Keli… short for Keli

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    • Markshire PCs:

    Well here I go! I got enough o’ me letters learned now so’s I can make a proper record o’ the crazy things goin’ on ‘round this place! First off, we’s all helpin’ Frank, who is a grippli, which is just another name fer a frog. I think it ain’t his real name. Probably short fer Franklin. I never heard o’ a frog named Frank.

    Anyway, there’s a bunch o’ these frogs livin’ in a camp far out in the woods someplace. I aint’ sure where exactly. I gotta follow someone to get there myself!

    They got this tree, see . . . and it gives ‘em shafts or somethin’ which they needs, so they can make arrows . . . I think. Anyways, their tree was sick ‘cause a huge bug was chewin’ on the roots and suckin’ the life outta it!

    Well . . . me, Bel, Port, Durok, Sun, Voran, Walis and me and Bel, climbed down a hole and whacked that bug somethin’ fierce! I think Port was there too, scribblin’ away. Durok too. ‘cept he was whackin’, not scribblin’. Maybe Kamas and Traudek was there. Ain’t sure. I hope I ain’t left anyone out ‘o the story.

    Well let me tell ya! No matter how much we walloped the bug, we didn’t put a dent in him even! He just kept gnawin’ away at the roots, ign . . .igno . . . uh . . . . payin’ no attention to us at all!

    Frank the frog, seen all o’ this too! He told us we might be able to get some ideas ‘bout how to kill the bug, from an old dragon who’s name was Awful-Itch, or somethin’ like that. He lived in a cave somewhere in Thrym Pass.

    Yup! You guessed it! Last night we all set off ta see this dra . . . . . . . . . (Runs out of ink and utters a few really bad words!)

    • Markshire PCs:

    Did ya know ya can writ a thing down usin’ tobacco juice instead o’ ink? Yup! I just found it out! Ain’t ever buyin’ ink again! Got a little cup I spits into, sittin’ right here on the table where I’m writin’! Dippin’ me quill into it now I is! I can make a fine letter with it!

    Well, where was I? Oh yes! The dragon! Anyways, we went traipsin’ off to see this Awful-Itch, livin’ in his cave out in Thrym’s Pass like I told ya.

    Me and all the boys! Was at least fourteen o’ us! Uh . . . mayhap five or six. I ain’t so good at countin’ things. And Sun too. Sun ain’t no boy. Tough little lady she is! Good with a bow! Me . . . I ain’t got no use fer a bow. Got one, but don’t use it much. Can’t hit a damm thing with it anyways.

    Probably help if I opened me eyes when I’m shootin’ but I always closes my eyes tight when I’m battlin’ somethin’. Can’t help it. Seems to work fer me so I ain’t about to change nothin’.

    So, we gets to the cave in the pass where this dragon’s supposed to be stayin’ and I thought I’d announce our comin’ and I yelled his name I did! I figured mayhap he’s sleepin’ or somethin’ ya know? I mean, why supprise him? How’d you like it if you opened yer eyes and seen a bunch o’ people standin’ ‘round ya with their weapons drawn? I know if t’was me wakin’ up, it’d put me in an awful snit!

    Well! You’d think I set a fire in Father Rychy’s office! Everyone tellin’me ta be quiet, shut up, on and on like that! Walis even put his hand over me mouth he did! Oh . . . I bit him good! Hope his fingers is sore fer a week!

    To make a short story outta a long story, we seen the dragon. He was already awake. We talked to him a bit. Good with words he was! Sounded very ed . . . edu . . . educa . . . . well, he was good with words and I’ll leave it at that. After some dancin’ ‘round the issue a bit, he told us he might be able to help us with the shaftin’ tree! But . . . we’d have’ta collect a few things for him first. Ah! There’s always a rub when yer dealin’ with a dragon!

    Oh geez! Missed the damm cup! Just spit a huge glob o’ tobacco juice right in the middle o’ my writin’! Can’t wipe it, it’ll smudge! I’ll have to wait till it dries before I get on to the rest!

    • Markshire PCs:

    Ahh! Good! Ain’t left much o’ a mark on the parchment at all!

    Anyways, Axel- Fix, he give us a list o’ things he wanted. Why he wanted ‘em I ain’t got no idea. A scroll from some lich livin’ in a crypt under Yar. A gem from some giants. Where they was livin’ I don’t know. And a pair o’ gloves from the king o’ the boogles.

    I think I might o’ spelled ‘boogles’ wrong, but . . . I like the way it sounds when I read it back to meself. Ya know? Boo-gles!

    But the damm dragon wanted even more, he did!! Wait til’ ya hear this part! One o’ us, he didn’t seem to care who, had to defeat him in battle, three times!! Now three’s a bigger number then one! Even I know that!

    We took a vote, and decided ta give this task ta Bel. Well . . .he was just standin ‘round lookin’ like he was half asleep, ya know? Most men is like that. Always lookin as though they’s half asleep. Yup! They’s either stirin’ up trouble, or walkin’ ‘round half asleep.

    (Spits into her cup again before she continues on with the battle between Bel and the Dragon)

    • Markshire PCs:

    With that settled, Bel and the Dragon then starts to circle ‘round each other like two foxes gettin’ ready ta raid a pen full o’ chickens!

    All the time, both o’ them tryin’ hard not to step on Traudek, who had fallin’ asleep right in the middle o’ the floor! They stopped their circlin’, eyed each other a moment . . .

    then all hel broke loose! Oh geez! The noise o’ it! The dragon bellowin’, shootin’ a gassy fire outta his mouth, tryin’ ta burn poor Bel to a crisp! Bel dancin’ and dodgin’ this way and that and screamin’ curses at the top o’ his lungs at Ekel-Foot! Then lungin’ at the dragon, choppin’ away at his feet!

    The two o’ them bangin’ and bouncin’and bumpin’off the walls o’ the cave! Those pointy things stickin’ out o’ the roof crashin’ down on us from all the vibrations Bel and the Dragon was causin’! Sun, standin’ there, popin’ almonds into her mouth like she ain’t had a care in the world or meal in weeks!

    Me and Durok, with our swords ready, waitin’ for the right moment ta rush in and rescue Bell! Port, scribblin’ away as fast as he could! Walis, sulkin’ in a corner, nursin’ his fingers which I had chewed on a bit earlier . . . and on and on!

    (The goop in her cup is running low so she pops another plug of tobacco into her mouth)

    • Markshire PCs:

    (She’s paused with her penning for the moment and is now staring at the cup full of tobacco juice on the table beside her.)

    Hmm. I ain’t never seen so much o’ it in one place like that. I never collected it before like this. Its really disgustin’ lookin’. Stinky too. Smellin’ up me writin it is!

    Usually, when I spits it out I ain’t watchin’ in particular, where its goin’ ya know? Sometimes I gets in trouble fer that. Especially with Ryche. I spit a few times on the Temple floor. Well geez! The way he carries on ‘bout it, you’d think I was bangin’ on the Temple walls with a big hammer, tryin’ ta bring it all down atop his damm head!

    Fun ta have him chase me though! He always gets tangled up in his robes and falls down flat on his face! One time he chased me half way to Yar! He’d trip and fall, I’d stop and wait fer him, laughin’ all the while! He’d pick himself up, shake his fist, scream some very un-priestly things at me, then the both o’ us would start runnin’ all over again!

    A few times I even helped him up! He’d give me a proper thank you, and off we’d go! Him chasin’, me runnin’!
    Ya know . . . Sometimes I think he’s enjoyin’ it just as much as me!

    Now . . . where was I? Oh Bel and the Dragon!

    • Markshire PCs:

    Well I know ya ain’t gonna believe a word o’ this, but as sure as I’m sittin’ here scratchin’ out me story on this piece o’ parchment, Bel put down Axel-Fix the dragon not one, but three times!!

    Oh, Bel whacked him good he did! With no help from any o’ us! He’s good at swingin’ a weapon, I’ll say that fer him! But that wasn’t enough fer the damm dragon! He kept addin’ more things on ta the list o’ stuff he wanted from us!

    And then he decided he was gonna keep poor Bel with him right there in the cave! He told us we could have Bel back when we brung him all the things he’d asked for! So . . . there wasn’t much we could do ‘bout that, ya know? Well short o’ killin’ the dragon anyways.

    But if we killed him . . . well, ya can’t get no secrets ‘bout how ta stop the bug from chompin’ on the roots o’ the shaftin’ tree from a dead dragon, ya know?

    So, we said our goodbyes ta Bel, promised him we’d be back as soon as we could, then we all went off ta look fer the things the dragon needed.

    (Looks at the cup of tobacco juice, reaches over, and pushes it a little further away, sighs and shakes her head.)

    • Markshire PCs:

    I stepped out ta get a bite ta eat and rest me hand from crampin’ up. I ain’t used to all this writin I’m doin’ ya know? Well, I just met Sun and Kyri standin’ in front o’ the Temple in Foothold.

    They’s wantin’ to make a journey ta Arik later. They’s gonna sit down and have a cup o’ tea with old Father McGregger they says! It seems he’s got a lantern or something, Frank the frog is needin’. I don’t think they’s invited, and I’m fairly sure McGregger ain’t wantin’ ta share his tea with no one.

    Ya see . . . I met him once before. A grouchy old coot he is! But I’m gonna tag along with ‘em anyways. I’ll let ya know how it all turns out.

    • Markshire PCs:

    Me and Sun then set off ta fetch the gloves what belonged to the King o’ the boogles. I know, I writ that before. Anyways, Off we went, neither o’ us knowin’ exactly where the boogle cave was.

    I think Sun’s at least as bad as me at findin’ places. I had an old map I once made o’ how to get there but I forgot ta mark which end o’ it was up. But when we found a stream that I’d sketched out with a little squiggle on the parchment, me and Sun knew we was gettin’ kinda close to the Ogre Fortress.

    Now, acordin’ to my map, we either had ta go south east . . . or north west, dependin’ on how ya was holdin’ the map. We picked south east and there it was! The Ogre Fortress!
    We musta killed at least ninety seven o’ those ogres between us, before me and Sun got to the middle o’ the courtyard! Mayhap sixty three o’ ‘em! Which ever number is bigger.

    Then we tore down the steps leadin’ to the mines, and before ya knew it, we was sloshin’ through a long tunnel full o’ foul smellin’ water. I think mayhap the Ogre Castle’s sewers must drain into it from somewhere. Ya know, I been in this tunnel before, and deep into the mines beyond the tunnel, but I ain’t never seen so many boogles in my life as there was that night!

    They must o’ been havin’ a convention or somethin’! They was comin’ at us from all directions! Even droppin’ down on us from off o’ the roof! And Sun . . . well, the girl just don’t miss with that bow o’ hers! We fought our way deeper and deeper and finally, with the two o’ us exhausted and almost outta healin’ kits, leanin’ on each other ta keep from fallin’ down in a heap, there he was! The king o’ all the boogles! Standin’ there in front o’ us, proud as punch, hands on his hips, just darin’ us ta take those gloves away from him!

    It was the way he was standin’ all puffed up and feelin’ so good about himself, that gave us the energy to whack him hard, and down he went! But he had no gloves on him. We looked around a bit and Sun found a box sittin’ behind some huge chunks o’ ice.

    We both cleared the ice, she popped the box open and glory be! The boogle king’s gloves was right there in the box! She grabbed ‘em quick, stuffed ‘em in a safe place, and we made our way out o’ the mines, and back to Foothold.

    • Markshire PCs:

    Late this afternoon, Bel, Walis, Kyri and me and Bel and Walis decided ta make that trip out to Arik to have that cup o’ tea with Father McGregger like I mentioned earlier.

    Well, that part o’ it went well enough, although when we got there, the good Father let us know straight off, we’d get no damm tea from him, and the only thing he’d be givin’ us was a one way ticket ta hel! After sayin’ that, he tried his best ta murder all of us while we was standin’ right in the middle o’ his livin’ room! A nasty man, that McGregger!

    He started whackin’ and we whacked right back. He ain’t had a chance. We put him down quick. There was too many o’ us, ya see. Besides, Kyri had her friend Charlie along too. And we all know what Charlie is capable of! I think McGregger’s just gettin’ old, ya know?

    Anyway, we tore his place apart lookin’ fer the damm lantern what we needs fer Frank the frog and we ain’t seen no lantern there at all.

    We was all kinda upset ‘bout not findin’ it and all o’ us was just itchin’ ta whack somethin’, so we figured it was a good time ta clean out the Giant Shaman Head Quarters which is up the road a bit from McGregger’s home. Well I ain’t sayin’ much about that, except at least we all got our tea.

    Yup! Garm brewed a pot for us! He just set it down on a rock and the water boiled right quick! We sat there with him the rest ‘o the day just starin’ into our cups. None o’ us had much ta say.

    • Markshire PCs:

    (She’s removed the cup of tobacco juice from the table, and placed it in a far corner of her room. Now, when she spits tobacco juice at something, her aim is in fact quite good! But . . . it’s a small cup, and sits approximately eight feet away from where she’s penning her bio. You guessed it! The area ‘round the cup is now getting quite messy!)

    let me see . . . where was I? Yesterday morn, I was sittin’ here writin ‘bout somethin’ what happened last week. Then yesterday afternoon I was sittin’ here writin’ ‘bout yesterday afternoon! Then last night I was writin ‘bout somethin’ what happened later yesterday afternoon! Now its today, and I’m getting’ ready ta writ ‘bout somethin’ what happened last week again!

    Oh geez! It ain’t exactly no cup o’ tea tryin’ ta writ this thing! Me mind can’t get a good hold on it! Makin’ me dizzy it is! The thing is this! I ain’t so good with numbers and all the pages I writ is all mixed up now cause, well, I aint’ knowin’ the right numbers ta mark on ‘em! Those readin’ it’ll have to work it all out fer themselves!

    Been thinkin’ ‘bout lookin’ ‘round fer a teacher to learn me ‘bout numbers. I know’s a few numbers. O’course number one I knows! And four too! I know’s the number four. After that, I ain’t so sure o’ what comes next. Ten I think. I knows ten is a high number. I figure if someone can teach me all the numbers up ta ten, and there must be at least fifteen o’ those, that’ll be fine with me. After all, if you have ten o’ something, that should be enough fer anyone, ya know?

    Gettin’ back to me story, ‘bout Axel-Flinch the dragon now. Well we all col . . coll . . . we got all the things he was wantin’ and marched off to his cave in the pass. We handed everything over to him, he checked all o’ it off on a list, makin’ sure we’d left nothin’ out and then he handed Bel back to us.

    But let me ask yuh? What the hel is he gonna do with a pair o’ boogle gloves that’s ‘bout five sizes too small fer him? Tis a silly thing fer him to be wantin’ those gloves I’m thinkin’. Anyways, like he promised, he gave us a few tips ‘bout how ta kill the huge bug, what was munchin’ away on the roots of the shaftin’ tree.

    I gotta say one more thing ‘bout that last visit to see the dragon. I’m sayin’ it now. Awful-Flux gave Bel back to us right? He also gave us a few secrets on how ta kill the bug, right? And Bel walloped him good three times, right? So . . . we’s kind o’ done with him now, right? And this dragon’s standin’ there watchin’ us, and behind him I’m seein’ at least three, mayhap seven boxes, all filled up with his dragon treasure!

    So I whispers to Walis, that we ought to . . . and there’s at least nine ‘o us, against only one o’ him . . . ya know? Well, the man turned as white as a sheet he did! I thought he was gonna fall right down on the floor o’ the cave in a faint at the thought o’ that! So . . . I just let it go.
    I just don’t understand men I guess. Sometimes they’s such wimps!

    • Markshire PCs:

    Well, now havin’ all o’ Nuckle-Flaxes’ secrets on how ta kill the bug what was nibbilin’ away on the roots o’ the shaftin’ tree, the whole bunch o’ us made our way to the Dragon Inn, a quaint little place, sittin’ on a hill not far from the entrance to the Foothold mines.

    Seems it’s the only way you’re able ta get to where Frank and the rest o’ the frogs is camped. Now, don’t ask me why the hel that is cause I ain’t got no answer fer ya! We all squeezed into Barrelgore’s kitchen, then we closed our eyes real tight, and tapped our heels together three times.

    At least that’s what I did! Don’t know what the rest o’ our group done cause me eyes was closed tight, ya know? Anyways, when we opened our eyes, there we was! Standin’ right in the middle o’ Franklin’s camp! Must be some kind o’ magic bein’ used to do that. I hates magic. It just ain’t dependable, ya know? Sometimes it works, sometimes it don’t.

    We told Frank about our meetin’ with the dragon and what he had ta say ‘bout the huge bug tearin’ away at his tree o’ shaftin’.
    Then Frank set out an assortment o’ acid bombs, acid arrows and the like, and told us ta use all o’ it on the bug ta kill it. So we each grabbed pile o’ the stuff and made our way down a hole that somehow appeared, close ta the shaftin’ tree. Dammed magic again!

    Now me hand’s givin’ me the cramps from all me pennin’, so I’ll writ the rest o’ this down later.

    • Markshire PCs:

    We was down in the cave the week before, so we already knew where the bug was. Only took a few minutes ta get to it. Nobody got lost or nothin’. Mayhap Port. Seems he’s always laggin’ behind. Well, I suppose its hard ta writ and walk at the same time, and he seems ta be always writin’.

    Everyone knows a man can’t do two things at the same time anyways. Sometimes they ain’t so good at doin’ even one thing at a time! But Port caught up to us event . . . eventu . . . uh, right quick.

    Well, there it was! Right in front o’ us! The colossal bug! I mean, really big, ya know? The mother o’ all bugs it was! Munchin’ away on the roots o’ Frank’s damm tree, payin’ no attention ta us whatsoever!

    We crept as close as we could to it, then some o’ us started heavin’ the acid bombs, and others what had bows, let loose with a hail o’ acid arrows! Before long, the bug didn’t look much like a bug no more! It looked ta me, like a gigantic porcupine with quills stickin’ out from all over it!

    And the bombs and arrows was havin’ an effect on it too! Makin’ it sick they was! Did ya know a bug makes a noise when its dyin’? At least the really big ones do. Kinda like a cross between a moan and a sob. I guess the little ones also moans and sobs when they’s dyin’ or hurt. Mayhap they screams too, when they looks up and sees a big boot comin’ down on ‘em ta squish ‘em dead.

    They’s way too small ta hear though I guess. Mayhap you’d hear a tiny squeek or somethin’ if ya got yer ear down close enough to it. But I don’t know how you’d go about stepin’ on it if ya had yer ear so close ta the ground, ya know? Anyways, we killed the bug, and that was that.

    I ain’t felt too good about killin’ a thing what just stood there and let me kill it. Didn’t seem right somehow. I’m used ta something whackin’ right back at me when I’m tryin’ ta kill it. But it ain’t seemed ta bother no one else, so I kept me mouth shut ‘bout that.
    Savin’ Franklin’s tree o’ shaftin’ kinda balanced it all out fer me.

    I guess the bug was just a victim o’ cir . . . circum . . . well, the bug just happened ta be in the wrong place at the wrong time ya know?

    • Markshire PCs:

    ( She’s moved the little table she sits at when writing, as far away as she possibly can from the foul smelling, gooey mess in the corner of her room. Of course the further away she moves from the cup, the less accurate her aim becomes. Well . . . try and picture the rest!)

    Just before we left the cave, we all noticed a bunch o’ oversized hearts sittin’in a big hole near where the roots o’ the shaftin’ tree was. The hearts was all kinda connected up to each other, just beatin’ away. Thumpity thump, thump they was goin’. Now I seen some strange things in my time here, but I ain’t never seen nothin’ like that before, ya know?

    Then we all climbed up outta the cave, includin’ Frankie, who had climbed in with us. He’d tagged along just ta make sure we used the acid bombs and arrows in a proper manner so’s the bug would be exterminated once and fer all. Between you and me, I don’t think Francis was too sure the acid was really gonna work!

    So afterwards, we’s all standin’ by the shaftin’ tree feelin’ good about ourselves that we saved it by killin’ the bug. Then Frankie opens his mouth and tells us the damm tree’s still sick! Killin’ the bug only cured it part way, he says!! Now we’d have to help him do somethin’ ‘bout all those beatin’ hearts in the hole, we seen on the way out!

    Then he pulls out another list, this one even longer then the first one he give us! He’s writ down at least elevendy three more things he’s needin’! He goes on and on ‘bout needin’all these things so’s he can do somethin’ ‘bout about the damm hearts we seen thumpin’ away in the hole in the cave! He says the hearts is somehow connected to the damm tree and causin’ it to de . . .deca . . . ta rot!

    Ohh geez! Ain’t this never gonna end? That’s the last thing any o’ us was wantin’ to hear! Good thing I wasn’t standin’ too close ta Frank, else I woulda fixed him up real good instead o’ fixin’ up the shaftin’ tree! Port had ta grab onto me leg ta hold me back from choppin’ him up into little bits! Well, me leg’s about as high as Port can reach anyways, ya know?

    Can’t writ no more now. I gotta figure what ta do ‘bout that corner over there. *Shudders*

    • Markshire PCs:

    Got the corner cleaned up some. I gotta find a better way ta writ with tobacco juice so’s I won’t be makin’ such a mess. I’ll think hard on it.

    Anyway, I’m skippin’ ahead now from writin’ bout last week ta writtin’ ‘bout last night.

    There’s a few things I want to put down before I forgets ‘em. First off I seen Sam the bard! Remember him? The one what played the lute so nice? Well back he is and I hope he stays awhile too! Mayhap he’ll give Port a lesson or three. Port can’t squeeze one decent note outta his instrument! Not a one! His playin’ sounds all tinny, and outta tune!

    And speakin’ o’ Port, which is now what I’m doin’, the little twerp made a comment ‘bout my backside last night! Can you believe that? He said I had a big one! Why the nerve o’ him! He said it in front o’ everyone he did! The words fell right outta his mouth! I’ll have him know me backside is a perfect fit fer the rest o’ me and I gets enough men whistlin’ at it ta know fer sure there ain’t no one in all o’ Markshire with a nicer one!

    What the hel does he know ‘bout a girls backside anyways? That revoltin’ little gnome, waltzin’ ‘round in his fancy pants and cloak, never digging in and getting’ dirty like the rest of us! Ohh! I got me doubts about him I do!

    And there’s a new girl in town too! Can’t remember her name, ‘cept the first letter o’ it. I think it was the letter ‘N’ I could be wrong. Well all ‘o us, ‘N’, Trau, Sun, Sam, Port and me and Port and Sun and ‘N’ wound up in the Dragon, just sittin’ and yackin’ ‘bout nothin’ in particular. Was just like old times! Ya remember when we used ta do that?

    Just sit ‘round and talk? I miss those times I does! I told ‘N’ ta show up Friday. I said we’d probably be needin’ help runnin’ ‘round lookin’ fer new things Frank decides he’s wantin’.

    • Markshire PCs:

    Last night I dreamed Aels invited all o’ us over fer dinner. We was all gathered ‘round a big table in her kitchen. She was stirrin’ a huge steamin’pot, filled up to the brim with tobacco juice with almonds floatin’ ’round in it!

    Frank’s legs was stickin’ out o’ the pot lookin’ nice and plump and tasty. The other half o’ Frank was hangin’ from the shaftin’ tree which was all hale and healthy and now sittin’ smack in the middle o’ Ael’s front yard!

    Port was there too, with a big white apron wrapped ‘round his middle. He was flittin’ ‘round the kitchen, helpin’ Aels gather the herbs and spices ta throw in the pot and settin’ the table fer all o’ us!

    Funny thing though. It smelled ta me like she was cookin’ cabbage.

    • Markshire PCs:

    . I’m gettin’ back ta last week and I’ll writ ‘bout that now. So . . .

    we’s all standin’ there next to the shaftin’ tree like I said before, our mouths hangin’ open, checkin’ off the stuff on this new list o’ things Frank’s wantin’. Six o’ this, and nine o’ that and shields, and sugar and sand and ice and spider silk and graveyard dirt and oh geez, at least three pages o’ things!

    All the while Port’s holdin’ on tight ta me leg ta keep me from from slaughterin’ the damm frog. Outta the corner o’ me eye I sees a puff o’ smoke, and glory be, Monty walks right out o’ it and into the middle o’ our group! Well . . . mages is known for doin’ those kinda things.

    Anyways, Monty straight off, gets a good grasp o’ all that’s goin’ on with Frank and us and the shaftin’ tree. One o’ the things on Frank’s list we’s needin’ is sleep spells. Yup! Sleep spells! It seems, if we can figure out a way to make the damm tree hib . . .hibre . . . uh, put it to sleep, we’ll be able to slow down the rottin’ whats’ goin’ on inside o’ it. Monty hears that, looks around, and warns everyone to step back a bit. We woulda stepped back anyways, even if he ain’t told us to. I think he closes his eyes when he’s usin’ magic, just like I close mine when I’m whackin’ somethin’. His aim ain’t so good.

    He begins mumblin’ some arcane sleep spell gibberish while swayin’ back and forth, then sparks start to shoot out o’ his fingers, goin’ every which way! A few sparks hit the shaftin’ tree, a few more hit Traudek, who ain’t thought to get far enough outta the way and down he went. But enough o’ the sparks struck the tree to put it ta sleep!

    So, except for Traudek, who was snoozin’ away, right in the middle o’ the field, off we went, ready to begin collectin’ all the things on this new list what Frankie give us.

    • Markshire PCs:

    I seen Port’s note on Hillar’s door today in Foothold so I’m gonna write ‘bout that instead o’ what happened last week. I’ll write ‘bout last week, tomorrow.

    Well, I know’s Sar and Faith’s gonna read it and they’s gonna be as mad as hel about what we done. Invadin’ their home, breakin’ doors, trackin’ mud all over the place. Yankin’ the pictures off the walls, and causin’ a big mess.

    But when he finds out ‘bout why we needs the pictures and how many lives we’s tryin’ ta save, and when he hears the whole story ‘bout the tree o’ shaftin’ and realizes we ain’t had no time ta be sittin’ ‘round just waitin fer him ta come home, I’m sure he’ll understand.

    Besides that, Sun left a pouch full o’ gold right under Port’s note ta cover all the damage we might o’ caused. If it ain’t enough ta cover the cost o’ the new door he’ll be gettin’ and all the things we broke, I’ll be glad ta pay the difference. So would anyone else in our group, I’m thinkin’.

    • Markshire PCs:

    Well I left notes in two spots, fer Sar and Faith. I’m hopin’ they reads ‘em. I appo . . . .appol . . . . I writ in ‘em both, that all o’ us was sorry for the things we broke and the mess we made and how we’d be installin’ ’ a new door and moppin’ up all the mud we tracked ‘round the place.

    I also read the notes left last night by Sar and his wife too. One o’ ‘em stuck onto the door o’ the dragon with a knife! Geez! Was they mad! Funny thing though. Neither one o’ their notes mentioned nothin’ ‘bout the fine and honorable thing all o’ us was doin’ tryin’ ta save the Grippli tribe!

    Not a word about it! Their notes was full o’ threats ‘bout all the things they was gonna do to us when they cought us! Geez! I thought Sar, bein’ the great Champion o’ Thor, defender o’ the people, enemy o’ all things evil would be pattin’ us all on the back and invitin’ us over fer dinner! Even though his house is kind o’ messy now.

    Sounded like they was makin’ a broken door and a floor all tracked up with mud more important then savin the lives o’ all those poor little frogs livin’ out there in the woods! Seemed to me ta be kinda selfish, and small minded o’ ‘em, ya know?

    Well its up to them I guess. Either they can hide in the shadows plannin’ and plottin’ how ‘ta trap each one o’ us then jump out and do their punishin’ but then they’d be no more then thugs and bullies preying’ on the weak ones in our group. In my eyes, Sar sure wouldn’t be too much o’ a Champion then.

    Or, when their anger cools, we could all sit down with ‘em and explain why we done what we done, ya know? Mayhap they’d even help us a little tryin’ ta fix the damm tree o’ shaftin’ if they understood better, what’s been goin’ on. Like I said . . . its up to them. I don’t give a damm what they decides. Either way, I’ll be ready.

    • Markshire PCs:

    Its a new day and I’m gettin’ back ta writin ‘bout last week again. I pushed the notes Sar and Faith left in Foothold fer us, completely outta me mind. Aint gonna worry ‘bout ‘em none. Gonna speak ta Port though. I’m thinkin’ some o’ the things he writs down in his record, aint’ too favorable to our cause, ya know?

    I knows he’s tryin’ ta be fair and objective with his reportin’ but mayhap he could slant his chroniclin’ in a favorable way so’s he’d be helpin’ us a little instead o’ hurtin’. Mayhap he could use italics or somethin’?

    For example, he aint’ writ down a thing ‘bout what we all seen the moment we walked in ta Sar’s house! At least it’s what I seen! First off, the place reeked o’ stale ale, and half eaten dinners, just left out ta rot! Little bugs was crawl’in ‘round all over the stuff! The floor was already a mess!

    Scraps o’ food, dirt and garbage was strewn all over and all we added to it was a bit o’ mud from our boots and I only spit out tobacco juice once or twice, the whole time I was there! Well . . .mayhap four times I spit. Or six. There was a pile o’ dust in each corner and when we took the pictures off the walls, they left a big white mark in the shape o’ a rec . . . rectan . . . a square that someone stretched out sideways!.

    I mean, don’t Faith ever clean up that place? Most o’ the mess in the damm house was there long before we arrived! Why ain’t Port writ that down too? Anyways, Port sure ain’t lookin’ at things the way most o’ the others in our group is lookin’ at things, and I’m gonna have a long talk with him ‘bout it!

    Oh geez! I forgot! I’m supposed ta be writin’ ‘bout last week! Gimmie a minute, will ya?

    (She pops another slug of tobacco into her mouth.)

    • Markshire PCs:

    Over the past week, Bel, Walis Sun, me and Bel and the rest, collected just about all o’ the stuff what Frankie was needin’. Sun had most o’ the things already! She gotta hobby o’ collectin’ things. I ain’t got no idea where she stores all o’ it! I think she’s got a secret place somewhere in the Garden Grotto.

    Anyway, the job they give me was ta find six pieces o’ glacial ice. A special rare ice it was! The purest ice in all o’ Markshire! I figured a good place ta start my lookin’ would be in some caves close by. I had a good idea ‘bout how to get to ‘em.

    One, not too far away with a strong wind always whippin’ through it, just up a bit from Cona and the other always full o’ snakes in the bottom o’ it, just up a bit from Foothold . . . or down a bit from Foothold? Ya know, that’s the reason I gets lost so much! Even though I’m fairly sure I gotta go down a ways to get to a place, somehow I always seems ta be travelin’ up ta get down to it!

    I ain’t expectin’ anybody to understand any o’ that except me, but I’m writin’ it down anyway. Must be somethin’ I inher . . . . picked up from me ma. It ain’t so bad if I got a landmark or somethin’ ta go by, ya know? A little stream or a funny lookin’ tree is really helpful!

    When I sees it I know I’m getting’ close ta where I’m fixin’ ta get to. Anyways, I spent two whole days lookin’ in those damm caves and I didn’t find no special rare glacial ice at all! Then one night last week, me and a bunch o’ us is standin’ round talkin’ and Bel tells me he knows o’ another cave in the mountains north o’ Cona!

    Ta me, that was up from where we was standin’. And he says fer sure they’ll be some glacial ice fer me ta find! And off we went!

    • Markshire PCs:

    If there’s one place in all o’ Markshire I hates ta go to, it’s to the mountains north o’ Cona. Or up from Cona, dependin’ how yer lookin’ at it. Ya see, there ain’t no little streams, or funny lookin’ trees or anything else in those mountains ta guide a person.

    Ain’t nothin’ in those mountains ‘cept rocks, and, to me,each rock lookin’ exactly the same as the next! Now how am I gonna make a map outta that? It would be useless I’m thinkin’. Just a bunch o’ rocks, all the same, scribbled on it. So when I goes to those mountains, It’s best I go with a group o’ people.

    Yup! I gotta be followin’ someone. Else I’m gonna get lost fer sure. When the lot o’ us took off, Bel led, we all followed and it was easy gettin’ there. We run into a few giants on the way, but we put ‘em down quick and soon we was standin’ in front o’ the mouth o’ the cave.

    None o’ us was too anxious to go in . . . we heard noises, scratchin’ and scrapin and moanin’ comin’ from inside. I was standin’ behind Bel, and I gave him a good hard shove towards the entrance and inside he went. Its amazin’ how ya gotta keep pokin’ and proddin’ a man to do somethin’ useful.

    We all waited outside for a moment or two, listinin’ hard, ta hear if somethin’ was killin’ Bel. We ain’t heard him screamin’ or nothin’ so we decided it was safe fer all o’ us, and in we went.

    • Markshire PCs:

    There was tigers in the cave, pretty white ones. They was tryin’ ta bite us so we had ta kill ‘em. A shame it was. Sun, with her bow, and Durok choppin’ away at ‘em took the most. I got a few, nine I think. Mayhap three o’ ‘em.

    Bel, Trau and Voran just stood around with their mouths hangin’ open. Anyways, deeper and deeper we went, and finally, there it was! The special rare glacial ice! A big chunk o’ it! An ice troll was standin’ there guardin’ it. I suppose thinkin’ the ice belonged ta him.

    We had a brief argument, which Sun resolved by placin’ three arrows in his neck, each one not more than a quarter inch away from the next, and before ya could snap yer fingers, I had me first piece o’ special rare glacial ice tucked away safe and cozy, sittin’ atop some small clothes in me pack!

    I looked up and seen where the water was drippin’ down off the roof to form it. A real slow drip, ya know? Drip . . . drip . . . drip. We decided t’would take at least a whole day o’ drippin’ before another big round cube o’ it would form. No sense waitin’ here in the cave, so we all went back ta Foothold.

    Before Bel left, he told me I’d have to be makin’ the trip to the cave without him tomorrow. He had somethin’ else he’d be doin’.
    I think he was a bit annoyed ‘bout me pushin’ him into the cave.

    I went back by myself the next day and the day after. And one more day after that even! Each time, collectin’ another piece of the special rare glacial ice and each time findin’ it harder and harder to locate the cave again!

    Ya know . . . I could swear someone keeps movin’ the damm entrance to a different part o’ the mountain! By Friday, I had four pieces o’ ice. Frankie’s list called for six pieces. I hoped he’d not be checkin’ too close . . .

    • Markshire PCs:

    Friday o’ last week I made me way to Barrelgore’s place, with my special rare glacial ice sittin’ safe in me pack, fixin’ ta meet the rest o’ our little band o’ adventurers. I told ya a few pages back, Barrelgore’s kitchen’s where we gotta go ta get to where Frank and his tribe is camped.

    Walis, Durok and Bel was sittin’ at a table listen’ ta Port, who was standin’ in front o’ ‘em’. He was all animated and excited, wavin’ his arms back and forth and jabbin’ his finger in the air. Seems they was havin’ a dis . . . discu . . . . uh, they was yackin’ ‘bout what you’d call a thing if there was more then one o’ it! Ya know, like if ya seen more then one bird, then you’d say, “Wow! Look at all them birds!”

    T’was the most ridiculous thing I ever heard, listenin to’ those four arguing with each other ‘bout whether ta put an ‘s’ or an ‘en’ after somethin’ your seein’ more then one of! I just don’t think a man’s brain work’s the same way as o’ woman’s. I think most o’ a man’s brain’s just used fer paddin’ ta keep the tiny piece o’ it in the middle, what does the thinkin’ fer him, well protected.

    Yup! Paddin’! I’m sure o’ this cause when ya hits a man on the head, most times he’ll just look at ya with a stupid grin on his face! Ya gotta whack a man really hard ta put him down because o’ all that paddin’!

    Anyways, they’s goin’ on and on ‘bout which is proper. Oxes or oxen? I seen two foxes or a bunch o’ foxen? Oh geez! Well, I’m thinkin’ to myself, what about a goose? For more then one goose you’d be havin’ ta use an entirely different word! Geese! And a whole bunch o’ geese is called a gaggle! And . . . if ya used the word goose as a verb, you ain’t even talkin’ ‘bout a bird no more! T’would have a whole other meanin’!

    So . . . I just stood there listenin’ to all their silliness and didn’t say nothin’. I reminded ‘em Frank might be gettin’ irritated , waitin’ so long fer us. That said, we all walked into Berrelgore’s kitchen, which for some reason this time, was as dark as death, and none o’ us had to close our eyes.

    I tapped me heels together three times, anyways.

    • Markshire PCs:

    And like magic, there we was! Walis, Port, Bel, Durok and me, standin’ in the Grippli camp! Sun, Voran and Trau arrived shortly after. Well . . . ya can only fit so many inta Barrelgore’s kitchen at one time ya know?

    Frankie told us there still was a few more items we’d have to gather. He was now wantin’ some pictures hangin’ in Sar’s house what belonged ta his tribe. They was heir . . heirloo . . . His tribe owned ‘em fer a very long time.

    He told us ages ago, one o’ their leaders scratched out some instructions on the back o’ the canvasses. Grippli Glyph’s they was! They’d explain to us what to do with the special rare glacial ice, McGreggors’ lantern, the bunch o’ rope, the graveyard dirt, and all other stuff we’d collected fer him over the past week.

    I was glad Frank ain’t asked fer the special rare glacial ice straight off, cause I was havin’ a slight problem with it. Ya see, like told ya on another page, I put the ice atop me small clothes in me pack. It was a mistake I made ta put it there.

    The ice’s been sittin’ fer awhile, and now me small clothes is all frozen solid, and stuck fast to the damm ice. Can’t budge ‘em . I told Durok ‘bout it, and he give me a few pair o’ his, and I’m wearin’ ‘em now but they keep slidin’ down off me hips cause with him bein’ a dwarf and all, they’ s just too wide fer me! And besides, they’s all gray, and drab as dirt. No color to ‘em, ya know?

    Anyways, fer sure I can’t wear a dress no more til I get’s this all straightened out. Gonna talk to Sun ‘bout it. I’m sure she’ll be able to make me some new ones what don’t keep slippin’ off o’ me.

    Seems everyone in Markshire knows where we went and what happened next so I’m thinkin’ I ain’t gotta write ‘bout that part. We returned to Frankie’s camp with the pictures he was wantin’ and he int . . . interpa . . . uh, told us what all the squiggly lines and funny images meant what was drawn on the back o’ each canvas.

    Now we was ready to climb down in the cavern under the shaftin’ tree to try our hand at stoppin’ all those hearts and tubes and stuff beatin’ and belchin’ away, down below in that pit. ‘Cept fer Voran. He got tired and went home ta bed.

    Just before we went down, Port told me he had somethin’ fer me what he thought might help me some. He pointed to a bag sittin’ on the ground in front o’ him. I peeked in it, but carefully, cause I ain’t never quite sure o’ just what Port’s plannin’ ta do next.

    Well oh geez! Sittin’ in the bag was a new helm! And decorated in colors that matched perfect with what I was wearin’! The words, “Headband of Intellect” was scribed in big bold letters right across the front o’ it! Why how thoughtful o’ him! I bent down and gave the little gnome a big kiss square on top o’ his head!

    Ohh! He blushed somethin’ awful he did! I think it might o’ been the first time ever, he’d been kissed by a girl! Out came his lute, and he danced a little jig, all the while pluckin’ away and singin’ a sweet tune ‘bout me! It was so nice! And his playin’ ain’t sounded tinny ta me at all, like I said a few pages back! I decided right then, ta forgive him fer tellin’ everyone I had a big backside a few days ago!

    • Markshire PCs:

    So much happened yesterday, which was Friday, I’m gonna writ ‘bout that instead o’ last week. I’ll writ ‘bout last week and how things went with us tryin’ to stop all them beatin’ hearts in the cavern, tomorrow.

    I spent most all o’ Friday mornin’ choppin’ away at the Demon Skull orcs in in their cave just down a bit from Foothold. Ya see, skulls was one o’ the things writ down on Frankie’s list and fer some reason he needed a bunch o’ ‘em! By the time I left, I had a few bags full o’ skulls and I headed back to Foothold.

    I stopped in the Temple, o’ course checkin’ first to see if Father Ryche was around. I told ya he don’t like me much. I ain’t seen him so in I went. Sun was standin’ there chewin’ on some almonds and we said hello. I knew she was a fine seam-stress, so straight away I told her ‘bout my dilem . . . uh, problem not havin’ no small clothes ta wear.

    I told her Durok had give me some o’ his but they was always fallin’ off and that he must o’ had ‘em made outta canvas, or burlap or somethin’ cause now they was chafin’ and scratchin’ me somethin’ awful! She gave me a very funny look, then took some measurements ‘o me waist, and some other parts o’ me. She told me she could make me some nice ones outta silk and even dye ‘em in all me favorite colors!

    Well, oh geez, white cotton drawers woulda been fine, but what girl is gonna pass up a chance to have a few pair o’ silk undies, and each one a pretty color! I asked her if she could rush the makin’ o’ ‘em along a bit bein’ it was kind o’ an emer . . . uh I was needin’ ‘em real bad. She said she’d do her best, but they’d take most o’ the day ta make, and because o’ that, she’d be late tonight for our meetin’ with Frankie.

    So she gave me all the stuff she’d collected for him includin’ some knuckles she bought from Aels-witch a few hours ago. Ya see, Frank’s got just ‘bout everyone in Foothold workin’ hard fer him!
    That evenin’ I set off to the Dragon Inn. I knew the rest o’ our group would be watin’ there, preparin’ to make the journey to meet Frank and the rest o’ the frogs in their camp.

    Voran, Durok, Walis, Bel and Port was there and I greeted the bunch o’ ‘em. I took a seat in the corner, ordered an ale, and oh geez, who walks in and right up to our table but Sar and Faith! Yup! The two o’ them now standin’ there in front o’ us bold as brass! Ohhhh Geeeez!

    (She uses a ladle to re-fill her cup with tobacco juice, from a spittoon which she now keeps outside on the porch.)

    • Markshire PCs:

    Well bein’ the kind and neighborly sort o’ person I am, the first thing I thunk of, was to invite both o’ ‘em ta sit down and have an ale with us! Fer me, it seemed like the proper thing to do. Sar wasn’t havin’ none o’ that. Uh uh! He give me one o’ his steely looks and asked me ta give him a good reason why he should sit down with the likes o’ us!
    Oh geez! I could see things was about to go down hill real fast, and I decided I was not wantin’ to be a part o’ it. So I got up from where I was sittin’ and began to make my way towards the door, tellin’ everyone I needed a breath o’ fresh air. As I was leavin’, Sar, in that loud commandin’ voice o’ his, screamed at me not to go any place ‘cept right back to the damm table I’d just got up from, and sit myself down!

    Well Let me tell all o’ ya somethin’ ‘bout me ya might not know. The day a man . . . any man, takes to screamin’ at me, thinkin’ I’m gonna jump quick to do the thing he’s yellin’ at me to do, will be the same day everyone is lookin’ up in the sky, and seein’ a bunch o’ cows jumpin’ over the moon! Purple cows! Ya know? It just ain’t gonna happen! Never!

    So I ig . . . igno . . . . paid no attention to his screamin’ and just kept walkin’. Soon I was standin’ outside the Dragon Inn, breathin’ deep, and enjoyin’ the cool crisp Markshire air. Bein’ outside I couldn’t hear much o’ what was goin’ on inside, mayhap a few words or two, most all o’ them really loud, ya know?

    All men is like that when they’s tryin’ ta settle a thing between ‘em. When things ain’t goin’ their way, straight off, they start screamin’ and carryin’ on. I got two little nep . . . neph . . . uh my oldest brother’s kids. Both boys. One four, the other six. When somethin’ ain’t goin’ their way, they does the same. But they also throws themselves on the floor too, and bangs their heels real hard and fast on it. Rat- a –tat –tat!

    I closed me eyes and imag . . uh pictured all the men inside the Dragon layin’ down and lined up in a row, , all o’ ‘em screamin’ loud and bangin’ away on the floor with their heels! ‘Cept fer Faith. She was just sandin’ there watchin’ ‘em and shakin’ her head back and forth. Anyways, that’s what I was seein’ with me eyes shut tight. Made me laugh it did!

    A short time after, Sar and Faith came out, Sar walked over ta me and . . . I think he said somethin’. I ain’t too sure, cause fer some reason, me ears got all clogged up from some kinda green haze what came outta nowhere distortin’ all the sound. Through the green haze, I think he said ta me I should never ever speak to him again.

    He ain’t exactly used those words, but they’s close enough to what he said fer ya to get the gist o’ it. Some o’ the words he used, I don’t even know how to spell so I ain’t writ ‘em down. Some others I ain’t even knowin’ what they meant, ya know? I’ll have to ask someone, I guess. I’ll tell ya! That green haze is some powerful stuff!

    With that, Sar and Faith walked off and I walked back into the Dragon Inn.

    The boys was sittin’ there waitin’ and ready to pay our weekly visit to Frankie. Before we left, someone suggested we try one more time to appo . . . uh, say we’s sorry to Faith and Sar ‘bout messin’ up their house. Their place wasn’t too far outta the way and there was a chance if we could make things right with them, Faith, would invite all o’ us in fer a bite to eat!

    Well I’ll tell ya! A man’ll agree to do just about anything if he thinks he’s gonna wind up with a belly full o’ somethin’ fer doin’ it! The vote was nine to zero in favor o’ goin’ to Sar’s house to tell them we was sorry one more time! Or six to zero. I forgot how many o’ us there was. Anyways, off we went!

    I ain’t counted meself in the vote cause I ain’t sure a woman is allowed ta do that here. Ya know? Vote on somethin’.

    • Markshire PCs:

    When we got to their house, Sar and Faith was standin’ by the door. We all said hello and told ‘em again we was sorry fer what we did. Then we asked Faith if she might have a bit o’ food fer us to eat, cause all o’ the walkin’ we did ta get there had made us hungry.

    Walis, thinkin’ mayhap there was a chance o’ a meal, was now standin’ there with a dumb look on his face, his mouth half open with drool dribblin’ outta it onto his breast plate! Faith accepted our appol . . . our tellin’ her we was sorry and said she’d be glad ta fix us somethin’!

    Then she invited us inside! I set about helpin’ her in the kitchen while the others found seats around a huge oak table in their dinin’ ‘room. ‘Cept fer Port who put away his quill and parchment, and went about setin’ the table fer everyone. Voran saved the seat next to him for me.

    Soon we was munchin’ away on a delicious salad, full o’ greens and tomatoes and bits o’ cheese with chopped up red onions and some oil and vin . . sour stuff what made me lips pucker, drizzled all over the top o’ it. Faith told us the salad was named after some great tribal leader who lived ages ago, far to the south o’ Markshire!

    So nice she was, sittin’ there at the head o’ the table chatterin’ away and bein’ all sweet and sugary just like a little cup cake! She was a perfect hostess!

    After dinner Frank popped in ta say hello and thank Faith and Sar for keepin’ the paintings which belonged to his clan, in such good condition. Frankie said it was proper and customary to offer a nice gift to those who helped his people and he had one for Faith! He dug deep into his pack and came out with a rare old relic, a Magic Ceremonial Stick o’ Poo!

    Faith’s eyes lit up and you could see she was as pleased as punch with Frank’s gift! I ain’t thinkin’ Faith was too sure o’ just what it was, ya know? But I knew all about that stick and had ta turn away, ta keep from laughin out loud! Ya see, Frankie give me one just like it a few weeks back! I guess they ain’t really so rare.

    Anyways I had a devil o’ a time with mine! Every time I went ta put it down it kept poppin’ right back into me hand again! The only thing that worked was ta lay it on the ground then jump on it real quick! As long as ya stood there on top o’ it, it couldn’t move nowhere. It took three days fer the magic in it ta finally wear off!

    I also noticed when Frankie handed the stick ta Faith, he was holdin’ onto the good end! I was chokin’ tryin’ ta hold back me laughter! Faith thanked Frank and locked the Ceremonial Stick o’ Poo away in a trunk she kept in a corner o’ the room.

    Before we left for the Grippli camp I told Faith not ta be stirrin’ no pot o’ soup with the stick Frankie’ gave her.

    • Markshire PCs:

    Now there’s much more we done after we left Faith’s house last Friday. Before I get to writin’ ‘bout it, I should mention we did manage ta stop those thumpin hearts and tubes and extin . . . extingu . . . uh, put out the pots o’ fire in the cavern beneath the shaftin’ tree last week.

    Instructions on the back o’ one of the pictures we took from Sar’s house told us what things from Frankie’s list ta bring down with us, and how ta use ‘em to silence the hearts and douse the pots o’ fire. Sun and Traudek done most o’ the work.

    Trau would toss a bottle o’ graveyard dirt out over the hole, then Sun would let loose an arrow tryin’ ta hit the bottle and shatter it so the dirt would spread out nice and even over everythin’ below.

    I was directly across from the two o’ them and fannin’ away with me cloak, on the special rare glacial ice I brung. My fannin’ was causin’ a cool breeze ta flow over the fires in the pit and coolin’ everything down.

    I had a good spot on the edge o’ the pit, bein’ close to the fires and all . . . but had ta keep dodgin’ Sun’s arrows what came flyin’ straight across at me whenever she missed a damm bottle!

    Bel and Walis was just standin’ there watchin’us and snickerin’ while Port was busy scribblin’ away makin’ a record o’ it all. After awhile, between my fannin’ Trau’s tossin’ and Sun’s shootin’ like I said, we finally put an end to the evil mess o’ stuff in that pit.

    • Markshire PCs:

    Now I’m gonna’ get back ta what happened when we left Faith’s house. First off, Frankie’ tells us there ain’t gonna be no wagon takin’ us to his camp. He said we’ll have ta walk. He said the price o’ oats fer the horses what pulls the wagons is goin’ up sky high.

    For a trip like that, he’d have ta feed ‘em first and it would be too ex . . .expen . . . uh, the trip’ll cost to much . Ya see, here in Markshire, oats don’t grow so good. Oh, they get’s a few ta pop up here and there but most o’ the oats fer the horses is imported, ya know?

    Geez! You’d think Lord Mark and the rest o’ them would come up with somethin’ ta keep us from havin’ to depend so much on foreign oats!

    Anyways, we started trudgin’ along to Frankies’ camp in the forest and it took so damm long ta get there, Walis started grumblin’ ‘bout bein’ hungry again!

    Then Frankie’ tells us we’ll have to make one more trip down in the cavern! Yup! Now he says we’s gotta pur . . . uh, clean up all the water in it, so’s the damm shaftin’ tree’ll have somethin’ untainted fer its roots ta suck up! Oh geez! I’m really gettin’ ta hate that cavern!

    He’s translated some more o’ the writin’ on the backs o’ those canvases I told ya ‘bout earlier, and has a list o’ stuff we’ll be needin’ to make the water in the cavern sparkle again.

    So we starts ta make our way toward the hole by the shaftin’ tree, ready to climb down into the cavern, and Frankie says we can’t use that hole to get there. He says we gotta use another hole a good distance away and hands us a map with directions on how ta get to it.

    All the boys study the map o’ where this new hole is, and Bel says from the looks o’ where someone put the X, the damm hole is sittin’ smack in the middle o’ a goblin stronghold! Oh geez!

    Well, walkin’ don’t bother me none, since I took off those gray burlap sacks what Durok give me that was chafin’ and scratchin’ everywhere they touched. So . . . now I ain’t wearin’ nothin’ underneath and I’m gonna stay like this til Sun’ gets my new fancy silk ones all finished! As long as I got me armor on no one knows the difference anyway.

    So with Bel leadin’ the way, me and the rest o’ us set off for the goblin camp.

    • Markshire PCs:

    First off, let me tell ya all, its impossible fer anyone ta sneak up on a goblin camp. You just can’t do it.The goblins always knows when yer gettin’ close ‘cause the worgs patrollin’ ‘round the edge o’ it’ll growl a warnin’.

    A worg’s somethin’ like a wolf, only much larger, havin’ huge fangs, and red eyes and they’s all covered up with fur as black as night! They’s very smart and mean too! I heard a worg’ll set about feedin’ on a thing straight off, without even botherin’ ta kill it first! Yup! If they gets ya down, they’ll start gnawin’ away, tearin’ off and swallowin’ huge chunks ‘o you while yer still twistin’ and screamin’ tryin’ to escape from it!

    And a worg’s got a really good nose too! They can smell a thing comin’ from far away and they lets the goblins know ‘bout it. Anyway, they could smell us comin’. ‘Cept Me o’ course, cause I ain’t got no odor at all. But . . . I guess the fellas are wantin’ me ta smell a little bit ya know? Cause they’s always handin me bottles o’ perfume ta use.

    Now I’ve always had a few flies buzzin’ ‘round me head and I’m used to that. But until ‘Nitha told me not to use a whole bottle o’ perfume at once, and just to dab it here and there, I had legions o’ flies followin’ me ‘round everywhere! I guess flies likes the smell o’ lilacs.

    Anyways, the worgs smelled a bunch o’ men, and Sun and a huge field o’ lilacs approachin’ the camp and they growled their warnin’ to the goblins. And, oh geez, the battle was on!

    Out from behind the trees they came! Ridin’ straight at us atop their worgs! Bangin’ hard on their shields ta frighten us, shoutin’ and screechin’ their war chants, shootin’ arrows and flingin’ spears! Oh geez!

    Their worgs was snarlin’ and snappin’ and tryin’ to grab an arm or leg what was stickin’ out from behind our shields! Goblin Shamans was poppin’ up everywhere hurlin’ spell after spell at us! And eleite goblins, the ones they send away fer special trainin’, was there too! Spittin’ on us and screamin’ curses in their high pitched voices’ and whackin’ away, tryin’ to murder us with their axes!

    It was hard fer us ta keep our footin’ and we was slippin’ and slidin’ every which way cause o’ all the blood and guts collectin’ on the ground from the fight! Wave after wave o’ ‘em, charged us! Each one fiercer and more deadly than the last! I ain’t never seen so many goblins in one place before! Finally, after what seemed hours, we finished ‘em off.

    We took a short rest to bandage ourselves up and clean the blood from our weapons. But poor Voran was missin’! We looked around and Bel seen one o’ Voran’s legs stickin’ out from under a huge pile o’ dead goblins nearby.

    He was dead too but three o’ us grabbed his leg and yanked him out, brushed the gore off o’ him and brought him back to us, with a Raise Dead scroll. Then we went about lookin’ fer the hole that led down to the cavern.

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