Olaf was awake even before noon to the smell of scrambled eggs and waffles. Bungo was making a feast for the noontime meal. Feeding the needy required quite a bit preparations, cooking, and of course food. Olaf started the day with a smile and hummed his new favorite tune: Olaf and the Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, …
He headed out to the courtyard to meet the arrivals. Olaf was shocked out how packed the courtyard was. There must have been twice as many people as had shown up the day before. Where were all the needy people coming from?
A fight started to break out in the courtyard from a couple of people who were arguing over who was earlier in line. By the time Olaf pushed his way through to the two most combative ones, one had already pushed the other to the ground. Olaf stepped between them and yelled, “Stop thinking of only yourself and do something with your life.” The argument stopped abruptly. Now there was only general surprise at Olaf’s anger. Most surprised, was Olaf himself. He didn’t get angry often and why would something as trivial as this bother him? And why in the world did he say that? That statement didn’t sound like it came from Olaf at all. In fact, it sounded like something he heard before. Olaf headed out of the courtyard as he tried to recall where he had heard those words. Then he went white as a ghost as the specific memory came into focus. Those were the exact words his father had told him. His father had told him he couldn’t run from who he was. But he had run, and run very far. Still maybe his father was right after all.
Bastable was stuck doing paperwork again so Olaf thought he’d have a quiet day. To his surprise, there was a new mission, this time from Kassam. Olaf preferred doing police work, but there was bills to be paid and the means work needs to be done. The team was going to Summervale to help House Betrish. The Elf Queen was coming to visit Summervale, and all the Elf Houses were required to compete in contests for the Queen. House Betrish has no one of age for the contests, so they were hiring Kassam and team to complete for House honor.
Along the way, Olaf insisted they stop at the village of Gogodonsk. The little village had a woman named Dreamweaver who was expert in dream interpretation. Olaf met with her to talk about a reoccurring and disturbing dream he had been having. She seemed to know Olaf in some way and asked him about his standing in the Order of the Great Gold Wyrm. It was the exact question he had been asking himself. He answered he didn’t know, and she seemed to understand. Then she responded that to get answers about Olaf’s mysterious dream, she would need to perform a ritual to attune him to the realm of dreams. It would take some time to gather the ingredients, but she would begin working on it. Olaf thanked her and left to continue to Summervale.
At Summervale, the team met with Shanafane Betrish and got some instructions on what they were required to do. For the first contest, scouts had seen an Orc war party in the area. Early the next day, all the Houses would send out their champions to find the Orcs and capture the Orc banner. Olaf was a little unclear on what early meant. He expected that they’d have to ride out shortly after their noon meal.
Kassam had a great idea. Since all the Elven houses were in Summervale, he would host a party. Olaf loved parties, and Kassam put together a speculator one. It was some kind of wine tasting event, but with decent portions of each wine to taste. Olaf was beside himself. What was more amazing was how many different wines there were to choose from. One wine after the next, they just kept coming all night long. Olaf lost count well into the night.
It was not the first time Olaf had been awakened by Zeratul kicking him, but from the pain he guessed that Zeratul had been kicking him for some time now. There were some words too. Something about the contest starting hours ago and how far behind they were. It all seemed inconsequential to the hangover Olaf was fighting. Even slower than usual, Olaf got ready, got mounted, and then rode out with the rest of the team.
Kassam headed them towards the lake and picked up some Orc tracks, but they were many hours old. They were too far behind the other teams to track down the Orcs. Then Zeratul used his cloak to fly into the sky. He spotted the Orcs, but someone shot him with an arrow and he fell to the ground. Someone was being extremely rude, but they weren’t able to locate the shooter. Zeratul’s scouting gave them a direction, and with that the team was able to find the Orcs first, but were they actually first? Maybe some other team had also located the Orcs. Maybe they were just waiting for someone to charge in and fight the Orcs so the other team could sneak out the Orc banner without doing all the hard work. Olaf and his friends weren’t going to fall for that trick. Instead, they would hide waiting for another team to fight the Orcs and then Zeratul would sneak out the Orc banner.
Then came the Verdant Circle. They were everything Olaf always dreamed he would be with Great Gold Wyrm shields, banners, and capes. They charged in gallantly and attacked the Orcs. When they were almost done, Zeratul leaped down from a tree and grabbed the Orc banner. As Zeratul ran off, Kassam charged in, with Olaf trailing way behind, to finish off the last Orc. Even in defeat, the Verdant Circle, graciously thanked them for their help. Kassam and Olaf left to meet back up with Zeratul. It all seemed to have worked, until the Verdant Circle spotted the three of them together riding into the winners circle. The Verdant guys were furious and challenged them to a non-combat duel for the Orc banner. The means of the duel were up to each team member.
Zeratul went first and chose to an obstacle course race. With his great speed, he easily won. Next Olaf challenged them to a scrabble contest. Nobody around here was better than Olaf at scrabble. As they were playing and Olaf was ahead, he heard a whisper.
“You should throw the game to the Paladin. It is the honorable thing to do.”
“Why would I do that?” Olaf said aloud. His opponent was confused at this random statement, but Olaf was more confused himself. He wasn’t sure what to do so he made some bad plays and let the Paladin win. Afterwards, Kassam and Zeratul were annoyed with him and asked him why he lost. Olaf didn’t really understand himself. Fortunately, for the last contest, Kassam easily won a fishing duel so they were able to keep the Orc banner for House Betrish.
While partying after their first success, dire news came in. Elven Fort Briar was under attack by Orcs. They needed immediate reinforcements. Who better to send then the victors of the first contest. To get their fast, the team was to be taken by Giant Eagles. They got to the top of the building and prepared themselves. A Giant Eagle swooped down, picked up Kassam, and flew off. A second eagle swooped in and picked up Zeratul. Then a third Giant Eagle swooped in grabbed Olaf, then fluttered, and fluttered some more, and then squawked in agony. The Eagle Master understood the issue. He got harnesses around two Giant Eagles and then attached roped to the harnesses and each rope around Olaf. With their combined flying, Olaf was dragged into the air. For the first time ever, Olaf flew through the sky. This was definitely the best way to travel.
When they landed at the top of the tower, the fort was already under attack. The team fought their way down to meet up with Warden Althur. The Warden let them know the base of the wall desperately needed their assistance. When the team arrived, the elves had already been killed. The team dispatched two Land Sharks and five Sappers. Zeratul collected their highly unstable explosives to carry with him.
While victorious, Warden Althur had been killed in a different fight. Worse yet, this was only an initial assault. A Siege Tower were coming and if it broke through the wall, everyone would surely be killed. The situation looked grim and morale was low. The troops needed to be inspired. Olaf thought of what brought up his spirits when he was feeling low. A good meal? No time to feed everyone before the battle began. He needed something quick. Then he got the perfect idea, a good song. Olaf started bellowing out the first song that popped into his head.
It’s Olaf and the Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain …
He replaced the line about saving the world with a line about winning the day. Everyone loved that and started joining in singing about Olaf and the Brain. The troops were inspired and ready to defend the fort.
The team and the troops charged out to meet the Siege Tower. While Kassam, Olaf, the troops fought the ground troops, Zeratul leaped up to the top of the Siege Tower and threw in all the explosives. He blew the siege tower to pieces. The team and the Elves retreated into the fort. Without the Siege Tower, the Orcs couldn’t breach the wall and the fort held.
After defeating the Orcs they returned to Summervale. The contests were over and the Elf Queen couldn’t be more pleased with House Betrish. Shanafane Betrish was overjoyed and indicated to Kassam that he had upheld his part of the arrangement. It was a good night of partying and some much needed rest.
That night Olaf heard a whisper, “You’ve done well to represent my interests with the Elven community”. Enough of this strange whispering. Olaf demanded to who or what was talking to him.
And then he understood.