Fantasy adventure story (needs a name)

“Bloody Palarn,” Arsaces swore as a small stone struck the wall above his head. He had just past through the Hill Gate and into the city only to find that the city was in the midst of a riot. Another stone whized over his head, breaking the peacock feather in his cap. Arsaces ducked behind the nearest wagon. He was joined a moment later by a washer woman who was clining to her basket of clothes.
“What in blazes is going on?”
“Food riot,” she panted and peaked around the corner.
“Food riot? There’s plenty of food in this province.”
“Not any more – they say there’s a plague on the fields. Haven’t had a good piece of bread in a week.”
Arsaces twirled his fluffy black mustache in thought for a moment. The daily news report at the University of Magical Studies certainly hadn’t mentioned anything about a plague.
There was a sudden thump of blades on shields. Arsaces and the washer woman both peaked around the corner. The city guard had shown up. The rioters regrouped behind an overturned turnip wagon. The guard made a slow advance across the square, marching smartly; showing off their training. One of the rioters, a small boy, started to sling stones at the guards.
“Put down your arms!” the leader of the guards called out.
Another stone flew at him.
Arsaces glanced up the street behind the rioter’s wagon. More troops were quietly decending.
“Give us good food!” someone demanded.
“Idiots,” Arsaces commented. He caught a whiff of cayanne pepper mixed with the clean scent of lemon and looked down. The washer woman was crouched below him, watching the scene from her knees. His gaze slid down the front of her smock. He could see the smooth white curve of each breast and the enticing valley between.
“I don’t suppose you’re a succubus in disguise?” he asked her. She looked up at him in shock and clutched her basket to her chest.
“Am I what?” she asked in her thick country accent.
“Nevermind child, nevermind.”
She glared at him and moved a little farther away.
There was a scream. Arsaces peaked around the wagon again. The troups had sprung their ambush, and the rioters fell to their clubs.
“Well that’s done. Can I escort you somewhere, my lady?” he asked, offering his hand to the washer woman. She ignored it and scrambled to her feet still awkwardly holding the basket to her chest. With one quick glare back at him, she ran off down the side street.
Arsaces sighed and reshouldered his pack, “Definitely not a succubus.”

He made his way across Palarn to the castle and into the Office of the Council. The hallway outside of the Secretary’s Office was crowded with farmers who smelled of fertilzer and sweat. Postings about the plague decorated the walls of the hallway.
“Why post when most people can’t read?” he wondered aloud.
“Reading’s a requirement to vote here,” a voice behind him said. He turned to see a man of the Sun God behind him.
“Really? When did Palarn become so civilized?”
The priest chuckled, “Since she took over.”
“She?”
“Haven’t you heard? Palarn has a new Chancellor; Iriny of Goldford. She took over about two months ago.”
“Iriny of Goldford. Never heard of her.”
“You should have. She’s well connected.” A commotion at the end of the hallway made both men look. The Council of the city of Palarn walked out of a room, followed by a tall woman with slanted eyes, skin the color of graphite and pale lilac hair piled atop her head. She wore stately black robes and carried a golden rod. She nodded regally to Arsaces, who shut his mouth and quickly doffed his cap.
“Impressive eh?” the priest asked.
“A grey elf as Chancellor? How odd.”
The priest nodded. A group of farmers gathered around the Chancellor, voicing their complaints.
Arsaces took that opportunity to cut the line and slip into the Secretary’s office.
“Yes?” the Secretary said without looking up from his pile of papers.
Arsaces looked around the office. There were more plague warnings posted, as well as some wanted posters. The desks were piled high with loose papers and books. It reminded him of his junior apprentice’s work area. The boy was a complete slob which belied his keen attention to details during summoning spells. The Secretary looked like he’d been sleeping under the table. His clothes were rumbled and his short grey hair was sticking up at an odd angle. He had an monocle tucked in his left eye.
“I’m on a scholar’s quest, and I need to hire a team to help me get to the swamps in Kalix province.” He handed over the documents that authorized him to hire a team.
“Impossible,” The man replied and handed back the documents without looking at them.
“Impossible? What do you mean?”
“I mean that not only is it impossible to hire a team at this time, it is also impossible to travel to the Kalix province. There’s a plague in the way.” The man pointed at the warning on the wall. His monocle popped out and fell to the desk with a thump.
“So I’ve heard. What does a sickness of the grain have to do with borrowing a guide and some muscle?”
“All of our ‘muscle’ is busy.”
“Okay. What about a guide?”
“No one goes to Kalix.”
 “Why not?”
The man squinted at him and didn’t respond. Arsaces pulled his credentials from his papers and flashed the page with the King’s seal at the man.
“I must got to Kalix,” Arsaces said slowly, emphasizing each word.
The man shrugged, “We don’t have the staff to go off on some scholar’s quest. We’ve got riots in the streets for pity’s sake. If you want to go to Kalix, you’ll have to hire your own team.”
Arsaces twirled his mustache and frowned at the man.
“I’d try asking around down near the docks,” the Secretary said, and turned away.
“But…”
He sat with his back to Arsaces and started to go through some paperwork.
“A pox on you and your plague!” he said, turning on his heal and stomping out.
“That’s probably what started it,” the man’s nasally voice followed him, “Try the Sea Bitch on Firth street.”

The Sea Bitch Tavern turned out to be just as seedy as it’s name suggested.  The enterance was a small door next to a fish monger’s shop.  The plaque above the door had no words, but graphically depicted a green haired, fishtailed woman with breasts prominantly displayed making a rude gesture.  Arsaces smiled to himself and went in.
The door openned on to a hallway. A bored looking porter sat in a chair, balanced on its back legs. A stairway went upward behind him, and a doorway to the right showed a stairway leading downward.
“Women or gambling?” The boy asked.
“Both, but not just yet. Where would I post a notice?”
“Main bar – upstairs.”
“Thanks,” Arsaces tossed him a copper coin and took the stairs two at a time.
The stairs let out into a large room filled with tables. Various games of chance were being run by an assortment of interesting looking individuals. One table had a lively dice game going. He stopped to watch for a moment. The game was not familiar to him, but it seemed to include a lot of drinking. Each of the players had a hand grasping the edge of the table. They didn’t let go no matter what the roll of the dice indicated.  One man finally let go of the table. The others pounced on him verbally.
“You’re Three Man!” They cried.
“Fine. After I pee.” He stumbled off.
One of them spotted me. “You – with the faggy hat and the fluffy mouth – come sit down!”

13 thoughts on “Fantasy adventure story (needs a name)”

  1. pongowu said:

    Arsaces eyed the man. The baldness of his head was balanced out by his long red beard. A mid-lands dwarf, if he didn’t miss his guess. Strong, as they all were, and quick to anger probably. The dwarf held up a mug with beer foaming over the top.
    “Come on, Pasty, sit down and prove your manhood.”
    Several of the women at the table took offense to that. The dwarf laughed.
    “I’ll sit and have one drink,” Arsaces started to say.
    “Not at this table you don’t,” A small girl in pigtails and wicked grin interrupted. “You’ll sit and you’ll drink until you win.”
    “How do you win?” he asked.
    “You don’t. Ha!” There were laughs all around.
    “We’ll see about that,” Arsaces said, and pulled up a chair. He put his hand on the table and found that he couldn’t lift it off.
    “It’s the Three Man charm,” the dwarf said, “provided by our local enchantress.” He indicated the girl with the pigtails.
    “You have to say the magic word to let go – helps keep you from becoming Three Man before your time. But in this case, you are Three Man. It’ll wear off after the first round.”
    Arsaces made a face at her and considered summoning his imp.
    “Here – don’t be mad. Have a drink.” She pushed a bottle over to him along with a pair of dice.
    He sniffed the bottle and decided it smelled like mead. He took a sip and discovered a delicious explosion of honey and spice in his mouth. He looked back at the girl. She seemed much more attractive suddenly.
    “Are you a succubus, by chance?” He asked.
    She snorted at him and pointed to the dice. “Roll or face a delay of game penalty.”
    Arsaces took another sip and rolled.

  2. Kensley said:

    Arsaces looked towards the sound of the barroom door opening as his dice slid thru a puddle of booze spilled on the table. Standing in the door with the sunlight behind her, a half elven blonde. From his dice table Arsaces murmured, “That’s a succubus.”
    She stalked across the floor, kicking over chairs and pushing people out of her way, coming directly to Arsaces and glaring at him.
    “How are you darling? Miss me?”

  3. Kensley said:

    Arsaces looked into the eyes of the one person he really didnt want to see. “She’s a hot little thing.” he thought with an evil smirk on his face. Round in all the right places and standing as tall as she could he knew she would fit right under his chin. Long blonde tresses with multiple braids, the brightest green eyes, and such lips. She could kick his ass when she was angry and he really hoped she wasnt angry.
    “Miss you? Of course I did my sweet. I planned to find you as soon as I got into Palarn.”

  4. Kensley said:

    “Now be a good girl Kashmir and take a seat with these lovely people. We will discuss your situation later.” Kashmir nudges her way into the seat next to Arsaces and flashed him an evil smile. “Fine,” she said. “But why does everyone have thier hand on the table?”

  5. pongowu said:

    “It’s a game. Everyone has to hold on to the table. It’s one of the rules,” Arsaces said with a wink. Kashmir put her hand down. Arsaces passed her a drink. She couldn’t lift her hand to take it.
    “What the fuck?” She demanded, getting up. She still couldn’t take her hand off the table. She pulled out her dagger with her off hand and pointed at Arsaces’ throat.
    “You tricked me! Just like you tricked me before.”
    Arsaces calmly moved the point away from his jugular and said, “Hardly. It’s an enchantment. It’ll wear off in a moment. Sit down and roll. It’s your turn.”
    Kashmir glared at him, but sat down.
    “Any day now, honeybird,” the girl with the pigtails said.
    “Kashmir, meet Shoaltara. Shoal’s an enchanter.”
    “And here I thought it was all you, demon-hunter,” Kashmir said through her teeth. She threw the dice in the enchanter’s direction.
    “Social!” the dwarf called. “Social!” everyone echoed.
    Kashmir looked confused.
    “Drink up, pointy-ears,” the dwarf said.
    “This is Winky Rockmaul. He’s a stone crafter amoung other things.”
    Winky leered at Kashmir.
    “I don’t do dwarves,” she told him.
    He let out a bark of laughter. Arsaces smiled into his mug.

  6. pongowu said:

    The game went on for much longer than anyone needed. The relatively tame mead was replaced by Ithmaran Firewine, which has a lovely side effect of causing prisim like halluciations. Shoaltara started enchanting people’s mugs, which then danced and capered like two month old lambs on a field of new grass.
    When Arsaces found himself under the table, yet still firmly grasping the edge, he figured it was time to give in. He let go and finding a pair of soft looking leather boots to lay his head upon, passed out.

    When he came to, he was in a cell as were several other people from the game.

  7. palailama said:

    Arsaces had an immediate feeling of deja vu as he looked around the cell and started counting off in his head, ‘ smelly, filthy, bars, puke, piss, yep, I’m in a jail’. As he tried to raise his head off the floor a pounding behind eyes began not unlike dwarves working eogar ore deep in the mountain mines. He gingerly laid his head back down and stared up at the ceiling as he discovered even that moving his eyes the tiniest bit caused the mining in his head to start up again. He found the cracks and lines in the ceiling mimicked some very nasty charms meant to give the intendee rather foul rashes in delicate areas. He chuckled and then immediately stopped as the dwarves in his head started in double time.

    Arsaces slowly moved his hand down to his knife sheath, ’empty’ he said to himself, remember not to shake his head. He checked several other pouches and secret pockets, with no positive results. Lastly he slowly moved his hand up to his head, ‘even my frackin’ hat’ he muttered. This was not turning out to be a good day.

    A foul cackle came from across the room and Arsaces really tried to strain his eyes to the right as far as he could to see where the nasty sound was coming from. He gave up and slowly turned his head to the grinding and smashing of mountain dwarves in his mind. A very large lump of what might be a human figure slowly stood up and lumbered over to where Arsaces was laying. The craggy face with scars and warts, stringy hair and a breath that could lay waste to legions loomed above him. A large squat finger poked him in the shoulder. ‘You sure have a pretty mouth,’ it chuckled with an evil leer in its eyes.

  8. pongowu said:

    Arsaces, revolted, uttered the first thing that came to mind, which came out in one of the lesser known languages from the ninth level of hell. The foul language rolled around the cell like thunder, and the creature who’d poked him cringed and backed away. Arsaces closed his eyes and tried to pull some aether from the void to cure his pounding head.
    “That was a not neccessary, my son,” a voice said from behind him a moment later.
    “Sorry,” he grunted, “I was startled.”
    He opened his eyes and saw spots for a moment, which merged into a cell. The miners in his head took a break from digging to transport the ore to his stomach, which churned in protest.
    A stranger dressed in a monk’s cowl crouched next to him.
    “You should watch your language.”
    “Look, priest, I said I was sorry. Now piss off.”
    The priest shrugged and moved away.
    The cell rolled. His stomach submitted a formal warning in a loud gurgle.
    “The room…it moved?” he asked.
    His eyes came to focus on Winky, the dwarf.
    “Boat. I think we’ve been abducted.”
    Ugh. Getting to Kalix was going to be harder than he thought.
    He looked around the cell. The ugly humanoid was sitting next to Kashmir, who looked offended. The dwarf on the straw on the floor. There were two other people he didn’t know there. They sat as far away from his companions as they could get.
    “Shoaltara?”
    The dwarf shrugged. “Probably turned herself into something and escaped.”
    There was creak and a thudding of feet on stairs.
    “I will see the entire ship, Captain Jas. I am not in the habit of sending my very expensive goods out on a ship I do not know.”
    Two men walked past the cell. The heavily accented speaker was a small bald middle-aged man with a greasy thin long mustache, a pot belly, and a dark complexion wearing a turbin, yellow heavily embroidered silk vest, and baggy purple pants. The Captain was taller, also dark skinned, with a large scar running down his face and across one milk white eye.
    “Slaves,” the turbin-wearing man said, glancing in the cell. “You ship just about anything, don’t you?”
    “The Putrid Breath can carry just about anything,” the Captain said with some pride.
    “As long as there’s payment involved.”
    “Of course. Can I interest you in some slaves?”
    The turbin-wearing man looked in at Arsaces and his eyes widened.
    “This man is not a slave. He is a professor from the University of Magical Studies. How did you get into this perdicament?” He directed the last toward Arsaces.
    “I’m not entirely sure. You look familiar sir.” And indeed he did, but Arsaces’ mining crew had returned for the second part of their shift so his memory was not cooperating.
    “Duruvamous Busto. I am flattered that you remember me. I attended your lecture in Whitefall on the Lamassu of Thrice last summer.”
    “Oh yes. You are a merchant, yes?”
    “Purveyor of find carpets. In fact, I was just coming to terms with Captain Jas here about taking my wares to my new store front in Ithmar.”
    “I’m glad to hear business is going so well.”
    There was a suggestive cough behind him. Arsaces recalled that he was on the wrong side of the cell bars.
    “So, Friend Busto, I would hate to impose – but my companions and I appear to be at the mercies of the good Captain here.” The Captain grinned.
    “Yes, yes Professor. This is indeed unfortunate.”
    “We’re not slaves.”
    “Indeed, I know that well. Yet, you have been marked as property. One cannot lightly put that aside.”
    Arsaces stripped out of his coat and looked at his left bicep. A magical tattoo, still giving off swirling colors, decorated his arm. It was the sign of Phazalis which meant that the owner was endentured for a certain period of time to the person holding the enchantment. The swirling colors, mainly purple and pink, indicated that the enchantment’s owner had not yet been determined.
    Arsaces again uttered in the language of the ninth plane of hell – this time purposefully. Busto let out a bark of laughter, and the others in the area cringed, including Captain Jas as the thunder of the statement faded away.
    “Perhaps,” Busto said while caressing his mustache, “Perhaps I can help you.”

  9. “Hey!! Don’t leave me, its all his fault.” Kashmir stumbled to the bars, trying to hold her shirt together. Somehow her shirt had torn open and she figured it was the dwarf. “I have talents too, and I really, really, like your carpets,” she told Busto. “I’ll even be your bum duster for a whole month if you let me outta here”. Kashmir tried to bat her eyelashes, but being really hung over just made it look like she had dirt in her eyes.

  10. Shaka TuMama said:

    Arsaces looked hopefully at Busto.
    “Do you know how to remove this imposition from my arm?”
    “I’m afraid”, signed Busto, pulling his eyes away from Kashmir’s shirt, “That the only way to remove that is for someone to purchase you and release you.”
    “What about buying myself?”
    Captain Jas laughed. “Using what for money? You don’t seem to have any on you.”
    Arsaces glowered at Jas, resulting in a minor eruption of dwarf work in the back of his skull. “You know full well I had money before I showed up here.”
    “Perhaps” laughed Jas, “and perhaps not. Even if you DID have money when you ‘arrived’ here, it would not have been enough to buy your freedom.”
    “What about you, friend Busto? Will you buy me and set me free? I will pay you back somehow.”
    “Don’t forget me!” Kashmir exclaimed.
    “Or me!” added Winky.
    “Hmm … let me speak to the Captain in private and I’ll see what I can do.”
    Busto and Captain Jas headed for the stairs and away from the cells.

    Captain Jas handed Busto a large mug of boiling black fluid and turned to the table and filled a mug for himself from the large iron urn that sat upon the brazzier in his cabin. From the windows at the back of the cabin the land and Palarn were rapidly falling behind and below the horizon.
    “Well, he is yours for the asked for price.”
    Busto inhaled the aroma of the drink.
    “Ah, Novarian Death Tea. I haven’t had this in what seems like centuries.”
    He took a sip.
    “Mmm, good.”
    “I got the tea the last time I was in Ithmar. It was not cheap.”
    Busto barked a quick laugh. “I’m sure it wasn’t.”
    “And now that we have discussed the niceties of tea, what about my payment?”
    “I will pay you for the demonologist when we arrive in Ithmar, and I will pay you the same amount for the rest of them as well.”
    “What? I thought you only wanted the man. I was planning to sell the others for more than that AND I was planning to entertain myself with the half-elf girl before I sold her. If you want them you will have to pay more than what you are giving me for the Professor.”
    Busto drank more of the tea. “I need the demonologist, but I will have need of others, as well … Very well, I will pay you the same price for each of them as I am paying for the demonologist. Is that exceptable?”
    “Yes, haha, yes it is.”
    “All right, let us drink on it, then show me the contracts and let me sign them.”

  11. Kashmir watches Busto walk away with Captain Jas. “Oh my” she sighed. “We are gonna be left here, I just know it. Why do i ever listen to you Arsaces? You got us all into this.” She stumbles to the back of the cell, shaking her head like an idea is swimming around but she cant understand. She sits down next to Winky, gives him a great big smile and nudges his shoulder. “So Winky, whats a nice dwarf like you doing in a crummy cell like this?”

  12. MEANWHILE BACK IN PALARN…
    No one knows where Mabel came from before her arrival in Palarn, and at the Satin Garter, nobody really cares or inquires too closely. In just a few short weeks she has already developed a core group of loyal customers who ask for her by name.
    All good whores need a gimmick, something that sets them apart from the rest, and Mable has a real winner. From all outward appearences she looks human, tan skin, full, expressive lips, sparkling green eyes, tawny colored hair (That’s brownish red streaked naturally with golden strands) but beneath her lovely long gowns Mable hides a secret. A line of short golden-red downey fur runs down her spine, spreads across her hips and culminates in a long, elegantly tipped tail she uses, at just the right moments, to tickle and tease her customers to their full satisfaction. This, combined with her sleek tall beauty, friendly demeanor, and a certain feline flexibility has made her an instant hit.
    There have been rumors circulating that the rotten food plague is no accident. The scientist claim it’s an intentional magical infestation, the magic users claim it’s a biochemical pathogen of purely human origin. No one seems to really know for sure but one thing is certain, people are starting to die and no one seems to know how to stop it .
    One afternoon a message from the palace arrives. . .
    “For me?,” Mable asks.
    “Yes,” says the madame with a big smile on her face ” From the Captain of the Guard. Says he and a few mates have heard of your talents and they would like to meet you tonight, 10PM at the Castle. Also said he’d send a coach for you.” She pauses, smiling again. “This could be worth a pretty penny, especially if you can make it into a regular engagement.”
    “That will be fine then.” Mable replies absently but inside she is seething. Finally! she thinks, I’ve been waiting for weeks! Does she really think I LIKE this line of work? What took her so long?

  13. [Editor: Story to start from “One afternoon…” previous info is backstory. Sorry about that. Pongo]

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