Lynch Mob Assaults Grell
(The Crossing, Zoluren: 39 Akroeg 351)
Sometimes I feel that the realms could benefit heartilly from a timely awakening of the World Dragon. Actions of certain individuals, escalating into raving mobs, fill me with pity and contempt, far too often. My late husband always used to claim that my temper was as fiery as the color of my hair, so perhaps the rage I feel is a tad excessive. Nonetheless, the following tale is an example of the levels to which some individuals may stoop.
It was a chilly winter’s day, and, having run out of spirits to keep me warm, I decided to make a provisions run from the bard guild. The cold being what it was, I decided not to head down to the Sand Pit…my normal watering hole. Likewise, my pockets being light and me not in the mood to deal with the tellers at the bank, I decided my best bet for close, cheap drinks was the Vipers Nest. It had been some time since I had been there…(myself having briefly been a former employee of Amfitro in the months following my husbands death), and I thought it might be a nice change of pace. So, down the street to the ‘Nest I went.
As I entered the ‘Nest, I noticed that it was as…quiet and shady as it always had been. There was one noticable exception, however: in a booth off in the corner, a man in a hooded cloak sat, with several animals on the floor staring intently at him. ‘Well, now’ he said as he noticed my glance. ‘I’m here a few minutes just chatting with Amfitro, I get no real company coming in except these pathetic furballs. Minute I buy a drink, an unbelievably beautiful woman struts in.’
Never being one to reject a statement of the obvious such as that, I decide that he is clearly an intelligent enough individual to have…a conversation with. Ahem. So, after seating myself at his booth, we exchange greetings. Myself, Valeiria, himself, Grell. Grell. A name that I had heard before…a man of some mystery. I was intrigued. Adding to the air of mystery about him was the fact that while I could see he had a nicely fit, somewhat slender build, his features were rather obscured by the hood of his cloak. His voice, though, was almost fur-like in it’s quality. This, I thought to myself, is a man whom I could get to know better…
So, we spent a few…far too few…minutes, er….getting acquainted. Soon, however, the doors to the Nest burst open, admiting light, as the owners of one of the animals in question chose to barge in…Shaiyaa. The war mage with a reputation that is not so much to be feared as pitied. Apparently, Shaiyaa held Grell accountable for some of the jobs he had performed in the past, and came in the bar with the chip the size of Sorrow’s Reach on his shoulder. Word had spread rather quickly throughout town, and a number of other individuals who had heard of Grell’s previous exploits came to the inn, questioning what he thought he was doing there.
Grell’s response was quite understandably dismissive. ‘Drinking. What normal people do in a bar. What about you, Shaiyaa?’ The mood in the room was a tad on the dark side, as the group gathered in the bar accused Grell of everything from being in town to lead an assault, to being in league with the supposedly returned Teiro, to being the leader of the world dragon priests!
‘I’m seeing a lot of folks here, armed to the teeth and a few of ’em, I can guess, don’t like me. So I’m sitting here, right in the middle of y’all, and I’m not touching my scabbard. I’ve got a drink in one hand, a bardess in the other, and I’m feeling just fine. Now, let’s see if you geniuses can put two and two together.. If I’m THIS calm…maybe that should tell you that I got something y’all don’t? There won’t be any fightin’..I want certain idiots to stop connecting me with certain OTHER idiots..I mean, I’ve known Dragon Cultists.. I’ve worked with ’em, that much is true, but I don’t buy their religion….And I sure as heck ain’t no Dragon Priest myself. For that matter, Teiro? I just heard of the kid last week. Johnny-come-lately, far as I’m concerned. All I want is for people to stop bandyin’ around the good name of Mr. Grell, got that? Because I’ll tell ya….If I ain’t working for you, it ain’t your name to bandy.’
With this speech, Grell concluded by buying a round of drinks for everyone present, claiming that it was ridiculous that there were twenty people in a bar and only two were drinking. So, between the drinks and the dawning realization that Grell seemed to have access to badly-needed information, the mood in the room brightened a tad. People began to sit and enjoy their drinks, with, of course, the notable exception of Shaiyaa, who began screaming that we were all going to be poisoned, and pouring his drink on the floor. Ignoring his antics as best we could, the rest of the group gathered began to ask Grell what information he might possibly have had to share. Myself, I became content to snuggling into Grell’s arm, sipping my ale, and listening intently to every word.
Grell, surprisingly, considering the attitudes of those around him, chose to oblige with a few tidbits. Apparently, his sources told him that the High Council of the Moon Mage guild was sending a representative to the crossing to conduct an investigation into the recent appearance of an alleged servant of Tezriah and the prophecy uttered by the same. Also, he mentioned that it was foolish, at best, for people to allow the rumor mill to grab a hold of their better sense and assume that everything that happened had to do with the supposed re-appearance of Teiro. He began to go on to say that there were almost certainly two seperate things ‘going down’, as he put it, when a further outburst of rudeness from Shaiyaa caused him to momentarily halt and argue with the fool. After a moment, he settled back down, and seemed receptive to clarify on the information he had already given. Unfortunately, he never had a chance. The pounding of footsteps in the Inn yard cut off whatever his next sentence would have been…
The doors burst open, and a squad of world dragon fanatics poured into the room. One yelled, ‘You will all feel the bite of the World Dragon!’. Another glanced at Grell, and cried ‘THERE YOU ARE!’ Quickly, the room broke out into a full-fledged brawl, as the room at large began to battle the cultists. Furniture was thrown from one end of the room to the other, bottles were smashed over heads, and fanatic blood began to flow.
One person in the room, however, conveniently decided to ignore the fact that there was a discernable enemy attacking, and, instead, chose that moment to finish off a long-standing grudge. Justifying his actions by claiming that Grell was responsible for the fanatic attack, (a completely unfounded accusation) Shaiyaa unslung his longbow and began trying to utilize Grell as a pincusion. A number of others in the room began jumping on the bandwagon, all of them war mages like Shaiyaa. A mage lynch mob. Fire balls began flying through the air, and Grell was injured by the combination of arrows and fire. He fell, stunned, and several of the mob began to advance on him, presumably to finish him. I personally managed to guard Grell, blocking their attacks until he recovered from the stun he was in. Grell stood up, looked at the unfriendly faces glaring at him, promptly grabbed my hand, and together we ran from the brawl inside the Nest.
What happened next is a private matter, and strictly between consenting adults. I can say, however, that Grell did make it from that mess intact, and decided the best bet would be for him to skip town quickly. Understandably, since a mob of irate and irrational war mages were seeking to take revenge for imaginary slights upon his unarmored person. As he left me, heading out of town by the most secretive route he could find, he turned and said to me: ‘Listen, babe.. It wasn’t me. Somebody’s trying to frame me up. I don’t expect you to believe that, but somebody is REALLY desperate to make me look bad.’ I assured Grell that I needed no convincing, unlike the inane masses that attacked him. A brief kiss later, he passed out of town like a whispering breeze, heading for somplace where the heat was a little less intense.
As events of that day came to light among the rest of the realms, the foolish lynch mob was duly chastised by many respectable citizens for their rash actions. In the end, however, the fact remains that potentially useful information was lost due to the foolhardiness of those who were unwilling to look beyond the simplest answers to any problem. And a potential love interest for myself slipped through my grasp.