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The Pen is Mightier than the Sword
TLDunn213

On Nerfs and Gribbles

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A Nerf according to "The Prince and the Gift" by G K Dunn

Which I helped with a little

Is sort of a cross between a llama and a goat.

Llama body, neck about half as long, goat head,

Long shaggy fur

 

Gribble

Option one

A giant tribble

 

Option two

A grabber tribble

A nasty bit of work by an insane tribble breeder who got ahold of some Thulian biomancy  text. (Zatar becomes fascinated by the ceiling at this point)

 

Anyway

They are bald scaley things with retractable tentacles

That pack a nasty one two bioelectric neurotoxin sting

They mostly sit around looking like rocks

Until someone or something wanders by...

And you don't need me to keep going do you ?

 

They are said to be quite tasty breaded and fried.

A delicacy in some regions of the Underdark.

Or so I'm told.

Edited by TLDunn213

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*Snypiuer walks meerily through the Valley of the Gribbles, singing*

 

The wonderful thing about Gribbles

Is that Gribbles are . . .

 

AAAARRRGGHHHHHHH!!!! THEY GOT ME!!!! AAAARRRRGGGHHHHH!!! GET THEM OFF!!!!! AAARRRGGHHHHH!!!!!!

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Zatar steps out of thin air and quickly cast a time freeze over everything.

"@#$%& how did he get in here ?

The door to this pocket space is supposed to be keyed to just me."

 

"Lucky for him I sold all the more deadly ones last week. Well let's see how much of a whollop this new batch is packing"

And Zatar takes a portable medkit out of his cloak and sets to work.

 

"Well that should do it." Zatar said putting away the antitoxin

"He'll have quite the hangover when he wakes up but no other problems."

Zatar lays the sleeping Snypiuer down on a couch in the recruiter's office.

 

Now to see what went wrong with that door.

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In a gloomy hallway not too far from the Vaults of Time...

 

Zatar pulls a fragment of magic out of the Gate spell leading to the Gribble breading grounds.

The fragment crumbles to nothing the moment it is free of the Gate.

 

Zatar frowns, there are enough old spells down here that a fragment could have broken off at just the right moment to have gotten lodged in the Gate like that.

 

And I might find a winning Galactic Sweepstakes ticket down here too.

 

Looks around for one...

 

Yea, that's what I thought too.

 

*sigh* Now I'm going to have to find a guard for down here.

 

And pulling his cloak around himself Zatar vanishes with a soft "pop!"

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In the Gribble breeding grounds...

 

Zatar turned to the gargoyle "Thanks for agreeing to this on such short notice, Gus. But I didn't know who else to call."

 

"No Problem." Gus rumbled with a voice like a gravel pit,

"You've done me plenty of favors; and you always pay good."

 

"Right then. There are Nerfs in the other chamber, one a week should do for keeping this batch feed. Anyone gets in here with out my ok, stick them in the Nerf pen until I can get down here."

 

"Got It Boss" and the gargoyle settled himself down to keep watch.

Edited by TLDunn213

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Gribble Breeding Pens...

 

Zatar fades into reality.

 

"Gus ?"

 

"Yea, Boss "

 

"Keep an eye out for a troupe of Slivey Tolves; and a delivery of Mimisy Boragoves. They are for the Wabe room, second door down tword the Time Vaults. The Sundial should already be set up. And double check that the crates of Momrath bushes are still secure, don't want anyone getting grabbed by them. Especially after that little mishap with the Gribbles a few months ago."

 

"Sure thing Boss. Will the Tolves be staying long ?"

 

" Maybe a few months; depends on how fast we can get everything set up.

After all, the Wabe is just the anchor point for the Tulggy Woods simulation. And I still haven't gotten a line on any Jabberwock or Bandersnatch DNA yet. Why do you ask ?"

 

"Well, I hear Tolves like deepfryed gribble..."

 

"And you were thinking of that batch of duds that hatched out last week ?"

Zatar thought about it for few moments then gave a quick nod.

"Keep back about a dozen or so in two pens, well away from the others.

I still want to know why they went dud But if the Tolves like them we may want to start a new strain for a new market. Gourmet Gribbles...

Put yourself down for 10% if it takes off.

 

Anyway I've got a meeting in UnderLouis.

I'm supposed to mediate a dispute between the Scorpinocks, Goblins, and FeroSidhe.

I've got to be out of my mind to get mixed up in all that."

 

"So, an extra bottle of Saurian Brandy for when you get back ?"

 

"Pull two, and use one to marinade the Gribbles."

Edited by Zatar

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The crystal pulsed softly, and Zatar reached up to give it a gentle stroke.

"Boss ?" a voice said in his mind.

Keeping a finger on the crystal he thought back "yes ?"

"You need to come take a look at what the Tolves found in one of the Momrath bushes"

 

"Can it keep ?"

 

"Not sure. It doesn't seem to be effected by the time freeze you put on da bushes. Da Tolves was able ta just lift it right out."

 

Zatar griped the crystal more tightly and focused his mind so he could see through the gargoyle's eyes. Gus was holding a large mlotted egg in his left claw while resting his right on the com-crystal.

"I'll be there in just a bit. The talks have stalled for the day, again anyway."

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Zatar shimmered into being near the door. " Let's have a look at this magic resistant egg you've found."

 

"I put it on this pedistal over here, and placed a Circle around the whole thing. Didn't know how much good it would do, but..."

 

"Better safe than sorry. Standard Wards I assume ?"

 

"Yea, I figured you'd want to take a close look once you got here."

 

Zatar takes a moment to study the Circle Gus has setup around the pedistal. "Good Work. If this can't hold it... We'll have to get creative real quick like."

Zatar traces a Symbol in the air, mutters a Word, and steps inside the Circle. " I take it that nothing has changed since you put it in here ?"

 

"That's right, boss. No change. If it hadn't come out of that bush so easy..."

 

Zatar makes a couple of passes over the egg mumering soft words of power.

"Fascinating. Migic just slides around it. Well, where Magic fails, maybe Tech can prevail." And so saying he pulls a scanner out of his Cloak.

 

"Well, whatever we have here, it's rare enough that it's not in the scaner's onboard database. I'll have to go back to the Keep and check the main database there. And it should be fine where it is. Magic flows around it but that won't get it out of a closed Circle."

Gus raised a stone eyebrow.

"The Timefreeze on the Moamrath bush was basically a net of Magic; so it could slip through the open parts of the weave..."

"...But a Circle is really a globe." Gus did a facepalm. "I must be getting old or something, forgetting basic stuff like that."

"No worries. You made the right call; it just took you a minute to remember why it was the right call."

"Anyway I've got to go see if I can find a match for this in the main database." Zatar let's himself out of the Circle and vanishes .

Edited by TLDunn213

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Zatar shimmers into reality.

"Gus, have the Tolves got the Wabe set up yet ?"

 

"End of the week; Give or take a few finishing touches"

 

"Good. That'll give me time to set the temporal distortion spells on the Nerf pens. You don't happen to know anyone with Nerf herding experience, who wouldn't mind being time distorted, do you ?"

 

"Not off hand, Boss, but I'll put the word out that you're looking.

Why is we needing a Nerf herder, we only got a dozen Nerfs ?"

 

"We're going to be having more, a lot more. Bandersnacths and Jabberwocks are hungry beast."

 

"You finally got a line on that DNA you was looking for ?"

 

"Not exactly... Can't even find a clean enough sample for a positive match on this egg. 75% chance it's a Jabberwock; according to the best sample on that front. But, get this, the best Bandersnatch sample gives a 75% match as well."

 

"So, how do you figure out what we really got ?"

 

"Easy. We hatch the egg."

 

"But, with out something to match against..."

 

"wonderland castle claims to have a stuffed Jabberwock, and a stuffed Bandersnatch. No good for DNA, But good enough for a visual identification."

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The Wabe...

 

Zatar shimmers into reality.

 

"I'd forgotten how bad the time distortions are around Honah Lee the rest of the year. Autumn Mist really is the only way in and out that doesn't take reshaping reality. And Puff is off Goddess knows where, doing the Gods know what. Left him a note so he'll know who's been rooting around in his library. As if he'd be able to tell the difference, except it's maybe a bit more organized. Total book horder, so good odds that rare tome you're looking for is in there Somewhere. Actually finding it...That could take Awhile."

 

"So what was you looking for Boss ?" Gus ask as Zatar pulled a thick, dusty tome out of his cloak.

 

"The answer to our egg riddle, I think."

Places the book on a stand and opens to a bookmarked page.

"Take a look at this. '...The reason no one has ever hatched a Jabberwock egg is that Jabberwocks are the adult form of the Frumious Bandersnach.'

That's why we were getting a match for both when we tried to ID that egg's DNA. That and the fact that the data base only had common Bandersnach DNA.

Seems whoever compiled the data didn't know there are two types of Bandersnach, Common and Frumious. Which is why no one made the connection until Victor Rasputin stumbled on to it in the 1800s, and given his reputation... Well, no big surprise that word didn't get around."

Edited by Zatar

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"Rasputin, haven't heard that name in awhile." Gus rumbled. "What ever happened to him anyway ?"

 

"Not sure. Last I heard he was trying something with a Crystal skull and a Tome of Varque. Something about finding a way to use it without getting Possessed.  

Skull was supposed to act as a trap for the possessing spirit. A good idea in theory. But with a spirit as strong as Varque..."

 

"I'll check with Melkior next time I'm back that way. You know he'd keep tabs on something like that."

 

"For sure. And thanks Gus. Now that we're talking about it I'm wondering what did happen. But, right now we've got an egg to hatch."

Edited by TLDunn213

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The egg rocked; lay still for a little while; and then rocked again, harder and faster. There was a crackling noise and cracks began to appear.

Zatar opened his eyes to watch. The omen spell hadn't been able to give a hatching time closer than 48 hours. So he'd been catnaping in a recliner next to the incubator for over a day now. 

Sure he could have left Gus to watch the egg and all. But, being there for the first recorded hatching of a Bandersnatch egg...

He checked the recorder. Running, having started as soon as the egg began to move. 

Gus entered the room with a breakfast tray just as the egg rocked again and split down the middle.

"Ah, perfect timing." Zatar said as he opened the cover of the incubator "Now, let's see if these guys are enough like dragons to be impressed."

Gus took the lid off a plater on the tray revealing a pile of assorted chunks of raw meat. Zatar took a chunk and dropped it into the hatchling's open mouth.

The hatchling chewed twice and swallowed, then looked up for more. 

Ten minutes, and about half the pile of meat, later the Bandersnatch hatchling was curled up in a ball sleeping. 

"Did it work ?" Gus ask, settling himself in the other chair.

"I think so. But it's a bit hard to tell. The bond isn't nearly as strong as what is reported for Dragons. And Rasputin was using spells, So, nothing there as far as natural bonding goes."

"But he hadn't done anything to it's mind; so the mental strength rating should be about right?" Gus observed. 

"Yes. And it checks out, along with the expected emotions. All well and good as far as it goes; but we're about as far along as the notes go."

Edited by TLDunn213

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Poundfoolish lurked in the hallway outside of the Wabe, at one with the darkness. It worked. The plan had worked. Zatar had gotten the Egg and hatched it. And now there was a Bandersnatch hatchling just waiting to be posisesed. Oh what a lovely deadly form to wear. Well, once it was a bit more grown up. But that would take care of itself. The real kink in the plan was that blasted Gargoyle. If only that dottering old janitor hadn't wandered into the Gribble pens before the spell had finished melting into the Portal.

Ahh well. The rest of the plan had worked beautifully, and Zatar was enough of a showman to want to show off his new prize at some point. And then it would just be a matter of slipping in with the crowd. Maybe a Suggestion Shard to put the Gargoyle guarding the Gribble pens during the tour...

Maybe. But a second Shard might remind Zatar of the first one and lead to his investigating things far more closely than would be safe. No, better to just watch and wait for now.

And so, Poundfoolish settled deeper into the shadows to wait.

 

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*#Note: the events in this post happen somewhat before the events in Regel's post Wanderer returns. #*

"Zatar, Yo, Z, are you down here ?" Qwerty calls looking around. "He said that, that new project of his was down here, ' just a bit past the Vaults of Time. ' "

"Well, there's the Vaults of Time. Now, which way along this creepy dark coridoor to reach 'just a bit past' ?"

Poundfoolish couldn't believe it. What luck. Someone Zatar knew looking for the Wabe. Shifting into his evil clown form, Poundfoolish sent streams of cotton candy cocoon  at the unsuspecting zeta. 

Just as he was finished wrapping up his prey and stuffing him into a forgotten broom closet Poundfoolish felt a wave of arcane energy surging through the Keep of the Mighty Pen.

Energy specifically tuned to drive out evil clowns. How ? How, can this be ?

How can anyone even know he is here? He'd been so careful. 

Quickly shifting to his new form, the false Qwerty slammed the closet door and placed Wards to protect the cotton candy cocoon. 

Now, to find the source of this unexpected attack...

 

*#cut to Regel's post: Wanderer returns #*

 

Edited by TLDunn213

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Snypiuer's screams of panic had stopped rather abruptly. Growing worried Zatar sends a small glowing mote of magic trailing after his earlier spells, and lengthens his stride. He's almost running when his light mote takes a sharp left into and through a large wall hanging. Skidding to a stop Zatar reaches out with his magic to lift the tapestry out of the way. Revealing a secret passageway with an unconscious Snypiuer on the floor.

Pulling a Med Scaner from his cloak Zatar notes a lump on Snypiuer's forehead and a low support beam.

"Knocked himself silly, I take it ?" Qwerty observed as he glided to a stop next to Zatar. 

"Looks like it. Now to see if he did any damage to..."

"IMPOSTOR!!" Qwerty yelled from further down the passageway; charging forward with some sort of ray-pistol in hand, aimed at the Qwerty standing next to Zatar. 

 

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Zatar looked back and forth between the two Qwertys  reflexively shifting to Magesight and aiming the med-Scaner at the armed Qwerty...

Zeta; and with traces of a stasis spell clinging to him. 

Zatar turns his gaze and Scaner  tword the other Qwerty,

only to find him vanished. 

A stunner beam rips through the empty space a second later.

"Really gone then, I was hoping he'd just gone invisible." 

"Should I have you bring me up to speed now or after?"

"After, if you can get a lock on his teleport trace. I'm not sure what he/it Really is; So no clue how hard it will be to track."

"Very;" Zatar said after a few minutes of murmured spells and adjusting of settings on the Scaner.

"He didn't teleport, so much as dissipate.

He seems to have turned into smoke or vapor and drifted off this way...

and then sank through the floor...

about here."

Zatar finished coming to a stop a few yards further down the original hallway.  "Seems to be an innate ability too, as I'm not picking up any traces of spell work of any type I've ever seen before."

Edited by TLDunn213

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Going back to the hidden passageway, Zatar takes a moment to scan the still unconscious Snypiuer. After finding no major damage, and  placing  a general purpose heading spell on him, just in case, teleports him to the, by now customary, couch in the Tavern. "He'll be fine. Now, bring me up to speed on what happened to you?"

"O.k. " Qwerty said, putting the stunner in its holster and setting off down the hidden passageway "I was down by the Vaults of Time, trying to figure out which way to go to reach 'just a bit past' "

" Sorry, about that. You Teleported in next to the Vaults ?" 

Qwerty nodded.

"I'm normally coming from the Kitchen/Larder direction."

"Ah, of course, picking up food for the hatchling; I should have thought of that. Anyway, before that insight had occurred, this evil looking clown shows up and starts wrapping me up in this sticky sleep cocoon stuff. Would have had me too, if I hadn't remembered this spare body I'd left at your place last year."

"I'd forgotten about that, So, the breakaway stasis spell broke when you mindshifted in ?"

"Had to give it a bit of a mental shove, But it worked pretty much like we wanted." 

 

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