To you who read this: what follows is an account of true events, to which I was privy through eldritch methods that I shall not set down here.
I’ll tell you a tale that begins with a kender. What is a kender, you ask? Well, they are a diminutive folk, of a size with halflings, but less given to girth and prone to unconsciously making off with other’s possessions. Suffice to say they are a small part of our vast cosmos, but still as vital as the most ancient of great wyrms. This particular kender, a young man named Demil Thissledown, left the home of the kender (called, of course, Kendermore) on the world of Krynn one bright Autumn morning. He succumbed to the Wanderlust that most kender are afflicted with during their lifetimes. Never heard of Krynn, have you? All you need know for the nonce is that it is one world among many, and yet, like kender, no less significant than any other.
But let us return to Demil Thissledown. It was 353 years after the great Cataclysm that had rent Krynn asunder, and just one year after the devastating War of the Lance. One of the legendary Heroes of the Lance was a kender named Tasslehoff Burrfoot. And like most young kender at that time, Demil wanted to be just like Tasslehoff. That meant journeying out into the wide world in search of adventure. Little did Demil know that he was about to embark on one of the greatest adventures a kender could experience. As the young man strode on, he saw a beautiful blue light form before him on the road. Fascinated of course by this singular occurence, Demil stepped forward eagerly…
And was pulled by means arcane to the world of Oerth, another not insignificant sphere in the universe. He appeared in the Common Year 593 in the secret underground lair of one Barik, a wizard and alchemist of middling abilities in the small village of Guldenberg. Barik, you see, had recently acquired a mysterious device, a working of glass and steel of unknown purpose. The old man had asked his young friend, Tegric the blacksmith, to witness the activation of the device, in case anything untoward happened. Tegric was no less interesting than Demil when it comes to this tale, but this will become apparent as the story unfolds…
Barik, having only deciphered a scant portion of the device’s function, decided to press ahead with his experiments regardless. Yet another instance of mortal man’s curiosity outstripping wisdom. The activation of the device under Barik’s unskilled hands caused the light that drew Demil to Oerth to appear on Krynn. It also created a flash that knocked out both Barik and Tegric, and summoned all manner of vile creatures to the wizard’s underground retreat. The chambers beneath the wizard’s house were many centuries old (indeed, even Barik himself did not know their origin), and no one else in the small town of Guldenberg knew of their existence. Barik was glad to keep it that way, as the folk of the town were suspicious of wizardry in general, and the lair afforded Barik a place to work unseen.
Tegric and Demil both awoke in the dark chamber where Barik activated the device in the lair beneath Guldenberg. They were confused at the sight of each other at first. Tegric took a moment to check on Barik, who was unconscious but alive. Demil, in true kender fashion, was already rummaging around the chamber, which served as a laboratory for the wizard and thus full of curiosities. In other words, a place that you would not want a kender to enter for any reason!
Tegric was able to gain Demil’s attention long enough to convince the kender that they should attempt to exit the lair with Barik. As they proceeded into the hallway beyond the laboratory, they heard faint sounds as if many small feet were moving about. They then encountered a small group of kobolds, which they dispatched quickly. Tegric knew something was amiss, and hastened to carry the still senseless Barik out of the lair, with Demil in tow.
Exiting the place was a harrowing experience. They were attacked and pursued by ghouls, and were forced to flee from those they did not slay. And they were hindered by the constant yammering and general foolishness of the kender, which served to slow their progress (at one point, young Demil managed to shoot himself in the foot with a bullet from the sling of his hoopak staff, a weapon-tool created by his race). When they neared the lair’s sole means of entrance and egress, Barik came awake once again, just in time to help Tegric and Demil fend off an attack by a demonic beast with horns, thick grey skin, and bat-like wings that Barik identified as a gargoyle. They were successful in defeating it, and hastily exited the lair.
Barik was fearful for a horrible moment when he thought that they had left the device in the depths of the lair, but to everyone’s great relief (including Demil’s) the kender had pocketed the item. The kender gave the device to Barik, who then insisted that Tegric and Demil proceed to the temple of St. Cuthbert and have their wounds tended to, while the wizard attempted to banish the creatures he had inadvertently summoned. On the subject of returning Demil to his own world, the wizard was clearly baffled.
On their way to the temple, the unlikely pair attempted to talk more of the strange events of the evening. They surmised that the kender had been pulled from his own world by the device, and they also began to learn more about each other when a terrible scream sounded from above. They looked up in horror to see another gargoyle swooping down on them from the night sky…