“Will you please stop whistling.”
Enkirash, the irritated, directs Sweets.
“Certainly, for I have completed my song!”
Sweets clears his throat.
“This is a tale of an adventuring band.
Begun by a man with healing hands.
He took with him, those he would gage;
One brave, one goat, one woodchuck mage.
They seek a brother long lost,
to provide healing for a cost.
They seek exotic foods plenty
and their pockets never empty!
Beanie, Beanie Appleton!
I shout your name to everyone!
Beanie, Beanie Appleton!
Where be danger, he does not run!”
Sweets voice carries far and wide.
Enkirash turns on Sweets and with blackness in his eyes yells “Silence!”
Sweets freezes in his tracks.
“You guys are so loud today. Must be the weather,” Beanie remarks.
“Yes, quite,” Enkirash says, his voice returning to normal though his look of murder towards Sweets had not. “But I think I smell rain coming.”
“Nonsense,” says Beanie. “The wind is from the North West, definitely going to be a dry day.”
Enkirash turns, with sneer. He takes his staff and taps it on the ground three times. Rain starts to fall, but only on Beanie.
“Well I’ll be,” Beanie says as he tries grab Enkirah’s bag. “You got an umbrella in there?”
“Unhand my bag!”
As they wrestle with the bag, a flask spills out and lands on the ground. Several colored lights swirl around inside. Enkirash gasps, quickly picks up the flask and examines it.
“Oh, no there is a cra…” The flask explodes sending glass into everyone. Chumples is hit in the eye and starts ramming randomly, connecting with each of the three men. There are shouts, cries of pain, and just plain crying as Chumples wrecks havoc upon all.
The lights spin around in the air and voices seem to come from them. All at once they speak in a confusing cacophony.
“Beanie, you idiot!” Says the pink soul. “You broke the flask!”
A blue soul floats around in a circle, and says:
“Wow, it’s been quite a long time since being stored in the flask.”
“Uhh… Not really. I think just a few seconds?”
Enkirash, seemingly embarrassed, says “Um, yes, well it a has been a little time. Don’t worry my friends, we are closer to getting your bodies back. Behold, Beanie Appleton shall deliver us to Hashnuk very soon. Won’t you Beanie.” Enkirash glares at Beanie and mouths something to him.
Beanie, looking confused, says “Bam bam must stick?”
“The idiot speaks gibberish! I doubt he even knows what his own name is.
Sweets interrupts, “Excuse me, Master Enkirash, Beanie, um lights, but there seems to be a parade headed our way.” He points down the road.
In the distance a caravan of white robed figures, many with shaved heads, is solemnly approaching. From a small wagon they pull, one of their number is tossing something to either side of the procession in some kind of ritual. There seem to be about ten men and or creatures
“Isn’t that interesting… I am not sure, but I think I know who they are. Let us approach them.” Enkirash says as he starts marching down the road.
Enkirash approaches the caravan in a confident stride. Beanie, Sweets and Chumples chase after him. “Oh boy! I love parades! Look, I bet that is candy!” shouts Beanie as he breaks into a run. As Beanie rushes past Enkirash, Enkirash raises a hand in protest, but then gives up.
Beanie claps his hands as he passes the parade on the right side and heads towards the cart in the back where things are being thrown by a chubby bald monk in a white robe.
Beanie starts picking up small brown round objects from the ground and stuffs them in his pockets. The monk smiles and tosses him some more.
“Blessings on you! Many blessings!” he says.
Several monks in front of the cart chant the same, raising their hands to the air, then waving them over the ground. They repeat this over and over.
Sweets joins Beanie and examines one of the small brown balls. Sniffing it, he cringes and says “I don’t think this is candy.” “Sure it is!” Beanie says and pops one in his mouth. Immediately his spits it out and starts coughing. “What is this, some kind of joke? What kind of parade throws poison?”
“It is the excreta of the common ācweorna.” Enkirash says as he steps next to Beanie, all the while bowing his head towards the monks.”
“Well this excreta tastes like crap!” Beanie empties his pockets on the ground.
“These are the monks of Sciuridae, they distribute these as blessings in honor of the Great Sciuridae, whom they believe….” Enkirash trails off as the parade finally passes them. Enkirash stares, open mouthed, at the opposite side of the road. Standing there is a stout man, with a orange-red beard, black wide rimmed hat and elaborate clothing. The purple sash that hangs across him is trimmed in silver, by his side is a large sack filled to capacity. Behind him a swirling cloud quickly dissipates as does a glowing blue light in his right hand.
The man smiles widely and beings “Hello my friends! I am, OOF!” The man is knocked to ground mid sentence when Chumples rams him directly in the chest! “No, no! Get off of me you disgusting beast!” The two struggle when Chumples bites the man’s hand causing the man to release a blue glowing stone which flies into the air. Chumples watches it fly up and jumps to chomp on it.
“NO! Bad goat!” the man shouts, but it is too late. Chumples bites down on the stone and a swirl of cloud envelopes him then vanishes in an instant. Chumples is gone.
“Chumples!” Shouts Sweets. “Where, wha…, Where is my goat?”
Beanie rushes over and helps the man up. “Enkirash, it’s him! This is the guy, Hash Book!”
“My friend thank you, Hashnuk, purveyor of fantastic and rare wares, at your service.” Hashnuk says as he makes a grand flourish of a bow.
The lights all swarm around Hashnuk’s head, all speaking at once.
“Yes, yes, I know! Please one at a time. I can explain, I can explain! Why do you think I am here? I have been looking for you! Where have you been?”
Enkirash steps forward and boldly states “I have brought here, we must speak in private.” Enkirash begins waving his hands and speaking foreign words a transparent blue chamber forms around Hashnuk and Enkirash. As they begin to speak their words are hidden from everyone.
“Wait! I can read lips,” says Beanie. “Let me translate.”
Beanie’s face distorts as he squints to observe the pair within the blue cabinet.
“I have been searching for your lemon chives.”
“My friend! You kept my cabins corked up in a scary hampsters! How did you lunge meat fillets?”
“Because you cannot bench chowder. You were there when thirsty worms frothed bow-ties, yet you eradicated and sneaked their lazy booboos.”
“Nonsense! I shaved their bodies! You would rather crowbar have taken hens? No my friend, my stallion was the only way. Come back to my shop and I will show you trout reading, and wading turkey thighs.”
“Wow! That’s amazing Beanie!” sweets remarks. “Those highbrow folks do sure have some fancy talk. I wonder what it means? I sure would like to see a trout read though.”
GULAGGHR GRUGGURAH bleats the frightened Chumples. He tumbles through the air, bright clouds, every color of the rainbow billow around him, swirling and pulsating. Then suddenly he appears in the middle of a field next to a tavern. An area behind the tavern is being prepared for a festival. Bright banners are being hung, temporary seating is being erected. Several burly men are carrying large barrels of ale and setting them up along a fenced off racing track. Above the entrance to the spectator area is a sign that reads “The Sly Fox Goat Race.”
“What ya be doing outa ya pen!” Says a goat handler as he grabs for Chumples neck. Chumples bleats, “GLURPY” and then vanishes, but appears three feet ahead of the man. “Blimey! That’s a magic goat! He a sure’n to win the race!” The man picks up a stone and chucks it at Chumples head. Chumples falls to the ground unconscious.
Chumples wakes to a grubby, one eyed, peg-legged man waving a couple carrots in front of his nose. Chumples eagerly snatches them up.
“There’s a good boy, Oh you are gonna make me a pretty penny aren’t you.” says the peg-legged man. Chumples also has the number 13 painted on his sides.
Soon Chumples is lined up at the starting line with the peg-legged man waiting near the finish line with a pound of carrots behind his back.
There is a ominous glint in Chumple’s eye.
Enkirash glances over his shoulder at Beanie for a second.
“Ouch! My eye!” Beanie shouts and quickly rubs his eyes. Beneath his hands streams of red run down his cheeks.
A few moments later the chamber vanishes and the light rush to continue their conversations with Hashnuk as Enkirash approaches Beanie.
“I’m blind, I’m blind!” Beanie shouts, removing his hands reveals a tomato smashed to each eye. Enkirash smacks them away, “Listen my solanum-eyed friend, we are accompanying this man to his place of business. Do not trust talk to him, he is a liar and a cheat.”
Enkirash goes on to explain that the lights are the souls of brave adventurers. They were on a quest with Hashnuk when disaster over took them. During a battle with a chamelion, their souls were ripped from their bodies. Only I and Hashnuk were unaffected. I was able to escape and later used magical means to collect the disembodied souls. Hashnuk was gone, and so were the bodies of my companions. Hashnuk claims that he salvaged them and they are in safe keeping at his establishment. He claims it was his plan to reunite soul with body after retreat.
“That’s all well and good,” Sweets says, “But where is my goat?”
There is a thunk, a small cloud of smoke rises from the ground. As it clears, a pile of chewed up carrots has appeared at Sweet’s feet.
There is a tuba blast from the main stage area. A man wearing goat pelts and a goat horned helmet raises a cone to his mouth and announces the days events. “Welcome to the 20th annual Sly Fox Inn goat races! This year we are honored with a very special spectator, Princess Jenny!” The large crowd cheers and many shouts of “A toast! A toast!” are heard. The princess sits in a makeshift thrown on the right of the stage. She raises her very large sized grog mug and shouts “Let’s get ready to rumble!”
The crowd goes wild, the sound of beer pouring fills the air, out of barrels, into mugs, into throats. The Princess waves a green flag in her other hand to signal the start of the race. The gates swing open and the goats are off running.
Chumples spies the carrots that his new found friend is waving. He is starving, despite eating several times today.
The first goat to challenge Chumples for position is George, Chumples learned all the goats names while waiting at the gates. There is no way George is getting those carrots, thinks Chumples. A surge of blue energy travels across Chumples horns as he rams them into George’s side. A puff of smoke and George is gone, but not far. One of the large ale barrels explodes! Shrapnel and beer are thrown in every direction. Standing where the barrel once stood is George, soaking wet and dazed.
Chumples continues at a frantic pace, next up is Clover. Plowing straight into her, Chumples horns flash again. Clover’s backend can be seen kicking furiously on stage as her front end is seemingly stuffed inside a tuba. Try as he might, the musician cannot blow the goat out. At this point the crowd begins to panic. “Our ale! We are going to run out of grog!” some of them shout.
Goats are flung straight into the crowds from out of nowhere. The spectators fall like dominos, the ground becomes muddy as more and more steins are toppled. Nelly is shot into a row of barrels causing a chain reaction, they being to roll out into the stands. Weird Beard is sent directly into the Sly Fox Inn’s kitchen, more precisely, the fire. People run screaming from the inn as a flaming Weird Beard runs wild, setting things a blaze everywhere. It isn’t long before the entire inn is engulfed in flames. The sky darkens as thick clouds of black smoke fill the air. Women and children are cowering, grown men are crying. “It’s the end of the world!” is heard shouted amongst the chaos.(edited)
Chumples races on, his friend and the carrots go running off in fear, and Chumples veers off course after him, leaving the course. A few minutes later the voice of a shaken announcer calls out, “The winner of this year’s race is Jasper! Please trample responsibly as you flee! All refunds will be paid as funeral benefits.”
Sometime later Chumples is found at furiously eating from a market vegetable cart of Maxwell Yurnvet, who is currently hanging on for his life to the steeple of a church.
Chumples is frantic, no matter how much he eats, he is not satisfied. Several townspeople are scurrying about attempting to rescue various others from rooftops. A few men, armed with pitchforks watch the goat from a twelve foot distance.
From the church comes Malicor, chief cleric and town magistrate. With dark slicked back hair, square jaw, and meticulously emboirderd, red robes, Malicor is a imposing figure. Brushing the guards aside, he approaches the goat carefully. “Have your sack ready men. I shall nullify the magic, but you must capture it quickly and bring it to the church basement.”.
Malicor produces a necklace from his robes and inches closer to Chumples. “Now!” Calls Malicor, as he quickly lays the necklace over Chumples horns. Five men tackle the goat, tying it’s legs together and placing it in a sack. They hoist the goat and quickly carry it to the church. Malicor follows and clears the church of visitors before shutting the doors.
Malicor thanks the townsfolk and assures them that things are safe now. He urges them to go help put out the fire at the Sly Fox Inn.
“Well now my hungry friend, let’s see if this satisfies you.” Malicor says as he fills a bucket with carrots and potatoes. He uncorks a bottle of brown liquid and pours it over them.
Several hours later strange sounds and groans are barely audible from the street. Eventually they stop and Malicor leaves the church. He returns with a few villagers who then leave with several heavy buckets.
Back with Beanie and company.
Sweets is whining and depressed about his missing lizard-goat.
Enkirash is quiet and has the look of deep thought.
Hashnuk is complaining about having to walk the whole way back to Vermilion after Chumples swallowed his travel stone.
Beanie ceaselessly asks all kinds of questions along the way.
Hashnuk also offers Beanie an amulet of protection, armor made from otyugh hide, and an enchanted short sword. The prices are astonishingly low, but alas Beanie has no money.
At long last, they arrive at the outskirts of Vermilion.
Beanie grasps his nose, “Does it always smell like this?”
Hashnuk strains to look ahead, “Of course not my friends! Oh something is amiss, yes! Yes, something is burning. Look!” He points to the right towards a small billow of smoke in the distance.