A Housewarming Anecdote

by Xan

In conversation with Vincenzi Velasquez at the housewarming party for his new residence:

“Hello! De-lighted you could make it…”

<Sounds of smooching, embraces, and wine being poured.>

“Do you like the new place? I am rather fond, I have a feeling I could get quite comfortable here. Mind you, it's not the same as the Forest, but then what is?”

“Cost me a fair packet, of course, but Duke Ario helped out. He had a job needed doing a few weeks back, and obviously wanted a well-bred leader of men to see that it got done; but they were all busy, so he settled for me and a motley gaggle of adventuring types instead. An Ash-Priest named Brynna, a Blood-Sorceror named Loric, a vicious young warrior called Jzad and some sneaky brown-nosed potter named Weasel. Brynna seems like a good sort, and Loric certainly has potential - I sent him an invite for tonight, hope he'll make it - but Jzad had a little too much enthusiasm for anyone's safety, and Weasel, well, good for nothing but sneaking about in the bushes and taking people roughly from behind if you ask me.”

“So anyway, turns out Ario had a slight bandit problem down in a farming village named Four Elms. He'd sent in some of his own men already, to no avail, so wanted a few folks who were slightly more… ahem… expendable. Being the gullible thrillseeking types and mercenary buggers that we are, we headed out South, passed by a group of bandits who claimed to be 'actors' <snicker> when they saw our swords, had a few wolf troubles, met some travelling merchant named Sebastian and his cadre of Weavers - Sirius, did I tell you about them? They're setting up shop here in the City, looking to weaken the Almedias' steelsilk stranglehold. Tried to get me involved of all people, like I care about trade and politics! Did have some good stuff though.”

“Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, wolf troubles. More of them, then we met some people in Cristofori livery waving swords. We assumed they were bona fide at first, 'til Weasel found some bandits hiding in the bushes. Then all the details clicked, and we laid into the lot of them. A few tried to get away, but a quick blood-curse put paid to that idea, and we kept one alive for questioning. She told us that some big hard bandit chief had newly set up camp in Four Elms and started recruiting, giving all his men eagle tattoos on their forearms for easy identification - remind me to show you my collection later. She spilled the beans on numbers, tactics and the like, mentioning there were two other bandit scouting groups out there and they'd taken the uniforms from some of Ario's late agents. Moving on, we found those former guardsmen, and discovered they'd been given last rites by a Priest of the Lord of Blood-Fury. Needless to say, this caused some slight concern… Thalia, darling, fetch me another bottle would you? I'm getting a trifle dry here. Oh, and after that there's a young fellow in the drawing room who's just dying to meet you.”

“Ah, that's better. Right, interrogation… dead guardsmen… Brynna called up one of their ghosts for questioning you know, handy trick that, and we noticed that the last of their number had escaped. I followed his tracks and found him slowly bleeding to death against a tree, so healed him up and sent him back to Ario, after he'd told us a bit more about the defences of the village and Ario's other squads. Being in a tactical mood, we circled round and took out the other two bandit scouting groups as a warm-up, helped by a few blood-curses from myself and Loric and an ashen cloud from Brynna. There was a brief BDSM interrogation torture scene in there as well, which was cut a little short when Jzad got carried away. Then we snuck into the village, and almost immediately ran into a whole bunch of bandits who set off the alarm.”

“Ended up playing saviours for a bit on our way to the main square, I had to heal some villager who'd had his arm severed by Jzad during the confusion of battle and we all rescued an old lady being beaten up by ruffians. Then, it was time for the dramatic showdown… ah, canapés!”

<Sounds of contented mastication, then the anecdote resumes in a slightly stickier tone.>

“Mmmmm, so, showdown… try one of the honeyed ones, they're delicious… so there they were, a horde of them gathered round the village square, just waiting for us to arrive. Not being the fools-rush-in types, Weasel snuck round and set fire to the mayor's house as a distraction, then Loric and I blood-cursed their Blood-Priest to take him out of the picture and Brynna went in with an ashen cloud to soften them up. Well, that was the plan at any rate, and it nearly worked, but as is often the way it all ended up in one big confused melee. Damn that chieftain was hard! I was taking wounds almost as fast as I could heal them up, and for a while I thought we weren't going to make it, but here I am… and there we were, heroes of the hour, bandits dead, chieftain securely bound in steelsilk ropes and tied to a mule for transport back to Ario's justice, receiving the grateful adulation of the villagers, all as it should be! We met up with Ario's surviving men, who'd been bravely watching everything from a safe distance, and headed back to the City. And would you believe it, those fake 'actor' cads we'd met on our way out had the effrontery to attack us! We'd just had enough by that point, and let them have it full blast. Brynna was so incensed that even after they were dead she called up one of their ghosts to torment, and I think she got somewhat upset when I exorcised him to take a turn at shredding his psyche. But by that point I was more than a little… aha, I do believe the party games are starting! It's such a pity Vivian couldn't make it; pass that tray of oils, would you?…”

misc/fiction/hwa.txt · Last modified: 2011/03/27 18:56 by osj01
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