Beorn brushes a snoring Theros, adding clumps to the fluffy gray pile of fur between his hard leather boots. As he works to smooth the gruff’s coat, the children of Badgertown creep closer.
None of the dozen boys and girls have the height to reach Beorn’s elbow, and only the boy that interrupted yesterday’s story time has the ambition to stretch fingertips enough to pet Theros who stands tall while sleeping.
The gruff bugles like a drowning donkey. The brave boy stumbles backward, and his abnormally large ears turn beet red as several of his peers snicker.
Beorn chuckles and sets his brush on a bench connected to Theros’s stable stall. “Do you kids want another story about Theros?” He points at the boy. “I know you do, Abbot.”
Abbot rubs his big ears and nods, and the other children filter in behind him. Their eyes are wide, and their lips are thin lines.
“So well behaved.” He pats Theros’s neck, quieting a fresh snore. “I must thank your parents for raising you all to be patient and respectful. It is refreshing to have an audience so unlike my bandmates.”
Continue reading Theros: Part 2, A Mount Of Friendship
Beorn cups his hand under a fountain spout and splashes his face with water mystically pumped and filtered from the nearby river. Rolling his broad shoulders, he waves Theros over.
The horse-sized goat snorts and stands, scattering a gaggle of human children who had been brushing his coat. With a clatter of hooves on cobbled stone, he joins Beorn and dips his muzzle into the evening-cooled water.
Beorn reaches under the goat’s horns to scratch his thick neck. “These Badgertown kids are enamored with you. Do mind if I tell them your story?”
Theros slurps and lifts his head. His golden eyes sparkle with a soft glow, and a deep sound rumbles up from his belly that makes Beorn’s hair stand on end.
“Okay, so you’re grumpy,” says Beorn. “You’re always grumpy, but I don’t have magic active to interpret your exact meaning. Stomp once for yes. Twice for no.” He holds up a finger. “But consider how disappointed your little groomers will be if they don’t get a proper bedtime story.”
Continue reading Theros: Part 1, The Gruff Scapegoat
Blood dries under the afternoon sun. Colgrevance tends to the wounds of his bandmates with bandages and potions.
They smile and thank him, but their eyes narrow at his pristine armor. Form-fitting full plate filled with mystic power, it protects him to the precipice of invincibility.
While his companions were cut, through cloth, leather, and steel, Colgrevance was never scratched. His assault upon Lowtide Mansion was bold, but with little personal risk.
He sits head-bowed on a bench outside Drunken Sea Tavern, the closest drinking establishment to the monster-controlled estate.
Solaris comes around the corner with a frothy mug of brew. “Taste this, Boss.”
Colgrevance waves it away. “Thank you, but—”
Voice deepening, she says, “Do it.”
Continue reading Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 4
Under a warm noon sun, Lowtide Mansion is more awkward than intimidating, a gothic structure with the moody style of a past age. Colgrevance gathers his raiders, four familiar and one fresh.
“We’ve rested, recovered, regrouped.” Colgrevance pats the top of a little blue man’s head. “And now we are informed. For those that don’t know, this is Kiv.”
“Kriv,” says the thigh-high man. “And, oh wow, can I tell you about vampires. They don’t like garlic, mirrors, running water, or puns done by miss-stake.”
Continue reading Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 3
Bodies bleed. Some moan, most breathe, all are dressed in finery.
Colgrevance crouches over Beorn. A matching pair of shortswords stick out of the warrior’s gut. Blood leaks out like the sap of a tapped maple tree.
Clapping his gauntlets together, Colgrevance says in Celestial, “Stable.” The silver metal encasing his hands flickers a light green, and he uses its minor enchantment to stall the bulky half-elf’s bleed and ease his gasps.
“Sorry, I froze,” says Colgrevance. “I’ve never been caught by a hypnotic rune before.”
Continue reading Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 2
The massive estate rises above the slums of Titantale city, a noble fortress guarding against the encroaching forest of leaning shacks and failing masonry. A light rain, steady throughout the night, has made knuckle-deep canals out of the alleyways leading to the mansion.
Moving too slow to splash, Colgrevance steps to where his alley meets street. He sniffles and settles a hood over his lantern before placing it in front of a crouching bald man wearing simple clothes.
“Jacob.” Colgrevance shifts his shield from back to forearm and broadsword from hip to hand. “Are you feeling heroic?”
“Always.” The bald man contorts into a stretch worthy of a circus act.
Continue reading Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 1
The full-body armor is simple as diamond. No horns or decorative swirls distract from its function. It exists to protect, not to entertain.
Colgrevance wipes gore out of a groove in his greaves. A bandmate splattered zombie on him the day before, and it’s taken the paladin all night to clean the cursed ichor from his gear.
He yawns, mouth staying open as his head bobs. “Wish I had a proper squire.”
A guardswoman pops her head into the tavern’s common room. “Sir, there’s three black ships sailing in to dock.”
“How long until dawn?” Colgrevance slips a heavy shield onto his left arm and picks up a longsword with his right. “How close are the ships?”
Shouts echo outside.
“Minutes maybe.” She fingers her spear. “And the ships are here.”
Continue reading Black Ships Before Dawn