Medievia Mudslinger

January 14, 2001

Death is Avenged - By Homncruse

It had been almost a year since I had started my eternal journey of following the dark path. I had many more friends now than I did before, but still often found myself lonely, wandering around by myself. Life was easier, but still hard. Money was always an issue.

It wasn't long before I found myself in dire need of some gold. I had borrowed money from all of my friends, and they refused to loan me any more until I paid them back. I was too weak to hunt down equipment sought out by many, and wagering my remaining money on the top fighters in the Arena was risky and didn't bring in enough profit.

There was only one thing left to do. I had to trade. I had sworn off trading ever since that horrid day the banelar had slain my mother, and it brought back too many frightening memories. Using my telepathic link I shared with my town, I asked if anyone would like to assist me on my first trade run. No answer. I asked again, and yet no answer. Looked like I was on my own on this one, as usual. No-one ever seems to require the assistance of a warrior such as myself these days. No spellcasting ability, and no way to hide myself from fearful enemies.

Heading north from the town square of Medievia City I traveled to the stables, but upon arrival I almost gagged because of the pungent stench. These were the stables all right, no doubt about it. I eyed the assistant across the counter, a young man of maybe nineteen or twenty years old. He had short brown hair and blue eyes but he was wearing ragged clothing. The job didn't appear to pay very well.

"Excuse me," I said politely, "are you the one I would speak to about getting a horse?"

"What's in it for me? Why should I give you a horse?" he said with an unsavory attitude.

"Wow, temper temper, young man. You DO know who I am, don't you?"

"Why no, SIR, I'm afraid I DON'T know who you are! Should I?"

"I am Homncruse, upstanding member of the Followers of the One Dark Path! Loyal to the end! But I have been known to overreact when people upset me...." I growled as I reached for my sword.

"Oh! Sir Homncruse! Didn't recognize you! Please forgive me!"

"Very well, young man, don't do it again. May I ask your name?"

"I am Crin, the Gnoobie Gnome. Yes, yes, I am Crin. Please don't hurt me Sir Homncruse!" He cowered in fear after hearing who I was.

I chuckled. "I wouldn't hurt you silly man, but I like the way you grovel. Might you be willing to snatch us both up a couple of war-horses and join me on a trade through the Dark Woods?"

"Really? Wow! I've always dreamed of traveling with you Sir Homncruse! It would be great pleasure! Let me go tell the boss, we can leave immediately."

"All right, I'll wait here, but don't be too long. Oh, and lose the Sir, just call me Homncruse." I told him.

Crin went into the back to tell his boss what was happening. I started to sit down in the chair, but decided otherwise when I noticed the shabby condition of it, probably would crumble under any weight. So I just continued to stand. I heard a raised deep voice, and assumed it was Crin's boss. Probably disagreeing with his going with me.

When Crin came back from the lecture his boss was giving him, he had a sad look on his face.

"I can go," he said, "but the boss doesn't like it. You see, Jiros is the only other stableboy around these parts and his mother died recently and well ... you know how it is."

"I'm afraid I do, Crin," I said as I remembered the tragic death of my own mother, "I'm afraid I do...Come on, let's go if we're going to go."

Crin brought two horses to the front, and we quickly mounted. We were on our way to do some treacherous exchanges of goods at the Citadel of Naeramae. The journey would be risky, but the profits to be made were well worth the danger. Besides, since when was danger a bad thing?

Upon leaving the City of Medievia, I prayed to the gods that we would be okay, and I envisioned a picture of my mother in my mind and almost came to tears. "Don't worry Mom, you taught me well; I will do fine."

"Did you say something?" asked Crin.

"No, I was just talking to myself," I replied, "We'd better get moving, I must be back in time to continue my training with the Guildmaster. He shall be very upset with me if I be late. Bad temper, that Guildmaster...."

We traveled for what felt like hours. East, east, east we went, on and on, it was never ending. I'm not sure how long it had been since we left, but I was getting tired and the once bright sky was now getting dark.

"Let's call it a night," I told Crin, "we'll finish tomorrow."

I asked of him to fetch us some suitable firewood, and when he returned I quickly set up a roaring campfire. Sleep came with difficulty for we had no knowledge of what was yet to happen the next day. When I awoke, Crin was already up and fixing us a quick breakfast, hoping to surprise me with breakfast in bed, I assumed, trying to impress me.

"Mmm...this is good, Crin. What is it?" I asked as I gobbled up the rest of my food.

"Ogre," he replied with a mouthful, "I found the corpse along the trail a little way back, and I decided it might be a nice breakfast. Don't worry, the flies hadn't yet gotten to it."

"Good, don't know how much longer I could have gone without food. Come on, we must finish this trading before the values decline much more."

We untethered our mighty steeds and were well on our way, when suddenly I caught a whiff of something. Something familiar, yet...not, at the same time. I wondered what it was....


"Crin! Over here! Quick! It's a banelar!"

Crin caught up in a flash, and we were soon both attacking the monstrous beast.

Crin and I slashed and slashed, the banelar casted and casted, this guy was mean! The banelar just didn't want to die! It kept fighting and fighting, with no sign of exhaustion or weakening.

"HELP!" Crin shouted, "A banelar is attacking us and winning! Don't.... know.... how... much... longer.... we... can... survi..." Crin fell to the ground in a dead faint.

I growled angrily. "Your kind has taken my mother already, now my friend... NO MORE! DIEEEEE!!" Everything dissolved into a red haze of fury. This guy was going to die, and I was going to be the one that kills it. "You're mine." I roared.

I hacked, slashed, bashed, and kicked, just like the Guildmaster had trained me to do, but it wasn't enough. I was losing, and started to become weak and disorientated from my several gaping wounds.

"Someone! Anyone!" I shouted, "Help! I can't handle this banelar by myself!"

A shimmering rift opened before me and a handsome man stepped out.

"RALU! Thank the Gods of Medievia you're here! Don't know how much longer I can survive by myself." I screamed at him while I still continued my ongoing battle with the banelar.

Ralu muttered a few magical words and I suddenly felt a little better. A few words more, which sounded like 'Vas Sanct Grav' were said and a magical white aura surrounded me. I had no clue as to what it was, but the banelar was but merely scratching me now.

With my newfound strength, I continued to hack and slash at the evil creature. Finally, after what seemed like an eternal battle, the demon fell to the ground.

"Whew," I said, "Didn't think I would ever win. Thanks Ralu. But what will happen to Crin?"

"I know just the thing." Ralu got a peculiar looking gem from out of a belt pouch which he was wearing. He grabbed the gem, and pointed it at my fallen ally.

"Vas Kal Corp Mani" mumbled Ralu and Crin sat up.

"Wow, thanks again Ralu, how can I ever repay you?"

"No problem, I know what it's like to fight an endless battle. Glad I could be of help, but for now, I must return to my friends." Ralu said, then uttered yet another mystical phrase and stepped through the same kind of portal he appeared in.

I searched around the corpse of the banelar, and found trail of tracks that lead a little ways into the woods.

"Stay here, Crin, I'll be right back."

I followed the path and found the monster's nest, perhaps one of a number of temporary homes that it used. Ruffling through the nest, I found a locket hidden amongst the detritus, all that remained of one of his victims. Opening it up, I saw a picture of my mother and I, painted when I was a child.

"Mother," I whispered, "I have avenged your death. Rest well."

"Did you say something?" Crin asked me. He followed me although I told him not to. Silly child.

"It was nothing... come on Crin, let's give this one more try."

Continuing on for a little bit longer, we came upon the second to last part of our journey.

"When I say go, try to stay right behind me, we must move quickly, this is the most dangerous part. It is called 'The Dark Woods', many ruthless killers gather here to slay peaceful traders such as us and steal our equipment and our gold. Go."

We ran through the perilous woods, and came out untouched. I saw a few people inside, waiting to ambush the unwary, but we were too fast for them. Leaving from the altar near the entrance, we were coming to the easiest and part of our travels.

"Almost there." I told Crin.

We ran faster than ever to the trading shop near the towering Citadel of Naeramae. Finally arriving at our destination, we sold our goods and made a nice profit. Crin insisted that he give me a portion of his money just for bringing him along, but I refused. I had plenty to pay back those I owed money to, and a surplus besides.

"Now... how to get back to Medievia City without traveling back through the woods?"

"I know," Crin started to say, "let's call some dragons to our aid, I've always wanted to ride on one, but never had the money to do so until now. Please?"

I chuckled. "They're nothing great, you know, but I guess we can."

We focused and called upon the goodwill of dragons, feeling thankful that they arrived quickly for the climate was cold.

"Until we meet again, Crin. Good bye."

"Farewell, Homncruse! It was nice traveling with you!"

All in all, I'd say we had a successful trip. No major ambushes by creatures, no evil dragons chasing us, and I slew the foe that killed my mother. And so Crin and I each went our separate ways, maybe our paths will cross again, maybe they won't... only time will tell.