Feyrollo smiled to himself. After all these times, after so many years, he had him. He had never defeated Treplac The Enigmatic, after facing off so many times. But now, he had his old Mage Academy colleague, and there would be no escape. He finally would win a chess game, after 23 years of playing at in the shadow-soaked study of Lycaceum Archives.
Treplac grimaced slightly and rubbed a finger against his cheek. The mage's odd silver eyes scanned his deteriorating chessboard army, looking for some recourse. He sighed and finished off his iron goblet of mead, with a single gulp. As he set down the goblet, an animated skeleton, dressed in an Academy Livery, shambled from the doorway, and quietly refilled the goblets of the old colleagues.
Treplac noticed Feyrollo's sardonic grin. "You may carry the day for once, my friend."
"It certainly seems that way."
Treplac reached for the Queen's Bishop. Feyrollo's heart leapt -- just the blunder he was waiting for. That would be the old sorceror's last mistake in this game!
But Treplac's hand hesitated, and he sat back in his leatherbacked chair. After a moment, Treplac grinned and said, "My friend, did I tell you about my little misadventure with planar displacement last week?"
"No, I do not believe you did," Feyrollo said, tapping his fingers on a captured rook. The old windbag was trying to put off the inevitable with another one of his rambling tales.
Treplac's smile broadened. "Well. You see, I had been reading The Grimbridge Grimore -- I have told you of that, yes?"
Feyrollo grunted, "Indeed, the spellbook you hired those armored nitwits to recover for you, from the Thrapian Temple." Feyrollo glared at the board, hoping to draw his colleague's attention back to the game at hand. But he knew this was too much to hope for.
"Ah yes." Treplac slapped his palms together in a clasp. "You see, I was trying to invoke the Gate Astral Projection, but I still had not gotten all of the translations just correct. You know, it is tricky, the Thrapian Cult are rather sticklers for dipthongs and pronunciations in their forked tongue..."
Feyrollo took a shallow sip of his mead. "Indeed. Were you going to move that bishop, my Brother Wizard?"
Treplac's immense range of wisdom did not include the ability to take a gentle hint. He continued, "You see, I had most of the words right, but the actual invocation is quite literal, and I fear that I did botch it a bit, with some creative alliteration, I might add!" He chuckled.
Feyrollo's scowl got darker. Not only was his friend putting off his defeat, but mages simply should not *chuckle*. Snicker, yes. Scoff in contempt, always. But not chuckle.
But Treplac was enraptured with his own tale. "You see, the spell actually came out as not 'Gate Astral Projection' but instead 'Irate Kestral Propogation!' In no time at all, my tower was packed to bursting with thousands of very angry eagle-like raptors, diving, tearing at my books with their claws, and ripping at tapestries! I had to act quickly, so I vortexed all of the flying assailants into a random teleportation gate. All that was left was a lot of feathers and a Wizard Tower in utter disarray!" Again that damn chuckle.
But Feyrollo's interest was piqued, if slightly. "Where did your gate send all of those attacking kestrels, Treplac?"
"I know not," Treplac said, raising his goblet, and swishing it contemplatively. "But somewhere in the realms, there's a hell of a lot of angry kestrels."