Monday, May 13, 2013


It's the weirdest feeling to have people expecting something of me. I started writing these little DnD fictions as a bit of fun, but apparently, my playing companions have come to rely  on me to produce them. I have fans. And they're hungry for more. And I'm quite terrified at what they might do if I fail to produce something to satisfy them. Nice fans... Here's your story now... pleasedon'teatme...

The companions blinked away the white stars in their eyes and beheld the room in front of them. Rathalohse sneezed.
“Hey… Doesn’t this seem familiar to you?” Lereahl stepped forward, examining the multitudes of incredibly dusty bookshelves lining the walls.
“Actually, it does,” replied Jet-Ulfgar, also looking around curiously. “This is that giant library place. Where the bookshelves were out to get us. And there were those giant worm things. What’d we call them?”
“Dragonheart named them I think. ‘Manopillars’,” replied Mange.
“Yeah. This is the library all right. Except I remember more-” Rath screwed up his face in disgust. The three others paused, also remembering a certain young cleric who managed to throw up for half an hour straight after his first time through the gates of Lisseth. That had not been a pleasant experience.
The four companions stepped cautiously through the room. One could argue that there were really five explorers in the room, but unless one counted a drooling, half-conscious, barely dressed wizard, strapped to Mange’s back, who sometimes remembered that his name was Wolfenight, then the half-elf rogue, barbarian halfling, dwarf warrior and human ranger were pretty much the only ones on this plane.
It was strange. In all of their experience with planeswalking, they had never been brought back to the same world before. It felt as if they’d only just left it really, but then again, it felt as if a hundred years had passed among the dusty tomes.
Before long though, they were facing a nest of their old enemies – giant bookworm larvae. Jet charged at one, bringing his hefty, spiked shield low and ramming it, producing a satisfyingly squishy sound. Mange changed into the fray too. He swung up at the creatures with his great sword, slicing small gashes in their papery hides. With a particularly fierce lunge, the wizard strapped to his back flopped about and woke up with a start.
“Who? What? What’s going on?”
Mange grinned, a sudden, sly idea popping into his head.
“Hey! You back there! Do you have any spells to make me bigger?”
“Bigger? What? …books?”
“Bigger dammit! BIGGER!” he yelled, elbowing the scrawny man in the side.
Wolfenight squawked in alarm, suddenly confronted by tall, swaying larvae-things and Mange’s goop spattered sword flying gleefully above and around him.
“Ah. Okay. Bigger. Pleasedon’teatme…”
Wolfenight rummaged in his bathrobe, searching the pockets. There seemed to be an extraordinary number of them. Out came a rubber duck, a yoyo, a chipped tea cup, a kumquat, a lit candle, and finally, a short grey wand.
“Ah! Here we are. I think.” Wolfenight waved the wand, muttered a few incomprehensible words and with a shriek of glee, Mange shot up several feet. He began swinging with renewed vigor at the larvae.
Lereahl looked curiously on at the melee.
“They seem to have it well under control for now,” he murmured. He turned smartly on his heel and went to peruse the shelves.
 Jet leant on his shield, hauling himself up. He’d just pureed one of the larvae and grinned as he wiped some of the goo from his bushy red beard. Looking around for his next foe, the dwarf jerked forward suddenly, his eyes wide in shock. His shoulder felt strange. He reached around to find an arrow sticking out from between a tiny chink in his plate armour. Turning around, he saw and equally shocked Rath staring at him.
“Man, I am so sorry. I- I was aiming for the-”
“Shut up. Just shut up and get on with killing these things.”
Wolfenight was feeling really quite alarmed and woozy on Mange’s back. Nevertheless, while the now not-so-pint-sized halfling was going at the papery creatures, the skinny wizard was waving his staff about, bopping whatever he could hit on the head.
Jet’s roar was one of complete fury this time. Incredibly, there was another arrow sticking from between his plate mail. This one stuck from a crack in his thigh plates. After helping Mange slay the last larvae, Jet turned and stormed towards the trembling ranger.
“I swear, I didn’t mean it. I- I was aiming for the larvae-thing, honestly. I- please, I’m so sorry…” Rath was backing up very quickly, his bow discarded, a look of terror on his face.
“I’ll give you cheese! Good cheese! It has healing properties! I am so –oof!”
Rathalohse doubled over as Jet punched him in the stomach. Jet pushed the ranger over onto his back, rummaged in his pack for the cheese, and then kicked him in the nuts for good measure before scarfing down the whole wheel.

The gallery glittered in the low light. A pungent smell of sulfur made noses wrinkle. Lining tables and shelves were hundreds upon thousands of vials, beakers and bottles. Most were empty. Some contained brown sludge or other horrid, lumpy-looking concoctions.
“Hey, I wonder what this tap does,” muttered Mange, standing on tiptoes to fiddle with a knob. He had shrunk back to his normal size, much to his displeasure.
“Hey! Wait! Don’t do that! We don’t know what it does,” Rath hissed, leaping forward to bat Mange’s hand away. The tiny halfling glowered at the ranger and shoved him back.
“That’s why I turned it, cheese-brain. How else was I going to find out?”
The glassware chugged and bubbled a little and a thin stream of bright red slithered out of one of the tubes, pouring out into a small bottle. When it had stopped flowing Mange picked up the bottle.
“Huh. Looks like a healing potion.” He raised it to his nose, took a sniff and then sneezed. “Oh, yup. Definitely a healer. Bit dusty though. It’s been here a while.”
Lereahl paused.
“What was that?”
Jet looked up too.
“I didn’t hear nuthin’,” he said.
Lereahl shushed him with a finger to the lips. The Dwarf swatted the elf’s hand away. But then the rest of the group heard it too. A slight tinkling noise. Like something was moving in the shadows, brushing past rows of glassware. Suddenly, from behind them, there was the rustle of paper and a chittering sound.
“Oh gods,” muttered Rath, whipping around and tightening his bow string. Towering over them, mandibles dripping with saliva, was a fully grown giant bookworm-manopillar creature. It launched itself at Mange, who retaliated with a fine blow. Wolfenight shrieked in terror or confusion – it was hard to tell which – as he was tossed around. Rath, sighting down the dim gallery, loosed two arrows in quick succession, both landing with horrid, squishy sounds in the creature’s flesh. Before Jet had even managed to struggle around the table and jump into the fray, something went terribly wrong. The manopillar struck furiously at Mange, mandibles crunching audibly on armour. The tiny barbarian swayed where he stood, eyes unfocussed, sword dangling by his side. They heard the chittering sound again – but this time it sounded gleeful. The creature was laughing. It lunged forward, picked Mange up, tossed its head back and swallowed him. Wolfenight fell to the ground in a drooly heap. The creature’s jaws had sliced clean through the straps on Mange’s back.
“It ate him!” cried Rath, staring dumbstruck at the bookworm.
“We know! We saw! Now stop standing there and help get him out!” roared Jet, leaping at the creature again. Strangely, the creature had stopped attacking. Instead, it was writhing around, as if it was in pain. Its body was ballooning, stretching outwards. Lereahl ran forward, scooping the still rather hysterical wizard out from under the thrashing creature.
“Th-thank you friend,” said Wolfenight, leaning up against a table. He knocked over some dusty glasses, and shakily began picking them up again. Lereahl caught his hands.
“Forget about those. We need you to focus on Mange. Spells. What can we do to get Mange out of that beast?”
“Get him out?”
“Yes. He’ll be crushed to death in there. If he’s not already dead.” Lereahl paused to aim his crossbow at the monster and loosed his bolt. He turned back to Wolfenight as he reloaded.
“Uh. Yes. Spells. I have… uh… Ghostly Sounds?”
“Well that’s no use!” snapped Lereahl as his next bolt flew past the creature’s head.
“Hideous laughter, sleep, hypnosis, stun -”
“Wait. Hypnosis? Could you hypnotize the beast into throwing up?”
“I could try…” Wolfenight said, shrugging. Lereahl grabbed the front of the wizard’s robes and dragged him forward.
“Do it then!” he yelled, aiming again at the thrashing, bloated beast.
Wolfenight scrabbled in his pockets for the correct scroll. Finding it, he cleared his throat shakily and pronounced the strange incantation upon it, his brow furrowed in concentration. A streak of blue light shot from the wizard’s fingertips, seeking the giant worm’s head. It connected and the worm stopped thrashing. Everyone stopped moving, waiting to see what would happen. A confused look crossed the creature’s face and after a second more, it seemed to shiver. It bent forwards and with a horrible slurping, squelching sound, the huge bulge in the creature’s body seemed to move up and out of its mouth. Out of its widely stretched mandibles flopped-
“A manta-ray!?”
The companions danced out of the road as the enormous thing flapped wetly on the ground. Jet launched himself angrily at the bookworm.
“Give us back our friend you brute!” The recovering worm could not stand the dwarf’s sudden furious onslaught and fell beneath the spiked shield. Jet tore into the creature’s soft belly, spraying green goo and worm guts everywhere, searching for Mange. The others moved forwards to help too, their faces creased in worry. No one had ever admitted it, but they really quite liked the tiny ball of fury that was Mange.
The giant worm’s corpse was decimated. Green blood seeped into the tiles. Jet stood, panting over the remains, still completely confused.
“Over here you idiots,” came a weak cough. The four turned to see Mange lying in a pile of green goop behind them, right where the huge manta-ray had been. The planeswalkers rushed to their companion’s side.
Mange coughed again. A little bloody spittle leaked from his mouth. Jet immediately rummaged for health potions.
“Remember that stupid cloak I found in that old hall? Where you shot some poor, addle-brained dwarf in the ass, Rath?”
“The one that turned you into a manta ray upon contact with saltwater?” asked Rath.
“That’s the one. Musta’ reacted with something in that stupid worm’s stomach. One second everything was black and slimy and the next – friggin’ flippers and vomit. Why does this library always seem to involve so much vomit?”
The group laughed as Mange took the health potion that was offered to him.

“We’re walking in circles, I’m sure of it,” moaned Rath. Jet ignored him and kept walking resolutely forward. The others could only follow, agreeing silently with the ranger. They had indeed passed very similar round rooms with branching corridors and marble statues. And the books. There were so many books. Finally they reached a corridor that didn’t look so familiar. There was a large set of double doors at the end. Jet pushed them open to reveal an open sitting room. There were sofas. Coffee tables and easy chairs and the walls were lined with – of course – tons of books. At the end though, was another large bookworm. Without a sign of hesitation, Jet charged at the creature. Mange, now looking much healthier, was close on the dwarf’s heels. They took the creature down without much of a problem. Rath didn’t even have to lend an arrow. Lereahl examined the room, a bit bored, as the two fighters finished off the beast. He began to notice odd things. Here and there, there seemed to be raised tiles.
“You guys should stop moving,” he called as Jet and Mange turned to walk back.
“There are traps everywhere in here. I can see pressure plates all over the floor. It was a miracle you managed to avoid them all as you ran to kill that creature,” Lereahl said, pointing to each of the pressure plates in return.
“You mean this is one?” Jet said, indicating the raised tile at his feet. Lereahl nodded. Jet harrumphed and before anyone could stop him, jumped onto the plate. With alarming speed, one of the comfortable reading sofas was launched at Jet. It hit him with a loud pomf, knocking him on his plate-armoured behind. He laughed and pushed the sofa off as Lereahl and Rath set to work on disabling the rest of the traps.

After walking around in more circles, they finally found another room they had not explored. They approached it slowly, wary of more giant manopillars hungry for halfling-barbarian flesh. They could hear a strange scuttling sound on the other side of the door. Jet and Mange took the lead. Rath and Lereahl stood in the back, arrows at the ready. Wolfenight stood behind the rest of them, twiddling his thumbs and looking off into another dimension apparently.
Flinging the door open, they saw the source of the scuttling. Dozens of serving-platter sized spiders scurried about the room, their hairy legs a blur of movement. Jet and Mange decided it would be best not to wade into the room for fear of being completely overwhelmed by the creatures. Instead they stood in the doorway and squashed any that came close. Rath and Lereahl were having a hard time picking off the creatures while trying to aim between the dwarf and the halfling. It was almost comical as one arrow after another found the impossible chinks in Jet’s plate armour.

Puffing and covered in spider goo and one or two twitching legs, Jet was a sight to behold as he turned, red-faced towards the rogue and the ranger. He stormed towards them, five arrows sticking from his back. Lereahl and Rath backed away as quickly as they could, practically running over Wolfenight.
“You imbeciles! You were supposed to be shooting the spiders! You hit me more than them!”
Lereahl was on the point of turning away and fleeing down the corridor when Jet managed to grab the front of his and Rath’s cloaks. The dwarf continued to bellow, spit flying.
“I got barely two bites from those blasted arachnids, and yet I’m almost falling down due to arrows in my back! LEARN TO AIM!”
And with those words ringing through the corridor, Jet cracked two’s skulls together and dropped them in a dazed heap. The dwarf strode away, pulling an arrow from his back.
“Now. If you’ll excuse me, I think I deserve a beer dammit.”
With a look of contempt and grim amusement at the rogue and the ranger, he disappeared in a puff of white and purple smoke.

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