Our team had fought bravely through the army of face latching Rattus minions in order to confront their leader, the mad Rat King! Unfortunately in our climactic battle, we found our weaponry lacking. It was only thanks to the clever tactic of ‘throw random potions at it and hope for the best’ we were able to see the day through.

Thanks to the spoils of our (mostly) successful mission we had the funds necessary to seek out new weaponry to enhance our currently lackluster arsenal. I, in particular, was hoping to find a new bow. Didn’t have to be anything fancy, just a longbow enchanted to embune the arrows fired from it with magic in order to overcome the supernatural resistance creatures like the Rat King possessed.

I lead my team of wide-eyed strangers to Sigil through its narrow and twisting streets. It was a struggle to navigate them around the more dangerous and\or alluring elements of the city. Sometimes the scariest monsters hide behind the prettiest faces, after all. Thankfully they remembered the rules I gave them like, ‘If you see anyone wearing more blades than clothing, be exceptionally polite (they probably work for the ‘Queen’)’, and ‘if you see anything and don’t know what in the hells it is DO NOT stare and especially DO NOT point at it, just give it a friendly nod and keep on walking’.

As we crossed under the archway marking the entrance I announced to my team, “Okay, here we are, the grand bizarre of Sigil! Just about anything that exists anywhere in the multiverse can be found here, and acquired for the right price.”

As we walked the main fairway I spotted a pair of demons haggling over the price of human souls. A creature made of living metal taking off one of its arms and trying on a new being sold by a pair of Dwarves. We overheard the plight of a warrior who kept asking a potion merchant for their strongest potions and was continuously refused because he was too weak. I spot a stand that was advertising ‘bottled time’. I have no idea how that might work

Knowing the grand bazaar was fairly safe and that my teammates had already proven themselves in combat, I felt safe leaving them to wander on their own for a while. We agreed on a time and location to reconvene then parted.

I wandered through the market for a while taking in the sights. A wizard selling magic scrolls, alchemist petaling potions, dwarves claiming their steel is the finest there is. I eventually came upon a little stall tucked away in a corner far away from the main bustle of the fairway. Judging by the archery range next to it they might sell the bow I was looking for. As I got closer I noticed the merchant had a rather worried look. He going through all the motions to sell his ware. He had some fine merchandise on display, he was hawking with a good loud voice, but he didn’t have a single customer. Perhaps his less than ideal location was limiting his exposure.

As I stopped to analyze the merchant’s plight, I was struck with an idea.

“GREETINGS, SIR BOWYER!” I proclaimed loudly as I approached. I had intended to draw some attention to myself and the merchant, but judging how he startled with alarm I might have overdone it.

The stout pale green skied half-orc was quick to recover from my untended shock. He smiled showing a broken tusk. “Hail, archer!” He spoke a bit of an orcish accent. “Ya lookin’ to buy sumthin’? Well, ya came ta the right place! I’m Shump Thokk, my bows are some of the best in all of Sigil.” He declared his sales pitch in a well-spoken manner.

“I might be, yes. Can I practice my shooting while we talk?” I gestured to the archery range with my chin as I took my bow from its sheath.

“Sure, I s‘pose.” He agreed happily.

“‘Shump Thokk’ an interesting name.” I began casually as I drew back my arrow. I added in the Orc language ‘low and left of center’. My arrow flew and hit the closest target way low and left of the bull’s eye. I pretended to be upset though my shot landed exactly where I had intended to.

“Aye, ‘Shump Thokk’ that’s me name. Me ma an’ pa were both bowyer’s like me so they named me after their favorite sound!”

I didn’t understand what he meant a first. “High and right.” I announced in Orcish. I pulled the arrow back with the string. My bow made a ‘Shhhummmp’ sound as I pull the string taut. I then let the arrow fly, and again missing the bull’s eye but hitting my intended target with a ‘Thhhookk!’ I let a chuckle then amplified the sound to draw more attention. “I understand the origin of your name now!”

Shump smiled and nodded, though also looked confused. He probably wasn’t sure that he heard me call my shot the first time, but the second time he caught it for sure. Now he was wondering what I was up to.

“Pitiful…” a female voice declared in Elvish. I glanced over spotted another figure approaching. She was a slender and lithe woman of High Elven heritage. “You look like a Wood Elf, but you can’t hit a target at a dozen paces? What are you Dwarf using magic to alter your appearance? Should I have some cast ‘dispel magic’ on you?”

She was clearly haughty, arrogant… and perfect for my plan! “Madam!” I began loud enough to draw more attention. “I’ll have you know I’ve been using a bow since I could walk. It’s just this old bow. While it has served me faithfully for some time it has become worn and old. I bet I could outshoot almost any if only I had a proper one.”

She scoffed. “Tis a poor craftsman that blames the tool.” She declared mockingly further drawing in the on-lookers gathering around us.

“You could be the best blacksmith in the multiverse, but if the head falls off of your hammer you won’t be able to make a decent sword.” I countered with my best ‘haughty elf’ impression. We had a pretty good crowd gathered around Shump’s stall now.

The she-elf stepped up to the range. “That’s hardly a fair comparison. No one has clipped the string on your bow! It’s fine your aim is what’s broken!”

I smirked internally, this couldn’t be going any better. “Well let us prove it then!” I demanded. Some of the crowd cheered in agreement.

“Yes, lets!” The she-elf agreed and was accompanied by a full round of cheers.

I turned to the half-orc, “Shump, may I try one of your bows?” I had already picked out the one I liked. “How about that one on the left, that’s made of dark wood.” I pointed it out.

Shump nodded, “Ah, that one thar that has dem symbols used in magic, eh? Ay that is a fine bow indeed!” He retrieved it and presented it for me. “A wizard friend of mine, dun magic to this one. He says it’ll make arrows fly truer and sinker deeper, he does!”

The bow was actually quite nice. I could tell Shump knew how to make them. I could also fell the thrum of power emanating from the enchantment. This was a worthwhile weapon indeed.

As I was examining the bow I heard a squeak and spotted on of the Rat Kings face clawing monsters at the end of the range and without any sort of conscious thought, I drew an arrow and fired with the new bow. *THOKK*, *SQQUI–eeeeakkk….*

I heard a few impressed murmurs roll through the assembled crowd. ‘That was amazingly quick.’ ‘He hit right in the head.’

Shump methodically walked over to the rat counting his steps aloud. “Forty-Eight, forty-nine, fifty! Blimey! Ya nailed ‘im in his litta’ bugger eye at fifty paces!” He declared in an impressed manner

I hadn’t intended to show off just yet, but it worked for my plan, so I rolled with it. I smirked and turned to the she-elf. “THAT… is what a true craftsman can do with a ‘proper tool’.” I declared and held up the bow for the crowd to see draw a few impressed ‘awe’s.

“Oh please. Even the town fool can get lucky every once in a while!” The She-elf declared and got a few mutters in agreement.

“Oh, so you think it was a fluke then?” I challenged. “Well, our little competition can settle this then.” I paused for dramatic effect as I turned to the crowd. “I have a prediction! You…” I looked to the she-elf. “You will call your next shot and will miss! Whereas I with this bow..!” I held it up for the crowd to see and admire. “Shall call a target and strike true!”

The she-elf scoffed, “Ha!” She actually said the word ‘ha’, it was rather strange. “Alright then! I call bull’s eye on the furthest target!” The crowd let out an impressed ‘oh’. She lifted her bow and got ready to fire.

“I call… your arrow!” I quick-drawed an arrow lined up bull’s eyeshot with the furthest target then took a quick step left and altered my angle ever-so-slightly.

I let my arrow fly a mere instant before she released hers. Just before her arrow hit its intended target, mine intercepted knocking it off course!.

Shump was the first to react by letting out a grand exclamation, “Bleedin’ hells! He did it! He shot her arrow right off the air with ‘is own! Ain’t never seen nothin’ like that before!”

The crowd let out a collective gasp and then erupted into a cheer. The she-elf stood there with her mouth hanging open in surprise.

“And that good people of Sigil… is why I Belton Planestalker, go to this finest bowyer I have ever know…” I had to suppress a grin as I said his name. I turned and dramatically pointed at the half-orc, “Shump Thokk!” I tapped into the magic of my Oswald’s Magnificent Vest to do a bit of ‘prestidigitation’. As I whispered into my hand a sourceless voice called out ‘Hey I need to get one of those fancy bows!’ To which another equally sourceless voice replied ‘Yeah, me to!”

“Yeah them bows seem amazin’!” Someone in the crowd concurred with my illusions, which set off similar lines of conversation among the crowd.

I smiled and approached Shump as the crowd began to form a queue behind me. In orcish I asked, “Now. that I’ve got you some business… let’s talk about my discount.”

Shump recognized what I did and gave me the best deal he could. The enchanted bow, AND Bracers of Archery which could further enhance the penetration of my arrows. For a mere 500 gold. He even tossed in a pair minor healing potions, to sweeten the deal.

With my new gear in tow, I turned to walk away, though I paused to meet the she-elf’s eyes. In Elvish I told her, ‘Thanks for the help’ then winked and walked away. As I made my way through the crowd I had gathered I happened to overhear her asking Shump if he had another bow like the kind he sold me.

1000 gold allotted

-200 gold +1 Long bow

-200 gold Bracers of Archery

-100 gold 2x Minor potions of healing


500 gold returned to the party fund

Author Zenru
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