Sunday, June 21, 2009

Smiley's Story

The following is a story Smiley told his friends, during the party's stay the haunted monastery of Pelor. It was preserved in writing by Hagen Foltner, gatekeeper and scribe.

Looking down at the dire rat as it struggled to maneuver its way through the monastery gate, Smiley quietly maneuvered along the ledge of the monastery's wall. When he had positioned himself directly above the rat, he spun his hand crossbow in his hand, grinning as he passed the spinning crossbow from one hand to the other, until the crossbow suddenly stopped moving as Smiley took his shot.

The bolt plunged into the rat's head and pushed out the other side into the ground, sticking the rat's head onto the ground as if it were upon a tiny pike. Smiley's grin grew wider, and he gave a little fist pump of victory, but at that moment his mood darkened for a moment as he was reminded of another kill he'd made, months ago.

Smiley looked down through the holes in the wood floor at his mother, Nisse, busying herself in the kitchen. Nisse called out, "Smiley! Smiley! Come out, I know you're here!" She sighed heavily and said softly to herself, "I wonder what kind of trouble he's getting himself into now. City life just isn?t good for him, I?m sure of it, but we can sell more hides here renting a space for a little while than we can by pitching tents in the wilderness."

Her mood brightened as Hod stepped into the room, his movement shaking the little apartment just slightly as he carried in a newly tanned deer hide. "Oh, Hod!" she exclaimed as she looked up at him lovingly, "It looks wonderful! We should fetch a pretty penny for that one, dear!" Nisse beamed at her adopted son, and Hod blushed, "Oh. It is nothing. Father would have done better job but he is busy with the rest."

Nisse didn't stop her praise, however. "I just wish your brother was as hard-working as you are, Hod. Wherever we go, whatever city we end up in, Smiley always finds the nastiest crowd to fall in with. He needs to learn that not every problem can be solved by running away and hiding from it!"

Hod stopped her gently, "Smiley helps family, he helps sell the hides." He tried to defend his brother, but even he knew that Smiley was often more of a detriment to the family's livelihood.

Smiley had heard it all before; because he spent so much time hiding and watching, he knew what his family thought of him. But he also knew that he couldn't change who he was. Hard work and meeting problems head on just didn't come naturally to him. He preferred to win favor with a smile, and barring that, he could always just walk away.

But Smiley still couldn't help but feel ashamed. He wanted to be good to his family, he wanted to help out and he knew that they were poor. But the kind of person that paid for Smiley?s particular expertise just wasn't the kind of person that Smiley's family wanted to deal with.

Suddenly there was a knock on the door. Nesse went to the door and opened it, and to her surprise she saw a tall male human, wiry and covered with a long, dark cloak. His skin was pale, and he spoke with a raspy voice, "Greetings. My name is Roth. I would like to speak to a Mr. Smiley, and I have been informed that he resides here."

Nesse knew enough to be suspicious of this strange tall one standing at her door. "What do you want from him?" Hod moved closer to the door as he attempted to situate himself between his mother and the stranger at the door.

Roth, noticing the half-orc's intimidating movement, wasted no time, and he swiftly pulled a dagger from his cloak and pressed it against Nesse's throat.

"Now, I'm going to ask you again. Where is that rat, Smiley?" he said as he shuffled inside the kitchen and closed the door, holding the knife to Nesse's throat.

Hod yelled at the man, "What you doing with my mother?!" as he grew angrier and angrier, stepping back so that he could get closer to his hammer in the back room.

"Don't move, you disgusting creature!" Roth snarled, a little blood trickling down Nesse?s throat from the knife. "Smiley is a person of interest for me and my superiors, and I must know where he is. He owes quite a bit of money, and quite a bit of blood."

Nesse cried out, "I don't know! I don't know! I don't know what he does in this godforsaken city, getting involved with scoundrels like you!"

"Well, I could always take back some of that debt from you, couldn't I?" he whispered, grinning as he maneuvered her around the table closer to the back room. "Where do you keep your gold in this dump, anyway?"

Smiley pulled out his hand crossbow and searched quietly for an opening, his hands trembling as he desperately tried to keep his breath steady and quiet.

Suddenly, he saw an opening. Two feet away from him saw a large hole in the wood floor of the attic, and he quickly rolled over to it. The sound confused Roth, and he looked up suddenly, right into Smiley's eyes as Smiley's hand crossbow let out a tiny twang.

The bolt plunged into Roth's eye, pushing through his skull and out the other side to the wall next to him. The bolt stuck into the wall with a loud thud, and blood poured all over Smiley's mother. Nesse quickly stumbled away from the dead man, but Hod?s rage demanded blood. Hod swiftly stepped into the other room, grabbing his hammer and smashing it into Roth's face again and again and again, with each swing crying out, "Nobody! Hurts! My! Mom!"

Smiley was relieved and felt lucky as hell. But before Smiley could celebrate, Nesse shrieked up at him, "What have you done! What have you done! Why did you bring this upon our family! We're in danger because of you! You!"

"I can't live with you anymore, with this, I just can't take it anymore," she sobbed, holding her hand against the shallow cut on her neck. Hod began to bandage it up, as Smiley snuck out of the attic and jumped out the window of the small apartment, off to discover who was behind this, and to exact his revenge. He would deal with his family later; there were some very mean people he needed to talk to, first.

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