In the upper dock district of Ossoria, a lone figure walks down the street. She is carrying a can of paint. She stops outside a tavern – The Fisherman’s Sock – and paints one word on the wall: Glymmph.
She waves a hand around the word, and the paint dries in seconds. She then takes up her paintbrush once more, and draws a circle round the word, and a line across it. In the next moment, she is a cat, and in the moment after that, she is halfway down the street.
At the sound of the paint can rattling to the ground, a man storms out of the tavern. He looks at the graffiti and laughs. “Hah!” he shouts down the street in case the culprit is still in earshot. “You vandals wrote what I was already thinking! If it keeps those shapeshifting creeps away then it’s a bloody good thing!”
He walks back into his bar and tells the customers what was written, which gets a big cheer.
Meanwhile, the cat becomes a wolf and howls. She then becomes human again, and saunters up the road and into the tavern. She goes up to the bar and says, “Your finest ale, sir! I like the sign. ‘bout time someone made a stand against those awful creatures!”
After enough time as to not seem suspicious, a man walks in and says something similar. He adds, “Did you read the Nightly Bulletin yesterday? Apparently those glymmph freaks have detachable genitals that they store in buckets of water overnight!”
“Yeah, I did read that!” says the tavernkeeper with loud passionate rage. “And when they’re done with the bucket, they toss the water back in the reservoir! Disgusting!”
The evening goes on, and business is surprisingly good tonight. Several new faces are seen and then by the end of the night, the money doesn’t quite add up to the amount of beer sold, but the tavernkeeper puts it down to his inability to keep up.
“I’m Ymaramaia,” says the graffiti woman, to the man who arrived after her.
“Arraframafra,” he replies.
“Yeah I know who you are. It was a pretty bold move to namedrop your own fake newspaper. I like that.”
“Thanks. I like your graffiti. Same time tomorrow?”
She nods. He turns into an owl and flies away. She turns into a cat – her favourite shape – and slinks off into the darkness.
The next night, the tavern is even busier. The rumours are even wilder. And each subsequent night, the trend continues. Within a month, the customer population at the famous “No-Glymmph” tavern is more than two-thirds glymmph. And there’s even a glymmph working the bar, making sure that when drinks are bought, the glymmph underpay and the humans overpay, and poor old Merrid the tavernkeeper ends up with less money than he thought he was going to.
But jokes grow old, so all of the glymmph meet in secret. Ymaramaia conveys the plan – it was her prank so she gets to decide the big finish.
They know it’s going to be good, so even more glymmph than usual come along to The Fisherman’s Sock tonight. Merrid is overjoyed at the best night of business he can remember, when suddenly, the music stops. When he looks round, the musicians are monkeys. The humans turn to them in shock and anger, and the glymmph do the same, but with subtle winks to the monkeys. Then, as everyone surges forward toward the monkeys as a raging mob, all but five of the crowd turn into all manner of animals and swarm out the door. The five guests and poor old Merrid the tavernkeeper are left standing watching the scene at a loss for words (and money). None of the animals even look back.