Back at the inn, the party rested and prepared to make another descent to the second level of the dungeon to attempt to find another of the time lords. Ruby was busy studying and memorizing her spells, while Twiggy had finally successfully worked out her Fireball spell and was yearning to test it out and prove that her power had increased significantly and therefore also her value to the party. Her eyes peered over across the room where the brute Crumm was seated at a table chowing down a plate full of mutton, while Iscreem paced the floor, clutching his sword in his hand and ancy to return to the bloodshed of slaughtering monsters. Twiggy thought it would be fun to send a small ball of flames towards Iscreem but didn’t want to risk setting ablaze the nice fancy lodge they had paid so much to stay at so she decided to save her magic for some wretched monster fiend instead. Elvira practiced her knife throwing skills repeatedly whizzing her knives through the air onto a target board which hung on the eastern wall. Greenhat was busy applying a bandage onto Sammy’s wound.
Iscreem could wait no longer. “What is taking Haggrinna so long? I wants to get going now!” he grumbled.
Crumm was unfazed and continued stuffing his face with food.
Ruby looked up from her spellbook for a moment to glance at the impatient kobold warrior, who was now poking and jabbing his sword into a padded chair and proceeding to pull out the chairs fluffy innards piece by piece.
The room’s old wooden door swung open and in came Haggrinna, looking a bit weary eyed. She took a seat at the table and cleared her throat and began to speak. “By now you are all probably ready to take on another time lord, however I won’t be accompanying you any further in your quest. I have decided to retire from adventuring, but I wish you all the best in fighting the good fight against the evil time lords.”
“WHAT!?” Iscreem screamed.
Twiggy and Ruby glanced at each other with a worried look on their faces.
Crumm nearly choked on his mutton. “You can’t leave. Not now. We’ve only just begun and we need your sword-arm.”
Haggrinna replied. “Now now, you will all be fine. Pull yourselves together and work as a team. I’m getting too old for this sort of thing, and I have other matters that I need to attend to. A friend of mine will accompany you throughout the remainder of your quest. His name is Gnarshm and he is waiting outside in the lobby. I think he will fit in nicely with you all.”
Haggrinna hugged each of the party and bid everyone farewell. The aged warrior left the inn closing the wooden door behind her. An awkward silence permeated the room.
Greenhat pierced the silence. “Well I think it’s time that we go meet this Gnarshm fellow.”
Iscreem agreed. “Yeah let’s get going!”
The party gathered their belongings and made their way from their accommodating room to the main lobby, which appeared to be deserted.
Crumm looked around. “Um. Where is he?”
Iscreem swung his sword around in the air. “I bet this Gnarshm guy is a great swordsman like Haggrinna was.”
“No way. The real power is in magic. I bet Gnarshm can cast the most powerful spells.” Twiggy retorted.
Greenhat chimed in, “You wouldn’t get too far in the dungeons without having someone that can tend to wounds and repel the undead. I bet this Gnarshm fellow can do all of that.”
Sammy pointed to a slim figure that appeared across the room.
As the figure drew near, he stepped forward into the center of the room revealing himself to be a meekly looking Gnoll holding a book and a flimsy shield with a club that looked more like part of a broken tree branch attached to his belt. His crackly voice let out a few words. “Hello, I’m Gnarshm. You must be the party that Haggrinna told me about. This will be fun. OK, I’m ready to go now.” Gnarshm put his book in a bag and slung it over his back. He proceeded to take his club and swing it about in the air clumsily.
Iscreem gave Crumm an awkward glance and the rest of the group didn’t quite know what to say about Haggrinna’s friend.
Iscreem interrupted Gnarshm to ask whether he’d seen any real battle and whether he had skills in armed combat.
Gnarshm hesitated for a moment then said “Er. well no, not really. But I brought along my trusty club and shield and I’ll whack those monsters back. Take that! you evil time lord!” Gnarshm swung his club in the air at an imaginary foe.
Iscreem looked a bit dismayed and slightly puzzled.
Twiggy approached Gnarshm. “I saw you had a book with you. I bet you have lots of magic spells in your book don’t you? Can you cast Fireball or Lightning Bolt?
“No. None of those.” Gnarshm muttered.
Twiggy again tried. “How about Magic Missile. You must know at least Magic Missile, right?”
“No. I don’t know about any magic missiles.” Gnarshm replied.
Greenhat interrupted. “Well maybe his book has healing spells and herbal remedies or maybe he knows spells that can banish the undead. Do you know about such things?”
Again Gnarshm responded. “No. I don’t know anything about healing spells or banishing the undead.”
Elvira made an attempt. “Gnarshm, do you know about finding and disarming traps and lurking in the shadows only to spring into an enemy at the last moment and backstab!”
Gnarshm stopped swinging his club and hooked it back onto his belt. “Er. No. I guess I don’t know any of that.”
Iscreem’s patience was growing thin. “Well what do you know then? We’re wasting time.”
Gnarshm paused and thought for a moment. “Well I really don’t know all that much about hand to hand combat or magic, or anything about disarming traps. I’m just a peasant. I can read and I like to draw, and I promise not to get in the way and I’ll be as useful as I can in any way possible.”
Iscreem’s face was red with frustration. “Useful!? Is this some kind of joke? What was Haggrinna thinking! I can’t believe this! This, this, this, this is preposterous!”
“Hush you!” Ruby shouted, clearly agitated by Iscreem. “Gnarshm, you said you like to draw. Does your book contain your drawings? Can I see your book?
Gnarshm pulled out his book and opened it for Ruby to see. “I like to draw maps of places that I visit. Do you like them?”
Iscreem grabbed at the book. “Let me see that!” Iscreem’s eyes widened and he paused for a moment. “Hey this is a map of the dungeon! You drew this? This IS useful.”
The party all gathered around Gnarshm and his book of cartography. Everyone was impressed.
Ruby commented. “Well I think it is settled then. Gnarshm’s place in our party will be that of our resident map maker.