Greetings and salutations, faithful readers! I am Timothy Scott Purvis, and this is another rousing round of Story Time With Tim! A weekly series where I share my short stories and novellas that I’ve written over the years. At least, until I run out of them and have to come up something else to amuse the masses with!
Today’s tale is called ‘Priceless’. I wrote it in the mid 2000’s and am actually quite pleased with it. It takes the concept of those Mastercard commercials and turns it around to ask, ‘what kind of credit card would high fantasy characters use?’ This is the answer to that question that only I have asked. It’s cute, it’s funny, it’s irreverent, and it’s relatively quick to read.
Remember, after the story, there will be links to where this tale is available and I hope you’ll take a moment to go check it out and support the cause. Thanks for reading and I’ll read to you again soon!
Orcs, trolls, and a few ogres bustled angrily behind the dazed pixie. She sat there, staring vacantly at nothing while white light flickered all around. Tiny faeries flittered busily nearby while an air of expediency, replete with a tiny smidgeon of excitement, permeated the environ.
The pixie’s name was unimportant, to anyone; though rumor had it she was called Lilic. It was really what she could offer that was of consequence. Of course, she wasn’t entirely certain what that consequence was as the last several hours had been complete blurs. However, she found it easy to ignore the various beasts hurriedly setting up sounding equipment, lighting devices, and props. Nearby, a particularly burly orc was pushing a faux tree into position. He wiped a layer of grease onto his already filth encrusted overalls.
Still the pixie didn’t move from where she sat on a single fold-out chair in the middle of the room surrounded with the intensity of bustle, action, and hastened necessity. Beams of light from the various devices pointed her out with extreme prejudice. Yet she didn’t blink.
Her pink hair suddenly started fluffing under the firm hand of a quiet bearded dwarf with massive breasts and a seemingly underlying bad attitude. Lilic didn’t spare a glance for the woman yanking and pulling at her hair trying to make it into something barely passing a semblance to acceptable.
“Ready on set!” a voice commanded.
It had emanated from the darkened recesses beyond the scope of where the light shined. The wicked flurry of activity dissipated leaving a startling silence in its wake. Lilic found herself alone under the spotlight and shifted her position ever so slightly; her back became only a little bit more rigid. Yet her eyes remained fixed on nothing.
She couldn’t see the imperceptible zoom of a camera’s focus upon the tiny area in which she sat. Though anyone staring at the monitor beside a graying wizard of a director would have seen the glazed look Lilic gave vividly upon its screen.
The wizened director, looking much like a manic sociopath with a long mane of white hair crowned by a red Hobbit League Baseball cap, sat forward in his chair.
“Action!” he shouted.
Lilic looked at him. He hadn’t even used a bullhorn yet his voice was a ponderous boom around the staging area. Her glance shifted to a lean looking elf who walked up to a microphone and cupped his left hand to the massive headset adorning his ears. She smiled to herself realizing he was fairly reminiscent of a very tall stick figure Martian with pointy ears sticking out from beneath a set of huge unicorn hooves.
“Can you tell us a little bit about how it happened?” he asked.
Lilic’s mouth formed an ‘oh’ as the skinny elf let loose his deep voice, much akin to that movie announcer who always spoke for the coming attractions.
“Huh?” she said. “Oh. I mean, it wasn’t my fault. Well, I guess from a certain point of view I can see how others could construe it that way.”
With a tilt of the head, the pink in Lilic’s hair turned just a shade lighter and sparkled ever so slightly. There was an eerie silence surrounding her. Well, save for her melodious voice echoing back at her that was.
“I’m just a pixie, you see,” she said. “I’m not even the brightest pixie ever, either. My brother, curse him, always said I’d end up screwing the pooch. Though, I don’t really know why he felt the need to bring up a pooch or why anyone’d want to screw one. That just strikes me as a little weird.”
She tilted her head back as she leaned a little further into her seat. Those gathered around shared amused and knowing grins. Though Lilic didn’t notice. She crossed her legs and continued absently, a slim finger coming to her cherry lips thoughtfully.
“But anyhow, like I was saying, it wasn’t really my fault.”
She thought back to a few weeks before hand. It was a time where there were no hot and searing lights trying to penetrate her soul, no gossiping creatures of terror, and certainly no off handed judgements being cast.
Wafts of pink and purple smoke rose from the campfire that she and her associate had made that night. It had been deep in the woods where they had made camp. The images of her thoughts brought to life in vivid detail behind her in another spotlighted clearing. Though she didn’t notice the magical projections as she spoke.
“Jerad and I were sitting there by the campfire you know practicing our healing techniques,” she went on with her recollections. “He’s a cleric you see and a really good one, especially for a dwarf. I had added an extra ingredient to the smoking pile of substances already cooking in the brew…or whatever it was.”
Lilic pursed her lips and cast her glance up to the ceiling trying to remember everything about that night. It had been so calm and serene; the dancing fire casted its glow across the shadow strewn forest floor and just barely across the bottom most reaches of the forest canopy.
“I don’t remember exactly, but there was a lot of weird smoke and a peculiar smell.”
She remembered how she and Jerad danced around the campfire maniacally, giggling and laughing and enjoying themselves immensely as the night wore on, when the two came to a stop with no reason save for a striking realization.
“Then we concluded something very important and Jerad was like, ‘We have a responsibility to our Lord and King to defeat the goblin hordes threatening our borders!’
And I was like, ‘Yeah! We should show them why they shouldn’t mess with us!’ And we laughed and laughed.”
Several members gathered in the studio stared at the pixie smiling incessantly and wiggling her small frame in joy, her pink hair bouncing in rhythm to her amusement. She flashed her teeth in a broad smile and continued her narration.
“So, giddy with excitement, or maybe it was just because of all the shadows and lights playing all sorts of groovy colors all over the forest walls…or were those trees? They was trees! Yeah!”
She stopped dancing and stared straight ahead at the monitor with a most serious demeanor. “You know, I feel small next to a dwarf, particularly in the middle of a dark and creepy forest where I’m supposed to be from but I don’t really remember where I came from.”
The intense look of thrill returned to her visage and Lilic resumed a sort of dancing in her seat. “But the light was wild! It was everywhere! The fired was dancing wildly too and I recall that Jerad and I knew, just KNEW we had to do something drastic.
“Therefore, we gathered our equipment together and planned our course of action. First, what we would do would be to raid the goblin horde’s armory.”
She stood up and tugged on her skirt to straighten it out and then sat back down on the edge of the chair. “It was a little difficult as the goblin’s were running and screaming and acting like they’d never seen a dwarf and a pixie attacking their sanctuary before.”
Recollections of spellcasting and dwarven battle cries echoed through her head as she smiled at no one in particular. “And I kept getting distracted by Jerad who, for some reason, kept raising his hands and screaming to the heavens.”
She emulated the gesture and raised her arms and hands above her head. “You know, ‘ARGGGHH!’ or something like that.”
She dropped her arms back to her lap and tilted her head again. “And he got hurt a few times and we had to keep using our special medicines to stay in the action. But you know it was worth it especially when all the goblins were retreating and screaming in terror back across the bridge crossing the moat to their fortress. So we got this idea to stop them from coming back over the Bridge of Infinite Capacity–or was that limited?–or whatever and destroy it before reinforcements could arrive.
“I tried my fire dust but it just wasn’t igniting so Jerad pulled out this explosive stuff and, BOOM!, the bridge exploded and the supports collapsed!”
Strange giggles broke forth from Lilic and she forced herself to settle down if only for the congregation of strangers staring at her in horror like they’d just seen the most terrifying scene ever. She ignored them and waved her hand through the air in front of her, which to her seemed to trail colors spanning the yellow to green spectrum and creating an unusual afterglow. She tried to pull her eyes away from the effect but did it again anyway and kept speaking into the growing silence.
“For some strange reason, the goblins kept acting like they knew us, shouting,
‘Lilic!? What are you doing!?’ or,
‘Jerad?! What the hell are you two doing!?’ But we, like, knew it was a trick.”
Gaping maws looked at her as she stared back at the people behind the cameras and the lights. Even the Martian elf was making an ‘oh’ face unlike any she’d ever seen.
“What? Why are you looking at me like that? Oh, what, you think because I have pink hair I’m some sort of punker!?” She raised her fist defiantly and beat it through the air. “Or do you think I’m a ditz!?”
She leaned back into her seat and blinked slowly and swallowed casually.
“Whatever. So, we proceeded to plow through legions of goblins and rushed up the stairwell towards their courtly chambers, all the while Jerad’s screaming his ‘argh’ like a madman. He was a drama major you know. Got stuck as a cleric, cause no one would hire him,” she wobbled in her chair slightly. “Critics. Upstairs, we found the goblin king and started casting spells and wielding weapons we were never really trained on and somehow managed to make short work of those fools.”
Laughter burst forth and Lilic could barely continue what she was saying. Somehow, though, she pulled herself together to manage coming to an end of her anecdote.
“And, it’s so funny, the goblin king is running around on fire and flipping on the floor screaming like a little faerie! And Jerad waves this… I don’t know… something and all these demons come up and start wreaking havoc. The goblins are fleeing, the king is screaming, and all hell has broken loose! It was great! We’d succeeded in razing the goblin fortress! And Jerad and I laughed and laughed. But then we stopped laughing when we suddenly see our Lord and King, Galdimir, running around with his pants burning off and screaming and rolling on the floor where the goblin king should’ve been and we’re like,
‘What’s Lord Galdimir doing here?’”
She shakes her head and sighs deeply.
“Anyhow, we later wake up in the dungeon, guess we passed out or something, and the Lord summons us and says that we should take some time off and go into, uh, rehab or somethin’. Like, what’s up with that?”
Everyone stared at Lilic who had finished her story and was once again staring absently at the cameras. Astonished expressions of disbelief made their way across the faces of those standing around the studio. The elf raised his left hand back to his head piece and started talking once more as the monitor near the director displayed his words in written form across its screen.
“Destroyed Bridge of Limited Capacity: 200 Gold Pieces
Razed ‘Goblin Horde’ for battle armor: 150 Gold Pieces
Burned the pants off of Lord Galdimir: 500 Gold Pieces
Witnessing a Dwarf cleric and Pixie hallucinogenist storm an ‘impenetrable’ fortress filled with armed soldiers surrounded by a deep, croc-filled moat, infiltrating the High Lord’s chamber, and inadvertently summoning the minions of Hell only to discover that they attacked their own lord’s keep…
… : Priceless.
For everything else, there’s Dungeon Master Card.”
Lilic the Pixie stared at the elf as he smiled and took off his headset and the director called out “Cut! That’s a wrap!” She was left with few words to say but said them anyway, “I don’t get it…”
And so brings to an end another week of storytelling! Hope you return again soon for more and thanks for taking a moment to read my work! Are you enjoying everything so far? Are you not? However you’re feeling, share your thoughts in the comment board below! By the way, if you do share a thought and it’s not immediately responded to, that’s because of the spam folder holding that comment up and requiring my direct attention. Which, of course, it never alerts me to! Sheesh! I have to be so proactive on this blog, I tell you what!
Anyhow, here are the links to where you can purchase this work as well as many others!
Tales From A Strange Mind Volume One:
Check out volume three of Three Stories collection where this tale is located right here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KPLH6KY/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i5
See you again soon!
~Timothy S Purvis
Hey, did you know I have books and short stories for sale on my personal author’s page? Well, If the links above didn’t clue you in enough to that fact, then check out the novel I’m most proud of below and go and support the cause!