Reign of the Placeholder

Entry Two

Kipsey Rue Moongrain

Our Companions are such.

Varis Mywesty. Half Elf, Half Dragonborn. Fighter and user of magic. Mordanthas of the Flame. Genasi Giant. User of magic. Geoff Silvertongue the Magnificant. Bard and passionate player of the Hurdy Gurdy. Saoirse Blackfoot. Stowaway and Arcane Trickster. Leesey Lou Moongrain. Expert Gardener and Druid of the Moon. Kipsey Rue Moongrain. Bard and Librarian.

The wagon pulled to a stop within a small clearing in the woods and shrubs some distance from Flagstone. Weary and sore from the bumping of the wagon and the choking dust on the road, the travelers set to assigning camp duties for the evening. Most were silent as they gathered wood and unloaded their bedrolls. Geoff casually leaned against his seat and lovingly strummed his hurdy gurdy. Leesey and Kipsey stayed close to each other speaking softly as they built a cook fire and prepared barley stew for dinner.

In that companionable silence they all became aware of the quickly increasing thud of horses hoofs vibrating through the soil. All eyes in the camp turned in its direction then upon each other. Mordenthas and Varis each reached for their weapons and melted into the shadows outside of the campfires glow. Kipsey and Leesey padded quickly to the rear of the wagon , climbed in and crouched peering through the canvas. Geoff stood and without hesitation strode into the woods toward the sound of the approaching horses.

The silence was absolute. Nothing but the crackle of the fire and the bubbling of the stew could be heard. A Captain and guard came into view looking sweaty and agitated. They had worked their horses hard and the insignia on their uniform clearly marked them as having come from Flagstone. The Captain announced to the empty space in front of him that he was in search of two Mousefolk and he demanded to speak to the owners of this camp site. Mordenthas stepped into the firelight, raised his hand toward the lone guard and uttered one word, “Laugh.”

The guards hysteric laugh pierced the silent night and made every living thing within earshot shudder. It was unnatural and continued even when the guard fell from his horse. The Captain had only a momentary look of fear on his face before it was replaced with surprise. A figure had launched itself from the top of the wagon with a fierce snarl and was descending upon him, knocking him from his mount. Crouched in the dirt before him was a young girl. She was covered in grime but that did nothing to hide the horns wrapping out of her hair. She was a Tiefling and a stowaway. The Captains surprise was matched by the rest of the company from their hiding spots. Anger registered on the Captains face and splotches of red showed on his cheeks. He looked ready to explode and there was no denying that none of them would leave this camp alive if he could help it.

Still hiding in the wagon, Kipsey’s tail knocked hard against a crate causing her to emit a sharp squeak. She covered her mouth and looked breathlessly at Leesey. The crunch of boots could be heard running to the rear of the wagon. Kipsey’s only thought was to protect her younger sister and mustering her courage she wielded her weapon; a leather embossed scroll case she carried on her back. The canvas was ripped open and the Captains head appeared in front of her. She brought the scroll case down upon his crown and clubbed him senseless. Leesey took this opportunity to start her transformation. Her tiny mouse frame elongated and grew thick. Claws bit wood and then bit into the Captain. A Mousefolk might have entered that wagon but it was a bear that tore out of it.

She made short work of him. And then the fighting was over.

This all happened in a matter of minutes but it felt like hours. The Captain lay broken upon the ground. Their attention refocused on Varis and Saoirse as they emerged from the shrubbery dragging two guards. One of them was laughing hysterically with a sword impaled in his leg- clearly the one Mordenthas had maddened. The other just looked bewildered and worried. Geoff, who had returned to the fray after he disappeared stepped reassuringly up to the guard and put an arm around his shoulders, “Don’t worry friend, you had no part in this. You can return home now and forget this ever happened.” The guard looked relieved and walked back, making his way to the main road. Geoff was met with confused stares but no one refuted him.

They went about cleaning the campsite and Kipsey dished out the slightly burnt soup. They tiredly sat down staring into the depths of their bowls. Varis looked up and spoke pleadingly to Mordenthas, " Is there any way you can make him laugh a little quieter?". Everyone looked up and then at the maddened guard still laying on the ground. Slowly they each started to chuckle. It was like a veil being lifted off of them. A draught was given to their captive to bring him to slumber and they ate their dinner with vigor. The conversation flowed and they discussed their new companion Saoirse and her desire to learn more about her magic and the fight that had taken place.

Leesey turned to Geoff and asked him why he had let the other guard leave. It was strange he wasn’t afraid of them after they had killed his Captain. Geoff looked mirthful and pulled his hurdy gurdy to him. “Well I happened upon him when those idiots first approached the camp. I influenced him with my magic, a simple cantrip to believe we were the best of friends. He told me a bit about the Captain and then went off to drink some ale I said I set aside for him. He must have wandered though and found the other guard which was a bit inconvenient. There was no reason to kill him though, so I let him go.”

He said it so simply but the company pestered him to tell them what he learned about the Captain. “Only that the Captain couldn’t let the matter drop. He felt personal offence and wouldn’t stop until he had returned those Mousefolk to Flagstone…dead…or alive. He grabbed those two guards as they were coming off duty and with no authorization left town in pursuit of us!” They all breathed a sigh of relief knowing that there was no one else coming and they had truly left that city behind. They settled back with their ration of ale and spent the rest of the evening in comfortable companionship. Tomorrow they would be on the road again.

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Elwee rdrakely

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