The Story of Tobias, Part 3: A Gift is Given, a Path is Chosen

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Something that I need to mention here is that the GM for this campaign said that we could each choose a special, magical object for our characters to have at the beginning of the game. I played around with a couple ideas (including something that might have been salvaged from the Devil earlier, and could possibly have turned Tobias down a more evil path), but ended up with an obviously magical item you’ll see in the story. Something that isn’t mentioned in the story, however, is the cooler ability. Basically it lets Tobias use something similar to Smite Evil once per day. The ability never came up in the story, but it’s been pretty handy in a few encounters.

Tobias ran after his friend Brakstil and laughingly shouted, “Get back here you evil fiend, so I may smite you with my sword!” Brakstil laughed as well and said in his most menacing voice, “You’ll never catch me, do-gooder!” Tobias caught up to his friend, who proceeded to cower in an exaggerated state of fear. Tobias ceremoniously took the stick he was wielding as a pretend sword and tapped his friend with it on the shoulder. Brakstil groaned and collapsed on the ground, twitching once for dramatic effect before lying still. Tobias stood triumphantly for a moment before laughing and reaching his hand out to help his friend up. By this time, the sun was low enough in the sky that Tobias knew it was time to go home. He said goodbye to Brakstil, and went home.

Today was Tobias’ birthday, so he was anxiously awaiting his dinner. While they didn’t have enough money for him to get an actual present, his mother always made sure to make his favorite stew for dinner. He ran home, burst through the door, and saw his mother sitting at the table with a parcel in her hands. “Hi Mom!” he said. He was curious about what the package contained, but figured it was probably just bandages or something similar. She smiled at him. “Hello there, honey, something came for you today.” Tobias gasped, “From who? I’ve never gotten anything on my birthday before!”   Tobias ran over and his mom handed the brown package to him. “Well it looks like this year your father finally found a way to send you something. I think he’s been trying ever side you were born.” Tobias felt his jaw drop. “It’s from dad?” She nodded.

Tobias quickly opened the parcel and found a dagger encased in a leather sheath. Beneath the dagger was a slip of parchment. He pulled out the dagger and admired it momentarily, before reading the note. It read: My son, happy birthday. At ten years old you are arriving at the time where you will need to prepare yourself to fight evil. This sheath will help you in that. Any weapon sheathed in it for at least eight hours will bond with the sheath, and return to it should it ever leave your grasp. Tobias looked at the dagger and sheath in awe. He pulled out the dagger and gently set it on the table. Within a few seconds the dagger disappeared and reappeared within the sheath. Tobias laughed and did it a few more times while his mother finished preparing dinner.

The next day, Tobias showed his friends his new possession. He drew the dagger out of the case with a flourish before setting it gently in the ground. He then ran across the street and waved the sheath proudly when the dagger returned to the sheath. They all clapped and gasped before begging him to do it again. Tobias repeated the trick a few times and most of the children continued to clap and cheer. But Harry Rosen, a young orphan a few years older than Tobias just scoffed “ten years he’s left you and your mom alone and this is all he sends?”   Tobias glared at Harry. “He had to go back to the celestial armies so you shut your mouth.” Harry stuck his tongue out “Your dad abandoned you, just like mine, so don’t try to convince yourself otherwise. He probably knew how stupid you’d turn out to be and didn’t want anything to do with you.” At this, Tobias leapt and punched Harry in the mouth. Harry responded by kicking Tobias in the shin before being pushed to the ground. One of the local clerics separated them before the fight could continue. Tobias picked up his dagger and sheath and ran towards home, crying.

Tobias burst into his house, and when his mother saw him she ran over and hugged him tightly. “Tobias, what’s the matter?” “Is dad ever going to come back?” He sobbed. She kissed him on the top of his head, “He will if he can sweetie, I’m sure of it.” Tobias jerked away from her. “Why can’t he come now? What if he just doesn’t like us and never wants to come back?” Annalee looked at him sternly. “Now Tobias, that’s just not true. Your father cares about us very much. He just–” Before she could finish Tobias yelled, “If he really cared then he would have come to see us! He doesn’t care! Well you know what? I don’t care either!” He ran back out the front door, not heeding his mother’s call for him to come back. He ran out through the town, not stopping when he reached the woods. He didn’t bother sticking to the path, but ran through bushes and over rocks, weaving and winding through obstacles.

Tobias ran until he could no longer hear or see any sign of the town.   Eventually he couldn’t run any more, and he fell to his knees, panting for breath in between the sobs. He noticed that he was still holding the sheath, so he threw it as hard as he could at a nearby tree. The dull thunk echoed through the woods.  “That looks like too nice of a possession to throw around so carelessly,” a voice from behind him said. Tobias jumped and turned around. A tall man in a flowing cloak stood near a tall oak, with a longbow at his side. The stranger continued, “Now why would you be out here all alone?” Tobias quickly wiped his eyes. “I got mad and ran here.” The stranger nodded, and walked over and picked up the sheath from where Tobias had thrown it.  The stranger handed the sheath back to Tobias and said, “I’d hold on to that if I were you.” Tobias held it in his hands and scowled. “I’m mad at the person who gave this to me.” The archer shrugged, “Useful is useful, you should hold on to it anyway. Throwing away useful things only hurts you.”

The archer looked around before looking back at Tobias. “Do you think you can find your way back home?” Tobias looked around and shook his head, “I don’t recognize anything.” The archer smiled and said, “Well, lucky for you lad, I’m the best tracker around. We’ll just follow your trail back to town.” It took a while, but eventually the two made their way back to town.

The stranger stopped just before reaching the city limits, explaining that he didn’t do well in towns, and he needed to get back to his camp before nightfall. Tobias opened the door quietly, but his mother still heard and rushed over to him. “Where have you been? I’ve been worried sick!” Tobias could see streaks on her cheeks from where years had fallen. He looked at the ground and shuffled his feet. “I’m sorry, mom.” Her face softened for a moment before returning to the stern look she had been giving. “So help me, Tobias, if you ever do something like that again you’ll be scrubbing this house so clean that the king himself wouldn’t feel good enough to enter.”

A knock at the door stopped her threats of punishment. Tobias stepped away from the door and his mother opened it. The high priest of the nearby temple stepped in and bowed his head. “Good evening, Annalee. I have come to relieve you of the body.” Tobias stared at his mother. She nodded at the priest, who entered the back room and returned with a small body. Tobias barely held back a gasp when he recognized Harry Rosen’s face. Tobias clutched his mother’s dress. “What happened?” He whispered. “Snake bite. The venom was potent enough that i couldn’t extract it before the damage was done.”

At this point the priest said “Since no one knows where he got the items from, and no one seems to be missing anything, you’re free to keep them as repayment for your troubles.”   The priest left, and Annalee sat in her chair, a tear rolling down her cheek. Deaths for her weren’t common, and always seemed to trouble her got a few days. Tobias took this time to escape into the other room where Harry had been. Most of what was in the room consisted of the normal collection of poultices and bandages, except for a bundle of items sitting near the corner. Petting closer, Tobias saw two small gems, a piece of chalk, and a small bow.

The bow caught Tobias’ attention, as it was too small for most of the people in the village, but perfectly sized for a child. It was nothing incredibly fancy or refined, certainly not something valuable enough for Harry to believe worth stealing. Tobias reflected for a moment on the child’s cruel words earlier, and of all the times Harry had been mean to other children.  Tobias also thought about some things the archer had told him. With those thoughts in mind, Tobias removed his dagger from the magical sheath, and poked one end of the bow inside.

Instantly the sheath stretched and lengthened, covering the majority of the small bow. Once it finished growing, the sheath and bow glowed a gentle blue. Tobias waited another few seconds to make sure that the dagger wouldn’t teleport back, and then set the dagger on the table among the other oddities. Tobias then walked out of the room and said under his breath “Bye Harry. I’ll make good use of this.”

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