A Lark Tale: Black Mass Blues

 By Phillip Hilt 

   The life of the shady path, is filled with excitement and adventure.   There are moments that stretch on forever;  thrills that hardly even be imagined by the less adventurous, the cautious, the boring.  There is only one golden rule.  Thou shall not get caught

--- Sir Eric Meadow-Lark


     Points of light Scattering into infinity, an infinity of doors waiting to be opened and explored.  Soft sighs of contentment. Lights and sounds merging and diverging, ringing peals of laughter flowing throughout the infinity of doors.  Chaos opening and closing them at a childlike whim.  Smells of fresh biscuits…

Chapter one  - Biscuits are a Girl’s best Friend

     My pretty blue eyes snap open, as I recognize the smell of baking biscuits.  Slowly, and carefully I unwind the soft arms around me and tumble softly, ever so silently, off the bed and sneak towards the door.  Then, after my goal reached  with great haste, I make toward the front door.  Hurriedly, I lock the door with a sigh of relief.  My moms' biscuits can bring complete strangers into one’s life, from off the streets, but er, that is another story.  Today, I am aquiver with anticipation, as I have found out that a black mass to Bane is being prepared!  They might even kill someone or something!  There was no way anyone, and I mean anyone, was going to get my biscuits today!  I would need all of my strength, and a lot of cunning, to swipe enough biscuits from my all too alert, and all knowing mother.  After musing over congratulating myself on my cleverness, I stroll into the kitchen ready to lie, cheat and steal.

      Unfortunately,  Glow, my sister, has a good nose on her too, and had reached the biscuits before me!  Horrors!  Foiled again!  I stood agape as she put away more biscuits then a hungry ancient wyrm could eat.   Biscuits, that should have been going into my backpack for my foray tonight.  “Mmufff whants sumg Merric?  Asks my sister quite politely with her mouth full.  Sighing, I limp over to salvage the tattered remains of my dreams of having plenty of snacks for the mass.  Now I would have to um, borrow some food from the already suspicious merchants at the square.  At which thought I brightened considerably, and I proceeded to at least get in a few strangler biscuits so that I would not be faint from hunger when I went to work.  My mother, who I suppose is always somehow aware of my moods,  started laughing.  It would really have been annoying, except she laughs so beautifully.  “Don’t worry Lark, there are more were those came from,”  and she tousles my unkempt, bright yellow hair with her fingers, hugs me and places out another tray of biscuits!

     Later that morning…  our hero is out busking with “Hairless” Jimmy Hairfoot, and his pal Al “the Ax”  Battlehammer.  “Don’t ask Jimmy about the hairless thing, you don’t want to know.”  “Well, hairless,” I extolled,  “how are we set for tonight?”  Jimmy responds in a small childlike voice that he always uses around I and glow, “It should be fine, face, every parent has been given the round robin.  I am leaving the subtle lies to your capable hands, my friend, all we have to do now is avoid the boss.”  ummffph,”  adds Al, which means good luck and fat chance of that, she always knows when we are up to something.  As you can perceive, Al is perhaps the most expressive one syllable grunter in existence today.  Hairless glances around nervously.  “Don’t worry,”  I said in response. “ She Gorged herself on so many biscuits, she couldn’t possibly be moving around before noon anyway.”  Which brought a surprise grunt from Ax.  “Oh, that was you knocking Ax? “  “Oh, sorry, I must have forgot you were coming over, and forgot to unlock the door, Ax, and you know that hairless had to go to the other parents so he couldn’t pick the lock for you, so just let it drop.”  Hairless whistles innocently and wipes a crumb off his chin. 

     Busking is normally one of my favorite hobbies, as I recall “busking” was actually a sort of euphemism that I used back then for begging, since I actually wasn’t a bard yet.  Anyhow, Jimmy was giving on a great performance on how he had lost both legs in a bad farming incident while I was crying in tears for my dead mother, to this rich elven maid, and that I needed a few coins to bury my mother,  when to my dismay, the boss showed up.   Ax, the lookout, grunted us a warning, fortunately, so we did get caught busking behind her back.  If you noticed I didn’t but the quotes around busking again, congratulations on your perception. It’s cause I don’t feel enough  remorse about using euphemisms to describe various activities in my life to keep cluttering up the story with all those quote marks.


     Anyhow, to our dismay, Glow was walking down the street right at us.  And she was not alone!  She was accompanied by two of her chatter box friends.  I stood completely still, knowing that like a Raptor, any movement would attract her attention, and I would be done in.  Unfortunately, one of her friends, apparently with fly blood or something,  must have been attracted by non-movement, and she gleefully pointed me out to  Glow.  Dismayed, I watched the inevitable unfold.  “Hello Glow,”  I greeted her lamely, rocking back and forth on my heels as she approached.  “Why ERIC, what a SURPRISE to find you sitting here while you are supposed to be at AX’S house. “  Glow gave a slight knowing nod at Ax’s direction, and he shuffled his feet and looked down.

Aghast, I realized that my friend had betrayed me!  I stared at Ax and he grunted.  The translation was that I should have shared the biscuits, and he was telling my sister that he still hadn’t gotten any biscuits as of yet, and to show me no mercy.   Glow’s eyes lit up with that last grain of salt that Ax had rubbed in. 

“Your supposed to call me “Face” in the street, Glow” I complained bitterly, trying to change the subject that I knew would be soon be discussed.  “MMM, and YOU didn’t call me Glow when I was walking up, which YOU aren’t supposed to do when YOU are up to something, right?”  Glow’s friends giggled at my predicament, and Jimmy had this stupid grin on his face, at least Ax was looking guilty.   “YOU, should make sure he is more careful, Jimmy”  Glow directed at the Halfling.  “Sorry Boss,” said Jimmy, looking more then suitable chastised to me, and throwing himself Glow’s feet for mercy.   Glow, of course kicked him, I suspect he wouldn’t wash the spot for a few weeks, and would rub his hand over and over it.  Um, Sorry getting off the story topic again, but the paragraph was getting long.

     I shot Ax a look to mean that he wasn’t helping out his side of the bet,  He didn’t even grunt, just shrugged as to mean “what bet?”  Then thought better of it and gave a grunt to mean that there wasn’t any money in it anyway, and that he had complete faith in me.  “SO, FACE, what are you up to that I CAN’T use your REAL name”?  “Well…., we were going… to the somewhat interesting ceremony at the temple tonight, but nothing that you can’t miss or anything”.  Glow looked a little thoughtful, and I was about to congratulate myself on deflecting her interest, when Ax grunted, giving away that something big was up!  The Boss threw him a sweet smile, which made Ax beam, and she closed on me for the kill.  “Of course, I’ll go, ERIC, your  SOO sweet to invite me, I’ll meet you in front of Carl’s at sundown.”  “It’s FACE,”  I mumbled not quite loud enough for her to hear, and I know EXACTLY how well she can hear, so she didn’t hear me.  But the fly blooded elf whispered to her and they all giggled as they walked away.   I will skip the part between now and six, mostly because I don’t remember it, and I was mostly too intent on keeping two thieves away from my pack with my mom’s biscuits.

     Later that evening…    Carl, was a very large halforc who ran Carl’s.  No one is sure if he was really named Carl, or if he killed the owner and took is name, but no one ever tells that rumor in Carl’s for fear of joining the previous owner, if it is true, of course, and I SWEAR I didn’t start the rumor, Carl.   At six, we met out side of Carl’s place.  We sometimes made some ready cash leading drunken souls home who had had the thought ahead to pay for our services , or who Carl liked, past the various dangers of the city, such as thieves and guards.  You may be thinking how kids could serve in that role?  Well, having a father, who is high ranking thief guild member, helps one find all sorts of interesting employment opportunities, plus, the guards tend to leave fathers out for a stroll with their children alone for the most part.   Carl’s is technically an Inn, but I wouldn’t sleep there, and I think only goblins and orcs and such can actually keep any of the food down.  Don’t ask for the special, trust me on this one, it’s not a bluff.   We started our trek to the temple of Osirus or better know as Bane to the people who worship there.

     I loved temples as a child, I used to donate copper coins to all the temples, try to earn favor with the Gods.  Good, bad, indifferent, it made no difference to me.  I loved the concept of Gods, powerful being that look down upon us like we would with an ant farm, I thought of it as making my smallness to other people nothing as to compared to mortals smallness in comparison with the Gods.   You may wonder where I found enough money to give to all those Temples?  Well, I made good money at the Temple of Luck making marked cards for the Temple to use with my little dexterous hands.  I think I still have some of them around.  Poker anyone?  I liked the elven temples the best though, I felt myself drawn to the stark beauty of the statues, the magnificence  of form.  I spent a lot of time just staring at them and dreaming.  And the various ceremonies were glorious to watch and there was a little alcove where no one ever seemed to find me.   As we approached the Temple of Bane, I had to hold myself back to the groups pace, nearly dying with anticipation of witnessing a new ceremony!  I was sure it would be really cool!  I had never seen anyone be sacrificed before!


     I suppose I should put in a little public announcement that human sacrifice is wrong.  Just don’t do it.

-- Sir Eric Meadow-Lark


CHAPTER TWO   Two Many Virgin Sacrifices can Ruin the Ceremony


     The front entrance to the Temple was guarded, of course.  However,  Hairless is about the best 2nd story man in existence.  It was no problem from him to scale up the rather warn tower to the top floor and lower a rope to help the rest of us up.  I went up second, and helped up Glow, and then we all strained to bring up the growing dwarf.   It all went very smoothly, which should have tipped me off that something was going to go wrong.  After catching our breath for a bit, we started off toward the faint chanting sound.  I reached into my pack, being a cleaver lad, and set biscuit crumbs at the intersections we had taken, so that we could get back to the open window at speed if it was needed.  We left the rope by the window as well, being rather cautious scoundrels.  I kept glancing at the others to make sure that they were not picking up the crumbs.  Suddenly, Glow in front of me stopped, and I ran into the back of her.  “Face!  You clumsy idiot,”!  Exclaimed Glow.  Jimmy looked back and smiled at me.  I shook my head at the one track halfling, and looked down to see that the ceremony was almost ready to begin!   We were in a balcony, and we all edged closer to get the very best view that we could.  The Balcony was over twenty feet from the temple floor, a little rickety, but seemed like it should hold us all.  I got out a biscuit, and started munching.  Smiling, I handed out a couple too each of my fellow gang members. 

      A rat sniffed the air, smelling a wonderful smell, what could it be?  Slowly, the rat, keeping an eye out for his nemesis,  padded out into the entryway where the strange noises had now faded away.  It came to a piece of food!  Slowly it took a small bite to taste the appetizing aroma.  It was like food from little rat heaven!  But then, the rat darted for his hole, as his nemesis, a gray cat, made a leap at the rat.   The rat felt the furry paw of the cat stomp on his tail!  “No,”! thought the rat, “I will not die until I have eaten that heavenly food”!  With a bravery not often seen in his kind, he sunk his little sharp rat teeth into the cat’s leg.  The cat jerked his paw back for an instant, and the little rat fairly flew into his safe hole.  The noises outside eventually died down, but the little rat new his nemesis was still out there, and the rat waited, dreaming of the heavenly food, and that somehow, someday, he would have it! 

     Hairless and Glow, of course, snarfed their biscuits up quickly, while Ax and I, being the two cultured dainty biscuit eaters, politely nibbled ours so that they would last for a while.  There were all sorts of people there in gaudy but frightening masks.   They were all chanting, with a red robed priest leading them.  The priest then started a speech, I guess they call them a sermon in a Temple? 

You might find this surprising, but the evil cleric couldn’t bring a fly to a jar of honey.  No wonder he was relying on a virgin sacrifice!  The poor guy had the charm of a sober Dwarf when you had just turned his Dwarven ale into Elven Fey wine.  By the way, don’t ever get caught doing that, it’s funny if you don’t get caught though.   I was starting to think that perhaps we had been mistaken, and we had gone to the wrong mass?  Maybe to was tomorrow or something?  But then the chanting stopped. The priest proclaimed that it was time to curry Bane’s favor with a virgin sacrifice!  This was what I was waiting for!  I poked Ax in the ribs and edged closer to the lip of the balcony, I wouldn’t want to miss this. 

     Much to my surprise, the “virgin”  whatever that is, was a cute girl.  She was led by a thick rope, with her hands tied and another thick rope around her ankles  that kept her from running.    She looked scared, and had beautiful reddish hair, with full curls cascading around her shoulders, and full pouting red lips, and little stars that floated over her perfect gently waving hair, wait, that was being caused by Ax rapping me in the head.  Then I could hear her sobbing over the delighted assembly.  They forced her up to the alter, I looked over at Glow and she looked rather upset, as did Ax.  I couldn’t really read the expression on Jimmy’s face, it seemed to be made of marble.  The Boss ushered us back a bit from the balcony.  We could hear the priest shouting at the Bane worshipers, and them shouting back to Sacrifice the girl to Bane.  I looked at the members of my gang and spoke.  “We can’t let them kill the pretty girl, Boss”!  My sister looked at me sadly.  “I am afraid there is little we can do against so many well armed men, face”.  There were a couple grunts of sympathy, but of acceptance of the girls plight.  Then Jimmy spoke “It’s not like we could go to the watch, now is it?  They would never believe us”.   My mind started working a mile a minute, formulating a plan quickly.   I just had to save the cute, curly, red-headed girl!

     “I know how to get some help!”  I exclaimed.  “I’ll need Ax to help me,  just keep them distracted for a few minutes, and I promise I will bring back enough fighters to save the girl!”   I grabbed Ax, and darted down the corridor back to the rope, following the trail of crumbs.   Ax “accidentally”  kicked a cat on the way, but I was in too big of hurry to aid the fallen feline, who flailed through the air for quite a considerable distance before thudding into a wall.   Ax may not be able to climb, but he can fall out of a window even faster then I can climb down.   As luck would have it, there were some bushes below the window, so he didn’t get hurt badly, just a few scratches, and we ran on toward Carl’s.   “When I say the word, throw your ax and smash the ale barrel over Carl’s head”.  Ax blinked, but for some reason continued to follow me.  Maybe he thought the Boss and Hairless would actually put themselves in danger or something?

     Glow and Jimmy looked at each other as Eric and Ax ran down the corridor.  “Well?  My brother expects us to put ourselves in danger to save some girl we don’t even know!”  exclaimed Glow?  “I suppose if I don’t, he’ll never speak to me again.”  Jimmy looked back over the balcony.  “We’ll we would have to do something rather quickly then,  it looks like the whole knife in the body of the cute girl thing is going to happen soon.”   Glow gave out a sigh.  All right, as soon as my bluff fails, come down and buy us a little more time for Face to get his act together.  “Right boss, but I think you should give me a kiss first, if I am going to throw myself on my dagger for you, don’t you think?”  Glow blushed, “If we get out of it alive, you can have your kiss, it will give you incentive to keep us alive.”   “Well, here goes sanity,” and Glow went to the stairs and started down onto the temple floor.

       Taking a deep breath, our heroine steps bravely amongst the evil worshipers.  She strides purposefully toward the alter, and the crowd parts for her, so icy is her stare and her movements.  She stands before the alter, the priest who was about to plunge the sacrificial dagger into the girls chest.  “STOP!  How DARE YOU!  You promised that I could be sacrificed!  You promised that if I made love to you that you would sacrifice me instead!  I won’t let you get away with it!”  The red robed priest could only stare in befuddlement, what the heck was going on?  He saw the girl then turn to face the congregation.  “There is no way that the girl is a virgin, he is offering an insincere sacrifice!”  Up in the balcony, a somewhat audible smack could be heard of a Halfling smacking his hand on his forehead.

“This is her plan?”  “I am going to die tonight, Yondalla, gentle halfling deity, have mercy on this poor halfling soul that will be joining you this eve.”  The congregation started at the strange halfling sized girl  and then questionably at the red robed priest.  Then, one of the members, spoke up.  “Yeah, how do we know that she is a virgin?”

The secret to a good bluff is to always remember that actions speak louder then words.  You can communicate more things with body language and facial expressions then you realize, and the great thing about it,  is that the person that you are bluffing will almost always detect those things and believe you, at least until he or she thinks about how far fetched it is.  The key to an exceptional bluff is to give the bluffed something to occupy their mind after you make the bluff.  But,  the virtuoso bluffer will make you think that the bluff was the truth, and nobody can tell you different!

-- Sir Eric Meadowlark


Chapter 3  The Yondalla  Home Health  League Strikes!


     Ax and I raced pell-mell through the sparsely crowded through-fares.  “Mmmm, nice use of compound words there?”   Running for Carl’s bar, my planning spinning in my head!  Bursting through the swinging bar doors, we raced to near the center of the bar.  I climbed up on a fairly empty table, getting a leg up from some patron who had passed out and was laying on the floor.  I quickly caught Carl’s eye to let him know something was up, and Ax gave a “humor him” grunt.   I then shouted out in a clear resounding voice, “The Home Health League will no longer tolerate this bar of vice and villainy!  For at least one night you will all suffer the pangs of sobriety!  We have smashed all the ale in the back,”  I nodded to Ax, “And now we shall finish the job”!  At which point Ax threw his ax into the barrel of ale over Carl’s head, which splashed  the aforementioned Orc’s head with water-cut ale.  “Viva Yondalla” ! I cried, then made a hasty exit toward the door, followed closely by Ax.   There was a horrible moment of silence, and I thought my plan may not work, then I heard a “Don’t let those halflings get away with smashing all my beer!  Get em boys!” with a base voice that could only have been Carl.  At that point, there was a sound of tables moving and weapons being drawn, and I think maybe a crossbow being set with a quarrel?  I looked at Ax and said “Its Working”!   Ax actually talked back, “ I know it’s working, run faster.”

    The rat could hardly believe his luck!  Assisted by a two legs, and that nasty cast was out of the way!  The gray rat quickly sneaked  out of his hole and began to nibble delightfully on the wonderful meal, and his nose twitched at the smell of yet more of this bonanza.  He quickly gobbled another piece, then went on  to the next.  However, He grabbed the next piece but then his whiskers twitched in alarm as the cat got up and pounced at him!  He ran halfway down the next corridor, then lost his piece of biscuit as he dove into another hole, evading a swipe.   The crumb was now leading down a very different corridor…

     Glow quickly turned on the speaker,  and batted her pretty blue eyes.  “Trust me sir, when I say that there is no way,  I was there after all.”  The cleric turned an interesting shade of purple at the interruption in the ceremony. He screamed at his flock,  “I don’t even know who this girl is, but I have never even seen her before!”    “All I ask for is to have him prove it,”  exclaimed Glow to the assembly.   The crowd seemed to be a little disinclined to believe the girl over the cleric, but then from the crowd, sort of close to the ground, to Glow’s half-elven ears, came a remark.  “Yeah!  Let him prove it, it will be fun if nothing else!”  More voices chimed in for there to be proof that the assembly would not displease the dark god with a false sacrifice.  The hooded cleric started to plead and threaten for order.  “Silence!  Your babbling is disturbing the dark lord!”  But public opinion seemed to be getting the better of the situation, and several members in cloaks and hoods, one of them seemingly a little too small for his outfit, approached the girl to determine for themselves if the girl was indeed a proper sacrifice.  Jimmy talked to himself as he drew a dagger and approached the girl.  That guy in back was easy to take out.  This is going far too well, I guess I don’t need Face’s plan to save the girl, whatever hair-brained scheme he came up with, and won’t the boss just beam with pride at my successful rescue!  Oh wait, Eric had a plan, something is going to go wrong.   Just at that moment, the cathedral doors opened, and two panic guards went inside, yelling an alarm.

     Eric and Ax raced through the night, and a crossbow bolt pierced the space between there heads as they ran.  “Damn!  The guy has shot on the run!”  exclaimed our hero as he watched another crossbow bolt slam into the door of the fast approaching cathedral and in-between the started guards.   Eric Shouted out a warning to the temple guards.  “The Home Health League of Yondalla shall put an end to your foulness!”  The mob behind thought he was talking to them, and so did the temple guards.  Counting the opposition, the guards quickly opened the door, not being paid enough to take on a whole roused mob by themselves. 

    As our hero and his army of avenging bar patrons or rather Yondallians, stormed the temple, Eric headed for the fair red-head on the alter that some short guy was about to sacrifice!  Would Eric be in time to save the fair maid?

Rushing by his sister, mmm, something was odd about that,  Eric heard the assembly and the bar patrons start a good fashioned brawl on the temple floor.  The Guy at the alter was just too quick though, and slashed at the girl!  Crying out in alarm, Eric bowled into the masked murder and stared into Jimmy’s face as his hood came off.   His own friend was trying to kill his beloved!   Eric gasped in surprise, unable even to think of why Jimmy would do such a horrible thing.  He must be a Banite!   Ax reaching the girl, drew a knife and completed the job of cutting the girl loose,  giving the girl a hand up, he kicked Eric in the ribs and grunted for him to get off Jimmy.

      “But Ax! He killed her!  Now I’ll never get to kiss her or anything.”  “Eric, you idiot, Hairless was cutting her free, and your little tirade is threatening our escape,  the girl is fine, but she won’t be if we don’t get out of here,”  Shouted my sister.  “oh, right, I knew that,  I was just seeing if you knew… or something.”   I  bounced up and turned around and found myself looking at a pair of gorgeous purple eyes.  Then the eyes spoke?  “Don’t worry, my brave rescuer, I’ll reward thee with a kiss when we have made good our escape.”    I heard Ax grunting something about she talked to him, and now I’ll have to carry him, lets go.  I let out a cry of indigence,   as my stalwart companion immediately made good his threat, and the eyes disappeared and a the floor appeared.   As we made a mad dash for the stairs leading to the balcony, Ax muttered about it would be terrible if he ran out of strength and had to drop me down the stairs since I had been stingy with the biscuits.    I was a little concerned he would carry out his threat, and he let me go as I started violently struggling.    The evil cleric looked at the brawl in despair.   “I have to sacrifice that girl before midnight, or my god shall be very displeased.”   At that moment, the clock struck the first note of midnight.  Cursing, the Banite thought to himself,   “I would have been fine if it hadn’t have been for those meddling kids.  They are going to pay dearly for this!”  The cleric drew his magical blade and headed up the stairs, deciding he would sacrifice five instead of one to make up for the interruption. 

Ah, love.  No matter how many times I experience it,  or what form it takes, it always leaves be breathless.   Might as well say it, even as Face, I was addicted to love.

-- Sir Eric Meadowlark


Chapter  4   Eric Receives his First Kiss


     We raced down the corridors in a blind panic, following the trail of biscuit crumbs.  Down a long corridor, that instead of leading to a window, led to a door.  Hearing footsteps behind us, Hairless quickly picked the lock, and we rushed into the next room.  “Face, I don’t think this is the right way,  said my sister, stating the obvious.  Jimmy was busy jamming the lock behind us.  “Click”.   “It’s all right, the door should buy us some time, let’s find another way out,”  Jimmy chimed in.   We raced down a corridor to another door, this time unlocked.  We entered a room that looked like a sitting room.   We all noticed a very large looking black bird that was perched on a stand.   The bird looked at us and cocked it head, then it spoke!  “You are all going to pay for this!”  Glow and the red-head screamed really loudly.   Ax took a look at the bird and punched it.   Things tend to fall unconscious when Ax hits them, and the bird was no exception.  I looked at Jimmy, then at the fallen avian.  “Are talking birds worth anything?”  Jimmy replied “Sure, trained animals are worth a lot of money.”   “Oh,”  I replied and stuffed the bird into by backpack.   Then we heard a door being hit with a shoulder.

     We raced into the next room, which had three doors.  It was the evil clerics bedroom!  There were all sorts of symbols and strange rune circles in the room,  The bed was complete with manacled girl on the bed!   I was going to get to save two girls today!  I walked over some chalk symbols, ignoring a vague warning about not stepping on the wards?  I reached the girl on the bed, and she rose up from under the sheets, she had lovely pointed teeth and bat wings.   And made this strange hissing noise, and tore the manacles from the bed like they were paper.  We all teleported into the next rooms somehow, as the evil cleric entered the bedroom.  There were six rooms, all connected by a long corridor.  I happened to be with Ax and the read-headed girl, lI was leading the fligh into the next room, and Glow and Jimmy headed the other way.  As luck would have it, the demoness was still bound by the wards.  The Cleric decided to chase us, most likely because the “sacrifice” was with us.  We ran into rooms and slammed doors and threw various expensive looking objects at the cleric chasing us.  It got a little confusing and everyone was running everywhere.  I heard Jimmy passing me in the hall going the other way say something to Glow about she would look good in manacles.  Then a yelp of pain.  A few soft clicks and rustling about in various drawers, at one point, I think I was chasing the cleric instead of him chasing me at one point.  I remember stopping to look at the demoness for a while, then someone dragging me off.  Finally, Jimmy got the door at the far end of the corridor open, and we all raced down the new passageway with the cleric close behind.  And we came to another large window!.  Unfortunately, the window had been bricked over!  We were trapped!

     The cleric, slightly winded, he was wearing a mask after all, stepped forward, a glowing short sword in his hand.   “Now you will all pay!  You will all be joined in death tonight!”   I looked at Ax, and he reached for his ax, which was unfortunately stuck in an ale barrel at Carl’s.  The cleric bashed Ax over the head with the hilt of the sword, and Ax sunk to the ground.  I couldn’t let him hurt my friends! I made a heroic dive under the cleric’s legs, scaring his leg with my dagger as I passed, and stood up on the other side of him.   The cleric whipped around, and I saw the blade descending towards me.  I knew it was the end, my life was to be cut so very short.  I heard three thunks, followed by a clatter of metal on stone, as the blade sort of fell from the cleric’s hand, and cut my arm.  The cleric fell over, and I saw Jimmy and Glow in perfect double dagger throwing positions.  The cleric had three daggers buried in his back.  Jimmy looked at Glow.  “I keep telling you that you will never hit with your off dagger when you throw it that way.”   Moral of the story, don’t turn your backs on rouges with back stab.  

    I picked up the cleric’s glowing sword, and my hand was drawn to his pocket for some reason.   There was a very odd looking stone, which I put into my pocket.  The girl introduced herself as Rose, and delivered on her promised kiss!  My mouth felt all tingly, and a ran my fingers through her hair.  She looked at me with sad eyes.  “Alas, I’ll most likely never see my brave gallant again, I expect.  that they will not let me out of lock and key the bard college for a long time.  With that she slowly slinked away. I followed her movement until she was gone, then let out a sigh and said two words to the mingled groans of Glow and Jimmy.  “Bard School…”


The End


Watch for the next exciting Lark adventure, where our hero has a bit of trouble getting into bard school, and a cleric of Yondalla, and a certain half-orc pay our hero a visit…


See you then

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