Feathered Goo Serpents (flash story)

 The continuation of the adventures of Karamus as told from his older self in a semi-journal format. These are written for fun so enjoy.

-Lucas

I hate goo. It smells, it gets into everything, and it isn’t even pretty. This pretty much sums up Greyjerk. As Kort followed me into the tree line to find the gnome, we found the mind bender shifting forms back to his usual self and not necessarily an improvement. Between him and his talking rock, I could make a fortune on the circus market. If only he would go along… I wonder if he would work for peanuts.

After a quick inspection with Kort’s missing eye, we looted the poor gnome of his possessions and moved on our way to the temple to meet the feathered lizard. Now, when one such as myself walks up to an ancient temple housing a planar creature of immense power, one would assume that it would be hard to gain an audience. Now add in two big muscles with heads at the door and I thought for sure we would have to fight our way inside. As Bransen would have it, these guys were as bright as the void and let us inside stating that we would be received. That didn’t sound right to me. Strike one.

Inside the temple was the scent of flowers on the air. No planar creature sits in a place scented with flowers. It’s bad for business and reputation. Strike two.

Upon seeing the creature, I was amazed at the sight, too amazed really. I blinked my eyes and looked harder and sure enough, the image before was perfect, too perfect for a normal creature, even a planar. Strike three.

I was convinced what we were seeing was an illusion because really, I am trained in such things. I leaned over to Kort and whispered to him my suspicions just as he finished listening to the sodding paladin about feelings. He whispered back to me to watch the entrance and the two guys at the gate before taking two steps forward and loudly stated that he didn’t believe in the feathered lizard which was echoed by Ashton in the form of a fireball. I sighed, that was not what I had in mind.

With the fight on, I whipped out my scroll of greater invisibility so I could handle the two guards outside easier but they never moved. Ah, the weak-minded indeed. Just as dumb as they looked. Amused with myself, I was a little startled when I heard and felt the movement of the behir. I turned to look in time to see Jarvyk get eaten alive. Well, not a total loss but I knew the rest of the group wouldn’t be happy so I made my way across the battle field of flying gargoyles (I must have missed them showing up) and beams of fire hitting mages. Glad that I wasn’t a mage myself, I finally skated across a bench to get alongside the monstrous lizard (again with the lizard theme) and began to plunge Daystar into the body of the beast, looking for its oversized heart.

The fighting was easy, that is, until featherbrain dispelled my invisibility. Apparently it was back to old-fashioned ducking and weaving before Jarvyk finally carved his way out of the behir’s belly. I was going to say the smell was an improvement but considering the look in his eyes, I decided against it for my own well being. We attacked in sequence and quickly dropped the beast with my sword through its brainbox.

With the death of the behir, the rest of the fight went well as the company grouped together to dispatch the gargoyles and then featherbrain. It was the gook Greybox that got the final… look? What the hell do you call what he does? Mind sodding? Anyhow, the thing fell dead eventually. If looks could kill. Heh. Turns out the lizard wasn’t even a lizard but a snake with a humanoid head. Even worse, now they are trying to look like us. Maybe that’s why they wanted poptart’s mentor. They want to be more… elven? Man, someone needs to explain to these a thing or two about elves…

The old cansin closed the journal and sat up from his chair to make his way over to his desk. He opened one of the drawers and pushed several papers away until he found a velvet pouch which he held tightly in his hand. He made his way back over to his chair and slide back into the groove of the leather which had molded to his form and posture after years of use. He opened the bag and dropped out a ring which he held up to the light, “Ah, a precious thing you are.” he whispered to himself. The ring was of the family of Tercival from Cauldron. With a deep breath and exhale, he slid the ring back into the bag. As he tied it shut, a loud crash came from the door.

Karamus quickly moved up from his chair, the charade of old age gone from his mind. He grabbed a knife from his desk and opened the door to find two brawny and well armored men stepping through his broken door. He quickly looked to his wife who only nodded to him and began to slip out the back door. With a quick flick of his wrist he sent his knife sailing through the air and into the visor slit of the helmet of the lead enforcer. With a quick few steps Karamus made his way into the kitchen where he flipped a switch along one of the cabinets before calmly grabbing several knives from the butcher block.

A metallic grinding sound began and was followed by a rush of fire that filled the entire entryway. The screams of the enforcers was loud enough to be heard down the block. “Gods I love gnomes.” he muttered as he opened up the window to the kitchen and slipped out of the house. Quickly he made his way around front where he found several more enforcers as well as a black mage backing up from the fire. “Shadow Academy.” he muttered again before moving swiftly and quickly around the group.

The old rogue descended upon the mage first, slicing through his spinal cord in one fluid motion of the knife. The mage yelped as he collapsed to the ground. Without pausing he threw a knife at one of the enforcers who fell clutching his neck. The third and fourth enforcers fell in similar fashions. Surprised at himself, the cansin gave a smile, “It would appear I hav…” he started to say before a large metal object knocked him over the head, sending him into blackness.

______________________________

The cansin awoke to find himself chained to a metal slate. The room was mostly dark with the only light coming from an overly hot set of coals to the side. The air was humid and thick with the smell of blood. “Fargal…” he started to say.

“You’re awake. Finally. Has old age finally caught up to the infamous Karamus?” asked a deep rumbling voice from the dark.

“I was just checking my eyelids for holes, that’s all.”

“Let’s begin again shall we? What happened after you left Pearlglen?”

“I told you already you oversized gnome, we went to Cauldron. Ran into a couple of giants along the way. Big guys, shiny rocks, I think one of them was your mother.”

A snarl answered the jab, “Silence you wretch.”

“So which is it? Talk or be quiet? You know you really ought to make up your mind about these things.” No answer came forth and so the old cansin continued, “As I was saying, we ran into some giants that were after some woman. The group drove off the giants while I made sure the dear lady was ok cause really, I am a gentleman at heart… well, most of the time.”

“With the lady rescued, we reached the city about two days later, pretty much the same as we left it except, no war and a bunch of half orcs with nothing to do except meddle in my affairs. Seeing that our company issues were minor, I made my way off to see my people to see what had been going on. Turns out, the war I was hoping for between Cauldron and Red Gorge never happened. Apparently Tercival had given an apology which blew the whole thing over.”

“But you see, there was one problem with that. The sodding paladin was de…OW!” screamed the rogue as a sliver of white-hot metal slipped between his ribs, the pain shot through his body like a asp’s poison. “Careful now… no need to be insulting.” the voice said.

“Sheesh… just… oh nevermind, you couldn’t understand anyhow with that armor on so tight. Breathing ok? You sure? Cause that can’t be heal… ok, ok, ok.” he quickly said as the poker came closer to his body again. “So… paladins, right. Tercival is dead you know… of course you know… being a paladin and all… oh sorry, ex paladin. OW!”

“Fine! I took the ring of Tercival which would prove that the one who gave the apology was a fake meaning that Cauldron would head full steam to war which would mean my people could finally get some work done without the half orcs getting in the way.”

“Good start. Now, explain to me the part about the Shadow Academy.” said the voice in the darkness.

“I knew you were going to say that…”

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