The Fellowship of the Note
The heroes of the Fellowship of the Note pressed on through the Sharp Complexities, weaving their way through the massive growths of land-coral, beautiful in B♭. Spider-rabbits scampered here and there, just barely getting out of the single file of the Fellowship, just as if it were an ordinary and peaceful day, and the world weren’t in imminant danger of being flooded by the Quiet Lord’s undead monsters. Herothree, wielder of the Minty Bow, wondered if it would be disrespectful to use that mystic artifact of Noise to bring down a spider-rabbit for lunch. He sighed. Herone, at the head of the single file as always, pointed a chirper at him, and signalled urgency and danger with one sharp wordless ping. Herothree sighed, and pressed on. He at least could admire the echoes off of Hertwo’s delightful posterior immediately in front of him, and imagine, against all hope, that she might someday press that posterior against him.(☗) Behind him, Herofour made some intricate poem about land-coral and acting moral.
(☗) We presume, on general principles, that at least one of the Fellowship was adolescent, and that another of the Fellowship was physically appealing to that one.
Herone stopped suddenly, and gathered the Fellowship together to whisper, “A strange thing has come upon the wind. The whispering of the corals has taken an ominous note. I do not hear this thing myself yet, but soon we will.
Wise Herowiz, that old wizard who had guided them so far, stroked his fur with a tentacle. He may have gone straggly and split-end-echoy with age, and a battle with the Softrog may have taken two of his chirpers, but no cush could match his understanding of the mystic arts. “A strange spell comes from above, echoing around us. Its details are foreign to me, but it is seeking — seeking.”
Herofive moaned, “Oh, the Quiet Lord! She will stop at nothing to keep us from assembling the five Armaments of the Note, which have been prophecied to destroy her forever!”(✑)
(✑) The number 5 is conjectural, though it’s definitely at least 4, since they had three and were en queste for the next one. There’s usually a prophecy involved in this sort of situation as well. We may also note that the Quiet Lord was behaving entirely predictably and even rationally in attempting to stop the Fellowship before they destroyed her forever.
Hertwo, who had the best fixed-ears in the Fellowship, waved two tentacles at Herofive to shut him up. She held the Mintwall Shield to her head, as a sound-mirror. “I hear them. Two of them, high in the sky. They fly with a complicated double beat, as though they have two pairs of wings. They are huge and terrible, and fly the way that lava rivers pour. Herothree, raise the Minty Bow, and send its arrows aloft as soon as you can locate your target! Herone, unlimber the C♯ Spear! We shall soon have need of its might!”
Herothree frowned to himself at her lack of confidence in him. Was he not as much a member of the far-scatter clan Hero as she and Herone? Was his mystic weapon not one of the five legendary weapons? True, he was a callow youth, but he would show her!
And in due time, the whole Fellowship could hear the intruders, as alien and terrifying as Hertwo had said. He raised the Minty Bow and pulled its string to his side, enjoying the eloquent herbal scent of its power. An arrow of stringent energy appeared when the bow was drawn, as it always did, and he took aim at the nearer of the flying things, and fired.
The Minty Bow’s arrow flew true, and struck the monster squarely in the chest.
The monster roared, a complicated tune of fury and pain. Its companion answered it in a brutal wordless challenge for the Fellowship.
(In the sky, Vaareng exclaimed, “Why, one of the annoying little people has shot an energy bolt through my the Small Wall and stung into my chest-scales!” and healed himself. Evrath answered him, “I told you, you should have gotten Driaith to give you the Hoplonton. Vaareng said, “I can’t impress Driaith with my hoard-gathering if he has helped me, now, can I?” Evrath snorted. “That has never bothered Charimaan and me, never.”)
“Oh, well done, Herothree! You struck it amidships!” cried Hertwo. “Now again! Cripple its wings and tumble it out of the sky!”
Herothree resonated a major chord from the praise, and fired again. The flying monster was alert this time, and dodged away from the speeding minty bolt. The two of them roared in vicious vile monstrous rage, and beat their four wings harder, descending from the sky towards the heroes.
(“I say! They are a persistant lot!” said Evrath. “They are trying to harm us,” said Vaareng. “By ancient draconic law, we are obliged to slay them or defeat them utterly.” Evrath chuckled. “That is fortunate, as they have several mystic devices which would make excellent additions to our hoards. Let us fly low and fulfil our obligations! But gentle on the fire and lightning. Destroying the treasure would be a shame. Do tilt your the Small Wall against those arrows, though.”)
Herothree fired a veritable storm of arrows at them, but they dodged many, and the few that hit them seemed to hurt no more than normal arrows would hurt a elaraffe or some other massive land beast of the southern tilt-plains. He winced inwardly, certain that his chances with Hertwo were evaporating.
Herowiz drew forth a carved box of mystic streeble-wood, and from it an ancient flint talisman. “In the names of Deityone and Deitytwo, I command the winds to blow in a storm and sweep away the flying monsters!” The winds gathered and grew — and then Herowiz yelped. “They have broken my mighty incantation, even as a grimblehash shell is broken when an elaraffe steps upon it!”
(Vaareng had swatted the spell with his vô and broken it. Even as chatty dragons as those two did not find the matter worth remarking upon.)
The heroes scrambled to a tight place where the land-coral grew high and thick and close, to get a bit of extra defense from the monsters. Herothree wedged himself just in front of Hertwo, the sharp edges of the plants opening a few tiny cuts in his flank. “Oh, you’re hurt! Careful, Herothree!” she said.
Herone, holding the C♯ Spear, stood in front of the opening when the monsters came. He sounded tiny against their huge bulks, but his voice was solid and steady. “Servants of the Quiet Lord, you cannot hope to prevail against a hero armed with the C♯ Spear!”