The Taking of Motley

By Ricky Temple

The day of Count Brinkatore's gala garden party arrived. Motley as always was a great hit with his jester act enthralling, amusing and entertaining the crowds as they flocked into the estate.

As the guests all came in through the gates no one paid any heed to the hood figure of a monk walking in through the gates.

"There what did I tell you Hands" Lord Fear crowed, as he and his henchman watched the scene unfold through the Pool of Veracity, "Not so much as one second look." "Yeah your poshness" Hands said "Not a soul is paying any attention to The Monk Monster." "Yes but this operation calls for us to get a different point of view on this situation switching on The Monk Monster's remote viewers...now!" As soon as these words left Lord Fear's mouth the view in the Pool shimmered and changed. It now showed the view from the Monk Monster's point of view.

As all this was happening another, this time uninvited guest was also slipping into the estate unnoticed. Though in her case this was literally because no one could see her all a few of the guests felt was a quick light brushing past them movement, kind of like a gentle breeze. "I say" she said quietly to herself "This cloak of invisibility really was a good purchase." She made her way through the crowds , heading towards the main building, every now and then a guest might feel a strange tug at their money pouches and if they bothered to really scrutinise them they may just have noticed that they were suddenly missing a few gold coins for she was cleaver enough never to take so much that it was immediately obvious unless the person really looked.

Motley was coming to the end of his first act "Here's one for you ladies and gents, I got this one from one of those Helmet Heads The Dungeoneer's a while back. Why did the punk cross the road? Because he was stapled to the Chicken!" The anachronistic joke got a polite smattering laughs and chortles from the audience.

Motley rolled his eyes. "Not good to go out on a semi laugh" he said to himself and in response to invoke a proper laugh he did a silly dance and then a cartwheel which he deliberately messed up and ended up in a heap on the stage. This physical slapstick comedy provoked the desired raucous laughter. Motley smiled and bowed "Thank you ladies and gents I'll be back in a little while in the meantime please adventure forth and enjoy the magnificent Surrounds." He didn't notice the figure of a monk trying to make his way closer to the stage.

His parting words said Motley took one last bow and then departed the stage. He began making his way through the crowds.

Just as he had departed the stage the Monk had just managed to make it to the stage. "BLAST!" Lord Fear seethed "Nearly got him! Follow him you mindless mass of cogs and bolts!" The Monk Monster mindless obeyed its master and turned and began to follow Motley through the crowds. "I'm sure we're goner get him this time yer poshness sirs" Hands said trying to sound positive." "Of course we are Hands!" Lord Fear retorted "Go make yourself useful you simpering grease ball, get ready to be dispatched to bring back our victim."

"Oh yes sir your Lordships sir" Hands said and went off to the Black Tower's armoury to get his Magic Rope. He found his Magic Rope laying on the weapons bench he was just about to pick it up when his eyes alighted something else hanging from the weapons rack above the bench. A wicked smile crossed his lips "Yeah much better" he said and unhooked them from the rack, pocketing them in his grimy cape he made his way back to the thrown room.

Motley meanwhile unaware of his dangerous pursuer continued to mingle with the crowds. As he walked among the mass of people he thought he caught sight of someone or something walking alongside him out of the corner of his eye. But when he turned to look there was no one there. He shrugged and looked back ahead of him...but the moment he did once more in the corner of his eye he could see the outline of a person walking alongside him, again he looked and again the outline faded from view once he looked at it fully.

Now rather concerned Motley began to wonder what was going on and one worrying thought came to his mind. "An assassin...it was a trap after all." Motley quickly came up with a hurriedly concocted plan.

As he passed by one of the gaps between two of the tents that had been set up in the garden he quickly shot his right hand out towards the outline he could still see in his peripheral vision and dived in between the tents dragging it with him. There was a annoyed yell from the figure yet it sounded more feminine then Motley would have expected.

The figure began thrashing and struggling this movement making them much more visible even when looked at directly. Using this to his advantage Motley wrapped his arms around it tightly. "Right you backstabbing cut throat" he said "Lets have a look at you." He reached out and pulled off what he thought was the hood.

"Hey what the heck?" he said in surprise at finding himself looking into the angry looking face of a young and beautiful girl. "You Jolly well get your hands off me you blasted Jester. Or I'll ruddy well skewer you!" Motley could see this girl had some knives strapped to her waist so she wasn't making idle threats. "Before I do loveie who are you and what are you doing here?" he said. The girl glared at him "I'm called Stiletta. I'm a thief of the upper second level almost third. I'm just here 'working the crowd' and trying to see if I can get into the main building and loot it a little."

"So you're not an assassin sent by The Opposition?" Motley said Stiletta gave him an offended look "Do I look like some kind of cowardly backstabber!" Motley smiled "No you look like a brunette angel" he said with a flirty wink. Stiletta rolled her eyes "Oh please! I have better taste in men then you. Now look just let me go will you I'm not here to harm you I'm just earning my living." Motley sighed "Oh all right Miss Stiletta if you insist. He let her go Stiletta backed up from him slowly. "Thank you" she said tersely and made to pull her invisibility cloak back up so as to leave.

"By the way" Motley said Stiletta looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "If your looking to get into Brinkatore's house your best bet is to try round the back the big ornate window at the back is always left unlocked." Stiletta looked at him unsure if she believed him. "How do you know that and why would you help me?" she asked.

"Because the Count's wife Lady Vivian Brinkatore always has it left open so her...'gentlemen callers' can make discrete arrivals and if needed hasty exits as to why I'd help Count Brinkatore is one of Lord Fear's Opposition cronies" Motley said "And I'm with The Powers That Be so to see him loose some of his ill gotten wealth is fine by me."

Stiletta smirked "It seems Mr. Jester we share a similar sense of morality at least." Motley smiled "My names Motley" "Well Motley I owe you a favour somewhere down the line and I always repay my debts." This said Stiletta pulled her cloak back around her vanishing from sight and departing.

Motley smiled "I hope she loots the Count good and proper." This said he walked out of the gap between the tents almost walking right into someone it appeared to be a monk. "Oops sorry friar didn't see yer there" he said the hooded Monk stood looking at him in a stony silence. Motley worried he had offended him so decided to try and lighten the mood with a joke.

"Tell me Brother have you ever heard the one about the Christian who couldn't pronounce Christmas?" Motley said leaning on The Monk's shoulder in his normal friendly manner.

Back in the Black Tower of Goth this was what Lord Fear had been waiting for. "Now!" he commanded and immediately The Monk Monster pushed Motley back into the gap between the tents and lifted it's hood. The stunned Motley was in mid joke and just had time to take in its horrific features before the flash of Techno magic generated energy that emitted from its eyes hit him right dead in the face. Instantly hid body was completely frozen unable to move, make a sound or even think the last coherent thought he had going through his mind was the punch line of the joke he had just been about to tell.

Lord Fear smirked as he watched the scene unfold in The Pool of Veracity. "Excellent" he crowed "Excellent it working...now Hands! Hands where are you!" "I'm here your Worshipfulness" Hands said hurrying into the thrown room "Well your need on the Brinkatore estate" Lord Fear said with an evil grin, Hands smirked "Oh The Monk Monster done its work then?" "Yes the Jester is currently rooted to the spot between two tents get there and get him back here quickly."

Lord Fear immediately summoned up a portal and Hands hurried through it. Hands was temporarily disoriented by the magical form of transport but soon his senses steadied and he saw he was indeed on the Brinkatore estate and standing in front of him, with his back to him, was the frozen Motley. The Monk Monster still stood looking at Motley Hands paid it no heed though he was more interested in gloating at the trapped jester.

Hands walked forward and around to face Motley smirking at him "hello there jester" he said "Its you're lucky day" he said rummaging in his cloak "your going on a trip, yeah. Your goner be the first guest at his Lordships new palace." Hands found what he was looking for and brought out a pair of grimy battered old manacles, it was Skarkill's old enchanted Irons "and all compliments of my mate Skarkill" Hands said and began snapping the manacles to Motley's wrists.

He was just about finished when a cut glass voice spoke up behind him "I say you let him go you filthy vagabond!" There was a whistle of air as a blade flew over Hands head "Ohhhhhh who?" Hands turned round and saw a girl, brandishing another blade in her hand, standing behind The Monster Monk. Stiletta had seen The Monk Monster accost Motley and had come to investigate.

"Oooo Get her yer stupid Monk Monster!" he said mechanical weapon began to turn round intending to zap Stiletta with its freeze ray but Stiletta was quicker she sent her blade sailing through the air and it struck The Monk Monster right between its eyes.

There was a fizzing of Techno magic and The Monk Monster fell backwards onto Hands and Motley. Stiletta began to advance on Hands, Hands began panicking and he quickly snapped the last manacle onto Motley's wrists. There was a whoosh of magic as the spell enacted upon the manacles was activated and Hands, Motley and the destroyed Monk Monster were pulled through a portal back to The Black Tower of Goth.

Stiletta had to cover her eyes from the unnatural wind this caused and when she was able to once more look Motley and his attackers were gone. "Dash it all!" she said "They got away...now what do I do. I could stay and loot the Count's house...but I owe that Motley a favour." Stiletta sighed she couldn't not try and help Motley it would violate the thief's code. She sheaved her blade pulled her cloak back around her and hurried out of the estate and made her way to the nearest Powers That Be agents headquarters to report his kidnapped.

However while this was going on Motley found himself in the thrown room of The Black Tower of Goth, still frozen, stood before Lord Fear and the disgusting Sylvester Hands.

"Well, well I have to say Hands even though we lost The Monk Monster all in all this is what you call a successful operation." The vile techno-sorcerer crowed "The Powers That Be's little fool is in my clutches now. You did well Hands…for once." "Oh thank yer your poshness" Hands said grovellingly "Errr so what yer goner do with the jester now like?

"Hmmm yes an interesting problem" Lord Fear mused "Maybe I'll clap him in the new Goblin pens and see if Grippa, Rhark and Tiny find his act amusing." Motley couldn't hear any of this mercifully. Though the effects of the ray slowly began wearing off. Hands noticed his fingers twitch slightly "Oh your Lordships I think the freeze ray thing is wearing off." He said Lord Fear looked at Motley "Shame I liked having him as a statute" just as these words left Lord Fear's mouth the sinister leader of The Opposition got a really evil gleam in his eyes.

"That's it I know what I'll do with him I just acquired a new spell and he'll make the perfect test subject for it. Stand back Hands unless you want to be rooted to that spot forever!" Hands quickly scampered away from Motley. Lord Fear raised his hands and said at the top of his voice "AVASH KARARASH!" There was a blinding flash of light and when it faded where Motley had once stood now stood a stone statue of him.

"There" Lord Fear said with a triumphant smirk "He'll make the perfect decoration for some far flung corner of my Kingdome." He waved his hands and the now stone Motley vanished. "Oh where did you send him your Lordships?" Hands asked "To one of the deeper rooms of the dungeon Hands." Lord Fear said "But, what if one of the dungoneeras finds him?" Hands said "Ha! Fat chance of that I sent him to a room that's no longer visited by the quest and even if by some chance they do find him there's only two ways to break that enchantment either with Reach magic which The Powers That Be don't poses or by the application of enchanted pigeon guano" Hands looked blankly at Lord Fear "That's Pigeon droppings Hands, in your simplistic terminology but since no one but you and I know what has happened to that daffy jester even if they do find him why would they think to sprinkle any kind of magic powder over him hmmm? No my old dirt ball this one….is on The Opposition."

The Powers That Be, acting on Stiletta's report of the kidnapping, searched and searched for Motley for months and month's but to no avail the continued searching right up until the new quest season began and their resources had to be put into helping the Dungeoneer in their quests. All the while deep, deep within the dank confines of the dungeon a statue of a jester stood hidden from view waiting…waiting for the day he would be freed and be able to finish the joke he had started to tell.

"Richard trying sprinkling the pigeon droppings on the statue…"