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.