Monday, December 26, 2016

Ch. 4, Page 19

The doorman stood and opened the front door. Ehlissa was waiting on the other side.

"Please," Ehlissa said, "I need to speak to the Mage of the Tower."

The doorman looked around. He spotted Erac's Cousin, but Erac's Cousin was standing some distance back, on the edge of the lonely avenue that led down to the tower, petting an ugly-looking dog and not otherwise conspicuous.

"Do you have an appointment?" the doorman asked Ehlissa.

"No -- but this is very important. And, I have a gift for him," Ehlissa added.

The doorman seemed to mull it over for a moment, then stepped back inside .

Ehlissa considered putting her foot in the doorway, but the doorman was just stepping back to pull the door open wider. She turned and glanced back at Erac's Cousin, who was now watching her and gave her an encouraging smile and a nod.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Ch. 4, Page 18

Ehlissa took the strange jar and placed it in her purse.

"Good!" Erac's Cousin said with a broad grin. "I know he'll enjoy it. Now, what story should I tell you...?"

Erac's Cousin had turned them around and walked them back up Craftsman's Way towards the Petite Bazaar.  "Ah, I have it. How about the time Erac's family was entertaining distant relatives from Ket? That was a good year. They were rich merchants and had brought gifts for everyone..."

Erac's Cousin, Ehlissa had to confess to herself, was a good storyteller. He took ordinary events and infused them with humor, suspense, and witty asides. She barely noticed reaching the Garden Gate.

"Business within?" a sentry asked.

"Business with the Sage of the Tower," Erac's Cousin said.

"You may pass."

But they had not gone far when there was some excitement back at the gate.

"Keep that ugly dog out!" A sentry was shouting.

"Wait, wait!" Erac's Cousin shouted and he went back to the gate. "The dog is with me! Please, allow it through and *ahem* perhaps a small token of thanks for your patience..." he said as he pressed a gold orb into the hand of the two nearest sentries.

"Keep that mutt close by you..." one of the sentries grumbled, but the dog passed unhindered.

Ehlissa had been watching Erac's Cousin. She was not happy with how casually he bribed the authorities, but his concern for his dog was oddly touching.

"Now, where was I with that story? Oh yes..."


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ch. 4, Page 17

Ehlissa was troubled and could barely sleep all that night. Her dreams became anxious nightmares about where Erac was and what secrets Erac's Cousin was keeping.

By morning, Ehlissa felt so frantic that she decided she had to get away. She might not go as far as Elmshire and seek help from Tenser, but if she went out into the countryside for a day, maybe she could clear her head and come up with a good excuse for her absence later.

It was a sound enough plan. The problem was, Ehlissa never made it to the city's gate.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Ch. 4, Page 16

Ehlissa felt frustrated at every turn. She needed help to deal with Erac's Cousin and his strange request, but she was running out of allies quickly. There was still one avenue she could pursue, of course. It had been the first one that had entered her mind, and the first course of action she had chosen to delay.


Her feelings for Tenser still felt raw, like a wound that never fully healed. But she knew, in this, she could count on him. If she only knew how to reach him. In truth, in avoiding Tenser she had managed to lose track of him. She had no idea where in the city he was staying these days, or if he was even back in the city at all. But she did know someone else who would surely know. Someone who's place of residence she had not been back to in some time...

Friday, October 21, 2016

Ch. 4, Page 15

Rary and Robilar exchanged looks.

"I don't need to remind you about your debt to me..." Robilar said, scratching the side of his face and turning to look off to the side innocently.

"No, of course not," Rary said quickly.

"Good! Then I've done my part, Ehlissa. Good luck to you..." And Robilar beat a hasty retreat out the door he had come in, just as Ehlissa was internally debating if she should present some argument for Robilar to stay.

Alone with a strange magician, Ehlissa straightened up and steadied her voice before describing the spell she needed...

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Ch. 4, Page 14

Robilar didn't give in right away; Ehlissa had to badger him about it for awhile. Then she switched tactics, softened her tone, and plied him with free beer.

After the third free beer, Robilar had a name for her.

"I don't want just a name, I want you to take me to him," Ehlissa said.

"What, right now?"


"You incorrigible woman," Robilar protested meekly. "Fine. But!" and here he wagged a finger at her. "I introduce you and leave. And you have to leave me alone for a whole week after this."

The deal was struck. Ehlissa would miss the rest of her work day, for they had a long walk to Clerkberg ahead of them. Once there, Robilar made straight for a row of tenement housing, knocked on the right door, and they were shown in...

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Ch. 4, Page 13

Sleep eluded Ehlissa that night. She tossed and turned and wondered about Erac and Erac's Cousin. And what of this new, mad request? Could the Striped Mage tell her where Erac was? If there was a chance he could, how could she not take it? Yet her nagging doubts about his cousin, his cousin's strange actions, and his cousin's unknown motives gave her pause. What could she do to learn what he was up to...?

Finally, a plan of action took form in her sleep-deprived mind. She was going to need help, but she would need to find just the right person to help her. Maybe Tenser? It had been some time since they last spoke. Surely he would help, but he was always so busy adventuring with his new friends.

Sadly, she had not decided on anyone else to ask when an opportunity presented itself later that morning at the Green Dragon Inn...

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Ch. 4, Page 12

"How can you make it up to me?"

"How would you like me to make it up to you?"

"Who were those people?"

"Just merchants. And one overzealous guard, I suppose."

"Where are we going?" Ehlissa guessed they had been walking for a few minutes now.

"To show you something. That's how I'm going to make it up to you."

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Ch. 4, Page 11

With her hand cupped over her right ear, blocking out the noises of the bazaar, Ehlissa could hear a little bit more of the conversation going on inside. This man who claimed to be Erac's Cousin was explaining his relation to Erac with an exasperated tone, then was asking about buying something...

Gradually, Ehlissa became aware that her skirts were moving behind her. She craned her neck for a look behind her and saw either a dwarf or a midget, wearing Baklunish garb, lifting her skirts with his wavy-bladed dagger. The little pervert seemed so intent on helping himself to a look under her skirts that he failed to notice he had been caught, and was still off-guard when Ehlissa spun around and pushed him away.

"Leave me alone!" she said, being careful to sound menacing, without sounding so loud to be heard inside the tent. "I am a conjuress!"

"Heh, heh!" the short male said, twirling his dagger in his hand. Her threat only seemed to amuse him. She stepped back, but he lunged for her faster. His arm shot up and grabbed her near her wrist with vice-like strength...

Friday, August 12, 2016

Ch. 4, Page 10

The strange dog had a fearsome countenance and made it clear, with plenty of growling and barred teeth, that Ehlissa was to keep her distance. It did not prevent her from following Erac's Cousin at a distance, though -- so that's precisely what she did.

It seemed clear this "cousin" of Erac's planned to lose her in the crowded marketplace, or at least keep them in noisy enough surroundings where he would not be able to hear her from six paces back. So she just talked louder.

"When did you last see your cousin?" she shouted over a vegetable cart.

"When I was facing him."

"Was this recently?" She struggled to keep close as the dog nipped at her.

"Recently enough," Erac's Cousin answered, peeking back around a pair of merchants whispering to each other.

"Did he say where he was going?" she asked, hoping to see if this man even knew of Erac's trip to Castle Greyhawk.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Ch. 4, Page 9

Ehlissa hardly knew what to say. From some angles, or if she squinted at him, this looked just like Erac. But if Erac came back from Castle Greyhawk looking slightly changed (and this did happen on occasion; she heard of an adventurer coming back once as a lizard man, and another adventurer who was a man coming back as a woman!), then why this game of deception?

She would dig deeper and get answers from him!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Ch. 4, Page 8

The next morning, Ehlissa promised herself she would not obsess on thinking about Erac's fate. If he was coming back to her, he would. She had work to do. She needed a hundred more gold orbs saved up to settle her debts and she was earning them slowly as distracted as she had been.

She had just one errand to run in the Low Market before she went to work for the day. One quick errand. But before she could complete it-

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ch. 4 Page 7

Ehlissa went with him. She went back home, packed quickly, ran back, caught up to Erac before he could leave, and went with him and his adventuring party back to Castle Greyhawk. Or at least she did in her mind.

Every time she reviewed her decision to stay, she was perplexed. Why couldn't she do it? What was holding her here? She was questioning herself until sleep finally came to her that night, and continued on into the next, rainy morning...

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Ch. 4, Page 6

Ehlissa was fearful that she was too late and Erac was already gone. But she pushed that fear aside into a special place she had for fears and began to think about it rationally as she ran through the Foreign Quarter of the city. Robilar would not have told her about Erac leaving if it was too late to catch him. Robilar was also known to stick fairly close to the Foreign Quarter, except for the occasional dalliance into the Old City, but the Old City was the wrong way to reach Castle Greyhawk. So, even though there were many gates in the outer curtain wall of the city, the Cargo Gate was the one Erac was most likely to use.

Luck was with Ehlissa at the Cargo Gate -- a sentry there remembered a man matching Erac's description, having recently gone through as part of a party of four -- and had not even asked Ehlissa for a bribe for the information. They were close to the river here, but Ehlissa knew no one sensible tried to reach Castle Greyhawk by river, for it wound well away from the old ruins. In that case, Erac was likely on the road that led north, parallel to the city's outer wall. Now it was just a matter of catching him in time...

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ch. 4, Page 5

Ehlissa was in good spirits every day now, and nothing ever seemed to bring her down. She ignored all talk at the inn of adventures and killing monsters and winning treasures. She half-listened when some people talked about the dungeons being more dangerous than ever lately, with more monsters on the move and wandering about between the dungeon levels. It did not seem like it would ever matter to her, though.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Ch. 4, Page 4

In the days that followed, Ehlissa had many more opportunities to talk to Erac. She learned his favorite wines quickly enough; she learned that he liked to treat himself to Furyondy Emerald Pale when his coin purse was full, and scrimped on Keoish Golden when he had to be thrifty. He brought his own flask, which had been a gift from his father. His father had been a scribe, but had respected Erac’s decision to pursue a life of adventure. 

A friendship grew out of these early talks. Ehlissa found she looked more and more forward to each time Erac came to the inn. Sometimes he would have something new to show her, something he would want her to come see after work, or some idea for an outing the next day planned. 

Erac was a magic-user, like herself, and an adventurer like Tenser, and for these reasons she still guarded herself around him some, at first. Of his actual exploits, she knew little. Erac was not a braggart, and never talked about where he went for a few days at a time (though Ehlissa suspected it was Castle Greyhawk). He never seemed to return rich, but he never hurt for money either.

As the weeks went on, Ehlissa and Erac became almost inseparable whenever he was in the city. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Ch. 4, Page 3

Ehlissa had met many charming men in the City of Greyhawk and figured, to a man, they had all been scoundrels and rogues. She generally identified them by thinking they needed something from her -- either information, better service, or other things they might request.

As this particular conversation continued -- and a charming storyteller this man was -- Ehlissa noticed that he wasn't asking anything of her, other than to listen. So she allowed herself to stop being protective of herself and just enjoy a good, long conversation.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Ch. 4, Page 2

The work was day after day of drudgery, and there was no magic in her life.

Oh, Ehlissa did memorize a spell or two on occasion. She told herself she might need them if a fight broke out in the tavern, but there were bouncers who dealt with that sort of thing.

The worst part was when other magic-users used the inn. Ehlissa always had the feeling, as irrational as it may be, that they were judging her. Ehlissa the failure. But she didn't care two gold orbs for them and what they might have thought of her.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Ch. 4, Page 1

Ehlissa had been cleaning puke off a table. It had been just over nine months since Tenser had last talked her into going adventuring to the castle. She had helped kill some hobgoblins, but nearly got her arm sliced off in the fight. Clerical magic had healed the injury, but it had hurt so bad…

Although Tenser would come back from Castle Greyhawk with stories of fabulous riches unearthed, the take always seemed leaner anytime Ehlissa went along. And she did need money. The Wizard’s Guild of Greyhawk was not an inexpensive institution, and Ehlissa had debts to pay. Tenser had helped her on occasion, when she was falling behind on payments, but she hated to be so beholden to him. She still liked him very much, but it had long since become clear that her affection for him was as invisible as if it was cloaked by magic.

Cleaning puke off of tables was far from ideal work for a young lady with her arcane knowledge and magical skill. She wanted to work as a governess for a rich family. Many hired governesses who knew how to watch for magical talent and foster it. No such opportunity had presented itself yet, so Ehlissa busied herself here, at the Inn of the Green Dragon. Robilar, that roguish friend of Tenser’s, had an interest in this place and had helped her land the job. He had seemed at first to expect something in return, and Ehlissa was surprised and relieved when he still helped her even when she said no. Yes, there were indeed worse things than cleaning puke off of tables.

The Green Dragon was becoming a popular gathering place for the rising class of adventurers in the city. It seemed everyone who could swing a sword or cast a spell was heading out into the surrounding wilderness and coming home with stories of new dungeons being discovered, or some new rooms previously un-looted under Castle Greyhawk. Even those who came back empty-handed seemed to have bragging rights. And did they ever brag.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Ch. 3, Page 37

Terik was devoted to his grizzly task; the others all stepped away. The dragon was no longer a threat.

Tenser looked up at Murlynd, impressed with the elder sorcerer's showmanship. Murlynd winked down at him.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Ch. 3, Page 36

The dragon was down. It lay there, on the cavern floor, like a tipped over statue.

The adventurers slowly relaxed their guard. The dragon clearly was not faking this to trick them. It slowly leaked blood and gore from multiple wounds, but there still seemed to be life in its eyes. It was just completely paralyzed.

Everyone let out a collective sigh of relief, which filled the icy cold air around them with hot clouds of breath. There were even chuckles of nervous laughter now that the danger had passed. The battle which, until a moment ago, seemed like it could go either way...was now won.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Ch. 3 Page 35

Tenser was exposed. Everyone could see it. Overconfident because of his new wand, or maybe just exhausted from this gauntlet of a dungeon, Tenser stepped out from cover for a clearer shot with his wand.  The command word for the wand was on the tip of his tongue -- but the dragon was one lunge away from biting him in half. 

Fortunately, a lot of things then happened all at once.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Ch. 3 Page 34

The "web" spell entangled the dragon and bought them all a moment of precious time.

Terik had rolled out from under the dragon's claws, his armor gouged and his body sore, but whole and ready to give back with his magic sword as soon as he could draw close enough.

Yrag had freed himself and was on his feet again. He moved to the same flank as Terik.

Serten took the opposite flank and tried to draw the dragon's attention. Tenser seemed vulnerably exposed to him and he knew the magic-user would never survive a blast of the dragon's hoary breath. If only Tenser's new wand had not given him such confidence...

It was only one moment.