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The Dubbel Mountain Twins, Part 1: Dubbel, Dubbel, Toil and Trouble (Chapters 17-Epilogue)

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Chapter 17:


Dubbel hopped off the Gwiffon at the Tower balcony and nodded grimly to Lancelot. The Knight was peering worriedly around the airspace as his soldiers were being slowly driven back toward center. The situation was not good. The boost Dubbel had supplied to Joe was buying them time, but they were simply too shaken to fight their best.

 

That boost had represented the last of Dubbel’s juice. He hoped it had been enough.

 

On the way up, the prince had seen that his oldest sister and two of the Elite Four were marshaling to retreat if their sections of the wall collapsed. He also noted the smoking husks of ship that had been within the Docks and saw that the sluice gates were under fire by the remaining enemy ship, damaged though it was.

 

And to make matters worse, Kristin was approaching with angry tears in her eyes.

 

“Mother listen. Me and Joe have a plan, but I’m outta juice, so we need to know what’s left.”

 

“What were you thinking?! You reckless... And selfish...” She was bearing down on him as he stepped back to the railing and cringed. “You almost lost it all before we even got started! And even if you didn’t, you lost our highest level Gwiffon, burned all your juice, and cost your sister and some of her best Knights their lives. But you have a plan!”

 

She was nearly on him.

 

“A plan based on Shift bringing down the enemy’s Chief Warlord. If we’re really qui-gerk!”

 

Dubbel’s head snapped backwards as his mother embraced him suddenly and aggressively.

 

“You are just like your Grandad.” She gestured across the room. “Everyone over here now.”

 

“’Cept Home!” Efex had been looking out at the retreating Gwiffons and he was pale. The archers were almost no help against the ranks of approaching Weapers, and their high pitched laughter was penetrating through the tower now from all sides. Out in front, a few Gwim Weapers had started ganging up to bring down one Knighted Gwiffon after another. “When they get close, take them out. Use your own discretion to maximize damage.”

 

Everyone had gathered, so Dubbel got a quick inventory and spelled out the situation as best he could. Before he was halfway done, Efex was issuing orders about the room and Kristin was focusing on getting commanders in order.

 

From the relative safety of the War Room, Rada loudly reported that the walls were breached all around and the Gates and Dock had fallen. The retreating archers were crossing paths with a slew of Rocking Horses while Joe Rocked as hard as he could from the stage. Around him, the Sand Doller’s golems were dancing backup and providing a screen. All of the non-Archery infantry within the city were down fighting alongside the Knights, but they were still being driven back.

 

As the muttering tapered off and the shouting of orders began, Kristin’s voice rang out over the tumult of everything, carrying the weight of an order.

 

“Stations everybody! This is our last big shot.”

 

Dubbel’s part in the fight was done. He stood in the War Room next to Rada, looking out one of the windows to view the Plateau and Courtyard. The last of the Elite Four was leading most of the Archery into the Grand Atrium while Loxley’s stack covered the retreat and Kristin’s oldest daughter led the stack screening his.

 

Dubbel did not know what had happened to Arthur, but the Knights were now fighting behind Joe, who wielded a white rod in each hand. The prince knew that one day, Joe’s being too cool to remain inconspicuous would end his Life, but he would not have been Cool Joe if he did anything else.

 

The Knights were no longer Rocking, so they had lost a lot of stopping power, but apparently the enemy had suffered some blows as well. Not that it mattered with the sheer Numbers they still had left to roll through the Garrison.

 

Meanwhile, Lancelot had hastened his retreat and the Weapers were all upon them, leering in through the glass and watching the defenders start to tremble.

 

Which made them perfect targets when Home set off the Tower defenses.

 

He had still been told to use his own discretion for maximum damage, and he delivered in spades. When Dubbel could finally see again, the only Weapers left were sporting holes in their cloaks and they were no longer laughing. In the place of laughter was a pervading silence that somehow made the battle below seem muted.

 

Which somehow made the Weapers, presumably all Gwim, even scarier.

 

Then the silence was shattered by the enemy screaming and slamming their powerful scythes into the glass. The glass shattered with the silence, but it was so thick it would not collapse.

 

At least not immediately.

 

As the assault continued, Dubbel heard Kristin and Home enter a brief shouting match.

 

“Fire the rest! We have to finish them off or they’ll drop the roof on us.” SLAM.

 

“There’s nothing left!” SLAM... Crackle.

 

“Use your own juice then!” SLAM. The cracks were growing more numerous.

 

“I said there’s nothing left!” SLAM.

 

“Listen to me and finish them off!” SLAM. The ceiling was riddled with cracks and the sun peeked through in a couple places.

 

“You told me to use my discretion, and my discretion says if we somehow stop them, you still want me to have power left in me.” SLAM. Crunch! Part of the ceiling had fallen out under the constant assault. Several units got pinned underneath.

 

“Your contract says you’ll do all you can to ensure our victory!” SLAM. Rumble-Rumble. They could all feel the shaking in their legs.

 

“And I’m telling you that using my juice now would cost you-!”

 

“POP-A-CAP!” Under the force of Maggie’s spell, the entire Tower top was pushed outward. The shattered glass and magical animals had cleared the sky of the enemies. The roof had subsequently collapsed straight down in patches. Dubbel presumed it was the Luckamancy boost that caused most of the debris to hit infantry rather than Commanders. It was not until later that he learned Maggie had aimed her most powerful energies to push the stone pieces away in that area.

 

By the time anybody figured out exactly what happened, the pieces of the ceiling had crushed the Life out of the incapacitated units.

 

And Lancelot was already leading a mass dive toward stacks of Leadership. He did not hesitate to count on the Luckamancy to protect his troops from arrows. They took a lot of hits on the run, but several came away with Gwiffon’s bearing captive Warlords.

 

Now that the airspace was clear, Kristin and Efex took Maggie down to the Plateau, looking to maximize the bonuses below and end things as quick as possible. Home stayed behind with Dubbel and Rada.

 

“I dunno, I want to keep an eye out up here. I’m pretty sure Gwims are able to veil sometimes. Told you my juice could still be valuable.”

 

Dubbel could see Joe signaling a charge into the enemy, and his remaining Camelites drove forward exploiting the Leadership gap.

 

The enemy still had the Numbers, but if the scroll Rada cast on Kristin lasted, they would be turning this into a rout soon. The prince laughed with his aunt as they looked down from the Tower top, watching the soldiers below start to turn back for the walls. The Cult were trying to cut their losses. Apparently they still had enough Leadership to order a break for the walls.

 

Dubbel was just noting how quickly the flow of battle had turned in their favor when Rada was suddenly hurled into space, riding the front of a huge white Shockmancy bolt.

 

He turned around to see Home grinning at him over his smoking hands. He thought back to everything the Shockmancer had said in the last day and he understood.

 

Everyone lies.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 18:

 

Nearly every unit on the Indigo Plateau spun around to trace the progress of the immense Shockmancy blast as it arced through the airspace.

 

Bodkin Loxley on the other hand, took off at a dead run. If Dubbel or Rada was left in the Tower, they were alone against a combat Caster. Rada probably had a chance. Hadn’t Chief Efex said something about her holding a Tower entrance with her eyebeams?

 

But the Warlord was pretty sure that the burst of color on the front of the blast was Rada’s dress. And if it was Dubbel D alone in the Tower...

 

When he entered the Atrium on the second floor, the Warlord prayed the Luckamancy had held. He screamed silent orders to keep air in his lungs for the next move, and then hit the rail and dove over. He hit the ground below hard and rolled as best he could, the air blasted from his chest. His drawing arm felt like it had snapped somewhere below the elbow.

 

To Hellabad with the arm. It would heal next turn. If Home had hurt Dubbel, Loxley would use the bow to throttle him. Forget that he was not made for melee. Neither was the Caster, and at this moment Loxley was pretty sure he could take more hits.

 

He ran into the Tower entrance, his arm flopping awkwardly.

 

The orders coming from Efex to get to the tower as fast as possible seemed dangerously delayed. If Home had resources remaining, that delay could cost the Prince a lot. If nobody else took the hazardous route, Bodkin would be the only reinforcements for an already depleted Caster, with damage.

 

And he might already be too late.

 

Around halfway up he heard others grunting with effort in the Tower not too far behind him, and puffed a brief sigh of relief, closing his eyes for an instant as he ran up the familiar stairs. Others had followed his lead. A few units lost in a mass leap was nothing compared to a second Royal Caster in one day.

 

The instant his eyes were closed the poor archer stepped on a broken arrowhead and slipped sideways, hearing a sharp crack from his ankle.

 

“Just my Luck.” Unwilling to give up, he returned to his feet and continued up the stairs in a running hop-step. Slowed though he was, he still had a good chance of arriving a few seconds before the others. He would be able to assess and control the situation, set the stage.

 

The War Room was full of debris and one of the tables had been completely crushed by a chunk of ceiling that had fallen through the central hole.

 

“Dubbel D!” No answer, so the Warlord continued his mad hobble across to the stairs up to where he could save his friend. “Prince Dubbel, situation report!” It was uttered with the force of an order, not that the Prince would have to obey.

 

Trying to see if there was anything useful he could learn, the Warlord looked up through the hole as he went, and promptly turned his newly broken ankle on a piece of debris. This time when he collapsed to the side, poor Bodkin had even less Luck than before. One of the larger boulders was positioned such that it caught him in the temple and he could immediately feel wetness on his face. He thought he could hear at least one voice calling urgently from nearby, but his focus was on his task. Still desperate to finish his trip up the stairs, the struggling archer shook the blurriness from his vision and finally reached the stairs.

 

The yelling became more urgent, but with his head a mess from the fall it sounded like the voice was coming from inside a Gwiffon (which was, Loxley thought sluggishly, unlikely but not impossible), so he did the only thing he could think to do.

 

He continued his swerving path up the stairs, stumbling on almost every step and collapsing from one rail to the other.

 

The Warlord touched the side of his face and knew that he had taken a lot of Hits, but he could not even focus to figure out what he had left. Time to reassess. He had no chance to fight at close range, or even to plan a clear strategy for those following him. Maybe he could just grab Home and fall off the Tower with him.

 

With that as Bodkin Loxley’s only hope for saving His Highness, it timed out perfectly that he came to the top of the stairs right as his target was approaching, hands raised. Dubbel was nowhere to be seen.

 

Barely holding himself upright, Loxley made a mad lunge for Home.

 

---

 

When he woke up, the archer could only see a few feet into the sea fog that had rolled in around the Tower rubble.

 

As he lay on his side trying to remember what had happened, Queen Kristin materialized walking out of the mist in front of him looking solemn.

 

“I hope you’re comfortable, Bodkin. This won’t be easy for you to hear.”

 

 

 

 

Chapter 19:

 

Kristin had spent a couple days relearning her Duty and rediscovering who she had once been. Doors and windows had been opening in her mind ever since the short coup had begun and after one thousand and twenty-four turns, her head was clear again. Being the Chief Warlord came with a different kind of responsibility and she had not thought twice in the recent conflict about employing tactics she would have scorned just days before.

 

The turn after the attack on Oasis, Queen Kristin stood in her Throne Room facing those who had conspired against her. Only the newly recovered Loxley was looking at her with grudging respect, a privilege she never been granted before the previous evening. He alone knew what she planned to announce today. Behind them waited Kristin’s last daughter, Lancelot and Gawain (Arthur had been overwhelmed by the enemy during the retreat), Chief Milliner McGonagall, and the remaining Warlords who had been present for the assault. Dr. James was also present.

 

“I would have disbanded you all if Rada’s magic had failed. Loxley, Dubbel, Efex... Even Rada... I probably would have broken alliance with Joe and made him leave. That’s me, and you know it well enough.” She looked down from the dais of her throne, further than she would have had to a few days before. She was regaining some of her original Queenly stature already.

 

“But you never cared and you are not about to start. I can tell. I see the way you look at me. You did not trust my judgment, and it may be a while before you can. You saw a better Leader in Efex, and you were Loyal to him more than anyone else.” As they all shifted uncomfortably and looked at the floor, the Queen sighed softly and continued. “I would never do such a thing to any of you now. But you saw that I would have. And to top it off, there is one among you who won’t ever forgive me my worst day.”

 

Loxley was staring at her intensely. After all, this was only a slightly reworded version of what she had told him the night before.

 

“I know the look Bodkin used when he watched me in the past, because I wore it for years when I looked at my sister. I only saw Rada as her worst failing. All the great things she did before my father croaked were washed away. But she saw me at my best, the day I became Queen and saved us, and even though every day after that was my worst day, as I forgot what it was to do my job right, she always saw me as my best.”

 

She smiled sorrowfully and tears started to flow, favoring them all with the knowledge that she saw it through their eyes now.

 

“I was a bad Queen, I see that now. You few mutineers saved us all, and if I had not destroyed our magical forces in the first place, we never would have needed saving. We would have lost yesterday if I had the reins. You were all right. It is my fault Rada was croaked on that tower.”

 

The night before, Kristin had ascended the Tower to say these things to Loxley. She did not know it when she started up the stairs to tell the man his fate, but she had gone to ask him for forgiveness. She was confessing the crimes she felt were her darkest, and if that Archer could grant her a pardon, perhaps everyone could.

 

“If I had understood that failings happen, if I had been a Chief Warlord instead of trying to be a strong-willed voice of authority, we would have had our own Loyal Casters. A Luckamancer to do better than an umbrella casting, and a Shockmancer of our own. My sister would not have been with a mercenary sent to croak me, and Shift might even be alive.”

 

“But actions of treason and rebellion cannot go unaddressed, so their will still be firm consequences for your choices.” The conspirators stood silently, letting Kristin pour out her laments, their faces inscrutable and some pointedly looking away. On Efex she saw the vacant look he adopted when he was convinced she was about to say something he disagreed with, or when he wanted her to believe he would not change his mind. She knew all too well how to handle that expression.

 

“Loxley and Prince Dubbel are being sent away.”

 

Efex finally snapped his eyes back to her. They were flashing with menace.

 

“Once our new Seafarers pop in a few turns, I plan to send our remaining forces, which are considerable since they could not be here yesterday, to strike the heart of the Cult and raze their capital. Dr. James has promised us a favor in return for not croaking Home, and coerced the same promise from his companion. They will accompany you and act as though their Loyalty is to Open Range until such a time as Efex releases them from service.” James was staring at the floor. He had disclosed that he knew Home was up to something, but could not suss out what it had been. “I want to end this feud for good. Dubbel will take the city and spin off, with Loxley as his Chief Warlord. They will guard one of our most hazardous flanks and allow us to prosper, and in return we will be allies for as long as each side shall remain. Loxley must go because he does not trust me. And Dubbel, you are restless, and would grow bored and chafe on my Side, since you desire new and spurn the comfortable. After everything I’ve lost, I still have to give up at least one more son to keep my side safe. I’ll barely ever get to know him.”

 

“You’re setting them free... That’s what you meant by sending them away.” Her Chief Warlord’s voice was choked with barely contained grief.

 

“I was trying to tell you I had changed.” She smiled at Efex ruefully.” You didn’t want to hear it, so I said it like you expect to hear news from me. Got your attention too.”

 

It was a long moment before the Queen found more words and she stalled by descending to their level and approaching Loxley, but she made sure her soldiers saw her eyes while she finished. “Thank you, Bodkin, for trying to save my son. You are the only warlord I would entrust him to, so keep him well when he’s a King. I know what drives you, and in time Dubbel will learn what it is too. You two will make good partners.”

 

She touched the Archer’s hand almost like one of her own sons and smiled knowingly. In her periphery, she saw her youngest son grow a puzzled expression.

 

In a ceremonial way, Loxley said the same words he had said to her as she adjusted his leg supports and gave him sips of water on the Tower top the night before. “I was wrong too Highness... Open Range should stop withering under you now. Maybe you will be a good ally to have at our back.”

 

The applause from the small crowd was tumultuous.

 

---

 

After the announcement, there was a lavish breakfast served in the Throne Room and for the first time since the battle Dubbel found his friend at a table in the center of the hubbub. The Prince had not even gotten to speak before Loxley exploded with questions. Apparently Mother had not explained the situation completely, and for the first time the prince saw his friend lose his calm and controlled facade.

 

“Did Home hurt you before I got there? I mean that was you screaming, right? And what did he do to me? But we got him right? He didn’t get to run off? Aww man! You were the one that brought down that two timer, I guess.”

 

Dubbel laughed a bit more bitterly than he meant to, he had to admit. His solution had been best for the side, but it was not what he had wanted to do, deep, deep down. He took a bite of smoked fish before responding.

 

“I guess it will be easiest to go in reverse order. So, yes I brought him down and yes he did get to run away,” Loxley nearly choked on his slice of orange, looking outraged, “though under a strict agreement to return. So also yes, in the end we did get him.” He knew he was being deliberately difficult, but it was fun to watch Bodkin’s face contort with anger and confusion as Dubbel teased him with partial truths and seeming contradictions. “As for what he did to you, well that was a clever bit of Shockmancy, I take it. Incapacitation without any hits, which is good since I assume you only had a couple left.”

 

They were alone at their table, the others having withdrawn to the surrounding ring to give them a chance to reunite. The archer was searching Dubbel’s eyes as he tried to get his last answer. “And what he did to you? Not many things can draw a shout like that.”

 

There it was. That question the Dittomancer had intentionally tried not to answer. His friend was going to feel silly.

 

“Things can draw a shout like that, my friend. But he didn’t do anything Bodkin. I heard your orders and came to the center to tell you I was okay. Got there just in time to see you crack your skull open, pal. I was screaming for you and ordering you to stop, but you weren’t hearing it through your pain and your Duty.” He looked down into the water he was holding and smiled despite himself. Yes, it had been immensely painful to watch his companion stagger through the War Room, but the Loyalty and Love that drove him had been beautiful nonetheless.

 

Dr. James had been hovering nearby waiting to say something, and Dubbel gestured him over. “So when you got to the top, Home knocked you out to save you from yourself. Plus, he was nearly tapped on Juice and I would have used a scroll to blast him off the Tower if he didn’t use the rest safely. But I couldn’t do that because I needed him to Pinky Swear to retrieve the good Doctor for you.”

 

“Lucky he did too, because I don't believe the jerk would have followed through if it had been a lesser level of agreement. And incapacitated with that crack to the head would have led to you croaking on your new Turn. I’m glad that didn’t happen... There’s been enough pain on this side from Home.” He paused and looked around, then down at the table, perhaps trying to hide the shame in his eyes. “In fact I have a favor to ask, Highness. If we win this skirmish, I can’t return to work with him anymore. I always thought he had a line on who he would lie to, and I always thought I was that line. I guess I was wrong."

 

Loxley was looking between them confused, and it took Dubbel a second to realize he had failed a complete explanation.

 

"Oh! Right, so from what the Good Doc here says, Home was working a couple contracts at once.  He accepted a contract right before I met him... In fact, as it turns out, Maggie and I did not find Home first by accident."

 

Loxley broke in. "From the Cult?  Did their Thinkamancer set it up?"

 

James was looking despondent again, so Dubbel finished the explanation for him.  "Not quite.  See Broadcast was hoping to turn this from a Cult advantage to one of their making.  They sold us a bunch of units to defend with, so that the Cult would still be weakened if we didn't win, and they could strike.  If we somehow won, Home was to croak the Queen so that we would be crippled.  I don't think they knew there was an heir.  Then he manipulated the contract by taking out Rada while she was still Queen."

 

"He decided to screw everyone instead of just you,"  James spat, a fire burning in his dark eyes.  "The rat thought if Kristin fell the side would weaken more and Broadcast would sweep in, but if her sister fell, Home knew that Kristin would rain fury on Broadcast if she ever found out, but assumed she wouldn't... He just didn't know I was going to come tell her as soon as I found out.  See, I thought he was my friend, and he lied to me.  We agreed never to withhold information on contracts, and never to double deal.  For mercenaries like us, that is a dangerous game,"  After a moment, the Healomancer's budding rage subsided.  "He didn't even need the money.  He just did it for fun.  I knew something was up, and I should have made him tell me."

 

His head hung in shame, gathering his courage for a few seconds.

 

"I regret not stopping him, and under my contract I should have, since I suspected he was playing at something with your side.  But I didn't, and you all paid the price.  In the strictest technical sense, I broke my contract to do all I could to help you in the encounter.  I offered my favor as recognition of that.  I've caused a lot of strife as a mercenary, helped Home end sides and destroy Life, but this is the first time I felt shame about that...  This is a nice side and you all seem good, in a way I haven’t seen in hundreds of Turns. Reminds me of home... My side, Plainsboro, not my partner. Once you rebuild the razed capital of the Cult, and there is a Portal for us, Efex will dismiss us with our favors fulfilled, though I hope he will banish Home from the Kingdom. I never want to talk to him again... Let Home go first and then don’t make me follow. I’ll turn to your side, if you’ll have me.”

 

The three looked at each other and with no words exchanged, Dubbel and Loxley agreed immediately. Soon they would be sailing to attack the Blue Oyster Cult at it’s core and working together, possibly shoulder to shoulder, to take the city. A Healomancer on their side would be invaluable in the early days.

 

And so Dubbel’s court had convened for the first time and agreed on a course of action. His Chiefs to be were grinning and he mirrored them with his coolest smile. He had a good feeling about the conflict to come.

 

 

 

 

Epilogue:

 

Fifty turns after the battle, the oldest ship in the Archipelago left port leading a fleet. Dubbel was aboard the Polina with Bodkin Loxley and Wilson James, while Efex was a passenger on the Terra Nova and several other warlords were spread out between the Arctic and the Aurora, all three-masters they had acquired after the recent battle. The rest of the fleet were simply troop carriers.

 

The trip was uneventful aside from several trips to the deck to help support Loxley, who turned out to be prone to bouts of seasickness. They encountered some Broadcast ships, but Kristin had used Maggie’s newest Hat to extend the truce, and all Captain Guy had to do was wave cordially as they rode past on the waves.

 

When they made land they were only a couple hexes from the capital. They ended turn and a scout patrol happened into the hex, but the unit Efex captured was the only one who survived long enough to understand the gravity of the situation. One Turnamancy scroll and Open Range’s new Scout told the group everything they needed to know.

 

Oyster Cult had sent the bulk of it’s might to strike at Oasis, and in failing they found their troops spread thin in an attempt to defend against the sides they had been provoking all around them. The capital was weak, expecting Open Range to be depleted as well. Fortunately their Thinkamancer had no talent with Lookamancy and as far as the Scout knew, the fleet had landed unobserved.

 

It went better than anyone had expected. The capital fell the next turn and they began a march south to claim the Cult’s original capital site, from before they had driven Broadcast to the north. They cleared out four cities on the way, one of them a port, then struck hard into the neutral city. Each time they offered the outnumbered forces a choice and only at the old capital did the soldiers finally understand. The army gained a couple hundred troops before Efex authorized the city’s razing.

 

Dubbel stepped into the hex for the second time. It was weird. A couple minutes before, when he walked out of the hex, it had contained Imaginos, a walled city, with a tower spiraling to a point. The buildings glittered with the colors of every rainbow and the walls rose into the air as crystalline barriers, bending the light and fracturing it as it spilled on the ground to all sides.

 

And now it was gone. The mountain capital site was set in the valley between two huge mountains and stretched far up the sides of each. It had been scrubbed clean and reset to the Titans’ original layout. He looked back through the boundary and his brother nodded. Beside him, the blurred outlines of his future chiefs were ready to step through.

 

The Prince Turned.

 

Suddenly, a quaint level one Capital glimmered into existence around him. The city of Dubbel Mountain, capital of a side named Dubbelmint was nestled in the lowland and as the northern mountain rose, it became a hard stone keep, no longer glittering with color, but instead the strong and unstoppable grey of storm clouds rolling in.

 

The Level Five King Dubbel, turned and viewed the enemy soldiers outside his city. He watched as two of them stepped through and bowed their heads.

 

Bodkin Loxley glanced at his Chief Warlord for approval, then Turned to face his new King. His outfit stayed the same green, and his cap and bow did not change one bit (Joe had given him the Arrow Cap as a parting gift and since the Ram-Bow belonged to Dr. James, he had given it over as well). The only change was that he suddenly sported a twin peaked mountain with a capital D behind it in the position of a rising sun.

 

Loxley was looking around and grinning broadly as he suddenly became the Level Five Chief Warlord of Dubbelmint.

 

Wilson James, the Healomancer, had been his own man for longer than he remembered. He had never bothered to count the turns. He did not need to ask for anyone’s approval before he Turned, but it took him a few moments.

 

Plainsboro had fallen suddenly when everyone thought they were in no danger. Wilson could remember sitting in the Grand Illusion of the Foolamancers and suddenly going Barbarian as the Queen and her Heir were croaked by an unknown military incursion force. He had run outside and looked around in terror. The Casters building some kind of temple nearby did not pay him any mind, and there was no security or reassurance they could have given him if they had. He was alone and broke and he had nowhere to go. Finding a partner named Home had been a cruel joke of Fate and it was not until he realized it that he was able to cast his allegiance elsewhere.

 

When he turned to become the Level Seven, Chief Healomancer of Dubbelmint, it was the first time Wilson James had felt safe since the days of Queen Lisa. He was home, because he had finally given up on Home.

 

He had a side again.

 

The three surveyed their city together, discussing the tactical possibilities of such a mountain stronghold. They talked of the improvements they would seek as they upgraded it and around them, the units who had been in this city a few minutes before poured into the hex to explore their new home. Dubbel’s mind was unfolding new senses and knowledge as bunch by bunch, they were joined by many infantry of Open Range and all of the remaining Gwiffons with the one red Dwagon, as well as a large compliment of Tail Kites and a few low level Warlords. As they crossed, every unit’s armor and gear gained a pale green trim around the neon orange of the Archipelago.

 

The King of Dubbelmint was beaming with anticipation with his friends.

 

Now that he was not bound to Mother’s pacts, it was time to get their revenge and take resources back from Broadcast.

 

(Note: User was awarded 100 Shmuckers for this post. -Rob)

Comments

  • BOOR

    Ah, haven't see the ending before. well done! Though I was a bit confused, how the bit about Home turned out (pun intended)

  • blargfoot

    Agreed.  There was no explanation of what Home was doing, why he cast on Rada, what happened to Rada, why he let Dubbel live, why they're friends now, etc.

    Disappointing.

  • CarniDollMancer

    You're quite right.  I missed a vital couple lines in Dubbel's talk with Loxley (I'll Retcon it in this afternoon).  And Home and Dubbel aren't friends.  What's funny is:  Those missing paragraphs sound almost like this conversation.

  • BiSp2001

    Loved the story. Is there more to come? :D