Chapter 1: Turley and Calder

By: Patrick Madden and Matt Benzio

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             Malix “Scar” Carthwright is walking beside the trade caravan trying to keep an eye out for bandits.  This section of the road to Turley is supposed to be crawling with various bandit groups.  Though, in truth, Scar cares very little about the safety of those he is working for.  For about a month now, Malix has been in the employ of Phylot Barrot and his wife Vermillia as a caravan guard.  Phylot and his wife are well-to-do Grum traders whose clients are mostly farmers in the Turley region.  Malix has endured this stupid employment for this long in the hopes of gaining a prize that just so happens to rest on the neck of Vermillia.

            Along for the ride, are two other fighters who share the responsibility of protecting the caravan.  One of them is a Grum named Gerrit Rollin; the other a human named Gesper Blake.  Malix knows very little about these two, but he really doesn’t care who they are, as long as they don’t stand in the way of him claiming his prize.  He has been scheming and trying to come up with the perfect plan to take his prize and in a few short hours, when Vermillia goes to sleep he will enact that plan.

            Just then, several arrows come flying out of the woods surrounding the caravan.  Gesper takes an arrow in the knee and screams.  “Mr. and Mrs. Barrot, get inside the wagon and get your heads down until this is over,” says Gerrit.  So the Barrot’s dive into the back of the wagon and wait out the fight. Gerrit draws a sling and holds up his shield just as two arrows hit it.  Gesper hobbles to stand next to Gerrit.  Malix dives behind the wagon as several arrows go whizzing over his head.

            Then, three bandits reveal themselves and charge toward Gerrit and Gesper.  Gerrit sends a sling bullet at one of bandits, nailing him in the head, sending him onto the next life.  Unfortunately, Gerrit lowers his shield slightly when he throws the bullet and two arrows come whizzing out the woods, one hitting him in the neck, the other hitting him in the upper chest.  Gerrit falls to the ground and blood gurgles out of his throat as he attempts to breathe.  Gesper drops his shield and longsword and grabs a crossbow, and shoots it at one of the bandits. The bolt hits one of the charging bandits in the head, dropping him to the ground dead. 

            At this time three more bandits come running out of the woods toward Gesper.  Malix sees these events unfold and decides that this is not worth his life so he runs. He cuts down one of the bandits that are running toward Gesper, as he takes off.  Malix heads into the woods.  He gets a good distance away from the fight and he sees the three remaining bandits hack down Gesper.  He thinks, ‘I could run in and ambush those bandits to save the Barrot’s, but hell no, I could get injured or killed, not for some stupid caravan traders.’  Scar continues to run into the woods away from the battle. 

Malix eventually finds some deep underbrush to hide in where he waits out the bandits.  His thoughts start to drift away from the carnage…

                                                            *          *          *

            Malix is slinking down the alleys of Turley, looking for some trouble to get into when he spots a Grum woman walking down the street alone.  She has no weapons or armor on.  However, she does have a nice amulet on.  The necklace of the amulet looks to be made of silver and the amulet is some sort of blue stone, possibly a sapphire.  He thinks, ‘easy target.’  Just then, some local ruffian Scar knows as Helden approaches the woman, probably with the same thoughts in his head as Scar’s.  Helden goes to grab the woman, and when he does, the amulet begins to glow and blue energy bolts begin to slam into Heldon.  He shrieks in pain and lets go of the Grum woman.  Just then, several of the town militia come up and grab Helden, no doubt escorting him off to the town jail.

            ‘Such a powerful item should not be in the possession of a stupid Grum woman, but a great man, such as me.  I’m going to have to get that amulet.  No doubt, what I have witnessed today proves that such an item is rightfully mine,’ thinks Scar.

            Malix starts to follow the woman.  She leads him to a trade caravan, which seems to be getting ready to move.  Malix sees that the woman hugs another Grum, so he assumes this is one to talk to.  So he approaches the man.

            “Can I help you sir?” asks the man.

            “My name is Sil Crawl and I am looking for work.  I was wondering if you are the one in charge of this caravan?” asks Malix.

            “I am, my name is Phylot Barrot and this is my wife Vermillia.  May I assume that you are a sword for hire?”

            “Yes, do you have room for another caravan guard?”

            “Of course Sil.  I am ready to move on, so you’ll need to come with me now.  I can afford to pay you 10 silver pieces a week.  Is this satisfactory?”

            Scar thinks, ‘that cheap bastard, however, it isn’t my intention to make a lot of money off of this guy.  I must have that amulet!’

            A smile comes across the face of Malix and he says, “Yes.”

            “Then lets be on our way.”

            Over the next couple of weeks, the Barrot’s traveled many roads around the Turley area.  Most buying and selling goods to the farmers.  However, on occasion, they would stop in a small town or village.  While the weeks were going by, Malix would keep an eye on Vermillia to try to get a handle on her daily activities in the hopes of figuring out a way to get that amulet.  One day it finally dawned on him, that the amulet only works when she feels scared that someone is going to hurt her, because he had seen her husband hug her and hold her a number of times with the amulet on and it didn’t affect him. So, when she’s asleep the amulet won’t help her.  In addition, Phylot thinks of himself as an accomplished hunter.  A couple of times he’s gone off at night with Gerrit to try his hand at night hunting.

            So, a day before the bandit attack on the caravan, Malix overhears Phylot talking with Garrit about going night hunting tomorrow night.  ‘This is it, my opportunity.  Phylot will kiss his wife goodnight and go with Garrit into the woods.  I’ll slip some sleeping drought into Gesper’s evening meal and then when he falls asleep, I will sneak into the back of the wagon and take my prize,’ thinks Malix…

                                                            *          *          *

            Malix opens his eyes and realizes that he must have fallen asleep, because it is morning.  ‘Hmmm.  I think I’ll go back to the caravan, who knows, maybe the surviving bandits overlooked the amulet.  There’s always that chance,’ thinks Scar.

            When Malix gets back to the caravan, in addition to the Barrot’s, Garrit, and Gesper being dead, he counts four dead bandits.  The last one appears to have been shocked to death.  He is lying next to the corpse of Vermillia.  The amulet is gone though.  The surviving bandits must have figured out how to get the amulet, because Vermillia appears to have been stabbed to death.  “DAMN!” screams Malix.  ‘All of that planning for nothing.  I should have just killed her the first time that I saw her and took the amulet then,” thinks Scar.

            Malix heads back to Turley in a very bad mood.  He takes what little money he has and goes to the local tavern and starts drinking.  Several hours later he stumbles out of the tavern very drunk.  Scar stumbles down the road.  He ends up falling into a woman standing outside of a jewelry shop and passes out.

            When he wakes up the next day, Malix is on a cot in some room.  He hears two people arguing.

            “Sienna, I don’t want that ruffian in my establishment.  He looks like trouble.”

            “But father, seems like he needs to be given a chance.  I heard him calling out horrible things in his dreams.  The things that he must have been through.  Don’t worry, when he wakes up, I’ll offer him a meal and then let him go.  I feel like I should give him that much.”

            “Fine, but when I get back tonight, he better be gone.”

            Malix gets up on his feet and walks out to where he heard the voices.  He sees a beautiful, exotic, dark-haired woman standing at the front of the store.  She hears him approaching and turns to regard him.

            “Hello sir, I didn’t realize you had woken.  Can I offer you some breakfast?”

            Malix walks up to the woman and extends his hand like he’s going to shake her hand.  “Oh my, where are my manners, I am Sienna Zarin and yours?” 

Malix just smiles and grabs her.  He puts a hand over her mouth so she won’t scream and drags her towards the back room…

            Sometime later, Malix saunters out of the storefront with several expensive necklaces and bracelets and a very large grin on his face.  Malix heads to the dry-goods store and buys some traveling rations.  Then he takes his leave of Turley.

                                                            *          *          *

            Malix finds that he is traveling in an easterly direction and realizes that in a few hours he will be in the vicinity of his old hometown of Calder, a place he hasn’t been for about 2 years since his banishment.  He thinks, ‘what the hell, I look much different from when I left.”  He strokes his hair, now braided and shoulder-long, a far cry from the neat comb over of his militia days.  Then Malix strokes his beard and realizes that the scar that was given to him is now concealed. 

            The idea of violating his banishment brought a smile to Scar’s face.  The penalty of death incurred by such a violation brought only excitement to him… danger alone was not enough to unnerve Malix Carthwright.

            Around dusk, Malix arrives at the entrance road into Calder.  A militia guard stops him and asks his business.  “I’ve come looking for work.”

            “Very well, but no trouble making.”

            As Malix is walking away from the guard, he realizes that he was a private serving under Malix when he was in the militia.  He just chuckles at that.  As he’s walking down the main road, Malix spots the local watering hole, the Loggerhole.  If he remembers correctly, it’s run by a surly dwarf by the name of Vragnok Jor and many of his old buddies from the militia frequently stop there for a drink after they are off duty. 

So, he walks into the place.  As he enters several people, including several militiamen look his way, but then return to what they are doing.  Scar sits down at the bar and orders a tankard of ale off of the dwarf.  He then takes in the scenery.

About an hour later, who just happens to walk in but Captain Sove and one of his lackey sergeants.  Malix’s blood begins to boil.  Suddenly, he jumps from his seat at the bar, draws his broadsword and attacks the Captain.  Sove is bewildered, but slides aside just in time to avoid getting hit.  The tavern gets in an uproar, most of the non-military people in the tavern flee out the door.  However, there are three other militiamen in the room.  They draw their swords and advance on Malix.  The battle rages on for about 10 minutes.

Malix manages to fight back the other militiamen.  The three privates are on the ground having taken serious wounds.  Malix then grabs the sergeant; the only one left in his way of the Captain and tosses him out of the way.  Malix advances on Sove.  At this point, Sove begins to recognize this man’s fighting style and who it is.

“Carthwright, how dare you show your face in Calder.”

“I had to come back and finish the job, you bastard.”

“Even if you kill me, the men won’t follow you, you no longer have their respect.”

“That doesn’t matter anymore, your death will be satisfaction enough.”

Malix begins to break through the Captain’s defenses and starts to wound him.  Eventually he lands a critical slash across Sove’s abdomen.  Sove grunts and drops to one knee.  Unfortunately, Malix has failed to keep an eye on Vragnok, who has spent these last few minutes sizing Malix up.  Just before Malix can land a deathblow to Sove, Vragnok slams Malix with the flat side of his war axe.  Malix falls to the floor and feels himself going unconscious.  As he’s losing consciousness, Malix thinks, ‘well this was a wonderful visit down memory lane.  That bastard Captain escaped me again.  Someday, I’ll get my chance again and next time, he’ll die by my hand.’  However, his resolve was somewhat shaken by the realization that when he awoke he would likely face a noose…

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