TDOSS 3. The Spindle Hermit

Effron 10th Morgron – Year of the Stonehammer

Monsters Slain (0) Dungeons Looted (0) Gold Earned (-1) Treasure Looted (0) Lord Cleaver (Unhelpful)

There’s a mighty, tall rock around these parts that the locals call ‘The Spindle’. At a rough guess it’s 300 feet to its highest, peaky point and is about an hour ride from the Gallow Path, a spur from the Great Northern Road. Legends tell of an old hermit that lives in a cave about half way up the spindle and if you give him a packet of pipe weed and a hard-hitting joke, he will tell you a bit about your future.

I’ve been trundling along this road on my lonie for three days since I picked up this stinking dead wizard, ‘Gazoo the Magnificent’ – now ‘Gazoo the slightly stiff and smelly’ for a healthy gold bounty and to be deadly honest I’ve got a bit out of sorts in my own head. When you’ve accomplished deeds and smacked up the monsters that I have, your memories play tricks on you and you start getting attacks of the philosophical. The monks of Etta Bree explained philosophy to me once, but I still didn’t give their gold back.

Anyway, I resolved to seek out this Spindle hermit and tell him a joke or two. I also happened to have a pouch of Wheezers Best pipe weed on me and I’ve always been a sucker for divination magicks.

Covering the waggon and the stinky wizard with long grass and brush wood, I set off with Bluebell, my horse and Lord Cleaver across my back towards the towering Spindle rock with a spring in my step, although my shoulder still hurt something rotten from the arrow I’d taken from Black Jacksie’s bowman some days ago. I should have poked his other eye out but that’s just not me anymore.

Some time later I find myself at the foot of the great standing rock and begin to climb. When I was a lad my best friends used to call me Stephan the Manky. Apparently a Manky is a hairy creature that swings around the giant Dustle trees in the jungles of Abwakaan. Years later I found out what ‘Manky’ really meant and a man got hurt quite badly in the Broken Shield at Tythe. Nice Inn, but I’m barred.

I am a good climber though and it didn’t take long to find the cave entrance. I lit a torch with flint and steel and ducked in. ‘Hallo! Hermit! I have pipe weed!’

‘Come warrior. Come in and show me your weed’ came the hermit’s rasping voice.

I stepped into an expansive, flat cave lit by a large magical globe that bobbed around the ceiling. Apart from a few blankets and a cooking fire there wasn’t much going on really. Quite dull, but then what did I expect? A hunched figure sat picking his nose, smiling at me.

‘Stephan Strongblade is it?’ Says the Hermit

‘The one and only’ says I. ‘I’ve come for a bit of your divination’

‘Feeling a bit lost are you? Lack of direction? Wandering?’ He wipes snot on his blanket and chuckles into his ratty, grey beard.

‘I don’t like explaining myself old man. I’ve got the weed and a joke, how about we just step on. I’ve got a manky wizard waiting for me downstairs and he’s not getting any fresher’

‘Tell me the joke Strongblade’ He starts wobbling a tooth and lies back on his blanket, all bones and dirt. His feet have fungus on them, like lichen on an ancient Oak. Smelly bastard.

‘What do you call an old man with a bump on his head?’ I launch a gold piece at his skull with vicious accuracy.

‘Owwww!’ Says he clutching his baldy head. ‘That wasn’t funny’

‘Made me laugh’ I threw the pipe weed on his lap. ‘Your turn’ says I

‘Very well’. The old bastard sprinkled some powder into the flames of his cooking fire with little in the way of theatricals and murmured some of that chanty stuff that makes your spine prickle and your plums crawl up. Slap my arse if his eyes didn’t flash green and roll back into his head.

He speaks in a weird, high voice…

‘Stephan Strongblade. You are going to meet a woman who is half bear, half wolf, half bird and ALL lady…. and…. You will see many, many things…. and…. Someone is about to steal your smelly Wizard’

‘Shit’ That got me up and moving.

He called after me as I ran from his cave

‘Have you got a pipe?!’

‘No!’

Idiot.

I got back to where I’d left the waggon and the old shit was right. The waggon and wizard were gone.

There will be blood tonight! Or tomorrow maybe. Depends how good my tracking skill is.

Stephan Strongblade

TDOSS 2. Black Jacksie

Mulda 8th Morgron – Year of the Stonehammer

Monsters Slain (4) Dungeons Looted (0) Gold Earned (0) Treasure Looted (1 Eyepatch worth bugger all) Lord Cleaver (Always a shit)

Sh**ing bandits! I mean who the cock do they think they are? I’m still calming down from the blood-rage, but I just about remember what the silly idiot did so I’m going to write it down before I forget and as a warning to other prancing pricks. Good thing about this magic quill is that blood doesn’t seem to stick to it…

One thing about travelling the provinces with nothing but a horse, a banged up waggon and stinking dead wizard is that you are a little bit open to cutthroats and unholy opportunistic bastards.

Sundown, the Great North Road: Woodland

‘Ho! Off your horse and put the steel down nice and careful’ Says He

Blank looks all round.

‘Shit off and on your way’ Says I

‘Why don’t you come up here and take the steel off me?’ Says I

‘Not likely, I knows who you are. You’re Strippa Strongblade, a murdering son of a bitch with a clever magic sword’ Says He

That’s one of my names from these parts. I always quite liked it.

‘Names Lord Cleaver’ Says the sword.

‘He can’t hear you’ Says I

‘Whassat you say?’ Says He

At this point the Cutthroat clicks his fingers all smug like and three raggedy little sods with longbows pop out of the shadows o the woods. Stinky bunch. I don’t suppose they’d been acquainted with soap for a few weeks.

‘Friends of yours?’ Says I

‘The name is Black Jacksie’ Says He pointing at his face. He’s wearing an eyepatch and his good eye is all squinty.

This makes me chuckle due to the connotation and he gets a dirty look on his face. He flicks a finger and arrow bangs into my shoulder. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a barb and shaft in your flesh before but it don’t hurt much at first. More shock really, so I jump of the waggon into my fighting crouch. I know its impressive, but he’s not showing his hand because he’s got the upper one with his three chums all beading on me with those long bows of theirs.

‘Alright. You know what’s what and you know my reputation. You probably want to stop pointing arrows at me sod off back in them trees before I take real offence to the wood in my arm’ Says I

I show them my best snarl and give ’em a mean side eye. That usually works on the weak or clever ones who know when to run. My luck that these are strong and stupid. Bloody work was inevitable. I slap the horses arse and he rears and bolts towards the bandits. He’s a good horse is Bluebell and he knows the score. Trained by the battle lords of Que he was, might not look like much without the barding, but he’s a mean shit of a beast and went straight for two of the bow boys, knocking them right in the dirt. That left two for me!

Bloodrage is a funny thing, you don’t know when it comes on because it just does. Like when you know you’re getting drunk but don’t know exactly how you got from sitting on a chair being all friendly to lying on the floor in a puddle of wee. Well it was on me now. Not wee, the bloodrage.

‘You’re a dead man Black Jacksie’ Says I, spit spraying through my teeth. I leap while throwing Lord Cleaver into the last standing cronie’s face. Good shot, right in the cake hole and land a foot from Jacksie. It’s here that he starts blubbing and sobbing while he’s watching me all up in his eye and Bluebell stamping his friends to red butter.

‘I’m sorry! I’m not very good at this! This is my first robbery. Please let me live’ Says he

It’s a funny moment right there when someone plays the pity card and usually I just keep on with the killing, but the thing was that he took his eyepatch off and threw it at me. Stopped me in my tracks. There was nothing wrong with his eye.

‘It’s all an act. I was trying to look dangerous. Please let me go. Please. Please’ says He all a-tremble.

So I did something I’ve never really done before in memory and I took pity. As I write this I realise that I’m actually proud of my actions and although I did jab my quill in his eye to prove a point, I think I’m the better man. I took his eyepatch though.

Onwards to Tinth and the bounty for this stinking wizard!

Stephan Strongblade

TDOSS Days of the Week in Arcaziana

An Arcazian week has seven days (coincidence?) and are named thus…

Ondo. Mulda. Preka. Effron. Sheem. Zinthata. Zinthaka

We are currently in the year of the Stonehammer, nearly fifteen years after the Orc invasion in the year of Razorsharp.

Years are named after Dwarven heros from the third epoch. Does it show? The Elves hate it and have secret names that involve derivations of botanical naming conventions. No one really cares though. No one really likes the Elves.

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