“Hey Boss?” came the dulcet tones of the mighty guardian, Dtay from somewhere behind the tall, robed figure. The man never moved, seemingly lost somewhere within his own thoughts. He stood, motionless, high atop the great keep he and his brethren had put so much of their blood, sweat and tears into. To his left stood a necromancer of immeasurable power, his lithe form masking the strength within.
The guardian, moving with a silence belying his armor-clad figure, moved close enough to place a gloved hand upon the Demonologist’s right shoulder.
“Aye Dt,” the man responded without turning around, “I heard you the first time. I simply choose not to respond to that name!”
Dtay could barely hold in a smile and a giggle at the Guild Sovereigns response. Vince, too, was barely controlling his profound sense of smugness at the thought that his longtime wiseacred nature had now spread even deeper into the ranks of the officers corps. Sensing this, Anders Ty’Gray finally turned around to inspect the Refugees’ newly appointed First Officer. Seeing the broad grin spread across the face of his old friend, the leader could only shake his head and suppress a smile himself.
“You are incorrigible if nothing else, now aren’t you sir? Almost as bad as this one!” he motioned toward Vince.
“Hey, you told me when you picked me for this job that I best find a way to have fun with it or it would eat me up from the inside out!” the warrior responded matter-of-factly. “’Sides, I wouldn’t wanna let ‘ole Vince down, now would I?” he winked at the Refugees co-guild leader in a very knowing manner.
Anders could only sigh at the truth of the statement. “Yes, yes I did. Doesn’t mean I expect you to continue having fun using a name we both know doesn’t fit me!”
“Eh? You want him to actually think about whether or not a name ‘fits’ you? ‘Scuse me for saying so, but I always thought you kept the meatshields around to beat on stuff…not to think about names!” the necromancer said with a wry smile of his own.
Tyl’Gray simply shook his head once more. “You did not come all the way up here to poke fun at an old Wizard now did you Dt?”
“Nah…just wanted you to know, the final beams are going into the newly refitted Barracks even as we speak. Vespis is down overseeing the work himself.”
“Excellent news! Excellent ne….err…did you say Vespis is overseeing the beam installs?!? The last time we let HIM build something it was that ballista that ended up firing the bolts backwards wasn’t it?!?”
The guardian laughed heartily at the memory of Refugees’ Guild Patron looking completely perplexed at what had gone wrong with his ballista design. “Aye, it ‘twas. But I have a good idea this’ll be alright boss…I left Sealy down there to keep an eye on Vespis.”
“Ahh…thank the gods!” Anders replied, a sense of relief washing over him.
“Course she did say something about borrowing one of your spell books so she could try and turn ole Ves into some sorta pig-tailed demon or some such. Said something about him getting a bit mouthy lately.”
Anders Tyl’Gray shook his head and laughed to himself as he turned back toward the view from atop the keep. Both the inner and outer walls were complete now and the work had begun in earnest to upgrade the bracing and fortifications of the buildings within the walls of New Tishlar. All in all it had been a very productive few months since he stood upon the hill beneath the now erected keep and surveyed the land around him. Refugees had managed to carve itself a niche out of the side of the great mountain range bordering Laceish Plains, and the cities construction was progressing smoothly. He only hoped his wife had been unable to read the incantations necessary for human to demon transformations, or else he knew all too well that Vespis was in trouble.
“You know fellas, it’s all beginning to come together quite nicely, isn’t it?” he queried his companions.
“Aye, sir. New Tishlar is becoming a reality. I know even you must have doubted it a few times. But she sure looks like a mighty fine town to me!” Dtay responded.
“Never been anything Refugees couldn’t accomplish when we set ourselves to the task Anders.” Vince chimed in. “Well, except for helping me find some peanut butter.”
The guild leader laughed a bit before responding, “Okay, peanut butter notwithstanding, I never doubted we’d get it done brothers. No, no. I learned long ago never to underestimate this family. I still remember the days, many, many lifetimes ago, when we Refugees took our first small steps out into the world known as Istaria. And while we may have seen our share of losses since then, we’ve also worked – diligently in my opinion – in every realm we’ve entered since, to strengthen the family. I can only hope that one day in the not too distant future some of the family members who’ve been scattered to the four winds can stand here beside us and look out at this view.”
“Aye…and what a view it is.” Dtay responded. “Gotta say, it’s a really beautiful spot. I’ll be happy to defend her.”
“Aye brother, me too. I’m glad we’ve come this far together.” He smiled a broad, deep smile at the old guardian whom he had shared so many battles, so many pints of ale, and so many memories with.
The three warriors stood there, side by side, listening to the sounds of the river echoing off the walls of the canyon below intermingled with the loud ‘thuds’, ‘creaks’ and ‘bangs’ of the beam and lintel reinforcements being added to the new barracks below. And Anders Tyl’Gray knew the time was coming when the family would be called upon to defend the walls below. To fight for what they had built. And to show Hyboria the mettle of Refugees.
Within the walls of New Tishlar a crew was working diligently to add braces and supports to the new barracks being put up next to the trade post. Rygaard, Choal, Playdoh, Bullwinkle and Vespis were busy maneuvering what they hoped was the final new brace into place when suddenly there was a very loud ‘Zzzzztt’ sound, followed closely by a scream and then the loud sound of a ‘thud’ as the brace clearly had hit the inside floor after being dropped on one end.
“SEAAAAALLLLLLYYYYYYYY!” Vespis screamed at the top of his lungs as he realized he had suddenly sprouted a tail the size of a very large cow.
Somewhere to the north the sound of three old friends laughing – hard – came drifting back across the wind.
by Imajicaan on Aug 06, 2008 at 11:12 AM