This is a continuation of a previous story that can be found here! Just to reiterate, we are not super seriously about playing Dunegons & Dragons ‘correctly’-we only want to have fun and tell the wildest stories we can, so take this story with a pinch of salt! As another boiler-plate point, this is a story, so I cut out most of the boring stuff or micro-decisions. Hope you enjoy!
The midday light sifted softly through the canopy that covered Brownboar forest. The verdant walls rustled gently as invisible creatures lumbered through the undergrowth all around the three wandering figures. Leading the pack was Alestar Evergreen, whose skull felt several sizes too big while his head felt ever so slightly too small. He squinted his eyes at the encompassing light and kept his head down to the soil and roots beneath him, but even that did not save him from stumbling occasionally.
Behind him was the Half-Elf sorcerer, Sofia Sweethart, her mismatched eyes shining in the day light. She stood tall and proud, her wooden staff pressed into the ground for stability. She watched the stumbling figure with increasing suspicion, never quite ready to shake the feeling that she shouldn’t be here, with these strange fellows, but curiosity and purpose propelled her feet onwards.
Bringing up the rear was the ever stern Elven ranger, Enviro Leaftrousers, who allowed the two to make some distance between them. His ears twitched at every sound of every creature; every rabbit that bounced between hovels, every fly that seemed to whizz past, and somethings much larger clambering about in the distance. His eyes were focused on everything and anything around them, poised and ready. He had no love for the two ahead of him, and was increasingly wary that this whole situation was one elaborate ruse, and if he were to fall into a trap, he was sure to claw his way out of it.
The trio wandered silently for a long and arduous ten minutes, the only words spoken were an occasional curse tossed out by Alestar as he stumbled on a hidden root, until he reached where he supposed he had to go. He was walking purely on muscle memory, allowing his feet to take him to where they needed to be, and somehow he succeeded. He pushed past a barrier of leaves, with some difficulty as the brambles stuck to his clothes, and he cursed them to wither and die in his own way.
He opened the barrier and allowed Sofia to pass, but Enviro stood and watched. After the longest minute, Alestar impatiently let the leaves return to their position and strode to the clearing. Enviro cautiously pushed past the barrier and bore witness to the clearing. A patch of grass surrounded by trees, twenty or so feet of steady ground, but his eyes were drawn immediately to the large crate ahead, as tall as a man. His hand instantly went to his dagger, and he readied himself.
Alestar wandered listlessly to the crate, where a black bag lay nearby. He picked up the bag and pulled out a wine-skin and drank heavily. The two watched as he kicked the oak-lined crate, and something within stirred, agitated and hungry. He reached to the top of the crate, and pulled himself up with all the grace of a tap-dancing Mammoth. The two watched him struggle to the top, and he finally arranged himself at the top, feet dangling below. He drank from the wine-skin gratefully and wiped his mouth.
“So” He called out, not needing to raise his voice for the sensitive Elven ears. “Here is the first part of your test, as promised.” He drank again. “I need to see what I’m working with.” With that, his right boot thumped heavily against the crate, and the front panel fell heavily to the floor. Sofia held her staff with both hands, and Enviro pulled out his crossbow, as the scratching noises within intensified. They stared intently at the contents of the box, but the darkness enveloped whatever was inside. They saw something moving within, creeping slowly towards the light, preparing themselves for anything.
A Kobold poked out it’s head.
It stood as tall as a Halfling, with reddish-brown scales and squinting yellow eyes, draped in poorly-stitched leather armour, clutching a rudimentary bow. It shielded it’s eyes from the sunlight, and stepped cautiously out into the real world. Soon it’s slit-like pupils moved from the blinding light to the two Elves in front of him, and it snarled with crooked teeth. Soon, four more of the runt-like figures stepped forward, one with another crude bow, two with spears, and one with a small hatchet and wooden shield. They tried in-vainly to protect themselves from the light, but as soon as they too saw the figures, they too snarled their fangs.
Enviro and Sofia readied themselves, and both looked to Alestar, who had leaned back on one arm, and raised his wine-skin to the air, a cocky toast to the damned, with a smug smile. Enviro clenched his teeth, and returned his focus to the five creatures in front of him. One of them raised their spear, aimed at Enviro’s midriff, and snarled something guttural in their dirty language. The others gripped their weapons tightly, and urged themselves to move.
Without missing a moment, Sofia gripped her staff and rushed the five Kobolds. Enviro opened his mouth to shout something, but she was already upon one, dropping her staff low, and swinging it high, colliding directly with the Kobold’s groin. She watched as it breathlessly screamed, as it’s eyes bulged so heavily she thought they might pop out of it’s head. It collapsed in a heap, alive, but deeply lamenting that.
The two archers shouted at each other in their language, one fired a shot from it’s bow that sank into the woods behind her. Enviro whirled round with his crossbow, and loosed a bolt towards the unlucky archer, and his aim was far truer, as the bolt sunk itself below the throat of the Kobold. It tried to scream, but it only gargled black, thick blood. The others took notice, and shrieked between themselves in their panicked rasps.
The creature with the axe attempted a swing, but Sofia danced out of the way, a melody in motion, as another arrow launched past her into the foliage. The last kobold looked at his comrades; one sunk to the floor in agonizing pain from his testicular trauma, another bleeding profusely from the neck. It’s scaly fingers gripped the spear tighter, and it let the rage swell within, eyes hardening. It opened it’s mouth in a war cry, and moved to sprint towards towards Sofia- and fell to the ground, tangled within it’s own feet. It hit its head hard, and fell to an unintended slumber.
Sofia twisted her staff and landed on top of the Kobold’s shield, and it snarled in satisfaction. The other archer fired at Enviro, who remained far from the action, and loosed a bolt into the other archer, but only hitting its shoulder. The creature screamed, as panic filled its lungs. Sofia and the shielded creature traded blows, but neither found their mark. The first Kobold that had been hit by Sofia’s staff begin to rise from the floor. It stumbled past its unconscious comrade on the floor and towards Sofia. Her eyes darted between the two Kobolds that lurched towards her, weighing up her decisions, her heart beginning to beat a little faster.
Enviro reloaded his crossbow, and saw the second creature traipsing towards her, whirling round with his weapon. He took less than a second to aim, but it was more than he needed. The bolt sank through the Kobold’s temple, out through the other side, and buried itself into a tree trunk behind them, leaving a trail of tar-like blood hanging in the open air for a nanosecond. Sofia let the relief warm her face for a second, and the remaining creatures chattered with nervous energy, as the fourth still lay in a dreamless sleep on the ground.
Alestar watched on, relaxed with his wine-skin in tow. He smirked at the two Elves, expecting now for this show to be over in a matter of moments. Sofia whirled her staff on top of the head of the standing Kobold, and it bit it’s tongue heavily, black viscous liquid secreting from the wound. Enviro shrugged backwards as a Kobold arrow splintered against his leather armour, but his returned fire disappeared into the woods beyond. He darted his eyes for a split-second to Sofia, watching as the now enraged, tiny reptile spun behind her, and sunk its hatchet into the back of her leg, and her scream ripped through the silent treeline.
Enviro called out to her, but his words were hollow. He watched the fire in her eyes extinguish themselves with fear. She fell to the ground, gripping her staff with all of her strength that remained, and dragged herself away from the creature, that spoke and mocked her with it’s filthy tongue. She turned and faced the creature, laying on the ground, and whispered beneath her breath. Enviro watched as her breath solidified in the midday sun, clouds of frozen air. Her words grew, and she jutted the staff out, aiming square at the creature’s grotesque face. The air swirled around the staff, freezing, melting, misting, moving and melding. A tornado of freezing air blasted from the tip of the wooden weapon, enveloping and passing through the creature’s head. When the blast had cleared; the creature was motion less. It’s head was completely frozen, eyes staring off into a distant nothing. After a second, the frozen weight begin to force the creature’s head down, down and down, until it smashed against the floor. It’s tail and body remained slightly upright, before collapsing in a heap.
The two archers screamed, rousing the unconscious Kobold finally from it’s sleep. It looked around to see it’s two fellow warriors dead, and the other two bleeding. Enviro loaded his crossbow, and shot out towards the archer with the wounded shoulder, hitting it square in the chest, and dropping it to the ground with a wounded snarl. The awakened Kobold dragged itself towards the half Elf, it’s head was groggy and cloudy, but one word echoed through the mists within it’s brain; Kill Elf witch. Make hurt.
The remaining wounded archer looked from the elf to the sorcerer, and through shaking claws, dropped it’s bow. It tried to run, but slumped to the ground. It dragged itself through the grass, staining the blades with a trail of black blood. The Kobold with the bolt in the chest began to raise itself. Enviro watched, and slung his crossbow behind his back, and drew his scimitar, a curved flash of brilliant steel in the light. His walk was slow and ominous, but full of righteous cause. The groggy Kobold made it’s way to Sofia, who pressed her hand against the wound in her leg, her teeth firmly clenched together. She watched the dizzy creature stumble towards her, and struck out with her staff, but her leg buckled beneath her. She screamed out as the staff swung into the air. The creature clenched it’s fangs. Kill. Make Elf girl scream.
Enviro strode towards the archer. He watched the crawling Kobold make it’s escape peripherally, one desperate claw at a time. The Kobold with the bolt sticking out of his chest pulled itself to it’s knees, desperately trying to fumble his way towards an arrow, but he was too slow. Enviro sunk his scimitar into the creature’s chest. It screamed coarsely, speckles of black blood splattering Enviro’s wincing face. The smell was terrible. He pulled at the blade, but it was stuck. The Kobold grabbed at the hilt, gripping tightly, Its horrid amber eyes stared into the Elf’s with righteous indignation, determined to keep the blade in place. Its fangs contorted into a twisted grin.
Sofia watched the Kobold advance towards her, a primal dread spread through her body, watching this pathetic creature, squinting in the sunlight. She turned towards the treeline, and felt her hands crawl towards it, absent of purpose. From above, Alestar watched on, a frown stained his face. He felt concern knot itself in his stomach as he watched the Half-Elf girl give in to fear, now a puppet to something that was not her. He watched as the Kobold approached, throwing itself heavily onto the girl. He heard her try to call out, even as the Kobold’s weapon flashed in the sun, and bit into the back of her hand. Her pain bled into the midday sky, echoing amongst the silent canopies, and towards the unfeeling skies. Enviro turned towards her, watching as the crooked spear lacerated her skin and flesh. He tugged at his blade, but the creature would not relent. It drew itself closer to the Elven ranger, as the wounded creature crawled itself to safety. Alestar felt a hand that could have been his own tighten around the hilt of his bastard sword. He would not intervene. He could not.
With a final pull, Enviro pulled his scimitar out of the bleeding monstrosity. He called to Sofia, as the creature in front of him fell to his knees, viscous blood pouring from various holes. He whirled his crossbow round, and took a breath, and released. The bold sunk into the back of the creature, it tried to scream, but only air escaped it’s mouth. Sofia felt it weaken from below, and forced a shrug, removing her jockey from her back. She looked frantically, left to right, up to down, trying to regain her breath, trying to focus her erratic thoughts into a single coherent word: Fight.
She looked back towards where her staff lay and pulled herself towards it. She heard the Kobold thrashing behind her, cursing through Draconic. She pulled herself towards her weapon, letting the red river flow from the severance in her hand. She grasped it, biting her teeth through the pain. She pulled herself up with it, her breath harsh and sparing. She watched the Kobold crawl towards her, yellow eyes filled to the brim with a hatred she had never witnessed before. She gripped the staff with bloody hands and swung it at the creature, colliding with it’s head, and knocking it to the ground. In desperation, it reached forwards, grasping towards it’s crude spear, just so out of reach. She stepped forwards, determined not to let her leg buckle, not to drop her staff. She raised the staff to the gods, the world swirling around her. Alestar watched as she swayed, struggling to keep the weapon aloft; and watched as she dropped it down. The creature gurgled, black blood sprayed the undergrowth, it’s eye bulged out of it’s skull, its jaw dislocated, and it’s breath still.
Enviro watched on, and felt a tightened smile creep at the sides of his mouth. He withdrew his bloodied scimitar, and pressed it down into the Kobolds chest, and watched the creature take its last breath. From on top of the crate, Alestar wiped the wine from his mouth, and cast the empty wineskin down. He felt a deep breath escape, filling his lungs with relief. He looked at the four dead creatures, and finally towards the lone survivor. It had made its way towards the trees, and through crooked claws, clutched at the trunk, desperate to pull itself onto its feet. It did not look towards its felled comrades, only forwards. Even with its tiny, wicked brain, it knew what the silence meant. Death. Go. Move.
Alestar let a cruel snicker reveal itself and disappear in the fresh light. The air began to reek of blood and other foul things. He dropped towards the ground, and wiped pointlessly at his dirty clothes. His bastard sword clanked and clinked by his side. He strode towards the resting creature, and raised a hand to shield his hangover from the piercing light. He strode closer to the Kobold, who glanced back, and tried to flee in blind panic, but fell clumsily to the floor. It gave a final look to the human in black, who clutched at the hilt of his blade, and in one crescent, withdraw his sword and brought it towards the creature. Black blood splattered the trees, and silence devoured the forest. He looked towards the ranger, splatted in black dots, and the bleeding sorcerer, panting wildly against her staff, and he chuckled.
“Bloody hell. Have you guys ever been in a fight before?” He laughed. He watched Sofia desperately fondling towards her satchel, quickly pulling out rolls of bandages with an air of inelegance. Enviro stared at the human, with all the malice of the creatures they had just disposed. Alestar wiped the blood from his blade onto his tattered black cloak, letting another chuckle release. He strode towards Sofia, past Enviro, not meeting the intense gaze that barrelled towards him.
“Not you big guy, you did great.” Alestar said, patting Enviro roughly on the arm, ignoring the Elf flinching away. He stopped before Sofia, who desperately pulled at a bandage on her hand.
“Stop, stop.” He said, almost impatiently. He quickly rummaged within pockets on his person, and withdrew a vial full of glowing blue liquid. Sofia did indeed stop, her hallowed eyes drawn to the swirling liquid.
“Drink it, quickly now.” Alestar said, feeling panic rise in his voice. Sofia reluctantly offered a shaking hand, and clutched at the freezing vial. She uncorked it, and drank. At first she was reserved, but after a sip, she drank like a dying woman. The fluid was cold, refreshing. Her throat was suddenly insatiable; the potion was like water to a pisshead just before dawn, an indescribable taste, yet completely familiar. She drank until it was empty, and returned the empty glass to Alestar with her wounded hand. As he stashed it away in his pocket, he watched as she stared at her hand, no longer a shred of pain, and slowly, she watched as the tissues reconstituted themselves. Enviro walked slowly towards her, sharing her disbelief as the wound on her hand, and even on her leg, ceased to exist. After a few silent minutes, she stood up, bounced on her feet, squatted with her knees and flexed her fingers.
“Better?” Alestar asked, with a warm smile.
Sofia returned it. “Much.” She replied, still staring at her hand, her eyes wide with wonder.
“Lovely!” Alestar said, standing upright. “Let’s move back to town then. That..uh..obviously didn’t go so well, so how about we move onto the last part of the test and see how that goes?” He smiled at both of them, Sofia still stared at her hand, Enviro’s look was the same cold stare he had given Alestar since they met.
“I was led to believe that was the test.” Enviro spoke coldly. Alestar turned towards him with a dizzy smile.
“It was.” He said, cheerfully. “And you just passed.” He used his fingers to emphasize the point. “So I’m adding a second part of the test, to see how you two deal with other problems we might face on our little journey.” He smiled, turning to both of them. “Ready?”
Sofia nodded, still looking at her bloodied hand, still flexing her wounded leg. Alestar made a beeline towards the way they came. Enviro grabbed his arm.
“Listen to me, Evergreen.” Enviro said, words of ice. “I don’t know what game you’re playing, or why you’re pulling us into situations. Are you a robber? Marlon is the grandmaster, hmm?” He pulled his face to Alestar, who did not flinch. “I don’t know who you are, but I sure as hell know that was no healing potion. Tell me, and tell me true, what it is you all want from us.” He let his eyes seethe with fury, but the irritating human just smiled in his idiotic, cheery way.
“You pass this next test, Marlon will tell you about the real mission himself, okay? I’m only adding this, but you two were the ones who almost got killed by five Kobolds. In day light.” Enviro studied the Human’s blue eyes, his smile was warm, but they were the ocean, and for the first time, he saw them harden. “You talk to me like this again, Elf-Boy, and I’ll kill you before you’ve even unslung you crossbow.” He said, words darkening. “Okay?” He said, suddenly letting the warmth return. He tapped the Elf’s cheek, and removed himself from the stunned Elf’s grip, strolling away. Enviro felt anger paralyse him, his hand remaining where it was.
“Oh and for your information, the potion was given to me by Marlon for extreme emergencies.” Alestar called back, causing the Elf to turn slightly. “I just didn’t think I’d have to use it so bloody soon.”
Enviro turned as the figure in black strode quickly to the trees. Sofia absently followed, her head still a daze. Slowly, the ranger turned towards them, and the trio walked into the woods. The sun slowly began to lower itself, and the shadows beneath began to grow.