How Jack-Jack left the swamp: Part II

A D&D Espresso Tale

By

Accipiter G. Goshawk

You can find part I of the story here…

They waited for Ayar to set before making their move. Stealthily, they crept down the side of the bowl, avoiding the cleverly hidden pits that dotted the land around the kobold village.

Junn held back a sneeze as they approached the rickety wooden gates, pinching his nose with the hand that wasn’t carrying the massive wooden club. To his left, Gunnek had drawn his dagger and was passing it eagerly from one beefy hand to the other. He heard the almost melodious slither of Kopez’s two rapiers leaving their sheathes as they passed into the village.

They skirted around the dishevelled hovels, their feet squelching in the soft mud. They peered into oblong windows, searching for a house containing the right number of prey. From time to time, they would flatten themselves against a decrepit wall, as the long shadows cast by the small reptilian guards trudged past the fires in the centre of town.

“This one seems promising,” murmured Kopez, stepping back from a particularly ugly-looking doorway.

“How many?” growled the dwarf.

“Four. Five at the most.”

“Hrm…maybe the old fart will give us a little extra if we bring him more than what was promised. Very well. Now remember, they may be easy marks, but it is vital that we kill them without making a sound. I don’t want to have a whole village of these cursed things out for blood.”

Kopez nodded.

“Right…we go in and Junn, you stand guard. Junn?”

He turned. Junn wasn’t there.

Gunnek sighed heavily and cursed the day he had hired the worthless moron. He quickly doubled back, intent on finding the lumbering oaf and beating him senseless with his own club.

He’d only made it halfway before his foot caught against something. Peering down, he gave his eyes the time to make out the details in the murky mud.

A steady stream of whispered curses erupted from his mouth as he snatched up Junn’s club and one of his boots.

“Shit.”

He twisted on the spot and started sprinting towards Kopez, his anger burgeoning into a terrible suspicion. He’d only taken three strides before a small explosion blossomed by the hut they’d been crouching next to. Blue flames licked around the corner and a part of the wall collapsed, revealing a panicking family of kobolds.

Kopez was nowhere to be seen.

“Shit, shit, shit!” he snarled.

Around him, the village came to life. Crude bells clanged, and he could now hear the sound of dozens of scrambling feet rushing in all directions, followed by that obnoxious jabbering.

As the banging of mismatched armour drew closer, Gunnek turned and quickly vaulted over the village wall, landing heavily in the muck of the swamp. No longer worried about stealth, he sloshed through the watery pools, intent on leaving the village far behind.

Something rushed past him and he froze, scanning the shadows.

“I know you’re out there, you filthy lizard! Show yourself!” he screamed, waving his dagger at a clump of shaking reeds.

He howled in pain, as a red line appeared on the back of his hand, causing him to drop the dagger. Blood trickled from the wound, but before he could add another terrified scream to the chaotic noises of the swamp, something cold and pointy pricked the back of his neck.

He trembled, as from behind him something chattered softly.

“Dwarf without friends, yes? Bad dwarf want kill kobolds, yes, yes? Jack-Jack no like sneaky-murder-dwarf-thief. Jack-Jack think Jack-Jack kill.”-

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