Volume 7 - Edelbert Vs. The Volcano - The Life and Adventure of Sir Edelbert Spore
The Life and Adventures of Sir Edelbert Spore
Edelbert Vs. The Volcano
It was the beginning of turn 4329 for Sir Edelbert Spore of the Crafty Crags Ruin, although he did not remember any of that currently. Sixteen turns of unceasing agony had been more than the Dirtamancer could handle. To maintain some grasp on sanity, he had forgotten time and his own identity. Rather than break under the pain, he allowed his old self to simply leave. It could not be harmed if it were not present. As a part of that transformative process, he had been forced to accept the name Eddie Dirt by his torturer and captor.
“Listen up Dirt” Silas kicked the caster in the lower back as they climbed the ashen trail up the side of the Magma Bum Loude Ruin site. “This is a momentous turn. Today we challenge the Titans themselves!”
Blasphemy from Lord Laughter was difficult for Eddie to hear, he thought the Titans deserved respect. Instead he said “Of course. As you desire Sir.” The rest of the climb went quickly, filled by the gloating of the yellow-skinned warlord. In the turns since the Dirtamancer had arrived in this place, today was the first the had been released from captivity. His Juice was full and his senses were alive again.
Unfortunately, this was a surprisingly low level Ruin site; there were few minerals or Gems within his senses. This place would not Pop much of anything, quantity or quality. Beyond its rare Volcano hex type, the MBL had two special terrain features, neither of which he recognized; Manse and Relic.
The trail itself was roughly hewn, it required regular climbing and scrambling to ascend. Scree frequently broke loose and tumbled away down the mountainside.
“Lord?” Eddie bowed his head as he asked to speak further.
“What is it Dirt?” Silas kicked a small boulder, which fell away in the direction of the Moltar hovels and caves.
“For little cost, I can add a path for us to follow. The climb would be much easier and quicker.” The Dirtamancer worried, this sort of forwardness would often get him punished. On the other hand, not giving the suggestion might also have gotten him punished. As well as anything else he might or might not do.
“Buffoon! Your Juice is required for our task. Quit bellyaching Eddie.” Oddly, the Warlord turned and raised a fist in warning, rather than the usual blow to the head. “This will be spectacular.”
“As you wish Lord.” the Caster immediately cowered, even though that had helped little in the past.
“On the rim of the volcano there is an ancient slab of stone.” Silas began, as he scrambled up a boulder. “Personally, I would have never guessed it to be special, except that it is a clean perfect hexagon. The Moltar inform me it is called the Erfshatter Monolith. For the last few thousand-turn they have been pooring their Flamemancy into the stone. Are you understanding me Dirt?”
“I…I am sorry Lord. When you say ‘pooring their Flamemancy’, does the stone respond in any way? Like glowing, melting, Changing, or any other strange effect.” Eddie reveled in thoughts of Dirtamancy, which he had been denied for so very long.
Sir Laughter chuckled with a rare non-violent amusement. “That is why we needed a Caster. No, the Monolith has not changed in any noticeable way. These bubbling dolts cannot control the Relic and neither can I, as a Warlord. All that Juice and the most they have gotten for it is smoke, lots of smoke.”
“What would you like to get from it, Lord?” the Dirtamancer dared to ask.
“Soon enough Dirt, soon enough.”
The pair slowly but steadily attained the ridge of the crater. On the wide ledge waited the entire Moltar tribe, only a few dozen units. A group was bent down, holding their hands to the hexagonal stone. Eddie could sense a flow of Juice from the units into the stone.
Four tall Moltar approached the Warlord and Caster. Their armor was darker than the others, each with an orange stripe down their side.
Silas grimaced slightly before smiling a wide fake smile. “Greeting Chiefs. Tadd, Chad, Brak; How are the preparations going? Oh, here is Eddie Dirt, our new Dirtamancer.” The malice in his grin returned as he mentioned the caster.
“HI!” Brak blurted out, nearly yelling.
Chad sighed slightly “The turn is at hand. We are told the Monolith is brimming to capacity. Everything is ready to proceed, thanks largely to you Lord Silas. This will be a glorious turn for our tribe. How is our new addition?”
“Yes, glory to us all. He is pliable and ready for the task. Let us see what a Dirtamancer can really do, shall we Eddie?” Laughter grinned as he spoke.
Tadd stepped up and placed a hand on Eddies shoulder, guiding him toward the beige hexagon nearby. “Before you stands the Erfshatter Monolith. We know that with it, one such as yourself can wield great Flame and Dirtamancy. Fate has guaranteed its use.”
“Fate? what does Fate have to do with this?” Eddie spoke out before realizing his audacity.
Silas struck Dirt hard in the hip. Not enough to do damage, but enough to leave a bruise. “Mind yourself filth. You will behave and obey!”
“Sorry Lord, my deepest apologies. I got carried away in my excitement.”
Chad looked at Silas “Let him ask his questions. Those skills are why we brought him here. He needs to know these things to perform to his best. We cannot waste this one in a million-turn opportunity.”
“YEAH.” Added Brak.
“As you say. I obey the Council.” Silas said flatly.
Suddenly the entire tribe burst into chanting
A mountain will rage
Men of the magma battle for glory
Their enemies burned before them
A river of lava bursting its bounds
Flames reshape the face of the world
Forest consumed by fire
The Monolith shall be unveiled
As a new Kingdom must be born
Tadd continued as if having never been interrupted. “A Predictamancer travelled here very long ago. Before she made her way back into the jungle, she gave us that Prediction. The tribe has sought our destiny ever since. We have the lock and you are the key.”
“I serve the will of the Chiefs and Lord Silas. This is a unique opportunity for a caster.” Eddie felt he had to respond.
Silas stepped forward and grabbed Dirt by the shoulder, pulling him roughly toward the hexagonal relic. “After all this time, there is no need to wait any longer. We are all eager for our new Kingdom. My rule will be the stuff of legends.”
“The Zorak have kept us contained simply because we cannot be away from Fire features for more than three turns.” Chad began “You will add as many of these to the local terrain as you can, spread evenly for maximum effect. Beyond that, you will trigger a capital site, here if possible. The Prediction was very clear as to the results, you must make them so.”
“Do you understand that Dirt?” Silas seemed far more eager than the Chiefs “We will stay stacked together, in case you need any guidance during the casting.” That grin surfaced once again.
“As you wish Lords.” Eddie felt sick. How could monstrosities such as these be Fated as a side?
Silas and Eddie walked forward to the center of the Monolith. As the Dirtamancer reached out to the stone, two smaller hexagonal pillars raised from the surface. The Caster’s hands came to naturally rest on these protrusions. Once contact was made the Relic came to life.
He gained a +10 Relic Bonus tied into an absurdly massive reserve of Juice. The effect was something similar to the offensive capabilities of a boat or tower, except focused into terrain based Dirtamancy. Eddie could not believe it; This stone was twice the caster he was or might ever be, without even having a mind! How did such a thing exist? He knew only the Titans could have crafted such a masterpiece.
As Eddies consciousness faded into a beautiful realm of Dirtamancy something startling happened in the world, near his body. A great burst of flame flew out of the crater and up to strike a stack of flying Zorak entering the airspace. Fireballs began to fly as multiple Scouts came from different direction.
“WHAT IS GOING ON??” Brak yelled far louder than normal.
One of the Moltar near the edge called out. “Chiefs, a mass of Zorak are charging up the volcano. Dozens of 8-stacks.”
Tadd turned to Chad. “How could they know? We cannot allow them to interfere! Warlord Silas, what do we do?”
Lord Laughter grinned his terrible grim. “Take the tribe and engage them. This is your foretold glory. Burn the Zorak before you. Leave me one Heavy and we can guard the Dirtamancer, as well as ensure he stays on task.”
“ALRIGHTY, BRUTUS YOU ARE WITH SILAS. EVERYONE ELSE DOUBLE TIME DOWN TO THE CAVES. WE MUST BE READY BEFORE THE BUGS FINISH THEIR CLIMB” Brak ordered the entire tribe with stubborn force. They all had begun to run before he finished speaking.
Eddie Dirt noticed none of these exchanges, he was one with the Erfshatter Monolith. These imbeciles had no idea what this thing could do. Within his hands was the power of a Titan, but his Lord had given him orders.
Nervous to interact with such a mass of Juice, the Caster used a small amount of his own casting a cartography spell to gain an idea of the area. Amplified through the relic, he gained surprisingly detailed knowledge out for sixteen hexes from Magma Bum Loude.
The detailed information was incredible. All these hexes he had surveyed before and he realized his knowledge of the map was boosting the spell. He now was intimately familiar with all these hexes to a greater degree than ever before. Major and minor terrain feature were shown to him, as well as minerals, gems, and constructions
Something shifted inside his heart. He could feel the Crafty Crags Ruin so very nearby, his home. Despite all that had been done to him, he could never truly forget his birthplace. If not for this Relic it may never have surfaced, but surface it did. The spell trance he was under also buffered the backlash of the breakthrough into the monument. Inside of Eddie Dirt, Sir Edelbert Spore awoke. The shock and pain were there but for now, there was still Dirtamancy to do.
“Eddie” Silas called from the regular world. “Eddie, I know you can hear me. Wipe out the Zorak and the Moltar. I know you can. Use a giant pit or something. Croak the Chiefs and I will use this Heavy to repopulate Moltar after I found my kingdom. As for the Zorak were just a tool for me to distract the lavaa-brains. I never wanted them anyway.”
To Edelbert’s surprise he responded to the Order. There was so very much Flamemancy Juice to be released, the Moltar had packed it to bursting. One way or another it could no longer be contained.
The ground underneath the waging battle began to crumble. The combatants did not notice until the whole mountainside exploded, as a geyser of lava erupted and began to flow off to the east. The Moltar may have been fire immune, but an eruption was mostly bludgeoning damage. They should have known their Dirtamancy better, Edelbert distantly thought.
Once the Flamemancy was tapped into, it demanded use. With it and the Dirtamancy reserve, the Monolith could lower the grade of the rainforests and plains within twenty-five hexes; Dense to Light to Plain to Ash. He decided that all changes should be within his sense range. Creating a few avenues of Light Rainforest and Plain, he used the power he needed and increased the chances of sides coming to the Crafty Crags, which he centered the effect on. There was still much Dirtamancy and some Flame to utilize.
“Fantastic Dirt. I have trained you well. My hope that you would be an excellent pet has paid off.” Silas Laughed with perverted glee.
That was when the mountain began to melt. All the stone oozed down toward regular ground level as if suddenly made of jelly; everything except the Monolith. Instead of spreading out into the surrounding hexes though, the ooze compressed into a great flat hex platform with a sphere at its center. That sphere spun for a few moments before forming into a Brimstone Behemoth; similar to a tower sized Megataur with wings and a great tail.
Standing on the platform was “Lord” Silas Laughter. He was not smiling “Brutus screen while I escape” The coward screamed as he darted away.
Brutus, the last surviving Moltar, instead grabbed the head of the warlord and slammed him forcefully to the ground. Then a blast of flame from the Behemoth erased Silas off the face of Erfworld. A massive stone hoof swept quickly in to croak the last of the lavamen as well.
The Behemoth wandered to the base of the tower monument and took a sentry position. Edelbert had placed his identity into the massive golem so it would not attack him. He could not claim it as a unit because it was a terrain feature but no one else could either. The unit would always treat the Dirtamancer as neutral, which was lucky, otherwise he would have never escaped the hex.
Most of the Flame Juice was spent but a great deal of Dirtamancy remained. They had said there would be a Capital but Magma Bum Loude could not become a city, especially with the Behemoth feature it now possessed. What could they have meant then?
The Monolith steered toward the Crafty Crags. Edelbert could feel that within the Ruin was a price that needed to be paid in Juice, but once it was a city space would unlock. Dirtamancy pulsed into Edelbert’s home, a wave of power that would have taken a hundred turns for him to create on his own. The thirst was quenched and an option appeared on the hexes stat block. When he returned, he would become a King.
The remaining power Edelbert allowed to flow out north into the surrounding hexes. It would increase the chances of gems spawning, as well as rare minerals.
Releasing from the Relic was a great relief to the Dirtamancer. As powerful as the Monolith was, using it was more like riding a Feral Dwagon than controlling a Golem. Edelbert provided focus to the monument but it provided most of the power and ability. He was no closer to knowing how to Change terrain than he had been. The whole encounter had, in fact, produced very little xp.
Now that Magma Bum Loude supported both the Brimstone Behemoth and the Erfshatter Monolith, there was very little potential leftover for popping units or charging the Manse. It would at least be a couple of hundred-thousand-turns before the Relic was usable again. Even then one would have to defeat the massive Golem.
Standing on the top of the, now exposed, Erfshatter Monolith was dizzying. Without flight or something similar, he had no way to get down.
With the Manse reserve expended, Edelbert cast “Skeet Coop” using his own Juice through the Monolith. From this single casting, he received eight Clay Pigeons. He sent seven out to explore the modified terrain. Then he conjured a letter to Mother, and attached it to the final Pigeon. The bird zipped away toward his home in the distance.
Hello Mother, Vi, Turnip, and Phil…in no particular order,
I am alive despite many hardships. My sincere hope
is that you are all safe and well. I have missed you. My
return home will be delayed however. As I am already
away from the Crafty Crags, there is a place I wish to
visit; a natural shrine to the Titans which is nearby. After
that I intend to come home. I am sorry to have
worried you all.
Please send a Racoon Leaf, 10000 or so in Gems,
as well as the included list of magic gear.
The Great Gardening Staff
My Combat Robes
Thank You, dear friends,
Sir Edelbert Spore
In a few short rounds, the Pigeon returned with the equipment and a lovely note, expressing the joy of his friends and wishing him safety. Without delay he set out into the rainforests of the Rocky Road Range.