Doko kept a plastered on smile as more “clowns” arrived through the mangled gate that barely covered the giant hole leading to Mr. Tuck’s volcano home. The brutish stranger, from Gurglecrust judging from his accent, spat, snorted, growled, and made farting noises with his mouth as each new entertainer appeared.
“Fuckin’ wankers,” the Gurglish said. “Just look at ’em”
Doko didn’t want to look at them. They were either hideously ghoulish or frail, pale weirdos just as confused as Doko. One clown had soiled himself and cried next to a cavern wall, whispering harsh prayers in an unknown tongue.
“He’ll be done first,” the Gurglish said with disgust.
“Be done with what?” Doko asked, trying not to stare at the whimpering clown, big purple wig askew on his tiny head.
“Watch,” the Gurglish said.
Horns, drums, and wild chanting suddenly filled the cavern, causing fragments of rock to rain down from the ceiling. Doko choked on dust, disoriented, and some clowns screeched in terror. An array of bare-chested elves emerged from the darkness, bodies riddled with purplish scars. Some had horrific burns on their faces and necks. All joy was sapped from their eyes, even as they whooped and hollered. Doko had yet to see where the horns and drums were coming from. He clenched his jaw as the horns blared and the drums thudded to a stop.
One particularly maimed elf stepped forward, the ruins of his right arm clutched to his chest. “Please give a rousing round of applause for your gracious and charitable host, the Great Pyromancer of Mun-Lik-To, Halanzandro Tuckdandali. Affectionately known as Mr. Tuck.”
Drums thudded a few more times and a squat man with wispy red hair waddled into view, orange and yellow feathers from his collar brushing against pale cheeks. He looked more rodent than human with a sharp nose and jagged front teeth. His velvet robes whispered against the volcano floor and he came to a halt, his tiny bloodshot eyes scanning the gathered clowns.
Doko sneezed. His butt cheeks clenched together. By the Snake God’s, why then.
“You,” Tuck said, crooked finger pointing. “You’re a clown?”
Doko cleared his throat a few times a smoothed out his motley outfit. “Yes, an Arcane Clown, sir.”
The Gurglish grunted next to Doko and kept his eyes downcast. He murmured, “You’re dead, mate.”
Tuck grinned, revealing the true horror of his mouth, a blackened, smoking pit, teeth crooked and charred. “Arcane, you say?”
Tuck folded his arms. “Fine.” He licked his cracked lips. “Show me.”