When Barkok the Laughing Mole finally laughed his last laugh, moments before his brain oozed out from his ears, via an insidious attack by some loathsome being the sorcerer had summoned but failed to dominate, his arch-rival and fellow odious wizard, Gezel the Skinner, wasted no time rushing to his enemies dismal abode, as fast as his gangly legs could carry him. For Gezel had earlier hid a small scrying crystal in his rival's tower and thus kept tabs on Barkok's doings.

Upon arrival, Gezel began to flay his erstwhile rival's corpse with magicked knives and razors created just for the task. Gezel knew better than most after all, that the freshly flayed skin of a sorcerer held great power.

Gezel's flaying ritual began with the big left toe, as was proper, and proceeded methodically upwards, towards the freshly slain corpse's head. He took great care in his work, as he knew that a single tear, hole, or rip in the skin, would nullify the magic. The skin suit needed to be whole and undamaged.

By the time he reached Barkok's waist, he was rudely interrupted by the same creature which had killed Barkok earlier, and had apparently lingered inside the Laughing Mole's tower.

The demonic horror made short work of Gezel, like it had with Barkok, and finally departed the tower, satisfied with the slaughter of not one but two sorcerers that day.

The story may have ended there, if not for the unfortunate visit to the tower, by a small band of adventurers, who happened upon the scene, hunting for Barkok to avenge one of their own, whom the Laughing Mole had slain months prior.

Now this band of adventurers obviously possessed dubious morals (and smarts) themselves, for there is no other way to explain why Hamrog Stonestem, the group's Dwarf, took off his own leather leggings and proceeded to don Barkok's skin-pants that day, 'just to see what would happen.' A rueful decision.

No one knows what became of this band of adventures, after their looting of Barkok's tower.

Login or Register to Award Murometz XP if you enjoyed the submission!
? Murometz's Awards and Badges
Plot Guild Apprentice Society Guild Apprentice NPC Guild Apprentice Locations Guild Apprentice Lifeform of the Year 2012 Most Upvoted Comment 2013
? Community Contributions (2)-2

Alright, how about this: of course the skin-pants hold great power ... if they're properly cured, with the necessary rituals to bind the magic properly to them, and keep undesirable properties leaking out.

Gezel didn't, obviously, have time to finish those preparations. Without the binding rituals, the raw force of the Infinite poured into Hamrog's stolid, ill-educated soul. Part of the spirit of Barkok is in him, now, and part of the malice and cruelty that belonged to his demon assassin also. What is left of Hamrog's mind and soul are just tatters, and he is certainly not in control of the result ... or of anything else, either.

The resulting entity -- insane if anyone ever was -- wanders the world, the slaughtered corpses of his comrades forgotten as he left the tower. The skin-pants, uncontrolled and uncontrollable, manifest the magical equivalent of Tourette's: at random points (but never more than an hour or so apart), a random spell that Barkok knew fires, at an eligible target within the standard range for such spells. Sometimes the spells are trivial, sometimes not harmful ... a 'Shape Metal' spell cast on a tree will have no effect, obviously, and the 'Housekeeping' spell Barkok used to keep his sanctum tidy won't do a tavern harm.

But some of the spells are the most horribly destructive the sorcerer knew, and the 'Laughing One' is a feared terror throughout the land. For if he is attacked ... then the skin-pants have been known to fire a salvo of ALL the spells Barkok commanded. Seldom has anyone survived the resulting holocaust.

The difference between the journeyman sorcerer and the master wizard may often seem irrelevant to the mundane lay person, but to wizards like Barkok and Gezelthe difference is a mountain range covered in fogs of condescension and reaching peaks of magically inspired smugness. Gezel the Skinner was powerful, intelligent, studious, patient and cunning but he only knew other men and women's spells. Barkok had transcended the need for repeating other people's rituals and developed his own style of casting. Every master wizard builds his own style and the rituals and somatic movements are designed to match his strengths and talents. Most master wizards combine chanting with drawn or arranged runes. But Margehat the Plate Spinner casts spells by arranging finely sanded sticks and twigs about her self. Jim the Spur played the lute. Yeha the Dog Master whistled, and Barkok the Laughing Mole danced.

Barkok had an extraordinary vocabulary of movement, particularly amazing for such a heavyset man. He cast his spells with perciesely coregraphed movemts of arms and delicate placements of his feet. Had Gezel the Skinner succeed in his ritual and made his Barkok body suit, any one to wear the body suit would be imbued with Barkok's full and personalized library of magic. The wearer of the suit would know in their nerves and muscles everyone of Barkok's finely coregraphed magicks.

But the interrupted suit gives the wearer only half of Barkok's movement. The suit still responds to the will of the wearer, and when man or dwarf in the pants tries to cast a spell the wearer's feet immediately respond with a powerful jig. Yet the feet are only half the spell and unless the reader can accurately match the arm movements of the dance ritual the magic fizzles out ineffectually at best. At worst the bottom half the spell ritual induces a destructive and uncontrolled wave of magic, the results of which no dancer or wizards could predict.