, climbing trees was as natural as walking or swimming, never viewed as a challenge.

She washed her face in a nearby stream, and did her morning stretches before she ate a small meal of bread and jerked deer meat. And she studied her surroundings and prepared to leave, her eyes caught something in the dirt at her feet.

A poor scout of some kind had tried to cover a set of tracks, but more than that, she saw caked and dried blood under with dusty topsoil.

Studying the tracks on the ground before her, it told of quite a tale that had transpired a day before her arrival. The footprints of many trolls were scurried about, as if they had snared a wild bear in one of their net traps. Sure enough, they had captured something, but the elf rogue looked closer at the tracks. They belonged neither to a bear nor some other beast, but to the bipedal race of felines known as the Whiskas. Whomever this unlucky cat was, they did not go down easy. He was clearly a male by the widened paw print, standing tall and most likely a warrior of some kind.

Smelling the ground, it told her it was Whiska blood mostly, and quite a bit of it from the Goblins. Her inner senses believed the Whiska was still alive, and possibly needed help.

The elf sighed to herself, for although a thief, rogue and pickpocket, she was also a loyal and heartfelt woman. Something called to her inner being, and spoke to her like her adoptive father once had so many years ago.

"Always help those in need, whenever you can. Be of good heart, and Kerah will smile upon thee."

Her mind was made up.


*****

The proud Whiska warrior was stripped down to his leather trousers, which were torn and stained with his blood. His upper body was bare, showing his powerful chest and beautiful feline stripes. Many cuts and bruises covered his body, obviously the victim of cruel torture. Despite the deeds of the trolls, neither his mind nor his flesh had given into their will. He'd die before he ever told them any secrets of the clan of the Whiskas.


A sniveling troll shaman stood before him with small dagger, and spoke to him in their crude imitation of the common tongue.

"You tells us....you tells us abouts the magicks of your clan. You talks or you dies! DIES!"

The Whiska ignored the shaman's stammering, and spoke aloud with a proud voice.

"I shall tell you nothing. We'll meet in the afterlife, as sure as Kerah watches over me."

"BAH!" spit the shaman. "Kerah iss NOTTING! NOTTING! We kills you! Roasts you and the little trollies eats you up. You taste good whisska, very good."

"Eats the whisska!" yelled the small band of trolls.

The warrior closed his eyes and began to mutter a prayer in the Whiskas native tongue, which sounded like hissing to the squabbling trolls. He prepared himself for the realm of the dead as the shaman raised his dagger, sputtering and cursing.

"We kills you! We eats you...we...agkkkkkkk!"

The shamans curse was interrupted as a willow arrow slammed into his neck, striking his vital veins. Blood spurted out as he clutched the arrow and fell to the ground, kicking his feet and hissing. His troll minions yelled out in fear, but soon gathered their weapons as their shaman died in a pool of blood.

Another arrow found itself at home between the eyes of a second troll, who was dead before his body collapsed and fell over. Several more trolls grunted and yelled as random arrows struck, wounding and killing them. As their party of warriors was reduced from 11 to 6, the Elven rogue knew she must act now before they regrouped for a counter attack.

Leaping from the trees, she hit the ground rolling and approached the Whiska. He had been beaten, tortured and wounded, but the fire in his eyes told her he was far from defeated. Pulling a healing potion from her pouch, she lifted the wounded cats head as he drank the purple liquid. His eyes flashed open and a shimmering blue aura surrounded his body. He could feel the elixir moving through him, into his muscles, his bones and even into his spirit.

"Roaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!"

His body tightened and twitched, and the ropes around his arms broke with his summoned energy. His claws quickly cut the bonds on his feet and with another mighty yell, he turned to the trolls.

The remaining goblins, 6 in number turned to see their now freed victim, which caused them to howl in anger. They came with a rush, but not before the Whiska warrior pounced and leapt, his feral instincts taking over.

His teeth ripped the first goblins throat wide open, and his menacing claws slashed another goblins face, for the hunted had now become the hunter.

The Elven rogue parried a spear, and slashing with her small sword, she sliced one trolls belly open, spilling his guts on the ground. She felt a club strike her from behind, and falling to her knees with a gasping breath, she saw the Whiska standing guard over her, then she passed out.

The Whiska held her dropped sword and slashed, searing the head of a troll clean off, his blood spraying forth like a fountain of water. The remaining trolls screamed and ran in cowardice, but not before the Whiskas had bounded after them, slaying them all with silent menace.

The elf regained herself and managed to rise to her feet and suddenly felt the Whiskas arm around her. She looked up into his blood stained face and felt a sense of great fear inside her. Her fears were soon calmed and he gently set her on the ground, his eyes were warm and friendly.

"I thank you for saving my life, my Elven friend. I am called Lion-O, once lord of the Thundercats, from the western tribes of the Whiska."

The elf recognized that name, the Thundercats. As a small girl growing up, there was a legend about a group of Whiskas who travelled the lands doing deeds of justice and honor. Though once a powerful and respected clan, it had been many years since anyone had heard or seen them. It had been said they battled with a great lord of the undead, but apparently some of them had survived.

Her voice stuttered and she felt the back of her head, for the blow from the club had done more damage than she had realized.

"M-m-my name is Zijana. I'm honored to meet you, Lion-O."

"You saved my life."

"Well, it seems I have returned the favor, for you came to my rescue."

He looked at her attire, chuckling to himself. "A rogue with an honest heart, well now I do believe in the power of the gods."

"We best travel from here, the town of Valeia is only a few days journey from here." said the Whiska.

"Valeia?" Zijana stuttered. "Why, that is my destination as well, I hear they are calling for would be heros to recover the blade of the Mavin."

"It seems we are on the same path." said Lion-O. "Among the Whiskas, risking your life for another is the highest honor we can hope to find in friends. I pledge to you my friendship, if you will allow time to know and trust me."

"Aye my feline friend." she said. "Let us travel together."

Their hands gripped and the Whiska smiled, showing his beautiful canine teeth.

Zijana thought to herself, "I'm surely glad I'm not a Ratling, for I've heard tell some Whiskas consider them a great delicacy."

They hastily gathered their weapons from the battle scene, and even found a few bags of gold from the slain trolls. Lion-O found a beautiful spear and several throwing dirks which he attached to his belt. As Zijana surveyed the small tent of the troll shaman, her eyes gleamed as a treasure chest full of loot sat before her. What rogue could resist such a prize?

"Careful Zijana!" warned Lion-O. "Those chest from the hordes of evil are laden with traps and twisted magicks!"

"No worries here, for you have the honor of watching one of the finest pickpockets of the Gael Serran at her best."

Lion-O shrugged and stood back her nimble hands fiddled with the levers and pulleys which comprised the trap on the chest. It was a simple fireball trap, something Zijana could have done in her sleep. A push here, a pull there and heavy kick from her boot, and the chest popped open.

Her eyes first went to several bottles of healing elixir, one of which she immediately opened and drank. The magic of the priests was strong, as the powerful blue aura surrounded her body. The welt on her head disappeared and Zijana felt like she had just slept in a kings castle.

"That always hits the spot." she said with a laugh.

Scouring through the chest again, she found a pouch of gold, and much to the delight of Lion-O, a sturdy piece of leather armor and a well tempered shield. Lion-O donned the armor and griped the shield, testing the weight and the feel of his new equipment.

"Nice fit!" Zijana said. "You look ready to take on a dragon!"

"Aye elf, I felt naked without any gear. Have you plundered enough now? It is time we must leave."

They found nothing else of interest in the chest besides cobwebs and dead bugs, so Zijana pocketed their booty and gathered her bow. Lion-O gazed into the distance, his superior night vision leading the way.

"To the village of Valeia?"

"Let us be off."

Chapter 3 - Coming Soon to a Message Board Near You!
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