Nick Nichols

Clojure Developer and Dungeon Master

The Punch Heard Round The World

Finding himself in command of the awesome and terrifying power of the gods, Sif repeatedly casts Sacred Flame until the diseased rats beneath the Red Rooster Inn are no more. With the task at hand completed, Sif returns to Kip. The old man rewards Sif with a hot meal and a bed to sleep in for the night. Pleased with his hard work, Sif takes a drink and makes his way to his free room. It’s cramped and dark, but the mattress is soft and cool.

In the middle of the night, Sif is rudely awoken by the sound of his door being kicked in. One of Orrinstander’s soldiers has found the banished cleric. His foe’s warhammer crushes part of the bed’s frame, but Sif quickly breaks the man’s will by setting him on fire a la Sacred Flame. Seeing a wounded opponent Sif offers him mercy, and offers to heal him if Sif can be left alone. Confused, the man agrees, and Sif casts Cure Wounds to uphold his end of the bargain. He congratulates himself on another job well done, pats himself on the back, and takes another drink.

The next morning, he is awoken to an even more distraught Kip yelling about the damaged door. Sif offers to repair it, but quickly learns he has no skill working with wood. He tells Kip to contact the soldiers, and assures him they’ll compensate Kip for the damage done. With his day freed up, Sif decides to talk to more of the villagers of Cirrus.

After sneaking about for a few hours, Sif eventually runs into the man whose locket had recently been stolen by Orrinstander’s men. He is depressed, as the locket was a keepsake from his late wife, and wishes someone would help them out. Sif lets the man know he’s on the case, and would also support them launching a full revolution. The man promises to stir up the local populace, but refuses to directly participate as he is his son’s last remaining parent. Sif, upset at the man’s cowardice decides to handle the problem directly.

After banging on the doors of town hall for a minute, a clerk tells Sif that Orrinstander has returned to what he calls “home base.” With several of the soldiers out of town, and a few villagers at his back, Sif takes the opportunity to wallop a couple of the soldiers with Estelle. They are broken and bloodied, and Sif decides the townsfolk can decide their ultimate fate. With Cirrus secured, Sif heads towards their encampment in the forest. By his count, Orrinstander will only have one healthy man at his side, and Sif feels confident.

As he digs his way through the forest, Sif hears a thunderous crack echo through the valley. Curious, he runs forward to see the camp’s main gate hurled at least fifteen feet from where it had been mounted. Sif feels a lump in his throat, but calms his nerves just enough to press onward. Beyond the wall, Sif sees two soldiers laid out and rushes to them. One of them is the man who had attacked Sif in his room, and the other is a much younger half-elf. They’re both heavily bruised, the human has a broken leg, and the young man is unconscious.

“Please. Help. I don’t know what he did to Terris, but he won’t wake up.”

Sif casts Cure Wounds and the man begins to regain consciousness. As he wakes up, he mutters something about seeing two fish swimming in a circle over and over, and claims to have watched his soul get knocked from his body. The two soldiers embrace, and Sif asks what happened. A single human monk, dressed in solid black robes came to the camp in search of a magic torch Orrinstander owned. After the captain refused, the monk offered them one day to reconsider.

When they refused again, the monk knocked the gate free with a single strike. While awestruck, the soldiers stood no chance, and in-turn both were knocked out in a matter of seconds. As the realization dawns on them, Orrinstander, horribly beaten limps out of the mining tunnel. Sif stands, Estelle in hand, and asks if they’ll leave the village alone. Seeing the condition they’re in, Orrinstander agrees and complains that his torch Everbright was stolen. Sif recognizes the weapon’s name as a tool of Nar, Goddess of Light, and asks what a monk would want of it.

“He said he was going to destroy it. Sacrifice its power.”

Feeling a chill run down his spine, Sif asks if they heard a name or an organization title. Orrinstander tells him that Wu Shen is the name he heard, but had never seen monks dressed in black. To his knowledge, the only monastic order was that of Avalon, and they traditionally wore orange robes. Sif began to wonder what there was to gain by destroying a relic, or how he’d find such an organization. The dwarf warned him, “He’s the type to find you, and I don’t think you want him to be interested in ya.”

Ignoring the warning, Sif heads back to Cirrus in search of more information, or, failing that, more work. Several of the townsfolk mention seeing Wu Shen, but steered as far away from him as possible. One villager claimed that he asked the monk for aide, but all he got in response were cruel words of wisdom.

“This is a situation of your own creation. I have no pity for you.”

Sif gathers further information, and learns that similarly clad monks had also stolen an unusual book that belonged to Hermaeus, God of Knowledge. So, naturally, the cleric plans to visit the Monastery of Avalon near Ishtar, but comes to the sullen realization that his pockets are empty. Desperate for work or transportation, he returns to the Red Rooster Inn. A large, fully-stocked cart of expensive mining equipment and construction tools rests outside of the tavern. Sif begins to peer around it as a cheerful dwarven man with a large red beard greets him, asking if he has any interest in the mining trade.

He declines, but offers his services as a healer or fighter if he can get a job or a ride east. Smiling, the man introduces himself as Aryn Greyspine, and offers Sif a job guarding his cart as they transport supplies to a man named Gadriel in the town of Phandalin. As they talk, Sif learns the roads have become dangerous, and several people have been kidnapped by goblins in the last few weeks. The cleric eagerly shares his experiences of “smashing gobbies” in Longview. They make a deal, and Aryn says the, quite possibly, most important words in all of Eibellion’s history: “Perfect. It sounds like you’ll get along great with the other fella too. Hey Grok, come meet our new friend.”

< Previous Chapter: A Serious Problem in Cirrus | Next Chapter: A Miner Problem >