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Veraka's Saga (Spoilers, BG:EE only)



  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    "It would seem several mercenary teams solidified
    To a fierce fighting force intent on finding all iron.
    It must be a mighty leader with money and lordly mien
    To command gnolls, hobgoblins and humans without havoc.
    These are no mere bandits, but a bold incursion
    Disguised such that we'd deem it ordinary dealings.
    Friends, we now face a foe with a focus
    On strangling and siphoning the iron trade, it seems.
    To what end I know not, but I worry our warriors
    May not be ready to rile the army of marauders,"
    Veraka said, studying the notes spread before her.
    "Speak not of such silliness! We are strapped for strife,
    Minsc and Boo shall behead any bandits beheld!"
    Xan said, "It must be satisfying to be so savagely simple.
    Our leading lady is right, it is hopeless to lead
    Five against fifty, with formidable generals."
    "Well V'aka, you got a plan?" Imoen pursued politely.
    "I hope someone does," Xzar said, hopping happily.
    "It's time we took a moment to train and explore,
    And equip each and every one in equal measure.
    We will wander wild woods where wonders wage war,
    Comb cliffs and coasts until we can cope
    Against the grave garrison that guards Tazok.
    I have learned of a lout that will lead us to luxury
    If we can find the fellow; for five thousand gold,
    We must bring proof of Bassilus's besting,
    A murderer and magic user purportedly mad."
    "Money and mayhem? Make way Evil,
    For Minsc and Boo come to kick bountiful butts!"
    Xan said, "We seek Bassilus the Murderer you say?
    The town crier's task? I fear this trial is too great,
    And doom most dire shall deal an early death;
    But if, by some chance, we should best Bassilus,
    It might give a slim chance against Tazok's goons
    With the wares we could buy with the bounty. So be it,
    Onward to futility, our fickle fate must fall."
    "That's the spirit, Xan! Five thousand gold, huh?
    Let's go shopping to see what sort of stuff is for sale,
    So we know what we're working for," Imoen winked.
    "Alright, we'll take a break in Beregost, meet back
    At the Jovial Juggler by dusk," the jester said.
    "We should travel in teams for safety, I think;
    I'll stay with Veraka so a swordarm is near," Xan said.
    "I will walk with my witch," Minsc said, and Xan winced.
    "Don't worry sis, me and Xzar will stay safe and secure.
    Yeppers. No problems could possibly appear."
    Xzar's smile was so sinister even Veraka seemed unsure,
    But the two bolted off into Beregost before anyone
    could speak.
    They would not face their foes
    Til they were fully armed.
    They shopped in Beregost,
    Until cries of alarm.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited August 2014
    They bought more big blades in case of breakage
    Due to the dolent iron still in distribution
    And found for Minsc a fell composite longbow
    Full-formed with magic, from Feldepost's fine inn.
    Veraka remembered she carried a written letter
    And delivered it to the damsel whose husband had written
    And sent a halfling courier, killed by cruel ogrillons.
    The lady was well pleased with word from her husband,
    And gave to Veraka a rare ring wrought with runes
    Which helped resist ruffians and rude magic alike.
    They replenished their arrows and lead-wrought sling bullets
    But Xan said to save some coin for spell scrolls
    Held by a haughty mage in High Hedge to the west.
    "This has been a good day," Veraka grinned gaily,
    Until they heard the hue and cry of hard-pressed heroes.
    Imoen staggered into view, still scorched from some assault
    And Xzar came close behind, running at a content clip.
    Veraka strode forward and soothed Imoen's singeing
    As she said, "Who assaults us? Speak, what has happened?"
    "Um, y'see sis, there was a slight misunderstanding-"
    "The bearded betrayer comes!" Xzar brayed out for battle,
    As a well-armed dwarf wielding a wicked axe
    And bearing a broad shield bore down on them boldly.
    "Now it's personal!" the dwarf fumed, full-ready
    to fight.
    Far up the street they saw
    More figures for the fray.
    Imoen said, "Least the law
    Ain't also on the way."

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited August 2014
    Veraka ventured, "So you've vexed the guards, too?
    Step any nearer and I'll slay you sir, so state
    Your intentions instead of instigating your end!"
    This last loud language she lobbed at the dwarf,
    Who fumed and fussed and finally roared,
    "I'm an assassin, ye arse-brained apple-bottomed 'arpy!
    Nae the sort who skulks in shadows and stabs ye once,
    But the kind who buries a battleaxe in yer buxom bosom.
    Karlat's me name, an' killin's me game, ye ken?"
    With that, the dwarven warrior pressed in for war
    But Minsc made maleficent melee on the marauder
    Long before the broad-bearded dwarf barged up to Veraka.
    Up the street, they saw a second conflict come in sight:
    A beautiful woman bearing a staff was being assaulted
    By a brute of a man who bore the bearing of a farmer.
    Veraka let loose arrows from her longbow against
    The man who might mar the mysterious maiden.
    With some surprise, she saw her release a bolt of lightning
    Killing the cad who kept attacking her crossly.
    In the meantime, Minsc and the others made Karlat
    Regret his profession as he writhed in rigor mortis,
    Fallen from the fine efforts of their fighting force.
    The lovely lass now approached, and some length back
    They saw several men hiding and watching the sight.
    "Greetings, gorgeous girl! I am Silke, thespian extraordinaire.
    Your friend there has fouled up my job offer fully,
    Though I appreciate your help in handling that highwayman.
    If you'll compensate me for causing this calamity,
    I will let you live, and we'll linger no longer."
    Imoen spoke up, "You said thugs were gonna slay you,
    But you were gonna kill them to get gems and gold!
    You betrayed me, you're a bad, beastly, baleful bit-"
    "So Silke," Veraka interrupted, "it would seem
    Our difference of opinion is in deleterious dispute.
    Why don't we raise the stakes and watch a wager,
    Where the winner takes all, and the loser walks away?"
    "Since you offered me succor, I'll listen for now,
    Though my patience is precious thin, pretty one."
    "You have said you're a thespian of more than slight skill,
    And I am an actress as well: Veraka Cursebringer.
    Though you won't have heard of me, I have this wager:
    We will each muster masterful monologues in town square
    And the people of Beregost will hear it, a public play.
    The winner will take all, every which possession
    The loser carries, and the loser will be cast out completely,
    Never to return to Beregost's bright bars.
    What say you?" Silke smiled a sinister smirk,
    Then said, "So it seems we have an accord.
    Call the town crier, let him call forth the crowds,
    We will wage a war of words before the world's eye.
    May the best woman win," Silke winked, then
    walked off.
    Xzar said, "Oh boy, a play!
    I LOVE slapstick routines!"
    Imoen said, "There's no way
    She'll beat your trollop scene!"

  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,287
    I'm sorry to interrupt your epic poetry with an utterly prozaic comment of mine own, but I can't help myself. You are aware my friend, that your work is one of pure genius? It just had to be said.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    D'awww, thanks. ^_~

    Seriously, thank you @Blackraven . Positive feedback is just as important as constructive criticism, I feel.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited November 2016
    Veraka whispered, "Imoen, a word if you will?"
    The two trotted off to talk together a time
    Among the plain trees of a plump pear orchard.
    "Alright, let's hear it: how did these hardships happen?
    What in the world did Xzar whisk you away with, Imoen?"
    Imoen said, "Well, y'see, so Xzar started a tour
    To show me Beregost and all its bars and buildings.
    Turns out some were houses with worthless locks
    So I practiced lockpicking a little, just for practice!
    I was lookin' at some stuff from a chest when somebody
    Got the wrong idea and ran to go get the guards!
    Well, we ducked into Feldepost's to drink some wine,
    But a man named Marl must've been feeling mean
    'Cause he came up to us and kept calling us names!
    Xzar said some stuff to him, and then he started attacking,
    So we scooted outside and gave 'im the slip.
    A little later we met this lad named Garrick,
    Who gave us a job to guard that gasbag Silke.
    When men came wanting money in trade for many gems,
    Silke said to strike, but I saw they were square merchants
    And I said I wouldn't slay 'em, so she cast a spell
    And I was lit up with lightning, I almost died, literally!
    We ran in the Red Sheaf Inn to retreat,
    And Karlat came after us, tryin' ta kill us!
    When we left, Marl was marching up mouthing off at Silke,
    Something about setting fires and destroying the city
    And those two took to fighting right before we found you."
    Imoen paused, perceiving Veraka's perturbed appearance.
    "Imoen, I can't believe you made that many enemies
    In the span of two hours! So you saw fit to steal,
    Provoked some pissant peasant who nearly pounded you to pulp,
    Took a task the whole team should have talked about first,
    And acquired an assassin after angering an actress.
    This is thoroughly thick-witted, especially for you."
    Imoen stood ashamed, but then she said sorely,
    "Well you didn't make time to take mercy on Tranzig!
    He had given up, you didn't have to kill him Veraka!
    He was a real rat, alright, but you killed in cold blood.
    Are we executing everyone, everywhere, every time?
    Sure I screwed up, but you're scaring me sis!
    I knew Gorion's daughter, but I don't know this dame!"
    Veraka was struck into a stony silence,
    And when she spoke the sound had a steely edge,
    "That girl is getting grizzled, in some ways she's gone,
    I can't come back to Candlekeep, I can't call it home.
    If Gorion were here things might have gone gladly,
    But he's gone to his grave. The world is grim and gray,
    I joke and I jest but this journey jars and jilts me,
    And vengeance is vowed easily now by Veraka.
    Laws and lords never loved me, no lenience lent,
    So I'll serve what small justice I can on this soil
    Until the traitors and their trucklers are taken to Hell.
    Mercy must be merited, meant for the meek and mild,
    But a reckoning comes for those who rack up ruin.
    Vengeance is my pact, I put it to you plain;
    I make no apology now or in nights to come
    for death."
    Imoen's countenance had paled
    At the pact now thus incurred;
    Yet sisterhood prevailed:
    They returned without a word.

    (Note: "Vengeance is my pact" is a reference to Blue Oyster Cult's song "Vengeance (the Pact).")

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    The time came for the town crier to tempt crowds to come
    And see the savvy spectacle of an actress's duel,
    So folks found their way forward till town square was filled
    With a mass of many people seeking mirth or merry fancy.
    The young man Garrick came with garrulous greetings,
    The same one who hired Imoen to handle Silke's scheme.
    "Never before has a bard been bestowed higher honor
    Than to introduce to you two titans of the stage,
    Ladies locked in illustrious combat to satisfy
    A wager, and will determine a winner when we're finished!
    The first is a thespian known in theatres the Coast over,
    A mysterious mistress whose monologues moved even
    The Dukes of Baldur's Gate, and dignitaries more distant!
    Once a starlet of the Dale Wind Troubadours, she will woo
    And bedazzle you, break your heart and bring you sweet joy!
    No more need be said, her name is renowned: 'tis Silke!"
    The crowd cheered, though a few kept a cold stare on Silke,
    And Garrick gave her a pained glance before continuing,
    "The second is our challenger, who seeks to subdue
    Our starlet Silke, to seize both her belongings and Beregost
    For all future performances, forcing the loser to banishment!
    This young damsel lacking dockets is a diamond in the rough,
    Beautiful but unpolished, bold but brash!
    She has helped heal Nashkel's mines, but how is her acting?
    Can she vie with this vixen? I give you Veraka!"
    The crowd cheered once more, but with muted mutterings.
    "Step up now Silke, and speak of sagacious sorrow!
    Her selection this evening is from Stern's 'Seraleste,'
    In which the heroine has fallen into hapless melancholy
    After losing her lover in a long, bitter war
    And bearing the fell scar of a fiery inferno
    Seraleste survived in a strike against her city.
    She runs among the ruins until atop a roof
    She surveys the destruction and delivers a dire speech."
    Garrick stepped back as Silke staggered forward, costumed as
    Imoen said, "She's prepared,
    But she can't beat your bit!"
    Xan said, "Aptly unfair."
    Veraka just said, "Shit."

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited November 2016
    Even before Silke started her speech as Seraleste,
    Veraka rapidly realized her error in underrating
    The acting ability of this aggressive actress:
    It was more than the consummate costume she came in,
    But her whole manner had shifted into the hapless heroine
    From a popular play, acclaimed positively by critics.
    Xan also was able to appreciate the artistry
    With which the wily woman came wandering forth,
    Feigning forlorn so well he could feel her false fears
    As at last the lady let loose a lament in loud cries,
    "Father! May Finder Wyvernspur fling forth my cry,
    Hear me if you yet live! I will yell and yowl here
    Until you come to claim me and cast away death!
    Or some sister, perhaps, sing to me, I am Seraleste!
    Let your sweet words soothe sorrow until father comes.
    Brother Jaren, just this once your jests would be jovial,
    Come caper before me and call away my woes!
    Why do you not answer? This is the day of disaster,
    We promised we must meet here should melancholy
    Visit us, and verily, all is vile and vicious now!
    Why can you not come? Some cousin or uncle?
    Why stand I alone in this city's cinders?"
    Silke's voice broke then as she stood in somber silence
    And gazed at the crowd through grim, grasping eyes
    As a tear trickled down her ash-tainted cheek.
    "Are none now alive who know my name?"
    Silke sent forth a sob, well-rehearsed and strong.
    "Father, you must come, for I fear my fair Feanor
    Has fallen on the field to a fierce spear-bite;
    Nay, 'tis more than fear, I know now he is dead.
    You can yet cure him, father! You cast cleric cures,
    And raising the dead is a rite readily known to you!
    Your bright balms may better my burns as well,
    But I beg you, bring Feanor back first for me!
    Why do you not answer? I declare, does anyone
    Hear me? Help me! How the hellfire crackles,
    The smoke singes the very air and smites my lungs.
    Two score and seven members should meet at this square
    From my family; surely some would fare through the flames!
    They cannot all be killed! Some cousin, some uncle..."
    Silke's voice broke again as Seraleste mourned in sorrow,
    And the crowd was clearly enthralled; a few even cried.
    "Anyone? Aught or anyone answer my cry!
    No, there is no one, Thrimhold has fallen thrice,
    I am alone, and all is ashes; all is ashes and dust.
    FATHER! Don't forsake me now, Feanor has fallen,"
    This last was a loud whisper with lachrymose trembling,
    "What use the clear crimson crystals he has wrought me,
    What use may marriage be without my love, my man?
    Forgive his faults, Finder Wyvernspur, forgive me
    For failing him in the hour of his final need.
    Oh misery! Oh despair! Oh doom and destitution!
    Shall Seraleste be the last of the line of Lord Vailam?
    None have come, none have come! Now the fire runs near,
    Shall I cast me from this crenellation to the courtyard below?"
    "No Seraleste!" a little girl cried from the crowd clearly,
    And a few faint chuckles fought their way through the townsfolk.
    "No, for no peace comes to forlorn formless shades,
    As surely I would go from girl to ghastly ghost
    For the heartbreak here heaped upon me, I fear.
    I will wander the world bearing the welt of these flames,
    To remind me of the worse wound I wear on my heart.
    There is naught but needless death to narrate here;
    I will serve whatever penance may perchance in my plight."
    So saying, Silke staggered away from the square,
    And stepped down a side street to end
    the scene.
    The crowd was quiet at first,
    But soon burst with applause.
    Veraka felt a curse
    Must be among her flaws.

    (Note: Tolkien fans may already realize that Feanor is a reference to "The Silmarillion," specifically Feanor is the elf who crafted the crystal Silmarils.)

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    Veraka stepped swiftly inside the Burning Wizard,
    A tavern close to town square, tasteful and tidy.
    Her companions came quick to consider her coyness
    As Veraka made a mug of mead disappear.
    "Bollocks and botheration, I blew it this time!
    That thespian will thwart me, her theatrics are divine!
    How can I hope to hinder such high-formed art?"
    Veraka moped miserably as she quaffed her mead mug.
    "Minsc knows that none other than his nice witch
    Will win with great style worthy of song!
    Boo says to do your best, even if you be beaten,
    But I think he has had too many herbs today."
    Xzar said slyly, "We can still escape out the back."
    "Phooey on you!" Imoen said, "We won't fall back from this!
    C'mon sis, you can't let that cowled harpy cream you,
    I've seen you sing songs that set old Ulraunt to tears!
    Elminster himself was made so merry once
    They came and carried him off cavorting to keep from laughing
    to death!" Veraka did a double take, then said,
    "Laughing to death... that line does lodge in my mind;
    I have an idea how to follow her high-hued praise."
    "Truly?" Xan asked, "To me it seems a trying task
    Even for one so witty and winsome as you.
    Fortunately, failure from this is but banishment
    From Beregost, and lightening your load of loot.
    Do not despair of this, for much darker demons
    Haunt our journey, majestic jester, jeopardous fates
    Far crueler than can be counted in the reckoning of men.
    This is but a besmirched blister that soon can
    be healed."
    Veraka smiled at Xan,
    Then rose up from her seat.
    "I'll do the best I can,
    Even in sound defeat."

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited November 2016
    They followed Veraka forth from the Burning Wizard
    And she stepped out in steady stride to meet town square,
    Stripping away sword and shot down to silly clothes,
    Fit for a fool, yet refined enough for court frolic.
    Garrick got ready to give an introduction for the girl,
    But Xzar heaved him aside with a great hip-bump.
    Regal yet wild-eyed, Xzar roared forth to the rabble,
    "Illustrious lords! Luscious ladies! Listen well!
    I come to talk of one whose tales merit telling!
    The ladies may lay swooned, the lads lay swelling,
    For here is one both fetching and fearsome fell!
    Behold, I stand at the door and knock, brave babes,
    To announce an anxious riddle in human ancestry:
    Prepare, proud people, and peek at your peril
    As Veraka now vies to unravel the vagaries
    of Death."
    His introduction done,
    Xzar quickly stepped aside.
    Veraka came calm but fun,
    Nor twinkling eyes could hide.

    In bemused banter and bright-eyed rhetoric,
    Veraka spoke a soliloquy thus to the assembled:
    "Why do we drear when Death comes ever near?
    To cast our eyes downward with causeless crying
    Is no more fine than finding fault and fear
    In sunlit streams, or some sweet lover's sighing;
    For Death, I deem, does more than most not dying:
    His handiwork has us hastened hard at work
    To make our mark in mortal lands, and trying
    To taste each day's delights, nor duty shirk.
    So girls get gauzy gossamer gowns to flirt,
    And men make marvels forged from metal tools;
    'Tis Death's domain down in the delving dirt
    That tasks our art, inspires tippets of tulle.
    So cast your kisses kind and raise your rank,
    Each deed you do has Death's demand to thank."
    Before the crowd could react, Veraka crooned
    A wordless dirge in upbeat cadence, dancing
    A long-forgotten frolic from far lands
    Taken from a tome in Candlekeep's towers:
    A celebration for spirits long-since passed.
    Finally, her frolic stopped and she faced the folk:
    "Something there is that doesn't love a death,
    That sends the solemn grave-swell under it,
    And spills sorrowful teardrops in the sun;
    And leaves gaps of the fallen in the breast.
    Are they not better off than we, e'en blest?
    Hard toil and trouble take us in this time,
    While spirits soar amongst the gods sublime!
    Some ghosts, I grant, do go astray and haunt;
    Those schmucks deserved it, so such is their want,"
    Her irreverent reversal had chuckles and wry smiles,
    "And maybe some burn bright in blaze of Hell,
    But those were asses, so it suits them well,"
    The laughter picked up among lord and lowborn alike,
    "Vagrant vampires turn those vixens with no luck,
    And so say I, they do most surely suck,
    Wronged revenants, restless, wreak revenge and ruin,
    That death is definitely not one to be doin',
    And your body'll be borrowed by necromancers of course,
    For foul skeletons and zombies as a fiendish force,
    Demons and devils defile the soul you had;
    But other than that, death's really not that bad."
    The crowd cheered and chortled at Veraka's cheek
    As she bowed and came back to be with
    her friends.
    "I don't know if you won,"
    Xan said with a small smile,
    "But I think you have done
    Jokes fit for elven guile."

    (Notes: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock" is a quote of Revelation 3:20 of the King James Bible. "Gossamer gowns" and "tippets of tulle" are references to Emily Dickinson's "Because I could not stop for Death." The first poem Veraka tells is a Spenserian sonnet, if anyone cares. In the second part, you can probably spot the reference to "Mending Wall" by Robert Frost.)

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    "Well done, winsome women and warriors of the stage!"
    Garrick had gotten back to his garrulous announcing,
    "If all in the audience would applaud for the actress
    They deem most deserving, the contest will be done.
    Set your hands together for the sensational Silke!"
    The crowd clapped and cheered for the capricious lady,
    Though something unseen came shoving from the back.
    "Now let's hear it for the helpful heroine Veraka!"
    Once again applause came, and a few wolf whistles;
    Though they were close, the throng favored Silke.
    Silke approached Veraka smiling a smarmy smirk,
    As Imoen murmured, "Um, y'might wanna make-"
    "Not bad," Silke gloated, "for a sheltered green girl,
    Though oration or storytelling is more what you did
    Than acting. Still, you have some skill stranger,
    But a wager has been won, I will have your wares
    And have it heard, on your honor, you will not-"
    "There she is sirs, that Silke sought to steal
    My gems and slaughter us standing in the street!"
    A man said to some guards; one guard glanced and said,
    "There's that thief from earlier! That cute girl and the
    crazed mage!"
    "Gotta go!" Veraka said,
    Their group ran to the west.
    "Another time!" Silke fled,
    She thought northward was best.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited December 2016
    Canto V

    The heroes hauled themselves away west to High Hedge,
    A wizard's dwelling west of Beregost within wild woods.
    Veraka said, "It seems someone stole away with us;
    Are you spying for Silke, sir?" Garrick was still among them,
    Tagging in tow towards the back till they stopped.
    "Please pardon my persistence, but your prowess and proficiency
    Are only bested by your bravery and probity, I bet;
    I need a new employer, for Silke is no longer noble
    And I can't be that callous or kill for cold coins.
    I was hoping you'd have me along for heroics,
    And study the style of your stories and songs,"
    Garrick said in saccharine speciousness, bowing.
    Imoen looked livid, ready to light into the lad,
    But Veraka said, "A coin toss will tell true this tale."
    As fickle fate would have it, it favored fair Garrick,
    And the group looked aghast at the guest to their gang.
    "You don't mean to take on this toady of Silke?
    Like as not, the lad is lazy, or lead us into ambush,
    Assuming he doesn't stir strychnine in our stew,"
    Xan said, giving a cold glare at the greenhorn Garrick.
    "Well, he might have been innocent of her schemes,"
    Imoen said slowly, "so if V'aka really wants to,
    I guess that's good enough for me you guys."
    Garrick smiled, "Glad to hear it, you won't regret it gang!
    I'm a sure shot with a crossbow, and my song shall inspire
    your hearts."
    "Welcome, wandering bard,"
    Minsc said, stepping ahead.
    "He's greasier than lard,"
    Xzar sniffed, "he'll soon be dead."

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    "Ha-ha! He didn't mean that right?" Garrick asked hastily.
    "Nah, that necromancer is just needling and nagging ya,
    Though he has predicted prophesies that proved to be true.
    Anyway, I wouldn't worry about it, welcome to our warband,
    I forgive ya for giving me a foul job," Imoen phonated,
    And walked on while Garrick said, "Wait, what prophesies?"
    Xzar stepped up soon after and said, "Sorry sir,
    My words were wanton and whispered in haste,
    I hardly meant to insult lard so loudly or lewdly.
    As a token of my gratitude for taking this task,
    I give you this gift Garrick, a reminder of glib days
    To come; now carry on, let's keep catching Godot!"
    Garrick replied, "Really, that's regal of you, I shall relate..."
    But Xzar hastened ahead, not heeding Garrick.
    Shrugging, Garrick stripped off the soiled simple wrap,
    Then screamed as he saw what sort of gift Xzar gave:
    a skull.
    Minsc looked back in alarm,
    Xzar laughed an evil cackle.
    Imoen said, "Just a prank, no harm;
    Let's find some spells to tackle."

    The heroes headed for High Hedge, harrowed by skeletons
    Which suggested some sorcery was strong at work.
    Garrick looked pale, and his pointed projectiles worked poorly
    Against the grim guardians of that ghastly wilderness.
    Making melee, they meandered till a mighty mansion emerged,
    And with it a wily wanderer who was deep in thought.
    He said, "Hold on heroes, I'm here planning a heist,
    And I can hardly hear myself think with you hulks about."
    "Of course you can't hear yourself think, my cagey cad,
    You must say it out loud," Veraka mentioned merrily.
    "Okay, okay, I can cut you in comrades.
    Right over that rise is a really rich wizard,
    But these big bulky brutes called flesh golems guard him.
    They don't get damaged by normal weapons or dire magic,
    So it'd take a strange strategy to separate him from his stuff.
    Ahh forget it, if you feel up for it, this fortress is yours,
    I'll have easier pickings with some halfling hamlet."
    So saying, Permidion Stark slunk away into the
    "Sounds sorta tough," Imoen said,
    "Maybe we shouldn't go."
    "We won't rob him; instead,
    Let's just buy some spell scrolls."

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    "V'aka, are you sure? This sorcerer seems set
    On keeping away wayfarers and wandering wizards,"
    Imoen murmured, mild misgivings in her mien.
    "We don't get distracted in there, dear sister,
    Just turn money into magic, and a mage into a merchant
    Before he blasts us to bits and brings in golems."
    "You make it sound so easy," Imoen whispered.
    "We're all doomed," Xan declared depressingly.
    "No time for that, take heart and enter!" Veraka said,
    Then disappeared in the door, and Minsc darted after.
    Soon they all stood in a strange glowing hall,
    And Veraka boldly braved the inner bastion to find
    An aging man at work in an alien laboratory,
    Who glared at the girl and gave a grim speech:
    "I be Thalantyr, thundering thaumaturge of Beregost.
    If you value your lives, vault away from this visit,
    Unless you have magic you mean to make merchandise."
    Veraka said, "Verily, we have vaunted vendibles of magic,
    And seek some spell scrolls if such can be traded."
    "Come then heroes, I will have a hard look,
    To tell if these trinkets be true, or you seek to
    trick me."
    They traded with the mage,
    And it was plain to see
    Their magic gear was sage;
    They bought scrolls aplenty.

    They had hardly set foot outside of High Hedge
    Before being greeted by a familiar barnstormer:
    The ever-red rover of the realms, Elminster.
    "Ho there, hardened heroes and heroines of havoc.
    This is a strange coincidence to stumble once more
    Into each others' company, kind Fate calls us
    It seems. So, how art thou, seeker of destiny?"
    "I don't think its destiny, this guy is dogging us!"
    Imoen said, sticking her tongue out at the sorcerer.
    "It might seem mere coincidence one time," Veraka mused,
    "But I bet you already know how our battles befell."
    Elminster replied, "Rumors run rampant, fair Veraka,
    But hearing how it happens to the heroine herself
    Is a far different feat of fact-finding, I find."
    "We do well, despite everyone wanting us dead,
    And my grief for Gorion my guardian, though grim,
    Wanes with time and hones my wit as a whetstone."
    "Well don't tell him everything!" Xzar wailed woefully.
    "Gorion was a good man, I am glad to hear his girl
    Still thinks of him, and he would be happy I know."
    "Wait, you knew Gorion? Give me something to go on,
    Might you know my mother, or my true father Elminster?"
    A look of lingering pain held deep in his lordly eyes,
    And he said, "Some things are not mine to say,
    Thou hast yet many miles and misfortunes yet
    Before such knowledge may be brought to bear.
    Know thee well that Gorion thought of thee as his own,
    Do not doubt thou were the daughter of my dear friend."
    Tears came to tremble in Veraka's clear eyes,
    And Elminster moved on gruffly to mention,
    "This will not be news no doubt, but the bandits
    Thou dost seek dart within the dark woods
    Northeast of here, near the Friendly Arm Inn now.
    I cannot stay heroine, but my hopes and harrows go
    with you."
    Elminster hesitated,
    Then drew away to the wood.
    Veraka's heart palpitated,
    She lingered long, and stood.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    "Hey V'aka, you okay?" Imoen ventured to the vixen.
    "Yeah, I'm fine, lingering grief for Gorion I grant,
    But not enough to gnash teeth or need a new rest.
    We will wander on warriors, until we find Bassilus,"
    Veraka said, wiping her eyes and walking off weariness.
    Xan strode beside Veraka, seemingly drawn to her sadness,
    And said, "It must be some small comfort to know
    That you have a good chance of finding Gorion's ghost
    When you breathe your last and are borne away beyond oblivion."
    "Very small comfort," Veraka said with vitriol,
    Then sighed, "I'm sorry Xan, I know you sought to soothe me.
    I have doubts about what afterlife will warrant my soul,
    And despite our doomed state I don't plan on dying soon:
    That seems too convenient, I suffer more on the Sword Coast
    Than any hellspawn could hope to harass me with hereafter."
    "At least your torments and travails will end in time,
    Not forced to fuel new hands from a hopeless prison,"
    Xan muttered, more melancholy and morose than normal.
    "You speak as if such were your fate, solemn Greycloak,"
    Veraka said, curious now of the Greycloak's claim.
    "Nevermind, just know that my moonblade is more than
    mere sword."
    Xan stalked away in sorrow,
    Veraka watched him go.
    She hoped that on the morrow,
    She'd learn more of his woe.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited November 2016
    They wandered west, whacking skeletons and warring with ogres
    Till the troupe had traveled far, to the sea coast's cliffs.
    It came time to camp, they were clearly tired,
    So weary and wary they set in wild woods near the water.
    Garrick seemed somewhat uncomfortable and sore,
    Used to travel along roads with an acting troupe;
    And beds, however basic, were better than bedrolls.
    However, to his credit he didn't harangue and complain
    But said, "So this is adventuring life! I see
    That the tales do not talk much of time taken in travel.
    However, we happy few have two performing heroes
    To while away the wilds with song and wordplay."
    "Garrick," Veraka said, "I grant you have the gift of spellsong,
    But your repertoire seems routine, do you write or compose?"
    "Ah, my lovely lady strikes swift to my struggle.
    I was given few chances with the Dale Wind Troubadours
    To perform my own poignant pieces or poems.
    You could say I have a classical education of the craft,
    But it was plain your performance in Beregost was pure,
    Something had of the heart, innovative, not habitual.
    I don't seek to become Silke, always studying the same lines,
    I wish to woo others with the wonder of fresh words and songs."
    "Hey, I got an idea!" Imoen piped up impishly,
    "How 'bout you two tell an improvised tale,
    To practice performing without a script? Pleeeeease?"
    "If our most luscious lady allows it," Garrick bowed.
    "Alright, I can ramble readily enough. Ready the cooking fire,
    We shall hear handsome Garrick's hand-wrought tale first
    Xan glared across at Garrick,
    And drew nearer the ladies.
    "Try not to be generic
    In the tale you tell here, 'matey.'"

    *The Bard's Tale*

    "Long ago in the land of Sembia lived a lad
    Who favored a fierce lady for his own to be had.
    She was wealthy and wondrous, and a warrior too,
    And all about knew the name Lady Nalu.
    The lad was called Camris, and he couldn't claim fame,
    No noteworthy noble would know of his name.
    He had not might nor money, just a sweet melody
    That would summon songbirds from the safety of trees.
    He first hoped to find favor with Lady Nalu from fighting,
    So he practiced his parries and ripostes in clear sighting.
    One day the damsel came and said, "Don't quit your day job,"
    He almost scrapped his heart's quest and stood ready to sob.
    But he realized right enough that Sembia had riches,
    So he toiled at tasks, took messages, fetched fishes,
    By the sweat of his brow he brought himself modest wealth,
    But Lady Nalu had so many rich suitors herself
    That she hardly noticed one more man making love's claim;
    Camris had his hopes dashed, and drew away in great pain
    Where he sang his soul out to the stars of the night,
    Telling each of his love for the lady of light,
    And she heard his heart rend as he sang to the sky:
    'Twas this, not might nor money, made the lady come by.
    'I care not for men of great might,' she said meetly,
    'Rough love must be tempered by moments met sweetly.
    Wealthy men want women much as they want money:
    Too much, and too soon, and too many for honey.
    So sing sweet, my bard, and I swear by above,
    I'll live this life with you and you'll be my one love.'
    There is no more to tell, excepting for this:
    Pick a bard if your body and soul long for bliss," Garrick
    Imoen said, "Aww, that's so sweet."
    Xan said, "Yes, saccharine."
    Minsc said, "My witch can beat
    Those words, this I have seen!"

    (Notes: "we happy few" is Shakespeare yet again, this time from St. Crispin's Day Speech in "Henry V." Subtitling this section "The Bard's Tale" is a reference to the structure of "The Canterbury Tales" by Geoffrey Chaucer, as well as a shout-out to the game series by that name.)

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,697
    This is just becoming better and better! I enjoy every line of your saga.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    Aww, why thank you. I certainly hope my craft is getting better rather than being stuck in a particular gear.

    Since we've got a moment between verses, I wanted to talk just a second about Imoen. Most people write her in the bubbly devil-may-care sort of way, but I find it a little amusing that Imoen had to grow up a bit to fill the role of Veraka's voice of reason. Imoen has a Wisdom score of a nice average 11, which makes her more wise than 11 or so NPCs in the EE, with 15 or so ahead of her (Kagain is tied). Veraka starts out with a Wisdom of 4, so despite her great intellect her knee-jerk reaction to things is often naive, inaccurate, or even dangerous. I hope this unusual role for Imoen has been coming across through the text, and helps to demonstrate just how unwise Veraka is if Imoen needs to be her common sense.

    As for the other characters... some possess Wisdom, but I've shown that in other ways (Xzar has the gift of 4th-wall-breaking errrr... prophecy, Xan offers introspection) because really, when you start leaning on Xzar or Xan or Garrick to be your conscience, you're in bad shape.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited November 2016
    *The Jester's Tale*

    "There once was a girl who grew up in Baldur's Gate,
    Who found life a fierce foe, for she defied Fate.
    Capricious and contrary, she could not find her place,
    And each day tested her like a trial to face.
    As if this weren't enough, she was being wooed too:
    The guard captain, a gallant guy, would beset her anew
    Each day to divine if the damsel would sign on
    With the Watch, and he would instruct her anon.
    Nor was that well all! A sweet wanderer had chose
    To make the misfit his mark, and each day brought a rose.
    His offer was simple: slip away so carefree
    And live like two vagrants in love aplenty.
    Beyond both of these, a third man had besought
    To find if her happiness could help his hard lot:
    A most morose artist was he, melancholy,
    Yet with her in his arms he might have been jolly.
    The good captain of the guard helped the girl in distress,
    She admired his doughty deeds and strength in duress;
    Yet his mind was too simple to swoon one such as she,
    So fine friends and companions full well they would be.
    The wanderer was winsome, with wooing words and wiles,
    The girl gave him credit for his gossamer guile;
    Yet some speciousness seemed to surround his sweet words,
    So she held fast to acting like she had not heard.
    The artist almost always avoided asking and action,
    Afraid she shan't fit with his form and his faction;
    He chose not to hound her, unsure how he felt,
    But cruel Fate found her fond of the funereal elf.
    The lady did not rush him, for elves live a long time,
    Their courtships take years, countless coquetting and climes;
    Coy carriage rides and constant quick wit kept them close
    And with time the man's moping was made less morose,
    Till at last there was laughter and joy in his life,
    And that day he decided to be done with such strife.
    He came at last to his lady and declared her his love,
    And her heart broke to hear him at last be her beau:
    For humans have but few years here on the hard soil,
    Our candle burns at both ends for bliss and for toil,
    And full fifty years had passed since they first walked in bliss,
    So she died in her dotage with her darling's first kiss."
    Xan glanced up with a glare, galled at being a gag,
    But he saw such sweet sadness behind the sparkle of her eyes
    That he hesitated, his harsh words dying on
    his lips.
    Xan looked away from her,
    Her gaze was too intense.
    Xzar said, "I much prefer
    A tale of things immense!"

    *The Necromancer's Tale*

    "In a time lost to all but trolls and troglodytes,
    There lived the biggest beholder ever brought into being.
    His name was Hank, short for Hank'har'vish Hera-hov'el,
    A proud prude among his kind for not projecting eyebeams.
    So great was his girth that only grand cavern galleries
    Would serve as a home to his humongitude,
    And as time passed the titan only grew more titanic,
    Until Hank had to have the highest cavern of all.
    Though he dreaded it, he decided to drive out a dragon
    To have a home huge enough to house Hank's hulk.
    He came to the cold cavern of Ikx'styx'i'thryx'l,
    A great white wyrm with a want for whacking bugbears,
    And building their bodies into a blasphemous temple.
    The dragon didn't want to dare huge Hank's eyebeams,
    While Hank thought chewing dragon too churlish a chore,
    So the two talked until they came to a decision:
    They'd both bring bugbear bodies till the temple be built,
    Where one of them would live as the worshipped High Priest;
    Which is why, wily womp rats, I won't have to lug iron
    Back to overrated oracles or ogle awkward temples.
    The moral to this story, my mislaid miscreants,
    Is let someone else do it, drink lager and be lazy!
    If that's not good enough, a few ghasts will shut
    those gobs."
    "You're sure that was a story?"
    Xan asked in some dismay.
    Imoen said, "Though not too boring,
    I'll do better today!"

    (NOTE: While there's no direct parody, Veraka's playful jab at Xan is a female inversion of the sentiment in Andrew Marvell's "To his Coy Mistress.")

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    Before Imoen's story started, Xan stood abruptly
    And stalked away swiftly from song and satire.
    Veraka looked ready to run right after him,
    But Imoen said, "Sis, let me speak to him first,
    Sister's Prerogative." Veraka stared at her a second,
    Then nodded, letting Imoen know she need not say more.
    Xan hadn't gone far, still glimpsing their gang's fire
    As Imoen approached him, eying the astral azure.
    "Some stories strike a little too close, I'd say,"
    Imoen broke the silence, but Xan sewed it back shut.
    "I guess even the greatest bards must make gaffes, right?
    Sis does that more than most, that might surprise many."
    Xan glanced at Imoen guardedly, then gazed back at the stars.
    "See, V'aka was always better'n me at blame near every bent,
    'Cept for common sense, and I can't claim much of that.
    Her feelings are almost feral sometimes, it frightens me
    How capriciously quick she can change a room's clime.
    Part of it is, other people's feelings pummel her,
    She can't pull apart her passions from their predilections,
    And she's even more impulsive and impish than I am,
    But despite that, I think you should stick with our throng."
    Xan turned to her and said, "You knew I might try to leave?"
    "I've seen that look before, when V'aka bowls a bloke over,
    He doesn't know what to do with her, like the dog who caught a dragon,
    An' he leaves before life gets more ludicrous or loud."
    She was silent a time, until Xan sighed and said,
    "Very well, what happened to our heady heroine?"
    Imoen smiled and said, "Gee, I started to think you'd
    never ask!"
    She cleared her throat and stood
    In storytelling fashion.
    Xan sighed within his hood
    To brave a tale of passions.

    *The Thief's Tale*

    "A long time ago, in coastal Candlekeep near-but-far-away,
    Two sisters from other mothers came sadly to stay.
    One was given to Gorion, gift or garrote some said,
    The other given to Winthrop to turn down the beds.
    The two girls conspired to conquer the keep,
    And spent many nights out when some thought them asleep.
    But a boy came between them, nearly breaking their bond,
    And for some made Veraka a figure less fond.
    The lad's name was Lanem, with the livestock he labored,
    He was handsome, and orphaned, and he soon had our favor.
    Real often our two-duo was a trio of three,
    V'aka, Immie and Lannie stalked Sword Coast by the sea.
    Then the awkward years came (maybe the elves don't have 'em),
    And some could see sis was no normal girl with 'em.
    Her feelings were fragile, she felt others' fears,
    And she cast confusion out like confections or beer,
    Infecting others' feelings with the turmoil she felt,
    And Lanem was a lad she felt a lot about.
    Well, I hate to have to tell you, I liked him a lot too,
    And it drove us apart for a whole month or two.
    She courted the cad first, 'cause she was so pretty,
    But I saw that sh... stuff coming and so I was ready.
    And I ain't proud to say it, after all that we've faced,
    But the first thing I ever stole: I stole Lannie away.
    And sure, yeah, I liked him, he was lively with laughter,
    But I was just jealous of what our jester was after.
    An' I can't explain it, but she soaked up those feelings,
    A week later she came through the Keep with a keening.
    You never heard a song half so haunting or harrowed,
    I knew sis had sang it, struck me right to the marrow.
    I think she hoped to harm me or hurt me with words,
    But Lannie was, um, transfixed to the tune that he heard.
    That mournful melody drove our poor Lannie mad,
    An' he left Candlekeep for healers to have.
    Ulraunt forbade V'aka from roamin' round free,
    But that's when I got good at lockpicking, y'see.
    She thought she was poison, or perilous, or plain bad,
    But she was my sis, sir, I couldn't stay mad.
    When I came creeping in she cried up a storm,
    I just held her, an' hugged her, and helped her feel warm.
    I told her I'd been a big jerkfaced bufflehead,
    An' it should've been me and not her stuck in bed.
    So I forgave her, she finally forgave me,
    To this day the dame's got dreadful anxiety.
    So please don't leave now, I know she needs us,
    You're the only half-sane one 'sides the two of us.
    Elves and humans are diff'rent an' all I agree,
    But she hangs by a thread, she surely needs me,
    And you too, I hope you
    Xan said, "There's something odd
    About her magic powers.
    In all my trips abroad,
    She stands out like a tower."

    Imoen said, "Oh, that... so, one time sneaking back home,
    I heard Ulraunt badgering Gorion about her blood,
    An' some of the monks said she might be some mix,
    So I stol- borrowed notes an' sure enough, I saw it:
    Her mom's family has a few fey connections,
    So V'aka is part nymph, or naiad, or nixie,
    Or dryad, or satyr, or somethin' strange and magic.
    Weird thing was, it was only the woman's name I found,
    Nothin' else known 'bout her mom in the whole benighted library!"
    "I suppose that might explain her strange soothing heal,"
    Xan murmured, but the man remained unconvinced.
    "Yeah, that and the dreams," Imoen said, did a double take,
    then said, "Sure is starry out tonight, so few clouds."
    "What dreams do you speak of?" Xan asked despite himself.
    "Gosh, they're gonna wonder where we've gotten to,
    Gotta get back to camp before the ghasts get us,"
    Imoen said, then strode off towards camp whistling softly.
    Xan looked wistfully out over the waves and wondered,
    Then heaved a heavy sigh as he saw his decision.
    He turned and walked away from the wide ocean
    to camp.
    Xan's heart was overburdened,
    Yet clearly there was need:
    He was no Drizzt Do'Urden,
    But a hero's path he'd lead.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    *The Enchanter's Tale*

    When he came back to camp the others looked curious,
    And Xan said, "So it seems we shall all share a story.
    I am told that this tale is true, it is told to trainees
    Who would garner the grim glory of becoming a Greycloak.
    It is called 'The Fall of Fair Feanna' my friends,
    I shall recount it as best I can, however pointless my candor.
    My tale begins in 1151 DR, Year of the Molten Man,
    With a wizardess-warrior who was the pride of Evereska.
    Feanna was fell-handed, a fierce yet fair enforcer
    Who handled the hardships of outlying hills
    And took to task the tomb-robbers, almost all humans.
    It is said she was one of the greatest Greycloaks to guard
    My people from the predations of N'Tel'Quessir pillagers.
    Her wits were only outmatched by her willowy grace,
    And her heart had mercy for those she held innocent:
    When others would not spare wayward wanderers to our lands,
    She would shelter them and show them away without bloodshed.
    One fateful day, Feanna had the misfortune to find
    A solitary tomb-robber, a man travelling up from Triel
    To see for himself the secluded city of Evereska.
    The human man was named Merrence, he had no money,
    But as humans go he was handsome, and he had
    colorful stories. Feanna scolded him for seeking Evereska,
    Telling him 'twas forbidden, it would take his life to see it
    Without word given by the wise Hill Council,
    Warranted only by Harpers and other highly-held humans.
    Merrence promised Feanna he would leave before morning,
    And entertained her a few hours with his wordplay and humor.
    The next day, Merrence was caught daring deeper in our lands,
    And most thought him a spy or some sneak thief saboteur.
    It is common to take tomb-robbers and trap them in a cage,
    Wasting away without water or nourishment with the tombs.
    As fate would have it, Feanna was often given the fell task
    Of caging up the criminals, in this case careless Merrence.
    She knew it was careless curiosity that came over him,
    Not avarice or cruelty to creep in our community,
    And she was torn between duty and her heart's tender mercy
    As she led the lad out among the silent tomb-lands.
    He said, 'I would regret seeing scarcely any of your city,
    But having met you I can meet death with no melancholy,
    For all that is fair and beautiful in the elves I find in you,
    Her heart would break to kill him,
    Instead she set him free.
    She chose him in her schism,
    And left our fair city.

    "They traveled for a time taking in adventures,
    Avoiding Greycloak patrols seeking to get our guard back
    And face punishment for failing in Feanna's former duties.
    Eventually the elders of Evereska decreed exile,
    And stopped seeking her return, forevermore outsider.
    Never again would she hear Hanali's heartsong rise over
    The hills, filling the heavens with harmonious bliss,
    Stripped away from the Seldarine and solitary in her sorrow.
    She may have married Merrence for a few moments of happiness;
    But elves linger long under Sehanine's light,
    And too soon he was taken from her, leaving her to toil
    Among foreign lands, friendless and bereft.
    When at last her death came, it did not follow our dear customs
    And her soul was sent astray, claimed not by the Seldarine
    Nor the deities of humans. I hear her ghost haunts us still
    In the lands that lie between Triel and Evereska,
    Alone and unloved to last the long stretch of
    This is my mournful tale,
    A cautionary moral.
    Our duty must prevail,
    To ease our hearts from quarrel."

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited February 2015
    "Wait a minute," Imoen mentioned, "she and Merrence got married,
    Didn't they have sons and daughters, half-elves she could dote on?"
    "The tale doesn't talk of any, no," Xan said tersely.
    "Feanna didn't convert faiths, to Fenmarel Mestarine perhaps?
    Though he is Seldarine, he helps and harbors elven outcasts,"
    Veraka said sagaciously, and Xan's countenance soured.
    "I suppose she could have, but the story speaks otherwise,"
    Xan said sullenly, sounding somewhat upset.
    "But they adventured together, yes? Butt-kicking abounded!
    It must have been a good life, as Boo does bespeak,"
    Minsc said, and Boo squeaked in sound agreement.
    "She was cast out and castigated, doomed to live contrary
    To the ways which our people have always wanted; you see,
    It would hardly phase a human to have this foul fate,
    But anathema to an elf, set apart and alone,"
    Xan said, irritation creeping into his insistence.
    "I don't see that as true," Veraka said more softly,
    "I've been cast out of Candlekeep and kept at bay
    From finding my way back to the familiar and friendly.
    I feel more than 'hardly' phased, my friend." Xan stammered,
    "Th-that was not what I meant, you must see my point
    That humans have a gift for being highly adaptable,
    While elven hearts waste away without wisdom and duty."
    "Feanna didn't find new purpose for herself
    Among humans or half-elves?" Veraka asked him.
    "Clearly not!" Xan shouted, and the campfire crackled
    In the silence that followed. "So, uh, Minsc hasn't said
    A story yet tonight, tell us a tale," Xan said,
    "Before this tale begins,"
    Minsc said, "A word of danger:
    No faint of heart herein,
    For Evil is no stranger."

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    *The Barbarian's Berserker's Ranger's Tale*

    "Romorisc the Enraged was a rambler from Rashemen,
    An Ice Dragon berserker beset by bold Evil
    Who brought blame to his brothers, but did much butt-kicking
    In the Raumathar ruins around the Sunrise Mountains.
    Always the Thayans thirst for the thrill of conquest,
    And seek some way to cause strife among the Rashemi,
    So Romorisc the Enraged raided the old ruins
    To prevent the red pigs from purloining potent swords
    And other mighty magics that lay moldering 'neath the mountains,
    Beating them to the best bunches of battle-magic blades.
    He traveled with the trickster Taraveir, a talented thief,
    Less bold but better able to brave traps of badness,
    And his wife besides, to better wanton the wilds.
    One dark day they descended deep into a dread ruin
    Full of foulness and undead for them to fight off;
    This did not daunt the Ice Dragon Romorisc the Enraged,
    And Taraveir took heart to see him trounce terrors,
    Sending skeletons skittering and spooking the specters.
    But Evil has many ways of bringing us badness,
    They came across cursed items some coward placed in the crypt,
    And carelessly claimed them, clapping on bracers
    And wielding wicked swords without Wychlaran wisdom.
    Taraveir was a smart one, she took her time with items;
    Romorisc was a bold berserker, and being brash he bore
    The Raumathar magic despite his mate's misgivings.
    The next morning, the man's look was mussed and ill,
    But the blade he bore brought down some bandit Thayans
    As they came north, carving creeps in the crags to come home.
    His sickness persisted despite his strong body,
    And Romorisc the Enraged could not return to Rashemen.
    Taraveir took time to tend him till he died,
    And she buried him with bright banners befitting a berserker
    As best she could, a cold cairn among the crags.
    To her horror and dishonor, however, he did not
    Stay buried beneath the boulders, but rose up blightful
    And undead, no Ice Dragon now, but deadly still
    And full of the same fury he fought with before.
    Taraveir tried to reason with him, but took off
    When Romorisc almost rent her in mindless rage;
    He tracked her tirelessly for two days until Taraveir
    Found a way into Thay to fetch his fury.
    While it would not win back his warrior's honor,
    Taraveir took him treading deep into Thayan lands
    And set him against greater evils than his own ghastliness,
    Immune to most all magic still in his berserk mind.
    Taraveir's travels ended in tricky death in Thay truly,
    But she brought much grief to bear boldly against them
    And some say Romorisc the Enraged still rambles
    Returning readily from rending and raging against Thay
    even now.
    The moral of this tale:
    Make sure your gear is Good,
    For Evil might prevail
    When its misunderstood!"

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited April 2015
    "Wow Minsc, that was a worthy but woeful tale,
    Maybe next time more trollops?" Imoen teased.
    "Taraveir was no trollop, although I hear tell
    She and Romorisc once romped in such rousing raunchiness
    That the words 'shake the earth' came from their theatrics,"
    Minsc smiled as Xan sank shyly; Imoen said, "Go on..."
    "But wait, wily woman, we have not heard your words!"
    Minsc said to Imoen, "We must needs have it meetly,
    Tales of justice and plug-tails true, am I right?"
    "Ahh, I already told it, my tale takes too long to tell
    A second time," Imoen said. "I heard it," Xzar said slyly.
    "I guess that's the whole group," Garrick said garrulously,
    "Now who's up for a game of nine mens' knucklebones?"
    "Oooooh, do we collect them first?" Xzar cried cruelly.
    "Wait friends, for it seems we have forgotten a tale,
    Now to be told with sharp teeth and tawny fur!"
    Minsc grinned.
    "Why surely you don't mean..."
    Xan said, looking at Boo.
    "The stars are right it seems,
    So speak, my rodent true!"

    *The Miniature Giant Space Hamster's Tail Tale*

    Boo rose up regally from Minsc's right knee,
    And the seekers sat spellbound in hesitation,
    Wondering a moment if the world was as weird
    As Minsc believed, and Boo was a bold space hamster.
    Boo seemed to preen his fur for further effect,
    Then came a tiny cough before he exclaimed,
    "Squee squeak squikker squeakum squee squik squikker squeak,
    Chit chitter squee squeakum chitter chitter chit squeak!
    Squeak squeak chitter squeak, squeak squeakum chit coo,
    Trill trill chitter squeakum, trill trill chitter coo."
    Boo gave what Xzar later described to be a bow,
    Then ran up his ranger's raiments to rest on his
    "I think it would be wise
    To forget this ever happened,"
    Xan aptly summarized;
    Most shared in his reaction.

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited July 2015
    It seemed no soul sought to follow Boo's story,
    So bedrolls were brought forth as bleary sleep beckoned.
    They lingered a bit late, rising lazy in late morn
    And ate a bit of bacon and biscuit for breakfast.
    Xan stood some strides away, seeming lost in self-loathing,
    While Xzar was wildly ranting, distracting the other warriors.
    Veraka stood and stretched languidly, savoring the calm
    That comes before the storm: constant conflict her companion.
    At last she could linger no longer and lounged over
    To stand beside Xan, surveying the sea coast.
    He was silent for some time, till at last with a sigh
    Xan said, "Morning, my lady, though no man may know
    Whether it is good until the next glaring gaze
    Of Lathander lies over the land; we must linger
    In doubt about the day and the dawn's divinations
    Until peril is past and hindsight portrays purely
    There was no wayward wickedness to warrant worry."
    "Morning, Xan," Veraka murmured, more muted than most times.
    Xan looked with some surprise to see the jester so shy,
    Not taking him to task with her talent for witticism
    Or jovially jesting or jeering with jaunty jibes.
    "Xan, I'm sorry I stuck you straight into my story,
    I didn't mean to demean you, or make demands of you.
    It's always been easier to approach all the awkwardness
    Of feelings and fear through frippery and frolic."
    Their eyes met, Xan's grey against the gleam of her green,
    And Xan hesitated before starting to say, "So, I ah..."
    "Wait," Veraka whispered, "you won't have to say the words.
    I was wrong to rile you with my ridiculous story,
    Don't worry, I won't daunt or dare you any more dear.
    You are safe from my silly uncertainty and stories,
    I will focus my feelings going forward from here."
    Veraka walked away, and Xan wondered what words he would
    have said.
    They had a late morn's start,
    But pushed on towards the sea.
    Xan felt he had two hearts:
    One Greycloak, one for she.

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    I know it's been ages since I wrote anything for Veraka's Saga, but I was wondering if anyone is interested in having it continue. I finally picked up playing Baldur's Gate again just a little recently, and I have so many unfinished projects in my life that I hate to leave this one hanging indefinitely. I have a pretty good idea of how her misadventures down the coastline trying to find Bassilus are going to go (and a truly absurd encounter with Bassilus himself at long last in which Xzar plays a large role), it's just a matter of sitting down and writing them. Sometimes I start to despair when I consider that I've set myself the task of writing Durlag's Tower, but the equipment they find there is important later. Anyway, does anyone care enough for me to continue? I feel like I have carved myself too small of a niche to have many fans.

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,697
    Of course people are interested!

    What a good surprise. LordRumfish is back! Your saga is my favourite.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited November 2016
    With camp broken, the companions came to the sea cliffs
    South of Candlekeep across a craggy narrow bay,
    A land rife with ridges and random light woods
    Always within earshot of the wild ocean's waves.
    "A peaceful place perchance, and yet I perceive
    A lonesome wildness lays over this land,
    And some danger most drifters would dare not disturb,"
    Xan murmured, making mental note of prominent landmarks.
    "Ha! Where is your spirit of adventure? You are staid and solemn
    Even in this sunlight, and the salt spray of the sea?"
    Garrick goaded glibly; Xan gave a withering glance.
    "Why look there, warriors! Even now, adventure awaits us!
    A beauteous lady, buxom and blue-skinned,
    Waits within the clearing and waves us toward her winsomely!"
    Garrick laughed joyfully, jogging ahead of the jongleur's party.
    Indeed, they did discern a damsel ahead as Garrick described,
    Smiling seductively with her arm outstretched signalling,
    Clad in little clothing with skin of azure color.
    "Garrick, you great gobsmacked goon, get back!
    Has no one taught you what witches in the woods will do with you?!"
    Imoen shouted after him, sure he should be more cautious;
    But Garrick had already gotten to the girl in sparse garb,
    And she said, "Please do not deny me your assistance,
    I am alone on the desolate dry-land, and do not know the dangers."
    Garrick grinned, "Fear not, gorgeous girl, we shall gallivant safely!"
    "Wonderful! Would you accept my kiss, wanderer, as way of repayment?"
    The blue-skinned bewitcher began leaning closer.
    "Don't do it Garrick, you dolt!" Imoen desperately decried.
    "Far be it from me to forego flirtations with a comely lass,"
    Garrick replied, readily entranced and reaching for the minx.
    Before the others could barge in, the blue-skinned bawd
    Leaned in, and shared a killing kiss with their comrade,
    For the lips of a nereid can cause drowning with a kiss.
    Yet even before Garrick had finished falling, sea-foam spilling
    From his blue lips like the brine brought at high tide,
    The nereid staggered, shot at short range by short bow
    As Imoen struck her sneak attack against the seductress
    Who now paid the price in pain for paying her
    no heed.
    Garrick had been a fool,
    And it cost him his life.
    Imoen had lost her cool,
    Ready to launch more strife.

    As the others charged forward, fearsome fell with battle-cries,
    The nereid cried, "Wait! This was not my will, warriors!
    My actions are another's, I am enslaved and ask for mercy!"
    Veraka held her two-hander to the helpless harlot's throat,
    And said, "Revive my ribald ruffian Garrick and explain yourself,
    Or I swear on my father's honor you will die here, harlot!"
    "I have been tricked and taken by a terrible ogre mage,
    He makes me waylay wandering warriors and wizards,
    And other things too foul to be fit for fair ears. I beg of you,
    Release me from captivity and confinement, kill my master!"
    No sooner had she bespoken these words than Garrick sat up,
    Spitting up seawater and struggling to stand, but alive.
    Hardly a heartbeat had passed when a harrowing sight appeared:
    An ogre mage emerged from invisibility, mien most fierce.
    "Ha, will you have your rebellion now harlot? So be it.
    Shoal and Droth shall be no more, but do not lie she-devil,
    For you were willing and wanton, and we had wondrous times.
    I admit I will miss you, Shoal, but now you all must die."
    Turning from the temptress, they took the fight to Droth,
    But the brute did not fall quickly and became invisible again.
    He suddenly emerged making some sort of magic,
    And it took the whole team's efforts to interrupt his trick.
    Furious, he fought fiercely, striking Minsc a fell blow
    That a lesser fighter would have fallen from,
    And did damage the damsel Veraka when Minsc staggered back.
    So fierce was the fighting, that either side might win the fray
    But Droth was taken by surprise, struck from all sides
    When Xan and Imoen flanked the foe and forced through fell blows,
    Imoen once more making morbid use of her murderous sneak attack,
    Punishing perpetrators who paid no heed to a purple-clad girl:
    a mistake.
    Though Droth had been destroyed,
    The woman Shoal remained.
    Veraka stood and toyed
    Her fate: freedom or pain.

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited November 2016
    Still spitting up seawater and struggling to speak,
    Garrick gasped, "By great Gorm Gulthyn, guard me 'gainst
    The wicked wiles of this witch woman and her waywardness!
    She charmed me with magic, I was made a marionette
    To be killed with a kiss, what callous cowardice!"
    "So that's the story you're sticking with?" Imoen scowled.
    Garrick could only splutter seawater as his response.
    Veraka ventured, "Some variation of this virago's version
    Of events may merit the moniker of truth,
    But even so, I still think she had more than some semblance
    Of choice in the matter of the churlish Droth's charge.
    Her heart may here have changed, or yet mayn't have,
    And I do not know what denunciations or indictments the dame
    Would face among the fey for her felonies here fraught.
    I have neither time nor temper to take her to task
    At a human hearing, nor have her hauled hither.
    I have heard her pleas, and have witnessed her hubris;
    So here is my verdict: verily, death," Veraka voiced,
    Then plunged her sword-point piercing through Shoal,
    Who staggered back off the sea cliff and sailed swiftly downward
    To sink beneath the briny waves, never to be beheld
    Minsc gave a little gasp,
    But Garrick nodded grim.
    Imoen kept her lips clasped,
    Veraka sang a hymn.

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited November 2016
    After watching the witch wash beneath the whitecaps,
    They gave search to the ogre for any goodly gear,
    And indeed they did discover a most doughty helmet
    Among other oddments the ogre opted to haul.
    Imoen seemed most muted after their misadventure,
    Saying nothing as Veraka soothed her and Minsc's stings.
    Turning to Garrick, she said, "To tell true, I have but two cures
    Each day to deliver, and do no more divine doctoring.
    On the morrow I may mend you, but my power must rest."
    Garrick nodded with a wince, "We all do what we can,
    I can be careful today to cause myself no more calamity."
    At Xzar's prompting, they came and cast Droth's corpse off the cliff;
    Xzar seemed strangely sunny, smiling and snickering most sinister.
    They traveled some time through light trees and twisting cliffs,
    And Xan came casually close to Veraka, craving camaraderie.
    "Many times as a Greycloak we must make judgment
    Against criminals who cast crimes carelessly cruel,
    And make malice most malignant, even murder most foul.
    Sometimes such trials strike so far from the sight
    Of our borders that we must burden ourselves to be blunt,
    And be judge, jury and executioner to serve justice.
    While some questers might question or quarrel or quibble,
    Or do doubt your decision to deliver death most dire,
    Know that I will not needle you, for I know the onerous needs
    Of duty and devotion, and the difficulties of each decision.
    I am here for you Veraka, you have help even in hard hopelessness,"
    Xan declared, and Veraka did dare a moment's dalliance
    To look deep in his eyes and dream of days beyond despair,
    Before bringing herself briskly back to reality
    And giving a little grin far less girlish and glad
    Than the feelings in her heart fancied to flood forth.
    Before she could reply, the ranger Minsc roared, "Rrrusk!
    Some gnome is now near, I know not of his intent."
    Indeed, in the distance they discovered a gnome dressed
    In robes ragged and ruined, with a staff at the ready.
    Veraka said, "We shall see if this sole stranger be evil,
    Be ready but wait before battle be brought,
    I would talk to this traveler and see what task takes
    him here."
    Weapons and spells were readied,
    They came prepared to fight.
    The gnome they found unsteady,
    His eyes strangely alight.

    Post edited by LordRumfish on
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