Grizzel Greedigutt sipped his beer, and sighed. “Is there any alcohol that isn’t flat?” he said.
Serjeant Cambyses Littlecape chuckled. “After two weeks of running through the Heath?” The old Erl shook his head. “You should feel lucky we have any, period.”
“That is debatable,” said Grizzel. He poured his mug out onto the ground. “For example, I happen to find drinking flat beer worse than drinking no beer at all.” He stared at the puddle before him sadly. “Did you ever see it getting this bad?”
Cambyses sighed and shook his head. “No, I did not. I mean--even that murderous bastard Nerghal managed to keep at least HALF the Plains on his side up until the very end. Shaddad has lost… well, everything but us. And sometimes…” He waved his hand.
“You wonder why you’re staying,” said Grizzel quietly.
“I didn’t say that,” said the old Erl pointedly.
“Of course not,” noted Grizzel. “And I didn’t agree with the sentiment. Indeed, if any Sworn asks, we will both fight for House Cthonique until our last breath.”
“Naturally,” said Cambyses with a nod. He glanced towards the entrance of the tent, and blinked. “Ahh… yes. How long have you been here?”
Nouronihar cheerfully skipped into the room. “A while.” She looked at the two Guardsmen hopefully. “May I have some candy?”
Grizzel reached into his pouch and gave her a sweetmeat. His superior looked at him in amusement. “If you feed it, it will never leave,” Cambyses declared.
“Leave her alone, Cambyses,” said Grizzel, rubbing the Ghoul’s greenish hair. “She’s a good girl.” He smiled at her. “Pleasant night, dear?”
Nouronihar nodded. “Father says that soon the Monker shall be revealed,” she chirped pleasantly. “And that’s very nice, because we’ve been waiting such a long time for that to happen.”
Grizzel raised an eyebrow. “How… long?”
“Oh… five centuries, at least,” said Nouronihar. “Maybe more. Ever since Hali made the prophecy.”
Cambyses sighed and shook his head. “Ghouls,” he declared, in amused exasperation.
Nouronihar frowned at that, and put her hands on her hips. “Hmph. You stupid Erls should pay attention to us. If we didn’t know what was happening, we would have just let your stinky old Dark Lord die out here, instead of helping him. But we do know, so we are.”
Grizzel stared at the little Ghoul for a moment. “You probably shouldn’t mention that too often” said the Goblin, eventually. “Certain people might take offense.”
Nouronihar smiled. “Oh, I can keep quiet. I’m very good at being quiet when I have to be.” And then the young Ghoul bounded off.
Grizzel watched her leave, then turned to Cambyses. “Well that was interesting…”
The old Erl shrugged. “Perhaps. Mostly it just confirmed what we both knew--folk need very odd reasons to sign up with House Cthonique these days.”
“Or the boundless, faultless loyalty we possess,” added Grizzel smiling slightly.
“Of course,” said Cambyses, “that goes without saying.”