tagHumor & SatireTerrible Company Ch. 15

Terrible Company Ch. 15

byAwkwardMD©

/ /Author's Note: This story, Terrible Company, is sprawling sword-and-sorcery fantasy satire with a diverse cast of characters. Over its many chapters, those characters will have interactions (both with each other and others) that cross many of the lines that exist between Lit genres. I have come to believe that breaking the story into those different categories, as best I can, is the best way to expose the most readers to parts of the story they might dig, and that they might then be encouraged to read on.

Each chapter is written as a self-contained episode, and although there are running gags that continue through the series that enrich the experience, they shouldn't prevent one from starting anywhere in the series (including the final chapter) and enjoying it for what it is.

This chapter features:

Val, the female Orc Warrior/Fighter

Katsa, the female Human Arcanist

Mathilda, the female Dwarf Healer

Ayen, the male Half Elf Thief

Ivy, the female Human Bard


Enjoy!//

Torture. Glorious torture. The limits of physical endurance. Katsa's body hummed with the agony of being taken, repeatedly, by two Vals. The one below her, firmly rooted in her stretched and aching pussy, was the real Val while a polymorphed Mathilda crouched over her and reamed her backside. Even deep in her dreams, it was disconcerting to hear Mathilda's sometimes-indecipherable accent coming from green, Orcish lips, but it was a price she would pay a hundred times out of a hundred to feel the way she felt right then.

It was the culmination of all her work. All the experiments she'd performed on herself to increase her elasticity, flexibility, healing factor, and tolerance for pain. Experiments she'd had no idea would have such amazing sexual ramifications when she'd originally undertaken them.

Part of her was aware that she was dreaming, and that awareness splintered into two thoughts. The first involved mental notes to immediately acquire materials and prepare a vial for Mathilda, adjusted for oral consumption to improve the effective period. Polymorph's typical effective period when inhaled, as she'd done to the Harpy and the Ayen, was a few minutes at best. Her most conservative calculation, when metabolised, suggested an effective period of hours.

The second thought was much trickier; she was going to need to figure out how to get Val to go along with it. Terrible Company's two most effective fighters had a ferocious rivalry going on under the surface. They barely functioned as a fighting unit, and kept the peace by staying out of each other's way. It had been one thing while Val and Mathilda were sharing Katsa, but now that the Dwarf had seemingly paired off with Ayen there was a palpable risk of them fracturing into separate camps completely and irrevocably.

Long-term unit cohesion was not a concern for Katsa. If having that experience meant that Terrible Company completely melted down afterwards, so be it. She was going to find a way to make it happen. The excitement and anticipation of pushing her body like it had never been pushed before overwhelmed the dream-realm version of her greatest fantasy, and that made the shock of waking up before she reached that highest peak even more jarring.

Ivy hovered over her, one hand pressed against the Arcanists mouth to muffle her while she held her index finger over her own lips. Katsa groaned loudly anyway.

"No!" Ivy hissed. "We have to be quiet. Something is wrong!"

Katsa's body writhed, unconsciously trying to finish what her fevered imagination had so tantalizingly started, and that frustration funneled into pinpoint rage as Ivy's descending breasts formed a line of pillowy cleavage nearly a foot in length from her chest to the neck of her oft-mended blouse. It was impossible for Katsa to focus on anything else.

"Mmm-Mm-Mmmmm!"

"I don't know," the Bard whispered, looking around. "Does this look familiar to you?"

Katsa rolled, noting the stiff hay poking her along the length of her back, and blinked. "MmmHmmHmm—" Then she swatted Ivy's hand. "I know how to whisper," she said loudly.

Ivy narrowed her eyes, head bobbing and weaving as she continued to swivel. "I don't remember how we got here."

The Arcanist rolled up onto her knees and wrinkled her nose. "What is that smell?"

"Horse dookie," Ivy quickly replied.

"Dookie?" Katsa snarked. "Really?"

The Redhead took another sniff and nodded assuredly. "Definitely dookie."

"What are we, four?" Katsa grumbled as she brushed the straw from her clothes and stood up. Judging by the direction of the light coming through the slats in the walls, it was nearly mid-day. Slats, hay, and horseshit meant a barn, except that Katsa couldn't remember them arranging to stay in a barn. Or finding a barn. Or even being near any open, arable land. "Hey wait a minute."

"I know," Ivy said.

"How did we get here?"

"I know," Ivy said.

"This is a barn."

It was.

Katsa turned again, blinking. She could hear Mathilda's raucous snoring on the far side of the barn, and Val was still asleep right next to her.

"Where is Ayen?"

"I don't know, but the doors are locked."

The Arcanist quickly located two big sliding doors and frowned. "Locked?"

"Yeah," Ivy replied. "They wouldn't budge."

"Go wake Mathilda up, and then try to find Ayen."

Ivy nodded and scurried away while Katsa crawled over to her girlfriend. She hadn't said the word out loud yet but in her own head Val was her girlfriend, and it was as thrilling as it was terrifying. She'd always considered herself above entanglements like these, choosing her own scholarly pursuits and meeting her other needs with brief encounters, but in Val she'd found someone that both pushed her and pushed her buttons. She knew Val felt something for her too, which had had a much stronger impact on her than she'd expected.

She gently nudged the big Orc. When Val remained unresponsive, she nudged her again a bit harder.

"Push me again," Val grumbled, her eyes still closed, "and see what that gets you."

"You gotta wake up. Something is wrong."

"If it's not gonna kill us in the next hour, then piss off." With that, the Warrior rolled over.

"Vaaaal," Katsa whined, as she grabbed Val's shoulder.

There was a hand at her throat faster than she could comprehend, and it was all Katsa could do to keep expression under control. Val rolled back over and drew the Arcanist close.

"I wish I could explain to you how good fear smells."

Katsa's mouth hung open, and she twitched violently.

"That's my girl," Val said softly, and with that, the Orc rolled onto her hip and looked around. "Wait. Are we in a barn?"

They were.

"How did we get here?"

"I don't know," Katsa said, "but the doors are locked and Ayen is missing."

It never failed to surprise Katsa how light Val was on her feet. The big Orc crept across the floor to the wood-slat wall and searched it slowly for any knothole or gap big enough to peek through.

The Arcanist left her to it and explored the barn a little more. There were two horse stalls against the far wall, near where Ivy was still trying to rouse Mathilda. Katsa wanted no part of trying to wake up a sleeping Dwarf and instead investigated a makeshift ladder, which was really no more than a series of wooden boards nailed to a support beam just behind where Val had been sleeping. Immediately, upon her head rising above the level of the second floor, she spotted boots.

"I found Ayen!" Katsa called. "He's up here."

"Shhhh," Ivy hissed.

"SZZZHHHH!" the Arcanist mocked. She crawled up onto the loft and grabbed Ayen's ankle. The Half-Elf was unresponsive. "Ayen. Ayen." No response. She scrambled through the hay and put her fingers on his forearm. "I can't... I can't find a pulse."

"What?" Val called, more shocked than out of confusion.

Katsa frantically pressed her fingers against his arm in a different place. "I can't find a pulse!"

"What are you waiting for?"

"Don' rush me," Mathilda grumbled. Katsa hadn't even realized the Dwarf was awake. "Ah'm goin'."

"He-he-he still feels warm," the Arcanist cried. She turned, eyes wide, as Mathilda clamored off the ladder with a bottle tucked under her arm. "What do I do?"

Mathilda stood up near Ayen's feet and frowned. And then took a swig from the bottle.

"What do I do?"

"Pu' yer ear up ta his," she said, gesturing with the bottle. "Tell me wha' ye hear."

Katsa quickly turned Ayen's head to the side, and pressed her ear against his. "Nothing," she gasped. "I don't hear anything!"

"No brain activi'y?"

"No!"

"Oh dear," Mathilda said. "Sounds serious."

"Is he dead?"

Mathilda reared back and kicked the sole of Ayen's boot, and the Half-Elf shot up like an angry weed. Katsa screamed.

"What the hell?" he cried, as he scooted backwards across the wooden beams.

"Ah now pronounce you 'ealed," the Dwarf chuckled, and punctuated her pronouncement by flicking the open mouth of the bottle over him and pelting him with droplets of hooch. "It's a miracle."

Katsa held a hand over her pounding heart, and tried to catch her breath.

"Wait a minute," Ayen said. "Are we in a barn?"

They were.

"There's someone outside." Val had worked halfway around the walls, and had one knee on the ground to peek through a slit. "I can't really see what they're doing, but..."

"How did we get in a barn?"

"D'ye remember anythin' abou' las' nigh'?"

Ayen shook his head.

"Good," the Dwarf said with a smile.

"Why?" Katsa pled. "Do you remember anything?"

Mathilda shook her head. "No, but nine times ou'a ten a blackout was a good nigh'. Fer me, anyway."

"I see someone too," Ivy said, having found another spot to peer through the wallboards.

"Wha're they doing?"

"I don't know," Val said slowly, "but I think they have us surrounded. I can hear 'em."

"What are they saying," Katsa whispered hoarsely. The big Orc just shook her head.

"Can't we get out?" Ayen asked.

"Doors are locked," Katsa croaked.

"Maybe ye ou'a see t'tha'," the Healer said with a nod of her head.

Ayen nodded in agreement and quickly descended the ladder.

" 'ow abou' you, lass? Yer lookin pale."

"You scared the shit out of me!" Katsa screamed.

Mathilda laughed and handed her the bottle, from which the Arcanist then took an angry, lengthy swig.

"There's nothing on the inside of these," Ayen said, crouching in front of the doors. "There's no lock or anything. Nothing to pick."

"So how do we get out?" Katsa said, moving to the edge of the loft.

"Ok, Terrible Company." Ivy stepped out into the middle of the barn, fists on her hips, and looked around. "We need to start thinking outside of the box. How do we get outside the box?"

"We don't want to wait for them to come in after us," Val said, sliding along the wall and trying for a better look.

"Can we slow 'em down?" Mathilda said, sitting on the edge of the loft and taking her bottle back. "Barricade the doors?"

Ayen nodded, and immediately started grabbing bales of hay to pile up. Katsa climbed down to help. Neither of them was willing to put in a lot of effort though, and their barricade barely came up past their waists. They added another row of bales, also waist high, and then a third.

"Yeah," the Dwarf laughed. " 'at'll do the trick."

"I don't hear any better suggestions from you," Katsa snapped.

Mathilda rolled her eyes, tossed her bottle into a hay pile, and descended the ladder. "We're doin' exac'ly wha' they'd expect."

The Arcanist folded her arms. "What who would expect?"

"Anyone!" the Dwarf exclaimed. "We need ta innova'."

"How?"

Mathilda smiled as she walked down to the far end of the barn and smiled. " 'at's a lo' o' manure."

"And?"

"Ignite i'. We use i' ta blow a hole in the wall an' escape."

"I could just blow a hole in the wall right now," Katsa groaned, pointing to her glove.

"Aye, bu' wha'appens when we ge' ou' there an' we find ourselves needin' tha' las' spell o' yers?" She smiled, and poked at a fist-sized nugget of horse dookie with the tip of her boot. "So. We improvise. Save the spell."

Katsa turned to Ayen and blinked.

"Don't look at me," Ayen said, shrugging. "Will that work?"

***

Valerie, Katherine, Ivy, Melinda, and Andrew turned, looking expectantly down the length of the makeshift table they'd made by pushing desks together, and waited. Melinda swallowed hard.

"Will it?"

Dave pinched the bridge of his nose. "Let me... just... get this straight. Y-you want to... ignite? A pile of horseshit?... to put a hole in the wall of-of this barn... because..."

"Well we..." Valerie looked around at the others. "We need to escape. Right?"

Dave's forehead sunk into his palm. "Really?"

Everyone nodded at each other, somewhat reluctantly, except for Ivy who nodded extremely confidently.

"You didn't even... I mean..." Dave shook his head and grit his teeth. Then he made a series of grunting sounds deep in his throat. "What are your perception bonuses?"

Valerie, Katherine, Melinda, and Andrew looked down at their sheets and twisted their lips.

"Plus five," Ivy replied confidently.

"You already failed yours," Dave grumbled. He picked up four of his dice and rolled them. And then smacked himself in the forehead. "Of course. So... so you're going to blow up this frigging barn, and not one of your is going to think to check the freaking door?!"

"I thought it was locked," Valerie said.

"You told me it was locked when we got back," Katherine snapped.

"No," Dave said, slapping the table repeatedly. "While you were all off taking one of your little breaks, she tried to pull and push the door."

"That's what I said," Ivy said.

He picked up four sheets of paper from the pile in front of him and threw them over his shoulder. "No. You know what? No. This is not happening again. Not again."

The group looked at each other in consternation as Dave reached into his backpack, and his eyes were wild when he sat down with his black notebook in hand.

"It's a frigging sliding door!" Dave screamed. "All she had to do was try to 'open' the door, but no. She pushed, and she pulled, and it didn't budge, so here we are." He flipped open the black notebook and made a few scribbled notes while everyone looked on anxiously. "Now..."

"...now?" Andrew said.

Dave looked up with murder in his eyes. "The barn collapses. It's gone. Broken wood all around you, and surrounding the frame of the where the barn had been is a giant metal cage."

"What?" several of them asked together.

"You're all in a cage inside of a cave."

Valerie leaned forward. "I thought it was daylight outside. How are we in a—"

"You're in a GODDAMN cage in a GODDAMN CAVE!"

Valerie sat back and looked sideways at Katherine.

"I'm the Dungeon Master!" he roared. "I am so sick and tired of the way you... just..."

Dave took a deep breath and calmed himself. He flexed his hands and then templed his fingertips just in front of his mouth.

"You're all in a cage." He paused, looking around the table, and only continued once everyone had nodded. "There are torches scattered infrequently about, casting a pale orange glow. It's barely enough to see each other, and you fear of how much larger the cave might be on the other side of the darkness. Or what the darkness might hold."

"Can I see if I can just lift this cage open too?" Val asked.

"You would need a natural 20 just to not hurt yourself trying," Dave said, with a dangerous look in his eye.

Valerie leaned back with her hands in front of her.

"It's bigger than a barn."

"Okay," Valerie said. "Fine."

"Made of metal."

"Can we just get on with it?"

Dave scowled and looked back down at his papers. "You can hear voices echoing. They're coming from all around. Getting louder."

"We're sittin' ducks," Melinda growled, in her affected dwarven tongue.

"That's right, comes a familiar voice." Dave leaned forward and smiled darkly. "You are. Out of the shadows walks... The Narrator."

Ivy gasped dramatically.

Val turned toward Katherine and together they whined, "What?"

"Surprised? he says, as he circles your cage with his hands clasped behind his back."

"More incredulous than surprised," Katherine said. Andrew and Melinda were giving him sidelong glances too.

"More voices. More echoes. Too far outside of the torches for you to make out, but you can just start to see some eyes, and some bits of metal, reflecting light back at you."

"Is this really happening?" Andrew asked.

"Oh this is quite real. The Narrator reached out to rap his knuckles against the bars. They hum, vibrating from the impact." Dave shifted forward in his chair, and his eyes gleamed. "Welcome, he says, to the end."

"Is he about to give a villain speech?" Ivy asked, tilting her head.

Dave flinched, a momentary pause coupled with a twitching of his right eye, and smiled wider. "I wanted to introduce you to some friends of mine. A small woman appears at his side, dressed in all black like a hateful little shadow. She stares at all of you in turn, but it's Ayen she fixates on in the end."

"What the hell?" Andrew cries.

"You remember Ilsa, don't you?"

Andrew blinks and looks around. "Did we..." He casually shifts in his chair, using his body language to shield sliding the index finger of one hand into the curled palm of his other hand.

"The Narrator lays a firm hand on Ilsa's shoulder. Ilsa, he says, smiling incongrouosly, has the dubious honor of being widowed twice by your actions. You met her husbands in the back of a cart transporting a strong box."

Andrew laughed. "You mean those two idiots that..." He paused to lick his lips and blinked. "Did you say 'husbands'? Like plural?"

"They're not the only ones who would like a word with you. The Narrator turns the other way, holding out his arm toward where the now-dethroned Queen Lisbeth is approaching with a few of her remaining supporters."

"Are they still polymorphed to look like me?"

Dave flinched again. He traced his finger down one of the sheets and rolled his blue die with the yellow numbering, and sighed. "Yes. All of them."

"Are any of them having sex with each other?" Katherine said, smirking.

"I would," Andrew said, shrugging.

Dave snatched up two of his dice, rolled them angrily, and grunted when they stopped. "Yes. Three of them are off in the corner having sex."

"Awesome," Valerie said softly, and everyone else nodded in agreement.

Dave glared at Valerie. "Jerrod, First of House Clayborne!"


"Oh shit."

"The bitter Human male limps out of the shadows, looking a wounded shell of himself."

Katherine laughed.

"Katsa here murdered your girlfriend in cold blood."

Valerie blinked and looked at her character sheet. "Wait... what?"

"The entire town of Cloudsdale!" Dave shouted, pointing at the little blonde seated beside Valerie.

"Go back for just a second," Val said.

"Why are they after me?" Katherine screeched. "That was all Mathilda."

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