What I thought was going to be a routine hunt through the woods today turned out to be quite the pivotal venture. Ben (my rat) and I were in hot pursuit of our next meal – a swift and agile wild boar with one lone testis – when I noticed the marking of my old friend Hildo Haggins carved into a tree. I stopped to inspect and, much to Ben’s frustration, we lost track of the nearly-barren swine. Taking a closer look I was positive the signature was authentic, and simultaneous waves of relief and joy poured over me for I thought my old friend was for sure dead by orc hand.
I looked around in search of any other evidence of Hildo’s presence and found the same marking not but a few trees away. My excitement grew as I found another and another, and soon Ben and I found ourselves running through the Bonewood Woods yet again, this time in pursuit of a fellow Haggerty Hag.
Nearly three miles later, my spirit and legs growing more tired with each step, my rat and I approached a semi-circle of very tall impeding rocks. Night had fallen by this point and the warm light of a bonfire shone through the cracks. The sweet smell of bacon and the sound of laughter and talking arose from the lit area behind the great stones. As I creeped closer undetected, Ben decided his hunger was more important than our safety and made quite the ruckus as he leapt from my shoulder onto the brush below. I tried in vain to stop the rodent, causing even more noise. Alas, we were discovered.
“Who goes there?” a voice shouted.
I slowly emerged from behind the rocks. There were five figures standing about, backlit by the roaring fire. I squinted at the nearest one – a short, stout silhouette that I would recognize anywhere. Before I could utter a word, I was greeted with a strong, rank embrace.
“Elel! Is it you?”
“Hildo! You’re alive!” I exclaimed. “I thought for sure you were dead.”
“And I, you,” he replied. “How were you able to escape the orcs?”
I explained to Hildo how I evaded the vengeful orcs by hiding inside the carcass of one of their own. He responded with uproarious laughter and welcomed me further into the stone circle. I was introduced to a majority of the members that make up the guild of Infinity Solutions: Tayo, Orgöst, Moon Moon, and Tielliana. Perhaps it was the ale they were consuming at alarming speeds, but they seemed a warm and lovely bunch. I was particularly taken aback when they immediately offered me an internship. I graciously accepted and we celebrated into the night with endless servings of fresh bacon and the best imp porn in town.
It soon began to rain so Tayo cast a spell to keep us all dry and warm under a large dome. We were slowly making our way into bed when a cry was heard from far in the distance. Initially, it was a general agreement to let this pass into the night as everyone was weary from travel and merriment. Since I am only in need of four hours of sleep, I volunteered to go check it out. Orgöst, the gentleman that he is, refused to let me go alone, and before we knew it, all of Infinity Solutions was making there way back out into the rain. Hildo, never happier, was left alone with the left-over bacon bits and porn.
We followed the unrelenting cries through the dark – with the help of Moon Moon who had transformed into a wolf – for what seemed hours before discovering the source. A dwarf was tied up and about to be sacrificed into a white-hot fire. He was surrounded by a group of angry-looking gnolls and two giant, even angrier-looking hornets that were attached to poles by skin leashes. We wasted no time and began our attack.
Tielliana began to sing a beautifully frightening song and the gnolls started to flee in terror. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to cast a Sleet Storm spell. Ice swiftly covered the ground below the gnolls’ feet. They slipped and fell in their useless efforts to run. As Moon Moon began to chew through the skin leashes attached to the oversized hornets, Orgöst attacked with airborne daggers and Tayo fought bravely in the front lines, ensuring the others were safe.
It didn’t take long for us to finish off the gnolls, and we quickly freed the screaming dwarf. While thankful for our heroism, the dwarf was fast to attempt to leave our presence. We stopped him, demanding some sort of explanation for the predicament we just rescued him from. The dwarf scratched his head. He couldn’t remember anything – his memory was erased. Orgöst inquired about the dwarf’s name but even that information was also forgotten.
There was one bit of information that the dwarf could provide and it was that the black, tattered book he carried with him was evil and forbidden. He became very stubborn as he refused to hand it over to us. Infinity Solutions matched his stubbornness and refused to let him leave. We began the long trek back to Hildo and our magical dome with our new “friend” in tow. Answers shall be found…