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Library: A wanderers story

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Author: valtava
Date:Jul 9 2003

The inn was relatively empty that time of the night. The few remaining patrons
were half asleep from booze and boredom, and the waiters only waited for their
shift's end.
The door banged open, stirring the patrons somewhat. A man stumbled through
the door with a wild grin on his face, waving his hands everywhere and
screaming uncomprehensible words.
The waiters didn't need overly many clues to realize they were dealing with a
possible lunatic, and quickly restrained him.
-"Wait", said the man, calming down quickly as he found himself staring at the
floor from the shortest possible distance.
-"Please check these out, and listen to my story before throwing me out" and
fished some coins from his pocket and dropped them on the floor beside a
waiter.

The coins had the special glow that only very pure gold has, and after some
serious coin biting the waiters decided that the man was no longer a threat to
society, and released him.

-"Please, some ale to soothe my dry throat, and something to eat, I have a
story to tell, and a very interesting at that too!"

Noticing that no one gave a damn, he muttered "and keep on bringing those
ales, no friend of mine should feel parched".

The patrons surprisingly felt drawn to the stranger, especially after his
table was filled with several extra ales.

-"And now my dear friends", said the man, "let me tell you of my last few
weeks, and how looks can deceive even a seasoned traveller like me".

'My story starts from a forest near Ohrim village (if you fools have even
heard of it). I was travelling light, carrying only couple of days worth of
foodstuffs and my trusty short swords, since the people of Ohrim swore that
the next village would be only 40 or so miles away. Those morons just forgot
to mention that there was no road or such, only a faint path through the
overgrown forest, half blocked with tree trunks. The reason for such a memory
lapse could be due to a unfortunate incident with the bakers wife, who was
quite affectionate in her... hmmm, that's a sidetrack on the story, maybe fit
for later hours. Krhmn, anyways, the travelling was a bit harder than I had
anticipated, but I was still doing good time, the weather was just great and I
had no worries in the world. Approximately 15 miles from the village, I heard
laughter from the forest. Since I hadn't seen anyone during that trip, I
thought I'd take a look at who are laughing, and why. I had even some hopes
that a campfire and hot meal could await me if I just played my cards right.
Instead, I found a quite interesting sight. A man, a big one mind you, seemed
to be wrestling with a tree. "A classic loony, hippie tree hugger or whatnot"
crossed my mind. Yet I found the idea of a guy wrestling a tree (and
apparently losing as he fell) in a forest too fascinating to let go, so I
shouted at him from a safe distance.'

"Hiya friend! Is it safe to come, or are the other trees going to avenge their
brother?". I thought I was just being witty, but the stranger turned and
started doing some strange movements, which slightly looked like some sort of
boxing. After a minute of hopping and shadowboxing he seemed satisfied, and
turned back at me.

"No fear, I scared them away", he said. "They were disagreeing with me,
whether fallen branches could be used as firewood or not, but I think we've
reached an understanding".

'I was quite uncertain how to proceed, the man was either completely insane or
very very wise. I have to admit though that the latter didn't cross my mind at
the time. He was grinning all the time, and seemed actually be on verge of
laughter for reasons unknown.
By then, I didn't realize that the joke was actually on me. My first look at
him had revealed that he was a big man, but by gods, he was huge. His arms
were thicker than my legs, and his chest was wider than any mans that I've
ever seen. 
Despite his size, he seemed to be quite friendly.
"Come friend, enjoy the fire of my camp, and food too if you like", the
stranger said. 
I still don't know what made me do it, but I accepted his invitation. After
all I had hiked in a tough terrain for several hours and all I had with me
were cold rations. And for some reason the stranger had stopped terrifying me
the minute he first spoke to me. Food, fire, a person to talk to, nice weather
and all. I still was somewhat startled to see that just 20 or so yards from me
was a nice campfire, a pheasant roasting on a spit, some vegetables and a
bedroll, you know, all the requirements of a good camp, and I hadn't noticed
them before.
But hey, you all probably know how light can trick you in the forest, with all
those moving shadows, rays of sun beaming through the branches of trees et
cetera. '

'I tried to inquire, why he was in such a god forsaken place, the tree hugging
couldn't be the reason? He surprisingly skillfully avoided my questions, or
answered strangely like "Just counting the amount of deers in this forest for
my friend" and so forth. But after we had eaten, he became talkative. He
seemed to have an endless amount of good camp stories.
Rarely have I had as much fun as with this guy, he was probably the best
storyteller I've ever met. When the night fell, my stomach hurt from all the
laughing.     
The next day, I felt refreshed and ready to continue my trip. Although I
hadn't really exhausted myself the day before, 15 miles not being overly much,
I felt like I had slept several days, I actually felt like a young man again.
My new friend didn't have plans for the day and decided to travel with me for
the day, or until we reached the forests edge. 
He didn't give me any reason, why he was so reluctant to leave the forest,
saying only something about "not being a people person". And grinning.'

'He seemed to know some shortcuts, paths that I never would've noticed, and we
kept a quick pace through the forest. It was almost as if the trees had moved
to make a path for us. Well, I didn't exactly mind, the man was probably a
scout or a ranger.'

'By noon, my thoughts of my new friend changed a bit. By then I had thought of
him as a harmless, if strong fellow. By noon we came to a clearing in the
center of the forest. 
There was no sign of danger, at least I couldn't saw any, but my friend
suddenly started humming an old military song. After just several steps into
the clearing I found myself lying on my back, checking for signs of birds in
the treetops. My friend had struck me down unexpectedly. Although I have to
admit, that I usually hate being tossed about, this time I could forgive,
since I would've been pierced by two or more arrows if I had kept standing.
The clearing suddenly filled with screams and war chants. Trolls you ask,
goblins even?
Nope. Pissed off villagers lead by, who else, the baker of village Ohrim. '


'Although none of the villagers seemed to be a veteran soldier by any means,
we were outnumbered approximately ten to two, and all we had for weapons were
my short swords.
I quickly wielded one of them, and threw the other one for my friend. Try to
figure this out: he took the sword, started laughing like mad, and _threw_ it
deep into the forest. 
It clearly was time for a short prayer. Being slaughtered by some pissed off
villagers wasn't exactly the way I had thought of ending my days, and I didn't
even know any good bards who could've turned this miserable mess into a great
saga, or even into a camp story. In other words, I was screwed. And the fact,
that my companion on the way to hell seemed to be a nutcase didn't ease my
worried mind. And last but not the least, the bakers wife wasn't even that
good...'

'My thoughts ended abtruptly as I was surrounded by four of the villagers. I
knew it would be just a question of seconds before my new friend would be
killed, unarmed as he was, so I had to improvise and quickly. My luck was that
these fellows had never apparently been in a fight before, so they had no idea
how to fight many-to-one. If one guy started swinging a club, other would try
to stab me with a dagger at the same time, thus blocking each others attacks.
I kicked sand on the eyes of two men, blinding them for a second, and dropping
one attacker with the hilt of my sword. The last man had blindsided me, and
gave my poor skull a nice pounding with his club. I fell on my knees from the
pain and dropped my sword. I knew that the next one would finish me off. 
As I raised my head, I saw a descending club and my only regret was that my
killer was just a teenager, and not an Uruk-Hai, cave troll or a master
swordsman, someone worthy that is.'

'Something flew with tremendous speed right over my head and hit the boy
straight into the chest. After several seconds of blinking, blood, not tears
mind you, off my eyes, I realized that the mystery object had a bakers hat,
and flour covered boots. I thought it would be prudent to pray a bit more,
especially since I was already kneeling. After several seconds, I opened my
eyes again, only to see a pile of men stacked before me, and my friend
standing next to it, totally unharmed. I couldn't exactly believe my eyes, and
I probably looked like a fish, just opening and closing my mouth without
sound.'

"Good fight!", said my mystery friend, "although you have to practice more, I
won you nine to one!", and laughed loudly.

I decided to faint for a while.

It was dark when I came to. The villagers were set around a campfire, and
seemed exactly like they had been sleeping. As I checked on them, I noticed
that all of them seemed to be breathing, and no one had even blood on them,
except the guy whom I had hit with the hilt of my sword.

My friend walked from the forest into the clearing. I stuttered something
unintelligible like, "who, how, what", before he stopped me by raising his
hand.

"Friend", he said. "I know you probably have many questions to ask, but I
don't have much time to answer them. Know this though: I am not like you, nor
I ever will be. We didn't meet by chance or luck. It was my decision. I've
never met your kind, the humans, and I wanted to see what you are like. You
are a violent race, maybe due to your short lifespan."
"I came here, and this 'when' to see what will become of the world", and added
with laughter, "and to have a good fight".

"I came here, and this 'when' to see what will become of the world", and added
with laughter, "and to have a good fight".

'This ends my story. My swords were gone, but instead I had acquired a small
bag of gold, with note attached which read 'for the fight'. Also the villagers
weapons were gone, and a similar exchange had been made. I hope you enjoyed my
story. But please enjoy the rest of the evening, the drinks are on me for the
night. I only hope that the baker won't be overly mad at me when he notices
that he is the only one without gold...'

-Valtava


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