A (rather long) post from Skyclad’s creator/player Alex Mena.
A good read.
SkyClad remembers growing up in a small hut in Delzimmer, in the Eastern Shaar, with humble beginnings. In around 1262 Dale Reckoning (DR). he was born to Kronin Nimblewind, and his wife, Ethani Wanderfuss. Kronin worked several jobs over the course of his memory of him – just to support the first few years of having their first child, which they planned among many. His mother tended to him, reared him, loosely, as a ‘halfling’ housewife could, but eventually left them when he was just 10 years old. She wandered off, having been bored of Delzimmer during their first few years there.
His father somehow understood this, and easily accepted the fact that his wife had to satiate her thirst to ‘move around’. Since then, his father was not his usual merry, excitable, and happy-go-lucky self. He stopped his usual work and donned his adventurer’s cap, taking in some treasure-hunting jobs or going with some small groups on some small quests across the nearby towns and forests. For the next few years, his father took him with him on these quests, but eventually, as he grew older, he was left to himself in Delzimmer, as his father went out on bigger ‘missions’. And he was alone for prolonged periods, with Kronin just suddenly popping out of nowhere when he least expected him to return. He would come back dirty, sun-burned, thinner, but a bit more happier, cheerful, each time. But the stories! The stories that his father would tell him – of the quests that he had been on! And the baubles that he brought with him after these – they had all than made up for his absence, he thought then.
He would listen with awe as he listened to stories of locations far removed from his typical view of normal trees, normal grasslands, normal mountains, the normal town. His father would unravel these huge, rolled-up maps of the areas west and north of Delzimmer. His quests of finding lost treasure, of having to hunt creatures that weren’t ‘normal’ and hide against the bigger ones. But then the pace of his story-telling would go slower, the tone a bit ‘less happier’ when he talked about his partymates. Kronin had always laughed and sang about the people he met and had travelled with, but when things “did not go right” in his stories of their quests together, he always did stutter when he tried to explain how his party…fell. Sometimes, one at a time, oftentimes more, all at once. He felt curious about his father’s change in tone and behaviour when it came to that point in his storytelling, but he had so many other stuff to ask him! And so little time before his father hushed him to stop, and before he went away again.
During the rare occasions when his father would stay home with him (about a whole day), he would tell him of some old myths about Graygems, Gargaths, Gnomes, Elves, Chaos, and such other stuff. He heard the word Kenderhome and Krynn several times, but he didn’t pay much attention – it was the stories about going out, adventuring, happening upon shiny, magnificent treasure (to him, they were just ‘things’), that piqued his interest. Those things were the ones that stuck in his mind. But every once in awhile, when he got the chance (usually before his father left him alone at home), he asked if his mother would return to them. And at this, his father would only fall silent, look into the distant horizon and say “she’ll be back, lad. Someday you’ll understand that’s how it is…”, and would quickly change the topic.
During these times when his father would be away, boredom more than always, set in. And he would go off into Earheart to befriend dwarven miners – first those from outside the all of the town, then those inside the walls. There was not much difference with how the dwarves on both sides were – well except those in the outside tended to be more jolly and welcomed him into their company more. Those inside often ignored him – but they carried a lot more interesting, shiny stuff! And they often always just let him have it, and have him keep it. Yes, there was the occasional shouts of “Someone here took my amulet! Or ring. Or armband. Or earring. Or helm. Or axe. Oh, and even gold teeth! They were really generous, even if they kept wailing and crying when I walk away. He would return these items to them anyway, when he grew tired of looking at them. It was just that he couldn’t help himself – it wasn’t just his fingers and his eyes that told him to reach out and take those things…it was more of his heart.
He went on to going to some small adventures into Sharrmid. From there, he joined his first group of adventurers – he was only 18 years old then. His strong, youthful wanderlust drove him to venture out alone from his empty home, with not so much as a second thought or looking back. His feet took him to The Forest of Amtar, to the Great Swamp (Rethild), across the North Wall into the Misty Vale. From here, he acquired 2 friends who set out with him, leading him through The Wyrmbones, and onto the Lake of Steam. Going back south, towards the Black Jungle, they eventually parted ways, as SkyClad just suddenly felt the urge to go back to his father.
(His two friends? they eventually died in the Jungles of Chult in The Wild Coast)
When he came back to Delzimmer, however, his father was nowhere to be seen. He was 25 years old then. He had left him a note, saying:
SkyClad. Did you know how you got that name? I came home one night and your mother had just tucked you in. She was crying…but she was smiling. Crazy, that mother of yours…but she cryingly told me that that morning, she was fixing up the house, with you in her Chofar and one minute she was singing to you and then suddenly you weren’t in your sling anymore. She looked for you all around the house but you weren’t inside. When she went out, she saw you running away, hands up, naked. Running towards the sunrise, like only a small crazy baby would. And she said the beams of the sunrise clothed you from where she saw you. And that made her proud. She said that meant something, someday.
But she couldn’t tell me what it was. Because you were less than a year old and already running? Or because you managed to sneak away from her – her, your mother, the single best…in what she did. She just laughed and cried. Like I told you, crazy, that mother of yours.
Well, I have to go. I will probably run into you on the road somewhere. I just hope you will still remember your father’s face when we do, as I know I will always remember yours.
Someday, you’ll understand why she left. And why I’m leaving, as well…and soon, you’ll also know our true origin. And yes, as your mother kept saying, “he’s meant for bigger things”.
You have to learn all these by yourself, son. You’re a Nimblewind! Don’t you forget that. And never believe them when they tell you that you’re only half the man you are!
-your pa, Kronin
Did you see my handy, triple-strapped waist pouch? I remember locking that thing away…oh well nevermind.
Initially, he thought that his father was just off to another big quest somewhere. The note baffled him. It was the first and the last letter he ever got from him.
It took him a long time to absorb the weight of what the letter meant. It took him a good 3 minutes. And he was back to being alone and going out on his own small adventures as well.
This time, his Wanderlust pushed him northwards, towards the direction of The Road to the Dawn, an interesting name worthy of an escapade. From here, he reached the Great Wild Wood, as he thought, “who wouldn’t want to venture to a forest with that name!”. He came across a small group of Halflings (pun intended) – which he found out, with some very slight disappointment, did not welcome him that much. It took a good while before they grew fond of him and eventually trusted him to go with them.
They found him very odd, despite their subtle similarities in size, as his child-like nature of asking too many questions and being too fond of gossip and eavesdropping on conversations, quickly got to their nerves. But the one thing that did annoy all of them was SkyClad’s fervent curiosity. They thought, at first, that this was just his ‘getting-to-know-you behaviour – that he was just asking all the questions because he was excited to be with his own kind, with new possible friends. He asked too much, equally talking the same deal. But then there was the thievery! Ever since he joined their group, everyone started losing their valuables. From the smallest bead, down to their self-made moccasins! They eventually confronted him about this – and this led to another aspect of this weird creature’s personality – his absolute honesty! Again, they thought this to be a malicious ploy to manipulate and win them over, but over the course of a few weeks, this had proven to be his nature, his true, naked nature. And this angered each of them even more.
Only one of the Halflings got around to trying to understand SkyClad’s nature, as he himself was considered an outcast (or the odd one in their bunch) in the first place. Eventually, they also discovered SkyClad’s innate (and self-trained) prowess in detecting traps, tracking and spotting game, as well as his combats skills. He saved half their party during an ugly encounter with some of the Wood’s wild inhabitants, including saving several of their trackers from perfectly-hidden traps…and he saved all of them when they were in dire need of food. He soon became a valuable asset of their group, down to the end, when they were all captured by slavers from Thay.
Thay – SkyClad could have easily avoided the slavers – he was out hunting for their food when he heard a loud commotion back at their camp. Slavers had surrounded their camp, pinning most of their weak, starving fighters right on their sleeping mats. But he didn’t want to abandon his friends. This was another trait they found odd about him. He could’ve easily escaped and left them, and yet, because of his good nature, he chose to be captured along with them. Even weirder yet, he wasn’t even panicking when they threw him in with them in the slave wagon. He practically relished the experience…and their stark realization was that…he knew no fear!
Over the course of a week, the group lost most of its members, with SkyClad only being able to save 2 of them. They escaped and went on to traverse the borders of the Endless Wastes, across the Sunrise Mountains. Having been able to go to the North Country, and then to Peltarch, here his 2 companions decided to stay to recuperate. They egged him to move on, and he did, going…
Amn – Here, he spent a month mingling with humans, who found him entertaining, at first, as he “was not like the typical Halfling” they regularly came across. But after an hour, they would get around to regretting having him with them, as was his experience with the other folk. Amn was a rich city, and there were so many objects to pick up, so many people to meet. He talked with many of them – or at least, overheard their stories of adventure, on the streets, in the taverns, in their houses, even. After getting bored of collecting so many trinkets from this place, he decided to try out the locations he heard in their stories.
It was in these meanderings where he met some pirates that seemed to immediately take a liking to him. Or maybe of his skill with acquiring valuables. They were eager and friendly, and gave him simple assignments, which involved just taking stuff. He did know that thievery wasn’t nice, so he devised a way to take back what he gave them, with the hopes of returning those to their rightful owners. However, he was not unable to fulfill this task, as he became easily distracted when they invited him on their ship, the Amber Dread. It was not his first time on a ship, but this was a big one! And they sailed off across the Sea of Swords, traveling to the Moonshae Isles, and up the Sword Coast.
The Sword Coast – while in the company of his pirate friends, he again brought up the conversation if they knew anything about Krynn, Kender, and the Graygem. As with most of the folk that he asked, they just gave him blank stares and hearty laughter. It seemed, that throughout his travels, no one knew of these – it may have just been hollow tales that his father made up. Maybe just to keep his attention from asking too much about his quests (well he did ask too much) and about his mother. He found himself dismissing these tales altogether and vowed that he would only ask about these again, when he had nothing more to ask the folk he was with. Ever.
SkyClad went with his pirate friends towards Baldur’s Gate, as the ship’s captain had several deliveries to be made, with Baldur’s Gate the first on his list. Unfortunately, after spending a few months there, they were ambushed and overpowered by Trolls. With only a handful of his crew left, the captain, with help from SkyClad, barely made it back to the Amber Dread. The ship’s first mate recommended that they head to Waterdeep where he knew someone who knew someone that was acquainted with someone else, where they could lay low, restock and recuperate. The captain expired en route, and pretty soon, the crew had mutinied. They threw out the first mate and his loyal crew, near Lizard Marsh. SkyClad did not find any friends in this new group so he hid in the ship’s lower decks, intent on seeing this Waterdeep. When they did port, the people that knew the people who knew the Amber Dread’s first mate arrested the mutineers. And so SkyClad was again, alone, now free to explore the marvellous Crown of the North, Waterdeep.
He stayed for a good 5 years in this city, the longest he’s ever stayed anywhere outside of his hometown. He had dealings with all sorts of folk and went on quests that were mostly just delivering something to someone while keeping out of sight. He had earned a good reputation here in those aspects, and as such, was sought after by some groups of adventurers to guide them through the city, even to the halls of the Undermountain. When the missions got longer and the folk more unusual, and therefore more interesting, he noticed that he was being watched. Someone in the shadows, every once in awhile, that feeling – and no one, NO ONE could best him in hiding, sneaking and lurking. So it was strange that he felt that presence while he was on his quests.
He had met quite a number of groups that wanted him on their roster. And he always happily obliged, but it was just the usual walk-about, with a bit of fighting some beasties, taking treasure and splitting these up, then *poof*, everyone just went their own way. This went on for the next few months, until he grew tired of the repetition.
So it was that he went to Mithral Hall to visit some old dwarven friends that he heard, had moved there from the mines near his hometown. He was hoping to get some adventure from them but some of them were either dead, got wealthy and decided to just keep drinking their days and nights away, while others just…got drunk. He explored the city with some new acquaintances, during his first few months. He found out that a whole party of dwarves, was just about as fun as fishing in a small lake. So after finishing one of their hunts in the Sword Mountains, he bid them farewell as he was off to Neverwinter, just like that.
A lot of stories about Neverwinter were told to him by adventurers he went around with, from Waterdeep. It’s “The City of Skilled Hands” they said. And so that got his attention immediately. And just finding out quickly that that meant gardening, that got his disappointment going, immediately, as well. Nevertheless, he went on his way. It had surprised him that the climate there was always warm, and he quickly went on to find out why. During the course of this quest, he started developing some kind of Tourette’s syndrome. Every once in a while when he felt excited over anything, he would unconsciously blurt out a word, almost to a shout. And it was always a word or a phrase that he did not understand. Folk that travelled with him attest that it was a language…that no one could identify. Although he could somehow control this sickness, especially when it counted (like when he’s sneaking up behind someone), it would almost always occur when he was relaxed – and that spike in excitement would trigger it. One time he uttered out a familiar word: “Kender”, but he just dismissed it, along with this strange sickness.
One thing that he liked about Neverwinter, was that there, the feeling of being watched and followed, had disappeared. He only noticed this during his third month here. He wondered if it was because of the magical barriers in place or if he was just being paranoid when he was in Waterdeep. Whatever the cause, he somehow missed it. He took that as a challenge, and now that it was gone, he wondered what it really was.
On a mission to travel to Icewind Dale, with a new band of travellers, he was recruited to be their scout. It was a group of seven – 3 humans, 2 elves, a dwarf, a Halfling. They all looked experienced and acted accordingly so – and it turned out that these were high profile adventurers. Still they found him unusual, especially the Halfling. That did not surprise him anymore – but it did not stop him from quickly liking this group.
However, upon nearing Luskan, which they had to try and avoid, their party was ambushed just as they were about to camp at dusk. Even with 2 mages that were tasked to mask their presence, they easily got detected, with the mages the first to fall from a hail of arrows. Magical arrows, he could tell. The melee ensued almost immediately. He was ready, stabbing and jumping and running to and from the shadows. But the attackers numbered thrice theirs, and soon he found himself alone, hidden low in the ground, listening. The sounds of fighting had stopped. He could only hear the ambushers search and look through his group’s corpses.
He slipped silently through the trees to get a better look. About 10 feet from where he was, about 10 of the attackers stood, mostly brutish humans – some looked like barbarians, others pirates. In front of them stood 2 men – a big hulking barbarian who looked like the leader, and a tall, thin, hooded man. All of them were standing over his fallen allies.
A snake-like voice came out of the hooded man’s lips.
“There are just ssseven of them, yessss?”
“Aye, though it seems the Halfling was quick enough to dispatch of 5 our number before someone was able to shoot him with an arrow.” Said the burly leader, a dark-haired man, half his big muscular body covered in plate pieces. “that makes a total of 8 lost on our…”
“It mattersss not! We have done asss we have been ordered. Leave their bodiesss to the wild. We have no more time for dissspatching of their remainsss. Let their leadersss in Neverwinter wonder what became of their elite forccce.” He ended his line with a reptilian cackle.
SkyClad waited for them to depart, listening for any movement afterwards. There was only silence and the rustle among the trees as a strong wind blew past. He quickly went over each of his group’s corpses, crouching or kneeling to see if they still breathed. He felt sad at this, recounting some of the reasons why he had grown to like this batch.
There was a soft moan behind him. He quickly rolled forward, facing towards the sound as he crouched back up. His dagger drawn and aimed before him. It came from the Halfling! He blinked first before rushing towards him, turning him over softly to his side, as the arrow in his back was still firmly in place.
“SkyClad…”, he murmured, his eyes rolling into whites with each slow, rasping breath.
“I’m here…don’t speak, I’ll try and heal…”
“No!” the Halfling cut him off with a small shout and shot out his free arm at SkyClad’s shoulder, squeezing his sleeve with a death grip,”listen… well….go…Luskan…hide…find…hooded man…his mark…” with this, he traced a letter ‘Z’ on SkyClad’s sleeve, leaving the imprint with his own blood.
“You will know….why…just follow, listen…” and with his last word, his eyes closed tight and a grimace of pain marked his face…and was slowly still.
The Halfling was gone. He slowly turned the body face down and diverted his gaze to the bloody Z on his sleeve as he did so. “What does this mean?” he asked himself. Looking around, he darted into the brush with a soft run. There was no time to stay and think.
“I’ll know it when I get there.” He sprinted a bit among the trees, with the early evening light helping his dark vision ease up a bit. And with that thought, he suddenly blurted out “Hylo awaits!” and covered his mouth quickly.
Running made him think clearly. If he tried to go back to report what had happened – to whom would he report this to? His contract was with them, sealed verbally on a tavern table. He was not even sure what the group’s real mission to Icewind Dale was about. But somehow, he felt the urgency, the importance. He could not go back…he would lose trace of the ambush party’s tracks if he did not catch up immediately.
He stopped suddenly, almost stumbling forward. He thought about the slithering man with the hood. He was the magic user. He had detected the party – if he followed them, he would get detected as well! He crouched on the ground, and absent-mindedly, without looking down, touched a soft patch of leaves that appeared to have been recently stepped-on. He could not continue even if he got the trail – the mage would easily spot him. As he rose slowly to his feet, he intended to turn around and go back to Neverwinter. And stopped in mid-motion.
“Wait.” He thought, “he wasn’t able to count me. I was a few feet away and he didn’t count me as the 8th member of the party. No one even knew that I killed 5 of their men. They did not know that I was there. Strange that I am…I don’t think he can detect me…” this last line reassured him a bit. It was self-convincing. And he was always easily swayed…by himself. Half a smile broke from his closed lips.
With this, he went back to the trail, picking up a silent stride amidst the soft ground covered with leaves.
They were on the shores of the River Mirar, overlooking Luskan at the other end of it. Their number was easily seen this time, as the moon seemed to cooperate with him, shining a sort of spotlight on their group. There were 15 of them. Archers numbering 5, 2 hulking barbarians, the leader included, 2 lean pirates, 3 rogue assassins, and of course, the lone mage.
A smooth stone slab, about 2 feet wide and 4 feet tall was half buried, reclined in the shore with the mage in front of it. It suddenly raised both its arms, the sleeves of his robes, quickly falling down in folds down his shoulders, revealing thin, scaly arms! His companions drew back, a bit surprised with his gesture but were otherwise intent on watching his hands, while the others, looked around if there was anybody who saw them / him, doing this strange ritual.
The hooded man gestured upwards and jerked both hands immediately downwards on the stone slab before him.
A slow, lazy glow of an outline of a 7-foot doorway appeared from the stone slab, the outline going upwards and out of it. The mage did not even flinch as the magical doorway fully revealed itself with a soft hum, and what was beyond it. The leader motioned to his men, with his big right hand, to enter the doorway. They lined-up, single-file, with the archers first, going through the door. The light around the doorway’s outline was a bit blinding, but SkyClad could see what was in the other end.
He could see a corridor, with dark-gray slabs of bricks for walls, lined-up with some torches. These were not enough to illuminate what was farther down the hall, however, and all he could see was where these men headed – about 5 feet after entering the doorway, they turned right and descended on a staircase, their shadows projected on the walls by a torch from somewhere down where they were headed.
“Hmm, I could follow them in… I can just stay back a bit to let them all go down the staircase. Unless the mage stays behind to close the door – …”
He thought about this just at the exact moment when the big leader turned right to descend the staircase. The mage, hands still raised, walked briskly into the doorway. Once he crossed into it, he quickly put his arms down and hunched his shoulders, showing how the ritual had made him weary. The leader let him descend first before taking a final glance into the doorway – and SkyClad could almost swear they locked eyes – except that it was highly doubtful that the leader had exceptionally god-like eyesight to be able to see him in the dark, crouched and well-hidden in the bushes. After about 10 seconds, he looked towards the steps of the staircase and went down as well.
As the mage and the leader’s shadows were lighted up on the walls, showing that they were going down a winding spiral staircase, SkyClad made his move.
The doorway was slowly shimmering and becoming transparent. The view on the other side was fading into the background (which was the river). SkyClad huffed as he quickly arrived before the stone slab, with the doorway just inches away from his nose when he stopped short of it. It took him a fast dash, and he was expecting to just jump into the doorway when he came before it.
But somehow, he stopped just in front of it. He wanted to take one last breath before entering. It might be his last. Who knows if this doorway had an anti-intruder spell and he’d just get vaporized into ashes! Or if the damn thing had an alarm built into it and it would alert the entire group or even half of their fortress to his presence?
“Whew! Here goes nothing!” and he leaps into the vanishing doorway, with both feet in the air, with a smile on his face.
It was utter determination to see this mission to its end, and so he went into the magical doorway, already starting to shimmer and disappear, the details of his mission, vague, save for the words from a dying Halfling.
“Will this lead into Luskan? Or wherever? I hope it’s someplace interesting!”
“Tasslehoff!!!” he almost shouts.
SkyClad followed into the doorway. He did not notice whether the magical doorway disappeared completely behind him. He just hoped it would still be there after this mission but he knew that would be a longshot. He focused instead on the task at-hand and went down the spiral staircase, moving silently and quickly. The descent is long, a good 30 feet down, with numerous steps feeling loose and unstable as the angle of descent sharpened. It was getting darker, as the torches were now far and few in-between. For SkyClad, that was a good thing. The dark was his only defense as of now, and it was welcome to escort him wherever the staircase would lead them…
The air had gotten more humid, and a bit colder. SkyClad knew that they were already underground, just from the feeling and the scent in the area. He quickly crouched and found his way to some rotting, albeit huge stacks of wooden crates, a good 20-feet from the steps. He hid behind them and surveyed the area. Here was a huge, circular chamber, with massive stone pillars lining the center and the hallways that acted as arterial crossroads that stretched and vanished in the darkness. There were four separate directions. And the torches were now very scarce.
SkyClad follows the leader and the mage into a ceremonial chamber. He is discovered and the he fights them. It is a long, agonizing fight as he is relentlessly pursued and attacked by the leader, with the mage harassing him with spells, and assisting the brute from behind. The big one does not tire and cannot be killed! Several spells are protecting him.
He is finally able to throw one of his daggers straight at the mage, breaking his concentration. The gamble paid off, but no sooner had he formed a small smile on his face, when he is struck in mid-air by a big fist in the middle of his back. He is thrown towards one of the thin pillars, his right shoulder taking the brunt of the impact against it. He grimaces with the paralyzing pain, more so when he hits the floor, left-elbow first. He tries to catch his breath but realizes that it also hurts to do so. The leader slowly walks towards him, picking up his long scimitar on the floor without breaking stride.
Suddenly, the leader slumps forward, exhausted, confused. He falls to both knees, then he is on all fours, on the floor. The spells have worn off! He is able to kill the leader with a stab to the back of the head. But the battle has cost him. He is very tired, his ribs are broken, he has gashes on his limbs, his face, and not to mention a myriad of bruises where he was pommeled. His right side and right arm is burnt from the mage’s fireball.
He painfully picks himself up, and walks towards the mage, with his favourite dagger in his left hand.
SkyClad gets some small details from the mage regarding the Zhentarim and their plans to capture the towns and cities.
He is betrayed and is struck by a magic missile on the chest. He lies on the floor, dying, the mage also dead on the farther end of the room.
His mother comes to him, dreamily. He almost does not recognize her, but he knows the outline of her face, her eyes, too well.
“My child…I have been following you. I have been observing you, and have warned you. Your father and I wanted you to live in this world peacefully. We fought against a war in out homeworld, Krynn. We managed to escape when Malystryx had driven us from Kendermore. We were led by Moonsong in what is called the Kender flight. We have known fear, my love and vowed that you should never feel it. We wanted you to start anew, to live in harmony in Faerun. We both knew we had to let you grow up on your own. Do you know how painful it is for me to leave you, my child? I wanted to be with you, but I needed to keep you safe, and that meant hiding from you.”
“Fate was playing with us, however, and I knew that our Wanderlust would eventually have us meeting down the road. I saw you then in Waterdeep, where I am based. The Guild is located there. I could not resist it anymore. I longed to see how you talked, how you walked, how you laughed, how you moved. How you hid and fought. And the day I saw how you had grown, my life quest was complete. I was so happy. “
“And yet here you are. I should have moved sooner. I could have stopped you. Or fought alongside you.”
“This artefact I have with me. I will sacrifice my life to let you live again. But I know not what this will do to your body and mind.”
With that, Ethani Wanderfuss uses the artifact to transfer her lifeforce to SkyClad. She slumps near him, lifeless, clutching his hand.
SkyClad wakes up, surprised as to where he is. He looks over the motionless body of a short woman beside him. He examines her and is curious as to why she is there and how she is dead. As he stands up, he hears a large commotion outside the big wooden doors. It seems that there are a number of people who are all shouting and banging on the door. Quite a few. Oh wait, maybe a small army? He checks his chest, and feels a small itch, and wonders why his tunic and robe are seared open as if struck by fire? A big crunch on the door pries his attention from his wardrobe. He gathers his things on the floor (those are all his, right? Since he’s been lying there the whole while anyway, and if anyone left them, well they made the right decision to leave them around me, with me – I’ll take good care of them). This includes one particularly long and sleek dagger that has intricate runes on the blade and handle and *SO SHINY*. As he makes a run towards the opposite door, he looks back at the big one, shuddering from impact (probably from a small battering ram). And he again glimpses the woman’s face as he slowly closes the door behind him.
He gets a sinking feeling. He feels heavy. He feels a deep sadness.
SkyClad had also travelled to the Underdark, to the Drow city of Menzoberranzan where he escorted one of his former companions from a scouting mission from Neverwinter. His friend, being grateful that SkyClad saved his life in an ambush upon returning to the Drow city, trained him in some fighting techniques that he learned from one of the academies there.
After this adventure, SkyClad headed out to the direction of Targos, amidst a foul winter.
1372 Dale Reckoning (DR). The Ten Towns, Icewind Dale.
A group of 3 raiders, discussing, although in hushed, secretive tones, plans to attack a caravan from Targos.
He conveniently and quite quickly, eavesdropped on the conversation, being able to take in every word, every rasping cough in-between them, amidst the otherwise deafening noise in the Salty Dog. And this is one big reason why Commander Lander did ask for his services under the Targos militia – he was the best informer they had ever come across. Starting from casual gossip among local patrons of the tavern, to getting dangerous assignments on valuable information from criminal groups, and the more sinister cults that had suddenly emerged among the outskirts of various towns and cities such as Blackhaven and Luskan.
He followed them out of the town, starting at dusk, down the main road, and onto a path in the forest. They talked a lot while on the way, on their horses, with the third one laughing so shirrilly that it was a bit annoying already. They were totally oblivious that he was just a few meters behind them.
Suddenly, they stop at the edge of a clearing, dismounting and hiding their horses behind some wide and tall trees, a good distance from where they wanted to be. It was already evening. From his height, he had to look all the way up to see that the moon was being covered by some clouds. He didn’t mind as vision in the dark was still that reliable. Well let’s not mince words…they were excellent! This self-reassurance always made him smile. He stopped walking towards them, and crouched amongst the brush. They were slowly walking away from each other, a bit hunched forward, and tried their best to sneak (pfft, you call that sneaking, guys? Really?!) all the while, making hand gestures to each other to go to their respective directions, encircling the clearing.
Then he saw what – well, who, they were going to surprise – a well-armoured dwarf in the distance, camped in the middle of the clearing, unaware (typical of all dwarves!) of the ambush these 3 were going to try to pull on him.
They un-sheathed their weapons and signalled the simultaneous attack on the poor lonely dwarf (although he had an ass with him in camp).
“Ok, wait, should I even intervene at this point?” he thought, as the sounds of shouting and a battle started in the clearing.
“I could wait till this is over – maybe the dwarf has a chance to win it…” war cries have been shouted by the dwarf.
SkyClad squints his eyes to try and observe the battle from his location. “Hmm, seems he’s proficient at combat anyway…oh, that’s a good jab by raider number 2! Oooh, that barely hurt him!”
Suddenly, his eyes widen, as a glint flashes through them.
“I haven’t seen such a shiny holy symbol like that since I was last in Mithrall! It looks heavy! Oh well, might as well help him carry it!” he thinks, as he unsheathes his dagger and rushes into battle.
And that, as they say, is history…