Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Grand Theft Equestrian: Vice Village

Aw, c'mon now, give us a rest and don't be like that, we aren't evil men, with the exception of Hogshead Sheepshanks over there, I'll grant ye.

Aye, he'd break his last tooth chewin' the face off a rubbery old washer-woman fer a shiny button before any of us could stop him, and no lie, the only reason his sort is still walking the good skin of this earth is that so far they've been unable to warm hell up to the temperature his crimes deserve.

But stay the honorable and well-intentioned hand of justice, for a moment, lad, and let's just think about it, for a second.

Sure, I'll admit I'm not much of a monk, yer wits are far too keen and penetrating for me to maintain my poorly worn and threadbare disguise under such a harsh and unforgiving light.

Oh, I am a monk, I'm just not a very good monk, y'see, though I have surrendered myself to the Good Work and I try my best, I was taught to remain humble, and so I fear I must profess that I have no great aptitude for the business of monkery, even if 'tis not so.

And 'tis to my great shame that I don't know as much 'bout the holy scrips and scribbles as I should, 'cause y'know, one never can know as much as they should, and stuff.

And the specifics of good and evil, layed down as they in dragon's blood on the soft silken sheets of the Good Books and locked away in the Great Golden Towers where only the most highly esteemed of the Red Robed Sorcerers may read them, are quite safe from scrutiny and well beyond the reach of all simple, hard-working folk such as ourselves.

But three miserably skinny horses fer three days of back-breaking effort, now, that sounds more to me like the bad pay of honest labor than the spoils of villainy, wouldn't you agree?

And do you think we'd be pounding the stones out of our boots and rubbing our aching backs and blisters night after blasted night, if we were truly evil men?

Y'see, 'tis not robbery when we provide a service in exchange for the horses.

Aye, as I believe any bright young man such as yourself would come to agree, we've paid a fair price for these horses, when all things have been considered.

Entertaining the village's fancies with our fantastic tales of horse-eating griffons, letting their men lead us around in the cold muck of their fallow woodlands for the last three days, following all manner of bird and animal tracks this way and that while the flies and thornbrush pecked at our hides, I plead guilty to all these charges.

Aye, well, see, that is the tricky thing about griffons, just about any track may be a griffon track, 'cause each of their feet is from a different sort of animal, as everyone well knows, which is why it takes an expert and experienced eye to make the final determination.

And after we finally discover the beast's cleverly hidden lair, after we burn the griffon's nest while performing the proper holy incantations and the assorted costly magickal ointment usage, without asking for any reparations, all so that the foul beast may never return to plague the village again, until perhaps next year, at the very earliest, do those villagers return to their homes empty-handed?

No, they return as Brave Young Men Who Destroyed the Monster's Lair, and their fathers glow with pride, and there is much revelry and celebration in their honor, and, if they're lucky, they'll win the tender attentions of whatever passes for bonny lasses in their village (if there's any left to be had in the barrel after a fine-looking young chap like youself drinks his fill), and they'll have their pretty babies, who'll grow up to be the Sons and Daughters of the Brave Heroes Who Defeated the Monster, instead of just more miserable little farmers.

And thus the wheel of life is moved and improved and love and honor and hope will bloom and spread in our wake and the whole village will actually be a much richer place, minus a few scraggly-lookin' horses of questionable quality, after we've moved on.

And while everyone else in the village is able to throw themselves happily and whole-heartedly into this wild celebration of great deeds, our work isn't even done, I mean, we still have to keep these blasted horses fed until we can travel the cold and lonely backroads of the world to some distant, miserable place and unload them on some unscrupulous merchant who won't even give us one half of one half of one half of their value.

In the end, 'tis a pitiful handful of crumbs we will reap for all the effort we have put forth, nothing a beggar wouldn't brush from his pants, and here we are, marching along down the road, not having asked for any thanks or appreciation for our part, we're greeted with your hateful accusations of our impropriety.

But deep in our hearts, knowing the great service we performed for the village back there, all those bright fires of love and happiness and joy we kindled, well, see, that more than makes up fer whatever further cruelties you may see fit to put upon us.

Sure, if we were better looking and had more than a mouthful of teeth between us, if we had less scars and more eyeballs, if we were more charming, eloquent, and quick-witted, and if we could find someone to forge us some decent credentials, we could forsake this life of hard and thankless work and pursue the more traditional targets of yer so-called Gentlemen, the soft pink silken underbellies of the cruel and heavily armored world out there, creeping ever so quietly through the weakly guarded back doors of civilization, pouncing upon the perfumed beds of the bored and lonely daughters of powerful families that'd reward yer villainy with the mad fat bounty of a big inheritence.

And as evil as that may be, compared to good works such as ours, even that is not the work of truly evil men, for those are the drains through which the fortunes of evil empires are returned to the common people, as it passes through alehouses and brothels and gambling establishments and out into the streets.

Just as robbing graves and the tombs of long-dead royals returns their wealth to the living, aye, the living, the people who can actually use it to keep their poor and hungry babies from starving.

'Tis the people who hoard away their fortunes while children starve and go without the magic potions and tinctures and cure-alls and leeches that they so desperately require, y'see, those are the true villains.

And since we're the sort that do battle with them, that makes us heroes.

Well, okay, I'll ever-so-humbly concede yer point, lad, I'm not sure who these horses we rescued from the clutches of the giffon originally belonged to, and, considering their condition, it is apparent that it was certainly no great and wealthy villain, but I am sure the gods wouldn't have let us redistribute the sickly and near-useless horse of a good man unless there was some mysterious higher purpose involved.

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