"So there's a monk on pilgrimage, out to see the world and.. strengthen his inner connection to the grace of the divine. He's out walking one morning along a shady road somewhere in Kanoshire, when a hunter suddenly stumbles into his path.
"Help!" he cries, "My friend is dead!"
He seizes the cleric by his sleeve and drags him around a nearby tree. Beneath it lay a man, pale and motionless. His eyes are closed and his hat clutched to his chest. As the pilgrim makes to examine the body, the man begins to stir!
"Dead?" asks the cleric (with a note of frustration,) "Lo! Have you made sure of it?"
The hunter releases the monk and steps back. Then he knocks an arrow and shoots the sleeper through the eye. "Alright, now what?"


"Now you laugh, my boy.."

His voice pierces the space between them, an intimate croon felt some ten feet away. With the lanterns extinguished, the only lights beneath the canopy of black pine needles are two amber beads hovering in the dark. Hovering closer, as though he were falling towards them, even as he clawed and dragged himself in the opposite direction. It wasn't supposed to be like this. Five against one - and a dandy jester at that. Who'd bet against those odds? It seemed too, well.. funny to pass up the opportunity, considering they had met this particular fool before. Only now, away from Brookhurst and far from the notice of others, did he come to realize that something was.. different. It seemed that privately, Vendy the Splendy's sense of humor was rather more malignant than previously demonstrated.

The jester steps into a thin beam of moonlight that illuminates an eerie silhouette; Broad shoulders adorned in playfully billowing sleeves. His head is framed by an extravagantly oversized collar. Two tassles dangle from his cap, reminiscent of limp donkey ears. Tiny bells attached to the tips jingle with every step, though each footfall is itself silent. Something large and round and dripping hangs from his left hand. The moonlight dances off the bloody sheen coating the dagger in his right.
As the last of the motley thugs backs himself against a tree, he can do naught but give into terror, and the dreadful feeling of facing something more horrible than anything he had prepared himself to encounter that night. Fear saps his remaining strength even faster than loss of blood. Vendy drops the 'something' and then kneels over the wounded man, straddling him. Still, he can't quite see his face, only the peculiar glow of his eyes and the pale sockets surrounding them, the suggestions of sharp cheekbones. The smell of blood and viscera is strong. He speaks again, abruptly tearing the blade from the side of his thigh, completely severing the artery within:

"If you had only waited a few more hours, you might have been spared this unseemly end, for you would die so quickly as to feel no pain. Yet, there are certain restrictions that I must abide by. Call it dedication to my role. Thus, I have had to resort to less efficient methods of settling the affairs between us. I should tell you before this goes any further, that any plea for mercy on your behalf would be an appeal to something which does not exist in my nature. Now, where were we?"
..
"Hello? Hello?" Vendelin clinked the daggers before his eyes. The man lay still in death. A distinct sigh of air escaped his dead body. After a moment of contemplation, Vendy said "Will glass coffins be a success? Remains to be seen."