“Hey, Garl! It’s a mini-you!”
Odra pulled faces at the small statuette. “Grrrr, I’m a big, mean, emotionally constipated gargoyle with a stupid ass name,” she teased.
Garl sighed. “Hilarious. That one looks like you. Ugly enough at least,” he said, pointing at another hideous statue.
Odra gasped in mock offense. “Bitch, I’m beautiful. There is not a sculptor skilled enough to capture my face to stone.”
“Are you two going to buy something or am I going to have to ask you to leave my store?”
Odra rolled her eyes before looking up at the cranky craftsman. “I’m deciding! Honestly, does a blanket on a ground and some really ugly statues count as a store?”
The craftsman scowled. “These creations of mine are not ‘ugly’, they are defenders of the home! Now buy one or leave!”
Garl rolled his eyes too before looking down at one of the pitiful little statues. “You’re an embarrassment,” he whispered to one of the still gargoyles before he picked Odra up and placed her on his shoulder. “Come on, Odra. Dullahan asked us to get him some herbs, and that vendor’s only here in the morning.”
Odra propped her head up on Garl’s. “Fiiiiine. Can we stop at that one preserves vendor too? They told me last time they were making a new batch of radish pickles and I have to get some.”
“As long as you buy it with your own gold and you’re not up all night farting, I don’t care.”
“I’m so over your fucking shit.”
“I have to share a room with you. I’m the one who’s over your shit. It’s bad enough you only bathe once a month, I don’t want to deal with you ripping ass.”
Unluckily for Garl, Odra bought two jars of radish pickles along with dried meat covered with spices he’d never even heard about before. Apparently, if it didn’t hurt her, it wasn’t spicy enough. But those herbs Dullahan needed were thankfully in a large supply.
“Why are you Dullahan’s errand boy anyway?” Odra asked on the way back as she loudly chewed on her jerky.
“If you keep chewing in my ear, I’m going to rip your tongue out and stuff it down your throat. And I did it because he’ll… owe me a… favor…”
Odra frowned as Garl trailed off and came to a dead halt. “Garl? You okay?” She followed his line of site to see he was looking at the gargoyle vendor. “Garl?”
Garl didn’t say anything. He just stared as the vendor showed off an impressively sized statue to some clearly well off clientele. It was much better than anything else he’d had to sell, it almost looked real with how it was crouched, its head bowed over its knees. Any second it looked it could jump up and attack.
“Wow, why didn’t he have that out earlier?” Odra whistled. “It almost looks real-”
“Odra. Be quiet for a few minutes. Please.”
Odra never shut her mouth so quickly. It was one thing when Garl casually threatened to horribly murder her, but when he said ‘please’ it was time to shut the fuck up and listen to him. Garl slowly approached the back of the crowd.
“-how did you make such a beautiful piece?” one of the ladies cooed, reaching to touch the life sized gargoyle on the face. Garl noticeably flinched and Odra frowned. Was he upset?
No. There was something too calm about him. Like the time this bandit called Odra Garl’s little sex doll and had made nonstop innuendo about how female goblins were down for anything.
Garl was enraged.
“Well, what can I say, when you’ve been carving for so long, you can really bring some of this stone to life,” the vendor chuckled, puffing himself up. “This is my masterpiece. But for you my dear, I’ll let you purchase my art for… how does three thousand gold sound?”
Before the woman could respond, another of the wealthy men butted in with, “I’ll pay five thousand! It’s exquisite!”
Garl remained still as the two rich fucks bid between each other. Finally the woman won with a final bid of fifteen thousand gold. She promised to come tomorrow with a cart to pick it up, and the group dissipated. Garl walked off as well, and Odra finally got the guts to talk again.
“Garl? What’s wrong?”
“… it was a real one, Odra.”
Garl’s voice was low but level. Odra gulped. “A… real one?”
“A real gargoyle. Like me.”
“Why… why wasn’t it-”
“It was dead.”
Garl randomly veered into an alley and Odra leaped off his shoulders. Just in time too, Garl roared and slammed his fist into a wall, putting his hand right through brick. Odra shook as Garl took several deep breaths and withdrew his fist.
“You don’t… you don’t mess with a grave like that. Especially not a gargoyle’s.” His head was bowed but Odra could see how his eyes were flickering brighter than she’d ever seen them. “Our graves are sacred. You know how rare it is for a gargoyle to die of old age? And he had to have, there’s no chips, no breakage. His grave would be venerated. Moving him… moving him is… I wanted to rip that bastard’s arms off and make him choke on them.”
Odra gulped before slowly approaching Garl, resting one of her hands on his leg. When he didn’t bat her away, she softly patted him. “Why didn’t you?” she asked.
“… Because he needs to tell me where the hell he stole that gargoyle so I can put him back.”
Garl took a deep breath before he scooped Odra up, ruffling her ears before putting her back on his shoulders. “I’m gonna need some back up. You in?”
“Please. You really have to ask?”
Garl smiled coldly before walking out of the alley.
He was quiet the rest of the way to the guild. Once they got in though, he veered right over to Dullahan’s table, where the human was currently hacking and coughing like he had something caught in his throat.
Dullahan lifted a finger, and with one final gag he spat out what looked like a small stone. “… I’ve coughed up bigger, but it’ll do,” he gasped. He picked up the stone, wiped some bile and saliva off of it and put it in his healing pouch.
Odra hopped off of Garl and onto the table. “What the fuck was that?”
“You just- make those? What the fuck is wrong with you?!”
“It’s a gift.” Dullahan shrugged. “They make great poison cures.”
Garl slammed the herbs down on the table. Dullahan blinked owlishly at the bag. “… You know, you should be more gentle. People are going to talk about what we have,” he said as he picked up his cup of tea and took a slow sip.
“Remember how you said you’d ‘owe me’ if I ran to the vendor to get these for you?”
Dullahan paused before slowly lowering his mug. “I remember. What’s on your mind, my stonehearted friend?” he asked.
“I need your help to steal a body.”
“… Wow. Okay then. In.”
It was late in the night when that cart vendor weaved his way out of the tavern, with a lovely half orc prostitute on his arm. No more lonely nights for him, with the money he was about to make off of that stupid statue he found.
It was only when the half orc turned the corner into an alley where that gargoyle from earlier was waiting for him did he get an inkling he may have fucked up.
“This the guy, Garl?” Besh asked, gesturing at the drunk vendor with her thumb.
Garl nodded. “Thank you. I’ll pay you next time I find myself in Fit For Kings,” he said.
Besh winked before shoving the vendor into the wall and strutting out of the alley. The vendor scrambled to his feet but when he turned back to the mouth of the alley, Sylvia and Odra were already blocking his path. Turning back forward, he was face to chest to Garl, who spread his wings menacingly.
“You know, my kind don’t make great long distance fliers.”
Garl grabbed the vendor by the shoulders, digging his fingers into his shoulders with a manic expression. “But I can definitely lift you high enough in the air to drop you on your head, crack your skull like a fucking egg on the pavement,” he growled.
“Wha- let me go! Do you know who you’re messing with!? Guar-”
Before the vendor could call for the guards, Dullahan slapped a hand over his mouth. “Shhhhhh… don’t speak. Garl, that’ll kill him too quickly. Get him on the ground. I have an idea. By the way, scream, and he’ll probably just take your head off. Make all of this worth his trouble.”
Garl pinned the vendor down while Dullahan dug through his bag. “Let’s see… no, not that one… not that one… oh, here we go!” he pulled a leaf out of his pocket and crammed it down the vendor’s throat. The vendor coughed and gagged but he swallowed it.
“What was that?!”
“Poison!” Dullahan proudly declared. “You have a few minutes before it kicks in. You’ll feel some nausea, followed by every muscle in your body going really tense as you seize up. You’ll probably- no, you’ll definitely piss your pants. You’ll start hallucinating while your heart beats out of control. You’ll be in probably the worst pain of your life and you can’t even scream because your muscles are all contracting. Then your limbs will start to harden, your blood will turn to poison, aaaand you’ll die a slow, painful death. Once the pissing happens, I can’t help you. You’re past the point of no return. So, how about you tell Garl whatever he needs to know, and if I think you’re lying, I’ll just let him stuff you in the garbage bin to be dumped outside the city tomorrow.”
“What is it?!” The vendor sobbed. “What do you want to know?!”
Garl grabbed the vendor by the chin. “Tell me. Where. You. Got. The. Gargoyle. Body.”
“The statue that was way too good for you to have carved? Yeah, that’s because it’s a body.” Garl’s fingers started ripping into his chin. “Where did you get it?”
The vendor sobbed. “I- I found it! I found it in the Underdark, the domain that currently is under the rule of the Great Queen Rillana! Please don’t let me die!”
Dullahan glanced up at Garl. “You know the Underdark very well, Garl?” he asked.
“Well enough. You going to cure him?”
“I mean, I’ve never seen all the effects of that herb, I kinda wanna watch…”
The vendor bawled.
“Okay, fine. Open up. I made this one fresh today!”
Dullahan popped a bezoar out of his pocket and forced it down the vendor’s throat. Odra shuddered and turned away.
“Okay, that’s nasty.”
Sylvia cocked an eyebrow. “… I’ve seen you eat a dead squirrel off the side of the path that had been dead no less than a week and had been squished by multiple carts. And that’s too much for you?”
“It is! He puked it up! Ewww!”
Garl hauled the blubbering vendor to his feet. “All right, now all you have to do is give me that gargoyle, and I’ll leave you be to sell your shitty statues. You tell anyone about what’s happened though, and I’ll not only have my friend here give you another one of those herbs, I’m going to cut off your legs and let you dangle off a rooftop while you die from the poison. Got it?”
The vendor nodded frantically.
“Good. Hope you didn’t blow through all that gold, because I’m pretty sure your customer’s going to be disappointed they can’t add a dead body to their collection.”
“… Dullahan, are you still-”
“You called me a friiieeennnd…”
“Oh my gods.”
Odra stared at the still gargoyle grave, seemingly lost in thought. She rested a hand gently on its side. “So, we take it back?” she questioned.
Garl looked away from the dramatic Dullahan. “I have to. You don’t disturb a gravesite, Odra. It’s wrong,” he said.
Odra laughed quietly before patting the grave gargoyle and hopping back onto Garl’s back. “Well, you can’t get rid of me that easily, Garl. You have a horrible sense of direction, you’re so going to get lost in the Underdark.”
Garl sighed but gave Odra an affectionate pat. “Keep telling yourself that, brat,” he said.
Dullahan scooted up next to Garl. “Are any of your other ‘friends’ invited on this journey?” he asked.
“I swear to every god masked and unmasked, Dullahan, I will kill you.”