Discussion in 'Mythic Roleplaying' started by S.T. Ockenner, Dec 2, 2020.
"The smaller, the better? When did I say that?"
"I meant the Smaller, the Bettor, and the Liar. That's the name of this bar."
"Odd name for a bar," grumps Giraze, fumbling with his boot buckle.
"What's so odd," says Godrik, "about naming a bar for its owners?"
"Those are odd names." Giraze is really too busy tugging at his boots to care, but Godrik did ask him a direct question.
"Those are their nicknames, of course," says Godrik. "The Bettor started this whole enterprise on a bet--and won it, too. The way I heard the story, someone bet him that he couldn't make a go of yet another way station in liminal space, he'd fold within a year and a day, but this place is still here after 99 years, 99 days, and 99 bottles of beer on the wall. Of course, I heard that story from the Liar, so no way is it true. And the Smaller... well, when you meet her, you'll see why she's called that."
"What are their real names, and titles?" Giraze asked.
"Titles?" Godrik laughed, "gods, you really are daft. They're not nobles. They're just orcs."
"Orcs!?" Giraze shouted, leaping backward with a look of horror on his face.
Everyone in the bar went silent for a second and looked at him, then immediately went back to their chatter.
Frantically, Giraze scrambles for the door. Trouble is, the door has completely vanished. The other trouble is, he now has one boot off and the other boot halfway off, and that halfway off boot trips him. He stumbles and falls ignominiously, landing on his knees.
"Where do you think you're going?" Godrik's tone is full of amusement.
"I'd rather face the dragons again than orcs!" shouts Giraze.
"Why? What have you got against orcs?"
"Because- orcs are filthy green brutes with no manners!" Giraze shouts.
The room goes silent again.
"Speciest piece of-"
"Go back to the rich human mansion place!"
"-w dare you"
"I would neve-"
"Gasp! How could..."
Everyone in the bar throws aside their chairs and begins chucking their drinks and food at Giraze as Godrik shakes his head and sneaks over to an unoccupied table.
"Hello, Godrik," says a voice at his elbow. "Brought us some entertainment again, I see."
"He's quite the clueless lad, I'm afraid." Godrik shakes his head ruefully. "I brought him along to save him from the dragons. It's that time of the century, dragon mating season, you know, and all the macho posturing and fighting that goes with it. The young fool was about to get himself blasted in their crossfire, or become a dragon snack if he managed to escape that. You know how hungry they get after a tussle. But how has the last decade gone for you, Smaller?"
"Fairly good. Other than the fact that the other two died, of course."
"Sorry," he said, looking down at Smaller.
"Eh, they were trying to rampage anyway. You know what old age does to their brains?"
"What's that supposed to mean?!" Godrik shouted.
Smaller shrugged. She was an orc, but from her height she looked more goblin-ish. Her tusks were naturally curved, but were filed down to be short and square-ended. Her black hair stood up on random ends, and had shaved spots between them. Her nose was pointed, especially for an orc. Most notably, she only came up to about Godrik's hips, and her hair reached his elbows.
"It's male orcs who go that way," said Smaller. "After the age of 300 or so, they lose all sense of who they are, and they just go screaming mad, battle rampaging, even if there isn't any battle around. Female orcs don't have that problem, we just turn into nice ornery great-great-great grannies until we decide to drop off in our sleep, and younger male orcs are, as you know, more civilized than the males of any other race. When that Tolkien guy spread the awful stereotypes about us, he was writing about our old men."
Godrik pressed his hands together prayerfully. "May the Bettor and the Liar rest in peace. So is this bar just called the Smaller now?"
"No," said Smaller. "I kept the name, in honor of my late partners. I even kept the monthly trivia gambling night that the Bettor started and the semi-annual tall tales contest that the Liar started. Now that the Liar is no longer with us, others have some hope of winning. As a matter of fact, the next contest is due to start in one hour."
"Ah. I'd love to play, but first I have to save Giraze."
Smaller chuckled, "or not?"
"Or not. But my conscience tells me to cut him a bit of slack."
Godrik waded through the crowd, whispering an incantation to guide him towards Giraze.
Giraze is curled up on the ground with his hands over his head, whimpering. His new burgundy clothes are definitely ruined. And he's living in the present tense now because the writers of this story can't make up their minds whether to use present or past. The saving grace is that now that Godrik has arrived, everyone's stopped throwing things at him. Either that or they've run out of things to throw.
"Come now," said Godrik, who was stuck in the past tense because the writers still couldn't make up their minds, "up with you. Now that you've had your lesson in manners, a nice cup of nettle wine ought to do you."
Giraze doesn't seem to hear. He remained curled up. "Earthquake! Earthquake!"
"Uh...there is no earthquake. That's called a headache. Get used to it," Godrik said, as he pulls Giraze up.
Godrik pulls Giraze by the sleeve, and sat back down at the table next to Smaller'd.
[Unfortunately, the narrators have no concept of time, so past, present, and future don't matter anymore]
"A cup of nettle wine for our friend here, if you don't mind, Smaller," says Godrik, "and perhaps a shot of passionflower infusion for his headache. And if you still have your delicious elderflower mead, I've been longing for a glass of that."
Smaller nodded and retreated to the bar to fetch the drinks.
"It's not that," Giraze will moan, "it's that I can't tell whether we're in the past, present, or future. I didn't understand. I won't know. What verb tense were we in?"
"That," said Godrik, "is because we're in liminal space. Don't worry about what tense we're in. All times here are now."
"All times were then," says Smaller, returning with the drinks.
"But you will drink this shot of passionflower," Godrik said to Giraze, holding it to Giraze's lips and pushing his head back till he'd swallowed the whole thing.
Giraze blinks his eyes. "When are we?"
[Passionflower really does help headaches if they come from nervous tension or kundalini-like experiences. Will it work for Giraze?]
[I'm guessing so.]
"When is a bad question to ask around here, especially at times where there's so much magic. It messes up time...among other things," Godrik says, "but I suppose it's about 9:71 AM."
Giraze's headache clears, but a ringing sound will ping in the back of his head.
"Ow!" Giraze said, "that will hurt!"
"What hurt?" Godrik asked.
"Giraze," an ethereal, reverberated feminine voice will say, "you have been chosen for two important tasks!"
"Really? I always knew I was special! The chosen one..."
"No. Your two tasks are as follows: firstly, stop being an arrogant jerk. Secondly, help Godrik, Smaller, and the actual chosen one with the summoning. Third, make me a ham and cheese sandwich, when we meet again. Or have we already met again?"
"Wait...that's three things," Giraze says, "also, what do you mean summoning?"
"Crap. I knew I counted wrong."
"Who are you talking to?" Smaller said, hopping up and down on the table, waving her hand in front of Giraze's face.
"Nobody," answers the ethereal voice heard only by Giraze.
"Nobody," Giraze echoed.
"Ah," says Godrik, "he must be hearing the No Body. That formless voice that gives a higher calling. What are you called to do, Giraze?"
"Make a ham and cheese sandwich," said Giraze.
"Something about summoning an arrogant jerk. And something about a chosen one. Ow!" Giraze clutched the back of his head, which was getting pinged again.
"Couldn't you remember my instructions for one minute?" The voice sounds both ethereal and irritated. Which one would think would be impossible, but this voice manages it.
"No," Giraze snaps back just as irritated, "how am I supposed to remember anything when it's a time that doesn't even exist? I mean, 9:71?"
"It's 9:80 now," says Godrik, pulling out his pocket watch.
"Why is that orc here?" Giraze says, stumbling backwards off the chair, going pale in his face.
"Ah. He really is quite charming. Where'd you find him?" Smaller asked Godrik.
"Why did the No Body contact him, I wonder?" Godrik asks.
"Changing the subject, I see."
"Who is the No Body?! Why is this...thing...talking to me?"
"I already told you," the No Body will say.
"Dammit," says Giraze, who has never said that word in his life (so unbefitting his status!) except when cussing out a servant (servants are, for one like Giraze, always the exception to the rule that one must always be polite). "Now I need a ham and cheese sandwich."
"Try the nettle wine," Godrik said, pushing the cup toward him. "Clears the blood, clears the mind."
"Sorry, we're out of ham," says Smaller. "We have a little long pig, prepared in the ancient style of the South Pacific...."
"Smaller," said Godrik with a tinge of warning in his voice, "not a good idea. Not for his kind."
"Orc," moans Giraze. "Why? And what's long pig?"
"You don't want to know," said Godrik firmly. "And be polite to this orc, son. She is the proprietor of this place."
Giraze will, in a split second, turn very, very pale.
"She'd the proprietor?!" Giraze gasps.
"I've been such for quite a while," she will reply her face only slightly sorrowful.
"Ever since Earth was destroyed, and humans had to get the orcs to help them escape, in fac-"
"Earth? What will that be?" Giraze asked.
"It will be the home planet of the human'd," Godrik explains.
Giraze shivered as he drank the nettle wine. His long, skinny mustache deftly avoided the liquid getting on his upper lip.
"That is one well trimmed mustache," a mysterious voice will say.
"What is or was that?!" Giraze yelped, jumping in the air.
"Oh, just the table," Smaller says, stifling a yawn.
"Yo," the table says, "I'm Table. My creator's name is Orc Knight ."
"Whoever your creator is, they seem to have left you on your lonesome, haven't they?" gloats Smaller. "Haven't seen Orc Knight in here in forever. Now. I must go sound the gong for the start of the Tall Tales contest."
She hurries off, managing, miraculously, to stay in the present tense.
"I am the chosen one!" the table yelled, so loud that Giraze jumped and spilled the last of his nettle wine, all over the table.
"Are you, now?" chuckles Godrik. "Who tells you that?"
"The No Body," replied the table. "She said I'd be the chosen one, and that would be proven so as soon as I was anointed with nettle wine. This dapper gentleman with the mustache has just done the honors."
"Wait, the talking table is the chosen one?" Giraze asked, arching one eyebrow.
A sound almost like a goat bleating "GONG!" erupted from the other side of the room.
"Ah, she rang the gong, I see," Godrik says.
"You didn't even acknowledge my question!" Giraze protested.
"Oh...uh...I guess. The No Body tends to pick strange people. Anyway..."
"What do you mean TENDS TO? Are there more than one chosen ones?"
"Well, there are 1 and a half chosen ones."
Godrik turns his head to gaze at the direction of the 'gong'. Smaller will be standing atop a footstool, with a goat hanging above her suspended by a rope, tied around the goat's stomach. A crowd of people, wearing everything from velvety purple robes to mishmashed rags, from suits of armor to nothing but a loincloth, with all sorts of facial hair, ranging from pointed goatees and long chin beards, all the way to waxed, curled mustaches and bushy, drooping muttonchops. Giraze glanced in the direction, then promptly looked away at the sight of a gnome with a long beard and a pointed hat waggling his feet and arms in dance, his open bathrobe spinning around and revealing his rather soiled underpants.
"Ah! Now it seems to be time for the tall tales contest!"
Smaller began by chanting a few harsh syllables, and the goat began to bleat uncontrollably. Godrik strokes his flowing beard.
"Thy shalt now begin thee Conteste of Talle Tales," Smaller said in an ominous, droning voice, before it switched back to its usual jovial undertones, "you know, I used to be so tall, that I rivaled mountains in sheer size! Of course, then me legs were cut off by a flying pirate ship, gosh-darn those scurvy scalliwags!"
The entire room burst into laughter. Godrik toppled off his chair guffawing, and even the table giggled in a high pitched, annoying voice. Giraze rolled his eyes and scowled.