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The torturer

I had a really good time role-playing the other night with a couple of other characters. So, to commemorate the event, I thought I'd write a little story. Actually, it's a little long. Bear with me.
  -- Bercilak


"The Torturer"
Bercilak stumbled into Darkhaven square. His body ached from the battle he had just fought with the umber hulk near the Drow caverns. Blood trickled down his body as he thanked Gareth for the narrow escape his ability to recall to the safety of the city had given him. Even if Gareth, Owl and the other gods had left the realm, the magic they had long ago imbued in the blood of those willing to risk their lives for glory, fame, or infamy still worked. The ability to magically return to the center of Darkhaven was a blessing to Bercilak now.
Bercilak collapsed near the fountain, replaying his latest battle, trying to find a reason for his ineptitude in fighting the great earth creature. Bercilak snapped from his reverie as he noticed a tall, thin robed being watching him. Bercilak closed his eyes and let his mind spread its tendrils through the fabric of reality, scanning for the identities of the major adventurers currently active in Arathnos. Bercilak smiled. "Malthus," he grunted.
The robed Malthus nodded. "Bercilak. You look wounded."
"Umber Hulk not want to wrestle. Bercilak want to," the half-troll snorted.
Malthus nodded solemnly.
Bercilak took a quick drink from the fountain.
His wounds were healing nicely. His trollish constitution worked wonders on injuries. Of course, a lot was needed to even truly injure a troll. A lot was needed to remove anyone who had been blessed with adventurer's blood from the world. The gods had seen fit to allow all true questers to only die a temporary death. As one body died, a new one formed, and the spirit was transferred. The even was not entirely painless. The new body was usually not entirely healthy and required healing before being operational, and lost equipment stayed lost until the recently-departed-and- reformed returned to retrieve their belongings from their corpse. Bercilak had seen many awful things in his day, but he had never quite gotten used to seeing his recently departed body laying before him, staring up at him with dead eyes. A soft touch at his belt snapped Bercilak from his meditations on death.
A shadowy figure tried to steal away into the crowd, carrying with him Bercilak's purse. Bercilak reached out swiftly and grabbed the thief around the neck. Bercilak clenched his fist tight, and the thief's head popped off and landed at Malthus' feet. Bercilak took his purse from the corpse and settled back in by the fountain.
Malthus stared at the corpse.
"He took purse," explained Bercilak.
Malthus nodded warily, "He apparently picked the wrong person to try his skills on."
Bercilak chuckled.
A young man wearing a green cloak and yellow tunic stepped into the Square and headed for Malthus. He planted a thick staff in the ground and leaned on it. "I need help finding a key," he said to Malthus, ignoring the half-troll dozing in the sun.
Malthus and the young man exchanged a few words while Bercilak searched the ether again for the name of the near-boy that talked to Malthus. Colcun. The Pup. An old man wandered into the Square and sat at the edge of the fountain, idly tapping his cane against the stone. Bercilak listened to Malthus and Colcun, trying to figure out if it was worth his time to help the young man. (tap, tap, tap, tap.)
"I'll offer 1000 pieces of gold if (tap, tap, tap, tap, tap) you'll help me get past Wilam the torturer," Colcun said.
Bercilak's ears perked up. One thousand gold wasn't much to one of his stature, but it would buy him quite a few turkeys. And with his trollish metabolism, he needed all the turkeys he could get. Bercilak stood and loomed over Colcun, casting his shadow across him."What you need again, pup?" he asked.
"I need someone to help me retrieve a (TAP,TAP, TAP,TAP) key from Wilam, the torturer in Dragon Exports," Colcun re-explained.
Bercilak glared at the old man tapping his cane. "How tough (TAP,TAP,TAP) Wilam?"
"I'm sure you could handle him (TAP,TAP,TAP, TAP) without any trouble," Colcun said, looking up into the troll's snaggled grin.
"Me hurt. Let (TAPP, TAPPP, TAPPPP)," Bercilak broke off in mid sentence and backhanded the old man. His frail body soared across the fountain and smashed into a building, landing limp and broken on the ground. "Let heal, then me go with you," Bercilak finished.
Colcun stared in disgust at the shattered old man. He thought briefly about turning down the assistance from the troll; he wouldn't want to have the gargantuan warrior turn his random sense of violence on him.
Malthus looked at Bercilak, "You're quite the mercenary."
Bercilak glowered at Malthus, "What you call me?"
Malthus gulped, "A mercenary."
The half-troll lowered his face even with Malthus. "What that?" he asked menacingly.
"Umm," Malthus said weakly, afraid he had offended the looming warrior, "it means you kill things for money." He smiled weakly.
Bercilak thought. Language wasn't his strongest ability. He spoke a little dwarven, but that had mainly been so he'd know what they were screaming as he ripped their legs off. Common was at best, a pidgen language. His lips had trouble forming the weak consonants, so his mind had trouble grasping the grammar. Kill things for money. He figured that wasn't so bad. He smiled at Malthus, "Heh. Yeah."
Colcun looked at the troll. "So, you'll help me?"
"Yeah," Bercilak grunted, "After all, me merce. merkemersha.what he said!" He pointed a meaty finger at Malthus.
Malthus smiled, "A mercenary."
Bercilak grinned at Colcun, "Yeah."
Colcun nodded. "Very well then. Let's go."
A short trip later, Colcun and Bercilak stood at the entrance to Dragon Exports. Colcun said the password and slipped inside. Bercilak fumbled with the password, but got it right on the third try. Inside, they walked to the front office and approached Belesdan, the merchandiser for the Export company. Colcun stepped towards a concealed door on the eastern wall. Belesdan leaped up and started toward Colcun, "You can't go in there!"
Colcun stayed focused on finding the latch for the door, "Bercilak, stop him."
Bercilak grunted and plunged his spear into Belesdan's throat, blood spurting across the room. Belesdan collapsed. The half-troll wiped his spear off and muttered about the ease of the kill.
A secret door and two sliding traps later landed Colcun and Bercilak right on top of a zombie. Although a more difficult battle than the previous one, Bercilak quickly dispatched the zombie. "Through that door is Wilam," Colcun said.
Bercilak took the key off the dead zombie and opened the door. As he stepped into the room, the door shut behind him, blocking Colcun out of the room. When Bercilak turned to the door, Wilam attacked. His meager attempt bounced off the half-troll's armor, leaving a small scratch. Bercilak turned and thrust his spear at the torturer, holding his longsword to the side to force the torturer to dodge in the opposite direction. Wilam vainly slashed and punched at the half-troll, but the warrior's longer reach kept the smaller torturer from doing any real harm. Slowly and methodically, Bercilak worked Wilam until he could no longer dodge. With a flick of his massive wrist, Bercilak lopped the torturer's head off. As he wiped the evil pain-inflictor's blood off his spear, Bercilak opened the door for Colcun.
Colcun rushed in and headed for the body.
"He kick key as he die," Bercilak grunted.
"Yes, I know," Colcun muttered, "But where is it?" Colcun searched the ground for a minute before finding a small hunk of metal that slightly resembled a key. Colcun cursed, "This isn't the right one. We'll have to wait for his next to arrive and see if he has it." He lead Bercilak into a small anteroom to the north, and the two adventurers waited. Below them, the chants of dark rituals echoed in the stillness.
Colcun peeked southward. "He's back."
Bercilak stepped through the door and slashed at the torturer who was still staring dumbfoundedly at his previous's corpse. Bercilak felt a vague sense of joy that monsters suffered the same sense of loss as adventurers. Wilam vainly defended himself, but unlike adventurers, he carried no recollection of his clone's death, and fell for the same spear and sword technique that his previous incarnation had fallen for. The battle was quickly over. Colcun searched hurriedly.
"Ah ha! I've got it," Colcun exclaimed.
Bercilak grunted.
Colcun fumbled around in his purse and methodically counted out 2000 coins and handed them to the half-troll. "You did me a great favor. If you ever need my help, let me know."
Bercilak grinned as he put away the coins, "Same for you."
Colcun smiled, "However, you really ought to stay away from killing the senior citizens."
Bercilak thought for a moment. He grunted, "Okay. They break easy anyway."
Colcun stepped away and muttered the words that would send him back to the center of Darkhaven. Bercilak fingered his pouch of coins. "Enough for three turkeys," he said to the dead torturer. He muttered the words that would recall him to his clan's building. As he faded from view, he smiled, "Maybe Umber Hulk ready to wrestle again"
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