Drawn by the illustrious Noora.
(Sort of a background story that's not quite finished yet. Please do poke me about spelling errors or grammar fails (i'm terirble with commas and that.)
Warning: Some nono words.)
The Elk and the Potatomonger:
Spoiler: Part 1.Show
Spoiler: Part 2.Show
Spoiler: Part 3Show
Spoiler: Part 4Show
Spoiler: Part 5.Show
The Barbed Thistle
Moved from character profile and heavily edited. Please do inform me of typos.
@PillowPower made a wonderfull little event/story. It was immensely enjoyable and funny. So I wrote the event seen through Elkwell's eyes.
The Barbed Thistle
Elkwel ran a hand across the stubble on his head. The barber who had shaved the remnants of his hair had not owned a looking glass. Not that Elkwell needed one. The reactions of passersby told him more than he wanted to know.
He was long since used to the occasional joke about his pig-snout, freckles, red hair or bosmer-like height. The pointing and sniggering was unusual though.
“The one time I leave my fucking cap behind..” he grumbled.
In all honesty, he didn’t think the hat would help much. To sell the story that he’d shaved his hair off due to lice, he’d also had to shave his beard off.
The barber had informed him that the bottom of his face was “as pale as a breton lord’s arse”. Elkwell had not thought it a very flattering description and had not joined the barber in his hearty laugh. A sigh escaped him. How the previous day’s events had led to him losing his only redeeming features made for an unbelievable, but interesting story.
That he had survived the day was no small feat, all things considered. Other than a few cuts and bruises, his hair and beard were the only parts of him that had been hurt. The optimist in him told him to focus on the fact that he’d given more than he’d gotten, at least in some ways.
Elkwell scratched his nose as a thought came to him. The last time his hair had been this short, he’d been working for Beaugal Wilkes.
Wilkes was a kindhearted man who always made sure his people did their jobs to the best of their ability. He cared so much for his underlings sense of accomplishment that he would sometimes cut little pieces of flesh from their bodies to keep them motivated not to fail.
What a fun time that had been.
Much like this day, those days had been filled with oversized angry men wanting to smash his nose into the back of his head. There had been fun activities such as hiding, sleeping outside so no one would follow him to his home, and the running. So much running!
Being small and fast had meant he most often managed to avoid having to search the streets for teeth. On the other hand it had also meant he was fairly helpless once caught. The key was to not get caught.
This time he had been caught, which wasn’t nice. But being made a living torch was new. New experiences were supposed to be good.
He slipped his hands into his pockets and looked at his feet as he walked. Ten freckled toes peeped out from the leather bindings he had taken to wearing as footwear.
“Thistle..” he muttered the name and raised his brows.
Elkwell had come to Aldcroft for the mosquito larvae that lived in the swamp this time of year. They grew fatter and larger in Aldcroft than anywhere else as far as he knew. There was a slight problem with that, that problem was the werewolf infestation. Elkwell had brought his bow, a dagger and a healthy dose of “Please-don’t-fucking-eat-mes”.
He had slunk through the marshland, making sure there were no pesky beasties about. At least he had convinced himself there were none, and that he was a good enough tracker that he would have spotted the signs if they were there.
In all fairness, he might have been right about their relative absence. But then he began his task, and as was his habit, he began talking to himself. Eventually he was singing.
He was not a good singer. He was in fact a terrible one. But he believed soft sound was calming, and often beneficial to many plants. Personally, Elkwell suspected that the Nirnroot sang to weaken or deter the growth of other plants and their roots. Different types of sounds seemed to affect the growth of plants in various ways. And so, it was perhaps his habitual singing that had brought about the hungry beast-man.
Luckily for Elkwell, it was also what had brought Thistle to where he had been crouching. If not for his song, she might have wandered past and he might have become Elk-beef.
When the large, mangy werewolf made its presence known to him, Elkwell realised he had left his dagger in the swamp after using it to scrape algae from a rock. Oh the joy of being an absent minded fuck. With no hope of it helping him in any way, he backed away from the beast and pulled his pruning knife from his belt. It was a ridiculously small blade against a creature of that size.
The beast suddenly leapt at him, it’s feet splashing in the water. For one paralyzing moment he recalled a very similar scene. He froze, cowering with eyes screwed shut and his little pruning knife pointed at the oncoming furball of death.
Instead of being ripped in half by claws, he was slammed to the ground and crushed by the weight of the werewolf. It wasn’t something he would recommend to anyone.
Blood leaked onto his face and down his neck from an arrow wound in the werewolves eye.
As he struggled to get out from underneath the dead thing, a little mer came into view.
She had approached him with her bow drawn, it had not been a comforting sight. For a moment he had been certain she would end him. But she lowered her weapon and helped him lose instead.
He did his best to hide how shaken he had been by the whole ordeal as he gathered up his bow, quiver and bag. The two walked to Aldcroft together and on the way, the mer informed him that she was Thistle and that he was an idiot with a tiny blade.
At some point, Elkwell said something he would later regret.
“I have to repay you for saving my life. Is there anything you might need?”
There had been something she might need.
Thistle had taken him to a lovely little tavern she knew of. The place smelled of piss, sweat and wet wool. Probably because everyone in there smelled like piss, sweat and wet wool. Elkwell didn’t mind, he had spent nights in worse places. The clientele of the tavern was very much what one would expect. A few old drunks, a handful of youngsters and a large amount of mean looking men and women.
Thistle walked straight to the bar. Someone pushed their chair out just as Elkwell tried to pass, knocking the back of the chair painfully against his ribs.
“Sorry.” Elkwell said as he grimaced and pushed through to get to Thistle. By the time he caught up to her, she was already talking to the skinny barmaid.
“Two ales.” she said. The barmaid began to fill one mug while raising one eyebrow in annoyance.
“Actually. Can you make one of them a ginger ale?” Elkwell asked. The barmaid pushed a lock of blonde hair from her face and gave him a look of utter revulsion. Thistle glanced at him, confused.
“Please?” he added.
The blonde woman handed Thistle her drink, then grabbed a mug from the bar counter. Elkwell doubted the mug was even empty after the previous customer. She poured ale into it, turned around to grab something from the counter behind her, then stared Elkwell straight in the eyes as she dropped a piece of ginger into it.
“Thanks..” Elkwell muttered.
Thistle found them a small table. Everything was fine for a time. They talked, leaning companionably on the table to talk and laugh, not that they had much choice in the matter. On the table next to them sat four very loud, very obnoxious men. The most unlikeable one was named, Morty. Elkwell knew because one of his buddies kept cheering; “Morty!” at every pause of Morty’s story.
Morty was loudly explaining how he had once crushed a blacksmith’s knees with the man’s own hammer when Elkwells voice boomed across the room;
“Oh shut up, you big, bald cunt!” The description fit Morty perfectly, even if it did leave out words such as; terrifying, hulking and mean.
The room went quiet, only the sound of Elkwell choking on his “ginger ale” was to be heard. Every eye was on him as he lowered his mug. How Thistle had managed to imitate his voice perfectly was quite impressive.
“I should run, shouldn’t I?” he looked at Thistle who only shrugged back.
“I probably should.” Elkwell pushed himself up from his chair as he saw the four men begin to stand. They were closer to the door than he was, but his best hope was to dash past them. He pushed his chair between himself and his oncoming doom as he leapt for the door. It did nothing to hinder the brute named Morty, but it did cost Elkwell a valuable second.
A hard elbow to the back sent him sprawling on the wooden floor. Elkwell made an elegant attempt at scrambling to his feet, but Morty grabbed him by the curls and yanked him up. At least he was on his feet again.
“My, aren’t you.. Large.” Elkwell tried, hoping it would stroke the man’s ego.
“I think’s he’s callin’ yous fat, Morty!” croaked one of his companions. Morty stuck his face closer to Elkwell’s. His breath smelled like he’s been chewing on the week old carcass of a rat, and thick droplets of spittle showered everything within range.
“You callin’ me fat, whore?” his grip tightened on Elkwell’s hair tightened.
“Whore?” confusion warred with offence at the disparagement. It seemed a very odd choice of words. Here he had a pint-sized ginger with a pig’s face dangling from his oversized fist, and he had gone for the word “whore”.
“Oh.. No no, I was only..” Elkwell tried to say, but was cut off by another douche of spittle.
“Such lovely red hair you have.” This seemed to be going in a very uncomfortable direction all of a sudden.
“Thiistlee?..” Elkwell called and sent her his best help-the-puppy look. Unfortunately, Thistle was quite busy watching the skinny barmaid run out the back. It was at that point Elkwell realised there was a back entrance to the tavern, and that he could so very easily have avoided being rained on by Morty.
“Almost like fire.” continued the blob of muscle. Then a wicked smile crept onto his face. “But it aint fire, is it? We’ll soon see to that!” Morty pushed Elkwell towards the door, sniggering happily while one of his buddies hurried to open it. Morty didn’t even wait for the door to be fully open before he hurled Elkwell out through it. There was a very loud chorus of laughter as the ginger sailed through the air.
He landed badly, slamming his knee into a jagged pebble.
“Balls!” he exclaimed, but wasted no time in getting up.Before his tormentors had exited the tavern, he was on his feet sprinting or the swamps. His knee screamed in pain with every jolt of his foot hitting the ground, but he didn’t slow down. The only bad thing was that a man who most accurately could be described as a “riot of limbs” was gaining on him. The skinny, long-legged man grinned toothlesly at Elkwell when he looked over his shoulder. Odd sounds that may have been words escaped the gangly creature and suddenly the man pounced and the two crumbled to the ground. The man wailed joyfully as he pinned Elkwell to the dirt.
“Well done, Ord!” cheered the man who had previously been chanting Morty’s name. Morty and the last two men were walking towards where Elkwell and Ord were struggling. In no way was Elkwell happy to see that one was carrying a lit torch.
Desperately he managed to wiggle his arm free and pull out his hooked root knife. Ord saw the blade and immediately focused his efforts at prying it out of Elkwell’s hand. Without hesitation Elkwell sank his teeth into the other man’s wrist, biting down as hard as he could. It tasted like dust, salt and cheese.
Ord screamed and tugged his wrist out of the other man’s jaws. He howled sadly as he clutched at his bitten wrist. Quick as a snake, Elkwell sliced at Ord’s uninjured arm. The plan was to weaken the skinny man and slither free. That plan failed.
“You do NOT hurt Ord!” roared Morty as he pulled Elkwell out from underneath the other man.
Elkwell did all he could to wring himself free of Morty’s grip, but the giant’s hand was like an iron vice around his neck.
As the man with the torch moved the flame closer and closer to Elkwell’s hair, the group began to laugh.
His unruly mass of orange curls took the flame with alarming speed. By the time Morty let go of him, his head was on fire. The stench of burning hair filled his nostrils. He dropped to the ground and rolled.
Morty was laughing so hard that he could hardly stand upright, and Ord had forgotten all about his injuries, slapping his knees and tooting some unintelligible nonsense.
That was when a horse-drawn carriage came hurtling towards them. A man stood on the carriage, holding a plank in one hand while his other gripped onto the carriage. Four loud, and very satisfying ‘thunks’ were heard as the plank hit each of the pyromaniacs in the head. Someone grabbed hold of Elkwell and hoisted him onto the carriage as they sped off into the night. A bucket of icy water hit him in the side of the head, drenching him and dazing him at the same time.
“You alright?” bellowed Thistle from the direction the bucket had come from.
Elkwell was uncertain how to answer that, and then he remembered his backpack that he had left at the tavern.
“Oh, balls. Jacqueline!” he exclaimed and tried to stand, something that proved to be a challenge when in a carriage pulled by a galloping horse.
“I’m afraid I had to leave her behind.” Thistle said as she slowed the horse down.
“Stop the cart. I have to go back.” Elkwell said.
“Relax. Of course I didn't leave her.” Thistle lifted a familiar bag from the seat beside her. She passed it to the plank-wielding man, who in turn passed it to Elkwell.
Relief washed over him as he opened the flap of the bag to see the familiar frog staring up at him. He laughed happily and pulled her out to give her a hug. The frog had done it's best to push him away, it's throat ballooning warningly.
“Grumpy old dragon.” he had said, grinning before he placed her back into the bag.
It wasn't until Thistle dropped him off in the middle of the road that he realized his flask of mosquito larvae had broken.