It’s Creative Writing Day here on Trope and Dagger! Today I’m continuing the adventures of the D&D Badasses as Lego and Co. try and track down Four Finger Jack for RedThorne. Miss the first entry? Check out Chapter 1! Now we continue our heroes’ adventures in the country of Andor!
After witnessing Penelope’s…creative interrogation techniques, Lego decided it was best to not cross the gnome in the future. Not that he had any plans to, naturally, but the way she got the cowering man to talk so easily was more than a little unsettling to the halfling. However unorthodox, though, her methods were effective and the group now had a destination where they might learn some more about Four Finger Jack’s whereabouts.
Lego walked merrily along with his party. Sir Bamf was clanging down the road in his massive armor, occasionally stopping to laugh at clouds. Penelope was tossing acorns for her fox, Melanie, to chase. Bluntz seemed lost in thought as he muttered to himself, something about a forest moon, though Lego couldn’t make out most of it. Aurelia walked with her hands folded in front of her, hood drawn, and Lego wondered if she was upset about something or if she was simply performing some sort of meditation. Euphoria was in the lead, confidently guiding their party towards the seedier part of town. That was confidence that only an Elven ranger could posses, Lego thought to himself.
Suddenly, however, Euphoria came to a halt. Her head perked up and she stiffened where she stood. The group all gave pause as they caught up to her.
“Everything all right?” asked Lego, walking beside her and looking up to her face. Her eyes were closed and the wind was blowing her hair about. She took a deep breath and her eyes opened.
“I’m afraid I must leave you all for now,” she said, glancing down at Lego. He looked back at her, quizzically.
“We’re kind of in the middle of something here,” Lego replied, thoroughly confused.
“Don’t worry, little friend,” Euphoria replied, smiling down on him. Lego raised his eyebrow, not sure if she was being condescending or not. “I shall return to you and all of our friends when my communion with nature is complete. The wild calls and I must become one with it for a time again. I am fully confident you will complete our quest in my absence.”
With that, she turned on her heel and headed towards the town gates. Lego watched her go as the rest of the group gathered around him, also watching her stride away.
“Where does she think she’s going?” asked Bluntz.
Lego shrugged. “She says she’s going to ‘be one with nature’ or ‘commune’ with it or something.”
Bluntz snorted, stifling obvious giggling into his cloak.
“She left us? For trees?” asked Bamf.
“I guess so,” answered Lego, still perplexed by the abandonment.
“The elves are very connected to the essence of nature,” said Aurelia. “And choosing the life of a ranger must strengthen that bond. I imagine that she will indeed return to us, much refreshed and strengthened.”
“I get that,” said Penelope, through a mouthful of grass. Melanie chirped in apparent agreement.
“Well, all right, great,” said Lego, continually perplexed and fascinated by elves. “Where are we going, then?”
“I know exactly where we’re going,” said Bluntz, still chuckling about something, and he began down a small road.
They followed Bluntz throughout the same neighborhood and down the same road several times before Aurelia suggested that she might know a shortcut and led them where they needed to go.
Their destination was a large building, standing a good forty feet tall and taking up a large portion of the city street they were on. Lego could see windows at the top of the building, but they appeared to have been painted black for some reason, and he couldn’t see a way to easily sneak inside. He and his group all stared at the building for a moment before Lego noticed the two large men standing at the main entrance. And they noticed the group, as well.
“Uh, I think they see us, guys,” said Lego. The group stared at the two men in front of the door and the two men stared back.
“I believe we make a rather conspicuous gathering,” Aurelia commented.
“Uh…any thoughts?” asked Bluntz.
“Maybe we could send Bamf in to mess them up some,” suggested Penelope.
“I sense no evil in them,” said Bamf. “So no crushy.” Lego thought that he sounded more than a little disappointed.
“I mean, I have an idea,” Lego said. “Might lure them away without breaking any bones, or would this be the wrong crowd for that?”
“Please, go ahead with your plan,” said Aurelia.
“I’m on it,” Lego replied, and turned and ran towards the men.
“I meant explain-” Aurelia said behind him, but Lego was already gone. Besides, he knew what she meant, but wanted to try something out. He put on his best worried expression and tried to muster some tears.
He ran up to the men shouting “Misters! Misters! Please, help, I lost my dog!”
“You what, kid?” said the first man, looking down at him with disdain.
“I can’t find my dog, can you help me find him?” said Lego, doing his best child impression. It was something that had worked in the past, as halflings are naturally short and fresh-faced, and he was hoping it would work again today.
“Your dog?” said the second man. “Get out of here, kid, we don’t care about your dog. Scram.”
“Please help, he ran away and I can’t find him!” Lego said, fearing that his plan may not be as effective as he had hoped.
“Kid,” said the first man again, “we don’t give a crap about your dog. You shouldn’t be here, get lost.”
Lego was beginning to get annoyed. “You don’t care about my dog, huh?” he said, “You don’t care that a cute kid has lost his adorable puppy? What in the hell is wrong with you that you don’t care about a lost doggy?!”
It was then that the rest of the group appeared beside Lego, apparently having noticed the difficulty Lego was having with the men.
“Great plan,” said Bluntz.
“I thought you did great,” said Penelope, consolingly.
“We need to get inside there,” said Bluntz to the men.
“No… you all need to get out of here,” said the first man. “Like, right now.” He looked more nervous than anything at this point, thought Lego.
“Get out way?” said Bamf, squaring his shoulders. The two men looked at him, confused as to what he was saying.
“Are you…asking?” questioned the second man.
A lingering silence filled the air as the men stared at Bamf and he stared back at them, his expression turning from a scowl to an uncertain frown, as though he didn’t know how to answer.
“The fact of the matter,” said Aurelia, stepping up to the men and ending the silence, “is that we must enter the building behind you. Should you step aside, no harm will befall you. Should you insist upon barring our passage, things will go much more unpleasantly for you.”
The men looked at one another, their resolve clearly faltering, but the second man still protested. “Look, you really don’t want to go in there. There are…things in there. Really…really bad things. Nightmares.” The first man slapped the second in the arm, shutting him up.
“Well, there may be bad things out here,” said Lego, “if you don’t let us in and walk away.” Then men looked at Lego, then to the rest of the party.
“I don’t get paid enough for this,” said the second man, who tossed up his hands, turned, and started walking away. The first man stood still for a moment, eyeing the party, one after another, before also turning and quickly walking away.
“That went well,” said Lego.
“Eventually,” added Bluntz.
“No need to get cheeky,” Lego said, defensively. “How was I to know they were heartless cowards?”
“You couldn’t,” said Penelope, patting him on the shoulder. “Now, I sent Melanie for a little recon, and she says this place is locked up tight, all around. Front door’s the only way in.”
“You can talk to animals?” asked Lego.
“I talk to you all, don’t I?” Penelope replied, nonchalantly. Lego wondered if she even considered that rude. Gnomes are weird, Lego thought, but never boring.
“I could try and sneak in there,” offered Lego, “maybe check it out without being noticed.”
“I’m goin’ in,” said Bluntz, opening the door and stepping through.
“Well, that’s just fine,” said Lego. They waited outside for some sign from Bluntz as to what he found in there, but when there was no response, Aurelia gave a look and slipped in. Lego then looked to Bamf and Penelope, shrugged, and led them through the door, as well.
Inside they were greeted with a very dim, massive space. The building appeared to be only one large room, and in the center they found Aurelia and Bluntz standing in the midst of several large crates, conversing quietly. They approached the duo and found a pool of blood between the two of them.
“Uh…what’s going on, guys?” asked Lego.
“There appears to be some blood spilled on the floor,” said Aurelia.
“It’s not mine,” said Bluntz, taking a step back.
“We figured,” Lego commented.
“I suggest we fan out,” Aurelia ventured. “See if there’s anything else in the building.” The group agreed and they began searching the massive room.
Lego found himself amongst massive stacks of boxes, following a walkway in between them. He turned a corner and there he found a pile of bodies, and his stomach immediately turned. Coughing and choking down his sick, he stepped away, trying to ignore the stench. But something caught his eye, nonetheless, a glinting from the bottom of the pile, a reflection in the dim light. Lego thought that it must be brilliant if it’s shining in this darkness. He knew that he couldn’t get to it without moving the bodies, though, and Lego was not about to drag those dirty things around! Rogue or not, he had his limits.
He moved back towards the others, in search of Bamf, and found him smashing crates open. He was tearing them open using his sword and sifting through the hay that he found within. He would shout when he couldn’t find anything useful, then sulk slightly when he resigned himself to defeat.
“Hey Bamf,” called Lego. “I could use your help with something.”
Bamf perked up and came over to Lego. Lego led him to the bodies and Bamf immediately took a knee and began muttering to himself. Lego rolled his eyes as Aurelia and Penelope joined them.
“What’s goin on?” asked Penelope.
“Well, I found this here pile of…” Lego began before noticing something he had missed before. “Headless…bodies.” Lego coughed. “And I thought Sir Bamf here would be interested in giving them a proper burial.”
“Yes, they need to be buried,” said Bamf as he stood and began moving towards the bodies.
“Oh, we don’t have time for that right now!” said Penelope, giving Bamf pause. “Besides, can’t bury them in here. Stone floors!” She stamped her foot on the ground to illustrate her point.
“No,” said Lego, “but I’m sure Bamf can figure something out.” Bamf nodded and thought for a moment.
“Bamf got it,” he replied, smiling, and he began moving the bodies.
As he worked, Aurelia stood next to Lego and said slyly “This wouldn’t have anything to do with the light I see shining under those bodies, would it?”
“I haven’t a clue whatever you mean,” Lego replied.
“Oh, keep your shiny trinket!” Penelope said, mockingly. “Call me if you find a donkey rat or a gremlin! Melanie needs a snack.”
Aurelia smiled knowingly as Lego looked sheepishly at the shiny point. Bamf carried the bodies away and Lego went and collected a small diamond, covered in grime and blood. He held it between his two fingers and was loathe to put it in his pocket considering its state, but he did it anyways. He then went with Penelope and Aurelia to find Sir Bamf shoving the bodies into the opened crates, heaping hay and wood upon them. They all looked at Bamf, then at one another, each of them wearing an expression of uncertainty. Lego shrugged at them, as he found himself doing more often than not these days.
It was then that they heard Bluntz call from the other side of the room. They all made their towards his voice and found him leaning over a hatch in the floor. Bluntz was examining it, but looked to be avoiding any physical contact with it.
“So I guess that’s where we’re heading, huh?” asked Lego. “Should someone knock, maybe?”
“Bamf knock!” shouted Sir Bamf, and he stomped up to the door and slammed his metal boot down. It made an impressive thud as the group stepped back, and Lego found himself scrambling on top of some boxes and pulling out his crossbow.
The group waited as the echo died down from Bamf’s footfall. They waited, and Lego fully expected something horrible to come bursting from within the door and dismember each of them in turn, but alas, nothing came.
“Damn, Bamf,” said Bluntz.
“Your reckless behavior,” said Aurelia, “is most unwanted and will get us all killed.”
Lego found himself giggling at Sir Bamf’s willingness to throw caution to the wind. Guy was crazier than he had let on before, and Lego could get on board with that!
“Then maybe we are going to have to go in?” ventured Penelope.
“Agreed,” said Bluntz as Lego climbed down and joined them again.
“Volunteers to go first?” asked Aurelia.
Lego immediately looked at Bamf, who had a ridiculous grin on his face. Bamf reached down, pulled up the trap door, and dropped down into the darkness with a metallic thud.
To be continued…