Rod Rambler She Ain’t


Utoog looked out over the plains from the top of the wall. Day in, day out, it was the exact same view, and one he was beginning to get bored of.

“How does the King know that they’re going to appear here?”

“The king has resources, which you or I do not have,” the larger Freytag rumbled from behind Utoog.

“But why here? This is the middle of nowhere. They’d be fools to cross here, leaving the greater portion of the kingdom ahead of them.”

“They think to sneak in,” Manny said walking up to the confab on the walls. “In a way, it’s smart. If they can avoid all the patrols that would allow them to arrive at the gates of the castle relatively unannounced.”

“But this is CrIsis. They’ve never walked away from a fight. You’ve read their books,” Utoog said in a grumble.

“You read a book about champions of the light?” Freytag growled.

“All the better to know our enemies, Freytag.”

A cry of pain echoed out from the accessway under the wall. All three men turned to each other and said, “They’re under the wall,” at the same time.

They leapt off the interior edge of the wall, landing just in front of the access path under the wall. It should have been hidden to anyone who wasn’t one of the wall-guards. Apparently it wasn’t hidden well enough. I’ll have to make sure to let our commanders know that they need to improve security of the accessways. It wouldn’t do for an army of vermin to march their way through under the wall.

The little rats were quick to notice their mistake and began to run back the way they came.

“We’ve got them now,” Manny said with a bloodthirsty gleam in his eyes.

Utoog wasn’t as sure. Something felt off about the whole situation. These weren’t the right mix of vermin, first of all. They had and Elf and an Orc. CrIsis changed frequently, but it would have been news across Palladium if the Minotaur had died…or turned toward the dark which was preferable.

Utoog was just about to voice his concern when they topped a small rise and ran right into CrIsis.

“Well, crap,” he muttered to himself, “It would seem that CrIsis has gathered themselves an army.”

*

“I know I am not as smart as the others but how in the world do you know that’s what he said before we began fighting?” Xer’xses said as they walked through the plains three days later.

“Well, it’s so what he could have said,” Hannah replied with a smile. “I mean, there are ten of us right now, and that’s a small army in my book.”

Xer’xses just gave her a look like she was insane. She just flew backwards a few inches in front of his face and said, “Xer’xses, you’re basically an army unto yourself.”

With a small shrug he gave her the point without really acknowledging it.

*

“Freytag, are you sure that they’re coming through here?” Utoog said from the middle of the line.

Wait, how many of these giants are going to be named Freytag and Utoog?

As many as I want, now hush, cause I’m telling this story

“They’ve been leaving a path of destruction across the Kingdom, Utoog. Personally, I’m beginning to fear for my life, but maybe we’ll survive this encounter to give more specific information about our opponents to the king.”

“Hey, Guys,” Manny said from the front of the line, “I think I hear something from up ahead.

The clouds seemed to fall down upon them from the sky, blanketing the ground with fog. Visibility dropped to almost nothing and the line of soldiers became disorganized.

“Form Up” Freytag called out into the fog.

With stumbling and shoving the giants formed up in the fog and began to cast forth to look for their opponents.

“Hey, Freytag,” Utoog called out.

“What, Utoog?” Freytag said with a sigh.

“I think we might actually survive this.”

There was some laughter from the ranks.

“Why do you say that, Utoog?”

“Because they can’t see us either.”

*

“Freytag, they would have to be idiots to come here to Mt. Nimro. Everyone knows that the castle is on Mt. Nimrod.”

“Utoog, stop your complaining. They’ve been making a bee-line for this mountain, so they obviously have some reason to be coming here.”

“Guys, what’s that,” Manny said pointing to something moving in the underbrush.

Fog descended upon the mountain.

“They’re using the fog trick again,” Freytag called out to his men.

“Maybe we should send some runners back to the king,” Manny said, quietly, so as not to alert their enemy.

“I’ll stay here,” Freytag responded, “Utoog, take Manny and six others. Stop for nothing.”

“Aye, sir,” Utoog said. He gathered his men and began running in the direction of Nimrod. The fog slowly lifted and eventually they had a clear view of the further mountain.

“Looks like we’ve survived,” Manny said with a laugh.

The CrIsis horde descended upon them leaving no-one alive in the small scout group.

*

“We’re a Horde now are we?”

“Who’s telling this story,” Hannah said a little huffily.

“Well, you’re certainly telling a story.”

Hannah stuck out her tongue and continued with her story.

*

“Keep an eye out, Men. CrIsis could be anywhere out here.” Freytag called out.

“Why us? What did we ever do to deserve this? I mean, they’re slaughtering us left and right. That’s our job. We’re supposed to be doing the looking in the human lands, not the other way around.”

“Shut up, Manny. Stop your complaining. We’re out in larger groups now. We outnumber them 5 to 1,” Utoog said.

“Both of you shut up, we’re going to give away our position.”

“Is that fog?” Manny said as fog descended on the group.

“Stick together and move forward. Form Up” Freytag called out into the fog.

With stumbling and shoving the giants formed up in the fog and began to cast forth to look for their opponents.

“Hey, Freytag,” Utoog called out.

“What, Utoog?” Freytag said with a sigh.

“I think we might actually survive this.”

There was some laughter from the ranks.

“Why do you say that, Utoog?”

“Because they can’t see us either.”

“What’s that there in the fog?” Manny asked.

A wall of icy shards loomed out of the fog just as a sweet smelling cloud appeared around them. Giants began to drop left and right, whether from the cloud or the wall. Then the killing truly began. Bleeding, battered, just happy for a lungful of clear air, a half dead Utoog stumbled out of the fog directly into the path of a fairy lance.

“Well, F me.”

*

Utoog looked around himself at the members of CrIsis surrounding him. Ursus was standing in front of him still holding the stem of the Pear he’d just eaten.

Wait, now the Evil Ursus is named Utoog?

Try to keep up. It’s just too good a name to pass up. That and saying Evil Ursus is a little unwieldy, don’t you think?

Utoog looked around at his newly formed compatriots and without a word they all took off down the road.

“Freytag, aren’t we doing exactly what our originals want us to do by running up toward the castle?”

There is no way that Ursus would have ever said something like that.

Right, but this is Utoog.

And that makes it work…

Exactly!

“Sorry, Utoog, someone interrupted you. Could you repeat that?”

“Yeah. So, why are we heading in this direction instead of the other direction the other two ran in?”

“Well, since there were only two, they are likely dead by now.”

“We just barely left!” Utoog repeated loudly, something he was well capable of.

“This place is deadly.” Freytag responded.

“Yes, but nothing is that deadly…well, nothing outside of CrIsis. Have you seen how quickly they’ve been dispatching their foes?” Utoog said.

“Well, it’s up to us to see how well we live up to their standard.” Freytag said with a gleam in his eye.

“What do you mean, Freytag?” Manny said.

“We may be evil, but we’re not stupid. The only way out, is through right now. We could either try to kill ourselves, who are considerably more capable than us right now, or we can go through the Giants that they have been walking through as if they didn’t exist.”

“Well, we only have a couple of days to live anyway. Let’s have fun with it. I’m up for killing me some giants,” Utoog said.

“Charge!” Freytag called out and the ran up the causeway, directly toward the castle. The walls were huge. Giants assaulted them every step of the way, but they prevailed against them right up to the gates of the castle.

We have no idea that any of that actually happened, Hannah.

I’m writing an epic here.

An epic something…

Hush, you.

The bodies lay unmoving behind them as they approached the gates. Thinking the small force something to be ignored and crushed, they opened the gates to slip forth and crush them. The small group pushed forward to the very entrance of the castle and there they ground to a halt.

*

Utoog looked out from the top of the wall. “Man, I wish we were having fun at the front gate like our compatriots.”

Wait, Hannah. You’re skipping all of the important stuff.

What? Like the boring trek through the wilderness?

Well, yeah.

Me scouting ahead a lot, especially at twice fairy speed.

Sure, and…

The decision to scout the castle, thereby seeing that our first plan to air-drop into the courtyard would fail miserably, requiring the plan that currently seems to be working of using fairy food Pears to create our evil doppelgangers which are attacking the castle, something I just covered by the way. sure, I skipped over you changing basically everyone into geckos and then yourself into a gryphon and then flying us over to the opposite side of the volcano, but who can blame me. No enemies saw us do that, and how am I supposed to add that into a story from the enemies perspective?

Um…a lot like this?

Oh, right. So, now that we’re caught up, can I get to the Frakking Lizard King?

sigh Ok…wait, one more thing. How are you planning on talking about the main force who went in on the other side of the castle?

You mean the one that you’re dropping off right about now in the story? The one that ended up tripping a trap of poison gas, a bone wall for a bridge?

Yes, and entered in the armory full of giant…how do you rhyme with bridge…and then make sense of the story.

That works for me. So, back to the Frakking Gecko King

“Will you just be happy that we’re not part of the…” Freytag began only to be interrupted by a rumble in the distance.

“Is Mt. Nimrod erupting again?” Manny said, looking up toward the peak.

“No, I think I see something over there. Oh…my…Arrows, shoot arrows before it can get close to us!” Freytag screamed.

A giant gecko leapt over the horizon and began to charge toward the castle. He leapt and twirled in the midst of a ballet of death. Not an arrow could come close enough to him to even try to stop him. He climbed the wall, his faithful fairy friend close beside him. They slipped through a gap in the barrier. The intrepid fairy slipped through an illusory wall. And then…

CLIFF HANGER!!!!!

You’re going to end this right there?

Yep.

You’re not going to tell them what’s in the room?

Newp.

Not even a hint?

Image from Terra Galleria

 

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