The Long and Winding Road
Yjubina Indulat (Bina)
Gnome barbarian, apathetic.
Alignment: This doesn’t matter. (True Neutral)
Class: I am fierce, a sturdy barbarian.
Physicality: I grew tall like a weed as a kid. I just didn’t stop when I told myself to. But I never grew anything anywhere else. My hair drained its color fast, I lost weight everywhere. Well, I can still fight like I care. (3 7", 31 lbs, dark grey hair)
Languages: Common, Gnome, Sylvan. I don’t need anything else.
Strength: 15 Enough to hurt things if I want. I want rarely, so don’t worry.
Dexterity: 13 I’m not slow but you may find someone faster.
Constitution: 17 I am good to stay alive. Attacks don’t hurt me much.
Intelligence: 10 My intelligence is adequate. No barbarian needs it anyway. I am fierce and too much of this may get in the way of fighting.
Wisdom: 08 I am fine without much. And I am sure others have less. Leave it.
Charisma: 13 I am sure that for some, talking and convincing work. I can talking and convincing, but I don’t always like. I am what others do and it works for me, too.
Reflex: +4 (with Lightning Reflexes feat)
Will: +2 (with Great Will feat)
My family weren’t poor, they weren’t rich. They kept me home while my brothers went to school. I married early and moved with my husband to the country.
I cleared an old shed to give us space to work. We made barrels, wheels, and planks for the city past the forest. It paid enough. We kept that business 58 years.
Orcs had come to the forest near our town. One raided the general shop down the road. Shame, ‘cause I needed to get by to Siet Acker’s shop so he could fix my hammer. The screw that bolted the head to the base had got loose. That doesn’t work for metal at all, no?
Everyone got right scared about the orcs, but I tell you they’re nothing for city folk like me to see. They’re big, they say. I’m fine, I say. Big people lived near me as a kid. So I was taking the hammer in.
On the way there, this kid bumped into me. He fell over. This kid was maybe 20, still looked like a baby. Big head, tiny everything else. He was panting. He said, “Watch out, it’s coming!” The kid ran behind me and found a spot to hide behind a tree while from behind the corner an orc barrelled out. The orc stood between me and Acker’s shop.
The orc raised a big axe. The axe shone in the moonlight. It looked so pretty it seemed unreal. It swung, gashed my shoulder. I shuddered. It felt real. The axe stuck in the ground.
I needed the hammer fixed so it would make barrels. I so needed that shop. I swung the hammer upwards, hit the orc’s hands off the axe. The hammer fell on the orc’s arms. It staggered the orc, but the handle broke away.
The orc staggered back as its axe lay on the ground. It got in my hands somehow and shone of the moon. I was swinging. Blood got up my arm. I stopped swinging to wipe it off. The axe gleamed with blood and light from the moon.
It looked up to me, bleeding from the neck and screaming, “Orc group take back my honor. I scream from hell for you die. I go from this world now like they’d do for me.”
I said, “Sorry.”
The kid climbed out from behind the tree. “Lady, thank you.” He clung to my leg and swung back and forth. “Thank you, thank you! You’re so strong. You saved my life!”
“Yes,” I said, “I did.”
My husband came up to me the next night while I was writing about the dead orc. They would put my piece in the local news. My husband said, “I can’t stand this any more, Bina. You never do anything like you care and I can’t live here with you.”
I said, “Okay.” I kept writing. I wrote that the orc had a letter from a superior officer from a camp in the woods.
He said, “I have to leave.”
“Okay.” I kept writing. I wrote that it died with vibrant eyes.
He said, “I leave tonight, and I’ll go through the forest to the town past here — what’s its name. You know the forest better than me. What’s the fastest way there?”
I said, “There,” and pointed somewhere. The woods are all the same anyway. I got back to writing.
He said, “Does anything matter to you? Is everything some kind of play? You’re so detached, nothing feels real. I can’t fucking stand that, you bitch.”
“Okay.” I kept writing. I wrote that I killed the orc and that no one was hurt. I stopped. “Well, have a good trip.”
He said, “I can’t fucking stay. Fuck this, fuck you!” He slammed the door behind him.
Screams from the forest woke me that night. He got himself in trouble, I bet. I went to the woods. He’s probably fine but might need me to bring him back to the house and stitch his leg or whatever.
I found a clearing with his dead body and three orcs. I sighed.
I couldn’t very well leave him there, could I? Someone might see him and make a big scene and I’d have to cry right with them. At least I didn’t need to get more bandages from the shop. I killed the orcs and dragged him home.
The sun had come far up when I was getting home. I was late for breakfast, and that wouldn’t do. I dropped him just outside the door, rushed in, and put on the kettle.
Without him to help on the shop, I couldn’t keep that life. This gave me an opportunity — I could do anything I wanted. But I didn’t wanted. I’d killed the orcs well enough, I could maybe go to town and get work as a fighter.
I’d just sit there behind armor and stay there. Nothing would happen to me. All this time and everything’s just happened around me. I’ve not done anything that matters.
I went to the city to be a barbarian. I like that. It cuts through all the shit. It’ll make me care, I hope.