Tuesday, October 19, 2010

[RP] Swept

This story borrows heavily from a random RP session with a couple strangers in Brill. It was fun!


He was an affable troll, was Zerkla. When he observed the waif-like girl standing in the entrance to the Gallow’s End Tavern with her face to the wall and a scrubby old broom strapped to her back, he decided he would say hello. Even the Forsaken could, on occasion, respond well to being treated like people.

Besides, he was bored.

“That’s a nice broom you got there,” he said.

Yonah, who privately enjoyed thinking of herself as Yonah, the Littlest Warlock (conveniently ignoring the existence of gnomish demon-wranglers all over the world, she scribbled her notebooks from beginning to end with similar and usually grandiose third-person references), turned slowly toward him. Her jaw followed slightly behind, and he noted that it was sewn rather crudely to her cheeks in an attempt to keep it attached to her face. She looked no more than twelve, but you never could tell with the deaders. Maybe she was fourteen, even fifteen when she died. Did it really matter? Probably not. It was just a little creepy to see the younglings walking around, that’s all.

“It’s for sweeping.”

Zerkla scratched his long chin as she unholstered the thing and planted it, handle end down, against the floorboards. “For sweeping the ceiling, maybe. You’ve got that thing upside down.”

“It’s a childproof broom. Right now it’s set to ‘Off’, for safety.”

“I see.” Did she ever blink? “Whatcha sweepin’ with it, anyway?”

She smiled. It was sorta ghastly, what with the whole mess of her jaw, and, you know, entire facial area, but at least it was genuine. “Stuff!”

“I mighta guessed.”

“I swept a bug once.” Yonah giggled. It did horrifying things to her facial expression and sounded like someone trying to cough through a throat filled with locusts. Zerkla didn’t seem to notice.

“How was it?”

“It was like sweeping, of course. The bug went CHICHICHIRRRRR!!!” She looked thoughtfully up at the troll. “It did not like being swept.”

“I think I’d make a noise too, if I got swept.”

“Let’s see!” Before he could react, she flicked the broom into the proper position and brushed it over his toes.


She jumped at his sudden (and very loud) exclamation, then laughed with him, more than a little delighted.

“Well, I’ll be,” he grinned at the little girl. “Maybe that’s the noise everything makes when it’s swept, not just bugs.”

“Maybe it’s a magic broom,” she said. “ I should make note of this for later; you never know when you might need something to make that sound.”

A sudden heavy thump loosened bits of old plaster from the ceiling overhead and they heard a cranky woman’s voice shouting down to them from the room above. “Be quiet down there!” There was a crash and several more thumps. Plaster and dust sifted down onto their heads. “Can’t even sleep in my own bed--”

Zerkla frowned. “Elves.”

“She is very loud for someone who is trying to sleep,” said his new little friend. She put her broom into the ‘On’ position and whacked the end against the ceiling three times. “Don’t make me come up there! I will see to it you don’t get your dessert if you don’t go back to sleep THIS INSTANT.”

Thudding footsteps paced away from the space over their heads. Zerkla stuck his hands in his pockets and looked down at the girl. “Going straight for the throat, I see.”

They giggled together as the elf clattered her way down the stairs and crossed the lobby in her dressing gown, chittering imp in tow. Her sudden, very grumpy appearance made them giggle even harder.


“Hello noisy person!” said Yonah. “You yell a lot.”

“So do you!” the elf fumed, tossing her long red hair over one shoulder.

“Hey now, we were just talking,” said Zerkla.

The girl grinned her creepy grin and nodded at the troll. “The graveyard is very quiet. They should put the beds out there.”

“I can hear you all the way upstairs!”

“You need to be swept!” The girl brandished her broom.

“Bring it on!” cried the elf.

Thus challenged, the waif had no choice but to reach out with her broom and attack the elf’s tiny feet with singular enthusiasm. The elf was unamused and took several steps backward while threatening the child. “Watch yourself, or I’ll break that thing..!”

Yonah stopped abruptly. “You sound like Frederick.”

“I never heard of any stupid Frederick.” The elder warlock shook her skirts back into their original smoothness and glowered at the girl.

Without letting go of her broom, the wee witch fumbled in her pocket and withdrew a clean jelly jar. Inside it was a common honeybee. Zerkla wondered if such was the fate of all grouchy midday-napping people. He tried to picture a tiny grump-elf in a jar and his chortles began anew.

“Frederick, this is... who are you?” Yonah asked the other warlock.

“Jynxy,” she said, frowning a frownish frown.

“Frederick, Jynxy. Jynxy, Frederick.”

“What,” said Jynxy, baffled.

Yonah shook the little jar with vigor. Frederick buzzed angrily. “See? He is just like you.”

“I can definitely hear the resemblance.” Zerkla grinned toothily.

“Frederick is a bee?”

“I guess he might be a wasp.” Yonah peered into the jar. Frederick buzzed and bonked around inside the glass.

“I am not a bee,” Jynxy exclaimed indignantly.

“Not yet,” said a delighted Zerkla.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

The troll only looked sidelong at Yonah with an impish smirk as Jynxy grumped and harrumphed herself steadily toward a state of apoplectic spasms. Surely she would pop at any moment.

The matter-of-fact expression returned to Yonah’s face. “My sister needs honey for her potions, so I help find bees for our bee farm and she helps me pay for warlock lessons.”

Jynxy paused mid-fit. “Ooo. You’re studying to be a ‘lock, too? What type?”

“A sweeping one,” chuckled Zerkla.

“One with BEES,” grinned Yonah.

“Weird,” said Jynxy. Zerkla agreed.

“I have to learn how to make bees make babies before I can continue my other lessons. Then I must complete Brooms for Novices, Primer One.” Yonah stuffed Frederick’s jar back into her pocket and looked with utmost serious seriousness at Jynxy. “I hope to have my sweeping license before Winter Veil.”

The elf raised one red eyebrow. “You’re not very bright, are you.”

“Nora says I’m about as smart as a bag of hammers. I don’t think hammers are very smart, so I guess not.”

“Where is your imp?” Jynxy picked up her own demonic familiar and squeezed it with affection.

“You mean Burpy? I sent him away. He never shuts up. Hold on.” Yonah gesticulated wildly with her broom and summoned a cringing, black little creature. It hissed.

“He’s a cute little devil,” said Zerkla.

“Burpy! Say hello.”

Burpy (the imp loathed this nickname with every fiber of its hateful little being, but he was quite certain kodos would fly before the girl granted him any remote semblance of dignity) stared at his mistress with abject hatred in his eyes. Yonah stared back.

“See? Never shuts up.”

Jynxy gave the feral imp a sympathetic look and hugged her own even more tightly to her chest until it squeaked. “What did you do to the poor thing? My Gimpy loves me.”

Zerkla chuckled. “I bet she swept it.”

The littlest warlock snatched up her hissing imp and gave it a crushing hug, easily evading its attempts to bite off her arms. Frederick buzzed in his jar. Then Burpy managed to nip her finger, so she dropped him unceremoniously to the floor and flipped her broom into the On position.

It screeched at her in its demonic tongue as she swept it into a corner. Sweep, sweep.

“Poor Burpy,” said Zerkla.

“No wonder he hates you,” said Jynxy. “Bad girl!”

Yonah only swept faster and tittered gleefully. Zerkla took a step back.

“I uh, gotta run,” he said, staring at the harassed little imp as he backed out of the inn. “Best of luck to ya, Burpy. I feel for you, man, what with the sweeping--”

With that, the troll was gone. Jynxy made up her mind to intervene on Burpy’s behalf, but before she could act, Yonah’s sweeping came to an abrupt halt and she opened her glowing yellow eyes wide. The imp cringed in his corner.

“Holy crackers, I’m late!”

Yonah ran out the door with her jaw flopping and skirts flapping, broom in hand. Burpy breathed a sigh of relief and vanished in a puff of acrid smoke. Jynxy blinked.

“Well, I never.”

No comments:

Post a Comment