You have visited the town of Brittany on many occasions. Often, you find yourself buying supplies or attending the feasts held by the king. During some of your recent trips you have seen Tarakus the local beggar wandering through the streets asking for coin and he is such a frequent landmark that most walk past without noticing him there. He can be differentiated from other beggars by his distinct, limpy run, chasing someone down asking for more coin when they just gave him one. Except for his begging, Tarakus mostly keeps to himself, sleeping behind some bushes near the outer walls.
On one of your trips you notice the local bakery giving away three loaves of bread a day if you can roll a dice and win as you play. For the baker, this is a huge success, drawing many customers to the bakery and increasing business. On another trip you start to notice Tarakus rolling the dice and winning two loaves of bread in a single day.
You think nothing special of this; Tarakus is a poor man and deserves to eat. As time goes by, the baker continues his promotion and you find that Tarakus is always there waiting for the shop to open. He has a different look in his eye, his posture is straighter. As the baker opens the door to the shop, you notice Tarakus pushing his way through the crowd of peasants, who are there for their daily supplies with a large grin on his face. He even gets in the face of one patron and barks loudly at them before chuckling heartily.
Time passes and you haven’t had a chance to return to Brittany. During your adventures you happen to stop by Vertas, the city of Elves. While browsing the shelves of the local Smith, you are surprised to see Tarakus there. He is in a heated discussion with the blacksmith, demanding that he give some sort of trinket. A sign still hangs eluding to a recent contest where noble warriors could win a certain prize of their choice based on a feat of strength. The date on the note stated that the contest ended on the previous day. As Tarakus begged for the trinket he became more emboldened, shouting his signature barking sound at any new patrons entering the shop. Frustrated, the blacksmith tossed Tarakus a basic steel amulet causing him to finally leave the establishment. “Now LEAVE!” he said, pointing at the door as if he were commanding a dog to it’s home.
Much later you return to Brittany for the royal ball held by the King. Everyone had been invited to celebrate the new season and were wearing their finest clothes for the dance that would follow the feast. Several hundred people arrived and were gathering in the square including Tarakus, who was moving person to person, asking them if they thought the King would be giving out any gold. Tarakus was a beggar, begging is something that he does, but you notice a sense of disgust coming from many of the guests. Just on time, the King arrived and kicked things off with a bang, launching a display of beautiful magic into the air. Everyone cheered wildly and as the cheers turned into a murmur you can hear Tarakus screaming across the square.
“My King, My King, what treasures will you give me tonight!”
A bard walks out and spins a medley, everyone begins to dance.
“King, KING!!, when will we see the treasures you have for us?” Tarakus screamed even louder.
He looked around and noticed how no-one was paying him any mind. He grew wild, took a long swig from a bottle he kept concealed and began to rip his clothing off.
Tarakus yelled once again, while jumping from table to table,
“Lord British, you are the rich one, you have all of the gold and I have none, give me gold NOW! HA HA HA HA ha”
Tarakus, who was now directly in front of the king, doing everything in his power to get his attention seemed content in the fact that not a single soul noticed his outbursts or paid him any mind. His head jerks and you find that your eyes are now locked with his. Realizing that you are fixated on his every action, he grins wildly at you.
What would you do?
You push through the crowd, heading straight for Tarakus and pull him to the side. You tell him enough and to have some pride. Tarakus just smiles and whispers to you, “You are wrong about me, you are the fool!”. Tarakus breaks from your tight grip around his arm and off through the crowd, laughing and barking and shrieking aloud.
“Aaaiieeeeeeoooooo ha ha ha rark rark rark!”
You chase him through the crowd and suddenly realize he is much faster than before. His limpy run was now gone. Out of the square and down the road, you see him heading for the bushes and waste he sleeps in. He zips around the bush and out of your sight. As you run around, next to the walls, you notice something that shouldn’t be there. A large wooden door, wide and tall. You knock on the door and wait for a tick. One.. Two.. Three.. You raise your arm. Four.. As you motion to slam your fist on the door, it opens, only to find a small child on the other side.
Behind the child, you see another and more, Tarakus behind them, shoveling coal into the stove which begins to roar.
“Come in!” the child exclaims, leaving the door open and running back into the cave.
You enter, bewildered, looking around, you spot many things Tarakus has found. Loaves of bread stacked up the walls, piles of coins adorning the halls. A child runs by, wearing the very same steel amulet you once saw Tarakus demanding. Another slams the door shut as your eyes continue the struggle to adjust to the dim interior.
“This is my orphanage, I’m saving these kids.” said Tarakus.
“Join us for dinner, and learn more.”
You sit at the table, count twenty three kids. Look for the door, the handle now hid.
He sits down and says,
“I am Tarakus, this is my cave, only you noticed, I, the fool, the knave”
His form begins to change, he’s not what he seems. He writhes and withers and suddenly screams, as if he were enjoying this horrible scene. His flesh dissolves, he sprouts ears from his head, you suddenly realize a knife has been thrust into your brain. You scream, reeling from the surprising pain and look over to see a child reciting his name.
“Tarakus is good! Tarakus is great! He has brought you here, to serve on our plate!” sing the children.
A hot and cold wave of panic floods your body, rippling from your boots to your brow. Somehow, you are not dead, which usually happens from a knife to the head. Your left eye quivers, shudders and shakes, you can’t move, you’ve made a mistake.
Looking back over at Tarakus, he now has the head of a dog. He leans to you, his fetid breath surrounds you as he peers into your eyes.
“You noticed me here, begging for gold. And there, with the elves of old. The look of disgust, upon the guests face was merely my flatulence all over the place, HA HA HA HA ha!!” as he trails off with his terrifying barking sound.
“Tarakus is good, Tarakus is great, he has brought you here, to serve on our plate!” Sing the children.
Suddenly it hits you, you’ve heard of this evil, the beggar prince is hardly a man. Half beast, half lich, he casts illusions to trick and bewitch. How could you remember, how did you not know, your left eye is dark, the right fills with snow.
The fire is roaring now, the children look hungry. Hungry for you.