Thursday, June 16, 2011

Not Heroes


The grizzled veteran looked up from the finger he had been diligently sawing at with his knife.

“Huh?”

“I says,” his small friend repeats, not taking his eyes from the bugbear’s finger—and more importantly the ring on it—”it must be magical, else why’s it so damn hard to remove?”

“Not you.  Him.” The veterans gestures to me with the knife, and the smaller man finally notices.

“Oh! You’re the scribe, ain’t ya?”

I nod.

“Thought Goan was minding you.”

“He was. He died yesterday.” I think back to the unfortunate, nervous Goan. He had eyes that had darted around like spooked birds. They weren't vigilant enough, apparently, to avoid the dripping slime that burned a hole straight through him. It had taken him longer to die than I would have thought, but die he did despite the cleric’s efforts.

“Ah,” the veteran says with a tone that refuses to commit to either sympathy or disinterest. The smaller man just nods, and seems a bit embarassed.

“I’m looking for the captain.”

The veteran points with a thumb, slick and glistening with what must be bugbear ichor. “Down that passage. He’s at the door with the mage.”

I head down the rough-hewn passage, stepping around more bugbear carcasses, leaving the adventurers to their work.

The two did eventually succeed in getting the ring. The small man (his name was Orven) was right: it was magical. It allowed the wearer to breath underwater--which saved Orven from a judicial drowning in Nharm, but helped him not at all when months later someone drowned him in a cask of cheap wine and cut the ring from his hand.

11 comments:

The Angry Lurker said...

Good tale, damn magical rings.

Meowlissa said...

This is awesome :)

Alexey said...

Yes. And more yes!

Risus Monkey said...

A great tale. And I think that illustration is my favorite modern Otus piece.

James said...

If whoever owns the rights to that Otus piece would be so kind as to release a print, I would buy it in a heartbeat!

Porky said...

Well, exactly. A powerful case.

Trey said...

Thanks guys. And yeah, that is an awesome Otus peice.

The Happy Whisk said...

This is great, this is great.

Did you ever see the episode of Frasier, when he had his fan club over? The one fan kept saying in a funny voice, "This is great. This is great."

That's the voice in my head. But since this comment doesn't come with sound, I had to reference where it came from.

Good stuff, Trey.

Needles said...

Very nice & dark, might be applied to the city as well.. change the word scribe to accountant ;)

Harald said...

Brilliant, Trey! A really neat idea, and very well executed -- you write really well, sir.

Trey said...

Thanks Whisk. I'll hear it that way. :)

@Needles - Or a porkpie hat wearing newshound.

@Harald - Thanks. It's funny every time I do a prose-ish sort of piece I always regret I didn't have longer to think on them and do another revision or two. When I re-read them once published I only see the things I wish I'd written differently. :)