Travel weary strangers chance upon each other on the road, their dark cloaks billowing in the razor wind, but quickly drenched in the storms downpour. Brought together by the storm, they press on as thunder rolls in the sky, followed by the howling of wolves.
The cloaked, hooded Dragonborn howled back, a long melancholy howl of a lone wolf.
Sticking close together to keep warm and avoid as much rain, the travellers see a bright lantern hanging off a tower just a few scores of steps away, it’s warm glow flickering, the creaking as it swings on it’s hinge.
They quicken their pace, and just as they near the tower, five starving wolfs jump out of the bushes, mad and hungry for flesh, attracted by the Dragonborn’s earlier howl, what they perhaps thought was a weak loner, and easy prey.
Three merchants panic, the hoods flying off as they’ve fled the hungry jaws, but the remaining six weary travellers straightened their storm wrecked backs and took a step forward.
The wolves’ charge, one biting the Paladin’s armoured shins, gnawing on the toughened leather.
He deftly swings his long sword, embedding it deep into the wolves neck, and dislodging the jaw from his plate armour.
Another wolf pounced upon the dwarf angrily, who dug his large dwarven feet into the ground for stability, and cleaved off the wolf’s head with his executioner axe, getting it stuck in the skull, while pale bluish-brown Dragonborn stabbed the paw of a wolf charging at a cloth covered Razorclaw, twirling the short sword in his left hand around to slice the wolf’s empty stomach, his leather armour as shiny as his glinting chainmail links, Roaring Lightning just as sparkly from his mouth and singing the wolf’s fur. The Razorclaw didn’t flinch, while the fellow Razorclaw behind him swiftly shot two arrows in quick succession at another wolf, hitting his mark with eerie accuracy.
Fiddles, a human fitted with sturdy leather armour, charged the last wolf as it growled angrily at the party.
The Dragonborn, hearing the low growl through the heavy patter of the rain, bull charged the wolf, punching the wolf’s head up, nicking it with the edge of the blade, and kicking it down with great force.
Fiddles lithely jumps by him and brings his daggers down on the helpless wolf, slicing through his neck in one fell swoop.
Taking the head and holding it high, blood and rain trickling down his arm.
Lightning struck again, perhaps signalling the end of battle.
Akasha, the Razorclaw that the Dragonborn had saved, politely asked Fiddles to borrow a dagger, his long razor claw ears twitching in the heavy rain while the dwarf planted his foot squarely on his slain wolfs head and drew the axe out, brain juice dripping.
Fiddles throws a dagger to Akasha without question him, but muttering something silently which Akasha thought was a threat, or a request for his dagger back. Probably both.
They run towards the tower, while Crash and Akasha stay back. Crash stays back to retrieve his arrows from the wolf, and seeing his fellow Razorclaw start skinning a wolf, decides to take him out of the rain faster by helping him skin the wolves, using his sharp metal arrow head.
They knock the door to the tower, and an elderly woman walks out to greet them.
She ushers them in, and leaves the door slightly ajar so the two Razorclaws could enter.
She leads them through the short corridor and sits them down to the table, where the paladin, Alexander Anthos, recognises it to be an old inn which became disused.
She introduces herself as Treona, and compliments them on their ability to fend for themselves, and as the party thanks her for her hospitality, she asks for a favour.
“I am an elderly lady and alone, I cannot do even half of what you young’uns do. I want to retrieve an ancient artefact, the slayer stone, a dangerous weapon, and I want to destroy it. It lies in the city hall of a goblin infested town. I have seen you fight and I believe that you can retrieve it for me.
“What is in it for me?”
Says Fiddles gruffly in his deep voice.
“Hmmm? You aren’t a group of adventurers? Well you should stop being lonely travellers, at least to help me rid the world of this evil stone.”
She replies; feign surprise showing in her voice, as if she knew that they only coincidently met today.
The travellers pick up on this, and feel slightly uneasy.
“Alkirk and I need competent risk-takers to recover this stone”
At mention of his name, a burly man walks in dressed in rich blue clothing, and Treona gestures at him.
“Alkirk is the last heir in the Kiris line, the rulers of the fallen town of Kiris Dahn. We and the other citizens were forced to abandon Kiris Dahn when an overwhelming goblin invasion came from the east”
She sighs wistfully and looks at him
Alkirk speaks up for her
“The Kiris line had a Large supply of powerful relics farmed by their ancestors, powerful items that used magic to kill the town’s greatest enemies. But we exhausted its supply of slaying stones. The town used eight of them during my life there, and all had been spent to destroy various threats, before the goblins even came.”
“The goblins came in great numbers, and there was no stone to frighten them off, but I’ve been reading some of the obscure texts we’ve found and bought off traders crossing this road, and they point to the fact that there were nine slayer stones when Alkirk was born, not eight.
I want you to find and retrieve the remaining stone so that I can destroy it using a ritual I’ve been devising.”
“Is there any alcohol?”
Asked the dwarf
“Alkirk, can you be a dear and bring the last barrel of light cider?”
Slowly, she walks over to the table Alkirk was standing beside, sits down and starts to eat quietly while Alkirk walked through a door semi hidden by cobwebs.
The paladin stood up.
“My name is Alexander Anthos my fair friends; I serve the might of pellore, and this here dwarf is my stalwart companion Yump, the dwarf. He’s a dwarf you know.”
said the paladin introducing himself in his calm, yet booming voice.
Alkirk then came in with a barrel hoisted on his shoulders and held steady with his brawny hands, then placed it with a bang, shaking the ancient oak table.
Before the trembling even stopped, Yump poured everyone a mug of cold cider, and promptly downed them all himself. He then turned the tap away from the table and turned it on, lying under it and drinking what was left of the barrel in true dwarven fashion.
Fiddles held up the wolf head he severed, the blood already pumped out of the veins, and then sticking his hand in through the neck, puppeted it.
“This is Fiddles, a dear old friend of mine, we met when a storm came out, and I instantly fell in prey for him, head over heels, since he severed my head”
said the wolf head, the glazed eyes glaring menacingly at the others.
“my name is Akasha, I am a shaman, not a fighter, I’m sorry I did not help you fight the wolves, but I hold all life in high regard. I was going to suggest we throw some food out for them, so they would leave us alone, yet you brandished your weapons too quickly. And sorry it took me a while to come back, I was skinning the bodies. As they say, waste not, want not”
Said the Razorclaw, slowly chewing his food with his sharp teeth as he swirled the sweet smelling cider in his hand.
The other Razorclaw sat quietly, eyeing the rest, while the Dragonborn sat across from him, with the cider in one hand and a quill in the other, scribbling furiously as the party talked.
“I didn’t take you as a mage”
“neither did I, you seem to throw yourself into battle without a thought, rather then throw a ball of fire”
said Fiddle and Alexander.
“I’m not a mage; I merely studied arcana with my mentors in my clan. I am actually a mercenary, I was contracted to fight in the rune wars being held in the Far East, and I was just on my way when this storm struck”
“what’s your name?”
Asked Akasha curiously.
“Rai, Rai Ghkar”
“name sounds familiar”
Said the other Razorclaw.
“You look familiar, what’s your name?”
Replied Rai, staring intently, while the rest conversed with each other.
“Call me Crash, pleased to meet you”
Crash sat quietly and ate his dinner, his dark eyes darting around the room, covered from prying eyes by his dark brown hair.
As the night grew late, the people started setting up their blankets around the floor, as Rai stayed awake, scripting late into the night as he kept watch.
The party set out in the morning feeling refreshed, given the directions of the town and a few scrolls with a ritual to detect where the Slayer stone was being held.
“Be careful, there’s Goblins scattered everywhere around the town and surrounding lands”
she warned as they ventured forth
“Is there a forest nearby? We can navigate it and sneak in” said Fiddles, eager for bloodshed as long as it wasn’t his own.
“Yes, it’s on the east side of town, go around and keep south of the farmlands”
after three hours’ worth of walking, they stumbled upon the forest they sought, seeing the farmlands in the distance up north, but it was much much thicker then they had expected. It was going to be one big problem to navigate.
“stay behind me, as a shaman I’ve learned how to find my way around nature, but stay quiet” said Akasha as he broke some of the foliage off and stuck it on the cloaks of his members and himself.
“sneaking around with camouflage? I like your thinking. Are you sure we won’t encounter dire bears though? This place reeks of their droppings” replied Fiddles, slightly impressed.
“how would you know how they smell?” asked Rai
“I once had to sneak around and pick pocket nobles as they went to a dire bear circus. Their eyes are fixed on the trained bear too much to notice when their gold sacks go missing” he replied with a sly grin “the stench was horrible, but it was worth creeping around the shit droppings for three days to earn about four hundred gold pieces. I left town before the circus moved on, when I met you. The smell is fresh in my mind” he cringed.
“I said stick behind me!” yelled the shaman from the forest.
the party got a little lost as they entered, trying to find where Akasha went, but after a few minutes stumbling around for his voice, they found him standing beside a large tree trunk at the edge of a river.
“we need to cross the river to get into the town, but the current is too fast to swim across”
Said Akasha as they neared him.
“Why don’ we just chop down the tree and make a bridge?”
replied the dwarf, hoisting his axe and bringing it down on the trunk.
Rai and Alexander joined in to help, only broducing loud clashes as their swords berely took out chunks of the bark.
from the distance they heard the high pitched screeching of goblins, and ducked down.
“Stand back and let me handle it, you and your measly weapons do nothing but cause a ruckus. We want to sneak in right?” gruffly panted the dwarf.
after an hour of silent chopping, a feat only Dwarfs well accustomed to mining in echo causing mines, can achieve.
As the tree fell down with a dull thud, the party ventured across.
They heard the screechy talk of goblins approaching to check the noise, and ran into a nearby house.
As they hid inside, they heard the goblins walk by, one excitedly yelling at his friends he saw something bushy scurry into the area.
“You’re seeing trees walking again aren’t you” laughed another goblin
“you should stop smoking the library books, they’re doing a number to your mind” said yet another.
The party sighed relief, and thanked Akasha for the camouflage, while the dwarf moved a carpet in the other side of the room.
“There’s a hidden door here, it seems to go off in the direction of the library” said the dwarf.
“You have good tunnel-sense you know dwarf? Why did you ever leave the mines? I always thought you dwarves hated the fresh air and sunlight” huffed the Dragonborn.
With a distasteful grunt, the dwarf jumped inside, the party following, remembering that Treona said that the slayer stone may be hidden in one of three places, the library being one of them.
They wandered through the dark, Fiddles leading in the front to detect any traps, while Rai led from behind, his eyesight accustomed to the dim light.
With a hush, Fiddles stopped everyone.
“There’s a hidden door here, and I can hear them pesky goblins on the other side of the door.”
“Then let’s rush them” said Rai, pushing his way to the front.
Fiddles opened the door slightly, and aimed his poisoned crossbow through the crack.
“1…” he counted, watching as the goblin he aimed at, dressed in robes, ripped a page out of one of the library books, and burned it in his hand with a green flame.
and shot, his arrow hitting the goblin’s shoulder, the page gone in a puff of smoke.
Rai Charged in, knocking a table full of alchemical devices to the floor, and let loose a chain of lightning from his mouth, goblins falling down unexpectedly from the surge of power.
The paladin came next, tripping as his armoured feet slipped on the noxious gasses and liquids spilled on the floor, and thus missing his blow against the robed goblin spell caster.
The dwarf came in next, a sprinting blur as he jumped over the knocked over table and landing in front of the caster goblin.
his axe missed as the goblin moved to the side, and instead buried itself into another table, smashing it in half.
still in shock, they couldn’t react fast enough, for Crash shot two arrows at two goblins, felling them, as Fiddle followed the dwarf, jumping over the table and using the dwarf to somersault over him, daggers held high, landing in front of the goblin, but missing him with his attack, but eying his leather satchel.
Rai came around and picked up the goblin in his strong arms, but not before the goblin could mutter a few words singed with green fire, summoning a blue ooze.
the ooze attacked alexander, Yump and Fiddle, eating through their armour.
the goblin struggled free, and tried to make a getaway as the others were distracted, but rai quickly stepped after him, and grabbing him by the neck, picking him up and smashing his head against the broken table, dazing him and holding him tight.
the rogue hopped onto the table to get away from the ooze, and quickly taking out rope with his nimble fingers, tried to bind the goblin just in case.
The rest smashed their weapons into the floor, smooshing the ooze to death. If it was ever alive to begin with.
They overpowered the goblin and bound him, gagging him in case he started to cast more green flamed spells.
Fiddles took the sack e eyed earlier, and fetched the green skin bound book inside.
Looking queerly at the goblin, the took off the gag and asked him what the book was for.
“I have a magical talent most other goblins don’t I yearn to learn how to cast spells, but I cannot tap into the power. By ripping spells out of arcane books, and burning them into that book there, I can use them to power bursts of magical potential, thus creating that blob that nearly got you”
said the goblin, his bruised face greedily eying his precious work once more as he slowly bled to death.
Just as he died, the dwarf noticed an alcove half hidden behind a bookself.
The Dragonborn came over to take a look as the rest went to hear the goblin’s dying breaths.
Alexander noticed Rai looking intently at the alcove.
“Let’s move on” Said Rai.
“why did you stare at the alcove? There’s nothing there, did you sense something?” asked the ever perceptive Paladin.
The dragon huffed hot air through his nose, a tiny threating spark fizzling out in front of the paladin’s face as Rai walked to the exit.
Brandishing their weapons, the party again asked Rai if he sensed something.
“it’s nothing too important, not as much as finding the Slayer stone.” He replied, taking his own weapons out.
Fiddle jumped at him, aggressive as ever.
Rai dodged easily, and struck back, hitting him squarely in the face with the flat end of his sword.
the party bore down on him with their weapons, even crash Chucking a single arrow at the dragon.
the arrow hit the side of Rai’s head, stunning him briefly, as the dwarf swung his axe at Rai’s knees.
bringing him down in pain, Alexander Yelled;
“We’ll never find out what he knows if we kill him” he said, taking out his bandages and taking out the arrow.
earning his trust, Rai told alexander that the alcove contained the slayer stone, and it was only recently moved.
“why didn’t you tell that to us at the start”
“It’s not important. The stone isn’t there now and we have to find it. Although with this injured knee I don’t think I can move” replied Rai.
“We shall rest here, wait till his leg feels better. Fiddle, cover up those window and start a fire” ordered Alexander
After the party shuffled around, moving the bookshelves to make enough room to lie down, Rai picked up the green skinned book and started reading it, while Fiddle started a fire, and the rest lay down to rest.
Crash stayed awake, keeping watch and keeping an eye on Rai. His distrust in others unspoken, yet barely hidden.
Thus the party rested, getting ready to continue their Quest tomorrow…