Flash Fiction Challenge: D & D Character Generator

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This week’s challenge was to go to this website, which randomly rolls a D & D character, and write a story based on that character. I got “A curious human rogue from a floating city who doesn’t believe in hygiene.”

I let my inner nerd fly a bit with this one, incorporating elements from video games I’ve played (Notably, Diablo III and Legend of Zelda). The character name Anuss comes from the Geek & Sundry series Co-Optitude, where Felicia Day and her brother Ryon use that name often.

What is that strange light, Anuss wondered, as he looked down on a valley from his vantage point near the crest of a nearby hill. Even though it was long after nightfall, he was crouched down just at the edge of a cluster of large bushes. He was supposed to be making his way to the village of Northcotte in the valley to speak with the blacksmith, who apparently knew the whereabouts of King Maurian’s crown. But he was mesmerized by the light, glowing an otherworldly violet colour, far to the north of the village.

He pulled the hood of his short cloak over his head, obscuring his face, and checked that his dagger was in its holster. With silent, stealthy moves, he carefully picked his way down the hill, keeping close to rocks and brush along the way, using the strange light to help him see in the darkness.

Consumed by curiosity, Anuss headed towards the light instead of to the village and his quarry. In truth, he was not looking forward to interacting with the villagers anyway, especially some backwater blacksmith from Below. Perhaps the glow was related somehow to the strange things that had been happening in the city of Glittarre, high above the clouds. Anuss had come Below to find the crown, which, according to lore, was the key to an ancient temple. A great weapon was prophesied to be housed in that temple, a weapon powerful enough to stop what was surely the beginning of the End Times. A weapon that powerful was sure to sell for a good sum, not to mention any treasure that might be found with it.

Once Anuss reached the bottom of the hill, he made his way to the source of the glow, keeping to the shadows and out of sight. He was surprised to see that the purple light came from a fire with no fuel, and there was a figure in a long, dark cloak sitting before it, still and unmoving. Anuss knew well enough not to tangle with magickal folk, so he turned as silently as possible to head toward the village.

“I know you’re there,” said the figure, without moving. Anuss tensed, holding his breath and reaching for his dagger. “I can smell you from here. Great Goddess, when was the last time you bathed?”

Anuss relaxed slightly when he recognized the Glittarren accent. He dropped his hand and stepped into the violet glow.

“Better than the smell of all those tonics and perfumes you douse your body with. I prefer a natural musk.”

“Your ‘natural musk’ would fell a horde of braxxen. Honestly, I can barely breathe,” said the figure, reaching up to remove the hood with slender hands. Princess Amelda! What was she doing Below? Anuss made a half-hearted gesture to kneel before the daughter of his king, but she waved him off.

“Get up. We do not require formalities here.”

“Why are you Below, Princess?”

“I seek King Maurian’s crown, which I suspect is why you are here, as well. I also suspect you are heading to Northcotte to speak with the villagers. So I’ve saved you a trip, as I have already been there and they know nothing.”

Anuss perched on a nearby boulder, close enough to the fire that he could feel the warmth from it, but not too close to the princess.

“So I came all the way Below for naught, then. What shall I do now, I wonder,” he said, running the back of his hand across his nose and then reaching into a pocket for a hunk of hard bread and cheese. Amelda glared at him as he bit off a large mouthful. He stretched his hand to offer her some.

“No, thank you,” she replied disdainfully. Anuss shrugged and continued chewing, crumbs from the bread scattering all over his clothing. He stared into the fire for several minutes, eating and thinking. Suddenly, he swallowed and stood up, not bothering to brush off the crumbs.

“If you received no information, why are you still Below? Why did you not return to Glittarre?” He asked, moving closer to Amelda. She tensed slightly, but said nothing. “You’re lying! You do know something!”

Amelda sighed.

“I know where the crown is located. The blacksmith drew me a map. But I’m going alone,” she said, pointedly placing the back of her hand against her nose. “I don’t need your help, or your stench.”

“Really? How many times have you been Below? I know this region much better than you, Princess. I could act as your guide.”

“And what do you hope to get from assisting me? I’m already betrothed to another,” she replied, sounding resigned. Anuss smirked.

“Your gratitude is gift enough, Princess. But I would not refuse payment.”

“Very well. We’ll set out at first light. In the meantime, there is a stream not far from here. Make use of it,” Amelda said, pointing away from Anuss. He could hear rushing water from that direction. With a grunt, he headed there.

Anuss could do nothing about the state of his clothing, but he did manage to scrub off a good deal of grime from his body. Even he could admit that the bracingly cold water felt good, and he headed back to the fire feeling refreshed. Or at least where the fire used to be. He was certain he was in the right spot, but there was no fire. No princess.

Daybreak was just beginning, and in the early dawn light, he could find no signs of a struggle. There were only a few footprints, obviously the princess’s, leading into a forested area with heavy undergrowth. So she decided to go out on her own, after all. But Anuss was a skilled tracker. He needed no map, he just needed to follow the princess’s tracks and she would lead him right to the crown.

“I suppose Amelda gets to be my guide instead,” he said to himself with a wry smile, as he set off to find her.

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