Diamond Cascade: What do you mean he’s not actually dead? Oh, he is now.

Alturiak 12: It was with a heavy heart that Diamond Cascade and those of his companions that remained buried their fallen friends. Many a word was said in praising their honour, their courage and their virtue. Lord Corren had fallen in defence of his kingdom, and the valiant gnomish priest had fallen at his side, in defence of naught but the freedom of a people who were not her own, but who had fought for hers as she now fought for them. Toasts were raised in their memories, songs were sung and yes, tears were shed. Yet duty and honour still called, and all too soon, Diamond Cascade’s eyes turned to the north, to the den of vice and thievery that is the north coast, where Diamond Cascade had one duty left to discharge: To deliver a letter carried all the way from Gammersbridge to the dread lord of thieves that might yet issue a call to arms among those most lowly of fellows against the rising darkness. Inspired by the valour and the courage of Lord Corren and the righteousness of Diamond Cascade’s cause, many flocked to his banner and pledge their swords, yet to face the evils that awaited them, only the most noble were chosen.

Yeah. Many offered to clamp Diamond Cascade and what were left of his companions in irons and let them rot in some oubliette. Or else simply hang them and get on with it. Thanks, Stalker, my erstwhile friend. And thanks to you to The Gnome, in whatever afterlife you’ve found. Thanks a lot. Now even more people want to kill me. Dammit, all I wanted was a quiet life of wine and loose women and maybe some good music. And here I am, traipsing all over the place in the middle of winter, freezing my bits off because we can’t manage to stay in one place for more than a few days (or minutes, sometimes) without pissing off the locals so much that they try to have us arrested.

So. Right. New plan. No way am I hauling my frostbitten arse all the way up to the North Coast in the middle of winter with hordes of Slimeys and Thuggers and gods-know-what else rampaging about the place, not without some serious protection. And the last bit of protection (stalker, yet, this means you) turned out to be more of a liability than an asset. So don’t blame me for being picky this time. It’s not too difficult to convince some of the town magistrates (for ‘magistrate’ read, ‘occasionally useful enforcer of the law’) to up sticks and leave. I mean, who’d want to hang around in a town whose gates don’t fit properly when there’s an army on the march? Of course, we couldn’t be at all straightforward about it. Who do I want to travel with? Well, a posse of the Knights of Tyr, that would do. Hard as rocks and about as bright, too. Just the sort to stand in the way of all the arrows when we’re ambushed by bandits on the road and then be too up themselves afterwards to even notice any looting that might happen to happen. What do I get? Another elvish monk. Whoppee-Doo. Like the last one was such an amazing success. I become more and more convinced that the elvish race has a laudable and straightforward attitude towards those of their kind who don’t quite ‘fit in.’ They kick them out into our lands and hope they’re never heard of again. Just why they all have to land on me is a mystery. Maybe one day, when I meet an elf who isn’t either a blind swordsman on a quest to defeat some mystery monster that he can’t even describe (although presumably what matters is that he’d recognise the smell when he finally blundered randomly into its path) or a bloody monk, someone will explain.

Oh, and a wizard, which is so going to spoil all my fun. Crapsticks. Someone else who knows magic when they see it. I’d like to stab him in the back while he’s sleeping, but that’s not really me. What I’d really like it for someone else to stab him in the back while he’s sleeping.

After those two, when a knight does finally show up, I almost don’t care whether he’d a knight of Tyr or a knight of the Monkey-Headed God of Rhyming Gibberish. It has a sword and it can swing it. Good enough. With a bit of luck they’ll all last just long enough to not quite get to the coast.

So. Stalker killed half the town guard. I’ve taken the best men it can offer. The gates are broken and there’s an advancing army less than a day away. Gods. I don’t even know what the place is called. Doomed, probably, but I’ll remember it as Wonkygates.


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