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Old 05-12-2004, 05:48 PM   #174
The Saucepan Man
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: A green and pleasant land
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The Saucepan Man has been trapped in the Barrow!
The Eye When in Beer ...

When the party had left the Marrow Bones Studios, Soregum had been delighted to find Twinkle nibbling nonchalantly (and daintily, of course) on a few blades of grass outside. He had also been surprised to find that his delight stemmed not just from his reunion with the pipeweed-stuffed saddlebags which she bore, but that he was also actually quite pleased to see her. Twinkle, for her part, had been delighted at the presence of a cart within which the aforementioned saddlebags could be stowed, and also at the prospect of some equine company at last, and a cut above those dark dreary Moredough stallions at that, not to mention an adorably angst-ridden Dragon. Despite being the cutest little dark steed in Muddled-Mirth (or perhaps because of it), she was most certainly not above a little bit of flirtation. And suitably stabled at the Nancing Bow-ny Inn, she took the opportunity to get to know her new companions a little better.

Soregum, meanwhile, was in his element Downstairs at the Nance. A veteran of Uruk mess halls (a most fitting term), he felt quite at home in the quintessential atmosphere of squalor and dilapidation that characterised the place, and amongst its (variously) scabrous, seedy, boisterous, dishevelled and brawling clientele. In no time, he was sinking his decaying teeth into enormous helpings of the (alternately) undercooked and overcooked meat and vegetables, quaffing pint after pint of ale and (between mouthfuls) puffing away on his pipe.

Much to Vogonwë’s consternation, Soregum’s increasingly bleary eyes rarely left Pimpi (which unfortunately served only to further diminish his already shocking table-manners), although she was far too engrossed in the food-fest herself to notice. Eventually Vogonwë could take no more and he nudged her pointedly in the ribs (her own that is, rather than those that she was at that moment picking clean).

“Would you care to take the air, my darling Pimpi?” he said, forgetting to emphasise the “my” in his delight at having unexpectedly rhymed his hastily formulated question.

“Don’t be silly, Vogie, my sweet,” she replied. “We haven’t had dessert yet. And then there’s second dessert to consider. And perhaps we might then start again back at the top of the menu.”

Orogarn Two glanced up in alarm and reached for the menu while simultaneously selecting the calculator function on his Parma Palantir.

“Well, I didn’t have a starter, or wine, and I shared my rabbit stew with …” he began.

“Darling, let’s not split hares,” interrupted Leninia.

“I have a feeling that it will be on the house,” muttered Kuruharan darkly.

“You’re my besshtesht pal, you are,” added Earnur, wrapping his arms around a startled Gateskeeper with not the vaguest idea who he was addressing.

As the discombobulated Wizard pushed him away, the Lord of Dun-Sobrin unexpectedly jumped up onto the table (with surprising agility) and began to sing a traditional anthem from his Hero Academy days.

I've been a brave warrior for many a year,
Mighty and honest and knowing no fear.
Despatching my enemies in blood, guts and gore,
Each foe I will slay – that’s what warriors are for.

And it's hack, slash, sever,
Hack, slash, sever once more,
I will slay like a warrior,
Forever and more.

In causes most noble I’ve offered my sword,
As chances for glory just can’t be ignored.
To win great renown is a worthy pursuit,
So when slaughter’s involved I’m a willing recruit.

And it's hack, slash, sever,
Hack, slash, sever once more,
I will play the brave warrior,
Forever and more.

When brigands and bandits come raiding for gold,
The edge of my sword they will find sharp and cold.
And when Ladies from Dragons need liberating,
I’m first in the queue – it’s a warrior thing.

And it's hack, slash, sever,
Hack, slash, sever once more,
I’m not fey, I’m a warrior,
Forever and more.

So Trolls, Orcs and Goblins, yes let’ em all come,
In fifties and hundreds, I’ll fight every one.
I’ll shout “Day will come!” as I chop off their limbs,
And toast their remains with a measure of Pimms.

And it's hack, slash, sever,
Hack, slash, sever once more,
I will stay a brave warrior,
Forever and more.

There was a smattering of half-hearted applause as Earnur leapt into the air with a flourish. Much too vigorously, for he missed the table entirely on his way down and instead landed with a crash and a clatter and much cursing on a passing waitress bearing a tray full of mugs. The assembled guests all opened their mouths wide for laughter and stopped short in gaping silence, for the singer had disappeared. Everyone stared in amazement as the Gallowship exchanged mystified glances.

“Where’s ‘e gone?” shouted a squint-eyed fellow (who may or may not have hailed from the south).

“It’s not natural!” squeaked one of the local Hobbits in alarm.

“There’s some mistake somewhere,” exclaimed the landlord, an enormous ruddy-cheeked balloon of a man by the name of Lardiman Butterball. “There was too much manfulness about that Lord Etceteron to go vanishing into thin air.”

“It’s okay. He’s under here,” piped up Kuruharan, who had located Earnur under a nearby table where he had rolled and promptly fallen asleep.

Soon relative calm descended once again on the common room and the Gallowship returned to quibbling over the bill. After a short while, Lardiman Butterball approached their table, breathing heavily and perspiring profusely. Leninia wrinkled her nose in disdain.

“Beggin’ your pardon, good sirs … er … and madams,” he wheezed. “Excuse me interruptin’ you and all, but wasn’t there a Hobbit gentleman with you earlier? A fellow with a rather interestin’ dental arrangement, if you take my meaning?”

The Gallowship stared at each other blankly.

“Oh, you must mean Soregum,” remarked Pimpi at length. Vogonwë bristled in irritation that she should be the one to identify the subject of the landlord’s enquiry.

“It’s just that Dobby, the House Hobbit that is, noticed a fellow matchin’ that description lyin’ in the street outside,” continued Mr Butterball. “With a rather sinister figure, black cloak an’ all, stoopin’ over him.”

No one moved.

“Aren’t you goin’ … um … don’t you want to make sure that nothin’ queer’s happened to him, like?” ventured the innkeeper.

Still no movement.

“Well, I suppose we ought to check that he’s alright,” said Pimpi finally, as Vogonwë glowered silently.

With not the least hint of urgency, the group slowly made their way out to the front of the inn, Pimpi dragging a protesting Vogonwë and Orogarn Two dragging a snoring Earnur. When they reached Soregum’s prone body, the black figure was still crouched over it.

“He’s completely hammered,” Grrralph said, turning to them and standing up.

Last edited by The Saucepan Man; 05-13-2004 at 09:01 PM.
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