Of wine and lonely nights
By: Eric Drewes

  The night had that twisted feeling to it, and the medium sized,
stoutly built man entering the "Portly Whistle" Tavern did so with
caution.  Whenever this feeling, he knew something was gravely
wrong.  He hesitated, only slightly before opening the door.  Inside
the usually rough patrons sat quietly, sipping glasses of water
occasionally.  One particularly large fellow was idly picking up pretzels
from the tray, and dropping them in his cup, where they drifted down
lazily.  The stout fellow strode forward, nearly knocking over a tray of
food, he sat down next to the large man.
"Ho, Dais," said the stout one, "how goes it?"
"Miserably and melancholy Bumbler.  A plight has fell upon the city and
the villages ale supply has vanished.  Look around, everyone is down."
The Bumbler glanced slowly around, his eyes only briefly stopping on the
large breasted whore who was idly playing with a fat rich merchant's
"Where'd it all go?  Was it just the ale, or has all the god sent
spirits disappeared?"
asked the Bumbler.
"Only that filthy frenchman up the hill says his wine isn't missing, so
i guess whoever is doing this foul burglary has taste, I'll give him
that much."
"Bah I was lookin forward to a good drink of ale, but all is not lost,
no all is not lost yet."
And with a flourish, the bumbler revealed a clear bottle of tequila.
"I pilfered it from a merchant I bumped into, he saw me taking it of
course, but when he saw who I was, he made no words."
The Mad Bumbler uncorked the bottle, and took a long sip.  His face went
slightly pale, and he spit the liquid out all over the counter.
"What mad sorcerer is this, gods be damned, it's turned to vinegar." He

  It went on like this for day upon sober day, and the Mad Bumbler and
the giant brute Daisy became more and more docile.  On a fleeting
impulse, the almost decided to get a job at the local grocer.  The
petite, large breasted whore  the Bumbler was making eyes at in the
tavern came by, but neither had the will to take the samples she was
eager to offer. To summarize: Our heroes lives were getting boring.

"So what should we Do Daisy?  Feel like I'm losing my edge being like
this.  Maybe we should leave Scotsure and head towards the isles, or I'm
sure the Baron would welcome us."  The Bumbler remarked lazily.
"Aye but it seems maybe this has come at the right time, Bumbler.  A
little sober life shouldn't hurt us to much.  'Sides, maybe it was time
we settled down and found some stable women and housing.  What do ye say
to that?
"You're mad" replied the Bumbler, "Snap out of it, for Petey's sake."
"All I'm saying is that adventures have been good for us, but a little
civilized life couldn't hurt.
The Bumbler muttered slightly to himself at this, and said, "I gotta go,
I can't stand this."
Daisy watched him leave and walk down Yarrow Road, and lost him over the
curve of the hill there.
"He'll be back," he said to himself.

  So it was that the two comrades of war had separated and lost
contact.  Daisy found himself a job as a seller of fine goods from a
local merchant, who also encouraged his daughter to take notice of the
gentle behemoth.  And it also happens that the Bumbler wound up a
resident of the frenchmen's house, having wandered there in search of
something to quench his thirst.
It wasn't until the day of the Gull, in the month of the Sacred Gold
Fish, that Daisy heard from the bumbler in the form of a sweetly
perfumed note.  Which bothered Daisy greatly.
It read:

        It appears we have misjudged that fine frenchmen, Don Bran after all.
He gives wine for the asking and while it's not ale, it still does much
for ones sobriety.  Anywise, come up here when you have a chance.
                                                 The Mad Bumbler

  What bothered Daisy the most about this was the flowery way that the
bumbler had signed his name.  He usually, he hardly gives the effort to
sign his name with more then a vague scribble.  This was trouble.
"I knew I shouldn't have have left the fool alone.  Now look what he's
gotten himself into.  I guess I'd better head over there."
He removed his apron, strapped on his old battleaxe (it had a broken
handle and was only suitable for one handed use.) and his old leopard
skin tunic.  Warily, he traveled the dim road to the frenchman 'Don
Bran's chalet.

  There was a knock on the door and the petite maid opened the door
daintily.  Standing there was a large, leopard skin clad, battleaxe
wielding barbarian.  She fainted, dropping the tray of red wine she was
carrying.  With hardly a downward glance, he kept walking.  He traveled
down a small stair case to a cellar, where there was a large wooden keg
sitting on a delicate wooden table.  Unstrapping his mug, he filled it
up and drank
"Ah! Good ale!" he bellowed, and downed the rest.  Feeling a bit buzzed,
he went back up the stairs looking for his smaller comrade.  He heard a
cry, one he knew as well as his own.
"Bumbler? Where are you?" he hollered.
"In here, gentle comrade, you're just in time for the fun!" the Mad
Bumbler replied.
He entered the room he heard the voice from, to see the Bumbler strapped
up to a rack, with a black leather clad, dark haired woman holding a
cat'o'nine tails.
"What the bloody hell are you doing Bumbler?"
"This fine woman here is teachin me discipline, Dais, it's good fun!"
"You don't want to learn discipline, especially not from this wench.
You're your own man."
She proceeded to whip the Bumbler.
"O' gentle daisy, she assures me that she's my boss"
  Mumbling some inaudibles to himself, Daisy realized his friend was
quite drugged out.  But he knew just the cure for his blight.  He ran
down, refilled his mug with the crisp brown ale, and returned.  As he
entered the door, he saw two similarly black clad men enter from a door
the opposite of him.  Daisy ran towards the Bumbler, idly bumping the
wench out of the way.
"What are ye doin to me friends, Dais?" asked the Bumbler.
"Drink this" replied Daisy.
"Is it more of that delicious wine?"
"err... yes, Bumbler"

  The bumbler weakly took the mug, sipping it gently, his eyes came into
better focus.
"What the hell am I doing here?" He exclaimed, and drank the rest of the
He struggled against the bonds.  The two leather clad men walked
forward, and the Bumbler snapped the ropes that held him.  Grabbing them
both by their hair, he bonked their heads together, knocking them both
out cold.  The woman ran out of the room, and Daisy helped free Bumbler
from the rest of the bonds.
"Thanks Dais, I don't know what strange demons had possessed me, but I
am exorcised now.  That french wine is some strong stuff."
  The two comrades ran out the door, looking to find the frenchman, Don
Bran.  They made a quick pit stop at the wooden keg before continuing.
The only other stop they made on their way towards the Frenchman's room
was at a storeroom, where the Bumbler changed out of the dainty french
silk, and back into his chain mail vest and wool coat.
"Don Bran told me his plan. He has used wicked sorcereries to turn the
cities ale to vinegar, so that they would come to him for his wine.  He
planned on turning the city into slaves using tainted wine, the same
stuff that had me." Said the Bumbler
"Ah, so it is his fault.  I suspected it all along.  I never did like
the Italians." Guessed Daisy
"He's french." Replied the Bumbler
"Same difference." Finished Bumbler.
  The pair arrived at Don Bran's room, and the Bumbler cautiously opened
the door and peered in.  Looking nervously in, The Bumbler saw Don Bran
cozied up in the arms of a large burly man, and a dainty small breasted
girl.  He whispered back to Daisy what he saw, and Daisy simply shook
his head.
"I'll sneak in, and push this here dirk through his rib cage into his
heart, and then we'll jet out of here, and no one will be the wiser."
Said the Bumbler, indicating towards his dagger.
"Ye think you can pull it off, Bumbler" replied Daisy, accenting
"Aye of course I can, I'm an accomplished assassin, it's what I do
"Nah, what you do best is making good a horrible situation, I know we're
going to botch this up."
"Ah, quiet naysayer. It'll be fine." And with that, the mad Bumbler
stumbled warily into the room and when he was about three feet from the
bed, he tripped over a cylindrical object, flipped backwards, and hit his
head against the bed stand, smashing it.  He was slightly dazed.  The
large man jumped off the bed, and French man, Don Bran, quickly hid
behind him.  The girl looked up, but didn't exactly seem to care.  The
large man grabbed his sword from a sheath laying on next to the bed, and
charged the Bumbler, who barely shook off his stun in time to parry the
blow with his dagger.  Spinning clumsily out of the way, the Bumbler
bounced up, and called for Daisy.  Daisy however was to busy fending off
the rapier wielding guards with his short axe.  The Bumbler dodged
another attack, and skittered forward with his blade, whittling the
man's arm clean to the bone, from hand to elbow.  The poor fellow
stumbled backwards holding his arm, and crying gently.
"That's what I thought" said the Bumbler, as he advanced clumsily,
knocking over things as he went in for the kill.  Just then he heard a
voice chanting, and turned to find Don Bran reciting some spell,
evidently to protect him from the wrath of the small berserk.
Unfortunately for him, the incantations were caught in Don Bran's throat,
along with the Mad Bumbler's dirk, which he whipped there.  At the same
time as Don Bran fell backwards.  The six men fighting daisy raised
their arms to surrender, and asked what they were doing wearing those
sissy clothes.  The leather clad wench from before came out, and kissed
Daisy and the Bumbler on the cheek.
"You have ended my brother's curse, allow me to adventure with you."
She said.
The Bumbler looked over at Daisy,  and they both did the drunken dwarven
Then the bumbler looked at daisy, "Thanks comrade" he said, "ye don't
know the hells I went through here, Though I'll admit some of it.." he
said glancing at the girl.
"It's no worries, friend, you would have done the same for me."  Replied

  There after, the taverns all reopened, and served the best ale in the
lands once again.  Many of the Scotsmen planned an invasion of France,
but that's another story.  Once again, Daisy and the Mad bumbler were
heroes, but as usual, they were soon forgotten, and had been set off on
their next adventure any ways.
"Ye have any regrets, ye still want to settle down with that rich
merchants' daughter where you were working at?" said the Bumbler.
"Ah, it's a good life, but its not for me, " replied Daisy.  "How about
you? Ye want to go back to being idly tortured by a crazed dominatrix?
The Bumbler chuckled, and shook his head, "no, no, that's ok."
"Hey now," said the girl, who was there with them, "I was under a spell"
"well at least we learned a lesson.." began the bumbler
"Aye, no one should like the french," finished Daisy

The end