Diamond Cascade: Some Bandits When You Need Them

Alturiak 14: Thus, Diamond Cascade engaged the most noble of the North Coast, those few who had not sunk into the depravity around them, to his cause…

Look, in the big scheme of things, in the grand world-spanning story of Diamond Cascade, greatest troubadour of the land, hero of the people, saviour of kings and crap like that, the whole sordid business of a visit to the North Coast will be a footnote. Diamond Cascade helped deliver a letter. Whooo-hooo. All the thieving and the drinking and the whoring and the less we talk about any of that the better, no one wants to know about that. Sure, there might be a little twinkle in the eye as I sing my made-up tale, but no one wants to know that what Diamond Cascade actually did was spend a month and a half so drunk he could barely remember what colour the sea was, routinely woke up in a pool of his own vomit, contracted several diseases and only left to seek his fortune again because he couldn’t afford to pay for a cleric to make them better on account of having spent half his money on strong drink and loose women and lost the rest playing dice. Even if that’s pretty much what I’m aiming for here. I don’t know why. I just want to forget the whole shitty business with Stalker and Holli. Wipe it all clean and start again. Gods know, I’ve done that enough times.

Ordinarily, that wouldn’t have been a problem. Stalker would have done the same and so would The Gnome, only with more sex and less drinking. But sometimes, when I don’t pay attention, when I least expect or, frankly, want it, my erstwhile comrades actually manage to achieve something. Maybe it comes down to having all this new blood around us. By the time I emerge the following afternoon, bandy-legged and a little sore around the edges, they’ve been up, had breakfast, tied their shoelaces all on their own and then gone to see someone who’s something to do with the ships about some of the stuff we’re supposed to be interested in and now, apparently, we’re looking for some pirate bloke called Serious who sails around on a ship named after a musical instrument and stole some treasure off the something-to-do-with-ships bloke, who will, in return for the return of said treasure, tell us some stuff that apparently we want to know. Or someone that we know wants to know. Or something. It’s all a bit confusing, and mostly what I pick up is the the Caleb, Knight Of Something doesn’t like the something-to-do-with-ships bloke one little bit on general principle. Can’t see pirates working out much better for him, but we don’t have time to get into that question, because by then it’s getting dark and (yes, look, I had a good night) we’re off to some place that has a name but which we’ll call Seedy Dive because that’s what it was. Seedy, loud, full of smoke and noise and the smell of beer and sex. And more naked people than you might have imagined.

My kind of place, if a little low-brow. I’m all for settling in and seeing whether I can score for free, but no, Wolfgirl has to go asking questions and find herself a pirate to talk to (given the track record of my companions, I make a big and generous assumption about the talking bit) and the next thing I know there’s half a dozen men moving in on her and Mad Dwarf is hurling himself at them like a rabid gerbil with an axe the size of a church and The Monk is right behind him, and I still haven’t got around to having the conversation with any of them that until one of them learns to Talk With Dead, launching into a homicidal mania at the first sign of… well, anything at all really, isn’t going to help us find things out.

So I try to stop them. As does Caleb, Knight Of Something and the wizard. Three against three. Admittedly with some pirates in the middle who are nominally in the fray too, but their role in this turns out largely to involve tripping over each other and getting serially stabbed and thumped, oft as not by accident, until they fall down.

It’s only later that I begin to wonder whether jumping on the back of a frenzied berserker dwarf and choking him out in the middle of a fight was such a good idea. At the time I’m too distracted by Caleb, Knight Of Something realising that the Wolfgirl he’s grappled to the ground is called Wolfgirl for a reason (two, actually), and Wizard Daftboy trying to stop the amazingly fast and agile Mad Elf by rolling an amazingly slow and cumbersome ball of fire about the place. And setting fire to the Seedy Dive.

Unfortunately, my dream outcome, in which Wizard Daftboy and Mad Elf have at each other, Caleb, Knight Of Something tried to separate them, ends up killing them both and retires to a life of sorrowful penitence somewhere far away, fails to happen.


2 Responses to “Diamond Cascade: Some Bandits When You Need Them”

  1. Anna Wildheit says:

    Mad Elf versus Wizard Daftboy reminds me of when I managed to get my group of clumsy friend-adventurers up a sheer cliff in, well call it “functional” state, and feeling all accomplished about it. Only to be attacked a minute later by something akin to horned capybaras on speed. Each time you got up, they’d ram your shins right from under your ass. The disgrace of being on the wrong end of the universe’s sense of humour makes one wonder why one goes out adventuring at all. Being battered and overrun by vermin while you’re dying more of shame than of wounds? Not in the brochures, dude.

  2. Stephen Deas says:

    Having seen capybaras in the wild now, they all seem to go around with crow-like birds sitting on their back. I now imagine the bird flitting about providing a sarcastic commentary on the proceedings…

Leave a Reply