We begin our tale following Bril. He was tasked by the group to obtain more magic powder, apparently required to set some sort of traps. To be honest he wasn’t paying attention and just heard, “Magic Powder” and “Outside the keep”. But, being the trustworthy, hardworking fellow he was he set off with success in mind.
He parted ways with the group and walked sure footedly through the town with one goal in mind, obtaining the magic powder… somehow. As he proceed along the street deep in thought about how he might go about getting such a thing a glint caught his eye. Turning he saw a crack in the roadside and, at the bottom of this crack, lay something metallic that had caught the light just right as he passed.
“Glint? Shiny? Must be worth something,” he thought to himself and proceed to lay prone and reach into the hole. As his fingertips just brushed the top of the prize he pulled back and chipped away at the sides with his knife. He again reached in but this time had no trouble wrapping his hand around the object and extracting it from the hole.
“An oil lamp? That’s… odd.” he examined it, rolling it over in his hands. It had a few smudges of dirt but for the most part was spotless and seemingly made of white gold. “Man, I knew this was going to be a good day.” Using his sleeve he rubbed at a spot of mud.
As he rubbed the lamp a thick blue smoke began to pour from its spout, filling the immediate vicinity. Looking around to see the people’s reactions, as he knew they could be quite paranoid, he realized they had all stopped… in mid step. Birds were frozen in the air. A child who had been running alongside his mother had frozen mid trip, floating in the air.
Turning Bril saw a giant of man, about 7 foot tall, gray of skin, and riddled with muscles. And he was glaring down at Bril, a look of disgust or impatience, Bril wasn’t quite sure.
“How ya doin’?” Bril asked.
“Been in that lamp long? Must have been a tight squeeze. Couldn’t have been too comfortable. I mean, even a bloke small as myself would have trouble fitting in there, but you? HA!” said Bril.
The man extended his hand slowly, palm up. “Your wish?”
“Uh, excuse me?”
“What is your first wish?” The genie said with obvious impatience.
“Holly crap!” Bril shouted. “You mean, I get three wishes? Holy crap!”
“Indeed. Your wish is my command.” The genie shuddered as he said this, apparently aware of who he was dealing with and what lay in store.
“Wow. OK, ok. Give me a second here, I gotta think on this one.”
The genie stood patiently, rolling his eyes a bit, as Bril furrowed his brow, deep in thought.
“Ok, I’ve got it. I wish I had a pirate ship with a loyal crew and the money to fund it.”
“Granted.” And with a puff and a swirl the genie vanished into the smoke and the smoke sucked back up into the lamp. Suddenly Bril found himself in the shade, though he had not moved.
“Huh?” Looking up he saw something that his mind couldn’t quite comprehend. It seemed to be large, made of wood, and falling quite quickly towards him.
“Holy crap!” He screamed as he dove towards the nearest structure. Mid flight he realized it also seemed to be raining gold coins. With a terrible crash the world went black.
We turn now to Aust and Kaimela. It was late at night and they had left the caves to head back to the keep with many questions and no answers. Aust was riding in the cart being pulled by Bill the clydesdale, with Theo and Kaimela’s ram riding with him. She herself followed on horse back
As they followed the road that had led them there they saw the body of the human that had attacked them. However, as they approached it became apparent that this body was not that of a human but a knoll.
Quite curious and very confused they dismounted to investigate.
“Hmmm, I see no signs to indicate any kind of spell. However, this gnole has arrows in the exact spots you shot that human,” said Aust as he examined the body.
Looking around her Kaimela said, “This is indeed the same location we encountered him, and this body lays in the same position. It must be him.”
As she surveyed the land her eyes locked on what seemed to be glowing eyes, staring at her, from across the bog that had given them so much trouble previously. “What is that?” she thought to herself as she cast Hunter’s Mark.
Upon completing the spell she was able to see a beast of significant proportions, standing on all fours, and staring straight at her. “Aust, look.”
Standing up Aust looked across the bog and saw the beast silhouetted in gun-metal gray. “What is that?” he asked
“I do not know.”
“You there,” he shouted to the creature. “We mean you no harm.”
The creature cowered, taking a step back.
“I have some nice horse jerky here. Are you hungry?” reaching into his satchel Aust produced a piece of horse jerky from his rations and held it up. Getting no reaction from the beast he attempted to throw it across the bog. With a pitiful attempt the jerky landed and sunk into the bog not 10 feet from Aust.
“Perhaps we should move on?” asked Kaimela.
“No wait, I feel this creature could be helpful. Perhaps he has answers to some of our many questions.” he replied.
“Beast!” He shouted, “we cannot reach you for the bog, but if you could come to us we can help you. We can feed you.” He opened his satchel and took most of the horse jerky he had and dropped it at his feet. “Please, let us help you!”
The creature made no move to approach, nor did he retreat. As they watched it Kaimela noticed it’s ears prick up, and it’s gaze seem to shift behind them. And then she heard it. A pack of wolves, somewhere in the forest at their backs, howling and on the prowl.
“Wolves. We must go now.” she said.
Still staring at the creature Aust replied, “Agreed. But help me load the body. We must examine it further when time allows.”
Quickly they loaded the gnole body into the cart and, she on her horse and him in the cart, took off down the road, the howling of the wolf pack growing ever closer.
Kaimela guarded the rear of the cart as Aust snapped the reins, pushing Bill to pull the cart faster. They raced down the road, the cart bouncing over rocks and ruts. It was at this moment that Aust realized something quite uncomfortable. At some point during their hasty retreat Theo had wrapped his arms around Austs waist in a death grip, his head buried in Aust’s shoulder, and would not let go.
“Um.. Father Theo. If you could, um, let go of me please? I have a lot to deal with at the moment.”
“Oh God! By all that’s holy! We’re going to die! We’re going to die! Bwah! Bwah!” Theo shouted into Aust’s shoulder.
Taking both reins in one hand Aust managed to pry Father Theo from around his waist and shove him into the cart with the ram and the body. “Get a hold of yourself sir.”
“Ohgodohgodohgodohgodohgod…” murmured Father Theo in a coward’s chant.
Looking over his shoulder Aust made eye contact with Kaimela. “They gain!” she shouted.
With that he watched as she climbed up and stood upon her horse’s saddle and, more graceful than anything he’d seen, leap from her horse to the back of the cart. She struggled to throw the gnole body out of the cart but being by herself she did not have the strength.
Understanding her intentions Aust shouted over his shoulder, “The ram! Use the ram!”
Kaimela moved across the cart and, taking him by the horns and looking him in the eyes, said “My friend. We need your help. Please, push this body over the side!”
She let go and, with no hesitation, the ram lowered his head and charged the corpse. Upon contact he bucked his head in such a way that not only did the body clear the side of the cart but the horse racing behind them as well which was smart enough to duck its head. The body landed in the road behind them and almost immediately was set upon by the pack of dire wolves that had been chasing them.
Leaving the pack behind to feast, Aust, Theo, and Kaimela proceeded down the road to the keep.
Waking in bed Bril felt nothing but pain. His head hurt. His arm hurt. But he was alive, apparently. Looking out the window he saw that the sun had set. “There, you are almost healed,” he heard someone say.
Looking to his right he saw what seemed to be a cleric ministering to his wounds, as well as 6 or 7 other beds, also occupied by bandaged people. “And you are?” asked Bril.
“Brother Kun. And you were in an accident. A ship falling from the sky.”
“A ship you say? How odd.” Bril replied, feigning ignorance.
Again looking out the window he noticed spots of glitter in the streets, reflecting from the street lamps. He heard the sounds of coins bouncing and jingling. With a start he sat straight up in bed, brushing aside Brother Kun. “My gold!” he shouted as he leaped from his bed and ran out the door. He raced down the stairs and, sliding through the open door to the street, opened his coin purse and scooped up as much gold as he could, landing in a pile that had just been gathered by a street sweep. Looking around he saw guards smacking people as they tried to take some of the gold. He also noticed a few guards approaching him.
“Crap,” he muttered. Before they could reach him though Brother Kun emerged from the building and intercepted them.
“Why do you stop these people from taking some gold? Surely it was meant as a gift by the Lord Master for all his subjects.” said Kun.
“‘Ell no,” replied one of the guards. “Dis ‘ere gold belawngs ta da keep. Ain’t enuf fer dees pawpaws!”
Thrown by such a horrid accent Brother Kun could only watch as Bril dove between the guards legs and back into the building he had just escaped.
“Oi! Get back ‘ere!” they shouted as they chased after him.
Bril ran into the first room he saw which seemed to be a barracks for the guards. “Oh, just perfect” he muttered sarcastically as he dove into an empty footlocker and buried himself beneath the clothes it contained.
“Ya tink ya smaht lidle won, eh? Guessin’ ya fawgaht ya bleedin’” Brill heard one of the guards say as they entered the room.
Brother Kun stood in the doorway, watching as they approached the foot locker. With a sigh, and obviously not sure why he was going to help such an obvious thief as Bril, he cast light on one of the guards swords.
Bril noticed the light glaring through the clothes he hid beneath. Taking a peek he saw the guards flailing about, obviously blinded for a short time. Quickly he wrapped a shirt around his bleeding arm and dashed out the door, following Brother Kun who was walking quite briskly out of the building.
Brother Kun walked across the courtyard towards the church, approaching the acolytes that were tending to it’s grounds. “Good evening. I was hoping you could offer one of the cloth shelter for the evening.”
“Oh, a paladin. We don’t see many of you in these parts.” said one of the acolytes.
“No no,” replied Brother Kun, “I’m a cleric of the order of the Lord Master.”
With a grimace the other acolyte replied, “Oh, one of those. Well, nobody’s perfect I guess. We will provide you shelter for the evening of course. We could never turn anyone in need away.”
“My thanks to you,” replied Brother Kun as he gave them a slight bow and walked into the church.
Before the acolytes could enter however, Bril dashed past them, shouted “Thanks!” and slammed the doors in their faces, barring them from the inside.
Brother Kun was oblivious to this as he proceeded further into the church, took a knee, and began to pray. Bril leaned his back against the door, struggling to catch his breath.
The acolytes banged on the door. “Hey! Open this door!”
“Nobody home” Bril shouted back.
“What do you mean ‘nobody home’?! We can hear you!”
“No speaky common.” Bril replied, still leaning his back on the door.
The acolytes looked at each other in total confusion.
It was still dark out when Aust, Theo, and Kaimela approached the gates to the keep. In the distance behind them they heard an explosion and a large red cloud could be seen rising above the forest.
“Hello!”, shouted Aust. “Let us in!”
The guards above the wall held their bows at the ready. “What business do you have here?”
“We must get inside. Please open your gate.”
“What business?” replied the guard.
Aust could not believe he had to go through this again. The first time was difficult enough, but these fools didn’t know him. “I am a wizard… er, magician of great renowned. Come to entertain the masses. Please.”
Another explosion behind them set off, this one closer than the last.
A panel in the gate opened and a guard peered through. “A magician you say?”
“Indeed.” With that Aust did a flourish with his hands and produced a rabbit, seemingly constructed of playing cards. It’s playing card ears twitched, and it’s head turned to look at the guard.
“By the god’s you’ve got some talent there. And what of her?” the guard asked, indicating Kaimela.
“I sir am a merchant of many fine things. This sable cloak for instance shall fetch me a fine amount of coin, I’m sure. And should all else fail, there’s always this ram to sell.” she said, flourishing her cloak.
“Yeah, alright. Seems good to me.” the panel closed and the portculase began to rise. The explosions and red clouds were growing more frequent and closer. The party passed as quickly as they could through the gate which promptly slammed closed on their heels.
“Sorry for the interrogation there, but ya can never be too careful these days.” explained the guard.
“Of course. Thank you.” replied Aust as he gave the reins a snap and drove the cart further into the keep.
As he drove the cart through the keep he spotted in the distance Bril running across the road, into Theo’s church, and slamming the doors closed. The acolytes outside began to pound on the door and shout for him to open it. Aust, Theo and Kaimela dismounted and approached.
“No speaky common” they heard Bril shout from inside the church.
“Whats going on here?” Aust asked of the acolytes.
Turning to Aust the acolytes replied, “We let a cleric enter the church to pray and some halfling just raced in after him and barred the doors.”
“I think we can handle this. Oh, and I think I found something of yours.” Reaching behind himself he dragged Father Theo out from his shadow.
“Father Theo! Oh thank the Gods that you’ve returned!”
“Yes yes, hello. I have returned from great adventure and daring do my children. I believe one could say I’m a hero”, he said with his chin held high.
Aust and Kaimela rolled their eyes as they passed him, approaching the door.
“Bril! Is that you in there?” shouted Aust.
“Wizard?!” replied Bril as he threw the doors open. “Man, good to see you.” looking past him he shouted, “Bill!” and ran out the door the his horse. Bill pulled back, unsure of this halfling that was rushing at him.
“Bill, it’s me. Bril. Your owner.” Bril produced an apple from his pocket and offered it to the horse. Bill sniffed it and then snatched it from Bril’s hand, almost taking some fingers with him.
“Jeez Bill, be careful.”
The group entered the church and introductions were made.
“So, a wood elf eh? How’d you end up riding with these characters?” Brill asked of Kaimela.
“A long story,” she said.
As Brother Kun approached he placed a hand on Bril who suddenly felt the wound in his arm heal with a burst of warmth. “Thanks,” Bril said.
Brother Kun only nodded as he joined the group to listen to the tails being shared.
“As the dire wolves chased us down I knew there was only one thing I could do, so I prayed to the God’s and opened fire with the crossbow I had at hand,” said Father Theo to the acolytes as he pantomimed his heroics. “See?” he said as he gestured to a bit of mud on his cheek. “I’ve even got a battle wound as you can see. I certainly hope it does not scar.”
“He did what now?” mumbled Aust. “You seem to have gotten some mud on you Father. Here, let me help you with that,” he said. With a flourish of his hands he prestidigitated the mud from Father Theo’s face.
“Oh, um, er…” Father Theo’s eyes darted between the acolytes. “A miracle! The God’s shine their favor upon me!” he shouted in explanation of no wound being apparent.
“Of course,” said Aust. “So, now that we’ve caught up I could use some time to meditate.”
“Yeah, I’ve had quite a day myself,” replied Bril as he left the church for the Inn.
The party retired to their respective quarters to sleep or to meditate according to each of their requirements.
The following morning Kaimela rose from her meditations. As she required much less respite than the others she took it upon herself to investigate her surroundings while she waited for them to wake. She approached the gate to the keep and nodded to the guards. They recognized her and gave her free passage outside.
“Do you promise to let me back in once I’ve returned? I still have wares to sell you know.”
“Of course, you can come and go as you please. It’s only those we’ve never seen that we must interrogate to the fullest before allowing them entrance. You understand,” said the guard.
With a nod she exited the keep and began to walk its perimeter.
She walked north along the wall and, upon turning the first corner, saw a large pile of bones beneath a window which was thirty feet above the ground. She knelt to examine the bones but, before she could come to any conclusion as to their origin or species, she heard something snap behind her. Perhaps a twig or, the Gods forbid, a bone that someone had stepped on. Before she could rise and turn she felt something strike her across the back of the head and then.. Blackness.
As the party awoke they each exited their respective chambers and met in the street.
“I have need of supplies,” said Aust. “And I’d like to sell these shields I found earlier.”
They found a local shop selling general supplies, purchasing and selling what they required.
“Hey,” said Bril, “where’s that tall drink of wood elf you were with?”
“I do not know. She should have finished her meditations by now,” replied Aust.
Brother Kun, Aust, and Bril went to where they knew she had been meditating but there was no sign of her. “Ok,” said Bril, “we should probably try and track her down. She seemed like a useful one to have around.”
“Indeed,” mumbled Aust, lost in thought.
“That ram she had seemed rather fond of her,” said Bril. “Maybe he can track her.”
Brother Kun looked down at Bril, then over to Aust. Rolling his head back and closing his eyes he mumbled, “Oh yes, this shall certainly go well.”
Kaimela awoke a bit dizzy. Looking around she found she was in a five by five room, all of stone with a door of steel bars. A cell. She could hear guards in full armor walking the hallways beyond. A quick inventory told her they had robbed her of most of her weapons, but the inept fools had missed the dagger she kept in her boot.
She pulled the dagger and then examined the cell door. “Hinges on the inside? Door swings into the cell? Who designed this place, the court jester?” she mumbled to herself as she attempted to pop the hinge with her dagger. Sadly years of poor maintenance and neglect had rendered the hinge pin inseparable from its housing. As she struggled with it her dagger popped out of the groove and made a loud clang against the cell door. She heard a guard approaching so decided to use her other skills to her advantage. With a few mumbled words she blended in with the far wall of the cell, seemingly invisible to the casual observer. She watched as the guard stopped outside the cell door and then unlocked the door and threw it open. Upon entering the cell to search it thoroughly Kaimela slashed out with her dagger, just knicking the artery in his throat.
The guard collapsed, clutching his throat in an attempt to stem the flow of blood, and Kaimela dashed past him to the hallway.
She ran left first but, upon reaching the doorway, saw stairs leading down. She also smelled a very sulfuric smell and saw a green glow from far below. Deciding that might not be the best path to take she turned and ran back the way she had come.
As she approached her cell the guard stumbled out, still attempting to stem the blood flowing from his neck but doing a poor job of it. In one swift movement she grabbed him by the throat, stemming the blood flow with her grip so that he might talk, and slammed him against the wall.
“How do I get out of here,” she growled as she leaned into his face, her hand around his throat.
“To the right,” the guard gasped. “It’s the only way.”
“Thank you,” she said as she slid her dagger into his gut, ending his suffering.
She took his sword and shield and then ran down the hall. After a few turns she came upon a room with two guards in it. Throwing her dagger at the wall between them as a distraction she then leaped into the room, gaining the advantage. She spun like a whirlwind with the longsword extended and quickly dispersed with one of the guards, his head seperated from his shoulders, as he was still staring at the dagger embedded in the wall. The other guard was another matter altogether.
He had obviously had some training as several of his swings came quite close to doing her severe harm. She dodged and swung, he dodged and swung. They danced around each other looking for an opening. Thankfully, she was quicker and more deft on her feet, and gained the upper hand. She slashed his knee as she pirouetted around him and, with a flourish, drove her sword through his abdomen. His eyes giving a glassy stare as she watched his life go.
“Ok, so we’ll let the goat lead us to Kaimela,” said Bril.
“It’s a ram.”
“Right, ram.” Bril said.
Aust, Bril, and Brother Kun were in the barn of the inn staring at the ram.
“Ok boy, you want to find Kaimela, right? We need you to take us to her,” Bril said to the ram.
The ram scuffed the floor with its hoof, obviously anxious to get going. Aust and Brother Kun watched from the side, obviously not believing that this halfling had a wit in his head.
Bril drew his shortsword and, with a swing, cut the rope holding the ram. Immediately it lowered its head and charged him.
Aust jumped in to try and help as Bril promptly dove out of the way. The ram knocked Aust to the side and then charged Brother Kun. Squaring his feet Brother Kun braced himself and caught the ram by the horns, stopping it in its charge.
Brushing hay from his shirt as he stood Bril said “Good job there Brother. Thanks for the assist. Now hold him tight.”
Bril produced a length of rope from his pack. He tied one end to the rams right horn and the other end to the rams left horn. Taking up the slack he then straddled the rams back.
“Aust, open the door please.”
Aust limped over to the door and opened it.
“Ok Brother, you can let go,” said Bril.
“You’re sure you want me to let go? I ask because you just don’t seem the riding type,” said Brother Kun.
“Yes I’m sure. Now let go.”
When Brother Kun let go the ram launched itself from underneath Bril and out the door. Having a surprisingly strong grip, Bril was dragged right along behind the ram.
Aust gave chase as the ram charged through the streets, dragging Bril behind him. It wound this way and that, navigating the maze of streets as if it had traveled them every day of its life. It halted once it reached the gates leading to the citadel beyond, the inner keep. Bril rolled to his back and, after collecting himself, slowly got to his feet. He watched as the ram backed up several paces and then charged the gate, headbutting it with everything it had.
“Who goes there?!” someone shouted.
“Oh, hello” Bril replied after looking up through the gate and seeing the guard standing on the parapet inside. Bril leaned an elbow on the gate, careful not to be in the rams path.
“We’re here to deliver this goat for slaughter.”
“It’s a ram.”
“Right, this ram,” said Bril.
“I don’t know nothin’ about no ram for slaughter. Who ordered it?” shouted the guard, who had since knocked his bow and was aiming it at Bril.
The ram slammed into the gate again. There was a sizable dent where it had been hitting.
“Hey, I’m just a delivery boy, I don’t know who ordered it. I just know I’m supposed to deliver this goat to the citadel.”
“It’s a ram.”
“Right, this ram,” said Bril.
As he said this the guards hand slipped, releasing the arrow, which struck the ground just to the left of Bril’s foot.
“Oops, sorry about that,” said the guard as he notched another arrow.
“It ain’t nothing, don’t worry about it,” said Bril. “What’s your name?”
“I’m Gnil”, said Gnil.
“Gnil? Ha, that’s funny. My names Bril. Gnil, Bril, Gnil, Bril,” said Bril as he gesticulated back and forth between them.
“The G is silent” said Gnil.
“Of course it is,” said Bril. “So, Gnil. Please help me out here, I’ve gotta get this goat to the citadel.”
“It’s a ram.”
“Who the hell keeps saying that?”
As Bril looked around for this annoying corrector of rams, Aust approached and, not realizing that Bril was in ‘negotiations’ drew his sword shouting “Green flame!”
Gnil raised his bow to Aust, visibly shaking and obviously quite unsure what the hell was going on, as the ram again slammed into the gate, knocking one of the bars out of it.
“Woa! Put the sword away Aust!” shouted Bril. “I’m really sorry about that Gnil, he gets just a bit excited sometimes.”
“Hammond! Hammond! I need help here!” Another guard appeared next to Gnil and proceeded to draw his bow.
“Whats going on here?” Hammond asked.
“These blokes say they’re delivering a goat, but it’s obviously a ram, and then this one draws a flaming green sword!”
“Listen, listen!” said Bril, “I think we got off on the wrong foot here. We just gotta deliver this… Ram!”
“I’ve rang for reinforcements Gnil, don’t ya worry.”
Holding his face with his palm Bril muttered, “ah, crap.”
With the guards dead at her feet Kaimela looked around the room and found her equipment and weapons on a table. She finished equipping herself and began to leave the room. As she was about to head in the direction her jailer had indicated as the way out she heard footsteps. From the sound of it there were several well armored men approaching. Deciding to avoid conflict she head in the opposite direction.
Upon reaching the stairwell she had first approached she again smelled the stench of sulfur. She slowly went down the stairs, on her guard the whole time. At the bottom of the stairs the sulfuric smell was overwhelming, it took all of her will to prevent it from immobilizing her. She was at a gate very similar to the one of her cell, though it differed in one significant way. This one was open.
She peeked into the room and was distraught at what she saw. Cells lined the wall, each no more than three feet wide and deep, each containing people that had withered to skin and bones. In the center of the room was a figure unlike any she had ever seen. He was horribly disfigured, to the point that she could not even determine his race. He stood before a cauldron, stirring its contents with a massive ladle. As he stirred bones were brought to the surface, which he then scooped up and tossed through the window at the end of the room.
Unable to contain herself she charged into the room and assaulted the figure. Startled he attempted to fend her off with his ladle but a quick swing of her sword cut it in twain. He dropped to his knees and cowered at her feet.
“What is in the cauldron?!” she shouted at him.
“Potion for the master,” he said, with a rough, barely intelligible voice.
“Master?! What master?!” She held her sword at his throat, threatening to run him through. All the while the people in the cells howled, screaming for help.
“The master! The Master! My master!” he repeated over and over.
“Name your master, creature!”
“I cannot name the Master. My lips would defile his name! I cannot, I cannot, I cannot!” He shouted as he covered his ears with hands and began to rock in place.
Knowing she would get nothing further from this peon she struck him on the head with the hilt of her sword, knocking him unconscious.
“Hey now, there’s no need for this,” said Bril with his hands raised.
Upon the wall stood thirteen guards, all with drawn bows, all aimed at him. “Listen Gnil, I just wanted to deliver a ram. You’re going to shoot me for that?”
“You brought a wizard! You can’t tell a ram from a goat! Very suspicious!”, replied Gnil.
“Ok,” Bril said lowering his arms, “enough of this.” He then reached into his pack and withdrew the lamp. As he rubbed it with his sleeve he saw Aust running towards him shouting “Nooooooo” and then freeze in place as the familiar smoke poured from its spout.
“Your wish, master” said the Genie as he emerged from the blue smoke that surrounded them.
“I wish that I was old friends with all the guards of this keep and that they each owed me a favor.” said Bril, confident that this time his phrasing could not be warped against him.
As the genie vanished into the smoke which was being sucked back into the lamp Bril fell to his knees clutching his head. “What?! What is this?!” he shouted to no one.
His mind was suddenly flooded with memories and thoughts, things he was certain he had never lived nor experienced, but were true none the less. He remembered the guards, their interactions together over the years, the jokes and laughs, the pain and anguish. The events that draw friends close like family.
As he rose to his feet, shaken, Gnil said “Whoa Bril? You ok buddy?”
And Bril remembered. He remembered helping Bril study for his guard exams, learning the laws of the land. He remembered dragging him from the river when they were children, saving his life.
“Bril, you look sick? What’s up?” said Hammond.
Hammond! He remembered him as well. Something about birds shitting all over him and running for shelter.
Bril looked up at the guards lining the wall as they all were lowering their bows. “Oh crap, is that Bril?” someone said. “Bril, sorry bro. Didn’t see ya there. No hard feelings, eh?” said another guard as they began to disperse.
“Of course not guys. Good to see ya,” said Bril while rubbing his forehead, a migraine like no other drilling through his brow.
Aust stepped up to Bril, obviously confused by the changing of the guards attitudes. “Bril, that lamp you have.”
“Never mind that, I’ll explain later. Wait here,” he said. He then turned to Gnil, “Can we talk?”
He and Gnil walked inside the portculase as Aust and Brother Kun waited outside with the ram.
“Listen,” said Bril, “I’m really sorry for all this. You and I go way back and you know I’d never try and lie to you if it weren’t really important.”
“Of course Bril, you know I trust you,” said Gnil.
“A friend of ours has gone missing, a wood elf. This ram here was her’s and it led us here when we had it track her. She must be inside this keep and we need to get her.” said Bril. “Can you lead us into the keep?”
Gnil leaned back, obviously very uncomfortable about Bril’s request. “Bril, brother, you know I’d do anything for you. But they’d hang me if I did something like that. You can’t ask me to do that.”
“You owe me, Gnil. I’m calling in that favor.”
Gnil stared at his feet for a moment. He then looked Bril straight in the eyes, “Bril, I’m sorry. I can’t leed you into the keep. Too many would see, and I know we’re all friends here, but somebody would have to say something. I can’t put them in that position.” He thought for a moment more. “What I can do is tell you that there is another way into the keep. If you were to circle around to the north wall outside the keep there is a sewer entrance. Follow that a short distance and you’ll find yourself inside the keep.”
“Thank you Gnil, I knew I could count on your help.” said Bril.
Bril exited the gate and told Aust and Brother Kun of what he learned. After a short deliberation they decided it was probably the best course of action and proceeded out of the keep and along its perimeter to the north wall.
Kaimela looked about the room. “First thing I should do is block that door should guards decide to come investigate all this shouting,” she thought to herself. She grabbed every loose piece of furniture she could find and blocked the doorway with them.
She then stood over the cauldron, staring at it’s contents. A green liquid, it was bubbling and acrid. Using the ladle that the creature used to stir it she scooped a bit out and dropped it to the floor. It sizzled, obviously eating away at the stone floor.
“Yes, that should work.” she muttered as she scooped a ladle full and flung it at the barred window. Some of the liquid struck the bars in the window and made quick work of them. The rest went out the window. This was not an exact science. After a few seconds she heard a scream from outside, below the window. She ran over and stuck her head out, the bars of the window now completely gone.
Below she saw Bril, Aust, and what seemed to be a cleric. Bril was screaming curses as he cradled his arm. Did she see bone visible through his flesh? Oh dear.
The cleric quickly ran over to Bril and, laying a hand on his shoulder, healed his wound. Shaking his arm Bril said, “Damn, that really hurt.” He then looked up and saw Kaimela. “Oh, it’s you. Hi.”
“Hi there. I have people here that we must extricate from this hell.” she said.
Brother Kun, assuming that said people would be exiting through the window, shouted to the others, “Quickly, give me your bedrolls!”
More confused then reluctant they each gave him their bedrolls. Folding them open and laying them out Brother Kun then mumbled a few words and waved his hands over them. Suddenly Bril realized he could no longer tell where one ended and the other began. They were of one cloth. Then he saw Aust mumbling over top the bedrolls and, suddenly, they were puffed up like pillows, seemingly filled with air, and extremely clean.
“Well, I know when I’m not needed,” said Bril as he stood back and watched.
Inside the keep Kaimela had used the acidic potion to melt away the prisoners locks. In their panic however they rushed to the barricade she had erected in front of the door and were attempting to tear it down in a blind attempt at escape.
“No! Not that way!” she shouted at them. But they were crazed and incapable of reasoning. So she did what anyone would in her position she lifted each in turn, by force, and tossed them out the window.
Each landed on the airbag and were quickly pulled from it by Aust in order to make room for the next. After seven prisoners had been pulled from the airbag Bril looked up at the window. Kaimela stood on the sill, arms held parallel to her body and did a fantastic swan dive into the airbag.
“Huh, perfect form.” said Bril. As he turned his attention to the prisoners he made eye contact with one and was suddenly overcome by memories. Flashing before his eyes he saw himself in college helping his friend study, making certain that he would graduate in time. Again he clutched his head mumbling “but I never went to college.”
He then looked up at the prisoner that had brought this flash. “Torvul?” He said.
“Bril? You saved me? I guess that’s two I owe you, eh?” said Torvul.
“Torvul, you’re a guard here! What by the god’s were you doing as a prisoner in that cell?”
“I was dragged down there in the night. I’ve been there I don’t know how long. And… you’ll think I’m crazy… I saw myself dragging others into the cells. I think I’ve lost my mind.”
“You and I both my friend.” said Bril.