It started off a day like any other: I woke up outside, stoked the coals to boil water and make coffee, untethered Rocinante, and began stretching. I slept pretty well and my shoulder stiffness is abating. I played a few songs while I enjoyed my coffee and hacked a dart. Packed up camp at a deliberate though purposeful pace. Walking to the road with Rocinante, I noticed a large group of people in the distance on the move so I rode up to them.
There was lots of bawling and self-pity, and while they were utterly wretched and seemed to have come by their disposition honestly, I didn’t feel particularly up to the challenge of engaging them in conversation. Woulda harshed my mel’. Instead I nodded in greeting then rode alongside at a slight distance.
We came to a castle at length and they began trickling in. I was greeted by a paladin whom I later found out was named Emilio. He had two friends, Abel and Lynn, and the three of them seemed the only ones there who didn’t have a dark cloud above their heads, and this particular morning I had already had enough “rain.”
They seemed to be still in the middle of figuring out their next move. I offered my rapier to their cause they seemed nice enough and I suppose did my part in sussing out a plan. I am always a little wary about volunteering ideas to new adventurers whose parties I join because even though the group is often fluid, I am still a new and unproven outsider. Plus, I know how I tend toward thinking my ideas are the best, so I try and be very mindful about not being too obtrusive with suggestions.
We decided on a course of action after they over-estimated what I meant when I said my knowledge of spiders was “slighty above rudimentary.” Truth is, I don’t think I know a lot about spiders -but I hate saying “no” when I can give an “honest yes”, which I then trust people to decipher as “no” without me actually having to say “no”. I need to be a little more judicious about this approach and just say “no” when I don’t know. So many missed opportunities and so many tragic misunderstandings because my younger self tried to be “all things to all people”. Still we mustn’t waste days lamenting over wasted days…..
Long-story short, I ended up getting mandible shitf—ked in the chest by a giant spider. This was actually our second visit to the spiders, and incidentally the only one in which we got attacked. What does it all mean? 🤔
Anyways, I thought I could try and join their spider cult if I acted all spidery so I turned on the charm and started bouldering and balancing on a slack line. Some young shooter didn’t like getting stunted on and so he started to flex, hissing at me and shit. I was like “You don’t even know! I’m about to shit on this bitch!” I presti’d some fuego in both hands and began screaming from my perch on my “web” using my sacred beast speech ability, intimidating af. He got shook real quick. Then I started making eyes at the girl spider just to clown him. I wasn’t really even all that attracted to her, cause she’s like a giant spider, but I want that young one to think that the only reason I didn’t smash is cause I tried to show him mercy. If he knew I thought his girl was ugly it would break his spirit, and he already took an L today.
So making eyes at the spider-queen, I start playing Goldfinger for her on my guitar “…..the man with a Midas touch -A SPI-der’s TOUCH!!….”. I think in retrospect this is where everything went f—kup for me and the crew. The shooter got froggy again and attacked me. Thankfully I was wearing my breastplate, but I was fairly shocked because the queen was looking at me like things were “getting right” for her, all hungry-eyed and such, and nothing is more shocking than having some ruffian remove his glove and slap you with it when you a-courting.
So there I am, on my slackline playing Goldfinger bleeding out my chest -all in all, not the worst date I’ve been on- and a battle ensues. Everyone seems to be making good account of themselves. I think Lynn might got bit too, but I think she got poisoned. Abel, a druid, summoned more spiders for some f—king reason and half of them were horny young bucks too who started white-knighting for the queen trying to get in her pants.
Then ….what’s his name? Emilio! Emilio is all like, “Guantanamo, you didn’t yell for help like you were supposed to!”
“Are you joking me?” I would have thought that getting bitten in the chest by a giant f—king spider counted as universal sign language for “Help”!
It takes all kinds I guess…
At this point, I (reluctantly) slung my guitar, shot an agonizing blast which knocked a spider from the ceiling and slashf—ked another one.
How did it feel? F—king awesome I guess.
I don’t know.
It’s not like a karma thing where I lament having to kill the spiders, but like, this problem should have never got to this level. I feel like there’s a proper place for spiders where we can coexist with them. It’s at the margins of our homes, or in the case of giant spiders, the margins of society. We shouldn’t be furnishing them with nests; they can’t help who they are, they are going to begin eating us at some point. It seemed like a no-brainer to me.
So whatever, we killed them and started heading to some amber door I think. -I don’t really pay as much attention as I should. One day into the two day journey we encountered some zombies in the woods. I was like, “Hell Yeah.” And tried to charge them, but they were more
B A S E D than the little male spider and didn’t flinch.
I’ll be honest though, in that charge I experienced a moment of doubt which I think led to the ultimate failure of trying to rout them and scare them. I suppose I am still possessed of a fairly persistent idea which I read long ago in some archaic bestiary: “Zombies are formed from the corpses of men executed for committing the most depraved and DEGENERATIVE crimes against the innocent….”
That word: It was seared into my brain.
I knew exactly what they were talking about even though I had no precise definition of the word. I look at them (zombies) as a special case in my sub-conscious quite possibly. It’s not that I have especial hatred for them because they were (probably) child-molestors, as the bestiary rather ham-fistedly implied, I mean, sure -it’s that too, but I am aware of the absolute darkness they saw and felt in life and now endure in undeath, and in that moment,
I. Felt. Doubt.
I doubted my ability to frighten them because they are the true embodiment of darkness; a darkness so deep that it isn’t simply satisfied with extinguishing light, but which seeks to make a mockery of the light’s very existence by snuffing out the fresh sparks which have yet to blossom into luminescence.
For a man to get to that point of darkness… For a creature to be possessed of that point of darkness… What can I possibly do to frighten it? Hence, I believe, my doubt.
Fortunately, my rapier and elven dagger demonstrated much greater self-confidence than their wielder. The battle seems won, but there are still some writhing limbs on the ground and we should clean them up. I mean, kids play here, right?
ONWARD TO THE AMBER DOOR!!