While they are driving down the long, lonesome road, Clayton introduces his friends to Dungeons & Dragons, a new (at the time) role playing game. Each of the passengers decides on a character and name. Craig decides on a monk named Bruce Lee. He even makes the high pitched screech like the famous martial artist.
They all laughed at Craig.
Clayton grinned. “I’m gonna go with my character from the game. He’s a paladin—kind of like a warrior priest. His name is Chip.”
Patti blinked very slowly, blue eyes focused on Clayton. “You named a Paladin—Chip?” she said the name with disgust.
“There’s a reason for it. I gave him the name Virous to begin with, because he was really handsome—for a dwarf. But he got into an altercation and chipped his two front teeth. So, they started calling him Chip. It stuck.”
Clayton laid out a scenario for them, describing the setting so they could almost see it. “It’s the night of a full moon,” he said in a low, hypnotic tone. “You met in a tavern a few miles back, but none of you could sleep. You were lured out by voices calling your names and met up in the cobblestone courtyard. The voices compel you down the rutted, dirt road. They seem to be guiding you to a deep valley surrounded by steep hills. At the bottom of the valley, there is a deep, dark loch. The moonlight dances across the surface like silver coins flung by a careless hand.”
“Oh, that’s very good,” Patti said, unable to contain herself. “That’s a cool description. I can totally see it. It’s chilly there.”
“Yes,” Clayton agreed. “You can see your breath and there is a scattering of frost.”
Patti shivered, wrapping her arms around herself as if putting on a cloak.
“The warrior—Ax Man, senses something. Chip raises his hand, stopping the group.”
“Wait, you’re the leader?” Richard protested. “No fair, man.”
“Only for now,” Clayton said. “Because I’ve played before. I run these games at home, all the time.”
“Okay, just so long as we’re clear,” Richard agreed.
“You find yourselves in a grove of trees. You wander forward and, without realizing it, walk into a fairy ring. That’s when the trouble starts. Everything looks distorted, like your dreams came alive. Only these aren’t nice dreams with naked nymphs and lusty warriors. These are more like nightmares where creatures attack, trying to kill you. When the thief’s arm is laid open by the talons of a giant, black crow, you realize that it’s not a dream. What do you do?”
“I cast a spell of protection,” Patti said.
“I stab at it,” Richard stated.
“I play a song to give us strength.” Daniel strummed the air like a harp.
“I call on the trees to help us,” Maddie declared.
“I draw my ax and start hacking at things,” Brad said.
“And I’m with you.” Craig whooped and screeched like Bruce Lee.