|1.||The Heroes||Read it Now|
|2.||Roztov and Soora||Read it Now|
|3.||Trouble at the Tower||Read it Now|
|4.||The Old Goat Inn||Read it Now|
|5.||The Battle||Read it Now|
|6.||The Party||Read it Now|
|7.||Things Change||Read it Now|
|8.||Creature Feature||Read it Now|
|9.||Wine and Glory||See below|
|10.||The End||Read it Now|
|Wine and Glory|
|9. Wine and Glory (Era : Dragons of Norrath)|
Roztov sat on a wide bench outside his front door and watched the trees sway gently in the autumn
breeze. Winter was not far away, but today it had been warm and the gentle east wind had done no
more that rustle a few fallen leaves.
Lately he had been doing a lot of this, sitting around that was. The last harvest was in and the
wine was all bottled up. There was nothing left to do.
Still, it was a pleasant view here, a very well hidden nook in the Nektulos Forest. Those of his
friends that new about this place thought he was crazy to set up home in such a dangerous part
of Antonica. Neriak, the city of the Dark Elves, was only three days ride away and the outer
patrols of the Dreadguards passed on the trail just four miles from his door.
The house itself was large, having twelve bedrooms, servant quarters and stables at the back. It
had fallen into a sorry state of disrepair and Roztov had not opened up all the rooms yet. In fact
there were several rooms down in the cellars, past where the wine was stored, that he suspected
Regardless of what his friends thought though, he had been accepted here. It had taken a lot of work,
mainly though giving away vast quantities of his home brewed red wine to the cities guards and the
wizards of Neriak and through his connections in the Desert of Ro that he had made in his youth.
Maybe some of the people in Neriak wondered where all the excellent red wine was coming from but
he found he rarely had visitors and the Dreadguard discouraged people snooping about this arm of
the forest. He had given away plenty of wine and coin to ensure that.
Only a druid could make the forest give up so much of its bounty in this rugged region. When he had
first arrived, four years ago (had it really been so long?) it had been a bramble choked ravine.
Now it was a well tended garden. The mouth of the valley was as blocked as ever, but beyond that
there was acres of vineyards, orchards and vegetable patches.
The house had always been here, it had been a country retreat of some ancient Neriak noble from
before the Age of Enlightenment. Long abandoned he had simply moved on, banking on the fact that
an estate agent was unlikely to come all the way up from the Third Gate to evict him.
The days of the cottage and tower in Butcherblock where long gone, but the Heroes of Kaladim still
lived on and sometimes he would get a visitor who would come and stay for a few days and reminisce
with him over a glass of wine.
Just then, as he looked out across the tree covered valley he spotted someone on the trail. A hooded
figure, dressed in black was travelling along the track, but in the shadows. Even from such a great
distance he could see that the figure had the dark blue skin of a Dark Elf.
'Oh great', he muttered to himself, 'Not another young fool from Neriak.'
It was unlikely to be a friend, so late in the year, but sometimes foolhardy youths from Neriak
would make there way up into the more secluded parts of the forest in search of adventure.
The dark elf seemed to sense Roztov's eyes on him, even though the druid was well hidden in the shadows
of his house and no normal person could have noticed him. Still, the figure pulled their cloak tighter
and in the blink of an eye was gone!
'Ro's Fiery arsehole! A rogue.' , he muttered to himself.
Out of all the unwanted guests he could have had a rogue was the worst. They would sneak about for
days and would rarely allow themselves to be caught. A warrior he could simply send packing, running
back down the valley with his britches on fire from a well placed 'Immolation of Ro' spell.
A rogue though was a different matter. Druids were not really equipped to deal with sneaky thieves.
He continued to look everywhere, but could see nothing. There was as rustling in the orchard, but
he suspected that was just his pet bear, Goner, waking up from his afternoon nap.
Just as he was about to get up and take a walk down the track, a female voice from behind him said,
With a groan he turned and said, 'Hello Dewflower, I should have guessed it was you!'
It was his old friend, Dewflower the rogue. She looked like a dark elf at the moment, and he supposed
that was to help her pass through these lands. But she used magical ways and artifacts to alter her
appearance. She was a wood elf, or perhaps a half elf, he was never quiet sure what she really looked
They embraced warmly in greeting before the druid said,
'Come in, come in! I was about to start making dinner.'
They did not start to talk about anything of great report until after the meal had been cooked and
the table laid. There was rabbit, fish, various vegetables in cheese sauce, sweetmeats and pies
all spread out on Roztov's large kitchen table.
As they ate Roztov uncorked a bottle of his home brewed red wine and poured his friend a glass.
'Oh! Try this,' said Dewflower as she reached into her bag.
She pulled out a large jug and poured some of the contents into Roztov's glass. He sipped the
pale green liquid and said,
'I do believe that is Kaladim Constitutional! And a well made brew at that!'
'I made it myself.', declared the elf modestly.
'Very tasty, but if you don't mind I will stick with the wine. I used to brew this stuff myself
and it doesn't always agree with me. I have a few barrels of it in the cellar in actual fact..'
'Suit your self'
Dewflower forked another mouthful of meat into her mouth.
Roztov took a swig from his glass and said,
'So tell me all your news! I do see people from time to time but I am not terribly up to date. I
know you and Leedory are in charge of the Heroes now, but I don't know much more than that.'
Dewflower washed down her food with a big swallow of wine,
'Hmm, good stuff. Yes, the guild has changed a lot. You know Xomano retired. Being married to Assynt
must suit her. She's tucked away in Rivervale, in a house next door to her parents.'
'That will make Assynt happy I'm sure!', grinned the druid.
'They are trying to raise a family last I heard.' said the elf with a raise eyebrow.
Roztov nearly choked on the wine he was drinking.
'Can halflings and humans.. you know...breed?'
'I do not know, but I expect they will have fun trying!' was Dewflower's tart reply.
'The guild though?' probed Roztov.
'Well, we are much smaller, more of an elite cadre now. Some of the old faces are still around, some
have moved on. Some are .. dead. In part, guild business is why I am here. I am on my way to the
Lavastorm Mountains. Bands of adventurers are flocking back to Antonica seeking treasure in the newly
opened up Broodlands and other areas. It seems funny that after Teolosia and Kua, such exotic places,
that everyone is heading back to the old lands.'
'Hmm, I bet you Lord Nagafen is delighted about that.'
'He is maintaining a very low profile at the moment and who can blame him. All the people that used
to kick his scaly backside years ago are back, but more experienced and loaded with powerful weapons
and artifacts from the dark continents.'
'So, you are going north then?'
'Of course, but not alone.'
The next morning, as they ate breakfast on the bench at the front door of the house they spotted
four more strange figures coming up the trail.
Two were more or less of normal size, one was tiny and the last was huge.
'I think I recognise some of these.', said Roztov happily.
'Yes, I hope you don't mind but we thought we might use your house as a meeting point. I left a secret
symbol on the main road for them to follow.'
Roztov walked down the trail to meet his new quests and quickly identified them. One was Misti, the
Vah Shar beast lady. He had not seen her since he had taken the ship back to the Landing from Natimbi.
Behind her was the small gnomish figure of Mort, Roztov new him from way back. Next, resplendent in
her polished plate armour came Taldaanja, a high elf maiden of great beauty. He was surprised to see
her here. He had a vague feeling that she had married and he had expected her to have settled down.
In any event they were old friends since.. his memory struggled..how many years.. Luclin maybe?
And finally, the huge frame of Beolvaar brought up the rear. With a little sadness Roztov dwelled on
the fact that Beolvaar was probably the last Barbarian friend he had. Jalamu was long dead and Edihag
had gone god's knew where. Roztov knew Beolvaar from back on Luclin too, but had seen him many more
times more recently than that.
Another meal was prepared, this time a feast. The druid kept no servants, but together they all helped
prepare and cook the food. The best dish by far was the fish that Beolvaar had made. The other human
food was too spicy for the elves though, Roztov grew chillies in his garden and Mort had added it to
almost every dish as gnomes loved them.
After dinner they settle down by the hearth to smoke pipes and drink red wine and flagons of the
dwarven mushroom beer Dewflower had brought.
Dewflower stood by the fire, warming her rear and addressing the others. Misti reclined her feline
form on a divan while Beolvaar had sunk into the biggest armchair he could find. Roztov sat close
to the fire so he could tend it and Taldaanja perched on the arm of Beolvaar's chair. Mort lurked in
the shadows somewhere behind the divan.
The conversation had turned to their up coming journey into the Lavastorm Mountains.
'It won't be a bad journey. The Nektulos isn't dangerous to us.' began Dewflower.
Taldaanja nodded, 'Still, it is a long way. The entrance to the brood lands are right across the
mountains and over Solusek's Eye. It will take at least a month on that terrain, even on horse back.'
Solusek's Eye was the huge volcano that brooded in the centre of the mountains like a huge plague
sore on the face of Antonica.
Beolvaar moved as if to say something and everyone looked across at him, but in the end he remained
'Hmm', mused Roztov with a knowing smile, 'I wonder what could be on Beolvaar's mind?'
Dewflower pretended ignorance , 'I have no idea at all!'
'Don't worry,' laughed Roztov ,'I think I know very well why you dropped in to visit your old friend!
There is after all a druids ring in Lavastorm Mountains and this very moment I could take you all
there and cut your journey in half!'
'Now Roztov dear, the thought never crossed our minds', gasped Taldaanja, but she had the decency to
laugh at this, as clearly she was fooling no one.
'No need to try and persuade me! I will gladly take you. But on one condition.'
'Name it', said Dewflower earnestly.
'You allow me to accompany you of course! I enjoy my life here, but.. well winter is setting in and
things do get a little dull when snow closes this place up. I could easily lock up until spring.
Word has been reaching me for months about the doings of the north and I feel that old urge once
again for adventure and glory!'
They all laughed and Dewflower raised her glass,
'You are welcome to join us of course!', then she winked, 'And your company will make the return
journey much easier too!'
The next day they set off, and thanks to Roztov's magic arrived in the mountains in the merest blink
of an eye. From there they travelled to the gypsy camp and gained passage further north. The region
had changed greatly since they had last come this way. It was like a gold rush. New camps had grown
up everywhere, and goblins and drakes had come down into the valleys to pick off what they could.
After a weeks travel they arrived at the largest camp so far, at the entrance to the dragons brood
lands, a great skeletal dragon head guarding the tunnel entrance. Here people of all race and colour
met to trade and prepare for their expeditions into the dangerous north. An uneasy truce operated
in this region. Humans, elves and dwarves rubbed shoulders with ogres, trolls and dark elves, all
united by a common cause and a lust for adventure and wealth.
As they walked through the bustling camp, more like a busy frontier town Dewflower commented,
'From here it will get interesting'.
Deeper and deeper they traveled into this new uncharted region and following stories and rumours
they finally came to a great underground ruined temple known as Tirranun's Delve.
Together and with much trepidation they traveled deep underground, the distant sound of goblin
drums growing ever louder.
Dewflower motioned to the others to be still and said, 'Wait here, I see a huge cavern opening up
ahead. I will go scout it.'
The others hunkered down behind a large rock pile of fallen boulders and waited.
Some time passed then they heard Dewflower as she ran back to them jumping from rock to rock.
'They spotted me, but no matter!' , she panted, 'Here is a good a place as any to face the
'Wave?', cried Roztov, 'How many are coming?'
'How many do you want?' , laughed Dewflower.
Roztov climbed to the top of the rocks and looked down into the cavern that opened up below them.
At first he thought the cavern floor itself was moving, until he realised that it was such a huge
horde of goblins that they covered the ground like a carpet. A snarling, heaving angry mass that was
rushing towards them. Drums were beating, horns were sounding, the blood was starting
to rush in his veins, as the forthcoming battle approached.
'You didn't even give us time to buff,' grumbled the barbarian as he started to prepare his shaman
Death or glory awaited, and Roztov realised how much he had missed this.
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