-“Why do you need me to write the letter?” asked Samir, a puzzled expression on his face
-“You hail from Whadi for one. I don’t want anything lost in translation or send the wrong diplomatic cues. Plus your calligraphy is impeccable, suitable for an official communication.”
Hasdrubal raised his hands open palm, then turn them toward him as if to let his friend inspect both sides. Large tanned mitts scarred by countless combat.
-“These weren’t built for finesse.”
-“Fair” nodded the rogue and he sat down at Hasdrubal desk, picked the quill dipped it in the ink vial ready waiting for his friend to start.
“I, Hasdrubal Thesh, Ever-victorious Scourge of the Undead, Shining Star of Sekunta, …
Samir jotted the grandiloquent dictation absent mindedly, while Hasdrubal paced back and forth continuing his narration.
Officially, the letter’s aim was to inform the great priestess that the group agreed to come to the city’s aid, announce the date and time of their arrival but in reality the true intent of the letter was to try to rectify something that had been bothering Hasdrubal for a good while now. In the Ruby Kingdom of Nefehri their group was known as the “Mewling Quims”, a group name he much reviled as not befitting a hero of their stature… Hasdrubal hoped that by subtly hinting that the group name was the similar-ish sounding ‘Howling Kings’ all along this would help dispel the old one once and for all.
The irony of the situation was not lost on Samir. He had helped popularized the name and now he was enlisted to undo one of his favorite prank.
«Silly Hasdy… Mewling Quims… It could have been Scabby Maggots or Dancing Dandelions, who really gives a rat’s ass about what crappy name we’re known under? We’ve been kicking ass and taking name! Who cares? If the “Mewling Quims” can clean the clock of the “Great Knights of Magnus” or any other pompous fools, who is really worthy of ridicule?» reflected Samir to himself.
-"And sign: “Hasdrubal Thesh, Protector of Wadhi, Leader of the Howling Kings…”"
-“Leader, huh? You’re lucky my curse don’t apply to writing.”
-“Hum… They think I am, I am just rolling with it.” responded Hasdrubal slightly annoyed.
-“Uh huh.” replied Samir half-smiling.
Samir dip the quill in the ink one last time to pen the last two words but as the tip of the quill touched the paper a powerful compulsion stopped him to move his hand further.
“What is this?? the curse shouldn’t affect my writing!”
Samir tried again more forcefully to no avail, then again this time using his left hand trying to make the right one comply.
“That doesn’t even make sense! It’s not even a lie, Hasdy can call himself whatever the fuck he wants! What’s going on??”
The desk noisily shaking from Samir struggle against himself finally attracted Hasdrubal attention.
-“… everything’s alright?”
Samir froze and with a forced smile gritted through his teeth “just putting the final touch”.
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath to collect himself. His right hand steadied and he resumed writing.
“ok nice and easy H-O-W-L-I-N-G-K-I-N-G-S”
Samir opened his eyes and looked down.
“Hasdrubal Thesh, Protector of Whadi, Leader of the Mewling Quims”
Even stronger than his curse was his own compulsion: No vanity shall go unpunished.
Hasdrubal visibly suspicious started approaching him “Can I have a look?” his hand gesturing to hand over the parchment
With only a second to react, Samir instinctively ‘accidentally’ tipped the vial of ink on the letter.
“Ah what a klutz! Never fear, my friend, I’ll write another one again… Your ol’ buddy has all the text engraved right here.” said Samir pointing at his temple “I’ll just go and do that now.”
Samir grabbed the soiled missive and started walking towards the door at a rushed pace, which turn into a full sprint out of the room when Hasdrubal picked up the pace towards him on an interception course.
@%#$?$&#%*! COME BACK HERE!”