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No more Trading for me, Ever
by Cadence

I simply don't understand it. I had been trading goods from Riverton for years without consequence! I had yet to encounter a single mob faction beyond my combat proficiency - so why should this time be any different? Perhaps it was that I had foolishly decided to take a companion. This particular trade run was unbearably monotonous, and the prospect of having someone to share the misery with seemed promising.

Thus, Morgyyn and I set out on the seemingly effortless journey of hauling covered wagons to the City of Medievia from Riverton. The scenery was the same as it had always been: rolling hills, rich farmland, and all of the boundless beauty of nature. Hushing our horses as they trotted along, we quietly enjoyed the familiar route. Just as we paused to allow our appaloosas a moment's rest, we heard the menacing roar of a nearby lioness. After whispering a cooing consolation to our horses, we geared up for what proved to be an unbelievably tedious fight. Deftly, I dove behind Morgyyn, a Master Warrior, swearing to him my firstborn child in return for protection from the lions. Hacking his way through the virtually endless pride, he laughed heartily at how easily they were slaughtered. Embarrassed by my own cowardice, I shyly suggested we move along, lest we fall victim to some superior foe.

No more than thirty seconds later, a large ashen wolf prowled out from the nearby brush, intent on blocking our path. Releasing an exasperated sigh, Morgyyn patted his horse and dismounted, preparing to ravage yet another group of would-be assassins. They circled ominously around him, snarling their bestial threats. Eagerly, he rushed the pack of ravenous wolves, and I fell swiftly in tow. One by one we sent them limping off into the undergrowth, or to their untimely demise. Brushing the dust from our knees and wiping the spatterings of blood from our faces, we valiantly rode on.

"This is getting to be a bit much," I hissed through clenched teeth as we traveled, growing warier of my surroundings by the minute. Morgyyn rode protectively behind me, occasionally offering a sarcastic quip about the tedium of the journey.

Suddenly, as if invited by Morgyyn's passive remarks, the stench of rotting flesh and fetid remains permeated our senses. Swiftly covering his nose and mouth with a gloved hand, Morgyyn quietly whispered, "Trolls..."

"Give me a break!" I snapped, shouting out at the wilderness around me. Once again, we tethered our impressively patient horses, and once again we hitched our wagons. This time, we knew we were battling a formidable enemy. Only vaguely distinguishable by their attire, I recognized a mage, cleric, thief, and warrior. A veteran of the road, I knew all too well that several captains lay skulking on the path nearby.

Gathering our arms and magical strength, we separated the group, laboring to defeat our most unpredictable opponents yet. Sapped of energy and health after one terribly arduous battle, we paused to regain our strength. The captains could prove difficult to dispose of. Through several passes of bloody melee, we defeated one of the hateful captains. Fleeing the room to salvage what was left of our bodies for repair, we created an impenetrable shield of protection around us. Few moments had passed before we noticed the silence around us. The trolls had actually grown bored with our conflict.

Scoffing at the retreat of our enemy, Morgyyn and I saddled up to continue our adventure in trading. We exchanged subdued insults, talked of the weather, and complained about the necessity of money. Not forty steps from the troll captain's corpse, we became aware of the barking of dogs behind us. The booming echo of a Demon Lord's voice soon bellowed out, proclaiming his malevolent intent.

In some spark of genius, Morgyyn hitched his wagon and tethered his horse, leaving them protected by a powerful shield. Setting several traps as additional protection, he readied himself for another tireless altercation. Battle weary and naturally inept, I neither dismounted nor hitched - instead deciding to bring my freight along for the fight.

Attempting to power my way through the hordes of spectral half-hounds, I wavered, nearly falling victim to their attack. Abandoned by my companion, I fled, shrieking in horror as I scurried to seek him out. As I staggered into his room, where he sat idly teasing the trapped hounds, I panicked. Screaming obscenities, I lunged for the helpless mutts, slaying them with a flurry of shockwaves.

Morgyyn simply laughed. He just laughed as I took my frustration out on powerless creatures.

It was at that very moment I heard the depraved pack of half-hounds tearing into my freight. Morgyyn lovingly patted his wagon, raising his eyebrows in a knowing mockery of my blatant mistake.

"Why in the hell did you lead it out of the room?" he choked through laughter.

I narrowed my eyes to pinpoints of annoyance, deliberately spacing my words in restraint.

"Shut up. I'm done!" I proclaimed, and closed my eyes, reciting the incantation to bring me safely back to Medievia.

Who cares what happened to Morgyyn.


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