After their first victory, the adventurers make their way toward the bandit's camp... What dangers await them?
So, I have a lot of half-finished stories, fictions, novels, etc. and I decided to write a series of short stories. I tried to post the first in it's entirely, only to realise that it's quite long for the blog, so I'll be releasing it in sections. This is a bunch of stories that take place in my homebrew world, and will make quite a few meta references. I hope you enjoy.
It was just another alesday evening in Oakenport. The tavern was rowdy and merry, though not much out of the ordinary was happening. Snug was flirting with the blonde elf behind the bar – she always wore her corset a little tighter when he’d come back from an adventure, and he’d always walk out of the bar without enough copper to feed himself for the week. The dwarves were having a game of axes, losing, to their shame, to the halfling girl Merla. A well known rogue, she claimed she learned to throw playing a gnommish variant of the game using darts. Jarlisle, the hazard-prone bard, sang on the far stage of his latest death, and how the druids gave reincarnations cheaply by creating random bodies instead of giving him his old one back. He was a centaur this week, making him even more popular with the ladies than usual. It was true most of the females in Oakenport were fond of horses, majestic as they are, but Hidan wandered if there were… other… factors involved. After all, Jarlisle did seem to have a certain confidence to him this week, even more so than usual for a bard of his calibre. Hidan decided not to give that one too much thought. As for him, he was bored. All around him he saw accomplished adventurers. Merla and her strange friend Harkin had cleared their fifth Bandit camp this year, and it was still planting season. Snug had joined up with the local guild, and who knows what Jarlisle was up to for him to claim his death was caused by protecting a succubus from an angry Grove of druids! Hidan slammed his flagon on the table with decisive finality, causing Seraphim to jump at the other side of the table.
She wiped the drool from her chin (she’d been staring at the bard) and shouted at Hidan. “What’s your deal, all of a sudden!?”
“Let’s go on an adventure, ” he said, a little too calmly. This illicited a response from Hedge, the wizard at the table who had been quietly experimenting with a spell to make his ale stronger. “Is it working? ” Both of his companions rolled their eyes. “Oh, you’re serious. ” Hidan took a swig of his drink. “Of course, I’m serious! Look at us – we’re a classic example of a party. I’m one of the few people alive who can use a glaive properly, Seraphim, for a barbarian, you’re an actual locksmith and trapmaker by trade, and Hedge…” Hidan and Seraphim stared as the wizards ale formed an intricate fountain, not one drop spilling onto the table as Hedge stared back at them, blankly. “What? “
Seraphim sighed. “Alright, I see your point. But even if you’re right, we’re missing an archer, and a healer. Besides, one doesn’t simply “go on an adventure ” – you need a quest or a dungeon or a mystery…” As if on cue, a heavily scarred knight kicked in the tavern door, various daggers sticking out of him or his armor, and a scroll clenched in his fist. A scroll with a purple ribbon – a royal bounty. No sooner had the wounded knight obliviously stepped into the tavern, than Hidan landed in front of him, yelling “Dibs!” on the way. The other adventurers looked away, resuming their festivities – he’d called it: for better or worse, the quest was his. The knight handed him the scroll, and left without a word.
Wanted: Duran, Bandit king of Coven
Reward, 500 monarchs
Crimes: caravan raiding, organised crime, bearing a false title.
Dead or alive.
By Royal decree
Terms and conditions apply.
“Weird,” Seraphim said, struggling to read the scroll. Hedge chimed in. “That’s a ‘C’. Also, not really. Bounties have certain rules – no torturing innocent people for information, no using royal members or government officials as bait without consent, that sort of thing. “
Hidan nodded. “Well, that’s that plan out of the window. Now we just need an archer and a healer. “
The trio looked around the bar, conspicuously. Every adventurer, thug, bounty hunter and warrior in the tavern knew what was happening – the draft. Something every party that survives over a week go through. First, they got to Merla. She rested her elbows on the shoulders of the dwarves flanking her, chin raised as if to say ” ‘sup “. Even her friend Harkin raised his glass politely, ragged hair shifting in a way that oddly complemented his scars.
“They do have experience with bandits, ” Seraphim mused. Hedge shook his head. “Merla’s barely enough of a healer to keep Harkin swinging that beast of a sword. And speaking about that sword, I’d rather not level the whole Bandit camp and us with it, thank you very much. “
Next was Snug. “Nope” they said in unison as the orc threw up into his ale.
“What about the twins?”
“What about them, ” Seraphim pouted. The two rangers fulfilled every female adventurer stereotype imaginable – ridiculously skimpy armor with the excuse of “maneuverability versus coverage “, the most obscure pets – a ferret and a snake, one with two elvish cutlasses and the other with a bow and arrow – for some reason always drawn, possibly in case an action pose were needed, and they’d dyed their hair blonde. Whoever heard of an elf with dyed hair?
Hedge sighed. “They DO fit the role… ” Hidan nodded, though in truth he was hoping to have pretty elven twins in revealing dress traveling with him for a few days. “Noooooooo,” Seraphim said, looking Hidan in the eye as she droned. “Fine”, he sighed.
“What about Jarlisle? He’s both,” Hedge asked. “No bards!” it was Hidan’s turn for a veto. “We’re running out of options, ” Hedge responded. “And I wanna ride him!” Seraphim chimed. Hidan raised an eyebrow. “I hope you mean his back. “
Seraphim blushed. “O-of course I do. “
Hidan shook his head. “No bards. I don’t want to be looking over my shoulder for that damned goat the whole time! “
Hedge shivered. He remembered the preposterous chain of events that lead to Jarlisle’s third death, Hedge being one of the victims of the dread goat. The church had made a fortune on resurrection spells that day.
“Yeah, we could do without his form of ‘luck.’ but we’re still archerless and healerless.” At this point, they heard a voice at the end of the table. “Hey guys,” the trio looked to the dark-cloaked, blonde haired priestess of Wee Jas who had been sitting next to Hedge for who-knows-how long.
Hidan and Seraphim exchanged a glance, one that carried an entire conversation.
“An assassin? You can’t be serious! “
“We’re embarking on a quest to target an individual person, that will probably end with killing him. How is that different to an assassination? “
“Because she’s evil! Evil as blight!”
“You’re just jealous she’s prettier than you. “
Seraphim imagined herself bashing Hidan over the head.
“Come on, Sera, she’s a cleric and one of the best shots in a tavern full of archers! “
Hidan only ever used Seraphim’s nickname when he knew he was right. She knew she had to trust him.
Sighing, she looked to Hedge. He raised his hands defensively. “Don’t look at me,” He said. “I’ve got nothing against Sliver here. ” with that, Hidan gave a wide grin. “Welcome aboard, Sliver!” He shook her hand.
Hedge stood. “No time like the present. Shall we be off?” the rest of the party stood in response. As he stood, Hidan felt his sleeve being tugged – the arm still holding the scroll. To his left was an overtly attractive gnommish woman with a lyre in one hand and a notebook in the other. Hidan felt a pit of dread form in his stomach. For a gnome to be “overtly attractive ” could only mean one thing – a high charisma stat. “No bards,” he groaned, fearing the words about to leave her mouth. “Hi, I’m Nerfidelle. I will be chronicling this mission -” Hidan interrupted her “- on behalf of his royal stout highness, the king-dwarf and Lord of the land “. He sounded as though he were on his death-bed. Bards were bad news.