Copyright on this story text belongs at all times to the original author only, whether stated explicitly in the text or not. The original date of posting to the MMSA was: 22 Feb 2018
Drink of my blood, and live forever in vampiric unlife!
Huh? said Justin,
Oh. Sure. That sounds like a laugh. Okay then.
Kero sighed and leaned closer, moving his arms over the top of his dungeon master’s screen. He motioned
towards the little plastic figures on the table.
Justin, it’s a vampire!
So? asked the wolf.
It’s a pretty sweet deal he’s offering.
Kero rolled his eyes.
Your character’s a paladin! There’s no way he’d accept that kind of offer!
Justin let his character sheet fall onto the table.
Why not? Come on, think about it. Never grow
old, super gnarly powers.
A paladin’s a champion of justice and good! squealed Kero,
You’re lawful good! He’d never
turn to the side of darkness.
Justin took a swig of cola.
I didn’t want to be a stupid paladin anyway. You should have just
let me play the class I wanted to play!
Kero clutched his hand to his forehead,
I keep telling you, Justin. Robot Pirate isn’t a class!
Well it should be replied Justin.
After having spent a good chunk of his wages on supplying Kero with a new watch, Kero had insisted that Justin do one other favour for him. The favour, though, was that Justin join in with Kero’s weekly Dungeons and Dragons game. Normally, Justin would have refused utterly, and he certainly wanted to. But between Kero’s pleadingly wide eyes and the most compromising video footage he’d taken on his mobile phone involving Justin, there was just no way the wolf could refuse the invitation.
At first, Justin had insisted that Patches join them, although when the wolf thought seriously about asking the pink fox to come along, he reconsidered hastily. Justin definitely did not want to be thought of as a total geek, after all. As a result, the gaming group consisted entirely of himself, Kero, and two others. One was Derek, who was Kero’s younger brother by two years, and was often nicknamed Deek. The other was Gabriel, a mouse who was a friend of Kero’s from the school band.
Justin sighed. He was surrounded by nerds.
Right declared Kero,
The rest of the party kill the vampire...
And not all vampires are evil, anyway. That’s just racist profiling!
Kero ignored Justin’s comment, and continued.
You’ve managed to rescue the priestess, who thanks
you all and asks you to return to the village to get your reward. The elders of the village throw a large
party in your honour. The following day, you leave the village and continue your journey across the mysterious
lands of Karnor...
The grasslands of Karnor seemed to go on forever, the sun high overhead. The three riders drifted across the plains like a small fleet on the open sea.
The first rider, dressed in smooth robes and with tall elven features, gazed outwards along the horizon.
The forest of darkness sits thirty leagues to the west he said,
We make good time.
The second rider, the chain of his armour clinking in the air, muffled through his heavy dwarven
We make good time! T’would be wise to make camp before we venture into the boundaries of the
forest, that we may conserve the morrow’s sunlight.
The third rider wore the glistening plate mail of a paladin, etched with glistening golden symbols
of the revered gods of good. He threw back his helmet, and spoke calmly
Dude, that forest sounds totally
naff. Can’t we do something less crap?
Derek gave Justin a sharp look,
Justin, paladins don’t talk like that.
Why not? grumbled the wolf.
They don’t say dude. They’re medieval and stuff, they say thee and thou, you know? explained
Fine, fine. My characters says That forest dost most merrily look like it totally
blows chunks, canst we not go and do thou something less crappy? instead.
Kero! whined Derek,
Make Justin play the game properly!
Fine, fine. Justin’s character says whatever a paladin would say in this situation.
You continue on towards the forest...
The forest of doom was dark and humid. The heat sat heavy on the three travellers, the sunlight overhead blocked by the myriad of leaves.
Small, squirming bugs and reptiles scrambled to clear their way from the three riders. The dwarf took the lead, hacking through the thick foliage with his heavy runed axe.
Hold whispered the elf.
I sense something nearby.
The three halted their horses, and dismounted.
What does your elven senses detect, Deekus? asked the dwarf.
I know not, friend Gabrock came the elf’s answer.
Only that we are being watched. I sense
five of them.
The dwarf nodded,
Then we should advance quietly, and slowly, lest we fall into a trap.
I will take the lead whispered the elf, edging slowly to the lead of the party.
tracking skills will alert us before any ambush. But we must move as silent as shadows. Stay close to
me, and do not...
That sounds boring declared Justin the Paladin, who immediately picked up a large rock and
threw it into the undergrowth with a great crashing of branches and snapping of tree limbs.
get us, ya ugly monster things!! he yelled at the top of his lungs.
Both the elf and the dwarf turned to look at the paladin in annoyance.
The paladin gave a casual shrug.
What? I’m getting bored here. If we get into a fight, at least
something interesting will happen.
Looks like you’ve got your wish grumbled Deekus, motioning towards the trees. From among the
overgrowth, stumbling forward on long and shaky legs, staggered a group of decaying skeletons. Armour
hung from their emaciated forms, and they carried in their loose grips a variety of blades and axes.
One advanced on the elf, only to be struck down with a variety of arrows that rained from Deekus’ bow with pinpoint precision. Two more lunged towards the dwarf; one managed to catch a shallow cut to his arm, but Gabrock ignored the light wound, shattering the two apart with a mighty swing of his axe.
Justin lightly tapped one of the skeletons with his massive war hammer, a look of boredom on his
face. The skeleton staggered backwards.
Oh man, is this all we get? A bunch of skeletons? I thought
we were meant to be fighting dragons! Isn’t that the point of this thing?
Never mind that now! snapped Deekus, fending off the vicious blows from the other undead monsters,
Justin looked confused,
Turn what now?
Turn undead! the elf snapped back.
It’s a power you can use.
I can? asked Justin. He looked at his hand, confused, as if he’d just been told that he could
throw fireballs simply by thinking about it.
Yes! Use it! yelled Deekus.
Right, sure, whatever. He raised his hand outstretched towards the skeletal
horde, palm open, fingers wide, crackling with holy energy that surged through his body. In the middle
of his palm, divine white light began to surge.
Uhh, like, Turn Undead, or something said the paladin.
The blazing power knocked back several of the skeletons, causing one to trip to the ground.
With a mighty roar, Gabrock pushed his advantage, charging forward with his axe hacking away. Deekus rained arrows down upon the battlefield, spearing the skeletons with them. The battle raged on, as the travellers felled one monster after another, until only one remained...
The skeleton looked up, and was immediately crushed by a giant slice of barbeque meat pizza that fell from the sky and landed on it.
Bull’s-eye! shouted Justin.
Justin, stop throwing pizza onto the game board! yelled Deek.
Justin leaned over and scooped the slice of pizza off the game map, plucking the small skeleton’s
model out from beneath it.
My character prayed to the great pizza god to kill the skeleton and it happened.
We win. He took a bite of the pizza.
Kero rested his forehead on the table, behind the games master’s screen, and began to regret inviting Justin to the game. It was going to be a long evening.
And do you have to call your character Justin? asked Gabriel, taking a sip of cola.
not a very medieval name.
Fine, fine. I’ll change it replied Justin.
Deekus pulled a few gold pieces from a pouch tied to one of the skeletons’ belts. Leaning closer,
he examined the body closer.
Hey, Justor the Brave, I think you can use these gloves. They look enchanted,
and will surely benefit your strength.
Justor the Brave shrugged.
No thanks dude. We ninjas don’t need magic gloves. Hey, look, those
two dead skeletons are totally having sex!
Kero snatched Justin’s character sheet off the table.
Justin! Your character isn’t a ninja. You
can’t just write it into the character sheet and change it like that. And stop playing with the figures.
Put them back in the box.
Justin grumbled. He scooped up the two skeleton figures that he had arrayed in an explicit pose on the game map, and threw them into the open box.
Kero rubbed out the word ’ninja’ from Justin’s character sheet and wrote the word paladin back
into its former place.
Okay, you continue through the forest until you reach the ancient ruined temple.
You creep down into its dark, foreboding entrance, brushing spider-filled cobwebs out of the way as you
I ain’t going said Justin.
Gabriel sighed. Kero leaned up from over his screen,
Why aren’t you going in?
I don’t like spiders answered the wolf.
I’ll wait outside.
But they’re just little spiders the cat replied.
Justin folded his arms,
I don’t like spiders. I’ll wait outside.
Kero flicked through a few pieces of paper that he kept hidden behind his screen.
You can’t wait
behind. The dungeon’s for three characters. It’ll be too difficult for the others if you don’t come.
Justin shook his head.
Gabriel spoke up,
Fine. I clear out all the spiders for you.
What if there’s more? asked the wolf.
Kero placed his palm across his forehead.
Okay, okay. All the spiders suddenly vacate the temple.
It is now empty of spiders. You finally go into the dungeon.
Cool, sure. All about the railroad express.
Kero pretended he didn’t hear Justin.
The tunnel leads down into the bowels of the temple. You
follow it down, torches held high, until eventually you arrive in a large chamber...
The travellers continued their course through the ruined temple, with much difficulty. The first antechamber they encountered featured a no clear way out, until Deekus managed to uncover an invisible door. The following chamber’s door was locked, its key hidden in the pouch of a particularly antisocial minotaur who threatened to crush the adventurers under his steely hoof.
Both Deekus and Gabrock set about their adventure with relish, exploring each nook and cranny that they could, amassing many glistening treasures. Justor sat back, frequently grumbling that he was unhappy they hadn’t found any dragons yet.
In one chamber, the party found the exit door locked. It would open only through a complicated mechanism
of levers and pulleys, which could only be activated by pushing large stone panels set into the wall,
in the correct order. Deekus set about solving this riddle, examining the runic markings on the panels.
Justor, however, grew more and more impatient, and began to smash the pulleys and levels to pieces with
his hammer, shouting
Bugger this stupid puzzle. This dungeon sucks.
Making their way into the next chamber, the party drew to a halt. The room was narrow, dark and damp, and served as the sleeping chambers of several especially large and surly goblins. The goblins rasped a sour hiss at the invaders, and lunged for the attack.
Justor raised his hands, enchanting his powers.
Like, Turn Undead, okay?
The light washed over the goblin with no effect. It tumbled into Gabrock in a rough tackle, knocking the dwarf from his feet.
Justor kicked a nearby rock in agitation,
The stupid power isn’t working! He waved his hands
I said Turn Undead! Again, the power flared, blazed over the goblin, and had no effect.
Backpedalling furiously as he fired arrow after arrow into the oncoming goblins, Deekus replied to
Of course it doesn’t work. It only works against undead.
Aren’t these things undead?
No, of course they’re not! gasped Gabrock, struggling to push the glistening fangs of the
goblin that perched atop him away from his vulnerable throat.
Justor folded his heavily plate-mail armoured arms across his chest, and stamped his foot.
that’s stupid! How am I supposed to know that? Stupid spell.
Deekus backed up against the wall, firing arrow after arrow. He was running short, and had no space
to move around the oncoming enemies.
Just do something, Justor! he yelled.
At that very second, a vastly enormous pair of plastic dice tumbled their way through the room, knocking
the entire inhabitants aside...
Deek gave a yelp ducked out of the way to avoid the dice that Justin had thrown across the table. They barely missed him, although they had certainly knocked most of the models off the map. Justin was pouting furiously.
Justin, don’t throw the dice snapped Kero. The cat was gradually starting to lose what remained
of his temper.
C’mon, be a team player?
Fine. Forget the stupid powers then. I hit them with my hammer.
Deek got up from his chair and scrambled around under the table to recover the missing dice.
You do have other powers you can use said Kero,
Like the hammer of power.
What does that do? asked Justin.
It conjures a large spiritual hammer in the air, which crushes the foes Kero explained.
Like this? replied the wolf, smirking a little and moved to slam his fist down on one of the
little plastic models.
Kero yelped and grabbed Justin’s hand barely a few moments before it broke the model,
Just like that.
Okay, sure, that’ll be cool. Let’s do that.
By the time the party had vanquished the remainder of the goblins, Justor the paladin was in a bright mood. He enjoyed his new ability, and began to use it with reckless abandon. He cast the hammer of power on the bodies of the goblins. He cast the hammer of power on broken, crumbled statues, crushing them into small rocks. He insisted on opening doors by casting hammer of power on them, splintering them into pieces.
Eventually, the party reached the darkest and deepest depths of the temple. Although they were only the darkest because Justor insisted on casting hammer of power on every torch and lantern that they encountered along the way.
The sounds of whispered chanting filled the air as the travellers entered the final chamber. In the far end, bathed in the lambent light emanating from arcane runes etched in blood across the floors and walls, stood the hunched shadow of a figure.
As they entered, the figure gave no sign that he noticed the party. Deekus slid silently through the shadows, moving into position. Without a sound, he pulled back the string of his bow, and fired an arrow towards the figure.
The arrow struck against an invisible barrier that surrounded the figure, and shattered in a flash of blue light. The figure continued its chanting, unconcerned. Then, finally, the old man’s chanting ceased.
Why have you come, he rasped in a croaky voice,
and disturbed the experiments of the grand
The dwarf stepped forward, clutching his axe heroically,
We have heard of your experiments, foul
one. The villages beyond the forest are beset by the undead that you have created!
We have come to stop your evil experiments, dark mage! announced the elf.
The paladin shrugged,
I’m just here for the money, really. Both Deekus and Gabrock shot Justor
an annoyed look.
The necromancer started to laugh, his sinister voice echoing through the halls. He held his hand upwards, his palm shimmering as fire started to crackle between his fingers.
Duck! shouted the elf, and the three adventurers scattered across the room. The blast of fire
erupted where Deekus had been standing. The elf picked himself up,
He’s standing in a magic circle.
We’ve got to lure him out of it if we’re to stand a chance!
The dwarf grasped his axe and charged towards Viznar, bellowing a battle cry. The necromancer chuckled, and let a volley of energy bolts fly from his fingertips, knocking Gabrock to one side. The dwarf collapsed upon the floor, clutching his chest.
Deekus looked panicked. He knocked three arrows to his bow, pulled them, and released the volley all at once. Again, they shattered ineffectively against the necromancer’s barrier. Viznar smirked, flexed his hand, and in a blinding flash the elf lay toppled as well.
Viznar turned to Justor.
And what of you, paladin?
Well y’know, I was kinda thinking. How about I just join you instead?
What? snapped Gabrock, clambering to his feet.
What? growled Deekus, pulling himself upright.
What? hissed the necromancer.
The paladin shrugged,
Dude, think about it. You’re obviously the one who’s got all the power here.
And you can totally throw magic fire and stuff, which is really neat.
The elf pulled himself to his feet, clutching his bow for balance.
Justor, you idiot! You can’t
join the evil necromancer. You’re a paladin, remember? Lawful good and all. You’re a hero?
Pfft, nuts to being a hero replied Justor, walking past the elf and across the room to the
So, are we cool? Like, partners and stuff? You’ll teach me all that neat magic stuff then?
Viznar looked at Justor carefully, sceptically, as if judging the decision. Then finally he said
Okay. You can be my pupil.
Justor beamed, and stepped inside of the magic barrier, up to the cloaked necromancer.
Right, so you’ll teach me how to shoot fire and stuff. When’s my first lesson?
The necromancer grinned,
I think I’ll teach you your first lesson... right now!
And without a second’s hesitation, the necromancer reached out and grabbed the paladin, and pulled him closer. He hefted Justor into an under-arm position, bent at the waist, and began to soundly spank him.
Justor yelped in shock and surprise, as he felt the plate mail around his hips yanked downwards,
the necromancer’s strong hand smacking across his bared rump,
Wh..what are you doing? he yelled.
Teaching you a lesson! snarled Viznar.
Justin slammed his fist against the table,
He totally does NOT spank me!
Kero was stifling his laughter. Gabriel and Deek had already succumbed to it, and were now laughing
so hard that they struggled to remain upright in their chairs.
He totally does! retorted Kero,
You failed your roll to prevent him from doing it!
Justin glared at the dice. Stupid dice, he decided, they obviously don’t work right.
The wolf was blushing furiously, and and felt just so indignant. Kero rolled a few more dice behind
Oh wow, and it’s a very hard spanking too, Justin!
The wolf folded his arms,
Kero offered Justin a playful grin,
Do you want to roll the dice to see if you can stop yourself
from crying like a baby?
Justin flushed furiously, and glanced downwards at the floor, knowing just how well he failed that roll in real-life each time it actually wound up happening to him. Did Kero know this about him already?
Justin, you’re blushing! chirped Deek, between laughs.
I’m going for some more cola! announced the wolf. He got up, and hurried for the door with
remarkable speed, shutting it firmly behind him.
Justin trudged his way downstairs from Kero’s bedroom, and into the kitchen. By the time he had got there, his blushing had mostly eased, and he felt back to his usual chilled self.
In the dining room, Kero and Deek’s younger brother Travis sat playing with a plastic yellow truck. At six years old, Travis was the youngest of the family, and certainly not permitted in his older brother’s games. In the background, Kero’s father talked animatedly on the telephone.
Justin opened the refrigerator and retrieved a tall glass of cola.
Yes, explained Kero’s father to the person on the other end of the phone,
It is short notice.
Very short notice. I don’t know if I can arrange it. I’ll do my best. I’ll get back to you.
He hung up the phone, and sighed. He turned, and glanced into the kitchen to see Justin.
Hello sir said Justin.
Hm, you’re Kero’s new friend, aren’t you? asked Kero’s father.
Yes. Is everything okay?
The adult cat nodded,
It’s just some problems at the office. Nothing to be worried about, but
it means I may need to be out of town for an evening.
Justin poured himself a glass of cola,
I’m sorry, he said politely,
Anything I can do?
Kero’s father thought for a moment.
You know any good babysitters?
Justin thought for a moment. He didn’t know any. He shook his head.
Kero’s father nodded,
I’d rather not leave the kids alone, and Kero would be out of town to visit
Judith – that’s his mother, you know.
Justin nodded, and began to make his way back to the hallway.
If I hear of anyone, I’ll let you
I can only afford around $20 for the evening, plus the cost for a pizza said Kero’s father,
In case they ask.
Justin paused for a moment. $20 for an evening’s work. Easy work, at that. It’d be easy money. And free food. Pizza, at that. His favourite.
It’d be just looking after Deek and Travis? asked Justin.
That’s right, answered Kero’s father.
Are you volunteering?
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