Ripping yarns of derring-do from across the Fifteen Galaxies
A tale of cunning and derring-do as the famed adventurer Aloysius Nabber ventures into the Harrow of Meandering Ghasts within the Third Temple of Tibb.
"Aloysius Nabber and the Third Temple of Tibb"
by Tom Menary
As everybody in the Fifteen Galaxies well knew, Aloysius Nabber was one of the most daring adventurers of the Cosmic Age. It was said there wasn't a temple in the entire Ralfollo Belt he hadn't plundered, nor a pirate's space-galleon left with its booty intact. He cut a striking figure in the folklore of the Ralfollo, and his escapades even graced the well-thumbed chapbooks sold on the streets of London. He was, all in all, quite the dashing gallant and exciting doer of derring-do.
He'd also just trapped his leg in a dogbane snare inside the Third Temple of Tibb, and was trying to heave it free with all his might.
"Billy's buttocks!" he exclaimed. "You've gone and done it now Wisher, you daft gollumpus." He yanked on the offending limb again, but it refused to budge from the tight noose. That he'd made it this far inside the labyrinthine temple was testament to his legendary guile, but Nabber quite forgot to watch his step upon entering the Harrow of Meandering Ghasts, and blundered straight into the trap.
"Wiggle your ankle Wisher, that's it," he muttered, circling his foot to try and shake the snare free, when he caught a low growling coming from the other end of the Harrow. Looking up, he saw a mouthful of monstrous fangs glinting in the torchlight, belonging to what could only have been the hairy face of a ravenous Soulgulping Gavacher.
The beast roared, claws scraping on the flagstones, and Nabber bit his nails in what was surely the fright of his life. Gavachers were the stuff of local folklore as much as he was, and the adventurer had always feared meeting one in the stringy, pustule-ravaged flesh. He gnashed his nails all the more as the monster crawled closer, its maw widening as if to swallow him whole.
Fortunately, Aloysius Nabber never forgot his training among the wise mystics of the Holy Molehill, and launched a perfectly-executed eponychium-glyth at the howling Gavacher—which is to say he chewed off a slender fingernail and spat it full force into the beast's rheumy eye. The Gavacher, surprised as anything, shrieked and reared back, giving Nabber enough time to lash out with his free foot. His well-placed kick caught the beast in its soft and fuzzy underbelly, sending it skittering back and tumbling into a conveniently-situated pit in the floor. Its keening wail dropped away into silence, and the echoes died away.
Nabber took a moment to catch his breath (and spit several more times to rid himself of the taste of his own fingers) then began working on the snare once more. So enlivened were his wits by his close encounter, the pre-eminent explorer soon freed himself from entrapment, and continued along on his quest to raid all seven of the ancient Temples of Tibb.
Legend says that Aloysius Nabber did indeed make it out of the Third Temple alive and well. Other legends point out that he promptly fell down a big well in the Fourth Temple of Tibb... but that must be a story for another occasion.