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  • #16
    Chapter 14: Isekai Life & Rock Candy

    I flinched when Ashryn referred to me as “Lord Esche”, and from the corner of my eye, I could see Katriana glancing around the early morning street making sure that nobody was listening. The name probably didn't mean anything to Voss- being a former guard he probably wasn't educated in the geopolitical landscape of this world, and besides, was distracted by the elven cleric's holy fonts.

    Ashryn immediately noted our discomfort, though. “Did I say something wrong? You are Lord and La-”

    “Ashryn, right?!” Katriana said loudly, stepped forward to shake a confused Ashryn's hand, “It's so nice to meet you. Yes, you've found the right people. You can call me Katriana, and this is my little brother, Theo. The armoured man here is our friend, Voss, who's an adventurer just like you and I! Please, forget any formalities- treat us exactly like any other adventurers you'd meet anywhere.”

    The elf smiled cheerily. “Of course, milady, I wouldn't think of doing anything else.”

    She even attempted another curtsy before Katriana put a hand on her arm and physically prevented it. I must have winced, because the elf immediately looked alarmed again.

    But then, Voss came to same the day.

    He smoothly stepped forward, took Ashryn's hand and kissed it, before smiling up at her. Dropping his voice an octave, he said, “Greetings, sweet lady. I am Voss Durand, and worry not, I will be sure to protect you in our travels.”

    Ashryn smiled brightly and said, “Oh! Thank you, but I'm okay! I left my shield and armour at the convent, but I made sure to bring my mace today, just in case!”

    She unhooked a small, one-handed flanged mace from her belt and held it up to show everyone, before carefully tapping it on Voss' chest with an enthusiastic, “Boop!”

    Voss' smile was frozen on his face, the rictus of a man who had taken a mortal wound to his pride.

    Despite his wounded pride, Voss did manage to knock Ashryn off the topic of “his and her lordship”, and we were able to set off.

    I did have some questions about Ashryn, but they were mostly a case of, if she was conning us, she'd just continue to lie, but if she was telling the truth she might end up calling me Lord Esche again. I could approach the subject of why Mariska had assigned her to us later, when we could explain our situation with some amount of privacy- for now, it seemed best to just distract her with the investigation.

    We didn't really plan for a single-file marching order, but soon the streets filled up with enough people that it became a necessity. As the bulkiest one of us, Voss was in the front, breaking trail (so to speak), and Katriana followed, making sure his wake remained open enough for little old me.

    Ashryn ended up behind me, which made a certain amount of sense as the cleric, but it didn't have to do with tactics or practicality. Instead, it was because she chattered on about everything and for some reason seemed to think I was interested in every little thought in her head.

    “Wow! I can't believe I'm finally on my first adventure ever! And in such a big city, too!”

    “Uh,” I replied, “Didn't you mention something about a convent before?”

    “Yes! I was originally trained in a mountain convent somewhere to the northeast of here. We have to be in the mountains and away from the city, you see, because that's the only way we can see the stars. Astrology is important, you know? But it's very hard to do in a city unless it's very late in the night after all the fires have been doused. You can't be missing the fainter stars just because f a little light pollution drowning them out, you know?”

    “You left your shield and armour at a convent way out in the boonies?”

    “Oh, no, silly! High Priestess Mariska asked the convent in the city to loan me a cell while we were here. I can't afford a room at an inn like she does, and she also said it wouldn't do for a growing girl who's just an acolyte, like me, to be exposed to the temptations of the big city so soon. I'm only one hundred and eleven years old, you know?”

    “Uh, right... well, at least that's handy....”

    “So you're a mage, right? That's great, I've never met an arcane magic user before! I've only ever met other clerics. They're nice enough, I guess, but I wanted to meet someone who could conjure fireballs and stuff!”

    “Well... I'm a Transmuter, specifically....”

    “Oh, wow, that's great! I mean, I don't know what that means, but it sounds pretty cool! Don't worry, though, I won't get in your way! I mean, I made sure to memorize a cure spell on top of the usual stuff, you know? But I can't do lightning bolts or fireballs or anything, so we won't be stepping on each other's toes, right?”

    Wait, if a cure spell is extra, what does “the usual” mean!?

    “But it's so cool finally meeting a real wizard!” she continued, “And I guess some fighters, too? Well, the temple had some guards, but adventurer-fighters are pretty great as well. But they can't do spells. Anyway, I was hoping- IS THAT MAN MAKING MAGIC CRYSTALS!?”

    Her shocked tone of voice brought me out of my agreeable stupor. While Voss was leading us to the temple district, he happened to pass right in front of a confectioner's shop window as we moved through the more upscale end of the shopping district. A pale-faced, chubby assistant was hanging strings of rock candy on a rack by the window, dyed pink, blue, yellow and purple.

    I looked at Ashryn in stunned disbelief, but she was thoroughly entranced by the crystalline candy.

    “Ashryn,” I said slowly, “How old did you say you were?”

    “One hundred eleven....” she said absently.

    “And how long were you in that convent for?”

    “Almost my whole life, except for the occasional trip to the nearby farming village.”

    How can someone spend nearly a century under complete lockdown!?

    I sighed, and grabbed Ashryn by the wrist, pulling her inside the candy store.

    The whole place was dazzling with all sorts of shapes and bright, cheery colours. There was very little chocolate, I noted, but a fair bit of fudge, some pastries, but mostly all sorts of decorative candy. Not just the rock candy crystals, but bags of glasslike chunks with different coloured designs, as well as jellies, toffees, a hundred other things.

    It was a little embarrassing to be the only two adults in there who didn't work there nor were accompanied by children, but with Ashryn looking around in wonder, I just kind of hoped people thought people thought she was retarded and I was her keeper, or something.

    Of course, once we approached the counter, Ashryn started peppering the confectioner with question after question about how it worked, how it was made, and so on that she didn't even noticed I bought two bags and a bit of rock candy on a stick.

    She was opening her mouth to ask another question, when I stuck the rock candy in her mouth, hoping I didn't scratch her tongue with it. If her eyes were wide before, they suddenly became saucerlike.

    “It's sweet!” she said, in a tone that made me want to slap my forehead.

    “Yeah, that's why people buy it,” I said, handing her one of the bags, “Here's for later, or if you just want to look at it or something.”

    “Wow! Thank you!”

    She suddenly hugged my arm in a very un-priest-like way, looking genuinely happy at this small gift. I flushed and looked away. Having finally confessed and bedded Katriana, I wasn't really aiming to put another notch in my belt right away... I was just aiming to sort of set things up.

    When we left the confectioner's, we met Voss and Katriana waiting a short ways away. He appeared amused, but Katriana was pissed off. Even without the beautiful, buxom elf hanging on my arm, I would have been chastened. But I was ready for this.

    “You can't ju-” was all she managed to get out before I slipped the toffee in her mouth.

    High dexterity, natch. I wouldn't have much time before she finished chewing, though.

    “I'm sorry, I should have said something before we headed in there. But Ashryn was really curious about the candy, and I just couldn't help buying her something. She hasn't been out of her convent for long, after all.”

    Katriana swallowed, looked at Ashryn, and sighed. “You don't slow down, do you? Hey Ashryn, Voss here used to be the house guard for a noble family, I bet he's seen some really fancy parties.”

    “Oh, really!?” Ashryn said, excited again, “With lords and ladies? Were there any masquerades!?”

    As Voss chatted with the elf, we got moving again.

    “You really couldn't help yourself?”

    I ran a nervous hand through my hair. “Actually, what I really wanted was this,” I said, handing her the bag of toffees. “They're one of your favourites, right? I should make sure to buy my fiancee gifts to keep her happy.”

    She still looked at me doubtfully, but popped another candy in her mouth regardless. “I don't know if you remember, but we never gave Mariska our last names.”

    That stopped me cold.

    “So....”

    “So at the very least, the elf either knows more than she lets on. I wonder how much of the airhead act is real and how much is smokescreen.”

    I shook my head. “But why would Mariska want to send us... what a saboteur? A spy?”

    “It's just a hunch but... let's keep knowledge of that cipher away from her for now, okay?”

    I nodded. “Right, okay.”

    “And try not to be a complete slave to that cock of yours, alright?”

    I sighed. “You know, it wasn't really like that....”

    “Maybe... but... well, I wonder.”

    At some point, the crowds had thinned out a lot, and the buskers and street vendors had disappeared all the while the buildings got bigger, more elaborate and imposing.

    We had entered the temple district.

    -------------------------------------------

    Character Name: Theodore Esche
    Race: Human
    Class: Transmuter
    Level (XP): 1 (1402/2500)
    Hit Points: 1

    Ability Scores
    Strength 11
    Dexterity 17
    Constitution 8
    Intelligence 17
    Wisdom 13
    Charisma 14

    Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

    Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

    Spells Per Day:
    1st Level- 2

    Spellbook:
    (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

    Equipment: Backpack, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (17), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Oil of Acid Resistance, Robes (3), Signet Ring, Small Tent

    Money: 33 gp, 4 sp, 5 cp

    Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

    Companions: Katriana (Level 1 Fighter, fiancee), Voss (Level 1 Fighter), Ashryn (Level 1 Cleric)

    Sexual Partners: 1
    Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
    Currently Working On: Banter and chats
    Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

    Comment


    • #17
      Chapter 15: Isekai Life & Snake Dissection

      From there it was easy to find the site of the temple dedicated to Yphion. It was the huge, burnt-out husk right next to the Islingquet, was a pair of morose-looking acolytes picking through the wreckage. Our quartet was just one of several lookie-loos peering over the husk of the temple, but a pair of city guards were on hand to prevent people from swarming the site.

      “The two guards are men, I'll handle this,” Katriana said, and drifted away from the party, “Why don't you look for what evidence you can?”

      Ashryn was still pestering Voss about something, so I was able to move around the whole structure and get a good look. While it seemed a lot of the outer shell was stonework, it had been placed around and supported by a wooden framework. Unlike that tomb at the edge of the city, a fire here had been a disaster and completely destroyed the building.

      I had no idea what I was supposed to find, though, especially since the guard that Katriana wasn't talking to kept giving cut-eye every time I got a little too close to the rubble.

      There was a loud curse and the sound of cracking timber as one of the acolytes hurried stepped back from a freshly collapsing section of wall.

      Once the dust had settled, I shouted over at the acolyte, “What are you looking for, anyway?”

      Wiping his hands on his smudgy blue robes, the acolyte stepped over to me, close enough we wouldn't have to raise our voices too much. “We're trying to find remains.”

      “Remains? Like human remains?”

      “Well, mortal remains to be less specific. We were conducting a ritual to resurrect someone when the fire happened, and the new hierophant wants to find what's left of him so it can be properly buried.”

      I blinked, confused until I remembered that in AD&D clerics could combine their powers, to give one of their number a boost to cast higher-level spells. “Uh, you don't know who that person was, who was going to be resurrected?”

      The acolyte shrugged. “I didn't ask. I thought it was an adventurer. Some man in plate mail showed up with a big donation a few days before, asking about whether it'd be possible. But, although the Eternal Order of the All-Father was able to resurrect Hannah, one of the assistant priests and myself, the old hierophant and the other assistant were not released by the gods. Only the hierophant possessed enough faith and power to resurrect with help, the new one can't.”

      So... the old hierophant was just high enough in level that he could cast Resurrection with the maximum bonus he could possibly attain from four other priests. Because he and one of the other mid-level clerics couldn't be resurrected because they failed their “resurrection chance” save, they can't resurrect that guy... which means the body was in a bad enough state that Raise Dead, which requires a mostly whole body, wouldn't cut it.

      “Thank you for satisfying my curiosity,” I said, fishing a handful of gold out of one of my belt pouches. “I'd like to make a small donation to the effort to build a new temple.”

      The acolyte jumped down from the wreckage, and accepted the donation with a deep bow. A gourd was produced, and a bit of fresh water was used to anoint my forehead as he blessed me. Not like, the spell Bless, but just a regular blessing. I think.

      “Thank you for your kind donation, go forth and do kindness in the name of Yphion.”

      I was ready to go forth, alright, but because Voss was discreetly trying to wave me over to where he and Ashryn were standing, not because of anything to do with that watery tart.

      “Hey, look at this,” he said, tapping some smudges on the ground.

      I was going to say something sarcastic about finding burn marks near the site of a building fire, when I saw what he was indicating- a blackened divot in the ground a half-inch deep, like something had burned away the stone itself, making a sinuous, halting trail away (or toward) the ruin and heading off (or coming from) across the street and down an alley.

      “What do you make of it?” I asked.

      He shrugged. “I thought you were supposed to be the smart guy, smart guy. I just work here.”

      “Oooh, we're following clues, just like real adventurers!” Ashryn annoucned to basically everyone in the immediate vicinity. “This is so exciting!”

      Voss frowned at her. “Is she always going to be like this?”

      I sighed. “Hey, Ashryn, are you always going to be like this?”

      “Be like what?”

      At that point, Katriana came over, scowling, and looked down at Voss. “Just a tip for your romantic endeavours, don't ever call a girl 'cupcake' until you know her really, really well.”

      “Uh... I take it flirting with the guard went well?” I ventured.

      “Yeah, apparently, one of the priests they resurrected said that a courier had dropped off a small crate for the Hierophant the day of the fire, but the Hierophant couldn't get it open so he left it in the rectory while they conducted some ritual. They don't know what was in the crate, but I suspect it would have been what started the fire.”

      Voss and I looked at each other, then down at the trail. Ashryn clapped her hands together and squealed, “Yay! A breakthrough!”

      The trail lead across the street, along one of the buildings, and down a narrow alley. Worryingly, the trail eventually met up with four others that had emerged from the wreckage at other points.

      Eventually, a wooden hardwood door appeared in the lefthand wall of the alley. The trails congregated around it, and there was a fist-sized hole burned through the wood at ground level.

      Voss tried the door, and shook his head. “Locked.”

      I turned to look at Ashryn. “Could you give it a listen?”

      She smiled at me, squeezed by, and carefully put her ear to the door. After a few heartbeats, she shook her head. “Nothing.”

      “Do we bust it down, or...?” Voss began, but I was already incanting the Formula of Zher-ah.

      The spell caused the wood of the door to tremble, then buckle, as the door shrank by 10% in all dimensions. The wooden snapped and shattered as the hinges ripped free, and of course the catch pulled away from the doorjamb. Soon, it was only being held up by the security bar that had been holding it closed in place of a lock.

      Voss grinned and slipped his hand inside to release the bar. “Show off.”

      I shrugged, grinning back “Someone bashing down a door would be noticed, a little splintering wood probably wouldn't make it out over the crowd.”

      With Katriana's help, he managed to wrestle the shrunken door out of the doorway, and we ducked inside what seemed, in the dim light, to be the smithy at the back of a blacksmith's shop.

      It looked perfectly in order, as if the shop had yet to open. The only things out of order were the notes drifting around the door, probably slipped underneath by worried apprentices and blown around by our entrance- and the two-day-old corpse lying on the ground by the actual forge in a pool of dried blood, a look of surprise permanently inscribed on it's face by rigor mortis.

      Ashryn gasped, and was about to move forward to attend to the body, when Voss seized her arm and pointed at the writhing mass that rested on the still-smouldering coals.

      A tangle of glowing red and black snakes twined against each other, barely registering our presence.

      Fire snakes, I recognized them, but they weren't common enemies and I strained to remember what I could about them. Elemental-kin, the monster manual called them, but other than they were low-level enemies, I had nothing.

      “Any genius plans there, smart guy?” Voss said, and the tinge of concerned in his voice said he was only partly sarcastic. It was then that I suddenly remembered something key about them, and decided we had to take them out.

      I pointed to a bucket resting not far from the open doorway. “Fill that with water. Unfortunately, to properly kite them, we're going to have to piss them off first. Ashryn, stay as far away from the forge as possible and see if the front of the shop has a shield for you to use.”

      “What's the call here, Theodore?” Katriana inquired, gaze locked on the snakes.

      “If we just leave them here, they might cause other fires just by accident. Someone has to deal with them. Just be aware that they're not stupid- they're pack hunters in their natural habitat.”

      She nodded wordlessly drew her longsword.

      When Ashryn returned, armed with a shield and her mace in hand, and Voss came back with a bucketful of well water, I explained the plan to everyone.

      “Voss tosses the bucket onto the coals. This will dampen the fire and royally tick off the fire snakes. When they come out of the forge, give them some space, and I'll put as many of them to sleep as I can. Then you three take them out, first the awake ones, then the sleeping ones one at a time. Ashryn, let Voss and Katriana hold their attention, and you only take the occasional strike if the opportunity to hit and back away presents itself.”

      Everyone gave a verbal assent to this plan. Surprisingly, now that there was danger afoot, Ashryn was focused and calm- more than I would have credited her for.

      Voss tossed the bucket into the forge, snatched up his spear, and the battle was on.

      Glowing snakes immediately boiled out of the forge, and I incanted to now-familiar chant for the Hex of Willow and Lotus. I don't know what went wrong, either the snakes had a better than average spell save or I “rolled” really badly on the hit dice of monsters affected, but only one of the snakes blinked sleepily and curled up for a rest. The other four snakes went straight for Voss, who stabbed with his spear at one and missed.

      “Dammit, Theo, this was some plan!”

      I flung three of my darts, but the snakes were surprisingly poor targets, and all three darts got stuck in the wooden cabinet just behind. Katriana stepped up in front of Voss and swiftly sliced one of the snakes' head clean off, keeping her cool and settling into a defensive stance. Meanwhile, Ashryn came up from the direction of the shop lifting her mace to strike, but seemed to lose her balance with the unfamiliar shield, and chose to back off rather than risk the snake's attention.

      The snakes then lunged forward, and Katriana hissed in pain and stepped back, her sword hand bleeding from a graze inflicted by the snakes. If the venom affected her at all, she gave no sign.

      Voss continued to flail with his spear, but Katriana remained professional, cutting down another snake with a two-cut combo. Ashryn chose, instead of attacking, to incant some kind of blessing, and faint silver light enveloped the room in a wave.

      Whatever that spell was, it must have had some distracting effect on the snakes, because they scored no further hits, although by the time I had to duck out of the room to give Katriana and Voss more space to fall back.

      Voss finally manged to score a hit, scratching a long score down the body of the snake threatening head, as Katriana swiftly beheaded yet another one of the creatures. Voss' snake did managed to duck through and sink it's fangs deep into his ankle, though- I was concerned, until I remembered his lack of bandage this morning. He must have blown at least some of his earnings from the last quest on magical healing at a temple.

      He had his revenge by skewering the beast on his spear, as it sat with it's fangs still deep within him.”Fuck! Balls of the All-Father, Theo, I thought you were going to cast a spell or something!”

      “I did! I protested, as I helped him pry to snake's jaws from his pant leg, “I just got... literally the second worst result possible!”

      “Well... don't do that again! Damn!”

      While he was swearing at me, Ashryn and Katriana dispatched the last of the snakes. Ashryn came back to cast a cure spell on Voss, while Katriana poked around the forge with a pair of tongs, and confirmed that all the snakes appeared to be dead.

      “Are you going to be okay?” I asked Voss, who still seemed unsteady on his feet.

      “I don't know, it still kind of burns... but I'm still on my feet. That's something.”

      Nodding at him, I grabbed an unfinished dagger from a nearby rack, and borrowed the tongs from Katriana to lift one of the snakes onto the anvil. After a few quick slices, I found what I was looking for, and poked a trio of gore-soaked gemstones onto the anvil's surface.

      “What...? Did you know about these, Theodore?” Katriana asked with wonder.

      I shrugged. “I think they like to use them as gizzard stones...” By the time I finished hacking apart the rest of the snakes, we had thirteen smooth, sticky gems sitting out, in a myriad of colours.

      Ashryn smiled. “Wow, you're sure resourceful, Lord Esche!”

      I wasn't even taken back enough to shush her. The haul was better than I had expected.

      Voss tried to whistle, but could only make a wet slurping sound as the paralytic venom took hold, and he slid to the floor in a pile.

      -------------------------------------------

      Character Name: Theodore Esche
      Race: Human
      Class: Transmuter
      Level (XP): 1 (1662/2500)
      Hit Points: 1

      Ability Scores
      Strength 11
      Dexterity 17
      Constitution 8
      Intelligence 17
      Wisdom 13
      Charisma 14

      Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

      Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

      Spells Per Day:
      1st Level- 2

      Spellbook:
      (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

      Equipment: Backpack, Bag of 13 unappraised gems, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (16), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Oil of Acid Resistance, Robes (3), Signet Ring, Small Tent

      Money: 28 gp, 4 sp, 5 cp

      Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

      Companions: Katriana (Level 1 Fighter, fiancee), Voss (Level 1 Fighter), Ashryn (Level 1 Cleric)

      Sexual Partners: 1
      Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
      Currently Working On: Banter and chats
      Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

      Comment


      • #18
        Chapter 16: Isekai Life & “The Talk”

        First, Ashryn and I put Voss in a comfortable position- paralytic venom only lasted for 2d4 minutes, so he'd come around pretty quick. Then Ashryn used her last spell- which turned out to be Detect Magic, or rather, “The Starlit Eyes of the Arcane”, to scan around the room and check for any other fire snakes. I had no idea if “animals from an elemental plane who were otherwise totally normal in the context of that plane” counted as “magical” for the purposes of that spell, but it was worth a shot. Other than excitedly pointing out that our potions were, in fact, magic, she reported there were no magical objects in our vicinity.

        So we had some time to kill while Voss regained voluntarily control of his body and the numbness in Katriana's sword hand went away. We used the time to get our facts straight. Well, Katriana and I got out facts straight, though Ashryn was just happy to be a part of the process.

        “A few days” before the night of the arson, someone in plate mail came to the Temple of Yphion and arranged for a Resurrection spell to be cast on someone in exchange for a large donation. This meant that a) the body was in such a terrible state that it couldn't be raised by a simpler Raise Dead spell, b) the person being resurrected would need to do strenuous activity right after regaining life, or c) both. The remains of this guy, whoever it is, are still missing.

        The day of the ritual, a package arrived containing five fire snakes, presumably they were drugged or sleeping from magic or something. The package was made of wood- described as a “crate”- but was sealed in such a way the Hierophant couldn't open it, so he ignored it for now, presumably to be addressed later.

        That night the five priests- the Hierophant who was at least level ten but not higher than level fourteen, two assistant priests who were probably levels four to six based on nothing but my assumptions on local level distribution, and two acolytes who were at levels one to two- gathered together to conduct the Combine ritual and cast the Resurrection spell. At some point during this ritual, the fire snakes woke up/got hungry/got bored and burned their way out of the crate, setting the Hierophant's study or office on fire, which then spread to the rest of the temple. The priests didn't notice what was going on, trancing out in their little ritual, until it was too late.

        The day after the fire subsided, the Eternal Order of the All-Father, either out of the goodness of their hearts or as part of a PR stunt, resurrected the priests, but only managed to get one of the assistant priests and the two acolytes. At around this time, once the temple's ruins got cold enough, the five fire snakes relocated to the next-warmest thing in the area- a tamped forge that was waiting to be reactivated the following morning. This next day, the blacksmith would open up his forge for a day's hard work, only to startle the snakes and have his jugular ripped out as thanks. He bled to death on the floor of his forge, and while his apprentices and family knew he was missing, none of them got around to breaking into the guy's workshop to find him just yet, and was undiscovered until our party was investigating, two days after the fire.

        We also concurred that, despite not murdering the poor guy, the situation was just suspicious enough that it was in our best interests to let the apprentices/family/whatever discover the boy for themselves in a day or two, rather than have to two people that the city guard already had flagged as suspicious make an official report. Hopefully the feral cats wouldn't chew on him too badly.

        That last bit made Ashryn look upset, so I figured it was as good a time as any to have “the talk”.

        “We are, technically, Prince Theodore and Princess Katriana of the House of Esche, rightful heirs to the throne of a city-state known as Chalcia, which is about two hundred leagues to the west of here,” Katriana explained, “The use of arcane magic is severely sanctioned, but in spite of that, every king of Chalcia for sixteen generators was secretly a wizard, using their powers to aid the country and protect themselves in secret. Our father happened to be caught by a political rival, who then engineered a coup against him.”

        I continued, “We got away, with the help of some retainers, and escaped to the Thaumaturgical Academy at Brustania. I was able to complete my education as a magic user there, but Katriana discovered a plot by the headmaster to use me as a puppet, overthrow the current ruler, and seize control of Chalcia for himself. Normally, I'd be ecstatic at the possibility of having help from a huge organization of magic users in taking back my throne, but I don't want to be anyone's disposable puppet. We high-tailed it from the Academy before I could formally graduate, and we've been on the road every since.”

        “Our basic plan is to gather resources and allies as adventurers, before returning to Chalcia to take back Theodore's rightful throne,” Katriana finished, “But we don't want work of who exactly we are from getting out in case someone tries to make use of us again. We're not really worried about one of you two hiking that far to sell us out to some people who are half a continent away, but we don't know the nobility of Tresens too well and it's possible that we might get wrapped up in some scheme or worse, kept as trophies.”

        With that, I looked to our two companions. “Any questions?”

        Ashryn raised her hand.

        “Yes?”

        “I already knew all that stuff.”

        I nodded. “Yeah, I figured Mariska might have done some basic divination about us when she decided to hire us.”

        “No, I mean, I knew about you before that,” Ashrynsaid while fidgeting some and flushing with embarassment, “We're not supposed to play around with the powers granted to us by the Siphine, but one night some of us acolytes got into the sacramental wine and one of the older girls started casting auguries about... stuff.” She fidgeted some more. “My augury said that... the two most important people to me were the Prince and Princess of Esche, and I think I got a vision of what you two may have looked like at the time. High Priestess Mariska didn't tell me anything, she just said there were two adventurers I was to help, but I recognized you on sight.”

        Katriana and I exchanged glances, and she shrugged with a small, bemused smile. “Uh, okay,” was my only reply.

        Voss's hand went up, his hand still at something of a limp angle.

        “Yes?”

        “If I help you guys out, will I get to become a badass knight and carry a title, build a keep and all that?”

        “Sure. When I get my throne back, you can have whatever is in my power to give you.”

        “Alright, fuck it, I'm in.”

        And thus, under these circumstances the Chalcian Revolutionary Army was formed. Not the most auspicious beginning, but there are worst places to plan a conspiracy to overthrow a king. Could have done without the corpse, though.

        Once Voss was mobile again, it was agreed that our meeting be moved back to the Lazy Ox for now, to discuss our options and next steps. And to ask the proprietor about trustworthy jewellers.

        By the time we got back, it was mid-afternoon, and the place was being cleaned in preparation for the inevitable crowd of tourney-goers and competitors who would flood the place later that night. The innkeeper's attitude about Katriana and I had improved significantly after the town guard decided we weren't criminals, especially since we were springing for a fancy room and once again asked for a private dining room for dinner. We didn't strictly need to discuss things over dinner, but seeing as how Katriana was still injured, Ashryn and I were out of spells, and only Voss was really in fighting form, we decided it was best to take a night and compare notes. Katriana paid up this time, but as it turned out the dining rooms were still being cleaned.

        Concerned about the mess that Katriana must have left last time, I immediately went about inquiring about a jeweller who might be in the business of buying gemstones from adventurers. The innkeeper, of course, knew about such a place- hell, he was probably even getting a finder's fee, seeing how many adventurers came through his door. More importantly, we were out the door and off before any of the serving girls could start asking questions about how to get semen out of seat cushions in front of everyone.

        The jeweller wasn't that far away, and before long he was examining our little pile of uncut but smooth gems. I managed to find some time to rinse them out in a mug of water the innkeeper had thoughtfully provided, but they were still a little sticky. All the same, the jeweller wasn't examining them for long when he asked one of his assistants to “Go fetch Naron and tell him to bring his kit.”

        I assumed Naron would be another jeweller, but instead Naron was a scribe, whose “kit” consisted of a small portable writing desk, a candle, and a series of things that looked like stamps.

        The jeweller looked at me and said, “They're uncut so that affects their value somewhat, and at least one of them has been ground down to the point where it wont be able to be cut into it's usual size, but I can offer you three thousand golden crowns for them.”

        I heard a pair of gasps from either side of me, and Voss whistled. My own eyes must have been bugging from my skull because the moneychanger actually had a chuckle at our reaction.

        You see, gemstones in AD&D were pretty close to the best kind of treasure a monster could drop, other than magic items, of course. For every gemstone that a monster dropped, the DM rolled on a chart to determine it's value, from a 25% chance of it being worth 10 gold to a 1% chance of it being worth 5000 gold. On top of that, there was a 1 in 10 chance that a gem would turn out to be exceptional in some way, which involved using another chart that a roughly equal chance of moving the gemstone to the next value tier, doubling it's value, increasing it by up to 140%, and then the opposite of those things.

        As soon as I remembered that fire snakes were probably the lowest-level enemies that dropped gems, I knew I had to take the chance, and it had paid off incredibly well. So well, in fact, that it defied even my lofty expectations.

        Soon, we had been given each a promissory note from the Guilders' Bank of Tresens for 750 gold pieces, signified and sealed by a bank notary. And they worked, too- Voss didn't trust the bit of paper very much and stopped at a moneychanger to withdraw the full amount before going back to the inn, which left him with a jangling backpack for most of the trip.

        For my part, I carefully folded up the promissory note and slipped it inside my spellbook. I had some ideas on what to do with it, but they would have to wait until I was second level.

        By the time we got back to the Lazy Ox, we could settle down in a private dining room, have some ale and bread, and wait for the rest of dinner to show up.

        Katriana started the conversation with, “So, the way I see it, we have three....”

        “Hold up, hold up,” Voss replied, “First and most important, why are we still working this quest when we just got a huge payout?”

        I replied to him with, “What, you don't want more?”

        He thought about it, then sighed. “Yeah, okay, but after this quest we're taking a break to actually spend some of this money.”

        Now, something to realize about Voss: He wore chainmail armour. Perfectly serviceable, but chain mail and a shield got your Armor Class down to 4, whereas for five gold more you could get Splint Mail like Katriana did, and with a matching shield that would get you down to a 3. And given how much Voss seemed to like drinking and wenching, I could guess where that five gold pieces he saved ended up, ultimately. He was the kind of adventurer who would end up in a infinite loop, adventuring in order to pay for hookers and booze, then adventuring again when the bartender called in the tab.

        “Only if you buy some proper plate mail.”

        He gave me a glare, and I shrugged. “You don't want to keep ending up as a pincushion after every battle, right? Get some proper plate mail and I swear I will help you paint the town red.”

        “Jeez, fine, dad....”

        “Anyway,” Katriana continued, “We have three things to investigate- where the fire snakes came from, who delivered them and who it was that asked for the resurrection in the first place.”

        “Wait, what does the resurrection have to do with anything?” Ashryn asked.

        “C'mon, clearly the fire had something to do with the out-of-place resurrection,” Voss replied, “Nobody burns down a temple in a busy city like this just because they're mean.”

        “Oh,” Ashryn pouted, “Well, you could have put that in a nicer way....”

        “I think I know where we can track those fire snakes,” Voss continued, “I'm familiar with the captain of the pleasure yacht kept by the house I used to work for, and he knows the docks pretty well. Maybe he could point us toward the kind of people who would smuggle in dangerous, exotic animals.”

        “Sure,” I replied, “Then we'll check that out in the morning.”

        Right around then, food started to get delivered- just the usual, stew, more bread and a pitcher of wine. We dug in, as usual, though Ashryn ended up picking some of the larger chunks of meat out of her food.

        “So, about what you said earlier,” Voss said over dinner, “You two are really royalty?”

        Katriana grimaced. “Well, not really. Not since we were kids. But royalty-in-exile, yes.”

        “So, if you haven't been there since you were little, why do you want to go back?”

        “We have our reasons,” I said, simply, when Katriana blushed a little, “Most important of which is, we want to go back to our home, we don't trust the man who overthrew our father, and, well, we want to back the world a better place. The best way we can achieve that is by having the power of our own country to help us.”

        Well, that wasn't technically lying, I would consider a world where I'm free to bang Katriana as I please an improvement.

        “They're destined to do great things,” Ashryn said to Voss, “I don't know if they'll ever reclaim their throne, but they will leave a lasting impact on the world.”

        Voss shrugged. “I don't know if I believe in destiny. I've heard plenty of stories about people who had a member of the Starlit Order hanging around that ended up with a sword in them, so I wonder exactly how much your goddesses do know about how the world is.”

        Just as Ashryn was looking ticked off, I decided to intercept. “So, Ashryn, tomorrow we'll need you to memorize at least two healing spells, and bring your armour and shield this time, okay?”

        “Okay~”

        -------------------------------------------

        Character Name: Theodore Esche
        Race: Human
        Class: Transmuter
        Level (XP): 1 (1662/2500)
        Hit Points: 1

        Ability Scores
        Strength 11
        Dexterity 17
        Constitution 8
        Intelligence 17
        Wisdom 13
        Charisma 14

        Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

        Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

        Spells Per Day:
        1st Level- 2

        Spellbook:
        (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

        Equipment: Backpack, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (16), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Promissory Note worth 750gp, Oil of Acid Resistance, Robes (3), Signet Ring, Small Tent

        Money: 28 gp, 4 sp, 5 cp

        Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

        Companions: Katriana (Level 1 Fighter, fiancee), Voss (Level 1 Fighter), Ashryn (Level 1 Cleric)

        Sexual Partners: 1
        Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
        Currently Working On: Banter and chats
        Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

        Comment


        • #19
          Chapter 17: Isekai Life & Princely Command

          Soon after all that, conversation wound down. Ashryn excused herself in order to get to the convent before it got too dark, and Voss decided that he'd better drop by his tenement at some point since he hasn't spent more than hour there that wasn't sleeping in the last four days, and at least he ought to keep his landlord from renting the place out from under him.

          That was fine, as it left me and Katriana all by ourselves.

          However, once everyone left, she seemed to hesitate, playing with a knot in the table rather than saying anything.

          “Is something wrong?” I asked, daring to put a hand on her thigh.

          She startled a little. “N-no, not really.... “

          There was a long pause, then, “You want to bed Ashryn, don't you?”

          So, there was a problem.

          I sat back on the bench and leaned against the wall. “Well... she is very beautiful... and she seems interested in me....”

          She smiled a little. “Well, give it a bit... I don't want you sticking that thing into just anyone.”

          I gestured expansively. “As you can see, I'm here with you, not following her to her convent.”

          She rolled her eyes. “Yeah, there are few places that can kindle lust like a convent....”

          Well, okay, you say that, but....

          “I'm just saying, let's make sure we both like her before you... consummate, okay?”

          “I understand completely.”

          “Great. Now, as for where you can stick that thing....”

          We didn't have sex right there in the dining room again, though we barely managed to keep it together long enough to get to our room. Unfortunately, once I barred the door, I turned around and found Katriana struggling to get out her cuirass, being unwilling or unable to use her bandaged hand.

          I came up beside her, gently took the shoulders of her armour in hand and lifted it away carefully.

          Standing close to a person, the smell of sweat, and undressing someone out of armour... they don't sound very erotic, but in that situation, I ended up rock hard.

          We kissed each other deeply, as she helped me out of my robes on our way to bed. Because of her wounded hand, she was unable to act aggressively, like she did last time, so it was up to me this time.

          I tried to be mindful of my low Constitution score- if this was going to be good, I couldn't just sprint ahead. Instead, I planned on taking it slow.

          When I gently lay Katriana down on the bed, with her arms above her head and her body exposed, she blushed furiously. Looking away, she muttered, “I still can't bear you staring at me like that...”, but how could I not? Her smallish, yet perky breasts, and the glistening slit between her legs, I wanted a moment to drink it all in.

          That's when I knelt between her legs and gently pushed inside. She was wet enough that it was easy to get all the way in, and she moaned while her body accepted all of my cock. Her face momentarily looked pained, but I think that was the discomfort of having her pussy spread open by my cock. She would get used to it, in time.

          Making sure my arms and legs were in a comfortable position, I began to slide most of the way out of her, then pushed forward, burying myself to the hilt again. I kept things at a painstaking pace, and soon Katriana was squirming under me, clutching the bed and writhing as I ever so slowly fucked her.

          I was so enthralled, watching her enjoy herself, that I was surprised when she wrapped her arms around my shoulders, suddenly, pulled me close, and started moaning desperately in my ear. I was able to figure out what was going on pretty quick, and thrust quite a bit faster in order to get through that last sprint to the finish line.

          When Katriana's orgasm had finished, she put a hand on my chest and pressed firmly. “We should figure something else for you...” he said as she panted, “If you keep finishing inside me, we're going to have a problem....”

          I nodded, and managed to resist disregarding her entirely, and slipped my still very hard cock out of her pussy. “Well... what about a blow job?”

          “A what!?” Katriana gave me a very weird look, like she had never heard the term before.

          “Alright...” I sighed, thinking, “It's where you put my cock in your mouth... tighten your lips around my shaft, and sort of rub it like that, with a lot of spit and using your tongue a little, too. It's supposed to feel really good.”

          I mean, how would I know? I died a virgin in my previous life. Snore, snore, pop, after all.

          “That sounds disgusting.”

          Her face matched her words. I needed to think fast, to salvage the situation, both because I wanted to finish, and because I didn't want her looking at me that way.

          She came really easily with me on top compared to yesterday. Could she be...?

          “Your prince is commanding you to do it.”

          First, she went visibly pale, then flushed red. “What do you think you-”

          I probed at her sex with my still hard cock, which made her gasp. “Well, if you'd prefer I take my liberties here...”

          “Fine! Fine... just... I hope you're happy....”

          I removed over to the couch and sat back, my legs wide, and tried my best to look regal. When Katriana followed, I pointed on the floor in front of me. “Kneel.”

          She gave me a glare, but, obediently, she knelt in front of me. Also, it seemed, she was blushing and, judging from the rise and fall of her chest, was breathing heavily.

          “Go on, satisfy your prince,” I said, as imperiously as I could manage.

          Her eyes lowered to my stiff rod, and, carefully, she took my cock into her mouth.

          The sensation was different, but still good. Especially when her mouth filled with saliva, giving an even more moist feeling than her pussy did. I don't know if it's possible to have a natural talent for this sort of thing, but Katriana was taking the time and care to try and make me feel good.

          Soon, the sight of he head bobbing up and down on my cock, with the sensations on my dick, finally got me to come to a climax. It came on so suddenly that I couldn't control it, and so Katriana had no warning as I proceeded to empty my balls into her mouth.

          She immediately choked, coughing a good splurt of cum and spit onto her chest in the process, her running eyes and cum-streaked lips and breasts made her look even more sexy, somehow.

          I smiled down at her, and admonished her. “Is that any way to treat your prince's gift? You should swallow it like a good girl.”

          She cut me another glare, but obediently shut her lips and swallowed. “Thank you, my Prince,” she said with a thick voice.

          Then, something amazing happened.

          Seeing my sister in this state and behaving in this way was having an effect on me, and my cock was maintaining attention, staying stiff in spite of just coming.

          Katriana looked down at it, and quietly said, “Forgive me, my Prince, I seem to have left this task unfinished,” before taking my cock in her mouth again.

          The second time around, it was just as good, although it took longer this time, of course... but this time, I was prepared, and warned Katriana when I was about to cum.

          Because of that, she was able to swallow it all, gulping after every few jets. This time, when she pulled back, there was no coughing. She wiped her chin with her uninjured hand, paused, and then licked her hand clean.

          “Was that satisfactory, my Prince?” she asked, in a much more sultry voice than I expected.

          “Of course, that was amazing,” I settled back, perfectly relaxed, “Thank you, my Princess.”

          Surprisingly she settled her cheek on my thigh for a moment, tenderly, before standing and trying to get cleaned up for bed.

          That night, when we finally fell asleep, she pressed up against me once again, without reservation.

          It was very peaceful, until the following day when I was woken rather abruptly by Katriana shooting out of bed, cursing me as her chest was now covered in the milky, flaky film of dried semen.

          As she ran to find a serving girl and have an early bath, wearing a tunic to held hide the stain, I was given plenty of time to relax, saunter downstairs and study my spellbook over breakfast.

          Sleep, of course, was my top priority spell, despite it's poor performance against the fire snakes. For my second spell, and for my second spell, I took Reduce again. Useful for debuffing enemies, making objects you need to haul away more manageable, and breaking and entering, how could I go wrong?

          Katriana was still running around getting ready, when I went outside to meet with the others. I felt a little bad, but what was I going to do? Scrub her chest for her?

          Voss was waiting outside like usual, snacking on some kind of pastry as I exited. He gave me a glance, and then brushes crumbs off his hands. “Morning. Where's your sister? Still getting ready? Women, right?”

          I didn't say anything, knowing full well exactly why she was late.

          “So, we're going to meet your friend by the docks?”

          “Yeah,” he replied with a shrug, “Hopefully we can get a line on this investigation. I'd love to get a little time off to enjoy the joust.”

          “Hi, everyone~!”

          Ashryn cheerfully greeted everyone as she hurried down the street towards us, and our jaws dropped.

          Ashryn's “armour” consisted of a splint mail cuirass, much like Katriana's, but unlike my sister's more conservative, overlapping armour, Ashryn's armour left her arms bare except for armoured bracers, and her legs... her cuirass ended in an armoured skirt to protect her thighs, that really only went mid-thigh, and she had greaves and boots to protect her shins and feets. Otherwise, her legs were bare, and they were nice legs- smooth and athletic without being overly muscled.

          I guess the whole ensemble was meant to help her made use of that Elven Dexterity bonus, but it had the side effect of looking pretty sexy. Other than Katriana, this was the least-dressed I've ever seen anyone since coming to this world. She was going to turn heads around us all day.

          So much for subtlety.

          A sharp prod in the back made me stumble forward a little. I turned to see Katriana standing behind me, her hair wet from her bath from brushed back, giving me an unreadable expression. Was she still mad?

          There was no time to tell as she cleared her throat. “So, we're going down to the docks, right?”

          “Yeah, it's a pretty short walk, so let's go,” Voss replied.

          The way Tresens was built, everything was a short walk from the docks, but apparently the specific part of the docks we wanted wasn't far from the Lazy Ox, and roughly adjacent to where the ferry had unloaded us when Katriana and I had arrived.

          For all that Voss was just kind of... some guy we picked up to adventure with, and as such was totally superfluous to both my harem-obtaining plan as well as usurper-overthrowing plan, he sure did know how to work his contacts. After a brief, glad-handing reunion with the captain of the riverboat he knew, we were directed to one of the harbourmasters' assistants. There, some brief words were discussed, a little gold changed hands, and we were directly a nearby tavern to talk to the bosun of a trading vessel that was waiting for it's quartermaster to finish wheeling and dealing at the marketplace.

          The bosun was surly, until Voss freshened his drink and offered a few coins more beside. They had a hushed discussion, and eventually to bosun had a laugh, pointed deeper into the city and clapped Voss on the shoulder.

          Voss was grimacing when he came back to us, but Ashryn was chipper like always. “What's wrong, Voss,” she said, sadness creeping into her tone, “That man was just laughing... was it not good? Did we hit a dead end?”

          “Worse, maybe,” Voss replied with a sigh, “We'd better get moving, I want to be out of there before dark.”

          “Out of where?” Katriana asked, concern in her voice.

          “A district called Shafttown,” he said, looking miserable, “The client that ordered the fire snakes was a member of the Dwarven mafia.”

          -------------------------------------------

          Character Name: Theodore Esche
          Race: Human
          Class: Transmuter
          Level (XP): 1 (1662/2500)
          Hit Points: 1

          Ability Scores
          Strength 11
          Dexterity 17
          Constitution 8
          Intelligence 17
          Wisdom 13
          Charisma 14

          Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

          Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

          Spells Per Day:
          1st Level- 2

          Spellbook:
          (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

          Equipment: Backpack, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (16), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Promissory Note worth 750gp, Oil of Acid Resistance, Robes (3), Signet Ring, Small Tent

          Money: 28 gp, 4 sp, 5 cp

          Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

          Companions: Katriana (Level 1 Fighter, fiancee), Voss (Level 1 Fighter), Ashryn (Level 1 Cleric)

          Sexual Partners: 1
          Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
          Currently Working On: Banter and chats
          Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

          Comment


          • #20
            Chapter 18: Isekai Life & Dwarfseye

            Tresens, like many cities that depend on mining, had, over time, attracted a sizable minority of dwarves, who came looking for work, mineral wealth, or came with their families. And, also over time, apathy and distrust fomented between the culture of the dwarves and the human rulers of Tresens, as dwarves occasionally consider things like filial loyalty, ancient codes and personal honour paramount over trifling human laws, and human lords often prefer that their laws and decrees be followed. And so, as often happened, crime began to get organized among the dwarves, initially as a sort of militia to police dwarves dealing with dwarven problems and, eventually, this and that happens and now they're a full blow mafia, right down to the racketeering, smuggling, turf wars (the docks had their own, thriving human-based thieves' guild), and all.

            Voss explained the situation fairly basically as we walked, but it wasn't difficult to fill in the blanks with my previous life's knowledge of how the Italian mafia got started.

            As for what Shafttown was... apparently, mountain dwarves in particular often have difficulty with sunlight allergies, something that doesn't quite affect a third of their race. Of course, anyone with a minimum of sense would posit that maybe moving overland to a human surface city would be a bad idea for such afflicted individuals, but the dwarves eventually accommodated this problem by buying up a bunch of spent mining shafts and literally cutting out an entire district from the inside of a mountain. The dwarves called it home, and the humans called it Shafttown.

            And so, our objective of the moment: go to Shafttown, try and find a member of a ruthless and semi-racist mafia, and maybe find out that we'd be fighting an entire thieves' guild on their home turf that most assuredly was not designed to accommodate humans and elves.

            When I pointed it out, Katriana asked, “Well, do you have any better ideas?”

            But, I did not. Give me a dungeon or a trap or a rules situation and I bet I could outthink it or at least come up with a solution to try. But a lot of this investigation nonsense was mostly new to me.

            “Don't worry, Theodore!” Ashryn said in an attempt to cheer me up, “I checked out astrological forecast last night, and it predicted that we'd have good fortune!”

            Somehow that didn't cheer me.

            But still, we walked on, only taking a small break for Voss to grab some more snacks off a street vendor and for Ashryn to cast Cure Light Wounds and heal Katriana's hand the rest of the way.

            We were drawing closer to the entrance to Shafttown when an armoured man fell in beside me, slowing his pace to match.

            “Good morning, sir Theodore, how are you today?”

            I looked to the side to see the smiling face of a familiar guardsman.

            “Headed into Shafttown for any particular reason? Meeting someone, perhaps?”

            I grimaced. It was the same man who questioned us at the Lazy Ox three days ago.

            Katriana was immediately on guard, and Ashryn didn't seem to happy either. Voss seemed to be trying to fade into the background, though.

            “What do you want?” Katriana asked, scornfully.

            “Ah, nothing, really,” the guard replied, keeping pace with us, “Did you know that there's a bounty, now, for the arrest of the arsonist?”

            My frown deepened. Was this guy thinking of turning us in for the reward?

            “Well, that's good! We're on the trail of the arsonist right now!”

            I could have groaned. Thank you for your contribution, Ashryn.

            “Oh, are you?”

            “Yeah! We found out it has to do with a dwarven thieves' guild, so we're checking that out right now!”

            The guardsman spun me a little bit so I could look at him better. His eyes went to Ashryn briefly, the looked back at me. “Is she serious?”

            I gave him a brief nod.

            He paused and thought for a bit. “Come with me,” he said, leading us into Shafttown.

            I glanced at Katriana, who shrugged. “It's not like we have any other leads right now....”

            The guard took us to a pawn shop right near one of the entrances to Shafttown. I noticed Voss keeping his distance, shadowing up a few meters back in the crowd, which was probably wise. Who knows what this guy would so?

            The guard led the way into the pawn shop, Ashryn and I followed. Katriana decided to hang back, maybe keep on eye from outside? Either way, we walked right into a shakedown. As in, the guard had to the proprietor of the shop, the skinniest dwarf I've ever seen, lifted a foot into the hair and was shaking him.

            “I thought you told me that your people weren't involved in the arson, eh, Bandek? You said that burning down temples wasn't in the best interests of the guild, didn't you?”

            “Aye, Captain Hawkins, aye! Word is, the Guildmaster doesn't want no temples burned in case 'e ever needs a rezzie 'imself!”

            “So what's this I hear about these fine young adventurers investigating your guild for the arson?”

            The dwarf looked at Ashryn and I in a panic. I can't imagine a short, chubby wizard and a half-dressed elf were very threatening, but he was scared all the same.

            “Alright! Alright. We smuggled in the fire snakes, but when the guildmaster 'eard what they were meant to be used for, he put the kibosh on the whole deal.”

            The captain slammed the dwarf into the wall of his own shop. Wait, was he doing it to be threatening or because his arms were tired? Either way, Ashryn gripped my arm in worry, and I kind of felt bad for the dwarf. Clearly, police brutality was just fine in this city.

            “But the temple burned anyway, didn't it?”

            “Aye! W-we think they got an unlicensed thief to do it!”

            Captain Hawkins unceremoniously dropped the dwarf, who collapsed in a relieved heap on the ground. Then, he pointed at me.

            “A guard can't walk into Shafttown without making trouble, but if you and your party capture this thief, we'll split the reward money five ways. That's fifty gold a pop for you all.”

            I thought about it. “Yeah... alright, but we'll need a name and where to find this thief.”

            Captain Hawkins reared a foot as if to kick the pawnbroker on the ground, who raised his hands defensively and began babbling again.

            “Smokey Enna is 'er name! Lives in the back end of Dull Corner! But you'll have to be quick, the guildmaster sent a brute squad to take care of her for disobeyin' the guild and stirrin' up this kind of trouble!”

            Great, I just agreed to maybe go toe to toe with a bunch of dwarven hitmen. But, if we do make it... that's five hundred gold to split, and that's not nothing.

            I've got a kingdom to take over, after all.

            We left the pawnshop, to where Voss and Katriana were waiting. Captain Hawkins gave them a nod, and pointed back up the street. “I'll be in the East Docks Guardhouse with your reward, come meet me there when you're done.”

            And with that, he walked off.

            “See? I told you we'd have good luck!” exclaimed Ashryn.

            I explained the situation as it stood to Voss and Katriana. Turned out, it was Katriana's turn to voice concerns.

            “Are we really obligated to do this?” she asked, “We've just come into a lot of money, and I don't want you tangling with a bunch of hardbitten criminals. These aren't spiders or mindless skeletons, I don't think you can outwit them with a clever plan.”

            I thought about it. “Well... that depends, doesn't it?”

            “Are we going to do a crazy plan!?” Ashryn asked, excitedly, “Wow! I've been looking forward to doing a crazy plan!”

            So, I tried to come up with a crazy plan.

            It was impossible to enter Shafttown without being noticed, our only hope was for the dwarves there to not realize what a bunch of armed humans (and an elf) were intending. So, we went to a nearby blacksmith, paid five gold for the privilege of seeing their scrap heap, and pulled out a handful of rusty swords and holey bits of chain mail. We couldn't hide that we were adventurers... but we could make everyone think we were looking for one of those legendary dwarven blacksmiths to repair our old equipment.

            I sketched out two quick ideas, one for use if we managed to make it to Dull Corner ahead of the hit squad, that was effectively, “put the thief to sleep, wrap them in a blanket and run.” If the brute squad had beat us there and were free and clear, we'd cut our losses and complete the quest with the information we had, but the second plan was if we ran into the brute squad, and was a bit more involved. And for that, we had to hit a scribe's shop.

            Once we had out materials, we finally descended into Shafttown.

            It was actually a lot more spacious than I had thought, The roads were just as wide, only there was a ceiling about eight feet up. Plenty of clearance for us tall folk. There were glass windows cut into the walls of the shaft itself, where dwarven shops would display their goods. There was no room for street vendors and I wouldn't want to ride a horse in here, but it was nice.

            Dull Corner didn't take long to find. There were street names cut into the walls in Dwarven runes at every corner, and , helpfully, adjacent streets written in smaller script under each. Dull Corner was pretty deep in the residential area, but locating it wasn't a problem.

            Katriana was the first around the corner, acting as our guide because Voss didn't understand Dwarven, and when she looked down the street she held out a warning hand and immediately backed up.

            “They're here,” she said, simply.

            “How can you tell?” Voss asked, his voice low.

            “Well, they have a wizard with them, for one.”

            Unlike later editions, AD&D restricted wizards to Elves, Humans, and a few other speciality races, although Gnomes could specifically be Illusionists. Meaning, the wizard would be easy to pick out among the locals.

            “We've got about thirty feet of street before the wizard, no cover to speak of past the corner. The door he's guarding look like it was kicked in, so the other locals are either out or locked up while the guild does their work.”

            That's a lot of open ground to cover, particularly if he has magic missile, which was perfectly capable of killing me or any of my companions if they have low HP. I couldn't even do anything about it- magic missile hits with perfect accuracy, every time, and if that wizard had even two brain cells to rub together he'd immediately go for the enemy mage. And even if I got my Sleep spell off first, he would still have a 35% chance of making his saving throw... if we was level 4 or lower, that is.

            “I can do it. I'll take him out.” Ashryn interjected suddenly.

            We all looked at her, but she suddenly looked fiercely determined.

            “I want to prove that I can help! So let me do it.”

            She went into a belt pouch and produced a scrap of fabric and two smooth, round lead bullets.

            The others were dumbfounded but I nodded. “That might just do it. Go ahead, I'll back you up.”

            We stacked up on the corner, while Ashryn got her sling rotating (and I stayed the hell away from it's arc). Then in one smooth, fluid movement the elf rounded it and pitched(?) her sling bullet.

            The lead bullet impacted the wizard's temple with a deafening crack, leaving him reeling. I came around to her side and tossed a dart just after. It was a bit far, and I had to hope to arc the dart a bit, but it struck home. I wasn't certain if the bullet had done it or the dart had to finish him off, but either way her collapsed in a heap on the floor.

            “Now!” I said as I lead Voss and Katriana in a charge.

            At this point, I wanted the brute squad to hear me- better for us that they meet us in the doorway where we can control their numbers. Indeed one, one thug poked his head outside, saw us, and I immediately incanted the Hex of Willow and Lotus, flicking sand in his direction and praying to Dog that this time it would work. The dwarven thug's eyes rolled up in his head and he immediately keeled over on top of the wizard.

            We weren't so lucky with the next thug, who came leaping over his companions, armed with a short sword and a crowbill. From behind me, I heard Ashryn warn us with “Magic weapon!” as Katriana and Voss came up on either side of me, shields out, and I prepared my next missile weapon.

            The second thug took a defensive stance,and seemed to tense as if getting ready to bolt. That's when my bag of fine scribe's sand hit him right between the eyes, getting power all over his face and making him cry out in pain.

            The thug was good, I'll grant him that. He couldn't quite blindfight, but he knew to keep his distance from Voss and Katriana, and put his weapons between him and them. He made a few successful blocks before Voss' spear took him in the thigh, and then Katriana came in with a thrust to the chest, finishing it.

            They were too absorbed in their fight to notice the third dwarf who had knelt behind a barrier of his peers and sighted at me with a crossbow. For a second, my heart stopped... but then a lead bullet sailed through the air and smashed the crossbowman right in the face.

            “Bull- uh, Dwarfseye!” Ashryn called to us, with a girlish giggle.

            And just like that, the fight was over.

            -------------------------------------------

            Character Name: Theodore Esche
            Race: Human
            Class: Transmuter
            Level (XP): 1 (1732/2500)
            Hit Points: 1

            Ability Scores
            Strength 11
            Dexterity 17
            Constitution 8
            Intelligence 17
            Wisdom 13
            Charisma 14

            Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

            Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

            Spells Per Day:
            1st Level- 2

            Spellbook:
            (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

            Equipment: Backpack, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (16), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Promissory Note worth 750gp, Oil of Acid Resistance, Robes (3), Signet Ring, Small Tent

            Money: 20 gp, 4 sp, 5 cp

            Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

            Companions: Katriana (Level 1 Fighter, fiancee), Voss (Level 1 Fighter), Ashryn (Level 1 Cleric)

            Sexual Partners: 1
            Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
            Currently Working On: Banter and chats
            Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

            Comment


            • #21
              Chapter 19: Isekai Life & Double Dipping

              “Oh, gods! Theodore, are you alright!?”

              Katriana came racing over to me, sheathing her sword as she went. She stopped to feel my chest and look me over, and after confirming my state of good health pulled me into a tight hug.

              “Oh, I'm so sorry! I didn't even see that crossbowman until it was almost too late! You're okay, right? Please say you're okay!?”

              I stroked her back a little while I was hugged, though it was a little hard to breathe. “I'm all right, Katriana, I'm just fine. Ashryn killed the crossbow guy before he could shoot me.”

              Ashryn approached, grinning massively. Katriana released me, only to turn and pull Ashryn in for a warm hug. “Oh, thank you so much... Theodore means the world to me, and you kept him safe. Thank you.”

              Ashryn beams at Katriana, and replied with, “I know how important he is to you, don't worry, he's important to me, too.”

              When Voss coughed, we all turned to face him. In front of him was a somewhat short (not enough for a dwarf, but well short of an average human), compactly built woman with pale skin, dark eyes, and her hair done in a dark blue, faded mohawk. She was dressed in a simple jerkin and breeches, and had her hands bound behind her back.

              “Well, pardon for interruptin',” she said, motioning behind her with her head, “But I'm Smokey Enna, an' this fella back 'ere says you've been lookin' for me?”

              “Yeah, you could say that,” I replied, and there was nothing to do but explain the situation while Voss and Katriana went and searched the bodies.

              “Ah, so you're on the lookout for the one who done burnt that temple down, I see,” Smokey Enna said somberly, “Well, you done found 'er, and just in time, too. Rats and ashes, I was hopin' to be on the first riverboat outta 'ere afore that grump's goons got ahold of me.”

              “Well, sorry...?” I ventured, not sure what to say about that.

              Meanwhile, over to the side, Voss held up a two foot long crowbill and a foot and a half shortsword to Ashryn and asked, “Which one?”

              “Oh! The one on the left.”

              Voss grimaced, nodded and tosses away the shortsword.

              “Well, I guess I owe ye my thanks. Those gents were plannin' to do something very untoward with me before they gave me the slitty, ye know?”

              “Uh....”

              “Well, yer friend found that they 'ad bent me over me own kitchen table, and it wasn't to feed me no pancakes, sir. That's why the nerd was guardin' the door, 'e was the only one who could resist the temptation to 'elp themselves to my feminine wiles.”

              “Right... Hey, you're not angry that we're taking you in to be arrested?”

              “Well, it weren't my first choice, but I've done a spin in the clink afore. I could probably break outta there half drunk and with six broken fingers. You figure that th' guildmaster's probably got the docks on watch by now, and has folks ready to hunt me overland if I go the mountain route, probably good for me to enjoy the protection of the city watch for a month or two while this whole mess blows over.”

              “So, you'll come quietly, then.”

              “Well now, don't tell me yer such a fool as to take my word for it? But aye, I'll go peaceable like as long as you don't insult me by taking your eyes off, yeah?”

              Voss came back with a little sack that jingled. “We're ready to go here, boss.”

              “One second,” I said, motioning for Voss to stop, and looked back at Smokey Enna. “So what's all this about, anyway?”

              Enna sighed. “Ye 'ave about as much clue as I. Word came down the grapevine about his job the old boss said was proscribed, and I assumed it 'ad to do with some fool notion of 'onour that 'e 'ad. So I talked to the gent, and figured that large payout 'ad to do with the timeliness of it all. Pick up this package at precisely this time and deliver it by this time, do not look in it and don't shake it around. Shows what I know, now I'm an accomplice in the murder of some decent folks. Now I'll rob a guy, and if ye come at me I'll stick you right back, but killin' some innocent folks an' burning' down their temple is beyond what I'd call a good job.”

              “So who was it that hired you, then?” Voss asked.

              Enna shrugged. “Some ordinary lookin' dwarf. Probably too ordinary, to be 'onest, but I figure if you want some magical getup when you go to do some clandestine business, you're probably smarter than most folks.”

              I sighed. “Dead end, again.”

              Voss shrugged, “Well, hopefully Mariska is satisfied.”

              “Right, well, let's get out of here. That sleeping guy should be coming around soon.”

              “So what would be ye plan for gettin' me- oh!”

              Voss tossed one of my spare robes over Enna, cinching the belt. It wasn't pretty, but it would at least conceal her identity.

              “Come on, the dockside guardhouse isn't far.”

              Getting Enna out of Shafttown was pretty easy, with nobody willing to molest three armed adventurers and their pair(?) of wizards. After that, it was just a stroll to where we were to meet Captain Hawkins, who was fairly glad to see us.. and Enna, oddly enough.

              “Ah, well, if it isn't my favourite Mul,” he said upon seeing her, “I thought you might have ended up wrapped in all of this.”

              “Aye, couldn't deprive th' city guard of their favourite prisoner for long now, could I?” she replied with a grin, “Thanks for sendin' these fine folk to go an' save little ol' me.”

              As Hawkins helped Enna into a cell and then cut the ropes binding her, he explained, “You lot managed to help me connect some dots in my investigation. I knew from some of my sources that both the master of the Docks Guild and the master of the Shafttown Guild turned down the job to burn down the temple, but I didn't realize that the Shafters had brought in... what were they, fire snakes he said? ...To do it with. Some of the other guards had been keeping an eye on you for me, and when they said you had been in the Temple District then the very next day you visited the docks then were headed to the heart of Shafttown, I figured you had some proof of their involvement that I didn't.”

              “Okay, well, what was that thing with the pawnbroker about?” I asked.

              “Who, Bandek? He runs the Shafters' pickpocketing ring, and beats the orphans he recruits when they don't get enough take. The man's a weasel, but the Commander of the Watch says that as long as he's a useful informant I can't arrest him for anything. So, having an excuse to rough him up a little was icing for me.”

              He counted out the coins we were due as a reward- and we stuck waiting around long enough in the guardhouse to see the posters confirming the amount- and with that, we were done.

              “By the way... keep in mind that you just came on the radar of a powerful Guildmaster,” Captain Hawkins said as we were getting ready to leave, “Step carefully the next few days, alright?”

              “Aye!” Enna shouted from the cell at the back of the room, “The ol' man won't be best pleased you went and offed one of 'is lieutenants and 'is third-best sparky!”

              “Sparky?” Ashryn asked.

              “She means wizard,” Hawkins explained, to which Ashryn responded with a giggle and an exclamation of “Oh, I get it!”

              I guess I could look forward to getting called sparky in the future.

              “So, back to the inn to find Abbess Mariska?” I suggested.

              “Nope,” Voss said lifting the bag of loot he had acquired earlier, “We got gems. Let's go see that jeweller.”

              So, with that, we headed over to the jeweller, to sell our gems. He was pretty excited to see us, too, grinning as soon as we came into the store and letting an assistant take care of the customer he was serving while he waved us over to a separate part of the counter.

              “More goodies for me, I hope?” he said, rubbing his hands together, “Well, let's see what we can see.”

              But when he saw the selection of gems on offer, his smile faded.

              “Well, alright. Most of these are ornamental stones, with little actual value, though I suppose it'll be something for new apprentices to practice on. Some of of middling quality... but, I do like you, and I've already made money on the gems you brought yesterday. I can offer you two hundred sixty for this lot.”

              Still a decent amount of money, if it wasn't the ridiculous amount we were offered yesterday.

              I put my finger on a pearl among the lot. “Would you say, sir, that this pearl is about average quality?”

              “Why, yes, unremarkable, though rare in these parts.”

              I nodded, and rolled it over to Voss. “Keep this one, I'll want it when we go to divvy.”

              “Right, so that will come to two hundred gold pieces then for what's left.”

              Voss gave me a doubtful glance. “Well, you'd better be willing to pay for that, then....”

              And I was. Just because I didn't have Identify now, didn't mean I didn't want to get it at some point.

              By the time we got to the Lazy Ox, it was midafternoon. According to the proprietor, Abbess Mariska was out at the moment, so we decided to neglect the private dining room and divvy out our loot there. After all, there was nobody else around.

              “So, our take, not counting quest rewards,” Voss said as he dumped the bags of coins on the table, then placed the enchanted crowbill where everyone could see it.

              We counted up the coins, and ended up with 37 copper pieces, 27 platinum coins, 210 gold coins. And, of course, the pearl.

              “So, Theodore wanted this pearl, which the jeweller offered to buy for sixty gold,” Voss said, sending the pearl my way, “So that means before anything else, we ought to get sixty gold apiece.

              After a brief argument over how much a platinum piece was worth, sixty gold worth of coins was given to each of my companions, leaving us with 84 gold and the copper remaining.

              Voss grinned. “So it seems pretty simple to me, twenty gold pieces each and a 4 gold, 37 copper feast tonight!”

              “If we keep feasting like this every few days, we're going to get fat in a hurry...” Katriana complained, but didn't say no.

              “Wow, I have so much money!” Ashryn exclaimed, “I don't even know what to do with it all!”

              “Well, honey, we should probably get you new armour,” Katriana offered, “I can go with you tomorrow and we'll figure it all out. Until then, please stop talking so loudly about how much money you have.”

              “Speaking of that,” I said, “We really ought to, you know, circle the wagons. With a whole thieves' guild out to get us, you two should probably think about moving into the Lazy Ox.”

              Voss didn't took too pleased, though Ashryn was excited as always.

              “Well, you were going to come with us to help me on my personal quest, weren't you?” I reminded Voss.

              “Yeah, well, I was hoping to at least say goodbye to my folks. And sell some of my stuff, though I guess money isn't going to be an issue for awhile.”

              I shrugged. “Maybe you will. We're going to be in town at least long enough to get some platemail sized. But all in all... we've made plenty of cash, made some contacts with more experienced adventurers, and recruited some new allies,” I looked at Katriana, “Maybe it's time to start thinking about our next destination?”

              Katriana frowned. “Start thinking about it, sure. But... if we're upgrading to three sets of plate, we're not going to have a fortune left over. I think we ought to stick around and pick up some other work. At least while the platemail gets done.”

              “What do we do about the magical weapon, though?” Ashryn asked, “Nobody got to take it as a prize.”

              I lifted the weapon and considered it. It certainly looked the part- the handle was covered in burned-on runes and the blade had some kind of flowing, decorative scrimshaw work. I shrugged. “I don't think any of us knows how to use it, I'll hold onto it for now... first person to learn how to use it can keep it, I suppose.”

              “No complicated loot-sharing strategy this time?” Katriana asked.

              “No... but a magical weapon that nobody knows how to use is equally useless to everyone, so we can just hold on to it for now, until the situation changes.”

              By this time, Voss had successfully waved over the innkeeper. After explaining our needs to the rotund innkeeper, Voss got a shake of the head in return. “We can do the private dining room and big meal, that's fine, but we're packed to the rafters in terms of rooms. I don't know why you need it though, you two friends there have one of the largest rooms in here.”

              “I guess that's true... we should be fine then,” I said, chagrined. Well, I suppose I don't need sex every night... I just want it every night.

              Satisfied that we were satisfied, the innkeeper walked away with some of our coin.

              We killed time waiting for Abbess Mariska by going to Voss' room on the fringes of the market district so he could pack a chest of his personal stuff- spare clothes, personal items, that sort of thing. I don't know how he expected to haul this thing around without at least a horse, but maybe he was planning on getting one? He had time to address the issue, I suppose.

              By the time we returned, we found Mariska and Ricard sitting in the common room, sipping wine and waiting.

              When they noticed us, Ricard rose with a florish, and shook Katriana's and my hands gladly. “Madam Katriana and Sir Theodore! I hadn't had a chance yet to thank you for finding my ring, and I just wanted to say how grateful I am for your efficiency and honesty in helping me out. I hope your reward was received in good order?”

              “Uh, yes, sir. Abbess Mariska took care of all that on your behalf,” Katriana replied.

              “Excellent, excellent! I understand Mariska needs to talk with you, so I will let you get to it, I just wanted to make sure I gave you my personal thanks.”

              And with that, he headed upstairs, presumeably to his room.

              The four of us went and sat with the Abbess, who smiled at us. “Well, welcome back. How did your task go?”

              “We were able to find out most of what happened with the arson, and brought the arsonist to justice...” Katriana began, and went into the whole story what had happened.

              “Well, it sounds like you have had quite an adventure, but justice has been done,” she replied with a nod, and pushed a large bag of coins onto the table. “This is money well spent, thank you for your service.”

              Once she had departed for a private dining room, Voss beam at us all. “You were right, Theo, I did want to get paid again.”

              -------------------------------------------

              Character Name: Theodore Esche
              Race: Human
              Class: Transmuter
              Level (XP): 1 (1897/2500)
              Hit Points: 1

              Ability Scores
              Strength 11
              Dexterity 17
              Constitution 8
              Intelligence 17
              Wisdom 13
              Charisma 14

              Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

              Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

              Spells Per Day:
              1st Level- 2

              Spellbook:
              (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

              Equipment: Backpack, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (16), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Oil of Acid Resistance, Pearl (worth 100gp), Robes (3), Signet Ring, Small Tent

              Money: 165 gp, 4 sp, 5 cp

              Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

              Companions: Katriana (Level 2 Fighter, fiancee), Voss (Level 1 Fighter), Ashryn (Level 1 Cleric)

              Sexual Partners: 1
              Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
              Currently Working On: Banter and chats
              Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

              Comment


              • #22
                Chapter 20: Isekai Life & Awkward Meeting

                Ashryn and Katriana elected to stay downstairs while I took Voss up to the room to let him drop off his chest. He managed to handle the thing all by himself, I just needed to make sure the guard recognized me and unlock the door. Which he did, acknowledging me with a nod, and I did, using the big brass key.

                Voss put his chest just inside the the room, just out of the way so that people wouldn't trip over it, and look around whistling at the luxury of the place. “Wow, this is nice! I didn't expect an inn like this to-” He frowned suddenly. “There's only one bed.”

                “Uh, yeah....”

                Voss gave me an aside glance, and then asked, “Listen, we're both men here, right? There are certain things we can discuss in private, yeah?”

                “Yeah, I suppose...” Voss! I don't care if you're gay, just please don't turn out to be gay for me!

                “You're nailing your sister, aren't you?”

                Oh, good. Well, I think that's good. Better, at least.

                “Y-yeah, that's kind of the situation....”

                He sighed. “Well, that's fine, but... that elf girl's been making eyes at you since she met you, plus there's that whole 'most important person' spiel.”

                “Yeah, kind of....”

                “So... what's the situation here?”

                Well, the situation is that this is a personal Heaven put together for me by an angel with dog ears and a stubby tail as a reward for being such a pathetic shut-in I had not even swatted a fly during my whole life back home, but I can't tell you that.

                “Katriana and I have started a romantic relationship recently, and I asked for her to give me room to have other lovers and wives, though she can't, or at least she hasn't expressed any interest in doing that. I don't know what Ashryn's whole deal is, but I wouldn't turn her down.”

                Voss gave me an odd look.

                “Jeez, you are a wizard, aren't you? A deal like that has got to be sorcery.”

                “U-um....”

                “Relax, Prince Sparky, you do what you do. You are a prince, after all. I'll sleep on the couch, just don't fuck while I'm trying to rest, okay?”

                “Uh... yeah! Totally! No problem with that at all!”

                After that awkward but kind of positive exchange, we headed back down the private dining room. Ashryn and Katriana were chatting over wine, though they quieted when we came in. “All set upstairs?” Ashryn asked.

                “Yeah, we also sorted out the sleeping arrangements,” I replied, “Ashryn, you can either hare the bed with me and Katriana or sleep on the floor if you chose.”

                Ashryn beamed, but Katriana looked surprised. “Oh,” she said as if she had a sudden realization, “Oh... okay. Good.”

                “Anyway,” she continued, “Ashryn and I are going to get find someone who specializes in armour for women, so you boys go party or whatever, just make sure you stick together, alright?”

                Huh. I've never had Katriana say she doesn't want to be around. I turned to look at Voss, “Well, I guess she's accepted you, if you're being trusted with my care and attention.”

                Voss frowned. “Are you a wizard or a gerbil? Jeez,” he said with a shake of the head, “Well, we're going to see the joust. Damned if this tournament if going to be in town and I don't end up seeing any of it. That okay with you?”

                “As long as you're getting your own plate mail done, that's fine with me.”

                “Fiiiiine.”

                Dinner was great as usual, but this time when the plates started to get cleared up, Voss produced a game board and some chips, and he and Katriana began playing something called Nine Men's Morris.

                “So, Ashryn,” I asked, “What's your story anyway? I know you had some kind of prophecy about me read to you, but what was your life like in the convent?”

                “You want to know about me?” she said with a smile, “Let's see... I was raised in the convent at a really young age. My father is an elf-knight in service to the queen of Tir na Ceo, and my mother is the captain of a merchant ship that does trade between the Tir kingdoms and the sea folk. Neither of them had the personal time to raise me, so I was given over to the Starlit Order to be raised as a priestess.”

                “That seems kind of sad. Aren't you upset at your parents giving you up?”

                “Should I be? They gave be to the Order so I would have the best life they could possibly give me. Is it better to have half the attention of one parent, or the full-time care of people you're not related to?”

                I guess that made a certain amount of sense. “So... your parents aren't married?”

                “No... elves don't often get married,” she mused, “Being together with only one person for potentially a whole millennium... well, it's rare even for someone to have only one partner in a human lifetime, right?”

                Was that a jab at me? What were Katriana and her talking about?

                She took one of my hands in hers and softly said, “You know, we could go elsewhere and have a more... detailed discussion about Elven relationships.”

                I stiffened, and glanced to the side. Katriana and Voss' game must have been heating up because they had stopped moving pieces around on the game board and started to remove them as each took a turn.

                I was very interested, but, Katriana....

                I gently gave Ashryn's hand back. “I'm sorry, not right now. I'm very interested in exploring these things with you, but I haven't had a clear signal that's it's okay to go ahead yet from someone else I care about, so....”

                Ashryn's hand flew up to her mouth in surprise, then, to my own astonishment, she grinned. “Aw, you're so sweet!” She came around to my side of the table to throw her arms around me and give me a kiss on the cheek. “I knew you were kind. I'm happy to be proven right.”

                “...So you're not mad?”

                “Well, I'm a little disappointed, but... you tell me when you're ready, okay? I mean, I think I like you ever better, now!”

                That's something, at least.

                We while the evening away with board games- Voss ended up teaching us all the game in time, but I was pretty wiped and hardly remember it. It sucks being the lowest Constitution score in the party.... No, wait, it sucks having low Constitution, period.

                Either way, I ended up being the first to excuse themselves, and went upstairs to rest in preparation for Voss's vacation day.

                Before going to sleep, I decided to sit for a bit and cast Reduce on my shoes. They weren't shrunk forever- at my level, the spell would only last five minutes- but it got the spell out of my system so I could go to sleep.

                Sleep proved elusive, though. I tossed and turned for a bit, but I couldn't get thoughts of Ashryn out of my head. I resisted the urge to jerk off- things were going to be awkward enough in this room for the next little while without me adding additional semen for nobody's pleasure but my own- but face down, face up or sideways all my attention was on my erection. Somehow, I managed to get to sleep before anyone came upstairs, but it wasn't easy.

                My eventual wake up was very pleasant, however.

                Under my left arm, curled against my side, was Ashryn. Clinging to my right arm, also sound asleep, was Katriana. It was a warm, nice, soft feeling.

                On the couch, Voss was snoring, but I'll take what I can get. I wonder if he knew I got a blowjob over there the night previous?

                I resisted the urge to just fall back asleep. But I did take my time getting out of bed. It took an effort, but I eventually forced myself up out of the pile of cute girls because one- I didn't feel sleepy and two- I realized that I've been in two fights and one sex session and haven't had a bath in all that time.

                However, bathing in the morning presented some challenges over the afternoon. For instance, I had to wait my turn, but at least that gave been a chance to memorize my spells for the day.

                Sleep, of course, was my first pick, then I went with Mending for my second. I wasn't expecting a fight, and I might have a chance to look over my equipment for anything that needs a quick repair.

                Thus prepared, I had awhile to enjoy a quick breakfast before a serving maid summoned me for my turn in the baths.

                In order to keep from pissing anyone off, I kept it quick, and soon I was freshly dressed, spells memorized and belly full so I could meet the challenges of the day.

                By the time I got back to the room, however, half my party had already vanished, leaving only Voss who was slowly coming around.

                “Hey,” he said groggily, “The girls said they didn't know where you disappeared to, and said they're going to check with one of the servers and ask.”

                “Well, they must have gotten an answer, because they weren't downstairs anywhere,” I said, sitting on the bed. “Ready for our big shopping trip and jousting day?”

                “Yeah, sure...” he said with a yawn.

                Voss then proceeded to completely destroy my attempts at an efficient start to the day by taking his time doing literally everything. It wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't just had to kill time for half an hour waiting for the bath.

                He must have noticed my boredom, because at once point, between mouthfuls of oatmeal, he said, “Hey, man, you can go on without if you have things to do.”

                Which would have been great if we didn't maybe have a criminal syndicate after us and I had more than one dog-damn hit point!

                Eventually, he was ready to go, too, at which point I had to drag his complaining ass all the way to an armourer's so he could get fitted for plate mail.

                Why on earth did I agree to go with him instead of a pair of beautiful and willing women?

                Luckily the armourer was eager to hammer out a new breastplate, after days and days of nothing but repair work. One of his apprentices measure Voss up, and the armourer even knocked a little off the price because Voss had “a perfectly good hauberk” in his chain mail, something I hadn't counted on. Apparently the whole process would take three days, which was a bargain. I hope the girls' armour would take so little time.

                “Alright,” I said, “Now we can attend the joust.”

                “Great!” Voss said with a sigh, “Now we can enjoy ourselves properly.”

                It was one gold to get seated in the stands for the next round of jousting, and on the way Voss bought us a couple flagons of dark, yeasty ale from a vendor. I eyes the drink suspiciously- it was somehow simultaneously too fizzy and not fizzy enough, like there was a soap scum on top or something- but I was already kind of pissy and irritated, I may as well add drunk and surly to that list.

                But did I ever underestimate that joust.

                Back in my previous world, whenever football, baseball, whatever-ball came up, my eyes sort of glazed over and I would pretend that I was literally anywhere else. I never understood the fascination, especially not those people who could watch game after game after game as if it was the most engrossing thing in the world.

                I kind of feel bad now, for how I acted towards those people. I guess I just hadn't found my sport.

                In this world, as Voss explained to me, jousting took place with nine lances. A rider in full plate sat on his horse (also with plate barding) and would tilt down the list at his opponent, aiming for a reinforced plate on his opponent's left shoulder or his opponent's shield. The goal was to break the lance on the opponent, which was kind of like scoring a point. Unhorsing your opponent- knocking them off- also counted as a victory, but was considered a less honourable way of winning than simply outperforming your opponent. Whoever broke the most lances, in most cases, would win, and in the case of a tie after the nine rounds (even a lance that missed it's target would still be discarded, a small concession to safety) there were judges to render a decision.

                And it was intense. The moment of quiet right before the charge, the sound of the cracking lances, the cheering of the crowd, even the weird-tasting but well-fortified beer all mixed together to make something spellbinding.

                At least, to me. No doubt somewhere a football bro is rolling his eyes as we speak.

                Soon enough, I was cheering on with Voss. I didn't care who won, really- I'd pick someone in each match based on the colours of their armour, or if I liked their emblem- but it was great fun. I didn't even complain as Voss kept filling my hands with ale that kept tasting better the more of it I drank.

                It was too soon when the day's matches were called off, and the herald proclaimed that on the morrow would be the archery tourney, followed the next day by the fourth round of joust. But he was almost drowned out by the sounds of the crowd scraping and moving on out of the stands.

                Voss and I were laughing and loudly talking about the matches as we were on our way out, discussing one brutal unhorsing, or the match that pit two brothers in almost identical armour against one another, or how surprised I was by the number of female knights (I suppose it was still D&D, after all, I should have expected a degree of modern egalitarianism). The dark cloud that hung over us getting to the match was gone, replaced by a warm feeling.

                Is this what it means to have a “bro”?

                But that feeling quickly turned to ice in my stomach when got out to the street. We were discussing whether to meet up with the girls for dinner or to find some food on our own, with Voss loudly extolling the benefits of a good streetside meat pie, when a half-familiar voice asked, “Theodore, is that you?”

                I turned to see a pretty, young, brown-haired woman in a sky-blue robe staring at me with an incredulous expression.

                I don't know if it was the beer, or maybe just my whole double-memory situation, but it took me an awkward second before realizing who she was.

                “Oh, uh... hi, Calliope.”

                Half-drunk, sweaty, and reeling around with my equally sweaty, equally drunk buddy- that was how I got reacquainted with my magic school crush.

                -------------------------------------------

                Character Name: Theodore Esche
                Race: Human
                Class: Transmuter
                Level (XP): 1 (1897/2500)
                Hit Points: 1

                Ability Scores
                Strength 11
                Dexterity 17
                Constitution 8
                Intelligence 17
                Wisdom 13
                Charisma 14

                Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

                Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

                Spells Per Day:
                1st Level- 2

                Spellbook:
                (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

                Equipment: Backpack, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (16), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Oil of Acid Resistance, Pearl (worth 100gp), Robes (3), Signet Ring, Small Tent

                Money: 165 gp, 4 sp, 5 cp

                Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

                Companions: Katriana (Level 2 Fighter, fiancee), Voss (Level 1 Fighter), Ashryn (Level 1 Cleric)

                Sexual Partners: 1
                Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

                Comment


                • #23
                  Chapter 21: Isekai Life & Eating Platemail

                  Now that I had had a name to go on, memories of Calliope came flooding back.

                  I had been enamoured with her ever since I noticed her two week into basic lessons. She was smart, attractive, kind... if a little too serious and standoffish. But that didn't matter, what are little things like human flaws to get in the way of a good infatuation?

                  The best part is, she seemed to warm up to me in time. We didn't flirt, precisely, but she would blush whenever our eyes met, and she was really embarrassed the one time she bumped into me by accident. We also competed, vying for the top of the class, but she would overtake me pretty regularly, and I didn't really mind.

                  Eventually we went into different streams. I apprenticed under a Transmuter, of course, while Calliope seemed determined to become a war mage for some reason.

                  Hey, just because you crush on a girl, doesn't mean you know all that much about her.

                  Either way, now she was there before me, and I kind of felt like a mess.

                  But, surprisingly, she stepped forward and gave me a hug. “Oh, Theodore! They didn't tell anyone what happened to you when you disappeared! Jeez, everyone assumed some kind of terrible accident happened!” Then she stepped back and gave me a light push away. “Sorry... you breath kind of smells like a brewery.”

                  “Oh, uh, sorry,” I said, clamping my mouth shut after.

                  “What happened to you? Where have you been?”

                  “Well... it's kind of a long story, but Katriana and I had to leave the Academy....”

                  “Katriana? That's your sister, right?”

                  “Uh, yeah.... Anyway, my education was basically done, so we just took to the road as adventurers, and we've been working pretty steadily since we got here. You found me on my first day off in awhile, actually.”

                  “Oh, I see....” She fidgeted a moment. “You really couldn't have said goodbye, at least?”

                  “I didn't know where you were. They keep the different Schools pretty separate, you know? And it's not like I could have just walked into the women's dorm.”

                  “You could have at least sent your sister, though!” she accused.

                  Which was true, and had genuinely not occurred to Theodore before I was in the driver's seat.

                  “Sorry....”

                  She sighed. “I guess Katriana's still around somewhere, taking care of you? The Gods know that you need it.”

                  “Yeah... what about you? What's your situation?”

                  She bit her lip. “A few of us from the graduating class came here together, to look for work as adventurers... what we didn't expect was that adding a bunch of young Invokers to the mix here was basically going to crash the economy for magical talent.”

                  That kind of makes sense.

                  “Anyway, as it turns out, “ she continued, “A lot of people make some pretty strange assumptions about women war mages. I've had it about up to here with jokes like, 'we can't have you fireballing the camp once a month.' I'm an Academy graduate! I shouldn't have to prove anything!”

                  “Wait, you don't have a job?”

                  As far as I knew, Calliope came from common folk, who got into the Academy based on her talent. She couldn't have a ton of money.

                  I gave her a concerned look. “Are you okay? How is your situation?”

                  “I have a job, as a matter of fact,” she replied haughtily, “It's just not one that happens to use my magical talents. Which I would prefer, by the way.”

                  “Right. Well....”

                  I gave it some thought. Calliope was clearly angling to a spot in our party, but splitting reward money five ways would start to cut things a little fine. Especially if a perfectly good bard or ranger or paladin or something else showed up a little later on.

                  But having an Invoker would be pretty great. She could focus on blowing stuff up while I focused on solving problems. She could be an excellent addition.

                  “You know what...? Why don't you come along and meet the other members of my party,” I finally replied, “Then we could have a discussion about whether we have a place for you.”

                  She smiled at me. “Really? That would be fantastic! Thank you so much!”

                  I turned and located Voss, standing by a street vendor and munching on a meat pie. Bringing Calliope over, I made the introductions. “This is Voss, he's one of our front line warriors. Voss, this is Calliope, a friend from the magical academy I studied at.”

                  “Charmed,” he said around a mouthful of pastry and unidentifiable meat. Calliope shook his hand with more than a little trepidation.

                  “Hey, Theodore, can we discuss something in private for a moment?” he asked after finishing his mouthful and wiping crumbs off his chest.

                  “Uh... sure. I guess we'll be right back?”

                  “Well... alright, don't take too long.”

                  Voss pulled me aside, around the corner of a building and just out of sight. Then, he clapped his hands flat against each other, as if praying.

                  “Promise me that if a cute girl ever expresses any interest in me, you won't talk to her. In fact, don't even be in the same room as her. Please!”

                  “Uh... okay....”

                  “And teach me whatever sorcery you know that has all these girls flocking to you!”

                  “Calliope hasn't flocked anywhere!”

                  “Come on, man, she hugged you right away like that. If you're not banging her, too, by the end of the week, I'll eat my brand new plate mail.”

                  “Well... now you're just trying to get out of having new armour again.”

                  Voss couldn't help himself and barked a laugh at me.

                  We returned to Calliope, and Voss gestured expansively. “Sorry about having my mouth full earlier. I'm Voss, like he said, and I'm just a dumb thug with a spear so you needn't worry too much about me. My job is mainly to keep the squishy ones like you and our genius leader here safe.”

                  I blanched. A little thick, don't you think, Voss?

                  Calliope nodded. “Well, I hope to be joining your party. Thanks for trying to keep Theodore safe.”

                  We agreed to head back to the Lazy Ox, in hopes of intercepting Ashryn and Katriana. By this time, with both the shock of seeing Calliope and the simple passage of time, I managed to shake off the buzz granted by the cheap, swilly beer.

                  Most of the way back, Calliope spent detailing her exploits in Tresens. And by exploits, I mean it was mostly a deluge of complaints about being passed up by this or that party, or being neglected in favour of one of her academy friends. Was she always this prickly about things? Or are my memories tinted by previous!Theodore's infatuation?

                  Suddenly, something in a shop window caught my eye and I reached out to put on a hand on Voss's sleeve. “Hey, what is that?”

                  “It's my boob, you asshole! Why are you trying to grope me all of a sudden!”

                  I flushed, and took my hand back. We were walking in a triangle formation, me and Voss in the front and Calliope a little behind and in the middle... I didn't realize she must have drifted up between us over time.

                  “Uh, sorry, but... Voss! Look!”

                  “What? What am I seeing?”

                  “There!”

                  I pointed. Beside us was a potter's shop, it's window filled with shelf after shelf of small pots and jars. And at the top-left of the display, almost hidden behind another large pot, was a clay jar about the size of a large man's fist, glazed blue and gold with a flame-like pattern.

                  “Remember that cypher we found? That's exactly the kind of jar the cypher was sealed in!”

                  “Oh shit, really!?” He took a careful look. “You think this guy might know something about it?”

                  “What cypher?” Calliope asked.

                  “We found a jar just like this one in a ruin outside of town, with a note written in cypher sealed inside. Theodore thinks it was a- what did you call it?”

                  “A dead drop,” I finished, “Come on, let's go talk to the guy.”

                  The three of us piled into the potter's shop, where we must have made an imposing group from the shopkeeper suddenly looked nervous.

                  “Can I help you, gentlemen and lady?”

                  “Uh, yes. I'd more information on jars that look just like this,” I said, pulling the jar we found out of my pack and placing it on the counter. “Specifically, if you know who might have bought these or ordered them made. We'd be willing to pay for this information.”

                  “I see... if I may ask, why do you need to know, sir?”

                  My mind raced. “Um, we found something valuable in one of these pots, and we want to try and return it to it's owner.”

                  “Of course, of course,” he said nodding. “My records are in the back room, so if you don't mind...?”

                  “Yes, of course. Thank you for making the effort.”

                  The man disappeared into the back room, and we were left waiting in the potter's shop.

                  We took the time to catch Calliope up on what as going on with the jar, the circumstances we had found it in, and all of that. She followed along, absorbing this information, and then-

                  “So you're investigating the pot you found, mainly because you're curious about that message, but it's not actually part of a paid quest?”

                  “Uh... yeah. That's basically it.”

                  She sighed. “Great....”

                  “What? You said you were fine for money, and this is something we want to look into....”

                  “No, it's fine. I'm fine. It's all fine,” she said hurried, then started tapping her foot. “Where is this guy, anyway, he's been in the back room for a long time.”

                  As if on cue, the bell of the front door rang, and a person in a long, red, hooded cloak and chain mail stepped into the shop. At the same time, three similarly dressed men stepped out of the back room, and into the (now crowded) shop.

                  “You've been asking too many questions, meat,” the one from the front door growled in a gravelly voice, as he drew a short sword.

                  -------------------------------------------

                  Character Name: Theodore Esche
                  Race: Human
                  Class: Transmuter
                  Level (XP): 1 (1897/2500)
                  Hit Points: 1

                  Ability Scores
                  Strength 11
                  Dexterity 17
                  Constitution 8
                  Intelligence 17
                  Wisdom 13
                  Charisma 14

                  Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

                  Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

                  Spells Per Day:
                  1st Level- 2

                  Spellbook:
                  (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

                  Equipment: Backpack, Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (16), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Oil of Acid Resistance, Pearl (worth 100gp), Robes (3), Signet Ring, Small Tent

                  Money: 165 gp, 4 sp, 5 cp

                  Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

                  Companions: Voss (Level 1 Fighter), Calliope (Level 1 Invoker)
                  Elsewhere: Katriana (Level 2 Fighter, fiancee), Ashryn (Level 1 Cleric),

                  Sexual Partners: 1
                  Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                  Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                  Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Chapter 22: Isekai Life & How I Spent My Vacation

                    Immediately as the cloaked figures drew steel, Voss had his longsword in hand and his shield at the ready. Surprisingly, Calliope drew her own weapon- an ornate dagger from a sheath just inside her sleeve.

                    The cloaked figure chuckled. “Little girl, you don't thin-”

                    So I threw a trio of darts at him to shut him up.

                    Calliope chanted and gestured, just barely casting a Shield spell in time to deflect the enraged stranger's counterattack. Meanwhile behind me I heard Voss and the other three strangers clash, steel striking off of steel, and the fleshy sound of someone's blow striking home.

                    I turned- hopefully Calliope could finish off that guy somehow, I certainly didn't want to be the guy who made ranged attacks into melee. Voss was holding off two of the strangers in the narrow confines of the shop, while a four was trying to scramble over the counter to get me and Calliope. Instead, I threw darts in his face, and he fell backwards screaming, smashing into a shelf of fine porcelain teapots on the way down.

                    Behind me, I heard again the now-familiar sound of a blade striking home, and the gurgling of someone choking on their own blood. Voss also began fighting back, hard, smashing one of the strangers with his shield and slashing the other across the belly with his longsword, the follow-through of his blow smashing into a shelf full of pots and bowls.

                    I hesitated, not sure what to do, only to heard a feminine voice behind me chant, and a glowing magical bolt sail between Voss and I, curve in midair and strike the stranger right under his hood, distracting him long enough for Voss to run him through.

                    And just like that, it was over.

                    We were all puffing, taking a moment to let the rush of battle wear off, when Calliope complained, “Oh, damn it, I'm just covered in blood!”

                    She was drenched pretty thoroughly. Hell, the talking stranger was still writhing weakly on the floor as his neck shot little spurts of blood into the air with every failing heartbeat.

                    Frowning and cursing, she pull her dagger free from his neck and wiped it clean on a sleeve before returning it to it's sheath.

                    “Well, next time, don't go for the throat?” Voss offered.

                    Calliope gave him a dirty look. “I've never had to go for the throat before! Why are we getting attacked by people suddenly? Why are you going through their pockets?”

                    Voss shrugged. “Clues. Also, money. It's not like they can spend it now.”

                    “This is what adventuring is all about, Calliope,” I added, “Sometimes you get ambushed.”

                    “And sometimes you get hurt, too,” Voss shot me a glare of his own. “Why didn't you put these guys to sleep with the Hex of Something-Or-Other?”

                    “Uh, sorry,” I shrugged, “It all happened so fast... but at least, I've got it for later if there are more of them.”

                    “Huh... okay. Yeah, there might be more of them. Look.”

                    Voss pulled back the hood on one of the dead and/or dying strangers, revealing the orange-tinted skin, pointed ears and snoutlike nose of a hobgoblin.

                    “Whoever they are, they're paying for hobgoblin enforcers. That's not cheap.”

                    I rubbed my chin in thought. “And it's not one of the established Thieves' Guilds, they're cut along racial lines, wouldn't make sense for either of them to... outsource.”

                    “Got it!” Calliope shouted.

                    During my exchange with Voss, she had slipped behind the counter, and then was standing there triumphantly with a bound leather ledger in her hands.

                    “What's that?” Voss inquired.

                    “'The books', as it were,” she replied, “Or at least one book. Might provide us with a clue about who is ordering those distinctive clay jars you're so obsessed with.”

                    Voss nodded and rose. “Good job,” I replied to Calliope.

                    “What's our play here, Theo?” Voss asked, “Do we wait for the guards, or bolt? They've got to be on their way.”

                    I glanced out the front window of the shop. It was clear- the talkative hobgoblin had crashed into the window display on the way down- and I could see that our fight was loud enough that the street had cleared out, though I could also make out a trio of hooded figures in an alley across the road.

                    “We don't know who these guys are working for. Hell, the city guard could be in on it, too,” I said after a moment, “There's three more hobgoblins keeping an eye out in front of the shop. Let's slip out the back and try to make it back to the Lazy Ox.”

                    “There's probably going to be more of them, and I'm out of spells,” Calliopse said, frowning, “You sure we shouldn't just... wait for the city guard and take it from there?”

                    I wasn't eager to maybe become a cop-killer. “Calliope, if you want to be an adventurer so bad, you'll have to get used to operating on the fringes of the law,” I replied, “Anyway, just keep your dagger handy and your head down, and we'll try to make it through.”

                    Voss straightened with a groan. “Well, just make sure you've got that spell handy. I can't take too many more hits like this before we meet up with Ashryn.”

                    We headed through the back of the shop- a small workshop for painting and glazing the pottery that was manufactured elsewhere, I think- and stacked up on the rear exit.
                    “Hold on,” I said, drawing out my hand mirror. I lowered myself to the floor, angled the mirror, and tried to peer out under the gap between the threshold and the door.

                    I cursed. “Four more,” I said in a strained whisper, “Much more heavily armed, too. I see a morningstar, the end of some kind of polearm, and a belt sheath for a longsword. Might also be a sharpshooter up on one of the roofs.”

                    Voss sighed, “You sure don't like to make things easy on me....”

                    I got up and dusted off my hands. “There's a pretty good chance I'll be able to knock all them out, so hopefully it'll just be one or two at most.”

                    He rolled his eyes in response, “Okay, I can handle one or two psychotic mercenary hobgoblins for you, sure.”

                    “Boys!” Calliope hissed, “Can we get moving? There's three more around front that might be getting suspicious!”

                    Voss looked at me, I nodded to him.

                    He opened the door, revealing four more strangers with various armaments waiting to ambush us in the back courtyard of the building.

                    I canted, gestured and cast the Hex of Lotus and Willow.

                    One of the hobgoblins slumped forward and fell to the ground.

                    Voss glared at me. “Dammit, Theo!” and lunged forward.

                    “Shit, wait, bottle neck them in the door!” I yelled helplessly, but he was already outside and swinging.

                    “Wow, what a well coordinated party you have here!” Calliope remarked, voice thick with sarcasm.

                    I cut her a glare, then walked out into the fray.

                    It was a dumb idea. I knew, deep down, it was a dumb idea. But it was the second time in a row that the Sleep spell failed me, and Calliope was sufficiently getting on my nerves that I decided on impulse I'd rather die with Voss at that very moment.

                    He was facing down three hobgoblins, one with a morningstar, one with a longsword, and one, oddly enough, dual-wielding both weapons. He bashed at one with his shield, flinging him out of the scrimmage enough that I was able to nail him with a dart, though it didn't seem to do much damage.

                    Voss struck hard with his longsword then, half-beheading the dual-wielding hobgoblin, and not letting up on the remaining two.
                    I patted my pockets, for something, anything I could use to help, but then my hand fell on a carefully inscribed handle sticking out of the top of my backpack.

                    Calliope brushed past me, jostling my back so the handle fell firmly into my hand. For all that Calliope was beginning to grate on me, I had to hand it to her, she charged into battle bravely, slashing with her dagger.

                    I couldn't let them fight alone. I drew the crowbill from my pack, circled around so I was behind the morningstar-wielder, and in one smooth movement sunk the blade handle-deep in his skull.

                    Nobody was more surprised than I was, I assure you.

                    Voss was able to make use of the break in the fight to strike at the remaining hobgoblin, carving a deep furrow into his cheek. But that one had other ideas, juked left, dropped his sword and sprinted for the alley to the street.

                    “Damn it!” Voss shouted, slashing at the fleeing hobgoblin's shoulder and earned a spray of blood. I drew and tossed a dart at him, too- the last thing we needed was for him to report back to his employer and say that we were probably out of spells now- and struck true, but if anything the hobgoblin managed to speed up. He ducked down the alley and was gone.

                    “Shit!” Voss cursed, clutching at a fresh wound in his thigh. I went over to him, but he waved me off. “I'm fine, I can keep going. We've got to get you and the girl back to the Lazy Ox.”

                    Still, I snatched up the discarded halberd and handed it to him. “Could you use this as a walking stick, maybe?”

                    He grinned at me and slammed the blade straight down into the back of the still-sleeping hobgoblin with an brutal-sounding snap. “Among other things. Let's get moving.”

                    This time is was Calliope's turn to toss me the back of earnings. I guess someone decided to get used to robbing corpses in a hurry.

                    We went down the alley opposite where the hobgoblin had departed, and tried our best to find a crowded street.

                    -------------------------------------------

                    Character Name: Theodore Esche
                    Race: Human
                    Class: Transmuter
                    Level (XP): 1 (2045/2500)
                    Hit Points: 1

                    Ability Scores
                    Strength 11
                    Dexterity 17
                    Constitution 8
                    Intelligence 17
                    Wisdom 13
                    Charisma 14

                    Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

                    Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

                    Spells Per Day:
                    1st Level- 2

                    Spellbook:
                    (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

                    Equipment: Backpack, Bags of Fine Sand (2), Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (12), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Magical Crowbill (Held in Trust), Oil of Acid Resistance, Pearl (worth 100gp), Robes (3), Signet Ring, Small Tent

                    Money: 164 gp, 4 sp, 5 cp

                    Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

                    Companions: Voss (Level 2 Fighter), Calliope (Level 1 Invoker)
                    Elsewhere: Katriana (Level 2 Fighter, fiancee), Ashryn (Level 1 Cleric)

                    Sexual Partners: 1
                    Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                    Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                    Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Chapter 23: Isekai Life & Speculation Intensifies

                      We stuck to crowded streets and, if not that, deserted alleys. Even though a gap opened up around us as we traveled through crowds, we'd still rather be around witnesses than not. We saw no more of the hooded hobgoblins- presumably, the one that survived convinced the others to fall back and regroup. After awhile, we began to relax, as it didn't look like we were being followed.
                      I finally began to breath a sigh of relief as we finally entered into the Lazy Ox, exhausted from the constant tension and limping.

                      When the innkeeper saw the state of us, he clapped at one of the serving girls and bellowed for hot towels, basins of water and needle and thread. Guess by now he was used to us showing up out of nowhere looking like dirty, bleeding wrecks.

                      The serving girls didn't want to be around us, but we didn't mind as we got cleaned up. The innkeeper dutifully sewed up all the various holes in Voss, let us wash the blood off of our faces and hands, and then pointed. “You're getting a private dining room tonight, too.” It wasn't a question, and I fished the gold out of my purse to pay for it.

                      After our clean-up, we filed into the private dining room to wait for Ashryn and Katriana.

                      “You know, for a prince, you're pretty free with that cash.”

                      Voss looked a little unsteady on his feet, so I grabbed his elbow to help lower him down onto a bench. “Yeah, I guess... How are your wounds?”

                      Voss shrugged. ”Doesn't matter too much, I'm sure Ashryn will be able to patch me up when she gets back.”

                      ”Who's Ashryn?” Calliope inquired.

                      Vos replied before I could. “Theodore's elf girlfriend. Kind of like how you're his mage girlfriend, I guess.”

                      Calliope seemed offended. “I'm not his girlfriend!”

                      “Well, for now.”

                      Why was I the one getting glared at!?

                      Soon, we heard the familiar sounds of the dining room filling up with patrons through the door, meanwhile a serving girl dropped off wine and cups for us while we waited.

                      “...Could those hobgoblins have gotten your friends, too?” Calliope asked, suddenly seeming anxious.

                      “I doubt it,” I responded, “How would they know that Katriana and Ashryn have anything to do with us?”

                      There was a bit of a pause from Calliope.

                      “So... you and your sister are an item, then? I see.”

                      I realized how she was able to put two and two together and glared at Voss who gave me a helpless, good-natured kind of shrug.

                      While we waited, Voss divvied out the loot be scored off the hobgoblins. It was a relative pittance- a few copper pieces and a handful of gold each- but Calliope seemed pretty happy with it.

                      Eventually, Katriana burst in through the door to the private dining room.

                      “Theodore, are you alright? The innkeeper said that someone was injured....” She paused and took in the scene, then composed herself. “Hello, Calliope,” she said in an icy voice.

                      “Katriana,” was Calliope's only reply.

                      That's when the ever-bubbly Ashryn bounced into the room.

                      “Hello, Theo! Hello, Voss! Hello, new friend! I'm Ashryn Milaneth,” she introduced herself while enthusiastically shaking Calliope's hand.

                      “Uh, hello... My name is Calliope Brevins, I used to be Theodore's classmate.”

                      “Oh, that's wonderful! So you're a Wizard, too?”

                      “Yes... an Invoker to be specific.”

                      “That's wonderful! We could always use another mage on the team!”

                      At that pointed, Katriana took Ashryn by the shoulders and pointed her at Voss.

                      “Oh, Voss are you injured? Don't worry, I've been following Theo's advice and prepared lots of healing spells today!”

                      While Ashryn doted over Voss, a serving girl came in with fresh bread and bowls of stew. I guess we were spending so much money, the innkeeper was making the effort to look out for us.

                      “So, tell me what happened,” Katriana demanded.

                      We explained, taking turns speaking and filling in details each other had missed. There were a few times that Katriana seemed to want to slap herself in the forehead, but she nodded at the important parts and took it all in.

                      “Well, now, you're being hunted by someone who employs hobgoblin thugs and has something to do with that cipher we found, but you didn't come away with any other information, don't have any clue what's going on, and you dragged Calliope into this?”

                      “Well, that's a bit unfair to say...” Calliope replied.

                      I was a little surprised to hear this from the Crown Princess of Criticizing Other People Today, but Calliope produced the leather-bound ledger she uncovered at the pottery shop.

                      “I'll bet if I we cross-referenced any large deliveries marked down in this ledger with places large enough to house mercenaries within ten minutes' walk or so of the pottery shop, we'll find out where the hobgoblins came from.”

                      “That's a bit of a stretch,” Katriana replied

                      “Maybe, but it's a start. Sure, it's possible that the hobgoblins were nearby or some other reason than they're barracked with whoever is in charge of this... conspiracy or whatever... but remember that they had no idea that we were going to come investigating.”

                      Ashryn interjected. “What about checking the pottery shop again? The owner could have gone back.”

                      I shook my head in reply. “They've been careful enough, I think we can mostly assume they'd get rid of the pottery shop owner somehow. Hide him, or worse. We'll check, of course, but not make it our only line of investigation.”

                      Ashryn nodded, and let the subject drop. There was an awkward silence, and then Katriana spoke up.

                      “Calliope, Voss... could you give us a moment? There's something I want to say to Theodore.”

                      “Should I leave, too?” Ashryn asked.

                      “No, I want you here for this.”

                      Voss shrugged, grabbed his new halberd from where he left it leaning and lead Calliope outside. For her part, Calliope gave me an amused smirk. I didn't know how to respond, so I kept my eyes on Katriana.

                      “So, uh, how was your day?” I asked awkwardly.

                      “Well, we got our platemail ordered, which was fine,” Katriana replied, “But then I cornered Ashryn and had a bit of a talk with her.”

                      Ashryn pouted. “Katri was a little mean.”

                      Katri, now, huh?

                      “First of all, you can be with her,” Katrian continued, “I give you permission. She's okay by me.”

                      I felt a moment of mixed relief and elation. Katriana noticed that and gave me a look. “This isn't a huge room, and you made poor Voss sit here through your little flirting session. Be a little more mindful of where you are next time, okay?”

                      “Well, okay, but....”

                      “But what?”

                      “You were able to use the distraction in order to win, right?”

                      Katriana frowned for a second, leaned over then flicked me, hard, right between the eyes.

                      “Ow! Hey!”

                      Settling back in her seat, Katriana turned to Ashryn.

                      “Tell him what you told me. Everything, from the top.”

                      Ashryn took a deep breath.

                      “So, I said that one of my fellow acolytes did an augury for me, and said that you two were going to be the most important people to me... well, that wasn't entirely true.

                      “She began casting the augury like normal. We were all a little tipsy, and were doing the auguries to find out if such and such boy liked us or not, silly things like there. There were quite a few handsome humans studying to be paladins in the temple with us, and... well, that doesn't have anything to do with anything, now does it?

                      “I didn't like anyone in particular, so I just asked what my first boyfriend would be like. But when the older girl cast the augury, the room kind of got darker, and her eyes went milky white. It was... it was the telling signs of a prophecy, straight from the Ysiphine themselves.”

                      I nodded, following along. Such a dramatic event... no wonder she remembers all this by heart.

                      “'On the first day that is not the first day, the Uncrowned King awakens. He will bear the book of power in his left hand, and the sword of wisdom in his right, and the ground will quake at his passing. He is the ruiner of ways, the breaker of kingdoms, the ethereal prince who will master the world and build an empire that is both old and new.

                      “'Seven will be the trials he much pass to earn his crown. Fire and Storm, Sea and Ice. Light, Shadow and Doom Itself will scatter before him, to make his way to the comet-shattered throne.

                      “'Twelve will be his Queens. At his right hand, the Sword of Blood. At his left, the Speaker of the Stars.

                      “'Fox Princess, Dragon's Daughter, and The Queen of Twilight will bow before him.

                      “'Behind him shall stand the Maiden of Battles, the Black Huntress, and Silence's Song.

                      “'At his side, the Crimson Tiger, Laughing Flower, the Bride Veiled in Steel and the Herald of Dead Kingdoms.

                      “'Neither the crown nor the twelfth bridal bed shall end his journey. The wheel shall turn, and the raven will fall from heaven. The Eternal King shall die, and the All-Father's Eye will be put out. He will guard the Last Flame, and ignite the new age.'

                      “That's kind of it. Nobody really felt like playing with more auguries after that.”

                      I was stunned into silence as I processed all this.

                      “And this is all supposed to be about me?”

                      “Yes... and no,” Katriana replied, “I eventually got out of her that prophesy and telling the future is a tricky business.”

                      “Very tricky!” Ashryn nodded, “Even for a prophecy, things aren't set in stone... take the Fox Princess bit. She could be a literal princess who is a fox, or a princess whose sigil is a fox, or...”

                      “...Or a girl who can shapeshift into a fox and acts like a princess, or any number of things. I think I get it,” I replied.

                      “Apparently Ashryn, as the recipient of the prophecy, has kind of a sixth sense for when bits of it get fulfilled.,” Katriana went on, “For instance, she knew right away I was the Sword of Blood. Which is why she zeroed in on both of us as the 'most important' instead of just you.”

                      Ashryn nodded again. “I won't know the details until they're much more set. For example, like when one of your wives agrees to marry you, then I'll have an idea.”

                      “So to use the example from before,” I said, following the logic here, “If I married all three, we'd then find out that the first girl's parents died and she's the literal queen of a kingdom called Twilight, and that the last girl can also shapeshift into a red tiger.”

                      “Something like that, maybe! It's all really vague, but I'll know it when it happens.”

                      A super-helpful prophecy, then. Cool.

                      “So then... if I marry you....”

                      Ashryn perked up immediately.

                      “You'll for certain be this 'Speaker of the Stars', which was already foretold to you, but you won't become it until I ask, so....”

                      “Please let me marry you!”

                      She forwardness kind of took me by surprise a little.

                      “I mean, even if this prophecy is a bother, I'm pretty good with healing magic and all, and I can cook (I think) and maybe also clean, a little bit? Anyway, I'll be a good wife and Katri already said yes, so please...!”

                      “Alright, alright! Calm down. I'd love to have you as my second wife, Ashryn. And you don't have to cook or clean if you don't want to.”

                      The elf giggled and clapped her hands with joy, jumped up and hugged Katriana, who couldn't help but smile and hug her back.

                      And just like that I had two fiancees.

                      -------------------------------------------

                      Character Name: Theodore Esche
                      Race: Human
                      Class: Transmuter
                      Level (XP): 1 (2100/2500)
                      Hit Points: 1

                      Ability Scores
                      Strength 11
                      Dexterity 17
                      Constitution 8
                      Intelligence 17
                      Wisdom 13
                      Charisma 14

                      Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

                      Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

                      Spells Per Day:
                      1st Level- 2

                      Spellbook:
                      (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

                      Equipment: Backpack, Bags of Fine Sand (2), Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (12), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Magical Crowbill (Held in Trust), Oil of Acid Resistance, Pearl (worth 100gp), Robes (3), Signet Ring, Small Tent

                      Money: 177 gp, 4 sp, 39 cp

                      Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

                      Companions: Katriana (Level 2 Fighter, fiancee), Ashryn (Level 1 Cleric, fiancee), Voss (Level 2 Fighter), Calliope (Level 1 Invoker)

                      Sexual Partners: 1
                      Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                      Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                      Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Chapter 24: Isekai Life & Ape Beatings

                        “So what do we do about the rest of that stuff, then?” I asked then, “I don't mind speculating about what girls I'm going to marry, but what's all that stuff about fire and doom and breaking chains and stuff?”

                        “I think it's kind of like a timeline,” Katriana replied, “Before we'll have the resources to get our kingdom back, we'll need to do seven quests like that. Or something. I mean, we might have already done the fire one, if the temple arson counts.”

                        That kind of bothered me. A two-day quest like that was probably way too short to get mentioned in some kind of crazy prophecy.

                        “Well, I guess that's all fine, but our goals stay the same,” I said, “How long until-”

                        There was knocking on the door, and Calliope's annoyed voice filtered through the wood. “Are you guys done with your secret meeting or whatever? I've got to get to work and Voss doesn't want to escort me on his own.”

                        I was going to ask about how long Ashryn and Katriana's platemail would take, but I guess it could wait.

                        Katriana let Calliope and Voss back into the room. “Where do you work that you're starting a shift so late at night?” she asked.

                        Calliope blushed. “N-nowhere important! But I don't want to go there on my own, and Voss says that if those hobgoblins catch us again, he wants one of you two around,” she said, indicated Ashryn and Katriana.

                        The two other girls exchanged glances. “Well, I guess after the day you've had, it would pay to stay together,” Katriana allowed, “I'll go, too.”

                        “I want to go, too!” Ashryn said, clapping her hands together, “If we're all going to allies and party members, I want to get to know you, Calliope!”

                        ...Which would leave me alone at the inn.

                        I sighed, “I guess we may as well all go, I don't want to disappoint Ashryn, and I certainly don't want to be left behind alone.”

                        With that, it was decided. Wandering around at night with a band of hobgoblins hunting us, yay.

                        The common room of the inn was crowded as always, so much so that I felt kind of bad for asking Voss and Calliope to wait out here for so long. Even Ricard, Mariska and their dwarf buddy were shoved along with Ricard's serving man into a table by the front window, though they seemed cheerful enough, with Mariska seeing us and raising a glass of wine in salute as we passed.

                        The night was cool, just on the comfortable side of chilly, and in addition to lights from windows and open doorways, the street were lit with some kind of primitive gas-lamp. The streets were largely empty, but most of the people who were still about walked confidently, unafraid of the night. Guards patrolled in groups of four here and there,keeping an eye on things nonetheless.

                        We were heading towards the Docks district- I had been there enough by now that I recognized the route. It made me somewhat uneasy. To get there, we had to pass through a manufactory district that was bustling during the day, but at this time of night would be deserted.

                        While we walked, I fetched the crowbill out of my pack, and clutched it in my off hand. It just seemed like a sensible precaution.

                        We were walking through the manufactory district only a short distance we we heard a chilling scream from a side street. The side street turned a short way down, so we couldn't see where the scream was coming from.

                        “It's a trap,” I said, bluntly.

                        Katriana gave me a glare. “If it's a trap, then someone is getting tortured because of us!”

                        Alright... fair point. But... “We don't have any spells left. Or rather, useful ones.”

                        “That's not true! I still have the Starlit Eyes of the Ysiphine,” Ashryn chimed in.

                        Thanks for that input, but I don't think Detect Magic will save anyone's life.

                        “I'm sorry, Theodore, but I can't let someone suffer because of us.”

                        I sighed. “Well, yeah, I didn't say we weren't going in there, just... let's be careful, alright? Voss, you and Katriana are doing the heavy lifting, are you going to be okay?”

                        The other fighter chuckled. “Yeah, they ought to look out. I didn't have my spear then.”

                        I guess he must have grabbed it while Calliope and him were waiting.

                        We cautiously advanced down the street. Partway down, the screaming started up again, panicky and pained. Katriana drew her sword, but, to their credit, nobody ran forward.

                        The screaming died off, is a low, trailing wail. We rounded a haycart, and entered into a broad market square.

                        This late, all the stalls and carts were long packed away. Instead, at the centre of the square, was a large stake and pyre, with a burning human corpse (I hope) flickering away. As we entered, we heard someone behind us shoving the haycart into place, blocking the road before setting the cart on fire- matching flames sprang up on each of the roads leading out of the square.

                        “Well, this is great,” I said, bitterly.

                        The new flames illuminated our would-be opponents- two of the hooded hobgoblins... and two massive apes, clad in iron collars with chain leashes. Upon seeing us, the larger of the two apes pounded his chest and hooted at us. The other, a more slender and deadly-looking ape, simply slinked forward silently.

                        Carnivorous apes. Five hit dice, a THAC0 of 15, three attacks per round.... They were often kept as war beasts and guardians by hobgoblins, and clearly these hobgoblins thought that they were some kind of trump card against us.

                        One of the hooded hobgoblins cracked a whip, driving one of the ape forward, laughing. “Come on, then! We've got your flesh to snack on and your bones to eat, eh? Five lives for eight is a poor trade, so give us some sport to even things up a little, won't you?”

                        I'm really starting to hate the enemy having the initiative all the time.

                        “Hey, Voss,” I said, slowly, “Think you can distract that one on the left? The rest of us, go hard on the one on the right.”

                        “Gotcha,” Voss replied, and faced the larger of the two apes, circling wide of the other half of the fight. This only made the two hobgoblins crack up even more. Hopefully Voss wouldn't take too hard of a beating, but we really needed to do this lopsidedly, overcoming one threat completely then focusing down on another.

                        Voss charged forward suddenly, getting right up in the ape's face as he thrust with his spear. The ape dodged backwards and growled a warning, but so far the plan was working- Voss had the beast's attention.

                        Turning to the ape we were supposed to be taking on, I drew and flung my darts, being careful to keep the crowbill out of the arc of my arm. Two struck home, causing that ape to finally make a sound, roaring with pain and fury. Another object flew at the creature, but fell short- Calliope had found a loose brick and launched it at the creature while she still could.

                        Katrian and Ashryn closed in, swinging weapons but not able to strike home as the ape fell back, then pounced suddenly, a meaty fist striking a glancing blow of Katriana.

                        The hobgoblins kept taunting us, but I was focused on the battle. I saw Voss warding off his ape with wide swings of the spear, sacrificing accuracy and damage for space and time. I took the opportunity and launched darts towards it, all three striking home and one sinking deep into the beasts' eye. Hopefully that would slow it down some for Voss. Meanwhile, while Katriana and Ashryn were the focus of our ape's attacks, Calliope managed to slip forward with her dagger and cut deeply into it's arm.

                        Voss struck hard with his spear, thrusting into his ape's belly deep enough he had to follow up with a punch from his shield to pull the weapon free, but earned himself a close-quarters punch in return. Meanwhile, the girls kept their ape surrounded, it's attention divided, even though Katriana took another backhanded blow from it. The hobgoblin with the whip, behind the ape, cursed and jeered, cracking at the beast and keeping it pressed forward.

                        We were scoring our hits, but Katriana and Voss would break long before the apes did if things kept up like this. I circled to the right, keeping the whip-wielding hobgoblin in my sights, hoping and waiting.

                        But then, all at once the tide turned. Katriana finally managed to hit home, thrusting her sword deep into the ape's chest as Ashryn cracked her mace over the ape's back, driving the sword deeper into the beast's body. Katriana manged to back off and yank her weapon free as the ape thrashed, dying.

                        Before he could get any ideas, I threw three darts at the hobgoblin with the whip, wounding him. He cracked the whips at me, but missed cleanly as I was too far out of range. I launched a second volley, straight into his gut, and he curled up on himself, dropping his weapon in agony, blood from pierced arteries spilling onto the ground. His sword, made of some kind of black, iridescent metal that glittered in the firelight, clattered to the ground, and on instinct I snatched it up.

                        The girls had gotten the picture, and ambushed the other hobgoblin, with Katriana's blade hitting home and earning a pained scream from him. Voss dashed forward and sank his spear into the ape's heart in a mortal wound, while Calliope came from the hobgoblin's blind spot and stabbed into his neck, turning to get clear as blood sprayed.

                        Just like that, it was over. We were intact, though wounded, and surrounded by the smell of burning human flesh and ape blood.

                        I sighed wearily and ran a hand through my hair before regarding the poor soul tied at the stake. “Well, so much for our rescue effort...”

                        Katriana sheathed her sword with a similar noise of discontent. “I guess we couldn't have done anything, then,” she said bitterly, “Next time I'll try to stand by and let them be burned.”

                        I didn't know what to say to that.

                        “Come on, everyone,” Katriana said, “Let's get moving. Whoever set those wagons alight can't have gone far, and I want to be safely away before they can organize a proper counterattack.”

                        -------------------------------------------

                        Character Name: Theodore Esche
                        Race: Human
                        Class: Transmuter
                        Level (XP): 1 (2192/2500)
                        Hit Points: 1

                        Ability Scores
                        Strength 11
                        Dexterity 17
                        Constitution 8
                        Intelligence 17
                        Wisdom 13
                        Charisma 14

                        Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

                        Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

                        Spells Per Day:
                        1st Level- 2

                        Spellbook:
                        (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Enlarge, Featherfall, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

                        Equipment: Backpack, Bags of Fine Sand (2), Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (5), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Magical Crowbill (Held in Trust), Oil of Acid Resistance, Pearl (worth 100gp), Robes (3), Signet Ring, Small Tent, Unidentified Broadsword

                        Money: 177 gp, 4 sp, 39 cp

                        Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

                        Companions: Katriana (Level 2 Fighter, fiancee), Ashryn (Level 1 Cleric, fiancee), Voss (Level 2 Fighter), Calliope (Level 1 Invoker)

                        Sexual Partners: 1
                        Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                        Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                        Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Chapter 25: Isekai Life & Dancing at the Mouse

                          With the haycarts still burning, we had no other choice but to make a way out through one of the manufactories. We chose one that lead in the direction we wanted to go, and Katriana smashed the chains open with her warhammer. I felt a little bad, so I cast Mending on the padlock while we made our way though- at least this way the owner wouldn't be out an expensive, precision-made device, and besides that, the square was probably going to be crawling with guards as soon as they could access it.

                          The manufactory was dark and silent, and we were able to make our way through with a minimum of fuss. At the far end, what seemed to be past the burning barrier, we unlatched a window, and Voss held it up while we each slipped through. I held it open for him from the outside so he could also escape. We then hurried through the night, finishing the trip to the docks.

                          Calliope took the lead there, and lead us to a dockside inn. The inn's sign was a mouse-man in clothing, hands on hips and beaming with pride over the bulge in his pants. Below that, a hand-letter wooden sign named the place, “The Big Mouse Inn”.

                          “This is where you work?” Katriana asks, with a sardonic tone, “A dockside inn? You have to know the reputation of places like these.”

                          “Sh-shut up!” Calliope replied, red-faced, “Let's just... get this over with.”

                          When we entered into the inn, the innkeeper, a scrawny, stick-like man with an eyepatch, laughed to see her. “Three hours late, and then you show up looking and smelling like you've rolled around in a slaughterhouse? You're done, princess. I replaced you already, two hours by.”

                          The innkeeper pointed over his shoulder with a thumb, to the centre of the busy inn. There, four girls in multicoloured outfits with short, frilly skirts and bare bellies danced in whirling, teasing steps as a fiddler and drummer played in the background. One of the girls was obviously more clumsy that the others, tripping over her own feet and stumbling after her partners.

                          Katriana chuckled, and Calliope somehow became even more flushed. “W-well, I'm just here to get my things! Just let me back to the dancer's room and I'll be on my way!”

                          The innkeeper scowled, but nonetheless grabbed one of his serving girls, to lead Calliope to the back. Katriana kept silently giggling, to the point where Ashryn prodded her and admonished, “You have to be nice! Calliope's a good person.”

                          “Sorry, sorry,” Katriana said, shaking her head, “But you didn't know her before, a common village girl who acted like she was better than others just because she knew a little magic. It's just funny to me, to see that she's so bad at finding a party for herself to adventure with that she had to become a dancing girl in a dockside tavern to make ends meet.”

                          That made me wonder a little bit about Katriana. Did she mislike Calliope for the Invoker's attitude, or...?

                          My thoughts were interrupted by the reappearance of Calliope, carrying two big bags with her. They were large and bulky, but she didn't seem to have any trouble carrying them both with her.

                          “Well... sorry about all this,” she said to everyone as we filed out of the Big Mouse Inn. “This ended up being mostly a waste of time... and worse, we ended up in a fight, and some of us got hurt,” She shook her head, “Well... I hope you let me pay you all back for this.”

                          Voss shrugged. “We walked into a trap and got out alive, and now there are two less hobbos' and two less of their apes, if they even have more.”

                          Ashryn nodded. “You're one of us, now,” she said insistently, “This trip was the least we could do.”

                          Katriana didn't say anything, but I stepped forward. “It's you who's wrapped up with us in this plot, not the other way around,” I said, “If you want to apologize for the walk out here, then I ought to apologize for bringing you into that potter's shop in the first place.”

                          Calliope gave me a bit of a smile, and nodded. “It's late enough, we ought to get back.”

                          The walk back was quiet, which I had expected. Whoever was after us, they had all afternoon and evening to plan their ambush, and we walked right into it and dealt with it directly with no casualties. Their next logical step would be to hang back, keep an eye on us, and either prepare another trap or wait for a weakness to exploit.

                          It was late enough when we arrived at the Lazy Ox that the musicians had been cleared away, and the only people left in the common room were a handful of groups still talking low and laughing over drinks. There were only a few serving girls around, but still, I handed over a few coins for wine and goblets to be brought upstairs for us to enjoy in private, and we headed up to our room.

                          Voss volunteered to sleep on the floor, giving Callipoe the couch, but she would have none of that. “You need to be comfortable or else you'll shift and pop your stitches,” she said, “Ashryn can heal you in the morning, and we'll figure out what to do then.”

                          “About that,” I said, “I think tomorrow should be all about recovering. Nobody leaves the inn, unless three of us go, and we don't leave at all during the night. Our fighters heal with help from Ashryn, while we try and figure out who is hunting us and why.”

                          At the very least, everyone was too tired to argue.

                          I shuffled over to Ashryn, and gave her a nudge. She startled a little bit, but then smiled up at me. “Yes, Theo?”

                          “You still have that spell memorized, right?” I asked as I drew the black steel broadsword, “Can you analyze this for me?”

                          Ashryn muttered her prayer, then examined the blade. “Yes, it's magical, alright,” she confirmed, “It was from one of those hobgoblins, right?”

                          I nodded. “It's alchemical steel, I think,” I told her, “It holds a weak natural enchantment, but it can't compete with a proper enchanted blade.” I knew that bit of lore from Theodore's memory of magic school. I guess it's for +1 weapons, to help explain why they are way more common than others.

                          I offered the sword, handle-first, to Katriana. “It's not quite like your longsword, but it could be handy to have a magic weapon around,” I mentioned.

                          She took the blade and hefted it experimentally, and nodded. With her “related weapon” non-proficiency penalty, she would be at a +0 to hit and a +1 to damage compared with the +1 to hit and +2 damage for her longsword speciality... but the magical weapon would be able to damage certain enemies immune to the effects of mundane steel. And, if she spent to proficiency slots on it, it would eventually rise to +1 / +1 and then +2 / +3 if she also specialized in the broadsword... but a magical longsword might turn up by the time she hit level 6, having earned an additional proficiency slot every three levels. Still, it was good to have.

                          I got into bed, and immediately Ashryn hopped in next to me and snuggled up to me, earning a derisive snort out of Calliope. Katriana also eventually climbed into bed, but started out with a bit of space between us... until the last candle was out and she felt comfortable enough to turn towards me for a cuddle.

                          For all that we almost never left the building, the next few days went by in a blur.

                          First thing in the morning, Ashryn started her all-healing all-the-time spell plan, healing the majority of Voss and Katriana's wounds, enough that they could move around with worrying about stitches and even spend part of the day down in the stables practising with their new weapons- Katriana with the magical broadsword, Voss with the halberd. We also had a round of baths as soon as the bathing room was free (not alone, unfortunately, nor co-ed- Voss and I shared the room and then the three girls all bathed together) and sent our laundry away with one of the maids.

                          That afternoon, Calliope and I spent discussing spell strategy. She was mostly pretty gung-ho about smiting and blasting with magic power, but I was able to convince her that on the whole something like Wall of Fog was generally more useful for a first-level wizard, especially considering how handy she was with that dagger. As an Invoker, Calliope was barred from my most useful spells like Sleep and Armor, but I did manage to teach her the intricacies of The Sigil of the Burning Hands and the Floating Disc of Tenser.

                          When I cracked open her spellbook for myself, though.... Either there's something wrong with her notes or I am just an unlucky guy because most of her spells I wasn't able to learn. Sure, she had a selection of Abjuration and Necromancy powers I couldn't avail myself of, but of her remaining spells I couldn't wrap my mind around most of them. I did manage to learn the Fiery Bolts of Arcane Light (aka the dreaded-ish Magic Missile), but after that it was just a failure after failure until eventually I had to settle for the Awareness of the Black Enchantment (aka Detect Undead). I could try again after I got to second level, but for now Identify, Shield and Wall of Fog were denied to me, all spells I would rather have that wasting a spell slot just to find out if there were a few zombies knocking about.

                          We also spent a great deal of time hunting through the potter's ledger to try and figure out who might have sent the hobgoblins after us, and there were a few possibilities. Most of the client list didn't have street addresses or anything listed, but there was a Lord Ghyran Gauthi that had ordered some five hundred gold pieces of glazed jars and gallon-sized earthenware pots that seemed likely. The only thing that was left to determine was if “Highcroft Manor” was really within ten minutes' jogging distance of the pottery shop.

                          We then whiled the night away with Nine Men's Morris (having only one game to play was a little more interesting when you had your choice of four opponents) and enjoying the music and crowds down in the common room. That night, the innkeeper had hired a bard to recount tales of comedy and adventure to the sound of his harp, and in general it was a pretty enjoyable night.

                          Midway through the second day, partway through our spell sharing study session, Calliope paused and asked, “Hey, Theodore? Do you mind if I look at this cipher you were talking about? No insult to your intelligence meant, but a fresh pair of eyes might help.”

                          I assented and fished out the little slip of paper, and Calliope was looking at it for about ten minutes when she said, “No wonder you couldn't figure it out, it's written in Ignan.”

                          Ignan, the language of fire elements from third edition on up. Of course, how could I expect to have to learn a language that I didn't even know existed in AD&D?

                          “So what does it say?” I asked in response.

                          Underlining each line with a finger, Calliope recited, “I am acting tomorrow. Once the helper has been disposed of, we can proceed with the ceremony on the appointed day.” She shook her head, “It's signed, but Ignan is a very context-sensitive language. If the writer was speaking to a stranger, they'd jot down a little pronunciation key, but it seems the person they wrote to is someone familiar.”

                          “Still, sounds pretty bad,” I mused, “Any ceremony put on by someone who acts so secretively and raises the dead just to protect their dead drop can't be a good thing.”

                          “Well, finding whoever is sending the hobgoblins after you will probably net you whoever wrote this,” she added, “Besides, you stole their message. This miscommunication probably delayed their plans, at least a little.”

                          Well, I could accept that.

                          By evening, we were all starting to get a little of the cabin fever, so we all struck out on a mission to locate Highcroft Manor and it's relationship to the pottery shop.

                          After asking a few questions, we managed to locate the manor just a few blocks from the potter's shop, but it didn't look good at first- it was at least a twenty-minute jog as the shortest distance between the two involved circumnavigating part of the neighborhood, as the streets were laid in parallel and you couldn't cut through anywhere.

                          But Voss wasn't having any of that.

                          We were sensibly behind a another manor's hedge, taking quick peeks at Highcroft Manor- really just a larger-than-average townhouse- but not allowing ourselves to get seen in the open, as we discussed the possible route the hobgoblins could have taken. Voss was on lookout, when he shook his head at the rest of us. “You're overthinking it,” he said nodding towards the Manor, “Those are the hobgoblins for sure.”

                          Frowning with confusion, I helped myself to another peek, just in time to see a pair of guards in full field plate- including visored greathelms- conclude a patrol and enter in through the front doors of the manor.

                          I sighed. “Yeah, those are probably hobgoblins. I know for sure I couldn't see their faces. Perhaps they have a secret passage that let them move as the crow flies or something.”

                          “Yeah, okay, so now what?” Calliope asked, “We break in there, and try to find evidence of a hobgoblin platoon and undead raising?”

                          “Yeah, something like that.”

                          “Sorry, but that's kind of stupid. Don't you have a better idea?”

                          “Actually, it's okay, because we happen to have an expert on breaking and entering.”

                          ”We do?” Ashryn asked, confused.

                          I shrugged. “Well, we will once we break her out of jail.”

                          -------------------------------------------

                          Character Name: Theodore Esche
                          Race: Human
                          Class: Transmuter
                          Level (XP): 1 (2302/2500)
                          Hit Points: 1

                          Ability Scores
                          Strength 11
                          Dexterity 17
                          Constitution 8
                          Intelligence 17
                          Wisdom 13
                          Charisma 14

                          Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

                          Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

                          Spells Per Day:
                          1st Level- 2

                          Spellbook:
                          (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Detect Undead, Enlarge, Featherfall, Magic Missile, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

                          Equipment: Backpack, Bags of Fine Sand (2), Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (5), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Magical Crowbill (Held in Trust), Oil of Acid Resistance, Pearl (worth 100gp), Robes (3), Signet Ring, Small Tent

                          Money: 171 gp, 2 sp, 39 cp

                          Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

                          Companions: Katriana (Level 2 Fighter, fiancee), Ashryn (Level 1 Cleric, fiancee), Voss (Level 2 Fighter), Calliope (Level 1 Invoker)

                          Sexual Partners: 1
                          Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                          Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                          Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Chapter 26: Isekai Life & Eye Contact

                            “So, uh, is that girl, Smokey Enna still here?”

                            Captain Hawkins gave me an odd expression. “Why do you ask? We don't normally allow people to visit prisoners, least of all the adventurers who turn them in.”

                            I floundered momentarily. “We have questions related to the investigation that lead to her arrest, and figured she might be willing to help.”

                            Captain Hawkins gave me a long, studious look. “Well, even if I was willing to grant your request, she was moved a day ago. She is going to be held in Whitewater Keep until a magistrate becomes available to oversee her trial.”

                            “Whitewater Keep....” I mused, hoping that Hawkins would fill in the blank.

                            He didn't fall for it. “You're not thinking about doing something stupid, are you?”

                            I shook my head. “No, just disappointed. Sorry for taking up so much of your time.”

                            He still gave me a skeptical look as I left, but didn't try to stop me.

                            Katriana fell in with me as soon as I left, and we walked in silence for a few blocks until we met up with the rest of the group.

                            “Well?” Calliope asked.

                            I shook my head. “She's been moved to someplace called 'Whitewater Keep'.”

                            Voss whistled. “I'm not completely sure where that is, but it's somewhere downstream of here- a tower house on a triangle-shaped island, where the river cuts between two cliffs. Whitewater rapids on two sides, the only calm spot is on the side that faces upstream, and it takes strong rowers to escape the pull of the water.”

                            I sighed. “So, how do we make this work?”

                            “Uh, Theodore...” Katriana said, “That sounds the next thing to impregnable. Well, at least for our purposes.”

                            I thought about it carefully. “Well, we can't be looking at too many guards. A completely geographically isolated place like that would have to run on a skeleton crew. If we borrow a boat, find the tower, and arrive at night, it shouldn't be hard to, functionally, take the keep.”

                            “Yeah, but you're not considering the boat,” Voss said. “Six in a rowboat? We're going to have to travel light. No armour, minimal weaponry, maybe shields. If there are more than two guards at a time, or if we wake up the rest of the garrison....”

                            “You'd prefer to do a frontal assault on Gauthi's manor?”

                            Voss sighed. “Fair point but... you're asking a lot this time, Theo. Going light on equipment, possibly killing lawful guards....”

                            “Yeah....” I bit my lip, before replying. “Well... I mean, Enna was as much of a victim as anything....”

                            “Yeah, but she was still a thief,” Voss replied, “Sorry, Theodore, but this is a bridge too far for me.”

                            “Sorry, Theodore,” Calliope replied, sounding sad but still reluctant.

                            I looked at my hands. I sighed. “Okay.”

                            Captain Hawkins was a little surprised to see me enter the guard house again and march straight up to the counter.

                            “I'd like to post bail for Smokey Enna. Is that a thing in this city?”

                            Hawkins sighed with resigned exasperation.

                            Sometime later, he led me into the area of the cells, where a drunkard was snoring loudly in one cell, and a certain stout woman perked up in the other.

                            “'Ey! It's you! That mage! Erm... Theodore, right?”

                            I turned to Hawkins. “You lied to me.”

                            “I am sworn to justice, not truth,” he said candidly, “And in my defence, that was before you handed me a scrap of paper worth seven hundred gold.”

                            Seven hundred fifty, I corrected in my head. I felt keenly the loss of my promissory note, but it was (hopefully) for a good cause. Besides, as Hawkins had explained, I'd (hopefully) be getting it back.

                            He went over the rules of this little arrangement again for Enna's benefit.

                            “I expect her back here in a week- that's before nightfall on the seventh day,” he said as he hunted through a large keyring, “If you disappear, you and her both become wanted criminals and I keep your money. If she gives you the slip and you report her missing right away, maybe we don't arrest you, but I still keep your money. If you or her commit a crime, I'll arrest you both and keep your money. The only way this works out well for you is if you return her before the appointed hour, committing no crimes. Then you'll get your money back. Clear?”

                            “Yeah, we get it,” Enna replied, “I'll be jus' the sweetest lil' angel, I promise you that.”

                            Hawkins grunted, and unlocked the cell door. “Well, she's your problem now. Good luck, or rather, bad luck, because if you screw up then I'll wind up richer.”

                            “That's nice of you,” I nodded to Enna, “Come on, you're with me for the next little while.”

                            Outside the guard station, Enna stretched. “Wow, 'at was nice of ya. So when're we hoppin' a boat? Tonight, I hope.”

                            I shook my head as we walked over to where Katriana was waiting. “We're not leaving, and you better behave because I do want my money back.”

                            Enna blinked. “Don't tell me that promise-sorry-note 'Awkins was talkin' about was the real deal.”

                            “Real as a letter like that can be, I suppose,” I answered, “Come on, my companions and I need your help for a job.”

                            We gathered up the whole party, found a deserted stretch of alleyway next to a blacksmith's shop- work was in full swing and we could safely whisper under the sounds of multiple clanging hammers and the hiss of quenching.

                            I explained the whole situation- the hobgoblins, the mysterious cipher, the “Purification”, and all that.

                            “So here's the deal,” I said, under the clamour of the shop, “You help us stage a robbery of Lord Gauthi's manor, so we can look for the evidence we need to accuse him of consorting with hobgoblins and whatever this Purification thing is. You get a fair cut of the loot, which we can arrange with a banker for it to be held in trust until your release, and I think we can promise that there will be plenty of loot to go around.”

                            Enna whistled. “That's a fine thing you asked for. A sixth of the treasure in some bigwigs' mansion? Well, sure, I'm piqued. Let's do this.”

                            I breathed a sigh of relief, which proved to be only momentary. Calliope stepped forward. “Excuse me, but how can we know that we can trust her? She's just some... gutter rat who was involved in that arson, yes?”

                            Enna barked a laugh. “Well, a gutter rate is the kindest thing anyone's called me all week. Tell you something, girlie, I'm Smokey Enna. My mam was a human whore and me da was a dwarf customer who liked 'em tall. The dwarfs call me a half-human and the humans call me a Mul, kinda like the animal. Dad couldn't acknowledge me, and I didn't want to go into me mam's line o' work, so I became a scapegrace and cutpurse. I know me way aroun' a scrap, I know me way aroun' a set of picklocks, and considerin' that these folks know no less'n two groups of people who'd love to have me in a cell or headless, I'd say I've more reason to question your loyalty than you have to questions mine.”

                            Calliope flushed. “Well... I guess you're right. Sorry, it's just been a hard few days.”

                            Enna grinned at her crookedly. “Think nothin' of it. It's natural to distrust others when discussin' clandestine acitivities, 'specially new people. But these folks saved my bacon once, so I can take their word on ya.”

                            A Mul, I mused. Originally from the Dark Sun setting, a half-human, half-dwarf race who come with decent bonuses to Strength and Constitution, penalties to Intelligence and Charisma, and a special racial ability that they never receive penalties from physical exertion. Sleep is another factor, but when it comes to marching, working, or anything else, they can literally go from sunup to sundown.

                            I frowned. A race that can literally go all night long

                            I had one HP and got out of breath climbing hills.

                            I leave this one to you, Voss. I have no desire to be fucked to death just yet. Dogspeed.

                            “Alright, so,” Smokey Enna said, clapping her hands for everyone's attention. “I've got a thing or two to check into before figurin' out out approach, an' it sounds like you can't be spotted by this bloke's guards anyway, so why don't I meet up with yas later tonight so we can set down a firm plan?”

                            I nodded. “Sure. Just don't think you can give us the slip, okay?”

                            She laughed her full-bodied laugh again. “Why would I want to give Captain 'Awkins such trouble? It suits my purposes if he gets all sentimental and trustin' of me.”

                            So with that, Smokey Enna headed off, easily blending in with the crowds, while the rest of us headed back to the Lazy Ox.

                            “You know, this could end up going really badly if we get caught, right?” Katriana asked.

                            “Yeah, well,” I answered, “We just have to not screw up.”

                            And to think just a week ago I was so cautious.... But, with my most powerful tools at the moment being my pair of warrior companions, and against a thinking opponent I may not be able to deceive or entrap, there was little incentive to be anything but bold.

                            Back at the Lazy Ox, Katriana paid out for our usual private dining room, and we were asked to sit and wait for the place to be cleaned up.

                            Voss was talking about how excited he was to pick up his new armour tomorrow, while Calliope and Katriana were bent over his game board. Suddenly, a soft hand touched my elbow, and I turned to see Ashryn standing there, smiling at me.

                            “Theodore... Could you come with me for a moment? I want your opinion on something.”

                            “Okay....”

                            I slipped away from the table and followed her as she led me down a hall and into the bowels of the inn. She turned down a familiar hallway, and, giggling, pulled me into the bathing room. The place was warm with steam, and a freshly-filled tub was waiting.

                            But before I could really process that, Ashryn jumped into my arms and kissed me, a quick peck on the lips.

                            She giggled. “That's how humans do it, don't they? I've never kissed anyone before....”

                            “Not quite....” I pulled her lips back up to mine, and kissed her more deeply, gently slipping my tongue in to glide playfully against hers. She moaned into my mouth.

                            “That felt good...” she said softly when I eased off, “I can't believe elves don't do that....”

                            “What's this all about, Ashryn?” I asked.

                            “Um, well...” She planted a small, soft kiss on my neck, “I figured you've been reluctant about having sex in our room where everyone else sleeps, too, and it's still another two days until the finals of the joust, but... I didn't want to wait anymore. So when we got back, I paid for a bath, then chased off the serving girl, so....”

                            She shrugged out of her robe, and was naked in front of me. Her silver hair cascaded onto her shoulders, violet eyes flickering with mischievous lust, and her soft breasts pushed against me as she leaned in for another kiss. Soon, she had me naked, too, and looked me over, appraising. I flush and looked away with embarrassment, but she gently cupped her hand on my cheek and turned my gaze back to hers.

                            “Don't be ashamed, Theodore.”

                            “B-but....”

                            She kissed me again, slower that time. “Everyone looks into a mirror and sees only flaws, but I don't want you to feel ashamed to show me who you really are.”

                            “I'm chubby and weak, though....”

                            She kissed my chest. “You're not chubby, you're cuddly. There's a reason why I love sleeping so close to you. And you're not weak, you're clever and intelligent, strong of will and determined. You need a little more taking care of, but you're far from weak, my prince.

                            “I used to be the same way,” she said, running a nervous hand through her hair, “I thought I was so colourless. Everything about me seemed so pale and grey. I'm still a little jealous of your bright hair and freckles... but after a hundred years, I've learned a few things. Like how you're never really as flawed as you feel.” She took my hand in hers, and kissed my palm with her feather-soft lips, “My prince... please, won't you let me show you what I really think of you?”

                            I nodded, and she lead me by the hand to the tub. I settled into the hot water, feeling the ache of the day start to dissolve as the heat soothed my aching muscles. Ashryn slid in on top of me, gave my cock a few strokes to make sure she had my full attention, and slid herself onto my hard rod.

                            She made a soft sigh, and sat there a moment. Noticing me watching her, she giggled. “Sorry, it's my first time, Katri said I might need a moment... and, well, we're finally connected, you and I.”

                            “You don't have to be sorry about anything,” I replied softly, “And, uh, even if you think you're made of nothing but grey... I don't think anyone who talks to you can miss how bright and bubbly you are.”

                            Ashryn smiled softly. “I'm going to start now... so don't look away, alright?”

                            Keeping her eyes locked on mine, Ashryn began riding me, wet breasts gleaming tantalizingly with every bounce. Her pussy felt slightly different than Katriana's, a little less yielding, but what was lost in the softness was more than made up by the pleasing tightness. She wouldn't let me look away for long, even as her eyes became hooded with pleasure and her breath quickened, gently guiding me back with a soft hand on my cheek.

                            Even though I was reclining in the warm waters, I could feel my pulse race, and could feel Ashryn' grip on my shoulder tighten as she got closer and closer. Her chest swayed with the increased pace of our lovemaking, and I could feel the rising sensation of my own orgasm coming on.

                            We climaxed together, staring deep into each other's eyes. It was an effort not to close my eyes, and I was rewarded by the way that Ashryn's eyes seem to sparkle as she came. I shot stream after stream of my seed deep into her, and then all at once the strength left us both. I collapsed back from an upright position I didn't remember taking, and the elf girl collapsed onto me.

                            “Thank you... my prince....” she whispered, out of breath.

                            “You're welcome, Was the only thing I could think to say.

                            We shared a hot, close moment in the bath, when Ashryn giggled.

                            “Katri said it might be messy... but it doesn't seem that way,” she sighed happily, “It's part of why I chose to do it in the bath.”

                            I enjoyed my own chuckle. “Well, maybe next time I'll show you what Katriana and I did that was so messy.”

                            I was rewarded with another kiss on my neck. “I'm looking forward to it.”

                            -------------------------------------------

                            Character Name: Theodore Esche
                            Race: Human
                            Class: Transmuter
                            Level (XP): 1 (2302/2500)
                            Hit Points: 1

                            Ability Scores
                            Strength 11
                            Dexterity 17
                            Constitution 8
                            Intelligence 17
                            Wisdom 13
                            Charisma 14

                            Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

                            Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

                            Spells Per Day:
                            1st Level- 2

                            Spellbook:
                            (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Detect Undead, Enlarge, Featherfall, Magic Missile, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

                            Equipment: Backpack, Bags of Fine Sand (2), Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (5), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Magical Crowbill (Held in Trust), Oil of Acid Resistance, Pearl (worth 100gp), Robes (3), Signet Ring, Small Tent

                            Money: 171 gp, 2 sp, 39 cp

                            Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

                            Companions: Katriana (Level 2 Fighter, fiancee), Ashryn (Level 1 Cleric, fiancee), Voss (Level 2 Fighter), Calliope (Level 1 Invoker), Smokey Enna (Level 1 Fighter/Level 1 Thief)

                            Sexual Partners: 2
                            Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                            Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                            Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Chapter 27: Isekai Life & The Descent

                              Enna was already waiting for us by the time Ashryn and I got back to the dining room. Everyone but Katriana stared at us when we entered the room, Voss and Enna having near-identical wry smiles.

                              “Did you have fun, kids?” Voss asked. I must have blushed, because Calliope huffed.

                              “Anyway,” Enna remarked, “I found what I was lookin' for. We can get into the catacombs 'bout five blocks from the manor, and it shouldn't take long to figure out if the catacombs meet up with the manor's cellar.”

                              “Wait, there are catacombs?” Voss asked, sounding surprised.

                              Enna grinned. “Aye. The whole of the old city is shot through with 'em, put 'ere by the folks who first built th' city. They pop up in all kinds of odd places, and a big fancy buildin' like yonder manor probably 'as a hidden entrance in th' basement. We skip the guards, jus' 'ave to worry about the servants and folks on the inside.”

                              I thought about her proposed plan. It sounded like a good way to get around the guarded entrance and keep the city watch out of it, except....

                              “We're going to have to lure the guards into the basement and take care of them there, one at a time,” I said, “We can't afford to fight all of them in close quarters, or for any of them to run and get help.”

                              I tried to recall the Monstrous Manual. This Lord Gauthi, whoever he is, is probably a “gentry” class Human, meaning that he's accompanied by up to three Human Fighters as personal bodyguards, which could be anywhere from level 1 to level 6- potentially very dangerous opponents that would require a all-on-one beatdown from all of us in order to overcome. If we had to fight them all at once and they were all the maximum possible level, it would be safe to assume we'd take casualties, at least.

                              There were also the hobgoblins to consider. The carnivorous apes were a little bit of a surprise- they're usually found only with hobgoblin tribes who have managed to build an underground fortress. While it might be possible that these catacombs lead to a massive subterranean community of hundreds of hobgoblins, there would be more evidence of that in the local population because of how much food they'd eat and all, so I think it's more likely that Lord Gauthi hired a small warband as mercenaries. Which would mean, with numbers generated by a 2d10, we have at most 10 more hobgoblins to deal with, if we account for the ones who have already been killed.

                              Up to fourteen more opponents, three of them being very dangerous, none of them being stupid and all of them having the potential for magical arms and armour. Yes, we had to take them out one at a time, if possible.

                              “I know it doesn't sound like the most honourable way of fighting,” I continued, “But we'll be outnumbered and out-resourced. That means we have to fight smart.”

                              Enna laughed, “I hope none of you mind playin' a bit dirty, 'cause those catacombs, they ain't been cleaned.”

                              Voss snorted. “Yeah I'd rather be smart and alive than honourable and dead.”

                              Calliope shrugged. “They've tried to ambush and trap us, so I have no problem giving as good as we got.”

                              “Good, it's decided,” Katriana nodded, “Let's figure out our plans, then.”

                              Voss, of course, wanted to wear his new plate- which I deemed a sound plan. It was odd to see him excited by something he was so sour over just a few days ago, but I supposed he was excited at the possibility of getting out of a battle unscathed for once. We could have Voss lead the way through early encounters, tanking out damage for the rest of the party. I didn't say as much out loud, of course, but nonetheless.

                              Katriana would be our primary damage-dealer, and so had to be kept in the second line until we needed her to move forward. In practice, I could only tell Voss to take the vanguard and couldn't with a clear conscience prevent Katriana from helping him out. Hopefully Voss would keep enemy focus on him.

                              Enna would be our scout and specialist. I hope she would backstab and fight sparingly- we needed her to open locks, lead the way and keep us all out of trouble. For that reason, I encouraged her to travel light, and she agreed. She would be going without armour and only her tools and a shortsword.

                              Calliope and I consulted over our spells, and it was decided I would bring Sleep and Reduce, and she would bring Shield and Wall of Fog. She fussed a little over not bringing a “real spell”, but I had convinced her that the strategic value of Wall of Fog over the meagre damage provided by Magic Missile or Burning Hands.

                              Taking up as our rear guard would be Ashryn. Again, I had to convince her to take useful spells over her tendency to take every divination spells possible regardless of it's use. She was invested enough in everyone's good health that I was able to convince her to memorize two healing spells, but it took a little more argument to get her to agree to Protection from Evil. With that spell buffing him, Voss might be able to tank out the entirety of the remaining hobgoblins, so I wanted to make sure we had it on hand.

                              Our eventual sleep was restful- or as restful as we could be. The room we had was intended to be luxurious for two, and comfortable for three if they had a footman or handmaid. For six, it was just a hair ahead of intolerable. Because of our fighters needing to be limber, I offered up my spot on the big bed. This lead to a small argument, as Katriana and Ashryn both worried for my health, and then there was a brief debate over who would sleep where, but it was eventually allowed that Enna (who, apparently, hates featherbeds anyway, saying “they make you soft”) and I camped out on the floor, Voss on the couch, and Calliope taking my spot on the big bed.

                              My sleep on the floor, on a pile of cloaks, was fitful. I kept waking up now and then, shifting and regretting my choices. I eventually drifted off, but woke drowsy and sore enough that Katriana bundled me back into bed with promises that she would oversee the preparations and provisioning for the adventure.

                              I awoke probably well past noon to an empty room. That suited me well- it gave me time to open up my spellbook in peace and re-memorize the Formula of Zer-ah.

                              I moved downstairs after, seeking breakfast and my party and found that it was later than I realized and everyone was waiting for me.

                              Katriana smiles when she saw me and gave my nose a playful poke. “Good afternoon, sleepy. Feel a little better now?”

                              “Yeah,” I said, embarrassed, “Sorry, everyone, but thanks for holding off for me.”

                              Ashryn pushed a bowl of oatmeal in front of me. “Well, come on then, there's no use waiting further.”

                              Soon enough, we were ready, armed and rested, and headed out to where Enna said we could access the catacombs.

                              It was a filthy grating set into the ground in an unassuming alleyway, somewhere between the manor and the jousting arena, locked only with an iron peg. Enna got to work pulling out the stubborn peg while Voss handed out torches to Calliope and I. The grate eventually opened, after a liberal application of oil, with a grinding shriek. Enna tied off a rope on the hinges of the grill, drew her short sword to hold into her teeth, and descended into the fetid darkness of the catacomb.

                              After a moment, her voice could be heard, “Hey, it's clear! Toss me down that spear!” Voss shouted back, “Get clear!” before lowering his spear shaft-first into the hole, then let go. Then, he took my torch, seated it firmly in his teeth, and descended himself, the knot creaking with his weight.

                              Katriana descended next, then Calliope, gripping her torch in her teeth as she halting descended, hand under hand.

                              I clambered down fairly easily myself, although it was really just a controlled fall- I didn't seem to have the strength to grip the rope but I managed to keep my hands moving fast enough to slow my decent enough that I didn't land too roughly.

                              The catacomb reeked. It was clear that people had been using the grate to dispose of filth, waste and offal, and the ground was slick with it. I gratefully accepted the torch from Voss, the smoke of the oil-drenched rags cutting into the stink. I got clear, giving Ashryn the space to make her own descent.

                              The room we were in was some kind of locus in the catacombs, a roughly rectangular room with corridors branching off from each of the four walls. I could see dim shapes moving in the darkness, heading towards us, and when I opened my mouth to warn everyone, skeletons boiled forth from the dark.

                              Enna was the first to react, whooping as she slashed out with her sword at the skeletons, and Calliope drew her dagger and followed. It was Ashryn, however, that scored the first major strike, holding forward her necklace- with it's crystals set in the shape of a constellation- and commanding some of the skeletons back into the darkness.

                              Voss struck out with his spear, clattering against bone, while Katriana drew and smashed with her warhammer, crushing a skull in one easy blow. But by then, I couldn't be distracted any more, as one of the skeletons-- mouldering and reeking- came clawing for me. It's grasping claws skittered on the aura of protective magic surrounding me, and I scrambled backwards.

                              The darts flew into my hands and were launched straight into the skeleton's mossy skull, two of which stuck there and hung garishly. Then, the skull exploded into fragments as Ashryn's mace collided into it from behind. She gave me a brief smile and a slight curtsy before turning back into the fray.

                              I was freed up in time to see Voss and Katriana strike true, felling another of the skeletal enemy. A second skeleton struck Katriana from behind, claws digging furrows in her cheek. Perhaps sensing the blood, the remaining skeletons moved in around the two fighters. I threw my darts into one of the skeletons, but I failed to change their course.

                              Calliope, bleeding from a cut into her sleeve, also came up from behind the skeletons, stabbing with her dagger, but inflicting minimal damage, but Voss was able to turn and skewer the skeleton she had attacked, lifting it's skull off it's shoulders and dashing it against the stony floor. Katriana struck a glancing blow against one of the skeletons, but wasn't able to stop the reaching bony arms from scratching at Calliope and Voss.

                              Enna leapt into the battle with a laugh, slashing and beheading two of the skeletons. Voss and Katriana rallied, striking together and bashing the last skeleton to bony bits.

                              We stood in the gloom, catching our breath after the battle. Then, from behind me, I heard Ashryn squeal, “Oh no, you poor thing!” and she stepped forward, saying a prayer and healing the terrible gashes all over Calliope's face.

                              I knelt and tried to retrieve my darts... and found that I only had three left whose tips had not been fouled on some enemy or another. That's wonderful.

                              “So I guess that settles it,” Voss said amicably, “Whoever was trying to protect that dead drop, probably also raised these skeletons.”

                              I nodded grimly. “Alright, let's continue. Enna, which way to the manor?”

                              She smiled. “Ah, good, glad that little scrap didn't scare you off. Lemme check the next room.”

                              While she disappeared down the hall, I went to Calliope. “Are you alright?”

                              “I am now, thank you,” she said softly, and I noticed that by the streaks of blood on her cheeks that one of her eyes had been pierced by the attack that struck her, but thankfully the injury had been healed away by Ashryn's magic. “Ashryn took care of me... guess I should be a bit more careful about joining battle, hmm?”

                              Enna came back, peering into the room and blinking in the light of the torches. “Hey, don't rest too much, we've got more problems coming.”

                              Motioning for me to follow her, she lead me down the corridor some thirty feet, and pointed into the room. There was a wet ripping and gulping sound, and I could see something large squirming about in the dark.

                              “Carrion crawlers, two of them,” she hissed in my ear. I nodded, and we backed away.

                              Back in the first room, I looked at everyone. “Well, we have a problem. The next room contains a pair of carrion crawlers, which are pretty formidable enemies.”

                              “Can we go around them?” Katriana asked.

                              I shook my head. “I don't want to get twisted around down here, and we definitely don't want to run into them if we have to retreat from the manor. Now, they're dangerous not because they have deadly attacks, but because they excrete a paralyzing slime... so if you keep your shields up and your wits about you, you should be fine. We'll use the corridor to keep them from flanking us, and if more than two of us end up paralyzed, we retreat, and wait for the slime to wear off before making another push.

                              “Enna will get their attention and kite them back, and Voss and Katriana will engage them in the corridor. The rest of us are on standby to rescue anyone who succumbs to their slime. Got it?”

                              I was early in our adventure, so spirits were still high. We all nodded with determination, and slowly moved down the corridor. We stacked up on the archway, and waiting while Enna snuck into the room.

                              A few moments later, there was the sound of ripping flesh and an inhuman shriek, and soon after, Enna came running into the corridor, sword arm soaked up to the elbow with green gore.

                              “I must've hit somethin' important, because 'at first one went down easy,” Enna said in a panic, “But th' other is coming on fast.

                              It did some on fast, squirming into the corridor, tentacles flailing. Katriana and Voss were prepared, though, spear and blade striking home in the foul abomination's insectile flesh. The beast flailed with it's slimy tentacles, but Katriana shoved them away with her shield, stabbing deep into the creature's face.

                              The creature went still, and she yanked her sword out of it's corpse. “Well, that went easier than I expected,” she said, turning to me, and concerned suddenly bloomed on her face. “Theodore, are you alright?”

                              I felt a tug, and something yanked me away. The light and the corridor raced into the distance, and suddenly I was once again floating, bodiless, beneath a starry sky.

                              “Well, you've been having a lot of fun, haven't you? Welcome back!”

                              -------------------------------------------

                              Character Name: Theodore Esche
                              Race: Human
                              Class: Transmuter
                              Level (XP): 2 (2611/5000)
                              Hit Points: TBD

                              Ability Scores
                              Strength 11
                              Dexterity 17
                              Constitution 8
                              Intelligence 17
                              Wisdom 13
                              Charisma 14

                              Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

                              Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

                              Spells Per Day:
                              1st Level- 2

                              Spellbook:
                              (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Detect Undead, Enlarge, Featherfall, Magic Missile, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

                              Equipment: Backpack, Bags of Fine Sand (2), Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (3), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Magical Crowbill (Held in Trust), Oil of Acid Resistance, Pearl (worth 100gp), Robes (3), Signet Ring, Small Tent

                              Money: 171 gp, 2 sp, 39 cp

                              Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

                              Companions: Katriana (Level 2 Fighter, fiancee), Ashryn (Level 1 Cleric, fiancee), Voss (Level 2 Fighter), Calliope (Level 1 Invoker), Smokey Enna (Level 1 Fighter/Level 1 Thief)

                              Sexual Partners: 2
                              Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                              Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                              Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

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                              • #30
                                Chapter 28: Isekai Life & Level Up

                                Corgiel, that puppy-eared angel, floated down into my viewpoint. My gut went cold.

                                “Did I... did I die?”

                                “No, silly! You levelled up! Congratulations!”

                                Sparkly confetti rained down from above, and Corgiel did a cute little dance.

                                “Okay... so why am I here?”

                                “Oh, you'd prefer a seamless experience? I thought you might prefer to roll for your HP gain! Although, maybe I should have waiting for when you go to sleep rather than just the end of the encounter....”

                                I looked down at the small, three-sided pyramidal die on the tabletop, floating in the void. It gleamed.

                                My old nemesis.

                                I held up a hand. “Uh, while I'm here, can I ask some questions? There are things about this experience that have been bothering me.”

                                “Sure, go ahead.”

                                “Okay. Where's my greatsword?”

                                That had been bothering me for quite awhile.

                                “Oh, so that wasn't just a means of testing my limits at character generation, hmm?”

                                Well, about that....

                                “Don't worry! I'm just kidding. The sword exists, and someday you'll find it, but that day isn't now.”

                                “Hmm... okay... can I still makes requests of you for the game world?”

                                “I suppose~ but I might not listen! The time for that to be guaranteed has past.”

                                “Are there any house rules in effect?”

                                “Well, the rules for conception and such aren't exactly in the base game, although maybe I ought to adjust them a little. You've been knocking up every girl first try so far!”

                                I've been what? Whoa, okay... that's... interesting.

                                “Uh, so... are me and Dog still cool after I burned all those spiders?”

                                “Spiders? Oh, of course, silly! That wasn't really real, you goof!”

                                “Really? Uh... okay... then, exactly how real is this, then?”

                                “I wouldn't recommend dwelling on the metaphysics of this~ For Katriana, Ashryn, and your friends, it's a very real experience, even if they're predisposed to like, respect, and love you. It's a universe centred on you, and it exists to give you happiness, fulfilment and pleasure... but I think you'll enjoy it more if you play along and consider people's feelings~”

                                “So... Katriana was always going to fall in love with me, before I requested it?”

                                “Nope! Well, she didn't exist until she told you to wake up... and then, once that happened, she always existed. This is your Heaven, right?”

                                “I think I get it. Well... what happens if I die?”

                                “Well~ if you friends like you enough, you'll probably get revived! But still, be careful, you don't want to have the world leave you behind like that~”

                                “But what if I fail my resurrection chance roll?”

                                “Hmm, I wonder~”

                                Or, at least you don't want to say.

                                “Speaking of survival, do you want to roll your hit die please?”

                                “Not yet, I have a few more questions.”

                                “Hmm~ Okay~”

                                “Was the line about me being an 'ethereal prince' a cheap shot at my having only one HP?”

                                “Well, if you roll the die you'll have at least one more, right?”

                                “You know what I mean....”

                                “It was a reference to you have magical powers, if you must know~”

                                “Could you tell me a little bit more about the setting?”

                                “There's not much to say~ If you want to know more about it, explore more of it~”

                                “Why is the water safe to drink, and all that? There seems to be certain... conveniences and plays to my personal tastes and such.”

                                “Well, it's mean to be a Heaven, and not a 1:1 simulation, you know~ So yes, you haven't needed to poop either, although is you want to experiment with that I can add it~”

                                “N-no, that's okay.... But wait, why do I still need to eat and bathe, then?”

                                “Because you enjoy those things, silly!”

                                “R-right, I see.”

                                “Please feel free to drink more, you don't have to worry about hangovers, either. Or gaining weight. Or...”

                                “I get the picture, thank you.”

                                “Anything else? Or....”

                                “Is there any way I can contact you?”

                                “Sure! You just have to level up again~”

                                Ahahaha... thanks.

                                “You're welcome!”

                                “Well, here goes....”

                                With a trembling hand, I picked up the die.

                                I couldn't even bear to look as I rolled.

                                “Congratulations!”

                                “Huh?”

                                I opened my eyes, and then wanted to jump up and cheer.

                                “Four! I rolled a four! I have five HP now! Yesyesyesyes...!”

                                “Alright, it's been fun, but it's time for you to go back~”

                                “Wait! One more question!”

                                “Oho...?”

                                “When do we get to have sex?”

                                I don't know what possessed me to ask that question, but I did. I mean, it wasn't like there were cute winged puppy girls in game.

                                She blushed and looked surprised. “You want to have sex with me...?”

                                “Well, yes! You're interesting and cute, and, well....”

                                “I'm flattered, but I'm supposed to stay pure....”

                                “Ah, that's too bad, then....”

                                “Sorry... but I'll see you soon, right? Be good and earn those experience points!”

                                And just like that, I was back to being Theodore.

                                “Are you alright, Theodore?” Katriana said as she started towards me, then saw her goop-slick sword and hesitated.

                                The shock of snapping back into my body made me stumble, and I grabbed the wall to steady myself... and instantly regretted it, as my fingers sunk a quarter inch into some unidentifiable slime.

                                I grimaced, and nodded. “Sorry, just a dizzy spell. Guess I still needed a bit more sleep,” I said as I wiped my hand off on my robes. “Come on, let's go.”

                                -------------------------------------------

                                Character Name: Theodore Esche
                                Race: Human
                                Class: Transmuter
                                Level (XP): 2 (2611/5000)
                                Hit Points: 5

                                Ability Scores
                                Strength 11
                                Dexterity 17
                                Constitution 8
                                Intelligence 17
                                Wisdom 13
                                Charisma 14

                                Weapon Proficiencies: Darts

                                Nonweapon Proficiencies: Direction Sense, Etiquette, Reading/Writing, Swimming

                                Spells Per Day:
                                1st Level- 2

                                Spellbook:
                                (1st Level): Armor, Burning Hands, Detect Undead, Enlarge, Featherfall, Magic Missile, Mending, Read Magic, Sleep, Tenser's Floating Disc

                                Equipment: Backpack, Bags of Fine Sand (2), Belt, Belt Pouch (Large, 3), Belt Pouch (Small, 4), Boots, Darts (3), Hand Mirror, Hat, Hooded Lantern, Magical Crowbill (Held in Trust), Oil of Acid Resistance, Pearl (worth 100gp), Robes (3), Signet Ring, Small Tent

                                Money: 171 gp, 2 sp, 39 cp

                                Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Orc, Goblin, Draconic, 1 additional.

                                Companions: Katriana (Level 2 Fighter, fiancee), Ashryn (Level 1 Cleric, fiancee), Voss (Level 2 Fighter), Calliope (Level 1 Invoker), Smokey Enna (Level 1 Fighter/Level 1 Thief)

                                Sexual Partners: 2
                                Currently Playing: Dragon Star Varnir
                                Currently Working On: Banter and chats
                                Current Waifu: Katarina Claes, My Next Life As A Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

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