In a move of senseless bravado and overzealous ego, I found myself in the midst of the crossfire of the Crag Foothills. I knew it would be a dangerous venture, but I was looking for fortune and glory in the form of the shiny stones I’d heard so many people talk about. What I got was a face full of fire and a back full of arrows.
I didn’t realize the path leading to the mines would be riddled with the undead as well as rampaging bears and wolves. It was a cacophony of evil doers and before I realized my mistake, they were using my head to beat out the rhythm of their nefarious deeds.
I was quickly overwhelmed and ended up face down in the dirt wishing I had never left the safety and confines of my hot tub. I was suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous skeletons when I felt the cold darkness of sleep blanketing me.
Then amidst the chaos I saw a figure. He moved with savage grace under the rhythm of the light, his bow singing out a melody of devastation and destruction. The day rang with the cries of the fallen, and there I lay, weeping in the dirt with the belief my time is this realm had drawn to a close.
There was silence. An eerie, cold silence with the sound of the trees in the wind. It had been a losing battle, but was suddenly over.
As I looked up, I saw a foreboding figure of bone. He loomed large and seemed to be waiting. I turned my gaze to see my combatants lay scattered and broken on the path.
I arose and took in the full nature of his countenance. I felt a chill run through me. Realizing who stood before me, I began to panic.
"No, no, no!" I exclaimed. "Don’t take me away! I’m not ready! I need more time! I still have things to do, places to see, ale to drink! Can we make a deal like I read about in all those ridiculous tomes?"
"Of what do you speak?" he replied in a distant, echoey voice.
"Are you He?" I asked nervously.
"He, who?" he replied.
"Him," I said.
"Him, who?" he repeated.
"Have you come to take me away?" I asked, trying a different tact, but still riddled with panic.
"Take you where?" he questioned.
"The Afterlife," I replied.
"Afterlife?" he asked.
He was clearly weaving a web of confusion and then began a hypnotic dance which I assumed was meant to lull me into a dream state for our journey into the afterlife. But when I felt neither lulled nor journey bound, I felt the need to inquire into the situation.
"Now look here. I don’t mean to be rude, but if I’ve died and you’re here to whisk me away to the Afterlife, would it be possible to dispense with the dancing and get on with the negotiating?"
"Negotiating?" he asked.
"Yes, negotiating. I’m not ready to be dead yet, and am willing to offer up something personal and meaningful to bide my time here in this realm wherein you accept the deal and come to collect me at a later date. Egad man, don’t you read? This is how these things work!"
"I’m not sure I follow you," he replied as he continued his dance.
"Aren’t you Death?" I asked directly.
"Yes, Death. The Death. The chap that comes along when things have gone horribly awry and the spark of life gets covered in shite." I began to feel something was amiss about this exchange.
"Nay," he said.
"Then who are you?" I asked. "And more importantly, am I dead?"
"I am he who dances on graves," he replied with a bow. "And you have taken some ruinous blows to the head and perhaps have more arrows sticking out of you than one man should reasonably withstand, but I dare say, you are still alive. However, I recommend you seek some tincture before those wounds turn caustic and you expire in a drainage gully."
"So, you aren’t Death and you aren’t here to take me to the Afterlife?" I asked feeling my tether to the situation was beginning to unfurl.
"Nay. I was merely passing through and saw the undead here causing grievous harm to your person and thought I would offer some aid. You were holding your own, until you weren’t, and they started tossing you around like a hot sausage."
"So, not Death?" I confirmed.
"Nay," he replied.
"No Afterlife?" I inquired.
"Not today," he countered.
"Then, I thank you for your kindness," I said, the pain of the arrows of misfortune making their presence known.
But there was no reply. The figure of bone was already bounding down the path heading deeper into the foothills. Within moments I heard the cry of battle. The sound of the skeletons crumpling to the ground fell into the distance and I hobbled my way to a healer.
More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia
- The economic instability – A Crate by any other name
- Chronicles of Necromancy amidst the Crag Foothills
- My quest to help brings me face to face with the undead in Kingsport and Braemar
- Completing the Grand Tour to get the Nomad Hat in Shroud of the Avatar Release 25
- A vacation retreat to the foothills
- Completing the Grand Tour to get the Steampunk Goggles in Shroud of the Avatar Release 22
- Defeating the Dark Archlapin of Death and Destruction
- Peering through the veil to contact my spirit guide
- Envenomate me once, shame on you