Torvallis!'s Inventive 'Folklore': The story of Bottom the faun

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Torvallis!'s Inventive 'Folklore': The story of Bottom the faun

Post by Torvallis! on Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:57 am

And so, one day, in the great forest, Titania called Bottom to her. Now Titania, she’s the queen of all fauns in a faery-like way. And Bottom is the son of a horse and her husband, Oberon. You know how fauns are! So Bottom is half-horse, half-man, and Titania doesn’t like him because his existence means Oberon fooled around, and she finds any excuse she can to be mean to him.

But this time he deserved it! Bottom went and gave a human a cursed compass that always pointed the wrong way, but only at crossroads, and as a result, the poor guy was lost and didn’t get home for 20 years! So Titania thought up a quest to send him on, that would cause him much trouble and keep him away from the Great Forest. (Don't worry about it, you've never been there. Long ways off. Long, long, long way)

Now, Oberon had just that morning sent off a hero, another mortal human, to go find a made-up ‘fairy king’ and ask for help from him to beat up some kind of nasty dragon. And Oberon was giggling to himself about how gullible humans can be, especially heroes! They believe anything you tell them! So Titania thought: What if this silly hero really DID find a fairy king, and later came back to Oberon to thank him for the advice? Oberon would go nuts!

So, she tasked Bottom with making a fairy king, getting the hero to meet him, and having the fairy king give him useful gifts, (The human had to survive to come back to Oberon!). And so Bottom left the Great Forest on his quest.

First of course, was to track down the hero and find out what he’s going to kill, so Bottom could prepare useful gifts. So he went to Inns & Old Hermits & Great Temples, and other places where heroes always seem to go to find advice for their journey. And thus, in a brothel, Bottom discovered that the hero was fighting a many-headed dragon who was burning the forests and threatening the lumberjacks of the country. Without a steady supply of wood, the country could neither build new houses nor fuel the stoves, and so if this continued, would be in quite the predicament.

Well, Bottom knew a dragon. (Back when he was young, Bottom had been tricked by one of his brothers, and given a pot of shiny gold coins that, whenever they were brought out to pay for something, would turn into old, ugly, tarnished copper. After many failed attempts to trick the coins, Bottom gave up, found a dragon sleeping in a cave, explained the coins curse and gave them to the dragon, for nothing in return. Since the dragon would never spend the coins, he didn’t care about the curse, and because it was a gift, they stayed golden. So, Bottom knew a dragon who was friendly to him). (His attempt just before that had been to open a bank, but he was roughed out of the business by organized Dwarven crime. So he figured the reputation of being friends with a dragon might serve as a type of magical warding hex against Dwarves).

So anyway, this friend of his, the dragon, first he chides Bottom for thinking all dragons are the same, (“But I can’t tell the difference!” “Oh, so we all look the same to you?”), and then he tells Bottom he knows this dragon. Skip the heads, he says, they just grow back. And don’t be stupid, don’t burn the severed necks. That doesn’t stop the heads from growing back, it just makes them angrier when they do grow back. But it only has one heart, and a soft belly. Stab the heart, kill the dragon.

And then Bottom needed a place that seemed fitting for a Fairy King. So he went to his sister, who watched over the Night & Prey in the Great Forest under their father. Raisa, the carefree rose of the forest. And he requested of her, a beautiful glade where he could arrange the hero to meet the false king. And, as she always did for favours, she requested of him not to hunt in her woods, and when he promised, she granted his request.

So he had advice, he had the location, and he knew where the hero was. But he wanted to be really sure, so he still sought out armour for the hero to wear, that would resist the biting heads of the dragon. It had a lot of heads, so not being bitten would be a huge advantage. So he went to his brother, Suelito, the greatest artisan and metalworker in Oberon’s court. But Suelito declared that he knew not how to make such armour. So Bottom travelled to a temple of Gak, the seer. (Gak used to be an Orc, but with her wisdom and stuff the Orcs didn’t really like her. So the fauns took her instead). But even she declared that no armour could withstand the bites of the dragon.

Next on the list was the fairy king disguise, and for that, Bottom needed garb worthy of such a king. He knew of only one tailor that could provide him with such quality. The problem being, this tailor had been cursed for a slight to a god-king a long time ago, (he had somehow caused the god-king to walk about naked, it was very embarrassing), and his shop cursed too. He could never leave his shop, and his shop existed in another space-plane-dimension-thing. Except for the door, which could only exist in places that no mortal would ever look. Which meant it was a bit hard to find. Searching through fields and in hidden covens, he came across a large swordsman who was also looking for the shop: he was searching for his brother-in-arms, and had reason to think the tailor may have met him. The swordsman, used to the ways of long & sorrowful curses, then helped Bottom find the door to the tailor’s shop: In the shadow of a cloud on the water near sunset under a bridge. It only lasted a few moments, and no mortal creature was near, so indeed the door was there. And they entered the store by walking into the river and grabbing the door on the surface of the rippling water. And Bottom paid the tailor handsomely, and had made for him a robe of very fine-spun visible gold, and wings of the finest silk woven very thinly, and more frailly than satin, the weft completely invisible beneath the warp to all but the very most skilled of clothiers.

And so Bottom was ready. He spread word around the taverns of the fairy king vacationing nearby, and he went to the glade promised to him by Raisa, and waited. The glade was always dark, except during the very deep of the night, when even a new moon illuminated it to a sparkling glory. The trees around were actually giant mushrooms, the grass was made of soft seaweed, which floated in invisible currents in the air, as though it were beneath the waves. The contours of the land were dressed with lines of flowers made of glass, which tinkled lightly in the wind, as though faraway bards were consorting.

While he waited, he prepared. He found a giant toadstool, low to the ground like a table, and he dug a trench to hide his bottom half. And indeed, when he wore the robe, it covered the trench and he looked for all the world like a little man sitting at a little table on a little chair hidden beneath the robe, in the moonlit glade of wonder. And then, for Oberon had promised the fairy king would give gifts, he took the seaweed around him, and clumsily wove it into a crown and a vest.

And so the hero came, and so Bottom blessed him, and gave him advice, and though it was just a token, he gave him the crown and the vest, “symbols of my favour”. And the hero was fooled.

As it turned out, the seaweed was poisonous to the dragon. When it attacked, one of its heads snatched the crown, and became very ill, immediately. It had a fever, and a cough, and it began, in its madness, praying to strange white ceramic gods with offerings of red. The other heads were then cautious about his vest, always eyeing it as they bit and snatched, and he kept them off his limbs with his sword, and he found it easy to creep under and stab the beast’s heart.

And so the Hero returned to Oberon’s court, alive, in one piece, (well, two. But one of the pieces was very small and the doctor assured him it would re-attach given time & care & a healing spell), and thanked Oberon for his advice. Oberon thought the hero to be vengefully pranking him, so he set Bottom to take revenge.

And so Bottom intercepted the hero on his way home, and invited him to a hunt in the woods, and a party with the elves. And at the party, the hero was slipped a potion, and he fell asleep for many years. The Elves would prophesy that this great hero would awake when next he was needed, (which quite surprised Bottom!), and so the Hero was not missed by the people and his legend spread.

But, when next the hero woke, his wife and children had grown old and died and his descendants had forgotten him to be a mere family myth. So Oberon declared it a successful revenge!

Torvallis!

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Re: Torvallis!'s Inventive 'Folklore': The story of Bottom the faun

Post by Phineas J. Pennefeather on Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:07 am

The Halfling Tavernkeeper, hesitates and takes a long look at the fire mage to mull over his version of the well-known story.

Eventually, Phineas shrugs, pours a mug of ale and sets it down in front of Torvallis without a word.
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Phineas J. Pennefeather

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