This Is Dredmor (Opening The Realms, Part 5)

Discussion in 'Stories & Fan Fiction' started by Lorrelian, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    (Another long one. Can't seem to be concise when writing action sequences...)

    The next diggle god made its appearance in the next chamber. This room was more suited to the presence of a diety, consisting mostly of an empty amphitheater with a roof held up by rough stone columns. Although there were no furnishings or decorations in the room the sheer size of it was impressive, as was the engineering prowess that must have been needed to create such a place deep beneath the earth.

    Now, it would be misleading to say that Dredmor’s next foe appeared in the chamber. In fact, it was already there and waiting for him when he entered, a figure at least twenty feet tall, proportioned like a diggle except for the unusually square head and presence of a war-drill spear in each flipper.

    The lich tapped his teeth absently as he stepped down into the amphitheater. “Apparently the Fertility God was not the only warlike deity in the diggle pantheon,” Dredmor said by way of greeting. “What do you want with me, diggle?”

    The Diggle God raised his weapons above his head and clashed them together, screaming, “VICTORY!”

    Dredmor’s eyes dimmed to a spiteful glow. “Is that so? But I’m afraid I never offer that to another.”

    It wasn’t quite clear to Dredmor exactly what diggle god he was dealing with now, but when it leveled its twin spears and charged he was instantly certain that there would be no clever way around this fight. He ran one thumb along the Might Ring of Krong, an artifact older than any other he had yet found, and also the talisman of power which he had owned the longest. He had held it in reserve for a long, long time, even going so far as to forgo its use when the eyebrowed ones fought him in single combat.

    But then, if he lost to a mere human he would always rise again. That was by no means assured against a deity, even if it was just a diggle. The ring vanished from his finger as Dredmor’s will sent it spinning through the aether. Marcus Brody would be glad to have it back, even if it was being returned by the same person who had stolen it once upon a time.

    As the God of Artifacts, Brody was closely connected with Krong, God of the Anvil. Dredmor had never known how Krong’s Mighty Ring had wound up in Brody’s possession, but he knew the connection was deep and old. Brody gave powerful rewards when humans brought him mundane artifacts for his hoard. A divine artifact brought power beyond imagining.

    Dredmor was not the type to make deals or offer services when he sought power. But a direct exchange- that he could understand and accept. For the first, and perhaps the last time he would accept the power of a god.

    Wreathed in an aura of inconceivable arcane fury, Dredmor raised his staff and met the diggle god on equal terms.

    Their battle was far beyond the mortal ken. In that dark stone coliseum, might beyond the lot of humanity was brought to bear. Magics were invented and forgotten in an instant, the potential of worlds expended to gain inches of ground, armies of heroes summoned and laid low all in the name of triumph.

    The world groaned, fate trembled and cheeses more terrifying than limburger were created and consumed. Dredmor wove the raw stuff of the sky into a thousand burning suns and his nemesis smashed their cores and left their cooling, dying husks to be trampled underfoot. New and grotesque breeds of diggle warriors arose from their wreckage only to thrash and die as Dredmor tore the very air from the room.

    Chaos and order, creation and destruction chose sides, betrayed one another, and ultimately became nothing more than sword and shield in the hands of the combatants. Their savage battle lasted uncounted thousands of years, stretched across the surface of a thousand worlds, and yet it was over in the time it takes to draw a breath, leaving the arena around them untouched by their awful deeds.

    Dredmor’s jaw was broken in four places; his teeth seemed to hover in their grin simply because to leave it would have displeased them. His robes and cloak hung in tatters, the powers from Brody were fading. Not even the Mighty Ring of Krong could sustain him forever if he spent its power so lavishly.

    The diggle god had fared somewhat better. His hide had been beaten from yellow to a dull, bruised brown and one of his war-drills had broken, leaving him to swing the other with two hands. The resentment of a creature not used to loss burned in its eyes. “VICTORY!” It screamed, sweeping its spear toward the lich. “VICTORY!”

    Dredmor blinked away from the attack, the dwindling of his powers back to a more normal extent leaving him feeling weak and disoriented. Spending the Ring of Krong had been a gamble, one that hadn’t payed off quite as well as he had hoped. He was back to parlor tricks.

    The diggle god leapt this time, clearing the entire bottom five levels of the amphitheater as if taking a single step, his spear whirring through the air. Among Dredmor’s many injuries were several bones broken in both feet. Not enough to stop him from moving but enough to slow him so he couldn’t dodge, and he didn’t trust another blink to take him out of the deity’s reach.

    But long before he had been a lich he had survived on the maxim that strategy was greater than power. While having both was ideal, Dredmor knew that it was cunning that would win this battle and it was high time he put it to use.
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  2. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    The wall behind him vanished in a flash of light and cloud of rubble. Dredmor ducked into the hidey hole and drilled deeper, spending his reserves lavishly as he out dug the diggle. He got maybe twenty feet into the rock wall when a massive crash from outside sent him sprawling to the floor. The ceiling over his head groaned ominously but held.

    Dredmor slowly rolled over onto his back and struggled to his feet. He had won only a temporary reprieve, but hopefully it would be enough to let him plan a strategy. As he slowly dragged himself up, the tatters of his cloak twitching around him, he stepped in something squishy. Thought it odd, as there wasn’t anything squishy left in him. Looked down.

    And stretched his broken jawbones into the first smile he had smiled in a long, long time.

    Dredmor blinked into existence at the bottom of the amphitheater just as the diggle god got tired of staring into his hole and started poking his spear into it. The lich took a moment to adjust his staff so it amplified his voice, then called, “You won’t find anything worthwhile in there.”

    The diggle whirled. “VICTORY!”

    “Certainly not that,” Dredmor replied, absently running the numbers in his head.

    The diggle charged. Dredmor carefully held the two formulas in his mind without solving them. Split his attention.

    Watched as the diggle crashed down the last few steps and tossed the banana peel in his left hand. Sent it skidding to its goal with a wave of his right and a telekinetic nudge. Found himself laughing like a fool as it sent an honest-to-goodness, deity-grade, battle-hardened warrior crashing to the floor.

    Dredmor solved the first formula and vanished.

    A moment later he crashed down onto the diggle’s neck, clapped one arm around it and held on for unlife. The diggle was already scrambling to its knees, so Dredmor smashed his staff down over its head once, creating a horrible booming noise that blew the tatters of his cloak, now more a mass of individual threads, straight behind him. As Dredmor struck again the diggle screamed “VICTORY” once more, the word amplified beyond believable levels by the legacy of Indus.

    Dredmor felt his bones rattling with incredible force by the sound. His cloak finally unraveled all the way and was blown free of his shoulders. All semblance of being a garment was lost and the mass of threads settled on the floor and began to reform themselves.

    For a moment both lich and diggle god froze, stunned, and the silence that followed was broken only by the desperate clacking of Dredmor’s overtaxed clockwork limb, rapidly losing the ability to keep him attached to the deity’s neck.

    “Victory?” It sounded confused.

    “No, my friend with the most singular vocabulary,” Dredmor replied as behind them, rising from the mound on the floor, the Cloak of the Omnipotent Mustache assumed its true form for the first time in centuries. “This isn’t victory. This is Dredmor.”

    Tendrils of the mustache reached out, seized support pillars for the room and began breaking them with reckless abandon. The ceiling overhead groaned ominously but neither Dredmor nor facial hair paid attention. “And now,” he finished, “it is your grave.”

    The diggle god made one last surge to climb to its feet but Dredmor leapt down and smashed its knee with one last clockwork powered blow that sent the diggle god back to the floor along with a shower of broken gears and bent pistons. Then he solved his second formula, and was gone.

    The center of the amphitheater filled with thousands of tons of rock in a few seconds, choking the air with dust and gravel and the wailing cries of a defeated god. Dredmor, pressed as far into the farthest corner as he could go, watched the spectacle with grim satisfaction.

    Once the fury of the cave-in was mostly spent, with only the occasional groan from the ceiling, Dredmor sat down in his corner to wait. His thaumaturgical reserves were spent and of the three great talismans of power that he had once possessed, now only the Staff of THX was left to him. While it was the oldest of the three, he personally had owned the Ring of Krong and the mustache cloak longer and, while not overly sentimental, he knew that their power would be missed in the future. His wands were spent and he had taken very little else in the way of restoratives. On the other hand, he shouldn’t have needed them.

    This had just been a query about a little remodeling, for the love of Krong!

    But he was almost done. Dredmor knew enough about diggle lore to know there were only five major gods in their pantheon, even if he had never been sure what they were. He had now faced four. What was left but the God of Digging? And when he found that damn excavator, Dredmor fully intended to be ready.

    So Dredmor settled in to rest for the first time in ages.

    He had barely rested two minutes when the pile of rubble rumbled, shifted and exploded upward, fountains of loose stone flying up and out as if with a mind of their own. In a matter of seconds the entire room had been rebuilt and there, in the center of it, flippers braced over the entrance tunnel he had just dug, stood the Diggle God of Digging.

    (So, I'm thinking two more chapters, then we're done! In the mean time, enjoy your cliffhanger.)
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  3. Android089

    Android089 Member

    Another awesome story. Sad that these have to end, they are just so enjoyable to read.
  4. blob

    blob Member

    Maybe we'll get another story if there's another expansion ? :x

    Always as great Lorrelian, you're damn good. This is Terry Pratchet level.
    Keeping the ring to send it to brody at the right time was such a great idea ! It could actually make a great skill, exchanging artefacts for temporary power would be really fun. In a last desperate attempt you could even throw in your armor or weapon just to get enough power to escape :)
  5. Lorrelian

    Lorrelian Member

    I don't know about as good as Pratchet... But I am glad people are enjoying it. ^_^

    Also, you won't have to wait for another expansion- I have an idea for a second story which I'll probably start on a week or two after I finish this one.
  6. blob

    blob Member

    Well that's how much I am enjoying it, huhu :)

    And great news for the 2nd story !
  7. Honestly, I believe you are as good as Pratchett, as I first thought you were him when i was reading this :) I can't wait for the next part ^_^