The End of the World and After

Later that Day

An Eladrin, a Dwarf, a Gnome, a Minotaur, A Half-elf, a Goliath, and a Wilden walk into a bar. Not a joke, but a wager, with a flabbergasted farmer named Jurgen losing a gold sovereign to the barkeep. Galena smiles a sweet I-told-you-so and waits for someone to approach.

Before too long, she has convinced the ramshackle group to do her a favor. She explains that she has been waiting for heroes, and she was convinced by night-thoughts (a polite euphemism for dreams) that some would come. Now that they are here, they need to kill the rats that infest her basement. In an improbable move, everyone agreed.

Explaining that it was “traditional,” Galena locked them in the cellar while they dealt with the varmints. All I can say is that it seemed very natural at the time.

The rats were big, and fast, and mean. In a matter of seconds, only one remained. As it darted for the exit, a wave of ennui passed over the assemblage, and they watched it scramble away. “Rat mind must live,” someone muttered. Helga, the bovisapien of the group, crushed its skull. Just as quickly, the consensus that rat mind must not necessarily prevail returned.

From upstairs, however a terrible ruckus had ensued, and smoke was beginning to pour into the cellar. After the minotaur and Ereben (the swarthy goliath barbarian) had made short work of the cellar door, the party discovered that the “city” of Klein had been the victim of a lightning fast raid by heretofore unknown assailants, monstrous little humanoids that came to be called goblins. They had torched much of the main thoroughfare, and abducted dozens of townsfolk along with a great deal of largely unprotected livestock.

The quicksilver gnomish swordmistress and the goliath quickly dealt with the goblin stragglers, while Quinn, the civic-minded half-elven ardent organised the survivors to put out the fires before they spread. Now there was no time for discussion – no one else could deal with this threat. The newly formed party left the town on the Great Northern, the road that skirted the Feywood, and weaved across miles of windswept, rocky hills before arriving at the Elfhome, Erbring. The wilden mage easily found the goblin’s trail. They had only a minutes or two’s head start.

No one could shake the image of the prophetic proprietor Galena, skewered by a goblin blade while her inn burned down around her.



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