D&D slash

It was a bizarre mix of new and familiar. Kob had never set foot in this inn before, yet it was just like others he’d been in – comfortably warm, dimly-lit by candles under tinted glass globes at each table, the furnishings plush and well-carved rather than the ramshackle benches and trestle tables at most common inns. The bartop was gleaming, polished mahogany; the patrons held quiet conversations under the strains of the bard’s lute and her soft singing.

Rather than being a place for the masses to come for a decent and affordable meal, this was a place where people of means could conduct discreet business – and in any big city, there was some business that was discreet by nature. Practitioners of the sort Kob had sought out knew of each other; even across sea and desert, the token of the Silver Serpent of Sharktooth Bay carried some weight, when its bearer knew the right names. And while Kob had never acquired a taste for ostentation, he’d long since passed the point where a meal at a place like this was an expense worth noting; he could afford the polite measure of treating his contact to a good meal.


From the coast, it had looked like just another stretch of shoreline – unbroken save by the mouth of a minor river, emerging from the dense trees. Follow that “river” inward, though, past the dense undergrowth and vicious thorn bushes, and one came here: to a minor paradise, a sparkling lagoon nestled in a cleft in the hills, screened and half-shaded by the canopy of leaves, with one stretch of white sand laid bare to the noontime sun.

“This is my haven,” said Tasven’s companion. “No other two-legged being has seen it in five years. Do you like it?”


For the past hour, the wolf had knelt in meditation.

It wouldn’t be entirely accurate to call it “prayer,” not in the usual sense. He was not making entreaties, not sealing bargains. He contemplated the deeds of seven entities who had merged to become a single deific amalgam; he considered the acts of heroes who had followed in their footsteps. For his service to their collective name, those Seven gave him power – but it was his mind that dictated the form that power took.

Now his meditation was complete, his purpose clear, and – most tangibly – his spells ready. The day’s deeds awaited him.


Varyn frowned at the sight before him, slipping the haft of his mace back through its loop at his belt. “Well,” the big wolf murmured, “this is an unusual turn of events. How are you feeling?”

“Strangely enough,” said Kob, stretching to reach over the table, “I feel fine.”

It wasn’t that grand a table; a normal-sized adult would have had no trouble reaching across it for the silver candlestick that now filled Kob’s hand. Nor would that candlestick have been hard for that normal-sized adult to get his or her fingers around. That dissonance was really what hammered home Kob’s current state of affairs.

Even more than Varyn looming over him. Kob was used to that, even if the wolf didn’t normally loom quite so much.


The big, white wolf heaved a sigh.

“For weeks – months – you were dealing with the cold of the northern lands, Kob,” he groaned. “Even when you weren’t complaining – which, to be fair, you did little of – I could hear your teeth chattering often enough. I should think you, of all people, would have the good sense to agree with me about this miserable rain. But you pick now to agree with Tasven about the supposed good weather?”

Kob Lightfoot simply laughed, the cheetah flinging his arms out, palms upward. “You call this rain, Varyn?” He shook his head. “I grew up with rain. Rain is something that comes down in sheets, usually sideways, with the full force of a gale behind it. It floods streets in moments, and would wash out a trail like this in the blink of an eye. It makes rivers overflow their banks and is about as warm as a frost giant’s heart. If you’re not careful – or chained down – it’ll pick you up and carry you out to the ocean before you can blink. That,” the trapmaster declared, “is rain! This is nothing more than a warm shower.” He finished shrugging out of his tunic, tying the sleeves around the waist and letting the gentle rain wash through his pelt.


For the company he kept, the ermine was surprisingly young. The Broken Blade’s usual clientele were hardened, veteran fighters, devoted clerics, and experienced wizards in their late twenties and up; Tasven was still in his late teens. He was taller than most, but slender, even gangly, and, despite a degree of muscle that was uncommon in his kind, still looked somewhat unfinished.

But he moved with confidence and grace, trading smiles and the odd wave with those he knew, as he sauntered up to the bar, swinging his pack off his shoulders and holding it in one hand while the other arm leaned on the bar. There was something intent about his expression that drew the old lupine bartender over to him.

“Vardeniri,” the wolf greeted. “The usual?”