They Grew in the Telling - Traveler's Tales
'Ye've 'eerd th' one 'bout th' king who'll send 3000 gold royals te th' lucky man thet sends 'im a letter back t' test th' Royal Mail, an' ye heerd aboot th' succubus that makes off wi' mens' kitlins after she 'as 'er way wi' em, but ha' ye heerd aboot th' beggar lad that wants a stone from ever' village in th' kingdom?
You can't visit the tavern some days without an old gaffer sharing some unlikely tale of stolen organs or misers giving away their wealth. I now present a selection of unlikely tales for your edification and enjoyment:
The Golden Spike
This traveler from the North Borderers told me the oddest tale, but he swore it was true! Off in the lands past the border, there's an ancient mage, a sorcerer with the power to change iron into gold! He fills his tower with vasty piles of old iron, waiting for the time when the stars are right, or somethin' like that, then he turns it into solid gold! The traveler showed me an old spike made out of solid gold to prove it, I tell no lie!
The Truth: Kazarad the Lich has tried to turn iron into gold, but was unsuccessful. He used some of the iron he had accumulated to build some Iron Spike Golems.
The Dark Man
I was walking home from Murodale, after my cousin there threw me out in the middle of the night, see. An'when I reached the old crossroads, there was a dark man there, see, shrouded in a black cloak and cowl! An' naturally, I made the hex sign against evil, see! An' it musta worked, see, Â‘cause I started hearing that old, dead tree there, talkin, see! That man musta been the Witches' evil leader, see! An' I tore outta there, see! An' my feet ha' been hurtin ever since! That dark witch fellah put a Hex on me, see!
The Truth: An elderly druid that lives near the crossroads likes to chat with The Black Stump whenever he tries to quit smoking and can't sleep. He doesn't put 'hexes' on anyone, but the drunken storyteller stepped wrong on a rock in the dark and was too drunk to feel it immediately.
The Sea Punishers
'Our ship made port in the city of Ushart, where they punish the sea folk with a huge torture garden! They think that the sea folk are the enemies of all that's good, so they torment them for days and finally execute them!
This old salt has never set foot in the Great Market of Ushart, and has misremembered the tales of how they trade in the remains of the sea folk in that horrible place.
The Great Labyrinth
'An old man kept poking me in the chest and challenging me to seek something he called the Great Labyrinth out in the woods. He told me that if I found the center of the labyrinth, my money problems would be over! I'd have done it too, but just then my wife showed up and I had bigger problems than money!'
That adventurer is probably fortunate that he didn't set foot in that magical maze.
The Chicken Worshippers
'No, Really! They worship chickens in that crazy city! I was there to get some stone statues the baron had commissioned and these chickens were everywhere! They had giant chicken idols on every street corner and big paintings of chickens on the walls of the buildings, with mottos written underneath like Â‘The rooster you save could be your own!' or 'Who will feed the chickens when you are gone?' I never saw anything like it in all my days!'
This merchant is fond of hyperbole. In Powlgraf, they do not actually worship chickens, nor do they have massive paintings of them. They do have a lot of chickens.
The Killer Jerky
'This old soldier had a bag full of greenish jerky and kept trying to sell some to me. He told me that his Troll Rations would help heal my bum knee. I told him to shove off! Who ever heard of eating meat meant for trolls? I mean, really! It looked revolting! Last I saw, he was still over by the guildhouse trying to hawk that crap. He must of had a wagon load full of the stuff!
This veteran didn't really pay attention to the old soldier's pitch. This carefully made food can heal in small doses.
The Babbling Nut
'It was horrible! I had to share a wagon with this Hollu guy for day after day after day and the whole way he was constantly falling over and foaming at the mouth, then babbling about some silver hammer! He kept saying that it needed to be taken from Elric's tomb or the kingdom would fall! That guy was a nut!'
The unfortunate Hollu has an unusual magical aptitude: He establishes a strange mental link with those magical items that have their own personalities. The road the two traveled on passes near the tomb of Elric 'the Fearless' and Hollu somehow 'picked up' on the thoughts of Elric's enchanted Silver Hammer. The weapon's distress was strong enough that Hollu channeled it for several miles (not several days as the traveler claims: He's a bit overdramatic).
The Wine Rescuers
'When those thieves took off running, they left behind two of the barrels of wine they stole from those weird priests. We figured that they wouldn't mind if we sampled one of the barrels, as sort of a reward, you know? We drank a ton of that wine, but it wasn't any good; none of us got drunk at all! So, we decided that we'd report back to the barracks that night, instead of the next day. The cook must a' had it in for us and put something in our chow, though, cause after we ate dinner, we all felt completely sick, like we were drunk. The Sarge really tore into us for getting loaded on duty, which wasn't fair at all! We were all confined to our barracks, so we never did get a chance to do anything with that other barrel of wine.'
This unfortunate soldier encountered a barrel of Time-Wine, brewed by the priests of Mathom when they get around to it.
The Auction Schemer
'It was the craziest thing! Just when the auction was gonna' start, Ol' Bushelguts started waving this receipt in my face and I couldn't say a word for the next couple of hours! He got those pigs for half o' what they were worth!'
This farmer's rival, 'Bushelguts', used a Scroll of Mute to stifle the man's ability to bid effectively just before an auction. The man has since sold the scroll to a prominent dealer in antiquities, as his mother-in-law had figured out what was happening to her voice whenever she came to visit.
'I was at my cousin's place in Marchburg, just visiting, but when I used a simple cleaning spell, everyone in the house had a fit! It wasn't ten minutes later that they hustled me out the back, telling me that Witchhunters were combing the street! I had no idea that they would be so insane about a simple spell like that!'
This merchant-mage was unfamiliar with the Azure District laws current in those cities after the witch scares some years previously. He is also unaware that an Azure Glyph agent is still monitoring him as a suspected witch cultist.
The Young Blowhard
'That punk looked good, with an excellent war harness and a beautiful shield, but his attitude drove us all nuts. You could tell that the Captain was relieved to be rid of him. He was bad luck, too; the whole time we had him on our ship, storms threatened to sink us!'
This obnoxious young man was the bearer of the Crest of the Stormhammer, which tends to inflate its bearer's ego.
The Huge Deadfall
'Jonan don't want trespassers; I mean he REALLY don't want trespassers. He rigged that barn door-sized blade he picked up at the wars to fall in front of his front door, where it almost cut Father Gulhersonn in twain when he came calling! Who ever heerd o' putting a trap on a man's front door?'
The reclusive Jonan isn't setting up a trap over his door, he's just a better soldier than engineer. He probably shouldn't have slammed the door when the good Father took him to task for his frequent petty thieving and he probably shouldn't have tried to hang a giant's War Cleaver over his front door as a trophy of his unit's victories at the wars. (Don't ask him how he got it home unless you have at least two hours to kill.)
The Risque Text
'My brethren, I assure you that we have fairly shared the payment that we were given for the text. It was a fine book of woodcuts that we... acquired, but it was not a spellbook as we were led to believe. It was merely a book of images, depicting women of various lands and in quite imaginative poses, too! Our younger brother, here, didn't even wish to part with it, but I felt that we owed it to you, my brothers, to bring home at least a little coin this evening.'
This thief was taken in by a wizard's Magical Bookmark, which deceived him about the nature of the volume he had found. He is fortunate that he sold the book, because its owner has already begun hunting for it magically.
I fired again. Another black arrow found its target, this time in the creatures throat. Blood spurted as the arrow drove itself through the fat furry neck and into the trunk behind, nailing the beastman to the bark. Both of its arms went to its neck, trying to pull the arrow free. Its body twitched spasmodically, there was a liquid gurgle deep in its throat. A final gush of blood pumped from the neck wound, both arms dropped to its sides, and then the thing became absolutely still. Hard to take down them beastmen.
This archer mercenary has no inkling that The Beastmen of the Six Lands are as intelligent as humans.
(overhead in an inn)
"I heard from a friend higher in the service then me that the new diplomat from Valermoore made a scene in Duke Henry's court and was sent home in disgrace, with a remark that if he were not a diplomat he would be facing hard time in the dungeon. And that is why we are on our way home so early."
The diplomat was clearly given his post because of family connections with the royal family of Valermoore rather then because he was good at his job, as he clearly had no idea of the Court Etiquette: Do's and Don'ts
"The Queen was once such a good ruler, but recently she's become paranoid, ordering people to the dungeon or the block on mere suspicion. I hate having to flee the country, I've served her for years, but I want to live."
Unknown to this old noble, the Queen was given a gift recently, the Queen's Bane
. That is responsible for why she has become such a tyrant.
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? Responses (16)-17
More, more! Why not add one of my submissions? 5/5
Two more unlikely tales, as requested!
*sigh* Another scroll I MUST add too! great idea.
Moon, what do you think? Does this qualify for the Rumor Mill scroll, or does it stand on its own?
I was hoping to make this a scroll of hooks for other, older submissions. The theme was for them to be structured similarly to 'urban legends', generally exaggerated, or just plain inaccurate.
Nicely done, both in concept and in the tales themselves. The Scroll additions fit in as well.
This is an excellent way to repackage a lot of the submissions. Great job!
See Valadar's comment!
I might actually use this to 'pick up' my game in the slow spots.
Reliving fond memories of the first sub I read here...
Now I can BUMP this one with a well deserved HoH!
I want to add some tales to this tonight or tomorrow.
Great scroll, I will try to add more tomorrow.
I want to add more to this soon.
More! More! MWAHAHAHHAAAAAA
Bump. So darn fun to read. A great job with this one Wulf!
Let me throw out an idea. We can disguise the links as spoilers, so strolenites can try to guess which sub each entry refers to, without seeing it immediately, as the hyperbole flows! :)