Pigeon sent to Oric en route to Avramstown.
The drought is but a dearth of liquid. The draught is but a death of thirst. Slake all that I am with the quenching and squelching of all that I was and all that I will be…posthumously. The The Vagrant Theologian rises up to claw the clouds and breach the canopy of Light and Dark. Bicameral devotion devoutly wishes for blinded eyes…but this tragedy is sinister…like light to flies.
Once, I wore the Crown of the Jungle and a darkness brewed and stewed and steeped inside of me. The diabolical abyss was selfish, callous, haughty, ambitious, aggressive, and wicked. I know, perhaps all too well, the lure of darkness. I know how man can fall prey to his innocuous whims and the allure…the enticing whose hooks pierce the hunger. In our minds we can be that Megalomaniac. In our minds we can become the Powermonger. This is a trap that tests the very mettle of our souls’ fortitude.
I left CrIsis and my mood has been foul, dark, and dour. I’d do the dwarf proud as a full pot o’ piss and vinegar. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be though I’m confident you and your pipe will brighten me right up! Wine, women, song, and a hookah full of some mystic herbs are just what the doctor ordered! Bennu knows I need a break. Summoning and Commanding an Air Elemental was the most taxing experience of my tenure and servitude as an Air Warlock. I felt the overwhelming draw of control and the unimaginable wellspring of power flow freely through my divine channeling. The heady mixture intoxicated and numbed with half-lidded pleasure overload. I fear that Dark Tyvernos hasn’t been completely eradicated. Greminor’s help and influence was instrumental in restoring me to my former alignment and sanity but…
I cannot deny the allure. I will not deny how enticing it was…and will be to do so again. There’s a dark corner of my mind that rationalizes the deaths of the forest creatures.
“Pragmatism Tyvernos! That is the Way of the Warlock! You didn’t kill those creatures. They killed themselves by existing in the path of destruction…the Path to your Salvation! Only the Strongest Survive, Oriflamme! The Warlock knows this better than most. We are the Scions of the Natural Forces of the world. Do blizzards not freeze people to death? Do hurricanes swell the seas and drown only the deserving? What about tidal waves? Tornadoes? Ten-foot wheels of fire…maybe, but rivers of lava and earthquakes — these are natural disasters that are OUT OF MAN’s control — they are only just BARELY in the warlock’s control in the first place. The air elemental was not an extension of you or your will — it was NOT intentionally or maliciously killing forest creatures on your behalf. It simply gave you the path to safety you sought…and have since regretted.”
Mollify, mitigate, rationalize, damage-control, and acceptance…
I will write after I have arrived. I travel across the continent for reprieve. How ironic? That’s how. See you soon my friend. I cannot wait for my vacation!
Pigeon sent to Cava a few weeks later
Avramstown! How I have missed you! I arrived safely and just wanted to keep you guys posted. What else am I going to use these pigeons for? Oric has welcomed me with a hero’s reception and we are feasting like the fabled cornucopia! Otto has gorged himself as if tomorrow he’ll be hanged! I’m sorry you’re having a time of it in the Baalgor Wastelands. You’re a better man than I Cava brown. Please send my regards to OKCupid, Azariel, and Xerx’ses. Please also send a fond cheeky caress for Bungo. I hope this pigeon finds you doing well and I hope it doesn’t shit on any of the pieces of Osiris. I’m recharging my batteries but I’ll be back as soon as I can.
Wish me luck!
Pigeon sent to Overkill a few weeks after arrival
Ugh! I’m stuffed to the gills! belch Oric had to put me on a special diet. No more ogre women! Sigh. Otto disapproves but he’s been tempting me with returning to Baalgor to find myself a nice Gigantes lass and finally settle down. This playboy lifestyle of reveling, carousing, and rabble-rousing is all it’s cracked up to be AND MORE! The CrIsis austerity budget is chicken soup for the gnomish soul my brother. How fares the journey? How goes the quest? I know I’m on vacation but I’m antsy for an update and there’s no way in Hades I’m going to wait for a Rob Rambler chronicle to see how my best buds are doin’.
The news on my end? Very little that’s fit to print. The gnomish paunch is all the more portlier. It is so sodden with drink that it sloshes to and fro as my waddling gait negotiates the treachery of a separate gravitational entity — like brandy in a snifter…or in a cask about the deutsche mark’s neck. The Marquis of Sloshingly Waddling and Slovenly Slurping is at your beck and call! <hic> I tell you OK, Oric is truly a kindred spirit. He knows full-well the burden of duty, the higher calling of an epic quest, and the weight of responsibility. Between Bismarck back-scratches and belly-rubs he professes to the life of an adventurer and boy does he have a tale to tell! Robblerramb could make a mint off of these crazy stories. He even knows a few of the Defilers!
On an unrelated note, Timothea had worn out her welcome but I sought solace in the thick-thighed embrace of Alberta Gertrude the Stout of the Stable. Alas, poor Timothea found better work at the Yeoman’s Plow than at the Snatch ‘n Grab. Hey, it’s a living. Alberta has been teaching me a curious language called, “Franch.” Admittedly, my Franch is, eh, how do you say…‘terribleh’ " but I’ve always picked up the spoken word quicker than the written. Winds! That’s probably why I became a Warlock! Alberta is a frightfully adept mentor; nightly, she tutors me in the ways of the (written in French) Dirty Sanchez, Donkey Punch, Dutch Oven, Angry Dragon, Cleveland Steamer, Hot Carl, Coney Island Chili Dog, Wet Burrito, Angry Pirate, the Jelly Doughnut, the Houdini, the Rodeo, Alabama Hot Pocket, Space Docking, Bukkake, Cunnilingus, Felching, Gokkun, Frottage, Hogging, Irrumatio, Klismaphilia, Nyoitaimori (but not with Otto’s food), Pompoir and Kabazzah, Snowballing, Sumata, and other Franch customs. She’s a literary giant among illiterate gnomes — if you read between the lines.
Apart from that the Arcane Sundries Shoppe is in the works. I have finally found the right spot and I leased the space from a generous proprietor with Oric’s help. The dwarf has agreed to fund my initial stock investment and to loan me start-up capital since I’m…well, destitute. It never occurred to me to hold onto or save any of my money. My money? Well money. I don’t think of it as mine; it is just a thing that can procure other things. Kind of like MAGIC. Anyway, do pass on to Cava and the rest of CrIsis…but especially Cava, my heartfelt thanks at always picking up the tab for me. What I have I give freely to my friends and those who need it. It never occurred to me to actually say “thank you.” Oric reminded me poignantly, but playfully, that this is perhaps the WORST mindset for a new business owner.
Wish me luck!
Your Friend in Bennude,
Pigeon to Bennu
Wreathed in Flames,
Mistress of Rebirth,
Your season come,
Light’s will be done,
As it is in Heaven
I once shared allegiance between you and the Elemental Air and you saw fit to divinely inspire my powers so that I may truly be your devotee in Faith and in Fortitude. Your furry presence at my side has comforted and carried me through times when I could see only one set of footprints in the sand. You truly are the wind beneath my wings. Your love has lifted me up where we belong…where the eagles fly on a mountain high. Far from the world I know…up where the clear winds blow. It’s the world I know. Here and now — I promise to love faithfully. You’re all I need…Here and now, yeah I vow to be one with thee.
The realization that I pen this missive intended to reach a goddess’s eyes and coax a Saint Bernard’s ears hasn’t deterred me. It is no sillier for me to send a magical carrier pigeon than it is to hope this reaches your mailbox, courtesy of the gods’ messenger-post. It is desperation that drives me; the question impels me forward to plunge into an abyss of hopelessness for lost souls. Should I bend my knee and bow my head and pray to you? This is a magic pigeon — a missive, not a prayer. My mind cannot work its way around the inside of a prayer. Not right now.
Bennu, my mother and brother, your battle is mine. The battlefield is bigger than a gnome’s vantage allows him to see. These prayers — they ask for guidance not just out of deference and humility but also out of an inability to see your bigger picture. I have never before questioned your will and I don’t presume to know your mind. I have seen but glimpses of the intent and I act with purpose as an extension of you — as your Scion here on Palladium. I am a missionary.
Oric Bellode, no truer a friend, companion, and confidant have I ever known. Is his abduction a part of the plan? Is it accounted for? Has it been figured into the battle as a necessary evil? Is his sacrifice worthy of mention in a Rob Rambler chapter? Your perspective is cosmic and wondrous; I can only pine for the briefest glimpse or snippet. While I cannot fathom the grander scale I know you can enjoy the perspicacious vantage of the microcosm. You, my goddess, have the power and privilege to see all things regardless of their pertinence or scale. I must ask you, “what is Oric’s part to play in this?” You know I cannot abide his abduction. The Bismarck was taken away from me in that very same grip. I will not sit idly by while they endure unknown corruption, atrocities, and torture. That I should distract myself from the glorious quest to rebuild Osiris is frustrating but I cannot act in any other way. And you, Fiery Mother, would you have me act otherwise? I know that our wills are one in this but I am saddened that it has even come to pass.
A quiet day, the breeze gentle in my gnome-blown hair. Bismark on my left — bone-in-paw, and Oric on my right — paw-on-bone. Enjoying the crisp, freshness of a morning glorious in the Gods. The Pantheon of Light saw fit to bless us this day our daily bread. We, three, still reeling from our raucous eccentricities and the last night’s debauchery. Oric and I nursing Hades-Hangovers while your furry extension nursed a doggy dookie from his dingleberry dunghole. All was right with the world and we hadn’t a care in it! Oric and I plotted my mercantilistic share of the merchandising and we drew breath as fast friends who are thick as thieves.
My olfactories piqued I glanced questioningly at the doody-dirigible.
“Otto, you smell that?” I asked and was summarily ignored.
With an eye-roll the Bernard sniffed irksome like a riled cat in an apiary.
The sulphurous odor grew until it flared my nostrils and burned the Bismarck’s senses.
“Ty, better activate that ring o’ yours. I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” Oric growled as he looked outward from his front porch. He stood in a motion, reached behind the screen door, and pulled out a wicked looking crossbow. Otto rose into a defensive crouch and growled — staring outward just in front of the porch. I activated my ring of the Dwarven King Ithan and ran into the house to collect the Fulmination of Greminor. I’ve been affectionately referring to it as FoG. I uttered a quick spell so I could Fly as the Eagle and soared through the house in a FLASH to collect my gear.
I heard the sound of a mountain splitting in twain, rending stone from stone, and tearing a hole in the fabric of reality. When I looked out the window of my room my eyes deceived me. I saw a gaping wound in the world — a RIFT — and it was right in front of Oric’s house! Bennu save us! A Gallu Demon stepped out and grinned menacingly, surveying the area. In the next few seconds a Demon extraction team poured out of the open portal and began advancing on the house. There were a few Alu, two Shedim, five Harpies, and a handful of deevilkin (the lesser deevils). The last, a human, and the Gallu exchanged a glance and then burst into action. Otto moved to interpose himself between the danger and Oric. Good dog. I taught him that.
I launched myself bodily through the window. Glass be damned! Vaulting headlong out into the sky when a “THUNK!” reported soundly as a crossbow bolt lodged itself squarely between the eyes of the Demon Bull. The red, leathery skin was seething and scarred and slumped in a heartbeat. The Gallu crumpled. For an instant the entire battlefield paused and I, with baited breath and trepidation, landed on the awning.
(Unintelligible unless you can speak Demogogian)
“What are you waiting for? Insolent, sniveling minions. I’m in charge here. Get him!!!! And remember, we only need the dwarf — that’s the one with the crossbow, you idiots.” The robed figure, human-looking, waved his hand and the deevils and demons burst into a frenzy of action. Oric had used his little speech as an opportunity to reload the crossbow and he let loose with another bolt that found its mark in the forehead of a deevilkin. I had already begun casting my Wind Rush when the speech spurred our assailants and when it was released MASSIVE GALE FORCE WINDS BAFFLED THE BATTLEFIELD and BUFFETED THE DEEVILS!!!!
I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the original Demon that Oric felled with a bull’s-eye shot begun to disintegrate and revert to mist while leaving the bolt there on the floor. The deevilkin as well started to dissolve and discorporate.
“Oric! Look out!” I shouted as I pointed the Fulmination of Greminor and ZAPPED the shit out of a Dire Harpy that had evaded my Wind Rush. The winged woman was naked from the waist up and she was about as furious as a bitch in heat bleedin’ like the rag of a whore in the Church of Darkness.
The Dire Harpy sizzled and fell with momentum that shook the rafters when she caromed off the porch and careened into exterior wall. Another Harpy rushed in concert with a Shedim while Oric tried to reload. Shit! If only I had Carpet of Adhesion! Another Shedim and an Alu that managed to evade my Wind Rush were bounding around the area of effect. One of the massive avian-bird flues, the first to approach, was met with a ferocious pounce from Otto and momentarily caught off guard. The Saint Bernard tore into chicken-flesh and came away bloody. The 12ft tall bird-beast casually batted the Saint Bernard aside and continued to advance on Oric.
“Ottooooo!” I screamed as tears welled up within my eyes. The dog crashed into the side of the porch and writhed spasmodically before going inert. I looked to the Heavens and beseeched you, Bennu, my Fiery Mistress, for the power to smite our enemies. I began recanting the Fulmination of Chain Lightning.
Oric bellowed loudly with a, “Whoop!” and slammed the crossbow down into the beak of the approaching Shedim. His height advantage was only applicable until the demon leapt up the steps and into the metal stock and the elbow grease of a dwarven bicep. “Take that you filthy animal!”
“SCREEEeeeeCch!!” The harpy on that side swooped, her breasts jiggling pendulously with the momentum of flight, with her claws extended and drew deep gashes into Oric’s shoulder and torso as she strafed. The dwarf was as tough as nails, only barely wincing, but steeling himself with the knocked bolt for a simultaneous attack that THWUMPED and thudded into her feathery snatch. “Salt in the wound for the screeching bitch!”
An approaching Alu was momentarily distracted by the death throes of my dog but the ear-piercing shriek of an aerial assailant cleared its foggy head. With a wicked looking knife it hurled end-over-end at my perch upon the awning. I saw it, as if in slow-motion, and steeled myself. I could NOT stop the words. I would NOT stop the power-phrases. The spell must go off! Tyvernos Oriflamme didn’t even flinch when the knife impacted squarely into the Armor of Ithan. I silently vowed to send a prayer of thanks Greminor’s way if we made it out of this alive. And then, just then…
CHAIN LIGHTNING SPARKED AND SPRUNG FROM MY HANDS LIKE A PACK OF WILD HYENAS, LEAPING AND LAUGHING, BOUNDING AND GIDDILY ELECTROCUTING ALL MANNER OF MAN, BEAST, AND DEMON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Shedim sizzled and fell writhing in agony, Alu hounds tucked tail and curled up with violent paroxysm, the harpies squawked and screeched and flew in a chaotic tizzy. Oric threw the crossbow from his hands and revealed a long, wicked looking knife as he began to wade into melee combat with the crackling combatants. The remaining Shedim charged and took him on the side but the dwarf spun with the force and lodged the knife deep in the monster’s throat…but it took his diminutive form down to be crushed beneath a 12ft demon. “Gah! Oric!” I flew down and, thought to shoot wildly, the prone Shedim in the back with the FoG…but something caught my attention. The hooded figure — the human at the Rift — he had escaped my notice until now. In the last 15 seconds he hadn’t participated in the fight at all. Apparently he had used that time to draw an arcane circle on the ground — around the Rift. Now I’m no circle-mage nor summoner but now wasn’t the time to attempt deciphering magical symbols. This did not bode well for us. I could see Oric shifting beneath the electro-fried bird-corpse like Colonel Sanders caught fuckin’ his own hens. I figured between the harpies and shedim we had enough meat to scrap the Arcane Sundries Shoppe and open a restaurant.
The man knelt within his circle and began to chant. The lines of power had already been glowing when he pumped potential psychic energy into them. I swooped down and used the brief surcease to grip Oric by the forearm and attempt to heave him out from under the chicken. I knew it wouldn’t be long before the demons occupied by the wind rush took new initiative against us. I just need one or two more actions…
Come. On. You. Stupid. Bird.
At that moment in time I would have traded my diabolical sanity for the supernatural strength of the lion headdress — in a heartbeat.
“Little ones. You fought bravely. You will make fine additions to the Army of Darkness.” What? Was this guy for real?
“Hey, Oric, fella you gotta work with me here,” UNGH! I heaved with all the might my wee arms could muster and barely budged the corpse. It stunk like stir-fried shit and skunk weed.
“I’m tryin’, lad but it’s no use! Get out of here Ty! Save yourself!”
“And leave you? No fuckin’ way. We’re goin’ down swinging! Period. Stand back, I got an idea.” I began to cast the spell Fly as the Eagle on my friend. With the two of us budging and pushing and flying we HAD to be able to get free and get Otto rescued to safety.
“I want you to meet a friend of mine,” intoned the deep, basso. If this guy was tryin’ to be scary he was doin’ a great fuckin’ job of it. Just then, however, Oric’s flight kicked in and he rose up in the air and began to fly. It didn’t build up to max speed immediately but it was better than the pedestrian alternative.
“Yeeehaw! And I want you to meet a friend o’ mine, bub. It’s called Fly Like a Fuckin’ Eagle bitch!” Oric and I took off and began to soar.
A giant, red, flaming claw-hoof crashed into the floor and created a divot, like a miniature crater in the earth as it stepped through the Rift. Snaking out from the crater were tendrils of broken earth and the lines of liquid hot magma. The earth was literally breaking under his feet and melting through tendrils of molten rock. Shit! He hadn’t needed the time for the summoning ritual because the damn portal was ALREADY OPEN!
Oric growled, “Ty, I’ll grab the Bismarck, you get the hell out of here dammit! I’ll be right behind you!”
I swooped up top to land on the eave overhanging the front of the house and set the hooded human in my sights. Alright motherfucker, feel the fury of a Sith Lord’s FORCE LIGHTNING FULMINATION. I closed my eyes and reached out to my hatred, my anger, my power and the elemental fury of Nature.
“Tyvernos! Go NOW!”
Never. I won’t leave you my friend. I couldn’t reply aloud or risk interrupting the spell but those soft words, unspoken, are the last ones I could never utter to my friend. Oric touched down beside the inert form of Otto.
“MUAHAHAHAHA!!! I have been summoned to deal with a dwarf and…and, is that a GNOME?” The giant-sized demon cackled maniacally. I could be sure until I had a moment to confirm it but I was almost positive that we were facing the giant, menacing, 18ft tall monstrosity known as a Baal-rog Too bad for it. I had already chosen the target for my spell. ‘Why yes…I believe it is! You, Agent, are you so weak that you could not dispatch two mere half-men?’
“Weak? The dwarf is a seasoned adventurer and the gnome is the infamous Tyvernos Oriflamme. He commands more powerful elemental forces than your whimsical fire and superfluous brimstone. You are my minion. You’d do well to remember that or I shall do well to remind you with AGONY.” At the sound of this the Baalrog’s lips tightened into a thin line and he produced a gigantic, flaming whip. “Now bring me the dwarf and bring him ALIVE or I’ll tell inform the gods that your ineptitude foiled their plan.”
“Yes master,” the red, flaming demon rumbled. Its wings stretched out for nearly thirty feet and it could easily peer into the 2nd story windows of Oric’s home. When the whip unraveled along its length I could see barbs and hooks and wickedly curved spines that glowed red with molten metal and wreathed in flames. The dwarf had taken all care and scooped up my dog in his arms and I could see that big soggy tongue lolling about his jowls. Otto’s eyes were closed. Oric knew that only so much care could be taken but time was of the essence. He began to rise into the sky carrying my precious cargo when he stopped ABRUPTLY and I could see the rictus of a terrible grimace on his face…the hiss of pain on his lips.
Fulmination fell from the sky, my body the conduit, and channeled straight into the hooded human. Crackling and hissing and sparking ferociously. It dissipated instantly against the invisible shield of Ithan. "I’m impressed, Tyvernos, you dropped my mystical shield with one spell. It’s a shame we don’t have time to continue this little game. We must be on our way. Please give our regards to CrIsis. My employer says, “hi!” Until next we meet gnome…"
“Hahah!” the Baalrog chuffed. “Where do you think you’re going dwarf?”
“Ty…” Oric gasped but he was writhing in the grip of agony and couldn’t speak. He held fast to Otto though and didn’t drop my baby. I responded to him with another sizzling bolt from the FoG. Shit! That was my last one for the next 24 hours!
“Grrrrr!” the baalrog snarled with a shiver. “What WAS that?!?!” he howled incredulously.
“Hurts, doesn’t it. Yeah, remind me how much you liked it when I’m fuckin’ you in the ass with the Fulmination of Greminor. I’m sure we can get it to shoot straight up your spine and liquefy that teeny tiny little brain.”
“AAAAAAARGHGRRR!!!!!!” the baalrog was incensed with furious wroth. I don’t know if that bought me any more time but I sure as hell enjoyed taunting him. I begun casting a spell.
Oric appeared to be on some kind of tractor beam. The dwarf was straining so hard and yet continued to fly backwards. The Baalrog had entangled him with a flaming whip of agony and was burning my friend alive. “I’d like to introduce you to my ten-foot wheel of fire,” the demon hissed and spat little gouts of flame.
“The portal is closing. Your work is done here. Tyvernos can wait — there’s something much more…sinister…in store for him and his companions.” The human turned and ushered the baalrog back through the portal. When Oric was within arm’s reach a massive fist gripped the dwarf bodily and squeezed with a crushing, vice-like grip. I could barely even see my friend but a wisp of Otto’s hair and the glimpse of his protective embrace. Tears were streaming down my face uncontrollably as I finished the incantation. A giant wall of Sheet Lightning materialized and arose from thin air and nothingness to appear RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE RIFT!
“Going somewhere?” I croaked. My voice hoarse with fright and steely with adrenaline.
The winds surged and gusted and buffeted like a raging TEMPEST in a wall of gale-force fury. For a moment I was really proud of myself. Put that in your ragweed pipe and puff on it. Only for a moment then the moment was gone. The hooded man smirked and touched his hand to a charm-bracelet — like a talisman of sorts — and in an instant my handiwork dissipated. “It’s a shame that even the most impressive of barriers can be dispelled with but a simple spell. I’d imagine it’s rather frustrating for a Warlock to see a Wizard dismantle your most powerful spells with a few rudimentary tools like Dispel Magic Barrier and Negate Magic.”
I wept openly as failure confronted my ego with horror and trepidation; I could barely see through my eyes downpour but I knew what I had to do.
“Noooo!” I whipped out my scroll of Behemoth and prepared to read it. I couldn’t wait to see the look at that motherfucker’s face when locked in mortal MELEE combat with a 30ft tall GNOME. “You sonofabitch! You’re going to pay for this!”
They all stepped through the closing portal as I sped toward them — determined not to let them go. The scroll’s paper shuffled in the wind and crumpled in my hand’s death-grip but I just…couldn’t…make it….
As the Rift closed a shouted to the heavens! I parted the darkened skies with my cries.
“Why gods?!?! Why?!?!”
Into the night in the darkest corner of my mind
Sink into my inner-self, an erotic fantasy
A spiraling vortex, an instant alter ego fix
Here I am the ruler of all, in this kingdom of sin
What I can’t have in actuality
I feast upon in my reality
An extravaganza of forbidden pleasures
No sexual wish dark enough to suppress
I am no longer a normal man
As master of the ceremony, divine perversion
I hereby declare the orgy to begin
Ravage your luscious virgin flesh, how I love it
My cup runneth over, drink my distilled insanity
Old words from an old world
Against the laws of nature
They say the truth is overrated
Wall of anger corrupt my thoughts
Standing at the bridge of destiny
Show me a sign
On the verge of losing my sanity
Free my soul
My inner demons torture me
Flapping their wings in my face
Damn you! You twisted illusion
I am no longer afraid
See through their liquid souls
Evil eyes that will hypnotize
You can no longer hurt me
I am my own worst enemy
Written by Tyvernos on…well, he isn’t aware of the day or time, but it is Thoth 5, in the 69th year of the Wolfen Empire.