Blade of the Dark Sands
Ramblings of a Halfling
Ramblings of a Halfling
Thanks be to you, dear reader, for decided to give this humble halfling a chance.
Before I begin, there are some, one would say, aspects of halflings which need to be mentioned. Well, only one really – cannibalism. There, I said it. You may gasp as you read these pages, or may take it in stride, thinking yourself more “of the world”. As you are holding this book, I will hope that you will at least give the latter option a shot.
But I digress. As the sun shines down so brutally upon the sands, let my words ring true – halflings do not discriminate when it comes to eating preferences. If a hunting party came back to the village with some giant sand beast, everyone would cheer and yelp, and we would eat well that night. Is it so strange we would do the same thing if we came across a raiding party from Gulg? The only reason to gasp is that it may be seen as barbaric and foreign.
In such a sophisticated city such as Nimenay, that may be understandable. Then again, I’ve been in the depths of the arena and lived to tell – is that practice not so barbaric? Why is the cheering of yelping of Pit spectators as once-fellow citizens of Nimenay are slaughtered by demons not as equally barbaric?
Hopefully as you involve yourself more in my life, you will come to understand halflings a little better. Or maybe worse, depending on what you take away from this.
Demons in the Pit
My story begins here in Nibenay, in the Pit to be more precise. Sentenced to death for a crime that no halfling in their right mind would commit, I was bunched with other death-row inmates. Two by two we were shackled together, and two by two we would meet our death in the pit beyond. Across from me sat two very unlikely fellows – the merciful Sar-Jall the Chain Fighter and a robed man who I recognized as “The Warded Man” (Editor’s Note: To this day I still do not know his true name, though he keeps insisting that he has none.)
Down the corridor from me sat another inmate – the deep-in-thought battlemind, Marko Jyhadi _(Yet Another Editor’s Note: I promise you, dear reader, you will find out why he was deep in thought). Most of the other criminals had already been sentenced apparently, and were just waiting for death. Sad, really.
As usual, I probably talked more than I should, but I was trying to stay chipper. Tried to, some would say foolishly, believe that we would get out of the mess we were in. One way I am different from my brethren is that the usual halfling would not really care if he lives or dies – he is just living his life on Athas until he returns to whence he came. Some would say a good death is in battle, fighting for some noble cause. A good death for a halfling is very different – to be eaten and incorporated by your friends and loved ones, so that your essence can live on through your tribe. Even better would be to return home to the Forest Ridge and be eaten there. Oh, to see the wonders of that beautiful place.
The Warded Man and I discussed things – apparently he had a strategy. He correctly predicted that we would be facing demons, as the Pit was surrounded by wards to keep whatever came out of the Gates of Death would not be able to go any farther. When our doors finally opened, and we were let out into the Pit, he was able to quickly draw arcane symbols upon us all, so that we would be able to more aptly fight whatever demons came out.
Three fire demons and two sand demons – sounds like fun, right? I will not lie, I was scared – but I knew I must have my wits and make the best of the situation. The people who had already died were granted their wish first. Some trying to survive for a second longer than others, as they rescinded for a second their wish to die to fire demons. Too little, too late, sadly.
And so we made our stand. Swords swung, minds were blown, and spells were cast. All to the cheering and yelping of spectators. The Warded Man and Sar-jall worked hand in hand, struggling even as powerful as they were to send these beasts back to the chaos they came from. Marko, myself, and our partners in death held back the three demons who had no problems feasting on humanoid tonight.
Even as I would’ve rather stayed at the far end of the Pit, inflicting pain upon their minds from a-far, my partner thought differently. He rushed into the battle, and me with him. Such is life, I guess. I think my partner just wanted his meaningless life to be over – such a sad way to look at one’s life. I tried to help where I could, and sandstorms and tornadoes ripped through the battlefield, causing these demons much pain.
In the end, many lives were lost, but a courageous few remained. the five of us would live to see another day, or so we hoped. Our benefactor had apparently decided that since we sentenced to death – that we should die. Go figure. But we had other plans, and in a courageous attempt to not be speared to death by several half-giants, we ran where no-one has returned from … the Gates of Death.
The “Gates of Death” doesn’t properly describe the place we were. The gates themselves are just a portal. It should be called the Caversn of Death or something. We got through the gates easily enough. Before the gates were closed and we were trapped in what would hopefully not become our new home, we saw three tunnels, all facing the same direction. Then the gates did what they do, and we were left in complete darkness.
Utter Darkness, Sandstone Walls, Light Ahead, Old Trap, Not So Old!, Spinning Ball, Marko’s Leg, Naked in the Catacombs, the rope (try #1), the rope (try #2), the room & blankets, the guards, black eyes, safer in the storm, passing out, aziz, sleep, warden man disappears.