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

While carefully cataloging my chest of looted and liberated goods, I was struck by the realization that I may have a mandrake problem. Through diligent harvesting and frisking of crushed mages, my mandrake supply far exceeds my usage. Some would say that’s not possible, but I admit that I simply have more than I need.

Under normal circumstances, I would slip the stockpile into some nondescript sacks, hitch up the wagon, and under the cover of darkness make my way to Owl’s Head to sell a few backpacks worth of goods to the reagents merchant for a handsome profit.

However, the sting of that salt transportation incident is still fresh in my mind and I would prefer not to have any constabulary entanglements and be held in the Clink at Lord Enmar’s pleasure.

So, instead of venturing into the dragon’s nest and putting myself to the hazard, I will bring those in need of mandrake to me. I have spoken with my man Habberdash, who has agreed to set up shop at our crafting pavilion. Since this our first batch for sale on the open market, we are willing to sell a small sample at less than market value.

In order to recognize a buyer who knows a high quality product from some clearly disguised enforcer of jurisprudence, Habberdash will only respond to a predetermined call sign. When greeted with the phrase, “The drunken condor wears no pants,” he will reply with “Hmm, I don’t understand.” This will weave a web of confusion to would be eavesdroppers.

If he’s comfortable with the transaction he will give a wink, a nudge, and then open the special chest containing our mandrake stash.

We’ve also got an excess of nightshade plants, so if you’re in the market for some quality reagens, we might be able to do some business.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

While I welcome and encourage you to observe all my glorious deeds of virtue and courage, for there are many, I believe it can be done without you sneaking up from behind and probing me in the backside. Some would say that is a dash intrusive on your part. However, if such things must be done, I feel it appropriate that you at least purchase an ale for me and suggest you hold back and wait until the Immolation has dissipated before swooping in. You have proven, that unlike me, you are not fireproof. Your indiscretion and exuberance will get you incinerated and the Oracle will frown upon me even further.

My deeds are worthy of the Oracle’s attention, but these repeated “catastrophic failures” you suffer at my hands does neither of us any good.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

After a resource gathering expedition in the Serpent Spine Foothills, that saw many a thug and bandit regret my approach, I received a missive from Alley Oop. She was hard at work in Greymark Forest gathering resources of own. Thinking she might be working on the trappings of a treehouse, I was anxious to join and see how I could be of assistance.

While she was indeed wood gathering, she had something special and a dash more dangerous in mind. Always ready to make use of my lumbersmithing skills, I made ready the Axe of Prosperity.

“Oh nay nay,” Alley said as I selected a maple tree. “This is a different kind of tree altogether,” she continued as she drew her blade.

“What manner of tree chopping is this?” I questioned as she leapt at the trunk and laid into it with a savage barrage of volleys.

As the bark and sap flew, I stood aghast at what transpired next. The tree literally leapt to life to defend itself. To my astonishment, the limbs swung violently and Alley was concealed within in whirlwind of leaves.

Going through my extensive knowledge of alchemy, I drew up the well understood fact that fire is the natural enemy of wood. To that end, I brought forth the power of Immolation, threw myself at the trunk of the beast and held on.

The Reaper realized the fiery nature of my designs and as a countermove used Root against me, pinned me to the ground and dealt a series of incapacitating blows.

Little did the Reaper understand that Immolation is all consuming whether I’m conscious or not. Using my distractionary technique to her full advantage, Alley obliterated the Reaper, splintering it into multiple pieces.

When I came to myself, the trunk was a shattered husk and it’s fiendish nature was revealed. To my horror, the Reaper wasn’t merely thrashing me to a pulp, it was tenderizing my person to make a meal of me. The gnashing teeth were now lifeless, but the danger was all too real.

As I poked at the beast with it’s broken limb, to ease my conscience it was indeed deceased, Alley made ready her blade and harvested some quality parts.

From there, it was time to relieve the Elven Archers of their pesky bows that seem to endlessly stab me in the back.

I know what you tried to do and I’ll have none of it! Alley will whittle you down to nothing and I’ll pick my teeth your remains! And then firewood for the rest of you!

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

In my nightly confessions to the Oracle, regarding my deeds and in some cases, my misdeeds, I received a less than favorable reply regarding some of my recent actions. It appears I am on a rocky road toward the Path of Truth. The Oracle has seen fit to frown upon my filling my pockets with trinkets I am firmly convinced others no longer need. Or they will simply look better in my home than whenst I found them.

I can’t say I agree, but perhaps I really didn’t need all the goblets I took from the banquet hall. And perhaps I may have taken one too many potatoes from that Clink Bazar. But, I take exception with the comment about looting the dead.

Come now Oracle, they were all bad men. They did bad deeds. They hatched bad plans. They fell in with a bad crowd. They smelled bad.

I feel perfectly justified in that if I put myself to the hazard, come out victorious and leave my adversary face down on the field of combat as a shattered wreck of a man, I am at liberty to rifle through their pockets for loose coins and weapons. Clearly what they had were ill-gained goods.

And if I happen to come across a body in field or in the Clink, that is already face down and a shattered wreck of a man, then I should be able to proceed with the looting as the work has already been done and clearly whatever I find he won’t need any more.

I shall balance matters by supplying the tavern owner with a satisfying income and myself with a satisfying plate of mutton and mug of ale.

Frown not upon me Oracle. What you see as reckless and selfish looting, should really be seen as righting a wrong by creating harmony and balance.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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