I never wanted to play D&D. In fact I explicitly did not want to ever play the game ever ever ever. Nope. Do not pass go do not collect $200.
So last Tuesday I played D&D for the first time. I’m not ashamed to say I loved it, I always knew I would. I loved it so much I wrote about 4,800 words describing our party’s adventures. This will be an ongoing series of rough shorts based on our weekly sessions. Enjoy!
**A/N: I forget the actual name of the town we went to because I kept calling it Waystone a la Kingkiller so that’s what it’s called here.**
They talked of small things, this band of near strangers, all along to road north. The last signpost had read “Waystone 10 miles”, that was several miles ago though and the heat was getting to them all.
“Vorg want to get to Waystone today.” said the towering half orc. “There is gold in Waystone.”
The ex gladiator seemed undisturbed by the beating sun, even in his armor; the promise of work and money calling him louder than a few minutes rest ever could. Beside him an elf of almost the same monstrous height grunted.
“We’ll be there soon Vorg.” the elf, whose name was Dante, said to his friend.
The two had been traveling together for some time and had an easy companionship built on the mutual interest of protection and payment. Despite the business like nature of the partnership everyone could tell they were friends.
The same could not be sad of the human man trailing off behind them. The mute. Though he and the elf seemed to know one another it was easy to forget Xynra (at least that’s what Dante called him) was even around. He moved with the ease of a dancer, making no noise and leaving no trace. Occasionally the group could hear the clink of his katana as he adjusted it on his hip but other than that they may have been traveling with a spirit.
“Morak is at the Waystone Inn,” Dante continued. It was hard to o tell of he was speaking to Vorg or the group as a whole, the shadow his hood cast across his face made his features unreadable. “Vorg and I can speak with him while you all get some dinner. We’ll need it.”
“We could camp outside of town,” the woman to Dantes right spoke up for the first time. Her hood didn’t hide her dark Infernal features, or the bone horns that twisted up from her forehead. “Fela and I can get meat for the pot.” she tilted her head towards the white owl perched on her shoulder. The bird hooted in response.
“I think she says she agrees.” the Teifling smiled, but the bird ruffled her feathers and shot her a hard look. “Or… not? Shit.” she was still learning to understand the animals around her. With the help of Fela and her transformation powers she had already picked up a bit of owl and could pretty much hold a basic conversation with bears.
“Vorg wants to sleep in bed tonight.” Vorg said.
“Hoot!” Fela piped up.
“Well Maybe does not.” the horned woman added, glancing at the mute man on the other side of the road, her nose scrunched.
A large hand landed gently on her free shoulder. Vorg looked down at her.
“Vorg will protect Maybe in town.”
The Teifling let herself smile, it was so easy to forget that Vorg was half human as well as Orc, the tusk protruding from his bottom lip made him different though. He wasn’t like the rest of them.
“I know you will Vorg.” she said.
“If you two are finished,” Dante cut in.
“Don’t worry Dante,” Maybe shot him a smile as well. “I’m not stealing your Vorg.
No one could see the scowl Dante returned her.
“There’s the town bridge!” a young elf with long blonde hair said with a mixture of relief and excitement. She walked to the side of Maybe, having gotten tired of her friend butchering her meaning in owl.
“Do you hear something?” Dante asked.
“A bell.” Maybe said. “A warning bell?” she looked at the elf confused but he just turned back towards where the town gates stood open on the other side of a small bridge.
The bell tolled on as the group approached the bridge but it was the only sound to be heard. No yelling, no chaos, no people at all. Beyond the gates lay an empty courtyard. Dante in the lead the group crossed the bridge, hands on weapons, ears alert.
“Vorg will test the bridge.”
They all turned to see the giant orc still on the far side of the small wooden bridge touching it lightly with the toe of his boot.
“It will old you.” Dante called, his reassuring tone tainted by the slightest bit of irritation.
Vorg held up one finger to indicate the elf could wait. “Vorg will test the bridge.”
Maybe stifled a giggle. Dante groaned. The bridge held.
“The bridge will hold.” Vorg declared before making his way across.
The courtyard was small, surrounded by what was once a town but had at some point been reduced to little more than rubble. Everywhere the buildings were caved in by what looked like large boulders.
“Vorg wants to look around.” Vorg said.
“Why?” Maybe asked. It was pretty clear they weren’t going to be getting what they wanted from this place.
“Waystone has money. Vorg will get money.”
“We’ll get your money Vorg.” Dante said. He inched forward, followed closely by Vorg, towards a large hole in the centre of the courtyard. It looked as if something had been pulled from the ground, cracking the paving stones around it for several feet. The rest of the party hung back, looking around, trying to work out what had happened here.
“VORG!” Before the word left Dantes mouth, the Orc had already flung a protective arm in front of his friend in an instinctive attempt to shield him from the worgs that leapt from inside of the hole where they had been dining on a dog.
Maybe had her bow drawn back before she even realized what the threat was. No one had moved. Dantes shout had hardly finished reaching their ears and yet Maybe saw Xynra, as slick as a fish in still water, running from the back of the group towards the danger. Katana in hand he met the worgs head on taking a stab at the first one.
The Beast yelped, barred his teeth, and then Xynra’s leg was in his mouth. Maybe hesitated. She looked from the human to the worg, bow drawn, ready. She loosed.
“Fuck” she muttered as her arrow tinged off of the stone at the creatures feet. She drew another arrow and took aim.
Vorg and Dante were already in her line of sight though as they moved to flank the creature and get Xynra away. Maybe took aim at the second worg. They each took a swing at him, he was bloody and whining, but he wouldn’t give in.
“Oh just kill the poor thing!” came Fela cry, as a long vine materialized from her fingertips, wrapping around the injured animal and slamming him down into the hole near by, breaking his neck and silencing his cries.
This time Maybes arrow hit, deep into the worgs thigh. He yelped and barred his teeth at the Teifling. He didn’t have a chance to charge before Dante and Vorg surrounded him as well and a well placed punch from Vorg caved his skull sending blood and bone spraying all over the two men.
Vorg licked it from his lips.
Panting, the rest of the party surveyed the damage; Xynra was badly hurt and bleeding but besides that no one else had been injured.
“So what the hell is going on here?” Maybe said, still holding her bow at low ready. “Siege?”
The rocks didn’t look like they’d come from a catapult to Dante, they were too large, too irregular. He shook his head. That wasn’t it. He looked around; the rocks hadn’t been thrown, they had fallen from above…
“No Vorg. Giants did this.”
“Oh. Don’t scare Vorg like that.”
“My bad buddy.” Dante said.
“Where’s Morek?” Vorg asked. “Morek has Vorgs gold.”
With that the orc looked around, and with Dante pointed him in the right direction he wandered off towards the Inn where he was supposed to have met Morek. Dante shrugged and followed close at his heels and together they disappeared behind the door of a building that had recently lost a fight with one of the falling boulders that were littering the town.
Maybe looked towards Fela and cocked her head towards the Inn. The elf gave her a look back that usually meant “Well, I suppose” before gesturing towards where Xynra was sitting on the ground. The bleeding had slowed but there was still more blood than was healthy. Maybe caught the man’s eye, he didn’t say anything but there was a small amount of fear as pain shining in them. She gave him a bit of a berth as she turned to enter the Inn.
As Vorg and Dante barged into the dining room of the Waystone they were immediately drawn to noises coming from a room towards the back. Not bothering to look around they headed straight for it.
Around the doorway they could see a goblin with a bag ransacking the kitchen. She didn’t notice them come in. As she turned around she hardly had time to react before Vorg had thrown his javelin piercing her right shoulder and pinning her to the outer wall. Immediately in its wake came an arrow from Dante bow which struck her left arm and buried itself into the wall behind her.
“AHHH!” she cried out.
“Fuck!” Dante shouted. “Did you *see* that Vorg!”
Outside Fela looked on after her friend and shook her head.
“She’s not so bad.” she said, helping Xtnra to his feet and into the Inn after the rest of the party. “You’re just… Oh never mind.” she trailed off as they entered the Inn.
A large rock obscured much of the room and voices were coming from behind a door towards the back.
“It’s the guys.” Maybe said. She was standing over by a dead body. A goblin. “But this goblin was killed with a crossbow. And recently. Whoever did it is probably still in the building.”
The Teifling had studied tracking and trapping for over 14 years; this was her element. Since the others seemed to have whatever was happening in the kitchen under control she made her way up the stairs alone. The upstairs hall was empty, with only 4 closed doors, but not a sound from any of them.
Gripping one of her hand axes in her left hand Maybe eased over towards the first door by the top of the stairs. She pushed it open revealing a lavish bedroom; it was empty of people but there was a small wooden chest by the window. Without a second thought she smashed the lid, inside she found gems (worth a significant amount unless she missed her guess) which she tucked into her pack, and a potion. She checked the label and groaned.
This would help Xynra.
Stuffing the rest of the chests contents into a bag she stomped out of the room and back down the stairs.
“Here.” she didn’t bother looking his way as she tossed him the bottle. They could never say she didn’t help.
Back in the kitchen the little goblin was bleeding and crying.
“Why are you here?” Dante asked.
“What!?” she cried. “Stuff! To get stuff!”
“What happened to this town?”
“Don’t know! It was like this when we got here! Please don’t kill me!” she began to cry again and the men turned towards the bag she’d been carrying.
“Muffins!” Vorg cried. “I like muffins”
“We can take all this,” Dante said. “It’s mostly food.”
“Okay, please just don’t kill me.” the goblin whined.
Vorg took a bite of his muffin and nodded. “Vorg will not kill you. But Vorg will be needing this back.”
With that he pulled his javelin from her shoulder.
“And this.” Dante added, ripping out his arrow. The girls body slumped to the ground, unconscious. She would bleed out soon but Dante knew that anything was possible if they left her breathing. “Go on Vorg, I’m going to grab one more thing.” he said. When the or back was turned his friend went back, stabbing the arrow deep into the goblins skull. He couldn’t leave loose ends but there was no need to upset Vorg with it.
“Vorg found muffins” Virginia announced as he entered the dining room.
“We’ve got a bag of food.” Dante clarified. “Eat up.”
“I found some gear upstairs.” Maybe said gesturing towards the sack she’d brought down. “No good to us.”
“I want a muffin!” Fela piped in, grabbing her prize and handing Xynra half a roasted chicken where he sat, regaining his strength.
“I think there may be someone in the Inn.” Maybe continued.
“We just found a goblin in the kitchen.” Dante said.
“I found one too, with a crossbow bolt in his back.” Maybe said. “I think there’s someone upstairs but I haven’t finished searching the rooms.”
“Vorg come too.” Vorg said following her up the stairs. “Vorg protect Maybe.”
“I’m coming too” Dante said.
“Me too.” Fela added.
Xynra just slipped silently behind them all up the stairs.
“I checked this room.” Maybe whispered. “Fela, let’s go check the one at the end of the hall.”
“We’ll get the one across.” Dante said.
When the girls opened the door they’d chosen they found a clean, empty room. Nothing of interest. From the hall they heard a grunt and the door across the hall falling off of its hinges.
“Vorg.” Maybe giggled. Fela laughed and they waited to see if they were needed in whatever chaos the orc was causing.
“Vorg, you didn’t have to do that.” Dante said staring at what used to be the door but was now just a plank of wood lying on the floor.
“Oh.” Vorg Responded. “Vorg got excited.”
“Oh I am so happy to see you!”
The men both turned to see a middle aged human woman seated on the floor, evidently knocked back by the falling door but none the worse for the experience.
“Who are you?” Dante s asked as Vorg helps the woman to her feet.
“My name is Kella,” she said. “I was staying here at the Inn when all of a sudden chaos erupted. And there are goblins everywhere!”
“Vorg hate goblins too.”
Dante watched the woman’s face, she wasn’t as afraid as she should be. She was also the only living human they’d seen all afternoon. Something wasn’t adding up.
“Are you going to tell us why you’re really here?” he asked, pointing his sword at her.
“What?” She said. “I’m telling the truth.”
“Vorg,” Dante said. The orc nodded, grabbing the the woman and lifting her off of her feet.
“Tell me the truth.”
“Fine,” Kella squirmed in Vorgs grip. “Fine. I was sent here by the Black Network. Do you know who they are?”
“Oh good you’ve done your research.”
“Did you come here for a job?”
“No. I told you, I’m just setting up here. I showed up first to get things in order and then everything went to shit”
Dante nodded, so she wasn’t sure what had happened either.
“Vorg search her.” he said. Vorg looked uncomfortable with this but he places the woman on her feet and patted her sides, finding and taking 2 daggers. As he fussed with the fabric of her top a small flying snake wiggled it’s way out from her collar, coiling itself around her arm. There was a small piece of parchment attached to the end of its body.
Dante gestures towards the paper and Kella hands it over without argument. “On our way.”
“Who is on their way?” Dante asked, looking up from the note.
“Is someone coming?” Vorg asked.
“About 30 trained assassins are on there way here.” Kella answered. “We have no quarrel with any of you… unless something were to happen to me.”
Vorg and Dante exchange a look or concern and questioning. The elf turns back to her, “You’re coming with us.”
“Give me my daggers back.”
“You may have one,” Dante holds up one finger in her direction. “One. For protection.”
Vorg hands the woman her knife. As the all turn to leave the room the orc trails behind next to her.
“Here.” he whispers, handing her her other blade. Kella simply hides it away.
The girls were waiting by the stairs as the rest of the group began to emerge from the room. Xynra slipped out first, nodding in the direction of the Teifling and the elf before heading downstairs. Dante and Vorg came next with a human woman walking between them, she looked both defiant and scared.
Maybe took a step backwards. “Who is this bitch.” she hissed at Dante, keeping an eye on the woman.
“This is Kella.” He said, heading downstairs, Maybe close at his heels. “She’s coming with us.”
“Because she’s got 30 assassin friends on there way here and we want to make sure nothing bad happens to her.”
This made her pause for a moment.
“Okay I can accept that.” She said as they all made their way back into the courtyard.
“Why is bell still ringing?” Vorg growled. The rest of the party looked around, sure enough the bell was still tolling, a constant and steady ding filling the air. In the chaos it had been forgotten but now it seemed all any if them could hear.
“*Who* is ringing that bell?” Maybe asked.
“Let’s find out.” Dante took the lead heading towards to temple where the bell lived. “See Vorg, there wouldn’t have to be any ringing if people weren’t building temples everywhere.”
“Vorg hates the ringing.”
The ringing was loud, almost drowning them out as they spoke. The party members could all feel it’s vibrations in their chests, it took their breath away.
“Where is your God when you need him? ” Dante taunted.
“He doesn’t exist.” Maybe pushed past him, the irritation of the ringing compounding the anger she was already feeling. “Let’s see who’s ringing this damn bell.”
Inside the temple was empty and the group made their way up a set of stairs to the room where the bell was kept. They tried to move quietly, though no one could have heard them over the din.
Vorg led the way followed by Dante and Xynra. Through the doorway the men spotted the bell being swung by two goblins who seemed to be having fun on their new toy.
“Vorg hates goblins.” muttered Vorg.
“You distract them,” Dante said, he pointed to Vorg and then gestured to himself, Xynra, and Maybe, “We’ll all take a shot.”
Before the words had even left his mouth Vorg bounded into the room and hurled his javelin towards the bell. It struck one of the goblins in his chest and he fell dead. Caught off guard both Xynra and Dante attacked the remaining goblin simultaneously; Xynra’s throwing knife bounced off of the bell but Dante arrow struck home and the the second goblin fell dead.
“Vorg you were supposed to distract them for us.” Dante said as they rummaged around all of the useless personal effects in the room.
Vorg looked at him while he retrieved his javelin. “That was not supposed to hit the goblin.” he said, his voice tinged with regret.
Back in the courtyard the group wandered aimlessly, unsure whether to continue searching the town or leave and find a new adventure. It was getting late after all, and Xynra had eaten the entire chicken himself.
To the east a large building caught Dante eye, it looked to be set away from the rest of the town, separated by a bridge; worth checking out for sure. As the others looked around he set off down the road towards it. All around the buildings had been caved in; there were some bodies but mostly the town was empty and quiet. That made the giggling from the pumpkin patch along the road all the more obvious.
Dante stopped. In the field were two goblins with pumpkins over their heads run in around playing some game. The elf looked behind him on the road noticing Maybe following close behind, curious to know what would make the man wander off. He held a finger to his lips and gestured towards the field. Maybe stopped, noticing the goblins for the first time, she giggled at their clumsy game.
Dante gestured towards them again, and Maybe mimed firing an arrow; Dante shrugged and they both drew their weapons. Dantes arrow struck his mark through the pumpkin and out the other side. His body slumped to the ground in a puddle of blood and orange goop. Maybe was off by a hair and missed her target. Shrugging she put her bow away and tilted her head back up the road but Dante wasn’t moving. He drew his dagger and marched towards the surviving goblin, still blinded by his pumpkin helmet and none the wiser of what was happening around him. That was too much for Maybe, it wasn’t fun anymore. Target practice and a stabbing are two different things. She jogged to catch Dante before he could reach his victim and grabbed his wrist.
“Enough.” she said looking directly into the shadow that should have been his face. Her voice startled the goblin and he tripped, stumbling closer towards the pair as they faced off.
For a second Maybe considered reaching for her hand axe to stop what she knew he would do next but he had won this round and only killing him would change that. So she just stared at him as he brought his other arm up and stabbed the falling goblin.
“What are you guys doing here?” Dante spit.
“Ah, what?” the little goblin cried. “Please. We just wanted stuff!”
“Yes! We didn’t think it would hurt. There was no one. Just wanted to have fun!”
When Maybe dropped his dominant arm he brought it full force down onto the pumpkin, smashing it and the fragile skull beneath it.
Dante shook his hand free of slime and stood to face Maybe who was just looking on unamused.
“That ever happens again, and that’ll be you.” the elf said.
Maybe gave a lazy shrug and headed off towards where they were headed. Nature was a never ending series of power struggles; he won out this time and there was no love lost in her end.
“So how do we get over this?” Dante said, indicating the 15 foot gap in the bridge leading towards what turned out to be a manor house of some kind. The rest of the group had found their way to them and they were all examining the gap.
Without a word Vorg leapt the distance with ease. Not to be outdone Dante shrugged, took a running start, and jumped making it be just a few feet.
Maybe watched this before turning to Fela, “Can you become a giant bird?”
“Yeah.” Fela said, like it was obvious.
“Big enough to carry me across?”
“Girl,” the elf jumped in the air and transformed into the largest bird Maybe had ever seen. A pure white Eagle with a wingspan wider than Maybe was tall. As she took off Maybe grabbed hold of her ankles for the short trip to the other side. Halfway across Fela dipped and wobbled, almost smacking Maybe on the far end of the bridge; Xynra had used the large bird as a platform to run across to the other side.
“Do not ever do that again.” Maybe told him through clenched teeth when she was safely in her feet again. Fela called out in agreement. Speaking to the human in their party reminded Maybe that she hadn’t seen the other one in quite a while. “Where’s Kella?”
They all turned to find the human woman still on the wrong side if the bridge, unable to make the 15 foot leap on her own. As they worked out getting a rope tossed to her Fela took the opportunity to fly above for a better look at the property. Like everywhere else in town it was deserted and had been battered by fallen rocks. This she conveyed to Maybe in simple terms and the Teifling was able to translate it well to the rest of the group. The eagle took off again to keep watch and stretch her wings as the others made their way slowly inside.
“Be stealthy” Dante whispered.
Vorg, who was 6’8”, did he best to be smaller crouching as low as he could and using Maybe wide dark colored tail to hide the shine of his armor.
Inside they crept along the shadows, inching closer and closer to were four human guards stood around what appeared to be a dead body.
Dante pointed to Maybe and Xnra, “You two stay hidden, lanky them in case we need back up. Virginia and I will go see what they want.”
Maybe backed deeper into the shadows, already her breathing was coming faster. “No. I’ll stay here. I’ll cover you from her.”
Fear was written plain across her face and as much as Dante wanted to argue he knew it would be cruel and she would simply leave and provide no cover. He nodded and the Teifling drew her bow to low ready while the others moved into position.
“Hello,” Dante called out.
Outside Fela circled the keep estate peeking through the holes in the walls of the building. She could just see four uniformed guards speaking with Dante and Vorg, the others were out of view and-
“Who-?” she thought as she spotted the door to the keep opening. Circling around she saw that it was Kella, the human captive, trying to sneak out without notice.
“No you don’t!” Fela yelled, though to the human it would sound like the call of an eagle, swooping down to block her path. Fela didn’t know exactly why Dante wanted this woman around but she wasn’t about to let her run off; she grabbed the startled woman with one of her talons and took off, patrolling the keep with Kella as her captive, vomiting all the way.
The guards were confused but seemed happy enough to see Dante and Vorg. They had been afraid, guarding the body of their mistress, awaiting rescue or death as they looked for a way to escape the keep.
“How did you even get here?” one of the guards asked.
“Do you see Vorgs legs?” Vorg said gesturing to his extended leg. “They are chiseled.”
Hidden behind his hood Dante smirked as the the guards openly admired Vorgs legs and offered a wink in return.
“What happened here?” Dante asked, hoping that this time he would finally get his answer.
Get it he did; the guards explained that the town had been built around an ancient Waystone, a symbol of power and luck. Out of the blue that very day the rocks that had devastated the town had begun to fall from the sky sending everyone into a panic, killing many, and leaving the rest to evacuate.
“Cloud giants,” the guards said. “Will you help us?”
“How?” Dante asked.
“All of the survivors fled to the dripping caves. They need to be retrieved and brought safely home. We… we can not do it alone.”
Vorg listened to the man’s plea, he was a good man he could tell. The orc smiled sadly rubbing the bear carving he wore around his neck.
“Vorg will help.” he said.
Dante looked at him and nodded. “Yeah buddy, we will help them.”
Maybe had hardly strapped her bow to her back before she was marching towards the door, teeth and fists clenched, tail whipping back and forth. She burst into the sunlight and gave a sharp whistle, in a moment Fela flew down and landed near her, droopy human in tow.
“They’re taking us on a rescue mission for a bunch of humans.” she said. “Never mind our plans, never mind *my* plans. We should leave.” she looked the eagle in the eyes.
“No Maybe, we promised to stay and help them and we will.” Fela said. “Besides Vorg will protect you, remember.”
The Teifling growled and swished her tail. Behind her the rest of the party was flooding out of the open doors and she slipped behind her friend.
“It’s okay Maybe.” Fela said.
The Teifling turned towards Vorg, he looked concerned.
“They are humans,” he said. “But it is good to help.”
“We don’t have to help everyone.” she spat back, crossing her arms. He looked confused.
“Pike said it is good to help?”
“Yes, but not everyone. You can’t help everyone Vorg.”
“Pike… was wrong?” the orc’s eyes were wide with uncertainty. Maybe lowered her arms and reached for his hand.
“No,” she said. “No Pike wasn’t wrong but she never meant you have to help everyone who needs it. You can be good and *not* help the humans.”
“Vorg can be good and not help?”
“Exactly,” Maybe smiled at him. “And besides, fuck them.”
She turned and left Vorg even more confused than he had been at the start. The orc looked around at the group of people gathered, talking and making plans, the human men with the relieved expressions on their faces, this didn’t seem bad.
“No.” he said. “Pike was right.”