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A Day's Hard Knight


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"A good night's haul," Abdel said, opening one of the pouches, and letting a string of silver and brass coins tumble onto the table, "A very good night's haul indeed. I estimate there is at least three hundred gold pieces here."


"It should be," muttered Edwin darkly, "you simpering gimps. My feet are killing me, and I have a headache to end all headaches."


Minsc lumbered into view, his shadow looming over Edwin, and the conjurer wilted slightly under the ranger's bulk


"Abdel told you to put your best foot forward," Minsc thunderously stated, causing a wave of pain to wash across Edwin's face.


"But kicking my legs out from under me isn't what he meant," Edwin replied venomously, "And who's bright idea was it to put me on that damn pedestal in the first place."


Edwin winced as his smooth, but firm hand dabbed at the goose-egg that was slowly growing under his rain of red hair.


"All the bards' stories speak of putting women in their place," Minsc said, "And what better place to show your wares?"


"Wares?" roared Edwin, pressing the flat of her palms against the side of her bosom, "You trundling lout, these aren't some pottery to put on display!"


"Methinks the lady doth protest too much," drawled a soft, melodious voice from the shadows, and Haer Dalis' stepped into Edwin's purview, "You always did enjoy the attention, did you not, Edwin."


Edwin ground his teeth, "One of these days Haer Dalis', I promise I shall have revenge on your smirking insolent face. You parasitic planarspawn, I will craft a pair of gloves from your hide."


Haer Dalis' bowed, his long hair barely touching the ground when he swooped back up, "Ah, so my lady doth wish me to be ever by her side. Well, my luscious honeysuckle, I shall..."


"Enough," interrupted Abdel, "As much as I like to see you bait each other, now you two are starting to give me a headache. Leave off...or do I have to put each of you in a corner?"


Edwin muttered, "But that indolent poodle started it."


Abdel's fist slammed onto the table, spilling some of the coins onto the ground, but Edwin was used to Abdel's own theatrics.


"I said enough," Abdel replied darkly.


A heavy silence filled the room when Minsc broke it by saying, "So, Abdel, how much longer do we have to do this? That leather thong is beginning to chafe, and Boo agrees that this is the work of thugs, not heroes. How much longer must we roll the drunks?"


"We're getting close," Abdel answered, "And when I said this evening's haul was very good, I meant it. Here, take a look at this."


The Bhaalspawn reached out onto the table and grabbed a piece of parchment. He untied the bow that kept it firmly bound, and read, "Looks like a bounty. Two thousand gold pieces. Where did you get this anyways?"


Minsc smiled, "There was a group of adventurers. They just came back from an adventure, and they saw Edwin. Haer Dalis' waggled his fingers..."


The tiefling sniffed, "It was just a minor Charm spell cast on the tart. I must say it sweetened his demeanor..."


"You want to see true magic, then I shall show you," roared Edwin, his face turning a shade of crimson to match that of his hair.


"Children," Abdel's voice cut through their rising squabble, "One would think you were married with the way you carry on."


Edwin's face blanched, and he stammered, "That is just disgusting, Abdel."


"Indeed," Haer Dalis' agreed, "Besides, do you think I would be caught dead with one who tromps around as a man stuck in a woman's body?"


"And just what do you think I am?" shouted Edwin, turning on Haer Dalis' once more, "Or does it really matter to you?"


Haer Dalis' paused thoughtfully, then waggled his eyebrows, and tugged one jeweled ear, "Not really, my chickadee. One sees much from the planes."


Abdel shook his head as the two continued to argue, and he turned his attention back to Minsc, "So you were saying they were adventurers..."


"They were adventurers, and just came from one successful endeavor and were ready to start another," Minsc replied.


"And so you performed the old snatch'n'grab?" Abdel asked, casting a furtive glance at Edwin's nether regions.


"Yes," Minsc responded, "Edwin enticed them. He rolled his hips, enough that Boo was getting sea sick...as each one went up to his room, Haer Dalis' would step from the shadows and cudgel them with the pommel of his dagger. They were stacked like cordwood when we were through. Then, Edwin..."


"I refuse to listen to this..." Edwin interrupted, stopping his banter with Haer Dalis' and made his way to where his sleeping quarters were.


"Sleep tight, beloved," chirped Haer Dalis' pleasantly.


Edwin flipped his left hand upward, giving Haer Dalis' a singular, non-verbal reply...which masked the dancing gestures of his right hand.


"Let's see how you like waking up with the pox," Edwin mumbled, "For all anyone else would know, you got it from futtering a canker ridden skank."




Edwin stared at the smooth-skinned reflection in the shard of mirror standing crookedly on the bureau, and ran a hand over his chin.


The only good thing to come of this sordid mess is I don't have to keep my beard well trimmed, he muttered.


Edwin sat on the edge of the bed, removing his robe, and shook his head, How did it all come to this? Degarden, that's it...




"Ah Edwin, how nice to see you. Your friends lied for you once before, but they can't help you now." rumbled a deep, resonant voice from within robes of similar cut, but more ornately decorated than Edwin's own.


"Edwin? I don't know this Edwin you speak of..." Edwin rambled desperately, casting about to see where the rest of his party was at, "I am...


Another inconvenience, Edwin thought dangerously, needing privacy to attend to such womanly...flows...


"Edwin, Edwin, Edwin. It must be wonderful to live in your mind. But enough of that..." Degarden tutted, and with a rustle of robe, his hands clapped.


Edwin gasped as all the air was pushed from her chest, and felt an invisible, vice-like grip surround his body.


"You...will...suffer..." Edwin stammered out.


"I don't think so," Degarden laughed, stepping closer to the magically bound Edwin.


"Hmm, I must admit, you do make one fine figure of woman," Degarden said admiringly, pushing aside a fold of Edwin's robe, and rested a hand on the conjurer's leg.


Degarden's eyes barely concealed the growing lust as he added, "And where you are going, no one is really going to care what does happen to you. Waste not, want not...and I so hate seeing things go to waste."


Edwin wanted to twist as Degarden's lips descended to meet his, but found he was still as bound as ever. A growing desperation grew within Edwin, but his muscles refused to obey, and he felt Degarden's scratchy beard move up and down on his face.


Suddenly, a loud, almost feminine shriek pierced the night air. Degarden danced back, his hands slapping at his groin.


"What the hell..." Degarden screamed, the last phrase unintelligible as his cry continued, and a brown and white furry hamster dropped to the ground from underneath the wizard's robes...and a small, fleshy part thumped on the ground, while a thin stream of blood speckled on the ground.


"I'll kill you," shouted Degarden at the scampering rodent as it dodged the newly emasculated wizard's stomping feet.


Edwin felt the grasp around him loosen, enough that the rush of air, painful as it was on his squeezed diaphragm, filled his lungs.


"Enough," shouted Degarden, when he noticed that Edwin was loose. Snarling, he thrust his hands outward, and uttered eldritch syllables, the sound grating on Edwin's nerves. A greyish, pebble streaked cloud formed in front of Degarden's hands, and promptly flew towards Edwin's position.


Desperately, Edwin threw up his hands, and hastily spun a spell, hoping that his counterspell was strong enough to stop whatever Degarden's magic was. A rainbow-colored swirling shield of light arose, and stopping Degarden's gray colored spell...and sent it doubling back towards him.


Degarden's eyes widened in horror as the spell enveloping him in a conical grey mist. He tried to step forward, but his very footstep moved as slow as cold molasses. The wizard's skin turned to granite-hued color, his right foot still raised but stoned, and Degarden wobbled precariously


"Y...o...u..." grunted Degarden, and fell with a heavy thud, a final rodent squeal of pain filling the night.

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OOC: I know it has been a while, but the writing on Del is almost complete. Herein, we learn why the title it is...and Edwin has a plan.




Edwin woke with a start, vigorously kicking the thread bare blanket off his chest. He reached down and clawed at an angry red welt rising on the swell of his breast.


"Damn fleas," muttered Edwin, "Almost as bad as that wench in Nashkel."


Edwin then felt a minor burning sensation rise in the small of his back. Growling, the full-figured woman futilely tried to scratch it, but found his arms unable to reach the troublesome spot.


"I wouldn't even be in this sorry predicament if it wasn't for that fool Abdel," Edwin grumbled, irritated at not being able to reach the swollen flea bite.


"Enough, this is almost as bad as Haer Dalis' useless blather" swore Edwin and got out of bed. He quickly scanned the room before noticing a support beam in the middle of the room.


"Ahhh..." moaned Edwin as she gently shimmied his back side up and down the post.


She continued this for a few more minutes, each thrust up and down bringing pleasant relief flooding through his body, occasionally uttering an "Ooh..." and "Right there. Got it..."


Edwin exhaled a final breathy shudder as he leaned against the support beam, tired from sating his itch.


"I have to get out of here," Edwin quietly said, "Someone of my stature shouldn't be caught dead in such a flophouse. Not to mention the fleas."


Her eyes scanned the room, as he thought, There has to be a way to turn this to my advantage, to rise from the ditch, and regain my rightful place.


Edwin shrugged, and paced, trying to let his fervent mind come up with a solution. When he felt chilled, the conjurer grabbed his clothing from the single peg which had been hanging on what he considered his coat rack. The removal of the stole revealed a man who towered over Edwin by a half a head, a look of slight surprise on the man's face. The statue's hands were lowered near his groin, grasping at what Edwin thought of as a peg.


"Ah Keldorn," Edwin spat, "You sanctimonious baboon. I must say that you are much useful this way. Caught with your pants down."


The woman ran a hand along the length of the paladin's chest, tracing a finger up to the tip of his nose.


"Revenge is a dish best served cold, and what is more hard-hearted than stone?" whispered Edwin.


Edwin blinked, his lips curling as he remembered the scramble to clean up Boo after Degarden's fall, as well as the count afterward for the party members, and Keldorn turned up missing. A quick search revealed that when Degarden's spell was reflected back, one stray granite jet hit must have hit Keldorn as he answered a call of nature.


"Requiring me to levitate you all the way here...bah, that was not the work worthy of a wizard of my stature, but more of what you would expect of a two-bit hedge-wizard's apprentice." said Edwin sourly.


Edwin walked around the Keldorn statue, "Call me soulless wizard? Yet your precious sanctity wasn't enough to save you. And yet here you are. It galls me that there isn't much difference in our position. There has to be some way I can turn this to my advantage. Possibly rent you out to a fountain. No, those gutter-apes tend to prefer peeing boys. It's not as if anyone would miss you..."


Edwin stopped, and his eyes narrowed, "Missing you. That is it, isn't it. Your precious Order is bound to be worried about what happened to you, won't it? Those miserable do-gooders usually put out a reward for information leading to the recovery of one there own. And there is a price on Abdel's head..."


The mage stroked his cheek, for a moment missing his rich beard, and nodded, "Yes, yes, all we have to do is turn both in. But how to do it without getting caught."


Edwin's gaze dropped on the dilapidated box that momentarily doubled as a bed stand, and the severed, bejeweled hand of the merchant.


"The hand of glory," he murmured, "cheap theatrical necromancy, but it would suffice. Yes, then these simpering gimps will be caged where they belonged."


The transformed mage grabbed the dead merchant's hand and put it in the center of the room. Edwin reached over and grabbed the singular candle Abdel allowed him and placed it between the crook of the forefinger and middle finger. With her heal, Edwin slowly traced a circle in the dirt around then hand.


The conjurer than sat cross legged outside the circle, and started to chant,

"Hand of glory, hand of power,

Hearken to me in this witching hour


Wherever this terrible light may burn,

Vainly the sleeper shall toss and turn;"


The room filled with a dull, orange glow as the candle suddenly flickered to life. Edwin looked at the candle, feeling a slight drowsiness creep into his body, but vigorously shook his head to drive away the growing sleepiness.


"Leaden eyes shall never unclose

So long as this magical taper glows,


Life and treasure shall I command

I who now the charm of the glorious Hand..."


The orange light flared with a burst of red flame, and Edwin felt the growing malaise flee from his body. The flame dance in the still air, giving off a sweet scent that slowly filled the room and beyond.


"There, they shall sleep until I end the spell," he uttered, "Or until the break of dawn, but more than enough time for me to finish my plan."




Lady Irlana yawned as the hours slowly passed in the night. She cast a glance at her partner, Sir Cadril, and saw him trying to stifle a yawn as well.


"Damn you," Cadril said playfully, "You know yawns are contagious."


Irlana chuckled, but suddenly stopped when she heard the rustle of clothing in the darkness. Carefully, she put her hand on her sword and shouted, "Halt, who goes there? Identify yourself and step forward?"


Edwin felt his fingers twitch in irritation, and it was all he could from snapping, "Make up your mind you shiny yard apes. Do you want me to come forward or stay?"


However, he did restrain himself, biting his tongue in the process.


"Calmly Edwin, you don't want to give yourself away this early in the game," he quietly told himself.


The Red Wizard took a deep breath, and said in a voice as husky as he could make, though it sounded quiet cloying to his ear, "Sanctuary. I know who has Sir Keldorn, and who captured him. He...has done horrible things to me too."

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