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    Origins of the Silver Wolf: Many Paths Become One
    Posted on Wed, July 20, 2011 by LordCeb
    CruelSummerLord writes "“And now here we are,” Weimar laughed, finishing his last tankard. “It’s fascinating, isn’t it?”
    “What is?” Revafour asked curiously, finishing his water . . .

    “How peoples’ lives will cross when you might never expect them to,” Weimar explained. “We all began in different times, in different places, and now I can hardly imagine travelling with anyone else.”


    Listening to the chill winds blowing outside, Revafour was indeed glad that he and his companions had reached the Red Lion Inn before nightfall. It was only early autumn, but the nights became very cold very quickly in the Iron Hills. Fortunately, the patrons of the Red Lion didn’t have to worry about that, particularly with the large fire roaring in the fireplace, which filled the common room with comforting warmth.

    His friends had all gone to bed by now, as had most of the other patrons, but Revafour was staying up a while yet, enjoying the solitude. Tall and powerfully built, with deep bronze skin and thick black hair, Revafour’s normally piercing expression was softer tonight, as he lost himself in old memories of his family and Kathleena. The Greystar family lodge had fires like this one. They were warmer, perhaps, but then the nights were colder in Tenh.

    The giggling laughter and the sound of feet pounding down the stairs jolted Revafour from his reverie. Looking up in surprise, he saw a slim young woman being followed down the steps by a blonde-haired, green-eyed young man with a lanky frame. They both stumbled down the stairway in a half-drunken stupor, their disheveled clothing indicating what they’d been up to in the young man’s room. The woman laughed out loud again and fell flat on her face as she reached the bottom step, but the man stepped in front of her with a remarkable grace and caught her as she fell.

    As she landed in his arms, the woman laughed again and kissed the man, before he gallantly helped her over to the bar, where the innkeeper took her and handed her over to one of his bouncers. Nodding, the bouncer took the woman into the back rooms where the kitchen was kept, even as the innkeeper turned back to serve the man. The blonde man tossed several coins onto the bar, picking up the thick mug of mead the barkeep offered in return, and came stumbling over to Revafour’s table, where he dropped into a chair without so much as an invitation.

    “I’d have thought you’d be asleep by now,” Revafour noted half-humorously, sipping at his water. “But then again, that’s my mistake.”

    “I said I was going to bed,” Weimar Glendowyr smirked back, his speech distinctly slurred, as he took a swig of his mead. “I never said I was going to sleep.”

    “Naturally,” Revafour rolled his eyes. “I hadn’t expected you to come back down for another drink, though.”

    “Well, we won’t be heading out until late the next morning,” Weimar pointed out. “There’s going to be rain tonight-you read the skies, didn’t you?”

    “Of course I did,” Revafour nodded. “And the sun won’t be coming out until just before noon-no sense starting before then.”

    “Hence the genius of it,” Weimar laughed as he took another drink of mead. “We can sleep part of the morning away, can’t we?”

    “Indeed,” Revafour smiled back. “Luna and Seline can prepare their magic, too. But are you sure you need to be drinking that much?” he suddenly frowned, pointing to the rather large tankard Weimar was nursing. “You do realize that, if you pass out on the floor of the common room again, I won’t be hauling you back to your room?”

    “I never ask you to,” Weimar breezily reassured him. “But I got tired of the wine here-none of the vintages really suit my taste. Hence I switched to the mead."

    Revafour only shook his head and sighed before he spoke again.

    “And thank Ehlonna you didn’t get into another tavern brawl,” he said. “Sometimes I wonder how Luna and Seline ever tolerated your ways.”

    “My rakish charm, of course,” Weimar replied flippantly, with a brashness that left Revafour smiling in spite of himself. “Well, that and everything I helped them with in Ulek.”

    “…Ulek?” Revafour asked curiously, raising an eyebrow. “What was that about?”

    “Nothing overly complicated,” Weimar yawned. “Suffice it to say that my propensity for gallantry set me on a new road altogether...”

    “Propensity for gallantry? A new road?” Revafour blinked, interest crossing his face.

    “What, you’re interested in hearing about it?” Weimar asked. “It may take some time to tell…”

    “Time is what we already have plenty of,” Revafour pointed out. “What I’d be interested in having is knowledge, unless Luna and Seline have asked you not to speak of it…”

    “Perish the thought,” Weimar said in mock horror. “Far be it for me to betray their confidences-they simply haven’t mentioned it. They wouldn’t mind at all…”

    The port city of Gryrax was one of the busiest in the whole of the Sheldomar Valley. Cargo and travelers passed through its streets getting on or off the ships that were docked at all hours of the day, bringing them to or from the four corners of the Flanaess.

    Stepping down off the ship, Luna Roas Del Cranden gazed out over the crowds of people, before turning back to look back at her sister Seline and their bodyguard Ma’non’go, who were now coming down to join her. The serene gaze on Luna’s lovely face served to accent her dark chestnut-brown hair, bright blue eyes and the beautiful figure that was only enhanced by the robes that marked her as a priestess of Pelor. Already, Luna felt a weight come off her shoulders, glad as she was to put the lands of Idee behind her.

    “The captain suggested the Third Tower Tavern, didn’t he?” Seline asked Luna as she marched up to join her sister, who merely nodded. In contrast to Luna’s quiet demeanor, Seline seemed to glow with an inner light, one that was reflected in her green eyes and bright strawberry-blonde hair. No less attractive than her sister, Seline’s beauty was only enhanced by her ready smile and outgoing manner. Her robes were of indigo and midnight blue, decorated with the symbols of white moons, stars and planets, reflecting the magical traditions she followed.

    It should be three streets over, Ma’non’go of the Silver Winds signed to the two young women as he strapped his trident to his back. Towering over Luna and Seline, Ma’non’go’s dark skin and eyes demonstrated his southern heritage for all to see, although those who stopped to look were probably more impressed by his massive, powerfully muscled frame, which put even the burly dockworkers of the port to shame. Picking up his rucksack, he nodded to his charges and led them down the road, clearing a way through the crowd that made it easy for the sisters to follow him.

    The Third Tower Tavern was not exactly what Luna or Seline had been accustomed to as members of House Cranden growing up in Kalstrand, but they’d long since stopped being concerned about such things. In any event, they only intended to stay one night before searching for some paying work in the next morning.

    “We’re heading to the caravan office, then?” Seline asked her sister as they and Ma’non’go relaxed over dinner later that evening.

    “As good a place as any to start,” Luna nodded, sipping at her herbal tea. “Or, perhaps we could inquire at the barracks. It’s the height of the raiding season, and from what I heard the bartender saying there’ve been more attacks from the Pomarj this year than any time in the last decade. The pay would probably be better too.”

    “Possibly,” Luna reflected. “That said, from what I’ve heard many of the Ulekian dwarves don’t think much of magic or the people that use it-even less so than most dwarves. It’s associated with the elvenfolk, as we probably would be. Would it really be so wise to stay?”

    Would it be any worse than in Idee or Sunndi? Ma’non’go pointed out in the sign language he used to communicate with Luna and Seline.
    Being overcharged in Idee, denied employment in Sunndi, refused admission to taverns or inns in Irongate?

    “Ah, the joys of being descended from a Celestial House,” Seline said sardonically as she took a drink of her ale.

    “You just need to know who to talk to,” a young man with blonde hair smiled as he came towards them, a full wineskin in his hand. “The scouting units will take anyone who’s willing to volunteer.”

    “And you are?” Seline asked, raising an eyebrow.

    “Weimar Glendowyr,” the young man replied with a bow. “Might I join you in a drink? I’ll be more than happy to buy the next round of drinks, if that’s your desire.”

    “If you wish,” Seline said before Luna or Ma’non’go could intervene. “And what did you mean by scouting units?”

    “I mean the Ulekian scouting units that defend against raiders from the Pomarj,” Weimar explained as he opened his wineskin. “I take it you’re new in town?”

    “We just got off the ship today,” Seline replied somewhat hesitantly.

    Ma’non’go looked up at this, raising an eyebrow as he took note of the smile Weimar was flashing at Seline and then at Luna when she turned to look at him.

    “Might I ask what’s wrong?” Weimar asked curiously.

    In response, Ma’non’go signed something to Luna and Seline, who only laughed.

    “What did he say?” Weimar asked, somewhat confused.

    “He thinks you’d best watch yourself around us,” Luna explained calmly.

    “Come on now,” Weimar huffed at Ma’non’go. “I’m just being friendly, is all.”

    Ma’non’go merely stared back impassively at him.

    “…Yes, well,” Weimar shook his head as he turned back to Seline. “You just got off the ship? Where are you from?”

    “…A distant land,” Seline finally sighed, a sad look in her eyes.

    “Yes, but what distant land?” Weimar inquired curiously, before he saw Ma’non’go shaking his head, that somber frown never leaving his face.

    “…It’s just not something we like to talk about,” Luna replied, in a tone that made Weimar decide not to press the point any further.

    “And where are you from?” Seline asked him, seeming to brighten again.

    “The taverns of Niole Dra, the woodlands of the elves, and the barracks of the Keoish Army,” Weimar explained smoothly. “Although I can assure you, my axe is far keener and my bow much more precise that those of your typical Keoish soldier.”

    “What do you mean by that?” Seline asked curiously.

    “I take it he means that he’s a better fighter than most of the rabble that makes up the Keoish Army,” Luna interjected, a wry grin crossing her face. “This is the same army, after all, that’s been defeated by everyone from the Ulekian states to the Duchy of Geoff to Furyondy to the Sea Princes.”

    “Aren’t you a bright lass,” Weimar grinned at Luna, who chuckled and smiled in response. “Yes, Keoland bears a very long and very rich history of military shame, I’m afraid to say. Hence why I was glad to be in one of the irregular scouting units.”

    “Why did you leave?” Seline asked curiously.

    “I simply mustered out. I went back to Niole Dra, but as you can see,” Weimar answered as he poured himself another tankard of wine, “I sometimes get too far into my cups. Hence I got into too many fights-duels, especially-for my own good and I needed to leave.”

    “I see,” Seline frowned, remembering her and Luna’s own difficulties in that regard as well. “So then, what are your plans from here?”

    “Like I said, I was thinking of seeing what kind of work I can find dealing with the Pomarj raids, and then from there I’ll probably be heading further west, possibly on through southern Keoland once the raids are done for the end of the summer,” Weimar said. “There’s always plenty of work on the southern trade routes during caravan season-you wouldn’t believe the orcs and goblins at that time of year.”

    “Perhaps we could join you?” Seline asked, catching Luna, Ma’non’go and Weimar off guard all at once. “You sound as if you know your way around.”

    “If that’s what you want, you’re welcome to join me,” Weimar shrugged, finishing his wine and then draining what little was left in the bottle. “Indeed, it would be nice to have some fellow mercenaries that I already know for a change…”

    “You don’t typically know them?” Luna asked curiously.

    “Not very well,” Weimar sighed. “Most of them tend to drift away, or die, or both…”

    “I can assure you we don’t have any intention of dying soon,” Seline smiled, revealing a line of white teeth that Weimar found extremely appealing. “Your offer remains open, then?”

    “If you want to take it, it does,” Weimar nodded.

    Luna, Seline and Ma’non’go looked at one another. They’d come looking for work, and for the moment they didn’t have any other prospects, so what did they have to lose?

    “Agreed,” Luna finally nodded.

    They’d had no trouble getting hired at the enlistment office, which was always looking for new recruits, particularly in light of the high mortality rate among its scouts. The scouts’ major responsibilities were to track the progress of any major humanoid raiding parties, locate their camps, and kill the raiders if possible. Led by Weimar, their journey was uneventful for the first three days. Of course, that was before they found several other groups of scouts, corpses that were alternately torn, crushed or even burned. The bodies frequently had large pieces of flesh torn from their bones, half-eaten before being left for the scavengers. Bizarrely, none of the bodies had any gold or other valuables on them, either-apparently whatever had killed these people had taken their wealth as well as their flesh.

    “They follow a common trail,” Weimar noted grimly. “Something’s been killing these groups one by one...”

    “…And now we’re on that thing’s trail?” Luna asked slowly.

    “It would seem so,” Weimar nodded.

    But that’s what we’ve been hired to do, is it not? Ma’non’go signed as Luna and Seline translated for him. And how do we know this creature, whatever it is, isn’t also on our trail?

    “We don’t,” Luna reminded him. “Which makes me wonder how long it will be before it comes after us.”

    Luna’s answer came just before noon on the next day, as they were walking through a wide dale between two forested hills. They had been specifically asked to investigate this dale, as it was a popular route for travelers coming from Celene down to Gryrax, and the scouting office had received word of several caravans that had disappeared in the area.

    Lion’s roars mixed with goat’s bleats and dragon’s shrieks as the chimeras struck, one coming from either side as they breathed fire down at the adventurers. Luna managed to block the flames with her shield, and Weimar rolled out of the way, but Seline and Ma’non’go were not so lucky and were burned by the roaring flames. The two chimeras brayed in triumph before spiraling around and coming to ground level. They charged in from either side, breathing fire once again as the humans prepared to fight back.

    Weimar managed to block the swiping claws and goat’s headbutt with his shield, and he ducked under the chimera’s next burst of fire, but as he lowered his head the chimera’s lion head darted out and bit deep into his shoulder. Yelling in pain, Weimar struck back with his axe and cut a gash across the chimera’s underbelly, forcing the creature back. As Weimar struck again, chopping into the chimera’s leg as it took another slash at him with its claws, he heard Seline chanting behind him. The silvery-blue bolts of energy she released from her fingers blasted into the chimera, causing all three of its heads to howl in pain.

    Ma’non’go had caught the other charging chimera on his trident, although that didn’t prevent it from slashing his arms with its claws. Grimacing in pain, he was grateful indeed for the healing spell Luna cast over him, which soothed the pain of his burns and cuts. Gritting his teeth in determination, he ripped his trident out of the chimera’s body and struck again, this time impaling the dragon head through the face before it could breathe another wave of fire. The monster bleated and roared with its other heads and tried to strike again, but this time Luna was beside him, lashing out with her mace and deflecting the monster’s attacks with her shield.

    Weimar was slashed painfully across the leg by the first chimera’s claws, but he struck back with his axe, this time cutting more deeply into its already wounded leg. The chimera prepared to strike again, but then Seline muttered a quick chant and threw something between Weimar’s legs. The little blob of butter she threw quickly expanded into a mess of slippery grease that splattered all over the ground underneath the chimera’s feet. Giving a surprised yelp, the chimera found itself struggling to maintain its footing, especially on its already injured leg. As the monster collapsed, Weimar hacked at it repeatedly with his axe, splitting the lion head in two and chopping off the dragon head. The chimera tried to lash out with its butting head, but Seline stepped out from behind Weimar and muttered a quick chant, holding her hands up before it. Her hands exploded in a burst of flame, incinerating the goat head and leaving the creature dead on the ground.

    The other chimera tried to recoil and strike again, but Ma’non’go easily dodged aside and Luna promptly bashed it in the lion head with her mace. The creature staggered for a moment, dizzied from the blow, which gave Ma’non’go the opportunity to thrust into and rip apart the creature’s wings with his trident. Luna dealt it another blow with her mace and then Ma’non’go thrust his trident straight down into the monster’s spine, ripping it up the chimera’s back towards the backs of its heads. The chimera howled again and then collapsed, killed by the shock of the blow.

    The four humans stood there for a moment, breathing heavily, before Luna moved to heal Seline’s and Weimar’s injuries. Finally, Seline spoke up again.

    “Well, now we know what happened to those other scouting bands,” she smiled weakly.

    “And we’ll likely be in for a substantial reward, too,” Luna noted. “Who knows how much wealth these creatures have stolen from the caravans they attacked, or the scouts they killed?”

    “That’s only if we can find their den, you understand,” Weimar pointed out with a smile. “Which, I can assure you fine ladies, will be no difficulty at all.”

    “I take it there’s a great deal of scouting work available in this part of the Duchy?” Luna asked with a smile, moving to follow Weimar as he began climbing the nearest hill to look for the chimera’s tracks.

    “At this time of year, yes,” Weimar replied, as Seline and Ma’non’go fell in behind them, “but there’s much more to do in this part of the world than simply act as border scouts. I could show you, if you like…”

    “I’d like that,” Luna smiled, warmth rising in her eyes.

    At the top of the hill, Weimar carefully glanced for the tell-tale marks that would point the way to the chimera’s lair. As he searched, his gaze crossed that of Ma’non’go.

    He could have sworn he imagined it, but Weimar seemed to see the hard look in Ma’non’go’s eyes seem to soften.

    “Soften, you say?” Revafour asked in surprise. “Ehlonna only knows what Amyalla would have said if she saw that.”

    “You wonder how Luna and Seline ever put up with me? Well, sometimes I wonder how you and Airk ever put up with Amyalla,” Weimar smirked.

    “That’s a tale worth telling, I suppose,” Revafour rubbed his chin thoughtfully.

    “And need I remind you that you owe me a story for the one I just told you?” Weimar pointed out. “You’re the one always talking about the stories of the Flan elders, after all…”

    “…And they’re too frequently belittled by the Oerids and the Suel,” Revafour muttered, an edge in his voice. “Seline’s one of the few I’ve met who actually took them seriously.”

    “I haven’t belittled them,” Weimar pointed out, raising an eyebrow as he sipped his drink. “Indeed, if that’s how you want to repay the tale you owe me…”

    “No, it’s quite alright,” Revafour assured him. “And now, to make good on my debt…”

    The magnificent city of Chendl was not only the political capital of Furyondy, but also its economic centre. All of Furyondy’s major trade routes converged on it, and caravans were always coming and going. Adventurers and mercenaries arrived in the city all the time, seeking work guarding the merchants, who were always grateful for an additional sword arm to guard their cargo.

    Airk Venbelwar was one of those adventurers. The well-muscled gnome was well over four feet in height, with curiously penetrating light blue eyes and blonde hair that flowed down to his shoulders. He wore a thick handlebar moustache on his face, accented by a short but bushy beard. His dragon-headed helmet matched well with the plate armor he wore, and the shield he carried that bore the design of a silvery crescent moon and stars. A spiked morning star hung from his belt, as did a wickedly-tipped military pick, and it was clear from the way Airk carried himself that he knew how to use them.

    “You don’t have any objection to walking?” the caravan master asked Airk, raising an eyebrow. “We’re not providing our men with horses.”

    “I can manage quite well by walking,” Airk replied stiffly, bristling his moustache in annoyance.

    “Be ready, then,” the caravan master shrugged. “We leave in less than an hour.”

    “Don’t mind him,” Airk heard a soft feminine voice behind him. “He thinks we’re somehow disadvantaged by our heights.”

    Turning to see who was speaking, Airk blinked in surprise at the young halfling woman advancing towards him. She was a rare beauty, with long red hair, flashing green eyes and a slim, attractive figure. She wore a leather jerkin over a strapless but simple blue traveling gown, and a belt from which hung several daggers. The look was oddly rustic and aristocratic all at once, accented by the wide-brimmed hat and boots on her feet. The hat was finely made and decorated with purple orchids and lilacs, while the boots were dusty and worn, something a peasant might wear.

    “Do you like what you see?” she smiled wryly at him.

    “It is what it is,” Airk said brusquely. “Now, are you a guard or a guest on the caravan?”

    “Why don’t you guess?” the woman smirked.

    “You could be either, judging by your strange choice of attire,” Airk pointed out. “But if I had to hazard a guess, I take it you’re a guest who paid her way, owing to the richness of your gown and hat. I presume the jerkin and the boots are for convenience’s sake, Miss...?”

    “Amyalla Reorsa, at your service, my good sir,” Amyalla doffed her hat and bowed. “And you would be?”

    “Airk Venbelwar, formerly of Flinthold,” the gnome replied. “And where are you headed?”

    “Radigast City, if all goes well,” Amyalla replied. “And from there, wherever my whims take me.”

    “You don’t have a destination in mind?” Airk asked in some surprise.

    “No more so than any other adventurer,” she shrugged airily. “And you? Is guarding human caravans all you intend to do?”

    “Certainly not, although I find working with humans to be rather convivial,” Airk shook his head. “For now, this is something for me to do while I seek something new.”

    “Wherever your whims take you?” Amyalla asked, a twinkle in her eye.

    “Perhaps,” AIrk shrugged.

    “Best of luck to you, then,” Amyalla nodded, tipping her hat once more. “I must be off, for I have some more shopping I’d like to do before the caravan leaves, but I will be back before it leaves.”

    “Until then,” Airk nodded solemnly, turning as he did so to introduce himself to the rest of the guards, who seemed human to a man. They were friendly enough, although like most caravan guards they were fairly reserved, being more interested in simply collecting their pay than forming any close friendships.

    The caravan duly set out within the next hour, and Airk found himself smirking when he saw Amyalla riding comfortably on one of the wagons in between two handsome human men. She chatted merrily with them, the conversation punctuated by the occasional burst of laughter, seemingly oblivious to the world around them.

    In truth, things would be fairly quiet for the first several days, as bandits were almost nonexistent within the civilized heart of Furyondy. To relieve his boredom, Airk found himself trying to strike up a conversation with the caravan guard he’d been partnered with, a tall and powerfully muscled Flan man by the name of Revafour. He cut an imposing figure with his thick plate armor, long black hair, red- and green-plaid cloak, copper and bronze skin, piercing black eyes and the huge two-handed sword strapped to his back, although he wasn’t particularly sociable, even less so than Airk himself.

    “You’ve got more of a northern accent than most of the rest of these people,” Airk pointed out after several days of getting nothing more than grunts and one-word answers out of his companion. “Are you from Tenh?”

    That got a reaction from Revafour.

    “It’s the land where I was born,” he replied, brushing his hair back from his face and staring out over the prairies as they passed by. “I left before too long, though.”

    “Much like myself,” Airk nodded. “You’ve wandered since then, I take it?”

    “…Among other things,” Revafour finally replied, after seemingly thinking the matter over for several minutes. “And yourself?”

    “Much the same, I’d say,” Airk nodded. “I couldn’t stand the Lortmils for very long after the Hateful Wars ended.”

    “And why’s that?” Revafour asked, his interest suddenly piqued.

    “You’d know if you’d seen the dwarves manipulating and betraying each other in their efforts to secure the richest halls vacated by the humanoids,” Airk smirked bitterly. “That’s the thing with most dwarves, mind you-they make fine promises, but then they’ll think nothing of picking your pocket or sticking a knife in your back if it betters their position. They’ve done it to each other for millennia, and they’ve done it to their gnomish ‘cousins’ as well,” he finished in disgust.

    “Your grievances resemble those I’ve heard against the Oerids and the Suel,” Revafour noted, raising an eyebrow as the caravan passed into a small copse of trees. “I take it you’re familiar with broken treaties, allies betrayed, and murders for gold?” he replied, referring to the fates that had all too often befallen the Flan in their dealings with the later arrivals to the Flanaess.

    “And yet you work with them voluntarily,” Airk noted ironically. “I should think that your sword and armor are of Oeridian make too, to say nothing of your cloak.”

    Revafour frowned.

    “It’s the state of the world,” he began hesitantly. “And in any event-“

    Revafour’s next words were interrupted by a loud roaring and crashing, as four massive forms erupted from the woods surrounding them. Two came from each side of the caravan, massive bull-like creatures breathing a sickly green gas and covered in metallic dark-blue scales. Everyone in the caravan recognized the gorgons, murderous things whose toxic breath could turn to stone anyone unlucky enough to breathe it in. The gorgons would have been dangerous enough on their own, save for the fact that they each bore a large, powerfully-muscled humanoid on their back, a hideous cross between a man and a bull. Wielding huge battleaxes and deadly flails, the minotaurs pushed their gorgon steeds to trample and petrify many of the unlucky caravan guards underfoot. The few survivors, disoriented from the gorgons’ attacks, were easily smashed or cut down by the minotaurs as they passed by.

    Airk was faster than many of his human colleagues, throwing up his shield to protect himself as one of the gorgons and its minotaur rider passed him by. He managed to avoid the gorgon’s hooves and horns, and braced himself to absorb the blow of the minotaur’s axe as it came down upon him. Lashing out with his military pick, Airk caught the gorgon in its rear leg, piercing its joint and throwing the creature off-balance. As the monster reared up in pain, its injured leg causing it to stumble, the minotaur rolled off the gorgon and was swiftly attacked by another of the guards, leaving Airk to face the now enraged gorgon.

    The creature breathed again, but before its breath could reach him Airk used his shortness to his advantage and charged forward, ducking under the creature’s head and running between its legs. He struck several times with his pick, tearing into the creature’s softer underbelly and causing several bloody wounds before the creature before the gorgon managed to move so it no longer stood over him. Enraged by pain, the gorgon charged Airk again, but a blow from his military pick caught the creature in the eye and pierced its brain. Rearing up in agony, the dying gorgon tore Airk’s military pick away from him in its death throes, falling back into the brush as it expired.

    The gorgon’s minotaur rider bellowed in anger, easily beheading the guard that had attacked him. Turning in anger, he charged at Airk, intending to avenge his mount’s death. In response, Airk braced himself to receive the minotaur’s charge as he pulled out his morning star, cursing as his first blow was blocked by the minotaur’s own shield. The beast lashed out with his foot, knocking Airk off balance, and then gashed him across the back with his axe and raising a line of blood along his shoulders.

    The gnome was tougher than the laughing minotaur gave him credit for, and Airk’s riposte was brutal. Expecting Airk to be knocked to the ground by the blow, the minotaur was caught off guard when Airk held his ground and struck at the minotaur’s exposed knee with his morning star. The vicious weapon struck the minotaur’s knee with a sickening crunch, and now the minotaur was the one off balance as Airk slammed him in his already injured leg, breaking his thighbone. Howling in agony, the minotaur collapsed on the ground, and the last thing he ever saw was the enraged gnome bringing the morning star down on his head.

    Revafour, for his part, had felt the battle-lust come almost immediately once he’d heard the roar. In a flash, his sword had been in his hands and he’d beheaded the nearest gorgon with a single stroke just before it could release its next petrifying breath. The minotaur easily leaped off his dying mount, and lashed out at the Flan warrior with a spiked flail. Revafour quickly ducked under the blow and thrust his sword forward like a spear, forcing the minotaur to dodge. The minotaur struck down at Revafour again, but the large man was quicker than the monster expected and brought his sword across in a titanic swing that clove through the minotaur’s chest, cutting the monster almost in two. Gasping in pain, the minotaur’s flail stopped short and fell from its fingers, as its owner collapsed in a torrent of blood.

    Looking up from the fight, he saw another one of the gorgon-riding minotaurs finish his slaughter of the guards who opposed him. The monster began charging the caravan wagon, only to stop short as a dagger seemed to flash out of nowhere and catch him directly between the eyes. The dagger buried itself up to the hilt in the minotaur’s head, killing him instantly as he slumped off the gorgon and fell dead on the ground. The angered gorgon continued on nonetheless, slamming into the wagon and causing it to shake.

    Revafour’s attention was suddenly directed to Amyalla, standing on the wagon’s edge. She sprang at the gorgon, a dagger in her hand, and Revafour realized that she must have been the one who threw the first dagger that killed the minotaur. She landed on the creature’s neck, gripping one of its horns with one hand while stabbing at the creature’s neck with another. The gorgon released a cloud of its petrifying gas in an attempt to turn her to stone, but the halfling held her breath as she twisted around to get a good thrust with her dagger. She finally found a vulnerable place in the gorgon’s neck and slashed its throat, before jumping off as the creature went into a stamping, agonized frenzy.

    Amyalla landed on the ground and rolled around before coming up neatly, wiping her dagger on the grass and slipping it into a sheath on her belt as she went to retrieve her other blade from the minotaur’s forehead.

    The last gorgon and his mount, both of whom had been seriously wounded by the other guards, knew that they could not hope to win and quickly fled into the woods from which they came. Of the original twenty-five guards who’d been accompanying the caravan, six of them were now lifeless stone statues and eight more had been killed in fighting the monsters.

    Fortunately, the caravan was able to find new recruits when they arrived in Critwall several days later, and it was spared any further attacks until it arrived in Radigast City.

    It would be several days before the caravan had gathered enough merchandise to return to Chendl, but neither Revafour nor Airk had any intention of going back. They’d agreed to split the cost of a room at the Falcon’s Eye Inn for the night, after which they would decide what they’d do next.

    “You don’t have any plans, then?” Airk asked in surprise.

    “No,” Revafour replied. “For now I might see if there’s any work I could find or even any parties I might join here in Urnst-I’ve had my fill of Furyondy for now.”

    “You won’t necessarily find that much work among the Urnstmen,” a feminine voice cut in with an amused tone. Turning in surprise, Airk and Revafour saw Amyalla sit down to join them, a tankard of ale in her hand.

    “How would you know?” Airk asked wryly, rubbing his moustache in mock suspicion.

    “Suffice to say I’ve been around,” Amyalla chuckled. “I’ve found my share of friends, broken my share of hearts. Most of the troubles that occur within the land of Urnst tend to happen behind closed doors. Indeed, I find that the lowborn wanderers tend to be much more honest. It’s so common in the lands of good, don’t you think?”

    The looks that crossed the faces of both Airk and Revafour told her everything she needed to know.

    “And so, like yourselves, I’m in Radigast City without an idea of what to do,” she continued, taking another sip of her drink. “Hence I had an idea-why don’t we cooperate for the time being? We’ve seen how we can look after ourselves, and from what I heard you discuss we share some similar interests and beliefs. Surely three outsiders could do worse than that?”

    “And what do you get out of it?” Revafour asked suspiciously.

    “The same as you both, of course,” Amyalla replied in mock hurt. “A place in this world, somewhere I could call home, people I could know…wealth and fame wouldn’t hurt either, I suppose.”

    The massive Flan and the diminutive gnome looked at one another, and then at the halfling. There was something in her voice that touched them, although they could not figure out what.

    Slowly, finally, they nodded in agreement, smiles crossing their faces.

    “…And now here we are,” Weimar laughed, finishing his last tankard. “It’s fascinating, isn’t it?”

    “What is?” Revafour asked curiously, finishing his water.

    “How peoples’ lives will cross when you might never expect them to,” Weimar explained. “We all began in different times, in different places, and now I can hardly imagine travelling with anyone else.”

    “Perhaps it’s not so strange,” Revafour pointed out. “For a long time, I’ve been searching for something…”

    “…And?” Weimar asked curiously.

    “…Perhaps, in a way, I’ve finally found it,” he smiled.

    “Somehow I doubt you’re the only one,” Weimar smiled, rising with Revafour as they moved to settle accounts with the barkeep and go to bed.
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    Re: Origins of the Silver Wolf: Many Paths Become One (Score: 1)
    by SirXaris on Wed, July 20, 2011
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    They're a couple of interesting short annecdotes about what I assume were some of the adventures of your early characters or adventuring party.  You should proofread a bit better though as you repeated the last several paragraphs.

    Thanks for the fun read! :)


    Re: Origins of the Silver Wolf: Many Paths Become One (Score: 1)
    by Argon on Wed, July 27, 2011
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    Good story I enjoyed it nice way to meet up though gorgons and minotaurs what the hell was on that caravan?

    Re: Origins of the Silver Wolf: Many Paths Become One (Score: 1)
    by Mystic-Scholar on Fri, August 05, 2011
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    Another nice effort with fine improvement, CSL.

    See my comments here:

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