Outward: No Use For Adventures – Nasty, Disturbing, Uncomfortable Things

Venturing outward may have been a mistake.

I’d earned enough coin from one terrifying adventure to avoid being evicted from my humble lighthouse in Cierzo.

For days I rested and hunted pearlbirds in the relative safety of the shadow of Cierzo’s palisade walls, careful to steer well clear of less feathered two-legged foes. Harvesting and cooking brought humbly modest coin into my pocket as I pondered my next steps.

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Once, one of those bandits came up unawares and it was too late to hide, so I engaged in a furious scrum for my life. Victory was won by a thread.

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Then there was the time I came upon the corpses of two such highwaymen, who had lost their own battle. The bloodied bedraggled hyenas who had won jumped me before I could salvage anything from their bodies.

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That haul was pretty good, though it near cost me my life once again.

Tiring of such pursuits, I set out further afield to seek other settlements.

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I met a strange hermit in a cave.

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I was near savaged by two hyenas who ambushed me shortly after. A strange man rescued me and left me to recover atop a mountain by a campfire. Nearby was a door.

I sought to enter, thinking him further within, but a terrible ice witch froze me and left me for dead at the entrance. I gathered up the scraps of myself, my dignity, my torn apart gear and body, and assailed her once again. This time, I was victorious.

A rope led deeper down into the mountain. But I dared not venture further and left instead to find more peaceful environs to set up my tent, generously gifted by the hermit, and rest.

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The view was… really something.

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Since I was already on the mountain, I thought to climb to the peak to see if my erstwhile rescuer could be found there.

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He was not. A strange stone-like mantis creature guarded the summit, beside a rusty sword in the stone.

Perhaps one day they will tell the tale of how I courageously stood my ground against the creature and traded blow for blow against its uncrumbling hide, until I pounded it back into the earth and took my prize.

The truth of the matter is… I ran. It followed.

I ran in a circle around the stone, and it chased me.

I ran behind the stone and it chittered angrily at me, trying to decide if it should climb the rock or go around. I took advantage of its hesitation to snatch the sword, wondering if I should attempt to use it against the monster.

Then its pincer claws were upon me and I thought the better of it.

I ran further and it came after me.

Somehow, it lost my trail.

I doubled back and crept past it, as stealthily as I could. It had left the peak unguarded, and I searched the rest of it, greedily stuffing whatever I could salvage into my backpack.

Then I turned around and snuck ever so quietly past it again.

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Laden with my haul, it was time to return to civilization and sell some of the goods I had uncovered.

I could have taken the path back to Cierzo.

Oh, how I wish I had.

Instead, I took the other path to a stern and rich-looking fortress, hoping to find new merchants and trainers.

“Hello?” I looked about the castle furnishings, hoping to find live people, rather than the walking bones of unquiet undead. To my relief, there was a black-armored dwarf or a short human sitting back in a chair, and he made no hostile move.

I tremulously approached and conversed with him. He welcomed me heartily.

I told him I sought a place to rest, and he cheerfully replied that I had found it.

Then the world went black.

And I woke up. In a bed. Fleabitten. Iron bars formed one wall, and rock the other three.

Confused, I checked my gear and found nothing but tattered rags. I stumbled out and realized we were ‘guests’ all right. Guests who would be working in the mines for our daily loaf.

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The two other slaves I talked to were wryly accepting of their lot.

The main exits appear to be closed and guarded by armored men. I fear I might be here for a while.

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