Oliver D. Bernuetz's Stories
The gaily painted tinker's wagon being pulled by a pair of gelded bison made a strange sight as it crossed the Twixt Grasslands. Half a dozen children perched on top were hanging on as it bumped along. Did one perhaps have a scorpion's tail peeking out from under her robes? The strangeness was enhanced by the dozen or so human seeming outriders mounted on mules. The robes they wore only partially disguised the fact that they were all wearing iron plate and did nothing to hide the loaded heavy crossbows on their laps. They constantly turned from side to side to scan their surroundings nervously. Suddenly an impala burst from cover and raced away. The nearest rider turned and let off a hasty shot. Missed...again. They all sighed. She reached into one of the panniers filled with quarrels and laboriously reloaded her weapon.
If it wasn't the riders it was certainly the four dozen broos that sullenly followed at a safe distance. They seemed dispirited and trudged along dragging their weapons along. Not even stopping to defile anything but voiding their bladders and bowels as they went with no regard for what their waste landed on.
Inside the wagon it was as gaily decorated as the mood was bitter and acrimonious. Every surface was brightly painted and cheerful. The decor was somewhat ruined by the oversized golden sword heavily marked with Death and Truth runes hanging on one wall. The three occupants of the wagon couldn't have been stranger. One was a large broo in iron plate, a large, monstrous spirit hovered over him, the second was a beautiful, scantily clad female whose lower extremities couldn't seem to decide whether they were shapely legs or a sinuous, scaly tail. In her lap she held a severed head with a Death rune tattoo on its face. She absent mindedly stroked its blood matted hair. The last figure of the trio was a grizzled old man whose gnarled and muscled limbs still radiated power. He was holding a human arm in his broad powerful hands, one of which was missing two fingers and angrily taking bites out of it. The table was strewn with other, messily butchered body parts.
The lamia spoke in her sultry, husky voice which was more than a little tinged with annoyance, "Oh Harnval, did we have to kill him? He was my last Humakti thrall and I worked super hard to ensnare him!" She glanced at the sword and shuddered prettily, "And must we keep that abomination up there?"
The man slammed the arm down splattering the three of them with more gore. The broo idly licked it off his hands with his long prehensile tongue while the succubus daintily licked some off the back of her hands. The old ogre's face turned a dangerous looking shade of red and he shuddered with rage. Only with great effort did he control his anger and he spoke through gritted teeth. "You worked hard did you? You. Worked. Hard." He clenched his fists. His voice raised, "Do you know how long I've been working on my vengeance!?!" The pair rolled their eyes and spoke in bored unison. "Eight. Long. Years."
"You mock but yes, eight long years! Those bastards took everything from me1. All five of my sons! Artho, Septo, Davis and Davis. Even little Dorian." He sniffed. "I would have turned little Dorian into a proper ogre! His blasted mother! How could she beg her mewling god to turn my spawn into a human?" The broo awkwardly reached over and patted him clumsily on the shoulder. Harnval covered the broo's hand with his own briefly before realizing what he'd done and angrily shoving it away. The lamia looked away in discomfort. "Dorian's true nature won out in the end and he managed to find his own path to Chaos.2 But he was took weak to follow the path." He shook his head. "So I decided to arrange the perfect revenge. It took me years to collect the money I needed and then I carefully collected the villains I needed for my plan." He derisively blew a raspberry. "Legion of Doom my ass. Useless boobs!" The succubus shook her head prettily. "It's a poor craftsman who blames his tools." "Oh, so you admit that you're a tool?" The lamia glared and the boo chortled. Harnval turned to the broo. "Stuff it Phyllis. You're an even bigger tool than she is." The broo hung his head, "It's Fil-ith man. You know that."
"The plan was perfect. All you had to do, Filth-lis was dispell and dispell and dispell. It's a simple thing idiot. Dispell the sword trance, dispell the shield, dispell whatever else nonsense they have cast on them. And then that bloody, useless vampire would have sliced that damn Sword up a treat. But no, you don't dispell shit and all that bloodsucker manages to do was knock that sad excuse puppy boy that used to be my Dorian down3. And then get his head chopped off costing us his skeleton horde which frankly was the most valuable part of the whole Legion." The succubus snorted, "Certainly better than ogres." "Hey, my boys managed to shoot down that damn dirty ape and the puppy boy. How was I to know they had some magical spear that would fly them off and that crippled goddess would heal them?4"
Fil-ith looked disgruntled. "After they'd cut down half of my broos I decided it was time to make my exit." He shrugged, "I was only following your ogres after all. Thankfully we managed to get away. I left my fetch behind to keep an eye on them. It was okay as that damned sorcerer was elsewhere." He explained what happened next.
"After the vampire fell and the skeletons fell the Sword was keen to pursue. However the baboon and puppy were somewhat wounded and wanted to return to the Earth goddess for healing and to get magic points restored. My fetch of course went nowhere hear her as she could have easily seen and destroyed it. After they returned from visiting the goddess they decided that they would follow us down the drain. The Lightson headed down first and even my fetch was impressed by his skillful climbing. The rest followed and no one had any trouble getting down, though none were as masterful as the Lightson. They reached the top of the odd sideways room where you had to climb in on those dangling metal curtains that almost reached the floor. One had been tied to the door in the wall but we detached it so you had to climb up the wall to get out. The five ogres with heavy crossbows we'd left there shot at the Lightson but none of them got a decent shot off so the quarrels all bounced off. After a single barrage they all fled. My fetch then saw that damn sorcerer and escaped before it was spotted. It heard the howl of a sylph before it left so they must have been ferried out of the room by the sylph."
Harnval took up the tale again, "We put up all the walls and barricades we had so carefully and expensively prepared. It should have been a death trap damn it but those bastards are so lucky." He growled in frustration. "That sorcerer knew where we were because someone didn't do anything about him." The lamia glared in an ugly manner, "What could I do to the bastard? He was immune to my abilities!" "You could have stabbed him, or tried harder to catch him when he ran away!" She had the decency to blush and shrugged her shoulders which caused the severed head to fall off her lap and roll into a corner.
"Anyway they smashed the doors down and entered the hallway behind a lightwall. Near the end of the corridor we'd set up that wall we could safely shoot from behind. You did dispell that lightwall but the two rounds of shooting was mostly useless. They even managed to shoot one of my boys through the wall! As planned my shooters fell back into the main room where the captives were being held and stationed themselves behind the barricade we'd erected across most of the room. At the back was the cage where the captives were being held...and a certain succubus was cowering. So they knocked the wall down in the corridor, smashed the doors down and entered the main chamber behind another damn lightwall! They even cast a Sunbright on the puppy guy! So Gir-lak dispelled the lightwall and Phyllis dispelled the sword trance. Finally. But nobody dispelled the Sunbright. The shooters fell back behind the cage with the captives and the surviving broos readied themselves. They did better than I thought they would mostly because of numbers. One managed to impale the Sword in the arm with a critical which took him out for a couple of rounds. But even with a spear in his arm he still managed to shrug off most of the blows he took until he managed to yank it out, picked up his sword and start killing again. Even the Storm blabber mouth and the monkey managed to down quite a few broos."
The baboon climbed the wall and came down to fight." He smirked again, "Until he got stabbed in the chest. The Lightson and the dog kid were fighting side by side. They both managed to get their spears stuck in broos and it looked hopeful for us for a second. The kid was knocked down by a nice head butt. But of course he got healed by the sorcerer and the Lightson. The Lightson had gotten his spear out and handed it to the kid after he stood up and yanked the kid's spear out of the broo it was in. I mean we were kind of holdin' our own. But then that bitch Fate kicked us right in the balls." He shrugged apologetically at the lamia. "Metaphorically speaking of course. We all heard some unholy roaring and who shows up but that friggin' Storm Kahn Sax Bolderson5 and some High Llama idiot wearing a foreskin hat6. That monster jumped up on the barrier and roared its displeasure. And then it leapt down and more killing started. Shit got real there and broos started dying in earnest. AND that damn sorcerer and his ugly little invisible pet were casting breath stealing spells at our boys as well. So I decided a change in tone was needed. I yelled really loud and stopped the fighting. I flung the hood of my cloak back and introduced myself...."
The succubus sniggered, "And that's when no one recognized you." Harnval glared, "Hadn't you buggered off before that point?" She shrugged, "Buggered off, went immaterial, same diff. I was demoralized after all." "So after I explained who I was," said Harnval through gritted teeth, "I demanded that they deal with me. That Sword tried to Sever Spirit me but thank Cacodemon my soul was tough enough to pass the test! Then the Lightson shut me down and told me that if we took the slave necklace off his wife and buggered off he'd give us a day's head start and that was the deal." Harnval shook his head sadly. "What could I do? I agreed, did what he said and we bugged out." His shoulders sagged in defeat. "There's obviously no profit in vengeance. Time for a fresh start."
Fil-ith and the lamia both sighed. "And where are we going exactly?" "I am going to the Plateau of Statues first and then maybe, Kralorela. You idiots can do whatever you want, I don't care any more." Fil-ith sneered, "Well it was all your fault." And he waved in both of their directions. They both snarled back and the bickering and acrimony resumed. The argument continued for some time and they eventually discovered that while the wagon was big enough for a broo, an ogre and a lamia (or was it a succubus?) it definitely couldn't hold a Fiend of Cacodemon as well.
1 [back] See Chronicles of the South - Part 2, Chronicles of the South - Part 3 Tales from Grandpa - Chapter 1
2 [back] Dorian Tavish tried to attune a crystal the party found in a cave despite repeated and ominous warnings from the GM. He attuned it and woke up with 12 point aluminum scales all over his body. Unfortunately this happened in the guest barracks at the Sun Dome Temple where Solanthos Ironpike sentenced him to death by purifying fire.
3 [back] See Get My Point?
4 [back] Eh, it's a long story.
5 [back] See There's a New Lord in Town...
6 [back] See Death (what again?) of a Titan
Last updated March 18, 2020
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