" I heard from Pohg, who heard from Uyta, that the greatest swordsman that ever lived, is coming this way. Should be here on the morrow! He's travelling alone, and tears stream from his eyes as he rides. Must be real upset bout' somethin'. Uyta told Pohg, who told me, that they say he's challenging any man or woman he comes across to a duel. He tells them that if they kill him, they would be doin' him a favor! Can you believe that barmy bastard! Says you'd do im' a favor if ya' kill him! No one's managed it yet though, as ye' might imagine. Who?..you? hehehe, you couldn' kill him if he lay down in front of ya' and went to sleep!"
" Seems they found the body of a man and his wife, by the lake. Not a scratch on em'. No blood no nothin'! Nobody can figure out how they died, not even the coroner, though that one is so deep in his cups he wouldn't know a dead cat from a flying pigeon. Anyway, the couple had a baby with im' according to my Gladdys when they went to the lake, but the toddler wasn't found! What do ye' make of that? It gets stranger too. They say they found the tracks of a crawling baby, heading away from the corpses, to a willow tree, but they stop there. If ye' ask me the baby's a killer! Eh?.. you heard me you trout-headed lout! Remember when he was born? Had a caul, he did! And one eye closed. Gladdys says he was evil from birth that one! Keep laughing you twit! I hope he comes for you next!"
" Well, well, well, head hurtin ya'? I told ya' not to drink that dwarven swill! Look at ya' boy! I've seen better looking corpses in the grave! Anyway, get this. Was talking to the river-boat captain. Know what he tells me? They caught a gar last week, the size of a horse she was! Twelve feet long if she was an inch, he tells me. What?...yeah, I know dem' fisherman lie, but the captain wouldn't lie to me. Shut up an listen will ya'! They say they gutted this monster, know what they found? A man's hand holding a key. I wonder what that key opens, I do. Some great teasure I wager! Captain says he's keeping it on his barge now for safe keeping. He says the hand had a brand on its palm, but the cap' aint talking further! What?...you heard that one? Then why didn't you stop me you mangy drunk!"
" Mindin' me' own business as usual I was, when I here two chaps talking in Stabbin' Spoon alley. What was I doing there? never ye' mind. And dont be telling Gladdys either! Anyway, these two are talking real quiet-like, and I hear em' talking bout' some shipment comin' in next week. Dont know nothin' from nothin', but these here boys don't strike me as glassblowers, if ye' catch my meaning, so I keep listening...pass me that cheese rind...where was I? Oh so this shipment is due to arrive at the Glassblower's Guild, but dem' boys got other plans! Wonderin' what I should do with this one...eh? Ofcourse I think there's coin to be made here. And if ye' stop whistling like an idiot, I might be able to think of a way!"
" Here comes Wuther the barkeep. Know what happened to him? Three of dem' wizard types, stroll into this here inn two days back, and talk to him real quiet-like. Then, wouldn't ya' know, Wuther turns, without another word, and takes em' down to his cellar. Now there I was, countin' the minutes, but I musta dozed off, cause when I wake up, there's Wuther shaking me and tellin' me to go home to Gladdys. Not bein' the nosy type I..eh? Keep quiet pebble-brain and listen! So off to home I go, but the next day I'm back, and there's dem wizards again, talking to Wuther all nicey-nicey, like he got somethin' they want. Its a mystery I tell ya'...wait shhh. here comes Wuther.
" Gladdys told me a good one last night! Seems the wife of Arkalidus, the city-guard captain, has been doin' some eh...extra guard-duty on the side, if ye know what I mean. Eh?...you don't know what I mean? of course ye don't dolt! I forgot who I was talking to. Lean in closer boy...not that close, ye' reek of fish and garlic ! Looks like she's been loving up the sergeant, and a few of dem' other boys too! Can ya' believe that? Makes ya' feel safe don't it? I mean the captain suppose ta' be sharp as a needle, catching crooks and killers and all, but here's his misses, doin' her best to get ta know each guard real personal like, right under his beak of a nose, and he couldn't see it if he had twelve eyes like dem' bee-holders! Eh? has my Gladdys ever what?!...If my leg didn't hurt, I'd kick your poatato head for asking!
" I've been to the docks again. Dem boys always got dem' goose tales don't they? So I stopped to get me' Gladdys a fish, and who did I run inta? Saltheart, hisself! The only dwarf to ever sail the seas! You know me, I just wanted to get me' fish and git, but the barnacle-beard started talking. Says there's a strange ship that came in with the tide. A caravel, me' thinks he called it. Eh?...Whats strange about that? Whats strange about that beets-for-brains, is that there be no crew on dis ship! Did ya' hear boy? I said no crew. She just came in, and docked herself, and thats that. No one had the onions to board her, and before the harbormaster's men came to investigate, off she goes again! I wouldn't believe it if I saw it me'self, but dem' dwarven boys dont lie, ye' know. What?...why am I cursed with ye'. Next time she comes I'll tie yer arse to her prow, and then off ye' go!..hehe"
" Lotsa folk comin' in for the festival. Lotsa good chant to go around. Here's one I heard from a visiting holy man. Seems the countess, Gressa of Whiteholt is looking for a husband. But not jus' any bloke will do! She's beautiful you see, eh?...how beautiful? what the devil you care? You aint bonified! Anyway, she's issued a bit of a challenge to her suitors. Ye' can only apply for her hand in marriage, if ye' can figure out somethin' called, The Secret of the Great White Elm. Eh? How in the seven hells would I know what that means! Thats why they call it a secret, simpleton! I'm just saying is all. You?..hehe. You couldn't figure out a secret if it was figured out for ya' and explained to ya' for a week!"
" It wouldnt have killed ya' to have saved me one o' dem pies Dimwit! Gladdys, you believin' what I'm seeing? That no good nephew of yours just finished off the last one! Whaddaya mean never-ye-mind? Eh?...what about Pig-leg? Who told ya? Where'd he get it? Hmmm, if it be true he's gonna need im' self a fence or a partner he can trust. What's Pig-leg know about books anyhow? He cant read none! He tried to read once. Got hisself a headache so fierce, he was bed-ridden for a week, he was! Maybe I'll be goin' to see im'. Stop laughing and chew yer cud! I'd know what ta do wit it, I would! Take it to a mage o'course! Maybe there would be a bit o' coin, for ol' Kaboo..hehe. Cant be one o' dem regular books, not if Pig-leg aint lying. Dem regular books dont open up and close all by demselves'! And they dont be making no noises either! Mmmm... here comes the butter-loaf. If you touch it, I'll knife ya!"
" Ye know I cant tell which is worse. The air that comes out yer mouth or the air from yer arse. Hey! That reminds me! Hear what happened to those boys in da' mine?...you did? No matter, ye probably didn't understand it the first time ya' heard it anyhow! I'll tell ya' again. Seems dem' boys were digging real low in the pit. I mean real low! You know dem' little canaries they bring wit dem? Ta see where da air is comin' from. Well a few of dem' little critters up and died, just all of a sudden-like! So dem boys, they git to running, figurin' the airs no good. They runnin' and runnin, until they get demselves up n'lost! It aint easy navigatin' dem' mines, ye know. Kinda like you findin' your way from da' bed to the chamber pot in da' mornin! Anyway, they come upon an old unused tunnel, and know what they find? A door in the rock! Not no normal door, this one is bleedin! S'right! Bleedin red as a rose, just comin' off it in droplets! Well the boys dont open it o'course, they just git ta gittin again...what? Nay, these boys aint no fibbers like dem' topsiders. If a miners' tellin ya' somethin' you can bet its true!"
"Ever hear of da' Lucky Ranger? Well, ya will now, wont ya? Dis here fella was a legend in his time! Eh?..why am I tellin' ya? Cause' ya' remind me of him o'course. Only in yer case, its incredible how lucky ye' must be to have survived all these years, bein' as stupid as ye' are! Anyway...give me that tobakee...hm? Oh right. Well, Tancy the Lucky they called im'! This boy could navigate ya' through the woods, like nobody's business, he could! All dem' beasties wouldn't be stoppin' Tancy from gettin' through. Never lost a man in all his years, he didn't! They say he cheated death as often as, well...as often as ye' take a piss! Ya' ever hear of the ol' evil-eye? Well Tancy, he musta been given the ol' good-eye in his youth! A true hero! Never a misstep! Eh?...what happened to em'? Well...a tree dropped on poor Tancy, outta da' blue yonder, crushed im' like I just crushed that skeeter! But they say that sword o' his is still out there, they say it still calls to im'"
"There is a cave in the Hills of Bezil, or so I've heard. In this here cave, dwells a lonely stone giant. They say..eh? who says? they say! Thats all ye' need to know...I've just about had it wit' ya' by the by. Anyway, so they say that if ye' go there by light of day, the giant will kill ya' pure an' simple. Smash ya' wit' his fists, till ye' look like Gladdys' puddin'! But if ye' go at night the cave is always empty. He's never there when its dark, ya' follow? Must be out an' about doin' whatever it is stonegiants do when they canna' sleep. Maybe he be one o' dem vampyre giants, dat dem boys at the inn mention when they are deep in their cups. But I dont be believin' that. Vampyre giants indeed! What a load o' mularkey! hehe.. So anyway, I'm thinking...are ye' snoring?! How can ya' fall asleep durin' the best part?"
" So ye heard of were-badgers havent ye? Eh? no?...well ye've heard of badgers then I hope! Right then, I shoulda known...well, they be like skunks, but dont smell as bad, and can fight ya' like the dickens with dem teeth an' claws! Now these here dwarves, ye can tell em' by there white striped black cloaks by the by, have come to Marsuth, or so I hear. And ye' dont wanna be pissin' on these boys, cause when the moon turns right, they be turnin' into these huge ferocious badgers I be tellin ya' about! Heard they gots some bones to pick with dem' mercenary boys...em..uh..what are they calling themselves...oh right, the Wereslayers! Wouldn't want to be around when these two gangs square off, I can tell ye' that! Eh? what?..you? hehehe. You'd be a were-cow if gods had a sense of humor!
"So ye know me' luck, by now. Ye know how I dont like dem elves! all high-n-mighty with dem pointed ears! So o'course, guess who starts chanting at Ol' Kaboo at the Heathen Den? Eh?...whaddaya mean who?! Ye know, ya' might as well go to sleep, it'd be da same talking to ye' then! An elf o' course! So just as I was about to tell im' where that pointy ear o' his would be a good fit..hehe..he asks me for some directions. Now ye know I know Marsuth, like a hangman knows his noose, so I hold off with me' insults, an' tell da skinny fella where ta' go. Know where he wanted to go? Seskopo's Sweet Meats!...Huh? because thats the front for dem' hired killer boys thats why! Aint a secret to Kaboo! So I woulda not paid no mind, but then I noticed me somethin'. Dis here elf had his hands leaning on the iron stove the whole time I be tellin him where to go! Eh?..well, this stove was lit! And roasting meat since dawn! Ye dont get it do ye'? Never ye mind, never ye mind"
"Gimme all your coin!...Eh? No pigeonhead! I dont want your three coppers! I'm tellin ya' a story! So thats how it started when the Gassers tried robbing dis here caravan comin' in through Pefwens Wood. Ye know the Gassers, they is feared in dem parts by travellers. But not dis here traveller. Heard that he just stepped outta his covered wagon, and faced the dozen or so boys by hisself! Showing no fear, he passes dem' a coin, a sigle coin, an' tells em', thats all they be gettin' and thats all they ever be needin' and that he hisself wont be needin' it anymore! Now I havent seen the coin, so I canna vouch for dis, but Guhkil the Spoon, says he ran inta one o'dem Gasser boys! Know what he says? He says the boys harumph at first and git ready to knife the stranger and search the wagons, but then they looked at the coin, forgot the traveller, and turned on each other with bared knives. Guhkil says da' one he ran inta was the only one left alive from all dem' Gassers! And git this! He was begging Guhkil to take the coin from im'! Eh?...I dunno, Guhkil's a known liar! Why da ya' think they call em' the Spoon!...no wait, that be a different tale."
A man was killed somehow and brought back to life. He, uniquely, remembers everything about Death, from the skeleton on the horse that guided him, to the afterlife itself. And the annoying bit where he was wrenched from his jacuzzi. He now has penned the instant best seller, entitled 'To Death and Back: My adventurers beyond the grave.' OR IS IT? Is this man telling the truth, or simply a very good liar? Is it all a fraud?