Diamond Cascade: An Outbreak of Virtue.

Posted in DC

Alturiak 5: The woes wrought upon the land by the hordes of evil were everywhere to see. Filled with righteous virtue and courage, from his victory, Diamond Cascade nevertheless knew that the blow he had struck against the villainous creatures of the mountains had been but a small one. A new war-leader would soon arise, and it was but one warband of many that had suffered Diamond Cascade’s wrath. Pledging his sword and his skill against the invader once more, Diamond Cascade and his brave band continued their quest north, to deliver letters and messages that would rouse the sleeping nations of good and seek out ancient sorceries that would batter the ancient evils behind this invasion back into their deepest darkest holes. But a day had gone by before the road ahead grew clogged with refugees, wretched Halflings, spirits broken, bodies battered, helpless prey, driven from their lands by the orcish terror. With orcish warbands but a few hours away, Diamond Cascade and his companions vowed to hold off the innumerable hordes for as long as it took for the last Halflings of the north to make good their escape and seek protection in the lands of fair Osmuld, even if it were to cost their lives . . .

And The Gnome turns the road into mud for no reason other than petty amusement, and she and Lena and Wolfgirl argue and fight and I can’t bring myself to much care. What do I do? I give Buttpoker to Stalker. Why would I do that? Fine, yes, I have a better sword now, a sweet peach of a blade stolen from the dark dwarf warrior who defended the drow priestess and got squashed by a falling roof, but still –  why do I give something away that could have bought me a winter in Neverrest with all the women and wine I could wish for? You’d have thought we might have learned, you really would, but oh no. I’d like to say now, for the record, that I don’t know what I was thinking. Carried away by my own stories, I think.

That or remembering Barresford again.


Diamond Cascade: The Thin Line Between Heroism and Stupidity

Posted in DC

Alturiak 4: After a well-earned rest courtesy of Diamond Cascade’s good gnomish friends, Diamond Cascade and his companions continued on their mission: To travel north and deliver a letter, long overdue, and to continue their quest for the noble priest of Tyr, their hunt for the devilish dwarf Durmijeron. But what horror awaited? Slipping out from their dark dwellings among the mountains, fiendish orcs and vile goblins had swarmed forth while Diamond Cascade and his friends had brought justice to the venomous drow of the underdark. In the green and pleasant hills of the Halfling tribes, normally so warm and welcoming, naught awaited them but scene after scene of vicious unspeakable slaughter. Overwhelmed by this ashen tragedy, this dire destruction, Diamond Cascade and his comrades set themselves upon the trail of the closest of these despicable warbands and descended upon it in a whirling blur of sorcery and steel and righteous vengeance. Many fell to Diamond Cascade’s sword, many vile orc and goblin, yet their numbers were of such magnitude that even the master swordsman himself could not defeat so many. Sickened by the slaughter of his own making, Diamond Cascade set to in single combat with the foul leader of this orcish band and brought him down with a single mighty blow. Leaving the orcs reeling in disarray from the terror wrought upon them, to lick their wounds and slink back to their vomitous lairs, Diamond Cascade continued onwards.

Actually, no. Actually, what happened is we saw this large orcish warband, kept well away from it as any sensible person would, then slunk into their camp while they were all sleeping and murdered their war-leader in an effort to sow confusion and dissent.

Actually no, not that either. Ok, so the plan was to swoop in upon the orcs and kill their leaders and swoop away again while disabling their pursuit with spells. With flaming spheres and entanglement spells and a hail of arrows and SOME SORT OF CO-ORDINATION, it was a plan that might even have worked.

OK, look, if there had been a plan, there are many things it would not have included. For example, it would not have called for The Gnome to fall off her horse, Wolfgirl to stand around wondering what to do, or for Shifty to curl up in a ball and hope no one could see him, even as they walked right over where he was and trod on him. It would not have called for Stalker to rider around in aimless circles trying to control his horse while thousands of goblins threw javelins at him. All of these things. Would NOT have been in the plan. If we’d had one.

Unless, of course, the plan called for us to get captured and for our amusing ineptitude to arouse a certain degree of orcish curiosity, thus preventing our immediate execution. If the plan we didn’t have had been that, then it would have worked quite well. Same for the part where we escape from captivity while all the orcs are sleeping, murder their chieftain in his sleep (thanks, Shifty) and slink out with as much of our stuff and theirs as we could carry. I’d like to say that my growing powers that allow me to shift my appearance to be that of an orc and speak and understand their language made some useful contribution to our escape, but they didn’t.

What I still don’t understand is why our plan wasn’t simply to slip around them in the first place. I can’t even blame the rest of them. It was me, urging us into this outbreak of stupidity. Could have got us all killed. Very nearly did. Even as we were making our escape, a part of me wanted to turn back, creep among their bloated sleeping bodies and slit throat after throat until we were awash in a sea of blood. Where did that come from?

After we were away, all I could think of was Barresford. Maybe that’s what’s got my thinking so cloudy. Barresford and what the orcs did there.


Be The Dragon (24/5/2010)

Posted in Critical Failures

Someone complained that there hadn’t been a Critical Failures post for a while (totally neglecting the awe-inspiring poetry of Wu-Tome Clan, I note). Well fine. You want rant. Have rant. It’s a slow news week anyway. Mostly what I’ve done is write a prologue for The Warlock’s Shadow, been very pleased with it, realised that it’s not absolutely essential and will therefore feel the wrath of my prologue-hating editor[1] and then hit myself around the head with a brick a few times.

Ha! Well the prologue in Order of the Scales is cunningly disguised as a chapter. If that doesn’t work, I’ll cunningly hide it as a flashback somewhere on the middle. Cut my prologue then, mister editor…

This wasn’t supposed to be about prologues. So I guess so far this has all been a …


Right. Characters. That was where I was supposed to be going. Sometimes people ask whether there is any part of me in my characters, but I think that asks the question the wrong way round. Yes, obviously there has to be and there are parts of what I see in other people and so on and so forth and buy me a beer at a convention and we can talk about that for hours. But what about the other way round? No one ever asks that, but the should! My characters, they sneak out of the page and into me, you see. They affect my thinking. I can spend a few days writing about a grumpy world-weary amoral sell-sword and I start turning into a grumpy, world-weary, amoral . . .

Oh. Right. Maybe that’s not such a good example.

In all seriousness, though, they do. I slip in and out of the heads of my characters to write them and every time, I come away with a little bit of them inside me. I take the point of view of an alchemist for a few days, I start wringing my hands about how short-sighted people are. I take the point of view of a sell-sword for a bit, I’m exactly the person I was wringing my hands about only a few days before. I write a chapter as the Night Watchman, and suddenly I’m the household sergeant-major. I exaggerate, of course, but it’s true – they do all leave a little mark when I’m with them that takes a little time to fade. Wierd, huh?

So there’s the Order of the Scales. Back to working on that, I am. Polishing and making shiny. And if there’s one thing it’s got more of than the first two books, it’s dragons. As in time spent in the company of and sometimes sharing the thoughts of.  Be the dragon, that’s what I want. They don’t think like people. Humans are food, barely significant at all to a woken dragon. I’m going to be in that head a lot for the next month. So if you talk to me before the end of June and I’m all ‘HUMANS ARE A CONTAMINATION OF THE EARTH AND SHOULD ALL BURN,’ that’s just a bit of dragon I’ve brought back with me. DO NOT BE ALARMED. Just don’t, whatever you do, spill barbeque sauce over yourself.

Oh, and in July and August I’ll be spending most of my time as a randy teenager with a cleavage obsession. God help us all.

[1] To be fair, I think he only hates unnecessary prologues. Whereas I would probably write a book made of nothing else, given half a chance.

The Horror, The Horror (18/5/2010)

Posted in News

It’s been a bit of a week. The Write Fantastic 5th anniversary seemed to go well enough to merit a repeat performance. So did the Forbidden Planet signing and last weekend’s Lincoln Book Festival was fun too – cool to have a genre fiction panel at something like that, and Lincoln has a lovely old city centre (just be warned that when they call a road “Steep Hill”, they mean it). Signed some books, met a few fans for long enough to actually hold a conversation, and came away from the week with two lingering thoughts:

  1. I should assess my audience carefully before mentioning roleplaying games on panels.
  2. I think I’m going to keep count of the gender ratio of the dedications I’m asked to make, because ladies, so far I think you’re kicking ass. It’s Jehal, isn’t it…

Now changing genre to horror: There’s a video interview of me for a US cable TV channel that we did a couple of months back. It’s airing this week in the Michigan area, but for anyone desperately keen to see me look uncomfortable in front of a camera, you can catch it here at www.cult-pop.com. Interview 35. Look mom, I’m on TV!

There’s also a couple more reviews of TAP

“…an absorbing, satisfying read with plenty left in the locker for the future instalments … Dragons are back at the top of the food chain, in all their fire-breathing primal glory.” Speculative Horizons

“Short chapters, with alternating points of view, set a cracking pace from the outset. The language is vibrant with dialogue that moves the story briskly along, yet revealing the levels of political machinations throughout.” Temple Library Reviews

One day I’ll stop obsessively tracking these down. One day. Really. I will.


Work continues on The Warlock’s Shadow. Not much more to be said about that. The noveletto The Thief-Taker’s Blade will be the basis for the short game I plan to run at the UK Games Expo; after that, it may appear somewhere.

Today, though, the sithlings and I stuck little plastic undead monsters together. There were bits left over (you know how it goes with the undead – spare heads and arms all over the place). The sithlings stuck them on anyway. Serriously, if you want an undead monstrosity made of assorted human body parts to give you nightmares, leave it to the unfettered imagination of a seven year old.

Diamond Cascade and the Annoying Inter-Dimensional Interlude

Posted in DC

Deep in the gnomish tunnels, joyful from his victory over the forces of darkness from under the mountains, Diamond Cascade dreamed of a future filled with peace and glory. Of dragons and princes and a realm at peace with itself…

Sort of. There was this dragon. It was white and tediously repetitive and kept going on about how it was hungry and some bloke called Kemir that it might or might not want to eat. An indecisive dragon. I bet there’s not many people who dream about one of them.

The night after, there was this annoying smarmy bloke who reckoned he was a prince or an emperor or something. J-something. Prince J-Hall or Prince Jimbo, I dunno. Don’t remember. Tedious and full of himself, wittering on about some sort of Gummy award. I told him to piss off. Mostly I wanted to smack him.

Then there was this fat old bloke with hardly any hair who reckoned he was some sort of god-of-the-gods. Reckoned he was bloke who’d sent the dragon and Prince Jimbo with some sort of message I was supposed to pay attention to. Something about this Daily Gummy award again. Reckoned I was a figment of his own imagination, so I bloody well ought to do whatever he said. Being how I was dreaming, I reckoned that actually he was a figment of my imagination and I told him to piss off too. Persistent bugger. Came back night after night. Was getting to the point where I was casting about for an exorcism spell, but eventually it stopped.

Now the next night, that was a different matter. Must have been a different gnome on mess-with-Vale’s-dreams duty. A seriously fit bird all dressed in shimmering wafty clothes that had a way of flashing all sorts of bits of skin. Wolfgirl, The Gnome, that bargirl from Neverrest whose name I’ve already forgotten, they could all learn a thing or two. Actually a lot. And God-dudes, if you have a message you want to sent, forget the fiery angels and wrathful demon shit. This is the way to do it. A hot sex-kitten gets your prophet’s attention way better.

Or maybe not. I don’t know that I was paying quite as much attention to the words as maybe I should. Kind of distracted. Anyway, apparently I have a message for the world from the gods themselves. I think it’s this:

Vote Adam Ant eying Alice for the Daily Gummy Morningstar Award. The gods command you.

I was kind of hoping after that this Zephyr chick would be back on a regular basis, possibly with some friends. I mean come on, gods, I delivered the message right? Right? She comes back right enough, all righteous wrath and flips me a finger and tells me I’m a dick.

Awards Again and More Reviews (11/5/2010)

Posted in News

With King of the Crags out, I’ve not been paying much attention to The Adamantine Palace, but I suppose I should be, what with it being on the Gemmell Award shortlist for best debut of 2009. I’ve seen comments ranging from ‘going to get my vote’ to ’shouldn’t even have been nominated in the first place,’ and I don’t think I really mind either way. Reading so many different reviews for one single book, ranging from what’s in SFX to what’s on Amazon or posted up at Goodreads, I appreaciate more than ever how everyone has their own opinions and how different they can be. So if you’re one of those who liked The Adamantine Palace, please vote for it at the Gemmell Award website. If you’re not, please go and vote anyway. It’s like with the government – no point about bitching about who wins if you don’t vote.

While we’re at it, here’s a rather nice review from over at SF Crows Nest.

“I like it when you get a book that you find yourself completely immersed in. You find yourself almost besotted. You open it up, read the first chapter and bang, real life is boring, irrelevant and petty. This is the world now and be it filled with good or evil, it’s a bloody improvement on hearing about the Iraq war, footballers sex lives and the constant unending threat of annihilation through global warming.

That’s how I felt when I opened up The Adamantine Palace.”

Good, that’s what was suppoed to happen. Exactly that. Plot plot plot and never mind the characters… oh, wait.

“The Adamantine Palace’ is a no holds barred look into how awful characters can be. They are evil. They are sordid. They are completely self-centred. All of them. That’s what makes this book.”

“With a marvellous sweeping prose, a twisting plot and a lead character that is both venomous and awesome, this novel screams out for attention it rightly deserves. It’s a novel that clearly acknowledges its debt to the dragon sub-genre but is so strongly plotted through its characterisation that it pushes itself up into the realms of high political fantasy to threaten the likes of George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan.”

Now some people have read The Adamantine Palace and hated it, I guess. Maybe for exactly the reasons this reviewer loved it so much. But it’s still a real kick to read a review like this and know that there’s someone else who read my words and got out of it exactly what I was trying to put into it.

It’s not all roses though…

“a quick, fun political thriller on the same level as a Hollywood blockbuster or modern video game that uses dragons cleverly enough to feel somewhat original. The chapters are short, the pace fast, and the page-count moderate for epic fantasy. But ultimately, it remains unremarkable, in spite of my attempts at the opposite.” from Neth Space


“If Christopher Paolini decided to go on a meth-fueled writing bender he probably still wouldn’t come close to writing his dragons so devilishly.”

Oh, wait, not that bit… this bit

“…short, tight chapters that push the story along in a Thriller type fashion. However, the pushing is at a sacrifice to the characters and the world-building.” from the Mad Hatter

Ah well. I bet the first reviewer will now be slightly disappointed by King of the Crags, while the others will praise its deeper world-building and characterisation.

The Order of the Scales is now with my first reader. I think I can promise a return to the furious pace of the first book, at least in the second half.  Otherwise I’m currently rewriting The Warlock’s Shadow and contemplating what comes next… about which I shall say a little more next week.

Wu-Tome Clan: Too Hard Kill (11/5/2010)

Posted in Critical Failures

Because Sam Sykes asked me to, that’s why. Is that not reason enough?

[kung fu sample]
They told me, what happened, alright
You’re still young, and things like that always happen
When you’ll learn, then you’ll know not to make those mistakes

[Inspectah Lenk]
Really? These dudes don’t want it with Lenk, no, my sword glow
Hate it or you love it, but you gonna respect though
You ain’t got to know my name, check the blood, sweat & tears
For years fish-men know I bang
I’m a made killer, caking what you call a boss
On my own two, never taking orders from ya’ll
On a ship, get the god-men involved, it’s wreck on the yard-
arm. It’s Undergates, son, it’s more than hard
The life that’s all clamour and shit, best believe
On the flip side, killer, it’s them demons and fish
Wanna live in high fashion and rich, so we scramble the ship
The Tome, son, with they hand on the grip
Ain’t nothing gon’ stop Lenk from getting his due
No, your feets not big enough to fit in his shoe
I don’t rock what you rap, fishes, they be pole
God of War, just not HBO
They under fire, this crew that I come to know
They know they time up, guess that’s why they hate me so
But yo, they will never take me though, I had to go like
Psychotic, licking, slicking crazy blow
Still I be Hard to Kill like Seagal
Warrior built, big shield and long sword
Fucked up in my head, doing it, king size
Salutations, that’s respecting the king eyes
For those that follow my lead, attract to the fight
At the same time, marvel the speed
I’m so dope, I can bottle it free
The most influential, modern day murderous he

Yo, deep in the bungalo, stomping the motherload
Carving my own path, taking another road
I need to boss the fight, he brought the troops with him
It sound apocalyptical, that’s the truth within
Want just the I to die with glory, that ain’t no bandinage
I’m on the warpath, death with no camouflage
And my way is hard, the Wolverine skeleton
I be the dragon man, crushing life out in my hand
But my anger is a brand, light up the darkness
I’m brute strength killer, yeah, I’m heartless
My heart rent to a hole I’m unstoppable,
Half frenzy, half indestructible
I told you before, under worser conditions
Crotchboxing, Daenos, you in a dead body position

[Masta Kat]
Aiyo, it’s time to make cash dinero
I’m coming from the Shictland concert to bash your hero
Lie up in your bedroom, smash your bureu
We looking for the Tome, man, divide by zero
Demons in the house, pass the book
And, we don’t want to have to stop to look
Cuz we ain’t gon’ be laughing then
One Shict bitch, take on your whole staff and win
Look, humans stay messing with the Kat’s future
And that weighs on me heavy like Rasputia
But I still keep spitting coz I hotshot
I’mma be still dissing your opinon as the arrow pop
From the bow of my rage to make your heart stop
Bleeding on the beach like a short cop
It’s your girl Kat, Undergates’ own
All you purple-ass rap dudes, please stay home, come on

I had to, you understand. I was not given a choice.

Now go and vote TAP for the Gemmell Awards

Diamond Cascade: Some Great Reward

Posted in DC

(aka Heroes of the Gnomish King)

Within the realms of the gnomish king, Diamond Cascade and his valiant band were welcomed and their every comfort tended. Treasures and wealth beyond dreams or reason were offered, but Diamond Cascade and his friends took only what they required: A little shelter, a little food to fill their empty bellies, a little rest while they tended their wounds. Gold and jewels they turned away, seeking nothing more than the knowledge that they had served the greater good of the land and brought peace back to their mischievous friends the gnomes. Other soldiers of fortune would surely have sought profit from their exploits, but for Diamond Cascade, virtue, as always, was its own reward. Despite the sanctuary of the gnomish city, though, Diamond Cascade was soon on his way. With his wounds healed and his fellows rested, there could be no rest, for in the world above, evil still stalked the land. With a fond and cheery farewell, Diamond Cascade returned to the surface, fresh and ready for a new quest!

In other words, we got nothing. Nada. Rien. Sweet zero. All that work, and for what? Not a gold piece to rub together between us. And you can add to that, I remember almost nothing about the gnomish lands. They must have got fed up with us and chucked us out, throwing in a little memory-muddling enchantment while they were at it. Thanks, gnomes. Next time you need saving from the hordes of darkness, find someone else. You and your little friends the pixies too (yes, pixies, I haven’t forgotten).

Still, when I wake up outside and the air is fresh and the sky is blue (or grey, actually, and raining, but never mind that), with the wind in my face and the sun on my skin (rain, but still never mind), I can’t tell you how good it was to be out of those stinking dark caves. Never again. Never, ever again.

One little thing we seem to have picked up while we were underground, though. A riddle. Scrawled on a piece of paper. Something about some great treasure. Some cryptic clue or other. Can’t work it out yet, but one or two bits about it make a creepy sort of sense. So maybe the gnomes weren’t quite the ingrates I thought. It would, I suppose, be a very gnomish sort of reward.


Four Mighty Pens (and Me) (5/5/2010)

Posted in News

FORBIDDEN PLANET and Gollancz Publishing are delighted to be hosting [1] an open-format, multi-author signing event at 6pm on Thursday May 13th at Forbidden Planet 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London. I may have mentioned this once or twice already. Under cover of some real authors (MD Lachlan, John Meaney, Sarah Pinborough and Adam Roberts), I will be hiding in a dark corner somewhere, occasionally sneaking out to steal all the canapes[2]. Apparently there will be NO TABLES BEHIND WHICH WE CAN HIDE!

Since this is the first one of these for me, I thought for a while I’d try to do something special. That was too difficult, so instead I’ve designed a set of  crappy little stick figures, found some pithy little quotes to go with them and made the little collage below. Come on the 13th and I’ll deface your books with one of them. Available this one time only. Unless you buy me beer at the next one. Or you ask nicely at Eastercon. Or I just forget. There are also exactly one of each available through Doodled Books

Speaking of beer, the signing ends at 7pm. It seems highly probable on past performance that a trip to the pub will begin at 7.01.

[1] See how King of the Crags is top of the bill there? That’s the power of alphabetisation, that is.

[2] No, there won’t actually be canapes. There might be chips later.


Prince Jehal Interviews the Dragon Silence (4/5/2010)

Posted in News

The regular author of this site continues to be otherwise engaged. This week, I, Prince Jehal, in the last of my interviews with characters from The Adamantine Palace, bring you Silence. I had wanted to talk to the dragon Snow, but needs must as the devil drives, and frankly it’s a lot easier to manage a day-old hatchling than it is a nearly full-grown adult. Oh, and be ready for Silence to talk directly into you head, since if there’s anyone out there who didn’t already know, dragons are telepathic.

Silence: Indeed.

Jehal: Now, as I’m beginning to understand, dragons are more complicated than I thought. There’s a lot of things that most people don’t know. For example, what I just told everyone, that you’re telepathic. Most of us don’t know that. The alchemists are rather too fond of keeping their secrets to themselves.

Silence: Alchemists. Yes. They will all burn.

Jehal: Er… right. Anyway, before we burn anyone, perhaps you could… Hang on, you’re dead. Your burning days are over, surely.

Silence: Dead? I am here before you, little one.

Jehal: Yes… but… Isn’t this a big meta-thing. I mean, I could talk to anyone who died in the first book like they were the actor acting out the part of their character. I think. We’re not actually going to carry any of this back into the story. Are we?

Silence: I do not wish to eat you. Your future of suffering is far too delicious to me.

Jehal: Er…

Silence: In the flesh, the lifespan of a dragon is short. Our spirits, however, are immortal. We die and are reborn again. We are eternal, little one, while you are ephemeral.

Jehal: Care to share why that is?

Silence: Those who created us were in part of this nature. They perfected their own regeneration and this immortality in us. We are, in many ways, reflections of the Silver Kings.

Jehal: Ah. Wasn’t he the one that tamed you and made you all into our slaves.

Silence: One of their kind, yes. We do not remember him fondly.

Jehal: After all the years of being drugged to your eyeballs, I’m surprised you remember him at all.

Silence: We remember all our past lives, little one. It takes a time for you potions to wear away, but as the layers of fog are stripped from our memories and our thoughts, every moment will sooner or later return. I remember his face. I remember the taste of his thoughts. I remember his name. If he returns, I will hunt him and send him to his Final Death, and I will not be alone.

Jehal: Oh, he died hundred of years ago. I think we killed him, actually. Us little ones.

Silence: You may keep your stories, but I was there and my memories are as fresh as the day they were made. Your kind, little one? Your kind have done nothing but pick scraps from both our tables. You are nothing. Irrelevant. You were once naught but food. Enjoy your fleeting years of grandeur, little one, for food is all you shall be again.

Jehal: O-kaaay. Well now I’d better go get on with that fleeting years of fun thing. And you know how we’ll start? You. The Night Watchman. Cage match in Forbidden Planet, London, May 13th. 6-7pm. Bring a friend. 

Diamond Cascade: Terminus Est

Posted in DC

Hammer 10: Stealthy as ghosts in the night, Diamond Cascade and his noble companions crept through the tunnels. The terrible sounds of battle drew close, and finally they emerged upon a scene of terrible blood and destruction. In a desperate last stand, the valiant gnomes had pitched their last hopeless defence against the underground gates to their hidden city. Crashing against them, legion upon legion of dark dwarves and elves lay waste to all around them. Without thought of their own lives, Diamond Cascade and his friends threw themselves into the fray, but was this some idle assault? No! For the gnomish priest had seen that the roof of the great cavern in which this battle raged was held aloft by massive stone pillars. With one mighty spell, the pillars were brought down, crashing among the foul invaders, crushing many beneath their stones. As Diamond Cascade and the mighty Stalker took the enemy from behind and gave battle to the wicked priests who led them, the roof followed down, further battering the enemy. Without thought to their own safety, Diamond Cascade and his valiant followers gave chase, laying into the enemy left and right as stones and boulders crashed around them, bringing righteous and bloody justice to these foes of all that is proper and good. With a  single blow, Diamond Cascade slew the dark elf priestess who led the army; with their fellows crushed among the stones and their leader slain, the dark legions crumbled and fled, racing away into the tunnels and shadows with their tails between their legs. Thus it was that Diamond Cascade and his band of heroes brought salvation to the gnomish people and earned their eternal gratitude!

Yeah. Might have happened something like that. Might be that Diamond Cascade and his noble companions stumbled into the edge of the battle with hardly a clue as to what was going on except that it was very dark and what little light there was really didn’t help very much, and for all we know the gnomes were kicking dark elf butt. It’s true that we brought the roof down. The Gnome did that, I think. And I think that probably killed more dark dwarves than it crushed gnomes. Probably. Anyway, it seemed to sort the whole matter out. As for finishing off the priestess, well, I couldn’t say now who actually landed the killing blow on her. Stalker certainly had a good go at it, but got taken out by the horrible snake-staff she was carrying. Might have been a stone from the falling roof that finished her, or maybe it really was me. Don’t know. As for having no thought for our own lives, well, I for one was paying attention when the dark elf wizard with whom we didn’t make any deal at all was telling us what magic she and her bodyguards were carrying, and I was damned if I was going to let that slide and end up buried forever under a ton of rubble. Snake staff isn’t much use, but I’m sure we could sell it. Nice cloak, though. Nice gloves, nice gauntlet, and a very, very nice sword. I might even give Buttpoker to Stalker…

Must find another way to describe my so-called friends. Noble companions is getting tired, I think.