Having grown tired of life as a Guard for my father’s trade caravan, I recently set out in the world in search of something better. My mother always told me it was common for the young men of Oak Point to travel the world with the caravans, but I seek the life of a wandering adventurer! Unfortunately, I quickly found myself poor and hungry. So I joined up with a caravan headed to the Theocracy of the Pale. I had heard the area is just crawling with work for tough young adventurers looking to carve out a name for themselves’!
Jan. 10, 2013
Early one morning the caravan arrived in the small town of Hollow’s Point. After being discharged from my last day as a guard, I sought a hot meal and spirited drink at a local inn, The Red-house Lodge. After securing what amounted to little more than a broom closet with a cot for the night, I headed for the common area. I was surprised to find that the place was not only huge, but packed, wall to wall with people of all walks of life. It was now midday.
I was getting my second helping of lunch when I spotted a young elf girl looking very out of place. She was a fairly cute little thing, for an elf. But something about her seemed odd; she was rather thickly built for an elf. I was intrigued by her. There was some space at my table, so I called to her to sit beside me. She responded in what I assume was Elvish. Thankfully, there was another elf nearby who spoke Common. A well clad, scholarly looking fellow named something-or-other-Zar. He overheard our dilemma and offered to be an interpreter. We chatted for a bit, but honestly I don’t think the Scholar understood the young girl much more than I did. Kira, as I come to find out her name is, babbled on about getting into trouble, and laying low for a while. Zar was having trouble keeping up with her. Kira’s attention span proved quite short, as it wasn’t long before she insisted on “… getting some fresh air…” and bounded out of the inn.
Moments later, an acquaintance of mine from the caravan happened to stumble into me as I was getting up. It was Althen, a drunken womanizer I had spent quite a few nights around the campfires laughing with. Althen was quick to remind me that “When in Pale, one should praise Pholtus!” A lesson I really should take more to heart, before I wind up in jail! Althen then directed Zar and me to an Adventurer’s Board. There were many odd jobs; one was even written in what Zar recognized as Gnomish, though he couldn’t read it. We then came upon a flyer written with an impeccable hand:
“Lord Stone Dylerold seeks assistance to find lost loved one… Inquire at Ogburg.”
This sounded like a job that would pay some serious gold. After some discussion, we concluded that we would work together in this venture. Having returned to the inn, Kira soon realized that Zar and I were going off on an adventure, and insisted on joining us. We chose to spend the remainder of the day gathering and checking our supplies. That night, I had strange, almost frightening dreams.
The following morning, Kira, Elthazar, and I set out early for Ogburg. Elthazar tells me it’s the site of some ancient Dwarven temple that the theocracy actually tolerates. A few hours into the trip, Kira was restless of our leisurely pace. She darted in and out of the edge of the woods just off the road. In doing so, Kira spotted a great boar a short distance away. Elthazar stopped, seeming to have detected something beyond my senses. The following few seconds of awkward silence were sharply broken by a frightened scream. The beast charged at Kira and, ignorantly, I ran up and started hacking away at it.
Though I bought Kira enough time to run, the boar’s skin proved to be far tougher than I had anticipated. Suddenly, a strange blackish bolt of energy shot past my and struck the boar, followed quickly by an arrow. I had no idea that this little elvish girl was actually some sort of magic user. Though I had surmised that Elthazar must be proficient with the bow he kept slung over his shoulder. But I didn’t have time to sort this out; even a moment’s lapse in concentration could mean death for me. The raging beast and I exchanged blows for a few moments, and it seemed like I may be getting the upper hand. But sadly, I lost my footing in the vegetation and the boar was able gore my leg terribly.
A sudden rush of blood poured from my inner left thigh. I fought on for a second or two, but the loss of blood took me and I passed out. The last thing I recall seeing before everything went black, was another volley of energy and arrows flying past me at the creature. Now inert, the boar ignored me and rushed towards Elthazar. The fury-blind animal ran headlong into an arrow and didn’t as much as slow. The fiend thrashed its tusks from side to side, scratching and tearing at the two horrified elves. Reacting as much in anger as fear, Kira summoned a sphere of acid and slammed it into the Boar’s eye. The thing squealed in pain as it reared its head in an attempt to shake off the acid. Elthazar took the temporary distraction to drop his bow and draw his sword.
The brute snorted and shook its head as it rushed in to continue the onslaught. But Elthazar agilely sidestepped it and jabbed it in the neck. The boar twitched and squealed as it flopped over; finally dead. Elthazar was quick to stop my leg from bleeding, though I don’t know how. My new companions then took the time to make a crude stretcher from what they had available. With me unconscious, my friends concluded that they had better attempt to get me back to town. As it would turn out that they needn’t go to quite such extents…
Feb. 2, 2013
Elthazar and Kira had only just finished the stretcher, when some Theocracy troops on horseback, coming from Hollow’s Point, arrived. Kira ran up to them and began pleading for their assistance. But of course, none of them spoke a word of Elvish. Just as their commanding officer was becoming irritated with the distraught girl, Elthazar intervened.
“Who is this girl, and does she speak none of the common tongue?!” the officer demanded gruffly. He shifted in his saddle and glared down at Elthazar.
“This is Kira, and I’m sorry, but she does not speak the common language of this region.” Elthazar said calmly before explaining the situation. “You see, we were on our way to Ogburg when we were set upon by this terrible boar.” Elthazar directed the officer’s attention to the large dead boar. Its eye socket still smoldering from the acid.
“I see,” the officer said with a steady voice. “And what does this have to do with the Theocracy? We are on important business you know?”
“Of course… But our warrior friend was egregiously injured while protecting us. If he does not receive medical attention soon, he may well die!”
“Then it is the will of the Pale he dies! We cannot be held up by such trifles!” The officer shifted in his saddle again and looked down the road; clearly indenting to snob the scholar.
“Yes, but good sir,” Elthazar began again.
“Enough of this!” The officer’s voice became somewhat cruel. “Any more of this nonsense and I will have you both arrested for obstructing the Pale!”
Frightened and shaking slightly, Kira approached the officer; her hands clasped in front of her. She pleaded with the officer, full knowing her words were not understood. She spoke with the sort of soft, bitter sweet voice that could bewitch an army. Even not knowing the exact meaning of her words, a tear nearly came to the officer’s eye.
“Arg! Very well!” the officer’s voice was now soft and yielding. “We will be passing by Oakbend on our way; it’s not far from here. There is a healer’s hut there that we can drop your friend at. But I’m afraid we must claim that boar there, in the name of The Pale.”
“Thank you so much good sir,” Elthazar said as he bowed slightly. “But, must you take the whole boar? We did go through some pain in taking the thing.”
“There is nothing for it I’m afraid; it is the will of The Pale!” the officer said as he smugly gestured toward his troops. “I have men to feed. It is The Pale’s will you killed this boar. It is the Pale’s will we happened upon you. As we are good men, we will deliver your friend to the healer’s hut as I have promised. But…” the officer’s self-righteous rant was interrupted by the memory of Kira’s imploring gaze. He sighed slightly. “But perhaps I can leave you a shank and the hide at the healer’s hut.”
“Thank you, sir. Truly, you are a fine follower of Pholtus.”
“It’s nothing,” the officer shook his hand in the air, as if to shoo some nonexistent fly. “Perhaps this too, is the will of The Pale.” He then paused for a moment before calling to one of his men. “Private Jenkins!” he bellowed.
“Yes, Sir!” a young, husky man clad in leather armor replied.
“Get this wounded man, and that boar loaded up, on the double!” the officer barked at the young man without even looking at him. “And make sure everything is secure! We don’t have time for any more of this dawdling.”
“Yes, Sir! Of course, Sir! Right away, Sir!” The young man saluted his officer and snapped into action with the sort of purpose that only military training can provide.
“And be careful with that man, damn it! He’s injured!”
“Sir! Yes, Sir! Of course, Sir!” the young man quickly scooped me up and laid me over a horse, before moving to the boar.
I remember coming to just long enough to feel the excruciating pain of the young man plopping me on the horse. I could faintly hear the sound of Elthazar and the officer talking. But I couldn’t move; my body felt as heavy as iron. I remember thinking: “What’s happening?” But I quickly passed out again.
“Well… We will be off! You can reach Oakbend by following this road for a few hours, and then take the first road to the north. It hooks around the hills and leads to Oakbend.” The officer seemed somewhat impatient to get moving.
“Thank you again, sir,” Elthazar said with a truly sincere manner.
The officer nodded before shifting in his saddle one last time. “Now then,” he said before clearing his throat. “Move out, men!” he roared at his troops. His order was quickly followed by a cascade of “Yes, Sir! Moving out!” And with that, the troops trotted off.
Kira starred off after the troops; a concerned, almost desperate look frozen into her face. Elthazar placed his hand on her shoulder and reassured her that I would be fine. The two walked in relative silence for what must have been several hours. Near the village, they came upon an old peasant farmer with a small mule cart. Elthazar stopped the man and asked him if he had seen some soldiers pass by with an injured man.
The old man spoke with a voice nearly as gritty as the road he drove his mule cart on. He seemed particularly aggravated at the troops. “Eh? Yeah, I saw those pain-in-the-ass Theocracy soldiers! Was that yer’ man they had tossed over a horse like a limp sack ‘a grain?!”
“Yes, that was our warrior friend,” Elthazar explained. “You see, we were on our way to Ogburg when we were set upon by a mad boar. Our friend…” the old man interrupted him.
“Is probably dead! Tossed in a ditch somewhere, like so much garbage!” the old man ranted. “That’s how those thugs treat us poor folks; like garbage!”
“They are good, holy men of Pholtus. They were just trying to help us out.”
“Eh? Holy men, you say? Help you, would they? Bah! Nothing but Theocracy thugs is what they are! And you watch out for them, ya hear?” the old farmer grumbled as he began to drive away.
“Um, sir. You don’t by chance know where the healer’s hut is, do you?” Elthazar asked.
“I don’t know of any ‘healer’s hut’ in Oakbend. Ya best try n’ ask the tows folk. Perhaps they know somethin’. But I still think they’d just dump yer’ man in a ditch!” The old man continued to gripe under his breath as he slowly drove off. “And you stay outta’ those soldiers’ way! Ya hear?” the man shouted back to Elthazar.
With nearly no help from the old mule cart driver, the two returned to their march. Before too much longer, they were in town. Because of the curves in the road, they ended up at the north side of town. Oakbend is a small, un-walled town populated by farmers, loggers, and such. It consists of one main road and a couple of small side streets. My companions attempted to locate the healer’s hut, but no one seemed willing to talk about it. They inquired at the local inn, the boarding house, and the blacksmith’s. But no one would say so much as a word about a healer. My friends were directed to a small shrine to Pholtus on the southern edge of town.