Gnarly Bandit: Calling in the Big Guns

Witch CauldronThe Gnarly Bandit was not a man who knew fear. He had sat nose to knifetip on many an occasion, the owner of said knife often a large, oafish character accusing him of cheatin’ at cards. Which seemed appropriate, as the Bandit had more than likely been cheating at the time. Be that as it may, quick wit and quicker reflex had gotten him out of many such scrapes, and predicaments far worse. So, the level of unease he felt at the moment as the old woman stared down at him was a bit disconcerting.

Perhaps it was the eyes of the Conjurer that generated his discomfort, or more accurately, the Eye. The Bandit glanced up to momentarily meet her gaze. Her left eye was dark, under a heavy lid that lay half closed – as if it wanted no part in the job of providing sensory input. However, the right eye was wide open, the pupil and iris a creamy, astigmatic pool of white, with waves within that swirled like a storm cloud. It’s stare was intense, and the Gnarly One felt a cold bead of sweat work its way down his spine as the haggish woman used it to study him from head to toe. It was as if she were looking not at him, but through him, able to see everything from his black heart to his mildly chirrotic liver. He shivered and looked away, once again pretending to be interested in the knots in the dirty hardwood floor.

The Conjurer elicited a derisive, “Tsk!”, and turned away, returning to rearranging the jars on her shelf, many of which contained the remains of various creatures staring out through foul, yellow liquid. They seemed to keep an eye on him while the woman’s back was turned.

“I can do what it is you ask,” she grunted, “but it will cost you.” She cackled evilly.

The grizzled one sighed. Seemed every time he visited the Conjurer, he left missing just a little bit more of his soul. But, Hell, he wasn’t using it. And besides, he was growing desperate – for three contenders had made it through the storms and floods of the Black Hills. John Maas, Veronique Boucher and Jordan Schmidt. All intrepid, and all closing in on his pot o’ gold. It was getting late in the game, and Sawtooth was key.

“Deal,” he said, resigned. “How do we proceed?”

“I’ll need a few more items,” she croaked. The old woman spun on her heel, producing a list from the sleeve of her dusty, black cloak. The Bandit took it, studying the contents. Bat tails. Gecko toes. The dessicated wings of a Pixie… It looked like he was going to have to make a stop at the Whole Foods Co-op. He had no idea what type of spell the ancient one had mind, and thought better of asking.

The Gnarly Bandit rose, making his way to the door. A cold Lake Superior wind cut through him as he stepped outside, causing him to shudder. Over his shoulder, he heard the old woman’s shrill laughter, then one last rejoinder. “Didn’t I always tell you to wear a coat!” Her cackle split the air as he bent forward into the wind.

These visits with Mom were always an experience, he had to admit. But he knew, if anyone could make life difficult for the Gnarly contenders, she could. He wondered if they knew what they were in for…

Post Navigation