Dungeons in the Wasteland: Part II

An Espresso Tale

By

Accipiter G. Goshawk

Hello! Here is Part II of the story I began telling here.

Enjoy!

The setting sun brought with it the tortured creak of the massive steel door swinging on its hinges. Its odd groan was comforting to the inhabitants of the hill, who depended on it to keep out the glacial cold that swept over the surface of the planet every night.

In the centre of the hill, the mayor had lit the fire and the village cave was now alive with light and the shadows cast by the people come to see the Dungeon Mistress. Old and young alike had heard the news of her arrival, and had abandoned their usual evening activities to come together and witness a Game.

“The last one I saw was ten years ago,” grumbled Mr. Fischer as he sat down in his preferred spot by the fire. “It wasn’t very good: the guy telling the stories wouldn’t even do the voices. He had music though…that was nice.”

People bustled around him, setting the stage for the game. Chairs and benches were moved to the sides of the open space and a large table was placed to the right of the fire pit. The mayor’s chair was set at the far end of the table, half-hidden in shadows, as the Dungeon Mistress had requested. In the centre of the table, the mayor had placed an old bowl, which contained the names of all those who wished to play in the Game. Everybody knew how to play; ever since they were old enough to read and write, children were encouraged to create their own characters and learn the rules. It would be a pity to miss out on the opportunity to play; if the DM was good, the Game often become the talk of the village and could be recounted for years.

Silence fell in the warm hall, as the lean woman set up her screen and selected a few sets of dice from her bandoleer. Then, with calm practiced movements, she picked five names from the bowl.

The Spinner, an older man, a mother of two, the village hunter and Tia were chosen.

“Approach the table please,” said the Mistress in a strong clear voice, “and describe your characters.”

The mix was a good one: the Spinner was playing as her half-elven bard, while the man and the younger woman were playing as a fighter and barbarian respectively. The village hunter had created a gnomish sorcerer for the occasion.

“And what of you, little one,” the DM asked Tia solemnly.

“I’m playing as Grija Greenleaf, a dwarven druid,” answered the girl haltingly.

The Mistress smiled warmly and peeked at her notes for a moment.

“A wise choice,” she said, turning her voice deep and mysterious, as a haunting tune began to play from behind the screen. The atmosphere grew electric, as people leaned towards the table, their eyes fixed on the lady with the scar and her eyes filled with marvels.

“You awaken to find yourselves in a land of grass and trees,” she sang soothingly. “Giant trunks of brown, rough bark rise to kiss the sky with soft leaves of emerald and topaz. Through the forest, a gentle breeze disturbs the brown foliage littering the ground. Magic is afoot, and those of you who have some connection to the natural world –she nodded at Tia– feel an alien presence not far from where you have made camp. What do you wish to do?”

Tia shook herself from her daydream, as the Spinner took charge and directed the group towards the disturbance. She looked down at her character sheet and thought wistfully of her dwarven druid walking through the wooded lands of legend, her bare feel caressing things called “grass” and “leaves”.

Things Tia had never seen or touched.-

The story continues in Part III...

4 thoughts on “Dungeons in the Wasteland: Part II

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