Questball - Chapter VII
Take the money and run
In Chapter VI we left our heroes in a bit of a predicament. After winning an exciting game of Questball – and a big pot of money – they found the back door of the tavern barred by thugs, the front door by orcs. Neither group was keen to let them leave there alive. You chose to have them take the money and make a run for it.
This shall be no easy task.
If you’re just getting caught up, you can read the previous chapters here:
Vlarax looks around nervously.
At the back door of the bar, Lerry and his gamblers bar the way with knives drawn. At the front door, Kronk and his orcs are there with clubs.
“I believe this is the point where we make a decision,” says Granwell.
“Behind the bar,” Jimmy says, “there’s a secret exit. It goes down into the cellar then out through the forest. I say we take the money and run.”
“Right then,” says Granwell, handing Vlarax an empty sack. “Vlarax, fill this sack with those coins and let’s get the faugh out of here.”
Vlarax complies and starts stuffing coins into the sack. The gamblers — reluctant to part ways with their hard-won coins that otherwise could be put to good use being gambled away — start closing in on the group. The orcs — equally reluctant to let someone else bash a perfectly good skull before they’ve had a go at it — start closing in, too. Granwell decides their lives are slightly more important than a few extra coins and orders the group to make for the exit.
They commence a mad dash to the door behind the bar. The orcs charge at them from their left side, the gamblers from their right. Luckily the tables and other drunken patrons are strategically placed throughout the tavern as to perfectly impede their progress. One gambler takes a dart to the eyeball and falls headlong onto a round table. The table flips over and sends something approximating a vat of sausages and sauerkraut flying into the faces of his companions. The orcs, for their part, get so excited at the prospect of caving someone’s head in that they start fighting among each other over who will get the first swing. Their fight escalates, and by the time they’ve closed half the distance to the bar they’ve incited a full-on brawl. (Orcs tend to have that effect on people.) All of this excitement gives Vlarax and co. just enough time to vault themselves behind the bar to relative safety.
“Wizard, now would be a good time for some magick if you have any,” Granwell says as they pass through the door.
“But I don’t know what spell to cast. I don’t even know any spells, really,” Vlarax says. “Should I use a Sealing Spell to seal the door behind us? Should I slow down time? Cast a love spell that will make everyone start…no, no, that won’t do. I can’t even think straight right now.”
“Don’t think. There’s no time to think,” Granwell says. “Just do.”
Standing in the doorway behind the bar, Vlarax closes his eyes and begins whispering a spell. He’s not really sure where it’s coming from or what he’s saying, but he has a feeling it’s right. The gamblers and orcs regain their wits and start closing in on the bar, hungry for money, vengeance, and/or a good old fashioned skull bashing. The only thing barring their path is a few paces and a moderately overweight wizard.
Vlarax opens his eyes and claps his hands.
An air wave emanates out from the point where Vlarax’s hands meet. It’s barely perceptible to the eye but is overtly perceptible in the bodies of all those it passes through. In its wake a low rumble echoes around the bar, then a series of groans. The orcs and gamblers stop dead in their tracks, hunched over and clutching their stomachs. Then, all at once and from every soul present in His Majesty’s Cockatrice tavern, a symphony of explosive dysentery erupts from their buttholes. A cacophony of clarion flatulence fills the air like a marching band led by Saint Bonaventure who, of course, is the patron saint of bowel disorders. The ground becomes slick with the feculent emissions of a dozen fantastical creatures. The orcs and gamblers slip and fall on their faces, writhing around in tawny puddles of their own filth.
What Vlarax has just cast is the classic “Shitspell,” a spell that makes everyone within a certain radius, well, shit themselves. It’s a popular one among adolescent wizards on the playground. Vlarax must have remembered it from his youth, when a favorite game was to direct it at his teachers on exam day. Eventually they caught on and made him take his exams in solitary confinement. But ever after, they wouldn’t eat for days leading up to an exam, just in case.
Vlarax lingers there after the spell is complete, reveling in the fact that his magick actually worked. Granwell grabs him by the collar and pulls him down the stairs into the cellar.
As the group moves through the cool, dark tunnels, Jimmy scrupulously inspects the bottles of wine that line the walls, picking only the choicest vintages to toss into Vlarax’s half-filled coin sack. His rabbit senses tell him that these may come in handy.
At the other end of the cellar is a locked door. Without breaking stride, Cynthia lowers her head and rams her horns through it, and the group scampers up the stairs into the forest.
For days they wander. The wine makes the journey tolerable, enjoyable even. But they can’t linger for long. Just as Jimmy’s rabbit senses told him the wine would come in handy, they now tell him the orcs are likely on their trail and madder than ever.
Seeing as they are passing through an enchanted forest on a quest, naturally, they encounter many haunting tree spirits, maleficent forest beings, ancient long-forgotten Elven tribes, and some sort of crazy survivalist guy that appears to be making a documentary. But those are all fairly standard occurrences in an enchanted forest and are not worth dwelling upon here.
There is, however, at least one tale from the forest that is worth recounting, for it shall later impact their quest in unforeseen ways. But for the life of me I cannot remember which it is.
Perhaps the reader can help jog this humble scribe’s memory?