Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cold Gin Time Again

The wizard had spent the better part of the last decade drinking away his memory and skills in Daggerford, making money providing spells, scrolls, maps, and information to the mercenaries and adventurers that frequented the area. Gin wasn’t his real name but that’s what the locals took to calling him because it was all he ever drank and Gin was never seen without his favorite alcohol. He sometimes wondered why they didn’t call him cigar since he wasn’t ever seen without his favorite tobacco either. Besides smoke and booze, Gin’s height made him the tallest human in Daggerford, standing six foot eight. The wizard ate little and therefore was very thin, his hair a silvered blond, unkempt with perpetual stubble lining his face. Before drink and the comforts of Daggerford retired him, Gin had been a very successful wizard travelling throughout the North Coast regions of Waterdeep and the lands to the west that bordered Cormyr. The majority of his money and skill came from his adventures in the Troll hills south of Daggerford and the Serpent hills to the west. Due to this experience he was viewed as somewhat of an expert when it came to the ecology of region. Whenever a strange creature, track, or anomaly was found, it was common for the Duke of Daggerford to request that Gin go and see it for himself, then report back on what was found. In the last ten years these types of requests were the only things to inspire him to leave the comforts of the Lady Luck Inn.

It was two nights prior to cometfall, well past the time of any functioning sobriety, that several of the Dukes men came to the Lady Luck Inn and hoisted Gin up between them, walking him about the walled town, trying to get him sober enough to inspect a body that had floated down the Grayflow River. Gin protested to no avail that the body would still be dead by morning. One of the men holding up Gin laughed aloud at the mention of morning and reminded the wizard that he hadn’t seen a sunrise in at least five years and that it was important for him to gather himself together NOW. It took them a couple hours but Gin had sobered enough to gather his wizardly possessions along with his wits and head down to the river dock where the body was currently held.

The Duke of Daggerford had ordered the body pulled out of the river. Despite that occurring several hours before, several of the town’s militia still stood near and around the tent that had been erected around the creature’s remains. The smell was the first thing to hit Gin and he luckily didn’t have far to run to release the gin soaked contents of his stomach. Retching into the riverbed he could hear several militia men laughing at him, his tall gangly frame shaking with the violent spasms that only years of alcoholism provides. After the waves of nausea passed, Gin stared at his dark reflection in the star lit waters, momentarily overcome with rare self-loathing. Lighting another cigar, he returned to the tent.

The body was very large, at least 9 feet tall and thick, obviously a giant. Gin cast a few light spells so he could get a better look at the corpse. It was obvious that the river creatures had enjoyed many a meal as the corpse had floated down river towards the sea. While its face and watery condition had removed any identifying marks, Gin was quite certain that this was a Hill Giant, although what clan or variety he could not yet say. Further he could find no markings or wounds to indicate what had felled the large creature.

Several spells came to mind that could assist Gin but he was still shaking from his nausea and doubted that he would be able to maintain the concentration necessary to cast the spell. He would save that for tomorrow. For now he busied himself by thoroughly searching the corpse. When he was ready he called over to some of the militia men who had laughed at him and had them turn the body over. These men also were overcome by the smell and appearance of the giant and soon after turning the large body over found themselves releasing their meals into the river.

Gin smiled at the militia men’s illness and returned to his study. Passing his hands over the back of the giant, he found a strange large lump at the base of his neck. He almost paid it no mind, figuring it for a knotted muscle but his hands brushed a sharp edge causing him to inspect it further. Thankful for his magical lighting, Gin pried free a strangely shaped gemstone, a variety he was unfamiliar with. It wasn’t very large, no bigger than a child’s marble and was driven deep into the creatures flesh. Gin couldn’t be sure that it wasn’t imbedded as part of ritual scarring that some hill giant tribes practice. If it was ritual, the giant had it done shortly before his death. Gin placed the small gem in his pocket and continued his search. The wizard found two more gems, similar in size and material to the first. Each stone was driven deep into the giant’s flesh but to Gin’s surprise, he could find no marking on the gem from any tool. If hammered into the giant, the gem should have blunt markings on the side struck by the hammer.

Gin left the tent and lit a fresh cigar. Sighing to himself, he knew he must gather himself for a trip to Waterdeep. His dwarven friend Dart was an expert on two things, giants and gems. Of all his former adventuring companions, Dart was the only one who still sent him letters and didn’t judge him for his love of drink and paid for women. Dart had spent his last several years putting his knowledge to paper along with selling his knowledge to those in an immediate need of it. Even after all these years there was a great risk of his being seen with Dart by the wrong people…or creatures. He would have to use magic to hide his height. Gin returned to the Lady Luck Inn to sleep and prepare for his journey to Waterdeep. He wondered if Dart had been tempted to go the cemetery there and finally find out if Gin’s theory was correct.

1 comment:

James said...

Added Daggerford maps. :)