September 11, 2003
Vryce's Gift by Ganzuuth
There exists, within the beautiful city of Medievia, a very wondrous
population. Every day, thousands of people pass through its streets,
buying, selling, talking, and drinking to the good health of themselves and
their friends. Never a moment goes by when you cannot hear the voice of
a bloodied warrior shouting to sell his freshly found, and all too
obviously overpriced, eggs. Perhaps you might hear a plea from someone for
help on his quest, or simply a call for volunteers to help on a trip
from one city to another carrying goods for hefty profits. Often, one
might even hear the cries of someone new to the land in a time of an
earthquake, or the response from someone more experienced telling them to
run for their lives.
There is also a darker side to the city. Terrible crimes are committed
daily. The workers of the city are terrified of doing their jobs, as
they fear that they may be killed, or rather, because they know that they
will be killed. For some reason, however, they do not show this fear,
but actually seem bored and tired of life instead.
Seymour is 54 years old. He has watched Medievia grow and change from
the time he was born. For many years, for most of his life in fact,
Seymour has worked in Medievia as a janitor, picking up the discarded and
unwanted items that lay about the city. He has always been happy with
his job as a janitor. He has never asked for a raise, or a promotion, as
he has always been satisfied with what Vryce has provided him.
He has also seen how the land has sunk into darkness. He recalls how
the land has changed, and how he contributed to it -
Nearly two decades ago, Medievia was actually a peaceful land, as it
had existed for many years, ever since the benevolent being known as
Vryce purged the land of its evil. The gods had been kind to the
inhabitants, and murders were almost unheard of.
Seymour had always been a hard worker, but also enjoyed his times of
leisure. He often found himself wandering the streets of Medievia without
On one particular day, Seymour found himself in the City of Medievia's
"There you go, my girl," he said, patting a gamin on her head as he
slipped a coin into her grubby hand.
The girl squealed in delight and ran away on her bare feet.
Seymour watched her go and smiled. All seemed well with the world.
"Please welcome Newbie who has just become a citizen of Medievia!"
shouted Famar the town crier.
Seymour grinned, "New citizens means new litter," he exclaimed, he
fantasizing about picking up foreign trash. The exotic nature of alien
rubbish thrilled his nerves as never before.
He decided to go buy a Mudslinger to catch up with the latest news. As
he approached the scribe, he noticed a large group of people gathered
in the area. They seamed quite frantic about something, talking
excitedly in huddled groups. Seymour frowned and handed five coins to the
scribe - perhaps the reason would be within the pages of the newspaper?
Seymour unfolded the newspaper and held it in front of him, "Hmm let's
see now," he mumbled as he scanned the headlines, "Samrah opens shoe
store. New dog licenses required." Seymour heard a moan coming from
Scruff's direction and continued reading. Before he could utter another word
he stopped, staring blankly at the article in the middle of the front
Finally, after some time of trying to take in the new information, he
began to read aloud. "This morning, a terrible dark shroud descended
over the city of Medievia as reports of murder came from the Poor Quarter.
It has been reported that during the night three young girls, a servant
woman, several animals, and a janitor had all been murdered in the same
area. The crimes were believed to have been committed around the same
time during the hours of darkness." Seymour continued to read the
article in silence and a tear rolled down his face.
Upon finishing the article, Seymour threw the newspaper to the ground
in rage. His generations of janitorial genes kicked in, and he picked it
up and shoved it into the rubbish bag he carried with him.
Seymour turned around and began to walk away slowly. He was in shock,
and could not believe what he had read. "Murders? In this city?" he
thought to himself. "No murder has occurred in this city since I was a boy.
And that was only the new town crier of the time - not even the deaf
man that lived next door could stand him".
He began to listen in to the conversations from the group standing near
the scribe. "I heard that the guards that went to investigate yesterday
have not yet returned," someone said.
Seymour looked around to see Scruff sitting on the ground. "They've
killed guards as well?" the janitor asked.
"Let's just say that I'm going to keep my ears to the ground and my
paws ready to run," the large dog replied, absently scratching for fleas.
Seymour decided he needed to rest and so, dragging his broom behind
him, he trudged homeward.
"HA! Prepare to die, janitor!" yelled a young thief as he jumped in
front of Seymour, tossing his makeshift weapon from hand to hand.
Seymour turned to run, and swung his broom behind him, for he would
never go anywhere without it. It hit something and he turned to see that
he had knocked the young criminal out cold. Staring over the drooling
lad, Seymour thought "I may not be as lucky next time," and ran as
quickly as he could towards the stables.
On his way, Seymour stepped into a puddle of blood, which he
instinctively mopped with a handy mop attachment he always carried for those
difficult stains. This violence was intolerable. He could no longer stand
it or these newcomers. He had to do something, other than mopping up the
blood and carrying away the corpses.
Seymour dashed into the stables, noticing someone trailing him. The
figure bounced from shadow to shadow, never looking on Seymour's
direction. The way the figure, male or female Seymour couldn't tell, kept it
head deep within its hood and a hand on the hilt of a dagger made the
janitor's blood run cold.
Feeling generations of janitors cursing his treacherous nature, Seymour
grabbed a rake and began to help the stable boys muck out. For several
minutes the figure bounced on silent feet between the dark spaces,
apparently convinced that he couldn't be seen.
Seymour bent over his rake, ignoring the smell and hoping that the
stranger couldn't see him. After attempting, unsuccessfully, to stab at
the back of an unsuspecting stable lad several times, the hooded figure
left, kicking at clods of something unpleasant as it went.
Seymour breathed a sigh of relief, gagged on the stench, and grabbed
the reins of a horse. A few moments later, he galloped down the road,
scattering hooded figures and apprentice mages as best he could.
"Hrmph", hrmphed Seymour, "the stable used to have such nice riding
horses, now there are only these armor clad, muscular brutes." The janitor
sighed and rode on. He had heard rumors that it was possible to find
Vryce at the top of a great mountain in the north that was visible from
the city, even on foggy days.
Seymour was nervous - he had rarely ventured far from the safe walls
surrounding his fair city... except for that one time after that bet he
lost... and had to give Elnissa a kiss... but he'd rather forget that
Seymour eventually found the wilderness, which wasn't hard seeing as it
is pretty much a straight line from the center of Castle Square. He
discovered as he rode that the warhorses were very different to his
favorite riding horse, Sandy...
"I won't spur his side like that again," mumbled Seymour, as he
remounted the warhorse.
He began to ride toward the great mountain, and the warhorse galloped
as quickly as it could. But Seymour had to take a slightly longer trip
than he had expected as the "stupid beast", as he so affectionately
referred to his warhorse, refused to step into the river on the way to the
mountain, which made the trip very much longer than it needed to be. To
make life even more difficult for him, a swarm of wasps followed him
all the way to his destination.
He finally reached Mount Vryce, and tethered his horse to a tree stump
which was labeled "Tether here," before setting off on foot up the
steep path on the side of the mountain.
It took some time, and some sever sweeping, but Seymour reached the top
of Mount Vryce. At the time, Vryce could still be found there, within a
log cabin which Vryce had built - not that it was actually an effort
for a god with unlimited power to build a simple log cabin. There was
smoke rising from the chimney, indicating that either Vryce was inside, or
that the cabin was on fire.
Seymour knocked on the door. A call came from inside - "Who is it?" and
then he heard something fall over and hit the floor with a thud
followed by the sounds of breaking glass and the same voice yelling "Youch!"
Vryce opened the door, dusting some broken glass from himself and
nursing a purple finger. "Ah, Seymour. You fancied some fresh air, did you?
I'm surprised that you didn't use one of those dragon coins that you
keep picking up in your job."
Seymour blushed in embarrassment, not wanting to say that he liked to
keep these sorts of things as souvenirs. He stuttered a little, and then
began, "I have come to you in a time of great troubles in the once
peaceful land of Medievia." Vryce nodded as if he were paying attention,
sat down in his favorite chair and breathed deeply. Seymour continued,
"The City of Medievia has... well, it has changed, to say the least."
Vryce closed his eyes - Seymour thought that it was probably in order to
concentrate. Seymour sighed, "I just want to give you the straight
story. The citizens of Medievia are being slaughtered by the newcomers in
the land. I don't know where the newcomers came from, but every day I see
more of them, and they are ruthless murderers, they will kill everyone,
men, women, children, even dogs and cats. The city is distressed!
Please, you must help us."
They sat for about two minutes until finally Vryce finished snoring and
opened his eyes. He said, "I tell you what." Seymour sat up
expectantly. "I can protect you from death, you and every other citizen of my
land. No longer will you have to fear death as I have a solution that will
Seymour was excited, with great expectations of what would be said next
"I shall instate a new law of nature today!" Vryce continued. "From now
on, all creatures in my land who die at the hand of the newcomers shall
no longer fear death, for I cannot allow my creatures to suffer!"
Seymour raised his right eyebrow. Vryce sat up. "No longer shall my citizens
fear the newcomers! Seymour, the world will be a very different place
when you get back, but do not fear, for my gift to the world will do no
harm to any of the creatures in the land, and will certainly bring a
certain amount of joy!" With that, Vryce slumped back into his
Seymour was unsure about what Vryce's plan was, though somehow he was
convinced that it was a good plan, whatever it was. He thanked the
creator and left the log building. Vryce stood in the entrance waving and
looking as if he felt proud of himself.
Seymour rode back to the City of Medievia, and decided that he could
now go back to work in peace. He walked back to his home, grabbed his
trusty broom and walked into the street feeling invigorated and excited
that life was now safe from the new immigrants.
He stood in the middle of the street and thrust his broom forward into
the ground, cleaning as he usually did - except now he was cheerful,
singing as he swept. "Sweep, sweep, sweep a merry day, life is indeed
going my way..."
He stopped his song as he felt a cramp in his right thigh. "It must
have been a while since I have done any work," he thought to himself as he
reached down to massage his leg. His fingers touched something sharp
and cold - a knife. He pulled it out and stared at the blood in shock,
and then the agony hit. Falling to his knees, Seymour twisted around
and saw his fate.
Three young men stood behind him, wielding vicious-looking weapons and
grinning with a murderous look in their eyes.
"Why would you do this to an innocent janitor?" Seymour cried in pain.
His assailants did not respond, but instead circled him like vultures.
Seymour desperately swung at them with his broom, but to no avail.
As they circled him, one of the men began to chant some strange words.
The more he chanted, the more pain Seymour felt. Finally, the largest
of the three approached Seymour, picked him up with one hand, and with
the other hand thrust his sword through Seymour's now almost limp body.
Seymour collapsed onto the hard floor which he had just cleaned. He
floated, or so it felt, watching from above as his blood stained the
ground. His nice, clean ground.
A figure darted from the side and grabbed the gold Seymour kept in his
pouch for a Mudslinger and ran away. Seymour's assailants shouted
something about lootstealing and that they would pray. He watched all this
with detached indignation, unable to feel much else being dead. His
Seymour opened his eyes and blinked from the light. Was he dead? He
must have been, for he was sure that his body was torn, battered and not
necessarily in one whole piece. He looked at himself and found that he
was in perfect condition, and he had a nice new broom to go with the
body. He looked around him, and saw a street covered with careless litter.
"I'm in janitor heaven!" he exclaimed, sure that he had figured out
what was going on. Something echoed in his mind. "No longer shall my
citizens fear the newcomers... fear the newcomers... the newcomers...
newcomers... comers". Not exactly sure why it was echoing, Seymour tried to
understand what Vryce had meant. Seymour looked more carefully at his
surroundings. "It looks like the City of Medievia... but..." He paused as
he saw the old beggar from the Poor Quarter, whom he had known for many
years, walk past him. He knew that that old beggar was faking that
whole "paralyzed from the waist down with no hope of recovery story". More
importantly though, was Seymour himself alive, or was the beggar also
dead? Why would he be in janitor heaven?
Dazed and confused, Seymour walked in a southerly direction and found
the Castle Square of the City of Medievia. He was sure now that he was
alive, but how? He spotted a few of his janitorial colleagues standing
in a group, chatting. "Perhaps they know something of what happened to
me," Seymour thought to himself, picking up rubbish as he moved towards
He reached back to scratch an itch in his back as he walked, but found
a dagger there instead. Before he could turn around or scream, he found
himself floating above his body until his world faded.
The beggar nodded cheerfully as Seymour blinked in the sunlight again.
Frowning, the janitor scurried off to Castle Square again, turning
frequently in case of other attacks. He bought the latest edition of the
Mudslinger and stared at the front page article...
"Medievia is in shock. Even though the outlanders have increased in
numbers and are murdering more and more people, our original population
seems to not be diminishing. Instead, people seem to mysteriously
reappear elsewhere not long after their death. More on page five."
Seymour suddenly understood, as a spell blasted him off his feet and
the familiar floating sensation began once more. Now, instead of living
in fear of dying, everyone spent half of their day dead. Perhaps life
was scarier than death, as life brings pain, and death ends it.
As he picked up his new broom once more, Seymour shrugged and decided
that it was probably better if he didn't go back to Vryce for his advice
this time. He may just get what he asked for again.
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