These last few days have been rather eventful. I stumbled across a small village, Shelter Lake, while looking for tailoring work. Something was very off about this village. No one was on the streets or even at the town square. The day was bleak and grey. There was no sign of any wildlife or crops. It was all very bizarre. I stopped in at a quaint little inn, The Dragon’s Roost, that was run by a very curt dwarf woman. She was rather rude to me, but I’m certain it’s because of my superior intelligence and more than likely, my stature! When I arrived three other travelers, a middle aged human, a beautiful young bard, and another squat little dwarf, were resting and enjoying the inn’s finest (which isn’t saying much) ale. Whilst sipping on The Dragon’s Roost‘s poor excuse for wine, I overheard the innkeeper discussing the village’s horrible predicament with the young bard, Lily. Apparently, the village had been afflicted by a blight. The undead have been attacking the townspeople, a curfew has been put in place, and people have been mysteriously infected with disease. The mayor, who is one of the many disease ridden townspeople, is offering 200 gold REWARD for each person who helps to rid the town of the blight. My ears perked up at this! Seeing I’ve been struggling for work for many moons, I’m willing to do just about anything to make ends meet and I certainly wouldn’t mind helping out the people of Shelter Lake, even if some are pesky little dwarfs.
The little squirt of an innkeeper also told of how the morale of the town has been very low since the blight began. Lily happens to be a traveling performer so she suggested putting on a show to raise the townspeople’s spirits. Although I’m normally prone to sticking with my own kind, this bard appears to be very intelligent and full of wit, which I’m intrigued by. I decided to see if she’d be interested in a costume for the show. She was delighted! As was I! It’s nice to have some work to do. I think she and I will be great companions.
After a few grunts, the innkeeper directed me to a fabric merchant, Patricia Finegold. She was hesitant to tell me, but since I’m helping bring her revenue she finally gave me the information I was after. Maybe if she’s lucky, I’ll fashion her a little tunic. Anything would look better than that potato sack of a dress she was wearing!
I found Patricia Finegold a little ways down the street. She was suspicious when I first arrived, but soon livened up once I told her what I was looking for. Her stock consisted mostly of cotton, which would do. Unfortunately, she had no silk or lace. We elves can create the most beautiful of dresses, especially with fine fabric such as that. I purchased a spool of gold and violet fabric and hurried back to the inn to get to work. After many grueling hours, I had fashioned Lily the most beautiful of dresses. Long, draping sleeves, with gold tubing at the bodice and caps of the sleeves. A dress fit for a…well not…no, even with the cotton, it was a dress fit for a princess! Lily was absolutely delighted with the finished product. Her eyes lit up like wild—a response I see a lot with my craftsmanship.
A little after presenting Lily with the dress, the male (now fairly drunk…which I presume is common) dwarf, Franz, heard a strange muffled cry from outside. The three other travelers, Lily, Franz, and the human, Sydell, ran outside to investigate. I stayed back to detect if any magic was being used. When I came outside, I saw four zombies and a human caster. The caster appeared to be kidnapping a young girl. We had to act fast. There wasn’t much time to think. One wrong move and the girl (and possibly us) was done for!
Lily inspired the group through heroic songs. Sydell made his first move, but missed the caster. I cast my elemental ray and hit the caster with a bolt of lightning. Franz knocked out one of the zombies. Surprisingly enough, the four of us worked very well as a group. One by one we defeated the zombies and took out the caster. The girl fled to safety. We ransacked the dead bodies and among the rancid, rotting flesh found a dagger, a scroll, and a map.
Lily got to work translating the map immediately, but even with her translation it was still foreign to us. We figured it’d be best to ask the mayor the next day if he knew any of the markings.
The next morning we arose and immediately began preparing for the day’s festivities after breakfast. Franz stumbled down later than the rest of us, hungover, and wasn’t much use the rest of the day. Lily and I put up tapestries and set up table centerpieces with what little plant life we could find, while the two men went off the check on the young girl from the previous night’s attack. The performance was a hit! The entire town had heard of what we had done the night before and came down to meet us and see Lily perform. Lily really is a very talented performer. She sang and danced and held an archery contest. The townspeople all got very involved and I even took a shot with the bow and arrow. Being proficient with a longbow, I performed very well. Lily’s last act was absolutely amazing. She wore the beautiful gown I made her and looked absolutely stunning, might I add. She sang an enchanting, melodic song. The way she completely captivated the audience was extraordinary. The townspeople left, stomachs full and hearts full of merriment and hope. At the end of the performance the mayor came to personally thank us and to offer any support.
We asked the mayor to take a look at the map we had acquired. He recognized some of the markings and told us how long travel would take. He left and returned with four steeds and rations for our trip. We retired early that evening, except for the Franz who stayed up to drink himself into a stupor and flirt with the innkeeper. What he sees in her, I will never understand. Dwarf women look exactly the same as their men!!
Sydell woke us at dawn the next morning and we headed out to our first stop, the old graveyard. It was about half a day’s travel. When we arrived I noticed it didn’t even appear to be touched by the blight. Flora and fauna flourished. The graves were clearly unattended for years. Tombstones were knocked over and crumbling apart. The graves had been dug up. Clearly someone was looking for something. Maybe grave robbers. While the graves were disheveled, the bodies were undisturbed. It was quite an alarming sight. Behind the graves stood a mausoleum. It was large, made of stone, and covered in ivy. When we approached the front door, we noticed two zombies standing guard. When I saw the zombies, I immediately used the power of my Ring of Chameleon and blended in to the surroundings. Franz drew attention to the group, as an overconfident dwarf would, while Lily raised the troupes’ morale. Sydell apparently also has a special power that allows him to become invisible and sneaked up on the first zombie and took him out with one blow! I cast my elemental ray of lightning and stunned the other zombie while Franz charged and attacked. Within minutes, the four of us had taken out the zombie guards. We were positioned with our next challenge when we discovered the front door was locked from within. I enchanted Sydell and make him larger. He then stormed the door, with little result. He searched the other sides of the mausoleum and found a weak wall. He struck the wall with his scythe and created an entrance for us. Lily bravely entered the mausoleum first to check to see if it was safe. When we received her blessing, the three of us joined her inside. The inside of the mausoleum must have possessed some magical being. When I entered, a feeling of pure rejuvenation rushed over me. It was incredible. There, in the center of the mausoleum sat a glass tomb, with a mummified man inside. On top of the glass was a large coin with a sword in scripted on it. Franz immediately reached for the coin. We examined the man in the tomb and noticed he was clutching an old, tattered book. After much discussion, we decided it would be best to break the glass and retrieve the book. The book was so fragile that when opened the pages began to disintegrate. Franz used his mending powers to preserve it. We then, decided to travel back to the inn to rest for the next day’s journey and to decipher the book.
I stayed up late that night reading over the book and discovered that it was the man’s travel log. He was a legendary hero who traveled the land, ridding it of the blight. He had discovered that there was a sword trapped in a stone somewhere. The only way to retrieve the sword was to somehow unite the coin with the stone on the new moon. When possessed by a goodly person, the sword would rid the land of blight. However, if possessed by an evil person, the sword would bring about the blight. It the sword ended up in the wrong hands the outcome for the entire village of Shelter Lake looked very bleak!
The next day we prepared for our upcoming journey. After looking over the map, we decided it would be best to go search the forest for the sword. Our map had a few markings that we were uncertain of. The forest was marked with a sword, so we thought that maybe this was the place we would find it. It took about a day and a half to get to the forest. We arrived the day of the new moon. Once there, we discovered a clearing. As dusk settled, and night sunk in a large stone appeared in the center of the clearing. Inside this stone was the treasured sword! All we had to do was figure out how to work the coin’s magic and retrieve the sword. But the end of the blight would not come that easy. As the stone appeared so did an earth elemental. Sydell and I fought off the elemental while Lily and Franz tried to figure out how to get the sword out of the stone. I took a life threatening blow to the arm and was left injured on the sidelines, but Sydell came to my rescue and destroyed the earth elemental with brute strength! As the earth elemental crumbled in defeat, Lily placed the coin atop the stone and it melted away. Franz seized the sword. The only information we knew about the sword was that when possessed by a goodly person, it could rid the village of the blight. Franz swung it around idiotically, but nothing happened. We decided to rest and travel to the next stop on our map, the Ruins.
The following day, we journeyed to the Ruins. We arrived there after a day and a half’s travel. The Ruins appeared to be an old building that had crumbled to nothing but a foundation. As we looked around, I noticed five strange markings on the ground, four around the outside, and one in the center. After examining them, I realized they were magical markings, each with a different purpose. However, I was uncertain of what magical purpose each marking held. Still not knowing exactly how to access the power within the sword, Franz entered the middle marking. He cast a spell and some of the blight in the area receded. Being a dimwitted dwarf, Franz sat down in the middle marking. As quick as a blink of an eye he had disappeared! Where had he gone? Did he possess an invisibility power that we did not know about? And if so, did he cast it and escape with the sword to claim the reward for himself and leave us in the dust? Had the blight really been conquered? All these questions and more raced through my head as we, the three remaining travelers, made our way back to Shelter Lake.
Until next time…