Weekly Article Tale
(Author’s note: This chapter is part of an experiment to create a (bi?) weekly trilogy based on my characters in Dungeons & Dragons. If you have any opinion whatsoever, please comment, and I’ll either carry on or shut up. Either one works.)
Chapter 1: A Beginning
Darkness. It was all she could see. She thought her eyes were open, but who could know? Who could be certain of anything within the dark abyss of their own mind? A land where reality was naught but a dream, where the laws of nature were naught but the whims of your twisted imagination.
With difficulty, she forced herself to depart from the bowers of her own dark soul. She rose, blinking, to see the world. Not that there was much to see, she thought bitterly. She sat on a wasteland, a battle field, still reeking of rotting flesh. She forced herself to remember. She had been an orphan since birth, named Thessana for her mother…
Now the memories were pouring in. She fought to stench the flow, but soon decided it to be a futile effort… she let them flow in…
Waking in a military camp in the arms of a satyr named Shivoth. She remembered firing her first arrow, and striking the center of the target with ease that surpassed many more than half a century older. Learning the mandolin, patiently memorizing the songs… meeting Caeradwyn for the first time…her surprise at learning of Caeradwyn’s draconic heritage… attack…war with a race of goblins…crying over Shivoth’s body and swearing to avenge him…mastering the bow and sword and learning the arts of magic from an elder and becoming a true master musician. She remembered her first performance, her first kill.
Here the flow was abated. She lifted herself skyward, swearing quietly to herself, her legs sore. She was surprised to find herself fully outfitted, with her bow across her shoulder and her sword in its sheath. Even her mandolin was intact.
Sighing, she surveyed her surroundings. There wasn’t anything noteworthy, at least in her eyes. She had all she needed; food, water, a bedroll, a backpack and her weapons. She noted that her armor, a chain shirt of mithril, was completely intact. She saw nothing of worth.
She came to the conclusion that she may as well move on. She knew, as if by some strange intuition that there was nothing to gain here, only dark memories at the tip of her conscience. She turned, and was surprised to find a path, leading towards what seemed to be a village in the distance.
She strode forward, knowing somehow that she should take shelter there. She shrugged off her curiosity at the premonition. Her tribe, the Hunting Tiger, well known among the Catfolk, was said to possess a sixth sense.
She arrived in the village near dusk, arriving, or so she was told, mere minutes before the city’s gates would close. Not that it could be called a city. It was more of a hamlet, perhaps a town. She doubted that more than five-hundred could live here.
She immediately departed in search of a church, hoping to find an alter to Obad-Hi. She was, however, disappointed to find only a church to the sun god, Pelor. She was prepared to leave when a voice, laden with the burden of years, called to her.
“Halt! Be you of great strength?”
She was accustomed to such greetings, as they were commonly used in her military camp.
It may be destroyed, but I shall never forget it, she thought with more than a trace of acid. She responded with a typical answer,
“My strength cannot be measured. But do you deem what you see to be sufficient?”
An old cleric, apparently Elvin, stepped from the shadows. “A proper answer, to be sure. What I see I deem sufficient, but do you think yourself capable of solving the problem our village is blighted with?”
She inferred quite easily that the cleric thought her to be a local. She responded that she was not this, and expressed very great curiosity towards what this blight may be.
She was an adventurer at heart, and an opportunity to add a new tale to her repertoire, of her, no less, was intriguing, at the very least.
Thus she learned of the town’s predicament. It seemed that almost every night, a farm on the outskirts of town would be raided. The owner or owners of the farm would be bound completely before he or she could yell for help, or even see his or her attackers.
The assailants would then proceed to steal almost everything of value, including livestock, furniture, even tableware. The raiders would always cover their tracks, only once did they fail to completely hide their trail. A brave knight, by the name of Kiokeath had volunteered to follow the tracks, but he was never heard from again.
“And so,” the cleric finished, “we need another to find the lair of these foul beasts and destroy them, return the stolen goods, and discover the fate of our brave knight. And with that said, you may cease hiding, you sulking rat! Show yourself!”