COUP Chapter 3

Part one

Panel 1: General chaos
Panel 2: back view of Brandan facing the chaos holding the glowing quill 
Panel 3: Brandan holding quill over his head. “ENOUGH SHENANIGANS!”
Panel 4 “Brandan hovering in the air, glowing yelling “SHUN”

Part two

“Something ain’t right,” Blackjack muttered as he looked over his shoulder. Behind him was the most ordinary of paths cutting through the most ordinary of glades in the most ordinary of forests. Despite the ordinaryness of the scene, it was certainly interesting because he had just been drinking rum at the Owlbar tavern in Baum Phawk.

“What do you mean?” asked one of the most ordinary men Blackjack had ever seen and who happened to be walking right beside him.

“Well, for one—who are ya?”

“You can call me Bernie, sir. I’m a process server for the Mages of the Bay.”

“Mages of the—” Blackjack trailed off. What am I being served for? Did I make a copyright fringes?”

“Infringement, sir. And No. I also do not know why I’m here. Or who you are.”

“Ah. Sorry, lad. Names Blackjack. Monk.”

With a curt nod, Bernie said, “Pleasure to meet you, sir.” He returned his attention to the road they had found themselves traveling on. At the end of the lane was a log cabin amidst a lovely rose garden. “Perhaps this house is why we’re here.”

It was indeed why they were there.

“Oh good,” Blackjack grumbled. “Tha voice in my head is here, too.”

Of course I am; I’m the narrator of your story.

“Ya a bloody nuisance is what ya are!”

“Excuse me?” Bernie stopped in his tracks to look back at the monk, perplexed.

“Sorry, nothing. There’s just a voice in my head who likes ta narrate everything that happens. Well, that and stuff like ‘pay attention to tha plot, Blackjack,’ and ‘ya are my character, Blackjack, can’t ya just do what ya told?’ It’s bloody irritating, I tell ya.”

“I’m sorry for your predicament,” Bernie responded without missing a beat. “Shall we investigate?”

“Aye. I ain’t got nothing better ta do.”

So the two men who had never met before went toward the mysterious log cabin in the wood, never the wiser that the story where they were supposed to have been introduced had already been written but was still waiting publication. In case you’re curious, that book was Blackjack (& Bernie) and the Litigious Lair of—

“Seriously, would ya put a sock in it?” Blackjack asked and took a deep swig of rum from the jug that could always be found in his hand.

Sorry, sorry. Um, let’s jump ahead to when the pair of strangers have already entered the house, eaten the porridge, sampled the chairs, and—when looking for the beds, heard a conversation between two individuals from behind a closed door. In fact this was………………………………………………. ….. hey, there’s nothing left to read……………..


“—lost my quill,” said the voice behind the door. The speaker had a strange accent that neither man had heard before. The statement was followed by a silence that could be called stunned, even without seeing the scene or knowing the context of the conversation.

“You did what?” came a second voice, breaking the tension like a priceless vase on an equally priceless mosaic-tiled floor.

“I can’t write because I lost the pen.”

Another of those exaggerated silences.

Blackjack leaned close to Bernie and whispered, “I don’t think this has anything ta do with us.”

Bernie raised an eyebrow. “Not everything has to do with us; we are simply two individuals living in a world populated by billions.”

“Ya know, lad—as much sense as that makes, I tend ta find that since tha narrator started blabbing in me ear, everything does have ta do with me in some way.”

“That is an incredibly egotistical look on life,” Bernie commented. Despite the words, his tone wasn’t condescending but rather intrigued.

Before Blackjack could respond to the response, the people on the other side of the door started speaking again. It had evidently taken the second speaker nearly forty seconds to process the first speaker’s statement. Also, when we said speaking again, the correct terminology should have been yelling.

“You are stuck in a summoning circle that contains only a desk, chair, blanket, books, and writing supplies!” Deep breath. More yelling: “How did you lose the most important tool?”

“My bad?”

“Yes, you’re bad! Macy expects you to have the first draft of her next novel done by the time she gets back from her quest!”

“Best get me another quill then.”

“So help me, gods…” the frustrated man muttered. Oh, for crying out loud. The readers of this story know its B.S.Roberts and Macy Blush’s agent behind the door. Let’s just use their names now.

Speaking of doors—the closed one that Bernie and Blackjack were eavesdropping through abruptly opened, revealing the agent. What could be seen of his face beneath the hood of his white robe twisted in startlement. He stepped back where his foot promptly snagged on said robe, tripping him. In a matter of seconds, the agent was skidding across the floor, coming to a halt at the feet of B.S.Roberts.

B.S.Roberts was dressed in unfaewalkish clothing, signifying him as either eccentric or not a denizen of the world. Seeing as he was slightly transparent, Blackjack and Bernie guessed the latter to be the case. “Blackjack?” he asked with as much shock in his voice as had been exhibited by the agent when opening the door.

“Eh? Do I know ya, lad—” the monk said and trailed off. “Wait a second. That voice…”

“Holy shit,” B.S.Roberts muttered. “This doesn’t make any sense.

“Ya telling me,” Blackjack said numbly. He turned to Bernie. “Hey, Beenie?”

“It’s Bernie, Sir.”

“—that’s tha voice in me head.”

Bernie furrowed his brow. “That’s an entire person, Blackjack.”

“I know that, I ain’t daft! Tha half-transparent guy’s voice is tha one I’ve been hearing for months! Years? I’m having a hard time processing time right now. How long have I known you?”

“We’ve just met, Sir.”

“Then how could we already served Quakthulhu?”

“…We haven’t.”

“I know we have,” Blackjack paused. “We will?”

Bernie tilted his head. “You seem correct; I do have some recollection of you, although it’s fuzzy.”

“Maybe it’s that Discombabbleationthingamabob you used to—will?—talk about all the time?”

That’s when B.S.Roberts decided to speak up again: “Discombobulation? That isn’t a real thing, though. I just made it up for a short story last week—”

“Oh no, it’s a real thing,” Blackjack grumbled. “It’s a pain in tha arse, too. Has been for years.”

“He’s correct,” Bernie interjected with a frown. “The Discombobulation has been wreaking havoc with reality for hundreds of years.”

“Fine, whatever, I believe you—” B.S.Roberts said. “I mean, it makes total sense, right? Just like I’m stuck in a make-believe world with characters I made up — one of which was invented on the very world I made up! No, this is all ridiculous. You can’t be here, I can’t be here, the book to that comic strip can’t be here, I’m pretty sure nothing can be—”

B.S.Roberts stopped ranting when the figure at his feet groaned.

“Right, forgot about that bugger,” Blackjack remarked, looking down at the robed literary agent.

The ghostwriter wasn’t paying attention to the monk, though. His entire focus was on the chalk line of the summoning circle that had held him trapped for nearly two years. Or rather, the smudge that had been a chalk line before the agent had skid across it.

“Are you okay, sir?” Bernie asked.

“More than okay,” B.S.Roberts practically yelled. “Gotta go!” Then, like a ghostwriter out of a summoning circle, he booked it out of the room, pretty much leaving a line of fire in his wake.

“That was odd,” Blackjack said to Bernie, only to discover he was alone in the room. “Who in tha Abyss was I talking to?”   Deeming it another instance where rum needed to be involved, he went to take a swig, but before the jug could reach his lips, Blackjack, too, had disappeared.

Blackjack (& Bernie) and the Litigious Lair of _________.

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