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Housepets: World of Fantasy 
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Post Housepets: World of Fantasy
The Decaying Mule was a moderately popular watering hole considering its location in one of the more… impoverished districts of the Capital. Bino mused this as he nursed the drink in his hand, his slipshod crew that was put together not even a day before bellowing with the bard in the corner. Bored curiosity caused Bino to look behind him at his temporary teammates. Most of them blended together, the same straps of leathers and pockets that often denoted someone of Bino’s profession. The Bard looked out of place due in small part of being a white rabbit in a part of town where most animals were dogs and cats.

The lapin Bard seemed tense surrounded by so many boisterous louts, but he maintained his smile as he continued to sing alongside his new ‘friends’, his lute playing faintly but no less pleasantly among the cacophony of the tavern.

With a huff, Bino returned to his drink. Tomorrow, these men and he would strike out for Duke Such-and-Such’s abode, grab whatever trinket the client was paying them for, and Bino would go home with another meal in his stomach. This intrepid group of thieves, burglars, and scoundrels put together by the Thieves Guild will have forgotten him in a week and Bino will have done the same in half that time.

However, fate decided it had other plans. As Bino was about to head home and turn in for the night, a new patron stepped into the establishment. An animal, going by his short stature, around the same height as Bino. His face was covered by a brown, leather hood that was attached to a half-cape that went down just above the stranger’s waist. His outfit screamed ‘outdoorsman’ to Bino, possibly a Ranger. All forest greens and mud browns, most likely to blend with his surroundings. Bino’s theory that he might be a Ranger was aided by the fact that the stranger had a bow and a quiver of arrows on his back. A Ranger’s weapon if ever there was one.

The stranger took a look around, spotted an empty seat next to Bino, and happily took it without a word, despite the fact that there were clearly many other seats far away from him, Bino thought.

The stranger lifted a finger to grab the Tavern-Keeper’s attention. “A round for everyone on me, I feel like celebrating.” With that, he produced a small sack with a telltale jingle from the folds of his outfit, placing it on the counter. The Tavern-Keeper took one look inside the sack before smiling widely, nodding profusely.

“Good news boys! Our friend here is buying us all a round!” The Tavern-Keeper said. The usual ‘Huzzah’s and “Hooray’s abound as the Tavern-Keeper got busy providing said round, even passing Bino a glass despite him clearly nursing a half-finished one. Not that Bino was complaining.

Perhaps it was the stranger’s generosity or just the close proximity, but Bino felt the need to speak on behalf of the patrons. “So what’s the occasion?” He asked the hooded figure. Bino could just see the slightest traces of a smile under his hood. When you’re in the line of work Bino is in, it helps to be able to read the most errant twitch in a face.

“A business deal that just ended very well for me. And hopefully another that will end just as well.” The stranger said.

Bino nodded, not really caring, just making conversation. He went to take a sip when the stranger spoke again. “You’re Bino, right? The thief?”

One comedic spit-take later, Bino was now staring at the stranger with hard eyes. “Listen, whatever game you’re trying to play…!”

“I want to hire you.” The stranger said. “Well, the person who’s hired me wants to hire you.” That got Bino’s attention. “I realise your guild has already tapped you for a job. What I propose is a little more dangerous, but a lot more lucrative.” The stranger raised his glass to his lips before adding “If that’s the sort of thing your interested in.”

Bino raised an eyebrow before turning back to his crew, they having completely forgotten the Bard (Seemingly to his relief) as they went to partake in the free round offered them. Satisfied that they didn’t even care to listen in, Bino returned his attention to the stranger. “Who’s the client?”

The stranger leaned back. “I’m sure you’ve heard of him: Prince Keene?”

Bino scoffed. “Prince Keene. THE Crown Prince of Babylon?” Bino shaked his head, now certain this must have been some kind of prank. “And why would the illustrious Prince desire a vagabond burglar like myself?”

The stranger ‘Tsk Tsk’d as he shook his head. “Don’t sell yourself so short. Are you the greatest thief Griffonrock or even the Kingdom of Babylon has ever seen? No, of course not. But you are skilled, and more than that, you want something the Prince can provide.”

Bino raised an eyebrow. “What’s that?”

“A proper job.” The stranger said. “You do this one job for Prince Keene, and he will provide you a full pardon for any and all crimes you’ve ever committed AND give you everything you need to become a proper Rogue.”

“A… A Rogue?” Bino said incredulously. “The Prince wants to make me, ME, into a King’s Thief?!”

Rogues were the Golden Ticket of the criminal underworld, A thief who worked for, and thus was cared for by the crown. Essentially a thief who stole secrets from corrupt nobles and lords, restored treasures to their rightful places. Any thief who became a Rogue of the Crown was seen as a Robin Hood of their era.

“What’s the catch?” Bino was many things. Brash, callous, paranoid, curt, even downright unpleasant when he wanted to be. But one thing he wasn’t was stupid. No opportunity this good ever comes from nowhere, especially not to him.

“The catch…” The stranger began. “Is exactly what I said: A dangerous job, perhaps more danger than what your used to.”

Bino thought for a bit. “How dangerous?”

The stranger smiled again. “Most assuredly life-threatening. But is the reward worth it? That is for you to decide.” With that, the stranger reached up and pulled his hood down, allowing Bino to see his face for the first time.

He was a brown dog, a mutt with small, dark-brown ears and a cream colored muzzle. His blue eyes surprised Bino due to how youthful they looked. All in all, he looked much younger than Bino was expecting.

“Peanut Sandwich of the 5th Ranger’s Regiment, at your service. If you decide the risk is worth the reward, come to the castle tomorrow at the crack of dawn. Ask for my name.” Peanut said, twisting his weight to get off the tall stool he had been sitting on.

“W-wait! That’s the same day as my current job!” Bino tried to protest.

Peanut simply shrugged. “Then you’ll just have to decide which job is worth more to you. I’m sure you’ll make the right choice.” With the same chipper smile that never seemed to leave his face, Peanut turned to leave. “If you’ll excuse me, there’s another potential recruit I need to talk to.” With that, he started to walk away from Bino and towards, of all people, the white rabbit Bard.

Left alone with his thoughts, which were racing in his head, Bino tried to rationalize the bizarre circumstances he now found himself in. Rangers, princes, quests, pardons, a chance to be an honest-to-god Rogue. He would never go hungry again… provided he lived.

But among all these thoughts, one question was at the center of his mind:
What kind of stupid name is Peanut Sandwich?


Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:55 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Interesting hook, I'm on board. Let's see where this goes.

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Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:09 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
I like this. I'm keeping an eye on it

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Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:12 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Oooo, I'm down for this.

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Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:39 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
It wasn’t until Bino was halfway up the uphill path leading to the castle that he realised that this could be a trap.

In hindsight, it seemed obvious. Put out a lure to attract thieves and brigands like, say, a full pardons and a comfortable court job, then wait with a legion of guards to beat them senseless and drag them to a cell.

Two things kept Bino walking to the castle. One, that would be an awful lot of theatre to capture one single thief. If Bino were a Master Thief of some renown, like the Black Scoundrel or the Black Hawk or the Black…

It only just now dawned on Bino how many famous thieves had the word ‘Black’ in their names.

Anyway, then it would make more sense that this would be trap. As it stands, Bino just didn’t command that level of respect.

The Ranger, Peanut, wasn’t lying when he said Bino was skilled in his craft. But he had only done small time gigs, his biggest targets being minor Lords and Dukes from a massive cornucopia of nobility.

And even then, he was only ever the middle man. The Thieves Guild set up the jobs, dealt with the client, and exchanged the goods. Bino was just one of the many cutpurses in the Guild’s employ.

Which was the second reason Bino was committed to seeing this through. After today, he will have made an enemy of the Guild.

The Guildmaster, a man known only as ‘The Boss’ did not take kindly to members of the Guild walking out on jobs, which is precisely what Bino was doing. He had abandoned the crew he was set up with to pull the job without him, all so he could attempt this vain possibility of becoming a Rogue.

If Bino tried to crawl back to the Guild now, there would be… consequences. This way, if Bino did manage to become a Rogue, he would have the protection of the Crown at his side. The Boss may be feared in Griffonrock’s underworld, but even he wouldn’t risk angering the King for one turncoat flunky.

Bino allowed himself a small slice of optimism. Even if the absolute worst happened and this was a trap, well, at least he’ll get three meals a day in the relative safety of a jail cell.

Bino truly was at the point of no return when he finally found himself at the castle’s gate, where which two guards stood at attention. They clearly regarded Bino as he confidently, or at least he hoped he looked confident, walked up to the guards.

“I’m… here to see the Ranger, Peanut Sandwich?” Bino’s voice cracked. Apparently, the guards were doing the ‘intimidation’ part of the job well. “I understand he’s recruiting for a job.”

One of the guards nodded. “Aye sir. Come with me, I’ll escort you.”

Wisely choosing not to argue, Bino followed the guard inside the castle’s interior.

Bino had to admit, it was strange being in a place of such opulence and actually be welcomed inside. Usually, he would be here at night, sans a guard escort, and shoving everything not nailed down into a sack.

The escort was short as the guard led Bino into some kind of main hall or foyer, Bino honestly wasn’t sure. It seems he wasn’t the only one invited, nor was he the first to arrive.

Three other animals occupied the room. Two sitting on the couches in the center, one off to the side admiring a painting.

One of the animals on the couch Bino vaguely recognized. It took a few seconds of memory searching before realizing that this white rabbit was the same Bard from the tavern last night. Bino actually did recall Peanut going over to talk to him.

This made Bino think, what kind of ‘Job’ set up by a prince would require the talents of, among others, a Ranger, a Bard, and a Thief? Who else was involved in all this?

The other seated animal was a female dog, light tan colored except for her dark brown muzzle and paws. Her pristine, flowing white robes instantly denoted her as some kind of Holy Woman, though of what faith in particular Bino couldn’t guess. There were so many ‘Holy Order of our So-in-So, Exalted Father/Mother of the BlahBlah.’

One thing that Bino did take note of were her eyes, which were a stunning bright pink in color.

The final guest, the one eyeing the painting, was an all black male cat. Already, Bino grimaced at this. He didn’t enjoy working with cats as a general rule, they always found some way to annoy or bug him.

This cat in particular was noteworthy for the large chunks missing from his ear. From Bino’s admittedly small knowledge of wounds, it almost looked like something had bitten off parts of his ear. Whatever caused it, it certainly wasn’t pleasant.

His attire confused Bino somewhat. He was dressed in fine clothing, something one would imagine a nobleman’s son to be wearing, but it was all in terrible condition. The seams frayed, there were numerous dried stains, the colors were faded. It wouldn’t surprise Bino if he found out the cat literally digged his outfit out of the trash.

The guard behind him coughed, causing Bino to turn around. “I’ll have to temporarily confiscate any weapons or dangerous equipment you have. They’ll be returned before you leave.”

Bino’s eyes widened. “Oh. Y-yes of course.” Once again, Bino felt it wise not to challenge the Prince’s hospitality. The guard motioned to a silver plate on a pedestal just off the side of the door. Nodding in understanding, Bino produced the two daggers at his side before placing them down on the plate. He then unhooked his belt and placed that upon the plate as well.

The belt contained all the necessary tools for the common thief: Lockpicks, smoke bombs, caltrops, a small bag of pistachios.

Satisfied, the guard grabbed the plate and made for the door. “Peanut will be here soon to bring you to the Prince. I suggest you wait and mingle in the meantime.”

With that, Bino was left alone with these three strangers. Huffing to himself, Bino figured he may as well take up the guard’s offer.

Walking up to the group, making his presence known, Bino gave a half-hearted wave. “So, I suppose you’re all here for the same thing I am?”

The black cat looked away from the painting, a portrait of some notable person Bino was sure, to give Bino a wide, toothy smile. “Fortune, glory, and prestige? That’s certainly why I’m here.” The black cat walked up to Bino before extending an open hand. “A pleasure to make your acquaintance, I’m Max.”

With some hesitation, Bino took Max’s hand and gave it a firm shake. He was surprised when Max grasped his hand tightly and turned it over to get a look at his palm.

“W-what are you…!?” Bino tried to protest but Max lifted a finger.

“Don’t worry, just doing a little reading.” Max said. He started to trace the lines on Bino’s paw pads. “I see. You haven’t lived the easiest life, have you?”

Max lifted his head to look Bino in the eyes. “I suppose any reward is better than what you have now.” Max said with a smile. Though there was something… wrong with his smile. Something that rubbed Bino the wrong way.

It wasn’t the smile itself, it was his eyes. His eyes had a softness that Bino hadn’t seen before. He…

He felt pity for Bino.

With a sharp tug, Bino wrested his hand from Max’s grasp. “Don’t… don’t pretend you know me charlatan.” Bino could feel his temper rising. He didn’t need this… cat’s pity. There was nothing about Bino to pity!

“Just trying to be friendly.” Max said easily, as if trying to calm a feral beast. It only had the opposite effect.

“Maybe I don’t want a friend. Especially some mangy feline they, apparently, pulled out of the trash.” Bino snapped.

Now, it was Max’s temper that was boiling. “You should be careful about what you say to strangers boy. You know what they say about burning bridges before you make them.”

“Then you should be careful whose business you butt into. I don’t need the pity of some filthy alleycat!”

Max’s eyes snapped wide, an enraged look flashed across his face. “Why you little…!”

Neither were sure when exactly their hands balled up, but both were clearly ready to use them. Bino raised his fists and Max returned the gesture before-

“Stop.”

The command was simple, but both Bino and Max felt the power behind it. It wasn’t even an order or a direction, it was a statement. The voice said Stop, and it was so.

“Step away from each other.”

Bino and Max obeyed. To do so otherwise would be unthinkable. There were no options, no possibilities, except what the voice stated.

“Sit-sit down…”

There. The authority of the voice faltered. Bino was compelled as before, but a voice, his own voice, commanded otherwise. He would not obey… He would not obey… He would…!

With a start, Bino snapped out of whatever trance he was in. He took in a sharp gasp of breath he didn’t know he was holding in. Looking up, he saw that Max was in very much the same state. But the white rabbit…

The rabbit was kneeling on the floor, clutching his head in obvious pain. He whimpered, more to himself than anyone else, “Please… stop.”

Bino recognized the rabbit’s voice. The same voice that held him so completely not seconds ago. “That… that was-”

“That was Charmspeak!” The female dog spoke, for the first time since Bino arrived. “That was incredible!” She said, clearly awestruck at the little rabbit.

“Incredible!? It was horrifying!” Bino screamed. He pointed an accusatory finger at the rabbit. “You tried to turn me into a slave!”

“No! No! Nothing of the sort!” The rabbit said, scooching further away from Bino. “I just… I just wanted you to stop fighting!”

“Heh… heh heh.” Despite himself, Max allowed a small chuckle to escape him. “A true Bard. Not just some singing minstrel, but an actual master of Bardic Magic.”

The rabbit blushed, looking away. “I’m no master…”

Bino, however was thoroughly confused. “Bardic Magic?” He asked, hoping someone would be willing to give an explanation.

The female dog spoke up again. “It’s magic that is channeled through sound that affects both body and mind.”

Max, having regained his composure, continued the robed dog’s explanation. “Bards, that being true Bards, have learned to focus their magic through voice and song. They practically invented the ‘travelling musician’ all in an effort to hone their craft.”

Bino shook his head, trying to chase away the last vestiges of the rabbit’s control. “And that… brainwashing thing?”

“Charmspeak.” The rabbit said, having gotten back on his feet. “Normally I can just… influence certain things. Make an emotion more powerful than others, or make an idea seem like a really good one.”

“But I sort of… overdid it in my haste to get you two to stop fighting. Normally, I shouldn’t exert that much control, it… it hurts.”

Max, seemingly having forgiven the young rabbit for the total invasion of his mind, gave the rabbit a comforting hand on his shoulder.

Bino was feeling much less forgiving. He marched up to the rabbit’s face and said in a low tone. “Stay. Out. Of my head.”

The rabbit said nothing, just gave a short nod.

With a huff, Bino turned around and sat down next to the female dog, while Max decided to urge the rabbit to sit in the couch opposite them with him.

The four sat there in an uncomfortable silence for a minute or two, though it felt like hours. Finally, the female dog coughed to get everyone’s attention and said with a chipper smile. “Well, I’m Sasha! Nice to meet you all.”

The rabbit, having apparently calmed down, gave a nervous “Hi Sasha.”

The female dog, either oblivious to the awkwardness or simply playing along, waved at the rabbit. “Hi… uh?”

“Zachary.”

“Hi Zack!”

Max, to his credit, looked over at Bino. “I don’t believe any of us caught your name?” He said, his sly grin returning as if it never left.

Bino contemplated giving a fake name, the less familiarity he had with these clowns the better, but he realised that might not go over so well with making him a legitimate Rogue, which was the one thing that was keeping Bino here.

“My name is Bino.”


Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:38 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
I'm liking the group we have so far. wonder what their mission's gonna be or if they'll stay together after it.

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Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:42 am
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