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Greetings, traveler. I overheard your conversation and noticed that you are going on an adventure. I've had some experience with adventuring, and I feel that my story can help guide you through your journey; pay attention both to my successes and my mistakes.
Allow me to start at the beginning. My name is Eugene Clarence Underbody, and I am a dwarfish member of the Sacred Order of Thor's Biceps. My life was simple at the abbey, and in the tradition of my order, I took a vow of poverty and trained my body to perfection (Hail, the perfect biceps!) Or so I thought. A certain adventure taught me differently.
I had been traveling the lands for some time, helping people where I could. The day that changed my life forever, I was in an elvish town called Treevale (an imaginative bunch of elves no doubt founded this town). I was in the local tavern, but because I had taken a vow of abstinence, I was only partaking of their fine local water. A very drunk half-elf named Steve caught my attention when he jumped up at the bar and exclaimed that he would solve the town's disappearances problem, and was looking for volunteers to accompany him. I volunteered, sensing an opportunity to put my skills to good use for the good of others. A female elf named Nuadrieth also volunteered. I got the feeling that my new companions did not have quite the same motivation, as they took the opportunity to get another round on the house. The male also managed to secure a free room, where he took a woman he had just met. I went off to find a barn to sleep in.
The next morning we all met at the tavern to plan our first move. The disappearances were all reported to have taken place north of the town, at a tree of religious significance to the locals called the Grandfather Tree. When we got there we started looking for clues as to the fate of the people who had disappeared. We found many seeds in the area, likely from the Grandfather Tree. We gathered some of them up in case they would prove useful.
Suddenly we spotted a man in a long leather coat with several crossbows crouched over a corpse. Suspecting him of foul play, we prepared to attack him. He heard us coming (that may have had something to do with me charging headlong at him) and drew his crossbows, one in each hand. At this point it became somewhat of a standoff, as the three of them pointed ranged weapons at each other and I hid behind a tree. The stranger convinced us that he was not responsible for the disappearances by showing us that the corpse was several weeks old. He apparently had been in the tavern the night before, and had followed us to find out if there were any beasts to hunt, as that was his profession. His name was Bigby, and we decided that we could use his help.
In order to lure out whatever was responsible for these disappearances, we decided to make a fire and leave Bigby as bait. Nuadrieth and I hid in trees, while Steve hid in some bushes. Nothing happened until after dark, when Bigby was suddenly attacked from behind by some sort of shadow creature. Almost simultaneously, one appeared in front of me on the branch and I heard another behind me. Relying on the inspiration of Thor's perfect biceps, I quickly punched it twice. My fists left holes where they struck. My training allowed me to avoid their attacks, and I quickly dispatched the first shadow. As I engaged the shadows behind me, I heard a commotion below me and I saw Bigby transform into a werewolf. I reflected on the good fortune of being in a tree while I exploded the second shadow with two fierce blows. Nuadrieth shouted to drop the seeds we had picked up thinking that they may have been the cause of the attack. I did so with haste and killed the final shadow creature in my tree.
Suddenly the seeds we dropped sprouted into some sort of plant that grabbed all of us. The Grandfather Tree split in half, and from within emerged a great demon. He called himself Orcus, Prince of the Undead. He had been testing the travelers that came here to find a group skilled enough to carry out a quest. He was at war with a couple of other demon princes, but his wand had been stolen by members of my own order. He was going to send us to retrieve it, and branded us with his mark (his handprint burned into our flesh) to ensure that we would not abandon this task when he let us go. Bigby aggravated him so much that he placed his mark on Bigby's face; Steve wanted it on his back, which also resulted in snake tattoos down his arms; Nuadrieth got it on her arm; and I foolishly asked for it on my thigh, which resulted in my penis getting burned nearly closed. Never ask for a demon mark on your thigh.
Orcus let us go and retreated back into the tree. Bigby was unconscious, so we dragged him back to Treevale. The townfolk were very distressed by our appearance, as most of our clothing was burned off. Steve assured them that we had solved the disappearances problem, and I believe that he received the payment the bartender had promised. We met Thunkin,a fellow dwarf who is a member of the Volstaag order. Our orders are on good terms. He healed the hurt members of our party, and when we told him about Orcus he promised to travel with us.
I was apprehensive about this adventure already; I had no intention to betray my order (Hail, the perfect biceps!) but I was not sure about my companions' intentions and I was not confident that I could best them all if I needed to. It would no doubt be a long and arduous journey.
That is enough of a story for one night. I will continue my story on the morrow.