Journals of the Humber Dragon Friends Volume IV Alexia Gabrielle Adelaide Humber Tails of the Seventh Duck Chapter 7
OK, so you ask. Why does Volume IV start with chapter seven? What happened to the first six chapters? What became of the Wand of the Second Duck? Where is the Ring of the Ducks? Wherever is the last financial reserves of the Barony of Humber?
Traded them all for a pair of admittedly well made high grade sterling silver slave shackles.
While I am still quite young, I can say with reasonable confidence, nay, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am the world’s foremost export on the history of the Humber Ducks. As such, I can announce with firm confidence one simple fact.
I. Am. The. Worst. Duck. Ever.
I am just glad I decided there wasn’t anywhere near enough room left in Volume III to record all the fabulous deeds of Duck Seven.
So what happened? I got to watch from inside a cage a bunch of really strong guys rowing a slave galley. I helped a half orc with a whip get his jollies. I pounded said half orc with the blunt side of my girlacles (Girlacles are like manacles, except less effective as weapons.) I’m pretty sure I set a Duck record for distance swimming, fresh water or salt, as well as a record for walking while in chains. I ran away from an off key mermaid. I found and recovered a tattered, tangled fishing net and twenty feet of rope, and thought it a good day’s work. I didn’t quite get eaten by a giant crab, but dined on crab instead.
And I dreamed words of wisdom from The Patron for my first time. There I was, caged, chained, battered, hungry, thirsty, filthy, afraid and ashamed. What was his advice?
I wasn’t properly appreciative at the time. I mean maybe, just maybe, possibly, the most powerful critter in the archipelago has something better to do than rescue his poor misplaced Duck? So I worked on patience. It wasn’t like I had better things to do. And sure enough, patience paid off. The storm came, and I got this wonderful exceptional glorious opportunity to jump overboard into a storm tossed salty tempest. The virtues of patience.
At least I had company. Male company. Strong male company. Do you want to know what’s more useless than a sorceress in rags and chains without spells? A sorceress in rags and chains without spells surrounded by four absurdly competent huge hulking hunks. Two of them were dwarves. I must have been a couple of feet taller than them. With all the muscles wrapped around their muscles, they were still heavier and hulkier than me.
Having four hulks wasn’t all that bad. They made combats much easier, not that I’m an expert in combat. Anyway, holding a building with four entrances is much easier if you have four hulking hunks… so long as no giant crabs crash through the ceiling. On the other hand, the crab had a point. I discovered that fighting from above, from the ceiling, where the zombies can’t get you but where you can zap them, is a fine way of fighting.
Eventually the rescue ship came, thanks in good part to the off key mermaid. I have since learned that some young generous dwarf queens at least are impervious to the glares of some prudently thrifty dwarf kings, and thus I have a hundred gold pieces of credit to begin to restore the fortunes of Humber, the dignity of The Patron, and my own self esteem. Thing is, I can’t even think of a worthy way of spending a hundred gold pieces. I mean, what worthy lady of Regium would be challenged to spend a hundred gold pieces? I mean, I need a short strait stick to stir up some magic. I can splurge and get a second. A less frilly and fluffy outfit that won’t trip me up should I get in trouble again would likely be nice. I suppose I could get some prim proper and dignified outfits so I can maintain the proper dignity of a Lady of Humber, so mother won’t disown me should we meet again.
But a new wand is just a stick. It wouldn’t replace the one lost. A new ring would be just a copy. A dress can’t create the illusion of dignity if the one wearing it doesn’t have any dignity left inside.
And the four hulking hunks could likely use the gold better than I. Being a huge strong warrior looks expensive.
And I should probably look for a job. I really am good at carrying weight, at least stuff that weighs less than ten pounds. Is anyone looking for a scrawny underweight weight lifter with an option of lightning?
In my dreams I sometimes have mighty wings, hover over puny opponents, and slay them with lightning from a distance where they can’t much hurt me. It is all so very glorious and gratifying.
It’s not as much fun when the other guy has the mighty wings, and you’re the small puny one.
Gargoyle. Big. Tough. Nasty. Not at all civilized. He attacked while we were on a tiny ledge on the side of a cliff. Not polite. Did I mention tough? My mighty males were struggling trying to hurt him. It took magic…
Speed counts. I unloaded everything I had as fast as I could. It was enough. I suspect it was barely enough.
It felt good being useful. Hopefully, I won’t have to be quite that useful very often.
I lost two of my mighty men. Mighty men are supposed to be strong, tough, brave, invulnerable, and stand between me and the bad guys. This time, they were perhaps too brave, rushing into the midst of death rather than standing together and by me. They allowed themselves to be surrounded and slain.
There was naught that I could do.
I remember my noisy youth, attacking my chosen stone with lightning bolt after lightning bolt, slowly wearing it down and driving the kitchen staff nuts. I think I broke all my old speed records shooting at walking dead and oozing death. The kitchen staff wasn’t there to complain.
A narrow corridor. Could we have formed a two abreast shield wall? Could they have covered the healer and the mage?
We need to learn more discipline.
Fencing may be an interesting hobby, but short sword against wand is tricky. Ducks are a little quick and a little tough, but some jobs are intended for mighty men with armor, shields an heavy blades?
I think I have achieved the first two of three dreams. The Patron has sent many of his ducks dreams, including myself, dreams of flight and dreams of swimming. Long have I laid on the ground, watching the clouds above a mountain roil from an updraft, knowing how that updraft can carry one easily high aloft. Long have I watched the waves and currents swirling around the castle, powerful, chaotic, thrilling to ride, but far too dangerous for a human child to brave. Flight is still beyond me, but I have learned to change myself, to take another shape, to grow gills and fins. I can swim now. The sea is mine. Oh, I’m no bronze dragon, but I can be one with the sea.
The same spell also brings beauty. I don’t know how many hours I’ve spent looking in a mirror, wondering if my chest might ever not be oh so flat. I can develop things now. The Second Duck noted that if one learns how to swim, one must learn to distinguish between flat, attractive, stunning and silly. The alteration spell can can get one to silly really quickly. Long straight flowing hair that brushes the floor as one walks might be nice, but perhaps it shouldn’t be blue to match one's eyes? Big eyes and puckering lips can be overdone, as can be long curling eyelashes. I’ve also learned where the stories of clocks striking midnight and the beautiful princess turning back into a pumpkin come from.
And I feel guilty. I’ve always wanted to swim, to be as the Patron, grace underwater, as long as I can remember. And I’ve always wanted to be beauty and elegance, the belle of the ball. What girl hasn’t? I’ve been striving for these things since I mastered the little lightning. Well, before actually. You can stare at a spell book long and hard even if you haven’t a chance of calling up the required power.
But should I have stared at a spell that might have kept my mighty men alive?
I’m a wonder in the water. I can be as beautiful as I can imagine myself to be.
Why am I so miserable? Why are the sea and the ballroom so empty?
Last Edit: Nov 21, 2016 10:33:56 GMT -5 by blantyr