200805191105[EQ2] Lore: The Worst Cook in Grobb - Part I
EQII Lore: The Worst Cook in Grobb - Part 1
By the pen of Eylee Zephyrswell
A troll paralyzed by fear and superstition, Kruzz thrust himself upon our little band of adventurers. Easily one of the most curious of our companions, he acted as our cook, introducing us to a variety of food we would have never thought – or wanted to think of – eating. But I cannot claim that didn't keep us from starvation at least once. No one might have ever said they were happy to have him, but I doubt any, except perhaps Kaltuk, would have gone back and removed him from our party. I can say he saved my life, and I'm not the only one.
Kruzz dumped the bucket of viscera into the bubbling cauldron, watching as the long coil of an intestine floated to the surface and was tossed around by the bubbling of the stew. He snickered to himself slightly, and then turned, colliding with Ttzork, the head cook of Grobb. He rebounded off the mound of her belly and landed back against the cast iron of the pot, wincing as it singed his skin. His hand immediately went to the item at his neck – a dried monkey tail, harvested when the animal ran in front of him and was crushed by a falling boulder. He'd always regarded it as the luckiest moment of his life, and had refused to part with the charm since.
Kruzz 把籃子裡的內臟一股腦倒進滾得冒泡的大鍋裡，造成渦漩最後隨著沸騰而出的水泡散逸到空氣中。他暗自竊喜並轉身，卻和Ttzork -- 哥羅布（Grobb）的主廚 -- 撞個滿懷。Kruzz被Ttzork隆起的肚子撞得摔倒在鐵鍋旁邊，而且被灼熱的鐵鍋燒傷了。Kruzz馬上伸手到脖子上的飾品 -- 那是一條乾燥的猴子尾巴，從一隻被巨石壓死的猴子屍體身上拔下的 -- 他覺得能得到這個幸運物是他一輩子的福氣，而且這個幸運符從未離身。
"Why don't you watch where yer goin, worm," she said to him, sneering. The other cooks all paused to peer over their cook pots or carving knives and snicker at the confrontation.
Kruzz wrung his hands and turned away, muttering, "Be a bit easier if you didn't take up quite so much space."
There was a moment of silence as all the cooks exchanged anticipatory glances, and then Kruzz felt a vicious hook knock him straight up into the air. His rise up was followed by a quick plummet into the very bubbling pot of water he had dumped the viscera in only moments before. He screamed in pain and scrambled toward the nearest rim of the pot, where Ttzork was waiting. "Are you saying it was my fault?" she roared. "Trying to pass it off on me, eh?" She shoved him down deep into the water, and the heat of it made his skin rise and pop in bubbles. He flailed in the water, struggling against letting the pain overwhelm him as he attempted to beat at her hands. Finally, she pulled him out and threw him to the ground. Every inch of him stung as dirt and grass stuck to the skin of his burns, and he wheezed in and out as she stalked up to him.
Standing nearly a head taller than Kruzz, and extending at least twice as wide in all directions, Ttzork had a hooked nose, sunken eyes, and scars running all directions along her face. Her hands and arms were almost always burned because of her profession. She was uncommonly particular about her appearance. Her hair was almost always done up with the bones of a freshly killed beast, and she tended to each wound she acquired carefully, opening and reopening it, so it would leave the most vicious scar possible. She was, to all eyes but his, considered an exceptionally lovely troll and had been sought by many as a mate. When he looked at her, he could feel nothing but a loathing unadulterated by one bit of desire.
Ttzork個頭比Kruzz高，身材卻有兩倍寬。她有個勾鼻，一對深陷的雙眼，臉上滿佈著疤痕，雙臂和雙手因為工作的關係常常都是燙傷的狀態。她對自己的外表很不講究，她的頭髮上總裝飾著剛拔下的獸骨，而且她習慣把這些獸類傷口小心地重複切開，這樣才能留下看起來比較殘忍的傷口。這個女人，在所有男洞穴巨人眼中看起來是最可人的洞穴巨人，而且是大家的夢中情人…除了Kruzz以外 -- 當Kruzz看著她的時候，只覺得一股憎惡從肚子裡湧上來。
"You just going to sit there all curled up like a snail?" she asked. He peered up at her, but all that churned inside were words that were probably going to send him back into the pot, and though they begged to come out, he kept his mouth shut. The result left something like a twisted sneer on his face, and it earned him a kick in his ribs. "Just finish filling the pot," she muttered in disgust. Ttzork turned and lumbered away, leaving Kruzz breathing deeply and trying to ignore the stares of those around him. His hands gripped the charm at his neck.
He stood slowly, his flesh ripping where it had begun to cling to the ground. Though he tried to suppress it, he yelped in pain, and the other cooks exploded with laughter. Kruzz glared at each one of them but said nothing. He went to the nearest cracked wooden meat bucket and stared down into it, but after a few moments, he looked away, frustrated. Not even the sight of fleshy pink organs all piled atop one another and dressed in blood, a sight which normally calmed him, was helping. She had humiliated him daily since he made the decision to join the cooks and prepare victuals for the trolls of Grobb, and the other cooks found her abuse funnier by the day. He hated each of them intensely, but none with such fervor as Ttzork.
Reaching into the bucket, his hands slid around the gullet of an alligator. His fingers clenched around it tightly, and as he thought of Ttzork, he squeezed harder and harder and harder, until the organ exploded, showering the bucket walls with bits of gore.
"Ttzork," he hissed, "foul, loathsome, puss-filled Ttzork. You'll regret this some day, oh yes… you will."
Kruzz had never had much in the way of good relations with his fellow trolls. Even as a young troll, he had been taunted and teased – the butt of every joke. That had continued into adulthood, and it didn't show any signs of stopping soon.
It was no mystery why they hated him: he was a coward. Kruzz stank of fear. He carried charms and refused to walk upstream and had to lay certain plant leaves on his door step at night. He'd never had any illusions about his condition in life, but that didn't absolve the others. And as they hated him, he hated them in return; so, Kruzz Skullcleaver drew further and further inward, until all that was left on the outside was a scowl and a snide remark.
A clashing sound awoke Kruzz from a dream that he fuzzily remembered involving a carving knife and a hunk of spider thigh that he somehow got the sense was not a spider thigh but rather the thigh of one of his many enemies. It was a pleasant dream, and so he decided to glare at the troll responsible for the racket.
The small stone building was shared by a number of the younger cooks without homes of their own. Though most of the rest of its occupants only muttered and turned, Kruzz sat up and turned towards the sound of a shield banging against a wall.
"Rekec?" he asked, blinking as he looked over. In the early morning light that crept through the single window of the room, Rekec was illuminated. She was a small, gaunt thing with stringy hair and large hands. Kruzz had few acquaintances that didn't want to slaughter him, she was one of the few, and not known for an uneven temper. In fact, she was belittled daily for her meekness. Kruzz glanced between her and the wall. Sure enough, a large wood shield was rocking back and forth from an apparent spin out. Further, she held a bloody knife. She looked at him wide eyed for a moment. "What've you been doing?" asked Kruzz, peering at her.
「Rekec？」Kruzz問道，一面瞇著眼看。在稀疏的灑進房間的晨光中，Rekec被照得閃閃發光。Rekec是個矮小憔悴，頭髮黏答答，有著雙大手而且脾氣多變的傢伙。Kruzz人緣雖差，但是總認得幾個比較沒那麼討厭到想要殺死自己的人，Rekec就是其中之一 -- 事實上，她因為溫順柔弱被輕視。Kruzz看了看她，也看了看牆上。很顯然地，有個盾形的擋板自顧自地來來回回搖盪 -- 擺幅還不小。此外，她手裡握著一把血淋淋的刀子。Rekec瞪大了眼睛看著Kruzz好一會兒，Kruzz凝視著她，說：「尼剛剛在幹什麼？」
"I..." she began, "was out skinning meat for morning meal."
"Why come back here then?" he grunted.
She turned away, shrugging, and said, "I forgot something."
"I see," he said, quickly losing interest. His eyes were heavy, and he thought that if he got back to sleep quickly enough, he might catch back up to the dream. Falling back against his pillow, he began turning away. Just as he did, he caught a glimpse of something strange. Where Rekec stood, there had for a moment seemed to be a second figure, as if her shadow had leaped off the wall and stood just in front of her. But it was only a moment, and Kruzz was not one for curiosity, so in a moment, he had fallen back to sleep and forgotten all about it.
The mood at the cooking fires was peculiar that day. It was surprisingly jovial, and no one had so much as called him a name or given him a dirty look. Kruzz didn't trust it – not one bit. He glanced suspiciously at each passer and hunched over the pickled fungus caps he was cutting into thin strips. Suddenly, he felt his hackles rising as he smelled an all too familiar stench. He glanced up to find Ttzork staring down at him. He squinted up at her.
"What?" he asked, his lips curling back from his teeth.
"We got a special request," she said, pausing to glance back at the rest of the cooks, who all laughed knowingly, "monkey tail."
Kruzz narrowed his eyes and as she reached for him, he suddenly realized what was happening. Two other cooks grabbed him by the arms, and as he screamed, Ttzork ripped the charm from around his neck. He wriggled against the ground, lashing against those who held him, and watched as Ttzork cut the monkey tail to pieces with the knife he had been working with. Then, one by one, she swallowed them.
"Tasty," she said with a grin, hair sticking from the side of her mouth.
When she had finally finished the whole thing, the cooks released him. By that time, he had managed to exhaust himself with the screaming and thrashing, so he seemed still enough. But the moment they let him free, something in him clicked. He looked at Ttzork straight in the eye and then sprang to his feet. Though her nostrils flared and her mouth made an O of surprise as she stumbled back, it didn't stop what was coming. No one moved quickly enough to block him as he lunged at the stone cutting table, retrieving the knife from its surface and then tumbled on straight into Ttzork.
By the time they had pulled him off of her, she had long since stopped breathing, and the ground was soaked with blood. As the rest of the cooks gazed at him, he laughed, at first softly and then more loudly until the whole area rang with his laughter. He was still laughing as they dragged him to the prisoner's pens on the other side of Grobb.
He knew he could laugh no longer as they slammed the gate on the pen shut. His breaths came in small gasps and the whole of his chest hurt. The guards looked at him and muttered, "Nutter."
Kruzz lay down in the corner of the pen and curled up tightly. His hand went to his neck, but there was nothing there. A sense of dread washed through him, but then he remembered that Ttzork was dead, and no amount of cruel jokes played on cowardly cooks would bring her back. He chuckled softly, a chuckle all he could manage at that point, and watched as evening came to Grobb, and the sun set over the Serpent's Spine Mountains -- not noticing the alien storms that gradually filled the horizon and the massive beasts silhouetted by the cracks of sheet lightning originating from within.
Tag: EQ2, Lore, Grobb, Norrathian Cook