He was the greatest assassin and enforcer the Syndemo organization had ever retained, and just recently foiled in an attempt on the life of a prominent local landowner at the behest of Lady Faxhall, the hypochondriac nymphomaniac lynchpin of a far-ranging conspiracy. He was behind the blade on many of the most vicious encounters that Cecil the potato-loving priest and Vic the unlucky thief had been though, from the Lillandel mine ambush to the halfling prostitute kidnapping. A mountain of a man, he went by many aliases, each as dark as the cloak he wore and as crooked as the feathered hat rakishly tilted over a shaven pate.

To Vic and Cecil, their hulking foe was only known as Big McLargehuge.

And now, atop the icy winter spires of Cecil’s ancestral manor, he was about to be brought to justice.

McLargeHuge’s assassination attempt had ended in failure, with Roxie the porcelain sex doll golem smashed, the gnome negotiator/sorcerer fled, Bear the Berserker cut down in mid-drinking-song. Fleeing to the roof, the assassin found himself with Vic and Cecil at his back, with their well-armed hirelings Namor Ylati(Junior Bro of the Order of the Tri-Delts associated with the Knights of Clohl) and Sirea Lossberg (who Vic had accidentally hired while trying to proposition).

“Y-you there!” cried Vic, his voice muffled by the cloth he had wound around his head to conceal his identity and avoid reprisals should the battle go ill. “Stop all the getting-away-like…stuff!”

Big McLargeHuge turned around, the icy wind on the rather flat but still sloped castle roof catching his cloak dramatically. “I agree, it’s time to end things,” he said menacingly. A blade of foreign manufacture, crackling with enchantments, whipped out of its scabbard. “Come and face your doom, you interfering necromancer.”

“H-how many times do I have to tell you people, I’m not a necromancer!” Vic cried. “I’m a…treasure…hunter-type…guy.”

“You’re a dead man,” said McLargeHuge, his sword singing as it cut through the air in a practice swing. “That’s necromancer enough for me.

“Stop that there assassin in the name of Clohl!” cried Cecil. His estranged father had been the assassin’s target, and even though he remembered little of his life before a potato-shaped rock had called him to the priesthood, he was still honor-bound to intervene. In invoking the spirit of Surah 18, Psalm 42, Line 118, Word 3 of the Book of Jehosephat (which was a real page-turner), Cecil had cast a holy spell.

The assassin had been focused on taunting the “necromancer,” seeing him as the key threat. So the spell of holding cast by the bumpkin-seeming priest in overalls and a flowered hat caught him totally by surprise. His taunting words died in his mouth and he froze, a surprised expression on his face, just as surely as if he had been left to the snowy elements for a week. A light breeze whipped up, and the assassin pitched over, still stock-still, onto his side.

Ice on the castle roof and gravity did the rest.

“Oh!” cried Cecil.

“Ooh!” yelped Vic.

“Dude!” whistled Namor.

“Ouch!” winced Sirea.

Nimbly shimmying down the waterspouts castleside, Vic approached the fallen, motionless assassin.

“Is them that there malefactor…dead?” Cecil cried with heartbreak in his voice.

Vic took the opportunity to rifle through Big McLargeHuge’s pockets and his…everywhere else. “Got to look more closely to be sure.” In moments he had appropriated the assassin’s badass hat, badassier cape, and badassest sword (along with 275 ducats from an inner pocket).

When Cecil’s spell wore off moments later, the assassin found himself unarmed, partially undressed, and defenseless. His previous bravado forgotten, he beat a hasty retreat toward the tall fence at the edge of the property. Vic’s attempt to pursue was undermined somewhat by tripping on the cape that he had somehow managed to fasten around himself in the confusion (to say nothing of the large-brimmed hat that was suddenly interfering with his peripheral vision).

It looked like the vile Syndemo assassin BigMcLargeHuge might escape after all; he had scrambled over the fence before Vic could find his footing.

And then Sirea bore down upon him like an avenging angel. Using the spear she had stolen from one of McLargeHuge’s own Syndemo mercenaries in the Lillendel mines, she vaulted over the fence in a show of extraordinary grace (and, from Vic’s point of view, extraordinary ass). Her boots were planted square in the small of the assassin’s back, knocking him out for good and all.

By the time the less-agile Cecil and Namor reached ground level, Sirea had tied the unconscious assassin to her spear like a boar on a spit and was dragging him back toward the property.

“I think I’m in love,” Vic breathed.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!