Moral Ambition

Quick Disclaimer: I do not own these characters or the world they inhabit. They were created by the fabulous people at Zombie Orpheus for their equally fabulous RPG, Masters of the Metaverse!  Be sure to tune in to Twitch.TV/zombieorpheus every Monday at 6PM PST to see more!


Harzoul the Incredibly Evil took a long sip of tea. At last, just the thing to settle his nerves. The party had made some progress in their trek towards the Bullschidtt hills with what had remained of the day, after all the fight with Cridge and the resulting congregational carnage had taken up quite a bit of time, and they had finally set up camp. The Alpine Rose, or Alice as she preferred to be called, was off trying to commune with the spirit wolf, Umbra. She didn’t seem to be making much progress as the celestial guide had just yawned in her face, but she persevered. Bless her. She was just wonderful, so talented. And she had asked Harzoul to jam with her! What song would they play, he wondered.

His internal discography was interrupted by the arrival of Zelle. The rogue had approached unseen and unheard, and so Harzoul started slightly into his drink when she emerged from behind him and took a seat directly across the fire. She neither looked at him nor spoke, but instead leaned back against a log and began sharpening one of her daggers. There was an uncomfortable silence for a time and Harzoul was just about to try and break it by asking Zelle what the coolest thing she had ever stabbed was, when Sister Opal trundled out of the undergrowth.

“Well, I must say that being seventy-six has always made going to the bathroom a project. But this new armor has made it far more interesting! Heads up buttercup”, this directed to Zelle, “I might just need your help next time.”

“I would prefer not to.” the rogue replied without looking up, “But thanks for asking.”

“I thought we had discussed your attitude?”

“We did. This has nothing to do with my attitude. This is just me not wanting to do something.”

Sister Opal shot a dark look at Zelle and fell silent. Harzoul cleared his throat and leant forward.

“I, uh, excuse me? Zelle, isn’t ? You’re well…you’re a rogue aren’t you?”

Zelle looked over at him, “I’m an entrepreneur.

“Entrepreneur. Yes, of course!”, Harzoul nodded, “But you’re…well, you’re evil. Right?”

“I’m morally ambitious”, replied Zelle, “What’s your point?”

“Oh. Well, my point is that I’m also…morally ambitious. Evil, I suppose you would say. I’m definitely evil, but I feel as though there is always room for personal improvement and growth, don’t you? Anyway, you seem as though you have a very firm grasp on the whole…evil thing. And I was just wondering if I might be able to get some pointers from you. Tips on being evil as it were. Patty-cakes was very impressed with your work.”


“Oh, yes. He was getting used to Patrick so I decided to start calling him Patty-cakes instead. He really hates it. In fact he offered to play a very different sort of game of patty-cake with me or anyone who called him that.”

Zelle raised an eyebrow and glanced around, “Where is the little psychopath any way?”

“Oh he’s off in my tent. The whole day was very exciting for him. He really enjoyed the whole church destruction…thing.” replied Harzoul.

Zelle nodded, “Right.”

Harzoul took another sip of tea, “So what do you say? Will you teach me your entrepreneurial ways?”

Zelle slid the dagger back into its sheath and folded her arms, “Look. You might have heard from Umbra over there that I’m the Chosen One. You got that, right?”


“Chosen One. Destiny. All that. Yeah?”


“Do you really think that I have time to take on an intern?”

“What about a small in-service then?”

Opal snorted, “Don’t bother. She’s so wrapped up in herself she wouldn’t help you if you were on fire.”

“Exactly! That’s exactly the sort of thing I’m talking about!” exclaimed Harzoul.

“I’ve always thought that polka music was pretty evil. Why don’t you go talk to Alpine Rose over there?” said Zelle.

“You bite your tongue! She is a goddess!”, breathed Harzoul.

He straightened up suddenly, “Wait! Proclaiming a false goddess! That’s pretty evil isn’t it?”

“No dear, just blasphemous.”, said Opal, “And a bit naive.”

Harzoul turned and regarded the tiny senior citizen in the plate armor. His eyes widened as a thought occurred to him and he sat forward eagerly.

“What about you? You could teach me some evil things couldn’t you? After all you said you served a good god, but you clearly did some bad things back there.”

Opal looked shocked, “I what?”

“Yes! Back in the village, you definitely did some less than good things even though you say you’re the servant of a good god. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing! It’s a very useful quality in a deity, moral flexibility. So? Will you give me some tips and tricks?” asked Harzoul.

“I’m not evil, dear. I’m a cleric of Therin. Therin, Goddess of Light. Not evil.”

“Oh, I don’t know. You were the cleric who was threatening not to heal a dying man unless he did what you wanted.”, he pointed out.

“And I good thing I did too, just look at what happened when I did help him. He tried to teleport away which lead to you having to punch a church and kill ninety-seven people.” said Opal, evenly.

“I feel as though we’re getting off task here.”

Opal stood up, almost tipped over, grabbed onto Harzoul’s beard and righted herself. She adjusted the armor and gave the necromancer a sweet smile.

“That’s as may be dear, but it’s late and I’m tired. I’m off to undress and go to sleep, and I suggest you do the same. And leave certain dark forces alone…at least for now.”

With that, she walked off as quickly as she was able to, considering, leaving Harzoul and Zelle alone once again.

“Fifty gold.” said Zelle.

“Fifty gold and I’ll give you my five easy steps to being more…ambitious.”

Harzoul stared, “Fifty gold? That’s more than half of my money! Are you sure? I mean perhaps thirty to start…”

“Fine, you’re obviously not interested.” Zelle stood and made as if to leave.

“”No no no, now just wait a moment. Fine! Fine, fifty gold and you’ll tell me how to be more like you?”


Harzoul groaned and pulled out his coin purse. He fished around inside and finally removed the required fee. He handed it to Zelle, who took it, extremely satisfied.

“Alright.” he said, “Go ahead.”

Zelle gave him a surprised look, “Oh, that was just the entry fee.”

“You what?”

“That was just the entry fee. If you want the actual tips, those are ten gold per day. A single tip every day culminating in the fifth day which, quite frankly, pulls all the other days together. How much gold do you have left?”

“Forty pieces.”

Zelle shrugged, “Like I said. Five days worth of tips, tricks, and overall moral ambition for just ten gold per day.

Harzoul narrowed his eyes, “I’m not stupid, you know.”

“No. But you’re not evil either.”

“I am! Totally…evil. Absolutely.” said Harzoul, lamely.

Zelle leaned back and smiled, “Fine. Then we can both just sit here and watch grandma suffocate under the weight of her own armor.”


There came a loud crash followed by a brief “Oh my!”, and Opal toppled out of her tent. She lay, sprawled out in her armor, looking for all the world like a turtle on its back. Alice hurried over, followed by Harzoul, and the two of them extricated the tiny woman from inside the armor.

“Well, that’s a good note.” panted Opal, “Armor off first, then belt.”

Harzoul returned to the fire a few moments later, gazing tenderly at his left hand. He held it up to the light and examined it.

“She touched my hand. She held it for a moment. Her lyre strumming hand touched mine. I’m never washing this hand.”

He seemed to suddenly remember that he wasn’t alone. His eyes snapped up and met the impassive gaze of Zelle, who raised one eyebrow in return. He looked down at his hand, then back to Zelle, back to his hand, then over his shoulder toward his tent where the faint sound of snoring could be heard, and then back to his hand one last time before finally returning to Zelle.

“Ten gold a day?”


“For five days.”

“Five days.”

Harzoul looked down at his left hand once more before thrusting it into the pocket of his robes. He offered his right hand to Zelle, who shook it.


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