"Tell me again Sultan" crowed Bladderstick, an infantile grin spread across his face, "Tell me again just how much I smushed the faces of those pompous Town Governors!" The Sultan of Nujelm started to sigh, then quickly turned it into a pretend cough to escape the inevitable wrath of his increasingly unwelcome guest. This really wasn't worth the meager scraps that appeared at his table these days. And he'd already told this story a myriad times today alone... "Well?! I'm waiting! Tell me, tell me, TELL ME about my awesome slaughter!" The exhausted Sultan picked up the notes that had been written for him, and started right back at the beginning again. "It began at 8 o'clock on a..." "No, no, NO! That's not how we present the greatest story in all of Britannian history, is it?! Do it with some passion, a sense of drama, a sense of importance! Start again, and do it right this time!" "IT BEGAN..." the Sultan started to yell "Up and down the register too! Change that pitch! Stick out that chest!" The Sultan tried to do his best, "IT BeeEEEgAAaaaAAAn at EIGHT! Oh!" but the ridiculous demands were just too much, and attempting to thrust his chest forward whilst shouting led to him falling off the chair and onto his face. "Oh marvelous, marvelous! That's what I call humour!" howled Bladderstick. "But you can stay down there and finish reading the rest. Stay on the floor I say!" Any thought of protesting was quickly stilled by the sight of Bladderstick waving one of his juggling knives about... no, the Sultan had to find a way out of this nightmare soon. "... on a Sunday evening in July. The Governor's had gathered..." "Stupid, weak, laughable Governors!" "Of course, of course. Laughable Governor's had gathered in Jhelom upon the invitation of Drake Ironheart.." "Great Ironfarts!" "Aha-ha-ha. Very droll, very clever sire." "I killed him you know!" "Aye sire, and so many others. May I tell ye how again? They had come to look at the defences of Jhelom, but none could ever be strong enough to keep out the wielder of the mighty Chicken On Ye Stick. Proudly parked in the docks of the city was Bladderstick, handsome, *sighs*" "Did you just sigh?!" screamed Bladderstick. "Because if you did..." "No sire! I would never sigh, I was saying suave, the suave Bladderstick!" "Hmmm. I don't remember writing suave for you to say. But it IS true, and I am smart, so maybe I did. Carry on, and let's have more of the suave!" A close one, thought the Sultan; and in a way it was somewhat thrilling... he'd never had to think this hard and fast when dealing with the fools from the mainland. With their silly narrow focus on the Virtues, it was easy to grow fat and lazy dealing with them. But no, it was thoughts like that that had led to him giving shelter to Bladderstick in the first place! Tweaking their nose again had seemed like a good idea at first, and look where it had led him! Let him just survive this retelling of the story again, and perhaps it was time to come in from the cold... "There on the docks, the overheated woman brain of the lady Anna Goodward attempted to joust with our Hero, and was promptly killed on the spot for not knowing her place. From there, he then sailed around and around the island, polishing up the tan on his bronzed, perfect body, his lucious pectorials, his... his..." "Yeessssssss?" "si.... suave thighs, ready to unleash his powers upon the rest of the city." "Oooh, this is my favourite bit! This is the bit where I kill everyone, you know!" "Yes sire." "What do I do?!" "Kill everyone." "How many times?!" "Innumerable times, sire." "That's not good enough!" howled the manchild. "COUNT the times! Tell me exactly how much those Governors suck!" "But sire... that's not the story! Do you want the story you wrote, or just the figures?!" The Sultan flinched, knowing full well the rotten man would ask for both and then complain the order was wrong and he should have done the other thing first. "I want ... BOTH! Now, tell me how many times they died!" Quickly counting up, the Sultan said "Drake Ironheart, for Jhelom - 9 times." "Nine times at WHOSE hand?!" "9 times at the hands of Bladderstick" "9 times at the perfectly manicured hands of Bladderstick!" At this he started to admire his own fingernails "So clean, so perfect..." "Indeed sire. 9 times humiliation for Jhelom. And for Aragorn and Skara Brae, 5 times with their trousers full of the custard of death. Keenan for Moonglow, suffocated with whoppee cushion over the head, 3 times. Aurelious for Britain, inflated like a balloon until he popped, 2 times." "I could have done that more you know, but I was saving my breath for the ladies later." Bladderstick began to brag. "I'm sure they were appreciative of it. You're a complete hit with them, of course. Speaking of hitting the ladies, Anna Goodward, Governor of Vesper, frightened to death with air horns, 2 times" "Aha-ha-ha. That's what they get for not being in either the bedroom or kitchen." The Sultan winced; admittedly Nujelm was a more traditional society, but the man had absolutely no respect for the fairer sex at all. And it had taken quite some time for the jangling fool to even find that particular Governor, and the stats did not lie; he'd not defeated her easily. But dare he say that? "She was in the arena I gather, oh master?" "Scandalous wench! But who else did we kill? Come on, keep on listing my triumphs!" He'd been dreading this. The Sultan knew full well by now one of the Governors had completely escaped. "Er... er... this story is so well written, so detailed I haven't got to that part yet" he stalled. But there was to be no escape. "There was one more, wasn't there? One other city attended. What happened to Minoc?" "Governor Perry Ragus...? Er... er... he .. er... covered in toxic face paint and died quietly in a corner where no one saw it?" "NO!" screamed Bladderstick "No no NO! That damned coward escaped my wrath! He dared resist his betters! He didn't even laugh at my jokes! He called me a cheat! HOW DARE HE!" At this the jester started slashing his juggling knives around most dangerously. Backing off out of reach, the Sultan tried to cheer him up, or at least verbally disarm him as fast as possible. "But sire, not for long! We have many, many knew friends amongst the people who'll betray him now!" "That ghastly weak woman Meredith betrayed us instead though! She lead us out of town! You can't trust them, you know!" Bladderstick was almost foaming now "No no, not her, sire. What about that Abyssal fellow? He tried to sell Perry Ragus out many times, and supported you all the way to the end. With new recruits like him, the tide is definitely turning Bladderstick-way!" The man paused his ranting a moment, and looked directly and suspiciously at the Sultan's eye; "Just because someone sucks up to me, doesn't mean I like them you know. I can just use them. Until I tire of them. Understand?!" Gulping, the Sultan nodded quickly "Very wise of you, sire. But we can use that Abyssal yes?" "Oh yes. YES. AHA-HA-HAAAA YES!" "You have a plan, sire? For your next move?" "Yes... oh it's brilliant! Devious! Unstoppable! Have I told it you yet, fatso?" The Sultan shook his head; it was best to not know anything until Bladderstick told you what you wanted you to admit to knowing; "No master, you always were too clever to risk anyone finding out until it was too late!" Bladderstick looked at him suspiciously again; "Oh yes, I am, aren't I? Well, don't hang around here expecting to discover it! Go, get out of here... and let me think! Aha-ha-ha!" Fleeing quickly to his quarters, and bolting the door behind him, the Sultan realised even here would not be far enough; Until Bladderstick was removed from Nujelm for good, he could never be safe in body or mind. It was time to perhaps see about a bit of detente. SECRET detente, obviously! If Bladderstick should ever find out he was talking to the other Kingdoms... he shivered at the thought. Apparently the Governors elsewhere resented cloak and dagger actions. "But it has it's uses", he mused "and afterwards, I might be able to eat my meals in peace again..."