Image Description: A long form comic including three pages, all set in a dingy necromancy store and illustrated in a cartoony, fully-colored and shaded style.
In the first panel, a hooded figure sits behind a desk with his back to us.
In the second panel, we see part of his face which has a big sly smile on it as he looks over his shoulder. Behind him, a door opens with the ring of a small silver bell.
In the next panel he spins around in his chair and says: “Welcome to Blood-Bath and beyond, your home for necromantic wares! Anything I can help you find--”
Next: “...Today?” he finishes, seemingly dumbfounded. In the middle of the frame are three new people. Barry Bluejeans is in the middle, he is a white middle aged chubby man with brown and grey hair, stubble, and wearing a white shirt, brown coat and glasses. To the left is Taako, a dark skinned elf with straight choppy dark brown hair died lavender at the bottom, wearing a large purple wizards hat, a purple cape with gold stars, a frilled shirt and high-wasted pants. To the right is Lup, a dark skin elven woman with a face identical to Taako’s but with longer curly dark brown hair died red at the tips, and wearing a wine red wide-brimmed hat and wine red dress. The twins each are resting an arm on one of Barry’s shoulders, framing him.
In the next frame, Barry has a finger resting on his chin as he says “Uh... yes, I’m looking for a spell book with level 12 or higher spells.”
Next is a close-up of the shopkeeper’s eye, squinting forwards with a thought bubble that says: “Level 12?”
Next is the same close-up of the shopkeeper’s eye, only this time it is wide and looking up past Barry.
Next is a frame of just Taako and Lup, with Barry just slightly out of frame. Taako covers his hand as if to whisper something to Lup as they both look judgmentally in the direction of the shopkeeper. A speech bubble comes from offscreen as the shopkeeper says “Right away, sir.”
Starting the second page is a frame of the shopkeeper dropping a large book onto the table in front of him. The book looks to be stitched together from skin, with a large green eye-shaped jewel on the front cover and small fangs on the spine.
Next, Barry has picked up the book and is looking at it with a smile of curiosity as he says “Oh, neat!” The twins both peer over his shoulder as the shopkeeper looks at the three startled.
Next is a close up of Barry’s hand sliding a collection of very different looking coins across the table, including some golden hoops, a silver perforated coin with a dragon emblem, a pale blue coin, a canadian loonie, and a thin gold bar with line markings on it (it’s not a loss easter egg don’t worry about it)
The next panel is shot from over the shopkeeper’s shoulder. Barry excitedly shows an interested but calm Lup something in the book as Taako rolls a bunch of teeth around in one hand, bored. The shopkeeper thinks: “Who is this guy?!”
Next is a panel showing half of the shopkeeper’s face, the border of the panel cutting him off vertically as he stares forwards intently.
The next panel is exactly the same, except he has narrowed his eye, the pupil now glowing, as the words “true sight” are spelled above him
In the next panel, Barry is shot from the neck up, looking excitedly at something offscreen.
Next is the form of Barry’s red robe litch form, shot from the exact same position as the previous panel. He glows a faint red, the inside of his hood empty and black save for two glowing white eyes.
Starting the next page the shopkeeper recoils in surprise, his thought bubble reading: “A litch!” In the foreground, Barry and the twins are starting to leave, Taako dropping the coins Barry had paid for the book with into a small bag.
Next the shopkeeper lunges forwards with urgency, shouting “WAIT!”
Next, “Who are you?!” he shouts at the trio. Barry is looking over his shoulder at the shopkeeper, and Lup had put her arm over his shoulder.
Next is a very close shot of the bottom of Barry’s face, his mouth in a null position.
Next is the same close up shot of the bottom of Barry’s face, only this time he has a large sly smile on his face.
Next is a medium shot of Barry, he has a big gentle smile on his face, his eyes closed and one hand up in a polite wave as he says “Name’s Barry Bluejeans!”
In the final panel, the shopkeeper lays passed out over his desk, a small cartoon of a round ghost floating away from his body as the door in the back of the room closes. A small creature sits on his desk, eating the chocolate gelt which had been swapped out for the real coins.
When Lup woke up, it was dark. Not pitch black, but unsettling dark all the same. The ground below her was firm, with a slight give, and velvety, sort of scratchy against her arms.
Lup shut her eyes. She counted to ten in her head. The texture against her hands wasn't bad but she didn't want to be feeling it. It sent a sick feeling into her stomach, which bubbled up and threatened to come out as a sob in her throat. She counted backward from ten. And then into the negatives. And then back up to zero again.
"Lup?" someone said nearby. Lup kept her eyes squeezed shut. "Are you awake?"
"Where are we?" Lup asked. She started up to ten again, in Elvish this time.
"Living room, I think," the voice said. "Let me turn on the light."
There was a flash of light that got through her eyelids. Lup screwed her face up, not ready to open them yet. The texture beneath her fingers was driving chills up her arm. Someone grunted and then touched her shoulder.
"Lup?" the voice- Taako, she knew Taako's voice- said. Taako could see her. That was a good sign. Taako could touch her. A great sign, even. "Are you... how- how can I help you?"
"I feel like I can't breathe," Lup whispered.
"Hey," Taako said. Something shifted by her head. A warm hand ran through Lup's hair. "Breathe in as I count to four. Ready?" He didn't wait for a response. Lup wasn't sure if she could give one. Instead, she just inhaled as Taako counted up. And then exhaled as he started back from zero and made his way up to four again. They followed the pattern a few more times before Lup had to interrupt with,
"Where am I?"
"Living room," Taako reminded.
"No," Lup said. "Am I on the floor or-"
"Couch," Taako said. "On a blanket, technically."
She sat up, eyes still shut, drawing her hands into her chest. The velvet feeling against her vanished as she did so. Lup let out a shaky exhale.
"Get rid of the blanket," she said. "Please."
"'Course," Taako said. There was a slight shuffle, where Taako's half of the couch lifted up like he had stood. Something soft fell on the floor behind them. Taako's hand caught hers, intertwining their fingers. "S'gone."
Lup peeked an eye open, squinting. She was facing the door that went into the kitchen. There was a potted plant nearby that held a poorly maintained succulent. The tall backed leather chair Magnus had forced upon Taako was settled in the corner. And Taako himself was at her side, sort of awkwardly crouching between the couch and the floor. She opened the other eye, too.
"You good?" he asked, squeezing her hand.
"I wanna burn that fucking blanket," Lup said. If Taako was upset about that at all, he didn't show it.
"Lucretia gave it to me, so burn away," he said. He paused for a second, seeming to hesitate. "For real though, is... are you okay?"
Lup settled herself back into the couch now that the blanket was gone. Taako lifted himself up next to her. They were close enough that their thighs smushed together, their hands still connected. Lup sighed.
"Reminded me of the umbrastaff," she said, quietly. Taako's ear twitched. "And it was dark so I thought..."
"Yikes," Taako said. Lup let out a wet chuckle, using a free hand to rub at her face. "Yeah, we can deffo burn that. You gotta pay for the new one, though."
"For sure," Lup said. And then, "I'm- my bad, Taako."
"For-" she gestured vaguely with her free hand. "I don't know! I thought I was getting better at shit and this is just like, a whole step back. So I guess I'm sorry for doing that on your couch? It's a pretty good couch, though. I really like it."
"You don't have to be sorry for that, doofus," Taako said, nudging her shoulder with his. "If I let you get away with that, then you're gonna start making me apologize for like, panic baking in your kitchen. And you know cha'boy isn't gonna apologize for panic baking. Even if I use all your almond flour."
"I'm not gonna make you apologize for panic baking," Lup said. "That's how you cope."
"And I'm not gonna accept you apologizing for being traumatized on my couch," Taako said. "Them's the breaks, Lup."
"Thank you, then," Lup said, rolling her eyes.
"Now that I'll accept," Taako said. "Are you gonna sleep more or should we go burn that shitty blanket? 'Cus I'm in the mood for s'mores and if we're burning shit then we might as well."
Not quite finished (if the pins still in the hair didn't give it away) but the test runs are coming along pretty good!! Their proportions look a little funky in some places and the curves don't turn as well as they will in the final ones because my scrap fabric has a lot less stretch to it than the plush fabric I'll be using for the Store Ones™ so certain places that need more stretch (like the shoulders and hair especially) should hopefully look more natural in the professional run if everything goes well, just letting y'all know lol.
They're roughly 10 inches tall (not counting the hats because I haven't made them yet)! I'm gonna try getting their hair sewn on tonight and then over the next few days I'll work on the test run for their clothes to make sure I don't have to alter anything; a lot of their clothes came from my dragon or human doll clothes patterns so there's wing holes I had to edit out from the dragons and tail holes I had to edit in from the humans, so if I didn't do it right I'll need to make a few more edits before starting on the real dolls- but hey, that's the point of a scrap-fabric test run lol!
11 + the twins perhaps? it seems to radiate chaos twin vibes if i’m being honest lol
11. “We could get arrested for this.”
"I mean, I'm not saying I'm not in, but like," Taako paused, leaning back on his hands, trying to find the words. "Breaking and entering seem like a lot for fifteen dollars. We could get arrested for this."
"One," Lup said, already looking annoyed. "This isn't about the fifteen dollars. This is about Grimaldis being a fucking piece of shit person who steals all my ideas. Two, what happened to "ohh Lup, I'll support you through anything! I'd kill for you!""
"That's not what I'm saying though," Taako said. He held a hand up before Lup could interrupt. "'Cause I'm like, so down for this. Yes, he's a piece of shit. Yes, he steals all your ideas. Yes, he deserves his house to be both broken into and entered. However, we- you, specifically, actually- but we're dead set on getting on that space mission or whatever, remember? I don't think they're gonna let us on if we do more crimes."
"We haven't done any crimes!" Lup said. A pause, and then, "that they know of."
"That they know of," Taako agreed. "But do you really think that Grimaldis isn't gonna go straight to blaming you when he finds his favorite... what are you taking?"
"Lup, he's gonna know you've taken the shoes," Taako said. "That's our thing. We take shoes. You gotta be a little more creative. Gimme somethin' spicy and then we'll talk."
"All the toilet paper," Lup said. Taako snapped.
"Better," he said. "What else?"
"His red shirts specifically," Lup said.
"Half of his mugs."
"All of his forks."
"Exactly ten of his mugs!"
"His TV!" Taako said, slamming his hand down on the bed. Lup leaned back in her chair and laughed until she started coughing. Taako leaned back again, satisfied.
"I-" Lup scrunched her face up in an effort not to laugh. "I think the TV is a lil' much, Taako."
"We'll workshop it," Taako said. He glanced over at the alarm clock on his bedside table. "When're we leaving?"
"Eleven," she said. "We can get Fantasy Wendy's afterward if you want."
taako/justin keeps going on about how he canonically can't die before magnus but what he doesn't know is that he can die whenever but when he does either kravitz, lup, barry, or all three performs an elaborate heist to break him out of the afterlife and back to faerun
i wish you would write a fic where taako and lup get into trouble together :)
After the Day of Story and Song, Taako has a lot of dreams that are memories. Most of them are about Lup, like his brain is rolling around in them now that it finally has access. Some of the same memories come back, night after night, some bad, some good, some in-between, and it’s hard, it’s strange, but Taako is quietly thankful he can remember those things without the poisonous sting of absolute loneliness. After a while, he can almost enjoy them without waking up in a dead sweat and having to call Lup on her stone in the middle of the night--even though she always answers, even though it always helps to know she’s alive and she’s there and she’s real, she was always real. It helps that he’s not sleeping alone, anymore.
This time, they’re young, maybe in their twenties. Just little. They’re between families for a while, and that means they’re hungry, always hungry, and so cold. They spend most of their time outdoors, getting dirty and lost and holding onto each other in crowds, and they have sticky little fingers that get them in trouble.
It was a loaf of bread, this time. Lup filched it from a market stand when the baker wasn’t looking, and within a minute, the world seems to come down around their too-big-ears.
“Stop, thief!” some gruff voice calls out, and the adrenaline kicks in, and they fucking bolt. They would probably get further if they split up, something they’ll figure out in later years, but right now, they’re attached at the hip--holding hands as they run on twiggy little legs, ducking under fancy skirts and through racks of scarves and into market tables like their pursuers can’t, and they’re laughing all the way, thrilled by the chase because they have no choice but to be.
“Left, Koko!” Lup hisses, and they dive left, narrowly missing another shop owner who recognizes them from the cheese incident (they made off with a whole wheel, that time, bouncing down the hill to the little cave they’ve been chilling in, and oh, how their stomachs hurt for a week).
“Right, Lulu!” Taako responds, and she’s just as receptive, plowing through the crowd and getting lost with their crispy, crunchy, fresh-baked prize. They duck behind a wagon and take a moment to catch their breath before they fall apart into giggles, finally letting go of each other.
“That was cl-”
“But we didn’t!!!!”
They lean against one another and the cart and split the bread in two, and Taako gives Lup the bigger half. She needs to grow big and strong. He has to protect her, like she protects him. They’re a team. A unit. A powerhouse.
They don’t speak for a bit, just chewing and savoring the fluffy, crunchy bread, made even tastier by the adrenaline, and when it’s all gone, they sigh and rest their heads against one another.
“Better go before-”
“Before we get caught.”
It’s so easy to know what the other is thinking. They’re so in sync it freaks people out, but they love it. They’re two halves of the same coin, and they’re going to go far, so far, together. They look up at the suns in the sky and sigh heavily in unison, knowing it’s a long trek back to their little hideout.
“What do you think we’ll be when we grow up?”
It’s nice that she says when. It fills Taako with hope that maybe someday, they’ll do more than just survive.
“Dunno,” he says. He looks at his hands. So little, so dirty. “I don’t wanna be a merchant.”
“No kidding,” Lup says, and she laughs. “I think I want to be something special. Something no one’s ever been before.”
“You will,” Taako says, with absolute, perfect certainty. “And I’ll come with you.”
“Of course you will!” Lup laughs. “I’m never letting you out of my sight!”
When Taako wakes up, his heart hurts, but he’s smiling. He thinks about calling Lup, but he saves it for the morning, saves it for when he knows what words to say to her to keep her from worrying about him. He snuggles up with Kravitz instead, and he decides he’s making bread tomorrow. For old time’s sake.
"i don't CARE that you're the grim reaper, lup. sure you have a cool job but you are my sister and you WILL come to my fucking house and help me with canning this year or i swear to god you'll never touch another jar of bourbon apple pie filling in your life."
Taako was freaking out. No, he hadn't told anyone- and no, he wasn't planning on it. It was a few days before the trio had to go out to do some BOB management planet side (honestly, Madade Lucretia wouldn't tell thel all the details and Magnus was worried she would blast them with some magic if they didn't stop asking.)
They were packed, they had their nicest outfits ready to go, there was no reason to be worried. Except Angus was sick. He had the fantasy flu- and though Taako bought some fantasy Nyquil and Dayquil, the kid was still sick.
So, Taako was freaking out.
He was bustling around the kitchen, torn between not wanting to ever cook for someone again and wanting to ensure Angus got better.
His hair was pulled back into a messy bun- pieces frizzing and flying out. He was wearing makeup, but the sheen of sweat was visible to the naked eye.
So Magnus stepped forward. "Taako, you know that Carey and Killian and Johann can make some soup for Ango, right? You don't have to if you don't want to."
Taako let out a small huff through his nose, minimum sound, maximum attitude. His ears were pointing back, almost pressed flat against his head. "Who said I didn't want to? I'm fine kemosabe."
Magnus sighed, and Merle watched the two from his seat on a bar stool. "Taako, he's gonna be fine."
"Course he will be!" He turned and the two stared at each other for a moment, "Agnus' is a strong kid. Smart."
"Right..." Magnus watched Taako begin to twiddle with the edge of his apron strings, "Why not just...bring him some water? He's probably not super hungry- just some saltines and water would be good."
Taako nodded. "Right right. Saltines and water," Magnus turned to grab a glass from the top shelf, "The - "
"Driest and wettest sickness combo." Magnus finished with Taako, hardly recognizing he spoke with Taako as the two moved almost in sync to grab what they needed.
Taako paused, and Magnus didn't even notice. "How do you know that phrase?"
Merle scratched at his beard, "Yeah- sounds like some shit I said to my kids before."
"You know it too?"
Merle nodded, and Taako huffed. "And here I was thinking I came up with an original phrase when I was a kid- some shit that made me laugh."
Merle laughed. "Tough luck kid- you ain't that original."
Magnus twirled a bit around Taako, as the latter grabbed a amall plate to put the crackers on. Without question, Magnus grabbed an apple to go with the crackers. "To keep the doctors away."
Taako nodded, grabbing the cup and plate before leaving, heading to Angus' dorm from the Bureau Kitchen- the moom BK Merle dubbed it.
As the door shut Merle turned to Magnus. "How'd you know he was upset?"
"He seemed to be acting normal to me."
"His ears- they weren't normal. And he was more fidgety than normal. And he only acted like that when- " He trailed off, mind going fuzzy. When what?
"When what, Mags?"
"Huh? Oh- dunno. Guess it's my rustic hospitality."
"Jesus fucking Christ."
The two continued bickering, conversation dropped and forgotten. Outside the door, however, the conversation was still in the front mind of one person.
He only acted like that when Lup died one of the years. Lucretia wanted to scream, He only acted like that when someone he loves was in trouble or hurt or gone. And you, Magnus, learned how to tell his signs and comfort him!
She covered her mouth as thoughts and memories played in her mind.
God, she asked herself again, teary eyes looking up, hand over her heart, what had she done to them?