A Tangled Skein

The Autobiography of Garret "Fingers" Phineous

Chapter One: In which your humble narrator falls in with a rough crowd.


Part the first, or how your humble narrator came to be here.

Stealing from the foolish is an important profession. How else will the foolish be convicted of their folly and realize the value of financial wisdom? I teach lessons to the foolish. And, sometimes, when the foolish do not appreciate the value of the wisdom I impart, I, sadly, must then teach them the folly of assaulting a halfling who knows how to use a dagger.

How can a ne’er-do-well such as yourself express himself with such efflusive eloquence, you ask? Well, a quick tongue helps a small-stature’d person such as myself circumvent trouble. Also, my mentor, Tooth, inculcated a love of flowery language in me since my youth. He’d say “Garret, my boy, nothing is worth saying unless it is said CORRECTLY. Now, hand me that rod over there so that I might beat you with it.” Ah, the times we had in Tooth’s gang. I almost regret knocking him unconscious and stealing his purse to come to this land.

But I digress. I heard from a sometimes client of mine that vast riches await an intrepid soul with the will and the means to pluck them from their resting places. The place that these soon-to-be-liberated treasures resided was an old, decrepit tower. Imagine that! Hiding vast wealth in such a place!

Part the second, or the arrival of your humble narrator and company

When I arrived at the tower, I surveyed two armies fighting across a river. After lamenting the foolishness that misplaced nationalism stirs up, I approached the tower prudently. I then ascertained three individuals stomping and crashing their way towards the tower, like bovines in a crockery emporium. Their oafish meandering stirred up a nest of Kruthiks, which I then dispatched single-handedly, with minimal help from them.

Why such mercy, you ask? I felt that, if yon tower possessed more such inhabitants, then surely a more populous approach would be prudent. I took the opportunity to drink in my new-found companions.

The leader, who they referred to as “Sergeant” was a large, hulking fellow, much larger than the humans that populate this area of the world. Surely the army that placed such an individual in charge of men must value puissance in their leaders more than the capacity for abstract thought. He seemed like a severe, but useful fellow to have around. His actual name escapes me at the time of this writing, but I’m sure I’ll recall it later. For now, I’ll refer to him as Giganty McHuge.

I must confess that your humble narrator was a little trepidatious about the second fellow. He was able to summon burning flame at will, a master of the arcane arts. He was also one of those otherworldly elven types. Not the wood elf type…the other kind that comes from beyond. Tooth always said that such elves kidnap children and take them to the land of eternal summer’s twilight, where they make such children eternal servants for their castles of silver and light. It sounded like a sweet life to me, so I went out and harassed the first such gentleman I found to take me as his slave. He ended up blackening my eye. Tooth blackened the other one for trying to escape the guild before my training was complete, and for the sake of aesthetic symmetry. Anyway, the elf seemed a nice enough fellow though, and of good humor, which is always an asset in a traveling companion. He seemed almost as intelligent as I. I think his name was Quillon, or Quinny, or something with a “Q”. For now, I’ll call him Q-Elf.

The third was one of those religious types. I remember them from my youth. I would beg for alms at the gate and they would come and chase me away and then proceed to steal my begging spot for their “fund raising”! I think my first attempt at liberating coin was from a young priest begging for funds for some religious reason or another in the market square. He caught my hand in his purse and then cuffed me pretty handily, enough to knock out one of my back teeth. Tooth knocked out the other corresponding one for being caught, and also for the sake of aesthetic symmetry. At any rate, this third fellow happened to be a dwarf. I love dwarves because I can look them in the eye when I’m obtaining their coin, and they carry so very much of it. He seemed kindly but not too prosperous, and not at all loquacious. He had the eyes of one who endeavors to see within all things. I don’t recall his moniker, though, I think it had something to do with cheese. I’ll refer to him as Whiskers for now.

I introduced myself to them and they thanked me for my assistance and I suggested we form an alliance dedicated to liberating said tower of its valuables.

Part the third, or your humble narrator storms a tower!

Ah, what is this flower of halfling vitality! What a fine figure your humble narrator made as he harvested his way through a score of two-headed ogres pouring out of the tower! Truly, it is a shame that your humble narrator is not a weaver of epic poetry for it is only such an individual who would be able to approach the sublimely efflugent spectacle of the ensuing fray. Oh, it is to your detriment, gentle reader!

As I basked in the awe of my companions and benefited from the healing arts of Whiskers, I spied a dwarf lying in a circle of eldritch light. My keen intellect immediately established that this was one of those dragon mark things that people are always going on about. He was obviously distressed, so your humble narrator, with no regard for his own life and limb proceeded forward intrepidly to release the poor fellow from his bondage. After releasing him from his bonds, Whiskers, his fellow kinsman, saw to his injuries.

Q-elf, also being blessed with intelligence, like your humble narrator, studied the dragon mark and learned some important facts about it. There was some kind of riddle involved or some such thing, the actual text escapes me but it seemed to be important or at least portentous in some way. I’m afraid such details are not your humble narrator’s strong suit. I am, as always, a man of action and wit, and have not the inclination or obsessive observational capacity that the more bookish arts require.

By now, Giganty McHuge seemed to suspect your humble narrator of nefarious intent! I merely wished to help the obviously traumatized dwarf to stand and take a few steps to perhaps shake off the spell that ensorcelled him. Now, I ask you, gentle reader, would you rather be propped up by a fellow near your height or carried like a sack of delicious, delicious PO-TAY-TOES over the shoulder of some addle-minded lummox? Besides, wouldn’t a prudent check through his person confirm his identity? I humbly leave it to you to decide.

At any rate, we also liberated a changeling type of the gentler sex whose name is on the tip of my tongue. I will refer to her as Inertia Torpor for the present. Ms. Torpor was quite concerned for the welfare of the unconscious rich dwarf and promised us each a kingly sum for his safe return! Normally, your humble narrator would eschew the obtaining of coin for a good deed of course. However, being that I was new and unestablished in the area and also being that the unconscious dwarf could obviously afford such a sum, I must confess I reluctantly acquiesced.

Part the fourth, or your humble narrator battles the cold minions of death.

Upon leaving the tower (empty handed, I might add) we were confronted by a vast army of the undead. Leading this army of unclean souls, was a battalion of necromancers led by some kind of undead witch.

It would be vainglorious to list here the vast carnage wrought by your humble narrator unleashing a vast swath of justice upon the purveyors of the blackest of arts and their minions. Suffice it to say, they were handily defeated. I must, of course, acknowledge the fine support I had from Whiskers, Q-elf, and Giganty. Inertia Torpor was no help at all, though, being of the weaker sex.

Upon slaying the vile witch commanding the army, she turned to me with her cold eyes and uttered:

“From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee… For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee…”

I immediately replied:

“From Hell thou hast come! Back to Hell thou must go! This world has no place for your evil whilst I am here, foul witch! Die!”

And with that, gentle reader, she was no more. Normally, I would search a vanquished foe in order to catalogue their ill-gotten gains for return to their proper owners or, failing that, the constabulary. However, I could not bring myself to rifle through the carcass of such a foul creature. It was a job for less-discerning folk. Giganty McHuge was only too willing to perform the deed.

Part the fifth, in which a foul mist obfuscates the battle.

It was then, gentle reader, that I noticed a foul mist engulfing the two armies at war. For a brief moment, I considered that it could be the result of a thousand Giganty McHuges, victims of an uninformed diet of meat and more meat, collectively relieving the air pressure in their colons. The screams from within the mist seemed to back this theory up. I suggested we investigate the matter thoroughly. However, Inertia Torpor, being of the gentler sex, begged us to deliver her and the dwarf to safety, a sum of vast wealth would be ours if such action was taken immediately. Alas, my scientific curiosity was no match for my need for coin at this point in time and commerce won out, as it were.

Thus ends Chapter One.

I remain Garret “Fingers” Phineous, your humble narrator.



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