How Jack-Jack left the swamp: Part IV

A D&D Espresso Tale

By

Accipiter G. Goshawk

The story continues from where it left of in Part III

Tieflings are the property of The Wizards of the Coast and are evoked here as part of a homebrew campaign setting that uses D&D 5e, which is their game.

“Murder-dwarf do filthy-trick-magic! Jack-Jack want to return to swamp! Murder-dwarf send Jack-Jack back! Or Jack-Jack kill, yes, yes!”

Gunnek trembled as the little reptile hopped up and down in a state of ever-growing agitation. The two rapiers weaved erratically through the air, inches from the dwarf’s heart, and it took all his courage not to turn tail and run.

“Yes, I will gladly return you, master kobold. This has all been a mistake,” he said placatingly, eying the Guildmistress’s stiletto, “a terrible, terrible-”

Time slowed as he leapt backwards, his hand reaching for the golden hilt of the crazed tiefling’s weapon. In front of him, the kobold’s eyes widened and he started forward, his rapiers finding purpose.

Steel met steel as the ornate dagger intersected with the two longer blades, sending sparks dancing into the shadows.

To his right, Zorra cackled wildly, her frenzied tail whipping the air.

“A fight –a fight!- . How dare you fight within my guild! –more, I want more. Give me chaos, I need it! Fight for me, worms!- Cut it out or I will acquaint you with the colour of your innards!”

Gunnek snarled as he parried another slash.

“Shut up, you blue-skinned bitch! Once I’m done with the lizard I’m leaving this place and if you want to remain alive, I suggest you keep quiet!”

He winced, as one of the rapier tips found the soft flesh of his thigh. He danced away, limping slightly, trying to put enough distance between him and the murderous reptile.

Trying to put enough space between them to throw his dagger and end this.

“Coward murder-dwarf,” hissed Jack-Jack, taking a chunk out of an armchair with a wandering slash. “Jack-Jack protect the Clan! Jack-Jack kill!”

“Heh,” murmured the dwarf as he found his balance, “Jack-Jack can go to hell.”

The stiletto left his hand, spinning across the room like a promise of death.

Zorra screamed and reached out a hand, the words of a spell bubbling –far too slowly- across her lips.

There was an odd metallic twang, followed by a dull thud.

The grin that had been forming on Gunnek’s lips died. Slowly, he looked down to find the hilt of the stiletto firmly embedded in his chest. He lifted his head and for a moment stared at the panting kobold.

“You-filthy…,” he managed, before he finally keeled over.

“Stupid murder-dwarf,” hissed Jack-Jack, breaking the awkward silence. With practiced movements, he cleaned off his rapiers and sheathed them.

Then he turned to look at Zorra, his expression going from fierce to utterly lost.

“Where is Jack-Jack? Jack-Jack not near home, no, no?”

The guildmistress stared at him thoughtfully.

“You are from a swamp, are you not?” she asked, her piercing eyes taking in his muddy feet and plant-stained rags.

“Swamp, yes, yes!”

“Hmm…the stone Gunnek used only contained a minor enchantment. If I am not mistaken, you must hail from the Unn swamp, near Reedshollow. If you want, I can help you return there…or…”

The kobold stared at her quizzically.

“Yes, yes?”

Or I could offer you a job. You are skilled, Jack-Jack. The Guild could use someone like you. And you could gain much. Riches beyond your imagination.”

The kobold continued to stare, incomprehension painted on his face.

“You would be very rich. Power beyond anything you have ever known!

Jack-Jack blinked and then stepped forward.

“Would this help village of Jack-Jack? Jack-Jack send food, potions and build-stuffs, yes, yes?”

Zorra’s smile softened, even as the thing within her groaned disgustedly.

“You could send mountains of food and build-stuffs.”

The kobold immediately straightened and a new light burned in his eyes.

“Jack-Jack stay. Jack-Jack work for blue-tail-double-speak lady.”

The guildmistress chuckled.

“Welcome to the Astralia thieves’ guild, Mr. Jack-Jack.”-

That ends Jack-Jack’s story (for now).

We will meet him again, as the Cursed Eight journey further south to the merchant city of Astralia…

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