I’ve arrived at The Dancing Lobster in Steintrall, after a long and weary travel from the West.
The air is damp and contaminated with dwarvenly odors and the stench of ale.
My letter said there were supposed to be four of us on this assignment, including myself.
It specified that I was supposed to meet up with a sturdy dwarf, an elf magician and a human.
Picking them out from the crowd took me about a fraction of a second.
The human was already engaged in a brawling bet against one of the locals.
Running up and jumping off of the walls, you’d have to be blind, deaf or dead
not to notice him. They called him Copper, and even named one of the drinks after him as a gesture of pure awe,
and rightly so, as he put up a surprisingly good show.
The Copper Special they called it. I never tasted it, with concern for my well-being,
but I could swear it was just watered-out ale. The cheapest kind.
The elf, a shady looking fella, stood by and watched the fight, but I could swear I saw him, in the corner of my eye,
flick his hand as a pool of mud appeared on the fighting grounds.
We haven’t even introduced ourselves, or gotten our first assignment,
and we’re already being a hindrance to each other, myself excluded of course.
And the dwarf, who was huddled towards the wall, fashioning not only one, but two huge tower shields
almost as big as himself, kept mostly to himself. He seemed very out-of-place amongst his dwarven kin.
We were eventually approached by our contact, a gnome named Chessny Longhill.
We were given the responsibility to safely transport, or escort if you will, a noble dwarf all the way to The Singing Squirrel in Ty’sai.
The future of our group looks grim, and I honestly believe I’ll be better off on my own.
I just hope that at least tonights dreams will be more pleasant than the journey I imagine ahead.
I woke up to a huge commotion downstairs. The dwarves downstairs were chanting and yelling, moreso than usual.
As I peeked out the door, I could clearly hear the name Copper being chanted over and over,
and the man himself encouraging the praise. I have to admit though, he is entitled to all the recognition,
but I have a fear that his showmanship won’t pay off as well in a more dangerous situation.
We waited for quite some time, in which I efficiantly used our downtime to carve out a rather impressive portrait,
if I may say so myself, into both of turtle dwarf’s shields, without him taking notice.
After a while, on the road further down, a wagon appeared, coming towards us.
I spotted two dwarves, one armored with his arm in a sling, the other well-dressed and proud-looking.
This had to be our assignment. After presenting ourselves, and miraculously not compromising the mission
and breaking the deal, we set off towards the great city.
I was actually starting to get my hopes up after the first couple of hours of riding.
We were afterall traveling down the main road, and trouble tends to stay off it, for the most part.
But that hope was soon to be shattered. As I kept lookout on the back of the cart, I spotted a giant flying being.
At first I thought of the tales I’ve read about the half-human half-bird creatures called harpies,
but it turned out to be a pure-breed eagle. A big one. In fact, it’s the biggest living eagle I’ve ever seen.
I motioned to the currently absent-minded Copper to get his bow on the ready, as I noticed
the creature got closer and closer. We all ended up on the roof of the cart, and as it came to a stop,
the eagle swooped down towards us. The magician, never quite caught his name, raised his hands and in a flash,
three purple bolts of pure energy burst out towards the eagle, hitting it hard enough to send it on a crash-course straight towards us.
Before I could even think to react, Copper jumped up towards it, caught it mid-air and sent it flying off to the side of the cart,
but it managed to get a grip and claw it’s way back up. I gave it a proper whack over the head before the turtle dwarf
drove his shield into it’s beak and cracked it’s jaw open, sending it limp to the ground.
He even went as far as to jump down and completely disintegrate it’s head, then started picking up the broken pieces of the beak.
This made me feel safer and very worried, both at the same time.
We traveled forward.
The environment changed from open plains to dense forest like we just passed an invisible line.
It was getting darker, and we figured it would be wise to set up camp for the night.
Turtle dwarf made the first rounds on guard, and poked me to take over his shift. I am now currently sitting here,
on top of the cart, wondering what the future brings with this odd ensemble of people.
I see a small fire in the distance, but my time on duty is almost up and Copper is to relieve me, so it’s essentially not my problem.
Besides, it’s probably nothing to worry about. The forest is full of nature happy adventurers and whatnot. I’ll go ahead and end my shift.
And this day.
Copper made a run out into the woods shortly after I laid down. I’m going to follow him, this might be my last entry… Joking aside, I’m curious to see what he’s up to. I’ll report back with my findings.
Reading my last entry makes me realize I wasn’t too far from the truth about it being my last one.
I followed Copper through the forest, tracing him from a distance, unseen. We approached a camp consisting of a giant bonfire
and two tents on the other side. I circled around the camp, still at a distance, to try and see if the light from the bonfire
would cast a shadow on the canvas of the back of the tent. It seemed to be completely empty, and Copper concluded my speculations
as he walked up to them and checked them both. His eyes suddenly started to flicker, a maddening look on his face as his gaze
darted around the treetops. He turned on his heel and hustled full-speed towards the camp.
In the meanwhile, I killed a dragon, three giants and the leader of an underground crime scene.
At least that’s what this book says. Sometimes the stories are better than the actual events. Let’s just leave it at that.
I returned to the camp later, only to find it overrun by bandits. I immediately ran to the rescure,
heroically killing of the first bad guy I saw. I ran towards the next, only to nearly get hit by a sudden beam of frost
sent out from our very own elf magician. At this point I was really starting to question his usefulness to the group.
But with no time to dwell upon it, I put an end to the other bandits. I might’ve been assisted in the extermination,
but in the heat of the battle and oh, so vividly still in my mind, I danced from one side of the camp to the other,
elegantly chopping heads and dodging arrows as I went.
The dust settled, and in all the commotion we came to realize the noble had been badly hurt, laying lifeless on the ground,
and the guard was laying limp on the front of the cart. We quickly came to the conclusion that we’d best keep moving,
so I carried the noble inside and Copper took the rains and set off.
I’m currently in the cart with a bunch of people I don’t trust, one of them not showing signs of life.
Oh well, I didn’t really need to sleep tonight anyways.
I must have drifted off, as I abruptly shook awake by the sudden motion of the cart stopping. I immediately sensed danger,
grabbed my sword and rushed out. The first thing to meet my eye was the magic elf all wrapped up in a thick white substance.
I turned immediately to get back into safety, but as I turned I saw a dark shadow hanging over the doorway of the cart.
That was also the last thing I saw before everything turned blurry, and I too was encased in what I now recognized as a spider’s web.
I saw the shadow grow larger over me, and two giant fangs, dripping with venom slowly started digging their ways into the web.
Then out of nowhere, Copper dropped down on top of it, knocking it down and then kicked it several feet away.
I managed to rip myself out off the web, and just as I was about to kill the spider with my angry look, it darted off into the dark woods.
Coincidentally, the mage simultaneously cast a spell of light, but I’m sure it only enhanced my face of danger more clearly.
I too would bolt off if I faced myself in battle.
I decided to do a little scouting on my own, make sure it wouldn’t gather the courage, or any of it’s friends, to pester us any more.
After a short while, I heard what I identified as several thin limbs rattling through the leaves further into the forest,
and reported back to camp about my findings. I barely got to finish my sentence, as a sudden yell echoed through the trees.
We all immediately ran towards it. This time I wouldn’t let it escape.
My senses served me well, for it was indeed the giant spider I had heard.
Accompanied this time, by a small humanoid figure all wrapped up and ready to be devoured. We ran to the humanoid’s immediate assistance,
cutting it free, and with a torch in one hand and a sword in the other I leaped towards the spider, yelling and slashing the flame in front of me.
I managed to get a couple of good hits in with my sword aswell, before sensing eyes in the back of my neck.
It was Copper, with a cloth-covered arrow readily knocked.
Our eyes locked, and for a split second there was an almost telepathical understanding of what was about to go down.
I immediately crouched down under an incoming spider fang, thereafter lifting my torch up above my head as Copper’s arrow came flying through it,
setting it alight as it blazed just past the spider.
It however managed to set the spider’s nest ablaze, giving us several openings to attack, as it skittered away from the flames.
Again, our eyes locked and withing a split second we both started running towards the spider.
The turtle dwarf just so happened to run by, and I dragged him with me and threw him forward,
following up with a quick kick to the back of his knee, making him hunch down, leaning on his shields.
Copper now charging towards the spider, he kicked it forcefully into the dwarf whose shields acted as a ramp.
I turned and followed the now airborne spider with my eyes, running below it with my sword pointing up towards it
and as it lands straight down onto my sword, a thick burly wooden staff comes whispering through the air,
completely impaling the spider whose limbs fall lifelessly down. I look up only to face a small man,
who I was later told is a halfling. Before I got to say anything, I heard a loud squishy sound behind me, and as I turned to look,
turtle dwarf had his shield dug deep into the spider’s head.
Shortly thereafter it rolled down into the flames where it gave up what I could only describe as a crackling and wheezing sigh of relief.
On the way back I learnt that the halfling’s name was Tyrone, but that’s about all I got from him at that point,
for as we returned, the door of the cart was bust open, and a large unknown man was standing in the opening, facing away from us.
Well aware of the fact that we weren’t done fighting, we made short work of the two bandits
that had felt a little too much at home in our camp. At that point we came to realize the noble was gone. As was the magic elf!
Looking for fresh tracks only got us so far, but our new ally somehow managed to bargain with an owl, and.. No, this part of the story is actually true!
We followed the owl for a bit, but the guard insisted on returning back to the cart. With our contract out in the wilderness? I absolutely don’t think so.
Besides, what better way to put our new friend’s trust and capabilities to the test?
After a pretty discerning walk through the forest, blindly following a very, very hungry and greedy owl, we eventually came upon the elven mage carrying our noble target,
and two henchmen. They noticed some of us, but I managed to slip into the shadow and circle around them.
The mage was dragging the noble away, and I decided to follow, telling our halfling friend to stay and help turtle dwarf.
Copper went back to camp to protect a horse. It’s name is Close.
Following the mage for a while, I hear rapid footsteps behind me in the distance. One of the henchmen came dashing through the forest,
and I went in to intercept his course, tripping him and holding him down to the ground.
Now, from what I remember from this point, the dragon that I had slaid earlier returned for revenge, and as I heroically killed it again,
I felt tired and decided to take a really quick nap.
I woke up to the shocking sensation of a sturdy dwarven hand colliding with my face.
Looking around, the halfling carried the dead body of the traitorous mage, our dwarven assignment looked eager to get back to camp
and turtle dwarf looked quite enfeebled, yet still walked over to the mage and drove his shield through his neck, decapitating him.
I decided to take the head with me, in case there was any bounty for the kill.
On the way back, I got wind of the recent fight,
the owl had allegedly single handedly killed off the mage, and had been promised a week’s supply of mice.
I thought this to be fair.
We named it Hoot.
We got back to the camp, recognizing a snoring Bottle and the horse.
The cart was closed, but Bottle soon woke up and uttered a single word in the form of a password.
The group was finally whole again, and I proudly presented my trophy, the head of our previous party member.
We decided to take his share of the would-be reward for the escortation.
Suddenly, Copper fell to the ground, and a short squeek could be heard from under the cart. I looked down, but he’s wasn’t there!
Shortly thereafter he crawled out from under the cart with a mouse in his mouth.
I’m starting to really like this fella.
As I’m currently writing this, we’ve been traveling for quite some time. There’s also this servant girl with us.
She’s with the noble, I believe. There’s something about her. Something very enigmatic.
Copper just asked us to check out a tavern. Nothing can be worse than what we’ve already faced. Can it?