Sunday, July 14, 2013

Regrets of a Plane-Hopping Mole-Man

FLAILSNAILS Theatre presents...  Bumphrey's Lament

In which a mole-man begins to acknowledge that he has become a murderhobo.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

I was a soldier - trained as a sapper. We were at war, and I had no qualms about killing. Give me a rifle and I’ll do my part. Maybe I wasn’t the most effective killer in our outfit - I mostly did the cooking and washing-up - but when push came to shove, I got stuck in with the gang, and I took my share of tangoes.

Then I got lost. Not just time-tossed and shoved back and forth across a dozen worlds, but really and truly lost. Maybe I lost my mind, I’m not sure.

I guess it makes sense that, having grown up in Avalon, idolizing the messenger-knights there, I would start thinking I could be a knight. After all, here I was, bouncing around these different places surrounded by serious adventuring knight-types with their chain mail and their swords. Maybe I could be a knight, too...

But knights don’t do the things they did. The things I did. In the hunger for security, pushed ever-forward by the thrill of the chase, we did some bad things. I don’t mean the killing - I’m still pretty sure I never swung on anyone who didn’t deserve it. I mean the destruction, the not-caring. Kicking over altars of known gods just to see if there’s treasure beneath. Not sticking around after a crisis to help people rebuild.

There have been high points. I think I do better when I stay in one place a while, build relationships, remind myself to care about strangers. I’m proud of some of the work I’ve done on Kalak-Nur, and helping out with things in Barovania was good. Yet there have also been low points. I regret that we fled that vampire’s cave - I didn’t even realize the cleric was down at the time, and we should not have left him there, and giving money to the temple of Apollo there will not bring him back or assuage my guilt for long. I’ve no pride in recalling my time in the company of cutthroats - and that damnable demonologist - that got us trapped on the Purple Planet for a time. I don’t enjoy thinking about the companions I took when delving Castle Tract, or the jobs I worked for the Vory gangsters on the Apollyon. I even have a gang tattoo. We search shit-crusted latrines in case they have pennies in them! I feel like a homeless drug addict. My mother would not recognize the mole I’ve become.

Especially lately, since poking around with ancient sea-magic a few weeks ago got me turned into a woman. Well, not into, exactly - it’s more like my mind in one of my companion’s bodies. And someone else’s mind operating my little mole body. Right now I’m a young girl, and the muscles of this body seem to remember her breaking-and-entering skills. And it’s going to stay that way until the curse is broken - whether I’m there or not. I should’ve stuck around to finish the job, but I think I panicked. Suddenly having bazooms messes with your head.

So now I’m sitting here in a tavern after spending the evening in the company of a reprehensible warrior and his freaky china-doll assistant, both of whom I’m pretty sure worship some kind of devil-thing from Beyond Time or whatever. I watched them coerce a simpleton ogre into destroying an altar to known, licit gods. And I didn’t say a word. I never say a word, because I know they would murder me. I’m an adult mole living a life bounded by the fear of being murdered by people I call my friends.

They are not my friends.

Look, I’ve done some amazing things, really memorable things - those frost titans come to mind. But I’ve also gotten myself Very Nearly Killed two dozen times. What the hell am I doing? Tromping around in black plate mail, charging in headlong? I mean really, black armor? I wouldn’t feel so bad about being the door-kicker if I felt that my companions actually had my back half the time.

I feel like I need to atone for so many things, and I don’t know where to start. I’m not even in my proper body. What if I’m stuck in this body? What if I’m a lady for the rest of my days? This is an untenable situation. I’ve spent weeks trying to bathe and use the bathroom without actually looking at my own body, it’s pretty much impossible. Feels like somebody’s trying to teach me a lesson. And I hope I’m not too stupid to learn it.

If I could just get back into my proper furry little body, I could start over. Give it another shot at being the mole I’m supposed to be. I don’t shy away from battle, but that’s not who I am. I want to help people, and do right by them and Heaven both.

Some problems are only solved by getting drunk and passing out in a church.

Will Bumphrey get his own body back?  Will he change his murderhobo ways, or simply drown his doubts in booze?  Only the chaotic winds of FLAILSNAILS know...tune in next time!

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