The second quest begins…
Gwynth leans back on her stool, relating to several of the guardsmen the tale of her previous foray into the legendary Caves of Chaos. The drinks and food have been flowing freely for the past few days for her. Everyone has been eager to hear of what befell such a large party of adventurers.
A man in chain armor approaches her, “good day fair one. My name is Ghordon and the man at the gate told me to seek you out for you have knowledge that I seek.”
Gwynth turned slowly to admire this man standing before her. A man well muscled and well armed. “Really? And what knowledge might that be?”
“I have come from afar to slay evil and I have heard rumors of a place known as the Caves of Chaos. All I have encountered in this fortress tell me to seek out the elven maiden at the tavern, for she has been there and did survive, though she lost many friends in the process.” Ghordon reached out and grabbed a stool for himself.
“Perhaps if you were to assist me in finding my voice again, I can be of assistance?” Gwynth turned to her empty wineglass and back to Ghordon.
Ghordon reaches for a piece of gold to buy the lady a drink, and motions to the barkeep.
“Wine please, and ale for me.” he says, flipping the coin to the barkeep. “Now you were saying…”
Gwynth smiles and reaches for the glass of wine. As she raises it to her lips, she smiles and says, “It is a very dangerous place, not a place for fools.”
“I first met the party outside the caves. They were battling an ogre and I had to bail them out by bringing the ogre down with one of my well-aimed arrows. Then the thieves insisted on venturing into the caves alone and they were cut down by the goblins living within the walls of the cave. I warned then to be wiser than to go up against the goblins alone but you know how some men can be.”
Gwynth sips her wine thoughtfully and continues, ” We went into the cave as a group after we heard the demise of the thieves. I brought down a group of goblins with a sleep spell and we tied them up and questioned them before taking their lives. They explained to me that their numbers were many and the caves were dangerous, but the group insisted on continuing further into the caves. They lost their lives when they encountered a group of goblins in a small room within one of the caves. I warned them against this foolish move, but like I said, you know how some men can be.”
Gwynth looks at the stranger again and states, “If you want me to take you to the caves I will, but I suggest we gather a strong party. A well armed party of men who will be willing to take their cue from someone who has been there before, me,” she says pointing to herself.
“So, what do you think? And what was your name again?” asks Gwynth.
“I respect that you have gone into the Caves and lived, and will back you in the expedition to come…for a full share of treasure, of course. You’ll find that I’m good in a fight and don’t just wear the sword for show.” Ghordon says, patting the hilt of his blade. “I am Ghordon the Slay… well just Ghordon will do. Now let’s find us a few more brave souls and start our quest.”
As the warrior Ghordon and Elf Gwynth discuss matters pertaining to the Caves of Chaos a halfling hops off a nearby stool. “I couldn’t help overhear your conversation, could I possibly join in?”
“Indeed, little one,” replies Ghordon while sizing up the newcomer.
Gwynth looks over these two newcomers and says, “I am glad to meet both of you. We can use as much help as we can get in this undertaking. The caves are dangerous. Are you both sure you are up to the task?”
She smiles as she empties her glass. She looks up at the newcomers and asks, “How about buying me one more drink, then I am off to sleep for the night, I am weary from my travels.”
Bodewin is about to reply when several other adventurers make themselves known. The halfling, outfitted as an archer, virtually disappears amongst all the big folk. He politely keeps silent as the others strike up a conversation.
Whilst greeting the new halfling, a man in leather armor approaches, “My name is Sarlox De’Nalar and I am interested in hearing more of this quest.”
A lone figure dressed in black, with a cloak drawn over head, approaches the group of adventurer’s who, seem to be surrounding Gwnyth, introducing themselves. The figure steps forward and introduces himself, “greetings all I am Finster, and I wish to join your adventuring party, if there is room for another”.
Whilst talking another man approaches. He bears matching short swords upon his hip and carries them with ease, “Good day, I am Bollas, and I wish to partake in your quest!”
A man dressed fully in black, not even his face showing, approaches your group and takes to a stool. He has not yet spoken.
An elf approaches, “I am Salinor, slayer of orcs. Did you perchance see any on your quest dear lady?” Strangely enough, this elf wears plate armor and wears a sword easily upon his hip.
Another warrior in chain armor approaches,” I am Cirdan, of the house of Glaskin. I am here to fight the evils of this land, please tell me fair lass of the evils you have faced, are about to face or plan to face so that I may aid you.”
“I see there are more brave souls for this quest indeed, well met all of you, I am Ghordon, a swordsman by trade and I will enjoy the company of any who would brave the evils within the caves.”
“Greetings Ghordon and to you all. It would seem that we do indeed have a worthy party of adventurers. I hope that all the gods of good look down on us with their blessings. To adventure, and the slaying of many orcs and others of their vile ilk!” speaks Salinor.
“What evils are there, exactly?” Bodewin asks, having clambered atop a table to look the warrior in the eye. “You’ve been there, I gather.”
Amidst the introductions Salinor notices the new figure dressed all in black that has taken a seat next to the party’s table. He walks over with the intention of greeting this mysterious character. “Hail and well met, stranger. I am Salinor. I see that you have taken interest in the conversation of our band of adventurers. Perhaps you would like to join us?”
The man in black pauses for a moment as he surveys the ironclad elf and replies “Yes, perhaps I will join all of you” as a pale hand extends toward Salinor from the black robes to greet him. “You may call me Pedrov. When do we depart?”
“Greetings Salinor. I am Bollas, and yes, I believe I would like to join your group”. Leaning forward a bit and straining his eyes, “But here the light is dim and the air is smokyâ€¦I’m not sure that I see everyone clearly. I have heard the introductions of the formidable Elf Salinor, the noble warrior Cirdan, the brave swordsman Ghordon, and of course the dark and mysterious Pedrov. Perhaps the others would be as kind to give introductions for us late comers.” Now sitting back and talking easily. “However, like I said, I â€˜believe’ I would like to join your group. I would first like to know about these caves. Has anyone ever ventured inâ€¦ and returned? And what reward awaits those who take the risk? You see, I am new to this town and am in need of financing and while the toils of the common man may be noble, I have never been common. I have long preferred to live on the spoils of danger. So you see, if the spoils can equal the danger, then I believe I would very much like to join your group. “
“No, I have only just arrived in the keep. Gwynth has been there and survived,” speaks Ghordon to Bollas.
Salinor nods to Gwynth, “What say you, my fellow elf? Have you any information about the caves that may be of use to us in our preparations? Perhaps some knowledge learned from your first journey there?” Salinor glances at the other party members. “I, for one, do not plan on falling to the first axe-wielding orc I face! We are a strong party and should use our talents together if we all hope to survive.”
Cirdan stands up and says ” let’s not sit here and discuss. If there is evil presence and if we are the strong group of people you say lets go and kill the evil creatures then. Now before they grow stronger.”
Finster listens to Cirdan, “he is very anxious”, thought the rogue, better to be prepared, thought Finster, as he listened to hear if Gwnyth, could provide any useful information, that might prove useful later on.
Gwynth looks around at the new group of adventurers and states, “I would suggest a good night’s meal and a good rest would be in order for everyone before we depart. The caves are dangerous and the goblins many, not to mention the ogre that was encountered outside the caves. We may not get any peaceful sleep for a while so I, for one would like one last night to get to know all of you and to get a good night’s sleep. You all look like formidable fighters, most of you anyway. We shall set out in the morning. All agreed? Now let’s order a good meal for dinner.”
Bodewin isn’t bothered by the ‘most of you’, not much anyway. He’s gotten used to it by now. At least, that is what he’s trying to tell himself to keep from feeling hurt. Well, he’ll show them, show them good. He might not be strong, but he can go places where others can’t follow, and he is a fair shot with the bow he carries.
“Hi, my name is Bodewin Fairbreeze. I’m all for getting up early and all, but I do have a question. Shouldn’t we discuss plans on how to begin our exploration of those caves? Like where to set base camp, how deep we go the first day, who’s going to scout the way, and how far, and where we regroup should we get separated by mischance?” The halfling stops for breath. “Talking over dinner would be fine, though I’m a bit short on cash at the moment.” He looks hopefully at the gathered heroes.
Gwynth looks over at Bodewin and smiles, she says, “Don’t worry friend, I am sure we can take care of your meal. Who knows when we will have another like this? Some of us maybe never again.”
“I’m sorry, I kinda forgot you lost friends in those caves,” Bodewin’s voice trails away as he looks uncomfortably around for help.
“Chilling words indeed,” says Bollas. “But if it was easy, fame and fortune would be had by all, and the plows would sit idle in the field” he says with a smirk. “However there are measures we can take to tip the scales in our favor. First I would ask you Gwynth, in addition to your first hand knowledge, do you have any other information of the area that might be contained in scrolls or maps? And lacking even those, surly there must be tales and legends which could help to guide our path.” Pausing to adjust one of his short swords that were sitting uncomfortably against his side he continues, “Perhaps you could enlighten us as to the types of supplies we should pack.” Now directing the questions to the group, “And what of our party, what assets do we already carry in our packs and in our hands? I would have you know that I come prepared with a length of rope, some torches to light the way, and a few other trinkets and bobbles. As for my talents, I am most effective when unseen and unheard, but I should not be trifled with even in broad daylight.” While digging under his cloak to produce a coin to pay for his meal, he finishes with “But I have said enough. Please Gwynth, lay plain the path before us and everyone else, reveal yourselves so that we may know our allies and thus defeat our enemies.”
“Excellent! Good barkeep, 9 small beers for our brave party and some fruit for myself!” orders Pedrov. When the beers arrives, he proclaims “A toast, to our last meal!” as he raises his glass. A faint glimmer of a smile can be seen on Pedrov’s face from beneath his robes.
Salinor thanks Pedrov for the ale with a slight nod in the Cleric’s direction and then states, “I agree with Bollas. Let us become acquainted with one another to determine how we can best plan our venture into the Caves of Chaos. As an elf I am skilled with the use of weapons, be it the sword in my hand or my accuracy with this spear,” he states, pointing to a finely crafted spear leaning against the wall. “In addition, I am trained to use magic, either to put our foes to sleep or to launch a flaming arrow that never misses its mark.”
Ghordon raises his mug in a hearty toast; “to those who have fallen before us.” he bellows and downs the ale.
Sarlox addresses the whole group, “It would seem I am little out of cash, and I do need to buy some equipment for this adventure in order to stay alive. So if you could all chip in I would be very grateful, and I promise to return the money as soon as possible. No really, I do.”
Gwynth grins and tosses a gold piece in the direction of Sarlox. She says, ” Here you go, I guess since you owe me I will have to watch your back a little closer, eh?”
“Thank you fair lady, your generosity will be remembered” Sarlox smiles politely. Then looking at the others “I’m afraid this isn’t nearly enough, so I hope you will follow the kind lady’s example,” he finishes expectantly.
“How much do you need Sarlox,” asks Cirdan? Then he orders in some food for himself and Sarlox and pays for that.
Pedrov addresses Sarlox “My beggar friend, the great Halav won’t give you money so nor will I. You must do for yourself. Maybe you should put some of your ‘skills’ to use.” with that Pedrov tightly gasps his money pouch, “I will pray for your greedy little soul.”
Gwynth looks at the group and addresses Bollas, saying, “I have no maps or legends that I am aware of concerning the caves. I only have my experience and keen intuition. I think that will be enough.”
Gwynth tosses one more gold piece to Sarlox and says, “Here is something more for your trouble. I was hoping that each of us would be able to help you out a little bit, but I will give you extra in place of the cheapskate in the black robes.”
“With this move you have not only shown your grace, but indebted me even further, made it personal even” Sarlox says as he bows to the elven lady. To the others ” You are all very pathetic if you choose this moment to be cheap. What if you find your self in need of me, and I can’t help you cause you didn’t borrow me some money to get equipment, the money you don’t need right now, not where we are going? I bet you would think “oh sh*t” then. Beside, if we are successful I’ll pay you back on the spot” he finishes looking at the others in mild disgust.
In response to Sarlox’s chiding, Pedrov’s temper flares as he sneers “Of course! Just like a thief to have his companions pay for his trust!” as a small amount of spittle unconsciously springs from his mouth. He calms himself and continues: “I am glad I see your true colors now, instead of at a more crucial situation. I barely know thee and already I loathe thee. Never again try to manipulate me or imply that any of us are pathetic!”
“Well guess who won’t be invited to my party, MR primitive. Why don’t you just go and clobber a tree or whatever you do with that tiny brain of yours in spare time, instead of making such petty speeches. I need money for supplies, not to confirm my loyalty, which is probably the way you do it, so here is a copper “Sarlox flips him the coin. “Don’t spend it all in one place.”
After listening quietly to his new companions, Salinor finally speaks up, “I think we have had quite enough of this destructive banter. We are a group and tomorrow we will face challenges that could very well threaten our lives. Sarlox, I for one do not have any gold to offer you. If any of the others can help you, perhaps you can work out an arrangement of compensation through a portion of your treasure. That is assuming we acquire any! But for now, I suggest that we retire to bed so that we can make an early start tomorrow. Good night to all!” With that Salinor leaves the table and approaches the tavern keeper with the hopes of arranging sleeping accommodations for the night.
Speaking aloud Bollas says, “I had hoped the conversation would have been a bit brisker on the matter at hand. Unless, some of the others wish to add to that conversation, I will follow the lead of Salinor. Although I would prefer to know our strengths and weaknesses before the start of our journey, perhaps the travel along the road will prove more enlightening.”…. Bollas waits to see if anything other than Sarlox’s financial woes are discussed. If not he follows Salinor towards the tavern keeper.
Cirdan taps Sarlox upon the shoulder, “perhaps you did not hear my earlier offer? Before you include me in your grouping of cheap people why don’t you answer my earlier question?”
“Well, with these two I need about 11 more gold pieces. I assure you I’ll give back every last piece of money.” Replies Sarlox.
“I’m an archer and can squeeze into tiny spaces, but that’s all I have to contribute. How about you, mr. Bollas?” Bodewin sits down, legs bungling from the table’s edge.
Glad to see others coming around Bollas turns back to the table “Well my good man” he begins in a pleased tone, “A sharp shooter and crevice creeper. Now those are fine skills. Many a time have I wished I could disappear into a small space and fling arrows at my foes.” He finishes the last with a toothy grin. “But to speak the truth, I am but a humble practitioner of a misunderstood art. I am relegated to sneaking silently, hiding in the shadows, and using surprise as my ally. However, should I be discovered, the cold steal of my swords will be brought to bare on all who would be foolish enough to stand against me.” He parts his dusty black robe to reveal the hilts of two short swords. “This is good” finishes Bollas while pulling the robe back around himself, “I knew there had to be some talent here. Bodewin, I am pleased to accompany you.” Addressing Gwynth, “It seems you have attracted a strong party and I am honored to join you on your journey.” Now rising from the table, and speaking to all, “Now you must excuse me, I want to be well rested for tomorrow so I bid you all a good night.”
Bollas turns to leave the tavern, passing by the barkeep on the way out.
“Sarlox, While I have no gold to give you I could loan you my dagger if you are in need of a weapon. I suggest, however, you learn a little tact. Insulting new comrades is not the best way to begin a career. What say you,” asks Ghordon
“Thank you for your offer but i have a dagger.I am sorry if i made a scene,but cheap people just make me mad.Lets just finish our meal and than go to sleep, we have an adventure to adventure tomoeeow.”After that i eat my dinner and go to sleep.
Ghordon stands up from his chair, bids you all a good night and retires to the neigboring Inn.
“I’m broke, sorry.” Bodewin opens his arms apologetically. “I wouldn’t ask for someone else to pick up my tab otherwise.” The halfling looks decidedly unhappy about the quarreling.
A new elf approaches from the bar, “my name is Jimbob and I could not help overhear your discussion. May I join you?”
Gwynth looks around at her new friends and says, “Hello there Jimbob…join us if you’d like. I am tired and need my rest. Let’s meet here in the morning and we will set out for the caves.”
She yawns, tosses her head and walks from the room.
The mighty Pedrov stands up an heads for the barkeep, after a short discusion he leaves the tavern.
Finster who watched the group, more than saying alot, turns and bids the party a good night before exscusing himself, heading for his room, hoping to get some sleep he knew he had a long day ahead of him, as did the other party member’s.
When most of the people has left the table. Cirdan invites the rest to have a drink with him in the bar, then he walks over to the bar and order in some beer.
“What brings you here, Cirdan, if I may ask?” Bodewin clambers atop a stool with practiced ease. Sitting upon it, he resembles a human child more than usual, to his chagrin. The halfing is determined to learn something about his companions before braving the dangerous caves with them.
“Where there is evil I shall be,” Cirdan says, “And I was tired of just sitting and do nothing.”
“Well, I don’t mean to pry or anything, but isn’t that a tad too little reason to risk life and wellbeing for? I mean, fighting evil is good and all that, but why here? From what I’ve heard these caves are pretty lethal.” Bodewin looks at Cirdan expectantly.
The three of you sit at the bar discussing things and drinking the beers purchased by Cirdan when Otto comes over and says, “sorry gents, but I’m closing down here. I reccomend you head next door and get a bed ta sleep on. I’ll let you in the side door to the Inn.”
“Very good, Jimbob says, I am tired anyway.” He stands up and walks to the dorm, ready for a good night of sleep.
“Okay if you close we have to go,” Cirdan says as he walks to the side door.
Bodewin slides down from his seat and follows the others, resigned to yet another night out in the open. ~Well, at least I have a belly full of warm food.