“Jean-Baptiste!” Douglas shouted as he rushed to the camel’s rescue. Wiliken expected Jurgen to belittle the human for his antics, but instead the judgment was turned on him.
“You should have stayed home,” Jurgen said, angrily. “You should have sat in your chair at home and welcomed death when Valgaman’s lackeys came to pay you back for insulting him. But now you’ve dragged us all into the situation.”
“Lay your shame elsewhere,” Wiliken said. “I’ve my own shame to attend to.”
“Do you have any-” Jurgen started, but he was soon distracted by their comrades. Douglas and Morgan had pried enough of the damaged cage’s bars away that the animal – that Jean-Baptiste – was now free to roam. Douglas now looked the beast in the eyes and attempted to interrogate him. “If you must talk to the animal,” Jurgen said, now speaking to Douglas. “At least allow me to translate his inevitably sarcastic and derisive replies.”
“Camels, right?” Jurgen said to Wiliken before turning and speaking an incantation in Jean-Baptiste’s direction.
“Well,” Jurgen said after listening to a moment’s worth of camel bleating. “That’s surprising. Your Jean-Baptiste is surprisingly articulate for a camel. He says that you need to remove the collar. He says you must do so carefully.”
“Jean-Baptiste!” Douglas shouted joyously.
“Now, where was I?” Jurgen returned to Wiliken. “Ah, yes. Do you have any idea how many party guests died so you could rescue a camel?”
Wiliken held out his bow and pointed out the inscription. “For you too were once a slave,” he translated.
“I most certainly was not,” Jurgen replied. Wiliken was not sure what irritated him more, the fact that Jurgen was willfully missing his point or that Jurgen was distracted by the humans once again. They handled the camel’s collar with great concern, as if it might have some terrible curse on it.
“What?” Jurgen shouted. “Here, let me-”
But Douglas had unclasped the jeweled collar, and as he did the camel transformed into a hide-covered man of the wild, into Jean-Baptiste, friend of Douglas.
“Turn him back,” Jurgen said. “I need someone to carry my spell books.”
“I’ll never be your beast of burden,” Jean-Baptiste said, solemnly.
Now that Wiliken’s concern for the camel seemed justified, the githzerai saw a strange demeanor come over Jurgen. He supposed this mean that Jurgen was embarrassed for giving Wiliken such a hard time, and Wiliken’s irritation was turned suddenly into entertainment.
“I’m pleased you did not die,” Jurgen admitted.
“But I am somewhat disappointed,” Jurgen continued, not allowing his sensitivity to linger too long in Wiliken’s memory. “I have a ritual that allows me to turn a recently dead subject into a vampire, and I have been itching to use it.”
“No more transforming us into monsters,” Morgan commanded. Jurgen was unable to come up with a sarcastic retort for his intimidating dragonborn ally.
Campaign Stories continues in Wiliken 7.
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