Part IV: The Deflagration of Potato and a Monkey

Screaming, screaming, more screaming. A little whimpering too, bust mostly, such bothersome screaming.
Deserts are supposed to be peaceful, thought Grimzore disgruntledly. For the past half of an hour his new compatriots had maligned the serenity with their throws of death, hopping about, zipping through the air, rolling on the ground, but mostly screaming.
"Oh, fine," muttered Grimzore with exasperation, "It's only illusionary fire anyway."
He summoned a bit more of his magic and caused the fire to dissipate. Seeing as it had been illusionary to begin with, it was a while before the monkey and the potato noticed that they were no longer burning.
The chimp spoke first.
"You are a real jerk, you know that? A complete kneebiter."
The wizard laughed.
"You are lucky I gave you the benefit of the doubt. I don't take kindly to being unduly robbed of my senses. That could easily have been real fire. And don't think that's a possibility I'm not still considering."
The wizard paused in his step and turned to stare at Drissle grimly.
"You still have the whisps of an adventure-field about you. If I hadn't seen that, you would be dead. But don't cause trouble."
He looked over at the potato, somewhat more interestedly.
"Who is your friend here?"
"No clue."
"I don't have a name, exactly," interjected the potato, "but," his tone turned immediately bitter, "I imagine some of usual nicknames will crop up shortly."
"Spud it is then," declared the wizard, happy to oblige the potato's bitterness.
The potato was--almost so Grimzore felt intimated--hovering just behind his right shoulder as they made their way through the arid plateau. The chimp was on the other side of him, looking rather thoughtful. It was dressed in a blue kimono of sorts, with a matching cap that inexplicably had not been lost in the previous commotion. There was more both to the creature and its outfit than was immediately evident even to a discerning wizard such as himself. But that was something to take up later.
Grimzore might have been rather more misanthropic about the whole matter than he was presently being except that all his faculties of dislike were currently dedicated to despising his wizard's guild as much as wizardly possible, which was quite a lot. It was his guild that was responsible for forcing him to wear his thick, sweltering robes at all times, even now in the dry, sweltering, shadowless arena of the desert. He lost count of how many times he had brought up the advantages of effectual dress over traditional dress and the various possibilities afforded by modern materials. Unfortunately, many of the lesser wizards were quite defensive about the theatrics of their trade (such things tended to help obscure their lack of magic).
The regulation 3-foot beard didn't help much either.
"So," Drissle began, a little hesitant about getting an answer he wouldn't like, "what exactly is going on?"
"That depends largely," Grimzore replied, "on whether those masked men into to kill us, or invite us out to tea."
Drissle started in fright as he turned to notice a band of marauders perched on top of a nearby hill with their swords drawn. The potato was altogether less startled, as it had noticed the men even before the wizard had. It had not stopped to dwell much on the possibilities of their intentions, however. After all, very few people, no matter how vile, concern themselves with the robbery of travelling potatos.
The foremost bandit, wrapped in black cloth from head to toe and looking a little like someone who perhaps got lost on their way to a very well-air conditioned costume party, reached into his satchel.
"You will, I think," he said, "not like this very much at all."