I will not bother writing dates upon my entries as time moves differently for each person. By the time you read this, it will all be lost to legend.
Our journey begins, today, like all good stories; in a tavern. The jolly sounds of drunken revelry and lively music pour out of the inn’s open doors and poorly sealed windows. A dull glow from candle light makes it’s way through the dirty glass and softly illuminates the trees of the surrounding forest.
There we find, me, our hero, Rudolfo the bard. Rudolfo the minstrel of legends. The weaver of fantasy and reality. The truth bringer and entertainer. Rudolfo, the half-elf with full charisma. The player of both lute strings and heart strings, with a voice that would make angels weep. That’s me.
I sit upon a stump tuning my lute strings. I know they’re in tune, but I like to be certain. I wait patiently for the information on a job. It’s about time I attempted some honest work. I am joined by a rather motley crew of adventurers. None as dashing as me, of course.
Among them are two human fighters who later identify themselves as Ash and Eric. Ash is quiet, and I someone mistake his mustache for the face of a beautiful young woman. I suspect magic is in play. Eric is a muscular man with defined features. He could break hearts if only he wasn’t so brash. Perhaps he’s better suited for breaking heads. A third human, Graham, reveals himself to be your typical holier-than-though cleric. He’s nice enough, but I wish he wasn’t so damned dogmatic.
I had hoped to find more comradery in the high elf of our group, Raksheil. I quickly discover that this is not the case as the sorcery sees me as an abomination of sullied bloodlines. Maybe I am. Who’s to say. He has a silly way of talking and I like him.
The final member of our group never fully set right with me. I am saddened to say that upon writing this, I have forgotten his name. He’s a large man, with little taste for nonsense. One with potential to create great stories if only he would lighten up.
It doesn’t take long for us all to get the briefing on the job. Something about escorting a horse and getting paid. I’m certain the others understood it all. I’m really just here to do the talking.
After listening to the job description I, followed by my new faithful companions, decide to have a night of revelry of our own within the tavern. Once inside, I graciously by the entire tavern a drink, like the upstanding gentleman I am. I play my lute for a while to find that I had indeed needed to tune it more. My take from that endeavor was only a few copper. Live and learn.
I decide to offset my losses when I notice a young man with a glum face. Surely I can help him. I approach him to tell him the story of the great hero at the bar. Yes, I know, I don’t even recall the barbarian’s name. But this boy needed a hero, and I could provide. I traded an autograph to him for a mere two pieces of silver. This kid got the deal of a lifetime.
His mother, however, did not agree. Whilst walking around, proud of making the young man’s night, I overheard yelling from the home he entered shortly after our more than fair deal. Apparently, he was supposed to be buying food with that money. Mothers. They never seem to understand the true value of a good autograph. I feel bad for the poor kid, having such a harpy as a matron. I knock on the door and have a rather heated exchange with the lovely older lady. She absolutely refuses to hear me out. My charm must intimidate her. I slide two gold coins under the door to pay her for her hospitality and return to the inn for the night.
The next morning, I lead my band of merry adventurers on the first leg of our journey. We hitch up the horse and set off. Most party members walk next to the wagon. I, however, take it upon myself to perform the duty of riding inside the wagon to keep a close eye on the goods we are transporting.
We travel for only a few hours before we’re stopped by a rather suspicious looking roadblock. We’re approached by the captain of the men who have the audacity to get in our way. I bravely volunteer to take on the role of mouthpiece for our group and confront him.
I stretch the truth a tiny bit to prevent an examination of our goods. Having the crates disturbed will void our contract. I explain to him that we are the kings men, sent on a very important mission to the capital, and that if he and his men do not stand down at once there will be hell to pay. I can see how impressed he is as he raises a hand to signal to his men. Then my vision goes red.
Once I recover, I notice the bloodstained arrow on the ground next to me. I feel my cheek, hurriedly. Just a scratch. Good. I’ll stay beautiful. The sound of clanging steel and flying bolts fills the air. I look around to see my companions boldly holding their own against hordes of bandits. There must be dozens of them. Maybe hundreds. But my friends do not falter. Eric and Ash fight back to back, bringing down wave after wave of these giant men. Graham shows off his mace and shield combo skills by throwing attackers through the air. The barbarian that shall not be named uses two bandits as shields of his own. Rakshiel creates an impressive light show as he furiously casts spells against the mongrels.
Thinking quickly, I fashion myself an outfit similar enough to the attacking thieves to sneak behind their front lines. That’s when the tide begins to turn. The moment I turn to face the battle again I hear the defining cry of our Cleric hitting the ground. I consider running to Graham’s aid before I see Eric, the fighter, beating me to it. I approach one of the bandits that downed our comrade and prepare myself for a deathly blow upon his back. Sadly, however, my long-sword misses him and collides with the large rock next to us. My would-be victim turns at ones and gashes my chest open with his scimitar. graciously apologies for the misunderstanding and slip away. I notice Ash fall as I slink off to tend to my wounds.
Most people see the corners of their eyes fading to black and assume the worst. Most people see themselves coughing up copious amounts of blood and see the end. Most people have their entire lives flash before their lives and resolve to sleep the final sleep. Most people are not Rudolfo the bard. I grasp my lute, struggle to my feet, and find it in me to play one final song. Right across the back of the nearest bandit’s head. The crack sound that rings out as the bandit’s head leaves his body is not beautiful. But no one will deny that it is music.
Seeing me stand up to these beasts while on deaths doorstep must have inspired my own group because one by one, they each gained the advantage and defeated their foes. Those of us who could stand tended to the wounded, then we turned our gaze upon the one surviving bandit.
Eric an Graham took charge of the interrogation. I’ve never been one for keeping a lad tied up against his will. A willing lady, however. That’s a different story.
I didn’t hear the information given by the poor soul before Graham unceremoniously ended his life with one swift swing of his mace. I am a humble man. I will admit that seeing this did turn my stomach.
Once the vomiting subsided I retook my place as keeper of the goods and we began to travel once more. Only after the tower of a man with no name wondered off alone into the woods Is this what I had signed up for? I see storm clouds in the distance. I am relieved to know that a little rain is the worst the future holds.