(This adventure happened midway through our game, yet chronologically falls right near the beginning. I thought I would add it as the second chapter)
Adalos wandered back towards Kingsport. The sun was out in the early spring day and he took his time to think. He had no idea what he’d do there but he didn’t fancy risking his friend’s lives again. Centering himself was the goal for now. Similar situations happened all the time to him, especially in his younger years. It was his father’s fault! They were to blame for this constant fear, wondering if the next moment he’d still have control of his mind.
When he was just a baby, his father had sought great power. The easiest way for him to attain that power was through a dark ritual to the god of death. He had intended to sacrifice his infant son, but it backfired. Now Adalos lived with this. Something that could control him so frightfully. As a child he was hardly ever himself, Jim knew of the terror Adalos has wrecked in the Shadowfell. Only his mother’s sacrifice had saved him and now he led this life always trying to keep his dark side at bay.
Kingsport was not far away. It took a mere 45 minutes to get there. It was a bustling town but unlike any city from his home plane, the Shadowfell. His bizarre red skin and flame like hair made many people stop and stare as he trekked towards the gate, but he didn’t mind. He liked the attention, he liked to feel different. Unfortunately, not many people wanted to talk to him. That’s the problem with being different, it’s hard to make friends.
“Good woman,” Adalos said cheerily, hailing a blind elderly woman who was walking along the path.
“Hello dear,” she said, smiling brightly. She didn’t know how he looked, she wouldn’t be one to steer him wrong.
“I am a simple traveler,” Adalos said charmingly, “if you would be so kind, could you point me in the direction of a good inn?”
“Of course,” she replied, “you can’t go wrong with the Laughing Goose. It’s just a few streets south of here.”
“Thank you, madam,” Adalos said, he set off in the direction her frail hand pointed. Unfortunately, he got lost very shortly and the stares continued to follow him.
“You there, halt,” two guards of the city stood across from him. The speaker, a stout man clothed in a full plate of armor, held out his arm so that Adalos could not pass. The other was a female guard who had her helmet under her arm and a flirty smile on her rosy lips.
“Is there a problem officers?” Adalos asked innocently.
“We don’t get many of your kind here,” the female guard said, holding out her hand. He companion rolled his eyes and stepped in between them.
“What is your business here?” the guard asked.
“My companions and I have some news for the mayor regarding the priest who’s been sending creatures to invade your town. We’ve been hired by your mayor to stop him,” Adalos tried. It wasn’t entirely a lie.
“I see,” the guard said, you best be heading towards the Laughing Goose. The mayor always has a drink there around this time.”
“I was just headed that way,” Adalos admitted, “I seem to be lost.”
“It’s just around the bend there,” the woman said, the other guard began to move on, “can’t miss it. And, if you’re looking for so company tonight, come find me. I should be near the front gates most of the evening. The name’s Brianne.”
“Thanks,” Adalos muttered, hurriedly moving away from her and down the street. He didn’t turn to look behind him but if he had he would have seen her smile turn to a frown very quickly.
The Laughing Goose was a jaunty old place. It smelled of ale, vomit, and newly lit pipes. There were patrons everywhere, a rowdy bunch in the corner, a scholarly fellow sitting by the window, a tough looking mercenary sharpening his blade in a dark corner, and a plump man enjoying a goblet of red liquid surrounded by four guards. That had to be the mayor.
Cheerily, Adalos waddled up to the bar and laid down a gold piece, “Drinks all round, on me!” he declared loudly. There was a cheer from the group gathered there and Adalos took him time to approach the mayor. He had questions. Behind him, the bartenders eyes glowed red briefly and then returned to their original grayish hue.
“Master Infreed,” the mayor called, batting aside his guards who had their hands on their swords. “My thanks for the drink,” he said, “what brings you back so early from your quest?”
“Ah, it is a pleasure to see you again sir,” Adalos said, bowing slightly. He sat across from the plump man and leaned back, “My companions have some questions about the Tamaryn fellow, we didn’t wish to get all caught up without knowing some details first.”
“No problem, no problem at all,” the mayor insisted, “what can I answer for you?”
“How is the old man happening to summon creatures of the dead?” Adalos asked.
“He’s a necromancer of some sort, that pig-headed coward. If I could tear him apart I would,” the mayor grumbled. He raised the glass to his mouth and his beverage dribbled down his chin. He was a disgusting man and his yellow teeth stank of rot. Inwardly Adalos cringed, outwardly he remained polite and delicate. If what Tamaryn had said was true, Adalos was not sitting across from a very cunning enemy with a lot to gain from killing him.
“I see, what about weaknesses? Do you know of any?” Adalos asked.
“I’m afraid not,” the mayor sighed, “you should ask Matilda, the cook. She knew Tamaryn before he became what he is. She will know the most about him.”
“Much obliged,” Adalos stood up, “I will go speak with her. Thanks for your help.”
“Of course, lad,” the mayor chuckled, raising his glass. “Destroy that bastard! In the worse way you can imagine!” he cajoled.
“Will do, sir,” Adalos said, he walked back to the barkeeper who pointed him toward the back. The back kitchen was suprisingly clean, several young women were standing about cutting vegetable, stirring pots and other such chores. One woman stood at the back, slicing into a well cook ham and ordering the others about. She was broad and chubby with dark hair pulled up in a bun. As Adalos approached she pointed a knife at him and scowled.
“If yer looking for a free hand out, there’ll be none to get ‘ere,” she growled, “so get on yer way before I call the mayor’s guard on ‘e.”
“Kind madam, you mistake me for some kind of fiend,” Adalos put his hands up peacefully, “I am here on behalf of the mayor. I have some questions for your old friend, Tamaryn.”
The once bustling kitchen grew still and the cook laid down her knife, wiping her hands on her apron. “Follow me,” she began walking toward the wine cellar. Adalos followed, not ignoring the accusing stares of the kitchen staff. Could this woman still be a friend of Tamaryn’s?
She climbed down the cellar first, a torch in her hand. He followed close behind, trying to read her demeanor in the uncomfortable silence they walked in. Her tense shoulders made him anxious, why did she need him to follow her down here? It was a long staircase, one longer than he expected for such a quaint little inn. The echoing of water droplet came from somewhere below, was this place part of an underground cave system? His suspicion grew as the neared the bottom and she began to slow. With a flick of her wrist she threw the torch and it extinguished itself somewhere on the floor below.
His dark vision saved him. She yelled something fierce and charge at him, wailing the whole time, “You disgusting creature, I’ll kill you!”
He dove out of her reach and kicked her down the stairs. She stood up slowly, a hand to her head. Suddenly smoke began filling the room and the woman’s face morphed in to the undead creature she truly was. Adalos hit her with all he had, swinging his fists down as fast as he could. She grabbed hold of his waist and threw him across the floor. Dizzy, he tried to balance himself and stood. She charged him again, he fumbled around and found the torch she had thrown lying on the ground. With a grunt he swung upward and caught her on the jaw. Her skull shattered and her lifeless body fell to the floor.
He turned back towards the staircase, but it was gone. He lit the torch and began to move forward, perhaps she’d thrown him farther than he originally thought. In the flickering light of his torch he saw something, something he knew hadn’t been there before. In front of him was a large statue of him. Recalling his studies as a young monk, Adalos knew this to be the likeness of the god of Trickery. Hardly anyone worshipped that deity anymore, it was odd that such a relic would be in a wine cellar (as strangely enchanted as it was).
Taking a moment Adalos surveyed the entire statue and noticed an inscription on the bottom. It read: I’m sometimes strong. I’m sometimes weak. But, I am nobody’s fool. For there is no language I can’t speak, though I never went to school. What am I?
“I don’t know,” Adalos murmured aloud. There was a sudden clanging to his right, a drawbridge began to lower. He could hear something breathing heavily from the other side. Rather than run away, Adalos took this as his chance. Perhaps this was his way to escape. “Air, water, I don’t know. I don’t know, I don’t know,” he shouted, the drawbridge lowered faster and faster. Adalos was about to dart up the drawbridge when he saw the massive shape emerge from the gloom. An enormous three-headed dragon stood before him.
TO BE CONT.