Dear Mom and Pop,
Hope there has been enough rain and enough sun so everything is tall and green, except for the mustard, which should be that lovely shade of yellow. Hope you and the siblings are going well.
My second week on the road was completely different from the first. I travelled with other adventurers and we did chores along the road from the Center Trade Outpost to Hlint. Instead of spending most of each day in my bed roll or the inn trying to recover from the sick I picked up from those nasty bugs, I tried to keep up as the group moved from chore to chore like the wind. The composition of the group changed over the course of the week, as people joined with the group and then left to attend to other business. But there were three that I travelled with for most of the week, three that showed me the life that I have dreamt of since Uncle first gave me his sword.
The first was a lovely elven lady who I bumped into while stumbling into the inn after an encounter with the bugs. Yes, I was sick, Jason, but even sick I could still do more chin-ups than you can even on your best day. This elven lady healed my wounds and banished the sick with a gesture. She then invited into her group and arranged that I would travel with them for the week. Her name was Kalla, at least that is how I think her name is spelled. Her invitation opened the door I had been searching for.
On the road, Kalla healed my wounds, made my flesh hard as stone, and set my sword ablaze. She aided the others in the group in similar fashion, but without her spells, there would have been nothing left of me other than a smear of paste, like the residue under the cider-press. Her greatest gift was showing me the hidden wonders of the country side while making me feel welcome in this new world that I have entered. It saddened me to realize that such a personable generous soul felt unwelcome in towns.
The other two people were a dwarven lady warrior named Mica and a dazzling rouge named Johnny who thought he was much better looking than I did.
Johnny used swords at speeds I could hardly watch. He was deft and accurate, far more accurate than anyone I have ever seen. He used efficient, economical moves, like a dancer with an agenda. Johnny helped me with my swordplay, giving me a lessons on foot-play and combat awareness. He showed me the use of the bow for the advantage of more distant attack. Kalla turned monsters into pin cushions with her bow, but Johnny showed me the advantages to my own use of the weapon.
His greatest gift was a severe tongue lashing after I pulled a bone-head maneuver when we were ambushed by ogres. I ran up to the ogres to engaged them, they surrounded me, and I started to get my clock cleaned. The gist of Johnny's lecture was that when you are part of a team, you needed to work within the team; not necessarily to do the exact same thing as the guy next to you, like in the militia, but ensure your thing supports the objective of the team. The lecture was not that tough to swallow, as I had felt Kalla's spells ripple across me, keeping me alive as the other's bailed me out. I have thought of Johnny's words often since that afternoon.
Where Kalla made me part of the team, and Johnny tried to make me a useful part of the team, Mica showed me how to be a warrior, showing me by example the path to follow to become what I want to become. Mica did not move quite as fast as Johnny, but she killed the monsters just as fast as he did, maybe even faster. When fighting along side her, my attack would stagger a monster, maybe throw it slightly off balance. With one of those drill maneuvers that Jason teases me about, Mica would kill three other monsters, and then the off balance one I provided. One maneuver, four kills. Outstanding.
Mica told me that the sword may not be the best fit for my fighting style. She suggested I try the axe. She gave me an
axe she had made herself and I used it for the rest of the week. The axe fit my swing better. Since the axe relies on the cutting edge only rather than the edge and the point like a long sword, I was able to focus on where the weapon was and where I wanted it to go, rather than first deciding whether to swing or thrust. I contributed more to the team with the axe.
During our last chore, we fought ogres and giants up in the mountains. During combat, I slipped on rubble and hit my head. When I awoke, the monsters were dead and Johnny and Mica were debating esoteric weapon lore surrounded by a mountain of cadavers. I left the group shortly afterwards. I needed to think a bit.
On my departure, my three mentors gave me loot, advise and a gift.
The loot was coin. More coin than I have ever possessed. More coin than I believe I earned during the trip. Kalla and Mica told me not to worry about it. Mica told me to by something nice for myself from Mica. I did. I bought myself that metal armor I mentioned in my last letter. I opened a bank account. I have enclosed a note detailing an account I created in your name. Use the money there for whatever the farm needs.
Mica left me with the axe she gave me early in the week, but also gave me a new weapon, a scythe that she had made herself. It looks like the one I used when I helped with haying, but with an altered handle and a longer thicker blade. Mica told me I would need special training to use the scythe as a weapon. That it is a weapon, not a farm tool, may be more difficult to learn. Mica's craftsmanship made the scythe a very handsome weapon indeed.
I am arranging training so I can use the scythe Mica gave me. The training will also help me with that large sword I saw in the shop with the armor. However, I am very fond of the axe.
The advice I received when leaving was generic and subtle:
There are may paths that can be taken. Do I focus on the sword, or do I learn to use a variety of weapons?
That there are elements in life that one needs to take advantage of in order to have a life. Which weapon, bow, Axe, sword, or scythe, is best at the moment or in this situation? Which weapon, which tactic, which actions does the situation need to be resolved?
And that the best way to repay the kindness and generosity shown me it to show it to others in need.
I will write again next week. Stay well.