The Adventures of Garl and Odra Manyboots- Quick March

“All right, company! We have a long distance to go today, and I won’t have any complaints. No sirree, we must reach the Lower Willow Bow, and we will march as long as it takes! Even it takes longer than the day, we will go forth with our heads held high and weapons at the ready! Right, company, forward- march!”

Oh gods, this was going to be a long day. Sahsi groaned and almost fell into marching stance (or what she supposed marching stance was, she really didn’t know) when she realized that literally no one else in the party was falling in position and were just, well… walking. Like a normal party. No one was giving Turgut the time of day, despite all his grumbling about how marching was more efficient use of energy and pacing.

Elphira leaned in close and murmured into Sahsi’s ear, “Just ignore him. We’re take a break for lunch and we’ll stop once it gets too dark to see.”

“Oh.” Thank the gods. “I can see in almost no light though, so…”

“I mean, I do too. Tynos can’t though, and I think Turgut’s a little nearsighted. Explains why he’s shit with a crossbow,” Elphira patted Sahsi’s shoulder, “just let him prattle on. He’ll make for good meat for the grinder if shit goes sideways.”

Ah. Right. This wasn’t like the other parties Sahsi had been temporarily recruited into, where everyone was a team. Crowley’s peers were just as likely to throw her to the wolves as they were likely to save her. And at least one of them would gladly throw her an anchor rather than a rope if she was drowning.

Wick was up front, talking with Crowley as if they didn’t have a hostage leading the charge into the kingdom of the hags. It was going to be fine, Sahsi told herself as she stuck in the middle of the group. As long as she held up her end of the bargain, Wick would let her go. At least she hoped he would.

“You’ll get to go home.”

It was like Elphira read her mind. The half drow didn’t look sympathetic or anything, just matter of fact. “We’re all pretty cut throat around here, it’s how you make it around people like Crowley. However, Nalthea, you call her Thunderwarrior- she’s pretty serious about deals and contracts. It’s part of her code, you say you’ll do something, well you better do it. She was there when Wick promised your freedom in exchange for the death of Matilda. If he tries to go back on it-” Elphira drew a line across her throat.

Sahsi nodded, reaching up to touch her throat. “And I’ll hold my part of the deal. Even if he tried to kill me…” she glanced back up to Wick. “He’s doing it because he’s hurt. What happened to him was wrong, and I’ll help make that right.”

Elphira snorted before she started giggling. “Oh- oh my gods, you’re doing it because it’s ‘right’? Even though he was about to gut you like a sacrificial lamb?” She patted Sahsi on the head. “You’re so stupid, it’s cute.”

Sahsi scowled, balling up her fists to prevent herself from swatting Elphira’s condescending hand away. “Just because I try to do the right thing doesn’t mean I’m stupid,” she said coldly.

“Ooooh, it’s not a bad kind of stupid. It’s the ‘you know nothing’ kind of stupid,” Elphira leaned down to look Sahsi in the eyes. “It’s the naive kind of stupid where you really think that ‘good’ and ‘bad’ means something in the long run. You can keep that delusion, it’s nice that there’s still some people who thinks it matters.”

“It does though,” Sahsi insisted.

Elphira chuckled again before she picked up the pace to catch up to the goliath, who perked up upon noticing Elphira and immediately struck up an animated conversation.

Crowley really surrounded himself with a coldblooded pack, hadn’t he? Sahsi glanced among the group, between the two bickering hobgoblins, the oathbreaking aasimar and his revenge obsessed genasi, the upbeat but apparently brutal goliath and the jaded half elf… Sahsi was really alone here.

Her foot caught on a branch and she yelped as she fell to the ground, bouncing her face off the ground once or twice before she even realized what had happened.

Ow.

“Hey, you okay?”

Sahsi peeled her face off the dirt path to look up at Tynos. The final party member, the satyr. His strange eyes looked at Sahsi with genuine concern as he offered her one of his hands. “You didn’t hurt yourself, did you?” he asked.

Sahsi took the offered hand and pulled herself up. “I’m okay, I’m okay. Thank you. I didn’t spot you for a bit, did you wander off?” she asked.

“Oh, yeah,” Tynos grinned sheepishly before lifting up a basket. “We passed a bush full of blueberries, so I figured I’d fall back to pick them and catch up in a bit! I’m pretty fast, so I had the time! You want some?”

Well. Perhaps not all of the party were cold. Sahsi smiled before taking a few berries. “I’d love some, thank you,” she said before popping the handful in her mouth. They immediately burst in her mouth, nice and juicy. “Oh! These are so good!”

“Good to know! I’ll probably add them to dinner, you think some blueberry pancakes will be good?” Tynos practically did a little dance as he walked alongside Sahsi. “Or I could reduce it to a sauce, pour it over some venison if Turgut manages to shoot a deer along the way. He’s a really good hunter, he could probably make a living off of it if he wanted.”

“Both of those sound delicious!” Sahsi nodded excitedly. “They make a good path snack at least for now.”

Tynos’ fluffy ears happily flipflopped and Sahsi was already feeling better. Then they tilted down as Tynos looked down at his feet.

“I… I want to apologize to you, actually.”

Sahsi frowned. “Why?” she asked.

“I mean, he would’ve gotten you any other way, but I didn’t have to help, I just…” Tynos sighed as he kicked an acorn, watching it bounce down the path before he continued. “I was the one who gave Wick the herbs to drug your beer. Wick had told me you were another hag in the making, and he’s… really convincing, I really believed you were like the others.”

Oh. Wow. Sahsi dimly remembered the satyr chatting with everyone at the tavern, but she’d not thought he’d really- wow. That kind of hurt a bit. “Others?” she asked, choosing to focus on that.

“He’s killed a lot of hags, and hexbloods too.But the hexbloods were usually paired with hags, you’re the first I’ve seen that wasn’t with a hag.” Tynos’ ears twitched again. “That… probably should’ve clued me in that you’re not a normal hexblood huh?”

“I mean,” Sahsi bit her lip, “I don’t think I could be the only hexblood out there that isn’t studying under their mother or teacher. Not every hexblood is even born, even- a lot of them are cursed, or the result of tangling with the wrong fae magic.”

“… Oh.”

Tynos turned away, raising a hand to hide his face. “I… I didn’t really know. I mean, the only hags and hexbloods I’ve met seemed mean. But you’re probably right, I don’t really like it when people assume things about me just because I’m a satyr, so… should I just shut up?”

“No, you can keep talking,” Sahsi said with a smile. “I have to say, you’re not really like everyone else here.”

“It’s kinda obvious, huh?” Tynos rubbed the back of his neck. “You’re probably right though. I’m a bit soft. But I owe Crowley and Wick, and I won’t leave them until that debt’s paid.”

Sahsi glanced down at Tynos’ golden hoof, trying to be subtle about it. Tynos caught it though and he nodded. “Yeah, everything to do with that. I can tell you-”

“You don’t have to!” Sahsi held up her hands. “If it’s too painful, anyway. I can understand painful memories.”

“It’s okay, it’ll hopefully help me make sense to you.” Tynos kicked his golden hoof up in the air. “It’s not really a big, complicated story anyway, I’m not like Wick. Everything was pretty normal for me at the temple I lived at, there was a lot of priests for Shepa, and being a satyr the people thought I had a better connection with him since he’s the god of shepherds. But then a bunch of orcs came tromping through our lands and chased us out. Most of the others got away, but… I didn’t. I was cornered, down a hoof, and they were threatening to turn me into mutton when out of nowhere,” Tynos snapped his fingers. “There they were! Wick lit one of their heads on fire and it got their attention off of me, long enough so I could escape. Turns out Crowley was out there to collect a bounty on the orc chieftain. I was hiding in the woods, I managed to heal myself enough so I wasn’t bleeding out anymore, and they caught up to me. I couldn’t thank them enough, so I offered to tag along to see if I could make it right. Soooo, here I am.”

Sahsi nodded slowly. “Did they help you get the new hoof too?” she asked.

“That was all Wick. He found someone who made fake feet and they found a way to make me a new one! It’s just as good as the old one, even if sometimes it feels like it hurts,” Tynos twisted his mouth, “it’s apparently a common thing if you lose a leg or an arm. It’ll feel like pins and needles, even if it’s not there anymore.”

“I’m glad that Wick could help you though,” Sahsi said.

“I am too! I like walking too much to give it up!”

The pair giggled until Turgut shouted, “Quiet in the ranks! More marching, less lip flapping! This is the most unprofessional- OW!”

Kendrenal’s wild giggles echoed off the trees. “Oopsiiiee! I was testing out one of my new inventions, I didn’t meanto shock you!” he said.

Sahsi and Tynos turned to see Turgut shaking his arm out while Kendrenal cradled a little metal knick knack between his hands. Turgut scowled at Kendrenal. “Mutiny! Insubordination! I’ll have your guts for garters!” he shouted before taking a swing at Kendrenal.

Kendrenal ‘eep’ed’ and ducked before running away, Turgut hot on his heels. “Don’t hurt Sir Frederick! He’ll be a loyal member of the party!”

“I’ll take that Sir Frederick and shove it right up your-”

“Languaaaage! He’s just a baby!”

“Give it here right now or you’ll spend the entire night polishing the entire unit’s weapons!”

“Don’t listen to it, Sir Frederick, it’s just loud and crass.”

“And again with the ‘it’! You have disrespected me for the last time!”

The pair of hobgoblins continued to run circles around the party that was currently losing their minds laughing. Even Crowley couldn’t hide a grin when Kendrenal managed to stick his leg out and trip Turgut, causing the older hobgoblin to fall into the bushes.

Of course, that would be when a pack of bandits would pop out of the trees, demanding their gold or their lives.

Sahsi learned very quickly despite their jovial natures the moment before, the second you tried taking anything from Crowley you might as well have your coffin ready.

This was going to be a long, long adventure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.