17 March 2021

Angband: On the Doorstep pt. 4


'Three cheers for good ol' Bilbo!'


 'Oh never mind that. What did you burgle?'



'What the fak?'

With a cast of 'Turn Stone to Mud' Embor enters the main room.
Ever alert, the lair Wolves 'C' bust down an unseen door and are loosed.

The pack hunters crowd together before Embor and become a prime target for the AoE spell 'Stinking Cloud' from the
'Book of Nature Magics [Lesser Charms]'

Individual wolves are dispatched in short order and the chamber becomes quiet.
Neighboring chamber occupants remain asleep.

Now, with an open path to the treasure chamber and seemingly easy victory at hand, Embor intones 'Turn Stone to Mud' to breach the wall and reveal...A Shimmering Potion '!'
In the corner of the chamber, in a small alcove rests an eerie, purple potion. The liquid, languid in motion, stirred weird eddies within its crystal prison. 
Pinpricks of fine silver light trapped in the viscous flow. 

As the druid moved towards the strange object, a secret door '+' is discovered.
A deep breath then Embor extended a gloved hand forward to grasp the prize but...the prize grasps first!
Embor's perception shifts, realizing boon had become bane as it morphed into creature of deception, one that preys upon materialistic desires...a Mimic!
A critical error, a mistake realized too late as fleshy purple claws slash Embor's face.

The druid struggles to remove the life of the deceptive horror affixed to hand and problems compound as the once secret door bursts open.
A rogue 'p', alerted by the commotion within, enters the robbery gone awry.

After frantic minutes Embor gains the advantage and beats back the foes, but it is a hollow victory.
No great treasure to claim, only a lifeless mound of purple flesh, the once anticipated prize...now smashed.
Dejected, Embor turns to leave the chamber and is caught mid stride as the Blackguard 'p' from the east chamber enters...a scout, in an oncoming attack.

The group from the north as well as the east chamber empty and funnel into the room Embor now holds.
A protracted skirmish with wolves and men ultimately ends with the druid victorious and, once again, left mostly empty handed.

Exhausted, Embor searches the dead, all for naught. 
Common, all of it. Common trinkets and magics to be had in town at a small price, not the mighty treasure the druid had expected to be strewn about a dragon's lair.
 Embor slumped down to the floor, back against the wall.
Long minutes passed as the druid rested in the quiet chamber, weird eerie minutes that dragged in mind.

Had avarice clouded the druid's senses so completely to be fooled by such an obvious ruse?
A damned mimic?
'Of course it was a trap, you fool!'
Long, eerie minutes linger.
Exhaustion overwhelmed the druid.
Then slumber.
Embor dreamed of golden fire.


Then confusion.

A granite wall, vanquished foes.

How long had the druid dosed?

Regaining position in reality and shaking the sleep from mind Embor arose and slowly walked to the opposite wall placing a hand upon the ancient granite.

'Just a glimpse at the beast, a brief look at the very least.
To say 'I, Embor, druid of Obad Hai have gazed upon the legend...and lived.'
Dungeon madness.
Weird minutes began to sneak in once again and...
as the words of the spell slipped easily from the druid's tongue 
'and lived' evaporated from mind as a section of stone wall was transmuted to mud.

And there, before the child of a serf lay
Smaug the Golden.

The scene of wonder overwhelming, breath snatched from lungs as the atmosphere rushed out from the old fiend's lair and enveloped the druid.
Heat and stench and golden light emanated from the wyrm, forever seared into Embor's eternal essence.
Embor withers in the presence of such power and newly realized place in life, that of insignificance and hopelessness.
A tear streaks across a blood spattered check.

A motion, a blur, from behind Smaug brakes the unnatural feeling of despair as a shadow rises from the lair's floor.
A dark and evil thing, twisted by wicked arcane magics.   


 The sorcerer and druid's eyes meet and Embor is faced with a choice; flee now while there is still time to do so before the alarm is risen and Smaug awakes or, being faced with such obvious mortal peril, to make a knowingly juvenile and futile gesture of impudence!
Embor exercises offense over sense.

 The air above the high vaulted chamber cracks and splits as a brilliant yellow-white bolt of energy strikes the sorcerer fully.
Its thunderous shock wave practically blowing Embor out from the observation point of melted wall.

The dragons, shaken from their slumber arise...unscathed.

Smaug rushes forward chocking the breach with his enormity. His eyes dazed and crazed with rage dart about trying to gain traction on something solid, they catch upon the intruding human and narrow in fury.

Embor's world is a now a dragon of ancient myth...and it curses the intruder.

'Thief in the Shadows!
My armour is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath DEATH!

The words strike the druid as deep as any claw, causing a severe graze.
 Now heavily bloodied the druid's panicked thoughts are on escape, IF that is even possible now.
There is a mad commotion behind Smaug as the sorcerer and young gold dragon frantically attempt to attack Embor but are blocked by the bulk that is Smaug. 
A glint, reflected from a small mound of metal upon the floor, catches Embor's eye, a tantalizing glimpse of Chain Mail Armor '['
Was this the true prize the druid had risked life for?
But there is no time for such thoughts and unable to reach the armor Embor produces a scroll and reads aloud the words to enact a risky escape, a blind leap into the void of chance but certainly no worse than the druid's current predicament.

As the scrolls magic began to unfold, there came a parting shot from Embor directed to the terrible wyrm, a final act of insolence.

'Well, I really must not detain Your Magnificence any longer, or keep you from much needed rest but a fine burglar takes expert catching. Huh ha!'

Embor blinks out of Smaug's existence.


 A dank, moldering corridor.
 A distant and echoing roar drifts through unknown lengths of the dungeon.
Embor's incredible luck had won the day.

The 'Scroll of Teleportation' had deposited the druid safely in a neighboring, unoccupied section of dungeon.

Embor casts 'Detect Life'.
A nearby tribe of Orcs and Snagas 'o' lead by 'Shagrat, the Orc Captain' sleep, a pack of Air Hounds 'Z' lie becalmed, an Ocher Jelly 'j' glistens in wait.
None have detected the arrival of the druid.

Fearing the dragon may be prowling the corridors in search of the druid thief, Embor quickly rests to heal the wound received and without delay unfurls one last scroll.

No sense in taking any MORE risks this day, best to leave while there's still the chance to do so.
Embor reads the scroll and in few moments blinks once again from sight and away from the dungeon and its omens of death.



Safely returned to town mostly empty handed save for a couple of scrolls, but, alive to tell the tale.
The sun shines upon Embor today and that is worth more than all the treasures of all the dragons of all the worlds.

The dungeon of Angband is deep and now, thanks to a great deal of luck, there is a tomorrow to delve to even greater depths. Maybe even a return visit to Smaug's lair...time will tell.

Angband abides.



13 March 2021

William Shatner: Common People


'Common People', created by the alt-rock band Pulp was released in 1995.
In 1995 there would have been zero chance that I would have ever, ever been exposed to it...zero.

10 years later however...

I would discover it on William Shatner's 'Has Been' album,
which makes far more sense.

Produced and arranged by Ben Folds, spoken word by Shatner and vocals by Joe Jackson.

The song kills.
By the end of it you'll be on your feet, punching the air and playing it again, and again, and again...


Common People
William Shatner
Has Been

She came from Greece
She had a thirst for knowledge,
She studied sculpture at Saint Martins College
That's where I
Caught her eye.

She told me that her dad was loaded
I said, "Well, in that case I'll have a rum and Coca-Cola".
She said, "Fine"
And then in thirty seconds' time, she said
"I want to live like common people
I want to do whatever common people do
I want to sleep with common people
I want to sleep with common people like you."
Well, what else could I do?
I said "Oh, I'll see what I can do."

I took her to a supermarket,
I don't know why, but I had to start it somewhere
So it started there.

I said, "Pretend you've got no money."
And she just laughed and said, "Oh, you're so funny."
I said "Yeah?
Well I can't see anyone else smiling in here.

Are you sure?
You want to live like common people
You want to see whatever common people see
You want to sleep with common people
You want to sleep with common people like me?"

But she didn't understand,
She just smiled and held my hand.
Rent a flat above a shop.
Cut your hair and get a job.
Smoke some fags and play some pool.
Pretend you never went to school.
But still you'll never get it right,
'Cos when you're laying in bed at night,
Watching roaches climb the wall
If you called your dad he could stop it all

You'll never live like common people.
You'll never do whatever common people do
You'll never fail like common people.
You'll never watch your life slide out of view
And then dance, and drink, and screw
Because there's nothing else to do.

Sing along with the common people.
Sing along and it might just get you through.
Laugh along with the common people.
Laugh along even though they're laughing at you
And the stupid things that you do.
Because you think that poor is cool.

Like a dog lying in a corner
They will bite you and never warn you
Look out
They'll tear your insides out.

'cos everybody hates a tourist
Especially one who thinks it's
All such a laugh.
Yeah and the chip stains and grease will come out in the bath

You will never understand
How it feels to live your life
With no meaning or control
And with nowhere left to go
You are amazed that they exist
And they burn so bright whilst you can only wonder why.

Rent a flat above a shop.
Cut your hair and get a job.
Smoke some fags and play some pool.
Pretend you never went to school.
But still you'll never get it right
'Cos when you're laying in bed at night
Watching roaches climb the wall
If you called your Dad he could stop it all.

You'll never live like common people!
You'll never do what common people do!
You'll never fail like common people!
You'll never watch your life slide out of view
And then dance, and drink, and screw
Because there's nothing else to do!

I want to sleep with common people like you
I want to sleep with common people like you
I want to sleep with common people like you