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fantasy novel chapter 44
questing hero novel text online
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Warning: this novel is intended for an adult audience. It contains violence and vulgar language and, additionally, contains at least a little sexual content.

THE WORDSMITHS AND THE WARGUILD by Hugh Cook - Chapter 44

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Chapter 44

        What now?
        The only thing Togura could think of was to go to the island of Drum and get help from the wizard of Drum. Somewhere, other indexes were hidden. He would have to go and get one. He had to!
        Anyway, first things first.
        Furtively, Togura stole water from someone's rainwater barrel, and cleaned himself up. Then he went and sold his sword, to get some working capital. He still had a knife, after all, and lack of food would kill him sooner than would lack of a sword.
        With a little of the money, he bought some roasted chestnuts, and wandered about, eating slowly, and brooding. While he was still undecided as to what to do next, he was hailed:
        "Hi there!"
        Looking around, Togura saw his half-brother Cromarty approaching with half a dozen grinning scungers flanking him.
        "Long time no see, little brother," said Cromarty.
        "Pax," said Togura, offering peace.
        "Oh, we could always have pax with your bones, suppose suppose," said Cromarty.
        And advanced on him, with evil his obvious intent. Togura turned and fled. Whooping, Cromarty's mob followed. They ran him to earth near Dead Man's Drop. Caught in a cul-de-sac, Togura turned at bay, his back to the wall and a knife in his hand.
        Cromarty drew to meet his challenge.
        "This is the end, methinks methinks," said Cromarty, closing with him. "So it's goodbye little Tog-Tog."
        Steel against steel, they clashed, slashed, lunged, parried. Panting, they thrust and counterthrust, dared for a blink, hacked, countered, feinted, tried for a scalp.
        "Blood his eyeballs, Crom!" screamed one of the mobsters.
        "Bollock him!"
        "Rivet him!"
        "Into him, Crom!"
        "A throat tattoo! Teach him!"
        Then Cromarty slipped. Togura put in the boot. Cromarty went backwards. Togura stamped all the wind out of him, then grabbed him, knife to throat.
        "Yield!" hissed Togura, digging his steel in just a little deepr than a tickle. "Yield!"
        Cromarty slowly got his breath back. He croaked:
        "I yield."
        "Good," said Togura.
        And stood, and sheathed his knife. Cromarty's sidekicks promptly grabbed him.
        "Let go!" shouted Togura, kicking, punching, wriggling, scratching, biting - all to no avail.
        "Good," crooned Cromarty, mustering up a smile. "Very good. What shall we do with him?"
        "Throw him over Dead Man's Drop," suggested one.
        "An excellent idea!" said Cromarty, beaming.
        Togura started to scream with hysterical panic as they carried him through the streets to Dead Man's Drop. Nobody took any notice - private quarrels, after all, were private quarrels.
        They reached the Drop.
        "Take off his boots, boys," said Cromarty.
        They took them off.
        "Hold him over the edge," said Cromarty.
        Togura was held.
        "Watch," said Cromarty, with sweet satisfaction in his voice.
        He lofted first one boot then the other into the air. They went sailing down, falling away to the pinnacles far below. Togura, sick with fear, vomited weakly. His whole body was trembling.
        "Please don't," he begged. "Please please please don't. I'll do anything!"
        Cromarty tore the green bottle from Togura's belt, where it had been tied on with twine. He threw that over too.
        "We're brothers!" screamed Togura.
        "I'm no brother of yours, son of a whore," said Cromarty pleasantly.
        "Don't don't don't do it," said Togura, almost too frightened to speak. "I'll do anything."
        "Will you lick my boots?"
        "Yes!"
        "My arse?"
        "Yes!"
        "Well," said Cromarty, sweetly, "I don't want any boot-licking arse-lickers in my family. Throw him over, boys!"
        They began to swing Togura back and forth.
        "One!" they chanted.
        "Two!"
        Togura moaned with terror.
        "Three!"
        On the word "three," they tossed Togura into the dizzy gulf. He fell, screaming. His arms flailed. His legs kicked. Down, down, down he went.
        And remembered the ring!
        The ting on his hand, which, if turned, would get him inside the green bottle!
        Desperately, he turned it.
        It didn't work!
        The earth swept up to meet him.
        He turned the ring again.
        No good!
        He went hurtling toward the slaughtering rocks.
        And turned the ring. And -
        The rocks came slamming toward him -
        But -
        "Aaah!" screamed Togura.
        And walls of softly glowing green echoed his scream back to him.
        He looked around, shivering. He was on his hands and knees in the green bottle. He was alive. Wasn't he? He thumped the floor with his fist. Real solid bottle-rock. He really was alive!
        "By my grandfather's sperm," muttered Togura.
        Then fainted.


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The text on this page is part of the fantasy novel The Wordsmith and the Warguild by Hugh Cook, which, when published in North America in 1988, was divided into two separate volumes, The Questing Hero and The Hero's Return. This text can be read for free online. However, the text is copyright - all rights reserved. For permission to use this text or any portion of it contact Hugh Cook.

The Wordsmiths and the Warguild was first published in 1987. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1998, 2004, 2006 Hugh Cook.


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