Wednesday 31 October 2012

The Bridge over the River Chai: Meet The Contestants!

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Righto. Broadly speaking, we know some elves and some dwarves are about to come into conflict with some elves and some orcs. Time to meet the contestants!

The Gaming Line-up

The game is played remotely by four members of the Oldhammer Community. The participants have never met in person and all aspects of the game are processed through the internet. The tasks involved in running a Remote Game are divided among two players, a writer and a gamesmaster. The separation of tasks allows the GM to collaborate with the writer without exposing sensitive information to the players. The GM is simultaneously the host of the game. The host owns and arranges the gaming table and miniatures used within the game.

What follows are the profiles of the four participants.

Gamesmaster: Dreamfish
21st Century Warhammer 3 Stats:
  • Won: 1
  • Drawn: 0
  • Lost: 0

Assendelft, Netherlands

Gaming Experience:

Started playing and collecting Warhammer 3rd edition in the late 80's and progressed up through 7th edition. He has mostly been collecting and painting and never actually owned a board and scenery, up until recently. Dreamfish enjoys gaming, but finds the experimental nature of Remote Gaming and his role as Gamesmaster very rewarding.

  1. Dwarfs
  2. Dark Elves
  3. Wood Elves
  4. Orcs & Goblins
Other Interests:

Games of all sorts, science & technology, martial arts, hiking and indigenous cultures...

Player A: Thantsants
21st Century Warhammer 3 Stats:
  • Won: 0
  • Drawn: 0
  • Lost: 0

York, England

Gaming Experience:

Started gaming with Heroquest in the early 90's and moved onto Rogue Trader and WFB 3rd ed. at secondary school. After a long gap of some 15 years or so he has since played several solo games of 3rd and 2nd ed., dabbled in the skirmish games, Skulldred and Havoc and run the Orc's Drift campaign. Games on the "to play" list - Warmaster, Mighty Empires and Man O War...

  1. Hordes of Goblinoids, Undead, Chaos and Dark Elves
  2. Wood Elf, Empire, Bretonnian and Dwarf forces to oppose them
  3. Slaan, Amazon, Norse and (original!) Lizardman Warbands
  4. Various Warmaster forces along
  5. Dwarf, Orc and Dark Elf Man o' War fleets
Other Interests:

His two Labradors (one Chocolate and one Black), Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, clay Pigeon shooting, hill walking and general outdoors-y things, the Lake District, cake and the finest wines known to man...

Player B: Airbornegrove26
21st Century Warhammer 3 Stats:
  • Won: 0
  • Drawn: 0
  • Lost: 0

Illinois, USA

Gaming Experience:

I have been around war gaming my whole life. My father is big into historical gaming so have played various ACW, WW2, Napoleonics. I have always loved Warhammer but never actually played it much. Totally missed 3E. My Warhammer experience started in 5th grade when I bought issue 160. So mostly grew up on 4E. Really wanted to get into it though after reading most of your blogs. So thanks for the inspiration.

  1. Empire
  2. Chaos
  3. Various small warbands
Other Interests:

Well besides helping run the family business. I weight train, paint as much as possible, search for old figures on ebay, and lets not forget Diablo 3.

Writer: Gaj (Me!)
21st Century Warhammer 3 Stats:
  • Won: 1
  • Drawn: 0
  • Lost: 1

Nomansland (Wiltshire), England

Gaming Experience:

Started playing D&D in the late 80's and Warhammer in the early 90's, just catching the end of 3rd edition. Progressed all through until 8th edition, before electing to return to the 3rd edition. Gaj has started selling and trading his later edition armies to build up classic 3rd edition armies.

  1. Undead - target: Terror of the Lichemaster
  2. Orcs & Goblins - target: Forenrond's Last Stand
  3. Chaos - target: Realms of Chaos
  4. High Elves - every player probably should have at least one 'good' army...
Other Interests:

eBay - grade 'A' addict. Games of all sorts. Board games, card games, drinking games, psychological games, video games...

Geographic Locations

As before, we have ourselves another old world vs. new world match up! Is this the opportunity for the US to claw back a draw, or can the UK once again overcome the Goliath of the west? In this match up, we have Illinois, ably represented by Airbornegrove26 vs. (the original) York, represented by Thantsants. You might have heard of him before. 

The Armies

Orcs & Goblins - DA Swedicine Purfurds

Thantsants takes the task of leading the Goblinoid horde and their evil Dark Elf allies to capture the Percolator.

Dwarfs - Ironbeard's Conquerors

Airbornegrove26 takes the honorable task of leading the meeting between the Dwarfs and their Wood Elf allies to safe guard the Percolator.

So there you have it. We just need to publish the scenario and rules and whatnot, and then we're off!

Battle Navigator

Meet The Contestants (you are here)
Rules and Deployment
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Sunday 21 October 2012

Battle Report: The Bridge over the River Chai

Of course, when a blog is not updated for a while, people might sometimes suspect that the proprietor of said blog might be idle.

We've been doing this for a while, so I have no doubt that no such thoughts may have occurred to you about me. Other bloggers are idle. I just have lots of 'work in progress'...

Still, we finally reach a place where one of those works in progress has reached fruition: our next remote battle report. Our next one, I hear you ask? That suggests previous ones, doesn't it? It does indeed, astute reader. It does indeed. If you are new to our internet shenanigans, then you might be interested in the events at the Wyemm Seeyay, or at Koles Lorr. Very important, those, because those old enough to remember Wyemm Seeyay might recognise some of the very same heroes and villains from that report in this one. 

As always, we need to set the scene. 

Lets have a prologue:

"What do you mean 'pregnant'?"

King Domcome slowly creaked forward, fixing Lady Fasten Luuhs with his withering stare. Seventy dwarves formed the court of the king and seventy dwarves now followed the king's stare at the cause of the king's question.

"Pregnant! You know what pregnant means! There's a baby in here," Lady Luuhs barked whilst patting her belly. "And you heard the rest as well – the baby is his!"

The assembled court of dwarves gasped in unison as Lady Luuhs pointed a damning finger at a dishevelled elf, his fragile body wrapped in chains and his head resting on the executioner's block. Seventy pairs of dwarf eyes returned to the original objective of this court session: the execution of an elven spy.

He was making furious shushing noises whilst he frantically shook his head.

"Haha," he squeaked, his voice strained. "She's such a kidder, ain't she?"

"Shutup!" hissed the executioner, thumping his leathered fist down on the back of the elf's head.

As one, the dwarf heads swivelled back towards the king.

"So you mean to say that not only was this... thing caught spying in your chamber, you're telling me that it forced itself on you and you now carry its child?"

The dwarven court exploded in outrage. Dwarves tore at their beards and clothes, whilst others pelted the elf with semi-precious stones and any other bits of rubbish they had on their persons.

"Hoo boy," whispered the executioner. "Before, we were just gonna execute you, but now you've gone and done it..."

"I've gone and done it?" The elf squealed in indignation. "She's the one that's gone and done it! My dad warned me about bloody dwarves! Ow!" He winced as a piece of lupus lazuli bounced off his head.

The court slowly became aware of Lady Luuhs standing in the centre of the room, with her arms raised.


Dwarves, caught in mid throw, stopped and stared. One, unable to contain the momentum, toppled over, the sudden silence magnifying his crash to bomb-like proportions.

"He is NOT a rapist. He is NOT a spy!" Lady Luuhs glared at the court, daring anyone to make eye contact with her. She turned and faced the king. "He is my lover! Willingly did I share my bed with him! He is MY elf, and I love him! He is the father to MY child... AND I FORBID YOU TO KILL HIM!" She had crossed the floor whilst shouting and now stood nose to nose with the king, poking him in the chest with each word she yelled.

King Domcome stared at Lady Luuhs, his mouth opening and closing like a fish.

Silence pounded in the room, the atmosphere drenched with tension.

The king looked at the elf. "I don't believe you. It's just a phase. You can't love that."

"I can and I do!"

"He's got no beard!"

"I know! It's wonderful! His kisses are so sweet and tender!"

"He's got no belly!"

She looked up dreamily. "He is slender and muscular and so easy to grip!"

"He can't drink beer!"

"I know, but he drinks wine. Deep, red wine, passion made physical! Wine distilled in the unquenched desires of-"

The king's eyes grew wide as he interrupted. "He's got POINTY EARS!"

She sighed. "Oh uncle, I could nibble on his ears all day-"


Lady Luuhs backed away terrified as the king launched himself to his feet, flecks of spittle leaping from his lips.

"What about poor Sirrell Tonjon?" The king thrust his finger in the direction of a small, nervous little dwarf. "The dwarf you've been promised to? Are you saying that you've turned your back on this fine specimen of dwarven youth in order to carouse with THAT HIDEOUS THING THERE?"

"Sirrell Tonjon? That dwarf there?" Lady Luuhs pointed at the unfortunate dwarf, who appeared to be willing the floor to swallow him up. "Let me tell you about Sirrell Tonjon, uncle. Sirrell Tonjon is gay! He's the gayest dwarf in this whole bloody mountain range – there are none gayer than him!" She flashed her eyes at Sirrell before leaning in to close eye contact with the King again.

"Gay? He might have been gay once - I'm sure he was the happiest dwarf in all the kingdom when you were promised to him, but look at him now – you've destroyed any chance of him ever being gay again. Look at him! He's furious!

The king spun around, searching out Sirrell in the crowd. Lady Luuhs cocked her head to once side.

"Well?" barked the king.

"Er..." Sirrell mumbled. His eyes grew wide as he watched the king crack his knuckles. "Er...yes. Furious! Furious! Totally and royally peeved! I mean...well...just...y'know. Angry. Grrr." He looked down at his shoes.

"That it? Take your time son, we're all right behind you!" The king looked at Sirrell, his eyes suddenly tender.

"Er...that's it for now. Definitely need time to... digest the news. Grrr. Raargh. Fuming, I am. Just all fumey!"

King Domcome patted Sirrell tenderly on the shoulder whilst glaring at Lady Luuhs. "Look at this poor boy. He'll have to go and become a slayer now. Think of him, having to find his justice in those dark corridors as he hunts down trolls and giants, seeking out a lonesome and painful death deep below the earth to atone for the shame you've brought down on him today!"

Sirrell gulped. "Slayer? Me?"

Lady Luuhs snorted. "Slayer? Him?"

Seventy other dwarves whispered. "Slayer? Sirrell?"

The king looked around the room. "How else will he have justice? Although she has brought shame on this clan she hasn't broken any laws. Unlike the elf over there."

"Let him execute the elf!" someone shouted.

"Ooooh" went the crowd. That sounded like justice.

"Give him the elf!" another cry went out.

Soon, the court were stomping the feet and chanting "Give him the elf!" Give him the elf!"

The king raised his arms, bringing silence to the room.

"This is a good suggestion. Let the wronged groom wield the axe that severs the head of the elf from its scrawny body. What do you say, m'boy?"

Sirrell was painfully aware of the eyes on him. In a way, he owed the elf a debt of gratitude, now that he didn't have to marry Lady Luuhs. He looked up at the elf, taking in the wild eyes and hair. Sweat running down his body. Steam was rising from his muscular shoulders, causing condensation on the chains. Delicate hands. Hazel eyes. Torn breeches-

"Sirrell? Sirrell?" King Domcome shook him by the shoulders. "Come back to us, lad. You're panting. That rage must be burning up in you. You can go up there and take that axe right now-"

"NO!" Lady Luuhs cried.

"NO!" Sirrell cried.

"N-no?" The king raised an eyebrow.

"No," Sirrell replied, still staring at the elf. "Bring him to my room first. Just like that, in chains and all. I want to... um... punish him."

The king nodded slowly. "Dark, indeed, is your rage. Of course, as dwarves, we observe respect of our enemy and only use torture when necessary." He looked over at the elf. "In this case, I deem it sound for you to bring this elf to within an inch of his life. You'll have to say a few Hail Fairy's once you're done, though."

"Hail Fairy? I can do that," Sirrell said.

"What?" started Lady Luuhs. "The only inch of life my poor elf is going to see tonight is when Sirrell rams his-"

"TAKE HER AWAY!" yelled the king.

King Domcome shivered as the downdraft of the dragon's wings sent freezing gusts of mountain air deep into his neck and joints. He groaned as he stood up, brushing the snow from his cloak.

"Thanks for coming," he called out, once the dragon had settled. "It's been a while."

The king watched as the slender silhouette of the elf lord materialised into detail in the greyness of the mountain fog. At first impassive, his pinched face broke into a broad grin as he dropped to one knee and spread his arms wide. The two figures hugged, armour clinking against armour as they patted each other on the back.

"My pleasure, Conker. I was amazed that you called. Besides, it's been a nice flight. Always nice to go away from home. A bit like the old days, really. Although then, we didn't ride the dragons..."

The dwarf grinned. "Conker. Ain't heard that one in a while. Yep, sometimes I still wish we were out on the road, or in them dungeons again. Stuff was simple then."

The two swept some snow off a flattish stone, before setting down next to each other.

Lord Zinladyz, as the elf was known elsewhere, looked at the dwarf with concern on his face. "I got your message." He held up an enchanted jawbone. "These iBones are incredible, actually. Although mine's run out of mana at the moment."

The dwarf nodded. "Yeah, I get that all the time. It's because of the blue tooth." He produced his own iBone, indicating the vacant spot where a tooth had once been. "That blue glow really chews up the mana. Take it out, you don't need it."

"I'll keep that in mind. But back to the message – what's been troubling our old Conker, eh?"

King Domcome leaned forward, resting his elbows on his legs. "Well, it's like this." The elf listened patiently as the dwarf described the situation, nodding as he began to grasp hold of the unfolding events.

"...and now she's pregnant. I mean, it's not a crime, really. It'll mess things up with the Tonjon family and there'll be all sorts of repercussions there, but I can't actually prosecute anyone, because no actual crime has been committed. And, as much as I wanted for her to meet a nice dwarf and settle down and such, I understand that love is love. And she really, really seems to love this cheeky elf."

Lord Zinladyz nodded. "And, of course, there's this whole gay thing for the Tonjon's to deal with as well. I didn't realise that was such a problem in the dwarven kingdoms."

"What, happiness? Why is everyone so surprised that dwarves can be happy?"

"Well, that's not what...oh. Right. You don't know about... Yeah, you're right. Dwarves can... and should be happy. Let's leave the Tonjon's out of this, I think."

King Domcome nodded enthusiastically. "Thank you. Finally someone else gets it. So back to Lady Luuhs. What do you think we should do with this smitten couple? How would the elves react to this?"

For a while, the two sat silence, the only movement the cloudy breaths they exhaled as they pondered the situation.

Eventually, Lord Zinladyz spoke. "Unfortunately, I think the elves would react much the same way, should the situation be reversed. Unfortunately, not all elves have had the good fortune of adventuring with dwarves such as your good self in their youth, so they're a bit full of shit as well. I'd have to play the game like you're doing. Sucks to be you."

"Yeah, thanks for that."

"But as I think about it, why don't we get them married to each other, arrange for them to have a little cottage or something in one of the human lands, hidden away from elves and dwarves, where they can live their lives out in peace? Formalise the whole thing – you know, arrange a bride price, get them a honeymoon, the whole shebang. Get them out of your hold. Out of sight, out of mind, I've heard some humans say before."

"Hmmm. I dunno. I don't want to condone this sort of thing, you know."

Silence again.

"I'll tell you what I'll do," Lord Zynladyz said, stroking his chin. "I know just the thing to arrange for the bride price. I'll get some of the chaps to drop it off close by. We'll try not to make it too friendly, you know, some appropriate racial animosity, etcetera, etcetera. It should be enough to make it look as if the elves have had to give in a bit and should help to restore the pride of the hold a bit."

"You'd do that? Take the political hit, as it were?"

"For ol' Conker? Any day. Besides, that elf you've got locked up? That's one of Vass Saleen's boys. His operation has been a bit sloppy of late, so it'd be good to light a fire under his... well - derriere."

"That's good of you. I really appreciate that. Thanks."

The two figures stood and shook hands.

"That's my pleasure. Happy to help a friend out. Also, I brought something for you. I bet you don't get much of this down in the mountains."

King Domcome looked up at the elf in awe. "No? Really? White Zinfandel? I don't believe it!"

"Knew you'd like it. Here. I was kind of hoping you might have something to trade for it?" said the elf, playful speculation in his voice.

"I still can't believe you eat this crap, but here you go," said the dwarf, handing over his tins of spam.

The elf shivered in mock anticipation whilst rubbing his hands together. "Lovely! Can't get this stuff anywhere else."

"Anyway," King Domcome said, "I really must get going. Who knows what they've been doing down there whilst I've been away. They'll be bloody marrying goblins next. I'll call you." He waved his iBone at the elf. "Don't forget the blue tooth."

"Catch you later, Conker," called the elf as he revived his slumbering dragon.

King Domcome watched as the shadow of the dragon descended the side of the mountain to be swallowed by the mist.

"I wish they were all like him," he said. "Although, if he got a dwarf pregnant, I'd have to knock his block off as well."

"What do you mean 'pregnant'?"

Lord Vass Saleen leaned forward slowly, fixing Lord Zynladyz with a questioning stare.

"Pregnant! You know what pregnant means! He put a baby in a dwarf, no doubt through the repeated thr-"

"They can have babies? Dwarves?"

"Yes. They can, and they do. And, your boy Sterone has achieved the same feat, with the delightful Lady Fasten Luuhs, as I understand it."

"Testo would never do such a thing! I mean, carousing around the forest with dwarves and whatnot. Boy doesn't have it in him."

"Actually, Saleen, so that we're clear. I'm not asking you what Testo Sterone would do. I'm telling you what he has already done. Now I'm going to tell you what you're going to do about it. I have no questions to ask you. Clear?"

"That's a question," Saleen muttered quietly.

"I'll pretend I didn't hear that. Because if I did hear that, I might have raised your harvest tax to fifty percent. Good thing you didn't say anything and I didn't hear anything." Lord Zynladyz calm voice did little to hide the menace of his intent.

"So this is what is going to happen. Testo is going to marry Lady Luuhs and take up his responsibility as father to that child. I've already identified a lovely little place for the two of them to stay, so they'll be well outside of both elven and dwarven lands when the child is born. I think they'll be happy there.

"Part of the deal is that the father's family must pay a bride price. I want you to arrange for a suitable escort of elves to pop down to the bridge over the river Chai, and hand over Percolator. That is the bride price-"

"Percolator?" yelped Vass. "Percolator? Surely not! We need Percolator here!"

"No you don't. You don't even know how to use it properly."

"That's not true. We use Percolator to perk up the morning and evening watches. They're much faster in their reactions with Percolator. It's ancient and incredibly valuable. The little gritsuckers probably couldn't even switch it on! Can't we give them something else?"

Lord Zynladyz sighed. "Look. I'm sorry that the price is so high for your family. Trust me when I say you don't need Percolator. Elves shouldn't need anything like that so it would be good to get your chaps used to not having it around.

"Anyway, I've arranged for the delivery to happen at noon a week today. Get to it!"

Lord Zynladyz turned his back and paced out of the room, leaving Lord Vass Saleen fuming in his throne.

"I'm gonna kill that boy..."

Master B'tor steepled his fingers, looking over their elegant fingernails at the hooded elf.

"So you're saying that Percolator will make my raiders faster than ever before, and give them the ability to work through day and night without rest?"

"Yes, Master! Long have the wood elves hidden the secret of Percolator, but they have let slip today that it is to be traded with the dwarves. Naturally, I thought of you first when I heard..."

Master B'tor stroked his elegant chin. "Yes, that was good of you. You are a most faithful spy. Your membership on my crew is all but assured."

"I need my raiders to be as effective as possible. Percolator does sound like just the thing. Even now, I can see their astonished faces in Naggaroth when they ponder our success. My only concern is that I don't have enough elves to snatch it."

"Master – the same doubt crossed my mind. It just so happens that there are a tribe of warrior orcs camped near our anchor. It is well known how violent the orcs are – and very keen to prosecute the dwarves at any opportunity. I realise they are untrustworthy allies, but perhaps, just this once, we could engage them?"

"What's your name again?" Master B'tor asked as he looked deep into the cowl of the spy.

"Sprayes, Master."

"Welcome to my crew, Seaman Sprayes. You have outdone yourself! Head ashore and arrange for us to meet these orcs. We don't have much time!"

"So Seaman Squirtz here sez you's got a problem wit' dwarves?"

The elves looked at the monstrous shoulders of Rogaine, the orc captain. His massive frame was covered in scarred skin so deeply green it was almost black. Standing, their eyes were level with his, sitting.

"Sprayes. Seaman Sprayes. Not squirtz."

Rogaine ignored Sprayes, locking his deep-set eyes on Master B'tor. The silence was punctuated by the sound of the waves rolling into the shore.

"That's right," Master B'tor said. "Normally, I have no issue with dwarves, but it just so happens that they are expecting to take delivery of a possession of mine. I want to intercept it before the dwarves make off with it."

"Sure, sure. I got no problems with dwarves either, 'cept when they gots my possessions. Right now they gots my swords and my helmets and my shields and my beer and my gold. I... understand your situation. What do you want me to do?"

"Well,, Rogaine. I was hoping you would help us by beating the dwarves into a tiny pulp whilst we retrieved my possessions?"

Rogaine scratched his chin. "What did you lose, anyway?"

"I lost a chest containing a family heirloom. It's about so big." He indicated the dimensions of the chest with his hands.

"Okay, okay. I got time, so lets play the game. What's in the chest?" Rogaine asked in a bored voice.

"I'm not sure you need to know, Mr Rogaine – the deal I'm interested in is simply to pay you to protect us whilst we recover the chest."

The orc captain cocked his head slightly, as if considering Master B'tor in a new light. The orc took a deep breath, releasing the air slowly as he pondered the elf.

"Mister B'tor-"

"Master B'tor," the elf corrected.

"Master B'tor - I dunno how you all do business wherever you come from, but we's making plans to be business partners, right. That means trust. Look – there's only a handful of you here on the beach – there's loadsa boys here. If we wanted you dead, you'd be dead. So you gots to trust us, see?" The orc leaned forward, cracking his knuckles. "See, if I know what's in the box, then I know the risk me and the boys is taking. Probably, whatever's in the box is some crap elf thing I couldn't even fit around my big toe, so its probably safe, okay? So tell me – whats in the box?"

"It's hardly elven crap! It's an ancient elven relic! It is named Percolator and brings with it the power to stay wake for days! " Too late, Master B'tor realised the trap he'd fallen into. He shook his head. "In my line of work, that is a very powerful thing indeed. " How did the orc do that anyway? They were supposed to be as dumb as posts. "Only elves can use it anyway," he added, mumbling into his chest.

Rogaine checked his nails, digging carefully under each one for any possible leftovers.

"I thinks I heard of it before. Makes K'fe, don't it?"

The assembled elves gasped.

"No one has heard of Percolator before. How come you know about it?"

"I never heard of Percolator before. But I been aroun' and I heard of stuff. Like K'fe – gots the same power as wot you jus' said. Must be K'fe, is all. Had some before."

Master B'tor cocked his head. "How do I know you won't want Percolator then?"

"Don't like K'fe. None of the boys do. You can feel it goin' through yer kidneys. Keeps you awake at night, always goin' to the little boys room. Ain't no way to be. Fine, if you lot want it, but we don't want none of it. Besides – like you said, its only for elves, right?" Rogaine winked at the elf.

"Where did you find this K'fe?" Master B'tor asked. "No one knows anything about it!"

"Down in Tilea, I 'spect. They gots a chap... eh, called Barrista or summat like that. Makes it real good, apparently. Cheap too. To be honest, its prolly easier for you lot to just go there."

Seaman Sprayes leaned over and whispered to Master B'tor in elven. "He's just an orc, Master. He has no idea what he's talking about. I mean, Barrista? Really? That's the most made up name I've ever heard."

Master B'tor nodded. "Yeah, probably you're right. I can't believe the stuff is just available to buy."

Rogaine watched the two of them, his face emotionless. "Look. I don't mind you boys discussing in your cute little language an' all, but try not to do it in front of the boys – it's making 'em nervous."

The two elves took in the orc guards standing behind Rogaine. The hulking beasts looked about as nervous as a pack of bulldogs staring at a mouse.

"Er...quite. My apologies, Mister Rogaine. We were just discussing payment options. We were thinking of proposing our entire cargo of beer for you and your men. We've heard that orcs don't have much use for gold."

"No you ain't. You's just hopin' we haven't got much use for gold."

"Um...lets get back to the beer?"

"Elf beer? Thanks, but no thanks. Jus' beery tasting piss, really."

"Oh dear. That is a pity – we take many hundreds of years to brew it."

Rogaine shrugged. "Well, it sounds like you need a few hundred years more. Tells you wot, we'll do the dwarves in for your silver shirt."

Master B'tor looked down at his mail vest. "I'm afraid I can't do that. This is a family heirloom and is absolutely not for trade."

"Another family heirloom? . You weren't born yesterday – everythin's for trade. Look. I know we're orcs an' everyone always goes on talkin' about how thick the orcs are: Blah blah blah. Look at that dumb orc. Walkin' around on his knuckles, howlin' at the moon and drinking his own bathwater. Blah, blah, blah..

"We get that all the time. Thing is, I ain't dumb. I can see you need to get your hands on this Percolator thing. You don't have the men or the equipment, or even know where you're going. Me, on the other hand – I know where to get beer. Way better than that horseshit you're sailing around with. I know where the dwarves are and I got the boys to fix the problem. I can help. For just that shirt? That's cheap, elf. Cheap! So is it a deal?"

"This is Galvorn mail, Rogaine. Galvorn. It is worth more than the boat and the entire crew. Even if you were able to get this, you don't have the tools to change its shape in order to somehow even make this thing fit you, which it won't regardless of what you do with it, because its just too hard. You're right – we're in a pinch, but we're not stupid either!"

Rogaine looked at the elf, a glitter of respect showing in his tiny red eyes.

"S'good. Good to know you gots a line. Can't trust a bloke wit' no line, y'know. Still, we'll do it for the Galvorn. Nothing else."

Master B'tor's eye started twitching. "But it won't fit you! You can't break it apart, or cut it, or reshape it in any way. Its useless to you!"

"Not true. Besides, I don't need to change its shape or anything. Simple story, really: I used to have two gonads, now I got one. I wanna keep it that way for as long as possible. Your silver shirt'll wrap me up nicely, see?"

Master B'tor choked. "W-what? You want to wrap my ancient and incalculably valuable family heirloom around your left testicle? That's what you're asking for?"

For the first time in their meeting, Rogaine grinned. "Now you're getting it."

King Domcome watched as Morgrim Ironbeard descended to the courtyard to address his men. It was times like these when he was so grateful that Morgrim had so much experience – especially with the dastardly elves.

"Vass Saleen?" Morgrim has asked. "I heard that name before. It was his lot that we sorted up at Wyemm Seeyay, I think. Didn't realise they still had any appetite for trouble after that."

"I can't begin to imagine what makes the elves tick, Morgrim, old boy, which is what makes them so bloody dangerous. Remember, we're not attacking them unless they try anything funny! All we want is this Percolator thing. Anyway, you know what to do. Meet them at the bridge over the river Chai at noon..."

Morgrim beckoned Snorri Oneye over. The other dwarf's smile faded as he saw the look on Morgrim's face.

Morgrim pointed over Snorri's shoulder. "What's that doing in here?"

Snorri turned to look in the direction of Morgrim's gauntleted hand. "Come now, sir! It's not a what, it's a who. We all got the memo about equal opportunity employers, remember? His name's Meedy Ochre. I thought he'd lend us a hand. Bet the elves wouldn't offer any trouble with him on our side, eh?"

Morgrim put his arm over Snorri's shoulder, gently turning the dwarf around and walking him away from the entrance to the hold.

"Snorri, son. You know that we send out hunting parties to kill giants, don't you? You know about Giant Slayers? You know – the really, really angry dwarves? They like to kill giants. Giants like Meedy Ochre. There's a reason we do that. Something to do with them being twenty feet tall and us being four feet tall. Where the did you find him?"

"Er...he came with Nico, over there. They were looking for work."

Morgrim looked over at a small cluster of humans milling around in front of the giant. Their leader nodded to him across the keep.

"So, because they were looking for work, you, filled with the milk of dwarven kindness, elected to bring their poor, weary souls into our keep, so they could rest their aching muscles, after which, we would pay them money to assist us in a cakewalk mission? Do you really think we need the help?"

"He...looked really mean. I just thought he'd help. Besides, they don't want money. They want beer. We've enough of that, right?"

"Ah, so the plot thickens. Your master plan for the security of our hold, our mines, our families and our way of life was to invite a lonely giant and his hanger's on into our home and then beer him up? That sounded like a good idea to you, did it?"

Snorri swallowed. " that you put it that way..."

"Look. You're a good kid. Leading the Ironaxes is no easy task. Those boys respect you. If you want to get ahead in the army, however, you're going to have to think a little harder, okay? It's not all guns and axes all the time, right?"

Snorri nodded, looking down at his shoes. "Sorry sir."

"We're dwarves, so we've cut a deal, right? We're not like the other races – we mean what we say, so they're hired now. That said, you got a new job – Meedy Ochre and his mates are at the front of the column. You're up next. If anything happens with that giant – it's your problem, okay?"

Snorri brightened suddenly. "Does that mean we can baby sit the beer cart?"

Morgrim patted Snorri on the head, making sure Snorri's bare head felt every clanking jolt of Morgrim's gauntlet.

"Atta boy. That's thinking, see? I like where you're going. Unfortunately, I'm pulling rank on you. Giant's yours. Beer cart's mine. Dismissed."


Tuesday 9 October 2012

The Apparent Power of Words

Thought I should post something, just as one of those 'still alive' posts that surface from time to time.

You see, the last time I wrote, I mentioned man flu. It was lazily couched in a pun, but it was there.

And lo, there was man flu. Prodigious, abundant and unforgiving. Today is the first day I've even felt like typing. Unfortunately, the flu is not one of those sicknesses that lends itself much to writing, or painting or any general hobby work, so nothing has happened there.

Still, if you are interested in my well being, know that I have spent the time watching science fiction and playing old video games - I just finished The Secret of Monkey Island - in colour! It came out in 1990, I think, so its 'in the ballpark' as regards the hobby time period.

And, whilst we explore the power of words, I thought I might use the same method that bought down the flu on me. So I say these words now:

Euromillions jackpot.