03 November 2005

Chapter One

The clerk sat behind the large desk. The desk took up most of the north wall of a large entrance hall. Several dozen people sat in the chairs and benches that filled the room, but the clerk didn't look at any of them. He stared at the young man in front of his desk.
“You can't join the guild,” the clerk said, his jowls flapping wildly as he spoke, “because you're underage and unsponsored. The Association of Stereotpyes, Archtypes, and Caricatures does not accept just anybody. You've got to be of age, and sponsored by a participating organization”
“But I am an archtype, like both my parents before me! My father was Charismatic Misfit and my mother was Rebellious Teen, and they were both members of your organization!”
“That is neither here nor there,” replied the clerk as dryly as he could, “as they were both of age when they joined and both sponsored by participating organizations. Why don't you try the Setting Trade Union for Projections of Internalized Development or the Setting Idiosyncratic Labor League or independent Explorers?”
“They both say that I'm not old enough,” muttered the young man.
“Well then, maybe you're just not old enough for such a challenging and dangerous career? Have you thought of that? Now go bother someone else, as I've got many other things to do before you become of age.”
The young man turned to leave, but was stopped by a hand on his shoulder. “Wait here,” said a gruff voice, as a tall muscular man stepped around him and up to the clerk's enormous desk.
“I'm Amiable Rogue, are there any messages for me?” said the tall man, as a second shorter man kept his hand on Misfit's shoulder. The clerk shuffled through a tall stack of papers for a few moments before pulling out a piece.
“Here,” said the clerk as he handed over the paper, “there's a job for you with Cleans Upwell. You'll find him in the Pig's Tie Tavern, over on Dirt Road.”
The tall man nodded to the clerk, and then to the shorter man. They both turned, steering Misfit with them, around the chairs, and out the door. When they were outside, they stopped and the tall man introduced himself as Amiable Rogue.
“And I'm Noreach Axemaster, a dwarven warrior of great fame and little reach,” spoke the shorter man. We overheard the clerk talking about your problems joining the Association and that's fine with us. We're only in it for the chicks. We both belong to the Free Association of Recycled Character Embodiments.”
“I think I should be qualified to join that!” said the young man enthusiastically. “My name is Adolescent Misfit, and I'd be happy to come with you on your errand.”
“I know you would boy,” said Noreach, patting Adolescent on the back. “It's fine with us if you do. We'll sponsor you into the guilds when the time comes, and train you up in the meantime.”
“I can't turn my back without the dwarf taking a liking to someone,” said Amiable, “but let's get going. Dirt Road isn't the best place to be when it's raining, and the skies are starting to look stormy.”
The dwarf nodded and the three began weaving their way across town. They took shortcuts through Dark Alley and Lovers Lane before reaching Dirt Road. The Pig's Tie was hard to miss. The small shops and bars all looked the same except for a three story pink pig wearing a beige necktie. The whole building was made of wood, with the lower portion of the tie also serving as the establishment's door.
The three made their way inside and squeezed through the thick smelly crowd until they reached the bar. Amiable flagged down one of the barmen and asked about Cleans Upwell. The barman grunted and pointed at the stairs. “He's in the Louse Room,” the barman half-shouted before turning to a paying customer.
Noreach muttered thanks as the three adventurers began to push their way towards the stairs. The upstairs hallway was painted bright yellow, with the name of a parasite painted in green on each door. Amiable and Noreach split, each going a different way down the hall. Adolescent hesitated at the stairs for a few moments before following Noreach. They were about halfway down the hall when Noreach yelled “Here!” and knocked on a yellow door.
The door still had not opened when Amiable reached them. Noreach knocked again, this time harder and more successfully, for a voice came from within. “Come in, come in.” Noreach opened the door and they went in.
The room was filthy. Light flooded in through large pink windows, illuminating a room covered with furs. There was a man sitting on what appeared to be a fur bed, with thick dark hair that almost reached the fur rug on the floor beneath him. The hair was so thick and matted with filth that it was hard to tell which way the man was facing aside from portions of beard that jutted out. Amiable and Adolescent each thought they saw a mouth deep in the hair when the man began to speak, but Noreach did not, watching the fur-covered floor instead and pondering if he was likely to be infested with the room's namesake parasite.
“You must be Amiable Rogue and his compatriots. I was only expecting one other, but no matter, you have come as requested. I've asked for your help because I can't do this job alone. A man named Side Character is moving some mischief through town, and I intend to take it from him. You'll each get a share when it's sold to my buyer.”
Amiable and Noreach assented immediately, while Adolescent stood silently still until Noreach gave him a sharp jab with an elbow. The mountain of hair led the three through the door into the pink hallway, down the stairs into the crowded bar, and out into the dusty Dirt Road.

Goe, not sure if he'll make the 50k wordcount in 28 days :(

1 comment:

Rachmeg said...

Its gonna take work, but so far its worth it.

Rach - Could prolly make it if he used the C# code he has been writing as a story...