Everyone expects fantasy novels to be full of fights. Huge-muscled barbarians, scantily dressed ladies wielding needle sharp swords, palace guards and thugs with clubs abound… or do they? I have to confess that my fantasy series seems to contain very little actual violence. My latest work, Bass Instinct has the after effects of a rumpus in a pub, and one small affair in an office. (OK, some Thuggee do what Thuggee do best, but that doesn’t really count as it’s by way of being their day job.)
So, what can I bring to the Gumbee table for a bit of a scrap? How about this open fight scene from The Mystic Accountants? Here, The Banned Underground have managed to find a replacement for the magical Throne of The King Under The Mountain, and are trying to get it back to the dwarf’s mansion, when they are waylaid by the Dark Wizards…
As the tour bus and the van stopped, the Mondeo pulled into the car park behind them, and the doors were flung open. Across the car park, from the shadows, The Grey Mage stalked from his old Mercedes estate with his receptionist and two other Dark Coven members.
“Der!” yelled Eddie, trying to turn the Sprinter around. But with the trailer on the back, he had no room. Ahead of them, the receptionist threw off her coat, and changed shape into a green dragon six feet long and four feet high.
“We need to get out!” panicked GG. Felldyke and Scar threw open the doors, and jumped out of the Sprinter. “I meant out of the car park!”
Fungus and Haemar exchanged a glance, then Haemar grabbed a long tyre lever from underneath the dashboard, and he and Fungus climbed out. Eddie was there already. Adam and his lager louts joined them.
“What’s going on?” asked Adam, who couldn’t tear his eyes away from the dragon.
The cameraman had already dived back into the van, and was feverishly grabbing his kit.
At a shout, they all looked behind, to see that GG, Felldyke and Scar were already scrapping with Ned and his crew who were trying to get to the trailer.
The Grey Mage smiled, in triumph, and raised his staff.
“Who’s the old git?” asked Adam, as his cameraman pointed the lens at the dragon receptionist.
“An Evil Wizard,” replied Haemar, pronouncing the capital letters.
“He looks just like my Bank Manager. And is that really a dragon?”
The receptionist blew a very hot flame at the sound technician, who dodged.
“I’ll take that as a yes, then.”
“We’re in bother this time.” Haemar said to Fungus. “What are you lookin’ for?”
Fungus was looking wildly around the deserted Car Park, but didn’t answer.
The receptionist sent another blaze of flame, this time at the shrouded shape on the trailer, but the flames failed to catch hold and burn.
“What do they want?” demanded Adam.
“For starters, they want to burn that thing we’ve got on the trailer,” Fungus told him.
“And then we’ll be fer seconds,” Haemar added grimly. The fighting noises grew louder from behind.
“Get stuck in can’t yer?” yelled Ned at the monks. He had a tight hold of Scar’s leg, but as Felldyke was sat on Ned and trying to insert a drumstick (wooden variety) into Ned’s left nostril, Ned was unable to capitalise on this advantage.
“We always preach non violence as a form of dispute management,” replied the Senior Monk, glaring at the accountant who was trying to brain GG with his abacus, an attempt foredoomed to failure.
“Just help out!” Ned shouted, as Scar freed his leg with a vicious kick, and jumped on the tax junior from behind. As they fell to the ground, the assistant assistant tripped over them, and GG paused from fending away a wildly swinging abacus to put his boot into a strategic spot. The Watches were no longer a threat.
“XL5” [Trying to amuse the older reader there] yelled The Grey Mage, waving on his Dark Coven, and the two extra evil wizards (that is they were additional numbers, not superlatively evil) started throwing fireballs at the shrouded shape of The Throne.
“Why are those fireballs not working?” wondered The Grey Mage.
“Why are those fireballs not working?” Adam asked, as one bounced off The Throne and set fire to his foot. Adam started hopping about the car park.
“Why are those Fireballs not working?” Haemar asked Fungus, whilst stamping on Adam’s foot to put out the blaze. Adam continued hopping around the car park, and started yelping in pain.
“Why is everyone asking me?” Fungus wanted to know. “Maybe Waccibacci put some protection on The Throne, like Goods In Transit insurance?”
The next fireball bounced off The Throne, and set alight the front tyre of the Black Van. Thinking quickly, the sound technician extinguished the blaze with the nearest liquid source available. His nervous state, enhanced as more dragonfire removed his eyebrows, helped to increase the flow.
“We’ll have to get the cover off it.” The Grey Mage decided, and he waved his minions forward. But they ran into Adam, his driver and the sound technician, and a brawl developed. The Grey Mage sighed, and strode forward towards the Sprinter.
“We’ve got two options,” Fungus told Haemar, as he eyed the wizard’s approach.
“Good. Isn’t that a chocolate drink with different flavours? Just what we need now,”
“Actually, I meant we can try an’ hold him off, or we can run away,” Fungus said.
“I like run away. I like it a lot,” Haemar said, backing away towards the Sprinter as more random dragonfire burst across the car park towards them setting fire to a parking meter and thereby incurring the wrath of the Council and a substantial fine, but on the plus side incinerating a fly poster announcing a particular forthcoming concert.
“I just don’t think that I could be fast enough.”
Haemar passed the tyre lever to Fungus, and drew his short sword. (All dwarfs carry short swords. It’s probably a cultural thing.)
“We need a good battle cry,” Haemar said. “It could be our final fling.”
“Then how about : ‘Last orders at the bar’?”
“Good One! Fungus, why do you keep looking around?”
“Fungus, no one’s coming. Come on!”
Haemar gave a blood curdling yell, and leapt forwards. But The Grey Mage just sneered, and waved his staff. Fungus and Haemar fell to the ground, bound fast together with magical chains.
“Well, it was worth a try,” groaned Fungus.
Haemar shook the iron chains, which for some arcane reason were covered in pink fur. The dragon receptionist stopped breathing flames everywhere, and examined the chains with some interest. The Grey Mage changed colour in embarrassment, as he blushed.
“Those handcuffs are covered in glitter, too,” she observed.
“Yes, well, I bought that spell second hand from a solicitor,” The Grey Mage muttered. His receptionist looked disbelieving.
“Right,” said The Grey Mage, striding over his bound protagonists towards his goal. Haemar tried to bite him in the leg as he passed, but missed: the shrouded Throne lay on the trailer, at his mercy. But then there came a loud, single perfect note (possibly A sharp) and a large golden globe appeared on top of The Grey Mage’s Mercedes estate, causing another sound. (B flat, probably.)
The average Mercedes estate is a well-built, solid vehicle somewhat reminiscent of a World War Two tank. But that didn’t stop the roof bending inwards under the weight of the globe, causing a scream of rage from the Mage.
The globe shimmered, and vanished, leaving in its place Malan and Finn of the Tuatha, Grizelda the witch holding her broomstick and Dai clutching his Fender Precision Bass.
“Are we too late?” called Malan.
“Only we heard someone yell ‘Last orders’ and got a bit worried,” added Finn.
“What’s goin’ on here then?” demanded Grizelda.
“Were you expectin’ this lot then?” Haemar asked Fungus.
“Well, yes. But only Malan and Dai, the other two are like a bonus.”
Grizelda did not resemble a free gift, as for example, the plastic toys that used to be included in cereal packets. She had not enjoyed the Tuatha’s transportation methods, having spent most of the journey squashed up against Dai who maintained quite a high body temperature.
The sight of Dai had also raised the receptionist’s temperature, but in a different way, and she stopped sending jets of fire at The Throne, and tried simpering instead. The Grey Mage averted his eyes in horror.
Finn and Malan jumped down from the roof of the Mercedes, leaving boot imprints on the bonnet as they passed, then helped Grizelda down more modestly.
“What do we do now, Adam?” asked the cameraman.
“Just keep on filming, until I tell you to stop!” Adam hissed back. The sound technician and the driver joined them, leaving the two dark coven members groaning on the ground. The two orange clad monks at the rear quietly slid behind the Mondeo, out of view.
“I asked, what’s goin’ on?” repeated Grizelda.
“These Caer Surdin idiots ambushed us, an’ have been tryin’ ter set fire ter The Throne.” Haemar explained to Grizelda.
“Them chains suit yer,” she replied, and then glared at The Grey Mage.
“This one’s a draw now that we’ve got here in time,” she told him.