The Chronicles of Gabriel Stone

Gharik

Newbie III
Chapter One - The Beginning​

I am a wanderer. Raised by my father in the woods near Yew. My father taught me to live off the land like the Natives of old. Each of the world's creatures is to be respected. If an animal is killed, all of its resources are to be used, never wasted. The creatures of the forest are my only true friends. I treat them as if they were my own flesh and blood, and they offer me protection in return. The birth of each new friend is celebrated, each death mourned.

We weren't always living in the forest... We lived in the city of Vesper once, many, many years ago. I was very young and remember little about the city itself. It was a simpler time, when my father still smiled. Before the death of my mother...

Trolls attacked the city, I can still see the flames in my mind's eye. My mother was cut in half by a monstrous Troll wielding an ax the size of a teenage child. I can only hope her death was quick and painless.

My father rushed me out of the house and into the safety of the forest. We never stepped foot in a city again. I should say HE never stepped foot in town again. After he passed in one of the worst winters Sosaria has seen in centuries, I felt the the voice of adventure calling to me. It told me to prepare for my journey back to my homeland... Vesper, I'm coming.
 

Gharik

Newbie III
Chapter Two - Preparing for the Journey​

After my father's passing, I no longer felt the need to hide in the forests of Yew. I yearned for something more... Adventure perhaps?

Knowing that the journey to Vesper was a long and arduous one, I decided to sneak into the sheep pens. These poor creatures... They've never lived a life of freedom. After sheering the sheep, I killed them quickly and painlessly for their meat. I then sneaked into the local tailor shop and spun the wool into cloth for bandages. I had very little knowledge of first aid, but they'd come in handy to bind the wounds of the creatures that chose to join me along the way. I purchased a bedroll with what little money I had and I cut some kindling from a nearby tree with my knife. I was finally ready for my adventure.

I set off to the North East sticking to the forest and avoiding the roads, befriending several bears as I walked. I was surprised to see how many houses littered the land.

"It seems humans are intent on ruining the natural beauty of this land" I said to my furry friends, shaking my head.

I came across a wondrous blue portal a few hours into my trip. With the exhilaration I haven't felt my entire life, I entered the glowing-blue mass. I felt a strong tug behind my navel and was worried I'd be sick, but the trip was short. After collapsing to my knees, I found myself in what seemed to be a small town of tradesmen. As I gasped for air, most of these men pointed and laughed saying something about, "foreigners" and "rookie gaters." However, when my host ferocious looking beasts plowed through the portal, the laughter ceased.

Knowing that I shouldn't stick around too long, I asked for directions to the nearest town. One of the shaking craftsman pointed North and mumbled something about a city named Britain.

I set off in that direction, finding comfort in the shadows of the forest. After a few hours walking, I stopped to consult my map.

Wow!I thought to myself. That terrible blue anomaly cut my journey in half!

As I began to realize just how long this adventure was going to take, I decided I would need a mount. I walked for a few more hours until the outskirts of the city came into view. I left my band of bears in the forest to avoid making another unusual scene and crept into what I assumed was the stable. Once I let my eyes adjust to the change in lighting, I quickly moved toward a beautiful white stallion and began to friend him. After giving him some carrots that I'd foraged, I hastily began to lead him out of the stable.

"Hey!!" I heard and angry voice shout. "Stop thief!!! GUARDS!!!!"

Cursing silently to myself, I jumped onto the horse's back and dashed off into the forest to meet up with my traveling companions. Hearing the clank of metal, I rode as hard as the beast would carry me. The angry shouts faded quickly and I melted into the shadows like the experienced forester my father taught me to be. After rounding up all of my loyal friends I turned back to portal.

Once I arrived, night had fallen and most of the traders had turned in for the night. Not wanting to jump through the portal again, I dismounted and threw myself in anyway.

This trip seemed to have gone a bit smoother. After collecting myself and my companions, I turned East. All I knew was Vesper was East, with its back to the sea. Being completely lost after that jump, I thought it best to just keep my feet on solid ground. As luck would have it, I found myself at a bridge with a sign that said, "Welcome to Vesper!" I heaved a sigh of relief. It would seem that the portals in the forests took you to where you needed to go, even if you had no idea where you needed to go yourself. Not caring what the townsfolk thought, I marched into Vesper on my white stallion with the bears walking in a protective circle around me.

As I walked up to the house I vaguely remembered living in as a child, I was stopped by an old, but strong voice. "Gabriel? Is that you?"

I turned quickly and judging by the sympathetic smile on the stranger's face, he must have seen the confusion on mine plain as day. "It is you!" The strange old man said. "We thought the Trolls had carried you off during the invasion lad. You probably have no memory of me. I'm your Uncle, Argile."

Seeing the exhaustion on both my face, and in the demeanor of my furry friends, he invited my into his home. After securing the bears and horse in his small stable with some much deserved food and water, he brought me a glass of wine. I told my tale of running off to Yew with father and explained of his passing this last winter. Uncle Argile sat patiently and listened intently. When I mentioned my desire for a bit of adventure, his ears seemed to perk up.

"Well lad, you get that from your mother's side of the family. She and I would spend weeks fighting off bands of orcs, undead, and giants in our youth. If it's adventure you seek, you should seek out a cave to the West. There is plenty of evil that needs to be cleared out of Covetous, but first, you must rest."

Suddenly I felt very aware of just how tired I was. After Argile showed me to the spare room, I quickly undressed and slipped into bed. Covetous I thought to myself as I drifted off.
 

Gharik

Newbie III
Chapter Three - An Unexpected Friendship​

When I woke, I headed downstairs to the kitchen. Uncle Argile had a hearty breakfast waiting for me on the table. I must admit, eggs fried in bacon grease, crispy bacon, fried potatoes, and biscuits with some sort of dark berry jam definitely beat foraging for vegetables any day. After I had my fill, I grabbed my provisions and headed to the stables. Argile had apparently taken the liberty of feeding my companions and saddling the horse with an old, but elegant saddle.

He must have noticed my admiration of the saddle. Argile smiled and said, "The saddle belonged to your great grandfather. He pulled some Tanner's daughter out of the dungeon known as Shame. The Tanner was so overcome with gratitude that he spent weeks piecing this saddle together for him."

"Anyway, since I no longer have use for this saddle, I'm giving it to you. May it bring you fortune in your adventures to come."

I nodded politely and began my journey West, to Covetous.

The trip took several hours. I stopped frequently to forage reagents and to feed my companions. When we arrived, the dungeon didn't seem to be of any great significance. It simply looked like a large hole in the wall in the mountain, perhaps made by prospectors seeking their fortune. I entered the dark cave with nothing but my lantern to light my way and my heart in my throat.

This is what my life should have been. Not enduring harsh winters out in the open and fighting starvation. I thought to myself.

Upon entering Covetous, the pack of bears immediately took up their defensive circle around me. It took many agonizingly slow movements to get past all of the fire traps at the entrance, but we made it through mostly unscathed. Two bears were mildly charred, but I applied a salve made from mint leaves and wrapped them in the bandages I brought.

Once I had finished, we set off again. Nothing could prepare me for what I encountered next. A pack of fiendish looking she-birds rushed headlong at my companions and I. The bears fought ferociously and I cast a few simple spells to keep the fight tilted in our favor, but my limited knowledge of the Arcane Arts left me feeling helpless. The battle raged on, but suddenly I heard hoof beats speeding up from behind.

Great, what the hell am I going to do now? I cursed to myself.

The two figures on horse pack charged past me into the fray of the battle. One skewered one of the hags on his long spear. The other hacked at another with his sword and bashed with his kite shield. Soon, the fight was won and the majority of the harpies had scattered.

The man with the blade and shield raised his visor, "Hail sir! What a valiant fight! Are these your beasts?" he said eyeing my traveling mates cautiously.

"Yes." I said, patting one of the bears lovingly on the head.

"Fascinating! They protect you as if you were family, and they fight with such rage - Oh! Where are my manors? My name is Sturm. And this -" he pointed at his bulky companion, "is my traveling companion. I've since given up on trying to pronounce his name. Orcish isn't a language they taught in school."

An Orc?!?! I thought to myself anxiously.

"My name is Gabriel Stone. And these -" I gestured to the bears, " are my friends. We've traveled from the forests of Yew seeking adventure."

"That's quite a distance! You certainly came to the right place for adventure Gabriel, but be weary, there are far worse things in this dungeon the deeper into it you travel." Sturm said somewhat more seriously than before. I nodded slightly. "Would you care to join us Gabriel? We could use a man of your talents, we are but simple warriors."

"It would probably be wise. As it stands, I owe you a debt of gratitude for the assistance anyway." I said.

"Grand! I pity the monster that dares to face us this day!" Sturm said more energetically that I think he meant to.

We divided up the treasure from the fallen harpies and began our journey deeper into the cave. We traveled for a few hours and weren't met by much excitement. A giant rat here... a slime there... Then we came upon a room slightly smaller than the one we found the harpies in. We were met by three evil-looking flying eyes. Sturm gasped, the Orc grunted, and I began to pull out a few choice reagents in preparation for the fight to come. Sturm charged in first, followed by the bears. The Orc shook his head slightly, then followed in with inhuman speed. These eyes were a far greater foe than we anticipated. They began to cast dark magic without warning, dropping one of my bears instantly. Rage filled my heart, and I charged in fists raised.

The fight lasted for what seemed like hours, but was probably closer to just a couple of minutes. After the dust had settled, I looked around and my heart sank. Six of my beastly brothers had perished. Only one had lived through the battle. Sturm looked shaken and bloody. The Orc still had the fury of battle raging in his eyes, but it was fading quickly. There was no time to mourn the lost of my friends, hurried foot steps could be heard in the distance. Foot steps? No... talons

The Orc's ears perked up. "We have to leave! Quickly humans!"

No one hesitated, we ran for our lives. The harpies had returned, and they were gaining on us. The last remaining bear looked back and stopped. "No!" I said. "Follow me! We're leaving!" He shook his head and charged headlong into the throng of feathered hags. Judging by the screams, he took at least three or four of the harpies with him to the grave.

We dodged the fire traps nimbly and ran out into the daylight. Tears filled my eyes at the loss of my friends. Sturm patted me gently on the shoulder, "I'm sorry for your loss lad. They were valiant creatures and I will be forever grateful for their sacrifice." I nodded quietly.

"We need to leave this place quickly." The Orc said in his gruff voice.

I looked up as if seeing him for the first time. "We should head to Vesper, it's the closest town."

The walk back to Vesper was hurried and quiet. Once we reached the inn, we said our goodbyes and parted ways. I do not think this will be my last adventure with my newly discovered friends. I thought to myself.
 

Gharik

Newbie III
Chapter Four - The Journey East​



The short journey back to Uncle Argile's house seemed much longer than the journey to Covetous. With a heavy heart, I trudged back to the only family I have left. The loss of my traveling companions, as well as the battles with the horrors of the cave, drained any taste for adventure.

As I approach the house, I see Uncle Argile splitting some firewood. As I drew closer, I noticed he was swinging a massive hammer, not an ax. That seems like a strange choice of tools. He must be an uncommonly strong man for his age. I thought to myself.

Drawing closer to the house, stepped on a twig. Hearing the loud CRACK! broke Uncle Argile's rhythm. He spun quickly, hammer at the ready. Upon seeing the despair on my face, he lowered his hammer, giving me a meek smile. "I see Covetous still poses a significant challenge, lad. Where are your beastly companions?"

Tears welling in my eyes, "Dead..." The words caught in my throat as I relived the experience.

Argile nodded knowingly. "Loyal companions are difficult to come by. I didn't realize that cave had gotten so foul. Your mother and I cleared it out years ago. It would seem that the evil has returned... And festered."

I nodded slowly, "Harpies and Evil Eyes have overrun the cave. I was fortunate that two adventurers happened upon me. They assisted my bears in slaying the harpies, but the Eyes.... The Eyes were much too powerful for all of us. My bears sacrificed themselves so we could live."

As my voice trailed off, Uncle Argile replied, "Adventuring is a difficult, but rewarding life lad. Harpies and Gazers are among some of the lesser evils of this world. The Undead are truly powerful if you manage to delve deeply enough into Deceit. Demons and Balrons freely roam the lands. Dragons lurk in Destard. And those are even the worst Britania has to offer. Fortunately, you seem to have an innate ability to befriend creatures. If you were to spend some time perfecting that ability, you'd be able to control some truly powerful creatures. Dragons among them... I have a small ship docked in the harbor. After you've rested, grab some provisions and sale East. To Dagger Isle. There you will find some passive creatures to practice befriending. Dress warmly. Dagger Isle is relatively safe, but it is bitingly cold. Also, beware the dungeon, Deceit. The undead rule that cave. You are not ready to face that magnitude of evil."

The next morning I sprang out of bed, ready to face this new challenge. I stuff my backpack full of a few necessities and started off, towards Vesper Docks.

Upon arriving at the docks, a gruff, sun battered man approached me. "You must be Gabriel." He said in his gravely voice.

I nodded meekly

"Splendid! Let's get underway. The journey should only take a few days and with any luck, the weather will be on our side. Secure your provisions in the hold and assist me in casting off."

The trip was rather uneventful. The weather was incredibly pleasant and the water was quite calm. The three day journey allowed me to reflect on the challenges that I've encountered over my brief time as an adventurer. As well as the challenges that lie ahead. Was I cut out for this line of work? Was it sustainable? Sure I could live off of the land, but was I more happy living in the woods? I didn't have all of the answers. However, the calm sea did bring a certain peace. With that thought, I carried on.

"LAND!!!" Shouted the gruff tiller man.

I was shaken out of my daydream. land? I thought to myself. Now my next journey begins... Excitement filled my body. This was certainly the path I was meant to follow. An adventurer's life was the life I'd live.

The snow was beautiful and serene. We anchored and departed the small ship. The land was vast, and mostly flat. Littered with frosty-white wolves, snow cats, and massive polar bears.

I cautiously approached the first creature I saw. A large, white, polar bear. I slowly moved closer, a chunk of jerky in my outstretched hand. He saw me at first and seemingly ignored me, but when the jerky came out, he was far more interested. This was my mistake... The bear quickly turned and sprinted towards me. This is where I die. I thought to myself.

Frozen in fear, I merely stood there. The polar bear mistook this as me holding my ground. It came to an abrupt stop, inches from me. It sniffed the jerky and snatched it out of my house. After horking the jerky down in one swallow, the bear sat on its haunches and stared at me. As if waiting for more. I pulled another piece of jerky out of the pouch on my belt. This time, the bear was less enthusiastic. I was even allowed to scratch the top of its head. "I guess we're friends now? What shall I call you? How about... Frost?" The bear snorted in respond and licked my hand.

"Frost it is..." I said. Scratching behind his ears.

That was enough excitement for one day. I set up camp with Frost. After laying out my bedroll, I pulled my fur cloak close, and settled in to sleep. Frost settled in beside me. Shielding me from the frigid wind.
 
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