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Harry's Story

Author: 
Rich Dersheimer
Old Vault Category: 
fanfiction
Old Vault ID: 
246

We had, of course, fought many gypsies and minotaurs on the frontier before, to our great profit and advancement. But this time the guards at the gate gave disturbing news of necromantic activity in the area, and fearsome strange beasts to test our mettle. In spite of this warning, or perhaps because of it, we quickly gathered our forces and made ready. The spellcasters among us called forth protective magics, summoning familiars and pets, the fighters checked their weapons and armor.

I studied the faces of my comrades as we waited for the gates to open, noting excitement, resolve, even a bit of fear amongst the younger ones. The group would gain and lose members as the fighting went on, but a steady core would hold us together throughout.

Ashrain was there, quiet and worried, until he caught me looking his way. Then he grinned at me and stepped up to the gate.

Lauralanthalasa was there as well, she of the razor sharp blade and even sharper wit. Laural and I had adventured together before on the frontier, and I knew she would have no worries. Her midnight-black panther Malla snarled with anticipation, tail whipping back and forth.

Then the gate was open, and the battle begun! Grizzly bears, dire bears and tigers charged in amongst the group, our blades singing and spells ripping the air. The guards were right, this would be a day to remember! The animals seemed extremely agitated, and attacked with a ferocity we had not seen before.

After finally beating down the dire hordes, we rested a bit, then continued on towards a shrine we thought the gypsies would be guarding. Stopping near the river, we posted our four-legged companions as camp guards, and approached the shrine. At once a gypsy chief charged us, with a healer and a mage standing off to harry us with spells. Knowing the healer would keep the other two alive far longer than we desired, I sprinted forward and smashed him to the ground. I ran him through with my blade as my battle-mates dispatched the mage and the leader.

On it went, for hours it seemed. First the gypsies, then the minotaurs across the river, then back to the gypsies, our blood-thirst unquenchable. We must have killed hundreds! Skills were gained, advancement achieved, loot collected... the day wore on. Warriors and wizards joined and left, some died, some avoided that necessity. And still we fought on.

Then it was just Laural and I, standing back to back, striking down all who came against us, until the moment came when I knew I would advance no further, make no more gain in skill or learn any new spells or feats.

"Hold", I cried, "I have increased in all ways that I can, and would rest and recover, and consider my achievement."

As we sat there, catching our breath and cleaning our weapons, I pondered what course of action I would take. Retire? Devote my time to the church? Start a school for young adventurers? I had given some thought to using my collected wealth to open a small tavern somewhere near the frontier. But it does get lonely out there on the edge of civilization, especially when the adventurers are all in town, preparing for the next battle.

I noticed Laural glancing at my sword as I ran the cloth down its length. Even stained with gore and blood, the katana fairly gleamed in the twilight. It is an excellent weapon, sharper and lighter than any other I have ever seen, better even than the fine katana she had been using on the gypsies. I gave it a final polish, and on a sudden impulse, I held it out to her.

"For the next battle", I told her.

She hesitated, "Really? But Harry..." Then she took the blade, nodding. "For the next battle", she said, holding out her own sword. I took it from her hand and raised it in salute.

I smiled then, "And I will gladly stand at your side, in any place, at any time."

"And I at yours", she replied at once.

I realized then what I had gained in my adventures on the frontier. I gained much more than any ranking in combat skills or position in the church, much more than all the gold and loot I could ever carry. Whatever fate brings me, I will always treasure the friends I made in the Lands of Dambrath.

So... if you happen by the Shark's Tooth in Arkatuil, and you see an older, war-weary gent sitting in the corner, stop and say hello. I'll buy you an ale and you can tell me the latest news from the frontier!

Harry Blackfist

Retired Mercenary Blade

Elder Cleric of the AllOne

The Lands of Dambrath





Harry's Story © Rich Dersheimer

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