Between El Scorcho and a Hard Place (Chapter 2)

(As with all El Scorcho stories, this is closely-based on actual rpg gameplay. We had two players that abandoned the game after the first session in “El Scorcho Minds His Manners“. Left with two players and a game master for this session, we plunged ahead…)

I

El Scorcho jerked awake, his breath catching in his throat as he sat up. Something didn’t feel right, something…

Across the fire, Jonas the thief sat, whittling away at a stick with one of his stiletto daggers. He raised his eyebrows at the barbarian, smiling slightly.




“You all right? Bad dream?” Jonas asked.

“Spidey-sense,” El Scorcho said and yawned. He looked around their campsite. The stink from the yellow belly snake had filled the inn, making sleep impossible. Instead, Barnaby the wizard, James the Paladin, Jonas and El Scorcho had marched two miles down the road, found a small clearing nestled in an apple orchard and decided to bed down for the evening.

“What happened to, uh… the one guy and, uh, the other guy?” El Scorcho asked, gesturing at the empty ground where the wizard and paladin had been sleeping. He poked a stick into the fire on his side, stoking it.

“Barnaby and James. They left,” Jonas said. He sliced off a long, nearly-transparent sliver of wood until it curled. “Your snoring. They couldn’t take it.”

El Scorcho grunted. “Seriously?”

Jonas laughed. “No, but you got a real problem with that snoring. You’re lucky I’ve got tinnitus already.” 

“Your mom said the same thing,” El Scorcho said.

“Dick. No, I think you just scared ’em,” Jonas said.

“Cause I’m so big and strong?” El Scorcho asked. He pulled over his water skin, shooting a jet of clean water into his mouth.

“No. Some people do this…” Jonas swung his dagger in a slow circle in the air. “…because it’s fun. When it’s not fun, they stop doing it. Some people like me, like you, we do it because we have to. What else are we going to do? Farm?”

El Scorcho laughed as he drank the water and it shook through his nose onto the ground. He coughed and sputtered but still laughed. “God no. Farm. I’d rather tongue kiss that belly snake thing.”

“Ditto,” Jonas said. “Not the other two. They left. I told them no hard feelings.”

The two sat silently by the fire for a few minutes. Without the wizard and paladin, the camp felt more relaxed, even cozy.

“Not sure what you’ve got in mind,” said El Scorcho. “A curse to lift, a war to wage?”

“No, but I do have someone, a friend, that we might want to visit. She’s…a lot like us. A mercenary right now, but her heart’s not really in it,” Jonas said. “She might enjoy the change of scenery.”

El Scorcho raised an eyebrow. “Enchantress?”

Jonas laughed. “Her? Oh no. No, no, no… She’s, uh. I don’t really know what she is. A warrior, fighter, something like that. She’s fast. And stabby.”

El Scorcho nodded and then stretched out on the ground again, tucking his worn leather bag under his head as a pillow. Lacing his fingers behind his neck he looked up at the stars and yawned.

“Stabby, huh?” he said, already drifting off to sleep. “Stabby sounds all right to me…”