The Black Adder Strikes (Out)
The characters of Edmund Blackadder and Baldrick are from the Black Adder TV series - these particular versions are from Black Adder II. Two of the jokes in the story are pretty closely copied from the show, the rest of the humor (at least I hope you find it humorous) is inspired by the show's attitude and tone.
For continuity purposes, this story takes place after Mo's epic "Angels and Devils in the Architecture," which originated the role-play characters of Anna Winslow and Antoine de Lio.
Two men made their way towards the Winslow Tavern. They were an odd pair to say the least. One was a short man in stylish, all-black clothing. His expression was one of discomfort and distaste; it was obvious he'd rather not be traveling by foot on this cold winter's day. He had curly dark hair and wore a neatly trimmed goatee, which drew attention away from his rather large nose. He cut somewhat of a dashing figure, especially compared to his companion. The second fellow was even shorter, dressed in shabby, ill-smelling garments. His expression was...well he didn't really have an expression, he just sort of looked blankly ahead as he walked. His hair was dark, long and stringy, with a sloppy beard that matched.
"Ye Gods, Baldrick," the taller man said. "I've had enough of walking along like one of the common rabble."
"I sort of like it."
"Yes, well being common rabble would be a step up for you wouldn't it? But look at me! Sir Edmund Blackadder, toast of Elizabeth's royal court, walking along the roadside on this godforsaken day. It's a disgrace."
"At least I'm here with you," Baldrick said.
"Rub it in why don't you?" Edmund muttered. "Still this is only a temporary setback at worst. Here in Aperans I'll once again rub elbows with the powerful and rich. Here I'll rebuild my status, and then I'll return home in triumph. Then I'll have my revenge on Lord Pillsworth."
"He really got you in trouble and all. Just because you was keeping company with that woman what lived in his house."
Edmund glanced at Baldrick and tried to keep his patience. "His wife, Baldrick. That woman was his wife." He felt he'd explained the situation to his dull-witted servant a thousand times.
"No wonder you got in trouble," Baldrick said, just as he had dozens of times before when he had finally understood the details of his Lord's problems, before he promptly forgot and had to have it all explained again.
"Baldrick, your brain reminds me of the four-headed, man-eating, fish-beast of New Aberdeen."
"In what way?"
"It doesn't exist!" Edmund nearly shouted. They then walked towards the tavern in silence. As they got close enough to hear the sounds of the patrons inside, Edmund's mood improved somewhat. Soon he'd be out of the cold and resting by a warm fire. At this point he could even look on the whole sordid business with Pillsworth in a lighter tone. "It was quite the dramatic scene after all," he said aloud.
"What was?" Baldrick asked.
"Oh, the confrontation I had with Pillsworth. For all the trouble it's caused me, it was still quite a moment. I can still remember the exact words that were spoken." He grew more animated as he repeated what had been said, gesturing at the empty air for emphasis. "You miserable, pathetic, little worm of a man! Stop hiding behind that worthless strumpet and face me! I'm going to give you the thrashing of your life!"
"You said all that to Lord Pillsworth?" Baldrick asked, clearly impressed.
"Don't be ridiculous Baldrick. That's what he said to me. He said more as well, but I couldn't really hear it as that was the point where I jumped out the window."
They entered the tavern and found a table. As they made themselves comfortable, Edmund talked of his master plan. "Now all I have to do is work my way into one of the royal courts here in Aperans. Karteia is the perfect place, I think."
"Why there?" Baldrick asked.
"Because it's ruled by a power-mad, devious megalomaniac. Exactly the kind of person I can deal with. This Dirk Blackpool sounds like just the kind of man who'd appreciate my sly mastery of intrigue, court politics, and diplomacy. We both understand the important things in life."
"Like not getting caught with Lord Pillsworth's wife?"
"Baldrick, do you see that fireplace over there? Go set the poker in the hottest part of the flame and when it glows white, bring it over to me."
"Okay," Baldrick said as he got up.
"And there's no hurry, wait until it's white hot," Edmund told him. "I need time to decide which one of your bodily orifices I'm going to insert it in anyway." Still, as Baldrick left Edmund did have to concede that he had made a mistake with Pillsworth's wife. He had lost a good position and the favor of the Queen because of the affair. Now he had to start over with next to nothing, all because he'd been charmed by a pretty face. "Well, I'm not making that mistake again," he said aloud to himself. "The fairer sex is nothing but a deadly snare to men of destiny like myself. I'll not be blinded by such perilous charms again."
"Excuse me, sir?" said a voice behind him. Edmund glanced round and realized a serving wench had approached him as he was talking to himself. "What were you saying?" she asked. "Are you ready to order?"
"Yes, I'd like..." Edmund paused dumbfounded as he looked at the woman. She certainly wasn't dressed like some common wench. It was a tasteful, finely made, yet still practical burgundy dress that she wore. Edmund only noticed it for a moment, however, as he caught sight of a lovely face framed by striking red hair.
"You'd like what?" she asked. Edmund could think of several answers, but all of them were likely to get his face slapped. After a moment he composed himself enough to speak.
"Forgive my hesitation m'lady but perhaps you could suggest a good choice. You can do that for me can't you...?" He dragged out his last word to indicate he wanted her to say her name.
"Anna, sir. My name is Anna de Lio. My sister and I own this establishment."
"And a fine establishment it is. I'm honored that you yourself would come out to serve me personally."
Anna smiled at her customer's attempted charm. He wasn't exactly unappealing for an obvious scoundrel, but he was so transparent in his interest it was amusing. "I enjoy meeting my customers. I've missed it. I haven't worked here much since my marriage." She casually raised her hand just enough to show off a very impressive ring. Edmund's disappointment at the news of Anna's marital status was blunted by his interest in her ring's large, impressive setting.
"That's quite an impressive ring, Lady de Lio."
"Just call me Anna," she laughed. "No need to be so formal when I'm serving drinks. And anyway, I suppose my proper title would be Queen de Lio."
"You're a Queen?" Edmund's disbelief was easily read.
"My husband is the ruler of Monigold," she explained. "So yes, I am a Queen, but I don't insist on all the pomp and circumstance that usually goes with royalty. Except when I feel like it. Now I'll go get a nice mug of the house's best for you, and you can think of anything else you'd like."
Edmund watched her as she left. He'd never heard of Monigold, probably one of those little 2 mile wide kingdoms that mostly consisted of gambling casinos and playgrounds for the idle rich. The royal families of such kingdoms did little more than travel from one party to another. No doubt that's how a mere serving girl, lovely as she was, had gotten the opportunity to meet and snare a royal husband. She probably was hired to serve drinks for one of her husband's parties.
"Sir," Baldrick's voice came from his left. "What was it that you wanted me to do with the poker?"
"Never mind now, Baldrick. Tell me, do you see that ravishing creature over there? That flamehaired vixen?" Edmund waved his hand towards the direction he'd seen Anna go.
"You mean that lady what's kissing the little fellow?"
"What?!" Edmund turned to see that Anna was indeed kissing a very short, handsome fellow. Antoine had managed to take a break form the affairs of state and come to surprise his lovely wife. "That Lilliputian Lothario can't possibly be a king," Edmund said.
"He looks sort of like a cat, don't he?" Baldrick said.
"Hmm..." Edmund considered. "Too bad he wasn't bound in a sack and thrown in the nearest pond at birth."
Anna stopped kissing her husband and brought a drink over to Edmund's table. "I'm going now. But one of the other girls will take care of you." She started to leave, eager to spend time with Antoine, but Edmund stopped her.
"Your husband?" he asked as he looked in Antoine's direction. Anna nodded and started to go again, but again was stopped by a question. "And you say he's a king?" The tone in Edmund's voice held noticeable contempt.
"Yes." She answered firmly. She wondered where this conversation was going, and why she was even having it. She wanted to go with her husband.
"What is the matter, my love?" Antoine asked as he approached.
"You are the matter, my dear, diminutive friend," Edmund interrupted as he stood and looked down at Antoine. He rarely enjoyed a height advantage in dealing with other men, so he was going to make the most of it.
"What are you...?" Anna began but Antoine held up his hand.
"Have a care, sir," he warned Edmund. "I have little patience for fools."
"And I have less patience for scoundrels like yourself," Edmund answered. The rest of the bar was watching the scene now; Edmund wanted to lookgood for the audience. He gestured dramatically as he made his accusations. "King of Monigold, is it? I've never heard of such a place. Is that your scam, then? Impress a poor, naive girl like this with false stories of royalty. Give her a sham ceremony and a ring, stolen no doubt, so that you can have your way with her?"
Anna couldn't believe what she was hearing. How could a man be so foolish as to jump to such an outlandish idea when he didn't know anything about herself or her situation? He was either a complete idiot or arrogant beyond belief. Possibly both. And some of her family were still giggling from when this crazy man had called her a poor, naive girl.
Antoine took off a glove and slapped it sharply across his accuser's face. "You have insulted my honor. I demand satisfaction."
Edmund took off his own glove and made to strike Antoine. The flimsy cloth waved across Antoine's face with no real impact. Edmund tried again, but with no better luck. 4, 5, 6 times he repeated the slap. Finally Antoine took Edmund's glove from his hand and replaced it with his own sturdy leather glove. "Yes, thank you," Edmund said, then he swung the glove - sure that it would make a resounding slap. Instead it fluttered ineffectually as his own glove had.
"Oh, enough of this," Antoine said and the slapped his frustrated opponent with Edmund's own soft cloth glove. It smacked heavily against Edmund's face. Antoine then drew his sword and whipped it through the air deftly, impressing all onlookers.
Edmund made his way over to Baldrick. "In case it seems that he's going to get the better of me," he whispered in Baldrick's ear, "you know what to do."
"What? You mean club him over the head from behind?" Baldrick asked.
"Well I don't mean go outside and stick your head in a dungheap, so yes...that's what I want you to do."
Edmund then drew his own sword, a fine fencing sabre. He twisted his wrist slowly, moving his blade in a slow figure eight in front of him. To his dismay, the audience did not seem as impressed by his demonstration as they had been by Antoine's.
"Are you ready?" Antoine asked.
"Of course..." Edmund began, at which point Antoine swung his sword and hit Edmund's blade, sending it flying across the room. "...I'm not ready yet."
Antoine didn't seem willing to accept Edmund's excuse. He pointed his sword at Edmund's throat. "Now, Baldrick!" Edmund cried. Nothing happened. "Now, Baldrick!!" Edmund repeated. Baldrick just stood in place, a vacant look on his face. "If you could excuse me one moment, please," Edmund said to Antoine, then he walked over to his non-responsive servant. "Baldrick? Aren't you forgetting something?"
"What?" Baldrick asked back.
"If I started to lose wasn't there something you were supposed to do?"
"Oh yeah!" Baldrick exclaimed, then looked puzzled. "You're losing then?"
Edmund rolled his eyes. "I've been in better positions."
"Alright. I know what to do," Baldrick said.
Edmund walked back to the position he'd been in before, and Antoine raised his sword back up to Edmund's throat. "Now, Baldrick!!!" Edmund cried.
Quick as a flash Baldrick ran out the front door of the tavern. A patron looked out the window and then cried, "Ewwww! That man just stuck his head in a dungheap!"
Edmund raised a hand to his temple. I really should have seen that coming."
Antoine regained Edmund's attention by moving his sword closer to the Blackadder's throat. "You are a fool and a knave and you shall apologize to my wife and myself right now."
"Of...Of...Of course," Edmund stammered. He proceeded to apologize to Antoine and Anna for everything he had said, done, thought, or imagined. He also apologized to several other tavern patrons for things he might have accidentally done to them. Finally, he apologized for the crop failures in southern Aperans that took place 14 years prior. All in all, it was a magnificent apology.
"On your way then," Antoine ordered. Edmund left quickly. Outside he saw Baldrick, his rear end still pointing skyward and his head in a pile of dung. "It would be too much to hope that you've suffocated in that position, I suppose," Edmund said.
As if on cue, Baldrick extracted himself from the dung. "Did you win?" he asked.
Ignoring the question, Edmund simply picked up a shovel that was lying next to the pile of dung. Baldrick, though hardly a mental giant, was able to recognize the look in Edmund's eyes and so started to run right before Edmund swung the shovel at his head. Edmund took off after Baldrick, still brandishing the shovel....
....and the closing theme music starts to play:
(singing) "Black Aaaaadder,
The end (?)
Blackadder and Baldrick image appears courtesy of Sup's Blackadder Page
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