I clearly got too hung up in the details of this one, but once I got all that sorted out, it started going well.
The concept behind this one — an all-female adventuring group with the archetypal Strong, Fast, Magic dynamic recruits a male adventurer ill-suited for his chosen profession — owes a lot to Rune Soldier (which, incidentally, you can read my thoughts on here).
And that was, by and large, more of a stumbling block than an asset. It was hard to make this like Rune Soldier without it becoming just a wholesale copy of Rune Soldier.
Still, I think this group of characters has potential and I think I’d like to revisit them for a full-length story. Realmgard doesn’t really have a character to fill the ‘big, dumb idiot with a heart of gold’ niche yet.
Also, please do note that ‘waterlemon’ is not a typo. It’s supposed to be like that. One assumes it’s not quite a watermelon and not quite a lemon.
Look, it’s a quick throwaway joke, don’t overthink it.
Lucia never thought it would happen, but she’s starting to miss life on her parents’ waterlemon farm. Sure, the young lynx-woman got so bored living the exact geographic centre of nowhere that she wanted to pull her fur out, but that’s also exactly how she feels now.
Maybe it’s her fault for being a poor, simple country bumpkin, but she just doesn’t get it. Back home, to be considered an adventurer, all she had to do was go around saying ‘Hi, I’m Lucia. I’m an adventurer.’
Lucia and her friends have learned, much to their consternation, that to work as even freelance adventurers in the Duchy of Middlesbrooke, they need to find a local to join and sponsor their activities while working in the Duchy.
They’ve never worked anywhere that has standards so high for adventurers.
It much be a rich people thing, she decides.
She feels like she’s walked into the set-up for a bad joke that goes something like ‘So, a Wilderling, a Half-Troll Amazon, and an Aurorean sorceress walk into a coffeehouse and try to hire a fourth member for their group. And fail.’
She’s laughing already.
Not ‘laughing’, so much as ‘wanting to scream.’
Lucia and her companions, Petra and Apolline, sit at an unfamiliar table in an unfamiliar coffeehouse in an unfamiliar city. The three women look across the table at an unfamiliar face that grins broadly back as the young girl sitting beside him smiles apologetically.
“So,” the young man on the other side of the table says, “I’ve heard it through the grapevine that there’s a group of adventurers in town looking for a local to join them.”
“Well, yes,” Apolline answers. “That is the situation.”
“Excellent,” the young man says. “And do you happen to know where I might be able to find them?”
So, a Wilderling, a Half-Troll Amazon, and an Aurorean sorceress walk into a coffeehouse, Lucia thinks sullenly to herself, when suddenly: an idiot.
Thankfully, Lucia knows well enough by now to hold her tongue.
And Apolline, as usual, displays infinitely more tact than the lynx-woman. “That would be us,” she tells the young man.
“Great!” he exclaims, still grinning broadly. “When do we leave?”
“Excuse me?” Lucia exclaims.
“You need a local sponsor, I need a group to sponsor. What more is there to say?” he asks. “I’m here. You’re here. Let’s get adventuring!”
“You’re being rather, uh, forward,” Apolline notes. “You haven’t even told us your name.”
“Oh. Where are my manners? I’m Roland,” he says, still grinning broadly.
“And who’s the kid?” Lucia asks, pointing with a clawed hand.
“I’m Alda,” the girl sitting beside Roland says. “I’m his sister.”
Roland leans forward on the table and his grin somehow gets even bigger — it seems to Lucia that he’s more teeth than face that his point.
“And if you’re looking for skilled help, my friends, I happen to be very, very skilled.”
“Ehh…” the young girl sitting beside him mutters.
“Your physique is quite impressive,” Petra notes. “You must be quite a skilled fighter.”
Half-Troll by birth and a graduate of the training undertaken by all young Amazons, she’s something of an expert in the fields of physique and fighting.
“Actually,” Roland answers, “I’ve never fought anyone. I’m an alchemist.”
Her surprise makes Lucia shriek like someone just pulled on her tail.
“Seriously? An alchemist?”
Just a reminder, the first chapter of The Bandits of Goldharbour was posted early today.