Realms of the Diggle Gods (Opening the Realms, Complete)

Discussion in 'Stories & Fan Fiction' started by Lorrelian, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    I realized the moment I fell into the fissure that the staff would not be destroyed as I intended. It kept falling into that abyss-

    “Lord Dredmor?”

    With careful, measured movements Dredmor wiped off his quill and set it down beside his little black book, blotted the page and closed it. Only then did he look up to find Gloogh, an Avatar of the Lutefisk God standing at his desk. In spite of the fishy creature’s tendency to leave puddles everywhere and spit when he spoke, he was a clean and conscientious creature and Dredmor was glad to have him around. “What is it, Gloogh?”

    “The shop demon has contacted us, sir. The shipment you were waiting for has arrived.”

    “Excellent.” Dredmor rose and reached for his cloak, only to remember that he hadn’t replaced that, either. There were a number of powerful moustaches down in the deeps, but none of them had quite measured up to what he expected of them just yet. He wasn’t sure if he intended to keep looking for a replacement for the Omnipotent Moustache or perhaps just replace it with something else.

    Replacing his staff was a little more straightforward.

    When Xavierson had found (or made) the weapon that bore his name, even he had realized it was a one of a kind piece of magic. Or so the owner’s manual had suggested. Creating another one was pretty much out of the question, even for a wizard as accomplished as Dredmor, so he would simply have to find something different. Since he tolerated the presence of the shop demon Brax, despite his self-serving assistance to the various adventurers that schemed to keep him trapped here in the deeps, the brimstone merchant had agreed to give Dredmor the pick of the best staves he had in stock. It had taken some time to gather them, as Brax’s stores were widely scattered.

    Gloogh lead the way through the twisting paths of the new, bone encrusted tunnels the God of Digging had carefully constructed. Earning them had been a trial, and he was in no rush to repeat it, but Dredmor had survived. He had even succeeded in proving something that he had wondered about for centuries.

    The universe was really blind. Fate wasn’t simply capricious, it really couldn’t see what it was doing. Human philosophers were right about justice. There was a reason all kinds of magic had a foundation in the spoken word, be it music, prayer of profanity. And if you made a noise loud enough, you could rob the world of its only way of keeping track of you.

    Unfortunately, a insensible world was a messy one. After detonating the Staff of THX all reality had slipped and become slightly malleable for just an instant. While he had managed to slip through the cracks from the Diggle Gods’ realm back to his own, large chunks of worldstuff had leaked out with him. Now it twitched all over the floors in unpleasant puddles that inexplicably disappeared and reappeared all over the place. Flint had refused to remove them when he came and excavated the new levels of the dungeon.

    Gloogh and his kin were one of the other things that had come then, sent by the Lutefisk God to make sure that Dredmor was actually doing what he was supposed to be doing down there. Fortunately, Gloogh was also a conscientious worker and able secretary. So far, the business of running a dungeon now fifty percent larger than before had been a smooth transition.

    Still, it felt like something was missing.

    The old days, when none of the dungeon had been “his”, had been full of the kinds of exciting and taxing tests he had faced amongst the diggle gods. In fact, he had been forced to enslave most of the population and mandate the excavation himself. Heady times, indeed.

    But each great work must be preceded by an equally great time of preparation, and it seemed that this was to be one such time. A touch of brimstone in the air let him know that they were approaching Brax’s lair, and Dredmor shook himself out of his brooding. Choosing a staff was a difficult endeavor that required utmost patience and attenti-


    An enormous clattering came from the store, like an entire woodpile had been upended on the floor. A single blue knobbed staff rolled out the door and came to a stop at Gloogh’s feet. The fish burbled in surprise, water sloshing in his gills. Dredmor flipped the staff up with his toe and into his hand. Then he stepped through the door and rested his bony fingers on the head of the short, purplish diggle he found there.

    “Skrillinex,” he said in a calm, yet menacing voice. “They are no good to me if you break them because your flippers are clumsy.”

    “Dredmor,” the archdiggle replied without turning from the pile of staves he was picking off of the floor and haphazardly leaning against the wall, “I’ve told you a thousand times that I’m not a pack diggle. If you want a beast of burden, send one of your infernal robo-things.”

    There was a wet squishing noise as Gloogh came up beside them. “Lord Dredmor,” he glubbed. “What is this most singularly rude creature?”

    For the first time Skrillinex turned to look at the two of them. He sized up Gloogh with open hostility. “I could ask you the same thing, lye breath, except with you it’s kind of obvious. In fact, it is with me, too. Are you visually stunted or something?”

    Dredmor felt a moment of satisfaction as his two minions began to bicker beautifully. That was more like it. Now there was only one thing lacking before he would be ready to begin anew. The lich began to look at the staves Skrillinex had brought, carefully adjusting their disarray into a manageable system as he considered each on its merits.

    “Looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” Brax rumbled as he lit a new cigar. “You keep building up a crew of minions like this, pretty soon the whole dungeon’ll be in chaos.”

    “Sounds beautiful,” Dredmor said, tapping his teeth. “In a very short time a new adventurer will undoubtedly be coming to quell it.”

    “New wiseguy, huh?” Brax exhaled a cloud of smoke and sulfur. “Ah, that’s nice. Well, with the landlord, that’s you, giving permission for the owner, that’s me, to expand his territory, I’m looking forward to a very successful season. I’ll tell you what. Why don’t you take the staff you like most free of charge? It’s the least I can do to keep relations businesslike.”

    Dredmor nodded. Brax was a creature that had always known his place, and was very good at keeping it. Just one reason to leave him in the dungeon. “I think I will, Brax. I think I will.”

    He carefully lifted a deep ebony staff covered in dark green runes and capped with what appeared to be the stylized wings of a diving batty. There was good magic in the staff, old and dark and dead, yet dreaming. Experimentally, Dredmor wove the staff in a few spell glyphs then nodded in satisfaction.

    He turned and stamped the base of the staff on the floor. The polished tiles of the shop floor skittered with crackling bolts of necromantic energy, ending Gloogh’s argument with Skrillinex quite abruptly. “Gentlemen, we have work to do. The forces of light still rule the world, and they won’t know their just despair unless we break them down ourselves. Let’s get cracking.”

    There was a soft clanking noise that punctuated Dredmor’s statement and his two minions looked around, trying to place it. Brax stood straighter all of a sudden. “I got a customer on the first floor. See ya.”

    Then he vanished in a puff of sulfur. Dredmor’s eyes glowed a shade brighter. A new staff, a new dungeon and now, a new challenger. It was going to be a good, good day.

    OmniNegro and blob like this.
  2. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    In case you've not read the other parts of Opening the Realms, I've complied everything into a handy PDF file which you can download here!

    Share it with friends, put it on your e-book reader, and generally spread the infamy! Or something.

    Now that Opening the Realms is done I'm going to take a break until the first Monday of April. This is longer than I had originally intended, but I have a valid excuse. Writing isn't just something I do for fun, one day it's how I plan to make my living. Towards that end, I'm planning to take a proposal for a novel to a conference at the end of March and I need to polish it up. There probably won't be time for writing silly Dredmor related short stories while I'm working on that. I also have another writing project with earning potential that seriously needs my attention. I'll also be using a little time to string together some ideas for The Sands of Time, my second Dredmor fanfic project.

    Since it's traditional in the entertainment industry to leave your audience wanting more, here's the teaser version:

    Once, a long time ago, there was a place where men were men, undead were just dead and diggles knew their place. It was a harsh, bitter, hot and unforgiving land where only the hard could survive. A man could walk out of his shack and see nothing but sand and scrub as far as they eye could see. In a tiny, out of the way mining town called Harlequin's Gulch, there's never much going on except occasional skirmishes with the dwarves over mining rights.

    That is, until Stumpy the Sage comes to town with tales of a growing menace in the far-off, forgotten northlands. Stumpy knows trouble is brewing on the horizon and there's more than just tumbleweed stampedes to worry about. With a combination of generous spending, halfhearted promises and coldblooded blackmail, he manages to raise a group of rough riders to help him travel to the frigid wastes and descend into the bowels of the earth to confront the threat.

    None of them will emerge alive.

    One will become a legend.

    And we will finally know the answer to one of the greatest questions never asked.

    Who was Dredmor before he died?
  3. blob

    blob Member

    Quivering puddles of other worlds... Brilliant ! Is that the explanation for the slime monsters ?

    Do you know of the French comic book serie Donjon ? If you dont, you really should check it out. It is, with each words measured, my favorite comic of all time. Your story, is basically, kindof a mix in between donjon and pratchet. Which is possibly the best compliment you could hear from me.
    It's great and awesome and now when I play the game, I feel bad for killing Dredmor. Or at least I feel bad that within the game he does not have as much personality as your Dredmor.
  4. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    Yes, this is how I explain those thrice accursed Pernicious Tesseracts. I really can't think of any other way they might have wound up stuck at the bottom of the most storied dungeon of all time.

    I have never heard of Donjon, I'm afraid. However, one of the best libraries in the state is where I work, so I'll check and see if they can hook me up.

    Also, don't feel bad for killing Dredmor. He doesn't really die, he just plays another round of Extinction with some random minor Death aspect and comes back a few years later. :) He's also a jerk who won't give the diggles an eight hour work day or paid sick leave (hence, Sickly Diggles) so he really doesn't deserve your sympathy. The whole evil mastermind bent on world domination may be a factor in that, too.
  5. blob

    blob Member

    Haha, you need to include that in a part of a story.

    Donjon is one of the few french comics that were translated in english. If your favorite librarian needs extra info, it was created by Lewis Trondheim and Joann Sfar. There is a lot of sub series in donjon, all part of the same giant story. Tell me if you find them and get lost : p
  6. Loswaith

    Loswaith Member

    Much enjoyed, thanks for sharing :)