It’s another one of those nights. If you haven’t read part one, you can do so here.
First official Di(c)e Please, second part of the story. Let’s get it on. (On with it. He meant “Let’s get on with it.”)
The Man with the Pipe : Be Free
When the voice in the sky decided to take a break, we’d just set up camp. I hated nights like these. The only thing worse than sky-voice breathing down our necks, was sky-voice leaving. When he leaves, a night feels like a week.
You probably think I’m crazy, talking about a sky-voice. Maybe I am. These long nights weren’t much good for nothing else but thinking. Oh, and don’t go thinking I’m no good at thinking just because I’m a half-orc. I was schooled up until my parents were eaten.
Tell you more? Why not? We got time to burn.
Well, sitting by this field of flowers has me thinking about how my parents died. The voice in the sky can be pretty cruel sometimes, cropping up these flowers that have no Nythly business being here… just because they make me nervous.
Don’t go laughing about “Oh, Dav the half-orc is afraid of flowers.” It’s not like that. It’s more nervous about what could be hiding in ’em. These are Orison’s Moonflowers, about as tall as a man-person, with big petals. It’s one of them fear associations.
When I was an orc-kid, my village was surrounded by ’em. One day, spiders came from the flowers. Now your thinking, “Oh, Dav the half-orc is afraid of spiders too.” First off, there’s nothing wrong with that. Second, these were some big ass spiders. They could, and did, drag off a horse.
They also got my parents. Before you ask, yes, I did have both my parents. No, my mum weren’t raped and left to raise a monster baby. My mum was a saint and my father was a quiet little man-person. That’s right, my mum was the orc. So you can quit slingin’ your notions at me. I loved ’em and they loved me.
The voice in the sky took ’em from me. I hated him. I couldn’t say that while he was around, on account something bad might happen. We were all orphans. Me, Heath, Ram, and Red.
“It builds character,” the voice in the sky had said. Red agreed. She had killed hers herself. Uses her dad’s horn as a dagger. Says she tried using her moms tail as a whip, only it didn’t work too well.
Heath’s parents got caught on what Heath called “tax fraud.” Made no sense to me. You either paid the coin or you didn’t, right? He was the one turned ’em in though. They’d taught him to be good, then he caught ’em being bad. Maybe his story wasn’t true. I don’t know.
Ram, he never knew his parents. The voice in the sky had said, “It’s lazy, but I’ll let it slide.” I don’t rightly fuckin’ know what he’s talking about most of the time. Lately, it was some damned ring. He’d want us to go searching for it. If we didn’t, he’d cause us some kind of trouble.
Why don’t we just leave while he’s gone? Because he’d find us, for one. For another, ever since he found us to start with, it’s like nothing exists without his saying so. He pushed us together, a bunch of people who have no right purpose travelling together.
I don’t know how long I sat there pondering, keeping my watch for no real reason. Nothing ever happened while the voice in the sky was away. Nothing but whatever happened between us and what was happening between us was making it hard to ponder.
Sounds of Heath yowling like a dying cat were coming from Red’s tent. They weren’t together or nothing like that. Just had needs. Red’s needs kept Heath near death, but she let him take care of his needs in exchange.
Ram didn’t have needs. He was good just sitting on a rock. Meditating he called it.
I had needs. I just made it part of my pondering.
Then the sun came up. I don’t mean sunrise. I mean one second the moons are there. Next second, it’s the sun instead. I don’t remember the last time I got to see a sunrise.
“Alright, so we were going after the ring,” the voice in the sky spoke down to us.
I didn’t move from my pondering. I didn’t rightly care anymore. He kept up his talking and I did my best to ignore him.
“Alright, Dav, you don’t want to listen? I’ll give you some motivation.”
I thought to maybe answer, but decided to stay my way. How bad could he really do us? He says he can speak us gone, but I don’t think he wants to. I think he has fun with us.
The flowers started rustling. I was on my feet without my mind telling me. Spiders? I could see what looked like one, a big one, making its way out. I was relieved when it wasn’t one.
“WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT!?” Heath yelled as it crawled toward the camp, “YOU’RE SICK!” He shook his fist at the sky.
“I think it’s kind of cute,” said Red.
Ram didn’t say anything on account of his meditating. He could meditate through anything.
The smell must have hit Heath, because he fell on his hands and coated the ground in McTavern’s chicken and potatoes.
Alright, I’ll get on with tellin’ you what the thing was. It had eight arms, which was why I was scared it was a spider. Its man-person arms were all stuck on a man-person body. That man-person body had a man-person head. The whole thing was falling apart and stinking like rot.
No one else was doing any good, all standin’ around, so I figured I’d take care of it. I charged at it, pulling my hammer out. Part of me thinks Red waited on purpose. The man-person-not-quite-spider blew up in a ball of flame. I got knocked on my ass, feeling a little crispy.
I decided to give her doubt, just think it was poor timing. I didn’t have no choice but to travel with her.
“Ready to go after the ring?” “Send every man-spider you got! I’m not doin’ a damn thing!” “Gods no, Dav!” Heath shouted. “We’ll do it! Alright?”
Ram stopped his meditating, “I didn’t get any potato strips, though!”
“Alright, I’m sure there will be a McTavern’s on the way,” the voice in the sky talked in a way he did just for Ram. I didn’t hold it against Ram, but I didn’t much understand, or like, the voice in the sky being friends with him.
“Thanks, God!” Ram called up at the sky.
“Ass kisser,” Red said, spitting in his direction.
I didn’t much like that either. Ram was a holy fellow, but before the man in the sky took up ordering us around, he was holy for Murdoch. Now, he thinks the voice in the sky is god.
Ram had said once, “Just be good and our God will be good to us.” “He’s right, you know,” the voice in the sky had answered.
Getting on with it, we packed up camp and started walking. The voice in the sky told us about what he wanted us to do. Go to this town up ahead, “I haven’t named it yet,” he said. Go to this town and ask around about a man named Rizzo. That’s cutting out all the colorful words he used, describing things I didn’t rightly care about.
One thing I did like about the sky-voice. Trips were short. It’s like we started walking and then we were there. The only thing that broke up trips was “random encounters.” There weren’t any this time.
So, we stood outside this town with a blank sign. Red huffed. “If you need a name for it, call it Shit Hole. That’s what it is.”
“Fine.” Now the sign said Shit Hole. I thought the town was fine. Just like any other small man-town I had ever been to.
“Can we go to McTavern’s before we ask around?” Ram was rubbing on his stomach. I thought he should be more worried about his head, but he didn’t say a word if it bothered him.
“No. You need to ask around town about… Scratch that. Fine. Go ahead and go to McTavern’s,” the voice said, “I can work with that.”
“Thanks! I’ll pray extra hard tonight!”
“I’m gonna kill him.” Red talked as if her idea was something casual, like it was just something she had to do, like washing her laundry in the river.
“Don’t.” We could all tell the voice meant it.
“Can I at least pick his pockets?” Heath was already sneaking up behind him.
“Sure, go ahead.”
“Hey!” Ram turned to face Heath.
“Ram, you don’t notice.”
“Yes, God.” Ram turned back as though nothing was happening.
“Nothing in here anyways. Just a rock.” Heath was tossin’ the rock in the air, seeming perfectly happy just to have taken something.
“Alright, quit wasting time. You’re at the McTavern’s.”
“No. We just been standin’ around. Don’t even know where…” I was talking, then I was standing in a McTavern’s like we just walked in.
Heath was layin’ on the floor. “Please, make the world stop moving.”
“Get up, Heath.” Red was flickin’ her tail, arms crossed.
“Get your potato sticks and eat up while you have the chance,” the voice in the sky said. I didn’t like the way he was soundin’. Ram was already ahead of him, waiting at the bar. I sat down beside him and called for some ale.
They had Ram’s food up real quick. He had gotten some of those little chickens too.
“How can you eat those, being so holy and what not?” I was curious.
“What do you mean?” Ram was talkin’ with his mouth full.
“Eatin’ baby chickens is pretty bad, right?”
He looked like he was gonna cry. “Babies?”
“They aren’t baby chickens.” I could hear sky voice’s head shakin’, if he had one.
“Then how do they get ’em so small?”
I didn’t get an answer. Ram pushed his chickens away. I took ’em. I’d be a monster if I let the little guys go to waste.
I turned on my stool to look out over the rest of the place. I found me a girl that would be a sight better than pondering if I could get the chance. Probably wouldn’t talk to me, but I’d try. I had a hard time with that sort of thing.
Just as I was thinkin’ to go over to her, I caught sight of someone in the corner. He was smoking a pipe. That’s right. Same damn guy. The man with the pipe saw me too. I was a little hurt that he pretended to not. I waved at him and everything.
Then there was a ruckus behind me. I turned back around.
“Be free!” Ram was standing on the bar, dumping out a box of baby chickens. There were hundreds of ’em. More than I thought could fit in that box. I’d never seen so many chicks in a bar before.
The way people took to acting was pretty wild just for baby chickens running loose. But these people were drunk or kids. I figured I’d be safe betting some of ’em were a mix of the two.
So, there were people chasin’ after kiddies and kiddies chasin’ after chicks. Pretty soon, I could smell smoke. I don’t know if it was just on account of being fresh in my mind, but I looked towards the man with the pipe.
He’d fallen, got knocked down or something or another. His damned pipe was lighting up a curtain. That curtain had the building burning in no time. I didn’t know what these McTavern’s were made of, but someone needed to do some looking in on that.
We were all tryin’ to get out. I was draggin’ Ram on account of now he was trying to get the chickens back in the box. I got him out and we found Heath and Red.
No time later someone I couldn’t see was yelling, “There! Those four started the fire!”
We were surrounded by guards so fast, I couldn’t catch sight of the poor suckers about to get arrested. It settled in pretty quick they were talkin’ about us.
They had us cuffed and heading to the town jail. Me and Heath, we knew better than to fight that many guards. Red, only reason she didn’t start slinging her fire around is because she was taken by surprise too. She’d just been mindin’ her own business for the first time in her life, then someone pins a fire on us.
Ram, he wouldn’t of fought back even if he was in a mind to do so. He wasn’t. He was cryin’ his eyes out. I’m sure the sounds of cheeping coming out loud and clear over that crackling fire haunted him for a long time.
It makes me guilty sayin’ that all it does for me is make me wish I could still find a place that served those little baby chickens.
So, they hauled us into jail. They had Red gagged on account of her threatening things I don’t quite feel right repeating. I just tried to remember to ask Heath later if she really had the equipment for doing some of those threats.
They threw the four of us in the tiny jail’s only cell. Red was saying something, all muffled like, looking at Ram.
“Huh?” I asked.
“How does it feel having your crime cherry popped, dumbass?” the voice in the sky said. “She’s talking to Ram.”
“I’m sorry God. I didn’t mean to break any laws. I just…”
“It’s alright. You were doing what you thought was right and you progressed the plot.”
“Huh,” I was confused. I might of failed to say how much ale I got down while we were at McTavern’s, it bein’ free refills and all.
“Don’t worry. We’ll be out of here in no time. They didn’t read us our rights.” Heath really didn’t look like he had a care. I quit tryin’ to follow what these people were sayin’.
There was a cough. We all turned to see who was making it. It was a Rinezhalkin fellow. I could tell on account of his pointy ears. He looked pretty normal, except for he had his left arm wrapped up tight in a cloak.
“Who are you?” Ram asked, still sniffling on his tears.
“Rizzo,” he said.
“That’s a stupid fucking name.” Heath was partial to saying what he thought.
The voice in the sky took a breath. “Shut up.”
That’s All for Now
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