A Simple Rhyme


Artemis groaned. Jarlaxle was teaching Athrogate how to rhyme.

"Assonance is when you make a vowel sound the same as another," the dark elf said, grinning. He was sitting cross-legged on the ground beside the dwarf, who was scowling thoughtfully. "Are you still with me?" The mercenary waited for Athrogate's reply.

There was a mean glint beginning to enter the dwarven assassin's eyes. Athrogate said, tugging on his beard, "This here'n is going to improve my battle cry to the point where," he looked up at Artemis evilly and paused deliberately, "I just may have to keep in practice off the field of combat."

"There's the spirit!" Jarlaxle said, gesturing enthusiastically. "You'll be the envy of a bard!" He held up an index finger and composed himself. "Now listen carefully."

Athrogate grunted.

"Artemis never lets anyone get the better of him." Jarlaxle enunciated the sentence carefully.

The dwarf looked at Entreri dubiously. Entreri looked dubiously back. They both turned their eyes to Jarlaxle.

"The E's," Jarlaxle said simply, shrugging. "In that sentence, the repeated sound of the E's – Artemis, never, lets, get, and better – all sound the same. That is the concept of assonance."

Athrogate's face split into a grin. "I like seeing spies writhe on wide spikes," the dwarf said. "How's that for ya?" His beady little eyes turned to slits, squinting malevolently at the darkening face of the human assassin. Artemis had to control himself, or else he would behead Athrogate in a moment for the threat.

"Very nice," Jarlaxle said, beaming politely. "I think you're catching on well, sir dwarf."

The assassin had to grind his teeth together to keep from outright roaring at the elf to kill Athrogate for the implication that he and Jarlaxle were simply playing the dangerous assassins for better profit with the intention to turn over the feared Citadel to King Gareth later. Besides, if anything, Artemis thought that the insane drow was playing King Gareth until he could turn the paladin hero over to the Citadel to secure high standing among the cabal of killers.

"Shut up," Artemis said, opting for the near-customary response instead of a detailed threat in response to the dwarf's aggravating leer.

Jarlaxle let out a gasp of delight and clapped his hands together in rapid applause. He looked at Artemis with an innocent, wide-eyed expression. "That's assonance, too!" He gestured excitedly to the standing Calishite. "Why don't you join us?" he said. He patted the grass beside him. "There's plenty of room!"

The assassin gave his partner a dead stare. "Shove it up your assonance."

Jarlaxle's lips twitched upwards, even as he tried to maintain a serious demeanor.

The dwarf threw back his head and let loose a burst of laughter. "Bwahahaha!"

Entreri decided that right thing to do at the moment was a strategic retreat. He appointed himself the camp watchman and began scouting the area for threats.

Jarlaxle watched him go, smiling.