Volume 3 - Growth and Consequences - The Life and Adventures of Sir Edelbert Spore
The Life and Adventure of Sir Edelbert Spore
Previous : Volume 2
Growth and Consequences
Turn 273 -Good Evening Journal,
A level four Bassilisk attacked us today, probably wandered up the path I installed. Its hide was a deep slate grey accented by a black circular recess imbedded above each of the reptiles six legs.
An encounter with a single Heavy is no longer cause for much concern to myself or my stack. This battle did not go as smoothly as usual.
My Terracotta Golems all swept in to attack, cleanly coordinated, as we have trained. Just before they engaged, the Bassilisk released a sonic siege attack centered on itself.
The beast was immune, of course, but golems are weak to both sonic and siege. Each of them effectively took a powerful crit. Four of the six croaked instantly.
Even Turnip took a solid blow and was thrown away.
With regret, I must admit that I panicked. My instincts summoned a spell to my lips, which proceeded to conjure a spike trap beneath the creature.
It worked though. The Bassilisk fell in, thrashed around for a turn, and then croaked. I wish I would have thought of that before all my golems were shattered.
Turnip, the lucky vegetable, gained sixth level from the encounter. I am trying (and failing) to not be jealous. Pidgeon A levelled to six as well, resulting in the loss of the Fragile special. How often are units happy to LOSE a special??
After some consideration I suspect that Turnip actually got more xp than me from the brief battle with the Bassilisk. Turnip engaged the beast directly and received xp for participating in the successful combat.
I received xp for being in the stack but not for the finishing blow or for engaging in combat. Units croaked in traps only grant a small portion of their xp to their creator. This makes traps an effective defensive tool but not especially good for leveling.
At least I have an excuse to experiment with golems for a while. Oh, I can’t forget to fill in that spike pit.
Turn 291- Journal,
I had to transplant the Ironwood. The tree had simply outgrown the pot it was planted in. I placed it beside the tower, with plenty of room to grow.
Much of the rest of the turn I spent casting Floral blessings. The orchard is nearly glowing the plants are so healthy. I enjoy gardening, watching the plants grow is rewarding.
When making a statue or digging a pit the only change that occurs is directly by my hand, which is fine enough. When gardening however, I spend my time and juice to encourage the plants then they take that and grow beyond my work.
It is like the plants and I are working together to produce something greater than we could have done separately.
Turn 319 – Hello Journal,
I am noticing a trend. The special of the day was Fly again. Being able to zip around the airspace is fun but I got to thinking about how common getting Fly from Turnip is.
Weird Chant is described as being random and usually this seems true. Many turns I get an entirely new and out-of-proper-context special, Sub-Aquatic for instance.
A few specials seem to break this randomness. I have had Fly on eight different turns and Forest capability on four turns. Scout has the record with thirteen turns.
I would expect every side to have Scouts and most sides to have Flyers. Forest capability would be less frequent based on a sides local terrain needs, but Forest hex variations are one of the most likely hexes to be encountered in general.
Since the random pick comes from the list of all specials, what if the frequency of those specials in reality affects the chance they will manifest from Weird Chant?
Just a thought.
Turn 346 -Someone knows we are here Journal,
A sided scout flew through my airspace today. It was a chubby little green bird that circled the hex twice, then did a closer flyby of the tower.
Pigeon C6 was sent up to scope out the avian intruder, but the thing was so fast C could not catch up for a clear look. There was definitely an insignia on its chest though.
Turnip became very agitated once we noticed the bird. It hopped up and down, yelling Weirdish over and over. I tried to console my daemon friend, but it was not listening.
After the scout left the hex, Turnip reminded me of an entry in the Daemondex. The unit was called a Pudgie and it was a sided Pokedaemon.
The compulsion to battle one another must be rather strong, Turnip was furious the rest of the turn.
Too bad it was a nonspeaking unit. A conversation would have been nice.
Turn 369-Nothing Much to Report Journal
Special today was Wing Dinger. It gave a huge bonus against fliers. No encounters to report for the day though.
Turn 384-Insightful turn for me Journal,
I spent my morning sculpting all of the Stoneheads into more pleasant signamancy. Each of them is now a uniquely carved bestial head; like a wurm or a dwagon.
My afternoon was spent sculpting a whole mess of decorative stone heads. Similar to Turnip on the lawn, it seemed to me if there were similar statues all over that it would be harder for intruders to tell which ones might actually be watching them.
It worked so well that the Stoneheads are now receiving a visible bonus on hide checks. I am calling this a Statuary Veil. The other golems can use this veil too. All they must do is stand perfectly still.
I guarantee this is no Foolamancy level veil. Considering the circumstance bonus I have discovered, this is still a great advantage.
Turn 417- Fun Day Journal,
Four stacks of Loan Nomes popped today. They were receptive to my claim on the ruin, without argument. Chief Grubby had no interest in staying for a few turns once he realized I did not need to borrow any money, probably never would.
Moneymancy is still a tough subject for me. I traded some gems for financial tips and tricks. Recording their knowledgetook much of the afternoon but was very informative.
The tribe set out late in the afternoon. Grubby said they would probably send units to purchase golems from me in the future, if they could establish themselves nearby.
Turn 457- I noticed a great fire Journal,
It appears the volcano to the south has ignited the surrounding jungle. The fire swept across a few hexes but croaked as it ran into active rain.
I sent a Pigeon to look around. It was interesting to see a new hex type, even if a rather boring terrain example.
The bird will be staying to watch as new jungle takes over.
Turn 476- My head hurts,
The special of the day was Dim Witted.
Thinking was difficult, if one could call it thinking at all. Casting was all but impossible.
I tried to work in the mines and my golems seemed confused. My orders were unclear, I suppose.
While attempting to sharpen my favorite pickax I somehow bent it instead.
The worst part of the whole turn? Being too Dim to realize I should have just stopped breaking things and waited for the special to fade.
My head hurts.
Turn 524- We were attacked today Journal,
In the middle of the day two Pokedaemon flew into the airspace. The purple creatures quickly circled the hex and then landed in the tower yard.
I immediately recognized them from the Daemondex. An unallied Mewt and Twomewt. The book warns that these are among the most powerful and rare of Pokedaemon.
Neither of our visitors spoke but Turnip said its fair share. Somehow the three came to terms.
Knowing my place, I stacked and then stepped off near the edge of the designated battle space. With my leadership and artifact bonuses I was quite confident.
To my surprise the Twomewt assumed the position opposite mine, then it Dittoed its natural leadership.
The battle started and the Mewt immediately silenced Turnip. Nothing went in our favor the rest of the fight. Level fours easily defeated a six and a three.
Rather than take Turnip into their tribe, they demanded battle tribute. I did not see clearly but that Gem must have been worth fifty thousand, maybe more. It looks like my ally has its own sizable stash.
I expect my friend will stay rooted for a few turns. It does get quite sullen sometimes.
Turn 567- Tough Turn Today Journal,
At dawn a level 5 Crithippo popped out on the tower lawn. The beast immediately commenced to consuming my landscaping. Unfortunately, Turnip is part of the landscaping. In the short time it took for the more golems and myself to arrive, Turnip had already been severely hurt. Two Soft Rock Golems were already smashed.
Gigi was eventually croaked but its Counter special was quite effective. The high critical chance of the hippo just fed bonus damage to the golems counter attacks, until the guardian ran out of Hits.
At the last moment, Turnip charged back into the fight and nabbed the croaking blow against the Crithippo. I was completely surprised by this rash action; however, it seems to have paid off.
Along with levelling to seven, Turnip gained the Change special. I tried to offer my congratulations but it went up to its pot and went to root immediately. I will never understand what is in that veggies head.
Turn 599- Visitors Today Journal,
Well, sort of. A barbarian warlord and two full stacks climbed up the trail. They decided not to accept my invitation or heed my warning.
The group indulged of my orchard. Then they forced their way into the mine.
Between the poisons and the traps, they all croaked without ever engaging one of my units.
On one hand I am proud of the effectiveness of my tests.
On the other I am disappointed I did not get to speak with them even once.
Turn 624- Big Day Journal,
As of this turn I have had five hundred unique specials. Most of them were only for one turn but how many units can say they have had so many specials? Thank you Weirdomancy.
First-Aid taught me a lot of interesting things about basic Healomancy. I spent most of the turn making bandages, splints, crutches, and other items that provide healing bonuses or effects.
Using a bit of Flower Power, I also created a small number of balms and salves to counter a broad range of incapacitations from chemical attacks or poisons.
Hopefully, if something happens, Turnip can use these to keep me from croaking before start of turn.
Turn 667 was off to an excellent start for Dirtamancer Spore. Four ten-turns of preparation were nearing completion.
“It is going to work this time!” Edelbert yelled as he began to assemble the parts he had fabricated.
What the dirtamancer wanted was a golem unit that had a special along the lines of Farmer. Having a unit to tend and harvest the orchard would be a pleasant convenience and serve as one more variation in the Crags defenses.
“In two dozen turns of testing, Crap Golems are the closest to farm units I have been able to manage with Dirtamancy.” Edelbert continued to explain to the disinterested Turnip. “The only reason the Crap counts at all? When set to tend the orchard, the plants gain a boost in their yield.”
Near the edge of the orchard, Edelbert had conjured a table on which he was laying out a stick figure frame. It had the shape of Men; a head, body, two legs and two arms. The right arm only went down to a loop at the elbow but otherwise the figure was fairly standard.
“So I got to thinking about it and a suspicion grew that the problem was equipment and the finesse to use it. Farming requires tools like shovels, hoes, rakes, clippers, and a whole assortment of other things.” The caster rambled on as he worked, more for himself than Turnip. “Golems gain their capabilities from what they are built to be.”
“In Dirtamancy the material one works with determines the forms that can be evoked. Those forms in turn determine the function of the construct.” Spore pointed at his nearby guard to emphasize his thought. “Granite golems are usually Heavies because that is what granite does well. A flying Lead Golem or a heavy Paper Golem would be ridiculous.”
As he talked, Edelbert dressed the stick figure in well-made burlap clothes. First sack boots, then pants and a tunic. The last touch was a wide brimmed conical hat which covered the top of the head, just low enough to still reveal its carved smile.
“To get the desired effect, I am reversing the process. I have chosen a function and designed a form to match.” He said while he stuffed the clothes with harvested leaves, vines, and grasses. “The materials used were only chosen to accent the effect of the form.”
Onto the exposed right elbow Spore tied a long bundle of ropes. He then spun in place and stepped over to his waiting golem. The unit smoothly handed over a box it had been carrying.
“Have you ever seen a masterwork item before Turnip?” Edelbert asked as he pulled an abnormally sharp gauntlet from the box. “I do not know how many turns I fiddled with the design. Three turns were all it took to build though.”
On each finger was mounted a pair of shears. A series of secured rods attached together with wires, which allowed the shears to work as the fingers moved. Edelbert called it a Trimmer. When used it granted a sizable bonus to harvesting provisions, as well as being a capable weapon.
“The way I figure it, if the Trimmer is incorporated into the body of the golem then a unit type will manifest which is suited to tending the orchard.” The Dirtamancer said with increasing excitement in his voice.
Once the gauntlet was attached to the left arm the caster took a few moments to admire his own craftsmanship. Although the golem shell looked more dangerous than had been intended, Edelbert felt that the thing looked like it belonged on a farm.
“I have talked about this long enough, Turnip my friend.” Edelbert finally said.
“Wei.” Turnip suddenly blurted out in enthusiastic agreement.
Dirtamancer Spore planted the base of the Great Gardening Staff firmly on the ground and very nearly yelled as he cast “HelpingHands FarmHands ScissorHands”.
The figure on the table nimbly leapt up to its feet but Edelbert was no longer paying attention. The force of level three struck him like a bludgeon to the brain.
Fireworks were going off behind the casters eyes. New ideas were forming and crashing together so fast all Edelbert could do was hold on. The world spun with imagination for mere moments, but then refocused instantly.
Ideas swam in his mind. A host of designs for new golems and just as many ways to upgrade them. From where he stood he could see many small things which could be done to improve the orchard area.
Edelbert had levelled before, but this was more. Levelling up had been peaceful and reassuring. This time it was an overwhelming rush.
With a startled gasp the caster had an idea. He opened his internal stat sheet and went straight for his Specials: Caster (Dirtamancy-Novice…
Still a Novice. That was too bad he thought. Edelbert began to sigh before he realized there was more.
Specials: Caster (Dirtamancy -Novice, Dollamancy-Novice, Flower Power-Novice).
For a few moments Edelbert and his new golem held the same dumb blank smile. In front of him stood a Dollamantic golem called a Caregrow, it had the Gardener and Harvester specials.
“I think I will name you Edwin.” Sir Edelbert Spore happily proclaimed.
Edwin the Caregrow just laughed a dry wooden laugh.
Turn 668- Good Evening Journal,
It is rare anymore that I look at Turnip’s stats. Today I noticed that while stacked with me, it was benefitting from the artifact bonus of the staff. The best I can figure this is an effect of my leadership bonus beginning to apply to plant units.
When we work together, my +2 floral leadership bonus and the +1 artifact bonus result in a significant power enhancement for the already strong Turnip.
I walked down to the Orchard to check on Edwin and the Crap. They are working together marvelously. I will have to search out a greater variety of edibles and reagents, now that sustenance is so far from an issue.
During my stroll I had an intuition and cast reflexively. The new Flower Power allowed me to see glowing fields radiating from all of the living things nearby. I was able to discern some of the plants that were weak or sick by their wavering fields.
The golems stood as dull voids in the otherwise vibrant Orchard. This saddened me somehow I can’t exactly describe.
Turn 670- Journal,
I now know there is a rank below Novice that represents no training or significant knowledge of a class. Amateur is its new name.
The downside of this knowledge? I am an Amateur in twenty-one disciplines of magic. I will have to experiment with a new branch to see if I can attain a novitiate in any area or if I have some affinity for Dollamancy and Flower Power.
Either way, my next priority should be gaining Adept in Dirtamancy.
Turn 701- Did you feel it?
Expanding the tower was a complete success.
The first step was adding a level between the ground floor and the workshop. I am calling it the armory. Admittedly the name is a bit of an embellishment; the room is intended for general storage. How did I get so much stuff?
I gave the armory a solid door with the toughest lock I could imagine. The point is not to protect my things but to distract anyone looking to loot my tower. Even if they get through the door, the room will be filled with all of the random stuff I have collected but do not use often.
After the armory, I cast to increase the square footage of the whole spire by an additional 30 percent or so. I needed more space in the workshop, library, and probably the armory soon to. There are a few amenities I wanted to try in my apartment that I now have space for.
The last step was to re-finish the outside of the tower. The roof is now red, for a bit of color. I refreshed and strengthened all of the waterproofing. Adding two bay windows to the apartment was a last minute inspiration. From my rocking chair I can now see sunrise and sunset.
Praise the Titans
Turn 741- Another battle today Journal,
Three unled stacks of Celery Stalkers attacked the orchard around midday. The Crap was lost but it managed to screen for Edwin’s escape. I have already replaced it.
The portcullis in the mine had croaked two stalkers. Another three celeries were impaled in a spike trap that one of the Stoneheads was keyed to trigger. I mustered the golems and we went down to engage the intruders.
My max stack consisted of: Turnip the level seven Weirdish; my level 6 Terracotta Defender; Edwin the second level Caregrow; GiGi the level three Granite Guardian; my level two Lumber Golem, Knot; as well as a second level Iron Maiden; and two level one Soft Rock Golems.
Oh, I almost forgot. A third level Novice Dirtamancer, with an artifact. My special of the day was Deep, I never figured out what it did. I also took Pigeon A, which is level nine now. I do not have it engage anything directly if it can be helped. Having such a high spot check nearby is reassuring, plus it pads our stack bonus. Losing such an old and useful unit would be unfortunate.
Although we won, I was impressed by the tenacity of the stalkers. They charged us in a pincer formation as two stacks of eight. While we battled, the three others moved through the foliage and emerged to flank us.
Plant units do not drop easily and those spears cut crisply.
I am not sure why but the celeries had a particular hatred for Knot. It was their focus to the point of being the only casualty on our side.
Turn 787- Drip Drop Journal,
The whole adjustment took far more juice than I anticipated. Reshaping the inside of a mountain is hard work. Finally done though, after eight turns.
Shifting the pressure underground to push a steady stream of water up to the tower may have been the most difficult aspect.
The brass pipes and valves are all functioning as expected. Running water in my quarters and workshop will be deeply convenient.
Turn 811- Not much today Journal,
Another fire near the volcano. I have not had a speaking visitor in a long while. Sometimes I dislike the quiet.
Turn 855- Humbling discovery today Journal,
While eating a Julius Orange in the orchard a thought occurred to me. Oranges and some other fruits have acid right? Acid is a Dirtamancy element right? Fruit is a Flower Power component, see where I am going?
So I made a Citric Acid Golem. The spell cost a ton of juice and a significant amount of Juice. It is particularly strong for a level one Heavy golem though. I am curious to see what the Pucker Up special does exactly.
I am calling this one Sprite, as a reminder of how elusive this sort of creativity really is. Taking these sorts of ideas and inspirations as given would be foolish, a trap I wish to avoid.
The grace of the Titans and my own hard work provide the means of my success. My Duty is to always remember this and diligently hold up my end of the bargain.
Turn 924- Glorious Day Journal,
A majestic Spread Eagle visited the hex for much of the turn. I could not help but stop and stare at its beauty. The huge featherless bird was artfully toned and evenly tanned.
Thankfully we did not battle the beast. I would have felt poorly about croaking such an amazing creature. It circled for a few hours then flew off without any apparent reasons.
The beauty and wonder of our world are a constant testament to the grace of the Titans.
Turn 968- Oh, what a turn Journal,
Today’s special was Major Miner. It is a Dirtamancy special that grants digging capability, but also advanced knowledge of mining technique and a sense for rare minerals. A unit with MM would be like a low powered Dirtamancer.
As a full Dirtamancer my knowledge and senses are generally more thorough, however, it was interesting to see some things from a broadened perspective. The ability to detect minerals by taste was an unexpected delight.
At some point in the turn I gained Adept class Dirtamancer. Although I am glad to have achieved this goal, I find myself underwhelmed with enthusiasm. The class up did not come with any new ideas or spells. I have not gained any sudden insights into my discipline or the world. I did not even notice when it happened.
Dirtamancy spells do cost less juice now and my Leadership bonus for my Dirtamantic golems is now three, same as my level. So it could be worse.
Achieving Novice in Flower Power and Dollamancy was exhilarating and broadened my perspective. This class up felt more like a minor stat boost.
The turn did have more in store though. We spent most of the afternoon working in the mine. I broke down a wall expecting to find a cache of Gems, instead I opened up a large hive of Gem Scarabs.
Each bug was the size of my fist but with a lovely facetted shell. Battling a swarm was no fun, tiny sparkling wings and pincers were everywhere.
Turnip and I took significant damage but the golems were largely immune to the bugs attacks. We managed to squish our way to victory. The insect corpses were unfortunately not worth anything.
Turnip hit level eight. I am unsure why but the daemon did not Change as it levelled. I had expected to have a Glum companion soon. This does not upset me. Turnip can do as it chooses with its own stats.
I am a bit confused by the decision though.
Turn 1008- Someone threatened me today!
Actually threatened me with words. That has never happened before.
A stack of green bug men pursued a unit in full armor into the orchard today. Despite powerful flame Shockamancy, the armored unit fell to the bugs.
I approached simply to talk and all they would say was. “Zorak no croak you. Retreat or we eat your face.”
The helmet of the armored unit was left behind when they claimed the corpse. It possessed full fire immunity which is not something I knew how to do. Something new to study is far better than nothing.
Turn 1042- Disappointing Turn of Events Journal
A new daemon popped in the orchard pond today. Turnip easily trounced the ugly level one fish monster. The poor unit was called a Tragikarp.
After the non-duel Turnip apparently demanded battle tribute because it did not become a Chief. The level one had no schmuckers or Gems to give which left the encounter largely pointless.
Tragikarp’s description in the Daemondex was surprisingly long. The entry was also oddly rude in an otherwise scholarly and formal tome. Phrases such as “worst. Pokedaemon” and “completely useless” were common. These water capable units have no other specials, not even gaining Change.
Out of pity, I returned and gave the beast a small Gem. I named it Blinky, because that seems to be all it does. Edwin was also ordered to offer rations from the orchard each turn; I certainly cannot eat all we produce. Blinky should be able to sustain upkeep for a while.
I see it as one more small test. If visitors interact with the fish, they might reveal their deeper nature. Kindness or cruelty are most honestly expressed during quiet moments alone. I think I read that somewhere.
Turn 1099- I got to host breakfast today,
A warlord popped out on the balcony with a stack of units. I rushed down to meet them and introduced myself.
The warlord’s name was Perry and s/he was a Flyer and a Dance Fighter. S/he wore a strangely colored raiment and had a great deal to say for a freshly popped unit.
The rest of the stack were feral knight units called Taupin Fairies. As well as being Fliers and Dancers, they were Tiny units. This gave them a bonus to evasion but limited their strength.
Perry’s strategy was fairly direct. Mercenary out to some side or conflict, specifically hunting for larger scale battles. The stack would use its superior speed and dodge to dance across the enemy line and perform precision air strikes against high value individual targets.
I have no experience with that sort of engagement but it sounds like a good strategy. Seems to me that they will be fighting warlords and casters mostly, which could be dangerous work.
After breakfast I did everything short of beg them to stay. I even offered to pay them.
Perry insisted “Warlord Winkle’s Tiny Dancers have got to fly.” They left before midday so they could use all of their move.
Full provisions and a full wallet were my gift for their journey.
I wish them luck.
I really wish they would have stayed.
Turn 1158 - Ouch Journal,
My legs were severely incapacitated in a battle with some feral Door Knockers today.
These creatures were scaled orange spheres on four legs. Each only stood about waist height. Ten of them charged around in the orchard crashing into everything, protected by their bronze helmets.
The charge attacks counted as Siege so they destroyed a great deal before I could respond. They also dealt severe damage to my golems.
During the fight, I was knocked to the ground by one of the beasts. Another pounced and began wildly trampling on my legs.
Turnip swooped in and stopped the assault but I was left severely incapacitated and unable to move. After the battle my golems carried me back up to the apartment.
I have applied some bandages and eaten a hearty meal to minimize complications. Everything will be fine come start of turn.
Turn 1213- I had an idea Journal,
Turnip sleeps, I sleep, and as far as I am aware every living thing must sleep. For the vast majority of units this occurs off turn, usually in the night.
Golems are not alive and do not require sleep. What do they do at night? I assume it must be guard duty because what else would they do without orders. Could they be working instead?
Tonight I am going to set most of my golems to digging a terraced fortification which I have imagined. The golems will receive detailed instructions before I go to bed. We will see what they can manage.
Off of that idea, I started thinking about all of the wasted resource that golems on guard duty really are. Consider all of the Move, Hits, Attack, and Defense that are allocated to any unit. Those are all largely unused stats during guard duty, more importantly unused upkeep.
So I tried to put a golem to sleep. It took quite a bit of juice, but part of that was correcting for minor errors as I cast an unfamiliar spell. The effects of the Golem Slumber spell were dramatic. I took a level three Iron Maiden with an upkeep of four hundred and fifty-six schmuckers down to thirty-six schmuckers per turn.
While slumbering the golems effectively have no stats and are unable to respond. They are statues with one important exception. The golems can be reawakened with a fairly cheap spell.
It is actually possible for me to have more units but at a lower upkeep then I currently pay. Units waiting in case of emergency but without the cost. I can make highly specialized units and slumber them rather than scrap them.
I am relieved. It had been a while since I made any solid Dirtamancy discoveries. Dollamancy is nice but I am as I was popped to be, a Dirtamancer
Turn 1286- Oh Journal,
Twenty-three turns and counting. Why wont the rain stop? I just want to see the sun, even for a minute or two.
Can you imagine how much damage has been done to all of my landscaping? It will be another two dozen turns just to get everything back in order. I will have to rainproof the hex a bit after this.
Turn 1357- Started a new project Journal,
I created sixteen Clay Pigeons and sent them out to survey the area. My map was over a thousand turns old. Things must have changed to some degree. Each hex will be thoroughly surveyed.
I am considering focusing on each hex as they are surveyed to add my bonus to the search. That would take a great deal of time. I have the time to spend though.
Sir Edelbert Spore began each day by witnessing and reflecting on the great cleansing that happened, usually, at the start of local turn. Turn 1413 was a rare exception. Local turn started and the sun rose into the sky without Edelbert’s turn beginning. This had happened a few times and it meant that a sided unit was going to enter the hex sometime that turn.
Usually in the past, a Pudgie scout would buzz the airspace and then leave. Turnip would pout for a turn or two. All fairly routine at this point, just like everything else. Despite the routine Edelbert always prepared for visitors.
On these days he would pull out his specially crafted formal robes. They were clean and snuggly fit, a lot like the robes he had popped in but embellished and augmented. Dollamancy had proven a versatile art and the robes had a few tricks up their sleeves
A majority of the golems were recalled to the tower from their various stations. All of the rest and the Stonehead network got their standing orders reinforced to avoid any mistakes by the mindless units,
Edelbert got to review his plans and fidget until just after midday. A Pudgie arrived and performed the typical round of the airspace. It then dropped quickly to ground level where it joined a group of units as they climbed up the trail into the ruin.
Watching through the Stoneheads, Edelbert could see the stack wore the SDE crest from so long ago. The units maintained the white and black color scheme as before. All sounds or other colors within the group came only from the Pokedaemons.
At the front of the procession marched a heavily armored Warlord. Not a speck of skin could be seen on the midlevel commander. Black lacquered panels were linked together to completely encase the torso and limbs of the unit. Heavy boots and gauntlets covered its hands and feet. The ensemble was topped with a deep helmet and an intimidating full face mask.
Three of the stack were the same tall lithe knight units that Edelbert had spied in the swamps. Up close the knights possessed an eerie similarity, little things like the way their curved longswords swayed as they marched.
Another two were also Men, but seemed to be wrapped head to toe in bandages of various greens and browns. Although smaller than the knights and not apparently armed, these units felt somehow more dangerous.
Three midlevel Pokedaemon were in tow. The pastel blue Pudgie was dutifully making regular spot checks. A Dolliwhirl appeared to happily be on the receiving end of a long conversation with a Dirtle.
When the group had ascended the stairs they came upon Edelbert’s greeting stone, erected right in the center of the path. The armored warlord stopped its stack and silently studied the stone.
Welcome to the Crafty Crags Ruin. Please be my guests for a meal so we might discuss your intentions.
Continue onward and up the stairs. Have a seat in the tower yard. I look forward to meeting you in person.
Be warned, do not stray from the path. Safety cannot be guaranteed off of the trail. Failure to heed this warning may be taken as hostility.
The stairs will not support Heavy units. They must be left in the upcoming courtyard.
Sir Edelbert Spore
The group continued past the courtyard and up the stairwell without further incident. This surprised and relieved Edelbert. He assumed the warlord was a heavy due to the bulk of the armor it wore.
Either the warlord was not as tough as it looked or his traps must have failed. That meant the warlord must not be that tough.
As the visitors arrived on the tower lawn they entered a defensive formation. Oddly, the point seemed to be to protect thedaemons. The warlord walked just in front of the Dolliwhirl, clearly screening for it.
Near the tower, Edelbert had conjured a stone table and chairs for all of the Men and Pokedaemon in the hex. Various foods were laid out, including roasted Pork Choppers that he had fought two turns before.
Rather than sit, the visitors took up formation near the table with the warlord and Dolliwhirl near the front. All of them sheathed their weapons and waited. Somehow they managed to look both relaxed and ready to strike at any moment.
Edelbert waited until his visitors seemed settled and then emerged from the tower. Stacked with him were Turnip, two Terracotta Defenders, and a level one Soft Rock Golem.
“Good afternoon. My name is Sir Edelbert Spore, as you may have guessed.” He took just a moment for a light chuckle. “Thank you for accepting my invitation. I hope our time together can be fruitful for all.”
The warlord in black raised its hand up in a hold gesture and then motioned to the daemon at its side.
“Dolliwhirl.” The daemon growled out the word. Its voice sounded almost bubbly, which Edelbert felt took away from the strength of the display.
“Weirdish.” Turnip barked in response.
Turnip signaled for Edelbert to follow. Then the two daemons moved immediately to the training field which took up most of the lawn. They took up opposing sides and squared off.
Edelbert knew his part and apparently so did the warlord. Each took up their positions as trainer. The rest of the visitors watched from behind the warlord and the golems mimicked on Edelbert’s side.
Spore laughed to himself. Two stacks of powerful units led by a warlord and Dirtamancer, all waiting to even speak so that natural allies could have an honor duel. What a world.
Suddenly Turnip dashed forward calling out “Weird”. It gained the Wireless special, which had no obvious effect.
The Dolliwhirl responded with a sharply chirped “Whirl”.
Mid-dash the plant daemon stumbled and rolled to its left, seemingly unable to gain its footing. As it struggled to make a step it shouted. “Weirdish.”
Then the large blue frog calmly resized two fierce looking scimitars. It hopped lightly forward into a martial stance and began to spin the blades in a complicated pattern. Surrounded by flashing silver, the Dolliwhirl advanced on Edelbert’s stumbling ally.
Turnip spun and swerved, clearly trying to face its opponent. As the beige vegetable struggled it regularly said “Weirdish…Weirdish.”
The gap between the daemon lessened and the Dolliwhirl itself began to spin, resulting in a whirling blue column of blades. Apparently at full spin, the cyclone picked up considerable speed for the final charge against the wobbling daemon.
“Weirdish.” came the only response from Turnip.
The spinning column wavered and the Dolliwhirl crashed face first to the ground. It laid there momentarily stunned.
Turnip took this chance, flung itself onto its feet and called out. “Weird”. The daemon gained the Bull Headed special, balled its leaves into fists and charged against the challenger.
A flurry of blows began to rain upon the dizzy blue daemon, yet to regain its bearings. Two, three, four hits drained away quickly. A white gloved hand emerged from the melee to catch Turnip by the leaf and thrown it into a nearby tree.
The Dolliwhirl reclaimed a scimitar and withdrew a shield from some hidden space. An item which appeared to be modelled after the shield from the SDE crest. Apparently out of tricks, the Dolliwhirl prepared for a direct melee confrontation with a higher level foe.
Turnip rebounded off of the tree with a sickening crunch and another lost hit. It landed on its feet though and came right back at the waiting Dolliwhirl.
The next few combat turns passed brutally fast. The Dolliwhirl was clearly a competent combatant but it could not make up the level gap. One good critical against Turnip caused a moment of hope for the visitors but the Weirdish instead used that same moment to finish its opponent.
When the frogs back hit the ground its eyes did not go to X’s. Instead they became stars which spun in place for a few moments.A flash of sparkles and both daemons were healed and cleansed. Then the Dolliwhirl stood up, largely no worse for the wear.
“Great job Turnip!” Edelbert cheered, then was surprised to receive xp. Once again, the dirtamancer received paltry participation xp and Turnip levelled.
Attaining level nine is not easy and the stats Turnip gained reflected that. Most impressively it picked up Regrowth as a new Special, a powerful form of Regeneration.
Edelbert turned towards his guests with enthusiasm. He tried to evoke the joviality and confidence which he had intended to present during their initial meeting. That is when the burst of strange light erupted on the lawn nearby.
Turnip was emitting an intense purplish-black light from head to roots. The glowing pulsed in waves as the brightness grew in intensity. A deep thumping began to accompany the pulse as it climaxed its pace, then it all stopped instantly. The silhouetted form of the Weirdish collapsed in upon itself with a Pop, like a new unit forming.
Where Turnip had stood, there was now a vaguely familiar flower unit. Its body looked to be made if the same beige root material that the Weirdish form had been composed of. Two stubby arms had sprouted, although they looked too short to be much good. The leaves were all flattened, facing down away from the conical bud now atop the daemons head. Five violet petals wrapped up together in the tall bud. A sixth was already loose, as if it alone had bloomed.
Edelbert immediately felt sympathy for his friend. Before Turnips upward slanted mouth had an almost mischievous feel, no matter its mood. The Glums mouth was slanted downward, making the flower look ready to cry. Spore found himself hoping that Turnips emotions or personality had not changed too.
While the transformation occurred, the visiting warlord had approached Edelbert without his realizing. It removed a fine scroll from a water-tight tube and handed the sealed scroll to the caster.
Greetings Sir Dirtamancer,
I have dispatched this envoy as an invitation for a visit to my capital. We will benefit greatly from your skills, Tee-he.
Our Chief Signamancer and Florist are eager to collaborate with you, as are our other casters, Tee-he. The Silent but Deadly Empire looks forward to welcoming you.
Warlord Dioxide will guarantee your safe passage back to Wonderland, our Capital. You are ordered to turn all units under your command as well as to reveal all other treasures from the ruin.
Welcome to the happiest empire on Erf, Tee-he.
Retainer of the Silver Age, The Second of Her Line
Empress Betty Toots
He knew that he shouldn’t be, but Edelbert found himself surprised. Of course any side would make an offer to a barbarian caster they found in a ruin. This was a question he had prepared for, but when actually faced with it he hesitated.
“Turnip, they are offering for us to turn. Empress Toots has extended an invitation to me and they already have a tribe you can join.” Edelbert said, trying to be positive. “How does that sound?”
“Glum” said Turnip. It shook slightly when it spoke and Edelbert could tell it was saying “No”. Either the warlord didn’t notice or it was not familiar enough with the strange body language of the daemon.
Turnip stepped forward toward the Dolliwhirl. “Glum. Glum.”
“Hir hir hir” was the frogs reply, clearly spoken with attitude.
“GLUM!” Turnip suddenly yelled. The plant daemon then took a few steps back and moved into the center of the waiting golems. Once screened it began murmuring to itself.
“Why don’t we all calm down?” Edelbert interjected before this could escalate. “We can eat a meal while we discuss if Turnip and I are interested in joining your side.”
Warlord Dioxide shook its head. Then with an emphasized motion, clearly pointed at the scroll from the Empress. The knight units seemed to tense when the warlord did this.
Something was wrong but Edelbert could not tell what exactly. He certainly did not have a great deal of expertise in negotiating and he figured it could be any of a large number of things. Turnip acting like its usual self was comforting but not well timed.
A pit trap in the field disabled without warning and the caster realized what was out of place. The Dirtle was not stacked with Dioxide, was not even visible. When the second pit trap ceased to be Edelbert ordered his stack to take full defensive positions.
Two Hard Rock Golems and a Granite Guardian charged out from behind the tower to join the stack. The situation was quickly getting worse.
In two swift motions the warlord withdrew a double handed hammer and smashed a veiled golem a few steps away. A single powerful blow obliterated the Soft Rock Golem leaving only rubble.
As both sides fanned out to engage, Edelbert’s first thought was disappointment. Why did all of these encounters go so poorly?
Rather than charging to the front line, Turnip just glared at the warlord and repeated Glum over and over.
Three other Softies were veiling themselves amongst the yard art. They received orders to retreat toward the tower. The Hards, Granites and Soft in Edelbert’s stack all charged forward to engage with the knights and warlord.
Dioxide for its part did not falter. They engaged the stack of golems head on, as soon as the melee was begun in full the other units unleashed. The bandaged men began a barrage of thrown weapons; stars, knives, and darts.
Edelbert had his own surprise, four powerful specialty golems emerged from the tower as ordered. They stacked with the three loose Softies and commenced their flank attack. Edwin snatched a knight using the reach and ensnare of its rope bundle arm. Sprite splattered the poor soldier with an incapacitating Sour Punch. Stunned and disoriented, the unit then had no chance as the Iron Maiden used its Maneater special for an insta-croak.
Dolliwhirl removed a weapon from its pouch, a bright green tank on the end of a white tube. Two pumps and the weapon released a blast of water. The shot hit the level two Terracotta Defender in the chest leaving a fist sized hole, removing just over half the golems Hits.
From below ground the Dirtle cast a weakening spell on one of the Hards. This dropped its Defense considerably which Dioxide capitalized on with another brutal strike against the golem.
Stopping that Dirtle was crucial and Edelebrt knew he had to do it. The creature would be resistant to Dirtamancy, but it would only have limited capacities.
“Fishbowl” He cast and a sphere of water replaced the stone around the Dirtle. Expending more juice then he wanted to, Edelbert then cast to change the stone around the sphere into iron. The nonaquatic Dirtle had no option but to drown, sealed in a metal bubble underground.
A packet of something struck the Dirtamancer in the face, exploding in a cloud of bluish smoke. One of the bandaged men had thrown it just before being swiped up by Edwin.
Sir Spore suddenly found himself giddy. An overwhelming sense of euphoria swept over him and the battle became much less important. He could see the units around him blocking and brawling but these things no longer concerned him.
Another blast from the waterweapon eliminated a Defender and Dioxide seized the opportunity. With its gauntleted fist the warlord struck Edelbert hard on the top of the head.
Edelbert's world went black.