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Lessons of Tempus…

Tassar’s Journal

Hurried breakfast…

I hurt, even with the wonderful work of the clerics I am in a lot of pain. I find myself limping to the Inn to find my friends. I am going to see if we can leave town for a few days. I am needing a break. Huh, come to think of it I didn’t even make it back home.

As I reach the bar I find I am regaining my sight quicker than I thought. In fact I am only seeing double right now. My right arm still feels broken, but the clerics insist it will be fine in a couple of days. My left knee does not want to bend, and both ankles still burn from the rope. My ribs feel like apple sauce. And I got a knot on the left side of my head that throbs with every breath I take. That was the worst beating I have ever had in my life.

I see Antonio; he is always the first one here. He seems disturbed by my appearance. I try to pass it off but he presses me for some information. So I inform him that I had had a run in with some town guards, and that it wasn’t anything major. This seemed to make him even more edgy than he was. Strange, I never mentioned his father, yet he seems to be making the connection anyway.

Moments later Areon, Deitricha and Theona arrive. Deitricha seemed to be in a bad mood before she noticed my bruises, and got even more so afterwards. I quickly give her the same excuse I gave Antonio. She seemed quite appalled that the town guard could do such a thing. This brought a smile to my lips, it hurt to smile but it felt good too.

When no one was looking I thanked Areon and Theona for their help. The clerics had filled me in on my friends’ great efforts to find and help me last night. They seemed to act like it was a common task to save a friend’s life in the dead of night, I on the other had think it was a wonderful deed that shall not be forgotten.

After a bit more of discussion on the behavior of town guards I found my self being the only one arguing for them. In my opinion they have a lot of responsibilities that most people never see. It becomes part of their nature to use force to resolve a few situations. I did not like the methods they used on me, but they certainly got their point across. At least most of them did, I still am trying to figure out the last part of the night. I have been corrected by town guards for a few different reasons over the years, but never for dating a human. I think something else is going on and I don’t have all the information yet.

Eventually the conversation returns to the idea of what to do next, or as Antonio wanted, when to do something. I agreed with him, I could use some distance from this town for a little bit. Maybe things can blow over by the time I return. In any event on my return I plan on getting a little information about Mr. Bucket as I have decided to call him. Him I will make the time to deal with.

The party has decided to go to the west, something about a tower. I admit I wasn’t paying the closest attention again. All I know is they all seem to agree and who am I to get in their way? Antonio and I went to get the mounts and then meet the rest of the party after they see if the bard Dante is going with us. In all the excitement I forgot to find out what happened to him last night.

Smooth trail …

We head out and find it to be a delightful day to be traveling. The weather is nice and so many things are blooming. Spring is truly the season of rebirth. Being out on days like this raises one’s spirits; the entire party seems to have a little bounce in their steps. Even the edgy Antonio is smiling. Back to normal, it is just the five of us since the party’s friend Dante has decide to take off without even much of a thank you. It is better this way; he didn’t seem to fit in much after he got changed back to human.

In a pleasant bit of comfort, we travel the first day without so much as seeing a couple of farmers and travelers. Areon finds us a nice spot to set up camp for the night and I quickly settled down to get some rest. After all, it had been a couple of days since I actually got any sleep. I think I have been generally awake since leaving Everlund.

The night went peaceful as well; I am starting to get a good feeling about this trip. Maybe it is just what the cleric ordered. Over breakfast my opinion changed. Apparently during their watch the ladies were talking and Theona mentioned a bit more about my encounter with the town guards than she needed. It had Deitricha in a feisty mood. It was during their conversation, which had renewed over breakfast, which I heard Deitricha mention that she didn’t think it was her brother. I almost couldn’t eat my breakfast. I asked her to repeat what she had said, and she did.

Now the pieces are falling into place, Mr. Bucket must be her brother. Oh he is going to pay for this. I disagree with what Antonio’s father had done, but that I understand. He is trying to protect his son. But I haven’t brought any harm to Deitricha; in fact I think we have been good for each other lately. Just another tall freak that hates little people. I can understand wanting to protect your sister, but from dating? And the fact is that he beat me relentlessly. He beat me until I passed out, just to wake me up and start again. I would have died if Areon and Theona hadn’t found me when they did. No he took things too far, and I will have to teach him a lesson. One that he will never forget.

Fresh pie and fairytales …

We set out after breakfast, one that disturbed me so much I barely had room for seconds. Other than Deitricha and my new simmering anger at Mr. Bucket, the rest of the party still seemed to be in good spirits. I even caught Areon whistling a little tune to himself. I would even go as far as to say that he was doing more daydreaming than watching where we were going. It became obvious to the rest of us when he nearly tripped over a dead cow. I don’t think he heard our snickers, he was to busy trying to look intrigued by the cow.

As usual I began to let my mind wonder while they looked at the body. But the rest of the party was taking it as if it was a great sign from the gods. In fact I only joined their conversation when I heard them say it must be a vampire. Ha! There is no such thing, and I had to tell them. While they continued to tell each other stories of vampires; I walked around them and mocked them, using my fingers as fangs. It was bad enough that they wanted to see a tower with a supposed ghost, now we are to believe a vampire came to the area. And it came to feed on a cow in the middle of nowhere. HA!

Shortly after they finished the stories of creatures THAT NO ONE HAS EVER SEEN, we continued on our path to the tower. This leg of the journey was shorter then the last, for as we rounded the very next bend we spotted a few small farms. The party wondered if they should go down and talk to the farmers, a bit of time wasting I was not interested in, then I smelled it. Oh yes, fresh baked pie. I told the group that they definitely needed to talk to the farmers and started walking to the nearest farm. This was the one with the pie; I could smell it a mile away. And after all, it had been so long since breakfast.

When we were greeted by a couple of the farmers near a small barn I let them try to ask their questions, I really did. But sooner than I could help my belly made me ask about the pie. The rude farmers didn’t even listen to me, I think the simpletons thought I was just a kid. Before I could get angry Deitricha grabbed my hand and dragged me to the house to inquire about the pie, a fact that probably seemed to confirm the farmer’s opinion.

The lady that answered the door was a very kind and talkative lady. She, unlike her family seemed to recognize a Halfling and talked to me like an adult. In fact the kind woman refused any pay for the pie, insisting that, “Anyone who visits this house will find friends, not an innkeeper.” I like her, she even gave me a couple of extra rolls when Deitricha was distracted, telling me that she understands how halflings need to keep their strength up. While Deitricha tried in vain to offer the lady some payment for her kindness, I took a few silvers and put them under my napkin. My guess is that she could definitely use the money, and I found the kindness worth more than the food. I only hope to get away before she tries to give the money back.

Tourists …

After we move on away from the farmhouses, my friends try to tell me of the stories they learned from the farmers. This only led to me mocking them more. I just can’t imagine grown adults believing in such stories. Things like vampires and ghost are just made up to keep little children in line. I have had enough of it.

Theona says we are traveling to a town called Evergreen, or was it Wintergreen, …Everwinter, oh it was something like that. It is no more than two hours from the farmsteads and she said we should make it there quickly.

True to her word we found the little hamlet just after peaking a small hill. It is a small town; one bar. This is nearly unlivable to my standards. How can the people of this town survive with only one bar? No wonder I have never heard of this place.

We stop into the bar and get a drink, oh it feels good to wash the dust from the road down. After a quick bite I thought we would be going, I was wrong. Antonio and I were done eating and ready to go when Theona and Deitricha decided to get some information about the tower. They found a local who was happy to tell them anything they would like to hear for a few ales.

Now, having traveled enough to see the futility of this act, I left the bar with Antonio, the last thing I needed was him paying for more rounds of ale for the story teller. You see, in every bar there is a person who will give you an exiting tale, for ale that is. And if you don’t know any better, he will drink all your money up without telling you anything real. I have seen the look of these people before, and Theona’s new friend has that look.

Figuring to have some time on my hands, as Theona had lots of coin to offer for ale, I took Antonio to the general store across from the bar. Two minutes later, after seeing everything the town had to offer, we decided to go to the edge of town and wait for our friends. I began teaching Otto to bring me my backpack. It was amusing, and led to a couple of games of chase. I think Otto is teaching me the game instead.

After the second hour of doing nothing, we were joined by Areon who had finally had enough. He mentioned that the man had been repeating the same stories for a little while, but Theona seemed not to notice. The three of us, and Otto, settled down under a large oak and took a nap. It was a nice little nap which lasted about an hour and a half before the ladies had their fill of the story teller.

The road to the tower…

It didn’t take long for the men in the party to get around and ready to leave, in fact we practically dragged the women out of the town, in fear they wanted to talk to the drunk again. The tower should be close, from all stories it is within two hours of this town. We hit the road and start a nice conversation. Areon is beginning to get a sense of humor, he doesn’t even get mad when I call him a tree-hugger anymore.

Things are going quite nice, bordering on extreme boredom, until we came across a set of tracks. Areon said it is troll tracks, just one though. He then gets down on his knees and examines the tracks closer. He tells us they are very fresh, then mumbles something in another language. Being the first thing to do in days and really itching for a good fight we head off to follow the tracks.

It didn’t take long, the troll was by the river, just a couple hundred feet from us. He was big. I have never seen, let alone fought one of these, but I still think this would be a large troll. It stands nearly nine feet tall, it has a greenish yet brownish skin. Deep eyes and the largest nose of any creature that I have ever seen on two legs.

Tempus’s call is strong so I shout at the creature and begin towards it. The rest of the party apparently did not hear Tempus as clearly, as they lagged behind. The beast was upon me before I could imagine. It has a speed that defies its large size. Luck is with me as I get first blood. My short sword digs a deep gash in its thigh, which begins to heal almost immediately. Truly the stories about these creatures have not been wrong. Before I can level my sword and dagger for defense the massive brute strikes with speed and power that I will never forget. In one quick action it hit me with both of its massive claws and then if that wasn’t enough, it sunk the strikes in and twisted them in my flesh. This was the greatest hit I have ever witnessed in my life.

I was nearly knocked from my feet. It took everything I had to remain standing in defiance of the creature. I think that may have bought me a few minutes for the creature seemed to study me in wonder as how I didn’t fall dead from his first move. I was left with a bit of a slump, my left arm nearly useless and my vision blurred by both my blood and the fact that my mind was screaming in pain. Somehow, from deep within I gathered strength and lashed out with both weapons. Mind you they were weak swings, but my blades did taste its flesh and send a clear signal that I was still in this.

Over the next few minutes we traded swings, mine mostly in parry for I was nearer to death at this moment than life, but something told me if I fall here my friends will be slaughtered. I stood my ground. Every few seconds an arrow would fly by, luckily not hitting me, but most missed the massive beast also. I felt the presence of someone behind me, I could not tell who as I was using every ounce of my resources to fend of the deadly attacks of the troll.

It was Deitricha, she shouted something and flung some oil on the beast. I shouted for her to get back, I told her I had it under control. To tell the truth my body was begging me to give in to the creature and stop the pain. I think I was about to pass out from the blood loss when Deitricha grabbed me by my armor and dragged me away from the fight. Everything in my soul shouted “NO!” but my body truly did not have the ability to listen. Just then the horrible happened, Antonio rushed in to a short distance and cast fire on the troll. To most creatures this would have been bad, but to this troll, in the midst of battle rage, this was an unforgivable act. The troll was in flames, both the oil and its natural flammability had the entire length of the creature burning. It didn’t seem to care about me anymore, it was going after Antonio.

In the same swift and devastating attack it had brought on me, it struck Antonio and rendered my friend to pieces. The heart of the party broke, I broke free of Deitricha and launched my dagger into the creature as Areon and Theona launched their arrows and bolts. The creature soon fell, succumbed by the combined wounds and fire damage. But its damage was done. The party stood in silent awe at the loss of our charismatic friend.

I was prepared to bury my friend right on the spot, but Deitricha said we should take him back to his family. So they can grieve properly. I could see the honor in that, but seconds later, I realized that this could lead to my death. Oh his father will want some retribution, and who else will he want to feel his pain but his new punching dummy Tassar?

The silent trail…

The party traveled an unobstructed road back to Silverymoon. Every inch of the way I felt more and more fear for my life. I have never feared before, and was having a hard time dealing with it. I kept mostly to myself the day and a half it took to reach Silverymoon, lost in the thoughts of my lost friend and the upcoming consequences. We got to the gates of the town and a part of me wanted to be shot down at the spot, I have had a growing feeling of guilt ever since the battle with the troll. If I had stayed in combat with the beast, Antonio would be alive. I am filled with shame and anger.

After entering the city, I went to the nearest Inn and registered under the name of Otto. Once in my room I block the door and prepare my weapons for battle. I truly believe that I shall have a troop of town guards at any time. I just keep rocking back and forth thinking: I am going to die, I am going to die.

Lessons of Tempus…

After a few hours of panic in the small room I fell into a sleep. The hours on the road and lack of sleep the last two days overtook me. I dreamed of the battle, again and again. I dream of seeing Antonio’s eyes in the moment of his pain. Then I dreamt of a man, he was a cleric of Tempus. He was very angry with me, he said my friend would be alive if I had not been such a coward. Tempus teaches us that we must stand against our enemies; any ground given is given in a loss that takes a bit of our soul.

The cleric then tells me that no worshiper of Tempus would hide, caved up in a room and shaking in fear. Then the man touched my cheek with his hand and all the fear I had went away. In fact I was filled with an inner strength and a sense of purpose that I have never felt before. I asked the man his name, he shook his head and said, “In time, little warrior.” Then in a flash I was awake. It took a while to put all the pieces together in my mind. This couldn’t have been just a dream, no, I still feel the power of the man’s words.

Slow at first, but then with more speed and confidence I unblock the door and gather my belongings. I have not seen Lady Brenin in over a week. I will not be in town twice and not see her. She must be worried about me and I can not let that be. I check out of the Inn and began walking home. For that is what Lady Brenin’s place has become, my home. As I walk I begin to plan, I will have a meeting with Mr. Bucket. Yes, he shall pay the consequences for his actions. Before that, I shall have to give my respects to Antonio’s family. That shall be the order: Lady Brenin, Antonio’s family, then Mr. Bucket.

Posted by Jim on February 29, 2004, 13:17 | Tassar’s Journal