We are all pushed into a world of madness, yet it must now fall to each of us to pull back from this Abyss, to drag ourselves free from the descending spiral. From horror, grief must be fashioned, and from grief, compassion.
Decius sat with his back to the wall enjoying a beer in an inn in a small village called Clearwater. He was a big man but not a giant, yet he seemed larger because of his small companion. The barkeep had wondered about his deep penetrating voice and confident attitude, since it’s not common in someone looking so young. But Decius Malthus wasn’t young. In fact he was more than three quarters of a century old. Not bad for someone looking like a teenager. He had a big gold, red, and yellow bushy tangled head of curly hair and beard, and a flat catlike nose which made him look a bit like a wild lion, a creature known from the plains of his homeland, the Empire of Callus. Carrying two broadswords, a spear, a dagger, a crossbow, and a large shield with a winged lion marking he looked like a veteran soldier, and with his full backpack with torches sticking out, and a winter blanket and bedroll beneath it, he looked like an adventurer. In fact he and his companion were caravan guards and they were very good at it.
They had been companions for a long time now. How they met neither had spoken of to anyone, but it was clear that they trusted each other completely. They made a great team with Decius as the brawns and Ecco Fat-Fingers the Ever-Curious as the brains. Ecco is about half the size as a normal human, a creature known as a Halfling or a Hobbit. A bit on the fat side for a Halfling, Ecco is childish looking even for his kind and has brown curly hair. Common to his race he is curious, but Ecco takes it to the extreme in his quest to investigate and explore everything. With him he carries a special Halfling weapon called a staff-sling, which he uses with devastating effect and nobody can deny his skill or precision. ‘
They had just finished their last contract delivering goods to the village of Clearwater. The contract had been a tough one. Many times Ecco and Decius had to draw their weapons and spill enemy blood in defence of the caravan. And not just against humans. Several times it was orcs or other evil creatures and once a griffon had stolen away one of the horses. It felt like things were getting worse and worse in the outskirts of civilization.
There weren’t any other interesting occupants in the inn, only a few local peasants and craftsmen, so Decius took another drink while thinking about nothing and enjoying a little leisure time. Ecco, of course, continued talking about some business deal or idea he had. Decius always let him talk pretending to listen and understand all his fancy talk. And then the door opened and in walked two weird looking strangers. That moment changed everything. Everything!
(Excerpt from the ‘Tales of the Lion’ by Epicurus the Disbeliever).