Just another normal day
A feature by Tharg

I'd just had a bad set. Not bad in the usual way, you understand, but one in which I felt I had only a supporting role. There was a mage about, you see, and he had been systematically clearing The Land of treasure for the past 6 hours or so.

I'd been exploring the Dwarfen Citadel, doing fairly well stocking up on wafers, and confident of getting a decent score. One Guard Room down and I thought he must've been busy doing something else. I progressed to the second, but hit difficulties. These fellows were proving to be far hardier than their recently deceased kinsmen. My thievery wasn't going unnoticed, and I'd unwittingly attacked my faithful pet eagle as well. But then, just when I was beginning to fear I'd have to flee, there he was. Instantly the high mage came to my rescue and the guards soon lay dead around our feet.

"Th-thanks," I stammered, hoping that as a lowly sorcerer I would be of little value to him dead, and acutely aware that my feathered friend was no longer with me. "No problem," he replied, and I breathed a sigh of relief. He was friendly! I was about to ask him (with a smile) if he'd like to help me with the rest of the dwarfs when he vanished, right before my eyes! The next door opened, closed, and was locked in the blink of an eye. I had a key, which fitted this door, and I was tempted to follow him in. However, my strength had been sapped and my eyelids were heavy. I cast a few furtive glances around, spotted no threat, and lay down my head to rest.

When I awoke I opened the door and headed south. I passed through a few rooms, my feet making horrific squelching sounds as I walked on the blood-soaked carpet. Oh yes, this Mage had a taste for blood, all right. Then I came upon him fighting a few remaining guards. I repaid his earlier favour, attacking the short, ugly fellows, as I still hoped to share in their treasure. Again, I was composing a sentence, when the strangest thing happened. I felt my legs move under me, of their own will! I was forced to go north, and out. This was a spell of such power; I knew I had no hope challenging his will. And it was an action of such arrogance; I knew he would show no compromise. I directed a witty quip his way, "OK, you can have it," and left to spend the remaining minutes searching out any stray items he may have missed. Not a good set at all.

The next set, I decided to go for broke. He may be twenty times quicker than me, I decided, but even he can't be everywhere at once. As soon as The Land was ready for me I raced out of the Tea Room. I headed for a particular item, and was astounded to get it. To cut a long story short, this item got me another item, which got me a few others. A few others, which would lead me to a true plethora of experience. I was now utterly paranoid. The mage was still about, and there was no doubt he'd be after what I had. I would have to move quickly. Hopefully then he wouldn't have time to steal from me.

There was a further item I felt I needed though, but there was the possibility that the portcullis that barred the way to it had not yet been raised. I headed towards it to check. To my horror, the portcullis was closed and the mage was standing there waiting for me! I ran as fast as I could, hating myself for not trusting him, but not prepared to lose what I had. I ended up in the attic of a cottage, and briefly paused to catch my breath. Then, incredibly, I found my arms reaching out, and I gave my precious boat to no one! I say there was no one only because my eyes say there was no one. My mind, however, somehow knew there was a mage in the room with me. I was completely powerless to stop him again.

I checked my inventory, and found to my astonishment that I still had a keg of gunpowder on my person. This was only a small consolation, but I wasn't about to complain. I figured this for an oversight on his part and I rushed to make use of it. After getting a trusted friend to help me clear the way, I had put the gunpowder where it needed to go and just had to finish setting things up when there he was again! This guy really moved like the wind. Instantly, I found myself hypnotised by a contraption that he had activated. I couldn't tear my eyes away from it, and found I didn't want to try. My next memory is of being outside, in the middle of a field! Out thought again, I was aghast. But wait, it was raining. He wouldn't be able to complete the task, and I was sure he wouldn't want to wait. Person like that, he'd be itching to get stuck in to something else. I headed back and was able to finish what I had started.*

Not knowing what else he may have left, I headed to one of my least favourite areas, a network of underground streams, to rid it of any of the disgusting snakes that may be lurking down there. I had just finished the last of them of when my head jerked back suddenly, a message burned on my synapses: "Reverence the dragon-slaying Mage is now Reverence the dragon-slaying Wizard!"

*Since these events, Gentle Reader, I've realised that, in fact, he was probably not attempting to steal anything further from me, but was midway through performing an entirely different task. I just happened to be in the right place at the wrong time.

This Web page copyright 2002 Viktor T. Toth
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Page last modified: April 02, 2002