This is a fanfic based on the epic quest line "The Seductive Dark Pearl" in Runes of Magic.
The large double handed axe flew in an arc through air heavy with fragrances of Mountain Poplar and Rosemary with the occasional faint sour rotten stench of aged dead things. The midday light punching holes down through lush tall treetops, bursting with multiple hues of green, glinted off the broad razor sharp edge. Its surface was polished to a luster and only recently marred by splotches of dark green that clung to intricately carved patterns like thick wet tree sap. No faded colors, rust or corrosion of any kind revealed the weapon’s true age. The axe flew effortlessly toward the ground, now picking up speed helped by gravity. There was no familiar “thwak” of metal against wood but a wet crunch like a horse chomping a carrot. The small creature’s eight black skinny legs snapped straight from involuntary muscle spasms as its bulbous abdomen split as easily as a watermelon. The spiders life left its small hairy body in a gurgled hiss but not without exacting one last act of revenge by squirting some of its blood and guts across Abernacky Anvilslayer’s chest armor.
Abernacky relaxed his body, exiting his fighting stance to stand casually. His axe hung loosely at his right side as he fixated on his chest. A disgusted half-grunt half-moan came from somewhere beneath his fiery red beard. He removed a glass vial hiding behind his belt, popped the cork stopper, scraped some of the green ooze into the vial while flicking off bits of meat, re corked the vial and returned it to his belt without ever looking away from his pristine armor, taunted by the smears that he almost thought formed the shape of a sarcastic toothless smile with two deformed meaty eyes. After a few heartbeats a reluctant sigh followed the grunt only satisfied by the thought he could at least wipe the smile off that sarcastic face after he returned home. The rhythmic sounds Abernacky’s axe made continued and could be heard echoing throughout the forest.
Mobly sauntered into the small town of Logar. It was a small quaint town that nestled in the northern end of the Howling Mountains. Part of the mountain range bordered to the West, and a well worn trail lead East eventually turning into the golden hues of Silversprings where the sprawling city of Varanas lay. Gently rolling hills and glades lay around Logar with some mines and caves that attract would be adventurers. Mobly inhaled air filled with wild flowers while slowing his gate to match the slowed pace of life around him. Life here hadn’t stopped but it was more peaceful as if time didn’t matter so much. As he entered the main route that cut through the middle of town, he took in all the wonderful smells. That particular scent of yeast, flour, and heat from an oven mingled with vegetables, fish,, and meat wafting from a simmering pot made its way past his nose as he passed the merchants. Mobly smiled as his mouth watered. Steam and hot steel rose up to overtake the fresh food as he made his way further along past the tiny blacksmiths corner. Although there was all the amenities and more in Varanas, he loved how crisp and fresh the smells were here in Logar. The town wasn’t walled in and crowded like Varanas which always holds in all smells, even the less enjoyable ones that can only be caused by the proximity of too many people. Here the country air swept those fouler smells away, not giving them time to accumulate while allowing the ovens, smithy, and all the other daily smells to be fresh and new as if it was the first loaf of bread baked, the first pot of stew boiled, or the first bar of glowing red metal plunged into a barrel of cool water.
The knight knew people here would recognize him to be an out of towner, but here among the cleaner air and waters in the Howling Mountains he felt less embarrassed by the slight streak of vanity that ran in his blood. Mobly didn’t care if people thought he was showing off, He was glad he took a bath and cleaned his armor before making the trip.
As mush as he enjoyed slowing his life down, he hadn’t simply come to Logar for a vacation. After a few minutes of scanning the crowds, and watching people pass him in the street, he walked up to a local merchant who wasn’t currently busy catering to any costumers. The merchant politely obliged his question by pointing up the road that led north out of town and into a small forest glen.
Mobly stood, arms crossed, smirk across his face as he watched the scene in front of him play out. Most people would probably find humor in watching a small boy with a large chestnut beard trying to wield an axe bigger than his torso. One would also hope to be smart enough to look just a little closer and realize with what precision and shear strength and agility this figure wielded the weapon. If any one was still curious, which most were, they would take a few steps closer to see the hard lines of age around his eyes, dark skinned muscles sweating under the strain of age. If anyone after that was still overcome with curiosity, possibly slightly blinded by greed to rob a preoccupied figure, wearing what looked like valuable armor and who knows what else in his bag, they’d be in for a big surprise.
“What brings ya here Mobly? Ain’t the end of the month yet.” Abernacky growled in a low monotonous tone just before his axe split another spider in two.
“No ‘Hello, good to see you old friend?” Mobly said with a wry smirk on his face.
“Yer old, I’ll give ya that, but as for bein’ my friend, I don’t mix up business ventures with friendship, and fer good to see ya, that’s yet ta be true.” Abernacky took one last swing before turning his attention to the knight.
The green ooze covering Abernacky leapt out to at least two of Mobly’s senses. He immediately traded a smirk for a grimace, made a show of taking half a step backwards and crinkling his face up “What are you doing? I thought you hated letting your armor get dirty?” waving a hand in front of his nose.
“Don’t be so crass, this is just todays work. Ye can be sure it’ll get cleaned up before the days done. Besides, yer one ta talk. When’s the last time ya dirtied that new outfit yer wearin’?”
“So glad you noticed. Actually this is all on loan from a good friend of mine.”
“And here I thought yer friend remark was a silent plea. So you have friends afterall?” Abernacky asked not really caring.
“Who, Redorick? Actually he’s a pretty good friend. I used to do a bit of dungeon running with him back in the day” turning his head and poking his nose into the air haughtily, “but I admit it’s been quite awhile since I heard from him. What are you doing out here anyway, there’s got to be some…cleaner ways to make a living?”
“Not much real work is clean, outsid’a just buying an’ sellin’ at auction, and that’d take too much time away from my work.”
“Ahh yes, speaking of new armor, I haven’t seen you in that finery last month. I believe that is in part due to my ‘real’ work in getting you the resources you need from the Windmill Basement.” Mobly sarcastically punctuated, throwing a thumb over his shoulder in the direction of the Logar Windmill sitting behind him.
“Yes, but ya’d get more work if ya honed yer skills a bit more and that could make you more gold than ya get now. Not many ’round these parts no ya do good work…of the work ya can do.” Abernacky shot back, taking a nibble at the bait Mobly was dangling in front of him. “And I told ya, I can pay ya at the end of the months. I aint got any gold to pay ya or loan ya, if that’s what yer after.”
Mobly was amused by their banter, although he’d be lying if it didn’t twinge a little “Firstly I am doing just fine thank you. I may not be the best knight in the business…”
“Best knight? Try for slightly above mediocre.” Abernacky chortled
Eyes narrowing a bit and rasing his tone, Mobly repeated “I may not be the best knight but I get by just fine, and secondly” He inhaled sharply before finishing “I’ve been working a lot more on my priest studies.”
Abernacky gave him a sideways glare, one eyebrow raised with a cloud of approval in his eyes “So then why are ya here, an’ why now? I know you didn’t just stroll in for a visit to say ‘Hello good to see ya ole friend’?”
The trap was sprung, with bait gone, Mobly pulled a shiny object from a pocket with a smile, handing it to Abernacky in hushed excitement “Because of this.”
It was small and shiny with carvings on it. Mobly handed it to Abernacky. It was a badge