Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Few Words on the Life and Death of Malice Afore Thought

A Few Words on the Life and Death of Malice Afore Thought
Delivered by Joe C. Dunnyman, Priest of Antiseptis

Hi there, I’m Joe Dunnyman, servant of Antiseptis and the Gods of Clean, and I’m here to talk to you today about the dangers of green slime- what, who? Malice? Oh, right! Okay, let’s start again

However much it may smile or make funny noises,, DON'T trust it, kids!
Hi there, I’m Joe Dunnyman, servant of Antiseptis and the Gods of Clean, and I’m here to speak to you about Malice Afore Thought.  He usually hung around with a gang that included Dread Noslum, Nack, Fiddlin’ Joe (not me Joe, a different Joe), Elsjin, Manning, and Pete Loudly. He also knew some paladin guy named Sir Ward. They were apparently big pals despite havin’’ totally different “alignments”. It’s been said that Malice didn’t truly represent this thing called “Chaotic Evil”. But he’d always say he just played things for the long game.  Anyway, reason why I’ve been hangin’ out with this group is because my boss in the sky, the Spotless Lord, has ordered me to clean up after ‘em and minimize the mess they make. Yeah, fat chance of that.

I understand he was something of a celebrity with flail snails around these parts.  I don’t know much about snails, other than they can wreak havoc on yer garden. Some people race ‘em, but I don’t like that sorta thing. They leave this really nasty slime trail behind them. Kinda like Malice did right before he croaked. Just the thought of it makes my tummy a little urpy.

Not sure what attraction he holds to these guys

Oh yeah, we were talkin’ about Malice, right? Well, he was a thief or bounty hunter or somethin’, I think, moonlightin’ as an assassin. I don’t recall if I ever saw him actually assassinate anybody, although I think he did backstab a few fellas, when he could stand on his own two feet. Anyway, I think he’s also a white elf. When I got croaked and reincarnated in the skin of one of his kindred, he was always a real pal in teaching me the ins and outs of being an elf.  Apparently you’re supposed to be all high and mighty and smugly superior and stuff. Although I guess he could even be snooty to other elves, given how he was nobility or something fancy-pants like that. I think he was from the Cubed World city of Nornrick. Not that he was ever openly smugly superior, like a said a real good Joe, well, not a Joe since his name was Malice, but ya get the point.

I don’t have the history with Malice that a lot of THE old hats do. I’ve only known him for about a year and a half. I think the first time I met him was during some high seas adventure.  (Ya could tell it was high seas adventure because it was right in the captain’s name- Albrecht of the High Seas, a friend of Malice and the rest).  O’ course, I was still wet behind the ears carryin’ the robes back then, just outta my first adventure in the Doom Cave of the Crystal-Headed Children.  But Malice, he was already old hat at the thuggery thing he does.  Anyway, we got in a heap of trouble, since this big shot librarian guy got really, really mad at us for… I think it was not returning the library books on time.

We used to have this ship that was also a library.

Since then, I’ve been on lots of adventures with Malice and his gang. Malice is something of a character; I guess what one could call an “elegant mess”.  He’d come up with some great fancy pants schemes, but then a lotta the time they’d become unglued by some fundamental, dumb mistake he made or just dumb luck. (Sometimes with Malice, it was hard to tell the difference.)
 For instance, there was this one time we were fleeing for our dear lives from the Giant of Hate Mountain (as in, the Giant WAS the Mountain). We had to escape the mountain range lickety-split, so Malice suggested we snowboard our way down usin’ our shields. Somehow I made it all the way down. But Malice musta tripped over his own two feet because early on he tipped over, and he bounced the rest of the way down the mountain.

Now I’m not saying that Malice was made of failure.  He’s pretty good at makin’ up plans involving other people. His recruitment of underlings helped us break through the Lair of the Jackalmen. And I’m pretty sure we escaped the Time Dungeon only because he used some magic candle to gate in his paladin sister. She helped our gang fight past all the evil alternate timeline Pete Loudlys.

Malice died as he lived. That is, working out one of his creative schemes. In the dungeons beneath the royal palace of Gaxen Kane, we were runnin’ around like chickens with their heads cut off. We managed to ditch the goblins that were hot on our heels. To get rid of a few of the little bastards in the next room, Malice thought it’d be great fun to use some of their own green slime against ‘em.  How would he do it? He attached a bucket to a string with the intent to swing the bucket into the next room. I remember thinkin’, “Who does he think he is? Some kid home alone tryin’ to make some bandits wets?”

When yer parents told you to eat yer greens, they weren't talkin' about green SLIME!
I warned him not to make a mess like this. Make a mess, and you start getting sloppy. Get sloppy, and bad things happen.  He didn’t listen and went ahead with his plan. So the others open up the door, and Malice swings his bucket almost blindly. There’s a “sploosh” sound, then it all went quiet.  Malice pokes his head into the next room to check it for gobboes. Then, POW, he gets harpooned by three goblins and paralyzed by the Goblin Pope’s tentacle hands. 

I hope I can get a hat like that one of these days.

The goblins proceed to drag him through the mess of green slime he made. Suffice it to say, we couldn’t get to him before it chewed him up and spit him out as another stain of green slime. Now, this reminds me kids, green slime is DANGEROUS! Don’t play with it; don’t try to make traps out of it unless under the supervision of a trained adult.

Oh yeah, it wasn’t the green slime that did him in for good. It was actually Fiddlin’ Joe and some spit from the giant of the Time Dungeon. This spit is powerful stuff, able to reverse time on whatever it coats. Kinda like cosmic stain remover. So Fiddlin’ Joe was panicking and he got sloppy and used too much stain remover.  Not only did Malice de-age all the way before when he was born, but he de-aged to even before the birth of his race. Now turned into pre-elf pond scum, he’s not just dead, he’s deader than dead.  Ya know, I really should look in my Book of Ritual Purifications and see what it says to do when ya use too much cosmic stain remover.

The time reversal went a bit too quickly.

Malice is survived by his little brother, Deeds, and his 53,000 year old, demon-god slaying sister, whom he was apparently very jealous of. Being in his sibling’s shadow all his life musta been a lulu for his brainpan. Maybe that’s why Malice always reached for the stars only for them to tumble back down upon him? In any case, Malice’s legacy (beyond the Aesop of not playing with fire, er, slime) is a void in the party. For all the messes he wrought, he was something of a balancing figure between the rest of the gang. He was somewhere between Knack’s circumspect reserve and Fiddlin’ Joe’s “Get to it, ask questions later” answer for everything.  He could sometimes even get Elsjin to focus and Manning to stop running away!

Plus, for a theoretical raving psychopath, Malice was always the “visionary” of the group.  He was always one of the big pushers for pokin’ out the Eyeball Golem of Vorn.  Ya know, the one that’s lordin’ it over Nizadd like a big jerk? Yeah, that’s why we were in Gaxen Kane in the first place. To swipe some tribal masks that would supposedly protect us from the Vorn Golem’s beholder eye rays. (Side note, I understand that the Eyeball Golem of Vorn got unleashed upon the world thanks to another failed Malice scheme.)

With Malice gone and the mission for the Masks of Eyeball Golem Warding botched, we have yet to find new direction. Malice’s replacement, Deeds Afore Thought, remains in his brother’s shadow as much as Malice was in their sister’s shadow.  Mostly he grunts and threatens and sometimes stabs things a little bit. Judging by all the shenanigans the alternate Malices pulled in the Time Dungeon, the rest of the universe is probably better off with him dead. But it sure makes life a pain in the buns for us.

But all’s not lost. We’ll survive and adapt. We always do (okay, mostly always). And I understand that idiot magician Valentine MacGee may be schemin’ up a few possibilities to bring Malice back, or a Malice back. Including one method created for a different hero but that never got used.

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