Eldon was sitting silently at his chosen desk as he was grading papers that he had assigned to his freshman students. In order to help them choose a path of specialization, he had assigned them to research all of the schools of spell casting and choose one they thought they would be particularly interested in. While they weren’t yet required to choose a focus, they needed to write a paper as if they had and give a thorough explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of their school. While Eldon had specialized in Transmutation, he did enjoy reading his students thoughts on each of the other schools and why they wanted to focus there, well at least for the first five papers he read. Then it just became a tedious chore for him to get through. Since he was currently at 23 of 37, he was nearly in a trance.
“BAM!” The sound of the door crashing against the wall as it was thrown open caused Eldon to physically leave his chair. He spun, magic beginning to flow through his body, as he instinctively imagined that an ogre had just entered into the room. Instead it was Orren.
“What is this ‘special assignment with Dr. Eldon Woschren’ that I have been giving as my battle experience assignment?” Orren snarled at his father. You could almost see the anger radiating off of him as he talked.
It took a moment for Eldon to actually recall what he was talking about, but then he said, “Yes, that. There was an extremely important text stolen from the library and I had volunteered to get it back for the school. I had requested a martial student to accompany me in this venture since I knew the battle experiences were going to be assigned soon. While, I hadn’t requested you specifically, I am extremely happy that they have assigned me such a capable student.”
Eldon had practiced this line multiple times in his head after submitting the request. He didn’t want his son to think he didn’t trust him to be safe going off on some crazy adventure on his own; however, that was pretty much exactly what he thought. Orren had told Eldon about the upcoming assignments a month ago and Eldon immediately tried to find a way to be able to go along with him just in case. It had perhaps been serendipity, but the prior week, some kobolds had attacked a small group of wizardry students.
While he hadn’t been there, the story of what happened had spread rather quickly. The students had been walking to visit another academy to participate on a conference. They were walking along a well travelled road and had assumed that there wouldn’t be any difficulty with the trip.
However, during the late afternoon, they came up around a bend one in front of the other and two kobolds were waiting ahead of them with bows drawn. The shots came before they had time to react and the front student got hit in the arm and in the knee.
The second student tried to react and cast a spell; however, the spell dissipated as another kobold had come out from the bushes along the side of the road and bashed him in the face with a club. The first student had composed himself just enough to try to cast a spell, but the anxiety of being in his first battle caused him to fail the evocation. They both were nearly helpless as two more kobolds came out of the bushes.
At this point of despair, the second student stood dumbfounded, when there was a whoosh quickly followed by a thump. He looked down to realize an arrow had just flown between his arm and his chest directly into the chest of the kobold that hit him with the club. It was a perfect shot and the kobold nearly immediately fell over dead.
As this happened, the other kobolds panicked. They grabbed the bags the students had dropped on the ground and ran away happy with the spoils they were able to acquire.
When he finally realized what had happened the second student looked back and saw an elf almost 100 yards away. It turns out the ranger had been hunting nearby when he heard the commotion. He had responded immediately, and noticing the dire situation decided to shoot right away instead of approaching for a better shot.
The students were too shaken to think of pursuing the kobolds, and the ranger was just worried about the health of the students. He came up to them and applied some first aid magic to the wounds to keep them from bleeding out. Despite the injuries to the students, they were able to make it back to the academy.
When they got there, the students were brought to the healing room of the academies church. The clerics got to work on them immediately. Had they gone to most any other hospital, there adventuring days would likely be over because of the wounds. Luckily they instead had made it to the academic healing center where some of the best healers worked.
The clerics operated and were able to repair the wounds with almost no lingering effects. The first student would have a bit of a limp and the second was left with a distorted nose, but it’s not like either was nimble or good looking before the endeavor.
After the ordeal, the school had payed the ranger for his time, help and resources. While they were doing so, the archery instructor, who had heard about the shot, decided to ask him about it. He had told the instructor that while he was good with a bow, he must have rolled a natural 20 on that shot. He had been aiming at the small window, but had thought it more likely he’d shoot through the student and hit the kobold, potentially injuring or killing the student. However, if hadn’t made the shot, he believed both students would have died.
While the story had spread quickly it wasn’t all that uncommon for similar things to occur. It was mostly that the students had gotten through the encounter in spite of their incompetency that caught everyone’s attention. In fact, the payment made to the ranger had come out of a fund set up with students tuition for just such occasions.
The school had then put out a notice that they would offer time off of teaching if someone would volunteer to recover the book. The text was in fact on a subject that at one point had shown promise, but had been abandoned due to leading to a dead end. Because of this Eldon had no real interest in volunteering when he initially heard about it.
After his son had talked to him, however, Eldon was happy to have the opportunity to use the book as an excuse to go on a quest, and to request the help of a student. Eldon quickly contacted the administration and volunteered to recover the text provided that his son could join him as his battle experience. There had been no other volunteers, so they agreed and arrangements had been made.
“Well then, I suppose if we are returning lost property, at least it will be a worthwhile venture.” Orren said, taking his father at his word. Eldon wasn’t particularly skilled at lying, not that he was opposed to the idea, he just wasn’t inclined to do so often. Orren on the other hand had, despite his parents’ influence, had always been an honest gnome. While he wasn’t stupid, he also wasn’t that intelligent either, so the lie had held up as Eldon had thought it would.
“Great. I suppose I’ll postpone grading these papers until we get back then, so that I can begin to get packed and ready for the trip.”
“I know full well you are only postponing the grading because you are bored of grading,” Orren said to his father, this time catching him in his lie, “but I would indeed like to get everything together for the trip, when do you plan on leaving?”
“We’ll leave in the morning. While I didn’t know you’d be coming along, I have already told your mother of the trip. She will be unable to come due to her teaching load, but she did make some healing potions in case we run into difficulty.”
“Good, will you be asking Orla to join us?” Orren asked of his father.
“She’s been skulking around in the office ‘reorganizing’ my books for at least the past half hour, so I’m sure she’s heard every word we’ve said. She can make up her own mind and let us know.” At this, Orla, walked from behind a bookshelf and startled Orren.
“I hadn’t realized you’d seen me father.” Orla told him with a mixture of disappointment and pride, as both Orren and Eldon turned to face her. She had in fact been there for 45 minutes as far as Eldon knew, but he wasn’t exactly sure when she came in, so he let her have her moment. “But, yes, I will suppose I should come along to make sure the two of you don’t blunder into something blindly.”
“You had better put those books back you little sneak,” Orren said to his sister. She looked at him and with a great sincerity said, “They are already back in place, I was just having fun.” Of course this was not the case. Unlike Eldon, Orla seemed to truly enjoy confusing people and causing chaos where ever she went. This infuriated her brother, but the two still managed to get along fine. Mostly because, he scolded her, she apologized and said she had returned whatever she had taken and he believed her lies, so they both ended up happy. While Eldon often found himself in the middle knowing the truth of the matter, he little cared either way what happened as long as the two got along.
“Off you both go then, it will be a two day walk to the kobolds’ lair, so prepare provisions for a week long trip in case we get sidetracked at all. These things rarely turn out as planned.” Eldon shuffled them out the door. As they left, he placed the papers back in his desk, happy that he wouldn’t have to deal with them for another week. However, he became increasingly anxious about the prospect of both his children finding themselves in harms way. He was just happy he would be there to help keep them safe.
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The rest of the story can be found here.