An Adventurer Writes His Memoirs

Okay. Memoirs. I’m writing my memoirs. I sat down to write them, and now that’s what I’m doing. I’m definitely not procrastinating because I can’t think of anything to say.

After all, it’s not like I’ve led a boring life. I’ve had many adventures! In adventuring circles, my name carries great weight and renown! Heck, just the fact that I’m retired and sitting down to write these memoirs is sign of my success; most adventurers don’t come back and get the chance to write these, usually because they’re stuck in a bear trap or inside a dragon’s stomach or something.

In fact, I stumbled upon some of them, back when I slew the Great Terror Beast of Barseleth, freeing the innocent peasantry from its ravening maw. There wasn’t much left of them but bones and slime. Continue reading

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Welcome to Rebirth

Tarot looked around at the high cliffs as he slowly advanced forward, watching his shadow grow deeper.  He tried to hold his head high, tried to keep up his confidence, but he felt it slipping and fraying at the edges.  For once, the area of the Dark Lord’s Lair actually seemed, well, forbidding.

Pausing for a moment, he checked his defensive wards, ensuring that his spells were still in place.  They were, of course; nothing had changed since he last checked, two minutes earlier.  Still plenty of time on the shields, even without the perks that extended their durations before they’d need to be recast.

Tarot snorted to himself, a little of his natural swagger returning.  Amateurs.  No one who actually read up on the forums, researched the most advanced and effective builds, ever bothered with perks like that.  The real players, the ones who thought about true strategy, made sure to put as many points as possible into offensive attacks as they leveled up their skill trees. Continue reading

“It’s dangerous to go alone.” Part II

Continued from Part I, here.

As it turns out, slaying dragons is a bit like riding a bike; once you get the hang of it, you pretty much just need to worry about hanging on and not tumbling off.

Of course, I never really got the hang of riding a bike.

This thought flashed through my head at precisely the wrong moment, as I clung desperately to the handle of the sword. The scales around me felt just as slick as they looked, and offered little in the way of handholds. I just clung to the handle of the sword, feeling it sink a little deeper in the thrashing, bellowing wyrm with each stomach-dropping plunge through the sky.

“Just give up and die already!” I shouted, even though the rushing wind whipped the words out of my mouth before anyone else could hear them. “Go down! Down!” Continue reading

[AGttA] Chapter 10.2: The Celestial Court

Continued from Chapter 10.1, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 10: Do what makes you happy.

The woman in the shabby little office had thrown back the curtains, blinding me with the light that came shining in.  But when I lowered my hand from in front of my eyes, I was no longer sitting in a small little book-filled room.

Instead, I sat on the same rickety chair – but it was in the middle of a huge amphitheatre, spreading out in all directions, rising up almost too high in the sky for me to see the top.

And every seat in the amphitheatre was filled by angels. Continue reading

“You speak about it as if it’s human!”

The rogue appeared back in camp suddenly, barely making a single whisper to announce his presence. “They’re getting closer,” he announced.

Sitting on top of a log, the warrior nearly dropped his polishing stone in surprise. “Dammit, man, what have we told you about making some sort of noise when you show up?” he growled, his deep baritone making his plates of armor vibrate. “Scared the dickens out of me!”

“Maybe if you pried some of the waxy armor polish out of your ears, you might manage to hear me,” the rogue retorted, and the two glared daggers at each other for a moment. Continue reading

[AGttA] Chapter 10.1: The Moral Debate

Continued from Chapter 10.0, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 10: Do what makes you happy.

“What?”  I didn’t understand what the woman sitting on the other side of the desk meant.

“The price,” she repeated patiently, looking at me.  “You asked what it would take to bring your friends back, to put a stop to the Apocalypse, to restore everything back to normal.  You said that you would be willing to do anything.

“And that, it seems, is exactly the price for you.”

I felt like my stomach was dropping away from me, like I was in the front seat of a roller coaster that had just plunged over the first big drop on the ride.  “I don’t understand.” Continue reading

Grading

I groaned, turning the mug over in my hands. Despite its cheery mass-printed slogan – “Number 1 Teacher!” – it felt cheap. Hell, it was. If I closed my eyes and focused, I could trace back its component elements, back through the Asian factory where these cups were churned out by the tens of thousands, back to the mud pit in backwoods China where the clay had been scraped from the ground.

I didn’t bother summoning the focus. Even an insignificant little charm like that taxed my strength almost to its breaking point. I hated knowing that I’d fallen so far, feeling my limits hit me so quickly.

The mug might be cheap, unremarkable, but it still held coffee. I got up, crossed the teachers’ lounge over to the ancient Mr. Coffee that sat on the counter, its flameless heat spells showing the strain of countless years of constant operation. I poured a cupful of hot, steaming coffee into my mug, replaced the pot back on the etheric coil that served as its heating focus. Continue reading

[AGttA] Chapter 10.0: The Professor’s Office

Continued from Chapter 9.2, here.

Read it from the beginning, starting here.

Axiom 10: Do what makes you happy.

At first, I was certain that I’d somehow screwed things up.

I had imagined that, upon stepping through that door, I might find myself in some vast tribunal, some sort of huge celestial court where I’d have to argue my case to God himself, standing in a massive room and with a billion angels all staring down at me.  No pressure, of course.

But instead, I found myself standing in a small, rather shabby feeling office.  I felt like I’d landed back on earth, in one of the rear rooms in some community college department building.  This felt like the kind of space where an elderly English professor might spend his tenured twilight days, reading papers that no one else ever touched and writing responses that no one would ever get around to reading. Continue reading

A demon is summoned from Hell… by a teenage girl. Oops.

Unfortunately, I felt the pull of the summons take hold just as I reached for the pot of coffee.

“Damn, no, just give me a couple of minutes!” I snarled, my lips pulling back around my fangs. “I haven’t even had the first cup yet-”

But there was no denying the strength of those words. A fishhook rose up in my gut, setting itself among my intestines, and then *yanked,* dragging me… well, not back, exactly, but in a direction that didn’t really seem to exist. Imagine if you were a two-dimensional being, wandering around happily in your flat little world, and then someone tried to pick you up, off the page.

It’s a hell of a disorienting feeling, especially when you haven’t even had a single gulp of coffee. Continue reading

Elder Gods & Beer

Ferst grimaced, gritting his teeth as he lifted his pint glass to his lips. He really didn’t want to waste any more energy on thinking; he’d had enough of that for today. All he wanted to think about was the rapidly dropping level of liquid in the glass.

But try as he might, he couldn’t totally block out the grating, strangely high-pitched voice of the guy in the booth next door.

“…and it took us at least ten years, maybe longer – we lost some of the records, damp, you know – but we’ve finally got the proper translation! This one makes sure that only the small holes open, and we retain full control…”

Maybe if he got drunk fast enough, Ferst would lose focus in his ears, his hearing growing blurry like his vision tended to do. He focused on gulping down the last of his pint, but even the satisfying thwack of the glass hitting the scarred tabletop wasn’t enough to fully block out the whining voice. Continue reading