We are Simon
Part One: An Introduction of Sorts.
It was a cold bitter night in the Rogue camp. The rain came down in sheets, yet everyone remained outside and the fire burned brightly. Spirits were low as the ever present reminders of evil surrounded our initial setting. It was a place that needed saving.
Six distinct adventurers appeared simultaneously within the middle of the camp as if by magic. The seventh was on his way, but had gotten "failed to join" when trying to enter. Soon all seven had arrived, blinking and confused; the necromancer spoke first:
Necromancer: Stupid b-net, I ALWAYS get FTJ!
Paladin: Excuse me sir; I am here to cleanse this land of evil. Do you know where I can find some assistance for this holy quest?
Necromancer: Huh? You mean you're just gonna run through the game, no rush or anything?
Paladin: Game? I beg your pardon sir, but this is NOT a game. People's lives are at stake! I was called here to.......
Barbarian: SMASH! Brawno.......SMASH!
Paladin: Thank you for your input, but as I was saying, I was called forth to cle.......
Barbarian: SMASH! SMASH! BRAWNO.......
Paladin: Look, could you please sto.......
Paladin: I can tell I'm not going to enjoy your company "Brawno".
Necromancer: I don't know, I kind of like him. Brawno, I particularly enjoyed that delicate pause you inserted before the final "smash". Really left us all in suspense.
Druid: Sorry, is my cousin bothering you?
Paladin: Not terribly, he just keeps interrupting my inspirational spee.....
Paladin: I rest my case.
Druid: Sorry about that. He's just excited. Brawno, could you keep the volume down a bit? Thanks.
Brawno: Brawno.......be quiet now.
Necromancer: And the suspenseful pause returns.......
Paladin: Looks like we're in this together. I, naturally, will lead us into battle, and if the four of us stick closely together.......
Paladin: Yes, I saw you three ladies standing there, and my tent will most certainly need someone to clean it, but the battlefield is no place for the fairer sex.
At this point, great tension and unease ensued amongst our would-be heroes. Only the assassin threatened the silence, with the ominous sound of sharpening her various weapons. In this moment, the paladin came to realize that sexist comments, even ones made with good intention, would not be tolerated amongst his newfound female allies.
Paladin: Look, what I meant was, the battlefield is a very dangerous place, and I would feel horrendously guilty if any of you got hurt. It's a matter of chivalry, not sexism.......and I'm sorry.
Sorceress: It's alright, I forgive you.
Amazon: Everyone makes mistakes. I'm sure you meant well, but if you think even for a moment that I would come all the way here NOT to help my rogue sisters, then you're dead wrong. Nevertheless, I'm glad you came to help.
Necromancer: Aaaaaaand I'm guessing by the way the assassin is glaring at you with limitless hatred while sharpening her weapons, that there will be no forgiveness from her.
Paladin: That's alright. It's not important right now while the innocent remain threatened by evil, and darkness clouds the hearts of.........
Necromancer: Yes, that's nice, but I think we should first get to know each others' names. Besides, the narrator is getting tired of always calling us by our class types and Brawno the barbarian stopped speaking a while ago.
Brawno: Brawno.......still here.
Necromancer: I'm Claude the necromancer, and I see dead people.
Paladin: Claude? You're french? My name is Tim the paladin.
Claude: Well of course I'm french. Who else would spend THAT much time learning how to raise dirty dead corpses to do their bidding?
Tim: Good point.
Druid: I'm Richard Hertz Goldstein the druid, and happy to be a part of this important endeavor.
Amazon: Goldstein? That's a jewish name, right? So are you jewish?
Richard: Not until I was born.
Claude: A jewish druid? Why don't you just simplify it and call yourself a jewid?
Jewid: Hey, that's not funny.
Jewid: What the heck? Why did the narrator change my name to Jewid? Change it back to Richard!
Richard: Testing...1...2...3...ok good.
Amazon: My name is Amazona the amazon.
Richard: Wow, your parents sure got creative.
Amazona: Just call me Amy then.
Claude: Ok, so we have Claude, Tim, Richard, Amy, and Brawno, but we still need two more.
Sorceress: Sorry, I don't want to give my real name. You can just call me "that girl with glasses". That's what everyone else did in high school.......
Tim: Ahh, why would we do that? Besides, you're not even wearing glasses.
Sorceress: Oh yeah, just got contacts last week and still haven't adjusted.
Claude: Well, if you're not gonna give us your name, can I make one up for you? From now on your name is Akki. It's like the spanish word "aqui" which means "here".
Akki: I like it. "Here", as in not invisible. Thanks so much! You're sweet.
Tim: May I take this moment to remind you that he spends most of his time digging up corpses.
Claude: Shh! Dude, you're totally gonna ruin my chances.
Tim: Did you just call me dude? What are you some sort of surfer necromancer or something?
Claude: That's really none of your business.
Tim: You spend most of your waking hours raising the dead and hanging out in graveyards and you're embarrassed about surfing?
Richard: Ok, we're getting terribly off subject here. We still need a name for our friendly neighborhood assassin girl.
Assassin: It's not important, and if I told you my real name I would have to kill you.
Richard: Oh yeah, the whole never share your name oath thing. I forgot you assassins did that.
Claude: Well, since she is an assassin, why not call her *** for short? I think its fitting. After all she does have a very nice, erm, set of weapons.
Assassin: Call me Rebecca.
Amy: Nice to meet you Rebecca.
Akki: Yes, glad to have you with us.
Tim: Whoa, wait a second, Claude just made a completely sexist remark and you ladies aren't even giving him the death stare like you gave me. What gives?
Amy: He was joking, you were serious. We women aren't so foolish as you might think that we can't discern the difference between humor and seriousness.
Tim: Wow.......I point out his remark and you say I'm sexist.
Richard: Oye. Once again, we're getting distracted. Am I the only one who's noticed we've been standing here for ten minutes doing nothing?
Amy: Then let's go.
Our brave adventurers began exploring the camp, only to find themselves stalked by a strange man in a blue shirt who continually warmed himself by a firepit with no fire.
Man in blue shirt: Good day! Your presence honors me!
Claude: My presence honors me too! Bye!
Amy: Let's talk to that lady in purple; she seems to be in charge.
Tim: A lady in charge, heh. I highly dou.....
Rebecca glared at Tim with the sort of stare you'd expect from a manically depressed pirate after killing his parrot.
Tim: .....erm, nothing.
Lady in purple: I am Akara, High Priestess of the Sisterhood of the Sightless Eye. I welcome you.......
Claude: Click through it; she's just gonna babble on about random stuff.
Tim: Claude! How can you be so insensitive when she's trying to speak?
Claude: She's not real. She's an NPC. Just try talking to her again and see what happens.
Tim: Alright, I will.
Akara: I am Akara, High Priestess of the Sisterhood of the Sightless Eye.......
Tim: .......I see. She must be under some strange spell. Even so, she's still trying to help us.
Claude: I've been through this a million times. She wants us to go to the den of evil and kill all the monsters there. Watch, let's ask her about it and she'll say, "There is a place of great evil in the wilderness blah blah blah, etc."
Akara: There is a place of great evil in the wilderness.......
Tim: How did you know that!? How COULD you know that? Did you use some wicked black magic to force her to always greet people with, "I am Akara, etc."!?
Claude: No, my magic doesn't work that way.
Tim pulled his sword from his sheath and attempted to wiggle into the most menacing pose he could muster. Meanwhile, small pieces of bone began to float around Claude while a solemn expression occupied his face.
Akki: That's not what she said to me.
Akki: That's not what I heard her say. She greeted me as "young sorceress"; not the way she greeted you.
Tim: But we all talked to her at the same time.......What sort of foul magic IS this!?
The tension dissipated and puzzlement ensued. Akara, meanwhile, continued babbling as no one had remembered to click out of her talk screen.
Akara: .......has been corrupted by the evil Demoness, Andariel.......
Richard: Real or not; under a spell or not, she's giving useful information and we should listen.
Tim: Yes, that remark about a demoness caught my attention as well.
Amy: Somehow that doesn't surprise me.
Akara: .......I implore you stranger, please help us. Find a way to lift this terrible curse, and we will pledge our loyalty to you for all time.
Claude: Undying loyalty? Sounds good to me.
Amy: Yes, let's go.
Brawno: Brawno.......come too?
Richard: Yes, Brawno come too.
Tim: Let's roll!
Our heroes departed from the rogue camp in search the secret demon hideout of which Akara had spoken of. Incidentally, the one road leading out of the camp went right to it. After entering the den, each character gave their best shot at a one-liner, hoping to frighten away the demons with intimidation. Unfortunately, they each spoke at the same time, completely jumbling their words. The end result was about as threatening as a purring kitten with asthma.
Zombie: Hello, and welcome to the Den of Evil Cafe(tm); I will be your host for the evening. Would you like a mocha or a pastry? Just here to relax? We have some chess sets over there if that's your thing.
Tim: Hi.......we were told there would be a secret demon hideout.......here.
Zombie: Here? Oh, you must have us confused with someone else!
Tim: No, I'm pretty sure this is the secret demon hideout we were supposed to cleanse.
Zombie: Look, living person, did you not see the road leading directly to this spot? Do you have any idea how much money and how many zombie-hours went into building that thing? We've saturated the rogue market with advertisements for weeks and still NO rogue customers. And now, when it looks like rogue customers finally show up, you tell me that you're here to "cleanse" us?
Zombie: Be honest. Is it because we're undead? I mean, we can't help the fact that we're undead, we were just reborn this way.
Tim: Look, we know you're gonna attack the rogue camp.......nothing against you or anything, but.......I'm going to have to kill you. Now, don't take that the wrong way.......
Zombie: Take that the wrong way!? What is wrong with you!? If we were going to attack the town we'd be attacking the town, not hanging out underground serving mochas!
Claude: My apologies for my friend, he's just.......
Tim: I can speak for myself, thank you very much. Quite frankly, zombie, I'm getting very sick of your tone; trying to tell us what to do.
Zombie: Claude? Claude, is that you? I thought you looked familiar.
Claude: Who, me? Uh, no my name is Ralph, and I've never heard of anyone as awesome as Claude.
Zombie: Always a kidder. Yea, I remember you! You summoned up my friend Jake using the bones of a cow. You know, you've become quite the legend back east.
Claude: Really? I mean, so this Claude guy is a legend huh?
Zombie: Yea, a lot of people say you're not only the best necromancer around, but the best guy around, period.
Tim: Ok zombie, now you go too far. Prepare to die.......again.
Amy: He is a really nice zombie, I'd feel bad killing him.
Zombie: And my wife and kids would miss me. Tim, are you by chance a life-ist?
Amy: Well, he is a sexist.
Claude: So yea, he's almost certainly a life-ist. He doesn't understand that you're vita challenged.
Tim: Gee, thanks for sticking up for me guys.
Akki: There is a solution to this. Why not kill them; then Claude, I mean Ralph, can raise them back and they can help us on our quest.
Richard: Very impressive, Akki; you sure you're not jewish?
Zombie: Get the honor to work with Claude and leave this dump? Sounds good to me!
Amy: What about your wife and kids?
Zombie: Meh, I never liked them much anyways. And while you're at it, be sure to kill my boss Mister Corpsefire. He's such a jerk; don't even bother raising him up again. Most of our customers here are fallen and their shaman bosses. They never tip. Ever. Kill them all. By the way, my name is Fred, and I want you all to know.......
Wack! Tim's sword came down hard on Fred the zombie, cutting him down instantly. Claude made a quick gesture with his arms and thrusted his pelvis forward, Elvis-style. The zombie corpse exploded and a skeleton jumped out.
Richard: Claude, erm, Ralph, did you just make a pelvic thrust as you cast that spell?
Claude: Hey, if you're gonna be raising undead, might as well make it look sexy.
Fred: Way to cut me in half while I was in the middle of a sentence, jerk.
Tim: Well, you wouldn't shut up. Maybe as a skeleton you won't talk so much.
Fred: I'm a skeleton? Already? Holy crap I just lost a lot of weight! I feel so buff. Oooh, I even get this nice mini scythe thing.
Amy: Well spoken Brawno, we need to get down to business.
Richard: Yes cousin, let's kick some demon derriere.
With that, our heroes threw themselves into battle, interrupting countless demon chess games and spilling numerous mochas. The result was slaughter. Tim charged sword-first into several demons and undead while smiting others with his shield. Brawno hacked away at his foes until his axe broke, then continued to crush his enemies by bashing them to death with his powerful fists. Amy threw a mean javelin, piercing demon hides from a great distance. Rebecca went toe-to-toe with her opponents, preferring to slash them into tiny bits with her deadly katars. Akki slew a great many with her potent elemental magic. Richard transformed into a fearsome wolf, ripping apart his prey. Claude grabbed a chair and watched, occasionally making Elvis-style pelvic thrusts.
As the body count mounted, their collective purse grew from demon gold. Richard slipped into the job of adventurer party accountant, keeping track of their spoils. Most of the customers had been slain without trouble. A couple of giant shaggy beasts, "cafe bouncers" as Fred described them, put up a fight but were eventually taken down. Only the zombie boss, Mr. Corpsefire, remained.
Mr. Corpsefire: What have you done!? Look at this mess; do you have any idea how much business I'm going to lose over this? All these customers you've slain.......I've just lost their business thanks to you bastards!
Fred: Nine years I've worked here under you. Nine years and not one single raise.
Mr. Corpsefire: Fred? Did you lose weight?
Fred: Yea, nothing but skin and bones now, except without the skin part. Hey, wait a second, don't change the subject. Do you have any idea how it feels to not a get a raise after working in a place for nine years?
Mr. Corpsefire: How you feel? How do you think I felt when I found out my youngest daughter had gotten knocked up by one of my scrubbiest employees?
Fred: That wasn't my fault, she came over to my place drunk and got on top of my.......
Tim: Whoa! Let's stop right there! Corpsefire, prepare to die.
Mr. Corpsefire: HAH! Good luck. I'm far stronger than a regular zombie, and with seven of you in this game, I have seven times as many hit points. On top of that, I'm lightning enchanted. Do your worst mortals.
Brawno: BRAWNO! SMAAAASSSHHH!!!!!!
Brawno leapt into the air and came down hard on Mr. Corpsefire with a powerful bash. After taking the hit, lightning bolts sprang up from the zombie's body, singeing Brawno badly and throwing him back.
Mr. Corpsefire: HAH! FOOL! I am invincible!
Richard: Brawno! Are you alright!?
Claude: Ranged attacks only guys.
Rebecca tossed little balls at Mr. Corpsefire that exploded into flames on impact. Amy threw javelins at the zombie boss like she'd never thrown before. Richard drew up a sweltering firestorm from the ground and directed it at Mr. Corpsefire. Akki let loose freezing icebolts. Brawno, still recovering from his injuries, found a set of throwing knives on the ground, and began to lob them with all his might. Claude located the Den of Evil Cafe(tm) popcorn machine and proceeded to cook up a mean batch of Orville Redenbacher. He then pushed a vigorously deceased fallen out of a chair in order to take its place. Tim, who seemed to be having trouble finding a method of ranged attack, decided to follow suit and took up a seat next to Claude.
Tim: You know, I think we got off to a bad start.
Claude: No worries. Popcorn?
Tim: Yea, thanks. Looks good.
Meanwhile, the battle raged on. Despite Claude's new skeleton pals' best efforts to halt the advance, Mr. Corpsefire kept creeping forward, dragging his feet the whole way. Eventually, his lightning bolts came within range of our heroes.
Brawno: Brawno OW!
Quill Rat: SQUEE!
As luck would have it, a quill rat had also been struck by Mr. Corpsefire's lightning. Startled by the strange noise, Mr. Corpsefire and our gang of would-be heroes turned their attention to a small pack of rodents coveting a sizeable hunk of cheese.
Mr. Corpsefire: You damned dirty rats! Get out of here! Shoo!
Akki: Every time we hit him, those bolts of electricity are released. We need one single powerful attack.
Rebecca: Got it.
Rebecca descended upon the quill rats, striking them quickly. Each attack appeared to fill the air around her with a distinctive and volatile energy. Turning again to face a baffled Mr. Corpsefire, she flung herself at him with more velocity than any of her newfound friends had seen previously. As the blades pierced his discolored zombie hide, the recently acquired power was released, killing him instantly. The final reverberations of the morbid thud which followed signaled the beginning of a stunned silence as the cavern filled with light.
Claude: Ok, our narrator is getting way too descriptive now. Morbid thud signaling a stunned silence? Give me a break.
Tim: Claude, I have no idea what you're talking about, but this is really great popcorn. Seriously, you guys should have some. Oh, and 'Becca, remind me never to piss you off.
Richard: What the hell are you doing!? Why didn't you help?
Tim: This popcorn was going to waste.......
Akki: Where are those rays of light coming from? We're underground.
Amy: Yea, sure. Brawno almost died because of you, Tim!
Akki: Is that a choir I hear singing?
Tim: Me!? Claude was the one who was slacking off! I just came here to get him. Besides, I have no ranged attack.
Claude: I command my skeletons telepathically. I do this most effectively in a rested position. I know you don't have any ranged attacks, but you still could've used one of those paladin auras your people are famous for.
Fred: Yup, Claude was giving me and the others orders the entire time.
Tim: You bastards.......
Claude: I love you too. You guys want some popcorn? I made four bags.
Akki: Count me in.
Richard: Tim, don't ever do that again. At least try to be useful next time or we may have to.......oooooooh, just noticed ole' Corpsefire dropped some gold! Teeheehee! I'm going to go count it!
Amy: Honestly, Tim; do you really want to help my rogue sisters? We need as much help as we can get.
Tim: Yes, I do. I just won't be at my full strength 'til I reach level eighteen. Then I can use blessed hammers.
Amy: Ok, I look forward to this "level eighteen" then. I'd really appreciate your help.
Claude: AHA! Level eighteen, huh? So you DO know it's a game.
Tim: Look, I'm not sure why you think this is a game or what you think our paladin training system has to do with it, but, when a paladin enters a new country, he has to follow certain protocol. One thing we must not do is use certain skills until we have killed a certain number of wicked monsters in that country.
Claude: No, it's because it's a game.
Tim: Haven't we been over this before? I don't want to argue with you; people's lives are at stake.
Richard: People's lives, particularly that of my cousin Brawno, seemed to hold very little value to you a few minutes ago. At least, not as much value as that popcorn.
Tim: Maybe you just need to try some.
Brawno: Brawno.......eat popcorn.
Richard: Wow, this is really good.......
Rebecca: We need to get going.
And so our gallant heroes left the Den of Evil Cafe(tm) by walking through a shimmering blue oval that fell out of a rolled up piece of paper. Back at camp, our weary gang of adventurers set up tents for the night. Following Claude's instructions, each of them approached Akara as if to speak to her, and was healed instantly instead. After all of the preparations were completed, our gang huddled comfortably around the fire and conversed once more.
Warriv: Good day!
Richard: It's night time now.
Warriv: Your presence honors me!
Richard: Go away.
Akki: Where's Claude?
Tim: Don't know. I swore I saw him just a second ago.
Richard: He's a necromancer. Of course he's going to take off at random like that. That's just the way they are.
Tim: And how would you know this?
Richard: As a druid, I completely understand. My people were once one and the same as the barbarians, but we had to go off on our own.
Amy: Is that how Brawno and you are cousins?
Richard: Yes, exactly.
Akki: What about you, Amy, do amazons stick together?
Amy: More or less. We're somewhat nomadic. Do you sorceresses stick together?
Akki: I wouldn't really know. I never met my family.
Amy: I'm sorry.
Tim: So how old do you guys think Claude is? Ninety-seven?
Amy: Pfft. He's not ninety-seven. He may have gray hairs but he's much younger than that.
Tim: Oh really? You want to take a bet? Yes, let's have everyone here bet on his age. I'm betting he's at least eighty years old.
Richard: I'll take that bet. How much?
Tim: Ten gold.
Richard: Ten gold? That's all? I thought you were SURE about his age.
Tim: Fine, one hundred gold.
Amy: I'm in too; same bet as Richard.
Akki: Count me in as well.
Tim: Is that everyone? There's only five of us here. Who are we missing?
Amy: Rebecca.......didn't notice she was gone 'til just now either.......strange.
Akki: Where could she be? I hope she didn't get lost somewhere.
Tim: It's Claude that I'm worried about. That poor, decrepit old man, wandering alone in the dark.
Claude: Someone say my name?
Rebecca: Who says he was alone?
Tim: Ah, Claude. Just the man we were waiting for.
Tim: Huh? Twenty-eight what?
Claude: I'm twenty-eight years old. Has anyone ever told you that you're really loud? We could hear you all the way from the Blood Moor.
Richard: Apparently, Tim didn't realize that ALL necromancers have gray hairs, regardless of age.
Claude: And you naturally took advantage of that for financial gain.
Richard: Yea, pretty much.
Tim: That's so wrong.......
Amy: Where did you guys go?
Claude: Poison. I was giving her poison lessons.
Amy: Poison lessons?
Claude: Yup. By some strange twist of fate, assassins aren't able to attain a poison attack 'til level thirty. We necromancers get our first one at a level six. So, I just gave her a head start.
Amy: Sounds cool. You know, I've always wanted to add poison to my javelins. Any way that could be arranged?
Claude: Oh, definitely.
Rebecca: We found something you should all see.
Claude: Yes, thanks for the reminder. We found a piece of parchment in the Cold Plains and believe it may hold a clue to this whole mess. The only words we can make out on it are, "Morbo's Undead Redecorating", "pay to the order of C.....", and "Get every third human skeleton free".
Richard: It's an advertisement?
Claude: Sort of. We think it's more of a form letter.
Rebecca: "Pay to the order.....", indicates that it's spelling out a transaction. The only letter in the name of the person receiving the transaction is "C". The rest is impossible to read.
Fred: May I pipe in for a moment?
Claude: Yes, of course Fred. Do you know anything about this?
Fred: I think I might. I used to work for Morbo's. They're a very pricey redecorating company. Only the richest underworld denizens can afford their services. Despite all the money they raked in, the pay was still lousy.
Claude: Something isn't right here. Blood Moor, Cold Plains, Black Marsh; all of these names are dark and dreary.
Tim: And? I thought you liked that sort of thing.
Claude: They're names demons and undead would give to patches of land, not rogues. But, this is rogue territory. So why would the rogues name these places in the same manner demons would?
Richard: I noticed it too. Not sure what to make of it though.
Rebecca: It's the sign of a traitor. Someone is trying to sell the land to demons and they changed the names to ones demons would find more attractive.
Fred: It would have to be Andariel. She must be building another Andalux Resort(tm).
Claude: Ooh. I stayed in one of those one time. They're very nice.
Fred: Yea, my family and I got snowed in one Christmas and found ourselves in that place for a week. It was fantastic.
Amy: So when you were a zombie your family celebrated Christmas?
Fred: Well, yea. Jesus was the first guy in history to die and come back to life, so of course we celebrate it.
Tim: But Christmas is a paladin holiday.......
Amy: Guess its not just for paladins.
Claude: Necromancers celebrate it too. Remember that Jesus was the first to raise someone from the dead. So he was essentially the first necromancer.
Tim: Jesus was NOT a necromancer! He was a healer, an eloquent speaker, and a warrior like ALL paladins.
Richard: Being jewish, I don't believe in him at all. Now, can we get back on topic? We were discussing the vile, evil, and despicable unknown person who is trying to sell rogue land to demons.
Amy: Yes, but who would do such a thing?
Gheed: Hey, just saw you youngsters over here by the fire and thought I'd say hi. If I might direct you towards my wares, I have a huge assortment of weapons for adventurer types. Starting with the amazon, I've got this lovely, but deadly, maplewood bow complete with.......
Gheed: Oh, hey Richard. If you don't mind, I'm just trying to sell your friends some weapons.
Richard: They only want weapons that work, dad.
Gheed: Really? Hmmm. That's some very harsh criteria, but I'll see if I have anything.
Richard: Dad, don't even bother. Are there any other weapon merchants here?
Gheed: Well, there's Charsi, but she's not much of a merchant. Nice girl, but not too great at sales.
Richard: Bye dad.
Gheed: Alright, I'm going. Just remember kids, ALL of my wares are guaranteed for life and come with a two-day warranty!
As Gheed took his leave, Richard pondered how to make the most out of that embarrassing encounter.
Tim: Wow, so your dad is here?
Richard: He's anywhere that there's money to be made.
Amy: So, are we talking to Charsi now?
Claude: No, we'll be doing Kashya's quest now; defeating Blood Raven. Once we have finished, Kashya will give us each a rogue that'll do basically anything for us.
Tim: Anything? Hehehe.
Amy: It's not hard to figure out what Tim's thinking.
Claude: I'm still quite puzzled by that piece of parchment. I'm not sure how it plays into this.
Tim: Didn't you say this was all a game? I thought you were supposed to know what happens next.
Claude: Well, usually yea, but this is different. Something has changed.
Tim: HA! I knew it! IT ISN'T a game. You were using some trick before to make it appear as though you knew what would happen next.
Claude: See Kashya over there with the floating exclamation mark above her head? Want me to tell you what she's gonna say next?
Tim: No, that's alright, I'll take your word on it.
And on that note our adventurers left the rogue camp and trudged back out into the blood moor. Retracing their steps, they passed by the Den of Evil Cafe(tm), noting a newly applied "closed" sign hanging from the entrance. Upon reaching the Cold Plains, our gang found themselves confronted by a few new beasties. Rather than expend any effort dealing with them, the bunch stayed behind Fred and the other skeletons while they dealt with them fervently. With the skeletons busy slaughtering our group's collective foes, the seven new friends were left alone to ponder as they creeped closer to their destination. The mysterious parchment lingered heavily on their minds. Who was it that Andariel was paying off? What could the lone letter "C" signify? Was it someone within the camp or somewhere else? Or even, just perhaps, someone within their immediate group? These questions weighed heavily on the minds of all our brave adventurers, except for Tim who was wondering if his rogue would be hot.......
Stay tuned for the next installment!