Oy! Do I have a stooooory to tell you folks! The name is Shodwig Teagrounds, bard and story teller extraordinaire, master of disguise and reader of the leaves. Pull up a chair, tip your waitress, and settle back as I tell you the story about… The Betryal in the Jungle of Elves
So, me, myself, and I, somehow ended up becoming arrested and furthermore enslaved. (I sang a song about a statesman's wife and he got me locked up, and then the badgerpile went ahead and switched me into the slave line all sneaky like! Right before I was ready to be released! The tosser…)
Anyway, I ended up escaping with a few good friends I made in the lot, a Human Druid, a Half-Elf Ranger, and another Gnome like I, except he was a Cleric. We'd been freed by a mystical elven farmer, and subsequently stayed at his farm for three years before going out on our own… Not on our own terms, and with his death, all to be seen a single scrap of dark cloth. But that's another story.
We had gone to the nearest, largest city and began to ask about and follow leads. The librarian was more than helpful, yet asked us a favor in return. Simple enough! We'd set out to rescue his daughter about a day's journey north in the mountains, she'd been abducted by goblins and bugbears, the poor lass.
Anyway, after some clever strategizing by yours truly, we'd managed to take hold of the girl, and met a man.. Who seemed to be killing the same goblins. His name was Ellion, a greyguard. An ex paladin who had lost his faith, or rather was in the process of losing it. He allowed us to go back to Shireville with him, and told us that these goblins had been working underneath the "Azul", a group who had wanted the king dead. A quick cross-examination with him? My cloth was a piece of the Azul's cloak. Whoa. Nif-tea. Hehe.
Anyway, after a few days, we ended up following Ellion, who'd told us we had business in the Fey-Jungle, a large expansive tropic forest, with large elven trees (think redwood forest). Over tea in the morning, we talked of our mission, then headed off… God it was lovely tea…
Deep in this mystical jungle, we found ourselves in conversation with Ellion. "What purpose do you all have? Why do you continue? What do you fight for?" I simply replied that my wanderlust and curious was the most important thing, and that I'd wanted to make my own story rather than reading and retelling. My friends shared their ideas. "Well… I work for the king. And I want you all to join me."
Now… We had actually almost been assassinated by a group of halfling rogues in our sleep, wearing the kings guard outfits. I brought this up, and said to Ellion, "Listen, you have proven to us that you're worthy of following, you've helped us, you've kept us safe, this racist, tyrannical king has tried to kill us. Until I can get a face to face explanation from him or a higher statesman, I will not pledge allegiance to anyone but your side, Ellion. I've come to think of you as a friend! So for now, I am in your stead, but not the king's. Not until I'm given the apology I deserve."
"…I'm sorry…" Is all I heard before I saw his glaive spin around his head, whacking my human and half elven friend. Immediately, my telescopic wind instrument, a stretchable piccolo-to-flute-to-clarinet device I'd stumbled upon, my pride and joy, drew into my hands, and I began to charm the dwarven guards ahead of our cart, taking them out of the fray while they were forced to wonder why dwarves had outies and elves had innies.
I turn around, and cry out to Ellion with my +12 diplomacy, "Stop this! Stop this now! Ellion, you do not have to do this! We were your friends! We followed you into the swamps and helped you kill a lich! We trusted you… Please, this doesn't have to end in bloodshed, and if you can't allow us to continue travelling with you then we can all just leave! Please listen to me! We can all just stop!" I yelled, actually tearing up IRL. Roll … 7, not too bad with a +12.
"I will not lie… I have come to find you all.. Useful. I would say I've even come to call you friends… Which is why I am so sorry… All I can give you is this…" And then Ellion looked down for a good six seconds, before looking me right in the eye and saying.. "Thank you for drinking my tea. Sunflower."
Magic pulsed through all of our veins as we began to quickly knock out, unbeknownst to us the magical poison in our morning tea had affected us this well.. We'd all succeeded in staving off it's affects just long enough to see him ride away with my freshly bought mule, and my telescopic flute still playing music for the dwarves. I watched the few things I trusted, and grew to enjoy in this vast, ever changing world… go away.
I woke up, and all of my friends and I recognized we were not in the same spot of the fey jungle we passed out on… We weren't even on a road. We are currently lost… A bard can lose some coin, a shoe, even a lady… But when a bard loses a friend, and his instrument…
That is the Betrayal in the Forest of Elves. My friends, take heed; whenever a friend invites you to tea, take only a sip. Lest you see darkness and the fading image of trust and companionship ride away.
Will we continue? Will we find Ellion again? Can I forgive him…? Buy me a drink, and I'll tell ya!