Chapter 3 some more

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

“All right,” shouted Aragon. “Don’t nobody move!”

“Wait,” said the teacher. “Do you mean that we should move? That’s a double negative you know.”

“You moved!” Aragon shouted as he conjured up a blast of eldritch flame, instantly incinerating the old man.  “Now then Magus,” he said while pointing at a crying little girl with pigtails, “kill that kid.”

“But… she’s just a little girl!” said Magus.

“And?” responded Aragon. “She moved.”

“No,” said Magus. “It’s wrong. I may not be much of a hero but I have to stand up against something.”

“You know,” said Aragon, ignoring Magus’s previous comment. “There was a butcher I knew once. Out of fear, in an attempt to save his family, he betrayed my brother. For that, he lost his eyes. But you know what? That wasn’t enough. By the time I was done with him, he had lost everything. His friends, his home, his family, and his way of life. I left him in the middle of the desert, eternally starving yet unable to die, until the geas I put on him drew him into the tender mercy of the elves. Are you sure you want to risk that?”

“Not only shall he risk it,” said Petrov, “But I shall risk it at his side. Magus, you have my axe.”

“And my sword,” said Ærin.

“And my dagger,” said Abda.

Magus looked up at Aragon and said “Your move.”

“Very well.” Suddenly, Aragon jumped, arcing over them in a leap that would have been really dramatic if it wasn’t for the really low celling in that building. As is, he hit his head on a rafter and knocked himself out.

“That was anticlimactic,” said Magus.

Then, inside his head came a thought that was not his own. The voice screeched, resonating with power before shouting “Good, for the worst is yet to come!” Then, there was the sound of breaking wood, as the roof was ripped off and flung aside by some creature larger than a house, with claws like knives and breath like a jet engine. Its scaly, reptilian hide was dyed a midnight blue, and its eyes glowed as red as the fires of hell.

“A dragon?” said Magus. “Really? After what we did to the scorpion a few pages ago?  Antimagic-”

“No,” said the voice, behind which ran an intelligence so ancient and powerful that it almost destroyed Magus’s mind on the spot. This was a creature so outlandish, so alien to normal human thought, that being connected to it would by all rights drive a man mad.

“Look, will you stop that. You may be the narrator, but that doesn’t mean you can describe how I’m feeling. Last gig I got was in a story written by a Lovecraft fan, so unless you have a blasphemous abomination with eight ever screaming mouths that devours its enemies whole and digests them while they still live, there’s no way you’re going to scare me.”

Hey, that’s actually a very good idea.

“See?  You’re giving him ideas,” said Ærin. “Please shut up now.”

“You do realize that I’m still here, right?”

“Hush now,” said Magus. “The grownups are talking.”

“I shall hush when you are in your graves!” said the dragon as its mouth opened, revealing the glowing pilot light deep behind its uvula.

“Look,” said Magus, “You can’t flame us.  It’ll kill Aragon too.”

“Hrmmm…” muttered the dragon. Then, it lowered its claw onto Magus, pinning him to the ground so that it would only have to move an inch in order to decapitate him. “You have a point.” It said.

“May I have some last words?” said Magus.

“Very well,” the dragon murmured. “But make it quick.”

“Consilium meum consilium asinum detractum!”

Then, as Magus spat out those words, both he and his comrades disappeared!

“How the hell did they get away?” thought the dragon.

“A wizard did it,” Aragon thought back.

Chapter 3 again

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Magus woke up. His eyes opened, and they flitted around, quickly taking in the surroundings. Not much to look at really. Black room, the black chair he was sitting in, torch shining into his eyes, that kind of thing. He tried to get up and discovered he was tied to the chair. Oh, and did I mention the ominous figures standing around the room? There were a lot of ominous figures standing around the room, each wearing some kind of black cloth wrapped around their heads.

“Tell me,” said the figure in the front, obviously the leader. “Why were you looking for our base?”

“We were looking for the insurgents,” said Magus. “We wanted to join.”

“Hrmmm…” muttered the leader. Then, Magus suddenly felt an odd presence feeling about in his mind. He tried to resist, but he could halt it no more than the Pillsbury Dough Boy could stop a steamroller.

After a few seconds, the presence retreated, and the leader said “He is telling the truth.” He then snapped his fingers, and the bonds trapping Magus sprung off and set him free.

“Who are you?” said Magus as he was getting up. “And why do you all have towels wrapped around your heads?”

“Because we couldn’t find anyone who sold ski masks in bulk… And as to who we are… we are the insurgents… and I…. am Aragon Ælfhame.” As he said this, the man took off his off his towel revealing features that would be totally unremarkable, if you did not notice the soulless cat-like eyes, and the eerie, inhuman face.

When he saw the man and heard his name, Magus gasped, because he had been hearing tales of him for his entire childhood. Some stories said he had sold his soul to the fey, while others said he had joined with the elves to fight the Empire, and no two were even remotely alike.

“Come on,” said Ælfhame. “Your friends are waiting and there’s good that needs doing.”

******

“How is blowing up a school doing good?” asked Magus.

“It’s for the greater good.” responded Aragon.

“Ah,” said Magus. “This is obviously some form of the word good of which I was previously unaware.”

“What did you just say?” said Ælfhame with a tone of menace that made it obvious that he had heard exactly what Magus had said.

“I said ‘yes sir,’” replied Magus.

“Very good.”

Chapter 3 again

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

“Behold! The waterfall!” shouted the guide.

“Look, will you stop practicing your dramatic reveal!” said Magus, getting up from his patch of sand. “We’re trying to sleep! You’re loud enough to wake the dead!”

“Come on,” whined the guide. “It isn’t that bad!”

Suddenly, as it had been woken by the annoying whining of the side character, a giant desert scorpion unearthed itself from the sand.

“Told you so.”

“That was just a coincidi—ARGH!”

After impaling the guide on one of its claws, the vile beast turned his attention to Magus, who promptly ran and hid behind a rock.

“That was brave of you,” said Ærin.

“Honor is for suckers,” said Magus. “Besides, it’s not like you’re one to talk.  You’re hiding too!”

“I’m not hiding, I retreated in order to loop around and flank the enemy.”

“You’re hiding.”

“Bah. Anyway, where’s Petrov?”

“Death to most tyrants!”

“Crap.”

As Magus turned, he saw Petrov leaping out at the scorpion, shouting dwarvish curses all the while.

“Dammit Petrov!” shouted Magus. “Get away from that thing! You’ll get yourself killed!”

“The bigger they come, the harder they fall!” responded Petrov as he dodged a swipe of the scorpion’s tail.

“If that thing falls it’ll land on you!” shouted Magus quickly, hoping not to draw the beasts ire his way.

“All trees are felled at ground height!” said Petrov.

“Some trees are not meant to be felled!” responded Magus.

“Look, will you just help!” shouted Petrov.

“He’s right you know,” said Abda. “We can’t sneak past that thing and we’re going to need the guide’s map if we want to get out.”

“Very well,” said Magus. Then, he shouted “For death! For honor! For glory!” and with those words, the party rose out from behind the rock and attacked.

Well, most of it at any rate.

“Look,” said Magus. “I’m the mage! Never mind the giant scorpion; I would probably die if someone looked at me too hard!”

Bah! It’s just a giant desert scorpion. The worst it can do is poison you, grab your staff and then beat you to death with it.

“Why does that fail to reassure me? Anyway, how does the scorpion work?”

What do you mean, work? It has a blood and stuff, just like everything else.

“Yes,” said Magus, “but what about the square cube law?”

Huh?

“When you square the size of something, you cube the stress on its materials. That scorpion’s legs should snap, and if they were large enough to hold it up, it wouldn’t be able to get enough oxygen to its legs and on.”

It’s magic. You travel around in the same group as a midget with a prehensile beard and you’re complaining about this!

“So you admit it’s magic?”

Yes…

“Anti-Magic Field!”

I hate you.

“Good for you. Start narrating!”

Fine then. Ahem.

As the giant desert scorpion collapsed into a pile of blood and gore, Magus smirked like the moronic asshole he was, knowing fully well that he had ruined the suspense, and that there would now be no chance of the narrator getting to use something cool like a dragon, as he had gone and found a cheap way to kill them. Bastard.

“Congratulations!” said the idiot. “You just managed to become more biased then Fox News.”

“Can you just leave the fourth wall alone?” said Petrov. “We’ve got the map, so let’s get going.”

******

“Behold!” shouted Petrov. “The waterfall!”

“Hooray,” said Magus. ”A waterfall. Can we enter now?”

“Fine.”

As Magus entered, walking straight through the misty spray, he saw a flicker of movement out of the corner of his eye, but it was probably nothing. Then, everything went black.

More of c3

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

“Why,” panted Magus as he followed along behind the guide, “Did you have to build your secret base on the other end of a desert.”

“If we put it in the middle of the city,” said the guide, “it wouldn’t stay a secret for long. We better stop now. Night is coming.”

********

“Well,” said Magus as he poked the fire with a stick, “I never expected needing a fire in the desert.”

“Idiot,” said Ærin as she sat down on the sand. “What do you expect? Sand cools quickly.”

“I know,” said Magus, “but I didn’t manage to put two and two together. Same with the noise! Why do all the creatures come out at night? Even with the fire, it’s freezing cold!”

“I will agree on that,” said Ærin. “I haven’t the faintest idea as to how the others manage to sleep through this.”

“I suppose you get used to it after a while,” said Magus. “You wouldn’t believe what I got used to in my last gig.”

“Actually,” said Ærin, “I probably would, given that I discovered that lichen makes a really good pillow when you’re tired enough.”

“Yes,” said Magus, “but was the lichen located in a H.P. Lovecraft novel? Mine was.”

“Ouch,” said Ærin, wincing with sympathy.

“It wasn’t actually that bad,” continued Magus. “I was some kind of immortal wizard who fed off the life force of his ancestors, so I got to view the situation from the other side. Still, I wish I had snuck in a pillow or something. Sarcophagi are really uncomfortable.”

“Idiot,” said Ærin. “You know what the narrators do to any foreign objects people manage to sneak in.”

“Why do you keep talking like that?” asked Magus. “It’s not like you have to insult someone every other line.”

“Actually,” said Ærin, “I do. I’m a member of the Tsundere’s guild. I presumed you would have realized that by now.”

“Really?” said Magus. “I’ve never heard the term before.”

“It’s a portmanteau of a few foreign words Affection and Disgust. That really sums the place up.”

“What’s it like in there?” asked Magus.

“It’s really nice,” responded Ærin. “You get a guarantied position in any of the Anime productions, and a cool looking membership card to boot. Here, have a look.”

Magus looked at the card, which had a rather nice picture of Ærin above a few eldritch sigils.

“Those?” said Ærin as she noticed his gaze falling onto the sigils. “They’re the motto of the guild in its original language. They translate as—”

“Don’t tell me,” interrupted Magus. “I think I can translate it. I remember learning Kanji back when I was still an apprentice.”

After a few seconds of Magus muttering things like “Bakka,” and “Negative context,” he looked up at Ærin and said “Stupid Shinji? What kind of motto is that?”

“Ours,” said Ærin. “Idiot. What did you expect? It’s a quote from our founder.”

“The Mages guild never quotes our founder,” said Magus. “Then again, it might have something to do with the fact that he was a crossdresser.”

********

“Maaaaaguuuuusssss,” moaned the spectral apparition as it materialized inside the fire. “I have a message for you from the world of the dead!”

Magus snored, as he had finally fallen asleep.

“Wake up, idiot,” said the ghost, crossing her arms and growing ethereal pigtails. “I’m trying to deliver a prophecy here!”

“But mommy,” muttered Magus. “I don’t wanna go to school-.”

“Shut up,” snapped the apparition. “Three problems. First: You’ve never met your parents. Second: If you had, you would not have gone to a school due to the lack of anything remotely resembling an education system. Third: THAT IS THE WORST JOKE I HAVE EVER HEARD! IT WASN’T FUNNY IN WHATEVER YOU STOLE IT FROM, AND IT ISN’T FUNNY NOW!”

“Oh,” said Magus, rolling over as he recognized the voice of his childhood friend companion acquaintance. “It’s you.”

At this point, had Magus been drinking something when he saw Travia’s blackened and scorched imperial armor, he would have spat it out everywhere, and it would have been rather droll. Regrettably, supplies were being rationed, so he instead made a weird sputtering noise.

“The Emperor murdered me!” said Travia, apparently ignorant of the police report’s contents. “I think he figured out that I was planning to betray him!”

“Yes,” said Magus, remembering the soldier he had killed in the prologue. “That is what happened. He truly is an awful person. Now then, about that prophecy?”

“Be patient!” snapped Travia. “I’m getting to it.”

She cleared her throat.

“With elder staff and adamant sword,/
A lone hero goes to slay the Dark Lord./
As he walks through fire and flame,/
He shall become the Tyrant’s bane./
Aided by rogue, warrior, and midget,/
he really does look like an idiot.”

“That last line didn’t rhyme very well,” said Magus. “You should see about getting a proofreader.”

“I’m just not very good at rhyming,/” responded Travia. “Perhaps I should work on my pacing.”

“I give up.”

More of chapter 3

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

“Now what?” said Ærin. “Since idiot here killed the plot hook, there really isn’t anything to do.”

“Well,” said Magus. “We could use this.” And with those words, he pulled out of his pocket a smallish book, with a spine saying “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Elder Earth” and the words “Don’t Panic” on the cover in large, friendly letters. “I found it in that dwarf’s shop,” he said by way of explanation.

“Nah,” said Abda. “That thing will probably explode the first chance it gets.”

“Come on,” said Magus. “The dwarf was harmless. Well, mostly.”

“Let’s go,” said Petrov. “We can just ask some random NPC about the insurgents.”

******

“Ask a random NPC you said. It can’t hurt you said.”

“Well how was I supposed to know he was a cop?”

“He had a badge and a hat and everything!”

“I thought he was a cosplayer!”

Magus looked around at their surroundings, which were identical to those of the last prison, thus saving me from having to describe it again. After thinking for a bit, Magus then said “Why is it almost all of our adventures end with us in jail?”

“Does it matter?” said Abda. “Anyway, I checked under the bed for the passage to the sewers, but it isn’t here this time.”

“Don’t panic,” said Magus. “I have a way out. I’m a wizard; I can just fireball my way through the wall!”

“You idiot!” shouted Ærin. “Haven’t you read the rulebook? This cell is just ten by ten! The blast would reflect back on us for twice times damage!”

“Besides,” said Petrov, “Even if you could conceivably focus the blast enough, we would be fried by convection long before it reached the melting point of rock.”

“Will you shut up!” said Abda. “We’re talking about science here!”

“We dwarves are the epitome of science! Why, back in the old country—”

“NO ONE CARES!”

“Anyway,” said Ærin. “Now what? There’s—”

Then, suddenly from the window, a voice rang out.

“I hear you’re looking for the rebellion,” it said.

“And what if we are?” responded Magus.

“First you must tell me,” said the voice. “Friend or Foe.”

“It depends,” responded Magus. “What would you do if I said foe?”

“I have three barrels of black powder out here to cover your escape,” replied the voice. “Don’t make me move them any closer.”

“Friend it is.”

chapter 3

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

“Why so stereotyped?” said Magus.

“What do you mean?” said Abda. “This is my home. What did you expect it to be like?”

“Not like this!” Magus replied. “I mean look! Almost everyone’s wearing a turban!  Why, I wouldn’t put it past this place to be ruled by a sultan!”

“Well who else would you have ruling a country?” said Abda. “A king?”

“Of course!” said Magus.

“Look,” said Abda. “It’s our country and we have the right to live in a cliché. It’s not like the empire’s any better. I mean aqueducts and fire engines? We might as well call them not-currently-ancient Grome!”

“Fine,” responded Magus. “But we better not find any more Middle Eastern stereotypes, or else I leave, no matter what the danger in the Empire is.  If I never see another minaret, it will be too soon.”

“What about terrorists?”

“Terrorists too! Blending time periods is almost as annoying as steampunk!”

“Then don’t look in front of you.”

Magus looked in front of him. As expected, there he saw some insurgents attacking one of the garrisons the empire had placed in the cities of its ‘allies’. They were impressive, showing matrix-esque feats of agility, slaughtering the guards with ease. Soon, there was only one left, a kid just barely old enough to join who probably had thought that he would get a medal by the end of the week. He was on his back in the dirt, quickly attempting to scuttle away.

“Please!” he said. “Please don’t kill me! I don’t want to be here, I just got picked up by the draft! I’ve got a family, a life, and I can’t go back to any of those if you kill me pleasenononononono,” he said as he broke down and was reduced to incoherent babbling. The insurgent in the front, a medium sized man garbed head-to-toe in wrapped cloth simply reached down and broke the guard’s neck.

Magus looked on the scene of carnage, obviously shocked. Then, as the insurgents began to disperse into various alleyways he said “We have got to figure out how to join them.”

“It’s not that hard,” said Abda. “This novel is rather linear. Here, watch,” he said, gesturing to a hovel with smoke leaking out from the holes in the roof. “I bet you that if we walked in there we’d find some kind of contact for them.”

Inside the hovel, there were two fires, equally spaced, with an old man in red robes standing in between them. The floor was coated in so many layers of soot it was as black as night, and the walls were a sickly green. The old man looked straight at Magus as if he could peer into his soul, before spreading his hands and saying, “Walk into the waterfall.”

“Dammit,” said Magus. “I have had it up to here with clichés. Tell us where to find the insurgents base or else.”

“Walk into the waterfall,” said the old man.

“Say that one more time and I kill you,” said Magus.

“I know you won’t hurt me,” responded the old man. “So I say unto thee once again: Walk into the fucking waterfall!”

“…”

“ARGH! MY BRITTLE, OLD MAN RIBS!”

More! More!

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Trying to compensate for lost time.

For the Emperor!

********

“Now what?” said Ærin.

“Look, you’ve used that line twice already,” said Magus. “Try to be more original.”

“And?” responded Ærin. “It’s still a valid question. We’re stuck outside a collapsed escape tunnel in a forest in the middle of nowhere and it’s only a matter of time before the cops come after us.”

“Simple. We have created a precedent. We killed the baron and there was nothing they could do about it! We shall rise up and tear the Empire stone from stone, starting with the baronies, and ending with Ankhgard itself.”

“Well that’s nice and all,” said Ærin, “but I meant in the short term.”

“Look,” said Magus. “I think I know where we are, and according to the map there’s a town over there. Let’s just head on in and figure out what else to do tomorrow.”

******

“A town you said. Nearby you said.”

“Shut up Petrov,” responded Magus. “This is a town.”

“This isn’t a town,” said Petrov. “This is a group of thatched huts that huddle together for warmth.”

As Magus looked around, he found that he had to admit that Petrov was right. The largest building was the inn, which was made out of stone, and had a few rooms for visitors. All the other houses were shacks which housed the people who worked at the inn.

“Does it really matter?” he said. “There’s going to be food and drink. What more do we need?”

“Hot water,” said Abda.

“A roof that doesn’t leak,” said Ærin.

“A bed whose insects haven’t yet discovered the wheel,” said Petrov.

“Come on,” whined Magus. “It can’t be as bad as that.”

******

Drip. Drip. Drip.

“We told you so.”

“Look, I said I was sorry! Now will you just shut up!”

Drip. Drip. Drip.

******

“Out,” said the innkeeper, rudely awakening them from sleep.

“Hey—” said Magus, but before he could finish the sentence the innkeeper said “Out. The empire’s looking for you.  I did you a favor by not turning you in the minute they knocked on my door.”

“Look,” said Magus. “Surely there must be something we can do to make you hide us.”

“You don’t understand the kind of trouble you’re in, do you?” said the innkeeper. “They’ve sent a steam tank after you! Out! Now!”

Harried by the innkeeper’s comments, the party ran out into the forest until they eventually reached a lake which barred all progress.

“All right,” said Magus. “I think this is far enough.”

“Dammit!” shouted Petrov. “You jinxed it!”

Then, there was a crashing sound. And another. And another. Suddenly, out of nowhere came a huge boxy thing. It had two caterpillar threads on either side, with a central body that looked like a huge, mobile water tank. There were two slits in the front, each about the size of a human head, and a boxy thing on the top with a long nozzle protruding from it. In addition, there was an aperture on the back that belched smoke and steam. There were two arrow slits on each side, and positioned around it were ten imperial soldiers.

Six of the soldiers had standard gear with the exception of some metallic eggs pinned on their belt. Two in the rear of the party were carrying odd metal devices, and had several rods strapped to their back, and one to the side had an odd mask, made out of chain mail and smoked glass, along with a tube that had some kind of hose leading into a metal barrel attached to his back.

As the formation moved, the nozzle attached to the device swiveled from side to side, and the formation would change so that none of the infantry were in the way as if the device was about to spout some kind of horrible, flaming death. Then, it turned toward the party and began to spout horrible, flaming death.

Said flaming death came in the form of what appeared to be liquid fire, which spouted out from the machine in an arc. Ærin managed to block most of it with her shield, but quite a bit splattered past and landed on the lake, where it continued to burn in defiance of all common sense.

“What the hell is that thing!” shouted Abda.

“It looks like one of our baks!” responded Petrov. “The imperials must have stolen the design!”

However, as quickly as the flame started to spout, it suddenly stopped, and from inside the tank came the sounds of cursing and someone hitting a pipe with a wrench. Petrov took this as an opportunity to attack, shouting his battle cry of “Death to most tyrants!” as he leaped into a group of soldiers. The rest of the party tried to follow suit, but one of the masked soldiers bought his tube to bear, spraying flaming oil from its nozzle. Magus leaped over it, swinging his staff and denting the soldier’s tube, but he suddenly realized he was now right in the middle of a group of enemies, exactly the worst spot for a wizard to be.

He prepared for the inevitable beating, but after a while he noticed that it did not happen. When he looked up, he saw that the soldiers had all backed away, and one of the bombardiers was franticly shoving a rod into his device, while the other soldiers were kneeling and winding up the winches on their crossbows. Relieved, Magus waved a hand and a golden shield formed between them. Meanwhile, the tank had gotten the turret working again, but no matter what it did, the oil burst out over the heads of those nearby. Meanwhile, judging by the sounds coming from the other side of the machine, his comrades were doing just as well.

Then, unexpectedly, the rod burst out from the bombardier’s tube with a whoosh of flame, smashing through the golden barrier and heading right at Magus! He knew he had to act fast, so he quickly cast a spell.

“Job mi ut flant. It’s job ictu.”

The gust of wind did not smash the missile into the ground as Magus had expected, but instead it sent it right back at the soldiers.  The formation simply stood still, standing in shock although a soldier in the back went and threw one of the eggs attached to his belt before the rod exploded, blowing him and his comrades to smithereens.

It missed Magus, and he picked it up, looking at it. Then, he remembered the tank. He leaped around, and saw that it had backed away, knocking his comrades over, and was now charging at him! He knew he had only seconds to live, and in desperation, he remembered the egg and threw it and it went straight through one of the vision slits in the front.

From inside the tank, he heard someone shout, and then there was an explosion. Bits of metal and odd pipework were thrown into the air, and the burning oil was scattered about the landscape.

“Dammit!” shouted Magus. “Why does this kind of thing happen to me! Gandalf never had to deal with this steampunk crap! I mean, exploding metal eggs!  What kind of insanity is this!”

“It was probably a granat,” replied Petrov. “Just in case being a dying race wasn’t bad enough, we’ve got oneandahalflings all around trying to steal our technology. Why, back in the old county—”

“NOONE CARES!” shouted Ærin. Then, standing in the wreckage of the tank, surrounded by boiling oil, she asked the logical question:

“Now what?”

Extra long bit of chapter 2

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Please forgive me for not updating for so long. I was unable to do so because my computer was being repaired. To make up for it, here is an extra long update on the novel.

“Now what?” said Ærin.

“I think you used that line before,” responded Petrov.

“And?” said Ærin. “The point is still valid. We just killed the baron, the cops are after us, and I’m fairly certain that we can’t leave the same way we got in. What, exactly do we plan on doing from here?”

“We know what not to do,” said Magus. “For example, it’s best that we don’t slit our throats to make the cops lives easier.”

“Thank you for that information.”

Look, can you just stop arguing! I have a story to tell here!

“And?” shouted Magus. “There’s no way out!”

Look, all you’ve got to do is… wait a minute; you’re trying to get the solution from me, aren’t you.

“Nonsense,” said Magus. “We want a full blown deux ex machina or nothing.”

Like hell that’s going to happen.

“Fine then. We’re going to stay here and die, and this book will be rejected by every publisher who finds it. Your plots shall fade away into darkness and this shall become the greatest story never told.”

All right. The baron has an escape tunnel in the basement. Just get in there before anyone realizes he’s dead and head on out.

“How convenient,” said Magus. “Come on, let’s go.”

******

“I can’t believe we didn’t notice this the last time we were here,” said Petrov. “I mean, it’s got a glowing sign over it labeled escape tunnel and everything.”

“It must have been hiding in hammerspace,” responded Magus.

“Hammerspace?”  asked Ærin.

“Highly complicated magical concept,” responded Magus. “What it boils down to is that it’s where the narrator keeps plot devices when they’re not in use. It also functions as a portal to Chekov’s armory. Anyway, let’s head on in.”

Magus and company walked on in, their footsteps echoing through the tunnels.

“Lousy human work,” said Petrov. “Dwarf make would echo better.”

“Why do you keep going on about how good the old country was if the place was hard to live in!” shouted Magus.

“Things have changed since the elder days,” responded Petrov. “One thousand years ago, back when I was a tiny beardling, our empire was at its height. The skies were filled with gyrocopters and airships, and the seas were tamed by our ironclads. However, we found a great treasure, one that would be our downfall. I had just one glimpse of admantine during that time, and I have hoped for my entire life that I would get another. It was beautiful. It shined like silver, but with an azure luster. It had an inner strength that no blow could break, and although weapons made of it would never need to be sharpened, they had an edge that could cut through steel. Alas, it was our undoing. We tunneled down, down, determined to get more of this wonderful metal. Everything was perfect. We were winning the war with the elves, and the goblins had finally been cleansed from our lands.

I had gotten a job as a miner, and I was tunneling along the admantine vein, when suddenly, I discovered an eerie cavern. The air above the dark stone floor was alive with vortices of purple light and dark, boiling clouds. Seemingly bottomless glowing pits dotted the surface. Then horrifying screams came from the darkness below! That was when I realized that we had dug too greedily, and too deep, for—”

“You unleashed a shadow of fire and flame?” interrupted Magus.

“No,” responded Petrov. “That was back in Sorok-D. This was worse. Down in the pit there were things. Eldritch things. Three legged elephants with venomous spittle, vaporous beasts with noxious secretions, and flying, crystalline, dual-mouthed carp!”

“Carp,” said Magus. “Carp. Do you really expect me to believe that you mined into hell and found flying carp? And besides, if you mined into hell, how are you still alive?”

“It wasn’t much of a biggie,” said Petrov. “Unlike you oneandahalflings we weren’t stuck in medieval stasis. Not even the fiends of Lodkaubity can survive being shot point blank in the face.”

“What, now you expect us to believe that you conquered hell?” said Ærin. “What kind of fools do you take us for?”

“But it really happened! We established a colony there and everything! That was not the event that destroyed the dwarven race, although that which did came soon after. You see, after colonizing hell, we did what any sensible dwarves would do. We held a party.”

“And that was harmful why?” responded Magus.

“The dwarven race died,” said Petrov. “Because that night… we didn’t know when to say when.”

“No, really!” he said, having apparently decided to forgo the accent. “The finest minds of our generation all died of acute liver failure that night. I thank Armok that I was lucky enough to slip into a coma halfway through! Depopulated as they were, almost all the great dwarven holds fell that night! Glavapobegi, Strah Zimoĭ, Siroplista, all of them. The elves attacked and in the end, we were reduced to huddling in the Mountainhome praying that they would go away. We have regained much of our land since then, but we are still spread thin, and we shall never regain our lost grandeur.”

“I have a question,” said Magus.

“What?” replied Petrov.

“Whatever happened to your accent?”

“Errr… vhat you mean?”

“Look, I just want you to stop screwing with us,” said Magus. “Now tell me: what happened to the accent?”

“Nothing, comrade!” responded Petrov.

“Don’t comrade me!” said Magus. “You just said that the country is ruled by the Tzar. Why all the Russian stereotypes?”

“Vecause Ve Van!” said Petrov.

“Look, just stop it, will you?” replied Magus. “There’s no point! We already know you don’t actually have an accent!”

“Vonsence!” said Petrov.

“Look, just tell us why you’re using the accent?”

“Look, do I have to have a reason! Can’t I just adopt a fake accent for no reason at all?”

“No, not really.”

“Fine then.”

Chapter 2 again

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Hot kobold XXX! Just 999.99$ per month!******

“All right,” said Ærin. “This is the baron’s room. Let’s burst in and slaughter him.”

“Why?” said Abda. “You guys may have grudges against the empire but I don’t.”

You’re going to enter because I say so.

Then, his mind suddenly changed, Abda followed Ærin as she bashed down the door. Inside the room they saw a rug that probably had taken the lives of thousands of small furry creatures and a bed that could probably fit ten people although no-one was really sure why it would need to. Inside the bed there was a skinny man who probably thought of himself as rather dashing, and next to him was a wizened kobold wearing lipstick. Both of them were both in the process of taking their clothes off.

“AAHHHH!” shouted Magus as he attempted to claw his eyes out. “Brain bleach! I need brain bleach!”

“It’s not what it looks like!” shouted the baron. “And—wait, who are you?”

“Your death,” said Ærin.

“Didn’t we already use that line?” said Petrov.

“The death of me?” said the baron as he shrugged on a robe and pulled a rapier out from under the bed. “I’m not just a rather dashing wizard; I’m also a good hand with a blade. I think you’ll find that—“

There was a clatter as Ærin swatted the rapier out of the baron’s hand before he finished his dramatic monologue.

“Curse you Rohirm fiend! A pox on you and your descendants! May your car keys always fall into the deepest crevices of the sofa, and may your socks never match!”

“You call that a curse?” said Ærin once she was done laughing.

“Well I just started this wizarding thing. Just skimmed the introduction packet really. May I try again?”

“No.”

“Crap.”

******

More of chapter 2

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

********

“Well that was easy,” said Ærin. “Now for the hard part.”

“The hard part?” said Magus. “I thought this was the hard part.”

“Oh no,” responded Ærin. “The hard part is where law enforcement chases us in an attempt to have us executed for being dangerously competent and contributing to the public order. Trust me, I know how this goes.”

“This is the police!” shouted a voice from outside the guildhall. “Get on the floor and put your hands behind your head!”

“See what I mean,” said Ærin. “Come on, into the basement. We’ll figure out what to do from there.”

The basement was a place made out of stone, entered by a steel door at the end of a logn passage. Said passage was full of fortifications and arrow slits that couldn’t be used from that side. This, along with the dwarvish lock on the door, made it obvious the basement was a panic room.

The bunker was filled with iron rations, weapons, and barrels of water. It was obvious that Bromad had been planning to hold out in there for a long time.  There was a patch of mud in one corner with huge, purple mushrooms growing out of it, starkly contrasting with the rest of the room.

“Look!” shouted Petrov. “Plump helmets!”

“Plump helmets?” said Magus.

“Ve had zese back in old country!” replied Petrov.  “I didn’t know zat anyone knew about zem here!” Petrov then sat down, plucked one of the mushrooms, and started to eat it with every sign of enjoyment.

“Petrov?” said Magus. “Aren’t you forgetting something?”

“Oh, yes,” said Petrov. “I completely forgot about you guys. I’m sorry. Here you go.” And with that, he threw them each one of the vile fungi.

“No Petrov,” said Magus. “I meant the cops.”

“I didn’t forget about them,” replied Petrov. “I just wanted a snack first.” Petrov then got up, shoved the rest of the plump helmets into his pockets, looked over at the wall, and said “This place ought to do.” He then wacked the wall with the spike on the rear of his axe.

“Petrov?” said Magus “What are you doing?”

“Mining our way out.” replied Petrov. “Everyone and zeir mother have basement these days.  If we mine through and brick up behind us, no-one will know!”

Petrov got into a steady pace, and soon they got through into the wine cellar of some other building three blocks down. The place was cool and damp, with shelves and shelves of wine bottles, going back to the eight hundreds.  Petrov took a sip of the oldest one, spat it out, and said, “Foul human rubbish. I’ll take vodka every time.”

“Does it matter?” said Ærin. “Anyway, where are we?”

“Some rich guy’s place,” said Abda. “Only a nob would have a wine cellar this big. An army of dwarves would take fifty years to drink all this stuff.”

“Why the yebut vould ve vant to!” responded Petrov.

“Look,” said Abda, “it vas a figure of speech!”

“Can we just get going?” asked Ærin. “If we stay here someone’s bound to find us.”

“And?” said Petrov.

“Well,” said Magus, “the sane thing to do right now would be to leave.”

“SANITY IS FOR THE VEEK!”

“Here, I’ll make this simple,” said Magus. “We leave this wine cellar or I kill everyone in it.”

“Ha!” shouted Petrov. “Vizard boy, you couldn’t hurt a fly.”

“Really? Ardens gaudendum!”

As Magus spat out those words, a ball of flame burst out and hit a small casket of brandy, causing it to explode, scattering burning alcohol everywhere.

“Vhat the hell’s wrong with you!” shouted Petrov.

“I’m sorry; I couldn’t hear you over the sound of being surrounded by several thousand gallons of ethanol.”

“Hey, vizard? What say we go upstairs?”

“Much better.”

So, they went upstairs, passing lots of racks of elderly wine bottles as they did so. The upper half of the house seemed to emanate wealth, with floors made out of mahogany and walls coated in plaster.

“Vhat a dump,” said Petrov. “Vhy, back in the old country—”

“No-one cares!” said Magus. “If the old country was so good then why did you have to leave?”

“I fell out of favor with the Tzar.”

“The who?” asked Abda.

“The Tzar. It means king. He and his nobles rule over our realm with an iron fist, squeezing all money he can out of peasants.”

“This coming from someone who obviously used to be a peasant squeezing noble,” responded Magus.

“Well, you see—” said Petrov, but then, in the middle of his sentence, a rough voice shouted out “Oy! Don’t you know it’s illegal to develop the plot in other people’s homes! That’s breaking and narrating that is.”

As the source of the voice walked into view, the fellowship saw that it was a guard wearing the uniform of the empire. His face was—

“Hey! That goes for you too mister. If you want to narrate, go do it somewhere else.”

Did you just say what I think you just said?

“Yes, I did. Now get out or we’ll have you in chains.”

Really… *Ahem* FOOLISH MORTAL! HOW DARE YOU ATTEMPT TO ARREST ME! I AM THE MASTER OF LIFE AND DEATH! I RULE ALL!

And so, as the guard stood there dumbfounded like the insipid little mortal fool he was, a bolt of purple lighting burst down from the sky and hit the guard right in the chest. His body flopped around in agony for several seconds as the eldritch flame burnt through muscle and sinew, until there was nothing left but bones, and soon even these were consumed, leaving nothing but a gray powder. As the heroes watched, somehow they knew that despite the fact that the guard’s mortal form had been destroyed, his spirit was still alive in some nether-hell, soon to be eternally tormented by a foul demonic being that would leave him wracked in pain for what would be a unnaturally extended life.

“Wow,” said Magus. “Great job. I really liked that glowy text effect.  Next time maybe you could work on the insults a little though. Insipid seems a bit cliché. Be a bit more original next time. Maybe try something with maggots.  That bit at the end was good though.”

Thank you.

“Don’t mention it. Anyway, can we get back on the road now?”

Oh all right, if you insist. Anyway, the fellowship went onward, sneaking, with nothing but the sound of their boots to tell you that they were there. Well, the sound of boots and armor. But the armor wasn’t that loud. Just sort of a CLANG BANG CRASH BASH BOING BOP PITING. See? Not that loud at all.

“Hey!” said a guard. “Who are you? You can’t be thieves, or at least not good ones. I could hear the sound of your armor from a mile away!”

Magus thought quickly and shouted, “Surprise inspection! Quick, where are you?”

“The baron’s house,” replied the guard.

“Good,” said Magus. “Now, what are you supposed to do when you find a bunch of intruders dressed up as surprise inspectors?”

The guard thought for a bit and said “You’re supposed to shout ‘GUARDS, GUARDS!’ and then—ARGH!”

That last bit there was not so much something he said voluntarily as much as it was something that you say when your internal organs have turned into kittens. Just in case you were wondering.

“Now what?” said Ærin. “We can’t do that to all of them.”

“Why not?” responded Magus.

“Because, there’ll be more people with them, and they’ll probably notice the corpses,” said Ærin.

“And?  We’re the heroes,” said Magus. “Winning when we’re outnumbered ten to one is what we do.”

“That sort of thing only happens in stories.” responded Ærin.

“Exactly!” said Magus. “Look down there! A page number! This is a story.”

“So was ‘The Horror at Insmouth’,” said Ærin. “That didn’t have a happy ending.”

Suddenly, a voice came out of the darkness! Again!

“Oy!” it said. “Wot the ‘ell are you doing in ‘ere?” Rather like the previous voice, this one belonged to a guard.

“Surprise inspection!” shouted Magus.  “Quick, what you do when you find traitors disguised as surprise inspectors standing over the corpse of your comrade while contemplating how to kill you?”

“Well you’re supposed to—ARGH!”

After gutting the guard, Petrov turned back to Ærin and said, “Told you so.”

******