The sound of heavy steps makes its way along the rocky road to the mining town. It seems as impressive as the town he left behind, which is not very.
"Trunau. They said seek the Gnomish wizard in Trunau. 'He knows what you're looking for - don't you worry,' they said," the hollow yet gravelly voice intoned in a somewhat defeated manner.
The cloaked figure pushes forward. It is massive. It's not terribly tall, standing a hair under six feet, but it seems almost equally as wide.
After what sounded like a sigh, although weirdly a sigh with no breath, the figure says, "OK. Here goes. Maybe they won't try to take me apart here."
After slowly getting to an area with a few of the locals, the figure pushes opens the cloak and pushes the hood back.
What's standing there is a mechanical humanoid - maybe an oversized mechanical dwarf given its proportions. Much of the frame is a brilliant deep dark wood that seems solid as stone, covered with interlocking plates of metal. Its jaw is square - literally. Where eyes should go are two green orbs from which wisps of greenish smoke escape. What's odd is that same greenish smoke could be seen escaping from a few loose seams in the woodwork. The smoke is a bit unnerving as it seems to have a life of its own as it dances away, a few sparks of crackling energy within the wisps.
"Oh, hullo! My name is Herd. I'm looking for a Gnomish wizard who lives here. Could one of you point me in the right direction?"
Jubilation fills the evening air in the normally staid town of Trunau, for it is the twelfth birthday of the Chief Defender’s youngest daughter, Ruby, and the townsfolk have been preparing all day for the ceremony and festivities to follow. A throng of spectators has amassed at the town Commons; the buzz of the crowd subsides as the weathered town leader, Halgra of the Blackened Blades, takes the stage and begins to speak.
“Thank you all for joining us this night. I take immense pride in my responsibility as Chief Defender, especially when it comes to the honor of the hopeknife ceremony. It is always a great privilege to bequeath Trunauan youths their hopeknives as they come of age.” Halgra stops speaking long enough to open an ornamental case and retrieve a slender, ornately decorated dagger hanging from a silver chain. “But tonight is a special occasion, for the recipient of this hopeknife is none other than my youngest daughter.” Once again, Halgra pauses, but this time she turns to talk to the child beside her.
“Ruby, by the traditions of our town, you have come of age. This hopeknife represents your responsibilities as an adult and defender of Trunau. You must be willing to use it on yourself, your fellow Trunauans, and your family—even me, should it come to that. It will be a far quicker death than that which the orcs will offer, and providing it is your duty. Do you swear to guard Trunau from all comers, and to use your hopeknife only for its intended purpose?” Ruby—dusky skinned, black haired, and painfully shy—nods her head in response to her mother’s question.
“If the orcs come, and there is no other option, this is where you cut—here, here, and here.” Halgra demonstrates which arteries to sever while Ruby watches. When she is finished, Halgra sheathes the hopeknife and places the necklace around Ruby’s neck before turning back to address the crowd.
“Tonight, Ruby becomes a full member of our community! Let us welcome her, and celebrate her passage into adulthood! Trunau forever!” The crowd echoes Halgra’s last words in unison, signaling the end of the ceremony.
Once Halgra finishes her speech, the townsfolk waste no time transitioning to the ceremony’s more lighthearted festivities, including a number of games in which Ruby is the key player. The first such game is tug-of-war, which traditionally pits the hopeknife receiver against Trunau’s best defenders.
Ruby is allowed to choose from the crowd 5 people to face the defenders in the tug of war contest. She walks through the crowd sizing everyone up.
Her first choice is Mozu... "You look strong." She continues to walk and chooses, Herd next. In due course she chooses all of the PCs and tells them they are her champions.
//Do you accept and become Ruby's champions for the tug-of-war game?//
Mozu, who was trying to keep himself inconspicuous with a hooded cloak covering most of his features and tough, red hide, is disappointed with how quickly he was picked out in a crowd. However, deciding to make the best of a bad situation, he nods, “I am. Victory will be yours, child.” He will assume the position! However, he can’t help but scoff at the idea that this is a “war.” Pathetic.
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DM - Elustran Days ~ Fate/False Revelation
Rex'aliha - Hoard of the Dragon Queen ~ Mozu of Worms- The Stormpoint Mountains ~ Muireach Maon- Shepherd’s Crossing ~ Crownsguard - Storm King’s Thunder ~ Gunnar Wayland -Boats, Rocks, and Ruffians ~ POUF!- Ex-Ravens ~ Pascal LaRoux - Long Road Dragon Heist
The gnome, with a shock of salt-and-pepper hair and a rather discombobulated appearance, scratches his head in surprise when selected. “Sure you pointed to the right person?” He mutters after Ruby.
Shrugging, he meanders over towards the others and extends a hand encased in a relatively massive glove. “How do you do? Curascious Flumplestump. How do you do?” He vigorously shakes any proffered hand, which mostly just ends up shaking his whole body rather than the arms of any of the others
Red closes his gaping mouth at the appearance of Herd, and recovers enough to say "I've seen a few gnomes here today, friend, I'm not sure which one of them isn't a wizard."
Red's green eyed gaze takes in the crowd and with practiced ease takes note of the various component pouches, guano stained fingers, and holy symbols present among them. He settles on a gnome and points: "maybe that one?"
Later, Red doesn't object to being named to the tug of war but wonders what about his unassuming frame caused the child to pick him.
Right as they start pulling, Curascious wipes his nose with his hand while wiggling his fingers, and mutters an incantation under his breath. He touches the crystal on a chain round his neck, and casts the grease spell underneath the competition.