“Tanaris, I’m _bored_”
Tanaris looks distractedly at the diminutive gnome that stormed into his throne room.
“Nonsense Derry, there’s plenty to occupy your time.”
“Like what? Rolling a ball of flame at the rats while the peasants stand by with buckets of water?”
“Yes,” Tanaris laughs, “ the children sure do love playing ‘Chase the Burning Rats’ don’t they?”
Smoke rises from around me as my eyes flicker with flame. “I am not the court jester. I am not entertainment for entertainment children,” I sneered.
“You don’t seem to understand. This morn I found a white hair. A. White. Hair.”
Tanaris chuckles to himself. “Doubtless from the maid you scared the wits out of the other day. You worry for nothing my small friend. I promise, once we get this place back on it’s feet we will find…..something for you to do. Maybe some ogres or bandits will come to these parts now that the undead plague is gone.”
“The hair was on my head. How are you not getting this? I’m going now”
“Derry…..You can’t just go rampaging around the countryside. If you were to fall any further from grace, I don’t know what would happen. We can’t afford the people to riot. Again.”
“Who said anything about rampaging?” I replied indignantly. “It’s not like I’d burn a village to the ground or start another forest fire!”
“Derry, that wasn’t a forest. That was the villagers’ crops”
“Huh. Those were pretty tall crops…….I couldn’t see anything through them”
“It was nearly harvest! The wheat was 5 feet tall. We just can’t have another incident. It’s harvest season again, the people are still afraid of you, there is so much temptation out there, and you’re so volatile of late. We can’t risk….. I can’t risk another friend to that, Derry. Please don’t make me lose another friend to the dark ways or make me have to throw you in the gaol to keep the people safe.”
“No Derry. And if you try sneaking out I’ll just send Lupus after you to bring you back. That’s all I’m going to hear on the subject right now. Now, I did hear that there was a death in the low city and the family is building a funeral pyre. Why don’t you carry my condolences to the family and help them out? I’m sure you will feel better after lighting a peasant on fire. Just make sure you only ignite the one that is already dead”
“Stupid paladin.” I muttered to myself back in my chambers. “Doesn’t he understand that he’s killing me?! It’s not my fault that the Red Dragon Inn got some burn damage. Nor is it my fault that those stupid wizard students didn’t have any innate magic in them to just do magic. How is that my fault? So here I am bored, locked away, and not allowed to burn anything. I can’t do this. I have to have some fun. I have to do something. I can’t find another white hair. I won’t bleach. I won’t become a spriggand. I don’t look good in white. And by the gods I will not let boredom kill me.”
So off I went. I thought ahead of course. I waited three whole days for Tanaris to forget our little discussion. I snuck into the servants quarters after the children had been laid down, but before the adults had gone themselves to bed and I, well, I’m sure Tanaris would say I stole the child. But I didn’t! I just woke up little Janet and told her that I had some sweets in my chambers for her and we would play a little “Chase the Burning Rats”. And we did. Then I had her dress in one of my sleeping gowns and fall asleep in my room, after telling her that she was welcome to wear any of my dresses the next day around the castle. And off I went.
My travels were fairly uneventful. I only burned down 3 or 4 villages. That’ll teach them to confuse a gnome with a child and refuse to serve me the ale I requested. I was careful to ask whether I was in someone’s crops or a forest before igniting a path in front of me. Tanaris will be so happy that I didn’t burn anyone’s crops down.
Eventually I found my way to Scrawny Crossing, wary of anyone I had to look up to see their eyes. “That damned Lupus could be anyone” I thought to myself. I traveled the old south road with a group of blustering crusaders half of which told me I’d be really useful in the fight against the demons of the World Wound. The other half told me I’d be useless. I showed them how useless I’d be… and then the good guys turned on me! Humans are so weird. So I ducked into the tall grass somewhere south of the forest and got a bit lost. SHUT UP! I can’t see my nose in front of my face in tall grass! You try to navigate when all you can see is wheat and sky!
Eventually I heard a wagon creaking and I followed it. Within the day we came to castle. Or really a walled town with a BIG HUGE HIGH stone wall. Paranoid much? The guards at the gate said the place was called “Fort Inevitable”. It looked pretty evil. The guards were all in black armor and they had a flag the was red and black with a circle and cross. They threatened me not to cause trouble. Which seems like a standard human thing to say to strangers so ignored them, and went into the town.
The place was so dreary and boring. No one talked to anyone. It was quite like the dead. Well I guess people did talk. But always the whispered or mumbled to each other. There were a number of outsiders there, like me, you could tell because they would talk in a normal voice instead of whispers. But they quickly drew attention to themselves and continued on in hushed tones. A few outsiders got loud and the black armored guards were there in an instant and took the offender away in chains. All and all a gloomy place and I decided to snooze and then move on up the road.
The next day I went north along the road. I ended up meeting a halfling pork merchant and I hitched a ride with him in his cart of smelly salted pork. He had a team of 4 ponies because he liked to keep them at a trot through the woods. Its a good thing to because goblins soon smelled his cart and came out of the woodwork. As we sped along I did some target practice killing some gobbers here and there. The halfling, who’s name was Ufiddle, was very happy to have me along and we soon were laughing and enjoying the exploding goblin chicken-shoot. We made it to his home at the Woodbristle Homestead and Ufiddle gave me a several links of fine sausage for the road and I said goodbye.
By nightfall I arrived in Thornkeep and went to the first Inn I saw “The Green Forest Inn”. A very pretty building with all kinds of flowers and green and gold paint. I went into the common room and there were a lot of people there. Some of the outsiders I had seen at Fort Inevitable were also there. They recognized me to and nodded to me as I made my way to the bar.
The place was crazy busy and like most human places I had to stand on the bar stool to be seen. I was so frustrated I even pulled my hood from my head showing my face to the room full of humans. I completely forgot that Lupus could be one of them in my frustration and dehydration. But apparently even my flaming red hair and red hot robes still weren’t enough to get the barmaid’s attention. I asked and asked for a drink and finally I just shot a jet of flame in the air to the ceiling to get attention. Which it did, and I smugly sat down on my stool to enjoy my Dragon’s Breath Ale. The barmaid was smart too, or afraid of offending me again, and gave me a very large glass, why it was half my size!
I had just wrapped both hands around the massive glass and taken a few sips when a human swordsman came over and asked me to go see his master. I agreed to and climbed down form my stool. I then looked up at him expectantly then shifted my eyes to my massive glass and back to him. The idiot didn’t catch on and finally I had to say, “Listen dumbass, if you don’t get my ale, I will have to climb back up there to get it. If I have to climb back up there I’m gonna plant my pretty perky booty down on that stool and finish it! And your master can go sod himself.” This snapped the idiot free of his cow-like thoughts and he grabbed my ale with a huff and said “right this way little miss.”
So here was a guy, not too flattering in appearance. Fat. Saggy cheeks, white hair, some unpleasantly placed moles on his face. He sat swaddled in fine velvet though so he had gold in his purse.
“Ah, My Lady! I saw your display at the counter. Can you by chance do such things to an enemy?”
“I sure can.” I said climbing up and standing on the chair opposite him.
“Wonderful! I have been tasked with the recovery of my Baroness’ daughter, who sadly has been kidnapped by a group of scoundrels called “The Splinters”. They have demanded ransom and my Baroness is more inclined to deliver swift Death! There is a reward of course. 75 gold coins! Interested?”
“Sounds fun. I’m in,” I replied
“Really? That simple? Wonderful!” He exclaimed. "Be here at 7 bells tomorrow morning I must assemble a few more would be dealers of justice. “My Thanks to you. Your name, for the records?”
“Derrynger. Pocket-sized Fire-power!” and downed my ale.
The next morning we set out. It was the not-an-elf, Scheherazade and their funny book, an Oracle called Ali, and a human Monk, Val. Due to the displays of their powers the night before I was reasonably sure that none of these tall-lings were Lupus. I think. Oh well, he hasn’t carried me off yet. The trip was relatively uneventful. We only came across some creepy vines, some bandits, and a green dragon who ran from us in fear. The battle was so insignificant that both the healer and the monk took a nap in the middle of it! It was great fun!
We travelled a bit further and entered the secret entrance that our map led us to, and that’s when things really started to get interesting. A pack of wights in front of us, a group of bandits behind us. Ali and I took the wights, while Val and Sherherazade took the bandits. Of course I killed all of the wights easily with nearly no help from Ali, but the blasted things got me and sucked away some of my spirit. It was awful! I couldn’t even throw a fireball. We decided that going on with me deprived of my favorite spell was unwise. No one wanted a cranky pyromaniac with them and I sure was cranky! So back to town we went.
After getting a little runaround Val and I ended up at the Pathfinder Society’s guild. “This isn’t good,” I thought to myself, “There’s no way to tell if the damned changeling is in here”. As we approached, I did my best to be unnoticeable and let Val do all the talking. I had expected him to be able to negotiate someone to restore me, without offending anyone, but apparently there aren’t people where he’s from. In order to get himself out of his faux pas we ended up accepting guard duty for a wedding. UGH!! So boring. But fine. We got the scroll, accepted our new traveling companion Gregory to the group, found a druid (and I didn’t let Val say a word thank you very much), got myself restored, and didn’t light a single blade of her grass on fire. See Tanaris? No rampaging. I paid attention to you after all, who would have thought it?
We travel the day to the wedding, again uneventfully. “Why do they need guards in an area so boring anyways,” I mutter to myself grumpily. I find I miss riding with Tanaris. His saddle for Maximus was built specially to accommodate my small size, and made it quite comfortable flying through the air or trotting along the road. I swear with every bounce I nearly flew off, and Ali had her hands too full with keeping control of the horse to help keep me in my seat. Tanaris never would have let me bounce like that. Why, I have half a mind to—Oh look we’re here!! A party! That looks fun!
The party was all right. I discovered that neither of the men I’m traveling with have any idea of how to talk to women. I even had to drag Gregory away from 3 young humans that he was creeping out. I nursed a glass of wine all night and kept a look out for anyone that could possibly not be who they say they are. We went back to our rooms and slept until the next morning when we would actually need to work.
I had to make a decision. The mother of the bride who retained our services specifically ask that we dress nicely and blend in with the guests. This means I had to either make myself conspicuous by staying covered in my cloak, keeping my hood up which would impair my vision of what is around me, or I had to wear my fine dress that I had brought with me and show my face in front of all these people. All these people whom could be Lupus. I’ve only been gone a short time, and while there have been no new white hairs, I’m not ready to go back to boring old Fallcrest. And I’m not ready for the argument with Tanaris and just yet. But then……I do miss lighting Jag on fire. He makes the funniest noises. And his face every time!! I miss those looks….part terror, part irritation, a little pain…..it truly is fun to watch. You know what they say “Teach a barbarian how to light a fire and he’ll keep himself warm for a night. Light a barbarian on fire and he will entertain you for the rest of his life.” I chuckled to myself picturing Jag engulfed again and got back to making the decision. The cloak will impede me too much, the dress it is.
It’s quite a fine dress after all. I needed one for all of those silly events Tanaris made me go to in the castle. Soft buttery red fabric, fitted perfectly to my small stature. Boning through the bodice and the neckline low enough to show enough cleavage that no one would mistake me as anything but a full grown woman. The skirt fell to the tops of my feet and had gorgeous silver embroidered flames that rose from the hemline up the body until just two tendrils came up to cup around my breasts. I rubbed my hands over the beeswax candle and spiked my hair out in front of the mirror. I squeezed out some berries into a bowl and used their juice to stain my lips.
I looked into the mirror and said to myself “Well, it’s not quite what my lady’s maid would have been able to do, but I suppose I’m presentable”
The looks on Val and Gregory’s faces took me aback a bit. I’m not sure what it was, but I gathered from Ali that they weren’t expecting to see a “ragamuffin urchin” to go into my room and a lady come out. Huh. okay. Humans are weird.
The ceremony went off without a hitch. Bride and groom were married, hands tied together, broom jumped over, and onward to the partying. We decided to stay a few hours and make sure nothing else happened, and that was our second mistake. The first mistake was accepting this job.
There were bugs!
Swarms of them!
I hate swarms of bugs.
The monk flipped and summersaulted up onto a roof to deal with a bug the size of a….well…..it was bigger than me. That’s about all I could see of it on that roof. But they grace Val dismayed going up there…..could he be….? No, it couldn’t be…..he held a whole conversation with that Adventure Captain and didn’t once throw a shuriken……
I lost sight of the rest of my traveling companions as I threw fire left and right to get rid of the pests. Hear a buzz? Light it on fire. I wasn’t really paying too close of attention to who was around me, barely registering Gregory’s growth to nearly 12 feet. As if he wasn’t tall enough already! Ali said I should have paid more attention. Apparently Val was engulfed in one of those swarms I immolated. Ooops. Oh well. It’s done. Luckily Lupus didn’t show up. He has this funny way of being there right after one of my traveling companions dies. That’s kind of weird. Maybe I should pay attention to where I drop my fireballs……bah! Too much work! And it takes the fun out of the chaos of fire and mayhem.
Anyways, we killed all the bugs and Val, made sure the newlyweds were alive. Would you look at that…. One guard survived! Good job guard! Maybe I’ll send him up to Fallcrest to train. We could use some good fighters up there! Just when we finish tending to our wounds we hear this booming voice from out of the mist surrounding the town ordering us to give her the bridegroom. Like we are going to follow the orders of the big scary mist. Bah! A wall of vines springs up around us and I see movement in it and barely dodge out of the way of a bolt. SPRIGGANDS!! In a rage I ignite any of them I can see while Scheherazade digs a tunnel to get the newlyweds, the guard, and the rest of us out of there.