The Rangers of Tolm track down and deal with local Childer threats.
Notes from Ranger Fellfield’s diary below.
As I have no duties assigned today, I am looking forward to working on a project I have been thinking about for some time now. I don’t think of myself as a complainer, but the state of the bread served in the mess hall is deplorable! Bread is the basis of any meal. Without good bread, the weak vegetables flounder and the meat is unsupported. And when a meal has gravy, the bread must be toasted to perfection. Too dark, and the unappetizing taste of charcoal permeates the meal. Too light, and the bread is soggy and dissolves under the erosive powers of the sauce.
Perfect toast. That is my vision…my quest.
While the goal is daunting, I have given it much thought and am confident I have the answer. I sketch out a diagram for my later reference. I am sure that by using lenses in conjunction with prisms and mirrors, I can build a device to monitor the color change on a piece of bread toasting over a fire. Then, when the correct hue is reached, the arm holding the bread will rotate, turning the untoasted side of the bread to the flames.
By mid-day, I am satisfied with the diagram and begin the construction phase of my project. This takes a little longer, but by tea-time, I have completed the device. Now, to test it!
With hands shaking, I place three slices of bread in the wire basket and position the device in front of the fire in the mess hall. Curious onlookers assail me with questions, but I wave them off. This is the primary test, and precision and exactitude are essential. I watch and wait, breath held as the basket makes its first flip. With one last side to be toasted, I examine the color on the upper side of the bread. So far, so good; the color gradient is as expected. My comrades let out a cheer as the arm holding the basket lifts and retracts, presenting the perfectly toasted bread for all to see. Success!
After several more trail runs, I take my device back to my make-shift lab and set about the next step – replication. The second bread monitoring device is quickly constructed and tested; it comes through with flying colors. To celebrate, I head to the bar. There I find that word of my device has preceded me. I am approached by a goblin trader, Trogash, who is interested in “my novel contraption”. An hour later, he is more than interested and we have struck up a deal. Trogash will market my device – which he has named “The Fellfield Self Motivated Bread Toaster” despite my assertion that “Burnt Bread Befuddler” has a nice ring to it. Still, having my family name emblazoned on each and every device sold could not be more flattering. Trogash will also arrange for the manufacturing. I am tempted to be more involved in participating in the dissemination of this helpful household aide, but my duties as a Ranger over-ride my fantasies. I am pleased that I could contribute to making cooks’ lives easier kingdom-wide, but I also know that my place is here with the Rangers of Tolm.
After too short a night’s rest, I am summoned to Sergeant Major Grizbuk’s office for a special mission. A pair of visiting rangers from Coastline have found a ratzin trail and Korey Evans and I are being sent with them to investigate. Griatta is an accomplished fighter, and Artivan is a paladin. Both are welcome additions to Tolm, even if their stay here is only temporary.
I have worked with Korey Evans before – he knows some sorcery and can be helpful when it comes to height complications. I am a dwarf, and Korey Evans is an ogre, so together we handily cover both high and low.
Griatta leads us out of town along a trail she follows by scent as much as sight. It’s good to have orcish senses for times such as these. It’s about an hour before we all come to the same conclusion at the same time…we are being watched.
I have time to raise my shield and ready my axe before the swarm of ratzin descend upon us. Korey Evans tells us all that we can move underground if we wish before he kills two of the ratzin and disappears into the earth. The rest of us ply our weapons, taking down several more of the chittering creatures.
Mere seconds later we hear an enraged bellow come from further in the copse of trees. The ground begins shaking as a minotaur rushes towards us, going through the vegetation rather than around it. His approach emboldens the ratzin, who manage to scratch viciously through Artivan armor, injuring – but not incapacitating – him.
There are only two ratzin left by the time the minotaur arrives. As I am staring up at his great height and planning my first move, Korey Evans pops up behind the minotaur and swings his giant axe up and between the minotaur’s legs before dropping back into the ground. With a blood-curdling scream, the minotaur swings around, only to find nobody there. Not wanting to waste his vengeance (I presume), the minotaur turns back to us and swings his tremendous axe, connecting with all of us – including the ratzin nearest him. The ratzin dies, but the rest of us are able to shake off the damage.
Griatta swings her axe, cutting deeply into the minotaur’s side. Before Artivan or I can join in on the fun, Korey Evans once more pops up and chops the minotaur’s arm right off. With an almost mewling sound, the minotaur crashes to the ground – deader than eternal desert dirt.
I stay with Artivan while he calls upon Archanon to heal his wounds and Griatta and Korey Evans head to the minotaur’s lair to see if more trouble lurks there. They find nothing of interest, other than evidence that more than just minotaur and ratzin have been here. Shaya’Kar have been here recently. When Artivan hears this, he talks of a “patchwork conspiracy” and how we need to get word of this back to base (instead of tracking down the elves as Griatta wishes to do.)
So, taking good advice over the potential for good fun, we head back to report our findings.
Sergeant Major Grizbuk (Tolm Outpost Commander)