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Methates
2008-01-22, 01:21 PM
The Kingdom of Amhalus is a prosperous, diverse nation, with as many mercenaries as farmers. To the east lies the Kingdom of Riglanor, and to the west lies the Toth Empire. While Riglanor has developed as a peaceful, benevolent nation, the Toth Empire was created based on ideals of cruelty and domination. Amhalus lies in a comfortable middle stance between the two conflicting philosophies.

To the north lie the frozen mountains of Darkor, and to the south the ocean seperates the mainland from the distant nation of Lusmond. The small town of Dimendo on the south coast of Amhalus occasionly receives shipments from the capital, and is a common stop of traders from Lusmond.

Pery Reen Penel, the lithe tan-skinned halfling, and her companion Jorg, a large, brutish human, entered the city. They had been travelling across the countryside, earning money via Pery's comedic routines.

A guard lazily strolling about, presumably on patrol, gave the duo a nod as he saw them walking towards the center of town.

"Know where one could perform for a bit of coin?" Pery asked, a broad smile across her face. Jorg eyed the guard cautionsly.

"Well, our annual festival celebrating the glorious Pelor will be starting in a few days. I'm sure we could find a place for a performer or two." The guard leaned against a wall as he talked, setting his shield down and taking off his helmet.

"Great! Also, where could I go to find something to eat, and a place to rest?"

"Well, the best inn around here would have to be the Dancing Owlbear, just over that-..." the guard was interrupted as the building he was pointing at suddenly exploded. Frantically he gathered his equipment and started running towards the fire.

"It looks like the festival will have to be put on hold, old friend." said Pery as she started running towards the tavern. Jorg remained silent as he followed. Out of the corner of her eye, far in the distance, something caught Pery's eye. It appeared to be a group of...<Demons!> she thought, rushing to the scene of the explosion.

Once they reached the tavern, they saw that the fire was for the most part contained to the upper floors, though due to the help of a nearby wizard, the immediate threat was already neutralized. Looking around for an onlooker who wasn't paying too much attention to their purse, Pery noticed what was presumably the tavern owner talking with another man. The two appeared to be having an argument of some kind.

<The demons must be related to this. Perhaps that guy might need somebody to 'take care' of them.>

"Good afternoon!" said Pery as she walked up to the two men, a broad smile across her face. "Do demons frequent your tavern often?" The two men looked a little surprised, and then the tavern owner motioned the other man away and directed his attention to the halfing addressing him. The other man left with an angry look on his face.

"Not until today, no..." said the tavern owner, eyeing the sword pery was carrying. "You any good with your little weapon there?"

"For the right price, I am."

"I see." The tavern owner thought to himself for a moment before continuing. "Yes, a demon was the cause of this. It all started when I noticed a poor boy begging outside of my fine establishment. He was in fairly bad shape. So of course, out of the kindness of my heart, I decided to bring him in, give him a bed to rest in, and a good hearty meal. I try to do my part for the community, you see. Unfortunately, this was not a boy, but a demon! Yes! I came up to check on him, but I must have interrupted some kind of infernal ritual he was performing. Next thing I know he's setting the roof on fire and summoning more demons before running away."

"...that's quite a story." observed Pery.

"That demon is a menace. There is no telling what devious plans he has for this town. So I tell you what...I'll pay you each two hundred gold pieces to slay the infernal beast. And I'll give you free room and board here at my inn for a week. What do you say?"

Pery thought for a moment before agreeing wholeheartedly.

"We'll do it. But how do we find the demon now?"

"I have just the thing. Tyrk! Tyrk, get over here!" From a dark corner of the tavern, a small kobold ran up. He was wearing leather armor and had a shortbow on his back.

"This is Tyrk. I took him in when he was trying to stir up trouble here...saved him from a life in jail I did. Now he works for me. And he's the best tracker I've ever seen. Tyrk! Take them to the demon that caused all of this mess."

"Yes master" said the small kobold as he ran out of the tavern. Pery and Jorg turned to follow him when the tavern owner called out to them.

"And tell me, what should I call you two by?"

"My name is Pery Reen Penel, and he's Jorg."

"And I'm Olric. Good luck. You'll have the best room in the house if you can bring me back the head of that demon!"

*****

Hours later, Tyrk was still leading them through the forest.

"I say little kobold is lost" said Jorg, stumbling through the bushes and tress.

"No, Tyrk not lost. Tyrk know these lands good. Better than anyones here."

"And how is that?" asked Pery.

"Long ago kobolds live here. But then humans come. And then goblins. And then...worse things. Now Tyrk is-" the kobold suddenly stopped and cocked his head to the side, listening intently to...something. Then without warning he started running. Pery and Jorg followed behind as best as they could, but they quickly lost sight of him. Then suddenly they found themselves in an open clearing, with ruins in the center and...a man in heavy armor and a morningstar facing opposite them.

"Quickly Jorg, get down before he sees you!" whispered Pery as she deftly lept behind a bush. Jorg also dived behind a bush, but landed on a stick. The resulting snap immediately snatched the attention of the man, who started walking towards the source of the sound, weapon at the ready.

Pery and Jorg remained silent, watching to see if the man would see them, when an infernal creature swooped (seemingly out of nowhere) down towards the man. The two began fighting.

"Come on Jorg, let's lend him a hand." The man was deflecting the beast's claws, when suddenly Pery and Jorg lept out from the bushes, charging the creature. The beast, realizing that it was outnumbered, began to turn away, when an arrow impaled it in the chest. Stunned, the beast was unable to dodge Pery's sword as she swung it across its chest.

The man took advantage of the creature's confusion and landed a mighty blow with his morningstar, before Jorg finally cleaved the beast in two with his mighty greatsword. The creature immediately burst into flame upon death, its ashes carried away by the wind. Out of the woods the kobold Tyrk scurried up to the group.

"I must give you thanks," began the man, "I thought that fiend might get the be-"

"Not so fast," said Pery, leveling her blade on the man. "Keep your sword ready Jorg!"

"I assure you madam, I mean you no harm. My name is Lem Artoro, a humble cleric of Pelor." Looking at the man, Pery noticed that his armor and shield did indeed bear the symbols of Pelor. But she wasn't convinced yet.

"The demon appeared as a boy before, why not a man? Don't put your sword down Jorg." Jorg nodded, watching the man carefully.

"I am certainly no demon," Lem said with a laugh. "Here, Tyrk can confirm my identity. Can't you Tyrk?" The kobold was avoiding eye contact with the man, and upon being addressed cringed. Pery walked over to the kobold.

"Is it true Tyrk? Is this man to be trusted? The kobold hesitated a moment.

"Tell them the truth Tyrk." said Lem.

"Quiet, you" commanded Jorg, raising his sword slightly.

"You can tell me Tyrk." said Pery. The kobold looked uncertain, and then finally replied.

"Yes, he's good people." Pery looked over again at the man, who had a humble smile on his face. Then it struck her. He was the man who was arguing with Olric at the tavern. But what was he doing here?