"And for the crime of aiding the enemy in the attempted sacking and takeover of Lionopolis, you are hereby banished-
"Ati, I can't hear a damn word you're saying...and for the last time, I did not help the stupid coyotes!"
Times of peace were flourishing in Furope once again, after the legendary battle that literally turned an entire civilization of coyotes into a living mountain. High King Nbowa was on his way to yet another year of peaceful rule, and thanks to the provisions that came along with peace in a kingdom, it didn't seem that there were going to be any further attempts on Lionopolis, or the safety of its people.
That being said, it seemed that High King Nbowa was still enough of a dick to punish The Arbiter of Large and Powerful Fantasy Weapons, despite having no proof that he was conspiring with the coyotes to overthrow the kingdom.
Y'know, all it would take is one little mistake...just a couple sentences from another story making their way into this one, and poof! No more High King Nbowa, no more stupid Furope, no more nonsense that forces me to go on epic quests with smelly fuzzbutts...
Oh, hey. I just got paid. I digress!
"Silence, traitor!" High King Nbowa shouted with a mighty roar, down at the once respected and famous Arbiter. "You have been given your chance to plead your case, and you have been found guilty! Now allow Atimist The Strong But Really Small to announce your fate!"
"Yes, because you didn't completely just cut him off by interrupting me, while I was interrupting him."
"You're banished to live a life of peasantry and mediocrity as a furry author!" Atimist the Strong But Really Small cried out. Even with all of his boasting voice, barely anyone in the great hall of the Castle Lion could hear him, but those who truly mattered got at least an earful of the micro-sized fox, and his damning decree. It was a fate worse than death: Joshiah, The Arbiter of Large And Powerful Fantasy Weapons, and once a kind ally to the High King, would be forced to put down his meaningless, plot device of a staff and pick up a quill and paper instead.
Those who could hear the decree from Atimist whispered to each other about the cruelty of such a fate, and the whispers made their way through the grand hall, until everyone in the room was murmuring about what a terrible fate had come of the kind Arbiter. It seemed a perfect reminder to the people that although High King Nbowa was benevolent, wise and peaceful, he could conjure up punishments beyond imagination if one were to cross him, or the kingdom.
"You...you guys can't be serious. I was the one who told you how to defeat the coyotes and where to find the relics to do it! I saved thousands of lives and prevented a war! I-
"What you did is show us your true colors," High King Nbowa cut him off once again, "And as far as I'm concerned, there is no place for a hybrid like you in this kingdom when we already have Huscoon around anyway! ...Though, if you'd like, you can still have a small, straw hut on the outskirts of town, because, y'know. We might need you for something in the future, and we don't need people seeing us together...I mean, you're an author now...that's kind of like having leprosy."
"...You did not just compare being an author to having leprosy."
"Well, they are at least a little similar, right?"
Frustrated and completely overwhelmed by the fact that he was having to write all of these terrible things about himself, Joshiah, The Arbiter of Large And Powerful Fantasy Weapons turned his head away in shame and disgust. "I'm sorry I can't be a cool artist like some people," he apologized, "But that doesn't change the fact that your words are cruel, and your actions unjustified! Mark my words, High King Smelly, that your kingdom shall fall under darkness yet again for this act of blind cruelty!"
"I've got a sword that basically works as a 100 million candle power flashlight. I don't think this kingdom is falling back into darkness anytime soon," High King Nbowa stated. His voice was cocksure and powerful, arrogant and thoughtless as he pointed towards the double doors of the great hall. "Now then...begone, writer! You are banished to your life of being a second class citizen with no real prospects to look forward to, unless you're willing to write of fetishes most foul, and acts so dark that the night sky would envy them!"
That statement stands, to this day, as the most poetic thing that High King Nbowa has ever said, and yet, it was still tainted by the darkness of mentioning a fetish. The power behind his words, however, was beyond contestation thanks to his royal power, and Joshiah, now known in the kingdom as Joshiah the Dirtscribe, was banished to the edges of town. The Great Knights of Furope watched with expressions of shock and wonder as their longtime ally was sent away, and the very air around him seemed to turn dusty as he scuffled out of the great hall...
...They should really hire a maid or a servant wench. Seriously, Castle Lion is filthy.
But, alas, Joshiah The Dirtscribe made his way out of the castle, to the very edges of Lionopolis, where things weren't always as nice as they were in the high, protective walls in Castle Lion, and no matter how hard they tried to preserve peace, and no matter how much High King Nbowa paid the writers to change the script, life simply wasn't of the same quality that it was in the center of the city.
"Do you think that we'll ever see him again?" Arcturus The Bolton asked, as he stood in curious concern over the dispatch of his former friend.
"I'll start running the numbers," Huscoon The Stats Guy declared, "But I have a bad feeling about this. People who hold positions of authority in fantasy realms don't often make empty promises..."
Chutora The Momma's Boy snickered. "What are the odds he's telling the truth?"
Huscoon The Stats Guy turned, his face a furious shade of red, and punted Chutora The Momma's Boy none too gently across the great hall. Chaos started to ensue in Castle Lion as the verdict was passed down through the courts, and in the midst of all the panic, High King Nbowa leaned back in his throne and napped, his maw wide open as drool hung out of the corner of his lips.
The air on the outskirts of Lionopolis was thick with the stench of Coyote Mountain, and the people who lived in the shadow of the living monument walked around with their noses plugged and their ears flat as they wished for a king who would pay attention to the parts of the kingdom that weren't within his direct line of sight. To ask a lion to walk all the way to the outskirts out a town without needing to stop for a nap was a tall order indeed, and one that might be necessary for the citizens if they were ever to experience an improved quality of life.
Still, the townspeople got by the best that they could, carrying on with their daily lives under the rule of what seemed to be a peaceful and benevolent monarchy. There was always the promise of changes to come on the outskirts of Lionopolis to keep their hopes up, but never a follow through to reward their good faith. Some of the citizens had been putting up with it for years, even before High King Nbowa took the throne!
"What a shithole...I mean...this is a literal shithole. I'm living in a straw hut that they used shit to construct instead of mud. Was this really a necessary punishment?"
Others had been there just a couple of days, and were ready to leave before they arrived.
"That's not a shithole, stranger. The shithole is down the street and to the left, if you're really needing to use it!"
Joshiah The Dirtscribe was doing his best to settle in on the outskirts of town, but every day he was there, things only seemed to turn from bad to worse, with no clear signs of an improvement in the quality of life.
For the first time since he arrived, he had a visitor, and a rather stately looking one, at that.
"This place is a shithole," Joshiah argued, though his visitor still looked confused. "Either way, it's nice to know that there's a public bathroom around here, instead of having to just dig a hole in the corner..."
"It is? Perfect, I've really gotta use it!" the visitor yelled out, as he ran right into the slightly underground straw hut that Joshiah The Dirtscribe now called home. "You don't mind, do you?"
"...Sure. Whatever. Take a shit in my house. That's cool. Totally cool."
"Wow, you're really friendly, stranger! Much too friendly to be living in these parts," the visitor said, in a statement that Joshiah couldn't decide if it was a compliment or not. Wearing a set of tarnished, but still valid and protective armor, and cloaked with the colors of a royal house, Joshiah The Dirtscribe could easily tell that he was being visited by some sort of nobility, though he couldn't imagine why any such person would visit him all the way out on the outskirts. "What do they call you, friend?"
Joshiah tilted his head in disbelief as the knightly wolf actually started stripping off the lower parts of his armor to squat down and leave a mess in his house. Sarcasm obviously wasn't his strong suit. "Uh...you're seriously gonna take a dump on my floor?" Joshiah asked, not wanting to get to close to the knight while he was in the act. "And once upon a time, I was called by the name Joshiah, The Arbiter of Large And Powerful Fantasy Weapons, but...I was banished from the courtyards of Castle Lion and forced to live out here, as a writer...they now call me Joshiah The Dirtscribe."
"Well, you did say this was a shithole."
"But...not like the one down the street!"
"I...I see," the knight hesitated and stood up, starting to place his armor back together. "You speak in weird ways, Joshiah The Dirtscribe, but you are of a very kind heart, it would seem. I find it very odd that the High King Nbowa would banish you from his kingdom!"
"Well, when you're accused of a crime you didn't commit, and the plot kind of calls for you to side against an old ally..."
"N-nothing, never mind! Forget I said anything. The more important thing, kindly knight, is...why are you here?"
The lupine knight dusted off the colors on his armor and tried to look presentable, but with the terrible smell and musk coming from Coyote Mountain, and the horrid dumpster that was the foundation of the same, it was difficult for anyone to look or smell presentable in those lands. "Forgive my poor manners, Joshiah The Dirtscribe! I am Lykanos The Token Wolf, and I was once a proud knight of the lupine kingdoms...but, that was all before High King Nbowa came to the throne of Lionopolis. Since he has the Excalifur and has been declared the one true king of Furope, the lupine kingdoms no longer hold any authority, and my knighthood is effectively a moot point...I came to these lands to try and reason with the High King and ask that we remain our own kingdom, but a peaceful ally...and I never made it past the outskirts of town."
The story touched Joshiah The Dirtscribe, who was no stranger to the folly of uniting an entire continent. Though some would benefit from the move, namely High King Nbowa, others would certainly lose out on the deal. "I am very sorry that your power is no longer valid, Lykanos The Token Wolf, but I'm afraid that I don't know how I can help you anymore...and why haven't you made it past the outskirts of town?"
"The stench is unbearable! I can't take in a deep enough breath to manage a walk into the center of the city to even get to the castle!"
"...Can't argue with that. Still, I'm not sure what to tell you, buddy. I'm banished myself, and my title as an Arbiter has been stripped, so...I don't really have the authority to be of any use to you."
"You don't have the authority, but do you still have the ability...?"
Joshiah The Dirtscribe scoffed. "Of course I do! I know of at least five other weapons of power that could overthrow King Smellydick in a matter of days, if I were so inclined to go get them!"
"Uh...so...why don't you?"
Joshiah let out a long-winded sigh. "The Non Disclosure Agreement of Arbiters Act of 976, Chapter Eight, Article Four...upon termination from the mystical position of 'Arbiter,' the aforementioned will not use their knowledge of any legendary weapons, artifacts, or spell books to overthrow any kingdoms that have wronged them, or the agency which employs Arbiters in the first place."
"Wow. You actually signed that agreement when you first got your job?"
"IT WAS IN THE FINE PRINT. NO ONE READS THE FINE PRINT!"
Lykanos The Token Wolf shrugged. "It sure sounds like you read the fine print..."
"Yes, I did, but only years after I was hired, and bored of walking idiots less worthy than myself around a giant, landmark-less terrain and guiding them to powerful weapons so that we could shape a peaceful continent!"
"So...what's to stop you from just going against the Non-Disclosure Agreement and getting all the remaining weapons for yourself, if you know where they are? Couldn't you like...take over the world or something?"
Shit. I never thought of it that way.
The author of the story took a small break to contemplate his very existence and the choices that he made, to decide if it was worth it to continue to subject himself to this torture to the tune of ten bucks per 1,000 words written. Global domination was a much more enticing career path, and now, there was nothing to make him feel bad about it, since, in the story, all of his friends had betrayed him...
"Hello...? Earth to the Dirtscribe?"
"I asked why you wouldn't just go get all of the other weapons yourself."
"Oh. Yeah. That. Well, first of all, the adage 'earth to anything' won't make sense for another 1,000 years, so I'm not sure why you pulled that out of your ass..."
"Sounds like poor writing, to me."
"Fuck off. Second, If I were to try and break the agreement and someone caught me in the process, the rest of the mystical people of authority in the continent would try and kill me on the spot, as per their contracts, so...let's see..."
Joshiah The Dirtscribe now had all of the motivation in the world to go and find a weapon to destroy High King Nbowa with, but he couldn't take it for himself, and he couldn't properly guide Lykanos The Token Wolf to it, in order to gather it...
But he could write about the adventures Lykanos had all along the way.
"Lykanos The Token Wolf! You seem to me to be a worthy candidate for the new High King of all of Furope! I declare that we should set out on finding you a weapon worthy of your new ambitions!"
"Uh...High King Nbowa already has Excalifur, and I thought you weren't allowed to help me?"
"I'm not!" Joshiah The Dirtscribe confirmed. "I'm just going to write about your grand adventures as you search to find a new sword of power, and the majestic tale of how you ultimately overthrow King Smellydick and take his place as the rightful High King! ...By the way, the new weapon is called the Masamurr."
"...You mean Masamune, the legendary sword of Japanese folklore?"
"No, I mean the Masamurr. The Masamune won't even be made for another 600 years or so."
"How do you know all of this?"
"That...that's really not important right now. What is important is that we get a jump on things before The Great Knights of Furope get a jump on us and decide to make sure that I'm not up to anything evil!"
"That would be pretty inconvenient...but I thought we weren't actually up to any evil deeds?"
"...We're not! Good point! We have nothing to worry about!"
And they truly didn't have anything to worry about, as all of The Great Knights of Furope were busy stuffing their faces at the celebratory feast of High King Nbowa's latest punishment to a totally innocent and undeserving character.
"Well, Joshiah The Dirtscribe...shall we quest for the Masamurr, and bring true justice to all of the peoples of Furope?"
Joshiah The Dirtscribe gathered up some papers from the single desk in his shith- I mean straw hut, and a quill to write with. He wasn't worried about anything else inside getting stolen, because there was nothing else to steal.
"Indeed we shall! I'll write down all of the details of your epic voyage, and when all is said and done, the ruling class of Furope will be the wolves, once again!"
There was an air of confidence in the outskirts of Lionopolis that no one could smell because of Coyote Mountain, but the poor, helpless townspeople that lived in poverty felt a chill going down their backs...the thrilling chill of change that was soon to affect their lives for the better.
"So, Joshiah The Dirtscribe, you never did tell me exactly what you were accused of, or why you were banished in the first place."
The unlikely duo was marching out through the fields surrounding Lionopolis, and nightfall was nearing. Away from the lights of the city, stars twinkled like endless dots of white against a navy sky, and the moon illuminated a path for them to continue onward, though, they might not be happy with what Luna lead them to.
"I was accused of conspiring with the coyotes to try and take over Lionopolis and dethrone the king," Joshiah The Dirtscribe admitted, "Though, the truth is that I actually helped High King Dickcheese find a weapon to defeat the entire coyote army, and probably singlehandedly saved the entire continent of Furope from all out war."
"If you were such a valued ally in the past, why weren't you able to convince him of your loyalty in the present?"
Joshiah The Dirtscribe huffed and crossed his arms. "He's a smelly lion, that's why! He may seem to give off the presence and wherewithal of a peaceful ruler, but I've seen the truth of his ways...he's a sniveling feline who wants nothing more than to exterminate canines and all of their brethren from this continent!"
"No..." Lykanos The Token Wolf muttered, shaking his head. "That can't be true! We were told in the lupine kingdoms that he was a kind and caring High King!"
"Don't be silly," Joshiah The Dirtscribe corrected him. "Your people are not safe, and you, especially, are not at all safe! The longer we go without the Masamurr, the more likely it is that The Great Knights of Furope will arrive to ruin everything and prevent you from taking your rightful place as the true ruler of Furope!"
The prediction was false, of course, because without Joshiah to act as an Arbiter to the kingdom, The Great Knights of Furope had no idea that there was any sort of conflict being brought against them, and thus, they were all asleep at this ridiculously late hour, resting peacefully in the fancy bedrooms of Castle Lion. Even if they were alerted to some sort of danger, it would be literal hours before they did anything about it, and perhaps days before they reached the rolling green pastures that made up the land between Lionopolis and the other countries.
"If High King Nbowa is truly that much of a threat, then we have no time to lose! We must find the Masamurr and make haste for Castle Lion, at once! Where...uh...where did you say you thought the Masamurr was, again?"
"I'm not allowed to actually tell you, but I remember some sort of a long, boring story about a cave at the edge of Feline Fields that houses the legendary blade...and wouldn't you know, we've been going in the right direction to find it this whole time! What are the chances?"
"...Pretty good, considering you know exa-
"DON'T SAY IT!" Joshiah The Dirtscribe warned, placing a paw over Lykanos The Token Wolf's muzzle. "They're watching us, and if we openly admit that I'm breaking the rules..."
"It's a long bit too late for that, hybrid scum!"
The mystical community was always on the ball when it came to stopping rogue, former employees from doing something that they shouldn't, and before Joshiah The Dirtscribe could stop Lykanos The Token Wolf from making a verbal mistake, there was a flash of black and white fur, and a short, angry pair of blue eyes staring down the pair and stomping his hooves.
"Joshiah The Dimwit!"
"That's Dirtscribe now, but...y'know. That's cool."
"Did you really think you could lead this poor pawn into a quest to try and take over High King Nbowa's kingdom and not have the mystical community find out about it?"
"...Wait a minute. Lan or Gren?"
Lykanos The Token Wolf surprised Joshiah The Dirtscribe in the next moment, as his eyes lit up with excitement, and his short, wolfish tail started to wag. "BC! I haven't seen you in ages!"
"His name is Lan or Gren, Lykanos."
"No, his name is BC!" Lykanos The Token Wolf declared, as he wrapped the zebra up in a tight hug and grinned. "And it feels like it's been years since I've seen him!"
"My name is not what's important!" Lan or Gren explained. "But what is important is that you guys were trying to find the Masamurr, which, because of Joshiah's past, would be against so many laws...and worst of all...you guys were trying to overthrow the smelly lion without me!"
Joshiah The Dirtscribe and Lykanos The Token Wolf glanced at each other in surprise.
"What's the look of shock for? Every time that lion comes around, he tries to eat me, and I'm getting really tired of having to speak highly of some guy who tried to eat the guardian of the legendary blade that made him king in the first place! I'm all for overthrowing his stinky castle and establishing Lykanos The Token Wolf as the new High King of Furope! There's just one minor problem."
Joshiah The Dirtscribe raised a brow disapprovingly. "...And that is...?"
"The Masamurr doesn't even exist yet. The only thing in that cave over there was this really shiny, special ore that would have to be forged into a sword."
"Jesus, I'm staring to feel like the mystical community is just using me to get quests done without paying me, now..." Joshiah The Dirtscribe suggested, and that might not have been far from the truth, given what was soon to come to light. "But that's ore from a black iron meteorite! We'd have to find one of the most skillful blacksmiths in the land to make a proper legendary blade out of it!"
"Uh...guys?" Lykanos The Token Wolf chimed in, "I actually pay my rent by working as an apprentice blacksmith in the outskirts of Lionopolis. If you give me the ore, we could try and forge a sword out of it, given enough time."
Coincidence after coincidence started to fall right into place, and suddenly, it seemed that Lykanos The Token Wolf meeting up with Joshiah The Dirtscribe wasn't such a coincidence after all. Given everything that the former Arbiter now knew about his lupine companion, he was convinced that it was nothing less than fate that brought them together, and fate that would guide Lykanos The Token Wolf to the throne...which, conveniently enough, meant that Joshiah The Dirtscribe wouldn't be breaking any laws, and would be free from further prosecution.
I don't care if it's a technicality. I've suffered enough in these damnable stories.
"Then there's still a chance that we can create the Masamurr in time to launch an assault on Lionopolis!" Lan or Gren suggested with a cheerful grin. "We just have to finish the Masamurr before anyone gets wind of what we're trying to do on the edge of town...and with the smell coming from Coyote Mountain, no one is ever going to smell our plot cooking!"
The silly wordplay by Lan or Gren had the newly formed trio in great spirits, and they shared a laugh as the set up a camp in the Feline Fields, far away from the bright lights of Castle Lion, the stench of Coyote Mountain, and the courtyard that would soon be the sight of a truly epic battle.
Their spirits would be dashed come morning, when a former enemy of the kingdom revealed his eavesdropping.
"Listen, I know that we've had our issues in the past..."
"You brought an army of 10,000 coyotes to my kingdom and marched them on my fields to try and destroy Castle Lion!"
"So...what's the big deal? We never even made it past the fields!"
Bitter enemies that couldn't have been asked to work together before were sitting and holding a meeting in secret, one that even The Great Knights of Furope weren't privy to. Behind the castle, on the back walls of the castle that took our heroes literal hours to find in the first story, High King Nbowa was meeting with a figure in a black cloak...a mystical garment that kept his stench to a minimum.
"You've got a lot of nerve sneaking back into my kingdom after what you tried to pull, Tama of Yotenheim! If your information isn't as accurate as it is important, I'll have your head mounted on a spear, and chucked at the outskirts of town!"
"It's completely accurate, and the writer is seriously just feeding me all of this information!"
No, I'm not.
"You totally are."
Only because I have to.
"Exactly! And I assure you, King Smelly Shorts, that your kingdom will truly come to an end this time if you don't find the old Arbiter and strike him down!"
High King Nbowa (ugh) narrowed his eyes on the smaller, weaker coyote and readied Excalifur. "Call me crazy, but I don't trust this voice in your head that you've dubbed 'the writer.' Have you any evidence that Joshiah The Dirtscribe is a threat?"
"I was in the Feline Fields last night, still walking in circles aimlessly since my defeat, and I happened upon Joshiah The Dirtscribe conspiring with Lykanos The Token Wolf and The Guardian of Excalifur! They're going to forge a new weapon and overthrow Castle Lion within a day, two days tops!"
"Fat chance of them accomplishing that," High King Nbowa declared. "A banished hybrid, a wolf from the kingdoms I literally took the power away from, and a zebra I could just eat in my sleep? Yeah...I think we got this one."
"...But if I hadn't notified you, your kingdom would have been completely blindsided by the attack! Isn't that worth anything to you?"
"It is," High King Nbowa admitted, "But...you still called me King Smelly Shorts, so...yadda yadda yadda, banished to the outskirts of Lionopolis and what have you. It's almost nap time for me."
Tama of Yotenheim drooped his ears and narrowed his eyes at the merciless king. "...You can't be serious. I risk my ass coming all the way to your castle to let you know of a pending invasion, and you thank me by banishing me to the very worst part of town?!"
"Well, I can't have you wandering around in the nicer parts of town! People will complain about the smell!"
"Hmmph...like people can even whiff my smell over your stinky ass..." Tama of Yotenheim objected, but it was quiet enough that High King Nbowa didn't hear a word of it, because he fell asleep almost as soon as he mentioned nap time, and Tama was left with the regret that he didn't bring a weapon with him, seeing how easy it would have been to murder the sleeping lion and take over Furope once and for all.
But he didn't have a weapon...for that, he'd need to go to the outskirts of town as well, and meet up with the ones who were making a new one.
High King Nbowa never so much as whispered a word of the alleged attacks to The Great Knights of Furope, due both to his inability to wake up from a nap, and the fact that the knights were out on the outskirts of town, trying to find their old friend. They were prepared to make a social call, and appear as welcome visitors, but the truth was something much more sinister than that.
They were on their way to find Joshiah The Dirtscribe so that they could officially kick him out of town, and out of the script, permanently.
Although the author of the story was hoping and praying that they might succeed, the commissioner of the story had other plans, and thus, Joshiah The Dirtscribe was still in the script, sitting around with his scroll and his quill, pretending to write down anything of importance, while Lykanos The Token Wolf and Lan or Gren worked hard at the smithy, trying to form the gelatinous blob of black meteorite iron into something that could resemble a weapon.
It had been a couple days since the trio procured the ore that was needed to create Masamurr, the holy sword that was said to give the wielder unequaled power, and yet, they were no closer to having an actual sword to use, as the material was proving more difficult to work with than a bipolar artist who was also suffering from anxiety issues and first world problems. With his limited experience, Lykanos The Token Wolf could do little with the material, and even the master blacksmith that he worked under as an apprentice couldn't find a way to shift the ore into something useful.
CLANG! CLANG! CLANG![/i] For ten hours each of the last two days, the hammer struck black meteoric ore, and for all twenty of those hours, the ore just whined and squeaked under the weight of the hammer, refusing to take anything close to the shape of a sword, and making a rather unusual sound every time that the group took a break.
"Joshiah, stop mocking the sword!"
"For the last time, I'm not doing it! The sword has a mind and will of its own!"
Joshiah The Dirtscribe, who was still prohibited from using his knowledge to help anyone procure legendary weapons anymore, or using his knowledge to get them for himself so he could take over the world, had been trying to keep that little tidbit of information hidden, but in his frustration with the progress of the quest, he lost his temper, and revealed a secret that had the rest of his questing group tilting their heads.
"Yes, Masamurr is a living, thinking weapon. The ore can't be forced into taking the shape of a sword unless it is struck by someone who is truly-
Lan or Gren and Lykanos The Token Wolf glared at Joshiah The Dirtscribe as he danced around the word.
Yep. It's becoming that kind of story. Kinda.
"So what you're saying," Lan or Gren cut in, "Is that we need to find someone who is truly dominant to strike the ore and turn it into a proper sword."
"Yes...and since none of us know a truly dominant person, I called in a little help from the outside."
Strolling in the door of the blacksmith's home appeared to be High King Nbowa himself, but just with one glance, everyone saw a discerning feature on the lion that gave away his identity instantly.
"...Diz The Indecisive?"
The red bandanna was a telltale mark of the border collie that once haunted the Forest of Further Parody. His abilities, however, would prove useful to the trio, and given that the kingdom had banished him, as well, he had all of the motivation he could ever need to get revenge.
"Yes, it's me," Diz The Indecisive replied, in the most decisive statement he'd ever given in his life. "And from what I understand, you guys are planning to overthrow the kingdom! I'm on board."
What started out as a dark and evil plan by a wronged hybrid was starting to come to fruition, and the two that began the adventure were now four, with no telling how many more would join their ranks.
Spoiler alert: That's as big as they're gonna get.
"Quick! Hand him the hammer, and allow him to strike the ore! It's submissive, but equally stupid...and it can't tell the difference between King Smellydick and Diz The Indecisive!"
Joshiah The Dirtscribe's orders were immediately followed, as Lykanos The Token Wolf quickly tossed the smithing hammer to the border collie. It nearly topped the canine over, but the self-aware ore didn't take notice of the fact, and thus, was still fooled when Diz The Indecisive weakly lofted the hammer over his head and struck the ore with a pathetic, quiet tink.[/i]
That was all it took.
"Oh, murr!" the ore cried out, but this time, as it did, two little legs popped out of the bottom of the glob of ore, and wiggled around until they got stuck together again, forming a long and narrow handle. The very center of the glob rose up like a perky, lofted rump, and even went as far as to complete the image with two rounded lumps, before they spread apart...and before this story could go any further, they were magically on either side of the handle, creating a proper guard. From the exact middle of the rather lewd and inappropriate guard sprouted a long, slightly curved, and narrow tipped...blade.
You thought I was gonna say dick, didn't you? Fuckin' furries.
"I can't believe it! It worked!" declared Lykanos The Token Wolf. With confidence brimming through every muscle in his body, he wrapped the lightly furred tips of his paws around the handle of the legendary weapon and held it high for all to see. Though made from a dark, onyx ore, the blade shined of the brightest silver, and the sword itself, though extremely dense, was light as a feather in the hands of the rightful owner. "With this weapon...I really do believe we can overthrow the lion and his oppressive rule before he tries to kill all of the canines!"
Lan or Gren raised a brow. "...Who told you that line?"
"Oh, Joshiah The Dirtscribe brought it up when we first met. He was convinced that the hateful king was going to march out to what used to be the lupine kingdoms and slaughter everyone."
Smiling as innocently as he could and holding onto his scroll as if he'd done nothing wrong, Joshiah The Dirtscribe did his best to look like a neutral party in all of these shenanigans, and truth be told, he was! Honest! He wasn't in control of his actions, no matter what anyone said! "Listen, Lan...or Gren. Whichever. I didn't think that Lykanos The Token Wolf had the right motivation to become the new ruler of Furope, so I fabricated a little story about how much the smelly lion hates canines. Was that really so bad?"
"Uh. Yes. Yes it was. That goes against everything that you stand for as a former member of the mystical community."
"Former member. I'm no longer bound by those same rules, and I'm tired of leaving in a stinky hut made of straw that literally has shit for concrete."
"So you were just gonna kill the lion because things were going poorly for you?"
"I'm not gonna kill anyone. I'm just innocently writing down everything that's happening so that we have a legend to tell when Lykanos The Token Wolf rises to become High King Lykanos!"
Neither the blacksmith, nor Lan or Gren, nor Lykanos The Token Wolf himself believed anything that Joshiah The Dirtscribe was saying, but that didn't mean that they weren't all equally guilty of wanting to overthrow the wretched High King Nbowa. With that knowledge in the back of their minds, they resolved to see the fight through until the end...
...And as The Great Knights of Furope happened onto their little gathering, the battle was just about to begin.
"Joshiah The Dickweed!"
"Whatever..." Huscoon The Stats Guy replied. "Not like either one of those is a good title...but...anyway. You are guilty of conspiring to overthrow High King Nbowa, and treason against the United Kingdom of Furope!"
"The only thing I'm guilty of is being a little bitter that you guys took away my excessively long title and made it that much harder to reach a high word count," Joshiah The Dirtscribe explained. "And I'm not conspiring anything, but I am writing down the honorable acts and epic legends of the new king to be, Lykanos The Token Wolf!"
Atimist The Strong But Really Small stepped forward to stare Joshiah The Dirtscribe down, though it took him a long time to walk that far, and really, he was staring up at the hybrid, because nobody looked up to Atimist. "You've allowed darkness to cloud your vision, and as a formerly righteous member of the mystical community, the only honorable thing to do is to lay down your weapons and come to the courtyard for a proper beheading!"
"...Weapons? My scroll?" Joshiah The Dirtscribe asked. "I'll do no such thing, even if you are being stupid, and I've had about enough of you, micro fox!"
"Who you callin' micro?"
"Uh...you. I'm pretty sure that was painfully obvious."
A set of wooden boards fell from the sky and crushed through the roof of the blacksmith's shop, destroying the straw hut and actually getting rid of what was once a massive fire hazard. In the aftermath of clearing dust and debris, the boards settled 27 feet away from each other from front end to front end, and Joshiah The Dirtscribe was suddenly holding four bean bags.
"...It's time for us to settle this, Joshiah The Dishwasher..."
"Oh, come on! That one didn't even make sense!"
An epic game of Bags broke out on the outskirts of town, in the shadow of Coyote Mountain. Yes, Ati, it's called Bags, and now it's official in a piece of literature. Suck on that.
The game of Bags was raging on as Joshiah The Dirtscribe and Atimist The Strong But Really Small tossed bags at one board, tallied up their scores, walked down, and tossed back the other way. Joshiah, frustrated with his crew for getting absorbed into the action of the game, quickly gestured at the Castle Lion, visible in the distance, and it wasn't until he literally chucked a bean bag at Diz The Indecisive, nailing him right in the eye and leaving him with a terrible shiner, that they finally took advantage of the fact that the rest of The Great Knights of Furope were completely engrossed in the close match.
"We can make it to Castle Lion undetected, now! Let's hurry before the lion wakes up from one of his 27 daily naps!" Lykanos The Token Wolf said in a whisper, and he stole for the courtyard in Lionopolis, flanked on either side by Diz The Indecisive and Lan or Gren. They were free to go untouched, as The Great Knights of Furope were already placing bets on the legendary game of Bags, and deciding who would get to play next, and what teams would be, rendering them completely helpless to defend the kingdom.
The sun was well overhead Lionopolis as the trio of defectors ran for the castle, but it was already setting on High King Nbowa's rule. Maybe. Probably.
Conflict was settling in heavily for Tama of Yotenheim, who had to weigh his options in the war to come, or rather, the war that was already starting.
"If I help High King Nbowa to take down the defectors, there's a chance that he'll make me a high level adviser, and I'll be able to be closer to the throne just by proxy," he reasoned, "But on the other hand, if I help the defectors and they're actually successful in overthrowing the smelly lion, there's no telling how powerful I could become! My coyote craftiness would give me every advantage over the likes of a stupid wolf, an angry hybrid and a zebra that isn't allowed to take part in the battle anyway..."
Wow. You are really full of yourself, aren't you?
"...You're still talking to me? Are you really going to break the fourth wall that many times in this story?"
I'll do it as many times as the plot calls for, and frankly, if there were any other characters near you, they would have said the same thing.
"That's not the point! The point is that I'm in a moment of heavy introspection, and you're fucking it all up!"
Right, right. Carry on then.
"Thank you. As I was saying, I need to decide which side I'm on when things really start to hit the fan...and there isn't a lot of time to decide. There's no doubt in my mind that those fools couldn't wait to start a battle, and I'm sure they're on their way to the castle right now..."
"Hey, Tama! We're gonna go kill High King Nbowa! You comin' or not?"
"...Son of a bitch."
Cursing his bad luck and the interesting timing of the defectors as Lykanos The Token Wolf called out to him, Tama of Yotenheim decided to side with them at the last second, running as fast as his paws would carry him to catch up to the rebels that had made it this far. Joshiah The Dirtscribe had already valiantly sacrificed himself for the greater good and defeated Atimist The Strong But Really Small in seven consecutive matches of Bags, proving to be the greatest hero of the story, but there was still a final battle to be had, and High King Nbowa would have no idea that it was coming.
I'm not about to write a story where someone gets murdered in their sleep and act like it's cool, though, so...
"Listen, idiots: I just came from the castle, and High King Nbowa will be waking any minute now! Even if you did somehow make it past The Great Knights of Furope, you're still going to have to defeat him and take away the Excalifur!"
"He can have the Excalifur," Lykanos The Token Wolf declared. "We've got the Masamurr, a sword that is superior in every conceivable way! The wearer of the smelly, red shorts won't have a chance against me, much less the four of us combined!"
Lan or Gren suddenly came to a halt, making Lykanos The Token Wolf sound like an idiot.
"I'm sorry, but...about that. The Non-Competition Clause of 983 states that a member of the mystical community cannot take part in an actual battle with weapons if there is a kingdom on the line, so...this is where I have to stop, I'm afraid...but hey! Look on the bright side; if you win, I'll be able to see it from here, and you'll have the authority to hire me on board as a permanent adviser!"
It seemed like quite the cop out from Lan or Gren, but facts were facts, and no one knew the acts and laws of the mystical community better than he. Not wanting to risk an ally in something as meaningless as a guaranteed win, Lykanos The Token Wolf carried on down the cobblestone and brick pathways, making his way through the citizens that gathered in the courtyard. Brandishing the Masamurr with all of the authority of a proper...uhm...proper...top, we'll call it, none dared to stand in the path of Lykanos The Token Wolf, and even though they knew the threats that they promised, Tama of Yotenheim and Diz The Indecisive were able to pass through as well, following their leader in a straight line like the party formation in Final Fantasy 8.
Castle Lion was surprisingly poorly guarded, and for whatever reason, because of their extreme valor and abilities, High King Nbowa actually thought he would be safe if he only had his personal bodyguard as the only force defending his kingdom from attack. It was perhaps the most overly trusting and stupid move ever made by a ruling monarch, and yet, one that had worked surprisingly well, until the day of destiny was upon him.
"High King Nbowa! Come out of your paltry castle and prepare to be defeated at the hands of the Masamurr, the greatest sword to ever exist in the lands of Furope!"
There was no answer from the castle.
WHAM WHAM WHAM![/i] The angry and desperate wolf rang the comically large door knocker on the front of the castle doors, but yet again, no answer came from within.
"This guy is rude. I'm just trying to take over his castle and he can't even open the door? Prick."
Because the front doors were locked, and there were no back doors, and no easy way for the trio to break through the stout entryway of Castle Lion, it seemed that their quest for revenge against the smelliest of lions had come to an abrupt and total halt.
That is, until High King Nbowa felt the vibrations of the doors being knocked all the way on the back side of the castle, where he was taking yet another nap.
"Ugh...okay, okay, I'm up...seriously, what is it with you whiny ass peasants trying to disturb me at such an early hour?" High King Nbowa complained. His eyes were still nearly shut as he came around the side wall of the castle, causing him to not even recognize the three people at his front door.
Lykanos The Token Wolf was shocked to see that the legends of slumber were true, and High King Nbowa could sleep at any given moment. "First of all, it's the middle of the afternoon, and second, we're no peasants. I'm Lykanos The Token Wolf, of the once powerful and mighty lupine kingdoms, and I am here to demand that power be restored to our lands as an independent nation! If you will not comply, I'll cut you down where you stand and rule your kingdom myself!"
"Huh...okay, well...that sounds reasonable, but first of all, no, and second of all, even if I were to consider that, you're being really rude, so...request denied. And now I'm gonna kill you."
The clash that rang out across Lionopolis when Masamurr and Excalifur met in a parry was so great that it blew all of the citizens of the courtyard to their backs, and knocked Diz The Indecisive and Tama of Yotenheim completely unconscious. The only two truly worthy to stand still did, and High King Nbowa held his sword with a yawn as Lykanos The Token Wolf grew frustrated at how nonchalant the lion could be in the midst of battle.
"Killing me, you won't find such an easy task! I wield the Masamurr, the greatest of all swords to exist in Furope! Your Excalifur is outdated and weak; it will break under the force of my strikes!"
"Not likely!" High King Nbowa argued. He swung his blade, though Lykanos was able to deftly avoid the attack. "Excalifur is the greatest sword of Furope, and the one that granted me the right to the throne! Besides...Joshiah helped me to find it, so it has to be the best!"
Lykanos The Token Wolf snickered. "And just who do you think helped me to find and create the Masamurr?"
High King Nbowa nearly dropped his weapon in shock as his ears flattened to his head. He'd never known such betrayal before, even if it was his own fault that it occurred. "Then...he truly has fallen into evil...and I must destroy you, along with him!"
A chorus of CLANG[/i] and SWISH![/i] rang out in front of Castle Lion as endless blows were met and blocked, and even more were dodged by the well rested lion, and the motivated wolf. Minutes of strife were turning into hours as the two were quite evenly matched, and before long, High King Nbowa would need another nap, and Lykanos The Token Wolf would need a break.
Of course, neither one of them was wise enough to admit that.
"Y...y'know..." Lykanos The Token Wolf started to speak, panting for breath, "We've...we've been doing t-this for hours...and neither of us has gotten hurt...c-can we just call it a day?"
There was one last meeting of the swords, but this one was so weak in force that Masamurr refused to even make its trademark, lewd sound, opting to say "Oh, please... you can hit me harder than that!"
To be mocked by an opponent was truly devastating to the pride of a warrior.
To be mocked by the very weapon that they were using was downright degrading and pathetic.
"I think...I think I've got a b-better idea..." High King Nbowa suggested, as he fell over on his rump and sprawled out for a nap. "How about...I make you one of the great knights...if you banish Joshiah back to the straw huts..."
Wait. Wait. WHAT?!
"That sounds fair!" Lykanos The Token Wolf replied gleefully, his energy a bit revitalized, but nowhere near enough to swing his sword.
Also, seriously?! You traitor! You cannot do that to me!
"They can't hear you," Tama of Yotenheim pointed out. "You're totally screwed...and I'm just gonna side with the lion. For now."
Oh my God, you guys are the lamest villains I have ever written into a story!
"But at least we'll all get to live in the castle!"
The sun rose on the following morning to minimal destruction, and yet, the attempted revolt was branded as "The Great Bags War," because that was the way that most of the destruction was caused, and there were no casualties. The blacksmith who was given improper credit for forging Masamurr was promoted to the royal smithy, and tasked with making weapons and armor for those who still resided in the castle. Lykanos The Token Wolf was upgraded to a great knight, and given a new title the very next day, one befitting of a freaking trai- I mean an honorable and powerful knight.
A blade rested upon his shoulder as High King Nbowa stayed awake just long enough to complete the knighting ceremony. "You shall henceforth be known as Lykanos The Wolvenmurr, in honor of your heritage, and your ability to wield the Masamurr with such ease that you can nearly equal your own king! Let it be known that this lupine brings great honor to his homelands, and returns the pride of strength to the lupine people!"
It wasn't exactly what Lykanos had set out to do in the beginning, and it wasn't the perfect ending that he had been hoping for, but it was a much better turn out than he expected...but in the end, his seat on The Great Knights of Furope meant that there was some power in the lupine kingdoms once again...
And the only person who had to suffer for it was a bitter coyofolf living in a literal shithole.