Will you please tip the messenger who was so kind as to deliver you this message? I feel that what I have to say will be worth the expense. Should you, after reading, disagree, I will be happy to refund what you were compelled to spend on my impertinence. My name is Barnabas Reed. If you wish to contact me, just leave a message with any inn-keeper, proprietor of any tavern or Madame of any brothel in the vicinity. I am bound to turn up sooner or later.
Now, I have learned from sources I cannot reveal that you have been turned down for the vacancy ~ adventurer, by Lovable Rogue Inc., despite being able to present a broad range of abilities few can match. I am wondering if you would be opposed to the idea of "getting back at" (pardon my profane language) Lovable Rogue Inc. for the ignominy suffered.
Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that you are, indeed, harbouring such thoughts. What would be the best way to avenge yourself? Would it not be, to assemble a party of your own, compete for and, finally, beat them to the prize?
I gather you are currently travelling with Mr. Willie and Mr. Gog, in pursuit of the dreaded snipe. Both of these gentlemen have been lied to by Juzza of Lovable Rogue Inc. as pertains to the existential status of a certain advertisment. You should, therefore, have no problem to rally them to your cause. I am certain these two gentlemen will proof an asset to your cause.
Furthermore, Lovable Rogue Inc. has been unwise in turning down Lady Sylvia, professional Herione. She is a professional Damsel in Distress only resorting to her own cunning if no potential rescuer is present. This presents your party with a twofold advantage: (1) You will have a party member whose abilities will constantly be underestimated by the opposition and (2) you will secure instant support of the local male knighthood and nobility wherever you go.
If you choose to pursue the vengeance angle, you might be able to sway Brugh Mirshevik, Order of Iphazaku, Great God of Vengeance, to your cause. This priest may well gain you the support of a God! However, I advise you to be careful. Should circumstances change and vengeance become impractical, reconcilation with Lovable Rogue Inc. will, at best, be tricky, without upsetting Iphazaku, Great God of Vengeance.
I am sure, you will have realized that one problem remains: what Lovable Rogue Inc. are after is commonly unknown. Unfortunately, I do not have access to this piece of information, myself, so I can be of little help in that respect. It is highly unusual to find an advertisement that does not explicate the nature and ultimate goal of the Quest at hand, which is what peaked my interest in the first place. I am certain, however, that someone of your superior intellect will not have any troubles to acquire the needed information.
As for myself, I currently intend to join Lovable Rogue Inc., unless they turn me down, which they have not yet done, but may very well still do. So, should you find my idea palatable, we may well meet in the near future, as rivals.
You may wonder about my motivation to present you with this idea. Unfortunately, I am unable as well as unwilling to delineate the whole extent of my (lack of) planning. You will have to make do with this: before I know exactly what's going down, I like to create a field of maximum possibility, to create an environment where my training gives me an advantage, or, as is more likely the case here, compensates for any disadvantages that might exist.
Lastly, I have reason to believe that Lovable Rogue Inc. will acquire a copy of this letter. Therefore, counting on the element of surprise is not a wise move.
Thank you for your time.
March 22nd, 2004, 02:50 PM
Nisim is thinking that revenge is a trivial thing beneath his dignity. However, provicing an educational program that may be including 'revenge-like' elements is much to Nasim's liking in this case. Please feel free to forward any elements of the plan, best if in cypher, to Nasim. Don't worry about providing the key to the cypher, Nasim will figure it out.
However, all such efforts must await the completion of my current snipe hunt, for which I am most excited.
Nasim walks down the dusty road, balancing yet another tome in one hand while marking progress with a bony finger. "Ah, here it is! The incantation for putting boils on another's bottom..." He scratches his head. "But how does one procure two pounds of dwarf ogre's bile?"
March 23rd, 2004, 04:40 AM
"So what do you think, does he know what we are setting out to achieve or is he just trying to stir up trouble for the sake of it?" said Juzzza, using his feet to rock back and forth on the hind legs of his wooden chair. Hume remained silent for moment, and re-read a paragraph from the message. He sighed before answering.
"It's an Imp," he said.
"An Imp?" echoed Mik, who was the only one standing in the wooden cabin, mainly because he needed two chairs to hold his bulk but also because he was agitated. Upon intercepting the message to Nasim, he had wanted to find this Barnabas Reed and pull his limbs from his body like the little insect deserved. But he knew Juzzza would not approve... Not yet anyway. His colleague liked to understand the motives of his enemies before dealing with them. Mik's philosophy was simple, if someone was in your way, crush them. Their motives were of little relevance. But the big man respected Juzzza and more than that, trusted him with his life.
"What makes you think it is an Imp?" asked Juzzza, who sat forward in his chair to stare at the message, trying to see what Hume saw so clearly within the words.
"Well, for a start Barnabas Reed is an anagram for BAD BASER AR EN. In the Chetik dialect that means 'giver of mischief'. Also, he as much as admits to it in the first paragraph 'I will be happy to refund what you were compelled to spend on my impertinence...' An Imp, no doubt."
Mik leaned over the pair sat at the bureau and stared at the parchment. He cared little for words, he knew they carried power and were of use to men like Hume and Juzzza but when all had been said or read, his fists had never let him down.
"So what do we do about this Imp?" he asked.
"Imps are conjured or raised and sent to cause havoc. They can be a problem. The last thing this mission needs is a gremlin leaking intelligence. We need to nip it in the bud and quickly," said Hume.
"I agree," said Juzzza. "But I would like to know who sent this mischief to us. Mik, do you think you can catch an Imp?"
Mik smiled and said, "Of course, although it may not be in very good shape when I bring it in."
"Just make sure it can talk, when we know who sent it you can take out your aggression on him, her or them."
"One more thing," said Hume. "Be careful Mik, Imps are sent to be mischievious but if cornered can get nasty. They have minor magical abilities, mostly just to confuse and befuddle enemies but they also have claws and when really in danger, can revert to their true form. Remember you are dealing with demons here, they may be small as far as demons go but they are demons none the less."
Mik nodded and turned to leave the cabin.
"What about this Nasim?" asked Juzzza as Mik stooped and turned side on to fit through the door.
"Last I heard, he was being digested by a smallish Snipe," replied Mik.
"And the Dwarf & Ogre?"
"Magnalopithicus," added Hume.
"The Ogre is in a cell, and is due to be sent to Captain Arkell's regiment for training. The Dwarf was last seen lying face down outside a tavern, that's where I found him and that message from Reed," said Mik.
"One more thing Mik," said Juzzza. "Take Hornsmash with you, let's see what our friend can do. If he can deal with the Imp, I am more than happy to take him along on the mission."
"Do I have to?"
"Yup," Juzzza smiled at his friend, who rolled his eyes and squeezed out of the hut.
"So what about the other recruits?" asked Hume.
"All the messages have been sent, I'm just waiting for their acceptance. When they all arrive I will explain about the Kult'ar and why it must be destroyed. We may lose some of the recruits when they find out what the mission involves. I am also worried about Mya. I'm not sure how she will react when she learns that Mik is the reason her father became Half-Hand!"
Hume laughed before answering. "But they were best friends and from what Mik tells us, he had good reason to give Erik his new name."
March 23rd, 2004, 08:29 AM
I would like to apply for the position of Adventurer, as advertised in the Adventurer Gazette.
I am a rogue by trade and natural inclination. The last in a long bloodline of devotees to this most noble of professions. Your advertisement captured my imagination, offering a return to the halycon days of the rogue, when none could surpass our breadth of skills and outstanding instinct for damage. How i would relish taking up your opportunity.
I am accomplished in the use of both swords and daggers, carrying a variety about my person at all times. You are welcome to inspect, should you wish to verify this point. I am, of course, a single female of the dark elf persuasion. Although not officially trained in the art of horse riding, i am intimately acquainted with bareback riding, and can easily saddle up any steed i encounter. I carry a whip amongst my possessions to enhance such activities.
I have traveled far and wide practising my craft. Starting in the old world, i scoured the taverns for gainful employ, but was forced to resort to pickpocketing for survival. I learnt from card sharps, forgers, charlatans, and racketeers. Dodging town guards, ducking beneath swinging swords, disabling traps, persuading others to assist me. These things became ingrained in my very being, an inescapable part of myself. Lying, cheating, charming, disarming, sneaking, hiding, eavesdropping, jumping softly from heights... so many skills to master lovingly.
In the depths of the town sewers, much to my delight, i discovered the secrets of poison, its many guises and applications. There is nothing quite like the thrill of coating a sharp dagger with sticky poison, then watching it drip sensuously along the cold metal blade. Sneaking out in the cover of darkness, hiding in fog and shadows, silently stalking my prey, all the time waiting for that one perfect moment. Then striking in a swift flurry of movement, seeing their face contort in pure agony, deliciously intense.
In recent times, I have joined many adventure parties braving the depths of lost dungeons. Fighting ghouls, zombies, mummies, and giant spiders in grotesque crypts, backstabbing goblins and orcs in noisesome mines, cavorting with vampires in gothic castles. From thugs and pirates to giants and cyclops, corrupt guards to mutated gnolls, all have fell under my blades. At the moment, my blades lie sheathed, concealed about my person. I lie alone in a dark room, candlelight flickering over my leather clad form. My heart pounds, awaiting the thrill of excitement that comes only from the call to action. I very much hope to receive that call soon.
Thankyou for considering my application.
deliciously dedicated rogue
March 23rd, 2004, 08:58 AM
It's been a long time babe.
I should have known you would be attracted to a company going by the name of Loveable Rogue Inc. You are without doubt the most loveable rogue out there... And I certainly loved you with a passion, shame it didn't work out. I even named the company after you.
Your abilities would be put to great use on this quest, but I am not sure if you would still be interested knowing that I am involved and indeed, am the founding member and manager of the LRI.
If you can put our history aside and are still interested, let me know in the usual way.
Loveable Rogue Inc.
P.S. Good to hear from you, even if you didn't know you were contacting your ex.
March 23rd, 2004, 09:31 AM
"What's with the face?" asked Hume.
"What face?" snapped Juzzza.
"That face," laughed Hume pointing at his friend. Juzzza smiled apologetically.
"Sorry mate, I had an application in from someone I once knew," he said.
"The axe-man or the dark Elf? Actually don't bother answering that, I doubt you would get all bent out of shape over a hairy gladiator. Do you have a history?" asked Hume.
"Of sorts," replied Juzzza. "She was the inspiration for Loveable Rogue Inc.
"A long time ago I was stationed in Derudin and our stealth and despatch instructor was a dark Elf. An amazing individual, the best assassin I have ever met... Except maybe for his daughter."
"Yowch!" said Hume. "You fell in love with a master assassin's daughter?"
"Yep... Turns out I ain't that loveable to everyone I meet."
"I love that by the way," said Hume.
"That you call learning the art of killing another man, something as inoffensive as 'despatch' training."
Juzzza shrugged, "Actually, they call the art of killing an Elf 'despatch' training. Mystiqe's father was training us during the Dark Elf Wars and his speciality was how to imobilise and despatch members of his own race."
"My God!" said Hume, "He was training humans how to kill his own people?"
"Yes he was. But we were holding his wife and two youngest daughters captive in another location. If he or his eldest daughter Mystiqe resisted, they would have been executed."
"Barbarians," said Hume disgusted.
"Indeed," replied Juzzza.
"How on earth did you find yourself falling in love with her?"
"If and when you meet her, you will see... She is amazing," shrugged Juzzza.
Hume could see that his friend was deeply saddened by the events that had transpired with this dark Elf and despite his burning curiosity, he decided he would not probe any further.
"Why did it end?" he asked, hoping to skip passed the details of the Dark Elf Wars.
"I killed her father," replied Juzzza.
March 23rd, 2004, 09:37 AM
The smallish, and thoroughly dirty Nasim walks down the dirt path with a distinct hobble, due to his missing left shoe.
"Ogres are horribly creatures," he mumbles, rubbing his hand lovingly over a large tome, that appears to be bitten in half. "To think Maas99 set Nasim up to be eaten by an Ogre of all things! And worse, to find out that there is no such thing as a snipe! Nasim is most humiliated and angry."
Nasim stumbles and falls to his knees. He rubs his hands through the crispy stubble of his hair and begins to chuckle. "Yes, Ogres, fire, and practical jokes may have been the beginning, but Nasim will have the last laugh. Yes, yes, the curse of 1000 piles has been launched and THEY will know pain (well, at least an uncomfortable inflamation). THEY have not heard the last of me, no, no, not the last. I will be there when they least expect it, and I will be the one laughing..."
He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small letter and scans it over, a small smile forming on his lips.
After tottering to his feet once more, Nasim slaps the dust from his robe and wanders down the road, disapearing into the dusk.
Lying in the dust in the wake of his passage is the paper, seemingly an acceptance letter for a reality show called "Who wants to be an adventurer."
Yes indeed, the world has not seen the last of Nasim The Adventurer.
March 23rd, 2004, 10:37 AM
The door of the Sword and Barrel opened partially and a young boy dressed in a clean messenger's tunic slipped inside. He eyed the common room, pausing on Mya and Gina before heading towards the tavern keeper and holding a whispered conversation with him. The owner pointed back at them. Mya raised one eyebrow as her hand slipped casually to her sword.
The boy turned, swallowing nervously then trotted up to the table.
"Myairyae of the Western Wilderness?" he asked, tugging on his blond forelock.
"Message for you," the boy swallowed, producing a slightly crumpled folded letter. Mya reached out and took it, noting the wax seal on the back before breaking it.
"Who's it from?" Gina demanded, watching Mya read the letter.
Mya suddenly whooped and hugged Gina. "They want me! They want me!"
"Who wants you?" Gina demanded.
"'Lovable Rogue', they wants me for that 'adventurer' position!"
"Yes! I told you you could do it! Drinks! We must have drinks! Tina, another round!"
"Hey kid, here," Mya said, handing the boy a handful of coppers.
"Thank you, Ma-am!" the boy breathed, tugging his forelock before making his escape.
"Let me see it," Gina commanded, taking the letter. She frowned, biting her lip as she read.
A serving wench came over, handing over a fresh pint of Hull's famous dark beer and a new glass of white wine, taking away the empty glasses.
"What does this mean, 'a message will arrive shortly with a time and place'...?"
"Gotta meet someplace, right?" Mya shrugged, drinking her beer.
"We better get ready to travel," Gina sighed. "I'm gonna need some supplies."
"You can buy stuff for that here?" Mya demanded, putting the mug down and wiping her mouth off, staring at her.
"If you know where to look," Gina smiled slyly. "Do you think we should have told him about me?"
"He was looking for someone who knows swords," Mya shrugged. "We'll keep you as a surprise."
"I wish he gave you some traveling money," Gina sighed, finishing off her wine.
"I wonder how long before the note arrives?"
"Meybe we should stop by the scriptorium and send another letter...."
Loveable Rogue Inc.
I and my companions are ready to travel, please let us know where you wish to meet.
Myairyae of the Western Wildernesses
Sword and Barrel Tavern of Hull City.
March 23rd, 2004, 12:11 PM
"I don't believe this", Mystiqe murmurred softly, a haunted expression clouding her smooth features. She sank down into a chair, holding an unsealed envelope in her small hands.
"What is it? News from home?", Dargeth asked, drawing slowly on an opium pipe.
She didn't answer, gazing absently into the distance.
"Well, be like that", he said waspishly. He scanned the dimly lit den, filled with the usual bunch of gamblers and hoodlums. The air was redolent with the white smoke of forbidden substances. His heart beat sluggishly, the room swayed slightly from side to side. A cruel smile crept across his dark skin. This was the real stuff.
"I have to get out of here", the words fell half-broken.
Dargeth turned languidly to face her, extending his thin white pipe. His tone was malevolently soothing, "Here, this will make you feel better".
She pushed it away, spilling the contents on the dirty floor. The rakish dark elf dove onto his hands and knees, scrabbling the precious commodity back into the pipe bowl. A string of curses escaped his thin lips. She reached down to caress his cheek, "I'm sorry, but i can't do this anymore."
He looked at her, mystified. "Can't do what?"
"This small town racketeering. Running gambling and opium dens. That was your dream, not mine. Do you know how long it is since i felt like i was truly alive? Since the thrill of adventure surged through my veins?".
"Honey, if it's thrills you want, i'm sure something can be arranged." He rose to his feet and slid back into his seat, glancing at a muscular man propped against the bar. "Only the best for my sister", he whispered, grinning mischieveously.
She laughed, eyes dancing in the flickering candlelight. "I know you promised to always look after me, but i need so much more than this. I need to feel my heart pounding, adrenaline racing. To live on the edge, on a precipice, one step from oblivion."
"And who will catch you if you fall?", he enquired, eyebrow arched haughtily.
Slowly caressing the leather leggings encasing her thighs, she murmurred "He will".
March 23rd, 2004, 12:32 PM
Rumors floated about the Sword and Barrel tavern more thickly than did the ever present smoke.
From a gap toothed oldster near the fire, "I hear the winner of that adventure show was a real surprise."
"I heard he fell in the final challenge and the minotaur stumbled on him and impaled hisself on a stump," countered his drinking companion.
The waitress sauntered over. "No, no, it was a pixie challenge, and the winner soiled himself. Pixie wouldn't get near him, just gave up."
"Well, whatever,"grumped the oldster, "he won and the prize was ten thousand golds and a three month admission to the Academy of the Fighting Arts. Sure 'nuff that the young man, name of Nasty, or Nusbin or something, is making a name for hisself."
The waitress, finding no tips in the offing, wandered off mumbling. "I've half a dozen brats at home soiling themselves and no one sees fit to give them or me any golds for it... some champion that one must be..."