Senka reclined in her seat as she read the missive from her wanre Suaco Nizzre, seems as if the poor girl had bitten off more than she could chew this time in the excitement of ‘free’ clothes, and chuckled as she remembered when she herself found that sneaky little elg’caress and her quest. From the spot marks on the parchment Suaco either got caught in the rain while scribing the note; or the realisation of the quests requirements had hit her hard.
The message started joyously with the facts that she was blossoming in her skills as a mage and that the creature she normally summoned took soo long to travel between the creatures they encountered, that she’d given up using it in favour of just using her magic directly, causing Senka to laugh in memory of the times she was ‘hunting’ with mages.
The locations that Suaco described travelling between; brought back fond memories, well mostly fond at least. As Suaco described quests she heard about and the effectiveness of the spells she was using that downed her foes swiftly as she completed said quests.
Senka took a long sip from the goblet beside her, revelling in the flavour of the human version of mead; humans have really got this right she thinks as she turns her attention back to the lengthy parchment.
“I was up in Rune when I approached the guide for information on the area’s quests he told me of a simple quest to deliver some information to an old wizard outside of town, I thought it sounded simple enough, till I arrived at the destination. It was in a dark forest that smelled of horror and death, as I ventured down the path I noticed that there were no birds singing, but the air was full of sound, the path though well worn showed no sign of crossing animals, just footprints of various sizes in the grassy edges (where there was grass) so focused was I, I didn’t notice movement in the areas off the path. I found the old wizard easy enough, he had made camp near a weird looking old shrine. Across the road there was a scout who’d been injured, so I went to see if I could assist him, he said that he’d be well enough to move in a few day, but if I could run an errand for him, he’d be grateful and give me some tokens to redeem in town.
I thought that sounded fine and agreed to help, then he told me that he was tracking Embryo and that I needed to stir up trouble to determine if it’s agents were still in the area or had moved on. It sounded weird but there was little else for me to do, so I agreed, and went off to make trouble.
By Shilen the place was crawling with undead I threw my spells to remove this blight to nature, no sooner than I destroyed one to Shilen’s embrace, two more ambled towards me, then the agents started appearing, after dispatching a vast number of them I returned to the scout, who at this stage I learned his name Hatuba. He thanked me for my work and sent me on my way, telling me that he’d got the message to his fellow scouts to be on the lookout still... how he did that when he couldn’t move a step I’ll never know.
I returned to Rune and heard someone spouting that she’d got her wonderful gown for free in Aden, my curiosity piqued I asked her about it and all she said was that for a few errands the gown was the reward. That sounded like a wonderful quest reward and the gown was stunning. I decided to head to Aden, far away from that forest of death. Luckily the Adventure’s guild had given me a scroll to Aden in the daily bundle that we subscribe to.
I talked to Trader Alexis about the rumour, and she sent me to the maid Leikar. It seemed too easy a quest for the reward of the gown, but I went off to retrieve the box of cookies for her. Chef Jeremy was up in an area called Hot Springs which sounded wonderful till I got there, the creatures were huge! The Chef in his ‘wisdom’ sent me to deliver a bottle of wine to an arrogant customer sitting in one of the hot springs down the way. I followed the path past some large antelopes and great bear like creatures, to an arched entrance. Beyond the entrance were spider like creatures larger than the house I grew up in, honestly, then a plant a bit taller stood up and moved, moved! More than a bit un-nerved I carefully made my way to the customer, I don’t think I’ll be going back there any faster than that forest near Rune.
The customer complained that the wine wasn’t cold, it took all my willpower to not knock him into next week, he’s a 15 minute walk away from the Chef; sitting in the middle of a hot spring of course the wine won’t be cold. I left him there as the spring air made me lightheaded and feel funny.” Senka started to giggle at this, that whole area did funny things to you, mostly beneficial, oh the days spent hunting in there.
Senka looked up hearing something in the clan hall, but a stillness still sat heavy in the room, looking around nothing seemed out of place, so she put it down to happy memories, though checked that her swords were still in reach, and returned to the letter.
“I told Chef Jeremy what he wanted to hear just to make sure he didn’t send me back into that place, so he gave me the cookies for Leikar and I used an escape scroll to leave the place. Leikar was so pleased to see the box of cookies I nearly lost a hand, but she had some sad news, her suppliers hadn’t got back to her, so she asked me to go check on them, which sounded fair enough, she was doing all this sewing for me after all.
I headed off to the blacksmiths to see Ferris, appropriate name for a blacksmith huh? Anyway he hadn’t started the ick’neos and didn’t have the materials either, so of course I had to go slay 5 golems, to get the pieces of iron for the sewing kit, why I couldn’t just take 5 parts off one golem he wouldn’t say, nor the reason there had to be a special sewing kit either. But dutifully I headed off to the Ivory Tower, slayed the golems and returned with the parts, the longest part was the running between here and there.
“Then Ferris asks me to go get more supplies 180 blocks of Iron Ore & 360 chunks of Coke, how big are these needles? Really?” Senka laughed out loud at this, seemed a lot less to acquire than when she did the quest, the Artisan’s frames took days to find alone.
“I thought the same” Senka stated out loud to the empty room.
“I purchased those quickly enough and was able to move to Leikar’s next supplier Ellie in Giran, once again her supplier failed to deliver... I’m seeing a pattern here already; and I had to go chase him down. The weather was nice so I decided to walk down to the harbour to see Fenton, who passed the adena as well, and sent me to Alligator Island to hunt alligators for of all things ore, once again the travel took longer than the hunt, and I was quickly back to Ellie with the spoils.
To my dismay there were more items to be gathered Iron ore again, armour fragments? and accessory gems, these too were purchased, though I did contact Shebali for some items, I hope you don’t mind. I returned the materials to Ellie and in no time flat I had the jewellery box in my hands.
I headed over to Radia next to check on the cloth expecting by now to have another quest laid at my feet. As I suspected her supplier had failed her and I was asked to check on it. But even he didn’t know what to do, so I returned to Radia with the bad news. She sent me on though, to another supplier, back at the Ivory Tower, who in turn sent me hunting for spiders in the Sea of Spores, a very descriptive title, I’m glad I don’t have hayfever that place would’ve killed me. 10 spiders down and spinnerettes in hand ‘eww’ (I’ll have to wash out my pack again) I returned with a smile.”
Here the spots started appearing, though Senka could guess the reason, it was the thread for the cloth...
“He said he needed a few more items, exasperated I asked what more he needed, and he said 420 Armour fragments & 750 Accessory Gems? really for cloth? So I’m asking for help my Jabbres, my funds are dwindling fast and I’m getting worn on this quest. Could you please help me acquire the rest of these items? I found out that the creatures in Cruma Tower collect them for what reason I’m not sure, or how... and the angels of all things in the Monastery of Silence. I cannot enter Cruma Tower as the magics within now keep me out, and from what I read the Monastery is well above my skill level.”
“Well that was unexpected” Senka stated out loud “and unbelievable, no thread in that request to make cloth, either that will come later, or those fragments & gems have something extra, I’ll have to go hunting and investigate”
Hearing noise in the hall once more Senka sat the letter down on the table next to her chair and traversed the hall, swords sheathed but hands at the ready...
* * *
Senka paused as she passed the door to the council chambers and frowned at the dust sitting on the door knob, “I hope they return soon” she whispers to herself with a sigh “I guess I’ll have to dust again soon...”
Continuing down the hallway past the rooms of the council members, pausing at each door and listening for the noise to repeat itself in-case there’s a thief in the Hall. It was a slow process pausing at each door for twenty seconds; just in case, her boots shifting what little dust had settled at the doors since the last sweeping.
“At least they didn’t get past me if it is an intruder” she thinks as she moved onto the next door, Spudnik’s room, slowly opening the door, why she wasn’t sure the, coma that he was sleeping in wouldn’t be that disturbed. Leaning with the door as it opened she glanced around the room. Nothing new or out of place since she checked on him earlier in the day, wanting to stay, but needing to check the rest of the rooms Senka closed the door slowly. As the latch clicked closed she heard the sound again, louder. Senka looked at her hand still holding the doorknob.
“That sounded a bit like the snort of a snore...” she thought as she lifted her hand “Could he be waking up? It’s possible... but I should check the rest of the hall.”
Senka was two doors further down the hallway when the noise sounded again... behind her. Stopping her in her tracks.
* * *
Senka quickly returned to Spudnik’s room, once more slowly opening the door. Not crossing the threshold fully Senka paused with the door fully opened and just watched for a tell; that there was more life in Spudnik’s restful state than earlier.
His broad chest still rising and falling in it’s slow steady rhythm, his head unmoved on the pillow. As she watched his right arm shifted and fell from under the covers of the bed to hang just above the floor. Senka quickly moved in and carefully lifted his large arm back up to slide it back under the covers. As it settled back on the bed Spudnik’s breathing pattern stopped as if surprised, his eyes opened as if to say “what the?” then closed again. Senka unfortunately missed this as she covered his arm back up. His breathing returned to its’ previous pattern with the addition of a little noise during the inhale and Senka left the room unaware of what just happened.
Moving back to the communal area, Senka went over to Andjela who was sitting studying more healing magics... or re-reading the tomes Senka wasn’t sure.
“Andjela I think Spud’s might be waking up” Senka announced gaining Andjela’s attention with a start.
“Oh? What makes you say that?”
“You were too focused studying again to notice? The slight noise that I went to investigate earlier, was Spud, he’s started to snore again, I think”
“That’s a good sign, hopefully that means whatever it was that caused his sleep is wearing off. Though I should go investigate for myself?” Andjela stated with a little more surety than Senka hoped for; she missed her friend.
“Possibly, but if he is we’ll need to prepare more food, after a sleep like that he’ll be very hungry, even for Spud” Senka replied with a grin
“True, but it should be a broth...”
“He won’t like that, never did enjoy that soup night we had” Senka replied with a chuckle, “He called it stew juice”
“He will have to accept it, until his system can handle solids” Andjela replied with the assurity of a nursing matron.
Andjela slowly stood up re-arranging the books around her as she did, and moved off towards the sleeping quarters with Senka following behind. They reached his room and quietly entered, His breathing was steady and regular. Andjela cast a diagnostic healing spell and it’s readings were improving, she turned and ushered Senka back out the door, closing it quietly behind herself.
“You’re correct he is coming out of that comatic sleep, he’ll probably be awake by tomorrow. You better go to market and get more food, even if I’m making a broth, we will need more food. We’d better go to the kitchen and make you a list.”
With that the two ladies departed the hallway back into the communal areas.
* * *
An hour later Senka returned from market her baskets full of fresh produce, dropping it off in the kitchen to pack away. Andjela followed her in, to start cooking.
“No meat?” Andjela asked seeing that Senka was lacking a purchase.
“Not at the moment, their delivery was late... again” Senka replied with a chuckle “I decided that we could wait a little for the meat, or at least till I go hunting for some, because you know that’s what the butcher will ask if I pressed him on it.”
“Very true, so where are you going hunting?” queried Andjela
“I was thinking outside Goddard, the meat is fairly clean, and the antelopes fall easy” responded Senka
“True, but the buffalo would be heartier for this, and we’ll probably need the quantity” suggested Andjela
“Okay, I’ll grab one of those portal scrolls, and be back shortly” Senka stated as she turned and left the kitchen.
Senka headed down to her quarters to equip for the hunt, knowing that even though she could take the area with just her swords, other’s might have other ideas on her hunting, as had happened before, some people just enjoyed hunting the hunters in some regions.
Hesitating as she passed Spud’s door, she passed on without checking in on him, and moved on.
Sliding on her armour she marvelled once again at its’ construction, how it could be so light and strong at the same time, it was a marvel that she knew she’d never learn (the just dwarves don’t share that knowledge), but greatly appreciated, hitting each piece with a polishing cloth quickly as she put it on. Her Immortal armour shone as she left her room, why they called it Immortal she had no idea, it definitely didn’t quite live up to the label.
Stepping out of the hallway and heading for the door Senka wasn’t really that surprised by Aegle’s sudden appearance behind her left side, like a puppy that knew when it was time to go for a walk, Aegle just knew when adventure was afoot and she was just as hard to find any other time.
“I’m just going out for meat for dinner, you don’t have to come this time.” Senka stated glancing back as she opened the door, shuddering at the pout Aegle managed to drop on her in an instant “Okay, come on then” her pout changed to a smile like the first rays of sunshine in the middle of a winter blizzard, Senka shook her head and walked outside “I hope you’ve got a scroll for Goddard, cause I’m taking the quick route.”
“Yes Mistress Senka” Aegle stated, a smile still broad on her face, lifting up the scroll in her left hand hidden behind the sigil on her arm
Goddard was quiet when they arrived, they paid it little heed as they left out of the west gate, and ventured over to the hunting grounds, the pastures were clear of any hunters, but still only a few beasts were about.
Selecting a beast to target Senka leapt to attack, trying to limit the damage to the neck/head region to maximise usable steaks, due to the care she was taking, Senka received a greater share of wounds than she would normally receive, but the beast fell in short time.
Taking a breather after the fight she turned to see Aegle not watching the fight but staring up at Goddard Castle, where it was under siege.
“Well that explains the lack of people in town, nothing else about?” Senka asked. As she cleaned her swords.
“No Mistress, no-one that I can see.”
“Well, we’d better get this carved up and back to Andj.” Stated Senka as she turned back to the felled beast, drawing a dagger from her backpack.
Thirty minutes later and the bulk of the meat was carved and wrapped up. “Well that’s the hard part done, give me a hand load this into the pack will you?”
* * *
“Can you start peeling all those carrots please Senka?” Andjela asked and started on the potatoes herself. “It’s nice to have someone else to cook for again, besides our family that is”
“True, I’ll get the word out when we’re finished here, maybe the others will return from wherever they are.”
With the pot on the simmer, and the fragrances filling the kitchen and spilling into the communal area itself, Senka headed into town to message the clan leaders in the hope that they hadn’t fallen in battle somewhere that Spudnik was awakening and dinner was on the stove.
Whilst in town Senka also purchased an updated copy of ‘The Spoiling, Snagging and Spelunking Almanac’ and searched for the required locations of the materials that Suaco needed, finding the relevant information for herself. Then she sent off missives to the two dwarves she knew could assist Suaco with her quest; while not official retainers Kissmet and Shebali Rothe were working on maintaining her family’s warehouses.
“My friend I was wondering if you had any adventurous family members starting their journey, as one of my apprentices’ has discovered she needs some crafting materials that she has no access to gaining anymore. Could you ask them to keep their eyes out for Armour Fragments and Accessory gems of the lower grades I hear that they’re available in the Tower of Cruma.
Whilst there is no extreme urgency for these there is a large quantity required, you can contact Suaco Nizzre directly for the numbers. I shall be hunting for some of these parts myself in the Monastery Of Silence but there is a low chance of acquiring the required numbers.
Thank you my friends
And also a short note to let Suaco what was happening to supply her with the parts & that there may be a celebration at the clanhouse in the near future.
“My wan’re Suaco,
I have contacted bot Kissmet & the Rothe clans and they will contact you to find what the current numbers you are looking for. I believe the Rothe’s will be sending younger members out to find the pieces for you, but I shall keep an eye out as well. I’ll be setting out in a day or two to investigate the Monastery of Silence as well.
It’s great to hear that you’re progressing well in your studies and you’re experiencing the greater world, there are some beautiful places to go in-front of you, but some scary challenges ahead. Keep your head about you, and you will continue to do well.
We’ll be getting the family & Clan together in the near future; I’ll send you the details when I have more for you.
Stay safe my dear
With the letters on their way with the couriers, Senka returned to the clan hall.
* * *
The scene Senka returned to was tense Andjela’s books were strewn about the room, Aegle was trying to hold down Dee Jay while he was trying to fend off Andjela who had a murderous look on her face.
“What’s going on?” Senka forcefully asked as she crossed the room “And don’t say he started it...”
“He brought home a Ursus cub and let it loose. And now I’m going to make sure he doesn’t do it again.” Andjela curtly stated.
“I’m helping.” Aegle bubbled
“It was only a few weeks old, I was told it was a rare companion buffalo” Dee Jay stated in defence. “Gah!” he yelped as Andjela laid into him with her fists.
Senka waited till Andjela started making contact before stating “You know if you hurt him too much you’ll have to heal him?”
To which the reply of “Don’t care” made Senka shake her head “Okay, that’s enough let him go, I have a better punishment in mind.”
Andjela reluctantly steps back rubbing her sore hands, and Dee Jay shrugs off Aegle’s hands before she lets go, leaving Aegle looking disappointed at the revelation.
“Where’s the cub now?”
“Outside somewhere, they shoved it out the back door then went after me.”
* * *
“You’re to dust all the communal areas, including the door handles to all the bedrooms and window sil...” Senka started
“But that’s...” DeeJay butted in
With a glare Senka responded “If you dare say ‘women’s work’ I’ll have Aegle loan you her costume...”
DeeJay’s eye’s bugged out, as he started shaking his head “I wasn’t, honest”
“...and then you’ll start on the floors.” She then turned to the smug looking duo “As for you two, you’ll be cleaning up all this mess” pointing to the state of the room “While I go deal with the Ursus.” The smug looks on Andjela and Aegle’s faces dropped, but they didn’t respond as Senka loosened her weapons and headed towards the back door.
“Please don’t kill it...” the rest of what DeeJay was going to say died at his lips from the glare Senka shot him, prompting him to scramble for the cleaning supplies.
The trio worked diligently to clean the clanhall while Senka was outside...
* * *
Senka stepped outside into the late afternoon light to see a white ball of fluff attacking a bush, from the size of it, it didn’t look old enough to be weaned off it’s mother, it would’ve had to stand up to reach her knee.
“What am I going to do with you?” she asked out loud to no one in particular “You’re not old enough to fend for yourself, not to mention stuck in the wrong climate, and despite what DeeJay thinks you won’t die by my hand...”
The little Ursus cub stopped after Senka started talking and tilted it’s head questioningly, when Senka mentioned DeeJay it decided to attack. Senka watched as the little thing tried, but failed to grasp her leg in it’s small mouth.
Senka lent down and picked up the cub by the scruff of it’s neck “Max would eat you up when he returns... literally, and it’d send him spare having your scent around the hall. It might take his mind off those elpies” she finishes with a chuckle.
* * *
Senka picked up the cub and headed for town at a brisk pace the Ursus cub not liking it’s position but Senka’s hold on it kept it from squirming too much.
Once reaching town Senka purchased a teleportation portal to the Fantasy Island. The Gatekeeper fought to keep herself from giggling as the cub squirmed at the attention it was receiving.
Upon reaching Fantasy Island Senka sought out the manager of the parade and ‘convinced’ him to take the cub for training. Her pocket lighter she returned home.
* * *
In the failing light Senka reached the clan hall to see it well lit, a smile grew on her face as thoughts of dinner and that magnificent stew Andjela was cooking, she entered the hall and stopped short, there was Spudnik seemingly out cold; face down at the entrance to the main room, pillow stuffed under his head...
“What in Shilen’s name?” she asked the room, only then taking time to look around the hall. Andjela was missing DeeJay was sitting in a chair watching Spud as was Aegle who seem to brighten as she saw Senka had returned.
“He stumbled in, yelled for quiet, said ‘Hungry’ and collapsed” Andjela replied walking in from the kitchen with 3 steaming bowls on a tray.
“And you just left him there?”
“We tried to move him, but even in his weakened state, he’s too heavy for us to shift, got nearly everything cleaned though.” DeeJay responded.
Andjela placed the bowls on one of the dining tables and returned to the kitchen
“I put a pillow under his head.” Aegle announced happily.
“That was thoughtful of you.” Senka replied with a smirk “you didn’t cover him though?”
“He’ll be awake again in a few minutes.” Andjela said as she returned with another tray of food, this time rolls of bread & a steaming tankard accompanied another bowl. “Go in and clean up, if you can pass Mount Spudnik there.”
“Okay, back soon” Senka deftly stepped around Mount Spudnik and headed to her quarters to get her bathing items and made for the bathroom to wash up.
* * *
Returning minutes later to the main hall, Mount Spudnik had moved and was now sitting at the table with everyone else
Sliding into a vacant seat next to Spudnik; Senka turns to Spudnik “Great to see you back in the land of the living”
“Tired of sleeping. Need to” he started
“Go back to bed.” stated Andjela factually “In a few more days you can go play” she added with a smirk
“She bossy...” grumbled Spudnik
“Yes, but we love her” replied Senka with a smile “A few days will give me time to investigate an old hunting ground for resources, then we can both go there and make a mess if you’re up to it Spud?”
“Sounds good, need to move” he grumbled taking another mouthful of broth from the tankard.
Dinner was eaten in relative quiet as the group caught Spudnik up on what little had been happening as he slept.
* * *
As the sun rose the next morning Senka was writing letters to the members of the council informing them of Spudnik’s awakening and a hope that they’d find time in their various adventures to return to the hall, after completing the messages she rolled them individually and tied each off with purple ribbon a sealed them with wax.
Returning to her room to equip for the day’s hunting she double tapped on Aegle’s door knowing that Aegle would understand that she’d be heading out soon and would need to gear up as well.
Polishing her armour before donning each piece Senka took her time checking for any damage due to wear & tear, satisfied that all was in order, she took a whetstone to her swords, giving each blade two passes with the stone she slid them into their scabbards. Finally she checked her backpack making sure it had the relevant potions & scrolls for the days’ hunt.
She tapped the rune under her shoulder to activate the glamour she bought on a whim changing the look of the armour from the drab black, red and gold to a tight fitting silver that shone like a mirror and would give anyone pause as to how she managed to get herself inside.
Happy she was prepared Senka walked out the door to find Aegle dressed in her Immortal armour as well, though it too was under the influence of a glamour; though this time a maid’s uniform.
“All ready?” Senka asked Aegle.
“All bar for shots Mistress” Aegle replied.
“We’ll grab some from Goddard on the way through, grab two scrolls while I let Andjela know where we’re going, hopefully I can grab something for our lunches as well.” Senka said as she headed for the kitchen.
* * *
“We’re off for the Monastery of Silence Andj, probably be gone for most of the day. Got anything we can nab for lunch while we’re up there?” Senka asked seeing Andjela was fortuitously in the kitchen as she entered.
“Oh okay, umm I think so, grab too rolls of bread and I’ll get something together for you.” Andjela replied “I guess Aegle is going with you?”
“Heh of course she is, too devoted not to, but that’s what makes her so endearing, she still hasn’t opened up to me, but wherever she was before I found her it must’ve been a dark place.”
“I know, her happiness just seems to brighten a room. I think DeeJay is going to go back and check on the farmhouse today.”
“Oh good, I’ve been meaning to go myself for the last few weeks, but something always popped up to distract me from that decision I hope he’s careful, there’s been a lot of new monsters up near home, but they’re on the other side of town... I think.” Senka replied handing the rolls to Andjela.
Andjela deftly sliced the rolls almost through, opening them up like a folded sheet of parchment; she scooped out some of the bread from both halves leaving a cavity that she stuffed some of the meat & veg from last night’s stew. Wrapping up the rolls individually in cloth, then once again into two bundles.
“Those should keep you going until dinner. Stay safe in the Monastery Senka.” Andjela said as she handed the bundles to Senka to put in her backpack.
“I know, don’t draw our weapons till we’re ready for action. I won’t make that mistake again, it was brutal that first time.” Senka replied with a grin. “Thanks for the rolls sis” Senka gave Andjela a hug “Hope you have fun keeping Spud under control, hopefully I can bring you back something nice”
“I’ll do my best” Andjela responded as Senka left the room.
* * *
“I’ve got our lunch, have you got the scrolls?” Aegle nodded in response “then let’s go” said Senka as she continued out the door. “Oh, nearly forgot” she said as she went to the desk to grab the letters she had written earlier.
Once outside they activated the magic in the scrolls teleporting them to the castle town of Goddard.
* * *