Dungeons and Dragons, gardening, Story Experiments

Fiction Snippets: Lothatio Part IV

Nobody knows much about Shairkash, which is odd, seeing as how his industry is trade and he’s the richest guy around. Still, he meets the criteria for shut-in, as he is so sly and cunning and slippery. You can have a conversation with him without ever looking into his eyes. How I long to wrap my hands around his neck.

His humble home lay at the center of Merchant Town, a disheveled two story piece surrounded by a collection of things. The plant life is really above board this year. The barrelstalks that line the streets of Merchant Town are full and pulsing and looking quite odd. Some street folk were sharing wine on a hammock and busking. I took a swig. Alfengrape wine. I threw a few gold their way, but nobody even noticed. They just stared despondently up at the skies, singing a hollow tune.

” The day is coming soon
The day we all turn blue…”

Before he became a sea trader, Shairkash was renowned for his gardening skills and made some of the most potent tinctures known on the sea. Many assume he settled here because he became too old to handle travel and used his connections at sea to create his estate. Though it’s right in the middle of the Sailor’s City, it is definitely his domain. Shairkash draws in the desperate and impoverished and once they get here, they never seem to leave. Barrelstalks provide plenty of water, glowing Alfengrapes are made into wine and light the streets at night, pomow grows everywhere, stoneshrooms gather under every soarwood tree, lish nut trees also abound. You would have to be dumb and lazy to go hungry in this place. Somewhere, shrouded in protective darkness, there is a field of Arkas grass that provides the majority of Shairkash’s income, as I understand it. The rest comes from goods he takes from his pile of wares and shines up, much of it custom attuned for the buyer.

When you enter Merchant Town, the vibe changes considerably. People on the street are listless and despondent. Everyone seems drunk and not particularly interested in anything, almost as if in a trance. The Bilge Rats (Murann’s sect of the Shadow Thieves’ Guild) won’t touch Shairkash for some reason. They are reluctant to touch anything on land. Still, everyone’s avoidance of him seems odd, as he is clearly parasitic to his own people here in this microcosm of scum and villany. As a lone traveler, I could sense a pack forming behind me as I made my way toward Junk Mansion. I could feel the hostility building in my newfound followers.

Finally reaching Shairkash Manor, I opened the gate. I barely caught the scent of telltale witchweed when an entire patch of choke mold just inside the gate released spores that rendered me immediately useless. Things went white, and then black.

 

 

 

( Plant information provided by:
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?479663-Magical-Plants-and-Where-to-Find-them )

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Dungeons and Dragons, Story Experiments

Fiction Snippets: Lothatio Part III

Ordi regarded me with his trademark twilight apathy. It took no time at all to rouse him. As suspected he was up late working on 3 men who were brought in from sea for burial. I could smell the sweat on his brow. Clearly he had been struggling to manipulate their bodies into the proper position. Lothatio stood near the door, ready to vomit any moment.

“Well, sis what brings you to me at this hour?”
“I have a body”
“Oh?”
“Lothatio, would you like to explain our predicament?”
No response. I continued,
“Ok… This and 3 other unidentified ladies lured my friend here into the woods for an apparent human sacrifice last night. He escaped and came to me for assistance. When we returned to obtain his affects, we found the 4 around the fire chanting inaudibly. I noticed a ring pinching off the finger of this one, known as Lillith. I ensnared her, but could not get her to talk. Suspecting foul play, I took it upon myself to eliminate her. The other 3 ran when I ensnared her and Lothatio may or may not be able to identify them. They may have been under a spell, as we waited a few hours and they did not return. I want to ask Shairkash about the ring, but I needed a neutral party. You know how he is, the snake.”

“ Ok and Lillith is in that bag?”
“ Yes.”
“ Let’s see her.”

I gently laid out the bag with Lillith inside. Rigor mortis has set in with her, and she was sort of U shaped as a result. Everything was soaked in blood. I was shocked by the fact that her eyes were still opened. I could have sworn I closed them, but you never know. She let out a breath as Ordi and I worked to straighten her out. Lothatio soiled his dress.
“ Do you recognize her? Lothatio’s fine attire was hers, so I suspect she was wealthy and might be missed.”
“ I don’t recognize her, but you know how I don’t get out much. I know someone who would know her, if she is from anywhere in Amn.”
“Can I place you in charge of identifying her?”
“Of course. I’ll send Wilbur to you when I know something.”
Wilbur was Ordi’s White Owl, gifted to him at birth and ever so faithful. Makes for good company at night too.
“ Well done, then we will go to Shairkash unless you think we should inform your father or someone.”
“ You might do well to see Shairkash and let me update Father. He may call on you, as he had a job.”
“ Fair enough. I’ll be around the usual places. He met these ladies at the Sea Elf’s Lover. I may head there first to see if the servers might know who the other ladies were or where Lillith came from. Meanwhile, do you have any spare duds for my friend here? You are similar sizes.”
“ Indeed. I’m sure I have some old rags somewhere.”

I waited outside for Lothatio to get dressed and we pressed onward to the Sea Elf’s Lover, where I stood out like the sorest of thumbs. Most people in Murann are humans, with a small percentage of half elves. This tavern was swarming with Elvin blood, and you can imagine the reaction to an orc prancing in. Still, the musician played on and I approached the bar. To my delight, I found a familiar face, Mirin Tuskar. Mirin is the best barkeep around and the youngest daughter of Forgone Tuskar, who owns all the taverns in Murann and some elsewhere. When Mirin came of age, but declined to marry, her father gave her the Swinging Berth, his seediest, most affordable tavern and my favorite place in the world.

“Moz? Are you lost? Feeling ok?”
“Not exactly. I need to talk to someone who was here last night.”
“Aye, I’ve been in and out for the past week while Father is away.”
“Has anyone mentioned any trouble or oddity last night? Specifically involving Lothatio?”
“Has he got you running errands for him? The fiend.”
“Indeed. I’ll have to leave Amn to get rid of him.”
“Ketha did say he pulled 4 ladies last night. Didn’t mention anything foul.”
“Did Ketha name names?”
“No, she didn’t know who the lasses were. They were all well dressed and good looking. We all found that surprising for Lothatio.”
“No odd behavior or outside spirits at the table?”
“None mentioned.”
“Where might I find Ketha? Will she be on tonight?”
“In time for dinner and working until the witching hour at least.”
“Noted. Thanks, love.”
“Welcome, love. Have one on me. Will Lothatio be playing tonight?”
“What choice does he have? He’ll be needing all new rags.”
“Send him in. We’ll find something and he can work it off.”

It was now time to talk to talk to Shairkash about the ring. His hop lay on the north end of Murann, just North of the Tethyr Road. It was a place shrouded in darkness. Shairkash had become so wealthy that he had a small following of wealthy investors, protectors. The result was a merchant town teeming with the spellbound, the desperate, and the addicted. It had an energy that attracted the broken and made the worst of their plight. Merchant Town was also the last place I saw my father.

Dungeons and Dragons, Story Experiments

Fiction Snippets: Lothatio Part II

Part II

The orc in me couldn’t help but get a little excited at the sight of Lillith all pricked and nakey there by the fire. I don’t care who you are, when a naked lady is in front of you, you notice. Especially if she is beautiful. I never learned to shame myself for such things. Lothatio and I stood there drooling until we realized the other 3 girls had run into the forest. I was more interested in the captive before me and continued to stare, taking in the sight of her poreless pale skin glistening in firelight, bleeding a bit from the thorns. She was a sight.

“ Are you just going to stand there drooling?” -Lothatio
“Yes.” -Me
“ Should I go after the other girls?” -Lothatio
“You’ll probably get your arse kicked. They’ll be back.” -Me
I walked up to Lillith and just looked into her eyes. Sometimes this helps me think of a way to be humane. This time it did not. I knew the other 3 would be back and that my spell would only hold Lillith for so long.

“Poor girl, I am sure this all has something to do with your jewelry and for that I am going to have to kill you. Have you any last words?”

Most people don’t actually have any last words. Lillith was most people. Just before the hail of thorns dissipated, I slit her throat with a daggar and put another in her heart just in case. We waited around for the other girls to show. They may have just been commoners under a spell, which would have broken with Lillith’s concentration. I took what coin she had, which was plenty. The mystery ring was still on her finger, which had decomposed rapidly. So rapidly that it came clean off with the ring. Somewhere between looting her body and arguing with Lothatio about whether he should go naked or put on a dress, I realized I may have just killed a rich girl. I didn’t recognize her, but that means absolutely nothing.

“Who was this girl?”
“She said she was from out of town. I didn’t ask questions. Haven’t seen her around and that’s all the better for me, eh? Here today, gone the next.”

“Did she say anything that suggested estranged family or the law coming after her?”
“Not that I can recall, but I was well under the influence”
“Well… I’m hauling her back for identification and burial. Did you get any other names from the other girls? Could you describe any of them?”
“I’ll think on it”

Lotatio did decide he needed clothing, and so we put him in ladies rags and headed back to town. By now it was roughly 4am and I had the remains of a young rich girl in a bedroll. What now?

I could wake up Shairkash and ask him about the ring. Perhaps he even sold it to her. I would need to wake up some more honest authority and tell them what hapenned and pray they believe me before I could breathe a word to Shairkash. He has held his position in this town by blacklisting anyone who questions his abhorrent practices. I saw fires at the Murann coroners, and so decided to start there.

Ordi Nubaedfyd was the black sheep of his family. Could never bring himself to kill or eat whale. Learned to make his way stealing and trading to help feed the family. Today he is an honored member of the Bilge Rats. His father was a friend of my father’s. He could help if someone tried to hang me for this.

Dungeons and Dragons, Story Experiments

Fiction Snippets: Lothatio Part I

Lothatio stood tall and gaunt outside my window, totally naked, eyes pleading “Moz, you have to help me get my stuff back. You know how penniless I am. I’ll go naked forever and it will just lead to more problems.” Oh, the folly of the poor. It never ceases to amaze me how people with the least resources tend to get themselves all fucked up over dumb things. Still… if he stood there in the wet, cold night with his dick hanging out, some sly fox might already be poised to snatch it like a sausage. Some sly fox, or an Orc. Whatever.
I have no self-respect so of course I rousted, like the predictable lady oaf that I am. I gave him a sheet and he wrapped up like Julius Caesar and we were off. Lothatio knew to spare me the details of this latest catastrophe. His last explanation bored me literally to the point of fainting. I almost squished him. Poor fellow tries so hard to convince me that he is not scum, but the joke is on him because we are all scum. Every last one. Just tell me where to take the anarchy.
This particular situation warranted explanation. We went out east of town to a lake, whereby about 4 young girls were naked around a fire. It looked as if clothing were burning in the middle. Lothatio’s ratty garb, no doubt. The girls were unaware of us, as I had cast Pass Without Trace to hide, as I often do. When you are this large, the general tactic is intimidation… but being invisible and then suddenly present begets a new level of satisfaction in tense situations. It also keeps people from going immediately on the offense at the sight of me, abomination that I am.
Anyway these girls, all perfectly delicious specimens, were chanting some sort of spell. Something about severing the ties of love. It was clear at first sight that these were not wise or strong little witches. I found myself puzzled as to why I was there. Women were the thing Lothatio was best at. Usually these excursions were the result of lost wagers and unpaid debts. Still… Whatever it was was probably boring and his affects lay burning. I turned back toward the forest.
“Well, you might have to explain this one because I don’t know who to kill at the moment. You for waking me or those tiny witches”
“They seduced me, Moz. Fed me some potion that was… really effective. Really trippy like the cow patty mushrooms we found that one time. Next thing I knew, I was awake and drowning in this lake. It was all I could do to get them off of me. I pretended to drown and when they dragged me ashore, I made a run for it.”
“ Do you know any of them?”
“Not even a little bit. They bought me some drinks when they heard me singing in the pub.”
“Fair enough, you scoundrel. You had to know it was all too good to be true”
“Me and the drink, you know. It’s a shame. I’m ashamed.”
“Join the club”

I turned about to look and listen… Lothatio never lied to me. Not ever. Never even tried to lie to me. As you can see, in spite of our history,, he has no shame in leading me right down the trail of seed to his latest conquest. These girls might not be benign, as I initially expected. I knew that nothing I could do would bring back Lothatio’s possessions, which seemed to be my purpose.

“What do you want me to do now that your rags are burning?”
“Well maybe you can tell me what that babbling means… are they casting some curse on me? Moz, you know I don’t need anymore curses”
“ I could just kill you. They can’t hurt you if you’re dead.”
“Very Funny”
“Welp… I don’t think it’s prudent to kill a bunch of little girls over what appears to be a love spell.”
“ I think if you had better perception, you’d see that there’s more to this. I think I was being sacrificed and I don’t think a sacrifice is something you just allow to run away.”
“ Do you think they are waiting for you to die in the forest?”

Right then, the chanting from the fire stopped. We creeped closer and heard one of the girls say “Something is wrong Lillith. I feel him, but something is not right.”

“Indeed, child. I can feel it too”

“See what I mean? They are going to sacrifice me to the Jesus Dragon or something”

Looking more closely at Lillith, I could see she had a bright gold ring on her finger that seemed to glisten as the fire lapped. It looked as if it were too small, as her finger was a pale shade of blue. Suddenly, I got a bad feeling. I’ve never heard of a local cult engaging in human sacrifice before. Did they not know that humans taste bad? What god would want human meat? I could tell this was gonna become a whole thing.

I felt the familiar scramble of nerves within me. Erring on the side of caution, I decided to try an ensnaring strike before going in for questioning. The arrow struck. Vines erupted from the arrow upon impact, encasing her thin, pale body. The thorns burrowed in deep. She was going nowhere and she looked helplessly infuriated. So cute.

To Be Continued…