Alright then, lads, settle down. You’ve all had enough to drink, now go home. What? You want to hear a story? Well then, I’ll tell you a story. This is the tale of the origin of one of the Six Lionhearts, the legendary rogue Daniel the Quick.
Legend has it that the boy who would become Daniel was born an only child to a small family in the harsh wilderness we know as the Giant Downs. He was a small, weak boy, not befitting of a resident of the Downs. Through his childhood, he was bullied and tortured by the other children. His torment ended when he met another boy, named Vhan.
Vhan was an orphan, raised by a harsh master of a fighting style we now know as the Ninefold Way. But I digress, as the story of Vhan is best saved for another time.
Now then, in the Downs, there is a special ritual a child must undertake to pass into adulthood. Daniel, now sixteen, did not go on his journey alone. Instead, he was joined by friends he had made during his childhood: Vhan, his savior from the bullies of his youth; Claire, Vhan’s beautiful paramour, and a cleric of the Water God, Shellissias; and Rosko Eltor, a Halfling magician and talented bard. The four of them set out to fulfill the ritual: spending the whole of ten days within the untamed wilderness of the Giant Downs.
Old one, you may ask, how could Daniel have ever matched up to the group he now traveled with? Make no mistake, young ones, for what Daniel lacked in strength and magical potential, he made up for is speed and cunning. He wielded the weapon of his family: the epee, with great precision and finesse. While Vhan would simply go flailing away with punches and sword-trusts (befitting an apprentice of The Way), Daniel would tumble past the enemy, and deftly stab them from behind.
Anyway, the four of them wandered on for three days before coming to rest at a shallow cave on a hillside, surrounded by bog. The four then bedded down and slept. Then, in the night, a group of the vile Troglodytes emerged from a secret entrance within the cave and attacked!
Now, Troglodytes: they’re some ugly folk, like a lizard crossed with a man, crossed with a skunk. The mere stench of ‘um can reduce a noble warrior to a sickly wreak. Daniel, however, wasn’t a noble warrior. He caught the first whiff of the Trogs, and he quickly tied a scrap of cloth around his face, to muffle the scent. Then he went at the filth things. He ducked around the Trogs’ clumsy swings, and his blade gracefully cut through their scaly hides.
Just as the fight seemed won, one of the braver Trogs grabbed Daniel in a bear hug. Unfortunately, Daniel wasn’t the strongest guy, and he failed to break the Trog’s hold. The beast, sensing victory, sunk its rancid teeth into Daniels shoulder. Then, a heavy, swift punch from Vhan sent the beast to join its brothers in the afterlife.
After the battle, the group explored the complex, and found it to be a long forgotten way station, of sorts. They agreed to stay there until their ten days were up.
Unfortunately, they soon caught wind of something big going on in the swamps around their hill. A veritable horde of foul monsters soon marched through the area, oblivious to Daniel and his company within the hidden way station. The horde had monsters of all kinds among its ranks. Hyena-like Gnolls marched shoulder-to-shoulder with Minotaur and Goblins. Rosko’s keen eyes soon found that a small detachment of the horde, with prisoner in tow, had taken shelter within a nearby ruin. The group promptly investigated.
The entryway was pitch black, so dark that I bet even a ‘Flayer couldn’t see its tentacles in front of its own face. The group soldiered on, though, sending Daniel out ahead. Daniels sharp ears alerted him that some beast was near, and he hugged the wall and waited. Then, just as the creature seemed to slow down, he struck a torch against the stone wall, igniting it. He then threw the torch to the spot where he thought the creature was!
The torch illuminated a burly Goblin, momentarily stunned by the torch’s light. Seeing an opportunity, Vhan, who had been leading the other two, charged forward and snuffed the Goblin out before it could so much as utter a whimper.
The four then came to a sturdy oaken door. Daniel put his ear to it, listening. He heard the voices of Goblins. Several, in fact. One voice sounded in charge, and it seemed to be having a conversation with several others. Daniel didn’t understand Goblin jibber-jabber, but he got the gist. The leader wanted the others to go down and secure the prisoner. The rabble were afraid of the prisoner, for some reason, and didn’t want to go. The leader eventually shouted down the cowards, and Daniel heard another door slam.
Then, in a split second, Vhan rushed through the door, nearly knocking it off it’s hinges. His look of confidence immediately changed into a grimace of pain as a sharp blade sliced into his bare chest. He staggered. Then Claire rushed up, blocking another sword thrust with her shield, and put her hand on his back, while whispering a soft prayer. Instantly, the deep cut began to close, and Vhan tacked the larger Goblin.
The Goblin blocked Vhan’s tackle, but wasn’t fast enough to parry the right hook angled for his face. Vhan’s fist connected, and there was a crack and the Goblins nose was crushed against its slimy face. Seizing the advantage, Daniel deftly tumbled around the Goblin, and then sprang up behind it, his epee at the ready.
Now then, time for some background. The Goblin that Daniel and Co. were currently fighting went by the name of Cullen. Cullen was a nasty fellow, even by Goblin standards. One reason Cullen was particularly disliked for was his use of a particularly nasty poison, called Bloodrot. Bloodrot was called that because it was pestilence, in liquid form. Just a tiny bit of exposure to Bloodrot would kill you in seconds.
Daniel, from his vantage behind Cullen, saw the Goblin pull out a vial of from his pouch. While the Goblin was swinging madly at Vhan with a sword clenched in his other hand, Daniel made his move.
He lunged forward, upper cutting with his epee, and the speed of his swipe was so great that it neatly cleaved the Goblins had from its wrist. Then, still with super human speed, he did a quick flourish with his blade, and drove it into Cullen’s back. The blade emerged out from Cullen’s chest, and the Goblin stared, transfixed, at his own heartblood on the blade. Then, his eyes rolled back in his head, and he fell forward, as Daniel pulled his sword from Cullen’s back.
And that, young lads, is the story of how Daniel gained his title. Now, be good and buy an old salt a drink, eh?