Larius formulates a daring new plan to locate the missing orc women.
Chapter 2: The Bartender and the Stool.
After spending a fortnight recovering at the Naughty Weasel Tavern I was in even worse shape; my head thumped with every pulse and my stomach threatened open revolt. To shake myself out of this condition I dunked my head in a trough of cold spring water and tried to look on the bright side: I was no longer limping, I had a new tunic, and the pig-shaped bruises on my back had completely faded away.
My recovery time hadn't been a complete waste; I spent some of my days developing the next phase of my plan with the help of my advisor Lucky Lue. An ex-adventurer, as all bar keeps in the realms are, Lue had a barrel chest, thick muscled arms as strong as his brew, and a solution to most any problem a young adventurer might have.
Goblins camped out by the bridge? - Lue knows how to get rid of 'em.
Kobolds run off with your pantaloons? - Lue can tell you how to find 'em.
Get an ogre pregnant? - Er... well... you've got larger problems... find a priest. But for everything else ask Lucky Lue first.
With Lue's help my plan seemed flawless. Well... nigh flawless really... it looked impressive on parchment anyway. Lue suggested that instead of chasing after orcs, I could have them come to me. What I needed was a potion; a powerful love potion that would be so irresistible that every female orc within a day's ride would be drawn to it. It just so happened that Lue had a recipe for exactly that kind of thing.
I packed up and set out early the next morning, eager to carry out my new and improved plan. It was well known that Lucky Lue could mix up anything from an exotic drink to a mystical potion; all I had to do was run down a few common ingredients...
The wizard's tower stood above a landscape of rocky desolation; I gazed up at the cylindrical stone structure with disgust. Why did wizards always have to live in stupid towers- it's not like space is at a premium fifty leagues out into the wastelands! I tied the lead of my pack mule to a boulder outside the entrance and unloaded the cargo.
I had to drag the heavy sack up four stories of spiral stairs just to locate the waiting room. An employee of the wizard snorted and poked his filthy head up through a pile of rags where he'd been sleeping. It scurried over and addressed me in some half-common half-goblin dialect. It really does say something about the social skills of magic users that they have to conjure up a smelly goblin, kobold or such just to have someone to talk to.
"Yes," I said. "Take me to your master." I cringed at having to say something so stupid, but there was really no alternative; wizards are strict in their formality. I followed the chest-high greasy butler down the corridor until he stopped and ducked his rat-like head in an exaggerated bow, teeth chattering together nervously as he stretched a paw, urging me into the next room.
This was the dramatic meeting, the wizard's big moment... I'm sure he had been waiting months for someone to visit. Looking into the chamber just made me even more exhausted; this was going to be an excruciating visit.
Emotionally, wizards are three-year-old children. They're temperamental, self-centered, and above all they crave attention- I mean just look at the way they dress themselves. The last adventuring company I had the misfortune of traveling with made me hate magic users even more; our fancy wizard nearly got us all creamed. Every monster in the realms must have heard us coming, or heard the wizard coming, that is. Let me tell you, the rest of us were not trekking through the swamp in full-length red silk robes, dainty sandals, or two-foot tall pointy hats. Buy some damned pants! Ugh... wizards...
I took a deep breath and stepped into the main chamber. "Pittsnoggle the Mighty..." I hated myself for even saying such a ridiculous thing out loud. "Lord of the Wastelands." Otherwise known as a social outcast, I mean really, who else lives in the wastelands?
"I have traveled through leagues of empty horrid lands to seek out your wisdom..." I tried not to vomit. "I beseech you to assist me, oh great wizard."
"Oh..." The wizard's bushy eyebrows wriggled in excitement. "You came to ask my help did you?" He leaned forward in his gilded chair. Silken blue robes, which I'm sure he just slipped on to impress me, billowed in the conjured breeze.
"Yes.” I said. My name is Larius, a writer and scholar... and I came to ask your assistance. You see," I gestured to the heavy sack that I had dragged behind me. "This is a sack of dried orc dung..."
The wizard's eyes darted to the sack and then back to me. "I'll give you five coppers for it,” the wizard snapped: “Not a copper more!”
I shook my head. "Uh... no sir, I'm not here to sell it, I want you to reduce it to a spell component... an extract for a potion... a love potion."
The wizard Pittsnoggle raised himself elegantly from the throne, retrieved an ebony staff, and traced an arcane pattern in the air making the crystal atop glow with inner fire. I acted suitably awed by his power; such crystals were nice, Lucky Lue had a couple of them hanging in his tavern.
Pittsnoggle looked interested, stroking his tangled gray beard as he approached. The wizard bent down and opened the bag. His bony fingers reached inside and pulled out a fist-sized chunk of orc dung. Pittsnoggle’s eyes narrowed as he examined the nugget carefully in the light of the glowing crystal; then he wafted it delicately under his long thin nose, giving it a curious sniff. "Hmm... It is fresh enough... I can do what you ask... but..."
My heart sank although I knew this was coming. In the history of the realms not once has a wizard ever done a job for free. Worse still, wizards often demanded payment not in common currency but in some ridiculously rare spell component or in trade for an act of revenge against a rival. In a way, what this wizard demanded was even worse.
|17 Mar 2012|| Genalee Simon|
I will never be able to take a wizard seriously ever again. Ed Edward Edwardius
replies: "Yep, it’s best to stay away from them entirely. I’ve noticed that people who spend time with wizards invariably get sent off on some ‘quest of immense importance.’ Wizards love to send other people to do their quest for them. I mean, when was the last time you heard a wizard say: ‘don’t worry, I’ll go get that mystical sword all by myself; you just stay right here’?"
|1 Apr 2012|| Tristine R Simon|
And they could get the ’mystical sword’ way easier than any one else because of all their magic! wow you really pointed out all their flaws and it’s hysterical. XD Ed Edward Edwardius
replies: "It’s always a pleasure to hear from a satisfied customer. I’m not as hostile to wizards as my Uncle Larius… on occasion I even do business with them. Though they can bend vast energies to their will, a surprising number of wizards are terrified of mice. I for one have lost all respect for a certain ‘Dark Lord’ who hired me last week. Sure he can wield his sinister powers to steal the souls of the innocent, but if one little rodent gets loose in his castle he screams like a little girl."