A Rogue of Honor

A Rogue of Honor

Several days had passed since the two adventurers first arrived at Temple of Cazic-Thule, and Roxsta was now getting worried.  At first, he feebly tried to talk with the Lizardmen in their own tongue, in an attempt to seek an audience before the so-called God of Fear.  However they realized how futile their efforts were to reason with lizard zealots and fanatics, especially once they actually witnessed the bloodshot frenzied expression while fighting face to face.

"Avatarrr....  Fearrr... Sssssss....", was the only thing they could make out, as the Lizardmen hissed their dying words.  It wasn't much to go on, but Kristock was determined to press on, to reach his target - and they were almost there.  However he could tell his barbarian friend Roxsta was getting weary, and they decided to stop right at the entrance ramp before facing a turning point in their destiny.

"I still think this is a bad idea", Roxsta said while chomping on a freshly baked vegetable pie, "Even if we find this Avatar or high priest of Cazic-Thule, what are we going to do? How will we explain? Do you really think the Avatar is going to listen?" Kristock stopped sharpening his sword for a brief moment, and responded, "Then we shall let me blade do tha negotiatin', eh lad?" the dwarven warrior roared, laughing heartily. Roxsta was not fully convinced, and secretly he was already working on another plan - he had been pilfering the coin-purses of all the lizards he came across, and amassed more than enough wealth for both of them to live comfortably in the remote lands of Kunark, far away from the bounties placed on their heads by the followers of Cazic.

Roxsta first met Kristock in Tiger's Roar Inn in treacherous Highpass Hold, where the two of them were swapping tall tales of all the orc and gnoll scalps they had just collected.  Perhaps feeling a bit too tipsy and boisterous, Roxsta accidently bumped his pint of ale, spilling it on the troll warrior sitting next to him. The troll growled as he stood up angrily, dwarfing the barbarian with his menacing shadow.  "Why yuz stealin' my coin, rogue?", he falsely accused, as Roxsta unsuccessfully tried to evade a few blows from the troll.  Roxsta will never forget what happened next - Kristock, standing tippy-toe on his barstool, tapped the troll's shoulder and exclaimed, "Why don't you pick on somebody type own size, troll?", grinning while planting a solid uppercut on his jaw.  They broke a few ribs and lost a few teeth that day, but from that day forward they formed one of Norrath's most fearsome bounty hunting duos.

But it was Kristock's headstrong nature, coupled with his willingness to stick his neck out for just about anybody in trouble, that got them into this mess.  A few weeks ago, they accepted a job from a high elf cleric to retrieve a "stolen family heirloom".  Roxsta should've trusted his gut, instead of falling for the "damsel in distress" routine as Kristock was apt to do.  Something seemed off about this cleric, whose words seemed almost too well-rehearsed - but Kristock took the bait before he had a chance to object.  They were easily able to retrieve the "stolen" relic from a traveling group of Iksar monks, only to realize they had handed it to an enchantress who planned to sell it for her own profit.  And now they were stuck with this bounty on their heads and empty-handed - with the Cazic followers closing in not only on them, but also their family and loved ones who reported strange and suspicious sightings.

They were too far in now to retreat, and Roxsta was desperate.  He took his bag of collected gold, dumped it out on the floor and and spread it out for Kristock to see - it would've been enough coin for any normal Dwarf to be blinded and start drooling.  "It's not too late Kristock - I've saved up enough for us to bring us and our families on a boat to Firiona Vie far away from here.  We can start a new life, away from all this."

"Laddie, thar be some things money can'no' buy", Kristock replied, "Our names for instance, or our families roots and traditions.  What would ye do? Shave yer beard, change yer voice, wear a robe? We hafta face this one head on.  This is what they be wantin' - us to run wit' our tails beneath us.  If we show tha' Avatar we have'na fear, he will have'na choice but ta back down."  Deep down, Roxsta knew his friend was right - it was no life to be living on the run, looking over your shoulder every time something unfamiliar happened - and at least they had each other here, along with a friendly halfing druid that decided to help out.  "Well, I am right behind you, my good friend", Roxsta replied, with a new determined voice.

He finally understand what his friend meant, as the pair uttered their battle cry in unison while rushing down the ramp, watching out for one another  - there were indeed some things in life that money could never buy.