Sigthyme, Tak, Grace, and Juniper all proceeded to leave The Wicked Scepter and out into the streets of Xylon. They still didn’t know where Riffen was taken, but they had a plan. They figured that their best chance of getting a look at the crime scene was for Sightyme and Tak to go ahead and join The Titan’s League. The Titan’s League was an adventuring guild within the city which specialized in hunting down and killing monsters. Their hope was that being members would give them a bit of credibility they needed to pursue the criminal known as Krumb and find Riffen.
Sigthyme and Tak lead the other two toward the outskirts of the city.
“So do you know what this trail will detail?” Juniper asked Sigthyme.
“I’m not really sure,” Sightyme replied. “We weren’t given a lot of details.”
“You were supposed to go their yesterday, though, right?” Grace asked.
Sightyme let out a sigh.
“Yeah we were, but hopefully that won’t be a big deal. We had to put off doing the trail once we learned Riffen was missing.”
“Find Riffen,” Tak said.
“But I’m sure it won’t be a big deal. The guy in charge really seemed to like Tak,” Sigthyme said and Tak gave a big, toothy smile.
“And what did he think of you?” Grace asked.
“I’m not worried about me. He’ll warm up to me, eventually. I’m sure of it. Plus Tak and I are a package deal. Isn’t that right, Tak?”
“Siggy!” Tak nodded.
“Alright, well I’m sure the trial won’t be too bad,” Juniper said. “Hopefully something quick and easy.”
“I don’t really think quick and easy is this guy’s style,” Sigthyme said. “He seemed more like tough brawler type. Probably lots of endurance.”
“Maybe he’ll have you two fight each other,” Grace suggested.
Tak raised an eyebrow.
“Don’t worry, big guy. I’m sure he won’t make us fight each other. Plus that wouldn’t be fair. You’d wipe the floor with me,” Sigthyme said.
“You talker. I’m muscle.”
“Exactly,” Sigthyme said with a smile.
Eventually the group arrived to a large stone building with a familiar statue of a chimera above the door.
“Well here’s the place,” Sigthyme said.
“Woah,” Grace said looking up at the statue.
“Chi…chime… Chime beast,” Tak said pointing his war hammer at it.
“Chimera,” Sigthyme and Juniper said in unison.
Sigthyme looked over at her.
“Didn’t know you knew about something like this,” He said.
“I’ve heard legends about a lot of different creatures,” Juniper said. “What about you?”
“Yeah same. Except mine were mostly in the form parents would tell their children about to make them go to bed or eat their vegetables,” Sigthyme said.
“Right,” Juniper said.
“Anyway, let’s head on in and see if we can find the guy in charge,” Sigthyme said before walking up to the front door.
The group followed him as he opened the door and walked inside. On the inside, they were greeted with the same, open room with a fire pit in the middle of it. There was a small fire and a Dwarvish man was stoking it with a fire iron.
“Yes, who is it?” He asked as he turned to face them.
There standing in front of them was Noruid Loftholder, the leader of The Titan’s League.
Noruid’s eyes narrowed at Sigthyme.
“Don’t I know you from somewhere?” He asked.
“Ah, yes sir. I’m -”
But before Sightyme could finish the sentence, Tak stepped into the room behind him and Noruid’s eyes went large.
“Ah! Him! Yes the Goliath. I remember you two now,” Noruid said.
“Oh good,” Sigthyme said.
“Dwarf warrior,” Tak said with a big smile on his face.
Grace and Juniper stepped in behind them.
“Oh? Who are these two fine ladies?” Noriud asked.
“Those two are our friends, Juniper and Grace,” Sigthyme said.
“More recruits for my organization, I presume?”
“I’m afraid not,” Juniper said. “We are just here to support our friends as they take on your trail.”
“That’s a pity. I can tell that you both would make find members,” Noriud said. “Always looking for strong women around here.”
“That’s uh… thank you,” Juniper said.
“Yeah thanks,” Grace said.
“Wait,” Noriud turned back toward Sigthyme. “You two were supposed to show up yesterday for your trial. But you didn’t show.”
“Right. We’re sorry about that,” Sightyme said. “It’s just that our friend went missing in the city and we were hoping to find him.”
“Pffft. Excuses,” Noruid said before turning back to the fire.
“Look, sir. We are here now and we are still interested in joining your group if you’d have us,” Sigthyme said.
“Hunt monsters,” Tak said raising his hammer.
Noruid let out a sigh.
“You two are very lucky that we have empty bunks here,” He said as he pointed the fire iron at Sightyme.
“Right,” Sigthyme said.
“Plus Trav is still here,” Noruid said.
“Trav? Who is Trav?” Sigthyme asked.
“He’ll be the one giving you your trial,” Noruid said with a deep belly laugh.
Noruid led the group through the building and out to the back which opened up to a large courtyard. The whole are was set up as a training area with weapon racks, training dummies, simple armor, and more.
At one of the training dummies, was a large White, Dragonborn wielding a wooden club. He swung the club and smacked the dummy so hard, Sigthyme thought the thing was going to split into splinters.
“That’s Trav,” Noruid said.
“Trav,” Tak said with a smile.
“Trav! Trav!” Noruid yelled and the White Dragonborn turned to face them. “Here are your new sparring partners.”
“Sparring what?” Sigthyme asked.
“Your trial will be for you two to fight Trav here,” Noruid said.
“I didn’t know we’d have to fight someone,” Sigthyme said.
“Well you didn’t think your task was going to be some mission to go pick up eggs and milk from the market, did you? Monster hunters have to be tough,” Noruid said. “Although that does remind me that we need milk and eggs.”
Sightyme let out a sigh while Tak seemed excited for a fight.
“So these are the two that didn’t show yesterday,” Trav said while looking them both up and down.
“Our friend is missing,” Sigthyme said.
“Don’t care,” Trav said. “Not showing is unacceptable. If you are say you are going to be somewhere, you better be there.”
Trav spoke in a deep, intimidating voice with a level of professionalism that Sigthyme didn’t expect. He stood tall and perfectly upright with a stiffness similar to a fighter in an army.
“Were you in the military, perhaps?” Sigthyme asked.
“Very observant, short stuff,” Trav said.
“Trav here was in the military a few years back but left to pursue his own interests. He made it here to the city and I knew I needed a strong warrior like him fighting for my organization,” Noruid said.
“In the army I learned that not all monsters fight with teeth and claw. Some use swords and crossbows,” Trav said with a tinge of rage to his voice. “I decided my talents were better used taking down beasts.”
“You should hear his tales about taking down two displacer beasts all by himself,” Noruid said. “Truly a hero’s tale.”
Trav stood there, his facial expression unchanging.
“We should go ahead with the trial now,” He said.
“You’re right, Trav. Enough talking. It’s time for some action,” Noruid said.
“Sorry. Just one minute. How are we going to do this? What are the rules?” Sigthyme asked.
“It’s simple. You two will fight me. If I think you do well enough, Mr. Loftholder will allow you to join The Titan’s League,” Trav explained.
“Two on one, do you think that will be fair?” Sigthyme asked.
Trav cracked a grin showing off some of his draconic teeth.
“More than fair,” He said. “Now take your position.”
He pointed toward one end of the courtyard before walking over to the other.
Sigthyme looked over at Tak.
“Well buddy. Here’s our chance. We get the fight you’ve been aching for,” Sigthyme said.
“Smash Dragon,” Tak said holding his war hammer with both hands.
“Right. You do that and I’ll use my magic at a distance,” Sigthyme said.
“You two done talking yet? I grow bored,” Trav yelled from across the courtyard.
“Yeah we’re ready,” Sigthyme said.
“AAAAAH!” Tak yelled as he charged toward Trav.
Trav smiled as he picked up a nearby metal spear. He gripped it in one hand and held his other hand in a readied position.
“Bring it on, Goliath,” Trav snarled.
“Smash dragon!” Tak yelled as he swung his war hammer two-handed.
Trav took a step to the side and the hammer swung by him, barley missing him. Then he used his spear to sweep at the ground, striking Tak in the back of his legs. Tak tumbled forward and fell on his face with a large thump.
“Reckless and not disciplined,” Trav said.
Tak quickly got to his feet and glared at the dragonborn.
“That wasn’t very nice, Trav,” Sigthyme said. “Time for you to taste some magic.”
Sigthyme raised his hands and purple sigils hung in the air before spinning into a ball of fire, floating in front of him.
“Magic user,” Trav said turning his attention toward Sigthyme. “You are not the only one.”
He smiled as he slammed his spear into the ground. There was a crack of thunder as a wave of force was unleashed from the spear striking both, Tak and Sigthyme. Tak managed to hold his ground, but Sigthyme was tossed a few feet into the air and his ball of fire was exhausted.
“Didn’t see that coming,” Sigthyme muttered as he stood up and dusted himself off.
“Come on, Sigthyme. You can do better than that!”
Sigthyme turned his head to see Juniper, Grace, and Noruid had all taken seats on the edge of the courtyard to watch them. Juniper yelled some encouragement while Grace and Noruid laughed.
“Right. I can do this. Can’t let this Dragonborn get the best of us,” Sigthyme said. “Come on, Tak. You can do it! Strike a blow to his ego!”
Tak swung his hammer again with his rage and Sigthyme’s words empowering him. This time Tak struck Trav, knocking him back a bit.
“Lucky strike,” He said. “Now it’s my turn.”
Trav charged forward and thrust with his spear, striking Tak in the leg. Tak gritted his teeth, but still looked fighting fit.
“Smash, Dragon,” Tak said through gritted teeth.
“Now it’s my turn,” Sigthyme said waving his hands again. This time a larger sphere of flames appeared in front of him and he launched it toward Trav. The flames struck him in the back sending flames across his back and shoulders.
Trav turned and growled at Sigthyme.
“You do not know when to stay down,” He said. “Maybe this will teach you.”
Trav’s eyes narrowed as he opened his mouth and unleashed a stream of cold energy. It was like he was breathing out a mini blizzard. The snow and ice struck Sigthyme and he felt a chill to his bone. Sigthyme stumbled for a bit and again, this flames died out.
“Siggy!” Tak glanced over at Sigthyme.
Using this moment of distraction, Trav used his tail to wrap around Tak’s leg and pulled hard, tripping up Tak and Tak fell onto his back. Trav put one leg on Tak’s chest and held the spear to his neck.
“Good try, Goliath,” Trav said. “But this battle is mine to win.”
As Tak laid on the ground, there was a brief moment before something unexpected happen. The air around them seemed to grow colder and the black markings on Tak’s body grew darker.
“What the…” Trav began.
Then there was an eruption of black energy from Tak which struck Trav and sent him flying. He flew through the air and crashed into a weapon’s rack, destroying it in an instant. Tak’s body convulsed on the ground as the darkness seemed to surround him.
“Tak!” Juniper yelled as both her and Grace ran forward.
“Watch out…” Sigthyme said, barely able to stand.
Just as quickly as the darkness had appeared, the darkness faded. Tak’s body went still and his markings returned to normal.
Trav groaned as he picked himself off the ground.
“What was that?” Trav growled.
“I’m…I’m not sure,” Sigthyme said as he walked over to Tak’s still body.
“Tak!” Juniper continued to yell as she ran past Sigthyme and knelt down next to Tak.
She quickly pulled a small medical kit from her bag and examined him.
“Have you seen something like that before?” Grace asked as she stood next to Sigthyme.
“Never,” Sightyme said as he shook his head.
Sigthyme remembered a story that Tak once told him about the leviathan markings across his back and how it had scared the other children of his tribe. But when he told it, Sigthyme thought that Tak was just exagerating. He didn’t know that Tak held such dark magic within his body.
Header Photo Credit to DnD Speak