Medievia Mudslinger

August 17th, 2001

Yarrg - By Alkanar

"Move a little to the left. No, that's not the left. Up some."

"Can you see anything yet?"

"Ok, yes I see a tree and I believe if I squint I can see a grasshopper."

Lucius slowly rolled over until, bit by bit, the owners of the voices slid into view. Marcus and Suffolk seemed to be supporting Wolsey so he could see out the smallish window near the roof. Lucius groaned and rolled back over, in his bed, once he realized what they were doing.

"You know the girls wear robes," yelled Lucius covering his head with his sheets, "with the hoods up."

"Yeah, but if you look at em all squinty like you can just make out their hair color. I think the third one from the back is a brunette," said Wolsey as he grabbed the wall to rebalance himself.

Lucius stretched soundlessly under his sheets then sat up in bed. Gradually Lucius shifted his view from the three at the front of the room to take in the room in its entirety. He had always found that, upon waking up, it was good to take a minute to survey one's surroundings. Often Lucius found his surroundings radically different from how he remembered them before sleep.

Today, little had changed from the ordinary. The room remained the small, spartan dormitory assigned to all students upon enrollment in the Academy of Braneri. Four beds, with a closet to the right of each bed, were arranged evenly about the room. The mid-day sun poured in through the small grated windows near the high ceiling. The only personal area allowed to students was an open space at the rear of each room; students could decorate this as they wished. Lucius's gaze finally stopped once he reached that area.

The back of the room usually housed an impressive collection of casks containing liquids with names such as, "Ye Olde Special No. 6," and "Ye Olde Caution Flammable." The casks were still there, that much hadn't changed. They just seemed to be in much different positions than normal.

"Explain to me something," said Lucius.

"Wuzzat," said Marcus.

"Why are all the casks stacked together in a pile over there," said Lucius poking a hand out from under the covers and indicating the rear of the room.

"Built a fort."

Lucius looked from the three at the window to the fort then back to the three before answering. "Why?"

Marcus steadied Wolsey before answering. "Well, last night we went to the Kobold place again right." Lucius nodded, internally cringing. The Kobold place was located not far from Braneri. It took about fifteen minutes to walk there and about an hour to walk back. Walking back involved a lot of falling down followed by many, many attempts to get back up. "Hole in the Wall" didn't quite describe the Kobold place; this made it sound much too nice. The Kobold place would never buy walls. Lucius could hear the barkeep now, "Walls is for them fancy lasses in Medievia City. Me, I just needs me some good old fashioned dirt and a proper board that, umm, fell off the back of a wagon."

Marcus now steadied himself before continuing, "Well it seems that at the end of the night we came up a little short."

"How short," queried Lucius.

"We forgot to bring money," replied Marcus. "Anyway, we made a break for it and once we got back here we figured we ought to build a fort. To protect ourselves from any retaliation."

Lucius nodded thoughtfully, "You know you have a tab there right?"

"Well yes, but we forgot about that last night."

"Tab got a lot bigger didn't it?"

Marcus nodded vigorously almost causing Wolsey to fall again. Marcus craned his neck up to Wolsey as he had steadied himself. "See anything yet?"

"Third one from the back is definitely a brunette... or a blonde. Wait no, sorry that's a tree."

Marcus rolled his eyes. "Ok, I'm leaving."

Wolsey quickly hopped down from the window as Marcus stretched back to an upright position. Suffolk stood up as well, rubbing his back. "Wols, have you gained weight since yesterday?"

Lucius swung his legs from under the sheets and stood from the bed slowly. Once he was sure the room was done threatening to tilt sideways he began rummaging through the small closet by his bed. After several attempts at finding a towel, he decided the green one was cleanest. At least it didn't purr like the blue one - he'd had trouble with the blue one lately. He was pretty sure it had eaten the yellow towel with the blue stripes. Meanwhile, Wolsey and Marcus were pulling on their sandals. Suffolk nodded to Lucius, "Wanna go get something to eat with us," he asked gesturing east.

Lucius shook his head quickly, "Oh no! You're going back to that Kobold place aren't you?" Suffolk smiled and nodded. "No! I'm not going back there, last time we went there you guys convinced me to drink that orange stuff and I woke up in a tree."

"You thought that you were a bird," offered Marcus.

"Not going!" yelled Lucius. The three laughed as they left through the side door to the dormitory. Lucius blinked in the bright light that came streaming in from outside. Throwing the towel over his shoulder Lucius caught the door before it closed and stepped into the morning air. Marcus and the others were already heading to the gate laughing in the new morning. Lucius jogged to the corner of the dorm and peeked around hoping the girls would still be marching to chapel. He frowned at seeing only an empty Braneri quad. Well not quite empty, persay, there were guards, professors, and statues, but none of that was particularly interesting.

Braneri was never built to be particularly interesting. The head master's exact words to the architect were, "Make it look academy-ish." In this spirit Braneri was given simple brick buildings surrounding a rectangular green, climbing ivy, and finally completed with statues. Braneri had slowly, over the years, become a place where a young adult could go to avoid a real job.

Lucius shook his head and walked back into the dorm and down the hall to the baths.

When Lucius got back from the baths Marcus and Suffolk where standing in the side doorway staring at something outside. "Where's Wolsey?" queried Lucius.

"Drank the orange stuff," replied Marcus still not taking his eyes off the something outside. Lucius finished pulling on his robes and walked over to the doorway. Outside was Wolsey, nicely roosted on the central statue in the quad, just between the head and the extended arm.

"Nice nest work there," said Lucius pointing to a particularly well-placed array of twigs.

Marcus nodded and jabbed a thumb towards Suffolk, "He was just saying that. Wol's really got a nice place going there."

"Have the monks tried to beat him off the statue yet?"

"Not yet, but we think they're going to get to him any minute now," said Marcus as he peered towards the administrative building. The monks were usually there this time of day.

Lucius watched Wolsey for a few minutes as he ran to several other trees and gathered sticks to enlarge his nest. He eventually settled down and began to engage in what appeared to be preening. "I'm going to the library," announced Lucius once it became clear that the monks weren't going to notice Wolsey anytime soon. "Maybe I can find something there to put him back to normal," said Lucius nodding towards Wolsey.

"You can read?" replied Marcus, with a note of astonishment in his voice. Despite this surprise on Marcus's part he still did not take his attention from Wolsey, who continued to preen.

"You can't read!" said Lucius after a few minutes of quiet astounded blinking time.

Marcus shook his head, an amazing accomplishment considering that his eyes never moved from Wolsey's nest. "Always got by on my looks and natural charm."

"You look like a troll and the only thing I've ever heard you say to a girl is 'yarrg'."

"Girls find that charming."

"What, the complete inability to speak?"

"No, the strong silent type."

"You weren't silent, you said 'yarrg'."

"Girls like 'yarrg'."

Lucius resorted to another full minute of calming astounded blinking before responding, "If you can't read why haven't the professors throw you out?"

"I'm not really a 'student' in the typical sense of the word."

"What are you then?"

"Janitor."

Again, Lucius found a good round of blinking to be in order. "Then why do you live in the dorm and go to the lectures," he paused for a thoughtful minute, "sometimes?"

"Dunno, everyone seemed to think I was a student so I just sorta went with it."

Lucius looked to Suffolk for some sort of help. Unfortunately, Suffolk was completely engrossed in trying to see through a bit of wall on the second story of the female dormitory. In response, Lucius quietly let a little part of his mind go insane. He had always found this much easier than to try to keep a grip on whatever sanity he had remaining. Lately, Lucius had noticed that most of the professors routinely had intense conversations with ham sandwiches. He was beginning to understand why. "I'm going to the library," repeated Lucius as he slipped between Marcus and Suffolk.

"Its haunted again," replied Suffolk, who had finally decided that the bit of wall was going to remain opaque for the time being.

"What again?" said Lucius turning to face Suffolk, "Thought they fixed that."

"Didn't take."

"The priest was in there for nearly an entire day. Part of the rose garden melted he used so much magic."

Suffolk didn't answer, he was concentrating on thinking the wall to become going transparent. Lucius stared at him expectantly for a quite some time before Suffolk made any reply, "I'll be manning the fort if you need me." Lucius quietly let another bit of his mind go insane.

Lucius plopped the last stack of books down on the table and finally got to sit down. He stretched, then chanted a few words and a fresh stack of papers popped into existence. He chanted a few more words and a quill appeared and floated slowly down to rest on the pile of papers. Lucius smiled to himself as he began work on getting Wolsey back to normal.

Somewhere between the eighth and tenth pages of spell proofs Lucius heard what could only be described as a cross between a frog exploding and the sound of autumn. Lucius started and looked around, he saw nothing other than dust and books and thusly set back to work. There where few students in the library since most students liked to use their days off to do things like drinking the orange stuff at the Kobold place. Lucius finally just decided the sound was just one of the librarians going crazy and returned to the paper.

"Ummm, wook," came a voice very close to his ear. Lucius turned to see what appeared to be the grim specter of death roughly two inches from his face.

"..." responded Lucius; the soiling of ones robes rarely makes any sound. Save in the case of another Braneri student, nicknamed 'RUN, HERE HE COMES!,' to remain unmentioned here.

"Woooook," said death, extending its arms. Lucius was beginning to feel like having a deep philosophical conversation with a ham sandwich. Death sighed quietly to itself then reached up to toss back the hood on the robe it wore. When Death shook out its long hair a very small part of Lucius's brain reported that maybe, just maybe, he was not encountering death. Another distinctly male part of Lucius brain reported that if you looked at her all squinty like, this female happened to be attractive. The girl cleared her throat and coughed rather daintily, "Oh, excuse me. Can you tell me where mysteries are located? I tried to ask the librarians but they went insane when I did."

"Yarrg," responded Lucius helpfully.

"Yarrg," repeated the girl.

"Yarrg," said Lucius, adding a nod this time. Brunette, he noted absently. High cheekbones. He whimpered slightly.

She looked Lucius up and down for a few moments before finally reaching a decision, "What's your name?"

"Yar... umm Lucius."

She nodded, "I'm Emilia." She then dropped an impressive stack of books onto the table and sat down directly across from Lucius. Lucius suddenly found himself very aware of his feet and knees. Emilia leaned forward peering over the books. "Smells good," noted Lucius whilst another whimper escaped him. "What are you working on?"

"Umm... a spell proof," replied Lucius.

"For?"

"Well you see, my friend seems to think he's a bird."

"Orange stuff?" she said, not taking her eyes from her writing.

"Yes."

Emilia flipped open one of the books on her stack, drew out a sheaf of papers, and tossed them across the table to Lucius. "That should take care of it," she stated, still not looking up.

Lucius read the papers carefully then, after a few minutes shook his head. "This won't work."

"Why not?" she replied finally taking her eyes from the papers and looking up. Green eyes, another whimper.

"Well, its just seven pages of tiny well-drawn little dragons," said Lucius turning one of the sheets around so she could see it. "This one appears to be dancing."

Emilia leaned forward peering at the indicated dragon. "Hmmm, yes his name is Iago." She then leaned back and smiled brightly at Lucius.

Lucius turned the paper back around and shuffled through the pages for a few moments, slowly gathering courage. Finally he looked up, "Ummm..."

"Yes?" she asked, smiling much too brightly.

Lucius sighed and then decided it was best to get this over with, "You're insane aren't you?"

"Yes," she returned, still smiling.

Lucius nodded and looked back down to his papers. He wrote a few more lines of the proof before looking back up. "Would you like to go out sometime?"

"Yes," responded Emilia, setting back to work.

Lucius nodded a second time and then set back to work. About an hour later he finished the spell proof, carefully closed all the books he had been using, smiled to Emilia, and then fainted out his chair. This was, of course, Lucius's usual reaction to any female agreeing to go out with him.

Emilia later finished her work, packed away her books, and flew out of the library on what she thought was a magic dragon. A senior librarian walked over as he saw this and sighed. Drawing a notebook from a pocket he wrote a memo to requisition a new chair. Then he turned towards Lucius speculatively.

Lucius awoke in the trash pit outside the academy, his pockets had been gone through and his sandals stolen. All in all not a big loss since all Lucius had in his pockets was a shiny rock, now stolen, and Lucius had taken the sandals off another student unlucky enough to have passed out in the library. Lucius hummed quietly as he walked through the night back to campus, somehow feeling a circle completed.

Once back in bed the conversations were short before sleep claimed them all:

"Night Lucius."

"Night Suffolk."

"Night Marcus."

"Night Suffolk."

"Night Wols."

"Squaaaak!"

"Didn't take," said Suffolk from the edge of sleep.

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