So, time to inflict my storytelling upon my readers……
From time to time, my old persona as a pen & paper DM comes to the fore and I get inspired to write some sort of a story or descriptive text for something. At the moment it is encouraging me to write a short story based on the epic adventures of a small group of five comrades as they journey around Azeroth doing what must be done (and what pays the repair bills). It is pretty rough, I haven’t written something like this for a while, and I am not the best writer ever even at my best. Extra DKP for any guildies reading this who figure who is who 😛
As she crested yet another sand dune, Lavena sighed and looked out over the seemingly endless desert. The party had been traveling for weeks now across this windblown expanse of sand and still their goal did not appear to be in sight. After removing the cloth tied her face to prevent her from swallowing too much sand, she reached for her skin of water and took a long drink of the warm, musty liquid. Despite not being perfect, and tasting of camels, it still quenched some of her thirst and washed away the sand that had beaten the cloth barrier.
Groaning slightly, she moved her shoulders to try and settle her heavy pauldrons into a more comfortable position. At the best of times they were an annoying necessity, and weeks of riding a camel had done nothing to improve that. As she shook her long, grey hair to remove the loose sand she looked at the heavy helm hanging from her saddle and was thankful that she had decided against wearing it.
While sitting there, she silently wished that she had the strength of a dwarf or the build of a human and could better cope with the wearing of full plate armour. Still, she had chosen this path herself and would not turn from it. The years of training she had endured made her agile and fast despite the weight and when it came to the actual fighting, it would be her job to keep their target distracted while the others in the company brought down whatever they faced.
“Bloody awful sandy wasteland!” There was a muffled curse from behind. Lavena turned and smiled as she saw Agmund, both the only dwarf and the only male member of the party bouncing his way up the dune to rest beside her, while he cursed and swore at his camel. “What troubles you now Agmund?” she asked sweetly while he panted and wiped his brow with a grubby sleeve.
Narrowing his eyes, Agmund gestured to his flaming red beard and hair as he removed his helmet and the cloth protecting his nose and mouth. He shook his head to release the matted mass of hair and Lavena recoiled slightly as she was splattered with stale dwarf sweat. “What the hell do you think is the matter you dozy elf!” he thundered, “We have been in this forsaken desert on these bloody awful mounts for weeks and have nothing to show for it yet!” Taking a drink from his flask he grudgingly offered it to Lavena, who politely declined after noticing the fine ring of sweaty sand he had left around the mouth of the bottle.
Shrugging at the elf’s refusal, Agmund took another swig and replaced the flask on his saddle. “When we set out on this folly Brann assured us he would meet us at the pyramid and after some fighting there would be stacks of treasure and gold!” Agmund’s eyes gleamed as he mentioned gold and treasure, “yet, here we still are crossing mile after mile of sand and no one has even seen a bloody pyramid! Do you even know if we are going in the right direction?”
Leaping off her camel, Lavena took rest in the shade afforded by its body. Looking up to Agmund, she offered help but he turned and slid unceremoniously to the ground and joined her in the small amount of shade. “Yes, Agmund, I assure we are going in the correct direction. We have passed the various landmarks Brann mentioned and you know as well as I that Eilin would tell us if we had strayed.” Agmund sighed and nodded in agreement, for he knew that the elven priest accompanying them, Eilin, had an unerring sense of direction and would know instantly if they were wrong.
Lavena looked around and shielded her eyes are she peered back down the dune she and Agmund rested on. “Speaking of Eilin, where is she? I cannot see her. In fact I cannot see any of them”. Trying to extend her vision as far as possible, Lavena scoured the area for the missing members of their group; Eilin the elven priest, Rowena the human mage and Nevina the elven druid. “Don’t worry about them” Agmund reassured her, “they are a little more fragile than us and were just taking a short rest before attempting this climb.” Lavena looked back to the dwarf and sighed in agreement. It was true that her training as a warrior and the fact that Agmund was a dwarf meant that they could generally endure more hardship that their fellow travellers. As much as she disliked the idea of having more in common with a dwarf than her fellow elves, in this instance that was the case. Even though he wore nothing greater than mail, the sheer size of his short frame seemed to make it weigh as much as her much smaller plate armour.
A few moments later, Lavena saw the other three adventurers slowly climbing the dune, swaying gently as the camels plodded through the shifting sands. As they reached Lavena and Agmund, Nevina looked down at the reclining adventurers and drily remarked “I am shocked, you have been left alone for a five minutes and you are still being civil to each other!”
Suddenly Eilin let out a happy shout and pointed to the horizon. “Finally! There it is!” The rest of them gathered around her and peered fruitlessly to where her finger pointed. “Are you sure?” said Nevina, though more out of habit than anything, for if Eilin said she saw something then she did, her eyesight was more keen than either of the other elves and certainly better than that of a dwarf.
Eilin turned and smiled at Nevina, “Of course I am sure! There is a faint haze on the horizon and I can just make out the shape of a large pyramid in the centre.” She took a quick swallow of the camelly water. “Either that or I am now hallucinating from lack of real cool water!” she laughed. Rowena stood up next them, dusting down her robes. “I don’t know about all of you, but I am nearly ready to call a halt for the day.” Agmund and the three elves looked at the only human in their little band and silently agreed, humans had neither the stamina for travel nor the ability to forgo rest that they did.
“I can see a small stand of palms and an oasis just before the next dune.” said Eilin scanning the sea of sand below them. “If we can manage a little further today we will have plenty of fresh water and shade to prepare for tomorrow.” Seeing the sense in what she said, the others all remounted. Hearing muttering from behind her, Eilin turned and helped Agmund mount his camel as he held a soft spot for the quiet spoken elf priest and would accept her aid when he would growl at others who offered. In return, Eilin saw through most of his grumbling for what it was and knew that beneath that he was a much softer soul than he showed to the world.
The small party carefully made their way down the slope and hurried along to the oasis that Eilin had seen. As they drew closer it became apparent that not for the first time, her keen eyesight was correct and that they would have a relatively easy evening. The camels grew excited and increased their pace as the water got closer and soon it was they could do as the camels raced along towards the oasis. Agmund was nearly unseated but grimly held on, bellowing and cursing his mount while explaining what he would do to it if it didn’t relent.
Soon they reached the shade and cool of the oasis. As the mounts went to the water’s edge, Rowena and the elves removed their armour and travelled worn clothing with glee and plunged into the sparkling water. Nevina especially was glad of the opportunity to let out her long, lustrous black hair from its confining plait and to be able to wash it. Blushing slightly Agmund moved away from them, suddenly very aware that he was alone in the desert with four rather striking females and not one of them was a dwarf! Silently he cursed his bad luck as he removed his own armour and got ready to have a quick wash once the others were done. Days of travelling in the baking heat had caused his face to go almost as red as his hair, the badly burnt skin was also starting to peel and he looked forward to dunking it in some cool water.
Unfortunately for Agmund, by the time the pool was free for him, the sun was lowering and already there was a chill in the air, so he had less time than he wished to soothe his aching skin. Still, he made the most of the opportunity and sank back into the water and cooling mud on the edge of the pool before climbing out and getting dressed.
Once the camels had drunk their fill everyone was refreshed and ready to settle down, the party began to unpack their bedding and prepare for the night. Once the sun set the temperature rapidly dropped and and everyone was glad of their large, thick cloaks.
“Rowena, how about some food?” said Agmund. Now that he had finished his preparations, his stomach was insistent that he eat something. “Ok, ok” replied Rowena, “but remember I will need some help.” She stood up and starting a slow chant, closing her eyes and creating strange glowing symbols in the air with her hands. Gradually a small glowing orb appeared in front of her. She opened an eye and looked around her “well, come on then if you want to eat!” Quickly the others jumped to their feet and aided her with the spell. They all circled the orb and concentrated their will, pouring energy into the orb and slowly chanting with Rowena. After a few seconds the ball of light expanded and vanished, leaving behind a small table on the ground. The table was covered in jugs of water, platters of bread and a bowl of small iced cakes.
Hungrily they all ate their fill of the magical food. It was quite plain fare and didn’t really taste of anything, but it gave them sustenance and allowed them to carry fewer supplies across the hard desert. Once all were sated, Nevina gathered what dry wood she could from around the palms and lit a small fire. As she sat there and braided her hair back into its usual plait, the rest of the party settled themselves around the fire. Suddenly Lavena turned to Agmund. “Come on Agmund” she said “we want to hear another story.” The others immediately voiced agreement and pressed Agmund for a story. “Hmm, ok” he replied, “I am sure I will find something that you haven’t heard before, though it may be a bit much for your delicate female ears!” He laughed as they crowded around him, eyes bright and eager as they awaited his tale.
“So” he began “There was an Innkeeper’s daughter and she had a donkey…..”
So there it is, the first part of this tale. Depending on how well received (or not) it is, I will post and write up more of it. As with all my postings, comments are welcomed – including critical ones 🙂