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"I'm acting out of character? I'm acting out of character? WHOS ACTING OUT OF CHARACTER HERE, PEOPLE? THIS PATHETIC EXCUSE FOR A DWARF, OR ME?" "I’d expect this sort of insanity from him! He's been cursed by a mage for REAL!" the dwarf growled. "You see, people? Is that out of character or what?" the human asked. "Get back in character, Ralph. You are Granite the human fighter, remember?" Aera reminded him. "Yeah, yeah. I just get excited sometimes... Okay, back in character... back in character..." "Well, that’s a relief," Stumpy the dwarf sighed. "Okay," Aera told the sky, "Our party will walk north into the woods." The party began to walk north into the woods. Trees loomed menacingly over them, and eerie howls echoed from the darkness. A thin layer of mist covered the earth, and an unearthly chill settled into the air. Aera, dressed the way she was, grew especially cold. "I will withdraw my sphere of warmth," Mana the mage announced. Mana the mage withdrew his sphere of warmth. It began to glow, pulsating, and the air warmed considerably. Aera was relieved. Suddenly an arrow streaked past Stumpy and slammed into a tree. "Smells like goblins!" Granite cried, just as six of them leaped onto the path in front of them. "I roll a six for initiative!" Aera cried. "A one!" Granite yelled triumphantly. "I have a ten," Mana murmured. "Seventy-two," Stumpy scowled, "with all my penalties..." "I will charge into the fray," Granite told the sky. "Me too," Aera chimed. "I'll cast magic missile on the second goblin!" Mana cried. "I will sit around and wait for it to be my turn to fight," Stumpy muttered. The goblins stood ready, waiting patiently for Granite to make his move. Granite walked up, and stuck his sword through the first goblin. It died. The other five goblins waited. Aera moved up, slashed the air above ones head with her blade, and cursed at her bad luck. "Can I roll again?" she asked the sky. Then the goblins attacked, and they chopped Granite to pieces. Aera was shocked. And then the goblins stopped, and waited patiently for the others to finish their turns. Merth struck down a second and a third even with a few magic missiles, and then Stumpy attacked, taking the rest out in a berserker rage. "Thank you," he said, bowing. "How much experience do we get?" Mana asked. "I will bury Granite," Aera said. "Wait! If we find a cleric, we can get them to resurrect him!" Stumpy suggested. "Good idea!" The group began to walk along the road. Before long, they met a cleric. "Hello, cleric!" Stumpy said. "Can you resurrect people?" "No," the cleric responded, "But I can reincarnate them... for a price. Five hundred gold." Aera gave him the money. "Now, reincarnate him." The cleric muttered something. Then he muttered something again. Then he waved his hands in odd ways. And then he began to cast the spell. And then the pieces of Granite pieced themselves together to form Granite the goat. "Maaa." "Err...This will take a bit of adjustment," Aera decided. "Maaa." The cleric beamed. "Wow! It worked better than last time. Much better!" "Better?" Stumpy asked, rubbing some blood off his armor. He nodded enthusiastically. "Last time, the victim- err, subject was turned into a mushroom." "What happened?" Mana asked, eyes wide. "We ate it." "Maaa." Granite began to munch on Mana's boots. The mage gave the goat a kick. "MaaAAAaaa..." "It could have been worse," the cleric assured them. Aera nodded in acknowledgement. "Could have been better," Stumpy muttered. "Well, I must be on my way. Good bye!" "Good bye, cleric!" Aera waved. "Good riddance," Stumpy murmured under his breath. Mana nodded. "Maaa." "Okay," Aera told the cloudy sky above, "We will keep moving north." The party continued north, walking solemnly through the woods, with Granite the goat following closely behind. Thunder rumbled ominously on the horizon where a tall peak loomed. Atop the peak was a black fortress, with towers which were aflame with green fire. The heroes eventually reached the bottom, and they climbed up the side of the peak. It was hard going, but eventually they reached the castle. "Wow," Aera said, "They still haven't put out that fire." The two towers were now only ashes and burned stones, which provided an easy way to enter the castle. As well, the walls were flaming with green, and thousands of zombies and skeletons were sluggishly pouring water on the ground beneath the wall. They were not being extremely effective. "Shall we enter?" Mana asked. "We shall," Aera grinned. "Maaa," the goat maa-ed. "Okay, we will enter the fortress via the burnt tower," Aera announced loudly, glancing upwards. They walked (or jumped, rather) through the still hot tower and made their way into the central courtyard. A big ogre stood there, holding his club. He grinned, a toothy smile which inspired fear in all who beheld it. The heroes began to cry. And then the ogre did something unexpected. He started crying as well. "It's so sad! Whenever I *sniff* smile at someone, they *sniffle sniff sniff* start crying. I'm just trying to be friendly, make friends, and..." he sobbed, trailing off. Aera stepped up and patted him on the shoulder. "And what?" she inquired. Quickly, the ogre stopped crying, grabbed Aera, and said, "and eat adventurers stupid enough to fall for this dumb act!" With that, he fell back and laughed so hard that he let go of Aera. "I will run for the door at the base of the big tower," Aera yelled to the sky. "Me too," Stumpy called. "I will kill the ogre," Mana yelled. Aera and Stumpy disappeared through the door as Mana began to do battle with the ogre. "That was a relief," Aera sighed. "Yeah," Stumpy laughed. "You fell for that act?" Aera glared, and began to climb the stairs. The staircase spiraled up around the inside of the tower, rising way to the top where purple light from outside flooded in through the windows. "I wouldn't go up there," Stumpy warned. "Why not? What's wrong wi- OUCH!" Aera cried as she smacked her head on the ceiling that was painted to look like the inside of a tower. The tower shuddered with the impact. The ceiling of the room began to crack. The walls began to crack as well. "Err...how hard did you hit that?" Stumpy exclaimed. "I'm glad you asked! I love physics!" Aera smiled, as sense fled from her head. "Since I hit the roof when I was accelerating, this will take some calculation. Let's see...Initial velocity is equal to 0, whereas the final velocity is somewhere around 2 meters per second. And it took me one second to climb this high, therefore my acceleration would be..." Several chunks of the ceiling fell. "Isn't it time to get out of here?" Stumpy shouted. "Yes! The acceleration would be 2 meters per second squared!" she yelled, leaping for joy. "But that force is not able to crack the tower. This ceiling has a coefficient of friction of.... 3, yes 0.3 mu. That would require a force of 788 Newtons to crack, let alone break. Therefore..." The roof began to lean precariously inwards at the middle. Stumpy ran outside to where Mana the mage was still battling the ogre. And he also found the cause of the tower's collapse. Granite the goat was ramming the side of the tower with his horns. The tower collapsed in a heap of stone and dust and a deafening crash. "Bad goat!!!" Stumpy scolded. "Maaa?" A somewhat battered Aera crawled out of the wreckage, gave the goat a glare, and said, "...there would have to be some other cause of the tower's collapse." "Look on the bright side," Stumpy said. "The evil mage we were supposed to kill is dead!" The ogre collapsed as Mana smacked it with his staff. "How much experience?" he called, running over to Aera and Stumpy. He nodded suddenly, seemingly at no one. "Sorry guys," Stumpy said, "I gotta go. My mom said to be home at six, and it's six thirty." "Alright," Aera replied. "It's been fun playing. Continue next weekend?" Stumpy nodded, and they all promptly disappeared.



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Thanks to Jason J. Romein for this contribution!

 


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