It was a dark and stormy night, when,
walking along the riverbank, some lights
glittering under the old willow tree, the
flying hellbeasts swarmed down from the dark, inky sky. The man screamed,
long and piercing, as the swarm bit in to his flesh. The man staggered back, pressing his fingers into the
hellbeast's small, crimson eyes. The creature fell back with a cry. The man
fell into a half-crouch, one hand flew to his throat to staunch the flow of
blood. In the same movement, the other drew his blaster, aimed and fired.
The hellbeast's head disappeared in a mist of green liquid.
Ouch! Our man looked around him to find a
walnut. After a long day's work at the farm, he had fallen asleep by the
river on a warm summer night. The walnut had woken him up from a nightmare.
He looked around, but no sight of hellbeasts anywhere. He turned over and
went back to sleep.
He came to. He had obviously been unconscious
for some time as the three other hellbeasts had already consumed most of
his right thigh. With his one usable hand, he grabbed a pinch of white
wizard sand from the pouch on his belt, threw it wildly at the vermin. He
fell back and did not wake 'til the clanking of chains invaded his ears.
He, Twadostick Funglesmith, was prisoner of the
Dark Lord Bane!
Twado examined his surroundings. He was in a small iron cell barely two
paces wide, there seemed to be no door. A twinge of pain reminded him that
most of the meat from his thigh was gone, and that bone was visible. It had
stopped bleeding thanks to his augmented healing ability, but Twado
realised that something had to be done to prevent infection. He withdrew
some more white sand from his pouch, sprinkled some into the open wound and
focussed his energy on it. A fraction of a candle later, the edges of the
wound began to knit and the pain was reduced. He found he could stand, and
staggered to the wall. It was set with rivets; seemingly at random, etched
in to the iron walls, were strange shapes and diagrams. They looked
irregular as if melted.
Suddenly there was a clang, and the cell shuddered. Twado started sweating;
the air temperature seemed to have risen. He felt the wall and recoiled
quickly, it was too hot to touch! His mind reeled, they were heating up his
cell, and there was no escape…
The strange symbols etched on the cage began to
glow white, and steam with a pungent smell of turnips. Suddenly the cage
exploded and three Stavrosgard guards hauled him down a passageway. He had
hardly had time to consider his position before their heads were hewn from
their bodies. More blood. Twado was tiring of the sight and smell of it.
He leaped up, with surprising vigour, to get away. Twado's head intersected
with the low passageway ceiling.
He woke to sharp pains. From his nose. Someone was plucking his nostril
"Err… Hello?" Twado remarked, amidst squeals of
"Ah! Hail," The old man stated, calmly continuing his plucking.
"Could you stop stealing my nose hair?"
"Oh, sorry, force of habit."
Twado rose, massaging his nose. "What happened? Who are you?"
"My name is Lobsang, I have come to rescue you."
"So you killed the guards and opened the cell?"
"You speak soothe," Lobsang said, while he chewed on the nose hairs.
"With what? You haven't even got a weapon," Twado asked, suppressing his
"Ah… observe." Lobsang withdrew a silver fan, and waved it in front of
"What in Borc's seven nostrils is this? A fan? What, are you? Some kind of
"Hmm… hold out you hand and I will cut it off!"
"I would like to see you try, you merchant of stupidity," Twado sneered,
raising his hand. There was a thunk as his severed hand hit the floor.
"Aaahg! You old dastard, do you know how much wizard's sand costs?" he
screamed, clutching at his stump.
"Not to worry, I have a small supply," Lobsang remarked as he took a sip
from a thermos, which had appeared from under his robe.
Suddenly, three Stavrosgard gladiators charged from the passageway ahead.
They were heavily armoured, and carried long blades.
Twado leaped backwards, cursing; reached for his gun, drove his bloody
stump into the handle, screamed in pain, summoned a force field, and sat
down to rest. In the time that it took Twado to do his dance, Lobsang
placed his thermos carefully on the ground, opened his fan, revealing
razor-sharp woven steel, and flung it.
"Attac…" said a Stavros, as his head was removed in a spray of gore.
"Plaahg," said another, as he came in contact, face first, with Lobsang's
The third Stavros, who was more cautious than his companions, slowed to a
halt, his master had not mentioned robed killing machines when they were
told to capture the prisoner. He advanced slowly; the old bearded coot was
lighting what appeared to be a pipe; the prisoner was whimpering on the
floor, surrounded by a blue force field, trying to reattach