The Phantom Turd

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Epic Tavern

On Crossover Eve Night, a phantom turd appears in the bathroom of the Old Priest & Rat Tavern. Find out the story behind it, and listen as Master Bard Marlee Nightfall tells the Feckin' Tale of Glenn Vikibod, who must become a pirate to avenge his father's murder, find the pirate's flame haired daughter, and reclaim the Cursed Big Bean! You can also play along with Marlee's "Huzzah! and What, Ho!" drinking game - although you might want some very small glasses!

Beorian Tales: Holidays/Crossover Eve

The Phantom Turd

(A Halloween “Huzzah! What, ho!” Drinking Game Tale)

 

Chapter 1 – Bogle in The Bathroom

Sir Danilo Roberto Sonoma Burrito del Plato Azul Especial con Cerveza (aka Danny the Daft), fearsome pirate paladin of the House of Many Tots (formerly the House of Many Tarts), admired his reflection in the tavern’s bathroom mirror.  The crowd of relatives gathered in said mirror, both familiar and unknown, were giving nods of approval.  All except for Aunt Cristina, who simply sat in her enveloping armchair and scowled.  The mirror, called “Everything’s Relatives,” was purchased at a hard-of-hearing witch’s yard sale, along with its twin, called “Everything’s Irrelevant.”

The bathroom door opens, and his friend Wily strolls over to a stall to take a whizz.  “Impressive!” Wily remarks, “Lookin’ good!”

“Thanks,” Danny answers, “I went to that Sew Fine shop in Tasuil Beor – you know, the one owned by Dazel & Xemina’s mom…”

“I wasn’t talking about you, you slop for brains!  You do look pretty sharp, though!  I was talking about the new bathroom!  TWO stalls, wow!”  Wily flushes, then washes his hands.  He’s about to speak when the door flies open, letting in a belching Katris Grumbleborn, who’s obviously in her cups.  She looks at the boys, belching again.

“It’s Midnight, you two!  ‘Lona an’ Emmy’s waitin’ upstairs!  You two stay close by, okay – tha’ Menagerie’s dangerous!”  Katris stumbles into the stall and nearly rips the curtain when she closes it.

Yeeeeeeeeeeech!” she screams, lurching out and grabbing Wily by his fur suit (he’d dressed as a were-owlbear.) “You could at least flush yer doo when yer done!”

“Katris, he did flush!” states Danny, arms crossed defensively. “And ‘e whizzed! No shite!”

Katris grabs Danny in one hand and Wily in the other, and shoves them into the stall.  There, in the toilet bowl, was indeed a ‘doo.’  A monumental, where-in-the-hell-did-that-come-from sized doo.  As if its size wasn’t enough, its color palette was astonishingly repulsive.  A cringe-worthy, maggot-infested and altogether gloriously gruesome dump for Crossover Eve.

“Well, in the name of Bob the Eldest God – FLUSH IT!” she shouts.

Wily flushes, and the waters whoosh and do their thing.  But the massive rope of crap remains.

Katris looks over their shoulders, and quietly groans.  “The shit’s still there.”  She looks at Wily.  “You flushed, right <hic!>?”

“Yeah, ‘e flushed,” says Danny.

“The shit’s still there.  I gotta go! I GOTTA GO!!”

Wily puts both his hands on her shoulders, and looks down at the dwarf paladin.  Quietly, the young avatar of the God of Good Fortune says, “Use the other stall, Katris.”

Katris looks at him blankly.

“The other stall.  The new stall?” repeats Wily.

“Right! I keep forgetting it’s there.” Katris enters the stall, closes the curtain and says, after a minor explosive release, says ‘Why dincha’ tell me in the first place?  Aaaaah!”

A few minutes later, Katris emerges looking relieved.  Wily is flushing for the 6th time, still with no results. “I’ll tell Ravvy it’s backed up <hic!>” Katris refers to the owner of the Old Priest & Rat Tavern, young Ravinger.

“You know, it’s funny.  I don’t remember it smelling at all, do you?  Which is funny, but it looks as if it could kill anythin’ alive with just its smell.  But it didn’t smell!” Danny shakes his head.  “Something’s not right.”

“I’ll say,” says Wily, flushing the toilet yet again., “I pity the poor bastard who carried that load inside of him…or her.  Phew!  Dwarven poop is just…”

“STOP WITH THE EFFIN’ FLUSHIN’ or I’ll stuff yer ‘ead in!” shouts a familiar voice, as Redner the not-quite-zombie handyman enters - plunger, bucket and shovel in his hands.  There’s a hole as big as a two-by-four through his stomach.  He used to be sensitive about it, but he’s grown used to it over the past decade. “Lessee now, where OOOOOOOOOOOOh, my…whoa!”

“Thet there is one mighty mountain o’ merde, as me grampy used ta’ say!”  Redner, who prefers to be called Red, puts the bucket by the bowl, lowers the shovel, and drops nothing into the bucket.  Then he repeats his action – once, twice more.

“What happened, Red?” Wily asks.

“Nothin’.”

“Did you get it out?” inquires Danny.

“Nope.  Fellas, we got a problem.”  Red goes to the bathroom entrance, opens the door, and shouts, “Boss!  Boss, it’s back!”

“What’s back?” the boys ask together.

“The Phantom Turd,” he replies.  “That un-stinkin’ piece o’ ghostly poo is one stubborn, shitty spirit.”

Chapter 2 – I Smell a Story in The Air

The three went upstairs and seated themselves at the bar.  “A round of Blandies fer me an’ the boys here!”  Redner tells Young Ravinger about the return of the Phantom Turd.

“Oy!” shouts the orc Assassin Dugorim from the fireside table, “It wouldna’ be Crossover Eve without tha’ poor ole pile o’ feckin pirate shite!”

Emilia Mortalis, necromancer extraordinaire, chuckles deeply.  “Hey, Ravvy – do you want me to try and give it life?  Ghosts are pretty much a lost cause, I’m afraid.’”  Across the table from her, Elona the Shaman makes a face, saying “Only if you promise it won’t smell as bad as it looks!”

“Danny – nice pira-din, lad!  Great Crossover choice!” shouts Granny Ginny, seated at a table with Grunson Wolfspawn and the Land Pirate Gujarek Stormscream, who gives Danny a half-thumbs up (the left one was, alas, a snack of passion for a Siren, who – oh, sorry, there are children present.)

“Who knew,” said Wily, poking Danny in his ribcage, “that a piece o’ poo could be such a big deal!”

“Ack-shoo-lee,” drawled Marlee Nightfall, Beor’s favorite Bard, “it’s more aboot the man be’ind the dump, you see.  An seein’ as yer part pirate tonight, per’aps ya’d like ta’ hear tha’ tale o’ Feckin’ Glenn Vikibod and the Treasure of the Fair Anni Fo, Arrrrr?”

“Mar-lee!  Mar-lee!  Mar-lee!  Mar-lee!” chants everyone in the bar.  Ravinger pours her a large Morgue-a-Rita, presenting it with a grand flourish and topping it with a picked weretrout eyeball.

“On one condition,” said Danny, “No silly pirate accent!”

A few patrons mumbled their disapproval at his request.  “Well,” backtracked the young man, “Maybe a little one…”

“Huzzah!” cries Grunson, followed by numerous choruses of “Huzzah!”  Word had apparently spread outside the Old Priest & Rat Tavern, as people heard Marlee was about to relate Feckin’s Glenn’s story of love and derring-doo-doo. The main door swung open, admitting a broad-shouldered older man with salt & pepper hair, and a large rat wearing spectacles and carrying a cane perched on his shoulder.

“Oh Gods, Artie,” he said in the man’s ear, “They’re bleeding shouting ‘Huzzah’ and no one seems even ‘alfway drunk!  It’s going ta’ be one of those nights, eh, Ravvy?”

“Come on, Drattus,” the man says, “and let my kid do their job.  Looks like the only seats left are at the bar with Red and the Tots boys.  We’d best be seated if we’re to hear of matters great and fecal.  A plate of Spider bites, please!”

The regulars moved their tables to clear a space for Marlee, who started to play a pirate shanty on her viollute, waiting for patrons to get their orders of BBQ rat, dire boar stew, and devil-crab legs.  A few spectres and spirits gathered in the rafters, being festive but not disruptive.  Marlee clears her throat.

“Before I begin, remember – every time I raise my hand, like this (her fist closed, elbow bent) you’re to shout ‘Huzzah!’ and finish your drink.  That’s ‘finish’ it like a pirate, not sip it like a princess!  Now, you all should have pitchers on your table.  Are you ready?” she asks, hand raised.  “Huzzah!”

Chapter 3 - The Feckin’ Tale of Glenn Vikibod

Our story begins and ends with a bang.  Glenn Vikibod was born 170 years ago on Crossover Eve, to a poor farmer and his wife in the fishing port of Parras.  His mother, may she rest in peace, was a sweet lady and a hard worker.  But she loved her beans, like everyone in her family.  The night she went into labor, well, she’d eaten a whole bowl of creamed red curry beans.  When the midwife said “PUSH, you big tub of year-old lard, feckin’ push like yer life depends on it!” - she pushed, and it ended with a ‘BANG!’ at both ends.  Most successful push, and the messiest birthing you ever saw.  (Raises her hand.)

(“HUZZAH!”)

He grew up on the farm, strong and responsible, thanks to his father’s philosophy of kindness and a firm hand.  His mother’s love of beans had his father put out word that he was interested in buying beans rare and unusual, and every now and then they’d get a visitor from lands far from Parras.

On a Crossover Eve Day, when Glenn was ten, a man came bearing a bean from a land unknown.  It was the size of a bull’s head.  He said it had been found in the wreckage of a pirate’s ship.  His father paid him a handsome sum, and saved the bean for the morrow to give his mother as a birthday present.  But in the middle of the night, a commotion was heard outside the house, and Glenn ran outside to see his father fighting a giant of a man, who wore a pirate’s colors and stood ten feet tall.  Next to him was a golden dragon, and on that dragon’s back, holding the monstrous bean, was the beautiful, flame-haired nine-year old Anni Fo.

“C’mon, da, I gotta pee!” shouted the redheaded beauty.  The man ran Glenn’s father through with his rapier, jumped onto the dragon’s back, and flew off into the night.Glenn held his dying father in his hands and said, “Dad, I’m going to be a pirate!”  The farmer saw where his son’s gaze strayed, and his last words were, “Don’t be daft, son. It’s just a feckin’ bean!”

But young Glenn Vikibod wasn’t thinking about the freakishly big bean, dear friends, no.  It’s true, the bean had been stolen.  But something else, more precious and rarer, had been stolen that fateful night. Glenn’s heart now belonged to the Fair Anni Fo.  (Raises her hand.)

(“Huzzah!”)

Chapter 4 – Vikibod’s Journey Feckin’ Begins

His Mum sold the farm, and they moved to Retaw.  She opened up a small food stall that she named “A Mighty Wind”, featuring only foods and drinks made from or with beans.  Because beans were cheap, and her recipes tasty as well as filling, in 10 years she’d done well enough to buy them a small cottage overlooking the famous Blackheart Bay.  Famous not for its seafood, although it was a haven for shrimp and devil crabs.  Famous for its reputation to attract pirates.  (Raises her hand.)

(“Huzzah!”)

(“Arrr, Arrr!’ prompts the Bard.)

(“Arrrrrrrr!” the crowd answers.)

Now, obvious pirates are watched closely by the authorities.  Glenn Vikibod had no interest in being taught by obvious pirates.  To solve the mystery of the Big Bean, and find the whereabouts of his nameless red-haired girl, he knew that he himself had to become a pirate. No one he’d spoken to had ever heard of a ten-foot-tall pirate riding a dragon.  Locals started calling him “The Loon” but he didn’t mind.

A few years ago, he’d made friends with a fisherman’s son, an orc lad named Sneadly Stormscream…

(“That’s me dad!” shouts Gujarek.)

(Marlee sighs, and raises her hand.)

(“Huzzah!”)

Today, Sneadly told him that the one pirate he thought might know about the pirate giant was Honk Nororo.  Now, our Glenn had known Honk for a decade now, and had absolutely no idea that he was a pirate.  To him, Honk was the ancient and mute net mender who sat by the posts of Retaw’s largest dock.  With net in hand (which Glenn had bought the day before, and deliberately cut some holes in) he approached him.

Honk nodded at him in greeting, and reached for the net.  After a moment, Honk gave him a one-eyed stare.  Glenn stared back at him, knowing suddenly that he was aware the damage to the net was deliberate.  Honk patted the barrel next to him.  He reeked of sea salt and dead fish.  Then again, everyone in Retaw reeks – it’s a good, honest stink! (Raises her hand.)

(“Huzzah!”  By this time, there’s a line for the bathroom.)

He told his story to the net mender.  People passed them by, none of them bothering to stop and comment on the tragic tale.  “And that’s why I have to learn to be a pirate, and find the man who killed my dad!  But I want to serve under a smart captain!  Do you know of any?”  And Honk Nororo began to laugh.  After a minute, Glenn stood up and turned to leave.  And felt a hand on his shoulder.

He turned to see who it was, when a fist connected with his jaw and sent him sprawling.  Glenn stood up to see Honk looking at him with a smirk.  He threw Glenn’s net back at him, which the young man grabbed and tossed high in the air, where it landed over and entangled Honk.  Glenn slugged him back, then again began to go. “Hey, young Vikibod!” a voice shouted at him.

It was Honk, rubbing his jaw and nodding his head.  “You’ll do,” he said with a smile. “Midnight. The cemetery.”  Did I mention it was 10 years to the day that Glenn’s dad was killed?  That’s right – Glenn was to be waiting in a cemetery, on Crossover Eve.

He returned home and apprehensively packed a small bag of clothes, a small dragon he’d carved out of wood, and a picture he’d sketched of the young girl who’d stolen away his life and his heart.  His mum fed him well on a hearty shellfish stew, with plenty of beans, of course.  She gave him some packages of them to take with him.  Ten, actually, weighing a few pounds each.  She kissed him, and made him promise that he’d come home to her, one way or another. (Raises her hand.)

(“Huzzah!”)

Dwarven Loremaster Lassen Looper’s voice yells from the back of the tavern, “For our love of dry pants, a pee break, ya long-winded wench of most excellent words!  Pee Break!”

Marlee laughs.  “All right, everyone!  Anyone who doesn’t know, they’re downstairs!  And ‘ware the Phantom Turd!”

“By the time I’m through,” says Looper, it’ll be scared o’ me!”

Approaching Wily “Were Owlbear” and “Sir Danilo”, Emilia and Elona gently ask them if they still wish to go to the Lost Menagerie.  After a brief discussion, they say yes, but they’d like to hear the rest of the story.  The two magic-users look at each other.  “We’re going now, but we promise to be back,” says Elona, “in time enough for you to go too!  We’re going to get someone to help with the tavern’s paranormal poop problem.”

A handsome young man escorts a cloaked but very womanly figure to the bar, where the woman speaks with the young Ravinger, who grins and nods.  The two figures find a table at the back, while Ravvy speaks first with Marlee, and then with the boys.  After about 15 minutes, everyone’s back from their urinary break except Red, whose job it is to keep things clean down there.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Wenches and Rogues, and those who are neither or both – you may notice the lads bringing you bottles of Pirate Sarcasto’s Peppy Mint Schlopps, and some shot glasses, courtesy of a special guest in our audience, in memory of Raven Stormswept – may she rest in Bridget’s arms forever.  A new wrinkle to tonight’s future tinkles!  After each ‘huzzah!’ your next cheer will be ‘What, ho!’ an’ you’ll drink a shot!  All right? What, ho?” (Raises her hand.)

(“What, ho!”)

Glenn waited by the grave of Rafe Snoless, who died whilst fighting the good fight.  In the end, though, the poor sod lost to the stomach bug.  He remembered the last words of his da, and said to the spirits drifting the grounds, “I guess I am daft – daft fer the girl with the flaming hair.”  “Thass’ sssooo very ssssweet,” came a sibilant whisper in his ear.  Followed by mad cackling, and few hacking coughs.

Sssso, ya’ wish ta’ be a pie-rate, do ya’ now?” said the figure below him.  Glenn nodded yes, and carefully extricated himself from the tree he’d leapt into the minute he heard the first ‘ssss.’  The figure sounded neither old nor young, male nor female.  Dressed all in black, all you could see was the white of their eyes.  Strangely, amid the expected stench of dried sweat, seawater and seafood past its prime, was the unexpected perfume of…roses?

Doona say a word, and follow me – if you kin keep up – in tha’ dark.”  The figure led him past the graveyard, through a wood, and to a monument surrounded by trees.  It was a pedestal, on which was a stone dragon, standing upon what looked to be – the feckin’ bean!  His companion motioned him to push it backwards, and as he did so, the ground underneath him opened up and swallowed him into darkness.

He awoke to a sharp smell, and water trickling down his brow.

La Riviere, tha’sss enough!  No need ta’ add ta’ tha’ ssstink!”

“Rowf! Rowf!”

Although it was still pitch black, Vikibod knew that was a dog’s bark.  The indignity of what had just happened hit him.  He heard squelching noises, stood, and using his hands to feel the way, he traversed the disgustingly slimy underground path, following (he hopes) the sounds of his companion.He accidentally bumped into the person, who responded with a loud expulsion of gas, at which he gagged.

Keep up wi’me, sonny.  ‘Ow old ‘onk thought ya’d be an asset ta’ tha’ crew, I’ll nivver know!”

“Your dog peed on me!” said Glenn, with righteous anger, to which the black-clad figure laughed.

Why she likes ya, I’ve no ideer, but ya been marked.  Git yewsed ta’ it!”

“Rowf” agreed La Riviere, followed by what can only have been described as a canine belch.  Glenn heard the sounds of the sea up ahead, and at last they emerged from a cave mouth onto the rocky shoreline.  The city of Retaw was a small dot of light to the north.  Out in the sea was anchored a ship resembling a floating dragon, with six huge wings on either side.

There were ghosts everywhere along the shore.  Most were sitting on the rocks, telling tall tales and drinking ghostly ales poured from phantom barrels.  Some skeletons were also there, including a pair that were dueling each other – one-armed, as they were using their detached left arms as epees.  Glenn is grabbed by his companion and propelled into a small boat that he hadn’t known was there.  “Welcome aboard,” said an educated voice, as Glenn’s companion sat in back of him.  Last aboard was Riviere, who promptly began gnawing on a large bone.

Except the bone belonged to the bottom half of the rowboat’s pilot, the one with the educated voice.  And it was the gentleman’s legbone.  Which was attached to a body.  Half a body, actually.  The man handed him two oars.

“Cap’n says you’re to row.  My name’s Professor M. Whimsy Hooters, former physician on call for the One Night Stand Inn, before my unfortunate accident.”

His guide chimed in, “Nows we jes’ call ‘im ‘Arf ‘N ‘Arf!”  (Raises her hand)

(“Huzzah!”)

Upon reaching the ship, a rope ladder is dropped.  Although it wasn’t his first time, Glenn wanted to be respectful, and in spite of the obvious invitation the ladder suggested, he asked, “Permission to come aboard, Cap’n?”, looking up and around the deck for the smart Pirate he’d be learning from.  He watched as the crew members looked at each other, and then looked back down, pointing behind him.  He turned, only to be bashed on the head by the captain, who’d been with him since the cemetery.

And that’s how Glenn Vikibod began his pirate training on the infamous ship, The Dragon’s Fiery Poot. (Raises her hand.)

(“What ho!”)

(Marlee raises her hand again.)

(“Huzzah!”)

(The bard laughs, “Just seeing if you’re paying attention!  Drink up!”)

(“Feckin’ Yo, lass!” shouts Orc druid Nestor Threlk.)

(“Shut it, and let ‘er tell the blasted story while it’s still Crossover Eve,” Artie Pendragon yells back.)

(“Sorry!”)

Chapter 5 – Pooty Training w/the Ha’penny Porkers

His teachers – the Ha’penny Porkers - were legendary.  Word was that they were ordinary sailors, who one day were bitten by a guinea pig who’d been part of a werewolf cub’s happy snack pack until it got away, biting the poor 4 bastards who tried to capture it.  They were a bit hairy, even as humans, but they were as deadly as they were adorable.  Their changing from human to guinea piglet, though, was messy.  They had a hard time finding work, for few could stomach cleaning up after them.  They stuck together, being the only were-guineas in existence.  The Dragon’s Fiery Poot hired them sight unseen, over 5 years ago.

Every day, young Vikibod would train with them until exhaustion.  Prune, wrinkled like his namesake and the eldest of the group, taught him about working the riggings and the rules of engagement in fighting at sea.  Linda Cho decided, upon testing him, that he’d be best at knife-fighting.  The months of practice saw him get so many cuts that his back and forearms looked like a well-used crossword puzzle.  Cait Stu trained him in the art of navigation, and reading the moods of the sea and the sky.

His most demanding teacher by far was Enia the Deadly.  Her task was to teach him how, as a pirate, to stay alive.  Often, she gave no clue as to what the day’s lesson was to be, or what you were supposed to do – other than to ‘not die.’  Sometime it involved guts, sometimes wits, sometimes it was how to fall properly with a knife in your hand or a sword in your belly. (Raises her hand)

(“What ho!”)

For months he continued as the lowliest member of the crew, swabbing the decks, and cleaning up the cooks’ daily chum, the crew’s nightly pukes or La Riviere’s never-ending piles of…well, you get the idea.  Then the day dawned when the ship’s cook died peacefully in her sleep.  Kostia Ma’as was well-loved by the crew, mainly because she kept to herself, being a foul-mouthed 90-year-old nudist an’ all.  It fell to our Glenn to be the cook, in addition to training and performing his clean-up duties.

Looking around the galley, he found a great selection of spices and flours, along with the usual ocean-based selection of fish and shellfish.  He opened one cabinet, and found bag after bag…of beans!  That night he cooked his mother’s signature recipe, The Mighty Wind Three Bean Pie, with spicy shrimp en croquette. Everything changed that night.

Chapter 6 – Something in the Air Tonight

A line formed at the door to the galley.  The crew came back for seconds. Glenn had been worried that he’d have to throw out the remainder, as he’d made the dinner using a recipe for 30 servings – the standard amount at his mother’s eatery.  Imagine his surprise then, when Professor M. Whimsy Hooters asked for an entire pie for the captain.

“Cap’n liked ol’ Kostia, but yer cookin’ tonight made our Cap’n light up like a Winterflame puddin’ – the cabin stinks to high heaven, an’ that’s a great thing indeed.  Keep up the good work, young man.”  His half-stomach dripped bits of beans and seaweed, as his bony pelvis and sun-bleached leg bones walked up to the deck, the Mighty Wind pie held carefully in his hand.  (Raises her hand)

{“Huzzah!”  Marlee takes notice of some slurred ‘Ho - zahs.’)

Later that night, Vikibod wondered about the mysterious captain – rarely seen or heard.  He had a feeling it had been the captain himself who had met him that night (almost a year ago) in the cemetery.  Come to think of it, the Dragon’s Fiery Poot had never been in a battle or accosted another ship in the whole time he’d been aboard.  He’d never even thought to ask anyone where the Poot was headed, or what sort of booty they hunted.  Tomorrow, he thought, he’ll ask ‘Arf ‘n ‘Arf.  He picked some fish scales out of his toenails, and went to bed.

He awakened not soon after to shouts and screams, the ship pitching wildly back and forth.  This was the first real storm he’d been in, his experience in Retaw limited to the few cloudbursts by the shore.  But as he heard the clash of metal against metal, he knew it wasn’t just bad weather – it was a fight for their lives!  The Ha’penny porkers were in guinea form, bouncing off sails and ropes to nibble through their foes’ jugulars – messy, but effective.  Prof. Hooters was surprisingly nimble, wearing rubber boots and wielding a cutlass.

Glenn takes a moment to look at his attackers, and is surprised to find that they’re goblins in loincloths and warpaint, wielding wooden spears.  Many of them had been downed by the viciously efficient swordplay of Lyn Raja, Reg Fairest, Bertha Scappens and Geo Testo the 3rd!  However, a figure that could only be the captain (The dragon skull and crossbones hat was a dead giveaway) was surrounded by 6 goblins; around him was a circular pile of goblin body parts, sliced and diced by the Captain’s longsword.  Remembering a trick learned from Linda Cho, Glenn placed three steak knives between the fingers of each hand, spotted his marks, offered up a prayer to Bono Fortuno, and let them fly.

(She raises her hand.)

{“What ho!’ – along with someone’s ‘Whazah!’)

As six goblins simultaneously fell to the deck, the Porkers shapeshifted and threw a grappling hook onto the enemy ship – a mid-sized catamaran.  One lone goblin escaped, only to swim into the open mouth of a dire shark.  The rain stopped, the clouds parted, and a pool of moonlight shone down upon the captain, who raised a victory cry, grabbed his hat, and tossed it into the air.

The crew congratulated each other, but Glenn only had eyes for the captain, whose mass of flaming red hair cascaded down the front of a quite womanly chest.  She slapped Vikibod on the back, nearly sending him into Bertha Scappens, the first mate.  “Linda told me you were doing well!”

“Not that well,” said the were-guinea, but obviously pleased.  “‘E was lucky tonight!”

“Well, I coulda killed them gobshites, true.  Still, fer someone who wants ta’ kill me da,” said Anni Fo the Fair, “I may have ta’ keep me eye on ‘im!”

(Raises her hand.)

(“Huzzah!”  One patron keels over in her chair, sleeping drunk.  ‘Huz-ho!’)

Chapter 7 – The Curse of Big Bean Island

“I remember you,” stated Anni Fo, and poured our Glenn a glass of Crackleberry Brandy.  Since the moment they stepped into her room, her pirate patois had become less pronounced.  “What I dinna understand is why did your Da take the bean?  I know why my da needed it, but not why yours would die for it?”

Glenn Vikibod told her about his mother’s passion for beans, as well as his own; about how his dad got the bean; and that it was a present for her.  Anni Fo listened, and sadly shook her head.  “Well,” she said, “I’m sorry, but it belonged to me Da.  ‘Course, it had been taken from him, but he found out where it was bound, an’ that’s when he found you.  It’s cursed, make no mistake.”

“How can a bean be cursed?” asked Glenn.

“It isn’t a bean.  It’s a Soul Egg.” And the Fair one paused.

“What, in the name of Bob the Eldest God, is a feckin’ Soul Egg?” inquired Glenn, his mouth agape.

“It holds the soul of a gas dragon.  When released, whoever looks in its eyes will die instantly.  And the stench, I’m told, is unbearable.  How the last remaining one ended up on an island far from anywhere is anyone’s guess.”

“How does your da figure into any of this?” asked our man.

“He came across the island when he & the crew were blown there by a storm.  He saw those goblins dancin’ around it like it was a bloody God, leaving offerings of food and trinkets.  He an’ his men snuck in when they were gone, grabbed the thing, ate the food and pocketed the trinkets.  When the soul egg was lifted from the island, there was a great moanin’ and a stink-filled smog rolled away from it, covering the island.  The goblins came runnin’ from everywhere.  My da and his crew barely made it back alive.”

“And what’s this curse?”

Anni Fo pushed her flame-red hair to one side. “They began to suffer from constipation.  There were farts aplenty, but nothing coming out except gas.  When the good professor looked at the egg, he immediately knew what it was.  He told me da, and they turned around to go back to the island.  Came time to go ashore – but the egg had been stolen!  The closest port, accordin’ to the stars, was Retaw.  When we got there, the thief, Cora Tass, was nowhere to be found.  But we heard tell of the ‘Big Bean’ that had been found.  The rest you know.”

Glenn nodded.  Anni was at ease, her ample, womanly legs crossed as she leaned back on her captain’s bed.  Our Vikibod knew better than to let his thoughts stray – even when they’d strayed beyond propriety and modesty already, of their own free will.  (Raises her hand.)

(“What, Ho! Woo-hoo!” Three more patrons have slumped forward, being 3 sheets to the wind.)

He cleared his throat. “Did they lift the curse?”

A cloud passed over her face.  She looked down at her empty glass, and threw it against the wall, right below a painting of what could only have been of her father and herself as a child.She barked an empty laugh, rose, and produced a broom that had seen better days.  Glenn took the broom slowly but carefully from her grasp, and began sweeping up the shattered glass. 

“The men were in agony by the time we got to the island.  The goblins were lined up on shore, watching us as the egg was brought back and placed on the pedestal.  I was the only one who wasn’t constipated.  When I went to snatch a fruit from the offerin’s placed around it, the goblin chief slapped it out of my hand.  He showed me the cut marks in the fruit’s flesh, and the thick milky liquid that they had placed in it.  The food that the goblins placed there was always poisoned, and there was no cure.”

“I screamed bloody murder.  Me da carried me back to the ship.  Some of the men were already dead.  He pulled this from his pocket.” Anni Fo handed Glenn a bone horn carved with runes. “He blew on it, and it summoned the gold dragon Primion.  He asked Primion to watch over me, and my da died whilst I held his head.  I hate to take your revenge away from you, but you’ll be happy to know he died in terrible pain.”

Glenn saw that she was staring at him intently, a single tear running down her cheek.  “I’m taking this ship to Big Bean Island, and I’m going to claim that blasted egg.  There’s a guy in Tasuil Beor, named Ignatius Mordred.  He runs a shop called Morbid Curiosities…” (Marlee the Bard scans the audience)

(“And still does, right, Iggy?” Marlee cheerfully yells.)

(A voice, tremulous yet sonorous, answers back, “Yes, my dear.  And don’t call me Iggy.”)

Anni Fo told Glenn she planned to sell the egg, and asked him if she could count on his help.  Poor Vikibod – tonight he’d had his first storm at sea, first pirate fight, first kill, and his first captain turned out to be his first & only love.  So, he figured, what the Nether – why not?  He said yes, and Anni Fo flew into his arms and kissed him, deeply.  Well, you can guess how things went.  (Raises her hand.)

(“Huzzy haha Ho!”)

Chapter 8 – Where We Skip Some Things

I won’t bore you of how their love blossomed, and their legendary hanky-pankying (which you can read about in a very hard-to-find chapbook), and how they used the captured goblin catamaran to surprise the Big Bean natives but took part in their annual talent show before slaughtering most of them (mostly for their awful singing) and retrieving the Soul Egg, dodging the suffocating foul-smelling gas, the sea orgy with Thalassa the Sea Goddess, or their daring saving of the Sisters of Perpetual Disappointment from their sinking casino ship The Holy Roller. (Raises her hand.)

(“Wha, hoo!”)

No, I’ll just tell you they docked the ship at Slainte. The Ha’penny Porkers booked a lovely room over a pet shop.  Anni Fo told Glenn not to question it, although he did wonder a bit if soon there’d be the petite patter of furry little feet on the decks of the Dragon’s Fiery Poot in the near future.  The rest of the crew stayed at The Wiggleworm’s Wigwam, a lovely Inn by the sea that had a famous eat-till-you-puke buffet every other day of the week. 

It was a half day’s horse-and-carriage ride to Morbid Curiosities, and a lovely day for it.  The night before, Glenn had fixed them both a meal composed entirely from beans (he’d bought a bushel of many varieties at the Farmer’s Market.)  The Soul Egg was tied securely in the carriage, and our loving couple were halfway to their nest-egg sale when they were beset by a band of half-wit half-elves.  Before they could even protest, several of them blew darts at them, missing them for the most part. But after our ferocious fighters had dispatched half of them, a half-elf troll simply grabbed them both and (lightly) knocked their heads together.

When they awoke, they found themselves in the dead of night, tied to chairs that had been considerately padded and pillowed.  A roaring fire was nearby, and place settings were arranged in a neat circle around the blaze.  In the center of the fire there was a metal tripod, and suspended from it was the Soul Egg.  It was when Anni Fo attempted to stand that they both realized that (a) there were two place settings for them as well and (2) their hands and legs were both free.  Whoever had been given the job of tying them to the chairs had done that, and only that.

Thanks to the awful cacophony coming from a dense wooded glade in front of them, it didn’t take them long to figure out that it was their captors practicing a popular tune called “Try Not to Get Killed Today.”  Badly.  Worse, even, than the goblin talent show.  They managed to silently remove the egg, which was hot, but not dangerously so, and navigated the dinnerplates to get to the main road.

After walking for about 30 minutes, Anni noted that the egg was still hot, and felt lighter.  Glenn discovered a wide clearing off to the southern side.  Anni, to drive away the night’s chill, started a small fire.  Glenn examined the egg - it had not cooled down at all, but it showed no sign of having been scorched, nor burns from the flames it had hung over.  Have I mentioned that it was Crossover Eve?  Our man was just about to say “Nothing to worry about, my love.  All is right as rain” (Raises her hand)

(Huzz…zahaho!)

 …but unluckily he didn’t get the chance.  The egg began to rise above the ground, and grew opaque to the point where Glenn saw swirls of sickly-looking gas, roiling around and around, swirling and turning, churning and twisting, shifting and twirling and swirling and all this motion made his own bean-filled lower colon feel queasy and bloated, uneasy, bile-coated…

(Some tavern patrons get busy upchucking their Crossover Eve Crispy Crawly Fritters)

During this bilious ballet, Anni Fo tried to remember everything she’d found out about Soul Eggs, specifically their hatching. It was when two gas dragon eyes formed amidst the gas morass that she recalled what she needed.  On emerging, the gas dragon must eat someone with a soul so it may consume the soul but occupy the body.  She watched in horror as the gas spirit emerged and advanced on Glenn Vikibod.  And there was nothing she could do.  She was certain she’d pass out from its foul stench, soon.

Glenn saw it coming, and was paralyzed with panic.  He felt its eyes bore into his soul.  (Raises her hand.)

(Whaaat?  Ho-ly Mother Hubbards!)

Funny thing about souls.  They’re not easily scared.  Let’s face it, there are few things in creation that can consume a soul.  But a gas dragon can, and this soul was pissin’ psychic fear out of every non-corporeal pore.  Terrified.  It started inching away from the front of Glenn’s physical body, riding the inner curves of veins, through the nerve networks and swimming down the spine.

The stench grew worse with every passing second.

Chapter 9 – The Birth of The Phantom Turd

Its mouth touched his head first.  Its gas turned liquid, slimy like a jellyfish. Shoulders next, then down to his waist.  It was at this point that everywhere the slime touched it began to dissolve things like clothes, skin, etc.

We don’t know when our Glenn lost consciousness.  His body, though, reacted almost instantly.  And his soul, priests theorize, went to where the only safe exit was – his anus.  It had no sooner done so than Glenn’s body exploded, twice.  First up was the rope of fecal matter, with the sound of an axe splitting a rock.  The soul followed next.  Then, the pent-up bean gas exploded outward, doing two rather miraculous things. It propelled the soul into the poop and out of his body.  In a way, Glenn had more than just the shite scared out of him.

At the same time, that cosmic explosion propelled Glen & the gas dragon violently forward, where they landed atop Anni’s fire.  You know what happens when a terribly toxic gas meets a fire?  Yup.  It was, basically, the Poot heard round the world.  Our poor Glenn’s body and the gas dragon consuming it were blown to smithereens, and the turd pile containing his soul was reduced to ash.  No one knows what became of the Fair, flame-haired Anni Fo.

The turd -we should call it Glenn, since his soul inhabits it – appeared first in Retaw, at his poor mother’s home.  He’d promised to return, after all.  She stopped drinking fermented bean juice, swore off caffeine, and began a regimen of jogging along the beach.  Glenn moved on to several locations, when some 30 years ago he inhabited one of the toilets at the Leaping Loon Sanitarium.When Merrick Ravinger was looking for a second-hand one for his new tavern, he came across this very toilet from Leaping Loons.  Glenn has made his home here, appearing every Crossover Eve ever since.

(Raises her hand.)

(There is general weeping, and a few teary voices sputter, “Huzzahhh! Sob! Hic!”)

Chapter the Last – Crossover Eve Magic

A chorus of moans and sighs wove its way around the rafters of the Old Priest and Rat Tavern, as the congress of ghosts and spirits left for haunts familiar.  It was midnight on Crossover Eve.

From down below, Redner was heard crying “Boss! You better get down here! Now!”  Elona, out of breath, enters the bar from the side, and says to Wily Wilcox and Danny the Daft – “C’mon, you two better hurry up if you’re going to the Lost Menagerie!  I’ve got permission to use their back entrance!”  The two boys are out the door faster than a bat can fly.

Artie looks at his ward, and nods.  Drattus the Rat jumps on Ravvy’s shoulders as incredibly drunken patrons, waiting their turn for an open stall, are shoved aside.  Ravvy’s eyes spot Redner’s problem – a naked young man, with long blonde hair gathered at the top and braided into a long ponytail, stands looking a bit dazed.  Ravvy removes the bartender apron and puts it over the man’s head.  Next to the man is Alzebar Pandemonium, Manager of the Lost Menagerie and Master of Time Magic.  Also, like Redner, a not-quite-zombie.

When Ravvy gets him seated at the bar, he pours an ale for the now nearly Naked newcomer.  “Thanks,” says the man, “Feckin’ yo.”  And drains it down in one gulp.

Drattus runs on the counter, stares up at him, and asks with a wink, “Now who might ye be?”  The man is unfazed by the larger-than-usual talking rat.

“My name’s Glenn Vikibod.”

Marlee, still seated onstage, raises her hand.  The patrons who are still conscious give a rousing slurred chorus of “Huzzah’s!” and “What ho’s!”

“What, ho!” answers our Vikibod reborn. “Yo – where’s my fair Anni Fo?”

Marlee the Bard sidles up to him to break the bad news when a woman’s voice says with incredulity, “Glenn – is that truly you?” She runs into his arms, but not before artfully grasping a shot glass from young Ravinger’s outstretched hand and downing the peppermint schlopps before locking lips.

Alzebar joins Emilia Mortalis, who winks from the door, her eyes glowing an odd shade of red before she & Alzebar ride away on her friend, the centaur Edward Trotter.  Beor regains two lost souls this Crossover Eve.  The how and why of that?  Well, that’s another story.

What, ho!

>>>>>>>>>> <> <<<<<<<<<<

 

Afterword:  This story is dedicated to Twitch streamers and Discord Channel creators Viking Blonde (Glenn Vikibod) and Fionna (Anni Fo); and their tribe of dedicated followers, some of whom provided names that are anagrammed for characters in this story.  This story’s genesis came from the former’s streaming of a live playthrough of ‘Dark Souls 2’ when, after his character died yet again, he called his killer a ‘stinkin’ piece of ghostly poo.’ 


Submitted: October 05, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Catfish Waterdancer. All rights reserved.

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