There are a few things you remember in your life. The rest are the things you usually mix up – such as names, places and events – but there are those as I mention that are as crisp and clear as if they happened yesterday. Maybe you can’t remember the exact date or how old you were, but the event’s that lead there leaves you with a familiarity that never gets mudded by other experiences.
Such was the facts about the day I walked out of the grotto and stepped into the warm and sunny village of Korthos – seated in a cauldron of calcite smooth cliffs – as if it was built inside an old volcano where thousands of years had eroded it’s sharp rock sides into a silky surface. There was a small grave yard to the north by the cliff overlooking the ocean, the east opened up to a dirt plaza surrounded by the odd dozen houses with a tavern near by and a dock to the south slipped into a small sound and the open sea. To the west further down close to the dock was a gate jammed into the rock, what I guessed lead to the interior of the island.
There were two things that struck me as odd – not that the ratio of outlanders compared to villagers heavily favored the armored sort, but that it was a light snowfall coming down on what looked like a sunny tropical island. The other thing was the bustle of people in the small grave yard; not just adventurers jumping up and down like flea bitten monkeys, but what looked like trainers and village people engaged in serious discussions as if the snowfall and grave yard communal was perfectly synonymous.
That’s when another faith reminded me of some harsh realities; In 5 years I’d managed to scrape together a head start in Stormreach – 50 platinum and 760 gold (and odd coins). All hidden in the cabin I rented and I was about to add another 100 gold when the dragon sank it and the years fo cheating and non-menal work. While I greaved the loss of my snazzy clothes, bow and even my dad’s old long sword, the money situation pained me the most. And the loss of my two very special dice.
Now I had 2 gold and 15 copper to my name with only a few options. I either ‘invested’ the money in a game of dice – having to rely on someone else’s dice or even chance alone. I could sell the chain shirt and the new mace and ‘invest’ – risking to have nothing to defend myself with if someone decided that ‘clobbering’ me was a better alternative to lose an honest (for once) game. Or I could find work; not the ‘wash dishes and pour drinks’ kind either. I’ve never had an honest job in my life and I wasn’t about to start now. While I stood there like a fool my stomach decided more or less for me as it growled impatiently.
I could take my 2 gold and eat a final meal but over the years I’ve growned accustomed to other food then pig gruel.
I’m not going to bore you with the details about what I did in the small village, but it boils down to about four different basic jobs;
There was this lady walking around in the cemetery pleading for someone to go into her ancestral crypt and take care of whatever was going on there. I have never been in a crypt and there’s a perfectly healthy reason why. In a choice between going into a crypt or a dragons lair, I’d rather flame out scream like a drow torch until my minute later demise. The idea of dying and coming back like some other zombie just to be killed by a similar individual like myself strikes me as cruel and ironic at the same time.
But she promised an award so I went with it, just to face spiders large as small dogs, zombies, skeletons and more of those fish people and I even disabled a trap in the process.
In return she gave me a necklace that enhanced my protection against wizardry which I donned proudly (but it looked a little girlish so I hid it under my shirt) and then took off to the square where I found someone sitting on a couple of stairs and asked me to catch him a dragon scroll.
To me that sounded down right easy and quick and only the sight of more spiders and some half rotten reanimated rats (bigger then the spiders even) whipped the smirk of my face.
To top it off I ended up jumping 10 feet (well maybe 5) when I picked up this silver key and a hidden door slid up silently and a fish person tried to impale me on a vicious looking trident. I’m not proud that I ended up stabbing the fish guy in the head after trying to run up couple of large rickety crates just to stumble off and provide the mortal blow as I fell.
My third mission consisted of me guarding this power crystal who apparently kept the village and I guess the island from turning into a Popsicle. While I thought it was just a matter of guarding it until someone else took over, it turned out as I was ready to crinkle up on an uncomfortable crate that these fanatics started pouring in with the express desire to destroy the crystal. Surviving the encounter and using up every last cure potion in the process I was awarded by some braces that made it harder for anyone to hit me. While no restitution for having someone fling acid magic arrows at me, it felt colossally wonderful to be out, having a growing number of items and coins on me.
Lastly I talked to the tavern owner, shouting over the noise as he told me about a collaborator I had to take care of. I accepted the mission but ended up hiring a barbarian first as I didn’t feel all that ‘sturdy’. Turned out to be a good idea too.
It was at this point that I felt that I wanted to do something else; for lack of a better word, I felt like my path in life had met a spark for something else. As I felt like I was bursting with the drive to learn new things I ended up walking over to the trainer for Favored Soul overlooking the strangely calm bay and its glittering opal water.
I’m not going to tell you what the conversation was about but days later I walked away with a new understanding, a new confidence and the ability to heal myself through the divine force that government who and what I was.
How do you best explain this journey – diminishing the task I took on as strictly menial or through the task I discovered my journey? While I still do not know what spurred me to such a change of heart, it was strangely enough the one thing that would end up bringing me face to face with Ugla in what could have been a completely different situation and future fait had I continued on the same path.