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the halfling and the reptile
there was once a halfling who hailed from the idyllic shores of the realm. with always a desire for the shiny golden coins his hometown found scarce, he traveled the lands in order to amass his fortunes and find what obscurities he could encounter. over the decades, as he became a seasoned merchant, there were many who lauded his dealings and had grown fond of him, there were also others who thought less of him perhaPs due to their own bad business decisions, there were yet others who harbored deep envy of his tenacity or otherwise felt an arbitrary disgust for him. one in particular was an ancient reptile who may have once been reveRed for his might, but at the time had withered into a cranky old heckler. the halfling though paid this no mind however and always carried about in his own fashion, and quite the fashion indeed. he would often inspIre trends whenever he would discover a new colour with which to adorn his attire or even simply his manners of expresSion. this began more and more to rumble within the belly of the bitter reptile until one day the old beast could do find nothing greater to do than repeatedly mutter challenges of mortal combat against the industrious halfling. at first the halfling continued to pay him no mind and even make light banter about the reptiles pitiful state, but the reptile persisted, often trying to invoke haZy accusations of days long gone, in order to provoke the halfling into senseless battle. finally, the merchant halfling decided once and for all to demonstrate for the reptile, that engaging in combat was much less favorable than a good deal.
one day the crusty old reptile again mumbled the same empty challenge to the halfling, only this time the halfling did not hesitate in agreeing to engagE. he did however raise the stakes with a
wager of his own: that the reptile would not enjoy the battle in any way. the reptile sharpened his teeth as he pompously agreed with great hubris and excitement. our humble halfling looked to the skies, let out a deep sigh, and patted some dust off his shoulder as he approached the field of battle. when the halfling entered the battlefield he stood calmly and without salutation, the reptile wasted no time pouncing for what may well have been a sure kill! with a flick of his finger, the halfling unleashed an otherworldly spell he learned during his travels, which suspended all time and space. after that he casually continued about his daily taskS while the decrepit reptile hung in helpless suspense. the reptile began to panic, and question the possibility of this event, but just then to his
great fortune, a wandering lycanthrope with magics of his own came and whisked the pitiful reptile to safer spaces. when the halfling returned from a quick errand, to his amusement, he noticed that the reptile had fled the scene and ran far far away to recover and escape from the embarrassment. with much laughter and merriment he spread the news far and wide through the lands of the realm. the news spread with some fanfare but much more ire instead. some saw that the wager had been fulfilled, but some others cried bloody foul. the halfling however made no apologies
as he never claimed himself as more than a simple merchant. a few wayward gods even banished the halfling for his parlour trickery, however all the merchant did was return to his familiar idyllic shores, take a deep breath and swim in the cool waters of the summer.
The eleven orphaned heirs of King Alabaster.
There was once a king of immense prosperity. His dominion spread in vast swaths across the Realm as his conquests were a fabled many. In his days of glory he never hesitated to imagine the plight of his humble subjects. His seed spread beyond his recollection and one day he began to marvel at the prospect of the measureless abundance in the generations ahead, beginning with his true heirs which at that point had numbered eleven. His sons Alcaranz, Aldis, Algernon, Aelfraed, Aylmer, Alegre, Erwan, Gerarth, Haelan, Baltrand, and Alawak all honored and basked in the covenant of their father. They didnt vie nor squabble amongst each other, all content that their futures would be as acclaimed as the very sun itself in heaven. The king however was unable to cease in his endless exploits and on one fateful evening he encountered a foul enchantress. Taking deep offense to his advances, she began to glow in an ominous hue. The king would not accept a slight from such a lowly plebian, so he quickly drew his sword demanding capitulation. With a cackle, she lifted her veil and exposed the deformed face of a demon. In terror the king pleaded for mercy upon his soul and this pleased the enchantress greatly.
Youll be spared you deplorable scoundrel, however your heirs will dissipate far from your reach and wander the most unforgiving lands until the end of their days as penniless orphans who remember nothing of the lives they once had.
The king reached in desperation to arrest this wicked apparition, but she evaporated from within his grasp as he gasped. The ground beneath his kingdom rumbled and in a bright flash his sons were each whisked away to their untold fates. For the rest of his years, the king wandered seeking the warm embraces of his sons and their joyful laughter that once serenaded his halls but everywhere he looked, they were always roaming just ahead of his horizon.
The legend and curse has survived time immortal but the remaining details have been withered to only these cryptic stanzas:
To the cellar beneath my throne,
You are implored to return
one of each my sons
To summon my ghost,
have no fear
just shout my name
for the world to hear
and in time my soul
will manifest to be your host.
If the collection is
true and complete
the curse youll defeat
and a reward bestowed
for the noblest of feats.