Diamond Cascade: The Madness of Gnomes

Alturiak 7: I’d really like to think it was some sort of dark magic, but it wasn’t. I’d like to say it was OK. All the stories of the epic heroes have gaps in them. And then Diamond Cascade got to wherever he was going. They all gloss over the dull bits where nothing much happens. And for some reason Stalker and The Gnome weren’t with him any more. That doesn’t smack of nothing much happening. I suppose I could make up something heroic for them, but there are too many people know the truth for that. A whole town of them. Don’t talk about it, that’s probably the way. And then Diamond Cascade got to wherever he was going. And spin something dramatic from whatever events occur there and never mention who’s dropped out of the story and why.

So what really happened? I’ve seen it before. Tired, bruised, bloody band of heavily armed wanderers come in to a small border town late in the day. Town guard take one look at them, don’t like what they see, and demand that swords are handed over, oh and by the way, that pair of wolves you’ve got, they’re dangerous wild animals and they’re not coming in. Now if you’re me, you’re thinking yeah, whatever, all I want is a tavern with some half-decent wine and a bed with a passable mattress and if I’m in luck, someone to warm it with me. Maybe, if you’ve got an old head with a bit of wisdom, you can see their point. There’s a war on. Band of strangers wander in. Could be anyone. Could be who they say they are, could be agents of the enemy, here to slaughter the night watch and open the gates in the middle of the night to gods-know what that’s out there. But then maybe, if you’re Stalker, what you’re thinking is that the sword you’re being asked to give over to some stranger is the one thing that;s kept you alive for the last week. You’re thinking that there are corpses of a dozen slimeys and thuggers out there, and that your sword still has their blood on it. So you answer back, no, you’re not having these swords, why don’t you have a couple of gold coins instead, go enjoy your evening and leave me alone. And then if you’re the town guard, you’re thinking no, that;s the sort of thing that a band of enemy spies would try, so no, actually, now you;d be much happier if this gang of over-armed strangers was locked up in the cells until you had a chance to find out a little more about them. And now you’re Stalker again, who’s stared at death one time too many in the last few days, and no, you’re not giving up your sword, not to anyone, not for anything. And then the next thing you know, before anyone can do more than stare open-mouthed in disbelief, someone idiot draws and there are five dead guardsmen lying around the gate.

The Gnome pitched in, warped the gates and the two of them fled back out into the night. There’s a span of snow on the ground and a lot more comes down in the night. Chances are they didn’t get too far. The rest of us, we had over our swords and meekly spend out night in the cells. So much for a bed and a bottle and a woman. In the morning, they kick us out. Chuck us back outside the gates and close them behind us. Surprisingly generous, really. Other places might have hung us simply for someone to hang. It’s pretty clear that we’re not getting back in unless it’s with Stalker and The Gnome in chains between us. I can’t even bring myself to ask what the bounty is fro bringing them back. Don’t know whether I want to or whether I want to let them go. But we’ll go after them, that much is for sure. Don’t know what we’ll do when we catch them, but we’ll go after them. They’ve got our loot.


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