"A Bard's Tale"

The dew covered cobble streets lay quiet and still as the first ray of sun shin cast grand shadows down the alleys and archways of Freeport. An old fat lady come from her home glancing both ways as if there is traffic then makes her way down the road. Just as she is about to make the corner and head off to the bakery for work a gust of speed blast’s past her and topples her to the ground. “Good morning Ms. Winafried” Tarzool yells with a chuckle as he races down the street. “Damn you boy! One of these days!” she replies, as she has for the last week straight. Poor Winafred, he thinks to himself, I should really stop pestering her like that, then with a evil grin he says aloud “nah!”. Making his way into Northen freeport he enters the bard guild for his morning mail delivery route. He’s been at this job about a week and his dislike of it really shows in his “class clown” comments when the post master is handing out the routes. Course most of the couriers are here already as he is almost always late for work. This is due to his second job, which, well, is not really a profession, but more of a hobby. This job begins at night when the dusk is gone and the royal’s are out to play. Tarzool grins to himself thinking about last nights take as he finds a spot to stand at the back of the room. “That drunken Highelf didn’t even see it coming” a voice whispers to him from behind. Tarzool grins and turns around to give Kellan a firm handshake. Kellan a bit younger then Tarzool but none the less wise to the streets got him this job. Not that they really need it, but they like to travel, and this is the best way to see the world at 16. Tarzool almost brakes into laughter thinking about that silly highelf and the way he almost fell down when Kellan was trying to keep his interest as Tarzool picked his pockets. “TARZOOL!” the postmaster shouts out and quickly snaps him back into reality. Moving to the front of the group and taking the package of letters the postmaster holds tight to them for a moment. Tarzool’s eyes meet his as the postmaster says “Have fun in the swamps boy!” then turns back to his ledger with a wicked grin and a small laugh. “The SWAMPS!” he shouts out. The room bursts into laughter as he shoves the letters into his backpack and heads out the door.

“Why the swamps” he murmurs to himself as he leaves the south gates of Freeport and heads into the desert. This route is not very dangerous for a bard, just boring. “Why not Qeynos, or Eruid! That’s where the action is!” he says as he’s passing the huts and shops on the outskirts of North Ro desert. Running down the shoreline every now and then shooting out into the desert to buzz by a Sand Giant. Taunting them to try and catch him he still knows that one false move could be instant death, but then, that’s the fun part. After getting back to the grasslands of South Ro Desert he stops by a tree to catch his breath and have a drink from his flask of water. Before the water in the flask can reach his lips his hand is stopped by the sound of a scream for help off to his left. Quickly the puts his flask away and pulls out his weapons and sneaks over through the bushes to investigate. He pulls the foliage away just enough to see what’s going on. He sees two Orc pawns and an Orc centurion carrying a struggling human girl into a small hut. There is a small scream then the side of the tent buckles as if someone fell into it and the human girl comes running out. Before Tarzool can really tell what’s going on the centurion mumbles a few incantations and a shot of blue flames flies from his hands striking the girl in the back. She falls lifeless to the ground. The Orc pawns run over and pick up the lifeless woman from the ground and carry her back into the hut.

Tarzool lets the branches back to their natural position and falls back onto the moss covered ground, shocked at what he had just seen. Thoughts fill his mind. He has known death before, but never so up close. Stories from the bars he inhabits of death and battles, but never has he seen something so real. He thinks of his own parents that he knows so little about… had they died liked this… was it this simple and meaningless. A rage fills him as his mind swims in sea’s of hurtful thoughts. He bursts out of the bushes in full run, fast but silent. When he reaches the hut he bothers not to open the flap, but instead cuts it wide open and bolts in. Inside the two Orc pawns are working to secure the girl to a small wooden table. The centurion’s startled look is almost enough to make him laugh as he kicks the closest Orc pawn over the table and into the other Orc pawn who was fastening the woman to the table. Both Orc pawns hit the side of the tent so hard they rip right through its shoddy hide and out into the grass outside. Scrambling to their feet they both run off. The Orc centurion begins to murmur incantations but his casting is cut short by two swipes of Tarzool’s sword. The centurion gives out a shout and Tarzool feels someone grab him from behind and pull him out of the opening he had cut. The Orc Legionary looks down on him, now on his back, with a pasty saliva filled grin. This grin is met with the bottom end of the handle of Tarzool’s sword as he pokes him out of the way. Getting to his feet quickly and readying his weapons to met the now stunned Legionary. The Legionary takes a powerful but slow swing at Tarzool that he easily counters and slices the Orc two times in mid section. The Orc centurion realizing that it’s going to take more then just this Legionary to take down the bard he calls out for reinforcements. As quickly as the pawns enter the fray their minds are eaten away by Tarzool’s cord’s of dissonance. The Orc centurion gets off a spell that send Tarzool in to the side of the hut housing the woman, toppling it down to the ground leaving only the table and the woman’s body sticking out of the heap of sticks and hide. Tarzool gets to his feet and shakes off the blow and with a small grin charges at the legionary. As the centurion begins to murmur his next incantation Tarzool quickly changes his target sending a boastful bellow into the Orc’s ears. The centurion falls to his knees. Tarzool chops the Legionary’s leg sending him to one knee. Twisting his sword around in his hand he circles around him and plunges it into his chest. As the Legionary falls down dead, Tarzool casts a wicked grin over his shoulder at the centurion, who is just now regaining him self. Before he can get full upright he can hear himself screaming as blood fills his lungs and his life is snuffed out.

Tarzool whips the blood from his blades on a dead Orc pawn and returns them to his pack. Quickly he examines all the bodies for any coins or items they might have. As he finds a note on the Orc centurion he pauses then standing in realization he slowly turns a sad eye toward the woman slain on the table. Slowly he walks over to her and unlocks the one shackle that bound the woman and stares at it intently. “Why would Orcs bind someone who is dead” he murmurs to himself. Orcs are not known for human sacrifice or any of that hogwash. Their just big stupid and blood lusting. Tarzool shrugs and begins to check the body for some form of identification. The woman’s body comes to life and her hand snatches his as it makes his way into her pocket. “Ahhh!” Tarzool shouts as he jumps five feet into the air and hits the ground on his *** . “Grave robber is that it!” the woman barks. Tarzool arms and legs move like a wounded birds wings trying to take off as he shuffles himself backwards into a tree. The woman gets to her feet and faces the bard. “Just what where you intending to do, kill off all the Orc’s, then take all my belonging and leave?” she says pointing a scornful finger at him. “I .. I… “ is all he can get out before she begins to move closer. “A better man would have helped me BEFORE I had to feign death!” She states moving within and inch of his nose with her finger. Now cross eyed looking at her finger he shakes his head, then looks at her “I was to late.. um .. I thought you where dead” he says. “HA! You probably waited till you THOUGHT they killed me!” she folds her arms and looks around the camp. Getting to his feet he brushes the dirt from his armor and approaches the girl. “Hey! I’m just passing through here minding my own business and I hear you scream and now your going to point the finger at ME! What the hell are you doing here at this time of day anyway!” He gives back as good as he got. “Ha! Me?! I had them right where I wanted them till you came along and messed it all up!” She says turning to him with her hands on her hips. He rocks back on his heels and puts his hands on his hips “Oh, well I didn’t know you were the type of girl to let Orc’s tie ya up” he says with a grin. His grin fades fast as her face turns to a scowl “You know that’s not what I meant.” She growls. His eyebrows raise as if he just woke up a dragon “Um well I err.. I should get going now” he says as he backs away. “Hey wait , what did you find on these Orc’s!” She says as he speeds off out of sight. “Damn it!” she curses as she searches the corpses again.

After delivering his letters he turns back toward Freeport. On his way back he swings by the Orc camp to see if the girl had calmed down but she was no where in sight. He examines the note he found on the Centurion. Now growing up on the streets.. well its an education but he never got around to learning to actually read. But he does notice the name Lucan as it was pointed out to him some other time. “Lucan” he repeats to himself. He remembers that name on a banner when Lucan was assigned the head of the Freeport militia. Thinking this letter must be for him he heads back to Freeport.

Tarzool enters the militia house slowly. Having spend most of his life avoiding these same guards he feels quite odd walking right on into their headquarters and walks a bit cautiously through the halls. Since, by now, most of the town knows him as a mail carrier it’s a pretty convincing cover to just walk on in. He approaches the main guardroom and knocks soundly on the door. A few moments later a guard opens the doors eye slot and looks him up and down. “I have a message for Lucan” Tarzool states. The guard opens the door and motions for Tarzool to follow. Opening the inner door the guard stops just past the arch and salutes “A message is here for you sir”. Tarzool walks up to the desk and hands the note he got from the Orc to Lucan, then steps back as he thinks he’s supposed to be dismissed… or something. Lucan takes the note never looking up from what he is writing and holds it in his hand where he took it for a moment as he finishes. Finishing his sentence with a flair of the quill he then turns his eyes toward Tarzool then to the note and begins to read it. His expression quickly turns to a scowl as he springs to his feet. Tarzool’s head snaps back a bit as his eyebrows raise, startled from the quick movement. Lucan’s eyes bore deep into Tarzool’s head with an angry stare then slowly fades as though he were waiting for Tarzool to do something. “Where did you get this” he demands. “I found it on an Orc in South Ro desert” Tarzool reply’s. “I saw your name on it so I figured it was a note for you that they stole from one of our couriers” Tarzool continues glancing around the room nervously. Lucan’s scowl returns again “So you read it!” He turns his eyes to a guard who quickly locks the door. “Um well. No. I. I can’t read sir” Tarzool sighs as his eyes turn to the floor. Lucan’s body relaxes as a slight smile comes across his face. “Did I do something wrong sir, I saw your name on it and remembered it from a banner I saw in town a while back and I thought… “ Tarzool rambles out trying to brush over his short comings. Lucan interrupts him “No, no you did very good. what did you say your name was again lad?”. “Tarzool sir” Tarzool replies. “Tarzool huh.. that’s and odd name, just Tarzool you say no last name?” Lucan prods. “I lost my parents at a young age sir and that is what my friends call me” Tarzool replies. “You know Tarzool it’s lucky for me that you happened across this note and that YOU brought it back to me, I have been looking for someone like you to help me out. The work will be along the same lines that you do now but the money will be much better. What do you say lad, would you like the job?” Lucan says with his best salesman grin. Tarzool looks around the room at all the guards that have now turned their eyes to him. He can feel the tension in the room and is quickly getting the feeling that this offer he can not turn down. “Sure” Tarzool says uneasily. “Great! I’m sure it will be an easy job for a man of your talents.” Lucan extends his hand toward Tarzool who slowly returns the gesture and shakes his hand.

In a back room of the rogues guild Tarzool finds himself at home where they usually met before they head out for the night. Tonight is kind of a special night as they are all heading over to High pass to a little party in the Lion’s Mane bar. It’s one of those “friend of a friend of a friends father owns the place” type things but it should be a good time. “Blah, maybe it won’t be so bad, maybe you’ll get to deliver the mail to the troops heading over to that new land they found!” Kellan says as he sips his Ogre Swill, some home brewed concoction that Tarzool’s been making a while. “Yeah but I don’t know, I could also get stuck scrubbing floors in the Freeport militia house too, I really didn’t want to say yes but the air in there was filled with anger. For a minute I wasn’t sure I was even going to get out of there alive!” Tarzool says as he fills his glass. “well lets get this show on the road, the boys are probably already waiting for us in high pass” Kellan says as he downs the last of his drink. Tarzool eyes his full tankard of swill then lets out a sigh and chugs it down.

After paying the entry fee, a keg full of home brewed beer, they head in and start looking for their friends. The inn is set into the side of the rock face of the pass it’s bar section exposed to a small pond feed by The Serpent River. Kellan nods as he catches Shank’s glance, and motions toward Tarzool to come. Seated at the window seat Shank, Gian, Tuldaian and Baeoina, the girl from South Ro today, all sit with big pitchers of ale some empty some full. “hmm who’s that” Kellan whispers to Tarzool as they cross the room. “Ow no it’s that girl from South Ro! What the hell is she doing here” Tarzool moans. “What’s her name, She’s not bad looking” Kellan says with a grin. “Hell I don’t even know, you don’t want to mess with her, she’s got a nasty disposition” Tarzool says just before they reach the table and greet their friends. “Hey Zool we found one of your fan’s” Tuldaian says with a laugh. “TaarzZool!” Baeoina slurs out, obviously very intoxicated. Gian snickers “When we got here she was looking for ya so we figured she’s a friend of yours so we set her up with um.. a few rounds”. Baeoina says a few things that no one can really understand, more of a baby babble then anything and the hole table pauses for a minute in awe then bursts into laughter. “She’s been telling us how you saved her from the nasty Orcs” Shank says in a mocking tone. “OW Save me TARZOOL!” Tuldaian chimes in. “Yeah yeah” Tarzool motions with his had to give him a break as he finds a stool and a mug to fill with ale. As everyone settles down and the two find seats Baeoina head hits the table with a resounding “THUD”. A small pause as everyone gives a glance then the conversations continue, as that action is commonplace here with those of low tolerance. “Hey you hear? Tuldaian’s an Army man now” Gian states with a chuckle as he takes a swig from his tankard. “Is that right?” Tarzool replies beaming a smile at Tuldaian. “Yup, I’m going to be taking the shuttle over to the outpost next week” Tuldaian says with a proud smile. “No more cleaning Highelf latrines for you!” Shank laughs. Tarzool laughs “Well hey, remember YOU first, think about the jar heads second. Be careful over there” The conversations continue deep into the night and early into the morning as the party thins out they decide its best to take Baeoina back to there place in Freeport so she can sleep it off. As morning approches and mid afternoon comes everyone has left but Tarzool and Baeoina who still rests in Tarzool’s cot. Tarzool having come back from Lucan’s office is exited with his new assignment. He too will get to see the new lands, but that his job will be a little more covert then the frontal assault that Tuldaian will be part of. As Tarzool packs his things for his trip tomorrow he can’t help but stop and stare at Baeoina’s beautiful figure laying in his cot. Her long dark hair blowing slighting in the hot summer breeze. Her long tan legs complimented nicely by her white cloth garments now exposed having kicked her covers off some time during the morning as the day grew hot. Her skin shins in the sunlight, and he loses his thoughts in its softness. Laying half on her side one leg pulled up one extended she clutches his pillow under her head. As she begins to move her hair falls from her back exposing two long scars across her back. Tarzool’s face grimaces slightly at the thought of someone hurting something so beautiful. Tarzool turns around and finishes packing then crosses the room and kneels down near Baeoina’s face at the edge of the cot.

She’s a lit bit older then he but her face does not show it. Being a good judge of people Tarzool has learned that the hands more tell the tale of ones age then anything else. These hands are of a woman who has worked a lot of her life, and this life was harder then his it seems. “Baeoina” he whispers softly. “yes” she replies warmly. Startled for a minute Tarzool gets a small smile on his face. Obviously she’s either dreaming or just thinks she’s at home with her husband or something. He continues with as though he has known her forever. “It’s time to wake up dear, are you hungry?” He says calmly and softly. She grumbles a bit as her muscles begin to tighten she stretches out. He stands and backs up and marvels at her stretching. She seems to be very fit for a girl he thinks to himself. As she stops mid stretch he quickly glances back to her eyes that are now open and looking straight at him. She quickly grabs the covers and flips on her back and brushes her hair from her eyes. Tarzool chuckles a bit to himself then says “Morning Ma Lady, how’s thy head”. Baeoina’s eyes blink a few times as if to say “OH MY GOD MY HEAD” but all her mouth can spit out is “um uh ouch, where am I?” as she rubs her eyes. Tarzool snickers at her hangover “your in Freeport, did ya want something to eat?” he asks again. “FREEPORT!” She hushes herself as she yells. “Yeah, why is something wrong?” Tarzool says as he exits the room and heads for the kitchen. “yes!” She whispers as she slips on her sandals and follows him into the hall. “If the guards find me here they will kill me” She exclaims. “Well I am sure that since the guards can’t find the rogues den you will be safe in it” He says calmly as he searches the cupboards for something to eat. “Ow” she says as she looks around the room “so this is the rogues den huh?”. “Well not THEE rogues den , it’s down the hall, this is just a room we rent for the time being” as he says pulling out some Bread. “Have a seat” he says pulling up a chair as a small wooden table center the room. “Where you looking for me last night, we didn’t get a chance to talk much.. you where.. well somewhat drunk” he says as he pulls out a bottle of whine. Her eyes look sick as he pours his glass. “hmm water for you then?” he questions with a smile. She nods “yes I wanted to know if you found anything on those Orc’s yesterday… and to thanks you.. and apologize.” She says with a mouth full of bread. “You know I have just the thing for you, I just got these leaves in that brew up to make a great Tea” He says as he gets up to the cupboard with her cup. “What is it your looking for off these Orcs?” he says as he pours her drink. “Well I have reason to believe that they may have evidence to a corruption of the Freeport militia” she says stuffing even more bread into her mouth. “Wow you sure are hungry ah?” he says returning her cup to her. She giggles a little “Yeah, well its been a while since I been home”. “So the militia is corrupt huh?” he says calmly avoiding eye contact “How do you know this?”. “Well its kind of a long story, but I do know that a Militia courier delivered a message to a darkelf in West Commonlands, this message was stolen by an Orc who fled to South Ro. I have watched the militia clearing out Orc camps all week looking for this note to no avail” she chugs down her tea. “I followed the Orc with the note to that camp and observed them for days, well till yesterday.”.”Why do you think they captured you and didn’t just kill you?” Tarzool says sipping his whine. “Well I don’t think they can read the language it was written in, and I think they where going to try and make me tell them what it says. Course I don’t speak Orc.. but then there not bright enough to think about that” Baeoina says finishing her tea. “Humm well what do you think this note says?” Tarzool asks. “Well I think it links the leader of the militia to a string of assassinations” she says. “You mean Lucan?” He says in disbelief. “Yeah , he used to follow the paladins, but he fell from their graces, but not far enough to be outed entirely. He remained in the military and I think he basically killed his way into office.” She says. “Well definitely with this information, or even these accusations you’re probably not to loved with the militia around here. We should get you back home.” Tarzool says as he clears the table off. Having successfully brushed over his findings at the Orc camp to reserve judgement of his new employer the two make their way out of the sewer entrance of West Freeport.

They quickly make there way through the Commonlands, Kithico forest and Highpass keep into East Karana’s. “It’s right over here.” Baeoina says as they near a few huts close to the great waterfall on the south side of the Karana’s. “Humm nice place” Tarzool says as they enter her hut. “Well it’s not much but I make due with what I have.” She says with a smile as she tries to hide the things that need cleaning. “You lived out here long?” Tarzool asks as he eyes the inside of the hut. “Pretty much all my life.” She says. “It’s nice.. Peaceful” Tarzool sighs. “Thanks.” She smiles happily. Tarzool’s eyes stop their scan of the room and turn to her warm smile. He can’t help but smile back. For the moment that the two smile at one another there is something in the air. A calm, a harmony, that neither of the two have felt before, or know what to make of. Quickly they both break the eye contact and Tarzool offers up “hey! Were going to have another get together next weekend, would you like to come?” He asks trying to lighten the mood. “Sure! I’d love to.” Baeoina says as she moves things around that obviously don’t need moved at all. “Great, shall we meet you there or would you like me to come by and pick you up?” He asks hoping for the latter. “I’ll meet you guys their” She says trying to hide her excitement. “Ok then, I’ll see you next week then” He smiles. “Ok I’ll see you there.” She smiles back. Tarzool exits the hut and stands for a minute, takes a deep breath then begins the journey back home.

All the way home and halfway into the night all he can think about is Baeoina. “Lets see what tomorrows work brings, then we’ll decide” he finally sets his mind to rest. When the morning comes he finds his job a simple on. Take the boats in Oasis to the Darkelf establishment in Kunark and deliver a note to a peddler there. Being that he can’t read the note, he worries that the note may contain something that will upset the Darkelves, specially since it came from the leader of the Freeport militia, but there is no foul reaction, only a smile and a return note to Lucan. Returning with the note to Lucan he is given 500 platinum and asked to return tomorrow at the same time. “500!” is all he can say for the rest of the night. As the week goes on the rewards are similar, and the jobs just as easy. Deliver this note to a Darkelf here, an Ogre there. This is the easiest job he has ever had, and all the new sites are definitely a plus. Yet still his mind always wanders back to Baeoina. What is she doing? Where is she at?

When the two meet again at the next party as planed Tarzool is uncertain what to expect. Has she missed him as much as he her? Was this chemistry he felt one sided. Did she feel the same feelings about him? The questions that clouded his mind where all set to ease by the hug he received when greeting Baeoina and he dared to sneak a peck on her cheek with no resistance. The two talked deep into the night and well into the morning and agreed to meet again in two days time.

Two days could not have been any slower. The two would share their passion for each other this night, and neither would sleep till the other was complete fulfilled. It was a long night. When day came the two clung to one another as though there very life depended on it. Love did so cloud their mind that neither of them noticed the Militia scout that had observed them together right out side their window. His report would change both their lives forever.

Tarzool arriving late for work found Lucan perched at his desk in a somewhat smug manner. Next to him a militia scout stands with his arms folded and a slight grin on his face. “Tarzool! You’re late!” Lucan barked out as he entered the office. “Sorry sir!” He yells with a salute, as military protocol has become standard for him. “Lets get to work, I have a run of new assignments for you. You have helped me to lead the Darkelves into thinking we are helping them and this is good. Now it is time to find a rat in our own military operations.” Lucan smiles. He never could lie very well and Tarzool picks up on it immediately. “Your to go to the base of operations in Fironia Vie and pose as a new recruit. You will have to complete the basic training so that you look as though you are on of them. Find the turncoat is the objective. You leave immediately.” Before he can even question an officer hands him a sack of clothes and he is escorted to the docks to await the boat to Butcher Block mountains. “Sir Lucan do you think it is wise to let this one go?” the scout leans over to Lucan and says after Tarzool has left. “HA Let him go?! He’s as good as dead. In a year our dark forces will attack! Leaving Fironia Vie in ruins!” Lucan says with a chuckle. “And what of the woman Lucan?” The scout asks with a grin. “Blah! Leave her to her own, I do not want to belly down to what I have pulled my self up from, ordering executions of innocent people. I am above that now. Now I have to be more graceful in my assassinations!” Lucan states with a boastful laugh. “She will keep her mouth shut as she has no proof of the things she thinks true.”

As quickly as Tarzool steps foot on the shores of Butcher Block he is escorted to the boat to Kunark for training. Not a lot of words are shared among the recruits. All kids and all to nervous to speak. The first week moves very quickly and very painfully by as Tarzool is shown the ropes of military combat. Always keeping his eye open for the turncoat that Lucan spoke of. Tarzool soon realizes that this may take a bit of time as all the men he has met have appeared to be good honest men and his thought shift quickly to Baeoina and when he will ever get to see her again. Tarzool’s world quickly regresses into two major goals, living through training and finding the turncoat. He trusts no one. His body being honed into a killing machine, his mind being eaten away by the thoughts of his love now lost.

After finishing his training he is assigned to patrol the outskirts of the city. Six months have pass and his love for his Baeoina have been all but striped away when the postmaster calls out his name. “Tarzool!” The postmaster shouts. Tarzool’s eyes don’t even blink as he stairs into the back of the crowed of people around the postmaster. “Tarzool!” He repeats. Then someone from behind him throws his shoulder into his back and he turns in a fighting stance to see who it is. “That’s you lad, go get your mail” Delar says with an uneasy look on his face. Tarzool’s eyes blink a few times as if he was staring at the sun for days, then he marches up to the postmaster and gets his letter. Tarzool opens the letter and though he still can’t read knows exactly who it’s from. The fluent motions, the smell, the name marking the bottom. “Baeoina” he repeats several times. “hmm this Baeoina, must be something else to make a man such as you talk such as that” Delar says peering over his shoulder. “It means nothing to me.” Tarzool says in a monotone voice. “What?! For you to say anything other then YES SIR. It must be something of note.” Delar says stepping in front of him. “I can’t read.” Tarzool says starring him dead in the eyes. “These words I have wanted to hear for six months now and I can not tell of their meaning.” Tarzool says. “Are they good news or bad, does it matter? As I can not offer a respond.” Tarzool says as he lets the letter fall from his hands and turns to walk away. Delar quickly snatches the note in it’s decent to the ground and begins to read allowed. “My Dearest Tarzool, I know not what has become of you. I heard through your friends that you had joined the military and where fighting in Fironia Via. I hope it was not something I did or something I could not be for you, as I still love you so. “ Tarzool stops dead in his tracks and his eyes peer forward to eternity. Delar continues “Our time together was so short and I have heard nothing of you for so long I don’t know what to think. Should I be writing this now? Is it me that you meant to escape? If this is the case then no more letters shall you receive from me, though it will hurt me so. To be so wrong about someone I thought I did know. Whatever your decision I will love you always. Baeoina.” Tarzool’s emotions well up inside of him like a great waterfall. He turns to Delar “Will you help me?” he says as a single tear falls from his eye.

The note that returns is twelve pages long, dictated by Tarzool and written by Delar. After which Delar promises to teach Tarzool how to read and write as soon as the cramp leaves his hand. Tarzool’s world comes back into focus as he works with Delar. He remembers his goal, find the turncoat, and now… get home. For the next month and a half Delar helps Tarzool to communicate with his love, the two grow closer and he finds himself happy to have a friend again. Soon Tarzool does not need Delar to write or read the letters, but still prefers to have him there. The next five months seem to fly by and every day he writes to his love. Every day she replies.

With a new outlook on life and in renewed spirits Tarzool’s life made an odd turn. He began to listen to the instructors, he began to learn from others, and his own mistakes in training. He quickly rose through the ranks, Squad Leader, Lieutenant, and even to Watch Captain. His social life took on a duel roll. As he lowered his ‘who’s the spy’ attitude and instead tried to get to know the people he was serving with he found it much easier to find out what people really felt. Some of his bardic skills had left him but he could still entertain the troupes at chow time with a tale of great battles never fought or loves never gained being lost. Soon he came to the realization there was no spy here.. he knew now that Lucan’s ‘mission’ was some wild goose chase, but why? Why send him on this… It came to him as a sinking feeling in his heart. The note, Baeonia, the orc’s, all the messages to spy contacts. Lucan was the spy and had done all this to get him out of the way. The link was Baeonia and his next letter was directed to the ‘long story’ that she said had lead her to that orc camp and their first meeting.

A year had passed to the day of Tarzool’s inception into this façade of a witch hunt, but with no real evidence of wrong doing he could not just abandon his post and return home. He had to find a reason, he needed answers but was not sure were to begin looking for them. So he remained, in his daily routine. On this day Delar had taken the morning watch and was out on the wall. Tarzool had gotten the response letter from Baeoina and was content in reading it while drinking his morning tea. The letter explained her childhood growing up in the hills surrounding Freeport, her father was a guard, and he was in contention to be the captain until Lucan had him and his wife assassinated. She had escaped by mere chance and sworn to avenge their death. After some trying times she later joined the monks in Freeport who helped her to find a less violent path. Although she learned a great deal of combat skills they showed her more over that killing Lucan was not the path of good, but the path that Lucan himself would chose over justice. Tarzool knew now that the answers he was after could only be found in Freeport, and he knew just the people to talk to about getting it. He would have to leave what he had called home for the last year.. but he didn’t want go it alone.

Tarzool exited the tent and headed to the front wall looking for Delar. There was an odd cloud low over the northern horizon that he never seen before. A low rumble could be heard but seemed to emanate from all around. He found Delar on the second tower left of the bridge, his head cocked facing north trying to figure out what the strange noise was. Tarzool begins to explain the news but the sounds of battle begins to well up on the horizon and the two are in awe as a great wave of Drachnid’s and Drolvarg’s rushes forth over the hills of Fironia Via. Tarzool quickly rushes back to his tent and grabs his armor as the sounds of the outpost siren wails.

The beasts rushed forth, not as if they were attacking but as though they were being driven toward the city. They zigged and zagged wildly as though trapped in a stampede rather then leading a charge into battle. The numbers grew as they continued to spill over the hills to the north. The General full in his plate approached the head of the platoon that had formed rank near the bridge, the only point of land entrance into the city itself. Tarzool stood in front of his battalion of men peering out into the endless sea of on coming beasts. Then suddenly he turned his back to it, and faced the south, into the sea as if searching for something he peeked over the heads of his men. His men with raised eyebrows slowly followed suit, and one by one they all turned to face the sea. The General still barking commands and ordering captains into position soon noticed that one battalion was facing the totally wrong direction. “Tarzool!” the general shouts out amidst the mayhem of men running and lining up, “What do you think your doing!?” Tarzool stopped for a moment, looking at his men, then to his left and right around the camp. He put his hand on one soldier’s shoulder and whispered something to him. The soldier nodded and ran off toward the wizards tower. Tarzool then turned and headed to the general. “Sir, you see that out there” his hand pointing to the sea south “ That is the enemy, sir!”. The general cocks his head back and then peers south, off in the distance he could see something but it was to far off to make out. “How do you know this Tarzool?” the general questions still trying to make out the shapes on the horizon. “Well sir, if you were going to attack a encampment such as this size you would need a mighty big distraction to do it. My guess is that there is maybe one squad to our north causing this massive herd of otherwise unwilling participants to rush us in order to throw off the real attack that is coming at our backside. As we are ready to, we will fight these beasts and they will fight back, as that is their nature. By the time a victor has won the day, the true attackers will be on our walls and take the city. Then it’s just a matter of clean up, sir” Tarzool says in one long breath as though it has already happened. The general pauses for a moment then turns back to Tarzool. “What if your wrong?” he says with one eyebrow raised. Tarzool stands at attention, “I’m not paid to be wrong, sir” Tarzool returns, with his eye straight forward. The general turns his head to the charging horde then out to sea again to the tinny dots that seem to be heading their way. “What do you think we should do?” the general offers up, obviously at a loss of a plan. Tarzool grins as if he has been waiting his life to hear him say that.

to be continued...

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