Humor · Short Story · Twitch Stream · Writing · Xero Should Be Writing

Xero Should Be Writing Episode 2!

The experiment continues, and last night I let the audience have more free rein over the tale’s creation, including the genre. As always, they were hilarious, and it was my honor to funnel their ideas into the narrative. Here’s what they came up with for the structure:

Genre: Post Apocalyptic Fantasy/Sci-Fi w/ a touch of the romance.
Hero: Female. Ta’Challa. Tiefling with a soft spot for all things fluffy.
Love Interest: Female – Bardyn hafling.
Villain: An orc named Jork, who is a bit of a jerk. Jeez.
Conflict: Jork straight up ganked Bradyn’s bitchin’ shiny spinning rims, yo. Fool best break himself, etc. – sold to purchase the last fluffy unicorn.
Location: Faedrial

What follows is clearly evidence of what happens when a meme-savvy group of Dungeon and Dragon players get together. If you’d like to watch the stream that birthed this story, you can do so here. Apologies for the muted sections. I had underestimated Twitch’s content ID system when playing music.

In any case, here is the story that Twitch wrote last night:

A Twitch-driven Fantasy

by The Fantastic Audience of and Xero Reynolds

Once, in the distant realm of Faedrial, there lived a curious woman. A tiefling. She was of demonic heritage, yes, but that was several branches of the family tree ago. Nevertheless, she was something of an outcast among her kith and kin, obsessed as she was with her ardent pursuit of all things … well … fluffy.

While normally this would not have raised many eyebrows, the fact that this dear woman was a tiefling made her inclinations something of a rarity, if not a mutation, depending on whom one asked. It simply wasn’t done among the ilk, you see. But, for Ta’Challa, things that were fluffy were items of wondrous creation in her otherwise muddled world of gray. She loved them so.

One might think that her tale would end there, with her cheerfully discovering all myriad forms of fluffiness that existed across creation—and, of course learning to live in the harsh conditions of said creation after the cataclysmic event that had nearly ended it—but you would be mistaken. For there was one thing—one singular peculiar thing—that Ta’Challa had come to discover as more precious than the fluffiest cloud; more resplendent than the poofiest rabbit; more glorious than the softest and most luxurious yarn.

The female halfling, Bardyn.

Ta’Challa was nigh hypnotized by the subtleties and effervescence of the halfling, and what had once began as a passing interest soon blossomed into something far more deep-seated and ponderous. Ta’Challa had not so much as spoken to this lovely creature, yet as the days flowed into one another without contact, the tiefling felt an ache in her heart that no amount of exposure to fluffy things could satisfy.

Oh, to be in love, yet not comforted by even the most puffy of things. I think, dear reader, that you know of what I speak.

It was at the season’s turning that, at last, an idea began to take shape in Ta’Challa’s otherwise burdened mind. It was something of a gamble, as Ta’Challa had no idea whatsoever what this half-sized vision of loveliness even liked. But, as they say, it was a plan at least.

Ta’Challa, ever one for grand displays of affection, would provoke what was to her mind the ultimate expression of love: a token of sacrifice. In short, she would purchase the fluffiest of objects, and instead of adding it to her hoard of treasures, she would instead gift it upon the fair lady Bardyn. That, more than any fleeting exchange of pleasantries, would be the perfect way to introduce herself.

Ta’Challa traveled forth on what remained of the King’s road that would take her to the grand city of Belayne. It was in this sprawling fastness of spires, cathedrals, and great towers of the rulers of old that she knew she could find the one store that sold the most precious of commodities.

The Legendary Fluffy Unicorn Plush Toy.

She had scrimped and saved, worked lonely nights in taverns cleaning up the refuse of the day’s drunkards, and had even accepted the pittance afforded her from helping to clean the town’s midden. Ta’Challa had worked herself silly to collect the necessary silver pieces, but it was all worth it.

The day came, a sun shining bright over what was arguably the last bastion of civilization since the Great Undoing of the World, and Ta’Challa waited patiently in line at the city’s gates to be scanned by the biometric sensors that lined every entryway into Belayne.

Once she had been marked clear of the Withering Pathogen—which could spread as wildfire might through dead wood in such a populous area—Ta’Challa made her way with a hopeful smile towards the market district. In her clawed hands she fervently clutched her purse of hard-won silver, and in her heart she clutched the image of Bardyn as she had first beheld her: hard at work upon the halfling’s prized wastelands cruiser, spinning rims shining in the sun, and paint-job waxed to a brilliant sheen.

Bardyn was so intelligent, so wonderful! Ta’Challa could not help but quicken her pace towards the store.

As she turned the corner, there stood a familiar figure, blocking her way forward. It was Joey, a brutish tough that she had known since youth, and the human had the audacity to be smiling in a cruel way at her.

I challenge you, woman!” sneered Joey. “Portable Atrocities! One round, winner take all!”

Ta’Challa sighed, and rolled her eyes. “You haven’t the fortitude to prove a challenge, let alone the manhood to prove interesting. I’m busy. Go harass some school children.”

Joey ground his teeth. “Are you abstaining, coward?”

Ta’Challa’s laugh echoed across the lane, drawing the attention of several passers-by. “Hardly that. I’m just not in the mood to hurt your feelings, or put another crack in that monolithic ego of yours for … what is it? The tenth time? Scoot.”

Joey looked around at the gathering crowd. Some were openly pointing in his direction, and tittering at his consternation. Others were loudly placing bets, with the odds strongly favoring the teifling woman. Joey’s face flushed until it was approaching purple hues.

Fine. But mark me, woman,” Joey warned. “You won’t leave this city until my challenge is met!” With that, he turned on his heel, and quickly lost himself in the crowd.

Amateur,” chuckled Ta’Challa. And at that, the gathering began to disperse, and resume the day’s activities. The tiefling hefted her purse, and continued on her way to the shop.

It was not long before it came into view. GorraDan’s Thrift Emporium of Whimsical Wonders had sold to the willing public of Belayne for at least three quarters of an Age, and showed no signs of slowing as each following generation of the shop-keeping family took over the reins of the establishment.

But as Ta’Challa entered the shop, her eyes fell upon the display where the renowned Fluffy Stuffed Unicorns were normally kept. Normally, dear reader, for this was a decidedly abnormal day, much to Ta’Challa’s horror.

The display stood empty.

Her heart lurched into her throat, and it was all Ta’Challa could do from crumpling to her knees on the spot. It couldn’t be! It just could not be happening! She had worked so hard, and come so far! Why had the Gods and Goddesses of her people so forsaken her at the end of her journey?

Oi, hurry it up? I’ve got things to do, eh,” said a curt voice.

Ta’Challa tracked her gaze toward the speaker, and saw a burly, hulking orc standing at the shop-keep’s counter. Beneath one brawny arm laced heavily with hard muscle, was the last Fluffy Stuffed Unicorn.

She blinked. She blinked again, yet the vision remained the same. She looked from the orc, to the empty display, and back to the orc, yet what she was seeing stubbornly remained.

Ta’Challa stammered for a second or two, and finally found her voice. “Sir? Um … Orc? Sir?”

The orc growled, and turned away from the elderly shopkeep to regard the teifling woman. “What do you want, poppet?”

Would you be interested in a trade, perhaps?” Ta’Challa offered.

The orc grunted, and clutched the unicorn a bit tighter. “That depends,” he said with an unsavory sort of tone. “What d’ya have in mind, pretty thing?”

Um …” Ta’Challa said as she thought furiously. “Oh! How about the big toe of a fallen fonemara! Just don’t ask how I came into possession of it.” At the memory, she shuddered a little bit.

I’ve three of those,” the orc declared. “Pittance. Wha’ else?”

Ta’Challa eyed the orc, and noticed the string of various teeth he wore around his thick neck. “I’ve a dragon’s tooth that would look lovely on your necklace!” Ta’Challa offered. “You would certainly stand out with that kind of fashion statement!”

The orc huffed. “I’ve six of those at home. They adorn my back-scratcher, weakling. Yer wasting my time.”

Ta’Challa held up her purse, and let the coins within jangle loudly. “This is easily one half more than what you are to pay, sir. Please. I need this Unicorn.”

The shopkeep coughed. “Paid for, missy.”

Paid for,” Ta’Challa admitted. “You would make a nice profit!”

Oi!” the orc roared. “I called this in advance, poppet. I don’t care about your pleading, or profit. I earned this the hard way. Boosted those rims, I did. Squat halfling never knew I had ’em until I was well and gone and sold them in the city. You’ll have to trade something precious if you want this fluffy beast.”

The orc practically preened, and nuzzled the nose of the toy. “Make a nice dashboard companion on me run-about, won’ it?”

I could just call the constabulary on you, fool!” Ta’Challa angrily proclaimed. “You just confessed the crime in front of a witness!” She pointed a clawed finger at the elderly shop owner for emphasis.

Yeah, no,” sighed the shop keep. “Leave me outta this, lady. He’s huge.” With that, the owner promptly ducked behind the counter.

The orc beamed.

At that moment, when the orc was full of his triumph, as it were, another customer walked into the shop. His piggy eyes tracked over to the newcomer, and eyed them warily.

Ta’Challa seized the moment, and dug deep into the pouch at her belt. Within, among the usual magical and technical tchokes she carried for surviving in the wilderlands, she had a special item for just such an occasion.

He fingers wrapped around the item—a shriveled, petrified paw of a Chronosphinx— and she began quickly muttering the incantation that would invoke the curse laid upon the artifact.

The orc’s attention snapped back to the tiefling woman. “What are you doing there, eh? Praying summat nonsense to yer teifling gods?”

Ta’Challa locked eyes with the orc, and the words were now spilling from a bloodthirsty grin that the woman could not keep off of her face. Eldtritch whorls of green-tinged spell-fire issued from the pouch, and zipped across the space to wrap around the orc’s legs.

Before he could even cry out, the curse set about its terrible work, and the orc could only stare in disbelief as he watched his legs distort, shrink, and regress; not in terms of form, but of time. By the moment the last syllable left the teifling woman’s lips, the orc had toppled over onto the hardwood floor.

The bulk of his body was simply too much for his now infantile legs.

Ta’Challa grinned, and released her hold on the magical conduit. “Ah yes,” she crooned. “Original recipe. The Colonel would approve.”

The orc struggled to stand, but his baby legs simply refused to bear him. Therefor, he was at a loss to stop the teifling from deftly snapping up the plush Unicorn, favoring his prostrate form with a grin, and departing the store.

What follows then, few can say in these strange, hard times. But there are whispered tales for those that know where to listen. There are unbelievable stories about the adventures of a teifling, and a halfling, united in purpose as they cross this broken world in a marvelous contraption.

If one has ears, one can hear tales that strain credulity of the unlikely couple, bonded in love, who travel far and wide, with a toy unicorn leading the way like a ship’s prow.


That’s all from me for now.
Until next time, Horns Up.


(My new book is out! The Lexicon Calopa is on sale!)

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