Devon awoke the next morning with a herd of trolls tap dancing inside his head, and they were out of synch. With a moan, he rolled over and buried his face deep into the pillow. Lying there his mind raced, what had Mat gotten them into last night? Was Mat passed out on the couch? How much had they drunk? Then the dream struck him, he smirked, he’d been a druid in a magical world, it was a great fucking dream.
He heard a sound like a wounded cat and opened his eyes. The room started to spin, and he realized the sound was his, his whole damn body hurt. As his eyes adjusted, he stared up at the unfamiliar ceiling; this wasn’t his room; this wasn’t his house. The smells were different. His mind froze. That’s right it wasn’t a dream. Pulling up his covers he looked down, the ultimate test. Yup, morning wood. Again, he gripped his head, what was that shit?
Slowly as he lay there in the soft covers of this strange bed staring at the slats in the ceiling the events of the previous night started to piece themselves back together. They’d checked into an inn, ate kobold, and drank paint thinner… no… acid.
He tried to roll over but failed, deciding instead to just lay there and suffer, hoping his stomach would stop churning. Finally, more slowly, he scooched to the edge of the bed and reached down for his pack. Finding it, he began searching with a hand as he struggled not to move his head or throw up. There it was, his book, he pulled it out and dropped it on the crumpled sheets. Damn it landed loud. Flipping through the excessively noisy pages he found what he was looking for and forced himself, through blurry eyes, to focus.
He tried to center his mind, but gawd it hurt. Finally, he muttered the spell upon himself. Laying back Devon closed his eyes as the effects began to spread through his foggy mind and body. His head cleared, his stomach calmed, and he felt a renewed will to live. Sitting up, slowly, he tucked the pillows behind his head as he heard a feeble knock at the door. Mat didn’t wait; he stumbled into the room, “Oh, sweet Jesus please tell me you can do something about this.” He staggered across the floor and fell facedown across the end of the bed, his hooves hanging off the side. To no surprise, Mat was buck naked. Devon chuckled at how adorable his friend was in his suffering as he wiggled his tight little ass and groaned into the sheets, his tail swishing back and forth. In a muffled plea, “meaning soon. Oh dear god, what was that shit? Do you agree the barkeep should die; please tell me I can kill Burf?”
“I’ve no idea what it was, and no, I don’t think it’d be a good idea to kill the bartender. It was, after all, your idea to get drunk as I recall.”
“Unless those are the words of the spell, shut up.”
With a shrug Devon placed a hands on each of Mat’s ass cheeks and cleared his mind. Might as well cop a feel while at it. He focused on the spell and started casting; it became easier each time, it really was like muscle memory. As a soft glow lit up the curves of Mat’s ass, he knew the spell was working. He’d practiced this particular magic several times, but always on himself. He was curious what it felt like to the other person; to him, it was like a cool tickle. He moved his hands slowly up and down, mindlessly enjoying the feel of the spell as well as the smoothness of Mat’s soft ass cheeks. “What are you doing?” he heard from the sheets.
“Oh, sorry, casting this spell tickles a bit,” he said a bit embarrassed.
“Right, you just like playing with my ass.”
“Yea, sure. To cast the spell, I need to build a representation of the subject I’m healing in my mind’s eye and what’s a better symbol for you than an ass,” Devon answered as he heard Mat began to moan like he was having an orgasm. The spell was obviously working, “Oh damn, that spell works so goooooood. Oh yes, Oh yes, oh please, please don’t stop.”
“Ok, maybe sending that much power through your ass wasn’t such a good idea. Wait, you said you were about to throw up, so you came to my room? Sweet,” Devon said as he looked around. The room wasn’t very large, just big enough for a bed, small table, and chair. There was a window opposite the door and a tiny fireplace dangerously close to the end of the bed. The roof was little more than round logs with wood slats the same color and age as the bar had been the night before. “Is this our room? I don’t even remember coming upstairs.”
“Well, you probably wouldn’t since I carried you up and threw you in bed.”
“Wait, I undressed.”
Looking up, Mat smiled, “I know, getting you in bed was the fun part. As I stripped you out of your clothes, I got to listen to you explain why it made sense for your first time to be with someone you trusted.”
Devon's eyes went wide as he turned red, “I did not…Oh...please, please tell me you're making that up.”
Mat’s smile grew wider as he continued, “Oh no, it was something to see. You were wiggling on the bed, rubbing your legs and cock, telling me you knew I wanted you. Such a slut.”
Since there was no longer a fear of morning wood at this point Devon threw back his covers and found his tunic. As he hurriedly put it on, “I think I’ll go down and see if this world has something resembling breakfasts and dear god, I hope they have coffee.”
As he started to leave, he looked back at his friend, still lying face down on the bed, and with all the strength he could muster he delivered a slap to Mat’s bare ass. Mat shot up with a scream. “Be right back.”
Devon stopped long enough to take his first look at their common room. There were three other doors, one on the left wall, another on one to the right beside a fireplace, and a third across the room opposite his. Mat came out, still rubbing his ass, “The one straight across is my room. That one leads down to the Inn, and the one by the fireplace is the toilet, you asshole. Damn, that hurt.”
The living room was about three times the size of the bedroom with a large fireplace across from the door leading down to the inn. There was a window on the right side and the bathroom door on the left. Across the room by Mat’s door was a table with two chairs. In the center of the room in front of the fireplace was what he guessed was this world version of a sofa, two living room chairs and a small coffee table. It all looked very convenient. “Ok, I’ll see what food they have, you want something?”
“Eggs, I need eggs and coffee...,” answered Mat as he walked to the bathroom still rubbing the now glowing handprint on his ass, the other scratching his balls.
“Be right back,” said Devon as he headed down the stairs. The Inn was dim; the only light was from the morning sun coming through the windows. He could understand why they kept the place so dark, in the light of day it was a shithole. In the center of the room bent over sweeping the floor was the Barkeep, or at least that’s what Devon thought. As he called out, he got his first lesson in Dwarfs. As the guy stood, Devon noticed a set of enormous breasts; it was a female. Come to find out, female dwarves, like the males, had beards and were just about as ugly. The only real difference, if this dwarf was any example, was makeup, between the mustache and beard, and of course the massive, if not somewhat sagging, breasts.
“How might I help ye...are you the guests on the top floor.”
“Yes, Maam, we are,” answered Devon.
Looking almost like she was about to attack him, she stepped closer and started poking his chest with a finger. “I ain't no Maam; I work for a living. I’m Klarga, the mornin help. You, young sir, look like you could use some breakfast and a bit of brew.”
Devon threw his hand over his mouth as he turned pale upon hearing the suggestion of ale, “Um, no booze, my stomach is still angry about last night.”
“Oh no lad, when I sayz brew I mean tagret (coffee), it’s a ground-up bean we boil and serve in the mornings. It’ll put hair on your chest as well as get you up and moving again.”
Devon smiles, “Oh, yes, please. Does it come in pots, cups, or barrels? As much as you can give us. Oh, what is the morning meal?”
“I can fix you up a couple of eggs, some shaved spuds and a tark (pork) steak.”
Devon thought for a second, after the kobold thing he wasn’t sure if this tark was sentient or not. Shaking his head, “Yea, two orders, with some grilled bread and do you have any preserved fruit spread.”
“Jam, we call it jam. Where ya from laddy.”
“Long story, but all that sounds great. Should I wait, or do you bring it up.”
“Whichever way suits you. It’ll take a bit to cook, so you might want to run along, and I’ll bring it up when it's ready.”
“Thanks for all your help,” smiled Devon as he headed back up the stairs.
As he closed his door behind him Mat came back out of his room, “Are you planning on getting dressed?” asked Devon.
“Not until I have to. Did you find coffee?”
“Yes, a female barkeep is on duty, the female dwarf with a beard, says she’ll bring it up.”
Mat looked at Devon sideways, “Is this some code?”
“NO…the dwarf is female and has a beard. It's fuckin cool. Anyway, she says it’ll take a bit to cook the food. Might I suggest some clothes,” Devon added, raising an eyebrow.
“These are our rooms,” remarked Mat as they both heard a pounding very low on the door, followed by, “Open up, or I’m setting it in the hall.”
“That was fast,” said Devon as Mat darted towards his room. He let Karlga in and together they set the table. “Where’s the one with the hooves. I ain't never seen hooves,” barked the dwarf.
“He’s in the bedroom; he’s not yet dressed.”
“Oh that’s not a problem, I’ve seen those before. Unless he’s got two or something.” Walking over and knocking on the door, “Get out here, I want to see these hooves.”
Devon shook his head knowing what Mat was going to do, and sure enough, he trotted out butt naked and smiled, “you said to be cooperative.”
Slowly she made a full circle around him as she studied the hooves while ignoring his nudity, “So that’s how they're attached, fascinating.” When she made it back to the front, she headed towards the door, “Let me know if there is anything else you need.” She stepped from the room but just before pulling the door shut added, “nice ass and one heck of a fine tallywacker,” then slammed the door and started laughing as she headed down the stairs.
Devon turned ready for some innocent fun at his friends’ expense. What he found surprised him to silence, Mat was beet red. Their eyes met as Devon burst out laughing. “She played you... Hahaha.”
Mat stared at Devon in disbelief until the corner of his mouth twitched. “She probably liked the handprint,” he barked as he broke out laughing as well.
Devon removed the covers over their food, it smelled wonderful, but he couldn’t take his eyes off the pork. When Mat joined him, he said as they sat down, “It's Tark.”
Cutting a slice and taking a bit, “That’s good to know. I guess there’s a version of pigs. I wonder if it’s smart as well, you know, like the kobold?”
Devon rolled his eyes and tried a small taste, pretty much like ham. Looking out the window, “It’s still early, you have some ideas for today?”
Taking a sip of this world's version of coffee, “What did they call this?”
“Tagret, I think.”
“I’m not sure where we should start. I looked last night and there were clothes, I guess they’re our uniforms but who knows. Regardless, if you’re going to see the Druids, I’d suggest we get that out of the way first. I've got a feeling my community is going to be a bit more secretive and combative.”
“Hopefully, the Druids will be as I’ve always imagined them, tree-hugging, welcoming and peaceful. But since that’s what I want them to be, they’ll probably be the meanest mother fuckers we’ll ever meet. Either way it should give us a starting point.” Taking a bite of his eggs and some hash browns, he added, “You know, I wonder if we can get the barkeep, I can't remember his name, to answer some of our questions, you know with the right incentive. Maybe some of the finer points of working with guilds. I bet he has dealing with them being in the service industry and all.”
“I guess it's possible; you want me to talk to him?”
Devon laughs, “No, I want me to talk to him; you aren't the most tactful person.”
“If you say so. But if you’re going to see the Druids you need to get moving.”
“Let me run downstairs and see if the barkeep is in.”
“Um…Einstein, what exactly are you going to tell him? Him being Burf, you probably should know his name. Also, if you’re a trained Druid already, shouldn’t you know most of this?”
Shaking his head, Devon motioned for Mat to follow him, “Put on some clothes and come watch a Master at work.”
They finished dressing, Mat grabbing only two daggers which he stowed in his sleeves. They headed downstairs to find Burf already behind the bar doing whatever it was barkeeps does when there wasn’t anyone in the bar.
“Greetings, I be hearin you didn't survive last night all that well, you seem to have recovered quickly.”
Devon stepped up and bent towards the dwarf, “Is there a chance we could get a word in private?”
Shrugging, Burf gave him a long look and then looked around the empty bar. “Sure I can deliver a couple of bottles up to your room since we are so crowded. Just let me finish this,” he said in a loud tone for no one to hear as he shook his head. With a laugh he waved for them to go back up stairs.
“I think he was mocking us?” said Devon back in their room.
“You think?” barked Mat as he started laughing.
They waited impatiently for what seemed forever until finally, they heard a knock. Devon rushed over and welcomed the Dwarf in; he was carrying three mugs and two bottles of wine. Seeing Devon turn green, he said with a smile, “This is the real stuff; it won't be as harsh on that delicate little system of yours, cleric.”
“It’s actually Druid,” commented Devon as he looked dubiously at the bottles.
Setting the tray on the table, Burf poured them all a goblet as he took a seat in one of the side chairs, propping his feet up, “So it took you longer than I thought it might. Let me guess, you’ll be needin some help, and your wantin to know how much of a bribe I’ll need for the pleasure of stickin my neck out for ya?”
Devon and Mat sank onto the couch staring at Burf. “This ain't my first orc hunt boys, I’ve been in this business too long. What can I do you for? Tell me what you need so I can decide two things.”
Mat cocked up one eyebrow, “And those two things would be?”
“Well, first, if I’m goin to help at all, or if killin ya would make more sense and lastly, of course, if I choose to help ya, how much should it cost ya.”
Mat inclined his head, “Seems fair enough. Devon, you were handling this.”
Burf raised a cup to Mat, “Nice, let him do it, then if he mucks it up you can go to your grave feelin you could’ve done a better job.”
Devon took a drink and looked up in surprise, “This is better, really, a lot better. Here's the problem, we’ve been in seclusion for a while doing research and traveling, so we’ve all but lost contact with our guilds. I haven't checked in with anyone, nor has Mat, in many years. Now we come here, and it appears, if our source is correct, this town is strict on the whole ‘checking in with your guild’ thing. Our first question is do we need to? Can we not, because I know both of us would prefer to stay out of the official eye if possible? Plus we have robes but they’re so old we’re not even sure if they’ll work?
Making a face, Burf said, “That’s it, you need robes? You’ll need to report to your guilds or risk being hunted down.”
Mat stepped in at this point, “that’s the first problem, and I agree a small one. We decided the Druids are probably the more…understanding…of the guilds we’d need to visit.”
“What with you being multiple classes and all?”
Both Mat and Devon’s eyebrows shot into their hairline. “That damn Martus.”
“Don’t blame him. He works for the Thieves Guild, but he drinks, buys his girls, and gambles with me. More to the point, he gambles badly with me. So I find out what he finds out. Who do you think sent him over to have that little chat? You’re new to this town, not the normal kind of new, and there is somethin off about you two. Since you’re stayin under my roof I needed to see what I could dig up. You know the whole ‘killing you to save me trouble’ part of this conversation,” said Burf with a smile as he took a long drink from his goblet.
Shaking his head, Mat said, “Fine, fine, a rookie mistake. Does that mean you’ll help us?”
“We’ll see as we’ve now arrived at the second order of business. The part where we talk about…”
“The money?” answered Devon.
“Yup, it’ll be 30 gold. You get the room, food, drinks, whores, my protection and help up to a point.”
“Up to a point?” asked Devon.
“…up to the point where he won't anymore, or we’ve gotten our 30-gold worth of help.” Answered Mat as he looked over at Burf for confirmation.
“See, you might be the brains there nature boy, but this one knows how the world works.” Picking up the last full bottle, the barkeep refilled the three of mugs as he leaned in, “I need some information and don’t lie. Am I guessing Martus was right about the multiple profession’s thing? He said you hedged. Which ones? And how skilled are you?”
Devon looked at Mat, then turned back answering, “I’m a Druid/Bard.”
Mat nodded, “Rogue/Sorcerer at your service.”
Nodding Burf gave Mat a hard stare, “What specialization?”
“Well, see…” Mat fidgeted a bit.
“Spit it out boy, how bad can it be?”
“Necromancer, I’m a necromancer,” answered Mat in more of a question than a statement.
“Oh…really…so it can be that bad. I’ve gotta give it to you, stab them in the back and then bring em back to serve ya.”
“As for skilled, we’re both past anything they can teach us. It's all research at this point, and as you said, our ‘boy’ here can make the dead dance at his command, a whole army of em...” added Devon.
Burf sat for a while, stroking his chin. “A Rogue/Necromancer? You might not be the bright one, but you’re by far the most dangerous person I’ve met in a while. That also explains how you two’ve managed to quest alone all this time. It’s pretty clear now; you’re an armor-plated shit house with a clinic in the back.” Taking a long sip, he sat his glass down empty, “Druids should be the first visit. I’ll get you some robes that don’t look like any of the guilds around here. You’ll need to tell em you're from across the sea and been workin with tha rulers over there. Don’t give any specifics and you should be fine. They'll probably not ask unless you don’t pull it off, then they’ll either attack or challenge you to see whatcha made of. If you make it out alive, you’ll either have their blessing or be their enemy. It shouldn’t be a problem, with the number of travelers most guilds see this as little more than a formality, wouldn’t be surprised if all ya do is sign a log.”
Turning to Mat, “as for you, you need to get to the Thieves guild soon, but go at night. Don’t worry about fitting two guilds in on the same day, your friend here will either be back with the blessing of the Druids, or he’ll be dead before nightfall. Either way, you’ll need to see the Thieves or skedaddle out of town quick. Let me go down and get those robes started.” Looking Mat over, “your clothes are fine the way they are. Use the same story as your friend, the across seas serving a ruler bit. You two together makes sense that way. As for the other two professions, I’d personally keep those under wraps.”
Devon said, having paled somewhat, “You think that’ll do it?”
Burf laughed again; it seemed to be a habit with him, “No, I believe that we’ll see if you’re worth your salt. Causin if you ain't, this room will be vacant by tomorrow night and I’ll be 30 gold richer. Speakin of which…” he held out his hand.
Mat went into his room and brought out a small bag, opening it, he pulled out two swords, both bigger than should fit, and a sack of gold. After counting out 30, he pushed it across the table to the dwarf. “I ain't never seen a portal bag before, that there tells me you're what you claim,” Burf said with a whistle as he scooped up the money and deposited it in his belt pouch. Standing he gave them another long gaze then spit in his hand and extended it to Devon, “we have a deal.”
Leaning in Mat added in a low voice, “You keep talking about how it appears we’re what we say we are. That goes both ways dwarf, don’t betray us or you’ll find out exactly what we are.” Mat looked at Devon urging him to finish the contract.
“Really, I have to spit in my hand?” Looking down in disgust at his own palm Devon did a little putt, and then clasp hands and shook.
“Pitiful,” Burf scoffed
Before Devon could try again Mat had already spit in his and clasped the dwarf’s hand firmly. “Don’t worry; you just ensured my help. I’m a simple dwarf with simple needs, and all those needs are colored gold.” With yet another apprising look, Burf nodded, “Give me till the sun is at its highest, and I’ll have your robes.” Then he was gone.