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“Da Mysteerius Affair at Da Dew Drop Inn”

Discussion in 'Creativity Surge' started by Emberglow, Jun 21, 2003.

  1. Riccan Gems: 2/31
    Latest gem: Fire Agate

    Jun 3, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Chapter X
    "Jungle Love, OhweOhweOh"

    The party continued even as Ember made sure the bald fat man was taken to his room. Johan always admired how dutiful Ember was when she was tending the tavern. The ale was flowing a little more freely as the party now passed the few hours mark and showed no signs of slowing down. This is how a party should be thought Johan. He was watching his fellow Halflings mingle and enjoy themselves with the odd assortment of other partygoers, and that is when he heard the first cluck. It happened when Mollie came out from behind the bar with tankards in both hands while giggling and flirting with a few of the Cocks. It had begun.

    *cluck...scratch scratch...CLUCK*

    This single act was all it took. Single women, ale, a tavern, Halflings, single women, Halflings and single women were the catalysts now. From that single cluck, a dozen or more Halflings erupted into a symphonic throw-up of head bobbings, clucks and feet scratching. Millie quickly rushed over to Mollie who was giggling uncontrollably now, as the Halflings, including Rumpin of Whickenshire, preformed their Chicken Wooing Dance. It consisted of loud clucks, bobbing heads, elbow flapping and little hops here and there. On the tabletops and benches, on the bar, on the stairs, and on each other. Halflings everywhere were acting like chickens to gain the favors of two dwarven lasses, one really tall human, one stuck up peacock, even one troll. Why the troll? No one really knew if old Quibblebonz was a female or not. Now did not matter, for the Halflings were lost in the wooing frenzy.

    It soon became very clear that not all the Halflings were from Whickenshire, at least a dozen must of been from Lupinshire for the simple fact they got down on their hands and knees and started barking and wiggling their rear ends at the chickens, err the Halflings from Whickenshire, and then they started running all about.

    Millie let of a delightful squeal when one of these dogs, err, Halflings ran behind her and started to sniff. It was an act similar to this which finally unseated Mistress D'Kali from her protected corner. Another Halfling ran right under table and put his nose where no Halfling nose should go, well maybe behind closed doors. This did not illicit the squeal Millie let out, instead Mistress D'Kali's pipe flew from her mouth on to the floor as she lurched to her feet and shouted some elven profanities, which to a Halfling, who does not understand the elvish language, were more words of encouragement.

    The yipping Halfing chased her from the table and into the crowd. She then made a bee line for the exit when a calm Halfling interposed himself in front of her and in essence blocked her. For a second he looked up at her while she looked down at him, and then he plopped face down on his stomach at her feet and started to flop around like a trout out of water. Yup, that one must be from Hookenshire, a fishing shire, doing the 'I Be Floundering For Yas Wooing Dance'. This fishy display backed Mistress D'Kali up a bit and then she bumped into another smaller person. She quickly turned and for a moment was at ease, it was Gollie and for once was glad it was Gollie, that was until.


    Hob and Nob then joined in and began squealing, burping and making other nauseous gas releasing methods as they did the classic, though quite sick, 'I Be A Hog For Yas Wooing Dance'. And still Johan resisted and did not join in although the donkey inside really wanted to get out. Shimtadly was bombarded by chickens as she actually tried to sit down at a table. She had been laughing so hard she got light headed. The Ressins had wisely retreated to the stairs with Bill. They too were gasping for breath from laughing so hard. Quibblebonez looked like he wanted to eat one of the chicken Halflings. Reenie took sanctuary near the musicians who were feeding off the excitement and playing louder and faster each passing minute. Johan resisted.

    Millie and Mollie were in full swing, obviously lost in the moment for they were trying to mimic some of the Halflings around them. Their faces were beet red from laughing and clucking and barking and mooing and burping and maybe even a Baaah Baaaah was heard. Still Johan resisted, until he saw Ember get cornered by two Halflings who then threw themselves at her feet and started to flounder. She deftly jumped over them but into a flock of chickens. She then leapt to her only exit and that was the top of a table. The dogs came next yipping around her. His mate in dire need, Johan sprung into action. He ran and with a one legged jump he sprang to a bench and then leapt off high in the air. His hands formed flapping ears, he buckled his feet and then...HEEHAW HEEHAW!

    It was soon clear any other suitor was no match against Johan's Donkey Wooing Dance because of his love Emberglow. The rest of the pack backed away to pursue more assessable women. This scene lasted a good fifteen minutes until one by one or two by two the Halflings fell down exhausted. The last three were Johan, doing his Donkey Wooing Dance, Rumpin, doing his Nice Muffins, Yas Wanna Cluck Wooing Dance, and Gollie who had not moved one bit since it all began, doing his Wooin Mooin Dance, but then again what else do cows do? Everyone else was trying to recover from laughing or dancing, and then Johan saw his chance. He stopped jumping and ran behind the bar and ran back to Ember.

    "Everyones, listen for I be havin somethin to be sayin. This be my dear wife Emberglow's one full year at business, and it was bein one great year. In this success I must also be thankin Mistress D'Kali for lettin me wife set up shop here." Johan said and looked to Mistress D'Kali who had just found her pipe and sat back down with a none too pleased look on her face. Actually it was downright mean and nasty. Johan turned to Ember and held out a small polished oak box.

    "Ember lass, I be lovin yas dearly and forever I tells yas. This is for yas for bein me wife, bestest friend, me love, and the bestest damn barkeep in the territory."

    Johan said with a beaming smile and then opened the lid of the box showing Ember the contents inside. It was a good size ruby, about half the size of a plum, but it was cut into the shape of a tiny red dragon, wings, tail, head, body and claws was all there. It was so well cut that each little cut created a facet that looked like a scale. It was a perfect creation.

    "I found the ruby and some gnome who is wishen to remain nameless helped me with the gem cutting. Is for yas, me sweet Ember." Johan said and handed Ember the box then followed up by a deep kiss and many ahhhhs from the on-lookers.
  2. Emberglow Gems: 2/31
    Latest gem: Fire Agate

    Jun 5, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Chapter XI

    “Old Mac Hugh Hadda Farm Wit a Cluck, Cluck Heer und a Donkee Dere”

    Emberglow mused over the flowing handwriting identifying their new guest; a gangler called Herkule Parrot. What an odd name, but then again he was a gangler and they were all a bit odd to her.

    Entering the tavern her expression went from one of bemusement to one of horror as she faced utter and complete pandemonium.

    “Wot be dis?! Me partee now be in a barnyard? Iz me seein’ dis fer troo. Chikins, fishies, doggies und can dat be a COW?? Gollie, wot haz gottin intae ye?”

    But the dwarf knew all to well what was happening, the Halflings were deep into their respective shires wooing dances and woe be the lass that was not spoken for including even the sour puss Mistress D’Kali! Between the flopping, flapping, clucking, barking and even a moo here and there, Emberglow seriously thought about going back upstairs until the animals tired and peace was restored. But looking over the jumping dogs and bobbing heads of chickens, she saw Johan.

    “Uhoh, he be lookin like he goin’ tae lets oot a heehaw.” Ember quickly started toward her husband when she was stopped dead in her tracks by two Halfing fish. She was not sure what dance they were doing, but it scared her. Jumping over them she landed in a group of head bobbing, clucking chickens, and then spying her only avenue of escape, she jumped again onto a table top. Realizing quickly she was still not safe as she watched the Halfling dogs quickly surround her table and begin barking and yowling. Her desperate eyes met Johan’s.

    With an ear splitting hee haw, the Halfling took a bounding leap onto a bench, and then into the air, all the time his legs were kicking and his hands flapping behind his ears. The other Halflings were no match for the infamous Donkey Wooing Dance and after some time they began to tire and fall to the floor...all except the fish, they just stopped flopping.

    The tavern had now returned to a semblance of decorum. Johan walked over to Emberglow and after a short speech acknowledging her year in business and he even has the wits and good grace to thank Mistress D’Kali.

    "Ember lass, I be lovin yas dearly and forever I tells yas. This is for yas for bein me wife, bestest friend, me love, and the bestest damn barkeep in the territory."

    Johan held out a small polished wooden box, and then he opened the lid and showed his wife what lay inside the small container.
  3. Riccan Gems: 2/31
    Latest gem: Fire Agate

    Jun 3, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Holding his breath the halfling waits for his wife's reaction.
  4. Emberglow Gems: 2/31
    Latest gem: Fire Agate

    Jun 5, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Chapter XII

    "A Dragoon Fer All Occashuns"

    Johan held out the small polished wooden box, and then lifted the lid and showed his wife what lay inside. Emberglow was speechless for one of the few times in her life and as her eyes sparkled with tears, she accepted the small box from Johan. The ruby was flawlessly cut to represent a red dragon; the flickering lamps reflected off the tiny faceted scales and gave a green glow to the emerald eyes of the tiny beast.

    “Oh, Johan, me haz nae werds fer sumting dis grand und beautyfull, me kin only says tank ye so much. It iz da most wunderful ting me haz ever seen. Ye be da sweetest huzband any drorf ever haz.”

    Ember gave her husband a long deep kiss much to the appreciation of the party guests. Removing the ruby from the box, Ember quickly went from one table to another proudly showing off the ruby dragon. Even the sour puss, Mistress D’Kali, had an envious look in her eye when Ember showed her the jewel.

    Returning to Johan’s side Ember made an announcement.

    “Dis be our furst annyversary celebratin’ both da Dew Drop und da Shert Supply General Store und we wishes tae tanks all our frends fer comin taenoche, und now me haz a surprize fer me wunderful huzband.” After nodding to Millie and Mollie, Ember made a show of seating Johan at the head of one of the long tables, and then she walked off toward the kitchen.

    Suddenly, the tavern went dark as the serving wenches turned down all the lamps...the kitchen doors swung open as Ember pushed in a large serving cart before her. Sitting in the middle of the cart, in all its dazzling sweet glory, was the cake Nell made especially for the party. The cake was three tiers high, depicting Johan and his adventure with the red dragon. The cake was perfect in every respect, even down to the tiny figure of the Halfling as he met and fought the beast on the first tier, was swallowed on the second, and then made his escape out of the mouth of the creature on the third. Placed all around the parameter of the cake were candles that gave the illusion that the figures shown on the cake were moving.

    “Me hunni, dis be all yers, me kens ye kin eats it all, bot me wuz hopin sum o’ da guests gits sum too? Und me haz a smaller present fer ye as well,”

    Ember handed the Halfling a square box and watched anxiously as Johan unwrapped it. Inside, etched in wood, was the likeness of Johan and his brother, Alys. The images were very detailed down the small creases in their clothing. Next, Ember motioned to Gollie to bring over the large wooden signs Kasandra had sent earlier with Nell. Ember leaned over and whispered in Johan’s ear...

    “Dese be frum da witch und Alys sent sum firewerks fer after da party. Me wuz goin tae tells ye earlier bot tings jest got hecktic. Da witch nae be feelin too well lately und Alys wants us tae comes tae da Keep next week, me agrees dat we goes, iffin dat be goot wit ye? Me haz a confesshun tae makes too, Nell wuz heer earlier. Nae be mads at me, she be heer only fer a liddle time, droppin off da cake und da otter presents. She tells me tae tells ye she be back later.”

    Not giving her husband a chance to reply, Ember asked Millie and Mollie to light the lamps again, and when she told them to start bringing out the food, the tavern erupted in shouts and applause.
    Regaining their wits, Rumpin and the Fighting Cocks started to play some music on their assorted instruments and high spirits returned to the tavern. Gollie has asked Shimtadly to dance and Mollie and Millie had found two interested Halflings to twirl around the tavern floor.

    “Dese signs be lovely, jest looks at da letterin, it be in gold! Dey will fancy up both da store und da tavern. Ye mads at me, Johan? Me shudd haz told ye aboot Nell’s visit sooner, me be so vera soory.”
  5. Riccan Gems: 2/31
    Latest gem: Fire Agate

    Jun 3, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Scene XVI

    "Ink Tea Anyone?"

    Johan's eyes nearly popped out of his head at the sight of the wonderful cake. Ember had really surprised him this time. Johan walked around the cake looking at the scenes unfold leading up to his triumphant escape from the belly of the beast. But while he was alone going in, he had a partner coming out. Standing next to the confectionary Johan was his new found at the time and now trusted and faithful war donkey...Skittles! The iron shod terror of Lombardy Row, sacker of the Picking Nose goblin tribe of Mt. Fe'a, uhmm, Fra'd, errr, that mountain over there in the distance. No one ever knew why Johan called this overweight fat lazy donkey Skittles, and on the same note, no one could figure out where in Johan's mind came the idea that this donkey was a war donkey, if there had ever been such a thing. The donkey was not iron shod, and the only terror it caused was the chance of him falling on you as he waddled around. But to this day Johan and Skittles still waddled into battle as quickly as they waddled into the bakery. Maybe the bond came from the fact Johan now had someone that could eat as much as him.

    Johan grabbed his wife as the cake was being served, and she told him of Alys, Nell and the sad state of Kasandra, his witch friend and sister-in-law. Johan would deal with that situation tomorrow, for nothing could be done tonight, and tonight he was focused on his wife. The party raged for a few more hours, dancing Halflings, humans, a troll. One of the Halflings burned the hair of his feet with a firework, Millie or Mollie, actually both Millie and Mollie were joyfully flirted with so many times that eventually each one had disappeared a few times that night with a different Halfling for short amounts of time, always coming back a little more ruffled than before.

    Rumpin told stories, Johan told stories, Ember told stories, ale casks were emptied, and Johan got a sample of what was waiting for him tonight after the formal party was over in the tavern and the informal party began behind a closed bedroom door, when Ember pulled him behind the bar for a minute or three. All was good in the Dew Drop Inn. Everyone was having the time of their lives, well at least a great night, to all but Mistress D'Kali. Johan noticed her a few times just sitting still in her corner not partaking in anything. Her man toy was drunk out his gourd and some said he went home with Quibblebonez to do what the gods don't want to know, but that was not confirmed.

    All in all just some good clean fun and true enjoyment was the favor of the night. Then one by one or two by two guests started to leave, pass out and then brought upstairs to their rooms to sleep it off, some passed out on the floor and were dragged outside to the stables. Ember did not like people in the tavern side after closing, party or not, she was pretty set on that rule. So finally it came down to Ember clearing the bar of tankards, and Johan setting a few tables upright. Millie and Mollie, who were a bit worn out, finished clearing drunken Halflings out the tavern to their rooms or stables. They were giggling together after Rumpin whispered something to them. The three of them started upstairs arm in arm with a goodnight Ma'am to Ember from the girls and a sly wink from Rumpin to Johan. All was still in the Dew Drop Inn.

    Johan cleaned up a few more things and notice Mistress D'Kali still sitting very still in her corner. The lamps and candles had burned down and that corner was normally a bit dark. Johan walked over to Ember who still had a wide smile on her face and was softly singing a dwarven tune. At the end of the bar near where she was, the ruby dragon sat on top of its wooden box facing Ember.

    Johan watched her for a few moments noticing how beautiful she was, and how her smile got brighter and her eyes twinkled a bit more every time she looked over to her dragon. It was soon clear to Johan the she was singing to her new little dragon. She had not even noticed Johan until he spoke up. Even then she just turned to his direction with a beaming glow about her.

    "Sweet, yas gave one hell of a party I tells yas. I loved me surprise to I tells yas. I can't be waiting until we be gettin upstairs. I nae be even a little be sleepy. Everyone is gone but Mistress D'Kali who is bein passed out at a table, so I will be gettin her up and out and we can be goin to our room eh?" Johan said, and Ember's intoxicating smile was the only answer he needed. Johan walked across the bar over to Mistress D'Kali.

    "Mistress D'Kali, Ma'am? We be closin up now, I am hoping yas was havin a great time here tonight. Me and Ember were very honored that yas came and stayed as long as yas did. Can I be helpin yas home or somthin... Mistress D'Kali, eh? Ma'am? Well heh..." Johan said and started to snicker as he leaned in closer. Mistress D'Kali's lips were stained a dark black; in fact, her whole mouth was black, as well as her pointed nose for what Johan could see. Not only that, but her tongue was protruding slightly from her black lips and it looked purple, though in the dim light it was hard to tell for sure.

    "Is lookin like someone got over on yas Mistress D'Kali, Ma'am? I be very sorry I will be findin out who did it and be sendin them to yas right away ifin yas want. Mistress D'Kali? Hello? I will be right back eh." Johan finished and held the giggle in. He walked over to Ember and whispered in her ear.

    "Lass, yas gots to be seein Mistress D'Kali. Someone got her good I tells yas. Lookin like someone gave her some ink to drink. But either she be sleepin or she be really really pissed. Is hard to be sayin with her I tells yas. She is sittin there. Maybe yas can go calm her down or something and I will be finishin here for yas." Johan finished saying, relieved he had done his part.
  6. Emberglow Gems: 2/31
    Latest gem: Fire Agate

    Jun 5, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Chapter XV

    “Farewell Me Elfie”

    Once the party was over and the assorted guests had gone their separate or connected ways, Ember began to tidy up the tavern. While she worked behind the bar, wiping up spilled ale (what a waste) and stacking used tankards on a tray, her gaze would fall on the ruby dragon. The flickering glow of the few remaining lamps still burning made the gem twinkle with tiny crimson lights.

    “Wot a vera forshunate drorf ye be, Emberglow Hugh! Ye haz a wunderful huzband, many frends and a thrivin’ tavern, dere me nuttin mere me cud wishes fer...well, dere be one ting, bot maybees in time da wish comes troo.”

    Her happiness evident in her expression, Ember started to hum a haunting melody she once heard played by a Bard of some renown. Aware Johan was talking to Mistress D’Kali, but not really paying attention, she was surprised when the Halfling came over to her and whispered in her ear.

    "Lass, yas gots to be seein Mistress D’Kali. Someone got her good I tells yas. Lookin like someone gave her some ink to drink. But either she be sleepin or she be really really pissed. Is hard to be sayin with her I tells yas. She is sittin there. Maybe yas can go calm her down or something, I will be finishin here for yas."

    Lowering her voice, Ember answered, “Wellin, me tinks she jest be sleepin, doe me canna tinks o’ why she be tired, she nae moved frum her chair bot once da hole noche.”

    Reluctantly, Ember threw down the drying cloth, and after taking a deep breath, walked over to the dimly lit corner table. The first thing she noticed was a strange odor; a mix of lavender, cloves and another cloying smell she could not identify. The next thing she noticed was the strange black stains around the Elf’s mouth, nose and chin.

    Her voice had a slight edge to it as she called to Johan and asked, “Johan, pleez brings a lamp over heer, me tinks dere be sumting vera wrong. Her tongue be stickin oot her mouth, it looks swollen und... it be purpul! Dis canna be a goot ting.”

    When Johan arrived with the lamp, Ember told him to put it down on the table. Trying to ignore the sweet scent of lavender and cloves, Ember leaned close to Mistress D’Kali and gently shook her shoulder.

    The Elf’s body slowly fell forward which resulted in her head hitting the table with a loud thud that made both Ember and Johan jump. When their eyes met, they both yelled and then Ember ran one way and Johan the other...running like wild hares around the bar in either direction until they collided in the middle which made them both fall hard on their arses.

    Ember blurted out, “OH, Johan, dis be an awlful pickul, me tinks she be deid! Wots we going tae doos? Peeples will tink me serves bad ale, dey will comes heer nae again. We be ruined!! Wot we doos? Wot tae do?” Wringing her hands in distress, she looked at Johan, only to see his bewildered face staring back at her.

    "Uhmm, huh, I gots it! Lets be paintin her all black so no one can be noticin that her lips be purple!”

    Ember looked aghast at the Halfling, and then a cunning light shone in her eyes, “We cud hides her, err, jest til we tinks o’ a rashunal explanashun...aye?”

    Looking over at the table, then at one another, and back to the table again, Johan said…
    "Yup yup, yas go finish cleanin up and I goes hide her! We meet up stairs in our room and talk about this I am thinkin!"

    “Makes shure she be nae breathin’ me hunni. Maybees she je be sleepin deeply."

    Ember slowly nodded in agreement and started to wipe the bar counter with wild abandon until it glowed. Her eyes kept darting over to the table watching Johan. Finished, she ran up to her room without a word. Sitting on her bed, she wondered how a wonderful party could turn so bad, so quickly.
  7. Riccan Gems: 2/31
    Latest gem: Fire Agate

    Jun 3, 2003
    Likes Received:
    "Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave"

    As Ember rushed back to her closing the bar duties, Johan was left to ponder what in the world he was going to do with this body, who was in fact pretty much the owner of his and Ember's livelihood. Johan stood there and looked at the purple lipped face of the now deceased Mistress D'Kali, and wondered.

    "Does this be meanin we nae be havin to pay back the money?" Johan thought to be followed shortly by.

    "Yas are one sick halfling, Hugh!" which was his rationale mind getting him to focus at the task on hand.

    Now what to do, what to do? First off she could not stay here. Johan had been around death many times before, and well, death stunk something fierce. Leaving her here to stink up the place cause trouble like flies drawn to a corpse, err well, anyways. Next problem was that the tavern was smack dead in the center of the hamlet. If Johan tried to get her out of town, the risk of him being seen would be great. Being seen with the dead body of the hamlet's most prominent citizen would get him into some serious trouble, and he needed more trouble right now like a sword in his heart, err well, anyways. This was the ultimate riddle to be solved and now the skills of the riddle master were put to the test.

    "This is havin to be Alys' fault somehow I tells yas." Johan muttered to the dead Mistress D'Kali, and then he looked at her face and her clothes and then back at her face locked in that purple lipped death stare.

    "Yas know yas are one ugly dead person Mistress D'Kali" Johan whispered to the dead Elf, followed shortly by this thought.

    "Yas are one sick halfling, Hugh!" Then Johan's eyes opened wide and the torch lit up above his head.

    "Come to be thinkin of it, yas are very ugly and weird lookin too I tells yas, I gots the perfect place for yas. Wait here for a minute!" Johan said to a very unresponsive corpse as he ran out the side door, which led to the stables and to his and Ember's small garden. He ran straight to the feeble scarecrow he attempted to make a few weeks ago which basically gave the birds somewhere to sit. He ripped the poor thing down and ran around to the very private area behind the tavern where Ember had some clothes she had finished washing earlier hung up to dry. Johan tore down a handful of clothes and ran back into the tavern.

    Ember was not downstairs, so Johan hurried so he could go be with his very worried wife. Johan tore the scarecrow apart and put some of its clothes over the top of Mistress D'Kali's. He took some of Ember's and his clothes and dressed the body up even more. Lastly, he shoved straw in sleeves, sandals, hair, mouth, nose, ears, pants, and hood. He had finished his new temporary scarecrow. Standing back to look had his work he thought at first she looked more like a peacockcrow which was followed shortly by another thought.

    "Yas are one sick halfling, Hugh!"

    Johan went to pick her up, but was surprised how much this little elf weighed. Granted Halflings are not known to be a very strong race, but that did not put them in the weak category either. Johan had been a warrior most of his life, and could easily lift equal if not more of a human counterpart. Elves on the other hand are known to be thin and lithe and weigh as much or less than a Halfling. Mistress D'Kali, weighed much more than her size led Johan to believe. Johan had heard of dead weight before, but this was dead dead weight. Johan spun around and pulled the body onto his back.

    "Ifin I be touchin anything improper like, I be sorry lass, nae mind me." Johan slowly dragged her out the side door to the garden and then to the post the old scarecrow had been tied on.

    "Well at least yas will be the fresh air eh? Hopefully yas will keep the birds from me garden tonight as well. Someone said killin two birds with one stone, err, sorry about that Mistress D'Kali." Johan sighed. The ale he had consumed that night was definitely showing its effects on his poor Halfling brain.

    Johan spun himself and the body around and backed up until her back was against the post. He straightened her up and turned around quickly to catch her from falling back down. His head was in her gut and his hands above his head propping her up. When he looked up to see what he had to do next, he quickly felt his hands were smack dab on her chest.

    "Oh sorry sorry! " Johan quickly said and withdrew his hands even quicker, which prompted the dead Mistress D'Kali to fall forward right on her face. Johan was going to need help getting her up now, but who could he ask to help?

    "Stay here please Mistress D'Kali, I need to go be gettin someone. I will be right back I tells yas." Johan whispered and then rushed off to the stables. He shivered for a second after he realized he just felt the breasts of a dead woman. Then he amazed even himself when he started to think how small and non existent they were compared to Ember's much larger, much firmer, much more defined, luscious and wonderful breasts.

    "Okay now you are really one VERY sick halfling, Johan Hugh!!!"

    Reaching the stables, Johan bypassed the drunk sleeping Halflings and went straight towards his trusted companion, Skittles. Johan unlatched the gate to his donkey's pen and led his friend out and grabbed some more rope and a harness. They went back to the garden, and Johan shoved the body close the post and tied her feet securely to the bottom. He then tied ropes around each arm and one around her chest under her arms. He threw all three ropes up and over the post for leverage. He harnessed Skittles and led him behind the post so he could pull the body up.

    "Alright Skittles pull, pull I tells yas! Ah, come on Skittles pull will yas?? Okay okay, I be right back." Johan said when his trusted, loyal and devoted friend just sat there like a lump of well, donkey manure. Johan ran back into the tavern and went to the kitchen and grabbed a big shiny red apple and ran back outside and tried to coax the donkey to move towards him. But the donkey would not move. He was waiting for something.

    "Alright Skittles, because I be bein in a pickle right now I will be givin in to yas this time, but I tells yas I be sendin yas right back to the healers very soon. Yas were doin so well too." Johan finally gave in and ran back into the tavern. He grabbed a very large pot and filled it near to the top with ale, naturally the cheap stuff, and ran back outside. He used the pot to coax the donkey to pull, and the donkey pulled alright. When Mistress D'Kali was standing fully erect on the post Johan put the pot on the ground and motioned Skittles to stay. Skittles started to drink deep and fast from the pot, making all kinds of donkey slurps and burps.

    "Yas really are havin a drinkin problem Skittles, we are goin to have to be dryin yas out yet again." Johan sighed and then ran to the post. Using more rope he tied the body securely. He then unhooked Skittles, who had finished the pot in record time and was drunk. Johan led him back to his pen.

    The Halfling then rushed into the tavern, bolted the doors behind him and ran up his room. Ember was walking around pacing when he got there. Johan ran over and hugged his worried wife. Before she could speak Johan put his hand gently over her mouth.

    "Nae tonight me love, let's rest and think clear headed in the morning. I got it fixed for now I tells yas." Johan said sincerely and led his wife to the bed. Quickly disrobing they climbed into bed, wrapped their arms around each other and kissed. They fell asleep in that embrace.

    The combo of heavy drinking and partying with the panic afterwards caused Johan and Ember to miss the morning cock's crow, but they did not sleep through the pounding at their door and Millie yelling for them to get up and come outside and something about something terrible had happened. Johan and Ember scrambled to get dressed and rushed out the front door of the tavern only to find no one there. Then they heard the crowd from around the side. As Johan and Ember walked towards the gathering of people, a weak summer breeze, which usually had the hint of jasmine in it, was replaced by a most foul odor. They could hear the shock and dismay in the voices of the people, and then saw the look of horror in their faces when they saw what all the fuss was about. Ember's jaw dropped instantly.

    On a post, in a small garden next to the tavern, was Mistress D'Kali tied up with straw coming out of her purple black lips, hair, nose, ears, sleeves, sandals and everywhere it could be. She had an assortment of strange clothes on with the most prominent article being a very silky, sexy and skimpy female bloomer acting like a hat on her head and blowing in the wind for all to see. At least one of her eyes had been pecked out by birds and the late morning summer sun had made the body ripe.

    The first thing that went through Johan's head was, "I know I nae did that, did I", followed by..."Oh, I be knowin Ember is going to be so mad, nae squash is goin to be gettin me out of this one" Johan thought as he turned to look at Ember and then looked back at body with one eye which then was followed by.

    "Damn birds are nae afraid of anything" Followed very quickly by.

    "That's bein it, yas are beyond one sick halfling, Hugh! Yas needs some help!"
  8. Emberglow Gems: 2/31
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    Jun 5, 2003
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    Chapter XVI

    "Mudder Most Fowl"

    As she paced back and forth in front of the big four poster bed, Ember’s mind churned.

    “Mistress D’Kali Deid! Deid in me tavern! Dis be terribul, jest terribul! Wot will otters tink iffin dey finds dis oot? All our hard werk makin’ da store and tavern prospoorus. Oh, how kin tings go so wrong?”

    Startled when the door opened, she hurried to Johan’s side, but before she could ask a question, he hushed her with his hand and told her they would talk it all out in the morning. When she saw the weariness in the Halfling’s eyes, she agreed. Once they were in bed, they snuggled close and fell asleep within a few moments.

    --BANG! --BANG!! “Johan, wot be dat poundin? Canna be me hed, kin it?” Ember sat up with a groan and as she became more aware, she realized that Millie was shouting at the top of her lungs for them to come down quickly, something terrible had happened. Clambering around their bedroom, they hurriedly threw clothes on and rushed downstairs. A quick glance told Ember all was well in the tavern. Millie was still outside, raising a hue and cry. Running outside, Ember heard even more commotion from the side of the tavern.

    “PHEW, wot be dat disgustin smell, reminds me o’ a peck o’ rotten taters. Hunni, wot doos ye tink dat stink...”

    Ember’s mouth fell open as the spectacle on the side of the tavern came into full view.

    The entire village had formed a circle around her small garden and all eyes were staring at the center of attraction. Mistress D’Kali dressed, as she had in life, in a myriad of brightly hued clothing. She was tied to a stake in the middle of the garden. Once a scarecrow had hung there, now a “scarepeacock” hung in all her resplendent glory. Her missing eye gave the impression of surprise on her bloated gray face and straw was poking out of every visible orifice, but what made Ember almost laugh in sick humor, was her headgear; a pair of vivid red bloomers blowing in the breeze, bringing to mind two legs clad in red stockings doing a jig on a bulging gray melon with black holes cut out for eyes.

    “Ye a sick one, Ember, dere be a dead body in yer garden, scarin everyone bot da birds und ye tinkin thoughts like dis?? It haz tae be Johan’s doin. He haz sum, wot werd kin me use, deranged thought processes. Dis be a vera bad ting.”

    Looking around, Ember’s glance fell on Gollie...

    ~~ “Oh yes! No more free cakes and pastries, no more profits going down that old hussy’s gullet. Hehe, she looks like a rag doll that someone shook too hard, lost all her stuffing, in more ways than one. Good riddance Mistress D’Kali.”~~

    Gollie looked to his left where Shimtadly was standing...

    ~~ “Praise the gods she is dead. Now I will not have to pay each month for her silence. What a truly hideous woman she was and now she got just what she deserved. I would leave her there and let the birds pick her to pieces; she would be great fertilizer for Ember’s garden.”~~

    Turning to her left, Shimtadly smiled faintly at Rumpin...

    ~~ “I tell yas, my head is goin ta pop, ummm, I think I need some nourishment served up by that sweet Mollie. Oh, that stink, but what can yas expect from a rotting elf?”~~

    Lumpkin caught the eye of Quibblebonez...

    ~~ “Yummy!! Ifs no one cuts her down, she be justa bout rite fer a good cabbage an elf soop.”~~

    Licking his thick lips, Quibblebonez grinned at Reenie...

    ~~ “Riddle me this, riddle me that, what looks like a dead peacock, smells like a rotting fish and is ugly as hell?”~~

    Reenie smirked when he saw Hob looking at him...

    ~~ “Hubbadubba, wonder who wears the red bloomers?”~~

    Hob glanced slyly at his brother Bob...

    ~~ “Humph! Ya calls that a scarecrow?”~~

    Bob watched Bill, the Kobold from the corner of his eye...

    ~~ “Hummm, I say, this bodes none too well for our quaint hamlet, not to mention the stench.”~~

    Bill, with a quizzical smile, nodded to Millie...
    ~~“Dat Rumpin be kwite a Halflin’, so...so...virile.”~~

    Batting her eyelashes, Millie glanced at her sister Mollie...

    ~~“Dat Rumpin, wot a Halflin’, so...so...robust.”~~

    Mollie, made eye contact with the Ressins, Bonny and Klyde...

    The only thought that passed through Mistress Ressin's mind was ~~ “EeeeeeeeeeeeK!!!!"~~

    Master Ressin's thoughts were a bit different than his wife's.

    ~~“Oh, what will I do if they ask me to look at the body?? Only an idiot could not see she is dead.”~~

    Klyde, his eyes darting from one villager to the next, sighed with relief when Mistress D’ Kali’s “escort” came strolling up the garden path...

    “Hey, has anyone seen T’azi, err, Mistress D’Kali? I have not seen her this morning and was wondering if she stayed at the Inn overnight? Why are you all out...”

    Aware everyone was looking toward the middle of the garden, he too, looked there. When the realization of what he was looking at hit him, his face blanched from pale to white, his eyes widened and after he swallowed a few times he opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out but a twitter. When there was soft cough from behind, the on-lookers turned expectantly.

    “Ahem, perhaps I may be of some help. My name is Herkule Parrott and I am an investigator of sorts. I would like to examine the body, if no one objects?”
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    Jun 3, 2003
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    Who is this fat man eh?
  10. Emberglow Gems: 2/31
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    Jun 5, 2003
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    Scene XVII

    “Parrott Speaks Out”

    After the stranger coughed, all those gathered around Ember’s garden, turned in unison to stare at the bald headed human.

    “Me nae kens iffin dat be proper Master Parrott, we shud be watin’ fer da majixstrate. Ummm, doos ye haz sum expeeryance wit deid boodies?” Ember finished, and then waited hoping that this mystery could be attended to as quickly as possible.

    “My dear Lady, I am quite surprised you have never heard my name before, but that is irrelevant for I can assure you and all your friends assembled here, that I have a vast amount of experience with “deid” bodies, and what has caused their demise.”

    Not waiting for an answer, the portly Parrott waddled to the center of the garden. Carefully removing his cloak, he folded it, laid it over the sweet pea trellis and then he pulled a pair of gloves from his jerkin pocket and put them on. Next, he asked for something to kneel on and after Johan brought a leather apron, the meticulous human cleared a small area close to the body and then knelt on the apron.

    As Parrott cautiously started his examination, the villagers were joined by some of the Fighting Cocks. None looked the worse for wear, it would seem. They were quickly told what had happened and soon everyone was talking in hushed voices…

    ~“I really think someone should ride into the city and fetch a~~me hopes dat gangler kens wot he be doin~~with the witch dead, I can~~free, free at last~~woner wat kilt herse~~I drank so much ale, my hair hurts~~what damnable luck~~as the sun gets stronger, so does that stink.”~

    Watching the human, Ember was impressed with his painstaking examination of the dead Mistress D’Kali. Finished with the body he was now searching the surrounding ground. Apparently satisfied with whatever he had found, he motioned for three of the Fighting Cocks to help catch Mistress D’Kali as he started to untie her from the post. Their noses wrinkled up in disgust, the three Halflings lowered the body to the ground and then quickly moved away lest they be asked to do something else.

    Parrott had taken his gloves off and replaced his cloak around his shoulders. Finished he addressed the throng of anxious Hollyhockers.

    “I have completed my examination and I think that Lady Emberglow is correct, someone needs to fetch the magistrate. It would seem a murder has been committed.”

    There was a moment of stunned silence and then everyone started to talk at once.

    “Mudder!!?? Wot ye mean mudder? Ye means tae says dat Mistress D’Kali wuz muddered? Dat canna be, ye haz made a mistake Master Parrott.” Emberglow looked around at the others and was heartened by the affirmative nods she saw. “Mayhaps she jest et sumting dat disagreed wit her?”

    “Aye, Lady Ember. It did indeed disagree with her, it killed her. I believe she was poisoned, but I do not know what poison was used or how it was administered. In time I will find out, never fear.”

    Ember turned to Johan, disbelief in her eyes. Johan returned her gaze with his own bewildered smile. Her mind raced.

    “Mudder? Nae, dis canna be. Dis will ruin us, who be wantin tae eats und drinks heer iffin dey finds oot a mudder be happin’ in da tavern? Tis troo we all hated her, bot tae kills her? Hummm, ootsiders maybees? Dere be all da Fightin’ Cocks und dey be strangers, in fact, dey be nae only strangers, bot acts vera strange as well, runnin aboots cluckin und flappin jest likes chikins wit dere heds cut off. Ack! Dat jest be wot we haz heer…a mudder most fowl!”
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    Jun 3, 2003
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    Johan listened and was boggled by Parrott's claim of murder. Who would murder someone at a party which consisted of his friends? Who could be the murderer which would bring blame and suspicion to the Dew Drop? Johan looked at each of the people gathered at the grisly scene. He had no clue right now, but a riddle was before him, and this is one riddle he could not afford to miss.

    His thoughts were interrupted by a shout from the Lezander, Mistress D'Kali's boy toy from last night. He shouted words of insult and blame for Mistress D'Kali's death. His final words of this outburst before walking away were that he was going to send word to a magistrate to come here right away and make sure the murderer or murderers were put under the axe quickly.

    Despite the seriousness of the situation Johan kind of chuckled inside. Magistrate Doken was a fat, greedy man who had about as much intelligence as a turnip in such matters. He only wanted money, and was not to be bothered with the trifles of the commoners. But this was no commoner killed, so this might actually get his lard butt out of his Keep. On the other hand, even if he did come here, he lacked the skills or power for that matter to do anything. In this case Johan was double at ease. Once for the fact he did not kill her, second the man in charge was a dolt. Johan did remind himself though that this was still very much a problem and Doken if pushed the wrong way could cause a great deal of trouble here. After about 20 minutes passed Johan and the others saw a local boy ride off in great haste. Johan walked over to Ember and took her hand gently...

    "Come me muffin, it seems we will be havin some unwanted company soon. I would be sayin nae worry, but I knows yas too well. And even though I be knowin we nae did this, it nae looks good on us I tells yas. We best go be gettin our stories straight and get into some better clothes and see what we can be findin out before Doken gets here, and lass I be starvin I tells yas, can we be eatin soon?" Johan finished and kissed his wife on the cheek sweetly so he could get some of her savory cooking out of her.

    **flash forward one day from murder**

    "Magistrate Doken m'lord, I am Bersend Tollist, son of Thatcher Tollist of Sweet Hollyhock. I have a message for you from Master Orson Tibi." a young man spoke aloud trying to sound more important than he was. The fat man call Doken was not impressed.

    "Shut up peasant and hand me the letter. Then go to the stables and clean the dung out of them. Maybe some time with the flies will remind you of your place and speak only when spoken to!" the magistrate barked out. The boy handed him the letter and dragged off to the stables. Doken broke the wax seal and read the letter. The blood ran from his face and he became pale as a ghost.

    "Simmons SIMMONS!!!" he shouted.

    "Coming m'lord, I am here m'lord how may I serve you?" a thin man answered as he came running into the magistrate's chamber.

    "Mistress D'Kali has been murdered in Hollyhock. Prepare some soldiers and wagons. We must go there at once!" Doken said near breathless.

    "How tragic m'lord, I will see to it right away. The Black Duke will not take this news well. It is said he had an eye for Lady D'Kali." Simmons answered.

    "No no no. Rasterin must not find out before we find who is to blame for this. We must act quickly before he hears of this. Do you understand me?" Doken snapped back.

    "Of course m'lord. We will be ready within the hour to go" Simmons replied and ran off to take care of all the arrangements.

    "If he finds out about this to soon, my position and my neck may not stay intact" Doken said aloud to himself and hurried off to prepare for travel.

    **back to present time**

    The Ressins took the body back to their shop to get it out of the sun. Being healers they also had spices, herbs and mineral salts to slow the body from decomposing and more importantly smelling. The odd thing was that it took two grown men to lift the body and carry it to the shop. Johan remembered he had a hard time moving the body last night as well. Mistress D'Kali was about twice as heavy as she seemed.

    The townspeople began their daily routines but at a much slower pace, as gossip, worrying, and fear clung to them like weighted chains. Questions of who and how ran rampant. The question why did not surface oddly enough. Then questions of what and when came up and the name Magistrate Doken was said more than a few times. The Dew Drop Inn, the party, the party goers, the ale, the food and cake, Emberglow, the influx of strange Halflings, and Johan came up much to the dismay of those people involved. The theories and finger pointing was all over.

    Then Johan witnessed yet another strange occurrence. About two hours after the crowd dispersed and Lezander sent a rider to the magistrate, Johan saw another rider leave from Mistress D'Kali's home in great haste towards the magistrate's Keep. This time it was Barney Bense. He was the normal fella to deliver messages in town. Johan was sitting on the Dew Drop's porch when he saw the rider ride away. Johan got up and went in the tavern. Bill was inside passed out at a table in the corner, but business was dead otherwise. Johan walked up to Emberglow who was standing at the bar.

    "Sweet, I was just seein somethin. Yas remember when whats'iz'face said he was sending a rider to Doken and we saw Bersend Tollist head off soon after. Well, I just was seein Barney ride off from D'Kali's place I tells yas. Why do yas be thinkin whats'iz'face is sending two riders eh? And lass I had problems last night with this I tells yas. D'Kali weighed a ton for an elf I tells yas and when the Ressin's were takin her to their place, it took two lads to be gettin her there. Maybe it was bein some sort of fat poison? What do yas be thinkin?" Johan finished and took his wife hand over the bar and kissed the back of it.
  12. Emberglow Gems: 2/31
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    Jun 5, 2003
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    Chapter XVIII

    “Emberglow Hugh, Dwarf Detective”

    “...and lass I be starvin I tells yas, can we be eatin soon?" Johan’s question brought all kind of wild thoughts to Ember’s jumbled mind.

    "Eetin? He be wantin’ tae ets at a time like dis? All our hard werk, fixin da store und da inn, werkin long hours und all fer nautin? Peeples will nae comes heer wen dey finds oot dat a patron be ~shudders~ muddered. Oh, me hopes dis will nae be da ruin o’ us.”

    Looking into her husband’s eager face, Ember smiled and answered, “Okies, me hunni, wot doos ye want tae eets? We haz a lot o’ vitals frum da party. Me asked Millie und one o’ da Fightin’ Cocks tae takes most o’ da food tae da springhouse. Ye wants tae fetch sum ham und taters? Me will fries dem up wit sum unyons, peppers und eggs. How dat sound?”

    The Halfling was out the door and had made a beeline for the springhouse before Ember could remind him to bring cream for the coffee. Back in the familiar and safe confines of her kitchen, Ember relaxed slightly, and once Johan returned, pushing a wheelbarrow so overfilled with food that he was leaving a trail of edibles behind him, her spirits were almost back to normal.

    While the onions and peppers sizzled in the big black cast iron frying pan, the kitchen filled with a mouthwatering aroma. Johan had made the coffee and now was ensconced at the small wood table near the window...waiting patiently.

    Soon the morning meal was ready and Ember filled a platter with the ham and potato mixture. She placed the heaping plate in front of her starving husband and before she could fill her own dish, Johan was asking for more...and more…and more.

    Finally Johan was full, or at least had slowed enough so that Ember could sit and eat her own meal. While they drank their coffee, their minds wandered.

    “Wonders if it be too soon to asks Ember fer more food?”

    “If dis truly be mudder, dat means one o’ us doos dis dasterdly ting, bot a naybor?? Nae, it canna be! Maybees Gollie? Or Quibblebonez? Nae, iffin it be da Troll, he wud had et her, so dere wud be nae body. How aboot da gnome? He be a sly one, me nae trusts dem tinkerers und dere be da Ressins, dey cud haz kilt her, easy like, me tinks. Dey being healers und ken so much aboots poisons und dey be ganglers too. Or Shimtadly, dose Barbies cin be vera mean, humm, speekin aboots mean, dere be Hob and Bob...oh Ember Hugh, STOP DIS! Dese peeeples be yer frends, wot ye tinkin aboots dem bein ganglers or trolls or gnommies? Dis village haz all sorts o’ races und me nae tinks ever aboot dat afore. It be dis mudder, me gittin’ suspechess o’ eveyone. Und ifffin me tinkin like dis, so be all da rest o’ da town. We haz gots tae clear dis mudder up und fast afore it nae only ruins our busyness, bot destroys our liddle village of Hollyhocks.”

    Sighing, Ember turned her attention to Johan, who told her he had seen two different riders leaving town. He excused himself and as he reached the door, turned to tell her he would back in a few moments.

    “Aye, Johan, hurry back, we haz a lot tae talks aboot.”

    Once Johan had left the kitchen, Ember began to tidy up. Carrying the dirty dishes to the basin Reenie had cleverly set into a wooden table, she piled them up, then pumped some water into the basin, added some soap and stirred the water until it became sudsy. Lost in the busy work, her mind once again drifted back to her earlier thoughts.

    ”Wot doos me really kens aboots me naybors? Shimtadly und me haz been frends since we haz moved tae Hollyhocks, bot me kens nuttin aboots where she be frum or wot she wuz doin den. Und wot’s aboot Reenie? He be clever, so clever maybees he be da one dat poison Mistress D’Kali? Den dere be Gollie, he be nice enuf und a goot baker, bot wots iffin he put poison in da cakes? Nay, he cud nae haz done dat, we all eets da cakes, und iffn dey be poisoned Johan be ded und buried by now. Hob and Bob? Dey shurely be nasty enuf tae kills her, bot cuz sumone be nasty, nae means de be mudderers. Oh, me hed spinnin’ und me nae likes da ways me tinkin. Dis being susspechoos o’ me frends.”

    Ember finished cleaning the kitchen and walked out on the porch. Sitting down in one of the many rocking chairs placed around the large terrace, her brow creased with worry while she watched Clyde Ressin saddle up his horse and ride out of town.

    ”Now where he be goin, me wunders? Poor Mistress D’Kali, layin over dere in spices und herbs, wit nae a single person tae morns her. We shud make arrangements tae buries her me tinks. Ack! We canna doos dat til da majixstrate comes. Wot happens den? Seems tae me dat one o’ me naybors did dis mudder und me better finds oot wich one or everyboody will be under susspecshun, nae tae menshun da bad reputashun da store und inn will get. Dat wot me goin tae doos, looks fer clues und solves dis misteree. Aye!! Dat be better den sittin heer frettin’. Me will tells Johan und we both will hunts da mudderer.”

    Having made up her mind, Ember sat back and rocked, waiting for her husband to reappear so they could begin their sleuthing.
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    Jun 3, 2003
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    Johan came back to the tavern and saw his wife still as nervous as a plate mailed knight standing in a room full of rust eaters. Johan had to do something quick. One of them had to be in the right frame of mind to figure this out, and well, as the years got on, it was becoming harder and harder for Johan to get focused and be clear headed. The magical spell Alys had cast on him and Ember on their wedding day was a powerful spell of longevity, so the body was intact but the mind in some cases faded some. To top it off he was never fully right in the head anyways. Then the idea hit him and it was a damn good one.

    "Sweet, yas be wantin something to drink? After this we can be startin our hunt for this killer I tells yas. I nae want to be losin this place." Johan said as he walked in the tavern and behind the bar to poured himself a draft. Ember just sat there and shook her head no before he lost sight of her. Johan had to act now and ducked down behind the bar and yelled excitedly.

    "Lass... come quick I FOUND something..." was all he shouted and he heard Ember react. He heard running footsteps into the tavern, head around the bar and in a moment of time she was just coming around the end. Johan was crouched down and just as she cleared the side of the bar he sprung.

    First, he grabbed her arm and pulled her completely behind the bar. Then he tackled her to the ground and fell on top of her, pinning her. Let it be known that is it no easy task to tackle a dwarf let alone pin one down. The shock and surprise on her face was evident and it was just as evident she was about to explode into anger and a vast amount of dwarven profanities and insults. But Johan was ready for this and as she opened her mouth to let loose, Johan quick covered her mouth with his mouth. He kissed her as deeply and passionately as he possibly could. Emberglow almost instantly stop struggling and Johan felt her whole body sigh and moan. After a few minutes Johan withdrew his mouth and stared at his enamored wife, who in turn quickly grabbed the back of his head and force him back down to her mouth. This kiss was just as deep but this time as they kissed they were quickly removing each other's clothes. After a bit of time they lay there behind the bar. Johan cradled Ember's head on his shoulder. Johan kissed his wife's forehead and smiled at her.

    "So me sweet, I think it be bein time we get this investigation on the way eh? But I be thinkin yas go see how Sarah is doin. I nae saw her this morning or last night for that matter. But that was bein normal since Mistress D'Kali was here. The poor lass will be out of work now, no one else around here as room or money for a servant. Maybe ifin we get this all cleared we can hire her for a waitress eh? Anyways I will stay here and start looking around in the tavern." Johan finished and cuddled with his wife a little more.

    After Ember got ready and left Johan began cleaning and looking in each nook and cranny of the large tavern. He started in the kitchen first of course, and then the bar. About an hour passed before the outside doors opened and Rumpin and three other of his Fighting Cocks entered the joint.

    "Johan, we be knowin yas are in a fine pickle here, so I sent my boys ahead to finish that job up the road and I and these lads are stayin to help yas find out what happened. I would hate for yas wife and yas to be shut down, this is a great tavern." Rumpin said as he walked over to the bar and Johan.

    "Yas know me Johan, for a long time now. Yas know I take full duty over me lads. So that is why I be tellin yas right now, me or me lads had nothin to do this murder. Ifin she was poisoned like that fat guy said, well yas know that is just not our style. And we nae goin to leave yas high and dry here. So what do yas need us to do?" Rumpin finished.

    "I be seein now. Yas are a good lad Rumpin, even though the other half the reason yas are stayin is so yas can be swoonin me waitresses again eh? Yas old cock in the bush. That's got to wait though. Right now I be lookin for clues here. So spread out and look everywhere for anythin that shouldn't be bein here." Johan answered back with a chuckle.

    For an hour they searched high and definitely low as they talked back and forth about what they remembered from last night. Johan told Rumpin that is was poison that killed her and how her lips were purple and black.

    "She had to be either eatin somethin or drinkin somethin, I thinks. But I nae remember her drinkin or eatin anything. The witch nae ever be likin me wife's ale or cookin. I nae can get it, what are yas thinkin Rumpin?" Johan spoke as he searched.

    "I am wonderin where is Millie or was it Mollie, hell either of them to be honest. After last night I can why yas married Emberglow," Rumpin thought out loud.
    "Damn it Crop, keep yas mind out the bloomers and more importantly off me wife, and back on this floor I am tellin yas." Johan scowled back and Rumpin knew in an instant he had went to far mentioning Johan's dwarven wife in that way.

    "Sorry lad, I nae meant to be disrespectin yas wife. It will nae happen again. As for this killin, ifin it went through the mouth like yas think, and she nae ate or drank anything, did someone kiss her maybe. I heard of such things before." Rumpin apologized and then questioned.

    "Nae that I be knowin of, but somethin had to get there...." Johan was interrupted by a argument between two of Rumpin's men.

    "I found it, it's mine... I saw it first, it's mine... bug off! I gots it. Go kiss an orc ass, it's mine..." the two halflings went back and forth shouting and pushing each other.

    "Cap, Relis and Beau are scrappin over a pipe they found. Yas better come break them up." another Halfling yelled over.

    "Well who's blasted pipe is it?" Rumpin barked as he and Johan looked over to the commotion.

    "Nae clue Cap, but it pretty snazzy ifin yas ask me. It has some fine gravings in it and looks pretty new." the other Halfling answered back.

    "Oh that must be D'Kali's pipe. Yas remember she dropped it when one of yas lads tried to be friends wit her last night. Well I be guessin she will nae be needin it anymore eh." Johan chimed in with some insight. Then after ever so brief a pause Johan looked at Rumpin and Rumpin looked at Johan.

    "A pipe goes in the mouth eh?" Rumpin stated the obvious.

    "Aye a pipe does be goin in the mouth, and for that matter she was smokin the pipe when she was here eh?"Johan answered the obvious.

    "THE PIPE!!!" they both shouted in unison and rushed the two other Halflings who were already scrapping. The other five Halflings, not wanting to be left out, joined the fray with no clue of a reason. Soon it was a pitch wrestling match, and the prize was the pipe. But it all came to a sudden halt when the tavern doors opened.
  14. Emberglow Gems: 2/31
    Latest gem: Fire Agate

    Jun 5, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Chapter XIX

    "Ember Goes Snooping"

    While waiting for Johan to return home, Ember’s rocking had become frantic. When she spied her husband walking down the path, she suddenly stopped.

    “Oh me huzband, me happies tae sees ye. All kinda thoughts be goin troo me hed und most be bad thoughts.”

    Instead of sitting beside her so they could talk about all that has happened and more importantly what to do, Johan told her that he was thirsty and asked if she wanted something to drink too. As he continued past her, Ember’s mouth fell open in amazement.

    “He be tirsty? Tirsty? At a time like dis, all dat silly Halflin kin tinks aboot is drinkin und ettin?”

    Jumping up from the rocker, Ember followed her husband into the tavern. She was just ready to let loose with a few hearty dwarven curses when Johan shouted from behind the bar to come quickly, he had found something.

    Running behind the bar, Ember was shocked into silence when Johan knocked her to the floor and landed on top of her. When her senses returned she was about to lash into him on no uncertain terms when he kissed her. A very deep and passionate kiss that made her toes curl. She naturally returned his ardent kiss with fervor and after a very, very pleasant interlude, they laid snuggling together behind the bar.

    When Johan mentioned Sarah, Mistress D’Kali’s maid, Ember sat up and exclaimed, “We all fergits aboot her, me had sent her an invite tae da party, bot me kens da Mistress nae lets her come. Me wunders why she nae comes now, specshally dat Mistress D’Kali be deid.”

    Johan pulled his wife back down and cuddled some more as both their minds raced. After they talked for quite awhile (in between kisses and cuddles) they decided on a plan.

    Since it was very obvious that someone in Hollyhocks committed this dastardly crime, the only path to take was to suspect everyone and to question everyone. They decided to each take half the town. Ember would talk to Shimtadly, Sarah, Millie and Mollie, Hob and Bob, and the most recent companion of the Mistress, if he was still in town. Johan would tackle Gollie, the Ressins and Bill, Reenie and Quibblebonez. Reluctantly, Ember and Johan separated. After quickly dressing Ember kissed the Halfling goodbye and left the tavern in search of Sarah. Johan stayed behind to see if the tavern offered any clues.

    While Ember walked to the west end of town, she thought about Sarah.

    “Sarah be a odd one dat fer shure, even fer a treehugger. Oh! Wot be da matters wit me, dat be uncalled fer, usin a racial slur likes dat. Jest cuz she be a elfie und a vera shy one at dat und nae one kens a ting aboots her, dinna means she be a mudderer. Me will jest asks her a few queshuns, dats all.”

    When Ember arrived at the front gate of the late Mistress D’Kali’s, she studied the large house for a moment, then pulled the bell cord. There was no answer. Where was Sarah? Where was the dandy? Pushing against the gate, Ember was surprised to see the intricately carved portal swing open. How interesting. Just like an invitation.

    “Well, me nae goin tae stands heer likes a daft arse, me goin in! Da door be ajar und it be lookin like sumone leeves da house pertty fast. What dat smell? Why, it smell likes wood burnin’, did dey goes und leeves a fire burnin’ in da hearth? Me better checks on dis.”

    Ember entered the dark entry way where the smell of burning wood was much stronger. Cautiously moving forward, Ember stepped into the large sitting room and saw there was no fire in the hearth. She saw a flickering on the west wall, and headed east into the dining room. There on the long wood table, a small fire was burning. Rushing to the flaming pile, Ember tried to stamp it out, but whatever was burning it was fully consumed now. Ember backed away, but not before she picked up a small piece of burned fabric.

    There was something else in the fire that was not burning. Searching for water, Ember was startled when she heard footsteps behind her. Turning, she said, “Who be dere? Me warns ye me haz a weapon und me nae afraid tae use it, now com..."

    All Emberglow saw were stars, and then blackness.
  15. Riccan Gems: 2/31
    Latest gem: Fire Agate

    Jun 3, 2003
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    "Okay who is bonked me Dumplin on the head eh?"
  16. Emberglow Gems: 2/31
    Latest gem: Fire Agate

    Jun 5, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Chapter XX

    “A Disappearance and a Fire”

    “Wot, wot happened?” As Emberglow opened her eyes slowly, a vague shape swam before her. Blinking hard she tried to clear her vision.

    “Lay still, Ember, you have given your noggin a hard bump.”

    “Shimtadly, wot happened, me hed be hurtin’ likes a rotten toof! Oh, me members.”

    When she tried to push herself up into a sitting position, the nausea overcame her and Ember lay back down holding her head in her hands.

    Groaning, the dwarf rubbed the back of her head, then said, “Lass, me waz in da Mistress’s house und me sees a fire on da table, wen me goes tae gets sum watter to puts oot da flames, sumone hits me on da hed.”

    Kneeling, the Barbarian helped Ember to sit up. “Aye, I was passing by and saw smoke, I went in the opened door, saw the fire and you lying on the floor. I picked you up and carried you out here, and then I went back and put out the fire. Lucky for you, Ember that I was here.”

    “Vera lucky, me tinks. Me wunders who bashed me und why? Members seein’ sumtin in da fire, a shiny ring o’ sorts, did ye sees it Lass?”

    Shimtadly shook her head no, her flaxen hair hid her face for a moment. “No, but I will run back and see if I can find anything. You lay still until I get back.”

    “Nae werries aboot day, Lass, me nae goin anywhere too soon.” Ember studied the retreating back of the Barbarian.

    ”Dis be innerestin. Jest wot wuz Shimtadly doin heer? Did she hits me on da hed? Why? Wot wuz burnin’? Dis becummin a troo misterry. Maybees me jest being too suspeshuss. Nae, sumbody hits me und sumbody muddered da Mistress, me haz gots tae talks tae me hunni aboots dis turn o’ events.”

    By the time Shimtadly returned, Ember was standing. Wobbly to be sure, but on her feet.
    “I found nothing Ember, just wet ashes.”

    ”Dat be odd, da Lass nae lookin me in da eyes, me wunder iffin she did find sumting after all?”

    “Oh! Me almost fergits why me wuz heer, me haz nae seen Sara since afore da party. Haz ye seen her, Lass?”

    “No, Ember. Now that you mention it, I have not seen hide nor hair of her for quite a few days. She always reminds me of a mouse, scampering around and making little squeaking sounds all the time. Perhaps she is hiding; you know she could be scared.”

    Ember nodded, “Aye, ye be rite. Well, me tinks we shud hunts fer her, bot furst lets go search da house, der may be clues und while we be searchin’ me haz sum queshuns aboot da noche o’ da party. Me wunders wot haz happened in our peeceful Sweet Hollyhocks, a mudder und now a disappearance. Wot be next?”

    Shimtadly and Ember slowly walked back into Mistress D’Kali’s house. Both silent as their minds worked through all that has happened.
    “We best search together, Lass, jest in case da basher still be in dere, we canna be too careful.”
  17. Riccan Gems: 2/31
    Latest gem: Fire Agate

    Jun 3, 2003
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    "Oh excuse me fellas, I was just looking for Johan." Reenie, the gnome tinker, said as he interrupted the bar room wrestling match.

    "Here I be Reenie, what can I be doin for yas?" Johan answered in a muffled winded voice as he tried to squeeze out from the bottom of a pile of Halflings.

    "Oh there you are, I have that barrel pump Ember asked me to make. I meant to bring it over this morning, but well you know what happened there. And now Quibblebonez is off doing his thing so I can nae lift it by myself. I need the space in my workshop so can you and maybe your friends come get it. I will talk to Ember about payment when she gets back." Reenie finished.

    "That will be fine I tells yas, Rumpin and me will be over there in a bit." Johan quickly replied. Reenie nodded and left the tavern as Johan and the rest calmed down and Johan claimed the pipe.

    "Rumpin did yas think anything odd about Reenie just now?" Johan looked over to his friend.

    "Other than bein a gnome and all, no. Why yas askin?" Rumpin replied.

    "Well first off I nae know nothing about a barrel pump Ember asked for and second, why is he needin space in his workshop all the sudden like, and how did he know me lass was nae here?" Johan quickly blurted out, and before Rumpin could answer Johan chimed back in.

    "I will tells yas what is wrong. First off I nae know nothin about any barrel pump bein ordered so that was just a excuse for him to be comin in here and checkin up on me I tells yas. Second off he be needin this space in his workshop because Quibblebonez is dead I tells yas and he needs to be hidin the body. Poor old Quibblebonez found out that Reenie actually killed D'Kali with some dastardly gnome poison and was goin to spill the beans, so Reenie killed him to keep him quiet. Lastly he knew Ember was nae here because he has been followin her around to make sure she be takin the fall for this and he gets away clean I tells yas!" Johan said as he worked himself up. A flash of insight fueled by Johan's genius was all Rumpin and the rest needed.

    "That lil pointy nose son of an orcish goat herder. How dare he cause such a mess for yas and yas wife. I say we go over there and string him up by his toes and nose hairs and play stick the dagger in the hangin gnome." Rumpin said followed by a whole bunch of yeahs from the other Fighting Cocks.

    "I nae knew there was a game called stick the dagger in the hangin gnome. What are the rules?" Johan asked.

    "To be honest here I just made that game up, so we can come up with the rules has we go along. As far as I can tell, we just need to be hangin up a gnome and stick daggers in him." Rumpin shrugged.

    "Be there any points involved, maybe like get a point ifin yas stick him in the ass and two points ifin yas make him call yas uncle." Johan added in.

    "Yeah yeah, and ifin yas five points, yas can light his tongue on fire." another Halfling added. This suggestion drew a lot of "are you sick" looks.

    "Okay this game is soundin a bit, sick and icky like. What do yas think Rumpin, it was yas game?" Johan was the first to speak.

    "Yeah comin to think of it, it does sound pretty messed up. How about we just go over there and beat the ever lovin stuffin out of him until he confesses." Rumpin responded.

    "Yeah that's a plan I tells yas, lets go!" Johan blurted out and the group left the tavern. Within less than a minute of leaving, Johan's theory began to unravel and take new form.

    First off they witness Quibblebonez leaving the Ressin's shop which in loose terms is next door to the Dew Drop. Apparently, Quibblebonez was working for the healers. The Halflings also noticed the troll was a bit shiny from the waist down. He was a little wet it seemed. Must have come back from the bog Johan was thinking.

    "I be confused now, I thought the troll was dead." one of the Halfling announced to the group while they stopped to think about this latest revelation.

    "Well yas all know how hard it be to kill a troll eh?" Rumpin tried to ponder.
    "Okay, okay, Quibblebonez is nae dead, but that nae mean Reenie is nae the murderer." Johan barked out, which was followed by a series of ya's. The theory was tested again when they finally reached Reenie's workshop and Johan saw an ale hose sitting there waiting for them.

    "Here it is Johan, brand new and works like a champ." Reenie said with a smile on his face.

    "What this is an ale hose for the bar, yas said a barrel pump." Johan was quickly confused.

    "You may call it an ale hose, but I call it a barrel pump, it can be used for more than pouring drinks Johan." Reenie chuckled. This was not making any sense now. Johan knew Ember ordered an ale hose from Reenie about two weeks ago. Oh, Reenie was a crafty one, but Johan had one more card up his sleeve.
    "So Reenie how did yas know Ember was not at the Dew Drop when yas came in?" Johan began to fish.

    "Well I saw her pass this way a little while ago so I saw she had left, and when I came in and saw you all fighting on the floor, I gathered that she had not returned yet." Reenie again chuckled.

    "Oh, so how much is thing goin to be costin us?" Johan asked.

    "Not as much as last time for sure. Now that D'Kali is dead I nae have to raise my prices to cover her damned product taxes. I barely made enough profit to feed myself. Now that she is dead, mind you that is a terrible thing indeed, my prices are going down so I am getting a lot of orders coming in for things. My business is booming, may the gods rest her soul of course. That is why I need the extra space." Reenie finished.

    Damn he is good Johan thought. He has a complete alibi or does he? As Johan and the rest lift the barrel pump up he spied a pipe amid the clutter on Reenie's workbench. The pipe was identical to the one they had found in the tavern, it was the same pipe D'Kali used. Without saying a word they left and headed back to the tavern.

    "Well Johan, it is seemin the gnome is clean, so now what?" Rumpin asked.

    "Well he may nae be the killer, but I am thinkin he was involved somehow. Just as we were leavin I saw a pipe just like we found. I am betting Reenie is workin for who ever killed that witch. His motive was his business and money. But I nae think Reenie has murder in him, it was someone else." Johan answered.

    "The next step is to be findin out what old Quibblebonez is up to and why he was wadin into the bog this mornin for the Ressins." Johan finished as the small group reached the tavern intact.
  18. Emberglow Gems: 2/31
    Latest gem: Fire Agate

    Jun 5, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Chapter XXI

    “A Sight for Poor Eyes”

    Both Shimtadly and Emberglow hesitated a moment before entering Mistress D’Kali’s house again. Exchanging a quick glance, they nodded to one another, pushed the door wide and walked inside.

    The air was still heavy with the smell of burned fabrics, wood and another odor neither the Barbarian nor the Dwarf could identify, though they both admitted the scent was familiar. Walking slowly, they passed the wood dining table. Ember stopped for a moment and peered closely at the small pile of ash, but there was nothing to see only the burnt ciders. Perhaps she imagined seeing something shining in the small blaze or perhaps Shimtadly took whatever was there.

    They quietly entered the kitchen and after conferring in low voices, Ember started searching the low cupboards while the Barbarian looked in the high ones.

    “Me nae likes tae tink dis, bot me be wunderin aboots Shimtadly. It be a odd ting dat she passes by dis house und fer dat matter why wuz she down in dis part o’ town? Me cud asks dat, bot den she wud kens me wuz suspeshuss o’ her. Me haz tae be vera clever metinks, nae jest wit Shim eider, wit everyone me queshuns. Dis be da time fer sutillee. It be odd too, dat we canna finds Sara. Uhoh! Maybees Shimtadly be da mudderer und she kilt Sara cuz she saw her poison da Mistress, aye dat cud be it. Me better watch oot."

    Finding nothing out of the ordinary in the kitchen, Ember suggested they try upstairs. When they opened the door to Mistress D’Kali’s bed chamber, they both recoiled in horror. Their hands covered their mouths to muffle the screams. Neither could believe the scene before them.

    The bed was large and circular and it sat in the center of the room; twelve clawed feet protruded from the bottom and it was draped in silks of green and purple. The coverlet was bright orange. There was a large vanity against the west wall and around the legs a crimson skirt was draped. The curtains were yellow and the floor covering was white. The room was so bright that it caused spots before one’s eyes. But, stranger still were the walls. They were covered from top to bottom in feathers. Peacock feathers! Ember smiled slightly when she thought about Johan’s reaction when he learns about the feathers. How ironic that his nickname for D’Kali seemed truer than either of them had ever thought.

    “Lass, doos ye wants tae check da clothes cupboard? Me haz a headache now, Brell kens wot da sight o’ her colorful clothes wud doos tae me. Mite cause me tae haz apooplexy or werse.”

    Shimtadly winced, but nodded her head as she walked over to one of the brightly painted cupboards and flung open the door. The cupboard was bare!!

    “Where are her clothes Ember? Why, she must have had a different outfit for every day of the year, remember how we would remark on the size of her wardrobe?”

    Ember joined the Barbarian and replied, “Aye Lass, I doos members, mayhaps her tings were taken away? Sara takes dem ye tink?”

    The Barbarian shook her head and said, “I do not know, but I think it is very odd. Do you think that “friend” of hers took them? Do you think it matters? Does it have anything to do with her murder?”

    “Speekin aboots dat, me wants tae asks ye sum tings aboot dat noche, iffin ye nae minds, Lass? Did anyting strike ye as odd dat noche? Err, anyting otter den da all da Halflings goin a bit looney wit dat mooin und cluckin, jest bein idjit Halflins?"

    While waiting for her to answer, Emberglow studied the Barbarian’s face closely.

    “Me kens dis lass longer den anyone in Hollyhocks, und heer me be tinkin she may be da mudderer. Me gettin hoppin mad aboot dis terribul ting und wen we catches da culprit, und we wills, dey goin rue dat day.”

    “Well Ember, I have been over that night since it happened, maybe if I tell you what I remember something will jog our memories. I think we should move out of this room though, my eyes have had enough.”
  19. Errol Gems: 23/31
    Latest gem: Black Opal

    Oct 23, 2001
    Likes Received:
    [​IMG] Excellent! :D
  20. Riccan Gems: 2/31
    Latest gem: Fire Agate

    Jun 3, 2003
    Likes Received:
    After Johan and Rumpin rested and partook of some of Johan's wife's ale, they devised a top notch plan to discover the mystery behind Quibblebonez's swampy journeys. As the ale flowed the ideas came, as more ale flowed more ideas came. Then they had it all figured out...

    "So Johan how are we gonna convince that troll he is the killer?" Rumpin asked.

    "Well I was thinkin about that, and I am thinkin it will come to me when we start questionin him. So lets go I tells yas. Yas two stay here and take care of this here pipe, it be the murder weapon so guard it with yas lives." Johan said and then he and Rumpin left the tavern to find the troll.

    The first stop was his cottage, and just like all good and sneaky murderers he was not at home. Johan and Rumpin got more suspicious. What did a troll possibly have to do? Hide the evidence of his crime is what he had to do, both Johan and Rumpin decided. Then, by mere chance or was it, they happen to see him coming out from the woods, with a large bag in hand. Johan and Rumpin hurried over to the troll named Quibblebonez.

    "Hey, Quibbles, whatcha be havin there?" Johan asked.

    "Oh just some plant stuffs da Ressin man wanted." the troll answered back.

    "I am seein, so when did yas start workin for the Ressins eh?" Johan was quick to ask another question.

    "Oh, just since Mistress D'Kali died and not just Ressins, anyone who needs help getting stuffs where they no like to go. She used to make me do her stuffs and she never paid, and said if I no do her stuffs she drive me away from village. Now she died, she have no more stuffs to do, so I do other stuffs for people and they pay me gold. Oh that makes me remember something." Quibblebonez was saying but Johan jumped in.

    "So I am havin a riddle for yas, what is big and green and killed Mistress D'Kali?" Johan said while Rumpin moved to the back of the troll without being noticed.

    "Oh here it goes, this for youse and Emberglow. Now I has bag of coins for youse that I owes youse. Now what was the riddle? " Quibble said with a toothy grin and handed Johan a medium sized pouch heavy with coin.

    "What riddle, I just was askin what kind of plants yas have there." Johan quickly covered and took the bag of coins.

    "Oh just some plants stuffs call Malik Mushrooms. I not know what they for, but Ressin man wants them. So I go now and get more money. Bye bye me working on riddle to stump youse too." Quibblebonez answered and started to walk away. Johan and Rumpin thought it best not to press the issue of murder further with the troll until they at least had a lit torch in hand.

    "Johan, I am thinkin Malik mushrooms are used to poison rotted food so yas can kill vermin. I am knowin it was done a few times in me shire before." Rumpin said after the troll was out of sight.

    "Aye, but are yas sure about they used Malik mushrooms eh? I never heard of that kind of mushroom before." Johan questioned.

    "Well I know it was mushrooms grounded up to kill them vermin, and what did Quibblebonez say? He said malik MUSHROOMS." Rumpin answered.

    "Aye he did indeed say mushrooms. Okay, this is makin more sense now. Quibblebonez was workin for D'Kali pretty much as a slave, and he hated that. Yas could tell by how he was hissin when he talked about it." Johan said and then was interrupted.

    "But it is seemin to me he is always hissin like that when he talks." Rumpin countered.

    "True but there be three types of troll hissin. One is normal troll hissin, two is normal troll hissin when he means to eat yas, and then the last type of troll hissin is hissin a troll makes when he be involved in a murder plot." Johan answered back.

    "Oh Yeah!!! Yas know he did have a murder plot hissin thing goin on that time, good ear lad." Rumpin agreed.

    "So it be comin to the big picture. Reenie makes the fake pipe, but nae has the poison, so he has his good friend Quibblebonez to go get poison Malik mushrooms. He even is trying to bribe me with this bag of gold. But who would know Malik mushrooms are used to kill vermin, and in turn I am guessin they figured it would be killin D'Kali. And yas were not in town so it nae be yas. Well duh, who was Quibblebonez bringin those mushrooms to, not Reenie, but the Ressins. And now it is makin sense, the Ressins, one or both made the poison for Reenie to use in the pipe. But we still missin a piece eh..." Johan finished.

    "Aye lad, who could have gotten close enough to D'Kali to switch the pipe?" Rumpin added in to the puzzle.

    "Aye we be needin to go speak to the Ressins, our time is runnin very very short now." Johan said sternly.

    "Aye that lawman will be comin soon." Rumpin chimed in.

    "Ah, the hell with the Magistrate, it be gettin close to dinner time." Johan snapped back. The two halflings rushed off to the home and shop of the town healers, the Ressins.
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