Posts Tagged Varek
Gracie Buttertreacle sat silently in the street’s filth. She watched the strangers scoot past her and eyed them expectantly. She was on the look out for trouble and the possibility of food or a coin. Or information. After all Fourfingers had promised the Ratboys a tidy sum for the right kinds of knowledge! Suddenly her heart quickened – there he was – the Furriner they called him, the Bringer of Death. This was her chance. She lifted her hand and croaked “Hey mister, spare us a $merduk can yer?”. The furriner just sailed past oblivious. His gnome companion, whom they said thought he was a dwarf looked at her piteously, and chucked her a coin. She blinked a couple of times and then ran as quickly as she could. There were more $merduks waiting for her from Fourfingers for keeping him up to date with the Death Bringer’s movements. She glanced back long enough to see Liam tumble from his hiding place and stalk the pair as she darted off to the Spiced Apple tavern. That’s where Jimmy’s second in command would be waiting for her news, and where she could spend the $merduk on some decent tucker and a place by the fire.
Liam winked at Gracie as she pelted off. He crouched on the rooftop and watched the pair stroll up the street to the College-Temple. He let them get a comfortable distance before he shinned down the pipe and darted in pursuit. Like most of the Ratboys he was almost preternaturally stealthy and agile and he reveled in following people without their knowledge. This was easy money – yessiree! He bit into the crab-apple and sucked in its sour goodness. He watched them enter the temple and then settled himself into the rooftop of the fairly run down house over the road. It was probably going to rain, but that wasn’t going to stop him from earning his keep, and avoiding a beating into the bargain for not getting the job done. Boy that Fourfingers was a hard-ass when he wanted to be. What drove him to want these two goons he’d never figure.
Liam woke with a start. It was pelting down but that wasn’t all that drew his attention. The College-Temple was turning into a fungus ridden puff-ball nightmare. Huge tendrils of fungus were everywhere! He’d never seen anything like it at all in the whole miserable 13 years or so of his life. What on Nehwon was this? The bakers cart was stopped in the street and Higgins the bun-seller was gawping open mouthed at the scene. Then he seemed to have a sudden, desperately worried thought, or some kind of odd reaction. Next thing he was back in his cart and whipping his pony for all it was worth. He was off in a hurry. Liam looked after him, and then back to the Temple. Then he saw the filamental spores drifting, catching the early light. Now he could see why Higgins had left it. This place was, umm, infectshious. Yes that was it – it was some kind of putrid death trap! He hopped off the backwall and onto the next roof. Time to report in. No sign of his quarry – maybe they’d carked it or were still on duty. This was news – if he could get to the Bell Mews before Higgins he could break the story and still tell Fourfingers what was up before it hit the press. Double down! He sped up his pace as he jumped from one roof to another. Down below in the streets the pony whinnied as Higgins applied some whip-based encouragement. Shortly thereafter he was knocked sideways as 8 stone of smelly Ratboy ruffian slammed into him from above, skittering him onto the cobbles. Liam whooped as he took the reins and the pony bolted off.
Ulris the White contemplated the fate of Lankhmar. This seething canker – this putrescence of a boil on the Temple. Clearly it was Putrexia returned. Angered by the betrayal of her High-Priest, now incarcerated, she’d seen fit to visit this abomination of disease upon her own and blight the foul quarters. If Huw, Varek and Hooknose don’t get the components for the Spell of Asepsis from the good Doctor, as laid out in the Tome of Advanced Precautions, then there was practically nothing he could do to prevent this catastrophe. Already the sick and dying were starting to impact on the City. So the questions now tugging at the mind of the Wizard Ulris were: would Dr Carom be up to this task? Furthermore would the trio he’d steered into undoing this great wrong follow it through? Ulris fervently hoped that the answers to these questions were – yes and yes. Much hinged on this and unless this was successful he didn’t rate the chances of the population doing anything much more than adding to the legions of the dead over the next few days. The Undead and Life disadvantaged league were bound to have a great deal to say about all this! Was this the Year of the Putrexian Fungal Death?
DM’s note: Missed blogging Session Two. Basically they spent the night in the College-Temple, found it was weird and corrupt. They hid their booty there and ‘laid low’. On shift hand-over they went and stayed in a more upmarket Minstrels Inn if memory serves. When having some tucker the Dwarf sort of started a fight as people were gossiping about them. They didn’t land the first blow, but Varek stopped the fight by stabbing one of the locals in the groin. Morticia Blackheart, local Witch-Harlequin intervened and frightened many off. She scolded her cousin for getting involved. She made some bizarre predictions and let them be with dire warnings. They made themselves scarce, fortunate that they bouncers saw things their way and that the Witch seemed to have deterred everybody from taking things further. Also stabbing someone in the nuts cemented their reputation. The emissary had a massive bashed ear treated by the Witch and wanted to see something of the city before their next shift….
“So”, said Varek to himself, “Turns out I’m Half-Gnome. That explains a lot”. He was astounded. Now the years of trying to ‘bulk up’ and ‘beard up’ so unsuccessfully seemed somehow even more futile. No wonder he’d won slimmer of the year so often in training camp. Oh the shame of it. He glanced at himself in the funny looking mirror in the Witches hut. They were in another kind of shitting dimension here.
He touched the eye-patch over his weird red demon-eye and watched as the Emissary tossed and turned in his sleep. For a moment the blanket slipped and Hoo’s weird scabby black demon-skin legs caused by the healing from the ‘demon being’ that Morticia had summoned with her staff hove into view. Varek boggled at the sight. Around the demon skin of the Emissary’s reconstituted legs he could see the raw fresh human skin, healing at an astonishing pace. He’d been lifelessly squished to death under that coffin lid when it crashed back on top of him – now look at him. Another day of this demon-gunk healing and he’d be fine. Not only that, but just in time for their shift at the College-Temple of Putrexia. Not that he was sure about the wisdom of that, but there were a lot of fittings in need of adjustment in that place.
Varek sat down on the sewing stool and gazed up through the skylight. He shifted his weight and took out a bodkin like needle thrust into the cushion and stared at it for a bit. Those stars peeping through the skylight stole his attention though- so many of them, so intense and, well, alien to him. He couldn’t make out the big foot scraper or the shovel or any of the constellations he’d grown up with in the mountains. This Witch’s house was fucking mental. Oh she’d explained it to him, in between bouts of, um, well ‘activity’. Here he blushed at his own thoughts. It made no fucking sense though.
How could it be that when he looked out of the window time was stood-still – the same bees and flies fixed in mid-flight? Yet up above and when he was out in the ‘garden’ the sun and moon rose with the normal determined regularity. Also he was sure there was no ‘garden’ when he’d seen the place from the outside – just a shack. He shook his head and stood up, somewhat weak at the knees.
Must be all that exercise he thought. Morticia was spread out on her chaise-long. Oh she was insanely beautiful and powerful alright. I mean the way she’d taken on that vampiric essence Hoo had stumbled on. The way she’d summoned an extra-dimensional lizardy-demon being to save him. How she channelled the dead. But crikey she put the wind up him something chronic. He thought back to when he’d stumbled into the house ‘s veranda to call for help. She’d been a crone, right, swaying in the rocking chair, laughing toothlessly smoking a pipe? Then she’d stood up – tall, beautiful, a fae-queen with that top-hat askance and the jingling of those jewels glistening across her heaving… He shook himself. He was doing it again.
His mind raced back to when they dashed hand-in-hand to the cemetery to save Hoo. All the way he kept thinking “He’s going to be fucking dead”. He was certain he was mincemeat having strayed into that dark resting chamber. Why did he care about this furriner? I mean what kind of numbskull just waltzes into a recovering vampyres resting place? He shivered at the thought. He quailed quietly also at how that half-transformed Werewolf Grave Attendant, Bob, made him feel whenever he was a few feet from him.
Oh he’d been nice enough, and yes he’d held up the coffin and helped scrape the Emissary from the underside. But he was NOT NATURAL. Somewhere in Varek’s mind it occurred to him that he was not pro-Werewolf and needed to keep a lid on these thoughts just in case the pro-rights nutters developed mind-reading skills. He was sure Morticia could read his thoughts. She seemed to stare right through him, sometimes. Like he wasn’t there almost.
Suddenley he could hear the voice of the channelled being that she called from the death dimension shouting at him. Morticia had grasped him with somekind of manic strength and then she was all: “YOU ARE NOT A DWARF!!! HA HA HA YOU NEVER KNEW YOUR GNOMISH FATHER DID YOU PEASANT!!!?” and then the spirit man realised he’d been tricked into giving away his knowledge for nothing. He couldn’t shake that memory for no want of trying. He was struck by how vulnerable she’d been afterwards. Still bit of a fucking shock. I mean, yes, well. Quite. No wonder everything was a bit of a traumatic blur.
He could remember fixing the hearse-wagon and helping the hearse driver sort out the damage he’d himself caused a day or so ago, ironically, with a poorly placed bolt shot. He was a lisping, mincing Zombie the hearse attendant. Sort of um, grossly apologetic for everything. Nice enough – all his stitches in the right place. Why they’d wandered into the place – this McKinley’s Cemetery he couldn’t quite recall.
Then his gaze fell on the Emmissary again. Oh yes him. He’d wandered in. “Plenty of time to see the sights”, he’d said once they’d extricated themselves successfully from that mess of a situation back in the Whatachmacallit Inn. At least he had a proper bona-fide license now for his Widowmaker after passing by the Gaol. And he’d seen the Sherriff up close and learned a bit more about how this city ran itself. Even so, the more he thought about it, the more complicated and messy everything seemed to be getting since he’d met this furriner. I mean look at me he thought looking again into the mirror. I’ve a demon-eye, I’m not half the dwarf (literally) I used to be. I’m shagging a fae Witch. I have money I can spend and some money I can’t – not without getting seriously killed to death. Some furrin magic-shop owner is convinced we’re going to die unless we get the hell out of Lankhmar. I’m probably going to get a lot of stick from the thieves guild at some point for unlicensed thieving. Nevermind finding out who it was it that I ended taking that unspendable coin of the Overlord’s from? What are they going to do about that? It was all a mess. Then the Temple! What a place that is – sucking the life out of the locals and stashing it all in the Head honcho’s bed chamber whilst the poor live the life of misery. How did they make all that money?!
Varek sank down in front of the crackling fire. He was confused. He bit into a tasty-sticky-rat on a stick he’d made earlier. He was well fed. Well sexed. Well paid. His right eye glowed red and now he could feel all kinds of strange magics flowing through him. Most un-dwarf-like. Clearly his father had a lot of explaining to do.