A Friend in Need: Body and Soul

Pükul ran as fast as he could manage without the skirt of plaited fenton-reeds he was wearing falling off. He had to get out of town quickly. Perhaps even off island. Living had been getting hard around Nopaltzinitza lately, anyway. Maybe a jaunt on out to the far isles would be in order, even.
  The chain fastened to the collar around his neck jangled a bit as he adjusted his stride for the umpteenth time in the space of perhaps two minutes. Pükul sighed. He needed to get out of these clothes before he could go anywhere, and at the moment he could no more do that than he could fly away like a rampant Aoquaquatl. "First things, first," said he to himself, and he slowed to a walk, collecting his composure as he paced along letting his heart slow. He looked back the way he came, terrified that he would catch a glimpse of someone chasing him down, but the jungle remained silent except for his ragged breathing and the tinkling clank of the broken chain. He had been unable to keep it silent no matter how hard he tried, and the faint metallic chiming that accompanied his every step had him quite nonplussed. He had to get this collar off, somehow.
  "Slow down, Pükul, think. Think!" He slowed his thoughts, concentrating on the hog-path he was following through the thick jungle. The mountain's shoulders rose above his right hand side, and he found with some surprise that he had gotten further down the slope than he thought. He was getting dangerously close to the concentric rings of habitation starting just downslope from him, and he froze up, suddenly panicking. But the moment passed, and he found himself walking as if he were in a waking dream. Walking toward the middle of town, and the smithy that would be banked up and dormant for the night, he paused only to burgle an errant sarape from next to a pitz court. Thankful for the near constant blanketing of early morning fog his island experienced for perhaps the first time in his nineteen years, Pükul pulled the sarape close, nicked a wide brimmed hat woven from maize leaves and fenton-reeds, and pulled it low. "Gods, I hope there are no lice in this hat..." The absurdity of such a mundane thought after the night he had just experienced almost made him laugh out loud. Instead, he winced at the pain of his no doubt broken ribs. At least his lung was not punctured. He knew that much. 
  After what seemed like much too long, Pükul arrived at the open-air smithing yard, and took a deep breath. Stuffing a stropping leather between his skin and the collar, he crouched low behind the workbench, and got to work with a file. With a start and an audible gasp! of surprise, the morning's first bell rang from the fifty foot tall belltower just past the smithy. To his horror, he heard a curse from inside the smith's house as the tolling of the bell woke the poor woman. She staggered to her feet, breathed some life into an oil lamp close by her bedside, and sleepily walked out of her door and across her yard to the privy, having a good old fashioned scratch while she was at it. She walked past not three feet from Pükel, who had frozen like a scared armadillo. Groaning in relief, Grotl the smith farted, pissed like an alpaca on water-weed, and cleaned herself up thoroughly. Banging the door to her privy open, the smith stumbled back to her home, again passing within accurate spitting distance of Pükul, who by then had his eyes clamped tightly shut and was silently praying to Oghma and Vekhetmiradonalax-Myra with all his might. Until the day he died, he would never truly understand how the smith had not seen him, crouched there, using her rasp to break out of a slave collar. All he could ever figure was that maybe the divines had heard him, somehow.
  For Grotl's part, she returned to bed to sleep off a spectacular hangover. She was so drunk, she could have sworn she saw one of those white-skinned Singers, the ones from across the sea, curled up in the foetal position underneath her workbench. The shards of the collar, and pieces of chain, however, gave proof to the lie, and in a flash of brilliance Grotl threw them all into the crucible with some other scrap iron in order to make some hinges she had been hired to fabricate. Not an hour later, she had to put all that on hold and make the fittings for a murdered noble's casket. Murdered by his slave, they whispered. The richest man on the island, Grotl had of course heard of him. A boorish slob of a playboy, he had gotten many young women pregnant and then forced one or another of his entourage to wed the poor girl, or abandoned her altogether.
  She never felt a moment's guit at letting the slave escape. Not a single pang.


A slave murdered his abusive master and escaped a harrowing ordeal through the city to freedom.

Historical Basis

The chronicler believes this story to be patently true.


It is realatively local to The Warmwind Sea.

Variations & Mutation

In some versions of the story, a coven of sea hags hunts Pükul down afterwards, and enslaves his corpse.
Date of First Recording
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