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Author Topic: A Monkey's Red Arse  (Read 1189 times)

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Offline Lord Palatine

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A Monkey's Red Arse
« on: September 24, 2009, 05:15:46 AM »
By the laws of this country he shouldn't even be here, but calling this benighted piss pot a country was being generous but still, the principle remained.  He considered the folly of passing laws to make it illegal to even be born, let alone for being who he was certainly smacked of equal measures of hubris and stupidity.  Tigre was his family name, and his father and grandfather both had laid stiff beatings on this place, and since they hadn't changed course on a voyage from idiocy to madness he was here to see it done right this time.  The second count against him was being of the Palatine Order, while being a Tigre was a hanging and disemboweling offense, being of the Palatine Order demanded flogging till nearly dead and then burned the rest of the way.

The whole bloody island was actually supposed to be impossible for him to even enter, there were hundreds of magic orbs about that detected the presence of the Palatine, but there were many friends now roaming the island to insure they were out of commission and they were doing a thorough job of it.  He was the cutting edge of what would happen next, this was his task and his command.  He stopped at the main square and stared darkly.  In the center was the auction, held daily it was the center of the slave trade for the sea islands, a long chain midway between the Realm and Waldenberg.  But as vile as he considered the slave trade the rest of the business conducted there filled his veins with icy fire.  Husbands tired of wives could sell them here and buy a new one, fathers tired of daughters could sell them and make them the problem of anyone else.

Then, to the side of the square was the punishment stand, on it were two bodies, scorched flesh and bone dangling in chains.  They were Palatine.  His hands clenched in snug gloves, the living flesh beneath the supple leather was an angry crisscross of scars, he too has known the agony of flame, his eyes stared fiercely from beneath the cloth hood that covered his head.  A fine mesh covered the eye holes of and hid the anger and raw hatred in his eyes.  His face too was taken by the flames, most of his body could feel no physical pain, but memories were another sort of pain all together.  In thirty years only he had seen the face beneath the hood, and the mask beneath, and even his own glimpses were rare.  Hair, ears, nose and lips all burned away, and only the diligent work of surgeons saved his sight, but it cost him his eyelids.

The pain of the square fanned the anger deep within him, this was a fire he knew well and embraced.  His rage was his strength, always smoldering deep within him it rose when action called.  Were he to ever lose control of it the fire would consume him, but embraced as an ally it gave him an inhuman strength or mind and body when he unsheathed it for battle.  The time was close now, the secret to winning battles was not to engage the enemy until you had already won.  He was close to winning already and his enemy had no suspicion that battle was imminent.  He turned on his heel and walked along the street, men that considered themselves tough as he stalked the cobblestones toward government house, he wasn't a particularly tall man, right around six feet tall, but he was wide of shoulder, narrow of hip, a sword rested at one hip, a knuckleduster at the other.  The purpose in his stride and his very aura caused men to step aside for him as he approached.

He stepped inside a tavern and ignored the stares directed at him, as he crossed to the bar.  "Ale," he said quietly.

The bartender squared up and stared into the dark cloth that covered the face of the patron.  "I don't serve masks," he replied coldly.

"I remove the mask and nobody will be drinking," came the quiet reply.  "I want ale, you sell ale, and none of my coins wear a mask."  He slid a silver coin across the bar.  "Ale, maybe a bit of bread and cheese, olives if you have them."

Its hard to stare down a face you can't see, darkness where there should be eyes.  He stared, then his eyes averted and finally he squirmed and dipped out a pint, then returned a few moments later with a wooden trencher.  Wordlessly Tigre drew out his knuckleduster and sliced bread and cheese and ate quietly, food disappeared under the hood and he poured ale from the pint into a small silver cup and and drank it carefully.  Occasionally he'd glance at a small ring on the pinkie of his left hand, and finally the light blue chip of stone turned white.  The muscles of his face contorted the scarred flesh of his face into a semblance of a smile under the cloth hood.  He grasped the collar of his tunic at his neck and pulled, it tore beneath his hand and the garment fell away to show a white surcoat over black chain mail.  He ignored the quizzical look of the bartender and walked from the tavern into the street and turned toward government house.

No word was more corrupted than calling what ran Crab Island a government.  The knuckleduster was in his left hand, the grip was a set of brass knuckles, his wrist turned slightly to conceal the blade along his forearm.  Two scruffy 'guards' stood at the gate of the wrought iron fence and watched him curiously as he approached.  He didn't slow, didn't pause, the knuckles caved in one face as the fingers of his other hand closed around the throat of his companion.  Tigre's fingers closed like a vise and pushed him against the stone pose, and after a few ineffectual blows on his arm and shoulder the loss of blood to the brain left the second guard a limp pile on the ground.  There were cries of alarm far behind him now, the comforting blasts of army bugles and hooves on stone as men rode from the holds of ships and down the quays and piers of the city as he crossed the courtyard to the door, which slammed shut, but he didn't slow, the sword swept from his hip and two broad strokes removed the window to one side and he stepped through.

he caught the cutlass of another guard with crossed blades and lifted the man to his tiptoes with a boot to his crotch, Tigre heard the air rush from his lungs and feeling compassionate the sound of brass connected to skull and he fell without another sound.  A dozen strides and he shouldered open the door to the council chambers.  "Solan Craene," he spoke in a clear voice.  "Surrender to justice or face judgment."

A large man turned to look at him, his face a study of anger and confusion.  "Who the devil are you!"

Tigre ignored the question and walked toward him.  "I've heard it said that the day the Palatine could enter Crab Island was the day you became a monkey's red arse.  I am General Garen Tigre, Lord Defender of the Palatine Order.  Since I'm only one of a thousand Palatine here today I suppose that makes me the winner, and you already know what that leaves you.  By what name do you chose to be arrested?  I'm quite willing to inscribe your arrest warrant with Monkey's Red Arse."



Note:



This was the tail end of a campaign that was played out in a long weekend of D&D.  The initial groundwork was laid by Thomas, Lord Traveler, Stormy Weathers (later Tigre) when she was still quite young, and several others.  They had the task of scouting out the strengths and weaknesses of Crab Island and discovering the secret of the 'glow bulbs' that would illuminate up when Palatine came within a hundred feet of them.

Garen Tigre was an officer of long experience that was horribly disfigured at the Battle of Dorbantant during the Third Great War.  He was an observer in a tower high above the city that spotted enemy troop movements and made it possible to coordinate the defenders to hold wherever the enemy pressed.  His reports angered Basdred himself who blasted the tower with magic fire.  Garen, then a young officer pushed the two men with him down the stairs, saving them and leaving him horribly disfigured and suffering silently in pain for the rest of his life.  He served nearly fifty years after his disfigurement, none ever heard him complain and only a few people saw what lay hidden beneath the hood and the mask beneath.   He fathered six children, who gave him twenty five grandchildren and a hundred and twelve great grandchildren, and he would outlive a quarter of them, all lost in duty to their nation, as was Marshall Garen Tigre, Commander of the First Corps of the Palatine Order.

 

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