Escape from the Dale
(Crossing, Zoluren: 101 Lirisa 354)
A tall, heavy Gor’Tog enters the dark tavern slowly, obviously favoring one green leather-clad leg. Paying little attention to the occupants, save for carefully examining a red-haired Barbarian lass in one corner, he limps to the nearest battered bar stool. Gesturing for Baresh, the Gor’Tog orders a pint of the Wren’s finest. Sidling up the to bar in a way only barkeeps can do, Baresh casually drops the pint hard on the oak counter, spilling not a drop. From this vantage point, Baresh clearly notices the bloody bandages covering the Gor’Tog’s left leg, and seems to inquire about them.
In a low voice, the Gor’Tog responds…
"Well, friend barkeep, yas see, a Gorbesh soldier cut me. Eh? Well, it’s a long story, but if’n yas got the time, I’m willin’ to tell it. Alright then, tell I’s shall. Hmm…where ta begin… "
"I was helpin’ defend our fair, some would argue, city o’ Crossin’ from them treacherous Gorbesh. See, some o’ the folk higher up in the guilds had a meetin’ with one o’ the Gorbesh generals, and seems things didn’t go down too well, if’n yas know what I mean. So the Gorbesh decided to attack, and attack they did. I was stationed ta patrol the North Trade Road with Rayth Blackmoore, Loquatrix O’Niall, and Glimerglass Ravenstone. When the battle gots hot an’ heavy, we’s got split up with a Gorbesh unit right smack in between us. Rayth an’ Loquatrix was on the south side, nearer to the Northeast Gate. I’s got stuck on the north side, closer to Arthe Dale."
"The battle raged on fer a good while, and try as I might, I’s couldn’t make my way south ta rejoin me companions. Slowly, but surely, the Gorbesh was push in’ northward. Unfortunately, they was pushin’ me with ’em. People was dyin’ to me left and to me right, and with a hunnerd Gorbesh in front o’ me, I’s didn’t have nowhere to go but backwards."
"Well, it wasn’t long ‘fore I’s found myself backed into the gate of Arthe Dale. I’s glanced o’er my shoulder and spyin’ the gate, decided to pop inside an’ see if”n I’s couldn’t catch my breath. Big mistake."
"Not three or four heartbeats after I’s gots inside, SLAM! Click! The gate was closed an’ locked. Now, we ‘Togs are a pretty brave lot. Well, most o’ us. However, I’s gonna be the first to admit I’s gettin’ a wee bit nervous right about now. Decidin’ I’s can either stay here and wait for the Gorbesh to open the gate an’ come in, or search around town, I’s start searchin’ around town. Not two blocks from the gate there sits an entire Gorbesh unit. They was lead by three Gorbesh commanders and one o’ them foul snaer hafwa things. Seein’ how I’s only had my spear, and had lost my scimitar in the battle, I’s decided a confrontation was nae in me best interest, so I’s slipped back into the shadows. I’s scouted near the entire city, and the better part o’ the west side was swarmin’ with Gorbesh. They’s looked like flies on a dead yak, I’s tellin’ you!"
"It’s at about this point I’s thinkin’ to myself…. ‘Ya know Merd, some company would be nice.’ Well, no sooner had I’s thought it, then I stumbled o’er a young halfling Trader. Tyvian was his name, and he was quite busy, lemme tell ya. He had a Gorbesh soldier backed into a corner, and was tryin’ to hawk all sorts of trinkets on him. Poor Gorbesh, I’s sorta felt sorry fer him. Tyvian was tryin’ to sell him rings, jewelry, weapons, about anything you can think of. No, Baresh, not ale. Anyways, the Gorbesh seemed ta be gettin’ annoyed with all this bartering, and told Tyvian so. ‘Little meat talk too much,’ the Gorbesh soldier said. Now, I’s figure I better rescure poor Tyvian before he sells something he would rather keep, such as his spleen. I’s ready my spear, and step between Tyvian and the Gorbesh. Me an’ the soldier, we’s go a few rounds, then I’s slipped on the remains o’ a taffleberry tart, a common thing in Arthe Dale, and the Gorbesh comes at me all hard. He gets the best o’ me, I’s ‘Tog enough to say, and deals a nasty hit to me leg. Ayep, this very wound. No, it don’t hurt too much. Well, anyways, I’s decide that discretion is the better part o’ valor, an’ all that. I’s retreat a few steps and duck into a nearby building, which happened to be the Swotting Hall. Slappin’ some field bandages on my leg, I’s scooted o’er near the window ta see what that soldier was up to. Lemme ask you somethin’, Baresh, did yas ever see a halfling fly?"
"The Gorbesh had brought up a big catapult, and poor Tythian seemed ta be their ammo. I’s guess they didn’t like his prices, and decided to do somethin’ about it. Well, afore I’s could get out the door to save him, the Gorbesh commander cut the rope, sendin’ little Tythian sailin’ through the air screamin’ all the way. It was a good shot, and the Gorbesh managed ta get him o’er the walls of Arthe Dale. Now I’s thinkin’ to myself, ‘Merd, now would be a good time to guard the Wren’s Nest and the kegs, and get as far away from Arthe Dale as possible.’ But how ta gets out? The Gorbesh gots the main gate close and guarded, they’s patrolin’ the streets, and ‘Togs are terrible at sneaking. Hey, three hundred pounds o’ green is tough to hide, okay?"
"Well, Baresh, I’s got lucky. Just about that time, a poor, beat-up halfing arrived. He was bleedin’ a bit, and seemed shaken, but he was headin’ out of the city, and kind enough ta let me tag along.
‘Sir, it’s not safe here! You’ve got to get out before you’re killed with the rest of us! I know a way.. follow me!’, he said.
Lemme tell yas, he didn’t have to ask me twice. He led me through the twists and turns of the streets, through burrows and dales that I’s could barely fit through. Finally, we’s emerged on the other side. Safe an’ sound, or at least better off, I was now on the outside o’ Arthe Dale, surrounded by a score o’ Crossing’s defenders. Lookin’ about, I’s saw none other than Tyvian. He was a bit bruised, a bit sore, and perhaps missing a couple coins, but he was still in good spirits. He says to me, "Next time, I’ll try to sell them something flashier." Halflings!
"And that, Baresh, is how I’s hurt me leg. Now, if you don’t mind, my mug seems empty, and all this talkin’ has certainly got me thirsty again. If you don’t care, send somethin’ fancy to that pretty lass wearin’ the dark leathers and sittin’ o’er in the corner… "
With a smile and a wink, Baresh fills the glass and knocks on the bar. "This one is on me, Warrior!"