All right, you cruel people. You asked for it!
(To any who are confused by this, the story refers to comments in Silverwyng's thread. The monk, Vincan, was labelled 'Vinky-poos', and I just knew that it was only a matter of time before someone applied it to me. So I warned people not to, and they inevitably did. Hence this little tale...)
The Last Vincy-Poos
Meet Wolfie. He’s a near full-grown wolf now, and he thinks that he’s an awesome hunter. Why only yesterday he tracked down and ferreted out a rabbit all by himself! The pack leader actually gave him a look of respect for that one! Soon he’d be going up in the world, joining the pack’s regular hunts and bringing back the best game and showing everyone just how good he really is. But for today, He’s celebrating, investigating an intriguing scent not too far from his den, because it simply smells too good to resist. Wait. What are those thinks moving in the distance? They look really funny, wandering around on two legs like that. Maybe they taste good? Maybe he should investigate…
A man walks into a bar.
“Ouch!” remarked the barman as he eyed his newest customer. True, the stocky dwarf had all sorts of adventurers regularly dropping by his tavern on the way through the Shiverpeaks, and the constant flow of travellers from Beacon’s Perch to Droknar’s Forge made his business a fairly profitable one, but rarely did he see someone arrive in such a state.
The newcomer’s armor was clearly far from new, if the number of scratches and missing paintwork was anything to judge by. In fact, anything of lesser quality would no doubt have fallen apart long before now. The staff he leant on appeared to be about the only thing holding him upright at the moment, and if the scars upon his face were anything to go by he wouldn’t be lasting long enough to become profitable unless something was done. The dwarf swore softly, and then conjured a couple of healing prayers to aid the man’s suffering. At least he’s fit enough to buy a drink now.
“Thanks,” the man grunted sourly. Before the barman could retort his guest produced several gold coins and set them upon the long table that served as a bar. “For your effort in keeping a wreck like me in one piece, and for a glass of anything that’s going. It’s been a long week.”
“Whatever you say, boss,” agreed the barman, deciding that he could live with surly customers as long as they paid up. Besides, it had been a slow week for him as well, and aside from the rowdy bunch merrily chatting in one corner his establishment was virtually deserted.
“Oy!” cried out one of the rangers from the group in the corner, as the newcomer’s presence registered with them. “Vincy!”
Oh no. Vincalis groaned, and for a moment the barman wondered if his latest patron wasn’t about to fall apart after all. Then he noticed the decidedly fixed look upon the necromancer’s face, and concluded that it was the greeting that had caused this reaction. The scarred mage, for his part, wished for little more than to be left alone to nurse his injuries and his misfortunes. Those accursed trolls had been bad enough, but the least one could expect from a tavern was respect for those who braved the dangers of the wilderness. Or not, apparently, the necromancer amended sourly.
“Vincy-poos!” called out the dervish, a wicked grin lighting her face. “Come and join us, dear!”
The necromancer shifted slightly in his bar stool, but otherwise proceeded to ignore the four friends in the corner. He’d managed to work himself up into a suitably righteous anger, and he was not going to stoop to responding to such an irreverent form of address. I wonder if they heard what happened to the last person who tried to call me something like that, he mused, scowling to himself. The barman tried to look busy, not wanting to agitate the man whilst there was still a chance of retaining all his customers.
“I think Vincy-poos is trying to ignore us, Narulia,” laughed a pretty ranger to her left.
“I do believe you’re right, Tavari,” agreed the first speaker. “Maybe he didn’t hear us?”
“Not likely, Zen,” their male companion pointed out. “Get over here you sorry necro!” he bellowed jovially, much to the amusement of his companions.
I’m not going to rise to it, Vincalis told himself. They’ll get bored soon enough.
“Should I mention the candy, Wisper?” asked Tavari innocently.
“Candy?” echoed their friend in a hoarse, conspiratorial tone that easily carried the length of the room. Narulia began giggling uncontrollably.
They have to get bored soon…
“Yes, that candy mountain we’ve been stockpiling for ages!” agreed Zenaida enthusiastically, her face a picture of pure innocence.
That does it. The necromancer set his drink down irritably and stood up, trying and failing to ignore the renewed gales of laughter from the corner. Glaring at the barman as though the entire thing was his fault, Vincalis announced, “I’m going for a walk. Apparently there’s no peace to be had after a hard day’s work even here any more.” And with that he turned and without a single glance towards the offending heroes he strode out into the snowy valleys of the Shiverpeaks.
The sun was shining brightly, turning the snow beneath his feet a brilliant, blinding white, and if it hadn’t been for the troll-related disaster that had necessitated his flight here the necromancer might have enjoyed the impressive vista. Before him, and on both sides, loomed the magnificent peaks of the mountains, with their dark crags and mysterious shadowy overhangs that promised tantalising riches beneath. To his right a clump of pine trees stood, resolute and tall against the harshness of their environment, and off in the distance a wolf cried; its howl echoing distantly among the peaks.
All of which was rather spoiled by a gleeful cry of, “Candy Mountain is over this way, Vincy-poos!” from his rear.
Vincalis kept walking. In truth, he wasn’t especially offended by the name, and the references to ‘candy mountain’ had even been funny – the first time. It was more that fact that they’d started it all in front of a barman. He had an image to maintain, after all, and being called something as absurd as ‘Vincy-poos’ in front of the locals was going to cause trouble. Regrettably, I still have too many people who would like to see me dead to go looking for trouble.
“Ooh, look!” cried Tavari excitedly. Vincalis braced himself for the next barrage of verbal abuse, but then noticed that something was moving across the snow ahead of him. The ranger, with her sharp eyesight, had evidently seen it ahead of him.
“What is it?” asked Narulia, at the same time as Zen cried, “Isn’t he cute?”
“Here, Wolfie,” called Wisper, sending the girls into transports of delight. “Come and say hello to us and to old sour-puss Vincy-poos over there,” he added wickedly.
Oh gods, that damned barman has actually followed them to watch the fun! This is going too far! Time for some damage control. Vincalis grinned at the prospect in spite of himself, and sent out a thought in the direction of the thicket to his concealed ally.
“He’s so sweet!” cried Tavari, and when the necromancer looked at the curious young creature approaching them, he almost felt guilty. Almost. The poor thing was barely an adult, and almost certainly didn’t deserve this. But then again, neither do I.
She struck like a demon. Nobody but the necromancer had noticed her ascent as she rose from the trees, and the suddenness of her attack was matched only by her ferocity. Wings folded, she dropped like a stone from the heights of the blue sky, plummeting claws first towards the ground – towards her target. The poor wolf never stood a chance, and probably didn’t even hear the eagle’s descent until she arrived. Her talons bit deep, the sheer force of the impact lending greater force to her brutal strike than any would have otherwise believed. The hapless animal was slain instantly, its skull pierced by those dread hooks of death.
After the wolf’s single agonised yelp, silence reigned for a moment as the humans looked on. The three rangers wore identical masks of horror, matched only by Narulia’s shock and dismay. Vincalis’ visage was far calmer, though if one looked closely a hint of pride might have been detected.
“Come here, Amber,” the necromancer called softly. To the surprise of the others, the deadly bird immediately looked up, and came to her master’s raised gauntlet when called. Almost indifferently, the mage created a bone horror from the mangled corpse of the wolf, and turned to the aghast faces of his companions.
“Isn’t she adorable?” he asked innocently. When they failed to reply immediately, he continued, "No, not really. She's a cold-hearted, calculating, single-minded killing machine, and if I treated her any differently she'd rip my head off. She is beautiful though, and highly efficient at what she does. Namely, crushing skulls."
"Some things simply aren't cute. Some just aren't fluffy and cuddly. In that respect at least, Amber and I are perfectly matched." He glanced over his shoulder at the obedient minion that lurked there. “Kiss the first one to say ‘Vincy-poos, or for that matter ‘candy’,” he commanded it. As the vile thing gurgled and tottered forward enthusiastically, Vincalis fought to keep his expression dispassionate at the look upon his tormentors’ faces. The barman had already fled.
Is it petty? He asked himself. Yes. Am I going to regret it? Probably. He shrugged, turned away, and finally permitted himself to smile. Oh well. It did make me feel a lot better, at least.
Look what you did to Wolfie! He'd be happily at home munching on rabbits if it wasn't for you lot!
On a side note, Amber's quite a hungry girl, and I'm sure Tyria's positively filled with cute and fluffy things for her to hunt. If I run out of ideas I'll be looking to you for help, Silverwyng!
Right, you can post more polished and sensible stories again... I'll run away and hide in my corner.