So you expect I should remain home, while our adventuring party completes its first ever real world quest? Gwenevere seemed hurt.
Gwenevere, I swear, real world quests do not bring the joy of New World quests, yet they bring much more danger. Alek was walking faster to keep up with her, You should praise the gods that you are not required.
You are honour bound! You gave me your word that I should join you for our first quest, and you have broken it!
Tis hardly a quest. We shall go there, play New World Adventures, ask Torvall to join my party, then return. We are merely fulfilling the tavern keepers duty to run a game. 'Tis not a real quest.
Then how much more shall you forbid me to join a real quest? You gave me your word!
I gave you my word when I believed Torvall to live within the town walls, but he lives well beyond them.
I always longed to see beyond the town walls! I was born here and I fear I may die here, having never tasted the air beyond!
Praise the gods this is so. The world beyond is filled with danger.
You always assured me you were safe!
I am, but only because I began raiding when I was twelve. Two decades have passed since.
If it is safe for a young boy, it is safe for me!
It was not safe for me then. In the first two moons I was twice almost killed and I hindered the party more than I helped.
But by the third moon, you were an asset, were you not? A raider whos contribution impacted the success of the quest?
You mean the mission? Perhaps by the fourth moon I contributed significantly to the mission.
Then why must you deny me my fourth moon?
Alek stopped walking and turned to see Erdan and Darrak walking from a respectful distance. There shall be a slight delay, he announced, Once we arrive at my home, I expect Gwenevere shall take a while to prepare herself for the completion of our first ever quest.
Gwenevere ran to embrace Alek, I shall not delay you too long. I swear by all the gods, you shall not regret my presence.
Do you think this wise? asked Erdan, once he was close enough to speak softly.
Gwenevere has insisted on a change of profession. Of all the raiding parties that will have her, this is the only one I can trust her safety to.
Adventuring parties, corrected Gwenevere.
Darrak laughed. I think youll find that beyond the walls, the only adventures worth having are raids.
Very well, nothing could remove the smile from Gweneveres face, But do keep an eye out for alternatives. I enjoy variety.
Once home, Gwenevere instinctively stayed behind as Alek lit a lantern and took Darrak and Erdan into the basement.
Will you join us? asked Alek.
Forgive me. Gwenevere blushed as she made her way down, I thought you were just fetching some weapons. Shall you be discussing our quest also? No one seemed notice her question.
A magic staff perhaps? suggested Erdan.
Doesnt look the part, said Darrak.
Even worse. There is the draw strength to consider.
Gwenevere was puzzled, Darrak, if even you lack the draw strength for a bow, who was it built for?
Darrak and I have brought our own weapons, explained Erdan, We are selecting one for you.
She shall have my crossbow, said Darrak, I shall load it for you as we leave the gate.
I need only be taught how to load it, said Gwenevere, Once trained I may perform it myself.
So be it, Darrak drew the string, aimed at a target on the far wall, then pulled the trigger. The string played a note once released, firing an imaginary bolt at a painted target. Darrak shouldve easily hit his target, had the crossbow been loaded. He passed it to Gwenevere. Show me your form. Fire it empty at the target.
Gwenevere tried to draw the string, but couldnt even draw half way. Her fingers stung as she let go in defeat.
Allow me. Alek snatched the crossbow from her hands, drew it, fired it, and said, Those with ranged weapons are often killed first, as they pose the greatest threat. I shall take your crossbow Darrak. Gwenevere shall have my sword.
But I cant wield a sword! Nor have I time to learn!
You need not wield it. Only display it, Alek gave Gwenevere a belt with sheathed sword attached.
But you need your sword! Your skill with a sword far surpasses your skill with a crossbow! You said so yourself!
Gwenevere, this is your first moon. Have faith in me. Take the sword.
I shall take a sword, but why take yours? she pointed to a sword hanging on the wall, If I take this one, we may both have swords.
That is a training sword. Even wild beasts know the difference. Take my sword. Have faith in me.
Very well, Gwenevere took it, but I trust you to teach me to wield it at your first opportunity.
Indeed, Alek turned to Erdan, None of this armour will do. Have you gold to visit the blacksmith?
I am afraid not, said Erdan.
Nor I, said Darrak.
Curses, muttered Alek, Gwenevere, could you get changed? You are dressed like a noble. I need you to appear as a poor traveller carrying nothing of worth.
Alek, your concern for my safety is overbearing!
Gwenevere, the key to success is showmanship. Looking the part is more important than being the part.
An involuntary laugh from Erdan prompted a harsh look from them both.
Forgive me Gwenevere, said Erdan, The laugh was at Aleks expense. Not yours.
Come, said Darrak to Erdan, and then to the others, follow us when ready. We shall not leave without you.
Alek glared at Gwenevere before letting his posture collapse in defeat. Dress as you will. Let us not keep the others waiting.
Erdan hid his paper from Gwenevere, noticing she was trying to read it as they walked.
Something private? she asked.
Yes. 'Tis the notes from Samuel, the tavern keeper. He tells me of many secret things about the game. Things about the challenges you are yet to face.
Why must New World characters be male?
They need not be male.
Why must mine be male?
Ah, Erdan was in thought, She need not be. What sort of person would you prefer her to be?
Together, the two of them walked, working on the finer details of Gweneveres new character.
Jamros the town gate keeper was always pleased to see people he recognised. It meant he was doing his job properly.
Alek, Darrak, Erdan, Jamross heavy armour squeaked as he waved to them, Congratulations! I see you have an escort!
I beg your pardon! said Gwenevere. She felt she had dressed quite conservatively.
We are not her escort, Alek turned to Gwenevere, He believes you paid us to escort you on your travels. 'Tis a very easy and well-paying job, but difficult to obtain.
Oh, said Gwenevere, well if anyone requires an escort, I am certain we could keep them safe!
If they only require an escort for fifteen miles up Windy Hill road, added Alek, almost sarcastically.
Jamros smiled. Ah, you travel to visit Torvall?
How did you? Alek caught himself, I suppose you know everyone who exists.
More than two thousand exist in this town alone. I thank the gods that so few of them have any desire to leave these walls or my days would be very busy. I try to learn as much as possible.
Then learn this, Alek pointed an open hand at Gwenevere, This is my wife Gwenevere. She shall be travelling with us. I can vouch for her character.
Darrak and Erdan chuckled at Aleks error.
You need not vouch for exit, said Jamros. People of any character may exit and, if they did so willingly, may even return again.
Forgive me Jamros, I forgot which side of the gate I am on. I mean to say, remember my wifes face, for she shall be arriving back with us tomorrow morning.
Or perhaps late tonight even, said Gwenevere.
Sunset, the gate locks, said Jamros, Sunrise, I return for duty.
Definitely tomorrow, Alek turned to Gwenevere, Tomorrow without a doubt.
Jamros called All clear? to one of the guards on top of the wall.
The guard stood up, searched the horizon for danger, and then called, All clear!
Upon hearing this, Jamros ran to turn a wheel, opening the giant wooden gates to the outside world. By the time they were out, the gate was already closing.
Darrak and Alek walked ahead discussing New World character development. This left Gwenevere and Erdan several steps behind to discuss her character. It wasnt long before Erdan had scribed all the details with chalk.
I fear I am yet to see the appeal to New World Adventures, said Gwenevere, They seem more concerned for the welfare of their characters than that of their own.
Not so, said Erdan, but I see your point. Each plays for different reasons. Darrak, an honourable dwarf in this world, wishes to be dishonourable in New World. I think it amuses him to see how much trouble his honour has avoided him in this world. His character Michael has suffered some horrific fates, yet it never fails to amuse him. He spoke fondly of your cock-blocking all the way home.
I am flattered.
Regdar, may he rest in peace, enjoyed our company more than the game. His character, Robert, was quiet and did as he was told. Quite the opposite of how you played him. Regdar enjoyed the game as one would enjoy a play. His wife says he told her many great tales of our adventures, and she can recite them better than I.
Alek His character James Jamess most prized possession is his trophy cabinet. Alek keeps track of every trophy James gains.
Yes. He has many kinds, one for completing college, a few for different sports, art competitions, music, many things.
You suspect he lacks trophies in this world?
Why do you enjoy playing?
I do not.
Yet you continue to, week after week.
I do not play New World Adventures, I run it.
Is that not worse? Alek explained that the game requires twice as much time from the world master.
Not just time, also passion, skill, creativity. To run a game is to be a watch maker. None see inside a watch that works, nor do they see the skill required to make it so. They see only how far wrong it is.
Then why do it?
Not all can make watches.
Are watchmakers not paid?
My four children, eleven grandchildren and twenty-seven great-grandchildren are now of age. My great-great-grandchildren rarely visit, and I am not certain how many I have. I raid to feed myself and Kaylessa, but we eat little and have little need of extra wealth. What I miss most from fatherhood is providing to those incapable of providing for themselves.
Gwenevere looked ahead to Alek and Darrak, still discussing their characters. I suppose seeing their joy is all the payment you require.
Perhaps, Erdan smiled, The best part is Alek is taking an interest in becoming a world master himself.
There was a brief detour to a town high in the trees and a city deep underground so that Erdan and Darrak could fetch New World Adventures and the character paper for Michael. They apologised for the delay. None of them seemed to notice that both places were the most breathtaking experiences of Gweneveres life, no matter how many times she said it. Even once back on track, Gwenevere spent much of the time looking back over her shoulder.
The path they walked became more densely populated with trees.
Draw your sword Gwenevere, muttered Alek, now holding his crossbow with both hands, These parts are known for bandits.
I cannot wield a sword! shouted Gwenevere.
Draw it regardless!
I could show you how to wield it, said the man holding a dagger to Gweneveres throat.
Hands off her! Alek was peering down the sights of his crossbow now.
Shes not worth it matey. Run a long and tell em that Kevar is taking care of her now. I know how much youre paid, and hell pay us tenfold.
Us? Alek was about to turn around, but it was too late. His crossbow now gone, his fists clenched in fear and rage.
Someone tried to get Darraks axe off him, but got a deep scar instead.
Drop it dwarf! Or tell your boss you had her killed!
Darrak looked at Alek. Alek nodded reluctantly. After a pause, Darrak threw down his weapon.
An elbow to the gut and Gwenevere broke free. She ran until she saw the ground ahead catch fire.
Youre surrounded! said Kevar, another fireball forming above his hand. Give me the girl or you all die!
A bright burst of light came from Erdans direction as he yelled Prismatic Sphere!
When Gwenevere opened her eyes again, her sword was gone. A magic bubble surrounded her and Erdan, as Darrak and Alek ran screaming, twirling their respective axe and sword.
All the bandits ran. She could count them now. Seven.
Drop my crossbow! yelled Alek, causing the bandit he was chasing to finally take the hint.
Alek released a bolt in their direction, hitting a distant tree. He fired two more, with no greater luck. By this time they had fled and were well out of sight.
They are escaping us! yelled Gwenevere.
Alek ignored her.
Erdan, he said, give Gwenevere a healing potion and bandage her wound.
My wound? Gwenevere looked down and saw the deep scar on her arm. As her adrenaline wore off, she began to feel the pain she was in.
I have no potions, said Erdan, applying bandage. Torvall should have many cure-lights when we arrive.
What are cure-lights? asked Gwenevere.
Cure light wounds. A potion. It shall help you heal. Erdan placed a fresh bandage over his canteen and turned them both upside down a moment. The sooner we gain one, the better. He used the damp cloth to clean off the blood that had dripped all the way to her fingertips.
Next time I say draw your sword, said Alek, placing his sword back in the sheath on Gweneveres hip, do so!
But I cannot wield it!
Alek turned his back on Gwenevere in a way that suggested he may strike a tree and pretend it was her. Had you drawn it, you neednt have had to! He ran ahead, trying to put enough distance between himself and Gwenevere to prevent him from saying something he may regret later.
Gwenevere tried to run after him, but Erdan gently held her shoulders with a look on his face suggesting that following would be unwise.
He knows I cannot wield a sword! Why does he expect me to?
Erdan gestured to Darrak, who ran ahead to meet with Alek.
In a soft caring voice, Erdan said, you should have drawn it.
I want my first sword fight to be against a tree, not a foe that may strike me back.
No one expects you to fight Gwenevere. You should have drawn it for the same reason I shouted prismatic sphere.
But when you shout prismatic sphere you cast prismatic sphere, when I
No, said Erdan, No, when shout prismatic sphere, I cast bubble of light. Did you not see Alek and Darrak run through it?
But Why did you not? What?
I cannot cast prismatic sphere, but it matters not. What matters is they thought I had. If they think they cannot harm you, they shall not try.
You mean they could have struck me at any time?
May I tell you the tale of Aleks first ever raid? Erdan turned his back on Gwenevere and began walking.
Please do, said Gwenevere, walking quickly to catch up.
When Alek was a boy, he wanted nothing more than to see the world. His father always told him that the world beyond our gates was for men who could handle a sword, not children. So Alek read his fathers books and practised in secret.
He has not changed since.
Once he was confident in his ability, he challenged Brusan to a duel.
If it helps you imagine, his armour was made special, to fit his arms.
And the rest of him?
The rest of him was just as strong. Eventually he quit and made his fortune teaching people how to eat and exercise.
How old was Alek?
Twelve. He proposed that if he lost, he would stop asking to join us, but if he won he would join Darrak, Brusan and I on a raid. His father agreed, so they took a training sword each.
And Alek won!?
Repeatedly. Fighting Alek is like fighting smoke. You wave your sword and touch him not, yet his sword always finds you.
So you took him?
Yes. We raided with him for some years, and became friends life. It wasnt until his first adventure when it happened.
Erdan walked silently for a few steps, waiting.
Erdan smiled. He liked drawing out suspense when he could. We were attacked. Outnumbered. Brusan was some distance back, behind a tree tending to business. It was just Alek, Darrak and I. Alek leapt, and managed to kill two of them before he was taken.
Why would they take Alek?
Alek was but a child. Children are worth the world to their parents. Tis just a matter of finding the parents and setting the price.
Then Alek escaped?
Alek was rescued. Brusan came running after them screaming, and twirling his sword. They fled.
They fled? But Alek killed two of them and bested Brusan in combat!
Yes, but the bandits thought it lucky blows. No bandit flees from a child, but from Brusan a bandit can flee with pride.
Did you notice the way his sword twirls when hes charging? Brusan taught him that. You must get him to teach you. A twirl like that strikes fear in the hearts of the bravest men.
Looking the part is more important than being the part. I told him countless times, but he wouldnt have it. I thought it poetic justice you wouldnt have him tell you either, this morning.
He was correct and you told me not?
Would you have believed me?
Had you told me that story, I may have.
Would you hear the story?
Gwenevere held her breath as she thought, then after a deep sigh, I suppose not.
A few steps later, Gwenevere asked, If Alek could kill two at twelve, why does he let them flee today?
We were outnumbered. A man who fights for profit is easy to defeat, but a man who fights for his life is deadly. If a man wishes to flee, we allow it. None sell their life cheaply. Had they feared us, they mayve killed us. Thank the gods they felt safe enough to flee.
So why did he fire his crossbow at them?
To let them know we have ranged weapons also.
Well ahead, Darrak was sharing horrific tales of his own wife with Alek. There was much laughter. The tales had the desired effect, as Alek was beginning to appreciate how fortunate he was for only having Gwenevere to deal with.
Alek saw Gwenevere over his shoulder. Darrak stopped walking and waited for Erdan.
Oh, Gwenevere, said Alek, Forgive me. I get fearful when you are in danger, and
You were right Alek.
Alek was thrown off guard. It was not a phrase he heard often.
I should have drawn my sword. Looking the part is more important than being the part. Gwenevere drew the sword, Shall you teach me to twirl it?
Alek took the sword and demonstrated his most impressive twirl. However, you should try that one with a training sword first. The closer you come to cutting yourself, the more skilled it makes you appear. Try this one.
Alek showed Gwenevere a basic four-step twirl, then repeated it slower, counting out the steps and handing back the sword.
Gwenevere held the sword and said, So its one, two three and um four?
Perfect. I certainly know I should flee had you chased me doing that. Try faster now.
One two, three four. Did Brusan teach you to twirl?
It was all the sword fighting he knew.
three, four. Why did he only learn that?
Anyone willing to fight him after seeing his twirl should kill him, no matter how skilled he fought. I often regret the years I wasted learning to fight.
Erdan tells me you killed two bandits. Gwenevere was practising silently now.
He let me keep the bounty afterwards, two hundred per head, plus my share of the mission's loot. Six hundred gold pieces is a lot of money to a child of twelve.
What did you spend it on?
I gave half to Mum. I thought it what was done with gold. Twas what my father had done.
You were no less adorable I see.
The rest of the gold, I spent on armour.
Yet you regret learning to fight?
Fighting almost ended my life that day. Twirling saved it. Twasnt worth the gold. Mercenaries are underpaid.
Gwenevere stopped practising and sheathed her sword. How many have you killed in your life?
Beasts? Countless. Beasts can be too stupid to flee. Humans? Two. Humans are much wiser. Humans recognise a good twirl. Alek thought for a moment, I suppose I may have killed today had I been any good with a crossbow, but at least I looked the part.
Erdan tells me James values his trophy case.
Alek smiled, Fifteen trophies and counting.
Do you lack trophies in this world?
Having you is the greatest trophy of all.
Do not joke.
I joke not. You are the most loving, loyal, beautiful woman I have ever met. No amount of knocking over bowling pins could ever surpass that.
Tis a New World sport.
Then why does James knock over bowling pins?
Because it is difficult. James is a weak, poor, timid, unskilled young man. The fact that he accomplishes anything at all is a tremendous achievement.
And your achievements?
The greatest part of New World is levelling up.
Becoming greater than you once were?
Stronger? More powerful?
Yes, but more than that. To level up is to gain greater responsibilities with that power. Greater challenges. Higher expectations.
Do you not level up in this world?
I levelled up the day I defeated Brusan and became Alek the Raider, he twirled an imaginary sword, making wooshing noises with his mouth, then I levelled up again when I gained you
Alek smiled back, but it began to fade from his face, So twice. Twice I have levelled up in this world.
Gwenevere placed an arm around him as they walked, but they were both good, werent they?
Aleks smile returned, Beyond words.
It was Erdan who knocked on Torvalls door.
Hello Torvall, called Erdan, Samuel sent me.
Torvall answered the door. He was even shorter than Gwenevere, (though much taller than Darrak,) somewhat round in the middle and looked overdue a shave.
Finally, he said, New party members. I trust you shall be staying the night?
Forgive me, he said, leading everyone inside, I am unprepared with food. I was expecting Sam to come alone.
Perhaps you could offer a cure-light then.
Bring the wounded this way. Torvall brought Gwenevere into the room he used for preparing and storing potions. She recognised the distillery, but the rest of the equipment was beyond her.
This is a potion of cure light wounds. Torvall handed her a large glass container, sealed with a cork. Pour a little on your wound.
Gwenevere unbandaged and did so.
It does not appear to be working, she said, watching nothing happen on her arm.
Does it appear infected? asked Torvall studying it closely.
Then its working. Torvall wrapped up Gweneveres arm in a clean bandage. Youre not with child are you?
Then drink the rest,
Gwenevere took a sip and gagged. Much more than a pint of blue liquid remained.
No need to rush, you may drink it as we play. Torvall made his way into his dining room, to see Erdan still setting up.
Gwenevere now tended to, Torvall got through the necessary introductions and heard the typical reasons for Samuels absence.
Did we achieve any points of experience last game? asked Darrak.
Yes, Erdan mentally added some numbers, Eighty two thousand five hundred for Robert and James, and twenty thousand for Michael.
Darrak laughed, Michael still levels up. Level sixteen! Huzzah!
Yet James levels not, said Alek. What of Robert?
Robert plays no longer, said Gwenevere.
Of course, said Erdan, but your new character inherits Roberts points of experience, yet you level not.
New character? said Alek.
Do you wish tell them what you chose? said Erdan.
Very well, Gwenevere sat at the table, brushed her hair behind her ears, and then said, I chose to play as
There was absolute silence at the table. Gwenevere held the suspense a moment longer before shouting, Melissa!
There was still silence at the table. Eventually Alek said, Who?
I should expect youd remember the name of Jamess lady friend Alek! The one Robert struck for the look in her eye?
So you wish to be my lady friend in this world and in New World? Aleks tone suggested this was a bad idea.
I see your point. I suppose my character should want to court man of her own.
Alek hid a flinch, I believe our campaign is past the courting stage Gwenevere.
So she has a man already?
Alek paused in thought, Perhaps playing Melissa is best. It would certainly explain Roberts sudden absence.
I am glad we agree, said Erdan, Torvall, may we step out of the room a moment to discuss campaign details?
Shall he not introduce his character also? asked Gwenevere.
All in good time Gwenevere, but not yet.
Sometime later Torvall and Erdan re-emerged and sat down. It is the morning of your important interview. You each awake in your separate beds, in your separate houses
Have we not done this part already? asked Alek.
Gwenevere and Torvall have not, so we must repeat it for them.
Are you not forgetting to introduce Torvalls character? asked Gwenevere.
You are in separate houses. You cannot see him yet.
But I had to introduce Melissa.
Melissa is Jamess girlfriend. James and Michael know her already.
If not by name.
There was a chuckle around the table. Alek looked shamed.
I trust, said Torvall, That James and Michael have greater memories than Alek and Darrak.
Quite said Alek, unsure if he had just been rescued or insulted.
It is the morning of your important interview. You each awake in your separate beds, in your separate houses. You all bathe and dress. You must throw attention to detail.
Four and, Alek threw, seventeen total twenty one
Five and, Darrak threw, eleven total sixteen
Sixteen and, Torval threw five totals twenty one.
Twelve and, Gwenevere threw, two totals fourteen.
You all pass, except Gwenevere, who has something in her teeth. Beyond that, you are all dressed flawlessly.
I check the mirror, said Gwenevere.
You have already. You noticed nothing.
I check again.
No you do not. Melissa knows not of whats between her teeth, so she has no need to.
I feel my teeth with my tongue.
You notice nothing. Breakfast time.
I have bacon, eggs and toasted bread said Torvall.
Corn Flakes, said Alek.
Corn flakes? asked Gwenevere.
Its a New World food, made from corn and served with milk.
Ill have an enormous bowl of Fruit Loops! shouted Darrak.
Theyre made out of magic, explained Darrak.
What do they do?
Plus one to all throws for two hours
And minus one for the rest of the day, added Erdan. Your turn Gwenevere.
Do they have porridge in New World?
I have that.
Dexterity throw everyone!
What? asked Alek, What for?
You are flawlessly dressed. You must eat carefully.
I remove my clothes!
Too late. You already announced that James was eating Corn Flakes. He may remove his clothes after if he wishes.
They all threw for dexterity.
Alek, your eleven has you drip milk down the front of your clothes. Everyone else passes.
I did not throw to eat last we played.
I did not think of it last we played. To rely on past plays is to cheat.
Does the porridge dislodge anything in my teeth? asked Gwenevere
Does any food become lodged in anyone elses teeth?
No! Now you must together decide on a mode of transport.
How may we decide together, asked Gwenevere, from our separate houses?
Well ah Erdan was caught off guard.
Our phones! said Darrak, They allow us to speak to one another directly from any distance.
On the morning of our interview? Gwenevere looked shocked, I think Melissa would not be so irresponsible.
Very well, said Erdan, It is the night before. You all speak using your phones.
I check my teeth.
No Gwenevere! You may not check your teeth! You are using your phone to discuss transport!
You mean bus or car? Asked Darrak.
Or walk, or taxi, or helicopter Erdan was reading from a list.
None of them, said Darrak, What of parking?
Parking? asked Gwenevere.
Darrak turned to Gwenevere, Cars are so large that there are very few places one may leave them unattended
You mean without getting stolen?
Parking is expensive near your interview, cut in Erdan, trying to stop Gwenevere distracting from the game, I would advise a bus.
A large car, explained Erdan, large enough for many passengers. The driver turns a profit by charging everyone a small fare.
A bus then, said Alek.
Agreed, said Darrak.
What say you Torvall? asked Gwenevere.
I say nothing. Your phones do not yet have my code.
Bus it is, said Erdan placing a long thin sheet of paper, divided into two rows of twelve squares. This is the bus. You all subtract two dollars from your money and place your figure anywhere on this grid. The bus travels in this direction.
Torvall placed first.
Sitting at the back of the bus, said Erdan, is a well-dressed man. There are many others on this bus, but none seem dressed for an interview.
So we all meet on the bus? asked Gwenevere.
I kiss James and ask him how I look, smiling, making sure to expose my teeth.
Gwenevere, Melissa does not know of anything in her teeth.
Then she should not be afraid to display them.
Very well Alek, throw for attention to detail.
You find it and tell her how to dislodge it. May we move past your teeth now?
Gwenevere placed Melissa on the bus, faced Torvall and said, Greetings traveller. Good day to you. I see you are looking very well-dressed this morning.
Thanks, said Torvall, by now all the figures were on the bus. So I take it you lot are going to work then?
Gwenevere found Torvalls New World accent a little awkward to decipher.
Accountancy interview actually, said Darrak.
Yes, said Alek.
Me too, said Torvall, Patricks the name.
You all expecting to get the job? asked Torvall.
If he knows a good worker when he sees one! said Darrak.
Supposing there are enough positions available. We all have the necessary qualifications. said Alek.
I do hope so, said Gwenevere.
Erdan threw a die, Just then, a man enters the bus dressed as a beggar. He removes a knife from his clothing and begins to demand money.
I alert the driver! shouted Darrak.
Well played, said Erdan, the driver is alerted and using his phone to summon the city guard.
How long will the city guard take to get here? asked Gwenevere.
It could be anything from one to twenty minutes, said Erdan throwing a die behind his wall.
I show him how empty my wallet is, said Alek.
He takes it anyway, with your credit card.
I shall cancel it later.
I draw my Gwenevere read over her character paper, scissors, and threaten him with it.
Do you think that wise? said Alek looking at her character paper, You have very little strength.
Gwenevere smiled, Looking the part is more important than being the part.
You dont look the part either. Your intimidation score is zero.
Also, added Erdan, Your scissors are nail scissors. Only this long.
They should be worth an extra five to intimidation if you wear them as brass knuckles, said Darrak, Do you agree Erdan?
Erdan nodded, prompting Darrak to say, Pass them here!
I have a better idea, said Gwenevere looking at her character paper more closely.
Is Patrick doing anything? said Erdan, trying to include him before another Gwenevere idea took over.
Yes, avoiding eye contact with everyone and pretending not to know anyone.
Okay Gwenevere, your idea?
Forgive our misunderstanding good sir. The driver should not have summoned the watch when you are committing no crime.
The thief seems perplexed, yet he remains listening.
A humble knife salesman such as yourself could not have known that we poor martial arts students could not afford your wares.
Okay, that is diplomacy and bluff.
Twelve and... Gwenevere threw, Eight total twenty diplomacy. Five and twelve total seventeen bluff.
He seems to have calmed down, but he says you do not look like martial arts students.
I am surely glad we do not, said Gwenevere, We too suffer your fate, in a similar misunderstanding, and pray to the gods that our clothes make us appear as law abiding citizens to the judge. We do not wish to be incarcerated a second time. Nor do you?
Diplomacy, bluff and intimidation.
Diplomacy, sixteen. Bluff, twenty one. Intimidation, twelve.
Diplomacy failed. He is no calmer. Bluff succeeded, so Ill grant a bonus twenty to your intimidation, bringing it up to thirty two. He is intimidated.
I appraise his knife, said Darrak, he threw, seventeen. Do I know its value?
His knife? Its worth its worth I shall let the dice decide. You should be able to sell it for Erdan threw, You are fortunate. Twenty dollars.
I offer the knife salesman ten, with a diplomacy of (throw) fifteen? Sixteen including the Fruit Loops.
You must throw for bluff also if you do not wish to be honour bound.
I shall honour my word, this time.
The man returns Jamess wallet and gives you his knife.
Before I pay the man, I use my phone to remember the image of my new knife, making sure to capture the image of the thief also. It shall be passed on to the city watch later. I pay the man, and then threaten to stab him with my new knife if he does not leave the bus quickly. I throw an intimidation of
No need. He begs the driver to allow him to leave.
I remove my phone from my pocket, said Alek, And capture yet more images of the man as he flees.
Very good. The watch shall surely identify him from that, should anything happen to damage Michaels phone.
Darrak smiled arrogantly at Alek.
You saved my life! said Torvall, You saved it, demonstrating quick wits, ability to work under pressure, polite customer service and even made ten dollars profit!
Torvall paused for the big reveal, Youre all hired!
He was expecting a cry of Huzzah, but got silence.
What? Let me see that character sheet, Darrak took Torvalls character sheet, Level twenty seven!? Weve been adventuring with a level twenty seven!?
Thats not how a job interview mission works, said Alek.
Its how that one worked, said Erdan.
How many points of experience did we earn? asked Darrak.
I am performing the calculation now, said Erdan.
Gwenevere, said Torvall, You have hardly touched your cure-light.
Forgive me Torvall. I would drink it faster but it burns so.
Burns? Gwenevere, do not have another sip. Wait a moment.
Torvall ran to the kitchen and returned with the first glass he could find.
Fill your mouth with potion, and then spit into this glass.
Gwenevere did so. The blue liquid landed red in the glass.
Gwenevere bleeds!? shouted Alek.
She bleeds not, said Torvall studying the glass closely, If that is the blood of anything it is of the potion. Her body is fighting it, and winning it seems.
I am allergic?
No. Allergy is when the body fights unjustly. Gwenevere has no allergy. Cure light wounds is a disinfectant. It destroys infections of any kind, indiscriminately. Alek, take it and finish it yourself before it goes to waste.
How can you be certain it will not harm me also?
Because I know you are not with child.
The room went silent. The only emotion that surpassed the joy on Aleks face was his shock.
Alek held Gweneveres hand and said, You are with child?
Finally, said Gwenevere, You shall level up a third time.