Author’s note: Sorry for the delay. This should have posted Monday but excuses. We drove 14 hours this weekend to get Beowulfa a new car named Brunehilde or some such. I got lazy afterwards and didn’t write until Monday. Wednesday’s post should be the next installment of T’kk’tck with no issues.
T’kk’tck turned, grabbing for his wand at the same time. D’ng spun as well clockwork blades sliding free of her hands.
They both stopped mid motion as they encountered a brace of pistols pointed directly at their respective skulls. The pistols were wonderfully made, precision craftsmanship and bedecked in silver and pearl latticework. Behind the pistols were an equally stunning pair of emerald eyes. Gold flecked and sharp. Slashing back and forth between the two of them.
“Now, now strangers. I asked a friendly enough question there is no need for violence. Pull back your arms and armament and we’ll attempt this again without all of the fanfare.”
The speaker was a young woman, she had a rifle sheath running down her back with some manner of lever-action rife tucked inside. The aforementioned pistols slid handily back into custom leather holsters that hung at her hips. Shapely enough hips, she was tall enough to look eye to eye with T’kk’tck if not tall enough to stand out in a crowd. Her lack of crowd clearing height was made up for by a ridiculous hat of impressive girth and altitude that had an array of bird feathers sticking out of it and a pink skull and crossbones embroidered into the front.
Tan riding pants, ruffled white shirt, and knee high boots made up the rest of her ensemble.
D’ng recovered faster than T’kk’tck, and her voice chimed frostily as she addressed the newcomer.
“Our business is our own. If you have no need to wake the house; then, Madam, we have no need to discuss anything with you.”
“Oh? You sneak in, paint the wall with nothing, are well armed and apparently well organized. Clearly you mean mischief.”
The voice had an odd sort of accent. Like she was speaking out of a play, or like she was really old. T’kk’tck got lost trying to place it and again D’ng answered for them.
“And if we do?”
“Well then, my friends, I aim to join you. Misbehaving is what I do best.”
T’kk’tck raised an eyebrow.
“So you accosted us, just to throw your lot in with us, while we’re in the middle of –“ He paused just before describing exactly what they were doing. “-of doing, well, whatever, the private none of your business thing that we are doing is.”
The woman started to reply when her voice was overridden by another sharper and slightly more annoyed one.
Kelpy was standing back a few paces at the end of the hall, holding a plate with a heaping pile of cake on it. She looked quite annoyed, a little curious, and well, like a four year old who just had a birthday. Swallowing whatever remnants of the bite that was left from the one that had decorated her face, she repeated her question.
“Now this is something. I leave, for important things, and I come back and you are talking to yourselves. The mudmage I can understand, well no I can’t, but he’s dumb. You though. Lady clockworks. You are supposed to be all logical. What madness…. Wait…. The cake is poisoned. I’m seeing things?! ARE YOU REALLY YOU?! WHERE IS MY SHIP!?”
Halfway through her rant, T’kk’tck had crossed the room and covered a chocolate angry and now quite bitey mouth.
“SSHHHHH. Are you crazy? Do you want to wake the place?”
“Mmfmmfe cramfnzy? Yuormf mfomcuk cramzy!” In the process of her muffled shout she bit him at least three more times. A groaning, pained patience entered his voice as he pleaded with her again.
“Look I’ll lift up my hand but you have to be quiet. Don’t go yelling and wake up the whole city.”
He gingerly lifted his bleeding hand from her face. Her voice lowered to an very vibrant nearly venomous whisper.
“ME crazy? You are crazy! First first! There is no one, in like miles of this place, well except the guys outside but they won’t hear their own mothers calling for their daddies. Second! And most awesome! Because I am. But you aren’t. YOU ARE TALKING TO YOURSELF AND YOU CALL ME CRAZY.”
D’ng’s head tilted; gears spinning and whiring.
“Who exactly, Lady Kelpy, is talking to themselves?”
“You two are! I come back eating and bringing the excitement and you guys are square up talkin to air.”
“You can’t see her?” T’kk’tck blurted.
It was at this point with a bemused almost giggle that their guest spoke up. “Of course she can’t see me. I’m dead. The only reason you two can interact with me is that wonderful inter-planar communication bond you have going. It’s like you are speaking a foreign language that I just happen to know.”
Kelpy kicked him in the shins as he was trying to absorb this new info.
“I SAID WHO?”
“The ghost, which I just found out was a ghost.” T’kk’tck sighed deeply as he said it. First Kelpy, now this. Nothing in his life was going to be the remotest glance at sane any more was it.
Kelpy’s eyes went wide in wondrous glee. “A ghost? You found a ghost? OOOooooo I bet it’s a pirate bear clown ghost. Killed by the priests for being too awesome and bringing the end of all time… heeeeeey. Wait a moment! Why can only you see it?”
D’ng smiled patronizingly, “Perhaps because only our minds are ordered enough to perceive the spirit’s need.”
Kelpy tried to kick her but missed as D’ng gracefully stepped clear of the blow.
“Ooorr MissfunctionMalfriction, it must be a boring ghost. Made of boring. That only boring people can hear or pay attention to. Anyways, I had cake but you ruined it so let’s get to getting the thing that I brought you here to show you.”
She stalked off down the hall.
The ghost laughed.
“She’s a fright. Well, nice to meet you. Names Annanthem. I go by Ann.”
“T’kkt’ck and D’ng. That’s Kelpy. Sadly, she’s somehow our boss. A past sin we are clearly working off. If you are dead I don’t see any reason you can’t follow along with us, until we fix you or join you. Kelpy prefers the latter, so let’s go get her before she gets to make the choice.”
Ghostly laughter drifted out the window as they made their way after Kelpy.