How It Happened That Monk And Paladin Met Barbarian

Six Feet of Violence in both hair color and interaction with the world

Monk and Paladin are just outside of Yulash. This isn’t a scenic area with trees and squirrels. Yulash is a pit, little more than a battleground between Hillsfar and Zhentil Keep with the occasional escaping slime god. At this point, the only real difference between the factions is the color of their helmet brushes. That, and the Zhents don’t have helmet brushes, they’ve always won the style war on Toril. Completely evil, but fabulous on the runway.

Monk and Paladin are standing outside of what would be an open road into Yulash were it not for the barricades. And the slime. Yulash generates slime the way Monk generates hate.

Monk: “Paladin, I can’t remember, are those mercenaries Hillsfarian or Zhents?

Paladin: “Zhents. They don’t have the silly helmets”

Monk: “Right, I always forget about that. Do they look like they have any pet beholders then? The Zhents love those for some reason.”

Paladin: “Well, they do make winning fights easier, but I don’t see any, it’s hard to hide a beholder.”

Monk: “Good point. Still, it will be a fight, and…”

Just then, the largest woman either Monk or Paladin have ever seen walks up. She’s about as tall as Monk, but where he’s lithe, she’s built like…well, a brick shithouse. She is also carrying an axe of considerable size and sharpness, decorated with what looks like years’ and entire towns’ worth of dried blood. She also has pink hair. Very pink hair. Lathanderites weep in jealous rage over how pink Barbarian’s hair is. This is important to Monk, he has a thing for pink.

Barbarian: “Are these Zhents causing you trouble?”

Monk: “Not as such. They might try in a few minutes, we’re trying to decide if Yulash is worth the trouble of walking through it, or just avoiding the entire mess.”

Barbarian: “Yulash is never worth it, it’s a pit of a pit. Latrines smell better. The only reason people go through Yulash is walking around Yulash takes longer and it smells so bad even Otyughs stay away. But, since they are Zhents and they might possibly get in my way or otherwise vex me…”

With that, Barbarian dons the rather impressive helmet she’d been wearing on her hip, unshoulders her axe, and with a loud and rather profane battlecry, runs towards the barricade, intent on bisecting Zhents.

Paladin: “Monk, I have never seen a helmet like that. Even the spikes have spikes.”

Monk: “Yes…isn’t she dreamy?”

Paladin: “What?”

Monk: “Um, nothing, I said nothing. Come on, let’s see how she does. This could be fun if she’s any good.”

Barbarian hits the Zhent’s barriers at full speed. That’s less impressive than the fact she doesn’t seem to actually notice the barriers. They notice her, in a “turning to flying scrap” kind of way.

Monk: “Paladin, you have a decent memory. Do you ever remember seeing people killed by someone by running into a wooden barrier so hard, they were impaled by the scraps?”

Paladin: “There was that dragon just south of Anuroch that did that to a bunch of Purple Dragon Knights.”

Monk: “Does that really count? I mean, he flattened a town with one swing of his tale, I think that’s accidental. Look, she hit that second barrier just right to put the scraps into that crossbow-type in the shape of a “Z”. That’s either artistry or showing off.”

Paladin: “You asked if we’d ever seen that before. If you want a different answer, you have to ask a different question.”

Monk: “Fair. Oh my, a beheading that kills the guy behind the decapitee with the flying head. See Paladin, you just don’t see artistry like that any more. Nowadays it’s all hack, hack, slash, slash. Style. that’s what we are missing, style.”

Barbarian: “Are either of you two going to help or just provide bad commentary?”

Monk: “Our commentary is not bad, it is witty and wise. Besides, you need help less than any army I’ve ever seen. The Tarrasque needs help more than you do. Oh wait, you have a scratch on your arm. Here, let me heal that.”

Monk walks over to where Barbarian is doing something very rude to a wizard with the handle of her greataxe and heals a cut that is maybe an inch long.

Monk: “There, I have helped…hm, I never thought about cleaning weapon hilts with arterial spray. That is a neat trick, I’ll have to remember it.”

Barbarian stops mutilating the now quite dead wizard, and stares at Monk with the normal response to his version of “humor”, that is, exasperation and barely-masked annoyance.

Barbarian: “I should let you handle the rest of this and make funny comments of my own.”

Monk: “Will you buy me dinner if I can handle the rest of this lot in under a minute without moving my feet?”

Barbarian gives Monk the once-over.

Barbarian: “if you can do it in under forty-five seconds, you might just get more than dinner, you’re more pretty than your mouth is big. Besides, they’re kind of boring.”

Monk doesn’t waste time agreeing, he simply bends down, grabs an armful of kindling that used to be part of a barrier and turns to Barbarian.

Monk: “The clock starts once you walk back over to where Paladin is standing. You’re blocking part of my view.”

Barbarian gives Monk a wry smile, puts her axe over her shoulder and walks over to Paladin. Some of the Zhents act like they were thinking about using their crossbows on her, then they look at the wizard she’s turned into some kind of very wrong sponge art with the haft of the greataxe and decide that Monk would be a better target.

Barbarian: “Okay, ready…GO”

Monk, without moving his feet, because that’s the bet, and keeping the terms of a bet is totally not chaotic, does a pivot that shouldn’t be possible for creatures with a spine. The crossbowmen who made the decision to shoot at him realize they decided poorly as he catches their bolts with one hand and returns them. At high speeds. Into rude places, and we don’t mean the back of a Ffolkwagon. The remaining wizard casts various things at him, none of which work.

Paladin: “Hi, lady with the very large ax, are you our new friend?”

Barbarian looks at Paladin for a minute. She’s never seen a warforged, much less one as smilely as Paladin. It would look creepy, but he reeks of sincerity, goodness, and a less-than-bright view of life she, and everyone who is not evil find charming. (To be honest, even the evil lot like Paladin. They’d like it if he didn’t cause them so many problems, but it’s really hard to genuinely hate Paladin. That, they reserve for Monk. There’s a town just outside of Neverwinter that has a yearly hate parade in dedication to Monk.)

Barbarian: “Well, I’m definitely yours, I like you, you’re nice. Him, we’ll see.”

Paladin: “We get that a lot…oh, they shouldn’t use magic on Monk.”

Barbarian: “It doesn’t seem to work well.”

Paladin: “It also makes him itchy. He hates that.”

Barbarian: “Understandable.”

As the other two talk, Monk bounces the kindling in his hands a few times, then with a sweep of both arms, launches it at the remaining Zhents. Every one of them goes down with a piece of wood in the throat. Monk looks around at the now-twitching corpses, shaking his head.

Monk: “The Zhents just hate throat guards. I’ll never understand why.”

Barbarian: “They like choking, and I don’t mean in combat. It’s a thing with them.”

Monk rolls his eyes at that.

Monk: “Zhents. Anyway, you owe me dinner.”

Barbarian: “I do indeed, but not in Yulash.”

Monk: “No, eating here is awful. Even Otyughs know that. This town gets slime on everything somehow. Even sealed ale barrels somehow have globs of slime. It’d be an impressive trick if it wasn’t making the food so rancid.”

Barbarian: “Hmm…not Shadowdale, they annoy me.”

Monk: “Ditto, someone there thinks he knows everything, and never shuts up about it.”

Barbarian: “And how. How about you my new…whatever you are friend?”

Paladin: “I’m a warforged. I’m like a golem, but I’m a person and I don’t just murder people at someone’s command. I’m a paladin because I like being good. But I don’t eat, I just like to smell things.”

Barbarian: “You are truly the cheapest of dates, and possibly quite handy in preventing awkward social faux pas. Okay my fine whirring friend, where is your favorite place to smell food.”

Paladin thinks about this. Fortunately, smelling food is one of his favorite things, and he can actually think about that well. Otherwise, they might grow old waiting for an answer.

Paladin: “Voonlar is nice. Ashabenford is better, but we have to go through Shadowdale, and it’s full of people who know everything and like to tell me about it. Constantly. That much talking makes it hard to smell my dinner. Also, Storm Silverhand threatened to turn Monk inside-out if she ever saw him again.”

Barbarian: “Why am I not surprised. Voonlar it is then, dinner’s on me.”

Monk: “I certainly hope so.”

Barbarian: “What was that?”

Monk: “Um nothing, I said nothing. Let us be off to Voonlar then.”