The Madman in the Attic
Of the siblings, Nick had the first adventure. He came back, replete with loot and full of stories, especially of his new friend, a dwarf named Roethan. A month later, Nick came and fetched Veracity and Knack to explore a run-down old mansion that was reputed to be haunted. This was also to be the first adventure for Sylene, and Sperling, while Nick, Roethan, and an evoker named Bob were more seasoned.
The adventure proved to be a disaster, in ways which did not become apparent until later. All of the "first timers" ended up cowering in the basement, cornered by giant vermin, while the other three explored the rest of the mansion, finally discovering a madman hiding in the attic. With Nick's acquiescence, and Bob's strong disapproval, Roethan murdered the wretch and stole his goods. The three tough characters released their inexperienced companions and everybody went home, Bob shaking his head and muttering.
The Dead of the Howling Hills
A couple of weeks later, the same group, less Roethan, but augmented by another young drow named Yol, a human ranger named El Kabong and a young half-elf named Qure, went to explore an ancient crypt well out of town. Bob had been unhinged by his earlier experience. He watched his companions with a wary eye, seeming to trust them no more than the undead creatures the party fought. After a single encounter with some skeletons, the party returned to Mansfield.
Several weeks later, the same crew (without Knack) returned to the crypts - and Bob's paranoia took control of him. During one battle with an undead creature, Bob cast a web spell - but missed the enemy, entangling instead Veracity and Yol. He then fired some magic missiles, but rather than striking the undead foe, they struck one of his own companions! "I missed," he commented, raising his hands apologetically. Nick's eyes narrowed at this, since he knew full well that magic missiles always strike their intended target. Nick's suspicions were confirmed when the party opened a door to reveal a hideous wight and Bob cast a color spray spell down the corridor, knocking out most of his party, but completely missing the undead creature. The wight pawed at the unconscious Qure, draining him permanently. The party soon recovered consciousness, and, after defeating the wight. somberly decided to return to Mansfield, to mourn Qure's sad fate.
Nick tackles the "Bob problem"
Veracity was shaken by this experience and did not adventure for the next six months or so. Nick continued to go out with various companions and also bought a large plot of land, a day's ride out of town, and started construction of a stone house on his new property. During construction, he brooded over Bob's treachery. Finally, his country house complete and having no more pressing matters to distract him, he decided to tackle the "Bob problem". He showed up one evening at Veracity's house in Mansfield, where Yol, Sperling, and El Kabong were visiting. He discoursed eloquently on Bob's treachery, pointing out that all of those present had seen it with their own eyes. He attempted to recruit them to go to Bob's house to "teach him a lesson". To his surprise, nobody was willing to help him. Frowning and muttering, he stormed out of the house, with the untrusting El Kabong trailing him.
Nick went to Roethan's house and told him the story of Bob's treachery. His friend was agreeable and the two of them went over to Bob's house. Bob answered their knock. When he saw the two ruffians standing there, he attempted to slam his door shut. But, to no avail: the immensely strong Roethan pushed his way in and entered, followed by Nick. The ranger, stuck outside, heard screams and the sounds of running from within. Suddenly, Bob threw open the second floor window and looked wildly about. Casting a Tenser's floating disk spell, he then leaped out the window and landed on the disk of force. Unfortunately, he knocked himself unconscious in the process. When El Kabong saw Roethan come to the window and look out, he decided to carry the unconscious Bob away to safety. Roethan shrugged and helped Nick loot Bob's house.
Showing an incredible lack of common sense, El Kabong idea of "safety" was the house of Nick's sister, Veracity. All of Veracity's other guests were still there and listened to El Kabong's story in surprise. An hour later, Nick showed up. Upon seeing the unconscious Bob, he rubbed his hands together in glee. "I can finish him off, now!" he exclaimed. El Kabong drew his sword and interposed himself between Nick and Bob. Hoisting Bob's body, he backed out of the front door. Nick ran to the second floor of the house, opened the front window, and started to cast a spell, when Yol, to everybody's surprise, cast a sleep spell on him.
El Kabong sent the city guard back to Veracity's house. When she saw them approach, Veracity decided to slow them down by casting a grease spell on her door step. The guards slid around and fell down before standing up and entering in a fury. They arrested everybody and threw them into prison.
Veracity did not enjoy her night in prison. It was made all the worse by having Roethan the dwarf in the next cell. Roethan was the crudest person she'd ever met, and continually harassed her, trying to get her to come over to him so that he could "get a little" through the bars of the cell. When he ultimately exposed himself to her, Veracity was so furious that she cast a magic missile spell, striking the lout right where it counted. At least that shut him up, and, for the first time, he looked at her with a modicum of surprised respect.
The next morning, Nick, Roethan, Yol, Sperling, and Veracity were all dragged before the magistrate and were accused of being accomplices in the assault on Bob. Bob was not present, but El Kabong spoke his piece and his statements were entered into the record as evidence.
Nick declared that he'd simply talked with Bob and meant him no harm. Additionally, since he'd been sound asleep when the guards came, he'd broken no laws. The magistrate peered at him suspiciously and released him, for lack of evidence.
Similarly, Yol and Sperling were released, El Kabong having not implicated them in any wrong-doing.
Roethan was found guilty of having broken Bob's arm and was fined seven hundred fifty gold pieces.
Veracity was tried last. She was accused of the most serious crime of all: of attacking the town guard. "Not I," said she. "I didn't 'attack' them. I just cast a grease spell at them!" The magistrate stared at her in disbelief before pounding his gavel repeatedly. "Brazen! Confessed in court! Guilty!" he judged. He fined Veracity one thousand gold pieces and banished her from the City of Mansfield. The cluelessly protesting drowess was dragged from court. When she'd paid her fine, she was escorted to the boundaries of the city and given the boot.
Nick, who'd accompanied her, offered her succor. "You can move in with me in my country house," he proposed. Veracity gratefully accepted his offer and did exactly that.
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|Copyright © 2004 by Brianna Sollandry <brianna at hambo dot com>||
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