Lately I have been in a bit of a creative funk. I can’t seem to enjoy the process of writing and every story I do seems to come out high school style and flat as hell. I asked an artist friend of mine what he does when he gets creative constipation. He told me to write something completely selfish and completely shitty. Just do something for the fun of creating.
When he gets this way he draws Dungeons and Dragons characters and monsters which gave me an idea. About three years ago I started playing in a campaign of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, a kind of gritty, renaissance style pen and paper game. I played a nineteen year old, alcoholic knight-in-sour-armour. He is socially awkward, incredibly ugly and has a dark, secret past that he cannot fully remember. I have been playing him for three years now and I know exactly how he works, how he thinks and how he will react to any situation.
He is pretty much my favourite guy ever.
So what I am going to do from now on when I get writers block is write stories about him. They will not be anywhere close to quality, or original, but they will be fun as hell. Writing about Helmuth gives me such a feeling of wholesome joy that it is hard to describe. So, here we go for the first…
ADVENTURES WITH HELMUTH
KILL, LOOT, REPEAT
Wheels squeaked as the cart rattled down the heavily rutted, dung soup that was the road. The driver was a pile of sodden animal furs and the horse looked like it had been found washed up under a bridge and cruelly forced back into service. Pigs squealed in the back of the cart, as if shit was a present from God. The road was flanked by hills, heavily green and wet. The hills produced ragged men, effortlessly making the change from scenery into a threatening formation around the cart. They called to the driver.
“Wo fährst du?”
A tall and badly put together man stepped forward, his smile revealing a lumber pile of brown teeth. His hand rested on a nailed club hanging from a loop on his belt.
“Wir wollen dein schweine.”
A voice called out from the back of the cart, muffled by pig flesh.
Helmuth struggled up from under the pigs. The rusty plate armour he was wearing rattled. He stood tall and unsteady, a bottle of grain alcohol in one hand and a business-looking longsword in the other. A trail of pig shit streaked down the front of his breastplate. His visored helmet sat at a weird angle.
He adjusted his helmet with the thumb from the hand holding the bottle and jumped down off the cart. He swaggered up to lumber mouth, his heavy boots leaving deep rivets in the mud. He leaned down into the face of the man whose smile had turned to a sneer.
“Look, no pigs for you alright?”
He gestured towards the cart.
We waved to towards the hills.
“Push off. I’m mean when I’m plastered.”
Lumber mouth looked around at the other men. One of them raised his eyebrows. Lumber mouth reached for his club. Helmuth brought the bottle down on the man’s forehead. It smashed and dragged down his face, leaving it a ragged mess. Lumber mouth fell to the ground screaming.
“Shit, sorry. That was meant to be a stunning blow.”
Helmuth looked around at the other men. They seemed shocked. He dropped the smashed end of the bottle and brought his sword up into a ready position.
All five men rushed him at once. He was pushed forwards from behind and another man brought a plank of wood into his face. He slipped backwards in the mud. His hand shot out and closed around an ankle.
Helmuth wrenched out the man’s leg from under him and brought him down into the mud. He crawled upon the man as the others kicked him ineffectually in the breastplate. He brought his gauntleted fist down into the man’s throat.
Two men grabbed him by the arms and dragged him to his feet. A third man drew a knife. The armoured man kicked into one of the flanking men’s knee, snapping it. He swung around and brought the other man who was desperately clinging to his arm down to the ground, stamping on his spine with a crack.
Helmuth leant down to pick up his sword and the knife-wielding man tackled him from behind, trying to stick his knife in the gap under the armpit of the armour. Helmuth brought his elbow up into the man’s nose and swivelled before burying the longsword in the man’s shoulder and down into his chest.
The last man fled to the hills. Helmuth pulled his sword out of the corpse and walked up to the cart driver. The cart driver grabbed him by the shoulder.
Helmuth wiped his blade on the driver’s furs.
“Yeah yeah, no problem. Look, I’m heading off that way. I’m. Going. But I’ll be back.”
He waved off after the bandit and started trudging through the mud. The cart driver called after him.
“Wo gehst du?”
Helmuth called back.
“Loot. You know? Geld? The bandits have to have a shit tonne stored somewhere. First law of adventuring: kill, loot, repeat.”
The bandit was easy to follow. His frantic feet left a brown scar through the loose grass of the hills. Helmuth puffed as he jogged, his armour rattling like a dropped crate of cutlery. He crested a hill and leant against a tree stump. The rain starting pouring again and he drew droplets into his mouth with his heavy breathing. He looked up.
There was a giant rent in the hill in front of him, a ten metre deep valley that had been violently wrenched out of the earth. It got wider near the end where a round metal object about the size of a house sat covered with mud. The rain poured down the sides of the valley and down towards the object. Helmuth lifted his visor and frowned.
He slipped down the side of the valley. The water at the bottom was ankle deep and freezing and smelled of petrol. He made his way up the rent towards the object. There was an open doorway in the side. He stepped up to it and called inside.
“Hey you in here? I’m not going to kill you; I’m just going to take your shit.”
There was a high pitched whining sound and a green sun of energy blasted its way out of the doorway. Helmuth swept to the side and put his back up against the wall. The air hissed and steam rose from his armour.
Helmuth exhaled through clenched teeth. He frowned and glanced back down the doorway. He stopped for a second and spoke to himself.
He started jogging off the way he came.
“Nope nope nope.”
He climbed back up the wall of the valley and jogged back to the cart. The cart driver raised an eyebrow at him.
“Sorry, no loot today pal. Those were some poor as hell bandits.” Helmuth said as he climbed back into the cart. He sat back down amongst the pigs. He felt around under them and came up with another bottle of spirits, undid the cap and leaned back drinking.
He wiped his mouth and spoke.
“If I see another God damn spaceship in medieval Germany I am out of this campaign.”
The cart rolled down the track.
(Because I want to encourage the commenting on here a bit more, the first commenter on this post gets to pick the next setting for Helmuth’s adventures. Space, Disney, The Olympics, who knows?)