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Our heroes bravely fight some kobolds.

Chapter 2

There, Back, and There Again.

Yomada was on stage, in the middle of a deep bow, but the audience was deadly silent. Sat in a private box on the side of the balcony was the stony-faced Lord of the city. All eyes in the theatre were on him. The evening’s entertainment had started well, and the hint of a smile had even flashed briefly on the Lord’s face, but any trace of mirth was long gone. The first joke at his expense was taken in good humour, the remaining, relentless satire was taken less favourably. The Lord slowly rose from his seat and pointed at Yomada.

“Arrest that impudent actor on the charges of inciting civil unrest and treason. Schedule their execution for tomorrow at dawn, let’s see if they manage to draw a larger audience than tonight’s farce.”

The city guards were caught by surprise. A small contingent always followed the Lord, but it was mostly for show. Being guard to the Lord was a much sought after job, because you got to attend all the fancy events and had to do next to nothing in return. Up until now their hardest task had been stifling their laughs at the play that they had found quite entertaining. Whilst the guards fumbled around trying to rush down the narrow staircase from the private box, Yomada made a quick exit stage right and fled from the theatre. It was on the way out of the city, hiding uncomfortably in the back of a farmer’s cart full of turnips, that the dwarf decided to never deal with Nobility again.

Yomada distractedly shuffled along the seat opposite the High Priestess, trying to maintain a respectful distance but staying within fleeing range of the door. Cluym, who was more sceptical, stayed outside the caravan peering in.

“What is this troubling news that you carry?” the High Priestess enquired, snapping Yomada out of their reverie.

“Ah, yes. Um. The village that you are heading towards, Donregan, there’s something going on there,” Yomada paused, observing the High Priestess’s quizzical look. “I mean the villagers appear to be charmed in some manner and the place is mostly abandoned, save for vicious roaming hordes of kobolds. Oh, and there was this old guy in red who just appeared and disappeared. He said he was looking for his daughter but he might have had something to do with what was happening in the village. Regardless, I suggest that you give the village a wide berth.”

“That sounds like a member of the Order of the Red. I doubt they have done anything untoward, but I would be interested in talking to them. As for the kobolds and charmed villagers, that is troubling news indeed. Thank you for warning us. I’m glad that we have two knowledgeable travellers such as yourselves joining our convoy.” The High Priestess continued to smile sweetly. Most people would have described it as an innocent smile, but Yomada knew better.

“Yes, about that, my friend and I have some very important business to take care of in Wyevale. We saw the direction that you were travelling and felt honour bound to warn you, but we really must continue on our journey.”

“Oh, but first you must tell my Maester everything you know about the troubles that lie ahead.” Somehow, with no obvious means of being summoned, a tall, well-built man in a scrupulously neat uniform appeared behind Cluym leaving him no option but to finally enter the caravan. Once everyone was inside, the Maester firmly shut the door.

“These fine adventurers have suggested that we avoid the next village due to an infestation of kobolds and potentially related magical goings on. However, I’m sure that with their help our guards will be able to handle whatever lies ahead, don’t you agree?” The High Priestess looked to her Maester who very briefly nodded, without breaking eye contact with the newcomers.

“There will probably be a very annoyed ranger and his cousin there as well, if they weren’t killed, looking for his horses that we stole,” Cluym chimed in.

“The party’s horses that we were using to get help,” Yomada corrected.

“Well everything has worked out perfectly then. You can accompany us if you wish to Donregan where you can sort out the matter of the ownership of the horses with your friends.” Yomada knew this was less of an offer and more of a statement of what was going to happen. Begrudgingly, the dwarf accepted their fate.

“Talking about our friends, they mentioned that there had been some… political changes in Tor and that now there is a high demand for gold,” Yomada ventured, always looking to make the best of a bad situation. “Maybe I could be of some help.” At the mention of gold, the High Priestess became visibly intrigued.

“Do you have any?” She asked a little forcibly.

“Well I do have this,” Yomada said producing the golden chalice they had ‘obtained’ in Wyevale, “I’m sure you can have it for a…” Before the dwarf could finish the sentence, the golden chalice started to float towards the High Priestess. She held up a hand and gently touched the tip of a finger against the chalice. Yomada watched in dismay as it vanished, and subtly positioned their coin purse out of sight. The High Priestess looked at the dwarf like nothing had happened.

“Yes, well, I’m glad to be of service,” Yomada decided on a different approach, “I don’t suppose you have any food? We’ve had a few rough days of travel without rest or nourishment and I’m famished.”

“Only because we didn’t take the bread that I found,” Cluym interjected, still hurt that his efforts had been for nothing.

“Of course we do,” the High Priestess said ignoring the elf, “I’ll instruct the quartermaster to bring you some refreshments from our stocks.” As soon as she finished speaking there was a polite knock on the door. The Maester opened it to reveal someone holding a joint of ham in one hand and a tankard of ale in the other. Yomada greedily accepted the food, downing the ale in one and letting out a loud belch. Very briefly, a look of disgust crossed the High Priestess’s face before returning to the sickly-sweet smile1.

“Well then, I’m sure the quartermaster can show you both to a berth in one of the caravans. If you’ll leave us now, I have much to discuss with my Maester.” Yomada and Cluym exited the caravan, quite relieved to still be in one piece.

“She stole your chalice,” Cluym said.

“No, I used the chalice to gain favour with a clearly very powerful potential ally, and most importantly to obtain food and drink,” Yomada replied through a large mouthful of ham.

“I didn’t get any food,” Cluym grumbled.

Over the coming days, our duo attempted to learn from previous mistakes and took the time to get to know the people in the convoy. Admittedly, Cluym grew bored of this very quickly and dedicated most of his time to meditation and practising arcane rituals. Yomada, on the other hand, enjoyed having an audience again, and what’s more, most of the convoy had been recruited in Wyevale so they were already acquainted with the bard’s work. From talking to old friends2 Yomada learnt that three days after the party had left, the High Priestess arrived in Wyevale. She was looking to recruit followers of all kind; guards, cooks, stable hands, with the promise of payment upon reaching Tor. They had each been promised as much money as they would earn in half a year, but curiously only in silver and copper pieces. This last piece of information made the dwarf clutch their coin purse, filled with gold pieces, even tighter.

There was one downside to being surrounded by Wyevale residents, Yomada had managed to annoy quite a few of them in a short amount of time. One such unfortunate example was Davey, the barkeep at Merry’s tavern. It turns out that it was his son that Yomada had escorted home in a drunken stupor. Davey hadn’t noticed the missing chalice, but he was interested to know how Yomada had ended up with some of his wife’s special, heart shaped scones. The dwarf managed to handle the situation with great charm and tact, although Davey wasn’t best pleased about the jokes concerning his wife’s incredible prowess in the bedroom. These were jokes that Yomada may not have made if they’d known that Davey was in charge of serving food to the members of the convoy. Luckily, the bard had been sharing war stories with a dwarven guard3, and using some small amount of magic, was able to convincingly disguise themselves as the guard long enough to get some food.

Unaware of Yomada’s hijinks, Cluym had been working on a project of his own. He had decided quite early on that he didn’t trust the High Priestess, something about being forced into joining her group without any mention of payment just didn’t sit right with him. He was also curious about something Yomada had said - the dwarf had seen another ‘dwarf’ sitting in the caravan when she was clearly an elf. Rather than confront her directly about this4, the mage had decided to spy on her. After some thought, and intensive reading, Cluym had prepared a ritual to summon a familiar. One night, whilst most people were asleep, he sneaked out into the nearby woods and started to perform the summoning. After ten minutes of concentration a small white light appeared, floating a few feet in front of him. As the mage watched, he saw the light slowly expand and take on the shape of a small brown sparrow. The sparrow flew over to his shoulder and tweeted.

“I think I’ll call you sparrow,” Cluym said, not being very inventive. On his way back towards camp, Cluym noticed that there were lights still on in the High Priestess’s tent. Thinking this was a perfect opportunity to try and sneak some information, the elf found a decent hiding place and instructed his familiar to fly towards the tent.

Familiars and their masters share a magical bond. They are telepathically linked, hence the master can command the familiar with ease and control it almost as an extension of themselves. Furthermore, if the master concentrates, they can see through the familiar’s eyes. This can be quite a disorienting experience for someone who has never used these magical powers before, because rather than just seeing what the familiar sees, the master experiences the world as if they were that creature. The master loses the use of all of their own senses and gain the familiar’s. Experiencing the world as an animal is an unsettling thing, they act and think on instinct. They see what people see, but rather than labelling things with names they just know on a primal level if the thing is edible or dangerous or useful.

A few minutes later, when Cluym had somewhat become accustom to this new perspective on the world, he sent sparrow to carefully peer into the doorway of the tent. The tent was elaborately decorated with fine silver ornaments and purple silk cushions. There was a large, oak desk with papers strewn across it; a delicately painted room partition; there was even a four-poster bed. As sparrow watched intently, he saw movement from behind the partition. A small creature flew over towards the bed. Cluym urged sparrow to get a closer look, but as soon as the bird crossed the threshold a strong gust of wind blew the familiar away from the tent with such force that it broke Cluym’s concentration and he snapped back into his own consciousness.

Eager to inform Yomada of what he had discovered, Cluym rushed over to where the dwarf was sleeping. By now he had learnt that Yomada was usually a very heavy sleeper, but he had one trick up his sleeve. The elf reached for Yomada’s coin purse.

“Ger yer hanns off mi gol… mi money you stinking elf.”

“Yomada, I’ve got to tell you something. I just had a look in the High Priestess’s tent and…” Cluym stopped mid-sentence. Yomada watched as thorned vines grew around the elf and ensnared him. As they restrained Cluym, he drooped forwards unconscious, revealing an arrow lodged in his back. The vines appeared to have grown out of the arrow itself. Yomada sprang into action.

“Guards! We need guards out here, we’re under attack.”

“Don’t move you despicable thief,” a voice carried out from the trees behind the limp body of Cluym. Yomada recognised the voice and, squinting, he saw the silhouette of Thogold in the distance, bow drawn, arrow notched.

“Guards, help!” Yomada yelled, not too happy about the reunion. Thogold took a few more steps towards the dwarf, but stopped when he saw four armoured guards running in their direction.

“Who are they?” Thogold asked, clearly not expecting anyone else to be around. Yomada pounced on the moment of confusion, always the opportunist.

“Thogold, thank Olidammara5 you’re alive. When we saw the situation was hopeless in Donregan, we rode as fast as we could to get help. We found this convoy and convinced them to aid us in your rescue,” Yomada lied. Thogold looked very dishevelled, he clearly had barely survived in the wilderness up until now and was probably just relieved to see people again. If it meant a safe place to rest and have some food, he was willing to believe anything the dwarf said.

“What is all this commotion?” The High Priestess, who had heard all of the shouting, had decided to see what had happened.

“Ah, your highness. This is one of the friends I was telling you about. There was a brief misunderstanding but we’ve sorted everything out now.” Yomada turned to Thogold, “Thogold, this charming half elf, I’m assuming for you, is the High Priestess of Tor.”

At the mention of being a half elf, the High Priestess gave the dwarf a curious look. Thogold immediately dropped to the floor in an overly complicated bow. Satisfied that everything was fine, the High Priestess turned back to her tent.

“If there are no problems then I suggest you all return to your beds, quietly. Oh, and you should probably tend to your friend,” the High Priestess motioned in the direction of Cluym. Following orders, the guards returned to their posts.

“Get up you fool, she’s left,” Yomada told Thogold, “Where’s Cruben?”

“He’s talking to a squirrel over there somewhere.”

“Sounds like Cruben. Why did you shoot us?”

“It was only a warning shot. It wasn’t supposed to knock him out.” Thogold pulled on the arrow in Cluym’s back and the vines retreated. Yomada used a few healing words to patch the elf up, and they all settled down for some well-earned rest.

It was mid-afternoon of the next day when the convoy reached the gateway to Donregan. The village looked just as deserted as when the party had first arrived. Thogold’s cart was still parked in the stables, sans contents and slightly nibbled. Taking heed of Yomada’s warning, the High Priestess had decided to stay in her caravan and sent the guards ahead with the dwarf and the elf. Feeling braver now there was a wall of eight armoured guards to hide behind if necessary, Yomada boldly strode ahead into the village. The bard spotted two kobolds hiding in the shadows next to the closest house. With more showmanship than truly necessary, Yomada produced their harp and created another deafening thunderwave. Not only were the two kobolds killed upon impact and thrown backwards, but the corpses of another four kobolds that had been hiding just around the corner, also flew backwards.

“Well that was easy,” Yomada said surprised, “I guess we could have easily dealt with them the last time we were here. Oh well, you live and you learn don’t you Thogold?”

Thogold glared at the dwarf. Not wanting to be outdone, and armed with the knowledge that kobolds weren’t actually that strong, Cluym set out to even the kill count. He bravely charged into the house the kobolds had been hiding near, and spent the next twenty minutes meticulously assuring the house was empty. Meanwhile outside, the guards and Yomada found some more kobolds further into the village. These ones acted quicker than their fallen friends and got a few good stabs in on the dwarven guard by swarming around him. This just made it easier for the guard to kill them in one great swing of his battle axe. After the last few stragglers were diced, sliced, squashed and impaled; Cluym emerged from the house triumphant.

“Don’t worry guys, there aren’t any kobolds6.”

Attracted by the commotion, the stable master appeared to greet the newcomers. Even though he was still clearly unnaturally happy, he had enough sense to not call the High Priestess a newt. As a few guards helped to patch up their injured comrade, the rest escorted the High Priestess as she was led towards the tavern. Yomada and Cluym, for want of something better to do, tagged along at the back. Yomada was still a little annoyed by their last visit here and how they had managed to not notice basically everything. To make up for this, the dwarf was scrutinising every shadow, every slight movement and the way to the tavern. This vigilance paid off. Nestled between two houses was a staircase leading down into what appeared to be a small, underground storage room.

“Hey, you! Guard person. There’s a hole over there that looks like a perfect kobold hiding place. Don’t you think you should check it out?” Yomada said addressing the nearest guard.

“If you want a look down there go ahead, I’m fine right here thanks,” the guard replied. Yomada had spent a lot of time around humans, and had quickly learnt how to manipulate them.

“Alright, but it’s your job to protect the High Priestess and I’m sure she wouldn’t be happy if she was ambushed by kobolds from behind. Especially if a certain guard could have easily prevented such an attack.”

“Fine,” the guard sighed, the dwarf’s goading playing on his sense of duty. He walked over to the staircase and took a few steps downwards. “It’s too dark down there, one of you two check it out7.”

“Don’t worry, I can fix that,” Cluym, not too pleased at the prospect of being surrounded underground by kobolds, stepped towards the guard and touched his sword. It instantly started to emit a bright light. Not expecting his sword to be turned into a torch, the guard dropped it in shock. “There you go, lead the way. We’ll be right behind you.”

The guard cautiously picked up his sword and slowly edged down the stairs, waving it in front of himself. Cluym followed a good ten steps behind. Yomada stood at the top of the stairs waiting to hear either the all clear or screams of agony. As the guard approached a doorway, he saw a lone kobold standing just inside. He swung his sword at the creature, but missed drastically, the glare from his sword throwing off his aim. The kobold, surprised and squinting at the light, tried to stab at the guard in return but also missed by quite a margin. Wanting to gain some glory through combat, Cluym rushed into the room. This was unwise, something that he learnt upon seeing the five other kobolds, aiming their slings in his direction. He backed out behind the guard and yelled up the stairs to Yomada.

The dwarf was faced with a choice; rush in to help against an unknown foe and potentially get overwhelmed, or risk the lives of Cluym and the guard by going to get help. It was actually quite an easy choice, Yomada ran towards the guards still protecting the High Priestess who were just about to enter the tavern. To speed up getting reinforcements, the bard used a simple magical trick to project a voice demanding aid. The guards looked towards Yomada, who was waving furiously and pointing towards the staircase. They got the hint and three of them went to investigate.

Always the hero, Yomada let the guards rush in first and, of course, stood a distance behind them to not hamper their combat skills. This should have been a good plan, the guards up front fighting the kobolds while Yomada and Cluym stood behind giving magical support. In fact it did work for a while, the guards managed to slice a few of the attackers and Cluym distracted the others by throwing balls of fire and bubbles of acid, all the while Yomada was using powerful words and melodies to inspire the party to greater feats of strength. This all came to an abrupt halt when three rays of fire came hurling at Cluym from behind the kobolds. The elf was momentarily engulfed in flame, and as the fires dissipated he fell to the ground unconscious. Looking towards where the fire had emanated from, Yomada saw one of the kobolds who was holding back. This one looked slightly taller, stronger and most likely the leader of the kobolds. It had shiny trinkets dangling all over its clothing, signifying both its higher status and its spell casting abilities.

This greatly changed the shape of the battle, up until now it had been fairly easy but the kobolds seized the opportunity to attack with the enemy wizard downed. Even after Yomada revived Cluym with a soothing song, the fight was more of a struggle. Blades reflected the light of fire being thrown into the melee from both sides. Nobody could get the upper hand. Yomada knew the kobold sorcerer needed to be taken down quickly. The dwarf tried to think of something they could do to stop the kobold from casting spells, but there was nothing the bard could do. Then, a moment of inspiration came to Yomada. Remembering what had happened earlier, the dwarf started a new song. This was uncharted territory, the bard was pulling words and chords from the natural forces surrounding them, desperately trying to recreate a spell they had seen earlier. With an almighty crescendo Yomada pointed at the sorcerer and… nothing happened. In frustration, Yomada picked up a dagger one of the other kobolds had dropped and threw it at their leader. The blade hit the kobold in the chest and vines sprung out from the wound, wrapping the kobold into a tight ball8.

Usually, spells have a somatic component. A series of gestures that need to be made, that become impossible to perform when encased by vines. What Yomada didn’t know was that this particular kobold only needed to concentrate to cast spells. The battle continued much as before, but the kobold’s numbers had dwindled, and when the guards reached the sorcerer it couldn’t put up any resistance to their attacks. With the kobold leader about to draw its last breath, Cluym’s familiar, sparrow, flew over to it and landed on its shoulder. The ghostly image of a hand briefly appeared where the bird had landed and a wave of coldness spread through the sorcerer, finally killing it.

Relieved, the party relaxed and checked to make sure everyone was alright. They were all carrying injuries, some more severe than others. One unfortunate guard was lying face down on the floor, dead. His companions circled around his body on their knees, grieving.

In the corner where the sorcerer had been was a large pile of metal objects. This was where the kobolds had hoarded the items they had scavenged from the village. Just a cursory glance was enough to see that there was plenty of gold in the pile. Attracted by the promise of wealth, Cluym went to investigate.

“Did you see that?” Yomada exclaimed, “That spell I cast was amazing. I took care of the big threat so you guys could finish off the rest. I tell you, songs will be written about today. Mostly by me, but once the word gets out there… instant folk tale I’m telling you. The heroic bard saves the day.”

The guards were staring at Yomada with a look that said the dwarf should probably shut up. Seeing the hatred in their eyes, Yomada thought it would be a good idea to give them some space and tell the High Priestess what had happened, hopefully getting into her good books by leading her to the gold personally. The dwarf set off towards the tavern, giving the guards a wide berth.

Over by the pile, Cluym wasn’t having much luck. There were forks and plates, odd pieces of metal that had once belonged to something, but nothing of value. Sure there was gold, but he didn’t want to risk hiding it from the High Priestess. He could sense something though. He could feel the faint presence of magic coming from inside the pile. It took him a little bit of digging before the elf managed to extract a golden ring. It was a simple band without markings, but he could tell it had some magical properties. As Cluym heard Yomada returning, with the High Priestess in tow, he hid the ring in a pocket.

“… and then I valiantly risked life and limb to cast a powerful spell strong enough to take the sorcerer down and secure its hoard of gold for you. I did tell you about the spell didn’t I?”

The High Priestess had stopped paying attention to Yomada after the first mention of gold. She walked over to one of the guards, who seemed to have taken the death harder than the rest, and placed a consoling hand on her shoulder. She knelt down beside her and started to pray over the body. The guards bowed their heads. At the end of her prayer, the High Priestess placed her hand on the dead guard’s forehead and a wave of pale light spread outwards, filling the room for a moment. As the light washed over the people in the room, their injuries began to heal and fade.

The High Priestess stood and walked over to the pile of metal in the corner. She raised her hands and the pile began to float a few feet off the floor. Cluym, who was standing not far behing the High Priestess, could feel the ring vibrating in his pocket. A faint pop echoed around the room as roughly half the pile vanished. The remaining metal floated back down to the floor and silently came to rest. Cluym’s ring became motionless. On her way out of the room, the High Priestess instructed the guards to take the body back to the convoy and then to meet her in the tavern.

“What do you want us to do?” Yomada asked. The High Priestess didn’t acknowledge the question and left. Cluym approached the guards.

“I might be able to do something. I can’t promise anything but I might be able to bring him back.”

“Please, if there’s anything you can do please try.”

Cluym placed both hands on the body of the guard. In his time with his mentor, Cluym had seen great feats of magic performed. He knew that it was possible to bring the dead back to life. The most powerful necromancers could restore the life of a person who had died centuries ago, merely by saying their name. Most necromancers though needed to attempt a revival moments after death. Cluym hadn’t actually mastered any of these techniques. He had barely started his training when his mentor died9. Having seen Yomada channel the wild magic earlier had inspired him though. The elf could feel the magical energies filling his body and flowing into the guard, but it was too powerful and fast for him to direct. He lifted his hands knowing he had done… something, but he had failed to revive the guard. The others looked at him with a knowing look of disappointment, but knew it was too much to ask of the mage.

As the guards cared for their fallen brother-in-arms, Cluym and Yomada walked towards the tavern. They were arguing about who had been the most useful in battle. Cluym’s argument was that he had performed the killing blow on the sorcerer. Yomada countered that by saying it was actually sparrow who had killed the sorcerer, and Cluym had needed reviving after being knocked out in one hit, again. And of course, Yomada had succeeded in ensnaring the sorcerer. Neither side was willing to back down when a figure popped into existence in the middle of the village square. She was wearing the same bright red robe and pointy hat that the old man had last time they were here, but she was much younger.

“Have you seen my father? I haven’t seen him in a few days,” the woman asked.

“Let me guess, old guy? Wears the same robe and hat? Also likes to appear and disappear?” Cluym ventured.

“That sounds like him, do you know where he is?”

“No, we saw him here about four or five days ago. He said he was looking for his daughter.”

“Ah, I think I know where he would have gone,” she turned to leave.

“Before you vanish,” Yomada interrupted, “I don’t suppose there are any others like you near here? Dressed in red I mean. We have a few questions we’d like to ask them.”

“We do?” Cluym asked confused.

“Shut up,” Yomada growled at Cluym, jabbing him in his ribs.

“Of course,” she replied, “The Order of the Red resides in that tower over there.” As she pointed towards the east, she vanished.

Yomada and Cluym looked in the direction she had indicated and, sure enough, on top of a small incline, at the end of a winding path was a mage tower. You could tell it was a mage tower because its design defied conventional architecture… and gravity. It extended upwards in a rather chaotic manner. It bulged outwards in places, become impossibly thin in others. Parts of it slanted at forty-five degrees, and in places it looked like a section of the tower had slid sideways, independently of the rest of the tower, and now appeared to be attached by nothing more than maybe a brick or two. It was a terribly hard thing to miss, but the ever-attentive duo had managed to somehow.

This was enough to push Yomada over the edge. Not seeing kobolds running about in the shadows is excusable, they were trying not to be seen. Not noticing that the villagers were charmed is understandable, being charmed and being drunk look quite similar. Even not realising the bread was mouldy was perfectly reasonable given the urgency of the situation. But spending hours in a village and not even looking east long enough to see the absolutely unmissable, eyesore of a tower was beyond belief. Without any word to Cluym, Yomada wandered off, determined to investigate every square inch of the village. Not even the smallest pebble was going to go unnoticed again.

“Where are you going? Why do we want to talk to the red guys?” Cluym called after Yomada. The dwarf was too occupied carefully making notes about the curious route an ant was taking. “I guess I’ll just go and talk to them myself.”

Cluym set off towards the tower. Despite all the fire, sword fighting and death; it was actually quite a pleasant day. This side of the village didn’t have many buildings, it was quite open and green with a sweet smelling row of flowers alongside the road. About half way up the incline was a fountain. It was still running despite the obvious lack of maintenance. A simple conjuration kept the water flowing. When Cluym reached the foot of the tower he was faced by a large, imposing, wooden door. He knocked. It seemed unlikely that anyone inside would be able to hear the door unless they happened to be on the ground floor. After a few moments of silence, Cluym raised his hand to knock again.

“What do you want?” A voice carried through the door.

“Um, hi. I don’t really know. My dwarf friend wanted to ask you some questions but he’s wandered off. I don’t know where he’s gone. He’s been acting a little odd since we met the High Priestess of Tor, although I guess he’s always been a little odd.”

“Did you say the High Priestess of Tor is here?” the door enquired.

“Yes, she’s gone to the tavern. I don’t know why she did that either. Nobody tells me anything.”

The door was silent for a moment and then creaked open. Four wizards, all wearing the same red robes, burst out cheerily talking amongst each other. They walked straight past Cluym, down the road towards the tavern. The door slammed shut behind them.

“Great, more people leaving me. What am I supposed to do now?”

  1. This was all Yomada needed to prove that she wasn’t really a dwarf. If she was a dwarf, she would have been impressed by the echo that Yomada had managed to produce. Dwarves took their drinking very seriously.

  2. Well, people Yomada hadn’t cheated or stolen from.

  3. For dwarves, sharing war stories was basically just reciting an extensive list of people whom some grandfather, or other ancestor, had headbutted so hard they ended up three inches shorter.

  4. Cluym wasn’t exactly smart but he also wasn’t Cruben levels of stupidity either.

  5. The god of music, revels, wine and tricks. Who else would Yomada worship?

  6. If it’s possible to bleed sarcastically from a kobold stab wound to the chest, that was the dwarven guard’s response.

  7. Because dwarves usually spend a lot of time underground, their eyes have developed to see in even the darkest conditions. Similarly, elves are native to dark, gloomy forests and have too developed such good vision. Humans, however, usually only spend time in dark places when they have done something they really shouldn’t have and a kindly law enforcer has given them a tour of the inside of a cell.

  8. Magic users spend a long time trying to learn spells, it takes time and effort to master them and be able to cast them at will. Even given the necessary time, there are still many spells that cannot be learnt because their power is too strong or drawn from forces the caster doesn’t have access to. However, the world is saturated by magic. Anyone who knows how to use magic can try and channel the wild magical energies surrounding them to bend reality to their will. This is a very hard task, and usually has unintended side effects. Yomada was lucky, this time.

  9. He had been learning for a number of years but just hadn’t progressed much.