Author Topic: The Adventures of a Sewer Paladin  (Read 320 times)

aquietghost

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The Adventures of a Sewer Paladin
« on: December 23, 2019, 02:40:56 PM »


...They say his mother was a Mordentish bog witch.
They say he escaped from a traveling circus...
...They say he fell in love with a Dementlieuse noblewoman...
They say the hunters chased him all the way to Vallaki...
...They say he's an easy mark. Soft in the heart and head...
...They say he once swallowed a rat whole.

However it is that the Howling One known by the frankly unimaginative name of Howl has come to find himself in The Drain, he has become a fixture there of late. Whether one is in need of a meal or a bit of coin, it's nothing that a sob story spun for Howl won't fix. Kinder sorts might call him charitable, but the lot he's fallen in with know what he really is: A dupe.
All the same! Armed with an old blacksmith's hammer, a metal door that had somehow found its way among the refuse, and a seemingly unfailing ability to believe that good lurks within the hearts of others, the gentle giant has made it his goal, his divine mission, to keep the sewers safe. There are more rats (and worse) down there than poor Howl can handle most days, but he hasn't given up yet. Like it or not, this is his home now. These are his people.
Here follows...
The Adventures of a Sewer Paladin

aquietghost

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Re: The Adventures of a Sewer Paladin
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2019, 02:07:54 PM »
A Circus

It is not often that Howl dares to leave the sewers and brave the many terrible situations which may befall a caliban when seen by the light of day, but news had reached his ears of a circus to be held in the forests south of Vallaki. Perhaps he had overheard chatter from the streets above, perhaps it had been mentioned in passing one of those intrepid and daring sorts who passed through The Drain on business. Perhaps a flyer had found its way among the refuse and into his grubby hands, a matter of fate. However it was that he had heard of the event, Howl had resolved to go, stirred by some distant memory.

Arriving shortly before dawn, his hood raised and threadbare cloak (too small-- he had given the one that fit to another caliban of The Drain who had claimed to be in need of it) wrapped tightly about his form, Howl sought to lurk at the edges of the circus' camp. To watch from a safe distance, lest his terrible visage raise alarm. Our hero's concept of stealth is not unlike that of a drunken bear's, however, and it was not long at all before his presence had been noticed. The Ringmaster bid Howl to join them ("Outsiders are welcome here!"), and though he had been warned by the sighting of a strange and ephemeral figure among the trees -- a ghost, either borne from his memories or there to haunt the woods in truth -- Howl chose to join them.
He had brought no coin to pay his entry fee. The laconic guardsman at the entrance indicated that, no, the dire rat he had brought (just in case!) would not suffice. Thankfully, one of the performers offered to pay his way. Keeping his hood raised, Howl made his way into the circus camp. He lurked at the edges of the crowd, watching on. This was not a good place for him to be, and he knew it.

As dawn broke and Barovia's chill winter rain fell, Howl could only hope that the caliban he had gifted his cloak too in the drain was making proper use of it. The one he was wearing now certainly was not of any help. He watched on as a man others called a prince made his arrival, as a curious elf wandered the crowds, and as the people who had come to see the festival chattered among themselves. In a fit of serendipity from the mists, the rain broke just in time for the beginnings of the show. I tell you now, dear reader: There is no way to know for certain whether it was the bard's music which brought moisture to the young caliban's face, or if it had simply been left over from the rain. The truth of that will forever remain a mystery, though the scent of her Dementlieusen perfume had certainly stirred some memory within him. Just as news of the circus itself had. Just as the next act would.

A spider was brought on stage, blindfolded and bound in chains. This was to be a death match, between the creature and the performer who had paid Howl's way. Surely it could not run, let alone properly fight back, while bound in steel. Yet the ringmaster declared the thing to be a menace, a threat. A monster which some daring hero must put down. Howl's ragged nails drew blood from his alabaster palms, fists clenched so tightly at the sight of the beast. He found himself edging towards the exit as the fight wore on.
"Slay the beast!" the ringmaster had cried. A dwarf bellowed with laughter. Others among the attendees took up the chorus. As the hero's blade spilled arachnid ichor upon the ground, the forest became a dark blur around Howl. The world did not stop spinning until he was safe within the sewers once more.

Few rats dared to trouble Howl on his way back home, through those dank and rotten tunnels. Those that did quickly learned the worth of an upset caliban with a hammer. Howl would not be returning to the surface for quite some time. No, it was no place for a monstrosity like himself...