Amock Comedy Compendium HTML version

The great hall rang with a thousand voices. Burning torches around the walls cast dancing shadows as the great
throng moved around. The air was rich with the smell of spilled beer and roasted ox meat. Tables were thumped
and voices raised and occasionally a female voice shrieked in indignity. But suddenly there was silence as Vorga
entered. He was a big man. Bigger even than the many fur-clad brutes who clustered around him. But they
made space quickly, for Vorga was known to be short of temper and quick of sword. He swung one iron shod
boot onto a bench and hoisted himself onto the head table. A cry of welcome was quickly stifled as Vorga looked
around him and slowly nodded his bearded head in approval.
His voice was low and gravelly. “It has been the way of we, the Targen,” he said, “to gather together in time of
war and on the eve of battle to declare ourselves before our brethren and before the Gods, that all may know
our names and remember them lest we fall in combat.” He paused, unused to lengthy speech and his great
chest filled with air before he bellowed, “Hail, ye gods, and listen to my words. I come before you, a Prince of
Pelthidor, Master of Volkrane, Holder of the Talisman of Shen-Derok. I Vorga, son of Rastak, the Soul Shredder.”
The crowd roared enthusiastically and a low chant of ‘Vorga, Vorga’ began. Almost instantly a smaller man leapt
up onto the table beside Vorga. He was smaller only in height and matched his chief in the
breadth of his chest and the width of his thighs. Unlike Vorga he was clean shaven and his face
was marked with countless scars and his eyes burned. He placed the head of his great battle-axe
on the table and rested his hands on the haft. His voice was higher than Vorga’s but carried a
terrifying coldness. “Hail, ye gods,” he roared, “and listen to my words. I come before you, Lord
of the Night Realms, Victor of the Battle of Zildar, Terror of the Hergol. I Damak, son of Jakar,
the Blood Scorcher.”
Again there was an enthusiastic roar but as this died away there was a strange uncertain pause.
Finally a small man, dressed only in a t-shirt and shorts was pushed forward. One of the warriors
grabbed him as he passed and whispered in his ear. “It is your turn, stranger. Guests precede
the nobility in our tradition.” His great, meaty hand then propelled the stranger onto the table
with one shove.
The stranger looked around him and his heart fell at the sight of the huge, imposing throng, but Vorga put his
hand on his shoulder and gave it an encouraging, though bone crushing, squeeze. The stranger’s voice was
weedy and did not carry far through the crowd, as he said, “Hail, ye gods, and listen to my words. I come before
you, a confectioner and a member of the trade federation, a member of the bowling club, fined for speeding,
twice. I, Derek, son of Gladys.”
Silence rippled through the crowd before voices bubbled again. “Derek?” they cried, and “Gladys?”
It was Vorga who calmed his warriors with a raised hand. He turned to Derek and asked, “Is this true … Gladys?”
Derek cleared his voice and answered in a thin voice, “Yes. I ..I .. never knew who my Dad was.”
Vorga’s great head nodded sympathetically, “Truly, a tragedy. Enough to crush a warrior’s very soul.”
Damak came from behind them and lay his strong arm across Derek’s shoulders. “Aye, and sap his very strength,”
he said, “To carry such a burden. A loathsome destiny.”
Derek’s spirits rose as Vorga added. “But be not afeared, Derek, son of Gladys. Where evil lurks, that is where
The Brotherhood of the Blade are to be found. We have faced many such mortal challenges before, and
crushed them beneath our heels.”