It’s time to see how this adventure ends, to see if you live or die, if you succeed or find yourself stuck in a fix.
If you’re just checking in, here’s a quick recap of this story: you were smuggling a halfling out of the country when three hunters came upon you. To distract the hunters from Hertzmer, the halfling, and Cam, your accomplice, you began to act crazy. You convinced the hunters you were trying to attract a brook nymph by making frost angels on the frozen grass. They insisted you take them to another meadow to try attracting the nymph again. When you arrived, the nymph offered to either wash the three hunters down stream, or to take you to safety but you have to jump into the cold water for her to help you. The vote went for jumping into the water. (If you’d like to read the first three posts, click here, here and here.)
Now, let’s jump in!
Smuggling Hertzmer Option Aa2. Jump In
“You should jump in,” the nymph whispers in your ear. Her voice has gone from excited and slightly teasing, to subdued.
When you glance at the water droplet on your shoulder, it no longer shows the distorted reflection of your ear, but reflects the three hunters who are throwing rocks into the rushing brook and hollering for the nymph to show herself.
“Jump in, human,” she says again, “let’s be away from these scoundrels.”
Somehow, her change in tone is comforting. Instead of possibly tossing you around like a rag doll, she might focus on simply getting you away.
The water hits you like a slap in the face. It’s entirely fed by the spring runoff from the mountains and, as it sucks the air from your body, you have no doubt the rushing brook carries water that was snow only days, perhaps even hours, before.
With your hands and feet bound, you quickly find there’s no way to navigate the water either. It floods over your face and swirls you around until up and down mean nothing.
Breathe, human, the nymph’s voice sounds in your head.
I can’t breathe water!
Breathe, she insists.
Even if you wanted to argue, your body starts to guppy breathe despite your attempt to hold in your last breath.
Giving in, you suck in—air? Your eyes pop open. The nymph giggles. She’s created a bubble around your face. The rushing brook still swirls and throws you around but you can see the rocky bottom one moment, and the glimmering surface the next.
They hollered like stuck pigs when you washed by! The nymph chortles. But they’re not bold enough to jump in.
You hiccup a relieved giggle and the nymph takes that as a cue to laugh in glee.
Look there, human, she says, laughter still lightening her tone. That’s where the fish like to stay when the sun goes down. And over there, that tree joined my waters seasons ago. She guides you around the long branches of the fallen pine. So much debris has collected in the branches, logs, leaves, even small rocks, that it’s almost a dam. Luckily, the tree’s not tall enough to span to the far side of the water and the nymph carefully takes you through the gurgling portion where the water funnels.
Finally, her brook spills out into a familiar lake that borders town on the north end. The nymph stops you just before you’re washed into the larger body of water.
I can go no further. The lake nymph is—fickle. You ignore the irony in her statement.
Thank you, you tell her as she deposits you onto the bank of the brook.
Jump in anytime, she giggles, I like a human who’s willing to trust me.
You grin even though your entire body is numb from the freezing water. You lie back on the rocky bank and soak in the sun until the tingling in your limbs subsides. You’re just about to stand when a shadow falls across your face.
Squinting, you find yourself looking at a tall, slender woman. She sways in place and her long, silvery hair shifts back and forth with her subtle motion. Dark gray eyes watch you.
“The brook put you here?” she asks.
Considering the brook’s comment about the lake nymph, you slowly nod. This woman looks like the brook nymph, except she seems more solemn. There aren’t a lot of bodies of water around for her to call home.
“She said you were escaping from some hunters, she said you trusted her with your life.”
Again, you give a nod.
“Then you should know the hunters beat you to town. They’ve started searching the far side of the lake, and they’ve gathered a large party to help them.”
With that, the lake nymph dissolves and flows back into the water.
You evade the hunters repeatedly with the help of the local nymphs. Although it’s a hard life, you take it as an advantage. If they’re searching for you, they can’t really search for halflings, so after a while, you take it as your personal goal to keep them distracted while Cam continues to smuggle halflings from the country.
Well done! You survived and made some new nymph friends.
Thank you for joining in this adventure =)
Until next time, blessings,