Story

Thaum Slays Leng Drake!


The sun beat mercilessly apon Row's (Rowanthaun is his given name, everyone calls him Row) shoulders as he crossed the bridge into the town of Leng. He longed for a spell to cure hangovers. Pausing briefly to mop the sweat from his brow, the rangy thaum thought again of his impending doom and the circumstances that had lead to him promising to....WHAT?!!

The previous night, he had been in Kesmai at a commencement party for a newly appointed knight. Someone had found a rare (and illegal) barrel of Illyrian ale and the party had surged forth with liquid-enhanced gusto. Row faintly remembered some loud-mouthed and inebriated little Wizard with flammable breath telling him that the Thaum's place was in the temple and that the slaying of drakes and other creatures would forever be the work of the stronger proffessions; Thaums were simply Djinn-dispensing handymen. Knights, Martial Artists, Wizards and Thieves all had their role in the occupation of drake-slaying but Thaumaturges were excluded. Row, having forgotten the potency of Illyrian drinks, was less reserved than usual and had responded rashly to the slight. He was sorely tempted to try to stuff the little Wizard into a mug of ale just to see if he would fit. Instead Row decided on a bolder, if incredibly more stupid, course of action. He vaulted onto a table (somewhat shakily) and loudly proclaimed over the thunderous belches of the audience that he would slay the Leng Drake to forever put an end to this debauchery of his priestly profession. A chorus of drunken hoots and jeers were his answer from the revelers still conscious enough to understand his slurred speech. Someone passed him another mug of ale. An opportunistic party-goer started laying odds on Row's chances of success (they were slim) and betting began in earnest. A Thaum he recognized but couldn't remember looked intently at him and shook his head solemnly. The pub minstrel started singing 'The Ballad of the Leng Drake" and all joined in heartily. During the chorus, Row slipped on a pool of beer, fell off the table and passed out.

The room hushed.

The Knight of Honor belched and drooled a little.

Another voice said, "grab his ale before it all spills."

The party raged on........

So now Row was in Leng and had to either try to slay the drake or face a few lifetimes of shame. Right now the shame was sounding like a reasonable alternative to sure death. Shuffling through the eerily quiet main street of Leng, he paused at the recall ring vendor. The small, sharp-featured thief looked up at Row and raised his eyebrows in an unspoken question. Row tossed the price of two recall rings at the thief and watched in amaement as the thief plucked the coins from the air in a silvery streak of movement. With a deft movement of his hands and a few whispered words, the thief opened his hands to reveal two glowing recall rings. As he walked away, Row resisted the urge to count his fingers to make sure they were all still there. Thieves always made him more than a little nervous.

Soon it came to be that Row found himself at the door to the Leng Drake's lair. About his feet were the numerous and foul-smelling corpses of minotaurs and manticores that patrolled the plains just west of the Drakes lair. The brief but bloody battle had been a cacophony of death between the many servants of the Drake and Row's small arsenal of magical tiger figurines. He picked up the last of these figurines and wiped the spots of blood from it. The small caricature of a tiger felt warm in his hand and seemed to writhe with barely-restrained energy. The four he had carried in his sack were the most experienced ones he posessed and had fought handsomely.

A glance around caused him to wonder for the thousandth time what the heck he thought he was doing here. He had no business battling a drake. Here and there the sand had been melted into rivulets of glass from the legendary lightning the drake was so fond of using. A shiver ran up Row's spine as he heard the ominous flapping of giant wings behind the door. Row summoned his powers to call forth three Djinn from the nether regions of the air. Heh heh, nether regions.

The magical blue servants coalesced into being and waited for his instructions. The Djinn were much more dependable than the demons he had summoned as a younger, less-experienced Thaum. Their expressionless visages seemed somehow resigned today, as if they knew their fate and had already accepted it. Taking a deep breath, Row motioned for them to open the door to the Drake's lair and proceed into harms way.

A few steps inside the corridor, Row gasped. He had almost forgotten to enchant himself with protection against the Drake's lightning. He did so now and continued on. After gingerly stepping over a pile of obviously human bones there was a terrific explosion ahead of him. He looked up to see the giant Leng Drake casting bolt after bolt of lightning at the djinn. The enormous electrical energies made the hair on Row's arms stand straight up. He loosed a tiger at the drake, then another, then another. Soon there were 3 tigers snarling at the fiersome Drake, the fourth having shattered heartbreakingly on the floor as figurines sometimes do. Row began casting his most deadly spells at the Drake. No creature alive could stand more than 2 of his potent death spells but he had cast six, no, seven spells at the Drake and it was still wreaking havoc on his tigers. The Djinn had been vaporized long ago and there were only two tigers left alive when the drake suddenly lunged for Row. The spell he had been preparing was driven from him along with all the air in his lungs as the Drake hurled him against the wall. Row, shaking like a leaf from fright and excitement, finally managed to grab a vial of healing balm from his leather sack and drank greedily. For the next several minutes he was tossed about by the Drake's blows and burned severly by the lightning spells from the Drake. Finally the Drake turned to the two remaining tigers and Row was able to cast another death spell. Feeling his magical powers ebbing, he marshalled enough magic for one final spell, for he knew it would be his last. As the last incantation passed his lips, the Drake went limp and collapsed heavily apon the floor. Row leaned against the wall and slid down until he was sitting on the floor, breathing heavily. He looked in the leather sack at his side, there was one balm left. He had not enough magic left to do a card trick, but there was the corpse of the Drake. Dead. Slain by a Thaumaturge. "Next time", he thought, "I'm going to keep my big mouth shut."

In the future Row remembered that he was better served by modesty than pride and did indeed keep his mouth shut and shun adventure...until Tetilio of the guild of Doom showed up unexpectedly at his door with a mischevious grin and an outlandish proposal............

-Rowanthaun "Row"
Thaums Rule!