“Well, after we handled those troops on the bridge, Jaroo lifted off to blow the catapults off the towers – literally, blow,” the wizened old knight told the children gathered around at his feet.
“That druid was a good one – went on to do a great much good for the goddess. Never forget that!” he added.
“Where was I…oh yeah…the front door. Smashed it in! It was one of the dwarfs…Gargle or…no, wait…Unktre…well, it was one of them…” he chuckled, a sly smile drawing across his face as the children drew closer.
“Gnarl – you know, Regent of the West? That Gnarl…smashed his boot right through the door and in we went. It was a beautiful thing, my friends,” he continued.
“Grandfather, what happened next?” asked young Gulow, his great-grandson, too excited to wait.
The old knight looked at the boy and smiled. “Stuck, we were, or so they thought, in a killbox many lengths long and not very wide, a great portcullis cutting off our movement forward and crossbow slots in every wall. Atiasi used his magic to fly and helped us over the wall and forward. To be honest, I was so focused on the fight that I barely remember the details of it now.”
“In the next chamber we faced a group of demons! Vrocks! Mighty , nasty beak-faced brutes from the Abyss…turned out that some were illusions, but one wasn’t! We smote it…sent it back to its masters in pieces, we did.”
The children ooh-d and aah-d as the old man talked through the rest of the fights, describing in great detail how Gnarl fell, almost dead; and how the Witchfinder General, then known only as Utenar, used his divine blessings to revive his kin and send him back into battle.
When the housekeeper arrived to announce dinner, Sturn had just reached the point where their team had recovered a few magic warhammers and were about to press on to find the castle’s banner. The old knight stopped his story just as he and he mates were about to turn another corner, leaving the children wanting more, but sending them off to eat, instead.
Sitting by the fire for a few moments, Sturn considered the events of that day, so long ago, and what they led to in turn. Minutes must have gone by, because it took the housekeeper’s return and repeated reminder to shake him back to the present, and the smell of food a few rooms over.
Walking slowly from the room, his limbs sore from so many campaigns, he scanned the many trophy cases, mounted weapons, pieces of armor, and other mementos that decorated the room, each one evoking a memory of a great victory, or setback, or loss of a friend. He paused at the door and thought, his eyes stopped on the portrait of the World Class Wrecking Crew, as they’d become known. The original had been signed by Jaroo, Untenar, Gnarl, Atiasi, and Sturn, and bore a short message from each, to one another.
‘Such brothers most only imagine…it’s a good life,’ he thought, smiling both within and without.