The Noble Yet Frivolous Misadventures of Simon Fury
By Brian McBean
In the beginning, there was darkness. Then God said "Let there be Fury!" The figure of greatness that has become known to all simply as Simon Fury was born in the ancient beginnings of time itself. Fury was created before the land or the sea because nothing could have withstood the cataclysmic event of his wondrous birth.
This is at least the way that Simon touts his origin. As a matter of fact, Simon Fury was born Simeon Fury, named after a great hero of legend. His father was Darken Fury, a mage of considerable power. He was certain his special contribution to the gene pool was destined to rule the world.
Darken had consulted the finest astrologers to determine the optimum day of conception for a great leader. He in turn assured the day of birth would be likely to arrive on another day of great power. Legend has it that Darken spent a full third of his vast fortune on the fee for the team of astrologers to determine these dates.
Next, Darken searched the lands for the most desirable princess to bear his fateful child. No one was allowed knowledge of her identity, but it is told that she wanted nothing to do with Darken Fury. It was completely unheard of for a woman of royal descent to marry a simple magic user, let alone serve merely as a vessel to bear his child. Another third of Darken's fortune was spent in obtaining the princesses consent. He quite likely used magical methods of charm to ensure his success.
Darken spent every last coin of the last third of his fortune on the most prestigious schools of magery: Grignor's Academy of Magic. The pamphlet bragged, "the school for the mage with world domination on the brain." It seemed the perfect place to encourage Simeon's greatness.
Perhaps Darken should have spent a portion of his fortune to hire people to consider more suitable names for the child destined to rule the world. Other young students in Grignor's Academy were quick to link the similarity between "Simeon" and "Simian," defined as "apelike."
I will never forget the day Andrugen soiled my given name so badly that I could no longer stand to hear it. "Hey look, it's Simian!" he taunted, pointing his inch-thick monocle straight at me, "It's Simian Fury! He has the wrath of the mighty chimpanzee! All hail Fury, mighty King of the Jungle!" The rest of the class exploded in laughter at my expense. I was not yet fully schooled in the art of magic, so I could do nothing but curse their names to Hell.
Simeon did more than curse their names. Thanks to a little known cantrip, Agannazar's Lesser Scorcher, the entire class suffered from burning diarrhea for the rest of the day. Simeon was expelled from the Academy, and was never heard from again. From that day on, Simeon was dead, and Simon Fury was born anew.
Darken was unfortunately not able to obtain a refund for Simeon's tuition. He knew Simon could not be expected to rule the world without vast knowledge of the art of magic, but he had to settle for a less reputable school for his son. He had to choose "Bob's Big School of Tricks." Their pamphlet read "Impress your friends and family. Show off to the women." It sounded little more than a school for circus magicians, but Bob assured Darken that they would be schooled in all forms of traditional magic:
"So they learn more than card tricks and slight of hand gimmicks?" Darken inquired. "Oh yeah, they learn all that missile stuff and fireball garbage. What use they'll find for it, you got me. The big money's in the entertainment industry, buddy boy. No reason to stick your neck out for fame and fortune. Hey look at me! I'm loaded! All the women love me too."
The grease dribbling down Bob's chin onto his badly stained magician's costume hardly seemed likely to attract women, but Darken had no other options available.
Simon learned to loathe Bob and his Big School of Tricks. Emphasis was placed on showmanship and crowd pleasing. He went through 47 rabbits one year because he became fed up with their tendency to bite him when he tried fishing them out of his top hat. He did learn to enjoy Rabbit stew.
Time wore on and Simon graduated from Bob's Big School with honors. He was not at the top of his class, however. He had all the proper technique, the right moves, so to speak, but another student had caught Bob's eye early on. Flaredondo the Magnificent was ahead of Simon, chiefly due to his pomp and pizzazz.
"There's simply no way that simpleton 'Flaredondo' (as if a child would be given such a name) can possibly be considered a better mage than I. He's a harlequin, complete with smoke and mirrors. There is no merit to his magic. I was never interested in making things disappear, unless of course the things were among the denizens of evil. Flaredondo be damned straight to hell! For all we know he is an agent of evil, lying in wait for our guards to be let down."
Simon's muse was his familiar. Reputable mage schools taught a "Find Familiar" spell that summoned the likes of a crow, a hawk, or even a raven. Bob's Big School was slightly different. Some of the familiars were a little less foreboding than the usual sort. Simon, as luck would have it, summoned a mildly intelligent chicken. A hen to be more precise. During his familiar class, when asked to compose a sentence to capture the true meaning of what Simon's familiar meant to him, he came up with this:
"'White and feathery, yet crude and noisy, the chicken is the backbone of our farming community.' How can I strike fear into the hearts of anyone with this wretched barnyard animal? There must be something I can do to change this. I will consult with the Archmage, Bob."
After much bickering, and even a little bit of shouting (Simon avoided letting himself become enraged after the incident at Grignor's Academy), Simon decided Bob was unable to help any. Immediately after their meeting, Simon purchased some brown pigments and an elaborate falconry hood to fit his chicken. From that day on, Simon's familiar was an especially chubby hawk, though you never could observe him feeding on rodents or thermalling high above the ground. Simon taught the chicken not to make a sound by flicking his index finger into the chicken's head every time that it did. Simon named his chicken familiar "Firewing," although he never considered any connection that could be made to spicy buffalo wings.
At last, I am able to venture into the world to rid the lands of evil and the denizens of evil. With my iron fist of magical prowess, I shall sculpt the people around me into law-abiding, good natured people worthy of the presence of Fury. Never has this world known a hero greater than Simon Fury, and never shall there be another like him. Ruffians will cower, women will woo, and even the youngest of children will aspire to become a fraction of the man known as Fury. Firewing, come let us destroy all that is evil and cultivate all that is good! Onward!
And so Simon and his white chicken painted brown set off toward the great city of Bandura. The teeming masses within its walls served as a trusted veil to countless acts of thievery, smuggling, extortion, prostitution, murder, and outright badness. If Simon Fury wanted to rid the land of evil, Bandura was as good of a place as any to start. As he approached the outer walls, a guard at his post inquired "Who goes there, traveler?"
I am Fury! Wondrous destroyer of all that is evil. The hero everyone has been waiting for. I am the chosen one, ready to lead the masses to salvation. The righteous
Yeah yeah, Mr. WonderHero. Do you have the 5 coin toll to enter the City of Bandura?
WonderHero? I suppose that captures tf my essence. Kind sir, what of this 5 coin entrance toll? Is it true you have to pay to enter a city ridden with evil and plagued by rats? I'm afraid my purse is a bit light today Likely from my frequent donations to the poor and less fortunate peons. Do you realize who I am? I am no less than Simon Fury, righteous fighter for all that is good.
Listen Mr. Furious, if you don't have 5 coins, you aren't entering Bandura, no matter if it's covered in rat turds and there's a pick pocket at every corner. If you really don't have any cash, that chicken on you shoulder would do nicely. You can keep the hood though.
Chicken?! This is none other than Firewing, the sleek blazing hawk, faithful familiar to Fury, the wondrous destroyer of all that is evil. Do you really think I would give him away for entrance to your rotten city? Come Firewing, we shall rid some other place of evil. See how the high and mighty tower guard feels about that
Simon Fury proceeded to walk back the way he came. He had plenty of coins to pay for the toll even though he was not yet a well-established sorcerer, but his torturous classes at Bob's Big School taught him to pinch every penny. Better to spend cash on things that are worthwhile. In short, he was cheap.
There was no way the mighty Fury could return to the guard at the gate without losing face. He changed into a long dark robe that covered his usual decorative royal blue gown with golden lace about the cuffs and collar. He removed his sorcerer's cap and donned a black wig to cover his silvery white hair. Firewing rode under his robe like a potbelly. Simon Fury, wondrous destroyer of all that is evil, made a quiet entrance into the City of Bandura posing as Biff the merchant. The guard recognized Fury's silver beard, but he graciously decided not to tell anyone of the incident.
Once inside the city, it wasn't long before Simon found a situation to display his prowess and power. An unfortunate peasant woman had traveled down an alley that looked deserted at first, but it turned out to be the haven for three thieving vermin. Simon was quick to notice the cries of the damsel in distress, but paused before leaping into action. He had no desire to be Biff the pot-bellied-merchant Hero. Simon spotted a nearby telephone booth and underwent a quick metamorphosis back into Fury, the Eradicator of Evil.
To make his entrance more dramatic, Fury quite literally threw Firewing into the fray, to simulate a hawk's swooping dive. He used ventriloquism to supply a hawk's characteristic cry. Although it wasn't the best impersonation a man could have done, it did manage to grab the attention of the ruffians.
"Hold vile evil-doers! It is I, Fury, supreme decimator of the sorry denizens of Evil. Leave this innocent alone, and I shall spare you your lives." I could see the fear well up in their eyes. Their inner weakness of utter cowardice would surely prevail. No one in their right mind would stand up to Fury. My job here was all but done.
"Hey duffer-head, what's wrong with your chicken? He seems to have a cold or something." The three hooligans abandoned the woman and advanced toward Fury, blackjacks and blades drawn. "Let's get him boys!" The look of disbelief on Simon's face was very nearly priceless.
Chicken? How on earth do they see through Firewing's clever disguise? I designed it wholly by myself. Than can be nothing better than that. Nevermind, I have some disposing of evil to take care of. "You fools! Your gravestones will surely retell your supreme idiocy in opposing the master, Simon Fury. DIIIIE!" I must say the moment had gotten me a little more caught up in theatrics than it had on preparation. I quickly hit them with the best spell I could think of on such short notice.
"Aughhh! What's gotten into my pants? Get them out! Get them out!" The three rogues began hopping and dancing about. They didn't look the slightest bit comfortable. In Simon's haste, he had cast another one of the lesser known cantrips, Melf's Insect Infestation (of the Trousers). The woman had retreated to a safe spot out on the main street and looked completely amused at the goings on. Embarrassed at his blunder, Simon cast a sleeping spell, and two of the three ruffians fell to the ground.
"I'll lend you a spot of mercy this time," Fury explained to the remaining dancing rogue, "but tell your criminal friends that Simon Fury has arrived, and evil will no longer be tolerated within these city walls."
Fury felt much better about himself since he had created the illusion that the other two were actually dead at his hands, but he hoped no one would linger very long, for the spell would soon wear off.
"Th-Th-Thank you oh powerful Furry! I will tell all my friends of your power!" The remaining rogue danced off down the alleyway and into the shadows.
"It is not necessary to thank me, young maiden, my calling is to rid the world of all that is evil. I alone will crush the criminals of Bandura. I will be responsible for bringing peace to a city in complete turmoil. Everyone for miles around will tout Fury as the greatest of Heroes: ALL HAIL FURY, SUPREME DESTROYER OF EVIL!"
The woman didn't seem to have any time to consider thanking her hero. She glanced over her shoulder, and her eyes widened to walnut size. She stumbled away in fear. Around the corner in her place came a hulking behemoth of a man, accompanied by three more ruffians. Simon made a gulping noise, and he jerked his head back the other way to search for an escape route. Behind him, there were six additional rogues closing in on him, one was the dancing rogue from moments before. He still was in excruciating discomfort, but there was a look of satisfaction in his eyes.
Could this be the end for our mighty hero? Or will he simply be beaten to a bloody pulp, left for dead, and then eventually rehabilitate himself to the status of a disfigured cripple? Find out in Episode II, "The Acrid Smell of Danger."
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