The days passed. The wounds healed. The headaches slowly subsided.
Mossbeard saved you from those horrible green hell spawn. He also saved your leg from the rot. Goblins were disgusting creatures, and a bite from one carried more then a mouth full of serrated daggers. It carried disease, infection, more often then not amputation. Fortunately for you the gruff dwarven alchemist’s herbalism is far beyond up to snuff. A lifetime amongst the pines had led to a profound knowledge of herbs, roots, berries, and all manners of natural elements and thier medicinal properties.
It had been nearly two weeks since the goblin attack and your strength had nearly fully returned. The limp that had at first been so debilitating had now almost subsided. As the days scurried along and your vitality steadily retuned your thoughts began to drift to the reality of your situation.
You are all in all still just a boat adrift. You still have no money, no direction, and the only thing from your forgotten past that your well battered brain can summon up is Elwood, the elusive gnome in which it appears you had been traveling with when you were apperantly attacked. The sinking question burrowing it way to the forefront of your mind is “What now?”. Where do you go from here?.
Your host could offer you little counsel in the matter even if you had enlightened him on your unique situation. Which you surely hadn’t. In fact the last two weeks had rendered little more then strained, uncomfortable small talk and questioning uneasy glances.
Despite the uneasiness and lack of conversation, Mossbeard had been a genuinely hospitable host. He had provided meals, shelter, clean linens, and basic accomodations. The dwarf seemed to give freely with no question of payment or repetitions. You couldn’t help but ponder, alone at night lying on the cot the short stocky landlord had provided mostly, how long could this be unwarranted generosity last. What did this unselfish saviour want of you? For in this harsh cutthroat, dog eat dog world no man (or dwarf for that matter) gives away food and ale freely without an alteriar motive.
You arose on the tenth morning of your stay in the ivy covered house outside of Greyhawk to the aroma of frying meats. From the small cook stove in the corner you could hear the sizzle of grease popping and cracking wildly. Next the distinct “click, click, click” of eggshells being tapped firmly against the cast iron, followed by a loud hissing eruption as fresh yokes hit the pan.
You pull back the feathered Owlbear blanket under which you have spent the best part of the last two weeks. Quickly slip into your meager clothing and slide on your battered road worn leather boots. Without haste you arise make up the small cot and head hurriedly towards the intoxicating smell.
“Ah, so it lives.” The dwarf said as you approach the rough cut hardwood table in the center of the room. You offer little more than a grunt in return. Mossbeard pays little notice to your unsociable breakfast table manner.
“I’ve prepared us a fine lot this morning. Buzzard’s eggs and boar sausage.” Between the fabulous aroma and the way that Mossbeard spread the words, like jelly on toast, you find yourself nearly salivating at the thought of such lavish woodland delicacies.
He flipped the eggs once, sprinkled an unknown spice over the untouched former underside, waited a minute, and with the savvy of a renound chef scooped them from the pan and onto the two awaiting plates. Where they were joined shortly by the beautiful brown boar patties and some large fluffy biscuits that had been waiting ideally on a small table to the right of the cast iron stove.
The grub hits the table and you are certainly not shy. Mossbeard’s cooking had become something you found yourself looking forward to. He apparently had no problem acquiring provisions, as he always seemed to have an ample amount. Even with supplying an unexpected house guest.
As you shovel down the remnants of your buzzard eggs, the rich gamey flavor perfectly complementing the ground boar, you notice the dwarf casting a satisfied glance in your direction. “Fine thing, boar sausage. Ground and seasoned it myself.” He said, as he pulled a small clump of emerald ivy from the weave of his mossy green tinted beard and tossed it to the side. Your appetite suddenly began to faulter as your imagination began to stir and you find yourself liking the idea of this mouldy fellow seasoning the meat less and less.
“I stuck the beast with a hand made arrow. I knapped the flint point myself. I skinned it, gutted it, butchered it, rendered the fat into lard, and stretched the hide to be made into leather. The bones I will boil for broth or splinter them down to make needles and other tools. So in the end I will use the creature’s bones to sew its own hide into boots. You see… I killed the beast only for necessity. I take no pleasure in the deed and do my best to make use of as much of my fallen brother as I can. You see friend, I have lived amongst the flora and fauna for much of my life, thier way is my way, and my way is thiers. To kill for enjoyment is a disgrace and to waste a kill is to disrespect the animals spirit. That is not my way.”
“I then take the remains that I can make no use of and throw them at the base of a ridge to the west of this place. He continued. The buzzard’s roost there. They swoop down, eat the boar remains, get fat and happy, and produce large succulent eggs. I climb the ridge every now and again and grab what I need to keep me going. Then I compost the eggshells and fertilize my garden, and the cycle continues.”
“Now, I’m not just giving you an ecology lesson without reason my full bellied friend. The moral of my long winded speech is that doing all of these things take a good amount of work and effort to achieve.”
“An extra mouth is extra work. I won’t fault you for the time that you’ve spent here. I chose to save you from becoming goblin fodder of my own accord. I took on the weight of boarding you when I opened that door.”
“Now I don’t know much about you friend.” He said with a questioning eye. “But I know what running off in the night looks like. It also appears to me that you don’t seem to be in a hurry to get on your way, and I can’t recall you ever mentioning where you were headed.”
“You haven’t given me any cause to think you intend to do me ill, and you don’t seem to have a thief’s eye, so I see no reason to put you out. You are welcome to stay if you’re willing to pull your weight. I suppose you could consider it an apprenticeship of sorts.”
“You see I’ve lived a long time Traveler, and I’ve learned many useful skills. Mostly natural abilities hunting, fishing, botany, and survival skills among others. I’ve also acquired some less conventional skills that take a bit more then the world that can be seen by the eye can provide. But these lessons are for another day. So what say you Traveler? Will you sign on as my apprentice or will you be on your way?