Esben’s Tales Part 1

Esben regarded his past as a series of trials to achieve his ultimate goal of never having to lift a finger for himself again. Having finally succeeded at this goal, he found he had far too little to do and spent most of his time regarding his past adventures. He found it much more fun now that he was old and grey to talk of these adventures rather than go on the adventures, and so Old Man Esben became his name around town and if you gave him a meal, he gave you a story.

The young ones of the village oft thought his stories false, because who on Earth could have done as much as he did?

Who could have possibly slain a dragon three-thousand times their own size, when there are so few dragon in the world? Old Man Esben did when he visited the Isla de los Dragones and defeated their great God-King Godofredo. Ask him, and he’d tell you how he went there looking for a piece of their wealth and found the dragons to be dirt-poor serfs  to a tyrannical despot. He relieved the King of his post (and his head) and left the island after a full year of celebration. With nothing to show for it, of course, but the memories as Godofredo’s body was completely destroyed in retribution and it turns out that the dragons didn’t hoard anything but sea-shells.

Who would possibly want to swim to the bottom of the ocean so search for riches? Old Man Esben did when he heard throwing coal into the deepest part of the ocean made pure diamonds appear. He swam after his coal after an hour and figured it was taking far too long for his liking, but came up a richer man anyway after raiding a sunken ship. It was too bad that the goods taken from the ship were nothing more than soggy old books, but he was sure someone would want them. And someone did, which is all the better for Esben because wet books are heavy and boring to him.

And who could possibly defeat an ancient and dark order of eldritch demon worshippers, or even get involved in that? Why Old Man Esben of course, after he offered his services to dry their water logged books and promptly burnt them to a crisp when they refused to pay him for his troubles of rescuing them.

Ask Old Man Esben what he did after that and he’ll tell you the next few years were terrible for his nerves. He did a lot of hiding, fleeing, and panicking, up until he made his way to an unspoilt village of happy people. These blissful people, seeing him in his weakened, disheveled state gave him food and a bed. They even had their Meddyg give him a visit and patch him up. Esben asked what could he give them in return for this much needed respite, and the Meddyg asked for a story.

Esben told her everything, just as he would tell anyone who asked in his current home town, because from that moment on he felt perfectly safe. He even admitted to her that his goal was to never have to lift a finger again for himself (she laughed) and it looked like he’d gotten to that point finally (she laughed again). Esben always though the ofyddians had a strange sense of humor, but he found himself laughing with her now.

She left him then, and promised to let him rest until tomorrow evening. “Then,” she said, “I shall ask more of your recent encounters. This dark order is larger than you may have realized, and you have done them a far greater injury than you can possibly imagine.” Esben swallowed air and half-choked upon it. She laughed again, more of a pleased grunt than anything, and left.

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