An Axe +2 Grind
A comedic fantasy serial about the adventurous never-ending adventures of the adventuring company known as the Band of Brutal Beneficence.
First encounter: The Party Meets the Noob
Immaxuelle Import found it hard to explain, but they tried: “I was standing here, right? Then the basilisk came ‘round the corner there. And now you’re all here.”
Their leader, The Lady Sir Royerton, was a portrait of “not convinced,” in plate mail. “Well I’m not convinced,” she said. “You’re going to have to do better than that, I’m afraid.”
But Immaxuelle could not, of course, because they had no memory from being petrified.
“Perhaps you could tell me what year it is?” Immaxuelle asked.
Bronson Bettersly spoke up. “My good lady, it is the year of the Twin Gods, 1498, and …”
Royerton put a gauntlet to Bronson’s leather-clad chest. “Up up up. Easy there, blabber lips. We don’t know what the game is here. And I disagree that this is a lady. It’s quite clearly a man.”
Bronson’s brow furrowed. “Um, I beg your pardon good Lady Sir, but this is a lovely lady quite possibly of the feyish stock, hence the androgyny of the features …”
Royerton stepped in close and grabbed a thin braid from Immaxuelle’s shoulder. “Quiet, knave, for here you can see the quixote-dun braid, a symbol of virility and manliness well known to learned and landed, of which you are neither, and the envy of many a barrel-chested fool this side of the sea. He is clearly from the Far Shores Over the Bend, and that accounts for his delicate, elfish features. But he is most decidedly a man.” She turned to Immaxuelle and asked. “Is this not so, good sir?”
Immaxuelle blushed. “Well, see the thing about it is …”
Bronson put up his finger. “I would have you know, noble born though you may be and poverty stricken I might have entered this world, I have advanced in status and stature through the hallowed halls of the Academy and then the welcoming arms of the Ethereal Brotherhood …”
Royerton interrupted. “So you’re a thief and a priest, which is just another kind of thief. Big deal.”
“I take offense at your accusations, madam sir, and I remind you that you too have such vows through your knightly order of the Burnished Rose.”
Bronson asked, “Oh what was that?”
Royerton spoke up, her face twisted over it. “Yes, 'tis true.”
“Of course. And you honor these vows, do you not?”
Wild Bill spoke up. “Can we kill it and move on?”
“Quiet, brute,” Royerton said. “There’s a meeting of the minds afoot.”
“Just bring out the bard and be done with it,” Wild Bill said.
“An excellent suggestion,” Bronson said, “for Sagely knows the secrets this world keeps from even the most educated among us.”
Royerton threw up her hands. “Whatever. Where in blazes is Sagely?”
Sagely crawled from the tent, wiping sleep from his eyes. “I’m here. Am I needed?”
“Yes, blast it.” Royerton pointed at Immaxuelle. “What is the determinate gender of this creature? And its race. And its motives.”
Sagely sauntered up to Immaxuelle and looked them over. “It would seem that they are of mixed blood, fey and elf …”
“Well, the thing about that is …” Immaxuelle said.
“Quiet, you,” said Royerton.
Sagely put on little spectacles and took a closer look. “The eyes contain traces of the planes, water and air. And the skin looks quite sandy …” Sagely’s hand went for Immaxuelle’s trousers.
Immaxuelle backed up, hands out. “I really must protest!”
Royerton smacked Sagely on the back. “What’s the matter with you?”
Sagely cried out in pain, then said, “Forgive me! I was only going to check! It’s the only way to be sure.”
Royerton scowled, then said, “Back to the tent Sagely, before I lose my temper.”
Sagely hurried back into the tent.
“My deepest apologies,” Royerton said. “He may know the secrets of the world but he knows little of courtesy.”
Immaxuelle said nothing, just nodded, and put their hands down.
“Well, whatever you are, you are welcome to ride with us, so long as you can kill and pillage. Can you do those two things?”
Immaxuelle was fairly sure they could, seeing as how that’s why they had left their homeland. “Yes, ma’am. I can do that.”
Bronson rubbed his hands together. “What spells do you know? And of what vocation do you come?”
Immaxuelle didn’t know. They shrugged. “I’m not sure. I grew up on an island. I know how to sail and mend sails, how to swim and fish.”
Royerton put her face in hand.
“And I can call here most anything I can imagine.”
Bronson turned his head slightly, eyes tight. “An evoker?”
Immaxuelle shrugged. “I meant like animals and things. Creatures big and small.”
Bronson’s cheeks got fat in closed mouth smile. “A summoner.” He showed his teeth, then said to Royerton, “We just picked up a summoner. This is a very good day. The Twin Gods have smiled upon us.”
Royerton waved it away. “Yes, yes, and we say their names twice to honor them. But how are you with the blades and blunts of war, fair one of uncertain gender?”
Immaxuelle held up a long curvy blade.
Royerton’s sword came out and she dropped into her first position. “What devil work is this?”
Immaxuelle snapped their fingers and the blade went away. “I told you. I can bring things here.”
Royerton’s mind was starting to turn on it. “Ah, yes … yes, I see how this could be useful. Very well. Take some rest, for tomorrow we ride.”
“Where to?” Immaxuelle asked.
Bronson shrugged. “We can’t remember.”
Immaxuelle was worried. “Then why are we going there?”
Royerton shrugged. “No one knows?”
And that’s how the Band of Brutal Beneficence got its newest member.
Read all encounters over @tablopublishing.
Or, read them on Ello here and here.