|Clever Rolf Stories|
|Appearance(s):||"Blue Fox and Werewolf";|
"The Talking Cat"
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
Clever Rolf was an Argentanian who earned his living as the town scribe, writing letters for those couldn't. He was the bookkeeper for Bardulf, the baron of Argentan, as well as three taverns, and the sporting house. Despite his best efforts, bizarre and unusual things happened to him throughout his life.
Early in his life, Clever Rolf knew that the evil wizard Mebodes had imprisoned the fair maiden Viviane in his fortress in the Great Wood along with a treasure. Clever Rolf was aware of Viviane's existence, but had no interest in rescuing her. However, while drinking too much at the Blue Fox, Clever Rolf met the knight Sir Ogier, who loudly boasted of his intent to rescue Viviane. When Clever Rolf told Sir Ogier that the werewolves guarding the Great Wood would kill him, Sir Ogier was insulted. Clever Rolf made things worse when he told Ogier that the knight had no more hope of saving Viviane than Clever Rolf did. Disgusted that the insignificant Rolf would dare compare them, Ogier publicly announced that he and Clever Rolf would leave at dawn..
Shamed, Rolf did join the mission. Ogier rode on ahead, leaving Clever Rolf to himself. As Rolf made his way through the Great Wood, he encountered a werewolf. Clever Rolf threw his silver ket at the werewolf as it charged. While the werewolf had experience with silver weapons, this sort of bombardment was new, and it fled. Clever Rolf gathered up his ket and continued on. He soon heard Sir Ogier's last anguished screams. Later the next day, he found the clearing where Viviane resided. In gratitude, she cooked him a meal fit for three men. Mebodes' treasure turned out to be brass, and Viviane was not as beautiful as the stories claimed. She also talked too much, and was not a "maiden". Still, Clever Rolf took her home, though he threatened to leave her with Medodes if she didn't stop speaking.
Clever Rolf and Viviane began living together, but their life together was not ideal. Rolf often strayed with the whores of the sporting house where he kept the books. After they completed their tryst, the whore Aila told Clever Rolf that Mebodes was tracking him down. When Clever Rolf retreated to the lobby, he found Mebodes waiting for him. Mebodes, disgusted by Clever Rolf's dissembling, promptly cursed him. Dejected, Clever Rolf went home. While Viviane yelled at him, he decided to eat with her rather than argue. However, as he ate, his mutton stew turned into a bowl of ants. He told her Mebodes had cursed him. After assuring her that Mebodes didn't want her back, he turned back to his curse. When a second meal turned to beetles, he tracked down Mebodes, who further taunted him, promising Clever Rolf that he would recognize the fly that would bring his doom. After Mebodes left, Clever Rolf was attacked by bees from a nearby apple orchard. He made his way to the Blue Fox, where he threw a dipper of mead onto the bar, which lured the bees. Clever Rolf crushed them as they drank. His actions earned the wrath of Herul, the owner of the Blue Fox.
Clever Rolf then went to Baron Bardulf's home. Bardulf was brusquely sympathetic to Clever Rolf's multiple stings. As Clever Rolf reviewed Bardulf's records, he was attacked by a silverfish. That night, Clever Rolf and Viviane were attacked by ants in their bed. When Viviane exclaimed that Mebodes was so awful that even other wizards hated him, Clever Rolf saw the solution to his problems, and tracked down the wizard Rigord in Estreby.
Rigord knew Clever Rolfe's story, and agreed to help, demanding the remaining treasure Clever Rolfe had taken from Mebodes. After haggling, Clever Rolfe agreed to the price, as Mebodes' treasure was largely brass, though he didn't tell Rigord that. He further agreed to allow Rigord lay a spell on him so that he would immediately turn over the treasure once Mebodes was thwarted.
They returned to Argentan just in time, catching Mebodes at the bawdy house. Rigord conjured up a salamander and sent it into the room where Mebodes was doing business with Aila. The salamander chased Mebodes out of town, scorching his backside while Mebodes ran and tried to pull up his pants. Alia, who thought Mebodes a scoundrel, thanked Clever Rolf by giving him a free visit. Clever Rolf told Alia the whole story. As he was finishing, the fly Mebodes told Clever Rolf would kill him appeared in the room. Clever Rolf crushed it, reminding Alia that Mebodes hadn't finished his spell, and further that Mebodes had run down the street with his fly undone.
When he was many years older, Clever Rolf was in the Blue Fox when he was approached by a talking cat. By this time in his life, Clever Rolf took thinks like a talking cat in stride.
The cat specifically approached Clever Rolf because of his reputation for solving problems. The cat wanted Clever Rolf to help it determine whether it was a vampire, explaining it had been bitten in the neck by something two weeks before, and it had not felt right since. When the cat promised to share information with him in exchange for his help, Clever Rolf took the cat to his home, and asked it various questions about its condition. The cat had no definitive answers; most of its own natural behaviors were consistent with symptoms of vampirism. However, when Clever Rolf produced a garlic clove and broke it open with a loud bang, the cat leaped out the window, leaving Clever Rolf to ponder whether the smell or the noise had driven the cat off.
Clever Rolf spent the next day looking for the cat. After fruitless day, he retired to Magda's brothel and took a woman named Fleur upstairs. During the course of sex, she produced a mirror, and Clever Rolf realized the solution to his talking cat problem.
The next day, he went to the Blue Fox and waited until the cat returned. When it did, they went to Magda's. After impressing everyone with its ability to speak, the cat followed Clever Rolf to the mirror. Upon seeing its reflection, the cat, convinced it was looking at another cat, attacked the mirror. As vampires cast no reflection, Clever Rolf informed the cat it was not a vampire.
However, Clever Rolf was bothered by the fact that, as the cat wasn't a vampire, the story didn't have any fantasy elements.
- Amazing Stories, vol 57, no. 3, September 1983, pg. 119.
- Ibid., pgs. 119-120.
- Ibid., pg. 120-121.
- Ibid., pg. 122-123.
- Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, vol 83, no 1, July 1992, pg. 96.
- Ibid. pg. 97.
- Ibid., pgs. 97-98.
- Ibid. pgs. 98-99
- Ibid., pg. 100-101.
- Ibid., pg. 101.
- Ibid., pg 102-103.
- Ibid., pgs. 104-105.
- Ibid. pg. 106.