Chapter 1 – Reunion
Part 1 – Familiar faces
Over the last few years, i had met a few interesting people from whom i sensed the hand of the Gods at work.
Amongst them was Fallin M’or, an Elven mage consumed with a curiosity for all things magic, who traveled the world in search of undocumented spellcraft. In him I found a companion for my travels, as our goals were somewhat aligned: his search for magic would doubtlessly lead us to interesting places worthy of both my skill in the art of the Fist and the art of the Quill.
There was also were a trio of girls, formed by the twins Saryna and Syrena and their adopted sister Blade. I met them through Fallin, who had struck a friendship with one of the twins, Syrena, under circumstances beyond my knowledge, and they instantly caught my full attention, as their mere passage in my vicinity disturbed my meditation with a nauseating flow of dark energy, causing me to crash from my levitation face first into the ground. After striking up a conversation with them, I learned that the twins were under a peculiar curse, one that forced them to be near each other at all times, as horrible misfortune would plague them if they were to be separated.
All of us had agreed to meet in a village named ______, under the pretense of catching up and taking some time to rest from our travels. _____ was a calm place, despite being founded by a military legion, stationed in this location in preparation for a war that never came, until their swords rusted and their metal was repurposed to make ploughs and other tools to farm the land. Arriving at the tavern, me and Fallin asked the master for drinks at sat awaiting for the Lasses.
A while later, an armour clad Saryna entered, carrying a tome I recognised as the rules and and guidelines of the Paladins of Iomedae, a hefty piece of literature that taught those even with the most dubious of moral compasses the proper way to act in any and all situations. Spotting us, she shepherded her sisters in and joined us at the table. We ordered another round of drinks and chatted for a while until suddenly we heard a commotion from outside and all the patrons got up and left.
Curious, we followed the crowd and saw a procession of oddities marching through the main road, with clowns, fire breathers, animals and all sorts of entertainers…it would seem a traveling circus had rolled into town.
Part 2 – An exercise in futility
Smelling a chance to earn coin for some easy tasks, we followed them into an open field where they started work on building the infrastructure for the festivities that would ensue. We asked around for a while yet came up with nothing, as a large number of villagers had already had the same idea and the circus was no longer in need of volunteers.
Despite a continuous stream of protests from her twin, Syrena scouted and poked around every nook and cranny for anything that weren’t firmly glued to the ground, and thus fit for stealing. Her search led to few things of import, save for overhearing a discussion between the local guard and the owner of a local Pawn and Loan Emporium, a
man surrounded a few mercenaries, all far too well equipped for her to risk any attempt at stealing from them.
Out of options, i slipped back into meditation and entrusted Fallin with my levitating mass, as he led me by rope back to the inn where we rested for the night.
The next day I got my morning drink and we went straight to the circus, in search of any attractions worthy of our attention, and more importantly, any games where we might turn our fun into profit.
Part 3 – The calm before the storm
Arriving at the circus grounds, we were greeted by a magical signboard that popped out of the ground with nary a warning, and began to speak despite being shot with magic missiles from a very startled Fallin… for a scholar of magic to be scared by a mere illusion of a talking piece of wood was embarrassing at best, ohh well. The sign informed us in the most annoying voice i had heard in a very long time that the circus had a bounty of attractions with “fabulous” prizes, and that we were to approach each attraction to learn more about it.
Hearing a faint roar from a lion headed pilar nearby, we headed towards the first attraction, a test of strength curated by a hulking mass of muscle with a peculiar accent from a land i couldn’t quite figure out. The burly fellow explained the game to us with a huge grin on his face, clearly in love with his own game. The objective was simple: use a hammer to slam a board on the ground, catapulting a magical orb up the pilar, towards the lion head on top, causing it to roar according to the strength displayed by the competitor.
Feeling refreshed from my meditation and raring to display my skill before a fellow body builder, i volunteered to go first. I weighed the hammer and saw that it was light as a plume, and proceeded to slam it into the target, the pillar shaking as the magical orb flew straight to the top and the Lionhead let out a resounding roar, echoing across the entire circus! With a single tear of joy, the man rushed to shake my hand and shower me with praise, as i was had beaten the previous record in the game! He offered me a small trinket to celebrate my victory, a paper crown that granted me a discount on everything available at the circus.
Emboldened by my amazing performance, Fallin and the Girls decided to try their hand at the challenge: the Girls all got an average result, a housecat’s meowing, Fallin however only got as much as the slight purr of a kitten….perhaps i should have him join me in my daily training, some booze and exercise would do wonders for his flimsy body.
We wandered around some more to figure out what else might be interesting and found a few contests worthy of our time: tests of agility, perception and most important of all, a test of alcohol resistance. On these (almost) everyone got their chance to shine, Saryna breezed through the obstacle course with little to no effort (only after seeing me get sucker punched by the final trap), Blade saw right through the (very attractive….. very ….. attractive ) belly dancer’s illusion while Fallin and I were dazed by the show, and Fallin somehow managed to beat me in a booze chugging contest.
Part 4 – “Draconic” distracion
The main attraction was to be a living (hopefully tame and friendly?) Sphinx, a powerful beast with extraordinary intelligence and strength, known for mercilessly devouring any who failed their mind games. As we were heading toward the main tent where this event was to be held, we heard a commotion…a giant lizard had escaped it’s enclosure and was attacking anything in it’s path. Once again our gold bags tingled with the opportunity of a reward and we rushed to subdue the creature.
Amidst the crowd we heard desperate cries to spare the creature, as it was a rare beast, the crown jewel of the circus’ zoo, so we attacked it with the utmost care to spare it’s life. While Saryna, Syrena and I gently bashed the beast’s brain with fists and weapon handles, Blade & Flow had a misunderstanding between attempting to calm the beast and bite it’s tail off and Fallin CAREFULLY tried to set the beast on fire, an attempt that was (partially) blocked by the source of the cries for mercy, a small humanoid being with ears so big it used them to glide in the air. Seeing nothing we could improvise to capture the beast without further harming it, Syrena set out in search of a net and I used my most prized (read “only” ) possession, my robe, to try to wrap the creature….try…. inspired (or maybe shocked) by the wondrous vision of my muscled, GLISTENING body, Saryna bashed the lizard in the head one more time and Blade washed it away with a flood of water, a blow that made the lizard realise the outside world was far less pleasant than it’s cage.
The big eared creature then turned to thank us for so long i got bored and slipped back into meditation, seeing as the festivities would be canceled for the night. I did however note that amidst the little one’s cries he swore that the culprit had used him as a distraction to release the beast.