Seriously, I can’t believe that I am stuck here with a bunch of clumsy, lumbering Bigs who couldn’t avoid being seen by a blind ogre on a moonless night! Once again, I have started in the middle – let’s back up a bit.
Last we left off, we were shipwrecked in a strange land full of flesh-hungry dogs and people who use freaking stone as money. Well, we awoke in Kester’s house and he was gone – vanished in the night without even bothering to leave a note. Since we were his guests, I decided to let his stash of 30 kingstone stay in its terrible hiding place (under the bed! Kids these days, with no imagination or creativity!). Once again, the Bigs wanted to take off to the forest to go exploring, so being the magnanimous leader that I am, I relented and off we went, the fightin’ foursome that we are.
On the way out, the guard stopped us. We were prepared to offer another dogskin or two to slide by, but this time, the guard said that the Lord wanted to see us, and he was under strict orders to haul us in. Not that he could have single-handedly overpowered us, but I have learned in my time to avoid killing guards, cause that just brings more guards and more guards equals more trouble. Luther managed to sweet-talk the dull sap into letting us leave, promising that we wouldn’t return. I knew he was lying, because I, for one, am not planning on spending the rest of my life away from the joys of civilization, limited though they may be in that town.
Shocker of all shocks, we ran into dogs, this time larger than before. Thorfinn once again made the forest plants entangle some of them, so we didn’t have to fight them all at once. For a Big, he sure can come in handy when in the forest, but would he be that useful in another environment? That remains to be seen. Brieza was impressive with her bow, once again. And Yours Truly was naturally awesome with my sling, but no one expects anything less.
After disposing of the dogs, we continued to walk deeper into the woods, and my mind once again wondered to crafting a saddle for Thorfinn’s puppy. I really don’t think it would be that hard, and the pooch seems to be very well-trained, even in battle. I could certainly learn to fight from the saddle – I have heard stories of elves and others fighting from horseback, so how much harder could it be… Thorfinn still seems opposed to it, but maybe, just maybe, his resistance could be worn down. We shall see.
As we made our way deeper into the woods, we came upon a clearing and a ramshackle building. We found a few dead bodies, which was unpleasant. I picked up a hatchet that seemed to be in pretty good shape, because I learned at a young age that you can never have too many weapons. As soon as I take my whet stone to it, it will be sharp and good as new – either to use or sell.
We entered the building, and it appeared empty. I shouted, "HELLO!!’ to no response, so we figured it was abandoned. We poked around a little, then I decided to sneak upstairs and have a peek at the loft. HOLY GOBLIN BALLS, there were three creatures up there. Dog heads, but Big-sized bodies, just staring at the opening, holding weapons. Of course, I managed to avoid detection because… well, because unlike these other lumbering fools I know how to remain unseen if necessary.
Then, the most amazing thing happened. Luther decided to amble up the stairs and put on a concert for them. I was thinking that the guy had a suicide wish, because now sounded like a bad time to play a ballad, but that’s exactly what he did. Maybe he is magic or something, but lo and behold, those creatures were completely enraptured with him! In fact, he led them down from the loft and out into the yard, then we all got into the house and they stood confused for a little bit, then just wandered off. That Luther has some major tricks up his sleeves, and I need to remember to NEVER play dice with that cat.
We figured out that the building was some sort of lumber camp, but we had no idea what happened to the dead folks. We decided to bar the door and stay the night in the building, since there was only one window. After we began to settle down, we heard Her. Now I am still not certain who she is, but she approached from the woods. I got on the roof with Luther and readied my trusty sling, because she brought those dogs with her. She was not happy that we were here, and has some powerful magiks that make Thorfinn’s dancing weeds look like child’s play. She made a blast of lightning and a tree fell RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE DOOR of the building. Could have squished us all! But she didn’t kill us, because Luther and his slick, silver tongue managed to get her into a conversation, where we found out that this was her piece of real estate before the town was there, and she was unappreciative of folks killing all her dogs (although to be honest, the dogs did attack us first). She seemed willing to help calm the weird weather at sea so we could escape, if we could convince the townsfolk to stay out of the woods and allow her to come close enough to work her magiks. All in all, she seemed kinda pleasant, for a witch.
We agreed to try to help, and she promised us safe passage out of the forest, and back in once we had a deal in place. Well, at least we are one step closer to leaving this gods-forsaken place.
The next morning, we made our way back, once again confronted by the guard. Knowing that there would likely be trouble, I thought it best to hide myself, so that we could ensure that at least one of us would be able to surprise the guard should there be need for surprise. Well, Luther was unable to sweet-talk his way past the guard, who promptly called a few of his portly buddies over to arrest them. Yep, they got arrested, weapons confiscated, the whole bit. The doggy stayed outside the walls with me until the guards started hauling them in, which is when I took the opportunity to sneak undetected into town. What a mess these Bigs have gotten themselves into now!
After unsuccessfully trying to bring the puppy with me (would have been easier if I were in a saddle), I made my way to Kestor’s place, being that it was the only place I knew in the city. I waited until dark, trying to figure out how I was going to save the hides of those other clumsy oafs. Since I might need some extra money, I figured that Kestor would gladly help us out, so I got a few of the kingstone from his hiding place to add to my stash. Never know when you might need to grease a few palms, or be in need of some supplies.
At dark, I made my way to the prison, which didn’t take long to find. Every city is basically the same, and I have seen my fair share of prisons — from both the inside and the outside. It wasn’t difficult to hide from the few patrols that were out, and I noticed that there was only one guard at the front door. I dragged a box around back, and looked into each cell until I found my companions. While I was busily figuring out how to spring them, it looks like they decided to bet into a brawl with their cellmates, like some kind of drunken brutes in a local tavern. I said it before and i’ll say it again – I’m stuck with a bunch of Neanderthals.
Lucky for them, I was able to break into — yes, INTO — the prison, and then I set to examine the lock that held them in. It was a quality lock on the door, but nothing exceptional – a very common make, if slightly above average material and fairly decent craftsmanship. Of course, you could need more than slightly above average to stop me from unlocking it. I got out my gear, asked the others to back off and give me room to work, and in the blink of an eye, I got the door open. The Bigs decided to also let one of the fellows in their cell escape, some guy they talked to while in there, but I didn’t have time to be caught up on everything right then. Kestor was in a nearby cell, but that door had must have been crafted by a Master Dwarven Smith of some bygone era, because I could not even come close to letting him out. Well, at least that means he won’t miss that kingstone he donated to our cause.
Well, getting the Bigs out of the cell was only one half of getting them free. There was still the case of the guard at the front door. And of course, it was up to me to figure out how to make this happen. I snuck back OUT of prison, through the same cell window that I came in, and then thought about how to get the guard away from the door. I thought about lighting a fire, but there were no nearby buildings, and that would cause too much of a scene. I needed to get just that guard away from his post.
While I hate — HATE — being confused for a child of a Big, I figured that this was the best way to help my crew. So I ran up to the guard and breathlessly told him that my papa was being robbed and he was hurt and he needed help RIGHT AWAY! unfortunately, the big lug locked the prison door before he came to help me. I ran through the town, slowly creating more distance between us, constantly yelling for him to hurry and help. Once I got him far enough away from the prison, I skirted through the alleys and backtracked to the prison. By the time I got back, the Bigs had rammed through the door, creating more noise than a band of drunken minotaurs at a brothel.
Thorfinn immediately ran to the edge of town to retrieve his puppy. Luther and Brieza decided to go see Lord Thomas, while I decided to head back to Kestor’s, being the only safe place we knew of. After a little while, Thorfinn showed up, and convinced me that we should probably try to join the others with Lord Thomas, despite it being the middle of the night. I reluctantly agreed.
We made our way to the base of the hill, and a guard confronted us. I tried to talk to him like Luther does, but to no avail. I even tried to intimidate him! No luck. But when his companion came back down, he agreed to take us to rejoin Luther and Brieza. I gave the other guard a gaze that would make the Dark One shiver in his skivvies.
We ended up meeting with Lord Thomas, who seemed happy to see us, but unhappy at the hour. Well, leadership can be tough – don’t I know! He told us of some problems he is having in his mine, and we agreed to help, wanting to get on his good side before broaching the topic of the forest witch, who Lord Thomas HATES with a passion. While there, we learned that Kestor sucks as a person. He not only paid us with counterfeit money, but he is also the one who ratted us out to the guards. I would be ok with just the fake money, because someone like me would use that for noble purposes. But to try to scam us, and then to turn us in! The nerve on that guy. So I told the Lord where Kestor keeps his stash of fake money, because screw that guy. The Lord was kind enough to give us a one-to-one trade for real kingstone, since we were gonna help him out with the mine issues.
We eventually made our way back to the Inn, where everyone else’s weapons and armor were waiting for them (mine, of course, were with me the whole time because I am not clumsy enough to get caught).
So that’s where things stand. If not for me, who knows how long they would have rotted in jail. They sure are lucky I’m here, and I am sure I’ll help them out of a few more jams before we leave this gods-forsaken place.