Free story: The Adventures of Artorius Forgmon the Explorer

This is chapter one of a little book I am working on, from time-to-time, on the side. I have always wanted to try and write a light-hearted action-adventure-comedic story, and so I started to write this one. I have no idea what I will do with this book when it is done, but I thought I’d share it here. This is the first draft, so expect some errors and a little wildness! It’s a fun book to write, so I hope it is a fun one to read!

The Adventures of Artorius Forgmon the Explorer

A Caverns of Stelemia adventure.

CHAPTER 1

How had it come to this? Yet again?

Artorius Forgmon sped through the limestone passage, his long straggly beard played out around him, his loyal hound, Arven panting half as hard as his master.

“You really got us in trouble this time, old man,” Cwenwi said from a few paces behind him.

“Aye, too right,” Handsome laughed. But he always laughed when they were running for their lives.

Forgmon leapt over a fissure, gasping for air. “How close are they?” He cried, too afraid to look himself.

A bone spear flew past his head. Too close for comfort. Would the bone-men ever give up?

They raced along another dreary passage, then another and another, the angry, grunting mass of white-painted lunatics seemingly always on their heels. Arven barked a warning as another spear sailed through the air. Forgmon glanced over his shoulder and saw it coming and ducked, just in time.

“Damn these savages,” he panted. “Don’t they know we’re here on a grand journey of discovery, to document the wonders of-”

He stumbled over a stalagmite. Cursing, he righted himself, ignoring the shooting pain up his leg. Well, trying his best to ignore it. My bung knees going to pay me back for this later.

Cwenwi shouted a vile curse, then spun and ran backward. She fired a volley of bolts from her automatic crossbow (her name not his). “Take that, you dark dwelling muscle heads!”

Two of the pursuing bone-men went down, but the other ten ran right over them, ignoring their cries of pain.

“How many of those bloody bolts ave ya got left?” Handsome asked, readying a throwing knife.

“Not enough,” Cwenwi said, racing on.

Forgmon led them down a slippery slope. Halfway down, his legs came out from under him and he landed flat on his back and slid all the way to the bottom. When he came to a stop, the other two were already there, hurling him to his feet. “You alright, old man?” Cwenwi asked, dragging him along.

“Let me go.” Forgmon struggled to break free from their arms as they manhandled him along.

Arven raced ahead of them and disappeared around a corner, barking his scruffy little head off. Forgmon’s two assistants finally let him go. “I wonder what’s gotten into the old mutt,” Handsome said, one eye on the bone-men sliding down the slope behind them.

Cwenwi fired another bolt, her crossbow automatically spinning to load the next. “I hope he’s found us a way out of this one. I don’t fancy ending my days as some muscle head’s dinner.”

When the three of them raced around the corner they almost ran straight into a dead end. Arven was there, barking at a box fastened to the metal wall they had come up against. Forgmon stared at it. Now what?

“Oh, great,” Handsome said, drawing his sword with one hand while holding his throwing knife with the other. “Thanks, dog.”

“We’re at a dead end.” Cwenwi inserted more bolts into her automatic crossbow. “Now I really am what’s on the menu.”

“I bags being desert,” Handsome laughed. “That way they eat me last.”

“Must you always make light of everything?” Forgmon snapped, hunting around for his own sword. Where is the darn thing? It wasn’t in its scabbard.

Handsome went to stand beside Cwenwi. “Aye, you know what?”

Cwenwi raised her weapon. “What?”

“You never gave me that kiss you said-”

The first of the bone-men sped around the corner. Cwenwi took him down with a bolt to his ugly, painted face. The next two shared a similar fate. Then a whole horde of painted bodies swept around the corner and toward them.

Arven suddenly whimpered and backed into Forgmon’s leg. “Gah,” he cried, falling hard on his bung knee. Curse you. He raged at the knee. At least I won’t have to put up with you much longer! We should have parted ways a long time ago.

“RUSSIAN FOR IN OUT AND ALL ABOUT”

The bone-men slid to a stop.

“UP AND DOWN AND ALL AROUND”

“What the?” Handome said.

Every eye, both theirs and the bone-men, fell on the box on the wall. “JUST DANCE, JUST DANCE.”

The box was talking. Handsome’s mouth dropped open. “Well, that’s a bloody new one. A talken box.”

Forgmon spun to face the bone-men as he heard them grunting among themselves. Their evil little eyes were wide with terror, their weapons lowered. Arven started licking the box, leaving it dripping with saliva. “DO THE DANCE, JUST DANCE. OH, JUST DANCE.”

With a great cry, the biggest of the bone-men turned and raced away. The others watched him, then glanced at the box. “JUST DANCE.”

They ran as fast as they could, the pounding of their feet disappearing into the distance.

Handsome spun on his heel to face Forgmon. “You see, old man, nothing to worry about, it wasn’t.”

Forgmon wrung the sweat from his beard, his eyes focusing in on the box.

“About that kiss,” Cwenwi teased. “I’ll give it to you when you pay me that coin you owe me from our last game of dice.”

He clicked his fingers and battered his eyelids. “But I’m Handsome Quavy—no woman can resist my beguiling charms.”

“Who said I am resisting them? But your charms don’t change the fact you owe me a small fortune in coin.”

Forgmon heard Handsome mutter something under his breath then he drowned out their voices and set to work studying the strange box. This is what he lived for. Finding strange and mysterious anomalies, in dark, forgotten regions of the world.

“JUST DANCE, JUST DANCE, SING ALONG, AND DANCE.”

What wonders was the box speaking? What profound secrets was it sharing? The meaning of life? The meaning of darkness and light? The truth of all?

“JUST DANCE.”

Arven stopped licking the box and instead turned his tongue onto his nether regions. Forgmon tapped the box with his walking staff, and suddenly part of the wall began to slide open. He backed away and fell over Arven. Cursing, he sat up and watched the wall open, his assistants coming to stand beside him.

“Well, I’ll be the son of an oarsman,” Handsome exclaimed. “I think I just found my winning roll.”

Cwenwi never took her eyes from the widening gap. “When was the last time you threw a winning dice roll?”

The door stopped opening, and a pale light spilled out from inside. Forgmon stood and cautiously made his way over to it. He peered inside and his old heart skipped a beat. The other two joined him and Handsome said, “Right now. I just rolled the winniest winning roll of all.”

Inside the entrance, was a room full of glittering gold bars and priceless jewels.

© Riley Morrison 2017-

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