As the real darkness came on, I readied myself. I dispensed with the fury of assaulting the door as it now seemed anticlimactic. I also had a feeling the miscreant child looked on and her judgement was taking it’s toll on me.

There was no reply to see if anyone was home. Instead, I was immediately consumed by darkness as everything spun violently out of control. When I picked myself up from the floor, everything was the same as before, except that I was now locked in and walled up inside.

“I don’t know if this is the work of witchery, but it’s certainly a predicament. Very well, I see I have no choice but to break my way through this stone wall. Good thing I never leave home without my trusty pickaxe.”

In short order, the wall was dispatched and I was presented with stairs leading down into a dungeon. I knew it was a dungeon by the ghost that leapt upon me as soon as I descended. They are known for their dungeon dwelling ways. Equally well known is their weakness for fire, so I took advantage.

It was then that I heard the persistent sound a clock ticking. In the echo of this stone maze, the sound bounced from side to side. The slow tick became a violent knock against the very fabric of my mental stability. As I stumbled from room to room, twisting to the left and right, going up stairs that circled back on themselves, I finally found the source of my irritation. After giving it a sound thrashing, the hands rotated themselves to and stuck at midnight.

“Well, that’s a curious thing,” I noted. “Stuck at the witching hour. Very sinister.” But instead of a calm sweeping over me, the tick of another clock reached me. “Curses and damnation!” I bellowed as I set off in search of the infernal noise.

A barrage of hazards leapt out from behind the veil of darkness. Zombies tried to rain their infection on me, while large spiders crept up from behind to envenomate me. I cast of their treachery and gave each a healing dose of cleansing fire as I made my way further down into this basement of terrors.

I nearly lost myself as I entered a room full of clock, their chimes ringing in my ears and down to my very boots. I was left with no choice but to smash all of them. Noting again that fire is the natural enemy of wood, I incinerated the lot.

But faintly, there was one more. This endless ticking was grating on my nerves and if I was ever to escape this madness, I needed to face this witch and bring about her downfall in combat.

With the final setting of the clock, we were facing each other as mortal enemies. I didn’t bother to give her time to explain why she was up to all this mischief or why she tried to unwrap the fabric of my mind with all these infernal clocks. Instead, I chose the direct route and moved in for a crushing blow to the sternum.

Despite the lore, witches are immune to buckets of water. I have learned this the hard way. Like clocks, witches are equally vulnerable to fire. To that end, I scorched the floor, pummeled with Flame Fist and struck from a distance with Flame Arrow. I was a hot time in the dungeon that night!

As the witch lay in a crispy heap, the ticking finally ceased. It was deliciously quiet. But only for a moment. The tick of the clock was replaced by the equally maddening drip of water in this ludicrously echoing chamber.

At the edge of sanity, I retreated up the stairs, turning this way and that. Ultimately, I made my way back to the top into the house. Free of the witches curse, I crashed through the front door and made my escape.

After gathering my thoughts and having a bit of a lie down to settle my nerves, I found the child that mocked me and sent me on this horrific adventure.

“Since I’m standing here, I am obviously still alive and have survived the night. The wretched witch has been silenced. You children are now safe and free to sing songs about my great deeds. Perhaps it will catch on and I will usurp this Bloody Bones character.”

“Not too shabby Outlander. You might not be so bad after all.”

“See! Now do you believe that I’m a formidable warrior?” I asked with great pride.

“I wouldn’t go that far. You’ve done alright, but when you stab a Kobold in the spleen, then I’ll be impressed.” She then darted away.

“But I have stabbed a Kobold in the spleen!” I called after her. “There is just no pleasing people these days,” I said to the nearby vendor. “No matter,” I continued. “Now tell me about these magic beans you claim you have.”

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The madness of it all! I have no idea which is making the noise so they all have to go!

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No wonder you are so cranky with the world and committing all sorts of acts of evil. This place is a cesspool. It smells positively rank in here. If you cleaned it up and aired it out, you might see the world in a whole new way.

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Nope, I’m smashing it.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

While perusing the market in Harvest to keep myself abreast of the latest news in gourd growing techniques, one of the local children rang out the call for justice.

“You’re a stranger in this town, nobody will notice if you go missing,” she said.

“I’m not exactly a stranger to these parts,” I replied. “And the tavern owner will most assuredly notice my absence. There is still manner the of the unsettled drinks tab.”

“I bet you can’t stay the night!” she cried. “If you go in there at night, the witch will eat you!”

“Stay were?” I inquired. “Oh what do you speak little one? I have slumbered in many an unusual locale, but you have me at a loss.”

“In the house, with the witch!”

“Now see here,” I said. “There are no such things as witches. Those are merely stories to keep you from getting into mischief. Clearly, it hasn’t work though.”

“Bah! What are you, daft?”

“My mental tether to this realm is not in question here young lady!” I replied.

“I’m surprised a witch hasn’t turned you into a frog or worse! You already have the face of a frog’s …”

“Well, now that you mention it,” I interrupted recalling a few incidents from the past. “There was that strange woman in Midmaer. The Woodsman thought she was a witch. And that woman who lived in the log in the Wetlands. She seemed to have some witch lineage with all the bone chimes and mist swirling about. And that chaos student. She was probably a witch. And the fear of witchy antics is alive and well in Jaanaford as they tried to set fire to Alley thinking she was a witch. She’s not a witch of course, but strangely, she wasn’t harmed by the flames. Not sure what to make of that.”

“See, I told you! And if you go to the house on the hill, there’s a witch in there! She tries to steal children!”

“Well, that is indeed very poor behavior, even for a witch. And what is it you wish me to do?”

“You’ve taken quite a few knocks to the head haven’t you?”

“Indeed I have. But that doesn’t answer my initial query.”

“I want you to go up there and defeat the witch of course,” she replied.

“Hand to hand combat with a witch? Well, I suppose I could do that. Is there some sort of reward for the effort? Some of random trinket I can display in my home that proves I was here and rendered a service?” I inquired.

“Reward? I’m a child. What sort of reward do you think I have tucked away in these rags? I don’t even have shoes!”

I noted her lack of shoes and Kobold like feet.

“Besides, it’s the right thing to do!”

“Well, I am trying to walk the treacherous path virtue. And I haven’t been all that successful.”

“See, here is your chance to make amends. And if you don’t so something about the witch I’ll taunt you mercilessly from behind this bush and call you a coward.” Her voice was quite stern as though she had experience in leveling these sorts of threats.

“Very well young person, I shall heed your call to quell these dark witch dealings because you obviously see me as a formidable warrior and my reputation in your town precedes me,” I stated.

“No. I figure you’re dumb enough to try. And if she does eat you, she’ll most likely get sick and leave the rest of us alone.”

“Come now, I’m not going to put myself to the hazard simply because you insult me,” I said.

“Coward!” she shrieked. “I knew you couldn’t do it.”

“You stop that this instant! I have faced many a fierce adversary and lived to tell the tale with all manner of embellishment and exaggeration!”

“Coward!” she shrieked again, following it up with mocking hang gestures.

“Stop that I say!” I retorted, but her mockery was the stuff of legend.

“Look at the coward!” she bellowed dancing from one foot to the other. A small crowd was starting to gather to investigate the commotion.

“The life of an adventurer is never easy,” I said. “But, very well. You have convinced me I should do the right thing and help put an end to this witch mischief. I shall look into this house for myself. Mind you, it’s curiosity that guides me, not your insults!”

“Tell yourself whatever you need to, Outlander. “The house is over there past the wind farm.”

“Harvest has a wind farm? I was unaware you could grow wind. I mean, I’ve made wind, but I certainly hope it’s not that kind of farm.”

“Now remember, the witch comes out at night. If you go in there beforehand, nothing will happen and I’ll be forced to mock you some more,” the child interrupted.

“Fine, we’ll do it your way,” I said as I set off in the direction indicated. I quickly found the lonely house sitting on the outcropping. Ready to spring into action at the slightest movement, I kicked open the door and announced my presence with a ferocious call to arms.

“Your history of misdeeds and evil doing ends tonight you treacherous witch! I know your kind and my blade of fiery might will soon set things right!” I scanned the room to see what fear and awe my words had inspired.

Alas, the house was empty with no signs of furniture or occupant. Then I heard a voice from the distance.

“It’s not night time yet you blockhead!”

Seeing the error of my enthusiasm, I closed the remains of the door and sat on the step until night time really came on.

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Well now, a rather simple little home sitting up here by itself. I’m not sure I see the problem. What could possibly go wrong by entering this house after dark?

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

Here is to wishing you all the very best of the Seasonal Yuletide Harvest!

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We have a lovely fire, a festivily decorated tree, heartwarming presents, stockings hung with care, eggnogg and banners from doing good deed for the citizenry of the realm. What more can you ask for?

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Gather round snow friends, we have many stops to make on our merry journey this evening. If Mr. Snowman will bring Reindeer round front, I shall fill the sleigh and we’ll be off! I’ve even packed an extra flask of the Elven wine!

 

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

Due to some recent unpleasantries and mild life-threatening mishaps at the crafting stations this Yuletide season, I have decided to implement some safety precautions. That textile loom is a dangerous piece of equipment and is on the cusp of being a menace to society.

After consulting with the Kobolds and some back alley alchemists, I have devised an impressive warning system that will alert Alley Oop and several of my designated spotters should I befall a mishap and become incapacitated.

Through deviously clever craftsmanship and design, we have created a chronograph based device that must be reset at regular intervals while I am the crafting stations. Should the time expire without my intervention, a penetrating warning beacon shall light up the heavens and will be seen for miles in all directions.

This will prompt my confederates to come rushing to my aid and untangle me from whatever mishap has befallen me.

A full and complete test would subject me to almost certain death, the design is sound and I feel confident that I am no longer taking my life in my own hands as I work at the textile station. I have no doubt it will attempt pull me into it’s evil clutches, but all shall be alerted to my distress and help will be on the way.

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Fear not, this is merely an exercise! I am still in possession of all my fingers and toes!

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

While walking the streets of Aerie looking for Kyle the Blacksmith so that I might show him the bonesteel I was sporting, I was assailed by a guard who peppered me with a barrage of questions that left me dazed and confused.

“Who are you?” he demanded. “Where did you come from? Are you the Outlander, PeteWi TheDisoriented?”

Thinking that all the absconding with ceramic mugs had come back to haunt me, I made a desperate bid for freedom. I leapt into the Lunar Rift, only to realize too late that it was merely the closed door of the alchemist shop. The crash rendered me nearly unconscious and an easy target for her follow up questions.

“I’ve heard about your exploits and have something to give you,” he said as the swirling figures of three guards loomed over me.

“Not the irons!” I pleaded.

“Beg pardon?” he replied.

I realized my mistake and steered him in another direction. “It is it a mug of ale to soothe the calamity going on in my head?” I asked.

“No, not quite,” he answered. “It’s a key!” His exuberance took me by surprise.

“A key? Well, that is indeed something. Does it unlock some sort of wondrous store of treasure allowing me to live out my days on a secluded tropical island?”

“Um, no. It’s the key to the Courage Club,” he said proudly.

“Courage Club? What manner of trickery is this? I simply cannot stand the idea of belonging to any sort of organization that would have me as a member!” I said tersely.

“I’m not sure I follow,” the guard said. “But, you have taken a pretty savage knock, so perhaps that accounts for your delirium. Allow me to explain further,” he continued.

“Yes, by all means. Please explain this Club of yours. What manner of ridiculous rules and regulations are you going to hold me to?”

“Well, the Courage Club is where you test your Courage and Valor by engaging in acts of strengths and cunning is an underground and undisclosed location. Your acts of prowess in defeating those thugs have earned you a spot in the arena and I was sent to give you a key.” The fellow beamed with excitement.

“Arena? Acts of courage?” I was still dreadfully confused.

“I’m sure if you got up out the street, things would certainly be clearer for you,” the guard said.

“Oh, yes, that would be a step in the right direction.” With that the guard helped me to my feet and pressed a rather stylish key into my hand.

“What you need to do is go to the guard station, sneak around to the side and open the hatch. Once inside, you will meet the referee who will confirm you are indeed in the right place and set the challenge upon you. He will then track your progress and make a judgement about your Valor in combat. Easy,” he explained. “So, good luck and if you need another key, you know where to find me.”

With that, he continued on his rounds without looking back.

Rather intrigued, I took the short walk to the guard house, snuck through the bushes and discovered the aforementioned hatch. Making sure I wasn’t observed, I slipped through and lowered myself into the basement.

I was greeted by the referee and was asked to produce my key. Satisfied I wasn’t there under false pretense, he wrote my name in the ledger. When you are ready, you will face several challengers and I will note and report on your valorous behavior. Merely open the gate with your key and let the trial begin.

“Trial? Oh no! I was never there and I know nothing of what happened!” I blurted out.

Before I could protest further, he gave me a stern shove, hurtling me into a confining room. I was on the point of scrambling up the latter when a wall slid aside to reveal a rather grim man staring at me. He wasted no time in bringing forth an attack.

He struck a mighty first blow. Instinctively, I readied myself, crouched in my combat position, summoned my strength and lashed out. In two savage swings of the blade, he was down. Thinking it a job well done, I tried to retreat up the ladder.

Suddenly, another adversary appeared, more ferocious than the first. Realizing I was amidst my trials, I lunged forward and got in the first strike. This was followed by a stunning Body Slam and an absolutely debilitating assault on his kidneys that caused him to crumple like dead weight. Which he was.

I readied for the next opponent, building up my resistance and fortitude. It too was a mighty battle with flame charring the chamber, but I proved victorious. Just barely though.

When another, even mightier challenger appeared, I was at the limit of my fortitude and he made short work of me. I was pummeled and beaten with reckless abandon. He took no mercy and it was my turn to crumple like dead weight in the corner.

This setback called for the reviving powers of banana bread. Without giving my adversary an opportunity to strategize against me or gloat, I readied myself, leapt into the arena and set the entire confines ablaze.

That miserable sod and everything else was instantly consumed in fire. And with my web of confusion in full swing, I unleashed a relentless attack of multiple styles, working up to another devastating Body Slam and a healthy dose of Flaming Sword that went right into his backside.

The victory was mine and with no other challengers to puncture my vital organs I went to the referee to see how I faired.

“Well done indeed!” he said. “And to show your valor by participating in unsanctioned and unsupervised fights to the death in this secret and underground compound, I give you this most excellent banner that you can proudly display and then deny all knowledge of receiving.”

With that, he handed me a pendant and ushered me outside. “Come back any time,” he said. “But don’t tell your friends. That’s the first rule of the Courage Club,” he continued as he closed the hatch.

“I knew you were going to force me to obey a ridiculous set of rules!” I bellowed.

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Yes, well, good evening. I’m here to inquire about the feats of srength and valor.

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Do you happen to wash out the arena between matches, the air is a bit thick in here.

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Burn like blazes you miserable sod! We have no quarrel, but that makes no never mind!

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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