by, 04-08-2009 at 06:03 PM (812 Views)
Saval Bork scratched his back prior to finishing strapping on his full plate armour. The itch went away but he knew it would soon come back and would be extremely annoying; as he would be unable to get to it once the armour was finally donned. As the last piece was in place the itch arrived right on queue.
“I hope that wasn’t directed towards me”, said the bearded mage who stood in the doorway.
“No, never master!” came Saval’s instant reply.
“Excellent, then we will be off. The mission I have selected you for to begin your advanced learning is rather a remarkable one. I am currently looking for a few more members but until I locate them you will have to do. You will aid a humble cleric of Boccob. His name is Gerald and without your help he will not survive this day.”
“Understood - Mordenkainen.”
Gerald was minding his own business as he sauntered down the streets of the free city of Greyhawk. He had been back only a day and was sad to see that with the disappearance of the ruling Council of Eight the city had become more ‘free’ and lawless than ever.
His last mission for his patron had been a success and he and his comrades in arms had returned heroes. However, to see Greyhawk in such a state ate at his human heart. Moreover, it was only a matter of time until their patron sent them off on another mission of life and limb.
The air crackled and split in front of him and out stepped his patron, Mordenkainen, and large nine and half foot tall, surprisingly clean, and well equipped teal skinned ogre.
“M’Lord Mordenkainen.” Gerald greeted the mage.
“Good day Gerald. I have brought you a companion.” Mordenkainen then muttered a word and waved his hand and was simply gone.
Great I have been saddled with a complete hulking idiot for a partner and the rest of my comrades are who knows where. Well I guess I had better start this greeting off on the right foot so I do not get it stepped on later.
“Hello my n.a.m.e. is G.e.r.a.l.d – who a.r.e. you?.” Gerald slowly and carefully spoke. He watched as the ogre slowly grinned like a fool at a feast. This is going to be a long day.
“A.i.r.” The Ogre with a thick accent replied in the same slow speech.
“No, no - what are you c.a.l.l.e.d.?” Gerald watched the ogre grin even wider and noticed that all the teeth were there and that they were also remarkably clean.
“I, c.a.l.l.e.d. Oktar Calion”
The Oktar were a tribe of Sylvan elves and Calion was an elvish warlord. Great! I confused him on his own name! Gerlad pointed to himself and said, “I am G.e.r.a.l.d.”
“G.e.r.a.l.d. good name. I understand.” Spoke the ogre slowly and carefully. Please Boccob give me strength.
“I named G.e.r.a.l.d. – what be your name.”
“I be named S.a.v.a.l. B.o.r.k.”, as the ogre finished his reply to Gerald he looked up and sprinted off after a thief who had stolen from a nearby merchant. Gerald tried to follow but was unable to keep up the pace in his full plate for very long. Shortly, Saval returned empty handed to Gerald; who was speaking with the merchant.
“I am …” wheezed Gerald as he spoke to the merchant. “…sorry I – err- we could not ummm…” The merchant looked at the out of breath cleric with a puzzled look on his face.
“Please excuse my friend, good merchant. He is a little soft in the head but he sure tries.” Spoke the ogre who glanced over to Gerald and then winked.
Mika moved closer and drew her short sword as she advanced on her target. Her employer had ordered an attack on Gerald, a cleric of Boccob. She would leave her blooded sword in the body of Gerald as a sign of what was to come.
Her sword flashed with a blue flame as she attacked the unwary cleric from behind. His cry of agony was music to her ebony elf ears and she smiled in ecstasy. However, true to his calling he healed himself as he stumbled away from her. Before she could advance on her target an ogre swiped at her with his massive glaive.
“Stand down ogre – this is not your fight!” She spat at the ogre who slouched into a martial stance and took a step towards her. Her employer had failed to mention such a large bodyguard. No matter, she could cope with a stupid ogre and easily complete her task.
Mika slashed at the cleric after creating a spark that distracted him. She again was again able to sneak past his defenses and score terrible wound. However, again he called upon the power his god and healed himself. Damn him!
Slam! Her head spun as the ogre connected with her right side. Her armour bore most of the brunt of his attack but it still smarted. She diverted her attention to the ogre and retaliated. The ogre grimaced in pain but to Mika’s disappointment did not cry out. She traded blows with the ogre and seethed with anger as each time she almost dropped the ogre the very target she was sent for healed him. A stalemate was not something she would endure for much longer. The cleric is running lower and lower on healing spells and then I can move in and annihilate them both. Mika smiled with the delicious thought as she crept closer and under the effective range of the glaive. She lunged out at Gerald and her short sword stabbed deeply into his ugly human body. A loud crack and a flash of lightspanked her off her feet and knocked her foreward.
“Who dares interfere?”
“I think you know Mika. I have drawn you out. And now I will finish you.”
“You’re too slow Mordenkainen” She smiled as she read the scroll and disappeared.
Saval looked down at Gerald and Mordenkainen merely from a literal point of view. From his perspective, he was impressed with how the cleric had taken things in stride. Both from the joke he had played on Gerald as well as the danger from the assassin that had nearly killed him. Also he was quite impressed with Mordenkainen – who had used them both as bait. Life will sure not be going boring training anymore.
“I need you to accompany an old friend of mine. Her name is Ansanthar. She currently dwells in the temple of Heironeous, near the village of Jakkar. She wishes to visit an old friend of hers and thus requires an escort.” spoke the slightly frustrated mage.
“Of course M’Lord” said Gerald before Saval had a chance to speak.
Gerald with his fame as a local hero quickly secured passage on a carriage with Saval in tow on the baggage cart behind. The rest of the day passed with Saval watching the countryside gently rolling by. No one spoke to him and he spoke to no one even though he saw a few travelers. Bork had discovered that people were prejudged towards ogres; so he might as well accept that people thought him a stupid brute and take whatever advantage he could from it. However, he had to admit to himself that growing up among elves had made him twice as cunning and wise as his fellow ogres.
Gerald dozed in the hot cramped cabin of the carriage made even more unbearable by the heavy armour he wore to protect his human hide. He tried to think clearly but the last few weeks had drained him mentally and physically. He was happy that his large companion was nearby and while an ogre; clearly a superior one of his species. And while he admitted to himself it was the only ogre he had ever talked to he had a strangely comfortable familiarity about him.
It was near dusk when the carriage with its towed cart arrived at the gate to the temple of Heironeous. Gerald while not saddle sore was slightly cramped from sitting so long. He did notice that his ogre friend stood up and stretched with no difficulties. It’s almost as if he is used to being in one position for a long time. Must be some sort of martial conditioning. I thought all ogres were simple barbarians.
Gerald stooped over to the gate before his spine straightened out and he was able to sand erect. He rang the small bell and waited for the gatekeeper to unbar the gate. He looked at the ogre, Let me do the talking.”
“You talk - g.o.o.d.” the ogre winked at him.
“Yes.” So, it was an act. And who would doubt it? After all no ogre had any brains - ogres were massive hulks of destruction with zero brain power.
“Greetings. What is your business at the gate of Heironeous at this hour?”, came a questioning feminine voice from the other side of the gate.
“We seek shelter for the night and to speak to… ”, Gerald paused.
“ Ansanthar”, provided Saval in a semi-hushed voice.
“…Ansanthar”, Gerald looked up gratefully at his nine and half foot traveling companion..
“Come in, we will provide you with sustenance and lodging. In the morning you may speak with Ansanthar.”
Gerald and Saval listened to the unbarring of the gate and the door creaked open on its massive hinges. They looked into the courtyard which separated a simple tower and a barn. Before them stood an unarmed young maiden who beckoned them in. Saval stepped in and barred the gate up and then stepped deftly after the pair to catch up. Gerald smiled at the ogre. And house broken too.
Ansanthar walked purposely but slowly into the tower’s library. Inside the room waiting for her were two adventurers who had been sent by Mordenkainen at her request. She saw a human male cleric of Boccob and knew peace but then she saw an ogre crusader and knew reverence.
Mordenkainen had sent her more than she had expected. Her right eyebrow furrowed on its own accord. She made her way to her favorite coach. The ogre gently bumped the massive couch closer to her and she gratefully sat in it. Her right arm was sore from packing yesterday but her left arm had stopped bugging her when she had lost it to Xenous all those years ago.
“Good morning - Ansanthar?”, said the cleric who phrased his words more like a question.
“Morning…you know my name but who are you? And what are you here for?” Her venerable voice creaked. As if I did not know. But sometimes it was good to act out the play just to be certain.
“My name is Gerald and that is Saval.” He looked up at the ogre. “ Mordenkainen sent us to provide… to assist you.”
“Good then we leave at once Gerald. Yet, before we leave I need you to consider how we will get to our destination. Do we travel though the village of Jakkar or around it?” queried Anasnathar. Let them chew on that while I get my things and don my armour.
“Of course we shall go though the town as to skirt it will take longer. However, why do you ask m’lady?”, replied the cleric.
“The mayor of Jakkar does not wish me to leave the area; or any reason. He believes I am good luck and the reason these lands are not overrun with disasters that the neighboring villages experience.”
“I am sure w will think of something” she heard Gerald say as she left the room but she failed to spot the foolish grin that overtook the ogre’s face.
Marcus marched in single file with his fellow men-at-arms through the village of Jakkar. All he could see was the back of Bruce’s breast plate as he marched in time. Left footie, right footie, left footie. Clank, clank, clank went his armour. They were almost halfway to the first stop - so he was surprised when the sergeant’s voice rang out.
“Hlt, her gos thre?”
Marcus looked over to his right and wondered how he could have missed the pair that was strolling through dirt streets of Jakkar. The first was a human warrior whose armour was in dire need of repair and scrubbing. Standing next to the human stood an ogre. Or at least Marcus figured it must be an ogre even though he had never seen one.
“We are simple travelers wandering the land in search of adventure.” replied the warrior.
“Myhp yre - myhp yre n’t” growled his sergeant. While Marcus knew that his sergeant’s mouth had been recently wired shut by the village healer he realized that he also probably must sound pretty fearsome to the two travelers. Or, he sounded like the village watch dog which in was rather close to what Marcus thought of him.
“Wht n dr brrl?” came the sergeant’s growl. Marcus grinned thankful his helmet covered his face.
“Brrl?” replied the greenish blue giant.
“What’s in the barrel”, translated Marcus for his struggling sergeant. Marcus watched as a foolish grin crept over the face of the giant.