Right, so this one of the Two Fisted Monkey stories I mentioned in the last post. Its one of the better ones in various respects. As time went on they got more and more elaborate. Lord knows how this sort of thing turns into a novel but I really do like the main characters. Its pretty easy to imagine how these folks work their way in and out of trouble on a daily basis.
For the shorthand…. Seablade is an elf berserker fond of taunting his foes and getting himself beat up. Pythia is an elven priest and seablade’s unrequited love. Rylestel is an elven rogue for whom discretion is always the better part of valor. Igathu is a cat-man warrior of few words and much action. Aletha is an elven druid wise in the ways of the world. And Paxe is an earnest human paladin of great virtue and limited intelligence.
Two Fisted Monkey Adventures, Episode #10: Pulling another tail out of my thundering trousers.
The shadowy force that had entered monkey headquarters loomed over them exuding a kind of evil malevolence not seen since the blackberry Jello of doom. It needed no weapons or armor to menace those who dared cross its path. Arms and magic were no use; all you could do to retain your sanity was to strike a barging that left your soul intact. That’s just what Pythia was attempting to do.
“Aside from the clause pertaining to fragments of Lucien, I don’t see any loopholes here.” Pythia said looking over the documents. “It’s not cheap but we can’t afford another disaster, the price of reagents of resurrection is skyrocketing and we have been going through those like Jum Jum at a hobbit bachelor party.” She faced the shadowy force and stared into the inky blackness of its evil eye. “Ok, we’ll buy your adventure insurance policy.”
The thing of evil seemed to grin as she signed the document and paid the premium in silver coin. It said nothing but a stroke of thunder was heard in the distance and the door of the Monkey shack blew open on a cold and silent wind. Taking the dread contract the creature seemed to recede into the distance without ever moving until finally the insurance salesman was gone.
“I sure hope you know what you’re doing.” Rylestel said once the thing had gone.
“If what I hear of the thundering steppes is true,” responded Pythia quietly, “we are going to need this occupational death and dismemberment policy.”
With their final work for armor contracts in hand, the Band of the Two Fisted Monkeys set forth for the distant land known as the Thundering Steppes. Seablae, Pythia, Igathu, Rylestel, Alaetha and Paxe were on hand to face the unknown dangers.
Consulting the list Seablade seemed disappointed. “Look at this crap, deer, beetles, falcons, small snakes, undead farmers. What kind of hit list is this? We’ve been battling savage gnoll lords, undead palidans and all manner of terrible creatures and now were hunting garden pests? What’s next? Dust bunnies and deadly hobbit midwives?”
“Fool Elf!” Igathu responded, tail twitching. “You know nothing of these dangers! These garden pests as you call them, killed and then ate my blood brother Razor Claw and his entire family. Each deer or beetle here has lived for years in a place rampant with Giants, Gryphons and undead that make those in Stormhold tremble in the dark hours of the night.”
“Holy crap!” Seablade exclaimed. “That was like… a whole paragraph. With multiple sentences and stuff. OK old buddy, I promise to be extra careful; I’ll treat every creature here like it was Lucan D’lere himself!”
“How much did you say that policy pays each time one of us bites it?” Rylestel inquired discretely to Pythia.
“If history is any indication, it should be enough to renovate the monkey layer with enough left over buy Seablade a clue.” Pythia said under her breath.
Together the Monkey’s began to seek out their targets. Much as Igathu had warned the creatures of the thundering steppes were unusually potent, but all their trials had made the monkey’s strong and Seablade’s usual reckless abandon had been somehow transformed in what could only be borderline paranoia. He was continuously on the watch for threats, planning intricate attack formations, double checking healing supplies, sharpening weapons, and carefully assessing each opponent before engaging in battle.
“And if Pythia takes up a flanking position behind the setting sun, and Rylestel soaks his arrow tips in red ant venom, and I adopt a 3 point fighting tiger stance we should emerge with a narrow margin of victory.” Seablade explained while drawing figures in the dirt.
“It’s a fledgling antelope.” Paxe observed, “Can’t we just smash it with holy zeal or something, my head hurts.”
“How much did that policy cost us?” Rylestel asked Pythia.
“A lot,” she replied worriedly, “and we haven’t had a single casualty yet. If someone doesn’t get hurt soon were going to have to go back to the guided sewer tour business.”
“Is there anything on that list with a bit more um… peril? I mean those gryphawns were a little bit of a challenge but our so called mad berserker is on a winning streak a mile wide here.” Rylestel observed.
“Not much,” Pythia replied, “We have a few more undead, and some octopus, umm.. a few feral crabs.” She shook her head.
“What’s that on the back?” Rylestel inquired.
Turning the scroll over Pythia read “Special Claus #431: all contract payments shall be null and void if proof of the demise of Shadowdash the Gryphon lord and the Giant guardian Stompgut the terrible is not provided.” “Why those two bit, deceptive, lying merchants. They stuck this on the back on purpose to keep people from fulfilling the contract,” Pythia steamed.
“Ya, but that’s exactly the kind of break we needed.” Rylestel said, “I think I have a plan. After we execute our cunning attack plan on this doe, let’s camp for the night. I’ll spike Seablades wine, you tell him all about how you miss his frothing at the lips and the way his muscles ripple when he’s all enraged. Paxe will snore all night long keeping him awake, and in the morning, we go pay Shadowdash a little courtesy visit. What do you think?”
“He is a lot cuter when he’s frothing.” She replied.
En-wreathed in some kind of flaming aura with more than just a glimmer of madness in his eyes the now thoroughly reckless elf cavorted among the rocky nest with his shiny axe he now called “Freddy poo.” “Come out come out wherever you are, Mr. birdie.” He called. “I brought a nice yummy kitty cat for you,” he cooed.
“Are you sure this is wise?” asked Igathu.
“Don’t we want to plan or something before fighting a gryphon lord?” asked the thoroughly concerned Alaetha.
“Don’t worry,” replied Rylestel confidently as he tightened the laces on his fastest running boots. “Seablade worked it all out last night while you were sleeping. He does his best work when he’s mumbling like that.”
“Kill kill kill, thrill thrill thrill,” the mad elf murmured.
“Look!” Alaetha called, pointing skyward, “I think its coming back to its nest, and it seems to have a couple of its children with it. Battle formations!”
The Monkeys steeled themselves as Seablade let out a mad howl of delight. Before the great bird-lion had landed to remove the interlopers, Seablade had leaped from the nest and tackled a smaller gryphon mid air biting at its neck like a wild beast. The two tumbled to the ground as Shadowdash and his other child swooped in to aid their besieged family member. Alaetha immediately began her healing chant as Igathu dived into the fray. Paxe hefted his hammer and with a prayer to the fallen gods smote his foes. Rylestel expertly shot arrows in all the really painful places a gryphon possesses. And Pythia used the power of the shaman to ward and protect her allies.
Shadowdash was mighty, and his children were among the strongest that flew the skies of the thundering steppes. But never had they encountered so fierce a creature as the elf with fire in his eyes, or so well coordinated a group of hunters as these. Try as he might, he could not stop the two legs as they cut down his beautiful children. Try as he might to disembowel the hateful elf his wounds kept healing themselves, and all the while the others peppered him with blows. Bleeding but defiant to the end he died on the spot he had been born.
Seeing the gryphon fall, Seablade smiled a peaceful little smile and collapsed into the nest with his eyes rolling back. “Is he OK?”, Pythia said running forward to check on her brave champion with a look of genuine concern.
“Afraid so,” said Rylestel, “just exhausted after all that prolonged berserking. Well, there is always the giant…”