With a simple spell, Garthort froze the figure. He was researching in his library when he spotted a shadow lurking behind him. Gripping his silver chased, mahogany staff, which matched his argent robes with ebony embroidery (he wasn’t going to get caught undressed again), he conjured a light to this intruder more clearly.
She appeared to be an Elf, no… Half-Elf, and was garbed in elaborated worked, leather armor with a lot of daggers hanging from her belt, stuffed into her boots, up sleeves, in twin bandoleers. This Half-Elf was absolutely dripping with daggers.
“Well,” thought Garthort, “she won’t be getting to use these today.”
He adjusted the spell slightly and allowed her to talk.
“What do we have here? A bold burglar?”
“I prefer to be called a treasure recovery expert,” replied the Half-Elf.
“You have a high opinion of yourself,” Garthort countered. He had always wanted to be a banter guy but rarely had the opportunity to do it.
“I got in, didn’t I?”
“True, but you were caught so very easily.”
“Was I?” she smirked.
“You are held by my eldritch power.”
The wizard grinned, this was the sort of back and forth that he practiced in his mirror.
“Do you really think I will release you?” he asked.
“This is just a temporary setback.”
“May I ask you something?”
“What did you hope to accomplish, sneaking into my arcane tower?”
“Here’s the thing, I’ve already succeeded.”
“You haven’t stolen anything,” Garthort pointed out.
“Oh, I’m not here to steal anything.”
“So why are you here?”
She smiled. It was the sort of smile that lights up a room, filled with the sheer joy of living. Garthort was utterly charmed. How could anyone not be?
“Here’s the thing. I’m the distraction.”
A mighty crack was heard as a large steel hammer smashed the tile-work floor right next to the wizard. Quickly moving away, honestly more a frightened leap, Garthort saw a seven-foot Dragon-Man, lifting up his blunt, blood-stained weapon for another attack.
“What the hell V’Nok?” yelled the Half-Elf, “How could you miss?”
“He leap, like bunny rabbit,” said the Dragon-Man.
“Just get him!” shouted the Half-Elf, with a distinct lack of banter.
V’Nok began to swing down at Garthort who cast a repelling spell, sending the monstrous warrior backward. The wizard then acted purely on instinct. He ran away.
There were many secret passageways in his tower. One, because of just such a situation, and two, because he thought they were cool. In the next room, there was an illusionary bookshelf that lead to a staircase.
Quickly hiding behind a statue of an erotic Cyclops, (which upon viewing now was highly inappropriate), he really wished he still had his Goblin guards. If they were here, they would be in danger instead of him.
Taking a deep breath, he weaved through the stacks and three daggers flew through his robes. He was untouched but the robes were clearly ruined. In his distraction, he must have let the spell on that Half-Elf drop. He could hear the footsteps of other, unwelcome guests echoing around him. Even in this moment of peril, he had to admire the acoustics of his tower.
Peeking around a book carousel, he saw a Dwarven holy warrior with a glowing battleaxe and a human spell-caster, who was juggling apple-sized balls of fire, standing in front of the illusionary bookshelf. Garthort grimaced, fire in a library was a big no-no. Additionally, a lot of these tomes were rare and very expensive.
With a short series of gestures and a quiet incantation, he created an illusion of himself running off away from the room. It was honestly not some of his best work, his nose was off and his hair wasn’t wavy enough but it did get those two adventurers to chase it.
He slipped through the phantom bookshelf and into the secret passageway. Where should go? Garthort was regretting not setting up a teleportation circle but he wasn’t fond of pop-ins. One of his old magic school pals, Flick’nGer had one guaranteeing that other wizards would always showing up unannounced and wanting a favor.
He needed to get to his scrying pool, see how many adventurers were traipsing around the place. Making a mess, he was sure. They never wiped their boots.
Climbing up the narrow stairway, Garthort arrived at the door to the scrying room and looked through the peephole. There were peepholes all over the tower which was said he did for reasons of safety.
His scrying room was centered around a large pool and decorated with elaborate tile work in arcane patterns. Truthfully, the patterns we not necessary for scrying but Garthort felt it gave the room an ambiance. This ambiance was currently being undermined by a Halfling in chainmail bathing her feet in the anointed waters.
“Funny thing,” said the Halfling.
“What?” replied her companion, a massive bald human whose body was covered in intricate, faintly glowing tattoos.
“You’d think if you were a wizard, you’d have a heated bathtub.”
“Maybe he just heats it up when he’s going take a bath?”
“I guess. But why leave it full? Why not just use magic to fill it with hot clean water?”
The be-tattooed figure leaned in and sniffed the water.
“It smells like… What’s that thing when you take old dead flowers and put them in a bowl?”
“Potpourri. My gran loves that,” supplied the Halfling.
“Right! Mine too. So why are you soaking your feet in potpourri water?”
“This place is half stairs. Just wanted a bit of self-care.”
Garthort watched all this with outrage. The proper ingredients for a first-rate scrying pool were difficult to get right. Now it was polluted with Halfing foot dirt. Enough was enough. He kicked the secret door open and hurled a bolt of lighting at the pool, shocking the Halfling.
“Ah HAH!” Garthort cried. Not a great battle cry but he was improvising.
The be-tattooed man moved rapidly and pulled his friend out of the now smoking water. Then, with a fluid motion took a fighting stance.
“Give up now and I won’t hurt you,” he promised.
“Never!” shouted Garthort, who was feeling as though his day was about to go more his way. Testing that theory, he summoned three arrows of flame and flung them at his foe.
However, instead of impaling him and setting him on fire, he stepped between them as if they were inconveniently placed furniture. Garthort was both impressed and horrified. Then with a rapid sequence of hand gestures, the man created a large, ghostly hand that pinned the wizard against the wall.
Just then, the Halfling came to and pulled a silver whistle out and blew it. Its sound was high, pure, and loud as a tavern on a Saturday night. Pounding footsteps were heard getting closer.
Getting to her feet, the Halfling walked up to Garthort and kicked him in the shin.
“OWW! I thought you said you wouldn’t hurt me?” whinged the Wizard.
“I didn’t,” said the man, “but you tried to electrocute my friend here so you get why she’s inclined to towards some payback.”
She then kicked his other shin.
“What the hell!”
“If this is the worse thing that happens to you today, count yourself lucky.”
Garthort could tell that all the other intruding adventurers would be here in moments, great acoustics had their uses. So he made a risky move. Uttering an incantation, he transformed. Into a housefly. Zipping free, his now multifaceted eyes saw a gaggle of heavily armed adventures burst into the room.
“He magicked himself into a fly!” shouted the Halfling.
While he was quite outnumbered, Fly-Garthort was nimble and easily avoided all attempts to capture him. Of course, there were two downsides to this spell. One, he could not use magic as a fly, other than changing back. Two, he was as fragile as a fly, one solid whack and so long.
So, with a dizzying flight path, he escaped the room and soared into the main stairwell. Fly Garthort saw that his precious tower was overrun with adventures of every possible combination. They were also tearing the place apart trying to find him. Resting in the carved nostril of a gargoyle, he pondered his next move and fought the panic attack he was having about all the damage that was being done to his home.
Out of the corners of his eyes, he saw an Elf dressed in a vest with a plethora of pockets put on a set of goggles with bright blue lenses. This Elf then adjusted them and looked straight at where Fly-Garthort was. Time to fly.
As he took off, he discovered that he was not flying forward as being drawn backward. It was too strong to resist and Fly-Garthort found himself imprisoned in a most undignified cell, a glass jar. The googled Elf screwed on a mesh cap and blew his own silver whistle three times.
The rest of the adventurers surrounded him and after the Elf assured them that this was indeed Garthort, the googles were passed around proving that, a cheer arose from the group.
“We got him now!”
“They ought to call him Garthort Fly-Heart!” suggested a Dwarf with a multicolored mohawk.
This set off a rousing chant of Fly-Heart, Fly-Heart, Fly-Heart! That nickname was going to stick. Once they quieted down, the Elf who had captured him held the jar up to his face and spoke.
“Garthort Fly-Heart, there are some that would have words with you. Behave and it will go the better for you.”
Lacking speech, he nodded. Immediately, the invading adventurers filed out towards the door, laden with a large number of Garthort’s valuables. This day was just getting worse for him.
The Half-Elf rogue who he ‘caught’ before was chatting to her Dragon-Man partner, V’Nok.
“Honestly,” she said, “I was sure he’d just teleport as soon as he saw what was happening.”
If anyone understood the language of houseflies, Garthort’s response was an equal mix of anger and self-pity. No one did.