The Verdant Passage

Tales from the tavern

At a tavern in Tyr an old graying goliath sat by the fire warming himself with a cup of broy, hot and spiced. A worn blanket wrapped about his shoulders, lost in his thoughts. “…are you…Are you him?” a young boy, perhaps 15, stammered. “I am me, if that’s who you mean, yes I am me” said the goliath, “but who do you think I am?”. “Sir Fezzik, the Freer of Slaves, One of the Heroes of the Company of the Scavengers…The first to die and see the new world, the greening of the world, the return of the Gods…SIR FEZZICK!!!” , the boy said emphatically. Just as he finished a man walked over to him and put his hand about the boys shoulder “…And your…your”, “Yes boy, I know who I am and whom the man is that sits before you, but can you please keep your voice down and take a seat, you are making quite the scene…” said Sir Thlolck as he calmed the boy. Mesmerized the boy sat in a seat next to the two men.

“What are you two doing in Tyr?” the boy inquired. “I think you’ve had enough questions for a moment, it’s our turn. What is your name? Who sent you?” Thlolck questioned. With a quick look around he caught Zaidah’s eye at the corner table as she conversed with the rest of the Company, all except Sil, wherever he may be. This glance was lost on the boy but not on Fezzik, who let out a hardy laugh…”Relax old friend, this boy means no harm, he’s just looking for a tale. Aren’t you boy?”. “Yes, SIR” the boy returned immediately. “Well then boy take this here ceramic and get me and my friend another hot spiced broy and one for yourself and a tale you will have. Do it quick and maybe there’ll be a tip in it for you.”

The boy grabbed the ceramic and rushed to the bar. The companions exchanged glances and a brief but subtle laugh. “We still have it” said Fezzik, “Yes we do”, replied Thlolck “I could see you were lost in your thoughts and was going to usher the boy off, but if you want to tell a tale, I will get deep in my cups with you and embellish where I can…”. “No boasting necessary my friend, this boy will enjoy the tale just as I remember it”. “Sure,” said Thlolck sarcastically, “and If I know you like I know you, your memory never gets anything wrong…”. Just then the boy returned with the broy, Fezzik flipped him another ceramic, gave his companion a wry smile and began the story…

“…There we were, outside of Brigadier Danvers barracks. Tzadkiel was trapped inside with him, and the Jade Tower knows who else. A few minutes before he went in, the door shut, and I heard the block fall, locking him in.

Three lieutenants blocked our way and a bowman stood guard ready to pick us off. The door was barred and the building appeared near impenetrable. A thirty foot climb to the top of building would give anyone defending plenty of time to pick off invaders while they ascended, hoping for a way in from the roof. At least that’s how it looked to the casual observer.

I saw a different picture. Three Captains that Arkin and the rest of the scavengers could easily distract while Sil would deal with the bowman. I would then break down that door. I briefly considered scaling the wall, it would have been easy. The difficulty is how to get everyone else up here with me. I could’ve lowered a rope but they would still have had to deal with fighting while climbing. It would be better to break the door down.

There was a tense moment and some words were bandied but, it appeared like we were going to get through the door without any real issues. Thlolck masterfully explained our situation to the Captains and one of them took charge, seeing the logic in our argument, and ordered the others and the bowman to stand down. He was promptly incapacitated by the other guards and battle was joined.

Ignoring the blows from the guards I steeled myself, dropped my shoulder and slammed into the door, I felt the door flex under my mighty assault and then tried it again…and one…more…time…Damn the heroes of Tyr, that door is strong. Failing I turned to join the battle. Sil had the bowman engaged, dancing all over him like a bargirl at a holiday dance. Arkin moved his attention to the object of my failure and broke a hole in the door. I watched as his body turned into a mist and glided through the opening. Immediately after I heard the bar slide and Tzadkiel was standing there, looking like he got the worse end of the deal.

We continued to exchange blows with the guards, one called for reinforcements by blowing a bugle which was promptly knocked out of his hands. The other was yelling his fool head off to the reinforcements that were just within sight. The bowman just regained his foothold when Sil tripped him again. Tyr, is Sil good at that, its no wonder he and his Mul were able to get trip me up all that time ago…Sil stuck the bowman with a dagger and that was the end of his fight. The guards saw this and their inbound reinforcements and made a run for it. Not before Captain Bugle caught a sword in the throat and fell over dead. The other one, Captain Potelay, actually made it away; I just couldn’t seem to hit anything that day. I surveyed the battle, and noticed the Brigadier standing right next to me, just before I took a swing at him I recognized a peculiar look in his eye, the same look I see in Thlolck, damn him for using that hat again, it’s going to get him killed one of these days.

Seeing that we had little option but to regroup I stood guard while Captain Hero was dragged into the barracks and the others followed. I went in last, barred the door and braced it and yell for something to block it with. Someone drug a table over and we wedged the door shut. If it held me out they will need a battering ram to get beyond it now. I joined the rest of the scavengers in main room. It was a mess, blood everywhere. An oozing red stain covered a stone that blocked a doorway and there was no sign of Arkin. While Sil looked around I took a quick rest, bound my wounds and Tzadkiel woke up Captain Hero. Captain Hero blathered on about his honor and needing to confront the reinforcements, we tried to discuss other plans with him, to no avail. Someone outside was ordering us to come out and face our justice but at this point we had discovered that Arkin had gotten himself trapped behind the stone and probably put himself in the same situation that Tzadkiel was in earlier. Tzadkiel tells us that he wounded the Brigadier, swaying us, against our better judgment, to leave Arkin to his fate. We, except Arkin, Sil and Zaiadah, go with Captain Hero, unblock, unbar and open the door. Captain Hero explained our position to a lieutenant who was in command of the roughly forty reinforcements standing beside him. Potelay is there dismissing our story. Hero asked us to stay close. Hero looked a little shaken to me so I start swinging the Mordenkraden around defensively to shore him up and push the reinforcements back. Many of them were seasoned but the vast majority were new recruits and I could see the fear in their eyes. I slammed the weapon down on a boulder and it broke into dust, the recruits shivered in their boots as they contemplated fleeing.

The Lieutenant took charge of the situation and quieted the Captains by temporarily suspending their command. Seeing our only option we followed him, his soldiers and Potelay to the Regents home to defend our actions. As we entered the audience chamber Sil and Zaiadah caught up with us and slipped into the group. There was still no sign of Arkin though; perhaps he was dead, perhaps not, either way we had to answer for our actions.

The Regent arrived, he looked like he had been dragged through the sea of silt and then run over by a mekillot but he managed to get to his throne with his seneschal at his side. He questioned us about the location of his son, the brigadier, and as if on cue Arkin showed up with the Brigadier in tow, bound and gagged. The regent was visibly upset at the sight of his son in this state and demanded that we justify our actions. The brigadier was unbound and related a wholly false tale of our exploits. It was plain to see the love in the regent’s eyes that had blinded him to his son’s betrayal. I began to anger, how could such a wise man be duped? This kind of betrayal is common amongst those in power. That’s why they send their sons to be trained elsewhere and to other commands, specifically so they don’t assassinate them! And then I hear Tzadkiel say it, and it makes total sense…”if you were sleeping sir, why are you so well put together in your armor, why your armor is even expertly laced, as if you were about to tilt at a joust, as if you had your squires assistance…” (Sic, where are your jammies?). The brigadier tore his armor from his body and showed his undergarments and blustered on about being an expert in the donning of armor, but the damage was done and the tide of the argument was turned. A quick glance at the Regent confirmed this, the already beaten and weary man shrunk even further into his seat; the seneschal steadied him and took over the interrogation.

It was our turn to speak now and we did so masterfully. Our points hitting home. First at the Brigadier, next at the seneschal and then to the regent. We had control now and it was up to me to land the final blows. I couldn’t control my rage. I couldn’t control my language, barely coherent sentences spilled out of my mouth about my honor, my previous life as a guard, the dishonor of trying to kill your father. I tore at my sash, brandished my weapon and slammed my feet! The seneschal approached me, calmed me down with soothing words and asked to see my weapon. I handed it to him and he examined it and handed it back. Sil offered his weapons, the seneschal took a quick look and politely declined but you could see recognition within his eyes.

The seneschal returned to the regent’s side and spoke silently to him. The regent, now boiling with rage at us or the recognition of his sons betrayal stood, seeming nearly as if he was a giant looming over us. He called the brigadier forward. As his son came forward he exuded confidence, I thought we had failed, the son prostrated himself before his lord and the regent looked down upon him and then at us, hatred in his eyes and began to speak.

“Brigadier, I remove you of your title and the lands and rights associated with it. You have betrayed me, your Father; you have betrayed your honor, your people, your command, yourself and your family!!! You are banished to the wastes and are dead to me. Guards, strip him of his armor and his weapons, provide him with water and rations for one day and turn him out to the wastes!!!” The guards seized upon the once mighty brigadier and stripped him of his remaining armor. “Father…No…Father…it wasn’t me…they lie…they lie…” he pleaded. Then his demeanor changed, he stood straight and commanded “I will get my revenge…on all of YOU!!!” as Danvers was ushered from the chamber his ranting faded into the distance and the chamber doors slammed shut.

The regent, now crestfallen, looking even more worn than when he arrived to his throne, just a few short minutes before. “Company of the Scavengers, please make use of my hospitality, such that it is…” said the regent as he stood with assistance of the seneschal and walked away slowly, turning at the last moment before he exited the chamber “…you have my…my…”, you could see the sadness and tears in his eyes and hear the quivering in his voice as he whispered “..my thanks” .

We stayed on for a day to heal ourselves and devise our next move. Sil planned to follow Danvers into the wastes and scout ahead for us to the south. We planned to travel towards the Jade tower to try and mend our relationship there and perhaps bring the druids to the fight. The Scavengers won that day, it was a good day.”

The tavern was dark and everyone but the two companions and the boy, huddled by the fire fast asleep, had left long ago. Shelley, the barmaid, came over to them “Are you two done with him now, bored him to death I see..”. They all shared a laugh as Shelley picked up the boy…”You know his parents are friends of mine visiting from south of the Jade Tower, druids both of them.” The two companions glanced over at the barmaid and then back to their broy as Thlolck said “Yeah I know, we met them earlier, we met them a long time ago, but that is another story…for another day”.

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