Intrepid Adventures of Legend or Hobo Murderers on the Loose (a pogre storyhour)
Episode 10 Did You Summon That?
Picking their way through the fungi cavern the adventurers continued down a passage leading out slanting sharply down. Running parallel to the corridor was a fast moving river. The rivers rapids created a cold mist and a loud roar. The group was quickly soaked to the bone and the dampness made footing treacherous.
The group followed the river’s course to a chamber where it dumped in a pounding waterfall down into a chasm. They backtracked and too another side corridor that terminated in a chamber where some humanoids were working on some mining.
The group was able to jump the humanoids and had them dead before they could react much. Soaked, but flush with victory, they discovered a rough hewn set of stairs leading further down. With deep sighs all around, the adventurers continued down.
The stairs terminated at a small cavern and beyond was a passage leading to a room. Notably this room was made of worked stone. It was also guarded by a pair of humanoids that the adventurers slayed.
Brodek inspected the walls and floors of the room after the fight. “This is different than the stonework above,” the dwarf announced.
“How so?” Osbourne asked.
“Different materials. I believe it is dwarven construction,” Brodek replied.
The group dried their clothes while they took a short rest. They proceeded through the room’s door down a very long corridor that ended in a tee. The tee had short passages branching in opposite directions, both with doors at the end. The group headed right and opened the door.
The door opened into a room with a number of beds and eight humanoids lounging around. The humanoids grabbed their weapons and rushed to face the invading adventurers.
The group stayed in the hallway to force the humanoids into a bottleneck. Even with the reduced frontage the humanoids were doing considerable damage. Brodek took on a couple of wounds quickly and Gideon had his hands full.
Osbourne cast magical missiles at the defenders, but then, suddenly, something odd happened. A large horselike creature, with a spiraled horn sprouting from its forehead appeared in the room behind the humanoids.
“Did you summon that thing?” Cabo asked Osbourne.
“Apparently,” Osbourne replied.
“Is it on our side?” Cabo asked.
“I certainly hope so,” Osbourne answered.
The unicorn reared up and its mighty hooves flashed quickly at the skulls of two humanoids nearby splattering their formerly startled brains across the room. The humanoids turned in rage at the new combatant and quickly struck. Deep wounds began to appear on the Unicorn’s flanks.
The equine combatant was undeterred and again its hoof-driven fury took its toll as another humanoid dropped from hoof-inflicted wounds. The momentum of the melee had shifted and now the group fought their way into the room. Pinched from both sides the remaining humanoids fell quickly.
Cabo stepped up and began gently petting the unicorn. “How long will he be with us?” he asked Osbourne.
“Not long, its a manifestation of my wild magic,” Osbourne replied.
Cabo continued petting the unicron. “Thanks friend he whispered.”
The unicorn seemed to tolerate Cabo’s affection, but a few seconds later it disappeared.
“That was weird,” Gideon noted.
“You have any more of those?” Cabo asked.
“It does not work that way. It was a magical accident,” Osbourne replied.
“I know we just lost the star of the show,” Brodek began. “But, I am pretty beat up and need some rest.” The dwarf pulled off his top layer of armor and flopped in one of the beds.
“What if those things had fleas?” Gideon asked the dwarf.
“Then they can have the privilege of fighting dwarven fleas!” Brodek stated. The dwarf closed his eyes and was fast asleep.
Intrepid Adventures of Legend or Hobo Murderers on the Loose (a pogre storyhour)
Episode 11 The Only Good Elf is…
“By the gods,” Cabo cried out.
“What’s wrong with him?” Brodek asked Osbourne.
“I gather he is having trouble with his necessaries this morning,” Osbourne replied.
“What does that mean?” Brodek asked.
“He’s got the trots,” Gideon interjected.
“Well, you should have said so,” Brodek gruffed.
Cabo returned to the group looking fairly pale.
“What ails ye’ peck?” Brodek asked.
“My stomach feels like a balled-up fist,” Cabo replied. “It must have been something I ate.”
“Likely. You can just bring up the rear,” Brodek guffawed loudly at his pun.
The adventurers headed across the hall to the door. Listening, they heard yipping and growling indicating canines beyond the portal. When the door was opened they were confronted by three vicious war dogs.
Gideon and Brodek jumped to the front to confront the dogs, while Osbourne prepared a spell. Cabo pitifully moaned helplessly in the back of the group.
The dogs struck first and very nearly dragged Brodek down to the floor. Gideon was bitten deeply by one of the beasts, but also managed to avoid being dragged down. The dogs were clearly battle-tested and worked in concert against the adventurers. Meanwhile, Brodek and Gideon struggled to do much damage. Osbourne did slam some magic missiles into one of the dogs, but it was only wounded.
Gideon had another wound rented in his leg by a brutal bite. Now the monk could feel his life blood slipping away from him. Brodek smashed the skulls of one of the dogs and Osbourne jumped forward in the fray, while Gideon fell back. The melee was tense and the dwarf was tripped at one point, but eventually the adventurers were victorious and all three dogs lay slain.
Exactly ten minutes into the morning, the group needed a rest.
The adventurers descended the stairs into a room with a pair of humanoid guards.
The guards were killed fairly quickly.
“Keep moving pecks!” Brodek bellowed. “There’s bound to be more!”
“And if the combat did not alert them, he certainly did,” Osbourne complained.
The group burst through another door and found a chamber with an odd pentagram shape with doors on every wall. There were also a trio of Dark Elves with hand crossbows leveled at the adventurers.
One of the bolts hit Brodek, but the dwarf managed to shrug off the weapon’s poison. Brodek and Gideon charged across the room. The pair quickly had one of dark fey slain and Osbourne’s magical bolts quickly put another down.
The remaining Dark Elf made a fighting retreat to one of the doors and disappeared in a cloud of absolute darkness.There was the distinctive sound of a door opening and closing.
Brodek charged ahead through the door and entered an odd-shaped room with a corner obscured in absolute darkness and another niche partially concealed to the group. Brodek charged into the darkness, but struck air. The dark elf cut a deep slit in the dwarf’s arm. “Now, I got ye’”, Brodek called out. Judging the dark elf’s position quickly, Brodek smashed the warrior and the darkness lifted.
Meanwhile, Osbourne had worked around the darkness and peered into the niche. There he saw a female dark elf preparing to cast a spell.
The sorcerer unloaded a barrage of magic missiles on her and dropped her.
“She would have been bad news,” Osbourne commented.
“Aye, any elf is bad news,” Brodek replied.
The group surveyed the room and ascertained it was some sort of converted temple. Following a quick search for secret egresses and discovering none they returned to the pentagram room.
The adventurers quickly opened the doors in succession and killed several dark elves that they discovered. The melees were loud and at times lengthy.
“Why don’t they come to each others’ aid?” Osbourne queried.
“They’re elves. Perfidity is second nature to them,” Brodek answered.
“Racial prejudices aside, there is something odd going on here,” Gideon replied.
“There is a conflict amongst them. It is the only explanation. Perhaps we can use some of the dark elves against the others,” Osbourne mused.
“Unless you are referring to somehow crafted weapons from their bones, the only use I can see for any of these elves is making ever higher piles of bodies,” Brodek stated.
“I am just suggesting…” Osbourne began.
“I know what you are suggesting, peck. These halls are of dwarven construction and though I am not familiar with this fortress or its history, I know these elves are desecrating its hallowed halls with their very presence. We will rededicate it with their life blood!” Brodek declared.
One door revealed a room with stairs down.
“We should finish looking around this level,” Gideon suggested. “Particularly, with Cabo of no use.”
“Hey!” Cabo called weakly.
“Yer’ up to helping then peck?” Brodek asked
Cabo could only shake his head.
“Next door on this level then,” Brodek declared and marched off.
The beast was towering, menacing, and appeared ready to charge across the narrow chamber.
“Let’s whittle him down to our level,” Gideon sneered.
“That’s the spirit peck,” Brodek cheered. The dwarf then ran into the room with a blood-curdling scream.
The huge beast landed a crushing blow on Brodek and in an instant the dwarf was bloodied and barely able to stand. Gideon vaulted into the room and landed a fury of blows on the huge humanoid that seemed to actually stagger it. Osbourne unleashed a spell on the enemy that forced it back. Roaring in a rage, the creature swung its huge weapon wildly, nearly decapitating the dwarf. Brodek braced himself and with a mighty swing fell the creature.
A quick search of the creature turned up a bag of gems and a key. Brodek needed to bind his wounds, but all were concerned that any attempted rest might be disturbed in this room.
“This door is locked. Let me see that key,” Gideon said.
Osbourne tossed him the key and Gideon quickly unlocked the door. The group soon found a welcome sight beyond, a storeroom stuffed with weapons, dry goods, and high quality foods.
Brodek ignored his wounds for the present to get his fill of food. The halflings squealed with delight at the unboxing of each new delectable food stuff. The door was locked and the group settled in for a rest. The only disturbance was Cabo’s frequent exit to relieve himself and return. Fortified and in high spirits the group set-off again exploring.
The next chamber contained a dark elf mage.
The dark elf attempted to speak and was rewarded for his efforts with a quick death.
Down another long hallway the group found a pair of doors facing the hallway from opposite directions.
“Cabo, you watch that door while we take care of whatever is beyond this one,” Osbourne suggested.
The halfling thief grunted his assent miserably while clutching his stomach.
The adventurers broke through the first door and surprised a trio of dark elf warriors.
Gideon was poisoned by a dark elf blade, but the group managed to slay their enemies. Just as the final elf fell, Cabo rushed into the room, “More coming.”
These dark elf warriors had more time to prepare and numerous times Brodek had to stave off the effect of their poisoned blades. This trio of dark elves was felled as well, but not at insignificant cost. Brodek and Osbourne were wounded and Gideon was fighting off the effects of dark elf poison. Cabo was panting heavily from the exertion, despite not having raised a blade.
The adventurers retreated to the store room and bound their wounds and rested again.
Setting off again into the darkness the group happened into a chamber with a clean water cistern. Down the hall from this they found a dining or meeting room.
Further down the hall from this chamber the group chanced into a medium chamber that had been converted into a living quarter. Therein they found a lone dark elf.
The dark elf made the mistake of trying to say something and was dead in a pool of blood in seconds.
“We could listen to what one of these dark elf’s have to say,” Osbourne suggested.
“If you want to hear lies, I can provide plenty,” Brodek retorted. “This - (Brodek pointed to his magical longsword “steelwill”) - is my elfish communicator!” Brodek then broke into grumbling, coughing chortle.
“That’s it for this level,” Brodek announced confidently.
The adventurers descended the stairs onto yet another level.
Both passages led to more dark elf warrior barracks. The group made quick work of the guards in the rooms.
The only way out was an imposing set of double doors.
“Like sheep to the shearing chute, there is but one way for us,” Cabo announced.
The rest of the group turned toward Cabo, surprised to hear him speak above a whisper.
Intrepid Adventures of Legend or Hobo Murderers on the Loose (a pogre storyhour)
Episode 12 A Shocking Development
“I say we take the smaller side door,” Cabo stated. “Double doors are double trouble.”
“What is it about you and doors?” Osbourne asked.
“I admit, doors are necessary. However, like many other necessary parts of life - I don’t have to like them,” Cabo replied.
“Yer’ an odd one, even for a peck,” Brodek observed. “Right, makes me no difference - side door it is.”
The group found a passage turning sharply into a small chamber with a passage straight ahead and a door to the right. Pushing through the door the adventurers found themselves in a large hall. Directly to their left they spied a set of huge double doors.
“I’m thinking these link up to where we came in,” Brodek observed.
“Let’s find out,” Gideon stated and then opened the doors. A large, vaulted hallway led to another set of double doors. Of more immediate concern was a set of four dark elf warriors.
The combat was brutal and fast with an end result of four dark elves lying in puddles of their own blood.
The adventurers moved through the great hall. Ornate columns reached up from the floor and supported a massive, intricately-carved, vaulted ceiling. The hall terminated in a small dais of plain stone. Following a thorough investigation of the dais, they moved on to onbe of the many side doors.
Gideon threw the door open and confronted a nasty looking dark elf warrior. Gideon hit the dark elf with a flurry of blows - blows that would have felled many of the dark elves the group had already faced, but not this elf.
Now, the dark elf struck back. The first blow cut deeply into Gideon, but he survived. A second, flashing blade attack by the elf was narrowly avoided by the monk. Brodek stepped up and struck a mighty blow, but still the dark elf did not go down. Cabo sunk a short sword into the elf and Osbourne peppered him with magic missiles.
The dark elf was still standing, but clearly in deep trouble. Gideon managed to dodge his attacks again, and the final efforts of the rest of the group managed to bring him down.
Due to Gideon’s wounds and a general need for rest, the group retired from the level to the upper level with the locked storeroom. Brodek feasted and the rest of the group rested and recuperated.
Gideon tried the door again. “I’m telling you, it is locked or barred,” the monk said.
“I can bash it,” Brodek volunteered.
The door in question led from the great hall to the room where the adventurers had killed the tough dark elf.
“Clearly, we are expected,” Osbourne observed.
“We did leave a body,” Cabo said. “Let’s try another door. There may be another way in.”
A debate ensued on the merits of pushing forward or looking for another way through. Eventually, it was agreed they should go to the other door leading from the hall, but keep guarded eyes back to make sure no one snuck up on them.
The door opened up to a chamber with a table and some chairs with doors out on either side.
“That door heads back towards our boy’s corpse,” Brodek stated. Gideon tried the door, “It is locked or barred as well.”
“The other door then?” Osbourne asked.
Cabo flipped the table. He instructed Osbourne to come help him while he watched the locked door. Gideon was stationed out in the great hall with torchlight to watch the other locked door. Brodek prepared to open the door opposite the locked door.
Brodek opened the door, revealing a kitchen beyond. Osbourne and Brodek went into the kitchen area to explore.
As the dwarf and the sorcerer looked around the kitchen . They found nothing and emerged back in the room with the table and chairs. . They heard a Zoosh and a yelp of pain coming from the great hall.
As Gideon saw the bright flash of light coming towards him he could only think, “How in the worlds did that elf get past me!” Then there was smell of ozone and intense pain.
Intrepid Adventures of Legend or Hobo Murderers on the Loose (a pogre storyhour)
Episode 13 Fear the Puppet
Gideon had dodged the worst of the lightning bolt at the last second. Even so, every hair on his body was standing on end and was singed to boot! Gideon’s first instinct was to run for cover, but the near death experience enraged the halfling monk and he gave into his baser, less prudent emotions. With a loud yell, Gideon bounded across the hall and attacked the dark elf magic-user.
Just as Gideon launched himself bravely at the dark elf mage, he saw an impish, malevolent creature materialize next to the mage and attack.
The creature barely missed Gideon with a weapon dripping with poison. Gideon rained a flurry of blows down on the mage, staggering him. Gideon knew one well placed blow against him would end his days. He need not of feared though, the rest of his companions came charging into the hall.
The thief, Cabo, was first and drove his short swords home on the mage. The blow was telling and a spittle of blood formed at the corner of the dark elf’s mouth.
“Don’t kill the imp! Don’t kill the imp!” Cabo wailed.
Brodek arrived next with a crashing charge. His maul drove directly down on the dark elf’s right shoulder. Shoulder plate, collar bone, and rib cage all collapsed beneath the weight of the blow as the mage stumbled back with a palpitating, bloody mess of a torso.
“Save the little imp! I want to keep him!” Cabo kept screaming.
Osbourne emerged into the hall. Spying the petite demon, he unleashed a barrage of magical missiles. The imp fell to the floor and gave a couple of death spasms and then lay still.
“Nooooo!” Cabo cried. The thief rushed over to the limp, little body and picked it up as gingerly as if he were handling a newborn babe. There was a sincere look of anguish on his face.
“What’s wrong with him?” Brodek asked.
“I think he wanted that thing alive for some reason,” Gideon said.
“Whatever for?” Osbourne asked. Then turning his attention to the apparently grieving Cabo said. “You do realize that creature you hold was demon-spawn. The purest of evils.”
Cabo glared at the sorcerer angrily and said, “You perfidious, malevolent runt! All I wanted was to keep him as my pet. You didn’t have to kill him!”
“Are you kidding me! It is pure evil! Do not let its diminutive size fool you. You could no more bend it to your will as a pet than the wildest of beasts,” an exasperated Osbourne replied.
“We will never know, will we?” Cabo replied.
“We DO KNOW!” Osbourne bellowed. “It is evil personified.”
“I’m not interested in your world view. I just want a companion. I think I will make him into a puppet,” Cabo replied. The thief then casually stuffed the small corpse into his bag.
“He’s doing what?” Gideon asked. The monk was still very crispy around the edges and was not sure if he had actually witnessed the exchange.
“I said I am making him into a puppet,” Cabo replied haughtily. “I just need to think of a name.”
“By the gods peck, yer’ not right,” Brodek stated.
With resignation and exhaustion etched in his voice Gideon said, “That lightning bolt nearly killed me. I need rest badly.”
The group retreated to their safe haven in the locked storeroom. Brodek feasted. Gideon and Osbourne rested and meditated respectively. Cabo retrieved the corpse from his bag and eviscerated it. He then cleaned and oiled the body cavity. Having finished these tasks to his satisfaction, Cabo mounted the corpse on the mummified hand he had taken earlier. He went around the storeroom and introduced his new ‘friend’ to each of the adventurers. Osbourne and Gideon were simply too stupefied to say anything. Brodek merely commented, “Bring that thing near me again peck and I’ll brain ye’.”
The group finished exploring the level and took out a couple of dark elf guards at a choke point in a passage.
Beyond the guards was a long set of stairs leading further down.
The stairs emerged into a massive hall. Also of dwarven construction, this hall was larger than any chamber the adventurers had encountered yet. The sheer size of the place was awe inspiring. There were numerous doors on both sides of the hall.
“By the gods! Look at all of those filthy doors!” Cabo noted. He retrieved his ‘puppet’ and said in a high, squeaky voice, “Yes, we hates doors!”
As the rest of the astonished, and highly annoyed group, turned to admonish Cabo their attention was returned to the hall by the pounding approach of four Worgs.
The fighting was vicious and on two occasions adventurers were nearly pulled from their feet. The Worgs had clearly been trained and fought in concert against the group. It was an exhausting melee, but the adventurers were whole at the end.
The adventurers pushed up the great hall and could see there was a partially collapsed area in the middle of the hall. They decided to backtrack and go through the first of the side doors they had passed.
The door led to a corridor with many more doors, much to the chagrin of Cabo. One door opened up into a small storeroom guarded by a pair of goatmen.
The goatmen were quickly slain and the group explored much of the area south of the great hall. They fought a trio of dust mephits in an old forging hall, but found most of the area unoccupied.
As Brodek burst through the doors the group was confronted by five bipedal, fishlike humanoids. “Deep ones!” Brodek yelled in rage. A guttural, war cry issued from the dwarf as if driven by some ancestral hatred.
Brodek smashed into the nearest Deep One. Cabo slipped through the piscine foes and made his way back to the largest most dangerous looking foe. The thief then delivered a brutal attack, slipping his blade past the creature’s carapace and deep into its tender underbelly.
Gideon took on another of the Deep Ones, while Osbourne cast magic missiles at Cabo’s large victim near the rear.
One of the Deep Ones cast a net over Brodek, which the dwarf shrugged off like a petty nuisance. The largest of the Deep Ones tried to attack Cabo, but the thief was too quick for the lumbering creature. Another attack from the theif’s blade and Osbourne’s magic missiles had the biggest Deep One down and bleeding out.
The loss of their leader seemed to have a devastating effect on the remaining Deep Ones. Their morale faltering, they quickly fell to the combined efforts of the group.
Following the battle the group began to explore the chamber they had just cleared of enemies. Gideon discovered three dark elf corpses along the back wall. As the monk began to search the dark elves. looking to add to the group’s sizable hand crossbow collection, one of the dark elves moaned. Gideon realized all three dark elves were tightly bound, unconscious, and still very much alive.
“Well, well, what have we here,” Gideon mused aloud. “Gents, we have some guests over here,” he called to the rest of the group.
Back from a successful tour of the ancient Dwarven under keep, The Old Ox Inn is happy to present the comic stylings of Cabo, and his impish friend Spot (the puppet).
Cabo: Thank you, thank you. I'm Cabo and this is Spot. Say hi, spot.
Spot: Hi spot.
Cabo: I just got back into town after adventuring with a group of great guys . . . and a Dwarf. You know what I mean? There is one in every group of adventurers. His name is Brodek. I would call this guy a dick, but that would give him entirely too much credit, because I'm not sure he has one.
Spot: Testify Cabo! Tell these folks all about Brodek and his lack of manhood.
Cabo: Right Spot. This guy Brodek walked into a wall with a boner. . . He broke his nose.
Spot: Hardy Har Har !!!
Cabo: Hey Spot, do you know what they call a woman who likes a small penis?
Spot: Hmmmm, No
Cabo: Mrs. Brodek
Cabo: Brodek had the nerve to tell me he had an 8 inch penis. Of course, I thought he was lying, but I was wrong, he really did have an 8 inch penis.
Cabo: Yep, He had an 8 inch penis stuffed right in between his buttocks.
Cabo: Sure, Brodek has a small wang, but he is also very boring. Even his hand falls asleep when he masturbates.
Spot: Cabo, I've never seen Mrs. Brodek, and wouldn't know her if she was standing next to me.
Cabo: Spot, she's easy to identify. Just listen for a woman saying, "is it in".
Spot: Stop it Cabo, you're killing me!!
Cabo: One time I was talking with Brodek in the dungeon, and he was telling me if I masturbated too much it would cause me to go blind.
Spot: What did you say Cabo?
Cabo: I said, Hey Brodek, I'm over here.
Spot: Cabo, what did you do when you got back to town from the dungeon.
Cabo: I just rested and did some shopping, but Brodek cashed in a "fate point" to add an inch to the length of his penis.
Cabo: Yep, his wife did the same.
Cabo: Brodek also told me that penis size and shoe size were related. After he told me he stared to cry.
Spot: That's sad Why was he crying?
Cabo: He saw my clown shoes.
Cabo: Poor Brodek. He's been so sad lately. None of us could figure it out at first.
Spot: How did you figure out what was making him sad?
Cabo: We saw his penis on a milk carton.
Cabo: You know Spot, Brodek almost didn't make it into our adventuring party.
Spot: Why was that?
Cabo: He lied on his resume. He never thought we would actually measure.
Cabo: Brodek never liked me from the start.
Spot: Thats hard to believe. Everyone loves Cabo.
Cabo: Not Brodek. When we began our adventure Brodek laughed at me when he saw I took no weapon. I told him I only needed my penis.
Spot: What did he say to that?
Cabo: Nothing. He stopped laughing when I put 18 points of damage on him.
Spot: Is that why he is still mad at you?
Cabo: No, The last night on the road I was standing by the fire with my penis out.
Spot: Why should that make him mad?
Cabo: I told him I was warming up his dinner.
Cabo: Thank you good people, myself and Spot must be going. We're here all week, don't miss our next show. Be sure to tip your wait staff, and we have hand crossbows for sale in the back of the room
Intrepid Adventures of Legend or Hobo Murderers on the Loose (a pogre storyhour)
Episode 14 Nothing Gets Out Alive
The adventurers splashed cold water on the bound dark elves to bring them to consciousness.
"Which of you wants to live?" Cabo asked.
Osbourne took the gags out of the dark elves' mouths.
"Whoever talks to us and tells us what we need to know lives. The other two," Cabo made a motion across his throat with his index finger.
The dark elves made some hurried whispers to each other.
"Shuddup!" Brodek yelled and kicked the nearest dark elf. "We need to split this trio up." Brodek roughly grabbed the elf he had kicked and yanked him to his feet. Brodek dragged the elf out into the hall and Cabo addressed him in common. The Dark Elf spoke two or three languages, but no one in the group could understand him.
“Enough of this!” Cabo yelled. “Brodek bring him back in here.” Cabo gestured for Brodek to bring the dark elf back into the chamber with the other dark elves.
“This is to make a believer of you two,” Cabo announced to the other two dark elves and promptly sliced the neck of the first Dark Elf. The other dark elves winced, but revealed no further emotion.
“What now?” Osbourne asked. “They clearly do not speak any language we share.”
Cabo whirled around with an angry glare and then composed himself and in a low voice said, “You know what, you are right.” The halfling thief then nodded at Brodek. Brodek sword flew in two quick swipes and both dark elves’ heads flopped to the ground.
“That was a quality use of our time,” Gideon stated as he watched the spreading pool of crimson beneath the elves’ corpses.
“Yeah, well thanks for all of your helpful suggestions,” Cabo retorted.
“There could be no better use of our time than killing elves,” Brodek snarled. “Let’s move out.”
Cabo burst into the room and stabbed one of the dark ones and then zipped back out before the piscean creatures could react. Gideon and Brodek stormed in and attacked. The melee went quickly and soon all of the Deep Ones were done.
The group flung open the door and found a pair of hideous creatures.
At first, the melee went very well, and the adventurers quickly had the pair of monsters heavily wounded. As the creatures struggled with their many wounds and unearthly howl came from the creatures and they broke into a berserker rage, Now the blows from the creatures were staggering the adventurers and the group was put on the defensive.
A wide sweep of Brodek’s sword saved the battle for the adventurers and turned the tide. The monsters were finally put down and the group collectively heaved a sigh of relief. They rested and patched up their wounds.
This level was mostly explored and in one of the last rooms the group discovered a group of marooned dark elf warriors. In what quickly was becoming his standard, Cabo jumped in and stabbed a dark elf and then quickly exited.
The dark elves never got their footing and the combat was a one-sided slaughter. Only a pair of stairs remained to be explored.
As the adventurers descended a thick, swampy, foetid odor rose to their nostrils. Osbourne complained briefly. Brodek growled in reply, “Deep Ones - lots of ‘em.”
The level was a maze of collapsed tunnels and stagnant pools. The group struck down Old Ones of all sizes, young and old, and was forced to dig out many passages to make their way through.
The group came to a chamber that resembled a primitive temple. The mostly bare chamber had numerous runes scrawled on the walls and a large arcane circle surrounding a pit entrance.
“What’s in the pit I wonder?” Gideon asked. As if in answer to the halfling monk’s question a low, deep, rumbling growl came up through the pit entrance. Gideon edged closer to the pit to take a look.
“Stop!” Osbourne commanded. Gideon froze in his tracks and turned to face the sorcerer. “We have no idea if the circle has bound some horrible beast. Breaking the circle might release it.”
Brodek stepped forward and stomped on the circle. The dwarf ground the ball of his feet into the painted arcane symbols like he was putting out a stray ash from a campfire. “Old Ones’ magic holds no sway over me,” Brodek announced. His devilish grin revealed he was clearly enjoying Osbourne’s discomfort.
The cat out of the bag, the whole group edged closer to the pit to take a closer view. Another low growl came echoing up from the pit.
Cabo started fishing a coil of rope out of his gear.
“What are you doing?” an alarmed Osbourne asked.
“Going to get a closer look,” Cabo replied.
“It will see you and you won’t see it,” Gideon reminded him.
Cabo hesitated. He pulled out a copper and instructed Osbourne to cast light on the coin. Osbourne reluctantly complied and his light source immediately extinguished as the coin began to emit a golden glow of light. “Right, now make me invisible,” Cabo demanded of the sorcerer. Osbourne objected, but the combined cajoling of the party forced him to relent and he cast the spell.
Cabo had the trio hold one end of the rope with Brodek serving as anchor. He then dropped the coin down into the pit and the group was plunged into darkness. A deafening roar issued forth from the pit. A short time later the noise dissipated. “Now, when I tug on the rope pull me up.”
“Jigging with peck bait; this is my kind of fishing!” Brodek proclaimed.
The trio felt tension on the rope as Cabo lowered himself down the pit shaft. The group could hear the low rumbling of the monster below. A few excruciating minutes later, the trio felt a violent tugging. All three pulled with all of their might and they could hear Cabo’s muffled curses as he bounced up the pit shaft.
A bruised and battered Cabo finally emerged from the pit. Osbourne quickly re-cast light to illuminate the chamber. Cabo’s chest was heaving from exertion as he tried to catch his breath.
“What was it?” Gideon asked.
“No idea, but it is enormous,” Cabo replied. “It looked like a whale-lizard with big teeth. It’s head was gigantic with a jaw to match.”
“Could swallow you in one gulp, eh?” Brodek asked.
“Easily,” Cabo confirmed. He began looking around the room for something.
“What are you looking for?” Osbourne asked.
“I need something solid to anchor this rope to. Something that can support Brodek’s weight.”
“You want to go back down there?” Gideon asked incredulously.
“Yep, I’ll go first invisible. I’ll jump it and you fellows can attack it then,” Cabo replied.
“Peck, I admire your style, but there is no way I am shimmying down that hole to fight an enormous beast,” Brodek stated.
“No way I’m going down there,” Gideon concurred.
“I did not come down through ten levels of this place, fighting goblins, troglodytes, undead, elves, goatmen, and fishmen to turn around and leave. We are going to kill this thing. Now grow a pair!” Cabo retorted.
“I’m in,” Osbourne said. The dwarf and the monk turned to look at the sorcerer in disbelief. Osbourne shrugged, “He’s right. I did not come all this way not to fight this thing.”
“No way Peck!” Brodek growled. “It is certain doom.”
“Let’s put it to a vote,” Cabo suggested.
“Why?” Gideon replied. “It’s clear it is two against two.”
Cabo retrieved the imp carcass from his bag that he had fashioned into a puppet and held it aloft on the mummified hand he had taken from the crypts. “What do you say Spot?” Cabo asked the gruesome puppet. In a high falsetto voice he replied, “I say we go kill the monster or die trying. We should ignore fraidy dwarf and sister monk and prove we have a pair!” Cabo smiled broadly, “I agree Spot! It’s decided.”
“It most certainly is not decided,” Gideon replied. “And, put that thing away. Better yet, throw it away.”
“That’s not helping the cause,” Osbourne agreed.
“At least Spot has courage. Something sorely lacking here right now,” Cabo pouted.
“You can see you have aligned yourself with a lunatic,” Gideon said as an aside to Osbourne.
“How about this? We go back to the larder and bring back all those barrels of oil. We pour all the oil down in the pit and set it on fire,” Gideon suggested.
“Is it a closed chamber peck?” Brodek asked cautiously.
“No idea,” Cabo admitted.
“The plan does have merit. The problem is a fire that size could very well snuff out all of the air. We could suffocate,” Brodek explained. “Let’s explore this level further and see if there is another entrance. I’d rather not face this beast after shimmying down a shaft like a chimney sweep.”
The group tripped their way through a moist, algae-ridden chamber full of breeding ponds and young old ones. The chamber soon looked like the deck of a cod trawler and the besmirched group pushed on.
They entered yet another swamp-like room. This one was occupied by an enormous Old One and his mates.
The huge Old One gurgled some threat at the group and began casting spells at them while his mates rushed to his defense. The halflings avoided the mates and concentrated their efforts on taking out the big Old One. Brodek bladed the two mates in short order and joined the attack on the chieftan. The groups combined efforts put the creature down, but not before nearly everyone was wounded.
Gideon rubbed the sleep from his eyes and stretched, recovering from his slumber in the larder. Brodek was happily rubbing his stomach after enjoying the bounty of the storage room yet again. “Good thing we are done,” Brodek said. “We’re nearly out of food.”
Gideon began rolling oil barrels towards the door.
Osbourne awoke and looked over with half-open eyes. “What are you doing Gideon?”
“Getting ready to take care of some final business.”
The whoosh of the oil catching was not explosive, but palpable all the same as air rushed down to the pit. The group could hear the awful screams of agony from the terrible creature below as they fled the area.
“Fry Fishy! Fry!” Brodek shouted during the retreat.
Back at the Old Ox Inn there was a great celebration. The proprietor Lant gave them a fair price for their sizable cache of hand crossbows and Cabo put on a bizarre puppet show with ‘Spot’.
Following a fortnight of celebrating and carousing Lant approached the group.
“I have this problem I am hoping you can help me with…” the Innkeeper began.
Intrepid Adventures of Legend or Hobo Murderers on the Loose (a pogre storyhour)
Episode 15 A Giant Farming Problem
A young, female dwarf approached the group’s table. Brodek’s face lit up in a bright grin. “Helja! How are you lass?” Brodek exclaimed.
“I am well Brodek,” Helja replied. “I received your message and came straight away.”
Brodek made introductions all around to the rest of the group to his friend.
“I think Brodek is smiling,” Osbourne whispered to Gideon.
“Must be a nervous tick,” Gideon replied.
“Helja, it is a shame you missed the puppet show the other night! It would have given you some real insight on your friend Brodek,” Cabo said.
“Ignore him lass,” Brodek interjected nonplussed. “The caverns and complex I wrote to you about will have to wait. We largely cleaned them out anyway. However, the barkeep here has asked us to stick around to talk after dinner. We could always use another blade.”
Helja took a seat at the table and promptly ordered some ale.
Lant finally came around and gave the group a very sad tale of how local farms had been depopulated with apparently no fight or struggle. No living thing had survived these attacks, not even a barn cat. The always sympathetic adventurers most pressing concern was what the owner of the Old Oxen Inn was offering them in solid, hard gold to investigate. An accord was reached with Lant fronting the group a few healing potions and promising a sizable monetary reward if the mystery was solved and the local farmers’ minds put at ease.
Two local farms were known to have been raided and as the group approached the first of these it was clear just how desolate the site was.
The interior of the farmhouse showed some signs of minimal struggle, but very little in the way of blood stains or trails. The barn and stalls had more signs of struggle and the adventurers did find some large canine tracks.
“Wolves?” Osbourne asked no one in particular.
“Very big wolves,” Gideon replied.
“Dire wolves or worgs,” Helja added.
“How could wolves steal everything alive without a trace?” Cabo asked. “Maybe we are dealing with a lycanthrope?”
“Possibly,” Gideon replied. “Could just be tracks of scavengers moving through the aftermath of the conflict.”
“Well, it’s what we got,” Brodek stated. “Let’s at least follow the tracks to see where they lead us.”
The wolf prints led down to a small stream and the adventurers followed along cautiously.
It did not take long for the adventurers to find a large wolf den teaming with the large canines.
The group huddled up to make a plan of their approach.
After careful consideration and a thorough examination of all the possibilities, the group decided to charge. The resulting melee was a wolf slaughter. The rewards for the group was several new wolf pelts and 8 dire wolf pups, not yet weaned. Brodek suggested euthanizing the pups under the ‘nits make lice’ theory, but was soundly rejected by Gideon and Cabo who were intent on saving the pups as pets.
The group returned to the Old Ox Inn with the pelts and pups and no closer to solving their mystery. Following a quick arrangement whereby Cabo and Gideon essentially quintupled a stable boy’s salary for taking care of the pups, the group set off again.
The group spent much of the following day in a frustrating investigation of the farms that had been depopulated, visiting other local farms, and trying to discern some sort of pattern for the destruction. The group ruled out the remnant tribe of gnolls living in a nearby forest and decided the threat must have come from the foothills or mountains to the north.
Following a rough trail, the group came upon a hollow in the hills, where a large wolf padded around the entrance.
The adventurers began moving up, threading their way through the boulder field in front of the grotto, when a huge humanoid emerged and tossed an enormous rock at them. The boulder clipped Brodek and nearly smashed the dwarf. “God’s Teeth! Take cover!” Brodek yelled.
The hill giant continued lobbing boulders at the group. None of the large rocks hit, but the adventurers continued moving forward under a spray of rock fragments from the impacts. Gideon broke cover and charged the hill giant.
The monk’s strikes were effective, but the giant’s answering attack almost put the halfling six-feet under. The rest of the adventurers piled into the combat, trying to save Gideon from certain doom. Osbourne put the dire wolf down with an effective spray of magic missiles. The rest of the adventurers closed and tried to keep the hill giant off balance, while opening a number of small wounds on the beast.
The combined efforts of the adventurers toppled the giant and the group sighed with relief over its corpse. An exploration of the shallow cavern revealed it was stuffed full of bags. Most of the giant sacks contained bones and other worthless items, but they did find a few valuables. Most importantly, the group found definitive evidence that the hill giant was the culprit responsible for sacking the farms.
Gathering all the valuables, the group headed back to the Old Oxen Inn. They stopped along the way to turn over some bags of seed grain to local farmers and to assure them the threat had been overcome. Upon their return, Lant rewarded the adventurers richly and place the giant’s head upon a large pike in front of the coaching inn.
Little did Lant or the adventurers know - they would soon be facing a far more dangerous and insidious threat to the Old Oxen Inn and the surrounding territory...
Intrepid Adventures of Legend or Hobo Murderers on the Loose (a pogre storyhour)
Episode 16 Dirty Deeds Indeed
The Old Oxen was teeming with folks as people from far and wide came to the inn for Mutton and mint night. The lamb roast with mint jelly was a special dish that had a well earned savory reputation. As the group pushed their way to their favorite table they could see a diverse multitude of folks enjoying the fare. One table caught their attention immediately as it had a large group of liveried coachmen drinking, eating, and singing foreign songs.
“What songs are those?” Cabo asked.
“Dackian, I would say,” Osbourne replied.
Dackia was at the far end of a revived trade route that went through the Old Oxen Inn. Many of the exotic goods were imported into Brostatntia, a substantial Dackian port. Nonetheless, it was unusual to see so many Dackians under the inn’s roof.
“Looks like there having a good time,” Brodek noted. “No harm done.” All in the party agreed and sat at the table. Soon, the group’s favorite server had the table piled high with lamb, jelly, bread, and beer.
The harried proprietor of the Old Oxen Inn Lant Marrowkind bustled by the group’s table and shouted quickly as he passed, “I’d like a moment of your time when things quiet down.” Several in the group nodded in assent and Lant motioned to the group’s server and pointed to himself to indicate he would be picking up their bill for the evening’s fare. Lant did all of this while dodging his way through the lower tavern and working his way out to the upper tavern.
“Wonder what he wants?” Gideon asked.
Before anyone in the group could answer they noticed one of the liveried coachmen from the loud table had approached their table and now stood expectantly before them. The coachman cleared his throat to catch the group’s attention. “It will be wonderful to welcome such delightful new subjects into Dackia, though they be of low stature.” The coachmen tittered while delivering the last part of his address.
“This is your one warning,” Brodek growled.
“Ohhhh, a warning,” the coachmen crowed, “You had best learn how to address your superiors: You are a servant to the Dackian crown take knee now and…
Brodek’s hand flashed so quickly it was nearly impossible to see as the backside of the dwarf’s hand impacted the coachmen’s jaw. Blood sprayed in a wide arc from the coachmen’s mouth as he staggered backward. The group was on its collective feet in a moment drawing weapons.
The coachmen continued waving his hands in front of his body in defense and disbelief. Two of the coachmen’s fellows rushed forward grabbing him by his arms and pulling him back to their group. Several of the coachmen were scurrying out the door. Brodek pulled out his sword and the rest of the group readied their weapons and stalked forward. The adventurers collective blood was up and there was going to be a reckoning.
The original coachmen was whining, “I’m bleeding, I’m bleeding.” While many of his compatriots called out that they were not looking for a fight and wanted no violence. Only quick action by the wait staff and bar keeps, placing themselves between the coachmen and the adventurers stopped the group from cutting the coachmen down. Brodek and the rest reluctantly lowered their weapons. The lower inn’s staff called for the coachmen to exit now and the remaining Dackian coachmen scrambled to comply.
The original, taunting coachmen turned and called, “You barbarians will learn some manners.”
Before anyone could verbalize a reply, Cabo pulled his bow up even and shot an arrow square in the man’s buttock. Squealing in pain, the coachman was dragged out of the tavern.
One of Cabo’s favorite barmaids gave him a stern look of disapproval.
“Not my fault,” Cabo muttered looking down sheepishly.
Only a few patrons remained in the lower tavern and the staff had started the arduous task of clean up after a big night of business. A tired-looking Lant Marrowkind entered the tavern and made his way to the group’s table. “I hear I missed quite a ruckus,” the portly innkeeper said with a smile.
“Aye, and nearly a massacre,” Osbourne replied.
“They were warned,” Brodek stated flatly.
“I’m sure,” Lant said. “If you think they were a pain you should have been with the high born fops I was dealing with in the upper.”
“That would have been a massacre,” Osbourne quipped.
Lant motioned for the group to follow. “Come with me. There is a matter I need to share with you.”
Lant began with some small talk asking how the adventurers’ meals were, and so on. After being encouraged to ‘get down to business’, he said, “You have been a big help to me. Unfortunately, I need to ask another favor of you. It is a bit of a dirty deed, but I think I can convince you it will be for the greater good. Over in the Upper Tavern is a snobbish fop by the name of Bogdan Comeaga. He is a Landgrave of Dackia and a nephew to the Grand Duchess Sorana Comeaga, in other words, he is a big wig from the east with lots of connections. Now, take a look at this map.”
“Here (Lant pointed at Brostantia on the map) is one of the main trading ports of Dackia. Many of the luxury goods that come through this inn originate in Brostantia. Here (Lant pointed at Highland on the map) is the closest city in Anglia. The majority of coach traffic and trade that comes through this inn is coming and going from these two places.
When I came to this place it was only a small, rundown coaching inn. The countryside was dangerous and there was a trickle of traffic. Through these hands and this (Lant pointed at his heart) I carved this place out of the wilderness. Business is good, the countryside is safer, and people are moving back to the area. I’m finally starting to see a profit. Now, like vultures here come those fops from Dackia.”
Lant paused and took a deep drink.
“Landgrave Comeaga has arrived and is making a demand of me. Dackia has an ancient claim to this area that stretches back to the time before the Grey’s were even around. With this flimsy claim they want taxes from me and a permanent outpost here at the inn. They want to take this over now that I have it rolling, and by the gods, I’m not going to let them!”
“But, there’s a problem. If I just refuse their entreaties it could really hurt us. I am not that worried about their military, although that is a concern - the real threat is the trade. They could choke us out of existence.”
“What I need is time. I own this land through a tenuous deed grant from the Empire of Harl. Everyone knows the Empire is dead and has been for a very long time. However, by terms of that deed I am the rightful purchaser of this property. My claim is certainly as strong as the Grand Duchess’s, which ain’t saying much.”
“However, I know well that the Viscount of Highland will not want Dackia securing such a claim in his backyard. If I could get a pledge of protection from him through higher channels to Dackia that probably would make the Grand Duchess back down.”
“Here’s where it gets a little dirty. I need to stop the Landgrave from getting back to Dackia. If his entourage were attacked by bandits and the Landgrave fell that would buy me some time. I was wondering if I could count on you to do this for me?”
“I’m in,” Cabo immediately said. There was a glint in the halfling’s eyes. Not a mischievous, fun, and slightly naughty glint frequently attributed to the small folk. This glint was born of pure malice and had more than a hint of madness with it. The rest of the group, sufficiently shocked at Cabo’s sudden acquiescence, did not even get a chance to speak before the thief began babbling about their needs for the operation.
“We’ll need a set of carpenter’s tools,” Cabo started.
“Done,” Lant replied.
“A one-horse wagon with a driver with no family ties to the inn,” Cabo continued.
“Probably not a problem, but why no family ties?” Lant asked.
“We don’t want him coming straight back here. So we will have to pay him off to go somewhere else for a long time. If he has family, they may start asking questions,” Cabo replied.
“I see, I can arrange that,” Lant confirmed.
“A large amount of poison,” Cabo continued.
“That’s a problem,” Lant replied. “First, as I said, this inn cannot be tied to the event, and second, poisoning would raise a huge red flag with the Dackians.”
“We have some of the Dark Elf poison,” Gideon offered.
“We need to see the Landgrave and his party,” Cabo said.
“They have headed to bed. That will have to wait for morning and again, they cannot see you. This cannot be traced directly back to me and the Old Ox,” Lant replied.
“We could interview one of your servers who worked their tables tonight then,” Osbourne suggested.
Lant stood up and went to the office door. He called to one of his help to go and fetch Gilda.
“When are they leaving?” Brodek asked.
“Soon, I hope,” Lant replied. “Given the demands they have placed on me I have a feeling that bill will not be paid.”
“Oh, it will be paid,” Cabo sneered. The glint in his eyes had returned.
The interview with the serving girl, Gilda, revealed that the Landgrave was accompanied by two veteran, noble knights, at least eight men-at-arms, and a large amount of servants. Counting coachmen and other able-bodied males that put the fighting force of the Landgrave’s party at 30 at least.
Following the interview, Cabo grabbed up the proffered carpenter’s tools and made his way towards the stables. The thief’s initial thought was to assassinate the pair of valets guarding the stables, but he reconsidered realizing that might put the Landgrave on alert. He moved stealthily past the valets and a stableboy to the carriage house. Locating the Landgrave’s coach was a relatively simple matter due to its ostentation.
Carefully, and slowly, Cabo whittled away at the inner wooden spokes of the carriage’s wheels. Following a couple of hours of work, Cabo was well satisfied that his handiwork would cause the carriage to breakdown after a few hours on the road. He found the other carriages and unbound the three spare wheels he discovered, which he hoped would make for a long and tedious repair. Finally, Cabo gingerly sprinkled the Landgrave’s supply of horsefeed with poison. Probably not enough to kill the animals, but more than enough to make them mighty sick. The thief gathered his tools and made a stealthy exit.
Late the next morning the Landgrave’s large caravan marched out of the Old Oxen Inn and took to the road. The adventurers waited a couple of hours and set off after them. The adventurers rode on the wagon and took turns conversing with their driver Harry. Harry was a widower who had lost his wife and children to a plague that had swept through his village three years back, but he was ready for a new start on life. Everyone liked Harry, and even Cabo had to admit he was a decent fellow.
Just a few miles from the Old Ox, the group spied a large pavillion surrounded by smaller tents set off a few dozen yards from the road.
“Surely they have not stopped already?” Halja asked.
“Maybe their carriages broke down?” Cabo suggested.
“I don’t think so, peck,” Brodek replied. “Everything looks intact and they are not working on wheels or anything else.”
“They’re bluebloods,” Harry said.
“So?” Osbourne said.
“They be done travellin’ for the day,” Harry answered. “They’re softer than regular folks.”
“Let’s keep going then Harry,” Cabo said. “Take us on past.”
“What if they stop us/” Gideon asked.
“I doubt they will,” Harry volunteered. “A wagon like this won’t catch their attention.”
Harry was exactly right. The Landgrave’s caravan did not even look up at the simple wagon passing by on the road. The servants were bustling setting up fires and cooking meals, while others were tending to horses and unloading coaches.
Harry pushed the cart on down the road a half league until the group found a small wood near the road. They pulled the cart off road into the wood and concealed it.
“Harry, we are going for a while,” Cabo started. “If we are not back by morning, head to the next village and wait a week for us there. If we are not there in a week, head back to the Old Ox.”
Harry smiled knowingly, “Give them bluebloods hell.”
“That’s the plan,” Gideon replied and the group headed back towards the landgrave’s encampment.
The group had worked themselves into a hiding place in some low hills north of the landgrave’s camp and the road. Using their current vantage point, they could see four men-at-arms were posted at each corner of the grand pavillion. As darkness began to fall many folks of the entourage piled into the pavillion and servants came and went bearing piled high platters and wine skins. There were numerous campfires and torches situated around the pavillion illuminating the entire area.
As the group watched, a figure in a cowled cape emerged from the surrounding wilderness bound his way down to the camp.
“Who is that?” Halja whispered.
“No idea,” Brodek admitted.
The caped figure was stopped at the entrance of the pavillion by a pair of men-at-arms, but after the intercession of someone within the pavillion was admitted into the giant tent.
“What’s going on now?” Gideon asked.
“I don’t know,” Cabo replied. “But I am going to find out.” Cabo moved from the hiding place and stealthily began creeping down towards the camp.
“What’s the peck up to?” Brodek demanded. Gideon just shrugged in reply.
Cabo skillfully glided past the guards and wormed his way under the pavilion's outer canvas wall. He found himself below a table and in this small backroom of the pavilion he could see the caped figure speaking with the Landgrave and one of the knights. As the caped figure removed his hood Cabo could see clearly he was a Dark Elf. Cabo listened intently, but could only catch snippets of their conversation. He did catch the words ‘hold’, ‘slaves’, ‘agreement’, and ‘fortnight’. The Dark Elf replaced his hood and the three exited the small room.
Cabo wiggled back under the pavilion’s outer wall and began cautiously making his way back to the group’s hiding place.
Cabo reported back to the group on what he witnessed. The group in turn shared that the caped and hooded dark elf had made his way back out of the camp and into the wilderness before Cabo had returned. A brief debate followed on what they should do next.
“The camp looks mostly quiet,” Brodek observed. “I say we go down and slaughter them.”
“We can’t do that,’ Cabo replied.
“Why not?” Gideon queried. “Sounds like a perfect plan to me. Besides no matter what convoluted scheme we concoct it always comes back to charging in and killing anyway.”
“We have to kill the main fops,” Cabo countered. “If we charge in and do not get them, it will make our job a lot harder. Let me sneak down there and kill the Landgrave. Once the hue and cry goes up we can slaughter as many as possible before hightailing it out of here.”
“”You want to go in and try to kill him by yourself?” Helja asked.
“It’s what I do,” Cabo replied.
“Sounds good,” Brodek stated. Everyone looked at the grizzled dwarven fighter in surprise. “I mean it will all probably come down to what Gideon said anyway. This has the added bonus of having the peck’s hide in the fire.”
Cabo did not look the least annoyed or perplexed by Brodek’s comments. “Alright, give me a 100 count head start. Once you start hearing screaming come running and killing.”
Cabo slid past the men-at-arms guarding the pavilion and eased back under the wall where he had entered the large tent earlier in the evening. From his under the table vantage point he could see there were a half dozen men slumbering in the room. Cabo carefully left his spot and tiptoed over the sleeping men. He emerged from the smaller room into a narrow hallway. To his left was the larger pavilion area, where he could see numerous bodies resting on cots, the ground, and even some atop the tables. Cabo hoped that Landgrave Comeaga was not among them or his task might be beyond even his skills. The halfling thief cut a slit in the fabric wall of the hall and revealed another room beyond.
Cabo carefully squeezed through the slitted fabric and waited for a tense moment while his eyes adjusted to the oil lamp lit room. There was a large four-poster bed in the room and at the foot of the bed was a pair of young women sleeping in each other’s arms. Cabo moved gracefully to the edge of the bed and moved back the surrounding curtain. There in a deep slumber was the Landgrave.
Cabo’s next movements were swift as he removed his short sword and cut through the noble’s throat. The halfling’s blade cut deeply through the Landgrave’s neck, nearly to the spine. Comeaga awoke with a look of pure bewilderment and terror and as he attempted to scream a bubbling red mess issued forward from his pale lips. In seconds, the Landgrave was dead in a pool of crimson. Cabo gently wiped his blade off on the bed sheeting.
Cabo considered the pair of young women at the foot of the bed. He thought perhaps he should kill them both quickly before moving on. However, they were both very attractive lasses and looked angelic sleeping gently. It was just too much of a waste - he would let them live. They were likely to sleep through most of the night and showed no signs of stirring. Cabo left the area in search of the knights accompanying the late Landgrave.
Cabo slipped out of the room, back through the rent of the fabric, and into his original entry chamber. There he thought he saw one of the knights sleeping amongst several other fellows. Cabo carefully edged his way around the room to position his blade gingerly above the knight’s exposed neck and …
There was an ear-piercing scream from the next room. “God’s teeth!!” Cabo thought. “Should have killed them! Good looking women will be the end of me!” The halfling made a stab at the neck of the knight, but it was not as clean as he hoped and he was forced to retreat in the stir of waking and alerted men. He stole out of the tent and gave the signal.
The rest of the group approached the pavilion. When one of the men-at-arms started to confront them, Cabo sunk a shortsword deeply into his back.
“Did you get him?” Brodek shouted.
“Yes, but not the knights,” Cabo replied.
The pavilion was erupting in chaos within. Screams and cries mixed with bellowed orders as pandemonium broke loose in the tent.
“I’ve got a job to finish,” Cabo said. The halfling took off at a sprint and slid back under the tent wall in the back of the pavilion.
“Wait,” Brodek ordered.
Cabo meantime took advantage of the chaos in the tent. The halfling was tumbling through legs and even concealed himself beneath a lady’s nightgown without her knowledge for a split second. He finally spied one of the ladies he had let live earlier in the night trying to staunch the bloody neck of the knight he had stabbed in the neck. He saw a group of soldiers cowering in another section of the tent as the remaining noble knight screamed incoherently at them. Cabo rushed forward and delivered a vicious stab to the knight’s chest.
The lady tending to the knight let out a blood-curdling scream as the doomed noble coughed gobs of blood up on her.
“Shuddup you wench! It should've been you!” Cabo said. Turning, Cabo now saw the knight pushing through the mad crowd towards him with a retinue of men-at-arms in tow. Cabo dashed to the back of the tent and slashed at the back fabric. He slipped out and shouted at his waiting fellow adventurers, “It’s killing time!”
The knight emerged from the tent and was almost cut in two by the combined efforts of Helja and Brodek. The men-at-arms were cut down nearly as quickly. A few soldiers tried to retreat, but they were pursued and killed. While the rest of the group were occupied with the few remaining soldiers resisting, Cabo cut the ropes supporting the pavilion. The entire tent began to collapse on the mass of humanity within. The canvas started catching fire and soon the entire writhing mess became a nightmarish, burning inferno.
Cabo watched the tent burn with glee until he was disturbed from his reverie by Osbourne grabbing his arm. “We have to get out of here.” Cabo nodded and whistled at the rest of the group.
There were only a couple of hours of dark left before dawn when the group returned to Harry and the cart. They bedded down and Cabo offered to take first watch. “I’m glad you are safe Mr. Cabo,” Harry called.
“Aye, Harry. We’ve done good work this night,” Cabo said with a smile.
Osbourne rose from his bedroll and came over to Cabo. “Are you sure you want first watch?”
“Cannot sleep anyway. My blood’s still pulsing,” Cabo said. “I guess I’m going to have to kill him.” Cabo said thumbing at the sleeping Harry.
“What?” Osbourne said with horror. “No, Cabo. He won’t tell anyone.”
Osbourne moved over to Harry and nudged him gently awake. “What is it Mr. Osbourne?” Harry asked rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
“Well Harry, we have a gift for you,” Osbourne plunked down a bag with gold coins. “There are more than 30 crowns in there. Enough for you to get your new start.”
“I don’t know what to say Mr. Osbourne,” Harry replied.
“That’s just it Harry - you have to say nothing. Nothing about us. Nothing about this night. Nothing at all. Just take your cart and go as far away as you dare and start your new life.”
“Oh I will Mr. Osbourne. I promise,” Harry replied.
“Good Harry, good. Now, get’s some sleep,” Osbourne said.
“Oh, and Mr. Osbourne?” Harry asked.
“Yes Harry?” Osbourne replied.
“Thank you so much. That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me,” Harry said.
“You are welcome Harry. Everyone deserves a new start. Now get some rest,” Osbourne turned to look at Cabo who had been watching the whole exchange. Cabo gave a nod to indicate he was satisfied and the whole camp was quickly asleep again.
Osbourne woke and looked around the camp. He pulled himself up from his cot and stumbled into the brush to relieve himself. As he attended to his call of nature he could see Cabo was piling stones atop a mound. A shiver of horror ran down his spine. “What are you doing Cabo?” he called out.
“Burying Harry,” Cabo replied.
“Cabo, why?” Osbourne blurted.
“He seemed like a decent fellow - the least I could do is bury him,” Cabo replied.
“No!” Osbourne screamed. “Why did you kill him?”
“Knew too much,” Cabo replied as he nestled the final rocks in place on the cairn,
“He was not going to say anything!” Osbourne sunk to his haunches. He fought a wave of nausea.
“Maybe,” Cabo said indifferently.
“I would have bet anything on it,” Osbourne said sullenly.
“Yep, well, it still would be a gamble wouldn’t it. When it comes to choosing between a gamble and a sure thing - that’s an easy choice in the end for me,” Cabo replied. He lifted up the sack of coins Osbourne had given Harry the night before and tossed them towards the mage.