Chapter 23 - Somewhere Else.
Samantha scowled and wiped the blood off her boots. The late necromancer slide down the wall and came to rest next to his zombie servant, who she’d been forced to dispatch first.
“This is annoying,” she said to the corpses, neither of which responded, though this wasn’t as guaranteed as it would have been in other areas. Banesville was full of the walking, and sometimes talking/hissing/growling undead.
One thing it apparently wasn’t full of was her new target.
“I should never have believed Bruce,” she hissed, frisking the necromancer in practiced fashion and removing a small purse full of clinking metal. “He’s in Basesville
,” she squeaked in a poor imitation of her brother, grunting as she dragged the dead mage across the floor by his feet and out into the small back yard. “Even so, Groan wouldn’t have been my first guess. Looks like that idiot shopkeep was right after all.” With a final heave, she rolled the body into the pit she’d had her first victim evacuate. It was getting full, apparently necromancers were more social than she’d realized. She’d have to dig another one soon, or move.
After a brief look at the small hut she’d liberated from its prior owner, she decided to move. There was still the matter of the first package to retrieve, and that wasn’t going to get any easier the longer she waited.
“Sorry fellows,” she said to the pit of dead. “Looks like I’m going to have to leave town for a while. Don’t go anywhere now.”
Pausing to consider they probably would
if someone here found them, she shrugged, collected her belongings and departed her temporary abode.
Behind her, the dead said nothing at all.
“Oh my goodness! Look at this! What have we here? Here?”
Urt stood with as much dignity as he could muster, which wasn’t all that much considering he was covered in slime. “I say good man, are you the proprietor here?” He looked the newcomer up and down, mostly succeeding in keeping the distain off his face.
Their new friend wasn’t much to look at all told, though if one stopped to consider the types that are likely to frequent waste disposal areas, this probably wouldn’t come as a great surprise. He was a wiry chap, clad in sewer-appropriate brown trousers and shirt, with a ragged waistcoat of similar hue. His face was also wiry, and somehow vaguely rodent
like. He twitched his nose slightly as he returned Urt’s gaze, apparently unphased by his tone.
“Looks like we have a couple of thirty three B’s,” sewer-man muttered, probably to himself. “Haven’t had any of those for a good while. While.” He pulled a pad of paper out of a waistcoat pocket and, taking a pencil of some kind that had been wedged unseen behind one ear, made a quick note.
“Er, Urt,” Reginald began.
“Not now Reg.” Urt waved a hand and stepped forward. He spoke to the man in the slow and loud tone usually reserved for the slow witted or foreigners. “I say! Hello there! We seem to be lost. I wonder if you would be so good as to direct us to the exit?”
The man didn’t respond, but instead sniffed at Urt. “Ooh! No! Not a thirty three at all! More like a fifty one C! Maybe even a fifty two! Two!”
“Urt…” Reginald began again.
“Hold on a second, I’m trying to converse with this fellow,” Urt said, scowling. He snapped a finger, causing sparks to fly. “You! I’m speaking to you! Who are you?”
The man stopped suddenly and seemed to notice Urt for the first time. “You speaking to me?”
Rolling his eyes, Urt muttered a brief prayer to Dreg to spare him from imbeciles and then tried again. “Who else would I be speaking to?” he asked.
“You shouldn’t be speaking you know,” the man replied.
“We shouldn’t be… Look, er, what’s your name anyway?”
, could we speak to someone in charge please? There’s obviously been a bit of a misunderstanding. We were having a quiet stroll in the… in… Along when your slime ball snatched us up. It’s quite the outrage.”
“Well, maybe I could get the boss, but he doesn’t like to be disturbed. Disturbed.” Rowland scratched his ever twitching nose.
“This is ludicrous,” Urt said. “Why am I even speaking to you? Stand aside.” He pushed at the man, but leaped back quickly as Rowland turned from a wiry human into a giant four footed rat with demon red eyes and extremely wicked looking teeth.
“That’s what I was trying to tell you,” Reginald said. “He’s a wererat. Nasty things they are, wouldn’t like to get bitten by one. Very unhealthy. Fatal even, should you survive the being eaten bit.”
Having made his point, Roland morphed back to his human shape, which had somehow retained its clothing unharmed. Urt wasn’t sure it was much improvement, apart from the teeth.
“So then,” he said. “We were talking about your boss?”
“Again, no. We need to keep the target alive,” Redthorne repeated for what seemed like the hundredth time. “Only he can stop the Four from breaking through and consuming the world.”
“But he has fallen from grace,” Prudence said again. “The Lady, may she be ever blessed, commands us to rid the world of those who serve evil.”
“But,” Redthorne said, raising a finger and nearly falling off his horse. “What if the… fallen one could prevent an even greater evil? Wouldn’t killing him in itself be an evil act?”
“Killing evil is never evil,” the paladin replied, but Redthorne noted a hint of uncertainty in her voice.
“No one said you couldn’t kill him,” he replied. “You just have to wait until he has prevented the Four from destroying all li… all that is Good in the world. You wouldn’t want that would you?”
“The Paladins of my order can defeat these evil Four of whom you speak,” Prudence said, the steel re-entering her tone.
“No. No they can’t. If they could then there would be no need for our mission. You can check with your Order if you like, they’ll tell you the same thing, assuming their pride allows it.”
“Pride is a sin.”
“You ask anyway.” Redthorne turned to the paladin who was riding alongside him, mounted on her, of course, white horse with armor gleaming in the sunlight. “I tell you what, I’ll make you a deal. If you contact your bosses and they tell you, clearly and with no word trickery mind, that the Order can deal with the Four, you can kill our chap on sight. If not, you do things my way. Deal?”
Prudence glared at the mage for a moment before replying. “I don’t know mage. Wizards are renowned for their word tricks as well as their magic. I shall have to think upon this.” She spurred her horse, which was a magnificent beast, forward.
Redthorne watched her go and then glanced about, eventually spotting Sod trotting off to one side. The warrior monk just grinned at him.
“Oh, go and fall down a hole,” the mage said.
“How’s your magic regeneration coming along?” Reginald whispered.
Urt flexed his fingers, but then shook his head. “I could probably manage a small death spell,” he said. “Not really much more than that though.”
death spell? Never mind. Not really enough to deal with our friends then.”
“No. Not just now. I need incantation time anyway.” Urt looked at the three thin men who had been stationed around their ‘spot’. All three of them, according to Reginald’s sense of smell, or something, were wererats. They’d been stationed there whilst Rowland went to fetch the boss.
“Heads up.” The weresheep nudged him.
“Heads up?” Urt didn’t have time to ponder this saying before Rowland returned. He wasn’t alone. Behind him came three or four other characters. These were of a different league altogether from Rowland. Where he was skinny, these had muscles bulging. Where he had a notebook, they had serious looking swords at their sides. He had a twitching nose, they had… well, twitching noses too, but also expressions that implied twitching noses weren’t just the domain of cute bunnies. These were hardened killers.
Behind the bodyguards, on a sedan chair held aloft by half a dozen sweating Rowland look-alikes, was the fattest man Urt had even seen. Admittedly he’d not really seen that many people in the scheme of things, but this fellow stood out even so.
With a wave of one bejeweled hand, the Sewer King was lowered to the ground. Once safely on what passed for terra-firma in this part of the world, he waved a jeweled cane that he held in his other hand.
Urt and Reginald were rudely shoved forward, to stand before his throne, which Urt now saw was made from a motley collection of scrap metal, bone and other things best left unmentioned.
“Speak,” said the king, adjusting his silver crown (some kind of metal ring with stones stuck to it).
“Your majesty,” Urt said, deciding a diplomatic approach was best while he was low on magic. “We wish to petition you for release. We are mere travelers, snatched up whilst on an innocent stroll.”
“You were in my territory,” the king replied. “That makes you my property. Unless you can buy your own freedom, you are mine to do with as you will. Of course, anything you carry on your persons now is also mine.” He smiled, showing large yellow teeth.
“Ah. I see.” Urt scratched his head.>>>>>>
See? I managed a chapter! Woo!
So, what’s the plan now fellows? Some kind of barter? Go for the kill regardless? Another cunning plan?
Let’s hear your schemes!