From The Beginning (21/10/2012)

Posted in DC

It occurs to me that all the Diamond Cascade posts are in reverse order, so here’s a link to the first episode and then each one links forwatd to the next.


If you don’t, stop reading.

No, this bit further down your screen is the end. Don’t read the end.

Not yet.

Well at least read the owlbear bit, ffs.

I give up.

Diamond Cascade: The End (Part Two)

Posted in DC

And so it was that Diamond Cascade stepped forth into the sunlight from the terrible ruin of once-great Mektropika to find the armies of the dragons awaiting. The vile dark dwarves of Durmijeron and treacherous Evilous, demanding the orb for their own; yet as Diamond Cascade plucked a first arrow  against the numberless hordes, who should appear but the sultry shape of copper-skin, the half-dragon sorceress, with Wolfgirl and valiant Caleb and more of those who Diamond Cascade had once known, demanding the orb be turned to her; yet barely were the words from her mouth when the ground heaved and from the sands rose the dark elves of the drow, their demand silent, their cause unknown, their desire the same.

And so Diamond Cascade drew his sword, for perhaps the last time, and swore that none of them should have it.

Oh. Bloody. Hell.

To be continued?

Diamond Cascade: The End (Part One)

Posted in DC

And so Diamond Cascade took from the ancient emperor’s tomb the arcane bells of summoning to call the mighty dragon-orb from its hiding place across the places, and with his companions, he did traipse all the way back through many a crumbling room and corridor, littered with the bones of the vile undead he had slaughtered. And lo, they did reach the terrible Chamber Of Summoning, and did ring the ancient bells, and with a mighty thunderclap, the Dragon Orb was claimed, and the task of ending the terrible rule of the dragons was begun!

Yes, another perfectly normal summoning-an-ancient-artefact-from-another-plane ritual done and dusted. Just another day in the crazy life of a bard with a thing for a half-dragon. It is, I’m perfectly sure, quite normal to have a wizard and a priest who are working for the other side watching in . . . no, wait, that implies we know what side we’re working for. It’s perfectly normal for half the group to be reading the minds of the other half, waiting for whichever one of them is going to try and make off with said artefact for themselves first. It’s quite usual for at least two of the summoning parties to have, in fact, made a previous deal with said wizard and priest to exchange said artefact for a large sum of money.

I understand it to be quite normal for this sort of thing to be done with no plan whatsoever as to what will be done with said artefact after it’s been acquired. I mean, it’s normal, right, to go get something like this for the sake of getting it and having it and drooling about the imaginary piles of gold that we’ll get for selling it. That’s normal right. Right?

I guess we’ll find out when we get outside. If I’m not the one carrying the orb, that’s me showing my trust and faith in my companions, that is. It’s not that carrying the orb feels like having cross-hairs painted all over me at all. No no . . .


Diamond Cascade: Irony Does x3 On A Critical, Right?

Posted in DC

So, anyway, if a hypothetical person happened to acquire an ancient crown that’s spent the last five hundred years sitting on the head of an ancient mummy that’s infested with mummy rot, would that hypothetical person maybe also acquire said mummy rot from picking up said crown. Turns out the answer is yes, he the hypothetical person would.

Not that I’d know any such hypothetical person. Or anything about any crown that, after all, vanished into a watery abyss never to be seen again, right. I’m a bard. Bards know these things.

Oh Shittyshittyfuckfuckbugger. How much was it for a Remove Curse spell again?


Diamond Cascade: Onwards!

Posted in DC

Apparently one of the elf-wizards set fire to the mummy while it was trying to get back into its tomb and it burned and then fell into the water. Apparently the other one got whacked while trying to dash in and steal the crown off its head. Apparently we now need a remove curse spell. See – this is what you get – take the mummy down, then steal its crown, you don’t get mummy rot. Try and nick it’s stuff while everyone else is trying to battle it, you do get mummy rot. Also, turns out that all companions within 30′ have to make a fortitude save not to be helpless with laughter for 1d6+2 rounds.

In the aftermath, as everyone struggled to get back across the water-filled crevasse, no one shifted themselves into an aquatic elf to dive into the murky depths and go stealing the mummy’s crown. Nothing like that happened at all. No one even thought of it. And if they did, it wasn’t me, because I was back inside the tomb looking to see if I’d missed any loot the first time round.


Diamond Cascade: the Scooby Doo Episode

Posted in DC

Finally, Diamond Cascade did step alone within the cursed tomb to face the ancient undead Emperor of Mektropika and his cursed minions, riven by the wrath of Umberlee for their hubris and changed into hideous creatures scarcely discernible now as human. Swathed in dry and flaking bandages, embalmed in arcane unguents, the Emperor and his minions rose to defend the sorcerous bells that would release the Dragon Orb from its hidden place. Mighty was Diamond Cascade’s sword as he faced these vile abominations alone, fearful for the lives of his fragile comrades. Swift and deadly was his bow as he cut the emperor’s minions down; yet even he could not face the deadly monster alone. With every ounce of might, of sword and arrow and spell, Diamond Cascade and his companions fought, and did finally emerge victorious; and thus, the last emperor of this ancient realm finally fell.

Ish. So the tomb was split in two by a gaping chasm filled with water, and there were undead nasties pretty much all over the place, and none of that was much cause for concern for those of us who could fly and shoot arrows into the helpless slobbering morass of monsters below, maybe a little bit more for those who, ah, couldn’t. Let every record of this adventure state that I went ahead alone purely in the knowledge of the advantages at my disposal, and did not in any way shape or form relate to any desire to sneak into the Emperor’s tomb, swipe the magic bells needed to summon back the orb and sneak out again without being seen by either friend or foe…

Sadly, the tomb of the emperor itself was not as large and spacious as hoped for, and the highly successful tactic of fly out of reach and shoot stuff was replaced by the cling-precariously-to-the-ceiling-just-out-of-mummy’s-reach-and-wonder-what-to-do tactic. Still, with a bit of help from a flying, elf, it sort of worked, in that the Emperor’s Tomb had this weird pay-for-entry rotating door thing, and with the two of us flying and spider-climbing out of reach and with judicious use of some rope and a grappling hook lodged in its bandages, we managed to get it to the door and rotate the mummy out of his own tomb.

Possibly into the unsuspecting hands of my brave companions; but that is mere speculation, as I was too busy with the essential work of looting the tomb . . . ah, acquiring the necessary items for the summoning ritual we were to perform. They were all mostly still alive and the mummy was gone by the time I got out, so how bad could it have been?


Diamond cascade: Ah, so that’s why the wizard didn’t want to hang with us.

Posted in DC

So this is it. The ending of an epic story, coming right up, in which the heroic Diamond Cascade and a bunch of supporting characters who, along with the truth of what actually happened along the way, have never been allowed to get in the way of a good story. Well, I say a good story, I mean a good for me story, as in one in which I, Diamond Cascade, get to look great and noble and heroic and also deadly, brooding and highly desirable to all passing fair ladies. We stand poised on the brink of a finale. The great and powerful artefact that will bring peace to the Karibia is within reach. All that stands in our way is a terrible and vengeful spirit from beyond the grave and his minions. Characters from my past have returned, friends and enemies both. Villains have been defeated, mighty victory or terrible defeat lie before us, and if we’re not ambushed by a last twist in the tale if and when we escape, I’ll eat my Story-Telling for Beginners manual.

And if there is a victory, the story will end something like this: And thus did Diamond Cascade free the Dragon-Orb from its prison and cast the evil dragon away into the void, never to return again, and the people of Karibia rejoiced and were free and lived happily ever after. And when we get to that bit in a few chapters time, consider these few things: Were the people really so free, ruled by one dragon instead of fought for by two? Was choosing the side with the most attractive secondary character really a valid way to decide the destiny of an entire continent? How long, exactly, is Diamond Cascade going to hang on to that all-powerful orb before sixty thousand million sword-swinging magic-blot-firing NPCs descend on him, some of them probably sponsored by the very dragon he catapulted to power. Is there such a thing as a good dragon? Can such a conflict evert truly be resolved? And, come to that, how exactly does ordering a ten-thousand year old dragon to piss off my island work? Will there really be no collateral damage?

Fortunately, I have a negative wisdom modifier. So mostly what I’m worrying about is how much money I can make selling tickets to the greatest show ever: Celebrity Dragon Deathmatch! In a Cage!


Diamond Cascade: You? Again?

Posted in DC

…Yet before Diamond Cascade could enter the cursed tomb, who should appear but the renegade villain Durmijeron with his legion of dark minions! Long and hard they fought, Diamond Cascade cleaving the wicked ones left and right. Terrible was the slaughter, yet when ity was done, the foul dwarf lay dead while his hired minions lay bleeding and pleading for mercy around him. Once more, good triumphed over evil, as good always does.

In the words of Wizard Daftboy:
“Great…..lets see….a big flash of light that blinds most of the party…..the rogue disappears…….a failed diplomacy check……Diamond Cascade bouncing off the top of the ceiling like a discarded party balloon……lots of sticky web everywhere…..lots of shouting from the blind elf with bodies falling like leaves around him…..said blind elf falling flat on his face…..a lizard with a large flaming sword…..dwarves on steriods……And finally my lights been punched out by one of said dwarves….NICE…it could be worse though I could be at home having a nice cup of witches brew and reading the adventures of ‘Gollum the missing years’….”

So we end with a little stand-off, me and some wizard, him with his finger on the trigger of a fireball spell, me with two arrows aimed at his black heart. And then it dawns on both of us that we’ve met before – this is the very wizard who once long ago set us off on that first quest for batshit. I could shoot him just for that, I really could. But then he fireballs the dwarves, because let’s face it, there’s only so many racial slurs an elf can take, and we’re all friends. Sort of. Well, friends insofar as we all agree not to kill each other just yet and have nothing further to do with each other. Which is pretty much how the rest of this band of avdenturers works. Don’t know why he didn’t just tag along, really.

I wonder if we’ll see him again. Can’t help this little suspicion that we might, just as soon as we emerge with the dragon-orb… Or someone else…

PS: Note for hammer wielding dwarves: When up against a flying archer, bring ranged weapons. Otherwise you look really, really stupid. Oh how I love my Alter Self spell.


Diamond Cascade: You Agreed to What?

Posted in DC

Deeper and deeper into the lost citadel of Mektropica delved Diamond Cascade and his noble elven companions. Slowly they unlocked the secret of releasing the great Dragon Orb – three bells of mighty magical power to be rung at once, yet of the bells there was no sign. Great sorceries unleashed would not reveal them, hidden as they were by the ancient powers of long forgotten gods and the dire curse of Umberlee. Yet Diamond Cascade and his friends would not veer from their purpose to restore peace to the land. They sought the shade of the high priest to this once all-powerful empire and summoned him forth. Great were the temptations offered, refused one and all as one by one, virtuous Diamond Cascade wrung the secrets of this desolate place out of the shifty shade. For the great bells were learned to lie within a crypt, the cursed crypt of the last Emperor . . .!

Yeah . . . went a bit like that. Bit. Look, you just have to accept some bardic licence here. Particularly with words like ‘virtuous’ and ‘wrung’ and ’shifty’. And yes, maybe the only reason we didn’t jump at the offer of taking one thing, anything we liked, from the untouched treasury of THE RICHEST EMPIRE EVER in return for never coming back is that we rather fancied the idea of coming back and taking the lot. Maybe.

It is also possible that we might have agreed to all go and build temples to the “shifty shade”’s god. Given that his god was the god of money, it was kind of an ‘ah well, we’re all already worshipping at that particular altar anyway – might as well wear the badge’ kind of thing.

That and we had absolutelty no clue whatsoever where those bloody bells were and nor were we ever going to find one.

At some point, I suppose someone should give some thought as to what we’re going to do with the bloody Dragon Orb once we’ve got it. I’m not even sure whether these eleves even realise that’s what it is we’re looking for down here.


Diamond Cascade: Um…?

Posted in DC

And Diamond Cascade and his heroic fellows did wander and wander. And wander. And wander. Aimlessly did they wander, through all possible doors and passages. And bicker they did too, and epic was their bickering, for few were their remaining spells, and lo, it was not possible for the elven mages to go for five minutes without suggesting a long rest while they might recover their energies, and great was their resentment at being summarily ignored, and many were their told-you-so remarks as yet another vagrant posse of undead nightmares did descend upon Diamond Cascade, and much did the elven mages wave their hands and gesticulate, and yet remarkably little was the arcane power unleashed. And mightily did Diamond Cascade and his fellows bollocks up their map and wander around in circles and completely miss the one door that went somewhere useful, and thus it was that Diamond Cascade was pretty much ready to jack it all in and give up and take up farming when they did finally stumble upon a ghostly figure that, most unusually, did not want to eat his brains.


Diamond Cascade: It’s Not My Fault You Never Asked What I Was Doing For That Hour When I Disappeared Off Somewhere In The Middle Of The Dungeon

Posted in DC

101 Things to Know About Elves Number 15: Apparently blind elven monster-hunters can be remarkably forgetful about exactly where they get all their cure spells.


Diamond Cascade: VALE SMASH!

Posted in DC

Deep in the perilous depths of the darkest places beneath the earth where the most dire and foul creatures of evil dwell, there Diamond Cascade and his companions came upon the last resting place of the great and terrible dragon-orb, whose unstoppable power would Nothing At All. Little did Diamond Cascade expect to take such a treasure Move Along – Nothing To See unchallenged, yet even he could not have imagined the HORRORS, the FATHOMLESS EVIL, the DIABOLICAL TERROR that guarded this fabulous orb Absolutely Nothing At All Of Any Consequence. Undead horrors beyond descriptions, skeletal creatures whose bones creaked and clattered, rotted shambling things, all fell before the irresistible edge of Diamond Cascade’s blade. Yet these were but the beginning, for deep in the bowels of the earth lay the great SHADE OF EVIL, a formless apparition  so dire and hideous and charged with Dark Power that only Diamond Cascade’s blade could touch it. Long and terrible was duel, and terrible were the wounds given as Diamond Cascade’s companions bravely sought to distract the horror even knowing they could not harm it; yet with the aid of these heroic elves, the foul Prince of Darkness was slain and Diamond Cascade stood victorious.

101 Things to Know About Elves Number 11: Turns out that elves aren’t the bunch of dandelion-eating squealy-girl surrender-monkeys you might think.

101 Things to Know About Elves Number 12: Apparently, the elvish version of Bull’s Strength also comes with an  urge to wander about bellowing incoherently and smashing stuff up like you’ve just turned into a Minotaur that is almost irresistible. Apparently this includes even hideous soul-sucking undead things from which any sane person (although apparently not elf) would RUN AWAY!

101 Things to Know About Elves Number 13: Turns out it’s remarkably easy to “forget” that you have a magic dagger if you’re an elf. Or maybe that’s just a rogue thing.

101 Things to Know About Elves Number 14: Even an elven monster-hunter who’s blind, fighting an incorporeal creature that doesn’t make any sound, using nothing but a funny-looking dagger that he’s only had in his hand for six seconds, will still manage to steal your kill AND carve his initials into the body at the last minute, taking all the glory and leaving you looking like a prawn. (but Bards get the last laugh, Tearth, and you are so EDITED OUT!)

Anyway, how exactly does an incorporeal creature shriek when you stick it with a magic sword? Do they have incorporeal vocal chords?


Diamond Cascade: Some Other Reasons Not to be the Only One With A Magic Sword

Posted in DC

I suppose, really, we should have seen the legions of undead horrors coming. I mean, in hindsight, think about it: you’re off to raid the lost and buried remains of an ancient civilisation. Specifically, you;re off to raid the lost and buried bit where they kept a really pokey magic item which, for reasons that are either rather obscure or, more likely, totally fucking lethal, no one else has managed to either find or pillage for a good few hundred years. There’s probably a checklist for such expeditions that read something like this:

Ye Olde Guide to raiding ancient tombes, cryptes, lost civilisationes and generally anywhere that’s undergrounde and longe-forgottene:

Dear Adventurers:

Four things are going to try and kill you on such an expedition:

One: Starvation. The thing about Ye Olde Loste Forgottene Tombes is that they wouldn’t be exactly loste and forgottene if they were half an hour on a pony from a handy Mescos[1] Express. Bring either food, water and someone who can hunt or else bring a Cleric who can Create Food and Water. And look after him/her.

Two: Look, Loste Forgottene Tombes tend to fall down at inconvenient moments. Bring a shovel and a dwarf. And healing potions.

Three: Generally speaking, Anciente Artifactes of Greate Powere aren’t just chucked in a cave with some dead guy and a ‘hey-ho, that’s the end of that.’ Loste Tombes draw Raiders of Loste Tombes and the architects of said Loste Tombes are well aware of this. Expect traps, both magical and mundane. Equip yourself with wizards who can sense magic, elves who have a knack of noticing hidden doors and rogues who will open them. And a cleric.

Four: Loste Tombes are the equivalent of Working Mens Clubs for the undead. Even if your particular Loste Tombe didn’t have any in right from the start (and what self-respecting Loste Tombe architect would ignore such a classic of the genre), it is unlikely to be more than a few days before the first homeless skeletons and zombies have moved in, claimed squatters rights, start playing loud music and generally upsetting the neighbours. Bring plenty of magic swords and a cleric. And a spare cleric.

Actually, there’s six, because there’s also the getting there (see Ye Olde Guide series on Crossing Anciente Jungles, Forestes and/or Desertes) and then the getting back (see the same plus Ye Olde Cliché Guide to How is it the Villaine is Always Awaiting Ye Outside When Ye’ve Just Retrieved An Loste Anciente Artifacte?).

Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, the soul-sucking wraith that’s wafting towards us and us not having anyone who can even spell the name of a half-decent god let alone call on the powers of one and only having the one magic sword. Did I mention the wizards nearly used up all their spells already?


[1] Ye Olde 24-hour adventurer supply convenience store


Diamond Cascade: What’s It Got In Its Librarieses

Posted in DC

Obviously not a “Knock” spell, because that would just be far too convenient, and clearly what the world needs is for me and the rent-an-elf posse to wander aimlessly across half a continent in search of one, get confused, distracted and probably completely forget what we were looking for in the first place.

There are some creatures of various sorts. Nothing remotely heroic occurred. There is a library. Nothing remotely useful was found. And then there was the floating orb of dragon control nothing else interesting

101 Things to Know About Elves Number 9: Just because the type of undead horror technically known as ‘ghoul’ has a venom on its claws that causes paralysis to all humanoid creatures except elves doesn’t mean that the moment you surround yourselves with ghoul-bashing elves, you won’t walk straight into a posse of things that are almost exactly the same but whose venom DOES paralyse elves. We shall call these ghauls and imagine them to have a fondness for cheese, garlic and speaking wiz a beet of a straaanj ak-seeeent. When this happens, it is best not to be involved in a deep discussion with the only elf capable of swinging a sword in a coherent manner about an old hat you’ve just found and rather removed from the breaking action.

101 Things to Know About Elves Number 10: Elvish monster-hunters are fearsome swordsmen, whose skill and talent would strike fear into the heart of any man, even if the elvish monster-hunter is, for some reason, blind. Elves do not question the career choices of their visually impaired brothers, as that would be offensive and rude and the elvish nature is such that all are encouraged to pursue whatever career choices call to them. Nevertheless, it is wise to be aware of this relaxed elvish attitude to both pragmatism and wisdom. While it may be true that it “all balances out in the end over the average elvish lifetime” and when you’ve got that many hundreds of years to recover then almost anything can be written off as a “learning experience,” it is generally considered rude not to mention to said visually impaired monster-hunter that the reason he has no idea why all his friends are running away screaming is that he can’t SEE the entirely SILENT soul-sucking wraith that’s wafting towards him.

It’s also rude not to mention low beams.


Diamond Cascade: Don’t Open the Door that says Do Not Open This Door

Posted in DC

Travelling through the wilderness, seeking the lost treasure with mighty spells and all his wiles, after many great adventures, Diamond Cascade came at last upon the near-buried ruins of ancient Mektropica, a vast and mighty citadel that once rule the world, and yet of which nothing more remains than the spire of a single ancient bell-tower, jutting from the sand. Thus began Diamond Cascade’s last great adventure!

Yadda yadda. Look, we found this tribesman bloke off on some becoming-a-man sort of quest thing, asked directions to the nearest ancient ruin and it turned out is was a couple of days a way and he was sort of heading that way anyway so he took us right to it. But the stuff about searching for months and mighty spells and so forth makes for a better story, so we’ll stick with that. And the tribesman bloke got eaten by the land-shark anyway.

101 Things to Know About Elves Number 7: When putting together a bunch of rogues and low-rent wizards (never mind the blind monster-hunter) to knock off the forgotten ruins of some ancient civilisation, elves are a good proposition. They have an uncanny knack of finding doors that others would prefer to remain hidden. However . . .

101 Things to Know About Elves Number 8: Standard elvish wizard 1.0 does come with ‘Detect Magic’ spells pre-installed, but NOT does not come with a ‘Knock’ installation book. When putting together a bunch of rogues and low-rent wizards (never mind the blind monster-hunter) to knock off the forgotten ruins of some ancient civilisation, ensure that your wizards have either received a Service Pack 2.2 upgrade or purchase the Tomb-Raiding spell-casting bundle.

Dispel magic would also have been useful, but we’re talking seriously low-rent wizards here.


Diamond Cascade: Sharks Again

Posted in DC

101 Things to Know About Elves Number 5: Land sharks don’t like the way way elves taste. Or smell. Or something – anyway, they don’t like elves. When travelling with a group of dandelion-eaters, do not encounter a land-shark, for in this case, fact number three will not save you.

101 Things to Know About Elves Number 6: Despite being dandelion-eating wusses, it turns out that even a blind elf with a big sword can take down a land-shark if he swings it in the right direction. This is not to say very much about elven swordsmanship, which is much the same as that of any other race, but more an observation of the courage that eating dandelions can, apparently, imbue.

Stupid bloody land-shark. Spent days avoiding the bloody thing.

For reasons noted, the blood was largely mine.


Diamond Cascade: Daftboy the Lion-Tamer

Posted in DC

101 Things to Know About Elves Number 2: Elves have good hearing. This means they can hear lions creeping up on you better than you can. This is important to know. When an elf shouts: “There’s a lion creeping up on you!” a wise man will listen. Or possibly run.

101 Things to Know About Elves Number 3: Elves, when compared to humans, are a little on the frail side. They don’t quite have the same strength and stamina as those of us with our shorter, more brutal lifespans. This can also be important to know, especially then the lion that has been creeping up on you stops creeping and starts chasing. Remember always – run towards the elf. You don’t need to be faster than the lion, only the elf.

101 Things to Know About Elves Number 4: Elves fancy themselves as wizards. This has a well-founded basis in truth – elves after, in general, more adept at the arcane than the rest of us and living so long means they tend to know at least a little about it. However, you should not be fooled by such generalisations. Just because an elf knows a few spells doesn’t mean he’s bothered to read the spell description that carefully and it doesn’t mean that, under situations of stress such as being chased by a lion, they will use their tricks in necessarily the most optimal way. It certainly doesn’t mean they won’t let off a Scare spell right in the middle of a melee and send you and your sword-brothers all screaming in terror in different directions when they should have been using it on a lion.


Diamond Cascade: A Day out at the Beach (Take 2)

Posted in DC

Many and great were the perils Diamond Cascade and his band of heroes faced on their epic adventure across the southlands to the great desert that was once mighty and Mektropica. Terrible beasts were fought and bested, so many that their tales blur into one. Bloody was Diamond Cascade’s Sword and the southlands became littered with his arrows, yet each time the heroes prevailed until they reached the vast extent of the southern desert. Somewhere out there lay the ruins for which they searched!

Fine, maybe called a hundred-mile wide desert a “beach” might have been misleading, but anywhere, there we were. Pity we have no idea where to look, so I guess we could be here for a while. However, while we search, I have a project to engage my attention: 101 Things to Know About Elves.

Number one: Elves don’t sleep like the rest of us. They sit there with their legs cross and their hands on their knees and their eyes rolling and go ohmmmm a lot, and that seems to be all they need. This can be quite annoying, but it’s best not to comment, as the elves will be the ones who are wide awake while the rest of you are sleeping. It’s best to stay on their good side so they spend this time wisely – i.e. watching for wandering predators and writing poems or whatever it is that elves do in their spare time – rather than spending it riffling through your backpack, stealing your purse, or tying you up and then poking you awake with a stick.

Elves. They’re lovely. OK?


Diamond Cascade: Errr…

Posted in DC

Many were the mighty and brave companions who had valiently and boldy stood at Diamond Cascade’s side in his righteous quest, but those who stood with him on that final journey to Mektropika were the greatest heroes from the most ancient and wise nation of elves: Tiarth the monster-hunter, who would wear a blindfold to face a man in single combat for fear the fight would otherwise be too one-sided; Levincious, master mage capable of bending the very fabric of the universe to his will; Uthan, deadly stalker of all things dark and foul, asssassin of assassins, the hunter whose name brings fear to even the blackest of the drow; and the apocalyptic might of the great mage DREDD, against whose sorceries no man alive or dead may stand and whose mere name makes the very mountains shake. They were the greatest heroes of their age at the height of their power, and they would become legend.

There. Now would you please untie me and stop poking me with the sharp sticks, eh?


Diamond Cascade: Introducing… Elf Patrol

Posted in DC

First up is Tiarth, the blind monster-hunting elf who doesn’t even know exactly what he’s looking for – some kind of powerful undead. Tiarth’s specialist subjects are not-being-sneaked-up-on, exotic ranged combat, having-travelled-with-me-before-and-ran-away-without-any-explanation and being the only one here who’s not just out to line their pockets at the expense of everyone else. Tiarth hopes to star in a travelling stage adaption of Blind Fury before becoming a spiritual guru for delinquent young elves who think poetry is stupid. His favourite food is lasagne.

Next we have the first of the brothers from a land far away, Leninseeus or something like that, whose special powers include never being spelt the same way twice, accidentally teleporting through space and time and, uniquely, having-an-interest-in-the-bigger-picture. Levinshias’ hobbies include dandelion weaving and plotting-to-rule-over-large-potions-of-the-world-with-an-iron-fist. When not accidentally teleporting through space and time, he is an active member of the All Male Silvery Moon  Junior Wizards Choir. His favourite food is coconut.

Then we have Uthal, brother to Leveencheops, whose unique skills include pissing off local lords by sleeping with their wives thirteen seconds after accidentally teleporting into their territory and having a backpack that still smells vaguely of wee. Uthal is here because his brother made him, but hopes to make something of himself in this new land nonetheless, preferably as a speak-his-name-in-whispers-lest-he-hear-you murderer-for-hire. When not on quests to loot old temples, Uthal can often be found having a quiet drink in his local tavern where his favourite tipple is pressed burberries over ice.

Last but not least, Wizard Daftboy, magistrate of a small town with no name somewhere on the southern fringes of Osmuld. His specialist abilities include not-hanging-around-to-defend-this-mudhole-town-if-there’s-orcs-coming, using his one and only remaining offensive spell of the day to kick off a fight with a wereshark, and complaining that the Flaming Sphere spell really isn’t that great when everyone around you has +5 or better DEX mods to their Reflex save. Wizard Daftboy hopes one day to open a clinic for unusually open-minded elves ostracised by their own society for their lack of arrogance and xenophobia and to this end he keeps a journal of his travels which he hopes to use as course material – it is thus furthering his aspirations to abuse him. Wizard Daftboy’s favourite food is orc-grass.

They’re elves. They’re all at least 120 years old. And we’re all off on a quest. We could call it… Elfquest!


Diamond Cascade: Episode 50: The Ascent of Stupidity

Posted in DC

So there’s this ancient ring of standing stones and they can teleport you to various other ancient rings of standing stones, scattered around the islands. I know these stones. I’ve heard stories about them from, although not about the teleporting bit but they were always supposed to be magical. There’s this one where some hero or other walks into them at the end of his epic quest and vanishes in a flash of light to be with the gods. Well, apparently not. Apparently he vanished in a flash of light to be on some other part of the island where maybe he could settle down and live a normal life of mild yet inoffensive luxury without people bugging him to go slay this that or the other monster/demon/generic-as-yet-undefined-plague-of-the-land.

Only problem is that these standing stones are at the top of the cliff. And we’re at the bottom. The good news is – there’s a path. The bad news is: its full of traps and riddles and puzzles and death for the unwary, because it’s a way down to the lagoon and so it needs to be protected. The good news again: The people who know where all the traps are and how to solve the puzzles yadda yadda yadda, they’re right here with us. Our friends. No, let’s not be sentimental – people in whose vicinity we’ve managed to spend a night without anyone getting robbed, murdered or other general unpleasantness. And Emmett, who might or might nor be a true actual friend, I’m just not sure any more.

How can you pretend to die in front of someone who looks up to you and then show up again a year later as if it was nothing, just laugh it off as all part of some great plan. Emmett, you’re a JERK. But you’re still my friend. I think. At leas, I’m happy you’re not dead. At the moment.

Anyway, the bad news is that our dear FRIENDS, for whom we are about to depart on a great QUEST full of DANGER from which several of us will NOT RETURN, still think we need to make our own way up their stupid trap-ridden path as some sort of test of our worthiness to die for their stupid trap-ridden cause. Somewhere, there has been a communication error, because I was really quite sure I’d been clear about not wanting to die for anyone’s cause thank-you very much and I’m only doing this for the treasure anyway (and maybe to see if it helps with getting into the hot dragon-lady’s bed) and I DON’T GIVE A STUFF ABOUT YOUR STUPID GAME.

On the other hand, the only other way out of this lake appears to be by sea, The one with the really angry sea-goddess who hates us.

I consider wrapping my Cloak of the Arachnid around my horse and seeing if that means it can Spider-Climb up the cliff while I ride on its back. Just to show them. Screw them and their stupid path. But then it occurs to me that the laws of physics might not be actually totally dead but more lying panting and surly and badly wounded in a corner somewhere, and there’s nothing more dangerous than a cornered and wounded Law of Motion. So maybe not the horse. The path.

I’ll not describe it. Not because that would tell all the hordes of darkness exactly how to get past the traps and riddles, but because it would be dull. All you need to know is: that staircase with all the weak boards on it? Hello? SPIDER-CLIMB! And also smashed now. And that door with the stupid irritating annoying under-your-skin-makes-you-want-to-smash-something smug-assed riddle-speaking Magic Mouth? Well I can’t cast dispel magic and even if I could, I’m sure I wouldn’t be strong enough, but you’re not the only one who can cast Magic Mouth as it happens and so now you can listen to your next stupid riddle to the accompaniment of “All Dragons Are Dicks” by D. Cascade. Really, really, loudly.

There’s other stuff. Someone of it turned out to be really hard to break. And then we get to the top and I realise I’m surrounded by idiot elves I barely even know and that they’re supposed to be my team, and then I get all distracted because she’s there. Damn woman is half-dragon and it’s hard to keep my mouth closed and not drool when I look at her. Not that bright though, not when it comes to people. She could have had me round her little finger with the simplest gift in the world that costs nothing at all. As it is, I wish I’d had the presence of mind to throw her present back at her Ah, well. It IS such a pretty new lute.

Right. I have a purpose. I’m going to be in the position to decide who wins this stupid game of dragons and them I’m going to choose. Suppose I’d better find out something about these poor fools who think they’re going to help me.

What really, REALLY gets me, though, is that we never took our horses with us up their stupid path, so I could have Spider-climbed the cliffs after all.


Diamond Cascade: The Unholy Lagoon of the Bitch Queen

Posted in DC

Little can be said of the Unholy Lagoon, for it was a terrible place, filled with secrets that cannot be spoken and best left far from the hands of men. Let it be known only that Diamond Cascade escaped, his life and the lives of his companions intact, though scattered we became, and what fate befell the mighty warriors who fought beside him he did not know; by the skin of their teeth alone, Diamond Cascade and his friends took the terrible magics that lay in that place and tore a hole though space itself, fleeing in one sorcerous bound across the land to the ruins of once-brave Mektropica!

Tricky, this. Turns out the Unholy Lagoon of the Bitch Queen isn’t quite what it’s cracked up to be. A lot less peril than expected and a lot more don’t-tell-anyone-what’s-actually-here. Old friends were met and uncovered as being not quite the people I thought they were (except the blind elf monster-hunting idiot Tiarth, who is pretty much what he say on the tin, even if he’s now somewhat more suitably employed as the lagoon’s ferryman). And it’s true that Caleb Knight of Something and Crazy Dwarf vanished in the night, and now I’m surrounded by elves. Wizard Daftboy is still here and so are the two idiots from the North Coast and now there’s some fellow who hasn’t even bothered to introduce himself.

No sign of Shifty. Can’t do anything but assume that he went down with the ship. I hope he didn’t but I have to be realistic. So I’m the last one, and Gammersbridge seems such a long time ago. It was nice to see Emmet again, even if he wasn’t as dead as I’ve spent the last year thinking he was and even if it turns out he’s been part of some great plan that’s been playing me all along. I can forgive him that. He was a good friend for a while and he taught me to play. The rest of them, the ones he’s with, now there I’m not sure. How far does it go? How long have they been setting me up for this? I have no idea. If they have anything to do with what happened to the Scales, if they have anything with what happened to Nomonic or any of the rest of my family, well then I might just be sailing back out to sea and diving down and looking to get back that amulet I cast aside.

There’s no sorry, no apology. There are some gifts and some hospitality and an expectation that we’re going to do something, although of course, we’re all free to do as we please. There’s no please, no thank-you, just here’s-some-stuff-get-in-this-teleporter-and-come-back-with-what-I-want. So now we know. It really is the unholy lagoon of the bitch queen. Just not the one I thought it was.


Diamond Cascade: Inconceivable!

Posted in DC

Though the mighty sea-beast was slain, the damage wrought upon the proud ship of Diamond Cascade and his companions was grave. Valiantly though they worked, they could not save the stricken vessel and she sank slowly beneath the waves at the foot of the inhospitable Cliffs of Insanity. With all his strength, Diamond Cascade fought to save the lives of his companions from the cruel sea, yet even he was helpless against its strength as the current carried them inexhorably towards the cliffs – yet worse was to come! For it was not to dash them to pieces on the unforgiving rocks that was the sea’s intent, no, for they were carried, powerless despite their struggles, down the Great Channel towards the Dreaded Lagoon, sacred place of unholy Umberlee herself, from where no man has ever yet returned!

For companions, read horses. As in I got them out of the hold and tied some sealed barrels to them to keep them afloat and kicked them into the ocean before they got sucked down with the rest of the ship. And then I Alter Self’d into something that could swim and breath under water and dragged them, kicking and whinnying towards the shore. And my stuff, in another barrel. What, am I the only one who can Alter Self?

The thought of scaling the five-hundred feet sheer sides of the Cliffs of Insanity was a tempting one, just, well, just because there might have been some Spanish dude with a sword at the top and I could have shown off my off-handed fighting. Unfortunately horses don’t climb cliffs and by then I’d managed to un-lose my dear friends, who had apparently requisitioned the one and only longboat, kicked out all the sailors to swim for the shore (and presumably drown) and, more than luck than judgement, failed to capsize it.

What? Oh surely someone else can Spider Climb?

Before I left the ship, I dug out the old scarab token from the lot who work for the “Green Dragon” – I think they left it as a: ‘If you change your mind about working for evil, call us’ sort of thing, or maybe I just ripped it off one of them and was keeping my options open. Well no more. I bent it up as best I could and tried to smash it and pissed on it when that didn’t work and threw it into the sea with a great deal of shouting and cursing and generally yelling abuse at the powers of darkness and pledging myself to kicking their unholy butts at every possible opportunity.

In hindsight, this may have been a mistake.


Diamond Cascade: Does this Raft Make My Bum Look Big

Posted in DC

Great and terrible were the perils faced by Diamond Cascade and the courageous crew of his noble ship. The drowned dead minions of Umberlee rose from their watery rest to crawl aboard and were repelled by Diamond Cascade and the valiant Caleb. When the foul undead did not dissuade our ship from its course, the wrathful goddess set a great tempest to wreck us or else turn our crew against their captain, yet she did not reckon with the indefatigable strength of both. But these were but the start of the Bitch Queen’s wrath, for when her stormed failed, she sent against us the greatest of horrors, a monstrous five-headed dragon of the deep. Long and hard the battle raged, and grievously hurt was our sturdy vessel, yet in the end the dragon fell, slain by blows from all sides by Diamond Cascade and his comrades. With the mighty power of his sorcery, with dragon-blood still dripping from his sword, Diamond Cascade was able to staunch the gaping wounds bestowed upon out ship while our bold captain steered course for the nearest shoreline where shelter and place to make repair could be found: The Cliffs of Insanity.

I don’t actually know what this ship is called. That seems vaguely shameful. It would seem more shameful if it had any chance of reaching another port in one reasonably-sized piece. About a third of the crew are dead and we have a five-headed-dragon-sized hole in the hull below the waterline, currently plugged to dubious effect by an old sail and a web spell.

That would trouble me more if I wasn’t already troubled by wonder why in the name of all the gods that most of the story I’d tell of this, if I happened to live, which seems unlikely, is true. Yes, I stood and fought the undead of the sea along side men, dwarves and elves I barely even know. Yes, I dived into the sea to fight the dragon as it tore at our ship, alongside Caleb, Knight of Something (one of us had gills and webbed hands and feet and lightweight armour of the non-sinking kind and the other one of us… I don’t know – extensively brown-nosing his god seems the only possible explanation of his continued existence). But why? Why am I doing these stupid things? Gods – I could have been hurt! I could have died!

This is all Stalker’s fault. Gods of evil, you brought war to my life and you took away my family and then you finally gave me the closest thing to a friend I’ve ever had. Chances are I’d have followed Stalker in almost anything, purposeless thing that I was. And then you made me be the one who had to turn him in and left me with nothing better to do than find some point to my life. So I’m choosing the other side, the lot who you stand against, and a good chunk of the reason why is that the the hot dragon-woman with the coppery skin is, well, hot. The goddess of irony is one of yours. She can explain it to you.

Actually, what I’m most troubled about right now is that the place we’re limping to for shelter is called The Cliffs of Insanity. I guess the ‘of’ doesn’t sound too threatening. No, wait, yes it does.


Diamond Cascade: The Sea is a Bitch

Posted in DC

Dear Umberlee, aka Vengeful Queen of the Sea, aka The Bitch Queen,

The clue’s up there in the titles, isn’t it. So look, if it’s not too much trouble, I’d like to set a couple of things straight.

Firsty, the small matter of the black pearl that your loyal and devoted servant and worshipper had asked us to retrieve for him. Look, we had NO IDEA AT ALL that this was all some part of your great plan, not that mere mortal fellows like us could ever possibly comprehend such things in the first place. Obviously, if we had, we would have returned it right away to its rightful owner. Or at least, to the person who would have been its rightful owner once we’d given it to them, possession being nine tenths of the law, blah blah. But the thing is, even if we had known, none of us knew that we’d even found it. I mean, we all came out of Mr Were-Shark’s cave in a shroud of gloom thinking that had been a complete waste of time and possibly the half-git’s life (although arguably that was an up-side). None of us had ANY IDEA that Shifty had found and taken it, NONE AT ALL, because if we had, obviously we’d have made him hand it over right there and then so we could give it back. Right?

Yes, one or two of us might have had our suspicions, but we didn’t know, okay?

ALL RIGHT, yes, one or two of us might have been pretty damn sure we’d actually found it and who had it. But casting such aspersions, that’s no way for a civilised fellow to behave.

Bugger this, look, it was SHIFTY! HIM! HE TOOK IT!

Secondly, on what I’m sure is an almost trivial matter of our captains disrespectful behaviour and, well, once can only say things like blasphemy and heresy when talking about how he addressed you, so perhaps not so trivial after all, but listen here, we’ve had words with our captain, I must say. VERY STRONG WORDS. And he promises not to do it again. In fact, I overheard him talking with his crew and, while it’s early days and I don’t want to promise anything, but I think you might be getting a new convert very soon, if you know what I mean.

Oh for pity’s sake: It was HIM! It wasn’t US! We didn’t say anything!

Finally, on the tiny tiny business of our quest to retrieve various lost artefacts from the civilisation you destroyed centuries ago (and wow – destroying a whole civilisation, how awesome it that, I mean we’re just speechless at your godlessly power right there!), I mean, that’s all in the past, right. All forgotten. We’ve moved on, right? It’s all just some dusty old ruin. Well, soggy old ruin probably. Not interesting to someone as mighty as yourself at all, right?

So, no reason to be mean to us. Not looking for any special favours here, mind, just trying to clear up any potential misunderstandings.

Please leave us alone? Please please pretty please?


Diamond Cascade: Black Pearl? What Black Pearl?

Posted in DC

With the great evil of the North Coast slain and put behind them, Diamond Cascade turned his thoughts to the even greater evil that plagued the whole land. What force was it that drove the dark elves, the foul orcs and all their kin from their dank places far beneath the earth? Throughout the sages of the north, Diamond Cascade sought wisdom and enlightenment, and through the wise words of an old elf, found the clue for which he had sought, that would unlock the riddle left to him by the sly king of the gnomes. To sea he would go, to the south! To the ruins of once great Mektropika, destroyed long ago by the vengeful sea-goddess Umberlee, famous for its three great bells, where an ancient artefact awaited the one who would restore peace and balance to the land! So there would be our destination, steered by none other than the great Captain Mimosa!

Where a great treasure awaited more like. Maybe. Damn but I’m glad to see the back of this place. I’d have thought, from everything I’d heard, that the North Coast would be heaven. A real home from home, a place where a man like me could have whiled away his life in an endless parade of one debauched orgy after the next. And maybe it could, if we hadn’t managed to piss off such a spectacularly large number of different people in such a spectacularly short space of time. So now there’s a bunch of pirates who think we owe them a ship, the bloke who runs the harbour who turns out to have more clout than I care to think about and who thinks we owe him a black pearl, and then there’s all the people who hate him but think we must have been working with him to go and stuff Mr Were-shark. So we’ve about burned all the bridges we could possibly have had in this place in the space of about three days. Way to go. And I don’t even quite know how we did it.

Krystal’s gone. Off chasing after the vampire that killed her parents. I sort of wish I’d gone with her. The half-git, Lena , she’s gone mad. Apparently she took a big lungful of some poison gas cloud trap on one of Mr Were-Shark’s treasure chests. We have about enough money from that fiasco to buy ourselves a tent and a blanket. Yay. With Stalker and Holly gone as well, Shifty’s the only one left.

He’s the one who gets our ship sorted out. We never found the magic black pearl we were supposed to be looking for, or at least that’s what everyone thinks, but I reckon I know better. I reckon that’s what got us a ship out of there. I don’t know what it was, what it does, and I don’t care. I’m just glad to be gone. One last night spending as much gold as I can on every vice I can possibly find and then we’re down to the docks, in a hangover haze, down to the ship that Shifty’s friends have waiting for us to take us to Mektropika. There’s some trouble with us leaving. Apparently our new good friend Captain Mimosa has no truck with paying harbour dues and tithes and whatnot to our recently acquired enemy the harbour-master. For once, we get to stand and watch while other people shout at each other and it’s not our fault. At least, I don’t think it is. Damn but this hangover hurts.

There’s some shouting about how our good captain doesn’t give a fig for the queen of the sea, Umberlee, and her servants. That name rings some sort of bell. Don’t know what. Can’t think. Bad things are said. Threats are made. Nothing to do with us.

The sea. Never been to sea, not unless you count that one day. Not sure what to do, but at least the sea has fewer intervening hordes of darkness.


I have a bad feeling about this. Me and Shifty and a whole bunch of folk I barely know, half of them elves, all bound on some quest now that none of us understand except there’s supposed to be some treasure at the end that none of us will want to share or have the first idea what to do with. Bound to end well then. I have a bad feeling about that name, too. What the captain said. Can’t place it though. Gods but I need to lie down in a dark place.

Isn’t Mimosa some sort of drink?


Diamond Cascade: A Fat Beardy Bloke in Red Pyjamas

Posted in DC

…the corruptors of children,…

In the morning, I followed the trail of that ogre I shot in the night. Blood, dripped into the dirt and plenty of it. Followed him up into the hills, into the winter mountains full of snow, into tunnels filled with goblins. Slimeys. A cut them down as a scythe cuts the harvest. They were making things, nasty little wooden things, little soldiers and swords and wooden horses. There were hundreds of them, and stone floor of their cave ran red with goblin blood. At the far end, sitting in a great chariot, sat the ogre. His clothes were stained crimson from head to toe with his own blood. Finishing him was easy. Strange thing though, when I caugfht up with him – I don’t remember him having that big white beard when I shot him. Or the silly hat.

So it was a dream and I must have got some sleep later that night on that wind-blasted gods-forsaken cliofftop after all.

Ho ho ho.

Shit. And now I keep having premonitions about a bunch of really annoying elves.

Diamond Cascade: Interlude on the Elvish Border (part four)

Posted in DC

Number One sniffed the air. Humans. You could always smell humans. Smell their unwashed rancid stink from miles away. The question usually was whether you got to hear them first, always arguing and shouting in the raucous way. Today it was the smell. The unchecked stench of bodily functions, wafting out of their primitive little settlement. Number One shuddered.

“Right,” hissed Number Three. “There’s one bunch of humans who have houses with wheels and another bunch of humans who have houses that sit on the ground. Best I can tell, the wheelies showed up yesterday. The groundies reckon the wheelies made the dead rise. Looks like the groundies had a bad time of it last night too. Anyway, there’s lets more groundies than wheelies and they’ve got torches and pitchforks and they’re all hard at work building an Angry Mob. Let’s go watch humans fight each other!”

Number Two shook his head. “Nah. You know how it is. They’ll accidentally burn their own town down and then blame it on the first elf they see. Let’s just go. We know what we wanted to know.”

“What was that?”

“Whether the humans had zombie problems too.”

“Makes you wonder where all these zombies come from,” mused Number One. “I mean, there can’t be lots of nearly-fresh corpses permanently littering the moors. Yes, there have been lots of battles over the years and I suppose I can understand the skeletons, but the zombies? Wouldn’t they rot?”

Number Three kicked at the snow under their feet. “It’s cryogenics, that what it is. Keeps them fresh.”

“Right.” Number Two pointed randomly eastwards, away from the village. “That way then.”

“I want to buy a bow,” said Levincious suddenly.

There was a long pause.


“I want to buy a bow.”

Unthall’s face screwed up into a blancmange of horror and disbelief. “You want to go into the human village. To buy a bow?”


“You’re an elf!”

Levinicious looked himself up and down. “Last time I looked.”

“And you want to buy a bow. From humans.”

“Look, I haven’t got one. . .”

“When the best bow-makers in the WORLD are about half a day’s walk back behind us.”

“But we’re going this way. . .”

“So. You’d rather buy some grotty, ill-made human bow. You could have something made of sapient pearwood strung with the ligaments from a unicorn, but you’d rather have something made OF STRING? AND YOU CALL YOURSELF AN ELF?”

Number One looked at his own bow. “Unicorn ligaments? Ew. . .”

“Running away, remember?” hissed Levinchius under his breath.

“Because of you and the chieftain’s wife,” growled Unntha.

“Because of you and your magical accident,” grated Levinichius. He looked up brightly. “Come on, escort. This won’t take long!”

“Yay! We get to watch the humans fight!” squealed number three. He pulled a bag of oiled corn seed out of his pack and waved them at Uthaal. “Got a Burning Hands going spare?”

They walked into the village, holding their noses. The hubbub of shouting drew closer. All the humans, it seemed, had joined the mob.

“Go away!”

“Don’t want your kind here!”


“They eat babies!”

“Get your curse away from us!”

“This is silly.” Number One shook his head. “These wheelies, if that’s what they’re called, clearly have nothing to do with the walking dead. Look at them! They look. . . Well, they look more respectable than the rest of this rabble.” Number One cleared his throat. “I say! You! You humans! Peasanty types! Blaming them is stupid! I say! Are you listening?”

Number Two scrunched up his face. “Number One, do we need to have that conversation about you not talking to strangers again, because. . .”

That was when someone punched Number One in the face.


Diamond Cascade: Interlude on the Elvish Border (part three)

Posted in DC

Number One looked about him. He was the last man standing. There were dead bodies everywhere. Or, rather, un-undead bodies. Except, no, that would mean brought back to life. Proper life. Wouldn’t it? Re-dead. Was that a word? Multiply life-challenged?

He reached for a bottle of wine. Wine always helped when he felt a headache coming on. Then he looked outside.
Number Three was in the tree next door, where Number Three, Levinchius and Unthal were watching nervously.

“Good shot?” suggested Number Three.

Number Two was standing up in the snow below the tree-house, looking confused. A minute ago, he’d been face down in the snow, not moving, about to be eaten by zombies. Now there were just a lot of dead zombies and some skinny-looking woman with slightly scaly, slightly coppery skin who Number One had never seen before. Who shouldn’t have been there. Who was. . .

Who was really, really hot.

Number One swallowed hard. “Hello there, mysterious yet unusually beguiling lady of slightly draconic appearance.”

She was standing next to Number Two. Number Two was, unexpectedly, not dead. Not half-eaten. The unusually beguiling lady of slightly draconic appearance, she’d. . . She must have cured him! Which meant. . .

She’d touched him.

Number Two grinned up at him. “’Awright?” Number One shuddered. Never, ever in his life had he so wished that he had been the one to be pulled bodily out of a window by a tree-climbing zombie, plummeted twenty feet to the ground, missed all available snow-drifts and landed head first on the only rock for miles around in the midst of a horde of ravening zombies.

“Oh for pity’s sake!” The woman vanished in a flash of light and appeared in the tree-house. She had Number Two beside her.

“Whoa. . .”

“Shut up!” She pointed a finger at the three elves in the other tree. “You let, get over here.”

It was, Number One decided, time to try again. “Hello there, mysterious yet unusually beguiling lady of slightly draconic appearance. . .”

The woman rolled her eyes. “And you,” she said, and then ignored him.

The other elves crossed from the other tree. There was a rope. Number One didn’t remember there being a rope, but apparently one of the newcomers had found that to be a more useful thing to do than stay and fight the hordes of the undead. Ah well. That was diplomats on secret missions for you.

“My name is Ublosda,” said the woman as soon as they were across, “and now that I’ve saved your skins, I’ve got a job for you.”

“We are. . .” began Number One. The woman shot him a look that was like being very slowly grated through a really sharp cheese-grater for a very long time and then rolled in fresh lemon juice.

“What’s your name?”

“I am Number One,” beamed Number One proudly.

“Your full name.”

“Er, Private Second Class Expendable Border Guard Number One.”

“Right. Think about that while you shut up and ponder your utter irrelevance to me.” She shook her head in exasperation

Uthan was sniggering.

“And don’t think you’re much better.” She rolled her eyes to the sky. “What on earth possessed her to use you as her tool of choice is quite beyond me. I can only assume she’s lost all grasp of sanity. But then I suppose I should have seen that coming after the last lot she picked. I mean really, if ever a more shambolic disaster of an adventuring party stained this beautiful island, it has been mercifully wiped from history. Right.” She turned to look at Uthan and Levinchius. “This should be easy enough that even you two can remember it. This is what you have to do. Go to the north coast. Find a bard called Vale, a Knight of. . .” she scratched her head and looked slightly embarrassed for a moment. “Something and an elvish wizard. And a few others I can’t remember. Finding them should be easy enough. Look for trouble. Then run away from it to the nearest tavern full of whores and cheap spirits. You’ll find the bard there if nothing else, and there can’t be that many elvish wizards on the north coast. Got that.”

The two elves nodded. “North coast. Elvish wizard. Bard called Vale. Knight of Something.”

“Right. Then give them a message.” She rounded on the border guards. “You lot, you can help. Right. Don’t dawdle.” She snapped her fingers and vanished in a flash of light.

“What’s the message?”

The elves looked at one another.

There was another flash. “Just tell them. . . Just tell them to get on with it!

She vanished.

The elves looked at one another some more, before a disembodied voice called out in the night. “And tell that bard that he’s useless!


Diamond Cascade: Interlude on the Elvish Border (part two)

Posted in DC

“And stay out.” Number One sidestepped neatly as the last zombie in the border post lunged , tripped and went over the balcony. It landed head first in a deep drift of snow, legs flailing helplessly in the air below. Number One carefully sheathed his sword, picked up his bow and drew back an arrow. Then changed his mind and picked up a second arrow. Double shot. Oh yeah…

(Yeah, yeah, lame I know, three weeks without a proper story. Deadlines! Snow! Christmas! GMs-with-transport-issues! Live with it until new year, damn you.)


Next Page »