Brian Snoddy
Brian Snoddy



No items found.





02/Freaky Flaurnsday – Tod and Bitey, Pt.2

Yes, Tod was Bitey, and Bitey was Tod. Or, Bitey was still Bitey, but he was in Tod’s body, and Tod was still Tod, but he was in Bitey’s body. Or, maybe two entirely new beings had winked into existence because of a chain of ridiculously improbable events that resulted in a minor clerical error. In any case, while not even the Chief knows the epistemological truth of whether the body makes the personality, or the personality makes the body, or some combination thereof, there has to be some kind of naming convention. So, for ease of reference, the orange hat-wearing dragon’s body which is inhabited by the personality of a green large-fanged beast will be called “Bitey Tod.” His counterpart will be called “Tod Bitey.” Putting the personality’s name first and the body’s name second raises a number of questions about the fundamental epistemological assumptions of the narrative, but you just have to pick something and stick with it to get the story moving at the end of the day.

Particularly if the day in question is Flaurnsday.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Tod Bitey knew it was Flaurnsday. For that reason, the unusual condition of waking up without his hat was especially troublesome. He had to see a man about a dog, and by “dog,” he meant an absolute dog of a riverboat that he had no business trying to sell, and certainly nobody had any business trying to buy. Luckily, he’d found a sucker who was keen to get into the burgeoning shipping game that had already made massive fortunes for multiple individuals up and down the banks of the muddy Minkaboola, but who didn’t have the requisite capital to buy a new vessel, nor the reputation and credit to get a loan. It was the perfect opportunity for Tod to offload the hunk of junk that he had unfortunately taken sight unseen as part of a trade-in. If he could squeeze enough out of the would-be entrepreneur for the S.S. Scunthorpe, he would no longer be upside-down on that deal, and might even make a few sawskis to boot. In order to do that, though, he would have to look the part, authoritative about the industry, and stylish enough to appear wealthy and successful. He was going to need his hat.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Bitey Tod knew it was Flaurnsday. For that reason, the condition of waking up feeling bitey was not a huge surprise. He had a service to conduct, leading the members of his clan in the rotes and traditions of religious belief, as he did with his solemn dignity every week. Today was the fourth Flaurnsday of the fourth month, though, a special occasion because of the sacred nature of the number four in the cosmology of the Xota people. Four letters in their name, four fingers on each hand (technically three fingers plus an opposable thumb), two eyes to see with plus two fangs to bite, four cardinal directions, one for each branch of the rivers that crossed in the area near their home. Even the main source of their nutrition, the karwa melon, with its tough exterior husk and sweetly savory inner flesh that was only accessible to those with the appropriate tools (like the Xota’s bitey fangs), grew in clusters of four. The rare appearance of a fifth fruit by way of a minor genetic mutation was considered unlucky, and the offending vine was invariably uprooted and sent down the river where someone else could determine, if they were foolhardy enough to try, which one of the fruits had been put there by the trickster god to cause intestinal discomfort to those unlucky enough to eat it. He had much to prepare, and he had awoken, so to speak, chomping at the bit.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Tod Bitey finally opened his eyes to have a look around for his missing piece of finery, and was confused to see that the banks of the Minkaboola had apparently become extraordinarily lush and verdant overnight. Bright greens abounded among tropical flora that were wildly out of place this far north, even if the massive waterway would have provided for their considerable moisture requirements. Also, in spite of his head feeling a bit chilly because of its lack of apparel, the ambient temperature was  frickin hot! Things could get a little muggy in the summertime, but that was nearly three months away.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Bitey Tod finally opened his eyes to greet the holiday with the sense of thankfulness it deserved, and was confused to see that the florid verdancy of his home in the Xotx rainforest had apparently withered to a washed-out mustard brown. The scrub and brush that had replaced the dense canopy looked for all they were worth like the kinds of things he had seen growing at elevation during the mountaintop pilgrimage that marked his induction into the mysteries of the Xota religion. It was uncomfortably cold at those heights, and the native species showed it, spindly and crooked in their attempts to scrape out whatever living they could among the hostile elements. Come to think of it, it was a bit uncomfortably cold here!

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Tod Bitey’s mounting confusion was exacerbated greatly when a juvenile-looking green beastie with fangs a third the length of its head sauntered by, taking note of him with a friendly wave and calling cheerfully, “Hey, Father Bitey! Are you ready for Four Four Flaurnsday? I can’t wait to see the melons you guys have selected this year!”

Had his equally sizeable dentition not meant that the natural resting position of his mouth was open, his jaw would have dropped.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Bitey Tod’s mounting confusion was exacerbated greatly when a strange-looking white boat, with a bright red paddlewheel chugged by, taking note of him with two deafening blasts of its steam whistle, accompanied by the commensurate release of jets of visible water vapor.

Had his extremely sizeable nasal appendage not been so heavy and unwieldy, he would have shaken his head quickly in disbelief.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Here the Verses Discord was offered a choice.

How will Tod Bitey, tragically transposed trader, respond to the young beastie?:

A: Subtly infusing his reply about Four Four Flaurnsday with some open ended questions to try and make sense of it all?

B: Pretending to have forgotten the youngster’s name in order to draw out information about their identity and the cultural elements of the bizarre situation?

C: In silence, with as friendly a look and gesture as he can manage, to not reveal his position just yet, and hopefully buy himself some time?

D: Enthusiastically fabricating a story about the size and quality of the melons to get the kid excited, knowing that heightened emotional states often lend themselves to unwitting divulgences?

How will Bitey Tod, spatially scrambled sacerdote, respond to his encounter with an alien steamboat?

By moving in to get a closer look at the river, which upon second glance, is far more murky and significantly wider than either of the pair that run through the Xotx.

By investigating more of the landscape’s flora, as his relationship with the higher powers of the Xota religion grant him the ability to interpret the hidden patterns found in nature.

By waiting and watching warily for more of the same kind of vessel in an attempt at understanding, because it is the least likely way to incur contact in this potentially hostile environment.

By making orisons to the powers that be for guidance, because it is Four Four Flaurnsday, and this perplexing situation is likely some kind of test of faith.

(If you’d like to vote on our stories, influence Verses lore, what happens next, game mechanics, and even future cards. Then join our Discord at

Freaky Flaurnsday - Tod and Bitey, Pt. 3

Tod Bitey was never one to miss an opportunity, particularly if it involved plying the naive with inflated estimations of the quality and value of a product in question. He switched into sales mode with the ease of experience, affecting a conspiratorial tone to draw his listener into a sense of privileged knowledge and a privileged relationship.

Beckoning the adolescent over with what he noticed out of the corner of his eye was a hand that looked not at all like his own, he began, exaggerating a hush, “Oh, you know I shouldn’t tell you this, but, the melons. Oh, the melons are the best I’ve ever seen. They’re much bigger than usual, and ripe, too. And the colors! Oh, what lovely colors on this particular set; I’d wager you’ve never seen anything like it, my friend.”

The youngster seemed shocked at first, but as Tod Bitey had gone on with his spiel, he could see and sense the rising excitement in the child’s demeanor. By the time he was done describing the colors, which were coincidentally like nothing that he himself had ever seen, the kid was almost at a fever pitch. He excitedly looked from side to side, as if checking for any observers before responding.

“Wow! I know you shouldn’t have told me that! You aren’t supposed to say anything to anybody until after the service is over! I always thought you liked me, and maybe thought I was a candidate for the priesthood, but I never expected you to break the Vow of Listening for me. Don’t worry, though, Father Bitey, I’ll never tell!” With that, the child gave an awkward attempt at a conspiratorial wink, made all the more bizarre by his frighteningly toothy smile. “The melons sound great, but I gotta go get ready! I’ll see you at the service!”

“Father” Tod Bitey decided it was best to not say anything else, and instead gave a short nod and a friendly wave as the young creature took his leave.

So he was in charge of a religious service involving melons, and he was forbidden from using his most powerful weapon, his voice, to find anything out before it began.

This was going to be interesting.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Bitey Tod was never one to miss an opportunity, particularly if it involved plying the flora with interested interrogations of the windings and workings of an environment in question. He switched into priest mode with the ease of experience, affecting a reverent demeanor to settle his spirit into a sense of secret knowledge through a secret relationship.

Bending over to gently grasp a tender bud with what he noticed out of the corner of his eye was a hand that looked not at all like his own, he began, in a deeply devout hush, “There you are, young thing, first upshoot of life. What knowledge do you hold to share? What of your ancestors? How have you come to be in this place, where you grow sparse and spindly so quickly in the shivering cold? And what of your neighbor, that monstrous white boat?”

The plant seemed shocked at first. It trembled with trepidation at his first touch, but grew more and more relaxed as his even, gentle tone unfolded a reasonable line of questioning. By the time he came to the question about the boat, he felt the beginnings of the sense of trust that was part and parcel of his responsibilities as religious figurehead, and therefore, chief melon whisperer. The young vegetation spoke to him with rapid and nigh undetectable variations in turgidity.

“Wow! I thought I was a goner! Just yesterday, you were over there pulling my cousins up out of the ground with extreme prejudice! You even went so far as to call us ‘stupid weeds’ while you were muttering about cleaning up ‘your yard’ so that it would look presentable for some guy who’s coming to buy one of those big nasty boats you asked about.” At this, the plant seemed to put two and two together, and its tone turned skeptical. “Which makes it kind of weird for you to be asking about. Not to mention, you never tried to talk to us earlier. And ‘sparse and spindly’ isn’t exactly flattering, either. We can’t all be lush and curvy like the flora lucky enough to be born on the equator. Thanks for not pulling me up, but I think we’re done here.” All of the plants within earshot turged their agreement.

Bitey Tod decided not to press his luck, and respectfully thanked the plant for the information as he took his leave.

So he was supposed to broker a transaction involving a giant, unnatural watercraft, and he couldn’t use his most powerful weapon, his connection to the flora, to find out more before the buyer arrived.

This was going to be interesting.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *


Next Story

[No Further Stories)

Previous Story

[No Earlier Stories)

First Story

The Initiative