A little fan fiction for your enjoyment.
It was a calm night, the moon was full and the stars shined. The constellation of Jora the Minotaur was overhead. It was the 4th day of the month of the Red Dragon and my companion and I just sat down and ordered a couple of ales at Gilgamesh's Tavern. I like to go to Gilgamesh's on the nights when the local Bards are in town to be entertained by their songs, poems, and sometimes bawdy tales. That night was a rare treat. The Bard was none other than Pinky the Wobbly Porkul! Pinky's tales are legendary throughout the kingdom of Dimento. Pinky started off the night with his usual flair and quirky poems. Once the crowd was warmed up, Pinky told a different kind of tale. A kind far removed from his usual Priests daughter meets farmer or Ogres are stupid jokes. Pinky told a heartwarming story, a heroic story. A story of friendship and sacrifice. A story of honor and duty. Pinky told a story about the early days of the Tribulation of Illfalo.
The tribulation was a time when there was a loss of mana in the land. The magicians guild was at a loss to what to do. They started hiring mercenaries and adventurers to get to the bottom of the crisis. One such adventurer was a former soldier named Arjuna Firebane. Arjuna was a veteran of the White Bear Wars and was sick of pointless wars but liked being paid to fight, it's what he was good at. Arjuna was proud, arrogant, and self reliant. He was a self made man and after a lifetime of taking orders he was ready to call his own shots. Arjuna answered the call and soon set out. Onward to fame and glory. Even though he was told time and again to travel in groups, he would have none of that. So one day after going it alone he accepts what seems to be an easy assignment. A man in town asks him to find his missing friend. "Sure, sure, whatever. How much?" was Arjuna's typical haughty response. The man offers him a reward and tells him to go to Chikor Castle. Arjuna heads to the old run down castle and thinks to himself, "Should be a piece of cake, all the monsters have probably died of boredom by now". As the adventurer moves through the ruins he comes upon a rotten kobold, "He's already half dead. What a joke" he muses before dispatching him. Our intrepid adventurer spies a gate and a set of stairs, he opens the gate and proceeds down. Another gate, he opens it and goes into the room. The room is teeming with undead. Arjuna never considered this, "none the less, they shall fall too" he thinks. One falls, then another, then another, and another, and they keep coming. Three, four, five fall, Arjuna's armor is becoming sticky with putrid blood and the stench is becoming unbearable, worse he begins to tire. Now exhausted he is becoming less able to hold them off. The undead get a hold of his armor and pull themselves inside of his shield and sword. Now he can no long hit them with his sword, he tries to push them off with his shield and his sword hand but to no avail. Arjuna is drowning in the undead. Then suddenly there comes pain, in his leg, his arm, then his back. The undead have found the gaps in his armor. The weight of the undead pressing on him and the pain force him to the ground. Blood begins to well up in his eyes. All Arjuna can do at this point is curl up and pray. Arjuna feels a surge of heat, and can no longer see. He can only feel the constant pounding on his armor and the tearing of his flesh. Arjuna no longer feels pain and longs only to sleep.
Arjuna feels a new sensation, dragging. He can only assume this is the dead dragging him off somewhere to devour him. The hapless adventurer hears something faint that seems to be far off, maybe in a cloud somewhere. It's a sound he has heard before. It's the sound of steel. Arjuna doesn't know where it is coming from and cares not, he is dying. The sound of steel and the sensation of dragging comes from the same place. Adventurers have found Arjuna or the bloody mess of whats left of him. The adventurers are a band of heroes who have joined together in common brotherhood, friendship, service, and honor. The heroes pull the fallen one from the room and setup a makeshift camp. Over a couple of days they nurse Arjuna back to health. "Why are you doing this? Why did you rescue me?", he asks. Tabitha their leader answers, "because it was the right thing to do". Tabitha goes on to introduce the others who helped rescue him. Theres's Silk the Honorable, Kancer the Bold, and Taban the Mighty, who's exploits in the Temple of Oblivion have been told for generations. Tabitha explains that she is the leader of a band of adventurers who fight for what is right and honorable. Loyalty, duty, and friendship bind the group together and that even if a member is questing by themselves they are not truly alone, a call for help will be answered. With the crisis in Illfalo, a criminal element has risen and is growing in strength. This band of adventurers will also stand in the way of those who would victimize the weak and innocent. Tabitha went on to tell the many tales and deeds done in the name of her band and extended an invitation to Arjuna who accepted without a second thought. Arjuna accepted her invitation that day not because they had saved him from the hands of the undead, but because in those days at the camp he saw what a family was like. Something he had wanted his whole life.
Pinky ended the evenings tale there and a dry eye was not to be found.