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March 18, 2011 / Bika

Fiction Friday: Risky Business

Some classic Astrani. I always did love this one, and now I get to share it! Enjoy!

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Hop. Hop. Hop.

The dry grass crunched pleasantly under the tough soles of her broad blue feet. A few displaced insects sometimes swarmed in the matted spots she left on her bouncy way across the plains, but she carefully skirted the telltale ant cones where little jewel-bellied red warriors built their homes. She learned the hard way not to stomp those flat, oh yes, but she still liked to watch their tiny frantic dances from a healthy distance. Sometimes she poked them with sticks to watch them run. She wished she had a stick right now.

Hop. Hop. Hop.

A lion yawned at her from under a sprawling acacia. It was one of the few trees that managed to survive outside of the Barrens oases, and was the last major landmark before her destination. Astrani hopped out of the grass and onto the road, growing more and more excited as the roofs of Ratchet appeared beyond the rise. Soon she could even see the sea beyond. So much water in one place! It was so fun to jump in and see how big a splash she could make. Squalling with gleeful anticipation, she broke into a run, her long, thick limbs swinging in the hot, still air. A goblin guard flattened himself against the blacksmith’s wall, eyes wide at the sight of that much troll thundering by.

“HI MISTER BYE MISTER,” she called out as she passed. She was going to make such a big splash!

The boards of the tiny port town’s only pier thumped under her rushing feet, the long expanse of sun-weathered boards shrinking rapidly before her until she reached the very very end and leaped into the air, tucking her knees up to her chest and flying out over the water.

BOOOSH!

Astrani laughed merrily. Unfortunately for her, she started said laugh at the deepest point of her impromptu plunge and took on roughly a gallon of warm, salty water. Flailing, she muscled her way to the surface and threw up most of it, coughing madly. The squat green long-eared wharfmaster, dripping wet and more than a little pissed about being caught in Astrani’s massive splash zone yet again, frowned down at her from his post on the dock. “That’s the third time this week, ya rock-headed bint. One of these days you’re not gonna come back up, and I ain’t haulin’ you out.”

Two pairs of fingers latched onto the edge of the dock with a thump, sounds of gagging and splashing muted somewhat by the constant slap of waves against the thick wooden pilings belowdecks. Then a pair of dancing eyes below a wet cap of red hair appeared above the planks, followed by the broad shoulders and bulging biceps that so effortlessly hoisted the big blue troll up out of the water nearly four feet below. Ye gods, but she was strong.

Dizzywig had just a moment to wonder what it was like to be over nine feet tall before he was in her shadow. But it’s noon, he thought, craning his neck to look up at her. She pulled a pouch off her belt and squatted down, thrusting it into his hands. “I GOT YOUR THING!” she bellowed, then caught herself and repeated in a loud whisper. “I gots it!”

“Bah! Thanks, I guess.” His gruff tone belied the eagerness with which he shook out the contents of the damp linen bag. An enormous green emerald, uncut but fine and clear enough to sparkle in the sunlight, fell into his palm. He giggled giddily for a moment before controlling himself and clearing his throat. “I suppose that’ll do. Here’s your cut, ya galoot. Don’t spend it all in one place.” He dropped six silver coins on her enormous callused hand and held his breath.

Now, Dizzywig knew that he’d be in for a big hurt if she ever realized just how badly he was cheating her, and if it had been anyone else he would’ve figured it was only a matter of time before she came back to bash in his ugly face. As it was, though, he felt pretty safe. She was about as smart as a bag of hammers.

Except she paused.

His heart stopped in his chest, a fine mist of sweat breaking out all over his body as he smiled woodenly, making the huge gem disappear in his pockets while he mentally prepared himself to flee and/or take the worst beating of his life. Then she smiled and patted him on the head. “THANKS MISTER!”

She was halfway across the ocean on a ferry to Booty Bay, pocket-money in hand, before his heart finally slowed to a normal pace. I really have to stop with this high stakes shit, he thought to himself, knowing he wouldn’t.

Greed is a goblin’s imperative, after all.

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Mom / Mar 18 2011 7:27 pm

    OMG I love her!!

    • Bika / Mar 18 2011 8:34 pm

      She’s a lot of fun 😀 I still have a story to work on for her someday, but it’ll probably be a while before it’s done.

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