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Archive for January, 2009

Tall tales, whiskey and blood doth Mazy’s spray!  When clear’d espy those drinking at third place; home to Robert Footswift, Bob’s own table.  ‘Twixt tankards do spread crimes and plans most foul; those caught bragging catch the cutpurse’s pick.  Worse Bob himself may flay standing liars and cheats caught dressing the table in brass; dress your tales plain ‘fore jousting this drake sooth.

What’s this?  Air flogg’d with notes a Dyvers ways?  By what foul messenger wafts these stories?  Above mine tankard’s rim espy the agent I, not four feet and two say this bard.  Halfling ho and living proof say you of Bob’s largesse?  Sit now friend now, drink and tell tales.

Not dat I’m a riverboat kind a guy, per say. . . But any prolonged expozur to an environment dat could be odiferously mistaken for one a doze industrial half-orc self-flatulation colon cleaners, is just not my shotglass of vodka. . .

And speaking of Halfling pints of vodka. . . So Ize finally get my keester outta Drivers, (Yondalla & Brandobaris care for da souls of all doze Danderfluffs dat could not join me, due to da unjust persecution of dem by da governing establishment legal authorities of de aforementioned municipality) floatin downriver to dat fu*kin sh*thole of Nulb, and den finally, Verbabonc. I’m outta immediate risk to my corporeal self, and on dry land, and find my own little slice o Mt. Celestia : Maisy’s Tavern. . .

A finer emporium of overindulgence, commerce, comarderie, and well-armed, pious super-models (love ya, steelcheeks!) deze eyes have not seen downriver of de aforementioned metropolis I called home. Badabing, badaboom, next ting you know, we got da biggest bastards in de place, boozing (drinking contests) and grab-assin’ (arm-wrestling) for da underserved wagerin’ public. Leavin yours truly to fill da needs of dis market segment wit my new-found pal, a thick, blessedly quiet mountain dwarf, carryin’ a cleaver twice his size, at my back. You Gnomepunter, you round little bastard, you are all good in my book!

Of course, respects must always be paid, and our success draws de attentions of da boss. But dis f*ckin guy, he’s got eyes, he can see de economic potential, you know, even if I gotta lay it out for ‘im. So after respects are paid, we parlay our audience wit de boss into an deal to git doze two thirsty freakin half-orcs, de big bi-colored bastard, Agnor, and his Max Headroom lookin sidekick, Gracchus, in all his sartorial Technicolor, an entry in dis local tagteam, peasant wrestling ting dey got goin at de local festival. I am already countin all doze riverfolk waitin to put their coin down!

But you know, de boss has always got a play, and Bobbay ain’t no exception: Bugbears. The fattest, smelliest, freaks a nature you’d never want to see without your armor. And de goddamn assface twins are strippin down and runnin at em like their nympho-freakin-maniac maiden beer brewers from St Cuthbert! Fortunately, de boys made a good show of tings, generating enough interest for yours truly to diversify our stakeholder portfolio so dat when dey finished on da wrong side, after one helluva shot, we still manages to reap some nominal fiduciary benefits. And de boss definitely liked the draw of havin doze boys on his dancecard, so de assface twins martial acumen and showmanship allowed me to secure a regular dividend, at least until we could figure out our next move.

Den I remembered mention of some upcoming jousting and chivalraic type endeavor dat Steelcheeks was all geared up about, we, yet again, awaken de Boss to de economic potential and our fair maiden’s desire to battle wit de big boys, and Bobbay has gotta a guy. We so see dis guy, grease a few palms and Dain Bramage de la Croix is in! Nows all weez gotta do is find Bobbay’s fat cats and make a little coin. In high society, like everywhere else, it’s all about who you know, and dis time we got Rufus makin de intros, and making sure everyone is comfortable enough to part with some of their not-so-hard earned coin. Deez f**kin guys, talk about a bunch of clueless, gold laden, inbred aristocracy! They woulda bet the world was freakin flat if I wanted ‘em to, but I laid it out, nice n pretty for ‘em, connected de dots, and they laid out a big bag a stones on our smokin’, lethal, steel-clad underdog.

Hats off to Steelcheeks, loved the effort, excuse my little fib, but I couldn’t break yer focus (or challenge that everlovin’ moral code, Ms. Paladin) and tell you which way the money was really bettin. . . And bless ya, you worked it, laid it all out, and da sisters at Cuthbert’s woulda been proud! But nobody ever became de best by not losin’ a few along the way, and we did manage to parlay it into a nice lil’ payday for our crew…
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Tall tales, legends and blood doth Mazy’s spray!  When clear’d espy those drinking at third place; home to Robert Footswift, Bob’s own table.  ‘Twixt tankards do spread crimes and plans most foul; those caught bragging catch the cutpurse’s pick.  Worse Bob himself may flay standing liars and cheats caught dressing the table in brass; dress your tales plain ‘fore jousting this drake sooth.

Well to hear yet ill to see stands one; a mixed orc, muscles rippled as the richest Jortmils.  Speak he of wrestling, and in plain meter, the Brawls do foul Verbobonc’s west march – fields yonder reach of Velverdyva spray.  These on Brewfeasts eve do teem with burgmeists ‘scaping the ardous prep’ coming soon close; refugees to roll’d chance and magics play who’d sooner quit their arms than one gold fist.    There do desp’rate delvers ply meanest trades turn’d cowards ‘way from ‘ventures’ fatal call, seeking compense for fancy brawling?  Cowards!  But hark, for this pigsnout does throw sweet words!

Tribesmen! Gather round now by the fire and listen to the tale of our long-ago kinsman, Golias Gracchus, a son of Kord, child of the endless warfare between men and orcs, bound by half-blooded destiny to seek his fortune mongst the soft men of the South. Listen well to his first adventure, for adventure came to him as it does to all who stand true in the boots of the Brawling God.

Having taken his pay from the sniveling merchant whose caravan Gracchus had guarded, he found himself alone in the hot, dry, godsforsaken town of Verbobonc. It was festival time, so he donned his brightest skins and sought as he had sought in vain before the elixir of our people, the clear bright vodka, to moisten his throat. Asking, receiving slantwise answer, he found his way to a grisly tavern, Mazy’s, thronged with men and dwarves and halflings of dubious repute. He was not there long before he smelled the presence of a brother in bane, another half-orc, with whom he fell into colloquy. This creature stood even a few fingers higher than Gracchus, no stripling, but more than that bore the mark of evil parentage on his very skin: two faces he had, one fair, one dark; and two skins, one smooth, one hairy; and his very tongue was split down the middle like that of the snake. Yet this man, Agnar by name, spoke Gracchus fair, and revealed himself to be like our kinsman in more than blood: he also was a holy warrior, but not for Kord, that mighty mauler and chainbreaker, but for Asgard’s twisted child. Yet something of the Brawler’s spirit was in him, for he matched our Gracchus bout for bout in arm-wrestling, and then when Bob the Landlord brought forth the barrel of vodka, they matched each other drink for drink till neither could hold any longer the spirits that were in him. And then they fell to mighty mirth and much bumping of fists and chests, and called one another brother.

Meantime others were gathering, fated companions: Ollo Leathergirdle, sly and strong, for all that he rose only as high as Gracchus’ knee; Ramses the dwarven warrior and gnomes’ bane; and of a higher star, yet lusty for battle, Dane called Steelcheeks, the brave and brazen Brawling Maiden, though no Kord’s daughter she, but rather a paladin of St. Cuthbert (like unto Kord’s stodgy cousin). And it was not long before Ollo, hearing Gracchus boast of his prowess in wrestling, thought to use his wiles to enter the Assface Brothers (as he called them behind their backs, or rather behind their asses) in a wrestling match ‘gainst all comers to the Festival. And he did speak with Bob, and did endure some abuse and cross Bob’s palm with gold, but his aim was achieved. And the day came when Gracchus and Agnar, stripped to the waist, found themselves in the Arena. This was no trial-green, brothers, but a kind of sawdust alley, lined with chicken wire, with rough patrons of the noble sport on either side, cheering themselves hoarse and chomping the coarser bits of half-cooked meat as they took in the spectacle. And who do you suppose stood to fight these mighty men? Not men indeed, but a fearsome pair of bugbears came slouching forth to challenge the strangers. A midget in a mighty hat pledged them all to battle, tag-team style, and then cleared the course, and the first bugbear came swaddling out.

A bugbear is a fearsome opponent for any man: topping seven feet, with fangs and ragged nails—and these bugbears in particular were well-fed specimens of their kind, with great hairy iron bellies slopping out over their nether paws. Gracchus, never daunted, let out a yell, and hurled himself down the alley toward his grunting, slouching, indifferent-seeming opponent. At the last moment Gracchus leapt up to the right, grasped the wire with both hands, and swung the full mighty length and breadth of his body into the bugbear’s, seeking to topple his foe. It was a mighty move, but the bugbear was unbowed, and slapped at Gracchus with open hand, knocking him to the dirt. From below Gracchus then thought to use his legs, and jacknifed upward to catch the bugbear by the throat between the thews of his calves. The beast was staggered and began to gasp for air, but still a monstrous might was in his arms and he pummeled our Gracchus nigh-senseless. Our doughty half-orc twisted free and sprinted back to the line to tag Agnar, who had been breathing and gathering strength, and now that dauntless two-toned warrior strode out to meet the second bugbear, relieving his winded mate.

The battle proceeded apace: blow for blow exchanged Agnar with the bugbear, but Loki’s strength failed him and he fell to the dust. So returned Gracchus to the field, calling on Kord to revive his battlemate, and suffering more blows in the process, but he could not revive Agnar in the time and that pusillanimous pest of a midget referee called the fight for the bugbears. Still, there was no shame in honorably bringing battle when outmatched, and Agnar and Gracchus were glad to discover themselves hailed as heroes, and amply recompensed for their strains and bruises through the devices of Ollo the Oleaginous Angler, who always comes out of a wager on top.

More could I relate, but the the fire burns low—gather we again, tribesmen, soon, for more tales of Gracchus who never bent his knee, his brave companions, and the evil under the earth that they did then pursue.”

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