Friday 23 December 2016

Longcon 3 Games Announcements

So four years ago I had an idea for something that would hark back to the days of all weekend gaming, I tested it at smaller venues for two years, then moved up to a full convention for the next one.  The first year only attracted four games per day.  Of these, two of them full weekend campaigns, one of the One Ring, one of the Dresden files. In the other slots we had Original D&D and Firefly on the Saturday, then Cyberpunk and Ravenloft on the Sunday. 

It didn’t quite sell out, but it was a first year, so I wasn’t disheartened and tried it again.

Longcon 2 was something else entirely.

This year had four full weekend campaigns, Dresden returned with the same players to occupy the first cell again, On the large table topside was a wide campaign of Symbaroum, just outside the cells was a crusade against the reptile god to the strains of the Black Hack, and in the terrace was the epic telling of the Dracula Dossier that started on the Friday night and was the last to finish on the Sunday evening.  The single day campaigns on Saturday were another Dresden fate game set in the Hangover City and a Call of Cthulhu haunted house tale, with the Sunday to have one of the first long games involving my new game, Quest.

Suffice it to say that while I took a hit in year one, year two went so well that we allowed some of the attendees to pay in goods rather than money, and both chocolates and dice trays were well received by all.

This year I’ve opened submissions for the games and we’ve had a number of offers thus far…

Six full weekend campaigns

The Watch making three for three years for the massively popular Dresden fate game.

An Abridged version of the Rage of Demons campaign for 5th Edition D&D

An epic tale of superheroes for Squadron UK

A massive sandbox campaign created with the players and run with the Black Hack RAW

A return to middle earth with the One ring

An inquisitorial campaign with Dark Heresy in the footsteps of Eisenhorn

On the Saturday only, we’ve got a Cypher system fuelled adventure into mysticism and magic in the Occult investigative unit of the South African Police Force.

And finally on the Sunday only, we’ve got a Vortex powered game with high school students trying to keep space and time together whilst not missing their exams.

There are a few more games to be put up, and I’m going to be opening booking in mid January, so this is more a taste of the shape of things to come…

Find out more at

Thursday 15 December 2016

Kickstarter Arrived: BoB Case

I do back a lot of Kickstarters, but I don't always back them for myself, certainly in the case of this one and one that has yet to arrive, I look at things that are interesting in a utilitarian sort of way, and wonder if someone else in my life might like them...

In the case of this one, a glasses case that can also hold pens, and can be used as a tablet rest.

Or a Book rest

With most size books

And that can carry four large pens and a set of glasses comfortably with a magnetic seal on it...

Pictures talk louder than words in this case, I present the BoB case, available from Bang Creations

Peninsula Pens - Barron Fountain Pen

I wrote a piece a short while ago on the Tactile Turn Pen, something that had been designed with a certain feel to it.  I got one of my Christmas presents yesterday and found myself thinking about the nature of the materials that we use in fountain pens.  This particular one is something I'd never had considered getting myself, but luckily I have the best of friends and they have a more adventurous palette than I do.

This is a Peninsula Barron fountain pen.

Wood isn't a usual material for fountain pens, most modern ones being made from plastic or metal of various types, but there's a particular feel to wood that makes it interesting to use.  With Plastic and Metal, the material is hard and unyielding, your hand adapts to the shape of the pen, with wood there's a more natural feel to it, the very tactile sensation that the Turn pen was looking for, but without having to engineer it.  This feels soft and light even though when you weigh the pen, it's easily as heavy as anything else in my collection.

The cap can be posted, and there's a screw fitting at the top and the bottom to ensure that it's secure, the nib is Iridium, plated with gold, and writes a line equivalent to a European fine nib, there's a converter included with it, but it can take any size of international cartridge if that's your preference.

Took a little priming to get the nib flowing, but once flowing, no burps, no drops, just a good easy flow that can keep pace with whatever speed writing you're doing. the thin barrel leading into the wide wooden upper makes for an interesting feel, the thin barrel easy to grip, but with the wider upper resting in the hollow of the thumb comfortably.

And then the last thing, something that I've not encountered with any other pen...

The scent...

These pens are made from old whisky barrels, and while the scent is slightly taken away by the crafting process, there's still the warm smell of old whisky from the pen, and being one of the few spirits that I actually drink, that's quite pleasant.  So there's a new pen in my every day carry, and I'm rediscovering the pleasure of writing with a wooden pen.

Available from

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Longcon 2017 submissions open

Earlier this morning I sent out the early invites for the GMs who have done scenarios before for Longcon, I know that several of them may have intentions of running things this year already, and I believe in lettin
g those who've helped in the past be the first to help in the future.

That said, I'm also looking at expanding Longcon, it started a few years back as an experiment that I was willing to take a bet on, and it's proven worth the gambit, as the games that we've had there have been some of the best that any of the people who've attended have had.

So, I'm be taking submissions for Longcon effective immediately, those offering a game should get in touch with me here, or at any of my email addresses, let me know the following:
Game Title
Brief write up of game being run
System being used
Number of players

Include with the submission if you already have players you'd like to assign to the scenario so I know to make the necessary amendments.

Details on Longcon can be found at

Last years Gallery can be found at

Tuesday 13 December 2016

On the subject of friendships...

There's always a curiosity when someone unfriends you, that particular human need to go ask them why they no longer like you, what have you done to upset them, is there anything you can do to get their friendship back.

However, today I find myself in a different position...

Literally a different position, today I got my full range of movement back, I'm sitting (yep, actually sitting) typing this update with no pain at all, and as I looked over a list of people that have unfriended me in the last year, I thought for a second and came to the conclusion that I believe everyone in the world should do when someone unfriends them...

Their Loss...

Because I'm not a false friend, I don't have to make up opinions, I've already got them, and they're formed by being true to myself, not true to whatever is trendy at the moment.  I don't desert those who need me, I never back down when I believe I'm in the right although I will listen fairly to all other opinions and I'll consider them on their own merits. If you can bring your opinion to me with reason and consideration, I'll listen wholeheartedly and debate with you, even if, especially if I don't agree with you.

And you may not agree with me...

That's fine too, I don't need to agree with you to be your friend, in fact, some of the closest relationships I've got are with people I've argued my whole life with (With a big hi to my little brother there...), who also have strong opinions and will stand for them.

I'm a fierce friend, I treat everyone fair, I'll help everyone who needs help, I don't care the odds or the fight, when a friend needs me, I'm there.  I don't go looking for people to help anymore, and it took me a while to understand that, but now I wait for people to come to me if they need help, rather than offering to sort things out for them, because that never works out as well as you'd hope it would.

Damn all those 80's tv shows with proactive heroes...

Because in the 80's, a bad perm and worse shirt with no buttons could solve anything...
But here's the thing, I don't do drama, not anymore.  I used to, I knew a lot of people who made a staple diet out of it and spent my early years careering from one crisis to the next trying to sort things out, never realising that by sorting the problem out I was giving the person free reign to start another crisis.

Like trying to diet by only eating a few after eight mints every day, you'll feel great for those ten seconds or less, but then spend the rest of the time feeling s***.

And I'm done with that.

I'll fight the world for a good cause, and it won't concern me the odds or the fight I've chosen, if it's the right thing to do, I will not stand down.  Of course, if you're my friend and you're being an idiot, it's my duty as your friend to point out that you're being an idiot.

Because fighting for an idiotic cause isn't what friends do...

So to all those that have unfriended me, I don't understand why you have, and if you choose one day to come and tell me about it, I'll listen, and I'll happily debate with you, but you will not find me coming to you to ask why you chose to no longer be my friend.

Because it was your choice...

And I respect that...

Sunday 11 December 2016

So every once in a while, the world makes you evaluate things...

So the news is out, I wasn't at Dragonmeet last week, even though I'm supposed to be the floor manager of it.  In my place a team of very capable individuals led by my one and only, Jude Dodd, made sure that all the work I'd put in for the six months prior didn't go to waste.  So before I go any further, in no order at all, the following people were instrumental in making that con work.

Rachael Hodson, Richard Evans, Graham Palk, John Wilson, Matt Nixon, Garry Harper, Lloyd Gyan, Sam Webb, Rob Silk, and of course, Chris Birch.  There are others in the form of the volunteers who actually turned up (and we'll come to that in a minute) who I also thank, but it's the core team that make the difference, and these are mine.  Those who were there at the midnight +30 signing off call that I made know that they're more than just a convention team, they're a part of my clan.

But enough of me being sappy, what happened....?


Sciatica happened...

No doubt some of you will have heard of Sciatica, it's when the nerve in your back pinches and renders you in utter pain until someone can physically manipulate the nerve back into place.

What do I mean by utter pain?

Well, it's not as easy as ...

And in fact feels a whole lot more like 

Not least of which because they have to give you pain medication to get over it, and that pain medication invariably causes constipation...

Did I mention that the sciatic nerve runs right through the back, through the bum, and down the leg...?

They treat something that causes excruciating butt pain with something that blocks everything up...

Historically not awesome...

That said, I have an excellent physio, who does (thank the good lord) home visits, and so managed to move from the bed where I had been stuck (literally, could not move from the position I was stuck in) and to my own bed, and in the last few days, came to visit me again and now I can walk, sit (20 mins at a time), lie down (if I'm going to sleep, otherwise bad idea), and have limited mobility.

I'm going again this week to see my physio (We call him the Wizard of West Yorkshire, anyone needing anything to do with physical pain, I would recommend him without hesitation), and I should be back to work for next weekend.

But it gets you thinking...

Mostly it gets you thinking that life is too short, as it did when it happened last time and I was down for two weeks in the middle of the million word challenge, so it has again, and now I'm looking at where I want to go with life.

What's important to me...?

Me personally?

Writing and gaming, writing more than gaming if I'm honest, gaming I love, but writing is my first and foremost passion, I game when I can.

I write every day...

But, there will be those that remember that earlier this year I put out a call for people to help get others into gaming, I've moved on that, there's a number of conventions and stores that are now looking to join up with getting more GM's into gaming, and if anyone knows of more, please get them to get in touch.  As you'll see from the website, we're also building content for people to learn more of the craft, and we'll be building up on that with online lessons and coaching sessions.  

For now, take a look at, under gamesmastery, there are a series of links there to the conventions and stores that are joining in, and over the next few weeks, there's going to be a lot of content going up about how to run games and how to get involved.  All those who volunteered before, I didn't forget you and there's going to be a mail out shortly to all of you to see how we can get things working.

Anyone else interested in helping, get in touch.

Super 5 05 Fountain Pen

In advance, as always, I did not buy this pen, it was provided free of charge in return for an honest review.

I always wonder when it comes to the naming of pens, some have model numbers like most of the Hero and Jinhao ranges (Probably to avoid any comeback on copyright), some have grand names that speak of grand purpose, such as the Graf Von Faber Castell Catherine Palace, named for the building of the same name.  Some...

Well, Super 5 has the feel that the creator might have been watching Battle of the Planets when thinking of the name, couldn’t get past the idea, so counted up the heroes and then added “Super” to it...

Cheerfully, the pen isn’t anywhere near that derivative...

The Super 5 I was given to try came in an all black finish, with a 0.5 mm “calligraphy” nib.  Immediate question posed on those dimensions would be how can you do calligraphy with a nib that’s leaner than most medium ballpoints? 

The answer...? 

You can’t...

That said, what you can do is a lot of writing, and that’s what I’ve been doing.  The construction is interesting, plastic cap and back with a solid metal nib and barrel.  The net result of which is that the pen is very base heavy, almost as much as the average desk pen when it comes to trying to find the balance point. This in turn provides a very stable grip because all the weight of the pen is in your fingers, and because it’s metal, you can apply as much or as little grip as you like and the pen is good for it.

The flow is good, fast enough to write at a good pace, not so fast that you end up pooling it and having to drain it out.  The nib is absolutely firm, no give in it at all, similar to the regular LAMY nibs, but with a leaner profile to them.  It takes international standard cartridges, was supplied with one containing blue ink, and a curiosity in the form of an international cartridge with no base on it.  Bemused, I just fitted the standard Blue cartridge and got to work with it.

Nice lines, good feel to the pen, and while it’s not as cheap as most entry level pens, the weight and construction of the barrel gives it the feel of a much more expensive pen.  For me, it was very comfortable to use, no weight in the back of the pen and no resistance when I was writing.  The speed of the flow suggests that the pen is set up more to use the Super 5 inks that I got with it, inks that are thicker than regular fountain pen ink whilst being very wet at the same time.  I’m going to give them a try in the next few days and see what comes of them.

Overall though, I like this pen, very comfortable to use, light enough that long writing sessions won’t cause fatigue, and cheap enough that if something were to happen to it, I wouldn’t be able to get another one.


Saturday 10 December 2016

Super 5 Ink review

In Advance, as always, I did not buy these inks, I was given a few small sample bottles in return for an honest review.

The Super 5 fountain pen I tried a while ago was an interesting piece of kit, something that performed above its cost and proved to be a pen that I’m going to continue using for quite some time.  When I got samples of all the different ink colours, it has to be said that I wasn’t sure if I was going to like all of them.

The first curiosity was the naming of them, like the Super 5 itself, the names were a curiosity.  I have samples of Dormstadt (Black), Frankfurt (Grey), Delhi (Orange), Dublin (Green), Atlantic (Blue), and Australia (Red), and while some of those names I feel are appropriate to the colour, some of them (Frankfurt?) I couldn’t quite reconcile. 

That said, it’s all about the ink, not the name of it, so I took a dip pen and set to.  The inks are very thick, very strong colours, but they flow at the speed of a normal fountain pen ink.  I’m not sure that I’d trust them not to glue up my finer nibs, but I think they’d be good in a broader nib, where colours as rich as these would be best to flourish.

All the inks were very wet, some moreso than others, and it was difficult to differentiate with some of the colours when writing with the nibs I normally do, which is why I’ve included a swipe of the ink colours beneath the writing.  All of them take a while to dry on good fountain pen paper.  On worse quality paper, there is still very little feathering with the ink, and the colours are vibrant on whatever paper you use.

Writing samples of all six colours, all written on Izods dark star collection paper (which I’ll be reviewing at a later point) for comparison.  The inks aren’t the cheapest I’ve seen, but they are mixed by Rohrer and Klinger, they’re waterproof, and the colours are excellent.  The thing for me here is whether or not they’re in range of the inks I normally use and if I’d consider using them over the regulars.

Well, my regulars are Heart of Darkness and various diamines, so they don’t compete with HoD on blackness, and they’re nowhere near Diamine on price, so it’s unlikely that I’ll be going back for more, but they are interesting, and they’d make for excellent calligraphy if you found the right nib for them.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Tactile Turn Gist Pen Review

In advance, I would like to state that I haven’t purchased this pen, and that the copy I’m using was provided free in exchange for an honest review.

The TTG (Because I don’t want to type the words out a few hundred times) is an interesting innovation, taking the form of a regular piston refill pen and then making subtle changes to the barrel and weighting of it to give a unique feel and heft to it, things which we all know are essential in the enjoyment of a pen.

This is the first pen I’ve encountered where the actual feel of the pen has been considered to be an element in the selling of it, I know that I’ve spoken in the past of the feel of a pen, the requirement of it to feel right on the page, so the nib doesn’t scratch, and it sits comfortably, but this is something new.

This was engineered this way...

To put that in perspective.

The TTG has the feel of being made up of several concentric rings of carbon fibre, I don’t know what the actual construction of it is, but I know the feel of carbon.  The rings are small, each one less than 1mm in depth, not enough that they distract from the use, but equally not so small that they feel like a file on your fingers.  It’s a screw top with a copper top, and both the cap and the back of the pen are very light.

Very light.

I suspect that this is because the pen couldn’t be too heavy to use, and given the weight of the nib and barrel of the pen, they would have had to save weight somewhere, and it certainly wasn’t there...

Which brings us to the nib and barrel...


Real Copper from the feel of it, heavy, cold, solid.  Again with the same ribbing to the construction, machined perfectly to a fine barrel, the piston at the back is a very good size, and the nib is a genuine Bock steel.  When writing, the weight of the pen at the front gives inclination to press harder, which in turn increases the flow and so on, so writing with it is very easy, there’s no fatigue to be had even when writing for long periods of time, and that’s where the feel of the pen comes in.

Copper is a good conductor, and I suspect the metal wasn’t chosen at random, when you’re writing with this, there’s a feeling, almost like rubbing two pieces of cloth between your fingers.  I can’t describe it any better than that, your fingers hold to the barrel, but there’s no give in it, so you can grip it wet, dry, doesn’t matter, it still feels sturdy and well mounted.  The curious thing is that if you have an unyielding grip when writing (so your hands stay in the same position and you don’t fiddle with the pen), then you’ll be fine.  If, however, you do fiddle with the pen, the grip caused by the barrel causes the pen to ride up into your hand with every movement, which means that within seconds, you’re holding the nib and not the barrel.  Not an entirely unpleasant sensation, but certainly one that needs some working with to get used to.  If you’re a heavy writer, this pen will be perfect for you, if you prefer something lighter, give it a test before you buy it.

When you’re writing, you have to write fast, the nib and barrel flow fast, in the way that a train does, you can’t slow down with it, and you certainly can’t rest the pen on the paper.  I suspect that given other, thicker inks, you might get a finer line with more detail, but given what I was working with (and more on that paper later), this just wouldn’t stop writing.  The ink laid down thick, no gaps in the line, but that meant it was very thirsty, and I wouldn’t use this on anything less than good quality paper, on even slightly absorbent paper, it would drink the cartridge dry in no time at all.

And you need that massive reservoir...
Overall, I like the pen, it wouldn’t form part of my every day carry, but it makes for an interesting occasional writer, I could easily see it being used as a journal pen, but the way the barrel has been designed doesn’t make for everyday use.  Aesthetically, it’s beautiful, seamless lines and strong construction all the way through, the refill seats perfectly, and there’s no leakage from the nib if left upside down.

Bold experiment, I’d be interested to see what they try next.

The Sheffield Pen Show

It’s not often that I get to take a look at all the different pens out there, and it’s even rarer that I get chance to look at them all in one place, so it was with some interest that I finally got to one of the regional Pen Shows, and the last one for this year.

Held at the Copthorne Hotel in Sheffield, on the 20th of November, I went with my wife Jude (who also loves pens) and we went over for first thing in the morning. 

First impressions were that it wasn’t huge, but I’ll come to that in a moment, it was three rooms in the conference area of the hotel, with the dividing walls removed to make it into a single room.  There was a presence from the writing equipment society there, a number of traders, both familiar and new, and a few manufacturers making their presence known.

The first stall that I went to was Onoto, which is a brand that I’m not intimately familiar with, but it was an excellent start to the show.  I spoke at length with the director of the company, Feng Li, and one of the engineers who put the pens together.  They’re billed as an all English pen, so the immediate question was...

Is it...?

The response?


But with provisos...

The engineer that I spoke to was very clear about the materials that the pens are made from being from other locations than England, the nibs are Bock, the feeds are Schmidt, and the materials from which the pens are constructed are drawn from wherever they can be found, but the craftsmanship...

All English...

What struck me most was the direct manner of the engineer, here was a man who looked only to make pens, and to make them as best he could, he was both engaging and reasonable in his comments, pointing out that if the best nibs were English, they’d buy English, if the best feeds were English, they’d buy English...

But they’re not.

I handled a few of the pens, no images I fear, couldn’t write while photographing things, but the pens were very well balanced, the design of them seamless, no errors, no blemishes, each one of them made to the highest standards and presented with pride.  This to me was all that is required of someone making pens, the pride in what they’re doing and the desire to make everything better.  They do commissions, and speak honestly when they say that a simple amendment to an existing design will take a few weeks, something wholly new make take several months.  I was impressed by their honesty and their products, many of which I took a photo of so you can get a look at the full range of things.

The second stall was made up of spares and parts for all different types of pens, nothing in particular and everything in general, the stall holder wasn’t much interested in talking to me, but was happy for me to be putting their wares up on the blog, just not discussing them.  This attitude wasn’t uncommon at the fair, and I’ll come to that in a moment, but I didn’t bother with the images and free publicity if they couldn’t be bothered talking to me for more than a half second.

The third stall was the most interesting of all the people I talked to today, a man selling everything from high end pens to things you could use every day without worrying about walking around with a kings ransom in your pocket.  He introduced himself as Ray Walker, a man interested in the use and design of pens, we talked for a short while, and it became quickly apparent that he is very much a man who enjoys the use of pens, rather than just the selling of them, he gave me a number of contacts, recommended several fairs to visit, both for purchase and for use, and talked to me about what he liked most in pens.  He deals with the very top end of pens, and carries out both repairs and valuations.  He, of all the people at the show, was the one that I felt I had most in common with, and to that end, I’m including all his contact details at the end of the piece.

The other parts of the show had a variety of things on sale, varying from spares and bits to very, very expensive pens (the comment made was “Are you sure they haven’t misplaced the decimal point...?”), pen cases, notebooks, and more inks than you could shake a stick at. 

Particular case in point to the northumbrian pen company and their excellent stand of cases.

I spoke to Pure/Niche pens while I was there, good stand, doing more trade than everyone else as a result of their prices having the decimal point in the place where most could afford it.  We discussed the monopoly on noodlers inks that they have and how they were planning on increasing their range and product lines, and we found that we also shared a love of writing in general.  

Very approachable and knowledgeable, many interesting stories of inks and the people that make them (ask him about hunting sharks in canoes...), and made me certain to buy more from them than I had in the past, good suppliers are hard to come by, interesting and friendly ones even harder, so this was one to keep.

And that brings me to the last part of the show review, and perhaps the most disappointing of all the things that I encountered whilst I was there. 

The attitude of many of the traders there...

If you weren’t there to buy, you weren’t there, and while I understand that, and I understand that the show is there to make a profit, I also understand that if you don’t have a good shop front, no one’s going to spend money with you.  If you aren’t willing to talk to anyone, you’re not likely to sell that 2k pen that’s sitting there, and it could be that a lot of the traders figured that there wasn’t anything to be done there, because most people don’t wander in off the street with a suitcase of notes wanting to buy a pen, but you never know...

And this too was something encountered with some of the people at the show, pens were very much a bragging item, not something to be written with, not something to be used every day, but something to be carried in a case and shown off as a means of how much wealth you have.  

Those without the pens to be in the club, weren’t welcome in the club, when I was taking notes with the Lamy I take everywhere, I could have pulled out a turd and had less revulsion I suspect...

Ah...A Lamy...clearly can’t afford a real pen...

Or certainly that was how I felt by the time I got out of the hall.
So I got at least one of these...

I have to say that for me, this is the exact wrong reason for having a pen, and having walked around the entire hall, I found more people interested in putting pens in cases and displaying them than actually writing with them, so I think it may just be that we were from different worlds.  I’ll be doing another pen show at some point in the future, and chances are they’ll know I’ll be coming, but that won’t make any difference to me, I’ll seek out the people like Onoto and Ray Walker, who have the same interests as me and don’t mind talking to everyone.

And that’s why there’s a lot of photos of the pens on offer, and no contact details for any of them...

But those that did talk to us...?

Northumbrian Pen Company,  Good range of pens and accessories, best cases of the whole show

Onoto Pen Company, Beautiful pens and within the price range of those without swiss accounts, will take commissions, very friendly.

Ray Walker,  Excellent range of pens from every day carry to antiques in cases, very knowledgeable and approachable, recommended as a contact point into the world of higher end pens.

Sunday 30 October 2016

Dungeon Saga - The story

Bit of an experiment in how to make interesting fiction based on a game that's not so much RPG as wargame on a board, I did this when Mantic got let down by their novellist for the Dungeon saga novellette, a half weekends work with a single pass through rather than a full edit, and cheerfully they've got the matter covered, so I thought to put this up here for everyone to have a read through...


The Dwarf Kings Quest

“I’m just saying that perhaps not kicking in every door might, just might, enhance our chances of surprising them…” Danor shrugged as Rordin and Orlaf squared up against the reinforced iron bound beams of the double door at the base of the entryway stairs.
“You think we’ve got time to waste on picking the locks?” Orlaf glanced backwards, “The longer we spend down here, the more chance there is that we’re not going to be coming back out again.”
“You mean the longer we’re down here, the longer you have to wait for the payoff…” Madriga’s mouth quirked upwards in a half smile as she looked back down at the door.
“This is also a good reason…” Orlaf grinned, “More speed, money faster, less chance of death, I’m not seeing the fail in this plan…”
“If they all know we’re coming, they can plan for us coming, and we’ll end up with more trouble than we would do if we approached with a little care…” Danor considered sitting on the stairs for a second until he looked down to see the dust and rat droppings covering them. “Look, if there’s no other way, then bash it down, but I really think we need every advantage…”
“Alright, move out of the way…” Madriga handed Danor her bow and moved to the door, taking her tools from her hip pack.
“I can pick locks…” Rordin looked up at her with the beginnings of a scowl.
“Yes, but you need a box to see into the lock…” Madriga leaned over him and started probing into the lock.
“There is this…” Rordin’s scowl turned upwards as he stepped out of the way, resting his hammer on his shoulder.

Madriga worked fast, the bolt on the old door moving back with a quiet scraping noise as she rotated the picks.  She removed her picks from the door and replaced them in her pack, retrieving her bow from Danor and gesturing at the door.
“There you go…” She drew an arrow from her back and nocked it to the bow. “Nice and quiet like you wanted…”
“Excellent…” Danor strode forwards and put his hand to the door, leaning his weight into it to make sure that the door opened first time.  The door gave a little and Danor turned back to look at the others with a smile on his face, “You see…”

Danor bumped into the door as it remained closed, he paused and then pushed at the door again, then rattled the large handles and peered through the gap, the light from his staff illuminating the bar on the other side of the door.  He sighed and stepped back from the door, turning to the rest of the party all stood watching him from the third step up.
“Problem…?” Orlaf raised an eyebrow.
“It’s…It’s…” Danor waved his hand at the door behind him, “Er…”
“Barred…” Orlaf nodded, “We know…”
“You know…” Danor looked back at the door, “But you let me…”
“You’ve been arguing about the element of surprise the whole way here,” Rordin smiled, his head level with Danors thanks to the three step advantage, “But they know we’re coming, and surprise is only an advantage to enemies that can be surprised…”
“Well, if you’d read the classic texts on how battles are fought…” Danor folded his arms.
“You know that they were written by people who weren’t fighting on the ground…Right?” Orlaf cut him off, “Texts are a thing for games between generals, down here, it’s us and them and nothing else…”
Danor frowned “I still think it’s a good idea.”
“I agree…” Rordin nodded, “Best stop the light on the top of your staff as well then… Light’s going to be the biggest giveaway down here…”
“Oh…” Danor looked up at the sphere following him in the air, “Yes, of course…”

The light ceased instantly, leaving all four of them in darkness…

“Oh this is much better…” Orlaf deadpanned.
“This will surprise them for sure…” Rordin followed up.
“It will…?” Danor own surprise was evident in the darkness.
“Of course it will,” Madriga snapped, “It’ll surprise them when the find four idiots feeling their way around in the darkness when none of their enemies need eyes to see…  Just smash the door already…”
“Oh…” Danor said, the light flaring up again.
“Cheer up…”  Rordin came down the stars and spun on his heel to deliver a double handed blow to the door lock, the hammer tearing through the rotten timbers as if they weren’t there, the noise rolling like thunder into the room beyond, “With noises like that they’ll think there’s more of us than there are.”
“Great…” Danor turned to follow as Orlaf went in beside Rordin. 
Behind them, Madriga turned as a faint breeze whistled down the stairs and she breathed deep, equal parts of the smell of stale air below and open air above, she held the breath for a second.

Savour the last moments in the world above…

She turned and followed the others.

1 – Death on the old stone

I stop as the sound rumbles down through the tunnels above, I reach out with the power and join with the skulls of the long dead above, seeing the world through the sockets that once held their eyes.  Four of them, a barbarian possessed of casual arrogance and professional greed, a wizard with doubts that extend beyond his power, an elf with the sigils of the Sea Guard etched in her armour and a Dwarf… But a Dwarf bearing the symbol of Golloch on his hammer… These are no treasure hunters seeking fortune and glory, these came here for me and sooner than expected…

That will not do…

Rordin moved into the wide entrance room, looking up at the walls, the wooden bookcases on the wall still bearing the tomes that recorded the exploits of Grund Hammerhand.  He turned his head back to the others.
“This is why we are down here…” He said, pointing at the walls, “These record every day of the hundred years that Grund held the line against all the coming darkness, we have to prevent these bastards from despoiling this tomb further.”
“So you put one door against the possibility of looters on the tomb of your greatest heroes…” Orlaf looked back at the door, “Surprised it hasn’t been raided before now.”
“No one would dare…” Rordin stood straight, his voice growing louder, “To come here with loot in mind is to bring down the wrath of the dwarven host upon the miscreants.”
“A hearty threat to anyone with short legs…” Madriga moved past the first bookcase, the smell of mould strong from the paper within, the faint moistness of mildew crusting the covers. “I mean; it’s not like you’re going to run them down is it…?”
Rordin turned with a frown to see the Elf glance at him with a wry smile, he sighed and hefted his hammer again. “I’ll have you know we’re a very dangerous people, far sturdier than others…”
“Sturdier…” Orlaf moved towards the double doors at the west side of the room, “Isn’t that another word for Fat…?”
“FAT!” Rordin sucked in his stomach and turned to Orlaf as he checked the door over, “We don’t get fat, we have layers of muscle like the bark of the trees.”
“Relaxed muscle…” Danor chipped in from behind him. “You sure it’s not fat…?”
“Relaxed…” Rordin turned again, seeing Danor smiling, “I give up, you lot are too skinny to understand how strength works.”

“Well, you want to come over here and tense up a bit…” Orlaf tapped the door, “Barred from the other side.”
“Whoever came in didn’t go that way…” Rordin looked at the door.
“How can you tell…” Madriga frowned.
“Because all my fat is on my body,” Rordin met her gaze with the mirror of her earlier smile, “Not in my head…”
“Seriously…” Orlaf looked back from the door, “How…?”
“Look at the floor…” Rordin pointed downwards.
“Stone…” Madriga looked at the floor.
“Look at the dust…” Rordin moved his arm to encompass the room, “One set of footprints belonging to Wears No Shirt over there and the cobwebs are still on the door.”
“So where did they go…?” Danor asked.
“There…” Rordin pointed to the door in the North wall, “No footprints, just the line of someone who was either doing a really bad job of sweeping…or was wearing robes longer than them…”
The other three looked down at the dust on the floor, as Rordin had said, a line broad enough for one person wearing robes.
“And as the only Robe wearer we’ve got is there…” Rordin nodded to Danor, “That’s the way our enemy went…”
“Fat in body but not in head…” Danor nodded in acknowledgement. “Lead on…”
“Keep it up and you’ll be fat in lip,” Rordin glanced backwards, his expression neutral.
Danor nodded and cleared his throat, “So we’re through there, yes…?”
Rordin walked to the door, testing the handle.  “It’s open…” He turned back to the others.

The door flew open, smashing into Rordin’s back and sending him stumbling forwards, his hammer falling to the ground as he scrambled on the floor.  The creature in the door had once been an elf, the gouged flesh at their throat leaving no doubt as to how they had met their end. It staggered forwards, the movements disjointed, as if it was remembering how to move one step at a time.  Rordin rolled to a crouch, coming up to face the creature as it moved towards him…

A bolt of flame impacted into the creatures face as an arrow pierced its head from left to right.  It staggered one more step before its legs failed and it slumped to the floor, the smell of burning flesh strong in the air. 
“You alright…?” Danor took a step forwards, his hands still aimed towards the creature.
“Pride more damaged than anything,” Rordin dusted himself off and retrieved his hammer.
“Good…” Madriga moved around to stand beside them, “Because it’s got friends…”

The slow shuffling of feet echoed in the room beyond and four more of the undead shambled forwards, three of them wearing the same clothing that the first had, the last clad in the uniform of a captain of the Land Guards.

Orlaf whipped in from the side, the axe cleaving straight across the neck of the first one, the force of the blow driving the body back against the others as Orlaf spun, using the momentum to drive the axe into the next one’s chest.  The axe embedded deep in the flesh and Orlaf cursed as the falling body pulled him sideways with it.  Madriga raised his bow and put an arrow through the eyes of the third zombie, it paused, the eyes crossing for a second as it tried to focus, then it fell, all comprehension destroyed.  Rordin charged forwards, meeting the armoured zombie head on, it’s sword whistling down towards his head, whatever skill it had in life reduced to basic impulses that the muscle memory of the body still retained.  Rordin took the impact on his bracers and smashed the hammer into the creatures’ knee, crumpling it in a heap on the floor.  He continued the swing upwards and reversed his grip, bringing the hammer down hard over the creatures’ helmet, the impact turning the round metal band oval and distorting its head into a twisted mess of flesh.  

Rordin stood up and looked around, no other noise, no more attackers.  A grunt from the side as Orlaf brought his axe down on the neck of the zombie with the arrow through its face.
“I think it’s dead…” Madriga pulled her arrow out, checking the head before putting it in her quiver.
“I think…” Orlaf moved to the next and cut down again, “That it was dead in the first place and that didn’t stop it from attacking us… This way if it comes back, it can’t see us…”
“Point…” Rordin raised his Hammer and pulped the armoured zombies’ skull, “No worries about that then, but it begs the question of how come there are elves down here.”
“Dead elves,” Danor looked at the corpses, “What does it matter…?”
“Because I was expecting to find dwarves down here,” Rordin looked at him, “I was prepared for dwarves in the barrow of our greatest heroes, I wasn’t expecting anything else.”
“It’s wearing the sigil of the Lands Guard,” Madriga pointed to the sigil on the zombie, “But it’s an old version of the sigil, they changed it thirty years ago, and no one would be caught with an out of date sigil…”
“But they must still have been around here still…” Rordin looked around the room, “Is there any chance that there’s more of them?”
“If there’s more of them still out here, they’re going to be very hungry…” Orlaf cleaned his axe head on the cloth of the zombies clothing.
“Exactly my concern,” Rordin nodded.
“They patrol everywhere, and they don’t answer to anyone,” Madriga pointed to the armoured zombie, “This one would have been their leader, it has the markings of a captain, these others would have been her apprentices. Our people didn’t always face off against each other, there were times, as we have now, when we worked together.”
“Could they have been down here to reinforce the defences…?” Danor crouched down beside the armoured zombie and checked through its hip pack, “These are notes written in Ralanai.”
“What do you know of Ralanai…?” Madriga stepped over the other bodies to crouch next to him.
“I study all magic, not just that native to humans,” Danor passed the notes over, “These look to be… perhaps something about a summoning…?”
Madriga took the notes and leafed through them, “Not a summoning so much as a binding…” She looked puzzled for a second, “But this one wears the armour of a sword captain, not a mage…”
“What do you think…?” Danor looked over at her.
“I think they were here on purpose…” Orlaf called from across the room as he leaned into an open chest, “There’s things in here that wouldn’t fit dwarves and they’re in good condition…”
“We’re not here to loot the place,” Rordin growled.
“And I’m not,” Orlaf countered, “This was open, and this…” He reached in to take a shimmering white shirt from the chest, “belongs to no dwarf…”
“Spidersilk…” Madriga strode over, “Marked with the court of water, this belonged to the summoner that the spell pages belonged to.”
“But no sign of the summoner herself…” Danor looked around the room.
“You should take these…” Orlaf passed the shirt to Madriga, “Reckon it’ll fit you better.”
“Give me a minute…” Madriga took the shirt and retreated back up the stairs, returning a few minutes later with the shirt under her tunic, she looked over at Orlaf, “You’re right…”
“Something else as well,” Orlaf took out a vial of silver liquid, he shook it, the contents becoming a swirling metallic mass.  He passed the vial to Danor.
“Healing potion…” Danor nodded, taking the vial and putting it in his pack.
“Looks like metal shards…” Rordin frowned.
“Tastes like it too…” Danor grinned.
“You’ve tried one before…?”Madriga raised an eyebrow.
“I learned at the mages college,” Danor shrugged, “If you graduated without getting burned a few times, you cheated, besides…what was that…?”

All of them turned at the sound of scraping from the room beyond, not the light scraping of feet on stone, but something heavier, like stone on stone, and not close, the echoes reverberating off the wall as the thing continued to move.

“That’s no Zombie…” Rordin tapped the hammer to his other hand, turning to face the others, “As much as I’m not a fan of head first into things, I’m most armoured amongst all of us, be better if I take the lead, Danor second, Madriga third and Orlaf bringing up the rear.”
“Why me in the rear…?” Orlaf looked down at Rordin.
“Because you move faster than I do, and something creeping up behind us needs to be reacted to fast, faster than I would, you’re better at that…” Rordin looked up with no hint of mockery in his voice. “Danor in the middle because we all need the light, Madriga first because she can fire over me and around Danor, if you were in front, none of could see ahead or shoot around you, fair…?”
Orlaf considered for a moment and then nodded, “Fair.”
“Alright…” Rordin drew a deep breath and turned back to the darkness.


2 – A Rotting Colossus

The last thing I see from the first defenders is the hammer coming down, I put my hand to my head as the throbbing subsides. Invaluable to have the information on what comes for me, but painful to be there when they kill it.  I reach up again, this time to the beast in the remains of the banquet hall, giving just enough of a spark to have it rise.  I feel the flesh knitting together all around, and have it reach up with one long claw to scratch at the regenerating nodule in its spine.  Its resistance drops and it looks around again, rising up from the ground and taking a lump of stone larger than me in its hand.  The vision is blurry, these things can’t see any real distance, even in the low light…

But it doesn’t need to see to kill…

Rordin continued forwards, the light from Danor shining above him and illuminating the way.  The air down here was colder, more so than it should have been, they weren’t that far below the surface here.  The doors above had opened into another long, wide staircase, the stairs undamaged, unmarked by the passage of time, unlike the ones above.  Rordin stopped at the door at the base of the stairs and listened as the scraping noise rumbled through the corridor.  He pushed against the door but couldn’t see anything through the gap in the blackness beyond.  The light illuminating only the beam behind the door, thicker than the last.

“Orlaf…” Rordin lowered his voice, “Up here…”
“What is it?” Orlaf ambled forwards, looking the door up and down.
“Need both of us on this,” Rordin patted the door, “I don’t want to give away us coming down here.”
“So the element of surprise is a good thing then…” Danor’s grin couldn’t have got wider.
“Less of that,” Rordin raised a warning finger, “On this occasion, a little quiet is going to be a good thing.”
“No way of doing this quiet…” Orlaf pushed at the door, “That’s meant to hold off a squad…”
“Let me see…” Danor walked forwards and peered into the gap, “Can you both push this back so I can get a good look at it?”
Orlaf leaned into the door, Rordin leaning on the other side, a faint creak echoing in the darkness as the wood strained back.  Danor leaned in and looked in.
“Keep it open for a bit…” Danor reached out with his finger, placing it in the gap and uttering words in a language no one else understood, pulling his finger out quickly and nodding, “You can let it go now, give it a few minutes…”
“A few minutes…?” Rordin sniffed the air as the pungent smell of rotten wood drifted out of the door, “What did you do…?”
“It’s a minor enchantment,” Danor said, “Works like acid but without the splash, just don’t touch the bar with anything when we go through, it spreads…”
“Can you do something about the smell…?” Orlaf wrinkled his nose and took a step back.
“Be happy to recommend you a bath house when we get back,” Danor grinned.
Orlaf shot him a quick glance, then grinned back, shaking his head in good humour.

A minute passed and the faint sound of splintering wood could be heard from behind the door.

“Try now…” Danor nodded.
Orlaf and Rordin put their shoulders to the task and pushed, the door creaking as it opened without resistance, the splinters lining the floor on either side as the light filled the room beyond.
“Not bad,” Rordin looked around the room and hefted his hammer as the sound of stone against stone reverberated from the next room. 
“Be wary,” Madriga said, “Something that has no business being down here is in that room.”
“How can you tell…?” Orlaf looked at her.
“Listen…” Madriga cocked her head sideways, the sound of splintering stone with every thundering footstep echoed back into the room, “It’s big enough to be breaking stones underfoot, the floor in here isn’t damaged, whatever is in there didn’t walk in there…”
“Summoned…” Danor raised his hand towards the door, “But not recently, there’s no magic in the room beyond.”
“Any way around it?” Orlaf looked down to Rordin, “Look, I’m always up for a fight, but you don’t pick fights you don’t have to.”
“Maybe…” Rordin made his way over to the single door on the left, “Corridor, too small for whatever’s in the room ahead, maybe we can go around…”
Madriga moved forwards and picked the lock, pushing the handle down just far enough to open the door.  She moved forwards, glancing around the corner.
“All clear, looks like a banqueting hall…” She whispered, moving out of the way to let Rordin past.
“Alright, follow me…” Rordin moved forwards with care, his feet rolling on the ground to keep the metal edges of his boots from clinking on the floor.
Danor and Madriga followed Rordin into the middle of the room, the long table smashed into shards and long ridges gouged in the stone where something heavy had been dragged on the floor, the pillars at each edge bearing long claw marks, large chunks cut out of the masonry on all sides.
“Looks like a horde of Orks came through here…” Danor looked around the remnants.
“This wasn’t Orks…” Madriga crouched beside a heap of bones on the floor, the marrow sucked from them, she sniffed the air, “This smells like…”
“Troll.” Orlaf whispered.
“You’d never get a Troll down here…” Rordin turned back to face Orlaf.

Orlaf raised a finger to his mouth and then pointed down the hall to the lords table as something rose up, silhouetted against the fire in the roasting pit at the far end.

“I’d agree…” Orlaf whispered, “But the evidence is against me…”
“The Exit is down there,” Rordin whispered, pointing to the drainage channel cut in the floor towards the door in the west wall, “Keep silent…”
The group moved in silence to the far wall and then around the corner, the remains of the hall guardians strewn around the place, many with crushed limbs and torn bodies, their armour providing no protection from the thing that had appeared amongst them.  Rordin set his jaw as he walked past the sundered bodies of his kinsmen.  The door was locked and Rordin pointed in silence at Danor and then at the lock.  Orlaf and Rordin pushed against the door as Danor made the incantation again, stepping back to allow the spell to work.

A sniffing sound in the hall behind them caused them to turn, the sound of something moving the remains of the furniture aside as it clumped forwards.  Orlaf moved in front of Danor as Madriga nocked an arrow to her bow and Rordin readied his hammer.  Danor stepped back as something creaked behind him, the sound of a foot fall and he turned, a shriek far higher than he’d intended escaped his lips as the Dwarf zombie behind him looked up with eyes glowing like blue suns. 

Rordin turned and lunged at the Dwarf, “Revenant…” he hissed, bringing his hammer in to knock the Revenants own hammer aside, “Back…”
The clang of the two hammers meeting echoed down the hall, to be answered by a roar from around the corner, the scraping became a hammering as the troll clawed its way forwards.  Orlaf looked to the side as one of the piles of bones in the corner began to vibrate, a hand forming from the bones that rose into the air, the rest of the body assembling behind it.  He glanced back at Danor as the mage tried to get to the other corner of the room and Madriga went wide to draw a line of attack.

Leaving him in the middle of the room…


Rordin blocked the second blow from the Revenant and swung his hammer down to cave the knees in as he had the first zombie.  He blinked in surprise as the Revenant brought its hammer down on his, driving the head into the floor and then reversing the angle to bring the hammer against Rordins helmet.  Rordin spun around and brought his hammer in again, this time the revenant took a step back, lunging back in afterwards in a perfect counter as described in the dwarven army protocols.  Rordin risked a glance sideways as the heavy footsteps of the troll got louder and Orlaf went into a wide stance as Danor pointed his hands towards the Revenant.


Orlaf kept his axe low as the troll turned the corner, the movements not as fast as other trolls he’d seen, the limbs grey and rent, blood still running down its arms as the wounds continued to open and close.  It slid to a halt against the far wall, the eyes not fully focussed as it scanned the room ahead, sniffing the air for its target.  Orlaf ran forwards, letting his axe trail on the floor as he did, the scraping noise loud in the enclosed area and the troll turned to follow the noise as one of its eyes popped back into the socket.   The troll turned to face him, the huge lump of stone in its hand rose as if it were as light as a feather and it roared, the remnants of its last meal spraying out of its mouth. 

An arrow embedded itself in the trolls’ arm and it turned to face the source of its pain.  A torrent of fire engulfed its lower body, the blast tearing off a half metre of skin and flesh as it exploded against the trolls’ ribcage.  The troll turned and Orlaf ran in behind, cutting down against the back of its legs, aiming at the hamstrings.  At this range, the roar was deafening as the troll dropped the stone and flailed backwards, Orlaf tried to bring his axe head down against the arm but too late and the back of the trolls’ hand smashed into him, the weight of the massive arm driving him against the far wall. Orlaf staggered and dropped to one knee, hanging on to his axe as his head swam.

Rordin back pedalled, trying to keep the Revenant away from Danor as it continued to look for a way around him.  Every attack he made was countered, the undead limbs not suffering from fatigue as an ordinary soldier’s would.  Rordin pushed it back again and watched as the Revenant braced to receive the charge, he glanced to the side again as he heard Orlaf grunt in pain, seeing the Barbarian smashed against the wall and falling to his knees.  Rordin looked back to the Revenant and raised his hammer to charge at it.  The Revenant struck upwards with its hammer to dash aside Rordins and cave in his skull in the same move and Rordin changed his stance, shifting all his weight into a shoulder charge using his whole body.  The Revenant tried to brace, its leg moving backwards just in time for Rordin to smash it back against the wall, the following hammer blow driving its head into its chest cavity.  The Revenant slumped, its arms and legs still moving for a second till the force that left it had dissipated.

Danor gestured again, another blast of flame enveloping the trolls’ upper torso as he drew on the power of his crystals, he ducked back as the fully formed skeleton lunged towards him the scythe missing him by a hairs width.  He scrambled backwards, ducking under Madriga’s line of sight as the skeleton pursued him with single minded intent, her shots piercing the troll up and down its torso.  Danor found himself against the wall as the skeleton swung again, taking his remaining crystal and speaking faster than he ever had before.  The scythe swept down and impacted his shoulder with a clang as the steelskin spell enveloped him.  The skeleton paused, its rudimentary intelligence disrupted with the unnatural event in front of it.  Danor reached out and put his palm against the shiny skull, looking into the empty sockets as a smile came to his lips.

Rahegeat” He whispered.

The firebolt shattered the skull into powder, the bones falling to the floor as if its strings had been cut.  Danor turned back to see Rordin driving his hammer into the head of the Revenant as Madriga drew another arrow.

“LITTLE HELP HERE…?” Orlaf roared as the Troll swept its arm backwards again, staggering upright as its hamstrings reknitted.

Rordin banged his hammer on the ground, the sound echoing down the chamber as the troll turned again, reaching down for its stone as it focussed on Orlaf.  Rordin ran forwards as Madriga moved around again, keeping her line of fire free.  Danor put his spent crystals away and began to summon his power again, this time changing the focus of the spell.  Orlaf kept his axe up, blood running from the wound on his back as he moved sideways, trying to get the Troll to keep its attention on him.  The Troll swung, the move ponderous, its insides only just held in by its regenerative powers as the hole in its side continued to close.  Orlaf moved into the arc, cutting against its arm and severing the tendons as Rordin struck to its rear, his double handed strike caving in the knee joint that Orlaf had struck at earlier.  The Troll collapsed to the floor, overbalanced by its own swing, its body landing heavily against Rordin and crushing him against the wall.  It lay there for a second, then the arms twitched and it started to move again. 
“GET THIS FAT BASTARD OFF ME…” Rordin roared from underneath the trolls damaged arm. 
Orlaf stepped in and swung the axe hard in a downward blow, the blade cleaving into the trolls’ skull and out through the other side.  The Troll slumped and its insides flooded out of the hole in its side as its regeneration ceased.  Orlaf moved over to Rordin and between them moved the arm enough for Rordin to get out.
“Son of a…” Orlaf pointed down as the Trolls face started to knit together, he hefted his axe and prepared to strike again.
“You need to hit the regeneration cluster…” Danor said as he walked cautiously forwards, “Anything else and it’ll just keep coming back…”
“Where’s the regeneration cluster…” Orlaf struck down again, the blow cleaving the head in two, the separate halves waving in the air as it continued to seal up.
“It’s a nerve bundle on the neck…” Danor didn’t walk close enough for the Troll to be able to reach him, he raised his hand to the side of his neck, “It should look like a spot on its neck.”

Rordin walked to one side of the trolls’ head, Orlaf the other.

“Got something purple on this side,” Rordin looked up.
“Got something weeping pus on this side,” Orlaf pointed, shying away from the rancid smell coming from it. “Which one is it…?”
“Don’t know,” Danor shrugged, “My books didn’t have any pictures…”
“Both?” Orlaf glanced over at Rordin.
“Both…” Rordin nodded, swinging his hammer in low and fast as Orlaf did the same.

The weapons met with a dull crunch and the Troll spasmed, its insides spraying out over the floor as its regeneration failed, the massive body sinking to the floor, the various wounds it had taken over its life opening up, reducing it to a stinking mass of jelly within seconds.

“That worked…” Madriga stepped forwards, avoiding the pools of filth on the floor as she retrieved her arrows, dipping each of them in the cool water of the fountains at the side of the room.  “We should lead with that next time…”
“Easy to say when its laid down,” Rordin looked at the beast and sighed. “Can’t be too many of these things down here surely…”
“We can hope…” Orlaf flexed backwards, the motion opening the wound on his back again, “Can’t be doing this all night long…”
“Let me see that…” Danor reached into his pouch and took out the healing potion.

Orlaf righted one of the chairs with three legs remaining and sat on it, using his own legs to keep it upright as Danor brushed the dust away from the wound.  Madriga brought over water from the fountain and poured it over the wound, the blood flowing to wash away the rest of the stone and dust in the gouge.
“This may feel a little weird…” Danor popped the cork on the potion and poured a thin stream of it into the wound.
“Thought you were supposed…” Orlaf gritted his teeth as his shoulder pulled back together, “to drink potions…”
“You can drink them…” Danor kept the wound open with his fingers for a second as he poured the liquid in again, holding the shoulder muscle closed while the skin sealed around it, “But they’re more effective if you spread them on the area affected. Just be careful that you don’t apply it while you’re wearing clothes.”
“Why not,” Madriga watched with interest as the wound sealed with a thin line on the skin to show where the wound had been.
“Because it sticks anything to anything,” Danor shrugged, “Some of the older potions were so strong, they’d stick your throat together on the way down…”
“Remind me never to drink one,” Rordin put his hand to his throat.
“That’s why I’m doing this,” Danor nodded as he poured the last of the liquid over the scar forming on top of Orlafs shoulder, “Didn’t know how long this stuff has been down here.”
“It’s good…” Orlaf stood and flexed his shoulder, glancing down to see the skin healed without a single mark on it, “Better than anything I’ve had before.”
“Just as well you didn’t drink it then…” Rordin looked around the hall. “We might as well take a look around the place, see if there’s any more of those portions lying around.”
“Thought we weren’t looting the place…” Orlaf glanced at him.
“Take a look around,” Rordin sighed, “This place has already been looted, and if this what we’ve found here is anything to go by…”

“We’re going to need all the help we can get…”

3 – A Soul in Torment.

The loss of the Troll was inevitable, but now I have seen how they fight, how they group, and the advantage will be mine when they next come to face my power.  Now I may rest, the prisoner I bound above will be the next thing they come to, and when they do…

Their screams will join with hers…

“Wait…” Madriga said as Orlaf and Rordin made an experimental push at the door to the next level.
“What is it?” Danor came to stand beside her.
“More light…” Madriga pointed to the edges of the door where dull green runes were cut into each of the stones.
Danor brought the light forwards, each of the runes glowing for a second as the light flowed over.
“In gratitude for the friendship of King Grund,” Madriga read each rune as it was illuminated, “The Air Guard extend their eternal guardianship over his rest.”
“The elves were here.” Rordin stepped back to look at the runes.
“And we were here at your request,” Madriga looked over the runes again, “This is a great honour, to have an Air guardian placed in your tomb ensures that nothing will ever disturb your eternal rest.”
“Will it guard against us…?” Orlaf looked to each of them in turn, “Or will it know that we’re here to help with things, not loot the tomb?”
“Air guardians are people just like you and me,” Madriga looked down at Orlaf, “They take turns to stand watch, sustained by the power of the shrine within.”
“How long for…?” Danor looked at the runes.
“A day, a month, a year,” Madriga shrugged, “It’s a great honour to be chosen as a guardian for anyone, much less a king, and for one so great as Grund, the greatest of honours.”
“It is,” Rordin nodded, “Finally something goes our way.”
Orlaf nodded and turned the handle on the door, the air within was cold, a pale blue light shone from within and a faint cold breeze blew past them, the sound of mocking laughter carried with it.
“Let’s not be too sure about that,” Orlaf looked back at them, “Come on…”

Rordin stepped forwards into the chamber