CruelSummerLord writes "“How long has he been carrying around this grudge against this supposed traitor?” Weimar said, a faraway look appearing in his bleary eyes. “How long has he been dwelling on what happened to his kin? How long has he been blaming himself, even when only a fool would consider him responsible? Gnomes have such long lifespans-how long do they keep such memories with them?”
Wood And Wine
is it?” Luna asked eagerly as Revafour sampled the tea.
Revafour said with a satisfied sigh. “What kind of blend is it?
special kind,” Luna said with a smile. “It’s a blend of traditional Flanaess
spices combined with some more exotic herbs. The trader claimed those herbs
came from beyond the Baklunish West. He talked about vast tea fields and
plantations, harvested by halfling farmers who’ve been doing so as long as the
Oerth has existed.”
tales,” Revafour said, shaking his head as he took another sip.
you surely know how often travelers’ tales turn out to be true?” Luna pointed
out. “Besides, I studied the herbs myself and saw just how different they are
from anything grown in the Flanaess. And if you don’t believe some mountebank
merchant, surely you’d believe me?”
enough,” Revafour said, returning her smile. “But I must ask-why are you
keeping me company? Surely you’d want to be with the rest of the passengers?”
companions were sailing across the Nyr Dyv, the great inland sea at the centre
of the Flanaess, on the Coast Dancer. Their
destination was Dyvers, the merchant city to the west of Greyhawk. From there,
they planned to travel overland through the Gnarley Forest to the village of
Hommlet. After resupplying in Hommlet, the companions would continue on to the
Greenway Valley in the Kron Hills, where Copper Crossing served as the gnomes’
capital. Airk said they would be able to get some information on what Kalrek
might be planning in Copper Crossing. With the wealth the adventurers had
acquired from their destroying the hag coven at the Bearded Lord’s Hollow and
their campaigns against the trolls and spriggans raiding the communities of the
Cairn Hills, it was easy to find a ship willing to take them to Dyvers.
journey gave the companions a well-deserved, if brief, rest. Revafour avoided
socializing with the crew or any of the other passengers. Instead, he’d mostly
stayed in the cabin he was sharing with Weimar, carving at a block of wood with
his sculpting knife. Now he was taking a break, enjoying the meal Luna had
brought for them to share.
come to join me?” Revafour asked, before taking a bite of the stew the ship’s
cook had prepared. “You don’t care for large crowds much either?”
particularly,” Luna said, shaking her head. “You know that, don’t you? That’s
not the reason you’re asking, is it?”
probably know the reason I asked,” Revafour said. “Tired of playing music for
everyone else on this ship?”
Luna said. “Besides, if there’s any more singing to be done, Seline can do it,
your performance is more animated than the song requires,” Revafour said. “Is
there a problem?”
“…Am I that
obvious?” Luna asked, slight dismay in her voice.
those who know you,” Revafour said, raising an eyebrow. “So, do you have a
problem, one that you didn’t feel comfortable with some of the others?”
hoping to speak to you or Amyalla,” Luna said, “because-“
known Airk for longer than you,” Revafour finished for her. “You’re concerned
about him still?”
“How can I
not be?” Luna said, a flustered look crossing her face. “I wanted to ask
Amyalla, but…” she trailed off, flushing in embarrassment.
getting to know many of the sailors,” Revafour said, an amused smile crossing
his face. “So you came to me,” he continued, his smile turning to a frown.
you have me do?” Luna said. “I’m concerned about-“
“What could I have you do?” Revafour
interrupted her. “Airk’s the only one who can deal with his problems. Why else are
we going on this mad quest?”
it’s mad?” Luna asked in surprise. “Then why-“
same reason we all have, of course,” Revafour said. “Because Airk’s our friend.
As to why he’s doing it, it’s obvious. He’s still struggling with something, and
he needs to see it through.”
Revafour ate in silence for a few minutes. Luna tried to think of something to
say, but nothing came to mind.
jolted back to reality by the door to Revafour’s cabin slamming shut. Turning
around, she saw that Weimar had just arrived. He sat down at the table with
them, his breath reeking of the grog he had paid some of the ship’s crew to
share with him. Weimar moved like a sober man, his breath and reddened eyes the
only visible signs of drink.
“And here I
thought sailors were supposed to be jolly types,” Weimar said, folding his arms
in disgust. “You beat them at a drinking contest, and they cut you off…”
appreciated the knock,” Revafour said, none too pleased by the interruption.
for having a right to enter the cabin,” Weimar said, his bloodshot eyes
flashing. “What are you all doing here, then?”
Airk?” Luna asked before Revafour could answer.
enough, surprisingly,” Weimar said. “He actually seems more at ease on a ship
than he did on land. And here I thought most gnomes didn’t like the sea. I
wonder, though, how much of it is an act…”
Luna asked as Revafour frowned.
has he been carrying around this grudge against this supposed traitor?” Weimar said,
a faraway look appearing in his bleary eyes. “How long has he been dwelling on
what happened to his kin? How long has he been blaming himself, even when only
a fool would consider him responsible? Gnomes have such long lifespans-how long
do they keep such memories with them?”
frowned at that, more worried than ever for their gnomish friend. Revafour, on
the other hand, merely slammed his fist on the table, as he felt a surge of
anger rise up. Staring directly into Weimar’s glassy eyes, Revafour made no
effort to disguise what he was feeling at the moment.
accusing me of something?” Revafour said.
anything bad,” Weimar said. Despite his drunkenness, he realized what it seemed
like he was saying. “Who could blame someone for feeling that way, after
everything they’ve been through? No, I’m just worried about what it might make
in concern from Weimar to Revafour. She reached out and grasped Revafour’s arm
in an effort to calm him. To her immense relief, Revafour relaxed his clenched
fists and took another sip of tea. There was a look of intense concentration on
his face, one he kept as he turned to look at her.
only one here who’s only worried about Airk, aren’t you?” Revafour said as a
half-smile crossed his face. He picked up his sculpting knife as he looked back
down to the scene carved into the wood block before him.
“This is what you’ve been doing all this time?”
Weimar said, leaning forward to get a better look at the carving. “And here I
thought you just painted…”
the time,” Revafour said, turning his sculpting knife over in his hand.
sculpting myself,” Weimar said, running his fingers admiringly along the lines
Revafour had already etched into the wood, “but damned if I could ever create
something so lovely.”
carving was set out in several panels. It depicted a kingdom founded in
brotherhood, later sundered by a brutal, bloody war. The kingdom struggled to
recover from its loss, weighed down by the memory of past betrayals, having
lost much that it would never truly recover.
what things used to be like, before…” Luna said, trailing off as she looked at
into Revafour’s eyes, and then into Weimar’s.
much,” she said with a sigh.
do we go from here?” Weimar asked, his voice remarkably calm and clear.
Revafour was the one who found himself without an answer, looking intently at
what he had created without fully realizing it.
that turtle bit down on the barrel, it blew up real good,” the sailor said to
Amyalla, who returned his smile as she took a sip of wine. “See, that’s the
secret to dealin’ with most of these sea bastards-the stupid ones run like dogs
when they’re burned by flamin’ oil. Even the smart ones don’t think of stayin’
round too long after that, if’n you’re lucky…”
interesting,” Amyalla said. “Does the same trick work on pirates?”
not,” said another sailor who’d identified himself as the bosun. “All it makes
‘em more interested in is putting a ballista up your arse. Not that we’ll be
lettin’ a pretty little behind such as yours suffer such a fate!” he continued,
gallantly saluting Amyalla.
expect no less,” Amyalla said with a smile, picking up one of the kerchiefs
she’d knitted to help pass the time on the ship. “And yet, such bravery
deserves reward,” she continued, handing the kerchief to the bosun. “Pray take
this as a token of my gratitude.”
ladyship does me no small favor,” the bosun said with a bow. “In thirty years
plying these waters, rarely, if ever, have I seen a more lovely flower than
merely smiled coquettishly, her eyes saying more to the bosun than her voice
enjoyed the attention she was receiving from all the sailors, but she
especially appreciated the bosun’s company. She admired the bosun for his quiet
professionalism, and noted how he’d almost been downplaying his experience.
There were several other passengers besides the companions on the Coast Dancer, and they were worried
about the dangers of sea travel. The bosun put them at ease by showing the
contingencies the ship had in place. He also kept his rough and tumble crew in
line with firm discipline, although many of them were gentlemen of the sea.
A few of
the sailors were different, though. They made snide comments about Revafour,
Ma’non’go and Airk, and Amyalla had to deal with them. She charmed several of
the more open-minded sailors, adding to her natural skills with the flagons of
high-class grog she bought them. From there, Amyalla just had to complain about
the way her fellow adventurers were being treated by the bigoted sailors. Her
new drinking companions were angry at seeing such a beautiful lass upset, and
they quickly ‘persuaded’ their less than admirable mates to treat Amyalla’s
companions with respect.
It’s so much like last time, Amyalla mused, back when I exposed Kivern as the philandering son of a whore that he
No, that’s not right, she continued. This time I haven’t had to resort to stealing Kivern’s letters,
planting suspicious evidence in the homes of the men whose wives and daughters
he was seducing, or charm his mistresses’ servants into providing me what I
something wrong, my lady?” the bosun asked, concern on the faces of him and
several other sailors.
nothing at all,” Amyalla said, shaking her head. “Do you have any other stories
I must return to my duties, as must the rest of the boys,” the bosun said,
shaking his head. “Your company’s been a pleasure, my dear, and I hope that we
might be able to converse once more before the voyage ends,” he continued,
nodding to his men to follow him as they stood up.
What a pity, Amyalla thought as the bosun led his men away. What would it be like, forging a life
alongside you? Surely your wife, if indeed you have one, is a fortunate woman.
And yet, it simply cannot be…
…I’ve found what I’ve been searching for, or so
And yet, why do I
still feel unfulfilled?
Dancer put in at Dyvers five days after its departure from Greyhawk. Dyvers
was infamous for living up to its nickname of the ‘City of Shylocks’. It was
known for being as greedy and grasping as Greyhawk, its most hated rival, and
preferring to put Oeridian and Suel humans at the top of its social ladder.
Dyvers was also known for what most people, even many residents of Dyvers
itself, considered the preening arrogance of its nobility. For all of
Greyhawk’s greed, it was wide open to the aspirations and goals of most races.
Even if places like the Savant Tavern and the Guild of Mercenaries barred women
and certain demihumans from entry and membership, most nonhumans found Greyhawk
much more welcoming than Dyvers.
The companions didn’t plan to stay long in
Dyvers. They only intended to buy horses and supplies for the trip to Copper
Crossing, a journey that would be a week and more overland. Unfortunately, by
the time the Coast Dancer had docked
and the city officials had inspected the ship, it was early evening and most of
Dyvers’ shops were already closed. The companions booked rooms at the Fox and
Hound Inn, known among travelers for its competitive prices and high-quality
fare. They enjoyed a fine meal of roasted beef and spiced potatoes, although
Revafour lamented that they didn’t serve any game fare. Now, Ma’non’go, Amyalla
and Weimar were relaxing over drinks in the Fox and Hound’s common room, their
fellow adventurers having gone to sleep.
Ma’non’go was bemused by the difference between
his two drinking companions. Amyalla only had a couple of glasses of light,
sweet wine, working on her knitting in between answering Weimar’s gregarious
comments. Weimar himself made two trips to the privy in between knocking back
generous amounts of mead and rambling about everything from various local
legends to his exploits as a former scout in the Keoish army. Ma’non’go drank
two flagons worth of beer, but his vision was remarkably clear compared to
Amyalla uses her
charms as much as her lockpicks or her stealth, Ma’non’go thought to himself. How many of her ilk are content simply to
pick pockets, without actively enlisting help in their exploits?
Weimar uses a shield
instead of the two-swords style so many warriors with such wilderness training
employ. I’ve never seen him use the natural magic that such rangers are often
taught. Maybe he doesn’t have the power for it yet…assuming he could even keep
his hands from shaking long enough to cast it?
There’s so much more to them than there seems
at first glance. I’m all too familiar with what that’s like…
tried to repress the memories of X’tandelexamenka and Hepmonaland that came
flooding back to him, memories he did not care to dwell on.
wasn’t fair to compare Amyalla and Weimar to his treacherous false friends.
“…and that’s the trick to getting the
snapper-saw plant’s fruit,” Weimar was saying. “Trigger the leaves with a
tossed stone or a stick, and then you can hack at the leaves to get at the
fruit. Won’t permanently hurt the plant-the leaves grow back. Just be careful
interrupted by the sound of raised voices over by the bar, and the companions
turned to see what was happening. Several rough-looking men at a table were
laughing hysterically at a young barmaid, dripping with the beer she’d spilled
all over herself after one of the men groped her. Several of the men stood up,
their faces clearly showing how much they’d had to drink, and they surrounded
the barmaid. The barkeep yelled angrily at the men, but they just laughed and
spat in his direction before turning back to the barmaid.
be saying yes to a worthy man’s offer,” one of the men said, smiling
lasciviously. He was clearly the band’s leader by the way the others deferred
to him. “Or are you just leading us on to get more silver?”
like she seeks to earn more than she’s worth,” one of the other men said.
“Perhaps we ought to teach her a lesson in ladylike conduct?”
large men, clearly the bar’s bouncers, emerged from the back room at the
barkeep’s call, and they attacked the ruffians. The rest of the patrons cheered
at the melee, eagerly placing bets on who might win the fight.
flaring, Weimar immediately stood up, and finished what little mead was left in
his mug. Tossing the empty mug at one of the ruffians, Weimar struck the large
man in the back of the head, knocking the ruffian senseless. Several of his
friends turned around, glaring angrily at Weimar, who strode forward
stay out of thing that don’t concern you, lad,” one of the ruffians said,
dropping the unconscious bouncer he’d just knocked out.
coming from men who likely wouldn’t even be able to pleasure that young lady
you’re harassing, assuming you were worthy of being with her,” Weimar said with
a scowl. “I’ve always found that the more people like you boast about your
prowess, the smaller your protrusions actually are. I’m sure you all know that
about each other already, considering how little success you’ve likely had with
the thugs not already beating the bouncers charged at Weimar. Weimar didn’t
seem the least impressed, picking up a chair and smashing it across the face of
the first ruffian to close in on him. As the man collapsed, his mouth and nose
suddenly gushing blood, Weimar swung the chair in the other direction, striking
another ruffian. The second man staggered back, and Weimar drove the chair
straight down on his head, breaking it into pieces. The man fell like a sack of
grain, but the two remaining ruffians attacked Weimar at the same time. One of
the men grabbed Weimar from behind, holding his arms. The other man began
punching Weimar, raising painful welts on his face as he struggled to free
moved to help Weimar, but he was stopped by Amyalla, who grabbed his hand as he
handle himself, of course,” Amyalla pointed out to Ma’non’go before he could
even sign a protest.
Amyalla’s pointing finger, Ma’non’go saw Weimar kick the ruffian punching him
in the chest. Crying out in pain, the ruffian stumbled back, tripping over
another thug’s unconscious body and knocking himself senseless as his head hit
the floor. The thug holding Weimar relaxed his grip in surprise, and Weimar
quickly slipped free. Turning around, Weimar smashed the thug in the face with
a vicious punch, before driving another punch into his stomach. As the thug
doubled over in pain, Weimar kicked him in the face, sending him flying back to
remaining bouncers and the barkeep were holding their own against the remaining
ruffians, but one of the bouncers was suddenly knocked senseless by a chair
wielded by one of the ruffians. The remaining bouncer braced himself for the
thug’s next attack, but he was surprised to see Weimar snatch the chair out of
the thug’s grip. Turning around, the thug was surprised to see Weimar smash him
into the face with the chair. The thug fell senseless as Weimar attacked the
last three thugs fighting the remaining bouncer and the barkeep. Weimar struck
down two of the thugs, breaking his chair into pieces from the second blow. The
last ruffian turned to face Weimar, but the remaining bouncer punched him in
the back of the head, knocking him out cold.
mouth fell open as he watched the brawl, before he looked back at Amyalla
“Dyvers’ laws don’t allow for exceptions when
someone gets into a bar brawl for a noble reason,” Amyalla said. “The only people
who aren’t arrested for it in this city are innkeepers and their employees.
Just look,” she continued as the city watch barged into the inn. Armed with
swords and dressed in ring mail armor, they began rounding up the unconscious
ruffians, along with the dazed and drunk Weimar. The watchmen ignored the
protests of the bouncer and the barkeep at Weimar’s arrest, dragging him away
along with the ruffians.
hadn’t been three sheets to the wind when that little incident took place, I
could have pointed out the exact same thing to him,” Amyalla said, as a
dismayed look crossed Ma’non’go’s face. “He deserves praise for going to help
that young woman, but the watch would have had things well in hand. We’re in a
better part of the city, one where the Gentry of Dyvers doesn’t tolerate too
much out of place behavior.”
“Let him spend a night in the cells,” Amyalla said
with a smile. “Maybe he’ll learn something from this, although I doubt it.”
up with a splitting headache. At first he attributed it to a typical hangover,
but then he cursed as he felt the pain from the bruises he’d suffered in the brawl.
Rolling over and sitting up, was surprised to see himself not in a soft bed at
the Fox And Hound Inn, but on a cot in a jail cell. It was then that he began
to vaguely remember last night, including how he’d been arrested after the
he heard banging on the cell door, which didn’t do his headache much good.
Cursing as he looked at the cell door, he was surprised to see Amyalla on the
other side, a dagger in her hand.
“You had a
restful night, I hope?” the halfling asked with a mocking smirk.
was…arrested,” Weimar said, still holding his head. “Why did-“
Dyvers city watch will arrest anyone who’s involved in a fight, even if it’s
for noble reasons,” Amyalla said. “Besides, you didn’t even need to get
involved anyway. The Dyvers watchmen of are known for being professionals.”
the others?” Weimar asked. “Are they trying to free-“
not,” Amyalla said, rolling her eyes. “Luna and Seline are preparing their
magic, and Revafour, Ma’non’go and Airk are out gathering supplies. We’re going
to join them once I pay the fifty silver wagons you owe in fines,” she finished
with a grin.
just let them arrest me?” Weimar said, wincing as he stood up and walked over
to the cell door.
have warned you if you weren’t so drunk last night,” Amyalla said, as a watch
sergeant came to open the cell door. “You could stand to learn a lesson
“Oh? And what’s that?” Weimar said as he came
out of the cell.
time your loins make you try to save a distressed damsel, don’t be so stupid
about it,” Amyalla said with a smirk, as the watch sergeant led her and Weimar
to where they were keeping Weimar’s belongings. "