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Pol's Tale: Part 1

I had taken the evening to return to my once favorite place. The inn of Loth Llorien always had a peculiar charm for me, despite the racist, ignorant, petty, bigoted Defenders the elves mistook for a fighting force. Not that I *ever* had a problem with them. Most of the time, I would sneak right by, often with an extra pocket-watch or two for my troubles. On this evening though, I was feeling just as petty and racist. Perhaps even ignorant as I took the liberty of beating the snot out of a particulary enthusiastic new recruit that dared insult me. "My kind not welcome here"...ha! One day I will look him up and see if he will ever look a fluffy bunny in the eyes again, and if so, will he consider the priesthood?

But, I digress.

The evening wore along quite nicely. Pulling up a chair (always in the back of the establishment. Old habits do die hard) I commenced to doing what I have been doing best for the last century since I returned from the Vortex. Getting roaring drunk and perhaps finding a young lady to spend some time with. Barring that, shouting insults to the shaman seated across the inn from me always led to a roaring good time. For about two minutes. Just long enough for me to skip out on my tab, and look up a cleric for the eventual sutures and bone-mending I always seemed to need these days.

Midway through my third brandy, perhaps 15 minutes since I arrived, my old friend Keller happened upon my semi-prone form. From the look in his eyes, I could tell he wasn't thrilled at my condition. But then, Keller hadn't been thrilled by much in the several years I had known him. In fact, the last time I saw him smile (perhaps the only time he actually had) was the first time he caught a member of the Conclave too far away from home. But that's his story to tell.

"I see you've been drinking again" he said with no small amount of annoyance. Bear in mind, Keller mildly annoyed is worse than most men in full fury. A man THIS big should have really considered renting himself out as a levee to Malenest during the rainy season.

"Actually Keller" I said, "You're using the wrong tense. I *am* drinking, not have been."

With that, I simultaneously signaled the innkeeper to bring another brandy while slugging the dregs of my last. The elves here are marginal fighters and decent mages. But by Tynian's beard, whoever makes this brandy is better at what they do than anyone I know.

Keller took a seat in front of me, his back to the door. With anyone else, I would consider this foolhardy. With Keller, I consider it entertainment. He looked at me earnestly for a moment, then spoke.

"You know Pol, it is nearly impossible to do Tel's work while constantly satiating.." he coughed politely, "physical urges."

I grinned. I finally had him on a point of theology. I had learned much from Tel in the years since I returned, before which, I had followed Sinclair.

"Keller, it is Tel's will that we follow our passions. Yours is for smiting evil and all that rot. Mine is for drunken debauchery. It's all a matter of preference."

Keller shrugged, obviously not interested in taking the bait. Ah well, I suppose I must pursue other pastimes, I thought. I paid for my next round, and short changed the innkeeper several coins while winking at a particularly beautiful young lady seated across the bar from me. She smiled, stood up, ruffled my hair, and dissapeared quicker than I had time to ask for an address. I shuddered at the thought. One does not ask Syla out for a casual evening.

"Is the whole world infested with incredibly powerful, all-knowing, immortals?" I mumbled to myself. Apparently I underestimated Keller's hearing.

"Of course Pol, that's the way it's always been."

I choked on my brandy. Was I ever this young?

"Hardly, my friend" I croaked, choking back the tears as brandy infused my sinuses. "In fact, there were times when people did not follw gods at all, for there were no gods to follow."

Keller leaned in, his armor scraping against itself like scales on a great steel dragon. "Tell me of these times," he said.

"Keller...it's late. I have perhaps an hour of consciousness left, and I must find a date or a cleric."

"Huh?" he replied.

"Nevermind" I said, hoping he would find some helpless demon to stomp on for a bit and leave me in peace.

"Please Pol?" he asked in his very professional, excrutiatingly polite, I'm a natural-born clobberer of evil and I don't take no for an answer, voice.

I sighed, and decided that feminine company would be impossible anyway with Keller around (men in shiny armor always get the girls), and a shaman is no fun when you have a backup. Besides, Keller might get insistent and stuff me into a backpack for my own safety until I capitulated.

"Well," I said. "I don't know the whole story, because although the world was young when I was born, it had been around for some time. So I'll start with where I can remember."

I settled in, and leaned back, to my folly as every meal I had ever eaten threatened to make a reappearance. Taking a deep breath, I patted myself down, looking for that extra cigar I always keep handy. Drats! Must have left it with my other cloak. I reminded myself to one day ask Sadow if I could have my humidore back.

I looked furtively around the room, to make sure no one was watching, and gently lifted a pipe from the man sitting at the table next to me. Not that Gatharin would miss it. He didn't smoke. Casually lighting the pipe with a snap of my fingers, I began my tale.

"Ever hear of the greatest warrior of the elder age, Godzilla...?"

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