Friday, September 18

The questioning begins… (Orignal Fiction by Xan)

Zander grasps the guard by the waist and the scruff of his neck and drops him on a nearby table, just as Beasley frees Jenny from her bonds. Before he released her from her bonds, she stood up and ran to Zander.

She flung herself at the giant, “Are you OK?” She almost mauls him as she searches for injuries.

“I am fine miss.” Zander tries to gently push her away. “Are YOU OK, m’lady?”

“You’re hurt!” Jenny gasps as she sees a glint of blood on Zander’s cloak. “Let me help you.”

Zander grins, shakes his head and mutters under his breath. A spark of electricity and the smell of ozone fill the air as Zander’s wounds seemingly vanish in a spark of lightning. “Please mistress, let me take care of your attackers.”

Jenny blushes after she realizes her intentions are becoming a bit too forward for someone like Zander. “Please, if I can get you anything…” Before she could finish, Zander winks towards her and smiles. “I will let you know.” He turns to the guard, squeezing the handle of his hammer and twisting it as it creaks in his hand. The others gather around the weakened guard, all also brandishing their weapons and smiling intimidating smiles. Beasley hops onto the table, dagger in hand. “What is the meaning of harming these fair people?” He moves the dagger under the guard’s neck as he grips him by the hair.

“I will not tell!” The guard spits in Beasley’s face. Zander slams the table with his open hand, rumbling the table.

Struggling to keep his balance, Beasley slips and nicks the guards chin. “If you don’t want me to nick you again, I suggest you start to talk.” The halfling pushes the tip of the dagger into the small cut and twisted the tip in the bone of the guards chin. “And I don’t think my large friend appreciated you disrespecting me like that. Now please tell me why you attacked these people in the bar.”

Now a bit more ‘motivated,’ the guard begins to stutter. “I-I-I, I mean, w-w-we…” Pushing the dagger up to his chin again, Beasley glares at the guard. “We always come at this time and take sacrifices to our god.”

“God?” Zander growls, “What GOD requires a human sacrifice.” Clearly angered by the comment, the half-ogre continues to grumble. “What is with the dragon crest on your armor? Where is your GOD now?” Slamming his hand on the table again, this time breaking off a small piece. “SPEAK!” Thunder seemed to roll somewhere in the distance.

“I’ll tell you whatever it is you want to know! Please, don’t hurt me.” The guard pleaded as though his life depended on it.

Still holding onto the frightened man hair, Beasley points with his dagger to the missing chunk of the table. “Then I suggest you tell us everything you know, my friend. I doubt you will get another warning from my hefty friend here.”

The guard sputtered out everything as though the words burned like hot soup on his lips. “The dragon is a symbol of our god. We worship irregularly, only when our leader calls us. When we are called we are asked to bring a sacrifice.” The guard began to snivel and cry. “Please…”

Beasley snorted a small laugh and glared at the guard, trying to keep up the menacing persona. “Go on baby, keep crying. Tell us what we need to know. Who is your leader?”

“No one knows his name! No one knows where he comes from other than a portal in our temple. Our temple is near the inn at the other end of town, but you will never get in.” Whimpering and crying the guard sputters out more information. “The stronghold is somewhere outside the city limits and it is linked only through the portal. That is the only way to reach our god or our leader.”

“Please, that is not the only way.” Mayvn rolls his eyes and puts a hand on his hip. “They had to build this stronghold, how did they get in to build it?” Mayvn slaps the guard with a soft hand.

“It is rumored that there is an entrance through the labyrinth where adventurers go to gain renown at the inn on the far end of town.” Solcloud looks up and makes eye contact with the rest of the party. With a knowing nod, they all knew of the labyrinth of which the guard spoke. The guard cried once more, “PLEASE, let me go! I have dishonored my god.” With a glint of light, a crunch of bone, and a splash of red the table collapsed as Zander’s hammer broke through the table and the guard together as they crumbled to the floor. Everyone, including Jenny, stared in awe at the cleric’s lack of resolve. Beasley was especially shocked as he was standing on the table before it was sundered into pieces by the mighty ogre. He stood up from the floor wiping the blood from his face.

“I am sorry,” Zander wipes a spatter off his chain mail. “I can’t tolerate anyone who worships a god like that. It is not natural.” Zander reached down to help the small man regain his feet.

The shocked little man looked up to the towering man, wiped the rest of the gore from his face, and looked to the giant. “Next time tap me on the shoulder or something. I like surprises as much as the next halfling, but that was a little too close for comfort my friend.” He smiled and patted the giant on the arm as he swaggers to his feet. Zander, with sorrow in his eyes looked down on the startled halfling.

“You are…” Zander gulped with caution, “all right?”

“Yes my short tempered friend. I am fine, but you know I really wanted to ask his bag of bones more about this temple of his.” He looked down at the grisly mess on the floor. “I suppose now our only option is for me to ‘investigate.” With a wink, he turned to his companions. “I guess I am off to burgle… er… search the temple for more information about this cult and their.” Beasley paused and looked to the cleric still wielding his hammer waiting approval to continue. Zander only hinted of a smile, but Beasley continued. “This cult and their ‘god’ need to be unearthed. We cannot let this town continue to live in fear of kidnappings and loss of life.”

Solcloud cleared his throat. “I do not condone thievery and burglary to discover evil.” He fondled the hilt of his sheathed sword and continued, looking down on the small man, still trying to climb his way out of the macabre. “Evil begets evil little one. What will breaking and entering afford us?”

“Might I have a word?” The thin peacock of a man tapped the paladin on the shoulder politely. “It is said that we should fight fire, with fire too. There are songs about it, you know.” Mayvn puffed up his chest, as if he had enlightened a child to the way water becomes steam.

Zander chuckled as he put his hammer away and bent down to pick up the table pieces, looking towards Jenny in apology. He addressed Mayvn in amusement, “Our poet speaks! Please, go on; tell us more of your ‘song.’ What else does it say?”

Mayvn cleared his throat. “Well, I can’t remember now.” He began to slouch again, his puffed up chest depressed. “I just agree with the little one. I think we should send him in, no use in us all being… well, you know what I mean. Let’s have the thief investigate.” Beasley looked up to Mayvn and grimaced, but decided it was no use to fight the seemingly obvious truth that he was a thief at heart.

“All right, I will investigate and return in the morning.” Beasley looked to the group. “I think you all should get some rest.” With that order and a wink to the giant, the little man dashes out of the room.

The paladin and the bard, fatigued by the night’s events, hauled their tired bodies back up the stairs. The giant bent over the body as Jenny knelt down to clean the mess. Zander smiled, as she looked up to him in genuine appreciation and gratitude for their help.

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