Rufus Terror of the Undead

Rufus the Light Fingered was an accomplished bard and sneak thief of his day. When his day actually occurred is a matter of debate.  Part of the fault lies with the Gesta Mochthos (Deeds of the MacThoys) as provided by its author, Hell Louise in 1503.   (It also chronicles the tale of the Barley Stein.)

Her story, the only version available and culled from the journals at the Abbey of Lost Wages, is also filled modern references to publick houses and print shops, clearly indicating the tale had been tainted.  It is doubtful a firm date will ever be made.

Rufus’ story also served as fodder for Alabaster Van Gelt, a celebrated playwright at the conclusion of the Victorian period.

The tale begins late at night with Rufus, a dexterous young bard, leaving his favorite public house & bordello, the Spread Eagle, owned by the Widow Misty Oopoonia.

(The Reader might be curious to know that people did not regularly travel after dark  prior to the invention of gas & outdoor lighting.  The only creatures out after sunset were ne’er-do-wells, wild animals, and those of the other world, all things that God-fearing folk did well enough to avoid.--ed)

Too inebriated to be concerned for his well-being, Rufus often sang to himself. (Some theorize that like a bat, he used the sound of his voice to make his way home through the Stygian dark.--ed)

This evening one of the undead ones who go bump in the night (again due to lack of proper lighting--ed) was about and heard Rufus’ singing. The creature stalked him for some time before it decided to make a meal of him.


(The Reader can understand the creature’s hesitation for undead thing or not, the MacThoy were not the tastiest of meals. It would be another century before the idea of regular baths would occur to them and this being brought on by the Fire of London. The second matter being their great alcohol content.  Thus, the MacThoy were of little nutritional value.--ed)

Rufus, living up to his name, easily plucked the creature from of the sky and threw it on its back, knocking the wind out of it. Seeing that it was no ordinary mortal, Rufus tossed the creature on his shoulder and returned to the Spread Eagle and the advice of the Widow Misty Oopoonia.

The hostess was quite surprised to see the creature Rufus had. A few of her remaining guests tied up the undead and left it near the edge of the woods so as not to frighten the horses.

Rufus was against killing it, feeling that sympathy that grows after keeping a creature for a space of time.  It is natural for the fellow to feel a bit of resistance when called to task of ending the miserable --albeit Godless-- creature’s life. For that matter, surrendering it to the shire reeve or the holy man was out of the question.  Due to previous run-ins with both of those ilk, they were likely not to be believed.

Misty’s eyes lit up. "I know just the thing for him." She vanished into the house.

The wanton being was quite beside itself with fear, having come to the full realization of who held it hostage. It apologized profusely and offered to be on its way if only the good men would untie it.  A fellow moved to oblige but was shoved back by the others as Misty Ooopina returned.

She fastened a silver bell about its neck. In this matter they would know when the creature was about.  It hissed and pleaded with them but to no avail.

They ran the beast off and could hear it at length, the jingling of the bell, it scrabbling to remove the bell, the sound of flesh searing (a vampyre's sensitive skin reacts poorly when in contact with this precious metal), and the howling of the creature.

Rufus found himself the target of these vampiric creatures for several months afterwards—attempted acts of vengeance or coincidence remains a mystery. He attached a bell to each and sent them on their way earning Rufus the moniker the Terror of the Undead.

Belling the beast also made it easier for traditional vampire hunters to bring down their prey. The Widow Misty used the bell as a logo for her publick houses believing they kept the undesirables away.

Last modified: October 01, 2005

Clan MacThoy's webpage is a production of the Northwest Hellcats & Love is a Dog from Hell.
All Rights Reserved.