Jump to content
The Pen is Mightier than the Sword
The Portrait of Zool

The Boaz Room

Recommended Posts

BRIGHID!” came a familiar voice as a shadowy blur zoomed across the dance hall and gave her a hug, nearly knocking her off her seat. Brighid look at the smiling face of Scheherazade. “I have powers now!”


Scheherazade, what's going on, why are you in that cloak?” Brighid asked, hoping to get a straight answer for once.


Scheherazade let go, took a step back, took a deep breath and said, “James is dead...ish. He explained it to me once that when he dies he can come back, for a price. He never went further about it. But I am wearing his duster under this cloak, and he loves this duster, so he will come back for it. Now let me ask you a question. What if the shadow creatures were not after you, but what you protected? Maybe it was....”


Stop it!” barked a voice from inside the cloak. It was the voice of the Shadow.


Whyyyyyy,” Scheherazade whined, “You got to sleep with Br......oops, did I let that slip?” Brighid eyes grew wide in surprise. Scheherazade put her hands up to cover her mouth, but the ecsaping grin showed that she did it on purpose. Then she rushed over to give Brighid and gave her another hug...but this time the cloak just stayed there. Scheherazade smiled and whispered, “I think he likes you.” Scheherazade once again let go of Brighid, who was stunned. With a grin Scheherazade started to go around the room in a shadowy blur, trying to help Muse infect everyone with the few remaining jitterbugs. Brighid and the Shadow just stood there, looking into each others eyes, maybe hoping for a simple answer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The carp had started to look a little green around the gills and it's eyes protruded out even further than usual when it's mouth struck a decidedly bilious pout. Do fish ever get gas? An answer to that ancient mystery seemed imminent as the rubber chicken huffed and puffed and worked feverishly to dislodge itself from the carp's chummy gullet, aided by Rydia's shaking.On the last maraca swing as the jitterbug's poison had at last run it's course the carp's pain became too much, and with a resounding *BELLLLLLLLCH* the rubber chicken launched feet first for the rafters, where it hung after bouncing once, much thinner from it's trip down and up the esophageal expressway.All were much relieved at the development.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brighid felt befuddled. Her mind went racing down every probable possibility and back again, but she didn't want to accept the one option that refused to quit staring her in the eyes.

 

"What is Scheherazade hinting at, Shadow? She can't possibly mean..."

 

"Mean what, Brighid? Come on, say it. You know exactly what she's alluding to."

 

"Did we...I mean, were you...uh..." Brighid bit her lip pensively. The swirling sights and sounds of the Boaz Room ceased to exist for Brighid, and she knew exactly what the Shadow was going to reply before he even opened his mouth.

 

"Am I? Was I? Yes, Brighid," he replied pointedly,” it was me, or at least the ‘me’ that you conjured up. You healed me, and then we spent the night together. I was hoping for many more, but Fate stepped in -- Fate often steps in and usually steps on your toes -- and then...." he stopped his story. The Shadow could see how distressing this revelation was to Brighid, and despite everything, he had developed a fondness for her.

 

Brighid felt tears form in the corner of her eyes. She didn't want to relive the horrifying image of reaching down and ripping open her lover's wound; she had watched that scene replay too many times already in the nightmares she couldn't seem to shake.

 

"B-b-but why? Why did Fate do this to me -- to you? Who, what, are you? I cared for you, deeply. How could you be part of this? You let me kill you...."

 

A scream erupted in the corridor outside the dining room. The Shadow pulled Brighid behind his form, protectively. Everyone held their breath, and no one dared to speak....

Edited by Brighid of Byrness

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Then James walked into the room wearing....a waiters outfit! “Sorry about the commotion,” he said with a sly grin.

At that moment James was tackled by a shadowy blur. “James!” said Scheherazade as she embraced James in a hug. “I missed you. Cool watch,” she said noticing the watch on his wrist. “Why is it counting backwards?”

“When it hits midnight I turn back into a pumpkin,” he replied.

“ohhhh,” she said, a hint of sadness in her voice. Then she perked up and said, “When that happened I'm going to carve you into a james-o-lantern!”

“Why did I have the Shadow save you again,” he said letting out a sigh.

Cause you lovvve me,” she teased, then added, “and I've got powers now!” James glared at the Shadow. Then Scheherazade whispered something into James' ear and his eyes grew wide. Then he looked at Scheherazade and shook his head. She just grinned and nodded vigorously saying, “Yep! ” She was so proud of herself.

James sat her down and walked over to the Shadow and Brighid. He looked the Shadow right in the eyes, Brighid could see a flash of.....she wasn't quite sure what it was, in James' eyes. Then James sighed and said, “The owner of the cloak will come back soon. And then you will be...”

“I know,” said the Shadow, looking down. Brighid could hear the sadness in his voice. “But what am I suppose to do?”


James looked at his watch as a let out a sound, the sound was a that of large, leaden, mournful bells. “Not much time left,” he said, “Come with me Shadow.” The Shadow looked at him with surprise. “I can make you whole again.” The Shadow looked at him slyly, he had been bitten once by this snake abd intened not to be bit again. James only shook his head and sighed, “No trick you filthy ghost, and no time.” The Shadow looked at Brighid, she could feel his grin, and the hope in his eyes. Then he turned and went with James.


James, Scheherazade, and the Shadow headed for the door. Brighid stood there, watching them leave, a chill ran up her spine. Something was wrong. James stopped and turned, saying, “There is one catch.” The Shadow face palmed. “Brighid needs to come with us.” She looked at James and saw a wicked grin on his face, he was planning something. “So, what do you say, Brighid, will you join us on the adventure?”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brighid looked over at her circle of new-found friends sitting across the room. She could see Zool standing in the corner of his frame watching her intently. She gestured to him inquisitively. He shrugged his shoulders back at her. He was leaving the decision up to her, but she could tell that he looked concerned.

 

"Come on, Brighid! It'll be exciting!" Scheherazade exclaimed brightly, linking her arm through James'. Brighid felt an almost motherly ache of sympathy toward the young girl. On one hand, she admired Scheherazade's ability to bounce back from her near-death ordeal seemingly unscathed, yet it felt that her enthusiasm was forced at times and belied a hidden sadness.

 

Turning her gaze toward the Shadow, Brighid realized that there was never any need to deliberate; she needed answers, and she needed closure to the mystery of her lover's death.

 

"Sure, James," Brighid said steadily. "Of course I'll join you on the adventure."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I applaud your sense of adventure," said Zool, "However I am afraid I have some trepidations. Perhaps you wouldn't mind if I kept an eye on things?"

 

"But how...?" asked Brighid, not sure how to finish the question, given the sensitive nature of his enchantment.

 

"Not to worry Lady Brighid. I have my ways." As he said this he looked straight at the shadow. "And should any 'unfortunate' occurrences get out of control, you can be assured, there will be Hell to pay."

Edited by The Portrait of Zool

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(OOC: read this as though it were happening at the same time as my second post in "The Death of the Mighty Pen")

 

 

Ozymandias walked, bleeding secrets from the many scrapes and cuts getting right up next to the storm outside the walls had earned him.

 

Once upon a time... man had a lovely daughter... a land far away... six white geese... kingdom rejoiced... head fell to the floor with a clatter...

 

He'd kept to the periphery in all of the ruin that had greeted him here in his former home, to wonder, to weep, and to spy. Now, though, His sorrow had solidified, and patience had been rewarded. He'd kept his own secrets long enough that he no longer knew why- so the old man now made as speedy a path as he could to this... new room, to divulge them, and to see how he might help.

 

His thick beard swung to and fro as he walked, keeping the time of his sandals on the ground.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Zool had just given the shadow the stink eye when someone new enters the room. Zool's jaw dropped. "Holy [CENSORED]!" he said. "It can't be!"

 

The man, thin though of such imposing demeanor as to be irresistible, replied, "It can."

 

Zool's jaw closed with a snap, then he said, "Well, stretch me out and color me magenta.... What's the occasion??"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ozymandias blinks once, dislodging storm-thrown debris from his eyebrows. "I was hoping someone could tell me. It looks typical enough, but..." Shaking his head as though to clear it, he frowns as he steps in, mindful of Zool's staring.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brighid smiled at the newcomer -- who most certainly was not a newcomer to most of the Boaz Room crowd -- and extended her hand toward the gentleman. "It's my pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr.....I didn't catch your name. Zool, aren't you going to introduce me to your friend?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I see. Say no more." Zool snaps his fingers, a sound that seems to penetrate every corner of the Pen, and does.

 

Grimmael instantly appears, though he seems to be oozing more than the normal amount of slime, and is holding aloft a lit oil lantern, which he quickly lowered and extinguished.

 

At this time Brighid made her request. Zool gave a crestfallen look. "I am so sorry. This unexpected turn of events has quite taken me by surprise. Lady Brighid, may I present Ozymandias, King of Kings, the founder of the Pen is Mightier than the Sword! Ozymandias, may I present Lady Brighid, a healer, poetess, and recent traveler to our home."

 

Lady Brighid curtsied in a manner befitting her many accomplishements. Ozymandias bowed deeply.

 

"Grimmael, Ozymandias has returned," said Zool, turning to his servant. "I want his rooms readied immediately. See to it yourself. I'm sure our founder has had the devil's own time on his last foray, and we'd like him to not have to worry about anything, for a few nights at least."

 

Grimmael's eyebrows arose at the news, and more as his own eyes confirmed it. He looked at his master and nodded solidly in the affirmative. "It will be my pleasure," he said, and disappeared in a puff of Eradication magic, for old time's sake.

 

"At your leisure Ozy," said Zool.

Edited by The Portrait of Zool

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The former king bows deeply to the Lady, spilling a plot of treasure hidden by thieves in a cave onto the floor. His bloodshot eyes and disheveled appearance belie his manners as he greets her in return. "My apologies for my brusqueness, Madame. It is a pleasure, even under trying circumstances." His frown, disappeared, now returns at one corner of his mouth as he looks over at Zool's patient silence. "It is the usual, isn't it?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"However," continued Zool, "This shadowy character was just about to take Brighid on an adventure to discern some answers." He indicated the strange lack of light next to Brighid. "We shall be following their adventures, as best we can with our magical arts. Hopefully our enemies have thought their plans through well," said Zool with a growing grin, "For I feel their task has just increased a hundred-fold, whether they realize it or not!"

Edited by The Portrait of Zool

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Muse, who has been sulking in a corner of the ceiling flashing disco-lights at her defeat, suddenly spots Ozymandias and flushes bright neon green. With an evil cackle & a loud **PLOIK** she transports herself within arm's reach and begins attaching as many jitterbugs as she possibly can to his cloak, shoes, and any other available spot of him. Some are obvious holograms, but others appear to be real.

Finishing this, she appears to lose interest in the whole affair & mutates into a large blob of purple meringue. She then begins spinning like a top, flinging bits of herself into everyone's hair while projecting the simphonie fantastique, movement 5...the Witches' Sabbath, by Berlioz. Remarkably (or unremarkably?) this does not appear to adversely effect anyone's mood.

 

Harmony, seeing the last of the jitterbugs thusly occupied, removes herself from the energy-netting to fling it over Ozy, thus trapping them. "Don't worry, sir", she says in a strange, many-throated voice, "One of us will have those off you and disposed of in short order". She taps a light-wand on the floor, creating a shower of sparks which stick to individual bugs & begin to burn them off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

James stood dumbfounded as he watched the old king talk to old friends. Scheherazade stared at the old man hard, then after awhile her eyes lit up and a grin appeared on her face. Turning to James she said, “I remember that strange old man. I stuck my tongue out at hi.....” She stopped suddenly upon seeing the look of terror in James' eyes. “What's wrong?” she asked.


James just shook his head and said, “This changes nothing, the price will still be payed.” Then he noticed the look of worry on Scheherazade face and smiled at her. “Don't worry my dear, I am just going out to get some fresh air. Tell the others to come out when they are ready.” With that he turned and left. Scheherazade stood there, confused, and trying to hold back tears.

The Shadow looked at the two ancients that now were giving him glares. “I promise, nothing will happen to her.” He walked over to Brighid and took her in his arms. “I lost her once, and it will not happen again.”

Zool just glared at the Shadow. Brighid gave Zool a reassuring smile, that seemed to calm him down, if only while she was looking. “He won't let anything happen to me. James and Scheherazade will make sure of that, won't you guys.....” she said and had to stop when she saw only Scheherazade standing there facing the door. Brighid pushed the Shadow away from her and started walking towards the little girl. “Scheherazade?”

At the mention of her name she turned and saw everyone staring at her. In an shadowy blur Scheherazade rushed into Brighid, embracing her tightly. “J..J..James said to mee..eet him out....outside when your re...ready.” Brighid could feel the girl crying in her arms, but when she pushed her away. “Noooo!” cried Scheherazade as she held tighter. “I..I don't want every....everyone to se..see me like thi...is.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lady Brighid made ready to leave, retrieving her cloak and heading for the door.

 

As Yasmina and the Swami walked her to the door the rubber chicken, still hanging in the rafters from it's earlier misadventure, dropped unseen and unheard neatly into the laid back cowl of her voluminous cloak.

Edited by The Portrait of Zool

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Come on, Scheherazade, stop sobbing," Brighid said comfortingly to the younger girl. "Chin up! Whatever adventure James has in store for us, you need to trust in him as you have in the past." She gave her a brief hug and then looked into her eyes trying to convey how grave their situation was. "Plus, you know James far better than anyone else, and I'm counting on you to alert me if there's any change in his behavior -- if you sense any danger."

 

Scheherazade, never one to stay serious for very long, slightly smiled and nodded her head in understanding.

 

Turning to Yasmina and Swami Noguru, Brighid hugged them both in turn. "I'm looking forward to returning to the Boaz Room and resuming our little party; there have been many fascinating developments since the two of you showed up!"

 

They both smiled back at her encouragingly.

er encouragingly.

"Here, this is for you." Yasmina pressed a compact mirror into the palm of Brighid's hand. It was unusually beautiful, encrusted with chips of emeralds and rubies. "The sorcerer who gave this to me said that it would reflect back to me the whole truth when I needed it the most. I've never tried it; I guess I was a bit afraid to, but perhaps it will be of use to you on your journey. Hurry back, and keep safe."

 

Brighid hugged the belly dancer another time, and then looked over at Zool questioningly.

 

"Go on ahead for now. I'll meet up with you in a bit," he said with a rueful smile.

 

Brighid was reluctant to leave the portrait behind. He had swiftly become her confidante, and even though she had only made his acquaintance that morning -- Wait! Was it really only a few hours ago?! -- she felt like they had already spent lifetimes together.

 

She blew a kiss in his direction, grabbed a hold of Scheherazade's hand, and nodded to the Shadow, "Okay, you may lead the way..."

 

The adventurers stepped through the door and left the fantastical festivities of the Boaz Room behind....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As the heavy curtains at the entrance of the Boaz Room closed behind Brighid and company Zool grabbed his hair and pulled, filling his frame with handfulls of floating fluff. "WHAT DO WE DO!? WHAT DO WE DO!?" he shouted to no one and everyone, somehow remaining in the same place and running in circles at the same time. "Poor Brighid is friends for only a few hours and already she's speeding straight down the dragon's throat!"

 

Rydia's sensitive ears flattened at Zool's shrieking, her eyes squinched in pain. When he finally stopped to take a breath her head poked up above the remains of the foliage she had at last come to rest in. "My glass is empty!" she shouted, holding it high as proof.

 

"Calm yourself Zool", said Ozy, his own hands busy defending himself against the malicious midges, a battle which he had already lost, as evidenced by the spirited Watusi he was dancing.

 

Yasmina found a chair, righted it, and sat back down at the table. Swami Noguru stood by the door and took stock, cocking his purple turban to one side and scratching his bald head as he surveyed the scene. The Boaz Room showed ample evidence of the series of calamities it had recently suffered. He tapped the head waiter on the shoulder and spoke a few words to the man. The head waiter nodded, turned smartly, and headed into the back room.

 

Bedlam ensued. A squad of gnomes spilled out of the back room, each bent on a task. The last remaining animals of the Swami's menagerie were herded out. All the furniture was righted and rearranged, with a chair found for everyone. The disco ball was removed, plants were replaced, carpets were scrubbed, walls were cleaned, ornaments were dusted, lights were lighted, even all the patrons clothes were pressed and their shoes shined! Rydia managed to beat down a few gnomes with the carp as they tried to do their job, but was eventually overwhelmed and deposited at the table with the rest. Another group of gnomes, dressed in anti-meringue suits, corralled the muse-meringue and plopped her into a chair next to Harmony. Finally all was back in place and spit spot. The gnomes left as quickly as they had come, leaving a completely different scene in their wake.

 

The Boaz Room needed to look posh - at least once every few hours.

 

"Ozymandias!" said Rydia with delight, sipping her refilled glass. "You look... fit."

 

Ozy was still dancing, trapped with the last jitterbugs in the netting, and seriously questioning his decision to return home Fortunately, Harmony's spell was finally burning off the last one, and he actually had not been that affected by the jitterbugs, as he already walked like an Egyptian.

 

The Swami had also been returned to the table, wearing a fresh robe, and the burn marks had been removed from the turban so that it looked as good as new. He looked at Zool and said, "Yes Zool, by all means calm yourself. Brighid is a big girl and can take care of herself, and while I agree all is not as it seems I think perhaps things are not as dire as you fear."

 

Zool seemed mollified by this, calming him to where he too could sit down, allowing Matt to wander down and collect itself before repositioning back on Zool's head, looking perfectly coiffed, as always.

 

As this was going on the next course of food appeared, a stream of waiters bearing platters of excellent cuisine and bottles of fine wine heading out of the kitchen and to each table.

 

The Swami smile broadly at the wonderful repast which was quickly laid down in front of him, then turned to Ozy jovially. "Good sir! It seems our introduction has been overlooked. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Swami Noguru. I am very pleased to meet you - though I have a vague recollection in a much drier clime that perhaps we had met in passing some years ago?"

Edited by The Portrait of Zool

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well. Their very own apocalypse (complete with living storm?), children, self-aware shadows,meringue, an inferno, and a thankfully non-fatal dancing curse.

This certainly was home, and yes, Ozymandias decided he had missed it.

 

After warmly greeting Harmony, Muse, and Rydia, and thanking Zool, he bowed low to the Swami. "Greetings, Swami Nogoru. It is a pleasure to see... so many new faces...for here, anyway!" He strokes the part of his beard that had once been a moustache. "You know, I think we have met? Though I fear I was likely quite "sloshed" at the time..."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Do you indulge?" asked the Swami with a smile. "I have difficulties with that myself." As he spoke a waiter filled his wine glass. As the servant raised the bottle a trap door in the side of the Swami's turban popped open and a luminous blue arm reached out as quick as lightning and snatched the Swami's wine from the table, then just as quickly disappeared back into the turban with it's ill gotten glass. "See what I mean?" Said the Swami. He then motioned for the waiter to bring and fill another glass. "Now that I've paid 'tribute', I should be safe for a time," he said with a grin.

 

Ozymandias tugged further on his beard. "You know, I think I've seen that arm somewhere before..."

Edited by The Portrait of Zool

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She sat under the table. The fine linens were softer than anything salvaged or spun back home and provided her some comfort against the noise and light and strange otherness she found herself in.

 

There had been a cave, tucked into the mountains and curving away from the hot winds and skin-flaying sands. The cave had led to a tunnel, which had... gone places. Eventually there had been a different sort of cave, paved smooth with filthy water running through it. There had been a grate, and in a move practiced a million times in a million places she wasn't supposed to go, she had slipped through it. There had been a kitchen, luring her in with the aroma of sumptuous meals and rich food that she hadn't known to exist in the history of ever. There had been loud people and lots of movement, people with knives and pans and creatures and breads too large to be real. Afraid, she had ducked under a cart, and held on in silent terror as it moved. When it stopped, she had hidden under a table instead, waiting for the moment she could find her way out again, caught between opportunity at the most mouthwatering place she had ever dreamed of (scratch that, who could ever dream of this?) and safety. Home.

 

Then there had been feet and voices above here.

 

She sat under the table, frozen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Hello."

 

Cricket was startled, then deathly afraid. She spun around to see who had addressed her, and was startled a second time. Set up in front of the table, almost leaning against it's edge, was a painting. Depicted in the painting, that she could see from under the table, were the legs of a chair, just like the other chairs around the table, and a strange man leaning down to look under the table, dressed in a black suit with red trim, and looong hair that stuck straight up on his head, and the painting was looking at her, and talking to her...

 

"Wha... Who... What are you?" Cricket said in a hoarse whisper, not at all sure what to make of the painting, or the strange man in it.

 

"My name is Zool," said the painting. "What is your name little girl?"

 

Cricket's eyes grew larger the longer she looked at the strange man, but she held her place. "I'm not such a little girl!" she retorted, then thought about where she was. "You're not mad at me are you?"

 

Zool chuckled. "No, I'm not mad at you. I am wondering why you don't come up here and sit with everybody else."

 

Cricket didn't answer, she just shook her head.

 

Zool smiled a crooked smile. "It's okay to come up. Really! We want you to come up with us. We have food."

 

Cricket's mouth watered. She hadn't eaten in a long while.

Edited by The Portrait of Zool

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...