Volume 10 - How to Train Your Warlord - The Life and Adventures of Sir Edelbert Spore
The Life and Adventures of Sir Edelbert Spore
How to Train Your Warlord
Not even a full turn had passed and Edelbert already enjoyed a warlord being under his command. It turned out that an actual leadership bonus for training sessions made a considerable difference in their effectiveness. As well, the insight and tactical opinion were invaluable. The details that Amanita considered clearly came from a drastically different viewpoint.
“I train with the golem almost every day.” Edelbert included the force of an order “And now you will too”
Arthur was trying to be a dutiful attendant, he felt a positive attitude would help. “That should be no problem. Am I allowed to train without you?”
“Yes of course. I do not intend to burden you with a great many orders. For now, my goal is to teach you, but initiative and innovation are encouraged. You pledged your service to me, but it is your choice to maintain the honor that holds your word as binding.” Edelbert was thrilled at the curiosity of his new ward.
“Then I suppose this is as good a time as any to explain my Tinkerer Special. I can make alterations, little stuff. I get ideas sometimes when I look at things. The spike at the base of my glaive was a quick result of tinkering. The ability is somewhere between natural Dollamancy and Changemancy. I do not know much more yet. I am looking forward to the investigation”
“What wonderful news. I am a Novice Dollamancer and Changemancy is Stuffamancy. You should incorporate well into the work we do here. Can you perform creation or just alteration?” Sir Spore began questioning as he guided Sir Amanita toward their new goal, the workshop.
Over the many turns, Edelbert’s Fabrication had become erratic. On most every table and surface laid half-finished projects. A Special would often give him an idea, which he would complete that turn if possible. Sometimes it was not possible and it was often hard to finish the project without the insight of the Special. This had led to an accumulation.
Beneath that layer of clutter, however, waited a detailed and meticulously designed workshop. Along one side of the wall was a hand built rack with custom mountings for every type of tool Edelbert could imagine. Among other things; he had setup a forge, three looms, a tanning rack, kiln, easel, and a small Changemancy section full of gears, rods, wires, and the like. He was most proud of the fan system built into his vent, it meant air flowed out steadily but water did not come back down.
Arthur’s eyes lit up as he walked into the workshop. After he briefly examined the room, he stepped forward and pulled an odd club like bar off the table. “May I tinker?”
Edelbert smiled “Please do. It is supposed to be a...”
The warlord flipped a small latch and swung his arm, nothing happened. “A folding shield, yes I know. What I want to know is why you did not finish it when you were so nearly done?”
Edelbert was flabbergasted. “What!? I have tried everything I could think of to get the opening and closing actions to be automatic, at least that was the goal. You can fold it by hand, but only clumsily. Without magic, I was unable to get the folding mechanism to operate properly.”
Amanita removed a spring, two small gears, and a tiny rod from within the pivot mechanism. He then pressed the Matter of the cogs into the rod, making it a little less tiny. Between his fingers, he pinched the spring so it was shorter and fatter. The rod and spring were then linked together and attached to a rod already in the mechanism. Last, he melded a lump of steel to the bottom most panel of the would-be-shield. “Just clench your fist and flick your wrist. The spring will push the panels into motion and the weight will swing it all into place. Keep things simple and clean. Fewer parts is good.”
“I must say, I am impressed. A warlord teaching me something about Changemancy was not expected.” Edelbert chuckled. “Let us see what else we can get working. Shall we?”
The two began systematically rooting through all the half-projects. Some were easily completed, like the repeating crossbow or water pump. Other projects were simply outside of the men’s abilities, like the Walking Talkings which Edelbert had designed for in-hex communication.
A few new ideas crept into their heads as well. Arthur suggested, for instance, a large lift installed inside a vertical mineshaft. This would be dug from the mines to the tower, for quick transport up and down the mountain.
Tinker Time, as they later began to call it, took up the rest of that day. It also became a fixture of the daily routine from that turn forward.
Turn 4746 – Arthur’s first real battle today,
Another set of fresh Pops, oddly soon for it though.
A Goorilla and a couple of stacks of Soap Scum appeared on the lawn this morning. All of them immediately set to dirtying the entire area, the sticky primate being the worst offender.
Some golem were lost, but all in all, the fight was remarkable because of Warlord Amanita. I ceded command of the battle to him. I figured he needed to practice and he is, after all, a warlord. The entire group agreed we would fight to maximize Arthur’s XP, just as Turnip did so long ago. This strategy seems to work well as he gained level 3 already and is moving toward 4.
He spread the golem into two stack, one under me and one under himself. The daemon and Toadie were stacked separately and ordered to utilize their specialty magic from a distance. The battle itself was quite organized . We mopped up the Scums and then all focused on the Goorilla very efficiently.
Our group were good combatants before, but never this coordinated. My golem especially showed a difference. Their attacks were perfectly synchronized and precise. The great many bonuses piled atop them is formidable.
Turn- 4748 – Warlords are paranoid,
I cannot get Arthur to stop pestering me with defensive alterations. He says there are holes all throughout my plans and traps, holes that he can fix. His points are all worthy of consideration but I grow tired of his constantly questioning all that I have accomplished.
To relieve his concerns, I have constructed a detailed model of the Crags. I then enchanted it so that the pieces can be rearranged and reshaped. This interactive model will allow us to redesign the entire setup. I also can use this to get Arthur’s help in planning the Kingdom without having to tell him why we are planning.
Turn 4750 – Good Evening Journal,
The Toadie are celebrating tonight. In the wave of popped Reds today, a grey mushroom appeared. It is called a Thinkshroom, having limited Thinkamancy available to it. Apparently, it is primarily useful as a communication unit but can be useful for Foolamancy defense too. Its name is Lex.
I am excited for the Toadie, however I find the new Thinkshroom a bit off-putting. It just stares at me, silently. The only time it “spoke” today was using Thinkamancy to project its voice into my mind. The cold distance that Lex exhibits is so contrary to the other Toadie, usually so they are friendly.
Any addition to our family is welcome. Mother in particular is thrilled.
On the evening of turn 4752 for Sir Edelbert Spore had used up most of his Juice. With a few hours before bed, he decided that a stroll in the orchard would be a pleasant way to wind down. Wandering the familiar paths which he had laid out (and repeatedly repaired) was reassuring to the caster.
A great pressure had been building within Edelbert. A weight which he was unable to pinpoint, or explain. For the first time in his life he was unhappy without knowing why. Except for Magma Bum Loude and its aftermath, he had been a very upbeat guy. The fact that he was struggling bothered him too, making the issue worse somehow.
Wandering along a random twist, the Dirtamancer stopped suddenly as he heard a voice from nearby. He was alone and basically out of Juice so was not interested in a surprise encounter. It was probably just part of the gang, as none of the scouts had seen anything. The Stoneheads did miss things occasionally though, especially newly popped units.
First, he sent an order to his nearby golem. Then he crouched and crept forward looking for the source of the voice.
“… … understand what I mean. You never so much as get to leave your pond!”
Standing near Blinky’s pond was Warlord Arthur Amanita. He held a half-loaf of bread and was tossing chunks in to the water for the fish, who then gobbled them up.
Arthur had not seen Edelbert approach, as such had not stopped his monologue at the daemon. “You must desire to explore? I certainly do. This opportunity I have been afforded by Edelbert is extraordinary but I am restless. I have Move for a reason and I wish to utilize it. I struggle to imagine what keeps you sane. How old are you Blinky?”
The warlord paused, as if he fully expected the fish to respond to the question. It did not and Arthur just continued as if it had. “You must be ancient. How else does a unit like you become level 7?”
Edelbert’s jaw dropped. He had not even realized Blinky was 6 yet. How did the useless fish keep levelling like that, he wondered?
The loaf in Arthur’s hands was nearly gone. He tossed the rest into the pond and brushed his hands free of crumbs. “Well buddy, it is late and I still have to climb the mountain. Thank you for the talk and I will see you tomorrow. Any requests for your snack? … No? Okay, I will come up with something. Goodnight Blinky, my quiet friend.
While the warlord walked away down another path Edelbert waited, not wanting Arthur to know his private moment had been accidentally intruded upon.
What an odd thing to stumble into, the Dirtamancer thought to himself. Why develop a bond with such a strange creature? Even a fish deserves a friend though, he figured. Arthur was a constant surprise.
Turn 4755- Still spinning Journal,
I got Dizzy as my Special for the day. What an odd rush.
No matter how I tried I was unable to gain my balance. I weebled and I wobbled, but I never seemed to fall down. It was if the special kept me off kilter while still holding me up. What the use of such a special is? I have no idea.
As for Arthur, he got Potter. With it he spent the turn making us new plate-ware. He took special time on the outside finish to give us that extra quality. Little touches like that are already causing a sense of renewed improvement within the Crafty Crags.
Turn 4759- Great find Today Journal,
We were going through the Armory, for organizations sake and to let Arthur have a look around the inventory. We came upon the Leadership Mantle that popped a couple thousand turns ago. I allowed him to claim the artifact and it has provided the expected boosts. He is certainly an impressive sight.
Within we also discovered a +3 Buckler I had forgotten. This will add to Arthur’s defensive capacity without affecting his glaive use.
Last, we found him a pair of Quickstep Boots. These provide a sizable boost to initiative in combat as well as a small boost to reflexes.
All in all, Warlord Amanita has received a significant increase in power. He responded with his usual curiosity, asking about possible side-effects of the items. He also expressed immense gratitude for the generosity.
I am so glad to have a Noble friend. The others have been wonderful but there is something about Arthur I cannot quite place. His presence is pleasant, yet intense. He is easy to approach but inspirational at the same time. Somehow, he manages to be naïve and still wise. I find myself confused by my feelings for him.
Turn 4762 - What a day Journal,
Arthur received Plucky from Turnip this morning. With it he could snatch items from other units, after successful attack rolls. He spent much of the turn removing my gear just for the practice. The whole thing was quite annoying, but he never pushed it too far. All in good fun, I suppose.
I received Dova. With it I could emit a sonic siege blast similar to that of a Purple Dwagon. I blasted some stone emplacements. Watching siege effects gives me valuable information for construction and destruction of buildings. I am eager to use these skills on my Capital.
Turn 4765 – Encounter Today
A gigantic Snuffit emerged from the mine early this morning with a Stitch Witch riding on its back.
Big and black, the two headed hound was an intimidating sight. A lumbering mass of muscle that showed the grace of a Glass Golem. The witch, on the other hand, appeared pale and frail. Her skin was taught and grey. It appeared to be too thin, as if it were stretched to fit. Her exposed arms and face had deep lines held with staples, like she were herself stitched together.
Both unit types possessed strong Croakamancy skills, which intrigued me immediately.
The Snuffit seemed eager to attack and consume the Toadie, however the Stitch Witch had tamed the beast and held it at bay. We made the usual overtures of peace, but the witch had no interest in conversing. It was however, interested in parting ways without combat.
Turn 4770 – Great surprise this afternoon Journal,
Harv sent me a letter. It must be four hundred turns since the last time. As you remember our relationship became a bit rough after I refused to join the Ford Prefecture.
Apparently, things are going well for the Hatter and his side. Although they have not been growing, they have managed peace accords with three of five neighbors. That seems impressive to Mother, Arthur, and myself.
Most interestingly, Prefect Ford has popped a new caster. Their Carnymancer goes by the name Zarni.
I have asked if we could begin collaborations amongst myself and all of the Prefecture’s casters. They know of my existence so I can see no reason not to work together.
Chief Harv said he will talk with the Prefect and get back to me.
A chance to work with a Hat Magician, Moneymancer, Signamancer, and Carnymancer would be an amazing opportunity. The chance to forge an ally for the new Side is an added benefit.
It was late in the day of Turn 4773. Mother, Phil, Turnip, Vi, Arthur and Edelbert were all seated around the family dining table. The evening meal had, as so often happened, turned into a discussion.
“So, what you are saying Arthur, is that a Scout is better than a King?” Edelbert asked, a bit shocked. “You are out of your gourd.” Then he helped himself to a portion of the candied fruit laid out on the table.
“That is not what he means.” Mother said and looked at the Dirtamancer with disappointment. “You among all of us, should grasp what he says. Listen… and maybe put down that rum.”
Arthur smiled graciously to the Toadie Chief “Thank you, that was not what I had meant. A King is more valuable than a Scout. A side needs a Ruler, but every side also needs Scouts. So, my question is not which is the better unit. What I am asking you all, which is the better at scouting, a King or a Scout?”
Immediately Vi chimed in with “The Scout, obviously, the Scout. Who ever heard of a King scouting a hex. Case and point, I am a better Rhyme-a-mancer than Edelbert even though he is a Caster.” As she finished speaking, she stood and struck a pose as if she were about to initiate a song. This was apparently for effect, because no music actually began.
“Vi’s ego aside.” Edelbert chuckled at the lizard, before continuing. “I think I see what you mean. A Miner is not a Dirtamancer and neither is a King.”
“Exactly, now following from that, a King is better at Ruling than any other unit type. It is for that exact purpose that Royalty and Nobility exist. Otherwise any unit, Stabber to Qwaken, could try to be a Ruler. The result would be chaos.”
“I don’t know man.” Phil rarely added to these conversations, but he almost always attended. “A Stoned Twoll might be a really cool Ruler, man.”
The imaginary side of Smoksalot popped in Arthurs head and he could not help but chuckle. “Cool? Yes. Fun? Certainly. Effective? Maybe, but I doubt anything but a very special twoll would make it work. Phil, what would you do as Ruler?”
“Oh, well, I have never thought about it before, man. I suppose I would get as many Farm hexes as I could. Pop as many Warlords as my cities would allow, hope for a Caster, man. I would want a Florist for certain.” The huge man-beast smiled and laughed, exhaling a great puff of his natural smoke.
The warlord listened intently to Phil’s brief description. “Not a bad start, or at least I would think. See guys, it does take a special twoll to be a good Ruler. Back to my original point if I may?
“Glum glum” Turnip enthusiastically consented.
“Rulers should practice listening. Every unit has insights and ideas. These unique perspectives can be very valuable if acknowledged and utilized. Just look at all of us.” Arthur looked around at each of his friends. “We thrive because we all have different strengths. Could you imagine being one of those eerily identical knights of the SDE?”
“Gross.” Was all Vi had to say about that.
Mother chose this moment and inserted herself. “The Toadie are a homogenous organism. This body may be different, but we are of a singular mind. There is nothing wrong with that. Always remember that strength comes in many forms.”
“Well man, it is getting late. I’m thinking about heading down the mountain.” Phil stood up as he spoke. “Good night all. Arthur, see you late morning for a game, man?”
“I am looking forward to it, but it is my turn to choose and we are playing Chess. You will learn the game only by practicing. Edelbert can tell you.”
The Dirtamancer looked up, surprised, he had been lost in thought. “What?... Yeah, practice is good. It is a game of combat strategy so beware your opponent, he is a warlord.”
“And this warlord is ready for bed as well. If you will excuse me.” Arthur said as he stood.
Vi also rose from her seat. “Goodnight everybody. Dinner was fantastic Mother. Thank you.”
“Sleep well everyone. Edelbert could I speak to you for a moment?” Mother looked at the caster and smiled gently.
“Sure thing, I was thinking about doing some writing before bed anyway.”
A few moments passed as the others filed down the stairs to their respective quarters.
“You know I am your friend? That I care about you and consider you a part of my tribe?” the mushroom woman said, suddenly very serious.
Edelbert stood and took a step toward the still seated Mother “Yes, of course I know these things. Is something wrong?”
She looked down at her feet “Not yet, but I need you to listen to me. I want to discuss something you are not going to want to hear. Can I ask you to listen Edelbert?”
“Absolutely. Anything for you Mother.” Sir Spore meant it too.
The tiny woman stood and her arms crossed, her intensity increased steadily as she spoke. “Why are you not a Ruler already? Much time has passed and yet you procrastinate. Initially I was accepting of this delay because of your mental state on your return from the volcano. However, I cannot allow this any longer. Tell me your reasoning Edelbert Spore.”
“I, oh well…” The Dirtamancer had not expected such a challenge. “It just does not feel right. I have a plan and an amazing platform from which to launch a Side, and yet I cannot seem to bring myself to do it.”
“What stays your hands, young man? What of the Titans wishes?” Mother attempted to relax her accusatory tone. She had no desire to hurt his feelings.
“I thought that I wanted this, but the more I consider it, the more I doubt that I desire to be a Ruler. I enjoy my freedom and the chance to explore my crafts. What happens to a side with a weak-willed ruler that does not even want the role? What would the Titans say to that? Is it better to obey and start my own side despite my concerns? I just do not know, Mother.”
“You are not weak-willed, in fact, you would be a fantastic ruler. The decision is yours though. So, what do you intend to do about this Edelbert?” Mother surprised herself how easily this admission was to evoke from the caster. “You cannot ignore this. We have far too much resource applied to the new Side.”
Edelbert admitted “I believe that Arthur would make for an excellent ruler, that maybe the Titans sent him for a reason. He is the only other Noble unit to have popped here in at least five thousand turns. How would the Toadie feel about allying to the Side of Amanita?”
Mother smiled, this was what she intended to suggest if Edelbert refused to commit to his own rulership. “He is a kind and wise man. Still young, but I think that may be a boon for a new side. We older units can be set in our ways.”
The Dirtamancer laughed loudly. “I suppose we can at that.”
“Glum” Turnip said from the top of the stairs, where it had been listening. “Glum glum.” It said as it nodded its head in the affirmative.
Sir Spore smiled at his odd friends. “That puts us in agreement, Arthur will be the Ruler of our new Side. Mother, will you let Phil and Vi know tomorrow. That way they are not surprised. I can finalize my preparation tomorrow as well, I have been essentially ready for a couple dozen turns. I will tell him tomorrow if that is alright, until then keep it to yourselves.”
Edelbert laughed as he began to consider the things he needed to do to be ready. “Tomorrow we found a new Side.”
Huh, well that was surprising. I expected the hesitance, but I didn't expect Edelbert to actually want to be ruled by someone. Maybe as a compromise, they'll pull a Prefecture and have a two-ruler side? Although maybe the position of chief caster would give enough leeway for that to not be necessary. Can chief casters order the ruler the same way as CW can? They'd also be forfeiting the CW bonus until they pop a warlord, and even then his level will be lower than Arthur's.
I have to say this doesn't seem like a sound decision plot wise or in accordance with the Titans' wills all that much. King Arthur riding a flying blue dragon-snake on his way to snag a sweet sword out of a stone sounds fantastic, but the hero, the worker, the thinker, the crafter that crafted the crafty crags and made it everything it has been and should be is Edelbert Spore. The Ruler's grand strategy for the side, their vision of what they should be and do and become, that has been built and steered and prepared for almost 5000 turns by one man. That he would not reign and guide that vision any longer doesn't seem right, and maybe shows disrespect for the Titans' decisions and investments. I guess Merlin's wisdom, age, and magical power didn't qualify him for the throne either, though...
I doubt you'd change your plans for the plot because of a complaint. However, I think it'd be really helpful and seem less abrupt if you came back to this when you had time and added more character development for the once and future King Arthur before doing the switcheroo. Less of a big reveal, more of a gradual growth of the thought in Edelbert's musings. 4742 turns changed in 31? Show us the content of his character and the depth of his wisdom more. Honor, Chivalry, etc. Your surprises before have all made sense. I think I see what you wanted to do here, but feel it wasn't quite accomplished. E.g. have Edelbert consider the mantle and muse how it is fit for a king, thought it doesn't fit him. E.g. after a battle, see Amanita's genuine concern for the well-being of the injured, maybe even the golem.
That said, I love your work. I know you said you weren't happy with where this one was at. That happens. Your planned plot development, mixed writing styles of both narration and journal entry, and extremely creative take on the possibilities of unrestricted casting potential in Balder's world is not only entertaining, it's inspiring. Thank you! Keep it up!
I was a bit surprised by the choice to place another as ruler. I went back to read about the Titanic message Sir Spore recieved. It says 'your kingdom shall be.' I still wondering if the titans and Fate will accept Amanita as ruler over the side called Sir Spore's side. Then again, this may have been by design, since he recieved the boots at the same time. It isn't often a ruler needs to travel far and wide, or practices his craft as a primary function of his role. We'Lloyd just have to wait and see!
@Dead Zed and falcore51- I understand. Sorry to switcheroo, but Edelbert misunderstood fates plans. Edelbert often assumed he understands something when he did not. Turnip's speech early on was misinterpreted multiple times by Spore. The narrative follows his perspective so includes his misconceptions too.
@Xellos - probably yes ;)
@thousandcats - We do not know for sure about a Chief Casters authority. I think it changes from side to side.
@fancylee - Thank you for the critiques and compliments. I basically agree with all that you said. Volume 11 will include a great deal of character development for Arthur. Starting a side really reveals ones true self.
@Hezvolog - the exact wording was "The Kingdom Shall Be" I was very specific. Good thoughts though.