Staggering from the wake, the trio of friends made their way along the trail to their departed companions' home. Their hearts had been lightened by tales of the departed, laughter, and communal commiseration. Their steps less hesitant than they had been in days.
Heading into the cabin, Cire got a fire started in the hearth. Durg rustled up another bottle and Selene collapsed into a fur-covered chair. Spitting the cork from his recently acquired prize, Durg addressed Cire as they settled.
“Selene and me be wantin' ya ta know that we be respectin' what ya done for Gene and Stacy.”
Cire immediately began to protest, as nothing had been accomplished. However, before his first word, Durg gave a forceful hand motion.
“Cire, ya may na be lookin' at it this way, but Selene and I know that ya coulda slipped away during the gnoll hunt. Ya may have been thinkin' that with ole Stace gone, that the rest of us would not be takin' the same shine ta ya as before.”
Downing a large swig of the spearberry brandy, the dwarf passed the bottle across the table to a quieted Cire. “By Hephaestus boyo. Ya coulda attacked the hamlet with them fangs o’ yours instead a tryin’ ta make a home here in the first place. You’ve given plenty to the hamlet and done more than that for us.”
Selene leaned back in her chair and ran a hand through her hair.
“It is simple. We spoke to Maisy and Stout. They are the closest thing to a Council that Sunset has.”
She waved her hand around in a general motion. “All of Eugene & Stacy's possessions are recognized as yours. You were already staying here and no one is going to kick you out.”
Pausing, she looked over to Durg and nodded. “You still need capable friends to guard your back, you’re not strong enough to go out into the wilds on your own. We cannot speak for Andreas and Nicolas, but we would both be pleased to stay by your side. If you’re going to pledge yourself to protect the hamlet, we can pledge ourselves to protect you. Whether it is the snow or enemies, we will face them together.”
You have gained a new skill: Adventurer (Legendary)
“Character is destiny.” - Heraclitus
You have developed the ability to establish a deep emotional bond between those questing with you. This bond is reinforced by the magical essence of Elysium.
At initiate rank you will be able to have 4 party members. Unlike a basic grouped party, you will have significantly increased cooperative ability.
Durg Graniteheart the Stone Dwarf and Selene Silverstar the “Half” Elf have become your Party Members. They will be with you only as long as your reputation, alignment, and interests synergize with their own.
Clouded with a warm sensation flowing through his brain, Cire was overcome with emotion. He had been gifted a skill through friendship. Cire hadn’t earned the skill, it was entrusted to him. This represented so much more than the sum of it’s parts.
Finally finding his voice, Cire reaffirmed his commitment to them. “I would want nothing more than to have both of you at my side until I no longer draw breath in this world.”
Selene gave a quick elbow to his side. “You and your surprises. We did not expect to become your Party Members. I got the Adventurer skill as well.”
Cire's brow knitted in a bit of confusion. “I take it from the message that being a 'Party Member' is more than us being really great friends?” He had used air quotes to punctuate his question, he had always talked with his hands.
What had come to be common after one of Cire's seemingly innocuous questions, happened shortly after he had spoken. Stone dwarf laughter erupted in the small cabin. Selene grinned while shaking her head, sending raven black strands in errant directions. She answered while her shorter friend enjoyed the situation.
“Indeed it does. We are bonded to each other now. We will all be able to sense each other, in a manner of speaking. I hear it manifests differently depending on the group.” She looked contemplative.
“This has sobered me up a bit, sadly. So I can explain it a little. However, I have only heard bits and pieces regarding the lore from the elders of my village. It is not a skill that is uncovered all that commonly. Our fates have become intertwined, or perhaps they were before we ever met.”
She shrugged and her head lulled to the side a bit. “Look, I can see your status page. You should be able to see ours too.”
Each of their eyes unfocused as they looked over the intimate details of their friend’s status pages.
Name: Durg Graniteheart
Level: Level: 9
Race: Stone Dwarf
Class: Unavailable – Requirements not met
Alignment: Benevolent (2 Chaotic, 3 to Good, 1 Righteous)
Languages: Dwarven, Common
Axemanship 16, Natural
Sub-skill: Cleave 9, Natural
Armor 12, Natural
Sub-skill: Heavy Armor 12, Natural
Sub-skill: Charge 7, Natural
Sub-skill: Juggernaut 5, Natural
Sub-skill: Medium Armor 3, Significant
Mining 26, Natural
Sub-skill: Sluicing 12, Natural
Sub-skill: Smelting 4, Natural
Adventurer 1, Natural
Hammer 4, Significant
Meditation 27, Significant
Forestry 6, Average
Sub-skill: Lumber-jacking 3, Average
Trekking 12, Average
Climbing 8, Limited
Gambling 24, Limited
Sub-skill: Drinking Games 17, Natural
Sub-skill: Contests of Might 8, Natural
Lore 28, General
Sub-skill: Mountains & Hills, 22 Natural
Sub-skill: Deep Dark, 18 Significant
Skill Abilities: Cleave, Charge
Dwarven Heritage: 10% Earth Magic and Mental Resistance. 50% Poison Resistance. Nightvision.
Subterranean: Bonus to various skills while underground.
Mountaineer: +1 to all actions in natural environments that are predominately made up of stone or rock.
Name: Selene Silverstar
Race: ½ Moon Elf, ½ Wood Elf
Alignment: Stern Trickster (1 Bad, 3 Chaotic, 1 Good, 2 Orderly)
Languages: Elvish, Common
Blades 20, Natural
Sub-skill: Small Blades 20, Natural
Sub-skill: Flurry 12, Natural
Sub-skill: Large Blades 7, Significant
Sub-skill: Curved Blades 2, Significant
Thrown Weapons 15, Natural
Sub-skill: Blades 8, Natural
Sub-skill: Devices 3, Natural
Archery 48, Natural
Sub-skill: Marksmanship 33, Natural
Sub-skill: Quickdraw 26, Natural
Pickpocket 16, Natural
Sub-skill: Sleight of Hand 8, Natural
Stealth 28, Natural
Adventurer 1, Natural
Armor 27, Significant
Sub-skill: Medium Armor 27, Significant
Sub-skill: Light Armor 16, Significant
Herbalism 31, Significant
Small Devices 15, Significant
Sub-skill: Disarm Traps 8, Significant
Sub-skill: Find Traps 11, Significant
Tracking 18, Significant
Healing 14, Average
Farming 11, Average
Sub-skill: Tilling 4, Limited
Sub-skill: Sowing 2, Limited
Sub-skill: Reaping 3, Limited
Lore 42, General
Sub-skill: Woods & Forests, 38 Significant
Sub-skill: Arcane, 17 Significant
Sub-skill: Mountains and Hills, 3 Limited
Skill Abilities: Flurry, Sleight of Hand
Elven Heritage: 25% Enchantment Resistance. Nightvision.
Forest Finesse: Increased accuracy and damage when using ranged weapons. Increased chance to dodge.
Astral Concentration: +5% increased potency to Holy, Infernal, and Life spells. +10% resistance to Holy, Infernal, and Life Magic.
Giving Cire's shoulder a quick jab, Durg chuckled again. “Knew ya was tellin' us the truth. Stout owes me a few rounds.”
Cire blinked a bit and shook his head to ward off the intoxication. “Wait, that old gnome still thought I was pulling some sort of trick?”
Selene cut in.
“Well, he wanted us to kill you before you could speak or wake up.To be fair, his hamlet had just been attacked and your surprise didn’t do his mood any good. Stout’s never seemed to like you much. Then again, he doesn’t seem to like anyone very much. Durg and I have spent far more time with you, after all. Besides, Maisy agreed with us. We wouldn’t have let him do anything to you.”
Grumbling to himself, he looked back to one of the status pages and narrowed his eyes.
“So.... Durg... 'Soon ta be class upgraded ‘warrior' huh?”
Looking somewhat startled, the dwarf looked down at the table and then grunted.
“That be my goal. 'Soon' might’ve been a bit over statin' it.” He pantomimed Cire's previous air quotes, rather badly, but it was encouraging to see.
Wincing, Cire patted his friend across his shoulders. “Didn’t mean to hit a nerve, sorry about that. We will get you there, friend. Its just, this whole time I thought that you two were leaps and bounds ahead of me. I did not know how much I was being relied upon. I thought you were doing all the hard work while I played the distraction and barely pulled my weight.”
Selene laughed and she shook her head again.
“No Cire. Your primary lack is variety in your skill set. Cire, Stacy was an aberration. Besides Maisy and Stout, no one else in Sunset is high level or expertly skilled. We depend on the isolation of the valley to keep most danger away. That gnoll attack was a first for me, never been anything like it since I have been coming here.”
“I can see that my skill diversity is lacking pretty clearing after comparing myself to you two. Its pretty obvious.” Cire went quiet with contemplation.
Without knowing it, he had focused more on fighting and leveling than the majority of townsfolk did over the course of their lifetimes. Had he sought out the blood-soaked path? He shook his head. Introspection at this level of impairment rarely ended well.
“Everything else aside. I am happy to have a home and friends to share it with. Now let's finish that bottle in a final toast to those who will travel with us in spirit if not in body.”
Support "Adventurer - Sunrise Over Sunset"
- Oakland, California
- Independent Author
Independent author Dylan Hendrickson grew up in the Bay Area of California. During his youth he attained the rank of Eagle in the Boy Scouts of America. The outdoor program element of the organization heavily influenced his hobbies and love for the wilderness. He regularly spends time in the Santa Cruz and Sierra Mountains.
Dylan attended the University of California at Irvine and received a bachelors in History, a minor in law, and an interdisciplinary concentration in medieval studies. He then attended the University of Montana, Missoula for graduate studies in European History.
Fantasy, tabletop, card, role playing, and video gaming have always been a part of Dylan’s life. Along with anime and science fiction, his imagination ran rampant in these wonderful and terrible worlds. He considers himself a bit of a Swiss Army Nerd.
He seeks to share a vision of more than 20 years with those who will enjoy it. He strives to make his realms feel tangible, rational, and magical. To that end, he did indeed make the dice rolls.
He likes cats.
Website and Patreon Live: https://tabletopliterature.com/