Thursday, November 17, 2016

An Old Tale, Pt. 2

Hamish had grown tired of waiting. He and Dolgi had worked out a system: they spent time sparring and drinking and playing games of chance and when he needed space Dolgi could take care of himself. Alis on the other hand was always around and always pining after his girl. It wasn't that Hamish hadn't ever considered settling down with someone, it's that he needed the capital to do so. Adventuring was his ticket to the comfortable life he'd always wanted. For right now, a girl was a distraction, and young Alis was more than enough proof of that fact.

The morning started like any other, he made breakfast, he inventoried the wagon for what felt like the hundredth time, he fetched water, he checked his weapons and then...he waited. He'd been given strict instructions to wait for a young dwarf named Kheldru but the dwarf had never come. It had been a month to the day since his benefactors had left and he was resolved to do something.

After packing and equipping, he left Bremel at noon, leaving Alis to his melancholy and Dolgi to his cups. It felt good to be out and about again. He had the map that master Shade had drawn for him and he'd already scouted around in the forest near Bremel so it wasn't any trouble to find the spot they had said to meet. He was surprised to find that there was the entrance to an underground chamber that he hadn't seen before. He was also surprised to see a group of adventurers beginning to climb the steps into the dungeon. Two dwarves and a human conferred and then chose a door and entered the darkness. Hamish waited a moment until they had explored the first room and then crept carefully along behind them.

Hamish followed for some time, in awe of the old dwarven structure but also in fear of being discovered or trapped alone in the darkness. He witnessed the rescue of a rude orc and a harrowing battle with some kind of mold monster. When the party split up he followed the human and the orc. In his excitement, he had almost forgotten his reason for being here when he heard a loud and hearty voice, one he thought he might never hear again: Thorvald. "Hail adventurers! What brings you to this ancient place?"

The orc and human looked ready to draw blades when, from up the stairs, they heard another voice. This one quieter and more sinister: "tsk tsk tsk, don't make any rash decisions, friends." More shapes came into view, backlit by the bright sunlight streaming through the open entrance: Rayla the kind dwarf and Draymun, Shade, wearing his signature dark cloak and Tom, who was wearing a hooded cloak of his own that obscured his face. Draymun stepped forward and spoke in a rough baritone, "this is a dwarven stronghold, lads, ye ken? Anyone caught trespassing will be killed." Hamish had thought to reveal himself but started at the strength in the accusation. Thorvald stepped ominously closer and spoke again, "boys we don't want to cause any harm. Tell us where Kheldru is and go back to town and we won't say anything." The half-orc grunted, "what's it worth to you?" Thorvald laughed and slapped him on the shoulder, "a businessman, fair enough." He pulled out a small bag of coins, "this should be enough for your troubles, or at least a few nights in the Inn."

The human and orc reluctantly trudged up the stairs and out into the world. Tom watched them go and seemed ready to say something before turning back to the party who were congratulating one another on their genius plan. Shade did a little jig, "I told you good constable/bad constable would work Thor!" Rayla quipped, "more bad constable/bad constable in my estimation." They went on like this for a time and then headed into the dungeon. Hamish decided to follow in silence to make sure he wouldn't be punished or sent back to town.

They worked the same routine on the two dwarves, this time Draymun stood in the back and wore the same cloak Tom had worn during the first encounter. Hamish realized with a start that he bore a striking similarity to the one of the adventurer's who had entered first. As expected, the dwarf called Kheldru was sent back with instructions to seek out Alis and Dolgi and he. Hamish felt a bit of shame when he realized he wouldn't be there.

The party then struck out again, this time seeking a vault of some type. Hamish noticed a shift in tone as the party grew more somber and focused. They starting doing regular checks for traps and he had to fall farther back to avoid detection. When they reached the door of the vault, they all stopped and conferred but Hamish was too far away to hear. When they stepped in he quickly made his way to the door of the vault where he saw a man and an elf-lass frozen in front of a pedestal where an object sat. The party stood around the room, at the ready. Rayla and Tom at range, Draymun near the frozen figures in a fighting stance, Shade and Thorvald on opposite sides of the pedestal.

Shade strode towards the object on the pedestal and reached out his hand.

A light flashed and with it the sound of a hornet's nest.

Then, at the far end of the vault, a dark-robed figure accompanied by two great ogres appeared.

The figure reached out his hand and then said one word:


The whole room went still and silent.

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