It has been 15 years since the last installment of Brigands of the Bog, the epic series of sprawling fantasy novels by acclaimed author Jack R. R. Pendarvis. VICE is especially proud to present The Dragon's Hump, the 11th and final book in a series that many have called "the only work of its kind written entirely under the effects of gin." All 1,000 chapters will be presented here in weekly installments, after which The Dragon's Hump will be published in a single volume, in or around 2031, shortly after the death of the author.
“Will my hatred spur me onward for a thousand sparlings?” complained the princess, who was possessed of lovely raven tresses. Her hands were bound behind her back, and she was poked forward by the poking stick of Serval Lancet, a member of the priestly class. “Given your customs, it is likely to take us one thousand years to make the journey!”
“It is true that I may not touch nor ride upon any beast,” agreed Serval Lancet. “As my prisoner, you are put in the same circumstance, as is also verifiably true. But I hope you may find some comfort in the fact that the Season of Green Things is upon us, and the forest floor is coated in tufts of vegetation so very soft that it may soothe your bare feet along the way.”
“Cur!” cried the Princess, whose name was Mur. “My feet are none of your business, dog!”
If only she had not been walking in front, necessitated by the position and purpose of his poking stick, Mur might have noticed upon the face of Serval Lancet a most unpriestly blush!
Neither of the travelers had much time to reflect on their relationship, for a monstrous wingbat suddenly twirled at them through the darkening green air of the woodlands, the largest and most frightful wingbat that either of them had ever seen.
Serval Lancet raised his poking stick and surely poked it through its central eye. The wounded wingbat, screaming in its way, slid all the way down the poking stick nearly to its hilt, gored through and through, the stick that entered its eye having emerged from the paper-thin rear of its skull, the main weakness of a wingbat, and it gargled out a goodly amount of its brownish life fluid as it slid down the poking stick toward the wary hand of the priest in question.
“Such a brave priest are you!” scoffed the Princess Mur. “Such a tender little priestling indeed!”
The forest was named for the wingbat, having been called Winbahoi since the oldest times, meaning “Place of the Wingbat” in the tongue of the elders with their dark religions. So reflected Serval Lancet, peeling off his long and ceremonial velvet gloves, taking care not to get any life fluid on himself.
Mur was standing around scoffing at him and tossing her glossy black locks ruefully with disdain.
“Yes, what a shame it would be to get life fluid on your innocent pale hands, my fine priest. Never mind that when you turn me over to Lord Hexulon he will most certainly impale me on the gibbet until I am quite spent and my doomed spirit has flown to the Shadowy Bearings.”
“Methinks you do Lord Hexulon a disservice,” said Serval Lancet in his usual meek and polite way. He was looking about for a Clear Hole in which to sanctify his digits according to the law of scripture. Thinking to do so, he pulled back the fronds of a shovel-bush, but it was no gurgling spring he had heard. What should meet his eyes but a wingbat nest, and an infant wingbat tossing and gurgling most sadly in the shredded leaves?
“Well, I hope you’re happy now,” said Mur.
“And yet I am not,” admitted Serval Lancet.
He was well-built in every way with nice hair and mysterious gray eyes, and everybody wondered why he had become a celibate priest instead of doing it with every hot lady who came along.
“Fie! Fie on thee!” said Princess Mur. “Untie my hands so I may tend to this orphaned wingbat.”
“I suppose it must be done,” he answered.
My horniness is so terrible, he secretly thought as he stared at her delicate fluttering hands whilst undoing the special knot, the tying of which only Priests of the Stone were privy to know.
“Ha ha,” remarked Serval Lancet mirthlessly. “He thinks your hair is a shovel-bush.”
It was true that as soon as she had approached it, the little wingbat had easily gripped her thick raiment of follicles with its cunning talons, and camouflaged itself in her hair.
“He is welcome to his new home,” said the Princess Mur.
“A recently vacated wingbat nest is a delicacy most rare, and the basis for an adequate salad,” said Serval Lancet. “We shall feast well tonight.”
“It is true you are a cold man!” said Mur.
Later, having forced Mur to sip the herbal concoction that paralyzed her wonderful pink legs for the night, Serval Lancet made the salad he had promised. The Princess stubbornly refused to partake. Though her legs were paralyzed so she could not escape (the effects of the potion would wear off with the sunrise) her haughty demeanor was not paralyzed—in fact it was strutting around just fine, in a mental sense.
“I am developing a grudging respect for your haughty demeanor,” said Serval Lancet.
“Shut up,” the Princess replied.
She had taken one of the small clay dominoes used for communication (and many other purposes) in the realm of the 18th Kingdom and coated it with some handy nectar, thereby to collect glow-flies to feed to the little wingbat. Serval Lancet marveled at her resourcefulness and attention to detail.
She mashed one glow-fly on each of the three elegant middle fingers of her right hand. Their essences made a delicious glowing smear. She placed her hand to her head and out peeked the wingbat’s tongue to lick and suckle at the treats thus presented.
Serval Lancet was getting so turned on.
“If you’ll excuse me,” he said.
He went off into the thicket and found himself an aukberry shrub in which to stick his most private extremities, counting on the searing heat of the poisonous fruit juice—which the aukberry was known to squirt at all intruders from its little mouthlike convexities—to take all the oomph out of him, which it thankfully did.
He noted that many blisters had been produced on his unspoken place. Soon he would have calluses and be unable to feel anything at all. That would be great.