Category Archives: Story

Gnarshm’s Dream (part 2) [The Skeleton Head]

Gnarshm approached the entrance to the Skeleton Head. The seedy dive emanated a vibe of filth and evil. As the gnoll reached the doors to the questionable establishment, Gnarshm second thought his choice to visit the tavern, but ultimately decided to enter the place. It must be done. He must seek out the Seer, and the gnoll’s only link to the sage is through this wretched and cursed residence.

The gnoll pushed open the doors to the Skeleton Head. Inside a wide assortment of vile and disgusting creatures lurked about drinking brew and partaking in other various sorts of self destructive behavior. Yet a familiar face and voice seemed to shine a beacon of light throughout this filth ridden bar. That blasted kobold Iscreem. Somehow Gnarshm didn’t find seeing the kobold here in this place to be of anything out of the ordinary. In fact the kobold seemed to fit into this place rather miraculously.

Gnarshm crept quietly through the tavern but it was of no use. The gnoll had been spotted. Iscreem’s eyes widened and the kobold spewed words out of his mouth in a slurred drunken speech. “Where the hell! have you been? Gnoll!” the kobold shouted.

“Your drunk again! Keep your voice down, kobold. I’m not here wanting to attract attention.” the gnoll warned. A group of rowdy gamblers sit at a table nearby wheeling and dealing in their game of cards. A particularly seedy looking character lifts its wretched head and stares in Gnarshm’s direction.

The kobold spins his barchair around to face Gnarshm. “OH! Gone aLL high n’ mighty on mee have ya! {hic} I remember you when you’wr NOTHING! You wr NOTHING without ME! the kobold slurred venomously. “I’m the one who killed the Time Lord! ME! {hic} ME!” How many times did I bring your ROTTING CORPSE back to the temple!?” Iscreem shouted.

Denizens of the seedy skeleton head start to take notice of the commotion. Two large and hulkish hobgoblin bouncers appear, making their way through a crowd of patrons towards the kobold and gnoll. At the far end of the bar, a reptilian creature swills from a mug while keeping watch over Gnarshm and the increasingly belligerent kobold.

The larger of the hobgoblin pair approaches Gnarshm. “What’s the problem? Nomok no like problems! Nomok make problems disappear.” the hobgoblin threatened. The second hobgoblin bouncer held a spiked club in his hand and looked on rather menacingly.

“No problems. There are no problems here. My friend and I were just taking a booth.” Gnarshm said as he grabbed Iscreem by the tunic and backed away from the bar and the two hulking hobgoblins. Gnarshm shoved the kobold down into a partially secluded booth. “Sit down and shut up.” the gnoll muttered to Iscreem, while motioning to a barmaid to bring a round of ale for the two. The hobgoblins stood and watched them for a bit longer until they were distracted by the card playing group of patrons who had overturned their table and gotten into a fistfight over assumptions of one of the gamblers cheating at their game.

With the heat of the bouncers taken elsewhere, Gnarshm breathed a sigh of relief. The gnoll relaxed a bit in his seat. A few moments later a beautiful blonde barmaid brought two towering mugs of ale and set them down onto their table. The kobold instantly reached for his mug and drank from it greedily.

“Where’s Crumm?” Gnarshm asked the kobold.

Iscreem lifted his mug higher and higher as he swiftly gulped down the ale. The messy kobold couldn’t get his aim right as some of the ale dripped from his mouth and spilled onto his tunic. When the kobold finished his drink, he slammed the empty mug down onto their booth’s wooden table and proceeded to order yet another round from the barmaid.

“Crumm? Where’s Crumm you say? That brainless oaf said he gots bored. {hic} He gots some job working for harbormaster on some boat. Don’t know why. I says what mores could he possibly want? He gots monies! He gots monies for ale! {hic}…

The blonde barmaid brought another round of ale for the kobold.

“He gots monies for women too!” Iscreem winked at the blonde barmaid, who in turn gave the kobold a disgusted look and roller her eyes, as she returned to the bar to serve other patrons.

“AND! … And!…”, the kobold takes a swill from the new mug the barmaid brought before continuing his speech.

“…and he’s got monies for ALE too! so you can sees {hic} why I have no idea why Crumm left.”  the kobold lifted his mug one last time, finished off the remaining ale, and passed out onto the table, leaving Gnarshm alone to deal with the now unconscious kobold.

“I think I’m beginning to understand why Crumm left.” Gnarshm muttered to himself as he checked the kobold’s pulse to make sure he was still alive. The gnoll remained at the booth a bit longer to finish his brew, then made sure to leave sufficient funds to cover Iscreem’s tab, giving a heft tip to the barmaid to ensure the kobold’s safe return to the castle’s inn.

Gnarshm eyed the reptilian creature at the other end of the bar who had seemingly been watching the gnoll’s every move since Gnarshm entered the skeleton head. A disturbing and unsettling feeling swept over the gnoll as he walked towards the reptile, but the gnoll continued onwards and took a seat next to the reptilian.

“You are the one called Sliver, am I right?” Gnarshm asked the reptile. The reptilian nodded positively.

“I seek the advise of the Seer and was told that you could bring me to him. Can you help me?” the gnoll asked of the reptile.

The reptilian made no discernible reaction.

Gnarshm decided to try again with some incentive. He reached into his pocket, grabbed a handful of gold coins and placed them onto the table in front of the lizard. “Can you bring me to the Seer?” Gnarshm asked.

The reptile took the coins placed before him, stood up and walked towards a skeleton head employee entrance only room and turned to motion the gnoll to follow him. Gnarshm looked about to see if anyone else would follow. No one else seemed to care, or at least it didn’t appear that way. Gnarshm followed the reptile into one of the taverns back rooms. The reptile led the gnoll down a long dark corridor, opened a trap door from the floor and brought Gnarshm into a cellar and onwards to a back exit which lead into a rat infested alleyway and straight to a steel door. The reptile knocked the door twice, then once, and then twice again. A few moments later, movement could be heard from beyond the steel door. After a sound of sliding metal and a loud clang from the other side of the door, someone opened the door from the inside, allowing entrance of both the reptilian creature and the gnoll Gnarshm. From beyond the door, an aged and mystical looking fellow with crystal eyes peered into Gnarshm’s soul.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Gnarshm’s Dream (part 1)

Gnarshm awoke on his bed at the inn’s royal suite in a nightmarish sweat. The gnoll was certain he had shouted in his sleep and that the inn’s maid would be checking in to make sure that the gnoll was alright in moments time.

The vivid dream was still ingrained in his gnoll-ish mind. He heard the old green hatted gnome’s voice as lucidly as if he were right here in this very room speaking with him. Night after night, the dream replays in the gnoll’s mind.  What does it mean? What should he do? Could it be that the old gnome was still alive after all? Gnarshm tried to remember in as many details as he could, the final moments of the battle against the tenth and final time lord.

Words. Greenhat spoke an incantation as the time lord threw the old gnome into the abyss. The gnome’s voice then seemed to echo in Gnarshm’s mind, but he couldn’t make sense of the words. Neither then, nor now.

Suddenly, the gnoll heard a knock on the door and the voice of the inn’s maid inquiring to the gnoll’s current state of well being. Gnarshm heard the metal key turn the lock and the door began to open with a creak. “Are you okay in there? Do you need anything?” the maid inquired.

“It is alright Esmeralda. I just had another nightmare, that is all.” the gnoll replied.

The maid pushed open the door further and spoke. “Were the temple priests not able to help you? Its a month’s night and yet you still have this same dream?” The maid looked worried as she wheeled through a plate of food towards the gnoll’s bedside. “I bring you your mid-day meal of tea and biscuits as you have requested sir.” Esmeralda said.

“It is mid-day again already? Gnarshm nursed the wound on his head and affixed a fresh bandage. I had meant to awaken earlier. I’ve spoken with the temple priest again. I fear his aid can only reach so far. I will need to seek further assistance elsewhere.” Gnarshm stated as he looked upon the tray of delicious biscuits and honey tea. “Thank you, it all looks scrumptious, however I cannot eat and I must go meet an acquaintance at the ‘Skeleton Head’.”

“The Skeleton Head? No good will come from there, and its no good to start your day without a good meal in your belly. I’d stay clear of that place if I were you. Please. Keep your head about you for goodness sake. Besides, your tea will get cold and you are the last of our great heroes to remain at the inn now, save for that horrid kobold.” Esmeralda pleaded.

“What do you mean? I spoke with Crumm just last night and I thought he had decided to stay.” Gnarshm spoke with a slight shock in his voice.

“Crumm and the kobold had a bit of a falling out after you left, and the ogre decided it was best for him to leave.” the maid replied.

“Darn! How can this be? It’s only been a month. I thought for sure the party would stick together longer than this.” a frustrated Gnarshm exclaimed.

“I don’t suppose there might be anything that I can do sir?” Esmeralda asked.

“No.” the gnoll replied, but as the maid reached the door to exit the room, Gnarshm suddenly had a change of mind. “Wait, perhaps there is something you can do. Can you send word to the hobbit Ruby? I need to speak with her. She will understand. I know she will.” the gnoll asked of the maid.

“Very well sir, I will send word to Ruby to meet you in your quarters.” the maid replied.

With that, the maid left to send word to the hobbit, and the gnoll left for the Skeleton Head.

 

 

 

 

 

Santa delivered! The old gnome was right after all!

Santa is real. He really is! Iscreem had his doubts from the beginning and it didn’t help that Twiggy kept antagonizing and making fun at the kobold warrior’s expense at every available turn.

“Santa is folklore for little kids! Santa isn’t real!  Santa is for delusional attention deficit disordered kobolds!”  Twiggy would taunt at him, but it wasn’t true. None of what the elf wizard told him about Santa was true. Why do elves have to be so mean and cruel? Greenhat had always said to be on your best behavior so Santa will bring you something good for Christmas and to everyone’s surprise, that is exactly what happened.

Santa had left the kobold warrior a fine and exquisite set of the infamous ‘Cobold Carrot Carving Knives’. How did Santa know that the kobold was a collector of ‘Cobold’ carving equipment? and how did he know the kobold’s favorite vegetable was the carrot?

“Santa knows all! He knows who is good and who is bad! How else would he know about my love for ‘Cobold Carrot Carving Knives!’?” the kobold stammered.

“Silly kobold! I’ve lost count of the number of times you have blabbered on and on about those ridiculous carrot knives!  Santa didn’t give them to you! Greenhat left them to you in his will!” the elven wizard blasted.

“What?! but the tag says this gift was from Santa! Greenhat!, that old gnome. He really did get senile in his old age didn’t he?” Iscreem muttered.

“No more brain frazzled than poor Gnarshm I suppose.” Twiggy said.

“Oh well, have a merry Christmas anyways!” the kobold grandly announced!”

… and a festive and merry time was had by all.

 

 

Time Lord #10 The Final Encounter -RoQIV

With fearless determination, the party marched onwards after locating the black key in the middle of the “B”, and reached the blackened door of the tenth Time Lord, which Gnarshm marked on his book of cartography with the letter “G”. The door was adorned with skulls, dripping with blood and emanated an essence of pure evil. With weapons drawn and spells at the ready, the elven thief Elvira inserted the last and final black key and opened the door. A cold icy frost drifted outwards sending a vile chill onto the adventurers.

Further into the lair the adventurers stepped, inch by inch as a feeling of dread overwhelmed the party until a wretched voice seeped into their brains.

“You have defeated the other nine lord’s but you will not beat me. Now, prepare to meet your maker and die!” the tenth Time Lord appeared out of the darkness with a staff of orcus, slamming the staff on the floor with a loud and enormous THUD.

The floor began to shake and crumble. Bits of the stone floor wasted away revealing a gaping pit into a hellish abyss below. Fire erupted sending flames outward and upward scorching the party whilst demons from the hell below reached towards the adventurers with bloodied claws.

time_lord_battle_10

The Time Lord sent shockwaves of lightning at the party. Elvira took the brunt of the attack and her skin lit afire and began to burn while the summoned demons took away the rest of her burning flesh into the depths below.

tl10kills_yellow

Sammy leapt into action slashing violently against the time lord with her blade but her hand was grasped by the evil lord and her blade was sent backwards piercing a hole through her armor and through to the other side of her now dying body. The time lord pushed her too, into the fiery abyss.

tl10kills_green

The remaining party fought back valiantly against the summoned asmodeus and demogorgons.

Iscreem pulled the stolen gem of meteors from his pocket. “Well, its now or never. Lets do this now! he shouted as he threw the gem towards the enemies. The gemstone shattered and blew a hole through the ceiling of the dungeon. Moments later the dungeon filled with stars and meteors which ricocheted throughout the dungeon, throwing a wild bombardment of starlike meteors onto the vile demons eliminating the cruel asmodeus.

mygoditsfullofstars

“My God, it’s full of stars!” Iscreem shouted as the gem of meteors rocketed through and tore apart the demon’s evil flesh.

The rest of the party launched a full on attack against the Time Lord and the remaining demogorgons.

ruby_hits_76

demogorgondies1

With the remaining demons laid waste, Crumm and the rest of the party focus their attacks on the final vile and last Time Lord.

crum_hits_68

twiggy_hits_62

Wounded and dying, the tenth Time Lord struggles profusely and manages one last attack against the party. The Time Lord grasped violently at the old gnome. With Greenhat’s throat clasped in the wretched Time Lord’s Hands, the evil lord threw the green hatted gnome into the endless fire scorched and hellish pit below.

Greenhat let out a final shout of defeat as he fell into the abyss, his voice seemed to eternally echo in Gnarshm’s mind as the old gnome fell into the Time Lord’s blackened void.

Gnarshm and Iscreem lunged at the Time Lord in unison, with Iscreem dealing the final blow against the tenth Time Lord.

iscreem_defeats_tl10

With the blade of excalibur plunged deep into the the Time Lord’s belly, the wretched lord let out a fatal scream as his flesh disintegrated and fell to the ground as a heap of dust and ash and the staff that the time lord held fell to the floor in a clatter.

Iscreem was still in shock at having defeated the final Time Lord as he looked onto the remaining party members. It was finally over. The ten Time Lords have been defeated. The party gathered around the kobold warrior and expressed their sorrow over losing three of their adventuring companions to the evil Time Lord.

Ruby found a golden chest on the far end of the room which contained a large and valuable loot of gold and Iscreem picked up the staff of the fallen Time Lord.

tl10_treasure

iscreem_view_staff_of_orcus

The remaining party members made their way back to the castle, triumphant in their defeating of the ten Time Lord’s but in sorrow for having lost Greenhat, Sammy and Elvira to the Time Lord.

back_at_the_castle

Iscreem let a tear fall from his eye. It was the first time that any of the party had seen him in a moment of true sorrow.

“Don’t feel too bad. The old gnome would have been proud of our accomplishment. We set out to defeat the ten Time Lord’s and that is exactly what we did.” Ruby said to try to comfort the kobold warrior.

Twiggy patted the kobold on the back. “We defeated a great evil, and you still have us. Life goes on. It is the way of things.” the elf wizard said.

“It can’t be over just yet, we never did get to see the royal wine cellars, did we? or go horseback riding.” Gnarshm asked.

“Here we go again.” Crumm mumbled.

Iscreem replied with a smile on his face. “Don’t worry Gnarshm, with the vast amount of gold that we looted from the Time Lords, you’d be able to buy a wine cellar of your own and fill it with as many bottles as you can fit into it. Now where is that tavern anyway? I’ve got some coins to spend now too.” the kobold said with a sly grin.

 

 

 

 

The Hermit -RoQIV

Having recuperated for a month at the castle’s inn after an extensive exploration of the dungeons below, the party was again ready to descend through the labyrinth, but this time the party would traverse to the final level of the Time Lord’s Lair. Gnarshm had come a long way from his meager beginnings as a young and quite naive peasant, and was now just as battle ready and as armed to the teeth as his kobold warrior companion, Iscreem.

Ruby and Twiggy had their spells memorized after extensive hours of studying the runes of their spellbooks, while Crumm and Sammy spent their time sharpening their blades whilst fixing and fitting their armor.

Elvira was growing impatient with all of this studying and preparation, and was ready to take on the final time lord all by herself by the time the rest of the party was again ready to descend the dungeons dark depths. She stopped and peered at the old gnome with sudden interest when she found him chanting and uttering strange words and incantations of a language thought to have been long forgotten in this time and age.

“What are you doing?” she asked the gnome.

“Please be quiet. I must have full concentration for this.” Greenhat muttered in response to the rogue elf’s inquiry.

The gnome continued his spell and spoke in strange tongues while reading runes from an ancient looking manuscript. The party gathered around the gnome as his voice began to alter and distort in ways that seemed incomprehensible and otherworldly. The gnome’s face began to strain painfully as he grew visibly weak . Before long a loud noise began to rumble and echo through the halls, then the dungeon walls began to shake. A fiery red force emblazed a circle in front of the old gnome as the wall in front of him began to melt and drizzle to the dirty stone floor below. Before the party now shone a waving mystical portal to a location unknown. It’s power was great and energy emanated from the circle of its gate. “Step through the portal.” the old gnome said.

Elvira hesitated. A sense of fear overwhelmed her as did the rest of the party.

“Do not fear. Step through the portal. Do it NOW!” I cannot keep the gate open for long!” Greenhat warned as his body began to shake as he grew weaker from the spell’s powerful effect.

One by one the party stepped through the gate with the old gnome making the final step through the portal’s passage. On the other side, the party arrived at a dark blackened corridor and the gate quickly evaporated into nothingness as if it had never been there at all.

“What was that? Where are we?” Gnarshm asked inquisitively.

“I opened a gate to bring us directly to the Time Lord’s tenth level. We are now at the deepest and darkest part of the dungeon. This is where we must face the last of the Time Lords.” Greenhat stated as his voice trembled. The gnome had trouble standing and nearly collapsed but Crumm grabbed him and held him up with the support of his brutish muscled arms.

“Am I dreaming? Is this for real? How come you didn’t think of doing this before?” Elvira asked.

“Foolish elf! Do you think I can just summon us a gate and teleport us here and there willy nilly anytime I so choose? It took me years just to decipher the ancient language the spell was written in, all of my strength and determination to cast the spell, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t think I could do it again.” Greenhat said wearily.

Iscreem began to hear footsteps encroaching towards the party from the corridor’s southern end. “Someone is coming.” the kobold whispered to the group as he unsheathed the sword given to him by the lady in the water.  The rest of the party assembled into battle formation in the darkened passage aside the kobold warrior, when suddenly a spark of light flared and a torch was lit by a strange looking fellow that approached the party.

“Who are you? What are you doing here?” the fellow demanded. His face was weathered and aged and he sported a long greyish white beard. “You are not monsters. You shouldn’t be here. Its not safe for you to be here.” the old fellow continued.

“We are here to kill the last of the Time Lords. Could you tell us where we can finds him. The blade of my sword has got his name written all over it.”  the kobold announced.

The fellow looked at the party in surprise. “Well you are a brave lot aren’t you? But not very bright I think. If you knew what’s good for you, you’d stay clear of the Time Lord and head right back up to the surface. Yes indeed.”

“Please sir, we have traveled many passages and so many levels of this wretched place. We need to find the last Time Lord and put an end to his evil once and for all. Any assistance you can give us would be greatly appreciated.” Ruby said hopefully.

“Well do what you will, but I would highly advise you to not seek him out. Even if you do find him, I doubt that you will survive, but if you absolutely must find him…..” the fellow trailed off.

“We must.” Gnarshm stated confidently.

“Very well then. You will need a dark black key to enter his lair. Before you do anything, take this tome and read it. Then seriously reconsider what you are about to do. Time ripens all things, no man is born wise. That is all I have to say to you. Goodbye, and if you absolutely must, then good luck also.” And with that the fellow departed, leaving the tome for the party to read.

hermit

“I can’t reads this thing. Its written in strange runes. Give it to the gnome to read.” Iscreem passed the tome to Greenhat.

The old gnome read the tome to himself. A worried look swept over him. “Maybe that old hermit was right. Maybe we should leave while we still can. If we do end up finding the last Time Lord, it is very possible that some of us, or even all of us may not survive. Are we ready for this? Is everyone here ready? Decide now because there will be no turning back.” the old gnome warned.

After a few moments to think it over, it was settled. The party would face the final Time Lord in a fight to the death.

 

Time Lord #9 -RoQIV

Deep in the ninth time lord’s lair the party marched forward with weapons drawn. Iscreem swung about his mighty sword of excalibur in anticipation of battle. A gaggle of voices echoed through the dark corridor. The voices grow louder.

voices_grow_louder

The time lord and his minions await.

time_lord_9_battle

“Who do you serve? Bow before me!” the time lord commanded.

“NEVER!” Iscreem shouted as he swung the mythical sword, cutting a deep wound into the time lord’s side.

iscreem_attacks_tl9

The old gnome repelled the demon erinyes back to the hell in which they belong, with his trusty holy symbol.

Twiggy spoke the ancient power word of utter destruction. “KILL, KILL, KILL!” she chanted as a deathly force crept from out of her spellbook and leached onto the enormous fire giants choking and suffocating them viciously. The rest of the party leaped into action and hacked down the fire giants one by one until the last fell to the ground as a lifeless corpse.

“NO! rrrrRRRRAAAAAARRRGGGGHH!” the time lord’s temper raged in anger at the defeat of his minions and he charged at Elvira and proceeded to cut her down.

Crumm and Gnarshm rushed to Elvira’s defense, beating back the evil time lord. The lug of an ogre dealt the final blow to the time lord’s now decapitated head.

crumm_defeats_tl9

“Nine down, and one to go.” Iscreem said triumphantly.

 

The Lady in the Water -RoQIV

With his map in hand, Gnarshm directed the party towards a door to the southwest corner of the ninth level of the time lord’s dungeon.  “I had two markings on the map. One in the northeast room where we found the bronze key, and the other I had marked as ‘something interesting’. I can’t remember what I had seen there but its a good bet we’ll find something of value for sure.” the gnoll said enthusiastically.

“Get your swords and spells ready. It could be another of the time lord’s evil traps” Elvira warned.

The party stood before an old mahogany framed wooden door. A damp moldy smell permeated the area.

“Well what are we waiting for? Let’s do this!” Sammy said as the warrior took charge and kicked down the door.

In the room beyond, the floor sunk downwards and was filled with a murky bluish green tinted water.

“More nasty pond scum. Keep your eyes peeled for water elementals. Who knows what lurks about in these waters.” Iscreem said with his weapon drawn.

The party scoured the area in search of anything they could find lurking about in the water.

Suddenly, the old gnome shouted, warning the group of a potential danger. “THERE! I see something. It’s…it’s……”

Crumm finished the gnome’s sentence. “…a pretty woman with a sword”.

“Yes. A pretty woman in the water with a sword?” Greenhat repeated with a puzzled look on his weathered and wrinkled face.

The woman rose from out of the water and presented the party with a mighty and glistening sword of renown.

excalibur

Iscreem stepped forward in amazement. His hand outstretched and reached for the mighty sword, taking the weapon from the water woman. “Thank you my lady.” the kobold said.

And with that, the water woman retreated back down into the water and disappeared.

The kobold looked at the mighty sword in awe. “It’s like something out of a fairy tale. Something of mythical legend. It must be a sign from the Gods. A sign that we must finish off the remaining Time Lords and save the realms of Rivaria from their evil clutches.” Iscreem said as he swung the sword about in the air.

“It is time.” the kobold said with a look of ultimate determination and sword in hand. The party proceeds onwards in battle formation.