Post Reply Qerble Story: A Strange Company
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M / Menzoberranzan
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Posted 2/20/08 , edited 2/20/08
The title should say, Qerble's Story. But whatever.

This is more or less a rough draft. And any amount of criticism is more than welcomed.

Chapter 1
The Great Heist


It was a hot, overcast, gloomy day at Fort Arran, which was part of the reason Qerble and Ralf were able to so easily infiltrate the fortress’s vault. A quartet of fairly simple looking guards was guarding the main entrance while archers lined the upper ramparts. The guards talked easily to each other, and the Archers merely tried to keep from being swarmed by bugs of all types.
They never saw it coming.
A single archer had stopped his patrolling to pet a cute looking squirrel that had climbed close to him. The tiny thing seemed to not be afraid of him in the least, and he was quite enjoying his tiny, temporary pet. While crouched over the precious little animal, he attempted to speak to it: “Hey little guy. Ya sure do look cute. I’d have half the minds ta keep ya, if it wasn’t for stiff ol’ Lord Feringall: he never lets us do anything fun…”
Another, slightly smarter archer saw him from afar and practically sprinted over to him. “What do ya think yer doing, you blubber-brained fool?” He hissed at the other oblivious archer. “You could get yerself killed for slacking like this, Gired!”
Gired shot up to a standing position like a spring. He had never been a smart man, but he could at least realize the dire nature of death promises. “I-I don’t wanna die, Jim!” He blathered pathetically, falling to his knees.
“Get up, ye fool! Ye ain’t gonna die.” Jim said roughly, he was already mentally putting plans for this particularly unintelligent guard in motion. “Ye ain’t gonna die, I’m gonna help ye. So come on, before someone sees us.” He gestured for Gired to follow him, then walked away hastily.
Gired followed, repeating thanks to his ‘Savior’ over and over again.

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Two shadows flitted onto the wall as the Archers left. One produced a slender rope with a hook on one end. He hooked it to the wall, and threw the rope down to the surface. Then the two shadows slide down the wall.
When they were safely to the bottom, the squirrel did the strangest thing. It ran over to that side of the wall, and pushed the hook over the edge, to be skillfully caught by the shadow that had originally put it over. Then the strange animal hopped off into the forest.

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There was quite an uproar in the outer courtyards of Fort Arran.
The strangest looking man any of the guards had ever seen was requesting to see the Lord of the fortress. His left arm had been replaced with wood, and his right arm was missing completely. His face was normal enough except for the eyepatch over his left eye. His right leg split at the bottom to make two feet, and he was crouched over awfully.
He currently was occupied in a heated argument with the four door guards. Who seemed to be unwilling to let him pass, and was quickly attracting more people all over the courtyards to the gate. In minutes almost the entire courtyard was empty. Yet still the heated argument wore on:
“You must let me in. The sanctity of this entire castle depends on it!” The deformed man protested.
“Why should we? Only danger I see here is you, gargoyle.” One guard said maliciously. The other guards laughed heartily.
“Please, you fools, you are only rushing to your own demise.” The man pleaded
“Only thing I’m rushing to is retirement, you old cretin,” said another guard. They laughed. These ruthless guards seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves. Moments like this didn’t come along to often. Even the archers had gathered around on the roof to watch.
“If you would only allow me a moment! I will be on my way, then. And you can go back to your life.”
The truly bored guards looked at each other, looking for someone who had a comeback. The deformed man’s eyes lit up with hope for a moment. Then one civilian in the back of the crowd yelled, “It would be a moment wasted, you freakshow!” The entire gathered mob laughed at the expense of the poor man.
“But…” The misshapen male racked his mind for a suitable comeback, or something to make the crowd see what he believed was coming. His eyes searched desperately through the taunting eyes of the crowd for a single ally.
A merchant, not native to the fortress, and with a small bit of compassion, stepped forward. “Maybe…you should just leave, friend. These people don’t seem to trust you.” The crowd apparently agreed, as they began to raucously chant, “DISAPPEAR OR DIE!” over and over, their cruelty increased tenfold by the merchant’s kindness.
The prophet of doom fell backwards on his hindquarters when the crowd began to yell. “How can you be so…so malevolent? Your punishment has fallen true!” He dejectedly exclaimed.
The crowd would have none of his pledges of doom at this point. The armed guards had to hold the mob back now, sincerely regretting what they had started. The gargoyle of a person stood up and pointed his wooded stub of an arm at the crowd, and shouted a few more remarks of their inevitable destiny before stalking into the forest.
The crowd stayed for several minutes, shouting insults and jeering remarks at his back, before dispersing back to the streets. No one had noticed the bird swoop into the castle, and the pair of shadows that followed it.

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The only guards who had not gone to see what the commotion was about were a handful of well disciplined imperial watchmen that were guarding three rooms: the throne room, the king’s chambers, and the vault. The three guards that patrolled the vault had seen so little violence since being positioned here that the bear charging down the almost looked fun to them.
They backed up several steps, set on a knee, and pulled their shields in front of them, forming a shield wall. However, no amount of wall could have stopped the 900-pound monstrosity that smashed into them at breakneck speed. They futilely swung their silver-laced broadswords at the beast, but to no apparent avail. The monster of a bear pushed them further and further up the hall, until they could no longer even see the vault.

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The vault of Fort Arron contained arguably some of the most valuable items that any border fortress could hope to own. And it’s Lord, Faringall, took great pride in this.
So, naturally, when a Halfling thief laid eyes on the sparkling room, he could not help but gape at it. He stood there for several moments, and it took a hard rap on the back of the head to wake him from his treasure-induced trance. His gnomish friend walked in the room ahead of him, tapping a foot irritably, “We’ve spent too much time working on this robbery to waste it on your inability to act.” He whispered impatiently.
The Halfling shrugged nonchalantly, “Qerble, you take no joy in life’s bounty, do you? We just made high-priced cocktail out of lemons, and you complain? Come now, Qerble.”
Qerble spun around on his heel. His dark, lifeless eyes bore into the Halfling’s merry blue eyes. “I have no time to waste making the cocktail, friend—” the word friend was severely strained— “Hurry up and steal what you might, Ralf, so we can leave this place. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to bear hearing Jarvis spoken to that way again.”
“That old thing?—” Ralf began to say, but Qerble’s almost frightening gaze stopped him short. He dutifully began to steal what he wanted, stuffing most of it into an impossibly small pouch on the side of his belt. He attempted to make small talk as he worked. “So, have you been working on any new designs lately?”
Qerble’s mood lightened almost instantly. He babbled on for several minutes. “I’ve actually got several new concepts. One for a bug effigy, a fully functioning horse, and I’m updating the intelligence systems for some of my more generic models such as that bear. You see, the programming that they entail now consists mostly of their normal animal instincts. But, what if I could get them to display the same intelligence as I’ve programmed into Jarvis?”
On queue, Ralf asked, “But, wasn’t Jarvis a special case? Didn’t you use a real human brain for him, just slightly modified?”
Qerble nodded conceitedly, his eyes closed, then answered. “Yes, he was a very special piece of ingenuity. But, I believe if I could closely inspect a sentient being’s mind, I could easily figure out the erratic, yet brilliant patterns it takes to arrive upon intelligent decisions and reasoning. Imagine, if you will, a beat intelligent enough to cast spells! Just the prospect …”
He continued to prattle on about it for quite a while. Ralf listened intently the entire time. This was, perhaps, the only reason they got along as grandly as they did. Rolf loved to listen to, and about, Qerble’s next, ingenious invention. And Qerble simply loved to talk about it.
Then, the most sickening sound a robber could ever hear rang in their ears.
Help! Robbers in the Vault!”

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This really isn't even the end of Chapter one. I always get paranoid when I first start writing a story that my start for a story sucks, so just asking for some professional opinions. Also, CR takes out 'Tab' actions...so...
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