Shallica, can you hear me?” Bungo’s rich baritone voice seemed oddly distant to the she-demon. Teetering on the verge of consciousness; she began to feel an odd sensation. She could feel herself being lifted from the ground in Bungo’s powerful arms. Shallica squealed inwardly with delight at the sensation; her lofty thoughts of their love and daydreams about the wedding ceremony were shattered moments later when the embrace turned into a colossal burping as Bungo bounced her on his shoulder. The mood was well and truly ruined when she coughed up a pint of tepid seawater down Bungo’s chiselled back, and he plunked her down on her feet unceremoniously.
The oafsome barbarian resolved into focus as Shallica drearily opened her eyes. He was leaning over her with a look of concern; and more importantly he wasn’t wearing a chamber pot helmet on his head for the first time in weeks. They seemed to have washed up on some type of beach, but there was no sign of their ship, or any wreckage to speak of.
“What happened, anyway?” The barbarian seemed even more clueless than usual. “The last thing I remember I was sitting down to a nice dinner and some bunk swill. There was a storm, and…”
“Bungo?” Shallica’s eyes filled with tears and she threw her arms around him; although at him might have been a more apt description of the motion as the barbarian’s girth was so great that she could barely reach across his herculean chest with both arms fully outstretched.
“You’ve come back to your senses!”
The conversation that followed lasted some time, as Shallica had to explain every event since Bungo had been bludgeoned into senselessness. She left out a few of the details about how he had been calling himself “Donglore”, and she thought that he would rather not know that he had been wearing a chamber pot on his head. Despite her attempts to streamline the conversation, it took several hours as she laboriously explained simple concepts like “ship” and “mast”. Finally Bungo’s expression cleared in some dim facsimile of what most people would call understanding. A second later, his brow furrowed with confusion once again and his finger was poised; ready with a fresh question.
“Just one more thing…” the barbarian stroked his jaw thoughtfully for a moment before spinning around and pointing almost directly upwards at the colossal spires of Turdmundaz that spiralled off into the seemingly infinite sky only mere feet away from where the two of them were stood “What are we doing here?”
There was a short dumbfounded pause.
“You know what they do to you here…” Bungo had a feverish look about him as he spoke nervously. His voice suddenly dropped to a whisper “That!”
Shallica looked at him quizzically; her large amber eyes exploring Bungo’s oddly shaken visage with a new sense of interest. Taken in by his sudden change in demeanour, she lowered her voice and leaned closer to the panic stricken warrior, giving them the appearance of a pair of plotting thieves.
“What is … That!?” she whispered the last part rather loudly, as her enthusiasm ran wild. Bungo’s hand almost immediately came up and covered her mouth.
“Shhhh.” The barbarian’s eyes darted from side to side.
“Don’t say it, don’t even think it …. I’ll tell you, but only once, and we’ll never speak of it again”. Shallica’s delicate face bobbed up and down, still partially smothered by Bungo’s hand.
“I’ve been here before.” He began quietly.
“It was a long time ago, but I’ll never forget what I saw.” Shallica was already completely absorbed, and a little scared too.
“We were captured by them.” Bungo motioned to Turdmundaz “the Butt-Goblins!” His voice went strange and high pitched with the last word, adding a sense of eerie mysticism to the tale. Shallica jumped slightly.
“There was one man; young and strong. They took him into a cell. He was screaming, crying out for his mother after just seeing it. Then they made us watch while they ….” His voice was drowned out momentarily by a particularly large wave that crashed against the shore. Shallica couldn’t make out the words, but she could see Bungo go red in the face. His eyes bulged from their sockets and sweat ran in torrents from his forehead as he gesticulated wildly; his whirling arms seeming to form some type of repetitive plunging motion.
His muffled disposition continued until the sound of the waves began to grow quieter, and Bungo seemed to reach a crescendo. Finally his voice cleared.
“Until the handle broke off! And then they just pulled his pants up like it was nothing!” He stopped; wheezing, with a crazed look in his eyes.
“Like it was nothing!!” Bungo buried his head in the sea. The last declarations were drowned out gurgles as he continued his tirade underwater, but she could still make out that he was saying something about “that”.
Shallica just stood there shaking; left to imagine unknown horrors that would never be divulged.