Monday, October 15, 2007

New Kid on the Block

Wrapped tightly in the protective mantle of darkness Telfis stands motionlessly crouched behind the chimney of a house near the still busy waterfront of Seawell. Since the last twilight of dawn he has been carefully watching the proceedings below. He has never been to Seawell before and he is not overly happy with what he sees. Until a moment ago he had been excited by the apparent plethora of opportunities. All this traveling folk and the gullible young adventurers only waiting for man of his talents and maybe part with some of their funds in the exchange. However, observing yet another relatively ugly mugging down a dark alley to his left, the second one today, Tel's mood has turned more sombre. Silren help, he thinks, for every ingenuous and hopeful would-be adventurer around, there are already two unscrupulous and desperate have-been adventurers lurking around the corner, sharpening their daggers. No good business if a man has to fear for his own safety at his workplace.
Brooding in the dark, Tel has to admit that the competition in this city is somewhat on the stiff side. With the obvious surplus of hardened, ruthless criminals he doubts that this city is a good place to start a career for a young man with quick fingers and nothing else to do. And of course, there is also the excessive violence he has observed. Nothing wrong with violence as such, Tel muses, as long as it happens to other people. Tel himself is not the violent type. Of course he carries a dagger and he might have used it to threaten at one point or another, but he prefers the silent and stealthy way of doing business. After all, he thinks, every oafish idiot can hit someone over the head with a stick. No elegance in that, no skill, and sure enough no honour neither.

Early the next day Telfis decides that this is not a place to stay. He has better plans for his life than having his throat cut in a smelly side alley over a couple of worthless coins. Instead, he resolves, he will try his luck in the adventuring business. Not a bad life after all, he reflects, traveling the world, finding hidden treasures, and who knows, fate may even throw in a pretty princess in need of rescue once in a while. Must find a party of some sort though, Telfis thinks, that's how it works. No good adventuring alone. Telfis is quite excited by the prospect. Campfires, excitement, new places, and, of course, with a group of hardened adventurers he could stop worrying about those thugs following him.

Tel wanders around the market. Already there is quite a crowd gathering at the big space where the stall keepers shout and haggle and praise their various goods. Telfis scans the area for any likely candidates. He doesn't really know what he is looking for when his eyes fall on some sort of priestly looking fellow. He has seen this man before. Someone told him that he was part of a group of adventurers who accomplished some mildly spectacular feat or another recently. Probably not heroes but decent, hard working, well, whatever you called that. This is as good a starting point as any other, thinks Tel, getting closer to the stall were the priest stands looking somewhat piqued at a dwarven marketeer.
"So what is it, then? You surely must know what you are selling, good man?", the priest says as Telfis arrives within hearing distance.
"It is a book of ancient secrets, sire, very, uh, spiritual too.", says the dwarf in slightly broken common. They are both looking at a rather unremarkable brown book with a faint golden lining. The dwarf looks solemn, the priest intrigued but unconvinced. Tel risks a glance at the thing. "The week long menu; cookery for wedding feasts revisited", Tel reads aloud and adds, in fluent Dwarfen, directed at the shopkeeper: "That's a rather broad definition of ancient secrets and spirituality you got there mister." Both men turn to him, the dwarf looking slightly angry.
"Interesting. And who might you be, boy?", the priest is the first to speak. "Telfis, guv'nor, at your service. It appears master dwarf here is having a little fun at your expense.", Tel says, grinning broadly and feeling rather clever. The priest looks reflective for a moment. "A cookbook you say.", he says noncommittal. Then, managing to look threatening and friendly at the same time, adds: "And how would you know that? Are you telling me you can read this?". "Aye, it's the brother, sir. Taught me Gnome. And Dwarven. I speak Halfling too.", Tel says, radiating pride. "How curious. What is your profession?", the priest asks, seemingly having forgotten the dwarf merchant for a minute. "I want to be an adventurer, sir!". "So you have no profession.", the priest says rather disapprovingly. Telfis, feeling the moment slip away, hazards: "I can be very helpful, sir, if you would take me on your next adventure. I have sharp eyes, nimble fingers and I can read and write!", realizing that this might not be overly impressive qualifications for adventuring, he adds, "I can shoot a crossbow too." The priest is obviously not too impressed. And just as Tel is sure he will turn him down, the priest expression turns strangely unreadable for Telfis. "Alright, boy. Come to the inn down the street at eight in the evening. If my companions agree you shall have a chance to prove yourself useful."

Two days later Telfis is already on the road again. The meeting with the rest of the group had turned out not to be much of a problem. There was a tiny halfling with a dog, a somewhat bedraggled looking fellow who was apparently some sort of sorcerer, and a huge warrior with tattoos all over his body. Neither of them had any real objections that Tel joins the group, neither of them seemed very interested either. However, Tel thinks happily as he walks along the road out of the city, that may change, at least there was something to do now.

1 comment:

Cynan said...

sorry about the length, i was sick and bored over the weekend...