It would appear the people of Desolis are a stoic lot and take their worshipping of rock formations rather seriously. I still maintain I have no recollection of the events that transpired prior to the incident, but I am quite aware of the end result. It is still my belief that I was merely enjoying a beverage and observing the shard they had tied up in the local square of their fine town. However, the official legal documents allege that “while in an obvious and demoralizing state of inebriation” I “mocked and belittled the good people of Desolis”, “chided them on worshipping a rock (a rock known as the sacred shardfall fragment)”, “attempted to free the actual shardfall with a pickaxe of unknown origin” and “further attempted to free the prisoners of the Epitaph”.

The circumstances remain debatable, but I was whisked away and placed inside the Epitaph, not as an adventurer seeking fortune and glory, but as a guest of her governesses pleasure. I might add that no legal proceeding was held, no witnesses were brought forth and I had no chance to defend or deny all claims made against me. I simply woke up with a rather cruel headache, a pair of missing leggings and a new friend named the Smoldering Shiv.

I asked the Shiv what was going on and if he’d seen my leggings. He gave a quick recap of what lead me to my current surroundings and handed over my iron clad underthings which he had apparently been using to mop on some previous stains from the floor.

“Well laddy, you made a right ass of yourself and got throw in the Epitaph with the rest of us. Normally you have to do something pretty terrible to end up in a place like this, but I guess they made an exception for you. Not sure what you did and by the smell of ya, neither do you, but here you are and here you’ll stay.”

“Stay? Oh no my good man, I must be on my way. I have the undead to contend with, not to mention I have to make sure Barry is fed and let out lest he made a mess on the tailoring table like last time.”

“Sorry to dash your dreams there laddy, but there’s no getting out of the Epitaph. Once you’re in, you’re in for life. Too many guards surrounding the place and nothing but scorching, life draining desert and heat beyond that. Unless of course you want to tunnel out or go over the wall at midnight.”

It was then that Shiv explained I could try a bold and risky plan to escape my fate. If I was clever, worked under the cover of darkness and employed a hint of stealth, I could scale one of the rock formations and with the proper timing, make a leap of faith that would get me over to the other side of the wall and then I could slip away and take my chances with the creatures of the night.

Barring the fact I was neither clever nor stealthy I found his plan to be worthwhile and decided I would give it a run. I had the element of surprise on my hands so would could go wrong?

At the appointed hour, I followed the rough plan Shiv had laid out for me using leftover rags and bed linens and set the daring plan to method. Within minutes, I was out under the darkened sky intent to traverse the rock when I was gripped by surprise.

“Alley! What the devil are you doing here? What did you do to get thrown in here? Don’t tell me you made light of their shardfall did you?”

“No,” she retorted. “I’m simply visiting and exploring these ruins looking for Obsidian artifacts. What are you doing here and where might your leggings be? This is becoming an unfortunate habit with you.”

“Very little time to explain and they were used to clean the cell privy bucket one too many times to still be wearable so I left them behind. No time to talk, I’m making my getaway and time is against me.” With that I slipped back into the darkness and worked to the scale the rock that would lead to freedom. The environment was not in my favor as rain began to fall and the sky became charged with lightning. In the brief flashes I could easily see my way, but unfortunately, it certainly meant I could be seen. My heart pounded out of fear as surely as the rain pounded down upon me. With each step I thought I would be discovered and returned to my imprisonment. I would never survive a life behind bars, they have no pub on the inside.

My fear spurred me on and I could see the summit in the distance. My excitement turned to abject fear and horror when I reached the top only to discover I wasn’t alone. A figure loomed large, a dark shadow engulfing me.

“What are you doing?” a familiar voice asked. Under the gray mystery of night I looked up to see Alley.

“Alley? What are you doing here? You breaking out too? Have you come to help me with this daring escape plan?”

“No,” she retorted in the same tone she used before. “I saw you climbing up this rock and wondered where you were going.”

“Going over the wall at midnight,” I replied in hushed tones.

“What wall?” she asked looking around. “We’re on top of a rock, there’s no wall here.”

With this revelation I took stock of my surroundings and indeed saw that we were on top of a stone formation with no wall in sight. Even with a desperate leap of faith, I would do nothing but plummet down to where I started and most likely suffer some internal injuries and further hamper my escape plan.

“Oh no! Where did the wall go? How am I going to get over the wall and on to freedom if there’s no wall? I’m trapped! I’m doomed! I’m hungry!”

“Who told you to go over the wall?” she asked.

“The Shiv,” I replied in mournful tones.

“Sounds like a trustworthy fellow. And why over the wall?”

“Because if I tried to walk out the front the band of roughs guarding this place would wrestle me to the ground, throw me in a hole and never check on me again.”

“Or you could just put this helm on your head and walk out the front.”

“How do I explain the leggings?”

“If anyone says anything, just say you had a bit of Obsidian trouble down in the lower depths of the ruins. They’re scared to death to go down there, so they’ll think you’re pretty brave to have even escaped alive. The missing leggings won’t even phase them.”

“Oh that’s brilliant!”

“Oh wait, hang on, got an extra pair of leggings right here. I keep them just in case. Put these on and never give them back. Those are the rules.”

“Brilliant again!” I exclaimed.

With my new found courage, and pants, I made my way back down the craggy tower of rock. Slowly, but surely we made our way over to the main gate and without nary a glance in my direction, I passed undetected and made my way out of town.

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Freedom is so close I can smell it. Or that may be something foul rising up from the Epitaph, I’m not sure.

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Alley?! Gadzooks, what are you doing up here? You’ve come to get me out of this terrible place?

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I see this is what I get for taking a prison break plan from a guy called The Smoldering Shiv. I should have realized that if it was so darn easy he would have already tried it and wouldn’t be sitting in prison with me. Lesson learned.

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Good thing you keep these spare leggings with you Alley. You sure you won’t want them back? I won’t ruin this set like I did the others, I promise.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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