Monthly Wessex

The Search for Udo

A few months ago, Wat Chmen and a few others from town went off to investigate this old well nearby. Some of the others had been there before and a fisherman had foolishly died—thus creating the term “sacrificial fisherman”. On Wat’s first journey to the well, they encountered a deadly bookcase and saved a small creature called Udo. When Wat saw Udo, he couldn’t help but reminded of his son. It had been so long since he’d seen his son… He’d still been a small boy then… Wat and the others brought Udo to a staircase in the northwest portion of the well’s complex underground tunnels and went to find their own way home.

 

That hadn’t sit right with Wat. While Wat had no idea how old Udo was—he could be an elder for his kind or he could be a child; Wat had never encountered a creature like Udo before—but the small creature had reminded him so much of his son… Well, he wanted to be sure that Udo had gotten home safely. So when the only two that showed up to The Tavern one day were Audris and someone new who had never adventured with them—an elf by the name of Gene Jr—Wat took this as an opportunity to go back to the well to search for Udo.

 

It had taken some time to refresh Wat’s memories of the Well’s layout. Most of his recent adventures had taken him through the Old Tovi Woods, and he’d never been out here without his paladin companion—Sgt Lieutenant. He’d been adventuring with Audris, but Wat couldn’t recall going down to the Well together. He was relying on his shit memory and luck.

By the grace of whatever gods had taken pity on Wat, the three elves made it to the strange library Wat had previously encountered just before finding Udo. It hadn’t changed much since Wat had last visited. The strange hobgoblin books were still sitting on the murderous bookshelf. There were scorch marks on the floor. Whatever strange magic protected this bookshelf both intrigued and terrified Wat. The intrigue tugged at the recklessness in Wat. The elf took out his portable battering ram and slammed into the shelf. Electricity jolted through Wat. He was relatively unharmed but did tingle a little. His efforts were rewarded with three books. Luckily, Gene Jr spoke goblin. He interpreted them as a song book, a book on hobgoblin philosophy, and a book on how to use slaves for mining.

The three elves decided they had enough of murderous furniture and went next door to the room where Wat had first met Udo. There wasn’t much to point them in any particular direction, but just being there had jolted Wat’s memory. Or maybe, that was just an after effect of the electricity. Hard to say for sure. Either way, Wat now remembered that Udo had led them down the northern door of the well and taken to a long stair case in the northwestern quadrant of the well.

Unfortunately, a pair of skeletal warriors blocked their way. Cause why not. Audris and Gene Jr were far less experienced in battle than Wat, who also had far better weapons. Wat stood in the doorway, ready to take the blunt of the attack. He threw his spear at one of the skeletons—hoping to destroy it before it became 2 against 1. Unfortunately, aim had never been Wat’s forte. He missed and his spear clattered to the ground. Audris sent a bolt flying over Wat’s shoulder, but also missed. One of the skeletons swung at Wat, who tried to withstand the pain for the sake of his companions. Gene Jr took his club and charged at the skeleton through the opening in the door. Wat finished it off with swift blow from his pike. His victory was short lived, however. The other skeleton knocked him in the head and the world went dark for Wat.

‘No. I can’t go down. I need to get up. I need to get home to my boy. I need to get home.’

Wat was filled with a second wind of strength and stood back up. Gene and Audris had done their best to keep the remaining skeleton at bay—but KEPT. MISSING. Just as Wat stands back up, the skeleton hits Wat again. He doubles over in pain. Audris throws another bolt at the skeleton, but misses. AGAIN. Wat pulls himself back up and knocks off one of the skeleton’s arms with his pike. Gene Jr takes a swing with his club, but misses. The skeleton takes advantage of the miss and hits Wat on the head, knocking him unconscious once more.

When Wat came to once more, he found the skeletons were defeated and their remains had been looted. Audris proclaimed that she had defeated the skeleton by shattering its skull. Wat looked at the younger elf with disbelief. Considering he’d only seen her miss fantastically, Wat found this victory very unlikely.

The three elves returned to Wessex for a long rest. Wat needed to recover after the skeleton battle. He did some research in his spare time, trying to find out more about the Well. Every time they learned something new about that place, it seemed to raise more questions than anything else. After doing some digging, Wat found that the place had once been a hobgoblin mine. They’d used slave labor—which explained the books they found.

The trio resumed their search a few days later. The headed down the northern passage and found stone statues of hobgoblins. Perhaps this was the start of the mine. When they came to the stairs, relief came over Wat. His heart would finally be at ease once they found Udo and made sure he’d made it home safely. The stairs lead down to a stone cavern with an impossible number of paths. They were rough like they’d been eroded away by an underground river that had long since dried up. The elves headed down the closest tunnel. They came across the large exoskeleton of an ant. Fearful of finding more, they unanimously decided to find a different path.

They eventually came to a large cavern and heard a strange noise. Was that Udo? Wat walked towards it. Then a stone came out of nowhere and fell on Wat’s head. He looked down and saw it was actually some sort of crab. It skittered away, clearly not looking for a fight, so Wat left it alone. Then another hit him. Then another. But they all scurried away. So Wat left them alone and simply walked with his shelf over his head to protect him from the falling crabs. Audris and Gene Jr decided to just walk along the side of the cavern to avoid getting hit by them.

As Wat got closer to the figure, he could see it was humanoid and injured.

“Hello! Are you hurt?” he called out.

“Help. Hurt.” The figure replied in a broken elvish.

Definitely not Udo, but Wat still wanted to help. He ran to the figure and helped him to his feet. His features were elfish, but he was unlike any elf Wat had ever met. He reminded Wat of a dark underworld prince he might have read about in a story as a child. He spoke in a dialect of elfish that Wat had never heard of before.

Wat covered him with his shield and helped him out of the cavern. Audris and Gene Jr followed quickly behind them. The strange elf murmured his thanks in broken elfish.

“I’m Wat Chmen.” Wat introduced himself.

“Elbrith,” the elf introduced himself.

“Are you lost? Do you need help getting out of here?”

Elbrith was dressed for adventure and exploration. Wat wondered if he’d gotten lost in the Well. How long had he been down there?

Elbrith shook his head and pressed something into Wat’s hand before waving goodbye and disappearing into the tunnels. Wat looked at his hand to find a large gem. Wat wondered if he’d ever see Elbrith again. He and his companions didn’t have the rations to remain in the Well much longer, but he made a silent vow to come back to find him again. He was also looking for Udo. The Well had suddenly become a much more interesting place.

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