Op-EdYahtzee Wrote a BookOp-Ed - RSS 2.0
His passionate appeal utterly failed to do the trick. Many of the adventurers were already drifting away, along with most of the bored spectators.
"Now hold on!" yelled Mayor Dubbly as more and more of his audience deserted him. "I could be persuaded to go up to twenty-three points a head?"
"It's too late for that now," said the dwarf spokesman, following his colleagues. "You waste our time, we lose the spark."
All Dubbly and the gnoll horde could do was stand, open-mouthed and crestfallen, impotently watching the stars of the evening's entertainment wander off into the night.
"Gruffug khakhaf gafflekaff?" rumbled the head gnoll, having difficulty pushing his words through the hideous forest of pointy teeth that filled his mouth.
"Yes, I suppose you can still have your free meal coupons," sighed Dubbly. "Collect 'em from the town hall."
Excitement rejuvenated, the gnolls dispersed. I suddenly noticed that I'd unconsciously ducked when they'd arrived, and was now watching the street with my non-existent nose hooked over the windowsill. I stood, attempting to gather my dignity.
"What was that all about?" asked Meryl, as we rejoined the priest. Several adventurers had already returned to the bar to resume drinking.
"I dunno," I said, "but I have a horrible feeling that it was my fault. We should probably get out of here and back on the road. We can meet Slippery John on his way back."
"What, right now?" She clicked her tongue. "Look, I know a lot of people have been trying to destroy you lately but that's no reason to be paranoid."
As if to punctuate her sentence, the entrance door suddenly broke off its hinges and flew horizontally across the room, erupting into bits against the body of a poorly-placed rogue. Two of the invading gnolls entered, squeezing themselves uncomfortably through the human-sized doorway like hairy, murderous toothpaste.
"What the hell, guys?!" shouted the innkeeper, furious. "You know you're not supposed to damage property! This was covered at the meeting!"
"Gruffuk," went one of the gnolls apologetically. He was the slimmer of the two, which meant he could probably only bench-press two or three horses at once. "Groffty grukkuffug," he added, pointing a filthy black claw directly at me.
"Oh, balls," I retorted, not the slightest bit surprised.
The only way out was through the advancing wall of fur and muscle that was now dividing the bar and reception area. Choices and consequences raced through my head. Every single one of them ended with at least one part of me getting chewed on. A particularly large dollop of foamy spittle landed next to my foot and my brain desperately accelerated.
"New quest!" I heard myself yell. "Save me from gnolls! Big rewards!"
"Ugh," muttered Thaddeus, still calmly sitting. "At least accept fate with a little dignity, child of damnation."
It had done the trick, though. The monsters froze. At some point between my utterance of the words "big" and "rewards," every adventurer in the bar had finished their drinks, stood up and begun fondling their weapon hilts.
There passed a significant moment of stillness. Nobody in the room wanted to be the first to make a rash movement that could snowball into large amounts of property damage.
"Gruk," went the slimmer gnoll, no doubt also the more erudite of the pair. "Graffogok koggogok roffgroff."