My name? Girth Loinhammer. My game? I don't want to talk about it…

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Cast Your Vote!

Beyond the Black Throne is now on hold for Flash Fiction Month, which you can follow over on this other site if you so wish. On the plus side, that means that the Dungeon Lord’s most recent misadventure is still open for suggestions.

Still, there is one new opportunity to engage with this story: one that will affect the very way that it’s told. You may have noticed that these Beyond the Black Throne updates—even when they’re come just once a fortnight—aren’t spectacularly regular. The reason for that is that individual chapters simply take too long to put together or any given day.

Lute SmashWith “artwork” of this calibre, what can you expect?

There are days when I can sit down, write an update, illustrate and post it all in one go. More often I’ll do the writing one day and the illustration the next. Neither of these things is exactly a Herculean task, but they take long enough that it’s hard to justify doing them over getting on with university work, meeting various deadlines, or trying to find paid employment (which is becoming more pressing as my MA course draws to an end). I’m hoping (and expecting) there will come a time when I can once again set aside the time to write and illustrate chapters reliably, but until then there are a few options:

Personally, I’d really like to see each instalment include as many images as it helps to tell the story. I’ve become familiar enough with the process now that simply putting the scenes together, photographing, and even animating them isn’t too difficult. However, it can sometimes take a while: especially if I need to put together an entire new character. That usually only happens every few chapters, but when it does it’s a time-consuming task and I don’t want to not write in new characters just to save on the work involved.

On top of all that, regular updates in themselves do seem to improve the story, partly just by making it easier to keep up. From the beginning I’ve been relying on you to give life to this project, and some of the best jokes and most interesting twists have come directly from reader suggestions. If people are taking the time to keep this going, I don’t want it to keep stopping.

As with pretty much everything else in this story, the choice is yours. Flash Fiction Month (combined with university work) means that Beyond the Black Throne is inevitably going to be on hold for the next few weeks, and that was more or less always going to be the case. What this poll decides is where it goes from there.

First Impressions

Mid-epic-pose, you have discovered what appears to be an orcish minstrel, and she even has her own instrument!

Orc MusicianThe question now is how you go about beginning a mutually beneficial manager/artist relationship. Or enslaving her in your dungeon-themed nightclub. It’s all good.

Headbutt her! That’s how orcs say hello. I think. Probably, somewhere. ~ameliamackenzie

You can’t imagine how that could possibly go wrong. Time to give it a shot!

Try talking to her before attacking – but maybe send your goblin slaves behind her to block off any potential escape routes should she refuse to be hired. Goblin slaves may be utterly useless for attacking anything, but I’m sure they can probably still handle body-blocking. ~Compromise

On second thoughts, that is a more sensible (if decidedly less manly and awesome) course of action. You get your multitude of goblin slaves to hide just out of frame, then greet the minstrel.

Dungeon Lord talking to Orc

You remark that you’ve heard that orcs say hello by headbutting (you think, probably, somewhere) and you’d be happy to give that a shot. You point out that this method of greeting would suit you nicely, because much like an orc, you are something of a violent meathead.

Orc talking to Dungeon Lord

She remarks that that’s racist.

Crying Single TearYou can’t imagine how that possibly went wrong.

Thorough bludgeoning and warm welcome, combine powers! Greet her with a rib-crushingly epic bear hug, that way she either can’t or won’t want to run away. Only let go when she’s safely inside. ~500woerterdiewoche

Well, you’ve tried being polite and culturally sensitive (to the best of your ability). Time to fall back on good old fashioned kidnapping. You suggest a hug.

Dungeon Lord Hug

It doesn’t…

LOINHAMMERED

…go…

Lute Smash

…to plan.

Blackout

Nighty-night!

Blurry dungeon

You awake in your dungeon. Except that on closer inspection you don’t recognise the furniture.

Less blurry dungeon

You awake in yoursomeone else’s dungeon. Funny how they chose to bolt that iron maiden to the ceiling…

Upside down in dungeon

You awake upside-down in someone else’s dungeon.

Thanks to your years of experience in the industry, you can say for certain that that’s not a good sign. Unfortunately, despite your years of experience in the industry, you’re not exactly sure what to do about it.

Leave your suggestions in the comments below, or tweet @BlackThroneNews.

Adventurers Assemble!

Your (extremely) lengthy deliberations are at an end! You have decided to:

Take the wizard. You always need a magic user in your party. Keep him behind you, so you don’t have to see his dongle dangling, and magic users normally have a long range. ~500woerterdiewoche

…you also need Büzenpüken to keep the wizard at least ten feet away from you at all times. ~ipsenscastle

It’s become clear to you that, due to Alsan’s flamboyant agoraphobia, he’s probably better off in your dungeon/nightclub than gallavanting around kidnapping orcish musicians. His lack of opposable thumbs prevents him actually doing much in the way of construction work, but with his bartending expertise you hope he’ll be able to start planning the place out.

That means that the fourth member of your party must be either Unicornelius, the magical talking unicorn, or the goblin slaves, a disorganised rabble so completely useless that they collectively count as just one person.

Well, this doesn’t take a genius. Unicornelius is the obvious choice, right?

Dungeon Lord Shaking HeadWrong!

You are of course far too racist against unicorns to allow one in your party if you can possibly avoid it. But you’re also too concerned about getting horned in the crotch to say this out loud. You suggest that Unicornelius should stay behind to help Alsan settle in. Maybe knock together some flatpack bar furnishings if their shared lack of opposable thumbs allows.

Talking to Unicornelius

That does the trick. Your questing party is now all sorted:

Büzenpüken, in case you run into trouble, the goblin slaves, to distract and/or throw at people, and the wizard because he’s a charming chap. ~ameliamackenzie

If only the wizard would wear charming chaps. And preferably some other clothing too. You don’t approve of near-nudity unless it’s sexy ladies in impractical armour or implausibly huge shirtless men. Such is the way of the generic fantasy world you live in.

Giving robe to Wizard (small)

You give the wizard the robe that Alsan was kind enough to lend you back in the frozen wardrobe world. You ask him to please not magically teleport it into another dimension. After all, you had to go all the way to another dimension to get it.

Wizard in Robe (small)

The wizard says he can’t promise to try. But he’ll try to try. That’s…not particularly reassuring, but previous events have demonstrated that you aren’t really in a position to coerce the wizard into doing what you want. He’s got his own…agenda, and trying to use force only makes things worse.

Dungeon Lord Worried

Much worse.

Epic Pose

As you step out of your dungeon once more, your entire party strikes an epic pose. It’s doubly awesome because nobody actually has to suggest or plan it. It just happens, because you’re now part of an epic and awesome fantasy quest party and you’ll spontaneously do that sort of thing even though there’s nobody else here to see it.

Orc Musician

Oh. Okay. Apparently there is somebody here to see it. Judging by the rockin’ electric lute, you may have found your minstrel earlier than expected. The whole kidnapping plan kind of plays to your strengths—and that epic pose seems to have handed you the element of surprise—but you can’t help but wonder whether the orc with the lute was already on her way to see you. If that’s the case, the thorough bludgeoning you had planned could make for a negative first impression.

On the other hand, if she wasn’t on her way to see you, she may be about to leg it.

Leave your suggestions in the comments below, or tweet @BlackThroneNews.

Choose Your Party

The results [of your personal, totally-not-dictated-by-anyone-else decision] are in!

Your next goal will be to hire and/or kidnap the musicians necessary to furnish your rockin’ new nightclub with rockin’ new toons. As the kids say. Probably. Spending your entire life lurking underground has somewhat limited your knowledge of popular culture.

Since things seem to be going unusually well for you just now, you figure this would be a good time to reflect on your adventures so far:

Having become really, really uncomfortablebored with the sort of visitors your unintentionally eroticterrifying bad guy dungeon was attracting, you found yourself obligeddecided to convert it into a badass dungeon-themed nightclub instead. After an ill-fated attempt to take over a rival dungeonWithout delay, you set about finding the staff necessary to make this doomedambitious dream a reality. Fortune was with you, and before you knew it, you had a mighty wizard flashing you unmercifullybound to your will.

Asking the Wizard

With the wizard feeling sorry for youunder your command, you set about finding a bouncer to shield you from the inevitable flood of weirdosbolster your already formidable strength. Here too you found success in the form of Büzenpüken, a fearsome barbarian warrior who, tragically, had been afflicted with a curse that turned his entire head into one giant, shaggy beard. He earned your high esteem with many impressive boasts about the size of his weapon and his ability to beat off many muscular men simultaneously. Read the rest of this page »

This Strip Brought to You by Stubby Stein.

Alas! Lord Loinhammer is paralysed by indecision, and his humble narrator is bedevilled by paperwork. Fortunately, Cory Simmerson is here to save the day once again!

barred_therapy__1_by_corricothacro-d8mhlsz

Artwork Copyright Cory Simmerson, 2015

Clearly this young woman needs no help from you. Unlike poor old Girth, who is currently torn between building a stage and hiring the musicians to play on it.

It’s (at the time of writing) exactly 50-50! Your vote could decide this thing! The fate of the entire dungeon-themed nightclub rests in your hands!!!

He’s Not Cowardly, He’s Just Cautious

Suddenly it all makes sense! Alsan suffers from agorapbobia. Why else would Fernando be so desperate to get him to come out of the closet?

The only hurdle to overcome is that you’re nowhere near qualified to solve this kind of problem. Up until now your career has pretty much revolved around causing this kind of problem. Things would work out much better for you if there was some way that Alsan could just hide this aspect of himself without actually having to come to terms with it or make any kind of personal progress.

Tell Alsan he’ll be tending bar from a dark, cramped oubliette. There’s no way he could get agoraphobic in there, and it’ll fit right in with the decor you had in mind! ~ipsenscastle

Hey, that’s an idea!

Girth Loinhammer equips his +1 robe of coincidence.

You explain—in between bouts of uncontrollable shivering—that although Alsan might struggle to get along in the big wide world, you’re quite sure that your trendy new nightclub will be very much the place for someone of his persuasion. You wink a couple of times to make it clear that you are indeed referring to a dark, cramped oubliette.

Alsan is intrigued…yet suspicious. He asks if Unicornelius would be welcome too.

A description of your new bar might make him feel more comfortable: all those dark, secret passages and deep, deep dungeons where there’s no one to bother you … ~ameliamackenzie

You admit that you aren’t sure you can find employment for a magical unicorn—a magical wizard has already offered to do the lighting—but there are certainly enough out-of-the-way rooms for Alsan and Unicornelius to have somewhere to themselves.

Awkwardness

They both agree that if everything is as you say, that shouldn’t be too much of an upheaval. However, Alsan has one significant concern regarding how he’ll get along living in your nightclub. No matter how discreet it all is, he’s aware that word of his masterful mixology will inevitably spread far and wide. He’s worried about what people might think when they find out he’s living in that sort of establishment.

Assure him that you have a few decorative skeletons in your dungeon, so really it’s just like a closet anyway.

Also assure him that you have already hired an extremely capable bouncer: if anyone causes any trouble or makes Alsan uncomfortable, he will swoop into action at once. You will do whatever you have to to make this work. You MUST have Alsan for your bartender. ~Perseverance

You remind Alsan that he’s technically living in a nightclub now. But while this nightclub is known for elven girlymen, yours will be known for rockin’ skeletons. You assume he will pick up on the whole skeleton/closet connection even though you didn’t mention it explicitly.

Sure enough, Alsan concedes that he would probably prefer the general public to associate him with rockin’ skeletons than effeminite elves.

But while Alsan himself seems just about on-board, Unicornelius is not convinced. Since you’ve seen how seriously they take their mutually financially beneficial closet-sharing commitment, you know you’re not going to convince one to move without the other. You also know that unicorns are wusses.

You explain to Unicornelius that you have already hired an extremely muscly man with an extremely large weapon.

Sissy Unicorn

Suddenly, Unicornelius can’t wait to get over to your awesome nightclub. You suppose that, having horns on their heads, it’s natural that unicorns only ever have one thing on their minds: personal safety.

Still, Unicornelius’ insatiable need for self-preservation does have one upside: upon seeing his reaction, Alsan becomes determined to come too. You’re pleased to discover that Büzenpüken’s professional assistance is so reassuring. You point out that he’s actually waiting just outside the wardrobe, so he can even be their escort on the way.

Unicornelius leads you to the closet entrance, and sure enough…

Buzenpuken Dance

Wow. Büzenpüken’s just kept on dancing ever since you told him to. Now that’s dedication!

It occurs to you that with Büzenpüken, Alsan, and the Wizard on top of your existing army of goblin slaves, you’ve actually got a decent bunch of nightclub staff behind you now. That means that all you need to do to get the place up and running is:

You’re so nearly there! And since you’re confident that you’ve now experienced literally all the bad luck in the universe, you can safely say that absolutely nothing else can possibly go wrong.

Cast your vote to help the Dungeon Lord decide! Leave any further suggestions in the comments below, or tweet @BlackThroneNews.

A Chat with the Cat

You are in a snow-filled closet world, conversing with a talking lion and his magical unicorn friend. This situation should probably faze you more than it does, but mostly you’re just glad everyone’s got clothes on.

Except the lion.

And the unicorn.

And given the weather, you’re actually a little underdressed yourself.

Aw, nuts.

Best get down to business.

Begin with friendly small talk and standard compliments. “Can we, perhaps, find somewhere warmer to sit? My bottom seems to be developing icicles…by the way, who does your mane? It’s so thick and well-styled!” Then work toward polite, amiable questions. “So, how did you two meet?” and then once the tension — hopefully — eases, work into the deeper questions like “If you don’t mind me asking, please…how the heck do I figure out this whole mixology issue before something or someone gnaws me a new set of bodily orifices?!” ~DenitaTwoDragons

You could definitely do with finding somewhere warmer to sit. You figure you should definitely deal with that before moving onto the smalltalk. Surely everyone would be more comfortable somewhere indoors, out of the cold?

Alsan points out that while both he and his unicorn friend have thick, well-styled fur, neither of them are exactly equipped to flail around with planks or a hammer, so he’s sure you can appreciate that “indoors” is neither a priority nor an option. But luckily for you, someone keeps magicking clothes in from another dimension. This robe got zapped in just yesterday.

Girth Loinhammer equips his +1 robe of coincidence.

Hey, that is lucky! It’s a bit small, but you suppose it’s better than nothing. Now that you’re not quite so likely to die of exposure, you focus on getting to the bottom of this whole identity/mixology fiasco.

Ask how a land-sea-lion became such good friends with a land-narwhal. It’s so unlikely that it has to be plot-related. ~ipsenscastle

That IS so unlikely it has to be plot related. You ask how on earth a land-s…

You ask how these two charming creatures met. Not because there’s anything wrong with lions and unicorns being friends, or because that’s particularly unusual, it’s just that they’re clearly so close that there must be an interesting story about it.

Awkwardness

Alsan tells you that since both of them live in the closet, they were bound to meet sooner or later. It’s a small world—literally.

However, that’s not how the unicorn remembers it. He claims to have only gone into the closet because of Alsan. You sense that this is a contentious issue between them.

Ah, yes. Alsan had forgotten that they originally met at an…um…timeshare sales presentation for…heterosexual magical creatures. Alsan bumped into Unicornelius and, the moment their eyes met, they knew that they were meant to be together.

Nuzzling

Ahem. That is to say, going halves on the rent for a magical closet in the back of an elvish nightclub was a shrewd financial move. And everyone knows how tiresome it gets having to cook for one all the time.

Clearly this avenue of discussion will never get to the root of Alsan’s identity issues. You decide to try something else.

Ask the lion how he met Fernando. Maybe there’s some information there. ~ameliamackenzie

So how did Alsan meet Fernando? Was he also at the heterosexual magical creatures’ timeshare presentation?

Of course not, Alsan replies. Fernando doesn’t swing that way. By which he of course means that Fernando is neither magical nor creaturey enough to make an appearance at such events. Of course.

So…how did Alsan meet Fernando?

Oh, right. Alsan explains that they’ve been friends since way back in school. You get a bunch of wizards and elves and talking lions together in magic class and pretty soon everybody who’s anybody knows everybody else who’s anybody. It’s not the knowledge that gets you ahead in life, it’s the connections. The friendships. But of course he’s sure you understand.

NEEEEEEEERD

Uh, yeah. Yeah, you sure do. You spent your school years connecting with all sorts of wizards. Connecting repeatedly, and with a great deal of force.

Unicornelius says it sounds like everyone had a wonderful time.

Natuarlly you can’t speak for anyone else, but you assure him that you certainly did.

A good drink or several will definitely make this conversation go more smoothly. Fernando became friendlier after you’d had a few drinks, didn’t he? Clearly sobriety is the cause of all your social blunders, so you’d better let the alcohol do the talking for you – there’s no sense in broaching the subject before you’ve had enough to bolster your courage, at least. Just make small talk until you feel confident enough to handle it. ~Not-So-Latent Alcoholism

You remark that Fernando had great things to say about Alsan’s mastery of mixology, and that you’d be really keen to sample his work yourself. A little tipple would do wonders to break the ice, or at least make you slightly less aware of the icicles developing on your posterior.

Heavens! Alsan apologises for not already having offered, only he hadn’t noticed the icicles on account of never ever having seen you from any angle other than directly front-on.

You explain that you go to great lengths to make sure everyone is only ever presented with the best possible view of your bestrapped, muscular chest. It’s a Dungeon Lord thing.

Unicornelius compliments you on your mighty chest muscles, and the way in which they pop out through that skimpy wizard robe.

Unicorn Eyebrow

Alsan seems unhappy about this turn the conversation has taken. He suggests off-handedly that you must be a real hit with the ladies.

You reply that you certainly have hit many a lady.

Unicornelius looks disappointed to hear that. You get it. Fantastical villainy doesn’t go down well with everyone—that’s kind of the point.

Still, at least Alsan is pleased by your response. You figured he would be. He suggests a hot toddy might be welcome, given all the snow and whatnot.

A hot toddy would be most welcome indeed.

Alsan gets to work.

Flying Bottles

You haven’t even tasted the drink yet, but you can tell that Alsan’s skill is unsurpassed. You recognise in his bottle twirling and beverage mixing the same talent and passion that you put into tying people up and beating them with various unpleasant implements. Obviously torture requires way more subtlety and panache than cocktail mixing, but you can still respect this guy’s knack for shaking up spirits.

Alsan passes you the drink. Does he not have to heat it somehow?

No need. Alsan explains that the friction produced by his insane bar skills has raised the toddy to its optimum temperature.

Wow. He is good.

Alcoholic Glow

And so is the drink!

Start with sampling the drink he makes, and if it’s good (as I assume it will be), offer him a job. When he hesitates, you can ask him why, and the conversation can lead to his problems in an effortless, natural way. ~500woerterdiewoche

You unreservedly offer Alsan a position at your yet-to-be-established trendy nightclub. You want him to work for you, and you will not take no for an answer.

No, answers Alsan.

Well, on the bright side you did at least have a plan in mind for this eventuality. You ask him why not?

Alsan explains that he doesn’t think he can face coming out of the closet. He’s afraid that if the outside world knew the real Alsan, they wouldn’t take him seriously as a strong, intimidating lion.

Finally! This is the breakthrough you’ve been waiting for. You’ve discovered the truth about Alsan the talking lion, and now that you know what’s going on, you can’t believe you didn’t see it sooner. Afraid of how people will respond to him if they find out? Living in the closet? It’s so obvious. Alsan…

…is agoraphobic.

Leave your suggestions in the comments below, or tweet @BlackThroneNews.

Lion Through Your Teeth

It seems clear that the lion is the friend Fernando was talking about. Probably turned into a beast by an enchantress trying to teach him about goodness or something. ~ameliamackenzie

That seems like a fair assessment of the situation. The lion probably is some enchanted guy. Maybe that’s the source of the “identity issues” Fernando mentioned! Getting right to the point like that is bound to grab his attention and stop him mauling you. A good, decisive course of action. No tricky little second thoughts leading you into a crippling death-spiral of self-doubt.

Mightn’t Fernando’s friend be the unicorn? Best keep an open mind: it’d be really awkward if you assumed the wrong thing.

That said, maybe you don’t really want the unicorn as your bartender. I… I think I know how he produces cocktails, and I’m not sure you really want to be drinking that. At least, not while looking him in the eye. ~A Measure of Caution

Aw, nuts.

Sissy Unicorn

Now that you second-think about it, you haven’t actually heard the lion talk yet. More than that, you haven’t actually seen the lion do anything except stare at you menacingly. Which, thinking through this a step further, means that you haven’t actually seen the lion do anything you wouldn’t expect an ordinary, bog standard non-enchanted lion to do.

Okay, clearly the lion and the unicorn are very good friends, which is pretty unusual, but all you can really deduce from that is that there are magic powers involved. Fernando’s friend is either an enchanted lion or a magical unicorn, and since ALL unicorns are magical…well, this doesn’t take a genius. It’s also a well known fact that all unicorns have identity issues, on account of being part horse and part narwhal.

Talking to the Unicorn

You get hastily to the point: you’re not here to get into the evils of lion-on-unicorn violence; you’re here as a favour to Fernando, and to speak with the finest land-narwhal mixologist in the land.

It does not go down well.

Aw, nuts.

The unicorn explains that he doesn’t have the know-how—let alone the opposable thumbs—to mix drinks. That’s Alsan’s department. Also, “land-narwhal” is a racial slur.

You point out—as you have on at least a couple of other occasions—that since it’s the olden days racism is absolutely 100% a-oka…

Lion Very Close

…unacceptable. Totally wrong and discriminatory and generally a BAD THING. That’s why some of your best friends are unicorns. And lions. And it doesn’t really matter which one you’re here to talk now. The only reason you immediately assumed that the unicorn was the master of mixology is…

is…

OK – the lion is obviously shy and has been having a difficult time. Maybe ease into the conversation with a bit of flattery? He does look a little like the lion from “The Wizard of Oz” – and everyone likes being mistaken for a film star! Look him straight in the eye, and ask him if he’s a friend of Dorothy. ~SCFrankles

You explain that Fernando mentioned that his friend lived here in the magical snowy closet, and point out that lions are usually native to warmer climes. Obviously you assumed that he was just visiting, and that he usually lived somewhere warm and exotic. Somewhere glamorous. In fact, this lion…Alsan, was it?…looks remarkably familiar. You enquire as to whether or not he’s ever been in films.

Aw, nuts.

Why, no, he hasn’t. However, his second cousin once removed is that lion who sticks his head through the ring and roars at the start of some movies. There is a bit of a resemblance. Perhaps you know his work?

You take the safe option and claim to merely know of his work. It’s hard to keep up with modern cinema when you live in such a remote area. Also at least 500 years before the invention of the movie camera, and in a different universe.

The lion admits that it is a bit of a niche hobby.

Ask them to have a drink with you! Alcohol is an enabler of deep, meaningful conversations, and I see no way this could go wrong. You have only ever had good experiences with alcohol, right?

Also, if the lion is the friend Fernando was talking about, he’s a master of mixology. So he can take care of the drinks, while you sample and praise them to boost his self-esteem. And then, when the three of you are bestest of friends, you offer to take him out of the closet and give him a job. ~500woerterdiewoche

Well, you certainly can’t remember ever having a bad experience with alcohol.

FernandosFond, hazy memories…

You suggest that the three of you continue this conversation over drinks, and the lion eagerly accepts! The unicorn only grudgingly accepts. You get the feeling that he’s not really into films either.

Now you just need to broach the difficult, painful subject of whatever identity issues are tormenting this cocktail-mixing magic lion.

But how…

Leave your suggestions in the comments below, or tweet @BlackThroneNews.

I Would Do Anything For Love…

…but I won’t do that.

Tentacle Bouquet…or that.

No, not that either. Stop asking.

Happy Valentine’s Day from the Dungeon Lord!

Lions and Closets and Bars! Oh, my!

You are nearly naked in a frozen wasteland with a lion bearing down on you. This is absolutely without a doubt the worst day of your life.

Lion

And the way things are going, it might be the last day of your life. You can’t fight a lion. You’re not even sure you can outrun one.

Don’t undersell yourself, you didn’t become the Dungeon Lord by running away from lions. You’ve slain animals that haven’t even been discovered yet. Remember the time you captured and tamed the tentacle beast of Hen’taii for use in the deepest pits of your dungeon? I mean, things didn’t really turn out how you’d intended, but it was still an impressive feat.

Anyway, put the lion in a wrestling grip of your own devising, make it submit, then mount it and ride it all night. ~ipsenscastle

You’d forgotten about the tentacle beast. That really puts things in perspective…

Tentacles

This is absolutely without a doubt the second worst day of your life.

Let us examine the facts:

1. The nearest snowfield is implausibly far away.
2. Lions are usually native to warmer climes.
3. Your garb is also suited to warmer climes, and yet the cold has yet to give you any serious problems.
4. Your head was on a pillow when you woke up. Perhaps a snowy pillow, but a pillow nonetheless.

Please take a moment to ascertain whether the snow is, in fact, actually snow.

Oh, and if the lion attacks, maybe consider dodging. ~Analytical Rigor

To cover those points in order:

  1. The nearest snowfield was far away last time you checked, but evidently during a drunken stupour you pranced across hill and vale atop a majestic white unicorn that pees rainbows. What part of that is so implausible???
  2. This lion might not be native. It might be on holiday.
  3. You haven’t exactly been dwelling on this because you’ve got more pressing things to deal with just now, but it’s cold. It’s flipping cold. You would be freezing your nipples off if you hadn’t already lost them to the fondling suckers of…nevermind.
  4. It wasn’t a snowy pillow, it was a pillow made of snow. If you can craft a wizard-proof rope trap from goblin armpit hair, you’re pretty sure you can mold a squishy, white block out of squishy white material.

That said, the more you think about it, the more this whole situation does seem unusually unfortunate, even for you. Could this all  just be a horrible, horrible dream? There’s only one way to be sure. You scoop up some snow and give it a taste. No time to be suspicious of the vibrant rainbow colour scheme!

Tasting snow

Yep. Not only is this real snow, it’s the exact patch where you must have spilled your Nuclear Rainbow Cocktail. Say what you like about elves—and you do, frequently—but Fernando’s cocktails are as mean as his putdowns. You’d add a point of intoxication to your Adventure Sheet, but apparently last night you started cheating.

Adventure sheet! Come on, tell your friends...

You’re not sure it’s possible to gain money and skills by writing them into what’s essentially a glorified census form, but even if it is then you think they’d probably have to be more legible than this. Your Adventure Sheet is ruined: remove it from your Adventure Sheet.

It occurs to you that you’ve now spent a lot of time faffing with snow and paperwork, and that you should probably check up on the whole lion situation.

Lion very close

The situation has not improved. You feel like you should probably be doing something about this, but you’re not sure what.

Take another look at that unicorn. Is it the sissy kind, you know, frolics through flowery meadows and can only be touched by virgins (if so, how did it carry you here…?), or is it the bloodthirsty spears-you-on-its-one-horn-in-the-blink-of-an-eye kind? If the latter, it might be useful in anti-lion combat.

If it’s the first kind, I guess you’re on your own. Hopefully someone else has a good suggestion! ~500woerterdiewoche

Sissy Unicorn

Aw, nuts.

This is not the kind of unicorn that would be useful in anti-lion combat. As for how it carried you here, you’re…not entirely sure. But clearly it must have, since there’s absolutely no other way you could have got this far from your usual sinister domain.

If the lion decides you look tasty, try to hide behind the unicorn. If the unicorn protests, remind it that lions are the natural enemy of unicorns and it needs to restore its honor after that whole being-beat-up thing in the past. Hopefully they’ll either go after each other again, or get tied up arguing over which tea goes better with bread and plum pudding. ~Denita TwoDragons

That whole idea sounds extremely unlikely to work. Still, it’s pretty much all you’ve got at this point.

You remind the unicorn of the age-old emnity between its kind and this so-called king of beasts.

Talking to the Unicorn

The unicorn informs you that actually, he and the lion are…very close friends. Absolutely, positively, certainly not more than friends, you understand, but close enough friends that they’re not going to let some silly nursery rhyme come between them.

Aw, nuts.

Aw, nuts.

Well, if this wasn’t going to get ugly before, it is now.

Might the lion trigger another unhelpful flashback..? Something about you and Büzenpüken travelling deep into the back of the nightclub’s cloakroom, pushing through coats and eventually finding snow underfoot? You turn to Büzenpüken and ask if he’s ever been in a closet like this, and he says he hasn’t been in a closet since he was 16…

Büzenpüken! Is he with you? Can he help with the lion? ~SCFrankles

Büzenpüken might actually BE the lion, it’s snowy and they have exactly the same silhouette. Maybe take a closer look before resorting to violence? ~ipsenscastle

Okay, both you people are totally crazy. First of all, there is no way that Büzenpüken is the lion.

Buzenpuken and the Lion

NOT THE SAME PERSON.

First of all, Büzenpüken is a super-manly barbarian bodyguard: there’s no way he’d be friends with a sissy unicorn. Secondly, he would have said something by now. Thirdly, HE’S NOT A LION. You only hired him yesterday, you’re pretty sure you remember what species he is.

But the whole cloakroom idea, that’s really ridiculous. Whoever heard of anybody stepping into a wardrobe and finding an entire, snow-covered…

Oh, wait, that is what happened.

Wibble wobble wibble wobble wibble wobble….

You recall Fernando offering you lots of lovely free drinks: Goldschlonger, Sacke, Jerkinoff, Yankermeister…

Bottles

These funny sounding beverages brought to you by Cory Simmerson.

You tell him you’d be happy to get anything in you as long as it’s stiff. Preferably long and stiff.

Fernando laughs at that.

You ask what’s so funny, and he points out that a long drink contains a proportionally large amount of mixer with a low concentration of alcohol, while a stiff drink is one with little (if any) mixer and a high concentration of alcohol. It is simply not possible for a drink to be both long and stiff. You have a lot to learn about cocktails.

Girth and Fernando at bar

You ask if he can teach you.

Passing you a drink, Fernando explains that he could, but he won’t. He still thinks you’re kind of a jerk. Also, even if he wanted to it would take years for him to turn you into a master of mixology. He gets the impression you want to start up your nightclub right freakin’ now.

You admit that yes, that would be nice.

Fortunately, Fernando knows of a way that you can get yourself a top-notch bartender and help him out at the same time. He’s got this friend, you see—actually the very same friend who taught him to mix drinks—only he’s been going through some…identity issues. He’s never properly been part of the real world, but lately he seems to have shut himself away even more than usual. He’s a great guy, but he’s a little bit…different.

Sad Fernando

Fernando pours another drink for you. He tells you how he’s tried many, many times to explain to this friend how everyone will accept him no matter what, but he’s just never taken it to heart.

Fernando doesn’t like to make assumptions, but he thinks you might have an easier time getting through to him. Because reasons.

You ask where you can frind this fend of his.

Fernando explains that this might sound crazy—so have another cocktail—but his friend lives in the closet. Way, way back in the closet. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

You exsplain that you’re not sure why that would be funny or sad: it just sounds totally implausibible. Still, you’re not sure why, but right now you fell hippy just to go along with it.

Fernandos

Fernandos seem like a trustworthy guys. You ask him what…what their friend look likes.

As they leads you to the cloakroom, Fernandos assures you that you’ll know him when you see him.

You remember stumbling through the closet doors, Nuclear Rainbow Cocktail in hand…

Wobble wibble wobble wibble wobble wibble…

…and obviously that’s it.

Aw, nuts.

You are here to have a deep, meaningful conversation with a man-eating lion, and you have already dissed it in front of its unicorn friend. Besides unscrumpling your Adventure Sheet and adding “chair” and “whip” into the inventory section, you are totally out of ideas.

…little help?

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