The large, red menace, bounded right up next to Pickle and let a big booming howl rip right down his ear hole.
The mage, wise to the protocol for situations such as this, did the right thing and leaped into the air squealing like a stuck pig before wetting himself and forming the fetal position.
Kal was doing everything he could not to point at the now cowering wizard and promply burst out laughing. Instead he swallowed hard and prepared to rush Ronald.
"Ronald? What in The Gods' great dangly bits kind of name is that for a demon?" He thought preparing to charge. Before he could answer this question the creature started chuckling, then burst into a fit of guffawing laughter.
"Aww" He said in a deep, booming, voice still cracked by giggles. "That was a good one ... I got you really scared. Little demon joke there. Get's 'em every time."
With this the creature, which looked more like a big, bipedal, red shaggy dog with tusks lumbered over to Pickle, picking him up by the back of his robe with a massive hand and helping him to his feet. The mage had gone a very strange colour. It was a mix of sickly white with big rosy cheeks as by this point he'd realised what he'd done.
Still shaky he mumbled something under his breath and his robes changed colour. They where still equally ridiculous but canary yellow instead of purple. Anyone watching would get the impression that he knew that spell rather too well.
Kal lowered his axe and scratched his head.
"So. You're not going to rend him limb from limb with your big claws then?"
The demon looked confused.
"No. Why would I want to do that?"
"Pity." Thought Kal dismally before noticing something warm and sticky dripping onto the top of his head. It seemed that Ronald who had decided to get closer to Kal had a bit of a drooling problem. Particularly unpleasant from something at least seven feet in height with breath that smelled like rotten vegetation. Taking a step back to avoid getting showered in spit the warrior continued,
"Well isn't that what demons do? You know. Torture and kill people, before dragging them off to the recessess of some infernal pit never to be seen again?"
The creature, looking a bit offended, scratched at the fur on its massive chest and pouted slightly. This would have potentially looked cute if the thing wasn't so intimidating.
"Us demon's get a really bad reputation. We're very nice really. I mean. Have you ever met a demon?"
Kal had to admit that thankfully he hadn't and slowly shook his head.
"Well then what makes you think we're all horrible brutes? It''s just a small few that ruin it for everyone else. Those are the man killing, children eating ones, but they're the ones that always get stories told about them. Then the rest of us can't go out in public or we get killed ..."
Falcon looked thoroughly confused. This didn't compute in his heroic, dashingly valorous mind. A demon was simply a demon. They were bad and evil. Having a good demon was like having a bad hero. He decided that the only way he could get around this mental problem before his synapses failed, was that this wasn't really a demon, it was a something else that was confused. He assumed from what he could see that this creature obviously wasn't evil. So this had to be the case. Taking a deep breath and clearing his throat, he decided to relate his little epiphany to anyone that might be listening. This was as a rule only the mage but he was busy having a nervous breakdown and seemed to be a little pre-occupied.
"Well you can't be a demon old chap you must be ... hmm ... a something else."
Kal threw Falcon an incredulous look.
"Very profound that. Good for you. Tell you what I'll go back to talking to the demon you can play with the rats."
As Kal mentioned rats, Ronald looked down with a grunt. As he peered at his feet his could see that Rufus' children where playing hide and seek in the fur that fell past his ankles and brushed the floor.
"Ooo ... furry's." He said with a chuckle and sitting down gently put his hand out and started to play with the little creatures. He laughed as two of the littlun's ran onto his hand and started playing with his arm fur.
"I like furry's ... I like everyone ... people just don't seem to like me." He said with a pout. If I could just prove that I was nice maybe people would see us demons as hero's just like you."
Kal was astonished and now mildy frustrated as if Ronald wasn't blocking any movement down the tunnel originally he certainly was now.
"What makes you think we're hero's?"
"Says on your little badge."
"What little badge?" Said Kal confused.
"That one silly." Said the creature gesturing to Kal's chest with his free hand.
The warrior looked down and surely enough there was a little, engraved, silver sign pinned to his front. It read:
"Kalith Willowhaven. Age: 25 years. Occupation: Hero"
"Oh yes." He said remorsefully. "That one."
He looked about to see that they all had them, Falcon was wearing one as a belt buckle, Pickle's was pinned to his hat, even Rufus was wearing a tiny pendant with detials carved on it in little ratty letters. There was chuckling coming from somewhere in the ether.
"Sodding Imp." Thought Kal realising what was probably coming next. He decided to nip this one in the bud before it even started.
"You want to come with us don't you?"
The demon grinned and nodded frantically.
"Oh yes please. I promise I'll be good. I won't scare the man in the dress again or anything. Please can I? Please." Ronald peered Kal with huge hopefull eyes.
For the first time ever Kal knew that if he said no he would possibly feel guilty. Guilt was an emotion for people like Pickle and Falcon. He didn't do guilt. He did, want to get on with the quest and even if Rufus had said goodbye to the kids they couldn't get past the wall of fur.