Guthix and Gertrude

Adventuring is a difficult, dangerous, and often costly business. With all the demons, dragons, gods, and monsters wandering around the place, it can get a bit stressful if you're all alone. Luckily, self-proclaimed druid Insomniax -- master of Herblore, follower of Guthix, and dabbler in Magic -- has an ally in the form of Lynnix, his cat. The two of them make a fairly competent adventuring duo, as long as Insomniax doesn't try to solve any puzzles. Things can get messy when he has to use his brain.

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5. Not Very Smart

We arrive at the Burthorpe lodestone in short order and head north. We're about to enter Sabbot's cave when I think of something that could get us to our destination much quicker.

"Hey," I say. Insomniax stops and looks at me.

"Yeah?"

"Don't you know a spell that can get us to the top of Trollheim instantly?"

"The snowy caves and the hill with Trollweiss are northwest of Trollheim," he replies. "Not at the top."

"Right, but it's a shorter path from the top of Trollheim to the Trollweiss than from here to the Trollweiss."

Insomniax thinks about this, then digs out a few law and fire runes from his pack. He rises from the ground in a cylinder of light, and suddenly we're on top of a mountain. I've noticed that my human has been much more reckless and willing with his teleports lately. He didn't even bother to pick me up the last few times. I'm not sure if this is better or worse for my health.

I break away from my pondering and look around, and see that Insomniax has already started clambering down the west side of the mountain. Hoping that hellcats land on their feet too, I leap down after him. When we get to the bottom of the spiraling mountain, we head north.

Insomniax stops and turns to me. "Do you want to get in my bag while I walk there?"

"What? No, it's gross in there!"

"You could just go to sleep. You wouldn't have to walk as much."

"Oh," I say softly. "Didn't think about it that way." I jump into his arms and wriggle into his backpack. Almost immediately the awful stench puts me to sleep.

I wake up when the druid pulls me out of his pack again. I look around at our surroundings; we're in a very stony area. There are a few angry-looking trolls about. We're in the Troll Stronghold, I'd wager. This is confirmed when Insomniax says, "Recognize the Troll Stronghold?"

"Did you get the Trollweiss?" I ask, deeming his question acceptably ignorable.

"Yes," he says, pulling out a small bouquet of blue-gray flowers from his pack. "I didn't want to bring you out because it was cold and I wasn't sure how that would affect your...hellness."

"Right," I say. "Thanks." For some reason my human seems very quiet.

We walk through a door and into a long, nearly empty room. In one corner is a very, very sad troll. Insomniax crouches in front of him and holds out the flowers. The troll looks up and sniffs.

"Are those...did the man-thing get flowers for Ug?"

"Yes, yes I did," says Insomniax. He reaches out a little bit more. "Go on, take them." The troll takes them gingerly with one giant hand. Ug's tears dry up fairly quickly and he starts to nod. After a few seconds, as if getting an idea, he freezes up momentarily, then drops the flowers and starts to cry again.

"What is it now?" asks Insomniax, exasperated. "Need me to deliver the flowers? Are they not the right color? Did you just realize that maybe this whole thing is ridiculous?"

"No," says Ug, sobbing. "Ug not big enough for Aga. Arrg would destroy Ug in fight! Flowers useless if Arrg still around."

"Wow," says Insomniax. "Sucks to be you." He gets up and starts to leave. Ug continues crying.

Now, I wouldn't care in the slightest if it wasn't for the fact that Insomniax was a druid, dedicated to preserving the balance in all things, and protecting the natural world of Guthix's creation. As I've said before, this means nothing to me, but Zaros help me if I was going to let Insomniax turn from the path he'd dedicated himself to. He's useless without a purpose.

"Insomniax!"

The druid turns, confused.

"Insomniax Uber125 Bennethson," I say, using his full name for emphasis. "You come right back here and you help that troll win that other troll's heart!"

"But I don't --" he begins.

"Now!" I shout. To Ug, this sounded like a lot of mewling, no doubt, but it got the point across to Insomniax. Cowed by my fearsome felinity, he returns to Ug.

"Do you want me to take care of Arrg for you?"

"Would man-thing do that for Ug? Ug would get destroyed if he --"

"Yes, yes, yes," says Insomniax, frowning. He walks across the room and through another door to the small alcove where Aga and Arrg are.

"Arrg!" he says. Without waiting for a response from the large troll, he continues: "I challenge you to a battle on behalf of Ug!"

"Argh!" says Arrg. "Fine. Man-thing meet Arrg in arena." The troll lumbers away. Insomniax picks me up and runs after him. I decide not to argue.

When we arrive, he sets me down again and pulls out his air staff. He brings his hands together and mumbles a prayer to the gods.

"Are you sure you know what you're doing?" I ask.

"Yes," he says. "Arrg's not very smart. He probably just barely knows how to use a club, so if I pray to the gods for protection from melee--"

My human is interrupted by a giant rock smashing into his head and knocking him straight down to the ground.

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