Chapter Fifty-Seven

On the Road Again

“Chosen One! Prepare for your DOOM!”
Garfan squinted and looked at this orange man and asked “Listen, do I know you?”
With a scream that scattered what little wildlife that remained in the immediate area, the orange man locked eyes with Garfan and spoke through gritted teeth.
“I. Am. Your. Greatest. Foe!”
“You are?” asked Garfan.
“YES!” exclaimed the orange man.
Garfan looked at him carefully.
“He looks familiar,” said Caliric who kept the arrow aimed at the stranger.
“Indeed,” observed Lockford, who sidled up next to Garfan, “I believe we met this person with a cadre of Amethyst Guard.”
“Right! It’s Warnok brother of… I want to say Weneck but I know that’s wrong,” said Garfan.
“I AM WRATHWAR, BROTHER OF WRATHWAR THE WRATHFUL!” screamed Wrathwar brother of Wrathwar the Wrathful.
“So you’re still alive? Good for you,” said Garfan.
“No! Bad for you!” quipped Wrathwar brother of Wrathwar the Wrathful.
“That wasn’t bad,” said Garfan.
“Thank you!” shouted Wrathwar brother of Wrathwar the Wrathful, “I’m improvising!”
Hubert looked this orange figure up and down and asked, “This is your greatest foe?”
“No/YES,” said Garfan and Wrathwar brother of Wrathwar the Wrathful simultaneously.
“He thinks he is,” offered Garfan by way of an explanation.
“Who sold his soul for weapons to slay you? Crossed vast reaches of the Land to find you and bring you to justice!” asked Wrathwar brother of Wrathwar the Wrathful.
Garfan shrugged sheepishly, “That actually happens more often than you think.”
“What did you do to this guy?” asked Hubert.
“He slew my brother!” cried Wrathwar brother of Wrathwar the Wrathful.
“After he tried to kill me,” added Garfan.
“It was prophesied!” yelled the orange wizard.
“Not really,” pointed out Caliric.
“If it were, your brother would have been victorious,” Tarnah said, “and this conversation would not be occurring.”
“Fine! I admit it, my brother was wrong and I’ve sold my soul for nothing and I can’t not make myself not orange! Does that make you happy?” shrieked Wrathwar brother of Wrathwar the Wrathful.
A silence fell over the group, and while no one felt much pity for Wrathwar brother of Wrathwar the Wrathful, anyone confessing that his or her major life choices were a colossal failure can’t help but make everyone feel awkward.
“So…” said Hubert, “are we done here?”
Orange eyes narrowed and stared with pure and unholy hate.
“When I kill the Chosen One!” said Wrathwar brother of Wrathwar the Wrathful.
Purple energy pulsed into life on the left hand of the orange wizard, getting brighter and brighter. Time seemed to slow as he began to raise his arm. It was then that several things happened simultaneously. First a dagger flew out of the woods (courtesy of Kelph, who hid when the wizard first showed up) and stuck his left shoulder, causing his hand to drop to his side.
Then Caliric shot into the right shoulder, causing the Fell Wizard to twitch and discharge the magical energy straight at his feet, which exploded in a large poof of purple smoke.
Everyone froze, wondering if this was the end of this troublesome conjurer. The smoke cleared and from the waist down, Wrathwar brother of Wrathwar the Wrathful was now a writhing mass of tentacles. Purple tentacles in point of fact. He looked down and screamed. Now finding oneself half a monster and that vengeance was once more thwarted, anyone would feel like having a good scream. While that certainly was part of the equation, the greatest part of his rage was because orange and purple clash horribly.
There was of course a battle. Tentacles were chopped and re-grown. Magic was hurled, weapons wielded, and the property value of the area dropped severely at a rapid pace. For most people, having been being transformed into a half man/half cephalopod, you might concede that fate is trying to tell you something and perhaps seek out a nice damp abandoned keep and take up some sort of non-vengeance related hobby like water colors or drumming.
Wrathwar brother of Wrathwar the Wrathful was made of different stuff. He was not a quitter, though his life would have been considerably easier if he were. That being said, he also knew when to make an exit, not a graceful one, but an exit nonetheless. So, peppered with a dozen arrows, three daggers and wearing a ruined hood and cloak set, which no longer matched his complexion, he swung off into the trees and disappeared into the forest.
“Does this happen a lot?” asked Caliric.
“More than it should,” said Garfan.
The young squire grinned, “It’s kind of exciting.”
“Indeed,” remarked Lockford.

And with that, the party continued on their journey. It was almost wholly uneventful, except for an attack by Dire Geese (which are delicious, but you have to eat around the spikes) and a heated debate as to why Kelph was still traveling with them. The thief maintained that they happen to be going in the same direction, while the others felt that either he enjoyed their company, which he denied, or that he was too gutless to travel alone, which he only halfheartedly protested.
After a fortnight’s travel they camped on a hilltop which overlooked their destination, the Academy of Myrtor, greatest city in the land for lore both forbidden to the merely frowned upon. Nestled betwixt the rivers Myr and Tor, each of which ran parallel but in opposite directions, the city was a hodgepodge of towers, spires, turrets, steeples, minarets and many other different structures, all of which were tall and pointy. It was said the only thing that could not be studied there was city planning.
“Will you find the secret of what has happened to my sister in this metropolis of wisdom?” Tarnah asked Hubert.
“Well, this is the best place to start,” Hubert replied.
“Start?” she yelled.
“I swear I’ll do all I can to bring your sister back to her old self,” Hubert promised in spite of the fact that Lady Daphnae was a right terror before she studied Fell-Wizardry.
“You are bound by these words, wizard,” she said, “and I will do all I can to aid you in this.”
Both of those statements seemed quite threatening, as were most things said by Tarnah, but Hubert chose to think of them as encouragement and an offer of help.
“Let’s ride. We want to get there before they lock up for the night,” said Garfan.
“My cousin owns a tavern, the Potted Professor, she’ll set us up good,” said Kelph.
“Well,” said Lockford.
“Well what?” asked Kelph.
“Your cousin will set us up well,” corrected the Valet.
“Please, spare me,” said the thief.
Garfan laughed, “Get used to it, everyone in Myrtor thinks, sorry, knows they are the smartest person in the room.”
“How could they all be the smartest person?” asked Caliric.
“Don’t ask, unless you have no plans for the rest of the day,” said Garfan with a sigh as he pulled out and donned a large hooded robe.
“Well, in a city of scholars, things should be quiet for a change,” said Caliric optimistically.
It was not.
The End

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