Friday, October 20, 2017

The Court of Summer

40.

Gilbert and Clarissa were lead through fire and into a room of glass. Clarissa hesitated at the portal of flame, but the sharp end of a spear from their captors pushed her through. The court of Summer was so beautiful it defied description. The glass was alive it seemed, pulsing with an inner flame. There were all sorts of creatures that Clarissa didn't have names for, noted among them were the elves though, they seemed to be in charge based on clothing and position relative to others. They were lead from the opening area to a throne room, seated at the front was a large elven lady. She was oppulently lounging her rolls of fat on open display. Almost naked aside from strategic clothing.

"My Liege I present to you Gilbert Dunkley and hmm don't think I got your name miss."

"Clarissa Shipley my liege." When she said my liege Rolo choked on a laugh. the Queen herself smiled at her stammering reply.

"So eager to serve Ms Shipley? In due time, in due time, but for now you can call me Queen Lustria." Gilbert said something under his breath and got a sharp rebuke from the spearman behind him.

"Something to add Gilbert?" Rolo had a smile on his face.

"Yeah I said bullshit, I'll call no elven lady from the summer court or any court my queen." This brought another strike from the spearman behind him, but the queen held up her hand.

"So proud Gilbert, so proud and strong, you worked for us once now you hold us with such contempt?"

"Not contempt, I bow for no one, honor no royalty."

"And isn't very polite either." Rolo added with a smirk.

"Brave strong Gilbert Dunkley last of his line, you do not have to kneel to me, or honor me," Lustria rose up off her thrown, her gluttonous body gleamed in the fire glass. "But you will respect me in my court or I'll have you flayed alive for my amusement, now to your association with a traitor to this court." Gilbert looked to Clarissa and Clarissa back at him.

"We just took a job from the dragon to kill a troll it wasn't like a long term association." Clarissa assumed it had to be the dragon that had offended the queen, but instead she laughed, she just laughed and laughed.

"Dragon? On my court? That would be the day, no my dear not your association with one of the low creatures of earth that is a dragon, I'm talking of Gilbert continuing to employ Prince Ilon."

"Doris? You are telling me Doris is a prince of your court?"

"Not just a prince, but a traitor to this court!" Gilbert steeled himself, Clarissa saw him stand straight and stare at the Queen.

"I hope your fires are hot, I'm not turning on Doris."

Friday, October 13, 2017

Fairly Warfare

39.

"Did you knowingly or unknowingly start a war with the court of autumn?" The man was in a suit, he had a piece of paper in front of him that had all sorts of scary words about treason and aiding the enemy of the united states. Gilbert just sighed, he'd been in this room before, been in this kind of interview before, he'd been on both sides of the table, but now seeing the man in his suit and the military MP's behind him with rifles he felt very old and tired.

"Well with unknowingly in there I can't really answer that now can I?" Now it was the man in the suits turn to sigh.

***

"I don't know, I didn't know then, and I don't know now, am I being detained?" For Clarissa this was all new, the man in the suit, the men with guns. She didn't know what to feel, ever since they'd been marched out of Gilbert's office in shackles with armed guards she'd felt things had taken a decided turn for the worse.

"Ms. Shipley do you understand the kind of trouble you're in?"

"I have no idea."

"Ok, lets just take it from the top, you said you and Gilbert were being chased by a 'Gravoboom' is that correct?"

"Well that's what Gilbert called it, I really don't know if that's correct or not." The man sighed again.

"Ok why don't you just take it back to the encounter with the fire creature..."

****
"I'm just confused."

"Yeah me too I thought Lord of the Rings was just a movie." The Gravoboom had pursued them through most of the forest, never attacking, just menacing and seemingly pushing them away from the van and deeper into the charred forest. They were currently hiding out in a small grove of trees that had managed to avoid being burnt down.

"No not that, only time I've run across one of these when I did some work for the court of summer, and it was just a kept creature not something out and about."

"Court of summer?" Clarissa felt more confused than normal.

"One of the Courts in the fae, they are broken up by season, made up of elves, fairies the whole bit."

"Its like all the things I dreamed about as a little girl come to life."

"Except you don't want anything to do with the courts, believe me the one time I dealt with the court of summer it was.... shit." Gilbert turned around and noticed they had been surrounded. It was mainly an elven force, armed with spears and bows.

"You don't write, you don't call, Gilbert I'm beginning to think you don't like us very much." The lead elf who spoke looked like a fashion model to Clarissa, like he'd been plucked straight from a romance cover.

"Forgive me Rolo, I thought we were more of a fling." Clarissa was even more lost than usual, and that only got worse when they entered the Fae realms.

****

"So Gilbert willingly admitted to knowing the summer court and even worked for them?" The man in the suit seemed very excited by this Clarissa didn't think it was hidden knowledge.

"We work for anyone who pays is what I always assumed."

"Noted, now please continue and tell us about your time in the fae."

"Ok well see it was like the care bears..."

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Importance of Being Right

38.

"I couldn't tell you what was in it, tasted all right going down, burned like a fire coming out, but oddly enough it worked. When I came out of the bathroom I was a changed man." Gilbert and Clarissa were walking through the remains of a burnt forest. They were wearing respirators because the wild fire was close enough a bad change of the winds would potentially be dangerous with the smoke, but Gilbert had been assured by the fireman that was a rare possibility.

"So did you thank the good reverend for curing you?"

"Oh god no I threatened to kill him the next time he showed up at home."

"That's not very nice."

"Trust me after what he put me threw, killing him would have been a mercy, how did your time with Sylvia play out?"

"It was fineish, we killed some werechickens and then a gargoyle." They were picking through the embers looking for fire sprites, when Gilbert had told Clarissa about the job she kept laughing at the idea of fire sprites despite him telling her they weren't a laughing matter.

"Gargoyle? So did you use stone poison."

"Nope."

"Heart of a harpy?"

"No."

"Crush it in a car crusher? Did that once it was horrific and yet oddly satisfying." Clarissa sighed.

"No, I shot it through the eyes and then the mouth, Sylvia had basically left me to die beforehand."

"Ahh so that's why you were so quiet about it, see you assumed my dislike of Sylvia was related to her reminding me of my wife or just general orneriness and you wouldn't be wrong to an extent, but its also that woman only look out for herself, always has, always will."

"So you told me so."

"If you want to hear it that way, yes I told you so." Clarissa stomped off and Gilbert didn't follow, he knew she couldn't get into too much trouble against fire sprites, and she eventually would calm down. Gilbert started to wonder if the fire jumpers who had reported the sprites were merely suffering from smoke induced hallucinations. He hadn't seen any of the normal indicators of the little buggers, and the longer he stayed in the charred forest he worried about what he was breathing in even with the mask.

"GILBERT!"

"Yeah?"

"What do Fire Sprites look like?"

"Small like a keebler elf."

"So not the size of a tree and bathed in flame?" Gilbert felt the hairs stand up the back of his neck.

"No that's not a fire sprite."

"Then I think we should run Gilbert."

"I like that plan, I like that plan a lot." And so the exterminators fled in the charred forest, and the Gravoboom followed shortly thereafter.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Gargirls

37.

"You must repent brother Gilbert repent and your sins will be clean." Gilbert's insides felt like they were being torn up by razor blades, the soup had been delicious, the aftermath agony. Made worse by Reverend Clarence taking his moments on the toilet to preach at him.

"You're lucky I didn't bring a gun in here with me Clarence I'd shoot you."

****

"Ok so this looks bad, and it is bad." Clarissa and Sylvia were trapped in a barn, the Gargoyle was outside, it hadn't crossed into the barn yet, but Sylvia knew it was only a matter of time.

"So what's the solution? How do we kill a gargoyle." Clarissa was beginning to see what the issue Gilbert had with Sylvia.

"Sunlight is mostly the way you kill one."

"The sun just went down!"

"Yeah that's why we are in this barn for the time being." There was a breaking of boards from the roof, the gargoyle was finding out a way in. Which would be all of smashing its way into the barn, but it was struggling to figure that out for some reason.

"Can't we just shoot it a lot?" Sylvia laughed, and another board broke.

"Bullets won't do much to a gargoyle, your arrows even less. Their skins is hard as rock." Another board smashed through and the gargoyle did too. The creature which Clarissa hadn't seen much before they'd ran, it was easily over nine feet tall with large leathery wings that it had fully extended to make it look even more massive. Sylvia had already ran, Clarissa heard her say something behind her and fled. Clarissa was just in awe of the creature, even as it flexed its muscles and roared at her. Clarissa slotted two of her arrows and let them fly. They found their mark right in the creatures blood red eyes. Suddenly it went from roaring in defiance to wildly smashing around in pain. Clarissa knew the barn was not long for this world and she made a hasty retreat as the thrashing creature brought the barn down on itself.

"What did you do?" Sylvia was outside she had been running prior to Clarissa just emerging unscathed.

"Skin is rock hard, eyes aren't, and he's got nice and big ones."

"You know that its not dead right?" Just as Sylvia said that the Gargoyle emerged smashing from the ruins. The arrows partially broken were still lodged in its eyes. Clarissa was unphased, the garoyle roared again and this time Clarissa fired arrows right into its open mouth, three shots in the Gargoyle slumped to the ground dying. Clarissa took up one more arrow and shot it through its eye again and the creature stopped moving.

"I just thought of in jaws where Roy Schneider shot the air tank, I figured mouth/throat couldn't be armored." Sylvia had no words, she'd never seen someone just stare a creature down like that. Sinaa itself was impressed.

"You've got ice water in your veins."

"Can we just go home now, I think I've had enough of were chickens and gargoyles."

"Fair enough Clarissa, fair enough."

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Were Chicken Issue

35.

"Oh no Candice don't let Ray do that to you have some respect girl." Gilbert was three hours in to watching day time TV. He could already feel his sanity fading. He imagined this was how people wound up in homes, just watching garbage tv until the men in white jackets picked you up and carry you off to where people went to die. He was saved from his fate by a knock at the door. Gilbert was surprised to see Clarence there waiting for him with a bowl in his hands.

"Brother Gilbert you're looking mighty under the weather."

"I knew I was bad off, I didn't know I was see a priest bad off."

"Not at all good brother not at all, not here for god business, I'm here to get you better!" Timms invited himself in and put the bowl down on the kitchen table.

"You have some kind of make people feel better ability?"

"Soup, not just any soup, spicy chicken soup, this is the stuff of legend Gilbert, I've seen this stuff put such a fire in someone as to almost wake the dead." Gilbert looked at the soup skeptically.

"Ok well I do like spicy things." A statement Gilbert would come to regret many hours later.

****

"When you said were chickens I guess I was confused as to what they actually were." It was getting toward dusk, the farm they had traveled to was out near the Canadian boarder north of Spokane. Mostly just arid farmland with the occaisional cow. What Clarissa saw on top of a hill looked like ostriches with fangs.

"What did you expect? Small chickens that look like wolves?"

"Kind of." Sylvia laughed.

"Yeah were just means weird, people just thought it meant some kind of lycanthrophy because people are idiots, just like a la mode really meant the fashion at the time, not specifically ice cream on top of pie."

"Is that true?"

"Sure." Sylvia racked her rifle and took aim at the first were chicken, she had been told there were at least three, but could only see the one.

"So what's the plan here again?"

"I shoot the lead one here, when the other two show up we kill them too, go for body shots, the head is too small to hit with an arrow especially if they are moving."

"And the silver will work?"

"It better god damn work I paid a pretty penny for it." Clarissa didn't have Sylvia's confidence in the silver tipped arrow, but she figured if Sylvia god powered or not had managed to live as long as she had, she probably knew what she was doing. The first shot did indeed bring the other were chickens, there were four of them on top of the dead one, which seemed like the farmer had either miscounted or did not know the full amount. It didn't ultimately matter, the ground and weaponry won the day for Sylvia and Clarissa.

"Should we drain the bodies? Were chicken blood is useful."

"It is? I have just always let them rot in the di..." There was an awful screech that stopped Sylvia dead in her tracks.

"Were chicken?"

"Nope that's a gargoyle, and we're a little far from the car."

"That's bad?"

"Real bad."

"Shit."

Friday, September 15, 2017

Sick Day

34.

"Stay home Gilbert." Gilbert was dressed in his usual work outfit, despite the doctor warning him he needed at least a week of bed rest. Clarissa was not happy.

"I make my own decisions."

"Clearly like risking pneumonia, now get out of those clothes, and into bed or at least the couch watch tv or something, STAY HOME!" There was a honk outside and Gilbert saw Sylvia's BMW with a waving Sylvia inside.

"No No this will not do."

"See you later tonight Gilbert I've got a work thing to do!" Clarissa was gone before Gilbert could even chase after her. Aided by a coughing fit. He mumbled to himself about how he'll definitely talk to her tonight about palling around with Sylvia.

"My.... dolllllllla, sir." Santinni announced his presence in his usual show up style.

"This isn't like a fake out and what I'm giving you is more than just a dollar right?"

"Just the dollar, rules must beeeeeeee followed." Santinni punctuated followed with a smile. He was dressed like he'd come off the African Savannah, Gilbert found himself wondering what the demon did all day.

"Just a second let me get my wallet."

"Not feeeelllllllling well?"

"You can see that with some freaky demon vision?"

"No its written on your face, the seeeeaaaa is a harsh mistress I would know." Gilbert handed Santinni his dollar and turned to head into the living room.

"Was going to write you a check, just to see what you'd endorse it as." When he turned around Santinni was gone and Gilbert was all by himself "Now I'm resigned to day time tv, a fate worse than death." Gilbert coughed so hard his vision was marred by little black spots for a bit, deciding that was a sign he just went to go lay in bed catch up on sleep like he'd say he'd do for the last few years.

****

"I'm so glad you took me up on my offer." Sylvia was not dressed in a jump suit like Clarissa was, she instead was dressed up more like Lara Croft in tomb raider with short shorts and a tight t shirt.

"I just didn't want to be stuck at home with Gilbert, he won't take care of himself, but he likes to complain about how he's not getting better."

"Same old Gilbert, Shirley used to complain about him all the time with regards to that."

"She still does." Sylvia smiled at that, Clarissa had told her of her sisters ghost if only to let her know she was still around, Shirley was ok with her sister knowing as long she promised to not do anything to her.

"I hope you're good with that bow, what we're after are obnoxious from a distance but a nightmare up close."

"What are we after again?"

"Were chickens."

"You're joking?"

"You'll find out when we get there."

Friday, September 8, 2017

Sympathy for Poor Queequeg

33.

"So we're running?" Janice was the only one qualified to pilot the ship. Gilbert and Clarissa were on the deck watching the Kraken slowly gaining on them.

"Well not so much running as hoping to run as you can very much see damned thing is gaining on us." Gilbert had went over his cache of weapons and found them all coming up underwhelming in the face of how big the Kraken looked.

"I was thinking."

"About how to kill the Kraken?"

"No I figure we're going to die horribly to that."

"You're far too young to be cynical like that, probably correct, but far too young." Gilbert always enjoyed these kind of conversations on a job, in the face of death that someone could just casually talk was heartening.

"Anyway, if Janice is Starbuck, and General Joe is Ahab, wouldn't that make you Queequeg?"

"I never took you for a racist." Clarissa laughed.

"Why is that racist?"

"The one minority on that ship and you think thats me."

"Well he was an islander, not black Gilbert, also the aged hunter doomed to go down hunting the beast, well that does fit you Gilbert." Now Gilbert laughed.

"I'm just glad you read the book."

"Watched the movie."

"Gregory Peck?"

"Who? Patrick Stewart." Gilbert looked back at the Kraken it had gotten closer now, the tentacles almost enough to grab the ship.

"Not talking to you anymore." Gilbert turned his back on Clarissa. It was mostly so he could try and come up with literally anything to harm the Kraken, but he also couldn't believe she didn't even know who Gregory Peck was. Gilbert was mad at himself for not packing better, but to be fair he had no idea what to do against something so large.

"So we're screwed?" Janice had come up, apparently she had just put the boat in cruise control.

"Completely, best I've got is this stuff." Gilbert held up a small tin, both Clarissa and Janice were confused. The tin read "Red Jim's laughing powder" and had a horrifically racist american Indian characture on the package.

"You're going to give him laughing powder?" Gilbert laughed.

"Nah the tin is enchanted, what's inside is well its best left to creature like Santinni to fully explain, all I know is when I was given it, it was told to me 'never open it, unless you have to'."

"Ominous." Clarissa was terrified of what was in the tin, something innocuous with such a scary description.

"So what do you want me to do Gilbert?"

"Kill the engine, lets let the creature grab us and then I'll throw this at it."

"Sure why delay the death anymore." Janice killed the engine and the ship slowed to a stop. The Kraken hadn't anticipated that and shot past the boat, causing the three of them to laugh. It course corrected and flung its tentacles on the deck ready to melt them into organic nothingness. Gilbert hurled the tin at the Kraken and at first it did nothing. The Kraken's tentacles rose up, and then stopped, they twitched at first, and then shot beneath the deck, the fog horn noise reverberated in the air as the creature thrashed wildly next to the coast guard ship, for a moment Gilbert worried it would drag them to their deaths. And then the sea went calm, the large creature was just gone, and the tin of Red Jim's Laughing Powder was in the hand of Santinni who has appeared out of no where much to everyone's surprise.

"Mr. Dunkley the use of hell mites is strictly regulated."

"Is that what those things are? Glad I never opened that before." Santinni didn't even respond, he just disappeared and in his place was a scroll of sorts. Gilbert opened it up and read part and started laughing.

"What?" Janice had never dealt with the demon warden before, but she knew of him, it was rather strange he arrived and then disappeared, Gilbert always said he was a lot more verbose.

"He's fining me for unauthorized use of dangerous hell organisms."

"How much is he fining you for?"

"One dollar." That caused all of them to laugh in relief more than anything else.

"So uhh do you guys want to know the bad news?" Janice had waited till the laughter had died down before talking again.

"How could their possibly be bad news after what just happened?"

"I don't think the boat has enough fuel to get back to harbor and the radio got damaged in the fight."

"Shit." Both Clarissa and Gilbert said it in unison, they couldn't even see the shore from where they were. Gilbert reached into his pack and withdrew a deck of cards.

"Least the weather is nice, poker?"