D&D&Tea, day 1, roll 1: 1
Yawning, Cait staggered across the room and slung herself onto a barstool. The innkeeper rolled her eyes and wordlessly pushed a steaming hot mug of pu-erh into Cait’s hands.
“Thanks,” Cait mumbled, inhaling gratefully.
“Someone over there’s been looking for you,” the innkeeper said. She waved toward the back of the room and Cait saw a robed figure turn and stare in her direction.
“Thanks,” Cait said again, and slid off the barstool a little more gracefully than she’d arrived. “Mind if I join you?” she asked the robed figure.
“I’ve been hoping you would,” the wizard — it had to be a wizard — said. “My name is Rabs. I’m looking for the winner of last week’s tournament.”
Cait puffed up. “Why, that was me! News must travel fast.” She took the other chair at the table and did her best to look heroic.
Rabs sighed. “Actually, I meant to be here to see the finale — there were gremlins in the — look, don’t get me started.”
“No, never mind. Here we are now. So! What I need is an adventurer.”
This was it! This was the big break that everyone talked about! Sitting here in this inn all week waiting for mysterious quests had finally paid off! “Well!” Cait said, still puffed up. “You’ve found one!”
The hood of Rabs’ cloak tipped forward. “A hardcore adventurer?” she asked.
Cait clasped one hand around her steaming-teapot talisman and patted her trusty club with the other. “I’m ready for anything!”
“Are you ready for this?” Rabs asked, and spread her hands apart. Between them swirled a vision of a deceptively simple chest whose lid rose to reveal bright treasures inside.
Cait gasped. Rabs smiled and flicked her fingers again. The chest tipped to the side and its wealth poured out in shining jewel tones.
“What must I do?” cried Cait.
Rabs set her hands palm-down on the table. When she lifted them away, a scroll and quill rested there. “I desire a set of magical scrolls,” she said. “I can send you to the magic, but you must inscribe them and return each one to me.” Carefully, Cait lifted the scroll and quill and tucked them into her bag. “When this scroll is ready, snap the quill and you will return here. Now go!” she cried, and Cait realized that her chair was actually sitting in a circle of matcha—
…and, now, was sitting in the middle of the woods. “Time’s a-wasting, I suppose,” Cait said. “Now which way do I go from—”
This was, of course, when the zombies attacked.
They lurched out of the brush, a bare armslength away, and Cait had her opportunity for her first heroic act as a questing adventurer, which turned out to be shrieking at the top of her lungs, tangling one foot in the inn chair, and falling on top of the zombies. The zombies toppled onto her, painfully heavy, and Cait shrieked again, lashing out with her fists until she could get her hands free to pull out her traveling mug, unscrew the top, and douse the monsters with holy water. The zombies screeched and steamed — it was hot holy water — and Cait swung her club in two short, deadly arcs.
“I,” Cait said, “am so glad to be working alone instead of in a party of people who would have witnessed that.” Then she turned and walked into the woods in the direction from which the zombies had lurched—
…only to find her feet sliding out from under her as she tumbled down the hillside and thumped against a rotting stump—
…from which swarmed hundreds of angry bees.
“AAAAAAARGH!” screamed Cait, and started running. To the left, there was a smell of something pungent, and she ran straight into a cloud of the sourest fumes she’d ever known. Fortunately, the bees didn’t. In the center of a hollow, a cauldron bubbled softly.
Feeling a tingling from her shoulder bag, Cait drew out the scroll and quill (thankfully unbroken). “This is the magic I was sent for?” she said. “What do I do?”
The cauldron bubbled. Cait bit her lip, then held out a hand to try detecting poison. The spell was slow to answer and seemed a bit uncertain, but there didn’t seem to be any other options. Shrugging, Cait scooped up a bit of the contents into her mug and sipped.
“Yeoooow!” she said, then grabbed her own tongue and muttered, “C’re ’ight ’oundth.” Just like a novice cleric in her first tea ceremony. So heroic. Sighing, she blew across the top and took a more cautious sip. Tart, very tart, but juicy enough underneath to work with. She nodded to herself and worked her careful way back to the tree stump with the bees. They had quieted, and Cait was able to nab a piece of honeycomb and dunk it into the tea. Yes, much better. The honey definitely brought out the apple undertones and gave the tea a better texture in the mouth. Pleased, she drained her cup and, as she tipped back the dregs, felt the magical runes explode into her mind. She scribbled them down across the scroll — the jagged strokes of the orange, the soft curlicues of the apple, the dark swirl of warning with the strong hexes of honey around it — and then paused, quill ready to snap, as something moved in the misty fumes.
“Detect Undead,” Cait whispered nervously, and the fumes seemed to light up all around her with the tangy orange signatures that would now and forever characterize zombies, she knew. Eyes wide, she clenched her fist around the quill until it snapped and found herself standing beside Rabs’ table back at the inn.
“Excellent!” cried Rabs. “Sit, sit, you look tired. I’ve pulled up another chair.”