Averoigne Interlude: Being the Convoluted and Highly Perilous Contractual Negotiations of Thibault le Gris, Summoner of Vyones

Thibault awakens in darkness.  He lies on an uneven, hard surface with an occasional sharp point gouging into his back.  His lantern is gone.

Sitting up gingerly, the summoner tears a strip of cloth from the hem of his tunic.  Wrapping it around a bone, he fumbles with flint and steel until a spark catches.  He raises the makeshift torch above his head and gasps.

About him on the floor, stretching to the limits of his flickering light, are bones of men, animals, and other creatures unknown to him.   No walls or other landmarks are visible, and he receives the impression that he is in a vast dark chamber stretching off in all directions.  Thibault leaps from the unusually large skull on which he was sitting and whirls around, seeking a spot in the floor not covered with remains.  He seeks in vain.

“In God’s name, where am I?” he wonders aloud.

Then comes the low, rumbling voice.  No sound save the cracking of bones reaches Thibault’s ears; the speech comes directly into his mind.

“You have been brought, creature, through a spatio-temporal nexus from one portion of what you understand to be the cosmos to another.  You do not understand this, I can tell, but it is of no consequence.  I would point out, however, that I find the mention of other deities in my presence to be odious in the extreme, if not uncommon with new arrivals.  Kindly refrain from such ejaculation.”

Thibault holds his torch aloft.  At the limits of the shadows lounges an enormous, misshapen bulk that moves in ways that Thibault cares not to consider too closely.

“If my presence offends you, good sir,” says Thibault hesitantly, “perhaps you could direct me elsewhere and thus clear your conscience and your sensibilities?”

“Nay.”  The voice gives a slight chuckle.  “Aeons I sent a particular morsel to Atlach-Nacha, the spider-goddess who spins her web until the end of time, due to a bout of indigestion.  I have never heard the end of it.  No, it is only fitting that you be devoured in accordance with custom.”

Thibault digests this for a moment.  Finding the statement disagreeable, he whips out his dagger, pointing it and the torch in the direction of the elephantine bulk.  “Fiend!  You shall not have me without tasting both fire and steel!”

“Enough!” The creature’s voice booms without echoes.  “Such a lack of respect and decorum is unbecoming in an hors d’oeuvre.  Consider your manners!”

The dark shape shifts forward.  “Now, join the feast of Sadogwah!”

“My Lord! Forgive my lack of refinement. I am unused to Presences such as Your Divine self. Though no doubt I am to you as but a brute beast, and my actions so far have done little to recommend me, I beg you, Your Immensity, to reconsider. In the world of men, I serve a purpose that could be placed at your August command. I am known as a Summoner – I produce men desired by the Authorities. These men are often consumed by fires of Authority, and I have no scruple against it. If I were to serve you, Your Corpulence, I could bring you the viands you most desire from the world of men (or any other world to which you may incline to send me, Your Insatiability)

“As I am, I am but one insignificant morsel amongst the immensity of your past banquetry. But were I to act on your behalf in the world of men, where I can go freely, unmolested and unnoticed, I could be a source of many future feasts, Your Esurience.”

Sadogwah considers this for a moment.  “Your obsequiousness is unconvincing and insufficient in comparison to your offenses.  Nonetheless, what you say has considerable truth to it.  My devotions, and access to particularly toothsome meals, have declined over the millennia.  Such an arrangement might indeed appeal to my palate.”

He reflects.  “On the other hand, you fail to provide any assurance that your end of the bargain will be properly fulfilled.  No doubt you would swear by some unfamiliar deity, or by me thinking to win me by flattery, or make broad and insincere assertions of your newfound conversion and wide array of services.  Then, once I sent you home, you would go about your affairs as usual and give me no heed.  It will not do.”  He gives a broad unpleasant grin.  “Perhaps we can find a way to make such a contract binding?”

Thibault’s head remains blank for some time. “I cannot think what surety I can offer you that you would find convincing. You have negated the possibility of an oath, and a written contract would be much the same, and it might discommode you to press a suit at law against me if I were to break it. I fear I’m babbling.”

Thibault recomposes himself. “It is said that those who consort with the infernal powers are obliged to allow their masters to make some mark upon their body that serves as a sign of fealty and a sign of instant guilt were it ever exposed and discovered by the authorities. Perhaps something of this nature might suffice?”

Sadogwah nods.  “This is the beginning of a set of terms indeed.  Let me see if I cannot fill in the gaps.”

He reclines on a bed of thorns, picks a piece of flesh out of his teeth, and begins.

“You, Thibault le Gris, being of relatively sound mind and body, do hereby swear yourself entirely to the service of I, Sadogwah the Great.  You adjure any previous oaths to divinities, potentates, or other entities supernatural and mundane.  You consent to bear a mark of my choosing…”

Thibault feels a sharp pain in the middle of his back.  He falls to the ground, gasping.

“…to keep the secrets of myself and my faith from the profane, to obey all those who speak my name unto you, to render unto me a fitting and properly toothsome (or sufficiently amusing) sacrifice on the solstices and equinoxes, and to learn the proper social niceties and conventions that show respect for one’s betters.  In exchange for these minor considerations, I generously allow your continued existence for the moment, provide you with the privilege of hearing my divine wisdom, and give you the means to request an audience with me at your greatest extremity and my convenience.”

The summoner’s mind reconfigures itself as new channels are forged within.  Thibault grits his teeth and moans.

“I reserve the right to change these terms without notice, and indeed, at the slightest whim.  Should you break them even in the slightest, you shall be forfeit all benefits gained hereby, my minions in your particular realm shall hunt you down and subject you to a horrible death, and you shall instigate against your person,” Sadogwah pauses, then waves a paw in an offhand manner, “shall we say, the Malediction of Five Hundred and Seven Amplectant Regurgitations.”

“Such terms seem to be extremely disadvantageous to my interests,” Thibault says cautiously.  “I know an excellent attorney with whom -”

“Your acquiescence is superfluous,” says the deity.  “To prove my goodwill, I will return you to roughly the same place and time from whence you came, an eventuality for which you proved remiss in your negotiations.”

Thibault feels the floor vanish underneath him and the world swirl about him.

The deity here is, of course, Tsathoggua.

I don’t think I ever mentioned to the player that Tsathoggua didn’t actually curse him, finding it much less effort to just tell him that he was.  He’s quite a lazy god, after all.

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Published in: on December 16, 2007 at 10:45 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Ah, memories.


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