This is a series of tales about an imaginary E&P alliance. All heroes and alliances mentioned are purely from my own imagination, although the heroes have abilities and powers similar to in-game heroes.
And so here’s the first tale - hope you enjoy:
1: The Dwarf
“Did you hear?” a diminutive girl shouted as she burst through the tavern doors. “The Company of the White Rose killed a Thunder Unicorn! They say it’s the biggest ever! They’re bringing the horn through the city to present to the Duchess, and it’s thirty yards long!”
Most of the tavern’s patrons rushed out then, wanting to witness such a marvel for themselves. But one dwarf remained firmly seated at the bar. “Hmph,” he grumbled. He was dressed in armor that had seen much use, and wore a tattered blue cloak. “Good for the bloody Company of the White Rose, then.” He took a long drink from the tankard in front of him.
The young woman turned and frowned at the dwarf. “You don’t think that’s impressive?”
“Oh, most impressive,” the dwarf grumbled with a sarcastic edge in his voice. “Bring home a giant bloody horn from a freakishly oversized horse, parade it through the streets to universal acclaim, dinner with the Duchess, and every bard in every tavern from here to Corellia is going to be singing about it for months, or until the Black Dragon League or the Iron Dogs or whoever brings down a bigger one next week. Absolutely grand.”
The girl shook her head, and then turned to stare out the tavern’s windows, idly running her hands through her long red hair. Her clothes were worn leather and homespun cloth, and her cloak was dyed in a pattern of irregular green-and-brown stripes. “I wonder…” she began, with a far-away look in her eyes.
“You wonder if they’d take you on? Let you be one of them?” The dwarf shook his head. “Not likely, lass.”
“And just why not?” she challenged.
“Girl, have you ever fought a titan before?”
“I’ve… fought,” she stammered, pointing to the bow strapped across her back.
The dwarf nodded. “You’ve fought, yes. I figured as much. You have the look of a woods ranger about you. But have you ever fought a titan?”
“Um… no,” the girl admitted.
“I thought not. Forget it, then. They’d not give you a second look. To join one of those outfits you need a respectable number of titans notched on your belt. And that’s a different game than hunting goblins in Rathwood.”
The girl’s shoulders slumped, and she lowered herself down onto a bar stool. “And you? Have you fought any titans?”
The dwarf nodded. “A fair share, lass. A fair share.” He took another drink, and then asked, more gently, “What’s your name, girl?”
“Siara,” the girl answered softly.
“Drumnadrochit,” the dwarf said.
“My name, lass. Drumnadrochit.”
“Oh. And, uh, how would you spell that?”
“It’s spelled exactly the way it sounds,” the dwarf said, grinning slightly.
“Oh, I see,” the girl said, blushing a bit. “Well, I’ve…”
“Not heard of me?” the dwarf challenged.
“Well, you wouldn’t have,” the dwarf admitted. “I’m not one of those heroes the bards sing about, and I’m not in one of those companies that’s known throughout the land. But I am a titan hunter.”
“How did you get a name like ‘Drumnadrochit’? It doesn’t sound dwarvish.”
“It’s not,” the dwarf said. “Drumnadrochit was a village in the Misty Highlands. A human village. You probably never heard of it, either. A few hundred people, farmers and shepherds, a smallish castle, nothing special. Not a place one of the big companies would go to hunt titans, anyway.”
“So why did you…”
“There was a titan,” the dwarf said. “A water dragon. Not a big one, as these things go. But big enough.” The dwarf let out a long sigh. “And there were three companies of titan hunters in the area, any one of which could have brought it down if only they had bothered. But no. They were all too busy chasing rumors of an alpha gryphon up in the mountains to take notice.”
The girl’s eyes widened. “You mean the titan…”
“I passed through a week after it hit the village. There was nothing left. Not one stone standing atop another. No houses, no fields, no sheep. Nothing except a handful of surviving families all wondering how they were going to feed their children the next winter, with their homes and crops destroyed.”
“Oh,” Siara whispered. “And so you took the village’s name…”
“To remember, lass. So that I’d never forget.”
“After that I went looking for a company of titan hunters. Not one of the big ones.” The dwarf picked up his mug and sipped from it, then continued. “No, a small one. One that wasn’t after fame or glory or riches. One that wouldn’t ignore a titan because it was too small or because the place it was attacking wasn’t important.”
“You mean, one that would have defended that village.”
The dwarf nodded. “Now you’re getting it. Hunting titans isn’t something I do for a lark. It’s something I do because it needs doing. It’s hard, dangerous, terrifying work. Bards don’t sing about me and I don’t get to have dinner with princesses. No one knows my name except my comrades-in-arms and the peasants whose lives we save. But,” he said, looking her square in the face, “I can sleep at night.”
Siara said nothing, but stared at the bar, lost in thought.
The dwarf drained his mug and got up from his bar stool. “Well, I must be off,” he said. “I hear there’s a hydra in Ogron that needs killing. I’m meeting the rest of my outfit there.”
He took a step towards the door, but then stopped. “You know, we could always use another hand. Someone who knows how to use a bow would be useful. If you happened to know anyone who’d be interested.”
A smile slowly spread across Siara’s face. “And the place the hydra’s attacking?”
“Ah, you’d never have heard of it. Tiny little town by a river. Farmers, cowherds – common folk.”
“Perfect. When do we leave?”