Arpunia’s Dream

Character Background by Arpunia Add comments

While we have been out in the fields trying to tame this landscape, the town is collapsing in on itself.  The infrastructure is not in place to deal with the sudden increase in population.  Basic necessities like food, fine wine, a hot bath, and polish to shine your armor are hard to come by.  But potential new recruits for the band are not.  As the boys and Addy headed down into the Delve, I stayed back in town to look over these new recruits.

The passing of Arxaggus Dunnbuldanngen left us without a fighter, without a recruiter, and without a good friend.  I did my best to interview these eager warriors but I don’t have the old dwarf’s patience or inclination for paperwork.  I’ve been interviewing some thirty to forty people a day.  Most of them have never lifted a blade or killed so much as a mouse.  They are the desperate looking for a quick coin or meal, the foolhardy thinking this is some party, or the star-struck content with just sharing some ale with me.  It is drab and boring.

Yesterday I ended the interviews early and headed out about town looking for the lost Doc.  I’m sure he is out here somewhere doing “interviews” of his own but I could not find him in any of the city’s pubs.  Although why I expected to find him in the front rooms is, as I think about it now, a mistake.  It put me in a quiet and sour mood.  Even that evening’s flight with Yelaf into the thick ocean fog could not cheer me up.

That night, for the first time in months, I did not dream of flying.

****

The Buttergrass was in bloom, sending its namesake yellow pollen in the air.  Vivace, my pony, walked through the fields beside me.  A long maple branch was cradled like a lance under my arm.  We had just finished charging around the corral catching copper rings off of the tops of fence posts.

My dad stepped out of our house at the end of the field followed by mom.  My younger brother, Raully, was at her feet crying.  We knew that dad would not be able to stay long.  The King’s Calvary was heading into the valley of Kittenburr to stop the Gray Rebellion.  My dad was dressed in his ceremonial gold and mitral armor.  He sparkled in the sun like a silver lake.   I threw down my branch-lance and ran to get him.  I ran and ran.  He looked out into the field and I waved and screamed for him to stop but he did not see me.  Did not hear me.  Then he turned, got onto a white horse and they trotted out of my sight.  I could hear my brother screaming and my mom’s “shuh shuh shuh shuh” to keep him quiet.  I kept running but could not get to the house.

Then my foot caught on a root.  For a moment the ground was clear in my vision.  I could see exactly how I would hit the ground then turned so I would land on knees but they were not moving fast enough.  Between the gray-green leaves of the Buttergrass I could see a few rocks.  I expected them to be like most rocks; hard and painful to land on.  I extended my arm to stop the fall.  A warm pain came from my wrist.  My fingers went numb.  The day turned black.

****

I woke up on the edge of a brook.  Over my head was a dense forest canopy; under me was a shallow patch of icy snow.  I could see my breath in the air. My wrist was pain free.  Through the full moon’s light I could see that the river bank went up about fifteen feet above me.   I was fully armored with a heavy steel shield in my left hand and hand-and-a-half sword in my right.

I looked over and saw a half-orc dressed in rags and greasy leather.  His black hair was braided into dreadlocks with little ceramic skulls tied at the ends.  His massive hands clutched a dirty double axe.  It was my husband Traunk.  Although at that time it was right after we first met and I only knew him as my prisoner.  He turned toward me, our eyes met and he slimed.

With a deep orcish yell, he stood up and charged up the hill.  I jumped up to follow him but my armored boots caught on the icy ground and I slipped.  This time I used my shield to absorb the fall.  Trunk kept charging up the hill and I slid down toward the river.  Just at the top, he turned and looked down at me.  He winked, then ran over the crest and out of my vision.

My legs smashed through the frozen river and the piercing pain of cold grabbed my joins and held me still.I grabbed for the shore with my hand but they just did not move.

****

A gust of wind blew into the back room at the Hob & Gob and scattered the application papers across the desk.  I woke up and lifted my hand off of my arm.  It tingled as if pricked by a thousand pins from every direction.

“Ah.  Well well well.  Is this the famed fugitive Punia Tarashian?  I believe it is!  It seems my long journey has finally ended on a pot of gold.”  A man said as he entered the room.

“Dreuick Wormar.  Didn’t we kill you 15 years ago?” I asked.

“It’s 20 years ago now.  And as you can see, I am not the least bit dead,”  He replied.

“A pity,” I said while trying to rub the stabbing sensation out of my arm.

“And I made sure that the army did not forget about you all this time.  I even got the price on your head raised four separate times over new charges of theft, murder, and my favorite foul relations with a horse in the king’s army.  It does not take much coin to get a new charge raised against an absent unremorseful, hated, defector like you,” he said as he kicked the chair aside and leaned over the interview desk.

I always kept a dagger on my side.  It was not my preferred weapon but it could serve as the distraction I needed to get the Bastard Sword that hung on the other wall of the room.

“So now you go by Arpunia.  What might I call that murdering Orc for a husband you-”

“He never changed his name.”

“Ah.  And where might I find him?  Hiding in the back of this retched bar?  It certainly would be his style to lay out in a place like this.  You though.  Tisk. tisk. tisk.”

“He runs from you no longer.  He passed away while fighting to tame this new land.”

“A pity,” he said in a voice that mocked my own.  “I was rather looking forward to having that pleasure myself.”

Before I could move to retrieve the dagger, Dreuick backed out of the room and into the doorway

“Well, then my lady,” He said mockingly, “Now I just have you to hunt down.  Unfortunately I won’t be able to take that pleasure in these walls.  Some business with local customs and such.  Anyway, I know you and whatever new band of murders you run with these days will leave these gates soon enough.  And when you do, me and some of our old friends will be there to finish this little chapter.  Bye for now.”

I preferred the nightmares.




Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.