Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Naked Dwarf



Bright Eye, Winter Night 2, 354 AC

            One of the strangers lifted an object. Chai squinted to see clearly through the windblown snow. Too late he made out the image as he heard the distinct twang of a crossbow releasing its bolt. The cleric clutched Gharad’s arm. “Crossbow!”

            Gharad nodded knocked an arrow and let it loose in a single seamless motion. One of their foes crumpled and fell as the arrow bit deep into its abdomen. Fresh white snow quickly stained red.

            Odren winced at seeing the arrow fly and hit the man. "Ouch. No party for him I guess."
           
            “Nope,” Cherry laughed, “he is gonna miss out on fun!”

            Odren smiled wide at the kender then enthusiastically ran toward the wagon, "party time!"

            Chai counted two remaining foes left. One glanced at the charging dwarf, then at the cleric. Its choices before it, it ran westward, leaving only one to fight the charging dwarf.

            The party could hear the lone foe yell at his fleeing ally. But the exact words were lost to the bitter wind.  It dropped its crossbow and pulled a large double bladed axe from a baldric on its back, running to meet Odren.

            Odren’s eyes went wide at the sudden change. The dwarf began to hiccup. 

            Cherry planted her hoopak into the frozen ground as best she could, loaded the sling on the forked end and let a stone fly at the remaining foe.

            Another arrow from Gharad followed close behind the stone. Gharad cursed as both missiles landed hard into the snow.

            "AH!" Odren shouted in alarm as the remaining foe ran toward him. The elderly dwarf hopped back and unwrapped his chain from around himself in a single motion. A smooth wooden club attached to the end of the chain. Each link rattled as Odren whipped the chain forward, the club end leading the attack.

            Odren could make out the flat nose, orange skin, and reddish brown hair of his enemy. This was no human. The club hit with a thud against the creature. It grunted, stunned for a moment. Not a long moment, but long enough for Odren to pull back his chain and club. The creature shook off the blow. And charged forward again, raising its axe and swinging downward the crazed dwarf. Odren stepped to the side, the axe only claiming a stray whisker and parts of his tattered robes.

            Odren grumbled and looked down at his now even more tattered robes.  The dwarf sighed with a hint of sadness. His robes barely hanging from his body

            Chai glanced at the dwarf and shook his head. Many more blows like that and he would have a naked dirty dwarf on his hands.  The cleric could hear the kender laugh as she launched another bullet at what was clearly a hobgoblin. The bullet landed square on the creatures face, breaking its nose. The kender continued to laugh. Chai could only think that she must have been envisioning the same thing as he:  A naked dwarf in the middle of the cold. 


Monday, October 13, 2014

Third Cousin To Tasslehoff Burrfoot


Bright Eye, Winter Night 2, 354 AC


 “Yeah come on!” The kender shouted, “We ain’t got all night!! I'm getting bored waiting!!”

            Chai shook his head and climbed up the back of the giant tortoise, followed quickly by Gharad.

            “My name’s Cherry! Cherry Grasstoe,” the kender extended her right hand. “Third cousin, twice removed of Tasslehoff Burffoot.”

            Gharad and Chai looked at the hand but didn’t shake it. Instead they both held their bags in tighter.

            Unphased by the new weight Torz started to meander around, making its way south. Chai was loath to admit it but he was warmer and more comfortable on the back of the giant beast. He still clutched his pouch and backpack close to his chest.

            They were making progress, and the cleric’s aching feet were thanking him. The cloud obscured sky made telling time impossible, but Chai could tell by the sound of his stomach it was well past dinner. He wanted to reach in his bag for some of his rations, dried bread, and salted fish, but didn’t dare open his bag with Cherry so near.

            The snow gave the night an eerie daytime feel. Chai could not see the stars or ether of the moons through the clouds. The increasing cold told him it was well past sunset.

 “Oh! LOOK!!!” Cherry once more shouted.

The cleric was beginning to suspect that she only had one level of speaking. He followed her pointing finger and saw a group of three humanoids standing near a wagon.

 “Oh look more people!” Odren exclaimed, “I hope they aren't demons this time. I could use more friends!"

"Friends, not fiends?" Chai said with a low raspy chuckle.

 “I hope they’re nice too!” Cherry said with a slight squeal, “I hope they like fun! More people is good, we could have a party!”

Chai was beginning to regret getting on ‘Torz” with every shriek of excitement made by the diminutive duo.

Torz stopped his slow meandering descent south and retreated back into his shell. Tufts of his fur protruded at odd angles.

Odren looked down and pat the tortoise's back. "Hey Torz, what's wrong? Whelp, I guess we will have to walk from here to say hi."

 “Walking is good!” Cherry agreed. “We should go now, be rude to not go say hi.”

"Let's go throw them a party," Odren slid from the back of the tortoise and walked toward the wagon.

Cherry laughed as she slid down after the dwarf.

Chai sighed and looked at Gharad. The warrior shrugged and unstrapped his bow from his back. The two humans slid down the shell and followed the dwarf and kender.

 The unusual companions approached the wagon, Gharad and Chai cautiously, Odren and Cherry with little regard for self and safety.

The wind kicking up snow and red dust made distinguishing the features of the trio difficult, though Chai could tell at least one of them was human. A good sign, or so he thought.

Odren Sykes: "I hope those aren't Demons. I might faint."  Odren rambled, leaning toward Cherry as they walked.

            “Would be fun if they were though,” Cherry countered, “nothing worse than meeting boring people.”

Monday, October 6, 2014

Up and On



Bright Eye, Winter Night 2, 354 AC

Odren peered down at Chai and Gharad as the two humans examined the corpse. "I am sure Torz will share, but I don't think you will find this one meal good to eat."

Gharad bent down, brushing snow and wiping blood from the emblem on the chest of the body. Gharad ripped the emblem from the chest of the corpse and stuffed it into his bag.

Odren leaned forward from the back of the tortoise, pulling a long chain with a wooden rod on the end of it. Slowly he lowered it down, like he would a fishing line, tapping the head of Gharad. "Hey. Ya find it yet?"

            “Whoo hoo!!” The kender squealed form her new place next to Odren on top of the tortoise, “this is gonna be fun! Only wish this thing could fly! That would be fun too!”

Gharad looked up at the Dwarf, "so about that ride?"

Odren leaned back and turned to the kender, "did you say you can fly? That is a neat trick! I knew a dwarf that flew once. He flew only once though, never did get back up after he hit the ground."

"This is pointless,” Chai hissed, “a ride with a kender and a possibly insane dwarf?"

"Better than freezing to death," Gharad replied.

"Did you say dwarf?” Odren looked directly at the cleric. “Have you seen one lately?" He looked around quickly. "I haven't seen a dwarf in several fort nights myself."

"Is it?" Chai asked with a grin.

 “So lucky!” The kender went on, “if I could fly I'd do all sorts of fun things, maybe I could meet the flying dwarf and he could teach me! Well tell me how he did it as he can’t do it no more. He is still alive right?

Odren scratched his chin as he looked at the kender,  "I dunno really." He switched from his chin to his head, "we should ask his mother one day if she has seen him. Haven't seen her in years,"

Gharad glanced at Chai and cleared his throat, "well mister Tortoise rider. Are you willing to give us a ride to the city, or do I need to get aggressive?"

Odren elbowed the kender and pointed to Gharad. "I think he is talking to you Tortoise rider."

"I’m starting to think that freezing would be much faster and painless, than a ride with those two," Chai said through chattering teeth.

"You might be right sir," Gharad replied, his voice as quiet and low. The dwarf hd hearing that was far better than he had expected.

 “We should!” The kender shouted, continuing her conversation with Odren, “flying looks so much fun! Who is talking to me?”

"What is taking you two so long anyways?” Odren asked as he looked from the Kender to the two humans, “it is much easier to talk and ride and the same time." The dwarf patted an area on Torz’s shell.

            Chai shook his head. He pictured himself falling into the snow repeatedly in a struggle to mount the creature.

            The kender continued to go about the joys of flight, the cold and bitter air only slowing down her ceaseless talking.

            Odren pulled his ratty robes in tighter around himself, tucking his beard underneath for added warmth. “Come on, we ain’t got all night.”