It’s late afternoon by the time you reach Feldergrod and the first thing you do marvel at its grandeur.
Okay, so it isn’t that grand, but it is large enough to have its own wooden wall and multiple brick buildings all painted a similar shade of earthy brown with white, shingled roofs. Considering where you came from however, this is impressive.
As you approach you can hear behind the wall the sounds of an active town. It is the sound of people talking and children laughing merged with wagons being pulled and deals being struck. It is an invigorating sound. Of course, this means it will also be chock full of normies.
And, if rumors are true, Monsters.
Grunting, you look over at Blake and notice the pensive look on his face. Since this morning he’s been quiet, which annoys you. Seriously, what is he hiding?
As you approach a gate in the wall, a man in livery holds up a hand, the other adjusting the grip on his spear as he calls, “Halt! Who goes there?”
Blake snaps out of his thoughts and stands to attention. He addresses the guard, “We are but humble travelers, here to seek shelter under the walls of Feldergrod.”
The guard looks at the two of your quizzically, especially at you. He begins to open his mouth but ends up shrugging, his posture suggesting he really doesn’t care. You don’t care that much either but-
Wait, this is a great opportunity to mess with Blake.
Before the guard can reply, you bust in, “Nay, don’t be so modest SIR Blake.”
You look to Blake, a shit eating grin on your face as you continue, “Do you not recognize Blake, Champion of the Order of the Heroic Brotherhood, scourge of spellcasters, rider of bulls, and a worthy champion who hath bested none other than a Minotaur in combat?”
The guard stares at you with surprise followed by incredulity, then smug satisfaction. “Oh, aye? A champion rider of Minotaurs eh? Well, SIR Blake, there are a few of the like who frequent these walls now and again, so perhaps you’d like to, ah, throw down against them eh?”
He begins to snicker, causing you to do the same before both of you break into full out laughter.
Blake just stands there, clenching his jaw as his cheeks go red in embarrassment. “I didn’t do anything to that Minotaur…” After maybe three minutes and fifty-two seconds, you both stop laughing and the guard waves you on, mentioning something about “Not causing too much trouble” and “Cheeky cunts.”
And with that, you’re now in the town proper. You smile in amusement at the feeling of your boot touching a cobblestone road before looking about the town. The brown and white buildings you saw before are now all around you, windows and doors open to let the rays of sun and potential customers in. Children play in the street while adults go about their business, the men working and the women cleaning or fetching from the marketplace. To your surprise, here and there you see a Monster in the streets: A Minotaur hefting heavy barrels like they’re nothing, or a Centaur hitched to a wagon.
It’s sort of unnerving to see after your little adventures on the road, but the few Monsters you see in the town are tastefully clothed and don’t seem likely to randomly rape people in the streets. You do see one Centaur cup a man’s face and give him a long, passionate kiss, but beyond that disgusting display it’s tame.
As you look about, Blake brushes past you, walking with a brisk pace. Clearly he’s familiar with the layout, so maybe he passed through here earlier? No time to think about this though, as you have to hurry to catch up with him.
The two of you get some odd looks here and there as you make your way through the town. There’s some obvious blushes for Blake from women and a few obvious scowls from men. You yourself personally get one or two Monsters tracking you with their eyes, including one very confused and horny looking Centaur. She flares her tail at you while licking her lips before tripping over a loose stone and toppling the cart she’s pulling. Eh, serves her right.
As you turn the corner of a large building, light floods your eyes and you hold up a hand to shield yourself from the brilliance. When your sight returns to you, you blink in surprise at what you see. The source of the light is the afternoon sun reflecting off the Yangrove river. Small ships float at the docks while others drift lazily on by toward their destinations. Sailors, Monsters, and merchants of all varieties trade goods, load boats, and generally fill the place with a sense of life and vitality.
While awe inspiring it also makes you very uncomfortable. So… So many people! And so many of them are… women, wearing nothing more than vests and short leggings no less! Disgusting. So very disgusting.
You don’t hesitate to hurry after Blake this time as he heads for a nearby building. Without even looking, he throws the door open and heads inside. Cocking your head, you notice a sign above the door with an image of what appears to be a snake tail coming from a woman’s torso. In large letters it reads, “The Lamia’s Nest.” That… doesn’t sound good.
Hesitantly, you enter while bracing yourself to burn the whole Gods damned place to the ground if you must. Taking a deep breath, you peer inside to see… people. Just regular, everyday, ordinary people. Two legs and everything! It’s pretty early in the afternoon however, so all you see are few humans sitting around here and there, nursing drinks while barmaids move to clean tables and serve food.
Blake strides forward to a desk where a bored looking, black-haired woman leans on the counter, her head resting on her fist while she watches the patrons. Not even looking at the two of you she says, “Welcome to The Lamia’s Nest, how can I help-“
She cuts off abruptly as she takes notice of Blake. A smile touches her lips as she straightens, and you notice that she’s rather pretty, with a lovely face and fair skin. From what you can see, she’s wearing a tight-fitting corset that shows off her ample breasts and her radiant blue eyes flutter in delight as she speaks to Blake.
“Well if it isn’t Sir Blake! I was wondering when I’d see you again. I thought you’d forgotten all about poor little Misha…”
Blake sighs, “Good day to you as well Misha. I need a room for the night and a strong brew.”
Misha pouts and touches a finger to her lips. “Always so forward with you Blakey dear. Honestly, it’s always the same with you Order types.” She leans forward, exposing her cleavage to Blake. “Although none of them ever treated me like you did.”
You began to feel incredibly uncomfortable and cough violently in your hand. Blake looks over his shoulder and rolls his eyes while Misha studies you quizzically. “Oh? Who is this Blakey? A friend?”
“A companion, yes.”
Misha pouts further, puffing out her cheeks “Oh poo. And here I was hoping you may share a room with me this evening… although…” She looks you over again and smirks, the gesture making your spine shiver.
“That’s enough of that, Misha.”
She seems to take the hint and straightens her back before beckoning to one of her staff. “One Hespertan dark for the gentleman and make certain that room fourteen is ready.”
The girl bows to her, then you, also showing ample cleavage. Fucking towns and their damn… women… numbers. As she scurries off you look over to Blake and raise an eyebrow. “What now?”
Blake walks to a booth in the common room and slouches down into the seat. “Why don’t you go explore the town or something.”
“That sounds stupid as…” You begin, but your words die in your throat as you look at Blake’s face. He has absolutely no expression. It is as if some Demon came by, stole his soul, and left his shell sitting there.
Maybe… maybe you should explore the town or something.
You back up slowly as the waitress brings a tall mug of some brown and frothy liquid to Blake, before slinking out of the common room. As you head for the door, you hear Misha call to you, “Be careful out there, or you’ll be eaten alive, hehehe.”
Slowly nodding your head without looking at her, you stiffly walk out into the dockside air. Alright, so that was weird. Probably best not to think about it and instead plan what to do until nightfall or at least until Blake cools off.
You’re not certain which will happen first.
Alright, time to think of something to do.
Let’s see, you’re in a larger town with tons of river traffic, which means… You perk up as you realize that they may have magical implements! At that thought you can barely hold back your desire to peruse for quality implements which you can put on your mantle when you return home. Feeling in your pocket to see how much money you have- where is it?
You search a bit more and come up with nothing. Oh fuck, you left your [Money Pouch] at home!
Wait… that’s it! Shit!
You perk up again and look about, sniffing the air for a distinctive smell- Ah, there it is. You follow the stench down the docks and find what you’re looking for. Stables. Massive stables. Probably a sale barn or something that holds the livestock which comes down the river.
With your cockiest grin, you roll up the sleeves of your robes, exposing fit arms, and stride up to an important looking man directing traffic near the stables. The aura of confidence you exude makes it seem like you practically own the place. Planting fists on your hips, you open your mouth and… You promptly spill sauce covered noodles.
“Ah, erm, yes! Hail there sir, I would like to, well you see that is-“
He turns to you, a frustrated look on his face. “Oi, the fuck you want ya right sure cunt weasel?”
“Oh well, yes, I was wondering, that is, seeing if you perhaps needed services cleaning your ah, that is to say, these stables for a well… fee?”
He lifts his lip in a snarl before waving a hand dismissively. “I gots enough stable mucks, so piss off ya shitfucker”
You’re sweating by this point, but you manage to say, “But I can clean it faster than everyone combined!”
The man lifts an eyebrow and faces you fully, looking you up and down. “Oi, Oi, ya pullin ma jank ya cheeky cunt? Not even that Hero Hundrunkucles could clean these stables so quick-like.”
You take a deep breath and observe the stables. Yes… this should work. Closing your eyes, you slowly raise your arms. Hay begins to shiver and shake in the nearest stall. Quickly gathering momentum, shit rises from stalls to form into a ball. More and more feces accumulate into the mass from a distance, forming a massive orb of pure waste as your arms begin to shake under the strain of moving so much filth.
And then, it’s done. Panting, you look over to the stable master, whose eyes are wide, his jaw slack. He slowly reaches into his pocket and withdraws a gold coin before pressing it into your hand.
You clench your fist tight on the money and, with an effort of will, you hurl the ball over into a waste heap on the side of the building. It hits with a sickening squelch and splatters of crap fly into the air, splattering the street. With a grunt of effort, you grin and snap your fingers at the stable master, pointing both index fingers at him in what you assume is a cool gesture. Well, you think it’s cool anyway.
He doesn’t seem to notice unfortunately, probably because he’s still staring off into nothingness. Shrugging, you notice a stray piece of dung sitting on the ground. With simple gesture, you use your aetheric might to fling it behind you without looking, in what you also assume is a cool gesture. A soft, squishing sound comes from behind followed by a few feminine screams. You frown and turn around to see a tall, dark skinned man in crimson red robes and polished, expensive looking shoes, staring at a brown stain on the front of his clothing.
He studies the stain with disdain while two incredibly attractive women on his shoulders titter about in disgust. Slowing raising a hand to his face, he pushes down a pair of shaded spectacles before saying, “Oh heeeellllls no. You did NOT just fling shit at Franz Jakovitch.”
Oh geez. This is just what you need, some pompous asshole in your face. But… it is kind of your fault after all. It would be the right thing to clean it up for him.
You quickly snap your fingers and the dung flies off his clothes like a butterfly from a spring flower, fluttering away to join the rest of the stool pile.
“I ah, yeah, sorry about that and uhm, sorry.”
Franz Jakovitch raises an eyebrow before inspecting his robe. He scrunches his nose as if he smelled something foul and says to the women around him, “Dayum girls, you see this two-bit little sorcerer flinging his Kinetomancy around like he’s some hot shit?”
He sneers at you, “But the only hot shit round here is the aetheric stench you left behind. Shit, if I didn’t know better, I’d say you were attuned to it, because dayum do your aetheric signature smell like week old funk rolled into a basket of rotten tomatoes.”
Fucking. Savage. This son of a bitch just took your ass to town in a metaphysical sense and he isn’t done there. The girls on his shoulder giggle at this and press close to him. “Sheet, I ain’t never seen a sorcerer with such a damn dopey ass look to his magic.”
You mumble, head down, “I said I was sorry…”
“That’s right, you sorry, one sorry ass little hedge mage thinks he got the privilege to stand in front of Franz Ja-ak-o-vitch.” He shrugs his shoulders and looks back to his girls. “Now now, I am a kind sorcerer, and I can forgive such transgressions.”
He smiles very wide, and you can see some gold teeth inscribed with runes that you’re fairly certain say “Franz Jakovitch.”
“Show me some of yo’ magic, and if you keep me entertained, maybe I’ll teach you a few pointers on how to not be such a bitch.”
You aren’t spoiling for a fight, but this muthafucka needs to be taught a lesson in magical might. Who fuck does he think he is? Well, Franz Jakovitch, obviously. But yeah, fuck that. You aren’t going to fight him, yet, but you think flexing some magical muscle is worth it. Taking a moment to focus your rage and embarrassment, you go silent, and then see.
You see the world in a slightly different light with your [Mage Sight] active. Well, not exactly, but you can see this bastard’s little enchantments. The first thing you notice are two, vibrantly glowing stones in one pocket, obviously mana crystals, where he draws his magical power from. As a Wizard you’re not limited in your magic by such things, but sorcerers are.
Gathering your energy before letting your annoyance with this man pour out, you begin, “What the fuck did you just fucking say about me, you little bitch? I’ll have you know I graduated top of my class in the Arcane University, and I’ve been involved in numerous secret raids on the Monster Lady’s castle, and I have over 300 confirmed Monster kills.”
You point at the shit pile again, and it flows upwards into a spout, slowly turning and twisting, creating a tornado of pure feces. “I am trained in guerilla warfare and I’m the top Wizard in the entire Order arcane corps. You are nothing to me but another target. I will wipe you the fuck out with precision the likes of which has never been seen before in this Kingdom, mark my fucking words.”
With your base of swirling shit, you begin to create bursts of ice in the funnel, forming crystalline shapes and casting a glassy hue to the twister. The aetheric energies sparkle in your [Mage Sight], but you take no time to appreciate it as you keep talking.
“You think you can get away with saying that shit to my face? Think again, peasant. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of familiars across the land and your spirit energy signature is being traced right now so you better prepare for the shitstorm, maggot. The shitstorm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your life. You’re fucking dead, dude.”
With a snap, electricity crackles and sparks through the storm, infusing the ice crystals and creating a sparkling, chaining light. “I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can kill you with over seven hundred spells, and that’s just with my bare hands. Not only am I extensively trained in elemental magic, but I have access to the entire arsenal of the Order of Heroic Brotherhood and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable ass off the face of the continent, you little shit.”
As a finishing touch, you enhance the unaltered core of the tornado with a little fire. It explodes as the fuel gives it life, and a column of pure flame appears in the center, reflecting off the electrically charged ice. It’s straining as fuck to keep the ice going as you do this, but to anyone looking with the sight, they’ll see a Gods damned rainbow of magical energies.
It’s beautiful, honestly.
“If only you could have known what unholy retribution your little “clever” comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fucking tongue. But you couldn’t, you didn’t, and now you’re paying the price, you Gods damned idiot. I will literally shit fury all over you, and you will drown in it. You’re fucking dead, kiddo.”
With that, you stare directly into Franz Jakovitch’s eyes, and begin your [Irate Frog Song]. The swirling, burning vortex casts ethereal light over the faces of the horrified, yet transfixed populace, who now huddle with their ears covered as you sing your song. Horses and other animals scream in terror, but still you sing, eyes locked with the stoic looking Franz, his jaw clenched as he takes in the full force of your aetheric might.
As your lungs begin to give out, you slowly stop your song and, with a wave, cut off the magic. The electricity winks out, and the ice begins to melt as the fire consumes the shit. It falls down into the waste heap and bits off flaming stool create the foulest stench in the world.
Normies, er, normal citizens, flee from the flames, but at least the blaze is vaguely contained, the fires dying down to a dull roar. Panting, you hold up your arms towards Franz Jakovitch and puff out, “H-how’s that?”
Franz Jakovitch stands stock still as the two women around him crouch down, protecting their ears and chittering unintelligibly to each other. Slowly, and with shaking hands, he replaces his shaded spectacles before taking a deep breath and saying, “T-that.” He coughs, “That was aight, aight. You got some talent, but uh… yo fireball there? Yeah, that was bitch ass weak.”
You stare at him, panting and wild-eyed, [Mage Sight] still active. Franz Jakovitch raises a hand up and you can see one of the stones in his pocket grow dimmer as fire blossoms from his palm. It’s much stronger and more complex than your own [Fireball], you must admit, and he waves it around his body, doing some fairly bullshit martial arts things with it.
On a cursory glance, you see that it’s constructed of light weaves of fire over a dense core of the same stuff. It seems almost as if it’s designed to plume outward like a [Fire Bomb], and you watch in fascination as the sorcerer spins it about before tossing it to the dung heap. About five seconds later you hear a large “Whoompf!” as the whole damn pile is set ablaze.
Panicked stable hands run about throwing water on the inferno, but they merely get it wet, the blaze laughing at them. Franz folds his arms and leans back a little, one eye peering over his spectacles. You cock your head and look at the inferno, then back to Franz, an idea popping in your head. “Impressive… But what of the ice magic?”
Franz hesitates for a moment before answering. “What about it?”
“Well, how would you improve it?
Franz licks his lips again. “Bitch, I am generous enough to even show you a fraction of my power, so you best be thankful.”
You smirk. “You can only do fire magic, can’t you?”
Franz scoffs and turns a circle before swatting at one of the dazed girls. “Bitch, you hear what the muthafucka is sayin?”
She looks around, confused, “Y-yes Mr. Jakovitch…”
He shakes her as he says, more forcefully, “BITCH, I say, you hear what this MUTHAFUCKA is sayin?”
She cringes back, “Yes Mr. Jakovitch!”
He scoffs and looks back to you. “You little bitch ass mutha fucka gettin all up in my face, sayin this shit to me while you slinging that all around, well fuck you, fuck yo momma, and fuck. Yo. Magic.”
You stand there in silence as Franz Jakovitch huffs and puffs. Then, you slowly raise your hand and form a ball of fire, intricately weaving it into the same form Franz Jakovitch did.
Franz Jakovitch’s eyes go wide at the sight and he takes a step back. “Aww heeeeells no, you can’t do that so fast, it took me fucking three years to-“
He looks around at the women near him and mutters a curse before looking back at you, “I’m gunna let you off easy this time, but mark my words, you ain’t seen the last of Franz Jakovitch!” He snaps his fingers and turns to leave, shouting, “Bitches! Follow!” And they do.
You watch him walk away while the stable hands still freak out, trying to put out the blaze. Absently you wave a hand, causing block of ice to form which instantly melts and squelches the flames. Geez, are all sorcerers such dicks?
You shake your head over the yelling and confusion, then walk out to the town proper, palming the gold coin in your hand.
Walking down the cobbled streets with your hands in your pockets, you look about for anything of value. Although you see some interesting items, your mind keeps drifting to your encounters outside the town, and with Franz Jakovitch. Soon though, a dull realization comes to you. While you really would like some doll, err, implements, your recent adventures have made it obvious that you need more useful supplies if you’re going to make it to Sanctifrond in one piece.
As you ponder this you walk by a little, one-story shop crammed in between two larger buildings. A sign out front has a picture of a pointed hat and reads, “Hat Tricks Sorcery Emporium.” You wrinkle your nose at the sign and then sigh. Fucking sorcerers man. Can’t find a Gods damned Wizardry shop anywhere outside the communion matrix. Of course that’s probably because no Wizard would actually go outside to visit one of these stores, but that’s beside the point.
You approach the door and open it slowly. As soon as you crack it open, the shopkeeper pipes up, “Welcomey-doo, how may I help you?” You twitch at the sing-song voice and spy a smiling little round man with a bad toupee and a massive mustache behind a counter. You nod at him without making eye contact and start looking around the shop.
It’s surprisingly well stocked in all sorts of actual magical implements, from mana crystals to arcane tomes. There’s sticks, stones, and runic bones, robes and glass and plenty, plenty of brass. You are honestly quite surprised at the selection, though you don’t have much of a reference.
Nothing overly important jumps out at you at first except that they’re out of stock of [Bags of Holding], a shame. As you browse you notice a presence behind you and you whirl, straining for your magic.
You panic until you notice the shopkeeper behind you, coughing into his hand as he points at a massive rune in the corner of the shop that pulses with faint energy. It’s obviously a warding rune and you feel stupid for not noticing it. You blush and nod your head, mumbling an apology. The man shrugs, “Oh it happens all the time, it’s mostly there to stop the crime.”
Gods dammit, what is with people and rhyming?
“Is there any help you need? Just but ask and stock I’ll feed.”
That doesn’t make any Gods damned sense. You’re certain this fucker just likes to sound pretentious, which is weird because he probably… is? “Ah, yes well, you see, I could use ahh…” You gesture toward your robes.
The man bobs his head up and down. “Of course, of course, right this way, I think I have something to make your day!” You follow him over to a rack of robes in various shapes and sizes. He looks over a few and then picks one out, holding it up to you. “A fit? A match? Oh see it glitter? I’m sure it makes your heart a twitter!”
The robe he holds is a fancy silken number, dyed a rich midnight blue and fitted with multiple moons and stars. It’s disgusting and something only a Gods damned scrub mage would wear. You casually bat it aside and the man blanches before putting it back up. “It seems you have a discerning taste, perhaps I chose wrong in my haste?”
You look at the choices for a moment and then sigh. “Do… do you have anything useful for… dirty magic?”
The man stares at you with a concerned expression and you hastily reply, “Ah, ah, no, I meant ah, like shit. Feces, erm. You know, Copromancy.”
The shopkeeper furrows his brow and takes a step back from you before slowly drawing a robe from the rack.
It’s a long, black affair, made of thick material lined with leather. A simple cloak hangs from behind it, and there are plenty of pouches and pockets, some designed specifically for vials and flasks. It looks very durable and easy to clean to boot. It’s nothing too showy, but certainly nice looking. You look it over, and for some reason, it feels RIGHT.
Confident in your choice, you nod the man who grins with avarice, “Oh ho ho, I see, I see, your choice in clothing is fine as can be. For such a robe, I think the price, of fifteen silvers is much quite nice.”
You internally grunt. Fifteen silvers?! Twenty-five coppers to a silver, twenty silvers to a gold. These robes almost eat your entire little fortune!
But it is a nice robe… maybe you can haggle it down? Might be easier if you get other items as well. “What about any traps. For erm…” You think of how to word this. “Pests. Very large, very intelligent pests.”
The shopkeeper taps his chin and thinks for a moment before walking to another rack and looking at some options. Reaching into a drawer, he pulls out some folding stakes, six of them to be precise. [Hexagrammic wards]? Sure, they take time to set up, but the magical net they cast is top notch, so you’ve heard.
You cock your head and shrug, trying to see how strong these wards are with your [Mage Sight]. “Perhaps. But it would need to be able to ah…” Fuck it, might as well say it. “To trap a Monster.”
The shopkeeper stiffens and looks around nervously before scuttling to you and whispering, “Watch your tongue and what you say, lest you wish to survive the day.”
He then straightens his spine and resumes his jovial little dance before slowly pushing the wards into your hands and grinning widely, “Traps for a pest, better than the rest!”
Huh, maybe the rhyming thing isn’t just an act. It’s entirely possible that he has a mental disorder. Well, at least these wards should be useful. “I… see. Very well then- oh! Do you happen to have any items for Wizards perchance?”
He whips about and studies you with intense concern as beads of sweat appear in his forehead. He whispers, “Thou art a Wizard?!”
You start at his sudden change of speech and nod your head slowly. The shopkeeper stands stock still before walking around the counter and pulling out a box, blowing dust off the lid. He stares into your eyes as he says, “Long hath I held upon this arcane item, and long hath it slumbered under my roof, but now, a Wizard! A Wizard may come to truly purchase it at last!”
Sounds like the idiot bought it years ago, not knowing that Wizards don’t go to these places. He shoves it at you and you slowly open the lid, finding a smaller, more intricate box inside. Holding your breath as you open, you anticipate the majesty of what awaits you. It’s a… It’s a… Barber set? You see some scissors, a comb, some random gel… It’s all really well made but, come on.
You pick up the scissors absently and your eyes widen in shock. The swirling eddies of the void appear in your mind’s eye, pulsing through your very pores. You understand, no, KNOW that your beard has potential and, with proper care, it could be the greatest beard known to Wizardkind. A tear rolls down your cheek at the sensation.
And then it’s over. With shaking hands, you replace the scissors into the box and breath slowly.
“I’ll take it.”
The man leans close, licking his lips, “Take what sir?”
“All of it, I’ll take it.”
He beams, rubbing his hands together. “Certainly! That will be one gold and 17 silvers.”
You slam down the gold coin and stare the man in the eyes. Both of you share the gaze of each other’s presence. He flinches first and titters before staring at the box and then you.
“I… well I couldn’t let it go for more than 1 gold and 10 silvers, you see.”
You continue to stare, unabated and he gulps. “1 gold and 3 silvers?”
The man pales and wipes sweat from his pate. “Sir, I can’t just give you something like that for…”
Your stare might as well be casting a Pyromancy spell in the room with its intensity. You’re not certain where all this confidence is coming from, but you really, REALLY want these items. The man pulls at his collar to release hot air. Whimpering, he gulps and snatches the coin. “One gold it is!”
Slowly, you gather your new gear and walk out of the store backwards, staring at the man the whole way. You aren’t sure why, you just feel that it’s the correct thing to do. Soon enough you find yourself outside again and the adrenaline drains from you. Gods above that was stressful, but fuck everything you have some nice things to show for it! Quickly changing into your new digs, you place the hexagrammic wards in one of the large pockets and store your other items in pockets/ holsters.
The smell of fresh leather and new cloth fills your nose and you smile before taking a step into the rapidly approaching night. You feel like a million gold in your new digs. Shit, even that Franz Jakobitch ain’t got nothing on your current level of swag.
As you walk down the road, you feel the eyes of everyone on you. They aren’t always friendly eyes, and a few quite lustful, (aren’t Monsters ALWAYS horny though?) but you just brush it off. They just want what they can’t have. And what they can’t have is style.
Night has fallen by the time you leave the shop. Certainly, people aren’t as abundant in the main roads as they were during the day, but there is a healthy amount walking down the streets and paths. Lights from candles inside houses play with the rustling wind and the sound of fiddle music is heard drifting in from a tavern which bustles with people and Monsters drinking and chatting about their problems.
You don’t want any of that, but you suppose it might be time to go see Blake again. He’s probably cooled off. Probably. Puffing out your chest you make your way back to the riverside area where your inn resides. As you get about three blocks from the docks however, you notice a pair of men acutely interested in your presence.
Haters gunna hate? You just keep walking, but they are obviously following you. You casually take a turn in the right direction, and notice four more men lounging at an intersection, tracking your movements and tensing up.
Oh neat, you have human stalkers now. Just what you need. Gritting your teeth you turn past them, a route which takes you further from your destination, and they join the other men following you. You make a few turns here and there, trying best to keep them out of sight, but it quickly becomes obvious when you reach a dead-end alleyway that it was they who were in control.
Sneaky little bastards. At this point there are eight of them spreading out to cover the entrance of the alley. They pull out knives, chains, and even a weapon from the East you’ve heard described before as “nun-chucks.”
Despite this, you smirk and prepare to cast [Lighting Bolt]. Surely no one will care about a few unconscious thugs right? You’ll just give them a little zap and they’ll go nighty night. But hey, let’s gloat a little first. You’re feeling pretty saucy right about now. “Halt! Take one step closer and I shall be forced to unleash my full magical might upon thee!
They fucking begin to chuckle. The lead man gives you a grin. Granted it’s missing a few teeth, but that’s beside the point. He says, “Oh aye?” I think we’ll take our chances.”
You narrow your eyes and raise your staff, channeling your power. “Take one more step, I dare you.”
“Oh? What happens then? You gunna cry?”
“It would be very painful.”
“You’re a big sorcerer.”
Your rage blazes in your mind as you shout, “For you!” From your staff comes the big the zappity zoop zap at them. And… it snaps to the side, seemingly drawn to one man in the middle of the pack whom you realize is holding a large, rune inscribed stone, the object now glowing faintly.
The lead man barks out a laugh. “Franz Jakovitch said you were some kind of fool, and I guess he was right!” He shakes his head. “Oh well, nothing personal Mr. Sorcerer.”
You back up as they press inward, looking for a way out. Which of course leads to nothing because it’s a dead end, you idiot. That is, until your foot scrapes over something metal and you look down in a hurry.
Beneath you is a large, metallic disk set into the ground covering some kind of hole. With a start, your body acts before you can think as you jam your staff into the hole, popping it open. A wave of foulness assaults your nose immediately. You stare down into the dark pit then back to the advancing men.
Who… are not advancing anymore. They look at the hole with wide eyes, then back to you. They aren’t leaving, but they sure as the hells aren’t getting closer. Which leaves you with one option…
Ooookay. Right. Okay. Let’s have a good exit then. You rack your brain as you try to think of a good ending line. You hear a murmur from one of the stunned men.
“He’s not… Not seriously going down there is he?”
Unable to think of anything witty you just shrug and say, “Of course!” before jumping down the hole.
You land in a splash of filth and barely manage to keep from slipping as you regain your balance. Looking up again you hear muffled sounds, which get closer and more distinct as the men close in around the hole.
“…zy fucker actually went down there. We were just gunna rough him up, but fuck me, that bastard has a death wish. Let’s just close this thing up and get back to Franz Jakovitch. Tell him the job is done.” Metal scrapes on stone as the cover is drawn over the hole. With a resounding “slam” it closes and you’re cast into darkness.
You will the runes on your staff to light up. A cramped space appears before you cast in the dull light of your staff. All around you are stone walls lining a maze-like series of corridors on both sides of a wide canal in which dark water flows downward. Yep these are sewers alright. Gods damn, and you thought you had gotten used to the smell of shit by now, but this is a new sort of reek. It’s like moldy bananas mixed with used socks, rolled into vomit and smeared with cream cheese. Not that you’d know what that smells like, but it’s a fair approximation.
Shaking your head, you stare at the water and watch as it flows. That’s probably your ticket out of here. Although you don’t know much about this town or sewers, you figure that it must run down to the river to be disposed of. Which is pretty disgusting now that you think of it, but it’s a big river. Conveniently, that’s where your inn is! Might as well just keep traveling down here to avoid those jerks and their asshole of a boss.
Fucking Franz Jakovitch.
And so you start downstream, keeping a good pace despite the slick surface and awful smell. You’re not certain what got those men so worked up before, but you keep your eyes peeled all the same. All you can hear however is the flow of sludge, the dripping of water off damp stones, and the scurrying of tiny claws on stone.
Actually there’s a fair amount of scurrying to be heard which starts to make you feel nervous, like something is watching you. You pick up your pace and grip your staff as you walk, thinking about what might be out there. Just rats, right? Little, tiny, sewer rats.
Know what? The sounds are starting to become creepy now. You’re fairly certain they’re getting closer by the sound of the echoes thought that sounds like something larger than just a little rat. I-It’s probably just your imagination, but just to make certain… You close your eyes, concentrate, and open your [Mage Sight].
Nothing. No strands of magic, no enchantments, no nothing. Well, that’s a relief, though you guess that does raise a problem. You’re not certain how far away you are from the river or another access point, but you’re certain whatever is down here might catch up with you before then.
With some deliberation, you decide to use one of your new wards. You only have five, but you can spare one for this. Besides, this is as good a time as any to test them out. Finding a prime spot and putting one down, you connect each of the six focal points with a thread of your will before priming them. Then you place the focal points on the floor and cover them with refuse. The whole affair takes maybe three minutes, but it’s time enough for the sounds to claw their way closer.
You swear and turn off your light before ducking into a side tunnel that smells like dead dogs. In all seriousness, there is a dead dog next to you and peer down and see that it has massive chunks bitten out of it, as if by some predator. You gulp and listen as the sounds approach. You can only discern one set of claws on the stone now, but it’s close. Really, really, close. A moment later, you feel a tingling vibration as the wards come to life and snap shut, forming the magical barrier on whatever is inside.
You hear a high-pitched squealing noise and desperate struggling coming from the trap. Steeling yourself, you turn the corner, activate your staff’s light, and look at what it is you caught.
No matter what you were expecting, you did not think it would be this. A short, maybe five-foot tall, feminine creature trashes wildly in the trap, bashing against the walls in panic.
She’s a slim, beautiful creature, possessed of a lithe, human-looking frame and ample breasts for her size, giving her a very appealing appearance. Her hair is short and a stringy grey color, the same as the fur growing on her legs, arms, and in between her naked breasts. Her fingers end in long nails that scrabble and click against the trap, and upon her head sit two pink, round ears which twitch violently in her desperation. From behind a long, worm-like tail protrudes from her rear, trashing about as she seeks escape from your clever ruse.
When you turn the corner, she pulls back and hisses, her dark brown eyes examining you while her enlarged incisors gleam in the aetheric light. Ah, it seems your little pest trap caught a Rat Girl. You take a slow step around the ward, watching her carefully, and she does the same, spinning about as you walk by. Something feels off about this though. You clear your throat before asking, “Aren’t you going to say anything?”
She stares at you, licking her lips carefully before speaking. “Yes, yes, man thing wishes me speak speak? Will man thing release from cage, yes release? Yes yes, if release, will please man thing, with sex sex!” She presses her body sensually against the invisible barrier, bearing herself in full sensuality as she says this.
You groan in disgust and shake your head at the way she talks. Perhaps they just don’t see enough people to speak normally, but hey, that Moth Girl was rhyming so maybe it’s a quirk of the species. That or you’re just meeting a lot of characters with speech disorders. “I don’t think so. I’m just going to walk away now. I hate to leave that ward, but I’m not going to take my chances.”
You turn to go when the Rat Girl squeaks again with an incredibly loud voice, the sound echoing off the walls. “Sisters! Man thing in home! Rape rape man thing!”
You whirl around as she says this, her body still pressed against the barrier, and listen carefully. Nothing happens for a moment, but slowly you begin to hear the sound of nails clicking on stone from a distance, getting rapidly closer. You can’t be certain, but you feel in your stomach that there are multiple Rat Girls coming your way. And they want to rape you senseless.
Rats. Why did it have to be rats? Not that you particularly mind rats in general, in fact you find them fairly adorable! At least, when they aren’t five feet tall and scurrying to rape you.
You take a step back from the now undulating Rat Girl in your ward, her excitement at her sister’s impending descent obvious. Her eyes are as wide as dinner plates and she lets out loud, wistful moans as she continues to press herself against your barrier.
There’s no reason at all to release the sex crazed maniac in your ward, and you’re reasonably confident it will fail eventually without a mana infusion, though you can’t be certain. The skittering of nails on stone echoes ever closer while the Rat Girl in your trap screams at you in a mix of lust and anger. Seems prudent to book it down shit creek instead of dealing with this.
As the sounds get closer you do your best to increase pace but these Monsters are clearly faster than you. Then it hits you: this shit creek is literally a creek of shit. You keep running, but as you do you point your staff ahead and channel your will through it, freezing a section of the soupy mess. Then, with deliberate care, you jump onto the slippery board. It’s a miracle you don’t fall and break your neck, although Gods be damned if you didn’t try. With another wave of power, you freeze your feet to the board and then summon your will upon the feces filled fluid beneath you to propel your board forward.
While disgusting, it’s damn exhilarating as you zip down the sewer canal. Horrid stenches whip past you in a turbulent wind as foul liquid sloshes everywhere, but dammit, you’re making great headway. Hells, even the sounds of the damn Rat Girls have stopped, so surely you must have outpaced them?
Haha, isn’t that a cute thought? But it’s wrong.
You have maybe a second of warning before a brown blur flies from a side tunnel and you feel a pair of squishy globes and strong, slim arms on your back. You almost topple from your board, but thankfully by icing your your feet in place you barely manage to keep your balance despite the thrashings of the Monster on your back.
You desperately try to tear her from your back as she attempts to push you over into the soup. In your panic however, you don’t notice the sharp turn in your path. Your board slams into side of the canal and shatters, throwing both you and the Rat Girl crashing into the wall. The pain is excruciating, especially in your legs which were ripped off the ice board, but you think you’re okay.
Then the wave of sewer water hits you. Gods above it’s foul as all get out, and you gag as it gets all over your new robes, into your mouth, and even your hair and beard. You vomit a little as you shakily get back to your feet and scan for the Rat Girl in a stupor.
She lays a foot away, crumpled in a heap, head lolling at an unnatural angle. Her breathing is sharp and ragged, and it looks as if her neck snapped from the collision. Soon, death will be visited upon her. Your heart twinges as you watch the scene, but you don’t have time to feel sorrow because the skittering of other Rat Girls comes from all around, forcing you to bound to your feet and take off again.
You don’t risk the ice board again. Despite its usefulness it’s been shown to be a great way to get dead. Grimacing as you remember the dying Rat Girl, you wish you had ended her life humanely but doing so may have cost you your own. That thought spurs your legs forward as you run, haunted by the echoes of more Rat Girls.
It’s only when you turn another corner that finally you realize how severe a disadvantage you’re at. Maybe seven of the Monsters stand before you, blocking the path and forcing you to slow your steps, panting furiously. They squeak and chatter amongst themselves about who would “rape-rape you first,” but the worst part is when you hear more skittering behind you, trapping you in.
You whirl and look behind to see maybe four more rat girls, each more ravenous for your cock (or flesh, or perhaps even cockflesh?) than the last. What’s even funnier is that crowding around their feet are normal rats, obviously used to this behavior and ready for the feast to come.
You lick your lips and step back, pressing your back to a wall as they close in, their squeaks and moans almost deafening. There’s nothing for it then, you have to fight. Summoning your will, you let loose with a barrage of fire, torching maybe three of the rat girls before they know what hit them, quickly changing up to throw a bolt of lightning and zap another two as it arcs.
Despite the sudden losses the other rat girls merely become more frenzied, and they rush toward you in an uncoordinated mass. You spit out some lingering sewer water and smile ruefully. Well, it was a short time as a Wizard, but it was pretty cool. Ah… But who will finish your stories on the Communion matrix when you’re gone? Damn…
No. NO! It will not end here, not in some Gods forsaken sewer! You are too powerful for that! You are a Gods damned WIZARD.
Your eyes blaze with fury and you take a deep breath, then raise your staff in two hands and mentally PUSH.
In your mind’s eye a small trickle of water flows. It grows larger and larger in moments however, eventually growing into a turbulent, uncontrollable torrent of water. With supreme effort you grasp the deluge and direct its flow to your will. In that instant you learn to cast [Water].
The ground rumbles around you. Confused, the Rat Girls stop their charge, steadying their feet as they look around in frenzied panic. One turns about in time to utter a terrified scream before a fist of pure waste sweeps her from the floor and throws her into another Rat Girl before slamming into the ground and washing away four more. The remaining Monsters break in panic and scatter like… well, rats, leaving you alone and panting for breath. You release the fist and it splashes into the murk, throwing up a spray of sludge that coats the unconscious forms of the Monsters lying on the stone.
Quiet fills the sewer. Only the sounds of rushing water, dripping sewage, and your own panting fill the dark confines of tunnels. By the Gods though, you’re alive! Still, you know they’ll be back, and in greater numbers, so you press forward, hand on the wall to keep you steady as you hobble along.
It isn’t long after this before you find another access point and climb up a crude ladder of metal rungs to breach the surface. As you do a wave of warm, humid air caresses you face. Gods if the fresh air isn’t heaven to you. You take in a deep breath before slumping on the ground, dripping waste and sweat all about. As soon as you have your breath back, you look around.
Well, it’s not the docks, but it’s by the river anyway. It appears that you’re on the edge of town, in a more upscale residential district. Looking about, you notice something rather curious about a large building near you. It has a large, wrought-iron gate painted in an eccentric shade of red and a plaque which reads, “Franz Jakovitch.”
You stare dumbly at the sign for a moment before an indescribable rage fills you. Oh that mother fucker tried to have you beaten and perhaps KILLED for showing him up. Well then, two could play at that game. It takes you a few minutes to fully collect yourself, but when you do you smile in pure, fanatic glee, raise your staff, and collect your will.
A rumbling sound comes from underground as a column of sewer water flies from the open manhole. With a flick of your wrist, the soupy sewage crashes through the gate to Franz Jakovitch’s abode and through a window. The results are immediate, as screaming and furious swearing fills the house, followed by a bright light, more swearing, and a “Whoompf” of air.
Oh, it now appears the house is on fire.
Your eyes grow wide and you take a step back. The fucking spazz dropped a [Fire Bomb] in his own house, holy shit! You should, uh, you should go. As you fumble backward, you hear a furious squeak and see a sludge covered rat beneath you. The poor thing must have gotten caught up in your revenge, poor thing. A brief image of the dying Rat Girl flares into your mind and you set your jaw, picking the rat up and running as fast as your legs can take you, back into the night.
Once you find a safe location you clean the slime off your new robes and find that it really is waterproof. Like, shit, this thing is worth waaaay more than you paid for it, huh? Damn, now you kind of feel bad for the guy in the magic shop. Of course, then you remember his rhyming and you suddenly feel justified in your decisions.
You clean up the little rat despite its protests and look it over. It squeals and twists in your hands but it seems okay to you and, judging by the large testicles hanging behind it, you’re pretty certain he’s a guy. Gently, you put the creature down and coax him to go, but he just comes back to you.
As you’ve noted before, you think rats are adorable as long as they aren’t trying to rape you. So, with a shrug, you take the little guy and place him on your shoulder to which he seems to be rather comfortable. What a cutie.
Well, now that your little sewer adventure is over it’s time to head to back to the inn. Thankfully your trip back is uneventful this time around and when you open the door you’re greeted by a bored looking Misha. She wrinkles her nose at you but doesn’t say anything, instead watching the rat on your shoulder with keen interest. You shrug and look for Blake, finding him in the same spot, surrounded by ten mugs of ale, staring at the table with a blank expression.
“Are you going to eat that?”
The rat on your shoulder squeaks and jumps into your pocket. You blink and turn in surprise at the question, finding the source to be Misha, who is still staring at you.
You fumble with your words and blurt out a mildly alarmed, “I whoa-a, huh? What?”
Misha blinks for a moment, as if coming out of a trance. She shakes her head before shrugging. “Hmm? Oh, nothing, nothing at all handsome.”
You narrow your eyes and turn away from Misha before looking back at Blake. He slams back another ale before grumbling to himself and sinking back down.
“Poor Blakey-poo. Always so emotional, but he’s never been like this. Maybe I should cut him off before he breaks something… or himself.” Misha says, tapping her chin while pouting.
You look at the poor Hero, his clothing now tarnished with ale stains. His eyes are unfocused and he sways in his seat at the booth, yet he continues to drink the ale in his hands. “I uh. Erm. Maybe it’s best I uhm, you know, leave him alone.”
You feel a powerful grip on shoulder and you turn slowly to see Misha’s smiling face. “Oh now we can’t just have that. You see, if you’re sharing a room with the lout, you have to get him upstairs without breaking anything.”
Her cool breath passes over your ear as she says this, a totally different feeling than from the Monster in the woods last night. She taps your chest and says, “Before he breaks any of my furniture, got it handsome?”
You gulp and slowly nod your head before walking over to Blake and sitting down at the table. He doesn’t take notice of you and you squirm uncomfortably in the awkward situation. “I uh, hehe, uhm. You look like you went through the shitter, I know I have”
Silence. Interminable silence is all that greets you. You fidget more and then look back to Misha who has a shit eating grin on her face as she waves a hand at you from behind her counter. Insufferable woman.
When you turn back around you find Blake staring into one of his mostly empty mugs. “Ish always FUCKIN jokesh with you WHIZZARD. Shlingin you shit errewhere, gettin into troublesh.” He looks you dead in the eye (if your eyes were four inches to the left of your head anyway) and says, “You know whatsh? Fuck you Whishard. Fuuuck you. I jush had to find a Whishard and bring him backsh to the Order, thash it! Thash all they asked!”
He hiccups and then wobbles before staring intently at the glass. A moment later he the drains the last of it in a single gulp and says. “Tooksh me sheven weeks to find you, dish you know that? Sheven whoooole fuckin weeks.” He leans over the table and grits his teeth. “I thinksh I was never shupposet to find a Whishard. I thinks I was goosed! Flamboozled!”
He throws back his head and barks a mad, cackling laugh before slamming his head onto the table and making you jump. “And nowsh I gets it. You Whishards don’t wantsh to be found.” Another dark laugh escapes his lips.
“Maybe ish better that way. All thash power, and you’re like thish. Some shellfish little VIRGIN who only wants some wurflesh glash so he can shtay inside all day. What a dishappintment.” With that he shakes his head and passes out, falling out of his seat and onto the floor.
No one else pays him much mind but you stare at him, gritting your teeth and balling your fists. So that’s what he really thought of you huh? Some worthless little virgin, which you take as a compliment, who he was sent to find and bring back to his superiors? Superiors it seems, who don’t even want him around. You feel your knuckles pop and you make to rise but come face to face with Misha, who has her arms crossed under her breasts, shaking her head.
“Oh Blake… Poor poor Blake. I told you not to get mixed up with the Order, but you just didn’t listen.”
You aren’t as shocked by her presence in front of you so much as the fact that she doesn’t have any legs. It escaped your notice because she was behind that counter all the time, but where legs should have been her pelvis fuses into red, lustrous scales that converge into a snake’s tail, which wiggles freely across the ground.
Misha cocks her head at your shocked expression, before giving you a wicked smile. “Oh dear, did you think I was a human? Oh you’re just so adorable, aren’t you.”
She shrugs and looks back to Blake before casually picking him up with one arm and settling him over her shoulder as if he weighed nothing. “I’ll take him upstairs I suppose. You should go take a bath, you smell like a sewer.” She sniffs again and licks her lips.
“And a delicious little rodent. Please, the tubs are to the left of the kitchen. Head on over before I decide to just lick the stench right off you.”
No need to tell you twice. Dashing off as quickly as you possibly can, you hear behind you the mild, sensual laughter of Misha echoing in your ears as you leave the room.
Entering the bath chamber, you find a water basin and set it up, deciding not to bother with grabbing buckets. You’re a Wizard after all! Using the magic you learned tonight, you concentrate on the well with your will. Slowly, water fills the basin from the well as you manipulate it forth using [Water]. Once filled, you ignite a pile of wood with a [Fireball] and disrobe, making sure no one is around. When the water is warm you sink yourself in and sigh at the pleasant warmth. Not forgetting about your rat friend, you place him in the basin as well, smiling as the little rat paddles about like a dog.
Goshes, who knew that filthy, disease-ridden, sewer-dwelling rats would be so accustomed to being with people. Maybe it had to do with living in proximity to the rat girls? Well he seems to have taken a shining to you, so maybe you’ll keep him. Maybe you’ll call him… Bubsy, after a mythical creature from a tale weaved on the Communion Matrix. Yeah that’s good, and you’ll call him Bubs for short.
As you settle on this, your mind begins to wander elsewhere… to Blake. You feel anger rise in your chest, but it’s quickly drowned out by feelings of pity, or perhaps empathy. If it was true what he said in his drunken ramblings, then the Order may have sent him on an impossible quest to keep him away for awhile. The only reason you can think of is either that he’s incompetent or someone doesn’t like how he thinks.
With a sigh you sink further into the tub. There’s nothing for it, you’ll have to confront him when he’s sober and that’s that. Whether it means slapping him around or having a heart to heart (you’d prefer the former), it has to be done.
Squarely tucking that thought away, it occurs to you that you again that it’s night time. Which is a silly thought in and of itself, but it means that your stalker might appear again. You nervously look around before shaking your head. Heh, like she could just be here without you noticing.
S- she couldn’t, right? No. Of course not. But just to make sure, you look about with your [Mage Sight] and see nothing of value. No magic here! Unless it’s very powerful magic.
Trying to drown out this paranoia, you make to get out of the tub when Bubs sits up and looks about. He leaps from the tub and hides in a corner of the room as a sing-song voice calls out,
“Oh valued cus-to-mer! Little Blakey-poo is nice and asleep but perhaps you could use a little… extra service?” Your eyes widen in horror as Misha slithers into sight, completely exposed. She takes in a deep, sultry breath before smiling wickedly and putting her hands on her bare hips. “And of course, it’s on the house.”
Oh right, Lamia, Monster, rape. It totally slipped your mind and you forgot to set any wards up before getting into the bath. Well, what’s done is done, but now you must suffer the consequences of your mistakes.
You can feel your heart trying to escape from your chest as Misha glides forwards, giggling. “Oh dear, did I embarrass you? My my, I’m sorry. Here let me make it up to you…”
Before you can say anything she wraps her body around the tub, and leans toward you, pressing her torso over the water and giving you a fantastic view of her breasts. Academically speaking, they’re just magnificent. You briefly wonder if they feel as supple as they look before mentally slapping yourself.
NO! Bad Wizard! BAD!
You push yourself backward as she presses herself upon you, her long, silky hair falling from her head to daintily touch the water while her lips press together. You fumble for words while you splash everywhere like a drowning man. “UH UHH UHHH NO THANK YOU PLEASE”
She stops her advance, blinking, and then breaks out into a full belly laugh, pulling away from you to hold her sides. Misha laughs so hard that tears appear in her eyes and you probably could leave while she’s distracted except for the fact that you’re in place in a mix of terror and morbid fascination. She laughs for maybe a full minute and, when she’s finished, she takes heaving breaths.
“Oh, oh haha, I don’t think I’ve ever, hahaha, a human refusing this? It’s been so long, since, hehehe oh my.” She takes a deep breath and then focuses back on you, her smile becoming predatory.
“You didn’t think it would be that easy did you?” And, quick as a lick, she coils her torso and part of her lower body around your chest, pulling your face into her breasts.
Yep. They’re just as you expected. That’s not even to mention her silky smooth skin, which is fascinating. Snapping back to it, you shudder at the sudden and paralyzing force she’s applied. You try to get away, but Monsters are far more powerful than humans, making her grip hard as iron. You can feel one of her hands gliding down your chest and toward your distressingly erect groin.
The soft pressure on your head tries to keep you from thinking properly, but you do manage to realize that her body isn’t as warm as it should be. In fact, you seem to recall some asshole on the Communion Matrix raving about how he killed fifty snakes and what their blood was like. Which means…
Desperately, you reach out with your will to cast [Ice], but stop and think it over. You have nothing against Misha but you can’t afford to get raped! You’d rather avoid killing something else tonight, which means you have to think of something non-lethal.
She begins to work her soft fingers down your shaft, the pleasure of which makes your body shiver. Gritting your teeth against the pleasure, you start to work small scale bursts of [Ice] all around you, spreading it throughout the air in a fine mist to create the spell [Cold Blooded].
Her hand stops suddenly and her eyes go wide. She pulls back from you, shivering from the cold. You notice the change in temperature as well, but in the tub and with your heart pumping sweet, warm blood, it doesn’t hit you as bad. Eyes wide, Misha pulls back, confused.
You readjust yourself and slowly climb out of the tub, wrapping your hips in a towel (which promptly tents over your cock) and stutter out. “Y-yeah f-for a second there I uh, yeah I kind of did.”
Misha’s face quirks into an odd smile. Before you can react, she grabs your clothes and utters a stuttering, “F-f-fine, I… I’ll just w-wash these th-then.” With that, she hurriedly slithers out of the door.
You stand there, cold and partially naked, watching her as she leaves. You really hope she brings your coat back. Sighing, you notice that she left your [Pocket Dimension] at least. You take out a heated bread pouch and feed part to Bubs, who comes out of hiding, before finishing the rest for yourself. Feeling exhausted all of a sudden, you make your way upstairs to your room.
Thankfully the inn is vacated except for a few blushing waitresses who gave you confused and aroused looks. Fuck em. Not literally of course, but you know, just… Aww whatever. You quickly make it to your room and open the door. Blake is passed out bed with a rather large bucket in front of him, which is only moderately full of vomit. You scrunch your nose and take the bucket, flinging the contents out the window and cleaning the bucket with [Water] to remove the stench.
With a sigh you sit upon the one bed in the room, thank you very much Misha, and put your head in your hands while Bubs skitters around your feet. After a moment of self pity, you remove your towel and put Bubs onto the bed before shuffling under the covers. A brief thought of your stalker pops into your head, but you’re so tired and the bed is so comfortable that you just… drift off to sleep.
The next morning you’re awakened by the rays of the sun coming through the window, and you grumble, turning about in the bed to avoid it. It’s no use however and you sigh, rubbing your eyes. With a bleary expression, you see that Blake has vomited again, but at least it made it into the bucket. Bubs on the other hand, is sleeping in a little ball next to your leg and you smile at the little guy. D’awwww, he’s just so cute.
Your breath catches as you spy a stack of something across the room. Fucking stalker thing, you swear to the Gods, this is getting out of hand. When you get out of bed to investigate however, you find it’s just your clothes! And freshly washed too! This is a much better surprise than a severed head.
There’s a note on top. Opening it, you read the flowing, flowery script. “I think I got the hint sugar, but here’s your clothes, freshly washed. If you ever change your mind, you know where to find me.”
You groan and notice a P.S. “Please take care of Blakey for me. He’s very important.”
Neat. You start to dress and by the time you finish you notice a stirring in the bed followed by Blake awakening while holding his head. “Ungh, my fucking head…”
You watch in mute amusement as Blake suffers. Remembering what he said last night however, you feel just a little bad for the guy. Using [Water] to condense the water vapor in the air into a glass and then chilling it with [Cold Blooded], you smile at your handiwork. Gods, being a Wizard is awesome.
Still smiling, you hand the glass to Blake, who looks up at you with bloodshot eyes, then takes the glass and drinks it heartily, shuddering at the coolness. You refill the glass again, and after he drains that, he leans forward and grumbles. “Thank you Wizard…”
You shrug, “Think nothing of it.”
He shakes his head and groans. “Ungh, what happened last night? I remember having a few ales and then.” He looks sick for a moment before shuddering, “Guess I imbibed a few too many, ouch.”
“Y…yeah, Misha uh, she brought you up here.”
He looks at you with bleary eyes. “She didn’t try to have sex with me, did she?”
He grunts. “Did she try you?”
He sighs and then winces. “I’m guessing you resisted then. Ugh, Gods my head.”
You sigh and push on the man’s shoulder. He falls backward onto the bed without any resistance, groaning. Okay so you need to have that heart to heart, but he’s not going anywhere or doing anything for awhile. Sooooo, you might as well head downstairs. As you start to leave, you remember something very important. Your beard care kit!
You fill a basin with water and open the kit, staring at the instruments. It’s been so long since you’ve properly cared for your fledgling beard that you feel rather ashamed. It seems so ratty and unkempt, despite your washings. With trembling hands, you grab the scissors. Again, the skeins of fate that herald your beardly perfection play in your mind. Your hand moves with the rhythm, and you’re barely conscious as the music of perfect beard care flows through you.
You snap up the comb without thinking and rake it through your beard, straightening the hairs into a beautiful pattern. With a flourish, you slam both tools back in the kit and apply the soothing lotion, then wash it out. Putting the lotion away, you look up at your handiwork. In the mirror now stands a wonderful, stupendous, triumphant beard. You almost shed a tear.
Not taking nearly as much time with the rest of your hair, you scoop up Bubs from atop Blake and put him in a pocket of your robes before walking downstairs. He scuttles about in there, then pops up, a scrap of paper in his teeth. You take it from him and stare at it. There’s a set of red lipstick, kissed upon the paper and signed with, “To sugar, from Misha.”
You hand the paper back to Bubs who tears at it voraciously.
Walking downstairs, you look around and find Misha again, who waves a small hand toward you, before blowing a kiss. You groan and walk over to her, keeping your guard up. “Oh my, someone’s looking rather luscious today, did you change your hair?”
Why yes, yes you did, but you’re not happy at her compliment in the least! “Uh…huh. Can uh, you know, Blake, he erm.”
She titters, “Oh sugar, no need to be so nervous. You got my notes I trust? But yes, I’m guessing little Blakey’s head hurts something fierce hmm?” She sighs wistfully, slithering back on her tail. “I remember when he had his first beer. Oh how he hurt for days!”
She shakes her head. “I’ll get him a little something for his stomach and some food. Anything for you sugar?”
You shake your head, “Ah, uh, no, thank you. No money.”
She giggles, “Oh, it’s on the house dear, no charge, no tricks.” She shrugs, “Think of it as an apology for last night.”
You narrow your eyes but accept the food anyway. Misha serves you herself at one of the tables, and you dig into a hearty plate of eggs, bacon, ham, grits, and milk. By the Gods, this stuff is delicious!
As you eat, Misha taps her chin with her fist. “So, where are you and my Blakey headed off to?”
“Mmph, Order Headquarters, nom nurmph.”
Misha frowns in consternation, “So, he still thinks he can get in with them, huh? What’s your stake in all of this anyway? Not to insult, but you don’t seem very… Worldly.”
You grunt, and swallow your bite of eggs, “Blake broke my Communion Glass, he owes me another one.”
She smiles and shakes her head, “He’s still getting into trouble, huh?”
You look up at her and spear a piece of ham before waving it up at her.
“You speak as if you knew Blake when he was a child.”
“Well of course! Did he not tell you that he grew up in Feldergrod?”
He did not! You chew on the ham as she continues.
“Well, that little scamp did. He was always a very popular tyke, and he got along very well with all the ladies in town, and even many of the Monsters.” She sighs again, “This got him into trouble more than once, especially when he hit puberty and his parents had the… accident. But of course, he had his Misha.” She smiles with that predatory grin, “I may have indulged once or twice, but I never let anyone harm him. Monsters can be so… Unruly at times.”
And don’t you fucking know it. You chew on more ham as she continues.
“It was still such a surprise when he left to join the Order of the Heroic Brotherhood. He never seemed to hate Monsters, but he must have felt that the Order represented something greater.”
She looks down, folding her hands in her lap. “It’s been a few years since he left, but he seems… Changed in a way. Not just his speech, but he seems colder, more distant. I just hope that his little quest hasn’t made him lose sight of who he was.”
By this point, you’ve finished the meal so you take a long drink of the milk. Your eyes widen in surprise at the taste- it’s amazing! Misha looks over at your expression and smirks, “Liking your Holstaur milk, hmm?”
Shocked, you cough up the milk, sputtering while you stare at the glass. Oh Gods. Oh, oh Gods.
“Hehe, it’s alright, it’s alright.” Misha says, chuckling. “It’s just milk, even if it does come from those melon sized monstrosities.”
Y-yeah. Just milk. Just breast milk. Like from a normal cow. Except this is from a Monster. Even though it’s delicious you just can’t drink it anymore, instead setting it down on the table.
Misha shakes her head and collects the plate, “Well, I’ll see to Blakey. You two probably need to be going soon if you want to catch a boat to the capital, although it’s probably going to be awhile before you can get him moving.”
You tip your hat to her and stand up to go, wiping milk out of your beard as Misha slithers away. Before she gets out of sight, she leans back sinuously and waves, “See you soon sugar. Oh, and you too you little delicious morsel.”
“Y-yeah. Thanks.” Bubs shivers in your pocket, letting out a little squeak. Gently rubbing his head you whisper, “I feel the same way, little guy.”
Alright, in these few hours you have left you promise yourself not to get into fights with petty sorcerers or almost die in the sewers. You’re reasonably confident that can’t happen twice in a row. As you walk outside, taking in that sickly-sweet smell of fresh air, you wonder if you should have asked Misha about your stalker. They’re both Monsters, right? Maybe you’ll get the chance later when you return to get Blake.
For now though the best course of action is probably to secure some more supplies, which means securing more money somehow.
“Isn’t that right little guy?” You ask. Bubs sticks his head out of your pocket and squeaks. A few women gossiping in a corner raise eyebrows at you as you seemingly talk to yourself, but whatever, Women, eh?
You ponder what to do for money though. The stables are out of the question after almost burning them down, and you don’t really want to be recognized. You lean against a wall and think about it for a moment but can’t help but overhearing another gaggle of gossiping girls, this time two human women and a Minotaur chatting.
“So, I heard last night someone tried to burn down the Jakovitch manor.”
“Hush, you know that you have to say his full name.”
“Oh, sorry, sorry. Anyway, they say half the house burned before Franz Jakovitch put out the fire.”
“Aye, aye, someone says it was one of them sewer dwellers that eat people at night, wanting to send a message.”
“Tch, what a load. There’s nothing down there but rats and shit.”
“Oh yeah, then how do you explain the sewage found near the house, and an open sewer plate?”
“See, I hears it that this out of town sorcerer threw down the gauntlet yesterday and made a massive, burning tornado from horse shit.”
“Oh yes and he even…”
They continue yammering about nothing of value after this, so you walk away. Great, everyone thinks you’re moving in on Javovitch’s turf or something. Well, let’s just let the rumors get out of hand then. That should help you hide if people make you out to be some crazy all-powerful madman. No one would suspect the reverse being true, right?
As you return to your contemplations you hear a commotion ahead that catches your attention.
A strapping young man in rich clothing is fallen on his side in the middle of the road, an angry Centaur raising her equine forelimbs into the air, neighing loudly from her human throat as a crowd of frightened people and excited Monsters look on.
“You bastard!” She shouts. “How dare you treat me like some common steed! I am the one who does the riding here!”
You can see her eyes, wild and wide, nostrils flaring on her attractive face. She’s a little short for a Centaur, but she has well defined curves with striking hips and breasts that are hugged tightly by her sweat lathered blouse. She slams her hooves down before the man and her brown hair rushes in the wind, matching the color of her horse half’s hair.
You can’t tell, but she’s either going to smash his head in or have furious sex with him. Monsters, eh? The man on the ground holds up and hand and cries in a pitiful voice, “H-help! Someone help save me from this crazed mare! I’ll do anything! Just save me!”
Looks like no one else is going to do anything about it. You really don’t want to get involved, especially after those rumors, but you also don’t relish seeing a man’s head get turned into paste.
That was a double entendre for those curious.
You roll you shoulders and walk out of the crowd, raising your staff high in the air before slamming it down on the ground. A trail of ice lances from the staff’s butt where it hits the ground and it jets forward between the maddened Centaur and the man. With a burst of energy, the line becomes a spike that thrusts up sending the Centaur rearing back in panic, her frenzied eyes turning to you.
Uh oh. Everyone’s looking now. Okay okay, gotta say something awesome, uhm uhm. “A-alright, e-everyone chill!”
The crowd grows deathly silent and the only sound you can hear is that of the man, sobbing embarrassingly, and the Centaur’s hooves scraping on the ground. She breaks the silence first. “And who the fuck are you supposed to be?”
You ponder this for a second and say, trying to keep up the routine, “T-the iceman cometh.”
“What in the name of Dollora is that supposed to mean?”
“It uh, it means that, well.” You search for words, “It means you should probably not uh, not stomp and or well, kill that man.”
The man seems like he’s about to cry as he tries to climb to his feet, “Oh, bless you dear sorcerer, thank you for saving me from this rampaging ma…”
He stops abruptly when you swing your staff to point at him. “And you. I’m certain that she has a good reason to try and pulverize you.”
His face turns pale before quickly flushing in anger, “You impudent little-!”
“You’re damn right I have a-!”
Both fight over each other to speak, their voiced getting louder and more heated. You grin and slam your staff down again, this time coating the ground in ice. The man slips and falls to one knee, while the centaur dances uncertainly before getting her balance. She seems hesitant to move however since hooves aren’t great on ice.
“Now then, explain to me what happened.” You say, pointing your staff toward the man.
“Now see here, you can’t do this to me, do you know who I am?”
“I’m afraid my condition has left me cold to your pleas of mercy.”
The man pauses for a moment, trying to understand why you say these strange things, then grumbles out. “I may have asked Lucretta if it could… ride her…” He coughs, blushing. More double entendre it seems.
Lucretta opens up, “You know damn well how we Centaurs feel about being treated like common horses, Daniel! I thought you were a better man than that!”
“Oh, and so it was enough to try to kill me over?”
“You called me a fucking mare to my face! Of course I’d get a little angry!”
“Well, exccuuuuuuse me princess, but…”
You pinch the bridge of your nose. Oh for fuck’s sake, they’re a Gods damned couple. Even you can figure this one out. Gods damnit. Not even looking up, you slam your staff down again, and a ring of ice appears around you. “By the Gods, don’t you see that he was fucking referring to riding you the other way?”
Lucretta looks at your incredulously. “W-what are you talking about, other way?”
You raise an eyebrow toward Daniel who blushes furiously. “W-well Lucretta, we’ve been together for awhile and I just thought maybe- Well, we could change things up a little and…”
Lucretta turns to him, eyes wide, but in concern, not anger. “Oh Daniel, oh by Dollora, I didn’t! Oh no!”
He shakes his head, “No, no, it’s my fault, I didn’t think, I just… I’m sorry… Do you forgive me?”
She takes very careful steps on your field of ice and helps the man up before leaning down and giving him a very deep and passionate kiss, which he reciprocates.
Many people in the crowd, especially the Monsters began to cry, “Awwww” and “Woo woo, you go girl!” or the like. You just feel kind of numb at the scene. Perhaps it is you who is staying frosty. The man turns to you and walks out of the ice field, carefully leading the Centaur behind him to patches of safety.
“Thank you, dear sorcerer.”
“Right… uh, Wizard?” He shakes his head though he clearly doesn’t know what that is. “I’m sorry for my outburst, my head certainly wasn’t in the right place.”
“Yes, well, perhaps there was something I could do as an apology for your intervention?”
Lucretta pipes up, “I as well!” She blushes, fidgeting, “We are in a… special kind of relationship…”
“Everything freezes…” You mutter under your breath.
“What?” She asks, confused.
“Nothing. Look, I’m just looking to make some money so I can purchase a few magical implements.”
Daniel’s eyes glitter. “Ah, say no more, say no more.” He digs out two gold coins from his pouch and presses them into your hand.
“I trust this will be sufficient?”
You think about asking for more but stop yourself. This is a LOT of money, all things considered. You nod your head in thanks and turn to go when Lucretta pipes up, “You know, if you’re looking for magical items, there is a store on the Monster side of town that has some interesting things…”
Daniel turns to her and says, mouth agape, “Lucretta, that’s just asking for the poor man to be raped!”
She smiles and cuts off a tiny lock of her hair before wrapping it in a ribbon. “Keep this so everyone can see it, and no should give you trouble in that area of town.”
You raise an eyebrow and she blushes, “Well, it only works here in Feldergrod, since everyone knows me, but trust me, you’ll be fine.”
She taps her chin, “Well, mostly fine, the store’s owner is uhm, eccentric.”
They give you the directions and wave before leaving together, arm in arm. The crowd disperses, giving you odd looks but leaving it there instead of bothering you. Looking to Bubs, you nod your head at having made your decision
You decide to set out for the shop in the Monster side of town. Sure, it could be risky, but it’s also broad daylight and you have this [Centaur Charm] made of her hair.
Should be safe, right?
It doesn’t take you that long to get over there, and you barely see any difference in the architecture at all. In fact, the only way you really know what you’re in the different part of town is the fact that humans aren’t as frequently seen and, if they are, they’re generally males in the company of Monsters.
It unnerves you seeing this. All the men with the Monsters seem incredibly happy, some of them even trailing in their wake of the Monsters like dogs (except the one with the Lizardman, which is in reverse). You shudder to think how far the men have fallen after they gave in to their lusts, the filthy animals.
What’s odder than that though is that the single Monsters never once try to molest you while you’re walking. Oh sure, you see their glances, but when they see the hair they scowl in disappointment and look away. Who is this Lucretta to them?
Following her directions, you find yourself standing in front of three story building with what appears to be an apothecary shop at the bottom corner. “Madam Apolline’s,” that’s the name alright, but the place looks downright strange.
The storefront is made of wood and is painted in dark colors with great use of purple; a stark contrast to much of the town. Cloth covers open windows which glow with dim candlelight. What’s really unsettling though are the skulls. Lots and lots of skulls, sitting all over the place, stacked with care and precision to give off the perfect eerie vibe. And they aren’t just animal skulls, no no, Human and Monster skulls are there too.
You shudder and briefly consider turning away, but no. You came out here, you might as well go in. As you cross the threshold, you check your magical senses, and find, with surprise, that they are still there. No wards? Obviously the keeper is very powerful, or very stupid. You ponder upon this before looking about the store.
Of course, there are more skulls. Many of them are piled on bookshelves alongside tomes with rich spines and potions of all varieties. Some of the goods look rather old and powerful to you, but it’s hard to say due to the poor lighting. There’s only a minor amount of light from candles melting on, you guessed it, skulls.
Seriously it’s like a graveyard here, even complete with what feels like hot, humid, and musty air. Hells, you would have walked right out had you not been curious as to the books there. The potions are intriguing as well, but you stop looking as soon as you see the entire shelf of “preserved human semen” next to the shelf of “fresh-squeezed semen.”
Well if you didn’t think it was the case before, you know now that this is a store for Monster witches. You briefly wonder if there are any traps laying about for unsuspecting Human practitioners. With that thought, you concentrate and open your [Mage Sight].
“Oh naw, I woulna be doin that there if-a I was you.”
You jump and turn around, your sight wavering for a moment, before coming into focus on someone behind the counter at the far side of the room. Your eyes start to ache as you see swirls of multiple enchantments around them which begin to burn into your mind. You quickly blink and rub your eyes, deactivating your sight. Oww, oww, oww, oww. That’s a lot of magic power woven around there, and you don’t even think you saw the half of it.
When you open your eyes again, the figure is still there, and you can pick out the shape of a gorgeous woman. Or well, Monster that is. It’s around that time you notice Bubs is shaking very, very hard in your pocket.
She’s about six feet tall, and has a lean, sinuous body, with dark skin. Her arms and legs are covered in white scales which terminate in stubby claws, and behind her sits a blunt and scaly tail that has parallel ridges running up it. Her face is smooth and beautiful, and her eyes twinkle red in the candlelight. She’s smiling and you can see her teeth are jagged and sharp, yet somehow fit neatly into her smoothly proportioned jaw.
While she may be beautiful, her garb however, is not. She wears what looks like ragged straps of cloth which somehow manage to look unkempt while accentuating the curves of her body in a way that is surely magical, because clothing shouldn’t work like that. She’s decked in jangling bracelets and charms, some made of bone, others of woven cloth. Her long, black hair is matted and twisted with more charms and bone, and atop her head sits the skull of a crocodile, jutting over her head and casting a light shadow over her face.
She’s obviously a…uh… Actually you have no idea what kind of Monster this is.
“You looka liken you a little los missa man.”
You blink and shake your head. “W-what?”
“I say, you looka liken you little…”
“Yeah, yeah, I uh, I got that, but uhm.” You scratch your head. “What… Are you?”
She blinks at you and her tail drags back and forth as her smile widens. “Oh naw thassa rude thing ya gon dun a be sayin. But youa look in’ lika you gossa touch a de arcana, so I thinks it be aight to lessa know. You be in tha presence of Madame Apolline, a Jaga-Jaga.”
You search through your thoughts of the Communion Matrix and it comes to you. A Jaga-Jaga is… A form of Lizardman- sort of. They live in swamps you think and are similar to crocodiles. You can’t remember any mention of them being Monster witches, but this one obviously is. Fuck, for all you know she might even be a priestess.
“Ah… Of course. Right, yes uhm.”
“You lookin at dem books like dey gunna vanish there missa man.”
She walks from the behind the counter, hips swaying as she creates an unholy racket with the jingle of her charms and jewelry. She gets right up to you and picks up the charm on your robe, looking it over. You feel incredibly uncomfortable, but for some reason, you know that throwing magic against her would be a very, very bad idea unless it was a last resort.
You gulp as she drops the charm. “Oh ho ho, so thassa how it is eh? You get da good side of da little princess an she tell you come here, ahahahaha.”
Her laugh grates at your spine, and you drop away from her, cringing slightly. She looks you up and down and licks her lips with a large, meaty tongue. “Oh naw, dun be afraid ofa little ol’ me. I sees you for what you is Wizard and I knowa yo kind. Issa be a pleasura to lay you down an a show you da pleasura of da flesh, but is fine.”
Her eyes glitter. “I wonna bite, nossa less you wan it eh? Now den, wassa you lookin for with a dem tomes there?”
Despite being incredibly terrified and confused, you can think clearly enough to tell her what you’d like to buy. “Right, uhm… Yeah as far as tomes I guess…” Think for a moment. “Actually, do you have any bags of, ah, holding?”
She blinks at you, confused, and then asks, “Now whysa you gun ask for somethin you already gots child?”
Oh. Okay, so she seems to know you’re a Wizard and that your inconspicuous bag is enchanted. How neat. “Yes well, I’d need one for more ah, messy items.”
She narrows her eyes, looking you up and down before giving a snaggle-toothed grin. “Oh ho ho, so yous a da one who dun stirred up dem folk down in da unda city eh?”
You notice she is stroking a skull, one which is very much human, beyond a pair of rodent-like teeth. Oh, so she knows that too. You are getting really, really creeped out now.
“Ah… Anyway, do you have one?”
“Oh child, I do, I do, dona you worry bout’ that.” She goes a few rows down, clears away some dust, and pulls out what looks to you like a cured stomach. She looks it over a few times, opens it up, then dumps the contents to the ground.
A few hundred spiders fly out of the bag and scatter in every direction, though Apolline seems unfazed. You are freaking out and so is Bubs, but you stay in place. After dumping out the spiders though, she pulls out a more normal looking bag made of leather. The Monster walks up and attaches the bag to your belt before smiling appreciatively. “Oh now doesn tha maka good sigh mhm mhm.”
You smell like a rumen. Well, when you look inside the bag however, you can confirm that it is indeed a bag of holding. And this one has… Three compartments?
You look up at her, and stumble backward when you realize she’s about two inches from your face.
“Oh wha! Holy shit fuck!”
She chuckles a rough laugh though you can sense tension beneath it. “Oh thassa was too fun, too fun indeed haha. Now den, lessa me see.” She squints an eye. “Mmm, yeh, yeh, youss got powa, but no real trainin eh? Well, I gots things fo ya, lessa me know.”
Eh, what? Gods, that accent is really think, but oddly enough, the more she talks the more you understand it. Now then, what exactly do you want to learn about? You think it over and huff out a breath. Your Copromancy is still an enigma to you, but you feel that there must be further application, something like…
“Plagamancy, and shielding magic.” You say with certainty, then pause for a moment and pat Bub’s head, calming him down. “And… Familiars.”
She takes this all in and nods her head. “Oh dem shieldin magics be simple things, things any ol’ sorcera canna learn, and familiars… I take it you meana the rat in your pocket eh? But Plagamancy…”
She shakes her head and pulls two tomes from the shelf before staring you. “Child, thassa be dangerous stuff you looka at.”
You nod your head slowly. “I would uhm… Appreciate it if you’d ah… Give me a copy of a tome.”
She sighs and moves over to another shelf before moving some skulls and removing a small book. She blows dust off it and adds it to the stack. When she walks back over to you, she sets the books down and looks you over again. Something flashes in her eyes and she waves toward the books. Nodding, you reach out for them but as you do she grabs your arm in a tight grip.
“I thought it wasa my imagination gona run out from me, but you gots the look of a beast upon you. You ain’t chained ta anythin, an if you put your mind to it, yousa could probably be dissa world’s greatest tragedy.”
You struggle against her strength, but it’s like trying to fight against a mountain. She pulls you in close and can feel her hot breath on your mouth as she licks your face with her thick tongue. Oh Gods it’s like a slimy dog kiss but it smells like semen and rotting meat.
Still holding you, she closes her eyes and shudders, her cold blooded body seeming very warm against yours. She takes a moment before her eyes open again, and she whispers. “Oh child, you got the mark of da Hunter upon you. You gots to be strong, or else when she strikes, you ain’t gunna have the power to stop her froma unmaking you. But maybe instead, ifa I just…”
She shudders again and lets out an extremely attractive moan as she rubs up against you. You struggle again in vain, her tongue sliding down your neck. It’s an odd feeling, but not wholly uncomfortable. Actually, it kind of feels really, really good. Which is really, really bad.
That’s when you feel your pocket shake, and from it appears Bubs! He dashes up your robes, then jumps up and bites the Jaga-Jaga on the tongue. The effect is immediate: she pulls back and flails, sending Bubs flying in the air to land upon you, almost as if it was planned. You take a few steps back while she clutches her mouth and speaks in an unfamiliar language.
You get ready to make a break for it, when she holds up a hand, and yells, “Oh no, no, forgiva me missa man, I’m sorry, I din meana do that, is just a…you are very ah…” She coughs and pulls herself back together, rubbing at her tongue, “Looka der, Ima sorry. I dinna men’s dat”
“Yeah right, what in the hells is with you Monsters?”
She grits her teeth. “Isa not was wrong with me child, isa whas wrong with you. Wizards make usa Monsters go crazy, ya hear?” She shakes her head. “But forgetta that. Listen here, you gotsa just believe me when I say that the Hunter will visit you until she feels yousa ripe for the pickin child.”
You hesitate. Hunter? Your stalker? “What kind of Monster is this Hunter?”
“Oh it ain’t about what she is, but who she is missa man. She isa power in da Lady’s court an she gun find whatever makes her smile you hear me what?”
Oh, oh Gods. If what she said is true then that means you’re being stalked by one of the Temple Guardians? One of the Monster Lady’s personal lieutenants themselves? Surely she can’t be serious, “Surely, you can’t be ser-“
Her stare says she is. Bubs pipes up in your pocket, sounding concerned, and you pat him on the head. Great… You sigh and rub your forehead. What have you gotten yourself into? You just want to go home, but nooooo. Temple Guardians want your dick! At least you seem to have time… Perhaps time enough to prepare for something like this. “F-fine. I’ll just take the tomes and the pouch and leave.”
She nods her head slowy and composes herself before speaking. “Isa gunna be one gold for all dis.”
Shit that’s cheap. Hells, you thought about buying more stuff, but honestly you should keep the money for the trip ahead. Nodding, you toss the coin to her, and she catches it adroitly before biting it and dropping it in a pouch of her own.
Gathering the books, you store them inside your new bag, then look up at her again. She’s staring rather intently through not at you. Still, you can’t help but be creeped out. Slowly, you back up and head out towards the entrance, when you notice a [Health Potion]. How did you miss that before? You stare at it before shaking your head and moving on. “Take it, asa gift froma me,”
You nod your head and grab the vial, storing it. As you open the door, you hear her say, “Your world gunna change one way or anotha missa Wizard man. Isa already begun.”
You leave the store and with it that thoroughly unsettling experience. Madam Apolline gave you a ton to think on/try to repress as you head back to the docks. You’re going to save reading the books for later, and besides, you can’t really concentrate anyway. This whole “Hunter” thing has you on edge.
Lost in thought, you don’t notice that the town seems empty until you hit a crowd of people around the docks, all staring and muttering at a massive riverboat, upon which someone is screaming at the crowd. Looking up, you grimace.
Oh for fucks sake.
“ALL WHO DARE DEFY FRANZ JAKOVITCH SHALL SUFFER HIS MUTHAFUCKIN FLAME!” A fireball shoots from the hands of the figure on the boat and, you guessed right, it’s Franz fucking Jakovitch,
“SHOW YOSELF YOU COWARDLY SACK OF SHIT!” More fire flares up.
You think you might just try and walk away from this one when someone grabs your arm from behind. One of the goons from last night grabs has your arm in a grip and he shouts, “Lord Franz! I found him!”
Franz Jakovitch’s gaze snaps to you and he snarls, throwing a ball of fire towards you and the crowd you stand in. People scream and scatters, including the man holding you who cries and lets go. You throw up your hands cast [Water]. A cascade of liquid from a nearby rain barrel moves into the path of the fireball causing it to fizzle out, a cloud of steam rising in the air.
You get very, very angry and scream, “JACK-OFF-A-BITCH! You almost burn down a barn, and now you shoot fire at these people? You’re sick!” Despite their panic, the people around you clear a huge half-circle and, apparently feeling this is a safe enough distance to watch the encounter, although you can still hear nervous chatter.
You eye the crowd, then the heaving Franz who is apparently foaming at the mouth. With a sigh, you take a deep breath, and begin the [Irate Frog Song]. “FUCKING NORMIES GET OFF MY HARBOR! GET OFF! GET OFF! REEEEEEEE”
The reaction is instantaneous. People start screaming again and clear further away, making a massive area around you, which is great, since burning people would be bad. Casually ending the song, you look back to Franz, who has thrown another fireball.
This time, you jump out of the way, and the ball of fire strikes the cobbled street, erupting outward and coating the ground with flames. Thankfully your little performance made enough room so no one got hurt.
You set your jaw and raise your staff, your will channeling through it and, with a cry of anger, you summon a jet of [Water] from the river to reach up and lash at Franz. Just like your [Lightning Bolt] last evening, the magic arcs toward a crystal on the boat and fizzles out without effect. Great, who let the psychopath have an enchanted item like this again?
“Ha! Yo magic won’t save you this time, fuckin little mage!” Franz screams, holding his palm out as fire coalesces into an orb. “Run if you want, but know that I will find you, I will pop a blast in yo ass, and I will laugh the whole Gods damned time you muthafucka.”
“Oh yeah? You’re uh, going to what, burn down your boat after burning your house? Hah!” Even from the distance you can see Franz’s face turn scarlet and the orb in his hand get larger. Okay, fine, whatever you want Franzy boy.
“Or are you just going to throw fireballs at these uh, fine people? Can’t kill one little thorn in your perfect little world, so you have to throw fire at innocents?” You glance about and scowl, “Mostly innocents anyway.”
Franz looks like he’s holding a small star in his hand and you swear you can see steam coming from his head. “What the fuck you just say? WHAT THE FUCK YOU JUST SAY? THIS IS MY TOWN YOU DOPEY ASS MUTHA FUCKIN PIECE OF SHIT!”
He cocks his hand back and snarls. “OPEN UP MUTHAFUCKA!”
You grip you staff in two hands and close your eyes, focusing on your spell. You shake with the concentration, and as Franz throws his arm back to strike, you twirl your staff (only almost dropping it once) and slam in into the ground, screaming, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”
Water from the river flies upwards, creating a massive screen which distorts and hides Franz’s form, yet magnifies the power and light of the [Fire Bomb] which sails through the air, seemingly in slow motion. As the sheet of water falls down, you twist your staff in the other hand and grip it with your now free hand. The water shudders and turns to [Ice]. It’s a brittle and thin wall, but it does what you need it to do. The fireball strikes the wall of ice and it cracks it into a million little spider webs before shattering into so many pieces.
The [Fire Bomb], however, begins to fall where it struck the wall and it bounces against the hull of the ship. Franz’s eyes go wide and you yell at him, “Oh, and for the record Jackofabitch, I’m a Gods. Damned. Wizard!”
The bomb detonates and a blows a hole the size of a wagon in the ship, catching everything else near it on fire with raining debris. Franz screams in agony, and you can see him covered in flames as he flails randomly. Seems his nullifying charm didn’t work in this situation. Ain’t that a bitch?
As the people around you scream in horror at the burning boat, it takes you a few moments to realize the implications of what you just did.
- You killed a man.
- You killed a very important mage in town.
- You just dammed the whole harbor with what is soon to be a submerged hulk.
- You’re pretty certain people are about to get very, very angry.
You think this over and come to the conclusion that you should get the fuck out of here. Not just the docks, but the whole city. As you start to run, you hear a croaking cry from the boat, “WIIIIZZZAAAARRDDDDD! WIIIIZZZAAAARRDDDDDD!”
You don’t even look back, running to the inn as fast as you can. Slamming open the door, you’re greeted to the sight of a mildly sober Blake and a concerned looking Misha. “What did you do sugar? The whole town is in a roar.”
“I uh… Might have burned Franz Jakovitch to death on his own boat.”
Misha’s eyes widen and she slithers away. A furious exchange of words is heard from the kitchen and she slithers back in moments later, a worried expression on her face. “You must flee from this place, now. The docks are death for you, and the only other way leads to Varruck…” She shakes her head. “I’m having horses prepared, they should be here soon. Best get your things together and get out.”
Blake stands there, eyes wide. “What did you do… Varruck…”
You gulp and shake your head. Well shit. How did things end up like this? You promised yourself that you wouldn’t get into any more trouble today, but noooo! You just can’t stop, can you? And now you’ve burned down a boat, blocked river traffic, and probably hurt innocent people!
Blake pinches the bridge his nose and says, “We can’t afford to go through that blasted forest, the peril is too great.”
“The peril may be great, but you know that you can’t stay here, not after the Wizard killed Franz Jakovitch. It’s suicide, and I can’t hide you, nor will I allow them to torch my inn.”
Bubs squeaks in your pocket and the two turn to you, Blake frowning and Misha looking apologetic. Outside, shouts are heard as people run through the streets. Groups of men dressed like Franz Jakovitch’s thugs begin to herd people away until, oddly enough, Centaurs arrive and begin driving them off. They both look ready for battle, as if they’d been planning this for some time. What did you just start?
Blake watches the scene in horror, his hand gripped tightly on the hilt of his sword. Wincing, you ask,
“Hero… No, Blake are uhm, are you well?”
He doesn’t look at you as he replies, “There is a battle in the streets of my hometown in which people and Monsters are going to die. The river and its traffic are stopped for the present, and now the only road to the capital is through Varruck. No Wizard, I am not ‘well.’”
“I… I didn’t mean to… Franz Jakovitch was going to kill people and… But perhaps I can explain to them, maybe uh, pull the ship out…”
He glares at you. “Haven’t you done enough?”
You fall silent as behind you a flurry of activity occurs. Waitresses hurriedly pack items, get wood ready to board windows, and generally prepare for a natural disaster. Misha coils between her employees, giving swift commands and organizing the effort. She hisses and rubs at her temples.
“Well I was afraid of this. It’s been brewing for a while, but without Jakovitch to keep his boys in line, things will look grim in this town for a while.”
She smiles wearily at Blake, “But don’t you worry, we have things under control around here. You two must depart, if not because you must make it to your destination, but because your presence is a catalyst for more danger.”
Blake speaks up, “Are you certain? If things are as bad as you say, then a Hero of the order is necessary.”
Misha snakes to Blake and gives him a big hug, which manages to catch the man off guard. It takes him a few seconds to respond to the hug, but he embraces her tightly. “It will be okay my little Blakey, you hear me? You come back after your little adventure, and ol’ Misha will be here, waiting for you”
Blake nods wearily and disengages from the hug. “Alright… That’s a promise then?”
She giggles and nods to him. A waitress runs into the room, out of breath, and Misha sighs. “Aye… But that’s that for now, your rides are here, please follow me to the back.”
The two of you go out a back door where you find a small clearing for taking in supplies and other things you don’t want in the front of an establishment. A man finishes attaching some very loaded saddlebags onto two large, bay geldings, who don’t seem to notice the weight. He turns to look at you and you realize it’s the stable master from before
He nods at you slowly before looking to Misha. “It’s all here, ready to go. I have to get back to the stables before this gets more out of hand.”
Misha nods and hands a small purse to the man. “Thank you for your help in this matter, please stay safe.”
He snorts, not unlike a bull, “Hah, if any fucker comes at the stables, it’s their funeral.”
Misha laughs and shoos him away, something he does with gusto. After he leaves, she looks to you both and motions to the horses. Blake mounts easily, but you uh, you’ve never been on a horse before. You stare at him obliquely and the gelding sniffs you before sneezing on your face.
“This is no time to dally,” says Blake, “Mount up and let’s quit this city before the gates are closed.”
You look around helplessly and try to mount like Blake did, but kind of… Fail, getting caught on the stirrups and throwing your staff just about everywhere in your panic. Misha sighs and slithers up, causing the horse to shy back, but one glare from her freezes the creature in terror long enough for her to lift you onto his back and seat you firmly. She winks at you and whispers, “Be safe sugar, and don’t ever let yourself be the prey.”
You try and copy what Blake does to get his horse moving and you manage to get your horse to respond, if slowly due to his panic. Once he starts to move, he takes off after Blake’s horse as quick as he can to get away from Misha. You try to get your balance the whole time and succeed enough not to fall out of the saddle. After a few moments, you look behind you to see a dark expression on Misha’s face before she turns back to go inside, slamming the door shut.
Well, the horse is trying it’s best to knock you off you’re sure, but he follows the other horse’s lead very well and you soon make it to the city gates, which are still wide open. A guard stands at the ready and raises his spear, yelling a challenge to you. Blake dangles forth an icon of the Order, a sword and shield on a silver chain, and the guard hastily withdraws, allowing you to pass through without a breaking stride.
The two of you don’t stop until you’re far out of sight of the city. You manage to readjust your seating and slowly “guide,” used in the loosest sense of the word, your horse towards Blake and ask, “Well, we escaped. What now?”
Blake’s eyes turn away from where Feldergrod was to the road ahead. He takes a deep breath to steady himself and points towards a dense copse of what appear to be rather brown-leaved trees in the far distance where the rolling plains end, but the road continues. “It’s about three days ride from here to Varruck proper, then maybe a week a week until the capital. But this could be much, much longer depending upon the… attention we get.” He groans, slapping his forehead. “And my ward is broken, of course.”
Shaking his head, he sighs, “There’s nothing for it, we must press forward and make as much headway as we can through before stopping for the night. We’ll have to keep a watch for Monster attacks though.”
He turns and looks you straight in the eyes before saying slowly, “This is not ideal. People do not travel through Varruck forest anymore for a reason. I do not know what is out there, nor if the path is true, but listen to me Wizard. If you go looking for trouble, it will find you here.”
You gulp and nod your head. It seems very likely that trouble will visit you no matter what you do though. With this disturbing thought in your head, you point your horse, again a very loose term, in the right direction and start moving down the road, into the dark, looming woods.