Excerpt for An Unlikely Party Compilation: 1-10 by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

An Unlikely Party

1-10


By Dylan Thomas Horan


Copyright 2017 by Dylan Horan. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Dylan Horan.


Dylan Thomas Horan

DylanTHoran@gmail.com


Table of Contents


Never Trust A Mimic

Needs More Coin

Wings Of Light

Katak, The Legend

Stay Frosty

The Ladies’ Door

The Good Ol’ Days

Gorgos Punch

The Redemption

The Walker


Never Trust A Mimic


Rede looked back over at the rest of his comrades, “Alright guys, this place is of some renown so can we PLEASE behave.” He sighed and glared at Shade and Walker.

“Place of high esteem?” Walker twitched slightly, “Mimics.”

“There won’t be any god damn mimics!” Rede shouted at him annoyed.

“I’ll be the judge of that.” Walker hissed back as he crept along at the back of the group.

Callie shook her head and placed a calm hand on Rede’s shoulder, “We’ll be fine. We’ll only be here for a little bit.”

Rede grumbled to himself, “I hope so.” He shook his head as they neared the entrance into the White Stallion establishment. The owners refused to let the place be called a tavern as it was too high class for such a city name. Rede pushed the large wooden doors open that had twin stallions carved into their faces. He was surprised to see that the place was completely empty of customers, as the only living being in the room was the formally dressed man on the other side.

Callie signaled for Walker, Shade, and Gorgos, their other companion, to sit down at one of the tables while Rede and her talked to the man here. The formally dressed man smiled and waved as he walked up to greet them, “Hello and welcome to the White Stallion!” He spoke with an enthusiastic voice, “We aren’t open for drinks right now, but if you need a place to rest I’m more than willing to accommodate you!”

Callie smiled at him warmly as Rede glanced back at the rest of their party, “No thank you,” She said, “We’re actually are here to talk to someone of importance in relation to the White Stallion. Rumor has it that they’re looking for some brave adventurers to hire.”

The man opened up his arms and bowed slightly to them, “Baxter Carir, co-founder of the White Stallion. Bar-keep at the crossroads tell you about us?”

“Sure did.” Rede spoke up, “What do you need help with.”

Baxter eyed over the whole party, “What skill sets do you all bring to the table?”

“Walker back there, the short, twitchy, gnome, is an insanely skilled rogue,” Callie told him, “The elf wearing the menacing, cult-like robes, Shade, is the best damned alchemist we’ve ever met, Gorgos is our oversized orc raging barbarian, she’s an absolute monster on the battlefield, I’m Callie, mandatory party tank-”

“And I’m the mandatory party priest.” Rede told him, “Gotta have heals we can count on.”

“Hmmm…” Baxter nodded at them pleased, “And what sort of accoma-“ His eyes popped wide open as he peered past the pair back at the three at the table, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MY TABLE?!?” He screamed at the top of his lungs.

Rede and Callie turned around instantly and to their dismay saw Walker slowly pressing the tip of his dagger into the table, “Dammit, Walker!” Rede shouted at him.

Walker immediately put his dagger away and looked around the room in confusion, “What?” He asked innocently.

“Do you have any idea how expensive these tables are?” Baxter shouted at him, “That will be coming directly out of payment for your services.”

Walker narrowed his eyes at Baxter and slowly got up, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned after all these years…” He spoke in a scratchy voice as he slowly walked up towards Baxter, “It’s to never trust a mimic. Anything, anywhere, at anytime could be one. The table we were sitting at, the chairs, the candlesticks, maybe the bottle of wine you’re going to pour, or the chandelier-“ He paused for a second as he was now right in front of Baxter. His eyes snapped up and looked deep into Baxter’s, “Maybe even you.”

Baxter simply stared at Walker in a mixture of shock and fear, “He’s not a bloody mimic!” Rede shook his head, “I don’t even think that’s how they work!”

Instantly Walker’s dagger was out and at Baxter’s crotch, “I’ll be the judge of that.” He hissed.

“Terribly sorry about this.” Callie shook her head as she spoke, “Walker has an unnatural fear of mimics ever since he lost his favorite daggers to one way back when. He’s dedicated his life to finding and killing ever last one he can. We’ll take whatever pay deductions you feel are necessary for his actions.”

Baxter shook his head, “I can’t say I’ve ever been treated like this befo-“

“HE’S A MIMIC!” Walker screamed as he shot his dagger deep in between Baxter’s legs.

“WHAT THE FUCK?” Rede shouted at him. Suddenly he froze as Baxter effortlessly leapt off of Walker’s dagger and across the room. His skin and flesh started to twist and twitch inhumanely. “Oh you have got to be kidding me…He’s a mimic.”

“I knew it all along…” Walker mumbled to himself as he slipped into the shadows.

Shade and Gorgos walked up next to them readying themselves for battle, “Fight? Kill?” Gorgos asked excitedly as she eyed the human that was turning into a mimic.

“Yes, dear.” Callie smiled at her as she pulled out her sword and shield, “Fight, kill.”



The fight was fast, fierce, and freaky. Frankly none of them had ever seen a mimic using the body of a human. Seeing a mimic as a table, or a chair, or a chest was one thing, but to witness the monstrosity of this fleshy being as a human was nerve racking. Rede took a deep breath and finished healing Callie and Gorgos back up while Shade popped open one of her own homemade health potions downing it. “Well, shit.” Rede grumbled, “Now how the hell are we supposed to get paid?”

“We can loot this place.” Walker shrugged as he knelt down over the mimic’s dead body.

Rede groaned, “What are we now? Thieves?”

“I’ve always been a thief.” Walker smirked as he slowly started to search through the mimic’s pockets.

“I do it on and off,” Shade admitted, “Always for science though.”

“Gorgos want? Gorgos take!” She smiled proudly down at Rede.

Rede shook his head sighed. Callie chuckled and placed a hand on his shoulder, “Why not? I’m pretty sure the other owner of this place won’t give us his quest, or payment for that matter. In fact,” She glanced around the room, which was a complete mess from their fight, “He might try to incarcerate us due to nearly demolishing his whole bar. If he’s gonna hate us already…”

Rede ran his hands through his hair and calmed himself down, “Alright fine, let’s loot this place up. We need coin desperately.”

Shade smiled at him, “I don’t think we need your permission to do so.” Shade licked his lips, winked, and quickly started scrounging around the area.

“Humph!” Walker stood up and kicked the mimic’s dead body in annoyance, “Mimics.” He grumbled.

“The hell you looking for?” Callie asked him.

Walker slowly turned towards her and glared into her eyes, “Never. Trust. A mimic.” He quickly snapped back around and leapt over the cracked marble counter in search of some fine liquor.

Rede rolled his eyes in contempt and worked with Callie to find some coins. A few minutes had passed, mostly in silence, as the party all searched for anything of value. “WHAT IN THE GODS’ NAMES?” Callie shrieked shattering the tranquil robbery. Rede quickly looked back towards her and threw up slightly in his mouth as Gorgos had taken the mimic’s corpse, ripped it’s limbs off, and proceeded to rearrange it’s body parts into some grotesque looking totem or shine.

Gorgos used the end of the mimic’s arm bone to implant one of its arm in the top of the corpses head. Smiling wide she stepped back admiring her work as she held a leg in her other hand. She pointed at the corpse, “Rare mimic! Victory means honor!” She bellowed proudly at them, “Make shrine for Goddess. Offering. Ritual pleases her. Gives me strength!” She suddenly took a bite out of the severed leg, causing Rede to quickly turn away as vomit entered his mouth again.

Callie quickly covered her eyes, “Dear gods…” She whispered. Walker hadn’t ever looked up and Shade simply smiled as he watched.

Gorgos chewed on the hunk of flesh she had ripped off of the leg and shoved the leg through the chest of the mimic. As she swallowed her food she started banging against her chest letting out a war cry. After a few seconds she stopped and took a deep breath, “Goddess pleased. I stronger.” She paused for a moment and looked over at Shade, “Looks good. Give toy? Have fun?” She asked him.

Shade laughed, “No no no…that would be…frowned upon.”

Gorgos frowned and grumbled, “You?”

Shade shook his head at her chuckling, “Maybe later, okay?”

She smiled, “Okay!”

Callie swallowed heavily, “Can we…go now?” She asked everyone.

“Let’s!” Rede quickly jumped up and walked over to her, “Alright everyone, we need all the coin you guys found.”

Everyone tossed down what they had found on the floor in front of Rede who sighed defeated at the small pile. He picked them up counting it all, “38 gold coins…38? That’s all we were able to find in this damned tavern?”

“I found this!” Walker pulled out a bottle of incredibly rare and expensive brandy from his backpack, “But I’ll trust a mimic before I let anyone else touch it.”

“I found some exotic herbs!” Shade perked up, “Stuff commonly used as hallucinogens and other drug trip inducing stuff, less commonly used for incredibly powerful potions.”

“Guys…we need more coin.” Rede sighed heavily, “We literally are completely out besides these measly 38 right here! How the hell are we supposed to buy supplies, horses, rooms…anything with 38 FUCKING COINS!” Rede took a deep breath and put his face into his hands.

“Hey,” Shade told him, “I suppose I can lend some help.” Rede moved his hands and watched Shade reach into her long trench coat. Shade slowly pulled out a drooping sack and handed it over to Rede. As Rede grabbed it he staggered slightly at the incredible weight, “That’s either 500 or 750. Don’t remember which one, been awhile since I counted.”

“Where the hell did that come from?” Callie asked him.

“Oh I just pulled it out of my pocket of holding.” Shade casually told them.

“No I mean the-“ Callie stopped short, “You have a…POCKET…of holding?!?” She asked in utter shock.

Shade shrugged, “Ohhh you meant the coin!” He said ignoring her question about the pocket, “Well you see I sell very…VERY rare and expensive potions alongside my normal alchemy business. And at the crossroads back yonder someone wanted a very…VERY expensive potion. I don’t remember if they took my discount offer or not though…hence why I’m not sure what’s in there.”

“How often do you sell potions like that?” Callie asked him.

“Considering I’m the only one who can make them…” Shade pretended to ponder on her question for a moment, “Often enough.”

“What do you do with that type of money??” She again quickly snapped.

Shade smiley, “Buy a pocket of holding for myself.”

Callie opened her mouth to argue, but stopped as his point was valid. Suddenly Rede spoke up, “Shade…why have we never seen any of this coin before?”

“It’s my business…?” Shade shrugged at him.

“And we are the reason you are travelling around so much!” Rede quickly pointed out, “You are able to collect numerous herbs and any other sort of ingredients for your potions with us. We take you to new towns with new people to sell you potions too.” He shook his head at Shade, “We, as a party, deserve a cut.”

Shade stroked her face as she thought on the offer, “I suppose I can spare a bit for us, as a party.”

“That was…easier than expected.” Rede commented confused. He took a deep breath and shrugged as he put the coins in his backpack, “Alright team, let’s blow this popsicle stand.”



Needs More Coin


“Shade!” Callie shouted at him as multiple arrows bounced off her shield, “Where’s that potion?”

“Head’s up!” He calmly called back at her as he pulled out a grey, thick, potion from his trench coat and tossed it up in the air. Right before the potion was to fall down onto Callie’s head she lifted up one of her shields. The potion collided with her shield and she slammed it back down in front of her blocking a fireball at the last second.

“Hahaha!” She laughed excitedly as the surface of her shield suddenly turned into jagged stone, “Try and get through me you bastards!” She screamed at the top of her lungs, inciting every single goblin in that area to strike out at her.

“Why in the gods’ names are these goblins able to actually put up a fight?” Rede rhetorically asked as he smited a goblin leaping out from the trees above them, “Normally this is much easier.”

Shade shook his head at Rede, “Fight now, question later!” She pulled out a swirling red potion from her coat and handed it over to Gorgos.

“Power?” She asked him as she set one of her large two handed axes onto her back.

“Power.” Shade smiled at her.

Gorgos grabbed the potion and shot it immediately. As she finished the glass she hurled it at the nearest goblin shattering it on his skull. She growled as her muscles bulged freakishly. She flipped her large two handed axes around her hands and started laughing manically. “DIE!” She shouted as she leapt out from behind Callie’s shield cover, sweeping them through swathes of goblins.

“Where’s Walker?” Rede shouted as he cast healing spell after healing spell onto Callie and Gorgos.

“Should be behind their lines by now!” Shade told him smiling, “Think I should give him the signal?”

Callie shoved her shield into a charging goblin, impaling him on the jagged surface, “Hit it, Shade!”

Shade smiled to herself and pulled out a potion of bottled light. It was a gorgeous little potion to look at. As his friends fought valiantly around him she gave the glass surface a light kiss and whispered, “Don’t fail me, love.” With all of his strength Shade threw the potion as high up and far back into the goblin horde that she could. “COVER!” Shade screamed at the top of her lungs.

Walker saw the bright potion fly up above the goblin mass as he hid out of sight. He immediately grabbed and hurled one of his many throwing knifes for a collision course with the potion. He turned back around and covered his eyes with his arm. As his vision lit up for a fraction of a second he smiled to himself, “Bull’s-eye, bitch.” He smirked as he quickly uncovered his eyes and pulled out his daggers. The goblin horde was stunned, blinded by the awesome blast of light created by Shades potion. They had no idea how long the goblins would stay stunned, so they all quickly made short work of as many that they could.

While this horde of goblins was significantly stronger than what they had been used to, they seemed to be just as vulnerable to being stunned as normal, weaker ones. Callie charged one of the last of the goblins as they woke up and slammed him against a tree with one of her shields, using her other one to bash another one sending it flying backwards into one of Gorgos’ swinging axes. The last of the goblins scrambled away as they came back to their senses leaving the party alone, surrounded by a massive amount of goblin corpses.

Walker walked up to the rest of them as he wiped his blades clean, “Not too shabby, eh?” He asked them, “Told ya I wouldn’t miss.”

Rede rolled his eyes at him, “Good thing you didn’t, there must have been a least a hundred of these guys.”

Callie knelt down over her most recent kill and sighed heavily shaking her head, “What sort of damnable goblin problem does this town have…? Makes no sense.”

“What now?” Rede asked her.

“There was no goblin leader-king, in sight.” She grumbled, “And we just slew more goblins than some whole goblin camps have.”

Walker chuckled, “This was just a hunting party.” He told them.

“How do you know?” Rede asked him.

“I can speak some goblin tongue. Heard them talking.” Walker smiled at him.

“You can speak goblin?!?” Both Callie and Rede asked him in shock.

“Guys, I used to be a crime lord, I can speak a little bit of ANY language.” Walker smirked to himself as they stared at him still shocked, “Anyways, there’s no way we’re gonna continue on this quest right? At least with what they said they were paying us. I think we’ve earned that coin just by doing this.”

“Agreed,” Shade spoke up as he helped calm Gorgos down from her battle rage, “If this was just a hunting party there’s bound to be hell of a lot more in the actual camp. If they want us to clear that out, we need more pay.”

Rede grumbled, “I hate to demand more pay from our quest givers, but you guys have a good point. This is ridiculous. Let’s go have a talk with the lord of that town, hmm?”

“Let’s.” Callie pushed herself up off of the ground and walked with Rede as they lead the party back into town.

It took them just over an hour to return back to the town where they had been given this task by the man who lorded over it. They marched right back up into the mansion that he ran the town from and approached the lord. “I don’t see a goblin king head.” The lord remarked as the party stopped in front of him, “The deal was I pay you once you return the head of their leader.”

“We demand more pay if you want his head.” Rede told him sternly, “We just slew over one hundred of those rascals and that was just a hunting party. If you expect us to charge into that camp, which will be full of gods know how many goblins, we need more.”

“That’s not the deal we made.” The lord calmly addressed them, “I’m sorry you don’t think you can handle it.”

Rede opened his mouth to speak back up, but Walker quickly jabbed him lightly cutting him off. Walker took a few steps towards the lord as he spoke up, “Listen here you bureaucratic piece of shit, you’re either going to give us the gold you promised at first, pay us more to go clean out that camp, or we’ll cut off your balls and shove them down your throat…Kapeesh?”

“Gua-“

Callie cut him off, “We just killed one hundred goblins like it was nothing; Do you really want to try that…?”

The lord glared at them all as he took a deep breath. “We can’t afford any more coin!” He begged them, “We’re just a small town.”

“Bullshit!” Walker called out, “Goblins follow coin; they wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t coin for them to take.”

The lord shifted in his chair uncomfortably. His head twitched slightly in annoyance as he grabbed a bag of coin and tossed it on the floor, “Take your coin and leave, cretins.”

As Walker picked up the bag Shade spoke, “Fascinating, for someone with such a large goblin problem you seem pretty quick to send us away…in fact everyone in this town doesn’t seem too concerned by it at all. No curfews, no constant guard rotations, no escort system for going out into the woods…”

“Just take your coin and leave!” The lord shouted at them, obviously getting irritated by their presence.

“You know,” Rede spoke up, “That’s actually a very good point. You all seem less than concerned about this whole goblin problem.”

“What sort of deal have you worked out…?” Walker asked him, “That’s the only viable explanation. You and the goblins have some sort of deal. What is it? You hire adventurers like us to go kill them promising gold for a much smaller amount of goblins, sending us to our death, and in return they leave this town alone? Well?”

The lord glared at them with piercing anger, “Take your fucking gold, leave, and never come back.”

“Hostile are we?” Callie asked, “I think it might be in your best interest to tell us.”

“I think it might be in your best interest to leave, NOW.” The lord snapped at her.

“Oh…why?” She asked him.

“Because,” Shade spoke up, “This is all a lie.” She quickly flicked a small vial out of her coat and it shattered on the ground in front of the lord causing a plume of smoke to engulf him. As the smoke cleared a large goblin stood where the lord used to be, “Found our goblin king, lads.” Shade smiled.

“FOOLS!” The goblin king shouted as he pulled out a large wooden staff. Behind them more goblins started to pour into the room, “This shall be your grave!”

Everyone in the party quickly readied themselves for battle, “Any plan this time?!” Callie shouted at them.

“Let’s just kick some ass please!” Rede shouted as he quickly summoned a light elemental to help them in the fight.



Wings Of Light


The metal door to the cell slammed shut, echoing throughout the whole, otherwise empty, block, as the large lock clicked in place. One of the two guards spit on the floor of their cell, “Y’all’ll pay for what you done.” He grimaced at them and left with the other guard. They slowly closed the large and insanely thick steel door behind them, sealing the party in the most secure zone of their prison.

“Well…shit.” Rede finally exclaimed after they were alone, “They didn’t even tell us what we were charged with! Those bastards!”

“Probably something along the lines of running an illegal alchemy shop, stealing from their bank, and slaughtering a third of their city guard when we dealt with their street gang problem.” Callie forced a chuckle, “But I’m no expert.”

“It’s not our fault their own guards were part of their gang problem!” Rede shouted at her.

“Calm down, Rede.” Callie said softly, “Getting pissed off isn’t going to change the fact we are fucked.”

Gorgos opened her eyes as she rested in the far corner, “Hmm..?”

“No, dear, sorry.” Callie shook her head at her, “No one here is actually going to do that right now. It’s a saying.”

“Hum.” Gorgos closed her eyes and went back to resting.

“Dammit!” Rede cursed to himself, “I wonder how long we have till they are going to carry out our sentence.”

“Depends.” Walker spoke up as he studied the whole cell block around them, “If they want to see our criminal records we are looking at a month plus probably, if they care not about that and simply want to prosecute us on what we did here…probably by the end of tomorrow.”

“And since they’re confident enough in hanging us for simply what we did here…”Rede groaned, “We’re dead by tomorrow.”

“Well if someone had a hair pin I could get us out of this cell…no promises on that large ass door though.” Walker told them.

“Sorry, they get in the way of my helmet.” Callie shrugged at him.

“We all know Gorgos won’t have one.” Rede shook his head, “So we’re doomed.”

Shade pulled her hand out from under his cape and held out a hair pin towards Walker, “Will this work?” Shade asked.

Callie and Rede stared awkwardly at Shade as Walker simply smiled at him, “Thanks, Shade, as long as you don’t want it back.”

Shade smiled and chuckled, “No, It’ll work better if my hair is down anyways.”

“For what?” Walker asked as he quickly got to work picking the lock to their cell.

“Getting past the other door.”

“HOW?” The three of them asked in shock simultaneously.

“You’ll see...you’ll see.” Shade licked her lips as they waited for Walker to finish.

The lock suddenly clicked open and Walker let out a small cry of excitement, “Easy as pie.” He shook his head as he stepped back from the door, “I’ve known house locks to be more difficult than that.”

Shade took a deep breath, “I suppose that makes it my turn doesn’t it?”

“All yours.” Walker gestured towards the large door to their cell block, “You better have some magic up your sleeve.”

Shade chuckled, “Nothing of the sort.” Reaching into his coat pocket she quickly pulled out a large bottle full of a pink and purple liquid, followed by a small vial full of a cotton candy pink liquid. Shade immediately downed the vial.

“Didn’t they take everything from you?!?” Rede asked confused.

“My pocket of holding has two settings, one for when I want to use it, and a fake one.” She took a deep breath, “They only found a handful of coins.” He took a deep breath and reluctantly, for the first time any of them besides Gorgos had seen, pulled down the hood of her cape. Shade’s face was surprisingly fair, with sun-kissed skin, long and silky auburn hair, and sparkling green eyes.

“Divines above, Shade!” Rede called out, “All this time I thought you would have been some pale and sickly looking guy…not…not…”

“Not a gorgeous and stunning woman?” Callie whistled at Shade, “Why do you hide that face?”

Shade chuckled, “I’d rather people think I’m a pale and sickly being. Then they will call me he or she without a second thought. Like this…I’d only ever get she.” She slowly looked over at Walker, “You don’t seem too phased.”

Walker forced a chuckle, “I’ve seen…more dramatic changes.” They could see Walker was looking into his past, something they all knew very little of. Walker quickly snapped out of it and smiled at Shade, “But you are indeed quite the sight. What’s your plan?”

Shade shook her head, “Gorgos, dear…” Gorgos quickly looked up at Shade and smiled at him, “When Walker tells you to, I need you to rip off the heads of the guards. Understood?”

“Gorgos do, Shade asks.” Gorgos nodded at her.

Shade smiled at Gorgos and turned to Walker, “You’ll…you’ll know when to tell her to go.”

“If you say so.” Walker shrugged.

Shade forced a cough, “If…if I hear a single word about this afterwards…”

“Uh…okay…?” Callie shrugged at her.

Shade shook the anxiety out of her head and in one swift motion hurled the potion across the block, shattering it on the door. It made the sound of a large explosion and a pink gas cloud formed right in front of the door. Immediately the door started to slide open, just enough for one guard to squeeze through at a time, and the pair came barging in, “WHAT IS GOIN-“ The lead guard stopped suddenly as the pink fumes entered his nose. The second guard didn’t have time to speak a single word before his face too glazed over in a trance as he breathed in the fumes.

“Hey there, boys.” Shade spoke seductively as he grabbed onto the bars of her cell. She had undone the top few buttons to his trench coat, showing that she wore nothing underneath it giving a fantastic view of her endowed cleavage. Walker, Callie, and Rede all looked back and forth between each other in shock and confusion. “You two look nice and strong, unlike my comrades back here.” She tilted her head slightly back towards the rest of them, “Think you could…help a girl out…?” Shade licked his lips as she pressed up against the bars of their cell.

The guards were massaging their heads and blinking constantly trying to keep their composure, “We don’t…criminal...” His words were slurred as he struggled to find them.

“I’m even a better criminal in between the sheets.” Shade gestured for the guards to come closer to him, “You’ll have to shackle me if I’m to behave.” The guards slumped forward as if under a spell, Shade smiled and slowly undid a few more buttons of her trench coat.

The lead guard shook his head violently, “No! Captian’ll…flog…” He fought tooth and nail for his thoughts.

Shade immediately pulled the coat off of her shoulders, letting it drop down exposing his top completely. “Captain will…?” The guards, finally consumed by the fumes in their systems, flung open the door to their cell. “Before you boys get too loud with me…shouldn’t we close that door a bit more so your captain won’t flog you?”

“Yes ma’am!” The younger guard nodded his head and quickly ran back, closing the door almost all the way.

Shade had left their cell and the lead guard closed it back up, setting the lock, but not noticing that it was already broken. “Come on boys…let’s go have some fun.”

As soon as both of the guard were facing away from the rest of the party, Walker silently opened the door back up and nodded at Gorgos, “Go.” He whispered.

Gorgos’ large body shot off of the far wall flying out of the cell. The pair of guards had only started to look around at the noise before Gorgos had planted each foot on one of the guards’ feet and her hands gripped tightly around their heads. Her muscles bulged with tremendous strength as she effortlessly ripped off their heads before a single sound left their mouths. Shade casually pulled his trench coat back up and started buttoning it back up as the trio who remained in the cell slowly came out.

“Holy...”

“Not. A. Word.” Shade cut Rede off.

Walker handed Shade her cloak which she immediately put back on, hood up as well concealing his face. “Now what?” Callie asked.

“Our gear should be just right outside that door, probably in the control room for watching this block” Walker told her, “After that I guess we fight our way out.”

Shade quickly pulled out an orange potion, “Or we blow a hole in the wall.”

Walker smiled at her, “I’m startin’ to wish I had you back when I was a crime lord. You’re handy.”

Shade laughed, “I know.” They quickly all went out of the block and into the room next to the door. Sure enough their gear was in chests right there. As the rest of them finished putting on their gear Shade spoke back up, “Walker, was our cell next to an outside wall?”

“95% sure, yea, but…but…”Walker shook his head, “Pretty sure it leads off that large ass cliff the city sits on.”

“I can cover the fall.” Rede chimed in.

Shade finished strapping Callie into her incredibly thick armor, “Think that’s a new record.” Callie smirked to herself.

“You all ready then?”

Rede looked over their party and nodded at her, “Hit it.”

“Stay in this room.” Shade reached her arm out and hurled the orange potion as hard as he could, immediately jumping away from the door as he did so. The explosion rocked the whole prison as it echoed down every single hallway. “LET’S GO!” Shade screamed out over the sound of the alarms going off.

The party burst out of the control room and booked it towards the blast hole that Shade created. They could see that Walker was right, this led right out of the side of the cliff face. “KILL THEM!” They heard the captain of the guard scream from behind them. Callie immediately took up the rear and turned around as she jumped out of the hole, holding up her shields blocking everything they fired at the party as they fell through the clouds.

As soon as they passed into the clouds and their captors stopped firing at them, Rede’s hands lit up as he summoned a pair of wings for everyone to sit down upon. Callie started laughing heartily, “That was fantastic!” She cried out as they slowly floated in the air.

“A shame we didn’t get paid.” Rede shook his head, “Some of our finest work.”

“What do you mean we didn’t get paid?” Walker smiled at them and pulled off his backpack opening it up for them to look into, “Remember, I stole from the bank?”

“HOLY…” Rede’s eyes lit up as he gazed upon the two huge gold bars in Walker’s backpack.

Gorgos let out a cry of success as Shade chuckled and clapped in approval, “Yes we did.” He took a deep breath, “Any idea how long we’ll be falling?” She asked Rede.

Rede looked down at the ground far…far below them and he sighed, “It’ll…It’ll be awhile.” His eyes suddenly opened wide, “Wait!” He quickly pulled his pack around and opened it up, “A-HA!” He cried out in excitement.

“What?” Callie asked him.

Rede quickly pulled out a summer sausage and tossed it to Callie, who caught it, “Got one for each for each of us.” He said as he continued to pass them around to the party. Callie eyed him curiously he shrugged, “What? That tavern had some damn good sausage! Also I paid for it.” Everyone let out a slight chuckle as they dug into their food, high up in the air floating on their wings of light.


Katak, The Legend


Callie and Rede left the town to head towards the predestined meeting point. Neither of them had much to do in town besides trade a few items, so they figured they could head out early and have camp completely set up for when the rest of their party finally came around. It was nice and peaceful in the woods where they set up camp. Just another average, calm day of their travelling life often filled with interesting precarious moments. “How long has it been since we paired up?” Rede asked her while he worked on the tents.

“Oh geez…” Callie looked over at him, “A few years at least from when you ‘hired’ me on.” She wasn’t in any of her large plate armor as they hadn’t any plans to be causing trouble anytime soon. Rede found it nice to see her in more form fitting clothes.

Rede chuckled, “Turn out as stupid and boring as you first thought it was going to?” He teased her, “What was it you told me? It was probably a waste of time and a loss of money?”

Callie shook her head at him, “You’re never gonna let me live that down are you?”

“Oh hells no!” Rede immediately replied, “Only since you like it so much.”

Callie rolled her eyes and got back to work, “To be fair, it was a pretty good waste of time the first few months. No one wants to hire just two people for a job normally.”

“We got by well enough.”

“Speak for yourself,” Callie scoffed, “I was about getting ready to ditch your sorry ass before we ran into Shade and Gorgos.”

“Well, glad you didn’t.” Rede smiled at her, “This party would be lost without you.”

Callie laughed, “Oh trust me, I know.”



Walker had immediately left his friends behind and headed straight to the tavern. With a bit of luck the owner hadn’t changed in the past few years and still owed him. As Walker flung open the doors he was surprised to see just how busy it was in here, being as early in the day as it was. Shrugging to himself he walked to the bar and jumped up onto one of the stools. “Whiskey, straight.” He quickly ordered as he noticed the barkeep, pleased to see it was the same owner.

“Right away, sir gnome-“ The barkeep stopped short as he saw Walker sitting in front of him. His eyes lit up and he walked over smiling to him, “Well I be damned! I didn’t think you’d ever come around these parts by now!”

Walker chuckled, “Just passing through the area with my friends. Honestly surprised you remember me.”

“I’d never forget the face of that gnome who saved my family, my tavern, my life.” He patted the bar in front of Walker, “Wait right here, sir, I’ve got something special in mind just for you.” The barkeep quickly ran down into his cellar before coming back out not long after with a large, dusty, auburn bottle that looked ages old. The barkeep set down the bottle and smiled widely, “I found this gem hidden quite well in a burnt down cabin a year after you helped me out.” He wiped off the dust from the label and turned it to face Walker.

Walker’s mouth dropped wide open. Katak, The Legend. It was by far the rarest whiskey to ever grace the world. There was a multitude of different rumors on who and how these bottles were made, but the truth was that no one really knew. There was no brewery who could lay claim to it, and no family who claim its ancestry. It simply appeared from seemingly nowhere…and sold for exorbitant prices. Walker slowly shook his head, “You…you can’t. I don’t-“

“Shhh.” The barkeep smiled at him, “I can, and I will.” He told Walker, “If you hadn’t spotted that my chest was a mimic I would have lost my life, and if not my life, it would have been the tavern followed by my wife, in which case I would have wished for it to be my life.” He paused for a few seconds, “They are my everything, lad, I’m not sure you understand, but-“

Walker raised his hand silencing the barkeep. He closed his eyes and took a deep, pained breath, “No…I understand. And I would’ve paid the same.” He bit his cheek for a short second before swallowing heavily and opening back up his eyes while grabbing the neck of the bottle, “Thank you.”

The barkeep looked down at the gnome with sorrowful eyes, “I’m sorry for-“

Walker shook his head, “Don’t be. It’s not your fault.” He forced out a smirk, “Plus, I wouldn’t be so good at spotting mimics if not for that…” Walker sighed.

The barkeep nodded at him, “Speaking of mimics…any luck finding one of the ones you were looking for?”

Walker shook his head, “No...trails went cold weeks after I ran into you. Now I travel with some new friends living on a small hope I’ll run across them one day.”

The barkeep beckoned for Walker to lean over for him to whisper in his ear, “Rumors got it that there’s a mimic in Castle Everclare with the human king, another one sneaking around in the elven red light city of Talama, and a third one way out in the trade capitol of Port Phishk.”

Rede nodded at him, “Hmm…no guarantee any of them will be ones that I’m looking for, but it’s always worth a shot. I’ll ask if my party is up for hitting any of those places. Can find good merc work in any of them.”

The barkeep leaned back, “Aye, you all could. Figured I’d do my part to help you on your vengeance quest.” He took a deep breath, “Anyways, shall you crack open that bottle?”

Walker smiled at him, “Pull out two glasses, at the very least you deserve a taste of it as well, my friend.”



The sky was painted with pinks and oranges by the setting sun once Shade and Gorgos came running into camp. “What the fuck?!” Rede screamed at them as Gorgos dropped down a pair of dead bodies behind hers and Shade’s tent.

Shade laughed and gave Gorgos a high five, “Gorgos…you are a LIFE saver.” He patted her back smiling.

“Okay…” Callie started to speak up with the tone of a disappointed mother, “We put up with quite a bit of weird…and frankly fucked up shit from you Shade…” She shook her head taking a deep breath, “Why do you have two dead bodies?”

Shade smiled and nodded politely at her, “Thank you for being civil about it.” She said flashing a glare over towards Rede, “I need some parts from their bodies for potion making. Live humans are better, but frowned upon even more. So I use recently deceased ones…it’s not like they need their parts anymore.”

“What the hell potions do you need body parts for?!” Rede shouted at him.

“Oh, so you won’t question it when I collect goblin ears for potions, but now that it’s a body of your own race you care? Huh?!?” Shade shouted right back.

“That’s not!” Rede yelled in frustration, “It’s different!”

Shade shook his head, “Racist.” She mumbled before responding, “Part of my success is no one else knowing many of my elaborate recipes for my concoctions. Even though you could never make any of these, I’m not about to break that trend now.”

“Shade…” Callie shook her head, “Did you steal those bodies?”

“Pffffft!” Shade blew her off, “Don’t worry about it so much! I’ll have taken what I needed from them in no time and will return them right back from where I got them in the middle of the night.”

Callie brought her hands up to her face massaging her temples, “Oh dear gods Shade…we’re never going to be able to return to this town.”

Shade shrugged at her, “And that’s a problem because…?” As both Callie and Rede looked at him like he was an idiot she continued, “This town is small and honestly way out in the middle of nowhere. We’d probably only return here if we set out to return here anyways!”

“On a principle level though!” Rede groaned at him, “You can’t just go stealing dead bodies!”

“I’m just taking a few parts of theirs!” Shade tried to convince him, “It’s not’”

“Guys!” Callie got their attention, “Guys…let’s just move on with life. Nothing we can do about it now Rede.”

Rede grumbled to himself, “Fine…fine…but DON’T do this again.” He snapped at Shade.

“Well, I won’t have to for quite some time after this. So you got a deal.” She faked a smile at Rede, “ No Walker yet?” He asked them.

“Not yet, no.” Callie responded.

“Hopefully he shows up soon, by far the best cook we got.” Shade took a deep breath, “Thanks for setting up camp guys, make’s our life much easier.”

“Yea no problem.” Rede reluctantly spoke up, “We like setting up camp.”

“Cuz you two had sex while doing so!” Walker’s voice caught everyone off guard as he walked into camp.

“Did not!” Rede immediately called out.

“I don’t know about that…” Shade teased him, “I’d believe-“

“You got no room to tease, Shade.” Walker cut him off as well with a smirk, “Anyways, what’d’y’all want for dinner? I’m starving.”

Callie quickly pulled out a huge hunk of cow meat before anyone could speak up, “Got this bad boy on sale today.”

“Hmmm…” Walker eyed it over closely, “Yea yea…that should cook up quite nicely.” He quickly ran over to his tent and pulled out his foldable cooking set, setting it up over the fire that Callie and Rede had previously started. Rubbing his hands together quickly Walker licked his lips, “A-ha!” He called out and grabbed the meat from Callie, “Got a plan.”

“So, Walker,” Rede spoke up, “You find anything exciting in town? Shade found two dead bodies for his potion making.”

“Alchemy.” Shade snapped at him.

Walker chuckled at them, “Not directly no…” He paused for a second, “Do we have an actual destination right now?”

“Nah.” Callie told him, “Just wandering looking for work.”

“Think we could head towards either Everclare, Talama, or Phishk?” He asked them.

“Why…?” Shade asked.

“Might be something of interest in all three of those places for me.” Walker admitted, “I would greatly appreciate it.”

Rede sighed, “We aren’t going to Everclare, but unless anyone else had quarrels with one of the other cities, I see no reason as to why we can’t. We’ll find some good work in either of those.” Everyone else shook their heads at them “Well there we go! Guess we have a destination now, which one would you prefer?”

Walker smiled at them, “Let’s hit up Talama. You all will have much more fun there and I can’t say I really want to return to Phishk.”

“You come from there?” Callie asked him.

“Yep!” Walker told her, “Spent most of my life there.”

“Why don’t you want to return then…?”

“Bad memories…”Walker grumbled, “Bad memories.”

“I can respect that.” Shade nodded at him.

“Anyways, it’ll be awhile before this meat’s all cooked up.” Walker told them as he slaved over it, “I’ll call y’all when it’s done.”

“Thanks, man.” Shade smiled, “I’d like to harvest what I need as soon as possible.” He turned and went with Gorgos behind their tent where the pair of bodies were.

“Where’d you learn to cook?” Callie asked him before she took off.

Walker smirked, “Wife couldn’t cook if her life depended on it and as a crime lord I had to host a lot of different races. I learned on the fly, and quickly became a master chef as well.”

“You have a wife?” Callie was shocked. She had never heard of him having a wife before.

Walker glanced over at her with pain in his eyes, “Now I like to cook to help keep my mind occupied.”

Callie nodded respectfully at him, “I’m…”

“Don’t worry about it, Callie.” Walker grimly told her, “You didn’t know because I don’t like to talk about it.” She sat there in silence staring at him, “I’ll call ya when the food is ready. Rede is waiting for you in the tent.”

“For the record we did not have sex!” She said as she slowly stood up.

“No, but that’s what you’re going to do now.” Walker chuckled as she stomped off towards hers and Rede’s tent.


Stay Frosty


Callie carefully led their party through the mountain tunnels rumored to be the home of many wyrms. They could’ve taken the pass or bought passage on a ship around the mountain range that stood in between them and Talama, but to pass up the chance on stumbling across mounds of treasure was unthinkable. Even those these wyrms, flightless dragons, were less of a threat to the surrounding areas than their winged brethren, but a dragonkind is a dragonkind, and they always hoard massive amounts of treasure. The heat in the tunnels was slowly increasing the farther they walked down them. It was too steady and constant of a heat to be coming from the wyrms, leaving a lava flow to be the only logical answer.

“Shade?” Callie asked quietly, “I’m burning up in my armor, got any magic for that?”

Shade shook his head at her, “No ma’am.”

“Dammit!” She cursed.

“But I do have a normal potion for that.” Shade chuckled, “Or the ingredients for it at least. Give me a few.”

Callie rolled her eyes at Shade, “Alright, we’ve been walking on for a few hours already, could use a good break.” She stopped and rested up against the black walls. Rede, who was behind her carrying a torch sat down on the floor.

“Can’t imagine how toasty it is for you, Callie.” He said, “I’m just wearing light robes and I’m sweating like an orc.”

Callie looked down at him, “Let’s just say I want to go skinny dipping in an ice lake right now.” She took off her helmet revealing streams of sweat pouring down her face.

Rede whistled, “It’s times like this I’m glad I stuck with robes.”

“Gorgos hot. Gorgos not like.” She grumbled as she leaned on the wall next to Shade while he pulled a small alchemy kit from his trench coat.

“Sorry, Gorgos.” Shade said, “The potion I can make is only good for those who wear tons of armor. It’d freeze you on the spot.” Gorgos groaned at Shade and he shrugged, “Not that’d it help much but considering you just wear some rags…you wouldn’t be losing any protection if you took it all off.” As Gorgos went to rip her rags off Shade continued, “As long as our companions won’t care.”

Callie shook her head at Gorgos, “Go for it dear,” She said, “If the boys can’t handle it then that’s their problem.”

Gorgos immediately tore them off and sighed happily, “Helps little.” She handed her rags to Shade who put them in his pocket.

Walker shook his head and Rede rolled his eyes at Callie, “We’ll be fine.” Rede said, “Hell if my stuff wasn’t enchanted I might join. Right Walker?”

Walker chuckled, “These leathers of mine only come off when I’m either washing them or myself now-a-days. I couldn’t care how hot or cold it might be, I trained to withstand it all.”

“So did I,” Callie said, “but this-“

Walker cut her off, “But you’re in massively thick armor. Even with training that’s gonna hit you hard in the heat, especially this heat.”

Shade finished brewing the potion together and held it out for all to see. It was a bright blue with white speckles floating around within it like snowflakes on a winter wind. Shade smiled and walked over to Callie, “Move your hair out of the way.” She told her. Callie looked at Shade weirdly so he spoke up again, “I need to pour it under your armor to get it as close to the skin as possible.”

She slowly pulled her hair up, “I’m wearing normal clothes under this. Will it still work?”

“Oh yes,” Shade assured her, “Not to its full potential, but it will still alleviate much of your problems.” As Shade was about to pour it down her neck she paused, “It’ll feel pretty cold at first.”

“That’ll be fantastic.” She smiled at him. Shade shrugged and quickly started to pour it all around her neck letting it drip and soak down under her thick armor. Callie let out a gasp as the freezing cold liquid soaked into her clothes wetting her skin, but it quickly turned into a sigh of relief. “Oh my gods…” She whispered through staggered breaths.

Shade laughed as he finished pouring it down her and took a few steps back, “Feeling better?” She asked her.

Callie was entranced for a few more seconds by the waves of cold washing over her before she came back to her senses, “Miles better.”

Shade cracked his fingers and smiled at her while putting away the alchemy set, “Always glad to see my work…work.”

Callie took a deep breath and calmed herself down, “We ready to head onwards?”

“Hit it.” Walker told her as soon as Shade was ready. Callie put her helmet back on and led the party further and further into the mountains, feeling much cooler than before.

As they continued on their path Rede spoke up, “So I’m just gonna say the obvious and point out that it’s probably safe to assume any wyrms we run into down here are going to be fire and lava type?”

“Probably.” Callie answered him, “I mean the top of the mountain is full of ice and snow and probably holds frost wyrms, but they’d die in this heat.”

“What about poison ones though…?” Rede suddenly questioned himself.

“They’d explode.” Walker said flatly. As Rede turned to look back at him confused Walker continued to explain, “The gasses they use to create their poison is almost always flammable. One inhale of a spark and they would literally explode.”

“How do you know that…?” Rede asked him.

“Was firing off the signal arrow on one of my heists from the far side of a…doesn’t matter what it was actually,” He quickly said, “What matters is that part of the area was full of a gaseous format of their poison and my fire arrow happened to land there.” He smirked to himself, “Sure made getting in quite a bit easier…”

“What crazy shit haven’t you done?” Callie asked him.

Walker laughed heartily, “If I haven’t done it, I don’t know about it.”

“Ridden a dragon?” Shade teased sarcastically.

“Hey now,” Walker warned Shade, “That’s a way more complicated story than you’d think it’d be.”

Everyone stopped and stared at him flabbergasted. Finally Shade finally spoke back up, “I don’t see how that COULDN’T be a complicated a story!”

“Trust me,” Walker assured Shade, “Take how complicated you think it’d be…and toss it out the window because I can guarantee you it was a lot more complicated than that.”

“I call bullshit.” Callie said shaking her head as she started leading them again.

“On my word!” Walker called to her, “It’s true!”

“Sorry, Walker,” Rede said, “I’m with Callie on that one.”

“Shade…?” Walker asked.

Shade eyed him, “You’ll have to tell us that story, but until then I’m not buying, nor calling b.s. on it.”

Walker shrugged to himself, “I’ll take-“

“Guys…” Callie cut him off as she froze. Her eyes were filled with wonder as she gazed out into a large cavern.

“GOLD?!” Rede asked running up to her. He also froze as he gazed out into the cavern.

“And wyrms…” Callie whispered. Suddenly she whipped her shields out, “INCOMING!” She screamed at the top of her lungs, prompting everyone to ready themselves for battle.



Gorgos yanked one of her giant axes out of the skull of one of the dead wyrms, “Fight good.” She grunted at them.

Callie slowly got back to her feet as Rede used his magic to heal her while Shade handed her a potion for the pain, “Yea…” She groaned, “That was…one hell of a fight.”

“You alright there?” Rede asked her as soon as he finished with her burn marks,

“I’ve been worse.” She sighed heavily and downed the potion, “Assholes came at me like moths to a flame.”

“No idea why,” Walker spoke up, “But they acted like no one else even existed.”

“Well, that is my job.” Callie forced a chuckle out.

“You did it phenomenally.” Rede smiled at her warmly.

“Yea you did.” Walker said looking past her now, “She gets first dibs on loot I think.”

They all stopped and looked in the center of the room at the mounds of gold, gems, and other glittering objects. Rede whistled, “Guys…guys…we’re rich…” He slowly started to chuckle, “We’re filthy rich…WE’RE FUCKING FILTHY RICH!” He shouted out jumping in excitement.

Shade slowly leaned over to Callie, “He does know we can’t carry all of that out of here…right?”

Callie shook her head chuckling while Rede ran up to the mounds of treasure and started to roll on them, “Just…just let him dream for the moment.”


The Ladies’ Door


The journey to Talama had been fairly uneventful after their escapade with the wyrms. In Talama there was no such thing as a simple, normal tavern to stay at. Everything was a club, stripper joint, or both. Rede let out a sigh, “Well then, where shall we stay?” He asked the party as the stood in the very center of town.

“I’ve heard The Ladies’ Door is quite good.” Walker told him.

Rede slowly turned to face him, “And what kind of place is it?”

“Full of strippers that are mostly whores as well.” Walker smirked, “Friends always said they made damn fine burgers too.”

“Your friends, huh?” Rede questioned him.

“Hey man, I hardly ever left my home city.” Walker shook his head at him, “Plus, I could find all the whores I wanted where I was.”

Rede rolled his eyes, “Anyone else have a say?’

Shade looked over at Gorgos for a second, “Don’t care.” He said.

Callie shrugged, “Can’t say I even knew this city existed. So nope.”

Rede sighed heavily shaking his head, “Alright Walker, where’s this Ladies’ Door?”

Walker shrugged and walked up to a random passerby, “Excuse me, sir!” Walker said loudly getting his attention, “You know where we can find the entrance to The Ladies’ Door?”

The elf glanced down at him and pointed down a street to his left, “Yea just head down there; should be on the right sooner or later.”

“Thanks, man.” Walker nodded at him respectfully and turned around holding his arms out towards Rede, “Shall we?”

Rede rolled his eyes, “Whatever.” He said as he walked past him. Walker chuckled and fell in step with them as Callie passed him. “For a red light city I don’t see many prostitutes around.” Rede commented. He was right; they hadn’t spotted a single one since they entered the city.

“It’s because they all work out of all of the joints around here” Walker told him, “They don’t need to work the streets.”

“Safer that way I’d bet.” Callie spoke up.

“And easier too.” Walker said after her, “Honestly it’s a much better system than what many other places have. Legalizing it as a legitimate business to get it off the streets is a fantastic way to not only make it safer, but to make insane profits.” Walker chuckled to himself, “Of course, you humans in the kingdom would rather make them suffer.”

“It’s an immoral practice that we should not be-“

“Oh shut up!” Callie hit Rede’s arm, “You’ve slept with many a whore, just like anyone who was in the army. Don’t play the high and mighty role.”

Rede grumbled at her, “Fine! Fine. You win.”

Walker started laughing, “Exactly what I’m saying!” He exclaimed, “If you guys just embraced your inner sexual wants it’d be a lot safer, but noooooooo. You’re all too worried about your image; well guess what, no one fucking cares.”

Rede was about to yell at him, but quickly decided to take a deep breath and calm himself down, “Whatever, Walker. I didn’t need to know how many you’ve been with.”

“For your information, since I stayed in the same city I stuck with the same three.” Walker pointed out.

“At once?” Shade asked him.

Walker shrugged, “Not usually, but sometimes they were feeling frisky for it.”

Rede shook his head, but quickly looked up as he saw a sign swinging not far above them. The Ladies’ Door. With a sigh of relief he pointed at it, “Tada!” He said loudly, “Found it.” Nothing seemed too out of the ordinary about it, besides the fog that was rolling out from under its door.


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