April continues Lenny’s trouble with curses as he hunts down one of the Ten Monsters of Legend
That was perty dag-burned rough. I stood there in the dark wipin’ the Blatchey bits offa me’n swearin’ up a dag-blamed storm.
Then that dog Candle comes back in the room’n his glowin’ fur lights up the place. I figgered it might be good to have a glow in the dark dog.
Varmint stank, but twern’t its fault livin’ in Blatche’s nasty basement. If you lived there, you’d stink too.
And here’s the dag-gum map of Dremaldria I been workin’ on. trevorhcooley.com/?p=1967.
So I grabbed a pair of tongs’n picked up the cursed dagger’n headed up the gall-durn stairs with Candle right behind me.
The boys was sittin’ up there waitin’ fer me and when they saw me they knew some kinda dag-gum unholy hell had just went down.
I was holdin’ the same cursed dagger, ‘cept now it was green, had a dag-burned glowin’ dog behind me, and I was covered in leftover Blatche.
Gundy says, “Son of a dog! Are we gettin’ paid?” I said, “Depends if’n yer gonna help me.” Rest of the boys put their faces in their hands.
Dougless was like, “wha happened?” “I said, “Look, Blatche tried to kill me so I had to kill him first. Weren’t my dag-blamed fault”
Gundy perked up. “So yer sayin’?” “Yeah, we get to loot the hell outta this place and we’cn keep whatever we find.”
They was all smiles till I said, “but Blatche put a curse on all of us ‘fore he died. We have to kill some Kobalds or else it hits us.”
‘Course I didn’t tell ‘em the curse was just on me. I knew these boys. Theyd’ve looted the place and left me to deal with it alone.
“What kinda curse is it?” Asked our healer. His name was Jimmie. Good kid. Got the hell outta the Mage School soon as he turned mage.
“Dunno,” I said. “Maybe it turns yer skin inside out. Maybe it shrinks yer wiener. Blatche called it his ‘death curse’ is all I know.”
“I don’t wanna fight kobalds,” Dougless says. ‘Course he didn’t. Humans don’t never like fightin’ ‘em. That’s a dag-gum dwarf thing.
“You more afraid of kobalds or gettin’ yer wiener shrunk?” Gundy snapped. “Get me a chisel and let’s kill some rock lizards!”
So a kobald’s kinda like a lizard lookin’ guy if a lizard had scales made of rock. Also its a dag-burned demon and a friggin’ annoyin’ one at that.
Demons’re creatures made to fight blood magic. You got bandams to fight dragons, imps to fight gnomes, merfolk to fight elves, and then kobalds.
Kobalds’re a dwarf’s mortal enemy. We hate ‘em and they hate us. Good thing is, they’re dag-gum stupid.Worst thing is, they’re tougher’n us.
I done fought kobalds all my life. It’s one reason I don’t go nowhere without Buster at my side. He perfect for bustin’ them blasted things.
So our first dag-gum problem was them half-orc guards. We didn’t know how they was gonna handle their boss bein’ dead.
I told the boys to let me handle ‘em. I walked ouside’n said. “Hey, guards! Get yer stupid arses over here Yer wizard’s dead!”
The guards came a runnin’ up and I said, “Listen here, Blatche is dead. He done ‘sploded all over the place downstairs.”
I was waitin’ to see how they was gonna handle it so I could tell if I was gonna have to bust their gall-durn heads in or not.
I was surprised. They started cryin!
They was like, “Where’re we gonna live now? Who’s gonna hire us?” That gave me a gall-durn idear. I said, “Work fer me then.”
These boys was big and strong. One was missin’ a hand, but it weren’t his hittin’ hand. One said, “What do you want us to do?”
“We need ya’ll to come with us and help us kill these blasted kobalds. It was Blatche’s final wish,” I said. Didn’t even have to lie.
“Blatche did hate them Kobalds,” one said. “You know where to find ‘em?” I asked. “They ain’t too far,” he replied. I called the boys.
They didn’t come right away so I had to go in and look fer ‘em. They was already lootin’ the place. I said, “Hold up, you Frog-lickers!”
“You just don’t go ‘round lootin’ a wizard’s keep! There’s magic stuff ever’where. You might get yer stupid arses burnt off!”
“Gundy was like, “That ain’t funny.” And I said, “You wanna be Gundy No-arse?” They grumbled, but soon I had ‘em lootin’ smart.
The half orcs showed us where the treasure was and our healer looked out for magic with his Mage Sight. Soon we had a nice pile.
I let ‘em take anythin’ they thought might help us fight the kobalds, but I took all the valuables and hid ‘em away to be split up later.
So the two half orcs, showed us the way to the kobald cave. I cain’t remember their friggin’ names! I’ll call ‘em ‘One Hand’ and ‘Pig Nose’.
Ain’t no wonder Blatche was dag-burned pissed about the kobalds. Their cave was in the side of a hill not 300 yards from the wizard’s keep.
It was a fresh cave too. That’s a dag-gum sure sign of kobalds ‘cause they just burrow around looking fer a place to stick their noses up.
So there was ten of us all together. (Me and the boys and the two half-orcs.) And we had to figger out a plan to fight the blasted things.
Out of our whole group, cept maybe the healer, I was the only dag-gum thinker which really meant I was the one makin’ the plan.
Now kobalds’re gall-durn tough. You need weapons that’cn shatter their bones or cut through their stony hide. We didn’t have many of those.
I had Buster with me and he could do the job. Dougless had a warhammer with a nasty spiked end, and Pig Nose had a steel club.
Everbody else had swords’n you have to aim real good to kill a kobald with a sword. You’d need to stab down their blasted throats.
Thing is, Blatche had been plannin’ on killin’ that dag-blamed kholoth anyway so he had some magic swords stored away. Two of em.
They was durn crude work. Not Dwarf made, that’s fer sure. But the runes was stable and I knew they had earth magic.
I gave one to Gundy and one to the second best swordsman in the group. His name was Chad and he was a nobleman’s son and a bastard.
By that I mean he was a pain in the arse. Always complainin’, always handsy with womenfolk when he got drunk, but good with a sword.
After that I had to figger out what to do with the dag-blamed Lady Hand. That’s what I decided to name that cursed dagger.
I couldn’t hold the blasted thing. I had to fight with Buster. Problem was no one else could get near it without feelin’ sick.
The dagger glowed green all the time now and if I tried to pick it up without the tongs, my fingers ached. Finally I had a gall-durn idear.
Our healer Jimmie had a staff he could fight okay with. I tied the dag-gum Lady Hand to the end with some sailor’s knots.
My durn fingers were hurtin’ more’n a turtle with one foot cut off ‘fore I was done, but it was on there real sturdy. Now we had us a spear.
Finally we was ready to head into the cave. I asked One Hand and Pig Nose how many durn kobalds there was. They just said, “Lots”.
Gundy volunteered to scout. He’d found some night spectacles that Blatche had layin’ ‘round. Said it made the dag-gum shadows bright as day.
Gundy used to be the stealthiest one of us ‘fore he lost half his arse. I said, “Can you still be quiet all limpin’ ‘round like that.”
He said, “I am quiet as the fallin’ leaves,” or some turd talk like that and walked into the cave. He moved like a friggin’ dog with a peg leg.
Gundy came a limpin’ back out a few minutes later, with a turd eatin’ grin on his face, his sword drippin’ blood. “There was a sentry.”
“Dag-gum idjit!” I said. “Yer ‘posed to come warn us, not start fightin’!” He shrugged. “It’s dead. Sword cut through it like butter.”
“You stupid sonofa-!” “It’s dead, ain’t it?” Gundy said. “Least we know the swords work. It was quiet too. Quieter than yer Buster.”
“You should let me’n Chad go first so we’cn keep quiet,” he added. I grumbled, but blast it, he was right. Buster’d wake up all of ’em.
Gundy’n Chad went first. Dougless’n me went next, followed by Pig Nose and One hand. Then went Jimmie and the rest of the boys.
I was hopin’ they wouldn’t have to fight nothin’ till we got to the kholoth, but we had no idea how many kobalds there was gonna be.
We got in the cave and I realized how much of a help and a hindrance that gall-durn dog candle was gonna be.
He kept at my heels, but he really did light up the place like a durn candle. We could see better, but the kobalds might see us comin’.
Dag-gum cave stank. Kobald’s give off a musk that’s curl yer nosehairs. It’s like pole cat mixed with a giant’s arse sweat.
Kobalds live mostly in deep caves underground. It’s hard to know when one of them places is under you ’till the blasted things come up.
Sometimes humans’cn live generations on top of a kobald cavern and they leave ‘em alone. Then a dwarf comes and the durn things attack.
Don’t know if it’s their fault really. Them dag-blamed kobalds’re just made to hate dwarfs. They wanna kill us and eat us.
That’s right, kobalds eat dwarf. Old folks say that eatin’ dwarfs makes ‘em stronger and that a kholoth comes from one that ate lots of dwarfs.
Dougless was near pissin’ his greaves worried the cave was gonna fall in. I was like, “Settle down, you corn-sniffin nose-farmer!”
“We’re doin’ fine.” When Kobalds decide to go dwarf huntin’, they dig a side cave to the surface and them tunnels’re perty damn sturdy.
The tunnel we went down was packed hard’n had support beams made of these real stiff dag-gum mushroom stems that grow deep in the dark.
What I was worried ‘bout was how many kobalds we was gonna be fightin’. If’n the cave came out at a major cavern, we could be in deep turds.
The wizard didn’t tell me nothin’. Could be a pod of twenty foragers. With a kholoth waitin’ at the end, could be a dag-gum city full of ‘em.
So we come ‘round a corner and standin’ over the body of the kobald Gundy killed are two more kobalds’n they was lookin’ pissed.
Now koblads’re demons, but in some ways, they’re just folks too like anyone else. Problem was Gundy’d killed their dag-gum granny.
I know what yer thinkin’. Who sends grandma out on sentry duty? Truth was Gundy assumed she was a sentry, but who the hell knows?
Maybe she was just goin’ to take a dump. Maybe was leavin’ the cave to gather flowers. Or maybe she just wandered off like old folks do.
I knew it was their durn granny, ‘cause the kobalds see us and yell, “You!”“You killed granny!” and they ran at us, swingin’ pickaxes.
Kobalds use lots of weapons, but pickaxes are their dag-gum favorites. They keep ‘em sharp and their smithys even know how to rune ‘em.
I think they like ‘em ‘cause they’re used to usin’ ‘em all the time when they’re diggin’. Also they think it’s fun pokin’ holes in folks.
So they come in a-swingin’. Now Kobalds ain’t the most skilled fighters. But they’re strong and tough and gall-durn hard to block.
A good shield is helpful, cause they swing so hard it stings like a dag-burned momma hornet if’n you try to parry or block.
Now I’m tellin’ you this ‘cause it wasn’t ‘till the two kobalds charged that I remembered only half the boys had dag-blamed shields.
Gundy wasn’t a shield guy, but he was a decent dodger. He jumped out of the way and stabbed one of ‘em in the dag-gum arm as it ran by.
Chad stabbed the other’n through the heart, but he wasn’t a dodger or a shield guy. It chopped a pickaxe in his skull fore it died.
Dougless shoved pass me to get away from the first one and I couldn’t get a swing in. Pig Nose laughed’n tackled the blasted thing head-on.
Now I gotta give it to the half-orc, he weren’t scared to fight. He took a pickaxe in the shoulder ‘fore takin’ the kobald to the ground.
He straddled it, mashin’ its head over and over with his club ‘till it stopped movin’ and I called fer Jimmie to get friggin’ healin’.
He took the pickaxe out of Pig Nose’s shoulder’n fixed him up, but Chad was deader’n last week’s stew.
I needed to rethink things. We lost one of our best swordsmen in the first damn skirmish’n nobody worked together at all.
I sent Gundy to scout further down the tunnel. Then I gave Chad’s magic sword to another of the boys. A guy named Biff.
Biff was from Khalpany. He was kinda dumb and only mediocre with a sword, but he was bulky and a gall-durn good shield guy.
I smacked Dougless upside the head’n said, “Listen up, you cotton-pickin’ nosehole-farmer! I ain’t puttin’ up with no lily-livers!”
“Dunno why yer wimpin’ out, but you better stop or dag-nab it, I’ll shove Buster so far up yer arse, you’ll be thinkin’ twice as hard!”
I grabbed a shield and took the front with Biff and had the half-orcs follow behind us. Let Dougless take the dag-gum rear.
So we headed down the tunnel towards where Gundy’d gone. I was hopin’ he hadn’t screwed up again and got friggin’ caught.
If’n there’s anythin’ you shoulda figgered out by now, it’s that Gundy Half-arse was a dag-burned screw up. This time weren’t no different.
We was headin’ down the durn tunnel and we started hearin’ a rumblin’ sound. It got louder comin’ towards us and I knew Gundy’d show up.
Shure ‘nuff he comes a runnin’ ‘round the corner yellin’, “Run, damn it!” I said, “Who’s comin?” He says, “Get the hell out my way!”
He pushed past me and I seen it. “Run, blast it!” I yelled and everybody took off. It was the biggest damn cave worm I ever done seen.
Its dag-gum head filled the whole tunnel, just a big gapin’ mouth full of teeth. Thing is it was comin’ too fast to outrun. I was screwed.
There was no way I could fight the garl-friggin’ thing. And if its teeth caught me I was shreds. So I run and jumped right down its gullet.