Adventure

The lure of Penmawr treasure had piqued my interest, and thus I began searching for clues. While it may look like a tropical paradise, I gathered there was a great deal of treachery, drunkenness and the penchant for stabbing newcomers in the back. This last nugget came to me when I was indeed stabbed in the back.

I turned upon the drunken vagabond and declared, “You will get nothing from me you flea-ridden, pimply-faced, poorly dressed, scurvy dog!” The flaming sword was instantly brought to bear.

To my shock, the swaying dragoon dropped his sword, placed his face in his hands and turned away. I then heard the sound of sobs.

“I say, we are in the middle of duel here. Would you be so kind as to turn around and participate. It would be bad form, and most likely against the rules of engagement to stab you when you aren’t ready,” I said. “I’m not against it mind, but I’d like to give you a fair shake.”

The sobs only grew louder.

“Excuse me? Are you alright over there? Have you suffered some sort of debilitating injury before we have even begun?”

I took a step forward, placed my hand on the lads shoulder and realized he was quite despondent. Indeed on the point hysterics.

“That really hurt my feelings,” he said through the sobs. “I’ll admit to the poorly dressed part, and maybe I have a touch of the scurvy, I am a scoundrel pirate, but the rest of what you said was just plain insulting and mean.”

“Oh my,” I started. “I was merely casting aspersions to make ready for battle. A battle cry if you will. They were not personal insults. I’m sure under this layer of grime you are fine lad with many noble qualities.”

This did nothing to settle the mood and soon a gang of ruffs stumbled upon the scene. Noting the dire situation of their comrade, they immediately began to question what I had done and demanded satisfaction.

“That dirty ratfinkovich made Billy cry,” one of them shouted. “Nobody makes Billy cry but us! Get him!”

The fracas was on before I could air my apology. I was taken off guard and received several debilitating blows upon my person. Several stinging hits of the cudgel sent me reeling.

Crashing headlong into the crates and fish netting was the exact diversion I needed. While they laughed at my ill treatment, I produced the flaming sword and readied the full onslaught of Stone Fist. I unleashed a pulverizing blow right to the chest of the fellow closest to me. The snapping sound was unpleasant to be sure.

I followed this with a frenzy of wildly overreaching sword strikes that took them all by surprise. Everything incurred my wrath including an innocent boat oar, several bottles of whiskey I would like to have saved for later and a small boat that needed to be put out of it’s misery anyway.

I complimented my assault with a debilitating blast of Ice Fist and a rousing dance of Whirling Blades. This brought the laughter and most of the breathing to an end. Seizing the moment, I body slammed one chap right off the peer. He screamed in horror as the briny water scrubbed him clean.

Weeping Billy gave up the fight and made a retreat, but not before wantonly hurling several perfectly good rum bottles in my direction.

“Good thing those were empty or there would be hell to pay!” I warned. But my words fell on deaf ears as he raced down the pier and disappeared out of sight.

With that, I made my way to the alcove of Captain Kennet. And it was indeed a grim sight. There he sat, regal in his chair, but missing a few regal bits. I located one of his extremities lying just off to the side and after surveying the scene my keen adventurer senses told me it would be to my benefit if I found the rest of him.

Having cleared the dock, I found several clues pointing me in the right direction. These scalawags are quite liberal with their posting of mysterious treasure maps and cryptic clues on the walls of their bungalows. But I don’t see why anyone would hide a key in a crow’s nest. That’s just silly. As we all know, keys should be secreted on a night table or swept under a rug for safe keeping. Jumping from rooftop to rooftop and scaling rickety boards to reach such an outpost is foolhardy business and sure fire way to break one’s neck and miss out on all the good treasure.

But after carefully committing the three maps to memory and absconding with a few golden goblets as trinkets for my trouble, I set off to search the island for the secret hiding places of the stash. I am an expert at diving the location of hidden wealth and riches, and it’s the perfect opportunity to use the trusty, rusty shovel I took from the thug that somehow had it concealed in his leggings.

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Oh dear me, it looks like you could use a hand. And there is it right there. Allow me to get that for you.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

As I ponder the future when I put this grand life of adventuring, smiting and falling down a precipice behind me, I imagine a life on the high seas and the ocean waves beckon me. There is the small problem of my violent seasickness and aversion to using a bucket as a privy, but once conquered, I shall be master and commander.

The first order of business is to obtain a vessel. That lead me to Penmawr Island where seafaring men of all descriptions sell their vessels and cargo. And if the timing is right, I might be able to swindle a fair trade for nothing more than a cask of rum.

Penmawr struck me as a tropical paradise with it’s oyster beds, swaying palms, shiny blue water and blind eye to public drunkenness. Halmar could learn a thing or two from their tolerance.

“Well, this isn’t quite the den of iniquity and back alley shiving I was led to believe,” I said admiring a vacant hut that could make a festive vacation spot. “I wonder who I need to speak with about buying one of these vessel?” I said out loud.

“You looking to buy a boat?” said a mysterious voice from the darkness.

“Holy monkey!” I yelled as I spun around to see if perhaps an adversary was making ready to cudgel me in the kidneys. What I found was a lanky fellow leaning up against the beams of a small hut.

“That depends, are you in a position to sell one?” I asked gathering myself.

“That depends, you got coin to pay for one?” he retorted.

“That depends,” I said, falling into his trap.

“On?”

“Um. Nevermind. I merely got ahead of myself. Carry on.”

“You don’t exactly look to be the seafaring type,” he remarked. “Most folks that come through here aren’t clad in armor with some sort of rancid animal skull on their head.”

“Ah, yes, well. First, I came right over from a rather debilitating battle in the Shardfall,” I replied. “Second, the vessel will be for my grand retirement. You can’t spend your whole life going around pummeling thugs and bandits. And third, the skull is not rancid, merely battle worn. But, the helm could use a bit of a polish I admit.”

“Hmm,” he replied looking me over. “You with the constabulary?” he questioned.

“Oh, no. Nothing of the kind. I am a grand adventurer. While it may be frowned up by some, I loot the occasional old ruin, abscond with a rare treasure now and then, and retrieve objects for mysterious townspeople in several parts of the realm. I bring them goods and they give me coins. Sometimes banners. The occasional piece of armor. Mind you, the sporadic thug or bandit might try to relieve me of my quarry and must be dealt with sternly.”

“Ah, a land buccaneer looking to move to the seas. Very well,” he replied with a wry grin. “Got a boat right over here you can look at.”

“Land buccaneer?” I inquired.

“Not too worry, we aren’t looking to judge around here,” he replied.

We sauntered to the other side of the dock and a vessel that appeared to have run aground.

“This is a bit of a fixer-upper. We’re not sure who it originally belonged to as it crashed onto the shore in the middle of the night. No crew aboard. Looks like there might have been a mutiny. There’s a few holes, but we’ll get it fixed up in no time. We still need to clean out the bones and wash off the stains, so don’t worry about those.”

“Bones? Stains?”

“Nothing to trouble yourself over. Happens all the time. Bit of ocean water, bit of sanding, you’ll barely be able to tell,” he answered.

Trying not to appear startled or naive in the ways of the seafaring life, I went up the ramp and inspected the craft. It was not ideal. Far from it. The wood appeared to be rotten, the ship’s wheel was off kilter, the few sails left were a tattered wreck, and the main mast showed signs of rot.

Despite my disappointment, I continued my tour below deck. This was a costly mistake and the smell was overwhelming and the clutter of bones was alarming.

“Good gravy!” I declared. “What took place down here? Is this the site of a mutiny or the location of a buffet gone awry?” I then noted my companion had not come aboard to inspect the vessel with me.

My confidence and my stomach were shaken, but I forged ahead and continued down to the lower hold. There I found the rusty and disused cannons, plenty of cobwebs and some unidentifiable bits. I cautiously stepped around those.

Spotting a ladder to go down, I felt compelled to take it. This turned out to be a mistake as the structurally unsound ladder broke under my weight and I plunged into the sea.

I returned to the shore in a rather disheveled state, seaweed entangled in my helm and water leaking from my armor in a less than complimentary fashion.

Sloshing back up the sand bar, I passed my verdict. “I was hoping for something a little more seaworthy and a little less grizzly and full of holes. I don’t need it today mind you. It’s an investment in my future.”

My companion pondered for a moment. “I see you will be one of those uppity boat captains. You probably want a real privy and not the standard bucket, am I right?”

“I had a bad experience with a bucket and would like to speak no more of it,” I replied.

He scoffed, but then continued. “All the good boats are spoken for at the moment. We’ll probably have some more available shortly as soon as a few more prizes of dubious origin are dropped of. Unless of course you want old Captain Kennet’s boat. He’s certainly not gonna need it any more.”

“Oh? A captain is parting with his boat? Moving up to something more grand is he?”

“You might say. There was a parting to be sure. To be more precise he parted with his arms, legs and head. Probably not of his own choice I suspect.”

“Egads!” I cried.

“Seems the crew took offense to something, strung him up, got frisky with the blade, then tossed him into that alcove over there. His spirit is most likely looking for revenge. Ship’s probably haunted, so I can make you a good deal on it.”

“Steady on man! The crew got disgruntled with their captain, carved him to bits then tossed him overboard?”

“Hard to say what happened as dead men tell no tales,” he replied. “Boat’s docked just over there, right next to his body. Or what’s left of it. Pieces are probably scattered all over the island. They probably secreted his looted treasure somewhere on the island until it was safe to come back later.”

“Sorry? Looted treasure?” I inquired. “There is treasure to be had?”

“Most likely. Buried treasure all over these parts. You how these things go. Someone buries trinkets in the sand, forgets where they did it, makes some terrible map no one can decipher and people spend all their time wandering the beach looking for the smallest clue. But, I thought you were interested in a boat?” he countered.

“Yes of course. Indeed I am. But say, perhaps we should take a moment for a quick repast and refreshments. Allow me to buy you an ale, or perhaps a bottle of rum to show my appreciation for showing me around. We can discuss the captain and this so called treasure. Besides, I wouldn’t want to go see this headless captain without fortifying myself,” I said.

“Up to you. Most folks lose their fortification when they gaze upon such things. But, the pub is over there. Bit rough for outsiders though. Be careful you don’t get shived wearing that outfit.”

“Fear not my dear fellow,” I replied with a smile. “I have just the garb on hand that will allow me to blend in as though I were a native.”

“I was afraid of that,” he sighed. “We don’t have any natives. This is an outlaw island.”

And with that we strode off in the direction of a drunken brawl which I assumed was the local pub.

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Yes, well, I can see why you keep it away from the main harbor. It looks a bit worn. And riddled with disease.

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All is not lost! This lantern works!

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Good heavens! What manner of treachery took place down here? My superior sense of puzzle solving tells me something went awry in this location.

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I say, would you by any chance be Captain Bennet? I don’t mean to be rude or perhaps even state the obvious, but you seem to have something shiny sticking out of your backside. I’m no healer, but I think your disposition would improve if we dislodge it. I have blacksmithing tongs in my bag that could be used for the task.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

After a rather awkward exit from Penmawr Island, I verily crashed into Alchemister, Jobe and Alley traveling the roads of Novia.

“A good evening to you all!” I declared.

“Huzzah!” cried Alchemister. “What a fortuitous meeting! You’re just in time for our journey to the dragon’s den. Come, it will be a glorious time!”

“The Dragon’s Den?” I inquired. “Sounds like a fine name for a tavern. I’m not familiar with this establishment. Clearly it must be new to the realm. I will gladly come along and give it my expert opinion.” I continued.

As I am a professional, I made ready my drinking horn and followed suit.

It was a merry sojourn, but I felt something amiss as we took many strange and unexpected turns. Soon we were on a lonely road heading into the desert.

“I say, Alch, I am not familiar with any Dragon’s Den being out this way. Are you sure we are on the right track?”

“Of course! Of course!” came his confident reply. “The dragon’s den is just this way. I have been there several times. Fear not.”

“Well then, if you have been there before, I greatly anticipate our arrival.”

But as we continued to head deeper into the barrens sands, I felt compelled to make a comment.

“I don’t mean to tell anyone how to handle their affairs, but I believe the proprietor of this establishment could use a few lessons in attracting patrons to his establishment. I understand a desert oasis could be a draw for most, but he could do with some signage to point the way. I see nothing but sand and rocks. And it wouldn’t hurt to do something about this Corpion infestation. A fellow could lose his way, become light headed from heat exhaustion and take a debilitating sting from one of those nasty things. That wily beast nearly had me cornered back there.”

“Establishment?” Alch asked.

“Yes, this new tavern you are taking us to, the Dragon’s Den,” I replied.

“Tavern?”

“My dear fellow, the heat has clearly started to get the better of you. See, I told you this chap needed signs to point the way. Yes, the Dragon’s Den tavern we are going to. That is the point of heading out into the middle of the desert isn’t it?”

“Oh, nay, nay!” Alch said. “The dragon’s den isn’t a tavern. It’s an actual den, full of dragons. We are making our way across the scorching heat to risk our lives in the pursuit of trinkets and baubles.”

“I’m sorry,” I said stopping in my tracks. “A den? With dragons? Risk our lives?”

“Of course! Fire breathing ones too,” he said with a hearty chuckle. “But fear not! I have something for you. Drink this!”

“Pray tell what is this?” I inquired as I took the strangely colored flask.

“It is a combat mixture of my very own creation. It will make you powerful and fearless. Plus, if you survive the night, one mighty fine dancer,” he said with slap on the shoulder.

“Well, I have always wanted to improve my rhythmic gyrations,” I admitted.

“Down in one!” he cried as he took of the top of his concoction and swilled it down.

I quaffed the drink and felt a feverish burn in my belly and terrible ache in my head.

“Alch! You gave me the wrong vial. I think I just drank poison!” I bellowed as I began to cough and sputter, my vision fading.

“Poison nothing! That’s just the bite of The Hulk! Give it a moment and you will be a powerful fighting force!”

“But, I already am a powerful fighting force,” I choked with tears in my eyes.

With that, Alch raced up the dunes, his compass fixed in the direction of our demise. In my combat elixir delirium, I had no choice but to follow. The wind had swept away our footprints so there was no retracing our steps.

As I crested the rise of the hill, I saw what had brought us out here. Just as Alch had said, there were three dragon’s basking in the heat of the sun.

“What shall our tactics be?” I asked. “I’m not very savvy in battling dragons. My current stratagem is simply to avoid them at all costs.”

Taking a knee, Alch began to explain his battle plan. “We four shall flank them to the right. When I give the signal, Jobe and I will lay suppressive fire with a blinding barrage of arrows. Alley will sweep in and lay down an assault at the legs. Our other four comrades will circle in from the left to make a deadly dual-pronged attack.”

“It sounds well thought out,” I commented. “What is my role?”

“Do what you do best. Set your sword ablaze and swing like mad. And try not to stab yourself. But if you do, we have healers at the ready.”

“Oh, I see you have put me in a position to play to my strengths and anticipated my needs. Very well, since I am now fortified with the poison you gave me and have no chance of finding my way home, I shall leap into battle at your signal,” I said

With that, Alch and Jobe leapt from the dunes, stealthily moving into position. Quick as a flash, Alley too dashed off through the sand. The rest of the group broke off and made ready to rain down destruction from the alternate side.

Recovering from my first misstep into the sand, I followed in pursuit of Alley. I stopped only briefly to recover my balance, and to set my sword alight. I was at a loss how to fight this foe, but a flaming sword is always a good first measure.

True to their word, Alch and Jobe unleashed a volley of arrows that darkened the sky. The dragon howled in pain and anger. Alley followed up with an onslaught to the legs that was both mesmerizing and brutal. I followed Alch’s instructions and swung at everything that looked dragony.

In the enthusiasm, excitement and borderline delirium of the melee, I let fly several crushing blows from Stone and Ice Fist. While I can’t be sure, due to my unfamiliarity with dragon anatomy, I believe I may have struck it in the nether bits with a few of those strikes. Hopefully that will not taken as unsportsmanlike by my confederates.

Nevertheless, the battle raged, the arrows flew, the swords whirled and the healing spells streamed across the desert floor. Finding my rhythm, I assaulted that leathery rapscallion right on the big toe.

The events are a blur. There was a near endless flurry of attacks until baleful cry shattered the air, and a deafening crash as the dragon’s massive body came hurtling toward the ground. But, there was no time for jubilation as we still had two other dragons to contend with.

Considering the terrible raucous we had just caused with the larger firebrand, pummeling the two smaller winged devils into submission seemed a trifle. A fire breathing trifle with razor sharp claws and whipping tail, but a trifle never the less. Clearly, I was in the grip of Alch’s combat elixir.

Taking up my position at the big toe, I swung, and hacked and gave it the full fist! A common Thug would have crumbled at such an siege, but this creature did not give in so easily. It took hundreds of swings and thousands of precisely fired arrows to bring it to the ground. But bring it to the ground we did. It’s ally soon met the same feat, a crumpled heap on the desert.

Just as I was ready to collapse on the ground and relish in the glory of still being alive, Jobe instructed me to skin the beast and confiscate it’s loot.

“Beg pardon? I am at a loss as to how to skin a dragon,” I remarked.

“Just like a wolf,” he said. “Only bigger. With more teeth. And wings.”

Sizing up the animal I worked my around the carcass, looking for the right starting point. This was met by snickering from Alch, as he indicated I was at the wrong end.

Quickly correcting my grievous error, I quickly relocated and began the field dressing process.

This was as brutal a process as drawing the creature out of the sky. It took multiple attempts, but I finally made off with a wealth of riches. At least I assumed they were a wealth of riches. The haunch and neck are considered to be prized items from such a quarry.

With the dragons vanquished and the remains scattered under the sand, I anticipated a festive libation somewhere more safe. But my thoughts were dashed as another dragon streaked across the sky.

“To arms!” Alch yelled. “Have another elixir! It has clearly improved your aim! You are still alive!” Swilling his own bottle of elixir, he let fly a volley of shots clearly meant to antagonize the beast.

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I assure you, I was in the midst of battle the entire time. I only sought higher ground at the very end to take in the scope of this grand achievement.

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I fail to see how my tiny little skinning knife will have any imact on this dreaful beast. That being said, which end do you start from?

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

Since the freed Elves no longer desired my assistance or company, I engaged my time other pursuits. As is usually the case, this lead me to a craggy ruin. As my boots were full of mud and my leggings were in a ruinous state, I felt there was no harm in traipsing through the murky water looking for an entrance. However, this proved rather difficult and put my life in jeopardy more than once.

Although I’m quite sure I contracted an infectious disease from the swamp water, it was the Caiman and Spiders that posed the real danger. They slithered out of the murky depths without being seen, causing much pain and consternation as they got the first strike. The spiders were slightly easier to contend with, but the sting of their venom was no less painful.

My first attempt at entry proved unsuccessful. Although I was quite sure I could leap from rock to window ledge, I overestimated my ability, missed the crucial foothold and took a nasty tumble down the rock embankment.

When I regained my breath and found my senses, I made a second attempt from the right hand side of the ruin. The crumbled rock pile was no less treacherous, but I was able to leap into the structure without needless injury.

Once inside, ravenous spiders came to greet me. Judging by their enormous size, there was plenty to feast upon, but, nevertheless, they eyed me as a tasty meal. I blurred their vision however, with several decisive blows. Once blinded, I made short work of their hairy and hideous bodies.

It was at this point that the rain started to come down and the footing inside the ruin became downright treacherous. So much so, that I fell through the great opening in the floor and came to rest in a heap before a locked gate. Reading the inscription, it revealed I was at the final resting place of the Talhoffer Twins, whoever they are. Defenders of the channel according to the slimy plaque.

“A tomb,” I said. “That means there is treasure about and some sort of outlandish mechanism that locks the door.”

Just to make sure that was indeed the case, I gave the door a sound jostling, but it didn’t budge.

“Very well, I shall have to find the key, lever or some other ridiculous means of entrance. How hard can it be?”

Searching the wall, I found nothing. I surveyed the area looking for a chest. None was to be found. I retraced my way back up the steps, and noted two large statues, the twins by the engravings on the plague. I gave them a sound frisking and turned up no key. I checked all the doors. No key or lever in sight.

In a rather embarrassing bit of frustration, I lashed out at the statue closest to me. Hurling an unsettling barrage of insults and vulgarities, not to mention a multitude of sword swings and kicks from my boots, I raised many objections as to why the key can’t simply be placed under a loose stone or rug.

As my tirade subsided, I noted the statue had moved and I heard a hollow click in the distance.

“Oh I say. Did thrashing the statue cause it to pivot and move on this pedestal and thereby unlock some sort of mechanism which in turn allows me to gain entrance to the vault?”

It was more of a rhetorical question as there was no one there to answer me. But the statue had moved, and I had heard a click. This gave me hope as I moved to the second statue and gave it a sound thrashing as well. It didn’t need the thrashing, but the act gave me great satisfaction and relived the terrible nature of the situation I was in.

Like his confederate, he moved to face out the window and I distinctly heard another click. With much excitement and anticipation, I bounded down the stairs and returned to the tomb entrance. This time, the door swung freely.

From past experience, I stood at the entrance waiting, expecting some sort of trap or for the floor to give way, or a multi-headed beast to come out and try to eat me.

The silence was unnerving. I tried to coax Sir Mud Pie to take the lead but he was in no mood to entertain the idea. That left me to go first, and so I did. My nerves were on edge as I waited for the flame spurt, the poison dart, or for one of the skeletons to rise up and declare vengeance.

But there was none of it. Instead, there was a treasure chest at the end of the tomb, just waiting for me to loot it’s contents. My expectations were low and I wasn’t disappointed. Like so many other chests before it, this contained come soggy reagents, a few gem fragments which I could use for ale money, a small purse of coins and a couple of rusty weapons.

“One of these days,” I said to my boney companions, “I’m going to find a tomb, or ruin, or temple, or dungeon crypt, loaded to the gills with quality gems, pristine swords, majestic armor, and so many sacks of gold coins that I’ll injure myself carting them all out. Once of these days. But for now, I’m taking your gold and trinkets and senselessly squandering them at the first public house I come to.”

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That last leap to the window didn’t end as I had envisioned. However, leaping from the rocks to the window from this angle should be simplicity itself.

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Oh my word, the rain and flotsum from those spiders has made the floors a death trap. But, what have we here? Some sort of secret entrance?

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No idea who these twins are and why anyone would care. But my adventurer senses lead me to believe there is loot afoot and that’s all that’s important.

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Just as I suspected! The old, beat the statue senseless trick has revealed it’s secret!

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If one of you makes a move and leaps out to grab me in some sort of fit of vengeance, just be warned, I have a sword, and I’m fully prepared to use it. Plus, I’ve been in some in unsavory water and you’re likely to contract something terrible and catch your death. Again…

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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