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Author Topic: Balthazar Woll  (Read 499 times)

Stug3

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Re: Balthazar Woll
« Reply #80 on: July 07, 2008, 05:05:32 pm »
It's the simple things in life...my arse.
 
 Why can a man not simply enjoy an afternoon of fishing and why must the Gods intervene in the most peculiar ways? I could understand making the fish not bite, or making it rain kittens, or striking me with lightning...but why get others to do your bidding and just how planned was this whole event? Did the responsible entity plan it from beginning or just exacerbate an already declining situation, on more than one occasion I have had irate creatures "scraped" off on me by retreating groups or individuals...
 
 Fishing has on several occasions nearly been my undoing but I do enjoy it so. The last time I fished here my camp was overrun and sacked by several giants, after being savagely assaulted by an oddly irate whit stag. Other than the destruction of the camp the only loss were several nice gems at the hands of the giants, the ransacking culminated with the unexpected detonation of a giant; although excellent in its entertainment value it was a bit messy in the end...
 
 It was an absolutely stellar day for fishing; sunny with hardly a cloud in the sky, a light breeze that barely ripple the glass like surface of the lake, the water so clear the fish were easy to spot just below the surface and I thought I could see some of my lost stones sparkling in the depths. Plinking cats and pike never gets boring, the fight they put up is well worth the effort and hauling in a big cat never fails to put a smile on my face. The chance to fish such an amazing spot on such a day is worthy of a Bard's song in the least and if I could carry a tune I might just write one...
 
 Why I should be denied a bit of relaxation on such a glorious day is beyond me but I do not claim to understand the fickle nature or the changing whims of the gods, I am but a finger puppet in the great puppet show of life. After my encounter with the stag and giants I should have been a bit more attentive but I had become lost in the fishing and again was caught with my pants down so to speak...
 
 More than once I have had to combat that fat cow eating bird but never have I see it near the lake. Why it was there I could not guess, maybe it got tired of cows and fish seemed like a good idea at the time. Possibly it was tracking someone I had not see pass through the area. The why was of little consequence, it was the WHERE that was bothersome and the where was here...now. One of these days I will fish fully geared for combat but not this time, again I was armed with bow and a few dozen fishing arrows. For the briefest of moments I thought it might not see me and just go on its merry way but that was not to be and the thought had just crossed my mind when I was without a doubt spotted...
 
 I wasted no time in engaging that fat turkey and it soon looked like a pin cushion but it kept coming. Ordinarily I'm not the best bowman anyhow but walking backwards in knee-deep water only weakened my lackluster bow skills further. I needed to get my sword, if I could do that this chicken would not stand a chance, only the 'chicken' was closer to me than I was to my sword...and getting closer...
 
 I was not going to reach the weapon in time and all I could do was keep plugging away with my bow. It was no more than eight feet away when it lunged at me; I stumbled backward over a rock and just by dumb luck I released the arrow the same moment it opened it beak to get a bite. That damned arrow flew right into its open mouth and dropped him deader then hell out of the sky right on top of me. I was trapped under a few hundred pounds of feather coated meat in two feet of water. This thing just might kill me after all, not with beak and claw but by dead weight...quite literally.
 
 Trapped underwater by this big dead bird I thought to my self; 'of all the ways to go...are you kidding me?...drowned by this stupid bird, give me a break'. While laying there thinking this was how I would go I noticed the mud beneath me was pretty soft and I fight be able to free myself if I took a page from the fish I had been plinking all day. I started flopping like a fish as best I could under the weight and found the mud was rapidly being pushed from under me. Soon I was free and safely on my feet again...
 
 I can take a hint as well as the next guy and my things were soon packed. I do love fishing, it's such a nice distraction from the day to day life and death struggles....
 

Stug3

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Re: Balthazar Woll
« Reply #81 on: July 21, 2008, 05:44:10 pm »
Well today was a first...I was thrown in jail. Drunk and disorderly I believe, not my fault... really it wasn't...
 
 A bit of back story might be in order... I met a rather 'interesting' woman not too long ago. I had been strolling innocently along the Hemp-Vehl road and saw a few familiar faces by the pond. Being the social butterfly I am I moseyed up to say hello to Trith and Muhk who seemed to be discussing something. I bid them greetings and was introduced to a woman named Raven. I don't think that is her given name (she later confirmed it was a nick name)...I'm still unsure of her actual name. Raven it seems is a fitting name, she is a bit dark and secretive and much like the bird has a fondness for shiny stuff... I asked her vocation and she replied that a jack of all trades covers it fairly well...fair enough. (what would I reply to a similar question?)...Sometime was spent conversing and making nice but I really wanted to go do something. Muhk had plans, Trith had crafting to do but Raven on the other hand was eager to make a run at the Bugbears. With just the two of us I would be a quick trip indeed...arrive at the island, die and turn up back at ones chosen stone. Not much of a trip I my book...With the idea of Bugbears not panning out to much more than our demise it was decided to head for the mountains and have a quick stop at the Dwarven Stronghold. What are a few Yetis, Ogres and Giants between new friends?
 It went well and with little trouble we dispatched our intended target and were soon on our way back to Vehl. After our arrival we decided to stalk a few Giants up Wolfwoods way and soon we were aboard ship for that very destination. Raven wanted to collect pelts for Trith and as we were in that general area we gathered a few lion and panther for his crafting needs. Between battling Giants and collecting pelts we did a spot of fishing, she is quite good with a bow and with some practice I think will find fishing quite relaxing as I do. While resting up we had a chance to talk some and I found she has had quite a rough life but has little intention of actively seeking retribution...unless the chance just so happens to present its self. I find her to be quite interesting in both nature and actions; she carries scars as I do, both externally and internally. I think she could be quite a handful and possibly a deadly adversary if one was to find themselves on her bad side, looking over ones shoulder would do little as they were likely to be stabbed in the chest as they did so. I find I enjoy traveling with Raven more than most ladies I have met. I find most to be weighed down by some sort of issue, true she does have issues but they do not find their way into every facet of our travels...for which I am most thankful.
 We parted company soon after as we each had things to attend to in separate directions...
 
 I had spent a few days fishing and collecting pelts just for something to do. I was running low on fishing arrows and needed to replenish my supply in Mariners Hold. As I passed through Fort Homestead I could see a figure moving rapidly in my direction followed closely by a pride of lions. As the figure closed I could see not only was it Raven but that she had been badly mauled and was losing ground to the pursuing lions, she needed help and needed it now. I drew my weapon and dispatched the lions with all do haste. With the immediate threat of death removed she was able to rest and tend to her wounds. Our chance encounter had been fortunate for her as well as me; I was able to save her from the lions and her me from boredom that will almost always get me into trouble. She was still looking to get the head of the Bugbear and after a few birds we had a party ready to lend a hand in doing just that. We met them in Mariners Hold and I was surprised that everyone contacted showed up. It was quite a formidable force to be sure and the Bugbears had little chance to turn this group back. There was much talking, a bit of bickering, some posturing and a few whispers but eventually we moved out. I was almost immediately contacted for an emergency call for reinforcements and I had to bow out to attend to this message...
 
 /////I crashed for several hours and did not make the run/////
 
 I again returned to my fishing, I needed something to keep me out of trouble...Again low on arrows I made for Mariners and who should I run into but Raven...no pursuing Lions this time. I had collected several dozen pelts that I was able to transfer to her ox for later delivery to Triht. We stopped to do a bit of fishing in Stone; I had not been there before and was quite impressed with the amount of fish in the cold waters held. we fished a bit and talked of all sorts of things while plinking away with our bows...she's getting to be an excellent fisherman...err...woman....person...whatever, she plugs em pretty good. Needing a bit more action than the fish could provide we set out for Hemp figuring perhaps we could get a few warm bodies for some fun. Along the way we got word of a group setting out for Haven and it's infamous mine. Well what could be better then a run at the dogfaces...except maybe two runs at them. We were to meet the group in Haven so we made our way through the forest to arrive in Haven well before the rest of the group and this is how I landed in jail...
 
 Just minding my own business and having a polite conversation with myself as Raven had run off to who knows where. She reappeared suddenly and out of nowhere to startle me a bit and produced a rather stout beverage she had obtained form someplace...sometimes its better not to know. I took a deep swallow and it was like I had swallowed a fire, I was surprised to find no smoke came out when I talked...the few words I was able to get out...
 
 I have little recollection of the following series of events but I do remember snippets. I remember studying the grass rather closely, then being pulled along by me ear and finally then my cellmate Ben...strange fellow but what type of people does one expect to find incarcerated? It seems while I had been in the clink the rest of the group arrived to find me under arrest and not to keen on throwing my bail. Luckily Iellwen was there and was able to get me released into her care...good old Ell always saving me from myself. So with me paroled it was back to the business of the mine. I'm not so sure what happened but the there was some friction between Raven and another woman who left soon after Raven threw up at her feet and most of the group wandered off soon after as well. Ell did stick around, now apparently she's my parole officer... The new group was quite large and full of the most amazing personalities; Bruenor, Gloom, Sil, Elgon, Alatriel, Ell and Raven. What an adventure that was. Brue and Gloom are truly too odd for words and if you know them you know what I mean, if you don't know them...you will. I had a pretty good hangover to begin with and several good hits to the head helped little to make it easy to recall the entire action. I know I was in trouble several times and more than once had my butt saved by Sil, Ell and Elgon's healing skills. Our foray into the mines was a success, the head was returned and soon most had gone their separate ways...
 
 The one thing I remember most were the two opposing forces of Ell and Raven...
 
 Ell being the polite and soft-spoken lady she is; always on me about my language, or the inappropriate remarks I'm prone to making. I had no idea she could freeze fire with just a look...albeit a stern one. Reminds me a bit of my mother; a poke, a prod, a look or even simply saying my name was enough to put me back in line. It seems Ell has channeled my mom...swell.
 
 Raven on the other hand...Gets me drunk, thrown in jail, talks like a sailor, is generally the anti-Ell and good gods is she one hellova goodtime...
 
 The head returned and still looking for more Ell, Raven and I decided on a bit of Forest Giant hunting. Gloom soon joined and we were off to the forests around Prantz. We met a small band coming out of the wood and we stopped to talk. There was a Kobald with what I can best describe as a crush on Ell and it soon became Ell AND Raven... (I will say at least it had good taste)... It was rather funny to watch him working on the two. It was a good trip...Ell again saved my butt; I was stuck between three Giants and just getting pasted. I had resigned myself to the fact I was going to die but I would go down swinging...and then Ell appeared! Bing, bam, boom and I was back in the fight. She is without a doubt worth twice her weight in gold, which is probably close to what I owe her in gold for saving me so often and without complaint. This was also a successful raid and we were out in the clear air of the forest once again, where I said my farewells and wished them luck as I departed...
 
 (Traveling with Raven and Ell is quite interesting to say the least...
 I wish there were two of me, one for each of them. When Ells is too goody-goody she could swap with Raven to bring it back into balance and when Ravens is too disorderly she gives it to Ell for the same...
 Running amok with these two ladies is extremely entertaining and I look forward to many more adventures with one or both whenever the opportunity presents it's self.)
 

Stug3

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Re: Balthazar Woll
« Reply #82 on: July 24, 2008, 04:07:44 pm »
After my brief incarceration at the surprisingly strong hands of Warrant Officer Kit in Haven I believed my involvement with the law was at an end...alas it was not to be so.
 
 Muhk and I were discussing some business at the Haven pond, the exact nature of our discussion I do not recall. I do however remember ribbing him on the size of his horse and something about not knowing the horse trader also sold goats...
 
 Over his shoulder I noticed one of 'Hemp's finest' acting a bit peculiar. He seemed to be wandering around a bit and I figured he might be looking for a good tree to shield him from view as he took care of some business of his own. As time went on I deduced he was not in fact looking for a spot to pee and things may be happening that warranted a bit of investigation. So being the naturally curious fool I am we moved a bit closer to have a look-see...
 
 At this point I should not be surprised that things went downhill rapidly as they tend to do with me. Our wandering gate guard ceased his wandering and made a beeline of both Muhk and myself as we stood watching on the road. His arrival was marked by some very rude comments to Muhk about his Orc blood and the associated stench followed by some rather poor excuses for insults directed at myself. Muhk was directed to leave 'the area' in accordance with the posted regulations of Hemp. We pointed out the fact that the regulation states that entry is forbidden, not use of the roads. The conversation went on like this for quite sometime and eventually more guards showed up as a show of force. With five more of 'Hemps finest' now standing behind the first seemed a bit excessive for the two of us and smacked of trouble. I tried many times to get Muhk to walk away and forget it, I even had him moving a few times but each time the guards would say something about him and he would stop again. This continued for awhile and I figured it would end peacefully...
 
 Well I again was proven wrong in my calculations of the situation. The verbal sparring continued and suddenly Muhk was being attacked by the six guards. What sparked the escalation of force I do not know but until then it had all been verbal. Now the metal was flying and six on one is pretty good odds for Muhk but seeing as we were on the road and not at the gates or in the city I found that unacceptable. Wearing nothing but my traveling coat I drew my shield and weapon as trying to drag a brawling half Orc from six city guards' unarmed seemed stupid even for me. My attempt to remove Muhk was short-lived and within seconds of my attempt I was flat on my back with two guards on me like Dwarves on ale. With two very well placed strikes...I have to give them credit on their hammer placement... It happened so fast I had time to get one word out, "Hey!" was all I could utter.
 
 Soon after Cap'n Trent arrived and informed Muhk he was responsible for the deaths of two guards...
 Cap'n grabbed Muhk's arm and Muhk told him not to be grabbing on him and if he continued to do so he would remove the Cap'ns head, well Cap made another attempt to grab Muhks arm. Muhk went for his ax but the Cap'n was too fast for him and swept out his legs and Muhk went down. Cap'n was on him even faster then his men were on me...and off to the clink went Muhk...
 
 So Muhk and I went from standing on the road conducting business to an altercation with six 'Pinks'. Least I'm not in jail too...for what I could not even guess but when you're the law you get to MAKE the law, must be nice...
 
 Well Muhk's trial is coming up soon and I'll be there unless I'm dead and then I'll be just a little late.
 
 Be interesting to see what happens...I can see a uprising in the near future if Muhk is found guilty for what ever it is they are putting him on trial for...have to see how Hemp fares when the Half-Giants, Half-Orcs and the rest of the 'undesirables' form up for a fight. What if they decide that Vehl is closed to all but them...could start some kind of race war. Not sure the world needs that, we just got the sun back.....
 

Stug3

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Re: Balthazar Woll
« Reply #83 on: July 25, 2008, 04:31:29 pm »
Well now...oddly quiet even with the recent events.
 
 Muhk being in prison as he is, that must be fun for any turnkey within earshot. I can just imagine the ruckus he's raising in there and the amount of food they must go through to keep him from eating the stonework...wonder if it comes in by cart?
 
 Benn keeping my distance for the most part...this whole thing has raised some hackles and just seems to be getting bigger...
 
 I will speak if instructed to do so at Muhk's trial but I of course will be in attendance. I am curious and concerned to see what direction the trial takes and with the worst possible outcome being a death sentence, what ramifications such a sentence would carry...and not just for Muhk that being obvious...
 
 I hope Muhk comes out of this ok. I know many see him as an annoyance, a brute, or even as 'the criminal type'...That he very well maybe...No one can say what Muhk is, I don't think even he truly knows. I know him as a stalwart companion who has never left me in battle and many times accompanied me to the void rather than run from the struggle...He likes his coins, he drives a hard bargain, he gets in your face, he tells you where you can go if you disagree with him and he might even help you get there.
 Muhk is Muhk and a Leopard can't change his spots...
 

Stug3

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Re: Balthazar Woll
« Reply #84 on: July 26, 2008, 07:44:35 pm »
I know it is probably not the case but since Muhk's incarceration I seem to be having difficulty finding anyone to do a bit of adventuring with. I see plenty of people out and about but I just...just...well I don't know. I've not seen Raven or Ell for quite awhile and that seems to be bothering me more than it should.
 I have seen Caer and Amanda about as I often do but I always feel like I'm intruding. I feel like horse number three in a two horse show. Not that they have ever said anything or probably ever would...but nonetheless.
 
 Where am I going to find a large and smelly compainon with a foul temper, who is shockingly uncouth, completely unrestrained, extremely ill-mannered, likes brawling, biting and spitting, who is completely un-housebroken, an astonishingly deep pit when it comes to food with a certian amount of moral flexibilitiy, who likes to wander and who says little?
 
 
 
 
 So I bought a horse, maybe I can teach it to spit...?
 

Stug3

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Re: Balthazar Woll
« Reply #85 on: July 27, 2008, 05:51:14 pm »
Got the chance to vist Muhk...
 He looks pretty good and the cell seems to have suffered little. As for the guards I can only begin to guess what they have been going through with one such as Muhk in residence...I wish I could say I fell pity for them....but I don't, so I won't. Infact I had a hard time keeping a civil toung in my mouth while we were there.
 Although he did'nt say anything I doubt for a second thet he does not know what is going to come from this...'hearing'. I am under no illusions that anything justice like will come from it. I am certian it will be little more than a "dog and pony show" to allow those in charge to say "we had a fair hearing and he was found guilty..." No trial...just on to the hearing; you're guilty..and here is your punishment.
 How could there be true justice? Justice is about balance...and if this hearing is not to find that balance but only assign blame and punishment than how can it be justice? I feel the balance has already been maintained...they attacked us...they died...the books look pretty balanced to me.
 
 Mistakes were made on both sides...now one side continues to make the same mistake of pushing those inclined to push back. You can push the lawful around, those of less stringent moral fiber?...we'll just have to wait and see what happens....
 

Stug3

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Re: Balthazar Woll
« Reply #86 on: July 28, 2008, 05:31:17 pm »
I woke this morning bathed in sweat from an unsettling dream...
 
 Bad dreams should be no surprise and I should suffer many more than I have. The ambush of my youth, the 'Vymetal affair' and scores of other things that should keep me awake at night but don't...
 
 I dreamed of smoke and fighting...
 At the gates of Hempstead stood an army; Half-Giants, Half-Orcs, Goblins, Kobolds, Humans, Elves and Dwarves. When hailed to bring the name of their General the reply was given. "We are legion...for we are many."
 
 As I stood on the wall braced for the fight a voice boomed up from the ranks, a familiar voice...my voice. Called up to me were four simple words "Where will you stand?"
 I already stood on the wall; I had friends along the wall. Tegan stood less then twenty feet away with fire dancing in her hands, Caerwyn with bow ready stood next to Amanda, I could see Iellwyn further down as well. There were many I have traveled with, spilled blood with and all stood along that wall...
 
 Then I stood in ranks looking up at the walls. Here too I stood among friends; Gloom shifted from foot to foot two ranks ahead. Off to my left Warsinger wiped his hands on the Half-Giant ahead of him. Farther along the rank I stood in was Volga who stood with his finger jammed up his nose, searching for that elusive booger he seems to be always searching for. I could see Raven quietly looking down the shafts of her arrows, her scared face half hidden by her shoulder as she looked at the sky down the shaft of the arrow in her hand. Arkenon muttered wordlessly as he prepared, his great furs a calming shade of blue in the sunlight. I heard a well-known snort and looked to see Muhk leaning out from our rank, helmet-less and grinning that big toothy grin of his at me.... I removed my helmet to give him a smile back but when I looked again he was gone...
 
 Smoke caused my eye to water and the acrid taste was in my mouth. I could see burning embers floating along on the wind but there was no sound. Figures flitted through the smoke and as it cleared I could see the battle that raged just beyond its edge...
 
 Friends fighting friends, such a terrible sight to behold...
 Familiar faces fighting and killing other's they had stood should to shoulder with before. I watched as Tegan let fly with her spell that engulfed Gloom in fire; burning and shrieking soundlessly he continued to attack as the flames danced on his flesh. Warsinger sat cross-legged looking confusedly at the stump where his arm had been. Amanda was dragging a limp Caeryn by the shoulders, tears streaming down her face. Using what appeared to be a dead Kobold as a weapon I saw Volga with at least a dozen arrows in him battling on, his door sized shield held dozens more. In the midst of all this I remember wonderering to myself just how he had lost his ax and acquired that Kobold? A great pressure in my head caused me to look up and on the wall I could see Ell perched on the edge casting in to the throng of combatants, arrows sliced by so close that her clothes had been shredded and blew in strips out behind her. Following the storm of arrows to their source I found Raven, working her bow so fast I could hardly see her hands as she was so intent on picking Ell from the wall...
 
 A hand spun me around and I was lifted off my feet by the throat. Muhk had come; just as he always did and just as I knew he must. It was inevetable that I would face him, I knew this would come...how could it not?
 Over his shoulder I could see me...I was fighting behind him, keeping his back clear as I had done so many times before, holding his back to free him to do what he does best. Hanging helplessly at the end of his arm in the middle of this silent battle of friends I could hear one thing...the words that drifted up to me on the wall. This time they did not drift, they were bellowed into my face as Muhk had changed into me. This other Balthazar was screaming "Where will you stand!" as he plunged a dagger through the vision slot of my helm....
 
 I woke screaming, drenched in sweat and feeling like I needed to be sick...the words still pounding in my ears... "Where will you stand?"....
 
 Where would I stand...
 With my friends against my friends or against my friends with my friends...
 

Stug3

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Re: Balthazar Woll
« Reply #87 on: July 29, 2008, 04:37:59 pm »
I was unable to sleep last night and I wandered the streets of Hemp for several hours. I had no particular destination in mind and went where my feet took me.
 The streets were eerily quite and the air itself seemed heavy and expectant. It was as if the city itself if it were waiting with its breath held for something to happen. I was not the only one to notice as both Polly and Tuggs commented on it... 'Calm before the storm' came to mind. I'm not sure that is accurate but there is defiantly something on the wind. We'll just have to wait and see what blows in...
 
 Tuggs and I talked for a time about him being the most unobservant, sharp-eyed joker in town. He can spot traps a league away with ease but missed some very telling signs that if any closer would have been in his shirt. That's the way we are as men...we think with our stomachs and only see with our eyes...or eye in some cases...
 
 Hindsight is 20-20...what if you only have one eye...
 

Stug3

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Re: Balthazar Woll
« Reply #88 on: August 11, 2008, 02:24:11 pm »
Muhk is still incarcerated and I continue to wander without any real direction...
 I have had some fine outings lately; stormed through the mountain passes with its rock tossing giants, took the head of the lizard leader and presented it as requested, made an incursion on the forest giants camp and on into the cave for some opals, wandered the desert for a few days, stalked the Sinister Forest and the Ore Hills (carrying seven hundred pounds of ore for Sein), all with good companions; I count myself lucky to have these good friends and companions. I have had the good fortune to have Ell, Caer and Amanda on all of my latest adventures. They are as excellent in the attack as they are in the defense, and I know I can count on these three to get me out of trouble faster than I got into it. To have such friends is truly a gift...
 

Stug3

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Re: Balthazar Woll
« Reply #89 on: December 17, 2008, 04:19:56 pm »
I have lost count of how many times I have returned to chronicling in these pages after a long spell of non-documentation. A smart man would have left dates with any entry he made, I have been called many things but that is not one of them.
 I did discover another Troll-provided product that has proven itself useful. After dusting off this book and settling in to do a bit of inking I found all my ink had dried up, I was left with nothing but tiny bottles of pretty colored powders. Water would have been just dandy to reconstitute the ink but I got to wondering about its longevity and the possible damage the water-based ink might cause. I know scrolls are scribed using egg but I can't even look at eggs anymore, let alone carry them around in my pack. I'd just assume hand a sack full of my 'Improved Fire/Fragmentation Bombs' to a pie-inebriated Brownie in a hammer factory. The water question and the no-question about egg left me in a bit of a quandary and once again those big bumbling Trolls came through in fine fashion. I really need to move them up on the most useful creatures in the land list, tasty AND now even more useful! I wonder about the possibility of domestication... (Would have to circumvent their tendency towards violence, stampeding cows and insane chickens are one thing. Insane and stampeding Trolls is another entirely, I can see trouble with neighbors arising quickly. Cows kick and chickens do whatever it is they do but neither is likely to wear your skin as a hat, unlike Trolls)...
 
 My latest discovery... Troll urine. I'm not going into just how I came to this conclusion or how I acquired the aforementioned component but if you have read any of these pages then you will know that things just "tend to happen". Troll urine is oddly lacking in smell, much to my surprise and contrary to the source from which it springs. Slightly thicker than water and available in several shades ranging from clear to deep orange; the color does not seem to affect the ink except for perhaps white ink, is there white ink? A small note of caution; it should be kept away from an open flame for at least an hour, my eye brow will grow back...it always does.
 
 Who would think that a seemingly useless creature was such a well of usefulness? The rendered fat keeps my armor from rusting solid and relatively squeak free, it does however have a bit of a stink to it. The head-cheese alone makes the trouble and resulting mess of dealing with them worthwhile. If boiled the eyes are quite good and I have for many years substituted them for boiled eggs but they are even better in stews... (just keep it quiet or I'll never have dinner guests!)... Properly cured and suitably softened the skins make excellent garments; I have in fact retired my Giant-skin traveling jacket for a new and much better Troll material. The water-repelling ability alone more than makes up for the fact that hair continues to grow from the garment for a rather lengthy period of time (I only have to shave the coat once a month now). The hair however is of little use; I wove a rough blanket out of it but it was like sleeping in a thorn bush and smelled like a bear had just...(well you know what they do in the woods) in the bush.
 The amount of 'meat' is not as large as say a Giant but for the un-experienced it can be a daunting task to properly clean and separate the carcass before it draws other opportunistic feeders. A properly motivated individual can with a bit of practice fell the Troll and strip the carcass in 2-4 hours, unlike Giants which really need a group to properly process... (all this is discussed in earlier notes)...Nothing worse then being knee-deep in Troll when something with a equally bad attitude and an empty belly strolls out of the trees. Meat preparation can be conducted in several ways, some better than others. Smoking and stews are my personal preferences. The meat smokes easily and can be done as any fish, cutting the meat thin like a fish fillet makes for the best portion size, takes the smoke better and reduces the gameness. Once smoked it may be stored for months if kept dry and can be reconstituted in a stew or gruel if boiled. As for stewing either smoked or un-smoked meat may be used, I would suggest stewing un-smoked meat first before it tries to crawl away. The smoked meat stays put. Who can tell what's in a stew anyhow so get creative...
 
 Life goes on weather you are there to see it or not and returning from a long ramble is a mixed bag of pleasant surprises (marriages and births...not necessarily in that order) and regrets. People have come and people have gone friends have vanished without trace while others have achieved immortality through duty or deed. Old haunts are full of new faces and the few I recognize have new comrades and ambitions. I'm too old and too set in my ways to fit in much of anywhere these days perhaps that is for the best. There are places I do remember, though some have changed, some forever, not for better...
 
 Perhaps I will pick up my adventuring again. Finding a new group or reacquainting myself with old companions? Maybe a little of both...Making friends is not one of my strongest suits and a nice lady once said that perhaps I am missing a filter between my brain and my mouth. How should I know, she's much smarter than I will ever be so I'll just have to take her word on it. I do like my solitude, free of any drama or squabbling over loot and tactics I can go where the wind blows me. I guess I am a curmudgeon and that's why I dislike what was once explained to me as "group dynamics" BAH! I find it difficult to listen to self-important children bicker over the simplest of plans, go unprepared into battle or are too sensitive to do what is required...
 
 'Over prepared is never Overwhelmed' ... you can chisel THAT on my headstone.