To the tune of: Miles Davis – The Man With The Horn
Continuing my naif fanfic from our WFRP group. If you’re wondering why my dwarf student speaks Yiddish, and why Dwarvish sounds so much like Hebrew, it’s down to Tolkien. He created some parallels between Jews and Dwarves; both were “at once natives and aliens in their habitations, speaking the languages of the country, but with an accent due to their own private tongue… their words are Semitic obviously, constructed to be Semitic.” However, he only wrote a very small number of Dwarvish words in any of his works, such as “Baruk Khazad”, so I have to go back to Yiddish to pull out anything appropriate. It definitely changes the Lord of the Rings if you think of the Dwarves as Jewish – and points up Games Workshop’s depressing anglocentrism that they took something hugely multicultural and made it just English – Orcs are Cockneys, Dwarves are from Yorkshire, etc.
I know you didn’t expect me to be writing this so soon, as I promised to save all the ratskin parchment for important letters, but I gotta kvetch – don’t worry I’ve written this on beastman fleshig, so apart from the holes from extra eyes and that glowy green gunk I wiped off, this is kosher. Beastmen, apparently, are those big schnook sheep I was telling you about in my last letter. We spent a lot of today running away from them, whilst frantically bandaging each other (turns out I’m not very good at it – the other Big, the yeger Cully, seems to think that just pulling on a sprained ankle doesn’t help it) and following that little nebbish we rescued through ancient dense woodland (I was mainly dragged through the schmutz, to be fair; short legs, too many meaty stouts and tzimmes). It was only when we got out that I noticed that my big fishy friend had a crude arrow sticking out of his shoulder. I wanted to pull it out, but he said that it was lucky and it might be worth enough money to buy a boat. He’s really a schlub, but he’s proving hard to kill. Thankfully, there was the goys’ village, and a young guard just let us all in.
Anyway, no sooner had we got into the palisade of the takhshet boy’s village, than he was grabbed by a langer loksh pervert all in black leather, with pistols and a big floppy hat (who they all called Mr Wit Chunter Sir and who the other Big, Cull(?) recognised from his bounty book). This new Big pulled off the little wossiname’s hat to reveal he had dinky beastman horns! While we argued amongst ourselves, the Wit-chunter did a talk (a bit like Hammerer Morgrim gave before we had to raise the new buttressing for pit number 4), and by the time we stopped arguing the village folk were baying for the little boy’s blood! Heinfish (I think that’s his real, real name) stood up and tried orating back, but he’s got those funny webbed fingers and croaks rather than talks, and when he tried to make them scared of beastmen outside the village, it was rather counter-productive – they actually got scared of the boychik. It was only when they were actually carrying the little chap to the stake for burning that Fishy actually achieved anything, when he tried bullying that dybbuk Mr Wit into letting the boy go, by pointing out that he needed proper Beastman horns to get his bounty in Altdorf. Mr Wit agreed and cut the poor lad’s head straight off to keep the horns. Such tsuris.
Anyway, as it was getting dark, we all piled into one of the watchtowers, so we could see outside and inside the village. While the others got some shuteye, I got to thinking. We’re not much cop at this sight-seeing lark; the wildlife keeps attacking us, anyone nice we meet gets killed, normally because of us, and the local police force are rubbish. I was wondering if Norsca might be nicer at this time of year? Or the Dead Lands (Sounds nice, but I can’t find a guidebook anywhere.)
I was still sat up and the others were asleep (Fishy folded up protectively around the arrow protuding from his shoulder) when I saw a shtickle green glow by the village well. I gently kicked the other two awake and had them follow me down, surrounding a tall man who was busily engaged with the well chain. It was Mr Wit and, when we asked what he was up to, he got rather threatening, before offering to bribe us! I pointed out, rationally enough, that if we really wanted his money we could just take it, and I was about to open my purse to show just how rich we were and how we didn’t want his stinking money anyway, when he pulled his flintlocks on me. Well, the other Big, Cully, shot Mr Wit in the back, but not before meshuga Wit’d shot my belly. It is really getting awfully bruised and the chain links are seizing together. In revenge, I hit the rotter with my pick, which knocked his teeth clean out, and while klutz Fishy was falling over his own feet distractingly, I gave the schmendrick a potch in the face and laid him out flat. As he fell over, his hat fell off revealing two shofar horns, like those on top of the Ionic columns next to the Helmet Store. What chutzpah!
Well, the villagers had heard the ruckus and came running. Heinfish did his weird croaky babbling thing until I had to interrupt (which scared the xenophobes, who’d obviously never seen a dwarf before). I was getting rather worried that everyone in town had those horns, so I got Heiny to croak and point his knife at the guard until he took off his helmet, very reluctantly, to reveal… a big bald patch. He was hugely embarrassed and angry, and was then all for burning the mamzer Mr Wit when we revealed his horns. Whilst Fishy was doing some frankly maven-level knotwork with the toothless and concussed Mr Wit, Cully persuaded the villagers to calm down, and they agreed to give us until morning to ‘torture’ Mr Wit (which Cully now tells me isn’t a name but a title and he’s really called Humbert Humbertdink or something like that. Stupid human names) before they toast him. Though we really just want to steal his pistols and boots (assuming they’re not cloven inside), see if he owns a boat (Fishy is obsessed), chop off his head for Cully’s bounty, and see if he knows the way to Altdorf. Oh, and find out what he was doing in the well!
It’s getting light, so we’d better get on with the torturing; I promise to clean the thumbscrews and empty out the gouging spoons, don’t kvetch.