It was dark in the bushes lining the dirt road where I hid, listening to the wooden wheels grind over loose pebbles on its approach. I had been searching for firewood for my camp in the early morning hours, pondering the argument that had resulted in my separation from my clan. But “clan” isn’t exactly the right word… more of a rough band of half-breed rejects. I never liked their aptitude to attack innocent passersby, as I spent many years learning the art of fighting with words first and weapons last, but I digress. I heard the voices coming from the cart and decided to follow, from a safe distance. The dark shape on the top of the hill appeared to be made of stone. As the sky began to lighten as dawn crept closer, a dark shadow was cast over the small hills and forest surrounding the crumbling building that one could assume was a temple, albeit an ancient one. A spectral ship filled my vision while it pulled away from the upper ramparts and flew through the sky with gathering speed. As you would imagine, I had many questions at once, but there was no time to contemplate.
There. I could smell them before I saw them. Orcs, flanking the approaching cart, and goblins creeping up on my position from the trees behind us. But that wasn’t all – I detected a crash from the ruins followed by a loud groan. After a moment of silence wherein all nearby seemed to freeze, a boisterous voice called out: “To the temple!!”
The din that followed was… rather graceless, though I am guilty of the same clumsiness as my unwitting allies. Arrows flew between the goblins and a tall, armored elf while a loud crash emanated from the same area as the last, though it sounded much bigger. This was confirmed when the cry of a bear echoed off the stone walls. Just what sort of group had I stumbled upon? I reviewed my surroundings and bolted for the steps of the temple. It sounded like another poor sod had fallen back there again, but with a rather beefy impact this time around.
I gained some distance on the clumsy orcs and the elf managed to sink a feathered shaft into one of them. One of the others lunged at me but I managed to drive him off. I reached the temple steps and paused to catch my breath, twas no small distance I had covered. I should have seen the arrow pointing my way but I failed to react and paid a biting price. Thankfully this strange clan of warriors was quick to aid me; I am lucky they saw my advance into the fray and attempts to render physical assistance, of a sort. To be truthful, my blood had been simmering since my fractious departure this last fortnight – and I have been itching to spill an enemy’s slimy entrails. I closed my fists tight and reached to crush the nearest orc’s face in, but misjudged his height in the still dark morning air. Though I also think the arrow in my shoulder could’ve affected my aim.
What happens next, I swear on the morning sun, really is true. It really was a bear I had heard earlier. It stood from behind one of the crumbling walls, drawing all eyes. Then an orc stomped on a rat and it poofed and disappeared in a cloud of pink smoke. You can’t make this stuff up. I spotted a dark shape hiding behind a nearby tree while the elf from before stepped forward from the gloom and took aim at the orc who had missed his swipe at me a moment earlier (I’ve never seen an elf miss so often, but I know better than to tell the man that to his face. My experience with his kind has been tenuous at times.) A sense of fear radiated from the cloaked figure in the field. Then a foul odor hit me while a green mist expanded from the hands of the man accompanying the bear. The cover was appreciated, and I was glad for my orc blood as I heard my allies coughing and gagging and protesting. The cloud-caster is called Drake.
Arrows flew through the fog anyway but missed their targets. A man with a lizard face drifted into my vision and I introduced his scaly lips to my fist. It made a satisfying crunch. As he pulled away, slightly stunned, an arrow sunk into one of his eyes and his skull split open violently. This was the kind of gore I was seeking! I could feel more than hear the bear move nearby as its paws struck the ground. I struck out again to stagger the nearest orc. Action flew around me but the mist obscured my vision. I heard a couple of bodies fall to the dirt around me. Again I swung out and the connection with the orc’s temple was solid and then suddenly very mushy. He crumpled instantly. I glanced around and spotted a clearing of the fog and stepped into the clear air, spotting another foul orc. He hissed and spit through his clenched teeth up at me before I punched the smile off of his face. The bear roared in pain in the distance as more arrows flew. I drew my axe as I watched a goblin scurry towards me but he was too quick for me. The end of the battle was in sight but I did take a slash from his pitiful sword before I split his skull in two with a powerful downward swing. The remaining foes fled like the cowards they are into the dark of the trees.
We quickly looted the stinking corpses as the fog dissipated. A tired air settled over the group as mutual understanding among fighters kicked in. We stored what loot we didn’t pocket just inside the temple doors. I assumed it was their camp, naturally. We all settled down to rest through the rest of the morning as the sun rose and warmed the sky. Our quiet was disturbed by a visitor, impeccably dressed, and strangely travelling alone. He was amiable enough and forthcoming with information. His father had sent him from town to assist us in our mission. I wondered to myself what this could be, but I kept my head down and decided to listen first. We worked through the afternoon. The cleric graciously healed all of us. My curiosity got the better of me and I wandered down the stairs in the temple to find a well. I could hear water at the bottom but it was a goodly distance down. I was prompted to invite the group for exploration when I noticed the passage far below. Myself and the Drow called Durdyn entered and began down the dark corridor, because we can see in such low light. As the party gathered, a rumble from below shook the floor and knocking a few of us over. Durdyn slipped around the corner ahead…
In my bloodlust I may have grown a bit foggy on the details. I remember shouting encouraging words of surrender at a bunch of Drow and losing myself to the ensuing battle. We took captives, a Drow and a Draugar. We attempted to make friends and even made some headway but we made sure that we had wrung every last bit of information from them before we decided to hand them over to the city guard. They had told us a bit of interesting news, there is a slaver ring operating within the Dwarf fortress city nearby. What we do next is up to my new friends.