Story Time: For Shivs and Giggles

For Shivs and Giggles

Leandra Ranger

            Esa squinted at the notice board in front of the Wanderstop Tavern. Two postings for the killing of one man was awfully inefficient, though she wouldn’t mind two payments for one job. However, reading over the contact information made the situation more sensical. One job posting was from a well-known paladin and the other from an up-and-coming necromancer. They certainly wouldn’t get along…though it might be quite amusing if they tried.

Thirty minutes later, Esa emerged from the tavern, tossing her knife.  A bit of alcohol, a bit of flattery, and a lot of lying set her up for money and entertainment on the morn.

~ ~ ~

The paladin, Vizen Amaroth, beat the necromancer to their meeting place.

“The gods’ own greetings, Esa,” he said alongside a proffered hand, which Esa accepted for an overly-enthusiastic handshake

“And just my personal greetings to you.” Esa shook her newly freed hand, trying to get the bones back in place. “My friend should arrive shortly, and we will be ready to go after-oh! there he is now.”

Avon the Soulkeeper glid into the clearing, wispy black robes swaying with each step and his staff of bones thumping on the ground with each step.  It would have been very dark and frightening, except it was eight in the morning, which is such a non-dark and non-frightening time that it rather negated everything.  Also, a bee had become quite attracted to Vizen’s bright jerkin, and his little dance of fear distracted Esa somewhat.

Avon was less amused by the dancing paladin and stopped dead in his tracks. “What is the meaning of this intrusion?” he chittered.  The bee buzzed over to visit him.

“Esa, why is this irreverent felon here?!” bellowed Vizen just as Avon started flailing against the bee.

“You both hired me to kill Edwila the Lich. You both gave me permission to bring a friend with a grudge against her.  I don’t see the problem,” Esa smirked and glanced between the two men.  “Honestly, you should feel honored. I don’t make friends easily.”

“Do not play with my life, rogue,” protested Avon.  “This man would strike me down where I stand.” By now, Avon’s shooing had irritated the bee, and she gave her life back to return that irritation with a sting.

“You defile the laws of death and life,” replied Vizen, “You shall be punished for your crimes against gods and men.”

“Vizan, a regular old alive necromancer is less of a crime against the gods than a lich necromancer since the alive necromancer is, you know, not undead yet.  Lesser of two evils, right?” Esa shrugged. “You might even be able to redeem him.” Fat chance of that happening.

“You do not know of what you speak, paladin. I commit no crimes against men as I do not kill for my experiments; I use the bodies of the already dead.  It’s recycling.”

“And still a crime against the gods,” insisted Vizen, crossing his arms over his chest.

“None of that actually matters,” replied Esa, “because you both agree Edwila needs to die, and me plus one of you won’t be enough to kill her. You need each other.”

The two men continued to glare at each other.  Esa sighed.

“Look at it this way.  Vizen, you let Avon help you, and that’s one less great godly criminal or whatever it’s called. Aye, Avon’s still around, but one is better than two, and that’s a win for you. Avon, you let Vizen help you, and you become the most powerful necromancer in the region. That’s a win for you.  And then you two owe me a bunch of money, which is a win for me. It’s a win-win-win situation.”

The two men continued glaring until, ever so slowly, Vizen walked across the clearing and offered his hand to Avon.  Avon took it slowly and dropped it as soon as the handshake ended.

“Well, boys,” giggled Esa, “we’re off to kill the wizard. Don’t kill each other on the way!”

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