Saturday, January 17, 2015

“Elves’ Dirty Work”, final part

Continued from here, we have the final part of Kingon's first (and possibly last) adventure...

The 9Q’s: Questions 7-9

Q7. The Elvish Council

Focus (PC initiated): defiance
Where? Mosshollow

Imewar was very displeased to see Kingon. And for the third time, the young half-elf warrior surrendered his weapons. However, he refused to be blinded, arguing that he had found them in the first place. Perhaps that is why they were not sure how to decide his fate and why they brought him again to the elf lord.

After hearing Kingon’s excited and winded tale, the elf lord said, “And I am expected to believe such a farce?”

“Believe or disbelieve, at you leisure,” replied Kingon in the best elvish he could muster (he might have mixed up the fairly complex cases — but the gist was there). “Sit here and scoff at me, if you like…until that thing shows up to destroy your habitat.”

“Why would a demon show up here?” asked Imewar.

“Because it was following me,” answered Kingon with a smirk of satisfaction. “I see no other plan than to stand and fight, or pack up and flee. Your game with the goblins — your mistreatment and cruelty to them by whatever you have done — may end up dooming your people.” (miss)

“Twice you have insulted me, and twice you have been spared a worse fate. Leave now!” When Kingon didn’t immediately move, being shocked at the elf lord’s proud rejection of impending doom, Imewar called out to his guards.

“I will leave…” interrupted Kingon.

“Never to return!” amended Imewar.

“Yes…just give me my weapons and point me the way to the dale. I must go if I can and warn the folk there. May the gods have mercy upon you…”

Kingon was expelled from Mosshollow. He knew then and there that should another meeting ever take place, Imewar would be merciless and unforgiving.

Kingon set a course for the dales through the quickest route told to him (crit). Again, his speed and endurance could not be measured against any such feat before. He emerged from the wood, crying out in alarm for the people to ready themselves.

Q8. The Battle of Battledale

The Dramatic Finish: kookily lacking, punish home
Where? the village in the vicinity of Battledale
Focus: the enemy takes aggressive action against the heroes and unsuspecting victims

Does the demon have minions? No

Kingon crashed headlong through the woods, coming to a clearing near one of the northern hamlets of Battledale. He cried out, arms flailing in the air as he ran. Behind him followed his black feline.

“Fight! Fire! Flight!” he called, mustering all of his urgency (miss).

Some of the Dalesfolk, who were by nature generally fiercely independent and wary, watched the half-elf dance around like an idiot with some cynicism and a dash of humor.

“Send word! Call the village warriors! Run! Tell everyone to be ready — a fell beast comes!” he called.

No one moved… that is until the first sounds of the monster crashing through the woods came followed by a bloodcurdling shriek of rage. Some of the treetops in the distance quivered, some smoldered as the flaming monster lit bramble and foliage alight. Then, the few villagers who witnessed the coming ran in all directions wildly, shrieking cries of despair and panic.

Then the monster emerged, a towering bipedal horror of bone and flame. The monster threw its head back and shrieked yet again, sending a pall of terror among the folk.

Making a withdrawal, Kingon put arrow to bowstring, drew to ear and let loose (crit). Several arrows flew directly at the beast, feathering it here and there. The monster howled again in pain and then tumbled recklessly forward at a speed that belied its immense girth and height.

This immediately put Kingon into a run (partial). By near margins, he avoided being trampled by the monster, but was not many paces ahead of the thing. Even now, the demon reached down with an arcing swing of an elongated, taloned arm. Kingon sensed the impending doom, broke his run and abruptly rolled to the side (miss). Few could have withstood a minor strike from a major demon from the depths of the abyss. The blow knocked the young half-elf senseless, and blackness shut out the world.

Beyond the realms of the living were the many shades of the dead. In it center was the kingdom of death himself. Kingon was freed of his body and now stood before the lord of death. He was judged, and it was not surprising for death to know well of his coming (partial), but the final chapter in the land of the living was not yet come. And so, through the layers of the nonliving he was sent back...

Q9. The Nightmare

Where Does the World Stand? innocently drab, judge legal
Does someone encounter Kingon and restore him to health? Yes
Who? lovingly lacking, haggle mundane
What deal does death make? defiantly tranquil, fight weather

Kingon awoke in a none too comfortable bed — little more than a bolster and rushes. There was some acrid odor, hot stifling air, and the sound of something bubbling. When he opened his eyes, he saw an old crone leaning over him. However exceptionally ugly she was, he knew without a doubt that this woman had saved his life.

Glancing down, he noted he was stripped of his things and thoroughly bandaged with some exposed patches of badly burned skin revealed. Drawing a breath was agony. He had been leveled by a single swipe of the monster and left for dead.

Almost as if reading his thoughts, the old woman said, “You should have died, you should! Ah, but I see you are awake. Here, sip this…”

She brought a cup to his lips and poured slowly. He recoiled with disgust. A hot, revolting concoction slowly made its way down his throat.

“Ugh! What is that stuff?!”

“Best you not know, dearie,” cackled the woman.

“What happened?”

“Ah, the demon!” the woman exclaimed.
The memory and the horror came back all at once. She described how the thing tore into the village, slaying many and leveling many of the homes and buildings. The creature continued a course south through Featherdale. Where it went next, was anyone’s guess.

“Don’t you worry, dearie! Some wizard will likely vanquish the thing, and banish it to the hells from whence it came,” the woman cackled. “You had quite some dreams while you were out.”

Then, the memories came back, if vaguely. “I remember seeing Him.”

“Him? Ah, the dark soul reaver!”

Kingon did not reveal the next part, but he remembered. His time was not yet to come, because there was work yet to do. A startling revelation came to him then, that all mortals were witless agents of death in some form or fashion. He remembered seeing the image of a man — a dark, evil worker of the Storm Lord. He realized this was probably a priest of Talos. He knew not his name, but the face was indelibly burned into his memory.

His reverie was interrupted by a knock at the door. A dark bearded man entered. It was the elected chancellor of the dale, a rather honorary title given to a representative to the annual moots of the dales.

“Ilmeth,” the man introduced curtly. He bore several burns and scars. No doubt he was involved with battling the monster. The man had come to ask questions about the origins of the monster and of the half-elf’s involvement.

Kingon related all his story — although he had not wanted to harm Imewar’s people or escalate tensions between the elves and the men of the dales, he felt it was his duty to tell the honest truth. So he did, the entirety of it.

When he had finished, Ilmeth said, “Well, we will have to check on that. I will have our foresters go to the woods to track the beast. I will also alert the Abbey of the Sword. If there is trouble with the elves, they will increase patrols and provide protection for the people.”

It sounded innocuous enough, but somehow, Kingon didn’t like the sound of it. He was disappointed when he asked Ilmeth about whether the elves had shown up to help fight the demon. Apparently they had not. Kingon was inclined to be judgmental, but then stayed his thoughts, not knowing what their story was. Were they killed? Did they go into deeper hiding?

Without a penny to his name, the half-elf did not worry about surviving. In the wild he could take care of himself, and there were always odd jobs to which his sword could lend aid. However, he was indebted to the old woman. He could not pay in the form of money, but he could help her by gathering herbs for her potions and other odd ends fix her dilapidated hut. When he had gained some strength, he helped many survivors rebuild their homes, or at least prepare a suitable temporary shelter.

He had made friends with the woman, and learned her name was Clarisa, a hermit and outcast of the village. That suited Kingon just fine too, because he preferred her peculiar company over the more inquisitive and prying village folk.

In a matter of days, Ilmeth checked in again on Kingon, and reported that his woodsmen had indeed found the goblin village and found signs of witchcraft that explained the demon’s appearance. Kingon was essentially cleared from Ilmeth’s suspicions.

When Kingon had mended enough, it was time for him to go. He thanked Clarisa many times. She also gave him supplies for his journeys. He had at least one friend in the dales. He enjoyed their time together, and even Shadow had come to appreciate the woman’s company. But, the half-elf could not stay in one place for too long. He and Shadow bid their farewells and moved on.


A fun little game! This was one of the first ones I could complete in one sitting — though the editing and filling some details took time. I will continue this one in as many scenarios as continues to provide myself some amusement. Using World of Dungeons (or a variation of it), I’d like to try advancing the hero through a few levels.

I’ve included other notes below:


Here is the form in which I created NPC stat blocks. Each has some hit points, gear, and a few keywords that may inspire some moves. Generally, light weapons do d6 damage up to d6+2 for a great weapon. Something truly potent might have 2d6+2 to 3d6+3.

GREATER DEMON. 17hp (Kingon’s volley crit took it down to 11), giant fists, trample, wreathing flames, armor 2. Skeletal horror of the lower planes. Terrifying shriek. Set aflame. Huge.

FOREST ELF. 4HP, sword, bow, light armor (counts as none). Wilderness. Stealthy. Resistant to sleep and charms. Intelligent. Ambush tactics. Elf-magic.

GOBLIN SNIPER. 2hp, long knife, short bow. Dirty inhuman thieves from the woods. Volley from afar. Craven in solitary numbers. Dirty tricks. Hit their own number.

GOBLIN RAIDER. 3hp, long knife or hand axe, shield. Dirty inhuman thieves from the woods. Pack tactics. Craven in solitary numbers. Dirty tricks.

Character Advancement

I use a more DW approach to XP, gaining marks mostly through failure. Kingon's tallied 8XP from failure, and one for acting “good” in light of sacrificing himself to try to protect the town. That’s enough to boost him to level 2, which raises his horrible hp total to 9.

And there was much rejoicing...

For his next adventure, Kingon signs up for a low-paying caravan gig, and things quickly go awry.

Friday, January 16, 2015

“Elves’ Dirty Work”, part 2

Continued from here, Kingon finds himself weaponless again, now at the hands of the goblins. His adventure continues in part 2...

The 9Q’s: Questions 4-6

Q4. The Encampment

Focus (PC initiated): infiltration
Where? lovingly juvenile, freely rough (magic mirror, surprised face, from RSC)

When Kingon had gathered his strength, he began to investigate his surroundings. He found himself near the placid waters of a forest lake. It was hilly and rocky, making his way difficult in the going. He became aware of sounds as he scouted.

Climbing to a high ridge, he came to the edge of a narrow gorge from which plumes of smoke rose from what appeared to be cooking fires. He was shocked to see a goblin encampment, out in the broad daylight underneath the sky. This was highly unusual behavior, but at least the canopy of the forest gave them some protection from the sun from which they usually hid themselves.

GM’s Reaction: swiftly feeble, lie legal (goblin, full sack, from RSC)

Suddenly from behind came a pathetic sound. Kingon turned swiftly, drawing his blades. Before him was a young goblin whelp. The half-elf was no judge of goblin age, but he might guess the youngling was but a year or two old. The grubby creature held out an empty hand, while pointing toward the ranger’s pouches with the other. The creature was obviously starving and begging for a handout. Even with his blades drawn ready to deal death and his mighty jaguar not far away, the pathetic creature came forward, driven by its baser need to survive.

Even though the creature’s cry might draw the entire tribe, spelling certain death, Kingon could not bring it upon himself to kill the thing. He put away his blades and showed instead his pouch, which he turned inside out. He shrugged his shoulders.

“I’m sorry! I don’t have anything.”

The creature began to cry. Kingon also had not much experience with the incredible volume a tiny young goblin could make. Wet sobs carried through the forest. The ranger tried to coo the child, making overtures of peace. However, the thing turned and walked away, clutching some decaying rag thing that must have served as it’s teddy bear.

At once, Kingon was surrounded by dozens of warriors and many bows were trained at him. Shadow, having sensed their approach was already nowhere to be seen. Then, either brave or stupid, the half-elf unbuckled his sword belt and dropped his bow, holding his arms out in a gesture of peace. He was going to surrender.

Do they kill him on sight? No

Kingon was handled far from gently, although they didn’t kill him on the spot, which was a good thing. Whatever pity had stayed his hand with the child, he was now beginning to doubt the wisdom of that judgment. How in the nine hells was he going to get out of this one?

Q5. The Summoning

Gains Undermined: neatly lovely, punish travel (howling wolf, from RSC)
Focus: revelation

Kingon was ushered down into the gorge through winding and narrow paths. As he walked, he was prodded by spear tip as well as obviously obscene goblin profanities. Here were the women and children of the tribe. Many huddled together around fires, observing the half-elf through wide, astonished eyes.

As they continued their way, Kingon could descry a central place in the village around a huge fire where many of the tribal warrior and elders were at work. A particularly old gentle-goblin bedecked in feathers, paint, and an assortment of bone charms observed the ritual, adding every now and then a punctuating syllable or command, throwing various colored powders into the fire which flared brightly and disappeared. It was obviously some sort of ceremony — however judging by the many goblin faces, it was not a joyous one. He noted many of the villagers’ stolen heirlooms near the fire. Every once in a while the shaman would reach down and toss one of those in the circle as well.

“I don’t wish to harm anyone!” said Kingon, to which he was answered with a sharp needle to the rear from a spear. “Is there anyone in this damn village that speaks the common tongue?!”

The same reply came, this time fiercer.

Not far away, he was bound behind his back and fastened to an old dead tree. However, he had a great vantage point to the spectacle. He watched as the ritual grew frenzied. Though he did not understand the nature of it, he began to understand that it was not merely goblin superstition — within the flames, a deeper darker color began to swallow the yellow and orange of the outer flames. Within was a black globe that slowly grew. Within the blackness, there became a second growing fire within — The half-elf could only describe what he saw something unholy.

Does anyone address him? No

It seems hours went by and darkness fell, with a full moon rising on the horizon. Still the ritual continued, now growing to a fevered climax. And Kingon could only continue to watch.

With nothing else to do but observe, he studied their movements and timing (partial). In Shadowdale, Kingon observed many rituals, for there were many spell casters in the dale. Magic was never his forte. However, he could recognize a summoning circle when he saw one. This one, drawing off of the energy of the revelers as well as the magical skill of the village shaman, caused this circle to be extremely potent judging by its size and sustained growth.

At the witching hour, the ritual was complete and the globe of unholy darkness took on a life of its own.

Does the circle overwhelm the controllers? Yes
What comes out of the circle? looks like anxiously dry; does overindulge innocent

The shaman and the village warriors observed with hypnotic fascination as the thing grew and lifted off the ground. From it’s darkest depths came a skeletal face. Many scattered astonished cries and moans skip the lips of the observing village. The skeletal face hit the edges — the boundaries — of the encapsulating sphere. Like a balloon, those boundaries flexed outward, expanding to accept the giant skull of the otherworldly thing that was now trying to escape.

Kingon knew this was a horrible disaster in the making, and if he did not escape now, he would die not at the hands of the goblins, but by those of some demonic thing that was ready to be released.

During the interim time he spent observing the ritual, he had surreptitiously worked some of his bindings loose around his wrists. Now is the time for escape (miss). However, instead of a stealthy escape, the old gnarled branches to which he was fastened snapped loudly, drawing attention from the entire village… as well as the horror now escaping from the globe.

Kingon did not linger to study the reaction of the village, taking off at a run.

Are his weapons within visual range? No
Do the village runners pursue? No
Does the thing attack the villagers? Exceptional Yes (doubles)
Does Kingon come across his belongings? Yes

Kingon tore through the foliage at top speed, stooping only to fetch his two blades and bow as he saw them lying near a hut. From behind came an enormously terrifying screech that filled the entire forest. Other screams of agonized villagers followed as well as a tremendous crashing. The demon had been released and was feasting itself on the unwitting and unfortunate souls responsible for summoning it.

Q6. The Charge

Escalation: healthily large, expose rumor (elephant, key, from RSC)
Focus: pursuit

Kingon flew through the forest, quietly calling for Shadow. The sound from behind grew to unthinkable proportions. Above the treetops, a now flaming tusked skeletal humanoid rose. The thing was taller by a wide margin than Elminster’s tower back in Shadowdale. The earth trembled as the monster took flight on the ranger’s trail.

Kingon pushed the limits of his endurance (partial). Eventually, the terrifying sounds of the giant otherworldly monster disappeared in the distance, but now he was hopelessly lost — even if he was lost already!

He knew he had to make his way to some community to give warning before the monster would come through. Be it man or elf, it did not matter.

It was desperate, but he had to find Imewar’s people, and fast! (hit)

Stay tuned for part 3...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Back! And A New Play Report

I'm back...for how long, we'll see. I had a nice holiday, but RL burnout caught up with a big way. When I have had time, I haven't had much in the way of motivation. So, I did something I rarely do, and took a mental health day. It was glorious and led to something else I rarely do: play an entire solo scenario in one — well — nearly one sitting.

I've also had a chance over the break to enjoy reading and experimenting with Tana Pigeon's new addition, The Location Crafter. I see it's still up at #7 on drivethrurpg even weeks after its launch. That sounds like a good sign. If you haven't checked it out, I highly recommend it. A great way to approach site-exploring (or just location-based scene rpg'ing in general) for the GM as well as the soloist. There's a complete solo rpg engine right in there.

“Sending Goblins To Do Elves’ Dirty Work”

For my little delve, I resurrected an old character one of my friends created for a GM + 1 player game we did (if you don't know my thoughts on reviving old concepts and characters, read my Ghosts of Gaming Past post). This was a youthful time when we had read lots of R.A. Salvatore, as you will see.

Also, for the sake of nostalgia, I used a version of John Harper's World of Dungeons spinoff of the Dungeon World system to give it an old school feel (even though it's very new school). I mixed with things I like from the full version of Dungeon World. This is the character in question:

Kingon of Shadowdale,
half-elf male ranger

HP: 2 (2HD); LEVEL: 1
ATTRIBUTES: Str+1, Dex+2, Con+1, Cha-1
SKILLS: awareness, survival
ABILITIES: pet, wild
EQUIPMENT: leather jerkin, long sword, short sword, long bow, ammunition (2 uses), travel rations (2 uses), water skin (2 uses), flint & steel, coin (0 uses)
WEALTH: Destitute (-1)
BONDS: I owe my life to Shadow.
HARM: none.

SHADOW. 2HD, 5hp, claws and fangs. Grants the stealth skill. Black cat-beast from Chult. Stalks prey. Ferocious.

I decided on a mixture of John Fiore's Nine Questions solo engine with some elements of the Location Crafter (although what from the latter, I wasn't yet sure — I ended up using the descriptor and action words as my random idea generator along with occasional Rory's Story Cubes). I also rolled a die to clarify occasional questions with a simple yes/no result. Even results indicated Yes, odds, No; and I sometimes threw in an extra die to simulate higher chances of a yes or no (taking the most or least favorable, respectively). Using the base resolution system of DW, the results are based on attribute modifiers and a roll of 2d6 where 2-6 is a miss (failure and a hard move), 7-9 a partial (success at a cost), 10-11 a hit (you get what want, no questions asked), and 12+ a critical (what you want and then some). You will see some of these results sprinkled throughout the text. WoDu doesn't have the explicit moves of DW, but can be free-formed to fit the flow — or simply applying a Defy Danger resolution to everything.

I also tried this session with nothing but my character sheet in front of me, a pair of dice, and dictating into my iPhone.


Wandering near the woods of Battledale, a half-elf ranger overheard the screams of women. A small hamlet was lit aflame as goblin raiders made a retreat with some loot into the woods. Kingon pursued.

The 9Q’s: Questions 1-3

Q1b. Chase Into the Woods

Focus (PC initiated): pursuit, combat

Kingon swore an oath and trailed after the buggars. Goblins in broad daylight! He pushed himself hard (partial), flying through the foliage so that he scarcely noticed the two goblins hiding around the boles of trees in wait. However (partial), his great cat companion’s throaty growl alerted him. He was able to leap as a rope was pulled tight between the two trees to trip him. That put him off balance — and the goblins were right there on him with axes raised for a killing blow.

A black shadow leapt behind the pair (hit), one goblin going down with a shriek as fur and claws blurred together. The beast raked the life from the goblin. That bought Kingon enough time to recover and draw two blades to meet the second’s onslaught. He owed his life to the jaguar — and not for the first time. He circled with his scared opponent, but the craven thing bolted suddenly, not wishing to face the ranger alone or on even footing.

GM’s Reaction: wildly tranquil

As he turned to follow the remaining goblin, he saw no sign of the others. The brief scuffle had done its job — the others had all completely vanished within the dense foliage of the old forest. Kingon sheathed his blades and drew his bow. He wasn’t about to let this one get away (miss). He let loose, but struck a tree as the goblin evaded him.

Two hoots in the trees let the ranger know he had been duped again — snipers were waiting for him. With a sudden spring (partial), Kingon twisted aside just as a black fletched arrow struck the spot where his head had been a moment earlier. He was behind cover, but had dropped his bow, which was now out of reach and in the direct line of fire.

Back to the tree, he contemplated his next move. Then he spied Shadow lurking beyond. He flicked his eyes upward so the cat could follow. However, the beast was already in action (low partial). The cat stalked up the trunk of the tree within which one sniper lay with deadly quiet. The going was slow enough that the two had time to maneuver to get a better shot at the half-elf.

Kingon was forced to move again as arrows whistled (partial). He dived away, sprawling on all fours as just ahead of him, he heard the brush rustling. Had some of the footmen circled back to reinforce their comrades, or was this some other threat?

However, Shadow was now in position (crit), and tore through the branches, flaying one goblin with a shriek and dropping the other completely surprised archer to the ground. Kingon didn’t waste a moment. With blades back in hand again (miss), he went after the prone goblin. However, the thing dropped its bow and was up with a long knife in its hand faster than Kingon would have believed possible. He deflected one blow, but mostly by dumb luck, the jagged blade sliced open a length of the half-elf’s forearm in a counterstrike.

What’s the source of the sound? delightfully delicate (wild elves)

As the two fought, the foliage shaking reached a crescendo, revealing two or three evilly grinning green fey — wild elves. A central one rode atop a great wild boar. Kingon could hardly comprehend what he saw, but didn’t let up on his offensive (partial), striking down the last goblin.

Laughing, the strange fey beings chanted together. Kingon’s head swam — but pleasantly — and he fell into a deep slumber.

Q2. In the Lair of the Fey Folk

Unusual Event: fortunately scary, vengeance power
Where? in the lair of the fairy folk — a dense mossy green “room"
Focus: intrigue

Kingon dreamt of pleasant laughter and cool turf between his toes. He awoke with the sound of a bubbling brook and found himself on a soft, fragrant mossy bed. He looked around him and found he was dressed in soft linens, his clothes and leather jerkin cleaned and neatly folded nearby. His weapons were nowhere to be seen.

Presently, two elf maidens entered with an urn and basin and told Kingon to refresh himself. When he had done so, he followed the only way out of the natural ‘room’ through a corridor between the woods to an open sward upon which a board was prepared. The impressive warrior Kingon had seen riding the boar sat in a high backed chair at one end. The elf gestured for Kingon to sit, which he did.

“You did well against the goblins yesterday,” the elf lord said.

“You mean a day has passed?” Kingon said with trepidation.

“Yes, but do not worry yourself — those fleeing ones did not get far,” said the lord. “I am Imewar, lord of these beings of the wood. For now, you are our guest. Once you have supped and have the strength to go on, you may leave — however, you are not to follow those goblins again.”

“But, why?” asked Kingon, stupefied.

“They have done misdeeds against my people, and we alone must mete our justice upon them.”

“But they have done misdeeds against the men of the Dales as well — and some have hurt their women, stolen their possessions, and burned their homes. What about them and their lost heirlooms?”

Does the elf lord have them? No
Does he make a promise to return their things? Yes

“You may trust, young one, that we will return their belongings once we have recovered them,” answered Imewar.

“That is poor justice for a people wronged…”

“And so was it when the men of the south first settled about our wood and took much of what was ours from us and made hurts upon our women and cut into our homes,” replied Imewar as though such irony was just deserts. Then, Kingon knew the lord’s eyes regarded him with deep contempt of a half-breed — a reflection of his contempt for mankind.

“Well,” said Kingon after some thought, “at least allow me to join you.”

Is Imewar open to it? No

“I’m afraid it cannot be,” the elf lord said. “Tomorrow, if you are ready, you will be escorted under blindfold back to the outskirts of your man’s world. There you will find your weapons.”

“I am not only of human blood,” insisted Kingon. “By right, I may join by the elvish blood commingled with it. You would deny me my birthright?!” (miss)

The elf lord stood. “I will hear no more of this! You have been paid every kindness and honor in our disposal, for few of the half-blooded folk have ever set foot in Mosshollow! Know that such kindness shall never again be offered. Once you have supped, begone!”

Imewar was not having Kingon interfere or know any more of his mind.

Q3. Too Many Grievances

Shocking Twist: gently lethal, gratify wounds
Focus: betrayal, revelation (amoeba & crown from RSC)

Kingon couldn’t wait to leave the company of the elves. As soon as he was rested, he elected ready to go. In short order, he was dressed (although without his weapon still) and escorted among a group of four elves. They blindfolded the half-elf, disoriented him, and made off.

Where he was, the ranger could not tell. He could, however, gauge the amount of time they were walking — although it would not have been difficult for the elves to backtrack and wind around in order to further confuse his steps.

After several hours into their march, Kingon heard a clamor up ahead. He could very well hear the shrill voices of goblins, and many were crying out as if a battle took place, or some other disaster. Kingon was thrust aside and told to be quiet. The clamor continued, and with it the sound of steel against steel. All the while, two of his elf escorts whispered to one another in their native tongue.

Now, Kingon was partially elf-blooded. That part of him which was elvish was not raised among the tree-folk. However, through his orphanage among many elves and half-elves living in human lands, he picked up a bit of the forest tongue. What he now heard was a bit rustic, but still (hit) he could make out a good deal.

The first commented about how the foolish goblins were too stupid to take the bait. “Imewar’s plan for the goblins to stretch the limits to their ability to survive had better reach its point soon, else they will kill one another rather then raid the communities of men.”

Kingon understood enough to recognize the egregious betrayal. The ranger began to formulate a hasty plan. Hoping his weapons were among the four, he suddenly leapt and hollered, whistling shrilly (miss). He had hoped to stay on his feet longer, but he was tackled to the ground by two of the elves.

“Fool!” the first whispered.

Kingon had only hoped that the goblins fighting nearby would hear the sound and distract the elves. Even more importantly, was that is feline companion, Shadow, was within earshot.

Does Shadow come? Yes

The elves were too preoccupied to notice the black shadow that loomed above them in the trees (hit). Their surprise could not have been more complete. With the savage roar, the cat dropped out of the trees and bore into the group, slashing with sharp claws and bearing it’s fangs.

The half-elf got to his feet and swept the blindfold off his brow. Three of the elves were preoccupied with Shadow, while the fourth turned to restrain him.

Is this the one with Kingon’s weapons? Yes

The elf had a bundle in one arm wrapped in something out of which protruded the hilt of the ranger’s primary sword. Kingon launched his head forward in a butt (miss), however, he misjudged the speed of his opponent. In the blink of an eye, the elf sidestepped, stuck his foot out, and followed Kingon to the ground, putting him into a hold.

Shadow roared a mighty bellow once again (partial), this time scattering his three opponents. However, this time, the goblins heard the sound, some of their rear scouts coming to investigate. Kingon used the opportunity to shake off his attacker (partial), which he did. Up in a flash, the elf darted away into the foliage, but the goblins where nearly upon Kingon and his companion.

The half-elf snatched up his bundle of weapons and quickly sped away at the first direction that promised escape, with the black shadow at his side (partial). Never before had he summoned such speed, moving almost with the grace and lightness of his feline companion.

Kingon managed to escape. Where he was, he could not tell. As he labored for breath, he undid the bundle of weapons, seeking out that all his possessions were there. However, only his weapons were present. He had several other important supplies needed for long-term survival in the woods. These were gone.

But at least he was alive and free — and in possession of some seemingly terrible plan on the part of the elves.

Stay tuned for part 1 and 2...