Tales of Lusionia
“I’m magic.” – Baergub Baradum
- Associate Name – Description
Recalled from a meeting in a midland tavern
Into the tavern walks a stout little man-dwarf with a mean look, a few missing teeth, and a cheerful demeanor. A cat’s paw scar across his eyes immediately grabs your attention, closely followed by his plain but long beard and hair the color of a sunset. He hoists himself up on a chair and looks to the tavern’s barmaid, calling her by her name and ordering a round of drinks for… himself. This will be interesting. She just called him “Old Oakbeard” and he gave her the meanest look, followed by a slap on her rear that made her blush and go running off to the kitchen. He notices you staring and beckons you to come over.
“Can’t keep your eyes off me, can you? You look like you could use a drink!”
“Where’s here, exactly? I’m not joshing you, I woke up in the inn a few hours ago with no idea where I was. I just walked in here and ordered some drinks when you sat down.”
You explain to him where he is.
“Oh. Never been here before. Not that I can remember. You ever get to a place and just wake up hung over like a guard on his day off? Can’t remember what you did for a week? No? Might just be me then.”
“I guess there are some who would refer to me as a folk hero of sorts. I’d never use the term myself, of course. My daddy wanted to me to be a farmer back north, and he had passed a few years back. His heart, the clerics said. Well, one day, drunker than a cleric on Sunday, I somewhat accidentally fought off a thunderstorm. Yes, when I say fought off, I fought the damned thing off. What, you don’t believe me? Well luckily, your opinion doesn’t matter, you sod!”
The barmaid arrives with his drinks. He gives you one and keeps three for himself.
“Alright, so there I am with a scythe in my hand, blunt from threshing the barley, when this storm rolls in. I hear the thunder, and so does everyone else. It was like a bolt of lightning. Well, okay, it really was a bolt of lightning. Splits a tree in half not fifty feet from where I’m standing and plants me firmly on my arse. Sets fire to the whole field – the whole bloody field. So there I am, sitting in the middle of this field with a raging fire going on in front of me, and what’s the first thing that comes to mind? How DARE the sky do that to my field, that inconsiderate bastard! Probably wouldn’t know a cloud from its own arse if it farted a rainbow.”
He takes a swig of his ale and compliments the barmaid by raising it toward her. She smiles and he continues.
“So there I am. It starts raining a bit, and I start cursing the sky. ‘Thundering blatherskite!’ this, and ‘Gallus bubbly jock!’ that. The storm didn’t take too kindly to those words. A whirlwind came roaring down on my family farmhouse, blew it to hell. My family had all passed by now, so it was just me and my homeless arse out in a field. I stood up in front of the whirlwind and said to it, ‘You think you can take my home, you little clag-tailed, soapdogged, tallywhacker! Come fight me like a man, you tea-drinking goatswash!’ or some such nonsense. Needless to say, my words cut it to the marrow. It immediately set sights on me. Like any sensible dwarf, I ran my arse off. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite up to date on my calisthenics, so it overtook me after a longish chase.”
He takes another sip as you stand there mesmerized at his storytelling ability.
“So there I am, spinning around in this whirlwind with a cow, two goats, a few chickens, and half my furniture. And what do we have here? Middle of the air, I find the mug of ale I left sitting on the kitchen table! AND IT’S STILL FULL!”
He performed a celebratory cheer and drinks his entire glass of ale in front of you. The silence is awkward.
“Aaaah! So I take the mug, drink the whole damned thing, and wait. A good ten minutes. Solid ten minutes. I counted. Not much else to do when you’re spinning in the air. Except maybe lose your lunch. Like a little wind is gonna do that to me. Suddenly, I start to fall. Well, more like fly than fall. I guess the whirlwind got tired of my constant nagging in its ear, because it got rid of me in a hurry and left me behind. Anyway, I’m convinced I’m about to be a splatter on a wall somewhere when I see this robed elf off in the distance – middle of town – chanting some kind of spell. Looks like he was calling down lightning from the sky or some such nonsense. Now I say he was off in the distance, but he was getting closer and closer. I’m glad he was there to break my fall. I ended up breaking both legs and arms, all of my ribs, cracked my skull, but it wasn’t enough to kill me! They started calling me Oakbeard after that, because it would’ve killed a lesser dwarf. I was picking mashed bits of elf out of my cracks and crevices for days. Ahahahaha!”
He takes yet another celebratory swig from his second mug of ale.
“Anyways, that’s how I became a folk hero of sorts. Saved the town from a crazy weather-controlling elf. I didn’t really do much. After that, they just kept giving me things and getting me drunk. I got used to it.”
You explain to the dwarf that you’d like to ask him a few questions for some reason or another. He squints and looks at you carefully.
“I was hoping to let you do some of the talking, laddy. Alright, have at it. I have to be out of here by noon, though. Can’t remember why for the life of me, but I know I have places to be.”
1. How old are you?
The old dwarf stands up from his seat at the tavern, glares angrily, and throws a nearly empty mug at you.
“You’re asking my age? Would you as soon chop down an old tree and count the rings? Pah. Go ask the tavern wenches. First question is about my age, you sod.”
2. Tell me about your family life. Are you parents still alive? Who raised you? Siblings? What do they do?
He’s grim-faced and shadow-eyed when you bring this subject up.
“My family passed under the hills long ago. I wasn’t brought up by nobody. Spent some time in the wilds where I learned the ways of the wolf, and the bear, and the bird. Spent some time in the city where I learned the ways of murder and betrayal. And I spent some time with my kinsmen where I learned how to drink and how to love. Not in that order, of course.”
He raises a mug of ale.
“To those long gone, only now in our memories.”
3. Explain your closest relationships, especially those that you’ve dated or courted. (We all have ’em.)
“Aye, I’ve had one love in my life. She was a young barmaid I met in some town with no name in my youth. Human. Short for one of them, just about the right size for me. Broad shoulders. Not a hair on her face. She hit me over the head with a soup ladle when a couple of pups followed me in from the forest, told me ‘Clean up your mess if you know what’s good for you!’ and I smiled. I don’t speak her name. Don’t ask. All these depressing questions. Get to something interesting.”
Again, his eyes seem to sag as he ponders the loss.
4. What social class are you from? How has that shaped who you are?
“Class? I never took no classes. What do I look like, some robed ninny with a scroll in my belt and a waffle in my jock? And if you have anything to say about my shape, you can kiss the same spot under my trousers your wife did last night.”
5. How did you get started doing what you do now? (Your character class.)
“Now here’s a story for you: I was alone one night piss drunk in a field when – and I’m not kidding you – I see lights. Now being a sensible dwarf from the hills, we see lights and think ARMY! ARMY COMIN’ FOR THE WOMEN! HIDE THE ALE! But it wasn’t no rank and file at all. This was some kind of fairy or pixie or some other fool-elfen thing. It waved at me, and I followed it into the woods at night. Now keep in mind, I’m drunker than a king on his wedding night, so I follow it. I woke up ten days later bare-ass naked in the woods, and I can turn into animals and close wounds with a wave of the hand. What, don’t believe me? Here, watch.”
He stabs himself in the hand with a dagger and then proceeds to close the wound.
“Hah! Didn’t even feel a thing. I’ve gotten a little better at it, too, since I was a lad.”
6. Who is your greatest hero or inspiration?
“Oh, that one’s easy. That’s my daddy, Baelgger Baradum, the patriarch of my tiny village in the north. I once saw him kill two bandits by bashing their heads in. Only halflings, but it was a sight! Teach them to steal our barley.”
7. What precious items do you carry with you always?
He fingers a small ring on his middle right finger with his left hand.
“What? No, there’s no story behind it. Just something I like.”
8. How do religion and prophesy play into your life?
“Oh, they play just fine. Religion plays with the hearts of fools and prophesy with the hearts of the hopeful. Take this bastard, Pelor. ‘Oh, you want some sun do you? Have a flood instead, you bloody clods!’ Ahahaha! I ever meet one of them gods, I’ll throw a mug of ale in their face for not showing themselves sooner. Unless they want to drink with me. Then they can’t be all that bad.
9. What do you feel about magic?
“I’ll show you some magic, boy.”
He starts singing an ancient dwarven song of love and homeland, and orders another round for the both of you.
10. Tell me about your dealings with the military.
“I once considered signing up! Figured all the free ale I wanted, and the tavern wenches can’t resist a man in uniform. Right? Right?! Well you’d be wrong. I ain’t dying for no one but me. No lord or king or master or general or high-and-mighty deity gonna tell me to go die so others can live. That ain’t to say I don’t got no morals. I’ll die when I’m plenty good and ready if the cause is right, and I might even do it if they ask nicely, but not until I’m good and ready.”
11. Tell me about your run-ins with the law.
“Always stayed on the good side of the law. A few years back they busted me down in some backwater town for drunken disorderly public display of indecency or some trumped up thing, and I spent the night in a jail cell. I don’t remember it too well. It’s a matter of balance, really. You obey the lay of the land and the lay of your heart, and if the two are in conflict… well, you leave the land. It’s about doing what you can live with.
12. Who is your greatest confidant?
“Ain’t got no secrets to tell, sonny. In this line of work, keeping honest will keep you honest. No one’ll trust a man with secrets.”
13. Tell me about someone in your past you’d prefer to avoid. Who, and why?
“I had a run-in with some poor bastard who was down on his luck. One of them big cities with a name I can’t pronounce. Lots of elves. I prefer not to think about it.”
He drinks from his mug and notices you’re still waiting for a response.
“Oh fine, well beat it out of me, why don’t you. Milk-drinking geggie-runner. Look, he was an elf, alright? I don’t like elves too much. They’re too needy, too smug, and too ready to put an arrow in your neck if you don’t serve their every whim. He was sitting there in the middle of the town getting beat half to death by a couple of thug types, and I just walked by, keeping pace. Something about his eyes grabbed me. He looked at me, pleading for help with those big elfy eyes of his, and I just kept on walking. I don’t know if he died. If he did, I sure as bloody hell don’t want to answer to him. Call me a coward. You have regrets in your youth.”
14. When you finally leave this life (hopefully a long time from now), what do you want to have been known for?
“Never thought about it. Good father? Ahahahaha! I’ve probably got little bastards all over the countryside who don’t know what their daddy looks like. Every time I see a pudgy little half breed with golden hair, I avert my eyes like I’m passing a funeral dirge.”
He sips his ale.
“Aye, maybe it’s time to start putting in some serious thought on what I’m leaving behind. You can’t live the same life forever, and I’m sure not getting any younger.”
15. You see a large bar of gold sitting in the street, and no one else seems to notice it. You think you have a moment before anyone else sees. What do you do?
“Well bloody hell, it’s gold, lad! Do you know how many drunken nights and cheap whores a bar of gold will pay for? I’m not spry, but I do know a few tricks. You see, if it’s far away I’ll..”
He trails off and gives a detailed list of tactics for grabbing the bar before anyone else. Strangely enough, most of them seem like they wouldn’t work very well.
16. Which side of the bed do you roll out of? How come?
“That’s assuming an awful lot, laddy. Most of the time I have trouble getting into bed at all. I can recount many a night when I passed out at the foot of the bed, off the side of the bed, in the hallway, on the porch, on the neighbor’s lawn, on the neighbor’s daughter, on the neighbor’s wife – try not to do that one too often – at the bar, in the woods, in the castle courtyard, in a bear den – that one was fun. What was the question again?”
17. Of the following choices, choose one at the expense of the rest: WEALTH. POWER. RESPECT. WISDOM. STRENGTH. FRIENDSHIP.
“Six of one, half dozen of the other. I guess I’d pick wealth, because you can buy power, respect, a library, a personal work force, and all the drinking buddies you’d want. Or maybe wisdom. Can’t buy common sense. Stupid question.”
He seems genuinely disturbed at the thought. Best move on for now.
18. Tell me about your recent history.
“What do you want to know? I’ve been all around here.”
He sips his ale as you mention off-handedly the kobold incident.
“Now that’s a crock of horse shite! Want me to turn into a bear and maul your elven arse? Oh, you’re not an elf? What was I saying? Oh right, the kobolds! I was not responsible for that deba… debi… debacle? Is that the word? I’m a little drunk. It was that damned wizard. He’s the one that had the idea of luring them out of the town with flashy lights and sounds. I was content to get the people out of the town, but noooooooo-hohoho, it wasn’t enough to save their lives, he had to save their homes. The wizard’s probably an elf. Pointy hats mean pointy ears. And pointy toes. I bet he’s got a quiver in his robe. What we were talking about again?”
“What can I say? I have a magic mouth.” – Baergub Baradum