Old Stories

Folly in Frontier Mountains

Some days, things never work out as you hope. Mystikos had decided he would go to Qeynos to do some banking and pick up some eggs for baking. He teleported into North Karana and upon entering West Karana, he turned into wolf form to travel faster. Mystikos was midway past the Miller's farm when he spotted a familiar figure hacking away at a scarecrow. As he approached, he noticed that it was his younger brother, Vigere. Mystikos sat and offered him some brotherly advice as to how he would have done it, while having a swig of vodka and munching on a fruit pie. Vigere let out a bellowing laugh at his brother's digs and, with a flair of a paladin, quickly finished off the scarecrow. As Vigere borrowed several of Mystikos' pies, they traded news and insults with each other. Vigere told his brother about the plague that had recently hit the Karana plains and how many of the farmers had suffered from severe crop losses. So far, the Miller's farm has remained unaffected. The only problem they seem to have is an increase in scarecrows romping through the fields, in which Vigere was aiding them. Mystikos told Vigere of several of his adventures and the goings-on in the world beyond.

They spent several hours updating each other on family matters, and Mystikos was about to take his leave when he asked his brother, "I see that you're increasing your one-handed slashing skills, but I do not see that fine two-handed axe that my friend Harokin gave you. I thought that the last time I saw you, you said you would never part with it?" Vigere's ears turned a deeper shade of red than the berry pie he was wiping off his face. "Well," he said with a sad look, "that would be the biggest disappointment in my life so far. I had been sitting on the bank of the river recovering from a previous battle. I had my fishing pole out and was practicing when suddenly I heard a call for help. I looked up and saw a half-elf ranger being wailed upon by a scarecrow. Without a second thought, I ran over and started whacking at the scarecrow with my pole while taunting it. I don't think the half-elf even realized that I had pulled the scarecrow off of him, for he high-tailed it out of there as fast as his legs would carry him. To be certain that the ranger had time to recover, I pulled the scarecrow back towards the river. Suddenly, my pole broke. I went to grab my axe, and that's when the scarecrow nailed me good with FEAR and at the same time, two solid blows to the chest with his fists, causing me to drop my axe in the water! I valiantly fought it bare-fisted, but seeing me weaponless, the scarecrow attacked me with a vengeance until victory was his. I ran back to where I thought my body was, but it took several tries and a few hours to locate it in the river. Alas, my axe was gone! I searched up and down the river for a solid part of a day, but I had to finally accept that it had washed away." Mystikos consoled his brother as best he could, and as they parted, he told him that if he got a chance, he would replace his brother's prize possession.

After finishing his business in Qeynos, Mystikos quickly teleported himself to Kunark. Arriving at the druid circle in the Dreadlands, Mystikos made his way through the ice cave, past the dizzying heights of the Yeti's domain, then down to the dry desert area where Kurn's castle lay. He then found the cave entrance that led to Frontier Mountains, where Mystikos was quite familiar with the terrain. He assumed wolf form, then cast levitate and camouflage on him. This allowed him to traverse the mountains with relative ease. He avoided the giant's fort, which was heavily camped, but instead roamed the entire range, looking for a giant with an axe. Besides the giant's fort, there was also a Sarnak outpost and several mines guarded by burynai miners and goblins, as well as ravenous brutes that, along with all the other creatures, roamed the entire area. Mystikos traveled up and down the whole of Frontier Mountains, only worrying about the giants and burynais, for they, it seemed, were the only ones that could sense through his camouflage. Finally, near the Burning Woods entrance, he spotted what he was seeking. It was a giant mountain crag, and it was looking at the zone wall as if it was trying to fathom what lay beyond it. The giant brought up his hand to scratch its head, but it was the hand that held the bright silvery axe. This would explain the many cuts that were on top of his bald head, and it also led Mystikos to believe that the giant was nearly deaf, for even at the distance he was, he could hear the axe sing in the air as it moved.

Mystikos moved in a little closer to see if the giant's other senses were as impaired, but as soon as he was within arm's reach of the giant, the giant sensed his presence and swung his great axe in Mystikos' direction. Had Mystikos been in human form, the axe would have definitely found its mark. Instead, it sliced the air above his flank, its tune now changed to a howl for blood. Mystikos climbed the wall and paused long enough to snare the giant. He stepped back a bit and cast root, with no effect, stepped back and cast it again. This time it took, causing the giant to howl in anger as its legs became wooden and unmoving. Mystikos then cast Drone and Immolate, his best DOT spells, then sat down to meditate back some mana. This plan of attack usually worked quite well for Mystikos, but when he suddenly developed an excruciating headache and was seeing stars, he realized something was amiss. From behind him, there was a giant mountain brae that had been apparently running along the wall when it spotted Mystikos sitting there and couldn't resist introducing himself with his fist. Mystikos jumped up and went to back away from the brae, but the giant crag stood in his way, brandishing his axe while furiously trying to free his legs. The only opening left for Mystikos was straight out from the wall to a ridge that was in the near distance. He flung himself to the ridge, knowing that the giants didn't have levitate, so it would take time for them to catch up to him, which would give him some time to regain his composure. But just as Mystikos landed on the ridge, there appeared a burynai rockshaper whose astounded shock at his sudden appearance hadn't had time to reach its feet, and both went tumbling end over end down the hillside. Mystikos' fall down the hill came to an abrupt stop when he careened into a charging ravenous brute, which, with mindless anger, picked Mystikos up and flung him back up the hill. This time, however, he hit the ground running, which was good, for there stood the two giants. Figuring the best way around was running right at them, Mystikos made a dodge for between the giant crag's legs. The crag heaved its axe and sliced open a wound in Mystikos' side. The axe's scream of approval for blood was quickly muted as the axe head buried itself into the ground. The giant brae aimed a murderous kick at Mystikos' head, but the wound in his side had caused him to veer away, thus causing the giant's kick to instead find its mark with the first giant, who was bent over trying to free his axe. Mystikos took advantage of the fact that the momentum of the four creatures carried them away from him and headed to the closest tall mountain that he saw. He climbed to the top of that mountain then launched himself off into space towards the next mountain, figuring this would give him enough distance to evade his pursuers. But as luck would have it, Mystikos felt gravity begin to tug at him. He was within arm's reach of safety when his levitate finally left him. After being denied for so long, gravity jealously yanked his body out of the air. When the mountainside slammed into his body, it knocked the air out of him, and the extreme pain he felt falling down subsided into a blur as Mystikos slipped into unconsciousness.

When Mystikos came to, he was naked and in front of the bank of Fironia Vie. It is always a strange feeling that you have when you suddenly appear in such a state, but the citizens and fellow adventurers usually ignore those that appear in such a manner, for they themselves have often had a similar experience. He collected five bat wings that he had in the bank for such occasions, and after memorizing his spells, he set off once again for Frontier Mountains to search for his body. Once there, Mystikos assumed wolf form, camouflage, and levitate, and started the grueling search of the entire area. Mystikos bound himself at the entrances to the different zones, which came in handy whenever his camouflage failed to hide him from the senses of giants or burynais as he searched, allowing him to gate out of danger. Twice, heavy rains reduced his visibility, forcing him to hover closer to the ground. Finally, just as he was about to use his last bat wing for his levitate spell, he spotted his body below him. He had passed over this area several times before, but the reason why he did not see his body before was that it did not lay on the ground but on the crude metal icon made by the goblins outside of the Temple of Droga. Mystikos slowly edged closer to the Temple's entrance, where the goblins fiercely guarded their territory, but he accidentally stepped on some loose rocks, causing them to cascade down on the goblins below. Quickly, he grabbed his body and moved partially around the mountain to avoid the investigating goblins, but luck finally smiled a bit on Mystikos, for as the goblins reached where he previously stood, a giant appeared there. As the goblins and the giant traded insults and rude gestures at each other, Mystikos quickly looted his belongings then gated to the Overthere entrance. Just as he was about to wonder what would be his best next move, he heard echoing through the range, "Willing to sell Axe of the Iron Back; Please send tells!"

Mystikos returned to West Karana and found his brother again at the Miller's farm. He presented him with the axe and added that he hoped Vigere would hold onto this one a little longer. "Thank you kindly, brother," Vigere responded. "I hope that this didn't put you out much. How much do I owe you?" "Nothing, just do as I have always asked," Mystikos replied. "Be sure to quest well, and when you have a chance, do a kindness towards someone else." "Well," Vigere said, "I do hope that you got some experience for getting me this. Thanks again, big brother." Mystikos simply smiled and waved goodbye to his brother. All adventures in life are a learning experience, he thought to himself, as he went off in search of the next one."

Take care and quest well,
Mystikos Samaritan

© Copyright 2023 Kenneth G Brennan

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