Asherons Call: Death Builds Character: You Mean I Actually Have to DO Stuff?

SIEGE OF TOU-TOU

Standing in the bright noon-day sun, The Sho Man, or Sho, as everyone called him, was chewing and spitting out sunflower seeds onto the ground near the Bowyers. Tou-Tou looked exactly the same as it had since he had first ventured to it, seeking a place to call his home base after the collapse of his former allegiance.

Someone started talking to him about how disgusting spitting sunflower seeds onto the ground was, but Sho wasn’t listening. Didn’t he know they disapeared within moments of hitting the ground? The man was growing more irritated by the moment, noticing that Sho wasn’t listening to him. Finally he stalked off, raising his hands in disgust. Sho just looked on down the street.

Tou-Tou was a beautiful place, not too large, not too small, with some sights to see. What Sho liked most of all, though, were the steam baths. Unofortunatly Tou-Tou was becoming more and more reliant on their tourism industry, every vendor and merchant advertising their East Tower. The sad thing was that their tourism inustry never prouced more than twenty-five pyreals yearly, max.

A drunk woman stumbled out of the tavern behind him. Sho didn’t pay any attention, but rather continued to focus down the street ahead of him, chewing his sunflower seeds. He was totally oblivious to the man running off with a small fortune which had come from Sho’s packs. He was in his own little world now, him and that road.

He did, however, feel the hand clasp his shoulder and looked over to see the drunk woman bending over, puking on the ground beside him. She would have fallen over if it hadn’t been for Sho’s quick reflexes.

Instead of steadying her he just lay her gently down on the ground and went back to staring ahead, chewing his seeds. This is how most days went in Tou-Tou. Chewing sunflower seeds, staring intently at something, totally oblivious to the rest of the world. Sho and the cow had much in common.

After a while Sho looked from left to right, and started walking to the healers. “How goes it, Rili?” he asked, walking in the door. His eyes caught a vat of water to his right, and, bending over, he took some water in his hands and splashed it over his face. It was an exceptionally hot day.

“Fine, and you?” Rili Sou replied, slightly irritated at Sho’s gauche act. He still hadn’t gotten used to Sho’s careless, reckless personality. Sho stood up and turned to Rili, his face dripping wet. He just gave Rili the thumbs up in reply.

“And will you be buying anything this time?” Rili asked, remembering all the times Sho had just walked in and looked around. Sho looked Rili in the eyes for several moments, then shook his head.

“Not today I’m afraid, Rili. Rough times, I can’t afford anything that’s not necessary at the moment. No stamina elixirs or any other potions, I have enough healing kits to last me a lifetime, and I don’t think theres much else you do. The rest of my stuff is pretty bad too, when my Bludgeon Protection ring works, my Acid Protection one goes out.”

Rili gave Sho an intense look that suggested he was trying to rip him apart with his mind. Sho just shrugged. Rili said, “You mean like the one you live in? Yes, that’s right, I know where you live. Right under the Blacksmith’s with the rabbits. Great living down there, is it?”

“I actually have several alternate places I call home, Rili. And both of them are quite far from here,” Sho retorted, and Rili sighed. This was going nowhere, as it always did, every day for the past few months. It was habit by now.

“What about a drink?” Rili said, hoping maybe he could stop this horrible cycle once and for all. Sho just looked at Rili for a moment, then said:

“No matter how bad times get, theres always money left for booze.”

The Tower Tavern was same as ever, except Mi Chi was now joining in claiming about the Aluvians that had once settled the Tou-Tou area, but had somehow disapeared. “The Aluvians ran off into the old Empyrean sewer system north of here,” she says, “They became undead, and their king still lives deep inside, lying in wait for the unfortunate traveler. Anyone who could defeat it would surely become rich and famous.”

Sho knew the truth. That sewer was nothing more than a zefir infested rat-hole, which stank, to boot. He told this to Rili, who disagreed. “Don’t tell me you’ve been brainwashed by these lying…people? Not my good old Rili!”

“No, no…this is from my own experience. I actually…went…down there. I was adventuring one day, before I settled down and became a healer, and I slid down the mountain into the sewers. I ran for my life, I ran to the very bottom, hastily picking locks and running through hordes of rats and zefirs. I even encountered some undead! Well…I made it to the bottom, and you’ll never believe this. There are people living down there!

Rili continued on, hurrying, trying not to let Sho interupt him. “They’re stuck down there. Been there for years. Inbreeding hasn’t done them any good, and always welcome newcomers. Over the years they become more racially mingled, and now there are no true full Aluvians down there except…except…” Rili trailed off, shaking his head.

“Except the undead.” Sho finished for him. Rili had just ruined his evening, he was perfectly happy until Rili broke down. But Sho knew Rili to be a reasonable man, who could apply rational thought when it was needed. This was something important, he knew. While Sho did not exactly detect the ring of truth to every word coming from Mi Chi’s and the other vendors’ mouths, they may be somewhat correct. Sho sighed, finished his sake, and walked out the door without Rili, who was still shaking his head.

Sho was glad for the cool air outside, contrasting the noon day sun he had been standing below earlier that day. The sun was setting now, the horizon full of bright colors. For several minutes, Sho stood staring at the sky.

An arrow flying by his head briefly drew Sho away from his silent reverie. Sho knew hostile intent when he saw it, and he was fairly sure that whoever was shooting those arrows at him had some sort of hostility towards him. Then again, maybe not. In this world, some people killed each other for fun. Dereth is full of wonders, after all.

Another thought whizzed through his head, just like the second arrow that barely missed his head. Sho was under Asheron’s protection at the moment, and therefore no other Isparian could attack him.

At this moment Sho hit the ground rolling, another arrow hitting the spot where his head had been a second before. Sho jumped straight up onto the jewelers, hopped onto the Bowyers, and then continued onto the the next roof and eventually came to a stop at the blacksmiths.

“I’m gonna get my stuff, I suggest you do too. Look,” Sho said, pointing at the direction everyone was already looking. Several Mu-Miyahs were climbing over the Agent of the Arcanum’s house, ripping shingles off and destroying walls.

Sho was ready in minutes, his armor placed on and his sickle in hand. Sickles were really agricultural tools, but Sho thought they looked cool. Apparently so did ninety percent of all other axers, because it was the weapon of choice for your average axe swinging warrior.

Several of the Mu-Miyah’s had surrounded an unarmed man. These were not your regular Mu-Miyah’s, they were poweful meleers and more were coming all the time. Over the hills from beyond the Agent of the Arcanum’s house, which was now almost completely torn to pieces. Flaming arrows flew through the air.

Sho took down a Mu-Miyah from behind and two others turned on him. One hit him across the head with a large wooden club, although his armet abosrbed most of the damage. The other’s fist came down on Sho’s stomach, causing him to grunt and bend over slightly.

Retaliation was swift and easy for Sho, as he lopped off the head of the Mu-Miyah with the club and, with the same motion, took off the right arm of the other. He lifted his sickle, and was hit from behind by another Mu-Miyah that had snuck up behind him. It was quickly brought down by two arrows. Sho looked up and saw that the ones who had launched those arrows were standing high up on the blacksmith’s fire.

The unarmed man quickly took down the remaining Mu-Miyahs, and by this time the Agent of the Arcanum’s house was torn down and the rubble left was on fire. Sho noticed four other Mu-Miyahs, these ones slightly larger and wielding spiked metal clubs, were assaulting a side of the blacksmiths.

Sho looked behind him, and was immediatly reminded of Rili. The healer’s place now had a hole in it the size of a man and there were Mu-Miyahs within tearing it apart. They were coming faster than he could count now.

He rushed into the healers in a rage, ripping apart undead flesh like paper. Suddenly the door burst open, and a large Mu-Miyah wearing chainmail on it’s torso and legs and weilding two large broadswords, one in each hand, stepped in. It threw both it’s arms forward, and Sho lept back.

His back was confronted with a wall, so Sho braced himself for a heavy assault, which he got. The Mu-Miyah was suprisingly quick and agile, but Sho still evaded him with some little effort. The swords came from the left and from the right, up and down, sometimes from two directions, sometimes both coming from one. Sho evaded them all, but found it hard to hit the Mu-Miyah.

After avoiding the Mu-Miyah’s strikes and trying, in vain, to take it down, Sho decided to take his leave. Just as he was turning around, though, the Mu-Miyah flew forward and hit the wall. A Shockwave Blast blew it into pieces, spraying body parts through the air in a cloud of dust. This was the first day of the Siege of Tou-Tou.

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