Diamond Cascade: Some Great Reward

(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.


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