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I Hate Families….

Tassar’s Journal

After an entertaining breakfast of eggs and potatoes, we decided it was time to find Drake. We gathered our possessions and headed toward the stables to find that Drake had already gotten the horses, and Otto, around for a quick departure. We were even introduced to the new member of the caravan, a young human named Staven.

After the few words of greetings we took our positions and headed out the gates. I was thinking to myself that this little town seemed nice; perhaps I should return one day to see more of it. Snickering to myself I realized that I had been given a good opportunity to just that, but had wasted a good portion of each day napping to regain my strength from the nights activities.

Not that I am complaining, it was a grand time. But it may soon become hard to continue to please Tempus on the battlefield in the day, after pleasing Deitricha in the night. Both endeavors seem to take all my strength and agility. I am just trying to figure out which one is more likely to kill me.

Journey into the night …

With a slight shift in my saddle and a strong pat on Otto’s head we are on our way. It feels good to be on the road again, almost like home. Even the dust and muck from the road gives me some measure of ease.

The day’s travel was mostly uneventful; in fact we only stopped for rations and to feed the mounts twice. Good thing I had Otto’s saddle bags to hold plenty of rations to snack on while we rode. The more I am around these tall folks the more I am amazed in how much they don’t eat. How in the Nine Hells they get so tall without eating properly is beyond me.

Anyway it was a beautiful spring day, and the rushing water and returning birds seemed to give hope to the area. Maybe a false hope if these stories of a new orc leader are true. I have not been around this area for that long, but I can’t imagine an orc leader so strong that he can gather such a force as what Dante described. It is just not in their nature to work together for very long. In fact it has been the one constant that we depend on to help keep their forces at bay.

Drake had informed us that we would ride through the night, while I see the point of it; I also see the possible bad. But I have gotten used to keeping my opinions to myself, tall folks, especially humans, just don’t seem to take the word of little folk seriously. Anyway we ride on as the day turns to dusk. I can’t see too much of the caravan from my position, I keep moving side to side and looking in areas that may be covering would-be attackers. At least I had one good moment of humor provided to me by Antonio. At one point, when I rode near the back wagon, I heard Antonio trying to tell Dante a story about how to cast magic. His story ended with a couple of hand gestures that left his cloak on fire. He put it out quickly, but Dante’s laugh lasted for a few minutes.

On we rode until Areon stopped the caravan. I rode up to the front to see what was going on, it was then that Areon pointed out a faint light in the distance. He said that it was a burning wagon and that the two of us should ride up and check it out before the caravan gets there. He said he had gotten close and it seemed like a trap.

We moved quickly up toward the burning wagon, not on the road but in the brush and trees to provide us some cover. When we got within a hundred yards we noticed four forms lying prone on the ground near the wagon, actually wagons. There were two wagons apparently put in position to block the road, and then set on fire. Areon said the bodies looked like caravan guards, so we moved in closer to see if any of them survived.

As we got closer the bodies got up. Not like people normally get up mind you, no these got up with great laboring effort. I shouted out to our friends and rushed in to attack the undead. I tried the new move I had worked on with Otto, I just wish Otto had been trying the same maneuver. I guided Otto in hard to the left of the first zombie and then pulled his reigns hard to the right, and then I hit the ground headfirst and rolled to the feet of the zombie. I spit out a mouth full of dirt and pick up my sword. Otto continued to the left and ran on into the darkness. I think I will have to have a talk with him about this.

The battle was on! Areon let loose a couple of arrows on the zombies to the left while I hacked into the two on the right. Soon Theona and Deitricha came up from behind and joined in. Theona fired her crossbow with amazing skill; soon the one zombie on the left would have two of her bolts in its chest and three of Areon’s arrows. Yet it kept coming.

Deitricha rode up near me and promptly fell off her horse, I knew she was all right by the mixture of laughter and curses that she let out. I fought over to her side and helped her up, the two zombies I was fighting were slow and cumbersome, but were not going down easy. After regaining her senses Deitricha pulled out her holy symbol and held it high. The zombies turned and fled at the sight of her power.

The Orc king?

The rest of our caravan came up then to find a way through. While Deitricha joined them in moving one of the burning wagons; Areon, Theona and I finished off the zombies that had wondered back into the area. Theona then rode off to get Deitricha’s horse.

Otto had returned during the second part of the battle and actually stood by me and fought very well. While I was impressed at this, it made it harder to yell at him for dumping me on the ground. I pulled Otto to the side and tried to talk to him, he is an odd dog. For one thing he bites a lot; I am telling you he bites a lot. Anyway, he seems to pay attention to me, but sometimes I think he is just humoring me and he will do what he wants when the time comes.

Just before Theona arrived with the lost horse in hand we heard the sound of a great horn, somewhere nearby. Theona arrived with a look on her face like she had just seen a ghost. She spoke so quickly that I could barely understand, she said there is movement just a little up the mountains side. The thing she said clearly was “HUNDREDS.” That was enough for us; the caravan mounted up and started off. I put Otto in the last wagon and climbed up with him. Next to me I put all of my arrows and prepared my bow.

We had gotten about eighty feet away from the burning wagons I saw a group of orcs ride into the fire light. At least a dozen warriors led by the largest orc I had ever seen, and he was riding a worg. This large orc wore chain mail and had an aura of evil that I could feel even from this distance. This may not be Grom the new orc leader, but he was obviously of great importance.

The opportunity was too good and too short; I pulled my bow and fired one arrow. My aim was true and I hit the large orc. I shouted my name and told him that I would be back for him. The dozen orc warriors seemed really angry that I attacked their leader, now at over a hundred feet and moving, they all threw their javelins. A couple where good shots and their javelins stuck in the wagon to my right and left. Dante let out some kind of curse at me, at least I think it was a curse, it was in a language I didn’t understand. But I am confident it was meant for me.

Now nearly two hundred feet away, as the fire grew small in the distance the big orc let loose his spell. A bolt of light came at me with stunning force. Praised be Tempus it missed me. But Dante let out several more curses due to the fact that it did hit the wagon and he almost lost control. Wow can that fellow get mad.


The caravan rode hard all the way through the night, even the horses didn’t want to stop. In fact we may have just ridden through the city gates to the bar if they had not stopped us. We told them of the orc attacks and of the building horde.

Boy, were they disturbed about Dante. Before we could plead very much of a case for him they let us in. I had to chuckle at the few guards they sent to follow us, it is if the word “hide” was unknown to them. I counted at least seven of them.

Next thing I knew Antonio was off for a minute and then back again with gifts for us. Not much of a surprise, he could have at least wrapped them, then we wouldn’t have seen them coming from fifty feet away. Pretty things though, the mugs were, all silvery and with our names on them. Theona and me looked at our mugs then each other and said at the same time, “There is not ale in them.” At which point Antonio promised to buy the first round.

Poor Dante seemed to feel left out. And seeing how I already had a mug in my backpack, and there was no need to carry two, I gave Dante my old mug. He thanked me and offered to buy me a round in the future. I could tell he was lying, bards never buy a round, they just drink other people’s drinks. I smiled anyway.

Then we were off to the Greycastle place to get more pay. I don’t like that fellow, to me he seems too shifty. When we arrive we are once again greeted by his overdressed butler who seems to not like me very much. He informs us that his master is out of the house, but he had left our payment with the butler. After that I asked for some ale for my new mug and the tall freak turned me down again. And I am very certain that there is a good amount of spirits to be drunk in that house.

Oh well, I let the others talk to the butler and I look around again at the town guards that are following us. Hmm, their numbers have doubles. No problem, I am sure they will be confident in Dante before long.

I liked him better as an orc…

Soon after leaving the home of Lord Greycastle, Antonio led us to a place where we could try to get Dante turned back into a human. At first Theona and Deitricha organized a fund for us all to pitch-in, that lead to chaos as we put in too much money. Then everyone started arguing about how to work it, so I took my money back to help them figure it out. I am not convinced that Dante seems too eager to get his body back.

As usual the party argued amongst themselves for a while, so I again turned my attention to the guards, who seemed to be still gaining in numbers. This is beginning to give me the creeps. Some one high up must be really angry to have sent so many men to follow one orc.

Next thing I knew the deed was done and we were looking at a human. Not a particularly tall, strong, or good-looking fellow. But his humor was still there. Theona seemed disappointed. Theona offered to get him some clothes and Dante threw a hissy fit. He wanted fine clothes and anything else would be an insult. And people call me a jerk some times. Areon too had seen enough and went off on his own.

The failed drinking party…

We all went back to the Bright Blade Brandished to have a few and talk about our recent adventure. I challenged Dante to a drinking contest, he almost got two in before he passed out. It seemed all the group was trying to drink with me and soon was three sheets to the wind. I tell you there is nothing worse than watching people who can’t handle their ale.

When I looked up I noticed that Deitricha was helping Theona up and Antonio was helping Dante, thinking that they were going to help these two to a place to sleep things off I helped. As we walked down the street I began to understand their true intentions. I did my best to try and talk them out of it, without any luck. To tell you the truth I was a little tipsy, not drunk mind you I had only had seven ales, but I found it hard to pay attention to what I was arguing about. I was definitely too drunk to remember all the extra eyes on us at the time.

When we got to Theona’s place I had regained a bit of my composure and I tried to talk Dante, who had begun to wake up, into running. My two friends convinced Theona to climb up to her apartment with a little help. Then they threw a rope down for me to tie around Dante, so they could pull him up. I refused!

This did not deter them in the slightest as Antonio climbed down and tied the rope himself before climbing back up to help pull him up. I took the opportunity to try to put real fear in Dante. I told him some things to try and make him run, I even told him that they planned on killing him. All to no avail as Dante was too hammered to do much more than drool.

After a few minutes the two pulling the rope had gotten Dante off the ground five or six times just to drop the poor fellow on his face. At this point I pulled one of my daggers and cut the rope. Antonio promised not to do it anymore and like a fool I believed him. When I took a minute to go around a corner to relieve myself, Antonio and Deitricha hauled Dante up somehow. I had had enough and told them so, and went back to the bar.

After a little bit the would-be cupids joined me at the bar for a couple more rounds. I relaxed a bit and we drank, and drank. After a little Antonio was asleep on the table. Then went Deitricha; in fact she fell asleep latterly. I picked her up and put her in her chair, then leaned her head on the table. I ordered three more rounds and finished them too. After that, things got a little fussy, so I leaned my head against the table.

The forgotten guards…

Some time later I awoke with the need to relieve some of the ale from its imprisonment in my bladder. I was still a bit woozy, but I did notice that my two friends were gone. Oh, well, nature called so I walked around to the back of the bar to the ally to let some pressure out. Just after pulling my pants back up I was grabbed by several sets of powerful hands. I had been in a few back ally skirmishes, but this one caught me unaware.

I was pummeled for a few minutes by who I couldn’t tell. All I did know is that they all had the same clothes on, almost like a uniform. CRAP!!! Now I remember, now if I can just figure out what I did this time I should be ok. “Calron I surrender!” I shouted. Only to become more confused because the man who was usually the head thug wasn’t in front of me, no he was one of the men holding me.

“Let me just finish him and throw him in the water by the docks.” came the plea from Calron. I knew he didn’t like me, but just what in the Nine Hells could I have done to make him want me dead?

“Not yet.” came the reply from in front of me. It took a second to focus my one not swollen closed eye on the speaker. It was Antonio’s father. I had seen him before but I couldn’t remember his name. Over his shoulder I caught a glimpse of someone on a rooftop. It looked like Areon. Maybe he will save me.

Feeling a bit of the alcohol still, and thinking I had some backup, I ventured out an opinion, “Well I see you are a real tough man, you need six men to hold down a halfling so you can have a chance.” Then everything went black, real quick.

Twisting in pain…

Some hours later I was awaken by a bucket of water being thrown on me. Let me tell you that is not a good way to be waken up. Then it got worse! I realized that I was hanging upside down, and that my ankles seemed to be bound to a rope attacked to some rafters. I didn’t recognize the place, but mind you I could only see out of one eye and my body was wracked in pain. In fact I think most of my ribs and my nose have been broken.

“Think you’re a tough guy huh?” came a voice from behind me. I twisted my body around to see who it was only to face three humans that I have never seen before. One of them had the uniform of the town guard, the other two seemed to be dressed in leather. The one in uniform was the tallest, and seemed to be angry.

“Halflings are meant to be with halflings, do you understand?” the uniformed one said. I may not be smart but I could figure out what was happening here.

“I am surprised that so many town guard, and of such rank, have been called out to inform me of this. In case you missed it, I have already been beaten.” After that I even managed a smile thinking my ordeal soon over.

“That wasn’t my business earlier.” the man said gruffly, “You brought that on yourself, I just asked to have you when they were done.” The man then smacked me in the head with the empty bucket, as if to press in the point.

Unfortunately this just added to my difficulty in understanding. I tried to ask for more information but all I got was a gag pushed into my mouth. The next hour was very bad for me. I tried to block out the pain; it was severe. After about an hour I passed out from the pain. There is only so much a man can take. I did accomplish one thing though; I burned the image of the three men into my mind. Sometime in the future they will get their due. I do not know what I did to deserve the first beating of the day, but at least they had the compassion to stop after a while.

I do not know how long passed, but I was once again waken by a bucket of water. This time I couldn’t see out of either eye and had no idea of who was going to beat me this time. In fact I was expecting to not survive this one. Then a couple sets of hands held me as my feet were freed from the rope. Some kind of liquid was poured into my mouth that stung at first, but eventually took much of the pain away. I was very weak though and was about to pass out again. Just before slipping back into the darkness of slumber I heard a voice giving instructions on what temple to take me too, and to avoid the guards. I did not understand all of what was being said, but I did understand that the one giving orders sounded a lot like Areon. I will owe him big for this. I will owe him even more if he can tell me more about why I went through all of this.

I am starting to hate this town.

Posted by Jim on February 22, 2004, 08:23 | Tassar’s Journal