DP Gregoire Fiction - An Adventure Lost - Chapter 6: Down But Not Out
Monday November 16th 2020
The rain came down hard, it was cold and damp. Both Maegrin and Clambaugh were shivering. It was a miracle that they were able to continue after the savage beating they had given each other. It was an even bigger miracle that Clambaugh managed to miss every vital organ in Maegrin's body during the assault.
And yet troll stayed with these two. They saw it as an equal, sort of. They gave troll opportunities to make decisions at times, decisions that would effect all three of them. Troll liked this, troll liked this indeed.
Clambaugh lost use of his left hand after the combat he had with Maegrin. In fact, he forgot about the knife in his hand when the rain came down. He probably made it worse by springing up and dancing around, instead of carefully tending to it. Oh well, that was the last thing on his mind anyway. It has rained for 2 days straight, and he was sick of it.
Maegrin didn't seem to mind the rain, however. Maegrin suffered many stab wounds, various wounds, all bandaged and properly taken care of, and surprisingly not slowed down one bit. The rain was a soothing, welcoming addition to his life as of late, and he wouldn't want it any other way currently.
Since troll had the best senses, troll was tasked with keeping an eye out for food. Though troll wasn't much better than humans at spotting game, but don't tell them that, they still thought troll to be a magical fairy.
“Aye, what's that up ahead?” Maegrin slaps Clambaugh on the shoulder to gain his attention.
Smiling, Clambaugh looks Maegrin right in the eye, “Looks like shelter. A shelter with inhabitants.”
Both men laugh a stupid, but evil laughter. They were simple in their needs, and this was enough to keep their spirits high. The prospect of foul gotten gains that could be had by looting lonely cottages in the forest.
Troll was intrigued at the idea of a lonely cottage. What could be inside? Food? Water? Food?!? Perhaps food! Maybe a few domesticated animals for troll to mate with? Troll loves domesticated animals, they are way easier to mate with than those hard-to-catch creatures of the forest.
Denderin didn't move from his tent, for the rain did not cease. Though it has been a couple of days, this was good, because it afforded him the much needed relaxation. He was on a quick road to recovery.
The only downfall to all of this rain was that Denderin had to sustain himself on trail food, mainly pemmican. He had learned how to make pemmican at his time in university.
In fact, he learned many a skill in university, though he wasn't overly great at any of the skills, he was proficient enough to do the task at hand. I would compare him best to an apprentice in most skills, a jack-of-all-trades if you would. It has its uses, but not in civilized worlds, where journeymen and masters roam, no. Its use is practical application, such as this. That is where he shined. He could do a bit of everything, good enough to get by, but not great enough to make a living from it. And hence, why he hadn't found a niche in life yet, and decided upon this life of adventure & excitement.
Though he hadn't done much in the past week, to him it felt like everything. He's already journeyed far from home on his own. He's experienced a different culture through the halflings of Hearthbarrow. He was even able to chat with a wizard whom had many years of adventuring experience under his belt, and learn a lot on top of it.
'Damn, this book isn't as good as my life has been these past couple of days,' Denderin thought to himself. He put the book down, stripped off his clothes, opened the tent flap, and ran out into the rain.
He was struck with a moment of inspiration. His life was changing, for the better! He was going to do and see so many amazing things. Experience so many amazing experiences. Way better than the farm life he had lived all along!
Denderin was imitating martial arts moves that he'd imagine the monks in far off lands would do high up in their mountain temple grounds. Of course he didn't know what he was doing, but that didn't stop him from doing it. He was free to be alive! Free to do whatever he wanted! And nobody to stop or judge him!
Troll cautiously moved toward the cottage, slowly climbing up a wall. It peered inside, inspecting the household. It was hard to see, dark, a little illumination coming from a fire a room over perhaps?
“Whatcha see?” asks Maegrin.
“Noooothiiiiing,” replies troll.
“Nothin'? How the hell could you see nothin'?” a mad Clambaugh asks.
“Daaaark. It'sssssss dark,” troll says as silent as it could be.
“Look harder, you damnable fairy!” Clambaugh says with contempt.
“Clambaugh, don't upset the fairy,” Maegrin says cautiously.
Clambaugh's face grows red, “Don't you know some fairy magic or somethin'?”
Troll thinking of a way out of this one, “Yeeeeaaaah, I doooo. But I caaan't ussssssse it around humaaaaansssss.”
Maegrin smiles, and slaps a hand across Clambaugh's chest, “Agh, you hear that, Clambaugh? The fairy here can't use its magic while we're around. Let's give it space, kay?”
Clambaugh rolls his eyes, “Fine, fairy. We'll do it your way. Maegrin and I will walk over this way,” he points into the distant woods, “and we'll wait for you to finish whatever magic you do.”
Troll was pleased with this outcome, because that allowed troll to have more time to devise a plan, or even run away if troll so wanted. Troll instead decided to scuttle around the house, peeking into other windows, trying to get an idea of the situation inside the cottage.
“What ya spose that fairy is doin'?” Maegrin asks Clambaugh.
“Not sure. Not sure if I like it,” Clambaugh pulls Maegrin in closer, “I don't trust it. That fairy seems suspicious. I say at the first sign of trouble we dispose of it.”
Maegrin appalled at the idea, “Hurt the fairy? No way! I don't like that idea one bit, Clambaugh.”
Clambaugh trying not to get angry with Maegrin, “Listen, we might not have a choice, kay? Think about it. The fairy let us fight and nearly kill each other before it made the rain come. Now it's lookin' round that cabin there. It's prolly a trap. Prolly some fairy fortress filled with faeries that wish to kill and rob us,” Clambaugh's paranoia is at an all-time high.
Maegrin puts hand to chin in contemplation, “Hmmmm... you do have a point. I have an idea. I could keep an eye on the fairy, make sure it don't do anythin' stupid. And if it does I could tie it up and we could still use it for information. After all, it has been real helpful to us.”
Clambaugh realizing that he won't get a hundred percent cooperation with Maegrin on this matter at this time replies, “Yeah, tie it up. Sounds good,” and he mumbles to himself, “And stuff it in the ground.”
“Heeeeeaaaaagh! Get outta here, ya damn beast!” a voice yells from the distance.
“What ya spose all that yellin' is?” Maegrin seems startled.
Clambaugh seems to know, “Aw crap. C'mon, Maegrin, let's go get that fairy outta trouble.”
“YEAGH! YEAGH!” a middle-aged gentlemen brandishes a worn looking blade at troll. Troll dodging and evading attacks, scared for its life, the man trying his hardest to nail it.
“Sorry, sorry, we're sorry, sir,” Clambaugh calls to the man while running up, “It's our fault. We saw this cottage in the distance and had our companion here check it out. We woulda done it ourselves, but by the looks of us at the moment, we weren't in the best shape to do it.”
Maegrin understands the ruse, “Aye, we were attacked by bandits a bit back. They stabbed me up good, they did,” he goes to show his bandages.
The man pauses his assault for a moment, though he keeps his sword on-hand, “Bandits, you say?”
Maegrin looks to Clambaugh who then answers, “Aye, bandits. A dozen of 'em. Nearly killed us they did. We barely escaped with our lives. Only fell a few, we did. Stole all of our food and water, barely left us with the clothes on our backs and little supplies in our sacks.”
Maegrin chuckled to himself at the rhyme, “An' despite that, sir. We were blessed to find such a cottage in our time of need. Hopin' that kindly folk live here that could give us a night or two of hospitality.”
“Aye, so please, sir, don't take it out on the little fairy. It's not its fault, we just aren't in the best of shape, “Clambaugh flashes a toothy grin.
The man looks at both men sternly, and then back at the troll, 'Its not a fairy,' he thinks to himself. 'But those men don't seem the brightest, and look like they could use some help.' “Sure, you can spend the night here. I don't have much for beds, but a pile of hay and sacks. You can warm yourselves up and eat a fill of food. I'll let the misses know.”
Clambaugh & Maegrin look at each other with devilish grins, they then collect troll and make their way inside the cottage with the man.
Though badly sunburned, Denderin felt great. The rain helped soothe him, heal him. He felt invigorated, almost as if his spirit were renewed. Sure, troll was no longer with him, but that no longer bothered him. He felt he was invincible, and could do anything. He could not wait for this rain to subside so that he could continue his journey to Tatuague.
He didn't worry much about night, because he was far from the creatures of the wood. His campsite up on a small hill which rests on a barren plain. The only animals coming his way would be herbivores, grazers of grass. And those he didn't fear, for all they wanted were what grew around the tent, not what was inside of it.
Yet he couldn't be further from mistaken. As the scent of Denderin's camp had floated far and distant. It had carried over to a forest over yonder, and into a cave.
This was no ordinary cave, this cave was a den, this den was a bear den, this cave was home to a bear, a family of bears to be exact. A father bear, a mother bear, and their four bear cubs shared this den. However, something has disturbed the wildlife lately, driving the herd-like herbivores from their forests homes and out into the plains of grass. This left the bears with little food aside from berries, tree grubs, and honey combs.
This scent, this promise of food uprooted the bears from their den. The whole pack of bears followed the scent many, many miles. The rain bothered the bears little, they huddled together for warmth, plus the parents would bathe all the cubs at times.
It was near midnight when the bears came upon the camp. They saw a strange looking structure, a human structure with a faint glow coming from it atop a hill. All was quiet except for the storm brewing, the storm that has been brewing for a couple of days now.
Denderin lay back in his tent, reading a book by lamp light. He was bobbing his head, humming out loud a tune to his favorite song. He was enjoying life at this moment, and couldn't wait to see what the morning would bring.
Much to Denderin's surprise a bear cub came right into his tent, 'Odd,' he thought to himself, 'It's cute though.'
A second bear cub came right into the tent. They both started sniffing around, the two of them curled up next to him, pawing at nearby sacks, sniffing at them, hoping to catch a scent of food.
'Extremely odd, a second cub. Both so far away from the forest, and all by themselves,' he thought to himself in befuddlement.
Two more bear cubs had entered the tent, walking around pawing at stuff. They sniffed around, pawing at Denderin's belongings, trying to find out where the scent of delicious food was coming from.
This had alerted Denderin. The sudden appearance of four bear cubs. One was odd enough, and two was equally as odd. But four?!? This made him worry, and rightfully so. He was sure that where there were cubs there would also be a mamma bear. Or at least a papa bear.
Minutes had passed by, but for Denderin it had seemed like an eternity. The cubs had eventually found a place where Denderin had kept some food. He had a pemmican alternative, this one comprised of dried fruits and nuts. They were eating it. But not only that, they were also rough housing around inside the tent.
“Excuse me,” he calls to the cubs as they knock around the tent.
“Excuse me!” he calls to them again, they not paying attention to the timid human.
Surprisingly in all of their bear antics & acrobatics they did not manage to knock over the lamp. That would have been bad, spilling oil everywhere, catching the tent on fire. Luckily for all involved, that did not happen.
Growing excessively impatient Denderin yells to the cubs, “EXCUSE ME!”
“ROOOOOOOAAAAAAR!” the large head of a bear enters the tent as what appears to be a mamma bear roaring in protest at the screaming Denderin.
Denderin frightful for his life scuttles away from the entrance toward the back of the tent. He grabs the lantern as he scuttles back.
The large bear enters, leaving little to no room in the tent for little more else. It decides to sit down in the far corner. The bear had no reserves about picking one of Denderin's backpacks up with its mouth, using its paw to rip it wide open, the contents spilling all over the inside of the tent.
A tightness was coming over Denderin's chest. He was having a hard time breathing. His breathes came in quick, short, gasps of air. He was sweating all over, his pulse quickening.
A moment later a second even larger bear poked its head into the tent opening. It saw the excitement inside the tent, and tried to force its way in. The bear pushed forward with all of its might, its body not fitting through the small flap opening. The front end of the tent started to lift off of the ground, the opening ripping around the bear's body. After a long, hard struggle the bear finally managed to make its way inside of the tent, though it was bulging at the seams.
Denderin was freaking out. The bears were going to maul him to death. They were going to eat all of his belongings. They were going to break his stuff. He was going to die alone, on top of a muddy hill, stuck in a tent wreckage in the rain. Or worse, become bear poop. He needed to get out.
“YEEEEAAAAGH!” Denderin squeezed his way out of the tent, running like a madman for the hills. The bears paid him no mind, instead they rummaged through Denderin's things in the search for food.
Denderin ran, and ran, and ran until he slipped in the mud and slid down a hill. He found a little embankment into the side of a half-eroded hill. It sheltered him from the rain, and would have to do as a place to rest for the night. He didn't have his pillow, or his blanket. The only warmth he had was the warmth of the lamp he had taken with him. What was he going to do now?