Shroud of the Avatar

After taking my leave of Gus, I followed his general, albeit slightly vague directions, winding along paths where bandits attempted to divert me off my course, until I spied what looked to be a rise in the distance. It was the only thing that looked like a pyramid rather than a hill or mountain.

I approached and made my way up the many stairs only to realize my only recourse was to come down the other side. It was a lovely view of the area, but as there was no form of entry it proved disappointing.

As I sat and pondered how to gain access, a throng of skeletons came to do me harm. They received liberal use of the flaming sword and were all reduced to cinder.

After picking through their charred remains and pocketing goods that might be worth a few coins, I was stuck with an idea.

Where were these boney minions coming from? They weren’t coming up the path. They weren’t sneaking out from behind the trees. They weren’t rising up out of a the graveyard, because no graveyard existed. Was there some secretive entrance that eluded me?

I sat and waiting for them to reveal their concealed hiding place. I even expedited the process with liberal taunts in their general directions.

Before crushing them to powder, I traced the path they chose to come annihilate me. Rounding the side of the structure, I found what looked to be an entrance, or at least something not an impassible stone wall.

However, there was no knocker and I was at a loss as to how I should announce my presence and desire for admittance.

A few well placed kicks only served to mangle my boots and fill the air with words I am embarrassed to repeat.

I then tried to bellow my adventurous intentions to the keeper who might be inside, but clearly the thickness of the walls prevented him from hearing my clarion call.

But all was not lost. As I threw myself down in utter dejection and exasperation, I discovered there was a lever nestled in the roots and vines. Always one to pull at a random lever, I gave it a try.

To my great delight, the door rolled to the side revealing an entryway. It was dank, and foreboding, but this is exactly the type of place someone would hide a Hood of Truth, so I entered with reckless abandon.

I twisted and turned my way through the narrow corridors and met with the caretaker. I can only assume he was not in the same fit state as when Gus last made conversation. He was a corrupted and infected soul with flesh peeling away from his body. It was a horrid sight!

Further, he ignored my greeting and salutation from Gus. Instead, he came at me with arms flailing and spitting a fetid slime at my feet.

The confines of the passageway were too close for combat so I made a retreat to a more open area. Leading this malcontent to his doom, I struck first with a barrage of blows. I gave him no quarter and felt it best to simply put him out of his misery rather than listen to him ramble on about he became such a miserable soul.

While a hideous creature, he was not a formidable one. With a little Thrust here and Double Slash there, he was down without laying a single decayed hand upon my person.

I listened to hear if he might have a confederate ready to spring upon me as soon as I rounded the next corner. Hearing nothing, I charged ahead and found a storage room of exciting treasure.

I also noted it was the final resting place of some poor saps who tried to abscond with my Hood of Truth. Serves them right for ending face down in their failed attempt to take what was mine.

As I looted the chest and smashed the vases merely because they were there, I realized there was an automaton monkey. This caretaker was indeed a terrible wretch. What sort of person steals another man’s monkey? The audacity!

I scooped up the little fellow, tossed him in my bag and retreated back to Gus.

“Outlander!” he said excitedly. “I didn’t expect you so soon. Allow me to cut some cheese for you.”

“That is most kind of you,” I said. “I have bad news, some good news and some good news. First, I found the caretaker. He had been turned into the undead and made off with your monkey. But fear not! I have retrieved the little fellow and have him right here.” At this, I handed over the automaton monkey I found in the chamber.

“That terrible man made off with my monkey and held him captive? Oh the horror of it all,” he said cradling his lost child.

“Sadly, he was not the same chap you knew before. That is unless you partake of the company of the undead.”

“The undead? Oh dear me no,” he replied. “He has indeed changed and taken a turn for the worse. I regret your encounter Outlander, I apologize for that.”

“Not your fault at all. Now, since that was both the bad and good news, I have more good news. I believe this is the fragment you sent me out to find.” I produced the cloth and held it out for inspection.

“Outlander, you never cease to amaze,” he said taking the helm and disappearing into his alcove.

“Why thank you. I get that a lot. But it’s usually after a table has been knocked over or someone has taken a tumble down the stairs.”

Moments later, he returned with an extremely fashionable Hood of Truth. The only one of it’s kind I might add.

“There you are Outlander. Wear it with pride. I dare say you will look quite fetching in it,” Gus said.

“You are indeed a generous sort and quite a hand at hat making. I certainly appreciate your efforts,” I replied. “I see I once again had to risk my life to obtain it, but that is how our relationship will be.”

I had a bite of the delicious cheese Gus offered then headed back into the night. I needed to pay a visit to the blacksmith at the Elven camp and I was still working on getting a fitting for one their stylish robes. I was hopeful another bottle of the Elven wine might get things moving in the right direction.

SotA_12-04-17_20-52_1

Good evening! I say, is there anyone about? Your door knocker seems to be nonexistent and I believe you have a Hood of Truth inside with my name on it.

SotA_12-04-17_20-49_1

Treasure! And scoundrels that tried to steal my Hood. And a monkey! But let’s not forget, treasure!

I’m quite sure I won’t be able to get that vase into the pocket of my leggings.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

After retrieving a bevy of family heirlooms from the bandits, locating several absconded bottles of Elven wine, putting an end to some vigilante violence and being on the giving end, rather than the receiving end, of a warrant, I felt I had put the citizens of the Outskirts mind’s to rest. However, it turns out there was another in need of my assistance, but not really a citizen at all.

In my many traverses from one side of the refugee camp to the other, I stumbled across a different sort of refugee, perhaps even an escapee based on his tale. It was a late evening when I collapsed into his makeshift shanty, a head full of psilocybin. I was astonished to see, what I mistook for, one of the Tour Guides from my earlier explorations of the realm. In my delirium, I asked if he was in possession of yet another fetching hat and if I might perchance have one.

He merely laughed and said he put those days behind him. He offered me a medicinal libation and a whiff of smelling salts to get me to my senses. It was then that he offered me a seat in his small abode.

“You may call me Gus. I have heard much of your exploits in these parts,” he began. “You are a pillar of this little community, setting right all manner of discourteous wrongs.”

“I am pleased to help,” I replied, still a little out of sorts from the fungi that lurk at the entrance to his home.

“I wonder if by chance, you might be able to help me?” he asked.

“I can certainly give it a go,” I replied.

“Even though I am merely an automaton rather than a refugee and may have beeen responsible for putting your life in danger one too many times in search of a chapeau?” he asked.

“But, of course,” I said. “I have to admit though, I could have done without you skulking about by that fire chicken. That is all in the past though. And truth be told, I’ve taken a few knocks to the head, so I barely remember those days.”

“That is indeed good to hear,” he replied.

“Are you on the run my metal friend? Are you in need of a man to scuttle you away to parts unknown due to some legal entanglements? You didn’t get caught up in that salt running fiasco did you?” I questioned.

“Oh no, nothing of the sort. But, as you guessed, I spent some time welcoming Outlanders such as yourself, then graduated to a full time Tour Guide. I then had an epiphany, and to make a long story short, I left the Tour Guide service and moved into these wonderful caves.”

“You have done well for yourself,” I commented.

“Why thank you. But there is one small problem,” he said, looking rather sad and forlorn. “I have misplaced some of my children due to the bandit trouble I’m sure you’re aware of.”

“Children?” I said a little taken aback. “I didn’t you know you had such ways with the lady automatons.”

He merely looked at me with a puzzled expression. As puzzled an expression as a metallic face can give.

“I built them you see. Lots of little companions to keep me company. Have you by chance seen any of them in your travels?” he asked.

“Little automatons running around the woods? Afraid I haven’t. I’m quite sure I would have noticed something like that.”

“Actually, no. They are little automaton monkeys.”

“Monkeys?” I questioned. “Um, very well. Not for me to question. But, oddly, I believe I may be able to help you. I don’t often say this Gus, but I have a monkey in my leggings with your name on it.”

Gus clapped his hands with glee and gave a cheer as I withdrew the little automaton monkey I had found.

“That is some handy work Gus. That is a quality item with a fine eye for details. I was wondering where the little nipper came from.”

“You are a true gentleman!” he exclaimed. “The light of truth surrounds you Outlander!”

“I’m quite sure that’s the haze from those exploding mushrooms you have outside, but I thank you all the same. That being said, if I do find any more of the little rascals, I will be sure to bring them home to you. How many exactly did you lose?”

“Oh dear me. I’m not entirely sure. I’ve made quite a few to be sure. I suspect there are several more out there,” he replied.

“Very well, I shall keep an eye out. I have few more small jobs to complete, but rest assured, I’ll be back.”

“Well, because of your good deeds, I am liberty to give you a reward,” Gus said excitedly.

“The beverage and sanctuary from those mind altering mushrooms is plenty thanks enough. It’s much better than the slap in the face I normally get when stumbling into a strangers home.”

“I have something far better than that!” he exclaimed.

“Do go on,” I said.

“I believe I know the location of an ancient item that might be of use to you. And I think it suits you. The Hood of Truth!”

“Hood of Truth? What might that be? It’s not like the Burlap Sack of Shame is it?”

“I believe it is a hood and represents the virtue of truth,” he explained.

“All right. Very well. If you want to be literal,” I replied.

“Now, I believe it is located a short way from here in a pyramid. There is a caretaker there. If you say Gus sent you, I do believe he will give you the item in question. If you bring it back here, I will spruce it up for you, using my previous hat making experience and fix it right up.”

“Very well Gus, I accept this challenge. I will search for this pyramid and retrieve said garment. If I find it, more monkeys or some of that Elven wine, I will bring it back and we can divvy up the spoils.”

“I shall anxiously await your return,” he said. “In the mean time, I shall be here playing with my monkey.”

SotA_12-03-17_21-56_1

I don’t often say this Gus, but I have a monkey in my leggings that might interest you.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

News of my proficiency at problem solving, songbook liberation, resource gathering and quelling of the undead at the Solace Bridge camp reached those in charge at the Blood River Outskirts. As such, an Elven Commander asked if I could use my chameleon like powers of blending in and skill with the blade to help stave off a plot to drive them out of their makeshift camp. Not to mention the undead popping out from behind trees and under rocks.

I met with Alberic, head man of the Elf compound, who informed me that a rabble-rouser was forming a cadre of vigilantes who were stealing food, upsetting caravans and destroying property all in the name of blaming it on the Elven refugees. He humbly asked if I could get close to this purveyor of misdeeds and gather evidence of his crimes.

I readily agreed. “Fear not Al! If I may call you Al? I am a master of disguise and will blend in amongst them like an ale swilling hooligan!”

The Elves are a fine race of people with an equally fine sense of craftsmanship and a keen eye for fashion. I especially like their flowing robes and hope that if my commission goes well, one of their tailors might be willing to outfit me with a set of my own.

The first order of business was to find the camp. This proved far easier than I suspected as they had a tour guide to point the way. Gaining admittance was also an easy task as I presented myself as a human who was handy with the blade and could get things done. Plus, I had my own cloak and mask.

This quickly lead to an audience with Phineas, a rather exuberant chap, who gesticulated wildly as he asked if I wanted to join his cause. I could immediately tell from his style of dress and walking with a big hammer that he was a miscreant and author of ill-tidings.

But to gain his confidence, I readily agreed to join his band of vigilantes and he quickly set me a series of tasks to prove my worth. I easily accomplished these, including risking my life to kill the queen spider and extract her venom sacks for some big caper Phineas had in the works.

It was grim and dirty work, but while out of sight, I managed to sneak away to apprise Alberic of my progress. With the flow of news coming in, he suggested I see the guards at the Aerie camp on the outskirts of town. With evidence of this terrible behavior, they might be able to bring Phineas to justice. I did as he urged and found myself with a warrant of arrest for Phineas.

When I returned to camp, Phineas had a surprise for me. Not only was I accepted into his inner circle of hooligans, but I was given the honor of slipping his newly crafted poison into the food supply of the Elven camp. I said it would be my privilege to bring about uncontrolled vomiting and explosive jaunts to the privy.

I took my leave of the camp, but not before I let loose the poison on the vigilante food supply. I then circled back and handed Phineas the arrest warrant, which called for his immediate withdraw from the area and a seizure of his financial assets. When he started his wild gesticulations and offered a threat from his hammer, I returned order with a stern slap across the face with his manifesto of lies.

As Phineas picked himself up, I bid him a good night and encouraged him to try the venison. Just as I reached the edge of the camp, I heard the distinct and clarion call of a chap losing his lunch. I took a moment to check on the situation and noted the vomitus poison was in full swing.

With a hearty chuckle, I returned to the Elven camp to let them know of the good news. Phineas would soon be moving on, and his book of lies was in the hands of the authorities. To celebrate these felicitous tidings, we broke open a bottle of their most excellent Elven wine and partook of the roast beast.

A fine day’s work all round, and I’m well on my way to getting a fitting for my fabulous robe.

SotA_12-03-17_20-29_1

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say you’re Phineas. You clearly have the look of a man who has fallen afoul of the constabulary.

SotA_12-04-17_21-50_1

Oh dear me. It looks like you are suffering at the hands of food poisoning. This is terrible to see. I wonder how such a thing could have happened?

SotA_12-04-17_21-47_3

Gadzooks man! Exactly how much have you eaten?

SotA_12-04-17_22-03_1

Well, now that we have dished out some justice to those vigilantes, how about a sample of that Elven wine? I just happen to have a bottle I retrieved off one of the filthy beggars.

 

 

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

Since it was lunch time and I found myself in the company of a wayward bovine in an untended field, I made the best of the serendipity and had him over for lunch.

As I stoked the fire and added my special blend of seasonings, a lone figure appeared from behind a rock. Naturally, I waved in greeting.

“Good afternoon! Although you have appeared out of nowhere, you’re timing is excellent as I think we are at a perfect medium rare. That stocky chap was a robust animal so there is plenty to go round.”

Just then, the woman produced a pitchfork and began to brandish it about.

“Oh, that’s good thinking,” I complimented. “We can put a hearty chunk right on the end and give it a good sear in the coals.”

As I went to retrieve the skewer from her, she reeled back and gave me a sound wrap to the helm.

“What the deuce?” I exclaimed. “Very well, you can give him a roast over the open flame if you like. Makes no never mind to me.”

My comment was answered with another sharp wrap to the helm.

“Come now! I offer you a spot of lunch and you strike me twice with a pitchfork? What manner of civility is this?”

“You’ve made luncheon meat out of our animals! You had no right!” the woman screamed at me.

“Your animals? How so? I see no fencing. I see no structures. I assumed these were free range bovine,” I explained.

Just then, another chap wielding a pitchfork and a second with a flaming torch mysteriously appeared. Bringing up the rear was a vigorous chap flailing his sword about.

“I see you have some confederates coming to join us. Fear not. I will simply trim off a few more choice cuts.”

I tried to stand, but was thwarted by yet another strike of the pitchfork.

“I insist you cease and desist these attacks against my person!” I exclaimed. “Strike me once, shame on you. Strike me twice, shame on me. Strike me a third time and we’re throwing down the gauntlets!”

“What do you say about the fourth time you metal clad buffoon?” she hissed and struck me again.

With that, her companion ruffians took it as the start of the unpleasantries. The lad with the sword took the lead and struck me soundly about the midsection.

“You are the worst lunch guests I have ever come across,” I exclaimed as I drew my sword.

The shabby fellow with the pitchfork took his turn, but I deflected his blow and snapped the  implement in half. I threw a menacing scowl at the fellow with the torch, which was enough to cause him to hesitate and run.

The sword wielding hooligan was not to be denied and landed another aggravating blow. I returned the compliment with practiced Double Slash, followed by a devastating crush of Body Slam. Since he had brought about my ire, I felt no shame in a follow up Stone Fist and Flame Fist to the head. That quelled his aggressions against me.

While I should have stopped there, I was caught in the moment and went for a final round of Whirling Blades. This last move was a dash excessive as it incapacitated all my adversaries at once, some in a more permanent fashion than others.

With no other recourse, I snatched up the remainder of my quarry, stuffed it into a small bag and made my exit with due haste.

SotA_11-24-17_22-18_1

Oh dear, that last move combined with all this fire might have been a touch excessive and a dash hasty. The Oracle and the constabulary will certainly frown upon this sort of thing.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

While making myself useful within the Solace Bridge Outskirts, I stopped to talk with some children playing and singing a rather scoundrelly tune.

“What manner of song is it you sing?” I asked.

“It’s the story of Bloody Bones!” said a small lad making gestures with his hand that were either a salute of greeting or the beginnings of a curse.

“Bloody Bones? That doesn’t sound like a virtuous song young minds like yourself should engage in. How about something more uplifting like that song about the chap that hails from Nantucket? Or the ballad about the young lass named Roxanne?”

I received nothing but blank stares and frowns.

“We don’t want any of that rubbish, we want the Ballad of Bloody Bones!” he said and skipped to the other side of the fire.

“Well, be that as it may, there are for better melodies for people of your young and impressionable age. Perhaps some ale drinking songs then? They will serve you better in later years,” I countered.

“Told you he was a coward,” called the little blighter staying just out of my reach.

“I tell you this young man, the last person who called me a coward received a terrible lesson to the contrary.”

“Oh? And what did you do? Fall to the ground and cry out, ‘not in the face!’ at him?”

I was on the verge of drawing my sword when I noted a nearby guard giving me a sinister stare.

“I don’t believe I like your tone young man,” I said.

“I know I don’t like your face,” he replied.

“This is a ferocious fighting helm made from the skull of a wicked, winged, beast you miserable sod!” I bellowed.

“If you’re so ferocious, why don’t you go and get us the songbook of Bloody Bones?”

“I don’t believe I need to prove my valor to you,” I grumbled.

“Coward!” yelled a small girl.

“Bloody Bones will just stab him in the back like all the others,” declared another. “He wouldn’t last five minutes!”

“Now see here!” I started.

“Don’t go out alone! You’ll end up face down in the ditch!” The girl cried again.

“I’ve fallen face down in the ditch so many times it’s lost all meaning!” I bellowed back. “Nevermind! Where was the last place any one saw this infernal book? I will go and retrieve the ridiculous thing, just to bring this nonsense to an end.”

“On the outskirts of town,” he said. “In the ruins. They’re haunted.”

“Haunted?” I asked.

“You’re not scared are you?” the boy chided.

“Bah, I fear nothing,” I replied. “Which way are the ruins?” I demanded.

He pointed far off into the distance. “Way over there. On the other side of the chasm. You can use the bride if you aren’t afraid of heights. Or you can go all the way back down there and cross through the stream.”

“Bridge? What bridge?” I asked.

“That rickety thing over there,” the boy said pointing. But, judging by the size of you, it’ll most likely collapse while you’re in the middle.”

“Steady on!” I replied. “This is all armor!”

“If you make it across, follow the path and Bloody Bones will appear when you least expect him!” He finished with a menacing gesture as though leaping out from the bushes.

I have to admit, his rendition was a little unsettling. “Very well,” I said. “You wait here and try not to burn down the entire bivouac, and I will look for this book. Perhaps,” I continued trying to instill a dash of fear, “I’ll bring back his head as a grizzly souvenir!”

“I could use it as a pillow,” declared the boy, obviously missing the point of my comment. Realizing they were a tough crowd, I crossed over the makeshift bridge which was far more rickety than I had been led to believe and followed the path.

The wood turned dark and foreboding, with the trees closing in on me. After that incident with the Reaper in Greymark, I studied each movement, ready to spring into action at the slightest limb reaching out to cause me harm.

With the trees behind, I passed a putrid cemetery, a noxious green vapor coating the countryside. The air was heavy with the fetid stench of the undead. Just as I thought of it, several of the undead vermin leapt out at me, trying to infect me with their dreaded contagion. Despite their strength, the poor wretches are slow and I dispatched them with ease. That will show the rotten little urchin.

I kept moving and reached the outskirts of what I assumed was the haunted ruin. To my surprise, a ghastly, boney figure appeared right when I least expected it. He floated on a vaporous cloud of the same putrid air. I tucked behind a rock to get a closer look without being observed.

Alas, my choice of hiding place was ill-conceived and with deliberate intent he rushed toward me. I scrambled to my feet and prepared for battle.

As with all my adversaries, I set both the ground and my weapon alight. Just as he reached me, his dreadful, boney hand punched me right in the face.

“How dare you give credence to that little reprobates words,” I yelled out, swinging with full fury.

While a frightful looking creature, a few savage strikes to the head, followed by the debilitating power of Body Slam, left Bloody Bones crumbled in a pile.

“Take that!” I said with a hiss, kicking at his head, to not only show my superiority, but to confirm he was dead.

Rifling through his charred and brittle remains, I discovered he was indeed in possession of a song book. I quickly scooped it up and returned to the camp.

“See! See you little rapscallion! Not only am I still alive, I got the blasted song book!” I gloated and tossed the book at the little ring leaders feet. “There is your foolish book. Now sing something less dreadful.”

“Where is his head?” asked the little girl. “You said we could have it.”

“Get your own!” I bellowed. “I’m putting this little beauty on the mantle!”

SotA_11-22-17_21-41_1

Very well, this looks to be exactly the type of place some miscreant named Bloody Bones would hide in. And I’m quite sure that isn’t his real name.

SotA_11-22-17_21-46_1

Just as I suspected, clear signs of villianious bahvior.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

Recent Comments