Bloodstone Skull

I-Frank Day 4
Eaten by a BOX!

Feeling bright and chipper after a night spent outside, with the wind blowing through me, literally through me, another day dawned. Today is the day I will finally be free!

After breaking their fast, a mixture of scrambled eggs and pork sausages, The Firm started rooting around in the temple. Ronut, probably using his many years of experience as a stone expert, found a hidden staircase below one of the altars in the temple, and as usual, with no regard to my feelings I got sent down the stairs.

It’s not so bad really, I get some alone time, and except for the ridiculous zig-zag patterns I’m required to walk each time we get to a new room, I’m left mostly to my own devices. It was Leo who came up with the bright idea that if they made me walk out front, I would trigger any traps or ambushes and leave The Firm clear and safe. Even I had to admit that it was a good idea, sad that I was the one that had to walk out front, but still a good idea.

Slowly descending the stairs, I came upon a dark room filled with strange white cocoons. They were exactly the same as any fly containing spider made cocoon, with one important difference, they were enormous! After some serious deliberation, The Firm had Ronut use his axe to check the contents of one of the cocoons, and as it turned out, one of the newest members of The Firm had some friends tied up in said cocoons.


His name was Lungrin, or something like that, and he was a bit of a weirdo, singing to a rusty sword at night and even using the damn thing as a child might use a teddy come bed time. The idiots who left the party the previous day to go “scouting”, were also tied up in the cocoons. I felt a sense of excitement. Something bad is going to happen to the Bastard. Today is the day.


Moving through the room I noticed nothing special, except for the dank smell and the pools of stagnant water along the edges of the room. I finally took up position close to a door leading out of the room. At this precise moment, I heard a soft clacking sound and as I spun around to identify the source, a giant, and I mean huge spider came rushing out of one of the dark corners of the room. A brief but fierce skirmish later, my master unfortunately surviving yet again, the spider was dispatched and The Firm congratulated themselves on a job well done. The Firm freed the captives, the live ones anyway, and sent them up the stairs to guard the temple and recuperate after what must have been a long and relaxing rest, snugly nestled in soft silk, contouring to their bodies.

Commanded by my master to go through the door, I ended up in a narrow and dismally lit stone tunnel. The walls and ceiling dripped reeking stagnant water and the floor was covered in a dank slimy looking mold. I grit my teeth and started walking along the tunnel, finally reaching a set of stairs descending into the earth. Just as I reached the midway point on the stairs, I was set upon by a horde of what can only be described as seriously irate centipedes.

The Firm quickly backed up and started fighting the little critters with all they had. I must say the experience, right up to the point where Gindalf tried to set me on fire, was quite relaxing. The centipedes moved through me and with hundreds of little feet gently cleansed the rain and dust, which had accumulated due to criminal negligence on my master’s side, from my tired old bones. At one point in the fight, I had to laugh. The little critters were climbing all over Clyde, slowly digesting the bits of him they could reach.

The mighty heroes vanquishing the horde of centipedes took stock and realized that the only permanent damage was the loss of all of the pieces of clothing that I had acquired. My master once again sent down the stairs and along another passage, this one of a better build and much drier than the previous one. Passing a door to my right, I kept going and soon felt the kiss of a large and rusty blade, sliding with whispering death through one of my fore arms. “Brilliant” I thought as with a resigned sigh, I bent to pick up my pot with my remaining limb.

Stuffing my arm into the pot I turned around and went back to give a full report. “Aaaaaaaaoooorgh” I warned The Firm, but true to form, my master dismissed me with a wave of his hand. “No calcium of my bone” I thought.

The next part of the journey is a bit hazy. I attribute it to the fact that thanks to Lungrin the sword singer, my body was ripped asunder and gently chewed on by an enraged luggage. Yup, exactly what I meant enraged luggage. Who would have thought? But I get ahead of myself.

After spending what felt like an age looking at a non-descript stone door, The Firm finally got their collective balls together and opened it. Nothing happened. “It’s a Selune damned door!” I wanted to shout at them, but following past experience, I knew I was spitting into a storm of futility. Nobody ever listened to the guy who walked in front and did all the important scouting work. I mean, what does he know, he’s just a skeleton after all.

A large room greeted us and as I was aimlessly walking in circles on the dusty floor, my master bade me stand by one of the doors leading from the room. I took up position, amusing myself with the thought of some hapless soul ripping the door open and seeing me, it would surprise just about anybody. Pushing past me, Gindalf opened the door and as the door swung wide I was surprised, not by the guy, later established to be bandit seven, standing in front of me, but that the good people who lived in this room did not open the door when we first knocked.

Bandit seven then proceeded to try and stab me. I raised my pot and with a “thunk” squashed his skull back into his bony body. “That will teach you to mess with Frank the barkeep!” I shouted. It came out sounding similar to a cat that just got swallowed by a bird, but the intent was there, and with a shock I realised I could swear at my master and he wouldn’t know what I was saying. This day just kept getting better!

After a brief but intense fight, shortened by my master using his fell magic to good effect, The Firm stood victorious. A score or more of dead bodies, most of them probably good people that were caught in the vengeful backlash of the egomaniac I was serving. We spread out to investigate the surrounding rooms and my master bade me help the weird sword singer, Lungrin. That was fine by me. He was kind of nice, never having said a bad word to me. We proceeded to a small room with a strange wooden chest in it.


Now even I could see it was a bad idea, but the thought that whatever happened would also happen to my master, made it a slightly less moronic idea. I slowly extended my remaining arm to open the chest and just as my fingers touched the wood, it exploded into action. The next thing I knew I was lying around in about a hundred pieces. My skull stuck to the front of the chest, my new and improved wooden body attacked the Firm.

This was it! This was the break I needed to get even with my master. After chewing through and attaching to Lungrin and Clyde, I realised that my master was not around. I tried to storm out into the larger room where I had last seen him, but my new body would not follow my commands! All the fight left me then, a despondency so deep it threatened to drown my soul, sunk over me, and i lapsed into a contemplative silence. The chest, later identified by little Erin as a Mimic, being defeated left me just hanging around, waiting for either oblivion or rescue. Upon the sight of my master coming around the corner, being helped by Gindalf, my heart lifted in joy. Was it my imagination or did he look slightly flatter?

Something bad had happened to him. It hadn’t killed him but it was a start. He walked over to the various parts of me and after some time had me collected into one pile of bones.
He spent the next few hours, and I don’t know if you can appreciate the horror of this without seeing it, boiling some arm stew, and as I was slowly putting myself back together, he threw a couple of pristine new skeletal arms my way.

“Put those on so we don’t have the same problem of you not doing your part like you did in this last fight. And don’t even try and tell me it’s because you had a missing arm” he said to me. Like I could just add a couple of arms to my extremely well proportioned body. But, giving it my best shot, and through the use of some twine and binding wire, I placed the arms on either side of my body. “Great” I thought. Now I have some transplanted from a random other person arms. “Great plan you evil Bastard” I said to my master. I decided to carry a sword and club in addition to the pot I held. Gindalf the magic midget gave me a wondrous sword. One of the most beautiful pieces of metal my eyes had ever beheld. I bowed my head to the little one, and promised a boon, even if my life had to be forfeit to repay the gift that he gave me. One day he would need my help, and on that day Frank the barkeep will deliver such ferocity upon his enemies, they will slink away in fear and go and hide behind their wives skirts. Gindalf had earned my everlasting gratitude, which in my case was eternal.

That was it for that day. It seems even The Firm can have enough of carnage and mayhem. They retreated up the stairs to the temple entrance and set up camp, but I’m too depressed to say where I had to stay the whole night, it was horrible…

~The SwampDonkey

I-Frank Day 3
The love of Alan

Well that was clever. The first thing The Firm decided to do that morning was split the party. I mean, have they never seen a puppet show, or read a pamphlet? Never ever split the party! Ah well, each to his own.

Leo, Clyde and Gindalf left on a scouting mission around the nearby town and I got to stay with my master and the remainder of The Firm. It was an uneventful night, redolent with fireflies, crickets chirping in the bushes and the sound of a small stream close by. At one point during the night, sometime after midnight, as this was the time my master made me pray with him, or at least kneel in supplication, a big dog came striding into camp. This strange animal, showing no fear of The Firm, hopefully not to its demise, was followed by a very round dwarf called Ronut Strongbeard. He was a jovial one, crows feet around the eyes showing that he was a dwarf used to laughter, and a gut of such proportions that he would stand out in a field of boulders as the largest object in girth.


Just before sunrise, The Firm was also attacked by a leopard crawling bandit that was probably just taking a dump in the bushes, minding his own business. My master decided that the bandit’s life should be forfeit and between Ronut, and little Erin, they made quick work of the bandit. It was at this precise moment that the terrible tragedy that was the life and hopes of Alan started.

My master, not content with killing an innocent wood crappper, decided to bring him back to unlife, just to twist the blade in his eye and make his life even more unbearable. He was called Alan. A young but ambitious man, quickly rising in the ranks of a troop of concerned citizens. The group was composed of amateur doctors and very effective bankers. They would first establish the health of a prospective client by poking them with specialized equipment. This was followed by a lifelong saving plan offered by the more senior of the group. It usually turned out well, with the savings lasting well past the demise of the prospective client, proving once and for all that the plan was perfect.

Alan was also a deep man. He had the love of a good man called Bandit three, he enjoyed long walks in the woods, amateur poetry, and staring at sunsets. This was not the best thing for his eyesight, which was probably the reason he decided to relieve himself so close to a group of adventurers, causing his proximity to my master.

Alan and I were instantly the best of friends. Given, I was a tad jealous of the fact that he had meat on him, but beggars can’t be choosers, friends were not exactly an abundant commodity. In quiet moments we started forming a plan. The basics were taking shape. We would follow the master’s orders to a tee, nothing more and nothing less than what he said, his specific words and not the obvious meaning behind them. It was a good plan, it would work!

That was what we thought, until we entered a dilapidated town a short distance from camp. It was not a large town, but it had its fair share of stone buildings, and even a large temple with a spire rising to the heavens. We could not see a soul though, and it was starting to creep me out completely. Doors swinging to and fro in the breeze, no sounds of barking dogs or the play of children, it just felt wrong.

Suddenly, we were ambushed. Alan and I helped The Firm to defeat some very sneaky archers in town. They were nigh on invisible and were positively sprouting from the surrounding roof tops, like so many mushrooms after a few days rain. This is where the first flaw in our plan became apparent, a flaw that would once again leave me in solitude. Our master had not forbidden us from dying again, so we had a choice. We could choose to leave the world forever. This is exactly what Alan did. Who can blame him?

Standing high above the ground on the edge of a tavern roof, he came face to face with his love bandit three. He could not bear the look of revulsion on his lovers face and in a last act of love, he grabbed on to his lover and jumped over the side of the building’s roof, killing them both. It was one of the saddest things I had ever seen. So unnecessary yet the only release Alan could hope for. To this day, I do not blame him, but I resolved myself to the fact that I would forever be alone. Something else my master would pay for. Dearly!

The rest of the battle went as expected, lots of dead people, my master somehow containing himself and not causing more pain by raising the poor good souls that fell that day.


One moment in the skirmish will forever stand out though. The moment when the dwarf Ronut brought down a damn building! He just casually ran up to the building, looked it square in the mortar and shoved it over. It didn’t stand a chance, and neither did the good bandits perching atop it.

The Firm decided to use the old abandoned temple as a camp, and took refuge for the night, my master once again sadistically leaving me outside the door, to act as a door.

~The SwampDonkey

I-Frank Day 2
A queer day!

Leaving me standing outside the Inn the whole night was probably all part of his sadistic plan to make me feel even more dejected. I mean, was that completely necessary? I had no choice though. At least at one point during the night, I saw a very old, and probably very blind dog, have passionate and thrilling sex with the corner of the building opposite. I could not even work out how he managed it, but it looked like something you just have to put on your bucket list.

About an hour after a quite washed out sunrise, my master and the other nice people I met last night came out of the inn. With a curt gesture, my master not explaining anything to me, we set out from town on the main road. They were an upbeat group. Full of vigor and laughter, probably excited about the adventure ahead. I had no idea where we were going or what the purpose of our journey was, but I decided to make the best of it and try and get at least a modicum of satisfaction from my miserable unlife.

While on the road, some of the group even tried to talk to me, but the best I could do was a non-committal grunt, which in my view, did not violate any of the prescripts set by my master. We reached a point in the road where we could see a small, palisaded fort in the distance. The group, having had a quick discussion about the matter decided to send an envoy out to the fort. My master bade me wait and headed out to the fort accompanied by the half-ling Gindalf. “Probably going to sell him to some slavers, or have him cooked” I thought. Poor little one. Hopefully he managed to escape whatever nefarious plan my master had in mind for him.

From the distance i could see my master striking up a conversation with some of the armoured men in front of the entrance gate of the fort. I could not make out what they were saying, but to my absolute delight, a couple of the nice people grabbed the Bastard and frog marched him into the fort. “Brilliant!” I thought. Now back to rest. I don’t know exactly what happened inside the fort, but Gindalf told the group some it at camp later that day and it seemed that my master had a run in with one of the guard commanders. From Gindalf’s description, it was an extremely stupid thing to do, but that is one thing my master cannot be blamed for, having anything approaching a spark of intelligence. Apparently he made eyes at one of the guards, followed by grabbing his behind and blowing a kiss to the commander. Needless to say, Gindalf did some quick talking and managed to stop the guard commander from removing my masters head.


Back to the story though. A short time later my master came strolling out of the fort, walking like a beaten dog, tail between the legs. Gindalf was berating my master all the way back to the group, with gestures and loud words emphasizing how stupid a thing he thought my master did. If I had a heart, and lips, I would be laughing my backside off, if I had one of those of course.

After a short discussion by the group, and due to my master doing what he does best, the group, having decided to call themselves “The Firm”, moved on to a much less pleasant path, going through a dank and dark tunnel in some hills nearby. It took us a while to reach the foothills and an even longer while to find the cavern entrance that little Erin described. The cave did not look completely wholesome, and an evil smell wafted from the opening, as if something large and feral had made the cave its lair. Entering the cave, we set out to discover the route through to our eventual destination, wherever that may be.


It was exciting to say the least!

As soon as the light from the cave entrance faded, we were set upon by some unsavory types. You know the type, unwashed, unshaven, and completely bedecked with sharp and rusty implements of war. It was a quick and messy fight, with the members of The Firm, having to find their feet in fighting as a group. Some blows were accidentally landed on Firm members, a couple of spells came close to singing the hair off of a couple of the more melee types of The Firm, including me. We were set upon a couple of times more while traversing the cavern, The Firm settling down to a rhythm of fighting which suited all of their individual fighting styles. Communication improved as well, making the friendly fire aspect of their fighting style less of a health risk.

I was even starting to enjoy myself for a bit. It was great! The best part of that cavern was that during one of the skirmishes, I made my first real friend since i was returned to the Realm. My master called him Robert, and after a brief but very meaningful conversation between Robert and me, I gave him all the info he needed to start life as a slave to the Bastard. Robert immediately agreed that we would have to do something about our master, get rid of him in some way, we would just have to wait for the right moment. We decided right there in the cave, that we would start hatching our plan that evening as The Firm settled down for the night.


I also got given a golden pot to carry around. It is a marvellous pot. It has writing on it and everything. What I would later realise as my new goal in unlife, I started my collection of Orcus artefacts. Just the mask for now, but later additions would bring the set to a whole, and hopefully give me the power to destroy my master. I could feel in my bones that these items have a purpose, something larger than any of us, and I was determined to find said purpose.


Unfortunately, and not at all surprisingly, my master thought it a swell idea to get rid of Robert. Following true sadistic psycho tendencies, he defaced and desecrated poor Robert and sent him to an almost certain death. He had scratched the symbol of his god, Velashroon, into the chest, face and palms of poor Robert and sent him on a never ending quest to preach to the masses of Velashroon’s greatness. Robert and I shared a long understanding look before he left, one impression clear. The Bastard will pay for this one day. He even takes the little solace I find in companionship away from me. He leaves me nothing but a growing hunger for revenge.

“An eventful first day as an adventurer” I thought, filled with happiness, sadness and excitement, but all in all a good start to my unlife. The Firm made camp and once again, forgotten and alone, my master left me standing in a thorn bush. Not that it hurt me physically, but emotionally, I can’t even think about it, it hurts too much.

~The SwampDonkey

I-Frank Day 1
The Beginning


My story begins in one of the most depressing places known to man. Stones standing lopsided, families forgetting to check in on loved ones, bird shit all over the place, a graveyard in Gunthar, the capital of Gaal. My wife could not even splurge and get me a nice “new” grave close to the middle class people, no, for me a grave in the old section. This section was well known for the lack of up-keep and the use of the stones by the more absurd and deranged type of teenager, you know the ones i mean.

So there I was. Just lying around, quietly decomposing on my own. Finally free of that nag! Damn woman. “Don’t leave the dishes by the fireplace! Don’t pick your nose in public! Don’t forget to go to work you lazy bastard!”. “Oh well” I thought. at least i knew she couldn’t do anything worse to me, not anymore.


Ah, the good old days. At last, peace and quiet, finally an end to it all. I was hoping to be fetched by some buxom wench to go to the afterlife, but alas, no such luck. Well, I’m going to make the best of it and just be myself, except for the extra life in me of course. At first the little wriggling things made me feel a bit uncomfortable, but since they’ve finished whatever they were supposed to do and moved on to the poor decapitated bastard next to me, I’m quite content.

Having no brain to speak of, I think there might be a bit left just behind my left eye socket, my thoughts turn to an eternity of just doing one of my favorite things. Lying around and doing as little as possible. The only drawback to my current situation is the lack of a digestive system, which really makes ale a less than useful item. It is the one thing that I will miss for eternity, strong dark, light golden, even the clear filtered, they all held a special place in my life. But anyway, back to the story at hand.

Lying there, enjoying the peace and quiet, I suddenly felt strange. Something akin to the first time you realise that you are alive, a separate person from everyone else. Now don’t get me wrong, the feeling wasn’t a bad one, just unexpected.

Bright reddish green light flooded my senses. Once again, don’t ask, I have no idea. I could see someone peering down at me. It was one of the most revolting sights I have ever seen! One eye crooked, nostrils uneven, teeth that you could use to grate firewood, was the most hideous face I have ever seen.


It did have a strange silver sheen to it. Something about the cheek bones looked familiar. With a shock I realised that I was looking at what used to be me. It all made sense now! That’s why that old hag kept saying that I’m no oil painting. I gave a small surprised shout, but the only sound issuing from me was some horrendously boring groan. Something you only hear at sunrise when the regulars started waking up and realising that they indeed did survive the night in a bar. Well sometimes they didn’t, but the town constables understood that sometimes ale makes a man a bit more violent than normal, and accidents can happen, such as a sharp heavy axe to the face, completely in the realm of possibility.

The sound surprised me so much I yelped, again producing a sub-par exclamation. I would have to work on my conversational skills. Or at least learn to make better groans. maybe it was like a small child that had to learn to speak before it could be understood. It was strange though, I could understand spoken words, could even think them, but I guess the lack of vocal cords might have changed my voice somewhat. The silver object moved from my field of view. I assume the bastard I could now see holding it, only held it there as I woke to make me feel inferior. Maybe he was some kind of sadistic psycho. He looked the part. Dressed like a dandy, long white hair, and what I could now see as a wide smile. He looked down at me and spoke in flowing, strangely accented common.


“I think you look like a Frank. I’ll call you Frank. Now get up!”

With the full intention of doing absolutely nothing this weirdo wanted, I felt myself begin to rise. Not like the slow foam you get on the perfect pour of ale, more like the awkward jump you execute when you realise you are about a second away from browning your pants.

“Well that was strange” I thought. What I tried to say, while looking the dandy straight in the eyes, composing my face into what i thought would be a fierce and dangerous look, was “That is the last time you order me around you sack of troll dung!”, but alas, what came out was more of a “Aaaaaoooorgh”.

Damn this was irritating! I tried to lay down again, meaning to go back to thinking and doing nothing, but the damn idiot was slowly circling me, like the flies you get around a rubbish heap. All excited, his whole body an animation of awkward grace, and talking so fast an auctioneer would not be able to follow what he was saying, he stopped in front of me and looked straight at me. He finally said in a half intelligible grunt “Put this on and follow”.

I slowly looked down at his hands and saw a collection of clothes. I tried resisting, but to no avail. I slipped the clothes on, marveling at the fact that I now wore clothes about twenty times smaller than what I wore in life. “Hah” I thought, “look at me now you hag”. After dressing I looked down at myself, not the best disguise in the world but to the casual glance of passers by, i should look like a normal run of the mill citizen. Purely out of curiosity, and the possibility that this was my afterlife, although a strange one, I followed the cretin.


A short time later the fool started giving instructions. “You will follow my commands without fail. You will execute any command given immediately. You will not talk to others unless I give permission.” Not bloody likely! But the thought slowly dawned on me that this man was my master. Not in the usual apprentice master way, more in the “you’re my wench, now get down and scrub the floor before i put my boot up your arse!” way.

After walking what seemed at least half a year, my sense of time is strangely absent, we met up with a group of quite pleasant people. They all greeted me warmly, shaking my hand while introducing themselves, they made me feel like I was a cog in a well-oiled machine.

There was an average looking in every way possible man, who introduced himself as Leo. He was clearly the mind behind this little gathering and for all the average looking he did, when i looked into his eyes there was a clear firestorm of ambition. Next came a short little man, half-ling I thought, introducing himself as Gindalf. “A strange one this” I thought. Something about him seemed bigger than what my eyes could see. A strapping huge man, dressed in the most utilitarian metal was next, looking me straight in the eye, and with a knowing smirk introducing himself as simply Clyde. I could feel fell power radiating out of him in great torrents, this one I had to watch. The last member of the group, besides my master, was a tiny little girl. She had striking sky blue eyes and not shaking my hand like the rest of the group, she nodded her head to me in greeting and faded to a position at the back of the group. Her eyes never stopped roving, constantly checking dark corners and furtively jumping to the nearby roof tops, “looking for danger” I thought. Shame that one so young and innocent should have such a paranoid outlook on life. Her story must be awful.

Before I could introduce myself, my master introduced me as Frank. That pissed me off. Was I not a man capable of introducing myself? Did these fine people not just make me feel welcome and afford me the opportunity to introduce myself? I was on the point of correcting the situation when I realised that I could not summon the will to even “Aaaaaaoooorgh” at them.

The group retired into a nearby inn for the night, and as I was about to follow, my master turned to me and bade me stand outside and wait. Of course I had to do as I was told, I had no choice in the matter.

That moment is probably where my absolute hatred of my master stems from. He took it all. Not just my peace and quiet, but my ability to make friends and influence people.

~The SwampDonkey


So I decided to make a mental journal of my miserable unlife so to speak. Hopefully at least one of the gods takes pity on me and puts an end to my misery. The only thing that brings me happiness anymore is the suffering and pain that the fool who calls himself my master has to go through every day. Idiot!

But I get ahead of myself. Working from a very limited store of memories, slowly rotting away inside my empty skull, don’t ask, I have no idea how that works, let me tell the lamentable tale of a once loving husband, an excellent barkeep, and a common man, with a knowledge about ales that could rival the Gods!


~The SwampDonkey

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