Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Murderer Sneezed.

The King awoke with a start. Off in the distance he could hear wolves howling. Dreadful things, he thought to himself in the comfort of his bed, I must remember to have a bounty placed on their heads.

A sneeze.

"Bless you," the King said to the darkness.

"Thank you."

The King's heart lept into his throat as he pulled the covers up over his head. "Who's out there," he called.

"We're often told that the way to deal with our problems is to meekly sit down and excuse our aggressors," a gravelly voice answered him "They didn't really mean it, we tell ourselves as they drink our beer, sleep with our women, and molest our dogs. They're just going through a hard time. Really."

"Wh-what," the King said as he began pressing the panic button that hung around his neck.

"My wife, God bless and preserve her, likes to make excuses for the you, you know. 'He isn't really a tyrant, dear,' she always says with a pained sigh, 'he's just overwhelmed by the effort to keep us safe. Look at all the things he has to deal with: raiders sneaking over the boarder; his daughter sleeping with everyone who can show her a hard rod; and the attempt on his life last month.'

"Of course it can't, I say, but does that excuse his taking our livestock, sleeping with our dog, and putting our son to the sword?"

"Pynchon? Is that you?"

"He said the boy was consorting with devils and I believe him she says to me, Sire. She believes in you absolutely."

"Emily's a good woman, Pynchon," the King whispers as he slides his hand under the pillow grasping for the nine millimeter that he hides there only to find the cold sheets to greet him.

"That she was, Sire, that she was. As good a woman as the sun ever saw in this world, but dumb. Too dumb to live."

"Pynchon, what are you saying?"

"I killed her Allan."

The silence stretched forever before the King finally found his nerve, "That's Your Majesty, Sire, or Sir, Pynchon. Remember your place."

"My place," the darkness laughed. "My place is right here holding your gun, the batteries to your panic button, and listening to you panic."

"Now see here, Pynchon, this foolishness has gone on long enough."

"I don't think so," he said flatly. "I think that what's happening here is just beginning. In fact I think that we've got seventy-two hours of talk before us. Well, I'll be talking. You though . . ."

"Pynchon, what are you thinking?"

"I'm thinking that death to tyrants is far better than a bumper sticker and that it's more of an action plan. I even have a power point made up for you."

"Pynchon?"

"Don't worry, Your Majesty," he whispered in the King's ear, "what comes next will not be pleasant nor will it be fast."

The King lunged into Pynchon. Trembling hands found a throat and Pynchon struck hard at the King. They rolled about the floor as the gun went off, and off, and off. Pynchon was covered in hot blood but still the King wouldn't let go of his throat. He plunged his fingers into the King's eyes, and the King screamed in agony, yet still his fingers dug into Pynchon's throat. "Blind me, shoot me, murder me," the King raged, "but I'll have your last breath before I let you murder me!"

For a long time Pynchon struggled beneath the King but at last he was still. For thirty heartbeats the King still pressed down on Pynchon's throat and screamed like a wild animal in the dark. Then he fell beside Pynchon's corpse and ran his hand along his side counting bullet holes. Four shots had found their way into his stomach. His right eye had burst under Pynchon's assault but he still lived. For now.

"Help," he called out into the dark, "for the love of all that's merciful, HELP!" 

Week of Vengeance
This post was a part of the Week of Vengeance series alongside +Alasdair Cunningham, +Travis Milam, +Mike Bridges, +Mark Van Vlack+Jens D. +Stelios V. Perdios, +Sean Bircher and me. Everyone has taken this topic in their own directions and they've made some fantastic posts that you should absolutely check out.

+Alasdair Cunningham wrote The Dish is Best Served . . . a d30 table of things villains say on the subject of revenge and R.E.V.E.N.G.E. a short story about the people that your worst villain turns to when things are out of hand. Alasdair has really come up with some great stuff for this project so be sure to check him out!

+Jens D. wrote A Tale of Carnage and Revenge, a short story based on a setting that Jens' has been working for some time that will have you wrapped up in it from the get go, and Outrageous Ulterior Motives (NO ONE POSTS ALONE-Edition), a tale about revenge at the table that makes me entirely too happy reading it!

+Mark Van Vlack came up with The Ax Grinders Goal which helps look at an alternative way to reward revenge plots that goes beyond just a satisfying chop to the neck and an end to an imaginary life. Like so many of Mark's efforts on game design he has a way of taking you beyond the complicated mechanics and making the whole thing into something not only enjoyable to read but that feels easy to implement into your own games.

+Mike Bridges made a fantastic comic, Cultists, that had me laughing out loud. Mike is always putting out great comics with this Greyhawk series and this one is no different. If you haven't checked out his stuff before you're in for a real treat and I know that I can't wait to see more of what he has in store for all of us in the future.

+Sean Bircher, who is a creative powerhouse, created an outstanding little adventure in Honor and Death. I don't want to talk too much about it for fear of spoiling any of it but if you've never had a chance to check out Sean's stuff this is a great opportunity and one that you really can't miss!

+Stelios V. Perdios wrote Revenge Done Right, a short piece of advice about how to do revenge plots correctly in your RPGs that won't see your players pulling their hair out in frustration. He'll be publishing his two-part short story, Anne Greyhawk and Her Curses, later this week. I really enjoy the way that Stelios writes so I can't wait to check out what he has in store for all of us!

+Travis Milam gave us some poignant thoughts in, Revenge and Why Your NPCs Want It, that had me really enjoying his ideas. Travis has this critical way of thinking about subjects that always excites me and has me looking forward to where he's going next, and his work on this project has be further proof of that faith in his abilities.

Watch this space in the coming weeks as I'll be putting together a free PDF with all of our stuff that you can download to your heart's delight!

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