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The Travel to Teth

I face myself in the direction that the beautiful macer gestured and began walking. The midday sun beats on my hunchback and head, intensifying the weakness caused by the lack of food and drink. Ahead of me, maybe 100 feet, I see a small oasis of trees, with a cool pool of water and a lone cow materializing in the wavering desert. I reach the cow and run one index finger along her back. One lick from that finger tells me this cow is ready to be killed and stripped of her tender beef. I glance at the inviting pool of water next to her, blue and cool. I crawl over and bury my face below its calm surface and draw a long, cool drink from it. The icy water quenches all thirsts, its flavor clean and crisp. My eyes now shift back to the cow, her rump tender and full. The utter bag sags beneath her, swinging to and fro with each movement. I hold one teet in my hand and squeeze off a mouthful of her warm, satisfying milk. Slowly drawing my sharp knife from my pocket, I whisper calm words into the cow's attentive ear. When I feel her body relax next to me, I quickly pierce her throat and without one bellow, slice her from ear to ear. The cow's lifeless body collapses before me, an occasional twitch is all the movement I see.

"WHAT THE…..?!?! You sick mother f***er!"

My head jerks away from the carcass of the cow and up to the man now standing next to me. The look in his eyes was that of utter horror and disgust. His gaze moves from me, to my kill, and back to me. I look down at the cow, my supper, and see the body of a large, dark-haired beast. Stunned, I look back at my cringing visitor.

"I saw you come over here, drink the urine pool of this Malus Shreth, pleasure him, then slit his throat, and now what? Eat his flesh?" The adventurer, unable to control the convulsions deep within his stomach, lets out a stream of vomit like I've never seen, drenching me from head to toe. I try as best as possible to explain my situation but he runs off before I can get a word out, pale and shaken.

Noting that my upchucking friend is probably heading to Teth, I head off in the direction he did in hopes of finding this wondrous city and my ticket back to Holtburg. I round the next hill without incident and before me I see the walls of a large fort, standing alone in a barren desert field. My good eye scans the land from where I stand to the gates of Teth and see nothing that would oppose me. I run as fast as my disfigured leg will carry me.

I almost reached the large wooden gates to Teth when I hear an odd sound of bone rubbing against bone behind me. I turn to look and out from the depths of the desert rose a hulk of nothing but ivory bones, brandishing a long sword dripping with green acid. Before advancing on me, this beast makes a simple gesture with his bony limbs and a hue of green magic encases my nervous body. Nothing happened!

"Hah!" I yell at the skeleton and run to Teth. I can hear the clink of his feet striking the earth with each step behind me, but I don't look back, and continue to hobble to the security of Teth. My skin begins to boil and itch slightly just as I enter the gates. I look down at my arms, and a noxious steam is rising from my skin. I open my shirt, and a cloud of the same virulent gas bellows out. The acid in the bile that has been dumped on me repeatedly is somehow corroding my skin. It must've been that spell the skeleton threw at me, some odd puke intensifier spell.

I throw myself into the safety of this fort and cower against the inner wall. The infuriated skeleton rushes the gates but was halted by a small group of warriors. Hunched over and smoking like a Ghuru'ndim chimney, I seek safety somewhere within the confines of Fort Tethena. Behind me I hear the sickening sounds of human flesh being seared by vats of acid and blades striking bone. I look at my slender blade in my hand and ponder the idea of helping the fray, but I have helped these people enough for one day. It is time they start helping themselves.

I find a small font of water in town, and check it by taste and smell for any signs of animal urine. It seems safe. As I disrobe, I hear the random blather from the crowded streets intensify. Words like "troll", "freak", and phrases like "gimpy old bastard" stand out in the myriad of conversation. Ignoring the drawing crowd, choice words, and now thrown food, I step into the cool font and sink into its clean waters. Apples and cabbage bob on the surface of the water, a result of the food thrown at me. I scoop up a ripe apple and bite down. Yes, this is the good life here. I may never get back to Holtburg.


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