The town of Wedge was bustling with excitement that day. Using only their wits, the two teams of adventurers had to weed their way through the crowd. Canis, Gallindan and Aly were fortunate enough to choose the right street and happened upon the guard post in no time at all. Elzix and Xorud however…
“Using my intimate knowledge of the streets and my incredible intellect I say we go this way.” Elzix demanded in his nasally, sinister voice of sinissitude whilst pointing east.
His dark elfen companion didn’t look impressed and thrust an obsidian finger at a sign informing the pair that the guard house was west.
“Indeed,” Elzix said immediately, unfazed, “I can see how you would be fooled by such a clever ruse. Clearly this is the work of that rude paladin! Trying to throw Elzix off the trail eh? It only shows how scared of me he truly is!”
Xorud cleared his throat contemptively.
“Ah, but where are my manners. It shows how scared of us he truly is.”
On approach to the guard house, Canis rumbled in his naturally growling voice, and then spoke slow and clear, “Gallindan, could you..?”
“Don’t worry my friend, I will speak,” Gallindan was quick to reply, knowing his companion liked to hide his wolfen heritage, “After all,” he smirked, “these are guardsmen, men of discipline. I’m in my element here.” Gallindan walked forward with a practiced gait. The world melted around him as the eladrin man of steel emerged.
Chest puffed out, nose up and marching forward. Gallindan walked with the look of a military man about him and stopped two paces from the tiefling guards. The guards stood to attention, “Who goes there?”
“Lieutenant Gallindan Silverlight of the 87th spear regiment under the high command of Prince Oberard. Third High Eladrin company of volunteer men and women. Also companion Canis, paladin for the light of Pelor himself and…” he looked to Aly, ”...accompanying squire.” The guards saluted as they recognised the lieutenant’s insignia on his shoulder. Gallindan regarded them both as a mild hint of a smile crossed his lips for a second, “It’s good to see a civilian force employing such solid discipline.”
“Thank you sir.” The tiefling said tersely, looking straight ahead. “Go right on through sir. We were informed of your arrival.”
The trio entered without any further delay. The inside of the guard house was fairly drab and standard. The layout was designed for efficiency, everything was assigned to it’s proper place. Gallindan man of steel once again became the regular old Gallindan as he saw the female tiefling behind the reception desk had no rank insignia. They were informed that the captain of the guard had gone to deal with a goblin raiding party and that he wouldn’t be available until at least next Tuesday. Vexed, the three decided to try and meet the guard captain out in the wilderness, accepting salutes from the guards on their way out.
The early afternoon air was brisk, invigorating. They left the town on a well used dirt road, obviously used as local thoroughfare as it was trodden by horse and carriage. A chill breeze picked up as grandfather winter was just around the corner. Aly closed her eyes and let the wind mingle with her skin, a refreshing sensation as her elemental nature relished the moment.
They entered a small forest turned golden from the season. A high, nasally voice penetrated the silence, “Ahh fall, where winter is the season of death, truly fall is the season of delicious torture…”
“So where was this guardhouse?” a dark and gravelly voice asked, not hiding its owner’s ire. The trio turned to find a truly sinister looking magician wandering the woods, as well as a tall, scowling dark elf.
“Xorud, surely you of all people can appreciate the raw beauty of fall?”
Canis grunted in displeasure, as if he’d just eaten a foulberry, “Not him again…”
“You’re acquainted?” Gallindan askes incredulously.
“We met at the tavern, I don’t deal with warlocks.” Canis snarled and roughly tried to push forward, only to be stopped by a hand on his shoulder.
“Wait a minute, friend, what did you say they were doing in the tavern?” Gallindan asked.
“He said he wanted to meet the guard captain for the job but…” Canis’ eyes narrowed under his visored helmet, “He’s a warlock.”
Gallindan spent a moment in quiet contemplation, “If our objectives are the same, then it wouldn’t hurt to have a couple more on our side.”
“He’s a warlock, the other one’s a drow…”
“I know, I know,” Gallindan said quickly, not exactly brushing the point aside, “But how better to keep an eye on them than to adventure with them?”
Canis grumbled, “I don’t like it.”
“Neither do I, he is a drow after all. I assure you, they put one foot wrong, or we get wind of a plot and they will answer for it.”
Gallindan hailed the wayward two, apologising for his friend’s gruffness earlier in the tavern. They were happy to join the adventuring party, if only because it suited their needs. “Alright form up into two ranks! Forward!” Gallindan said as an almost kneejerk reflex and marched off. The military style in which Gallindan marched seemed out of place to the rest of his party. Canis and Xorud walked behind him, both dark and brooding for their own reasons. Aly was busy breathing deep the fresh air and enjoying the sensation of wind in her hair to properly rank or march, and Elzix was far too… ‘cultured’ to be ordered around and refused to obey in principle.
They approached a clearing in the forest. Gallindan halted. The cusp of a sharp breeze went past, picking up leaves as it went. Every colour of gold, yellow and vibrant reds picked up and swirled in the eddies of wind as they blew past the lone, towering figure in the middle. To say he was perfect was to be a master of understatement. Every muscle tensed and eased with the rhythm of a heartbeat, his long, well formed legs were pillars upon which the body of a winged adonis resided. An angel with golden feathered wings that spanned the length of a man coming from his shoulder blades. He had jet black hair, and as he turned one saw that a golden lock of hair fell just over his eyes, one being a vibrant blue, and the other blackest of night.
The angel was covered from bare torso down in goblin blood, he recited, “Oh creatures of light; the deeds I’ve done here today; please… forgive these souls.” All around him there lay the speared, mangled corpses of hobgoblins. Their faces were twisted as they wore death masks of twisted pain. Some fifteen, maybe twenty dead goblins, and only one celestial to account for this.
He gave a subdued smile as he saw the motley party approach, “I greet you, please be not alarmed. I am Ferend Quarellion, guard captain of the town of Wedge.”
“What happened here?” Aly asked, not sure whether to be horrified by the hobgoblins or transfixed by the celestial’s beauty. Ferend wiped some blood from his weapon and sheathed it, “A massacre. These goblins had been making demands of tribute from the town for months. Of course when we refused they threatened to attack. Because it was my decision to refuse their tribute I came alone to face their raiding party. After all, the thought of even a single drop of innocent blood spilling fills me with guilt. I tried diplomacy first of course but…” he trailed off, gesturing around him, “They refused.”
Gallindan stepped forward, “Sir! If you are the captain of the town guard then we are to report to you for our duties. I am Gallindan Silverlight from prince Oberard, who sends his personal greeting from the Feywild. These are my companions,” who he introduced in turn.
Ferend greeted everyone warmly, looking over the adventuring party and seeming genuinely pleased. “It’s good that you’ve arrived, Gallindan. The guardsmen are good boys but… not really up to the challenges that face the town in these trying times. The goblin leaders have run away to some caves in the southeast, I would deal with them myself but I have a dinner appointment to meet with my good friend Alexis. I think you all will be capable of handling this chore for me.” Before he flew off, he flapped his wings and hovered in the air, adding an after thought, “Oh, if you find any sturdy bolts on your adventures, I will pay handsomely, say, seventy silver?”
“That seems like a fair and noble price,” Gallindan said immediately.
Ferend blinked stupidly, “Ah, really? I-I expected you to haggle… what say I pay seventy-five silver then.” He said, flying off towards the town.
“Sneaky celestials.” Elzix muttered under his breath.