Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Hacks of Gorm, Part XXII: The Bonds of Tolerance

The cultists hauled the two bound men on stage as the crowd howled. The blue-haired woman, the one who had spoken before, followed behind. She bowed before the imitation god standing there.

“Oh great Master Magic Orc Zeus, tell us what to do with these... Racists!” She kept her eyes pointed reverently to the ground even though the creature’s fake beard wasn’t even on straight.

Being an orc, it at first began to lower its pants, since the kneeling woman was not uncomely. Some of the other ‘Olympian Gods and Heroes’ standing on stage nearby nudged it though. It was obvious that wasn’t what this human was looking for at the moment.

Realizing it too, Master Magic Orc Zeus readjusted itself and looked past the kneeling woman to the two captives: Gottschalk and Gorm. Unlike the other humans here, they obviously weren’t cultists. It strode over to strike them, but then its attention quickly turned to two other captives being led on stage: a younger, blond woman and a well-dressed, older man in spectacles.

“Oh, Zeus...” said the blue-haired woman somewhat impatiently. She gestured back to Gottschalk and Gorm.

The orc grimaced and struck her viciously, knocking the woman clear off the stage. “Nobody tell Master Magic Orc Zeus what to do!” The faces of the other cultists below went pale: they had no idea how to respond to a creature they worshipped attacking one of their own.

Gorm made to intervene, struggling against his bonds, but Gottschalk only shook his head. “We must wait for a better opportunity,” he whispered.

The large barbarian heeded his friend’s advice for now; his attention was quickly drawn to the blond woman anyway. “She pretty!” he yelled. He leaned over and tried to smile at her, but more cultists came up then, taking care to give Master Magic Orc Zeus a wide berth.

They brought all four captives to the stage’s center and tied them to dark poles so that they couldn’t move and remained standing. Gottschalk guessed that he, Gorm, the blond woman, and the man in spectacles were to be sacrificed soon.

Never Stray from the Cult Path returned as well and he realized that his own execution could not come soon enough. Listening to that Gods-awful minstrel band was certainly a fate worse than death. The dwarvish singer that led them glared at Gottschalk malevolently, almost guessing his thoughts. It appeared that he had another terrible song in mind just for him.

Gottschalk took a moment to glance at the spectacled man positioned beside him. It appeared that he couldn’t stand the minstrels either.

The blue-haired woman stumbled back on stage next. Her face was badly bruised and it even appeared her arm was broken. Some of the older cultists from before, the Patrons, escorted her. She came before Master Magic Orc Zeus again, prostrated herself, and began to blubber.

“Oh Great One! I Hope I Didn’t Oppress You with my reminder! Whatever we can do...” She broke down in tears before she could finish.

Despite the fake beard, the orc couldn’t hide its confusion over such a pathetic display- even by a cultist!

“What Existence Achiever means to say is: how can we support you, Master Zeus?”

The orc looked at the Patron who had spoken for a moment and then grinned widely. He pointed at the blond woman tied up on the stage with the others. The older cultist calmly nodded and then placed his hand on Existence Achiever. The blue-haired woman looked up at him, seeming a bit relieved, and hobbled over to address the audience again.

“My Friends, we now have the Final Act for Today’s Celebration: the Ultimate in Tolerance!” She made to gesture at the captives with one hand, but had to use the other, since Master Magic Orc Zeus had broken that arm.

“We present to you- the Lying Arch villain, Ramzeus, the Cruel Impeder of Goblin Migration, Laurissa Austral, and two Other Racists... for sacrifice!”

Existence Achiever then pulled out a long scroll to read the list of charges against the captives. Ramzeus, the man in spectacles, was apparently some sort of town crier who had denounced the cultists’ evil ways and had been critical of their destruction of Caelum Mount. Laurissa Austral, the pretty blonde, was accused of helping rivermen to stem the tide of goblins pouring across the Shenbyrg from the east.

Apparently, the Patrons had been allowing others to help finance the efforts of these two for a little while, but then had it stopped, deeming them ‘Violent’. No matter that Master Magic Orc Zeus had just smashed a woman in her face- the Patrons would still allow support for obviously violent orcs and cultists, but not the people who peacefully challenged their wickedness.

She then came to the charges against Gorm and him: their defeat of J. Kary Rotter, He-woman, and the Boas Constrictor (in Part XIX), which she framed as an unprovoked attack.

Gottschalk made to debate her on that point, but Ramzeus interrupted him. “Debate is pointless. Cultists are our enemies, you know? They only wish our people dead.”

He had to admit that the man had a point, but what else could they do? He wasn’t sure if they would be killed before Never Stray from the Cult Path began another song.

Existence Achiever was still not done reading the list of charges- she was now onto the many ‘Miniscule Encroachments’ that the captives had somehow oppressed her and Master Magic Orc Zeus with. The latter had grown impatient though and was already standing before Laurissa Austral, leering at her and beginning to lower its pants.

Gottschalk looked over at Gorm and it appeared that the mighty barbarian had grown weary. He guessed it was from all the droning on of Existence Achiever, like some twisted cultist bedtime story. He knew he had to act fast; the minstrels were getting ready to play.

“Ho there, Gorm! Where’s that pretty blond woman?”

The barbarian shook himself from his near-swoon. “What? Gott-chalk?” He looked around and saw that the orc was nearly upon her, gyrating and dancing to the screams of the crowd.

Gorm struggled against his bonds. The ropes stretched, but did not break.

Gottschalk spoke again, louder this time, struggling to be heard above the rising din "She told me something, Gorm: you know what it is?”

“She don’t like ropes?”

“She told me she really likes you!”

Gorm beamed at that, but then saw the orc bite her on the shoulder. Laurissa shrieked in disgust and terror. She struggled against her bonds, but could not break free. Her eyes then met his silently, pleading for help.

Gorm’s face went bright red. The cultists, the Patrons, Never Stray from the Cult Path minstrels, and most especially, Master Magic Orc Zeus barely heard the sound of his bonds breaking as the enraged barbarian came at them.

Next week: The Hacks of Gorm, Part XXIII!

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