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Chapter 13 - The Number of the Cow.
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Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 8:24 pm    Post subject: Chapter 13 - The Number of the Cow.  

Chapter 13 – The Number of the Cow.

Cast (in no particular order):
Evil Homer as ‘The Paladin Hero’
Chainfire as Homer’s sword.
Araex as Homer’s steed.
DukeReg as Oaf Duke Reginald Percival Thunderking Harwobble the Fifth.
Key as the Magical dignified Chamber Pot.
D-Lotus as the Elven special forces commander
Sunbellina as Duke Reg’s little sister.
Solomon Birch as a misguided Drow.
Shanty as Captain Shanty.

Ingrothechundyer as Ingro Chundyer the Gnome King.

Sorrow as a mysterious robed figure.
Idea Master as his wretched minion.
Mother goose as a hydroose
Shady Stoat as The Twisted Witch.

Phang as The Dark Mistress
Muaddib as a wheely thing.
Lord of the Night as an Evil Demon Warrior.
Powers That Be as General Powers ‘the perverted.’
Luvd and Mr Moochie as ‘The Ravens’
Smee as the slug.
Dean as the Dean the Head.

The Fallen.
Jnmrcs as the High Commander
Hyperion as the Mage.

And introducing…
Etheral Fauna


“General! General! Why aren’t my armies moving?” Phang stormed into General Powers That Be’s command tent. She was in a bad mood, having just discovered that Muaddib had lost Dean the Head somewhere. Muaddib was currently cowering under a wagon nursing some bruised genitals.

General Powers looked up and sighed, albeit very quietly. Blood dripped from the knife he was holding, and the naked young woman strapped to the holding stand wriggled slightly. “Your Mighty Darkness, Queen Phang, I am simply awaiting your decision on what path the Horde should take. Once you have spoken the army shall set forth to do your bidding.” He bowed slightly.

Phang stalked over to Powers and the knife he was holding leapt from his hand and into hers. She stopped before him and glared at him a moment. General Powers, who had stared death in the face many times* looked back, a calm expression forced onto his face.

Phang made a small noise and looked at his current plaything. “And who is this sweet maiden you are currently entertaining General?”

Powers heaved a mental sigh of relief, though his expression and tone didn’t change. “My little sister Dark Queen. I am just resolving a family argument.” He turned to the woman on the apparatus. “Etheral Fauna, let me introduce to you the High and Mighty Dark Queen, Phang. Phang, my sister, Etheral Fauna.”

“Indeed. And what was so urgent that you felt the need for such discipline?”

General Powers moved from one foot to the other uncomfortably. “My sister had developed an unhealthy fixation with a certain young man. Even after I dealt with the miscreant she insisted on following the army and searching for him. I am persuading her that this is a Bad Idea.”

Phang moved closer, examining Fauna’s attractive features, only lightly scarred by the General’s ‘discipline’. She smiled and goosebumps appeared over Fauna’s exposed flesh. She spoke to the General without turning her head. “You may be relieved to know I have arrived at a decision. The army to the east has no doubt been sent out as a distraction. We shall march straight towards the city. Once that has fallen we shall mop up the remaining forces at our leisure.”

She turned to Powers. “Well General? What are you waiting for? The army has its orders…”

Powers hadn’t remained alive near Phang for so long by being slow on the uptake. He saluted smartly and left the tent to start issuing commands.

Meanwhile Phang turned back to Fauna. She reached up and caressed Fauna’s face, slowly moving down her body to her ample breasts. She cupped her hand around a firm bosom and leaned close. “Ahh, my dear, you have a certain…appeal.” She raised the knife up and stroked Fauna’s neck with its blade, causing the poor woman to shudder. Phang smiled and was about to do more when a small noise interrupted her.

Phang grimaced and fished out a small crystal orb from her pouch. Peering into it she saw the figure of Lord of the Night. She frowned. “What do you want? I am busy!”

“The witch is not here.” The Lord’s voice made tiny by the crystals magic. “She was expecting me it seems.”

Phang felt her anger return. Thwarted! She stamped her foot and slashed Fauna’s breast with the knife to vent her frustration. “Damn!” She wrinkled her brow in thought. “Alright. Wait there, I will get back to you.” And she cut the connection by throwing the orb across the room.

How had the witch known? She must have a traitor in her midst! But who? Phang balled her fist in anger. Without the Black Heart she would not be able to bring her plans to full fruition! Centuries of planning and scheming would go for naught! A black tide swelled up inside her and Powers chose that unfortunate moment to stick his head in the tent again.

Phang lashed out. “You! It is your fault! If you had not dawdled so long at Cra-yon we would have finished this by now!” She readied a spell, but the General was no fool and had beaten a hasty retreat at the first signs of anger. Left with no other target Phang loosed her Words at Ethereal Fauna and then stormed out of the tent, a black cloud hovering over her head and an urge to kill something itching at her fingers.

Behind her, left in the tent, the unlucky Fauna’s skin started to crawl. Her body started to swell, her beautiful coloring started to darken and slowly and painfully her form started to change…

*And sometimes spit in its eye as well. Twisted and depraved Powers may have been, but he was no coward.

King Ingro.

“My King! King Ingro! Father! I have found it!”

King Ingro, consulting his generals over the latest army placements looked up to see his second or third son (he always forgot which one it was) coming towards him. Prince Reiso had a large dusty book under one arm, and was holding a rope with the other.

Attached to the other end of the rope, and the King had to do a double take here, was a large black cow.

“What… What is that cow doing here? Have you gone mad?”

The Prince performed a quick bow to his father, then threw a hasty salute at the General before turning back to the King. “This,” he said breathlessly, “is the Cow of Doom!”

“I see.” Said the King, not seeing. “And what, pray tell, is the Cow of Doom?”

“I was researching old legends” The prince waved the book about before putting it down on a nearby chair, “and it says that in times of dire crisis The Cow of Doom will appear, a warning of er, doom, that may befall the Kingdom.”

“The Cow of Doom! There is no such thing lad, a fairy tale made up by the nannies to scare young Gnomes.”

“No your majesty, with respect, this is the Cow, and it has come in our hour of peril!”

“That’s not the Cow of Doom!” said King Ingro, then added hastily, “there isn’t such a thing anyway! But even if there was, that isn’t it, which it couldn’t be, not existing as it doesn’t.”

“You’re wrong, I can prove it!” said Reiso, and then realized who he was talking to. “With respect your majesty.”

The King heaved a sigh. “How? How can you prove that this is the Cow of Doom? Even though such a thing is just a myth.”

“See here?” Reiso pointed.

“It’s an udder, hardly unique, all cows have them, or so I believe.” King Ingro frowned for a moment; he hadn’t had much contact with farm animals, and hence lacked experience in the area. Still, he was quite sure most bovines were fairly uddered up.

“Not the udder! ON the udder! Here!”

King Ingro bent down (he didn’t have to lean much) and looked.


“The numbers?”

“Not any old number! The number! The number of The Beast!”

“Well, it probably is the number of the beast, the farmer probably has numbers on all his livestock. Very efficient. Modern farming methods and all that.”

Prince Reiso rolled his eyes and put his hands on his hips in a no-nonsense pose. “The Beast, not the beast, the number of The Beast. You know, the D-A-R-C W-U-N” he spelled it out letter by letter.

“So the number of the Dar… the Beast is 999 is it?”

“It’s not 999! It’s just upside down!”

The King stepped back and scratched his head. “Well, I’m not convinced. All I see here is black cow number 999 which some farmer, probably displaced by the war, has lost. There are likely records somewhere, over in the agricultural department.” He waved his hand in a random direction to signify said department.

“Okay then. Here is conclusive proof.” The prince took his sword sheath off and jabbed the Cow with it.

“Moooom!” Said the Cow of Doom in protest.

“And?” The King said.

“Didn’t you hear it?”

“Er, yes? What was it I heard? Because it sounded like a cow to me, and I do have an army to arrange you know.”

“It clearly said ‘Doooom!’”

“That wasn’t ‘doom’! It was ‘moom’ or perhaps ‘moon.’ Nothing like!”

“Well of course it can’t say ‘doom’ exactly! It is a cow after all.”

King Ingro rubbed took his crown off and rubbed at his eyes. He was getting a headache. If it wasn’t bad enough that the most evil and powerful sorceress ever known and her massive Horde of warriors was marching towards them, intent on goodness knows what fearful acts, his own son was trying to drive him mad.

“Let’s just say, for the sake of argument and so you leave me alone, this is the Cow of Doom. What am I supposed to do about it?”

The Prince smiled in triumph. “Wait a moment!” He retrieved the book he had put down when he entered and, licking his thumb, rifled through it until he found the page he wanted. “It says here,” he said following the text with a stubby finger, “that whatever happens to the Cow of Doom is a for…foretelling of what will befall the Gnomes and their lands. Should the Cow and sur…vive, so shall the fortune of the Gnomes. However, should ill befall the Cow, then so shall the lands of Gnome fall under evil in..floo…ins. Inflooins? Influence.” He slammed the book shut, causing a cloud of dust to expand outwards.

“Great.” Said the King. “So I have a feeling this creature is about to be the luckiest farm animal in the kingdom. Take it away and give it a field of its own, and whatever else cows need to be happy. Okay? I am placing you in personal charge of this Rieso. Don’t let me down!”

The Prince bowed. “You wish is my command my King.” He backed out dragging the Cow of Doom behind him, though not before it had left a steaming present on the war-room floor.

King Ingro looked at it for a moment with an expressionless face and turned back to his war-map.

“Now, where were we?”

Powers That Be.

General Powers sat on his horse on a small hill overlooking his army. The force wasn’t as big as he would have liked it, but he was confident it would do. On the right flank the undead made up the bulk of the infantry, raised from armies that the Horde had conquered in the past mainly. Marching with the undead, and making up most of the rest of the force were goblins. Short but vicious. There was a small contingent of bowgoblins, their evil short-bows could do a frightening amount of damage to a lightly armoured foe, Powers had seen.

On the Left wing the Drow. Three main squads. The archers, with their wicked longbow and poisoned arrows. The infantry, veterans who were fast on their feet and with their swords. Finally the light cavalry. They were lightly armored and wouldn’t hold up to a full charge of heavy knights well, but at a distance, or in close quarters their speed and maneuverability would win the day.

In the center more infantry, of the heavy variety. Orcs mainly, but trolls also, their huge forms standing out over the heads of their ragged comrades. These were the anvil that Powers intended to smash the enemy upon.

Bringing up the rear were more archers, mainly human this time, but no less deadly and with a longer range than the others. Slightly behind them came the engineers, a mixture of races, even some which professed to be dwarves, though everyone knew they were extinct.

Finally the mages. Dark robes flapping around them, they rode in wagons and carriages that carried their equipment and the unfortunates used in sacrificial ceremonies.

Powers had other forces at his command, but he chose to hide these for the moment, to bring into play at the right time. They were not forces for straight on battle anyway.

Ahead lay the city of Chudyer. Powers could make out frantic activity on the walls as the dark army arranged itself, readying for the attack. General powers raised his hand to shield his eyes from the sun. The walls of Chundyer were strong and high. There was only one main gate, heavily fortified as one would expect. It didn’t matter. His plan would deal with that, if only…

As if by thinking about her drew her close, Phang slimed up on Smee Slug. She had a contented look upon her face and her robes hung loose infront, exposing a breast. She had vented her rage on several luckless victims, and then vented another hunger on several more. Now she was in a contented mood, with only one irritation.

“General, my dear Powers. How goes the preparations for my triumphant conquest of this little ‘berg?”

Powers sat straight on his horse, he hated Phang when she was in this playful mood. Playful to Phang often meant lethal to someone else. “The preparations go well my Queen. In a day, two at most, we shall be ready.”

“Excellent” purred Phang, stretching backwards and leaning on her saddle, which promptly shifted as Smee slug suddenly turned his head to one side.

“Damn it!” Phang roused from her torpor. “It’s that damn sister of yours again Powers! She is distracting my poor little Sluggy wuggy with her feminine charms!”

She looked around. Sure enough she could just make out the Dark brown form of Etheral Fauna as she slimed her way into a patch of woodland. Smee had also seen the female slug, and Phang had to kick him to make him stay in place.

“I wish I had never used the same spell on her now.” She grumbled, but her mood was too good to remain angry.

“What are the main dangers to my troops here Powers?”

Powers mulled it over only a short moment. “The damn Gnomish cannons my Queen. As you saw at Cra-yon, they have a long range and can do much harm to our forces.”

“I will see to them then” said Phang. “Now then, where did I see that young archer? I still have a certain urge that hasn’t been fully satisfied,” and she turned Smee slug around to seek out the object of her desire.

Powers watched her go with relief.

King Ingro the Chunder.

The King sat on his mount, with Reiso to his side and the Cow of Doom behind them. His ally, King Cantolope of the Faires stood on the ponies head.

“My scouts say the forces remains together” said fairy king, his tall crown sat at a jaunty angle on his head. “Your ruse failed Gnome, and now we are weaker for it.”

King Ingro shrugged. “Maybe so, but they may well be useful yet.”

“Father. How will we deploy our forces to face the enemy?” prince Reiso asked.

The King pondered this, as he had done for days now. He had a basic idea worked out, but some details he had still not decided upon. He considered his forces. The gnome infantry was not numerous, but it was strong. The few giants that had made it through were too big to stand on the walls, but they were ready to support any intrusion.

The bulk of his army was still out to the east, a vain attempt to distract Phang had failed, and hence any re-enforcements from his allies who had not already arrived were now cut off. Still, he could perhaps use these forces on a rear attack, or even try to take Cra-yon pass back.

The powerful Gnome cannons were on the walls, spaced evenly. These were his ace, but he was worried about Phang. At Cra-yon pass she had nullified these guns and that had been the started of the end.

Then he had the fairy forces. Not many of them really, and not much use in a physical fight, but their magic was strong. He could position them with the cannons, to try and nullify Phang’s probably destruction of them, or he could put them with the other wizards, ready to counter the normal battle magics that would come from Phang or her dark mages. His wizards could certainly use the help he knew. Gnomes were not strong with magic, and the Hordes’ forces would probably overwhelm them. On the other hand, the fairies could go on the offensive. Their magic was stronger in this area, though he was expecting a siege and offensive magic may not be of so much use.

He turned to the King Cantolope. “I have an idea…” he said.
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