Giveth Me Fuel, Giveth Me Fire, Giveth All That I Desireth
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Armed with the new information that the Great Spaghetti Bowl was but an elaborate and clandestine trapdoor to the Hidden Catacombs, Lady Kackel the amateur necromancer’s heart sunk to the pit of her stomach as she faced the notion her newly beloved may not be her truly beloved. Meatball had planted the seed of doubt; did her brave and virtuous knight, Tim Cognito truly have heroic intentions? Did Tim harbour a secret? Was the hollow suit of armour here for good or self-gain?
Misery the fairy turned the knob with the flick of her wand. The door swung open. They were about to step through the threshold and back out into the village when Meatball’s snivelly voice cried out-
“Where do you think you’re going? Untie me you torturous sorceress!" he directed his ire at Kackel.
“We think it’s better for you to wait here and stew in your thoughts for a while,” she said, shrugging her shoulder before turning back on her heel, “after all, meatballs are best cooked slowly.” she said to Misery, who giggled as she floated through the door. Without turning to look, the fairy again waved her wand, this time over her shoulder, “Infernus Burnus of your Dermis” she chirruped in birdsong.
The room containing Meatball lit up with flickering reds and oranges. All at once, the kettle on the magically lit stove began to clatter as it came to a boil, the fireplace ignited in a puff of crimson smoke and crackled with great content, and the ends of each tapered candle in the grasp of the candelabra sparked feriociously.
As they left the house they heard Meatball cry out for help. The fire was controlled and so he had little to fear… other than perhaps a light singeing.
Chapter 9: Giveth Me Fuel, Giveth Me Fire, Giveth All That I Desireth
If you want to know more about something mentioned in the story (e.g. a creature, place or person) go to the Lore of the Land:
If you want information about our hero’s characteristics and inventory at the start of this chapter go here and scroll to the relevant chapter:
Tim Cognito came at once to a vast opening in the cragged landscape. Before them, their harpoon was embedded into the earth. Their empty armour clanged as they walked determinably towards their weapon and standing, legs braced and bent, the Knight pulled the harpoon, retrieving it from the dirt.
“Ha!” they cried, assuming a victorious stance with the harpoon hoisted firmly above their head, though no one was about to cheer them on.
The knight turned back to face in the direction they had just come from, toward the battleground expecting to see the fight between the villagers of the Great Spaghetti Bowl and the evil creature, the Jabberwonky, in full force. Instead, Tim saw Spaghettians dashing for cover behind boulders, some were hiding themselves in mounds of dirt, and others were running for their dear lives. Their hope was quickly dissipating.
Tim, harpoon still raised above their head, began to pace toward the monster. As they quickened to a sprint, the huntscrabby crawled out from inside the animate armour. On the shoulder plate of its master, the crustacean stood up on its two back legs and waved its pincers to the Spagghetians. One by one, they peered out from behind rocks and dusted the dirt from their clothes as they erupted into riotous applause. They whooped and hollered for their hero, Tim Cognito.
Tim had expected to see the Jaberwonky prancing about in glee, but instead saw the giant deep in conversation, who with they could not see. How strange, Tim thought as they saw the Jabberwonky nod his bulbous head enthusiastically and gesticulate excitedly.
“‘There it is,’ Gorkorn thought to themselves, ‘nearing forty, no purpose, no partner. It’s just what your mother warned you about.’ Krashkallab was not only a wife. She was a sounding board. She was Gorkorn’s everything. Whenever Gorkorn returned home from a hard day’s pillaging, there she was, always ready with a goblet of hot mead and an ear to lend.” From her position atop the Jabberwonky’s head, Matilda had assumed an even whinier voice as she continued to read from the incomprehensibly successful best-seller, Beat Slay Trudge. “But Krashkallab was there no more!”
“That’s depressing,” Jabby said enthralled, now sitting down and thinking contemplatively. “I sure hope there’s some kind of lesson, Gorkorn just can’t go on like this.”
“It was the day of the Summer Solstice when Gorkorn finally had the epiphany. There he was in the market square, surrounded by his brutal and merciless band of barbarians. They were laughing and telling jokes when Gorkorn had the realisation: he had to stop pretending he was okay. He had to accept his true feelings. Upon hearing a particularly off-colour joke from Torg he decided it was time to speak up.”
“Yes, do it Gorkorn! Be brave,” said Jabby, completely enraptured.
“‘You know what, Torg? Your attitude is problematic.’ Torg blushed mildly. 'And furthermore, I need you all to know that beneath this bulky, hardened exterior is the soul of a hurt man, a broken heart and…’ here Gorkorn stumbled ‘…a companionless husband.’ Gorkorn buried his face in his hands and wept. Although the tears were ones of sadness, releasing the truth felt heavenly.”
“You know, I am kind of like Gorkorn! Why am I hiding from who I truly am?” The Jabberwonky relented, jumping back to his feet. “After all, I do have a passion. I have always wanted…”
The Jabberwonky’s stomach interrupted him, letting out an enormous rumble. He burped a cloud of purple, he sheepishly covered his mouth with his gnarled fingers. It seems that the magical jelly from Tim’s spell was repeating on him.
“I’m fine,” he proclaimed, despite not being asked. “In fact, I’m more than fine. You see, much like Gorkorn, I’ve been lying to you. Heck, I’ve been lying even to myself. All this filibustering and bamboozling about political movements and hostile take-overs? It’s just the posturing of the boy inside of me.”
“The boy inside you? Did you eat one of the Spaghettian children?” Matilda asked gasping.
“No, no, no, no! Well, that is to say yes and he was delicious.” the Jabberwonky swatted the thought away and shook his head before continuing, “I mean it more metaphorically, you see my parents wanted great things for me.”
Here he tilted his head wistfully, Matilda clutched on tight to the hairs sprouting from the Jabberwonky to keep from falling.
“‘Jabby’ they would say ‘you could be someone real special’” Jabby mimicked with a tone of authority, “so they sent me to far-off schools to network with other elite, trust-fund monsters and, well, they thought I might…” he trailed off, and again shook his head, “oh it’s too embarrassing to say.”
“Go on Jabby, I won’t judge you,” Matilda said, no longer acting but with actual concern, as she recalled the words of Drew E. Decimelle when she had revealed the inner conflict within the Jabberwonky’s heart.
“Well they thought I might…” he trailed off, sighed and reluctantly continued, “one day unite the four kingdoms of Essopia and lead our lands into a time of great prosperity.”
“As our king?” Matilda probed.
“I’m a republican. I’m not for the monarchy. They wanted me to be democratically elected. But I never want to end up like them, no sirree, I only want to bring people together doing what I truly love,” the Jabberwonky clearly had no love lost for his parents.
He began to move his great person about, feverish with excitement, “That’s right! Not through the ballot box but rather the foxtrot. Not with an iron fist but by doing the twist. Dancing with clogs, not being a demagogue, you know?”
“You… want to be a dancer?” Matilda asked.
“I already am in my heart.”
Here he leapt up. The comically small trilby hat sported by the Jabberwonky flapped up from his scalp, allowing Matilda to glimpse that it concealed a glowing red gem embedded into his head.
As the Jabberwonky moved from left foot to right, leaning in and out in a juicy watusi, the basil farmer was nearly shaken loose. She clasped onto his ear even harder, allowing the enormous copy of Beat, Slay, Trudge to slip from her grip. She watched as it fell down towards the distant ground below, where it landed with a thump.
The village shook with the thrum of what sounded to be a bass drum. The houses involuntarily tipped their roofs to Kackel and Misery in time with the beat as the two magical ladies made their way toward the giant, wonky beast.
“Take that mum!” he shimmied, “take THAT dad!” he shook.
They stood agape as they came upon the Jabberwonky kicking up dust as he danced around a giant leather bound book.
“This is weird, right?” Kackel asked Misery.
“Yes, but don’t you feel like things are looking up?” the fairy swayed in the air to the rhythm of the Wonky One’s steps, “why don’t you join in?”
“I’m a necromancer… not a necrodancer!” Kackel insisted, trying to conceal her alarm.
“Come on!” Misery said, conjuring up a red rose and snatching it between her teeth, “You gotta take some you time!”
“But there’s no music.”
Misery waved her wand and from nowhere music started to play.
Kackel rolled up her sleeves, her hair raising into a shock of blue flames as she awkwardly (and without rhythm) began to do the grapevine step.
“Now you’re getting it!”
Together, Kackel, Misery and the Jabberwonky danced to the music, loudly they stomped and shook. Gyrating, twisting, twirling so vigorously they hadn’t heard the clang of metal against metal as the great knight ran towards them.
“…What’s happening here?” Tim Cognito questioned in confusion, the query echoing deep into their armour.
Kackel heard a record scratch causing her to abruptly cease the do-si-do she was performing with Misery. The music had stopped. Kackel’s face flushed red as she turned towards Tim.
Eric ran over noting the return of his entire party and stopping right behind them.
“What are you doing dancing with that, that…tyrannical dictator?” Tim spluttered toward Kackel, one hand on their hip.
A villager cried out from behind a rock, “and he ate my son!”
Jabby burped and patted his stomach, which was once again rumbling.
Kackel shook away her blushed cheeks, remembering what she’d heard from Meatball about the intentions of her knight.
“Why should we believe you?” she asked, jabbing a pointed finger at the knights chest.
The Huntscrabby aimed his pincers offensively at Kackel, snapping them quickly in a brusque clackity-clack for he had no time for the necromancer sassing his knight when he’d just missed out on demonstrating his one true skill (next level boogying).
“Why? Why? Did you not just watch that creature kill some of your people?” Tim harped.
“Yeah, well at least he was honest about why he came here and he’s a changed man, he’s decided to eschew politics for a career in the arts.” Kackel crossed her arms.
“Excuse me, but I couldn’t help but overhear this conversation being held in my honour,” the giant neck of the creature craned down towards the Knight and the Necromancer who were arguing on the ground. “I’m afraid that I still intend to eat every single person here. I’m true to my word you see? It’s just that, now I intend to engage in a little soft-shoe while I eat! You know, dinner and a show!”
Matilda jumped from the beast’s head just as it was about to arch back up again, landing with impressive agility.
“Matilda!” Eric squeaked before coughing and adopting a more manly tone, “you’re safe!”
Ignoring Eric, Matilda adopted a warrior pose. The fingers of the hand raised above her head waggled, indicating towards the Jabberwonky who had leaned right back into an attack position.
“Quick EVERYONE MOVE!” Matilda ordered.
The entire party dove out of the way, shielding themselves with their hands for Matilda’s vicious mauling of the Wonky One - but it did not come. Instead, an almighty rumble violently erupted from the body of the Jabberwonky. They each stood up and looked toward the creature, and then to each other.
The beast stood high, hands on belly as his entire body shook.
“He’s about to BLOW!” Eric cried out.
The crew bolted as fast as they could muster, but they couldn’t outrun the onslaught. They were catapulted at an immense velocity as the Jabberwonky, fuelled by the dangerous and unknown properties of the magical jelly, exploded into a mushroom cloud of mauve smoke.
Visibility was low. Tim reached in front of them and found the unconscious form of Lady Kackel, who they slung heroically over their shoulder. The knight followed the yellow glow of Misery as she led the way to safety.
“Where are Matilda and Eric?” Tim yelled.
“No clue!” Misery’s sing-song was voice frantic.
From the depths of the purple haze emerged the silhouette of Matilda who was holding the plump form of Eric in her arms like an oversized infant.
“Is he gone?” Misery asked.
“I’d say it’s curtains for his number!” Tim stated confidently.
“Ugh, were you a musical theatre kid?” Matilda groaned, ever her sarcastic self.
“But what was that magical jelly concoction?” Eric asked.
“Who knows,” said Tim.
Through the clearing dust and the quieting wind emerged a giant duck.
“QUAAAAACCCCCKKKKKK!” it cried out leaning its head down close to our heroes. Close enough to notice the tiny trilby that sat comfortably upon its head.
Whoa. A duck? Really? Ummm… okay.
Remember you can pitch new areas, creatures, characters, and items/spells in the existing threads and see them get added to the Lore of the Land encyclopedia.
Voting closes a week from posting! The next chapter will follow about a week after that… with luck!
For the first time in Misadventure Adventure we had some tied votes last chapter. People wanted the Jabberwonky’s secret passion to both be about his wish to not become like his parents AND to be a world class dancer. I hope we weaved those both in gracefully.
The other tied vote was the choice to make the Jabberwonky explode AND ALSO turn into a duck (a series of questions that definitely was not inspired by a not-that-good early-internet albino-blacksheep-flash video because why would we do that?) which also has happened now. A battle with a giant duck was not how we envisaged the denouement of this struggle but that looks like what is going to happen.
Also, yes, delays. We know but we’re getting back to our regular schedule. As an apology you can expect a fun extra post next week and this little outtake of the narration where our infant son decided to try and eat the microphone:
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