The Taking of Motley

By Ricky Temple

The realm of Knightmare was in a state of flux. The sixth quest season had just come to an end and Lord Fear & The Opposition had been dealt a series of damaging, some people were hoping, possibly even fatal blows.

At the start of the season it had been discovered that the realm of Winteria ruled over by Lord Fear's ally the evil Ice Queen, Aesandra had left dungeon dimensions for the time being. Meaning The Opposition was cut off from a powerful ally and now at the end of the season things had, it seemed, only got worse.

The Opposition aliened Trader Julius Scaramonger had been bankrupted and driven out of business by the oriental trader Ah Wok and he had left town a washed up alcoholic.

Lord Fear's chief Henchman and enforcer The Goblin Master Skarkill had been effectively crippled with both his legs broken.

The Opposition's attempts to negotiate an alliance between them and the covenant of The Grey Sisterhood led by the Witch Queen Greystagg had failed completely.

And to top it all off Lord Fear's newest acquisition, his ultimate weapon the Red Dragon called Red Death had been defeated and killed by Treguard and The Powers That Be on its mission to destroy Dunsenhelm castle. Blasted with a lightning rod it had fallen dead from the sky only to land where…but right on top of The Opposition stronghold and home of Lord Fear himself Mount Fear, destroying it (it was this incident that had crippled Skarkill) and leaving it buried under 200 tonnes of putrefying lizard.

And despite Lord Fear's threat to come back "Bigger, Badder, Bolder & Better Equipped" it looked like The Opposition was in tatters with its ranks now consisting of just Lord Fear himself, the now masterless Goblin horde including the Brothers Grippa & Rhark as well as the Hobgoblin Tiny, the mechanical warrior Dreadnaught and the repulsive thief and vagabond Sylvester "Sly" Hands.

With this depleted numbers and sans a base a lot of people were sure Lord Fear & The Opposition were not long for this world. However Lord Fear was never one to take a setback lying down and he had already left the ruins of Mount Fear and was beginning to set up his new base of operations in a citadel he had created using Techno Magic. He had named it Goth and sat in the very heart of it in his new palace The Black Tower of Goth he was already plotting.

"Ourrrhh Your Lordships!" Sylvester Hands said coming into thrown room. "Oh The Goblins have just about finished off loading all the stuff and watchamjigeers from the carts and what not and the Dred…Dre..Dredy….well that big Metal person like thing yeah…he's just about done moving all yer valuables and stuff like that into the new strong room."

But Lord Fear didn't seem to hear Hands, he was lost in deep thought of a particularly malevolent kind.

"Errrr..your Lordships.." Hands began again unsure if he had been heard. "Oh do Shut Up Hands you dog faced Loon!" Lord Fear snapped. "Can't you see I'm busy trying to devise some devious and malicious way we can strike at Treguard and his Powers That Be mob and show them that The Opposition is still very much in the driving seat in this realm?!"

Hands got an evil leer on his face "Has your Poshness got some right cleaver scheme in mind? Something that's goner rub the smirk off of the Dunggey Master's face?" The vile little thief asked. "Several Hands" Lord Fear said "But the trouble is, all of them are going to take time to implement and I want to strike at them immediately. If Treguard thinks I'm just going to just let him drop Two hundred tones of Barbecued dead Dragon on my head, destroying my beautiful home in the process as well as crippling one of my men and then politely wait till the next quest season begins before I retaliate he's got another thing coming!"

Hands considered this problem as best as his limited IQ would allow him to and his mind threw up only on simplistic idea. "Why don't we nabs one of the Powers That Be Lak..Laki..Leki..La…Well one of Tregaurd's peoples your Lordships." Lord Fear looked up at Hands "The word you're looking for Hands is Lackey and that is just the kind of banal simplistic suggestion I'd expect from you." He said as if brushing off Hands suggestion but he paused to consider it all the same and as he did so a slight smirk began to appear on his lips.

"But still…sometimes even the most simplest of solutions can, when executed correctly, bring a tinge of satisfaction…and it certainly would be one in the eye for The Powers That Be too loose one of their members after there so called triumphant end to the season…yes…yes. You know Hands I can't believe I'm about to say this…but for once you may actually have had a good idea" "Orr Thank you your Lordships" Hands said grovellingly.

"Now whom do we snatch" Lord Fear said softly and menacingly. "Hmmmm" the evil Techno-Sorcerer mused.

"Errrr let's see it can't be Sidriss we've already played that card once and Hordriss will be on the lookout for any more attempts on her. Hordriss himself maybe..no, no that would require very careful and meticulous planning of the kind we just don't have time for right now. That Ridolfo fellow, the troubadour he made a nuisance of himself this season, oh no on second thoughts given his singing skills they'd more likely thank us for taking him off their hands. How about The Greenwarden what's her name Gwendoline she's still proving a thorn in my side in any operation that involves the Green Wood we could nab her…but the loss of Goblins we'd experience trying to trap her would be too high a price to pay at this moment in time so that rules her out. So whom do we nab…I Know! We'll nab the Jester!"

"Oooo Mutley! Yeah he's a good target your Lordships" Hands said nodding "His name is Motley Hands" Lord Fear sighed correcting him "Yeah...that's the feller" Hands agreed "Rights I'll goes and gets me Magic Rope and I'll goes and nabs the clown" Hands said turning to leave.

"You stay where you are Hands!" Lord Fear commanded ".Even though you're vile, repulsive, revolting to look at, nauseating to smell and just a plain old disgusting bit of walking talking detritus. I can't afford to run the risk of losing another minion while The Opposition ranks are still depleted. No until we are back up to full strength there will be no kidnapping missions for you."Hands shoulder slumped sullenly and he turned back to face Lord Fear.

"Beggin yer pardon your Lordships but errr has you sent for a replacement for Master Skarkill yet?" "Yes" Lord Fear replied "Some brigand has taken the now vacant post of Goblin Master calls himself Rackor…or Raptor something like that. Although quite exactly what a brigand would know about the mastership of Goblins is beyond me."

Hands nodded sadly he was goner miss Skarkill. There weren't many people in the world that Hands would have called his friends and even less who would reciprocate that friendship Skarkill had been one of that very select few and now he was gone. He was going to get The Powers That Be for that is nothing else.

"I've also requested a Seneschal" Lord Fear continued "That's a high ranking lackey Hands just for clarification. But to the matter in Hand..errr Hands. We need to lure this jester to somewhere where we can easily nab him." "But how we goner nab him if we can't risks goblins or meself your poshness?" Hands asked. Lord Fear smirked evilly.

"Oh don't you worry about that Hands me old dirt ball" he said with evil glee "During this last season I came into possession thanks to our new departed ally in the market square Julius Scaramonger, which reminds me I must look into getting my hooks into another trader at some point. Anyway Julius got his hands on a rather interesting artefact from times past in the Dungeon and it could prove quite useful in this endeavour."

His smirk grew even wider "and I know just where to set our trap for this jester and how to get him there." This said he turned his attention to The Pool of Veracity and started attempting to communicate with someone, that person being the one sole ally he still had in the realm.

"Brinkatore. Count Brinkatore I wish to speak with you. Oh for badness sake where is the stupid old fool. COUNT… LUTHER… WOODNUTT… BRINKATORE… RE…SPOND…NOW!" Lord Fear said loudly and deliberately. "Hobgoblins either the stupid duffer's going deaf or he's ignoring me and I swear if it's the latter I'll arrange a meeting between him and Dreadnaught, Count Brinkatore!"

Just then the water in the pool began to shimmer and the long, grey and slightly gaunt face of Count Brinkatore appeared within it. "Ahh Count Brinkatore, my dear friend" Lord Fear said with oily charm "I hope your well good count" Count Brinkatore was about to respond when Lord Fear cut him off "But enough with the small talk I have a favour I wish you to do for me." Lord Fear began to explain his plan to the Count.

"Understand Brinkatore?" Lord Fear asked once he had finished his explanation. Upon the Count's acknowledgement of his understanding of the proposed plan and the role he was to play in it Lord Fear smiled. "Excellent Brinkatore then I will leave you to carry out my instructions Ciao" and Lord Fear terminated the communication.

Once the communication had ended Count Brinkatore set about carrying out Lord Fear's instructions and soon the staff of the Brinkatore Estate were making preparations for the estate to host a gala event and open garden party for local gentry and those of means to attend in three weeks time, a dinner party at which the entertainment would be provided by the worlds greatest Jester Motley.

With in days the invites had been sent, a letter requesting Motley's services had been drafted and dispatched and announcements were beginning to be placed in the surrounding towns.

One such announcement drew the attention of one person inpaticuler, a young woman who was a new arrival into the Knightmare realm and the announcement was of great interest to her.

She smiled as she read the announcement "Oh I say, just look at this! Imagine all the rich people that this kind of event will draw. I think this event would jolly well merit me paying it a Visit and reliving the guests and host of some of their excess wealth." The young lady went back to the inn where she was currently residing and began to make plans of her own.