Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cowlflap writes a letter.

Cowlflap Cogswaddle paced the perimeter of her small camp, the small fire positively cool compared to the nearby upwelling of magma. Neither had any success in making Cowlflap feel warm.

She had stashed her bulky black plate in the desert and made the journey into Thesselmar to send a thank you to the rugged dwarf she'd identified as one of her missing son's last contacts.

“Rugged?” A small voice, strangely like her own, and a welcome change from the other voice that had ruled her head a few short months ago started, “ragged more like.” She shrugged it off.

No one had thought twice about the small dirty prospector, and she'd been careful to stay far enough away from anyone who might be bothered by her perpetual chill. She debated sending something like a small gem, but didn't want to seem forward. While she was fairly certain that such a gesture didn't mean the same thing to Dwarves as Gnomes, she didn't want to make the wrong impression, after all, she was still a married woman.

“Should've sent some coins.” She startled herself by speaking out loud. “Yes,” she thought, “he looked as though he might be able to use some coins.”

In Thesselmar, Cowlflap had opened her writing satchel and the Haute Club cards had spilled out. Suddenly the desire to send some sort of “thank you” and her desire to be rid of some of the last few reminders of her time fighting against the Scarlet Crusade blended into a sort of fugue state in which the letter had been composed and sent in a mere few seconds. Even her own children would have been hard pressed to recognize the jagged handwriting and uncharacteristic errors. Cowlflap was not fully back to her normal self until she was stacking up spider limbs to make a small camp fire. How she'd made it back to her armor cache without incident, she didn't know. She absently wiped spider ichor off of her chest-plate.

“You didn't even say thank you or ask if he'd like to help find Camfollower,” she startled herself by speaking aloud again.

Mohr Brassbrain, she'd recognized him from the wanted poster on the back of what was one of her son's last letters. The artist had accurately captured the dwarfs intensity if not his exact likeness. If Cam was right about him, and Cam usually was about people, the Dwarf would be a valuable ally.

“He threatened to shoot your face off!” she shouted at herself, interrupting her pacing to spin oddly in place.

“No, no, I startled him, the whole being dead thing, it unnerves people,” she argued.

“He didn't know that until much later.”

“Well if Cam's in the sort of trouble I think he is, then a tough Dwarf is exactly what we need.”

Cowlflap waited for a counter argument, her spinning done. There was no further outburst; her pacing resumed, for the moment.

The sudden smile that crossed her lips fairly radiated a chill. She spun in place, feeling the warmth of the spider as it had crept near. The pillar of frost, channeled directly from a place deep in her corrupted soul, struck the spider, freezing it in mid crouch, just as its own web glued Cowlflap in place.

They stared at one another across the several meter gap.

Cowlflap's smile widened into a grin as she unlimbered her pickaxe. “Come to Maximom, I have something for you.” The odd timbre in her voice was hardly enticing, even for a lack-brained spider.

“After this we need to go back to town, and write a proper job offer,” the nagging voice returned as the spider struggled against the alien cold to try, in vain, to claim its dirty, green-haired, squeaky morsel.

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