Rage Against the Juice: Pappy’s Infernal Contract
Posted by Universal Shift
Read Part 1. The Mighty Morass demands it.
The plan was simple.
1. Seek vengeance on Pappy in a horrible manner befitting the reputation of the Mighty Morass. Said vengeance would then send a ripple of terror throughout the Nord Juice community, eventually striking at the very core of the operation resulting in a fear-induced implosion of Nord Juice and all associated with it.
2. Stop at café for tea and cakes.
Easy as a Venuvian prostitute, right? Wrong. Of all the days to unleash his wrath, Morass picked Two Bit Tirsday. Every last sweaty bum with a litter of critters had packed themselves into the bazaar like desperate sardines. Worse, the whole place smelled like fish and body odor, or fishy body odor. Morass despised the bazaar for these reasons. That’s why he opened his shop in a back alley next to the alehouse district. There the air stank of beer and unprotected sex. It was the lesser of two evils.
“That’s Pappy’s stall there,” Mak pointed with a meaty finger to a stall surrounded by gruff over-muscled individuals. “He’s pretty busy. We may have to wait a while.”
“Wait? The Mighty Morass doesn’t wait! People wait for him!” He tugged the leash of his dead shop boy turned zombie, Ricardo. “C’mon Ricky. Let’s see how they fare against a flesh-starved zombie minion.” He shoved his way through the crowd of bargain shoppers, thankful for Ricky’s safety muzzle. The last thing a Necromancer wants is an unmitigated zombie outbreak. They go feral that way. Nothing worse than a feral zombie. Well, that’s not true. The bazaar was worse. And the fact that Mak followed behind chanting , “Bazaaargh!” like it was a pirate’s mantra did nothing to improve Morass’s experience.
He broke through the throng covered in other people’s sweat and missing his coin purse and stood before Pappy’s stall, waiting to be recognized. When business continued oblivious to the necromancer’s presence he loudly cleared his throat. When this failed to garner attention he took his staff and whacked the nearest Juicer across the back.
The man yelped and spun around, fists ready to fly. “What’d you do that for?”
“I need to speak to Pappy.” Morass stared hard at the man’s good eye.
“We all need to speak to Pappy, you old goat. Wait your turn like the rest of us.” He turned back to his business leaving Morass stewing.
“Do not trifle with me!” warned the wizard. “I command the undead!”
Still he was ignored by the ignorant.
“Need any help?” offered Mak.
“You dare suggest the Mighty Morass needs ‘help’? Hah! Watch and be amazed at my prowess!” The wizard removed Ricky’s muzzle. “Get ‘em boy!”
Ricky pounced on the nearest Juicer moaning, “Braaaaaaiiiinnsss”, in glorious undead rapture.
The oaf screamed like a barmaid and yelled, “Zombie!” just as Ricky dug out his first eyeball. By the time Ricky had torn out his throat, the other churlish individuals around Pappy’s stall had joined the fight. They dismembered the boyish zombie with extreme prejudice. Once they dispatched of Ricky they turned that callous prejudice on the Mighty Morass.
“Don’t take a single step!” demanded Morass. “I am the Mighty Morass! Necromancer and wielder of the Dark Powers! I will devour each and every one of your souls!”
“The Mighty Morass?” said one brute jokingly. “More like the Might Bore-ass!”
Laughter broke out among the group of ruffians.
“More like the Mighty Sore-Ass!” laughed another.
More heehawing from the goon squad.
Fury, mixed with heavy helpings of humiliation and indignation, bubbled in Morass’s gut. This emotional alchemy stewed and festered in his stomach, blending into a deadly power that he hadn’t felt in years. “I’m warning you!”
“Aww look,” another surly Juicer whined, “Looks like Princess Pretty-Ass is gonna cry.”
That was the last straw. Morass puked a column of flame from the very pits of his bowels. The first two Juicers in the inferno’s path dodged neatly. But the third was busy brokering a Nord Juice deal with Pappy. He turned around just in time to get blasted in his face. He instantly disintegrated into cinders.
“That’s what I’m talking about!” hooted Morass and burped a tendril of smoke.
The gang of thugs stared at the heap of ashes and then slowly turned their gazes to the necromancer.
“There’s more where that came from!” yelled the wizard threateningly.
“Get him!” roared somebody and the Juicers descended on Morass, pummeling him with fists, kicks, or Ricky’s limbs.
During the skirmish nobody noticed Mak walk quietly to Pappy’s table, pay for three Nord Juices (with Morass’s coin purse) and finish them all in quick succession, smashing the empty bottles against his head. Nobody noticed him grab the nearest Juicer by the neck and squeeze until the man’s head popped like a pimple. Only a few brutes noticed Mak’s eyes, so bloodshot they blazed fire, and his veins throbbing against his skin. But that was all they saw before the raging barbarian smashed them to gooey pulp. The remaining doomed bastards tried to mount a counter offensive, but they might as well have been throwing sand bags at a tsunami. Mak didn’t feel remorse, guilt or pain. He was consumed within the red-tinged world of the Rage. And since he’d tripled the recommended dose, he was teetering dangerously close to the edge of psychosis. He tore a swath of violence and blood through the remaining Juicers and then pounced on the prone Morass.
“What are you doing?” shrieked the mage. “Don’t you know who I am? You crazy oaf! Get off of me!”
Mak didn’t hear him or (more likely) didn’t care. He raised his fists to smash the necromancer’s skull when he suddenly froze. His eyes went wide and he toppled over, stiff as a plank and staring blankly at the sky.
Morass thanked the Nether Void for sparing him Its eternal embrace for one more day and opened his eyes.
Pappy leaned over him, smiling a toothless smile. “Lemme help you up there.” He hauled Morass to his feet and dusted him off.
Morass pushed him away. “I’m fine, thank you.”
“Quite a mess here,” said Pappy pleasantly.
Morass scanned the now-empty bazaar, impressed with Mak’s knack for total havoc. “The guard will be by shortly to clean it up, I’m sure.”
Pappy laughed. “You kidding? That was the guard.” He poked Mak with his cane. “This your barbarian?”
“Nice. Firm. Good muscle. You could get two bits on the pound for ‘em at the Meat Market. I know a guy.”
“Two bits?” Morass scoffed. “I was thinking more like four.”
“Yeah right. Might get you two and a half. Cain’t get anything for ‘em all Stuck like that, though.”
“Is that what’s wrong with him? He’s Stuck?”
“Yup. Sometimes, these Juicers, they get a little Juice happy, ya ken? Then they over-Juice and stroke out. The lucky ones die. The rest of ‘em poor bastards end up Stuck.”
“Well how do you unstick them? He’s really a key part of my whole vengeance plan.”
Pappy shrugged. “Nobody really kens. ‘Cept maybe Raphael Esperanza.”
“Oh that’s a pretty name.”
“Flows smoothly off the tongue. Not like those Scandic names. With all their “J’s” and free floating periods and such. Raphael Esperanza. Who is he?”
“He’s the man behind Nord Juice, that’s who.”
“Where can I find him?”
“Ya cain’t. Now, what brings you to my stall today?”
“Revenge. See, I recently lost my familiar Sir Trollop to a Nord Juice attack.”
“Tragic. What’d you want me to do about it?”
“I’m glad you asked. Hold this,” Morass handed Pappy his staff and dug around in his voluminous robes. He hooted in triumph and presented a scroll to Pappy and snatched his staff back. “Read this. Out loud, if you will.”
“Well alright.” Pappy pulled out his spectacles and peered at the document. “Let’s see here…I, the forenamed reader do hereby grant the Mighty Morass permission to transmute my physical form into that of a swamplands warted bull-toad for the purposes of familiar-ship. Signed with my immortal soul. As I speak, it shall be so.” The Juice peddler looked up at Morass. “Pretty crappy poem if you ask me.”
“Not a poem,” cackled Morass evilly, “An Infernal Contract. I own you now, Pappy. Mind, Soul and warty body. Now you will suffer the wrath of the Mighty Morass! ”
Devilish tendrils of energy rose from the earth and surrounded Pappy, encasing him in a cocoon of devious magic. His terrified screams turned into frantic ribbits and the demonic tendrils retreated into the earth leaving the new Pappy croaking in a pool of his own toad piss.
Morass scooped him up and deposited him into his robe. He’d pump the toad for information later. His quest for vengeance wasn’t over. He was closer to the heart of Nord Juice than he’d ever been. Revenge was nigh. Raphael Esperanza (that sure was a pretty name, *sigh*) would Unstick his barbarian before he met his death at the Mighty Morass’s hands. And then, the total collapse of the Nord Juice industry. All in a day’s work for an all-powerful necromancer. Now it was time for tea and cakes, but first he had a mess to clean up.