INTERACTIVE STORY #4...

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Re:INTERACTIVE STORY #4...

Post by Billy » Mon Nov 14, 2005 11:50 pm

(In that case...)
"Christmas?!" said Treguard in disbelief. "But that's preposterous!"

He cast his mind back to a quest which now seemed so long ago. Young Giles and his advisors Robin, Andrew, and Bret, who came so close to victory. Just a few more rooms and the Cup that Heals would have been theirs, but, alas, Christmas Day was less than a week away, and the path closed for another year.

"But Merlin showed no disdain for the holiday when I last saw him" said Treguard. "Why the sudden change of heart?"

"On the contrary" replied Mogdred. "His love for the event has grown to enormous proportions, to the point of insanity. He feels that only he should have Christmas, as he is the only one who deserves it"

"As you can see..." interrupted Brother Strange, pointlessly, "this is indeed a grave matter".

"It certainly sounds unusual" said Treguard, "but I am willing to help. And we need to get on with it, too; we only have a short time before the holiday returns"

"As much as it pains me to say so...I agree" replied Mogdred. "And here's what I suggest we do first..."

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Re:INTERACTIVE STORY #4...

Post by Drassil » Mon Nov 21, 2005 3:58 pm

Becxsmagic wrote: (Whatever, let's get on with the story! :-\

Sorry for the outburst, but it should be spontaneous and improvised. I've never roleplayed either but these interruptions are starting to get kind of irritating...sorry but I had to just say that.
I vote for continuing with Drassil's.)
[I'd like to apologise for breaking into the storytelling in the way that I did - it was a tad selfish of me, and I can see how it might be irritating. Although in my defence, I'd like to point out that there'd been an entire week without any new instalments shortly before my first post, and likewise with this post.

With that in mind...]

Before Mogdred could say any more, the viewing screen in the antechamber shimmered and whined. The old and long-disused equipment took a while to display a clear image. A woman was gazing with furrowed brow upon the room. The Dungeon Master hurriedly stepped forward to address her.

"Sidriss. What may we... I... do for you?"

Sidriss replied in a voice more austere than when Treguard had last heard it. "Greetings, Dungeon Master. I am aware of the Dungeon's current predicament." She paused. "As is my father."

A tall figure appeared at Sidriss' side. His beard and hair were white, his outfit a rich and familiar shade of red, but it was bound across his round stomach by a belt that looked suspiciously like a silly rope.

"Ho... Ho.. Hordriss?" spluttered Treguard.

"Mace?" uttered Brother Strange.

The figure blinked slowly and sighed. "Call us... Macefact."

Eyeing the screen, Mogdred was doing something he'd hadn't thought possible: he was withholding a maniacal laugh. He was greatly amused, but this precarious situation called for restraint - for now. He settled for a mere smirk. "I assume this was Merlin's doing?"

Macefact grimaced curiously at Mogdred, and nodded. "Merlin wanted to create an agent of Christmas to do his insane bidding, and felt that an amalgam of two - myself and er, oneself - would result in something akin to the fatherly personification of Christmas from the dungeoneer's realm. He caught us unaware, and we were unable to resist."

"Adding Brother Mace to Father has really improved his sense of humour!" continued Sidriss blithely. "But it also sharpened his Latin, and he was able to cast a complicated spell and escape from Merlin."

"This is the magic of shift-and-blend," declared Mogdred, relishing the importance of his superior understanding. "Merlin is able to blend individuals, just as he was able to shift the evil from within him into the form of a new individual. Yet removing so much of himself is what has left his mind so unstable." He scrutinised the listeners, waiting for them to realise what he meant.

And indeed, Treguard did. He ruminated on the phrase 'shift and blend', which had mysteriously entered his vocabulary some years ago. He thought of the magic Lord Fear had somehow acquired and used to combine Bhal and Shebah into Firestorm some years ago. And most of all, he pondered Merlin. He had always wondered how someone as august and longevitous as that could never go senile, forgetting names and sleeping for years on end. Now he understood. Every mind needs a balance of dark and light - he recalled his own earlier days as a far more sinister man, and Hordriss' - but Merlin, by extracting his own dark side and turning into his 'alter ego', had slowly but surely unbalanced his great mind. Calling himself Marlin was one thing; stealing Christmas was quite another. Something had to be done.

"There's nothing we can do for my father at the moment," said Sidriss, as the monk-mage next to her frowned and nodded. "We have more pressing concerns. I went to seek help from the elves, but they're gone, and I found out why. Merlin's kidnapped them all to make toys for him. All except one..."

And everyone turned as that very elf charged breathlessly into the antechamber.

[I hope that's not too long!]
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Re:INTERACTIVE STORY #4...

Post by Becxsmagic » Mon Nov 21, 2005 7:00 pm

Pickle rushed in "Master, I'm back! I heard about this predicament and now I believe there's something else you should know..."
He turned around. There where a magnificent pair of red, firey dragon's wings on his back
"Merlin did this to send toys to all the different levels;to eliminate the need for Smirkenorff. But I ran away before he could do anything else" Then he whined, "But I can't stand Elita's nagging."
"Stop obsessing with your own problems, elf. Can't you see everyone's in a mess?"
Pickle gulped. "Sorry, Master-but I think you should know...he's planning to do something very similar with you and there's only one person who can put an end to all this."

Treguard's eyes widened "Oh no, I had enough of them the first time round"

"But it's the only way, Master. We have to make allowances..."
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Re:INTERACTIVE STORY #4...

Post by Drassil » Tue Nov 22, 2005 4:24 pm

Mogdred was puzzled. If the elf was right, and there was another who could stop Merlin, then why did the monks go to so much trouble to resurrect him? He felt a sense of trepidation creeping within him, as he realised that he might be nothing but an inferior pawn within this latest Dungeon game, soon to be knocked off the chessboard; for he knew so little about the forces that had sallied forth into the Dungeon during his years of absence. He loathed to contemplate it, but perhaps the Opposition had been taken over by one with powers as great as his own.

Mogdred no longer felt like laughing. He decided that he must tacitly learn all he could, and recommence the fight for his own interests only when he could be certain of victory...

"If I may raise a question," spoke Brother Strange. "If Merlin wants to steal Christmas, then why would he have elves deliver toys across the Dungeon? Even to Level 3? Cavernwights, catacombites, gargoyles: do they know it's Christmas time at all?"

"Old habits die hard," replied Macefact, realising with a slight smile that this was the probably the wittiest thing one could say to a monk who collected proverbs. "Merlin is so accustomed to distributing clue objects and scrolls throughout the Dungeon that we suspect his broken mind is feverishly obeying that custom. Except that these toys he would not have left to others as presents - he wanted me to steal them back."

Sidriss piped up, determined not to be forever in her father's shadow, even if he had experienced the novelty of being merged with a monk. "Father told me that Merlin's stronghold is in Winteria." She looked hopefully at Pickle for confirmation, and he duly nodded, shaking snowflakes from his thick hair. "He wanted to guarantee himself a white Christmas."

"Queen Aesandre would be a valuable ally," said Macefact, finishing the thought. "But does she still rule Winteria?"

Treguard was no fan of the troublesome ice wench, but could not deny the potential of Macefact's proposal. "Aesandre has not been heard of for many years," he explained. "It's possible that Lord Fear took revenge on her for freezing the Dungeon."

Mogdred listened intently. 'Lord Fear'? A pretentious joke of a name if ever he'd heard one. But this Lord of Fear could be a greater threat to his plans than anyone else.

Before he could be interrupted, Treguard seized the initiative. Moments ago he had been snoozing in his chair; now he was being given the chance to prove to all who doubted him that he deserved his chair, his antechamber, his castle... his Dungeon. "I suggest that we journey to Winteria, find Aesandre, and pool our resources against Merlin. Without delay." He looked around. "Unless anyone has any other ideas?"
Last edited by Drassil on Tue Nov 22, 2005 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re:INTERACTIVE STORY #4...

Post by LordF » Tue Nov 22, 2005 5:16 pm

"If it would be any help old thing then I do" said a familair yet cheery sneer.

They turned to see Lord F stood at the door yet instead of wearing his familar clothes, was wearing a long dark red coat, a dark blue and yellow waist coat, an edwardian bow, a 15ft long multi-coloured scarf, light grey trousers with cowboy boots. Yet wearing his shiney helmet. What was strange though is that he had a carpet under his arm.

"Lord Fear what are you doing wearing that ridiculous garb?" Treguard asked, "Merlin's magic?"

"No, I usually wear this on my good days, helps brighton the day don't you think?" said Fear trying to get a pun in, "But anyway as I was saying..."
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Re:INTERACTIVE STORY #4...

Post by Drassil » Wed Nov 23, 2005 6:08 pm

Treguard looked again at the insanely motley crew that had found its way into his antechamber (not that Motley the jester was among them):

The elf, who sported a set of wyrm's wings it appeared he couldn't use yet;

The monk who was Strange by name and by nature;

Not one, but two pale sorcerers whom Treguard once viewed as dangerous arch-enemies, and whom he now feared could undermine him at any moment;

And on the viewing screen, an erudite and eccentric cross between another monk and another sorcerer, with a trainee sorceress standing beside him.

The antechamber hadn't been so outlandishly crowded since... since Merlin filled it with decorations and sent those boys home in time for Christmas. The memory of which brought Treguard uncomfortably back to the task at hand.

"Lord Fear," asserted Treguard, "Because of the imminent crisis in the Dungeon, I will excuse your uninvited entrance into my castle. But I'm not quite sure we want any ideas from you, particularly if they're as ludicrous as your outfit!"

Although he was keen to get underway and begin the journey to Winteria, Treguard waited to hear if Lord Fear, or indeed any of his other bizarre guests, would say anything more.
Last edited by Drassil on Wed Nov 23, 2005 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re:INTERACTIVE STORY #4...

Post by Drassil » Thu Dec 01, 2005 8:49 pm

[Since there doesn't seem to be much of a desire to continue the story at present, I'm going to add some more. Although I'd hope for the story to be as interactive as possible, I'd prefer not to see it grind to an extended halt as previous Interactive Stories have. However much I may end up contributing myself, others are of course welcome to add to the story at any time.]

...However, most of those in the antechamber had fallen oddly silent. Certain faces looked a little pained, but Treguard put this down to anxiety over their unusual situation. Macefact cleared his throat.

"Dungeon Master, your antechamber should not be left unattended. Certain factions might choose to take advantage." Macefact looked at Lord Fear, who said nothing.

"I appreciate your concern, but this matter demands my attention," retorted Treguard. He'd spent more than enough time in the antechamber - the Dungeon needed him, though he needed the Dungeon more.

"In that case, may we offer to look after Knightmare Castle in locum tenens? Although we escaped from Merlin, we are still bound by his magic, and the only way for us to return to Winteria would be the way we left - the singular method of travel that Merlin wanted us to use."

Macefact muttered something in Latin, and the view on Treguard's screen changed, to show a sleigh with Grippa and Rhark tied to the front and looking rather limp.

As Macefact and Sidriss reappeared on the screen, Treguard was still gawping, with Pickle exclaiming, "He's mad, Master! He must be stopped!" Treguard agreed that the Sidriss and Macefact should take care of the castle, knowing he could attempt to use Hordriss' calling name if he had to. He wasn't keen for Lord Fear to join the expedition to Winteria (assuming he'd come to the antechamber purely to gloat), and felt that Brother Strange was better off returning to the monastery and updating the monks on recent developments. Oddly, neither Fear nor Strange voiced any objections to this.

Knowing that travelling to Winteria by magic would alert Merlin immediately, Treguard gathered supplies for a journey to Winteria on foot. He hoped to enter the hibernal kingdom as quietly as the snow fell, and keep hold of the element of surprise. He also wanted plenty of time to decide exactly how Merlin was to be dealt with, and to develop sufficient trust in Mogdred, much as a child might take a heap of cold, pale snow and build it into a snowman. Though he armed himself with a sword, just in case.

And so, with Lord Fear and Brother Strange having silently departed, Macefact and Sidriss arrived at Knightmare Castle and wished Treguard and Pickle well as they set off with Mogdred. Though no one gave much thought to why Fear and Strange had become so quiet and compliant. It was Mogdred's doing. Just as he had constrained Treguard many years ago, preventing him from speaking to his charges while Mogdred enveloped a dungeoneer in a SHROUD spell, so he had used what magic he could muster to silence Fear and Strange. He had plans for his encounter with Merlin, and he wanted no one to speak out against him. When the monk and technomancer got control of their voices back, they would find that any attempts to warn the others about Mogdred would be too late.

The unusual trio - the Dungeon Master, his former assistant and his erstwhile enemy - trod a depressing path across Wolfenden as they headed through Level One. The marketplace was deserted: Christmas shopping was non-existent. So were decorations. Children stood crying in the street, then ran inside screaming when they saw Mogdred. The townsfolk were discovering what winter was like when there was no Christmas to look forward to, and were clearly finding it very hard to take. Treguard tried to offer reassurance to those he passed closest to, but his own morale was being shaken with every corner they turned.

By the time they reached the Crazed Heifer on the edge of the Forest of Dunn, Treguard suggested pausing for a drink. How cowardly he felt for wanting to seek courage in a flagon of ale, but he justified it by convincing himself that chill and thirst demanded it. Mogdred seemed to be occupied by his own thoughts and did not argue, and Pickle was keen to search for familiar faces in the familiar tavern.

Treguard had fond memories of slipping out to the Crazed Heifer on Christmas Eve for a cup of mulled wine. But as he pushed open the creaky door of the pub, he had no idea who or what might lie within.
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Re:INTERACTIVE STORY #4...

Post by Becxsmagic » Sun Dec 04, 2005 12:58 pm

(Drassil, no offence but keeping up with the story isn't very easy when the last post is three streets long! ;))
Treguard's expression was a picture of surprise as he found that the attractive barmaid he would sometimes flirt with when...verbally and spacially challenged had been replaced.
Instead, he found...

"Elita!"

Merlin seemed to have done something miraculous because Elita was less violent, even...pleasant.
"What can I get for you facea..." She couldn't get it out.

"Merlin obviously wanted to make her more polite and pleasant to deal with, Master" Pickle whispered "But I don't think he'll succeed"

Elita, on the other hand, was equally confused. She had worked in the tavern for the past six years trying to buy an antidote from Julius Scaramonger. She hadn't seen Smirkenorff for years, so she was both delighted and revolted to see Pickle. She thought Treguard and Mogdred were mortal enemies, why were they going out for a drink together?

She decided this was too much for her to think about today and poured herself a drink. As she sipped it, she noticed tears cascading into her glass. As she looked at them through watery eyes she said:

"What do you want from me?"
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Re:INTERACTIVE STORY #4...

Post by Drassil » Sun Dec 04, 2005 2:36 pm

[My posts probably are longer than they should be, and if that's what's putting people off, I apologise. I enjoy it, that's all. Though in a way it shouldn't matter, as long as my posts leave loose ends and an open ending for the next contributors to make use of.]


"How about a little less deceit?"

The others gasped as Mogdred broke his silence. Glaring at Elita, he continued. "I assume that the male elf has been telling the truth to us, and your story does not match his. 'I ran away before he could do anything else. But I can't stand Elita's nagging.'" Clearly, Mogdred had a sharper memory than his alter ego. "What is more, Pickle was given the wings of a wyrm by Merlin - where are yours?"

Treguard furrowed his brow. Mogdred, he grudgingly acknowledged, was right - this didn't add up. And the Elita standing before him was acting very much out of character. Then Treguard had a idea. Picking up the smeary bottle which Elita had placed on the table, he began to rub it...

The ersatz Elita was consumed in a belch of sparkling smoke, and in her place stood her true form.

"Majida!"

"Yes, alright, it is me. Merlin kidnapped me to play genie in Christmas pantomime. I had to use disguise to escape. Real Elita is back in Merlin's workshop." Majida paused, but when Treguard began to speak, she interrupted like a pouncing panther. "I knew I would find you here, drinking the day away. We must sneak back into Winteria. Come on! No time to waste!"

Mogdred was concerned. This jinnee spoke too much, and could scupper his plans. He tried to constrain her as he'd constrained Fear and Strange, but her mouth was too powerful, and she continued to berate Treguard. Pickle was annoyingly talkative too, but they needed him, as he knew the elf paths that would make their journey on foot to Level 3 that much easier. This impertinent shrew was someone they did not need. But since she could not be quieted by magic, Mogdred would just have to ask.

"LOOK UPON MOGDRED NOW, LOOK UPON MOGDRED, AND QUAIL!"

Majida had paid no attention to Mogdred until now, but was unfazed. "Quail? I think you mean pale. You need eye-shadow. Speak to Lord Fear."

"Impudent jinnee! My patience with your kind ran out five hundred years ago. We are on a mission of great importance, and your rudeness threatens to ruin it. If you insist on accompanying us, then you must pledge to remain QUIET! DO YOU SO PLEDGE?"
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Re:INTERACTIVE STORY #4...

Post by Skarkill » Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:23 pm

*Majida looked at Mogdred and was about to deliver a sarcastic put down when she caught sight of tregard giveing her a very dangours look.*

"I'll be quiat." she said sulkly


"Right then" Said Treagurd

"First things first we came in here to get supplies. So Majida if you would be so kind as to gather up some food for us all. We will then set about our journy to Winteria."
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Re:INTERACTIVE STORY #4...

Post by Becxsmagic » Sun Dec 04, 2005 6:16 pm

(Whoops, forgot about what was said earlier)

Majida glared and got a cloak and knapsacks from what seemed like absolutely nowhere. Treguard noted that she had learnt a little magic during her employment at the Crazed Heifer and decided she could be useful after all.

Majida threw a small plastic packet into Treguard's hand.

"What's this?" he inquired

"Hand warmer" she replied. "Technology has moved on" she added sarcastically.

Treguard rolled his eyes. He could see that he may need the mulled wine after all.
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Re:INTERACTIVE STORY #4...

Post by Drassil » Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:50 pm

Despite having gathered supplies before leaving the castle, Treguard had procured yet more at the Crazed Heifer. Pickle and Majida liked using their mouths, and Treguard reasoned that if were using them for eating, they couldn't use them for talking. So he had encouraged them to take plenty of food with them. Mogdred, by contrast, did not seem to eat.

The group's trek through the Forest of Dunn was uneventful. No goblins or wolves hassled them, which slightly disappointed Treguard, since he was hoping to prove himself by spilling some hostile blood. Among the aged trees, holly and mistletoe were growing in abundance.

Cursing quietly as he caught his wings on thorn after thorn, Pickle guided the crusaders to an elf portal, which whisked them to Dungarth. Treguard had said that there was an abandoned wellway to Level Two within. They found it easily enough, but like all the wellways, Lord Fear had blocked it up when he took control of the Opposition.

As the quartet pondered a way to solve this, Pickle noticed something very worrying. Hanging in the corner of the room was a large, dark sphere. "Master! master!" he hissed, "Merlin must know we're coming. Th-this chamber is mined!"

Treguard turned sharply to follow the elf's gaze. He'd seen what 'bomb rooms' had done to some of his dungeoneers, and the thought of being in one set his heart racing. But as he looked closer, his worry was infused with puzzlement. "It's no ordinary bomb, Pickle..." Indeed it wasn't. The sphere was a gigantic Christmas pudding. This was certainly Merlin's work. And as they stared, a small flame sprang up on the surface of the pudding bomb...
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Re:INTERACTIVE STORY #4...

Post by Becxsmagic » Sat Dec 17, 2005 2:33 pm

"It's going to blow!" screamed Mogdred
"Master, this certainly is the end, isn't it?" said Pickle
There was a loud, confusing, horrific noise as the pudding should have exploded, instead they found a decorative cracker and a scroll.
Majida tentatively walked over and opened the scroll to reveal "Pull the cracker, but don't touch it"
The group looked at each other in bewilderment as they tried to think of a solution.
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Re:INTERACTIVE STORY #4...

Post by Mashibinbin » Sat Dec 17, 2005 6:59 pm

"Of course, of course!" cried Treguard.

"Merlin here is having a joke at our expense. Well, in his eyes anyway. He saw the fabled 'Reach Wand' as nothing more than a cobbled together piece of technomancy with what I believe a Dungeoneer called Sellotape. Therefore, it accompanies the cracker as being a suitable accompanying jest. Now, if we use the wand we can pull this cracker without touching it."

Treguard rummaged around for a few hours within the mass of supplies looking for the wand and upon finding it orded his ensemble to step right back and proceeded to put it into action.

Majida's bulged in direct proportion to the size of the cracker and wanted to exclaim 'It's so beeeg Treguard!!' but sensing a dirty look or two she thought better of it.

However when the cracker did go off, it did so with a pathetic excuse for a so-called bang and left behind a variety of christmas treats that may or may not be of use in their trip....
Last edited by Mashibinbin on Sat Dec 17, 2005 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re:INTERACTIVE STORY #4...

Post by Drassil » Sat Dec 17, 2005 9:33 pm

While Pickle and Majida scooped up the Yuletide trinkets, not even stopping to examine them, Treguard noticed that the wellway was now unblocked. He raised an eyebrow at Mogdred.

"I prodded a piece of rubble that loosened all the rest. The blockage crumbled away," said Mogdred indignantly. The others, relieved that the pudding bomb hadn't dismembered them, believed him. But he was lying. He'd used a dose of his old stone-crumbling magic. His powers were slowly returning, but he had to keep that a secret for now. Otherwise, his plan could be scuppered. Without another word, he vaulted into the wellway, and the others followed.

Wellways weren't designed for so much 'traffic'. Treguard had clambered in nervously, blacked out for a moment, then was pleased to arrive in Level Two with a soft landing. Though when it turned out to be Majida, his motion sickness caught up with him, and he had to hurry off to wretch in a corner. Am I really cut out for a quest? Treguard thought to himself.

Treguard noticed that there were stocks in the room with a figure sitting in them. This wasn't uncommon in Level Two, but the prisoner looked decidedly strange. As soon as it dawned on Treguard who it was, he rushed over to Pickle, who was still dazed from the fall and hadn't noticed the stocks.

"Pickle! Pay attention, sprite. Do you remember that book which Merlin tried to force you to read - A Christmas Carol?"

"Why yes, Master. He'd translated it into runes especially. It rather bored me, but I remember some of the characters' names. Scrooge, Marley... and that Tiny Tim child. Had an injured leg, did he not?"

"And do you recall that spell of Merlin's that was never cast because he ushered in Christmas?"

"Indeed I do, Master. Merlin said that it had its uses, though we never found out wha... it was called TINY!"

Majida complained that her back ached and that she wasn't following. But Mogdred was. "You are suggesting that Merlin reclaimed that spell, and has used it to create a version of Tiny Tim."

"Yes!" cried Treguard, pleased at the bridge of understanding. "And he's over there!" He pointed towards the stocks. Pickle gasped while Majida protested. "Pickle, tell her," said Treguard impatiently.

"Merlin's turned Skarkill into a child!"

The boy in the stocks opened his mouth...
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