November 12, 2006

Nebrion's Quest

Chapter 9: Gypsies, Were-cats, and Bears - Oh my!

By Douglas E. Gogerty

We were now outside. We were in the elements. The ranger in our party was quite happy now. I guess if she is happy, that is better for all of us. However, since we are now outside, we have a completely different set of problems. For instance, where do we go if it starts to rain? Gudrid may be happy sleeping in a puddle of water, but I would rather have a nice warm bed with a roof over it.

Not only that, but with four walls, you can be aware of your security when you rest. Out in the open, someone must keep watch. The spell casters need their rest to be able to concentrate when the time comes. That means that I always have a shift at the watch. Let me tell you, there is no money in that. Of course, I do not sleep that much anyway, but it is the principle of the thing.

Another thing about being outside is the change of encounters. I guess that is a good thing. I think I had my fill with orcs, abomination, and the like. However, now we can be walking along and a 14-foot tall grizzly bear will charge us. That changes your perspective in a hurry.

When we left the castle, we entered a pleasant forest glen. I do not know why someone named this forest 'Glen' but they did. It must have been some sort of lineman for the county.

It was good to see the sun again. A band of gypsy bandits halted our pleasant walk. Let me tell you, they were a grumpy bunch. We had just fought our way out of the mines, dungeon, and castle starting without weaponry, and now we faced some bandits who wanted all our things. Not to mention, we looked like lizard people.

This did not sit well with Jean. Paladins are like that. With her pleasant little lizard female roar, she cut through those bandits like a warm knife through rendered pork fat. Before Glaf could yell "Saleenus Salatt Ska" and bring down an ice storm, she had finished them off. Naturally, the ice storm came anyway.

I found out why these bandits were so desperate. They had nothing. They did not have a single gold piece with them. All they had were a few scraps of food. They should have packed up and left a long time ago. Dieing is not much of a way to make a living. Now they are going to feed the wolves.

After we took care of the gypsies, we continued our journey towards the town. We found a hidden trail and followed it. It led up a steep slope not far from the gypsy camp. After a short walk, we found a well-secured windmill and cabin. Well, that was until I got there. The owners put a tricky lock on the door, and they placed a trap on the door. This did its jobs of keeping those bandits out, but it was no match for me.

When we got inside, we had to fend off some spiders and rats. It appeared that the residents had not been there in quite a while. Thus, I thought we should make ourselves at home. I started a fire in the stove after I killed the spider that was living in the woodpile. We ate a nice meal and discussed strategy.

No one knew where we were. Thus, we had no clue where the town was. We did not think it would be far, but which direction should we go? I said we should go north. You always go north when you are lost. As usual, I was out-voted. For some reason, I have the feeling they do not trust me.

We were going to rest up in the windmill and then be on our way in the morning. They had a nice soft bed with an animal skin blanket. Since I was always on watch, I was taking the bed. I offered to share with Jean or Gudrid, but they declined the offer.

After we broke our fast in the morning, we headed south. We walked quite a distance, and we came to an enormous lake. Unless we were going to take the docked boat, we were not going to go any farther south. Naturally, I did not tell them that I told them so. I was a grownup about it. I would never gloat about being right. I would never smile smugly and taunt them.

We did search the boat for any maps of the area. Unfortunately, we only found navigational charts. Did anyone even know the name of the town we were looking for? How did we know it was not on the navigational charts if we did not know the name of the town?

Instead of arguing with them, I searched the rest of the boat. It was loaded with some local concoctions. On this ship, they had cases of ale, wine, and other spirits. The ship could be quite the party barge. Jean forbade me to take the alcohol, but what she does not know will not hurt her. It was a mighty tasty ale.

Since south was a dead end, we had to back track. Since this trip was all for naught, I suggested we spend another night at the windmill. However, they thought more gypsies would have shown up. So, instead we headed northwest to avoid the devastated gypsy camp.

I do not know why I bother to give suggestions. They just ignore them. Perhaps some day they will learn.

We walked for quite a while, and we came upon this ring in the forest. It looked like some sort of druid temple. However, it had been taken over for some nefarious purpose. Druids would not burn trees and spread the ashes in the shape of a five-pointed star.

In the center of the star was a foul smelling cauldron. Around the bubbling pot, strangely dressed humans danced and chanted. A couple of mechanical men guarded the temple. That was another sign these people were not druids.

I snuck in to get a closer look. I did not know what they were up to, but it certainly had to be trouble. Gudrid was incensed at the desecration of a druid temple, and before we could devise a battle strategy, she was off.

As the full moon came out, it was obvious what they were doing. They were were-people. Some were cats, some were wolves, and some were other strange creatures. That is just what we needed. We needed to fight a bunch of werewolves in this forest.

We had surprise on our side, and we made quick work of them. The golems were difficult, but Gudrid ignored them and went right after the worshipers. Jean, Thorvald and I pounded on the mechanical beasts while Gudrid and Glaf fought the others.

I was longing for the windmill as clouds began to roll in. The full moon had a ring around it, and that meant it would rain soon. There was no shelter to be found. We were going to get wet. What does Gudrid see in this great outdoors? I will take a nice inn any day. If this keeps up, I might go back to the orcish dungeon. Who knows what else we will find wandering about in the woods?

Posted by deg at November 12, 2006 8:30 PM

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