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Saturday, December 12

Crisis in Freeport: Prologue

Beldin checked in to the Last Resort.

Bobbin Brandydale met the dwarf at the door. “Hello Beldin.” He wore a morose expression.

“Hi Bobbin. How are things?”

“Well enough, considering Freeport’s threatened by war. Any news from the front?”

Beldin shrugged. “I’ve been away. Judging from today’s newspaper, I’ve been away longer than I thought. Heard from Kham?”

Bobbin shook his head. “Last I heard, he was leaving for Altheria with his fortunes. Something about buying a gunship.”

“And Vlad’s gone off to war.” Beldin missed his friends. “Has my package arrived?”

Bobbin nodded and led him to a table. “Yes. The crate arrived a while ago. But there was a note on it…” Bobbin fidgeted. “And…well…maybe you should read it yourself.”

He grabbed a mug of beer from the bar and handed it to Beldin. “On the house.” Then he handed him the note.

Beldin sat down and sipped his beer. Judging from Bobbin’s expression, it would not be good news.

“Beldin Ironsoul,” it read in Elebac’s flowery script. “You are hereby summoned to Solanos Mor to prepare for the defense of the Forges. This armor has been forged specifically for you with the assumption that you will wearing it, posthaste, to serve your country and kin.”

Beldin gulped. It was dated weeks ago.

His brooding was interrupted by a familiar character who walked straight towards him.

“Clem?” asked Beldin. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”

Without speaking, Clem began to sniff Beldin.

“Smell him…yes…he is…he will be…”

“What?” Beldin grabbed Windcutter off the table. “What’s wrong with you?”

He took a better look at Clem. His previously ragged frame had filled out considerably. A large axe dangled from one hand.

Bobbin advanced on them. “Everything all right?”

“Stay back,” said Beldin. “I’ll handle this. Clem, what’s wrong?”

“Give it to me,” whispered Clem, rocking on his heels. “Death…blood…gurlewok…agantio…”

“Give what to you?”

“Crush…kill…destroy!” Clem grabbed his axe with both hands. “NYAAAAAAGH!” he screamed. more

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posted by Michael Tresca at 1:56 PM


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