Bren’s writing and movies blog

Because I have an opinion about creativity and know how to use it

Release Scroll

Posted by brenatevi on July 5, 2008

I wrote this a long time ago, but it’s still good stuff.

“Dreg wants beer. Dreg wants beer NOW!” the troll screamed at the top of his lungs.

“You have to sign this scroll first,” I replied, unimpressed with his screaming. I’ve seen more impressive screaming trolls during my time as a bartender. Besides I knew Dreg very well, and have found him and his sidekick more annoying than anything else lately.

“Sign scroll?” Dreg asked, looking down in confusion at the piece of paper that I held under his nose. He scratched his head and looked worriedly at the parchment. He didn’t say anything for a moment. I was starting to worry I broke the poor bastard’s mind.

“Come now, what’s the problem here,” a voice piped up from behind Dreg.

“Hullo Misk,” I called out as the orc appeared from behind the troll.

“He wants Dreg sign scroll,” Dreg said dejectedly.

“What’s this?” Misk asked sharply.

This was the moment I worried about when I was first decided to start using the scrolls. Misk is an orc lawyer, the worst form of lawyer (or orc) there is. Orcs that become lawyers were too mean, underhanded, and vicious to be warriors. That’s saying a lot.

“It’s a release form, among other things.”

“So you are harassing the troll population with paperwork?”

“Nope, all patrons have to sign it,” I replied, handing Misk his scroll.

“Can’t an orc and troll get a beer without being harassed by bartenders with scrolls?”

“Nope. If you want a beer here you have to sign the scroll.”

Misk sighed and then signed the scroll, motioning for Dreg to do the same. Dreg’s signature was an X, but since scrolls are magical, it was just as good as blood. Misk’s signature was in the Black Language, like all orcs learn in school. I was able to pass for an orc when I was younger, so I was able to learn the Black Language too, but unfortunately when my friends grew and I didn’t, the truth of me being a goblin came out. Fortunately, I learned enough to work in a bar, working as server, bouncer (little I may be, but the Testicle Castanets move is enough to quiet any rowdy customer) and finally bartender. Some say I was too short, but I was good with the liquor and built a platform behind the bar that let me serve the customers. Eventually I bought the owner out.

“So why the scrolls?” Misk asked, handing over both his and Dreg’s scroll.

“Lower insurance premiums. Too many bar fights, too much broken furniture, too many broken customers. They were going to take my coverage away unless I did something. So I went to a mage and had these scrolls written up.”

“GIVE US BEER!” Dreg yelled, bored with the talk, and thirsty.

“Coming right up,” I replied, serving out what would be one of many beers that would go down Dreg’s throat that night.

As the night wore on, I kept serving Misk and Dreg beer, while waiting for the moment that was bound to happen. You see, Dreg was the reason I had to institute the scrolls. Sure, my other customers got rowdy, broke a bit of furniture and other customers, but they did it in small scales, even the other troll customers. And more importantly they paid for the damages. But Dreg couldn’t do anything small, from drinking to wreaking havoc. His gold was good for the drinks, but when I would asked him to pay for the damage he caused, he always refused, saying that someone else caused all of the damage (although everyone in the bar knew that he did the damage… well, unless you count Mobbu being used as an goblin battering ram, poor bastard.) I would put it through Insurance, and they would pay, but eventually they wanted proof that I was doing something to fix the problem, or I would end up paying higher premiums. Hence the scrolls.

“You no call Dreg a cheater!” Dreg screamed at one of his fellow gamblers. He had been on his thirtieth drink at that point and was finally feeling the effects.

“I saw you pull that Mace of Garbage from your sleeve!” the ogre yelled back. I used to get nervous at this point, knowing that Sot and Igsby would have to get involved in the fight and then things would get really nasty. Dreg doesn’t go out the door without a big fight.

“Dreg like see you pull barstool out of ass!”

Dreg then grabbed a barstool and swung it at the ogre’s head, cause a nice explosion of splinters as the stool shattered. The ogre stood there obviously rattled by the impact. At this point Sot and Igsby would have tried to manhandle Dreg, and Dreg would be grabbing tables or other customers and swing them at my bouncers, but Sot and Igsby just stood off to the side, knowing the true power of the scroll. A second barstool hit the poor ogre, and I really wanted to call my bouncers to help the poor guy, but it would have made things only worse. Finally, the third barstool hit him, knocking him unconscious, and as the stool shattered, Dreg disappeared. When everyone got up from ducking the splinters their jaws dropped as they realized that Dreg was gone.

“What did you do with Dreg?” Misk demanded.

“I did nothing,” I replied, handing him the scroll Dreg signed. “You should have read the scroll before you had him sign it. Paragraph two.”

“’If the signing customer destroys more that twenty gold pieces of furniture, or causes another customer to lose consciousness, he will be teleported to the Dimension of Regret for an hour. He’ll be returned to his previous spot (or close to it if already occupied) once the hour is over.’ What’s the Dimension of Regret? Never heard of it.”

“Well, I’ve never been there, but in Dreg’s case I was assured that he would feel the hangover of every beer he had ever drank, all at once.”

“Ah ha! I knew you were targeting Dreg. You did it because he’s a troll, didn’t you?”

“Don’t try playing the race card here buddy. I’m a goblin, and if there is a race that is persecuted more than goblins, I haven’t met them. Speaking of goblins, remember Mobbu?”

“Mobbu?”

“Yes, Mobbu. I quite remember him being used to turn two tables and eight chairs into kindling with his head, and injuring five customers and Igsby. Of course, Dreg had him by the feet, swinging him around simply because the goblin accused him of cheating at cards.”

“Ah yes, that Mobbu.”

“I’m glad you remember, because you were the one that convinced Dreg that Mobbu caused all of the damage. I had to go to the Insurance Company to pay for the furniture and Mobbu’s cleric bills. And speaking of cleric bills, let’s talk about Caplock the Trixtie.”

“Caplock the Trixtie?”

“Yes, poor Caplock was used as a bowling ball, basket ball, and shot putt all in one evening. Only one table destroyed that time, but ten customers injured and one decapitated.”

“Hey, Hauwser is a zombie!”

“So you remember that evening too? Grand, because you convinced Dreg that time it was Caplock that did the damage.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Hauwser was also used as a weapon one time. No cleric bills that time, just money spent on a tailor to patch him back together. Then there was Vilum, Bilgew, Nrast, -”

“OK, OK, I get the picture.”

“All of them I had to pay submit to the Insurance, and my premiums went up each time. Why? Because you talked Dreg into refusing to pay the bills for damage he caused using someone else as a weapon. And my Insurance was getting sick of it. So the scroll.”

Misk just sat there for a long while, a grimace on his orcish face. He knew that I was right, and none of the arguing in the world was going to change the fact that his friend was in the Dimension of Regret for an hour. And that he was the reason that Dreg was there. Orcs on the whole are vicious and cruel, but they were also very loyal to their friends, and I knew that Misk was feeling very bad about his friend. The entire bar was silent, watching Misk.

“If Dreg had been paying for damages, you wouldn’t have had to use the scrolls, would you?”

“Nope. Look, I like Dreg. His fights are good entertainment. Hell, Caplock and Mobbu enjoyed being flung around like that, even though they felt like they’d been chewed up by a dragon afterwards, but the expense was killing me. And I tried telling you that, but you and your orcish lawyer ways didn’t want to listen to me. So I had to get both your and Dreg’s attention somehow.”

“Dreg be good from now on,” Dreg said, reappearing where he had been standing, the ogre still unconscious. The look of repentence was out of place on the troll’s face.

“An hour already?”

“Demons were convinced that Dreg be good. Think stench from barf was good convincing.”

“No, Dreg, you don’t have to be good. You just have to pay for the damage you cause, starting tonight.”

“But Dreg had already paid for it by spending time in the Dimension of Regret.”

“Look, I had to pay for the scrolls, which I had to do because of you two, remember? Besides, look at it as a good faith gesture. You pay for damages now and I might be able to convince the Insurance company that things are fixed. I’ll destroy the scrolls you signed and we’ll go back to business as usual. After I convince the Insurance, or course.”

“So how much do we owe for tonight.”

“Not sure yet. Need to wake up Sleeping Ugly there and make sure he doesn’t need a cleric.”

Without a word from me, Sot and Igsby had gotten a vat of water and poured it over the prone ogre. The ogre shot straight up, looking around the room, almost as if he was possessed and his head was going to start spinning. Which would have been fine with me, just as long as he didn’t start spewing. The thought of Dreg barfing was bad enough (and the demons must have agreed too.)

“I pulled a barstool out of my ass!” the ogre proclaimed, and then started laughing uncontrollably.

“Just the barstools then. Fifteen gold.”

“OK.”

As Misk handed over the gold, I was starting to feel pretty good. With legendary Dreg paying for his bar fights, the prospects looked good that I would double my clientele. I grinned at the thought of some of the fights that might be happening in the future…

Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.

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