A brief intro: The characters in the following story are participants of an ongoing roleplaying campaign I have been running for the past 6 months. "Tulip" and "Wendall" are my own creations placed in the story for social interaction with the other characters, that are played by five of my friends and my wife. The epic adventures of this team continue to this day and may possibly be revisited in future installments. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy.
“How did I get wrapped up in this? One little party crash, and now I’m wanted for murder. Now my new found friends trust a mentally imbalanced babbling idiot to lead us to safety. Brilliant. This moldy cavern air is not good for my complexion for sure. I’m sorry, where are my manners. My name is Tulip Cantacross, druidess of the Cantacross elves of Fort Redstone. Well, that’s a bit presuming, I’m more of a work-in-progress than a druidess. Actually, I suppose I’m more of a fugitive than anything right now.”
“Tulip, who are you talking to? We got to keep moving,” a deep raspy voice says from further down the cavern.
“Umm, Grizz, hellloooooo! Narrating here…”
The disapproving giant grumbles unintelligibly. Tulip flips her blond hair over her shoulder before continuing, “Sorry, that’s Grizz. He’s a bit of a grump. I think he drank a bit too much rum last night. He’s in the same situation. Well, a fugitive… not the whole druid part. There’s eight of us altogether, on the run. Not my usual crowd at ALL. But, I was going with them, or I was going to stay in a nasty dungeon prison cell in the Pendel guard barracks. I don’t think so. My choice was obvious. Totally.”
A soft glow augments to a bright beacon. A handsome elven male approaches, his robe and facial features lucid from the “torch” he is wielding. The torch is a splintered inverted table leg salvaged from the castle dungeon, illuminated by magic rather than fire. The bluish aura emits no heat, Tulip rather would prefer the table leg provide some warmth with a good old fashioned flame.
“Come along Tulip,” the male speaks.
“One moment Quellonos.”
“Q, just Q.” He grabs her forearm and notions forward. She moves alongside Q, “There was this big feast for this guy in the Pendel guard…”
“Sir Wilhelm”, Q interjects.
“Yeah him. He was getting a promotion or something. Anyways, he was killed overnight. Murdered in his sleep. The town consulate and some of the captains in the guard pointed fingers at the group of us as the prime suspects. They had no evidence, but we were just a bunch of out-of-towners. Easy to blame. We don’t even know each other. We were thrown into the prison in the dungeon. Well our group is a crafty team, full of dirty tricks. Long story short, we fought our way out. We took in a prisoner named Wendall and he showed us the entrance to this cave. He’s a bit of a crazy though, bursts out in laughter and talks to himself a lot. We took his advice because our alternative was fighting our way out of the castle. I’m not sure if any one of us killed William…”
“SIR WILHELM”, Q jabs.
“…whatever. I mean, we aren’t the most righteous group of people. We have a warlock among us, as well as a ninja. The guy with the eyepatch talks to spirits, and the gnome girl over there is some kind of pyro. Grizz told me he used to be a pirate, and this Q guy is an illusionist. It could have easily been any one of us.”
“I’ll pretend I did not hear that” Q states impatiently, “Wilhelm was a friend of mine, of all ours. What would my incentive be to kill him?”
“Watch out guys!” The roar of a startled Grizz echoes from ahead. Q and Tulip advance to an opening in the cavern with several tributaries leading into darkness. The stench of decay emanates out of the blackness. The acoustics of the cavern perform a deceptive ventriloquism with the sound of shuffling footsteps, making it impossible to locate the source. Grizz stands a towering 9 foot 6 amidst the other “fugitives”, and is in the center of the clearing, prying the grip of an undead from his leg. Zombies shuffle in from several sides, the team aghast in horror, spare an unnerving impressed expression on the warlock of the group. Q frees up his hands to commence a spell, “We thought the guards pursuing us were the biggest of our worries. Ready up Tulip, we’re in for a bloodbath.”
Q glances to the empty space on his right, “Tulip?”