AC Log 1

Apotropaia Chtonia
Adventure Log
Day 1

Elidin Tamilfist, the resident racist pig and inconveniently the owner of the Adventurer’s Guild, called me into his tavern once again. His instructions were simple and curt— clear out the encampment of dwarves settled nearby, and take back the object they were holding captive. He didn’t know what it was (or at least he didn’t say) but I went on my way without complaint. After all, who was I to argue with a two hundred gold reward?

The trek there was uneventful. I made short work of a rabbit or two, providing my rations for the journey. Elidin would never prove them for me as he did for other adventurers, unless I got on my knees and begged just to satisfy his sick ironic humor.

The dwarf encampment was surrounded by short, ten foot walls, the stocky guards positioned alertly on either side of each of the three entrances carved into the mountainside. Sizing the wall up, I figured I could make the jump. Before I could approach, one of the guards called skittishly out to me. He seemed more worried about the damage I could cause to the newly constructed wall than my imminent threat to their lives. My lack of weapons must have thrown him off. In hindsight, I almost pity the fellow. I let him know I was coming and sprang onto the wall, making my attack.

The little man jumped back and jabbed his spear straight into my shoulder. Using his attack to lever him closer, I downed him with a good couple of jabs. His partner on the other side of the entrance threw his spear. It caught me in the side, tearing my cloak and burying into flesh.

As I leaped across the four foot gap between me and the murky eyed dead man, I had a thought that maybe these men, gazing at me with their beady, watery little eyes and calling desperately for help, might just be more victims of Elidin’s cruel racism. I suppose it doesn’t matter what sort of task he uses me for at this point, as long as I get gold out of it. I buried my fists into the dwarf’s skull. He slumped over, lifeless. I have things to live for too.

While most of the dwarves by this point descended the ladders and made a run for the bottom of the wall where they could reach me from below, a third dwarf ran across the top of the wall to meet me. I waited for him to come within range, and as he threw his spear and grazed my cheek, my fists struck my third assailant dead on the ground, pummeling him into the stone. I stood up, yanked the spearheads out of my body, and roared a challenge. The rest of the dwarves had enough. They dropped their weapons, tucked in their tails, and bolted.

When the dust settled, I descended from the wall and landed among their camp. In the healer’s tent, an apathetic cleric still worked. Asking the man politely to heal me didn’t work— he seemed utterly baffled by the commotion outside and surveyed me with the most impetuous look of disillusion. It took me pinning the man to the ground and threatening him just to draw a positive response, and after a bit of fumbling, the cleric easily closed my wounds. I let him go and went to a great stone door carved into the mountainside. Going through proved no trouble at all. The room was almost despairingly empty and without challenge, save for an enormous pit of boiling, tumultuous silver mercury at its heart, within which lay a chained brass dragon.

The young dragon seemed very disgruntled. After a bit of bantering, he agreed to trade information on what the dwarves were hiding here in exchange for my freeing him. The deal was struck. I easily broke the chains binding him, and the dragon fluttered to meet me.

The treasure was in this room, he said, and I doubted my initial thought that the treasure might be the dragon itself. I searched the room, rooting through every shadow monotonously, along with the adolescent dragon, and found nothing. Finally, I turned toward him. “Go into the mercury,” I directed sharply, and as the dragon responded with dismay, I prompted him more urgently. The dragon went in, and returned bearing a small chest in his forearms. He dropped it at my feet. Opening the chest revealed the treasure Elidin sent me to retrieve— a golden crown inlaid with shimmering red gemstones, each polished peak reaching a perfectly sharp tip. I found myself drooling, ensnared helplessly. No, oh no. This had to be a lie. A trick. Another cruel joke. I couldn’t possibly return this to its owner. Turning the crown over and over in my hands as the dragon beside me daintily cleaned his claws, I struggled to make a decision, holding the crown close to my chest. No. I would bluff. Elidin could not have this. I stuffed the crown into my bag and turned toward the dragon to thank him.

The youth swished his tail and looked me sagely in the eye. “I know what you search for,” he said meticulously, drawing my full attention. How could a youngling dragon known what I myself could not put into words? What sort of clairvoyance was this? The dragon iterated that if I ever wished to reach my goal, I must go to this place…. and with one claw smeared with ash, he scratched a map into a piece of magicked parchment. Pushing the page toward me, he extended his other claw, upon which hung a talisman… the Talisman of the White Moon. I snatched the pendant from him, and the dragon turned to leave, hobblign away with his wings folded close to his sides.

Looking at the crude map, I found that I recognized the place, although I had never been there before. The jagged lines on the page called to me, as did the talisman, which I quickly slung around my neck. The map, folded neatly, fit into the front pocket of my rucksack. I wished for nothing but to rush off and follow the calling of the map, but first things must inherently always come first… Elidin.

Returning to the guild, I found the revolting swine of a Paladin engaged in an enthusiastic conversation with a trio of adventurers. With his sincerest apologies on the apparent difficulty of their mission, he offered them all a theoretical blank check, and the three of them delighted in the rewards of being “friends of the Tamilfist family.” A slight, dark haired ranger accepted what I’m sure he thought to be a more modest reward than his companions expected, practically kissing the Paladin’s shiny shoes. I couldn’t stand it. How could they react so kindly to him? If I had the chance, I would take everything that pig owned, and leave him cowering in the dirt!

Calling me over as well, the Paladin displayed his usual displeasure and disgust of me, littering his speech with taunts of “dog” and “mutt.” The three adventurers eyed us with dismay as we bantered. I made my report and was prepared to lie on the whereabouts of the crown, but as usual, Elidin surprised me. He said I could keep the artifact before I even began my denial.

And still with another display of clairvoyance, the Paladin demanded to see what else the three adventurers had obtained. The collective group produced a map of shocking similarity to my own. As expected, after examining the map, Tamilfist demanded to see mine as well. I refused, and was briskly threatened. I refused again. “Pay me,” I demanded, but the Paladin would not give in, just as I wouldn’t. I let him see the map.

He rambled on and on about evil bards, white moons and black suns, the entire flood of words boiling down to the ever obvious, “go see where the map leads you.” I took my map back, none the wiser, and immediately regretted setting foot in this damned guild ever in my life. Elidin decided that he was making these maps, and these mysterious pendants bearing an odd magical signature and insignia from two long dead guilds, another one of his missions to serve humanity. He enthusiastically offered rations— all the rations, of the finest quality— to the three adventurers I was unwillingly being chained to. For the sake of humor, smiling snidely, I asked Elidin if he was also extending the offer of rations to me. As expected, the Paladin looked at me coldly and said, “I can give them to you in a bowl.” He was right about everyone in the building working for him. If I let my emotions get the better of me, and tried to rip his face off for that comment, I could die. I let him be. I let him have his moment… for now.

The rest of the conversation was not mine to command. The adventurers gossiped excitedly about the mission to come, comparing their talismans in awe and twisting the chains around and around with their excitement. The slender ranger, a whisper of a boy and not the sort of strong companion I could even use in a fight, shared my talisman’s pale hue with his own. I dreaded the coming mission to the temple of the White Moon…. more of Elidin Tamilfist’s pawns to deal with.

AC Log 1

The Hunters zuzumotai