Birras, Year 1077 after the battle of Maketon

The Half Elf, Volume I

Chapter I

“Oi Talos, what’s your poison? Drink’s on me”

After another day out in the fields, checking for bandits and any beasts posing a threat to the town, Talos had managed to slaughter a Great Wild Boar single handily, much to the surprise of practically every other Hemo Ranger. Jae, the leader of the Rangers, had promised Talos a drink in return for his strength, or perhaps recklessness. However, what neither Jae nor Talos had imagined was what would happen to the latter shortly after his drink was served…

Moments after the ale was touching Talos’s lips, he suddenly realized he was no longer in the tavern, he was no longer with Jae and the other rangers, and he certainly didn’t have any ale in his hand. Moreover, he was under a heap of clothes and skin, buried as if in his grave. He could just about pick up voices outside, speaking in Common. Then an elbow came from above his head and smashed into his shoulder blade, forcing him to yelp out in pain. The voices stopped, and Talos heard footsteps approaching. The sheets were lifted, and a short, dwarvish-like figure was standing at the other side, looking highly suspicious of the bodies now under the heap. Talos looked sheepish, before an elf, currently situated right next to Talos, clambered out of the heap and fell on a wooden floor.

The cart at this point had stopped, and both Talos and another figure, a human dressed in armour, also managed to get themselves from out under the bundle. The dwarvish-figure asked them all in Common how they had managed to get there, but before he finished speaking the elf spoke up.

“Excuse me? Where the hell have you brought us to? I certainly wasn’t here a moment ago.”

The dwarf looked again puzzled, before returning to the front of the cart to speak to another. Before long, the dwarf ordered the three to get out of the cart. The one whom the dwarf was talking to, a female half-elf, turned around and talked to the three in Common.

“My Duergar here says that you lot have no idea how you got here. Is that correct?”

Talos nodded, and the half-elf continued. He remembered now, someone telling him how easy it is to get a dwarf and a duergar confused.

“Hm. Well, I dare say none of you look like you’re here for our blood. I can only assume that some local wizard has decided to play a trick on us. Nevertheless, I will ask you one thing. Leave us now, and don’t get in our way. Understood?”

Talos again nodded, and the human next to him also looked in agreement. The elf on the other hand looked annoyed and frustrated, possibly because he didn’t get the answer he wanted. In any event, he didn’t complain, and the half-elf and the duergar left. As they moved away, Talos noticed they were entering a cave, with the duergar holding a pickaxe at the ready.

“Well then!”

Talos turned to his right to see the elf speaking again. He had a feeling he was a talkative one.

“I’m in the middle of bloody nowhere, neither of you look like you have anything in the brain cell department, and I was just threatened by a seemingly emotionless half-elf. Isn’t my day going well?”

Talos sighed. Not only was he a talkative one, he also seemed to enjoy wallowing in his own pitty.

“Well look”, Talos replied, “Complaining about it isn’t going to get us anywhere. We might as well start on friendly terms. I’m Talos, a half-elf from Squoma, and I work as a Ranger in the Hemo Hills.”

“The name’s Joshua. I’m a soldier from the Plaestone army.”

“Fine then. I am Rathron, a high-elf from Meko. Now, as you two idiots seem to not have the smallest ability to tell north from south, let me enlighten you to something. Those two, before someone decided to practise their shouting voice, were talking about treasure. Down there”, the elf said, pointing at down the cave.

“But they told us not to follow them”, Joshua responded

“Yes, of course! The power of speech. Oh well, back to the nearest town then, drinks on me lads.”

Neither Joshua nor Talos looked particularly amused.

“No? Well then, lead the way Mr Soldier! Now that we have no idea where we are, I believe it might be sensible to at least have a few things of value on us, unless you don’t mind parting with your clothing.”

Joshua starting trudging towards the cave, with Rathron following behind. Joshua soon realised he was going to have to spend some time with these two new companions. There was, however, only one think Talos could think about: What an utter arsehole the elf was!

‘Hey, watch where you’re going! I almost dropped my spell book! Then we’d be properly up the spout,’ shouted Rathron, as Joshua collided into him while the group was clambering into the cave. At this point Talos was pretty resigned to his fate, he was stuck between a half-wit and an arsehole, heading slowly into an abandoned mineshaft with nothing on them but a bit of rope and some parchment. Oh, and Rathron’s prized ‘spell book’.

‘Ya know, we probably should’ve taken some torches’ said Joshua ‘going into a pitch black cave.’

Talos had noticed it was getting darker, but thanks to his elvish, or at least half-elvish, night vision, he wasn’t struggling too badly. He only just realised Joshua wouldn’t be able to see the shoulder of Rathron in front of him.

‘ But my friend, we are in no need of torches, for you have me.’ Rathron then opened his spell book, read aloud a rhyme and touched the air in front of him. The room suddenly exploded with beautiful light, and the group could now see the entire cave.

‘Well, I’m impressed. That book of yours isn’t just for show.’ said Talos

Surveying the room, he could see tracks leading down into a deeper room, as well as a door to his left.

‘Let’s try the door.’ Rathron said ‘It’s possible there’ll be some gems to grab there.’

After the party approached the door, they all tried, unsuccessfully, to open it. ‘It’s not locked, just very very jammed.’ Stated Rathron. Talos was convinced he said that because he genuinely believed the other two couldn’t discern this for themselves.

‘Hold on, let me try it.’ Joshua motioned for the others to stand back, and he took a run up and shoulder barged the door. It flew open, and before Talos had realised what had happened a floating hand was between Joshua and the door frame. It was holding a poison dart.

‘How did you…’ asked Talos and Joshua, almost simultaneously.

‘I guess I just have fast reactions. Stop stalling, go look in the room.’

As Joshua entered the room, Rathron moved the light to illuminate it. Very little was inside, but Joshua did manage to find a half decent pick axe, which he stashed on his back.

After retracing their steps, the party entered another, deeper cavern. There, a locked door, which seemed to lead deeper into the cavern, blocked their route.

‘Hey, look. There seems to be another opening this way’, called Talos.

They approached the opening, and found a room. After Rathron moved his light into this room, the entire party spotted the body of a man, in a bloody heap, at the corner of the room. The party rushed towards him, and after a few seconds Rathron managed to determine he was still alive.

‘Quickly, pass me your short sword, Half-Elf’

‘I have a name you know’ Talos responded, handing him the blade, ‘and why do you need my sword?’

Rathron quickly starting using the sword to slash through the man’s clothing, using the now large pieces of cloth as makeshift bandages.

‘That’ll do for now, although there’s a very high risk of infection in the wounds…’

Rathron, for what seemed the first time for the last few hours, stopped talking, staring at the door. Talos thought he’d must of have a heart attacked, and nudged him, asking him what the matter was. Then Talos turned towards the door and saw what he was looking at: what had created the bloody heap.

A Giant Constrictor snake stood in the doorway. It stood about 5 feet tall, it’s head the size of Talos’s chest. It opened its jaws and let out a deep hiss like stones dragged across one another, filling even the air with fear and dread.

‘I think it’s hungry’, commented Rathron.

Next Chapter: The Bard

Edited by Bria