Chapter 46: It is a bad sign to be a slacker even when playing a game
Inside the ring formed from the wagons was the slackers, among which were naturally enough the owners of the wagons. In fact, only two of the slackers weren’t wagon owners! Truly these denizens weren’t called merchants for nothing. In a rare elconic dictionary within the Great Attic, a merchant is described thusly;
Mercant; Personne, daler of monies, coveter of goods. A denizen who doth cheets other denizens. Most suceesfool of all thiaves. Bevare these cunning mercants! I myvelf vas cheeted out of fourscore fine gems!
There may be a bit of bias in the description, but certainly most denizens believe it pays to be wary of merchants.
So, these slackers were seated quite comfortably on cushions, gathered around a red stone table with gold runes and fiery patterns on it. Hovering above this table was a gentle orange flame that did give off quite warm and friendly heat. The table had a curious feature that ringing the lip of it, there was soft and fluffy quilting that reached down to the ground. The underneath of the table was quite toasty, with the magic of the table channelling heat from the fire above.
Quite a marvellous artefact, and quite obviously made for lazing about. The slackers had to put planks down before taking the table out though, since they didn’t really want to create a puddle under the table.
Half stuffed under this table was the slackers. Seven of them in total there were. An invizard, three wolves, a turnip, a bottle and a pair of rocks. They appeared to be playing a game with cards.
“Ahhhhh, its is so nice to be near a fire again, makes falling down here worth it. Stupid Firelord and his stupid patrols. We couldn’t have risked using this on the surface” the invizard smacked his lips in contentment.
Most of the body of an invizard cannot be seen, but even had that been possible, it seemed that most of his body was under the heat-table. Invizards are lizard-like denizens who are invisible apart from their head and hands. Interestingly their invisibility can be spread to things that are on their body.
The merchant, Ceets had quite fetching navy scales, what was not so handsome was the hat that he had upon his head. It looked for all the world like a red lemon. It even smelled a bit like a lemon. On his hands were a pair of fine brown leather gloves. He was the owner of the golden fort wagon.
“When we get to the market circle, I’m going to throw some gems at some adventurers, we’ll see how much the Firelord likes getting messed with!” The turnip righteously huffed.
This turnip was a regular vegetable person, that is to say, his hands were his greens and his body split into two little legs. He wore a belt that had so many different silk and cloth bags that it looked like he was wearing some ghastly multicoloured kilt. Hadric liked to keep his most valuable things on his person. He wasn’t the sort to just blow hot air either, he was really going to hire a bunch of adventurers to cause some trouble. He was the owner of the chariot wagon.
“Wahaha, back in Wolfhiem we don’t have to worry about the snuffers or the cinders, why sometimes we make great bonfires just for fun! All the Firelord’s armies can to is grind their teeth in frustration!” One male wolf barked.
“Even if our Wolfhiem is the best and most glorious city and cultural heart in Elcon, it isn’t too good to boast too much Brother” This was the sister of the previous wolf.
“It isn’t like the pair of you haven’t been constantly boasting about Wolfhiem all throughout the journey. It isn’t like that at all” the last wolf muttered.
The brother and sister wolves, Handle and Griddle were the owners of the white sled-wagon. They were merchants, but unlike the other merchants, they weren’t mere merchants! They were also a band! A musical band! Handle and Griddle were both singing magi! Strella played the lute! Baldron the cat played his trombone! The last wolf, Yvan was a percussion expert. In particular he was experienced with hammers and a small cannon. He wasn’t too bad with drums, but he was actually better at bringing out sound by hitting things that aren’t drums.
Handle and Griddle were two red wolves, both wore fluffy green robes and both had staves with voice amplifying crystals on the end. Handle had a red huge pompadour like the whole back end of a duck sprouting from his head, while Griddle’s head hair was black unlike her fur. She had a sheer curtain of the stuff. The irises of their eyes were actually white, which was a little unnerving, but their faces were both too goofy looking to look creepy.
Creepy wasn’t a thing that could be said of Yvan. No what was remarkable about Yvan was the amount of hair he had! He was a green furred wolf, born and raised in the forest! The hair on his head was like a mighty bush that obscured his eyes. It almost seemed like a bush was trying to eat his head! Though he was a wolf, it looked as if he had a huge mane of hair around his neck and back! His tail was almost as full as a fox’s. His arms and legs had so much that he was in the habit of braiding the hair so that it wouldn’t get in his way.
He never told anyone, nor did he boast, but he was actually quite proud of his bountiful hair.
“Only the fact that I am winning and you wolves are losing can contain my ire at your constant boastings” the bottle spoke.
This transparent brown bottle was in the shape of a uniformed soldier. His hat was the stem of the bottle. The coppery green liquid inside of him was a little unusual, as when the liquid sloshed, the shape of weapons and armour was revealed. Captain Cruel was the name of this bottle and he, along with Rattling Sid and Bean, was one of the protectors of the chariot wagon.
“Don’t be a fusspot…” One of the rocks, a tall orange one said.
“I am a bottle, not a pot”
“…don’t be a fussbottle, it isn’t a bad thing to have a bit of pride in your home” the rock continued.
“I think its long passed the point of a simple bit of pride, I’m expecting the whole city to come tumbling out of their mouths any day now” The other rock, a short yellow one said.
“Their boasting is a bit stifling, but if a whole city came out, wouldn’t that just be crushing. I’m glad their mouths aren’t that big”
These two featureless rocks were the merchants of the auto-wagon. The tall orange rock was called Obel. The short yellow rock was called GV. Once upon a time they had actually been part of a whole adventuring clan of rocks, however after a tragic encounter with a baleful rock eating magic goat-like being, they decided to become merchants. One day, they were going to encrust their bodies with the finest of gems, that was their dream.
“That is enough nonsense for now, whose turn was it?” Hadric the turnip asked.
“The turn order swapped around didn’t it?” Yvan said.
“It did so… uh, sorry, I’ve lost track” Handle
“Oh, I know who it is!” Obel chuckled.
“What a coincidence! So do I!” GV added.
“Cruel is so far in the lead, so I’m not sure it even matters whose turn it is anymore” Ceets the invizard mused.
“I don’t even like young butler, it isn’t my fault you are all terrible at this game”
“I just want to get on with playing the game, is that too much to ask” Hadric complained.
“It probably is” Griddle added helpfully.
Obel rumbled a bit, this was of course a kind of rock laughter.
“The one whose turn it is, is…” he began
“…Hadric!” GV finished.
A big subdued, Hadric began his turn.
Young butler is considered one of the most cut-throat of all elconic playing card games. It is a game of intense battle between minds, of treachery and despair! It isn’t actually very fun. The rules are just kind of awkward and cruel regardless of winning or losing. It only really ever gets played because of how hard it is to play, that and it has some strange curse to it that those who play continually forget how terrible an experience it was.
So, under the strange compulsion of the cards, the slackers continued bickering and slacking and even slacking at playing the game, but then.
There was of course, the rumble of the events we already covered.